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Wed, 29 January 2020
LIVE!Delhi poll: Cong big guns missing from campaigning

Timeline  Refresh

23:43   EC issues show cause notice to BJP leader over ad against Congress
The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to BJP national general secretary Arun Singh for prima facie violating a provision of the model code relating to making unverified allegations against rival parties and candidates.
   
The commission has asked him to respond to the notice before noon on January 31. -- PTI  
23:33   Delhi poll: Cong big guns missing from campaigning
Unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party which have deployed a battery of top leaders, including MPs and ministers, for canvassing for the February 8 Delhi polls, the Congress is yet to see its big guns like Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit the campaign trail.  
 
With just nine days left for campaigning to end for the assembly polls, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with an army of AAP supporters is holding roadshows every day, while his ministers are addressing gatherings in Delhi's 70 assembly constituencies in a bid to retain power.  
The BJP, which lost Delhi to the Congress in 1998, has engaged Union ministers, chief ministers and parliamentarians to garner support for its candidates to bring back the national capital into its fold, after losing Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. 
However, the same cannot be said about the Congress, which lost the national capital to the AAP in 2013 and faced a massive drubbing in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, not winning any of the seven parliamentary seats here.
The void in its campaign management is being felt by several party candidates, leaving many confused in the face of fierce canvassing by their rivals. 
Many are perplexed over why big leaders have not started campaigning for party candidates yet, a Congress candidate from south Delhi said in an oblique reference to Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi.
However, senior leaders said that the Gandhis will start campaigning from February 2.
Most senior Delhi Congress leaders are either contesting the polls or have their kins in the fray. DPCC president Subhash Chopra has fielded his daughter Shivani from Kalkaji, while campaign committee chief Kirti Azad's wife is contesting from Sangam Vihar. 
A senior Delhi Congress leader said Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi will soon address rallies and hold roadshows. They had campaigned in the Lok Sabha polls.   
"There has been no delay. Our senior leaders like Raj Babbar are campaigning. The BJP has deployed all its senior leaders because they are scared and frustrated," he said.
With an aim to recapture power, the top leadership of the BJP -- Union home minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda -- have been holding daily roadshows and public meetings. 
It has also deployed Union ministers, chief ministers, party MPs and an army of volunteers.
Azad said the Congress's election schedule is ready and senior party leaders will hold roadshows and meetings in the coming days in all the constituencies, across Delhi.
AICC incharge of the Delhi Congress P C Chacko said the party's campaign has been going on in a systematic way through candidate-centric canvassing. 
He said its star campaigners have been saved for the last lap of campaigning. -- PTI
22:43   Vote on anti-CAA motion in EU Parl delayed
A joint motion, combining five different resolutions tabled by Members of the European Parliament against India's Citizenship Amendment Act, has been placed on the final agenda for debate at the Plenary session in Brussels on Wednesday.
However, an expected vote on the motion on Thursday has been postponed until the Parliament's Plenary session in March.
"Following a decision by MEPs at the opening of today's Plenary session in Brussels, the vote on the resolution on India's Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 has been postponed to the March session, said a statement from the European Parliament, as it confirmed that the debate on the motion is to go ahead as scheduled later on Wednesday evening.
The reason behind the postponement of the vote is unconfirmed but will come as a boost to the Indian government's efforts against such a motion being voted on by the European Parliament.
The motion takes note of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights statement last month, which described the CAA as "fundamentally discriminatory in nature", and also of other UN as well as the European Union guidelines on human rights as it calls on the Indian government to "repeal the discriminatory amendments".
The debate on CAA on Wednesday will follow the European Parliament's historic ratification of the Brexit bill, under which the UK is set to formally leave the economic bloc on Friday.
"While the CAA's stated goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcome, an effective national asylum and refugee policy should be just and holistic in nature and apply to all those in need," notes the motion, which describes the CAA as "discriminatory in nature and dangerously divisive".
The Indian government has maintained that the CAA, which was passed by the Indian Parliament last month, is an internal matter of the country and stressed that the goal is to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries. It has been extremely critical of the move in Brussels, which the European Commission the executive arm of the economic bloc has sought to distance itself from.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday wrote to European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli over the resolutions, saying it is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgement on another and the practice can be misused by vested interests.
"As members of Inter Parliamentary Union, we should respect sovereign processes of fellow legislatures, especially in democracies," Birla said in the letter.
The European Parliament motion is critical of any protection being denied to Muslims and that even though India also shares a border with Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the CAA does not bring Sri Lankan Tamils under its purview, who form the largest refugee group in India and who have been resident in the country for over 30 years. -- PTI
22:29   Trump to visit Sabarmati Riverfront in Feb: Gujarat CM
United States President Donald Trump will visit the Sabarmati Riverfront in Gujarat during his India trip in February, the state chief minister Vijay Rupani said on Wednesday.
 
Rupani said this while addressing an election rally in north Delhi's Shastri Nagar.
"In the entire Asia, the Sabarmati river has become the cleanest river which was ensured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prominent leaders like Japan and Israel prime ministers also visited the riverfront and got surprised to see it.
"US President Trump will also come (to India) in February and he will also visit the riverfront," the Gujarat chief minister said. However he did not specify the dates.
Earlier this month, government sources said Indian and US officials were engaged in talks to finalise the dates for Trump's visit to India. "Both sides are in discussions to finalise the dates," a source said.
Trump's two-day visit to India could take place on February 24-26.
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. -- PTI
21:45   Rahul slams flying ban on Kunal Kamra
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday came out in support of comedian Kunal Kamra, who has been banned by four airlines for allegedly heckling journalist Arnab Goswami aboard a flight, saying those who use their cameras as "tools of propaganda" should show some spine when the camera is turned on them.
 
