Thu, 06 August 2020
Pilot has more support than he thinks: MLA

Timeline  Refresh

23:45   Woman held for objectionable tweet targeting Maharashtra CM, Aaditya
Mumbai's Esplanade Court on Thursday granted bail to a woman, who was arrested for allegedly posting an objectionable tweet targeting Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and minister Aaditya Thackeray.

She was arrested on Wednesday after an FIR was registered by Mumbai Police Cyber Cell based on the complaint of an advocate Dharam Mishra. 

"I have given a complaint against a member of BJP IT cell. She did insulting tweet against Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray. Her tweet is creating enmity and hatred between two religions," Mishra said. 

-- ANI
23:23   Pilot has more support than he thinks: MLA
A Congress MLA staying at the resort where those in the Ashok Gehlot camp are holed up on Thursday claimed that dissident leader Sachin Pilot has more 'well-wishers' than he thinks.
While insisting that he was till loyal to Gehlot, Prashant Bairwa made the startling claim that the rebel leader could have enjoyed the support of '40 to 45' MLAs and not the 18 he has now.

Bairwa, once considered loyal to Pilot, told this to a news channel when he came out of Jaisalmer's Suryagarh hotel for a health check-up. The Congress MLAs are lodged there ahead of the assembly session commenting on August 14.
The Congress has accused the BJP of the bid to topple its government in the state after Pilot and 18 MLAs loyal to him revolted against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Commenting on it, the Congress MLA said those backing Pilot will be the first to desert him.
"Pilot had a big team; he had no idea," the MLA said. 
"It would have been better had he taken advice from people like us and then, I believe, the number there could have been 40 or 45, not 19. But he did not take advice from us. I think somebody else was playing the game," he added.  

"He has his well-wishers here also but it does not mean that we will not vote for the Congress. We will 100 per cent vote for the Congress," said the MLA indicating at the floor test.  
Bairwa also said the BJP is involved in the episode.
-- PTI
22:57   Former J&K Lt Guv GC Murmu appointed new CAG
Girish Chandra Murmu, the former Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, has been appointed the new Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Murmu will be replacing Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, as the CAG. Mehrishi will be turning 65 on August 8.

Earlier, Manoj Sinha, Union Minister in the first Narendra Modi cabinet replaced Murmu as the L-G of J&K.

Murmu, a 1985 batch IAS officer, had abruptly submitted his resignation on Wednesday night on the day the Union Territory marked the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution thereby scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

The 60-year-old former IAS officer of Gujarat cadre had on October 29 last year taken over as the first LG of the union territory after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was downgraded and split into two UTs.
22:22   Cong claims majority before Raj assembly session
The Congress on Thursday claimed to have the numbers and majority in Rajasthan and said it is eagerly waiting for the state Assembly session on August 14.
Senior spokesperson of the party Ajay Maken said it was "status quo" as far as the rebel Congress MLAs in Rajasthan are concerned.

He said the Congress is "upbeat" about proving its majority as the opposition has not had the courage to bring forth a "no-confidence motion" against the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state.

"The numbers are with us. The majority is with us and the biggest thing is that the truth is also with us. We wanted to convene a session of the state Assembly and even the opposition has not got the courage to bring a no-confidence motion against us, as everyone knows that the majority is with us," Maken told reporters, when asked about the party's position in Rajasthan.

Maken is one of the two central observers sent by the Congress high-command to oversee the political developments in Rajasthan, where party leader and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, along with 18 other MLAs, has revolted against the government.

Asked whether any of the rebels had got in touch with the party, Maken said it was "status quo".

He said Gehlot has said if the party leadership accepts the rebels, he will also do the same with an open heart and embrace them.

"We are together with all the MLAs and are eagerly waiting for the Assembly session on August 14, where all of us wish to go," Maken said.

All the Congress MLAs supporting Gehlot, who were earlier lodged in a luxury hotel in Jaipur, have now been shifted to Jaisalmer, till the Assembly session is convened.

To another question on the change of the Jammu and Kashmir governor so soon, the Congress leader said it is not a sign of a "healthy administration".

He said people occupying key sensitive positions should not be changed so soon.

-- PTI
22:08   1 person arrested in 12-year-old's sexual assault case
The Delhi Police on Thursday arrested one person in connection with the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Paschim Vihar area here, officials said. 
The accused was identified on the basis of CCTV footage and he has previous criminal records, they said.
However, the identity of the accused was yet to be revealed. 

On Tuesday, the minor girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by an unidentified man when she was alone at her home in west Delhi. 

The girl, who was also attacked by the man with a sharp object and has injury marks on her body, is currently undergoing treatment at the AIIMS.

-- PTI
21:48   Rs 10 lakh fine for Patanjali on Coronil claims
The Madras High Court has slapped Rs 10 lakh fine on Patanjali Ayurved limited and Divya Yog Mandir Trust.

Justice CV Kartikeyan passed an order today, making an "absolute stay" against trademarking 'Coronil' and imposed fine of Rs 10 lakh as the defendants in the case which are Pathanjali Ayurved Limited and Divya Yog Mandir Trust were "chasing further profits by exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for coronavirus when actually their Coronil tablet is not a cure but rather an immunity booster for cold, cough and fever.
21:25   Michelle Obama she has 'ow-grade depression'
Former US first lady Michelle Obama says she has been suffering from 'low-grade depression' due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rising racial injustice and the "hypocrisy" of the Trump administration.
Amid all the challenges facing the country, Obama said she is managing the "emotional highs and lows" by trying to maintain a routine, trying to not be hard on herself, getting outdoors and spending time with her family, NBC News reported.

"I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression," she said in the latest episode of her podcast released on Wednesday.

"Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting," the channel quoted her as saying.

In the episode, Obama, 56, spoke with the Washington Post opinion columnist and friend Michele Norris about the rise in protests over racial injustice since the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Obama added that the stories of Black people being wrongfully arrested, killed or "dehumanised" have been weighing on her.

"I'd be remiss to say part of this depression is also a result of, what we're seeing in terms of the protests, the continued racial unrest, that has plagued this country since its birth," she said.

-- PTI
21:09   Sri Lanka polls: Early results show Rajapaksa clan heading for landslide win
Sri Lanka's powerful Rajapaksa family-run Sri Lanka People's Party appeared to be heading for a landslide win in the country's twice-postponed parliamentary election, according to early results announced on Thursday.

The SLPP has polled more votes than its rivals, scoring over 60 per cent of the total votes in the 16 seats declared so far from the South, dominated by the Sinhala majority community. The party won 13 seats out of 16.

In Galle destrict, the SLPP won seven out of nine seats on offer while in the neighbouring Matara district they did even better by winning six out of seven seats on offer.

The nearest rival is the new party formed by former presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa who has relegated his mother party, the United National Party, of former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to the fourth place even below the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

The SJB has won only three seats from both districts. 

In the polling division results from other districts where counting is in progress, the SLPP has taken unassailable leads, sources said.

