Thu, 25 November 2021
Over 50 villagers detained ahead of PM's Noida event

Timeline  Refresh

23:27   Over 50 villagers detained ahead of PM's Noida event
Over 50 villagers from Noida who wanted to hand over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a memorandum of their demands were detained by police early on Thursday in a "preventive measure" for law and order situation, officials said.  
There was also a brief commotion during Modi's address at Jewar by a group in the gathering of thousands which was demanding that a bench of the Allahabad high court be set up in western Uttar Pradesh.  
The prime minister was at Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar district on Thursday to lay the foundation stone for the Noida International Airport, with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in attendance at the event.  
The villagers, who were detained and taken to the police lines of adjoining Ghaziabad district, have been protesting against the Noida Authority for months now, chiefly demanding increased compensation for their land, which was acquired by the state government in the past.  
While police officials said they "could not immediately" confirm the number of people who had been detained, the protesters pegged the figure at 60, saying they were picked up from outside the Noida Authority's office in the city before they could move to Jewar to hand over the memorandum to PM Modi.  
"We were at the protest site near the authority's office when police picked us up around 2.30 am. There were 60 of us who were taken by police to the Ghaziabad police lines and kept there till the end of the prime minister's event in Gautam Buddh Nagar," Bhartatiya Kisan Parishad leader Sukhveer Khalifa told PTI.  
"We were otherwise hoping to hand over a memorandum of our demands to the prime minister. We need intervention of the prime minister or the chief minister in resolving our long pending issue with the Noida Authority," he added.  
The Gautam Buddh Nagar police, however, said the action was taken as a precautionary measure.  
"The detentions were made in order to prevent any untoward incident and keep the law and order in control. Police cannot allow anyone to disrupt the law and order," Additional Commissioner of Police (law and order) Love Kumar told PTI
23:16   LS, RS not to have any visitors during winter session
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will not have any visitors during the winter session of Parliament beginning November 29, sources said Thursday.
The visitor's galleries in both the houses will be closed during the upcoming session due to the prevailing Covid situation and restrictions imposed.
Officials of both the secretariats have written about the non-availability of galleries for visitors during the upcoming session.
The sources said due to Covid protocol in force during the session, MPs will be made to sit in the galleries meant for visitors in both the houses.
The seating arrangement of members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha has been made in a staggered manner in the Chamber and the galleries, according to an official circular.
"No visitor will be allowed to witness the proceedings of the House during the session and no public gallery pass will be issued during the Session," the circular said. 
The winter session of Parliament will continue till December 23. -- PTI
23:05   'Unruly bull' from Hyderabad helps BJP win polls: Tikait
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday alleged that an "unruly bull from Hyderabad" helps the Bharatiya Janata Party win elections. 
However, he did not name anyone.
Addressing a 'Maha Dharna' organised by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC)-Telangana unit in Hyderabad, marking one year of the countrywide agitation by the famers against the three contentious agri laws,  Tikait asked people to tie up the 'bull' and not allow him to step outside Hyderabad and Telangana.
"(Woh aapka ek belagam saand) One unruly bull from here which helps BJP... tie him up here itself. Don't allow him to go outside Hyderabad and Telangana. He helps BJP (win polls)... He talks one thing and his intentions are different. Both are A and B team and the entire country is aware," the BKU national spokesperson said.
"Wherever he goes helps the BJP . Tie him up or it will help BJP win," the BKU leader said.
Later, while talking to reporters, Tikait was specifically asked who he was referring to as the bull, but he did not give a direct reply and said "You search... who is it . Wherever it goes it helps BJP win." -- PTI 
23:02   Oppn to boycott Constitution Day event
The Congress and several other opposition parties have decided to boycott the Constitution Day celebrations in the Central Hall of Parliament on Friday, sources said.
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the function.
The Congress has decided to boycott the event and several other opposition parties have joined hands in solidarity, sources confirmed.
The Congress leaders were in touch with leaders of many opposition parties for joining them in the boycott, sources said, adding the DMK, the Shiv Sena, the RSP, the NCP, the SP, the TMC, the CPI, the CPI-M, the RJD, the JMM, the IUML are likely to join hands and give the event a miss. -- PTI 
22:52   Stop military activities in South China Sea: China to US
The Chinese military on Thursday asked the United STates to stop "close-in reconnaissance, interference, provocation" in the disputed South China Sea after the recent accident involving an American nuclear-powered submarine in the region.
The USS Connecticut struck an object underwater in the South China Sea last month. Eleven sailors on board the submarine were injured in the accident.
Commenting on the US Navy dismissing two senior officers of the nuclear-powered attack submarine, Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesman Sr. Col Wu Qian told media here that since the collision occurred, the US side's awkward and secretive attitude has inevitably raised doubts.
Raising several questions over the activities of the submarine, Wu said, "China believes the root causes of this incident are the extensive and high-intensity close-in reconnaissance, interference, provocation and show of force made by the US military vessels in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the United States' militarisation and navigation hegemony in the South China Sea".
"We urge the US side to stop such activities immediately, so as to avoid beating its head against the wall," Wu said.
The US in recent years has intensified aerial and naval patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation.
China claims most of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.
Over the years, China has built a number of military installations in the reclaimed islands in the SCS and deployed a big fleet of its naval ships and submarines. The United States has criticised China for militarising the islands by constructing long runways used by jet fighters and deploying anti-aircraft missiles.
The US insists that freedom of navigation has to be maintained in the South China Sea and has been sending military flights, naval patrols and training missions around the strategically vital region. -- PTI
22:22   PIL in Calcutta HC challenges Centre's BSF jurisdiction power
A public interest litigation challenging the central government's power to decide the jurisdiction of Border Security Force (BSF) was moved before the Calcutta High Court on Thursday.

The Centre recently amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, instead of 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj directed the petitioner to serve notice to the BSF authority on the matter.

The bench directed that the matter will come up for hearing on December 14.

According to the petitioner's lawyer Sabyasachi Chatterjee, the PIL claimed that the power of the central government under Section 139, Clause I, of BSF Act on deciding jurisdiction of the force is against the federal structure of the country.

Section 139 of the Act deals with powers and duties conferrable and imposable on members of the force.

The governments of West Bengal and Punjab have objected to the Centre's decision to extend the jurisdiction of BSF.
22:01   HC rejects Raj Kundra's pre-arrest bail plea
The Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected an anticipatory bail application filed by businessperson Raj Kundra in connection with an FIR registered against him for allegedly distributing pornographic videos.

Justice Nitin Sambre had reserved the order on Wednesday on Kundra's plea seeking protection from arrest.

On Thursday, the bench rejected the petition. The detailed order is awaited.

The cyber cell of the Mumbai police has filed a case against Kundra under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, and Information Technology Act for allegedly distributing/ transmitting sexually explicit videos.

Fearing arrest, Kundra, who is married to actor Shilpa Shetty, first sought anticipatory bail from the sessions court but it was refused, so he moved the HC, claiming that he had been framed up.

The FIR named actors Sherlyn Chopra and Poonam Pandey as co-accused.

He was in no way connected to content creation, publication or transmission of alleged illegal videos even as the actors, who were named as co-accused, had given full consent to shoot the videos, his lawyers said.

In July this year, Kundra was arrested by Mumbai Police in another case where he was accused of distributing porn films through an app. He was granted bail in September.
21:47   Month-end dollar demand shaves 12 paise off Indian Rupee
The rupee declined by 12 paise to close at 74.52 against the US currency on Thursday amid month-end dollar demand and foreign fund outflows from equity and debt markets.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local currency opened at 74.55 and witnessed a high of 74.47 and a low of 74.58 against the US dollar.

