Sun, 07 October 2018
Big shots take billions from bank and flee country: Nitish's dig

Timeline  Refresh

21:23   Big shots take billions from bank and flee country: Nitish's dig
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday praised the functioning of Self-Help Groups (SHG) in Bihar saying they are repaying loans unlike big shots who flee the country after defaulting on loans.

Over 8 lakh SHGs have been formed in the state for helping poor women in villages in carrying out their own small business, the chief minister said.

"Big shots take billions of loan from bank and flee the country. But these women who are running SHGs make timely repayment of loan. This is not a small thing. This shows the level of awareness among SHGs' women," he said.

Speaking at a function organised by his party Janata Dal-United's 'Samaj Sudhar Vahini' in Patna, Kumar said empowerment of women means empowerment of the society, human beings, the country and the globe.

"I have been saying that development will not have much impact and effective unless the society gets rid of all social evils. We initiated the social reform process after coming to power in November 2005," Kumar said.

"I do my work and don't believe in publicity unlike other state governments which have the tendency of publicising much more than what they do," Kumar said without elaborating.  -- PTI
20:08   Review of CPEC projects underway: Imran Khan
Pakistan is reviewing the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to safeguard the interest of the people in Balochistan province, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said.

The $50 billion CPEC, launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

Khan's remarks about the CPEC projects came as he chaired a Balochistan cabinet meeting on Saturday in Quetta during his first visit to the province as the prime minister.

Khan in the past had criticized former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency and corruption in the CPEC projects.

Khan said the CPEC projects are being reviewed to address concerns and reservations of the Baloch people, who say the projects are not beneficial for them.

Successive Baluchistan governments have also raised objections over the CPEC projects in the province.

Khan said he was aware about the reservations about the Baloch people about the CPEC projects.

"Baluchistan will get its due share, whatever it may be, in the CPEC," he said.

He said unfortunately the province had been ignored by the previous governments.

Since Khan's Pakisatan Tehreek-e-Insaf party-led government took charge, there have been several occasions where it has backtracked on statements on the CPEC.

In September, a British financial daily had said that Pakistan was plannig  review deals concluded under Beijing's Belt (BRI) and Road Initiative.

The CPEC is also the part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious BRI.

Both China and Pakistan have denied reports of differences over the project.

Balochistan, where many CPEC projects are being carried out, remains a flashpoint, with separatists carrying out a campaign against security forces and government installations.

The province has also been hit hard by sectarian violence against the Hazara Shia Muslim community and attacks by terror outfits close to the border with Afghanistan and Iran.  -- PTI
19:51   HC may pronounce verdict on plea to trace Najeeb Ahmed
The Delhi high court is likely to pronounce on Monday its verdict in a plea for tracing Jawaharlal Nehru University student Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing from the university nearly two years ago.

A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had on September 4 reserved its decision on the petition filed by the student's mother after concluding hearing of arguments of her lawyer and that of the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the investigation on May 16 last year.

Ahmed had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of the JNU on October 15, 2016, following a scuffle with some other students, allegedly affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the previous night.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the probe from the Delhi Police, told the court that it has decided to file a closure report in the case as it has investigated all the angles and does not think that any offence was committed against the missing person.

However, the lawyer for the student's mother, Fatima Nafees, contended in court that it was a 'political case' and that the 'CBI has succumbed to the pressure of its masters'.

The CBI, on September 4, had told the high court that it has not yet filed the closure report before the trial court concerned as it wanted to first bring it to the knowledge of the high court.

The CBI had submitted that its investigation was complete as it has probed all the angles left by the Delhi Police and it did not think there was any offence committed against the missing person.

It had said the petition may be disposed of by the high court, after which it will file the closure report before the magistrate 'and the petitioner may file a protest petition there, if they wish to'.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Ahmed's mother, had said neither the CBI has done its best in the case nor has it probed the matter in a fair manner.

The petitioner also sought setting up of an SIT comprising independent experts to enquire into the matter.

Ahmed's mother had moved the high court on November 25, 2016, seeking directions to the police to trace her son.

However, as the Delhi Police remained clueless about his whereabouts even seven months after he went missing, the probe was handed over to the CBI on May 16 last year.

The Delhi Police had not opposed the handing over of the investigation in the case, saying that it has done its bit in the matter.

Nafees's counsel had earlier said the nine suspected students were named in a complaint by 18 students who were eyewitnesses to the alleged assault on Ahmed, yet they were not interrogated.