His reaction came after SpiceJet and GoAir banned Kamra from flying with them, a day after IndiGo and Air India suspended him.
"The ban imposed on Kunal Kamra by 4 airlines is the act of a coward leveraging his influence with the Govt to silence a critic.
"Those who use their 'news' cameras as 24x7 tools of propaganda, should show some spine when the camera is turned on them," Gandhi said on Twitter. 
Kamra allegedly heckled Goswami, the editor of Republic TV, on IndiGo's Mumbai-Lucknow (6E5317) flight on Tuesday.
In a video clip posted by Kamra on his Twitter handle, he is seen asking Goswami if he is a "coward or a journalist".
While Goswami can be seen sitting in the plane and watching something on his laptop with his earphones plugged in, Kamra is heard telling him, "You should fight against dynasts like Rahul Gandhi, who I support, on 10 Tughlaq Lane. Arnab, you should have a reply, Arnab. Arnab, are you a coward or are you a journalist?" -- PTI  
21:38   Won't allow Delhi to become Syria: BJP leader
With the Delhi assembly polls just over a week away, the Bharatiya Janata Party has upped its ante against anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters at Shaheen Bagh, with a top party functionary on Wednesday saying the national capital will not be allowed to become "Syria".
 
The agitation against the CAA at Shaheen Bagh began in mid-December following a violent protest against the law at Jamia Nagar.
BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh in a tweet alleged that the Shaheen Bagh protesters are trying to create fear in the minds of the people of Delhi by blocking roads.
Protesters, most of them women, have blocked a main road connecting areas in south-east Delhi with Noida, posing hardships for locals and commuters, including office goers.
"We will not let Delhi become Syria and allow them to run an ISIS-like module here, where women and kids are used. 
"They are trying to create fear in the minds of people of Delhi by blocking the main route. We will not let this happen. (We will not let Delhi burn).#ShaheenBaghKaSach," Chugh tweeted.
This not the first attack on protesters. 
BJP MP Parvesh Verma on Tuesday raised the spectre of Shaheen Bagh's anti-CAA protesters in their lakhs entering homes to rape and kill women, provoking opposition outrage as the Delhi election chief submitted a report on his remarks to the Election Commission.
On Wednesday, Union home minister Amit Shah asked voters to press the EVM button "so hard" on February 8 that the "shock" (poll result) is felt at Shaheen Bagh.
He was addressing election meetings at the Najafgarh and the Beejwasan constituencies for the Delhi polls.
Shah, the then BJP president, in a booth level workers' convention in December 2019, had said that his party will form the next government in Delhi highlighting achievements of the Modi government and exposing the failures of the Kejriwal dispensation.
Blazing the campaign trail by holding two to three small meetings every day in different constituencies, Shah has attacked the Kejriwal government, alleging that it has not fulfilled its promises. -- PTI
21:30   CAA: Antony hits out at BJP and RSS
Hitting out at the BJP and RSS over the Citizenship Amendment Act, senior Congress leader A K Antony on Wednesday alleged that the Sangh Parivar was practising the British tactics of divide and rule. 
       
The Congress Working Committee member also said the previous governments at the Centre had never given citizenship to anyone on the basis of religion.
"Today, the BJP and the RSS are going door-to-door and saying the 'law will not affect you.So you don't worry.'
They are trying to divide the people. They are trying the old British tactics of divide and rule against which Gandhi ji fought," Antony said.
The former defence minister was speaking after inaugurating the 'secular march' led by Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor in protest against the CAA, and in "solidarity with fellow citizens being targeted by the Modi government."
The march, which was flagged off by Antony from the Swami Vivekananda statue in Kowdiar concluded at Gandhi Park near the bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
Antony said the country has been receiving many persecuted communities since independence.
"We have received and accepted many persecuted communities. We never did that based on religion," the former Union minister said. -- PTI
20:22   Sharjeel Imam sent to 5-day police custody
A Delhi court sent Sharjeel Imam, arrested on sedition charges, to five days of police custody on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
Imam was produced at the residence of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Purushottam Pathak in the evening amidst high security, said advocate Mishika Singh, appearing for the JNU research scholar in the matter.
Imam was arrested from Bihar's Jehanabad on Tuesday for allegedly making inflammatory speeches at the Jamia Millia Islamia University here and in Aligarh.
He was brought to Delhi on Wednesday.
The situation in the Patiala House Courts Complex was tense after the Delhi Police informed that Imam would be produced before the magistrate there.
Some lawyers raised slogans against Imam, held up posters calling him a "traitor" and demanded that he be hanged.
One of the lawyers said, "We are here to protest against those who talk about breaking the country. All lawyers are united against such traitors. He does not deserve to be outside jail. Strict action should be taken against him."
Heavy security, including CRPF personnel, was deployed outside the court premises. -- PTI  
19:54   India asks China for permission to operate 2 flights to bring back nationals
India has requested China for permission to operate two flights to bring back its nationals from the Hubei Province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. 
 
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Indian embassy in Beiijing is in touch with Chinese authorities on the ground to work out necessary logistics. 
"Chinese Government requested for permission to operate two flights to bring back our nationals from Hubei Province," Kumar said in a tweet.
He also shared the appeal of the Indian embassy in China to all Indian citizens in Hubei who have not yet contacted the mission to do so on the given hotlines or dedicated email ID. -- PTI 
19:36   Ban on Kunal Kamra: No violation, says DGCA
With four Indian airlines banning stand-up comic Kunal Kamra from flying with them for allegedly heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on board an IndiGo plane, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said the action by the carriers is in complete consonance with its regulations.

While SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir have banned Kamra 'till further notice', IndiGo has suspended Kamra from flying with it for six months.

In a statement on Wednesday, the DGCA said, 'This is to reiterate that the action taken by the airlines is in complete consonance with Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part VI on Handling of unruly passengers.'

'Now the matter is to be referred to the internal committee as prescribed in para 6.1 of the said CAR. Further, as per para 6.4 of the CAR, the internal committee is to give the final decision in 30 days by giving the reasons in writing, which shall be binding on the airline concerned.

'Punishment for different type of unruly behaviour is also prescribed in the same CAR and the internal committee has to adhere to the same,' it added.  -- PTI
19:21   Another Nirbhaya convict files mercy petition
JUST IN: December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape convict Vinay Sharma files mercy petition before the President, says his lawyer A P Singh.

More details awaited.  -- ANI
18:34   World No. 1 Nadal knocked out of Australian Open
Rafael Nadal, the world number 1, bows out of the Australian Open after losing to Austria's Dominic Thiem.

Nadal lost the match in four sets -- 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7.

Thiem played some brilliant tennis to oust the world number 1 and will now play Germany's Alexander Zverev in the semi-final.
18:17   ACB books AAP MLA Amantullah Khan for alleged misuse of funds
The Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) in poll-bound Delhi booked Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Waqf Board Chairman Amantullah Khan on Wednesday for alleged misuse of funds.