The local unit finally settled at 74.52, down 12 paise over its previous close. On Wednesday, the rupee had closed at 74.40.

"Rupee depreciated after two days of consolidation amid month-end dollar demand and foreign fund outflows from equities and debt markets," said Dilip Parmar, Research Analyst, HDFC Securities.

Lacklustre price actions have been seen in the global forex market following the US holiday, while the rupee traded on the backfoot as month-end dollar demand and dollar outflows from equity and debt weighed, Parmar said.

Recovery in risk-on sentiments and series of IPOs lined up in coming months will limit the lower side in the event of stronger dollar index and crude oil prices. "Spot USD-INR is expected to trade in the range of 74 to 74.70," Parmar noted.

"With US markets shut for the Thanksgiving holiday, volatility has been low. For the near-term, USDINR is expected to trade within a range of 74.30 and 74.75 levels," said Anindya Banerjee, DVP, Currency Derivatives & Interest Rate Derivatives at Kotak Securities.

Sriram Iyer, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities, said the rupee depreciated after the FOMC minutes showed that Fed officials agreed to begin reducing its pandemic relief of USD 120 billion in monthly purchases with a timeline that would see them tapered completely by next June.

Asian currencies were mixed, while the dollar and the benchmark bond yield eased on Thursday in the European session and lent support. Additionally, weaker crude oil prices capped depreciation bias, Iyer noted.
Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, declined by 0.36 per cent to USD 81.95 per barrel.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex ended 454.10 points or 0.78 per cent higher at 58,795.09, while the broader NSE Nifty advanced 121.20 points or 0.7 per cent to 17,536.25.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, was trading 0.20 per cent down at 96.68.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Wednesday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 5,122.65 crore, as per exchange data.
ANI Photo
ANI Photo
21:33   Rejected TMC's merger proposal: Akhil Gogoi
Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi said on Thursday that his party has not accepted the Trinamool Congress's proposal of a merger as it does not want to compromise on its Assamese identity.

Addressing a press conference here, Gogoi, however, said that only West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can challenge and defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the present political situation.

"I have not met TMC leaders, but they have been in touch with us regularly. They even contacted us just a while ago. They invited us to discuss all issues and take a final decision.

"The TMC is giving us a proposal that we should merge with them. Our point is that we represent the Assamese regional sentiment. We are a regional political party, representing Assamese nationalism. We don't want to compromise on our separate regional identity," Gogoi, also an MLA, said.

If the opposition wants to defeat the BJP and RSS in 2024, then all the regional forces must unite and form a federal front, he added.

"We have been discussing these two points with the TMC. They gave us the proposal of merger, but we have not accepted it because we believe in our separate regional identity," Gogoi said.

He also asserted that if there is anyone who can challenge and defeat Modi in the current scenario, then there is no doubt that it will be Mamata Banerjee.

Raijor Dal, born out of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act movement, has only one representative in the Assam assembly in Gogoi as an Independent MLA.

The TMC has been trying to expand its presence across the country with an ambition to lead the anti-BJP force in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and project Banerjee as the only reliable challenger to Modi.

Twelve of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya, including former chief minister Mukul Sangma, joined the TMC, dealing a body blow to the grand old party in the Northeastern state.

The TMC earlier entered Tripura's political arena, contesting a bitterly-fought municipal election in the neighbouring state.

It will also contest the assembly elections in Goa.

Banerjee, on her recent trip to Delhi this week, cast her net wide and had a good catch in three-term Congress MP from Bihar Kirti Azad, former JD(U) general secretary Pawan Varma and Haryana politician Ashok Tanwar, a former state Congress chief. 
Representational pic
Representational pic
21:17   Workers affected by ban on construction activities to be given Rs 5,000 each: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said the workers affected by the ban on construction activities in the national capital will be provided a financial assistance of Rs 5,000 each and his government will also compensate them for the loss of minimum wages.

He said the Delhi government will hold special camps at construction sites in the city to register the labourers.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the government has decided to reimpose the ban on construction and demolition activities following the Supreme Court order in this regard.

The apex court reimposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR on Wednesday until further orders.

The ban was lifted on Monday in view of an improvement in the air quality and the inconvenience caused to the workers.

"We have stopped construction activities and following all the orders and suggestions of the Supreme Court, the Delhi government is taking several steps to reduce pollution," Kejriwal said.

He said an order has been issued and Rs 5,000 each is being deposited in the bank accounts of the construction workers in Delhi.

"We will also compensate their losses of minimum wages. Many construction workers are not registered for which camps will be held at construction sites to register them," the chief minister told reporters.

Workers in Delhi need to be registered with the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Board for availing government benefits.
21:05   ED attaches assets of Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawli's aide
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it has attached assets worth Rs 3.75 crore of Saaed Khan, an arrested aide of Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali, in connection with a money laundering investigation.

It said the immovable properties have been attached as part of a provisional order issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Khan, accused of siphoning funds from a trust called 'Mahila Utkarsh Pratishthan', was arrested by the ED in September.

Gawali, 48, is a sitting Lok Sabha member from the Yavatmal-Washim constituency in Maharashtra.

The agency, while taking the custody of Khan, had then claimed before a special PMLA court in Mumbai that Gawali criminally conspired to convert a trust into a private company through Khan by "forgery and fraud" for layering of about Rs 18 crore funds.

The ED had told the court that its investigation suggested that misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 18.18 crore and theft of Rs 7 crore (cash) have been layered.

The agency told the court that the trust filed for conversion into a Section 8 company by alleged fraudulent forgery of signatures of the management and documents from public institutions.

The total assets of Rs 69 crore in the book value (of the trust) were transferred to the newly-formed Section 8 company limited, the agency told the court.

The Companies Act defines a Section 8 company as one whose objective is to promote fields of arts, commerce, science, research, education, sports, charity, social welfare, religion, environment protection, or other similar objectives.

The directors of this company, according to the ED, are Khan and Shalinitai Gawali, the mother of the Sena MP.

Bhavana Gawali, along with the two, is stated to be a member of this company.

"It is stated that Bhavana Gawali, through her aide Saeed Khan, Shergul Khan and his accomplices have criminally conspired to convert the Trust 'Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan' into a Section 8 company through forgery and fraud for the purpose of layering the trust fund," the ED had said.

Initial probe shows that there is a huge cash deposit and the withdrawal of bigger amounts from the account of the trust maintained at the Risod Urban cooperative society.

Then branch manager of Risod Urban cooperative society in his statement stated that the society was not entitled to receive a cash deposit of more than Rs 3 lakh.

However, there are multiple cash deposits of much bigger amounts, followed by the withdrawal of the same amount on the same day. He (the manager) also stated that these transactions were merely book entries and no physical cash was moved. This was all done on specific instructions of Bhavana Gawali, the ED had claimed.

Thus, it has come to light that the complaints alleging misappropriation of funds of Rs 18.18 crore and theft of Rs 7 crore (cash) are layered, the probe agency said.

The ED counsel had claimed that Khan played an active role in forging documents and creating companies.

Khan's lawyer opposed the ED argument, and said, "Let them (ED) show if any money has come to my account...there is nothing against me...I am targeted because I am affiliated to a state party."

The ED case is based on an FIR registered by Risod police station in Washim district for cheating and criminal breach of trust.

The agency had earlier conducted searches in this case at multiple premises in Yavatmal, Washim and Mumbai.
20:45   Param Bir Singh destroyed Kasab's mobile: Ex-cop
Retired Assistant Police Commissioner Samsher Khan Pathan has claimed former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh "destroyed" a mobile phone seized from the 26/11 terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Kasab.

Pathan had submitted a written complaint to the Mumbai Police Commissioner in July and asked him to investigate the entire matter and take necessary action against Singh.