In the Tamil minority dominated north, the main Tamil party - Tamil National Alliance - despite bagging a few polling divisions had also suffered unexpected reversals at the hands of SLPP's Tamil allies - the Eelam People's Democratic Party. 

The counting began in the morning after the polls were closed on Wednesday.

As the counting of votes began, SLPP founder and its National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa -- who is the younger brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with the eldest being Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa -- said that the party is all set to form a new government.
Mahinda's SLPP is expected to win control of the 225-member assembly by a comfortable margin, according to analysts.

President Gotabaya hopes for a two-thirds majority for the SLPP so that he can amend the Constitution to restore presidential powers curbed by a 2015 constitutional change.
The president is not a candidate while care-taker prime minister Mahinda is running from the north western capital district of Kurunegala.

-- PTI
20:43   Record 1-day rise of 11,514 COVID cases in Maha
With the highest single-day spike  of 11,514 COVID-19 cases, Maharashtra's tally reached 4,79,779 on Thursday, the state health department said.

As the virus claimed another 316 lives, the state's death toll climbed to 16,792, it said.

A statement from the department said that 10,854 patients recovered and were discharged on Thursday.

With this, the number of recoveries went up to 3,16,375.

There are 1,46,305 active patients in the state at present, it said, adding that as many as 24,87,990 people have been tested so far.

-- PTI
20:08   Sushant case: CBI files FIR against Rhea
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday registered an FIR in Sushant Singh Rajput death case, after a Central notification on Wednesday handed over the case to the agency on the recommendation of the Bihar government, said agency officials.

The agency also said that it was in touch with Bihar police, which had first registered the FIR of abetment to suicide against Sushants former live in partner Rhea Chakraborty on his fathers complaint.

CBI officials said on Thursday that the FIR will soon be uploaded on the agencys website.

Officials added that CBIs Special Investigation Team, which is currently investigating the AgustaWestland scam and bank fraud case against Vijay Mallya, will probe actor Sushant Singh Rajput case.

The development comes amid Maharashtra governments strong opposition to handing over the case to the CBI claiming it was being done for political reasons including the upcoming assembly polls in Bihar. Maharashtra has raised issues of jurisdiction to claim Bihar government or police had no locus standi in the case since Sushants death took place in Mumbai.

However, the case was handed over to the CBI after Sushants father and Bihar police alleged a cover-up by Mumbai police to save influential people. They have accused Mumbai police of destroying evidence and deliberately ignoring leads in the case in an attempt to derail it.

The Mumbai police and Maharashtra government have vehemently denied the allegations.

Mumbai police have been probing the circumstances of Sushants death since his body was found at his Bandra flat on June 14 but has not registered an FIR in the case.

Sushants death has been shrouded in conspiracy theories including him being a victim of an alleged culture of nepotism in Bollywood which shuts out outsiders forcing them to take extreme steps.
20:01   No communication from Pakistan in Kulbhushan Jadhav case: India
India on Thursday rejected claims made by Pakistan government that it has reached out to New Delhi after Islamabad Court order in Kulbhushan Jadhav's case.

"We have not received any communication from the Pakistan government in this regard," said ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, on being asked if Pakistan has reached out to India after Islamabad Court order that Indian officials should be given a chance to give their stance while hearing a petition on appointing a lawyer for Kulbhushan Jadhav. 

New Delhi remarks come after Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui claimed that Pakistan government has "recontacted" Indian government to appoint a legal representative for Jadhav.

Srivastava said that Pakistan needs to address basic issues which pertain to effective review, fulfilment and implementation of the International Court of Justice's judgement.

"Pakistan needs to address basic issues which pertain to effective review, fulfilment and implementation of ICJ judgement, these issues pertain to making relevant documentation available to us and providing unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav," he said.

Islamabad high court on Monday said that the Indian officials should be given an opportunity to give their stance on Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on the death row in Pakistan.

A two-member special bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, hearing the government's plea seeking the appointment of a lawyer for Jadhav, said that the Indian officials should be given an opportunity to give their stance, The Express Tribune reported.

Hearing of the case has been adjourned till September 3.

India had said last month that Pakistan has blocked all avenues for effective remedy available to it in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Pakistan claims that Jadhav was arrested from Balochistan in 2016 on charges of espionage. India has rejected Pakistan's allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar.In early 2017, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death.

In May 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed his execution and in July last year, it upheld India's claim that Pakistan has committed an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations on several counts. 

-- ANI
19:31   Sushant case probe: CBI contacts Bihar Police
The Central Bureau of Investigation has got in touch with Bihar Police as it finalises a first information report in a case related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, officials said on Thursday.

"After getting the notification from the government, CBI is in the process of registration of the case. We are also in touch with Bihar Police. The FIR will be uploaded soon," said an official.

Rajput, aged 34, was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on June 14 and since then Mumbai police has been probing the case keeping in mind various angles.

Bihar Police also swung into action following a complaint by Krishna Kishore Singh, the 77-year-old father of Rajput, and a resident of Patna.

Patna Police had registered an FIR under IPC sections related to alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and abetment to suicide among others on the complaint.

Sources said the agency needed some more information from Bihar Police before proceeding with the registration of the FIR.

The case will be probed by the Special Investigation team under Superintendent of Police Nupur Prasad and will be supervised by DIG Gagandeep Gambhir and Joint Director Manoj Shashidhar, both senior IPS officers from Gujarat cadre, they said.

It has been handed to the CBI on a reference from the Bihar government which has been forwarded to the agency by the central government. A state government cannot give a case to the CBI.

It is routed through Department of Personnel and Training, the nodal ministry for the CBI.

The agency has acted in swiftly on a reference from Bihar government, home state of Rajput, where the deceased actor's family had lodged an FIR against his friend Rhea Chakraborty, they said.

Seeing anguish in Bihar, which goes to assembly polls later this year, over the death of Rajput, the state referred the matter to the CBI even as Mumbai police is probing the main case related to alleged suicide of the actor.

Maharashtra government has raised objection to the move as Bihar does not have jurisdiction to start probe in a different state.

Mumbai police had registered an accidental death report and an investigation is underway in the case.

Till now, the Mumbai police has recorded statements of 56 people, including Rajput's sisters, Chakraborty and some other film personalities like Aditya Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.   -- PTI
19:13   Sinha likely to take oath as J-K Lt Guv tomorrow
Jammu and Kashmir's Lieutenant Governor designate Manoj Sinha arrived in Srinagar on Thursday following his appointment to the Raj Bhawan, officials said.

Sinha was received at the airport by Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam and Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh, the officials said.

They said Sinha, who is likely to take oath as the second lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday,drove straight to the Raj Bhawan from the airport.

The 61-year-old former minister of state for railways will succeed Girish Chander Murmu who resigned from the post late on Wednesday night.

Murmu served as the first lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state and sliced it into two union territories.

