Thu, 04 October 2018
Bihar: 2 cops arrested for running liquor trade from police station

Timeline  Refresh

23:35   Bihar: 2 cops arrested for running liquor trade from police station
Two cops have been arrested in Bihar's Gopalganj district for allegedly selling seized liquor, a violation of the alcohol ban in the state, a senior officer said on Thursday.

The two policemen were arrested on Wednesday following complaints by local residents that they saw a liquor-laden truck leave the Baikunthpur police station on the intervening night of September 30 and October 1, Gopalganj Superintendent of Police Rashid Zaman said.

SHO Laxminarayan Mahto and ASI Sudhir Kumar were interrogated and the truck driver, Kanhaiya Sharma, was also arrested from the neighbouring Saran district, the SP told PTI.

Mahto and Kumar have been placed under suspension.

Zaman said it is suspected that liquor seized during an operation was not shown in the records and later sold off by the accused in collusion with others.

All of it will become clear during the probe, he said.

Sale and consumption of alcohol was banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April 2016.  -- PTI
23:33   Attack on Church in Varanasi, Bishop writes to PM
The Uttar Pradesh Police has booked 50 to 60 persons for allegedly 'creating ruckus' at a church and breaking the lock of its entry gates, an official said on Thursday.

Following the incident at the Saint Thomas Church in Varanasi on Tuesday, Church of North India (CNI) Bishop Peter Baldev has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking action against those behind it.

"Nearly 50-60 unidentified men have been booked for creating ruckus at the church, breaking the lock of the entry gate, and also for threatening the members there," said B K Shukla, SHO, Dashashwamedh Police Station.

We are trying to ascertain the identity of the attackers and they will be nabbed soon, he added.

CNI Bishop Baldev wrote a letter urging Modi, who is also the Varanasi MP, to take strict action against those trying to create ruckus, vandalising properties, vitiating the peaceful atmosphere and spreading violence at religious places.

He said such anti-social elements should be identified and must be punished severely to stop repetition of such incidents.

Activists of a fringe outfit allegedly barged into the Saint Thomas Church and created ruckus accusing a pastor of trying to convert a Hindu into Christianity, an official said.

In another incident, activists of a fringe outfit allegedly beat up a man in Orderly Bazar accusing him of converting members of a Hindu family to Christianity, said police on Thursday.

A case has been lodged and the matter is being probed, a senior official said.  -- PTI
22:48   AIB pulling out videos featuring ex-member accused of sexual abuse
Comedy group AIB has said it has decided to de-list every video featuring a former member, who has been accused of sexual harassment by women on social media.

It said it has been following the allegations against Utsav Chakraborty on social media and these describe a 'pattern of behaviour that is unacceptable'.

'We are also aware that by extending safe working spaces and a collaborative environment to people like Utsav, we have contributed towards a toxic environment that can be scary and unsafe for women. And so we are sorry for any part we may have played in the tolerance or furthering of such behaviour,' AIB said in a statement posted on Twitter.

'If these allegations result in any investigation, the team at AIB would be willing to cooperate and extend full support to it. Also, pending the result of any such investigation, we are immediately delisting every single video on our channels that feature Utsav,' it said.

The group said Utsav never worked as a 'head writer' and is no longer a part of the organisation.

A woman came forward with a story about the person sending his unsolicited nude pictures, opening a floodgate of similar accusations against the writer-YouTuber.

Prominent stand-up comedians such as Varun Grover, Aditi Mittal and Kaneez Surka have called out the person.

Utsav has apologised for his behaviour in a series of tweets and said he has 'no excuse' for it.

'To be honest, from all accounts, I've been a piece of s**t. And I will try to do everything I can work past that. There was no excuse. I know inconsiderate and entitled. Even in this narrative, when this whole thing started, I kept looking at myself as the victim,' he wrote.

Mumbai Police took note of the incident and replied to the tweet by the woman, saying, 'We have followed you. Request you to inbox your number. We will look into this on priority.'  -- PTI
22:30   DUSU president is not TN university student, says varsity
A Tamil Nadu-based university has told the state government that Delhi University Students' Union president Ankit Baisoya,at the centre of a row over producing a fake certificate in the varsity's name for securing admission in Delhi University,was not its student.

A senior government official said the Vellore-based Thiruvalluvar University has written to the Tamil Nadu Higher Education Department that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad leader was neither enrolled in the varsity nor in any of its constituent or affiliated colleges.

"Yes, they have given in writing," he said when askedif the university has informed the Higher Education Department that the student leader had produced a fake certificate and that it was not from the university.

The communication reportedly said the Controller of Examinations has issued a letter stating the certificate was not genuine.

Earlier, the National Students' Union of India, had alleged Baisoya had produced fake certificate from the Thiruvalluvar University for getting admission to Delhi University, a charge dismissed by the ABVP.

Baisoya was recently elected president of the DUSU, but a row erupted over his degree certificates after NSUI released a letter, purportedly from the varsity, saying the certificate submitted by him was fake.  -- PTI
21:41   Cong open to talks with any anti-BJP party for pre-poll alliance: Pilot
The Congress is open to talks with any party willing to contribute to the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming elections, Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot said on Thursday.

Pilot spoke of the Congress' willingness to forge an anti-BJP alliance a day after the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati ruled out an alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly polls and decided to contest them all alone.

"Rajasthan has always been a two-party state and it's okay that some independents or a few candidates from some other parties win in every election but there is not much of space for a third party in the state at present," Pilot told PTI.

"I do not know what was the reason for Mayawati to come out with (such) a strong statement. We have open minds and are willing to talk to any anti-BJP party that wants to contribute to the BJP's defeat BJP on issues that are common. It is not about the Congress or a state but it is about the Constitution and democracy," he said.

Pilot said the Congress is open to talks with any anti-BJP party for a 'practical and respectable' pre-poll alliance.

In Rajasthan, the BSP had contested 199 out of total 200 seats in the 2008 assembly elections and had won 6 seats, registering 7.6 per cent vote share.

In the 2013 assembly elections, the BSP's vote share, however, dipped to 3.44 per cent with the party winning only 3 seats.  -- PTI
21:16   No early release for killers of Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo
The Delhi Sentence Review Board on Thursday rejected pleas for early release of convicts in the Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo and Tandoor murder cases, an official said.

The panel, headed by Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, reviewed the applications of Manu Sharma, the killer of Jessica Lal; Santosh Singh, convicted in the Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case; and Sushil Sharma, convicted in the infamous Tandoor murder case, and rejected them.

"The board has rejected early release applications of all the three convicts," the government official said.

