Sat, 24 March 2018
'RSS has become an extra-constitutional authority'

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21:13   'RSS has become an extra-constitutional authority'
The RSS has become an "extra-constitutional" authority and makes political decisions for the ruling BJP, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot today alleged, terming it a "very worrying" development.

The involvement of the RSS in government decisions is well-known, Gehlot told reporters. He said the Sangh, which claims to be a nationalist and cultural organisation, should come out openly into politics, instead of doing shadow-boxing for the BJP.

"The RSS has become an extra-constitutional authority in the country that decides who would be the CM of states, who should be sent to cabinet and who should go to corporations," he said, without offering evidence to support his allegations.

"During the time of late PM Indira Gandhi Ji, these people used to allege the same about Sanjay Gandhi Ji. The whole country knows RSS is working like extra-constitutional authority today, which is very worrying," he said.

This was not the first time a Congress leader has accused the RSS-BJP of compromising constitutional institutions. The Congress leadership has previously attacked them for having a "fascist" ideology and charged the RSS with "interference" in the running of the central government.

In the political resolution adopted at the 84th Congress Plenary session in New Delhi on March 17, the party alleged that the country's core constitutional values were under attack, with institutions under stress and their independence compromised.

The AICC general-secretary in-charge of Gujarat said Congress leaders are capable of countering the RSS-BJP combine - ideologically and politically. He asked the BJP to fight the Congress on policies and principles.
20:33   RLD, Nishad Party expel MLAs for cross-voting in RS polls in UP
The RLD and the NISHAD Party today expelled their MLAs for voting against party directives in the just concluded Rajya Sabha polls.

RLD chief Ajit Singh expelled his lone MLA in the UP Assembly Sahender Singh Chauhan. NISHAD Party president Sanjay Nishad announced the expulsion of MLA Vijay Misra.
MLA Sahendra Singh Chaudhan kept the party leadership in the dark and worked against its directives. Hobnobbing with the BJP, he cast his vote as part of a conspiracy. He has been expelled by party president Chaudhary Ajit Singh, an RLD release issued in Lucknow read.
The party had decided to vote in favour of the BSP in the Rajya Sabha elections to defeat communal forces, the release, signed by RLD National General Secretary Trilok Tyagi, read.
The RLD is committed to opposition unity in national interest against the BJP government which is "spreading communal hatred in society", it added.
RLD MLA's vote was reportedly declared invalid as he had cast it in favour of two candidates.

At a presser in Lucknow, Mayawati said the RLD MLA did not vote in favour of the BSP nominee.

-- PTI
20:06   New data leak hits national ID card database Aadhaar
Indias biometric ID programme, Aadhaar, has been hit by another major security lapse, allowing access to private information, business technology news website ZDNet reported on Saturday. 

A data leak on a system run by a state-owned utility company can allow access to private information of Aadhaar holders, exposing their names, their unique 12-digit identity numbers, and their bank details, ZDNet said.

Even though the security lapse had been flagged to some government agencies over a period of time, it has yet to be fixed. ZDNet said it was withholding the name of the utility and other details. 

Karan Saini, a New Delhi-based security researcher, said that anyone with an Aadhaar number was affected.

This is a security lapse. You dont have to be a consumer to access these details. You just need the Uniform Resource Locator where the Application Programming Interface is located. These can be found in less than 20 minutes, Saini said. 
19:36   No change in status quo at Dokalam standoff area: Indian envoy
"No change" has taken place at the Doklam standoff area after it was resolved last year, India's envoy Gautam Bambawale said and blamed China squarely for the face off, saying it happened because Beijing tried to alter the "status quo" which it should not have.

The 73-day long standoff ended on August 28 last year after China agreed to halt the road building activities at Doklam in Sikkim Section.

"No, I can tell you that in Doklam area, which we call close proximity or sometimes the face off site, the area where there was close confrontation or close proximity between Indian and Chinese military troops, there is no change taking place today," India's Ambassador to China Bambawale said, reacting to reports of Chinese military stepping up infrastructure build-up in the area.

