Mon, 22 October 2018
Trump says will cut aid to 3 Central American countries as migrant caravan marches on

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23:20   Trump says will cut aid to 3 Central American countries as migrant caravan marches on
US President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration will cut off aid to three Central American nations for their failure to stop a migrant caravan of thousands of people from moving towards the US with the aim to enter America illegally.

The caravan comprising thousands of people was formed in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. It crossed into Guatemala where one of its coordinators was detained. The other members of the caravan are advanced through Guatemala with hopes of reaching the US border.

"Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the US. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them," Trump said in a tweet.

His announcement comes days after he had issued a warning to the three countries.

Thousands of people from these poor Central American countries are moving in the shape of a caravan towards the US so that they can enter the country illegally.

Once inside the US, they hope to get jobs, even illegally, so as to have a better future.

Every year, thousands of people enter the US in a similar fashion and take advantage of the "catch and release" humanitarian policy of America for illegal immigrants.

Trump is seeking an end to this policy, which he argues has been responsible for hundreds and thousands of people entering the US illegally and ending up being a drain on US economy.

-- PTI
22:46   Gujarat govt invites Nitish to Sardar Patel statue launch
A delegation sent by the Gujarat government on Monday called on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and invited him to a function next week to unveil a gigantic statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The delegation, led by Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabh Patel, comprised Lok Sabha MP Poonamben Madam and members of the legislative assembly of the western state.

The 182-metre-high 'Statue of Unity' will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, the birth anniversary of Patel.

The Gujarat minister also presented the Bihar CM with a small replica of the statue and a coffee table book.
According to an official release, Kumar told the delegation about his reverence for Sardar Patel, whose birth anniversary is celebrated in Bihar and after whom the earthquake-resistant police headquarters building here has been named. 

-- PTI
22:13   SC to deliver verdict tomorrow on countrywide ban on firecrackers
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Tuesday on a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan which had reserved its verdict on August 28 is to pronounce the judgement.

The apex court had earlier said there is a need to take into account all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country, while considering a plea for the ban.
The top court had said the Article 21 (right to life) of Constitution applies to both segments of people and it needs to maintain a balance while considering a countrywide ban on firecrackers.

It had asked Centre to suggest measures to be taken for curbing the pollution and what will be the effect of firecrackers on the public at large.

The apex court had on August 8 said a spike in PM 2.5 levels in the air is a severe problem as the particulate matter remains in people's lungs, leading to serious health implications.

Firecrackers manufacturers earlier told the court that use of firecrackers should not be completely banned and it should instead be strictly regulated.

They have contended that the crackers are not the reason for increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it.

They have said the firecracker manufacturers can be deprived of their right to do business based on statements which were not supported by facts.

-- PTI
21:45   Nearly 50k deaths in 3 years after being hit by trains
Nearly 50,000 people have lost their lives between 2015 and 2017 on railway tracks after being hit by trains, according to official data from the Indian Railways.

A train mowed down at least 59 Dussehra revellers as they were watching a Ravana effigy being burnt while standing on railway tracks near Amritsar on October 19, leading to questions how the national transporter could prevent such deaths.

Data provided by the railways states, 49,790 deaths happened because people were hit by trains on tracks from 2015 to 2017. Most of the deaths were reported from the Northern Railway zone at 7,908, followed by 6,149 deaths from the Southern Railway zone and 5,670 deaths from the Eastern Railway zone.

Deaths on railway tracks occur due to trespassing, violating safety and cautionary instructions, avoiding over-bridges, using mobile phones and other electronic gadgets when crossing railway tracks.
21:17   India asks China to support application in UN on Masood Azhar, not to give shelter ULFA chief
India on Monday asked China to support the pending application in the UN to designate Pakistan-based JeM terror group leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, officials said. 
It also asked Beijing not to give shelter to hardline ULFA leader Paresh Baruah on its soil, they said.

The two key issues were raised at the first India-China high level meeting on bilateral security cooperation which was co-chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Zhao Kezhi, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security, China, here.

"The key concerns of both the countries were flagged and both the sides assured each other full cooperation," an official, who was part of the Indian delegation, said.

The key Indian concerns are China's objection to the application to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar as terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council, frequent visit of United Liberation Front Of Assam  leader Paresh Baruah to China and smuggling of arms and narcotics to the Northeast, the official said.

A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked the bid at the United Nations to list Azhar as global terrorist.

The official said that Chinese concerns included insurgency in Xinjiang by Uyghur extremists.
20:37   'Missing Priyanka' posters put up in Rae Bareli
Congress leaders alleged "mischief" by some elements after posters of "missing Priyanka" were found pasted at several places in Rae Bareli.
Posters of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who had actively campaigned for her mother, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary polls, were seen in the city with "Madam Priyanka missing" and "Emotional blackmailer" written on those.

Sonia Gandhi represents Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha.

The posters also mentioned Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's absence during incidents like the Harchandpur rail tragedy.

District Congress spokesperson Lal Ashakiran Pratap Singh said it was an act of "mischievous elements", who wanted to create disturbance.

The Gandhi family remained in the hearts of the people here and the members of the family had always stood behind them, he added. 
20:22   PM owes answer to people on CBI row: CPI
The CPI said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should clarify the situation in CBI as the credibility of the premier investigation agency is at stake after two senior officials levelled corruption charges against each other.
CPI national secretary D Raja said questions are being raised over CBI's functioning after its Special Director and second-in-command Rakesh Asthana was booked by the agency last week for allegedly receiving bribes.

