Sat, 04 December 2021
Going to courts should be last resort: CJI

Timeline  Refresh

21:20   Going to courts should be last resort: CJI
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Saturday said that the option of going to courts for dispute resolution should be used as the "last resort", only after exploring Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms like arbitration and mediation.
"My advice, after practicing in the legal profession for over 40 years in different capacities, is that you must keep  the  option  of  going  to courts  as  a  last  resort.  Use  this  last  resort  only after exploring the option of ADR- arbitration, mediation and conciliation," he said.
Justice Ramana, who was speaking at the Curtain Raiser and Stakeholders' Conclave of International Arbitration and Mediation Centre in Hyderabad, recalled Lord Krishna's attempt to mediate between the Pandavas and Kauravas in the epic Mahabharata.
"It may be worthwhile to recall that the failure of mediation led to disastrous consequences," he said.
The reasons for conflicts are many, including misunderstandings, ego issues, trust and greed. Ultimately, small differences of opinion can lead to a  big  conflict and  even  big  conflicts  can  be  resolved  with  some  effort  in understanding one another, he said.
If  conflicts  arise  in personal  life,  they  can  be  resolved  by  avoiding  the people we do not like or by sacrificing some money to get mental peace, among others, the CJI said.
A prudent person tries to find  ways  to  resolve  conflicts  amicably, he said.
But  in  a  business,  money,  honour  or  reputation cannot be lost and the interests of business or industry cannot be sacrificed. In such a situation also, an easy way of settling disputes without wasting much time or money or losing peace of mind can be thought of, he said. 
"Now  to  come  back  to  the  reality,  in  business  you  might  have  a  difference  of opinion and disagreements. One would usually start by initiating a dialogue to clarify issues. If it doesn't happen, you may still look for people who can help you resolve such issues by negotiating. If this also doesn't work, then the only option people consider is to go to courts," he said, advising that going to courts should be the last option.
Observing that arbitration and mediation are efforts at restoring a relationship, he said the most important factor behind the resolution of any dispute is having the right attitude of leaving aside ego, emotions and embracing practicality. -- PTI
20:20   1 in 3 Indians stepping out without masks: Survey
Mask compliance continues to remain at its lowest in India despite concerns over detection of Omicron variant in the country, with only 2 per cent of surveyed citizens saying that people in their area, city or district are complying well with mask-wearing norms.
According to a latest survey conducted by digital community based platform LocalCircles, one in three Indians say most people in their area are not even carrying masks when stepping out of their houses.
The survey, conducted in April, received more than 25,000 responses from citizens residing in 364 districts of India.
It also said that 29 per cent of citizens rated mask compliance as high. This percentage dropped to 12 per cent in September, and dropped drastically to only 2 per cent in November.
The need of the hour is to educate the public on the effectiveness of masks as two in three Indians are still wearing cloth masks that provide limited protection from COVID-19.
"It is critical that the central government, state governments and district administrations introduce all possible mechanisms to create awareness about mask compliance in light of the Omicron variant and enforce necessary penalties to drive this compliance," Sachin Taparia, founder, LocalCircles said.
If two individuals in an indoor space are not wearing a mask, in just 10 minutes, the infected person can transmit the virus to the other person, while if both are wearing a fitted N-95 mask, it requires over 600 hours of exposure for transmission, he said.
The Omicron variant, which has scientists and epidemiologists from around the world raising red flags, was categorised as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organisation earlier this week after it was identified in three countries.
Within a week, Omicron has been detected in over 40 countries around the world, with India reporting its first two cases in Karnataka. -- PTI 
Representative image
Representative image
19:49   Maha man who returned from SA tests Omicron +ve
A man from Kalyan Dombivli municipal area near Mumbai who had arrived at the Delhi airport from South Africa via Dubai before flying to Mumbai has tested positive for the Omicron variant of coronavirus, officials said on Saturday, adding that it is the first such case from Maharashtra. 
The 33-year-old man had arrived in Delhi on November 23 and had given his samples for COVID-19 testing at the Delhi airport. He had then taken a flight to Mumbai, official sources said in Delhi. 
Cases with the Omicron variant have already been detected in Karnataka and Gujarat. 
"A man from Kalyan Dombivli municipal corporation area has tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. He is the first official case in the state," Maharashtra health department director Dr Archana Patil told PTI in Mumbai.
"He came with a group of four people. We are tracing and tracking them. Their RT-PCR test as well as genome sequencing will be done as well," she said.
19:17   Delhi airport sets up 20 counters for Covid test

