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Tue, 14 January 2020
Oppn spreading 'lies and canard' on CAA: Madhav

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23:45   Oppn spreading 'lies and canard' on CAA: Ram Madhav
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Madhav on Tuesday accused the opposition parties of spreading "lies and canard" on amended Citizenship Act and blamed the Congress for trying to "bail out Pakistan" of its terrorist activities in India.
    
The BJP national general secretary also castigated the rivals for taking help of lies on the CAA after failing to face Prime Minister Narendra Modi politically.     

"It is a conspiracy by the opposition parties to spread lies, canard and misleading people to provoke unrest and violence in the country in the name of opposing CAA," he said at a press conference in Bhubaneswar.
    
The BJP leader asserted that the entire country is in support of the Prime Minister and his policies.
     
Coming down heavily on the Congress, Ram Madhav said "Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, have gone to the extent of attempting to give clean chit to Pakistan in the Pulwama terrorist attack incident."
    
Replying to a question on the Congress tweet on DSP Davinder Singh, the BJP leader said "The Congress is attempting to blame the entire security forces for the mistakes of one police man. The security personnel have
completely dedicated their lives for the nation."
    
"This is not all, the Congress had also attempted to blame RSS and bail out Pakistan following the terrorist attack in Mumbai where 250 people from six different countries were killed," he said.
    
Apart from creating violence by misleading people inside the country on the new citizenship law, Ram Madhav also accused the opposition parties of attempting to tarnish Indias image at the international level.
    
In the name of opposing the CAA, the opposition parties are also going against the Indias basic character. -- PTI
22:55   Indians' mindset is to find unity in diversity, not vice-versa: Bhagwat
Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday said Indians' mindset is to find unity in diversity rather than looking at diversity in unity.
 
He said these days differences on the basis of caste, religion and political affiliation are dominating society.
The whole world is plagued by the wrong approach of looking at differences within society and Indians should take the lead in correcting this trend, he said while speaking at an event to inaugurate a medical dialysis centre in the national capital.
"We (Indian) people don't find diversity in unity and we look at unity in diversity," Bhagwat said.
He said RSS workers always work for the welfare of society without any intention of earning name or fame. -- PTI 
22:51   Be vigilant at all time: Army chief to soldiers
Army Chief Gen M M Naravane on Tuesday exhorted army men deployed along borders with China, Pakistan and those fighting the "proxy war" in Kashmir to remain vigilant round-the-clock, and assured that their operational and logistical needs will be met at any cost.
   
In a message to the 1.3-million-strong force on the eve of Army Day, he said the Indian Army has carved out a "special niche" in the nation's mind space and that it is not merely a combat outfit or an instrument of national power.
 
"It is also a valued institution of the country. We remain steadfast in our resolve to uphold our values, ethos and the trust reposed in us by our citizenry," he said.
 
The army chief called the decision of the government to create a department of military affairs under a Chief of Defence Staff as a "seminal step" to facilitate greater integration among the three services.
 
He noted that the primary responsibility of the Indian Army is to maintain operational readiness of the "highest order" and asked all the personnel, particularly those guarding the borders with Pakistan, China and in Siachen glacier to remain vigilant "all the time."
 
The army chief also asked those engaged in responding to the "complex challenge of proxy war" and internal security situations to remain alert.
 
"I have no doubt that you shall ensure necessary operational ascendancy with respect to our western adversary, while displaying steadfastness and resilience along the Northern borders," Gen Naravane said.
 
"On our part, we shall ensure that your operational and logistic needs, are met at all costs. In our quest to remain sharp and contemporary, we have carefully analysed the geo-strategic landscape and the evolving character of war in emerging conflict situations," he added.
 
Gen Naravane said the the army has taken a number of steps towards doctrinal optimisation and capability enhancement to deal with emerging threats.
 
On creation of military affairs department, he said it will enable greater civil-military synergy, enhance productivity in strategic outcomes and facilitate far greater integration amongst the three services.
 
"We remain committed to developing necessary operational synergy. The Indian Army is an equal opportunity employer, committed to the principle of gender equality," Gen Naravane said.
 
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that the first batch of 100 women Military Police personnel, have commenced training from January 6 and shall shortly be deployed in our field formations," he added. -- PTI
22:39   US House to vote to send Trump impeachment trial to Senate
The House of Representatives would vote on Wednesday to send to the US Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, lawmakers from the opposition Democratic party said on Tuesday.
The 435-member US House of Representatives, where Democrats enjoy a majority, last month charged Trump with "high crimes and misdemeanours" and impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has led her Democratic party in the impeachment against Trump, told this to her party Caucus during a meeting at the US Capitol.
"The vote will be tomorrow (Tuesday)," Congressman Henry Cuellar told reporters after the meeting.
Pelosi, during the caucus meeting, did not name the House managers for the Senate trial. However, the House vote would include the names of the managers who would argue the case on their behalf.
"The resolution will be done tomorrow; the managers will be named in the resolution. We'll have about a 10-minute debate and we'll vote on it and then send everything over. And the Senate trial, I assume, will start next week," Cuellar said.
Initiated by Pelosi on September 24, the House, where the Democratic party enjoys a majority, voted on two articles on impeachment against Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump and the White House have denied those charges.
Trump, joined by his Republican party, has accused Democrats of one-sided impeachment proceedings against him.
Republicans enjoy majority in the 100-member Senate. As such Trump appears to be confident that impeachment would be defeated in the Senate.
The White House has confirmed its defence team for the Senate trial. -- PTI  
21:31   26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed pleads not guilty: Official
Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed on Tuesday pleaded "not guilty" in two terror financing cases against him as the Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief finally recorded his statement in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in Lahore.
 
