Thu, 01 November 2018
United we stand: Chandrababu Naidu meets Rahul Gandhi

Timeline  Refresh

16:26   United we stand: Chandrababu Naidu meets Rahul Gandhi
TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is trying to unite the opposition parties to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections next year, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Thursday.

The meeting comes amid seat-sharing talks between the two parties for the Assemby elections.

Earlier in the day, Naidu met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in the nationa; capital. Naidu "coincidentally" also met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and briefly discussed about the need to bring all non-BJP political parties together.--  PTI
15:52   IB to get new chief
Aravinda Kumar is likely to be be appointed Director, Intelligence Bureau, from January 2019. A 1984 IPS officer Kumar is now special director in IB. This ends speculation that incumbent director Rajiv Jain was set to get an extension till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The government is all set to issue orders this week, which is a protocol and a drill in the established convention of intelligence organisations, but Kumar will remain an understudy till the end of this year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday had a detailed discussion with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and also with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Formal orders will be issued once the Prime Minister signs the master file. Thereafter, the Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet will approve Kumar's appointment. The orders are expected to be issued this week.

A strict observance of seniority is maintained in a well-knit organisation and therefore there will not be any extensions given to the present incumbent.
15:37   India has no extra-territorial ambitions: Army chief
India has no extra-territorial ambitions, but its aim is to enure a conducive external and internal security environment for unhindered economic progress and socio-political development, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said Thursday, in New Delhi.

Contested sovereignty of maritime territories pose a major challenge in East Asia and the South China Sea and these disputed maritime boundaries are threatening international waters, Gen Rawat said, speaking at a seminar on 'Evolving Geo-Politics of the Indo-Pacific Region-Challenges and Prospects'.

In his keynote address, Gen Rawat said, "Our security policy flows from two basic cardinals. That is, we have no extra-territorial ambitions and we have no desire to transplant our ideologies on others. Our aim is to enure a conducive external and internal security environment for unhindered economic progress and socio-political development. Thus, stability in the Indo-Pacific region is essential."

He said within the Indo-Pacific, the Indian Ocean Region remains India's primary area of interest. India, he said, is committed to uphold and strengthen the rules-based order in Indo-Pacific. -- PTI
15:29   Christian woman acquitted in blasphemy case likely to be flown out of Pak
The Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy and was acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court is likely to be flown out of the country as the landmark verdict sparked countrywide protests and death threats from hardline groups.

Aasia Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours. She always maintained her innocence, but has spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

The apex court's judgement, which was pronounced Wednesday, triggered protests across Pakistan with protestors led by Islamic political party Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan and other groups blocking major highways and roads in different parts of the country.

Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih has reached Pakistan along with his family from the UK to shift her abroad, The News reported quoting sources. Masih was provided complete security by the law enforcement agencies, it said.

Officials also said Bibi might be flown out of Pakistan due to threat to her life. However, it was not clear where she will go as several countries, including Canada, have offered asylum to her.

The timing of her release was not been shared due to security reasons. She was kept in Sheikhupura jail near Lahore. Bibi's case has been deeply divisive in Pakistan where there is strong support for the controversial blasphemy laws.

The blasphemy laws were promulgated by former military dictator Ziaul Haq in 1980s. A person convicted under these laws is given death sentence.-- PTI

Pic: Asia Bibi daughters pose with her photograph in this 2010 image.
15:14   MJ Akbar can't help but edit in court
Akbar's eye catches typos in clerks's transcript (and hapless man has to deal with scurrilous and appurtenance). Read the report here.
And there's no letting up... Divya Spandana @divyaspandana When you're done huffing & puffing take a breath & hold a mirror to yourselves. My views are mine. I don't give two hoots about yours. I'm not going to clarify what I meant and what I didn't cos you don't deserve one.
15:03   FIR against Asthana shows cognisable offences: CBI to Delhi HC
The CBI on Thursday opposed in the Delhi High Court its Special Director Rakesh Asthana's plea seeking to quash an FIR against him in a bribery case, saying that allegations against the officers and others show cognisable offences.

The agency also said the investigation in the case was at nascent stage and it was "handicapped" in the probe as certain files and documents were under the Central Vigilance Commission scrutiny.

