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Wed, 04 December 2019
6 from TN among affected in Sudan fire, says CM

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23:25   6 from TN among affected in Sudan fire, says CM
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday said six men from the state were among those injured or missing in the LPG tanker blast in Sudan and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct officials concerned to update on their status.

Citing media reports about several people losing their lives after a fire triggered the explosion in a ceramic factory at Khartoum in Sudan, Palaniswami said men hailing from Tamil Nadu also formed part of Indian contingent of workers who were affected.

"It is also learnt that among the Indian nationals, three of them hailing from Tamil Nadu are missing and another three have been admitted in the local hospital," the chief minister said in a letter to Modi.

The India Embassy in Khartoum may be directed to update details of the affected persons immediately, 'so that the distressed families back home, get clear cut information of the condition of their near and dear ones', he said.

Palaniswami requested Modi's personal intervention in the matter and urged best medical care for the injured.

At least 18 Indians were among the 23 people killed and over 130 injured in a horrific LPG tanker blast at the factory in Sudan, the Indian mission at Khartoum said.

Sixteen Indians were missing after the incident that happened at Seela Ceramic Factory in Bahri area in Khartoum,the national capital of Sudan on Tuesday.

"As per latest reports, but so far not confirmed officially, 18 are dead," the Indian Embassy said in a release.

"Some of the missing may be in the list of dead which we are still to receive as identification is not possible because of the bodies being burnt," it added.  -- PTI
22:57   Mobile phones banned around Sabarimala temple
Use of mobile phones has been banned around the area near the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, official sources said on Wednesday.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the hill shrine, here on Wednesday in the backdrop of pictures of the highly secured sanctum sanctorum being circulated widely in the social media recently.\

Mobile phones will not be allowed to be used beyond the 'pathinettam padi' (18 holy steps) and in 'Thiru muttam' (area in front of the main shrine) and the sanctum sanctorum region, board sources told PTI.

From the 'valliya nadapandal' (covered pathway leading to the holy steps) devotees will have to switch off their mobiles.

Those found using the phones in violation of the ban for the first time would be warned and in case of repeat breach, their handsets would be seized and visuals deleted, they said.

The shrine, where the two month long annual 'Mandala-Makaravillaku' pilgrim season has begun since November 16, has been witnessing heavy turnout of devotees in the past few days.

Over seven lakh pilgrims have had darshan of Lord Ayyappa till Tuesday, according to officials.  -- PTI
22:19   Adhir regrets 'Nirbala' remark against FM
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury expressed regret in the House on Wednesday over his 'Nirbala' remark on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and described her as his sister.

Just before Sitharaman was to reply on the debate on Demands for Grants, Chowdhury said if his remarks have hurt the finance minister, he expresses regret.

He said the minister is like a sister to him, he considers himself as her brother.

While participating in the discussion on the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill on Monday, Chowdhury took a swipe at Sitharaman and suggested that the finance minister has become weak and called her 'Nirbala Sitharaman'.

During her reply, Sitharaman did not directly refer to Chowdhury's comment but concluded her speech by saying she is still Nirmala and 'sabla' (empowered).  -- PTI
21:23   Chidambaram arrives to meet Sonia
Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram arrive at the residence of party's Interim president Sonia Gandhi.

"I will address a press conference tomorrow. I am happy that I stepped out and breathing the air of freedom after 106 days," Chidambaram said.  -- ANI
21:18   Vet gang rape-murder: Man held for posting abusive comments
A 28-year-old man was on Wednesday arrested for posting abusive comments against a prominent woman dignitary on social media following the gang rape and murder of a woman veterinarian near Hyderabad last month, police said.

A complaint was filed with Cyber Crime Police on December 2, stating that a person had posted objectionable comments against the woman dignitary in connection with the incident.

During the course of investigation, the man was identified and he was arrested from Nalgonda, they said.

On Tuesday, a 22-year-old man was arrested by Hyderabad police from Nizamabad district for allegedly making vulgar comments on a social networking site about the victim.

The charred body of the 25-year-old woman, working as an assistant veterinarian at a state-run hospital, was found under a culvert at Shadnagar near Hyderabad on November 28 morning a day after she went missing.

The four men, all lorry workers, aged between 20 and 24, were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman by smothering her and later burning her body.

The four are under judicial custody and lodged in high security cells in Cherlapally Central Prison in Hyderabad.

On December 1, Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar had said the victim's real name should not be used in media and social media and requested them to refer to her as '#Justice for Disha' to protect anonymity/confidentiality and the rights of the victim's family.  -- PTI
20:16   Chidambaram walks out of Tihar
JUST IN: Congress leader P Chidambaram released from Tihar Jail.

He was received by his son Karti Chidambaram and a lot of supporters outside the Jail.

Chidambaram was granted bail by the SC earlier in the day.

He is now expected to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders of the party.
20:04   Some BJP netas worked for defeating my daughter, Pankaja: Khadse
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse on Wednesday claimed some leaders of the saffron party played an active role in electoral defeat of his daughter Rohini and former minister Pankaja Munde.

The BJP had denied ticket to Khadse for the assembly polls held in October this year, but instead fielded his daughter from his home turf Muktainagar in Jalgaon district.

However, Rohini Khadse lost to Shiv Sena rebel Chandrakant Patil.

Munde was defeated by her cousin and Nationalist Congress Party rival Dhananjay Munde of the NCP from Parli in Beed district.

"I and Pankaja are of the opinion that some BJP leaders tried to defeat her and Rohini. I have informed state BJP unit chief Chandrakant Patil about it," Khadse said.