Asthana, too, had written about 10 cases of alleged corruption and irregularities against CBI Director Alok Verma in his letters to his letters to the Cabinet Secretary and the Central Vigilance Commission about a month ago.

"The CBI is directly under the prime minister and the PM should clarify what is going on in the CBI. The PM should clarify what is wrong or right. The prime minister owes an answer to people of the country," Raja said.

"What is happening in CBI has seriously impacted the credibility and functioning of the institution. The CBI is considered to be the premier investigative agency, the way there is a fight between the top two, has raised several questions," he said.

Raja said the CBI is expected to work without political interference and with objectivity. He alleged that since the BJP came to power in 2014 such institutions and constitutional bodies are being used and misused by those in power.

He said Asthana has been charged with bribery, the prime minister should make himself clear on the issue.

The CBI has also arrested its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar in connection with bribery allegations against Asthana, officials said Monday.

Kumar, who was previously the investigation officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested for alleged forgery in recording the statement of Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribes to get relief in the case, they said. 

-- PTI
19:54   Turkey says Khashoggi murder 'savagely planned'
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Riyadh's Istanbul consulate was "savagely planned", Turkey's ruling party spokesman said on Monday, the first official indication from Ankara it believes a plot was hatched in advance.
"This was extremely savagely planned, and we are faced with a situation where there has been a lot of effort to whitewash this," Justice and Development Party spokesman Omer Celik told reporters in Ankara.

"This is a very complicated murder," Celik said, warning that the Turkish government would not be drawn into speculation. "Everyone (else) can speculate but we cannot speculate," Celik added.

He also dismissed claims of "bargaining" between Saudi Arabia and Turkey as "immoral".

Riyadh said on Saturday that Khashoggi, a former regime insider turned dissident, died during a "brawl" inside the consulate after a visit on October 2 to get documents.

It added 18 Saudis were arrested in connection with his death and two top aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as three other intelligence agents, were fired.
19:27   Kannada group warns of Padmaavat-like protest against Sunny Leone
Pro-Kannada outfit Kannada Rakshana Vedike Yuva Sene on Monday protested against Sunny Leones casting in a multi-lingual film Veeramadevi alleging that this was an insult to a historical figure and warned of a Padmaavat-like protest if she was not replaced.

A couple of youth also cut their hands with blades to make people recognise the seriousness of their intentions. The groups youth wing president R Harish said it was not right to have Sunny Leone play a historical character, who had supported the cause of Hindus.

Leone is popular as a porn star and it such a person should not play a historical character, who is not only an icon of Kannada but also someone who built many temples, he said. According to the activists, Veeramadevi had built many temples in what is now Karnataka and, hence, their religious sentiments would be hurt if she is played by Sunny Leone.

To press their demand, the protesters have vowed to disrupt a performance by Sunny Leone in Bengaluru on November 3. We have bought at least 230 tickets for the performance, and we will disrupt it if she doesnt stay away from the movie, Harish said.

The protesters said they did not have any problem with Sunny Leone acting any movie or taking part in any programme that wasnt about historical characters. We are not against anything else, we just want her to quit this movie. Else, we will also have to protest like people in Rajasthan did against the movie Padmaavat, Harish said.
19:14   Imran to visit Saudi Arabia, Malaysia & China to seek aid to avoid tough bailout from IMF
Pakistani PM Imran Khan will visit three 'friendly countries' -- Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and China -- where he is likely to seek monetary help of up to $13 billion for his cash-strapped government, a media report said on Monday.

Quoting sources, the Dawn newspaper reported that Khan would leave for Saudi Arabia on Monday and embark on a two-day visit to Malaysia on October 28 and to China early on November 3.

In the next two weeks, Khan will visit three 'friendly countries' where he is likely to seek monetary assistance, the report said, days after Islamabad formally sought a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

A member of the Khan's Cabinet said the prime minister was likely to take up the issue of financial aid with his hosts in the three friendly countries because Pakistan badly needed assistance to ease the current economic crisis.

He said the government immediately needed $12 billion to $13 billion to ease the financial crisis and retire foreign debt. 

"We need $8 billion to retire foreign debt and $5 billion to run the affairs of government," the unnamed minister said.

"If we get good monetary support from our friendly countries then there is a possibility that we will not require support of the IMF," he added.

Pakistan formally approached the IMF on October 12 for a bailout to tide over the economic crisis.

-- PTI
18:54   India's crorepati count expands 68% in 3 years: CBDT
India is now home to 81,000 individuals with disclosed income of above Rs 1 crore per annum, with this 'crorepati club' expanding by over two-third in last three years, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) data showed Monday.

Releasing key statistics of income tax and direct taxes, the policy-making body of the IT department said the total number of crorepati taxpayers, which includes corporates, firms, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) and individuals, has also seen a growth of about 60 per cent during the same time period.

"The total number of taxpayers (corporates, firms, Hindu undivided families among others) showing income of above Rs 1 crore has registered a sharp increase over the three-year horizon.

"While 88,649 taxpayers had disclosed income above Rs 1 crore in assessment year 2014-15, the figure was 1,40,139 for AY 2017-18, which is a growth of about 60 per cent," the CBDT said.

Similarly, the number of 'individual' taxpayers disclosing income above Rs 1 crore had increased during the same period from 48,416 to 81,344, which translated into a growth of 68 per cent.

