Sun, 30 September 2018
India wants to have trade deal with US to avoid tariffs: Trump
20:54 LPG cylinder price hiked by Rs 59; subsidised gas to cost Rs 2.89 more
Subsidised cooking gas price on Sunday hiked by Rs 2.89 per cylinder to Rs 502.4 per cylinder.
The price of non-subsidised LPG at Delhi will increase by Rs 59.00 per cylinder in October 2018 mainly due to change in international price and foreign exchange fluctuations, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) said in a statement.
The actual impact on subsidised domestic LPG customers is only Rs 2.89 per cylinder, which is mainly due to GST on the above, IOC added.
The subsidy transfer in customers' bank account has been increased to Rs 376.60 per cylinder in October 2018 as against Rs 320.49 per cylinder in September 2018.
"Thus the domestic subsidised LPG customer is protected against the increase in prices of LPG," it said. -- PTI
20:48 India wants to have trade deal with US to avoid tariffs: Trump
United States President Donald Trump Saturday said that India wants to have a trade deal with the US because it does not want him to impose tariffs on their products.
Trump remarks, for the second time in recent weeks, comes days after Assistant US Trade Representative Mark Linscott returned from India where he had detailed discussion with senior Indian officials on bilateral trade and a possible trade deal between the two countries.
Trump often accuses India of imposing 100 per cent tariffs on American products.
"We have a country, take India. Good relationship. They want to make a deal now because they don't want me to do what I'm going to do, with I have to. So, they (Indians) call us. They didn't want to make a deal with anybody else," he said.
Trump referred to India in the context of his repeated allegation that other countries have been taking advantage of America in the past.
Trump in September said India wanted a trade deal with the US despite the US administration's tough stance on the issue.
"Take India. You talk about free trade. So, let's say they (Indians) charge us 60 per cent tariff on a product. And for the same product when they send it in (America), we charge them nothing. So now I want to charge them 25 per cent or 20 or 10 or something," Trump said.
"What do you think? That's not free trade. We don't like it. I said, where are these people coming from? So, think of it. Where are they coming from? You have no idea how difficult it is. Where are they coming?" Trump said referring to the conversations he is having with India.
Trump told the crowd that he is using India just as an example.
The president said he can give example of other countries which are "brutal" to what they do with the United States.
"I could give you (examples of) others that are brutal, just brutal what they do to us, how they take advantage of the stupidity. We never even had people negotiate, they just do whatever they want," Trump said as he went back to the India example.
"Remember this? A lot of the people that are fighting me in what I'm doing have ownership of companies in these other countries. Remember that please. Remember that, or they're represented by lobbies," Trump said, as he lashed out at those who are opposing his America First trade policies. -- PTI
20:31 Top army commander takes stock of situation in valley
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army's Northern Command Lt Gen Ranbir Singh visited the Kashmir valley on Sunday to review the prevailing security situation in the wake of recent counter-militancy operations which have to the elimination of several terrorists, an official said.
Lt Gen Singh also reviewed the operational preparedness of the force in the hinterland of the valley.
"The northern army commander arrived in the Kashmir valley today to review the prevailing security situation in the wake of recent counter terrorist operations which led to elimination of many terrorists," Srinagar-based defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said.
Singh, accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen A K Bhatt, visited the hinterland formations in north and central Kashmir and was briefed by the commanders on ground about the current situation, he said.
The spokesman said the GoC-in-C of the Army's Northern Command reviewed the operational preparedness of the force in the valley. The Army commander complimented the troops for their recent successes and commended them for their dedication to duty and professionalism.
He was appreciative of the measures and standard operating procedures instituted by the units and formations to minimise civilian causalities, Kalia said.
The need to be prepared for effectively meeting emerging security challenges was reinforced, the spokesman said.
Lauding the excellent synergy among all the security forces, the commander exhorted all ranks to maintain a safe, secure and peaceful environment for the people of Kashmir, he added. -- PTI
20:26 Monsoon ends with 'below normal' rainfall: IMD
The monsoon season ended on Sunday with a "below normal" showing this year as the country recorded a nine per cent deficit in rainfall, according to the India Meteorological Department.
Alongside Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal northeastern states recorded the maximum deficiency, the weather agency said.
This is a second year in a row when monsoon ended with below normal rainfall.
This year saw Kerala receiving an unprecedented rainfall during the monsoon triggering one of the worst floodings in a century in which hundreds perished.
The monsoon also defied IMD's prediction of the country receiving normal rainfall.
Monsoon withdrew on Saturday, September 29, twenty-nine days after its normal withdrawal date.
The Southwest Monsoon, which is the main source of irrigation for crops and water supply for reservoirs, made its onset over Kerala on May 28, three days ahead of its normal schedule, the weather agency said.
The monsoon may have officially withdrawn, but several southern states, Goa and Maharashtra are expected to receive rainfall in the first week of October, the IMD said.
Overall, the country received 91 per cent of rainfall of the Long Period Average, which falls under "below normal" category, according to the IMD.
All four meteorological divisions of the IMD recorded lesser rainfall than its normal precipitation.
The highest monsoon deficiency was in the east and the northeast meteorological division of the IMD which comprises eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and the northeastern states.
This was followed by Central India where the monsoon deficiency was seven per cent.
The northwest division comprising all the northern states, and south peninsula recorded deficiency of two per cent each.
"A large deficiency came from the northeastern states. Plus, rainfall was deficient in Kutch, Saurashtra, Rajasthan east and Rajasthan west. Otherwise, rainfall was good across the country," M Rajeevan, the secretary, ministry of earth sciences, said.
Despite a prediction of good rainfall this season, June recorded a deficit 95 per cent while July and August saw respective deficits of 94 and 92 per cent.