The nine suspected students have denied all allegations against them.  -- PTI
19:15   Will unite Oppn to make Mayawati PM: Chautala
Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala on Sunday said his party will work towards bringing the opposition parties together to make Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati the next prime minister after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Out on a two-week parole, the former Haryana chief minister was addressing a rally organised here to mark the 105th birth anniversary of senior INLD leader and his father Devi Lal.

Om Prakash Chautala is serving a 10-year jail term in a teachers' recruitment scam.

"..we will work towards uniting the Opposition so that Mayawati becomes the next Prime Minister," he told the gathering. Om Prakash Chautala said Lal had a dream that the countrymen should have enough food, shelter, good education and access to affordable health.

"Today, he is not amongst us but we have to follow his ideals and work towards realising his dreams," he said.

The INLD president's son and senior party leader Abhay Singh Chautala also addressed the rally.

Abhay Singh Chautala urged the people to help the INLD-BSP alliance to come to power in Haryana with an overwhelming majority in next year's assembly elections.

"Repeat 1987 (when the INLD swept the state polls) by strengthening the hands of the INLD-BSP combine so that (Om Prakash) Chautala once again becomes the chief minister," he said.

He promised that if the INLD-BSP combine comes to power in Haryana, it will waive the loans of farmers and weaker sections.

Former Gujarat chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela also addressed the rally. He spoke about his close association with Devi Lal and his family for over four generations and said the INLD leader understood the pain of farmers and common masses.

Vaghela attacked the Centre over high fuel prices and said the cut of Rs 2.50 per litre in the petrol and diesel prices was not sufficient.  -- PTI
18:33   Gujarat starts vaccination of Gir lions against deadly virus
The Gujarat forest department on Sunday started vaccination of lions in the Gir sanctuary to protect them from a deadly virus blamed for the death of some of the big cats in their last abode.

As many as 23 lions have died in Gujarat's Gir sanctuary in less than a month. Most of them have succumbed to canine distemper virus (CDV) and protozoa infections, forest officials had said.

The lions, an endangered species, are being vaccinated under intensive veterinary care and as per standard protocol, officials said on Sunday.

CDV is considered a dangerous virus and had been blamed for wiping out 30 per cent population of African lions in East African forests.

"Vaccination of segregated #Lions under intensive veterinary care as per standard protocol started. Top national & International lion experts have been consulted. Government undertaking utmost care for lion safety," the Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife Junagadh, an official twitter handle of the Junagadha district forest department, said.

The Gir sanctuary falls under the Junagadha district forest department's jurisdiction.

A senior government official in Gandhinagar said only those lions which are in the forest department's captivity are being vaccinated at present.

Following the death of big cats, the forest department had captured 36 lions and shifted them to Jashadhar and Jamwala rescue centres in the Gir forest as a precautionary measure.

After the CDV spread was confirmed in Asiatic lions, the state government had urgently imported 300 shots of the vaccine against the virus from the United States.

CDV is mainly found in wild dogs, jackals and wolves. The disease can be contracted by lions if they eat any animal infected by it.

CDV is a highly contagious disease that attacks the immune system and other vital organs in animals. In most of the cases, the infection is fatal.

According to the last census conducted in 2015, the number of lions in the Gir sanctuary stood at 523.  -- PTI
17:01   Aadhaar must for seeking treatment under Ayushman Bharat for 2nd time
Aadhaar is not mandatory to avail benefits for the first time under the recently-launched Ayushman Bharat -- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) but will be compulsory for those seeking treatment under the scheme for the second time, according to a top official.

In case the Aadhaar number is not available, beneficiaries have to at least provide documents to prove that they have enrolled for the 12-digit unique identity number, said Indu Bhushan, CEO of the National Health Agency, responsible for implementing the PMJAY.

The move comes in the wake of a Supreme Court order declaring the Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid.

"We are studying the Supreme Court order. Aadhaar number or at least documents to prove that one has enrolled for the 12-digit unique identity number will be mandatory to seek treatment under the scheme for the second time.

"To avail benefits for the first time, one can either show an Aadhaar or any other identity document like election card etc," Bhushan said.

The Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), which was renamed as AB-PMJAY, was launched pan-India by the Prime Minister from Jharkhand on September 23.

Since its rollout over 47,000 people have already availed the benefits of the scheme, which has been touted as the world's largest health insurance programme while over 92,000 have been given Gold cards, Deputy CEO of NHA, Dinesh Arora said.

Under the scheme, the government aims at providing a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers (EHCP).

The PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service.

The scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and has identified occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.