Khadse, known as a rival of the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, was forced to resign as revenue minister of the erstwhile BJP government in 2016 over land grab allegations.

Pankaja, daughter of late BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde, is also in sulk since her loss in the bitterly contested elections.

On Monday, Pankaja had removed the word 'BJP' from her Twitter bio, triggering speculation about her next political move.

However, on Tuesday she said defection was not in her blood and that she would not leave the BJP.  -- PTI
19:08   Supporters gather outside Tihar to welcome PC
Scores of Congress supporters gathered outside the Tihar jail on Wednesday to greet former Union Minister P Chidambaram on his release from the prison, where he has been lodged for over 100 days.

Even before Chidambaram's release, his supporters had gathered outside gate no 3 of the prison, bringing traffic to a standstill on the stretch.

Chidambaram's son Karti who was waiting outside the jail said he was elated as his father was all set to return home after 106 days.

"It has been a long wait. I am very grateful that the Supreme Court has given him bail. I am very grateful to entire top Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who have supported him through all this," he told reporters.

A three-judge Suprem Court bench, headed by Justice R Banumathi, granted bail to the 74-year-old former Union finance minister, who has been in custody since August 21 when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the INX-Media corruption case.

The Enforcement Directorate had arrested him on October 16 in the money laundering case.  --  PTI
19:02   No senior official to receive him at Calcutta University, Guv sniffs politics
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar visited the Calcutta University's College Street campus on Wednesday only to find no senior officials present, even as he hit out at the government alleging policy paralysis in the state's education system.

Seemingly an insulted Dhankhar, who is also the varsity's chancellor, sniffed a political cause behind the absence of vice chancellor Sonali Chakravarty Bondhopadhyay despite informing her about the visit.

"I had sent a message to the VC that I am coming at 2 pm and will visit the university and its library. A regular message was also sent... When I came here, you have seen, there was no one to receive me," said Dhankhar who was made to sit in a room by the varsity's staff.

Reiterating that there was a policy paralysis in the education system of West Bengal, the governor appealed the state government to not polilticise such institutions.

"I, with folded hands, appeal to the (state) government not to politicise universities. For heaven's sake, don't play havoc with education. Our universities have to be temple of justice. Allow the vice chancellor to act according to the Act (law)," he said.

"You have some role, I have some role. Our roles are defined, let us not step into each other's shoes. If the government has some role, I, as a chancellor has some role, we must play it for the welfare of the university," Dhankhar added.

The vice chancellor could not be reached for comments on the issue.

The Governor, who has been at loggerheads with the Mamata Banerjee government over several issues, is being blamed by the ruling TMC for delaying clearance of pending bills leading to an abrupt two-day adjournment of the state assembly, opening a new front for hostilities.  -- PTI
18:28   18 Indian sailors abducted by Nigerian pirates
18 Indian sailors have been abducted by pirates while their vessel, the Hong Kong-flagged crude tanker Nave Constellation was passing through Nigeria on December 3.   

According to initial reports, the armed pirates boarded the ship when it was to the south of the coast of Bonny, and abducted 19 sailors (one of them is a Turkish national).   

The Nigerian navy, which soon arrived at the spot, escorted the ship to safety, reports stated.   

A spokesperson for the owner of the crude tanker, Navios Maritime Acquisition, has been quoted as saying that 'all the necessary action is being taken to secure the sailors' release.'

Image used for representational purpose only
18:16   SC restrains PC from making public comments
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was restrained by the Supreme Court on Wednesday from either giving any press interviews or making public comments regarding him or other co-accused in the INX Media money laundering case.

The apex court imposed this condition while granting bail to the 74-year-old former finance minister in the case lodged by Enforcement Directorate (ED).

"The appellant (Chidambaram) shall not give any press interviews nor make any public comment in connection with this case qua him or other co-accused," a bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said.

This condition assumes significance as during the hearing on Chidambaram's plea seeking bail, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, had claimed that ahead of a crucial hearing in the case media reports and articles were published to influence the proceedings.

The apex court set aside the November 15 verdict of the Delhi high court denying him bail in the case.

Chidambaram has been in custody since August 21 when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media corruption case.   -- PTI
18:14   TN CM felicitates techie who located Vikram lander's debris
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Wednesday felicitated a city-based techie who helped United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration discover Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander's debris on the lunar surface.

Shanmuga Subramanian had analysed data for about eight hours everyday to zero in on the crash site, and the 33-year-old had come in for all round praise on Tuesday for his discovery.

Palaniswami felicitated Subramanian on Wednesday, and posted a picture of him handing over a bouquet of flowers to the former.

NASA had marked the location of the crash site 'S', giving credit to Subramanian for the discovery.

"Thank you for your email informing us of your discovery of debris from the Vikram lander. The LROC team confirmed that the location does exhibit changes in images taken before and after the date of the landing," deputy project scientist Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission (LROC) John Keller said in an email to Subramanian.  -- PTI
17:57   Video showing MP minister dancing at function goes viral
A video purportedly showing Madhya Pradesh Women and Child Development Minister Imarti Devi dancing energetically at a function went viral on Wednesday.

The video showed the minister, clad in pink sari, dancing to the tune of Bollywood song 'Mujhko rana ji maaf karna'.

People around her were seen showering currency notes on her.

Devi could not be reached for her comment on the viral video. But state Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi came out in her defence.