Murmu, who is tipped to be the next Comptroller and Auditor General of India, served in the office for just over nine months.   -- PTI
18:51   Army chief in Assam to review border situation
JUST IN: Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane is on a visit to Tezpur-based 4 Corps to review the security situation along the China border there.

Senior military officers will brief him on the existing situation and Indian Army deployments to tackle the situation, say Indian Army Sources.  -- ANI
Raghupati laddoos were part of the prasad
Raghupati laddoos were part of the prasad
18:00   Dalit family 1st to get bhumi pujan prasad from CM
A Dalit family is the first to get the prasad sent by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after the 'bhumi pujan' of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, an official said on Thursday. The prasad included laddoos, a copy of the Ramcharitmanas and tulsi mala, Chief Minister's Media Advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi told PTI. 

He said the first prasad was sent to the Mahaveer's family in Ayodhya. Mahaveer, a masion who lives at the Suthati locality of Ayodhya, was visited by Adityanath during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

Adityanath had food at his house and interacted with his family, after the Election Commission banned him from campaigning for 72 hours for his Ali-Bajrang Bali remarks. 

Reacting to it, Mahaveer said, "I am a Dalit. The CM sent first prasad to me and my family. I am thankful to him that he remembered me. It's a double delight for us. Firstly, our dream of a Ram temple has been fulfilled. Secondly, we got the first prasad. We hope that now the caste discrimination in the state will end and everyone will think of development and welfare of all," he said. 

When contacted, a senior Ayodhya official said due to the COVID-19 protocol, very few people were invited for the bhumi pujan'. 

"Now, Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust and the administration are distributing 'prasad' among the maximum number of people. In Ayodhya, the first 'prasad' was sent to the Mahaveer's family on the directions of the chief minister, the official said. -- PTI
ASHA workers in Karnataka. File pic
ASHA workers in Karnataka. File pic
17:36   Covid warriors: ASHA workers on 2-day strike
A joint platform of scheme workers under programmes like Anganwadi, ASHA, and national health mission on Thursday gave a call for a two-day nationwide strike from Friday to press for better service conditions and benefits. The platform affiliated to ten central trade unions will also join 'Jail Bharo Satyagraha' call, a statement said.

"The unions and federations of scheme workers (anganwadi, ASHA, Mid-Day Meal, NHM, Samagra Sikksha etc) affiliated to the central trade unions (INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC) will go on two days strike on August 7-8, 2020," the joint statement by ten central trade unions said. 

 Scheme workers, who are among frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, are forced to take this step after four months of the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdown because none of the minimum requirements for them safety, insurance and risk allowance- is provided by the government, the unions charged. 

Many of the workers have died due to coronavirus during this period and even their monthly wages are not paid for months together, the unions claimed. They asked the government to clear all pending dues of wages and allowances etc of all scheme workers immediately
Representational image
Representational image
17:33   Labourer finds diamonds worth Rs 35 lakh in Panna mine
A happy story to end your work day: A labourer became a millionaire overnight when he unearthed three diamonds worth Rs 30 lakh to 35 lakh at a diamond mine in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh, a senior official said on Thursday. 

While digging a shallow mine, the labourer, identified only as Subal, found three diamonds with net weight of 7.5 carat, Panna district's diamond officer R K Pandey said. Experts have valued the precious stones at anywhere between Rs 30 lakh to 35 lakh. The labourer has deposited the stones at the district diamond office and they will be auctioned as per government rules, Pandey said.

After deducting 12 per cent tax, Subal will get the remaining 88 per cent of the sale proceeds, the official said. A few days ago, another labourer had managed to find a 10.69 carat diamond from one of the mines in Panna in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. Panna, otherwise located in a backward region, is world famous for its diamond mines. PTI
17:21   Indians can access Covid lab in just 3 hours: Govt
India has ramped up its COVID-19 testing facility from one lab in January this year to 1,370 labs today and citizens anywhere can access a lab within three hours of travel time, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said.

Addressing a virtual meeting of regional directors of World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia on Thursday, the minister said that India's proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to COVID-19 made it possible to have very low cases and deaths per million.

He said India had been preparing for the pandemic as soon as China informed WHO on January 7.

The minister said the daily handling capacity of COVID-19 cases in hospitals has increased to almost 35 times.

"India's proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to COVID-19 made it possible to have very low cases per million and deaths per million in spite of having a high population density and low fractional GDP spending and per capita doctor and hospital bed availability as compared to other developed countries," the minister said. -- PTI
17:12   Special CBI court rejects Indrani Mukerjea's bail plea
The bail plea of Indrani Mukerjea who is imprisoned for her alleged role in her daughter Sheena Bora's murder, was rejected by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai on Thursday.In December last year, the CBI court had rejected a petition filed by Indrani, who was seeking bail citing deteriorating health. It was her fourth bail plea which has been rejected by the court.

In 2012, Indrani along with Peter Mukerjea and former husband Sanjeev Khanna had allegedly murdered Sheena over a financial dispute. The alleged crime was uncovered three years later in 2015.

Indrani came to the notice of police after her driver, Shyamvar Rai, who was arrested in another case in August 2015, revealed the murder plot.The police then arrested Indrani, Khanna and the driver for the alleged murder. Peter was put behind bars later for allegedly being involved in the murder. Peter and Indrani are now divorced. -- ANI
17:10   Restoring J&K's special status will be political hara-kiri: BJP leader
Asserting that the nation and the national interests are always supreme, a senior Jammu and Kashmir BJP leader on Thursday said restoring the Union Territory's statehood or special status will trigger a chain reaction adversely affecting the socio-political scenario of the Union Territory. "The so-called demand for restoring J&K's special status or statehood is not an issue for the government at present. It will have a chain reaction," said Ashwani Chrungoo, in-charge of the J&K BJP's department of political affairs. 

These are the issues within the purview of the Parliament and raising such demands without application of mind is tantamount to political opportunism, he said addressing a conference. "It will ultimately lead to political hara-kiri for the people of the UT, he said, adding the central administration of J&K was necessitated due to its security-related political situation". No one has got a license to do anything that damages the national interest in the strategic UT of J&K, he asserted. -- PTI
17:04   Dip in hilsa catch worries fishermen in Bengal (and Bengalis)
Belying promises of a bumper hilsa yield due to less pollution and the reduced economic activities in the seas amid the coronavirus crisis, the "silver crop" catch has dropped this season in West Bengal, an official said on Thursday. 

The dip in hilsa yield has cast a dark shadow on the fortunes of the fishermen as about 25 per cent of the projected catch during the July-August period was achieved so far, Digha-Shankarpur Development Authority vice chairman Akhil Giri said.

"Around 800 trawlers have gone out to the sea from early July this year and most of them have returned empty- handed. About five days back, there was a negligible catch and this would be around 25 per cent of the projected hilsa yield in July-August," he told PTI. 

