Thu, 17 September 2020
MSP, govt procurement to stay: PM assures farmers

Timeline  Refresh

23:30   MSP, govt procurement to stay: PM assures farmers
Hailing the passage of three farm sector bills in Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday described these proposed legislations as historic and asserted that they will rid farmers and the farm sector of middlemen and other bottlenecks.
With ruling BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal joining the opposition in protesting these bills, Modi asserted that many forces are trying to "mislead" farmers and assured the farming community that minimum support price (MSP) and government procurement of their produce will continue along with a lot of other options for them.
These reforms will provide new opportunities to farmers to sell their produce and will lead to increased profits for them, he said.
Modi also urged farmers and those associated with the agriculture sector to listen to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's reply to the discussion on these bills.
"These agriculture reforms will provide new avenues to farmers to sell their produce which will increase their profits. Agriculture sector will benefit from modern technology and our farmers will also be empowered," the prime minister said in a series of tweets. -- PTI
23:04   India welcomes pacts by UAE, Bahrain to normalise ties with Israel
India on Thursday welcomed the signing of agreements by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to establish formal ties with Israel, and said it has always supported peace and stability in West Asia.
The UAE and Bahrain became the first Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel without a resolution of its decades-old dispute with the Palestinians who are demanding a separate state.
"We have followed the Abraham accords signed in Washington DC by UAE, Bahrain, Israel and the US. As I have said earlier, India has always supported peace and stability in West Asia which is our extended neighbourhood," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. 
The pacts were inked on Tuesday in Washington in the presence of US President Donald Trump.
"As such we welcome these agreements for normalization of relations between Israel and UAE and Bahrain," he added.
At a media briefing, Srivastava also said India continues its "traditional support" for the Palestinian cause, and hopes for early resumption of direct negotiations for an acceptable "two-state solution". -- PTI 
22:56   Harsimrat's resignation a gimmick: Amarinder
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday called the resignation of Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal over the farm bills introduced by the Centre in Parliament as "nothing more than a gimmick".
The minister quit the Narendra Modi government after Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced that she would resign in protest against the three agri-marketing Bills.
The Bills, meant to deregulate the sale of farm produce, have been opposed by several farmer organisations, fearing they will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price regime.
Had the SAD taken a stand earlier and supported his government against the farm ordinances, the Centre might have thought ten times before pushing the "anti-farmer" bills in Parliament, the chief minister said.
"Did Sukhbir and Harsimrat and their coterie not see the damage the legislation would do to Punjab's agriculture and economy all this time?" he said in a statement.
"Or were they so blinded by their greed for power that they deliberately chose to close their eyes to the danger posed by the ordinances?" the CM added.
Singh said the resignation announcement was another in a "long chain of theatrics" enacted by the Akali Dal, which has still not quit the ruling coalition despite the "slap on their face" by the central government over the farm bills.
Questioning the SAD decision to remain with the BJP-led NDA coalition at the Centre, the CM said Harsimrat Kaur's resignation was nothing more than a gimmick to befool the farmers of Punjab.
But they will not succeed in misleading the farmer organisations, he said, calling it a case of "too little, too late."
 The resignation from the Union Cabinet has come too late to be of any help to Punjab and its farmers, the CM's statement said. -- PTI
22:37   Will decide on continuing in NDA: SAD's Sukhbir
The Shiromani Akali Dal will decide on whether to remain in the ruling National Democratic Alliance or not in a meeting of the party later, its chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Thursday after party leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal submitted her resignation from the Union Cabinet in protest against three farm sectors bills.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Badal said the SAD is ready to make any sacrifice for farmers and their welfare.
The party's future course of action and whether to stay in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance or not will be decided in a party meeting later, he said.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who submitted her resignation to the Prime Minister's Office, told reporters, "I don't want to be part of a government which brought farm sector bills without addressing apprehensions of farmers."
Her resignation came soon after her husband and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal strongly opposed the bills in Lok Sabha, claiming that they will "destroy" the agriculture sector in Punjab, and announced that the Union minister will quit the government in protest.
In his speech during a discussion on two of the farm bills -- the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill -- in Lok Sabha, Sukhbir Singh Badal said the proposed laws will "destroy" the 50 years of hard work put in by successive Punjab governments and farmers to build the agriculture sector.
Lok Sabha passed the two bills by voice vote on Thursday. Another bill related to the farm sector, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, was passed on Tuesday. 
These three bills will replace ordinances promulgated by the government earlier. -- PTI 

22:26   Delhi records 4,432 new COVID-19 cases
With 4,432 fresh coronavirus cases, Delhi's caseload went over 2.34 lakh on Thursday while the death toll reached 4,877 with 38 fresh fatalities.
According to Delhi government's health bulletin, 60,014 tests were conducted on Wednesday. The positivity rate in the national capital stands at 7.38 per cent.
The total number of cases in the city is 2,34,701, of which 1,98,103 have either recovered, migrated out or been discharged. 
The number of active cases stands at 31,721. The number of containment zones is 1,670, the bulletin said. -- PTI 
22:25   Maha: Fresh medical graduates to be appointed at COVID-19 hospitals
Over 1,000 medical students who would pass out from college this year would be posted in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra, Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh said on Thursday.
The decision was taken as the number of COVID-19 patients is rising in the state and there is a need for doctors, he said in a release.
"The state government will get 1,204 bonded candidates from various disciplines of medical education and they will be posted as per their specialization and requirement at the institutes treating COVID-19 patients," he said.
"Bonded" candidates are those who have given a bond that they will serve in government hospitals for a certain period after passing out from medical colleges.
They would be posted as resident doctors or medical officers as per their qualification, the minister added.
"There is demand from district collectors across the state for additional medical staff and senior doctors," Deshmukh said.
The results of final year exams of medical courses are awaited, the release noted.
The government will also appoint 444 specialists as senior resident doctors. The recruitment will be done by the Public Health Department and the post will carry a remuneration of Rs 1 lakh per month, Deshmukh said. -- PTI
22:13   Dy NSA Pankaj Saran gets one-year extension: Personnel Ministry
Pankaj Saran has been given one-year extension as the Deputy National Security Advisor (Dy NSA), according to a Personnel Ministry order issued on Thursday.
Saran, a 1982-batch officer of Indian Foreign Service, was appointed as the Deputy NSA in May 2018. 

He was then serving as India's envoy to Russia.
The competent authority has approved the extension in tenure of Saran as Deputy National Security Advisor for a period of one year beyond September 3, 2020  on contract basis, it said.
Saran had previously held different positions, including the country's high commissioner to Bangladesh.
He has also served as the Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office between 2007 and 2012.
Former chief of the Intelligence Bureau Ajit Doval is the National Security Advisor. -- PTI 
22:04   Lok Sabha passes 2 farm bills
Lok Sabha passes Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, by voice vote.