"She is human after all. She has emotions...What is wrong with dancing," he said.  -- PTI
17:40   Sena attacks govt in LS over state of economy
The Shiv Sena on Wednesday attacked the government in the Lok Sabha over the state of the economy, alleging that traders, farmers and the youth are unhappy. Shiv Sena recently broke ranks with the NDA to form a government in Maharashtra with the support of the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.


Participating in the debate on Supplementary Demands for Grants, Sena member Vinayak Raut said unemployment is on the rise, the farmers are in distress and traders are unhappy. 


He claimed that the Mudra scheme to provide loans to marginal sections of the society has the maximum number of non-performing assets. Raut said people should benefit from such schemes and they should not remain on paper.  -- PTI
17:26   HP man volunteers to be hangman for 'Nirbhaya' killers
As the Ministry of Home Affairs receives the mercy plea of a convict of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case after it was rejected by the Delhi government, a man in Himachal Pradesh volunteers to be hangman. 


Ravi Kumar, from Shimla has written to President Ram Nath Kovind to appoint him as temporary executioner in Delhis Tihar Jail as there is no executioner there. He said, "Appoint me executioner so Nirbhaya case convicts can be hanged soon and her soul can rest in peace."


The Delhi government on Sunday recommended the rejection of the mercy petition of one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. Thereafter the petition was placed before the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi for consideration and subsequently was sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
17:22   No plan to conduct NRC across country on religious lines: Govt
The government said on Wednesday that there was no plan to conduct the National Register of Citizens exercise across the country on religious lines.


Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai, gave the information in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.


He was responding to a question of Trinamool Congress member Ahamed Hassan who had asked if the government had decided to conduct National Register of Citizens exercise across the country on religious lines."No," Rai said in his reply.


"Does not arise" the minister said to Hassan's subsequent question about the amount allocated for planning NRC.


The Trinamool Congress member also sought to know if the government had identified sites for detention centres across the country for the exercise and if so, the state-wise detention centres to be constructed in the next five years.


The minister said in his reply that detention centres "are established by States/UT Administrations as per requirement". -- ANI
17:15   Girl who accused Chinmayanand of rape gets bail
The law student who had accused BJP leader Chinmayanand of rape and who was arrested for allegedly blackmailing him, has been granted bail by the Allahabad High Court.


Chinmayanand was arrested on September 20 after the 23-year-old woman, a student at a law college in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur, accused him of rape. However, based on a counter-complaint, police also arrested the law student and three others on charges of trying to extort Rs 5 crore from the politician, who was once affiliated to the BJP.


The woman has alleged that Chinmayanand, who runs several ashrams and educational institutions, sexually exploited her after helping her gain admission in his law college last year. He is accused of filming her while taking a bath at the hostel, and then raping her by blackmailing her with the video. She was also allegedly brought to his room at gunpoint and forced to give him massages.
17:01   Vet rape: Telangana govt sets up special court
The Telangana government has set up a special court at the Mahabubnagar District Court to hear the case of rape and murder of the woman veterinarian which has seen impassioned speeches in parliament calling for the lynching of the accused.


On Monday, members in both the Houses of Parliament had expressed deep outrage over the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad and other such incidents in the country, while the Centre haad said it was ready to amend laws to bring in stringent provisions and ensure speedy justice. Speaking in the Upper House, Samajwadi Party's Jaya Bachchan had said the rapists should be "brought out in public and lynched."


NCP's Supriya Sule had said that there should be "zero tolerance" towards such incidents. 


Delhi Commission For Women chairperson Swati Maliwal today who is on hunger strike demanding swift justice and capital punishment for all rapists appealed to all women MPs to raise the issue of women's safety in the Parliament. 
16:38   SC to hear woman's Sabarimala plea next week
The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear next week a plea seeking directions to the Kerala government to provide safe passage to women into Sabarimala temple.


The plea has been filed by Fathima A S, who was allegedly not allowed to enter the shrine recently.


In September last year, the Supreme Court allowed the women of menstruating ages to enter and offer prayers at the shrine.


Subsequently, a series of review petitions were filed challenging the order of the court. The petitioners asserted that the deity is a celibate and centuries-old beliefs should not be disturbed by the entry of menstruating women worshippers.


The top court had last month referred these review petitions to a larger seven-judge bench. Despite the court not ordering a stay on the entry of women, the Kerala Police refused to give protection to any woman. -- ANI


Image: Activist Rehana Fathima, who attempted visiting the hilltop shrine, last year, but was barred from doing so.
15:44   State FMs ask Nirmala to pay GST dues
A delegation of state finance ministers met with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday to discuss GST compensation.


"Finance Minister Sitharaman did not specify the reason why compensation to states is being held up. Centre owes Delhi Rs 3,600 crore for three months," Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.


"Compensation for August and September have not been paid and now compensation for October and November are due too. The Finance Minister did not give a timeline for the release of funds but she has assured money will be released soon," Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said after the meeting."


Centre owes GST compensation to Madhya Pradesh of nearly Rs 3,000 crores for August to November," Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot said.


"Central government owes about Rs 4,000 crore GST compensation to Rajasthan for August to November," Rajasthan Education Minister Subhash Garg said.


The finance ministers of Delhi, Punjab, Puducherry, and Madhya Pradesh and representatives of the governments of Kerala, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and West Bengal attended the meeting. -- ANI
15:28   Free wi-fi in Delhi from Dec 16: Kejriwal
Announcing that people in Delhi will soon be able to enjoy free WiFi access, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that the state government plans to set up 11,000 wifi-hotspots in the national capital within the next six months and the first 100 hotspots will be inaugurated on December 16.


