Thu, 12 September 2019
PM's presence at ISRO proved 'bad omen': HDK

Timeline  Refresh

23:44   PM's presence at ISRO proved 'bad omen': HDK
Former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy stoked a major controversy on Thursday by suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's presence at the ISRO headquarters on September 6 could have proved a 'bad omen' as the soft landing of moon lander Vikram failed. 
"I dont know (affirmatively), but probably the timing of his stepping in there could have brought a bad omen to ISRO scientists," Kumaraswamy said at a press conference in Mysuru.       

He went on to add that Modi came to Bengaluru on Sept 6 night to send across a message to the people of the country that he was behind the launch of Chandrayaan.
However, the project was the outcome of the scientists and the UPA government during 2008-09, he asserted.
"Poor scientists had toiled for 10 to 12 years. The cabinet approval for Chandrayaan-2 was given in 2008-09 and accordingly the funds were released the same year.      

"He (Modi) came here to seek publicity as if he was behind the launch of Chandrayaan-2," Kumaraswamy alleged.
In a setback to the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 launched on July 22, the soft landing of Vikram lander on the lunar surface did not take place as planned on September 7 morning as the module lost communication with its earth station.      

The prime minister had specifically arrived in Bengaluru to witness the event with the ISRO team.
Explaining the 'helplessness' of chief minister B S Yediyurappa before the Centre on all matters, Kumaraswamy said no one in the state government and the centre had the guts to approach the Prime Minister for anything.
One example of this was the manner in which the Prime Minister indicating to the chief Minister and other union ministers present at the ISRO headquaters to leave on the intervening night of September 6 and 7, he alleged.
"The chief minister (Yediyurappa) and a deputy chief minister had gone there... two to three union ministers too accompanied him. -- PTI
23:10   PM to visit US from September 21-27
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the United States from September 21-27 during which he will address the annual United Nations General Assembly session and have a series of bilateral and multilateral engagements in New York, the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Modi will also attend an Indian community event in Houston during the visit. 
"The (PM's) visit will be from late evening of September 21 to forenoon of September 27," Kumar said during a media briefing.
According to an updated list of speakers for the General Debate of the 74th session of the UNGA, Modi will address the session on the morning of September 27. 
His speech at the UN will be the first after winning a second term as prime minister in a resounding electoral victory in May.
According to the list of speakers, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to address the UNGA session on September 27, shortly after Modi's speech. 
As the world commemorates Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary, Modi will also host a special event 'Leadership Matters: Relevance of Gandhi in the Contemporary World' on September 24 in the Economic and Social Council Chamber in the UN Headquarters. -- PTI  
23:03   India building its own supercomputers, says DST secretary
India is building supercomputers instead of procuring them from foreign countries, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said on Thursday.
Two computers are already functional at IIT-BHU and IIT-Kharagpur (1.6 petaflops), while the third will be assembled at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune by the end of the week.
In an interaction with reporters here, Sharma said the  project is worth Rs 4,500 crore and it is being implemented in three phases.
Under phase one, the initial plan was to buy three computers and build three. However the purchase was delayed, leading to an escalation in cost which prompted the DST to go for the "build" model with greater integration and focus on indigenisation, a senior scientist said. 
Accordingly, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) floated Request for Proposal and a company procured material for six supercomputers. 
C-DAC is also credited with building the first supercomputer, Param, in India.
"The original plan was to import supercomputers but the last three years give us the confidence that we can start building them ourselves. So the new direction is six supercomputers are being built in India," he said.
Sharma said under the phase one, integration and assembly is being done at the motherboard level.
The second phase would kickstart next year and most of the parts would be assembled and integrated within the country, except the chips, Sharma said.
"Under phase three, we will be pretty much making your own supercomputer, except the chips," Sharma said.
With every step the level of indigenisation will increase.
Elaborating on the import of the chips, he said it would be designed within the country. 
In 2015, the government approved the National Supercomputing Mission under which it was envisaged to have supercomputers in different institutions across the country to facilitate research involving high-power computing.  
The plan is to have the total capacity of 70 petaflops and 40-60 supercomputers depending on the location and capacity. -- PTI 
22:43   Existing Parliament building could become museum if new one is built
The existing Parliament building might be turned into a museum, if the Centre decides to build a new one, sources said on Thursday. 
The existing design of the North and South Blocks, which house several ministries, including those of home affairs, defence and finance, and the Prime Minister's Office, will not be changed even after a common Central Secretariat is built, they said.
"If a plan to build a new Parliament building is finalised, the existing structure of the historic Parliament may be turned into a museum," a source said.
"The government has no plans to change the design of the North and South Blocks. Once a common Central Secretariat is built, we will have several options including of turning the North and South Blocks into museums," he said.
The South and North Blocks, and the Parliament are along the Central Vista, a 3-km stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate, and it was planned by architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, according the Central Public Works Department.   
These iconic buildings were constructed between 1911-1931, during which India's new capital, Delhi, was also inaugurated.
The Parliament House building was completed in 1927, an official said, adding that it has been declared a Heritage Grade-I building.
The Centre has floated a request for proposal to redevelop the Parliament House or build a new one.
The Union housing and urban affairs ministry has also invited architecture firms to redevelop the central vista and construct the common Central Secretariat for offices of all ministries. -- PTI 
22:33   BJP to observe 'Seva Saptah' to mark PM's b'day
Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah and working president J P Nadda will distribute fruits among patients at AIIMS in New Delhi on September 14, as part of a Seva Saptah (service week) the party will observe to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday.
The BJP will observe 'Seva Saptah' from September 14 across the country during which various welfare activities will be carried out, party general secretary Arun Singh said.
Addressing a press conference at the party office in New Delhi, he said the service week will be celebrated by the party's all MPs and MLAs in their respective constituencies. 
As part of it, blood donation camps, free health checkup camps, distribution of food items among orphans and elderly people will be organised, Singh said.
The Seva Saptah celebrations will begin with Shah and Nadda visiting AIIMS in the national capital and distributing fruits among patients, Singh said.
During this week-long drive, the focus will be on three things -- cleanliness, shunning single-use plastic items and water conservation, he said, adding that the aim is to carry out a countrywide campaign to serve the people.
Exhibitions will be also be organised based on the life of Prime Minister Modi and the welfare schemes started by his government, he said.  
Last year too, the party had celebrated Modi's birthday, which falls on September 17, as Seva Saptah. -- PTI  
22:12   Work in coordination: Sonia to Gehlot and Pilot
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday met Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot in New Delhi, asking them to work in coordination and not make public statement criticising the state government, sources said.
The meeting came in the wake of Pilot going public by stating that the law and order situation in the state was not good.
The Congress president also discussed the functioning of government in the sate.
"There was a discussion on the political situation and governance in the desert state," Pilot told reporters after the meeting.
"We held a detailed discussion on all aspects. It was a good and healthy discussion," he  said.
When asked about his statement on law and order in the state, he said, "Sonia Gandhiji knows about everything".
The Rajasthan deputy CM said he had presented a roadmap for strengthening the Congress Party in Rajasthan.
Pilot is also the PCC chief in Rajasthan.
He said Rajasthan Congress leaders would campaign in the upcoming Haryana assembly elections and extend all help to bring the party to power.
About the membership drive, he said after making 23 lakh new members in Rajasthan, the party would launch a special mission to add more members. -- PTI 
21:40   India's move in J-K threat to peace: Pak Prez
Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Thursday said India's action in Kashmir is a threat to peace in the region as New Delhi has violated its Constitution as well as the Simla Agreement by revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
Addressing the joint session of parliament at the start of the new parliamentary year amidst protest by Opposition parties, President Alvi vowed to continue Pakistan's support for the people of Kashmir.
"Pakistan is with its Kashmiri brethren. We will continue to extend moral support. We were, we are and will always be with the Kashmiris," he said.
He said that India's actions was a threat to peace in the region but Pakistan always responded to India's "warmongering" with offers of dialogue.
"India has violated its own Constitution as well as the Simla Agreement with its illegal actions in Kashmir," he said.
Talking about the "successes" of the Imran Khan government, the President mentioned about the proposed opening of the Kartarpur corridor which will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims. 
"Kartarpur initiative is praiseworthy step by Pakistan which will help to increase religious tourism in the country," he said.
Talking about the government's foreign policy, he said Pakistan wants to have good relations with all neighbours.
He said Pakistan wants peaceful relation with Afghanistan and trying for peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, the services chiefs and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee attended the session.
However, the address was marred by continuous protest by the opposition parties against the policies of the government to refuse to allow the jailed opposition parliamentarians to attend the session.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks about terrorism during a public gathering in Mathura, saying India is tarnishing Islamabad's image by levelling allegations of terrorism.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi in an apparent reference to Pakistan said that the roots of terrorism are being nourished in India's neighbourhood. -- PTI
21:27   Pak appoints new commander for unit guarding LoC
Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas was appointed as the new commander of the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps, guarding the Line of Control, on Thursday as the Pakistan Army announced new postings for its top officers.
The 10 Corps formation is a vital command of the Pakistan Army and is responsible for the Line of Control with India, the Express Tribune reported. 
The reshuffle comes amid fresh tensions between the two countries after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations), the media wing of the military, also stated that Lt Gen Waseem Ashraf has been transferred to Southern Command (12 Corps) as its new commanding officer replacing Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa. He was serving as Inspector General Arms (IG Arms) prior to his new posting.
A day earlier, Pakistan Army promoted four Majors Generals to the rank of Lieutenant-Generals.
According to ISPR, the four officers include Major General Muhammad Aamer, Major General Muhammad Chiragh Haider, Major General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, and Major Gen Khalid Zia.
Last month, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's term was extended for another three years. -- PTI 
21:25   Govt shouldn't wait for an apple to fall on its head: Yechury on Goyal's gravity comment
Taking a dig at Union minister Piyush Goyal's comment that maths did not help Albert Einstein discover gravity while speaking on the government's target of $5 trillion economy, Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said instead of focusing on distant dreams, the minister should focus on reality.
The Commerce and Industry was trolled over the gaffe in explaining that achieving the target of nearly doubling the size of the economy to $5 trillion should not be looked through the prism of maths.
In a tweet, Yechury said, "The govt shouldn't wait for an apple to fall on its head before it realises that the Math about the economy is all bad. It doesn't even need an Einstein (due apologies to Newton) to tell us that. Instead of focusing on distant dreams, minister would do well to focus on reality."
At a meeting of the Board of Trade, Goyal said, "Do not get into the calculations that you see on television...Oh if you are looking at $5 trillion economy, the country will have to grow at 12 per cent, today it is growing at 6-7 per cent."
"Do not get into those maths. Those maths have never helped Einstein discover gravity. If he had only gone by structured formulae and what was past knowledge, I do not think there would have been any innovation in this world," he said while wrongly attributing the discover of gravity to renowned scientist Einstein.
The slip up was not lost on the netizens who quickly took to Twitter to point out that gravity was discovered by Isaac Newton and Einstein is credited for his theory of relativity. 

