Sat, 22 September 2018
Cong's march on Sep 27 to demand PM's resignation over Rafale

Timeline  Refresh

20:55   Cong's march on Sep 27 to demand PM's resignation over Rafale
The Maharashtra Congress will carry out a protest march on September 27 in Mumbai to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan hit out at Modi claiming that for the latter, business interests of friends was greater than the interest of the nation.

He further alleged that details pertaining to the Rafale deal, which he claimed was a scam, was being brushed under the carpet under the guise of national security.

"Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are misleading the people and betraying their trust. Both should resign immediately. Due to the scam, Modi's corrupt face has been exposed," Chavan claimed.

The Congress has been accusing massive irregularities in the deal, alleging that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the United Progressive Alliance government when it was negotiating procurement of 126 Rafale jets.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Police stops Indian Youth Ccongress members during a protest over Rafale deal issue outside the AICC office in New Delhi on Saturday. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo
Change in value of rupee during September.
Market performance in September.
20:05   Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra quits BJP
Ahead of the assembly polls in Rajasthan, former Union minister Jaswant Singh's son and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manvendra Singh on Saturday said he has quit the party.

He announced the decision at a press conference after addressing a rally at Pachpadra in his Barmer constituency.

He said he was yet to take a decision on whether to join the Congress or not.

At the rally, he indicated that joining the Bharatiya Janata Party was a 'big mistake'.

"Kamal ka phool, badi bhool," he said.

When contacted by PTI after the public meeting, dubbed swabhiman or self-respect rally, he said, "I am no longer in BJP."

Earlier, the MLA referred to the denial of a party ticket to his father Jaswant Singh in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.  --  PTI
19:53   He must have said that to enthuse BJP workers: Patnaik on PM's remakrs
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday dismissed the prime minister's allegations about corruption in the state government, saying Narendra Modi must have said this to enthuse Bharatiya Janata Party workers.

Stepping up his criticism of the Biju Janata Dal dispensation ahead of the assembly and general elections next year, Modi on Saturday alleged that a culture of 'PC' (percentage commission) and delay in decisions had become the identity of the Odisha government resulting in the state's tardy development.

Reacting to Modi's remarks, Patnaik said the Centre should rather think about the scams in the skill mission and Ujjwala schemes.

The prime minister was in Odisha to address two public meetings at Talcher and Jharsuguda 'In fact, they should be thinking about their skill mission scam and Ujjwala scheme scam .. They should be considering that,' the chief minister told reporters on returning from Jharsuguda, where he was with Modi at the inauguration of a new airport.

The Centre should also seriously think about the record increase in prices of petrol and diesel because of which the people of the country are suffering, the BJD president said.

On the Ayushman Bharat scheme, Patnaik said the state's scheme is better than the centre's as it covers an extra 50 lakh people and provides Rs 7 lakh to women as against Rs 5 lakh by the central programme.

Similarly, an extra 25 lakh poor people are covered under the food security scheme in the state, he said.   -- PTI
19:16   France didn't choose Reliance in any way: Hollande
France 'did not choose Reliance in any way', Former France President Franois Hollande tells AFP.

More details awaited.  -- ANI
18:48   Islampur clash: BJP calls for 12-hour shutdown in WB
The Bharatiya Janata Party has called a 12-hour shutdown in West Bengal on September 26 to protest the killing of two students in a clash with police in North Dinajpur district in the state.

Announcing the shutdown, senior BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Pratap Banerjee accused the state government of failing to control the situation in Islampur, where the clash occurred on Thursday at Daribhit High School.

The villagers of Daribhit had claimed that the students were hit by bullets fired by police.

However, the police had denied its involvement, even as the district superintendent of police had conceded that the two had died of bullet injuries.

Pratap Banerjee said, "We have decided to call a 12-hour shutdown in the state against the killing two people in police firing in Islampur area."

The people of Islampur and the entire state are 'fed up with the misrule of TMC in Bengal' and the shutdown will be 'an expression of people's anger against the anti-people government', he said in Kolkata.

SP Sumnit Kumar had said members of the mob were carrying bombs and arms, and 14 policemen were injured in the clash.

Seven people, including some BJP supporters, were detained in connection with the incident which took place when the students and locals stopped three newly recruited Urdu teachers from entering the school with police help on Thursday.