The Delhi airport authorities on Saturday said 20 dedicated counters have been set up for the passengers arriving from "at risk" countries and having pre-booked their mandatory COVID-19 test, after many flyers complained of chaos and crowding at the terminal following the implementation of new travel guidelines.
According to the Union Health Ministry's guidelines issued earlier this week, all passengers coming from "at-risk" countries have to compulsorily undergo PCR test and five per cent of passengers arriving from other countries would also have to take the test on a random basis.
The passengers will have to wait for the results before leaving the airport or taking a connecting flight, according to the guidelines.
"For the convenience of the passengers, DIAL has set up 20 dedicated counters on arrival piers for passengers who have pre-booked their RT-PCR/Rapid PCR test," Delhi International Airport Limited said.
There will be dedicated queues for these passengers, it noted. 
They will save the time taken for registration and will proceed directly for testing, it added.
Commenting on a tweet about the situation at the Delhi airport after the new travel rules kicked in, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said, "As I feared & warned. Total confusion & crowding in airports."
A Twitter user tagged Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in a tweet and said, "No doubt our govt doing tremendous job in COVID-19 and taking all possible precautions on international flier testing. But if review Delhi airport is getting chaos day by day. No proper guidances and informations, no social distancing (sic)."
"Travellers are facing lots of issues, not having smooth instructions and information to follow in proper queue from RT-PCR to Emigration and luggage collection.... Indian with family planned their travel after 2-3 yrs. So please help them for smooth journey," the user wrote on Saturday.
Another Twitter user shared pictures of long queues at the terminal and said on Friday, "Taxes Paid, Airport Charges paid. Huge rush but available resources are not being utilised. For 1 hour of flight approx 3 hours need to be spent in queue for processes to be completed."
The Union Health Ministry's recent guidelines have come due to the fear of Omicron variant of the coronavirus that reportedly has higher transmissibility.
In a bid to ease the RT-PCR/Rapid PCR booking process for the passengers, DIAL, in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has allowed for online payment to pre-book the test from the originating airport itself, it mentioned.
About 80 per cent of the international arriving passengers from "at-risk" countries opt for Rapid PCR, it said.
Rapid PCR test costs a passenger Rs 3,500 but the results come in 60-90 minutes. RT-PCR costs a passenger Rs 500 and the results come in around 6 hours. Passenger coming from an "at risk" country can choose either of the tests.
Countries in Europe including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel have been placed in the 'at-risk' category by the Union Health Ministry.
DIAL said it is also facilitating RT-PCR tests of two per cent international arriving passengers who are not from at-risk countries. -- PTI 
18:28   Congress launches online campaign to press for Rs 4 lakh compensation for kin of COVID-19 deceased
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched the party's online campaign demanding compensation for the families of those who died of Covid and accused the government of sleeping while people coped with pain and loss.
"When it comes to people's pain and loss, Government of India is sleeping. Let's wake them up," Gandhi said on Twitter while launching the "#SpeakUpforCovidNyay" campaign.
On its official Twitter handle, the Congress party said the aim of the campaign was to demand that the central government disclose the actual number of Covid deaths in the country, and "properly compensate all families of the victims with Rs 4 lakh".
The Modi government has very tactfully tried to cover up its failures in managing the COVID-19 pandemic by distorting the number of Covid deaths, the party alleged.
"#SpeakUpForCovidNyay so the govt is forced to disclose the correct number of Covid deaths," it said.
"By making up false numbers, the Modi government is not only withholding compensation for lakhs of families, but it is simply trying to cover up its failure in managing and controlling the pandemic," the party said.
The Congress said that under the disaster management guidelines, the government is required to compensate the families of COVID-19 victims with Rs 4 lakh.
"The Modi government has carefully tried to wriggle its way out of compensating the fair amount and is trying to settle compensation of a meagre amount of Rs 50,000," it alleged.
Several state Congress units and leaders across the country put out videos in support of the online campaign and to press the government for providing compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the COVID-19 deceased.
The party has raised the demand in Parliament too. -- PTI
18:20   Govt writes to 5 states, JK over rising Covid cases
The Union health ministry on Saturday wrote to Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha and Mizoram to take necessary steps under the 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate-Covid Appropriate Behaviour' strategy to control the spread of COVID-19 and reduce fatality.
