Thu, 17 October 2019
US, Turkey reach ceasefire deal in Syria

Timeline  Refresh

23:42   US, Turkey reach ceasefire deal in Syria
United States Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday that the US and Turkey reached a deal to suspend the Turkish military offensive in Syria.

"A week after Turkish forces crossed into Syria, Turkey and the United States of America have agreed to a cease fire in Syria," Pence was quoted as saying by CNN.

Pence explained that military operations will stop for 120 hours.

Pence said he spoke with President Donald Trump and he 'knows President Trump is very grateful' to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for facilitating the ceasefire.

Pence said the agreement would "pause" the Turkish advance into Syria to allow the withdrawal of [Kurdish] YPG forces.

Pence said that the US will not impose further sanctions on Turkey as part of the agreement.

Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Erdogan today address the situation in Syria.

The high-level US delegation included Pence, Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien.

It marked the first major meeting between the two countries since President Trump pulled US armed forces out of northern Syria.

IMAGE: US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on, at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Thursday. Photograph: Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters
23:17   Modi govt planning to implement NRC across India: Gujarat CM
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani claimed on Thursday that the Union government is planning to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country to expel illegal immigrants.

Addressing a poll rally at Radhanpur in Patan district, Rupani also accused the opposition Congress of turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants.

"For vote bank politics, Congress allowed such illegal immigrants to settle permanently in India. Congress created a situation where citizens suffered because of these illegal settlers," he said.

"To give the countrymen their rights, the BJP-led government under prime minister Narendra Modi is planning to implement NRC across the country to compel these immigrants to leave the country," said Rupani.

He was campaigning for BJP candidate for Radhanpur assembly seat bypoll, Alpesh Thakor.

Radhanpur is one of the six constituencies in Gujarat where bypolls will be held on October 21.  -- PTI
23:00   Fired in self defence, say Bangladesh troops
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on Thursday claimed they 'fired in self-defence' during a flag meeting along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal's Murshidabad, in which one Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was killed and another sustained injuries.

BGB troops opened fire on a BSF patrol earlier today killing Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh and injuring another when the party was trying to trace an Indian fisherman, who had gone fishing in the River Padma along the international border, according to the BSF.

While Singh died after he received bullet injuries on his head, the constable-cum-boatman received bullet injuries on his right hand.

The BSF put out a statement saying out two out of the three Indian fishermen who had gone fishing and were apprehended by the BGB, were released.

"Two fishermen returned and approached the BSF post at Kakmarichar and said that the BGB apprehended them."

The Bangladeshi Guards had called a flag meeting over the issue, the BSF said.

"Around 10.30 am, the Post Commander along with five troopers in the BSF boat, approached the BGB patrol in a speed boat in the water channel of River Padma near the boundary. During the flag meeting, the BGB patrol did not release the Indian fisherman and also tried to cordon (gherao) the BSF troops," BSF added.

Sensing the situation worsening, the BSF party immediately returned following which the BGB troops opened fire on them, the BSF further said.

The BGB, however, said that they fired in 'self-defence' after the BSF party, which was returning 'started firing'.

'It should be noted that four out of the four BSF members were wearing uniforms and the rest were wearing half pants-gauze. Also, it is important to note that the BSF team had weapons,' the BGB said in a statement.

The Bangladeshi Border Guards said that it told the BSF if they want to take the prisoners back, they would be given a formal return with the flag meeting.

"BGB patrol team informed them that you too came to Bangladesh illegally, so you too will be handed over through official flag meeting," it added.

The BGB further said, "The BSF members were then forced to flee. When BGB stopped them, the BSF members started firing. Speedboats continued to enter India. The BGB then fired in self-defence. Later, it was reported that one BSF member was killed."

Meanwhile, the injured BSF personnel were evacuated to the nearest medical facility.

Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh succumbed to his injuries and was declared brought dead.

The injured constable was taken to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital Behrampore.

Born in 1968, Singh had joined the BSF in 1990. He is survived by two sons and hailed from Chamaroli village in Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad district. -- ANI
21:56   Kartarpur: India insists on service free waiver
India on Thursday asked Pakistan not to insist on levying a fee of $ 20 per Indian pilgrim and hoped that an agreement  to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor will be inked soon between the two countries.       

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said both India and Pakistan reached an agreement on the corridor except on the matter of the service fee.

"After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we have reached an agreement on all other issues, except the matter of service fee. Pakistan insists on levying a fee of $ 20 (approx. Rs 1,420) on all pilgrims," he said.

Kumar said India has urged Pakistan not to levy the fee in the interests of devotees, and also because the opening of the corridor is a people-to-people initiative.

"We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event," said Kumar.

Pakistan has been insisting on levying the service fee of $ 20 per pilgrim to meet the operational costs of the corridor linking the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in Punjab.

As per initial plan, both countries were to ink the agreement in the first half of November so that it can be thrown open to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Kumar was responding to queries on whether the agreement on Kartarpur Sahib corridor has not been finalized due to the Pakistan's insistence that a $ 20 service fee will be charged on all devotees who want to visit the shrine.

In a major initiative last November, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib -- the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev -- to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.  -- PTI
21:03   Will play 'constructive role' in improvement of India-Pakistan ties: China
China said on Thursday it will play a 'constructive role' in the improvement of relations between India and Pakistan, days after the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping.

Elaborating on the remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his briefing to the Chinese media on October 13 where he stated that China's 'respective relations with India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries could run in parallel and develop together', the foreign ministry said China sincerely hopes that the New Delhi and Islamabad will improve their relations.

Wang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency that that 'China's respective relations with India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries could run in parallel and develop together, neither targeting any third party nor being influenced by a third party'.

