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Fri, 28 September 2018
US Senate panel backs Trump's SC pick Kavanaugh

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23:49   US Senate panel backs Trump's SC pick Kavanaugh
The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to send the nomination of President Donald Trump's US Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh to the full Senate for consideration after he fought off allegations of sexual assault at a dramatic day-long public hearing.

In a last-minute move, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona asked for a delay of up to a week before the full vote takes place to allow for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. 
 
The panel split along strict party lines with the 11 Republican members backing Kavanaugh and all 10 Democrats voting against the president's controversial nominee.

The  nomination of the 53-year-old conservative judge will now go to the full Senate.
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23:18   I&B ministry urges private TV channels to run warning against lynching
The ministry of information and broadcasting Friday issued an advisory to all private satellite TV channels, urging them to run as a scroll that lynching and mob violence shall invite serious consequences under the law.
   
The Supreme Court had in July ordered that the central and state governments should broadcast on radio and television and other media platforms, including the official websites of the home department and police of the states, that lynching and mob violence of any kind shall invite serious consequences under the law.
 
"While Doordarshan is already implementing the decision, for ensuring widest possible outreach of the directions of the apex court, it is advised that private satellite TV channels may also run as scroll the two messages as given below in public interest.
 
"Mob violence and lynching is a heinous crime and invites serious consequences under the law. Mob violence and lynching is a serious criminal offence and invites stringent punishment under the law," the ministry letter said.
 
The advisory comes just days after the Home Ministry asked all states to make the general public aware that mob violence of any kind will invite serious consequences under the law.
 
Quoting the directive of the Supreme Court, the Home Ministry has told the states that preventive measures must be taken to check incidents of lynching which have taken place in different parts of the country in the recent past. -- PTI  
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23:10   Facebook says 50m user accounts affected by security breach
Social networking giant, Facebook said that it recently discovered a security breach affecting nearly 50 million user accounts.
 
The company says hackers exploited the "View As" feature on the service. 

Facebook says it has taken steps to fix the security problem and alerted law enforcement.

The company said engineers discovered the incident took place last Friday, and an investigation is still in the early stages.

"Since weve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed," the company said in a blogpost.
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22:51   There is alliance between ISI and Modi-Shah, Cong alleges
The Congress Friday alleged a "mahagathbandhan" between Pakistan's ISI and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, accusing the prime minister of betraying the country's national interests and its security.
 
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded that both the prime minister and the BJP president apologise to the nation for "inviting" the ISI to Pathankot air base and for reposing faith in it.
The Congress leader also said Modi and his party should not draw political gains out of the valour and courage of armed forces who carried out surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan.
"Modi-Shah duo have a 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) with Pakistan's ISI," he told reporters, claiming the  biggest proof of their links with the ISI was the statement by its former chief Assad Durrani that 'Modi is ISI's favourite choice as the prime minister of India'.
He said it was due to this "grand alliance" that the Modi government invited the ISI to probe Pathankot terror attack even though it was the Pakistani intelligence agency was responsible for it.
Surjewala alleged the Pakistani delegation invited to probe the Pathankot terrorist attack, included members of the ISI.
"The prime minister should tell the nation on what basis was the ISI, responsible for Pathankot terror attack, was allowed to carry out a probe," he said.
 
The Congress leader asked why "Shah gave character certificates of appreciation" to ISI on March 30, 2016 in Kolkata by publicly claiming that "Pakistan has made serious efforts in the Pathankot terror probe". 
 
"Shah should tell the nation why he praised Pakistan's ISI if he did not have links with it," he asked.
 
Surjewala was joined by a host of ex-servicemen, including Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh, in saying the valour of soldiers should not be used for political gains and vote garnering. 
 
They were objecting to the alleged release of a video by the government of surgical strikes carried out by Indian Army on terror camps in Pakistan.
Surjewala said his party saluted the indomitable courage and bravery of the Armed forces and the nation had always celebrated the valour, fortitude and the spirit of sacrifice of jawans. 
 
He said the wars of 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 were a testimony of the heroism of the Armed forces. 
"Conducting strategic surgical strikes with utmost precision and effective penetration at different times in last two decades has been characteristic of the grit and determination of our forces," he said, providing a list of such strikes since 2000.
"The prime minister and the BJP have always used the blood and sacrifice of our jawans as a tool to garner votes. In fact, the BJP chief dishonoured the valour of our armed forces on October 7, 2016 by disregarding the supreme sacrifices made in the five wars and numerous surgical strikes," he claimed. -- PTI
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22:45   Parrikar gets honorary doctorate from NIT
The ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the National Institute of Technology in Panaji on Friday. 
Parrikar is admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi for a pancreatic ailment.
He was conferred with the doctorate in his absence by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu during the convocation of the NIT.
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha was also present on this occasion.
"I am truly honoured and humbled to receive the Honorary Doctorate Degree by National Institute of Technology Goa, at the hands of the Hon'ble Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu ji," Parrikar tweeted from his hospital bed later. -- PTI
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22:05   Trump looks forward to visit India: US official
US President Donald Trump looks forward to visit India to reflect on the "amazingly positive" trajectory in India-US relationship, a top Trump Administration official said Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations next year.
 
"President Trump does look forward to visiting india again to reflect on what has been an amazingly positive trajectory in our relationship," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asia Region Alice Wells told PTI here in response to a question on when would the US president be able to make a visit to India. 
Wells added that she does not have further details as to when the President's trip to India  will take place. 
 
"I love India, give my regards to my friend PM (Narendra) Modi," Trump had told External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday as they exchanged pleasantries during a high-level event on counter-narcotics in New York.
 
Modi has met Trump at least twice in the past year the first during a bilateral visit to Washington and then once on the margins of a summit in Manila. -- PTI
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22:04   Hazare firm on hunger strike at his village from Oct 2
Saying that the BJP-led government at the Centre came to power because of the Lokpal agitation, social activist Anna Hazare has said he is firm on his decision to launch a hunger strike from October 2 for the appointment of anti-corruption ombudsman.
Hazare wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday, alleging that in the last four years the government kept dilly-dallying and did not appoint Lokpal and Lokayukta.

"On August 16, 2011, the entire country took to the streets for appointment of Lokpal and Lokayukta...Your government came to power because of that agitation," Hazare wrote.
"Gratefulness is our culture. You (government) should have been grateful towards people and given priority to their demand," Hazare, who launched an indefinite fast over the issue in Delhi in 2011, said.
"Four years have passed but the government is avoiding appointment of Lokpal and Lokayukta on one or the other pretext," he said.
He also alleged that the Prime Minister did not fulfil the "written assurances" given to him when he ended his recent hunger strike on the issue at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan in March this year.
Hazare had earlier announced that he would sit on fast at Ralegan Siddhi from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
He also said in the letter that the BJP-led government at the Centre had promised to look into his demand of grant of autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices but it did nothing.
The CACP determines minimum support prices of various agricultural commodities. -- PTI
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21:52   Surgical strikes proved terror acts will not go unpunished: Sitharaman
On the eve of the second anniversary of the surgical strikes, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said terrorists launch pads were destroyed after the exercise and those wanting to spread terror were adequately punished.
 