Speaking to the media, the chief minister said, "Providing free WIFI to the people of Delhi was an important part of our manifesto. So, 11,000 wifi-hotspots will be set up in which 4000 hotspots will be set up at bus stops and 7000 in markets which will be divided as per 100 hotspots per assembly. The first 100 hotspots will be inaugurated on December 16.


"It will cost around Rs 100 crores. Subsequently, every week 500 wifi-hotspots will be added, and within 6 months these 11,000 hotspots will be set up. This step will help students and people in other sectors," he added.


In August, the Chief Minister had announced that 2.80 lakh CCTV cameras will be installed across the national capital, along with 11,000 free WiFi hotspots.


The chief minister had also said that within three to four months the work for both the CCTVs and WiFi hotspots will begin after the process of tender and work allocation is done.Free Wi-Fi was a key poll promise of the AAP during the last assembly elections. The state is set to go to polls soon. -- ANI
15:25   Cabinet nod to extension of SC/ST reservation in LS, assemblies for 10 yrs
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend reservation for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for 10 years, but is learnt to have done away with a similar quota for the Anglo-Indian community. 


The reservation for these categories in the Lok Sabha and assemblies was to expire on January 25, 2020. The government will bring a Bill to extend the reservation till January 25, 2030 in the ongoing winter session. Sources aware of the provisions said the reservation for members of the Anglo-Indian community has been done away with "for the time being". 


The government was of the view, the sources said, that the community is doing well and does not need reservation in the legislature. If need be, the reservation can be reconsidered later. When asked whether reservation for the Anglo-Indian community has also been extended, Union minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that once the Bill is introduced, the details will be known. --ANI
15:03   Absence of mutually agreed LAC leads to Chinese incursion: Rajnath tells LS
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday told Lok Sabha that Chinese soldiers sometimes intrude into Indian territory due to absence of a mutually agreed Line of Actual Control" (LAC) between the two countries.


"There is no mutually agreed LAC between India and China. Due to different perceptions of the LAC, sometimes incidents of incursion occur, I accept it," Singh said while replying to a question on incidents of Chinese incursion by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. He said, "Sometimes the Chinese Army enters here and sometimes our people go over there."


Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked, "China has started sending ships up to Andaman & Nicobar. We show aggression in our voice when it comes to Pakistan, then why are we balanced and soft towards China?"


In his reply, the Defence Minister said that the government is developing infrastructure in areas bordering China to ensure India's sovereignty.


"India is developing infrastructure like roads, tunnels, railway lines, and airfields on the China border to ensure the unity, security, and sovereignty of the country," he said, assuring that security forces are fully capable of securing the borders.


He said, "I would like to assure the House that our forces are vigilant and protecting our borders. Our forces are fully capable of facing any challenge, nobody should have a doubt about it."  -- ANI
14:48   Chidambaram will attend Parl tomorrow: Karti
Karti Chidambaram on Wednesday said that former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the INX Media case, will be attending the Winter Session of Parliament from Thursday. Chidambaram has submitted the bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties before Delhi court as per SC's order.


"I am very happy that he is going to be back home, I am relieved. He will also be attending Parliament session tomorrow," Karti said.


Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court has issued bail bonds of Rs 2 lakhs and surety of the like amount, as directed by the Supreme Court. Chidambaram's release order will be sent to Tihar Jail directly.


Setting aside the Delhi High Court's order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader, in the INX Media money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The top court said that Chidambaram should not temper with the evidence and not influence the witnesses. The court also barred him from giving press interviews or making public statements in connection with this case.The court directed Chidambaram to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh plus two sureties of the same amount. The Supreme Court said Chidambaram would not leave the country without prior permission of the court. -- ANI
14:39   You gave and you gave: Shabana pays tribute to Shashi Kapoor
Shabana Azmi remembers her on-screen hero Shashi Kapoor on his second death anniversary today. "2 years already! You gave and you gave .. to family,friends, Theatre and the Indian Film Industry.. Remembering you with deep admiration affection and respect Shashiji," she tweets. 

The two actors shared screen space in Shyam Benegals Junoon, Atithee, Chor Sipahee, Hira Aur Patthar and Oonch Neech Beech. They were last seen together in Ismail Merchants In Custody

Read our tribute to one of the film industry's most sublime actors: Shashi Kapoor: Four Amazing Decades
14:26   SC to hear plea challenging implementation of Electoral Bond Scheme in Jan
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear in January 2020 an application filed by the Association of Democratic Reforms seeking a stay on the implementation of the Electoral Bond Scheme notified by the Central government on January 2, 2018.


A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant posted the plea for hearing next month after advocate Prashant Bhushan sought an immediate stay in implementation of Electoral Bonds.


Bhushan told the court that a stay was sought on account of certain facts coming to light and the RBI had flagged concerns with the scheme. He contended that the scheme could lead to funneling of black money and lead to money laundering.


The Bench asked why a stay was sought one year after the scheme was brought in, to which, Bhushan replied that a PIL was filed in the matter last year, and an interim order was passed in the matter in April this year. -- ANI

14:11   Govt sets up committee to curb mob lynching
Amid demand by members for a separate law to curb mob lynching, Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said in the Rajya Sabha that the government has set up a committee to suggest necessary amendments in the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure to deal with it. 


Responding to a series of queries during Question Hour, Shah said he has also written to all state chief ministers and governors to send recommendations on making changes to IPC and CrPC after consulting with experienced investigating officers and public prosecutors.


"Under the Bureau of Police Research and Development, a committee has been set up to make changes in the IPC and CrPC. We will start working on amendments after receiving recommendations from the committee," Shah said in the Upper House. He said the government will keep in mind the Supreme Court orders while making changes to the IPC and CrPC. 


