Wed, 15 January 2020
Jamia to move court for FIR against Delhi Police

Timeline  Refresh

23:05   Jamia to move court for FIR against Delhi Police
The Jamia Millia Islamia will move court for the registration of an FIR against the Delhi Police in connection with the police action on students in December last year, university officials said on Wednesday.

The decision to move court was taken at an emergent Executive council meeting, they said.

"An application will be filed very soon in the lower court under section 156(3) of the CrPC seeking direction to police to register an FIR," Ahmad Azeem, spokesperson of the university, said.

He said the new examination date-sheet will be declared by the Controller of Examination in consultation with all the deans.

"Several steps have been taken to ensure safety and security of students inside campus. Steps will be taken further if required," he added.

The police on December 15 had allegedly stormed the library while looking for 'outsiders' who were involved in arson and violence during an anti-CAA protest outside the campus.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has so far recorded statements of 52 students in connection with the incident, he said.

Statements of security guards of the university were taken on Wednesday, he said, adding that the statements of remaining people would be recorded on Thursday and Friday.

After deciding to further probe till January 17 into the violence that broke out at the university, a team from the NHRC visited the campus on Tuesday and recorded statements of the students who were injured in the incident.

On Monday, hundreds of Jamia Millia Islamia students had gheraoed Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar's office, demanding registration of an FIR against the police.

She had assured them that the university would move court for registration of an FIR and also announced the cancellation of exams.  -- PTI
Services trade in 2019.
India's exports and imports during Apr-Dec 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018.
India's exports and imports both decline in December 2019.
India's imports vs exports in 2019.
22:41   Assam Accord: Panel gets 1 more month to finalise report
Amid furore over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Home Ministry on Wednesday gave one more month to a high-level committee to submit its report on assessing quantum of seats to be reserved in the Assam Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people.

The committee was formed in July last year under the chairmanship of Justice (retd.) Biplab Kumar Sarma.

It was asked to give its report within six month of its constitution, i.e. by January 15.

The Home Ministry has issued an order modifying the six-month time limit to seven months now.

"The committee will submit its report within seven months... ," the order stated.

A four-member delegation of the committee had met Home Minister Amit Shah and briefed him about the progress of its work.

"We have apprised the home minister about the progress of our work. The home minister has given a few suggestions. We hope to submit our final report within the next 15 days," Sarma had told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting was held amid widespread protests in Assam against the new legislation.

The protesters in Assam said the CAA violates the provisions of Assam Accord.

The high-level committee with more than a dozen members was set up as per the Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord.

According to its terms and conditions, "The committee will assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people."

The committee will recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the Government of Assam for the Assamese people, according to a notification issued by the Home Ministry.

The Assam Accord provides for detection and deportation of all illegal immigrants, who have entered the country after 1971 and living in the state, irrespective of their religion.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also recently met the home minister and discussed with him various aspects of the Assam Accord's Clause 6, under which the central government had promised to provide constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people.  -- PTI
21:47   Chinese ships enter Indian Ocean: Navy chief
There has been increasing Chinese involvement in the Indian Ocean and the Indian Navy is watching carefully, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, he also said that there have been instances when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) ships have entered India's exclusive economic zones and the Navy has told them that it impinges on Indian interests.

"We have placed our ships in mission-based deployments so that we get an idea what are the activities, not only of China but of all other countries, so that if there is anything that impinges on our national interest or sovereignty, we will have to act," he said.

"China's Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor impinge on our sovereignty," the Navy Chief said.

Besides Admiral Singh, Japan's Joint Staff of Self-Defence Forces General Koji Yamazaki, Australia's Vice Chief of the Defence Force Admiral David Johnston, France's Deputy Director General for International Relations and Strategy, Ministry of Armed Forces General Luc de Rancourt, and the United Kingdom's Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Tony Radakin, took part in the panel discussion.   -- PTI
21:10   Budget Session of Parl to commence on Jan 31
The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on January 31 and subject to the exigencies of government business, is likely to conclude on April 3 with a recess in between, an official communication said on Wednesday.

President Ram Nath Kovind will address a joint sitting of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the central hall of Parliament at 11 am on January 31.

"The President has summoned the Rajya Sabha to meet on Friday, January 31, 2020, at New Delhi. Subject to exigencies of business, the Session is scheduled to conclude on Friday, April 3, 2020," the communication from the Rajya Sabha secretariat said.

To enable the standing committees to consider the demands for grants of various ministries and departments and prepare their reports, the House will adjourn on February 11 to meet again on March 2, a communication from the Lok Sabha secretariat said.  -- PTI
21:05   Arundhati Roy to deliver Clark Lecture 2020
Writer and activist Arundhati Roy will give the Clark Lecture 2020 -- THE GRAVEYARD TALKS BACK. Fiction in the time of Fake News -- on February 13, at Trinity College, Cambridge, the college posted on social media.

Roy, the author of Booker-winning The God of Small Things, will be the first Indian to deliver the prestigious Clark Lecture. 
20:34   Air India Washington-Delhi flight delayed by 57 hrs
Air India's Washington-Delhi flight, which was to depart from the United States capital on Sunday at 10.25 am, faced a 57 hour-delay as the B787-8 aircraft developed a glitch in its braking system, a senior official of the airline said.