As there was near-zero commercial activity in the seas and the rivers, and no industrial effluents were released into the water during the three-month hiatus, fish breeding, which is common during this season, was expected to pick up the pace, he said. Lack of wind from the east, which makes the fish swim from the deep sea to the coast to lay eggs, is the main reason why fewer hilsa in July has been caught, Giri said. -- PTI
16:54   Sushant case: Bihar cops report to IG office after returning from Mumbai
A team of four officers of Bihar Police probing the Sushant Singh Rajput death case in Mumbai, have reached Inspector General Central office to submit a report on the case on Thursday. These police officers have returned to the state from Mumbai earlier on Thursday while the Patna (Central) Superintendent of Police (SP) Vinay Tiwari still continues to be quarantined in Mumbai.

The officers refrained from speaking about the findings of the case.

One of the police officers, on arrival at the Bihar airport, said that BMC never called to support us but have received great support from their seniors.

"Now when the case is with CBI, we will be sharing our findings with them," the other police officer added.

Meanwhile, Rhea Chakraborty's associate Samuel Miranda reached the Enforcement Directorate office in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case in Mumbai.

He was questioned by ED on Wednesday regarding the same. The Central government gave a nod to the Central Bureau Of Investigation to probe the death case of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
16:40   Day 4: Uddhav reviews if state is rain ready
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday took stock of the state administration's preparedness in the wake of the incessant heavy rains in Mumbai and other parts of the state, including Kolhapur where the Panchganga river was flowing close to the danger mark. 

A statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said Thackeray asked the authorities to remain alert and ensure citizens do not face hardships. He spoke to the authoritiesconcerned and officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), it said.

Mumbai city received 331.08 mm rainfall while the suburbs received 162.3 mm downpour from Wednesday till 8.30 am on Thursday. The city witnessed strong winds at a speed of 106 km per hour while elsewhere it was 70 to 80 kmph, it said.

The chief minister asked the officials concerned to take up clearing of the uprooted trees on a war-footing. 

He also praised the railway police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel for their efforts in rescuing 290 passengers from two local trains stranded on flooded tracks near Masjid Bunder in south Mumbai on Wednesday.

The statement said a railway employee was killed due to electrocution from a motor pump in Masjib Bunder while one person was injured when a tree fell on him in Kurla. Water-logging in different parts of the city was cleared fast by the civic staff, it said. There were 361 incidents of uprooting of trees and branches and 15 incidents of wall collapse in Mumbai, it said.
16:17   Nirav Modi's trial begins next month
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, fighting extradition to India, was on Thursday further remanded in custody until August 27 after he appeared via videolink at a regular remand hearing before a UK court on charges over the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case. 

The 49-year-old jeweller, who has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest in March last year, appeared via videolink before District Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London for a regular 28-day call-over hearing. 

He was told the next hearing in the case will be a case management hearing ahead of a trial set for five days from September 7.

"You will appear via videolink again. Your lawyers may be present in court, said Judge Baraitser, in reference to the part remote setting in operation across UK courts since the coronavirus lockdown In May, District Judge Samuel Goozee presided over the first part of Modi's extradition trial, held in a partial remote settings, with the second part scheduled between September 7 and 11. -- PTI
15:57   Vivo will not be IPL title sponsors this year: BCCI
Update: The BCCI on Thursday suspended the IPL title sponsorship deal with Chinese mobile phone company Vivo for the event's upcoming edition amid soaring Sino-India diplomatic tensions. The BCCI sent out a one-line statement without giving any details to say that Vivo will not be associated with the IPL this year. 

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Vivo Mobile India Pvt Ltd have decided to suspend their partnership for Indian Premier League in 2020," the press release stated. Vivo won the IPL title sponsorship rights for five years from 2018 to 2022 for a reported sum of Rs 2190 crore, approximately Rs 440 crore per annum. 

The BCCI is likely to float a tender for the new title sponsors as mandated by its constitution. The IPL starts on September 19 in the UAE, forced out of India due to the rising COVID-19 cases. -- PTI
15:50   LIVE! It's official: BCCI-Vivo end ties for IPL 2020
BCCI and Vivo end their partnership for IPL's 2020 season. Earlier, BCCI had not confirmed that Chinese mobile phone maker Vivo had pulled out of title sponsorship for this season. The company backed out from the Rs 440 crore per year contract this season given the soaring Sino-India diplomatic tensions.
File pic
File pic
15:42   No country can run on hatred: Rahul to Bihar Cong
Ahead of the Bihar elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said no country can run on hatred while interacting with the party leaders and workers, via video conferencing on Thursday. The agenda of the meeting was the upcoming Bihar elections.

During the meeting, Gandhi said that the return of Congress in Bihar is vital and every development in the state is necessary for the state Congress.

Rahul said, "We all need to stay together as no society or a country can run on hatred. It can only build on staying together."

"Currently, the state government could not stay at par with Corona pandemic or the heavy floods," he further added.

While talking about the coming Bihar elections, Rahul Gandhi said that there are multiple agenda of state and national importance with which the respective state and central government is just playing around," said sources.

The virtual meeting was attended by around 1,000 Congress workers and Bihar Congress leaders. It was a two-way communication that lasted for about two hours in which Gandhi addressed the members for about more than 30 minutes following which other members put forward their suggestions. -- ANI
15:33   Singapore works to enhance mental health programmes for migrants
The Singapore government has said it is monitoring the situation after recent incidents of 'unnatural deaths' involving migrants amidst concerns over the mental health of thousands of foreign workers confined to their dormitories due to COVID-19.

More than 300,000 migrant workers, mostly from Bangladesh, India and China, had been placed in lockdown in their dormitories in April as part of the government's strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19. In recent weeks, there have been questions about the state of workers' mental health following at least three reports of unnatural deaths, according to Channel News Asia.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday it has not observed a spike in the number of migrant worker suicides compared to previous years, although it is aware of recent incidents involving workers living in dormitories. -- PTI
15:12   Soz a prisoner, BJP crushing democracy: Priyanka
The BJP-led Centre is treating senior Congress leader from Jammu and Kashmir, Saifuddin Soz like a prisoner and is therefore crushing democracy, said the party's general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday. Vadra said Soz has played a crucial role in strengthening the Indian democracy and the Centre was practising "tyranny" in the Union Territory.

"Saifuddin Soj Sahab has played a big role in strengthening the Indian democracy. By treating him like a prisoner, the BJP government is crushing democracy. For the past one year there is tyranny in J-K. I want to remind the government that India is democractic republic," Vadra's tweet, which has also had a picture of Soz standing inside the boundary of his house with barbed wire fences on them, read.

Soz, earlier this week, was quoted in media reports claiming that he continued to be under house detention and that the main gate of his residence has now been locked from inside as well.

The former Union minister had urged the judiciary to take notice of the situation.