The official also said that the board recommended release of 22 convicts on completion of their sentences and rejected 86 other cases.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Manu Sharma in police custody.
20:48   Putin in New Delhi, meets Modi before Friday summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon his arrival in New Delhi on Thursday evening.

'Welcome to India, President Putin. Looking forward to our deliberations, which will further enhance India-Russia friendship,' Modi tweeted with photos of him meeting Putin.

Earlier,  the Russian President was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

'Long standing and time-tested friendship. Upon his arrival in India for the #IndiaRussia Annual Bilateral Summit, @KremlinRussia_E Vladimir Putin was warmly received by EAM @SushmaSwaraj #DruzbaDosti,' Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

The 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit will take place in New Delhi on Friday.  -- With PTI inputs
20:16   Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Recovered skeleton of girl, CBI tells SC
The Central Bureau of Investigation informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it has recovered skeleton of a minor girl during the ongoing probe into the Muzzafarpur shelter home case in which several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused.

The agency told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta that it has interviewed the girls who were residing in the shelter home with assistance from experts of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), and needed some more time to talk to them again in view of the facts emerging in the probe.

CBI's counsel told the bench that experts from NIMHANS were dealing with the aspects pertaining to the trauma faced by these girls and the exercise has yielded 'good results' so far.

The bench observed that both the 'investigation and rehabilitation aspect should go side by side' in the case.

"We cannot look only at the investigation factor. We have to look at the rehabilitation factor also. It (rehabilitation) is as important as the investigation."

Advocate Aparna Bhat, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, told the bench that CBI's probe was going on and the agency was also recording statement of witnesses in the case.

The counsel appearing for Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) said that probe into the case was at a crucial stage and new facts have emerged in the matter.

"Various girls are suffering from trauma. They (CBI) are conducting the investigation but they (girls) require separate counselling from NIMHANS. They (girls) cannot be treated only as evidence," the counsel said.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Bihar government, told the bench that rehabilitation of these girls should continue as they have gone through lot of trauma.

The CBI's counsel also informed the bench that these girls have been treated for post-traumatic disorder and they have got full cooperation from the NIMHANS.

The bench asked the amicus to talk to experts from NIMHANS so that the rehabilitation and counselling of the girls could go on side by side.

On September 20, the court had termed as 'very disturbing' the facts emerging from CBI's probe into the case.

The amicus had told the court that NIMHANS was assisting CBI on psycho-social and rehabilitation issues of the victims and they may be permitted to complete the task by first week of October.

The court had said other agencies like TISS, should allow the CBI and NIMHANS for the time being to carry out their work.

Over 30 girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at a shelter home run by an NGO in Muzaffarpur and the issue was highlighted in an audit report submitted by TISS to the state's social welfare department.  -- PTI
Rupee vs Dollar.
Biggest fall in Sensex. 
19:24   Putin arrives in India for summit with Modi
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in New Delhi on Thursday on a two-day visit to hold the annual bilateral summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Putin, who is accompanied by a high-level delegation, was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit will take place in New Delhi on Friday during which Modi and Putin are expected to review bilateral defence cooperation in the wake of the US sanctions against Russian defence majors.

The two leaders are also likely to deliberate on key regional and global issues, including US sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil.

The focus during the visit will be on the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system agreement, with a top Kremlin aide saying on Tuesday that Russian President Putin will oversee the signing of the $5 billion deal.  -- PTI
19:17   Govt not biased towards Patekar, police will probe if plaint is filed: Minister
Maharashtra minister Deepak Kesarkar said on Thursday there will be a fair probe if actor Tanushree Dutta files a police complaint against Nana Patekar, following up on her allegations that he misbehaved with her during the shooting of a film in 2008.

Kesarkar, the minister of state for home (rural), also asserted that the government was not biased towards Patekar.

The Shiv Sena minister had said on Wednesday that Patekar is an 'illustrious personality' who had done a lot for the state, and asked why Dutta did not file a police complaint in the past 10 years.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Kesarkar said, "When an official complaint is lodged, police will be able to probe the case transparently so that justice is done to both the sides."

The state government was not prejudiced or biased towards anybody and all are equal before the law, he added.

"Yesterday, I had only said that Nana Patekar has done a lot of work in the state as a social worker. A formal complaint will ensure that nobody's name is maligned and justice is meted out to both," the minister said.

Dutta alleged recently that Patekar misbehaved with her on the set of the film Horn Ok Pleasss in 2008. She also alleged that he had the tacit support of the film's makers.  -- PTI
19:03   Oil price cut shows Modi govt's sensitivity to people's welfare: Shah
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said on Thursday that the reduction in petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2.50 a litre shows the Narendra Modi-led government's sensitivity towards people's welfare.

Soon after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the cut, Shah tweeted his response in which he also welcomed the decision.

At a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra expressed the hope that people will get a total relief of Rs 5 at the earliest as the Centre has asked states to effect an equal amount of tax cut in the oil prices.

He also took a swipe at the previous Congress-led government at the Centre, saying it had 'pawned' national resources by issuing oil bonds while the Modi government showed its sensitivity by reducing the prices.

The government has also expressed confidence it will fulfil its fiscal deficit targets, Patra noted.

The government Thursday announced a Rs 2.50 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices after it reduced excise duty by Rs 1.50 a litre and asked oil companies to absorb another Re 1.  -- PTI
Sensex top losers today.
BSE Sensex today.
18:11   White House confident of Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation
The White House, which has received the Federal Bureau of Investigation report on sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, on Thursday expressed confidence that the Supreme Court nominee would be confirmed by the Senate.

"The White House has received the Federal Bureau of Investigation's supplemental background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, and it is being transmitted to the Senate," White House Spokesman Raj Shah said on Thursday.

His remarks came hours after the FBI submitted to the White House the report of its investigations on sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct by three women when he was in high school and college.

However, President Donald Trump had directed the FBI to re-open a background investigation. The nomination of Kavanaugh has been confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now to be voted by the Senate.

The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has initiated the move and the procedural voting is likely to take place Friday.

"With Leader McConnell's cloture filing, Senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation," Indian-American Shah said.

This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents, Shah said.

"With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court," he said.

Senators are expected to view the FBI report on Kavanaugh on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal said that the White House after examining the FBI found no 'corroboration of the allegations of sexual misconduct' against Kavanaugh.  -- PTI
18:01   Disappointed with BJP, PM Modi-lookalike hopes to join Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's lookalike, Abhinandan Pathak, who has been his ardent follower, has now decided to campaign against the BJP. The Saharanpur native has campaigned for Modi and his party BJP on many occasions, including a door-to-door campaign during the Gorakhpur by-elections in March 2018.

"I am taken aback by seeing how the BJP is working in contrast to what Modi actually thinks and says. People have been asking me 'Acche din kb ayenge?'," he told ANI.