However, September saw a sharp decline of rainfall registering 76 per cent rainfall of the LPA, Mritunjay Mohapatra, the additional director general, IMD, said. -- PTI
20:09 NSG upgrades security cover of its VIPs; matches SPG drills
The National Security Guard, which provides top category security cover to select VIPs like Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a number of chief ministers, has upgraded its protocol and armour on lines of the Special Protection Group in view of the upcoming election season in the country.
The elite counter-terror force has adopted a 'close protection force' protocol, that totally reinvents its drills, to better secure dozen VIPs under its 'Z+' cover of 'black cat' commandos, official sources said.
With this change, NSG commandos now provide close-body protection to VIP protectee every time they visit a public place as compared to the earlier mobile security concept where commandos only secured the person while on move, the sources said.
The SPG, similarly, protects its VIPs outside and inside a venue with safari suit donning commandos encircling the VIP like their shadow, they said.
The CPF has been trained and created on the lines of the 'close protection team' concept of the SPG that provides proximate security to the prime minister, ex-prime ministers and their families, they added.
The change in the VIP security 'black book' of the National Security Guard has been made keeping in mind the threat perception profile of its protectees, ranging from the union home minister to chief ministers of Naxal violence and insurgency hit states, and the very busy forthcoming election season in the country, they said.
The new VIP security commandos' team have also been provided with a modern and compact hand-held ballistic shield, protective black goggles and state-of-the-art digital communication devices as part of the new security protocol, they said. -- PTI
20:04 Scolded for using phone in class, Chhattisgarh girl hangs self
A 16-year-old girl allegedly committed suicide in a government school in Madhya Pradesh's Korba district after she was reportedly reprimanded by her teacher for using a mobile phone during class, police said Sunday.
Babli Yadav, a Class IX student, hung herself from a tree in the premises of the government high school in Nonbirra village Saturday afternoon, Dipka station house officer Sharad Chandra said.
He said that preliminary investigation has revealed that Yadav was spotted by her teacher while she was speaking on her mobile phone during class.
"Yadav threw the phone from the class window but the teacher retrieved it and complained to the school principal. She also scolded Yadav," the SHO said.
While Yadav's father, a farmer, was called to school by the principal to discuss the incident, he could not come due to work commitments, the official said.
"Later, when the girl did not reach home after school got over for the day, her brother went looking for her and found her hanging from a tree in the school premises," he said.
A case had been registered and further probe was underway, the SHO added.-- PTI
19:57 Lt-Gen Asim Munir set to be Pak's new ISI chief: Report
Lt Gen Asim Munir is expected to be the new chief of Pakistan's powerful spy agency ISI after its current boss, Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, retires on Monday, according to a media report.
The Army Promotion Board headed by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa approved the promotions of six generals in place of five generals who are retiring on Monday.
According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the promoted officers are: Maj Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, Vice Chief of General Staff Maj Gen Shaheen Mazhar, ISI DG (Planning) Maj Gen Abdul Aziz, Military Intelligence Director General Maj Gen Asim Munir, Maj Gen Syed Muhammad Adnan and Frontier Corps IG Maj Gen Waseem Ashraf.
It is highly expected that Lt Gen Munir would be appointed as the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), The News reported.
Lt Gen Mukhtar assumed the office of ISI director general in December, 2016.
The new ISI chief will be appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, The Express Tribune reported.
Army chief General Bajwa on Friday met Khan along with the current ISI chief.
Usually, the army chief sends three names for the coveted slot and the prime minister has the authority to pick any one of them, the report added. -- PTI
19:31 Aspirin may reduce cancer spread: Study
Taking aspirin can boost the survival of cancer patients and reduce the risk of the disease to others parts of the body, say scientists.
Researchers analysed 71 medical studies, which looked at the survival of 120,000 patients with cancer who took aspirin, compared with 400,000 patients who did not.
They showed that at any time following the diagnosis of some cancers the proportion of patients who were still alive was 20-30 per cent greater in those taking the drug.
The spread of cancer to other parts of the body was also substantially reduced in patients using aspirin.
"The use of low-dose Aspirin as a preventive in heart disease, stroke and cancer is well established but evidence is now emerging that the drug may have a valuable role as an additional treatment for cancer too," said Peter Elwood, from Cardiff University in the UK.
One of the colon cancer studies the researchers looked at suggested that a non-diabetic man of about 65 years who takes aspirin would have a prognosis similar to that of a man five years his junior who takes none.
For a woman of similar age with colon cancer the addition of aspirin could lead to a similar prognosis of a woman four years younger.
Almost half the studies included in the review were of patients with bowel cancer, and most of the other studies were of patients with breast or prostate cancer.
There were very few studies of patients with other less common cancers, but on the whole the pooled evidence for all the cancers is suggestive of benefit from aspirin.
The evidence is not entirely consistent and a few of the studies failed to detect benefit attributable to aspirin, researchers said.
More evidence is therefore urgently needed and a number of new randomised trials have been set up, but these are unlikely to report for quite a few years. -- PTI
19:29 Saudi delegation in Pakistan for talks days after invite to join CPEC
A high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for talks during which five memorandums of understanding including the one on selling petroleum products on deferred payments are expected to be signed, weeks after Islamabad invited Riyadh to join the USD 50 billion CPEC as the third "strategic partner".
The visit of the delegation comprising petroleum and energy ministers takes place almost 10 days after Prime Minister Imran Khan returned from his first foreign trip to the cash-rich kingdom.
The delegation is expected to sign five important MoUs with the government and hold discussions during its six-day visit to Pakistan, Geo news reported.
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan will arrive in a couple of days, according to sources.
Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan will be part of the team that will hold talks with the Saudi delegation, sources said.
The prospect of setting up oil refineries in the strategic Gwadar port is likely to be discussed by the delegation, the report said.
According to sources, the Saudi officials are expected to sign an agreement to sell petroleum products to Pakistan on deferred payments.
The delegation will also sign an MoU to make investments in the Balochistan Reko Diq gold and copper mines, sources said.