The government is celebrating Parakram Parv from September 28-30 to mark the second anniversary of the surgical strikes the forces had carried out on terror launch pads in 2016. 
"We showed for the cowardly act of killing (that) India shall not sit and watch the whole thing. We proved to them (terrorists) that it (their acts) shall not go unpunished. 
"It is all out in the open now (that) all terrorists launch pads were cleared off and those who were wanting to spread terror were adequately punished," Sitharaman said at an event organised at the India Gate Lawns to mark the second anniversary of the surgical strikes. 
The minister said the government was celebrating the Parakram Parv through which people could see the valour of the armed forces and remember them.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Friday the "Parakram Parv" exhibition at a military station. -- PTI 
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21:07   Sharad Pawar has not given clean chit to anybody on Rafale: NCP
Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel on Friday said party president Sharad Pawar has not given a "clean chit to anybody" in Rafale deal.
 
Patel's statement came after NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar quit the party and announced that he is giving up his Lok Sabha membership saying he left aggrieved by the party's national president Sharad Pawar's "clean chit" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the fighter aircraft deal.
Anwar told reporters that he was "hurt" by Pawar's interview to a Marathi news channel this week where the NCP president said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intentions on the Rafale fighter jet aircraft deal were not wrong.
"Pawar saheb has not given a clean chit to anybody. The NCP insists on a JPC probe in Rafale deal and demands that the price of the fighter jet be made public," Patel told mediapersons here.
About the implications of Anwar's resignation for the NCP, he said, "The party doesn't get impacted just because somebody joins it or leaves it."
"It is sad to note that after working with us for so many years, he (Anwar) decided to quit without even informing us. It is very surprising because he has based his decision on an interview by Pawar to a news channel," Patel said.
Meanwhile, NCP MP and Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule said it was "disappointing" that people have not heard Pawar raising three key questions on the Rafale deal.
"What is the justification for a 300 per cent price increase from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,670 crore which potentially could be a significant loss to the exchequer (sic)?" she tweeted.
"If such doubts have been raised and the government is so confident, then why are they shying from setting up a JPC?" Sule said in another tweet.
She also said when the BJP raised both price and specification issues during the Bofors allegations, "why are they hiding behind artificial justification of secrecy of agreements vis-a-vis both commercial price and offset agreements." -- PTI 
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20:48   Vikram Misri India's next ambassador to China
Senior diplomat Vikram Misri has been appointed as India's next ambassador to China, the ministry of external affairs announced on Friday. 
 
He will replace Gautam Bambawale.
Misri, a 1989-batch India Foreign Service officer, is presently serving as Indian envoy in Myanmar.
"He is expected to take up the assignment shortly," the ministry said.
His appointment comes at a time when India and China are trying to deepen their cooperation in various areas, leaving behind last year's Doklam standoff which was the most serious military face-off in decades.
 
Misri has served in various capacities at the headquarters of the MEA in New Delhi as well as in the Prime Minister's Office.
He has also served in various Indian missions in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.
Misri had taken charge as India's Ambassador to Myanmar on August 31, 2016.
He was born on November 7, 1964 in Srinagar. He did his schooling from the Scindia School in Gwalior and earned a Bachelor's degree in History from the Hindu College, University of Delhi.
Misri is also an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. -- PTI 
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20:37   Post SC order, Prasad asks UIDAI to prepare action plan on Aadhaar use
Informationa technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked the Unique Identification Authority of India to prepare an action plan to ensure compliance with Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar which restricts use of Aadhaar data by private entities.  
 
"There was broad discussion with the minister on things that can be done to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court judgement. He has asked UIDAI to work on it," an official source told PTI.
 
Prasad held a meeting with IT secretary Ajay Kumar Sawhney and UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey to review status of Aadhaar use in light of the judgement.
"It is a 1,400-page judgement. All the nitty-gritty has to be taken care of. Before taking legal opinion, UIDAI has to formulate questions on what can be done," the source said.
The apex court while holding Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid struck down section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data. 
Section 57 of the Act says: "Nothing contained in this Act shall prevent the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the State or any body corporate or person, pursuant to any law, for the time being in force, or any contract to this effect". 
Following this judgement, mobile service providers and other private entities cannot ask for Aadhaar for customer registration, making it challenging for them to acquire new customers where know your customer rules are mandatory. -- PTI  
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20:09   Some terror pads are 5-7 kms away from Indo-Pak border: BSF
There are a number of terror launch pads and camps across the India-Pakistan International Boundary, with some of them just 5 to 7 kilometers away from the IB, informed the Border Security Force Directorate General KK Sharma on Friday.

"There are many training camps, launching pads along the borders and hundreds of terrorists get trained. It is their (Pakistan) state policy to push terrorists. (Former military ruler of Pakistan) Zia-ul-Haq had started the policy of thousand cuts," said Sharma who is superannuating on September 30.

Asserting that India has always retaliated to terror attacks from Pakistan, causing manifold damage, he underscored that India would continue to do so in future also. "We have given tough and befitting replies, causing manifold damage. We will do it again. We will see that in near future we do something," he said.

The revelations by the BSF chief have come on the second anniversary of the surgical strike, which India carried out on terror launch pads across the Line of Control.

Responding to the recent killing of a BSF jawan near the IB, he said, "It is an International Boundary. If something happens on IB it is not necessary we give an answer on IB. We have reserved our right of retaliation and time."

Saluting the bravery of Indian soldiers, he said, "It is a must for us to stand on duty close to the IB, we have to see that infiltration from Pakistan does not take place. An Indian soldier knows that he can be sniped yet it is his bravery and also a compulsion to stand for his duty." -- ANI
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20:04   Ravi Venkatesan appointed UNICEF's special representative
The UNICEF has appointed Ravi Venkatesan has its special representative of young people.
   
In a statement, the UN body said Venkatesan in his new role will provide provide strategic guidance and support UNICEF globally with high-level outreach, partnerships and scaling innovations.
 
"Ravi Venkatesan has been appointed as UNICEF's Special Representative for Young People," the statement said.
 
Venkatesan will also help shape the overall strategy and approach of Generation Unlimited with a particular focus on engaging the private sector and identifying regional champions.
 
