Tue, 13 August 2019
Trump delays some tariffs on Chinese imports
23:53 Trump delays some tariffs on Chinese imports
Donald Trump played Santa Claus on Tuesday, telling reporters he was delaying tariffs on Chinese imports to avoid any adverse impact on US shoppers before the festive season.
Were doing this for the Christmas season, Trump told reporters.
Grateful shoppers, however, should not leave purchases of Chinese-made cellphones, laptops, video game consoles, some toys, computer monitors, shoes and clothing until the last minute.
The Office of the US Trade Representative said it would delay tariffs on such goods until 15 December, 10 days before Christmas.
The USTR also said it was still planning 10 per cent tariffs on about $300bn in Chinese imports, extending the import taxes on just about everything China ships to the US, as part of a dispute over Beijings aggressive trade policies.
23:22 Modi has junked Vajpayee's Kashmir policy, says Digvijay
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dumped former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayees famous policy on Jammu and Kashmir by scrapping the special status granted to the border state under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Vajpayee, who was prime minister from 1998-2004, had based his Kashmir policy on three principles - Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and
"Late Prime Minister Atalji had said `Jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat', was only way out to solve the Jammu and Kashmir problem but Modi has junked it totally, Singh told reporters.
"The decision (to scrap J&K's special status) was neither in accordance with Jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat or Insaniyat. Narendra Modi had rejected Ataljis policy totally, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said.
His reaction came in response to a poser regarding his party colleague P Chidambaram's remark that the Centre would not have revoked provisions of Article 370 if J&K was a Hindu majority state.
Singh said it can be Chidambaram's personal view and maintained the Kashmir issue should not be seen with Hindu-Muslim perspective.
22:59 Delhi turns into fortress ahead of I-Day
Multi-layered security arrangements are in place for the 73rd Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on August 15, officials said on Tuesday.
In view of the Centre abrogating the constitutional provisions that accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and amid tensions with Pakistan, security has been tightened across the national capital and the neighbouring border areas.
The multi-layered security ring, including National Security Guard snipers, elite SWAT commandos and kite catchers, will be placed around the Red Fort.
Special deployments have been made by the SPG and different components of the Army and paramilitary forces, along with around 20,000 Delhi Police personnel, including those from the traffic wing.
For the first time, Delhi Police will be using cameras equipped with a facial recognition software to identify suspects around the Red Fort and the adjoining areas.
There will be elaborate traffic arrangements with optimal deployment of staff and signage for public convenience.
A watch is being kept with the installation of around 500 CCTV cameras in and around the Red Fort, which will see the presence of senior ministers, top bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people during the prime minister's address. The roads leading to the Red Fort will also be under surveillance..
Apart from securing the main venue at the Red Fort, adequate security arrangements for the "At Home" function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan have also been made.
At every entry point, checking and frisking will be done through door-framed metal detectors and hand-held metal detectors.
22:29 Trump voices hope that 'nobody gets killed' in Hong Kong unrest
US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he hoped no one would be killed in Hong Kong amid new protests capping 10 weeks of unrest in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese financial hub.
The crisis, which has seen millions of anti-government activists take to Hong Kong's streets, was a "very tricky situation," the president told reporters in New Jersey.
"I hope it works out peacefully, nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed," he said.
22:01 Police, protesters clash at Hong Kong airport
Tensions ran high as police dressed in riot gear clashed with protesters at the international airport in Hong Kong.
Protesters, who have been demonstrating at the airport for the second consecutive day, had barricaded themselves inside the premises as the police descended at the airport, according to CNN.
The news outlet later reported that the police had started retreating from the airport.
All outbound flights from Hong Kong were cancelled on Tuesday as protests gripped the international airport for a second straight day. Hordes of protesters descended at the pre-security departures area, forcing all check-in services to be suspended.
Hong Kong's Airport Authority had earlier in the day said that incoming flights would continue.
While scores of protesters blocked check-in aisles from Tuesday afternoon, at least a thousand collected at the arrivals section of the airport, which is one of the busiest in the world.
A mass sit-in by the protesters was witnessed on Monday, while all flights in and out of the region were cancelled after 4 pm.
Hong Kong has been in the throes of protests since early June. The demonstrations were triggered by a now-suspended bill which would allow suspects to be extradited to China to face trial.
Even though the bill has been suspended by local authorities, the protests have continued and taken on a more pro-democracy outlook.
Protesters have also demanded an inquiry into police authority and alleged brutality.
21:19 No shooting in 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games Federation Louise Martin has insisted that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 edition to be held in Birmingham.
Martin said that shooting has never been a "compulsory sport" in Commonwealth Games.
A sport has to earn the right to be in the Games," said Martin. "Shooting has never been a compulsory sport. We have to work through it but shooting will not be in the Games. We have no space any more."
It was revealed in June that the Executive Board of the CGF had decided to exclude shooting from 2022 Games to be held in Birmingham. It is the first time since 1974 that shooting won't be seen at the Commonwealth Games and only the second since its first inclusion on 1966.
Indian shooters bagged 16 of their 66 medals, including seven gold at last year's Gold Coast Games where they finished third in the medals tally.
21:06 BJP announces schedule for its organisational polls
Setting the stage for organisational revamp in the party, the BJP announced on Tuesday elections of its state unit presidents and national council members between December 1-15.
The party said in a statement that its national election panel headed by former Union minister Radha Mohan Singh met on Tuesday and finalised the schedule of organisational elections at different levels.