The Chinese side may be putting more military barracks to put in more soldiers, but that is well behind the sensitive area, he said in an interview to Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

"Those are the things you're free to do and we are also free to do, because you're doing it inside your territory and we are doing it inside our territory," Bambawale said.

Indian troops intervened to stop their Chinese counterparts building a road close to India's narrow corridor "Chicken Neck" area connecting northeastern states. Besides China, the area is also claimed by Bhutan.

-- PTI
19:15   Govt sends query to Cambridge Analytica: Did you harvest Indian user data, get consent?
The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has sent a notice to data mining and analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which is at the heart of the case involving alleged breach of Facebook user data, seeking information about its clients in India and whether it had harvested their user profiles. 

It has also asked the firm to specify who are the entities, if any, who engaged the firm to utilise data of Indians; how did it collect the data and whether consent was taken of the individuals whose data was used.

Cambridge Analyticas parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories, partnered with a firm, Ovleno Business Intelligenc, in India which had mentioned BJP, Congress and JD-U as its clients on its website before it was taken down earlier this week. 

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica, wherein the serious breach of propriety and misuse of data intended to profile and influence voting behaviour has been highlighted, an official spokesperson said, adding that the firm has been given time until March 31 to respond to the notice.
18:58   Goa CM Parrikar responding well to treatment
Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is responding well to medical treatment in the USA and expressed the hope he will return home soon.

Parrikar is suffering from a pancreatic ailment and is undergoing treatment at a hospital in the USA, where he was admitted in the first week of March.

"Spoke to @manoharparrikar who is responding well to treatment in the US Hospital. Wished him speedy recovery, early return home to lead Goa," the commerce and industry
minister tweeted.

The chief minister took ill on February 14 following which he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. He was discharged from the Mumbai hospital on February 22.

The same day, Parrikar, who also holds the finance portfolio, returned to Goa and presented budget in the assembly.

After spending a couple of days at home, Parrikar was admitted to the Goa Medical College and Hospital after he complained of dehydration.

The CM stayed at the GMCH for four days and was again admitted to Lilavati Hospital on March 5, from where he was taken to the US.

-- PTI
18:23   Rahul targets Prasad over pendency of cases in courts
Congress President Rahul Gandhi today hit out at Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over huge pendency of cases in courts and shortage of judges, and charged him with "peddling fake news" instead.
His attack came after Prasad accused the Congress of hiring the services of controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, accused of harvesting data stolen from Facebook, in previous elections.

The charge has been denied by the Congress, which instead accused the BJP of using the services of the firm.
Legal system collapsing under Pending Cases: Supreme Court 55,000+, High Court 37 Lakh+, Lower Courts 2.6 Crore+. Yet, a staggering 400 High Court and 6,000 Lower Court judges not appointed, while Law Minister preoccupied peddling fake news, Gandhi said on Twitter, using the hashtag JudiciaryDemonetised.

He also took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over delay in appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.
"Justice K M Joseph, overturned President's rule in Uttarakhand in 2016. When his name was proposed for the Supreme Court, Modi jis ego was hurt. Approval of over 100 judges, cleared for the Supreme Court and various High Courts are now on hold. #JudiciaryDemonetised(sic)," he said in another tweet.

-- PTI
18:06   US preps as students hold March for Our Lives events
Survivors of the deadly shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school are set to lead thousands Saturday in a March for Our Lives on Washington, delivering their impassioned pleas for stricter gun control law to the nation.

Building on the momentum of last week's National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised on gun violence have been rallying Americans around their cause while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The march starts at noon, with participants gathering on Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol.

Hundreds of sister marches also are planned across the country and around the world.

February's mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas, then the eighth school shooting of the year, moved the young survivors-turned-activists to push lawmakers to address gun violence in American schools with comprehensive gun control legislation, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
JUST IN: Sukma: 4 District Reserve Guard jawans injured in an IED blast 10 km interior of Kerlapal.
17:33   BSP suspends MLA who cross-voted in favour of BJP in RS polls
The BSP has suspended its MLA Anil Singh who cross-voted in favour of BJP candidate in yesterday's Rajya Sabha polls.