Though Pathan's complaint was submitted four months ago, it was widely circulated on social media on Thursday, the day when Singh appeared before the Mumbai crime branch to record statement in an extortion case registered at Goregaon police station against him.

Singh was removed from the post of Mumbai police chief in March this year and he was succeeded by senior IPS officer Hemant Nagrale.

Pathan, in the complaint, has said the then-senior inspector of the DB Marg police station, N R Mali, had informed him that they had recovered a mobile phone from Kasab and the device was handed over to a constable identified only as Kamble.

He alleged that Singh, who was then-DIG (Anti-Terrorism Squad), took the mobile phone from the constable.

Singh should have handed the phone over to Ramesh Mahale, the investigating officer of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, but he "destroyed the vital piece of evidence", Pathan claimed in the complaint.

Singh was unavailable for comment.

Kasab was captured alive during the terror strike at multiple sites in Mumbai 13 years ago.

After a trial and confirmation of his death sentence by the Supreme Court, he was hanged in November 2012.
20:28   China protests Gen Rawat's 'military threat' remark
China has protested to India over Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat's reported remarks about Beijing constituting the biggest security threat, the Ministry of Defence here said on Thursday.

"Indian officials speculate on the so-called Chinese military threat' for no reason, which is a serious violation of the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries that China and India do not constitute a threat to each other', and incites geopolitical confrontation, is irresponsible and dangerous, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Sr. Col Wu Qian told an online media briefing here.

According to the transcript posted on the defence ministry's website, Sr. Col Wu was responding to a question on the reported comments by Gen. Rawat recently stating that the biggest security threat to India is China. There is a lack of trust' between India and China in resolving the border dispute, and suspicion' is growing. What is China's comment on this?

We express our firm opposition to this. We are firmly opposed to this and have made solemn representations to the Indian side, Sr Col Wu said. He, however, did not mention when the protest was lodged.

"China's position on the Sino-Indian border issue is clear and unambiguous. The Chinese border guard forces are determined to safeguard national sovereignty and security, and are committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border area, making great efforts to promote the de-escalation of the situation, he said.

The defence ministry spokesman also quoted an old Chinese saying: "If you use copper as a mirror, you can be dressed up; if you use history as a mirror, you can know the rise and fall; if you use people as a mirror, you can understand gains and losses."

The Ladakh standoff began in May last year when China moved over 60,000 of its troops which were mobilised for exercises into Pangong Tso and other areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The tension escalated following a deadly clash in Galwan Valley on June 15 last year.

After a prolonged standoff, the troops disengaged from the most contentious area of Pangong Tso. As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra in July but the talks to workout disengagement from the remaining areas have not succeeded so far.
20:19   Maha winter session postponed, likely to be held in Mumbai instead of Nagpur
The winter session of the Maharashtra legislature is likely to be held in Mumbai from December 22, a senior minister said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Earlier, the session was scheduled to start from December 7 in Nagpur, but it would be postponed in view of elections, he said.

The cabinet discussed holding the winter session from December 22 for two weeks, the minister said.

"The final decision will be taken in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) on November 29. The announcement of holding the session in Mumbai instead of Nagpur will also be made after the BAC," he added.

The government decided to postpone the session in view of the Legislative Council's biennial elections and other local bodies polls, he said.

The winter session is traditionally held in Nagpur, the second capital of the state. 
ANI Photo/Twitter
ANI Photo/Twitter
19:31   Srinagar encounter: Mobile internet suspended
Most of the shops in the Downtown area of Srinagar were shut on Thursday while mobile internet remained suspended in many parts of the city a day after the killing of three militants, including the self-styled commander of The Resistance Front (TRF), in an encounter, officials said.

They said the areas where the shutdown was observed included Nowhatta, Gojwara, Khanyar, Safakadal, Nawakadal, Rajouri Kadal and MR Gunj in the interior areas of Srinagar.

However, traffic was plying normally, they added.

The officials said mobile internet was suspended in several areas of the city as a precautionary measure.

Police on Wednesday said security forces killed three militants in a brief encounter in the Rambagh area of the city.

The slain included self-styled commander of TRF Mehran Shalla, a resident of the Jamalata area in Nawakadal here.

The other two militants were identified as Manzoor Ahmad Mir and Arafat Sheikh, both residents of Pulwama.

Police said the three were affiliated with TRF, an offshoot of the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Shalla was wanted by security forces in connection with several civilian killings including the shooting of two teachers belonging to minority communities inside a school in the Eidgah area of the city last month, they said.
19:16   Anna Hazare hospitalised after chest pain, condition stable
Social activist Anna Hazare was hospitalised in Pune on Thursday after he complained of chest pain. 

Hazare is undergoing treatment in Ruby Hall Clinic and is currently under observation, said sources. 

Dr Avdhut Bodamwad, medical superintendent of Ruby Hall Clinic, said Hazare's condition is stable. 

The 84-year-old activist, who was the face of the 2011 anti-corruption movement, stays at Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, about 87 km from Pune. -- ANI
18:53   Mumbai crime branch quizzes Param Bir for 7 hrs
Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh appeared before the city police and was questioned for around seven hours on Thursday, officials said.   

Singh was seen leaving the Crime Branch  Unit-11 in an official vehicle around 6.15 pm. 

The IPS officer, declared a proclaimed offender by a city court, appeared before the crime branch to record statement in an extortion case registered at Goregaon police station in the city against him. -- PTI
18:40   CBI spl director Praveen Sinha elected to top Interpol panel
Central Bureau of Investigation special Director Praveen Sinha was on Thursday elected as a delegate for Asia on the executive committee of the Interpol, capping an 'intense' and 'well-coordinated' campaign across the world by India, official sources said. 

The elections for various positions for the top panel were held were at the ongoing 89th Interpol general assembly in Istanbul. 

"This was a tough election with India running against four other contestants from China, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Jordan for two posts, said a source. 

The Interpol (International Criminal Police Organisation) brings together police forces from around 190 countries and has emerged as a vital body for tackling the rising spectre of trans-national crimes and terrorism. 

The sources said crucial support of friendly countries was sought during bilateral engagements at different levels and Indian embassies and high commissions across the world regularly followed up the matter with their host governments. 

Ambassadors and high commissioners in Delhi were similarly reached out to, they said. 

"Today's victory is the result of an intense and well-coordinated election campaign across the world," the source said. -- PTI
18:25   Publicise destruction of narcotics: FM to JNPT
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday exhorted customs officials at the country's largest container port JNPT to ensure adequate publicity for the destruction of narcotics.

The finance minister, who was on a visit to the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, also urged customs officials to aim for 'zero daily assessment pendency' and faster release of cargo, an official statement said.

The comments come weeks after the confiscation of a very large quantity of narcotics substances at JNPT's biggest competitor, the Adanis-run Mundra Port, and the subsequent reports of the port in Gujarat banning all shipments from Iran.

"She said adequate publicity should be given for destruction of narcotics," the official statement quoted the finance minister as saying.        

"Sitharaman also asked the officers to speed up disposal of hazardous goods and desired that quasi-judicial process, if any, be carried out in a manner to achieve disposal within three months of import," the statement added.

Sitharaman travelled to the port, located off the Mumbai harbour to the east, in a ferry from South Mumbai's Gateway of India and was given an overview of the activities at the port by customs officials and chaired a meeting later.

She undertook a detailed survey of infrastructure at the vessel, cargo and land-side stacking and transport operations, and also noted the revenue, security and facilitation roles performed by the Customs officers.

The minister also performed the ground breaking ceremony (bhoomi pujan) for setting up of a Customs Examination Facility at JNPT's Centralized Parking Plaza. The facility will obviate the need to move containers to a separate location that are selected for examination on the basis of risk.

