Tue, 02 October 2018
Xi, Putin more trusted than Trump in world affairs, survey reveals
21:10 Xi, Putin more trusted than Trump in world affairs, survey reveals
US President Trump inspires less confidence among the public than Chinese President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin, an international poll by the Pew Research Center published showed.
The poll of 25 countries found that just 27 per cent of respondents, on average, have confidence in US President Trump to "do the right thing regarding world affairs."
In contrast, 52 per cent of respondents said they had confidence in German Chancellor Angela Merkel to "do the right thing" in global affairs. France's Emmanuel Macron scored 46 per cent, followed by Xi Jinping at 34 per cent.
Thirty per cent of respondents trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the right thing with Trump trailing behind, scoring 27 per cent.
Washington-based think tank Pew surveyed 26,112 respondents in 25 countries from mid-May to mid-August. It said its latest survey showed that international citizens have expressed "significant concerns about America's role in world affairs."
20:21 Harassment of any kind won't be tolerated: Maneka on Tanushree case
Days after Tanushree Dutta alleged that Nana Patekar harassed her on the sets of a film in 2008, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi came out in support of the actor, saying that "harassment of any kind will not be tolerated."
In an interview with Republic, Maneka Gandhi emphasised the need to start a campaign like #MeToo in India, "wherein whoever has ever been harassed should write to our campaign and we should investigate".
She added that the National Commission of Women is going to register and investigate every complaint, having already solved several thousand such cases.
In a recent TV interview, Dutta had claimed that Patekar misbehaved with her on the sets of Horn Ok Pleasss 10 years ago.
20:11 Amazon raises minimum wage for all US, UK employees
Amazon, which has faced political and economic pressure to raise pay for thousands of employees, is boosting its minimum wage for all US workers to $15 per hour starting next month.
The wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions.
Employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon now owns, will get the same pay hike.
Amazon's hourly operations and customer service employees, some who already make USD 15 per hour, will also see a wage increase, the Seattle company said.
Amazon, with more than 575,000 employees globally, took it a step further Tuesday, saying that it would become an advocate for better pay everywhere.
19:35 One can't use United Nations as political platform: Tharoor on Swaraj's speech
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday hit back at the BJP for criticising him for describing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's UN address as a "campaign" speech, saying one cannot hide behind the national flag and use the United Nations as a political platform.
Tharoor also said he felt a "bit rich" to be criticised by the BJP and claimed that Swaraj had mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi 10 times in her speech and spoke about India only five times.
Questioning whether Swaraj's address was a UN speech or BJP slogans, he said she devoted the first half of her speech mentioning Modi's vision for a "New India" and discussing programmes as the Swachh Bharat Mission.
"Bit rich to be criticised by the BJP for describing Sushma Swaraj's speech as a campaign speech. She mentioned Narendra Modi 10 times during her address and spoke about/on behalf of India only five times. If you use the UN as a political platform you can't hide behind the flag," Tharoor said on Twitter.
"Most of the first half of the Sushma Swaraj speech was devoted to plugging Narendra Modi's vision for "New India": Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat, Samarth Bharat, Surakshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat, Viksit Bharat, Urjawan Bharat, Shaktiman Bharat. Was this a UN speech or BJP slogans?" he asked.
The BJP Monday strongly reacted to Tharoor's reported criticism of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's UN speech and had said that the opposition party defied a convention of all political parties speaking in the same voice on India's stand abroad.
19:21 Sena comes out in support of Nana Patekar
With Tanushree Dutta's sexual harassment allegation against Nana Patekar, the #MeToo movement has now hit close to home. Her allegations have got the film industry divided while some including Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Renuka Shahane, Richa Chadha, Swara Bhaskar, Sonam Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Konkona Sen and Anurag Kashyap have supported Tanushree and urged people to not silence women, other biggies of Bollywood including Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan refused to answer the question.
Nana Patekar, who announced on Monday that he will hold a press conference and address the issue head-on, has now received support from Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut.
In a statement, Raut has said that he knows Nana well and his words should be heard. He has been quoted as saying, Nana Patekar is one of the biggest actors of Bollywood. We know Nana very well. I think Nana's words need to be listened. He has sent a legal notice to her also.
Tanushree Dutta has accused Nana Patekar of sexually harassing her on the sets of their 2008 film Horn Ok Pleassss. While Nana has denied the allegations, a few eyewitnesses have confirmed that the alleged event did take place on the film set.
