Tue, 23 October 2018
Kanhaiya blames BJP for cases lodged against him in Bihar

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23:15   Developments in CBI seriously damaging Indian republic: CPI-M
The CPI-M on Tuesday said the current developments in the country's premier investigative agency Central Bureau of Investigation have seriously damaged the Indian republic and must be resisted.
"The polit bureau considers these developments are seriously damaging the Indian Republic and must be resisted tooth and nail," the Left party said in a statement.

It said the recent happenings in the CBI show the degree of damage that is being caused by the present government at the Centre to Constitutional authorities and institutions of parliamentary democracy in India. 

"The undermining of the parliament itself, interference in the judiciary, manipulation of institutions like the CBI are not due to poor 'governance' but due to malafide intentions to undermine the secular democratic foundations of the Indian Constitution," the CPI-M statement said.

-- PTI
22:59   Kanhaiya blames BJP for cases lodged against him in Bihar
Former JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Tuesday charged the BJP with having falsely implicated him in a couple of "politically motivated" criminal cases lodged in Bihar last week.

Kumar alleged that the BJP has been annoyed over his opposition to its brand of politics since his JNU days and using its political clout to get even with him.
"The FIR lodged against me by doctors at AIIMS, Patna was a handiwork of the BJP. I do not wish to blame the medical professionals... they are working under tremendous pressure and some of them may have capitulated before the vindictive political leadership as a short cut to success", Kumar said.
"In the FIR it has been alleged that my supporters and I had indulged in violence when we visited AIIMS, Patna to meet an associate admitted there. CCTV cameras are installed inside the hospital and till date no footage has been found which could corroborate the allegation", Kumar - who is now a member of the CPI's national council - said.
"Within hours of the lodging of the FIR, our cavalcade was attacked in Begusarai. The attackers were workers of Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. I may be sued if I am wrong. An FIR was subsequently lodged by us following which a counter FIR was registered wherein we were accused of indulging in violence", Kumar said.
"I am amused that Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey, who has been blissfully indifferent to the pathetic condition of health care services on his watch, lost no time in maligning me after the AIIMS, Patna FIR", he remarked.

Replying to a query, he said "I am thankful to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the generosity he had extended towards me while I was lodged in a sedition case on the basis of a morphed video of JNU campus. But if the state's health services are crumbling under his rule, we have to stand up for
the truth".

-- PTI
22:35   Selfie row: Maharashtra CM Fadnavis defends his wife, says she has own intellect
Days after his wife Amruta Fadnavis courted a controversy by clicking a selfie on the edge of a Mumbai-Goa cruise ship, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said she is an independent individual who acts as per her "intellect".

Fadnavis said, "My wife is an independent individual and acts according to her intellect. She has an ideology of her own. Have I bought her?"

He said while Amruta was safely clicking the selfie at
a safe spot, some "narrow-minded" individuals chose to troll
her for the act.

"Some people click photos while hiding while others do it openly. Maharashtra has not seen young CMs and their wives.
What can be done in the age of 38-40 can't be done at 56 years
of age," he quipped.

A controversy erupted after a video of Amruta clicking selfie while sitting on the edge of the cruise ship went viral.

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

The video shows security personnel trying to persuade her to return to a safer spot.
22:18   Delhi's air remains poor; Environment min directs officials to be in 'war mode'
Delhi's air quality continued to be in the 'poor' category Tuesday, with the environment minister directing all officers and agencies to be in "war mode" to combat air pollution.

As parts of the Bhalswa landfill site continued to smoulder, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation announced a slew of measures that it will take for remediation of the over 60-metre high dump.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that people in the country can burst firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals, permitting the sale and manufacture of low emission "green" firecrackers countrywide.

The Central Pollution Control Board recorded the city's overall AQI at 254 in the evening.

The air quality in the national capital had shown signs of improvement on Monday as it moved from 'very poor' to 'poor' category, but experts said it could deteriorate in the coming days due to toxic air coming out of a fire at the Bhalswa landfill site.

In Delhi, the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research also reported an AQI in the 'poor' category.

"The environment minister directed all officers and agencies to be in war mode to combat air pollution," the environment department said in a statement.

He reviewed action plan of various stakeholders for implementing the Graded Response Action Plan mandated by the Supreme Court for combatting and mitigating air pollution in Delhi.

"The meeting was attended by the chief secretary, commissioners of the north, south and east corporations, chairman of New Delhi Municipal Council, secretary (environment), secretary (transport & power), special secretary (industries), chief engineer along with other senior officers," it said in a statement.

-- PTI
21:42   Fresh cases of Zika reported in Rajasthan; total now 131
Five more people tested positive for Zika virus in Rajasthan's Jaipur on Tuesday, taking the total number of such cases to 131, a government official said.
Out of the 131 patients, 41 are pregnant women, he said.

Of the total infected, around 117 have recovered after treatment, the official said.

A senior health ministry official said the outbreak so far is localised and no other cases have been reported from any other state.