The exercise will kick off from September 11, with members and heads of the party's booth committees slated to be elected by September 30 across the country.
This will be followed by elections at the 'mandal' level and then district level between October 11-31 and November 11-30, respectively.
After the rejigged national council is formed, it will meet to elect the party's new president or ratify his appointment if he will have been nominated by then.
With incumbent BJP president Amit Shah now also serving as the Union home minister, it is likely that he will pave the way for a fresh face at the helm.
The BJP had recently appointed J P Nadda as its working president to take care of day-to-day responsibility of its organisational affairs. There is a view within the party that he may succeed Shah.
20:50 Parliament House shimmers in new lighting system
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated on Tuesday a special dynamic system of over 800 LED lights that have been installed on the facade of Parliament House to enhance the building's grandeur.
According to Lok Sabha secretariat officials, 875 LED lights, which will change colour every few seconds, have been placed on the facade of the Parliament House. These are power efficient and uses only one-fifth of the electricity compared to other types of lights.
Members of Parliament were also invited for the inauguration, the officials said, adding that the lighting system would enhance the beauty and visibility of the Parliament building.
A similar lighting system was installed on the South and North Block at Raisina Hills in 2017.
20:48 Home Ministry confirms reports of unrest in J-K
Days after calling reports on an unrest in Saura region of Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs has acknowledged that an incident of stone pelting did take place in Saura on 9 August which later sparked unrest.
"On 09/08, miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque. They resorted to unprovoked stone pelting against law enforcement forces to cause widespread unrest," said the MHA on Twitter.
Earlier, a few international media houses including BBC and The Washington Post had drawn criticism for reporting about the incident. A home ministry spokesperson had also called the reports about protests as "fabricated and incorrect".
BBC had on 10 August published an exclusive video that shows large groups of men running and taking cover, while what appears to be the sound of gunfire, echoes in the background.
Smoke rises in the air, and women and men shout indiscriminately in the distance. The scene cuts to thousands flocking the streets carrying posters decrying the revocation of Article 370, and people chant We want freedom, and Go back India! in unison.
The Indian government officially denied this report as well as the one by Reuters which stated that over 10,000 people in Srinagar took to the streets to protest Indias decision to scrap Article 370 that stripped the region of its special status.
20:20 Stop trying to interfere in India's internal matter, Amarinder tells Pak minister
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sternly told Pakistan Minister Fawad Chaudhry to not interfere in India's internal matter after he made a provocative statement about the Indian Army.
Singh, who served in the Indian Army in the 1960s, told the minister in the Imran Khan-led government that his provocative statement will not work.
"Stop trying to interfere in India's internal matter. And let me tell you that the Indian Army is a disciplined and nationalist force, unlike your Army@fawadchaudhry. Your provocative statement will not work, nor will the soldiers in our Army follow your divisive diktats," he said in a tweet.
The chief minister recently reiterated that Kashmir was an internal matter of India and Pakistan should not link it with diplomatic or trade ties between the two nations.
19:48 Rahul reacting to fake news on Kashmir: J-K guv
J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik's office said Rahul Gandhi was responding to fake news possibly spread from across the border about the situation in Kashmir, which is peaceful with negligible incidents.
It also said that the Congress leader can check for himself from various Indian channels which have reported correct position in the Valley.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accepted governor Satya Pal Malik's 'invitation' to visit Jammu and Kashmir but said he did not need an aircraft.
Gandhi said he and other opposition leaders would visit Jammu and Kashmir and urged Malik to allow them the freedom to meet people, and soldiers.
19:05 Jaitley still in ICU, critical but haemodynamically stable
Former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences on August 9, is still in the hospital's ICU and is critical, but haemodynamically stable, sources said on Tuesday.
A hemodynamically stable patient has a stable heart pump and good blood circulation.
AIIMS has not issued any bulletin on Jaitley's health condition after Friday, when he was admitted.
On Saturday, after Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited AIIMS to enquire about Jaitley's health, his office had said that the former minister is responding to treatment.
Sixty-six-year-old Jaitley was admitted to the AIIMS' ICU on Friday morning after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. Doctors had then said he is "haemodynamically stable" and a multidisciplinary team of doctors is supervising his treatment.
The hospital did not issue any fresh bulletin on Jaitley's health either on Saturday or Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS for Health Ashwini Choubey, BJP working president J P Nadda and Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, were among others who visited the hospital on Friday to enquire about Jaitley's health.
In May this year, Jaitley was admitted to AIIMS for treatment.
A lawyer by profession, Jaitley had been an important part in Narendra Modi's Cabinet during his first tenure as prime minister. He held the finance and defence portfolios, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government.
18:42 HC gives go-ahead to release of Batla House
The Delhi high court on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to the release of movie Batla House on August 15 after the film makers agreed to certain modifications.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru passed the consent order and said the film makers are bound by their statement and disposed of the petition.
The film makers agreed to put certain disclaimers and delete some scenes in the movie which were objectionable to the petitioners -- Ariz Khan, who is facing trial in the Batla House encounter case, and Shahzad Ahmed, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court and his appeal is pending in the high court.
The petition had claimed that the film, slated to be released on Independence Day, shows a link between the bomb blasts and the encounter and would therefore, prejudicially affect the trial in both cases.
18:23 Global investors summit to be held in Srinagar from Oct 12
Jammu and Kashmir administration will host a three-day global investors summit from October 12 in Srinagar.