It will cover around 50 crore people and there is no cap on family size and age in the scheme ensuring that nobody is left out.

Arora further said that 98 per cent of beneficiaries have already been identified.

Over 14,000 hospitals both public and private, have been empanelled for the scheme, and as many as 32 states and union territories have signed MoUs with the Centre and will implement the programme.

Telangana, Odisha, Delhi and Kerala are not among states which have opted for the scheme.  -- PTI
IndiGo tweets an advisory over its system which is down at all the airports for a while.

The airline has asked its passengers to contact it through Twitter, Facebook, its website or its contact number.

'We regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers this afternoon due to system being down across airports for around ninety minutes. Our flights and check-in systems are operating normally now,' IndiGo said.  -- ANI
16:15   IndiGo systems down at IGIA, passengers stranded
IndiGo systems are down at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport due to a technical error, ANI reports.

Passengers of the airline are currently stranded at the airport.

More details awaited. -- ANI
16:04   Petrol, diesel prices on the rise again
Within a day of the one-off excise duty cut and PSUs subsidising fuel, petrol and diesel prices are on the rise again and have hit a three week high.

Petrol and diesel prices were cut by a minimum Rs 2.50 on October 5 when the government's only second cut in excise duty of Rs 1.50 per litre and state-owned fuel retailers providing a Re 1 per litre subsidy came into effect.

In Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, the reduction was higher as they matched the cut with a similar reduction local sales tax or Value Added Tax.

But the prices were on the rise from the very next day. Petrol price was hiked by 18 paise a litre on October 6 and 14 paise on Sunday, according to daily price notification issued by state-owned oil firms.

Petrol, which in Delhi was cut to Rs 81.50 on October 5, on Sunday costs Rs 81.82. Similarly, diesel rates are hiked by 29 paise a litre each on October 6 and Sunday.

It costs Rs 73.53 per litre in Delhi, up from Rs 72.95 on October 5, according to the oil firms. Delhi, which did not cut VAT on fuel, still has the cheapest fuel in all metros and bulk of state capital as it levies lower taxes.

Mumbai despite reducing VAT on petrol still has the highest priced fuel. Petrol in Mumbai sells for Rs 87.29 a litre on Sunday and diesel is priced at Rs 77.06.

Petrol prices had hit an all-time high of Rs 84 per litre in Delhi and Rs 91.34 in Mumbai on October 4.

Diesel rates too had peaked to Rs 75.45 a litre in Delhi and Rs 80.10 in Mumbai.

Following the twin decision, they fell to Rs 81.50 per litre of petrol in Delhi and Rs 86.97 in Mumbai.

Diesel rates fell to Rs 72.95 in Delhi and Rs 77.45 in Mumbai on October 5. On Sunday, the rates hit a three-week high.

Private retailers like Nayara Energy, formerly known as Essar Oil, too are matching PSU rates by subsidising fuel by Re 1 a litre.

After the Centre cut excise duty by Rs 1.50 per litre and asked PSU oil firms to subsidise fuel by Re 1, Maharashtra and Gujarat governments were among the first to announce a matching Rs 2.50 cut.

They were later joined by Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana Assam, Uttarakhand, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh with similar moves.

Jammu and Kashmir, which is under governor's rule, too reduced tax on the two fuel.

Maharashtra, however, reduced VAT only on petrol and not on diesel. Even before the excise duty cut, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh had last month reduced VAT to cushion consumers for a spate of price increases. -- PTI
15:20   Naxalism will be eliminated from India in 3 years: Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday said the menace of Left Wing Extremism will be wiped out from the country in about three years.

Addressing troops of the Rapid Action Force on the occasion of their 26th anniversary celebrations in Lucknow, Singh said their action should be rapid and quick but never 'reckless'.

Singh, speaking at the Central Reserve Police Force camp in Lucknow, said districts affected by Naxal violence in the country have come down to about 10-12 as compared to 126 some time back.

The day is not far, may be in a time period of 1-2 or 3 years, that the LWE will be eliminated from the country and this would happen due to your (CRPF) determination, courage and hard work and that of the state police forces, he said.

"I congratulate you on the kind of work you have done in the LWE theatre of the country," Singh said.

The minister said the force has killed 131 Maoists and terrorists this year while it has apprehended 1,278 of them and has effected 58 surrenders during the same time.

The home minister also asserted that Jammu and Kashmir, where the CRPF is deployed as the lead counter-militancy force, has been and will be an 'inseparable' part of India.