"AI104 Washington-Delhi flight was able to leave on Wednesday morning (IST) only after getting the required spare part. The plane would be landing in Delhi soon," the official said.

The plane had 133 passengers on board when it developed the glitch, the official said. The official said around half of the passengers were taken to Newark by road on Tuesday and they departed by the Air India flight to Delhi from there.   -- PTI
20:20   In a first, govt to collect data on 'transgenders' heading family
In a first, the government will collect data on households headed by a transgender and members living in the family, Home Ministry officials said on Wednesday.

Census officers will be seeking specific information based on 31 questions from every household during the houselisting and housing census exercise scheduled from April 1 to September 30.

Under the head 'sex of the head of the household', there will be sub-options viz male, female and transgender, the officials said.

"It is for the first time that information on households headed by a transgender is being collected. In earlier census, there used to be a column for male and female only," an officer said.

Besides, there will be collection of data on 'ownership status of the census house' -- whether it is owned or rented, the officials said.

Information will be sought on building number (municipal or local authority or census number), census house number, predominant material of the floor, wall and roof of the census house, use of census house, condition of the census house, household number and total number of persons normally residing in the household, according to a notification issued by the the Registrar General and Census Commissioner.

The numerators will ask whether the head of the household belongs to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or 'Other' category, it said.

Questions related to main source of lighting, whether the family has 'access to latrine', 'type of latrine', 'waste water outlet', 'availability of bathing facility', 'availability of kitchen and LPG/PNG connection' and 'main fuel used for cooking' will also be asked by the enumerators, the notification said.

The 2021 census will be conducted through a mobile phone application, moving away from the traditional pen and paper.

The census will have its reference date as March 1, 2021, but for snow-bound Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand it will be October 1, 2020.   -- PTI
18:56   In big outreach, Union ministers to visit J-K
A group of Union ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir later this month to spread awareness about the positive impact of abrogation of Article 370 provisions and the development measures taken by the government for the region, sources said on Wednesday.
The schedule for the visit of the ministers to the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be finalised at a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers on January 17. 
The visit is an initiative of Union home minister Amit Shah and the ministry is coordinating it, the sources said.
Union minister Piyush Goyal is expected to visit the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on January 19. -- PTI 
18:19   Goddess Lakshmi on notes may improve condition of rupee: Swamy
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has said he was in favour of inscribing the image of Goddess Lakshmi on bank notes which could "improve the condition of the Indian currency".
Swamy was speaking to reporters on Tuesday night after addressing a lecture series titled 'Swami Vivekananda Vyakhyanmala' in Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district.
Responding to a question about the picture of Lord Ganesha printed on the Indonesian currency, Swamy said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi can answer this question. I am in favour (of this). Lord Ganesha removes obstacles. I rather say that a picture of Goddess Lakshmi (on currency notes) may improve the condition of Indian currency. Nobody should feel bad about this."
Swamy said there was nothing objectionable in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
"The Congress and Mahatma Gandhi had requested this (CAA). Manmohan Singh had also requested in Parliament in 2003. We did it. Now they are not accepting it saying that we did injustice to Pakistan's Muslims. What injustice was done? Pakistan's Muslims don't want to come, we can't force them," Swamy said.
Earlier, while delivering the lectures, Swamy said DNA of Muslims and Hindus is same like that of Brahmins and Dalits.
Swamy claimed the BJP would soon introduce the Uniform Civil Code, which he said had been repeatedly directed by the supreme court in the past 70 years and by Article 44 of the Constitution.
Expressing concerns over the rising population, Swamy said India would leave China behind by 2025 as the most populous nation. -- PTI  
18:01   China makes fresh bid to raise Kashmir at UN
China has made a fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue in a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York on Wednesday, but the attempt is likely to fail as all other member countries of the body are set to oppose it.
French diplomatic sources said France has noted the request of a UNSC member to raise the Kashmir issue once again in the powerful body and it is going to oppose it like it did on a previous occasion. 
The closed door meeting of the UNSC has been called to discuss an issue relating to an African country. China has made a request to deliberate on the Kashmir issue under the agenda of "Any Other Business Points".
The sources said France's position has not changed and is very clear -- the Kashmir issue must be settled bilaterally. This has been stated on several occasions and will continue to be reiterate to partners in the UN Security Council, they added.
Last month, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia had foiled an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC.
China has been critical of India's reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir. -- PTI  
17:26   Bhim Army's Chandrashekhar is azad
A Delhi Court grants bail to Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad in the Daryaganj violence case. The court has ordered him to not hold any protest in Delhi till February 16th. Azad was arrested by the Delhi Police on December 21 for 'inciting a mob and indulging in violence'. 

Azad's outfit, the Bhim Army, had organised a march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar on Friday against the new citizenship law, despite not having permission from the police.
17:09   Indira Gandhi used to meet gangster Karim Lala: Raut
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday claimed that former prime minister Indira Gandhi used to come to meet yesteryear don Karim Lala in Mumbai. Recalling days of the underworld in Mumbai, Raut, who was earlier a journalist, said gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel and Sharad Shetty used to have control over the metropolis and adjoining areas. 