According to the latest report, out of the total 1,32,872 houses searched, 84,580 were found positive for mosquito breeding.

An Indian Council of Medical Research team recently visited Jaipur and changed the insecticides that were being sprayed to kill the mosquitoes and larvae.

The department has appealed to the people to keep doors of their residences and shops open and asked those with breathing difficulties to remain at bay during fogging activities.

The virus, transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is significantly smaller in newborns.

In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district in July that year. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.

-- PTI
21:28   Trump wants to meet Putin in Paris on November 11: Bolton
Donald Trump wishes to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when the two visit Paris on November 11 for World War I commemorations, the US president's National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Tuesday.
"I think President Trump will look forward to seeing you in Paris on the sidelines of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice," Bolton told Putin in televised remarks as the two met for talks in Moscow.
21:05   2 dead, 14 injured in stampede at Santragachi station in Howrah
Two people have died, 14 others have been injured in a stampede on foot overbridge at Santragachi railway station in Howrah in West Bengal. 

The incident occurred when an express train and two EMU locals arrived at the station at the same time at around 6.30 pm and passengers rushed to the platforms to board the trains, he said.

The Nagercoil-Shalimar Express and two EMU locals arrived at the station at the same time, while Shalimar-Vishakhapatnam Express and Santragachi-Chennai Express were scheduled to arrive shortly,  SER spokesman Sanjay Ghosh said.

The incident occurred between platform numbers two and three at Santragachi station of South Eastern Railway, about 10 km from Howrah station, he said.

A large number of passengers either deboarded or were waiting to board trains at the same time, leading to a rush on the foot overbridge.

While 11 injured persons were taken to Howrah General Hospital for treatment, three others were administered first aid at the station, he said.

Several express trains stop at the station, apart from numerous EMU locals of SER.

Thousands of people use the station everyday since it is easier to travel to and from south and central Kolkata from Santragachi.
JUST IN: At least 20 injured in stampede on footbridge at Santragachhi railway station in Howrah in West Bengal
20:33   Spoke up to defend myself, not to become hero, says Tanushree Dutta
Tanushree Dutta, who kickstarted the #MeToo movement in India after reiterating her decade-old harassment allegations against Nana Patekar, said such cases are not taken seriously in India but she is confident that she will get justice.
"I am hoping I will get justice. But not figured out what kind of justice I will get. There are rules and regulations, things are tweaked and twisted and there is corruption so justice gets delayed.

"Harassment cases are not taken seriously in our country. One is told to forget about it. This is the attitude but by allowing it you are creating an evil environment. I am in the fight and I know I will be getting retribution," Tanushree said at the Manthan Aaj-Tak event.

In September, Tanushree spoke about the bitter experience she had while working on a film in 2008 and once again accused her co-star Nana Patekar of sexual harassment while filming a special song.

Though quite a few industry people have shown their support to Tanushree, there are many who have stayed mum and the actor said the biggies are not talking about it as they view her allegations as a controversy.

"I was on national TV for ten years, I had a career in films and I had a career to lose. There was a situation where I had to defend myself. I did not speak because I wanted to be a hero but I wanted to defend myself."

She is glad that today naming and shaming is happening and "if men are scared then they should be."

-- PTI
20:15   255 flights affected due to runway shutdown at Mumbai airport
Operation of around 255 flights was affected Wednesday due to a six-hour closure of both the runways at the Mumbai Airport on account of repair and maintenance work, officials said.
The primary runway and the secondary runway at the country's second busiest airport were shut down from 1100 hours till 1700 hours, they said.
The operations were normalised after 1700 hours, they said.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport handles around 1,000 flights a day on an average.

-- PTI
19:51   Netflix backs Sacred Games season 2 after probe
Netflix on Tuesday confirmed the streaming giant will continue its association with Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and writer Varun Grover for the second season of Sacred Games.
The streaming giant in a statement, said they carried out an independent investigation and are satisfied with the results.

Kashyap and Motwane, who co-directed the hit series, have been under fire for their alleged inaction in the sexual harassment allegations against former Phantom Films partner Vikas Bahl by an employee, a charge they both have denied. 

The production house was dissolved last month after allegations resurfaced against Bahl in the wake of #MeToo movement in India. The case dates back to an incident that took place in Goa in 2015. 

Whereas, Grover was anonymously accused of sexual harassment, a claim he has categorically denied. In multiple statements, he has said that while he supports the movement, he wants to clear his name for his mental health. There has been no response from the anonymous account after he asked for closure.

"After an independent investigation, the results helped inform Netflix's decision to continue with Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap on season 2 of Sacred Games," Netflix said. 

"Netflix will continue to work with Varun Grover on season 2 of Sacred Games," it further said.

The company said it will collaborate with its production partners "to ensure and maintain a safe and respectful working environment". 

-- PTI
19:35   Meghan Markle, Prince Harry postpone US tour
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry, and Meghan, are pushing back their tour to the United States on account of the arrival of their first child.

The tour was scheduled for Spring 2019. However, as Meghan is expected to give birth to her first child around the same time, the tour has now been postponed to Fall 2019.