Earlier today, a day after the one year anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, which took away from Jammu and Kashmir its special status and the bifurcation of the state into two Union territories, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram slammed the Centre for the 'brazen denial of human rights" and added that it is chipping away at India's "proud record as a free and democratic country" in the world. -- PTI

Image: Congress leader Saifuddin Soz trying to talk to media from above his compound. Pic: PTI
14:45   LIVE! Centre releases 2nd tranche of Rs 890 cr Covid pkg
The Centre has released Rs 890.32 crore as the second instalment of the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness package to 22 states and Union Territories, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. The amount of financial assistance to each state and Union Territories is based on their COVID-19 caseload. 

Those who received financial assistance in the second instalment include Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Rs 15,000 crore package as part of the 'Whole of Government' approach wherein the Centre is leading the COVID-19 response and management, and supporting the states and UTs through technical and financial resources.

The second instalment of the aid will be used to strengthen public health infrastructure for testing, including procurement and installation of RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction kits, TrueNat and CB-NAAT machines, bolster infrastructure for treatment and development of ICU beds, installation of oxygen generators and procurement of bedside oxygen concentrators among others.

It would also be used for engagement, training and capacity building of necessary human resources and incentives to healthcare workforce and volunteers, including ASHA workers on COVID-19 duties, the health ministry said, adding that wherever necessary, volunteers registered on the COVID Warriors portal may also be engaged in coronavirus duties. 

The first instalment of Rs 3,000 crore was released in April to all states and UTs to aid and enable them ramp up testing facilities, augment hospital infrastructure, conduct surveillance activities along with procurement of essential equipment, drugs and other supplies, the health ministry said. -- PTI
14:35   TV actor found hanging at home
Television actor Sameer Sharma  allegedly committed suicide at his home in suburban Malad, police said on Thursday.
Sharma, 44, who worked in serials like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki and Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyar Ke, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the kitchen of his flat at Neha building in Chincholi Bunder locality in Malad-west on Wednesday night, a police official said.
No suicide note was found at the spot and it is suspected he hanged himself two days back, Malad police station's senior inspector George Fernandes said.
The incident came to light when the building's watchman peeped through the kitchen window and saw him hanging. He then alerted the other society members.
Later, the society members informed the police who rushed to the spot and took Sharma to a hospital where doctors declared him brought dead, another official said.
The actor were living alone in the rented flat since February, he said, adding the police were trying to get in touch with his family members.
"We have not found any suicide note at the spot. It seems to be suicide case. It is suspected that he hanged himself two days back. We have sent the body for an autopsy," Fernandes said.
Based on primary information, an accidental death report has been registered, he said, adding that further investigation is underway.
Mumbai Police are also currently investigating the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, 34, who was found hanging at his apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14.  -- PTI
14:26   MoD admits Chinese intrusion, Rahul questions PM
After the defence ministry's acknowledgement of Chinese troops' transgressions into the Indian territory in different parts of eastern Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday asked why the prime minister was lying over the issue.

"Why is the PM lying?" a tweet by the Wayanad MP, which also had an English newspaper's article over the defence ministry's acknowledgement embedded, read.

Gandhi has time and again raised the issue, especially since the Galwan valley clash which led to 20 Indian Army personnel losing their lives in a violent face-off with Chinese troops.

The defence ministry, in an official document listing out the major activities of the department in June, acknowledged Chinese transgressions in Indian territory in different parts of eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso, Gogra and Kungrang Nala areas.

"Chinese aggression has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan valley since 5th May 2020. Chinese side transgressed into the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso lake on May 17 -18 2020," the defence ministry said.

The document was uploaded on the ministry's website very recently and it is the first time that the Rajnath Singh-led Ministry has admitted officially about the transgressions by the Chinese troops. -- ANI
13:45   Heavy rains trigger landslide in Kodagu, Karnataka
A landslide occurs near Talacauvery in Kodagu district; a team of National Disaster Response Force has reached the spot.  The Karnataka government will release more funds if needed amid the incessant rainfall across the state.Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday directed the district in-charge ministers to take appropriate precautions in the face of increasing rainfall across the state.

The Chief Minister has also instructed district incharge ministers not to leave the constituency MLAs and officials and visit instructed to visit affected areas. He has been instructed to take other measures, including the distribution of relief on the spot, read the CMO statement.
Tata Steel was the top gainer
Tata Steel was the top gainer
13:39   Sensex rallies over RBI's interest rate status quo
Domestic equity benchmark Sensex rallied over 500 points in afternoon session on Thursday after the RBI maintained an accommodative stance to support the coronavirus-hit economy. The central bank opted for a status quo and left interest rates unchanged at the latest monetary policy meet. 

In the afternoon, the BSE Sensex was trading 530.90 points or 1.41 per cent higher at 38,194.23 points while the NSE Nifty surged 124.90 points or 1.13 per cent to 11,226.55 points. Tata Steel was the top gainer in the 30-share Sensex pack, rising around 2 per cent, followed by HDFC Bank, Bajaj Finance, HCL Tech, Infosys, Kotak Bank, TCS and Reliance Industries. M&M, Maruti, Bajaj Auto and Bharti Airtel were among the laggards.
13:18   Public transport resumes in Mumbai
A day after heavy showers pounded Mumbai and neighbouring areas, the rain intensity reduced on Thursday morning and water receded in some flooded areas, leading to gradual resumption of rain and road transport services, officials said. However, some areas in south Mumbai, which witnessed a record rain on Wednesday, were still water-logged, they said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted moderate to heavy rainfall in the city and suburbs and intense showers in some parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in next 24 hours.

The Colaba observatory in south Mumbai recorded 330 mm rainfall in the 24-hour period ending at 5.30 am on Thursday while the Santacruz weather station in western suburbs recorded 146 mm during the period, IMD Mumbai centre's deputy director general K S Hosalikar said.

Image: RPF Sandip Khiritkar rescues passengers trapped in a local train following heavy rainfall, near Masjid Station, yesterday. Pic: ANI
13:02   1865 Covid cases, 109 deaths in Maharashtra police
A total of 137 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths were reported in the Maharashtra Police force in the last 24 hours, taking the total count to 10,163. With two more fatalities, the total deaths in the state police force reached 109.

Out of the total number of police personnel infected with coronavirus, 8,189 have recovered and 1,865 cases are active, informed the Maharashtra Police on Thursday.

Maharashtra with 1,46,268 active cases and 3,05,521 cured and discharged patients continues to be the worst affected. The state has also reported 16,476 deaths due to the infection, as per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. -- ANI
12:48   'Has the inclusive India of my dreams been lost forever?'
"Like a meteor in slow motion, it was only a matter of time that this would hit us. Even so, August 5, 2020, is a day of profound sadness and loss. History will remember it as the day on which the bumpy but colourful and often hopeful journey of India as a humane and inclusive republic of equal citizenship was formally halted by an incumbent government. A government of unmatched hubris, rooted in an ideology of Hindu supremacism, the complete reversal of the pledges that we the people of India made in our Constitution," writes Harsh Mander. Read the column here.
12:43   Why is PM lying about Chinese incursions, asks Rahul
After the Defence Ministry's acknowledgement of Chinese troops transgressions into the Indian territory in different parts of Eastern Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday asked why the Prime Minister was lying over the issue.