After casting his vote yesterday, BSP MLA Anil Singh said, "I am with Maharaj-ji", a reference to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Unnao MLA's vote became crucial as it gave the BJP the edge in getting the ninth Rajya Sabha seat from Uttar Pradesh.
17:10   Selfies banned at Cannes Film Festival red carpet
The organisers of Cannes Film Festival have banned selfies on its red carpet.

The news was shared by festival director Thierry Fremaux in an interview with Variety, saying the art of taking selfies on red carpet is "ridiculous".

"We haven't thought out in practical terms how to carry out this new measure. Since we are not policemen, we will trust attendees and their understanding of the situation: Selfies on the red carpet, in a continuous and touristy way, are ridiculous.

"It tarnishes the quality and tempo of the ascending the steps. Some are protesting and commenting negatively but selfies didn't exist 10 years ago, it's obviously not the most important thing in the world. We go to Cannes to see movies, not to take selfies," Fremaux said.

He said his job is to preserve the "prestige" of the festival.

"...When we're standing on top of the stairs, we can see the vulgarity and the grotesque aspect of those taking selfies on the red carpet and that's when it becomes a vast mess," he added.

Fremaux also talked about the festival's new rule which stated that any film which is selected to compete for Cannes will have to be released in French theatres.

-- PTI
17:02   Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Ashraf Sehrai's son goes missing in Srinagar
The son of recently appointed Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai is missing since yesterday, police said on Saturday.

According to the police, Junaid Ashraf Khan, 26, left for Friday prayers near his house in Baghat locality and has not returned since.

An image of Junaid with an AK-47 has been circulating on social media ever since, with many stating that the image was passed on by the Hizbul Mujahideen. 
16:47   UP Dy CM mocks SP-BSP alliance, says opposition searching for scapegoat
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma termed the alliance of the SP and the BSP as "lathabandhan" (a tie-up to intimidate people), and said the opposition in the state is finding itself politically unsafe and hence is in search of a scapegoat.

He said so far, Uttar Pradesh had the privilege of having the prime minister and the home minister as MP from the state, but now the finance minister too has joined the list.

In a photo-finish to the keenly watched Rajya Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP yesterday took a sweet revenge on the opposition by ensuring victory of all its nine candidates, days after it lost two crucial seats in the Lok Sabha bypolls in the state.

The remaining seat went to the Samajwadi Party in the polls marred by cross-voting from both the sides, which led to the defeat of the BSP candidate in the prestigious battle of ballots, touted as a test for the new-found bonhomie between the parties headed by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.

"In fact, the alliance of is not based on any principle except on 'Modi Hatao, BJP Hatao' (Remove Modi and BJP)," Sharma said, and claimed that the recent elections in the northeast states and the Rajya Sabha polls yesterday have shown that the opposition's dreams are not going to come true in the near future.

-- PTI
16:28   BJP misused government machinery: Mayawati after Rajya Sabha defeat
Mayawati addressed the press after her Bahujan Samajwadi Party was defeated in a keenly-fought battle for a Rajya Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh. 

She had hinted that the setback in Friday's election was unlikely to impact her party's new partnership with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi party. She had also attacked the Yogi Adityanath government for using money and fear to get lawmakers to switch sides.

>> BJP is not at all stopping from its bad habits, like its past characteristics

>> Yogi Adityanath's loss in Gorakhpur and Keshav Prasad Maurya's loss was a big blow after which BJP tried its best to defeat us and misused its powers

>> Even in yesterday's 10 seats, people including the media have observed that the Modi and Adityanath governments have misused power

>> Everyone knows BJP's misuse of power and that they established an atmosphere of terror and also had cross voting. Many lawmakers had to cross vote to save themselves

>> This immoral victory cannot make up for their defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur
16:07   'Why are you spreading lies:' Chandrababu Naidu responds to Amit Shah's letter
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday said Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shahs letter to him was full of false information.