The visiting minister was accompanied by revenue secretary Tarun Bajaj and CBIC chairman M Ajith Kumar. 
18:22   Caste remains same on religious conversion: HC
The Madras High Court has ruled that the caste of a person remains unchanged after getting converted from one religion to another, and based on the same, no inter-caste marriage certificate can be issued. 

 Justice S M Subramaniam gave the ruling while dismissing a writ petition from S Paul Raj of Salem Camp in Mettur taluk, last week. 

 The petition sought to quash an order dated June 19, 2015 of the Salem district administration and consequently direct the authorities concerned to issue the inter-caste marriage certificate to him. -- PTI
17:56   Mapped: Pollution levels in the world's major cities
Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. Kolkata, Mumbai among 10 top 10 most polluted cities. 
17:48   Mapped: the top gainers in the markets today
Reliance Industries was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, soaring over 6 per cent, followed by ITC, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Titan, Bharti Airtel and PowerGrid.
17:42   New Covid variant with 'horrific' mutations found
From the Guardian: Scientists have said a new Covid variant that carries an "extremely high number' of mutations may drive further waves of disease by evading the body's defences.

Only 10 cases in three countries have been confirmed by genomic sequencing, but the variant has sparked serious concern among some researchers because a number of the mutations may help the virus evade immunity.

The B.1.1.529 variant has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that most vaccines use to prime the immune system against Covid.

 Mutations in the spike protein can affect the virus's ability to infect cells and spread, but also make it harder for immune cells to attack the pathogen.

The variant was first spotted in Botswana, where three cases have now been sequenced. Six more have been confirmed in South Africa, and one in Hong Kong in a traveller returning from South Africa. 

The B. 1.1529 variant which is expected to be dubbed the Nu strain was first detected in Botswana, Africa, on November 11.

The strain had spread to Asia and "implies this might be more widespread than sequences alone would imply, and that the extremely long branch length and incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern".

The new variant was first picked up by Imperial College London virologist Dr Tom Peacock, who shared details on a genome-sharing website.

In a string of tweets, Dr Peacock doubled down on his warning, insisting the variant very, very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile, and said he expected it would be worse antigenically than nearly anything else about --  including the lethal Delta variant which has wreaked havoc across the world.
Reliance Jamnagar refinery
Reliance Jamnagar refinery
17:27   Reliance to transfer gasification assets to subsidiary
Reliance Industries Ltd will transfer its Jamnagar syngas project to a subsidiary it owns fully with a view to unlock value, a company statement said. 

 Used for energy production, syngas is a combination of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and some carbon dioxide that is typically manufactured by gasifying a solid hydrocarbon fuel. The transfer will help "unlock the value of syngas" and will help the company's transition to renewables as its primary source of energy, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) said. 

 Syngas ensures reliability in fuel supply and helps reduce volatility in the energy costs. It is used to produce hydrogen in the Jamnagar refinery.
17:03   Maha schools to reopen from Class I on Dec 1
Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad says schools will reopen for from Class I. 

"After discussing with CM, cabinet & paediatric task force, state cabinet has decided to re-open schools from Std 1-4 in rural areas and Std 1-7 in urban areas from December 1. We're committed to safe resumption of schools," Gaikwad said. 

Following the steady decline in Covid cases, the state school education and health departments approved the resumption of physical classes for classes 5-7 in urban areas and classes 1-4 in rural areas across the state after a meeting with the paediatric Covid task force.
17:02   Satyameva Jayate 2 review
"... He has a twin -- Assistant Commissioner of Police Jay Balram Azad (also played by John Abraham).
Jay Balram is assigned to stop Satya Balram from taking the law in his hands and stop these extra-judicial killings of corrupt individuals.
What follows is dishoom dishoom and more dishoom dishoom with lots of dialoguebaazi."

Before you watch the film, read the review by Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.comHere it is.

16:45   54 students of Odisha medical college Covid +ve
The number of students detected with Covid-19 at Vimsar, a medical college and hospital in Odisha's Sambalpur, climbed to 54 on Thursday, up from 34 the day before, an official said. 

 The infected students have been admitted to the COVID unit of the Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (Vimsar), according to the official. 

 Authorities suspect that the infection might have spread during the institute's annual function held recently. 

 On Tuesday, 22 cases were reported from Vimsar and later it rose to 34. The number of infections has surged to 54 now, Vimsar dean Jayshree Dora said. 

 Four hostels have been declared as micro-containment zones. Staff quarters and four other hostels of medical students have been declared as buffer zones, the professor said. 

 Physical classes have been suspended for 10 days from Tuesday. Odisha Health Services Director Bijay Mohapatra said there was nothing to worry as it was reported in specific pockets and would be contained within four-five days. 

16:31   Covid booster dose needed, says study
A new study has found a gradual increase in the risk of COVID-19 infection from 90 days after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Results confirm that protection wanes with time and suggest a third (booster) dose might be warranted. 

The findings of the study were published in the journal 'BMJ'.

The study was carried out by the Research Institute of Leumit Health Services in Israel. Israel was one of the first countries to roll out a large scale covid-19 vaccination campaign in December 2020, but it has seen a resurgence of infections since June 2021.

The findings confirm that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided excellent protection in the initial weeks after vaccination, but suggest that protection wanes for some individuals with time.

Across the world, large scale covid-19 vaccination campaigns are helping to control the spread of the virus, but even in countries with high vaccination rates, breakthrough infections can occur, which scientists think is due to a gradual loss of immunity over time.

Examining the time elapsed since vaccination and the risk of infection could provide important clues about the need for a third injection and its preferred timing. -- ANI
16:23   Documents show Wankhede's mother as Muslim, Hindu: Malik
Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik on Thursday accused NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede and his family of obtaining two separate certificates of his mother, following her death in 2015, each mentioning her as Muslim and Hindu. 

 Addressing a press conference in Mumbai this morning, Malik said Wankhede's mother Zaheda died on April 16, 2015 and a certificate describing her as a Muslim woman was taken to the cemetery in Oshiwara for her burial. 

 "But the next day, her family procured another death report, which mentioned her as belonging to Hindu religion," he said. 

 The minister also posted these certificates in support of his claim on his Twitter handle before talking to media. '

'How can a family have a dual identity? I am speaking in public about this after taking the verified documents from the Mumbai civic body,'' the NCP leader alleged. 

 Malik has been alleging that Sameer Wankhede, though born a Muslim, had secured a central government job claiming to be from the SC category.

 But Wankhede has denied the allegations levelled against him. He has been fiercely attacking Wankhede after the Narcotics Control Bureau's raid on a cruise party last month following which around 20 people, including actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan, were arrested. 

 The minister said that since October 6, he has been ''exposing'' Wankhede regarding how he had ''kidnapped'' Aryan Khan for ransom and fixed a deal of Rs 25 crore and settled for Rs 18 crore, had made changes in his birth and school leaving certificates, got permit license despite being a minor. He said that if anybody undergoes a religious conversion, it should be published in a gazette, which was not done in this case.
16:05   Sensex surges 454 points, RIL rebounds 6%
Equity benchmark Sensex rebounded 454 points on Thursday, boosted by gains in index heavyweight Reliance Industries amid a positive trend in global markets. 

 The 30-share index ended 454.10 points or 0.78 per cent higher at 58,795.09. 

Similarly, the NSE Nifty surged 121.20 points or 0.70 per cent to close at 17,536.25. 