Some youth there (J-K) have been misled into militancy, but this force has ensured security commendably, he said.

Talking about the specific role of the RAF, a special unit under the CRPF, during riots and protests, the home minister advised them to be prompt and rapid but never 'reckless'.

All the police forces are like civilised units and they should never do anything that will label them as 'brutal'.

One should know how to behave during crowd control and similar duties and should always know how much and when to use force, he said.

Singh's comments can be seen in the context of a recent incident in Uttar Pradesh's capital where a police jawan allegedly killed an unarmed MNC executive.

An RAF battalion has a strength of just over 1,000 personnel and it is equipped with gadgets and non-lethal weapons like pump action guns, tear smoke grenade launchers and others to enforce security and law and order in case of protests or riot-like situations.

The force is part of the CRPF, the country's largest paramilitary force or the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) with over 3 lakh personnel.

It was raised and made fully operational in October, 1992. It has ten battalions (of about 10,000) based in various parts of the country in order to cut down response time to counter an incident of trouble.

The 10 existing RAF battalions are based in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Aligarh, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Meerut.  Five of its new bases are in Jaipur, Varanasi, Mangalore, Hajipur(Bihar) and Nuh (Haryana).  -- PTI
14:18   Maha: Women, open jail inmates can now make video calls to kin
Women prisoners and inmates of open jails across Maharashtra can now make video calls to their families and relatives, said a senior official of the prison department of the state government.

This could be the first-of-its-kind initiative for prisoners in the country, claimed the official.

Under the initiative, the prison department has started a smart video calling facility for inmates lodged in women's jails and open prisons, the official said.

A prisoner can talk to his/her family members for five minutes and is charged Rs 5 for availing the service, he said.

"It was initiated on a pilot basis at the central prison at Yerawada in Pune and now it has been started in women's jails and open prisons across the state," he said.

Through the video calling facility, prisoners can speak to their relatives or family members for five minutes on a given day on mobile phone numbers registered with the department, he said.

Smartphones being used for the video facility, which brings inmates and their family members face to face, have been purchased by dipping into the Prisoners Welfare Fund, the official said.

The whole conversation is monitored by a police constable to ensure the video chat centres only around family issues and well-being of each other, he said.

Earlier, the department had installed coin box phones inside jails to enable inmates to speak to their family members. These phones were installed on court orders and prisoners could use them for five minutes, he said.

Around 28,000 prisoners, including convicts and undertrials, are lodged in 54 jails across the state.

Among them, 13 are open prisons and two are women's jails, he said.      

Besides, the department has set up high-tech rooms in all the prisons with thick glass partitions separating inmates and visitors, the official said.      

In these rooms, inmates and their family members can see each other and converse through a mike, he said.

Maharashtra has taken a lead in using videoconferencing facility to produce undertrail prisoners in courts for hearings, the official said.

Last year, 1.11 lakh undertrials were produced before various courts through video conferencing, he said, adding,"This year, we are expecting this number to top 1.5 lakh."

In another initiative called 'Galabhet' (embrace your child), children aged below 16 years are allowed to meet their parents lodged in jails, the official said.

"We have also started tele-medicine initiative for prisoners, under which they can get medical advice over thetelephone from doctors," he said.

The Maharashtra prison department, headquartered in Pune, oversees nine central jails, 31 district jails, 13 open jails and 172 sub-jails.

There are two separate prisons for women at Pune and Mumbai, according to the department's website.

Two open prisons for women are located in Pune and Akola, it said.

Open jails give the prisoners freedom of movement.

They are also allowed to work on farms or factories while serving their sentence.  -- PTI
13:40   ABVP sweeps HCU student polls
After an eight year gap, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad swept the student union elections in the University of Hyderabad for 2018-19, winning the top six posts.

The ABVP, which contested the polls together with the Other Backward Classes Federation and Sevalal Vidyarthi Dal, bagged all six posts, including that of president, vice-president, general secretary, joint secretary and cultural secretary in the elections held on October 5.

The results were announced late on Saturday by the UoH, also popularly known as Hyderabad Central University (HCU).

The elections saw intense competition among Students Federation of India, ABVP-OBCF-SLVD, and United Democratic Alliance, represented by Ambedkar Students Association, Bahujan Students Front, Dalit Students Union and National Students Union of India.

More than 3,900 students took part in the polling, a UoH release said.

"It is after a gap of eight years that ABVP has won the student union elections in UoH," Telangana ABVP member Sushil said.