The move comes in view of rising cases of the infection, weekly positivity rates and weekly deaths in some districts.
Referring to a letter sent to all states/UTs on November 27 in the context of the new Omicron variant, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Saturday said all states have been advised to undertake enhanced surveillance of international travellers, monitor emerging hotspots, prompt contact tracing of positive people, besides sending all positive samples for genome sequencing, early identification of cases and review of health infrastructure preparedness, and most importantly to focus on IEC and community sensitisation.
In a letter addressed to the principal secretary (Health), he pointed out that Karnataka has reported 8,073 new cases in the month ending December 3 (30 days).
It is also important to note that the state has reported a slight increase in weekly new cases to 2,272 cases (week ending December 3) from 1,664 cases (week ending November 26), along with an increase in weekly new deaths from 22 to 29 over the same period, Bhushan said.
An increase in weekly new deaths has been noted in Bengaluru Urban, from eight new deaths reported in the week ending November 25 to 14 deaths in the week ending December 2, he said.
According to the health ministry, rise in weekly cases have also been noted in Tumakuru, Dharwad, Bengaluru Urban and Mysuru in the southern state.
The secretary further said Kerala has reported 1,71,521 new cases in the month ending December 3, with a contribution of 55.8 per cent to the country's new cases from over the past month.
"Also, 13 out of 14 districts are reporting a high quantum of weekly new cases in the state. Districts of concern in the week ending December 2 are Thiruvananthapuram (5,541), Ernakulam, (4,976), Kozhikode (3,676), Thrissur (2,903) and Kottayam (2,478)," Bhushan noted. -- PTI
18:12   AAP will soon become a clone of BJP: Chidambaram
Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday said the Aam Aadmi Party will soon become a clone of the Bharatiya Janata Party as it is imitating the saffron party.
"Imitation is the best form of flattery. The more the AAP imitates the BJP, the less relevant it will become. Soon, the AAP will become a clone of the BJP," he said on Twitter.
The former Union minister also hit out at the BJP for changing three chief ministers in Uttarakhand in five years.
"Uttarakhand has seen three chief ministers in five years, but no development. The start of development will be today, three months before the elections! There will be nothing but foundation stones and plaques," he said in another tweet. 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid the foundation stones of 11 projects worth Rs 15,728 crore and inaugurated seven projects worth Rs 2,573 crore in Uttarakhand where assembly polls are slated for early next year. -- PTI 
17:56   Mumbai airport cuts Rapid PCR test price to Rs 3,900
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport ( on Saturday said it has revised downward the charges for  Rapid PCR test for COVID-19 at its facility to Rs 3,900 from Rs 4,500 earlier.
Along with this, normal RT-PCR test costing Rs 600 per passenger is also available at the airport, the CSMIA said in a statement. 
The reduced RT-PCR test charges will help passengers to avail the COVID-19 test at a minimal cost and enable them a safe and secured travel, the private airport operator added.
It said that a total of  6,732 international passengers, who arrived here from "at-risk" countries as well as other nations on Friday, successfully completed their arrival procedures. 
Of these, 969 international arrival passengers underwent RT-PCR test of which 214 passengers took the standard RT-PCR test and 755 passengers opted for Rapid PCR test, the CSMIA said.
The aerodrome has set up 100 registration counters and 60 sampling booths, including 100 Rapid PCR machines, the release stated.  
Stating that since 2 per cent of the total flight passengers are required to undergo RT-PCR test post-arrival testing at random at CSMIA on arrival, as per the Government guidelines, which are identified by the concerned airlines, preferably from different countries, it said that such travelers are escorted by the concerned airlines to RT-PCR testing area on arrival.
For any of these passenger (from among the 2 per cent),  testing positive in RT-PCR test at CSMIA, they are managed as per the laid down standard protocol and their samples are also sent for Genomic sequencing, CSMIA said. 
Children under 5 years of age are exempted from both pre- and post-arrival testing. 
However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during home quarantine period, they will undergo testing and treated as per laid down protocol, the airport operator stated. 
Besides, domestic arriving passengers are required to be double-vaccinated or must carry a negative RT-PCR test carried out within 72 hours before boarding, it said. -- PTI 
17:48   Senior journalist Vinod Dua passes away
Veteran journalist Vinod Dua, who was admitted to Apollo Hospital's intensive care unit, has died, his daughter and actor-comic Mallika Dua said on Saturday. 