 Reliance Industries was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, soaring over 6 per cent, followed by ITC, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Titan, Bharti Airtel and PowerGrid. On the other hand, Maruti, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, HUL and L&T were among the laggards.
15:30   What do Bhima Koregaon and Hathras have in common?
... Siddique Kappan, according to UP police. The UP police is convinced press releases on Siddique Kappan's phone are proof of him 'receiving instructions' on behalf of PFI. Read the report here. 
15:25   Yogi calls SP 'Jinnah followers' at Noida function
Slamming the previous Uttar Pradesh government led by Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday called the party "Jinnah followers".

He said that Yadav's government incited a series of riots in the state when he was in power.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday slammed the previous governments who were in the power in the state and said that they incited a series of riots here. 

UP CM while addressing the occasion of foundation laying of Uttar Pradesh, PM he Noida Airport, said, "Some people caused a series of riots here. Today, the country has to decide whether it wants to give new wings to the sweetness of sugarcane here or let the followers of Jinnah give another chance Jinnah's followers to incite violence in the western UP."

Adityanath also thanked PM Modi to give Jewar airport to western UP.
15:08   Noida airport will be logistic gateway: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the Noida International Airport will become the logistic gateway of North India.

Speaking on the occasion of the foundation laying stone ceremony of Noida International Airport, PM Modi said, "The Noida International Airport will become the logistic gateway of North India. It will act as one of the pillars of the National Gati-Shakti Master Plan." 

This airport will feature an integrated multi-modal cargo hub providing 'speed' and 'udaan' to the region, PM Modi added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that people in Delhi-NCR and western Uttar Pradesh will benefit from the airport.

The Prime Minister further said that be it poor or middle-class farmer or trader, labourer or entrepreneur, everyone gets a lot of benefits from it.

He said that the airport will become a model of connectivity as every mode of transportation will be available here.
15:01   PM lays foundation stone for Jewar Airport
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the Noida International Airport at Jewar in Uttar Pradesh.

It will be one of the largest aerodromes in Asia.

The airport, the second international aerodrome in Delhi-National Capital Region, is expected to be operational by September 2024 with an initial capacity to handle 1.2 crore passengers per annum.

The airport, spread over 1,330 acres of land, will be developed by Zurich Airport International AG.

On Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the Noida International Airport will become one of the largest airports in Asia.

It will be the fourth largest international airport in the world and the project would create more than one lakh job opportunities, according to the Uttar Pradesh government.

The first phase of the aerodrome is being done at a cost of more than Rs 10,050 crore, and the ground work regarding land acquisition and rehabilitation of the affected families has been completed, an official release said on Tuesday.

The airport at Jewar will help decongest the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in the national capital.

It is strategically located and will serve the people of cities including Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Agra, Faridabad and neighbouring areas, the release said.

The airport will also be the country's 'first net zero emissions airport'.

According to the Union government, the airport will be the logistics gateway of northern India, and with its scale and capacity, the aerodrome will be a 'gamechanger' for Uttar Pradesh.

For the first time, an airport has been conceptualised with an integrated multi-modal cargo hub, with a focus on reducing the total cost and time for logistics.

The dedicated cargo terminal will have a capacity of 20 lakh metric tonnes, which will be expanded to 80 lakh metric tonnes.

The airport will also develop a Ground Transportation Centre that will feature a multi-modal transit hub, housing metro and high-speed rail stations, taxi, bus services and private parking.

Among other aspects, the airport will be linked to the planned Delhi-Varanasi high speed rail, enabling the journey between Delhi and airport in only 21 minutes, the release said.

There will also be a state-of-art MRO (maintenance, repair and overhauling) service.

The airport will introduce a swing aircraft stand concept, providing flexibility for airlines to operate an aircraft for both domestic and international flights from the same contact stand, without having to re-position the aircraft.

In poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, various development projects have been inaugurated in recent months.

On October 20, Modi inaugurated the Kushinagar international airport. Currently, there are nine operational airports in Uttar Pradesh, including three international aerodromes at Lucknow, Varanasi and Kushinagar.

Eight more airports, including the one at Jewar, will be coming up in three years.

The six other operational airports in the state are at Agra, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Hindon and Bareilly.

On Wednesday, Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal said five aerodromes are expected to be ready at Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Azamgarh, Mordabad and Shravasti in 2022.

In 2023, two more are expected to come up at Ayodhya and Muirpur.  -- PTI
14:32   Parliament winter session: BJP issues three-line whip to RS MPs
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs, asking them to be present in the House on November 29 for some "very important business".

"All BJP Members in Rajya Sabha are hereby informed that some very important business will be taken up for discussion and passing in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the 29. November 2021. All Members of BJP in Rajya Sabha are, therefore, requested to be positively present in the House throughout the day on Monday, the 29 November 2021 and support the Government's stand," Shiv Pratap Shukla Chief Whip-BJP of Rajya Sabha in a notice. 

The winter session of Parliament is scheduled to commence from November 29.
14:29   India gets $1.5bn loan for buying Covid vaccines
The Asian Development Bank has approved a USD 1.5 billion (around Rs 11,185 crore) loan to India for COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

"ADB today approved a USD 1.5 billion loan to help the Government of India purchase safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)," ADB said in a statement on Thursday. 

 The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected to co-finance an additional USD 500 million for the project, it said. PTI
Crowds at Jewar to watch the ceremony
Crowds at Jewar to watch the ceremony
14:21   Thousands flock to Jewar for Noida Airport's foundation laying event
Thousands of people, including women and children, on Thursday gathered at Jewar amid heavy security to watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi lay the foundation stone for the Noida International Airport. 

 Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his cabinet colleagues, including the state's Civil Aviation Minister Nand Gopal Gupta, will attend the event. 

 The Greenfield airport, which will be built near Delhi in western Uttar Pradesh, is billed to be India's largest upon completion. Heavy security has been deployed at and around the event venue. 

Visitors are being frisked before entering the 'jan sabha' area, officials said, adding that the police have banned black flags. 

 "The foundation stone of the world's fourth largest international airport, 'Noida International Airport' will be laid by respected Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji today. This airport will give Uttar Pradesh a new global identity. With this, Uttar Pradesh will be the only state to house five international airports," Adityanath tweeted in Hindi. 

 Besides locals, thousands of people from Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Hathras, Aligarh and Agra arrived at Jewar on tractors and motorcycles. As the people waited for the prime minister to arrive at the venue in the afternoon, many young men tried to climb up the poles fixed at the 'jan sabha' hall for hanging loud speakers. 

 BJP leader and Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh, who is credited to have played a key role during negotiations with farmers over land acquisition, led a convoy of hundreds of supporters to the venue. 

 The MLA himself drove a tractor as a number of people on motorcycles, cars, tractors and buses followed him to the event site, where personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary, besides the police were deployed. -- PTI
14:13   PM to inaugurate Noida international airport now
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Noida International Airport in Gautam Buddh Nagar, shortly. 

 The PM is accompanied by CM Yogi Adityanath and Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

This will be the fifth international airport in the state and is slated to be the biggest in Asia.

 Spread over more than 1300 hectares of land, the airport is in its first phase of development, currently costing over Rs 10,050 crore. The completed first phase of the airport will have a capacity to serve around 1.2 crore passengers a year and the work on it is scheduled to be completed by 2024.

13:45   No ban on Khurshid book, don't read it, says HC
The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking a ban on the publication, circulation, sale and purchase of the new book of former Law Minister Salman Khurshid: 'Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times'.

Khurshid had allegedly compared Hindutva with the Islamic State and Boko Haram.

Justice Yashwant Verma heard the matter and remarked that if people don't like the book they have the option to not buy it, Bar & Bench reports.

"If you don't agree with the author, don't read it. Please tell people book is badly authored, read something better," he remarked.

Advocate Raj Kishore Chaudhary, appearing for the petitioner, tried to argue that book will create communal tensions across the country and already there have been incidents of violence because of the book.

