Thu, 03 December 2020
Sena leader Sanjay Raut undergoes angioplasty

Timeline  Refresh

23:34   Sena leader Sanjay Raut undergoes angioplasty
Shiv Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Thursday underwent angioplasty, his family said.
The 59-year-old Sena MP, often in news because of his blunt statements, had undergone his first angioplasty procedure on November 11 last year.
"He got admitted into Lilavati hospital today and underwent angiography. Out of three stents placed earlier to remove arterial blockages, one was found blocked again. And a fresh blockage was detected this time," his brother and MLA Sunil Raut said.
"Hence the doctors have now inserted another two stents for a smooth blood circulation. His health is stable," Sunil told PTI.  
23:17   Biden to pick Vivek Murthy to lead Covid response
United States President-elect Joe Biden has tapped two close allies to oversee his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, Politico has reported citing sources.

Transition co-chair and former Obama administration official Jeff Zients is set to serve as the White House's Covid-19 coordinator and Vivek Murthy, the former US surgeon general under Obama, will return to that role, but with a broader portfolio that will include serving as the top medical expert and public face of the work. 

Marcella Nunez-Smith, a co-chair of Biden's Covid-19 advisory board, will also take a key role in the administration's response, focused on health disparities.

Biden's team plans to roll out these and other health care personnel announcements as soon as this weekend.

22:37   Indian economy is gradually recovering: IMF
India's economy, severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, is gradually recovering, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.
India's economy recovered faster than expected in the September quarter as a pick-up in manufacturing helped GDP clock a lower contraction of 7.5 per cent and held out hopes for further improvement on better consumer demand.
"India has indeed been severely affected by the pandemic but is gradually recovering," IMF chief spokesperson Gerry Rice told reporters.
Fiscal, monetary, and financial sector measures announced to date provided much-needed support to the economy, including businesses, agriculture, and vulnerable households, Rice said in response to a question on the IMF's assessment of India's economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
"To further support growth, we believe the Indian authorities should prioritize swift implementation of the existing support programs and may need to consider expanding their scope, as warranted," Rice said.
In her address to the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the ministerial-level committee of the IMF, through video conference, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that a V-shaped pattern of recovery is being seen in several high-level indicators. -- PTI
21:56   Legal notice to Kangana for her tweet over farmers' stir
A member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee on Thursday sent a legal notice to Bollywood actor Kangana Ranautover her tweet allegedly targeting farmers protesting against the new farm laws.
The notice was sent by advocate Harpreet Singh Hora on behalf of the committee member Jasmain Singh Noni.
The notice said that when Ranaut's premises (in Mumbai) were demolished, she used social media "to gather solidarity" from her fans, stating that the action was an attack on her fundamental rights.
"Similarly, the right to peacefully protest is part of the farmers' rights under the Constitution of India and she cannot claim a right to demean and insult the farmers," the notice said.
As per the notice, Kangana had shared a tweet alleging that the 'Shaheen Bagh dadi', who made international headlines during the anti-CAA protests earlier this year in the Delhi neighbourhood of Shaheen Bagh, also joined the farmers' agitation over the new agri laws. 
The notice stated that the actor said in her tweet that the "same Dadi" who featured in Time Magazine was "available in 100 rupees".
The legal notice also said that several news reports claimed that the said two women were not the same. "And even otherwise, she has no right to defame any old woman for her political mileage," it said.
"This is a clear example of a hate tweet andneeds to be tackled at the earliest," the notice said.
Thousands of farmers have gathered at Delhi's gateways to demand a repeal of the Centre's three new farm laws. 

The protesting farmers are worried the new laws will eliminate the safety cushion of a minimum support price and procurement system, while rendering ineffective the mandi system that ensures earnings for various stakeholders in the farm sector.
The government has been in talks with farmer leaders to resolve the issue. -- PTI 
Tina Flournoy
Tina Flournoy
21:51   VP-elect Harris picks Tina Flournoy to be her chief of staff
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has named Tina Flournoy, a veteran Democratic strategist and aide to the Clintons, as her chief of staff, the transition team announced Thursday.
Flournoy's appointment as Harris' top staffer adds to a team of advisers led by Black women. Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the nation's first female vice president. Flournoy joins Ashley Etienne as Harris' communications director and Symone Sanders as her chief spokeswoman.
Flournoy has served as chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton since 2013. 