"They used to decide who will be the police commissioner, who will sit in 'Mantralaya' (secretariat)," Raut said in an interview to a media group during its award function in Pune. 

"When Haji Mastan used to come to 'Mantralaya', the entire 'Mantralaya' would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to come to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai)," claimed Raut, whose party formed a coalition government with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra last year. Lala, who operated liquor dens, gambling and extortion rackets in Mumbai from 1960s to 1980s, died in 2002.

"Those were the days of theunderworld. Later, everybody (dons) fled the country. Now there is nothing like that," the Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member said. Asked if had photographed underworlddons, Raut claimed he clicked pictures of many gangsters, including Dawood Ibrahim, who is key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The Sena leader also claimed that he had once rebuked Dawood Ibrahim. "I have seen him, I have met him, I have spoken to him and I have also admonished him," he added.
16:46   Unnao case: Sengar moves court challenging lifer
Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and life term for raping a minor girl in Unnao in 2017. 

Sengar challenged the December 20 verdict of a trial court here which had sentenced him to life imprisonment and had imposed an exemplary fine of Rs 25 lakh in the case.

The court had convicted Sengar for rape under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act for offence by a public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child after holding the victim to be a minor. 

The woman was kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor.

The trial which started on August 5 last year after it was transferred from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi on the Supreme Court's directions, was carried on a day-to-day basis. 

The apex court, taking cognisance of the rape survivor's letter written to the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had on August 1 transferred all five cases registered in connection with the Unnao rape incident from a Lucknow court in Uttar Pradesh to the court in Delhi with directions to hold trial on daily basis and completing it within 45-days. -- PTI
16:36   Nirbhaya case: Delhi govt recommends rejecting mercy plea
The Delhi government on Wednesday recommended rejecting the mercy plea filed by Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, and forwarded it to the LG at "lightning speed", Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said. 

He said the recommendation on the mercy petition of 32-year-old Singh will now be sent to the Union Home Ministry. The decision comes a day after Singh filed the plea. 

"We learnt that a petition has been filed and we have recommended its rejection and sent it at lighting speed to the LG. There will be no delay from our side, we can assure you that," he said in response to a question. 

The Delhi High Court Wednesday declined to entertain Singh's plea against the death warrant issued by a trial court and gave him the liberty to challenge it in sessions court. 

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said there was no error in the trial court's January 7 order issuing the death warrant against him. The Delhi government informed the high court during the hearing that execution of the convicts will not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them -- Mukesh Singh. The four convicts -- Mukesh (32) Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7. PTI
16:24   CAA copies burnt in bonfires during Bihu
People celebrating harvest festival 'Bhogali Bihu', also called 'Magh Bihu', in Assam on Wednesday burnt copies of the Citizenship Amendment Act  in bonfires of 'Mejis' lit on the occasion. Protests against the Act have been raging in the state since it was passed in the Parliament in December last year. 

The 'Mejis' (structures made of bamboo, hay and wood) were lit before sunrise and homemade 'larus' (a type of sweet) and 'pithas' (rice cakes) offered to the almighty. 

Organisations protesting the CAA such as the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Assam Nagarik Mancha and civil society members had given a call to burn the copies of the Act during the festival. 

AASU activists burnt copies of the Act outside their offices across the state and students of the Cotton University, prominent advocate Arup Borobora and civil society members Ajit Bhuyan and Haidar Hussain also did the same. 

The Act was also the theme of several 'Bhelaghars', temporary hay structures where community feasts 'Uruka' were held on the eve of the 'Rongali Bihu', on Tuesday. 

Two such 'Bhelaghars' in Nagaon district stood out. A 'Bhelaghar' in Kekuragaon in Amsoi area of the district depicted a woman holding a container over her head. Organisers said the woman was depicted as 'Mother Assam' and the container the "burden" of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. 

Another 'Bhelaghar' at Bangthai in Bebejia area was constructed in the shape of Assam's map with a figure of Ahom general Lachit Barphukhan, who had defeated the Mughals at the Battle of Saraighat, on it. Slogans in Assamese such as 'CAA aami namanu' (We do not accept CAA), 'CAA batil koriboi lagibo' (CAA must be repealed) and 'Jai Aai Asom' (Glory to Mother Assam) were written on 'Bhelaghars' across the state. Attendees were seen discussing the Act in community feasts 'Uruka' held on Tuesday.

File pic: Women celebrate Rongali Bihu. 
16:14   Sensex, Nifty off record highs; banking stocks drag
Market benchmarks Sensex and Nifty on Wednesday closed in the red, pausing their four-session winning run on emergence of selling mainly in banking stocks. 

After trading on a volatile note through the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 79.90 points or 0.19 per cent lower at 41,872.73. Similarly, the broader Nifty closed 19 points, or 0.15 per cent, down at 12,343.30. 

Both indices -- Sensex and Nifty -- had closed at their life-time high levels for the second day in a row on Tuesday. IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, dropping 5.44 per cent. Infosys, SBI, PowerGrid, Tech Mahindra, Bharti Airtel and HDFC Bank too fell up to 1.21 per cent.