According to TMZ, the couple wants to give Meghan some time to adjust to motherhood before hitting the road. Meghan and Harry are also planning to take their baby with them on the US tour.

Earlier, it was reported that Meghan, who is about 12 weeks pregnant, will reduce her engagements during the ongoing 16-day royal tour.

-- ANI
18:44   80 per cent of Ganga to be clean before March 2019: Gadkari
Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that the work for cleaning and rejuvenation of River Ganga is ongoing and 70-80 per cent of the work will be completed before March next year.

The minister reviewed the Namami Gange project work with officials and contractors from four states namely Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Senior officials of National Mission for Clean Ganga were also present at the meeting.

Nitin Gadkari said, "The review was related to the projects ongoing alongside River Ganga and its tributaries. At some places, there are issues concerning defence, railways, electric lines and National Highways Authority of India road projects."

"The construction of ghats and crematoriums is also ongoing and by March end, this task will be completed. Namami Gange programme is very successful and by March 2019, 70-80 per cent work will be done and the rest will be finished by March 2020," he added.

-- ANI
18:25   Asthana's deputy Devender Kumar suspended from CBI
As per due procedure, Devender Kumar (who is facing bribery allegations) is suspended from the Central Bureau of Investigation, the body has said in a statement. 

Earlier, Deputy SP Devender Kumar was sent to 7 days CBI custody. The Delhi High Court was hearing petitions filed by Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar seeking quashing of an FIR against them in a bribery case. The separate petitions filed by them were heard by Justice Najmi Waziri. 

The CBI had yesterday arrested its DSP, Kumar, in connection with bribery allegations involving the investigative agency's second-in-command, Asthana. 

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case. 
18:14   China still elusive on backing India's request on listing Azhar as global terrorist
China on Tuesday made it clear that there is no change in its position on India's request to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN and said it will decide on the issue on the "merits of the matter". 

India on Monday asked China to support the pending application in the UN to designate Azhar as a global terrorist during 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, in New Delhi.  

A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India's bid at the United Nations to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar as a global terrorist.

When asked to comment on India's request, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said she has to check the specific details of the talks between the two ministers.

"As per to India's request for the listing of Masood (Azhar) we already stated our position for many times," she said.

"On the counter terrorism issue, China has always actively participated in international anti-terrorist operations. We have always made our decisions and judgements on the merits of the matter itself," she said.

"We will continue to step up the security cooperation to uphold the regional peace and stability with parties," she said. 

Azhar is accused of several deadly terrorist attacks in India, including one on the Uri military base in Kashmir in 2016 in which 17 security personnel were killed. 

China has blocked India's efforts to designate Azhar under the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council citing lack of consensus among the members of the Council.

-- PTI
17:42   Will extend hand of friendship to India after 2019 elections : Imran Khan
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he would once again extend a hand of friendship to India after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as he believed New Delhi rebuffed his offer of talks because Pakistan is an issue in the elections in the neighbouring country.
Speaking at the high-profile Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Khan said Pakistan wants "peace with all our neighbours particularly India and Afghanistan for regional peace and stability."

"Peace with India would help the two countries to divert their resources towards human development instead of indulging in arms race," Khan was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan.

Similarly, peace in Afghanistan would help Pakistan to have an easy access to the Central Asian states for bilateral economic and trade activities, he said.

Khan said he had extended a hand of friendship to India, which rebuffed the move.

After assuming power in August, Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.

India accepted the proposal but, within hours of its acceptance, terrorists killed three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, prompting New Delhi to cancel the foreign ministers' meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA.

"He (Khan) attributed this (cancellation) to anti-Pakistan rhetoric raking in votes in India," the Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the prime minister.

Prime Minister Khan said he would try once again following the conclusion of the general elections in India.

-- PTI
17:15   Ram temple not poll issue, but a matter of faith: Shahnawaz
BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain Tuesday said the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya was not an electoral issue for his party but a "matter of faith".

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had last week demanded a law to enable construction of the Ram temple, saying it was necessary for "self-esteem" (of the people in general) and to usher in an "atmosphere of goodwill and oneness".

Hussain said the BJP's official stand was that the Ram temple issue is pending before the Supreme Court. In a democracy, various demands are made and the government hears out each one of them, he said.

"All Indians want the temple to be constructed. It is not an electoral issue, but a matter of faith for the BJP," he said at the 'Mumbai Manthan' conclave organised by television news channel Aaj Tak. Hussain was participating in a debate on whether the Modi government will accept Bhagwat's demand for a law to construct the Ram temple. -- PTI
17:00   CBI gets 7-day custody of Asthana's deputy
Central Bureau of Investigation Deputy SP Devender Kumar has been sent to 7 days CBI custody. The Delhi High Court was hearing petitions filed by Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar seeking quashing of an FIR against them in a bribery case. The separate petitions filed by them were heard by Justice Najmi Waziri.

The CBI had yesterday arrested its DSP, Kumar, in connection with bribery allegations involving the investigative agency's second-in-command, Asthana.