The Counter Terrorism Department had registered 23 FIRs against Saeed and his accomplices on the charges of terror financing in different cities of Punjab province and arrested him on July 17. He is held at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.
 
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
 
At a hearing on January 10, a questionnaire was handed over to Saeed by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court.
 
"In response to a questionnaire handed over to him by the Anti-Terrorism Court Lahore regarding terrror financing charges against him, Saeed on Tuesday submitted his reply in which he dismissed all charges against him. He pleaded not guilty," a court official told PTI after the in-camera hearing.
 
The official said the ATC adjourned the hearing till Wednesday for final arguments.
 
The cases of terror financing have been registered against Saeed in Lahore and Gujranwala cities in Punjab province on the application of the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police.
 
Saeed was produced at the ATC under tight security. Journalists were not allowed to enter the court premises for the coverage of the proceedings. -- PTI  
21:29   Research more on cow dung: BJP MP to scientists
Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh urged scientists to conduct more research on cow dung, suggesting that this could make it financially viable for farmers to keep their cows even after they have stopped producing milk.
 
"Stray cattle is a major problem in Uttar Pradesh," Singh said at a workshop for vice chancellors and veterinary officers from 12 states in Mathura on Monday.
The minister was suggesting that if farmers can make money out of cow dung and urine they will not abandon their cattle.
"There is immense scope of value addition to milk, dung and urine of the cow that would ultimately contribute to the economy of the country," the Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said.
He said if the input cost of agriculture decreases, villages and farmers would progress. 
The BJP leader further said he followed the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Ram Manohar Lohia and Deendayal Upadhyaya.
"Just like people keep in mind the teachings of Gita, Quran and Ramayana, I practise the ideals of Gandhi, Lohia, and Deendayal Upadhyaya," Singh said. -- PTI  
21:26   Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Kumar Patnaik to retire on Jan 31
Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Kumar Patnaik will retire on January 31, an official order of the Delhi government said.
"Consequent upon attaining the age of superannuation, Amulya Kumar Patnaik, IPS:1985, Commissioner of Police, Delhi, shall stand retired from government service with effect from 31.01.2020," it stated.
The order has been issued with the approval of Lt Governor Anil Baijal, it added. -- PTI
21:18   India, US in talks for possible visit by Trump
Indian and United States officials were engaged in talks to finalise dates for a possible visit by US President Donald Trump to India, government sources said on Tuesday.
   
India had invited Trump to grace the Republic Day parade as the chief guest last year but the US President could not come due to scheduling issues.
 
"Both sides are in discussions to finalise the dates," said a source.
 
There has been indication that the US President may visit India in the next few months.
 
Finalisation of dates will also depend on political developments in Washington, where impeachment proceedings are on against Trump, the sources said.
 
During his visit to the US in September last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reminded Trump of his invitation to him to visit India along with his family.
 
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during their visit to Washington last month conveyed to the US side that India was waiting to host President Trump.
 
Trump will seek re-election in presidential polls scheduled to take place in November.
 
Last week, Trump and Modi held a telephonic conversation during which they discussed ways to further strengthen the US-India strategic partnership.
 
The conversation came in the backdrop of escalating tensions in the Gulf region after the US killed top Iranian commander General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad.
 
Modi highlighted the significant progress made in deepening the strategic partnership between India and the US in the previous year and expressed his desire to continue to work with President Trump for enhancing cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, the PMO said. -- PTI
20:51   Vested interests causing unrest in country: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said India was developing at a rapid pace and things that were seen as impossible were becoming a reality, but vested interests were trying to mislead the nation and cause unrest.
    
In his video address at an event held by a Tamil magazine in Chennai, the prime minister said his government's decisions have helped further India's economic and social integration.
     
Listing out the initiatives, including abrogation of Article 370, abolition of triple talaq and GST implementation, he said: "Today, as India is developing at a rapid pace and things that were seen as impossible are becoming a reality." 
        
However a "... vested interest group is unable to digest the changes. They are trying their level best to mislead, confuse and cause unrest.
    
During such times, there was an increasing responsibility for a magazine like Thuglak to keep the people aware, just as its founder editor Cho Ramasamy would have done, he said. -- PTI
20:07   Campus calm, peaceful: JNU admin
The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Tuesday said classes in many schools have begun for the new semester and the campus witnessed a "calm and peaceful" atmosphere, while a section of students and teachers continued to abstain from classes amid standoff with authorities over the fee-hike issue.
   
JNU's Registrar Pramod Kumar, in a statement, said academic and administrative units of the university functioned "normally on January 14, even as the campus witnessed a calm and peaceful atmosphere".
 
"The number of student registrations has been rising consistently and the last date of registration has been extended till January 15 to facilitate students who have gone on leave or on academic assignments off campus," Kumar said.
 