Officials said Khan allegedly misappropriated Waqf Board funds and conducted 'irregular recruitment'.

An officer requesting anonymity said, "We have registered an FIR against him and are currently carrying related procedures. We are ascertaining the total amount of misappropriated funds and other irregularities he committed."  -- PTI
18:06   Photos of 70 involved in anti-CAA protests near Jamia released
Delhi Police on Wednesday released photos of 70 people who were allegedly involved in violence during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests near Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi last month, officials said.

The university had turned into a battlefield on December 15 last year when police entered the campus and used force against students following the violent protest.

According to police, two cases were registered in connection with the violence during a protest against the amended Citizenship Act near the university campus.

One case was registered at Jamia Nagar police station under Indian Penal Code sections for rioting, obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions and assault or criminal force to deter public servant from his duty while another case was registered at New Friends Colony police station under IPC sections for rioting, arson, unlawful assembly and damage to public property.

Both the cases are being investigated by the SIT of Crime Branch, police said, adding, the persons whose photos were released had actively participated in riots and any information about them would be suitably rewarded.

Anyone who has information about them can contact Delhi Police at 011-23013918 and 9750871252, they added.  -- PTI
17:36   Akali Dal to support BJP in Delhi polls: Nadda
Bharatiya Janata Party president J P Nadda on Wednesday said that ally Shiromani Akali Dal, which had decided not to contest the Delhi assembly polls over differences with the saffron party, will support his party in the elections.

At a joint press conference with SAD president Sukhbir Badal, Nadda hailed the party as an old and strong ally, while Badal asserted that their alliance is not merely about politics but also about a bond of sentiments.

Akali Dal's decision to not contest the polls had triggered concerns in the BJP that it may alienate a section of Sikh voters.

Nadda held a long meeting with Badal before addressing the joint press conference.  -- PTI
17:18   AI advises cockpit, crew to wear N95 masks
In the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus, Air India (AI) has advised all its cockpit and cabin crew members, who travel to South East Asian cities, to wear N95 masks, an airline spokesperson said on Wednesday.


A total of 33,552 passengers arriving in India from China in 155 flights have been screened at different airports till Monday.


The virus for which there is no effective vaccine was reported on January 16 in Japan, the first case outside China and its territories.


The toll from novel coronavirus in China has reached 130.


Coronaviruses (nCoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.


Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. -- ANI
16:43   'Nitish Kumar must clarify his position on CAA/NRC/NPR'
Last week, Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf spoke to the then senior Janata Dal-United leader and retired diplomat Ambassador Pavan Varma, who had raised eyebrows on January 20, when in a letter he questioned Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U President Nitish Kumar on the party's stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens.


Ambassador Varma's letter to Nitish Kumar came soon after the JD-U announced its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Delhi elections, for which it has been allotted two seats.


In his letter, Ambassador Varma said there was no room for double standards. Read the interview here. 
16:35   Best wishes to retain chair: Kishor to Nitish
Prashant Kishor reacts to his expulsion from the JD-U: "Thank you @NitishKumar. My best wishes to you to retain the chair of Chief Minister of Bihar. God bless you."


Pavan Varma said he felt sorry and saddened at the party's decision. He told NDTV that the JD-U was meant to be a democratic party and should stick to ideologies. He said his advice was ignored and the party is now left without ideologies. Varma had questioned his party on its support of the CAA.  


Both the JD-U leaders were expelled from the party for allegedly indulging in 'anti-party activities' on Wednesday. The decision comes close on the heels of Kishor and Varma repeatedly questioning Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led party's stand on the newly enacted citizenship law -- CAA.

Varma had also questioned the JDU's alliance with the BJP in Delhi Assembly polls while Kishor has more than once made his differences with the party known on the issue of CAA and NRC.

Earlier, JDU supremo Kumar had said that they should go wherever they want.


Image: Best friends (not) forever: Nitish Kumar with Prashant Kishor
16:27   Saina will do well in politics too, says mother Usha Rani
Soon after ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), beaming with pride her mother Usha Rani said that just like in sports, she will do well in the field of politics as well.


"I am very happy. Saina was doing well in sports and she will do well in politics too. BJP is doing good for the country. Saina is very hardworking and will work hard in this field as well. Saina is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Rani told ANI.


Saina's elder sister Abu Chandranshu Nehwal also joined the BJP today.


After joining the party, Saina said that she is fortunate to be getting a chance to work under the guidance of a very hardworking leader -- Prime Minister Modi.


"It is a great day today. I have won several titles and have tried to bring fame to my country. I am a very hardworking person. I can see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi works for the country day and night. I am fortunate enough that I can work under his guidance," said Saina."


The BJP government at the Centre is making efforts to provide facilities in the field of sports with schemes like Khelo India. Today, I am joining a party, which is doing so well for the country. I hope I will too do something good for my country. A big thanks to BJP to honour me with its membership," she added.


Nehwal joined the BJP in the presence of party national general secretary Arun Singh.
16:14   Nitish sacks Prashant Kishor, Pavan Varma
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expelled election strategist Prashant Kishor and leader Pavan Varma from the party. The expulsion of both the leaders comes along expected lines as both the leaders had expressed their displeasure over the JD-U's support for the Citizenship Amendment Act. 


In fact, Kishor  has even been told by the Bihar chief minister to leave the Janata Dal (U) and go wherever he wants. Kishor was also not included in the new working committee of the party, which is likely to be constituted before the next assembly elections in Bihar.



Image: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Prashant Kishor in better times. 
15:41   AAP seeks 48-hour campaigning ban on Amit Shah
AAP has asked the Election Commission to impose a 48-hour campaigning ban on Union Home Minister Amit Shah for allegedly tweeting a "fake" video on Delhi government schools, party leader Sanjay Singh said on Wednesday. AAP leaders Singh and Pankaj Gupta complained to the EC against the circulation of the "fake" videos of Delhi government schools by BJP leaders to "falsely defame" Delhiites.  