18:57 BJP govt following divisive agenda, alleges Kanhaiya Kumar
All India Students' Federation leader Kanhaiya Kumar launched a blistering attack on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government on Tuesday, alleging that it was following a "divisive" agenda.
The former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president also alleged that a "corporate loot" was taking place in the country.
"The present government is a government of corporate loot. It is our primary responsibility to remove it. We are forming a united front for it," he said, without elaborating.
Kumar said no decision had been taken on his contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"Whenever this question is asked, I reply that this is not decided yet," he said at a "Meet the Press" event organised by the Hyderabad Union of Journalists.
Kumar claimed that the common people of Begusarai in Bihar wanted him to contest the parliamentary polls, but neither his party CPI nor its allies had announced him as a candidate, nor was there any direct talk with him on the issue.
He alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party government was following a "divisive" agenda.
Asked about the case against him, Kumar claimed that no chargesheet was filed even after more than two-and-a-half years.
The Delhi High Court recently set aside an order of the Jawaharlal Nehru University's appellate authority imposing a penalty on Kumar in connection with a 2016 incident, in which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised at an event.
Kumar claimed he was not involved in the event.
18:30 7 cops injured during farmers' protest on Delhi UP border: Police
Seven policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police, were injured on Tuesday during the protest by farmers on Delhi-UP border, Delhi Police said.
Police said a section of crowd suddenly turned violent as police tried to persuade the protesters, who were participating in the Bharatiya Kisan Union march, not to break the barricades.
Police said they used 20 tear gas shells and water cannons to manage the crowd, adding it was "minimum required force".
As many as 3,000 police personnel were deployed to ensure that the farmers are not able to enter Delhi.
The main demands of the agitating farmers include implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, removing ban on the use of tractors which are more than 10 years old, clearing out pending payments of sugarcane purchase, increased price of sugar supplied and minimum support prices.
18:17 Rs 1,997 crore spent on salaries and perks of MPs in 4 years
Rs 1,997 crore was spent towards salaries and perks of parliamentarians in the past four financial years, according to response to an RTI query.
While Rs 71.29 lakh was spent on an average for a member of Lok Sabha, Rs 44.33 lakh was spent on a Rajya Sabha member, the Lok Sabha secretariat said in response to the RTI application, filed by activist Chandra Shekhar Gaud.
Lok Sabha has 545 members (543 elected and 2 Nominated from the Anglo-Indian Community by the President). Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245 members.
The Lok Sabha MPs got more than Rs 1,554 crore as emoluments in the past four financial year commencing from 2014-15.
Each Lok Sabha member were paid average Rs 71,29,390 annually since fiscal 2014-15, it said.
Similarly, the members of Rajya Sabha got more than Rs 443 crore as emoluments in past four fiscals, it said.
A breakup of the total amounts reveals that each Rajya Sabha MP received Rs 44,33,682 annually in the past four fiscals.
Meanwhile, Jagdish Chhokar, founder member of the Association for Democratic Reform, an NGO, said the increasing burden on the government coffers in paying salaries and perks to MPs should be reviewed.
"There is no issue if the salary of MPs' is hiked 10 times but they must not get reimbursements for transport, house, vehicle, food, medical, air travel, telephone and other things from the state exchequer," he said.
17:57 Opposition can't oppose Ram temple, says Mohan Bhagwat
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said even opposition parties can not openly oppose a Ram temple in Ayodhya as the deity is revered by the country's majority.
Bhagwat said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party are committed to constructing a Ram temple in Ayodhya but certain things take time.
He said it's important who occupies the seat of power and a government doing a good job should remain in office.
Every government has its limitations and has to perform within those constraints. However, saints and seers are beyond such limitations and they should work for the uplift of religion, country and society, the RSS chief said.
"Even opposition parties cannot openly oppose a Ram temple in Ayodhya as they are aware the deity is revered by a majority of Indians. But certain things take time," Bhagwat said.
"Every government has its limitations but a government doing a good job should remain in power. It is important who occupies the seat of power," he said.
17:28 Akhilesh Yadav extends support to protesting farmers
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav Tuesday extended his party's support to the farmers protesting under the aegis of Bharatiya Kisan Union in support of various demands ranging from farm loan waiver to cut in fuel prices.
As thousands of farmers tried to enter the national capital in a massive protest march, the government Tuesday announced that a committee of chief ministers will look into their demands, even as the protesters stayed put saying they were not "satisfied" with the assurance.