Further, agreements to privatise two Liquefied Natural Gas power plants and sale of phosphate-containing fertilisers to Pakistan are also expected to be signed by the delegation, the report said.
The Saudi delegation will also visit the Gwadar port and Reko Diq project, sources further said.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia recently signed "three grant agreements" to bring major investment in the country.
On September 20, Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry announced that Saudi Arabia will be the third "strategic partner" of the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative, a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing's influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects. -- PTI
19:26 Only 'women activists' expected to visit Sabarimala: TDB chief
Travancore Devaswom Board president A Padmakumar Sunday said "real women devotees" of Lord Ayyappa were unlikely to visit Sabarimala temple and only "women activists" will reach the hillock shrine, in view of the recent Supreme Court verdict.
The apex court had on September 28 lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10-50 years to the forest shrine, holding that the centuries-old Hindu religious practise was illegal and unconstitutional.
After a meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here, Padmakumar said the TDB will seek 100 acres of forest land from the Centre to provide more amenities for devotees as part of implementing the top court order.
The Board, which manages the shrine, will also consider filing a review petition, citing the difficulties and challenges faced by it in implementing the order in the present context, he said.
Expressing disappointment over the verdict, Padmakumar said the apex court had taken into account only constitutional, fundamental and gender issues while considering the entry of women into the shrine.
The unique geographical aspects and specific circumstances at the hill temple should have also been considered, he said.
"During the last annual pilgrim season, devotees had to stand in queue for over 17 continuous hours on a particular day due to the unprecedented rush," Padmakumar told PTI.
Around 5.5 lakh devotees had been at the shrine during the last 'Makaravilakku' day on January 14.
"Is it possible for women to trek kilometers through the forest path and stand amongst the packed crowd?" he said.
The TDB chief said the real devotees who respect the traditions and rituals of Sabarimala and know the circumstances there were not likely to visit the shrine.
"Only some women activists are expected to trek the holy hill in the name of the verdict," he said.
The TDB, however, will provide all possible facilities for women devotees who will reach the shrine from October 16, when it opens for this year's three month long annual pilgrimage season, Padmakumar said.
It will be very difficult and challenging for the Board to provide any special amenities for devotees in the present context, he said.
"So, we will request the Centre to provide us 100 more acres of forest land from the Periyar Tiger Reserve to implement the verdict. The Supreme Court's permission is also necessary for that," Padmakumar said. -- PTI
18:59 Need to keep social media toxic-free, says Sitharaman
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday stressed the need to keep the social media "toxic-free" to build an intelligent and smart narrative for the country to progress fast.
"We should be the pioneers to make that place toxic-free. It should be an engagement forum, but without bitterness, toxicity, negativity," she said, addressing the sixth Social Media Conclave, organised by an NGO -- Namaste India.
BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav was also present on the occasion.
Sitharaman disagreed with the term "warriors" or "yoddhas" for those propagating government programmes on social media platforms and said she preferred to call them architects as they improved the ambience and beautified the surroundings.
"Architects do wonderful things to make our ambience, ecosystem better. They bring in more trees. I think, as architects of the social media, we should bring in more culture in the wonderful, technology-based, interaction fora -- whether it is Instagram, WhatsApp or Facebook, and a lot more.
"We communicate better by bringing in a lot of facts. We get the reality in picture, in words...," she said.
The defence minister reminded the audience that there were certain virtues India held for generations, which were missing today.
"All of us are here for a common cause. We want a better India. All of us have got some exposure to how civic lives can be better, our individual lives can be better -- in rural or urban India," she said.
Sitharaman acknowledged that there was a need for the country to move fast and in this context, said there should be an intelligent and smart narrative on the social media platforms, instead of "toxic discussions".
"I understand that this country requires to move fast. The narrative per se should become intelligent and smart. We do no want the social media to have a toxicity flow," she said. -- PTI
18:36 Jet Airways Hyderabad-Indore flight makes emergency landing
A Jet Airways aircraft from Hyderabad to Indore with 103 people on board made an emergency landing at the airport here in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday after one of its engines failed, an official said.
The plane landed safely at 12.06 pm, Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport's director Aryama Sanyal said.
The commander of the Hyderabad-Indore Jet Airways flight 9W955 sought an emergency landing from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) after one of the engines of the aircraft failed, she added.
The Jet Airways, in a statement, confirmed the emergency landing of the aircraft and said its engineering team was inspecting the plane.
"Jet Airways' flight 9W 955, Hyderabad to Indore, on September 30, made an emergency landing at Indore. The B737 aircraft with 96 guests and seven crew landed safely and all were successfully deplaned," it said.
The airline added that it had informed the authorities concerned about the incident. -- PTI
18:34 Pollution level again increases in Delhi due to local factors
After few days of 'good' air quality in the national capital, the pollution level has gone up due to local factors, officials said Sunday.
The Air Quality Index was recorded at 159, over four times more than last Tuesday, according to the Centre's System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research Institute.
An AQI in the range of 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'.
A Central Pollution Control Board official said the rise in pollution level is due to local factors especially the vehicular pollution.
"After the monsoon subsided, the local reasons resulted in increase of pollution in the city," the official said.
According to the data from the CPCB, the PM10 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 10 mm) was recorded as 'moderate' at 171 in Delhi-NCR and 167 in Delhi. The PM2.5 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm) was 81 in Delhi-NCR and 85 in Delhi.
The Supreme Court appointed body Environment Pollution Control Authority has called for a meeting next week to explore possible solutions to control local factors responsible for the rise in pollution.
According to the SAFAR, the pollution level is expected to further increase in the next two days, specially the PM10 level.