The students had said they needed science and english teachers and not Urdu teachers, and demanded that all vacant teaching posts in the school be filled.

The BJP had observed a 12-hour shutdown in North Dinajpur district on Friday over the incident.  -- PTI
17:59   Reliance, Dassault entered into agreement during UPA rule: BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday condemned as 'shameful and irresponsible' Congress chief Rahul Gandhi remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, saying no president of any party has ever used such language against a PM.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also alleged that Reliance and Dassault had entered into agreement as early as 2012 when the United Progressive Alliance was in power.

He also ruled out a joint parliamentary committee probe saying it cannot be done to satisfy the ego of an 'ill-informed leader'.

Prasad accused Gandhi of 'playing into the hands of Pakistan and China' by seeking the details of the Rafale fighter jets.

He also alleged that there was pressure for extraneous considerations and 'bribe' for not finalising the Rafale deal during the UPA rule despite holding negotiations for years.  -- PTI
17:40   Need to pay back terrorists, Pak in same coin: Gen Rawat
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat says India has made it clear to Pakistan that talks and terror can't go hand in hand.

Gen Rawat was reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement terming India's decision to cancel the foreign minister-level meeting in New York as 'arrogant'.

"I think our government's policy has been quite clear and concise. We've made no bones about the fact that talks and terrorism can't go hand in hand. Pakistan needs to curb menace of terrorism," Gen Rawat said.

"We need to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that terrorists and the Pakistan Army have been carrying out. Yes, it's time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain," the Army Chief said.  -- ANI
16:55   Need to understand Hollande's statement in full context: MoD
Ministry of Defence reacts to Rafale controversy:

'Unnecessary controversies are being created following reports regarding a statement purportedly made by former French President, Francois Hollande, concerning selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner by Dassault, manufacturers of Rafale aircraft.

'The reported statement perhaps needs to be seen in its full context -- where the French media has raised issues of conflict of interest involving persons close to the former President.

'His subsequent statements are also relevant in this regard.

'It is once again reiterated that the government of India has no role in the selection of Indian offset partner which is a commercial decision of the Original Equipment Manufacturer,' the ministry of defence said.  -- ANI
16:40   Bangladeshi 'termites' will be removed from voter lists: Shah
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said on Saturday that Bangladeshi migrants are like 'termites' and each one of them will be struck off the electoral roll.

Referring to the draft National Register of Citizens recently published in Assam, he said, "The BJP government brought NRC and prima facie identified nearly 40 lakh illegal immigrants."

The BJP government will pick out each and every 'infiltrator', he said.

"BJP sarkaar ek-ek ghuspaithiye ko chun-chun kar matdata suchi se hatane ka kaam karegi," he said.

Shah was speaking at a public meeting in Sawai Madhopur district's Gangapur before heading for another event in Kota.

The BJP chief was in Rajasthan earlier this month as well as his party and the Congress gear up for the Assembly elections by the year-end.  -- PTI
15:37   We're absolutely convinced that the PM is corrupt: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the media in New Delhi on former French President Fracois Hollande's comments yesterday that it it was government of India who recommended the name of Reliance Defence as offset partner in the Rafale deal.

"For the first time, an ex- French President is calling our PM a thief" Rahul said.

"The prime minister should clarify if what the ex-French President is saying is true or false," the Congress president said.

"We're absolutely convinced that the prime minister of India is corrupt. This question is now clearly settled in the mind of the Indian people that 'desh ka chowkidaar chor hai'," Gandhi said.

He said that when the contract of the deal was changed, former defence minister (Manohar Parrikar) said he didn't know about it.

"He was buying fish in the markets of Goa," Gandhi said.  -- ANI
15:28   Kashmir: Massive search op underway to trace killers of 3 cops
A day after three policemen were abducted and killed by terrorists, security forces Saturday launched a massive cordon and search operation in Shopian and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.      

The cordon and search operation was launched in at least eight villages in Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir early this morning, a police official said.

He said a joint team of police, Army and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force launched the CASO to flush out terrorists from the area.

The official said the operation was going on when last reports came in.

Three cops were Friday abducted and later killed by militants in Shopian district.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between groups of youth and security forces during the CASO at Shermal in Shopian, the official said.

He said youth pelted stones on the security forces carrying out searches in the area.