Some even made fun of the minister's statement. -- PTI  
21:21   Rajiv case: HC rejects Nalini's plea for further extension of leave
The Madras high court on Thursday rejected a plea by Nalini Sriharan, a lifer in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking a second extension of her ongoing ordinary leave for making arrangements for her daughter's wedding.
A bench comprising justices M M Sundresh and R M T Teekaa Raman orally observed it had already granted Nalini one month ordinary leave and later extended it by three weeks.
It said it could not go on granting such relief to her. Following this, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that he would like to withdraw the petition.
Recording it, the court dismissed the petition as withdrawn.
Allowing Nalini's earlier petitions, the court had granted a month's leave to her from July 25 and later extended it by three weeks from August 25. Nalini's leave will end on September 15.
In her latest petition, Nalini had sought extension of the leave period by a month from September 15, saying her mother-in-law, a Sri Lankan national, was to arrive here in the first week of this month but could not get a visa. She is now expected to come in the third week of September.
Nalini also said her mother-in-law's presence was required for finalising her daughter's marriage.
She approached the court as the Tamil Nadu Home Secretary and the DIG of Prisons, Vellore, were yet to decide on her representation seeking extension of leave.
Lodged in prison for over 27 years, Nalini had originally sought a six months leave to make arrangements for the wedding of her daughter residing in London.
Besides her, six others are serving life imprisonment in the case related to the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near here on May 21, 1991. -- PTI 
21:08   Govt corrects 52 errors in J-K Reorganisation Act
Missing 'i', additional 't' and the year 1909 becoming 1951 -- the central government made over 50 glaring errors in the legislation to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir, which the opposition alleged was brought in "hastily" last month.
The government came out with a fix on Thursday -- a three-page corrigenda announcing the corrections in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, passed by Parliament on August 7. 
A gazette notification on the Act was issued on August 9 after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his stamp of approval.
In the Act, "Administrator" became "Adminstrator'', "article" became "artcle'', "territories'' became "Tterritories'', "Shariat" became "Shariet'' and "Safai Karamcharis" became "Safaikaramcharis".
These were some examples of the 52 mistakes the government had committed while notifying the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.
The Act even mentioned that there will be delimitation of the parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir. The corrigenda said that the sentence has been omitted now.
It mentioned "State of Jammu and Kashmir" instead of "Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir", "Institutions Act, 2004" became "Institutes Act, 2005" and  "1909" became "1951".
While "Scheduled Castes" became "Scheduled Caste'', "figures'' became "figure'',  "publish" became "published" and "entry 2" became "entry 4".
"With this corrigenda, the government has corrected the anomalies in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act," a home ministry official said.
Under the Act, the central government has divided Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which will come into existence on October 31.
Some opposition parties alleged that the law was brought in hastily and criticised the government for its move. -- PTI 
20:25   Govt has special strategy for PoK: Gen V K Singh
Union minister General V K Singh (retd) said in Gwalior on Thursday that the Union government has a "special strategy" for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