"He will also advise UNICEF on its innovation agenda and assist UNICEF craft shared value partnerships with global corporations," the statement added.
 
Venkatesan was the former chairman of the Bank of Baroda between 2015-18 and prior to that as the chairman of Microsoft India, he helped build India into Microsoft's second-largest presence in the world.
He has also served as the chairman of Cummins India and co-Chairman of Infosys Ltd, the statement added.-- PTI
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19:30   Centre asks states to capture biometrics details of Rohingyas, illegal immigrants
The Centre has asked all states to take biometric details of Rohingyas and other illegal immigrants living in their jurisdiction as part of a country-wide security exercise, home ministry officials said.
 
The move has been taken so that the illegal immigrants can be identified as they move to different parts of the country.
The state governments have been told to instruct the local police to capture the biometric details of Rohingyas and other illegal immigrants, a senior Home Ministry official said.
Around 14,000 Rohingyas living in the country are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, while about 40,000 are said to be staying illegally.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said in Parliament in July that some Rohingya Muslim migrants in India have been found indulging in illegal activities and maintained that security forces have been deployed to stop their infiltration into the country.
The official said capturing the biometrics details does not mean that they will be given any valid identification document.
Documents such as Aadhaar can be issued only to those non-citizens, who visit India legally and are residents in India for minimum six months but the Rohingyas, being illegal migrants, do not qualify for it, the official said.
The Supreme Court Wednesday had also directed the government not to issue Aadhaar card to illegal immigrants.
Calling all Rohingya in India "illegal immigrants", the home minister had said Thursday the state governments have been asked to observe their movements and obtain their personal details so they could be deported to Myanmar.  -- PTI
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18:59   Rahul attacks PM on health insurance scheme
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging he opened the State's coffers for an annual expense of a meagre Rs 40 per person as a health insurance "lollipop" while "giving" Rs 1,30,000 crore to Anil Ambani in the Rafale "scam". 
 
Taking to Twitter, he said the Rs 2,000 crore in the health insurance scheme for 50 crore Indians works out to a mere Rs 40 per person annual expense. 
"When does the country's watchman open the coffers of the state exchequer? 
"Giving Rs 1,30,000 crore to Anil Ambani in Rafale scam. Giving Rs 2,000 crore to 50 crore Indians in Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY. Modi ji's annual expense a mere Rs 40 per person for the Rs 5 lakh health insurance lollipop. Wow Modiji wow, the news is your publicity," he said in Hindi on Twitter.
Gandhi has been attacking Modi on various issues and has gone on a major offensive against him on the Rafale deal, alleging "favouritism" and causing huge loss to the state exchequer. -- PTI 
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18:26   SC's order on Koregaon-Bhima case vindication of our stand: BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party today projected the Supreme Court order in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case as a "vindication" of its stand and defeat for the Congress, as it jeered at Rahul Gandhi, saying he should hang his head in shame for "playing with national security".
 
The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the arrest of five rights activists by the Maharashtra Police in connection with the case and declined to appoint a SIT to probe their arrest.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told a press conference that it was a "historic" day with India and its interests and security emerging victorious in the order.
Citing comments of Gandhi and other Congress leaders against the BJP and the Narendra Modi government following arrests of the activists for their alleged links with Maoists, he said Gandhi stood with them "shamelessly" to promote his political interests.
"This is defeat of the Congress. Rahul Gandhi should hang his head in shame," Patra said. 
"Our country and national security mean nothing for Rahul Gandhi, and the only thing important for him is his political agenda... Why don't you stand with India and why do you stand with anti-India forces?" he asked Rahul. 
Patra said some of these activists were arrested earlier as well for their alleged links with banned outfits.
The Congress wants to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and it does not matter to it that whether Pakistan does it or Maoists, he alleged and sought Gandhi's apology.
As even allies of the Congress are not backing Gandhi's leadership, he is stooping to make himself acceptable, Patra claimed. 
In a reference to "Shaurya Diwas" to be celebrated by the BJP tomorrow to observe the second anniversary of the surgical strikes carried out by the Army in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, he said while his party would tell soldiers that it is with them in their fight, the Congress would say it is with Maoists and Pak army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The BJP has been attacking the Congress over its leader Navjot Singh Sidhu's hug of Bajwa during his trip to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pak PM. -- PTI 
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18:01   LTTE planned to attack Colombo targets with plane from Chennai: Lanka prez
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam militant group had planned to attack Colombo with an aircraft flying from Chennai in 2009.

"No one knew it better than me," said Sirisena, who was the acting defence minister during the last two weeks of the civil war with the LTTE in May, 2009 when the rebels were eventually defeated.
   
He was addressing the Sri Lankan community in New York where he spoke at the UN General Assembly.
 
"The former president was away, the former prime minister was away. There was no defence ministry secretary and army commander in the country at the time," he said.
Sirisena said it was a well-guarded secret that all senior leaders were out of the country fearing an LTTE air raid.
"The Tamil Tigers were going to operate an aircraft from Chennai or some other jungle area to bomb and destroy targets in Colombo," the president said, adding "I was the acting defence minister. All the others had fled because they feared air attacks".
 
"Even I did not stay in Colombo. I was at several locations outside Colombo in case the Tigers attacked the capital city," he said.
 
The LTTE had carried out two air raids in the capital in 2007 and 2009. -- PTI
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17:25   Activist who led Shani Shingnapur stir hails SC Sabarimala order
Activist Trupti Desai, who led an agitation earlier to allow women to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, Friday hailed the Supreme Court's order on Kerala's Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, Friday said banning entry of women to Kerala's Sabarimala temple is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu
women.
Desai told PTI that the SC order was a victory for women's constitutional rights and a setback for the patriarchal mentality and high-handedness of the temple trustees which had refused entry to women there.
Desai said she planned to visit the Kerala temple soon.
However, some devotees said that they would go by "existing beliefs" (practice of exclusion of women of 10-50 age group) despite the SC verdict.
Remany Unnikrishanan and Sunitha Nair, both Ayyappa devotees, said, "We will go by existing beliefs. Before undertaking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, devotees have to undertake strict penance for 41 days. We don't think there is any gender bias against women in the old beliefs."
Unnikrishanan and Nair said that there was nothing to be happy about the SC verdict.
Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala.
It is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) named Sabarimala in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district.
Desai's Bhumata  Ranragini Brigade had led an agitation to allow entry of women into Shani Shingnapur Temple in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra.
The Bombay high court, in its order in April 2016, had allowed entry to women into the temple dedicated to Shani. -- PTI
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16:59   Tata's retain Taj Mansingh hotel after NDMC auction
The iconic Taj Mansingh hotel in Lutyen's Delhi was retained by the Tata group in an auction by the New Delhi Municipal Council on Friday, official said.
   