The latest figures take into account a time period of three years as assessment year 2014-15 has been taken as the base year, a senior official explained.

CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra said these numbers were a result of the Income Tax Department (ITD) putting in a number of legislative, administrative, informative and enforcement efforts over the last few years to educate the taxpayers for paying their due taxes.

He said the department has ushered in a number of technology-enabled non-intrusive methods to check tax evasion and is committed to 'widen and deepen' the tax base in the country further.

The latest CBDT data also showed that a growth of more than 80 per cent in the number of returns filed in the last four financial years -- from 3.79 crore in 2013-14 to 6.85 crore in 2017-18.  -- PTI
18:49   Amritsar tragedy: NHRC notices to Punjab, Railway Board
The National Human Rights Commission on Monday issued notices to the Railways and the Punjab government over the Amritsar accident in which nearly 60 Dussehra revellers were killed when they were run over by a train while watching the festivities.

Issuing the notices, the Commission observed that it cannot be said to be a 'sane act' by people to sit on railway tracks, but at the same time, the 'negligence on the part of the district authorities is apparent' behind this 'bizarre and horrific incident'.

The National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the state's chief secretary and the chairman of the Railway Board seeking detailed reports in the matter in four weeks, an NHRC spokesperson said.

The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that many people died on the spot and several others got seriously injured in Amritsar district of Punjab, where several people watching Dussehra celebrations from the railway tracks were mowed down by a passenger train on October 19.

'It seems that the local authorities and the organisers did not properly manage the crowd, gathered to watch the Dussehra celebrations. It was the responsibility of the State to provide proper safety and protection to the citizens during the event.

'If it is true, as reported in some sections of the media, that the railway authorities were not informed about the event, it indicates towards highly negligent and reckless attitude of the authorities responsible. This is a case of serious violation of human rights of the victims,' the NHRC said in a statement.

The state government is expected to provide all details to the NHRC regarding disbursement of relief and rehabilitation to the aggrieved families as well as information on the status of the treatment being provided to the injured in different hospitals of Amritsar, it said.

The railway authorities have stated that they cannot be blamed, as they were not informed about the event.  -- PTI
18:33   Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, medals up for auction
British physicist Stephen Hawking's motorised wheelchair, medals and awards, and a signed copy of his PhD thesis are among a range of items set to go under the hammer in the United Kingdom.

The motorised BEC Mobility wheelchair, used by the late cosmologist from the late-1980s to the mid-1990s, is alone expected to fetch 15,000 pounds.

Hawking relied upon a series of wheelchairs from the end of the 1960s until his death in March this year, according to the Christie's auction house in the UK.

The wheelchair being auctioned was used by Stephen Hawking from the end of the 1980s until the early years of the 1990s, before he became unable to use his hands to drive a wheelchair.

According to a statement by the Christie's, Hawking's 'mischievous attitude' to piloting his wheelchair became legendary, both in Cambridge and further afield.

Having run over Prince Charles's toes during a meeting in 1977, he is said to have regretted not doing the same to the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

It was said that those who annoyed him found themselves a target, an allegation to which he responded with characteristic wit and humour: 'A malicious rumour. I'll run over anyone who repeats it'.

The proceeds from the auction of the chair will benefit the The Stephen Hawking Foundation, which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, and The Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The auction that will be live between October 31 to November 8, also features a signed photocopy of Hawking's PhD thesis.

It is expected to fetch 1,50,000 pounds at the online auction. A collection of Hawking's medals and awards has also been offered for sale.

These include his Eddington Medal, The Institute of Physics James Clerk Maxwell Medal and The Albert Einstein Award for achievement in the natural sciences, among others.  -- PTI
18:09   #MeToo: Ira Trivedi sues Chetan Bhagat for defamation
Writer and yoga exponent Ira Trivedi, who recently narrated her own #MeToo experience in a column in the Outlook magazine, accusing Chetan Bhagat of sexual misconduct, has slapped a legal notice on the Half Girlfriend writer for a range of misdemeanours, including defamation of character.

Bhagat on 15 October put up a screenshot of a mail Trivedi wrote to him in 2013 to counter her claim that he tried to forcibly kiss her in his room after inviting her to tea at the India International Centre.

Trivedi signed off with the word "kiss' which Bhagat used to pose the question "who kissed whom' to his 12.5 million Twitter users -- an action that Trivedi said has caused her enormous mental trauma.

To defend himself, the 44-year-old author had shared a screenshot of a 'self-explanatory' mail which apparently Trivedi sent to him in 2013. "So who wanted to kiss whom?", wrote Bhagat, adding, "@iratrivedi's self-explanatory email from 2013 to me, especially last line, easily shows her claims from 2010 are false, and she knows this too. This mental harassment of me and my family has to stop. Please don't harm a movement with #fakecharges #harassed".

Apart from a public apology, Trivedi has also demanded the removal of the defamatory statements made on social media.

Image: Ira Trivedi. Courtesy: @iratrivedi
17:55   CBI arrests its deputy SP in bribery case involving Asthana
The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar in connection with bribery allegations involving its Special Director and second-in-command Rakesh Asthana, officials said on Monday.

Kumar, who was earlier the investigation officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, has been arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribes to get relief in the case, they said.

It is alleged that a statement of Sana was purportedly recorded on September 26, 2018 by the investigating team headed by Asthana, but it emerged in the CBI probe that on that given day the businessman was in Hyderabad, they claimed.