21:53   Foreign companies shifting out of China a 'normal market phenomenon': Official
International companies are shifting their production out of China due to increasing costs and intensifying Sino-US trade friction, a top Chinese trade official has acknowledged while downplaying it as a "normal market phenomenon."
Meng Wei, spokesperson for the country's planning body National Development and Reform Commission, played down the steady closures by the multinational companies which provided massive foreign direct investment  in China for decades enabling it to emerge as a global export hub.
She said on Wednesday that the recent moves by international companies to shift production base out of China can be seen as normal market activities.
Meng attributed the shifting of the companies to rising costs and intensifying trade friction between China and the US.
The official said that China is committed to further opening up its economy and improving its environment for foreign businesses.
"The shift is a normal market phenomenon," Meng was quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times.
China faced major disruptions to its massive supply chain industry in the last two years as US President Donald Trump pursued aggressive policies towards Beijing fuelling political and trade tensions besides the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US on September 14 banned the import of five goods from China, including computer-parts, cotton and hair products, alleging that they are produced in forced labour camps in the restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.
US President Donald Trump in May had ruled out renegotiating the trade deal with China. 

The US and China in the beginning of the year signed Phase-1 of a trade deal, ending a bitter two-year tariff war that had rattled the global economy.
A number of countries including India, Vietnam and Bangladesh have announced special policies to attract the foreign firms leaving China.
Also, investment between the US and China in the first half of the year dropped to the lowest level in nearly a decade, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
For the six months ending June 30, total capital deployed through direct and venture capital investments fell to an estimated USD 10.9 billion, from USD 26 billion at its 2016 peak, Post quoted a report by Rhodium Group and the non-profit National Committee on US-China Relations.
Direct investment by US companies in China dropped to USD 4.1 billion during the first six months this year as well, although several large acquisitions are moving forward, including JP Morgan's USD one billion deal to take control of its Chinese mutual fund joint venture, the report said. -- PTI 
21:49   11,616 Indians abroad infected with coronavirus: MEA
Over 11,600 Indians abroad have been infected with coronavirus as per details available with the country's missions, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
In a written reply to a question in the Upper House, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said Indian Missions arranged for the welfare of Indian nationals, where required, including through the Indian community associations.
In some cases, arrangements were also made for screening and testing of stranded Indian nationals to enable them to return to India, as also for movement of patients via air ambulances for their treatment in India, he said.
"As on September 10, 2020, as per the details available with Indian missions, the total number of Indian citizens abroad infected with coronavirus stood at 11,616," he said.
Out of the 11,616 Indians infected with COVID-19 abroad, 4,618 were in Singapore, 2,639 in Bahrain, 1,769 in Kuwait, 907 in Oman, 420 in Qatar, 308 in Iran, 238 in the UAE and 192 in Italy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, India has supported 150 countries with medicines and medical equipment, including around 80 countries under grants-in-aid, he said.
In response to another question on the Vande Bharat Mission, Muraleedharan said the mission was launched on May 7, 2020 and more than 14,12,835 Indian nationals have returned to India via air, land and sea.
To another question on the number of Indians abroad at present who have registered with the Vande Bharat Mission to return to India but have still not returned, Muraleedharan said according to the information available with the ministry, 4,80,738 Indians who have registered on MEA's online 'REPAT' portal have not yet returned.
"The actual number of people wishing to return may differ. As per information provided by the missions, many people who have registered may no longer wish to return. Moreover, as per latest guidelines of Government of India, passengers are no longer required to register for Air Bubble flights," he said.
"Most people with compelling reasons have safely returned to their homes by air, land and sea. The exercise to bring back stranded Indians is ongoing under the Vande Bharat Mission," he said.
"Our Missions have assisted more than 62,000 Indian nationals in distress involving an expenditure of nearly Rs 22.5 crores from the Indian Community Welfare Fund," he said.
Responding to a separate question on the number of students and workers brought back under the Vande Bharat Mission, Muraleedharan said 56,630 students and 3,08,099 workers had been brought back. -- PTI
21:42   Maharashtra records 24,619 new coronavirus cases, 398 deaths
Maharashtra's COVID-19 case tally rose to 11,45,840 on Thursday with addition of 24,619 cases, the state health department said.
With 398 patients dying during the day, the death toll in the state reached 31,351, it said.
A total of 19,522 patients were discharged on Thursday after treatment, taking the number of recoveries in the state to 8,12,354, it said, adding that the state now has 3,01,752 active cases.
Mumbai city reported 2,411 new cases during the day, which pushed its overall case count to 1,78,385. The death toll in the city rose to 8,323, of which 43 were reported on Thursday.
Pune city added 2,269 COVID-19 cases, raising its case tally to 1,36,393, while 28 deaths took toll to 3,102.
Maharashtra's COVID-19 tally is as follows: Positive cases: 11,45,840, new cases: 24,619, death toll: 31,351 discharged: 8,12,354, active cases: 3,01,752, people tested so far: 56,04,890. -- PTI 
52 kg of explosives recovered in J-K
52 kg of explosives recovered in J-K
21:21   Pulwama-type attack averted in Kashmir
A Pulwama-style terror attack was averted on Thursday by the Indian Army with the recovery of 52 kg of explosives in Karewa area of Gadikal in Kashmir, Army officials said.
The location where the explosives were recovered was near a national highway and close to the site of last year's Pulwama terror attack that had killed 40 CRPF personnel, they said.
"We have averted another Pulwama-type attack," said an Army official.
According to the officials, the explosives were found in a water tank in the area during a search operation around 8 am.
"There were 416 packets of explosives with each one of them weighing 125gm," said an official.
He said another 50 detonators were recovered in another syntex tank in the area in subsequent searches.
The explosives are called "Super-90" or S-90 in short, they said. 
20:58   UPDATE: Harsimrat Badal resigns over new farm bills
Harsimrat Kaur Badal has submitted her resignation as Union minister to the Prime Minister's Office, principal advisor to Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Thursday.
Harcharan Bains, the principal advisor, said Kaur submitted her resignation soon after the party chief announced in Lok Sabha that she would quit the Union Cabinet in protest against the three farm bills, tabled in Parliament by the Centre for passage. 
20:33   Harsimrat will quit Modi govt over farm bills: SAD
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced in Lok Sabha on Thursday that party leader and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal will quit the Modi government in protest against the three farm bills tabled by the Centre in Parliament.
In his speech during a discussion on two of the farm bills -- the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, Sukhbir Singh Badal said the proposed laws will "destroy" the 50 years of hard work done by successive Punjab governments to build the farm sector.
He recalled Punjab's massive contribution in making India self-sufficient in food grain production as he vehemently opposed the bills.
"I announce that Harsimrat Kaur Badal will resign from the government," he said in Lok Sabha.
She is the only SAD representative in the Modi government.