The auction had been pending since the lease expired in 2011.
 
The lease for the property will be granted to the group for 33 years at double the license fees.  
"The Tata group's Indian Hotels Company Limited has retained the property at a license fees of Rs 7.03 crore per month including GST. Earlier, they were paying Rs 3.94 crore per month as license fees," a senior NDMC official told PTI.
 
The Taj Mansingh was given to the Tata group in 1978 on a 33-year lease, which ended in 2011. The company had since been given nine temporary extensions.
The civic body could not auction the property then as it was tied up in a legal battle with the IHCL. -- PTI
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16:11   Tariq Anwar quits NCP, LS over Pawar's 'defence' of Modi in Rafale deal
NCP national general secretary Tariq Anwar Friday said he had resigned from the party and Parliament following party chief Sharad Pawar's "defence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal.

Making the announcement in his Lok Sabha constituency, Anwar said he was resigning from all posts in the party, of which he was a founding member, and also giving up his membership of Parliament.

Anwar said he was "hurt" by Pawar's interview to a Marathi news channel this week where he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intentions on the Rafale fighter jet aircraft deal were not wrong. 
The party later came out with a clarification, saying it did not amount to a clean chit to the prime minister.

Anwar, a former union minister, has been backing the Congress demand for a JPC probe into the deal and has also sought a white paper on the issue.

-- PTI
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15:56   'SC decision on Sabarimala makes Hinduism even more inclusive'
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi welcomed the Supreme Court judgment allowing entry of women of all ages in the Sabarimala temple, saying it would make Hinduism even more inclusive.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, said that banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.

Hailing the apex court judgment on Sabarimala, Gandhi said it is a "wonderful" judgment that paves way to make Hinduism even more inclusive.

"It opens up the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive and not a property of one caste or one sex," Gandhi said.

"Hindu religion has always been an all inclusive one and yet over the years, 'thekedars' or contractors have literally divided temples into which caste cannot go to a temple, which sex cannot go. In Hinduism, a woman is the devi - the shakti herself. How can you prevent the shakti from going to a temple," Gandhi said. 

It is a good judgment because it opens up and brings the way forward for Hinduism to become even more all inclusive and not the property of one type, one caste, one sex, she added

"The concept of god belongs to all and if a temple presumes to represent god then they must open up that temple for everybody," she said.
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15:51  
JUST IN: Powerful earthquake rocks central Sulawesi in Indonesia, agency issues tsunami warning.
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15:37  
Mumbai court acquits Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, seven others in a 2014 case for holding public rally in the city without police permission. 
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15:31   Indrani Mukerjea hospitalised after complaint of low blood pressure
Sheena Bora murder case accused Indrani Mukerjea was on Friday shifted to the state-run J J Hospital in Mumbai from the Byculla jail after complaining of low blood pressure, hospital authorities said.
  
Indrani, 45, complained of headache and hypotension (low blood pressure), Dr Wiqar Shaikh of the hospital, said after examining her.

She was brought to the Medicine OPD unit around noon, Medical Superintendent Dr Sanjay Surase said.

"After initial treatment, she was admitted to the hospital's cardiac care unit in view of hypotension with nuerovascular problem," he said.

This is her second hospital visit in a span of five days. On Monday, she had complained of restlessness, headache and double vision, Surase said.

The former media executive was also hospitalised for treatment of suspected drug overdose in April.

Mukerjea is accused of killing her daughter Sheena with the help of others in a car in April 2012.

The murder came to light in August 2015 after Mukerjea's former driver, arrested for possession of a firearm, told police about it during his interrogation.

-- PTI
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15:09   PM Modi's message for Armed Forces on surgical strike anniversary
"The nation is proud of the brave military power that is determined and devoted to the safety of the motherland," wrote Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the visitor's book on Friday at Jodhpur's Konark War Memorial.

The PM, who arrived in Jodhpur earlier in the day, inspected a tri-services guard of honour at the Air Force Station on arrival. He later inaugurated three-day army exhibition, Parakram Parv, to mark the second anniversary of surgical strikes, which were carried out against terror camps across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The PM's message, written in the Gujarati language, added, "My warm regards to the brave hearts who perform supreme sacrifice and are symbols of inspiration for every generation."

The three-day event, organised by Konark Corps, is aimed at showcasing the might of the Indian Army and its contribution in nation building. Parakram Parv will be celebrated till September 30.

-- ANI

Image: Modi pays homage to martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice at the Konark War Memorial in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Photograph: @PIB_India/Twitter
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14:53   Activist who led Shani Shingnapur stir hails Sabarimala verdict
Activist Trupti Desai, who led an agitation earlier to allow women to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, Friday hailed the Supreme Court's order on Kerala's Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala.


A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, Friday said banning entry of women to Kerala's Sabarimala temple is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.


Desai told PTI that the SC order was a victory for women's constitutional rights and a setback for the patriarchal mentality and high-handedness of the temple trustees which had refused entry to women there.


Desai said she planned to visit the Kerala temple soon. Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala.


It is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) named Sabarimala in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district. Desai's Bhumata Ranragini Brigade had led an agitation to allow entry of women into Shani Shingnapur Temple in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra.


The Bombay High Court, in its order in April 2016, had allowed entry to women into the temple dedicated to Shani. -- PTI


Image: File pic of activist Trupti Desai (in green).
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14:38   Campaign for Christine Ford raises over $450,000 during testimony
A GoFundMe campaign set up for Christine Ford, the woman who has accused President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, saw a surge in donations as she delivered an emotional testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.


Around 10,371 people raised USD 473,622 in the last nine days. Before the testimony, the total amount raised was approximately USD 175,000, CNN quoted a GoFundMe campaign spokeswoman as saying.


The organisers, who had initially set an original target of USD 150,000, said that all the additional funds will "cover travel costs as well as security" for Ford, while the initial amount of USD 150,000 will be directed solely for security to her family.


In the testimony, Ford, a pyschology professor at Palo Alto University in California, had alleged that she was 100 per cent certain that Kavanaugh had assaulted her during a party when the two were in a high school back in the 1980s.


Ford had stated in the Senate that Kavanaugh, in an inebriated state in 1982, had allegedly attacked her and tried to undress her at a gathering of teenagers in Maryland, when he was 17-year-old and she 15.


In his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh had "unequivocally and categorically" denied the allegations levelled against him, as well as "other false and uncorroborated accusations" by his other accusers.


"Sexual assault is horrific. It is morally wrong. It is illegal. It is contrary to my religious faith. And it contradicts the core promise of this nation that all people are created equal and entitled to be treated with dignity and respect," Kavanaugh responded.