Pathak narrated the woes of being a look-a-like of the prime minister and stated that he has to bear the brunt of the people's wrath.

"I am being cursed and beaten. It's because of all these reasons that I have decided to campaign against the BJP and for the Congress, in the upcoming 2019 elections," he said.

He further said that he has already met Uttar Pradesh Congress President Raj Babbar. According to Pathak, Babbar has assured him of arranging a meeting with United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi to further the discussion.

"I have made up my mind that I will now work with Congress," said a miffed Pathak. However, he added that he is not unhappy with the prime minister and is only against the party's way of working.

"Prime Minister Modi has given India a better image across the globe. My grievance is with the party and not with the Prime Minister," he explained. "The party is just focused on putting across their 'Mann Ki Baat', but is not ready to listen to what the heart of the common man says," he concluded.
-- ANI
17:41   Sheena Bora Trial: Indrani wants to argue her case for bail
Some days later he got a call from this Indrani Mukerjea.

A woman called on his cell, identifying herself as Indrani Mukerjea and told him that "She was the sister of Sheena Bora. I told her that Rahul Mukerjea told me she was the mother of Sheena Bora. She said that wasn't the case and she was the sister."

"I then asked her about the whereabouts of Sheena Bora. She told me that she has gone somewhere and doesn't want to be contacted, I told her that she was employee of the organisation and she just can't leave like that. To which she replied that Sheena Bora has told her that she will be sending her resignation letter at the earliest."

A resignation letter arrived on May 2, 2012.

It was filed, with its envelope, and finally after three months, Colonel Mukherjee said, using an HR term which is now in vogue to benignly imply termination, Sheena was "separated as an employee from the office system."

Little did he know that the separation was far graver than that.

Sheena had been separated as a human being from life too.

Vaihayasi Pande Daniel reports from the Sheena Bora murder trial.
Read the gripping account here.
17:35   Sensex nosedives 806 pts on rising crude, rupee woes
The equity benchmark Sensex Thursday hit its lowest level in three months, crashing over 806 points to close below the 35,200-level as concerns over weakening rupee and rising crude oil prices spooked investors.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty cracked the 10,600-level by falling 259 points. The rupee plunged to an all-time low (intra-day) of 73.81 to the US dollar and global crude oil prices touched a four-year high of USD 86 a barrel, triggering worries for India on the macro-economic front.

The weakness in other Asian markets and a lower opening of the European shares also added to negative sentiments on the domestic bourses.

The 50-share NSE Nifty also cracked the 10,600-level by falling 259 points, or 2.39 per cent, to close at 10,599.25 after hitting a low of 10,547.25. -- PTI
17:24   Maha police files case against Tanushree for comments against MNS chief
A defamation case has been filed against Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta for her comments about Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, police said Thursday. The case was filed by the Kaij police in Maharashtra's Beed district on Wednesday evening after MNS district unit president Sumant Dhas lodged a complaint, alleging that Dutta had defamed his party chief, a police officer said.

"We have registered a non-cognisable offence against Dutta under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and are investigating the complaint. We have also asked the complainant to approach court," the officer said.

Dutta, 34, who has accused actor Nana Patekar of harassing her on the sets of a film in 2008, recently said Raj Thackeray wanted to succeed late Bal Thackeray as the Shiv Sena chief, but could not do so. She had also alleged that the MNS was involved in vandalising her vehicle when she opted out of the 2008 film, 'Horn Ok Pleassss'.

Dutta also alleged that she had been getting threats from the MNS, adding that two persons recently tried to barge into her home. The MNS youth wing, meanwhile, handed over a letter to the makers of the 'Bigg Boss' on Wednesday, following reports of Dutta participating in the ongoing season of the TV reality show, a party functionary told PTI.  The party workers threatened violence on the set in Lonavla if she was let in.

Maharashtra minister Deepak Kesarkar had backed Patekar on Wednesday, saying he was an "illustrious personality" who has done tremendous work for the state and questioned the veracity of Dutta's claims. -- PTI
The government of Chhattisgarh has also decided to reduce Rs 2.50 on both petrol and diesel in the state.

Thus petrol and diesel will be Rs 5 cheaper in Chhattisgarh, says Chief Minister Raman Singh.  -- ANI
16:48   Maha, Gujarat give further Rs 2.50 relief in petrol prices
The Maharashtra and Gujarat governments on Thursday announced reduction in prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2.50 per litre, which will give consumers in the two states a relief to the tune of Rs 5 a litre.

The announcement was made by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani soon after the central government announced cut in the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2.50 per litre.

'Maharashtra government also decided to give additional relief of Rs 2.50 per litre on petrol to give a total benefit of Rs 5 per litre in the state of Maharashtra,' Fadnavis tweeted.

'Finance Minister Sh @arunjaitley Ji has announced Rs.2.5 cuts in petrol & diesel prices. Reciprocating positively to FMs announcement, the Govt Of Gujarat has also decided to reduce Rs.2.50 on both petrol & diesel. Thus petrol & diesel wd be Rs. 5 cheaper in the State of Gujarat (sic),' Rupani tweeted.

Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Fadnavis said the reduction in fuel prices will give a huge relief to citizens.

Maharashtra's Minister of State for Finance Deepak Kesarkar said historically, Maharashtra has always been reducing prices of fuel in accordance with the Centre.

Today's petrol price in Ahmedabad was Rs 83.21 per litre while that of diesel, it was 81.02 per litre.

Earlier, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in Delhi a cut in petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre, factoring in excise duty reduction of Rs 1.50 per litre.

He asked state governments to follow suit by cutting a sales tax or VAT by a similar amount.  -- PTI
16:13   No relief for jailed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, SC dismisses plea filed by wife
The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition filed by the wife of arrested former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt challenging his arrest in a 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest an advocate.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said the petition can be moved before the Gujarat high court.
The petition had also alleged that Bhatt was not being allowed to sign any document in custody to enable him approach the apex court.
Bhatt and seven others, including some former policemen attached with the Banaskantha Police, were initially detained for questioning in the case. Bhatt was the Banaskantha district superintendent of police in 1996.
As per the police, the Banaskantha Police under Bhatt had arrested one Sumersingh Rajpurohit, an advocate, in 1996 on charges of possessing around one kg of drugs.
At that time, the Banaskantha Police had claimed that drugs were found in a hotel room occupied by Rajpurohit in the district's Palanpur town.
However, a probe by the Rajasthan Police had concluded that Rajpurohit was allegedly falsely implicated by the Banaskantha Police to compel him to transfer a disputed property at Pali in Rajasthan. It had also claimed to have found that Rajpurohit was allegedly abducted by the Banaskantha Police from his residence at Pali in Rajasthan.
Following the Rajasthan Police's investigation, former police inspector of Banaskantha I B Vyas had moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a thorough inquiry into the matter.
In June this year, the high court had handed over the probe in the case to the CID while hearing the petition and asked it to complete the probe in three months.
Bhatt, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, was suspended in 2011 on charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles and later sacked in August, 2015.
Bhatt's wife Shweta has unsuccessfully contested the assembly election as a Congress party candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad in 2012. -- PTI  
Markets slide further after fuel cut. Sensex tanks 806.47 points to close at 35,169.16; Nifty slumps 259 points to 10,599.25
15:45   Govt cuts petrol, diesel prices by Rs 2.50
A much-needed and much-awaited relief to consumers as the government today announced a reduction in excise duty on fuel.