Asked to elaborate Wang's remarks, the foreign ministry in a written response to the media on Thursday said, "As a common neighbour and friend of India and Pakistan, China sincerely hopes that China-India relations will be good, China-Pakistan relations will be good and India-Pakistan relations will be good and everyone will work together to promote regional stability and development."

"It is hoped that India and Pakistan will live in harmony, resolve disputes between the two countries through peaceful means, replace confrontation with dialogue, resolve differences in good faith and create a future through cooperation. China is willing to play a constructive role in this regard," it said.

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5.

Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. India maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one and no third party has any role in it.   -- PTI
20:46   Ayodhya: Waqf Board lawyer favours settlement
With the mediation committee submitting a 'settlement report' in the Supreme Court on the day it wound up its arguments in the Ayodhya dispute case, counsel of Sunni Waqf Board Syed Shahid Rizvi said on Thursday that every party should read the terms of settlement and sign it.

"The parties have reached at a term before the mediation panel, I cannot divulge the details. Mediation is already done and over. Other parties, who did not seek it, must read the terms of the settlement and sign it. There is a chance of settlement," Rizvi told ANI.

Rizvi said the settlement is 'best for unity and integrity of India'.

Karunesh Shukla, who represented Mahant Dharam Das, a primary litigant in the case, said most parties in the case have not agreed with the mediation panel.

"It is not required," he said.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday wrapped up the arguments of all the concerned parties and reserved the order in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case.

The five-judge bench Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, has given liberty to the parties to submit written submissions in three days.

The court heard appeals challenging the 2010 Allahabad high court verdict, which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre of disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992. -- ANI
19:48   SC judges discuss Ayodhya panel report
The Supreme Court's five-judge Constitution bench met in-chambers on Thursday and discussed findings of a report believed to be filed by the mediation panel in Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

According to sources in the apex court, the in-chambers meeting was convened in two sessions between 11.15 am and 1 pm, and between 2 pm to 3 pm.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising of Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer also discussed various issues involving the case, the sources added.

The Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel, as per sources, submitted its report in a sealed cover on Wednesday.

The court started day-to-day hearing (five days in a week) on August 6 after the mediation panel failed to come to an out-of-the-court settlement in the matter and reserved its judgement on Wednesday.

The mediation panel comprised of three members headed by Justice (Retired) F M I Kalifullah, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.

The court is expected to deliver its judgement between November 4-17 on a batch of petitions challenging September 30, 2010, Allahabad high court judgement trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts to Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. -- ANI
19:06   You had 5 yrs, stop blaming my govt: Manmohan
Conceding that there were some "weaknesses" in his regime, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the Narendra Modi government should stop blaming the UPA for every economic crisis, as five years was sufficient time to come up with solutions. 

Addressing a press conference ahead of Maharashtra elections, he was replying to a question on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's comments in the US, where she said the banking sector passed through its worst phase during the tenures of Singh and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. The NDA government should have learnt from the UPA's "mistakes", and provided "credible solutions", Singh said. Had the NDA government learnt from the mistakes, fraud-accused jeweler Nirav Modi and other loan defaulters would not have fled with public money, or the banks' situation would not have gone from "bad to worse", Singh said. 

"You cannot claim year after year that the fault lies with the UPA (United Progressive Alliance), you have been in office for five and half years and that is long enough period for a government committed to public welfare to do some credible things. Merely passing the buck to UPA regime is no solution to India's problems," the former PM said. 

Talking about his tenure as prime minister between 2004-14, Singh said, "What happened did happen. There were some weaknesses. "But this government has been in office for five and half years, it should have learnt from our mistakes and provided credible solutions to those problems which are still affecting our economy," he said. "You may score some brownie points, but you are not finding solutions to the problems of the suffering humanity of our country," Singh added. -- PTI
18:54   Cong, NCP facing crisis of survival: Fadnavis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said the opposition Congress, NCP and CPI(M) were facing a crisis of survival, and added that his government has done a "much better work" than the previous dispensation. He was addressing an election rally at Dahanu for sitting BJP MLA Pascal Dhanare, who is seeking his re-election. CPI(M) candidate Vinod Nikole is in the fray against him. 

"Look at the condition of Congress...It is a matter of question for me whether Congress leader Rahul Gandhi gives a speech to campaign for his own party or for the BJP. In his speech, he says that people have been facing hardships since the last 60 years. But he does not realise that it was his party that was at the helm of affairs for the maximum period," Fadnavis said. 

NCP has been facing large-scale desertions, while the condition of CPI(M) has also become difficult as the people of West Bengal and Tripura have rejected that party, he said. "Even the people of Dahanu will defeat the CPI(M) in this election...This is the end of CPI(M) in the country," he added.
18:44   Detention centre in Bengaluru for foreigners operational soon
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said the detention centre for foreign nationals coming up on the city's outskirts, will be operationalised soon. The minister also said the Bengaluru-specific anti-terrorist squad probably will be operational in November first week. "There is a detention centre ready near Nelamagala, it needs to operationalised, we have discussed it and there will be no further delay in operationalising it," Bommai said. 