Classes in many schools and centres for the new semester have begun and time-tables have been uploaded, he said.
 
"MPhil and PhD viva-voce examinations of various research scholars have been conducted and several others have been scheduled. International academic delegations have also visited for discussions on research collaborations and student exchange," Kumar added.
 
However, some students and teachers of the university continued their agitation and boycotted classes over the fee-hike issue.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union has been on a strike from October 29 over the hostel fee-hike issue. -- PTI 
19:58   AAP releases list of 70 candidates for Delhi poll
The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday announced its list of 70 candidates for the Delhi assembly polls to be held next month.
 
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will contest from the New Delhi assembly seat while his deputy Manish Sisodia from the Patparganj assembly seat, the party's Political Affairs Committee said.
Delhi will go to polls on February 8 and the counting of votes will take place on February 11.
18:55   Nirbhaya case convict seeks mercy from Prez
Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, writes to President for mercy.

Earlier, the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petitions filed by two of the four convicts.

A Delhi court had on January 7 issued death warrants against the four convicts and said they would be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.
18:47   BSF opens fire at 'drone-like objects' near Indo-Pak border
Some "drone-like objects" were seen along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab's Ferozepur, prompting Border Security Forcwe personnel to open fire at them, officials said on Tuesday.  
 
The objects were sighted at Tendiwala village near the Shameke border outpost twice around 8.48 pm and 11 pm on Monday night, BSF officials said.  
 
The BSF personnel from the 136th Battalion fired to bring them down, they said.   

However, the objects could not be recovered in a joint search operation of the BSF and Punjab Police.
 
Deputy Inspector General of the BSF, Sandeep Chanan, said though some objects were seen in the sky, it could not be ascertained whether they were drones or something else.
 
SP Baljeet Singh Sidhu said police had received information regarding "some drones" following which they swung into action.
 
"Police asked villagers to report if they find something suspicious," he added. 
 
On January 10, an Army naik and two others were arrested by the Punjab Police  for allegedly smuggling drugs and weapons from across the border using GPS-fitted drones in collusion with their Pakistani accomplices. -- PTI
18:19   Notice served to historian Irfan Habib over remarks against PM
Aligarh Civil Court Advocate on Tuesday sent a notice to historian Irfan Habib for allegedly taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah during a speech at the Aligarh Muslim University.

In a notice to Habib, lawyer Sandeep Kumar Gupta said that a speech delivered by the historian at the Aligarh Muslim University on Monday was "against the unity and diversity of India and it also challenges sovereignty".

Pointing out at Habib's speech, Gupta in the notice said: "You advised Amit Shah to remove Shah from his name as it is a Persian word, you said RSS was formed to attack Muslims, you blamed Hindutva idealogue Veer Savarkar of dividing the nation despite the fact that two-nation theory was propounded by Jinnah, you ridiculed the use of Gandhi's spectacles in government's Swwacchta Abhiyan."

In the notice, the advocate said he has taken cognisance of Habib's "poisonous statements" from various newspapers.

He sought a reply from Habib within seven days and asked him to publish an apology, warning him of strict legal action if not done so.

The historian's alleged remarks come in the wake of the controversy over the new citizenship law, which has come into force last week. -- ANI
18:04  
Union home minister Amit Shah flies a kite in Ahmedabad.
17:56   FIRs filed against Bengal BJP chief for threatening CAA protesters
The Trinamool Congress has lodged two police complaints against West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party president Dilip Ghosh in Nadia and North 24 Parganas districts for his comments that anti-CAA protesters "were shot like dogs", police and TMC sources said on Tuesday.
Senior TMC leader and state food supplies minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said on Tuesday that party activists have lodged a police complaint against Ghosh for his controversial remark.
"The common people are living in fear. Some are apprehending that Dilip Ghosh might kill them or shoot them. So a police complaint has been filed at Habra police station in North 24 Parganas, which is being treated as a FIR," Mullick said.
The second police complaint has been filed by a TMC leader in Ranaghat area of Nadia district.
"We have received the complaint. We are looking into it," Nadia district police said.
Ghosh has kicked up a row with his remark at a public meeting in Nadia district on Sunday that "anti-CAA protesters were shot like dogs in BJP-ruled states", provoking criticism from political rivals as well as his own partymen. -- PTI 
17:53   Govt worried as many states not keen to take imported onions: Paswan
The Centre is "worried" about disposing of imported onions as not many states are interested to take it despite the key kitchen stable is being offered to them at an average landed cost of Rs 55 per kg and bearing the transportation cost, consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday.
   
Retail onion prices, which were ruling over Rs 100 per kg in most cities since the past two months, have started softening now on arrival of imported onions and new kharif crop. 

However, prices have still not fallen to the normal levels.
 
"So far, we have contracted 36,000 tonnes of onion. Of which, 18,500 tonnes of shipment has reached India, and states have been able to take only 2,000 tonne after much persuasion. We are worried about its disposal because it is a perishable commodity," Paswan told reporters.
 
"Tomorrow, someone should not go to court and say imported onions were rotting," he said.
 
The minister further said the Centre is offering imported onions at an average landed cost of Rs 55 per kg and also bearing the entire transportation cost. Despite all, the state governments are not coming forward to buy and retail it.
 