Excise duty to be reduced by Rs.1.50 and oil marketing companies will absorb 1 rupee. So, a total of Rs 2.50 will be reduced on both diesel and petrol, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, announced today.

"We are writing to the state governments that as the central government is cutting Rs 2.50 on both petrol and diesel, they do the same.

"Rs 10,500 Crore will be the impact of excise duty cut this year. Several macroeconomic data is indicating stable measures. The first quarterly results have shown an 8.2% growth. Inflation is still moderate less than 4%," Jailtey said.

He said the relief will not impact fiscal defict.  

The finance minister has also urged the state governments to reduce VAT or value added tax on petrol and diesel, to bring further relief to customers.
15:10   No bail for journalist who made remarks against Konark Temple
The Supreme Court has denied relief from arrest to journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra who is facing charges over his alleged objectionable remarks against Odisha's popular Konark Sun Temple.

The three judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranajn Gogoi, said, "Your comments incite religious feelings. How are you entitled for bail?"

Iyer-Mitra had been arrested last month in New Delhi by a team of Odisha Police. Mitra was initially detained from his home in New Delhi's Nizamuddin area. He was later placed under arrest.

The arrest was over alleged derogatory comments that Iyer-Mitra made about Odisha MLAs, the Konark temple and Lord Jagannath.

A couple of hours after his arrest, Iyer-Mitra was granted bail by a local court. However, the court directed Iyer-Mitra to head to Odisha and join an investigation that is being carried by the police in a case registered over his comments.

The development in the capital came around the same time when a privilege motion was moved against Iyer-Mitra in the Odisha Assembly.

Image: Journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra. Courtesy: Twitter
14:55   PIL in HC for water, sanitation facilities to traffic cops during duty hours
The Delhi High Court has sought responses from the Centre and the AAP government on a PIL seeking that drinking water, sanitation and healthcare facilities be made available to traffic police officers on their sites in view of "extreme weather" and pollution.

Apart from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Aam Aadmi Party government, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao also issued notice to Delhi Traffic Police and the Central Pollution Control Board, seeking their stand on the issue.

The central government's standing counsel Ravi Prakash and advocate Farman Ali, appearing for MHA accepted the notice and said that a response would be filed before the next date of hearing on January 23, 2019.

The NGO has alleged that queries under the Right to Information law have revealed that neither the MHA nor the Delhi government has any such scheme to provide health benefits, water or sanitation to Delhi Police officers. -- PTI
14:28   Ghar wapsi
Assam Police hands over the 7 Rohingyas to Myanmar authorities after deportation formalities were completed. These seven men had been in an Indian jail since 2012 for illegally entering the country.
14:24   ICICI Bank shares surge 6% as Chanda Kochhar quits
Shares of ICICI Bank surged nearly 6 per cent Thursday after its Managing Director Chanda Kochhar resigned from the bank with immediate effect. Following the announcement, the stock soared 5.69 per cent to Rs 320.90 on BSE. On NSE, shares of the company jumped 5.77 per cent to Rs 321.25.

The stock was the top gainer among the blue chips on both the key indices during the afternoon trade. The board of the bank has accepted the request of Kochhar to seek early retirement, according to a regulatory filing. -- PTI
To give you a background of the possible reasons behind her resignation, read this report: ICICI Bank orders probe into allegations against Chanda Kochhar
14:09   ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar resigns
ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar has quit the bank today with immediate effect. Sandeep Bakhshi will replace her.

In a statement to the bourses, the Board of Directors of ICICI Bank Limited, said it had accepted the request of Chanda Kochhar to seek early retirement from the bank at the earliest. The Board accepted this request with immediate effect.

The statement said that enquiry instituted by the Board will remain unaffected by this and certain benefits will be subject to the outcome of the enquiry.

Kochhar will also relinquish office from the Board of Directors of the Bank's subsidiaries

Her successor Sandeep Bakshi's appointment will be for a period of five years until October 3, 2023, subject to regulatory and other approvals. The other terms and conditions of his appointment, such as remuneration, would remain unchanged. 
14:04   Girl, her mother allegedly raped in Haryana; 7 cops among 18 booked
A 16-year-old girl has alleged that she and her mother were raped by an assistant sub-inspector rank police official in a village in Kaithal, Haryana, last month following which police booked 18 people, including seven policemen in the case.

The victim told senior officials the main accused who was a ASI rank police official raped them at their house here last month, while other accused, including a sarpanch and former sarpanch of the village, stood outside and supported him, a senior police official said.

The case was registered Wednesday against the 18 people on the basis of the girl's complaint.

Among the policemen who were booked was a head constable and a constable rank official. Besides the rape charge, the case was registered under IPC sections pertaining to punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful confinement, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Kaithal Superintendent of Police Aastha Modi said. -- PTI
13:48   Watch out for Table Manners
Yippee! One of our favourite writers, Mumbai-born and raised Susmita Bhattacharya released her new book, Table Manners (Dahlia Books, UK), at the P&G Wells last Friday in Winchester, England, where she now lives with her husband Syamantak and daughters Rohini and Mihika.

Susmita's first novel The Normal State of Mind was published in 2015 after her grim battle with cancer. You can read more about that here.

Writer Mahesh Rao hailed Table Manners -- a book of short stories -- as 'A winning collection. These stories are delicately shaped around sharp and tender moments rendered in rich, vivid prose.'

We can't wait for an Indian publisher to pick up Table Manners and  publish it in India.

Susmita's is an interesting voice and deserves to be read.

Image: Author Susmita Bhattacharya.
13:43   Why a Mt Everest mountaineer is rafting down the Ganga
A group of about 40 enthusiasts who are embarking on a rafting expedition to raise awareness on the cleaning the River Ganga, called on PM Modi, today. The group includes eight mountaineers and is led by Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The month-long rafting expedition' Mission Gange', will see the group travel through the river from Haridwar to Patna, with halts at Bijnor, Narora, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Buxar. At each of these nine cities, the group will raise awareness about keeping the Ganga clean.