The files and documents have been sent to the CVC as the Supreme Court has directed the vigilance body to conduct enquiry against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma. CBI filed the reply in response to the notice issued to it on the petition filed by Asthana against the lodging of case.

The petitions of Asthana, CBI DSP Devendra Kumar and middleman Manoj Prasad are scheduled to come up for hearing before a bench of Justice Najmi Waziri during the day.

In the reply, the CBI has said, "This court categorically held that when an FIR is challenged by way of a writ petition, more particularly, in Prevention of Corruption Cases, allegations in the FIR are to be seen whether they disclose the cognisable offence or not and the roving enquiry at this stage is impermissible."  -- PTI
14:08   BJP responds to 'bird dropping' jibe
The BJP @BJP4India responds to Congress social media chief Divya Spandana/'s jibe at PM Narendra Modi where she likened him to bird dropping as she posted this picture alongside of the PM at the Statue of Unity yesterday. Scroll down for the reference. 

@BJP4India tweets: "Ummm no, it is the values of the Congress that are dropping. Historical disdain for Sardar Patel + Pathological dislike for @narendramodi = Such language. Clearly, @RahulGandhi's politics of 'love'!"
14:07   BJP responds to 'bird dropping' jibe
The BJP @BJP4India responds to Congress social media chief Divya Spandana/'s jibe at PM Narendra Modi where she likened him to bird dropping as she posted this picture alongside of the PM at the Statue of Unity yesterday. Scroll down for the reference. 

@BJP4India tweets: "Ummm no, it is the values of the Congress that are dropping. Historical disdain for Sardar Patel + Pathological dislike for @narendramodi = Such language. Clearly, @RahulGandhi's politics of 'love'!"
13:53   Karnataka minister throws sports kits at athletes
Karnataka Revenue Minister RV Deshpande sparked a controversy after he threw sports kits from a stage at an event to honour sportspersons in Karwar's Haliyal on Wednesday.

At the event, Deshpande was seen standing on the stage and throwing the kits, packed in plastic covers, towards athletes who had earned laurels at the national, state and district levels. The act was captured on video, which was later circulated on social media.

The Congress leader was in his home constituency to inaugurate a new indoor stadium and to honour local sportspersons.

Earlier, state Public Works Department minister HD Revanna faced flak after he threw food material towards flood victims in Kodagu district. -- ANI
13:40   BJP MP likely to introduce pvt member's bill to build Ram temple
BJP MP and RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha suggested this morning that he would soon introduce a private member's bill in Parliament seeking the construction of a Ram temple on a disputed site in Ayodhya.

The Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi case is currently in the Supreme Court. The court recently said that it would decide in January when to begin hearing the case.

Sinha today tweeted, "To those who keep asking the BJP and the RSS about when Ram temple will be constructed, I have a straight question: Will you support my private member bill?"

Sinha also questioned why the Supreme Court was delaying hearing the matter and said that the issue of a Ram temple in Ayodhya is a "top priority for Hindu society.

"Will Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mayawati support the bill, Sinha also asked. "They frequently ask the date to @RSSorg @BJP4India, now onus on them to answer."

He also asked how many days the SC took to give the verdict on Article 377,  the Jallikattu issue, and the Sabarimala temple ban.

"But Ayodhya is not in priority for decades and decades. It is a top priority of Hindu society," he asked.

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said the BJP thinks Lord Ram will help it win next year's general elections, but God "will not help them win the elections.""It is the people who will vote, neither Lord Ram nor Allah will vote," he told ANI.
12:47   Jaish chief confirms nephew's death
Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Muhammad chief and Kandahar hijacking mastermind, has confirmed the killing of his nephew, Usman Ibrahim by the Indian security forces in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Tral.

Azhar himself has confirmed this in an audio recording as he has asked the Kashmiris to stand against India and launch an offensive.

In the audio clip, Azhar said, "My beloved nephew Usman Ibrahim and a Kashmiri fighter, Shaukat Ahmed have sacrificed their lives. A large number of people gathered to pay tribute to Shaukat Ahmad and still Indians claim that Kashmir is an integral part of India? They should feel ashamed."

Jaish-e-Muhammad militant Usman Ibrahim is the second nephew of Azhar to be killed in Kashmir in a span of less than a year.