Speaking to reporters, he said the detention centre will be for foreign nationals involved in illegal activities, until they are deported. Stating that there is already an ATS for Karnataka, theminister said, "our officers have been recommending for Bengaluru-specific ATS for a long time keeping in mind the volume of population, the influx, also intelligence and NIA inputs."
18:40   Madhuri celebrates her 20th marriage anniversary
Madhuri Dixit Nene tweets: This day, 20 years back, we got into this beautiful relationship. I am so glad to have you in my life, not only as my husband but also as my bestfriend & my soulmate. Happy anniversary @DoctorNene Here's to many more years of being in love & celebrating life!
18:33   Amitabh Bachhan: Making of a superstar
"So, Amitabh Bachchan turned 77 on Friday, October 11, with a Dadasaheb Phalke Award gift-wrapped for him by Rashtrapati Bhavan. Fitting, as next month will mark 50 years of Amitabh Bachchan in Hindi films -- K.A. Abbas' Saat Hindustani was released in November 1969. But on this occasion, it would be apt to recall two names that had the biggest hand in the making of Amitabh Bachchan the actor and the star." Read Bharti S Pradhan's column here. 
18:09   Home-cooked food, western loo for PC in jail
A Delhi court Thursday sent former finance minister P Chidambaram for custodial interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate till October 24 in the INX Media money laundering case. 

Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar allowed the ED to quiz Chidambaram and also granted him permission to have home cooked food, western toilet, medicines in the ED custody. The probe agency has sought 14-day custodial interrogation of the 74-year old senior Congress leader. 

The court also extended the judicial custody of Chidambaram till October 24 in the INX Media corruption case lodged by the CBI. The court had on Wednesday issued production warrant against him in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the ED. -- PTI
17:58   Only 17% of banks have gone digital: Report
Digital transformation has a long way to go as only 17 per cent of banks globally have succeeded in digitally transforming at scale, according to a new report released on Thursday by Infosys Finacle and non-profit organisation Efma.

Legacy technology and system integration challenges are perceived as the biggest barriers to digital transformation, followed by time and cost required to bring concept to reality, said the report titled 'Innovation in Retail Banking'. More than 350 banks and financial services companies globally took part in the report authored by Jim Marous, publisher of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand.

It said majority of banks are not confident about how digital transformation has successfully impacted their organisational objectives. Only 39 per cent of banks believe their digital transformation strategy has had high or very high impact in accelerating product and service delivery and 33 per cent say it has helped enhance innovation processes.

Very few financial institutions -- just 14 per cent -- believe they are innovation pioneers. Nearly 51 per cent admit to being mainstream or lagging in innovation, said the report.
17:41   In a 1st in 20 yrs, B'desh guards fire at BSF
In a major provocation by Bangladesh, Border Guards of Bangladesh on Thursday opened fire on a Border Security Force party, killing one constable and injuring another when the party was trying to trace an Indian fisherman along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.

Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh died after he received bullet injuries on his head. Another constable-cum-boatman received bullet injuries on his right hand.

"Both the injured BSF personnel were evacuated to the nearest medical facility. Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh succumbed to injuries. He was declared brought dead. The injured constable has been taken to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital Behrampore," the BSF said.

According to the BSF, three Indian fishermen had gone for fishing in River Padma in the border area on Thursday morning."Two fishermen returned and approached the BSF post at Kakmarichar and said that the Border Guard Bangladesh apprehended them all. They, however, released two of them in order to call BSF post-commander for a flag meeting," BSF said.

"Around 10:30 am, the Post Commander along with five troopers in the BSF boat, approached the BGB patrol in the water channel of River Padma near the boundary. During the flag meeting, the BGB patrol did not release the Indian fisherman and also tried to cordon (gherao) the BSF troops," BSF added.

Sensing the situation worsening, the BSF party immediately returned following which the BGB troops opened fire on them. No such incident has happened in the last two decades.The BGB authorities have been contacted. Senior officials are on the spot. -- ANI

Representational image
17:21   Ensure PM's Varanasi is cleanest: Yogi
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked the officials concerned to initiate a campaign to ensure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi is the cleanest in the country. Modi had won the seat in the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year by a huge margin of 4.79 lakh votes. He had not only retained the seat, but also saw his victory margin increase by nearly 1 lakh votes as compared to the 2014 general elections. 

The chief minister held a review meeting of the development work and law and order situation in the state here on Wednesday night and instructed the officials to make "Kashi number 1 in the country" in terms of cleanliness. 

According to an official spokesperson, he also asked the officials to launch special cleanliness drives in villages as well as urban areas before the festival of Diwali. Roads, parks and vacant plots of land should be included in the campaign. 

In view of Chhath Puja, start a special campaign to clean the ghats of the Ganga, the chief minister said. Do something special so that Kashi remains illuminated from Diwali till Dev Diwali, Adityanath said as he directed the PWD to make the roads free of potholes by October 30. The government is committed towards the makeover of Kashi. -- PTI
17:16   Together for ever more
Women observe Karwa Chauth in Chandigarh.
16:49   Star' campaigner Priyanka skips Maha, Haryana
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a star campaigner of the party, has not canvassed in Maharashtra and Haryana campaign with only three days left for the campaign to end in the two states. Priyanka Gandhi, who is party general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, was among the list of party's star campaigners for the two states.

According to sources, Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja also made a request to Priyanka Gandhi to campaign in Haryana but it seems her request was not accepted.

Party leaders including Deepender Hooda and Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat had said that she would take part in the assembly election campaign.

Party sources said Priyanka was at present focusing only on Uttar Pradesh where the party has appointed a new state chief and has reorganised the state unit. She has held meetings with the newly-appointed office-bearers and will take part in a three-day training workshop.

Priyanka Gandhi had campaigned for the party outside Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections. Her brother and party leader Rahul Gandhi is leading the party's campaign and has so far held six rallies in Maharashtra and Haryana.

Party workers feel that if Priyana Gandhi Vadra had taken part in the campaign, it would have made a difference to the party's election effort.