The forces fired tear gas shells to quell the protests, the official said, adding, clashes were going on.  -- PTI
15:17   Bishop Mulakkal sent to police custody till Sept 24
Former Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal sent to police custody till September 24 in Kerala nun rape case. His bail application has been dismissed.

In its remand report, the police said Mulakkal came to the convent with the intention of sexually assaulting the victim.

On May 5, 2014, he illegally confined her in room no. 20 of the guest house at around 10.48 pm and subjected her to unnatural sexual assault, it said.

Accused threatened victim of dire consequences if she ever revealed the incident. He raped her on the next day (May 6) as well. Between 2014-2016, the victim was subjected to rape and unnatural sex for 13 times in the same room, the police said.  -- ANI
15:05   Country cannot run on one single ideology: Rahul
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said there was a feeling among people that one ideology was being imposed upon them and asserted that the country cannot be run on one single idea.

The strength of the country, he said, is that people are allowed to discuss ideas.

Attacking the government over its education policy, Gandhi said government institutions should be given precedence over private institutions and the government should put money to strengthen them.

"Government institutions should be the guiding light and not private institutions. The government should put money in the system to strengthen government institutions," he said addressing eminent academicians at an event at Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi.

He said there is feeling that ideology is being imposed.

"You feel an ideology is being imposed upon you. This sense and this feeling is not only in your heart but it is in everybody's hearts from farmers to labourers. The country cannot be run from one single idea," he said.

"The fact that we allow people to talk to discuss. This is the strength of our country it is not the weakness of our country. If we see 3000 years of India's history, we are going to win. We are not going to lose," he said.  -- PTI
14:17   Mulakkal produced in court, cops seek 3-day custody
Former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal being produced before a magistrate court in Pala in Kerala nun rape case.

The police has filed for a three-day custody of Mulakkal.

Lawyer of Mulakkal didn't oppose the custody and put forward a condition that his blood samples and saliva must not be taken without his permission, citing that it can be misused.

The lawyer has also filed a bail application, the hearing will resume at the magistrate court in Kottayam's Pala shortly.  -- ANI
13:33   PM asks Odisha CM to link people with Ayushman Bharat scheme
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday asked Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to link the people of the state with the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme.

The scheme provides Rs 5 lakh health insurance to the people.

"I urge Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik to link people of state with Ayushman Bharat scheme to be launched on Sunday," he said addressing a public meeting after launching commencement of work for the country's first coal gassification-based fertiliser plant at Talcher.

Referring to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's famous assertion that only 15 paisa out of a Rupee sanctioned by the Centre for welfare of people reaches beneficiaries, he said, "They knew about the 'bimari' (illness) but had no vision to solve it."

The Bharatiya Janata Party government's decision to directly transfer money to bank accounts of beneficiaries has done away with the practise of middlemen in implementation of any welfare scheme, he said.

Pointing towards the overwhelming gathering of people at the rally, Modi said it 'clearly showed' what the people of Odisha are thinking.  -- PTI
12:39   Modi, Ambani jointly carried out surgical strike on forces: Rahul
Upping the ante on the Rafale issue, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a 'surgical strike' on the defence forces.

His renewed attack on Modi came a day after a French media report quoted former French president Francois Hollande as purportedly saying that the Indian government proposed Ambani's Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice.

'The PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out ... SURGICAL STRIKE on the Indian Defence forces. Modi Ji you dishonoured the blood of our martyred soldiers. Shame on you. You betrayed India's soul (sic),' Gandhi tweeted.

Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with then French President Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.

The opposition party has been accusing the government of choosing Reliance Defence over state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to benefit the private firm though it did not have any experience in the aerospace sector.  -- PTI
12:14   UN chief to arrive in India on October 1
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will arrive in India on October 1 for a three-day official visit.

The visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of India's Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019.

In 2007, the General Assembly designated 2 October as the International Day of Non-Violence.During his visit, Guterres will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi on October 1.

The following morning, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.

He is also scheduled to meet Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, before giving an address at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme 'Global challenges, global solutions' on October 2.