Monsoon rain had improved the air quality in the last two months. Since July, the air quality remained 'satisfactory' and even witnessed three days of 'good' category. -- PTI
18:07 Govt owes Air India over Rs 1146.86 crore for VVIP charter flights: RTI
The total outstanding of cash-strapped Air India towards government for VVIP charter flights stands at Rs 1146.86 crore, according to the latest response from the national carrier to an RTI application.
According to the details furnished by the Air India on September 26 to applicant Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), the defence ministry has outstanding bills of Rs 211.17 crore, Cabinet Secretariat and PMO Rs 543.18 crore and external affairs ministry Rs 392.33 crore.
Some of the oldest pending bills for the visits of the president, the vice president and the evacuation flights are nearly 10-year-old, the data furnished by Air India says.
In a previous reply furnished in March this year, the total outstanding bills were at Rs 325 crore on January 31 which have now risen to Rs 1146.86 crore, it shows.
Chartered aircraft for VVIPs -- president, vice president and prime minister -- for their visits abroad are provided by Air India, which modifies its commercial jets to suit the needs of the travelling dignitaries.
The bills for these aircraft are paid from the exchequer by the ministry of defence, the ministry of external affairs, the Prime Minister's Office and the Cabinet secretariat.
The Comptroller and Auditor General had flagged the issue of pending payments from the government to Air India in its report in 2016.
"Hence considering the significant quantum of pending dues and in the context of government support to AIL for turnaround, more efforts need to be made for early action for reimbursement of dues by both AIL and government," it had said.
Batra said some of the outstanding bills are pending since 2006 but even the CAG observations have not deterred the government to clear them.
The debt burden of the national carrier, which is grappling with tough business conditions, is estimated to be more than Rs 50,000 crore.
Earlier this year, the government's efforts for strategic disinvestment of debt-laden Air India failed to take off.
Air India is staying afloat on a bailout package extended by the previous UPA regime in 2012. -- PTI
17:27 Now hear Mahatma Gandhi's 'heart beat' at National Gandhi Museum
People can now listen to the "recreated heart beats" of Mahatma Gandhi at Delhi's National Gandhi Museum, which will launch a series of programmes Monday to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, the museum will also inaugurate a special photo exhibition on the theme of 'Non-violence and World Peace' and release a finely-curated 'Digital Multimedia Kit' containing audio and video footages from his life, its director A Annamalai said Sunday.
"We have gathered the ECG (electrocardiography) details from different stages of Gandhi ji's life and recreated his heart beat on the digital medium. This will be a very interesting feature for the public," he told PTI.
Another special collection being released Monday is the 'Digital Multimedia Kit' about Gandhi which will be available for people to buy.
"The kit in a pen drive contains six components: basic books (20 by Gandhi and 10 on him), a documentary film by A K Chettiar, 100 specially-curated pictures, Gandhi's voice, a virtual tour of his ashrams and his favourite bhajans," Annamalai said, adding that the collection could illuminate the youth about Gandhi in a significant way.
Chettiar's documentary 'Mahatma Gandhi: 20th Century Prophet', whose footage was acquired in London, covers Gokhale's visit to South Africa in 1912.
"It's perhaps the only footage of Gokhale and with him stood a young lawyer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi dressed tidily in a suit," Annamalai said.
Also included are footages from the Quit India Movement, speeches of Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, besides Gandhi's visit to the North West Frontier Province with Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Noakhali -- Peace Pilgrimage.
There are selected 100 photographs of Gandhi from his place of birth in Porbandar up to his memorial at the Rajghat here, he said, adding that the collection also includes his pictures of early life, London and South African phase, important movement of Indian Freedom Struggle and with various contemporary leaders.
"The pictures are in the form of a power point presentation," Annamalai said.
He said the digital kit also has audio footages of the original voice of Gandhi.
"His speech recorded in London in 1931 'Spiritual Message of Mahatma Gandhi' (English), the one delivered at the Asian Relations Conference held at Delhi, 1947 (English), besides the Post Prayer Speech on Cleanliness and Hindu Muslim Unity in 1947 (Hindi), among others, are part of the collection," he added. -- PTI
17:26 FB, Twitter to help EC check fake news during polls
Internet major Google and social media giants Twitter and Facebook have assured the Election Commission that they will not allow their platforms to be used for anything which effects the purity of polls during campaign period, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat has said.
He said it was tested during the Karnataka elections.
"Small pilot was there. That was the beginning. Now we will have a bigger pilot before Lok Sabha elections in these four states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram," the CEC told PTI.
Assembly polls are due in the four state later this year.
Rawat said a committee under Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha had called regional and local heads of Google, Facebook and Twitter and had asked them as to what they can do for ensuring purity of Indian elections such as avoiding adverse impact of fake news and targeted communication to voters.
"They have all committed that during campaign period, they will not allow anything which is adversely effecting level playing field be allowed on their platforms... during the last 48 hours before the close of poll, they have committed that nothing of elections will be allowed on their platforms," he said.
The last 48 hours before the elections come to a close is called 'silence period' so that voter can calmly decide on as to whom to vote.
The companies have also assured the poll watchdog that political advertisements will be flagged, including the amount spent, so that expenditure can also be accounted for during campaign period, the Chief Election Commissioner said. -- PTI
16:54 AIR to celebrate 80th anniversary of 1st external broadcast in a big way
On October 1, 1939, the All India Radio made its first broadcast for foreign listeners -- a Pashto service started by the then British rulers to counter the Nazi Germany propaganda during World War II.
The national radio broadcaster has decided that the 80th anniversary of the historic event will be marked by year-long celebrations beginning this week right up till October 1 next year.
The external services of the All India Radio, though began with the aim of serving the propaganda of the British colonialists, have now transformed into the "voice of India" at the world stage, officials said.
"Last year, the decision was taken that October 1 will be observed as External Broadcasting Day and Monday will be the first such occasion. All Indian missions abroad will observe the External Broadcasting Day," Amlanjyoti Mazumdar, Head External Services Division, AIR, told PTI.