Farmers marching towards Delhi under BKU's protest call were stopped at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, as they tried to run through the border, surmounting the barricades.
'The farmers have come out in support of their various demands... If we look at things, in the past over four years, almost 50,000 farmers have committed suicide, mostly in BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh," Akhilesh Yadav said.
"The BJP government had decided that a package will be prepared for clearing loan dues but it is still pending ... petrol, diesel prices are constantly being increased , demonetisation and GST have also hit farmers just like traders," he said.
The former chief minister said the government had promised farm loan waiver but several farmers are yet to benefit.
"It was said that loans of all the farmers will be waived but it is still pending for several farmers ... The new cane crop is getting ready, sugar mills have to start crushing but the payment of the past is pending and so the farmers have come out on the roads," Yadav said.
17:08 Ronaldo rape allegation: Las Vegas police reopen case
Police in Las Vegas have reopened a sexual assault investigation from 2009 at the request of a woman who has alleged she was raped by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kathryn Mayorga says she was attacked by the Portuguese footballer in a hotel room in the US city that year.
Juventus forward Ronaldo, 33, has dismissed the claim, first reported in Germany's Der Spiegel, as "fake news".
His representatives said he would take legal action against the magazine.
Der Spiegel said Ms Mayorga, 34, filed a report with Las Vegas police shortly after the alleged incident.
In 2010, she reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo involving a $375,000 payment for agreeing never to go public with the allegations.
Her lawyers are now seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement void.
Las Vegas police confirmed they had investigated a complaint in June 2009, but added they had no suspect in the case.
"At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description," a statement said.
"As of September 2018, the case has been reopened and our detectives are following up on information being provided," it added.
Ronaldo joined Italy's Juventus from Real Madrid for earlier this year.
16:44 Decision in Tanushree's case was inappropriate, but can't help now: CINTAA
Cine and TV Artists Association said on Tuesday it did not "address" Tanushree Dutta's sexual harassment allegation against Nana Patekar in 2008 but it extends support to the actor now.
Dutta had filed a complaint with CINTAA a decade ago after she felt uncomfortable shooting a song with Patekar for the film "Horn Ok Pleassss".
The actor has alleged the organisation did not pay heed to her complaint.
In a fresh statement, CINTAA said it "strongly condemns any act that outrages the modesty of any individual and any form of sexual harassment is unacceptable to us."
"After going through Ms Tanushree Dutta's complaint, which was filed with the then Executive Committee of CINTAA in March 2008, we feel that the decision taken in the Joint Dispute Settlement Committee of CINTAA & IFTPC (then known as AMPTPP) in July 2008 was not appropriate, as the chief grievance of sexual harassment wasn't even addressed."
The organisation said even though it was a different Executive Committee back then, CINTAA finds it "highly regrettable and no apologies can suffice, hence we must resolve today to never allow such lapses to occur again".
"CINTAA stands strongly for the dignity and self respect of its members. Sexual harassment is a serious criminal offence, unfortunately CINTAA's Constitution bars us from taking up any case which is more than three years old.
"Hence we appeal to the authorities to take cognisance of Ms Dutta's statements and conduct an impartial and speedy enquiry so that truth and justice may prevail. We also appeal to all our members to report any such incidents to us immediately. We are duty bound to give them our complete moral and legal support to ensure just and safe working conditions," the statement further read.
In a recent TV interview, Dutta claimed that Patekar had misbehaved with her on the sets of the 2008 film. During the interview, she also alleged that the actor had the tacit support of the film's makers.
16:20 Farmers don't accept govt assurance, continue their protest
Yudhvir Singh, Gen Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union, has said that the government has met four-five of their demands and as a result of that they will continue with their protest.
There was no consensus on farm loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations.
The rally by members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union took a violent turn with police resorting to firing water cannons and tear-gas shells to keep the angry farmers from crossing into Delhi.
Several farmers have been injured while the Haryana unit chief of the BKU is unconscious after a tear gas shell exploded close to his face.
15:49 Rajnath holds meeting to discuss farmers' demands
Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday held discussions with Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and a few others on how to resolve the farmers' issues and pacify them, officials said.
The development comes after farmers marching towards Delhi as part of the Bharatiya Kisan Union's protest call over demands ranging from farm loan waiver to cut in fuel prices, were stopped at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border Tuesday with police using water cannons to disperse them.