Azhar while praising the "sacrifice" of his nephew said, "18-year old Usman Ibrahim has sacrificed his life at this young age. Usman's visit to Kashmir is not illegal, but India's entry into Kashmir's territory is illegal."

He asked the Kashmiris to unite against India and launch a jihad. "Kashmiri youth, isn't Usman's sacrifice not enough to make you stand. Dying a life of a slave is against any Muslim. India has given you an option to live as a slave and die as an oppressed. You must handover both things to them and get ready to sacrifice themselves. How long will you stand alone. You must stand together and get India uprooted," he added.
-- PTI
12:41   Mission Gange removes 55 tons of waste: Bachendri Pal
Over 55 tons of garbage and waste were removed from the Ganga by a 40-member team during its month-long expedition in the river, said its leader Everester Bachendri Pal.

The team found the Ganga polluted all through its 'Mission Gange' expedition route of 1500 km from Hardwar to Patna, Pal told reporters here Wednesday.

"We have pulled out over 55 tons of garbage and waste from the river in course of our month-long expedition which began from Hardwar on October 5 last," said the country's first woman who reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1984. The team left Jamshedpur on October 01.

The garbage and waste pulled out of the river were disposed off by respective municipalities of the seven towns the team reached, she said. -- PTI
12:14   Lt Gen Thimmaya takes over as GoC Army Training Command, Shimla
Lieutenant General PC Thimmaya took over as the 21st General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command in Shimla on Thursday, an Army official said.

After passing out from the Indian Military Academy with the sword of honour, he commissioned into the 5th battalion Mechanised Infantry Regiment (14 KUMAON) on June 13, 1981.

An alumnus of Sainik School Bhubaneswar and National Defence Academy Pune, Thimmaya commanded his battalion during operation Parakram and an Independent Mechanised Brigade in the deserts.

As a major general, he commanded a strike formation and subsequently, as a lieutenant general, he commanded a Corps in the western theatre. Prior to his assumption of command of ARTRAC, Lieutenant General Thimmaya was posted as the Commandant of Army War College, Mhow.
@divyaspandana Divya Spandana/Ramya, who handles the Congress party's social media & digital communications makes an observation, with this tweet: "Is that bird dropping?"

That's in fact, a picture of PM Narendra Modi at the foot of Sardar Patel's Statue of Unity during the inauguration yesterday.
12:07   'Naxals can sense the end is near'
"Maoists are enraged that the media is reporting the truth. They want to physically isolate the media and psychologically isolate the villagers who have found the confidence to speak to the press about the real situation. Like terrorism ended in Punjab, Naxalism will end in Chhattisgarh," AIIMS doctor-turned IPS officer and SP of Dantewada Dr Abhishek Pallava tells's Archana Masih.

Read the story here.

Image: Dantewada Superintendent of Police Dr Abhishek Pallava with villagers in the Kudur area of Naxal-affected Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dr Abhishek Pallava
11:34   Now what? #MeToo victim on the way ahead
This is an incredible opportunity to build a better India Inc -- fair and inclusive, where leaders make ethical decisions and women employees thrive, writes Anjuli Pandit who had accused MD & CEO of Taj Hotels of sexual harassment. Do read
11:29   Ram Guha will not be joining A'bad varsity
Historian, author and Modi government critic, Ramachandra Guha @Ram_Guha tweets: "Due to circumstances beyond my control, I shall not be joining Ahmedabad University. I wish AU well; it has fine faculty and an outstanding Vice Chancellor. And may the spirit of Gandhi one day come alive once more in his native Gujarat."
11:10   Stone-pelting at TV crew in Kashmir's Budgam after encounter
In Kashmir, news agency ANI's OB (Outdoor Broadcasting) van was damaged as locals pelted stones on vehicles after two terrorists were gunned down by security forces in Zagoo Arizal area of Budgam.

In the early hours today, two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Budgam district.

"Security forces launched an operation based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in Zagoo locality of Khansahib area in the district," a police official said.

He said during the operation, the militants fired on the search party, which was retaliated by the security forces. "During the exchange of fire, two militants were neutralized. Their identities are being ascertained," the police official said. Arms and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site, he said.

This is the second time in a couple of days that the media has been targetted. Two policemen and a cameraperson of Doordarshan were killed and two others were injured in a Maoist attack on Tuesday in poll-bound Chhattisgarhs Dantewada district.