Responding to Chaudhary's contention that Khurshid is a public figure and he should be careful to maintain peace, Justice Varma said that the court cannot do anything if people are feeling hurt.

"What can we do if people are feeling this. If they didn't like the passage they can skip the chapter. They could have shut their eyes if they are feeling hurt."
13:36   It's Fidel Castro's death anniversary today
The Cuban embassy in India marks President Fidel Castro's death anniversary with this message and the picture alongside: "There was never a storm, no matter how severe it was, that could defeat him. Fidel will always be with us. #FidelForEver #FidelPorSiempre #CubaVive."
Covid-19 infections have started reducing in India
Covid-19 infections have started reducing in India
13:28   ITC starts trials of anti-Covid nasal spray
Diversified entity ITC on Thursday confirmed that it is developing a nasal spray for COVID-19 prevention for which it has initiated clinical trials.

Developed by scientists at ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre (LSTC), Bengaluru, the company plans to market the nasal spray under the Savlon brand once it gets all the requisite regulatory approvals, according to sources. 

 When contacted for comments, a spokesperson of ITC said, "We are unable to share more details at the current moment as the clinical trials are underway." 

 The spokesperson declined to comment on a detailed query on where is the clinical trial being done, from where the commercial production would be done when approved and under what brand the nasal spray would be marketed. 

 However, sources said the company had received approvals from ethics committees and is registered with Clinical Trial Registry-India (CTRI) for clinical trials of the nasal spray which is designed to arrest the virus at the entry point in the nasal cavity itself. -- PTI
13:04   Let them repent: SC commutes death sentence of Mahalaxmi rapists
The Bombay High Court on Thursday commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to three convicts in the 2013 gangrape case of a 22-year-old photojournalist inside the defunct Shakti Mills compound in central Mumbai, saying that they "deserve imprisonment for life to repent the offence committed by them". 

 A division bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Prithviraj Chavan refused to confirm the death penalty awarded to Vijay Jadhav, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh and Mohammad Ansari, and commuted their sentence to life imprisonment for the remainder of their lives.

 The bench, while pronouncing its order said that it cannot ignore the fact that the offence has shocked the collective conscience of the society and rape is a violation of human rights, but the sentence of death is irrevocable. It added that courts have a duty to consider cases dispassionately and cannot ignore the procedure laid down by the law. 

 "Death puts an end to the concept of repentance. It cannot be said that the accused deserved only death penalty. They deserve imprisonment for life to repent the offence committed by them," the bench said.

 It added that the convict shall not be entitled for parole or furlough as they cannot be allowed to assimilate in the society and as there is no scope for reformation. 

 In March 2104, the trial court had convicted four persons for gangraping a 22-year-old photo-journalist inside the abandoned Shakti Mills compound in central Mumbai on August 22, 2013. 

 The court had then imposed death penalty on three of the convicts - Jadhav, Bengali and Ansari - as they were also convicted for gang-raping a 19-year-old telephone operator at the same place months before raping the photojournalist. 

 The trio was awarded death penalty under the amended section 376 (e) of IPC which says maximum sentence of life or death can be awarded to repeat offenders.

 The fourth convict, Siraj Khan, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and a minor accused was sent to a correctional facility. 

 In April 2014, the trio had approached the high court challenging the validity of section 376 (e) of IPC and contended that the sessions court acted beyond its power in awarding them the death penalty. PTI
13:01   Pollution: SC bans construction in Delhi again
Taking note of worsening air quality, the Supreme Court has re-imposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi and national capital region (NCR).

The SC directed the states to provide subsistence to workers from the funds collected as labour cess for the period during which such activities are prohibited. 

 A special bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, in an interim order uploaded Wednesday night, also directed the Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjoining Areas to "commission a scientific study of air quality based on available data of previous years bearing upon recorded levels of air pollution". 

 "We direct that instead of waiting for the air quality to deteriorate before initiating action under the graded response plan, necessary measures must be put into place in anticipation of a deterioration of air quality. For this purpose, it is necessary for the commission to engage expert agencies with domain knowledge in meteorological data and statistical modelling," said the bench which also comprised justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant.

 Asking the commission on pollution and NCR states -- Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan -- to continue with their measures to curb the spike in pollution, the bench reversed the decision to allow construction activities from November 22 in view of improved ground situation in air pollution level. 

 "In the meantime, as an interim measure and until further orders, we re-impose the ban on construction activities in the NCR subject to the following two conditions: Non-polluting activities relating to construction such as plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry are allowed to be continued. 

 "The states shall use the funds which have been collected as labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay wages notified under the Minimum Wages Act for the respective categories of workers," the order said.
12:43   TMC conspiracy to break Congress: Adhir
After 12 of 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya joined the Trinamool Congress, senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday challenged that the TMC to make them contest on the party's ticket.

On Wednesday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) claimed that 12 Congress MLAs from Meghalaya have joined their party. 

"This conspiracy to break Congress is happening not only in Meghalaya but whole northeast. I challenge the TMC to make them resign as the Congress MLA and contest on the party's ticket. Even if they reportedly joined the TMC, they are still the Congress MLA and it is the Congress voters who have voted them. If they win on TMC tickets then we will recognise your capability," Chowdhury said.

He also alleged that the TMC wants to divide the Congress and help Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.

"If she (Mamata Banerjee) meets Sonia Gandhi now, then PM Modi will get angry. Her actions changed soon after her nephew was summoned by ED. Before this, she wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi to fight against BJP together," Chowdhury said. 
12:41   Tripura civic elections: 22 pc votes polled till 11 am
A total of 22 per cent of the 5.94 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling in Tripura's 14 civic bodies on Thursday amid opposition's allegations of political violence. 

 State Election Commission Secretary Pallab Bhattacharya said that 22 per cent votes were polled till 11 am. 

 He said that no reports of violence or EVM malfunctioning has been reported so far, even though opposition TMC and CPI (M) alleged that their party workers and supporters were attacked and prevented from casting their votes. 

 Two companies of Border Security Force and 500 Tripura State Rifles personnel have been deployed as per Supreme Court directive in addition to the previous deployment, the official said. 

 Subal Bhowmik, state convener of the TMC steering committee said, "Residences of several TMC candidates were attacked last night and attempts were made to set their houses on fire. At least five party workers have been attacked and our supporters have been prevented from casting their votes. Police is standing as a silent spectator to these incidents." -- PTI
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh
12:22   India monitoring Pak-China ties: Navy chief
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Thursday said that the navy is closely monitoring defence cooperation between China and Pakistan.

Chief of Naval Staff was addressing an event at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, where INS Vela, the fourth Scorpene-class submarine was commissioned into the Indian Navy today. 

"We are closely monitoring the defence cooperation between China and Pakistan. The recent procurements by Pakistan from China may change the dynamics, so we need to remain cautious," said Singh.

Recently, all-weather allies Pakistan and China signed a new nuclear agreement that will push the world towards a renewed nuclear race and conflict.

The Framework Agreement on Deepening Nuclear Energy Cooperation was signed by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and China Zhongyuan Engineering Cooperation on September 8, 2021.

The agreement, finalised at a high-level meeting on August 20, 2021, was signed through virtual mode and would remain valid for ten years.

The agreement envisages the transfer of nuclear technology, uranium mining and processing, nuclear fuel supply and setting up research reactors, which will help Pakistan increase its nuclear weapons stockpile.

For China, an enhanced Pakistan nuclear arsenal adds teeth to its grand strategy of countering India's military strength.  -- ANI
12:09   'How can you trust Modi?'
"We don't trust the prime minister's words on repealing the laws because he had promised us that he will implement the Swaminathan Commission report, but he never did.