The home minister also spoke to chief of BKU Rakesh Tikait over phone and conveyed the government's keenness to address their demands, a home ministry official said.
The issues of immediate consideration of the government include lifting the National Green Tribunal's order to ban 10-year-old tractors, uniform and complete procurement of crops, uniformity in loan waiver in the country, equal electricity tariff in the country, a farmer-friendly insurance scheme and equal pension to both farmers and agricultural labourers, he said.
Those who attended the meeting include Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Uttar Pradesh Sugarcane Minister Suresh Rana, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Jain and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.
15:30 3 win Nobel for advances in laser physics
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics with one half to Arthur Ashkin for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems and the other half jointly to Grard Mourou and Donna Strickland for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.
Donna Strickland is the third female Nobel laureate in physics.
15:03 One killed, nine injured in blast in Kolkata suburbs
A seven-year-old boy was killed and nine people, including his mother, were injured in a low-intensity explosion in front of a multi-storey building in the Nagerbazar area in Kolkata's northern suburbs on Tuesday, police said.
"A child, who was severely injured in the blast, has died in hospital. A total of nine people are injured," Deputy Commissioner of Police, Barrackpore Commissionerate, Ananda Roy said.
As per initial investigation, ammonium nitrate was used in carrying out the low-intensity blast outside the building, which also houses the office of South Dum Dum Municipality chairman Panchu Roy.
"It was a socket bomb explosion. Forensic team and the bomb squad of CID are examining the spot. We have started further investigation," a police officer said.
The explosion was reported outside a fruit shop on the ground floor of the building in the congested Kazipara area under the jurisdiction of Dum Dum Police Station around 9 am, the officer said.
"Initially, we thought it was a gas cylinder blast. But it is not so. We have found a few iron nails but there is no smell of gunpowder," another senior police officer said.
Trinamool Congress leader Roy claimed that he was the target of the blast.
Roy, stopping short of naming any political party, said the forces, which are currently attacking the ruling TMC all over Bengal, are behind the attack.
14:37 Farmers cannot even come to Delhi to air grievances: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday accused the BJP of "brutally beating up" farmers at the Delhi border on International Day of Non-Violence and said that they cannot even air their grievances in the national capital.
Gandhi's remarks came after farmers marching towards Delhi as part of the Bharatiya Kisan Union's protest call over demands ranging from farm loan waiver to cut in fuel prices, were stopped at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border Tuesday with police using water cannons to disperse them.
"On International Day of Non-Violence, the BJP's two-year Gandhi Jayanti celebrations began with the brutal beating of farmers peacefully coming to Delhi. Now, the farmers cannot even air the grievances coming to the capital!" he tweeted in Hindi.
The city police had on Monday imposed prohibitory orders in east and northeast Delhi, anticipating law and order problems as thousands of BKU members were marching from Haridwar to reach the national capital.
14:30 Twitter India unveils 'Gandhi Emoji'
Twitter has unveiled a 'Gandhi Emoji' which users around the world can use in their tweets to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birthday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially launched the emoji of Mahatma Gandhi on Twitter, Twitter India said in a statement.
The emoji will be available till October 8, 2018, it added. Twitter said the new emoji -- featuring a caricature of Mahatma Gandhi -- can be used with hashtags like #GandhiJayanti, #MKGandhi, #BapuAt150, #MahatmaGandhi, #MyGandhigiri, #MahatmaAt150 and #NexusOfGood, among others.
"Twitter continues to celebrate all cultures with customised initiatives for key milestones and events across the world. These initiatives are conceptualised keeping in mind the sentiment and are a delightful way to reinforce a sense of unity and harmony among people in India and Indians around the world," it added. The new emoji is available on Twitter and Twitter Lite.
13:43 Melania Trump leaves for Africa in a first solo trip
US First Lady Melania Trump left Washington, and her husband's shadow for a four-country tour of Africa that will give the glamorous and at times enigmatic first lady a chance to carve her own diplomatic path.
The trip to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt, which sees Trump returning to Washington early October 7, will be her first big solo international trip.
She boarded her plane late Monday from Andrews Air Force base, wearing a camel trench coat, large sunglasses and leopard-print stilettos.
Unlike her popular predecessor Michelle Obama, former fashion model Melania has kept largely to the background as Donald Trump alternately wows and dismays in a presidency he has turned into the biggest show on earth.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Melania Trump's Africa tour will be a "diplomatic and humanitarian visit" focused on her #BeBest campaign for "children and their well-being."