A PhD scholar, Aarti Nagpal of ABVP-OBCF-SLVD won the president's post, while the Vice-Presidents post was bagged by Amit Kumar.

Dheeraj Sanjogi was elected to the post of General Secretary and Praveen Kumar, that of Joint Secretary.

Aravind S Kumar won Cultural Secretary's post and Nikhil Raj K, the post of Sports Secretary, the release said.

The Alliance for Social Justice, comprising SFI, Ambedkar Students Association, Dalit Students' Union and few other groups had swept the UoH student union elections in 2017.  -- PTI
12:25   US should not view ties with Pak through 'Indian lens': Qureshi
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said the United States should not view its relations with the country only through the perspective of the ties with India or the Afghan issue.

He also said it would be wrong to expect that all differences between the US and Pakistan could be resolved in one day, the Dawn reported.

Qureshi said regional situations evolve and requirements change, but Pakistan's contribution for peace and stability in the region should be acknowledged.

"It will not be appropriate to view our (US-Pak) relations going as far back as seven decades from the Afghan perspective or the Indian lens," he told reporters in Multan after returning from his 10-day visit to the US.

The foreign minister said he had tried to make his American counterparts realise this.

Qureshi, who had met US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton in Washington, said the Foreign Office will continue its efforts to represent Pakistan effectively on international fora.  -- PTI
12:14   Kanye West goes off Twitter, Instagram yet again
Kanye West has once again deactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The 41-year-old rapper was at the receiving end for quite some time over his support to United States President Donald Trump.

West was severely criticised by fans and celebrities for the controversial comments he made on TV and online. He performed as the musical guest on the season 44 premiere of Saturday Night Live and gave a pro-Trump speech after the cameras stopped rolling.

According to Billboard, actor Chris Evans and singer Lana Del Rey were among the stars who slammed the rapper for his comments.

It is not the first time the rapper has deleted his social media accounts without warning.

He made a comeback on the micro-blogging site this April after deactivating his account in May last year. He recently went back to Instagram as well.  -- PTI
11:43   Will Smith to appear in Koffee with Karan?
American star Will Smith, who was in Mumbai to attend an event, made an appearance on the sets of Koffee with Karan and it seems like the star is ready for his 'Koffee' debut.

The dynamic duo of Ranveer Singh and Akshay Kumar shot for their Koffee episode recently, with Smith gracing the sets.

From then, speculations are doing the rounds that the Ranveer-Akshay episode may feature the rapper as well.

The host of the show and producer-director Karan Johar shared a snap of Smith, Ranveer and himself on Instagram, captioned 'Where there's a WILL there's a way!!!! @ranveersingh @willsmith shot today at the superb #sohohousemumbai.'

Earlier, the Men in Black star attended an event with actor Farhan Akhtar, where he was seen shaking a leg to Punjabi beats.

Akhtar shared a video of the 'Suicide Squad' dancing.

He wrote, 'What an awesomely and effortlessly cool man .. won all hearts with his candor and wit. and boy, can he bust some Bhangra moves. #funtimes chatting with @willsmith at the #htleadershipsummit. #gotoguywhenaliensattack.'   -- ANI
11:00   'Was going through a phase': Chetan Bhagat apologises after harassment allegation
Author Chetan Bhagat has apologised after a WhatsApp conversation with a woman journalist was leaked on Twitter in connection with sexual harassment. 

Accepting that the viral screenshots are indeed real, Bhagat in a long post on Facebook said he was really sorry. The conversation was shared on the Twitter by a multimedia journalist, who has been collecting various stories of women. According to the conversation seen on the screenshot, Bhagat is seen saying, You are sweet and cute and funny and a nice human being. So I have decided to woo you. [sic]

I am really sorry to person concerned. The screenshots are of course real, and I am sorry if you felt they were wrong I hope you will accept my apology, he wrote.

Saying that the conversation is several years old, to his defence for his flirting, he said that he certainly felt a connection with the woman, something he hadnt felt in a while. As I also say in the screenshots, I realised I was married and this was not about looking for any action. I just had not felt that kind of connection in a while, he added.

Arguing that maybe he was going through a phase, maybe these things just happen he agreed that it was stupid of him. He informed that he apologised to his wife Anusha. Once again, I am sorry to the person concerned, and of course most of all to Anusha. I hope you can forgive me, he wrote.

And for those asking how his wife would have reacted, he clarified, For everyones information, am running this response past Anusha first, to ensure she is okay with it.

Read his full post HERE
10:39   Rahul targets Anil Ambani again to slime PM Modi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has called Anil Ambani Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BFF, urban slang abbreviation for Best Friend Forever.