The AAP, in its complaint to the EC, also said BJP MPs - Gautam Gambhir, Parvesh Verma and Hans Raj Hans - made "false and fabricated" videos to put out a wrong picture of Delhi government schools to the people. The AAP has also sought action against the three BJP MPs. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday had asserted that the videos of alleged deficiencies in the city's government schools shared by Home Minister Amit Shah were false. -- PTI
15:32   Not necessary for minister to be educated, says UP Minister
Uttar Pradesh Minister for Jail, JK Singh Jaiki said that it is not necessary for a minister to be educated in order to govern. He asserted that there are secretary and staff under a Minister to get the work done.


"Minster doesn't need to be educated. I am a minister and I have Secretary and staff working under me. I don't have to run the jail. The jail officials who are sitting (to do the work) and the jailor have to run it," said the UP Minister during a speech at Seth Ram Gulam Patel Memorial Intern College on Tuesday.


He also said that educated people in society are creating a wrong perception about the uneducated people.


"When educated professionals like doctors and engineers sit beside each other, they often talk about a high school-educated politician, who doesn't know much about running the things (political system). They also say that uneducated people dictate educated people," he said.


He further said that nobody asked to take him the leadership role during his high school days and that he was clear that he wanted to pursue politics.


"Nobody asked to take the task of leadership. I always did on my own will. I use to look for a solution for any problem that emerged because I was clear in my head that I wanted to pursue politics," he added. -- ANI
15:21   Neena, pretty czarina
The talented and gorgeous Neena Gupta's got a hair cut and we love the look. 

The Panga actress shared the look with a photo of the salon in the background and joked, "Google walo ab toh meri umar kam karke likh do (Folks at Google, please reduce my age now)." 

The actress will next be seen in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.
15:11   Two killed, one injured in clash: Police
Two persons were killed and one was injured in a clash between two groups in West Bengal's Murshidabad district on Wednesday, a senior police officer said. The incident occured after an argument broke out between the groups at Jalangi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). The injured has been rushed to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital here, the officer said. PTI
14:46   Only damaged Arnab's inflated ego: Kamra
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, who has been banned by four airlines for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on board an Indigo Airline flight from Mumbai to Lucknow, tweets this statement on the incident. Kamra put out this tweet before GoAir suspended him from flying. 


"It's not shocking at all to me that for exercising my right to speech, which falls under article 19 of our constitution, 3 airlines have given me a temporary ban from flying. 


"Fact of the matter is that at no point was I disruptive and at no point did I not follow orders of the cabin crew or the captain. At no point did I endanger the safety of any passenger on board, the only damage I caused was to the inflated ego to the 'journalist' Arnab Goswami. 

"To my limited knowledge no formal complaint has been made by the crew or Arnab or anyone else taking the flight. Whenever there was an intervention by any member of the crew I complied. If expressing myself to an important public figure, who himself points a camera day in and day out, catching people off guard is a crime, then Both of us are criminals. 

"Now let's forget indigo for a moment, I haven't even travelled Spicejet or Air India in this event and there's no pattern here of me being unruly. 


"This was the first time something like this has happened, so why have they jumped the gun and banned me? I've travelled Spicejet and Air India in the past. There have been no complaints against me ever, only selfies and love has been shared by the crew. 

"In the words of OSHO - WHATT THE PHUCK IS GOING ON HERE." 


14:29   GoAir is 4th airline to suspend Kamra from flying
GoAir is the fourth airline to suspend Kunal Kamra from flying with the airline till further notice. 

Earlier today, SpiceJet suspended the stand-up comedian from flying with it after he allegedly heckled journalist Arnab Goswami aboard an IndiGo Mumbai-Lucknow flight. 


While IndiGo suspended Kamra from flying with it for a period of six months on Tuesday itself, Air India banned him until further notice. 


Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had taken note of the incident on Tuesday and "advised" other airlines in India to impose similar restrictions on Kamra, stating "offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers". 


An AirAsia India official told PTI that the airline is waiting for the aviation regulator DGCA to issue a formal notice, and after then it will take action against Kamra. 


Kamra heckled Goswami, the editor of Republic TV, on IndiGo's Mumbai-Lucknow (6E5317) flight on Tuesday. -- PTI 
14:29   GoAir is 4th airline to suspend Kamra from flying
GoAir is the fourth airline to suspend Kunal Kamra from flying with the airline till further notice. 

Earlier today, SpiceJet suspended the stand-up comedian from flying with it after he allegedly heckled journalist Arnab Goswami aboard an IndiGo Mumbai-Lucknow flight. 


While IndiGo suspended Kamra from flying with it for a period of six months on Tuesday itself, Air India banned him until further notice. 


Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had taken note of the incident on Tuesday and "advised" other airlines in India to impose similar restrictions on Kamra, stating "offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers". 


An AirAsia India official told PTI that the airline is waiting for the aviation regulator DGCA to issue a formal notice, and after then it will take action against Kamra. 


Kamra heckled Goswami, the editor of Republic TV, on IndiGo's Mumbai-Lucknow (6E5317) flight on Tuesday. -- PTI 
14:14   How I was awarded the Param Vir Chakra
A few days before January 26, the three living Param Vir Chakra awardees assemble in New Delhi in the run-up to the parade. They carefully bring their medals, the highest award for gallantry in war, and proudly wear it on their chests for the Republic Day parade. 


The Param Vir Chakra is worn only on ceremonial occasions -- Republic Day, Kargil Diwas and at the National War Memorial.


Once the medal is worn, the only person a Param Vir Chakra awardee salutes is the President of India.


"War is the most important aspect of a soldier's life. That is the reason he joins the force. Soldiers wait for the time when they will be called to defend the country," says Subedar Sanjay Kumar, who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for exceptional courage in capturing Flat Top in the Mushkoh valley during the Kargil War.


He took two bullets on his chest and knee, eliminated three enemy soldiers and lead his team into wresting control of that area from Pakistani soldiers. Currently posted in one of the Indian Army's premier training academies, he spoke in detail about that day of battle to Rediff.com's Archana Masih.
Read the story here. 


Image: Subedar Sanjay Kumar at the start of a Republic Day parade
13:58   Cabinet nod to abortions till 24 weeks
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved extending the upper limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks. The Cabinet approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Bill will be introduced in the ensuing session of Parliament. 


While addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the upper limit for permitting abortions has been extended from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks. He also said that this will ensure safe termination of pregnancies and also give women reproductive rights over their bodies. The extension to 24 weeks will also help victims of rape, girls with disabilities as well as minors, who may not realise they are pregnant until later, he said.


"In a progressive reform and giving reproductive rights to women the limit of 20 weeks of medical termination of pregnancy has been increased to 24 weeks. This is important because in first 5 months there are cases where the girl concerned doesn't realise and has to go to court. This was discussed with various stakeholders. "This will reduce maternal mortality," he said.
-- PTI


Image: Irelands parliament passed a landmark legislation in 2018 to make abortion legal for the first time in the Catholic-majority country, a historic moment which came after an Indian dentist died from blood poisoning in 2012 when the doctors refused her repeated requests to abort the foetus.
13:53   Bear Grylls shares picture with Thalaiva
British adventurer Bear Grylls on Wednesday shared a picture with megastar Rajinikanth which was clicked during the shooting of a special episode of his TV show in Karnataka.


The Wildlife Adventurer hopped onto Twitter and posted the picture along with a caption that reads, "After our episode with Prime Minister @NarendraModi of India helped create a bit of TV history, (3.6 billion impressions), superstar @Rajinikanth joins me next, as he makes his TV debut on our new show #IntoTheWildWithBearGrylls on @DiscoveryIN #ThalaivaOnDiscovery."


On Tuesday, Rajinikanth suffered minor scratches while shooting for the episode with Grylls at Bandipur forest in Karnataka.


After Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajinikanth becomes the second Indian personality to be featured on Grylls' survival show. The episode with Prime Minister Modi was aired last year in August. -- ANI
13:27   Sharjeel Imam to be produced in Delhi court on Wednesday
Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam, who was arrested by the Delhi Police's Crime Branch from Bihar's Jehanabad in a sedition case, will be produced in the Patiala House court on Wednesday, police said. 


Imam was arrested on Tuesday for making allegedly inflammatory speeches at the Jamia Millia Islamia University here and in Aligarh. He reached Delhi on Wednesday and will be produced in the Patiala House court the same day, they said. -- PTI
13:20   Anurag Thakur, Parvesh banned from campaigning
The Election Commission has removed MoS Finance Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Sharma from the BJP's list of campaigners for the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls. 


The Election Commission yesterday had issued a show-cause notice to the Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party Thakur for his comments during the ongoing Delhi election campaign, which it prima facie felt  violated the model code of conduct.


Thakur has been asked to respond to the notice by noon on Thursday.


The EC said it was prima facie of the view that Thakur's comments "have the potential of disturbing communal harmony and aggravating existing social and religious communities", thereby violating the MCC, which has been in effect since the Delhi election schedule was announced on 6 January. 


A similar notice was sent this morning to senior BJP leader and Lok Sabha member from West Delhi constituency, Parvesh Singh Sahib, over his comments made on Tuesday, said a senior EC official.


13:09   I have seen worse, Kerala Guv on protest in Assembly
Apparently unfazed by the protest of legislators who showed him placards, blocked his way, shouted slogans and finally staged a walk-out from the Assembly, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said that he has witnessed "worse" when he was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.


"I have seen worse than this when I was a member of the Assembly (Uttar Pradesh)," said Khan while talking to media persons.Before his address to the House, the Assembly witnessed high voltage drama with Opposition MLAs chanting "go back governor" and displaying anti-CAA placards against Khan as soon as he arrived in the House for his address.


MLAs of the United Democratic Front also raised slogans while blocking the governor's path and House marshals had to rush to escort the governor to his podium.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had accompanied Khan into the House when Congress-led UDF MLAs blocked Khan's way.


Only after he was escorted to his chair by Assembly marshals could the Governor begin his address.The MLAs were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state assembly. -- ANI
13:03   SpiceJet suspends Kunal Kamra from flying until further notice
Air carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday decided to suspend stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with the airline till further notice in wake of the incident onboard an IndiGo flight where the comedian accosted journalist Arnab Goswami and also made a video of it.


"SpiceJet has decided to suspend Kunal Kamra (for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight yesterday) from flying with the airline till further notice," said SpiceJet in a statement.Air India and IndiGo have already suspended Kamra from flying until further notice and six months, respectively.


Both airlines have said that Kamra's conduct onboard was "unacceptable behaviour". Kamra and Goswami were travelling in an IndiGo flight 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow on Tuesday when the incident happened. 


In the video posted by Kamra on his Twitter handle, Goswami, who can be seen glued to his laptop, did not respond to the former's heckling.


"In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour," IndiGo had said in a statement.


The airline has advised passengers to refrain from indulging in "personal slander" whilst on board, as this can potentially compromise the safety of fellow passengers. -- ANI
12:43   Happy 'Coronavirus' Kishor is leaving: JDU
JDU leader Ajay Alok on Wednesday dubbed party vice president Prashant Kishor as 'Coronavirus', and added that the poll strategist is not a trustworthy man.


"This man is not trustworthy. He could not win the trust of Modiji and Nitishji. He works for AAP, talks to Rahul Gandhi, sits with Mamata didi. Who will trust him?" Alok told ANI.


"We are happy this coronavirus is leaving us, he can go wherever he wants to," he said.


Coronaviruses (nCoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). 


On Tuesday, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in reference to Kishor, had said people are free to remain in the party or leave if they want.


"Someone wrote a letter I replied to it. Someone is tweeting, let him tweet. What do I have to do with it? One can stay in the party (JD-U) till he wants. He can go if he wants...Do you know how did he join the party? Amit Shah asked me to induct him," said Kumar, while responding to a media question on Prashant Kishor.


Kishor has more than once made his differences with the party known on the issue of the amended citizenship Act. JDU had supported the legislation in both the Houses of Parliament.Last month, Kishor had told ANI that it is only the Bihar Chief Minister who can tell under what circumstances the party supported the Citizen (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. -- ANI
12:39   Nirbhaya's mother suggests rule to avoid delay in justice
As uncertainty looms over when convicts in the gruesome Nibhaya case will be hanged, her mother on Wednesday said the government and Supreme Court should formulate guidelines under which accused in the same matter file their review or mercy petitions collectively and not individually, in order to quell any delay in serving justice.


She made the remarks soon after the top court dismissed the petition of convict Mukesh Singh challenging President's rejection of his mercy plea.