On the issue of lynching, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said there is "no separate" definition for such incidents under the existing IPC. Lynching incidents can be dealt with under Section 300 and 302 of IPC. Section 302 provides that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. Offence of murder is a cognisable, non- bailable and non-compoundable offence, he said. 


The minister, in his written reply, said that a group of ministers was constituted to deliberate on a law to specifically handle cases of lynching and make recommendations. 


Responding to another query on status of laws to curb mob lynching passed by two state governments, he said Manipur and Rajasthan governments have passed such laws and they are reserved for central accord. 


"The consultation process is going on. We will take a call after the consultation is over," he added. When a CPI-M member sought to know ideological reasons for rise in mob lynching, Deputy Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said, "Should some community be totally excluded from operation of this act. Why are you bringing community in this?" PTI
13:21   NRAI requests HM to exempt shooters from Arms Amendment Bill
The National Rifle Association of India has requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to exempt shooters from the Arms Amendment Bill 2019.


The Arms Amendment Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on November 29, 2019.


"We have already written to the Home Minister regarding the Arms Amendment Bill. We have requested to exempt shooters," Rajiv Bhatia, the Secretary of NRAI told ANI.


"We are hopeful that shooters will be exempted from this bill. The letter has been sent by the President of the NRAI," he added.


The Arms Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Arms Act, 1959. It seeks to decrease the number of licensed firearms allowed per person and increase penalties for certain offences under the Act.Under the Act, a license must be obtained to acquire, possess, or carry any firearm. 


The Bill reduces the number of permitted firearms from three to one.The Act will also ban the manufacture, sale, use, transfer, conversion, testing or proofing of firearms without a license. The Bill additionally prohibits obtaining or procuring un-licensed firearms, and the conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license. -- ANI
13:19   Unlike Chidambaram, BJP not vindictive: Gadkari
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari reacts to the Supreme Court order granting bail to P Chidambaram in the INX Media Case.

Gadkari said there is evidence for the cases against Chidambaram. "There have been inquiries, and now the matter is sub-judice and the court will take the decision. We have never been vindictive, on the other hand when Chidambaramji was Home Minister during the Congress rule, he filed false cases against me. He also filed false cases against Modiji & Amit Shahji. Later, we all were proved innocent," Gadkari said.


The Director General of Tihar Prison, Sandeep Goel today said that former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who has been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the INX Media money laundering case, will be released after the jail authorities will get the release order.


"They will take the Supreme Court order to the lower court and submit the sureties and bail bonds there. Then the order to release him from jail will be issued. He will be released once we get the release order," Goel said.''


The top court observed that Chidambaram should not tamper with the evidence and not influence the witnesses. He should also not give press interviews or make public statements in connection with this case. Chidambaram was also directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh plus two sureties of the same amount. The Court said Chidambaram should not leave the country without prior permission of the court.
12:54   Mumbai's new safai karmacharis: Swedish royals
Carl XVI Gustaf King of Sweden and his wife Queen Silvia on Wednesday engaged in removing tons of plastic and other garbage along with young lawyer and Mumbai-based climate activist Afroz Shah.


On the occasion, Shah, who is best known for organising in the world's largest beach clean-up project, also gave a short presentation to the Swedish King and Queen on the Versova beach clean-up project.


The royal couple interacted with volunteers of the Versova Beach clean-up project.After completing their engagements in the national couple, the King and Queen of Sweden flew to Mumbai today morning. 


The royal couple is scheduled to meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhawan later today and will embark for Dehradun the next day to visit Ram Jhula Bridge and Bathing Ghat in Uttarakhand.


On Tuesday, the Swedish King chaired a dialogue on circular economy approaches in India alongside senior Swedish and Indian government officials in New Delhi and discussed current initiatives underway for tackling the issues of air pollution and waste in India.


He also spoke about the importance of improving the quality of forests and acknowledged that the round-table made him feel positive that many different stakeholders are committed to working on conservation and climate change, the Swedish embassy in India said in a statement.


They will inaugurate the Sarai Sewage Treatment Plant in Haridwar on Thursday. Concluding their visit, the couple will emplane for New Delhi on Friday and thereafter will leave for Stockholm. -- ANI
12:51   Notice to Centre on plea against revelation of Hyderabad rape victim's identity by media
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Centre on a plea against revelation of identity of the Hyderabad rape victim by certain media houses. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notices to the Centre, the governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, as well as some media houses and social networking platforms on the petition. 


The plea has sought initiation of appropriate proceedings against the media houses and individuals who have allegedly revealed the identity of the rape victim, which is an offence under the law. The court listed the matter for further hearing on December 16. Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences, including rape, punishable with imprisonment of a term that may extend to two years and a fine. -- PTI
12:43   Priyanka criticises delay in Unnao rape case trial
Criticising the delay in the Unnao rape case trial, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday wondered if it was because of the involvement of an influential former BJP MLA. 


"The Supreme Court had given instructions that the trial in the Unnao case should be completed in 45 days. However, its been 80 days. Crimes against women is highest in Uttar Pradesh and cases are not registered against the perpetrators. And if the case involves a influential BJP MLA, then firstly FIR is delayed, then there is delay in arrest and then the trial is left hanging," she said in a tweet in Hindi.