That follows a career that took her to top posts at the Democratic National Committee, in the presidential campaigns of former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and with the American Federation of Teachers.
Harris also announced Rohini Kosoglu as her domestic policy advisor and Nancy McEldowney as her National Security Advisor. Kosoglu had served as Harris's top adviser during the general election campaign. McEldowney is former ambassador to Bulgaria and has 30 years of service in various diplomatic and foreign affairs jobs.
"Together with the rest of my team, today's appointees will work to get this virus under control, open our economy responsibly and make sure it lifts up all Americans, and restore and advance our country's leadership around the world," Harris said in a statement.
Former colleagues describe Flournoy as a no-nonsense operative who has both policy and political chops. Matt McKenna, who was Bill Clinton's spokesperson from 2007 to 2015, noted the historic nature of Harris' candidacy and said Flournoy will skillfully manage competing demands for her time.
"(Harris) represents so many things to so many people, and they're all going to want some of her time. She needs someone who can honor the historic nature of her candidacy and her victory and her place in the world," he said. -- PTI
21:08   US reports record 3,157 Covid deaths in 1 day
The United States reported a record 3,157 COVID-19 deaths and 100,226 hospitalisations on Wednesday, as a top health official warned of a bleak winter ahead as the country continues to see nationwide surges of new infections and hospitalisations.
Wednesday's death toll is an increase of about 20 per cent from the previous grim record of 2,603 set on April 15. Over the course of the pandemic, 273,799 people in the US have died of the virus and more than 13.9 million have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 
The spike in coronavirus deaths came on the same day the number of people hospitalised broke the 100,000-mark, according to the Covid Tracking Project. 
The number of hospitalisations had been steadily growing over the course of last month, setting records nearly every day since November 10, and experts worry health care systems will soon feel the strain, CNN reported.
"The reality is that December, January and February are going to be rough times," the Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield said. 
"I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation," he said.
Redfield said the current surge in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is worse than previous ones, noting the geographic scope and steeper trajectory of infection rates and deaths, as the US is recording roughly 2,000 deaths from the virus daily.
Redfield also warned of the strain on hospitals across the country, which are running low on beds and overworked staff.
The country's 911 emergency call system is "at a breaking point," the American Ambulance Association, which represents all of the nation's ambulance services, said in a letter on Wednesday.
"Without additional relief, it seems likely to break, even as we enter the third surge of the virus in the Mid-West and West," the letter said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention top official said things are not likely to look better for hospitals any time soon.
"The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that's going to be put on our health care system," said Dr. Robert Redfield.
States across the US are racing to catch up with the rising number of coronavirus hospitalisations. -- PTI
21:02   Farmers' protest: Key routes connecting UP-Delhi closed
Police on Thursday closed routes on two national highways connecting Ghaziabad to Delhi as farmers remained adamant on their demand for scrapping of the Centre's agriculture reform laws and stayed put at the national capital's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The protesting farmers had on Wednesday threatened to block other roads of Delhi if their demands were not met.
"The local police have closed the routes on NH-9 and NH-24 from Ghaziabad to Delhi. On NH-1, both sides of the route have been closed near Shani Mandir," the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.
The crowd of farmers continued to swell at Ghazipur, prompting the police to close the Delhi-UP border on NH-24.
"The Ghazipur border on NH-24 is closed for traffic from Ghaziabad towards Delhi due to farmers' protests. People are advised to avoid NH-24 for coming to Delhi and use Apsara/Bhopra/DND instead," the traffic police said.
It said NH-44 is closed on both sides and asked people to take alternate routes via NH-8, Bhopra, Apsara border, and Peripheral expressway
At the Chilla border, one carriageway from Delhi to Noida has been opened for traffic. However, the other carriageway from Noida to Delhi is still closed.
People commuting from Noida to Delhi are advised to avoid Noida link road, the traffic police said.
The Delhi-Haryana border at Jharoda and Jhatikra remained closed for traffic movement. The Badusarai border is open only for two-wheeler traffic.
However, people can travel to Haryana through Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri, NH-8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera border points, the traffic police have said.
The police also kept the Haryana-Delhi border at Singhu and Tikri closed for traffic for the eighth day on the trot.
"Singhu border is still closed from both sides. Lampur, Auchandi & other small borders also closed. Please take alternate routes. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk & GTK Road," the traffic police tweeted. -- PTI
20:41   Maha winter session on Dec 14, 15
The winter session of the Maharashtra legislature will be held for two days only on December 14 and 15 in Mumbai instead of Nagpur in view of the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Thursday.
Traditionally, the winter session of the Maharashtra legislature is held in Nagpur, the second capital of the state. As per the practice, this session lasts for at least two weeks.
"The decision to curtail the winter session to just two days- December 14 and 15- was taken during the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee held on Thursday," the official said.
The state cabinet had on Wednesday decided to recommend to Governor B S Koshyari shifting of the venue of the winter session from Nagpur to Mumbai in view of the pandemic.
The cabinet had also discussed whether the session, that was scheduled to begin in Nagpur from December 7, can be held for a period of two to three days.
Earlier, the monsoon session of the state legislature was held on September 7 and 8 instead on June 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget session held in March, too, was curtailed by a week.
Meanwhile, opposition BJP expressed its displeasure over the decision to hold the winter session in Mumbai for two days only.
Talking to reporters, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said, "We were expecting a longer session so that it would enable discussion on various issues concerning people and farmers in the state. But this government has shown no interest in extending its duration."
"Excess rainfall, floods, cyclone and now the widespread pest infection have damaged various crops from time to time during this year," the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly said.
"Cotton and soybean crops in Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra regions got affected on a large scale due to various pest attacks," he said.
"The unresolved issues related to the Maratha community, anxiety among the OBCs over possible encroachment on their reservation by other communities and women feeling highly unsafe are also other key issues. Therefore, we wanted to have a discussion on these points during the session," Fadnavis said. -- PTI  
20:24   Govt has no ego: Agri Min after meet with farmers
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the central government has no ego and it is having a discussion with farmers with an open mind.

"Farmers are concerned that the new laws will end APMCs. Some points have been raised in previous meetings and today's meet. Farmer unions are mainly concerned about these. The government has no ego. It was discussing with farmers with an open mind," Tomar said after a meeting with protesting farmers.

Tomar further said, "In the new act, it has been provided that farmers can take their grievances to SDM court. Farmers' Unions feel that SDM court is a lower court and they should be allowed to go to any court. The government will consider this demand."

Tomar said that the government is ready to discuss farmer's concern over an ordinance on stubble burning and the act on electricity.

The Union minister reiterated that the MSP system will continue.
20:07   Farmers' meet with govt ends, next talks on Sat
The meeting between farmers' leaders and government ends at Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan. 

Next round of talks between the two sides scheduled for 5 December, reports news agency ANI.
19:38   Javed Akhtar submits statement in defamation plaint against Kangana
Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar on Thursday recorded his statement through his lawyer before a metropolitan court in Mumbai in connection with the complaint of defamation filed by him against actor Kangana Ranaut.
Akhtar had last month filed a criminal complaint against Ranaut before the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate, for allegedly making defamatory and baseless comments against him in television interviews. 

He had sought action against the actor under relevant sections of the IPC.
As part of the process, the veteran poet-lyricist recorded his statement through his lawyer before the magistrate for verification of the complaint.
The court is slated to hear the matter on December 19.
The complaint said that Ranaut had made baseless comments against Akhtar, which caused damage to his reputation.
It added that Ranaut dragged Akhtar's name while referring to a "coterie" existing in Bollywood following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June this year.
She had also claimed that Akhtar had threatened her to not speak about her alleged relationship with actor Hrithik Roshan, it said.
All these statements made by Ranaut have garnered views in lakhs and thus tarnished Akhtar's reputation, the complaint said. -- PTI 
19:36   India 'carefully monitors' new Brahmaputra dam
Amidst reports that China plans to build a major dam on the Brahmaputra, India on Thursday said it "carefully monitors" all developments relating to the river, and that it intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard its interests.
The Brahmaputra river, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in China, originates from Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
At a media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Chinese side has conveyed to India on several occasions that it was only undertaking run-of-the-river hydropower projects, which do not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra. 
He was asked about media reports that China will build a 'super dam' on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangbo river in Tibet.
"We have taken note of some media reports in this regard. Government carefully monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra river," Srivastava said.
Noting that issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalised expert level mechanism which was established in 200 as well as through diplomatic channels, the MEA spokesperson said,"we intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interests."
The MEA spokesperson also said that "as a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas."
In Beijing,  the Chinese foreign ministry said there is no need to have "any anxiety" over the project and that China will continue to have "good communication" with lower riparian states - India and Bangladesh.
19:13   Arnab seeks stay to filing of chargesheet in suicide case
Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on Thursday filed an urgent application before the Bombay high court, seeking a stay to the filing of chargesheet and further proceedings in the 2018 Anvay Naik abetment to
suicide case.
Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, who ordered re-investigation by the state CID, had no power to do so as the previous probe by the Alibaug police in Raigad district had been closed last year, it said.
Goswami, one of the accused in the case which is being re-investigated, was arrested by Alibaug police last month before the Supreme Court granted him  bail.
Stating that his arrest on November 4 was illegal, Goswami in his plea also urged the HC to transfer the investigation to the CBI or any other independent agency.
The Maharashtra government in May this year ordered a reinvestigation out of vendetta, the petition alleged.
"The home department...or any other government authority does not have the power to order a reinvestigation or fresh investigation in a case where an 'A summary' report (clsoure report) is filed and the same is accepted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate," the petition said.
Deshmukh announced at a press conference in November that a "strong chargesheet" would be filed against Goswami, which showed that the state machinery was interfering in the case with a "malafide premeditated diktat to the law and order officers", it said.
The re-investigation could not have been ordered without a judicial sanction and hence, the CID probe is illegal and "abuse of the process of law", Goswami said.
The announcement of reinvestigation reeked of the "malice, spiteful nature and vendetta of the political dispensation" in Maharashtra, the petition claimed.
Goswami also sought permission to amend his main petition seeking quashing of the FIR. He wanted to add arguments against the state home department's letter of May 26 which announced re-investigation and about which he learnt only last month, he said.
Interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik committed suicide in 2018, allegedly  because of non-payment of dues by firms of Goswami and two others. 
After the alleged abetment to suicide case was reopened, Goswami and other two were arrested on November 4, but the Supreme Court granted them bail on November 11. -- PTI  
18:45   Farmers who commit suicide are cowards: K'taka Min
Karnataka agriculture minister B C Patil on Thursday said the farmers who commit suicide are cowards.
"The farmers who commit suicide are cowards. Only a coward who can't take care of his wife and children commits suicide. When we have fallen (in the water), we have to swim and win," Patil said addressing farmers at Ponnampet in Kodagu district of Karnataka.
The minister was explaining to bamboo growers of Ponnampet how profitable the agriculture business is, but some cowards do not realise that and commit suicide.      