"Finally, Supreme Court and the government should come up with guidelines which say that if there are more than one culprits then their review and mercy petition should be made together and they should be executed together," said Asha Devi, said.


The Supreme Court while dismissing Mukesh's petition said there is no merit in his contention and that alleged torture cannot be a ground to consider his plea. 


"All documents were placed before the President and he had taken them into consideration," the court said."After President rejected his mercy petition, judicial review was part of the process and not mandatory constitutional remedy. Convict Mukesh Singh has now left with no remedy. They are getting benefits from existing loopholes," said Nirbhaya's lawyer.


Unhappy with the top court's order, the convict's lawyer, AP Singh, said, "Justice hurried is justice worried. Mercy petitions are pending at various levels in numerous, why this pick and choose?"
12:09   Saina Nehwal to join BJP
Badminton champion Saina Nehwal is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party today, reports said. 


Just last month, the Olympic medallist was 'cancelled' on Twitter for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech. She tweeted after the speech: "I'm hearing a thought provoking speech from @narendramodi sir #RamlilaMaidan"

However, there were many other Twitter handles tweeting the exam same exact tweet and people wondered how one could 'play badminton without a spine'.

Twitter users mocked the shuttler. Saina Nehwal is nothing but a paid troll on BJP's payroll, said a user.

Others asked the BJP IT cell to 'tweet from their own account'.
12:02   Bhopal gas tragedy: SC to hear Centre's plea for additional funds on Feb 11
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear on February 11 the Centre's plea seeking Rs 7,844 crore as additional funds from successor firms of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation for giving compensation to victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. 


A five-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also said that the plea would be heard by the apex court in a "different combination" of judges. Justice S Ravindra Bhat, who is part of the five-judge bench, on Tuesday had offered to recuse himself from hearing the matter saying he had earlier appeared as a lawyer for the Centre when the review plea in the case was adjudicated upon. 


At the outset of the hearing, Justice Mishra said, "We will hear this on February 11 in different combination (of judges)." Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench, also comprising justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M R Shah and Bhat, that a full-fledged hearing in the matter may not be possible from February 11 as different benches of the apex court would be hearing the Sabarimala case and pleas relating to abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. To this, the bench said it would consider this aspect on February 11 and fix the time schedule of hearing in this case keeping in mind the hearing in other matters. 


The UCC, now owned by Dow Chemicals, gave a compensation of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore at the time of settlement in 1989) after toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984 killed over 3,000 people and affected 1.02 lakh more. 


The apex court is to hear the curative petition filed by the Centre seeking a direction to Union Carbide and other firms for Rs 7,844 crore for additional funds over and above the earlier settlement amount of USD 470 million for paying compensation to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims. Over 3,000 people had died in the tragedy due to release of methyl isocyanate gas. 


The survivors of the tragedy have been fighting for long for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak. -- PTI
11:55   'Protests have forced government on the backfoot'
Dr Suvrat Raju is a theoretical physicist on the faculty of the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences in Bengaluru. Dr Raju, who has a PhD from Harvard, was one of the two winners of the 2019 ICTP Prize in honour of Nobel Laureate Dr Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar for new insights into the holographic description of black hole interiors and for shedding new light on the long-standing black-hole information paradox.


Dr Raju is among the nearly 2,000 scientists and science students who signed a letter against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. He was also among the prominent Indian scientists, researchers and academicians from premier institutions such as IITs and IISc who petitioned the government to end the communication shutdown in Kashmir.


"The scale of the protests is remarkable. Even students who were apolitical or may have been previously sympathetic to the government have changed their perspectives. This has changed the discourse and brought back a discussion of many progressive ideas that had taken a backseat, including ideas of secularism, the freedom of speech, and the role of dissent in democracy," Dr Raju tells Rediff.com's Archana Masih.


Read the interview here. 
11:49   Speeches favouring Sharjeel Imam made during meeting by AMU students: Police
A meeting of Aligarh Muslim University tudents took place here in support of JNU student Sharjeel Imam who was arrested from Bihar's Jehanabad by Delhi police on Tuesday.


Speaking to media, SSP Aligarh, Akash Kuljhari said, "A meeting was held around 7 pm in support of Sharjeel Imam by a group of around 40 to 50 AMU students. There were public speeches made in favour of Imam."


"We have spoken to the university's administration and they said that they will initiate a disciplinary inquiry against those students. We are also collecting videos and photographs and we will act against them under the relevant sections applicable," he said.


AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar said, "Some people chanted slogans in support of Sharjeel Imam and we got to know about it. The AMU has earlier said that some outsiders can create anarchy here and it could be dangerous for the peace of the university and of the city.


"If any student is found involved in such activity then action will be taken against them. And if outsiders come to the university and disturb the peace, we will provide information about them to the local administration," he said.


"Whatever Sharjeel Imam has said is not in the interest of the country," he added. Imam has stoked a controversy with his "cut off Assam from India" remark at a protest in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh last week. -- ANI
11:39   Zverev brushes off Wawrinka threat at Aus Open
Germany's Alexander Zverev battled his way to his first semi-final at a Grand Slam. The German downed former Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawinka in four sets -- 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Zverev, seeded seventh at the event, awaits the winner of Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem in his next match.
11:26   PM, FM clueless on economy: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday targetted the Centre over increasing inflation and fall in gross domestic product (GDP) growth, while stating that the Prime Minister and his 'dream team of economic advisor' have 'turned the economy around'.


"Modi and his dream team of economic advisors have literally turned the economy around. Earlier: GDP: 7.5 per cent Inflation: 3.5 per cent. Now: GDP: 3.5 per cent Inflation: 7.5 per cent," Gandhi said in a tweet.


As Central government is all set to unveil Budget 2020 on February 1, the Congress MP while taking a dig at Prime Minister and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the duo has "no idea what to do next".


"The Prime Minister and Finance Minister have absolutely no idea what to do next. Budget 2020," he said.At a rally in Rajasthan's Jaipur on Tuesday, Gandhi had said Prime Minister Modi has "no knowledge" of economy, adding that using old parametres, India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing only at 2.5 per cent.