The case refers to the rape of a 17-year-old girl on June 4, 2017 in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, and one of the main accused in the case is former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar.  -- PTI


Image: Unnao rape accused Kuldeep Sengar, who was formerly an MLA with the BJP
12:32   Auto stocks mostly higher on price hike announcements
Shares of automakers were trading higher by as much as 3 per cent on Wednesday after some companies announced hiking prices from January on the back of rising input costs. 


Tata Motors' stock gained 3.92 per cent to Rs 163.85 on the BSE. In early trade, it was up 6.07 per cent at Rs 167.65 a unit. On the NSE, the scrip was trading 3.16 per cent up at Rs 163.20 apiece. Shares of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) rose 0.51 per cent to Rs 525.50 on the BSE. On the NSE, the stock registered a gain of 0.41 per cent at Rs 525.05. The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India saw its shares fall 0.36 per cent to Rs 7,116 on the BSE and 0.28 per cent to Rs 7,119 on the NSE. -- PTI
12:27   Indian economy to outperform its peers: S&P
Rating agency Standard & Poor's has reaffirmed India's sovereign credit rating at BBB minus with stable outlook and expects its economy to grow strongly over the next two years.


"India's economy continues to achieve impressive long-term growth rates despite a recent deceleration. It is believed that the economic slowdown is cyclical rather than structural," said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance citing a summary publication from the rating agency.


"They expect the economy to continue to outperform its peers on the back of rising domestic demand and strong demographics," said the statement.


"They have maintained a stable outlook on the basis of their expectation that over the next two years, the growth will remain strong and India will maintain its sound net external position and fiscal deficit will remain elevated but broadly in line with their forecast," it added.


S&P's rating action follows Moody's Investors Service's recent lowering of India's rating outlook to negative from stable. The moves come when economic growth rate has slowed to 4.5 per cent in the July to September quarter from 5 per cent in the April to June quarter on account, largely due to contraction in the manufacturing sector. -- ANI
12:21   Ex-PM's son on SPG cover: You feel you are someone
Neeraj Shekhar, BJP MP and son of former PM Chandra Shekhar, defends his statement that SPG protectees felt like they were the PM. "The Home Minister said yesterday that the Gandhi family is getting the security that is given to the President and other eminent people. The Gandhi family and the Congress should understand that their security is the most secure. 

"It is my own experience, you feel you are someone when all the paraphernalia goes with you. I was nothing back then but even I started feeling that."


Shekhar who himself was a SPG protectee for 11 years being the son of the former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, said in Rajya Sabha yesterday, "Immediate family members of former prime ministers travel in a cavalcade of bullet proof cars, escorted by police bypassing all security checks and barriers and even mandatory frisking at airports.


"Those people who live under SPG cover, they think that they are the prime minister of this country and are privileged persons."
12:12   Wipro to establish Cyber Defence Centre in Melbourne
India's IT major Wipro Ltd is all set to expand its presence in Australia's Victoria state by establishing a 1.5 million dollar state-of-the-art Cyber Defence Centre.


The new centre in South Melbourne will offer protection from cyber-attacks to the organisations and will generate 100 new tech jobs for locals. "Melbourne is Australia's leading tech city and we welcome this reinvestment by Wipro '" one of India's top tech companies," Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas said on Wednesday.


"Setting up the Asia Pacific Defence Centre will strengthen Victoria's capability in cyber security and draw on the local expertise to help Wipro protect Australian organisations from cyber related incidents," Pallas said. -- PTI
11:40   5 ITBP jawans killed, 3 hurt in firing among themselves
Five personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were killed and three others injured in an exchange of fire among themselves in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district on Wednesday, police said. The incident took place at the Kadenar camp of ITBP's 45th battalion in Narayanpur, located around 350 km from Raipur, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI. 


As per preliminary information, an ITBP jawan allegedly fired at his colleagues with his service weapon, killing four of them and injuring three others, he said. Later, the jawan who opened fire was also gunned down, he said. The injured personnel were being shifted to hospital, he said. -- PTI
11:37   Cabinet clears Citizenship Amendment Bill
The Union Cabinet has cleared the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill for Parliament to take over. The Bill is now likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha for clearance next week.


The Citizenship Bill seeks to grant citizenship to all non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution in these neighbouring countries.


Union minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday asked BJP MPs to be present in large numbers in the Parliament when Home Minister Amit Shah tables the Bill in Parliament.


At a BJP yesterday, Rajnath Singh said that said the three neighbouring countries were essentially Islamic nations and so it is non-Muslims and not Muslims who are at the receiving end of religious persecution there.


Speaking on the government's decision to clear the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "I am opposed to the Bill. It is fundamentally against the tenets of democracy. I speak for myself. We cannot discriminate on the basis of religion." 
11:22  
Just in: 6 dead and two injured in a clash amongst Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh.
11:13   At last, after 106 days: Karti on PC's bail
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate. A Bench of Justice R Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy set aside the Delhi High Court's order which had refused to grant bail to Chidambaram.

Karti, P Chidambaram's son: "Phew. At last after 106 days :)" 
Congress:  Truth finally prevails

Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson: So finally Chidambaram too joins the long list of "OOBC(Out On Bail Club)" in the Congress ..He joins the coveted Club,some members of which are:
1)Sonia Gandhi
2)Rahul Gandhi
3)Robert Vadra
4)Motilal Vohra
5)Bhupinder Hooda
6)Sashi Tharoor 
Etc Etc

Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram: But justice delayed is justice denied. This should have been granted much earlier. Nothing is different from three months ago.

Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan CM: I welcome the Honourable SC's decision to grant bail to former Central Minister and senior Congress leader #PChidambaram ji after more than a 100 days in jail. Truth finally prevails.