On July 10, Trump picked Kavanaugh as his nominee for the US Supreme Court.The Senate Judiciary Committee will likely cast their votes on Friday to decide whether to elevate Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. If given the approval, the 53-year-old judge will replace long-serving conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement at the age of 81 on June 27 this year.  -- PTI
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14:04   GoM formed to look into Kerala's demand for calamity cess: Jaitley
GST Council, the highest decision making body of the Goods and Services Tax regime, Friday decided to set up a seven-member Group of Ministers to suggest on cess demand for Kerala flood rehabilitation.


Briefing reporters after the 30th meeting of the GST Council, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the panel discussed the proposal from Kerala to levy Calamity Tax, a special tax or cess to raise additional resources aimed at meeting the cost of reconstruction in Kerala in the aftermath of floods.


Since this would set a precedence, a GoM was formed to give suggestions, he said. The Council also reviewed revenue trends and deficit of states, he said, adding state deficit this year is 13 per cent and may reduce further as consumption picks up. GST collections in many North-east states is above expectation. -- PTI
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13:43   SC verdict on activists vindicates our stand against urban Maoists: Maha CM
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis reacts to the Supreme Court verdict Friday refusing the plea seeking the immediate release of the activists and a SIT probe into the case. The CJI Dipak Misra headed three-judge bench extended by four weeks the house arrest of the activists. The CJI also said the arrests were not because of dissent of activists but there was prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoists) organisation.


The five activists -- Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha -- are under arrest at their homes since August 29.


Welcoming the verdict, Fadnavis said, "On the basis of investigation conducted and  evidence collected by the Pune Police, it has been considered valid and the SC has said it will  not interfere in the investigation.


"The SC accepted that there is no political influence and it's not a plot to suppress the voice of the opposition. It is a great victory for the Pune police and the country.


"They've (activists) been doing this for many years but there was no evidence against them, so probe couldn't be completed.  They were attempting to trigger a civil war in the country. They were trying to shield the Naxals and to kill PM Modi. Now everything is being revealed.


"Today's verdict by SC vindicates our stand against urban Maoists. In fact, this was absolutely a conspiracy against the nation. The SC pointed out that it's not a political conspiracy and also appreciated that the state govt or Government of India isn't trying to curb dissenting voice."
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13:32   Only one place for idiocy and it's called Congress: Amit Shah
Attacking the Congress for its alleged support to Maoists, fake activists and corrupt elements, BJP president Amit Shah Friday said "there is only one place for idiocy and it's called the Congress".


Shah's response came after the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the arrest of five rights activists by the Maharashtra Police in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case and declined to appoint a SIT to probe their arrest.


"There is only one place for idiocy and it's called the Congress. Support 'Bharat Ke Tukde Tukde Gang' (break India gang), Maoists, fake activists and corrupt elements. Defame all those who are honest and working. Welcome to Rahul Gandhi's Congress," he said in a tweet.


He used the hashtag Bhima Koregaon. The Bharatiya Janata Party chief was responding to a tweet posted by Congress president Rahul Gandhi on August 28.


Gandhi had said following the arrests that there is place for only one NGO in India and it's called the RSS. "Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India," he had said


A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 2:1 verdict, Friday refused the plea seeking the immediate release of the activists. -- PTI
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13:23   Woman who entered Sabarimala in 2010 hails verdict
Karnataka Women and Child Development Minister Jayamala Friday termed as "historic" the Supreme Court verdict on entry of women into the Lord Ayyappa Temple and said women have now got justice.


The actress-turned-politician had created a storm some years ago by claiming that she had in her prime youth entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and touched the idol of the presiding deity.


"There is no happier moment in my life other than this. I thank the women community, Supreme Court judges and God today...I also thank Ambedkar who wrote our Constitution," Jayamala told reporters. She said she had expected such a judgement and credited the country's legal system and Constitution for it.


"Women have got justice today. This is a historic moment," the minister added. The revelation by Jayamala in June 2006 had kicked up a storm, as women in the 10-50 age group were barred from entering the temple. In 2010, the Crime Branch of Kerala Police had charge sheeted her along with others stating that they were involved in a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings under Section 295 of Indian Penal Code.


Responding to a question on the earlier incident, Jayamala said, "That day also I had faith and belief in God and our Judiciary, and that faith and belief has come true today."
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13:07   Evidence on the face of it shows activists' links to Maoists: CJI
And here's the summary of the verdict on the five activists in the Bhima-Koregaon case.


The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the arrest of the five rights activists by the Maharashtra Police in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case and declined to appoint a SIT for probe into their arrest.


The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 2:1 verdict, refused the plea seeking the immediate release of the activists. Justice A M Khanwilkar read out the verdict for himself and the CJI, while Justice D Y Chandrachud said he was unable to agree with view of the two judges.


Justice Chandrachud said arrest of the five accused was an attempt by state to muzzle dissent.


The CJI said arrests were not because of dissent of activists but there was prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoists) organisation.


The majority verdict said the protection of house arrest shall remain in force for four weeks to enable the accused to seek appropriate legal remedy at appropriate legal forum.


Justice Khanwilkar
said accused persons cannot choose which investigating agency should probe the case and this was not a case of arrest merely because of difference in political views.


The majority verdict disagreed with the PIL by historian Romila Thapar and others seeking the immediate release of five rights activist, with liberty to the accused to seek remedy in appropriate court.


Justice Khanwilkar said the protection of house arrest shall remain in force for four weeks to enable the accused to seek legal remedy. He refrained from commenting on the case saying it may prejudice case of accused and prosecution.


Justice Chandrachud said liberty cherished by the Constitution would have no meaning if persecution of the five activists is allowed without proper investigation. He said the petition was genuine and lashes out at Maharashtra police for press meet, distribution of letters to media. -- PTI


File pic: Trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj has been placed under house arrest in Faridabad.
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13:01   Wonderful decision: Maneka Gandhi
It's a wonderful decision. It opens up and brings the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive & not a property of one caste or one sex: Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women & Child Development, on SC allows entry of women in Kerala's Sabarimala temple.
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12:42   Will be approaching lower court: Activist's wife
"We welcome this order that SC found merits in our intervention. We've been given 4 weeks protection to approach lower courts. So, obviously we will be reaching lower court shortly," Advocate Susan Abraham (wife of activist Vernon Gonsalves) to ANI on SC's verdict.


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12:08   What the 4:1 Sabarimala verdict says
To encapsulate the Sabarimala verdict: The Supreme Court today paved the way for the entry of women of all ages into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.


The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, said that banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women. The CJI said religion is a way of life basically to link life with divinity.


While Justices R F Nariman and D Y Chandrachud concurred with the CJI and Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice Indu Malhotra gave a dissenting verdict.