To buttress his point, Patil cited an example of a woman who was wearing gold bangles.
"When I enquired with her how her hands were full of gold bangles, You know what she said? She said, "This mother earth has given me for my 35 years of toil." 
 "Doesn't this please you all after listening to this?" Patil told the gathering.
He said when a woman who had depended herself entirely on agriculture and achieved big why other farmers cannot do it.
Reacting to this, Congress Karnataka unit spokesperson V S Ugrappa condemned the minister's statement, saying he has shown disrespect to the farming community.

"It's a disrespect to the farmers. He should apologise for it," Ugrappa told PTI.
He said the minister should have gone into the subject to find why some farmers commit suicide.
"No farmer wishes to end life. There are many reasons such as floods and droughts, which have not been understood and solved yet. Instead of understanding the gravity of the problem, the minister gives such an irresponsible statement," Ugrappa said.  
18:17   Fully ready to deal with China: Navy chief
Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Thursday said the Indian Navy is moving towards procuring a number of key assets including six more submarines, and pitched for a third aircraft carrier even as he asserted that the force is fully ready to deal with any challenge including from China.
Admiral Singh also said the COVID-19 pandemic and attempts to change the status quo at India's northern borders have thrown up challenging situations, adding the Indian Navy aimed to stand steadfast as a "combat ready, credible and cohesive force", furthering the country's national and maritime interests.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of Navy Day, he said the navy has put in place a standard operating procedure in the event of any infringement of its maritime domain in the Indian Ocean region by China.
Asked about the rapid expansion of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and possible challenges from it for India, the Chief of Naval Staff said the Indian Navy was cognisant of it, and was focusing on boosting its overall combat prowess including by procuring niche capabilities and unmanned solutions with available resources.
 "As a primary manifestation of India's maritime power, the Indian Navy stands ready to fulfil its mandate to protect our national interests in the maritime domain."
Admiral Singh also said the Navy was looking at establishment of maritime theatre command in the near future which would further buttress joint planning and application of force in the maritime domain.
"The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted and permeated every aspect of our lives. The near simultaneous attempt to change the status quo at our northern borders has significantly increased the complexities in our security situation. This dual challenge scenario continues as we speak and the country collectively continues to battle the pandemic and tackle the security challenges," he said.
On acquisition of a third aircraft carrier, Admiral Singh said the Navy considers it as an absolute necessity and that it will make a formal case to the government after collating technical details.
India currently has one aircraft carrier -- INS Vikramaditya, and a second one --INS Vikrant-- is under construction.
The construction of INS Vikrant is at an advanced stage and its sea trials are expected to commence in early 2021.
Admiral Singh said the navy will soon take forward the process of acquiring six more submarines as well as a plethora of other assets including six P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft.
On the navy's overall focus, Admiral Singh said it has established a persistent foot-print in its areas of interest including at various choke points in the Indian Ocean.
 "Naval deployments also serve as a deterrent to inimical interests, really signalling the Navy's reach, capability and intent."
Referring to the situation along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the Naval chief said Indian Navy's surveillance aircraft P-8I and Heron drones were deployed in the region.
"Whatever we are doing is in close coordination and synergy with the Army and the Indian Air Force to produce desired results," he said. India and China are locked in a nearly seven-month long military standoff in eastern Ladakh. -- PTI
17:44   HDFC Bank shares fall over 2% after RBI dictat
Shares of HDFC Bank declined over 2 per cent on Thursday after the company said the Reserve Bank of India has asked it to temporarily stop all launches of its upcoming banking initiatives and issuing of new credit cards. 

Erasing all its early gains, the stock dipped 2.13 per cent to close at Rs 1,377.05 on the BSE. During the day, it declined 2.32 per cent to Rs 1,374.25. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), it was down 1.84 per cent to close at Rs 1,381. The company's market valuation was wiped out by Rs 16,055.99 crore to Rs 7,58,287.01 crore on the BSE. 

In traded volume terms, 7.36 lakh shares were traded on the BSE and over 1.89 crore shares on the NSE during the day. In an unprecedented move, the Reserve Bank of India has temporarily barred HDFC Bank from launching digital banking initiatives and issuing new credit cards after taking a serious view of service outages at the country's largest private sector lender over the past two years. -- PTI
17:42   Varavara Rao to remain in pvt hospital till Dec 14
The Bombay High Court on Thursday said the condition of poet-activist Varavara Rao, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, had improved but he will continue to remain at a private hospital till December 14. 

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik perused a medical report submitted by the Nanavati hospital here where Rao was admitted on November 18.

"There is some slight improvement. He shall continue to remain admitted there till December 14," the court said. 

The HC will hear the petition filed by Rao seeking bail on medical grounds and another filed by his wife Hemalata seeking that he be shifted to Nanavati hospital from jail for medical treatment on December 14. 

On November 18, the high court had noted that Rao was 81 years old, suffered from neurological ailments and also needed post-COVID-19 care after recovering from the viral infection. A person was on death bed and in such circumstances the state government cannot say that he should be treated in the jail, the court had said. -- PTI
17:27   'Wonder Woman 1984' to theatrically release in India on Dec 24
"Wonder Woman 1984", starring Hollywood star Gal Gadot as the titular DC superhero, is slated to be released in Indian theatres on December 24, studio Warner Bros Pictures (India) announced on Thursday. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film will release in the country in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The highly-anticipated follow-up to the 2017 DC superhero blockbuster, "Wonder Woman 1984" will see Gadot reprise her role as the Amazonian warrior Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman and Jenkins return at the helm. The sequel follows Wonder Woman facing two all-new foes: Max Lord, played by "Narcos" star Pedro Pascal, and The Cheetah, essayed by Kristen Wiig, known for "Bridesmaids".

Jenkins said the upcoming film follows the "superhero" cast on an epic journey. "This is a classic tale told through a great Super Hero with a true 'superhero' cast, and it's an incredibly epic journey, but... What the story is and how it unfolds? I think less is more, the less I say, the more surprised the audiences will be," the director said. Denzil Dias, VP & MD, Warner Bros Pictures (India), said the studio is looking forward to releasing "Wonder Woman 1984" in Indian theatres on Christmas eve following the debut of Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" in India on Friday.

"After 'Tenet', we are very proud to release another crowd pleaser in December. It is a perfect seasonal family entertainer, one that can best be enjoyed only on the big screen," Dias said. 