He accused Modi of "destroying the image of India" abroad.The Congress leader had also corned the Prime Minister over unemployment issue and said the "biggest issue is unemployment but Modi doesn't even speak a word on it". -- ANI
11:10   Neeraj Chopra qualifies for Olympics with 87.86m throw on comeback
Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86m at the ACNE League meeting in  Potchefstroom, S Africa, making an impressive return to the circuit after recovering from an elbow injury. The 22-year-old Indian, who missed the entire 2019 season due to the injury, breached the Olympic qualification mark of 85m in his fourth attempt and secured the top place at the international event here on Tuesday. He threw the spear to 81.76m at the start and kept improving with every throw. He managed 82m in his second attempt and 82.57 in the third. 


"Feeling super awesome to be back in the competition mode. Thank you everyone for your good wishes and supporting me always," tweeted Neeraj, who has now secured India's fourth Olympics quota in athletics. Another Indian in fray, Rohit Yadav threw 77.61m to finish second. The other three competitors did not even touch the 70m mark. -- PTI
10:54   SC rejects Nirbhaya convict's curative plea
The Supreme Court dismisses the plea of death row convict Mukesh Singh against the rejection of his mercy petition by the president. The court said the relevant records, verdict of trial court, the high court and the apex court in the Nirbhaya case were placed by the Ministry of Home Affairs before President Ram Nath Kovind. The court said alleged sufferings in jail can't be grounds to challenge rejection of mercy plea by the President. The court also added that expeditious disposal of a mercy plea doesn't mean non-application of mind by the President.



Mukesh Singh had earlier moved the mercy petition before the President after the Supreme Court had dismissed his curative petition against his conviction and death sentence. President Ram Nath Kovind had, however, rejected the death row convict's mercy plea.


Appearing on behalf of Mukesh Singh, Advocate Anjana Prakash alleged that the Nirbhaya case death row convict was physically and sexually assaulted at Tihar Jail and put under solitary confinement.Anjana Prakash has also alleged that in the jail, Mukesh Singh was forced to have intercourse with another convict in the Nirbhaya rape case. She added that the medical records had not been sent to the President for consideration of his mercy plea.
10:31   Coronavirus claims 132 lives in China
The deadly coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in China with 25 new fatalities reported from central Hubei province, taking the death toll to 132 and the confirmed infection cases to nearly 6,000, as health experts warned that the epidemic may reach its peak in the next 10 days resulting in large-scale casualties.


The Chinese health authorities announced on Wednesday that 5,974 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions by Tuesday. 


China's National Health Commission said in its daily report that 1,239 patients remained in critical condition and 9,239 people were suspected to be infected with the virus. 


A total of 103 people have been discharged from hospital after recovery, the commission said. For the first-time, Tibet too reported a suspected case of coronavirus. 


Till now, barring Tibet, all Chinese provinces reported the virus cases, posing a major challenge for the health authorities to contain it. Tuesday saw 1,459 new confirmed cases, 3,248 new suspected cases, including one in Tibet Autonomous Region and 26 deaths, with one in Henan province and the rest in Hubei, the Commission said. 


A total of 65,537 close contacts had been traced, the commission said, adding that among them, 1,604 were discharged from medical observation on Tuesday. 


A total of 59,990 people were still under medical observation. By the end of Tuesday, eight confirmed cases had been reported in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, seven in Macao Special Administrative Region and eight in Taiwan. Hubei, the epicentre of the virus, has reported 840 new confirmed cases, indicating that the virus continues to spread at a faster rate. The coronavirus can be passed between humans through close contact, Chinese medical experts say. -- PTI


Image: Medical staff at an isolation ward where three suspected coronavirus patients who had returned from China to New Delhi were admitted yesterday. Pic: ANI
10:19   'Marching on Rajpath was exhilarating'
A Republic Day story you may have missed reading...

"My family was very emotional. I made them very proud. I was flooded by messages from school friends, teachers.

People from my city were taking pride in me as if I was representing them.

My sister, who was in the audience, told me a funny story. People are not supposed to stand up because that blocks the view of those seated behind. But my husband could not resist it and just got up when I passed.

When people from behind asked him to sit, he turned and told them, "Please understand she is my wife."


Major Sheena Nayyar describes what it means for an Indian soldier to be part of the Republic Day parade. In conversation with Rediff.com's Archana Masih.  Read the interview here. 


Image: Major Sheena Nayyar on the Transportable Satellite Terminal during the Republic Day parade on Rajpath, January 26, 2020. 
10:12   Amid high drama Sharjeel Imam reaches Patna
Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam, who was booked for sedition for his provocative speeches, was on Wednesday morning brought to Patna airport by Delhi police, who arrested him from Bihar's Jehanabad and have taken a transit remand.


Meanwhile, chaos ensued outside the airport as mediapersons attempted to question Patna police personnel over shifting of Imam.


Media personnel were manhandled by police at Patna Airport, while JNU student Sharjeel Imam was being taken to Delhi on transit remand.Four media personnel, including ANI camera persons, were injured in the incident.Arrested by a team of Delhi police from Bihar's Jehanabad area on Tuesday, Imam will be brought back to Delhi today. Yesterday, Jehanabad court had granted his transit remand to Delhi Police.


We are taking transit remand from Bihar and trying to bring him to Delhi from the shortest possible route," Rajesh Deo, DCP Crime Branch, Delhi Police told reporters after the court order.


Sharjeel had stoked controversy with his "cut off Assam from India" remark.


Jehanabad Police also detained Sharjeel's younger brother Muzammil Imam in the early hours of Tuesday.


The Crime Branch of Delhi Police on Sunday booked Sharjeel for his controversial speech that he allegedly made a few days ago. He has been slapped with charges of sedition and inciting enmity between communities under Sections 124A, 153A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).


Separately, a case has been registered against the JNU student by the Uttar Pradesh Police for his controversial speech delivered during the students' protest at Aligarh Muslim University on January 16 against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).


A series of videos have gone viral on social media in which Sharjeel is heard saying: "If we all come together, then we can separate the Northeast from India. If we cannot do it permanently, then at least for one to two months, we can do this.


"It is our responsibility to cut Assam from India. When this happens, only then the government will listen to us," he is heard saying further in the video. -- ANI
10:07   Kerala MLAs block Governor's way, display anti-CAA placards
In an unprecedented move, opposition Congress led UDF MLAs blocked Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inside the state assembly on Wednesday with 'go back' slogans and placards against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The incident took place when Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan ushered Khan to the assembly hall for presenting the policy address. 