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case.
16:39   HC orders CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Asthana
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the CBI to maintain status quo on the criminal proceedings initiated against its special director Rakesh Asthana, who has challenged the FIR lodged against him on bribery allegations.

The high court clarified that there was no stay on the ongoing probe. Justice Najmi Waziri also sought response of the probe agency and its Director Alok Kumar Verma as also Joint Director A K Sharma on the separate pleas of Asthana and Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar, arrested in the bribery case.

The notice has also been issued to Department of Personnel and Training, which is the administrative arm for the CBI. The order asking the agency to maintain the status quo has been issued on the plea of Asthana only.

The high court asked both Asthana and Kumar to preserve the records of the case and also their mobile records. It posted the matter for hearing on October 29.

During the hearing, CBI said charges against Asthana are serious and the agency was investigating the matter and is likely to add more offences in the FIR.

Asthana's counsel and senior advocate Amrendra Sharan said it is the case of illegal registration of FIR against the Special CBI Director which is based on the statement of accused. Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan appeared for Kumar for quashing of the FIR against him.

Asthana and Kumar have filed separate petitions. Asthana has also sought direction be passed that no coercive action be taken against him by the CBI.

Asthana moved the petition on Tuesday, hours after Kumar approached the high court which agreed to give an urgent hearing. Both the petitions were mentioned before Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, who allocated the matter for hearing before Justice Waziri.

The CBI had yesterday arrested its DSP, Kumar, in connection with bribery allegations involving the investigative agency's second-in-command, Asthana.
16:09   Father Kuriakose Kattuthara's postmortem today
The postmortem of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara is expected to be completed today, following which the police will decide on the future course of investigation into his death.

Father Kattuthara, a Roman Catholic priest, was a key witness against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, in the alleged nun rape case.

The prelate was found dead inside his room at a convent in Hoshiarpur district's Dasuya in Punjab on Monday morning.

Dasuya's Deputy Superintendent of Police AR Sharma on Tuesday said that no one will be spared if any foul play is found in the priest's death.

"Postmortem of the body will be completed today and further investigation will continue. If any foul play is found, no one will be spared," Sharma told reporters here.

On Monday, the brother of Kerala nun, who had accused Bishop Mulakkal of rape, alleged that the sudden death of Father Kattuthara is a "pre-planned murder".

Speaking to ANI, the nun's brother had demanded a thorough investigation into the death of Father Kattuthara.Bishop Mulakkal was released from Kottayam jail on October 16, a day after being granted conditional bail. He is facing allegations of repeatedly raping a nun of his own congregation, a charge that he denies. -- ANI
15:33   Erdogan: Khashoggi's murder premeditated, meticulously planned
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that his country's investigation into the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi has revealed that it was a premeditated and meticulously planned political assassination. He said that reconnaissance teams went as far as scouting forest areas near Istanbul.

Erdogan said Khashoggi's death was an international issue - and one that Turkey will pursue.  He said evidence suggests Khashoggi was the victim of a "gruesome murder' and an atrocity that must not be covered up. He said it was significant that the Saudis have admitted Khashoggi was murdered and so those involved must face justice.

He asked why was a 15-man Saudi team in Turkey? On whose orders? Why was the consulate not opened to investigators immediately? Why were so many different statements given by Saudis? Who is the local collaborator who disposed of Khashoggi's body? Erdogan said Saudi must answer all these questions. 

The Turkish president said security services have evidence that the murder was a planned affair. Turkey and the world will only be satisfied when all the planners and perpetrators are held to account. Other countries must participate in the investigation. He also called for an independent commission over the murder.

Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi journalist often critical of Saudi Arabia and its leadership, walked into the Istanbul consulate at around 1 pm on Oct 2, to pick up some documents that would allow him to marry. He never left the consulate alive. Turkish security sources say he was immediately seized inside the consulate by 15 Saudi intelligence operatives who had flown in on two jets just hours before, questioned, and killed and the body disposed off.  
15:13   JK govt withdraws circular on Gita, Ramayana in schools, colleges
The Jammu and Kashmir government has withdrawn a controversial circular that had asked the education department to provide the Urdu version of Bhagwad Gita and Ramayana in schools and other educational institutions in the state.

"The circular regarding the introduction of some religious books stands withdrawn ab initio under the orders of the chief secretary," an official said Tuesday.

The state government had issued the circular Monday, directing the Director of School Education for the Jammu and Kashmir divisions to purchase these religious books.

The circular had asked the School Education department, the Higher Education department, directors of colleges and libraries and the Culture department to consider purchasing a sufficient number of copies of the Urdu version of the Gita and the Ramayana, authored by Sarwanand Premi.