Image: Infosys, SBI, PowerGrid, Tech Mahindra, Bharti Airtel and HDFC Bank fell up to 1.21 per cent.
16:02   Nirbhaya case: NCW chief condemns Delhi govt's 'delaying tactics'
NCW chief Rekha Sharma on Wednesday condemned the Delhi government's "delaying tactics" in the execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts and urged the authorities to hang them on January 22, as ordered by a local court early this month. 

Her remarks came after the Delhi government informed the high court that execution of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case will not take place the date stipulated by a trial court as one of them, Mukesh Kumar (32), has filed a mercy plea before the President.

The four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7. 

"These are delaying tactics and I really condemn it. They should be hanged on the date given by the court, which is January 22. Why has the Delhi government suddenly woken up in the matter," the National Commission for Women chief said. 

Earlier, Delhi government and prison authorities told the high court that as per the rules they will have to wait for the mercy plea to be decided before executing the death warrant.

Delhi government's standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra told the bench that since Mukesh has moved a mercy plea, they have to wait for the other co-convicts to exhaust their mercy pleas as well. Sources said the Delhi government has recommended rejecting Mukesh's mercy plea. The recommendation will be sent to the Union Home Ministry, they said. -- PTI

Image: Anguished at the further delay in the execution of the four convicts, Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi said, "Either lawyers of the convicts are trying to delay execution or our system is blind and is supporting criminals. I'm struggling since seven years (to get justice). Instead of asking me, you should ask the government if the convicts will be hanged on January 22." 
15:54   Aiyar always abuses PM: BJP
BJP) leader GVL Narasimha Rao on Wednesday slammed Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for the comments he made at Shaheen Bagh, saying "he always hurls abuses at the Prime Minister."

"Mani Shankar Aiyar has been a repeat offender and always hurls abuses at Prime Minister Modi. Every time he returns from Pakistan, he comes with fresh doses of invective against the PM. People of India love PM and Home Minister. The political demons have been developed and cultivated by the Congress for over years," he added.

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday joined the protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Shaheen Bagh here and attacked the BJP-led central government saying, 

"They got the majority in the election because they said we will have 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (Together for everyone's progress). But what did they do? They did 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vinash (destruction)'."

He added, "Aap hi ne unko pradhan mantri banaya hai, aap hi unko singhasan se utar sakte ho (You have made him the Prime Minister, only you can dethrone him)".

The CAA grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.  -- ANI
15:38   All communication will be restored soon: J-K LG
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is normal and people are participating in the development process, Lt Governor G C Murmu said on Wednesday assuring no stone would be left unturned for the rapid development of the Union Territory. 

The administration is reviewing the situation continuously and all the formal communication channels would be restored in the coming days, he said. 

"Jammu, of course, was normal and the other part (Kashmir) is also normal. The people are cooperative and they have understood and are now participating in the development process," Murmu told reporters after inaugurating the upgraded Maulana Azad Stadium. 

The stadium was renovated at a cost of Rs 40 crore under Prime Minister's Development Package to host national and international cricket matches. It is the first such facility in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Asked about the partial restoration of Internet services in Kashmir and 2G mobile internet services in five districts of Jammu region after being snapped in August last year following abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories, he said "this is the beginning and we are reviewing the situation continuously.

"We are hopeful of restoring the normal communication channels in the coming days. We will see how it is going to be utilized and accordingly relax everything," Murmu said. 

About reports claiming involvement of arrested Deputy Superintendent of police Davinder Singh in Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy last year, the LG said "It is a matter of investigation and if he is involved it will come out. I will not make any further comment on that." 

Earlier, addressing the gathering, Murmu said "We have assessed the situation and we have tried to relax many things (over the past six months). "Now we are freeing the internet also, particularly broadband. We started from January 1 and we would like to see that everything goes normal... I know the children are also affected and they require such kind of facilities for their academic purpose and to see the development all around," he said. 

He said Jammu and Kashmir state is witnessing rapid development in all spheres over the past one-and-a-half year, contrary to the earlier when hardly any money was spent and the vital projects were left languishing. "We are moving rapidly with the cooperation and participation of the citizens. The Jammu and Kashmir is marching ahead." - PTI

Image: Beyond communication blockades, lies the paradise that is Kashmir. This photograph shows buses snowed under as the UT weathers a deep freeze. Pic: Umar Ganie 
15:21   Aaditya Thackeray meets Rahul Gandhi in Delhi
Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at his residence here, two days after the Sena skipped a crucial opposition meet in Parliament complex. This is the first meeting between the two leaders after the Shiv Sena formed the coalition government in Maharashtra with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. The Shiv Sena termed it as a routine meeting between the two leaders. 

Sources said the two leaders discussed the current political situation as also issues of coordination and issues concerning environment and tourism, which the Sena leader handles as a minister in Maharashtra. Rahul Gandhi is also learnt to have discussed issues of CAA and NPR with the junior Thackeray during the 30-minute meeting.

Sources said Thackeray also met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and is learnt to have discussed ways to improve coordination between the alliance partners.

The Shiv Sena had skipped the crucial opposition meet convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Parliament complex on Monday, which adopted a unanimous resolution not to implement the NPR process in states which opposed the implementation of CAA. 