The film will also see Chris Pine return as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright as Antiope, and Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta. Presented by Warner Bros Pictures, "Wonder Woman 1984" is an Atlas Entertainment/Stone Quarry Production, and will be distributed in theatres and IMAX worldwide. PTI
Diljit Dosanj also tweeted this pic of farmers, saying, Do they look like terrorists to you?
Diljit Dosanj also tweeted this pic of farmers, saying, "Do they look like terrorists to you?"
16:49   Kangana, Diljit Dosanj in Twitter war over farmers
Actor Kangana Ranaut has got herself mired in yet another controversy after she said that an elderly woman, who was seen protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital in December-March, was seen in the ongoing farmers' protest in Delhi as well.

Punjabi singer-actor Diljit Dosanj on Wednesday shared a video story by an international news channel that slammed the actor for misidentifying the elderly woman at the farmers' protest in the national capital as Bilkis Bano, famously known as "Shaheen Bagh dadi" for her role in the December 2019-March 2020 protests against the CAA.

The video posted by Dosanjh on Twitter featured a Bhatinda-based elderly woman Mahinder Kaur, who according to the news channel was misidentified by Ranaut.

"Respected MAHINDER KAUR JI. Ah Sunn La Ni With Proof @KanganaTeam Banda Ena V Ni Anna Hona Chaida.. Kush v Boli Turi jandi aa .. (Respected MAHINDER KAUR JI. Listen to this with proof @KanganaTeam. A person should not be that blind. You can't speak just anything)," Dosanjh tweeted in Punjabi with the video.

Responding to the famous Punjabi singer, Ranaut reiterated that the same "Bilkis Bano dadi ji" who was a part of the "citizenship," protest had also joined the farmers' protest."Ooo Karan johar ke paltu, jo dadi Saheen Baag mein apni citizenship keliye protest kar rahi thi wohi Bilkis Bano dadi ji Farmers ke MSP ke liye bhi protest karti hue dikhi. Mahinder Kaur ji ko toh main janti bhi nahin. Kya drama chalaya hai tum logon ne? (O Karan Johar's pet, she is the same grandmother who was seen protesting at Shaheen Bagh and now demanding the farmers' MSP. I don't know Mahindar Kaur ji. What kind of drama is this?) Stop this right now," the Queen actor tweeted.

Ranaut again tweeted she had only commented on "Shaheen Baag dadi cos they instigated riots there even that tweet was deleted almost immediately, I don't know from where they brought another elderly lady in to (sic) the picture and now endlessly spreading lies. Vultures trying to instigate mob against a woman."

A Punjab-based lawyer had earlier on Wednesday sent a legal notice to Ranaut for allegedly misidentifying the woman at the farmers' protest in the national capital as Bilkis Bano.
16:26   Are old, women farmers Khalistani, rages Sukhbir
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal on the farmers protests: "There are elderly women in the farmer protests. Do they look like Khalistanis? It is a way of calling farmers of the country as anti-nationals. This is an insult to the farmers. How dare they call our farmers anti-nationals? 

"Does BJP or anybody else have the right to declare anybody as anti-national? These people (farmers) have dedicated their entire life to the nation and now you are calling them anti-national. People who are calling them anti-nationals are actually anti-nationals.

"Parkash Singh Badal (former Punjab CM  fought for farmers for his entire life. He returned his award to send a strong message to the government. Farmers don't need these laws so why the Govt of India is forcing them on farmers?"
16:12   Sensex ends marginally higher; Nifty hits peak
Domestic equity benchmarks ended marginally higher on Thursday, with the Nifty settling at a fresh record, amid mixed cues from global markets. After scaling an all-time intra-day peak of 44,953.01, the 30-share BSE Sensex pared some gains to end 14.61 points or 0.03 per cent higher at 44,632.65. 

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty touched a fresh intra-day high of 13,216.60, before settling 20.15 points or 0.15 per cent up at 13,133.90 -- its lifetime closing high. Maruti was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying around 7 per cent, followed by ONGC, Asian Paints, NTPC, SBI, Bajaj Finserv and Tata Steel. 

On the other hand, HDFC Bank, TCS, Bajaj Auto, Infosys and M&M were among the laggards. 

"Indian market opened mixed following mixed global market cues in Asian markets. Trades in the global markets also remained lacklustre...," said Narendra Solanki, Head- Equity Research (Fundamental), Anand Rathi. During the afternoon session, markets briefly traded in the negative territory but later scaled back to trade in the positive zone. -- PTI
16:07   India-Bangladesh border talks to be held outside Delhi for first time
India and Bangladesh are expected to hold their Director General-level border talks in Guwahati later this month, the first time the biannual meeting will be held outside Delhi, official sources said.

The 51st edition of these high-level talks will be held between the Border Security Force (BSF) and its counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) beginning December 22. Discussions on curbing a variety of border crimes and enhancing cooperation between the two countries are expected to be held for four days. 

Assam's capital is the base for BSF's Guwahati frontier headquarters whose troops guard 495 km of the 4,096 km-long India-Bangladesh border that runs along the state and some parts of West Bengal. 

A special BSF water wing that keeps vigil along the riverine border areas including Dhubri in Assam is under the command of this frontier of the border force. This is the first time since these biannual talks began in 1993 that they are being held outside Delhi, the sources said. -- PTI
Leaders of the farmers groups at the meeting with govt carried their own food
Leaders of the farmers groups at the meeting with govt carried their own food
15:41   Farmers' leaders refuse govt food at Vigyan Bhavan
Leaders of the farmers' groups have food during the lunch break at Vigyan Bhawan where the talk with the government is underway. A farmer leader says, "We are not accepting food or tea offered by the government. We have brought our own food."

The fourth round of talks commenced between the Centre and representatives of farmers' on Thursday afternoon at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi, with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister Piyush Goyal representing the Central government.

Before the meeting, the Union Agriculture Minister while talking to the media hoped that the fourth round of dialogue will bring some positive outcome to the farmers' issues.

"Government is constantly discussing issues with farmers. Today is the fourth round of talks and I'm hoping for a positive outcome," said Tomar while talking to media on Thursday.
15:27   Not game over in Covid fight, warns UK PM
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to strike a note of caution amid the excitement of the UK becoming the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, warning that it is not game over for the deadly virus just yet.

Johnson hailed the searchlights of science fighting back against the world's invisible enemy but urged people to not get carried away with over optimism over the course of the long and cold months ahead while the two-dose vaccine starts to be injected into the arms of those at the highest risk of death from the disease. 

He urged people to follow the Covid Winter Plan of tiered lockdown which is now in force across England, with a majority of areas still under high alert measures of social distancing.

"It is a fantastic moment, but the worst thing now would be to think that this is the moment when we can relax our guard and think it's game over in the fight against COVID. It's not. This is not the end," Johnson said, during a briefing at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday evening. 

"We have been waiting and hoping for the day when the searchlights of science would pick out our invisible enemy and give us the power to stop that enemy from making us ill and now the scientists have done it," he said.

"It is all the more vital that as we celebrate this scientific achievement we are not carried away with over optimism, or fall into the nave belief that the struggle is over. It's not, we've got to stick to our Winter Plan," he noted.