In a tweet targeting Anil Ambani, Rahul Gandhi said, "When your BFF is the PM, you can get the 1,30,000 Cr. Rafale deal, even without relevant experience. But wait. There's more! Apparently, 400,000 JK Govt staff will also be arm twisted into buying health insurance ONLY from your company!"

Based on a report published on a website, Rahul Gandhi has accused the Narendra Modi government in Delhi of favouring Anil Ambani's Reliance ADA.

The report claimed that the Jammu and Kashmir government has chosen Reliance General Insurance Company, part of Reliance ADA Group, for handling the Group Medical Health Insurance Scheme For Employees, Pensioners and Journalists launched on September 20 this year. 

The scheme fixes Rs 8,777 annual premium for state government employees and Rs 22,229 annual premium for pensioners.The scheme provides an annual insurance cover of Rs 6 lakh for a family of five. 

The Congress believes this favours the beleaguered businessman's ailing businesses.

Rahul Gandhi just added this to the already raging controversy about the Rafale deal. The fighter jet deal will be an issue in the upcoming state elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. 

The Congress move to rake up the Jammu and Kashmir insurance scheme to accuse the central government of cronyism is another move to taint the Teflon-coated image of Narendra Modi.
10:29   Does Melania Trump ever tell the US president to put away his phone? 'Yes!'
No one can say, US First Lady, Melania Trump doesnt understand the power of an image.

Standing in front of one of the best known but most enigmatic monuments of the ancient world, the Great Sphinx, Trump one of the most mysterious first ladies in modern times agreed to take questions from a group of journalists.

When asked about US President Donald Trumps claim, made in response to the accusations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, that it was a very scary time for men, Trump walked a line between saying victims needed to be heard and supporting Kavanaugh, whom she called highly qualified to join the Supreme Court.

Im glad Dr Ford was heard, Trump said of Christine Blasey Ford, one of the accusers. Im glad Judge Kavanaugh was heard, that the FBI investigation was done.

She added: We need to help all of the victims no matter what kind of abuse they had. I am against any kind of abuse or violence.

When asked if she believed Blasey, she seemed to deflect the question: I will move on that.

Of the presidents Twitter habits, I dont always agree what he tweets and I tell him that, she said. I give him my honest opinion and honest advice. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesnt. I have my own voice and my opinions, and its very important to me that I express how I feel.

When asked if she ever tells the president to put away his phone, Trump quickly replied, Yes!
10:09   Lalu Yadav unlikely to make it to 2019 campaign trail
Saturday was a day of mixed verdict for Bihar leader Lalu Yadav, who is currently in jail. While his son Tejashwi Yadav and wife Rabari Devi managed to get regular bail from the CBI court they could not get provisional bail from the Enforcement Directorate court in the IRCTC case, in which the entire family is facing charges. 

There was also no bail for Lalu Yadav himself. Lalu Yadav has been in jail since December last year in three cases of fodder scam. His lawyers admit in private that with bail pending on the five cases, there's little hope that he would be campaigning for next year's Lok Sabha elections.

Lalu Yadav was sentenced from four years to 14 years in jail and the Central Bureau of Investigation, which moved Jharkhand High Court, seeking a longer sentence against him, has objected to his bail. Accused in six separate fodder scam cases, he is on trial in two of them and stands convicted in four cases. In one case he got the bail in December 2013,

In all three cases up for hearing on Saturday, the 72-year-old leader's bail plea was rejected by the Jharkhand High Court. His plea for bail is now pending in the Supreme Court.

CBI officers say even though in the hearing the Jharkhand High Court will take time, the court is unlikely to grant him bail as he has not severed the mandatory 50 per cent of his sentence, which would be two-and-a-half years.
09:45   Kohli wants BCCI to change rule: Let wives stay for full overseas tours
India captain Virat Kohli has requested the cricket board to allow wives of players to accompany the team for the full duration of overseas tours. The current policy restricts the stay of wives of players and support staff to just two weeks.

It is learnt that Kohli first broached the issue with a top BCCI official who in turn conveyed the teams request to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators headed by Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji.

Sources said that the CoA has now asked Indian team manager Sunil Subramaniam to make a formal request to change the rule but that they would not be taking a decision any time soon. Since this will require a shift in the BCCIs stance, the CoA is expected to postpone the decision to a time when the new BCCI body will be in place.