The Congress has said the Sena was to attend the crucial opposition meeting, but could not due to communication issues. No Sena MP was present in Delhi on Monday, the sources had said. -- PTI
15:06   Amazon's Bezos commits USD 1bn to digitise SMEs Inc chief Jeff Bezos on Wednesday announced an USD 1 billion (over Rs 7,000 crore) investment in India to help bring small and medium businesses online and committed to exporting USD 10 billion worth of India-made goods by 2025. Before this, the online retail giant had committed USD 5.5 billion investments in India - Amazon's most important market outside of the US and a key growth driver. 

"We are committed to being a long-term partner of India. And actions speak louder than words, he said. "Over the next five years, Amazon will invest an incremental USD 1 billion to digitise micro and small businesses... across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before. This initiative will use Amazon's global footprint to create USD 10 billion in India exports by 2025," he said. 

He added that part of this goal is to ensure that more people can participate in the prosperity of India. "We are making this announcement now because it is working... When something works you should double down on it. And that is why we are doing it." Amazon hopes that this investment will "bring millions of more people into the future prosperity of India and at the same time expose the world to the 'Make in India' products that represent India's rich, diverse culture." 

The company had previously said it expected e-commerce exports from India to reach USD 5 billion by 2023 under its global selling programme. Bezos, who began a three-day visit to India on Tuesday by visiting Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat, was speaking at the SMBhav summit - an Amazon India gathering for small and medium businesses. 
14:38   JNU's DNA anti-India, reform or shut down: RSS
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue Swaminathan Gurumurthy has alleged that the "DNA of the Jawaharlal Nehru University was against the country" and have called for "reform or close down" of the varsity.

"The background in the formation of JNU is anti-India. Its creation was to oppose the country's forefathers, its traditions, its spirituality and values. In 1969, when Congress was divided and the Communist party supported Indira Gandhi, they put forward only one request. You (Indira Gandhi) take whatever you want but give us (Communists) education department. Noor Haasan became the education minister. He was the mind behind the creation of JNU--How it should be created, how it should be run and what ideologies it should incorporate," Gurumurthy said at an event held to celebrate the 50th foundation day of the Chennai Based Tamil language, Thuglak magazine on Tuesday.

Gurumurthy, who is also the Editor of the Tamil language weekly news magazine, went on to add that the modern times were not the only time when JNU had "turned against the government and the country" and recounted the happenings of 1982.

"It (JNU) later turned against Congress party, it turned against the country in 1982. It was during that time when police were sent inside the institution and students were smashed. For 43 days the university was closed down. So it is not happening just today, JNU's DNA is against this country and everybody knows this. JNU is an institution which needs to be reformed and if it cannot be done, it should be closed down. This is an important fact," Gurumurthy asserted while speaking in Tamil.

Veteran actor turned politician Rajinikanth who was also present at the event heaped praises at the magazine and said, "If someone is seen carrying Murasoli, you can tell that they belong to DMK. If someone is seen carrying Thuglak, you can tell that he's brilliant." -- ANI
14:10   Man who molested actress on flight gets 3-year-jail term
Vikash Sachdeva, who has been convicted for molesting a Bollywood actress on-board a flight has been sent to 3 years of imprisonment by Special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Court. 
13:56   Nirbhaya convicts can't hang on 22nd: Delhi govt
The Delhi government Wednesday told the high court that execution of the death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case will not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them. The four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- are to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail. 

A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7. Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were told by the Delhi government and the Centre that the petition filed by convict Mukesh, challenging his death warrant, was premature. 

The Delhi government and the prison authorities informed the court that under the rules, it will have to wait for the mercy plea to be decided before executing the death warrant. 

Advocate Rahul Mehra, Standing Counsel for the Tihar Jail authorities said that execution of the convicts will surely not take place on January 22. He stated that fate of a death convict comes to finality only after his mercy plea is rejected by the President.  'It can only take place 14 days after the mercy plea is rejected as we are bound by the rule which says that a notice of 14 days must be provided to the convicts after the rejection of mercy plea."'

They also said that none of the four convicts can be executed on January 22 unless the present mercy plea is decided. The Supreme Court had on Tuesday dismissed the curative pleas of Mukesh and Vinay.  The hearing which is going on since morning will continue post-lunch. -- PTI

Image: Convict Mukesh Singh has filed a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind. 
13:41   Lingayat seer's demand for Cabinet berth to MLA irks Yediyurappa
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday got visibly irked and offered to resign while attending an event in Davanagere, after a seer of Panchamsali sect of Lingayats, Swami Vachananda, demanded ministerial berth for BJP MLA Murugesh Nirani.

At an event of the sect in Hanagawadi on Tuesday, Swami Vachananda demanded a Cabinet seat for Nirani from Yediyurappa and added that he would lose the support of the Panchamsali Lingayats if the demands were not met."Yediyurappa will lose the support of Panchamasali Lingayats if Murugesh Nirani is not accommodated," the seer said to the Chief Minister who was seated right next to him.

An irked Yediyurappa abruptly rose from his seat and stopped the seer halfway in his speech and even touched his feet before adding, "You can make suggestions being a Swami, but please do not demand. It does not suit your position as a seer."