In his statement, Sana had purportedly said that he had in June this year discussed his case with Telugu Desam Party's Rajya Sabha member C M Ramesh who, after speaking to the CBI Director, had assured him that he would not be summoned again.

"From June onwards, I was not called by the CBI. I was under the impression that investigation against me is complete," he is believed to have said.

The CBI has now alleged that Kumar had fabricated this statement as an ' corroborate the baseless allegations made by Asthana against CBI Director Alok Verma to the CVC (Central Vigilance Commissioner)', they claimed.

They said the agency was also looking into the alleged role of other members of the special investigation team headed by Asthana.

Asthana, who was booked by the agency on bribery charges in an unprecedented action, had complained against CBI Director Verma on August 24, 2018 that he had taken bribe of Rs 2 crore from Sana to give him relief in the matter.  -- PTI

Image only for representation.
17:40   Sabarimala protests: Rahul Easwar gets bail
JUST IN: Activist Rahul Easwar, who was spearheading the protests against women's entry to Sabarimala, has been granted bail by a local Kerala court.

He was arrested on October 17 from Nilakkal base camp.  -- ANI
17:18   Why the death of Ganga activist Sanand should alarm us
In a country where life is so cheap and precarious, the passing away of an 86-year-old man should ordinarily provoke little comment. But the death of G D Agrawal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, in Rishikesh on October 11 this year was no ordinary death. It came at the end of a fast that had lasted one hundred and eleven days. He had been fasting, as he had done many times before, in the cause of his beloved Ganga. 

Read Manini Chatterjee's column here
17:02   'Men are trembling now'
"One knew that Akbar had a glad eye like a lot of men have, but never to this extent that one is reading. I was very surprised. He educated you in journalism -- he told you what to do with your story, how to start it, etc. He had a hot temper and I owe a lot to him, but whatever he is today, I am pretty shocked.

"In Mumbai I knew he would call people to his room, but I never heard that anyone had complained about it.

"He had such a respected journalism career. It is sad how he has squandered everything."

Olga Tellis is one of Indian journalism's legendary reporters,  tells's Archana Masih how the work environment has changed for women journalists since she began her career 52 years ago. Read more
16:50   Sexual harassment: SC seeks response from media regulatory bodies
In view of the ongoing accusations of sexual harassment at workplace, the Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from various media regulatory bodies as to why they have not taken any steps in informing the police about violations of law committed by media organisations.

The top court has asked Press Council of India, Editors Guild of India and Indian Broadcasting Federation and News Broadcasting Standards Authority to file affidavits on whether they have reported to police the cases of media persons who have violated the statutory requirement under relevant laws.

The court observed that some of the offences have criminal liability and that it is quite clear that no prosecution has taken place by these bodies against alleged offenders (media persons and organisations).  -- ANI
Central Bureau of Investigation arrests Deputy SP, SIT CBI, Delhi, Devendra Kumar in connection with the Moin Qureshi case.
16:45   Suresh Nambath appointed as next editor of The Hindu
The board of directors of The Hindu Publishing Group has appointed senior journalist Suresh Nambath as editor of The Hindu with effect from March 1 next year. He will succeed Mukund Padmanabhan, who has been editor of the prominent newspaper since March 2016, the group said in a statement on Monday.  -- PTI
16:43   Jaitley should be sacked: Cong explains why
The Congress Monday accused the Modi government of conniving with fraudsters who had escaped the country and cited "conflict of interest" to say Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should be sacked after his daughter and son-in-law, both lawyers, allegedly received a retainership of Rs 24 lakh from fugitive Mehul Choksi. In the 44 months till January 2018, the Modi government witnessed an unprecedented 19,000 'bank fraud cases' involving Rs 90,000 crore, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said at a press conference along with party colleagues Rajiv Satav and Sushmita Dev.

He also alleged that 23 fraudsters escaped India under the government's watch after duping the country of over Rs 53,000 crore. Pilot said a sinking economy, banking frauds and flying fraudsters form part of BJP's-Jaitley's 'New India' and demanded that the minister should resign on moral grounds. -- PTI
16:43   Lalu's elder son to write a book
M I Khan reports from Patna

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's elder son and former Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav on Monday said that he will write a book soon in reply to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi's book Lalu Leela.

Modi's Lalu Leela is about huge property allegedly amassed by Lalu and his family members.

"I will write a book Nitush-Modi Leela soon in a reply to the baseless allegations levelled against my father by Modi," Tej Pratap told the media in Patna.

"My book will hit the market soon," he said.
15:53   Amritsar train tragedy: Petition seeks CBI probe
A petition has been filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court by a Gurugram-based lawyer seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry or the formation of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the Amritsar train accident.

Petitioner Dinesh Kumar Dakoria has sought directions for court monitored probe, besides seeking a direction to set up a commission under retired or sitting justices of the High Court for assessment and estimation of personal losses for granting adequate compensation.

Dakoria has also sought issuance of guidelines for duties and responsibilities of elected members in connection with their respective constituencies and the people thereof.

The petitioner stated that the elected members disown their responsibility, leaving the people in the lurch.

The accident took place in Choura Bazar near Jhoda Phatak area of Amritsar on October 19 after a train ran over the crowd, standing along railway tracks, to watch an effigy of Ravan being burnt. At least 60 people died while over 50 sustained injuries in the tragedy. -- ANI
15:42   3rd suicide over exclusion from NRC in Assam
A retired school teacher has allegedly committed suicide in Mangaldoi apparently as his name did not appear in the updated draft National Register of Citizens in Assam, a senior police official said Monday.