The same evening, Guterres will take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance.On October 3, the Secretary-General will meet with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

In the afternoon, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar.Guterres will return to New York on October 4.  -- ANI
11:29   Storm hits Golden Globe Race, navy sends warship to rescue injured officer
The Indian Navy today said all efforts were being made to rescue its officer, who has been injured after his vessel was hit by a vicious storm mid-way across the south Indian Ocean while taking part in the Golden Globe Race.
Commander Abhilash Tomy of the navy, representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 on an indigenously built sailing vessel 'Thuriya' suffered a back injury Friday after the yacht was dismasted.
"All out efforts are being made to rescue Abhilash Tomy. Indian Naval stealth Frigate, INS Satpura operating in the Indian Ocean has been dispatched for the rescue mission," a defence spokesman said.
The Indian Navy commander is in the south Indian Ocean, approximately 1,900 nautical miles from Perth in Australia, and the Australian Rescue Coordination centre at Canberra is coordinating the rescue mission in conjunction with many agencies including the Australian Defence Department and the Indian Navy, he said quoting information received from organisers.
Commander Abhilash was dismasted in extremely rough weather and sea condition, with wind speeds of 130 kmph and 10 metre high waves.
He was in 3rd position and has sailed over 10,500 nautical miles in the last 84 days, since commencement of the race on July 1.
According to a report issued from the Les Sables d'Olonne, France Friday night, the 70 knot winds and 14 metre high seas have left the yachts of Indian Navy's Tomy and Ireland's Gregor McGuckin dismasted, and have twice knocked down the yacht of second-placed Dutchman Mark Slats.
Both McGuckin and Slats report that they are okay, but 39-year-old Tomy, a commander in the Indian Navy making his second solo circumnavigation, has been injured, it had said.
It had also said other entrants were asked to make towards Tomy's position if possible, and added that the weather was extreme.
The nearest yacht happens to be that of Gregor McGuckin's Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance, some 90 miles to the southwest of Tomy's Thuriya, but she too was dismasted in the same storm.
Commander Tomy, who became the first Indian to have circumnavigated the globe in 2013, is the only Indian participating in the Golden Globe Race that involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe. -- PTI 
10:57   Alec Baldwin will return to 'SNL' as Donald Trump
Actor Alec Baldwin will be back as President Donald Trump in the upcoming 44th season of "Saturday Night Live".
The news was revealed during James Andrew Miller's Origins podcast focused on the new season, which kicks off September 29. The premiere will be hosted by Adam Driver and feature a performance by Kanye West.
"Trump is insane. I think most people know, the guy he is insane. We have a man who is president who is insane. You can't go far enough with this idiot. You can't go far enough. You can't go far enough" Baldwin said.
Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of "Saturday Night Live," told Miller that he was glad to have Baldwin return to the role. 
"I think there is probably no other actor who is looking to take that and follow Alec. And I think, for a new cast member to come in and try that would be a really tough thing to do," Michaels said.
Baldwin's return had been in doubt given comments he had made during SNL's Season 43. "Every time I do it now, it's like agony. Agony. I can't," he had said. 
Trump responded to his comments soon after, tweeting, "Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch."
Baldwin tweeted right back, "Agony though it may be, I'd like to hang in there for the impeachment hearings, the resignation speech, the farewell helicopter ride." -- PTI 
10:32   UPDATE - Franco Mulakkal discharged from govt hospital
Priest Franco Mulakkal, arrested by the police over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun, was today discharged from the government hospital in Kottayam where he was admitted following complaints of chest pain, officials sources said.
The 54-year-old clergyman would be produced in a magistrate court in Pala later in the day.
He had complained of pain in his chest while being taken to Kottayam Police club from the Crime Branch office in Thrippunithura in Ernakulam district Friday night, they said.
He was under observation in the cardiology section of the Medical College Hospital for over 6 hours after his blood pressure shot up, they said.
Sources said ECG and other cardiac related tests were performed. His health condition is said to be normal. -- PTI
10:30   Cancelling talks with Pak right step: Kargil war hero's father
NK Kalia, father of Captain Saurabh Kalia, who lost his life in Kargil war, today said the government's move to call off a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi is a right step.

Speaking to ANI, NK Kalia said, "India has taken the right step. No talks should be held with Pakistan till the time it proves that it has sincere intentions."

He further stated that Pakistan has always posed a problem for India whenever an agreement aiming to strengthen the relationship was signed.

"I am afraid that in the future too they (Pakistan) will not improve themselves. Had this meeting would have taken place, it would have been another futile exercise and sheer wastage of time and energy," he added.

He also said that "this bold move by the Indian government will be welcomed by the all the patriotic people of the country".