Justice Malhotra, the lone woman judge in the bench, passed a dissenting judgement and said that issues which have deep religious connotation should not be tinkered with to maintain secular atmosphere in the country.


She was of the view that it is not for courts to determine which religious practices are to be struck down except in issues of social evil like 'Sati'.


Justice Malhotra said right to equality conflicts with right to worship of devotees of Lord Ayyappa. She said the issue in this case is not limited to Sabarimala only. It will have far reaching implications for other places of worship.


The court passed four sets of separate judgements on a clutch of pleas challenging ban on the entry of women of menstrual age in Kerala's Sabrimala temple saying law and society are tasked with the task to act as levellers.


The CJI said devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination and patriarchal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion. He said devotees of Lord Ayyappa do not constitute a separate denomination.


The CJI said practice of exclusion of women of 10-50 age group cannot be regarded as essential religious practice and Kerala law denies rights to women on ground of physiological reasons.


Justice Nariman said the Sabarimala temple custom barring women of 10-50 age is not backed by Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution. Custom of barring women is violative of Article 25 (Clause 1) and Rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (authorisation of entry) Rules, 1965 is struck down by Justice Nariman.


Justice Chandrachud said religion cannot be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women and it is also against human dignity. He said prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries.


Devotees of lord Ayyappa do not form separate religious denominations, Justice Chandrachud said and added that any custom or religious practice if violates dignity of women by denying them entry due to her physiology is unconstitutional.


He said the popular notion about morality can be offensive to dignity of others and exclusion of women because she menstruates is utterly unconstitutional.


Justice Chandrachud held that exclusion of women is violative of right to liberty, dignity and equality and said nanning women of a particular age group is not essential practice of religion.


Justice Malhotra said notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion and India has diverse religious practices and constitutional morality would allow anyone to profess a religion they believe. She said equality doctrine cannot override fundamental right to worship under Article 25. -- PTI
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11:54   Accept verdict, will implement it: Sabarimala temple board
First reactions from the Travancore Devaswom Board president, A Padmakumar, on the Supreme Court allowing the entry of all women in Keralas Sabarimala temple.


Padmakumar says the board will go in for a review petition after getting support from other religious heads.  "We are disappointed, but accept the Supreme Court verdict."


Sabarimala head priest Kandararu Rajeevarau echoed the sentiment saying the Supreme Court's verdict was "disappointing", but the shrine board will accept it.


A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, said banning entry of women to Kerala's Sabrimala temple is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.


TDB President A Padmakumar told PTI that the Supreme Court's verdict will be studied in detail and further course of action will be decided after that.


Padmakumar said the board had informed the court that they wanted to continue with the existing ritual practices, but now they have no other option but to implement the verdict. The board, he said, will take steps to execute the apex court directive. It will study the judgement seriously, he said.     

However, Rahul Easwar, President of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena, said they were going for a review petition. Easwar is the grandson of late Sabarimala priest Kandararu Maheswararu, who died in May this year.


The court pronounced its verdict on a clutch of pleas challenging the ban on entry of women of menstrual age in Kerala's Sabrimala temple and said law and society are tasked with the task to act as levellers.


Representational image.
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11:42   No SIT probe,. house arrest of activists extended: SC on Bhima-Koregaon case
Bhima-Koregaon case: The Supreme Court begins pronouncing its verdict on the plea challenging the arrest of the 5 rights activists by the Maharashtra police.


Justice AM Khanwilkar and CJI Dipak Misra delivering a concurring judgment. Justice Chandrachud is dissenting in this case.

Reading out the verdict on the arrest of activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, Justice Khanwilkar said the accused can't choose which probe agency should examine the case.


The court declined the constitution of a SIT, saying the accused are at liberty to pursue other appropriate remedies. "The accused persons do not have a say in which investgating agency should probe the case," the concurring judgement said. The interim order passed by the court for house arrest shall continue for four more weeks. Justice Khanwilkar said this is not a case of arrest merely because of dissent or difference in political views.


Dissenting judgment from Justice Chandrachud: Technicalities should not be allowed to override substantive justice. The present petition not motivated by political aspects. Justice Chandrachud comes down heavily on the Pune police and berates them for holding a press conference immediately after the SC had passed an interim order. Justice Chandrachud said that the letter alleged to be written by Sudha Bhardwaj was flashed on a TV channel, police selectively disclosing probe details to media casting cloud on fairness of investigation.
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11:27   Justice Malhotra's dissent: Shouldn't interfere in religious sentiments
Justice Indu Malhotra's dissenting verdict. This is a 4:1 majority verdict, with all four justices concurring. She is the only woman judge in the five judge bench.


-- Issues which have deep religious connotation should not be tinkered with to maintain secular atmosphere in the country.


-- Religious practices can't solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality.


-- It's up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what is a religion's essential practice.


-- Present judgement won't be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications.


-- Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn't be ordinarily interfered into.


-- Balance needs to be struck between relgious beliefs on one hand and cherished principles of non-discrimination and equality laid down by Constitution on the other.


-- Notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion,


-- Balance needs to be struck between religious beliefs on one hand and cherished principles of non-discrimination and equality laid down by Constitution on the other.


-- Equality doctrine cannot override fundamental right to worship under Article 25.


-- What is essential practice in a religion is for the religion to decide. A matter of personal faith. India is a land of diverse faiths. Constitutional morality in a pluralistic society gives freedom to practice even irrational customs.  
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11:14   Exclusion of women is violative of right to liberty, dignity and equality: Chandrachud
Justice Chandrachud reading out his judgment:

-- The ban says presence of women deviates from celibacy. This is placing the burden of a men's celibacy on women. It stigmatises them, stereotypes them.  

-- Prohibition on women is due to non-religious reasons and it is a grim shadow of discrimination going on for centuries.

-- Devotees of lord Ayyappa do not form separate religious denominations.

-- Banning women of a particular age group is not essential practice of religion. Exclusion of women is violative of right to liberty, dignity and equality.

-- Exclusion of women because she menstruates is utterly unconstitutional.
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11:00  
Justice Rohinton Nariman concurs with CJI Dipak Misra.
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10:58   Sabarimala Temple practice violates rights of Hindu women: CJI
This is what the Chief Justice said in his judgment read on behalf of Justice Khanwilkar as well. Justice Nariman and Chandrachud will be delivering separate but judgments concurring with the CJI.


-- Banning entry of women to the shrine is gender discrimination.

-- Devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination. 

-- Religion is a way of life basically to link life with divinity. 

-- Sabarimala Temple practice violates rights of Hindu women.

-- Patriarchal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion.

-- Devotees of Ayyappa do not constitute a separate religious denomination.