"When people's will is there, the government bends to their will. No government is god," Gurnam Singh Chaduni, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and Bhartiya Kisan Union leader, tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

Read the interview here. 
12:01   News updates: BMC collects Rs 78 cr from mask-less people
-- The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has collected over Rs 78.55 crore from people not wearing masks in public places since the outbreak of Covid. 

--  A fresh low-pressure area is likely to form over the south Andaman Sea around 29th November. It is likely to become more marked and move west, northwestwards, during subsequent 48 hours: Regional Meteorological Department, Chennai.

-- Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot flag-off driverless train ops on 59-km Pink Line of Delhi Metro.
11:57   Delhi Assembly panel summons Kangana
The Delhi Assembly's Committee on Peace and Harmony, headed by AAP leader Raghav Chadha, summons actor Kangana Ranaut on December 6, over her alleged remarks on Sikhs.

An FIR was registered against the actor in Mumbai on Tuesday following a complaint by members of the Sikh community for allegedly using derogatory language against them on social media.

 The FIR was filed by Amarjeet Singh Sandhu, a 47-year-old Mumbai-based businessman, along with leaders of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The complainants accused Ranaut of "intentionally and deliberately" portraying the farmers' protest (Kisan Morcha) as a "Khalistani" movement and calling the Sikh community "Khalistani terrorists".

"Khalistani terrorists may be arm twisting the government today... But let's not forget one woman... The only woman prime minister ne inn ko apni jooti ke neeche crush kiya tha (the only woman PM who crushed them under her shoes). No matter how much suffering she caused to this nation... she crushed them like mosquitoes at the cost of her own life... Lekin desh k tukde nahi hone diye (but she did not let the nation get divided)," the controversial actor had posted on Instagram recently.

File pic
File pic
11:43   Param Bir Singh reaches Crime Branch in Mumbai
Update:  Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh reaches the office of Crime Branch Unit 11 in Kandivali to join the investigation in the alleged extortion case. 

Singh, who was declared 'absconding' by a Mumbai court, reached the city today. 

He is facing extortion charges in several cases in Maharashtra.
11:41   Shocked to know Param Bir Singh faces threat: Maha HM
Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse on Param Bir Singh's lawyer's claim in the Supreme Court on Monday that Singh faces a threat in Mumbai:

"Shocked to know that the man (former Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh) who served as Police Commissioner of Mumbai & Thane, held important posts feels a threat to his life. If he feels a threat to his life from someone, we may look into it if he tells us, we don't know where is he," Walse Patil said before Singh arrived in Mumbai today.

11:24   Ex-Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh lands in Mumbai
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh arrives in Mumbai. Singh was declared as 'absconding' by a Mumbai court. He is facing extortion charges in several cases in Maharashtra.  

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh on Monday informed the Supreme Court that he is in India and not absconding. 

"I am very much in the country but hiding as I face threat to my life," Param Bir Singh informed the apex court via his lawyer.

"I am ready to appear before the CBI within 48 hours. If I am wrong, then take me to the task," the former Mumbai police chief told the SC.

The SC asked him to join the probe and offered protection against his arrest. 
11:15   Now, Swamy calls Modi govt 'failure'
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy sent out a pre-dawn tweet, a report card on the Narendra Modi government's performance. 

At 4:55 am, Swamy, who met Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee in Delhi yesterday, tweeted: 

"Modi Government's Report Card:
Border Security--FAIL
Foreign Policy --Afghanistan Fiasco  
National Security ---Pegasus NSO
Internal Security---Kashmir Gloom
Who is responsible?--Subramanian Swamy."

When @BashaSarathi asked, "What about petrol and diesel price?", Swamy responded,  "Ask Modi."

On Wednesday, he praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, comparing her with the likes of political stalwarts like Jayaprakash Narayan, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi, Chandrashekhar, and P V Narasimha Rao. He tweeted that she meant what she said and said what she meant. In Indian politics that is a rare quality, he said.

Today, in reply to a tweet on whether the Narendra Modi had "developed Gujarat or was it a jumla", Swamy replied: "Ask Modi's--till recently Economic Adviser--Arvind Subramanian. Or Google his Business Standard 2013 article and read it." 

11:02   Kolkata civic polls on Dec 19
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls will be held on December 19, a notification issued by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Thursday said. The counting of votes polled in the 144 wards of the civic body will be held on December 21, it said. 
How the markets fared yesterday
How the markets fared yesterday
10:43   Equity indices open in the green
 Equity indices opened in the green on Thursday with the Sensex up by 47.03 points and Nifty up by 22.00 points.

The 30-scrip BSE Sensex was up by 0.08 per cent at 58388.02 at 9.21 am. Similarly, 50-scrip NSE Nifty was trading at 17437.00 at 9.21 am, up by 22.00 points or 0.13 per cent.

On the Sensex, the sectors which were trading high with maximum gain are the energy sector at 1.11 and realty at 0.98. -- ANI
INS Vela
INS Vela
10:36   India gets its 4th Scorpene-class submarine
The Indian Navy commissioned INS Vela, the fourth Scorpene-class submarine, in Mumbai on Thursday.

Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh commissioned INS Vela at the Noval Dockyard. The Navy chief said that INS Vela has the ability to undertake an entire spectrum of submarine operations.

"INS Vela has the ability to undertake an entire spectrum of submarine operations. Given today's dynamic and complex security situation, its capability and firepower will play a crucial role in enhancing the Navy's ability to protect India's maritime interests," he said.

Earlier, INS Visakhapatnam was inducted into the Indian Navy on November 21. -- ANI
10:33   Japanese Ambassador to India visits oxygen generation plant in Meghalaya
Japan's Ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki visited an oxygen generation plant in Ri-Bhoi district which was funded by the Japanese Embassy and the UNDP to boost health infrastructure in Meghalaya, officials said. 

 In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Government of Japan has set up 3 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants in Meghalaya at Tura Civil Hospital in West Garo Hills district, Nongpoh Civil Hospital in Ri-Bhoi district and Jowai maternal and child hospital in West Jaintia Hills district.

 The PSA plant at Civil Hospital Nongpoh with the capacity of 150 LPM was installed and commissioned on June 7 and is catering to about 20 to 25 COVID-19 beds, Health Services director Aman War told PTI. 

 "Visited the medical oxygen generation plant at the Nongpoh Civil Hospital, Meghalaya, which was provided by the Government of Japan through @UNDP_India. Hope that this oxygen generation plant will help as many people as possible for a long time to come," Suzuki tweeted.

 Meghalaya Health Minister James PK Sangma welcomed the visit of Japan's Ambassador to India to the state on Wednesday.
10:15   Delhi air quality slips back to 'very poor'
The air quality in Delhi plunged to 'very poor' category on Thursday, according to per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) has dipped again from 280 on Sunday to 330 today.

As per the SAFAR, the PM 10 levels was recorded at 327 in 'poor' category and PM 2.5 levels remained at 171 in 'very poor' category.

'The AQI today indicates 'very poor' category. Local surface winds are relatively low for the next 3 days that reduces the dispersion of pollutants leading to the deterioration of air quality but air quality is likely to be in the higher end of the 'very poor' category for the next two days,' SAFAR said in a bulletin.

It further said that on November 27 local surface winds are likely to increase resulting in improvement of air quality but expected to be within the 'very poor' category.

'With the onset winter conditions local weather is likely to be dominating in determining air quality,' it added.

Gurugram and Noida recorded AQI of 276 and 123 respectively in 'poor' and 'severe' categories.

Sujeet Kumar, a Delhi resident said, "Every day I go out for a morning walk and when I step out of my house my eyes start to burn and I face breathing issues.