Asked why prices are still high despite imports, Paswan said, "The imports are being done to improve the domestic supply and check prices. If state governments are not ready to take the imported onions, what can we do?"
 
So far, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal governments have taken the imported onions. Many states have withdrawn their demand, he added.
 
Sources said the taste of imported onions is different from the homegrown ones and consumers are not buying it in the retail markets when domestic onion is available at the same rate.
 
Stating that a shipment of 5,500 tonne was cancelled before it set on sail in the absence of demand, consumer affairs secretary Avinash Srivastava said 4,000 tonne of imported onions is expected to arrive in the next two days and 14,500 tonnes by the month-end.
 
The government is importing onions through state-run trading agency MMTC. 

Imports are being undertaken from Turkey, Afghanistan and Egypt. 

Onion prices shot up due to 25 per cent fall in the kharif production.
 
Paswan also said the ministry is keeping a close watch on prices of other commodities, especially edible oils and pulses. The government will take action at appropriate time. -- PTI 
17:11   Delhi cops to clear road blocked by CAA protesters
Delhi Police has initiated the process of clearing the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch in Delhi, which was blocked for a month by people protesting against the amended citizenship law, officials said on Tuesday.
The move came after the Delhi high court directed the police to look into the traffic restrictions on this stretch.
"The police has initiated the process of clearing a road at Shaheeen Bagh near Jamia Milia Islamia.
"The police is following the policy of persuasion rather than force to clear the busy arterial road," a government official said.
Officials said that police will talk to traders body, religious leaders and community elders to end the blockade. 
Many people in South Delhi were inconvenienced due to the closure of the road as it snapped a direct link with satellite town Noida.
The Delhi high court on Tuesday directed the city police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for nearly a month due to protests against the Act, while keeping in mind the larger public interest.
Meanwhile, the police has examined eight suspects, including Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Aishee Ghosh, for their alleged involvement in the violence at the premier institute, the official said. -- PTI 
16:56   Wholesale inflation surged to 2.59% in December
Wholesale prices based inflation surged to an eight-month high of 2.59 per cent in December, as against 0.58 per cent in November due to sharp rise in prices of food articles like onion and potato. 
   
The annual inflation, based on monthly wholesale price index was recorded at 3.24 per cent in April 2019.
 
WPI was at 3.46 per cent during December 2018.
 
Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 2.42 per cent compared to a build up rate of 2.92 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year, as per data released by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday.
The rate of price rise for food articles rose to 13.12 per cent during December as against 11 per cent a month earlier, while for non-food articles it rose nearly four-fold to 7.72 per cent from 1.93 per cent in November.
 
Among food articles, vegetable prices surged by 69.69 per cent mainly on account of onion, which witnessed 455.83 per cent jump in prices, followed by potato at 44.97 per cent.
 
Onion prices ruled above Rs 100 per kg in various markets till recently because of crop damage due to excessive rains. However, prices have started to move southwards with fresh crop arrival and imports.
   
 The consumer price index based retail inflation, as per data released on Monday, spiked to over a 5-year high of 7.35 per cent in December due to costlier food products.
 
The unexpected jump in inflation diminished the chances of the RBI cutting interest rate at its next monetary policy review due in early February.
 
Experts feel CPI is expected to further harden next month due to elevated price level of food prices mainly vegetables.
 
"We now expect inflation to breach 8 per cent in January and then start bottoming out. However, this jump in inflation will perforce the RBI to relook at the inflation trajectory but in our view any change to a possible change in stance could be unwarranted as we find compelling evidence of significant slowdown in discretionary consumption," SBI Economic Research Department said in a report. -- PTI
16:20   BJP ally LJP to fight ALL seats in Delhi polls
BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party announced on Tuesday that it will contest all the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly polls scheduled for February 8 and released its first list of 15 candidates.
  
LJP leader Kali Pandey, who is the party's in-charge for the Delhi polls, said his party's alliance to the BJP was confined to Bihar and added that this was for the saffron party to decide if it wanted a tie-up in the national capital as well.

"It is for the bigger partner in alliance to take a call about any tie-up. We have seen what happened in Jharkhand," he told reporters referring to the BJP's loss in the Jharkhand elections.

The BJP had fought the polls on its own after it failed to finalise an alliance with its partner All Jharkhand Students Union. The LJP, too, had fought separately.

The LJP's Delhi unit president Vinod Nagar said the party will fight the polls in the city with all its might.

-- PTI
16:06   Jeff Bezos roasted for Australia wildfire donation
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' Instagram post announcing $690,000 towards the Australian bushfires relief efforts has drawn social media ire with many claiming that the amount he donated pales in comparison to other wealthy contributors.

"Our hearts go out to all Australians as they cope with these devastating bushfires. Amazon is donating 1 million AU dollars in needed provisions and services. Find more about it and learn how customers can help as well," Bezos posted on Instagram.

The internet was quick to point out that the amount is roughly how much money Bezos, who is worth $117 billion, makes in minutes.

One woman even claimed she raised nearly twice what Amazon pledged by selling her nude photos online.

The contribution from the founder of Amazon, which has a market cap of $936 billion, dwarfs in comparison to other wealthy contributors.

While Facebook has pledged $1.25 million towards relief efforts, metal band Metallica, which Forbes estimates is worth $68.5 million, has pledged $7,50,000.