12:55 Prez Kovind, PM Modi pay tributes to Gandhi, Shahstri on their birth anniversaries
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat on his 149th birth anniversary, urging the people to rededicate themselves to the values espoused by the leader and fulfil his dreams.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also paid homage to the father of the nation at his iconic memorial here amid the strains of 'bhajans'.
Kovind and Modi also greeted people on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and urged people to imbibe the values he stood for.
"Homage to Bapu on #GandhiJayanti. Let us rededicate ourselves to the values espoused by Mahatma Gandhi - peace, fraternity, harmony and inclusive national development. Gandhiji's message remains relevant for all and he continues to be our guiding light," the President tweeted.
Modi also took to Twitter to extol the virtues of Gandhi, who led the nation to freedom, riding a path of non-violence.
"The noble thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi have given strength to millions across the world. He was a stalwart who lived for others and to make our world a better place. Paid tributes to Bapu at Rajghat this morning. #Gandhi150," he said and shared pictures of Rajghat.
The birth anniversary of Gandhiji is a wonderful opportunity to come together and fulfill his dreams, the prime minister said.
The government has planned grand celebrations to mark 150th year of Gandhi's anniversary which would culminate on October 2, 2019.
JUST IN: Indonesia raises quake-tsunami death toll to 1,234
12:29 Kejriwal questions action after cops use tear gas on protesting farmers
After the Delhi Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse off the protesting farmers, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the farmers should not be dissuaded from pressing their demands.
"Delhi belongs to everyone. Farmers should be allowed to enter Delhi. Why are they not being allowed to enter Delhi? This is wrong. We are with the farmers and their demands," the Delhi CM said.
Ahead of the mega rally, authorities had put strict arrangements in place to contain the situation. Security had been stepped up at the UP-Delhi border. Anticipating law and order problems, heavy police force had been deployed.
The farmers, thousands in number, began their agitation on September 23 at Haridwar in Uttarakhand and were moving towards Delhi, many of them on foot, scores sitting atop tractors, buses and raising slogans.
Their demands include -- complete loan waiver, reduction in electricity tariff and pension to every farmer aged above 60.
12:05 Apple executive Vivek Tiwari died due to gunshot injury: Post-mortem report
The post-mortem report of Apple executive Vivek Tiwari, who was shot dead by policemen on September 29 in Lucknow, has revealed that he died due to a gunshot injury and not due to the accident.
The accused cop, in his defence, had claimed that Vivek died after his car collided with a pillar, a few metres away from the shooting spot, as he tried to escape.
The report also revealed the bullet was fired from the front at point-blank range.
Earlier, the woman colleague, who was in the car with Vivek at the time of the incident, had said that the cops shot at him point-blank through the car's windshield. The cops had, however, claimed that they shot at Vivek in self-defence as he was trying to reverse his car after trying to ram it into their bike.
Vivek Tiwari, an employee with multinational technology company Apple, was shot dead by policemen in Lucknow on Saturday. His killing has raised questions about the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government's ability to handle law and order situation in the state.
11:31 Farmers' march turns violent; cops use water cannons, tear gas
Violence has broken out as farmers marching towards Delhi.
The police are using water cannons and tear gas to push back the protesting farmers.
Thousands of farmers are marching towards Delhi over demands ranging from farm loan waiver to cut in fuel prices, blocking traffic movement on arterial roads leading to the national capital.
National Highways leading to the national capital were swamped with farmers who came in from places as far as Gonda, Basti and Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh as well as the sugarcane belt of western Uttar Pradesh.
Police picketed the border with Uttar Pradesh, imposing prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people and holding of any public meeting, usage of any amplifier, loudspeaker, and similar instruments.
The Kisan Kranti Yatra, which began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23, was joined by farmers from various parts of Uttar Pradesh.
"We are not seeking any alms from the government. We want our right," said Harmik Singh, a farmer who came from Meerut.
Their list of demands include unconditional loan waiver for farmers, clearing of dues by sugar mills, higher prices for crops, free electricity for farms and a cut in diesel prices.
11:03 Lokpal: Hazare calls of hunger strike after talks with Maha minister
Social activist Anna Hazare, who was scheduled to go on hunger-strike from today, postponed the agitation after talks with Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan.