The Telugu Desam Party chief was responding to a letter sent by Shah earlier in the day which said Naidus decision to quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance was guided by political considerations instead of Andhra Pradeshs development concerns.

Amit Shahs letter is full of false information, which shows their attitude. Even now, the Centre is providing special benefits to North-eastern states. Had Andhra Pradesh been given the same hand-holding, many industries would have come to the state, said Naidu.

Shah, in the letter, had dubbed Naidus move to sever ties with the NDA after the Centre declined to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh, as unfortunate and unilateral.

On March 7, Naidu pulled out two of his ministers from the NDA government. A week later, the TDP pulled out of the BJP-led allianceover the Centres refusal to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh and fulfil other commitments made at the time of states division in 2014.

Amit Shah in his letter says the Centre gave many funds to the state, we couldnt utilise them. They are trying to say that the Andhra Pradesh government is incapable. Our government has good GDP (growth), agriculture and many national awards. That is our capability. Why are you spreading lies?, Naidu said on Saturday.

In the letter to Naidu, Shah had said his party was a true well-wisher of the state.
JUST IN: Special Delhi court granted anticipatory bail to Karti Chidambram in Aircel Maxis case, asking him to appear before the investigating officer whenever he is summoned. Next date of hearing is 16 April.
15:32   Naxalism on its last leg in the country: Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the "serious" challenge of Naxalism in the country has entered its "last leg" and Maoists are now resorting to coward ambushes against security forces as they are unable to undertake a direct fight.

Addressing troops of the country's lead anti-Naxal operations force CRPF on the occasion of their 79th Raising Day, the home minister said due to operational efforts of these forces incidents of Left Wing Extremism have "drastically" come down in the recent past and the casualty rate of extremists has gone up.

The demoralised Naxal cadres are now not able to undertake a fight head on with security forces and hence with their limited capabilities are now resorting to coward ambushes and attacks, he said while addressing the men and officers of the force.

The minister, during his speech, paid tributes to the 9 men of the force who were killed in a Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh's Sukma early this month after a deadly explosive was clandestinely triggered by ultras underneath a mine protected vehicle.

"Maoism has become a serious challenge...but because of the gallant and determined action of the CRPF and other forces, these incidents have come down drastically.

"Earlier, the casualty amongst security forces personnel and civilians was higher but now it is the reverse and the casualty rate of the Maoist cadres is higher," Singh said at the parade ground of the CRPF officers academy here in Kadarpur.

"I can say that the LWE problem in the country has entered its last leg and the people very well understand that Naxlas are anti-poor, anti-tribal and anti-development," the top boss of the country's internal security establishment said referring to killing of CRPF men during road construction work in LWE affected areas.

He asked the CRPF personnel to continue rendering their "multi-dimenisonal" role in various theatres like insurgency in the Kashmir valley and the north east as also against the LWE menace.

"You have always given a muh tod jawab (befitting reply) to these activities," Singh said.

The minister lauded the gallantry of the troops of the country's largest paramilitary force as he underlined that the CRPF men and women did not "lose their patience" during the deteriorating security situation in the Kashmir valley.

-- PTI
15:25   SBSP chief seeks explanation from 2 MLAs over reports of cross-voting in RS polls
Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party president Om Prakash Rajbhar has sought an explanation from two party MLAs following reports that they cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election.

After a recent meeting with Amit Shah, the BJP's national president, Rajbhar, a Cabinet minister in state government, declared his four-MLA strong party's support for the saffron party candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections held yesterday.

"I have served notices to Kailash Nath Sonekar and Tirveni Ram seeking an explanation following reports in a section of media that they cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election," he said.

The two MLAs been asked to submit their explanation in a week's time, Rajbhar said, adding it is necessary that the truth is known.

In a photo-finish to the keenly watched Rajya Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP yesterday took a sweet revenge on the opposition by ensuring victory of all its nine candidates, days after losing two crucial seats in the Lok Sabha bypolls in the state.

The remaining seat went to the Samajwadi Party in the polls marred by cross-voting from both the sides, which led to the defeat of the BSP candidate in the prestigious battle of ballots, touted as a test for the new-found bonhomie between the parties headed by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.