The summit will provide J-K an opportunity to showcase its strengths, strategies and potential, Principal Secretary Industries Naveen Choudhary told reporters here.
It will also provide an opportunity to allay fears and apprehensions in the minds of outside trade and business community, he added.
17:59 J&K students staying away from home: Raja
CPI general-secretary D Raja Tuesday wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah, highlighting the plight of students of Jammu and Kashmir staying away from home.
Urging Shah to help the students, Raja said students were facing financial and security issues and many of them have been unable to contact their families since the government suspended all communication in the valley.
"Some students from Jammu and Kashmir met me recently. It seems that they are unable to contact their parents and relatives in the valley and are worried. Similarly some of them are facing financial difficulties due to curfew and restriction imposed in the Valley.
"Some of them are being threatened and feel insecure. Their democratic rights to express their views should also be protected...We hope that the Union government will do the needful help to Kashmiri students in distress and provide them adequate protection," he wrote.
17:40 Hopeful of relaxing curbs post I-Day rehearsals: J-K principal secretary
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday said it is hopeful of further relaxations in the security clampdown after the dress rehearsal for the August 15 Independence Day celebrations conclude in various districts.
Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal told a press conference here that while prohibitory conditions were relaxed in various parts of Kashmir, the Jammu region was "almost entirely" free of restrictions.
"Restrictions, however, do continue in parts of Kashmir," he said.
"We are hopeful that once the full dress rehearsals for Independence Day being carried out in various districts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh conclude, there will be further relaxations," he said.
He added that the curbs would be relaxed in parts of the Valley in a phased manner based on the assessment of local authorities.
The security clampdown was imposed after the Union government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 and said the state would be bifurcated into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Restrictions were first eased in Kashmir on August 9 to allow people to offer Friday prayers at local mosques. Curbs were also relaxed ahead of Eid al-Adha, which was celebrated on Monday.
Kansal said the administration was following the overall policy of "relaxation and easing out" in all parts of the state and the Eid al-Adha celebrations and prayers were peaceful.
He added that there is a "constant endeavour to ensure that people are not obstructed and are facilitated in every possible way".
Indian Meteorological Department: An earthquake of magnitude 4.2 on Richter scale struck Jammu & Kashmir at 4:20 pm, today.
17:18 Release arrested J&K leaders, demands Congress
At a press conference, Anand Sharma said, "The government should take initiative and start a political dialogue in which all the Opposition parties of the country take it into confidence. Let a group go there so that the situation there can be understood. Also, leaders who are held, including former chief ministers, should be freed."
He added, "Concerns arising about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir are natural. There is a complete blockade from the administration's side. News and communication are not accessible to the people there. That's why there are so many questions being raised. Our advice to the government is to let the Opposition leaders go there."
The remarks come days after Opposition leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sitaram Yechury, and D Raja were stopped from going ahead with their visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
16:55 Bravery, dignity of Wayanad people 'truly humbling':Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has praised the flood-hit people of his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, saying the bravery and dignity displayed by them in the face of tragedy was "truly humbling."
"I left Wayanad with nothing but pride for the people I represent," Gandhi wrote on his Facebook page.
He left Kerala on Tuesday morning after winding up his two-day visit to Wayanad ravaged by floods and landslides.
"The display of bravery and dignity in the face of immense tragedy is truly humbling. It is such an honour and pleasure to be your MP. Thank you Kerala," he wrote.
Gandhi had visited flood-hit areas including worst-hit Puthumala in Wayanad district and Kavalappara near Nilambur in Malappuram district.
At Puthumala and Kavalappara, where landslides wrecked havoc last week, many people are still feared to be trapped beneath the debris.
The Congress leader has urged the Central and state governments to "aggressively support" the people hit by the national calamity.
16:37 HK airport cancels all departures for 2nd day
Hundreds of flights were cancelled or suspended at Hong Kong's airport on Tuesday as pro-democracy protesters staged a second day of hugely disruptive rallies, defying warnings from the city's leader who said they were heading down a "path of no return".
The new protest came as Beijing also sent further ominous signals that the 10 weeks of unrest must end, with state-run media showing videos of security forces gathering across the border.
The crisis, which has seen millions of people take to Hong Kong's streets, was before this week already the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain.
But the two days of protests at the airport, one of the busiest in the world, raised the stakes yet again.
All check-ins were cancelled on Tuesday afternoon after thousands of protesters wearing their signature black T-shirts made barricades using luggage trolleys to prevent passengers from passing through security gates.
On Monday a crowd that police said numbered 5,000 filled the building to denounce what they said were violent tactics by police in trying to quell weekend rallies.
Airport authorities in response cancelled all flights on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning, the city's leader, Carrie Lam, gave an at-times emotional press conference in which she warned of dangerous consequences if escalating violence was not curbed.
"Violence, no matter if it's using violence or condoning violence, will push Hong Kong down a path of no return," Lam said.
"The situation in Hong Kong in the past week has made me very worried that we have reached this dangerous situation."
16:14 Scrapping of Art 370 unconstitutional: Priyanka
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today said that rule were not followed while nullifying the Article 370 and the moves is 'completely unconstitutional'.
"The manner in which it has been done is completely unconstitutional and it's against all the principles of democracy. There are rules to be followed when such things are done, which were not followed," Priyanka said while talking to media after visiting the Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra village where 10 tribals were shot dead over a land dispute.