Captain Saurabh Kalia along with five other soldiers of his patrolling team were held as a prisoner of war by the Pakistan Army, kept in captivity where they were tortured, then killed.

On Friday, New Delhi called off the meeting with Pakistan just a few hours after two Special Police Officers and one policeman in Jammu and Kashmir were kidnapped and brutally killed by the terrorists. While announcing its decision, Ministry of External Affairs said that the true face of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had been revealed in the wake of the brutal killings.

On September 18, mutilated body of Border Security Force Head Constable Narender Singh was also found with multiple bullet injuries on his torso and neck.

The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the United National General Assembly in New York. The meeting was proposed by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. -- ANI
10:24   PM in Odisha to launch several projects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Odisha today to launch half-a-dozen projects, including a fertiliser plant at Talcher, and inaugurate Jharsuguda Airport and UDAN in the state.
Modi, who proceeded to Talcher after arriving in Bhubaneswar, will lay the foundation stone and commence work for the country's first coal gasification based fertiliser plant at Talcher in Angul district, officials said.
The fertiliser plant is being developed by Talcher Fertilisers Limited, a joint-venture of GAIL, Coal India Ltd, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers Ltd and Fertiliser Corporation of India Ltd, they said.
The plant, to be commissioned by 2022, will ensure easy availability of urea in Odisha as there is no urea plant in the state.
During his one-day visit to the state, Modi will also dedicate to the nation mines of the NTPC and the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd and railway tracks for transportation of coal.
Garjanbahal open cast mine of MCL, to be inaugurated by Modi, has coal block reserves of 230 million tonnes with annual production capacity of 13 million tonnes. It will generate direct employment opportunity for 894 people and
indirect job opportunities for 5,000, officials said.
The prime minister will launch the 53.1-km Jharsuguda-Serdega railway line constructed by MCL, which can be used for passenger traffic.
Modi will dedicate to the nation Dulanga Coal Mining Project of NTPC in Sundargarh district. This is the second mine of the the state-run company to be operational and its first in Odisha.
Coal produced from this mine will be used in the under-construction 1600-MW Darlipali Super Thermal Power Plant of NTPC in Sundargarh district, the officials said.
On the new airport in Jharsuguda, the officials said it has been developed for all-weather operations, including night operations for A-320 type aircraft.
Jharsuguda will be the second airport of Odisha to be operational and provide connectivity to Bhubaneswar, Raipur and Ranchi under the central government's UDAN scheme. -- PTI 
09:40   Nun rape case: Arrested priest hospitalised after complaint of chest pain
Priest Franco Mulakkal, arrested by the police over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun, has been admitted to a government hospital Kottayam after he complained of chest pain, official sources said Friday night.
He complained of chest pain when he was being taken to Kottayam Police club from the Crime Branch office in Thrippunithura in Ernakulam district Friday night, they said.
The vehicle carrying the priest was directed to the Medical College Hospital when it reached Ettumanoor at around 11 pm after the Bishop complained of chest pain, sources said.
He is is under the observation in the cardiology section of the college after his blood pressure shot up, they said.
Sources said his ECG and other cardiac related tests are being performed at the hospital.
Earlier, Mulakkal's medical check up was done at the Government Taluk Hospital in Thrippunithura Friday night, immediately after his arrest.
In her complaint to the Kottayam police in June, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions. 
 She said she had to approach the police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.-- PTI
09:19   UN chief Antonio Guterres to visit India in October
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres will travel to India early next month, his first trip to the country as head of the world body that coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Secretary-General will arrive in New Delhi on October 1. His visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 next year, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq told reporters here Friday.
On October 1, Guterres will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi and on October 2, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.  
During the visit, he will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on October 3. 
He will also meet with Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan before giving a lecture at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme 'Global challenges, global solutions'.  
The Secretary-General will also take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance. In the afternoon of October 3, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will return to New York on October 4.
Guterres had visited India in July 2016, just months ahead of the election for Secretary General. During his visit then, he had met Swaraj.
Replying to a question on Guterres' trip to the Golden Temple, Haq said that the visit is essentially a personal one as the UN chief wanted to see the holy Sikh pilgrimage site.
When asked if Guterres will be asked questions about the 1984 Sikh riots, Haq said it was a bit "premature" to mention the topics he will bring up.
Haq also expressed the world body's gratitude to the Indian government for its contribution of USD 1 million to install solar panels and a green roof on the Conference Building of the United Nations Secretariat. 
The contribution was received by Under-Secretary-General for Management Jan Beagle, who said that "India's generous contribution sends a strong message promoting innovation for action on climate change, and to enable greater efficiencies". 
 The initiative will help the Secretariat reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy, Haq added. -- PTI 
08:43   Rahul Gandhi to visit Amethi on Sep 24
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be on a two-day visit to his Parliamentary constituency Amethi, beginning September 24, a party leader said on Friday.
During the visit, the Congress chief will take part in the district vigilance and monitoring committee meeting at the collectorate in Gauriganj, said Yogendra Misra, the district unit president of the party.
He will also meet party workers and locals, Misra said.
Gandhi's political representative in Amethi Chandra Kant Dubey told PTI that after landing at Choudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow at 10 am on September 24, the Amethi MP will drive to Nigoha near Fursatganj to address a gathering of women on the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana.
Later, the Congress president will inaugurate some projects at Jais under Tiloi assembly segment completed through MP-LAD fund, Dubey said, adding that Rahul will meet farmers in evening at Gauriganj, the district headquarter of Amethi.
In the night, Rahul will stay at Musafirkhana, where he will meet party activists and different delegates to discuss political developments, Dubey said.
The next day, he will chair a meeting of the District Development and Monitoring Committee (earlier known as District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee) on the premises of collectorate at Gauriganj, the district headquarter, he said.
Union minister Smriti Irani paid two single-day visits to Amethi in the first week of this month during which she criticized the Amethi MP for his alleged negligence of Amethi.
Smriti had unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha poll from Amethi as BJP nominee against the Congress leader. -- PTI 
08:33   Our choice to go with Reliance: Dassault clarifies on Rafale deal
After former French president Francois Hollande's bombshell that the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the India partner in the multi-million dollar Rafale jet deal and not given them a choice, Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, said it has decided to make a partnership with the Reliance in accordance with the policy of 'Make in India'.
"This partnership has led to the creation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd joint-venture in February 2017. Dassault Aviation and Reliance have built a plant in Nagpur for manufacturing parts for Falcon and Rafale aircraft," the company said in a statement.