-- PTI
15:02   As you sow so shall you reap: Giriraj Singh on Lalu's conviction
Hours after former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad was sentenced to 14 years in jail and fined Rs 60 lakh by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in the fourth fodder scam case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury in the early 1990s, Union Minister Giriraj Singh took a jibe at him and said 'as you sow so shall you reap.'

Speaking to media, Singh said, "The law takes its own course. No comment on this. Neither this is any judgment by any party. As you sow so shall you reap."

Lalu was held guilty in the Dumka treasury case by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court, earlier on March 19.

The case pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.5 crore from the Dumka treasury by Animal Husbandry Department officials between 1991 and 1996 when Lalu was the chief minister of undivided Bihar.

Lalu Prasad is already serving a jail term of 13.5 years in three fodder cases and has been lodged in the Birsa Munda jail. 

-- ANI
14:33   Won't let any political party come on this stage: Anna Hazare
Social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday sternly said that he will not tolerate involvement of any political party or group in the hunger strike which he started a day ago at Delhi's Ram Lila Maidan. "I will not let any political party or group to come on this stage," he said.

The social reformer also said that whoever joins the movement will have to sign an affidavit which states that they will neither join any political party/group nor will contest elections. They will ensure service to the country, the society and maintain good character.

Anna Hazare called for an indefinite fast on Friday nearly seven years after his anti-corruption movement shook the then Central government led by prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2011. March 23 was chosen as the date to begin the fast as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged to death on this day by the British.

Hitting out at the Narendra Modi led government, Anna called all politicians 'fraud'. "Farmers are suffering and politicians are not capable to rule people. I will fight till the last breath," he said.
14:24   Trump announces policy to ban most transgender people from serving in military
The White House announced a policy to ban most transgender people from serving in the US military.

Following a Pentagon policy review after a tweet by US President Donald Trump last year, the White House said the policy will say "transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump had rescinded his previous policy to allow this new policy to take its place.

The new policy, according to Sanders, was "developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans," under the direction of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

According to a Pentagon memo about the policy, exceptions to the ban include people who have been "stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession," servicemembers who "do not require a change of gender" and troops who started serving under the Obama administration's policy prior to the new memo.

"This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards -- including those regarding the use of medical drugs -- equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen," Sanders said.

After Trump initially tweeted his announcement of a ban, transgender troops took the policy to court, which halted its implementation.
14:07   Fear for his life, says son Tejashwi Yadav after Lalu gets huge sentence for corruption
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav has been sentenced to seven years in jail under two offences in the fourth case linked to the fodder scam. The former Bihar chief minister, who was convicted by a court in Jharkhand's Ranchi on Monday, has also been fined Rs. 60 lakh.

"I fear for his life," son Tejashwi Yadav told reporters, claiming there appeared to be a conspiracy against his father.

It was not immediately clear whether the two sentences would run concurrently or consecutively. Lalu Prasad's lawyer said the court did not specify if the sentences would run consecutively. "I will need to see the ruling," he said.

The fodder scam involves the embezzlement of government funds in Bihar meant for cattle fodder. The multi-million-rupee scam surfaced in the 1990s when Lalu Yadav was chief minister of undivided Bihar.

This fourth fodder scam case relates to Rs. 3.13 crore swindled from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996.
13:57   Amit Shah sets target for 2019 polls: 21 seats out of 25 from North East
Addressing a rally in Guwahati, the Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah sounded the poll bugle for the next 2019 general elections. 

He said, "I want to set a target of 21 seats out of 25 from north east for LS polls in 2019."

The BJP president must be pleased with his party's performance in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha polls where the BJP made a significant gain of 11 additional seats while the Congress made an overall loss of four in the biennial elections to 58 Rajya Sabha seats, consolidating the saffron party's position in the House and leaving its main rival far behind.