 The Punjab party is the oldest BJP ally. -- PTI
20:29   Bollywood backs Urmila after Kangana's remark
Many actors and filmmakers from the industry, including Ram Gopal Varma, Swara Bhasker and Pooja Bhatt on Thursday praised Urmila Matondkar's vast body of work after Kangana Ranaut controversially slammed the "Satya" star as a "soft porn star".
Matondkar had called out Ranaut's claims about nepotism in the industry and Bollywood being riddled with a drug problem. 
In an interview with Times Now on Wednesday night, Ranaut called her a "soft porn star" who is not known for her acting. 
Ranaut's comments were met with criticism from the industry, with many hailing Matondkar's consistent "grace and dignity" throughout her career of over 25 years. 
Varma, who has worked with Matondkar in many acclaimed films like "Rangeela", "Satya" and "Bhoot", said the 46-year-old actor has proved her talent time and again. 
"Not wanting to get into slinging matches with anyone, I believe that @UrmilaMatondkar has more than proved her versatile talent in enacting such diversely complex roles as in 'Rangeela', 'Satya', 'Kaun', 'Bhoot', 'Ek Haseena Thi'." 
Bhasker tweeted a list of "outstanding performances" of Matondkar, right from her debut as a child actor in "Masoom", to Sriram Raghavan's "Ek Hasina Thi" in 2004 and said she has always marvelled the actor.
"Dear @UrmilaMatondkar ji, remembering ur outstanding performances in 'Masoom',  'Chamatkaar', 'Rangeela', 'Judaai', 'Daud', 'Satya', 'Bhoot', 'Kaun', 'Jungle', 'Pyaar Tuney Kya Kiya', 'Tehzeeb', 'Pinjar', 'Ek Hasina Thi' among others and have marvelled at your acting chops and brilliant dancing! Love you." 
Anubhav Sinha said Matondkar was one of the most "beautiful, elegant, evocative, expressive" actors ever. 
"Sending you love @UrmilaMatondkar," the "Thappad" director tweeted. 
Ranaut, who has been in the headlines for her provocative statements, claimed that the "liberal brigade" was falsely equating being a porn star to "something derogatory."
The actor said she fails to understand the outrage since the former porn star was "accepted" by the country at large. 
"Liberal brigade once virtually lynched a renowned writer in to silence for saying people like Sunny Leone should not be our role models, Sunny is accepted by the industry and entire India as an artist, suddenly fake feminists equating being a porn star to something derogatory," Ranaut said. 
Others in the fraternity also came out in support of Matondkar, including actors Pooja Bhatt, Sayani Gupta and screenwriter Kanika Dhillon. 
Calling Matondkar a "legend", Bhatt said with her performance in "Rangeela", the actor had "raised the bar" for all her contemporaries. 
"You left us all, co-actors and an entire generation of movie goers, awestruck! Sensuality and dignity. Two qualities you combined and embodied. Respect," Bhatt tweeted. 
Ranaut's comments about Matondkar come a day after she criticised veteran actor and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan for raising her voice in the House against those defaming the Hindi film industry.
Writer Kanika Dhillon said both, Bachchan and Matondkar, should be lauded for their graceful conduct. 
"Amidst all the madness -appreciation tweet for #JayaBachchan Ji and @UrmilaMatondkar for speaking out and shining through with grace and dignity and showing how women in the industry can lead, protest and conduct themselves gracefully without vilifying others all at the same time! #WomenOfCourage," she added. -- PTI
20:19   No need to panic: Aaditya Thackeray on Sec 144 in Mumbai
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said that Mumbaikars shouldn't panic over extension of Section 144 in the city.

"NO need to PANIC. The order issued under section 144 CrPC is only an extension of the previous order issued on 31st August. No new restrictions have been imposed by @MumbaiPolice. Please share and don't panic," the Sena leader tweeted. 

20:13   Sec 144 reimposed in Mumbai but no new lockdown
Amid the surging coronavirus cases in the city, the Mumbai police has re-imposed Section 144 of the CrPC from midnight of Wednesday which will be applicable till September 30, as part of Mission Begin Again.

'Mumbai city continues to be threatened with the spread of Covid-19, it is considered expedient to issue prohibitory order for restricting any presence or movement of one or more persons in public places or gathering of any sort anywhere, including religious places...' the order stated.

'The order was issued as per the guidelines of the state government on August 31 regarding easing of restrictions, 7 phase-wise opening of lockdown, and no new restrictions have been imposed by the Mumbai police and every activity will continue normally,' the deputy commissioner of police has clarified.

'This is a routine order and there has been no change in Unlock guidelines. Unlocking to go on as per the 31.08.2020 government of Maharashtra orders and all activities mentioned in the GoM's Mission Begin Again orders are exempted. This is routine order, the police issues one every 15 days so that people will maintain social distancing while out on the streets,' said constable Kamble on behalf of the DCP (operations).
19:23   Amit Shah discharged from AIIMS
Union home minister Amit Shah, who was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Saturday night for a complete medical check up, was discharged from the hospital.

Shah was earlier admitted to Medanta hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 on August 2. 

After the home minister made a full recovery, he was discharged from the hospital on August 14.

However, the minister was rushed back to AIIMS on August 17 for 'post-Covid care; and was released on August 30.

Later, Shah was again admitted to AIIMS on September 12 for a complete medical check up as advised by the doctors and was discharged today.
19:18   Onion export ban akin to surgical strike on farmers: NCP
The Narendra Modi government at the Centre has conducted a surgical strike on farmers by banning onion export, the Nationalist Congress Party alleged on Thursday and demanded reversal of the move.
NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase termed the decision as Tughlaqi ((ill thought out) as it deprived onion growers of a good price for their produce at a time when there was an increasing demand for the commodity 
in the international market.
The NCP is a key constituent in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, a major producer of onion in the country.
The Centre on Monday banned the export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect, a move aimed at increasing availability and curbing prices of the commodity in the domestic market.
Speaking to reporters Mumbai, Tapase also said the party will try to give justice to ex-serviceman Sonu Mahajan, who was allegedly thrashed by BJP MP Unmesh Patil and his supporters four years ago.
Tapase was accompanied by other party spokespersons Sanjay Tatkare, Clyde Crasto and Mahesh Chavan on the occasion.
The Modi government has conducted a surgical strike on farmers in Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country by banning onion export, Tapase charged.
The NCP leader said party president Sharad Pawar had on Tuesday flagged the concerns before Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal.
 Goyal, Tapase added, had assured farmers through Pawar that the Centre will take positive steps on the issue.