Compared to Congress, the election campaign of BJP appears to be sharp and sustained with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah addressing a series of rallies.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has also addressed rallies.The campaigning in the two states will end on October 19 and polling will take place on October 21. -- ANI
16:38   People will punish Cong-NCP in Maharashtra, Haryana: PM
PM Narendra Modi in Satara: "In the last 5 years, our govt has brought our armed forces at par with the armed forces of other countries. Be it Army, Navy or Air Force, modern weapons are a part of our armed forces today. Congress-NCP leaders are unable to understand the mood of the people. They were punished in the Lok Sabha elections. This time the people will give them harsh punishment in the upcoming elections too, be it in Maharashtra or Haryana."    
16:26   Modi can implement decisions ruthlessly: Pawar
Atal Bihari Vajpayee usually took care that his decisions would not attract bitterness, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is effective and ruthless when it comes to implementing a step, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has said. In an interview to PTI, Pawar, whom Vajpayee as PM had made the vice-chairman of the Disaster Management Authority, said the BJP stalwart commanded more respect among the people.

"Vajpayee was a well-cultured gentleman. Modi is an effective person when it comes to executing a programme. Modi has the ability to implement a decision ruthlessly once it is taken," Pawar said.

Recipient of the Padma Vibhushan award in 2017 during Modi's first term as PM, Pawar also pointed out the difference in the working style of Vajpaye and Modi, both from the BJP.

"Vajpayee saheb, while taking any step, would usuallytake care that there was no bitterness people had more respect for him. But as far as result-oriented work is concerned, Modi is perhaps different from him," he said.

Pawar also targeted Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying he did not take any initiative to resolve problems faced by farmers and industries in the state. Fadnavis is not perceived as a result-oriented and effective chief minister, the former Maharashtra CM said.

Blaming the BJP-led regime for the agrarian crisis, the former Union agriculture minister said the entire farming community in Maharashtra is restless, disappointed and angry. Industrial units in the state have shut down on a big scale, leading to job losses, he said. 

Of the industrial units which are working, many are working in only one shift and not three as in the past. "The state leadership has to take the initiative and find solutions when such a situation looms large. I dont see the contribution of the present chief minister on that front," Pawar said. Farmers are committing suicide on a big scale, but when the issue is flagged, Fadnavis points towards theprevious Congress-NCP government, he said. "You (Fadnavis) have been in power for the past fiveyears. Why didn't you resolve these issues all this while," he said. -- PTI
16:13   Sensex rallies 453 pts to close above 39,000-mark
Extending its gains for the fifth consecutive session, equity benchmark BSE Sensex rallied 453 points on Thursday as global investors cheered a Brexit deal reached between Britain and the EU. Domestic traders were also enthused after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hinted at more stimulus measures as she urged international investors to pump funds into India. 

After trading on a positive note through the day, the 30-share Sensex surged at the fag end of the session to end 453.07 points, or 1.17 per cent, higher at 39,052.06. It hit an intra-day high of 39,104.69 and a low of 38,557.43. 

The broader NSE Nifty too spiked 122.35 points, or 1.07 per cent, to settle at 11,586.35. Yes Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, soaring up to 15.19 per cent, followed Tata Motors, IndusInd Bank, SBI, Bajaj Auto, Asian Paints, Axis Bank, Tata Steel and Maruti, rising up to 9.82 per cent. On the other hand, HCL Tech, Vedanta, PowerGrid, Kotak Bank, Infosys, ONGC, Tech Mahindra, L&T and HDFC Bank fell up to 1.04 per cent. 
-- PTI
15:59   No need for evidence that Ayodhya site was Ram Janmabhoomi: K'taka Minister
Senior BJP leader and Karnataka Tourism Minister C T Ravi on Thursday said there was no need for any "evidence" to say that the disputed site in Ayodhya was the "Ram Janmbhoomi", as he expressed confidence about getting justice from the Supreme Court. 

"The whole country is awaiting the judgment, I'm also waiting for it. Our feeling is that(disputed site) is the Ram janmbhoomi and there is no need for any evidence for it. For thousands of years we have been living with that trust," Ravi said in response to a question. 

Speaking to reporters he, he said, he was confident about getting justice. The Supreme Court on Wednesday concluded hearing in the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya and had reserved the judgement. -- PTI
15:48   Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earns USD 42.9 million in 2018-19 fiscal
With Microsoft posting strong results, the company's CEO Satya Nadella has got a 66 per cent raise in the 2018-19 fiscal, taking his total yearly earnings to a whopping USD 42.9 million, according to media reports on Thursday. While Nadella, 52, has a base salary of a little over USD 2.3 million, most of his pay came from stock awards, reported CNN Business. He received USD 29.6 million in stock award, USD 10,7 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and around USD 111,000 in other compensation. In a proxy statement, Microsoft's independent directors said, "The past fiscal year offered another record year for financial performance, and Microsoft delivered strong results for our shareholders, including a return of USD 30.9 billion in the form of share repurchases and dividends."
15:36   Chidambaram produced before Delhi court in INX Media case
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was on Thursday produced before a Delhi court in the INX Media case. Chidambaram, 74, was produced before Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar. The court had on Wednesday issued production warrant against him in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by Enforcement Directorate. -- PTI
15:36   Chidambaram produced before Delhi court in INX Media case
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was on Thursday produced before a Delhi court in the INX Media case. Chidambaram, 74, was produced before Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar. The court had on Wednesday issued production warrant against him in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by Enforcement Directorate. -- PTI
15:36   Chidambaram produced before Delhi court in INX Media case
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was on Thursday produced before a Delhi court in the INX Media case. Chidambaram, 74, was produced before Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar. The court had on Wednesday issued production warrant against him in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by Enforcement Directorate. -- PTI
15:33   Nirav Modi to stay in jail till Nov 11
Fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi, who is fighting extradition to India on charges over the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, on Thursday was remanded to prison until November 11 after he appeared via videolink from his London jail for a regular remand hearing. 