Meanwhile, here's what the govt has done or rather not done on its promise of cleaning the Ganga.  Do read
13:29   Uddhav to visit Ayodhya after Dussehra: Raut
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will visit Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh after Dussehra, senior party leader Sanjay Raut Thursday said and criticised senior ally BJP over the Ram temple issue.

Thackeray will announce the date of his visit during the party's annual Dussehra rally to be held in Mumbai on October 19, the Rajya Sabha MP told PTI.

"The Sena has always championed the cause of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The BJP, despite being in power for four years, has not yet fulfilled its commitment of building a grand Ram temple there," he said.

Thackeray met Ram Janmabhoomi trust chief Janmejay Sharanji Maharaj at the party's headquarters Sena Bhawan here Wednesday evening, party sources said.

Sharanji Maharaj invited Thackeray to visit Ayodhya and told him that the trust needed the Sena's assistance in the construction of Ram temple, they said.

Senior Sena leader Arvind Sawant pointed out that before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the ruling NDA had given three assurances to people -- to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and to solve the Kashmir issue. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution accords special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. "We are not doing something which we haven't spoken of earlier. When nobody took responsibility of the Babri Masjid demolition, (Sena founder) Balasaheb did so. Now four-and-a-half years have passed (since NDA came to power) but the construction of Ram temple has still not begun and the issue is pending in court," Sawant said.  -- PTI
13:08   Sensex plummets over 800 points on sinking rupee
The BSE benchmark Sensex plummeted 705 points in the afternoon session at around 1 pm Thursday as the rupee sank to another low amid boiling crude prices, weak global cues. The rupee plunged to a new low of 73.81 against the dollar, while the international benchmark Brent crude breached the US 86 per barrel level, nearing its four-year high.

The BSE 30-share barometer pared some losses and was trading at 616.15 points, or 1.71 per cent, lower at 35,359.48 at 1245 hrs. The gauge had lost nearly 550 points in the previous session Wednesday.

The NSE Nifty index too fell 213.15 points, or 1.96 per cent, to 10,645.10. Volatility index India VIX also surged 6 per cent. All sectoral indices were trading in the red, with IT, auto, pharma, banking and realty stocks witnessing most losses.

Top laggards include Reliance Industries, Hero MotoCorp, TCS, IndusInd Bank, Adani Ports, HDFC Bank, Infosys, HUL, Asian Paints, HDFC and Bajaj Auto, falling up to 6 per cent.

While, Yes Bank was the top gainer, rising up to 2.18 per cent. According to analysts, the equity benchmark indices have fallen nearly 10 per cent from peak levels attained in August, led by weak domestic sentiments, global uncertainties, depreciating rupee and strengthening crude oil prices.

With rupee and crude oil showing no signs of stability, weakness is likely to continue in the coming sessions, they said. --  PTI
12:38   Meet the first Kashmiri Pandit beauty queen
Deepshikha Sharma, 23, 5"11', Miss India Multinational 2018, is a role model for young women in Jammu and Kashmir. An engineer by training, Deepshikha pursued her modelling dreams despite not receiving support from her family initially.

An IT professional and part-time fashion blogger, Deepshikha was also one of the fbb Miss India finalists from Jammu and Kashmir.

As she embarks on her next chapter, she talks to Anita Aikara/ about losing 20 kilos in a month-and-a-half, staying strong despite resistance from her family and explains why she wants to win the upcoming Miss Multinational title. Read the interview here.
12:35   Heavy rain alert for Puducherry, TN over three days
The Met department has forecast widespread, moderate rain with some isolated incidents of heavy downpour in the next three days in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea between October 6 and 8 over the South Kerala coast, Lakshadweep area, Comorin area, Southeast Arabian sea and Central Arabian sea.

Heavy rains lashed Puducherry and its outskirts affecting normal life Thursday morning. Most educational institutions in the union territory remained closed in view of the intermittent rains which started Wednesday night, officials said. Rainfall of 96.4 mm was registered during the last 24 hours ending 8.30 am Thursday.

Waterlogging was reported in some residential areas on the outskirts of the town. Traffic came to a standstill at some important junctions, officials added.

An emergency meeting of the Revenue and Disaster Management Department was chaired by the district Collector to review the rain situation, official sources told PTI.

Image: Residents carry their children as they wade through a flooded street in Chennai in the torrential rains of 2015. Over 400 people died in floods.
12:30   Tanushree's allegations personal vendetta: Vivek Agnihotri's lawyer
Vivek Agnihotri denied allegations of "misbehaviour and/or harassment" levelled by actor Tanushree Dutta Thursday, saying the claims "have been borne with an intent to attract publicity and wreak personal vendetta" against the filmmaker.

Agnihotri's lawyer Nidhish Mehrotra said the team has sued Dutta on the charge of defamation.

"The allegations levelled against my client Mr Vivek Agnihotri by Ms Tanushree Dutta for misbehaviour and/or harassment are absolutely false, frivolous and vexatious. These allegations are deliberate and have been borne with an intent to attract publicity and wreak personal vendetta against my client with mala-fide intentions.

"On the instruction of my client, we have served a legal notice to initiate defamation action against her," Dutta also issued a statement saying she was slapped with two legal notices - one from Agnihotri and another from Nana Patekar.

In a recent TV interview, Dutta alleged Patekar misbehaved with her when the two were shooting a special song for "Horn Ok Pleassss" 10 years ago, a claim she reiterated.

Following the resurgence of the controversy, in an interview to a leading daily, she accused Agnihotri of behaving inappropriately with her during the making of 2005 film "Chocolate", which he directed.

The film also starred Irrfan Khan, Arshad Warsi, Suniel Shetty and Emraan Hashmi. The statement by Agnihotri's lawyer further said all the news agencies that have engaged in unethical and immoral conduct to promote sensational journalism without any diligence or proper verification and with the intent of defaming his client. -- PTI
Govt unveils Digi Yatra initiative; passengers can soon use facial recognition biometric to enter airports: Suresh Prabhu
12:14   Indian envoy's Pak event cancelled at last minute without reason
Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria was to attend an event organised by Civil Services Academy in Pakistan. But, according to sources, the event was cancelled at the last minute.Sources added that no specific reason was given for the cancellation of the annual event.The Civil Services Academy is responsible for the training of fresh entrants to the Pakistan Administrative Service and was originally called Pakistan Administrative Services Academy.  -- ANI
11:57   Rupee broken, tweets Rahul
Rahul Gandhi @RahulGandhi "#Breaking: Rupee slips to 73.77. It's not breaking - it's Broken. #Rupee."