It has been four days since the decision was taken, but the government has not reconsidered it yet.
"As a result, the issue is a burning one now, he added,apparently referring to protests by farmers on the issue in the state.
Tapase claimed that owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, onion export has come down by 13 per cent, aggregating a business loss of around Rs 1,150 crore. 
He noted that five lakh metric tonne onion is rotting at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Nhava Sheva (in outskirts of Mumbai) and asked who is responsible for such a loss.
Since the business has come to a halt, farmers naturally have found themselves in trouble. Hence, Prime Minister Modi and Goyal should withdraw the decision, he dded.
Workers of the Congress, another partner in the MVA government, had on Wednesday staged statewide protests over the Centre's decision.
Tapase also said Mahajan met Home Minister Anil Deshmukh at the party office here earlier in the day and demanded "justice".
 The home minister has said that justice will be given to Mahajan in an unbiased manner, Tapase added. -- PTI 
18:58   CBI books 6 firms for installing malware on people's computers
A pop-up on your computer screen warning about technical problems could be a trap!
The Central Bureua of Investigation has busted a racket, booking six private firms that were allegedly installing a malware on people's computers in the name of providing anti-virus protection against bogus security issues flagged through pop-up messages.
The central agency has conducted searches at the premises of these accused companies -- New Delhi-based Softwill Infotech Private Limited and Saburi TLC Worldwide Services Private Limited, Jaipur-based Innovana Thinklabs Limited and Systweak Software Private Limited, Noida-based Benovellient Technologies Private Limited and Noida and Gurugram-based Saburi Global Services Private Limited.
The agency has carried out searches at the premises of the companies at 10 locations in Jaipur, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad and Mainpuri.
The companies allegedly sent pop-up messages on personal computers of users, giving bogus warnings about purported security issues and presence of malware in the Microsoft Windows System, officials said.
The pop-up messages carried the phone number of a call centre, where the employees of the companies allegedly advised the victims to install certain anti-malwares or anti-virus, which are essentially PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs), they said.
"The victims are allegedly given the option to activate the PUPs by paying a fee online or by calling a support number advertised in the interface of the programme. The victims are fraudulently influenced in this manner and allegedly fall in their trap to maintain their systems properly," CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said.
The customer care allegedly posed as the support system call centre and asked people to make payments through an online link to resolve the non-existent problems, the officials said. -- PTI 
18:55   China must work for complete disengagement: India
India on Thursday said China should sincerely work with it for complete disengagement of troops at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong lake and take steps to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ladakh.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India hoped the Chinese side would strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and not make further attempts to "unilaterally" change the status quo.
At a media briefing, the MEA spokesperson also referred to the consensus arrived at separate meetings between defence ministers and foreign ministers of the two countries in Moscow on September 4 and September 10 respectively.
"There was consensus between the ministers of the two sides, during both the meetings, that there should be quick and complete disengagement of troops from all friction areas along the LAC," Srivastava said.
"Both sides should, therefore, focus on easing tensions in the friction areas by refraining from any actions that may lead to an escalation in the situation. This requires strict adherence to the bilateral agreements and protocols and not making unilateral attempts to change the status quo," he said. -- PTI 
18:26   PDP leader Naeem Akhtar released from detention
PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar on Thursday said he has been set free by Jammu and Kashmir authorities after 407 days in custody since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.  
 "After 407 days of detention am informed that I am free to move about. Thank you rulers for small mercies while you inflict larger tragedies on our land," the PDP leader said in a sarcastic tweet.  
Akhtar was among several mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers of the erstwhile state -- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -- detained on the eve of the Centre's decision on August 5 last year. 
Akhtar was initially held at Centaur hotel on the banks of Dal Lake but was shifted to a government guest house on Gupkar road.  
He was booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) later, which was then revoked in June this year.  
However, several leaders, including Akhtar, were then shifted to their residences where they were kept under house arrest. -- PTI
17:48   India wants normal ties with Pakistan, but...: Govt
India on Thursday said it desires to have normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and issues, if any, between the two countries should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence. 
At the same time, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere, including by taking "credible, verifiable and irreversible" action to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross-border terrorism against India.
The minister was replying to a question in Rajya Sabha on India's policy towards Pakistan, and its foreign policy initiatives to counter that country on the issue of terrorism. 
He said India has consistently raised the issue of Pakistan's continued support to cross-border terrorism in bilateral, regional and multilateral platforms.
As a result of India's efforts, he said there is now enhanced concern globally on terrorism emanating from Pakistan, including the continuing activities of internationally designated terrorist entities and individuals like Jamaat-ud Dawa, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen etc. 
"India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan. Our consistent position is that issues, if any, between India and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully, in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence," he said.
Muraleedharan said many terrorist entities and individuals, operating from Pakistan and engaged in terror activities in India, have been proscribed by the UN, the European Union and other countries. 
He also referred to a decision by the Financial Action Task Force in February to retain Pakistan in the 'Grey List' due to continuing terror financing related concerns.
"These vindicate India's consistent stand that internationally designated terrorist groups and individuals continue to operate from and raise financial resources with impunity in Pakistan, and use territories under its control for carrying out cross-border terrorism in India and elsewhere in South Asia," the minister said.
He said India's call to condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestation and delink terror from religion has found greater acceptance among the international community, and is reflected in a number of outcome documents issued after bilateral and multilateral summits. -- PTI 
17:28   Army chief to visit J-K
Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane is visiting Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir to review the operational preparedness of forces and security situation in the state: Army Sources.
The Yuan Wang class vessel
The Yuan Wang class vessel
17:15   India sends Chinese 'research' ship home
In a significant development, Indian Navy warships constantly tracked a Chinese research vessel which entered the Indian Ocean Region last month at a time when tensions rose on the land borders in Ladakh between the two nations.

The Yuan Wang class research vessel had entered the Indian Ocean Region from Malacca straits last month. It was constantly tracked by Indian Navy warships deployed there in the region, Government Sources told ANI.

The Chinese research vessel returned to China a few days ago after being under constant watch of Indian Navy vessels, the sources said.

Such research vessels have been coming regularly from China and they try to gain sensitive information about Indian maritime territory.