The top court observed that Chidambaram shall not tamper with evidence and not influence the witness. He shall not give a press interview and not make public statements with regard to this case.

Chidambaram was also directed to furnish bail bond of Rs 2 lakh plus two sureties of same amount.

Supreme says Chidambaram can't travel abroad without court permission.


11:05   Neither rubber-stamp, nor post office: Guv's swipe at TMC govt
Asserting that he was following the Constitution, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said on Wednesday that he was neither a "rubber-stamp" nor a "post office", after the ruling Trinamool Congress blamed him for the abrupt adjournment of the assembly. 


The rancour between the ruling dispensation and the governor hit a new low after Speaker Biman Banerjee Tuesday adjourned the House for two days as bills slated to be placed in the assembly were yet to get his nod, which was necessary. 


The claim was refuted by the Raj Bhavan, which in a statement termed the situation "factually untenable". "As Governor I follow the script and tune of the Constitution and cannot blindly take a call. I am neither a rubber-stamp nor a post office," Dhankhar said in a tweet.


"I am obligated to scrutinise the bills in the light of the Constitution and act without delay. Concerned at delay by government on this," he added.


The House will remain adjourned till December 5 and the Winter Session will resume on December 6 at 11 am, it was announced. The bills which were scheduled to be placed won't be tabled as they are yet to receive the nod of the governor, the speaker had said in the Assembly. "We had sent those bills for printing but can't place them in the Assembly as they are yet to get the nod," he had said. -- PTI
10:46   SC grants bail to P Chidambaram in INX case
Just in: Supreme Court grants bail to former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case, registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He has been granted bail on a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties. He has also been forbidden to hold any press conference or make any statement on the case. He also cannot travel without court permission. 


Chidambaram has spent 105 days in jail in the case. 


A bench of justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy pronouncing the verdict said the prosecution has to prove that Chidambaram can tamper with evidence, which was the basis for his continued detention in jail. 


On November 28, the top court had reserved the order on the petition filed by former finance minister Chidambaram, who was lodged in Tihar Jail.


A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi had reserved the order after hearing lawyers appearing for Chidambaram and the ED."We have heard the submission of counsels, judgment reserved," the bench had said.The apex court directed the registry to accept three sets of sealed covers from the ED and keep them in safe custody for the perusal of the court.
10:32   Notices in RS today
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'concern over the safety of girl students in Allahabad University Hostel.


Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) MP Vaiko gives Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'Madras High Court to be renamed as High Court of Tamil Nadu'.


Nationalist Congress Party MP Vandana Chavan has given Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'concern on rising sea levels.'


Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury gives Adjournment Motion Notice over the issue of 'Chinese encroachment in Arunachal Pradesh'.


Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh has given Suspension of Business Notice in Rajya Sabha over 'rising price of onions.'
10:09   Karti, Sibal head to SC, PC's bail plea at 10:30
Karti Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal leave for the Supreme Court which will will pronounce the order on P Chidambaram's petition seeking bail in the INX Media money laundering case, today.  


The court will pronounce its order on the senior Congress leader's plea against the order of the Delhi high court that had dismissed his bail petition in the INX Media case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate.


A bench of justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy will pronounce the verdict at 10.30 am. 


On November 28, the top court had reserved the order on the petition filed by former finance minister Chidambaram, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.


A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi had reserved the order after hearing lawyers appearing for Chidambaram and the ED."We have heard the submission of counsels, judgment reserved," the bench had said.The apex court directed the registry to accept three sets of sealed covers from the ED and keep them in safe custody for the perusal of the court.
10:00   Onion crop worth Rs 30,000 stolen from farmer's field
Desperate times for the poor. A farmer in Richha village of Mandsaur has alleged that his onion crop worth Rs 30,000 was uprooted and stolen from his field by thieves.


Farmer Jitendra Kumar has registered a complaint with the police in this regard and said that onions were sown on 1.6 acre of land and as he was planning to harvest the crop, it was stolen by thieves.


The Station House Officer visited the farm and has begun an investigation in the case.


"He has filed a complaint that onion crop worth Rs 30,000 has been stolen. SHO has gone to his farm, further action will be taken as soon as we gather more details," Assistant Superintendent of Police said.


At a time when prices of onions are shooting up to Rs 100 per kg, several cases of onion theft have been reported from various parts of the country. In Madhya Pradesh, a truck carrying onion worth Rs 20 lakh was stolen on its way from Nashik to Gorakhpur. 


Image: The farmer looks at the remains of his onion crop worth Rs 30,000 which was stolen. Pic: ANI 
09:51   DCW chief moves her hunger strike to Raj Ghat
Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal has moved her hunger strike to Raj Ghat after she was no longer allowed to sit at the Jantar Mantar area.


Yesterday, Maliwal had accused the police of trying to disrupt her indefinite hunger strike over the Telangana rape and murder case. "Delhi Police is time and again trying to stop us from holding the indefinite hunger strike. They are trying to make us leave from Jantar Mantar and are also not letting us know where to go so that we can continue our fight for women's rights," Maliwal had told ANI.


She had however asserted that her indefinite hunger strike will not end, irrespective of whatever actions the police might take, and urged the officials to help them in their endeavour.


"We haven't even put a tent or even a loudspeaker, what problems can we cause to anyone? They are asking us to go to Ramleela Maidan, do they not know that it is a hub for gamblers and alcoholics? Our fight is not against the police but the system. We appeal to the Prime Minister to ensure that rapists are given stringent punishment within six months in the country," she said.