He was to sit on hunger over demand for appointment of Lokpal and welfare measures for farmers.
He had criticised the NDA government, saying it had earlier assured it will appoint the Lokpal and implement the Lokpal Bill, passed by Parliament and signed by the then President in January 2014.
"But there is a lack of will in this government to curb corruption and hence, it is giving a lot of reasons and delaying the appointment of the Lokpal," Hazare said.
Hazare, who has been the face of the Lokpal movement, went on a 12-day hunger strike in 2011.
He later launched a fast, which enjoyed a huge popular support across the country. The UPA government later passed the Lokpal bill.
10:29 Refraining from drinking one of my only good traits: Trump
US President Donald Trump Monday jokingly said that abstaining from drinking was one of his only good traits, in an apparent reference to his Supreme Court nominee Justice Brett Kavanaugh who talked about his drinking habits while testifying before a Senate Committee on sexual assault allegations.
"I'm not a drinker. I can honestly say I never had a beer in my life, OK? It's one of my only good traits. I don't drink," Trump told reporters jokingly, resulting in a burst of laughter from some reporters at a White House news conference.
"Whenever they're looking for something, I'm going to say, 'I never had a glass of alcohol'. I've never had alcohol. ... Can you imagine if I had what a mess I'd be? I'd be the world's worst. But I never drank. I never drank," Trump said.
The President was responding to a question on the drinking habits of his Supreme Court nominee Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is facing allegations of sexual assault when he was in high school and college.
Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on sexual assault allegations, wherein he also talked about his drinking habits.
His critics have expressed concern that he lied about his drinking habits.
Trump, however, said he did not think so.
"So, if he did lie about his drinking, does that mean you'll pull his nomination?" Trump was asked.
"I don't think he did," answered the US President.
"But I can tell you, I watched that hearing and I watched a man saying that he did have difficulty as a young man with drink. The one question I didn't ask is how about the last 20 years? Have you had difficulty the last 20 years? Because nobody said anything bad about him in many, many years," Trump said.
"They go back to high school. You know, I graduated from high school, and while I did not drink, I saw a lot of people drinking. They'd drink beer and they'd go crazy and, you know, they were in high school. They were 16, 17 years old, and I saw a lot of it. Does that mean that they can't do something that they want to do with their life?" he asked.
"So it's a very tough thing. I really believe that he was very strong on the fact that he drank a lot and so I don't know where there'd be big discrepancy," Trump said. -- PTI
10:13 US plans to honour Mahatma with country's highest civilian honour
Half a dozen influential United States lawmakers, including four Indian Americans, have moved a resolution in the US House of Representatives to posthumously award the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi in recognition of his promotion of peace and non-violence.
Introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from New York on September 23, the resolution (H R 6916) is co-sponsored by four Indian American lawmakers in the House -- Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal.
Tulsi Gabbard, who is the current co-chair of the House Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans is also one the co-sponsors of the resolution, which has been sent to the Committee on Financial Services and Committee on House Administration for necessary action.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honour given by the US Congress and very few foreigners have been recipients of this award.
Prominent among those include Mother Teresa (1997), Nelson Mandela (1998), Pope John Paul II (2000), the Dalai Lama (2006), Aung San Suu Kyi (2008), Muhammad Yunus (2010) and Shimon Peres (2014).
The announcement in this regard was made by Maloney during the popular India Day Parade in New York in August.
"Mahatma Gandhi's historic Satyagraha movement of non-violent resistance inspired a nation and the world. His example energises us to devote ourselves to the service of others," she said.
"His legacy inspired civil rights movements around the globe, from Martin Luther King's movement for racial equality to Nelson Mandela's fight against apartheid. As a public servant, I am inspired everyday by his courage and example. Let us all follow Gandhi's directive to 'be the change you wish to see in the world'," Maloney said.
"As India and the world commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we applaud and greatly appreciate the initiative of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York for introducing legislation in the US Congress to honour the memory of the Mahatma, a person who inspired countless millions all over the world to take the path of truth, peace and non-violence," said Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India in New York. -- PTI
09:39 5.9-magnitude quake hits off Indonesian island of Sumba
A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Indonesia's Sumba island on Tuesday morning, the United States Geological Survey said.
The quake hit at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres around 40 kilometres off Sumba, an island of some 750,000 people.
Sumba lies some 1,600 kilometres to the south of Sulawesi island which was struck by a devastating quake and tsunami on Friday which killed more than 800 people.