Later on, addressing the audience, Yediyurappa urged the Swamy to understand his position and not make any demands. He added that he was "ready to quit" if demands would be made instead of suggestions."17 legislators had quit for me to become Chief Minister. It is their sacrifice and Panchamasali Mutt's blessings with which I have become the Chief Minister. You can suggest me how to govern for 3 years, but if you are not willing to accept my request then I'm ready to quit and go home," he said. "I'm not hungry for power. I have become Chief Minister four times with your blessings and have tried my best to solve the problems faced by farmers," Yediyurappa added. -- ANI
13:05   Court convicts man for molesting former actor on flight
A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday convicted a 41-year-old man for molesting a former Bollywood actor on board a domestic flight in December 2017. 

The court hearing cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act held Vikas Sachdev guilty under Indian Penal Code Section 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty).

Sachdev was also convicted under relevant provisions of the POCSO Act, since the actor was a minor when the incident took place. Special Judge A D Deo will pronounce quantum of the sentence later in the day. In December 2017, the actor alleged that she was molested by a co-passenger on board an Air Vistara flight from Delhi to Mumbai. PTI

Read what happened here. 
12:42   JNU violence: Girl in chequered shirt goes to NCW
The National Commission for Women has registered a complaint by DU student Komal Sharma against a news channel for allegedly defaming her by identifying her as one of the attackers in the JNU violence. Sharma told the NCW that she has been wrongly named as being involved in the January 5 incident and was not even approached by the said TV channel for her response or clarification on the allegations, an NCW official said. She has requested the commission to look into the matter. 

Sharma was allegedly identified by the police as the woman, wearing a checkered shirt with her face covered with a light blue scarf and carrying a stick, in the purported video of the campus violence shared on social media. The police said Sharma's phone was found to be switched off since Saturday night.  

The Delhi Police's Crime Branch on Wednesday will question two more suspects in connection with the January 5 violence on JNU campus in which at least 35 people were injured, police said. Chunchun Kumar and Dolan Samanta have been called for questioning on Wednesday, they said.

A team of Forensic Science Laboratory will visit the campus to retrieve data from the server room, a senior police official said. Efforts are being made to trace Akshat Awasthi, Rohit Shah and Komal Sharma, who are absconding. 
12:38   1984 anti-Sikh riots: Accepted SIT recommendations, will take action, Centre tells SC
The Centre Wednesday told the Supreme Court they have accepted the recommendations of a special investigation team, headed by retired Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra which has probed 186 cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and they will take appropriate action as per the laws. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde was informed by senior advocate R S Suri, appearing for the petitioner, that the report of the SIT is damning for police officials and they would file application seeking action against the cops who were allegedly involved in the ghastly crime. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that they have accepted the recommendations made in the report and they will take appropriate steps. 

"We have accepted the recommendations and we will act accordingly as per law. Lot of steps are required to be taken and it will be taken," Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant. 

During the hearing, Suri referred to the SIT's report and said the "undercurrent is that police officials cant go scot-free for the things which had happened". 

"The report suggests that some action should be taken against police officials as they were in connivance. These police officials cannot go scot free. We will file a response to the report," Suri told the bench and added that he will also file an application seeking action against police officials. 

The bench was informed by Mehta that the records of these cases are kept in the apex court registry and they should be returned to the CBI so that further proceedings can go on. The bench directed that the records be given to the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The SIT, also comprising retired IPS officer Rajdeep Singh and serving IPS officer Abhishek Dular, was set up by the apex court on Janaury 11, 2018 to supervise further investigation into 186 cases in which closure reports were filed earlier. 

The SIT presently has only two members as Singh had declined to be part of the team on personal grounds. -- PTI
12:17   Abrogation of Art 370 historic step: Army chief
Army chief Gen M M Naravane on Wednesday hailed the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 as a "historic step" and said the move has disrupted the proxy war by the "western neighbour". The armed forces have a "zero tolerance against terrorism", he said in his address at the 72nd Army Day function in the Cariappa Parade Ground. "We have many options to counter those who promote terrorism and we will not hesitate to use them," he said.
12:08   Kohli named captain of ICC's ODI and Test teams of the year
India skipper and batting mainstay Virat Kohli was on Wednesday named captain of the International Cricket Council's ODI and Test teams of the year, capping off a memorable season for the world No 1. 

Apart from Kohli, there were four other Indians who were picked in the ICC's Test and ODI Teams of the Year. While the Test team featured double-centurion Mayank Agarwal, opener Rohit Sharma, speedster Mohammed Shami and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav found a place in the ODI side. 

The ICC's Teams of the Year 2019: ODI Team of the Year (in batting order): Rohit Sharma, Shai Hope, Virat Kohli (captain), Babar Azam, Kane Williamson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav Test Team of the Year (in batting order): Mayank Agarwal, Tom Latham, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli (captain), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Neil Wagner, Nathan Lyon. -- PTI
12:02   India's way not to be disruptive: Jaishankar
India's way is not to be disruptive and it is more of a decider than an abstainer, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday. In remarks that come at a time that several countries have called for a greater Indian role in the Indo-Pacific, the minister also said it is not the India way to be mercantilist. 

Addressing a gathering at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, Jaishankar referred to tensions between the US and Iran and said they are two individualistic countries and what finally happens will depend on the players involved. 