The Congress president's tweet comes after the rupee collapsed to a fresh low of 73.77 against the US dollar Thursday, as global oil prices continued to rise, deepening concerns about the current account deficit and capital outflows. Consistent dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, following higher crude oil prices, kept the rupee under pressure.
11:37   Chuck the apple, a hug a day keeps the doctor away
Receiving hugs may buffer against damaging effects of interpersonal conflict -- an emotional experience where one feels held back from achieving their goals due to another person's interference, scientists say.

Individuals who engage more frequently in interpersonal touch enjoy better physical and psychological health and improved relationships.

Theorists have proposed that interpersonal touch benefits well-being by helping to buffer against the deleterious consequences of psychological stress, and touch might be a particularly effective buffer of interpersonal conflict.

However, the generalisability of past research on this topic is limited because studies have largely focused on the role of touch in romantic relationships.

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University in the US focussed on hugs -- a relatively common support behaviour that individuals engage in with a wide range of social partners. The researchers interviewed 404 adult men and women every night for 14 consecutive days about their conflicts, hug receipt, and positive and negative moods. -- PTI

Representational image.
11:33   Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr. hospitalised with breathing problems
Three-time Olympic gold medal winning hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr. has been admitted to a hospital in Chandigarh after he complained of difficulty in breathing. The legendary centre-forward, who is 94, is being treated at the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit of the PGI Hospital.

A doctor attending to Singh told PTI on Thursday that an endotracheal tube has been inserted into his trachea. "The purpose of endotracheal intubation is to permit air to pass freely to and fro from the lungs in order to ventilate the lungs," the doctor said. His condition has shown mild improvement since Wednesday when he was admitted to the hospital. The doctors are closely monitoring the iconic player and he will continue to remain in the hospital for the time being.

In 2012, Singh became the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across the modern Olympic history. His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men's hockey final of the Olympics still remains unbeaten.

He had scored five goals in India's 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957 and was also the manager of India's World Cup-winning team in 1975.
11:22   Mukesh Ambani emerges richest Indian for 11th consecutive year: Forbes
No surprises here. Reliance Industries' Chairman Mukesh Ambani has emerged as the richest Indian for the 11th consecutive year with a net worth of USD 47.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Ambani is also the year's biggest gainer, adding USD 9.3 billion to his wealth amid the continuing success of his Reliance Jio broadband telco service.

As per the 'Forbes India Rich List 2018', Wipro Chairman Azim Premji has retained the second spot, adding USD 2 billion to his wealth at USD 21 billion; while ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal moved a place ahead to the third slot with a net worth of USD 18.3 billion, increasing his wealth by USD 1.8 billion. Mittal is followed by the Hinduja brothers at with a net worth of USD 18 billion and Pallonji Mistry with USD 15.7 billion.

Other business magnates making the top 10 list are Shiv Nadar (USD 14.6 billion), Godrej family (USD 14 billion), Dilip Shanghvi (USD 12.6 billion), Kumar Birla (USD 12.5 billion) and Gautam Adani (USD 11.9 billion).

"In a challenging year, which saw the rupee taking a tumble, the country's 100 richest collectively managed to hold their own. Moreover, new billionaires continue to be minted, which indicates that India's entrepreneurial energy is upbeat as ever," said Naazneen Karmali, India Editor of Forbes Asia.

Biotechnology pioneer Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has emerged as the biggest percentage gainer of the year. One of only four women on the list, her net worth rose 66.7 per cent to USD 3.6 billion. In terms of net worth, she stood at 39th spot. -- PTI
11:19   Rohingya immigrants will be handed over to Myanmar at Manipur
Update on the deportation of the seven Rohingyas: An application was moved Wednesday seeking to restrain the Centre from deporting to Myanmar the seven Rohingyas lodged in a detention centre at Silchar in Assam.

The Rohingya immigrants will be handed over to the Myanmar authorities in Moreh border post in Manipur on Thursday, a Home Ministry official had said Wednesday.

The interim plea, seeking urgent measures to stop the proposed deportation of seven Rohingyas, was filed in a pending PIL. The PIL was filed earlier by two Rohingya immigrants -- Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir -- challenging the Centre's decision to deport over 40,000 refugees who came to India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination and violence against the community. -- PTI
11:06   SC allows deportation of seven Rohingyas from Assam to Myanmar
The Supreme Court Thursday allowed the deportation of seven Rohingyas, who have illegally crossed the border to India via Assam, to their country of origin Myanmar. It said the seven Rohingyas were found by the competent court as illegal immigrants and Myanmar had accepted them as its citizens. "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken," the SC said on the impending deportation.

The Centre had told the apex court earlier that the seven Rohingyas were convicted under the Foreigners Act and Myanmar has issued a certificate of identity to seven Rohingyas along with a one month visa to facilitate deportation.