-- The bar on entry of women between age of 10 and 50 years is not an essential part of the religion.
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10:51   SC lifts ban on women entering Sabarimala
And there we have it, the Supreme Court in a majority verdict (4:1) has lifted the ban on the entry of women to Sabarimala.

Four judges have the same opinion in the Sabarimala temple case; one dissenting opinion by Justice Indu Malhotra.

CJI Dipak Misra said: Women no way inferior to men. On one hand, women are worshipped as goddesses, but there are restrictions on the other hand. Relationship with God can't be defined by biological or physiological factors. 
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10:47   Justice Indu Malhotra will be dissenting
CJI Dipak Misra: The law and society are tasked with the task to act as levellers. This will be a 4:1 verdict, with Justice Indu Malhotra dissenting.
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10:45   Sabarimala verdict: CJI begins reading out his judgment
The judges in the five-judge bench set to give the Sabarimala verdict have arrived at the courtroom in the Supreme Court. CJI Dipak Misra has begun reading out his judgment on behalf of himself and AM Khanwilkar.

Justices DY Chandrachud and Rohinton Nariman will concur with the CJI

Justice Indu Malhotra dissents.
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10:29   The 5 questions the SC will consider today during the Sabarimala verdict
On October 13 last year , the Supreme Court had referred the Sabarimala issue to a Constitution bench after framing five "significant" questions including whether the practice of banning entry of women into the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the Constitution.

In  its  31-page order, the Supreme Court  had asked the following questions:


1. Whether the exclusionary practice which is based upon a biological factor exclusive to the female gender amounts to "discrimination" and thereby violates the very core of Articles 14, 15 and 17, and not protected by morality as used in Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution?

The argument raised by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) in restricting the entry of menstruating women is that the deity is a celibate and that women "are not in a position to observe penance for 41 days due to physiological reasons."

The Constitutional Bench therefore has to rule upon whether this amounts to discrimination, without bringing morality into question.


2) Whether the practice of excluding such women constitutes an "essential religious practice" under Article 25 (freedom to practice and propagation of religion) and whether a religious institution can assert a claim in that regard under the umbrella of right to manage its own affairs in the matters of religion?

In this case, it is the TDB - created by the Kerala State Legislature - is the governing body of the temple.


3) Whether Ayyappa Temple has a denominational character and, if so, is it permissible on the part of a 'religious denomination' managed by a statutory board and financed under Article 290-A of the Constitution of India out of Consolidated Fund of Kerala and Tamil Nadu can indulge in such practices violating constitutional principles/ morality embedded in Articles 14, 15(3), 39(a) and 51-A(e)?

RP Gupta, the counsel for the petitioners, submitted in court that there is no religious custom or usage in the Hindu religion specially in Pampa river region to disallow women during menstrual period. According to him, banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion.

He asserted in court that Sabarimala was not a separate religious denomination because there were no distinct religious practices followed in the temple and that temple was performing all pujas akin  to any other practice performed in any Hindu Temple.

Another point of contention was that Sabarimala temple does not have its separate administration but is regulated by the statutory Board constituted under Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950. The counsel further maintained that "mere attraction of some people for some temple does not make it a separate and distinct religious denomination."


4) Whether Rule 3 of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules permits 'religious denomination' to ban entry of women between the age of 10 to 50 years? And if so, would it not play foul of Articles 14 and 15(3) of the Constitution by restricting entry of women on the ground of sex?

That is, if the Sabarimala devotees are considered a separate denomination, then does this denomination have a right to ban the entry of women and girls?


5) Whether Rule 3(b) of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 is ultra vires the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 and, if treated to be intra vires, whether it will be violative of the provisions of Part III of the Constitution?

Basically, are the rules governing the temple entry Act, within or beyond the authority of the Act itself? And if they are within the authority of the Act, are they constitutional - particularly, Rule 3(b), which talks about the entry of women and girls. -- The News Minute.
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10:25   SC verdict on Sabarimala scheduled to be delivered any time now
The verdict on whether to allow women inside the Sabarimala temple or not is scheduled to be delivered at 10:30 am.


Led by CJI Dipak Misra, the case is being heard by a five-judge bench., comprising  Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. Four judgments will be delivered today. Justice Khanwilkar will concur with one of the other judges.

The temple has a tradition of only allowing girls before they attain puberty and women above the age of 50 who are menopausal. In effect, Women between the age of 10 and 50 are banned from entering because the temple believes women who menstruate are impure and must not be given access to the shrine.The rule was introduced by the Travancore Devasom Board that maintains the temple. Who says what on the issue:


RSS: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has backed women's entry in temples and said such unfair traditions should be done away with. The remarks came during the annual meeting of the Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha in Nagaur near Jodhpur on Saturday.

The Kerala government: Has been changing its stand on the contentious issue, but on July 18 told the Supreme Court that it now favoured their entry.

Temple board: In 2015, the head of the temple's board stated that women would be able to access the temple only after a body scanner is created to determine which women were pure enough to make the cut.

The apex court: On October 13 last year it had referred the issue to a Constitution bench after framing five "significant" questions including whether the practice of banning entry of women into the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the Constitution.
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10:11   Yes Bank worst performer in Sensex this morning
The Sensex advanced over 150 points and Nifty reclaimed the 11,000 mark in early session Friday as the October derivatives series took off on a strong footing amid positive global cues.


The 30-share Sensex, which lost 327.89 points in the previous two sessions, recovered by 181.95 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 36,506.12. Sectoral indices of BSE led by oil and gas, FMCG, banking, consumer durables, infrastructure and capital goods were in the positive territory, rising by up to 0.95 per cent.


The NSE Nifty too gained 26 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 11,003.55. Brokers said investors created new positions following the beginning of the October futures and options (F&O) series leading to the recovery in the market.


Moreover, data showing fresh buying by foreign institutional investors on the Indian bourses on Thursday buoyed sentiment.


Major gainers were IndusInd Bank, Asian Paints, ITC, HDFC, Axis Bank, Adani Ports, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, ONGC, Tata Motors, RIL and Kotak Bank, gaining up to 1.66 per cent.


However, Yes Bank emerged the worst performer in the Sensex kitty, plunging 7.82 per cent. Also, Bharti Airtel, M&M, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Steel and Vedanta shed up to 3.36 per cent.
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10:08   'My career hasn't been a joyride'
While on Sunny Leone, read this candid, straight-from-the-heart interview on Rediff.com. Here you go.
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10:07   Sunny Leone granted permission to perform in Bengaluru
Despite facing opposition by some Kannada outfits, actor Sunny Leone has been given permission to perform in Bengaluru on November 3, the police said.


"We have granted permission for a program in which Sunny Leone is taking part. Organisers have been asked to take precautions on aspects of a number of tickets to be sold. There is a strict prohibition on the sale of liquor in the area. Programs shown at the event will be scrutinised by police," said Seemant Kumar Singh, Additional Commissioner, East, Bengaluru.