Westminster Magistrates' Court Judge Nina Tempia confirmed that Modi's extradition trial is scheduled between May 11 and 15 next year and that he must re-appear via videolink every 28 days for "call-over hearings' until the case management for the trial kicks in from February next year. The court was told that the 48-year-old, who spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, faces fraud and money laundering charges in India. Modi has been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London, one of England's most overcrowded jails, since his arrest in March on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard on charges brought by the Indian government, being represented by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in court.
15:26   Britain, EU conclude Brexit deal
Britain and the European Union have concluded the Brexit deal, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "Where there is a will, there is a deal - we have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that (EU summit) endorses this deal," Juncker said.
But the deal still needs to be backed by EU member states and by the respective parliaments.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, "We have got a great new deal that takes back control -- now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment."
15:21   Appeal to PM, FM and Maharashtra CM to resolve grievances
Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to look into the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank matter and resolve the grievances of the "affected 16 lakh people."

"It is very unfortunate what has happened in the case of this bank. I appeal to the Maharashtra Chief Minister, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to look into this matter and resolve the grievances of the affected 16 lakh people," Singh said. 

"I expect the government of India, RBI and the government of Maharashtra to put their head together and provide a credible, pragmatic and effective solution to this case where 16 lakh depositors are trying for justice," he added.

A delegation of 15 depositors of PMC Bank is meeting Manmohan Singh today to discuss their grievances and request his intervention in the matter in the bank scam case. -- ANI
14:59   Economy will not reach 5 trillion mark: Manmohan
Former PM Manmohan Singh on Thursday spoke about the BJP government's USD 5 trillion economy target for India: I've said this publicly before that to reach a goal of $5 trillion by 2024, as against $2.7 trillion that we had in 2018, we would require a growth rate of 10-12% per annum. What's happening in the BJP regime is that govt is faced with prospect of a declining rate of growth year after year. 

"IMF has come up with a statement that India's growth rate during the current fiscal year will be only 6.1% as against 7.3% mentioned some months ago. With growth rate declining year after year I don't think there's any hope of economy reaching the target of $5 Trillion by 2024."

Offense is the best form of defence, so Union Minister Piyush Goyal reacted saying Dr Manmohan Singh should reflect on his own failures. "Where he went wrong, why he couldn't maintain a strong economy and give an honest government, why he was so helpless that he had to obey orders from 10 Janpath and had no capacity to take his own decisions." 
14:48   Savarkar ensured 1857 rebellion became part of history: HM
Amidst BJP proposing the names of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for the Bharat Ratna in its manifesto for the Maharashtra state assembly elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday credited Savarkar for coining the 1857 rebellion as the First War of Indian independence.

"Had it not been for Veer Savarkar, the rebellion of 1857 would not have become history, we would have seen it from the point of view of British. Veer Savarkar was the one who named the 1857 rebellion as the first independence struggle," Shah said addressing a seminar at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

Shah inaugurated the two-day international seminar being held to discuss "the role and relevance of famous ruler of Gupta Dynasty, Skandagupt Vikramaditya and the political future of the nation" at the BHU campus.

The event was also attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other dignitaries.The Union Home Minister remembered Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and thanked him for setting up the BHU, which according to Shah had played a key role in rebuilding the nation post-independence.

"Whatever might have been on the mind of Pt Madan Mohan Malviyaji at the time of the establishment of BHU, but this university has played a key role propagating Hindu culture and has stood tall to protect it," Shah said."After hundreds of years of slavery it is very difficult for any person to reinstate the pride, only a university can do this. These universities are the reason why we are happy with the present-day image of the country and are assured about its future too," Shah added.

Urging historians and writers to present the true Indian and not the British version of history he said, "It is the duty of every country to preserve and nurture its history, it is the duty of the public and of the country's historians. Till when do we keep on criticising the Britishers for it. Today the country is independent, edit our history and write out new manuscripts. I am sure the truth in our history will make it famous." -- ANI
14:36   If not Om, then what? Rajnath on shastra puja
After facing backlash from the opposition over Rafale 'Shastra Puja' row, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi what he should have written on the fighter jet if not 'Om'.Addressing an election rally in Bhiwani, Haryana, Singh said, "Worshiping weapons during Vijayadashami is a tradition. When I wrote 'Om' on the Rafale jet, people said why I wrote it. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if not 'Om', then what should I have written during 'Shastra Puja'?"

During his visit to France earlier this week, Rajnath had emblazoned the Rafale fighter jet with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons, believed to ward off the evil eye. The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the IAF.

The Defence Minister even took a sortie in the Rafale jet.Singh received flak from the Opposition with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge described him performing 'Shastra Puja' as "tamasha" (drama). Party leader Udit Raj also raised objections to it saying that the day "superstition" ends, India will make such fighter aircraft itself.

Assembly elections are due to be held in the state on October 21. Counting of votes will take place on October 24. -- ANI
14:33   Mamata to visit north Bengal next week
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be visiting north Bengal next week to hold administrative review meetings with district officials, sources in the state secretariat said on Thursday. This will be her first visit to north Bengal after the Lok Sabha elections. Banerjee, who is scheduled to leave for the review meetings on October 21, will also participate in a Bijoya Sammilani (exchange of greetings after Durga puja) programme in Siliguri, an official at the secretariat said. 

"The CM will hold administrative meetings with officials of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts on October 24 at Uttarkanya (branch secretariat) in Siliguri. "Before that, she will participate in a Bijoya Sammilani event on October 21 and 22," he said. There is also a possibility that Banerjee might visit the Hills after the October 24 meeting, the official said. -- PTI
14:17   CJI Ranjan Gogoi cancels foreign visit
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has reportedly cancelled his foreign visit to attend official programmes, sources said.
The CJI, who headed a bench on Ayodhya land dispute case in which the judgment was reserved, has cancelled his programme for foreign visit due to some exigencies, they said.