Television personality and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner is even giving $1 million while singer Elton John has donated $1 million towards the Australian wildfires.
15:32   DMK explains why they skipped Oppn's meet on CAA
The DMK on Tuesday said it skipped a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress on CAA, NRC and NPR since its party chief M K Stalin was accused of violating coalition dharma over local body polls.

A day after avoiding participating in the meet for showcasing opposition unity, the DMK was also non-committal on restoration of ties with its old ally, notwithstanding the regret reportedly expressed by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief K S Alagiri.

"We did not take part in the meeting since our chief was accused of violating coalition dharma," senior leader T R Baalu said.
   
The party did not participate in the meeting at Delhi on Monday since it was felt that TNCC president Alagiri's recent
statement was an "accusation against party chief M K Stalin," Baalu, also a Lok Sabha MP, said.

Asked if the ties with Congress have now returned to its "old status," (since Alagiri has reportedly expressed regret and met party chief Sonia Gandhi in this regard) Baalu was non-committal.

-- PTI
15:21   Hanging small punishment for Nirbhaya's rapists: DCW chief Maliwal
Delhi Commission For Women chief Swati Maliwal on Tuesday said hanging is a small punishment for Nirbhaya's rapists, even as the Supreme Court dismissed curative petitions filed by two of the four death row convicts in the 2012 gang rape and murder case.
  
"While committing such a heinous crime, these brutal people did not show any mercy, but now when they have been sentenced to death, they are scared for their lives. For such people, hanging is a small punishment. Their hanging will send out a strong message to those who have rapist mindset," Maliwal tweeted in Hindi. 

-- PTI
15:00   Tehran plane crash: individuals arrested, says Iran
Irans judiciary says arrests have been made over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed all 176 people on board just after takeoff from Tehran.

The announcement came shortly after Irans president called for a special court to be set up to investigate the downing last week of the plane by Iranian forces.

Iranian state media quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili saying that extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested. He did not name anyone or say how many had been held.

Iran, which initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the plane, acknowledged that its Revolutionary Guards had shot down the Ukrainian plane by mistake three days after Wednesdays crash and in the face of mounting evidence.
14:44   Big day for me: Nirbhaya's mother
"This is a big day for me. I had been struggling for the last 7 years. But the biggest day will be 22nd January when they (convicts) will be hanged," said Asha Devi, mother of the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the curative petition of two death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case.

A five-judge Bench of Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan heard the petition filed by Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh. 

The duo had moved a curative petition in the top court after a Delhi court issued death warrants in their names for their hanging on January 22.

Besides them, two other convicts named Pawan and Akshay are also slated to be executed on the same day at 7 am in Delhi's Tihar Jail premises.
14:16   SC dismisses curative plea of Nirbhaya rapists
The Supreme Court has dismissed the curative petition of two of the death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case.

A five-judge Bench of Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan heard the petition filed by Vinay Sharma and Mukesh.

The two convicts had moved a curative petition in the top court after a Delhi court issued a death warrant in their name and announced January 22 as the date of their execution.

A Delhi court had on January 7 issued death warrants against all the four convicts -- Mukesh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - and ordered they be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail, over seven years after the brutal crime sparked outrage and anger across the country.

The execution will take place on in Jail No 3 and Pawan Jallad from Meerut will be sent to hang the four convicts.

The 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya or fearless, was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road.
14:05   On Nadella's CAA remark, BJP MP says 'literate needs to be educated'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella statement that CAA is just bad for India has not gone down well with the BJP, and party MP Meenakshi Lekhi trained guns at the corporate biggie on Tuesday.

Calling it a perfect example of How literate need to be educated, Lekhi tweeted: Precise reason for CAA to grant opportunities to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

How about granting these opportunities to Syrian Muslims instead of Yezidis in USA?

This outburst came after on Monday, the Microsoft CEO spoke out against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and was quoted as saying: I think what is happening is sad...Its just bad...I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or become the next CEO of Infosys.

Though Microsoft promptly tried to make ammends and issued a fresh statement by Nadella, and said Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly. And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds, said the India-born CEO.

Im shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to find a prosperous start-up or lead a multinational corporation benefitting Indian society and the economy at large. But the damage was done.
13:32   Judge rips Delhi cops at 'Raavan's' bail hearing
While hearing the bail plea of Bhim Army Chief leader Chandrashekhar Azad, who was arrested by the Delhi police from the Jama Masjid area during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest last year, Delhi's Tis Hazari Sessions Judge on Tuesday asked the state to produce FIRs registered against Bhim Army chief in Saharanpur and posted the matter of bail plea tomorrow.

Appearing for Azad, Advocate Mahmood Pracha pointed out that FIR mentions about charges against Azad in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Court slammed the Delhi Police, saying, people can carry out peaceful protests anywhere. "Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan where we are not allowed to protest. Peaceful protests take place in Pakistan as well," the Judge said.

While the judge asked about those charges, the Public Prosecutor pleaded for ignorance and told that he will find out. To this, the Judge expressed surprise at the fact that the PP was not aware of the charges.