09:32 Kailash Satyarthi to be chief guest at RSS' Vijayadashmi event
Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi will attend the Vijayadashmi event of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as chief guest at the Reshmibagh Maidan in Nagpur on October 18.
The event will take place a day before Dussehra, which falls on October 19 this year.
During the function, which is held every year to mark the formation of RSS on Vijayadashmi in 1925, chief of the organisation addresses the workers.
In the last year's event, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat talked about various issues including cow vigilantism and terror situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Last year, RSS had invited Sant Nirmal Das Maharaj as the chief guest. -- ANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat on his 149th birth anniversary.
09:13 52 killed in 1435 incidents of ceasefire violations in J-K till July
The first seven months of this year saw 52 deaths and 232 people getting injured by 1,435 ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, according to an RTI reply by the home ministry.
According to the data provided by the MHA in reply to an RTI application filed by activist Raman Sharma, till the end of July this year, 28 civilians, 12 armymen and 12 BSF personnel were killed.
During the same period, 140 civilians, 45 armymen and 47 BSF personnel were injured in 945 ceasefire violations along the LoC and 490 along the International Border, according to the data provided by MHA's Jammu and Kashmir Affairs Director, Sulekha.
Last year, in 971 ceasefire violations, including 860 along the LoC and 111 along the IB, 12 civilians, 15 armymen and 4 BSF personnel were killed, and 151 injured including 79 civilians, 58 armymen and 14 BSF personnel, it stated.
During 2016, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 439 ceasefire violations, in which 26 people including 13 civilians, 8 armymen and 5 BSF men were killed and 182, including 83 civilians, were injured.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the International Border between India and Pakistan is guarded by the the BSF while the Army guards the Line of Control. -- PTI
09:06 Renowned violinist Bala Bhaskar dead
Renowned violinist Bala Bhaskar, who was critically injured in a road accident last month, died early Tuesday, hospital sources said.
He was 40.
Bala Bhaskar's two-year-old daughter was killed in the September 25 accident, while his wife Lakshmi was seriously injured and was undergoing treatment.
The family was returning after temple worship at Thrissur when their car went out of control and hit a tree. The car was being driven by Bhaskar's friend, Arjun, who was also injured.
Bala Bhaskar had suffered multiple injuries and had undergone a surgery. He suffered a massive cardiac arrest around 1 am and passed away, the hospital sources said.
His only daughter Tejaswani Bala was born 16 years after marriage.
Bala Bhaskar had composed music for at least three films, brought out several music albums and had introduced fusion music to Keralites. -- PTI
President Ram Nath Kovind pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
08:45 Sonia, Rahul pay tribute to Mahatma at Rajghat
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat on his 149th birth anniversary.
The Congress chief was among the first of the senior leaders to pay homage to Gandhi at his iconic memorial this morning.
Both Rahul and Sonia left immediately as they are slated to travel to Wardha for the Congress Working Committee. -- PTI
08:36 Contaminated polio vaccine given to children in Maharashtra, T'gana, UP
Some vials of the oral polio vaccines contaminated with the type-2 polio virus were administered to children in Maharashtra and Telengana, besides Uttar Pradesh, health ministry officials confirmed.
The vials were manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company.
The ministry has issued advisories to the three states to ensure that polio surveillance teams trace the children who have been given the contaminated vaccines.
The surveillance teams have also been asked to step up the monitoring of the children and keep a close watch for any symptoms. It needs to be seen how the virus behaves, a health ministry official said.
The government had set up a committee to probe the contamination of some batches of the vaccine. The Type 2 polio virus has been eradicated worldwide.
"There is a well defined surveillance mechanism in the country to identify any symptoms of polio in the affected places and the government is in a position to address any eventuality.
"There is no need to panic. The polio surveillance team in the three states have been asked to step up the monitoring of all those children who have been given the vaccine and keep a close watch for any symptoms," the official said.
The health ministry, under its national immunisation programme, will also ensure that inactivated polio virus injections are being administered to every children in the places concerned of the three states so that no child is missed, the official said.
IPV is produced from wild-type poliovirus strains of each serotype that have been inactivated (killed) with formalin.
Till now, only one batch containing 50, 000 vials were found contaminated with the strains of the type-2 polio virus till now, a senior health ministry official said.
Two more batches of vials containing 1 lakh vials are suspected to be contaminated with the virus, the official said.