This was the third such incident since the publication of the complete draft of the NRC on July 30. Mangaldoi district is about 100 km from state capital Guwahati.

Nirod Kumar Das, who used to practise as a lawyer after retirement, was found hanging by the neck in his room by family members after he had returned from his morning walk Sunday, Superintendent of Police Sreejith T said.

In a note allegedly left behind, 74-year-old Das stated that he was taking the extreme step to "escape the humiliation of being marked as a foreigner after the NRC process," the family members said.

A local police official confirmed the cause of the death as hanging. All his family members, including his wife, three daughters, their husbands and children, as well as most of his relatives were enlisted in the NRC, they said.

Das was under distress since the exclusion of his name from the complete draft of the NRC, and more so, when the local NRC processing centre gave him a document, about two months back, stating that his name was put on hold as he had been marked as a foreigner, his family members said.

In his note, Das blamed nobody and listed five people whom he owed Rs 1,200 and asked his family members to return the money, the family and police said.

The agitated family members and locals had refused to let police take Das' body for postmortem Sunday, demanding that action be taken against the NRC processing centre for marking him a "foreigner". -- PTI
Kerala nun rape case witness Father Kuriakose Kattuthara's family files complaint with Alappuzha police seeking inquiry into his death.
15:20   Gun-brandishing 'pink pants' sent to jail for 14 days
A Delhi court on Monday sent son of former BSP MP Ashish Pandey, who was arrested for brandishing pistol at a five-star hotel in Delhi to 14-day judicial custody. Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmendra Singh sent the accused to jail till November 5 after the police said that he was not required for further custodial interrogation.

The court had earlier rejected his bail plea and issued a non-bailable warrant against him. A video of the incident which occurred on October 14 went viral on social media resulting in public outrage. It prompted the police to step in and launch a hunt for the accused who had gone missing after the incident. -- PTI
15:09   Maharashtra CM's wife apologises for risky selfie
Amruta Fadnavis, the wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, said Monday that she was ready to apologise after a video, showing her clicking a selfie sitting on the edge of a cruise ship, went viral. She, however, maintained that the spot where she was sitting was safe. After the video circulated, Amruta Fadnavis was trolled on Twitter for taking a selfie in a risky manner.

She was attending the inauguration of domestic cruise liner Angriya in Mumbai on October 20.

"The spot where I clicked selfie was not dangerous because there were two more steps below," she told a Marathi newschannel today. "If anyone thinks I have made some mistake, then I apologise for it," she said. "I want to tell the youth that they should not take excessive risks for a selfie," she added. -- PTI
14:54   Sena compares Amritsar train mishap with Jallianwala Bagh massacre
Shiv Sena, on Monday, compared the last week's Amritsar train mishap with Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919.

"An incident that reminds of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place in Punjab recently. Jallianwala Bagh incident took place during the British rule. However, the Amritsar tragedy has taken place in independent India. Even after getting freedom long ago, it has become people's destiny to die like insects," read an article in Saamna, the mouthpiece of Shiv Sena.

On October 19, a speeding train mowed down Dussehra revellers on a railway track at the Jhoda Phatak area of Amritsar, the same city in which the British Indian Army fired on an unarmed crowd, killing hundreds on 13 April 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh.

Poking holes in the railway infrastructure and functioning, the Sena criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central and the Congress-party led Punjab government. It also took a pot shot at the bullet train project.

"Hundreds of people die in train accidents. Every time such incidents happen, a Railways Minister quits and is replaced by another. It has become a tradition. Earlier, Suresh Prabhu went and Piyush Goyal was chosen as his replacement... Railways always had a separate budget, but the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government removed that too," the Shiv Sena stated.
14:52   Heart patients should move every 20 minutes to prolong life: Study
Heart patients should interrupt sedentary time every 20 minutes with a seven minute bout of light physical activity to prolong life, according to a study. Previous research has shown that being sedentary for long periods could shorten life but taking breaks to move around may counteract the risk, particularly if it means burning more than 770 kilo calories (kcal) a day. This study, presented at the annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto, investigated how many breaks, and for what duration, are needed to expend 770 kcal. -- PTI
14:09   Kerala nun rape case: No injury marks on body of key witness
Update: Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who was a key witness in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was found dead in Punjab's Jalandhar on Monday. "Father Kattuthara used to stay in a church in Dasuya. He was 62. The Father was taken to a hospital where he was later declared dead. I have been told that there were no marks on his body and he vomited on bed. They have also found a blood pressure tablet. He was not provided security. Now we will do post-mortem," AR Sharma, DSP, Dasuya told ANI.

Bishop Mulakkal, who recently came out on bail from a Kerala jail, is facing allegations of repeatedly raping a nun of his own congregation, a charge that he denies.

The allegations against the senior catholic priest whipped up a storm, polarising the church hierarchy with several priests speaking against Bishop Mulakkal.
13:49   #MeToo: The Akbar Who Became Birbal
... but still didn't have answers to this one. An ex-colleague on the editor-politician felled by the #MeToo storm.  Read the column here.
13:27   Allegations malicious: Vikas Bahl's response to show cause notice
Vikas Bahl has responded to the show cause notice sent to him by Indian Film & Television Directors' Association, saying the sexual harassment allegations levelled against him are "false, malicious, motivated".