The request was made a few weeks back but as it is a BCCI policy decision, the manager will have to submit a formal request first. Anushka has been travelling with Kohli overseas, however, Kohli now wants the old rule to be abolished and a new policy should come up where wives should be allowed to travel with the Indian team, a source said.

The cricketing world for long has been divided on allowing wives and girlfriends on long tours. At present, most countries have restricted family time. In 2007, after an Ashes disaster, the England and Wales Cricket Board asked an independent sports administrator to determine the reasons for the 5-0 whitewash against Australia. The report recommended a limit on the time wives and girlfriends should be allowed on tour. This did not go well with players and Englands star batsman Kevin Pietersen had called the suggestion a load of nonsense.
09:19   Won't return to Myanmar, say Rohingya refugees
Rohingya refugees staying in Indian camps have expressed concern over being deported to Myanmar.

After the Central government deported seven Rohingya refugees to Myanmar on Friday, many now have refused to return to Myanmar, saying they will not rehabilitate until 'peace is restored in their homeland'.

A Rohingya refugee, Mohammad Farooq said, "I have been living here since 2012. I only request the government to let us live here. We have faced a lot of hardships in our country. We did not leave our country out of greed, no one really wants to leave there own nation."

Mohammad, further asserted that, the Rohingya refugees who have recently been deported will be soon killed.

He said, "Our records are there with the authorities and the UN. Police brought us a form to fill but it was in Burmese language and we refused to fill it. The seven people who have been deported won't be alive for long. They will be killed."

Echoing similar sentiments, another refugee, Haroon said, "We are living here since 2005. The government has provided us with no help apart from long-term visa. The government has stopped renewing it since 2017. It was previously renewed five times. We want to request the government that there is still no peace in our country. Houses are still being burnt there. No matter how long we live here, we will not get a citizenship until the government makes such provision."

"Some people have filled a form that has come from Burma embassy. Whatever Indian government's order comes we follow but we did not fill that form because it was all in the Burmese language. Filling it would mean that we are going to Burma with our free will. We do not want to go to Myanmar as of now," he further added.

More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine in August 2017 after Myanmar's army launched a massive crackdown in its northern state, retaliating the attacks by insurgents, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on the country's police posts and a military base.

A large number of Rohingya refugees, since then, have taken shelter in India and Bangladesh, and are staying in refugee camps, often raising security concerns. 

-- ANI
JUST IN: An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale hits parts of Jammu-Kashmir. 
08:59   Vikas Bahl would hold me tight, smell my hair: Kangana
"Queen" actor Kangana Ranaut has alleged filmmaker Vikas Bahl made her feel uncomfortable on several occasions, after a woman employee at Phantom Films reiterated her allegations of molestation against the film director.  
Last year, the woman employee at Phantom Films, which had Bahl as one of the partners along side Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, had alleged that Bahl behaved inappropriately with her during a trip to Goa.

In a recent article in Huffpost India, the woman has reiterated the allegations, sharing further details about the incident.

According to the report, in October 2015, the woman reached out to Kashyap and detailed her experience, but no action was taken while Bahl continued to harass her until she finally quit the company.
After the article went viral, "Queen" actor Kangana Ranaut also raised her voice against Bahl, the director of the movie.

"(I) Totally believe her, even though Vikas was married back in 2014 when we were filming Queen, he bragged about having casual sex with a new partner every other day. I don't judge people and their marriages but you can tell when addiction becomes sickness," Kangana said in a statement. 

The actor said she was "shamed" for not being cool enough by the director, who, Kangana says, was scared of her. 

"But still every time we met, socially greeted and hugged each other, he'd bury his face in my neck, hold me really tight and breathe in the smell of my hair. It took me great amount of strength and effort to pull myself out of his embrace. He'd say 'I love how you smell K'. I could tell something is wrong with him". 

Kangana said though she believed the woman who levelled allegations against Bahl, it was sad that people were attacking him now "even though the woman asked for help long ago."

"That time the story was conveniently killed but I supported her at that time as well... I thought the movement would catch up but I was wrong," she said. 

Kangana also claimed that Vikas had come to her with a script about a gold medalist from Haryana but stopped talking about the project as she supported the woman. 

"I didn't mind losing out on a good script and I never called him either. I was determined to say what I felt was right but the matter was pushed under the carpet and I didn't hear any updates about the same. It's amusing after the news of Phantom dissolution, many are finding the courage to attack him. 

Earlier on Saturday, the four partners of the Phantom Films announced to dissolve their joint banner, without citing the reason for this decision.