The show ran into a trouble earlier after some Kannada fringe group reportedly opposed it stating that the actress "symbolises vulgarity."


This is not the first time when Sunny faced Karnataka people's ire. In December last year, the actress had to cancel a New Year bash in Bengaluru after the police denied permission to the organisers. -- ANI
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10:01   Terrorism single largest threat to peace in S Asia: India to SAARC
In a veiled attack on Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has told a meeting of the SAARC foreign ministers that the scourge of terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in the South Asian region and it is necessary to eliminate the ecosystem of its support.


Addressing a meeting, also attended by her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Swaraj emphasised that regional cooperation can only be successful if it meets the expectations of the people.


The meeting, chaired by Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, was held on the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and attended by foreign ministers of the SAARC bloc - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


"An environment of peace and security is essential for regional cooperation to progress and achieve economic development and prosperity of our people. The number of threats and incidents that endanger South Asia are on the rise," Swaraj said in her statement at the Informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers on Thursday.


She said terrorism remained the single largest threat to peace and stability in the region and to the world. "It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support," she said. -- PTI


Image: EAM Sushma Swaraj delivering her statement at the BRICS Ministerial Meeting on margins of UNGA.
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09:52   Bhima-Koregaon case: SC likely to deliver its verdict today on 5 activists
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce today its verdict on a plea by historian Romila Thapar and others seeking the immediate release of five rights activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon  violence case and an SIT probe into their arrest.

  
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved the judgment on September 20 after counsel for both parties, including senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harish Salve and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, concluded their submissions.


The bench, that also comprised Justices A M Khaniwlkar and D Y Chandrachud, had asked the Maharashtra police to file their case diary pertaining to the ongoing investigation in the case.


The five activists --Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha -- are under arrest at their respective homes since August 29.


The plea by Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala, has sought an independent probe into the arrests and the immediate release of the activists.


The Maharashtra police had arrested them on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave -- 'Elgaar Parishad' -- held on December 31 last year that had later triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village in the state.


The apex court had on September 19 said it would look into the case with a "hawk's eye" as "liberty cannot be sacrificed at the altar of conjectures".

-- PTI

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09:15   SAARC meet: 'Pak FM's statement baseless, away from reality'
Pakistan Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Mehmood Shah Qureshi's allegations regarding India not being serious about South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation are "baseless and away from reality", sources said on Friday.

On Thursday, after attending the SAARC Informal Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, held on the sideline of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Qureshi accused India of creating an obstacle in regional cooperation. 

He also alleged that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left the meeting midway, "blocking the progress of SAARC"."There were no talks between us. She  left midway, maybe she wasn't feeling well. I listened to her statement. She talked about regional cooperation. How is regional cooperation possible, when everybody is ready to sit and talk and you're blocking that?" he told reporter after the meeting.

The sources, however, brushed off all the allegations, saying, "EAM Sushma Swaraj in her speech had extensively dealt with various SAARC related projects. She also expressed India's unwavering commitment for making SAARC a success as regional grouping."

Terming the remarks made by the Pakistani Foreign Minister about Swaraj leaving the SAARC meeting "surprising and unfortunate", the sources clarified, "It should be noted that she (EAM) was neither the first one nor the only one who left the meeting. Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Bangladesh left the meeting before India's External Affairs Minister. Also, leaving a meeting after delivering own speech is a standard practice in the multilateral engagements. EAM left the meeting after delivering her speech as she had another meeting lined up with Indian Community groups and other bilateral engagements."

-- ANI
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08:30   Elon Musk sued over Tesla 'privatisation' tweet
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the charges of securities fraud, alleging he made "false and misleading" tweets about a potential transaction to take the company private.

In its complaint, filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, SEC seeks a ban on Musk from being able to hold officer or director positions at publicly-traded companies, as well as any other damages the court feels are appropriate, The Verge reported.

On August 7, Musk tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $ 420, adding "funding secured". "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," the tweet read.

The SEC's complaint alleges that "in truth, Musk had not discussed specific deal terms with any potential financing partners, and he allegedly knew that the potential transaction was uncertain and subject to numerous contingencies."

According to the SEC, Musk's tweets caused Tesla's stock price to jump by over six percent on August 7, and led to significant market disruption.

"Corporate officers hold positions of trust in our markets and have important responsibilities to shareholders," said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, in an official release.

"An officer's celebrity status or reputation as a technological innovator does not give license to take those responsibilities lightly," Peikin added.

-- ANI
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08:05   Women's entry at Sabarimala Temple? SC to deliver verdict today
The Supreme Court will pronounce today its verdict on a clutch of pleas challenging the ban on entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
  
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its judgment on August 1 after hearing the matter for eight days. 

The bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, had earlier said that the constitutional scheme prohibiting exclusion has "some value" in a "vibrant democracy".          

The top court's verdict would deal with the petitions filed by petitioners Indian Young Lawyers Association and others.

The Kerala government, which has been changing its stand on the contentious issue of women of the menstrual age group entering the Sabarimala temple, had on July 18 told the Supreme Court that it now favoured their entry.

The apex court had on October 13 last year referred the issue to a constitution bench after framing five "significant" questions including whether the practice of banning entry of women into the temple amounted to discrimination and violated their fundamental rights under the Constitution. 
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00:02   Surgical strike aniv: PM to attend commanders' meet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the Combined Commanders' Conference in Jodhpur on Friday and open an Army exhibition, marking the second anniversary of the surgical strike across the Line of Control. 
 
The prime minister will reach Jodhpur on Friday morning and inaugurate the exhibition, 'Parakarm Parv', at Jodhpur Military Station at 9 am, before participating in the conference at the Jodhpur Air Force Station.
The conference will also be attended by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the three services chiefs, besides several key military and civil officials of the Ministry of Defence.
 
It is for the third time that the Commanders' Conference is being held outside Delhi. 

After 2015 in Delhi, it was held in 2016 on the Indian Navy warship INS Vikramaditya and at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in 2017. 
This time, a forward air base on western border has been chosen for the conference owing to the strategic importance and location of the Jodhpur Air Force station, which was the headquarter of the South West Air Command earlier.
Before attending the conference, Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate the exhibition, 'Parakarm Parv'.
 
"The prime minister will first participate in the wreath laying ceremony at Konark War Memorial at 9 am and then inaugurate the 'Parakram Parv' and open an exhibition, showcasing the might of the Indian Army and its contribution in nation building," said defence spokesperson Col Sombit Ghosh.  
"The PM himself will walk through the exhibition after inaugurating it, for its review," Ghosh said. -- PTI

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