However, such things are not discussed in public, Gen Singh told reporters.
He was replying to a question about Army Chief Bipin Rawat's statement that the forces were always ready for action in the PoK but the decision is for the government to take.
"Such things are not spoken about in public. There is a special strategy (`ran-niti') for this. It will be acted upon (`us par karya hoga')," Singh, a former Army chief, said. -- PTI
19:52   JK Guv launches market intervention scheme for apple growers
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday launched a market intervention scheme with an aim to provide optimum price to apple growers. 
The scheme has been approved by the department of agriculture and cooperation, ministry of agriculture, under the aegis of ministry of home affairs for the current apple harvesting season, an official spokesman said.
It will be implemented by the directorate of planning and marketing, supported by the directorate of horticulture (Kashmir) and Jammu and Kashmir horticultural produce, marketing and processing corporation ltd, he said. 
With a turnover of Rs 8,000 crore per year and close to seven lakh families directly and indirectly associated with it, the horticulture sector needs focused attention on providing every possible support to the growers, right from their orchards to the market, Malik said.
With the launch of the scheme, many issues relating to grading of apples, procurement, storage and marketing will be taken care of by the government, he noted. 
He said the apple produce will be procured and marketed by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd, and apple growers will get more remuneration for various grades of apple.
He also expressed hope that the scheme will help the growers to save their crop from distress sale.
He stressed on the need for farming community to become aware of their rights and strengthen themselves so as not to get exploited by market forces, causing farmers to suffer losses.
Malik expressed gratitude to Union home minister Amit Shah for launching the initiative to help apple growers and sought stakeholders' cooperation in making the scheme a success.
Farooq Khan, advisor to governor, described the launch of the scheme as a momentous occasion for apple growers which will assure them of minimum support price. -- PTI 
19:46   Traffic fines hiked to save lives, ignore those who grumble: V K Singh
The fines for traffic offences were hiked to save lives, and those who find them too high should be ignored, Union minister of state for road transport V K Singh said in Gwalior on Thursday. 
Many states in the country, including those ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, have refused to enforce the amended Motor Vehicles Act, or have decided to water down its penalty provisions.
"Human life is precious. So the government has hiked the penalties for traffic offences. It will bring respect for traffic rules and save lives," the former Army chief said.
"Let the people who consider the fines dearer than people's lives comment," he said, speaking to reporters.
The BJP-ruled Gujarat announced reduction between 25 to 90 per cent in the fines prescribed under the amended MV Act two days ago.
The Uttarakhand cabinet on Wednesday approved a reduction in fines.
Singh had come to Gwalior to meet cabinet colleague Narendra Singh Tomar who lost his mother recently. -- PTI 
19:39   Kotla stadium renamed as Arun Jaitley stadium
The Delhi and District Cricket Association on Thursday renamed the Feroz Shah Kotla as Arun Jaitley stadium in memory of the late politician-cum-sports-administrator.
In a glittering function, home minister Amit Shah digitally inaugurated the renamed Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium in presence of late finance minister's family.
The DDCA also unveiled a new pavilion stand at the Feroz Shah Kotla after skipper Virat Kohli, who recently became the most successful India captain in Test cricket, surpassing MS Dhoni.
A short video and an animation film on Kohli's journey from being an U-19 player to India captain was also shown.
"When I decided to name a stand in honour of Virat Kohli, I told this first to Arun Jaitleyji. He told me this is a good decision because there is no better player than Virat in world cricket," said DDCA president Rajat Sharma.
Interestingly, the unveiling ceremony was held at the Weightlifting Hall of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Besides the family members of Jaitley, the gala evening was also attended by sport minister Kiren Rijiju, former sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, ex-skipper Kapil Dev and former India opener Chetan Chauhan, among others.
"For Arun ji, cricket was his passion and life. He remained DDCA chief for 13 years and he played a great role in making the likes of Virat, Pant, Dhawan, Nehra, Sehwag as great players. All these players love him very much," Sharma said.
India's 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil said: "Wonderful to have a stand in name of Virat. And whatever DDCA does for Arun Jaitley is not enough given his contribution." 
Cricketer-turned-politician Chetan Chauhan also paid rich tribute to Jaitley.
"Arun Jaitleyji was president for 14 years and I was vice president. He was our friend, guide. Whenever we needed direction, we would help us. The biggest help he did was to rebuilt the Kotla stadium. So befitting to name it in his honour," Chauhan said. -- PTI  
18:41   Chidambaram to spend 74th birthday in jail
Former finance minister P Chidambaram will spend his 74th birthday in Tihar Jail as the Delhi High Court on Thursday directed CBI to file its status report on his bail plea in the INX Media corruption case within a week.
Chidambaram, who is in judicial custody till September 19 in the case, will turn 74 on September 16 and the high court has fixed September 23 for further hearing his bail plea.

Chidambaram will be produced before the trial court in the case on September 19.

Chidambaram, who was the Union home minister and the finance minister during the UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 from his Jor Bagh residence.

The CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as the finance minister.
Thereafter, the ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard in 2017.

-- PTI
18:28   SC clarification on Madras HC CJ transfer
The transfer of Chief Justice Vijaya K Tahilramani from Madras High Court to Meghalaya High Court has created a flutter with many questioning the apex court's move. 

Tahilramani hails from Latur in Marathwada region.

Chief Justice Tahilramani last week tendered her resignation to the Chief Justice of India after the collegium refused to reconsider its decision.

Her resignation is yet to be accepted or rejected.

In light of these issues, the apex court issued a statement, which can be read HERE
18:05   BJP's Chinmayanand's quizzing delayed
The SIT probing a student's harassment allegations against Swami Chinmayanand on Thursday questioned the principals of two colleges and had also asked the BJP leader earlier this week to appear before it.
Sources said the special investigation team had sent a notice to the former Union minister to appear before it for questioning after 6 pm on September 9, but this could not take place.

Chinmayanand had requested the SIT to postpone the questioning till after September 10, sources said.

However, the lawyer of the leader told a news channel on Thursday that Chinmayanand was ready for questioning anytime and the postponement was by the SIT itself.

No new date for this has been fixed yet.

The two principals questioned on Thursday head colleges where the woman has studied.

The postgraduate student has alleged that she was raped and "physically exploited" for a year by the BJP leader, whose organisation runs several colleges.
In a letter on the SIT on Wednesday, the woman alleged that some vital evidence was removed from her hostel room by Chinmayanand's supporters before it was sealed by the police.  