The DCW chairperson also demanded a quick filling up of the empty posts in the Delhi Police to ensure women's safety in the national capital and is also demanding the death penalty for convicts in rape cases within 6 months.
09:42   Four soldiers trapped in avalanches in Kashmir
At least four soldiers were trapped in two separate incidents of snow avalanches near the Line of Control in north Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday. An avalanche hit an Army post in the Tangdhar area of Kupwara district on Tuesday afternoon where at least two soldiers were trapped. Search and rescue operations were carried out till late Tuesday evening but had to be suspended due to inclement weather. Rescue operations resumed on Wednesday morning.


In another incident, a foot patrol of the Army was hit by an avalanche in Dawar area of Gurez sector of Bandipora district, trapping two soldiers. Efforts were on to rescue the jawans. -- PTI


A file picture of rescue operations being carried out in Kulgam in February 2019 when an avalanche killed several policemen after heavy snowfall in Kashmir. 
09:17   Citizenship Bill coming, ensure you're present in House: BJP to MPs
Signalling its intent on the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that proposes to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the BJP on Tuesday asked its MPs to be present in the House in large numbers in the coming days, and said the Bill is as important as the legislation that did away with Article 370.

Sources said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing the weekly meeting of BJP MPs, indicated that the Bill could come up in Parliament next week and the government expects it to be passed before December 10. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is coming soon. It is very important to get it passed, sources quoted Singh telling the MPs.

Sources said the Bill, which is to be re-drafted as the government has decided to incorporate changes in order to address concerns expressed by states in the North-East, is expected to be cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
08:43   Our orbiter located Vikram lander first: ISRO
ISRO chief K Sivan has rejected NASA's claims that they have located the debris of the crashed Vikram lander on the lunar surface and said the Indian Space Research Organisation had located it long back.

ISRO chief K Sivan has said, "Our own orbiter had located Vikram lander. We had already declared that on our website, you can go back and see."

On Tuesday, NASA released some images showing the site of the Vikram lander's impact and the associated debris field while also acknowledging the role of a Chennai-based mechanical engineer and app developer in locating the site of the debris.

Three days after Vikram lander crashed on the lunar surface, on September 10, ISRO had tweeted, "Vikram Lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan 2, but no communication with it yet."
08:17   INX Media case: SC to pronounce verdict on Chidambaram's bail plea today
The Supreme Court will on Wednesday pronounce order on senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's plea against the order of the Delhi high court that had dismissed his bail petition in the INX Media case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate.

A bench of justices R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy will pronounce the verdict at 10.30 am. 

On November 28, the top court had reserved the order on the petition filed by former finance minister Chidambaram, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.

A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi had reserved the order after hearing lawyers appearing for Chidambaram and the ED.
"We have heard the submission of counsels, judgment reserved," the bench had said.

The apex court directed the registry to accept three sets of sealed covers from the ED and keep them in safe custody for the perusal of the court.

The high court had, on November 15, dismissed his bail plea and observed that prima facie allegations against him were serious in nature and he played an "active and key role" in the offence.

Chidambaram sought bail in a case pertaining to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during his tenure as the finance minister.

CBI had registered a corruption case in this regard in May 2017. 

Later that year, the ED also lodged a money laundering case.

The Congress leader was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case but was granted bail by the Supreme Court two months later.

He was arrested by the ED in the money laundering case on October 16. 

-- ANI
07:40   Kamala Harris ends US presidential bid
Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of the 2020 United States Democratic presidential race.
The sudden and surprising announcement by Harris, 55, came during a call with her campaign staffers on Tuesday.
"To my supporters, it is with deep regret -- but also with deep gratitude -- that I am suspending my campaign today," Harris said in a tweet.

"But I want to be clear with you: I will keep fighting everyday for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the people. All the people," Harris said.

Harris, who is of mixed Indian and African heritage, had been polling poorly in recent weeks.

A latest poll released on Monday saw her dropping down to a mere three per cent, reflecting that her campaign was struggling to make traction ahead of what is being viewed as one of the most polarised elections in American history.

Harris was among first major Democratic Party leaders to announce her presidential run in last January, which was attended by a massive crowd of over 20,000 supporters.

While she made an impressive performance during her first Democratic party debate against former vice president Joe Biden, she had not been faring well during the subsequent debates.

In the last debate, she entered into a verbal dual with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, another Democratic presidential aspirant.

In a post on online publishing platform Medium, Harris explained the reasons for the sudden suspension of her campaign.

"I've taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days (I) have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. My campaign for president simply doesn't have the financial resources we need to continue," she wrote.

"I'm not a billionaire. I can't fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it's become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I can't tell you -- my supporters and volunteers -- that I have a path forward if I don't believe I do," she said.
"So, to you my supporters, it is with deep regret -- but also with deep gratitude -- that I am suspending my campaign today. But I want to be clear with you: I am still very much in this fight," she wrote, referring to the causes she has been vocal about.
-- PTI
00:05   Terrorist with arms, ammunition arrested in J-K
Security forces have apprehended a terrorist Tariq Hussain Wani with a huge amount of arms and ammunition from the Ikhala Plamar forest in Kishtwar.

Wani was missing since November 14 along with a 303 rifle, one magazine, 64 live cartages and 11 charger clips from Ikhala Plamar.

'A cordon was launched in the general area of Ikhala forest by the joint parties at 10 pm, on Monday. On the search of the area, the militant was arrested from a temporary hideout. The militant had a gunshot in his left foot and was immediately rushed to the District Hospital for treatment,' Kishtwar Police said in a Facebook post.

Police have also registered a case under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. -- ANI

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