Gogoi was to travel to some South American countries, Middle East and some other countries before he demits office as CJI on November 17.

The sources also said the CJI cancelled the proposed visits before they were finalised.

Gogoi was sworn in as the 46th CJI on October 3 last year. 

-- PTI
13:48   M'rashtra is No 1 in farmer suicides: Manmohan
In the run-up to the Maharashtra elections, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed a rally today in Mumbai, talking to businessmen about the economic slowdown and the government's policies.

>> Manufacturing sector of Maharashtra has witnessed decline in last four quarters

>> Maharashtra hit by grave economic slowdown; govt's apathy, incapability worsening situation

>> Business sentiments are down across the state of Maharashtra, many face closure

>> There is a dearth of opportunities in the otherwise vibrant state of Maharashtra.... every third youth is jobless in the state

>> Distress facing rural areas will only add to unemployment problem as migration increases

>> Maharashtra used to be No 1 in attracting investment... today it is No 1 in farmer suicides

>> Centre's import-export policy affecting Maharashtra

>> Investors are now shifting to other states than Maharashtra

>> BJP govt have been unwilling to adopt people oriented policies as seen in statements by Nirmala Sitharaman

>> Before one can fix the economy one needs proper diagnosis of the problem

>> Can say without a doubt that Maharashtra will progress much faster under a Cong-NCP govt
13:34   14-day judicial custody for Malvinder, Shivinder in Religare scam
Court sends ex-Fortis Healthcare promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, others to 14-days judicial custody in Religare Finvest fund scam.
13:23   History will take note of those who mocked Art 370 removal: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at the opposition, saying history will have a mention of those who ridiculed the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing an election rally at Parli in Maharashtra's Beed district, he said the next week's state assembly polls were a battle between BJP's "karyashakti" (power of development) and opposition's "swarth shakti" (selfishness).

"History will take note of every person who ridiculed the abrogation of Article 370," he said.

Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if "frustrated and dejected" people could do anything good for people.

"The process of jailing those who looted public money has begun," the prime minister said.

He expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra assembly elections. 

-- PTI
13:03   Complaint filed against SC lawyer who tore map
The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha has lodged a complaint with the Bar Council of India on Thursday against Rajeev Dhavan, counsel for Muslim parties in the Ayodhya dispute, for tearing up the map of Lord Ram's birthplace at the Ram Janmabhoomi.

In a letter addressed to the Bar Council Chairman, the Hindu outfit has said Rajeev Dhavan's act of tearing up a piece of paper in the courtroom has brought "disrepute to the Supreme Court Bar".

The Mahasabha has demanded that the Bar Council takes cognizance of the matter and takes immediate action against the counsel who is representing the Muslim parties in the Ayodhya land dispute case that was heard for the final and 40th day on Wednesday.

As the 40th day of the Ayodhya hearing unfolded in Supreme Court on Thursday, high drama gripped the courtroom. The Hindu Mahasabha handed tried to present a fresh piece of evidence on the last day of the hearing when Rajeev Dhavan raised an objection.

Dhavan, who represents the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties, took strong objection to the pictorial map that the Mahasabha was trying to bring up to show the exact birthplace of Lord Ram.

He tore the pictorial map in the courtroom adding much drama to the already heated scene in the Supreme Court. He left the packed courtroom in shock as the bench, lawyers and media personnel looked on.

CJI Gogoi then came to his rescue and said that he had indeed said that Dhavan could tear up the map.
12:39   Rajnath accuses Cong of internationalising Kashmir issue
Launching an offensive against the Congress, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday accused it of internationalising the Kashmir issue.
Addressing a poll rally ahead of Haryana assembly elections on October 21, Singh said Kashmir is an internal matter.
The minister said a Congress leader recently met Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London and held a discussion on the issue of alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.
I want to ask Congress leaders where human rights violations are taking place. Human rights violations were taking place when terrorist activities were occurring (in Kashmir). Why did not you speak at that time? he asked the Congress.
I want a reply from the Congress. Kashmir is our internal matter. Will there be a discussion on it in other countries... Will you be discussing Kashmir matter in other countries? Singh asked.

-- PTI
12:28   Cars with school children exempt from odd-even
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announces another round of odd-even scheme in the national capital, as the quality of the air has become 'very poor'. 

>> Odd-even scheme will be implemented from November 4 to November 15

>> Scheme will also include vehicles coming from other states

>> 2-wheelers will be exempted

>> Scheme will be applicable from 8 am to 8 pm, except on Sundays

>> Violating the odd-even scheme will incur a fine of Rs 4000

>> Vehicles carrying school children exempted from odd-even rules
12:07   PMC bank scam: Ex-bank manager, director sent to police custody
In a fresh turn of developments, former managing director of Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank Joy Thomas has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days by Mumbai's Esplanade court for his alleged involvement in the scam.

"The probe agency had moved an application in the court for an extension of remand of Joy Thomas in police custody. We opposed their plea and the honourable court accepted it. Thomas has been sent to judicial custody now," said Rakesh Singh Arora, an advocate of Joy Thomas. 

"We will also file a bail application soon and will also look into the proceedings of the investigation," he added.

Former PMC Bank Director S Surjit Singh Arora has also been sent to police custody till October 22 by the court

Yesterday, former director of PMC bank SS Arora was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police in connection with the scam.

-- ANI
11:37   Modi and Sheikh Hasina invited for India vs Bangladesh Kolkata Test
If all goes as per plan, the Kolkata Test between India and Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens could see the Prime Ministers of the two countries in attendance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina have been invited for the Test which will be played from November 22 to 26.