The circular had generated opposition from various quarters, with former chief minister Omar Abdullah questioning the decision to ignore the books of other religions. "Why just the Gita & Ramayana? If religious texts are to be placed in schools, colleges & government libraries (and I'm not convinced that they need/should be) then why is it being done selectively? Why are other religions being ignored?," the National Conference leader had said in a tweet. -- PTI
14:55   Would you take bloody sanitary napkin to temple? Smriti defends Sabarimala ban
Union minister Smriti Irani bats for a ban on women to Sabarimala. Speaking to ANI, this is Irani's bizarre explanation: "I have a right to pray, but not a right to desecrate. I am nobody to speak on the Supreme Court verdict as I'm a serving cabinet minster.

"But would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood into a friend's home? So why would you take them into the house of God?" she said.

The Supreme Court Tuesday said that it would hear on November 13 petitions challenging its Sabarimala verdict allowing women of all age groups entry into the temple.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul told lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara that it has already passed an order with regard to listing of petitions on November 13. Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association.

he Union textile minister was speaking at the "Young Thinkers" conference organised by the British High Commission and the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi.

"I am a practising Hindu married to a Zoroastrian. I have ensured that both my kids are practising Zoroastrians, who can go to the fire temple and pray," she said. Irani recalled that when her children were inside the fire temple, she had to stand outside on the road or sit in the car.

"When I took my newborn son (to the fire temple), I would give him at the (temple) entrance to my husband and wait outside, because I was shooed away and told not to stand there," she said. -- PTI
14:09   BJP's rath yatra in Bengal begins Dec 5
The central leadership of the BJP has deferred a "rath yatra", to be led by its chief Amit Shah, in West Bengal by two days in view of the party's Assembly election campaigns in other states, sources in the saffron party said.

BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said Shah will now kick off the "yatra" on December 5, instead of December 3, from the temple town of Tarapith in Birbhum.

Five states -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Telangana and Chhattisgarh -- are set to go to the polls between November 12 and December 7.

"Taking the Assembly polls into consideration, the party has decided to reschedule the dates for the rath yatra in the state," a senior BJP leader said.

The "yatra" will be taken to all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state -- three chariots covering 14 seats each -- he added. Sharing the programme details, Basu told PTI, "The first rally will begin from Birbhum on December 5. The second and third rallies will start from Coochbehar district in the north and Gangasagar in the south on December 7 and 9 respectively. Amit Shahji will be present at all the three rallies."

The tableaus will stop at various places for public meetings and interactions, Basu said. At the conclusion of the "yatra", the party planned to hold a massive rally in Kolkata, which was likely to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added.
13:48   Special CBI Director Asthana moves HC against lodging of FIR against him
Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court against the lodging of an FIR against him in a bribery case. Asthana has sought the high court's direction that no coercive action be taken against him. His petition was mentioned before Chief Justice Rajendra Menon. The chief justice allocated the matter to an appropriate bench, which will hear it in the post-lunch session. -- PTI
13:43   Graft case: CBI DSP moves Delhi HC challenging arrest
CBI DSP Devender Kumar Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging his arrest in connection with bribery allegations involving agency's Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

The matter was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan. The court listed the plea for hearing before an appropriate bench in the post lunch session today. The DSP has made CBI, its director Alok Kumar Verma, joint director A K Sharma and Department of Personnel and Training as parties in the case.

The plea has sought quashing of the FIR terming it as being "illegal, frivolous and malafide". "Issue an appropriate writ or order calling for the records of the case and other related documents and for quashing of the FIR registered against the petitioner," the plea said, adding he has no other efficacious remedy than to approach the high court.

The CBI had yesterday arrested Kumar in connection with bribery allegations involving its second-in-command Asthana. Kumar, who was earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested yesterday by the CBI on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case. -- PTI
13:22   SC directs Rajasthan govt to stop illegal mining within 48 hours
The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Rajasthan government to stop illegal mining in a 115.34-hectare area in Aravalli hills within 48 hours. A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said it was compelled to pass this order because Rajasthan has taken the issue "very lightly".

The apex court also referred to a central empowered committee report that 31 hills or hillocks have vanished in the state's Aravalli area. The court was hearing a matter related to illegal mining activities in Aravalli hills. -- PTI
13:19   Djimon Hounsou to play Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege in 'Panzi'
Oscar-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou is set to portray the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege in biopic "Panzi". The film will be helmed by actor-turned-director Marie-Helene Roux, reported Variety. Mukwege is a prominent Congolese gynecologist who founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where for decades he has been treating thousands of women who have been raped by armed rebels. He was jointly awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize with Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad for "their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict". The film is currently in casting and is scheduled to start shooting next summer. -- PTI

Image: Denis Mukwege is a prominent Congolese gynecologist who founded the Panzi Hospital to treat victims of sexual violence by armed rebels.
12:43   SC refers to 5-judge constitution bench for selecting CEC, ECs
The Supreme Court Tuesday referred to a 5-judge constitution bench a plea seeking collegium-like selection process for appointing the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and SK Kaul considered submissions raised by lawyer Prashant Bhushan and said the issue of appointment of CEC and ECs has to be taken up by a larger constitution bench.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Anoop Baranwal, seeking a transparent selection process for appointment of Election Commissioners in the poll panel.