In December last year, the Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 1 was carrying out research activities in the Indian waters near Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and was detected by maritime surveillance aircraft operating there.

Such vessels could have also been used by the Chinese to spy on the Indian activities in the island territory from where India can keep a close eye on the maritime movements in the Indian Ocean Region and South-East Asian region.

Since laws do not allow foreign countries to carry out any research or exploration activities in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Indian Navy warship at that time had asked the Chinese research vessel to move out of Indian waters. -- ANI
17:04   Cong leader demands parliamentary committee probe into Facebook
Congress leader K C Venugopal on Thursday demanded a probe by a parliamentary committee into Facebook's alleged interference in the country's electoral democracy and that the social media platform publish all hate speech posts that were allowed since 2014. Making a special mention in Rajya Sabha, Venugopal said media reports have revealed about Facebook India's "blatant biases and dubious practices" in content regulation. 

"This is a damning and serious allegation of Facebook India's interference in the country's electoral democracy," he said, adding that India is one of the biggest markets in terms of users for Facebook and WhatsApp. Therefore, the expectations of social and moral responsibility of Facebook are even higher in nations such as India, he observed. 

The reports, Venugopal said also mention that hate speech of at least three politicians were wilfully permitted by Facebook India. "We have repeatedly raised the issue of bias with many executives of Facebook and WhatsApp, over the past few years, to mostly deaf ears," he said, and demanded that the government should ask for a high-level inquiry by Facebook Headquarters into Facebook India leadership team and their operations and submit a report to the board of Facebook Inc within a reasonable period of time. -- PTI
16:50   Petrol demand returns to pre-COVID-19 levels
India's petrol sales rose for the first time in the first half of September since the country's lockdown in late March, signalling demand may have returned to pre-Covid-19 levels. Petrol sales between September 1 and 15 rose 2.2 per cent year-on-year and were up 7 per cent over the previous month, according to preliminary industry data. Diesel sales continue to be in negative territory, with demand falling 6 per cent year-on-year. But the demand was 19.3 per cent higher over August 2020. 

This is the first time that petrol sales in the world's third-largest oil importer have risen since the March 25 nationwide lockdown crippled economic activity and sent demand plummeting. Petrol sales rose to 9,65,000 tonnes during the first half of September as compared to 9,45,000 tonnes in the same period a year back and 9,00,000 tonnes during August 1-15, 2020. Demand for diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country, fell to 2.13 million tonnes from 2.25 million tonnes in September 1-15, 2019. 

Sales were 1.78 million tonnes during the first half of August this year. Industry sources said while the Indian economy has started to pick up with lockdown restrictions being lifted since June, local lockdowns by states have hampered the demand quickly picking up. -- PTI
16:33   Oppn demands April's status quo ante on LAC
Opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha asked the government on Thursday to restore status quo ante as on April this year on the India-China border. Cutting across party lines, members in the Upper House of Parliament expressed their solidarity and support to the armed forces, which are facing a standoff situation against the Chinese army in eastern Ladakh.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anad Sharma and former defence minister A K Antony of the Congress asked the government to take efforts to restore the status quo ante of April and resolve the over-three-month-old border standoff. Some members such as Prasanna Acharya of the Biju Janata Dal and Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena cautioned the government while entering into any agreement with China over the present situation. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement in the Rajya Sabha after the government and opposition agreed that there will be no discussion on the sensitive issue. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, however, allowed the members to seek a few clarifications on the statement, which was almost identical to the one Singh made in the Lok Sabha on September 15. 

Sharma said the country is proud of its Army and the sacrifices made by the soldiers to protect the border. "There should be no doubt on this and the entire nation would stand together," he said. Referring to the recent talks between the Indian defence minister and foreign minister with their Chinese counterparts and a statement on September 11, Sharma asked: "Do we understand that the restoration of the status quo ante will remain a non-negotiable and final objective for India?" 

Antony sought a clarification over Singh's statement in the Upper House. "You have to clarify that sovereignty means status quo ante as on the middle of April. That is the meaning of sovereignty," he said. Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh was never a disputed site, the former defence minister said. -- PTI
15:50   Oppn cries conspiracy, meets Prez on Delhi riots
Delegation members from five Opposition parties met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday to submit a memorandum regarding the investigation conducted by Delhi police in north-east Delhi violence, terming it a "deep conspiracy".

Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Jha met the President at his official residence today.

The memorandum submitted raises serious questions about the role played by Delhi Police during the violence and also the manner in which the police are allegedly harassing and attempting to falsely implicate activists and other people who took part in the anti-CAA/NRC protests, as perpetrators.

While talking to media, Congress leader Ahmed Patel in presence of other leaders said, "We have submitted a memorandum where we have stressed that since this government came in power there have been constant efforts to weaken democracy. Efforts are being made to suppress Opposition. Delhi Police formed an SIT and a special cell on Delhi riot that happened between February 23-26, however, the charge sheet shows that there is a deep conspiracy against the opponents."

"Be it economists, activists or politicians, whosoever has raised their voices on CAA/NRC their names have also been mentioned in the chargesheet as if they instigated a riot. People whose role should be properly investigated are getting protection and people who are trying to tell the truth are being booked," he added.

Delhi Police has filed a supplementary chargesheet against founding members of Pinjra Tod, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and a student activist Gulfisha Fatima in the Karkardooma Court.The names of Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Chandrashekhar Ravan, and several academicians have also appeared in the disclosure statements of an accused, as per the charge sheet. -- PTI
15:24   India aims to bring Covid mortality below 1%
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said India's Covid-19 mortality rate at 1.64 per cent is lowest in the world and the government is targeting to bring it down to less than 1 per cent. Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha, he said India's recovery rate of 78-79 per cent is one of the highest in the world. He said though total cases may have crossed 50 lakh, active cases are less than 20 per cent. 

Deaths in India due to coronavirus pandemic are less than many nations in Europe, he said, adding the government was determined to cross the US in testing rate as well. -- PTI 
14:57   Kangana lectures on unemployment
And this is a picture of the same space in Kangana's office before the demolition.
The dining space of her office which was demolished by the BMC
The dining space of her office which was demolished by the BMC
14:55   Kangana attacks Cong with pics of destroyed office
Days after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation demolished actor Kangana Ranaut's Mumbai office, the 'Queen' actor on Thursday said that the demolished office has rendered many people jobless as a film employs "several hundred" people.

The 33-year-old actor took to Twitter to share pictures from the demolished parts of her Mumbai's Pali Hill-based production office and penned down how the ones who rendered so many people jobless are now celebrating the "#NationalUnemploymentDay17Sept."