Though the CM and the Speaker repeatedly tried to appease the agitating opposition members, they didn't budge and continued to raise slogans against Khan and his stand in support of CAA. 


After nearly 10 minutes of protest, watch and ward personnel removed the opposition members using force and cleared the governor's way to the dias. As soon as the Governor reached the dias, the national anthem was played but the opposition members gathered at the well of the House and started the 'Governor go back' slogans soon after it's completion. 


When Khan began his policy address, the opposition members walked out of the assembly hall raising slogans. After boycotting the policy address, they staged a sit in protest at the gate of the Assembly. -- PTI
10:01   Rail roko in Kanjurmarg, Mumbai
In Mumbai, members of the Bahujan Kranti Morcha block a railway track in Kanjurmarg station inconveniencing commuters, during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. The organization has called for a 'Bharat Bandh' today, but the city is up and running. 
09:57   Sensex rises over 200 points
Market benchmark Sensex jumped over 200 points in opening session on Wednesday led by gains in metal, auto, IT and energy stocks amid recovery in global equities. 


The 30-share BSE index was trading 214.51 points or 0.52 per cent higher at 41,181.37. Similarly, the broader NSE rose 71.35 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 12,127. Tata Steel was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 2 per cent, followed by Infosys, M&M, Bharti Airtel, Maruti and Hero MotoCorp. On the other hand, TCS and HDFC slipped in the red. Besides recovery in global equities, domestic market rose on hopes of an economic revival in the upcoming budget, traders said. 


Further, short-covering ahead of January derivatives expiry also lifted key indices, they added. Bourses in Japan and South Korea were trading with sharp gains, while markets in Hong Kong opened with significant losses after a Lunar New Year break. Bourses in China remained closed. Benchmarks on Wall Street too ended higher on Tuesday. -- PTI


Image: Tata Steel was the top gainer in the Sensex pack
09:24   Debate on CAA in European Parliament today
A final joint resolution is ready for debate in the European Parliament today and tomorrow on India's citizenship law, which has been put forward by 560 of the parliament's 751 MPs. 

A vote could take place tomorrow afternoon on the resolution that says the Citizenship Amendment Act is "discriminatory and dangerously divisive".

The resolution, put up by five different groups of MPs, calls on the government of India to engage with various sections of the population in peaceful dialogue and to repeal what it calls the discriminatory amendments, which violates India's international obligations. It warns against "increasing nationalism which has resulted in the fueling of religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims".

The MPs express worry that the National Register of Citizens -- an exercise to identify illegal immigrants -- marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India, and may create a large-scale statelessness crisis and cause immense human suffering.

The resolution also says the "protests that broke out around India, particularly on university campuses, in response to the adoption of the CAA were met with a brutal crackdown by security forces".

It says: "Indian authorities have also used internet shutdowns and placed limits on public transportation to prevent peaceful protests; whereas reports have emerged of hundreds of protesters being beaten, shot at or tortured, in particular in Uttar Pradesh". Shutting down internet communications, the resolution says, is a violation of the fundamental right to access information.
09:01   Anti-nationals should get bullet not biryani: Karnataka minister backs Thakur
Karnataka Minister CT Ravi has extended support to Union Minister and BJP MP Anurag Thakur and stated that "anti-nationals should get bullet not biryani".

In a tweet, the Karnataka Tourism Minister said: "Those attacking Union MoS Anurag Thakur for his statement against traitors are the ones who opposed death to terrorists Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon; supported Tukde Tukde Gang; Spread lies against #CAA. Anti-nationals should get bullet not biryani. #IStandWithAnuragThakur."

The Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi said in a report to the Election Commission of India on Tuesday that Thakur raised the slogan 'Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalo ko' (shoot the traitors) several times while addressing a public meeting in Delhi's Rithala on January 27.

The Election Commission has issued a show-cause notice to Thakur and has sought a reply by 12 pm on January 30.

-- ANI
08:19   3rd convict in Nirbhaya case files plea in SC
A curative petition was filed by Akshay, one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case in the Supreme Court, said Tihar jail officials.

The Supreme Court will today pronounce its order on a petition filed by Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder convict -- Mukesh Kumar Singh -- challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind. 

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice R Banumathi and also comprising Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Ashok Bhushan heard the arguments in the matter on Tuesday and will pronounce its order at 10.30 am on Wednesday.

Four people -- Mukesh Kumar Singh, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma, and Akshay Kumar Singh -- are facing execution on February 1 in the matter.

The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people including a juvenile.

One of the accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in March 2013 during the trial.

Another convict, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was sent to a reform facility and released after three years of the crime. 

-- ANI
07:55   8 under watch in Maha for coronavirus infection
A total of eight patients, five of them in Mumbai, are under observation in Maharashtra for suspected coronavirus infection, a health department official said.

Six patients were already under observation and two more people, who complained of cough and mild fever, symptoms similar to the coronavirus, were put under medical watch on
Tuesday evening, he said.

Five of them are in Mumbai-based Kasturba Hospital, while two are in Pune's Naidu Hospital, said Dr Pradeep Awate, the state's disease surveillance officer.

One patient has been admitted in Civil Hospital in Nanded district in the Marathwada region of central Maharashtra, he said.

So far, state officials have screened 3,997 people at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai to check their possible exposure to the new virus which
originated from China's Wuhan city, Awate said.

No positive case of the deadly virus has been found in Maharashtra yet.
Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. However, the virus that has so far killed 80 people and affected 2,744 in China is a novel strain and not seen before.
-- PTI
00:08   Trump unveils Middle East peace plan
United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Jerusalem "will remain Israel's undivided capital" as he unveiled his Middle East plan aimed at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
Unveiling his administration's Middle East peace plan alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Trump said Israel has taken a "giant step" towards peace.
He said that under his vision, Jerusalem "will remain Israel's undivided, very important capital."
"My vision presents a realistic two-state solution," he said and proposed a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem.
Describing the plan as deal of the century, Trump said, "this could be the last opportunity they (Palestinians) will ever have." 
 
"Palestinians deserve a far better life," Trump said. -- PTI

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