Discussing ties with China, he said it is vital for neighbours to reach understanding on crucial issues. "It is important that two countries find equilibrium in ties... we have to get along with each other," he said "India owes it to itself and to the world to be a just power," he said. India is not a disruptor and is firmly dealing with terrorism, Jaishankar added. 

The country, he said, is a "prisoner of its past image. We have to get over it". "There was a time when we spoke more than what we did. It is changing now," the minister said. -- PTI
11:37   Anti-CAA protests: Delhi court grants bail to 12 in Seelampur violence
A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to 12 people arrested in connection with violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act in Seelampur here. Additional Sessions Judge Lalit Kumar granted the relief on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 15,000 each and a surety of the like amount. On December 18, the court had sent 11 people, arrested in connection with the protest at Seelampur area, to 14-day judicial custody. Three people were arrested later in connection with the violence and two were granted bail earlier. PTI
11:18   Pause and see this
The Times of India's Sandeep Adhwaryu's must-see cartoon today. 
11:10   Broadband, 2G Internet partially restored in JK
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday evening allowed mobile Internet in parts of Jammu region and broadband in establishments providing essential services, days after the Supreme Court ordered a review of the curbs imposed in the Union Territory.

The order comes into effect from January 15 and shall remain in force for seven days, a government communication said. 

In a three-page order, the administration asked Internet service providers to offer broadband facility (with Mac binding) to all institutions dealing with essential services such as hospitals, banks and government offices. 

In order to facilitate tourism, the broadband Internet services would be provided to hotels and tour and travel establishments, the order said. Mac Binding essentially means to enforce a client machine to work from a particular Internet Protocol address. "Prior to giving such facility, the service providers have been asked to install necessary firewalls and carry out white-listing of sites that would enable government websites and website dealing with essential services like e-banking," the order said. 

However, all social media sites remain out of bounds. "There shall be complete restrictions on social media applications allowing peer-to-peer communication and virtual private network applications for the time being," the order said. 

The institutions and government offices that are being provided Internet access shall be responsible to prevent misuse, according to the order. It said the 2G mobile connectivity on post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed websites including e-banking will be allowed in districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi -- all in the Jammu region.

The order said that the police has brought material relating to the terror modules operating in Jammu and Kashmir including handlers from across the border who are attempting to aid and incite people by transmission of fake news and targeted messages through use of Internet. -- PTI
10:47   Mauritius PM celebrates Sankranti
The PM of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, extends Sankranti wishes, tweeting, "Makar Sankranti ki hardik shubh kamnayein." That's the PM with his wife, Kobita. 
10:22   JNU violence: Two suspects to be questioned today
JNU violence: Chunchun Kumar and Dolan Samanta, who were named as suspects by the Delhi Police in the violence at JNU on January 5, have been called for questioning in connection. A FSL team will also be at JNU today. Efforts are being made to trace Akshat Awasthi, Rohit Shah and Komal Sharma, who are also suspects in the violence unleashed on the campus that left several injured. 

Thirty-seven people from the 60-member WhatsApp group named 'Unity Against Left' have been identified by the Special Investigation Team of the Delhi police.

According to the police, the group was created against the Left parties on January 5, the day when violence broke out in Jawaharlal Nehru University campus.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch investigating the case of violence in JNU had identified and released photographs of nine suspects, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh.

"Those identified include - Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Aishe Ghosh, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukraj, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Sawant, Yogendra Bhardwaj, Vikas Patel," DCP Joy Tirkey, who is heading the SIT said.

Image: A hostel room in Jawaharlal Nehru University ransacked by a mob on January 5. 
10:11   Jallikattu kicks off in TN with 2000 bulls
With the start of the Pongal festival, the sport of Jallikattu also kicked off at Avaniyapuram in Madurai on Wednesday. More than 2,000 bulls will participate in Jallikattu, which will be held till January 31 in the state. At least 730 bulls in Avaniyapuram, 700 bulls in Alanganallur and 650 bulls in Palamedu are participating in Jallikattu competitions this year.

Retired Principal District Judge C Manickam, who has been appointed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, visited the venue in Madurai where the Jallikattu event was to be held to examine the arrangements made ahead of the start of the competition.

"We have divided the players into a batch of 75 each, 60 bulls will be released. Top police officials are present at the spot to deal with any situation," Manickam told reporters.

Regarding the facilities on the spot, he added, "District Collector, along with a local minister, has examined the arrangements. Twenty-one 108 ambulance are ready to provide medical facility to the injured players."
-- ANI
10:05   Sensex drops 200 points over US-China imbroglio
Equity benchmark Sensex dropped nearly 200 points in opening session on Wednesday as global investor sentiment dampened after the US said its initial trade deal with China does not include tariff rollback. 

The 30-share BSE index was trading 190.81 points or 0.45 per cent lower at 41,761.82. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell 53.15 points or 0.43 per cent to 12,309.15. 

IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel, UltraTech Cement, SBI, Infosys, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank were the among the top losers in the Sensex pack, shedding up to 3 per cent. 