Invites have been sent by the Cricket Association of Bengal to both the prime ministers to grace the historic occasion when Bangladesh play their first Test at the historic ground in the City of Joy. 

Interestingly, the last time a cricket match saw such a high-profile presence was the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup in Mohali when India played Pakistan and the game was closely watched by then India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani among other delegates from both the countries.
11:37   5 SC judges hold talks on Ayodhya verdict
A day after the Supreme Court finished the marathon hearings of the age old Ayodhya land dispute case, the five judges of the Constitution bench will be sitting in their chambers on Thursday to discuss their views on the different arguments presented in the politically sensitive case.

The five judges, CJI Ranjan Gogoi along with SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, will be holding daylong discussions on the critical Ayodhya matter that the bench heard for 40 days straight.

It is expected that the judges will also take up the submissions given by the court-appointed mediation panel who submitted their report on Wednesday on the final day of the hearings.

The Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Gogoi has granted three days to contesting parties to file written notes on 'moulding of relief' or narrowing down the issues on which the court is required to adjudicate.

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.
10:32   Indian envoy briefs US lawmakers on Kashmir
India's ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla briefed lawmakers on the situation in Kashmir and the steps taken to maintain peace after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was abrogated.

The briefing, first such by the top Indian diplomat for members of the House foreign affairs committee, comes as there has been an increasing voice of dissent and uneasiness among lawmakers on the curbs in Kashmir, several of which have been removed.

Since August 16, there was gradual removal of curbs and by September first week, most were removed, officials in Jammu and Kashmir had said. The most prominent being restoration of post-paid mobile phone services on October 14 for 40 lakh subscribers across networks.

Several Congressmen who were not members of the committee also attended the ambassadorial briefing and a majority of the lawmakers were from the opposition Democratic party. Congressman Ami Bera was the only Indian-American lawmaker present at the briefing. 

Shringla and other diplomats from the Indian Embassy and its consulates in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and San Francisco, have reached out to hundreds of Congressmen and their aides after abrogation of the state's special status. 

Since August 5, the government besides restoring post-paid mobilep hone services, has opened the state for tourists. On August 17, partial fixed line telephony was resumed and on September 4, nearly 50,000 landlines were declared operational. Educational institutions are also open, but attendance has been slim. 

The government has claimed that over 99 per cent of the area of the state has no restrictions on movement.

Shringla briefed lawmakers on the historic context of the Kashmir problem, and the steps being taken by India post August 5. Shringla patiently responded to the questions from lawmakers

Lawmakers raised issues of missing persons, restrictions on movement and communication.

Shringla refuted the allegations about missing persons and assured the lawmakers that if any of their constituents cannot reach their families, he will personally ensure that the communication channel between them was established.

The ambassador said most of the restrictions have been lifted and the rest are being gradually removed. 

-- PTI
10:22   SC verdict on Ayodhya best solution for both minority and majority: Singhvi
After the Supreme Court reserved its verdict in Ayodhya title dispute case after hearing arguments from all the concerned parties for 40 days, senior Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has said that the top court verdict is the best solution to the highly-vexed and politically sensitive case for both minority and majority.

"I am a firm believer that the best solution to what is a very fractious issue in this country, the Ayodhya debate, both for minority and for the majority, is the Supreme Court`s verdict," Singhvi said.

"The government may try its best but even if it does a good thing, it won`t be acceptable and the same goes for the opposition as well. So, a court`s verdict, either way, is an excellent idea," he added.

The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, reserved the judgement, after a marathon 40-day hearing in the case. 

-- ANI
09:56   Amit Shah says BJP will contest Bihar polls under Nitish Kumar's leadership
Nitish Kumar will remain the chief minister of Bihar after the 2020 assembly election, which the BJP will fight under his leadership, the party's national chief Amit Shah has said. 

"The Janata Dal-United and the BJP will go to polls together and we will fight polls under the leadership of Nitish ji. This is absolutely clear," the Union Home Minister said in an interview to News18 on Wednesday.

Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United and the BJP are in a coalition government in Bihar. Leaders from both sides have often aired passive aggressive views over who would lead the election battle formation in the eastern state. Amit Shah's assertion is likely to put to rest any speculation over who will lead the alliance campaign.

Shah admitted there were some differences over who would lead the campaign. But he added that in collation politics, differences are signs of a healthy relationship and there should be no "manbhed" (argument) on this.

The Bihar assembly election is due next year.
09:42   Centre did not OK my travel to climate conf: Kejri
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed BJP-led Centre for not granting him the permission for attending the C-40 Climate Summit at Copenhagen, Denmark, which was scheduled for October 11.

The Ministry of External Affairs denied permission to an eight-member delegation led by Kejriwal to fly to Copenhagen to be part of the event, saying that clearance from "political angel" has been denied and the conference is meant for Mayors, not for Chief Ministers.

"Recently, I was invited to Denmark to talk about work done by the Delhi government for reducing air pollution. These (BJP) people did not let me go. One of their ministers said it is a mayor-level conference, why is Kejriwal going? What can we do if their mayor is not invited?," he said while speaking to ANI in New Delhi.

Kejriwal on Friday addressed the C40 Climate Change Summit via video conference and talked about the solutions to tackle air pollution.This Summit, which connects more than 90 of the world's leading cities to take bold climate action and build a healthier and more sustainable future, started in Denmark on October 9 and concluded on October 12. -- ANI
09:39   The Nobel meme: Inspiration must be the cooking
When Banerjee won the Economics Nobel on Monday, a meme that drew much attention on social media was created by Ali. Read the column here
09:34   How symbols persist: The curious case of the Hyderabad funds
A British court decision on October 2 may mark the end of a decades-long battle between India and Pakistan. Read the report here
09:25   No better place to invest than India: FM
Investors can find no better place in the world than India that has a democracy loving and capitalist respecting environment, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said. 