Her father alleged that they removed from the room a pair of spectacles with a camera fitted in them, suggesting that this contained evidence against the BJP leader.

The woman also alleged that they planted some things there to tarnish her image.

-- PTI
17:56   Dr Singh's steps for government to tackle slowdown
Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in an interview to the Hindu BusinessLine newspaper, dissects the economic slowdown, and suggests what the Narendra Modi government needs to do to salvage the situation.   
Dr Singh says: "I believe that we are entering a different kind of crisis now, a prolonged economic slowdown that is both structural and cyclical. The first step in a crisis is to acknowledge that we are facing one. The government needs to address the issue in a transparent manner, listen to experts and all stakeholders with an open mind, and project serious intent to handle the crisis. The government must instil confidence in the people and send a message to the world. Unfortunately, I do not yet see such a focussed approach from the Modi government."   

Not that the government is seeking any counsel, but those who are interested in what the man who gave India its highest GDP growth has to say, can read it here.
17:46   'Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train fare to be around Rs 3,000'
The fare for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train would be around Rs 3,000, an official of the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd  said on Thursday.

Of the total 1,380 hectares of land required for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor, commonly known as the bullet train project, so far 622 hectares of land, which comes to around 45 per cent, has been acquired, the official said.

"Our land requirement for this entire project is 1,380 hectares, which includes private, government, forest and railway land (in Gujarat and Maharashtra). So far, we have acquired 622 hectares (45 per cent). We are moving ahead keeping in mind the deadline of December 2023," Achal Khare, Managing Director of the NHSRCL, which is executing the project, told reporters.

"Upon completion, the bullet train will make 70 trips, 35 on each side between 6 am till 12 am. The ticket fare would be around Rs 3,000," he said.
-- PTI
17:36   The Gates Foundation shouldnt give an award to Narendra Modi
"On Monday, an Indian minister announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is planning to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi an award this month for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), a sanitation and toilet access initiative across India.

"While public health is undoubtedly a priority in India and around the world, such an honor would come as his Hindu nationalist party has incited violence against minorities, silenced dissent and curtailedfreedom of expression. In light of Modi's record, including promoting repressive policies in the past month in Kashmir and the northeastern state of Assam, he should not be given the award."

Image: PM Modi washes the feet of sanitation workers during the Kumbh Mela earlier this year. 
17:28   HC restrains Quantum Securities from making defamatory statements against NDTV
The Bombay High Court has restrained Quantum Securities and its directors from making any defamatory statements against NDTV Ltd, according to a regulatory filing. In 2013, NDTV filed a defamation suit against Quantum Securities and its directors -- Sanjay Dutt, Om Prakash Arora, Neeraj Dewan and Sandeep Dutt. 

The case was based on a smear campaign, wherein unjustified and defamatory statements were made against NDTV and its founders, according to NDTV's filing to the stock exchanges on Thursday. 

On September 5, the high court has recorded a "solemn statement by the defendants as to the credibility of NDTV in the electronic news media, and that the defendants shall not continue to make or publish any defamatory statements against NDTV, including in social media," the filing said. 

"The defendants maintain the right to pursue statutory remedies, which shall be determined on merits in accordance with law, and/ or to direct any grievances to the directors of NDTV," it added. As per the filing, injunction orders were granted by the high court in favour of NDTV, its senior officials and founders during August 2013. Shares of NDTV rose nearly 1 per cent to close at Rs 32.20 on the BSE. -- PTI
17:24   BJP offers 106 seats to Sena in Maha: Reports
The BJP has offered 106 seats to its main alliance partner Shiv Sena for next month's Maharashtra Assembly polls, but the latter is not likely to accept less than 120 seats, a source said on Thursday. 

The seat-sharing talks between the two parties are likely to conclude in a day or two, a BJP source said here. The Assembly has a total of 288 seats. Last time the two parties had fought the elections separately. 

"We have offered the Sena 106 seats. But the Sena may agree to 120 (and not less)," the source said. 

The Jan Surajya Shakti Party, another ally, has agreed to contest four seats, he said. The party, which has a presence in western Maharashtra had demanded nine seats to start with, but its leader Vinay Kore agreed to four seats during the talks on Wednesday, the source said. 

Discussions are still on with the remaining allies, namely, Republican Party of India led by Union minister Ramdas Athawale, ShivSangram and Rashtriya Samaj Party, sources said. The three parties had rejected the BJP's proposal that their candidates contest with the BJP symbol.  -- PTI
17:20   Will keep trying to get access to Jadhav: MEA
Hours after Pakistan said that it would not give second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, India on Thursday said that it will keep trying that the judgement of International Court of Justice, which was in India's favour, is fully implemented.

"The judgement of ICJ was in our favour... We will keep trying that judgement of ICJ is fully implemented. We would like to remain in touch with the Pakistani side through diplomatic channels," said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

"These things are being discussed through diplomatic channels and that is where I would like to leave it at this point of time," he added.

Earlier today, Islamabad said that there would be no second consular access to Jadhav, the retired Indian Navy officer who has been sentenced to death by a military court on the basis of extracted confession of "espionage and terrorism" following a closed trial in April 2017. -- ANI
17:11   Markets snap winning run
Benchmark indices surrendered early gains to close in the negative zone on Thursday as investors preferred to cash in on recent gains ahead of key macroeconomic data releases. 

After swinging 386 points intra-day, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 166.54 points, or 0.45 per cent, lower at 37,104.28. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell 52.90 points, or 0.48 per cent, to close at 10,982.80. 

Domestic investors turned cautious ahead of factory output and inflation data, traders said. On the global front, markets rose on hopes of a resolution to the US-China trade conflict after President Donald Trump delayed by 15 days additional tariffs on some Chinese imports. 

Yes Bank, which was the top gainer in the Sensex pack on Wednesday, was the biggest loser in Thursday's session, tumbling 5.10 per cent. Other laggards included Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel, RIL, NTPC, Bajaj Auto, Asian Paints, ITC, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Finance and TCS, falling up to 4.76 per cent. On the other hand, ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, IndusInd Bank, HDFC twins, SBI, Tech Mahindra and ONGC rose up to 2.13 per cent. -- PTI

Image: Yes Bank, which was the top gainer in the Sensex pack on Wednesday, was the biggest loser in Thursday's session.
16:57   Goyal: Quoted out of context
Union Minister Piyush Goyal's clarification on his recent comments: "The comment that I made had a certain context. Unfortunately some friends have sought to remove the context, pickup one line and create a very mischievous narrative."

Read the context alongside.
16:47   India squad against S Africa
India's squad for 3 Tests against South Africa announced: Virat Kohli (Capt), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk),Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill.
16:35   Einstein discovered gravity, says Piyush Goyal
After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's insistence that millennials are the reason behind the crisis in the auto sector, her colleague Piyush Goyal made an embarrassing gaffe while defending the government's $5 trillion-economy dream.