"The missions are going to circulate the material that we have sent them to sensitise the listeners in their respective countries about AIR's external services," he said.
To mark the 80th anniversary of the AIR's first external broadcast next year, starting with tomorrow's cultural programme at Siri Fort, events have been planned all the year round, Mazumdar said.
"We are trying to collaborate with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to organise cultural events in select countries. External broadcast will be popularised through these events," he said.
The AIR's External Services Division broadcasts programmes that have a reach of over 150 countries through short and medium wave.
As one of the oldest international broadcasting services that began in 1939, it offers news bulletins and other programmes in 28 languages. Fourteen out of the 28 language services are for the immediate neighbourhood.
The foreign language services include Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Persian, and Baloch, while plans are underway to start services in Japanese and Bhutanese. -- PTI
16:25 Contamination of polio vaccines: Health ministry asks teams in UP to track children given vaccine
After traces of Polio Virus Type 2 were found in some batches of oral polio vaccine manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company, the health ministry has asked the polio surveillance team in Uttar Pradesh to trace and track all children who were given the vaccine.
As the vaccine was administered as part of the government's universal immunisation programme, the ministry has also ordered immediate withdrawal of the particular manufacturer's vaccine.
Polio type 2 virus strain has been eradicated worldwide, including in India.
The polio surveillance team has been asked to trace all children who were given this vaccine. They will also be tracked to see how the virus behaves in their body, a Health Ministry official said.
The health ministry has ordered a probe after traces of polio type 2 virus were found in some batches of oral polio vaccine manufactured by the company and arrested the firm's managing director Saturday.
The managing director of Biomed Pvt Ltd., which was supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes, was arrested after the Central Drug Regulator filed an FIR in this case.
The Drugs Controller General of India has also asked the company to stop "manufacture, sale or distribution till further orders."
"The company has five directors. While the managing director has been arrested, we have asked the police to trace the rest directors as they also need to be questioned," a government official said.
According to the health ministry official, the contamination came to light after surveillance reports from Uttar Pradesh showed signs of the virus in stool samples of some children.
Immediately, the OPVs were sent for testing which confirmed that some of them were contaminated with type-2 virus.
The ministry has also alerted the Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra governments assuming a possible usage of the vaccine there.
The destruction of traces of Polio Virus Type 2 was ordered by the central drug regulator to all manufacturers in 2016. -- PTI
15:50 Define the term 'urban naxal', asks Romila Thapar
Eminent historian Romila Thapar, who petitioned the Supreme Court against the house arrest of five Left-leaning activists, has asked government to define the phrase 'urban naxal', saying either they do not understand the meaning of the term or the activists like her do not.
Talking on the house arrests of five activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, she said these are the people who are fighting against social injustice.
"We were all born Indians, lived as Indians all our lives. These activists are fighting for good causes and terming them urban naxal is a political move," she said.
"Do they even know what urban naxal means, first ask the government to define the term urban naxal and then tell us how we fall into this category. It is very easy to call us urban naxal. And also tell us how we have become urban naxal, either the government does not understand the meaning of urban naxal or we don't understand the meaning of the term," Thapar told PTI.
She was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held by the petitioners after the Supreme Court judgement on Friday refused to interfere with the arrest of the five rights activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case and declined to appoint a special investigation team to probe their arrests.
The five activists have been under house arrest since August 29.
Politicians like Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have often referred to the five activists as "urban naxals".
Many social media users have enlisted themselves as "urban naxals" in a show of solidarity with the arrested Left-leaning activists as 'MeTooUrbanNaxal' hashtag trended on Twitter.
They countered that the term 'urban naxal' was a mere creation of some sections to malign those who have an anti-establishment stance.
Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala were the petitioners who filed a case in the Supreme Court after the five lawyers, journalists and civil rights activists were arrested across the country on August 28 and charged with abetting acts of terror under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
"Any democratic institution cannot take law into its hands. It has to go through a certain procedure. Arrests are the last step of a probe it is not the first step of an investigation," she said.
"Arbitrary arrests on implausible charges means the police can walk into our homes and arrest us - either without a warrant or a warrant written in a language we don't understand and then accuse us of activities about which we know nothing," she said. -- PTI
READ| A propaganda tool called #UrbanNaxal
15:47 Apple executive, shot by constables in UP, cremated
The executive of a private company who was allegedly shot dead by constables in Gomti Nagar locality in Lucknow was on Sunday cremated in presence of Uttar Pradesh ministers and family members.
Vivek Tiwari, 38, was shot on Saturday by constables Prashant Chowdhury and Sandeep Kumar while he was going to drop his colleague Sana Khan.
His body was on Sunday cremated at Bhaisakund in present of state minister Brijesh Pathak and local MLA Ashutosh Tondon and others.
When asked about the incident Pathak said, "It's an unfortunate incident and we are with the family members of the victim. We will try to fast track the case so that the family can get justice. I will also request Principal Secretary Home and the DGP to post sensitive policemen in big cities."
"We will ensure strict action against the guilty. If needed, a CBI probe will also be recommended," he added.
Expressing grief over the incident, UP director general of police OP Singh said no amount of apology would suffice for the loss of a precious life or heal and wounds of the devastated family.
"My heart goes out for the little daughters, wife and family members of Vivek Tiwari. I share my grief with them," he said, adding such deviant, "criminal behaviour" was reprehensible and deserved the strictest punishment.
"We are determined to punish and wean out such rogues in uniform who hang our heads in shame, at the same time we have also embarked on systemic reforms through behavioural training and humanisation of the force," the DGP said.
"As we are striving hard for a 360 degree reform of UP Police, it's my request to all of you to not consider the aberration of Lucknow incident as a reflection of what we truly stand for. I solicit your forgiveness, best wishes and cooperation in the journey of reformation ahead," he added.