"This is Dassault Aviation's choice, as CEO Eric Trappier had explained in an interview published in MINT newspaper on April 17, 2018. This partnership has led to the creation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) joint-venture in February 2017," the company stated.

The French aviation company also said that contracts were signed with companies other than Reliance as well, as part of the offsets contract under the Rafale deal.

"Other partnerships have been signed with other companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini, SAMTEL,. Other negotiations are ongoing with hundred-odd other potential partners," the firm divulged.

The Congress has been accusing massive irregularities in the deal, alleging that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating procurement of 126 Rafale jets.
The Congress has also alleged that the government was benefitting Reliance Defence through the deal as the company has set up a joint venture with Dassault Aviation to execute the offset obligation for the deal.
The opposition parties have also alleged that the Reliance Defence was formed just 12 days before the announcement of the Rafale deal by the prime minister on 10 April 2015. The Reliance group has rejected the charges.
00:16   3-yr-old girl sexually abused by conductor of school van in Bhopal
A three-year-old girl was allegedly sexually abused in a school van by its 17-year-old conductor, who was detained, police said Friday.

The incident took place on Thursday afternoon when the girl, a pre-nursery student, was returning home in the Ayodhya Nagar area in Bhopal in the school van, they said.

The girl told her mother about the incident when she took her for a bath, Inspector Baljeet Singh said.

When her mother asked more questions, the girl named the school bus conductor as the culprit, he said.

The accused was taken into custody Thursday night, the officer added.

"The accused is 17 years and 6 months old as per his school mark-sheet. We sent him to the juvenile correctional home today," he said.

A case under the amended section 376 AB of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with punishment for rape of a girl under the age of 12, and also under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered, the inspector said.

The officer also said the accused was sent for counselling (as required in the case of juvenile offenders) before he was sent to the correctional home.

During counselling, the accused expressed remorse and said he would not commit such an act again, he said.

According to the police officer, the accused said pornographic material he had seen a few days ago led him to commit the crime.

Further probe is underway, he added.  -- PTI