A calculation of tallies show that the BJP's strength in the 245-member House will go from the existing 58 to 69 and that of the Congress will fall from 54 to 50 when the new MPs take oath next week.
13:39   Kerala IS recruitment case: Woman operative sentenced to 7 years rigorous imprisonment
A NIA Special Court today sentenced woman operative Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid to seven years rigorous imprisonment in connection with Kerala IS recruitment case.

Special Judge S Santhosh Kumar awarded the sentence after convicting her under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal Code.

The NIA special court in Ernakulam also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on her.

Zahid, who hailed from Bihar, is the second accused in the case investigated by the NIA.

Last year, the National Investigation Agency had filed the chargesheet against two Islamic State operatives Abdul Rashid Abdulla as the main accused, who motivated a number of youths from Kasaragod to leave India along with their families to join the Islamic State, and Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid.

Zahid was intercepted while trying to take a flight to Kabul to join the IS in Afghanistan.

There are 15 accused in the case. The NIA had chargesheeted only two as the 13 others including first accused, Rashid, were in Afghanistan and one in Syria.

Three are believed to be killed in air strikes in Afghanistan.

-- PTI
13:19   Cambridge Analytica offices searched over data storage
The London offices of Cambridge Analytica have been searched by enforcement officers from the UK's information commissioner.

The High Court granted the data watchdog a warrant amid claims the firm amassed information about millions of people without their consent, based on a 2014 quiz on Facebook.

The seven-hour search finished in the early hours of Saturday.

Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny any wrongdoing.

A group of people, some wearing ICO enforcement jackets, entered the building housing Cambridge Analytica's London headquarters at 20:00 GMT on Friday - less than an hour after a high court judge granted the warrant.

Several hours later members of the Information Commissioner's Office  were seen leaving the offices and a van - thought to be carrying gathered evidence - was driven away from the rear of the building.

The ICO applied for the warrant to access the databases and servers of Cambridge Analytica.

The search is part of a wider investigation into political campaigning.
12:38   Demonetisation, GST were massive damage to Indian economy, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi once again attacked the BJP over demonetisation, GST and the Nirav Modi scam.

Rahul Gandhi spoke at Maharani Arts College for Women in Mysuru, Karnataka.

"I think demonetisation was a mistake and shouldn't have been done. Demonetisation and GST were massive damage to the Indian economy and job creation. I have a problem with the way demonetisation was carried out," Rahul Gandhi said.

He also touched the topic of black money and the Nirav Modi scam saying, "Nirav Modi took Rs 22,000 crore of bank money. Can you imagine how many businesses could have been built by young women like you if we had given Rs 22,000 crore?"

"We are growing pretty decently as an economy but we are not creating jobs. It is because those who have skills don't have access to finance and support. The problem is, huge amount of money goes to 15-20 people only," Rahul Gandhi said on the job creation front at the Maharani's Arts College for Women in Mysuru.
12:16   Raghuram Rajan objects to 'anti-national' tag in universities
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan said universities need to be "safe spaces" where debates take place and no one is shouted down after being branded an "anti-national".

Every stream of thought needs to be encouraged in a varsity, he said, citing instances like one of his colleagues at the University of Chicago inviting President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Banon to speak, despite not agreeing with his views.

"We need to learn to respect universities as places where ideas are debated and you don't shout down the other side and say that no no you don't have the right to speak like this or you are anti-national," he told reporters.

"We have to, as a society, create safe spaces where debates and discussions take place, where people using freedom, not licence, can express their views which can take the society forward," Rajan said.
12:11   Irrfan Khan not consulting any Ayurveda doctor: spokesperson
Actor Irrfan Khan, who is suffering from neuroedocrine tumour, is not undergoing any ayurvedic treatment, his spokesperson said today.
Debunking the reports that Irrfan is consulting Ayurveda doctor Vaidya Balendu Prakash, who also treated Steve Jobs, the spokesperson said the actor once spoke to the doctor about his health but there have been no further "conversation or consultation".

"As suggested by recent news reports, Khan is not consulting with Vaidya Balendu Prakash. He at one point had contacted him but other than one phone call there has been no conversation or consultation whatsoever.