The security clampdown has been imposed after the Union government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that gave a special status to the state on August 5 and said the state would be bifurcated into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
15:33 JK choice is inconvenience or loss of life: Govt
The restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir on people's movement and communications may continue for some more days and any decision on lifting them will be taken by the local administration, a top government official said on Tuesday.
Political leaders like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were arrested as a "precautionary measures", will be released by the Jammu and Kashmir administration only after assessing the ground situation.
"If the tradeoff is between inconvenience and loss of life, what should we choose? However, the administration is aware of the difficulties being faced by people and trying to minimising inconvenience. Any such decision will be taken by the local administration," the official said.
15:29 Union Cabinet condoles Swaraj's demise
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday condoled the demise of former union minister Sushma Swaraj, describing her as an affable person with a humane touch who won the hearts of all by helping Indians in distress abroad.
Swaraj (67) passed away on August 6 at AIIMS following a cardiac arrest.
The Cabinet, which met this morning, adopted a resolution which said that Swaraj will always be remembered for her exceptional oratorial skills and a compassionate approach.
"She was an able administrator and an affable person with humane touch who won the hearts of all by helping Indians in distress abroad. For these qualities, she was declared as 'India's best loved politician' by the US daily 'Wall Street Journal' in 2017," it read.
The Cabinet placed on record its appreciation of Swaraj's services to the nation in different capacities.
"In her passing away, the country has lost a distinguished leader and an outstanding parliamentarian," the resolution read.
It recalled that the senior BJP leader entered public life at a young age and won election to the Haryana Assembly at the age of 25 in 1977 and became cabinet minister in the state government. -- PTI
15:18 Ex-PM Manmohan Singh files RS nomination from Rajasthan
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday filed nomination papers for the bypoll to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.
Singh filed the nomination papers in the chamber of the returning officer in the Rajasthan assembly, sources said.
He was accompanied by Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande, Rajasthan parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal, chief whip Mahesh Joshi, health minister Raghu Sharma and others.
The seat got vacant after the death of Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajya Sabha MP Madan Lal Saini in June.
Rajasthan has 10 Rajya Sabha seats.
The Congress has the majority in the state assembly and Singh, 86, is likely to win the bypoll.
The Rajasthan assembly has 200 seats, two of which are vacant.
The Congress has 100 MLAs and its alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal has one seat.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has 72 while the Bahujan Samaj Party 6, the Bharatiya Tribal Party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party have two seats each.
Thirteen MLAs are independents and two seats are vacant. -- PTI
15:04 Dhoni invests in CARS24
Former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has invested in tech-enabled used car firm CARS24, the company said on Tuesday.
As part of the partnership, Dhoni will own equity in the company and will become its brand ambassador, CARS24 said in a statement.
The size of deal was however not disclosed. The investment is part of series D round of funding, it added.
"His (Dhoni's) ability to constantly evolve, innovate and find solutions to every problem thrown at him over the years has made him the most celebrated captain in the Indian history," CARS24 co-founder and CEO Vikram Chopra said.
CARS24 lives by these values and hence the partnership felt natural and perfect, he added.
Founded in 2015, CARS24 is among the largest platforms for buying and selling cars in the country. The company has recently announced its foray into the franchise model and intends to scale up its presence in over 300 tier II and beyond markets by 2021.
It has over 10,000 channel partners from more than 230 cities across India and over 155 branches in more than 35 cities.
The company is backed by investors like Sequoia India, Exor Seeds, partners of DST Global, Kingsway Capital and KCK. -- PTI
14:45 EC holds informal discussion on J-K delimitation exercise
The Election Commission on Tuesday held informal discussions on the proposed delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir where assembly polls are to be held.
Sources in the poll panel said, the ministry of home affairs is yet to formally write to the EC to carry out the delimitation exercise as per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.
According to Section 60 of the Act, "...the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114...".
Senior Commission officials are leant to have briefed the Chief Election Commissioner and fellow Election Commissioners about the nitty gritty of the proposed delimitation exercise.
As per the Act, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have an assembly. The Union Territory of Leh will not have an assembly. -- PTI
14:45 Liam Hemsworth confirms separation from Miley Cyrus
Liam Hemsworth on Tuesday broke his silence on his split from Miley Cyrus saying he wished the singer "health and happiness".
The 29-year-old actor took to Instagram to speak out about the couple's separation barely seven months after they tied the knot in a private ceremony.
"Hi all, just a quick note to say that Miley and I have recently separated and I wish her nothing but health and happiness going forward," Liam wrote alongside a picture of a sunset at the beach.
"This is a private matter and I have not made, nor will I be making, any comments to any journalists or media outlets. Any reported quotes attributed to me are false. Peace and Love," he added.
A representative of Miley, 26, confirmed the news to People magazine over the weekend.
"Liam and Miley have agreed to separate at this time. Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what's best while they both focus on themselves and careers," the rep said in a statement.
On Monday, the singer apparently addressed the break-up in a social media post, saying "change is inevitable" and it is futile to fight evolution. -- PTI
14:43 Hopeful of relaxing curbs post I-Day rehearsals: J-K principal secy
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday said it is hopeful of further relaxations in the security clampdown after the dress rehearsal for the August 15 Independence Day celebrations conclude.
Principal secretary Rohit Kansal told a press conference in Srinagar that while prohibitory conditions have been relaxed in various parts of Kashmir, the Jammu region is "almost entirely" free of restrictions.
"We are further hopeful that once the full dress rehearsals for Independence Day, being carried out in various districts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh concludes, there will be further relaxations," Kansal said.
He added that the administration is hopeful August 15 celebrations will be carried out in a "grand" manner.