At a meeting for the Board of Trade, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, while addressing a question on how India is supposed to become a $5-trillion economy at the current rate, defended the percentage the economy is supposed to grow at.

The commerce minister went into a rant against the GDP calculations made by experts and said, "Don't get into the calculations that you see on television...don't get into those maths. Maths have never helped Einstein discover gravity."

For now, Albert Einstein is leading over Isaac Newton on Twitter. 
16:04   Picture abhi baaki hai: PM on govt projects
Launching a slew of development projects and schemes on Thursday in election-bound Jharkhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said government will take more substantial steps in the coming days saying "picture abhi baaki hai" (more is to come).

"My government has launched a slew of development projects in the first 100 days. However, a lot still needs to be done. Picture abhi baaki hai," he said addressing a public meeting.

At the function, he launched the 'Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyaparik Mandhan Yojana' and 'Swarojgar' pension schemes, inaugurated the new building of the Jharkhand Assembly and a multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj in the afternoon today.

"All round development is not only our priority but also our commitment. Development is our promise and intention too. The country has never seen such rapid pace of development that it is witnessing now," he further stated.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Centre will soon inaugurate a major project for the uplift of tribal children and added that several Eklavya model residential schools will be set up across the country.

It should be noted that these schools will provide upper primary, secondary, and senior secondary level education to Scheduled Tribe students in tribal-dominated areas.

"Today for the development and education of tribal children and youth, we are starting a very big project. We are setting up 462 Eklavya model residential schools across the country," he said.

-- ANI

Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi joins women in segregating plastic from waste at a 'Swachhta Hi Seva' programme in Mathura yesterday.

15:51   Pak apprehensive poor rating could up chances of black listing by FATF
Despite a spirited performance at the Asia Pacific Joint Group meeting, Pakistan is expecting a poor rating and is increasing its diplomatic outreach to other FATF members, a Pakistani official who was part of the negotiations said on condition of strict anonymity.Informed sources do not feel confident that the Financial Action Task Force's Reviewer Group, the APJG which met in Bangkok this week, is convinced even moderately, given that the APG (Asia Pacific Group) MER (Mutual Evaluation Report) from August 18-23, 2019 in Canberra had placed Pakistan on its Enhanced Follow Up.

A sceptical official who did not wish to be named said "Despite having done so much of hard work including answering 127 questions of APJG and giving clear written replies based on statistics, two Indian members of the 16-member multi-nation Group posed twisted and complex questions on every one of 27 items. The Group needs to realise that these are legacy issues and the new PTI Government is committed to removing terrorism from every nook and corner of Pakistan.

"The Minister of Economic Affairs led the delegation from the front and effectively briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on all aspects, but is reported to have expressed his worry that this Group's report will be on similar lines to the APG MER.

Pakistan is now planning to enhance its outreach to all members of FATF to prevent a black listing in October, which now appears to be a high possibility.

Imran Khan is slated to meet at least 20 global leaders on the sidelines at UNGA later this month.FATF had placed Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018, giving it a 15-month Action Plan to complete implementation of a 27 point Action Plan, failing which Pakistan could be placed in the black list. 
-- ANI
15:41   Army ready for action in PoK: Rawat
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said forces are always ready for action in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

"The Army is always ready (Sena to hamesha taiyar rehti hai)," General Rawat told ANI when asked if his force is ready for action in POK.

However, the Army Chief made it clear that a decision in this regard has to be taken by the government. "This has to be done by the government. The other institutions will act as the government directs them in this regard," he said.

On being asked about Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi mentioning Jammu Kashmir as Indian state, General Rawat said, "We are very happy as you are, after listening to this. This is the truth. This is the reality."

Commenting on the situation in Jammu Kashmir, the Army Chief said, "It is necessary for the people of Jammu Kashmir to understand that what is happening there is for them only. When the government has given certain instructions... Article 370 has been scrapped...all this has been done to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India. We want that residents of Jammu and Kashmir should give a chance to security forces, administration to bring peace in the Valley. They have faced terrorism for 30 years. Now, they should give the peace process a chance. Then they will realise what they got by peace, things that they did not get during all those years," he added. 
-- ANI
15:18   Mamata leads rally in Kolkata to protest NRC in Assam
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday took out a rally in north Kolkata to protest against NRC in Assam. The TMC supremo along with her party colleagues began her march from Sinthee More in the northern fringes of the city around 3 pm. The rally will culminate at Shyambazar five-point crossing, 5 km away. 

The Trinamool Congress leadership, which has been one of the vociferous critics of the NRC, has accused the BJP of trying to divide people through the exercise. The party had on September 7 and 8 taken out rallies in other parts of the state to oppose the exercise to update citizenship register. Over 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam did not find a place in the final National Register of Citizens, which was published on August 31. -- PTI
15:01   PM pledges to end terrorism, check corruption
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asserted that his government has taken several measures in the first 100 days of NDA 2.0 to rein in corruption, bring about development and root out terrorism. Inaugurating a slew of projects in Ranchi, the prime minister also said that Jharkhand is the launching pad of big schemes beneficial for the poor and the tribals.

"We pledge to rein in corruption, fight for the rights of Muslim sisters and root out terrorism. Some corrupt people have already been put in their place (jail)," he said while addressing a public meeting here. Those who thought they are above law are now approaching courts for bail, he said. 

Talking about the two newly formed Union Territories, Modi said, "We aim to bring about development in J&K and Ladakh, the work for which has begun in the first 100 days of NDA 2.0." 

The prime minister also said that he was happy to have got the opportunity to inaugurate multiple development projects in Jharkhand. The new multi-modal cargo terminal, which was inaugurated here, will ease transportation in the region, he stated. 

"Ayushman Bharat, the world's largest health assurance scheme, was launched in Jharkhand. Today, pension schemes for traders and farmers were also launched from this land of Birsa Munda. Jharkhand is the launching pad of big schemes beneficial for the poor and the tribals," he added. 

Earlier in the day, the PM had inaugurated the newly constructed Jharkhand Assembly and laid foundation of the secretariat building. -- PTI
14:49   Mary Kom recommended for Padma Vibhushan
Six-time record World Champion boxer Mary Kom has been recommended for the 'Padma Vibhushan'-- India's second-highest civilian award.

Eight other woman athletes, including shuttler PV Sindhu, have also been nominated for the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri

"Ace shuttler PV Sindhu who recently became the first-ever Indian to win the World Championship in Switzerland is recommended for the Padma Bhushan award," Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports sources told ANI.

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis player Manika Batra, cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, hockey captain Rani Rampal, former shooter Suma Shirur, and mountaineering twin sisters Tashi and Nungshi Malik are the others whose names have been sent for the civilian awards. -- ANI
14:43   Foolish theories about millennial cannot fix economy : Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that India needs a "concrete plan to fix the economy" and not "foolish theories about millennial".