"The reason for the pollution in Delhi is the increasing number of vehicles and stubble burning. Government should come up with a long term plan because this is a regular problem here. Children are getting more affected."

Another resident said that he is also facing breathing issues and because of which we don't allow our children to step out of the house.

"Government is taking its initiative to curb the air pollution in Delhi but we should also take some initiative to tackle this. The main reason for the increasing pollution in the national capital is the increasing vehicle movement," said Nivesh, who came for cycling and running.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai announced that schools, colleges and educational institutions in the national capital will re-open from November 29 as the air quality in the national capital is improving.   -- ANI
09:40   BJP-TMC showdown: Tripura civic polls begin
Elections are being held for over 200 seats in municipal bodies of Tripura on Thursday.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which has fielded candidates in all seats in Tripura civic elections, has already won 112 out of the total 334 seats uncontested in the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and 19 urban bodies.

Nevertheless, a three-way battle between the ruling BJP and challenger Trinamool Congress besides the Communist Party of India-Marxist, is expected to ensue for the remaining seats, given the high voltage drama witnessed in the run up to the elections, which saw TMC sending its to leaders to Tripura and BJP fighting back politically.

For TMC a strong footprint in Agartala and elsewhere in the northeastern state is essential as it hopes to topple BJP in Tripura's state election in 2023 and also emerge as a strong opposition to the BJP on a national scale.

While for the CPI-M it is a chance to show that it still retains deep pockets of influence in the state.

A total of 785 contestants are in the fray for the remaining 222 seats after 36 candidates withdrew their nominations.

Altogether there are 334 seats in the urban local bodies, including Agartala Municipal Corporation (51 wards), 13 Municipal Councils, and six Nagar Panchayats across the state.

36 candidates, including 15 candidates of the opposition CPI-M, four of TMC, eight of Congress, two of the All India Forward Bloc, and seven Independent candidates withdrew their nominations, an official said.

Ambassa Municipal Council, Jirania Nagar Panchayat, Mohanpur Municipal Council, Ranirbazar Municipal Council, Bishalgarh Municipal Council, Udaipur Municipal Council and Santirbazar Municipal Council have no opposition candidates.

A total of 5, 94,772 voters are eligible to cast their votes in the civic poll and the number of women voters outnumber male voters in urban areas.

TMC youth leader Saayoni Ghosh, who was arrested on charges of criminal intimidation and attempt to murder, was on Monday granted bail by the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in West Tripura district.

The West Bengal Trinamool Youth Congress president was on Sunday arrested on charges of criminal intimidation, attempt to murder, and promotion of disharmony between groups after she raised the party's 'khela hobe' (game will be played) slogan outside a meeting being addressed by the state Chief Minister Biplab Deb.

The TMC leadership claimed several party activists came under attack when they had gathered outside the police station, where Ghosh was taken after her arrest.

The state has been witnessing protests and violence in the run-up to the polls.

Tripura State Election Commission (SEC) had announced the election to 20 urban local bodies, including Agartala Municipal Corporation in all the eight districts in the state.   -- ANI/PTI
08:40   Cong to raise inflation, Covid ex gratia in Parl
The Congress party will hold its Parliamentary strategy group meeting at the residence of party's interim president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday to discuss the issues that will be raised in the winter session of the Parliament beginning November 29.

"We will raise the issue of inflation in the upcoming session of Parliament. Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group will meet in New Delhi on November 25 to finalize the strategy for the upcoming Parliament session," Congress general secretary K C Venugopal had told ANI.

To take on Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government, the Congress is also planning to strongly raise issues of 'COVID mismanagement' in public forums and in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.

As per party sources, chief ministers of Congress-ruled states will write to the Centre seeking compensation to COVID victims.

"Along with that, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leaders of every state will also write to their respective chief ministers in the state where the Congress is not in power," they said.

Party leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi started the 'COVID Nyay campaign' by posting a video on his social media account and demanded the government of India to provide correct figures of the COVID-related deaths in the country and pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to families of those who lost their lives due to the infection.

'The Congress party has two demands -- Correct figures of COVID dead should be given, and Rs 4 lakh compensation should be given to the families who have lost their loved ones to COVID,' Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.

'If you are in power, you will have to drive away from the sufferings of the people.

'Due compensation should be provided to the people,' the former Congress president's tweet further read.

The Waynad MP also took a jibe on the 'Gujarat Model' of development by sharing a video on Twitter claiming that families that the Congress spoke to in Gujarat said that during COVID they were not able to find hospital beds, oxygen and ventilators.

In the video, he alleged that over 3 lakh people have succumbed to the COVID-19 in Gujarat, while the official data have stated only 10,000 COVID-related deaths.

Along with that video, Congress also trended the hashtag '4Lakhdenehongey' on Twitter.

"The Congress will raise the issue from now onwards till the winter session of the Parliament to take on the government.

"Rahul Gandhi will share more videos on social media. A day before the commencement of winter session Rahul Gandhi will do a press conference on the issue," said a top Congress source.

Meanwhile, in this series, Maharashtra Congress Legislature Party has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and said that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) norms require ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each should be given to families of COVID victims.

"In the letter, the Congress asked Chief Minister Thackeray to commit Rs 1 lakh per deceased, so as to force the Centre to give its share of Rs 3 lakh per deceased," the source said.

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting to provide an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to families of COVID victims.

In the letter, the Chattisgarh government said it is committed to giving its share of the ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh per deceased as per State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) norms, and demanded the Centre provide its share of monetary compensation.

"Other chief ministers in Congress rules states will follow the suite," added the sources.   -- ANI
Sameer Wankhede's father
Sameer Wankhede's father
00:31   Wankhede's father challenges HC order on Malik
Mumbai Narcotics Control Bureau chief Sameer Wankhede's father Dnyandev Wankhede on Wednesday challenged before the division bench of the Bombay high court the order of its single-judge bench that had refused to restrain Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik from making comments and putting social media posts against the anti-drug agency officer and his family. 
In his appeal mentioned before a division bench led by Justice SJ Kathawala, Dnyandev Wankhede contended that since the single-judge bench had held that Malik's statements against Sameer Wankhede had stemmed out of malice, the minister should have been restrained from continuing making defamatory comments against him and his family. 
He requested the division bench that pending the final disposal of his appeal, the high court pass an order of temporary injunction restraining Malik and his agents from making any defamatory comments against the Wankhedes.
On Monday, a single-judge bench of Justice Madhav Jamdar had refused to grant the Wankhede senior any interim relief in his defamation suit filed against Malik, a leader of  Maharashtra's ruling party NCP.
Malik has been raising a slew of allegations against Sameer Wankhede after the Mumbai NCB team allegedly seized drugs from a cruise ship earlier last month. 
Challenging the November 22 order, Dnyandev Wankhede said the single-judge bench had been wrong in denying him interim relief in his defamation suit filed against Nawab Malik.
In his appeal mentioned before the division bench, Dnyandev Wankhede said that the appeal was being filed only to a limited extent as he was aggrieved and dissatisfied by the findings recorded by the single-judge bench in its order.
"The prayer for injunction was rejected under the impression that the plaintiff was seeking the same in a blanket manner which was not the case," the appeal reads.
He said that the interviews given to news channels, and statements and social media posts etc., made by Malik against the Wankhedes were "highly defamatory, and libellous" as the same contained "incorrect facts, innuendos, and conclusions." 
They were a "deliberate attempt on Malik's part to knowingly and maliciously defame" him, his son Sameer, and his family, Dnyandev Wankhede said in the appeal.
Malik's statements not just caused an irreparable loss to his and his family members' reputation but also breached their right to live with their dignity intact. -- PTI