The official said they are following the policy of "relaxation and easing out" in all parts of the state.
He added that medical services of all kinds are continuing "normal and unhindered". -- PTI
14:37 Prepared to deal with any challenge: Army chief
Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Tuesday said the armed forces are prepared to deal with any security challenge along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, and downplayed reports of additional deployment by Pakistan in the area.
"The assessment is that should anything go wrong, we are prepared," he said on the sidelines of an event when asked about the security situation along the LoC after India withdrew special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories.
On Pakistan increasing the number of troops along the LoC following India's decisions on Kashmir, Gen Rawat said, "Everybody does precautionary deployments and movement of precautionary resources."
"We should not get too concerned about it. That is normal," he added. -- PTI
14:24 Metro services to run normally on I-Day
Metro train services will continue to run normally on August 15, with restrictions on entry and exit at some of the stations on the Violet Line, officials said Tuesday.
All metro stations will remain open on Independence Day but parking at the stations will be closed from 6 am on August 14 till 2 pm on August 15, they said.
The entry and exit at four stations of the Violet Line -- Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate and ITO -- will be permitted from select gates during the I-Day ceremony.
Some gates will remain closed at these stations owing to security considerations during this period, the DMRC said.
To facilitate people at Lal Quila station on Independence day, additional ticket counters will be opened both at the Lal Quila and Jama Masjid Metro stations along with deployment of additional staff for guiding the rush after the ceremony, it said. -- PTI
14:06 Govt should be given time for normalcy in J-K: SC
The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to pass any immediate directions to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government on a plea seeking lifting of all restrictions imposed after the abrogation of Article 370.
The apex court said that it will wait for return of normalcy and take up the matter after two weeks.
A three judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was hearing the petition filed by Congress activist Tehseen Poonawalla on the Centre's decision to impose restrictions and "other regressive measures" in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the provisions of Article 370.
During the hearing, the bench also comprising Justices M R Shah and Ajay Rastogi, said the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir was "very sensitive" and some time should be given for bringing back normalcy in the region.
The bench also said that it should be ensured that there is no loss of life there.
13:50 BJP is main Opposition party in Sikkim with 10 SDF legislators
As many as 10 MLAs of the Sikkim Democratic Front joined the BJP on Tuesday, propelling the saffron party to the status of the main opposition in a state where it had not won a single seat in the recent assembly polls.
The MLAs met BJP working president J P Nadda and joined the party in the presence of its general secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the party's affairs in the north-east.
Madhav told reporters that the SDF had a strength of 13 MLAs and its legislature party decided to merge with the BJP.
Two-thirds or more numbers of the MLAs of a party can join a new party without violating the anti-defection law.
The BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition in the state, Madhav said.
The SDF headed by Pawan Kumar Chamling ruled the state for over 25 years, making him the longest-serving chief minister of the country but he lost power in the recent elections.
The party won 15 seats while its rival Sikkim Krantikari Morcha won 17 in the 32-member assembly. Since two of the SDF MLAs had won from two seats, they resigned from one seat each, reducing the party's strength to 13 in the assembly.
The MLAs who joined the BJP include Dorjee Tshering Lepcha, who served as a minister in the Chamling government for three times and is a five-term MLA, and three-term MLA Ugen Gyatso.
Lepcha said they were impressed with the "look east" of the Narendra Modi government, as he highlighted that his state is bounded by China, Bhutam and Nepal.
This is the first time that MLAs of a regional party in Sikkim has joined a national party "en bloc", he said.
"We want lotus to bloom in Sikkim," he said, referring to the BJP's election symbol.
The BJP's immediate challenge in the state will be the byelections to three seats.
13:39 Not plane, need freedom to meet JK people: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday responded to a stinging barb from Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik.
"You are a responsible person and you should not speak like this," Governor Malik said on Monday targetting Gandhi who had spoken about reports of violence in the Kashmir valley after the Centre scrapped the state's special status.
Malik had gone a step ahead and said, "I have invited Rahul Gandhi to come here. I will send you a plane, to observe (the situation) and then speak up."
Replying to the governor Rahul tweeted," Dear Governor Malik, A delegation of opposition leaders & I will take you up on your gracious invitation to visit J&K and Ladakh."
He added that the opposition wouldn't need an aircraft but also permission to travel freely in the state that has been under a security lockdown.
"We won't need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel & meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there," Gandhi wrote.
13:31 TMC protests over I-T notices to Durga Puja committees
The Trinamool Congress on Tuesday began its eight-hour long dharna in central Kolkata in protest against the central government's decision to serve income tax notices to Durga Puja committees.
Criticising the Centre for issuing the notices to several Durga Puja committees in Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had on Sunday announced that 'Banga Janani Brigade' -- the women's wing of the party -- would sit on a dharna at Subodh Mullick Square on Tuesday.
Noting that festivals should be exempt from levies, she had urged organisers, participants and all people "who love Bangla" to join the protest.
The BJP had on Monday criticised the TMC's decision to stage the demonstration, accusing a section of ruling TMC leaders of laundering money allegedly looted in chit fund scams through the puja committees.
The TMC had termed the allegations as "baseless". -- PTI
13:13 Ayodhya case: Arguments in SC on whether temple existed on disputed site
Arguments on whether a temple existed at the disputed site in Ayodhya were presented on Tuesday before the Supreme Court which heard the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case for the fifth day.
Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, advanced arguments on whether there was an existing temple over which the mosque came up, before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Three judges of the Allahabad high court had held that there was a temple at the disputed site, Vaidyanathan told the bench also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
"Justice SU Khan of the high court had said that the mosque was built on the ruins of the temple," the senior advocate told the bench.
Senior advocate K Parasaran, also appearing for deity 'Ram Lalla Virajman' told the court that it must do "full and complete justice" in all matters before it.
The bench had on Friday last asked as to whether anyone from the 'Raghuvansha' (descendants of Lord Ram) dynasty still resides in Ayodhya.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad high court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, which was constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished. -- PTI
12:31 Facebook moves SC to transfer WhatsApp case
The Supreme Court will hear on August 19 Facebook's petition to transfer the case filed in Madras high court for enforcing traceability on WhatsApp, reports Medianama.
A Supreme Court bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice B R Gavai made the announcement on Tuesday morning, reports the website.
Antony Clement Rubin and Janani Krishnamurthy had filed a PIL in the Madras high court in 2018 which led to traceability being enforced on WhatsApp, reports Medianama.
The petitioners had prayed for 'the linking of Aadhaar or any one of the Government authorized identity proof as mandatory for the purpose of authentication while obtaining any email or user account', but the high court expanded the scope of their PIL and sought technical submissions on the possibility of traceability from IIT Madras computer science professor Dr V Kamakoti, and a response from WhatsApp.
You can read the original Medianama report here.
12:16 Kashmir Times editor seeks urgent hearing of plea seeking media freedom in J-K
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Anuradha Bhasin, Editor of Kashmir Times, to hand over a memo to the apex court registrar for urgent listing of her plea seeking removal of restrictions on the media in Jammu and Kashmir after scrapping of provisions of Article 370.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra told advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Bhasin, "you hand over the memo to the registrar and he will look into it".
Grover told the bench that Bhasin is an editor of a leading daily in Kashmir and there has been a complete lockdown in the Valley due to which journalists are unable to work.
To this, the bench said, "We will see". -- PTI
12:07 Hong Kong airport reopens, but many flights cancelled
Hong Kong airport reopened on Tuesday, a day after a pro-democracy protest brought the air transport hub to a complete standstill. However, hundreds of flights were still listed as cancelled.
On Tuesday morning, stranded passengers were seen lining up to catch their delayed flights, as airport authorities announced that it will implement rescheduling while blaming demonstrators for the chaos, Al Jazeera reported.
Passengers with luggage were being checked in for flights, and only a handful of the thousands of protesters who flooded the airport a day earlier remained in the building. The flight status board at the departures hall showed several flights listed as "boarding soon" with new take-off times listed for others.
The city's leader Carrie Lam denounced the demonstrations saying that "lawbreaking activities in the name of freedom" were damaging the rule of law, and that Hong Kong's recovery from anti-government protests could take a long time.
However, South China Morning Post reported that as many as 160 outbound and 150 inbound flights were already cancelled for the rest of the day on Tuesday.
Image: Anti-extradition bill protesters attend a mass demonstration after a woman was shot in the eye during a protest at Hong Kong International Airport. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters.
11:56 Passenger vehicle sales fall for 9 consecutive months
Declining for the ninth consecutive month, domestic passenger vehicle sales dropped 30.98 per cent to 2,00,790 units in July, from 2,90,931 units in the same period a year ago.
Domestic car sales were down 35.95 per cent at 1,22,956 units as against 1,91,979 units in July 2018, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers on Tuesday.
Motorcycle sales last month declined 18.88 per cent to 9,33,996 units for the month as against 11,51,324 units in the year-ago period.
Total two-wheeler sales in July declined 16.82 per cent to 15,11,692 units compared to 18,17,406 units in the year-ago month.
Sales of commercial vehicles were down 25.71 per cent to 56,866 units in July as compared with 76,545 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.
Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 18.71 per cent to 18,25,148 units from 22,45,223 units in July 2018, it added.
In fact, all vehicle categories witnessed decline in sales during the month. -- PTI
11:46 Sydney: Multiple people stabbed in knife attack
Multiple people were stabbed in Sydney's Central Business District on Tuesday after a man wearing a balaclava attacked passersby on the busy street with a knife, according to media reports.
While the motive of the attack is not yet known, the man has been taken into custody, police said.
Images broadcast by Australian media showed the man running through the Australian city with a large kitchen knife shouting "Allahu Akbar" and "shoot me".
"There is a police operation that is ongoing in Central Business district," a police spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The Transport Management Centre told motorists to avoid King Street due to the operation.
"All lanes of King Street are closed from Clarence Street to York Street. Traffic in the area is heavy, and motorists are advised to use an alternative route," they said.
Emergency services are on the site and traffic crews are responding. -- PTI
11:20 88 dead in flood-hit Kerala
Eighty-eight people have died across 14 districts of flood-battered Kerala while 40 are still missing, authorities said on Tuesday.
As per official data recorded till 9 am today, 34 people have sustained injuries in the natural calamity.
Torrential rains over the last few days in the state have led to 88 deaths and caused landslides in some districts.
Malappuram is the worst hit with the highest death toll of 29.
As many as 1,332 relief camps are currently operational in the state.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has left from Thiruvananthapuram and will visit flood-affected areas of Wayanad and Malappuram later in the day.
The India Meteorological Department has predicted "cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershowers" for the next five days in the state.
Heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc in several areas across the state in past few days with daily lives of residents taking a hit. -- ANI
11:12 Flight carrying Gadkari fails to take off due to 'glitch'
A New Delhi-bound flight carrying Union minister Nitin Gadkari failed to take off from Nagpur airport in Maharashtra on Tuesday due to a "technical fault", an official said.
Gadkari was scheduled to travel to Delhi from Nagpur in IndiGo's flight 6E-636 in the morning.
His office in Nagpur confirmed the minister was on the flight when it returned from the runway.
The Nagpur airport's senior director Vijay Mulekar said the flight to Delhi did not take off due to a "technical fault". -- PTI
10:54 Moderate intensity earthquake hits Maharashtra's Palghar
An earthquake of magnitude 3.2 shook parts of Palghar district in Maharashtra on Tuesday morning, an official said.
No loss of life or damage to property was reported, regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam said.
The quake, having its epicenter at a depth of 10 km in Dundalwadi village of Dahanu taluka, was felt around 5.38 am, he said.
The district's Dahanu area has been experiencing such tremors since November last year, with most of them centered around Dundalwadi village. -- PTI
10:51 Trump's Kashmir offer not on table anymore: Envoy
United States President Donald Trump has made it clear that his offer of mediation on Kashmir is not on the table anymore, a top Indian diplomat said on Monday.
India's Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said that America's decades-old policy on Kashmir has been no mediation but to encourage India and Pakistan to resolve their differences bilaterally.
"President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer of mediation, he has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore," Shringla told Fox News, the favourite news channel of the US president.
On July 22, during his joint media appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, President Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought his mediation/arbitration on the Kashmir issue.
India asserted that no such request was made by Prime Minister Modi to the US president and all issues will have to be resolved with Islamabad bilaterally.
A week later, President Trump said he would "certainly intervene" between India and Pakistan on Kashmir if they wanted him to.
He said it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he was ready to assist if the two South Asian neighbours wanted him to help in resolving the issue.
India made it clear to America that any discussion on the issue, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally. -- PTI
10:38 Sri Lanka detains 4 Indian fishermen
The Sri Lankan Navy detained four Indian fishermen near Delft Island on Tuesday morning.
The Lankan Navy also seized one country-made boat which was allegedly used for poaching in the Sri Lankan territorial waters.
All the fishermen have been taken to Kangesanthurai naval camp and are likely to produce before the court later in the day.
Straying of Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen into each others' waters is a recurrent problem as boundaries on the sea are not clearly demarcated.
10:35 Major fire breaks out in Delhi's Gandhi Nagar textile market
A major fire broke out at Gandhi Nagar market on Tuesday morning. At least 21 fire tenders have reached the spot and are making efforts to douse the flame.
No loss of life or injuries has been reported so far.
More details in this regard are awaited.
The Gandhi Nagar market, situated in Shahdara area of New Delhi, is one of Asia's largest textile market. It is believed that the market has a footfall of around 10,000 to 20,000 people every day.
10:32 Rupee falls 38 paise; touches 71 level against US dollar
The rupee deprecated by 38 paise and fell to 71 per dollar mark in early trade on Tuesday amid strengthening of the American currency and weak opening in domestic equities.
Forex traders said the strength of the US dollar against other overseas currencies and concerns about US-China trade negotiations also kept investors edgy.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the rupee opened weak at Rs 71.15 then fell further to 71.16 against the American currency, down 38 paise over it's previous closing price.
The Indian rupee on Friday had closed at 70.78 against the US dollar.
Forex market were closed on Monday on account of Bakri Id.
Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital markets, putting in Rs 203.73 crore on Friday, according to provisional exchange data.
The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.23 per cent to 97.60.
Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.12 per cent to trade at USD 58.50 per barrel. -- PTI
10:09 UK university bans beef burgers to fight climate change
A prominent London university announced on Monday that it would be banning beef burgers and introducing a levy on plastic bottles as part of a wider drive to tackle climate change.
Goldsmiths, University of London, said that beef products and bottled water will be consigned to history from the start of the new academic year next month as part of a major campaign to cut carbon use across Goldsmiths, as the college joins other universities and institutions in declaring a "climate emergency" and announcing a determined aim to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025.
"The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore, said Professor Frances Corner, the new Warden of Goldsmiths.
"Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words. I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use," she said.
Among her first actions since taking charge, the Warden has declared that all beef products will be removed from sale from campus food outlets from September and an additional 10p levy will be introduced on bottled water and single-use plastic cups to discourage use, with the proceeds directed into a green student initiative fund.
Further actions include installing significantly more solar panels across Goldsmiths' campus in New Cross, south-east London, switching to a 100 per cent clean energy supplier as soon as practicable, identifying other areas where planting could help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reviewing how all Goldsmiths students can access curriculum options which investigate the subject of climate change and the role of individuals and organisations in reducing carbon emissions.
A comprehensive action plan will be drawn up in consultation with staff and student unions to enable the college to meet the net zero carbon emissions target over the next six years, the university said.
This work will build on existing initiatives, which include a wide scale recycling programme, and termly clear-outs of non-perishable food, good quality clothes, shoes and bedding from Goldsmiths' student halls of residence. These goods are donated to local charities and similarly, abandoned bicycles are given away to good homes on an annual basis, Goldsmiths said.
According to latest official figures, show Goldsmiths emits around 3.7m Kg of carbon emissions each year -- a figure which has reduced almost 10 per cent over three years -- while it claims to have consistently generated around 107k KWh of renewable energy each year.