"Why is the PM lying?" a tweet by the Wayanad MP, which also had an English newspaper's article over the Defence Ministry's acknowledgement embedded, read.Gandhi has time and again raised the issue, especially since the Galwan valley clash which led to 20 Indian Army personnel losing their lives in a violent face-off with Chinese troops.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry acknowledged Chinese transgressions in Indian territory in different parts of Eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso, Gogra and Kungrang Nala areas.

"Chinese aggression has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan valley since 5th May 2020. Chinese side transgressed into the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and north bank of Pangong Tso lake on May 17 -18 2020," the Defence Ministry said its document on its major activities in June.The document was uploaded on the Ministry's website very recently and it is the first time that the Rajnath Singh-led Ministry has admitted officially about the transgressions by the Chinese troops.
12:40   Expect high inflation, warns RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday said inflation is expected to be at elevated levels during the second quarter, but may ease in the second half of the current fiscal year. Supply chain disruptions persist, resulting in inflation pressures across segments, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said while announcing the decisions taken by the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). He also said that global economic activity has remained fragile and the surge in COVID-19 cases has subdued early signs of revival. Pinning hope on the agriculture sector, he said. Kharif crop harvest is expected to boost rural demand. Economic activity had started to recover, but a surge in coronavirus infections has forced imposition of lockdowns, he added. PTI
12:37   Palghar lynching: SC asks Maha govt to file status report on inquiry against cops
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government to apprise it about the status of inquiry and action taken against the errant police personnel for their alleged role in the Palghar lynching incident in April. 

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy asked the state government to place before it the charge sheet, which has been filed before the trial court concerned, saying it would like to examine the final report. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said media reports suggest that charge sheets filed in the case comprises of more than 10,000 pages. 

He said whether any policemen was involved in the offence or there was any dereliction of duty calling for disciplinary action has to be considered by the court. The bench posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

Three people were killed in the lynching incident. 

The three victims, who hailed from Kandivali in Mumbai, were travelling in a car to attend a funeral in Surat in Gujarat amid the nationwide lockdown when their vehicle was stopped and they were attacked and killed by a mob in Gadchinchile village on the night of April 16 in the presence of police. -- PTI
12:24   Economic activity has begun to recover: RBI
RBI presser: RBI is perhaps the only central bank in the world which has set up a special quarantine facility for continuity of critical operations. Taking into consideration all factors, the GDP growth in the first half of the year is estimated to remain in the contraction zone. For the year 2020-21 as a whole, real GDP growth is also estimated to be negative. Monetary Policy Committee noted that in India too, economic activity had started to recover, but surges of fresh infections have forced fresh lockdowns, hence several high-frequency indicators have levelled off:
12:15   RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 4%
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announces that the Repo rate remains unchanged at 4%. "Accommodative stance of the monetary policy will continue as long as necessary to revive growth and mitigate the impact of #COVID19 pandemic, while ensuring that inflation remains within target going forward. Reverse repo rate also remains unchanged at 3.3%," Das said.
12:08   Bihar IPS officer is under house arrest by Mumbai cops: Bihar DGP
No sign of a detente between Bihar and Mumbai police. Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey tells ANI, "VinayTiwari (IPS officer) has still not be exempted from quarantine, it is like house arrest. We 'll decide what action to take after consultation with the advocate general. Going to the court is also an option. Mumbai police's move of quarantining the Bihar Police officer is unprofessional. Even, Supreme Court has given its observation in the matter. Still, there is no positive response from them (Mumbai police). Tiwari has still not been freed."
11:52   One Covid case could kill IPL: Ness Wadia
Instead of speculating on the IPL's title sponsorship, Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia says the focus must be on ensuring that not a single COVID-19 case is reported during the event, which according to him, is set to be the "best ever". 

Though the BCCI has not confirmed that Chinese mobile phone maker Vivo has pulled out of title sponsorship for this season, it is likely that the company will back out from the Rs 440 crore per year contract at least this season given the soaring Sino-India diplomatic tensions. 

"There is much speculation going on. I think it is ridiculous. The only thing we (team owners) know is that the IPL is happening. We are very concerned about the safety of the players and all others involved. Even if there is one case, the IPL could be doomed," Wadia told PTI after the owners' meeting on Wednesday evening. 

 Following the "violent face-off" between the Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh in June, Wadia had said that the IPL should gradually move away from Chinese sponsors. Irrespective of Vivo's future in the IPL, Wadia said there are enough sponsors to replace the Chinese company if such a need arises. 

"I don't know what the BCCI has decided on title sponsorship. All the team owners had a productive meeting and are on the same page to make IPL a success. We need to support the BCCI and will be meeting again soon," he said. In the current economic climate, Wadia expects the sponsors, whether team or IPL, to negotiate hard. 

The BCCI has sent an exhaustive 16-page SOP to teams for a smooth conduct of the tournament. It requires players, support staff, team officials and owners to be part of a bio-secure environment. Wadia himself has not decided on travelling to the UAE for the IPL but said safety can't be compromised. "We have to adjust and acclimatise to the (bio-secure) environment. One case could kill the IPL. Extraneous circumstances require ordinary people to do extraordinary things," he added. PTI
11:44   Mangroves destruction to blame for flooding in Mumbai: Experts
Destruction of mangroves and unplanned constructions are responsible for flooding in Mumbai every year after heavy rains, say environment activists and town planners. Mangroves absorb excess water but they are being destroyed in Mumbai in the guise of infrastructure development, city-based environmentalist Debi Goenka told PTI.

"Destruction of mangroves has definitely been one of the major causes of flooding, since the land reclaimed from mangroves is now blocking the rain water from flowing out into the sea. The capacity of mangroves to absorb flood water has also reduced," he said.

The biggest problem today is that government agencies which are responsible for the protection of mangroves are busy "destroying them in the guise of infrastructure development", he claimed.

"To construct a road, transmission lines, or a freight corridor, the natural infrastructure - mangroves - provided to us free of cost by nature is being destroyed," he rued. 

"We need to seriously review our priorities in this era of climate change, global warming and sea level rise. Do we need more roads or do we need to keep the mangroves intact?" Goenka said.
11:28   Tagore poems similarity with the present eerie
With remarkable prescience that prophesied this year's plight of the migrants and others in the aftermath of the lockdown, Tagore had written: "In the very year in which, twenty million of your subjects were struck by a terrible drought' pauperised masses without any food or shelter, came begging at your door crying for help, only to be turned away'. in that very year when you spent 2 million gold to build that grand temple'."