The two constables were arrested and dismissed from the job and a firsr information report was registered in the matter on the basis of a complaint by Sana Khan.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Saturday said a Central Bureua of Investigation inquiry would be recommended if needed.
Constable Prashant Chaudhary, however, said after noticing some "suspicious activity", he asked the victim to come out of the SUV but he did not and instead tried to hit him and he had to open fire in self defence.
A fired bullet pierced the windscreen as the car rammed into a pillar, police had said.
15:33 Pak's ISI chief to retire on Monday
Chief of Pakistan's powerful spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt General Naveed Mukhtar, and four other three-star generals will retire on Monday, according to a media report.
Besides director general of ISI Lt Gen Mukhtar, the others retiring on Monday are Peshawar Corps Commander Lt General Nazir Ahmad Butt, Commander of Army's Strategic Forces Command Lt General Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain, Military Secretary at the General Headquarters Lt General Ghayur Mehmood and Inspector General of Training and Evaluation, GHQ, Lt General Hidayatur Rehman, Dawn newspaper reported.
Commissioned in the armoured corps regiment in 1983, Lt Gen Mukhtar is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta; National Defence University, Islamabad and the United States Army War College.
He assumed the office of ISI director general on December 11, 2016.
Commissioned in Frontier Force regiment in 1983, Lt Gen Butt is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the NDU Islamabad.
He also served as military secretary to the prime minister and Pakistan defence attache in the US.
Commissioned in 1983, Lt Gen Rehman is a graduate of the Command and Staff Collage, Quetta, and the NDU Islamabad, where he later also served as chief instructor. He has the honour of being the first lieutenant general hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan.
Commissioned in artillery in 1982, Lt Gen Hilal Hussain was appointed as commander of the Army Strategic Force Command in September 2015.
He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the NDU Islamabad. He has served as military advisor to Pakistan's permanent representative in the UN and military secretary to the President of Pakistan.
Lt Gen Mahmood, who is currently posted as Military Secretary at GHQ, was commissioned in Frontier Force regiment in 1982.
He is a graduate of the Command and Staff Collage, Quetta, and the NDU Islamabad. He has commanded an infantry division in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He has also served as Inspector General of the Frontier Corps and Vice Chief of General Staff. -- PTI
READ| Who will head the ISI?
14:37 Pak chopper violates Indian airspace
A Pakistani chopper today violated the airspace along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, the army said.
Jammu-based army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said the helicopter violated the airspace around 12:10 pm.
Official sources said a white-colour chopper crossed into this side in Gulpur sector and hovered for sometime before turning back. -- PTI
14:11 Indonesia quake, tsunami death toll rises to 832
The death toll from a powerful earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has soared to 832 and could climb higher, the disaster agency said Sunday.
The new toll announced by the national disaster agency was almost double the previous figure. Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla said the final number of dead could be in the "thousands" as many regions have still not been reached.
So far, it said, almost all the deaths had been recorded in Palu, two days after waves five feet high slammed into the city of 350,000 on Sulawesi island.
Eleven deaths had been recorded in the region of Donggala to the north of Palu, it said.
National disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference the affected area was bigger than initially thought, though rescuers only had good access to one of four affected districts - Palu.
"We haven't received reports from the three other areas. Communication is still down, power is still out. We don't know for sure what is the impact," he said.
13:38 Prez gives assent to India's first good samaritan bill of Karnataka
President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a bill, India's first, which will give legal protection to the good samaritans in Karnataka who help accidents victims with emergency medical care within the 'golden hour', officials said Sunday.
With this, Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good samaritans through a legislation amidst the rising incidents of accidental deaths in India, which saw 1,50,785 people getting killed in road accidents in 2016.
The president has given his asset to the Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016, a home ministry official said.
The legislation aims to give protection to good samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the 'golden hour' and encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in the hands of police and investigations.
In medical term the 'golden hour' is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial.
Under the new law, the Karnataka government will provide financial help to good samaritans who help victims in a timely manner, they will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations, in case attendance is mandatory, expenses of such "running around to courts and police stations" will be taken care through the proposed 'Good Samaritan Fund'.
After admitting the accident victim to the hospital, the good samaritan can leave immediately, all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims, according to the new legislation.
Another official said there have been many instances when people get busy in clicking photos or making videos of the victims, instead of providing the accident victims medical help.
"With the new law, there will be clear message that good samaritans will not be harassed in any manner," the official said.
There were 4,80,652 road accidents in the country in 2016 in which 1,50,785 people were killed. In 2015, there were 5,01,423 road accidents in the country in which 1,46,133 people were killed.
Karnataka is one of the top five states which saw a large number of people getting killed in road accidents in 2016 and 2015.
There is no central law to protect the good samaritans. However, the Union Surface Transport Ministry had issued a set of guidelines in 2015 following a Supreme Court order to protect the good samaritans. -- PTI
13:02 India believes in peace but not at cost of self respect: PM
India staunchly believes in peace and is committed to taking it forward, but it would not be at the cost of compromising its self-respect and sovereignty, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday as he asserted that the armed forces will give a befitting reply to any attempt to destroy the atmosphere of peace in the country.
Recalling the 2016 surgical strikes, he said Indian troops gave a befitting reply to the "audacity of a proxy war" under the "garb of terrorism".
In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address, Modi said, "It has now been decided that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to whosoever makes an attempt to destroy the atmosphere of peace and progress in our nation."
He said India staunchly believe in peace and is committed to taking it forward, "but not at the cost of compromising our self-respect and sovereignty of our nation. India has always been resolutely committed to peace."
India has never eyed someone else's territory maliciously. "This in itself was our commitment and dedication towards peace," the PM said.
His remarks came days after India called off the planned meeting of foreign ministers in New York, citing the brutal killings of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ministry of external affairs had said talks in the current circumstances would be futile and also cited stamps issued by Pakistan in July to "glorify" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani as a reason for the cancellation.