The latest announcement is accompanied by confirmation that from December 2019, Goldsmiths' endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10 per cent of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels. -- PTI
09:39 SC to hear plea challenging govt's curbs in J-K
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear today a plea challenging the Centre's decision to impose restrictions and "other regressive measures" in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the provisions of Article 370.
The plea filed by Congress activist Tehseen Poonawalla is listed for hearing before a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and Ajay Rastogi.
Besides, a separate petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, seeking removal of restrictions imposed on working of journalists in the state after the scrapping of provisions of Article 370 is likely to be mentioned for urgent listing in the apex court.
Poonawalla has said he is not expressing any opinion on Article 370 but seeking withdrawal of 'curfew/ restrictions' and other alleged regressive measures including blocking of phone lines, Internet and news channels in J&K.
He has also sought a direction from the top court for the release of leaders like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who are under detention.
He has further sought setting up of a judicial commission to inquire into ground realities there.
The activist has claimed that the decisions that have been taken by the Centre violate fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
"The inhabitants of the state of J&K are suffering on account of unwarranted imposition of curfew and/ or restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, preventive arrests, snapping of phone lines, suspension of internet services, media gag,barred access to healthcare, educational institutions, banks, public offices, shops and establishments and all other basic amenities," the plea said.
The entire state is under virtual cordon and "has been converted into a garrison by increasing the number of troopers on everyday basis when in fact there has been no news of any organized/ violent protests against the constitutional amendments or for any other reason", it said.
Poonawalla has sought direction from the apex court questioning the Centre and J&K as to under what authority they have taken such tough steps including the arrest of former Chief Ministers, former union ministers, former legislators and political activists.
"Arrest of separatist leaders may be totally justifiable but meeting out the same treatment to mainstream political workers who have given their blood and sweat for the integration of State with Union of India is highly questionable and deserves to be condemned," his plea has said.
He has sought quashing of orders imposing indefinite curfew/ restrictions, arbitrary arrests, shutdown of phone services and snapping of Internet. -- PTI
09:06 40,000 people register for 'Howdy, Modi' community summit in Houston
Around 40,000 people have registered themselves for Indian-American community summit "Howdy, Modi!" in Houston, which will be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22 during his visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly session, organisers of the event said.
"Howdy", short for 'How do you do?', is a friendly greeting commonly used in southwestern United States.
Attendance to the summit is free, but passes have to be obtained which is now open for public, said the host Texas India Forum, a Houston-based non-profit body, which expects around 50,000 people to attend the prime minister's address to the Indian diaspora at the sprawling NRG football stadium in the US' fourth most populous city.
Houston, which has one of the largest concentration of over 5,00,000 Indian-American community in the US, is the energy capital of the world. Energy security is a priority area for the prime minister.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, "I look forward to welcoming PM Modi to Houston, home to one of the biggest and most vibrant Indian communities in the US."
"This historic visit will strengthen the already robust bonds between Houston and India on trade, culture and tourism -- all of which benefit every Houstonian."
Over 39,000 people have signed up in the first two weeks. There are more than 1,000 volunteers and 650 Welcome Partner organisations for the event, the Texas India Forum said.
According to convener of the organising committee Jugal Malani, before the prime minister's address, the event, with the tagline 'Shared Dreams, Bright Futures', will include a cultural programme that puts a spotlight on Indian-American contributions to the United States.
"We want the entire city of Houston to come enjoy the festivities and learn about Indian-Texan relations," he said.
This will be Modi's third major address to the Indian-American community after he became the prime minister in 2014 and the first after his re-election in May.
The previous two were at the Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016. Both the events were attended by more than 20,000 people. -- PTI
09:00 4 anti-India Twitter handles suspended
Four Twitter handles were suspended for allegedly spreading anti-India propaganda on Jammu and Kashmir following a request by security agencies, officials said on Monday.
Four more accounts are expected to be blocked soon for allegedly being engaged in similar activities, they said.
When contacted, a Twitter spokesperson said, "We do not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. Legal requests made to Twitter are published twice-yearly in our Twitter Transparency Report".
The action has been taken as the Twitter accounts were allegedly spreading false and baseless propaganda against India on Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said. -- PTI
08:57 Congress slams Rajini for 'Krishna-Arjun' remark
Congress in Tamil Nadu on Monday took potshots at top film star Rajinikanth for likening Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah duo to Lord Krishna and Arjuna and wanted him to read Mahabharat properly.
A day after the actor made the remark while appreciating Shah for scrapping Article 370, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K S Alagiri said he did not expect such a reaction from him adding he was surprised by it.
States including those in the North East enjoyed special privileges like Kashmir did (previously), he said in a statement and wanted to know why these were not scrapped by the Centre.
The reason for doing away with Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir alone was due to its "Muslim majority" status, he alleged.
The Congress leader wanted to know if the actor toed the "one kind of justice for Kashmir and another for other states," policy of Shah.
Modi and Shah combine are not Krishna and Arjuna, he said and asked: "How can those who snatched away the rights of crores of people could be Krishna and Arjuna ? dear Mr Rajinikanth, please read Mahabharat again, please go through it again properly," he added.
On Sunday, the actor had congratulated the Union home minister for the Centre's initiative on Kashmir. Prime Minister Modi and Shah were like Lord Krishna and Arjuna, he had said.
However, "we don't know who is Krishna and who is Arjuna," added the actor.
The Krishna-Arjuna combination is credited with playing a key role in the Pandavas winning the Mahabharata battle against the Kauravas. -- PTI