"They transformed my workplace into a cremation ground, rendered so many people jobless, a film unit employs several hundred people," Kangana tweeted in Hindi.

"When a film is released in employs the theatre workers and the popcorn sellers. After rendering all of us jobless, they are celebrating the # NationalUnemploymentDay17Sept today," her tweet further read.

The statement comes after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's attack on the Central government over the issue of unemployment. He claimed that "massive unemployment has forced the youth to call today National Unemployment Day." - ANI
14:46   Youth demand increase in jobs, abolish contract law: Priyanka
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said that the demand of the youth includes an increase in jobs and abolishing of contract law.

In a tweet in Hindi, Priyanka Gandhi said, "Demands of youth ar exams on time, results on time, joining without going to a court, increase in jobs, contract law to be abolished."

"Youth has risen and if the government does not change its way and attitude then the youths will remove the government," she said in the tweet.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to the candidates for the recruitment of 12,460 teachers in 2016 in Uttar Pradesh via video conference. -- ANI
14:36   PM was invited to participate in 'Howdy Modi' event: MEA
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday said 'Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures' event held in the United States was organised by a not-for-profit organisation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had participated in the event at the invitation of the organisers.

Sharing details about the 'Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures' in the Rajya Sabha, Muraleedharan said, "US-based not-for-profit organisation namely the Texas India Forum, Inc. organised an event titled, 'Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures' in Houston on 22 September 2019."

He further said, "Prime Minister, as part of his visit to the US (21-27 September 2019), participated in the event at the invitation of the organisers and addressed a gathering of members of the Indian-American community and many of their elected representatives."The Chairperson of the Texas India Forum, Inc. was Jugal Malani, an Indian community member based in Texas, he added. -- ANI
14:27   A Rajput can't hang himself: RJD MLA on Sushant
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput was not a Rajput as those belonging to Maharana Pratap's clan do not die by suicide, Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Arun Yadav has said, triggering a controversy.

Hitting out, the Janata Dal-United and Bharatiya Janata Party asked Yadav to apologise to the people of Bihar and Sushant's fans for the casteist comment.

"I say that he (Sushant) was not a Rajput. Please don't mind but a Rajput who belongs to Maharana Pratap's clan cannot hang himself by a rope," Yadav said on Wednesday while inaugurating a newly-built road in Saharsa, his assembly constituency.

"I am pained... Sushant Singh Rajput should not have hanged himself with a rope. He was a Rajput and should have fought instead... Rajputs first kill others before dying," he said.

Maharana Pratap was not only the ancestor of Rajputs but also that of the Yadavs, the legislator said.

The comments triggered widespread criticism as the actor's death has turned into a major issue in the state ahead of the elections that is likely to be held in October- November.

"There cannot be a more bizarre and shameful statement than the one made by the RJD MLA on the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, which has moved the entire nation. The MLA should seek an apology from the people of the state and Sushant's fans," JD-U spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said.

Condemning the remark, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said RJD leaders and workers are 'habitual offenders' and this is evident from the humiliation meted out to senior leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh by Lalu Prasad's eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav who compared him to 'ek lota pani' (a pot of water).

Tejashwi must clarify and explain his position whether he supports the likes of MLA Arun Yadav and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Choudhary on the issue of Sushant Singh Rajput, Kangana Ranaut and Rhea Chakraborty, Anand said.

People will give a befitting reply at an 'appropriate time', he said, referring to the assembly election.

Sushant Singh Rajput's death case is currently being probed by Central Bureau of Investigation and other central agencies.

K K Singh, the actors father, lodged a first information report at the Rajiv Nagar police station in Patna in July, nearly 40 days after his son was found hanging from the ceiling of his Mumbai residence on June 14.  -- PTI
13:40   14L+ Indians brought back during pandemic: MEA
Over 14 lakh Indian citizens from all around the globe were repatriated during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday.The Minister of State (MoS), MEA, V Muraleedharan, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha said that this includes 56,874 students who have returned under the Vande Bharat mission.

"The total number of Indian citizens brought back to India during the coronavirus pandemic is 14,12,835. As per information provided by passengers at the time of registration, around 56,874 students have returned to India under the Vande Bharat Mission," the reply read.

Out of these, according to the reply, 3,248 were found COVID-19 positive upon arrival in the country.The MoS added that Indian Missions in the foreign countries have assisted 62,000 Indian Nationals in distress from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF).

The Monsoon Session of the Parliament, which started on Monday with several precautionary measures in the view of COVID-19, is slated to conclude on October 1.Proceedings in Rajya Sabha are being held from 9 am to 1 pm while Lok Sabha sittings are being held from 3 pm to 7 pm. -- ANI
13:28   India wants normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan: MEA
India wishes for normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan but Islamabad has to create a conducive atmosphere by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible action against terrorism, said V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, on Thursday.

Replying to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha on India's present foreign policy towards Pakistan, the Minister said, "India wishes for normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan but Islamabad has to create a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible action to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross-border terrorism against India in any manner.

"Speaking on steps being taken by India to counter Pakistan on terrorism, the Minister said, "As a result of Government's persistent efforts, there is enhanced concern in the international community at terrorism emanating from Pakistan, including the continuing activities of internationally designated terrorist entities and individuals such as Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen etc. Major partner countries have called upon Pakistan to not allow its territory to be used for terrorism in ally manner."

He further said that India's call to condemn terrorism in all forms was accepted by the international community and it was evident in the documents issued after the bilateral Summit meetings with various countries -- PTI
13:21   A daughter's wish on her mother's birthday
Sharmistha Mukherjee's remembrance tweet for her mother. "Today is my mothers' birthday. My dad really missed her after her passing away 5 years back. Hope they are together now."
13:18   India can deal with contingencies at LAC: Rajnath
Defence Minister Rajanth Singh on India-China border issue: "The situation this year is very different both in terms of scale of troops involved and number of friction points. We do remain committed to peaceful resolution of the current situation. At the same time, we remain prepared to deal with all contingencies. In the present situation, there are sensitive operational issues which I cannot detail. I hope the House will understand the sensitivity of the matter."
13:02   China disturbs status quo on border: Rajnath
Update: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament: 

-- Chinese actions reflect a disregard of our various bilateral agreements. The amassing of the troops by China goes against the 1993 & 1996 Agreements. Respecting and strictly observing Line of Actual Control is the basis for peace and tranquility in the border areas.

-- China, in last many decades undertook significant infrastructure construction activity to enhance their deployment capabilities in the border areas. Our Govt too has stepped up the budget for border infrastructure development to about double the previous levels.