Modi pointed out that India is one of the largest contributors to various United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in terms of sending its personnel.
"For decades, our brave soldiers wearing blue helmets have played a stellar role in ensuring maintenance of world peace," he said to drive home his point. -- PTI
12:54 1,500 TN fishermen driven away by Lankan Navy
Around 1,500 fishermen from Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram returned to the shores without fish catch today after they were allegedly driven away by Sri Lankan Navay near Katchatheevu, a fishermen association leader said.
The fishermen, who had put out to sea on Saturday in over 275 mechanised boats, were fishing near Katchatheevu when the Lankan naval personnel in four patrol vessels allegedly snapped the fishing nets of 10 boats, Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja told reporters.
The naval personnel also drove away the other fishermen, following which they returned to Rameswaram on Sunday morning, he claimed.
On Friday, over 600 fishermen from Rameswaram region were chased away and fishing nets of nearly 10 boats allegedly snapped by the Lankan Navy for allegedly fishing in their waters. -- PTI
12:51 We shouldn't make noise, if Dassault didn't find HAL useful: V K Singh
Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh has defended the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, saying it is not the government but the company that makes the equipment which decides the partner to fulfil the offset obligations in the inter-governmental agreements.
Addressing the Indian community at the Indian consulate in Dubai on Saturday evening, General Singh said no noise should be made if the French aerospace major Dassault Aviation did not find the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd "useful enough".
"The thing that gets paddled around is what happens to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. If I can say tongue-in-cheek, if Dassault didn't find (HAL) useful enough, we shouldn't make noise," he said.
"It's the company that is making equipment that decides whom to give the offset. So the decision is that of Dassault and for various things they have selected a number of companies, Anil Ambani is one of them," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra 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 final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.
A controversy broke out when a French media report quoted Hollande as saying that the Indian government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the partner for the French aerospace giant in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.
Hollande's comments triggered a sharp reactions from the opposition parties which have been accusing the government of massive irregularities in the deal and benefiting Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL) despite not having any experience in the aerospace sector.
The Indian government has been maintaining it was not officially aware of whom the Dassault Aviation had selected as its Indian partner to fulfil offset obligations of the deal.
Dassault Aviation has said it had made the decision to partner with Reliance Defence Ltd for the Rafale deal.
The Congress has also been demanding answers from the government on why the HAL was not involved in the deal as finalised during the UPA.
Singh, a former Indian Army chief, defended the government's decision, saying the HAL was overburdened and has many things to do. -- PTI
12:31 Naidu meets ailing Parrikar
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday met ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi to enquire about his health.
Parrikar was admitted to the AIIMS on September 15.
Parrikar, 62, was flown to the national capital owing to his declining health.
He had returned from the US in the first week of September, days after which he was admitted to a hospital in Goa.
Earlier this year, he had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the US.
"Met Shri Manohar Parrikar, the Chief Minister of Goa and inquired about his health at AIIMS today. He is one of the most lovable and honest senior politicians of our country. I wish & hope he will get well soon and serve the society as he ever does," the Vice-President's secretariat tweeted. -- PTI
11:42 Rishi Kapoor flies to US for medical treatment, asks fans not to speculate
Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor on Saturday said he was leaving for the United States to seek medical treatment and will be away from work for some time.
The 66-year-old actor took to Twitter to share the news, saying after facing over four decades of "wear and tear" in the showbiz, the check-up was a much needed engagement.
"I am taking a short leave of absence from work to go to America for some medical treatment... It's been 45 years 'plus' of wear and tear at the movies," Kapoor wrote.
The Mulk star urged well-wishers not to worry or unnecessarily speculate.
"With your love and good wishes, I will be back soon," he added.
On the work front, Kapoor's Rajma Chawal is set to start streaming worldwide on Netflix from November 30.
The actor will soon reunite with longtime co-star Juhi Chawla for a family comedy. -- PTI
10:54 PM condoles loss of lives in Indonesia tsunami
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday condoled the loss of lives in tsunami which hit parts of Indonesia, saying India stands with its maritime neighbour in this difficult hour.
Over 400 people were killed when a powerful quake sent a tsunami barrelling into the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Saturday.
The national disaster agency there put the official death toll so far at 420, all of them in the tsunami-struck city of Palu, but warned the toll was likely to rise.
"Deeply saddened by the loss of lives and devastation due to tsunami and earthquake in Central Sulawesi in Indonesia. I offer deepest condolences. India stands with its maritime neighbour in this difficult hour," the Prime Minister's Office said on Twitter quoting Modi.
10:27 Policeman killed in terrorist attack in Shopian
A policeman was killed in a terrorist attack on a police station in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district on Sunday, police said.
"Terrorists in District Shopian fired indiscriminately on Police Station Shopian. The attack was repulsed by alert jawans," a police spokesman said.
He said in this incident, constable Saqib Mir sustained injuries and was evacuated to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
However, the injured jawan succumbed to injuries, the spokesman said.
Police have registered a case and investigation has been initiated in the matter, he said.
10:09 Trump says he and North Korea's Kim Jong-un 'in love'
US President Donald Trump said he and North Korea's Kim Jong-un have fallen "in love" -- their bromance fuelled by "beautiful letters" he received from the leader of the nuclear-armed state.
Trump elevated his recent praise of Kim to new heights, at a West Virginia rally in support of local candidates for his Republican Party.
"And then we fell in love -- OK? No really. He wrote me beautiful letters and they're great letters. We fell in love," Trump told the crowd.
On Monday at the United Nations General Assembly Trump lauded the North Korean strongman -- who is accused by the UN and others of widespread human rights abuses -- as "terrific", one year after Trump eviscerated Kim from the same platform.
Trump followed those comments by saying on Wednesday he had received an "extraordinary letter" from Kim, and sounded optimistic about prospects for a second summit between the two leaders "fairly quickly."