-- PTI
08:45   Portugal PM defends Ronaldo amid rape accusation
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has spoken out in defense of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been embroiled in a rape accusation.
Speaking to television on the Spanish island of Lanzarote on Saturday, Costa made an appeal to the presumption of innocence, as well as Ronaldo's successful career.

"People need to understand one and for all that there's one thing that is presumption of innocence," Costa said. 

"It is not enough for someone to be accused of something to be guilty of it." 

Costa added: "If there's something we have proof of is that he is an extraordinary professional, an extraordinary sportsman, an extraordinary footballer, and someone who has honored and given prestige to Portugal, and certainly what we all wish for is that nothing can ever stain that record of Ronaldo." 

Last week, Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. saying she was raped by Ronaldo in Las Vegas in 2009. Police have re-opened an investigation.

Ronaldo has denied the accusation.
08:19   Tanushree Dutta files sexual harassment complaint against Patekar
Tanushree Dutta on Saturday filed a police complaint against veteran actor Nana Patekar for allegedly sexually harassing her on the sets of a film in 2008, police said.
Dutta, in a recent interview alleged that Patekar had misbehaved with her while filming a song for the 2008 film "Horn Ok Pleasss".
She has filed the complaint at the Oshiwara police station against Patekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya, producer Sameer Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang.
According to Dutta's advocate Nitin Satpute, the actor will be giving a statement to the police on Sunday.
"We have filed a police complaint, they are investigating the matter and tomorrow (Sunday) they have called her (Dutta) for recording her statement," Satpute told PTI.

He added that a similar complaint had been filed by the actor back in 2008 as well.
In a letter, Dutta said that she lodged her complaint for the registration of FIR under Sections 354, 354 (A), Section 34 and Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

She further said before shooting the song, which was supposed to be a solo song picturised only on her, she had clearly mentioned that she will not enact or perform any lewd, vulgar or uncomfortable steps.

However, on the forth day of the shoot, Patekar's behaviour was inappropriate as he was grabbing her by the arms and pushing her around on the pretext of teaching her some steps, the complaint said.

Earlier in the day, Patekar said, "I said this ten years ago... a lie is a lie (Dus saal pehle bol chuka hoon, ab jo jhoot hai woh jhoot hai')".

Patekar's lawyer had sent a legal notice to Dutta demanding apology.

-- PTI
07:54   Brett Kavanaugh sworn in as US Supreme Court Judge
Brett Kavanaugh, 53, was sworn in as a judge of the US Supreme Court, hours after he was confirmed by a bitterly divided Senate by 50-48 votes.

Kavanaugh was officially sworn as the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts who administered the Constitutional Oath in the Justices' Conference Room.  

Retired Associate Justice Anthony M Kennedy administered the Judicial Oath. Wife Ashley Kavanaugh held the family Bible. Justice Kavanaugh's two daughters, Liza and Margaret, and his parents attended the ceremony. Kavanaugh replaces Kennedy, who had announced his resignation early this year.

The swearing in of Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court judge brought to end weeks of bitterly fought battle between the ruling Republican and the opposition Democratic parties. 

Things took an ugly turn in the last few weeks, when at least three women came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted them. 

Millions of people inside US and abroad watched live on their television sets the open hearing of Kavanaugh and his first accuser Christine Ford, a professor in California. 

Under tremendous political pressure, Trump ordered a last-minute FBI supplemental inquiry, the results of which reports said did not prove the allegations. Day later on Saturday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Kavanaugh by 50-48 votes, which was mostly on party lines. 

Kavanaugh is the second Supreme Court nominee of US President Donald Trump to be confirmed by the Senate.

Trump who was on a November 6 mid-term election campaign trail in Kansas called Kavanaugh to congratulate him on his confirmation and swearing in. 

"I just congratulated him," he said, "Congratulations". It was well fought.  I mean, who would have thought a thing like that could've happened -- what he's been through?  Everything was uncorroborated, he told reporters in Topeka, Kansas.

Describing Kavanaugh as an outstanding person, Trump alleged that in recent weeks he and his family suffered a lot because of the opposition Democratic lawmakers who according to him supported an uncorroborated allegation of sexual assault against him. 

"We're very honoured that he was able to withstand this horrible, horrible attack by the Democrats. It's a horrible attack that nobody should have to go through," he said.

"But the beautiful thing is, he is now in.  He's going to be there for a long time. And he's just an outstanding intellect, outstanding scholar, a brilliant lawyer -- brilliant at everything he's ever done.  So we're very happy. It was a great vote, a very historic vote," Trump said.