The incident came to light after surveillance reports from Uttar Pradesh showed signs of the virus in stool samples of some children.
The ministry has also ordered immediate withdrawal of the particular manufacturer's vaccine.
The managing director of Biomed Pvt Ltd, which was supplying the polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes, was arrested Thursday after the Central Drug Regulator filed an FIR in this case.
The Drugs Controller General of India has also asked the company to stop "manufacture, sale or distribution till further orders."
"The company has five directors. While the managing director has been arrested, we have asked the police to trace the rest directors as they also need to be questioned," a government official said.
Immediately, the oral polio vaccines were sent for testing, which confirmed that some of them were contaminated with the virus.
The destruction of traces of type-2 polio virus was ordered by the central drug regulator to all manufacturers in 2016.
India was officially declared "polio free" by the government in March 2014. -- PTI
08:14 Trump defends Kavanaugh, says has 'open mind' if something new comes up
United States President Donald Trump has strongly defended his Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is facing sexual assault allegations, and has ordered a time-bound FBI investigation in the case, saying that has an "open mind" if new information emerges.
The FBI has been asked to complete an investigation against Judge Kavanaugh, who is facing allegations of sexual assault from at least three women. The FBI, which has been asked to complete its investigations within a week, he said is free to talk and interview anyone it deems fit as part of its investigation.
But till then, he does not has a plan B, Trump told reporters in response to a question. "I don't want to talk about Plan B, because I hope that he gets approved. I hope that the report comes out like I really think it should. I think it will. I hope. I hope," he said.
"But look, I'm waiting just like you. Certainly, if they find something, I'm going to take that into consideration. Absolutely. I have a very open mind. The person that takes that position is going to be there for a long time. I have a very open mind. I just think he's an outstanding person," he said.
Trump said Kavanaugh has been treated horribly. "Even if you were going to bring up some of the subjects that were brought up, they didn't have to treat him so viciously and so violently as they've treated him," he said.
The FBI, he said, should do what they have to do to get to the answer. "At the same time, just so we all understand, this is our seventh investigation of a man who has really... ....you look at his life until this happened, what change he's gone through, what his family's gone through," he said.
"The trauma for a man that's never had any accusation, he's never had a bad statement about him. He was number one in his class at Yale, he was number one in his law school at Yale, and then what he's gone through over the last three weeks is incredible," he said.
Trump said he wants the FBI to do a very comprehensive investigation, whatever that means according to the senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority. "I want them to do that. I want it to be comprehensive. I actually think it's a good thing for Judge Kavanaugh. I think it's actually a good thing. Not a bad thing, I think it's a good thing," he said.
At the same time, he asserted that he wants this investigation to be over quickly.
"Now with that being said, I'd like it to go quickly. The reason I'd like it to go quickly, very simple. It's so simple. Because it's unfair to him at this point. What his wife is going through, what his beautiful children are going through is not describable. It's not describable. It's not fair," he said. -- PTI
00:07 Law and order situation has become a joke in UP: Yogi's minister
Lashing out at his own government over the alleged killing of a tech company executive by a policeman, an Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister claimed on Monday that the Yogi Adityanath government had "completely failed" on the law and order front.
Uttar Pradesh Minister of Backward Class Welfare and Divyangjan Empowerment, Om Prakash Rajbhar, also demanded a CBI probe in the killing of 38-year-old Vivek Tiwari, who was allegedly shot Saturday in Lucknow by a constable when he was going to drop his colleague Sana Khan.
Rajbhar, who leads the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a key BJP ally in UP, also alleged that the police was trying to "cover up" the matter.
"A common citizen was murdered by the police. In the name of encounter, the police takes money, and kills people. Crime is making its presence felt in the state, while law and order situation has become a joke. Yogi ji has neither been successful in reducing crime in the state nor he has been able to make the people feel that they are safe," Rajbhar alleged in a tweet.
The minister claimed the state government had "failed completely" on the law and order front.
"There should be a CBI probe in this, and stringent action must be initiated against the guilty. Police is trying to cover up the matter," the minister said referring to Vivek Tiwari's killing.
Another Uttar Pradesh minister Brijesh Pathak had Sunday hit out at the state police "for showing laxity" and "hushing up" the killing of the tech company executive in Lucknow's posh Gomti Nagar neighbourhood.
Apple executive Vivek Tiwari was shot dead early Saturday morning by a policeman when he allegedly refused to stop his car. -- PTI