The Centre, represented by Attorney General K K Venugopal, however, opposed the petition saying so far no case of abuse of official position by the CEC had come forward and referred to names like TN Seshan and other persons who have graced the office of the CEC. -- PTI
12:26   Prashant Kishor: Won't contest polls for 10 years
Ending days of speculation, election strategist-turned-national vice president of Bihars ruling Janata Dal-United party, Prashant Kishor, Tuesday said he would not contest elections,including the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha polls the for next 10 years.

I will continue to work without contesting elections for the next 10 years to serve Bihar, Kishor said. He added that his goal was to work to help Bihar enter the top 10 developed states of the country.

There was speculation in political circles in Patna whether Kishor would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls after he joined the JD-U last month.

It was also reported in local Hindi dailies that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the party's president, is likely to send Kishor to the Rajya Sabha soon.

Kishore said he will devote his entire time and energy to strategise and strengthen the JD-U in the state and outside it.

Prashant Kishor was appointed party national vice president by Nitish Kumar recently that is widely seen as his elevation to second position in the JD-U after Nitish Kumar.

In in his 40s, known as a successful polls strategist for a number of parties including the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha and JD-U in 2015 Bihar assembly polls, Kishor is considered close to Nitish Kumar.  

More than any one he enjoys the trust and confidence of Nitish Kumar, a senior JD-U leader said.

Over the last two days, the party VP has been busy meeting and interacting with youth activists of the JD-U, mostly from the youth and student wing.

-- MI Khan/
12:10   Konark calling
Bhubaneshwar: Abhijit Iyer Mitra appears before Odisha Assembly; he was summoned by the assembly for making derogatory remarks on the Konark Sun Temple.
11:52   India lodges strong protest with Pak over killing of 3 soldiers along LoC
India summoned a senior official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi Tuesday and lodged a strong protest over the loss of lives of three of its soldiers during an infiltration bid by Pakistani terrorists in the Sunderbani sector of Jammu and Kashmir two days ago.

The Ministry of External Affairs,, in a statement, said it also condemned in the strongest terms such a provocative action by Pakistan, which revealed the neighbouring country's complicity in aiding and abetting terrorism and exposed the hollowness of its deceitful claims of promoting a constructive engagement with India and desire for peace.

The Pakistan High Commission official was summoned to the MEA and a demarche was made, lodging a strong protest over the loss of lives of Indian soldiers during the cross-border infiltration bid by Pakistani terrorists in the Sunderbani sector on October 21, the statement said.

"It was informed that two Pakistani armed intruders have been killed by the Indian security forces during the ensuing firefight and the government of Pakistan should take custody of the dead bodies of its nationals," the MEA said.

Two heavily-armed Pakistani intruders and three Indian soldiers were killed in a gunfight Sunday after the Army foiled the infiltration bid along the Line of Control in the Sunderbani sector.

The Army had also warned Pakistan Monday to restrain the terrorists operating from its soil. India also conveyed to the Pakistani side Tuesday its grave concern over the continuing incidents of unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Pakistani forces along the LoC and the International Border,

"Despite repeated calls for restraint and adherence to the ceasefire understanding of 2003 for maintaining peace and tranquillity, Pakistan forces have carried out 1,591 incidents of unprovoked ceasefire violations along the LoC and IB in 2018 so far," the MEA said.

Pakistan was also asked to abide by its bilateral commitment not to allow any territory under its control to be used for supporting terrorism against India in any manner, it added. -- PTI
11:46   SC to hear pleas challenging its Sabarimala verdict on Nov 13
The Supreme Court Tuesday said that it would hear on November 13 the petitions challenging its Sabarimala verdict allowing women of all age groups entry into the temple.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul told lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara that it has already passed an order with regard to listing of petitions on November 13.

Earlier the court had noted that there were 19 review petitions pending in the matter, filed by the National Ayyappa Devotees Association and others seeking a review of its verdict.

A five-judge constitution bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

Meanwhile, Union minister Smriti Irani speaking at the Young Thinkers' Conference 2018, hosted by The Hindu, says, "I was once shooed away from praying inside a fire temple at Andheri and handed over my son to the priest for completing the Navjote formalities. I stood on the road outside and prayed. I too have a right to pray. But not a right to desecrate.

"One must ask if it is alright to take a blood-soaked sanitary napkin to a friend's house or a house of God," she added.

Image: Women protesting the SC verdict opening Sabarimala to women of all ages.
11:18   No complete ban on firecrackers, but conditions apply, says SC
The Supreme Court allows a two-hour window -- between 8 pm and 10 pm -- for bursting of firecrackers on Diwali and other festivals and imposes a partial ban on the sale of firecrackers in the country.

The court said that "green" crackers which have low emission levels will be across the country. The SC restrains e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers which are beyond the permissible limit.  SC says e-commerce websites will be hauled up for contempt of court if they don't adhere to court's direction. Sale of firecrackers will be through licenced holders only.

Firecrackers with permissible decibel limits will be allowed to be sold in the market, the court said.