She also assured international investors at an interaction session at the IMF's headquarters that the government was continuously working to bring reforms. "It (India) is one of the fastest growing (economies) even today. It has the best skilled manpower and a government that is continuously doing what is required in the name of reforms, above all democracy and rule of law," Sitharaman said on Wednesday. 

Responding to a question on why investors should allocate funds for India, she said that even if the court system is a bit delayed, India is a transparent and open society. The rule of law works and there are a lot of reforms happening, even those to cut down delays, she said. "So you will not have anything better... democracy loving, capitalist respecting environment... in India," Sitharaman said at the event hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in association with the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum. 

Responding to questions from major insurance companies, who urged her to remove the cap on investment in this sector, she said the government needs to understand what the expectations of the sector are other than removing of the cap. Sitharaman said she would be quite open to it and they could send her the details. The Union finance minister, however, said she will not be able to give them an assurance at this point of time, but will work on the matter.  -- PTI
09:20   Tamil Nadu, Puducherry to receive heavy rainfall today: IMD
The India Meteorological Department on Thursday said that isolated places in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal are likely to receive heavy rainfall today.

The weather forecast agency further predicted that Coastal & South Interior Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Telangana, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam and Rayalaseema are also likely to witness heavy downpour throughout the day.

According to IMD, the southwest monsoon has withdrawn from the entire country and simultaneously Northeast monsoon rains have commenced over Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

A cyclonic circulation lies over the east-central Arabian sea off south Karnataka coast and extends upto 0.9 kilometers above mean sea level. The trough at mean sea level runs from north Sri Lanka coast to above cyclonic circulation and extends up to 1.5 kilometers above mean sea level. -- ANI

Representational image
09:12   President Kovind embarks on 7-day visit to Philippines, Japan
President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday departed for an official seven-day visit to the Philippines and Japan with an aim to expand the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The highlights of the visit would be the President attending the enthronement ceremony of new Japanese Emperor Naruhito and unveiling the bust of Mahatama Gandhi at the Center of peace education at a college in Philippines' capital Manila.Kovind will arrive in Manila on the first leg of the tour. 

The five-day-long visit has been organised at the invitation of Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and will carry forward the high-level engagements between the two countries.The relations of New Delhi with Manila have been friendly. 

The economic relationship between the two countries has been growing and trade stands at USD 2.3 billion dollars.Kovind will receive a ceremonial guard of honour at Malacanang Palace. The President will lay a wreath at a memorial of Jose Rizal, who is the national hero of the Philippines.The one-to-one talks between Kovind and Duterte will be followed by delegation-level talks. -- ANI
09:04   Anguished, says PM on Mecca bus accident
PM Modi tweets his condolences over the bus accident in Mecca. 

@narendramodi Anguished by the news of a bus crash near Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. Praying for a quick recovery of the injured.
08:39   35 foreigners dead in Saudi bus crash
Thirty-five foreigners were killed and four others injured when a bus crashed with another heavy vehicle in the Muslim holy city of Medina, Saudi state media said on Thursday.
The accident on Wednesday involved a collision between "a private chartered bus... with a heavy vehicle (loader)" in the western Saudi Arabian city, a spokesman for Medina police said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

Those involved were Arab and Asian pilgrims, according to local media, who carried pictures of the bus engulfed in flames and with its windows blown out.

The injured have been transferred to Al-Hamna Hospital, SPA added, and authorities have launched an investigation.

As part of efforts to diversify its oil-dependent economy, Saudi Arabia wants to foster a year-round religious tourism sector that includes millions of pilgrims.
08:06   Sell our assets to pay off PMC's dues: Wadhawans
Promoters of real estate group HDIL, Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, who are the prime accused in the PMC Bank scam, have requested the RBI and investigation agencies to sell off their assets, including a yacht, a Rolls Royce and an aircraft, to pay off the bank's dues.
The Wadhawans, who were remanded in judicial custody by a court on Wednesday, in a letter to the Enforcement Directorate, the Union finance ministry and the RBI, requested that they be allowed to sell off 18 of their attached assets.

The letter was released by a spokesperson of the Wadhawans.

According to the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing, which first arrested the Wadhawans, the scam at the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank is worth Rs 4,355 crore.

"We state that while denying the allegations raised in FIR no. 86/ 2019...solely with the purpose to work towards the resolution of the matter in the interest of depositors which was also communicated vide our earlier letters dated September 30, 2019, October 1, 2019 and October 3, 2019 sent to (ministry of Finance, Reserve bank of India), we request you to immediately take steps to sell the assets mentioned
below... and adjust it towards the principal of the loans taken by the respective companies which own the assets...," the letter signed by the arrested father and son duo read.

The assets listed in the letter include ultra-luxury cars such as a Rolls Royce Phantom, Bentley Continental, a BMW 730 LD, as well as a humble Ambassador, owned by Rakesh Wadhawan.

It also lists assets owned by Sarang, Rakesh's son, including a Falcon 2000 Aircraft, Audi AG, a FerrttiYacht 881, two electric cars, three Quad Bikes (ATV) and speed boat (Dolphin super deluxe 31HT, 7 seater).
-- PTI
00:25   Pak army chief visits LoC
Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday visited the Line of Control (LoC) where he met troops and was briefed on the security situation.

"COAS visited troops along LOC. Briefed on situation," the army said. Addressing the soldiers, Gen Bajwa reiterated army's resolve of not leaving Kashmiris alone.

"We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost," he added.   -- PTI