"What India needs isn't propaganda, manipulated news cycles & foolish theories about millennials, but a concrete plan to #FixTheEconomy that we can all get behind. Acknowledging that we have a problem is a good place to start," he tweeted.

His statement came in the backdrop of statement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday when she said that the mindsets of millennial have adversely affected the automobile industry as they prefer to use radio taxi services instead of buying own vehicle.

"The automobile and components industry has been affected by BS6 and the mindsets of millennial, who now prefer to have Ola and Uber rather than committing to buying an automobile," said Sitharaman while addressing reporters.

Her statement kicked up a storm and invited a sharp reaction from several quarters. -- ANI
14:12   Pak won't give consular access to Jadhav again
Pakistan on Thursday said that India would not get second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the retired Indian Navy officer who has been sentenced to death by a military court on the basis of extracted confession of "espionage and terrorism" following a closed trial in April 2017. 

"There would be no second consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav," said Dr Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pakistan had first offered the consular access to Jadhav on August 2 but India had insisted that the consular access should be "effective and unhindered."

On September 2 India's Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Gaurav Ahluwalia met Jadhav in the presence of Pakistani officials. It was a recorded meeting. 

After Pakistan announced in April 2017 that Jadhav has given death sentence by a military court, India moved the ICJ, rejecting Pakistan's allegations about Jadhav's involvement in spying and subversive activities. The ICJ in July had asked Pakistan to comply with the Vienna Conventions and provide consular access to Jadhav and to ensure "effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences". 

India has maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped by from Iranian port of Chabahar, where he was running a business. -- ANI
13:14   Shah Faesal withdraws plea challenging detention from Delhi HC
Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal on Thursday withdrew his habeas corpus plea challenging his detention before the Delhi High Court. A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal allowed Faesal to withdraw his plea after his wife filed an affidavit in this regard.

Faesal's wife told the high court that she recently met him in custody and has received instructions to withdraw the plea. The former IAS officer's habeas corpus petition alleged that he was illegally detained at the Delhi airport on August 14 and taken back to Srinagar, where he has been kept under house arrest. -- PTI
13:11   Pak skips SCO military medicine conference in Delhi
Pakistan on Thursday skipped the two-day SCO military medicine conference organised by India in New Delhi. The conference is being attended by 27 international and 40 Indian delegates. At the conference, the inaugural session of which was addressed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the seat allotted to Pakistan was vacant. This is the first military cooperation event hosted by India after becoming a full-time member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. India and Pakistan became members of SCO in June 2017. -- PTI
13:10   Kashmir integral part of India: Jamiat Ulama
While asserting that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind on Thursday said that any separatist movement is harmful not only for the country but for the people of Kashmir as well.

"Kashmir is an integral part of India and that all Kashmiris are our compatriots. Any separatist movement is harmful not only for the country but for people of Kashmir as well," resolution adopted by the organisation at its General Council meeting in the national capital read.

Stressing that it is not unmindful of the desire of Kashmir people, the resolution read, "We are not unmindful of the desire of Kashmiri people and their self-respect and cultural identity, it is our firm belief that the welfare of Kashmir lies in getting integrated with India."

Accusing "inimical forces" and Pakistan of being bent on destroying Kashmir, Jamiat in its resolution said, "The inimical forces and the neighbouring country are bent upon destroying Kashmir. The oppressed and beleaguered people of Kashmir are stuck between opposing forces. The enemy has made Kashmir a battlefield using Kashmiris as a shield."

The organisation said the situation demands that we launch peaceful initiatives to maintain peace and security in the region especially in view of repercussions of clash of atomic powers.

Appealing for the respect of Human Rights, the organisation called for protecting the life and prosperity of Kashmiri people and use possible constitutional means for bringing back normalcy in the region.The resolution comes in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu Kashmir. -- ANI
13:02   Animal planet
There's only one thing better than photos of animals, and that's funny photos of animals.The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is back and they have announced its finalists. Take a look at the entries and we guarantee that smile will be back on your face. 

Image: Photographer Thomas Mangelsen says it was impossible to know what the disagreement was about, but this king penguin and Antarctic fur seal argued quite vocally for several minutes. The amazing thing is that the fur seal didn't use its considerable size advantage to put a quick end to the fight.
12:28   8 Muzaffarpur Home girls to reunite with families
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed eight out of the 44 girls of Bihar's Muzaffarpur shelter home to be reunited with their families after all necessary clearances. 

A bench headed by justices N V Ramana directed the Bihar government to provide all necessary financial and medical assistance to these eight girls. It also directed the state government to assess the compensation liable to be paid to such victims under the scheme and submit a report to the court. 

The bench also comprising justices M M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi directed the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to prepare a status report with respect to the remaining girls and submit it before the court in eight weeks. 

The apex court's decision comes after TISS filed its field action project 'Koshish' before it in a sealed cover, saying the eight girls were fit to be handed over to their families. 

Several girls were sexually assaulted at the NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and the issue had come to light following a report by TISS, which had conducted a social audit. -- PTI

File pic: Police personnel escort children out of a government-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur after the scandal broke out. 
12:19   INX Media case: HC seeks CBI's response on Chidambaram's bail plea
The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the CBI's response on a plea of former finance minister P Chidambaram, lodged in Tihar Jail in the INX Media corruption case, seeking bail in the matter. Justice Suresh Kait issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation on Chidambaram's bail plea in which he has claimed that it was the case of "political vendetta". 

The 73-year old-Congress leader also withdrew from the high court his plea challenging the trial court's order remanding him to judicial custody till September 19. The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 23. -- PTI
12:16   Ammo-laden truck recovered in Kathua
A truck carrying arms and ammunition has been recovered in Kathua near Jammu. More details are awaited.
12:03   Sonia holds meet to plan Gandhi anniv, Rahul MIA
Update: Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday chaired a meeting of top party leaders from across the country to finalise plans for Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary celebrations. The meeting was attended by former PM Manmohan Singh, AICC general secretaries and in charges of various states, state government chiefs and CLP leaders, among others. 

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was not present in the meeting. 

While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy were present at the meeting, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel did not attend. Kamal Nath is battling infighting in the MP Congress. 

Party general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia was, however, present at the meeting. Sources said the meeting will discuss and deliberate plans to celebrate the completion of 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. Among other leaders present were Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, AK Antony, KC Venugopal, Mallilkarjuna Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi. -- PTI 
11:44   Chidambaram withdraws plea
Delhi HC seeks the CBI's response on former finance minister P Chidambaram's plea seeking bail in the INX Media corruption case. Chidambaram withdraws his plea in the HC challenging the trial court's order remanding him to judicial custody till Septembr 19.
11:39   At UNHRC, Baloch activist calls Pak a 'breeding ground of terrorists'
Pakistan has become a breeding ground of terrorists, alleged a Baloch activist, adding that the country has become a threat to the world and especially its neighbours due to its lawlessness and injustices towards the minorities.

"Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism. Pakistan is not only committing systematic genocide of Baloch people but also involved in the genocide of our Sindhi brothers, Pashtuns. It's also a threat for the world because it is a rogue state, there is no law, no justice," Samad Baloch, the Secretary-General of Baloch Human Rights Council, told ANI.

He added that the aid provided to Pakistan by foreign countries and international organisations to combat terrorism in its soil is instead being used to build madrassas for funding illegal activities and train suicide bombers for carrying out terror activities in the region.

"The establishment sends their own sons and daughters to accomplish higher studies in western countries but brainwash our children to join the madrassas and spread jihad under false propaganda of seeking salvation," the activist said.

When asked regarding Islamabad's claims to have launched a crackdown on terror organisations in a bid to avoid black-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Samad stressed, "Such is not the case. The entire media, politicians and military of Pakistan are lying to the world. The country is already on the deathbed and therefore global money lenders, including IMF and World Bank, are hesitant in providing loans to the cash-strapped nation."

Not only Samad, but many other activists have also called out Islamabad for committing Human Rights violation against the religious minorities.This comes at the time when the Pakistan government has submitted a dossier in UNHRC over Kashmir.
11:32   Cong meeting underway
Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, KC Venugopal and AK Antony at a party meeting underway at the All India Congress Committee Headquarters. Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of all Congress ruled state chief ministers, tomorrow.
11:19   Pak cricket board reassures Lanka of safety
After Sri Lanka Cricket decided to seek the assistance of their government to conduct a reassessment of the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the team's tour, Pakistan Cricket Board reiterated its "commitment to provide complete safety and security to the Lankan side".

"We have seen the SLC statement, but are not privy to any information or intelligence report relating to safety of the SL team. The PCB reiterates its commitment to provide complete safety and security to the SL side and in this relation will continue to work with the SLC," PCB tweeted.

PCB's tweet comes after the SLC issued a statement on Wednesday seeking government assistance to a reassessment of security in Pakistan.

"Sri Lanka Cricket today sought the assistance of the Sri Lankan government to conduct a 'Reassessment' of the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the national team's planned tour to Pakistan," SLC said in a statement.

"The decision was taken following a warning the SLC received from the Prime Minister's Office sent via the Ministry of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports," the statement added.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to tour Pakistan for a three-match ODI series and three-match T20I series, starting from September 27. SLC said that the Prime Minister's Office received information of a possible 'terrorist threat' to the team.

Accordingly, the warning highlights that the Prime Minister's Office has received reliable information of a possible terrorist threat to the Sri Lankan team while touring Pakistan. Hence, SLC has been advised to take extreme care, and 'reassess' the situation, before embarking on the said tour," the statement said.

The first ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan will be played in Karachi on September 27. -- ANI

Image: IMAGE: 10 Sri Lankan cricket players including Lasith Malinga pulled out of the upcoming tour to Pakistan citing security concerns
10:58   Shivakumar's daughter appears before ED
Aishwarya, daughter of Congress leader DK Shivakumar arrives at the office of the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi. She was summoned by the agency to appear before it today. Shivakumar was arrested by ED on September 3 in connection with an alleged money laundering case. Shivakumar was brought to the ED office earlier today. The ED had arrested him on September 3. 
10:45   Modi hails 'Coolie No 1' team for shunning single use plastic
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday lauded the team of Varun Dhawan-starrer "Coolie No 1" for their decision to go plastic-free. Varun had announced the initiative on September 1 and had also urged his other Bollywood counterparts to do the same. 

Replying to Varun's tweet, PM Modi wrote, "Superb gesture by the team of #CoolieNo1! Happy to see the film world contributing towards freeing India from single use plastic." In his Independence Day speech, the prime minister had appealed to the nation to eliminate single-use plastic and find alternatives to plastic water bottles on a priority basis. 

"Coolie No 1" is a remake of David Dhawan's 1995 hit comedy, featuring Govinda and Karishma Kapoor. The director is also helming the remake which stars Varun and Sara Ali Khan in the lead. The movie is produced by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani and Deepshikha Deshmukh. -- PTI
10:31   Rupee rises 36 paise to 71.30 against USD in early trade
The Indian rupee appreciated by 36 paise to 71.30 against the US dollar in early trade on Thursday as gains in domestic equity market and fresh foreign fund inflows strengthened investor sentiments. Forex traders said Trump delaying the increase in Chinese tariff by 15 days enthused investors. US President Donald Trump has announced the delay of his proposed massive increase in Chinese import tariffs by 15 days. -- PTI
10:20   Babita Phogat quits police, may contest polls
Wrestler and BJP member Babita Phogat's resignation from her post in the Haryana police has been accepted by the state police. She resigned from the service on 13th August this year.  "I had joined the party (BJP). You can only join the party after submitting a resignation else it would have been conflict of interest. I had submitted my resignation in August," she said explaining her move.

Speculations are rife that Babita Phogat will be contesting on a BJP ticket in the upcoming Haryana polls. She is expected to stand from either the Barda or the Charkhi Dadri seat. Babita Phogat and her father Mahavir had joined the BJP on August 12 in the presence of Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
10:09   Sensex rises ahead of key macro data releases
Domestic equity benchmark BSE Sensex advanced 150 points in early session on Thursday, driven by by gains in banking, metal and energy stocks, ahead of key macroeconomic data releases. 

After touching a high of 37,421.13, the 30-share index was trading 129.68 points, or 0.35 per cent, higher at 37,400.50 at 0940 hours, while the broader Nifty rose 34.65 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 11,070.35. In the previous session, the BSE barometer ended 125.37 points, or 0.34 per cent, higher at 37,270.82. 

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 32.65 points, or 0.30 per cent, to finish at 11,035.70. Top gainers in the Sensex pack on Wednesday included Tata Steel, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, ONGC, Vedanta, Sun Pharma, HDFC, SBI, M&M, Maruti and HCL Tech, rising up to 2.43 per cent. On the other hand, Yes Bank, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Auto, Infosys and Axis Bank fell up to 2.72 per cent. 

On Wednesday, foreign portfolio investors bought shares worth a net of Rs 266.89 crore, and domestic institutional investors purchased equities worth Rs 1,132.42 crore, provisional data showed. Besides positive cues from global markets, domestic investors are waiting factory output and inflation data, scheduled to be released later in the day, traders said. -- PTI
10:02   Indian, Chinese soldiers face-off at Ladakh
Ahead of a massive military exercise planned along the China border by India, soldiers of Indian and Chinese Army were engaged in a face-off near the northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh but disengaged after talks between the two sides there.