Last year, a female employee at the now dissolved Phantom Films, which had Bahl as one of the partners along side Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, had alleged that Bahl sexually harassed in Goa in 2015.

In his response to the notice, which was sent to him by IFTDA earlier this month, the "Queen" director said no criminal complaint has been filed against him and he should be presumed to be innocent till proven guilty.

"I deny all the alleged sexual harassment charges levelled against me and as stated in your said notice. These alleged charges are not only false, erroneous, malicious, motivated but have no factual basis.

"Further, you may also not that till date neither has any criminal complaint been filed against me in respect of the alleged sexual harassment charges nor have I been called upon by any investigation agency for investigation with respect to the same. The allegations levelled against me merely anonymous and hearsay. Thus, I am presumed to be innocent till proven guilty," Bahl said.

The director's former production partners Kashyap and Motwane had criticised him in separate statements following the HuffPost interview in which the victim reiterated her allegations. Bahl has filed a defamation lawsuit against Motwane and Kashyap. In his response to IFTDA, the director said his former partners have tried to malign his reputations to settle personal scores.

"... My partners Mr Anurag Kashyap and Mr Vikramaditya Motwane have published defamatory tweets/articles/statements against me with an intent to settle personal scores, exact vendetta, and due to professional jealously and with the sole intent to defame me, malign my image and destroy my career and hence I request your good office not to rely upon any statement so made by them."

Bahl requested IFTDA since the matter was sub judice no action should be taken against him. "Since the matter is sub judice I request your good office not to take any action against me and not to terminate my membership with IFTDA in the interim and without giving me a personal hearing." -- PTI

Image: Former partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikas Behl
12:49   Govt may move SC on CBI corruption charges
The Prime Minister's Office is upset at the ongoing controversy in the Central Bureau of Investigation.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be upset with the tug of war in the bureau which may have ramifications in the general elections next year. 

The CBI has booked its own special director and number two in the organisation, Rakesh Asthana, in a bribery case. Asthana, who is named as the prime accused in an FIR that was filed on October 15, is alleged to have received kickbacks, amounting to Rs 2 crore, from a businessman, Moin Qureshi, to settle a money laundering case against him.

Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra are believed to have had a meeting on the right time for the government to move the Supreme Court in the matter.

CBI director Alok Verma is retiring on the last working day of January 2019. An administrative policy decision is likely to be taken today according to highly placed sources.
12:25   Priest who testified against Bishop Franco found dead
Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, one of the few people in the church who has been vociferously speaking against Bishop Franco Mulakkal and has also given a statement to the police against him in the rape case of a nun was found dead in Jalandhar today, reports the News Minute.

The exact cause of his death is not known yet. According to media reports, Father Kuriakoses family suspects a conspiracy in his death.

Father Kuriakose had given a statement against Bishop Franco Mulakkal to the Kerala police in the rape case of a nun from Missionaries of Jesus. His brother, Jose Kattuthara, told Mathrubhumi news that he was suspicious about his brothers death, and alleged that he had been killed for giving a statement against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.  Father Kuriakose has maintained that he was constantly threatened by church officials for his support of the nun who has accused the bishop of rape

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was granted conditional bail on October 15 in the nun rape case. He had received a heros welcome when he returned to Jalandhar on October 17, with supporters showering rose petals on him.
12:12   #MeToo: Video of Tamil Nadu minister goes viral
A new controversy is brewing for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and it isn't looking good. An audio tape in Tamil has gone viral on social media, alleging the involvement of a Tamil Nadu minister in a #MeToo incident.

If the tape is indeed genuine, speculation is rife whether the minister will have to quit like Union Minsiter MJ Akbar, who had to step down after several women journalists accused him of sexual harrasment and molestation during the time he was a journalist. Opposition DMK is seeking the  resignation of the state minister. 

Watch this space. 
12:06   #MeToo: SC declines urgent hearing for FIRs based on allegations
The Supreme Court Monday declined urgent hearing on a PIL seeking the registration of FIRs based on allegations of sexual misconduct and assault levelled by women across various sectors, part of what is being referred to as India's #MeToo movement.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul told lawyer M L Sharma, who had filed the petition, that it will come up for hearing in the regular course.

Besides FIRs, the petition also seeks a direction to the National Commission for Women to give security and assistance to women who have come out in the open with their allegations. -- PTI

Image: MJ Akbar, MoS External Affairs, accused of sexual harassment by his former colleagues during his stint as an editor, resigned last week.
11:56   Separatist-sponsored strike disrupts normal life in Kashmir
Normal life was disrupted in the Kashmir Valley Monday due to a strike called by separatists over the death of seven civilians in a blast at an encounter site in Kulgam district. Shops, private offices, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in Srinagar.

They said public transport was off the roads while private cars were seen plying in few areas of the city. The strike affected attendance in government offices and banks, the officials said. They said while there were no restrictions anywhere in the city, there was heavy deployment of security forces at several places here as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.

Separatists Sunday called for a strike on Monday over the death of civilians in a blast at an encounter site in Laroo area of Kulgam district of south Kashmir. The strike was called by separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership.

Three militants were killed Sunday in the encounter, while seven civilians lost their lives in a blast following the gunfight there. -- PTI

Image: Public transport was off the roads though private cars were seen plying in few areas of the city. A child capitalises on the empty roads in Srinagar today for a tricycle ride.  Pic: Umar Ganie
11:36   Women like me are fighters not victims: Tavleen Singh
I also object to #MeToo because I see that, so far, it is only the most empowered Indian women who are making allegations. When it begins to include women who are truly vulnerable, it will have my fullest support.