He was 67. 

The last rites of the well-known journalist, who was hospitalised with Covid earlier this year and lost his wife, radiologist Padmavati 'Chinna' Dua, to the virus in June, will be performed at the Lodhi crematorium in New Delhi on Sunday, she said. 

"Our irreverent, fearless and extraordinary father, Vinod Dua has passed away. He lived an inimitable life, rising from the refugee colonies of Delhi to the peak of journalistic excellence for over 42 years, always, always speaking truth to power. He is now with our mom, his beloved wife Chinna in heaven where they will continue to sing, cook, travel and drive each other up the wall," Mallika Dua wrote on her Instagram stories. 
Vinod Dua, a Hindi broadcast journalism pioneer with stints in Doordarshan and NDTV, was moved to the ICU of Apollo Hospital on Monday. 

Vinod Dua and his wife were in a hospital in Gurgaon when the second Covid wave was at its peak. 

The journalist's health had suffered ever since and he had been in and out of hospitals. 

The couple is also parents to elder daughter Bakul Dua, a clinical psychologist. -- PTI
17:19   Jawad: Bengal evacuates thousands in coastal areas
The West Bengal government on Saturday evacuated thousands of people in South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts and urged tourists in popular sea resorts to stay away from beaches, as cyclone 'Jawad' loomed large over the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast.
Several places in the metropolis, North and South 24 Parganas, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram, Howrah and Hooghly districts received light rainfall since morning, the weather office said. 
"Jawad moved slightly northwards with a speed of 4 kmph during the past six hours and lay centered about 230 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatanam (Andhra Pradesh), 340 km south of Gopalpur (Odisha), 410 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 490 km south-southwest of Paradip (Odisha) at 5.30 am," the IMD said in a bulletin.
The administration in South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts evacuated around 11,000 people from the coastal areas to safer locations, while boats with fishermen returned in Kakdwip, Digha, Shankarpur and other coastal belts, an official said.
"The system is likely to move north-northwestwards and reach west-central Bay of Bengal and thereafter is likely to recurve north-northeastwards, move along Odisha coast reaching near Puri around December 5 noon, and weaken gradually," a met office spokesman said.
However, the cyclone may weaken into a deep depression by the time it reaches the Puri coast, he said.  -- PTI
Representative image
Representative image
17:02   Depressed over COVID-19, doctor 'kills' wife, children in UP
Apparently depressed over COVID-19, a 61-year-old doctor allegedly killed his wife and children to "liberate them and remove all their troubles in a moment" at their apartment in Kalyanpur in Kanpur, police said on Saturday.
Sushil Kumar, head of the department of forensic medicine at a private medical college, left behind a letter mentioning that he was suffering from an incurable disease and also that "COVID-19 will not spare anyone".
On Friday evening, Sushil texted his twin brother Sunil asking him to inform the police about the killings, police said.
Sunil rushed to the apartment and found it locked from outside. 
He entered the apartment by breaking open the lock with the help of security guards and found the bodies of Chandraprabha (48), Shikhar Singh (18), an engineering student, and Khushi Singh, a high school student lying in pools of blood in separate rooms, Police Commissioner Asim Arun said.
He immediately informed the police about the killings and said Sushil had been battling depression.
While Chandraprabha was killed with a hammer, Shikhar and Khushi were strangled to death, the police commissioner said, adding prima facie, it appeared that the victims were given tea laced with intoxicants and killed after they became unconscious.
Preliminary investigation suggested that the trio was killed on Friday morning, he said. 
Their bodies were for post-mortem to ascertain the exact causes of deaths.
In a note left behind by Sushil, he claimed that he was a victim of depression and that he eliminated his entire family as "he could not leave his family in trouble", Arun said. 
He mentioned that he was leaving everyone "liberated" and removing "all the troubles in a single moment". Sushil also mentioned that he took the extreme step due to COVID-19 and the pandemic "will not spare anyone", Arun said.
"Due to my carelessness, I am stuck at that stage of my career from where it is impossible to escape," Sushil stated in the letter.
The letter also read that the doctor was suffering from an incurable disease, he did not see a future and that he had no other choice.
The police commissioner said several teams have been formed to nab Sushil. -- PTI 
16:58   INX Media case: Delhi court grants bail to Peter Mukerjea
A Delhi court on Saturday granted bail to former media baron Peter Mukerjea in the INX Media money laundering case linked to former Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti.
Special Judge M K Nagpal granted relief to Mukerjea, the erstwhile director and COO of INX Media.
The court had earlier granted interim bail to Mukerjea till the pendency of his regular bail application.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had registered a case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister.
Subsequently, the Enforcement Directorate lodged a money laundering case.
Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI on August 21, 2019, and by the ED on October 16, 2019.
On October 22, 2019, the Supreme Court granted bail to Chidambaram in the case lodged by the CBI. He got bail in the ED case on December 4, 2019.
Karti was arrested by the CBI in February 2018 and granted bail in March 2018 in the INX Media corruption case.
He was also granted interim bail by the Delhi high court in the money laundering case. -- PTI 
16:17   BJP in talks with Amarinder for alliance: Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is in talks with former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and former Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to forge an alliance with their parties ahead of the state assembly polls.
During an interaction followed by his keynote address at the HT Leadership Summit 2021, Shah also ruled out the possibility of farmers' protests impacting elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, saying after the repeal of the agri laws, no other issue remains.
He asserted that the BJP will once again form the government in Uttar Pradesh with a comfortable majority.
Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh will be held early next year.
"We are talking to Captain saab (Amarinder Singh) as well as (former Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh) Dhindsa saab. It is possible that we will have an alliance with both (their) parties. We are talking to both parties with a positive mind," Shah said.
On the farmers' agitation, Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed a big heart to repeal the three farm laws.
"The prime minister showed a big heart to end the farmers' protests, (saying) OK fine, if you think farm laws are not in favour of the farmers... repealed the three farm laws. Now I don't think any issue is left in Punjab. The elections will be fought on merit," he said.
Asked if there had been any changes in the electoral atmosphere in western Uttar Pradesh, he said the impact of farmers' protests was even less in the state.
In Punjab, the BJP will be testing waters on its own after its decades-old ally Shiromani Akali Dal parted ways with it over the issue of farm laws last year. 