-- While our armed forces abide scrupulously by it, this has not been reciprocated by the Chinese side.
12:35   Rajnath slams China, lauds army's patience, valour
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh makes a statement on India-China border issue, in Rajya Sabha. 
-- China continues to be in illegal occupation of approx 38,000 sq. kms in the Union Territory of Ladakh. In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'Boundary Agreement' of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km. of Indian territory in PoK to China. 

-- China also claims approximately 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in the Eastern Sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.

-- On 15 June, Col Santosh Babu, along with his 19 brave soldiers, made the supreme sacrifice in Galwan Valley towards the cause of defending the territorial integrity of India. Our PM himself went to Ladakh to boost morale of forces. 

-- Conduct of our armed forces throughout these incidents shows that while they maintained 'Sayyam' in face of provocative actions, they also equally displayed 'Shaurya' when required to protect territorial integrity of India.
Shabbir Shah (extreme right)
Shabbir Shah (extreme right)
12:26   ED files charge sheet against Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah's wife Bilquis
The Enforcement Directorate has made Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah's wife Bilquis Shah an accused in a 2005 case of money laundering for alleged terror financing against him and alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani. The probe agency named her as an accused in its supplementary charge sheet filed in the case on Wednesday.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana will take up the matter for on November 10. In its charge sheet filed by ED's special public prosecutors N K Matta and Rajeev Awasthi, the agency said that there were sufficient evidence against Bilquis.

The charge sheet has been filed under sections 3 and 4 Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED had earlier filed charge sheet against Shabir Shah and Aslam Wani. 

It alleged that Wani was asked by Shah to work for him (on a commission basis) in collecting hawala money from Delhi and deliver to him at Srinagar.

The case dates back to August 2005 in which Delhi Police's Special Cell had earlier arrested Wani. Wani had then claimed that he had given Rs 2.25 crore to Shah, following which the ED had registered a criminal case under PMLA against the two in 2007. - PTI
12:07   Rhea case: HC seeks govt reply on Rakul's plea
The Delhi high court on Thursday sought response of the Centre on actor Rakul Preet Singh's plea to stop media reports from connecting her with the Rhea Chakraborty drug case.

Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prasar Bharti and the Press Council of India, seeking their stand on the actor's petition.

The court also asked the authorities to treat her plea as a representation and take a decision on it before the next date of hearing on October 15.

It also expressed hope that 'media houses would show restraint in their reports and would abide by the cable TV regulations, program code and various guidelines, statutory and self regulatory, while making any reports with regard to the petitioner' (Rakul Preet).

The actor, represented by advocate Aman Hingorani, has claimed in her plea that Rhea Chakraborty had already retracted the statement in which she was allegedly named and yet the media reports were connecting her to the case. -- PTI
11:48   Adjournment motions in LS today
TMC MP Saugata Roy gives adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over "continued arrest/detention of political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir"

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Ritesh Pandey has given adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over "lack of public data on extrajudicial killings".

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi has given adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over "frequent blasts and casualties at Baghjan oil field, Assam".
11:41   Centre flexing muscle for states' nod on GST: TMC
Hitting out at the Centre over the GST compensation issue, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra alleged that political muscle was being flexed to make the states agree to the options offered to meet the revenue shortfall. If the two options made available by the Centre are forced through with a majority vote at the next GST Council meeting, "it will be a historic mistake for India", Mitra said.

The Centre has presented two options to the states under which they can borrow from the market to make up for the estimated deficit of Rs 2.35 lakh crore this fiscal. After the 41st meeting of the GST Council on August 27, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the COVID-19 pandemic, which is an "Act of God", has hit the economy and GST collection. "...what happened in the five hours of discussion in the GST Council, no options were discussed. All of a sudden at the end of the meeting, two options were placed and the meeting ends. In other words, you are forcing the states into two options rather than three or four options. We felt there was a third option but nobody was there to listen," Mitra said in an interview to news website The Wire recently. 

"Now, political muscle is being used what I would call muscular majoritarianism to get to states agree to one or two of the options. I cannot reveal whether we will go to court as a strategy," he added. 

He said the Centre's move would challenge the very foundation of the Goods and Services Tax, and if the GST Council becomes a divided house, "the federalist spirit will breakdown". "There will be distrust in place of trust. Therefore, the whole GST experiment on a consensus basis on the federalist polity will become a problem," Mitra said. Of the estimated deficit, Rs 97,000 crore is on account of GST shortfall, while the rest is due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, according to Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey.-- PTI
11:22   Three terrorists eliminated, one civilian killed in encounter in Srinagar
Three terrorists were killed and one civilian succumbed to bullet injuries in Batmaloo locality of Srinagar City during an operation that was launched on a specific police inputs, at the early hours of Thursday morning at 3.30 am.According to the sources, a Deputy Commandant of Central Reserve Police Force also received injuries during the operation.

"While the cordon was being laid a heavy fire came from terrorists in which Deputy Commandant of CRPF was injured and exchange of fire started. During this a women, Kounser Reyaz also got injured and later succumbed to injuries," the source said.

"The operation concluded with the elimination of three terrorists. This is the fifth encounter in Srinagar City on specific inputs. In two other cases, terrorists were able to escape.So far, 12 terrorists have been eliminated in these five encounters this year. Junaid Sehrai, top Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) commander is included among the terrorists that were killed.The law and order situation in the city regarding these operations is under control. --ANI
11:22   Three terrorists eliminated, one civilian killed in encounter in Srinagar
Three terrorists were killed and one civilian succumbed to bullet injuries in Batmaloo locality of Srinagar City during an operation that was launched on a specific police inputs, at the early hours of Thursday morning at 3.30 am.According to the sources, a Deputy Commandant of Central Reserve Police Force also received injuries during the operation.

"While the cordon was being laid a heavy fire came from terrorists in which Deputy Commandant of CRPF was injured and exchange of fire started. During this a women, Kounser Reyaz also got injured and later succumbed to injuries," the source said.

"The operation concluded with the elimination of three terrorists. This is the fifth encounter in Srinagar City on specific inputs. In two other cases, terrorists were able to escape.So far, 12 terrorists have been eliminated in these five encounters this year. Junaid Sehrai, top Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) commander is included among the terrorists that were killed.The law and order situation in the city regarding these operations is under control. --ANI
Mai Handique being felicitated by doctors after her recovery
Mai Handique being felicitated by doctors after her recovery
11:12   100-year-old woman beats Covid in Assam
Her age may have posed a challenge but 100-year-old Mai Handique's battle against Covid-19 was won by her positivity, doctors said on Thursday. Handique, Assam's oldest Covid-19 patient, was discharged from the Mahendra Mohan Chowdhury Hospital (MMCH) in Guwahati on Wednesday, they said. 