Station house officers of police station concerned will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

The court is hearing a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.

The partial ban on bursting firecrackers will be applicable on Christmas and New Year as well, which will be from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am.

There will also be designated areas in Delhi and NCR where firecrackers can be burst. SC directs all states to explore feasibility of community cracker bursting during festivals. SC asks Centre to encourage community cracker bursting during Diwali and other festivals in Delhi-NCR.

A bench of Justices AK 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.
10:35   AR Rahman lends his voice to #MeToo
Music maestro AR Rahman believes India's #MeToo movement has the power to make the entertainment industry cleaner and respectful of women. The 51-year-old Oscar-winning composer, who shared his views on the movement Monday night via social media, said his aim has always been to create a safe working environment for everyone.

"Been observing the #MeToo movement... Some of the names have shocked me... both the victims and their perpetrators... I would love to see our industry become cleaner and respectful of women... More power to all the victims coming forward!!

"In all my endeavours, my team and I are committed to creating an environment where everyone finds a safe creative space to bring their best, evolve and succeed," he wrote.

Rahman, however, said people should be careful before creating a "internet justice system". "Social media offers great freedom for victims to speak up, however we should be careful in creating a new internet justice system, in case it's misused."

Rahman's statement comes weeks after his long-time collaborator Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu was accused of predatory behaviour by multiple women, including popular singer Chinmayi Sripaada.

India's #MeToo movement started after actor Tanushree Dutta revived a decade-old allegation of harassment against Nana Patekar, accusing him of sexual misconduct on the sets of a 2008 film.

Following Dutta's allegations, many from the Indian film industry including people like Vikas Bahl, Alok Nath, Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan have been accused of sexual harassment by various women.--  PTI
10:25   'Hindiuism is inclusive, assimilative and based on dialogue'
"It is exceptionally important for Hindus to once again get in touch with the foundation of Hinduism. Aggressive evangelists are reducing Hinduism to its lowest common denominator," Pavan K Varma, retired diplomat, former MP and national spokesperson of the Janata Dal-United, tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Read the interview here.
10:17   Police probe into death of priest who testified against bishop Franco
In Dasuya, police visit the room in St Paul's church where Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, used to live. The priest was a witness in the Kerala nun rape case and was found dead yesterday. The Station House Officer said, "Prima facie, it was natural death. But it will be ascertained after postmortem. The door handle was broken by locals to take the body out; we've checked it."

Kattuthara, 62, was found unconscious in his room in Dasuya, 40 km from Hoshiarpur town, on Monday morning and was taken to a local hospital where he was declared brought dead. Police said the cause of the death would be known after post-mortem.

According to police, no visible injury marks were found on the body.

Relatives of Kattuthara in Kerala said the priest was concerned about his safety after coming out openly against rape-accused bishop Franco Mulakkal. Kattuthara had testified against Mulakkal, they said.

Besides demanding a thorough probe into the death, the relatives want the post-mortem to be conducted at the Alappuzha Medical College in Kerala.

Image: Police at the room in St Paul's church Dasuya, where Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, used to live. Pic: ANI
10:04   Rajnath leaves for Srinagar
Home Minister Rajnath Singh leaves for Srinagar to hold a review meeting on the security situation and will also meet Governor Satyapal Malik.
09:46   SC likely to deliver verdict on countrywide firecrackers' ban today
The Supreme Court is expected to pronounce today, the verdict on a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.

A bench of Justices AK 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 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 the 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.

On October 9 last year, the top court temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali.

Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017.  -- PTI
09:33   Hyderabad woman stranded in Somalia, kin seek Sushma's help
A woman from Hyderabad, who has been living in Somalia since 2013, is allegedly being mistreated and tortured by her in-laws.Mohammad Wahiuddin, brother of Mohammedi Begum, alleged that his sister's in-laws not even provided adequate food to her.

"My sister Mohammedi Begum got married to Somalian national Sayeed Hassan Ibrahim in the year 2003 in Hyderabad and the duo used to stay with us in our residence in Hyderabad for around 10 years. They were blessed with three sons and two daughters. Later, in 2013, my sister's husband said that his parents in Somalia want to see their children. So, my sister along with her five children went to Somalia on 1 April 2013. However, Sayeed stayed in Hyderabad for one long year and then he shifted to America. Since then my sister and her kids have been stuck in Somalia and facing lots of problems. She is being tortured by her in-laws, they are not even providing adequate food to eat," woman's brother told ANI.

Wahiuddin also urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Embassy of India in Somalia to intervene in the matter and rescue his sister and her children.

"My only appeal to both Sushma Ji and the Indian Embassy in Somalia is, they should rescue my sister and her kids and bring them back home to India as soon as possible without any further delay," he added. -- ANI
09:23   US will increase nuclear arsenal if others do not 'come to their senses': Trump
President Donald Trump has warned that the United States will increase its nuclear arsenal until other nations "come to their senses", days after he said the US would pull out of a Cold war era arms control treaty with Russia.
Trump has confirmed that he would withdraw the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia that limited the number of missiles in the two nations, accusing Moscow of violating the deal.
The treaty was one of those agreements and is set to expire in the next two years. 