In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP will try to return to power.
Responding to a question about former BJP allies joining the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, Shah said connecting coalitions with vote arithmetic is not the correct way of assessing elections.
"Politics is not physics but chemistry. When two parties join hands, their votes will be added is not a correct assumption according to me. When two chemicals combine a third chemical is created.
"We have seen in the past when the SP and the Congress joined hands and later all three (SP, BSP and Congress) came together, (but) the BJP won the elections. People are aware. Coalitions formed on the basis of vote banks cannot guide people now," he said.
The minister said the Uttar Pradesh elections are being fought under organisational in-charge and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the political leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
"I have been to Uttar Pradesh. I can confidently say that the BJP will form a government in Uttar Pradesh with a thumping majority," Shah said. -- PTI 
15:45   Sena slams Mamata's 'no UPA' remark
In a snub to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, whose party is currently engaged in a tussle with the Congress, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said keeping the grand old party away from national politics and creating an opposition alliance parallel to the United Progressive Alliance without it is akin to strengthening the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the "fascist" forces. 
In an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena also said that those who don't want a Congress-led United Progressive Alliance should make their stand clear publicly, instead of creating confusion by talking behind back.  
It said that if even those people who are fighting the BJP feel that the Congress should cease to exist, then this attitude is the "biggest threat", and added that if there is no unity among the opposition parties, then the talk of creating a political alternative to the BJP should stop.
The Sena's remarks come in the wake of Mamata Banerjee's recent visit to Mumbai, in which she made a cryptic statement that 'there is no UPA now'. 