The UK PM confirmed that in line with the advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the first phase of the vaccine deployment will include care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. 

"But there are immense logistical challenges: the vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees and each person needs two injections, three weeks apart. So it will inevitably take some months before all the most vulnerable are protected," he said.  "[But] we are no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal next year in the spri"ng, but rather on the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed, he added.

His address came hours after the UK government confirmed that it has accepted the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) assessment and authorised the use of Pfizer/BioNTech to immunise against COVID-19. 

Now, authorisation has been granted, Pfizer will begin delivery of the vaccine to the UK. In making the recommendation to authorise supply, the MHRA will decide what additional quality assurance checks may be required before a vaccine can be made available.

The UK claims to be the first country to pre-order supplies of the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, with 800,000 doses being made available next week and 40 million doses ordered overall enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population, and the majority of doses anticipated in the first half of next year. -- PTI
15:21   No night curfew in Delhi for now, govt tells HC
No night curfew will be imposed in the national capital or parts of the city as of now, the Delhi government has decided after a detailed assessment of the COVID-19 situation, it informed the Delhi High Court on Thursday.

The Delhi government, in its status report filed before a division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, said that it has been taking all necessary measures as required and demanded by the everchanging circumstances and committed to making every effort to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in the national capital.

The submissions come as the Delhi High Court had, in the last hearing, asked the Delhi government to take a call on imposing a night curfew in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the national capital.

The report also said that the Delhi government has collected over Rs 17 crore as fine against over 2 lakh challans issued in respect of COVID violations. It said that the Delhi Police has so far collected fines of over Rs 27 crore against over 5 lakh challans issued by the cops. -- PTI
15:18   Interpol warns criminals may sell fake Covid vaccine online
The Interpol has warned law enforcement agencies across the globe that organised criminal networks could try to advertise and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines physically and on the internet. In an Orange notice issued to all 194 member countries on Wednesday, the Lyon-based international police cooperation body warned agencies to prepare for potential criminal activity in relation to "the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines".

"It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines," a statement from the Interpol said. 

The Interpol issues an Orange notice to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety. The CBI, which is the national central bureau for India, is tasked with coordination with the Interpol. 

The warning came on the day the UK became the first Western nation to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaulting past the US and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine. The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure "the safety of the supply chain" and said "identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential".
15:10   SC stays Gujarat HC order mandating community service for not wearing masks
The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed an order of the Gujarat High Court that made it mandatory for those violating the face mask rules to do community service at COVID-19 care centres.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan directed the State of Gujarat through Additional Chief Secretary to ensure that the guidelines issued by Centre and Gujarat for wearing masks are "vigorously implemented" in the state by Police officials.

In a bid to control the COVID-19 situation in Gujarat, the High Court on Wednesday ordered that those not found wearing masks will have to serve a "compulsory community service" at Covid care centres and directed the state government to pass a notification in this regard.

The Gujarat government had later approached the top court challenging the order of the High Court that directed the state government to punish those found not wearing a mask with community service at a COVID care centre.During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Gujarat government said though problem of people not wearing mask is serious but the solution is not to punish them with service in Covid care centres.

"Harm of not wearing masks much less than sending such person to Covid centre," Mehta said.

The apex court observed that the order of the Gujarat High Court is very difficult to execute. Justice MR Shah added that "there is a lack of will though so far as implementation is concerned and the High Court has taken note of this."
14:38   Cyclone: 2 naval ships, 4 planes, on standby near TN
Two Indian Navy ships have been deployed off Tamil Nadu for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief assistance. Four Navy aircraft deployed on the West coast to warn fishermen at sea.

Cyclonic storm Burevi with wind speed of 70-80 gusting to 90 kmph was centred very close to Pamban around noon on 3 December. It would then move nearly west-southwestwards across Pamban area by afternoon and cross south Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Kanyakumari during 3 December night and 4 December early morning as a cyclonic storm with wind speed of 70-80 gusting to 90 kmph. 

Thus its impact on south Tamil Nadu coastal districts is likely to commence from 3 December forenoon initially over Ramanathapuram district and gradually move towards Kanyakumari district, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

A Disaster Management Team, headed by Special DIG Rajestas visited and inspected work and preparation in the Pamban area.

A total of 14 teams from the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in various parts of Tamil Nadu in view of anticipated cyclonic storm Burevi. -- ANI
14:36   Gunmen in Pak kill policeman guarding polio eradication team
A police officer assigned to guard a polio immunisation team was killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire at him in northwest Pakistan while he was returning home. The incident happened on Wednesday in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's Bannu district. Sub Inspector Akhir Zaman was on his way back home after performing his duty when two men on a motorcycle opened fire at him, resulting in his death on the spot. The accused fled the scene.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Pakistan is one of the only three countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, that suffers from endemic polio, a virus that can cause paralysis or death. 

Immunisation efforts have in the past been hampered by militants. They have previously alleged the immunisation campaigns are a cover for Western spies. Local officials said they had recruited Muslim clerics to promote the immunisations among children after past programmes were met with resistance and even violence by extremists. PTI
14:30   Vaccine booster dose will build immunity: Guleria
More from Dr Randeep Guleria's presser: "Work is going on at war-footing both at centre and state level for vaccine distribution plan in terms of maintaining cold chain, having appropriate storehouses available, developing strategy, training vaccinators and availability of syringes.

"In beginning, vaccine won't be available in sufficient doses to give to everyone. We need a priority list to see that we vaccinate those who've high chances of dying due to Covid. Elderly, people with comorbidities and front line workers should be vaccinated 1st.  

"Once booster dose is given, vaccine will give good amount of anti-body production and will start giving protection. This will last for many months giving protection for a significant time when numbers will be less. We need to see type of immunity vaccine gives."
14:20   No night curfew in Delhi as of now, Kejriwal govt informs HC
The Delhi government informed the high court on Thursday that it has taken a considered view, after assessing the Covid-19 situation, not to impose night curfew in Delhi or some parts of it as of now.
AIIMS chief, Dr Randeep Guleria
AIIMS chief, Dr Randeep Guleria
13:53   Emergency use Covid vaccine by early Jan: Guleria
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS Delhi, on the trials for the Covid vaccine: "In India, we now have vaccines which are in their final  trial stage. Hopeful that by the end of this month or early next month we should get emergency use authorisation from Indian regulatory authorities to start giving vaccine to public. 

"There is good data available that the vaccines are very safe. Safety and efficacy of vaccine not compromised at all. 70,000-80,000 volunteers have been given vaccine, no significant serious adverse effects seen. Data shows that in the short term vaccine is safe.

"The Chennai trial case is an incidental finding rather than related to vaccine. When we vaccinate a large number of people, some of them may have some other disease, which may not be related to vaccine."
13:47   Mamata threatens country-wide stir if new farm laws not withdrawn
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday threatened to launch a country-wide agitation if the "anti-farmer" new farm laws were not withdrawn. The Trinamool Congress supremo lashed out at the BJP-led government at the Centre over the issue in a series of tweets.

"I am very much concerned about the farmers, their lives and livelihood. GOI must withdraw the anti-farmer bills. If they do not do so immediately, we will agitate throughout the state and the country. From the very start, we have been strongly opposing these anti-farmer bills," she tweeted. 