Senior journalist Tavleen Singh's open letter to Barkha Dutt on why she objects to the #MeToo movement. Do read
11:26   Sabarimala: What's going to happen in the SC tomorrow
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul considered the submissions of lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara that his petition seeking review of the constitutional bench judgment be listed for urgent hearing.

"We know that there are 19 review petitions pending. By tomorrow we will decide," the bench said. Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association.

A five-judge constitution bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry in Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.
-- PTI
11:02   Tremors felt in Himachal's Kinnaur district
A low-intensity quake shook Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district Monday. No loss of life or property was reported, officials said. A 3-magnitude earthquake was recorded at 9:11 am, Shimla Meteorological Centre Director Manmohan Singh said.

The epicentre of the quake was at a depth of five kilometres in the northeast of Kinnaur, he said, adding mild tremors were also felt in the adjoining areas. Most parts of the hill state, including Kinnaur, fall in high seismic sensitive zone. Mild quakes are a regular feature in the region.
-- PTI
Here's what's happening in the Supreme Court today.

The apex court today refused to hear urgently the mentioning by a lawyer seeking suo motu cognisance or action by the National Commission of women against all the accused persons in the #MeToo movement.

The Supreme Court also said they will consider tomorrow when it can take up the hearing the fresh petitions (writ and review) in regard to the entry of women in the age group 10-50 in Kerala's Sabarimala temple. There are 19 review petitions pending before the Supreme Court in connection with the Sabarimala temple.

Today will be the last chance for women bellow 50 years of age to make history by walking it though the doors of the Sabarimala temple since the temple opened on Wednesday for the the first time after the top court's ruling.

The Ayyappa shrine, which was scheduled to be open for 5 days, will shut tonight at 10 pm. So far, 9 women in the 'banned' age group have attempted the trek to the hilltop temple and have met with angry protesters forcing them to return. In the latest case, a woman yesterday suffered from a panic attack and had to be taken to a hospital near Sabarimala after masses of protesters surrounded and heckled her. Police officials today informed media in the shrine and in the Pamba camp to vacate the area as police had inputs of a targeted attack being planned on the media.
10:29   Rupee gains 8 paise to 73.24 against US dollar in early trade
The rupee strengthened by 8 paise to 73.24 against the dollar in early trade Monday on increased selling of the US currency by exporters and banks amid easing crude prices. Forex dealers said weakness in the dollar against a few currencies overseas and early gains in domestic equities gave some support to the rupee. -- PTI
10:21   Sensex bounces 321 points in early trade on positive Asian cues
The benchmark BSE Sensex Monday recovered over 321 points in early trade on fresh buying by investors amid a firm trend in Asian markets and better-than-expected earnings from HDFC Bank. Moreover, the rupee appreciating by another 8 paise to 73.24 against the US dollar and easing crude prices also buoyed sentiments.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading 0.44 per cent down at USD 79.65 a barrel. The 30-share barometer, which had lost 847 points in the previous two sessions, was trading higher by 321.41 points, or nearly 1 per cent, at 34,637.04. Sectoral indices led by healthcare, bankex, capital goods and auto were trading in the green with gains of up to 0.92 per cent.

The NSE Nifty was quoting 49.60 points, or 0.48 per cent,higher at 10,353.15. Brokers said emergence of buying by investors, driven by positive trend at other Asian bourses, and encouraging quarterly earnings from HDFC Bank, influenced trading Sentiments.

Stock of HDFC Bank was trading higher by 1.36 per cent after the private lender posted better-than-expected earnings. Other big gainers were Adani Ports, SBI, ITC Ltd, ICICI Bank, HDFC Ltd, SunPharma, Reliance Industries, IndusInd Bank Vedanta Ltd, Coal India, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Axis Bank, gaining up to 2.28 per cent. -- PTI
10:05   Turkish president to deliver 'truth about Khashoggi killing' tomorrow
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that on Tuesday (October 23) he will deliver a statement revealing the truth on the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

Sputnik International quoted Erdogan as saying, "We continue to seek justice, this is not an ordinary case. Why 15 people [from Saudi Arabia] came to Turkey [on the day of Khashoggi's death? Why 18 people were arrested? I will make a detailed statement in an address to the [parliamentary AKP] fraction on Tuesday."

The statement comes post Saudi's admission of the killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday admitted that the killing of the Saudi journalist was a mistake and a rogue operation.

The journalist went missing on October 2 after cameras captured him walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He was, however, declared dead by Saudi Arabia after two weeks of denial about any information on his disappearance.

Saudi Arabia's Attorney General confirmed that preliminary investigations indicate that the journalist died inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a brawl within the premises. -- ANI

Image: Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
09:53   Cops warn of attacks on media as Sabarimala closes tonight
The Sabarimala temple will close at 10 pm today after a five-day puja. The shrine had opened on October 18 for the first time since the Supreme Court's landmark verdict, allowing women in the menstruating age group to 10 to 50 to enter the temple.

However, in the last four days, nine women in the 10-50 age group have been stopped by protesters from going to the temple. Yesterday a 47-year-old woman suffered a panic attack at the entrance of the temple after protesters surrounded and heckled her.