On Friday, TMC mouthpiece Jago Bangla had launched a fresh attack on the grand old party, stating that it has gone into a "deep freezer".
Recently, Jago Bangla had also claimed that Mamata Banerjee, and not Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, has emerged as the face of the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"After Mamata Banerjee's Mumbai visit, the opposition parties have swung into action. There is a consensus on creating a strong alternative to the BJP, but there is a lot of discussion happening on who is to be taken along and who is to be kept away from this alliance. But if there is no unanimity, nobody should talk about taking on the BJP. Leadership is a secondary issue, but there should at least be a decision on coming together," the Sena, which shares power with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra, said. 
"One can understand that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP work for the defeat of the Congress since it is a part of their agenda. But if even those who are against Modi and the BJP wish ill of the Congress, then it is the biggest threat," it added. 
The party said that although the decline of the Congress over the last one decade is a cause of concern, plans to further push the party down and occupy its space are dangerous.
It also referred to poll strategist Prashant Kishor's recent tweet that Congress' leadership is not the "divine right" of an individual, especially when the party has "lost more than 90 per cent elections in last 10 years". 
Kishor and his I-PAC team have been working for the TMC since the assembly poll in West Bengal and are working on devising strategies in expanding the party nationally. 
"Prashant Kishor has made this historic remark that Congress did not have the divine right to lead the opposition. No one had got divine rights. Earlier, the BJP was ridiculed that it was born to permanently sit on the opposition benches, but despite the criticism the party has now scaled new heights," the editorial said. -- PTI
14:59   Modi announces projects worth over Rs 18,000 cr in poll-bound U'khand
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced development projects worth Rs 18,000 crore in election bound Uttarakhand before addressing a rally at the Parade Ground here to kickstart the BJP's campaign for the state assembly polls. 
He laid the foundation stones of 11 projects worth Rs 15,728 crore and    inaugurated seven projects worth Rs 2,573 crore after inspecting their models on display at the rally venue.
The Delhi-Dehradun Expressway or economic corridor which will reduce the distance between the two cities from 248 km at present to 180 km, and infrastructure development projects for Badrinath which are part of the masterplan for the redevelopment of the Himalayan temple, were among the major projects whose foundation stones were laid by the prime minister.   
The 120 mw Vyasi hydro-electricity project, a 38-km long stretch between Devprayag and Shrikot on NH-58, and a widened 33 km stretch between Brahmapuri and Kaudiyala on Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway, which are both part of the all-weather road project, were among the other crucial projects inaugurated by Modi.              
"These projects will help making this decade that of Uttarakhand,'' Modi said at the rally. -- PTI
14:13   Mumbai police file chargesheet against Param Bir
The crime branch of Mumbai police on Saturday filed a chargesheet against former city police commissioner Param Bir Singh and three others in an extortion case registered in suburban Goregaon.
This is a first chargesheet against Singh, who is facing multiple cases of extortion. 
Two days back, the Maharashtra government had suspended Singh  in connection with the charges of extortion. 
Besides Param Bir Singh, dismissed police officer Sachin Waze, Sumit Singh and  Alpesh Patel have been named as accused in the chargesheet.
The chargesheet was filed before chief metropolitan magistrate S B Bhajipale.
The complaint had been lodged by Bimal Agarwal, who alleged the accused extorted Rs 9 lakh from him for not conducting a raid on two bars and restaurants, which he ran in partnership, and also forced him to buy two smartphones worth around Rs 2.92 lakh for them.
13:04   Modern AK-203 assault rifles to be made in UP
The Central government has approved a plan to produce over five lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, in what official sources described as an endeavour to provide a big boost to self-reliance in defence manufacturing. 
Uttar Pradesh is on way to become a defence manufacturing hub of India, they said. 
A source said "It reflects the ever increasing paradigm shift in defence acquisition from buy (global) to Make in India. This endeavour will be done in partnership with Russia and reflects the deepening partnership between the two countries in the defence sector."
The project will provide business opportunities to various MSMEs and other defence industries for the supply of raw material and components, which will lead to new employment opportunities, they said. 
The 7.62 X 39mm caliber AK-203 rifles will replace in-service INSAS Rifle inducted over three decades back.
AK-203 assault rifles, with an effective range of 300 meters, are lightweight, robust and easy to use modern assault rifles with proven technology that will enhance the combat potential of soldiers to adequately meet present and envisaged operational challenges, the sources noted. 
They will enhance the operational effectiveness of the Indian Army in counterterrorism and counter insurgency operations.
The project will be implemented by a special purpose joint venture called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd. It has been created with erstwhile OFB [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL)] of India and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and concern Kalashnikov of Russia, they said. -- PTI 
12:52   India to tour SA for 3 Tests, 3 ODIS, T20Is to be played late
The Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Jay Shah on Saturday announced that India would tour South Africa for three-Test and three ODIs.