Thereafter, the Prosecutor mentioned some posts by Azad on social media. When Pracha asked about the posts, Prosecutor denied sharing those posts with him. Following which, the Judge slammed the prosecutor, asking "What privilege you are claiming?"

After the Prosecutor read a post by Azad in which he mentioned about going to dharna in the Jama Masjid area. On this, Judge Kamini Lau asked the Prosecutor -- "What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is an individual's constitutional right to protest peacefully."

"You are behaving as if Jama Masjid is Pakistan. Even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India. None of the posts by Azad were unconstitutional," the judge said.

When the Prosecutor said that permission is a must for any protest, the judge asked "What permission?"

"The apex court has said repeated use of 144 is abuse (referring to recent Kashmir case decision). Many people protest even outside Parliament," she said.

-- ANI
13:15   Michael Debabrata Patra is new RBI deputy governor
Michael Debabrata Patra has been appointed deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, according to a Personnel Ministry order.
  
He has been appointed to the post for a period of three years, it said.

Patra, who is looking after the monetary policy department as the executive director, will be the fourth deputy governor of the RBI. The post was lying vacant after Viral V Acharya had resigned from the post in June last year.

Patra is likely to retain the monetary policy department, which was handled by Acharya, as the deputy governor.

The RBI, headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, can have a maximum of four deputy governors. 

N S Vishwanathan, B P Kanungo and M K Jain are the other deputy governors working at the central bank. 

-- PTI
12:54   After 'eunuch' remark for Kejriwal draws flak, Shashi Tharoor apologises
Day after accusing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of not doing anything in the wake of violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and comparing him to eunuchs for wanting power without responsibilities, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor issued an apology on Twitter.

Tharoor had said, Mr Kejriwal is trying to have it both ways. He has made statements deploring the CAA and NRC but has not taken any tangible action. He has not even shown human compassion one expects from a chief minister from victims of violence in his state. In any other state, had students been bashed up in this manner, the chief minister would have visited them and shown them some concern. Mr Kejriwal really wants power without responsibility, which we all know has been the prerogative of eunuchs for ages (sic).

There was massive outrage on Twitter after Tharoors remarks, with many users saying the comments were unacceptable.

While he apologised for the comments in a tweet on Tuesday morning, he regretted only the use of the line power without responsibility and did not mention the eunuch reference.

Apologies to those who found my quote about power without responsibility offensive. Its an old line from British politics, going back to Kipling & PrimeMinister Stanley Baldwin, &most recently used by Tom Stoppard. I recognize that its use today was inappropriate &withdraw it, the Congress leader tweeted.

Tharoor has been taking potshots at Kejriwal ever since violence broke out in Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on January 5.
12:24   3 soldiers killed as avalanche hits army post
Three soldiers have been killed and one is missing after an avalanche hit an army post in Jammu and Kashmir's Machil sector in Kupwara district on Monday.

One soldier is in hospital with injuries. The avalanche hit the army post around 1 pm on Monday.

In another avalanche, five civilians have been killed after nine people came under an avalanche in Sonmarg in Ganderbal district. Officials say four persons have been rescued after overnight rescue operations.
12:12   Drone spotted near Indo-Pak border in Punjab; BSF opens fire
BSF personnel spotted a drone along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab's Ferozepur district and opened fire to bring it down, officials said on Tuesday.
  
The drone was sighted in Tendiwala village near the Shameke border post on Monday night, they said.

The drone was spotted twice following which BSF personnel from the 136th Battalion opened fire at it to bring it down, the officials said.

-- PTI
11:54   Fire in footwear manufacturing unit in Delhi
A fire broke out in a footwear manufacturing factory on Lawrence Road in west Delhi on Tuesday morning, a Delhi Fire Service official said. 
  
No casualty has been reported, he said.

The fire department said they received a call about the fire at 9:46 am and 26 fire tenders have been rushed to the site.

-- PTI
11:31   HC directs cops to look into Shaheen Bagh plea
The Delhi high court on Tuesday disposed of a petition seeking directions to the police to open Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch which has been closed since December 15, due to ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Hearing the petition on Tuesday seeking to withdraw closure of Delhi's Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, the court asked the Delhi Police to look into the matter in larger public interest and deal with the issue of maintaining law and order.

The Delhi HC had on Monday agreed to hear a PIL seeking to open Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch. The road closure is causing huge inconvenience/hardship to lakhs of commuters everyday and they are compelled to take different routes for last one month, t heplea said.

The petition, filed advocate and social activist Amit Sahni, sought direction to the Delhi Police Commissioner to withdraw the closure of Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch and Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15, 2019 for ongoing protests against CAA and National Register of Citizen. It was a temporary measure but has been extended from time to time.

The Kalindi Kunj stretch is quite crucial as it connects Delhi, Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and commuters who use these roads are forced to take alternative routes Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram, which is causing hours of traffic jams and wastage of time and fuel, it said.

The plea said children, who take that route, are compelled to leave home two hours prior to school timing.

It claimed that the authorities have failed to take appropriate action to give relief to the residents of the locality and lakhs of commuters of Delhi, UP and Haryana.
11:00   Raj Kapoor's daughter Ritu Nanda passes away
Ritu Nanda, entrepreneur and daughter of late Bollywood actor-filmmaker Raj Kapoor, passed away on Tuesday in New Delhi. She was 71.