Her statement came ahead of a crucial round of talks scheduled to be held between the Centre and representatives of the agitating farmers during the day. 

"We have called a meeting of the All India Trinamool Congress on Friday, December 4. We will discuss how the Essential Commodities Act is impacting common people and resulting in sky rocketing prices. The central government must withdraw this anti-people law," she said in another Twitter post.

"The GOI is selling everything. You cannot sell Railways, Air India, Coal, BSNL, BHEL, banks, defence, etc. Withdraw ill-conceived disinvestment & privatisation policy. We must not allow treasures of our nation to be transformed into BJP party's personal assets," Banerjee added.
13:40   India reports more recoveries than active Covid cases
With 40,726 recoveries and 35,551 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, India on Thursday reported more recoveries than active cases for the sixth consecutive day.

According to the Union Health Ministry, India's active caseload has fallen under 4.5 per cent today.

There are currently 4,22,943 active cases in the country, 4.44 per cent of the total positive cases, which breached the 95-lakh mark on Thursday and now stands at 95,34,965.Ten states/union territories contribute to 77.64 per cent of the new recovered cases.

Kerala recorded the most recoveries at 5,924. Delhi registered 5,329 daily recoveries, while Maharashtra reported 3,796.About 75.5 per cent of the new cases are from 10 states/union territories.

As many as 6,316 new cases were reported from Kerala, followed by Delhi with 3,944 new cases. Maharashtra registered 3,350 new cases yesterday.

As many as 526 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, out of which 79.28 per cent reported in the past 24 hours are from 10 States/UTs. -- ANI
13:36   Farmers' protests: Badal returns Padma award
Akali Dal stalwart Parkash Singh Badal returns Padma Vibhushan in protest against farm laws. 

Several former sportspersons including Padma Shri and Arjuna awardees have extended their support to the agitating farmers and said they will return their awards in protest against the "force' used against the protesters  en route to Delhi.

Among them are Padma Shri and Arjuna awardee wrestler Kartar Singh, Arjuna awardee basketball player Sajjan Singh Cheema and Arjuna awardee hockey player Rajbir Kaur.

They said they will proceed to Delhi on December 5 and will place their awards outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

They slammed the Centre and Haryana government for using water cannons and teargas against the protesting farmers to stop them from going to Delhi.

"We are the children of farmers and they have been holding peaceful agitation for the last several months. Not even a single incident of violence took place.
13:24   Manipur's Nongpok Sekmai police station tops list of 10 best police stations in country
Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal district of Manipur was the first on the list of the country's top 10 police stations in 2020 announced on Thursday after a survey by the ministry of home affairs.

An official press release said that the government selects the best-performing police stations across the country every year to incentivise more effective functioning and bring healthy competition.

NongpokSekmai PS in Thoubal district of Manipur was the first ranked police station in the survey followed by AWPS-Suramangalam in Salem City district of Tamil Nadu. Other police stations on the list were Kharsang PS at Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh, Jhilmili (Bhaiya Thana) at Surajpur in Chhattisgarh, South Goa's Sanguem PS in Goa, Kalighat PS at North and Middle Andaman in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Pakyong PS in East District of Sikkim, Kanth PS in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district, Khanvel PS in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Jammikunta Town PS, Karimnagar district of Telangana.

The selection is done in accordance with the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Directors General of Police during the 2015 Conference in Kutch, Gujarat. The Prime Minister had said that parameters should be laid down for grading police stations and assessing their performance based on feedback.

This year's survey for the best police stations was conducted under challenging circumstances by the Ministry of Home Affairs. -- ANI
13:17   Maha Cong resolution for farmers
Maharashtra Congress passes a resolution to support the farmers protesting in Delhi against the Centre's farm laws.
13:11   100,000 Russians given Covid vaccine
More than 100,000 people in Russia have already been inoculated against the coronavirus, said Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Wednesday, while presenting the Sputnik V vaccine to the United Nations over a video link.

Russia became the first country to register the world's first COVID-19 vaccine on August 11. 

Sputnik V, named after Russia's first satellite, has been developed by Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Healthcare Ministry.

Last month, Russia said that its vaccine is 92 per cent effective at protecting people from the COVID-19, according to the first interim analysis.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Russia has reached 2,327,105, Johns Hopkins University and Medicine reported on Thursday. -- ANI
13:08   US Congress passes bill to delist deceitful Chinese firms from Nasdaq
The US Congress has passed a bill that prohibits companies from being listed on American stock markets if they fail to provide the regulators access to their audit information for three years in a row, paving the way to delist deceitful Chinese companies from the US securities exchanges. 

The bipartisan Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act will help protect American investors and their retirement savings from foreign companies that have been operating on US stock exchanges while flouting oversight. 

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. It was passed by the Senate on May 20. The bill now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign it into law. The bill prohibits securities of a company from being listed on any of the US securities exchanges if the company has failed to comply with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) audits for three years in a row.

It requires public companies to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government, including China's communist government; and ensures foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to American companies. -- PTI
A video grab of the horrific incident
A video grab of the horrific incident
13:01   Cong leader asks SC to take up case of dog eating dead body
Former Union Law Minister in the UPA government writes to CJI SA Bobde and other judges to take suo motu cognizance of the case where a dog was found nibbling on a body of a dead girl on a stretcher in a hospital. Photos of same went viral.
12:55   Amarinder to meet Amit Shah
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh arrives at the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. "Discussion is going on between farmers and Centre, there's nothing for me to resolve. I reiterated my opposition in my meeting with Home Minister and requested him to resolve the issue as it affects the economy of my state and security of the nation."

Most of the farmers participating in the protests against the farm laws are from Punjab and Haryana. 

Singh has announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the two farmers, hailing from districts Mansa and Moga respectively, who died during ongoing Farm law protests.
12:44   Govt begins round 2 of talks with farmers
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Minister Piyush Goyal hold talks with farmer leaders, at Vigyan Bhawan. The government is hopeful that the meeting with representatives of protesting farmers, scheduled for later today, will be successful, said Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

"We are hopeful that the meeting will be successful. The aim of holding a dialogue is to find a solution," Prakash told ANI.

The MoS said the Government will hold "point by point discussion" with the farmers to reach a solution.

"Government will hold talks with farmers with an open heart in the interest of the nation," he stated further.

Notably, farmers have warned that Thursday's talks are the "last chance" for the government to take a decision on the laws.

Vehicular movement remained obstructed on a key road connecting Noida and Delhi on Thursday in view of the farmers' protest at the national capital's border for the third day in a row, officials said. Only one of the two carriageways on the Noida Link Road (also known as the Chilla road) was open, allowing commuters coming from Delhi to enter Uttar Pradesh via Noida, they said.
12:36   Rajinikanth to announce party on December 31
Superstar Rajinikanth said today he would announce his long-anticipated political party on December 31 and launch it in January, ending years of speculation.

Announcing his decision on Twitter, Rajinikanth said, In the ensuing state assembly elections, with the tremendous support of the people, Tamil Nadu will have an honest, upright, transparent, corruption-free, secular spiritual political setup. 

A marvel, miracle, it will happen, he wrote in Tamil.