The maoists ambushed a squad of local police which was carrying out patrolling on motor cycles from Sameli camp towards Nilawaya. A three-member team of Doordarshan was travelling for election-related news coverage at the same time and was caught in the cross-fire.  Read the eyewitness account here.

-- PTI
10:45   Not a good morning in Delhi
Skip that morning walk if you are in Delhi or NCR. Severe pollution and smog makes visibility poor in the national capital even as emergency measures to check pollution come into force today in Delhi-NCR. State pollution control bodies have been directed to initiate criminal prosecution against violators, while the Delhi government said it was fully prepared to implement odd-even scheme to regulate private vehicles when needed.

A day after the air quality slipped into 'severe' category, there was a marginal dip in pollution level due to increased wind speed but the air quality still remained 'very poor'.
10:42   Jagan Reddy petitions HC for independent probe in knife attack
YSR Congress Party President YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has filed a writ petition in the Hyderabad High Court seeking a direction to the Andhra Pradesh government to hand over the investigation in the attack on him at Visakhapatnam airport to an independent agency which is not under the control of the state government.

On October 25, Reddy suffered a minor injury when a man slashed at him with a small knife at Visakhapatnam airport. The man, Janapalli Srinivas Rao, works as a waiter at a restaurant at the airport.

The writ petition stated that there has been a conspiracy angle beyond doubt going by the sequence of events and the manner in which the state police and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu have been trying to dilute the incident by doling out incoherent and uncorroborated details to the press even before the investigation began.

When Jagan Reddy was knifed.
Comedian Atul Khatri: The #StatueOfUnity is so tall that on a clear day from the top you can clearly see the impending drought in Maharashtra..
Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia @Ptr6Vb: "Lt Gen Satish Dua hangs his boots after four decades service to nation & army riding home on his bike after handing over, no staff no staff car. Salute you soldier for your many contributions to nations security, well regarded & respected military leader &soldier a great role model."
10:20   Sensex, Nifty turn choppy; erase early gains on profit-booking
The BSE Sensex rose over 100 points Thursday, but turned choppy after investors began booking profits at higher levels. The benchmark indices opened higher led by banking and auto stocks amid sustained buying by domestic institutional investors, better-than-expected corporate earnings and positive global cues buoyed sentiment.

The 30-share Sensex rallied 149.36 points, or 0.44 per cent, to trade at 34,591.41 points. The gauge had climbed 550.92 points Wednesday. Sectoral indices led by capital goods, realty, infrastructure and auto were trading in the positive zone, with gains up to 4.29 per cent.

The broader NSE Nifty too surged 55 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 10,441.60 in opening session.

In the Sensex kitty, L&T took the top position by surging 5.73 per cent on the back of better-than-expected quarterly earnings posted by the company Wednesday.

Easing concerns around the rift between the government and RBI, after the Finance Ministry said the autonomy for the central bank, within the framework of the RBI Act, was an "essential and accepted" governance requirement, lifted the market in early trade, traders said. Other gainers that supported the key indices included Yes Bank, Tata Motors, ONGC, M&M, Axis Bank, Adani Ports, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki, HDFC Bank, PowerGrid, ITC Ltd, and Bajaj Auto, rising by up to 1.86 per cent. -- PTI
09:53   Manohar Parrikar fully fit, says Goa minister
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday evening held a cabinet meeting at his residence in Taleigao near Panaji. Present at the meeting were PWD minister Sudin Dhavlikar, town and country planning minister Vijai Sardesai and panchayat minister Mauvin Godinho.

While talking to media, Dhavlikar said issues related to state IT policy and PWD engineers' remuneration, among others, were discussed in the meeting.

After attending the cabinet meeting, Godinho said that the Chief Minister participated in the discussion and even gave his "valuable suggestions".

"Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar needs a little rest. He is meeting party people tomorrow, agenda has been cleared. Normal functioning would not be impacted," Godinho said.

"The Chief Minister is fully fit. He participated in the discussion, gave his valuable suggestions. Except for the fact that the meeting didn't take place at the Secretariat, everything else was like a normal cabinet meeting," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Parrikar had chaired a meeting of the state investment promotion board at his residence.The Goa Chief Minister was discharged from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on October 14 after undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment.