A resident of the Mothers' Old Age Home, she was admitted to the hospital ten days ago after testing COVID- positive. The doctors and nurses who were treating her held a small celebration before she was discharged. Handique, who was beaming with excitement, joined the party singing several Assamese songs in her full-throated voice.

Handique, called Aita (grandma) by all at the hospital, told reporters that she enjoyed her stay and the food. "We were given fish or meat on most of the days while egg and banana were given daily. We were also given 'ruti- bhaji' (chappatis and vegetables) which I enjoyed the most," she said.

She also thanked all those who treated her, saying, "The girls (the nurses) and the doctors' took very good care." Handique also had a special word of praise for Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma -- "He is doing very hard work for all of us and I bless him to continue to help people who are suffering from this disease." Sarma, too, wished her on the recovery.

"Steely resolve of 100-year old Mai Handique is monumental. With brilliant support of doctors at MMCH, she defeated coronavirus, giving us a lesson in having the right will power," he said. 

A doctor treating Handique said, "Initially, we were worried due to her age and she also has hypertension, but she was always cheerful and in a positive frame of mind." Twelve residents of the Mothers' Old Age Home have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and five of them have been discharged so far. -- PTI
10:55   Shilpa wishes Modi
Shilpa Shetty wishes the PM on his 70th birthday:"Wishing our Hon'ble Prime Minister @narendramodi ji a very Happy 70th Birthday. Wishing you more strength, happiness, positivity and great health above all. More power to you Sir! Aapko mera Saashtaang Dandvat Pranaam"
10:32   How long will people be unemployed, asks Rahul
Attacking the Centre over the alleged rise in unemployment, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said employment is dignity and asked for how long will the government "deny" this to people. In his attack against the government on Twitter, Gandhi also tagged a media report which claimed that over one crore people had registered on a government portal seeking jobs, but only 1.77 lakh jobs were available. 

"Massive unemployment has forced the youth to call today #NationalUnemploymentDay. Employment is dignity. For how long will the govt deny it?" the former Congress chief tweeted. Gandhi has been critical of the Modi government's handling of the economy and has called on the Centre to provide jobs to the youth. -- PTI
10:06   Covid recoveries not due to Bhabiji ke papad: Sena
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on the Covid situation in the country, tells the Rajya Sabha, "My mother and my brother are infected with Covid. Many people in Maharashtra are recovering also. Today, the situation in Dharavi is under control. WHO has appreciated the efforts of the BMC. I want to state these facts as some members here were criticising the Maharashtra govt yesterday," Raut said.

He added, "I want to ask the members how did so many people recover? Kya log bhabhi ji ke papad kha karke theek ho gaye? This isn't a political fight but a fight to save the lives of people," the Shiv Sena MP said during a discussion on  the statement made by the health minister on COVID-19.

In late July, a video of Arjun Ram Meghwal, a junior Union minister for heavy industries and parliamentary affairs and BJPs member of parliament from Bikaner, had gone viral on social media for claiming a brand of papad had a cure for coronavirus.

In the viral video, he claimed that Bhabhiji Papad contained ingredients that helped develop antibodies against the virus. Two weeks after making this ludicrous claim, the minister has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
09:33   97,894 Covid cases in 24 hrs, tally tops 51 lakh
India's COVID-19 case tally crosses 51-lakh mark with a spike of 97,894 new cases and 1,132 deaths in last 24 hours.

The total case tally stands at 51,18,254 including 10,09,976 active cases, 40,25,080 cured/discharged/migrated and 83,198 deaths, says the ministry of health and family welfare.

Meanwhile, 6,05,65,728 samples tested up to September 16 for COVID-19, of these, 11,36,613 samples were tested yesterday, says the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).   -- ANI
09:27   Pak shells two sectors along LoC in Poonch
The Pakistan Army opened heavy fire and shelled mortars targeting forward areas along the LoC in two sectors of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, officials said.

The Indian Army effectively retaliated, a defence spokesman said.

"At about 0645 hours, the Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars along LoC in Balakote and Mendhar sectors," the spokesman said.

Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire 24 times this month.

An Army personnel was killed and two others, including an officer, were injured on Tuesday as Pakistani troops violated ceasefire by using heavy fire and mortar shells along the Line of Control in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district, officials said.

On September 2, a JCO was killed in ceasefire violation by the Pakistan Army along the LoC in Keri sector of Rajouri.   -- PTI
09:15   Prez Kovind greets PM on his birthday
President Ram Nath Kovind greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday on Thursday, saying he has presented an ideal in showing commitment to India's life values and democratic traditions.

The prime minister turned 70 on Thursday.

'Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji congratulations on your birthday and best wishes. You have presented an ideal in showing commitment to India's life values and democratic traditions. My compliments and prayers that the almighty keeps you healthy and joyous always, and the country keeps getting your valuable services,' Kovind tweeted in Hindi.   -- PTI
08:39   Rahul, Kejriwal wish Modi on 70th birthday
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday wished Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday.

'Wishing Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji a happy birthday,' the Congress leader tweeted.

While wishing Modi, Kejriwal prayed for his long and healthy life.

'Narendra Modi wishing you a very happy birthday sir. I pray for your long and healthy life,' said Kejriwal.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has organised a 'Seva Saptah' from September 14 to 20 coinciding with the Prime Minister's birthday.

The party is undertaking social initiatives across the nation during this week-long event. -- ANI
08:13   Woman killed, CRPF men injured in J-K encounter
A woman was killed and two Central Reserve Police Force personnel were injured in a predawn gunbattle with terrorists in Batamaloo area of Srinagar Thursday, officials said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Firdousabad locality of Batamaloo around 2.30 am following information about presence of terrorists, they said.

It turned into an encounter after terrorists opened firing on security forces.

A woman, identified as Kaunsar Riyaz, was killed in the exchange of fire.

Two CRPF personnel, including an officer, were injured, officials said.

The injured have been admitted to a hospital.

The security operation was still underway, they said.  -- PTI
00:10   Biden leads Trump nationally by 9 points
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Republican US President Donald Trump nationally among likely US voters by 9 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that showed Trumps law and order message falling short with its target audience of suburban voters.

The September 11-15 opinion poll, released on Wednesday, found that 50 per cent of likely voters said they were casting their ballots for Biden while 41 per cent were doing the same for Trump. Another 3 per cent said they would support a third-party candidate and the rest were undecided.

Winning the national popular vote does not necessarily mean winning the election, which is decided by the state-by-state Electoral College system. Trump won in 2016 despite losing the popular vote.