Rajinikanth made the announcement a day after he met senior office bearers of his forum, the Rajini Makkal Mandram. Later on Wednesday, he said he "will announce my decision soon" on his plans for electoral politics.

"District office bearers expressed their opinions. They have said they will agree to whatever decision I take. I will announce my decision as soon as possible," the 69-year-old told reporters outside his Poes Garden residence in Chennai.

Last month, the actor had hinted that his long-awaited entry to electoral politics may be delayed. A letter attributed to him cited doctors' concern over campaigning during the pandemic and the potential impact on Rajinikanth's health. The letter seemed to indicate the actor had been advised to restrict travel since he has a kidney condition and could be vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
12:30   UP makes 1st arrest under new anti-conversion law
The Uttar Pradesh Police has made its first arrest under the new anti-conversion law, days after a man complained that someone is harassing his daughter in a bid to change her religion, officials said on Thursday. 

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on November 28 had given assent to the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions. The law provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 under different categories. 

"This is the first arrest under the new law. Accused Owais Ahmad was arrested from the Richha railway gate in the Bahedi area here on Wednesday. He was produced before a local court and was sent to 14 days judicial custody," Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Bareilly, Rajesh Kumar Pandey said. 

The case was registered at the Devarniya police station in Bareilly district on November 28 against Ahmad, officials said, adding that it was the first case to be registered in the state under the new law. Based on a complaint from Tikaram, a resident of Sharif Nagar village in Devarniya, the case was registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-conversion law. The complainant has accused Ahmad, a resident of the same village, of trying to convert his daughter through "allurement", police said. 

According to the complaint, Tikaram's daughter and Ahmed studied together in Class 12. Three years ago, the accused started pressuring her to undergo religious conversion and perform 'nikaah' (marriage) with him, according to the complaint. But when the woman opposed, he threatened to kidnap her, Tikaram has said in his complaint. The complainant's daughter married someone else in June. However, Ahmed continued to harass her and her family members, he has alleged. -- PTI
11:43   ED raids PFI chairman, others in Kerala
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday raided the premises of PFI chairman O M Abdul Salam and its national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram in Kerala as part of a money laundering case probe, official sources said.
The searches are being conducted in Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram districts of the state, they said.

The action is being carried out under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the sources said.

Some more premises linked to the Kerala-based Popular Front of India are understood to being searched but there was no confirmation.

The central probe agency is investigating PFI's links on alleged charges of fuelling anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act  protests in the country and other instances.

It had earlier recorded the statement of Salam, a senior assistant in the Kerala State Electricity Board.
The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front.

PFI and Salam have denied any wrongdoing in these instances in the past.

-- PTI
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar leaves from his residence
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar leaves from his residence
11:23   Agriculture minister leaves for meet with farmers
The government is hopeful that the meeting with representatives of protesting farmers, scheduled for later today, will be successful, said Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

"We are hopeful that the meeting will be successful. The aim of holding a dialogue is to find a solution," Prakash told ANI.

The MoS said the Government will hold "point by point discussion" with the farmers to reach a solution.

"Government will hold talks with farmers with an open heart in the interest of the nation," he stated further.

Notably, farmers have warned that Thursday's talks are the "last chance" for the government to take a decision on the laws.

"Tomorrow is the last chance for the government to take a decision to repeal the laws, otherwise this movement will become huge and the government will fall," Pratibha Shinde of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, farmers' leaders have departed from Singhu border for their meeting the government on farm laws."35 leaders are going to meet the government. We are educated farmers; we know what is good for us. We want these laws to be withdrawn," said a farmer.

The government had held the third round of talks with farmer representatives on Tuesday. During the talks, the Centre has offered to set up a committee, which the farmers' unions rejected, and instead demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called "black laws" made to favour corporate bodies. Farmers said they'll continue their protest till their issues are resolved.

Tomar said after the meeting on Tuesday that it was good and the farmer unions have been urged to share specific issues related to farm Acts which will be discussed during the fourth round of meeting on December 3 and added that "it remains to be seen to what extent issues can be resolved".
10:56   No hopes from meeting with govt, say farmers
The elderly farmers protesting at Nirankari Samagam Ground in Delhi's Burari on Thursday said they have no hopes from the meeting with the Centre scheduled later in the day to resolve their issues.

A delegation of farmers is scheduled to meet Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday.

Speaking to ANI in the wee hours of the eighth day of protest, 69-year-old Gyan Singh from Punjab said, "Earlier also several such meetings happened but no solutions came in our favour. We have no hopes from the meetings today. The government must think about our interest else we will stay here longer."

Balbinder Singh, 76, who also came from Punjab said that farmers will leave the national capital immediately if their demands are accepted by the Centre.

"Our decision completely depends on how the government is settling the issue. We'll stay here till our issues are resolved," Balbinder Singh.

"Our issues are not limited to the demand for minimum support price (MSP) but the entire bill," said Kalabjit Singh, the 70-year-old farmer from Mansa district of Punjab.

Many farmers here complained that earlier they sold maize for Rs 1,700 to 1,800 but now they sell it for Rs 700 which they said has put their survival in jeopardy.

According to reports, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh are scheduled to meet today ahead of talks of farmers with the Centre.Meanwhile, farmers' leaders have departed from Singhu border for their meeting the government on farm laws.

"35 leaders are going to meet the government. We are educated farmers. We know what is good for us. We want these laws to be withdrawn," said a farmer.

The government had held the third round of talks with farmer representatives on Tuesday. During the talks, the Centre has offered to set up a committee, which the farmers' unions rejected, and instead demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called "black laws" made to favour corporate bodies. Farmers said they'll continue their protest till their issues are resolved.

Tomar said the meeting on Tuesday was good where farmer unions were urged to share specific issues related to farm Acts which will be discussed during the fourth round of meeting on December 3 and added that "it remains to be seen to what extent issues can be resolved".

However, the Union Agriculture Minister had maintained that the farm laws are in the interest of farmers and the reforms have been done after a long wait and the government is ready to address their concerns.

Notably, farmers have warned that Thursday's talks are the "last chance" for the government to take a decision on the laws.
10:31   The questions India must ask itself
"And what must one call our pradhan sevak tapping feet and fingers to psychedelic strobe beats on a riverfront at such a time? People may some day discover the words and the sentiments to express how it feels to see the prime minister of a nation marooned in darkening deficits out on a garish picnic. It's an effrontery whose coarseness of quality will take time to make itself felt where it hurts. Sublime disregard should work for lack of a fuller description. He couldn't care."

Sankarshan Thakur's column for the Telegraph. Read it here
10:25   Indian police use violence as a shortcut to justice
It was minutes into India's Independence Day when police stormed a slum in the western state of Gujarat where Hira Bajania, 65, was sleeping. In the black of night, he was dragged from his home, taken to a nearby police station and accused, with 11 other men, of stealing cell phones.