Journalists who have been reporting from Pamba have been told by the police to leave the area as they had information about targeted attacks on the media, said news agency ANI.

The temple administration has written to the government that it would lock the temple and stop rituals if any tradition is broken. Now there are concerns over more than a thousand men camping inside the temple, who can take law into their own hands, to stop women less than 50, from entering the shrine claimed the temple authorities.

The BJP has denied allegations that it has deployed its party workers at the temple, to intensify the protests. The party has demanded a special assembly session to seek the Centre's intervention, while the Congress sought an ordinance by the Centre to override the Supreme Court's order. Both the parties have alleged that the CPI(M)-led government in Kerala was trying to destroy the sanctity of the shrine.
09:52   Cops warn of attacks on media as Sabarimala closes tonight
The Sabarimala temple will close at 10 pm today after a five-day puja. The shrine had opened on October 18 for the first time since the Supreme Court's landmark verdict, allowing women in the menstruating age group to 10 to 50 to enter the temple.

However, in the last four days, nine women in the 10-50 age group have been stopped by protesters from going to the temple. Yesterday a 47-year-old woman suffered a panic attack at the entrance of the temple after protesters surrounded and heckled her.

Journalists who have been reporting from Pamba have been told by the police to leave the area as they had information about targeted attacks on the media, said news agency ANI.

The temple administration has written to the government that it would lock the temple and stop rituals if any tradition is broken. Now there are concerns over more than a thousand men camping inside the temple, who can take law into their own hands, to stop women less than 50, from entering the shrine claimed the temple authorities.

The BJP has denied allegations that it has deployed its party workers at the temple, to intensify the protests. The party has demanded a special assembly session to seek the Centre's intervention, while the Congress sought an ordinance by the Centre to override the Supreme Court's order. Both the parties have alleged that the CPI(M)-led government in Kerala was trying to destroy the sanctity of the shrine.
09:39   Fuel prices witness dip on Monday
In what could bring respite to citizens, fuel prices witnessed deduction on Monday.In Delhi, petrol price was slashed by 30 paise to retail at Rs. 81.34 per litre, while diesel is being sold 27 paise lower at Rs. 74.92 per litre on Monday.

The price of petrol has been reduced by 30 paise to retail at Rs 86.91 per litre, while diesel is being sold at Rs 78.54 per litre after a 28 paise cut in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, in the national capital, all 400 petrol pumps along with linked CNG dispensing units will remain shut from 6 am on Monday till 5 am on Tuesday in protest against Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government's refusal to reduce Value Added Tax on diesel and petrol.

In a bid to ease the crunch caused by soaring fuel prices, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had, on October 4, announced a reduction of Rs 2.50 per litre on both petrol and diesel prices after curbing excise duty on the commodity by Rs 1.50 per litre. He had also directed all state governments to slash rates. -- PTI
08:57   Amritsar train tragedy: Death toll rises to 62
A 19-year-old man injured in Friday's train tragedy succumbed to his wounds at a hospital in Amritsar on Sunday, taking the death toll to 62. 
Municipal Councillor Rajinder Saini said Harsh, a resident of ward number 24, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday evening. 
However, the death could not be confirmed from the district authorities. 
On Saturday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said that 59 people had died, while Sub-Divisonal Magistrate Amritsar Rajesh Sharma had put the toll at 61 on that day. 
The tragic incident took place on Friday evening when a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching the burning of a Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Joda phatak.         
At least 300 people were watching the 'Ravana dahan' at a ground adjacent to the tracks. -- PTI
08:36   Rift in CBI widens as agency defends director
The Central Bureau of Investigation Sunday tried to defend its director Alok Verma following allegations of corruption levelled against him by his deputy Rakesh Asthana, booked by the agency on bribery charges last week, saying they are "false and malicious".
In his letters to the Cabinet Secretary and Central Vigilance Commission, Asthana had written about 10 cases of alleged corruption and irregularities against Verma, levelling serious corruption charges in some of them.
One of the case pertained to Sathish Sana, a businessman facing probe in a corruption case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi in which Asthana had alleged on August 24 that Sana paid Rs 2 crore to Verma to get relief in the case.
Asthana had also alleged that Verma delayed his team's request to arrest Sana in the case.
The complaint was referred to Central Vigilance Commission by the Government which is looking into it.
Gujarat-cadre officer Asthana, currently number two in the CBI, has also cited instances of alleged irregularities and violation of rules and regulations against Verma.
In an unprecedented operation, the CBI registered an FIR against Asthana and his deputy superintendent of police Devender Kumar, and two alleged middlemen Somesh Prasad and Manoj Prasad on the basis of a statement from Sana that bribe was paid to the middlemen to get relief in repeated questioning by the Asthana's Special Investigation Unit.
Asthana had alleged that he had moved a file for the arrest of Sana on September 20, 2018 which was held by the CBI Director Alok Verma and was later referred to Director of Prosecution who demanded the evidence file.
He had alleged that it was his team which opened a Look Out Circular against Sana who was stopped at immigration and prevented from fleeing the country.
In a tatement, CBI spokesperson said allegations that director CBI was not aware of LOC issued against Satish Sana is incorrect. 
"DCBI had seen and ratified the proposal to issue LOC on May 21, 2018," he said.
The spokesperson said contention that director CBI made an attempt to stop Sana's arrest is false and malicious. 
"The allegation has been made to deflect the charge of receipt of bribe money by CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and the other public servant named in the FIR," he said. -- PTI