Image: File pic of Rohingyas in India.
10:38   Sensex tanks over 500 pts on weak global cues, sinking rupee
The BSE benchmark Sensex cracked over 500 points in early session Thursday as rupee hit another low amid weak global cues and fears of widening current account of deficit.
The international benchmark Brent crude breached the US 86 per barrel level, nearing its four-year high.
The BSE 30-share barometer tumbled 527.94 points, or 1.39 per cent, to 35,447.69 in early trade with most of the sectoral indices trading in the negative zone.
The laggards include Reliance Industries, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Bharti Airtel, HDFC, Infosys, Coal India, SBI, HDFC Bank, M&M, IndusInd Bank, Adani Ports, Axis Bank, NTPC, and PowerGrid, falling up to 4.75 per cent.
The gauge had lost nearly 550 points in the previous session Wednesday.
The NSE Nifty index too fell 164.60 points, or 1.53 per cent, to 10,693.65.
Brokers said weakness was seen in most Asian markets as high US yield and good economic data led to fear that investors would move to the US, dampened trading sentiments here.
The rupee's plunge to a new record low of 73.77 against the dollar by falling 44 paise in early trade, too, weighed on investor mood.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will hold an inter-ministerial meeting later in the day to discuss trade deficit and its impact on rupee as well as ways to boost exports, an official told PTI.  
Representatives from the department of economic affairs, coal ministry, steel ministry, oil ministry and department of pharmaceuticals are expected to attend the meeting.
Foreign portfolio investors bought shares worth a net of Rs 1,550 crore, while domestic institutional investors made purchases to the tune of Rs 1,402 crore Wednesday.
10:26   Tanushree Dutta gets legal notices from Nana Patekar, Vivek Agnihotri
Actor Tanushree Dutta says she was slapped with two legal notices on Thursday, from veteran actor Nana Patekar and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, respectively.
In a recent TV interview, Dutta alleged Patekar misbehaved with her when the two were shooting a special song for "Horn Ok Pleassss" 10 years ago, a claim she reiterated.
Following the resurgence of the controversy, she also accused Agnihotri of behaving inappropriately with her during the making of 2005 film "Chocolate".
"I have been slapped with two legal notices today. One from Nana Patekar and another from Vivek Agnihotri. 
"This is the price you pay for speaking out against harassment, humiliation and injustice in India. Both Nana's and Vivek Agnihotri's teams are on a smear campaign against me by constructing outright lies and misinformation on social media platforms and other public platforms," Dutta said in a statement issued by her PR team, Shimmer Entertainment.
The actor, a former Miss India-Universe, claimed the supporters of Patekar and Agnihori are "weaving damning allegations" against her.
She alleged threat to her life, saying while the police personnel deployed at her house were on a lunch break, "two unnamed suspicious individuals tried getting into our home uninvited but were stopped just in time".
"Violent threats are being issued against me by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party," she claimed.
On the controversy, which is being touted India's #MeToo moment, the actor said the age-old apathetic treatment of the survivors has kept the movement away from India.
Dutta, who is now based in the US, said she stands to lose this new life too if she allowed herself "to get embroiled in the court system of India".
After the allegations resurfaced against Patekar last week, the veteran actor laughed off her claim, asking what he could do about it. -- PTI
09:58   Rupee hits all-time low of 73.77against US dollar
The rupee collapsed to a fresh low of 73.77 against the US dollartoday, as global oil prices continued to rise, deepening concerns about the current account deficit and capital outflows.
Consistent dollar demand from importers, mainly oil refiners, following higher crude oil prices, kept the rupee under pressure.
Meanwhile, state-owned oil marketing companies have been allowed to raise USD 10 billion from overseas market to meet their working capital needs.
At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened lower and slipped further to a fresh low of 73.77 a dollar against 73.34, a fall of 43 paise.
The domestic currency closed at a record low of 73.34, down by 43 paise or 0.59 per cent on Wednesday.
The international benchmark Brent crude breached the US 86 per barrel level, near its four-year high.
The benchmark Sensex plunged by 527.94 points, or 1.39 per cent, to 35,447.69 in morning deals. -- PTI  
09:47   Ahead of Putin's India visit, US warns allies of sanctions
The United States on Wednesday urged its allies not to enter into transactions with Russia and warned that it would trigger American sanctions, a day after it was reported that India was planning to purchase multi-billion S-400 missile defense system from Moscow.
Late last month, the Trump administration imposed sanctions under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA, which was signed into law last August, on China for purchasing fighter jets and missile defense system from Russia.
The CAATSA law tries to push back against Russia's malign activity around the world.
"We urge all of our allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that would trigger sanctions under CAATSA," a State Department Spokesperson said when asked about India's plan to purchase multi-billion S-400 missile defense system from Russia.
"The Administration has indicated that a focus area for the implementation of CAATSA Section 231 is new or qualitative upgrades in capability including the S-400 air and missile defense system," the spokesperson said.
According to a media report, India and Russia will sign a deal for the multi-billion-dollar S-400 surface-to-air missile system this week.
The signing of the deal for Moscow's most advanced air defence system will be overseen by Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is visiting New Delhi on October 4-5 for the annual India-Russia summit, the report said quoting a top Kremlin official said.
"The President is trying to develop a relationship and change that, but we've not been successful, at least to date," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NBC news in an interview.
In September, a senior administration official told reporters that purchase of major military system like multi-billion S-400 missile defense system would be considered as a "significant transaction and thus has a potential" for CAATSA sanctions.
The official emphasized that the ultimate target of these sanctions was Russia.
The CAATSA sanctions in this context are not intended to undermine the defence capabilities of any particular country.
"They are instead aimed at imposing costs upon Russia in response to its malign activities," the official had said. -- PTI
09:37   US snubs Pak, rejects request to facilitate talks with India
Islamabad is seeking an American role in facilitating talks between India and Pakistan because the two South Asian neighbours are not engaging bilaterally, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said, warning that absence of such a facilitation could lead to escalation of tension.
But the latest Pakistani request in this regard has again been rejected by the US, the top Pakistani diplomat told a Washington audience on Wednesday, a day after he had meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, during which he raised the issue only to be pushed back by the Trump administration.
"When we asked the US, to play facilitating role...Why do we ask? Simply because we are not engaging bilaterally. And that bilateral disengagement isa distraction. We want to focus, we want to move on the western side of the border, which we are not being able to because we have to watch our back from eastern side (of the border with India). That is not a healthy situation to be in," Qureshi said in response to a question at the US Institute of Peace, a US Congress-funded top American think-tank.  
"Now can you (United States) facilitate? The answer from them is no. They wanted bilaterally. But there is no bilateral movement," Qureshi said while warning that this could lead to escalation of tension between the two South Asian countries.
"If that lack of facilitation leads to escalation and some of the statements that have come out of late have not been very helpful," the Pakistani foreign minister said in an apparent reference to the remarks by Indian leaders. "The so-called surgical strikes and stuff like that doesn't make sense. It does not, that's politics.. there are elections around the corner," he said in response to a question.
The new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Pakistan, he claimed, is not shy of engaging. Referring to the cancelling of his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New York, he alleged that India backed off.

However, he quickly skipped India's reasons for this -- glorification of terrorists by issuing postal stamps and brutal killing of India security personnel.
"If the Indians have a better option, share it with us. If disengagement, if not talking to each other will resolve and stabilise the region, fine. If that's their analysis fine,Qureshi said.
Qureshi who left for Pakistan after his meetings with Trump administration officials said it is unfortunate that the two countries are not engaging. 