The four T20Is which were also originally part of the tour will now be played on a later date.

"BCCI has confirmed CSA that the Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date," Shah told ANI

India was originally slated to tour South Africa for three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is. 

The tour right now is slated to begin on December 17.
11:59   Omicron: Mumbai issues quarantine rules for flyers
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has mandated seven-day home quarantine of people arriving in Mumbai from high-risk countries amid global concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
The BMC issued this order on Friday as Mumbai international airport caters to thousands of travellers on a daily basis.
The civic body's order said that with the coordination of the airport authorities, the BMC will everyday receive a list of passengers, who arrive from the countries defined as "high-risk" or "at risk". The list will also include the detailed address and contact numbers of these travellers. 
"The BMC will get the list at 10 am daily, after which its staff will contact the passengers to inform them to remain home quarantined for the next seven days. Adherence to the home quarantine order is mandatory and the passengers will be shifted to government-run institutions if they are found violatingit," it said. 
"An RT-PCR test will be conducted after seven days and necessary steps will be taken accordingly," the order added.
The Omicron strain, first detected in South Africa, has been classified as a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organization.
The first cases of Omicron variant in India have been confirmed in two individuals in Karnataka. -- PTI 
11:14   Cyclone Jawad may weaken into deep depression
Cyclonic storm 'Jawad,' currently over west-central Bay of Bengal, is likely to weaken into a deep depression before making landfall near Puri in Odisha on Sunday, the India meteorological department said on Saturday.                 
At 5:30 am on Saturday, the cyclonic storm lay centered over westcentral Bay of Bengal about 230 km southeast of Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, and 410 km south-southwest of Puri, Odisha, the IMD said in a statement.         

"It is likely to weaken gradually and move nearly northwards during the next 12 hours and then north-northeastwards along the coast of Odisha, reaching near Puri around December 5 noon as a deep depression," said IMD. 

"Subsequently, it is likely to weaken further and continue to move north-northeastwards along the coast of Odisha towards the coast of West Bengal," it said.                 

A low-pressure area had developed over the Andaman Sea on November 30. It intensified into a depression on December 2 and further into a deep depression on Friday morning. It turned into a cyclone on Friday noon, the IMD said. -- PTI
11:03   Cyclone Jawad: UGC-NET, IIFT exam postponed in some centres
The University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test and an entrance exam of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade that were scheduled for Sunday has been postponed in some centres of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal due to Cyclone Jawad.          

The UGC-NET 2020 and June 2021 has been rescheduled for the centres in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur in Ganjam district and Gunupur in Rayagada district of Odisha, the National Testing Agency said in a notice on Friday.         

Entrance examination of the MBA (international business) of the IIFT has been postponed at the centres in Kolkata and Durgapur in West Bengal; Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Sambalpur in Odisha; and Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, it said. -- PTI
10:53   Ex-CM of undivided Andhra Pradesh Rosaiah no more
Former Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh and veteran Congress leader Konijeti Rosaiah died on Saturday, party sources said. 

He was 88. 

Rosaiah died while being taken to a private hospital here after he fell ill this morning, they said. 

He also served as the governor of Tamil Nadu from August 31, 2011 to August 30, 2016. 

Rosaiah's political journey began in 1968 as an MLC. 

He served as Chief Minister of the AP from September 3 after the demise of YS Rajasekhar Reddy till November 25. 

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao expressed sympathies over the death of Rosaiah, an official release said. Rao recalled Rosaiah as the leader who brought laurels to the posts he held and is known for his patience, gentleness and simplicity. 

The CM has conveyed his condolences to members of the bereaved family. 

Several Congress leaders including Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Revanth Reddy expressed condolences. 

Reddy in a statement said Rosaiah has the record of tabling state budget for 15 times as finance minister of the undivided AP. -- PTI
10:11   Param Bir to be charged in extortion case today
The Crime Branch Unit 11 of the Mumbai police will file chargesheet against former city police commissioner Param Bir Singh and others in Goregaon alleged extortion case on Saturday. 