In the 120-year-old poem, a sage reminds a king of the inopportune time to have spent riches in building a temple in a year people were hit by a calamity.  Read more 
11:21   Covid hospital fire: Surviving patients moved out
As many as 41 patients admitted at the Shrey Hospital have been shifted to Ahmedabad's Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Hospital, said Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, Gujarat Government, on Thursday. Eight people have been killed in the incident.

PM Narendra Modi has announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to the next of kin of the deceased. Rs 50,000 to be given to those injured due to the fire.

Rajiv Kumar Gupta further informed that the Shrey Hospital has been sealed, and the bodies of the eight victims have been sent for post-mortem.

"Shrey Hospital has been sealed now. 41 patients shifted to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Hospital. Bodies sent for post-mortem," informed Gupta.

"We can't speak about the equipment or fire safety. This incident has happened just a while back; we will need time to collect all that data. Rest of the patients are safe. The report will be submitted within three days," he said.

"8 people have died in the fire incident. Other patients have been shifted to a safer place. We are taking the help of fire and forensic experts in the investigation. A trustee of the hospital is being interrogated. A thorough investigation will be conducted," said Rajendra Asari, JCP, Sector 1, Ahmedabad.Earlier, Gujarat CMO said that Sangeeta Singh Additional Chief Secretary of the Home department, Gujarat, will be leading the probe."

CM Vijay Rupani has ordered a probe in the incident of fire at Shrey Hospital in Ahmedabad. Sangeeta Singh, Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department) will be leading the probe. 

The CM has ordered for a report within 3 days," said the CMO.On Thursday morning, a fire broke out at the Shrey Hospital of Ahmedabad reportedly due to a short circuit in the ICU on the fourth floor of the hospital. -- PTI
11:13   SC to hear Mallya's review petition on August 20
Supreme Court adjourns for August 20 the review plea filed by fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya (in file pic), who has sought review of its May 2017 order holding him guilty of contempt of court for transferring money to his children in violation of the court's order.
10:49   Terrorists shoot dead sarpanch in J-K's Kulgam
BJP leader and sarpanch Sajad Ahmad Khanday shot dead by terrorists in Kulgam in south Kashmir. He was shot outside his residence in Vessu, Kulgam on Thursday and taken to the hospital.
10:42   Mumbai's Colaba sees highest rainfall in 22 years
The Colaba weather observatory in south Mumbai on Wednesday recorded its highest single-day precipitation in the last 22 years for the month of August, said an India Meteorological Department official.
K S Hosalikar, deputy director general of IMD, Mumbai said the Colaba observatory received 293 mm rainfall from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm.
In August 1998, the observatory had received 261.9 mm rainfall in 24 hours which was a record for the month till now, but Wednesday's rain broke it within only 12 hours.
The figure for 24 hours since 8.30 am will be available on Thursday.
Even during the deluge of 2005 when 944 mm rainfall was recorded in 24 hours at Santacruz observatory in the suburbs, Colaba's reading was 161 mm. -- PTI 
10:31   Day 3: Intense rain, gusty winds in Mumbai likely
The India Meteorological Department on Thursday predicted intense rainfall over Mumbai during the next 3 hours. "Intense rainfall along with strong surface winds of 40-50 kmph at isolated places are likely over Mumbai during the next 3 hours," the IMD said.

Various parts of Mumbai are suffering from waterlogging due to incessant rainfall.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday assured all possible support to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray regarding the situation prevailing in Mumbai and surrounding areas due to heavy rainfall.Earlier, IMD predicted heavy downpour in the region.

"Widespread rainfall with scattered heavy to very heavy falls and isolated extremely heavy falls most likely to continue over Konkan and Goa (including Mumbai) till August 6 and over Madhya Maharashtra (ghat areas) till August 5 and reduce thereafter," IMD said in a tweet.
10:23   Mumbai rains: PM assures all possible help to Maha CM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday spoke with Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray about the prevailing situation in Mumbai and surrounding areas due to heavy rains and assured all possible support, the prime minister's office said.
Incessant heavy rains and strong winds battered Mumbai and adjoining areas on Wednesday.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Maharashtra CM Shri Uddhav Thackeray regarding the situation prevailing in Mumbai and surrounding areas due to heavy rainfall," the PMO tweeted.
PM Modi assured Thackeray all possible support, it said.
The chief minister's office late Wednesday night said Thackeray apprised Modi of steps being taken to safeguard citizens during the heavy rains.
Thackeray thanked the prime minister for offering support, the CMO tweeted.
He also congratulated Modi for laying the foundation stone of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, it added. -- PTI
09:58   India reports 56,282 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hrs
India's COVID-19 tally today rises to 19,64,537 with 56,282 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry data.

The total death toll climbs to 40,699 with 904 deaths in last 24 hours. 

Active COVID-19 cases in India are stand at 5,95,501, while 13,28,336 people have recovered from the disease.
09:42   Facebook deletes Trump's misleading Covid post
Social media giant Facebook, for the first time, has removed a post from United States President Donald Trump in which he claimed that children were "almost immune" to COVID-19, saying it violated its policy against spreading "misinformation" about the novel coronavirus.
The post in question was a video clip of a Trump interview on Fox News Channel uploaded by the Trump campaign on Wednesday.
The US President claims in the clip that children are "almost immune" to COVID-19.
While much remains unknown about the novel coronavirus, children can contract COVID-19 and are believed to be able to spread it to others, even without symptoms.
"This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation," Andy Stone, a Facebook policy spokesperson said in a statement.
A link to the post now diverts to a page that says, "This Content Isn't Available Right Now."
It is the first time that Facebook has removed a post from Trump entirely, rather than labelling it, as it has done in the past, making it a rare instance in which it has been willing to censor the president.
In June, Facebook removed ads that the Trump campaign posted that featured a symbol Nazis used to classify political prisoners during World War II.
Twitter also removed a link to the same video clip, which the official Trump Twitter account @TeamTrump shared earlier on Wednesday. Links to the tweet now point Twitter users to a message that the tweet violated Twitter's rules and is no longer available.
The Trump campaign accused Facebook of "flagrant bias."
"The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus," Courtney Parella, the campaign's deputy national press secretary, said in an emailed statement.
"Another day, another display of Silicon Valley's flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth," Parella said.
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study involving 2,500 children published in April found that about one in five infected children were hospitalized versus one in three adults; three children died.
Two months ago, Facebook faced a backlash both inside and outside the company for not taking any action against Trump's May 29 comment, posted on Facebook and Instagram, in which he said about Minneapolis protests and civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd's killing by police: "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
Twitter hid the same "looting and shooting" message behind a warning label saying that it violated its policy banning the glorification of violence. -- PTI 
09:37   Writer and activist Sadia Dehlvi passes away
Noted Delhi-based writer and activist Sadia Dehlvi has passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. 

She was 63.
Sadia was admitted to a New Delhi hospital recently where she was undergoing treatment. 