"It is unacceptable to be using someone's illness for your own publicity and personal gain. Like Irrfan Khan's previous statements, we all need to respect the space asked for and wait for him or his wife's statement for any further update," Irrfan's spokesperson said in a statement.

The 51-year-old actor had recently said that he will be travelling abroad for the treatment.

-- PTI
11:56   CWG 2018: PV Sindhu to Lead Indian Contingent at Opening Ceremony
Ace Indian shuttler and one of the top most medal prospects, PV Sindhu has been chosen by the Indian Olympic Association as the flag bearer for India for the gala opening ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Reports in the Indian Express say, that 22-year old was picked ahead of the likes of Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal due to a better colour of the medal at the Olympics and her recent performances.

The opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be held at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast on April 4.

Boxer Mary Kom and shuttler Saina Nehwal are both taking part in their second Commonwealth Games and have yet to be afforded the honour of being the flag bearer at a multi-discipline event. 

Sindhus achievements are more recent and she is among the best athletes in the country at the moment. Hence, we have chosen her to be the flag-bearer, an IOA official said.
11:25   Lalu gets 7 years in prison in fourth fodder scam case
Jailed former Bihar chief minister Lalu Yadav has been sentenced to seven years in prison in the fourth fodder scam case. 

On Monday, the former Bihar CM was found guilty along with 18 others. 

This is the fourth conviction for Prasad in fodder scam cases pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from government treasury in 1990s in the undivided Bihar when RJD was in power and Prasad the chief minister.

Prasad has been in Birsa Munda jail at Ranchi since December 23 last year after being convicted in the second case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from Deogarh treasury.

Earlier, the RJD supremo was convicted on September 30, 2013 in the RC 20A/96 case of Chaibasa pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore in the 1990s. He got five years prison term in the case following which he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha and barred from contesting elections for six years after completion of jail term.

In another Chaibasa case, RC 68A/96 pertaining to Rs 37.62 crore, he got five years prison term on January 24 this year. 

JUST IN: ED makes seizure of jewellery, watches and paintings worth Rs 26 crore from Nirav Modi's residence in Mumbai in PNB fraud case
10:43   Shah writes to Naidu: BJP ensured Telugu people get justice
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit A Shah writes to Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on his decision to withdraw from the National Democratic Alliance.

'I'm writing this letter after the Telugu Desam Party's decision to quit the NDA family. This decision is both unfortunate as well as unilateral. It is a decision; I am afraid, will be construed as being guided wholly and solely by political considerations instead of developmental concerns,' Shah wrote.

'Andhra Pradesh figures very prominently on our agenda of national development and it is widely known that the Union government led by the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has left no stone unturned in ensuring the growth and prosperity of Andhra Pradesh.

'You may recall that during the previous Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha, when your party did not have adequate representation, it was the BJP that set the agenda and ensured that justice is done to the hardworking Telugu people in both the states,' Shah wrote to Naidu.

Shah also didn't miss accusing the Congress of 'ignoring Telugu people'.

'Since the discussion of bifurcating united Andhra Pradesh till the present, it is the BJP that has led the voice of safeguarding the welfare of Telugu people in both the Telugu states.

'This is in direct contrast to the Congress party, which not only mismanaged the bifurcation but also showed zero sensitivity towards the Telugu people, which is in line with their historic apathy to the Telugu community,' he wrote.  -- ANI
10:40   'India and China must be frank with each other to prevent another Doklam'
In an interview to the Hong Kong newspaper, the South China Morning Post, Gautam Bambawale, India's ambassador to China, blamed Beijing for the military standoff in Doklam, saying it 'changed the status quo in the region'.
Political level communication has come back, Ambassador Bambawale -- one of India's most astute diplomats -- said, adding, 'But more importantly, I think we need to have discussions between the two militaries. That has not fully resumed.' 
While troops on the ground can talk to each other, the ambassador revealed, the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army headquarters had not resumed communications. 
'We would like it to resume as soon as possible,' Ambassador Bambawale said. You can read the interview here:
09:30   France shooting: Partner of 'IS attacker' detained
A woman who was living with the attacker who killed four people at a supermarket in southern France's Trebes has been detained, a prosecutor said on Friday.