Singh had recorded his statement in the case last week. 

Param Bir Singh accepted his suspension order and the Maharashtra home department received its acknowledgement on Friday. -- ANI
09:34   Need compensation for farmers' death: Tikait
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that talks between Haryana chief minister and farmers on Friday remained inconclusive, although they've agreed to take back the cases registered against farmers. 

"Like Punjab, we need state-wise compensation for deaths of farmers and employment,' said Tikait on farmers association meeting, which is to be held on Saturday. 

He also said that the farmers' demand for minimum support price is from the government of India. 

"The talks have just started, we'll see how it goes. We won't develop any strategies today (Saturday). We will only discuss how the agitation moves forward,' said Tikait. -- ANI
09:32   PIO mathematician among 3 selected for inaugural Ciprian Foias Prize
Eminent Indian-American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, has been jointly selected for the inaugural Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory by American Mathematical Society. 

Along with Srivastava, the two other awardees are Adam Marcus and Daniel Spielman. 

Adam Marcus holds the Chair of Combinatorial Analysis at the cole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne in Switzerland. 

Spielman is Sterling professor of computer science, a professor of statistics and data science, and a professor of mathematics. 

The award recognises their highly original work that introduced and developed methods for understanding the characteristic polynomial of matrices, namely the iterative sparsification method (also in collaboration with Batson) and the method of interlacing polynomials, a media release said. 

The prize will be presented to professor Srivastava and his colleagues on January 5 next year at the 2022 Joint Mathematics Meeting in Seattle, described as 'the largest mathematics gathering in the world.' -- PTI

08:34   Omicron not more severe than other variants as of now: Singapore
There is currently no evidence to suggest that symptoms associated with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are different or more severe than those of other variants, or that current vaccines and therapeutics would be ineffective against the new variant, according to a news report citing Singapore's ministry of health. 

Channel News Asia reported that the ministry said two more people infected with Omicron variant travelled through Singapore to Malaysia and Australia. 

More data and further studies on Omicron are needed, the MOH said adding that it is expecting to see more such cases being reported globally in the coming weeks. 

"Should the Omicron variant be more transmissible than Delta and become the globally dominant variant over time, it is a matter of time before it establishes itself in Singapore," the MOH said on Friday. 

"But the additional measures will help to buy time to learn more about dealing with Omicron, and to continue with our booster programme to strengthen our collective resilience for better protection against this new variant." 

The MOH said it might need to introduce or adjust its measures 'at short notice' in response to the 'fluid' situation. 

On Omicron infections transmitting through Singapore's Changi Airport, MOH said the first case travelled from Johannesburg on November 27 on a Singapore Airlines flight, and arrived in Singapore the same day for his transit flight. -- PTI
00:33   Coconut-breaking ritual damages new road in UP
A portion of a newly constructed road cracked when a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA smashed a coconut on the road to mark its inauguration in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor district.  

Upset over the incident, BJP MLA Suchi Chaudhary sat on a dharna and scolded officials over the poor quality of the road.

A total of Rs 1,16,00,000 was spent on the construction of the road, according to sources.

On Thursday evening, the Bijnor MLA had gone to inaugurate the seven-km-long road near Kheda village.

During the inaugural ceremony, she smashed a coconut on the road but it did not break and instead a gravel came off.

When the MLA's husband Mausam Chaudhary, who was also there on the spot, used a shovel on the newly constructed road, the surface started disintegrating.

Executive engineer at the irrigation division Vikas Aggarwal said a sample has been taken for analysis. -- PTI
00:03   MSP to continue, to be made more effective: Tomar
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday said minimum support price for crops would continue and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set up a committee to make the mechanism more effective and transparent.           

Queried on the shortage of fertilisers in the country, the minister said farmers were getting it in full quantity and would continue to do so.         

"The MSP for crops was already there, and will be there in the days to come. Besides, to make it more effective and transparent, the prime minister has constituted a committee," he told reporters in Gwalior.         

The minsiter brushed aside a query on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's comments on the farm issue by claiming 'even Congressmen don't believe in Rahul Gandhi's statements.'         

On reports of Bahujan Samaj Party forming its own police, the minister said he was not aware of it but wondered how a political party could form its own 'police.' -- PTI