The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the US and its allies in Europe and the Far East.
"We will build it (nuclear arsenal) up. Until people come to their senses -- Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago. 
"Until people come to their senses -- we have more money than anybody else by far, we'll build it up until they come to their senses," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"The US now wants to leave the INF. I'm terminating the agreement because they violated the agreement. I'm terminating the agreement, he said.
"When they do, then we'll all stop. We will not only stop, we'll reduce, which I would love to do. But right now, they have not adhered to the agreement, Trump said.
Reiterating that Russia had violated the treaty, he said, "They have not adhered to the spirit of that agreement or to the agreement itself, Russia -- China's not as good at the agreement, they should be. But until they get smart, there's nobody that's going to be even close to us."
"It's a threat to whoever you want, and it includes China, and it includes Russia and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game. You can't do that. You can't play that game on me, Trump asserted.
Russia has denied it is in violation of the treaty. -- PTI
09:16   Gurugram judge's son shot by guard dies
The 19-year-old son of the Gurugram judge who was shot at by his personal security guard, died of injuries at a hospital on Tuesday morning.

Additional Sessions Judge Krishan Kant's 45-year-old wife Ritu died on October 14 and his son Dhruv, 18, was in a critical state and on life support after they were shot at by their armed guard, Mahipal Singh, when they were coming out of a shopping mall on October 13.

Singh was arrested soon after the incident and later sent to judicial custody.

After initial interrogation of the accused, police officers said that Singh was a Haryana police head constable and serving as personal security guard of the judge for the past two years.

He had been demanding leave to go home but this was not granted. This might have led to him suffering from depression, the officers said.

In video footage of the incident recorded by a witness, Mahipal was seen with the gun in his hand. He was also seen trying to push Dhruv inside the car as he laid listless on the road.
08:46   Sena MP Sanjay Raut meets UP CM over Uddhav's proposed Ayodhya visit
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow ahead of the proposed visit of party president Uddhav Thackeray to Ayodhya.
Thackeray had announced in his party's Vijayadashmi rally in Mumbai last week that he would visit Ayodhya on November 25 and "question" Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the temple construction issue.
Raut tweeted his photo with the UP CM and said the latter has welcomed Thackeray's visit to the temple town.
The Sena, a ruling constituent in the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and Centre, had accused the BJP of delaying construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. -- PTI 
08:24   Not satisfied with the Saudis on Khashoggi investigation: Trump
United States President Donald Trump has said he was "not satisfied" with the response of Riyadh over the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Turkey.
The president also said a group of US officials are in Saudi Arabia and another group of investigators in Turkey are trying to gather information on this issue. 
"I am not satisfied with what I've heard," Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for an election rally in Texas Monday.
"We will know very soon. We have tremendously talented people very well. They're coming back tonight or tomorrow and I will know very soon," he said responding to a question.
Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where he had gone to collect some papers related to his marriage. 
For the first two weeks, the government of Saudi Arabia had said Khashoggi left the consulate through the back door.
Following a global outrage, a few days ago, the Saudi government in a statement acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in a fistfight inside the consulate and noted that an interrogation went wrong. 
Except for Trump administration officials, lawmakers and think-tanks are saying that the Saudi explanation is not credible.
Trump had told reporters that he has spoken to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wields the real power in Saudi Arabia after the King. 
"We have people over in Saudi Arabia now. We have top intelligence people in Turkey. We're going to see what we have. 
"I'll know a lot tomorrow, they'll be coming back either tonight or tomorrow morning," the US president said.
Responding to questions, Trump said he was against making any move on the USD 110 billion mega arms deal with the Saudis. 
"I don't want to lose all of that investment that's being made in our country. I don't want to lose a million jobs, I don't want to lose USD110 billion in terms of investment, but it's really USD450 billion So that's very important," he said.
However, "we're going to get to the bottom of it", Trump said. -- PTI
00:05   'I can't say I'm safe': NSA whistleblower Snowden
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says he does not feel safe living in Russia but does not regret becoming a whistleblower.

Snowden, 35, opened up about his life in exile while participating via video conference at an event organised by the Management Center Innsbruck in Austria.

Sowden has lived in Moscow since 2013, after leaking thousands of classified documents detailing the NSA's domestic surveillance and eavesdropping program targeting foreign nationals and Americans alike.

"Russia is not my home; Russia is my place of exile," Snowden told the audience, adding, "The United States will always be my first priority."

He continued: "As for the future in Russia and what will happen there, I can't say I'm safe. I don't know."

But Snowden added that he never had an expectation of safety and it did not factor into his decision-making.

"I didn't come forward to be safe," Snowden said. "If I wanted safety, I'd be sitting in Hawaii right now, making a lot of money, spying on everyone."

On June 5, 2013, The Guardian in Britain published the first story based on Snowden's leaks, revealing that a secret court order was allowing the US government to get Verizon to share the phone records of millions of Americans.