On the other hand, Titan, Hero MotoCorp, Tech Mahindra, Nestle and Sun Pharma rose up to 1.30 per cent. In the previous session, Sensex settled 92.94 points or 0.22 per cent higher at 41,952.63 - its all-time closing high. Likewise, Nifty ended 32.75 points, or 0.27 per cent, higher at 12,362.30, which was a record closing level. -- PTI
09:59   Go, fly a kite
The harvest festival of Uttarayan was celebrated in Gujarat yesterday with people flying kites as a part of celebrations. Visuals from the 'Statue of Unity' at Sardar Sarovar Dam in Kevadia. (Pic courtesy: PM Narendra Modi's Instagram page)
09:57   Atmosphere of fear, tension in country: Mayawati
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Wednesday said there is an atmosphere of fear and tension in the country and accused the BJP and the Congress of indulging in dirty politics. Speaking to reporters at the BSP office in Lucknow on her 64th birthday, she said BSP is a disciplined and cadre-based party and only stages peaceful protests after taking permission. 

"BJP and Congress are ahead in politics of lying and are indulging in dirty politics (ghinauni raajneeti)," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said, adding there is an atmosphere of fear and tension in the country. -- PTI 
09:54   IMD issues rain alert for J-K, Himachal, and Uttarakhand
Due to the prevalence of Western Disturbance, some isolated places over Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are likely to receive rainfall tomorrow, predicted India Meteorological Department.  

According to the weatherman, isolated to scattered rain/thunderstorm is likely over Punjab between January 15 to 17 and in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan during 15-16 January.

"Isolated thunderstorms accompanied with hail/lightning also likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on 15th and 16th January," the IMD stated in its All India Weather Warning Bulletin.

Severe cold conditions were observed in many pockets over Bihar and in some pockets over West Rajasthan today morning. -- ANI
09:21   Saluting the soldiers
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army chief General Manoj Mukund Narawane, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh pay tribute at the National War Memorial on Army Day today.

The army celebrates January 15 as Army Day every year as it was on this day that the first Indian general took charge of the Indian Army. General KM Cariappa (later Field Marshal) took over as the commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949.
09:00   AMU VC to lodge FIR against police 'excesses'
Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Prof Tariq Mansoor said that the university fill file an FIR against the UP police for entering varsity hostel without due permission.

On December 15, the vice-chancellor gave police permission to enter the campus 'to maintain law and order' after an attempt to prevent students from taking out a protest march in solidarity with Jamia Millia University students resulted in violence at its gates.

The V-C said that the police were given permission to restore peace at the campus and not enter the residential hostels. "Police have crossed the mandate given to them by entering the university hostel," the statement by V-C said.

The police action in one of the university hostel had resulted in several injuries to students.
08:28   'Big admirer of Deepika Padukone, condemn trolls': BJP's Babul Supriyo
Union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo said Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone meeting a specific group of students on the JNU campus and "ignoring" others in the midst of promotion of her film "Chhapaak", has "not gone down well" with some people.

Supriyo said the names of some members of the group the actor had met with, have now surfaced as accused (in connection with the violence in the varsity).

Addressing reporters, the BJP leader also slammed the trolls for making derogatory remarks against the actor over her visit.

Ahead of the release of her film "Chhapaak", Padukone visited the JNU on January 7 to express solidarity with students who were attacked by masked assailants two days earlier.

The visit triggered a backlash from many netizens.

Addressing a press conference in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Chhattisgarh's Durg district, Supriyo also accused Opposition parties of spreading a "false propaganda" about the new law.

Responding to a query on Padukone getting trolled on social media, the MoS for Forest and Environment said, "I am a big admirer of Deepika Padukone. Even I have named my younger daughter as 'Naina' after Padukone's character in her film 'Yeh Jawani hai Deewani'.

"Nowadays people write and speak anything even if it is abusive on social media Deepika's visit to JNU and meeting those, whose names are now being surfaced as accused (in connection with the violence in the university), and not meeting the other groups did not go down well with some people," he said.

-- PTI
07:48   Trump planning first India visit in February
United States President Donald Trump is planning his maiden India visit in February, an official said, in a trip that may coincide with an impeachment trial that is likely to get underway in Washington next week.

The two countries are in touch to work out mutually convenient dates for the visit, according to a senior Indian government official, who asked not to be identified citing rules.

Trump and Modi are expected to sign an agreement on civil aviation apart from the long-pending bilateral trade deal, The Hindu newspaper reported citing sources it didnt identify.

The visit will come as India faces the slowest economic growth since 2009 and rising social unrest against Prime Minister Narendra Modis government, which has been pushing its Hindu nationalist agenda through new laws that are widely seen as discriminating toward Muslims.

It follows Modis trip to the US in September where he walked hand-in-hand with Trump at a rock-concert like event in Houston in a move analysts expected would help to ease trade tensions between the two countries.

Trump last year turned down an invitation to attend Indias Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, according to reports.
00:09   Flying objects existed during Ramayana days: WB Guv
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday claimed flying objects existed during the period of Ramayana and the arrows of Arjuna of Mahabharata had atomic power.
"It is not in the 20th century, but it was during the period of Ramayana, we had flying objects (Udan Khatola). Sanjay narrated the entire war of Mahabharata (to Dhitarasthra) not from TV. The arrows of Arjuna in Mahabharata had atomic power in it," Dhankhar said while addressing a programme here.
In Mahabharata, it is said that Sanjay, even after staying away from the battle had narrated what was happening in the battlefield to Dhritarashtra, who was blind. -- PTI