Trump used his debut address at the UN General Assembly 12 months ago to threaten to "totally destroy" North Korea and belittle its leader as "rocket man," prompting Kim to respond by calling the president a "mentally deranged US dotard." Those were among a series of playground-type slurs the leaders of the two nuclear-armed states hurled at each other, setting the world on edge.
Trump met Kim in Singapore in June for the first-ever summit between the two countries that have never signed a peace treaty.
The summit led to a warming of ties and a halt in Pyongyang's missile launches, but there has been little concrete progress since.
09:57 Navy needs minesweeper ships urgently, left with only 2
The Indian Navy currently has only two minesweeper ships at its disposal to safeguard sea lanes and ports spread across thousands of kilometres of coastlines in the eastern and western seaboards, a top Navy officer has said.
The navy requires 12 minesweeper ships, but at present has only two, Rear Admiral Rajaram Swaminathan, Assistant Chief of Material, Indian Navy, said.
"The navy needs these ships urgently," Swaminathan said.
Minesweepers are small naval warships that detect and destroy underwater mines and are considered vital for keeping the critical sea lanes safe for movement of essential cargo, including crude oil.
He said that Defence PSU Goa Shipyard Ltd is in the process of collaborating with a foreign firm for manufacturing minesweepers.
The government has been looking for a foreign collaborator for its over Rs 32,000 crore project, entrusted to GSL, for procuring 12 minesweeper ships.
The basic function of these ships would be to locate, classify, sweep and neutralise all types of ground moored and drift mines.
09:14 "Host and patron" of UN-designated terrorists: India replies to Pak at UN
Taking a strong stand at the United Nations General Assembly, India called out Pakistan after the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi alleged that New Delhi was involved in the Peshawar school terror attack in 2014. While rejecting Qureshi's statement, Eenam Gambhir, India's First Secretary in Permanent Mission of India to UN, said it was the "most outrageous and preposterous allegation."
Exercising the Right to Reply at the UNGA, Ms Gambhir said, "Let me recollect for Pakistan's new government, the out-pouring of sorrow and pain in India that followed the massacre of innocent school children. India's Parliament had expressed solidarity while paying respect to the memory of those killed. Schools all over India had observed two minutes silence in their memory."
Dismissing Pakistan's claim of fighting terrorism, Ms Gambhir said, "Can Pakistan deny that it's the host and patron of 132 of the UN designated terrorists, 22 terrorist entities sanctioned under the 1267 and 1988 UN Security Council Sanctions Regime as of today?"
Pakistan alleging India's role in the school terror attack shows the country's "desperate attempt to look away from monster of terror that Pakistan itself has created to destabilise its neighbours, said the Indian diplomat. Pointing out that the 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who is a UN designated terrorist, enjoys "a free run" in Pakistan, Gambhir said, "Pakistan must demonstrate that it has moved beyond the narrative of distortion, deception and deceit."
Slamming Qureshi's statement that India cancelled talks the between the foreign ministers of the two countries on "flimsy grounds", Ms Gambhir said, "The new Foreign Minister chose to term the gruesome killing our security personnel by Pakistani sponsored terrorists as flimsy grounds. While it may not be the case for Pakistan but for India every loss of life counts. India believes talks and terror can't go together."
India had cancelled the proposed talks between Sushma Swaraj and Mr Qureshi in New York, after three Indian security personnel were killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.
Gambhir rebutted the Pakistan Foreign Minister citing a report on Kashmir presented by Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. No UN member state had asked for the report, none supported it and no action was taken", she said.
"Let me make it clear to the new government of Pakistan that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India," said Gambhir.
09:07 FBI reaches out to Kavanaugh's second victim
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has contacted the second victim, Deborah Ramirez who has accused US Supreme Court Judge Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
Ramirez had accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a Yale college party in the 1980s.
On Friday, United States President Donald Trump ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh over Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegation.
Trump also conveyed his confidence in the FBI investigation claiming that it might be a "blessing in disguise".
"The FBI I believe is doing a really great job. They have been all over already. They have free rein. They're going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They'll be doing things that we've never even thought of, and hopefully at the conclusion, everything will be fine," he added.
The investigation was requested by Republican Party Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who supported Kavanaugh on a condition that the nomination of the judge will be delayed and an FBI investigation will be ordered to probe the case. He, however, insisted that the delay should not be more than a week.
Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, had alleged that Kavanaugh had assaulted her during a party in the 1980s when they were both in high school. She had accused Kavanaugh of groping her and attempting to remove her clothes.
Kavanaugh, however, denied all the allegations during the testimony, saying that his reputation and that of his family has been "totally and permanently destroyed".
08:32 Terrorists attack police station in Kashmir, cop injured
A policeman was injured critically in a terrorist attack on a police station in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district on Sunday, a police official said.
Terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on the police station in south Kashmir early today, the official said.
The injured policeman has been admitted to a hospital in a critical condition, he said.
Further details are awaited.
08:10 Musk agrees to pay $20 million, quit as Tesla chairman in deal with SEC
Elon Musk agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle charges brought this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Under the settlement, which requires court approval, Musk will be allowed to stay as CEO but must leave his role as chairman of the board within 45 days. He cannot seek reelection for three years, according to court filings.
He accepted the deal with the SEC "without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint," according to a court document.
Separately, Tesla agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims it failed to adequately police Musk's tweet.
"The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process," the SEC said in a press release.
The company also agreed to appoint two new independent directors to its board and establish a board committee to oversee Musk's communications.
Tesla declined to comment. A spokesperson confirmed Musk will be permitted to remain a member of the board.
The announcement from the SEC comes two days after the agency filed a lawsuit against Musk, claiming he misled investors. The suit centers on tweets Musk sent on August 7 in which he said he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share, causing the company's stock to soar. He had not secured the funding, the SEC said.