She died at her home on Wednesday.
"Sad to hear about the tragic demise of Sadia Dehlvi, a well known cultural figure of Delhi, a dear friend and a wonderful human being. Rest in Peace," tweeted eminent historian S Irfan Habib.
Sadia, who hailed from the royal 'Shama' family, edited Bano, an Urdu women's journal. 

Her grandfather, Hafiz Yusuf Dehlvi, founded Shama, an iconic Urdu film and literary monthly, in 1938.
A well-known food connoisseur, she wrote a book on Delhi's culinary history in 2017, titled Jasmine & Jinns: Memories and Recipes of My Delhi.
A woman of many talents, Sadia also produced and scripted documentaries and television programmes, including Amma and Family (1995), starring Zohra Sehgal, a veteran stage actor.
She was a close friend and confidante of the late author Khushwant Singh. 

Singh dedicated his book Not a Nice Man to Know to her.
He wrote, "To Sadia Dehlvi, who gave me more affection and notoriety than I deserve."
Singh's book Men and Women in my Life has Sadia's photo on its cover and the book has a chapter dedicated to her.
Sadia produced the television show Not a Nice man to Know with Singh interviewing women from various fields.
She is survived by her son Arman Ali Dehlvi. -- PTI 
09:32   No foul play in our daughter's death: Family of Sushant's ex-manager
The father of Disha Salian, former manager of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, has said he does not suspect any foul play in her death and he is "completely satisfied" with the probe being conducted by Mumbai Police in
the case, an official said.
In a letter sent to assistant commissioner of police, Malvani, on Wednesday, Satish Salian alleged that media persons were harassing his family by repeatedly questioning their faith in Mumbai Police and their way of inquiry into her death, the official said.
According to police, Disha Salian, 28, allegedly committed suicide by jumping from a high-rise building in Malad area in Mumbai on June 8.
Rajput, 34, was found hanging at his apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14.
An accidental death report was registered in connection with Disha Salian's death at Malvani police station.
Her father in his letter to police said his family does not suspect any foul play in her death and they are satisfied with the investigation conducted by the Mumbai Police and have faith in them, a senior official said.
He alleged that his family was being harassed by journalists and media by repeatedly questioning their faith in the Mumbai Police, the official said.
Satish Salian, who mentioned Naigaon, Dadar, in central Mumbai as his address in the letter, said he had already submitted a written complaint at the Malvani police station and the ACP's office on July 13 against "derogatory" posts and forwards being shared by people that defamed his deceased daughter and his family.
According to the official, in his letter he alleged that "news about her (Disha's) involvement with any politician or attending parties with big names of the film fraternity, rape and murder are all stories cooked up by media people just to sell it to channels and these stories hold no truth."
He also requested the police to take action against the journalists, influencers, politicians and media concerned for their insensitive act towards his family, the official said.
The Mumbai Police, who are probing Rajput's death, have so far recorded statements of more than 50 people, including those from the late actor's family, his cook and people from the film industry.
A team of Bihar Police is also probing a separate 'abetment to suicide' case on the basis of a complaint filed by Rajput's father in Patna.

An official from the Bihar Police earlier said they will also probe the alleged suicide of Disha Salian.
Apart from Rajput, she had also managed the work of actors like Bharti Singh, Rhea Chakraborty and Varun Sharma. -- PTI 
09:17   Pakistan again fails to raise Kashmir at UN
Pakistan's attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue through the United Nations has again "come to naught", after a UN Security Council meeting, convened by China to discuss the matter, ended without any outcome, a top Indian diplomat said on Thursday.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said that many other members of the Security Council underlined that Jammu and Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and also stressed on the importance of the Simla Agreement.
"The attempt of Pakistan to internationalise this issue through the United Nations has again come to naught," Tirumurti said.
"Another attempt by Pakistan fails! In today's meeting of UN Security Council which was closed, informal, not recorded, and without any outcome, almost all countries underlined that J&K was bilateral issue & did not deserve time and attention of Council," Tirumurti tweeted.
China, Pakistan's 'all-weather ally', called for a discussion on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the Security Council under 'Any Other Business' on Wednesday, when India marked the first anniversary of ending special status to Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two union territories--Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Sources told PTI that the US took the lead, and many other council members also joined and made it clear that the Kashmir issue was not a matter for the UN body to discuss and is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcating it into two Union territories.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.
 In January this year, China, on behalf of Pakistan, had made a similar attempt to raise the Kashmir issue under "other matters" during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations Room. Then too, China stood alone in the Pakistani corner to get the Security Council to focus on the Kashmir issue.
The January attempt had failed as other member countries felt that Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.
08:22   8 dead after fire at Covid hospital in Ahmedabad
Eight patients in the ICU ward of a private COVID-19 designated hospital died after fire broke out there on Thursday, a fire official said.
Fire broke out at the Shrey Hospital in Navrangpura area of Ahmedabad during the early hours of Thursday, the official said.
Around 40 other COVID-19 patients at the facility were rescued and shifted to a civic hospital in the city, he said.
The cause of the fire is not known yet, he said. 
08:03   Manoj Sinha appointed new Lt Guv of J-K
Former union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Uttar Pradesh, Manoj Sinha, was on Thursday appointed as Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, the Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman said.
A communique issued by the President's secretariat said that the resignation of Girish Chandra Murmu as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir has been accepted.
The communique issued by the President's press secretary Ajay Kumar said "the President has been pleased to appoint Shri Manoj Sinha, to be the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office" in place of Murmu.
The 61-year-old Sinha was born on July 1, 1959 in Mohanpura of Ghazipur district of eastern UP and has been actively involved in working for the backward villages of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
His political career started when he was elected the president of Banaras Hindu University Students Union in 1982. 

He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1996 and repeated the term in 1999.
Sinha has been a member of the BJP national council from 1989 to 1996. 

He was elected to the Lower House for a third term in national politics when the BJP swept the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
He was former Minister of State for Railways and later held an independent charge of Ministry of Communication. -- PTI 
02:56   Will keep raising Kashmir globally: Imran
Notwithstanding the unsuccessful attempts made by him to raise the Kashmir issue at the world stage, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday reiterated that his country would continue to raise the matter at all international forums.

Addressing the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's legislative assembly on the first anniversary of India's decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, Khan claimed that many world leaders didn't even know what was going on in Kashmir.

Khan said that it was due to his government's efforts that the Kashmir issue was highlighted and now, the world was taking notice of it.

Significantly, Khan in the past admitted that there has been a 'lukewarm response' to the Kashmir issue at the world stage due to what he described as the 'commercial interests' of the Western countries in India, which is a big market.

Khan said he personally briefed world leaders including US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about Kashmir.

Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing J&K's special status and bifurcating it into two Union Territories.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

Khan also defended the new political map of Pakistan and said that it was essential to respond to India's decision to include Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of India.

India on Tuesday slammed Pakistan for unveiling a 'so-called new political map' which claimed J&K and parts of Gujarat as its territories, asserting that it is a 'political absurdity' and these 'ridiculous assertions' have neither legal validity nor international credibility.   -- PTI