Francois Molins, the prosecutor said gunman Radouane Lakdim had claimed to be a soldier for the terror group Islamic State while storming the Super U market in the town before he was killed by police.

The shooting attack unfolded when Lakdim hijacked a car, killed its driver and attempted to mow down four police officers while opening fire at them.

One policeman got injured in the incident while he was jogging at a park, according to The Guardian.

He later drove the car to the supermarket and immediately opened fire upon people, killing two before taking several others as hostages.

It took three hours to bring the situation under control when the police shot dead the gunman in a cross firing.

Two more were later confirmed dead by the police.The IS claimed responsibility for the shooting attack.

The France interior ministry identified the deceased gunman as a resident of Carcassonne in southern France.

French President Emmanuel Macron later confirmed that 16 people were injured in the incident.  -- ANI
Two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district of south Kashmir, says Police.
09:06   No more free reign to China: Trump after announcing tariffs
After announcing a string of tough trade measures against China, United States President Donald Trump has said that Beijing would no longer have a 'free reign' like it had been having for many years, which resulted in a massive American trade deficit with it.

A day after he initiated a series of tough actions against 'unfair' Chinese trade practices, inviting retaliation by Beijing, Trump exuded confidence that the steps would end up with China fairly treating America.

"China is going to end up treating us fairly. For many years, they had free reign; they don't have free reign anymore. We're very friendly with China. We have great relationships with China. And, look, it's time. It's time," Trump told reporters yesterday at a White House news conference.

"Last year, we lost $500 billion on trade with China. We can't let that happen," he said.

The White House has also said that America's massive trade deficit with China is estimated to have resulted in about two million job losses in the US.

Trump imposed tariffs on about $60 billion worth of Chinese imports to punish the country for its 'unfair' seizure of American intellectual property, a move that could escalate the already tense trade relations between the world's two biggest economies.

In a retaliatory move, China unveiled plans yesterday to impose higher tariffs on $3 billion worth of American goods including pork and pipes in retaliation to US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Beijing.  -- PTI
08:42   Elon Musk deletes Facebook pages of SpaceX, Tesla
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday deleted his SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal, as part of the #deletefacebook campaign trending on social media.

The development happened during an exchange on Twitter when Musk referenced an article by The Verge about Sonos pulling ads off of Facebook for a week.

Musk provided a link to the story and a snarky comment, 'Wow, a whole week. Risky.'

He then deleted the SpaceX page after his comments on Twitter, followed by his company Tesla page on Facebook.

Musk's millions of followers on Twitter quickly jumped on the comment.

Brian Acton, the co-founder of popular messaging service, WhatsApp, whose product was bought by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $16 billion, had tweeted in the light of the scandal -- 'It is time. #deletefacebook'.

Both the SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages had over 2.6 million likes and follows and super high engagement rates, prior to their deletion.

Musk, who occasionally posts photos and videos on Instagram, admitted that Facebook's influence was creeping into the photo-sharing site.

The Tesla CEO has slammed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier on their views on the dangers of artificial intelligence, describing it as a potentially existential threat to the human race.

Cambridge Analytica, a London-based analytics firm is accused of harvesting personal data of Facebook users to influence elections in several countries including the US presidential elections.

It has been accused of breaching private information of more than 50 million Facebook users.

The company, founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor who has put at least $15 million into it, offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behaviour.

The so-called psychographic modeling techniques, which were built in part with the dataharvested from Facebook, underpinned the company's work for then Republican nominee and US President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016.  -- ANI
00:23   BJP's win is a victory of money power and intimidation: BSP
After the results of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Sabha elections declared, the Bahujan Samaj Party has cried foul and said money power has triumphed.

"The BJP's win is a victory of money power and intimidation," Devashish Jarariya, spokesperson BSP said.

When asked about the SP-BSP alliance, some BSP leaders said they don't know about the future of the alliance, but the party is satisfied with the SP's efforts.