Ritu is the sister of Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor. 

Ritu Nanda passed away early morning today. She was suffering from cancer. We are in Delhi. The funeral is today, Randhir was quoted as saying to Indian Express.

Born in 1948, Ritu, an entrepreneur associated with the life insurance business, was married to late industrialist Rajan Nanda. Their son Nikhil Nanda is married to Amitabh Bachchans daughter Shweta. She is the grandmother of Navya Naveli Nanda and Agastya Nanda.

Ritu Nanda was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and underwent treatment in the US. Among the several awards and honours, Ritu also holds a record of selling 17,000 pension policies in a single day, for which she also entered the Guinness Book of Records.

Image: Ritu Nanda with her husband Escorts Chairman Rajan Nanda
10:50   US Senate to begin impeachment trial against Trump on Jan 21
The US Senate is likely to begin the impeachment trial against Donald Trump on January 21 after the House of Representatives last month impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, a top Republican Senator has said.

The 435-member House of Representatives, where Democrats enjoy a majority, last month charged Trump with high crimes and misdemeanours" and impeached in vote that was based on bitter political divide.

Now, the 100-member Senate, where the Republicans are in majority, needs to put Trump on trial before he can be removed from the White House.

After holding it on for weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send its impeachment to the Senate sometime this week and that could be as early as Tuesday. 

The impeachment in the Senate is unlikely to pass through given that GOP has majority in the 100-member Senate.

Top Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is also Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, on Monday told reporters that the Senate is likely to start the impeachment trial next Tuesday, January 21. 

Tuesday (January 21) is what it's feeling like, he said.

"We'd actually be glued to our chair starting Tuesday, I think," he said in response to a question.
-- PTI
10:40   NHRC team to visit Jamia today in Dec 15 case
A team comprising members of the National Human Rights Commission will visit the Jamia Millia Islamia University on Tuesday to conduct an investigation on several issues. The team will investigate the incident of violence, that took place on December 15, of the lathi-charge by the police, ruckus in the university library and lathi-charge on students. They will also speak to the injured students.

Massive and violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act took place on December 15 in Jamia between the Delhi Police and students of University. The agitators had set ablaze four buses near New Friends Colony, injuring at least six policemen and two fire brigade personnel.

Locals of the Sarai Julema are in Jamia Nagar had allegedly clashed with police. The situation turned critical when the police got into action. Several Jamia students are also said to have been injured in the clash. Around 100 students were also detained by the police but were released later.

On Monday, university Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar had said that Delhi Police entered the campus without permission during the anti-CAA protests and the process of filing an FIR against them will begin from Tuesday.

"The FIR process is going on but what you are demanding cannot be fulfilled as we are government employees. Regardless of all that we have sent our objection to the same government we work for. Delhi police entered the campus without any prior permission and the fight against the attack will continue," Akhtar said while interacting with the students.
10:13   JNU row: Ramdev wants Deepika to hire him as advisor
Yoga guru Ramdev on Monday said Deepika Padukone should get herself acquainted with socio-political issues in the country before taking any "big decisions" and should appoint people like him as her advisors, who will give her a "fair insight" into vital issues.

Padukone has been drawing flak from right wing leaders and trolls for expressing solidarity with the students on the
JNU campus in New Delhi who were protesting against the January 5 violence.

"Deepika's efficiency as an actor is a different ball game. However, she should first study social, political and
cultural issues and understand more about our country. After acquiring this knowledge, she should take big decisions,"
Ramdev told reporters in Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

"I feel that Deepika Padukone should have persons like Swami Ramdev for the right piece of advice, he quipped.

Strongly supporting the new citizenship act, Ramdev said that even those people who do not even know the full form
of the CAA are using "foul language" against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The prime minister and the home minister have said that the law was not meant to snatch citizenship but rather to
grant it, but people are still igniting fires over it," he said.

Ramdev said some people are creating chaos over the National Register of Citizens.

-- PTI
09:45   Kerala challenges Citizenship act in SC
The Kerala government has challenged the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act before the Supreme Court, becoming the first state to do so amid nationwide protests against the religion-based citizenship law. The Supreme Court is already hearing over 60 petitions against the law.

Kerala's Left-led government in its petition calls the CAA a violation of several articles of the constitution including the right to equality and says the law goes against the basic principle of secularism in the Constitution.

The Kerala government has also challenged the validity of the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules 2015 and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order 2015, which regularise the stay of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before 2015.
09:15   Opposition unity important for protests: Amartya Sen
Days after demanding that the amended citizenship act be scrapped, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen stressed the importance of opposition unity to carry out any protest for a cause. 
 
However, he said even in the absence of opposition unity, protests can continue.
The economist was answering journalists over the countrywide CAA-NPR-NRC protests.  
"For any kind of protest, opposition unity is important. Then protests become easier. Unity is important if the protest is for a proper cause," Sen told journalists here on Monday night.  
"But even if unity is not there, then that doesn't mean we will stop protesting. As I said, unity makes protest easier but if unity is not there still we have to move on and do whatever is necessary," Sen said.  
Earlier, speaking at Nabanita Deb Sen Memorial Lecture, the economist said viewing oppositional reasoning as quarrelsome would be a big mistake.
"It is necessary to emphasise the subtleties of the innovative forces of the opposition... We need to know more about what I am protesting about. The head must also join with the heart in protest," Sen said in his speech.  
"When there seems to be a big mistake in the Constitution or human rights, there will surely be reasons to protest," Sen said.  
Deb Sen, who passed away at her Kolkata residence last November, was the economist's first wife.  