Both the sides stake claim over the more than 130 km which extends between both India and Chinese controlled Tibet area.

'There was a face-off between the two armies but it got over after the delegation-level talks between two sides,' Indian Army said in a statement.

'The face-off is over now and it had de-escalated and disengaged fully after delegation-level talks yesterday,' Indian Army said.

The force also stated that such incidents happen due to differing perceptions of the LAC and there are established mechanisms to resolve such differences.

Incidentally, the confrontation took place in the same area where Indian and Chinese troops had engaged in a bitter scuffle during the Doklam standoff.

This comes days after the Indian Army denied reports of incursion by the Chinese into Arunachal Pradesh.

India is fast building infrastructure along the borders with China which had modernised its side of the disputed Line of Actual Control a long time ago.

Indian Army is going to organise the war-games code-named HimVijay in Arunachal Pradesh starting October in which the Air Force and the Army will jointly exercise real war scenario inside Indian territory simulating it to be a battle on the eastern front. -- ANI
09:39   Bolton made some very big mistakes: Trump
United States President Donald Trump has defended his decision to fire John Bolton as national security adviser, saying the latter had done some 'big mistakes' and his actions were not in line with the administration.

"When he (Bolton) talked about the Libyan model for Kim Jong-un, that was not a good statement to make," Trump said.

"You just take a look at what happened with Gaddafi, that was not a good statement to make and it set us back."

"John is somebody that I actually got along with very well. He made some very big mistakes," the president told reporters at the White House, a day after he abruptly fired Bolton.

Trump said he disagreed with Bolton on his attitudes on Venezuela.

"I thought he was way out of line, and I think I've proven to be right. But we are always watching Venezuela very, very closely."

Bolton, he added, wanted to do things not necessarily tougher than him.

"You know, John is known as a tough guy. He's so tough he got us sent to Iraq that's tough," Trump said.

"But he's somebody that I actually had a very good relationship with, but he wasn't getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important."

According to the President, Bolton was not in line with what the administration was doing and thought it was too tough.

"I hope we have left in good stead, but maybe we haven't," Trump said.

"I have to run the country the way we are running the country. We are doing very well, we're respected all over the world again."  --  PTI
09:18   Good roads cause accidents: Karnataka deputy CM
Amid calls that the government should first improve road infrastructure before imposing hefty fines for traffic violations, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol on Wednesday said good roads were responsible for accidents.

Karjol, who also holds the public works portfolio, was responding to reporters in Chitradurga on why the penalties should be exorbitant when the 'pathetic' infrastructure was causing accidents.

Good roads and not the bad roads are responsible for accidents. If you see our highways, vehicles move at a speed of 100 kmph or 120 kmph, the deputy chief minister said.

Karjol said he too was not in favour of exorbitant penalty and the state cabinet will take a decision on reducing the fine amount.

His comments drew criticism on the social media with several questioning his logic.

Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa 'hailed' Karjol's comment on his Facebook page.

A debate is on over the steep fines prescribed in the amended Motor Vehicle Act for traffic rule violations with a section of people slamming the move and demanding that the government should first provide good road infrastructure.   -- PTI
08:54   Sonia to chair crucial meet of the Congress today
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will chair a meeting of senior party leaders in New Delhi on Thursday.

Congress general secretaries, in-charges of the states, Congress Legislative Party leaders and Pradesh Congress Committee presidents of all the states have been called for meeting at the party headquarters in the national capital.

It will be a first meeting which will be chaired by Sonia Gandhi after she took over as interim president of Congress.

Top sources of the Congress told ANI that the meeting has been called to discuss and finalise the preparations of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Membership and Training Programme is also an agenda of this crucial meeting.

The Congress is focusing on a membership drive and to make it successful each state unit has been given targets.

A training programme will also be discussed in which the party has decided to appoint 'preraks' or 'motivators' at the district level across the country to scale-up its mass contact programme.

Congress state units have been asked to identify leaders from the party who will be given training for several days.

These preraks will work on the party agenda and look after party work similarly like pracharaks in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

This is a first of its kind of appointment within the Congress cadre.

The party now wants to emphasise on the training program of the party cadre to counter government agenda and also to take on the policy of the party to the grass-root level following a series of electoral setbacks.

According to the source, the grand-old-party is likely to discuss economic slowdown in the country in the presence of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra along with almost 90 top leaders of the party.

The party will discuss a strategy to target the government over the economy and employment situation.

Congress General Secretary Organisation has called a meeting of All India Congress Committee secretaries on Friday evening to discuss it. -- ANI
08:27   US lawmakers write to Pompeo over Kashmir
Two United States lawmakers have expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir, and urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press India to immediately end the communication blockade and release those who have been detained.

In a letter to Pompeo dated September 11, Pramila Jayapal, the first and the only Indian-American Congresswoman in the House of Representatives, and Congressman James P McGovern said the international media and independent human rights observers must immediately be allowed into Jammu and Kashmir to investigate reports of abuse.

'We urge you to work across the Administration to press the Indian government to immediately end its communications blackout of Kashmir, expedite the process of reviewing and releasing individuals 'preventatively' detained, ensure hospitals have access to life-saving medicines and protect the rights of the Kashmiri people to freedom of assembly and worship,' reads the letter.

The two lawmakers told Pompeo that they have significant concerns about the humanitarian and human rights 'crisis' in Kashmir.

'In particular, we are concerned about credible reports from journalists and advocates on the ground that the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews and cut off internet and telephone access on the region,' they said.

'We also urged the Indian Government at its highest levels to make it clear that religious tolerance -- long a principle of Indian history and democracy '" must be upheld,' the two lawmakers wrote in the letter.

Tagging the letter in a tweet, Jayapal said: 'I continue to be deeply concerned about credible reports of a humanitarian crisis in Jammu & Kashmir. Even in complex situations, we look to strong democratic allies like India to uphold basic human rights and due process.'  -- PTI
00:04   Bahamas lists 2,500 missing after hurricane
Bahamas emergency services have listed 2,500 people as missing after Hurricane Dorian struck the islands last week.

This official count suggests the death toll will be much higher than the current 50, though the number of missing has yet to be checked against those in shelters and should fall.

Tens of thousands of people remain in need of aid.

Dorian equalled the highest winds ever recorded for a hurricane at landfall when it struck the Abaco Islands.

Large areas were devastated on the Abacos and on Grand Bahama.

The list was announced by Carl Smith, a spokesman for the country's National Emergency Management Agency, but he expressed caution as a database was still being processed and some of the people already evacuated had yet to register their names.

"At this point there are approximately 2,500 on the Bahamian government register," Smith said at a press conference.

"This list has not yet been checked against government records of who is staying in shelters or who have been evacuated," he said.

The number is likely to fall as the cross-checking is carried out.

However, Bahamas officials earlier conceded the final death toll could be "staggering".