"It's unfortunate. That's the way it is. Now. What does this government want? We want normalisation. We want co-existence. You've got to recognise the reality. Pakistan is a reality. So is India. We have issues. How do we resolve them?" he asked. -- PTI

Photograph: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
09:26   Pak PM Imran Khan to make first official visit to China in November
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to make his first official trip to China next month, his foreign minister has said.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a game-changer for Pakistan and has taken off.
Pakistan, he said, wants an early completing of these projects and is in talks with the Chinese on how to focus on areas that are important to the new government.
"Hopefully next month in November the prime minister would be making his first official visit to China to discuss this further," Qureshi told a Washington audience when he was asked about reports of changes in the ambitious CPEC projects.
"Obviously infrastructure is required. We need roads and rail links, optic fibers and everything of that sort. We want them to help us in areas like industrial development, enhancing agriculture productivity, helping us alleviate poverty in the country," he said to a question at the US Institute of Peace.
Qureshi said the Khan government is talking about how to improve lives and livelihoods, how labour-intensive industry can be relocated into Pakistan and give jobs.
"So that is an ongoing discussion and hopefully next month in November, the prime minister would be taking his first official visit to China to discuss this further," the top Pakistani diplomat said.
When asked about increasing relationship between Pakistan and China, Qureshi said this is not at the cost of the ties with the US.            
"US was, is and will remain an important global player. You are a technological, economic and military power. We recognise that. There's a history of our relationship. Let's not forget that," he said. -- PTI
09:22   IAF to launch competition to develop drones
To promote and enthuse participation of sharpest technical minds and tap innovative potential in emerging technological domain, the Indian Air Force is launching a competition to develop and design drones, Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa said. 
"The Indian Air Force is launching a competition to develop and design drones," the Air Force Chief said in press conference.
The competition is named Baba Mehar Singh Competition in honour of one of the IAF's highly decorated officers in World War II and it will be open to all Indian citizens and entities.
"IAF would give Rs 10 lakh prize money to the winner and Rs 10 crore to each selected team followed by a co-production order of Rs 100 crores," he said. -- PTI 
08:34   With focus on S-400 missile system deal, Putin in India today
Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in New Delhi today on a two-day visit during which India and Russia are likely to sign a deal to procure S-400 air defence systems and deliberate on key regional and global issues, including United States sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil.
Putin, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will hold the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit during which the two leaders are expected to review bilateral defence cooperation in the wake of the US sanctions against Russian defence majors.
The focus during the visit will be on the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems agreement with a top Kremlin aide saying Tuesday that Russian President Putin will oversee the signing of the "USD 5 billion deal".
"The key feature of this visit will be the signing of the agreement to deliver S-400 air defence systems," Putin's top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov was quoted in media reports as saying in Moscow. "The value of the contract will be more than USD 5 billion," he said.
The purchase will violate sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act instituted by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russia, but American lawmakers have allowed the possibility of a presidential waiver.
There have been indications by New Delhi that it will go ahead with the deal notwithstanding the US sanctions.
"India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries. We shall maintain it in all earnestness," Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told PTI recently when asked whether the US sanctions will hit India's defence ties with Russia.
India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.
S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. 

China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system and Moscow has already started delivery of an undisclosed number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.
The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. 

The missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.
Russia has been one of India's key suppliers of arms and ammunition.
Sources had earlier said Modi and Putin would also deliberate on impact of US sanctions on import of crude oil from Iran.-- PTI
08:18   Trump taps Indian American to head nuclear energy division
Days after signing a new legislation to speed up the development of advanced reactors, President Donald Trump has roped in a top Indian American nuclear expert for a key administrative position in the department of energy.
Trump has announced his intent to nominate Rita Baranwal to be an assistant secretary of energy (nuclear energy) at the department of energy.
Baranwal currently serves as the Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear initiative.
As Assistant Secretary of Energy, if confirmed by the Senate, Baranwal will be heading the powerful Office of Nuclear Energy. 

She would also be responsible for the department's nuclear technology research and the development and management of the department's nuclear technology infrastructure.
Previously, she served as Director of Technology Development & Application at Westinghouse and was a manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis, where she led research and development in nuclear fuel materials for US naval reactors.
Baranwal earned her BA in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and PhD from the University of Michigan. She serves on advisory boards for MIT's Materials Research Laboratory and UC Berkeley's Nuclear Engineering Department.
Last week, Trump had signed into law the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act which will speed up the development of advanced reactors in the United States. The law eliminates some of the financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation.
In a recent presentation, Baranwal said that US nuclear industry is equipped to lead the world in deployment of innovative nuclear technologies to supply urgently needed abundant clean energy both domestically and globally.
"The unconventional and energetic spirit that created the commercial nuclear energy industry will again transform our country. New, smaller and more efficient reactors are being developed to combat climate change and meet the energy demand," Baranwal said in a blogpost last week. -- PTI
00:06   US scraps 1955 treaty with Iran after ICJ order to lift sanctions
The United States on Wednesday decided to terminate its 1955 'Treaty of Amity' with Iran, hours after United Nation's top court ordered the Trump administration to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Tehran.

Announcing the decision, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the move was in response to Iran's decision to drag the America to the International Court of Justice on the Iranian nuclear deal.

"In light of how Iran groundlessly abused the ICJ as a forum for attacking the United States, I am, therefore, announcing today that the United States is terminating the Treaty of Amity with Iran.

"I hope that Iran's leaders will come to recognise that the only way to secure a bright future for its country is by ceasing their campaign of terror and destruction around the world," Pompeo said.

Pompeo's announcement follows a ruling by the ICJ, the United Nations' top court, ordering the US to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods to Iran.

President Donald Trump in May announced a renewal of tough US sanctions on the Islamic Republic after abandoning the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement over its ballistic missile programme.

Iran filed a lawsuit against the US at the ICJ in July, arguing that the sanctions violate the friendship agreement signed in 1955 between the two countries when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was in power.

The treaty, which established economic relations and consular rights between the two nations, continued to remain in force following the 1979 Islamic Revolution despite diplomatic tensions between Tehran and Washington.

"I'm announcing that the United States is terminating the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran. This is a decision, frankly, that is 39 years overdue," Pompeo said at a hurriedly-convened press conference.

"Iran has attempted to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions necessary to protect our national security, and Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes, and their case, as you can see from the decision, lacked merit," Pompeo had said.

"Given Iran's history of terrorism, ballistic missile activity and other malign behaviors, Iran's claims under the treaty are absurd," he alleged.

The ICJ ruling in this regard was a defeat for Iran, Pompeo said.

"It rightly rejected all of Iran's baseless requests. The court denied Iran's attempt to secure broad measures to interfere with US sanctions, and rightly noted Iran's history of noncompliance with its international obligations under the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," he said.

With regard to the aspects of the court's order focusing on potential humanitarian issues, Pompeo said the US had been clear: existing exceptions, authorisations and licensing policies for humanitarian-related transactions and safety of flight will remain in effect.

"The United States has been actively engaged on these issues without regard to any proceeding before the ICJ. We're working closely with the Department of the Treasury to ensure that certain humanitarian-related transactions involving Iran can and will continue," he said.

"We're disappointed that the court failed to recognise that it has no jurisdiction to issue any order relating to these sanctions measures with the United States, which is doing its work on Iran to protect its own essential security risk interests," Pompeo said.

In July, he had said Iran brought 'a meritless case' in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging violations of the Treaty of Amity.

Iran seeks to challenge the United States' decision to cease participation in the Iran nuclear deal, and to reimpose the sanctions that were lifted as part of that deal, he had said.  -- PTI