As dawn broke on a day commemorating India's freedom, one by one the men were taken from their cell to be interrogated for up to 30 minutes, according to a complaint subsequently filed to police, and seen by CNN. They were bound, stripped, beaten, abused and, according to two people in the group, tortured sexually and told to confess. Many returned to their cell limping, unable to stand or sit, say several of the men. All denied the charges. Read the full report here
10:15   Rahul slams Modi's U-turn on 'vaccine for all'
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked the Centre over its statement that it had never spoken about inoculating everyone with a vaccine against COVID-19, and asked what does Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand by. The Centre on Tuesday said there may not be a need to vaccinate the country's entire population against COVID-19 if a critical mass of people are given a shot to break the chain of virus transmission, and made it clear it had never spoken about inoculating everyone. 

"PM -- Everyone will get vaccine. BJP in Bihar elections -- Everyone in Bihar will get free vaccine. Now, GOI -- Never said everyone will get vaccine. Exactly what does the PM stand by?" Gandhi said in a tweet.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said at a media briefing that there may not be a need to vaccinate the country's entire population against COVID-19 if a critical mass of people are given a shot to break the chain of the virus transmission.

"I just want to make this clear that the government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country. It's important that we discuss such scientific issues based on factual information only and then analyse it," Bhushan had said. PTI 
10:03   Equity indices in the green
Equity benchmark Sensex rallied over 300 points in early trade to hit its fresh intra-day record on Thursday tracking gains in index majors HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries and Maruti amid largely positive cues from global markets. 

After scaling a peak of 44,953.01, the 30-share BSE index was trading 176.87 points or 0.40 per cent higher at 44,794.91. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty touched a peak of 13,216.60 before trading 59.05 points or 0.45 per cent up at 13,172.80.

Tata Steel was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 2 per cent, followed by Maruti, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Tech Mahindra, L&T, HCL Tech and SBI. On the other hand, Axis Bank, Infosys, TCS, Bharti Airtel and M&M were among the laggards. 

In the previous session, Sensex finished at 44,618.04, down 37.40 points or 0.08 per cent, while the Nifty edged higher by 4.70 points or 0.04 per cent to end at its fresh closing record of 13,113.75. Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 357.35 crore on a net basis on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data. -- PTI
09:58   India's Covid-19 tally breaches 95-lakh mark
With 35,551 new COVID-19 infections, India's total cases rise to 95,34,965.

With 526 new deaths, toll mounts to 1,38,648. Total active cases at 4,22,943

Total discharged cases at 89,73,373 with 40,726 new discharges in the last 24 hours.
09:21   Protesting farmers to meet agri minister today
The farmers' protest against the three agricultural sector laws passed by the central government in the last monsoon session entered the eighth day on Thursday with demonstrations on Sant Nirankari Samagam ground in Burari on the outskirts of Delhi and other border areas.

A delegation of farmers will meet Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday, said a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. "A delegation of farmers will meet the Agriculture Minister on Thursday. If the government wants, it can resolve the issues. All farmer organisations across the country should take to the streets now," said Rakesh Tikait, Spokesperson, Bharatiya Kisan Union.

Meanwhile, a group of farmers from Rajasthan joined the protest at Singhu (Delhi-Haryana) border on Thursday.

A farmer said that around 500 more farmers from Rajasthan are reaching Delhi soon.

-- ANI
09:05   Obama says he'll get a Covid-19 vaccine when he can
Former US President Barack Obama said he "absolutely" plans on getting a Covid-19 vaccine when it's available and added that he may end up taking it on video to promote public confidence.

Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison scheduled to air Thursday, said if Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation's top infectious disease expert, said a coronavirus vaccine is safe, he believes him.

"People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I've worked with, I trust completely," Obama said. "So, if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting Covid, absolutely, I'm going to take it."

"I promise you that when it's been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it," he said.

During the interview, Obama appeared to acknowledge the very real problem of vaccine hesitancy, which some health experts worry could cause minorities -- who have been more adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic -- to avoid getting a shot.

The former US president said he has no problem setting an example for getting a shot once one is available.

"I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don't trust is getting Covid," he said.
08:39   King of Spices no more
Dharampal Gulati, the owner of MDH Masala, passed away on Thursday morning. He was 97.

According to reports, Gulati was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Delhi for the last three weeks. He suffered cardiac arrest on Thursday morning. The nonagenarian breathed list last at 5:30 am.

Fondly called 'dalaji' and 'Mahashayji', Dharampal Gulati was born in 1923 in Sialkot, Pakistan. A school drop out, Dharampal Gulati joined his father's spice business in early days.

After partition in 1947, Dharampal Gulati moved to India and stayed at a refugee camp in Amritsar. He then moved to Delhi and opened a store in Delhi's Karol Bagh. Gulati officially established the company in 1959. The business did not just flourish in India only but Gulati became a distributor and exporter as well. His company exports Indian spices to various parts of the world including the UK, Europe, UAE, Canda, etc.

In 2019, the government honoured him with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in the country.

According to MDH Masala, Dharampal Gulati donated nearly 90 per cent of his salary to charity. 
08:05   Farmer leader welcomes Trudeau's support, but...
No outside person is allowed to interfere in India's internal matters, one of the agitating farmer leaders said about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's support to protest against the Centre's farm laws.
At a press conference on Singhu border near Delhi, Madhya Pradesh-based farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakkaji said the agitation would continue till the government withdrew all three farm laws.
"No outside person is allowed to interfere in India's internal issues," he said when asked by Trudeau's support to the farmers protest.
He, however, welcomed the Canadian prime minister's concern for the farmers. "They are worried about our issues and we welcome that," he said.
Trudeau had on Monday backed the agitating farmers in India, saying Canada would always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests.
"The situation is concerning and we are all very worried about family and friends and I know that is a reality for many of you," Trudeau said while speaking at an online event to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
India strongly reacted to the comments by Trudeau and other leaders there, calling the remarks as "ill-informed" and "unwarranted" as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.
-- PTI
00:14   CBSE 2021 exams to be in written mode only
Board exams in 2021 will be in written mode only and not online, Central Board of Secondary Education officials said on Wednesday even as consultations on dates for conduct of the examination are still underway.
The officials of the board also said that if students were not able to sit for practicals in classes before the exams, alternatives would be explored.
"No final decision has been taken regarding the dates for conduct of board exams, and consultations with stakeholders are still in process. The exams, as and when they are conducted, will be in written mode and not in an online mode. The exams will be conducted following all COVID protocols," a senior CBSE official said.
"In case students are not able to do practicals in classes before the exams, alternatives to practical exams will have to be  explored," the official added.
Union minister of education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' is supposed to hold an interaction with students, teachers and parents on December 10 on the issue of conduct of board examinations and competitive examinations next year.
Schools across the country were closed in March to contain the spread of COVID-19 and partially reopened in some states from October 15. However, a few states decided to keep them closed in view of a spike in the infections.
The board exams that were being conducted in March had to be postponed mid-way. The exams were later cancelled, and the results were announced on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme. Competitive exams like JEE and NEET were also postponed twice this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been demands for postponement of board exams to May in view of the continued closure of schools and teaching-learning activities being completely online.
The Joint Entrance Exam-Main for admission to engineering colleges across the country is likely to be held in February instead of January, according to officials.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases and engineering admission for this year still being underway are among the reasons behind authorities contemplating the move.
The JEE-Main, which is the national-level competitive test for admission to various undergraduate engineering and architecture courses, is conducted twice a year  January and April. 

However, due to the COVID-19 situation, the April exam was postponed twice and conducted in September. -- PTI