On Saturday, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane admitted Parrikar was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The admission came amid relentless demands from the opposition parties to know whether the Chief Minister was fit enough to govern. The state government had hitherto been dodging persistent queries on Parrikar's illness.
09:23   Enough supply of petroleum for countries to cut oil import from Iran: Trump
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday in a presidential memorandum that he had determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products for countries to 'significantly' reduce their purchase of crude oil from Iran, which is going face US sanctions from November 5.

In May, Trump had pulled out of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) terming it as 'disastrous'. Under the Obama-era deal, involving five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, Iran had agreed to stop its nuclear programme in exchange of relief from economic sanctions.

Moments after coming out the deal Trump had signed fresh set of sanctions against Iran and warned countries against any cooperation with Tehran on its controversial nuclear weapons programme.

In his presidential determination, Trump said 'there is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions."

Trump's presidential determination, not an executive order but a kind of directive issued by the White House to the members of his adminstration on some policy matters, comes less than 100 hours before the deadline set by him for countries like India to bring its purchase of oil to zero from Iran by November 4.

India has expressed its difficulties in doing so given the galloping energy needs of its 1.3 billion people. More than 80 per cent of India's energy needs are imported.

But at the same time, India has taken steps to reduce its oil purchase from Iran, which has already declined substantially.   -- PTI
09:15   Two terrorists killed in Budgam encounter
Two terrorists have been killed in an encounter that broke out in Zagoo Arizal area of Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

Two-three terrorists were reportedly trapped in the area.

More details about the operation are awaited.

This comes after bodies of two terrorists were recovered in Pulwama's Tral town following an exchange of fire between terrorists and security forces.

The police had also recovered arms and ammunition, including M4 and AK 47 rifles and other incriminating materials from the site of the encounter.  -- ANI
09:05   Petrol prices slashed, diesel unchanged
Petrol prices continued to tumble on Thursday as the essential commodity is now being sold at Rs 79.37 per litre in the national capital.

While diesel prices remained unchanged, petrol witnessed a decrease of 18 paise in Delhi as compared to Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, petrol prices witnessed a marginal decline of 16 paise to now be sold at Rs 84.86 per litre.

Diesel prices remained unchanged in the financial capital.

The fuel prices had earlier witnessed a relentless hike in the country, burning a hole in the common commuter's pocket.

In this regard, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on October 4 announced a reduction of Rs 2.50 per litre on both petrol and diesel prices after curbing excise duty on the commodity by Rs 1.50 per litre and urged respective state governments to slash the same amount at their end. -- ANI
08:32   Naidu to meet Rahul, Pawar today to discuss alliance against NDA
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu will meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar in the national capital on Thursday.

The Telugu Desam Party president has been meeting leaders of opposition parties in view of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

On October 27, Naidu had met with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and veteran leader Sharad Yadav.

Earlier, he had also met with former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati.

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister has been extremely vocal and straight-forward about his critical opinions against the Centre.

He had earlier said that the country needs a national-level alliance to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in upcoming elections.  -- ANI
00:08   Don't 'forgive' Modi in 2019 LS polls: Yashwant Sinha to farmers
Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday said people should not "forgive" Prime Minister Narendra Modi and "uproot" his government in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
He was addressing a farmers' gathering at Vanthali in Gujarat's Junagadh district, around 300 km from Ahmedabad.
"This government has failed on all fronts. Everyone is suffering, be it farmers, youth, women or Dalits. Only new slogans are being given. The only solution is to uproot this government in the next (Lok Sabha) polls," Sinha said.
"I want to apologise because I was also part of the BJP when promises were made ahead of 2014 (general) elections. But I do not want you to forgive him (Modi) in the next polls," he said.
The former finance minister has been a vocal critic of the current Bharatiya Janata Party-led government and resigned from the party in April this year.
Sinha was invited by Patidar leader Hardik Patel to address the farmers.
Commenting on the unveiling of a 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Narmada district earlier on Wednesday, Sinha said Modi should have announced a pro-farmer scheme on the occasion.
"He did not announce any scheme for farmers because he has forgotten them," he said.
Disgruntled BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha was also present at the gathering.
The actor-turned-politician said he will not complain if the BJP sacked him.
"I did not come into politics for any personal gain. I will not complain if my party sacks me tomorrow. I love the people of this country more than my party," he said. -- PTI