A few days ago, Sen, who has been critical of the Narendra Modi-led Union government, said the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act should be scrapped.  

"I think the CAA must be scrapped because it cannot be an Act ... That's the job of the Supreme Court to see whether what was passed in Parliament can be legally attached to the Constitution," the Nobel laureate had said. 

-- PTI
08:47   Nirbhaya case: SC to hear curative plea today
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will today hear curative petitions of two of the four death row convicts in the December 16 gangrape case. A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan will hear the curative petitions filed by convicts Vinay Sharma and Mukesh.

The petitions came just days after a Delhi court scheduled the execution of all the four convicts for January 22, at Tihar Jail.

In the event of the curative plea being dismissed by the apex court, the convicts still have the option to file a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind. Two other death-row convicts, Akshay and Pawan Gupta have not filed curative petitions.

In his plea filed through advocate A P Singh, convict Vinay Kumar Sharma said his young age has been erroneously rejected as a mitigating factor.

The Supreme Court had recently dismissed a review petition filed by another convict Akshay Singh, to review its earlier order that confirmed the death penalty in the case.

The 23-year-old paramedic student was gangraped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in Delhi by six persons before being thrown on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
08:27   Situation in Kashmir violates human rights: US Congresswoman
The situation in Kashmir violates human rights, a US Congresswoman has said, as she joined as cosponsors to a resolution urging India to end restrictions on communications and mass detentions in the newly-created Union Territory.
The resolution No 745 that was introduced in the House of Representatives last year by Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal now has 36 cosponsors, of whom two are Republicans and 34 from the opposition Democratic Party.

"The situation in Kashmir violates human rights. Thousands have been detained unjustly & millions are without access to the internet & telephones," Congresswoman Debbie Dingell said in a tweet Monday night.

"That's why I signed onto House Resolution 745 so the US can let the world know we will not stand by while these violations happen," she said.

Dingell represents 12th Congressional District of Michigan.

The Congressional resolution is currently before the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.

Congressman Brad Sherman said he looks forward to getting US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster's report on his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

"I expect the report to indicate what restrictions the Ambassador faced, in particularly, whether or not the Ambassador was able to visit detainees. The visit and report are valuable only to the extent of the access given," Sherman wrote on Twitter.

A group of 15 envoys, including Juster, visited Jammu and Kashmir last week where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as the military top brass.

Internet services, landline and mobile phones were snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, a day before the Centre's announcement to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divide it into two union territories.

Though most services, except mobile internet, were restored in Jammu within a week, Kashmir saw landlines and post-paid services being restored in phases.

However, internet continues to remain barred in the entire Valley except for some government offices, hospitals and business establishments. Pre-paid mobile services too are yet to be restored in Kashmir.

-- PTI
08:00   Microsoft CEO Nadella voices concern over CAA
Microsoft's Indian-origin CEO Satya Nadella voiced concern over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, saying what is happening is "sad" and he would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant create the next unicorn in India.
  
His comments came while speaking to editors at a Microsoft event in Manhattan where he was asked about the contentious issue of CAA which grants citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

"I think what is happening is sad... It's just bad.... I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the next CEO of Infosys," Nadella was quoted as saying by Ben Smith, the Editor-in-Chief of New York-based BuzzFeed News.

In a statement issued by Microsoft India, Nadella said: "Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly. And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds.

"I'm shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous start-up or lead a multinational corporation benefitting Indian society and the economy at large".

The Centre last week issued a gazette notification announcing that the CAA has come into effect from January 10, 2020.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11.

According to the legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 due to religious persecution will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

There have been widespread protests against the Act in different parts of the country.

In UP, at least 19 persons were killed in anti-CAA protests. 

-- PTI
00:15   BJP says book comparing PM to Shivaji withdrawn
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday said the author of the book, which has drawn flak from opposition for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, has withdrawn the publication, as the party sought to defuse the raging controversy over it.

Hailing Shivaji as 'incomparable', BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, 'The BJP has nothing to do with the book which was brought by Jai Bhagwan Goyal (author) in his personal capacity. He has also apologised for hurting sentiments of people in Maharashtra and outside. He has withdrawn the book. This should put the controversy to rest.'

'#ShivajiMaharaj was a great ruler and a legendary king who worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people. He is an inspiration even today after centuries. We regard him as incomparable with others,' he tweeted.

Goyal is a BJP member and the party's rivals in Maharashtra have latched onto the issue to corner it by holding protests and accusing it of insulting the legendary Maratha warrior.

The ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress in Maharashtra have criticised the book, 'Aaj ke Shivaji: Narendra Modi', deprecating the 'insulting comparison' between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the PM.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut demanded that it be banned and asked the warrior king's descendants to clarify their stand over the issue.

Goyal had earlier said that he only wanted to illustrate as to how Modi like Shivaji had done many things considered 'impossible' and was willing to apologise if his book has hurt sentiments.  -- PTI

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