Fri, 03 September 2021
Two Gujarat cops suspended for thrashing Army man

Timeline  Refresh

23:49   COVID-19: India's recovery rate stood at 97% as on Sep 3
This is how the overall COVID-19 position looked like in India on September 3, 2021.

This data is collated by Union ministry of health and family welfare
23:40   US Def Sec to visit Gulf to thank partners for Afghan evacuation
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III departs on a trip Sunday, September 5, to visit Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a statement released by Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby stated.

Throughout his trip, Secretary Austin will meet with regional partners and thank them for their cooperation with the United States as we evacuated Americans, Afghans and citizens from other nations from Afghanistan.

He will reaffirm our strong defense relationships in the region.

Secretary Austin will also meet with US service members and US government personnel to thank them for the skill and professionalism with which they conducted the evacuation.
23:22   Two Gujarat cops suspended for thrashing Army man
Two police constables from Gujarat's Junagadh district were on Friday placed under suspension after a video purportedly showing them thrashing an Army jawan went viral on social media, an official said.

Rajesh Bandhia and Chetan Makwana, attached to Bantva police station, were suspended on the order of Junagadh Superintendent of Police Ravi Teja Vasamsetty, he said.

In a video shot on the night of August 29 in Padardi village in Manavdar taluka, two policemen can be seen beating Army jawan Kanhabhai Keshwala, who had come to his village on leave a few days back, with a stick as well as punching him in the presence of other policemen and villagers.

While Keshwala's mother Kaliben told reporters her son was thrashed without any reason, some villagers said police were angry as they believed the Army jawan was part of a mob that attacked police when it had come to the village on information about commotion following a love marriage.
22:41   Sensex closes yet again at a new all-time high
The Indian stock market continued its bull run as the 30-stock bellwether Sensex jumped 277 points or 0.48% to close at all-time high of 58,130
Representational pic
Representational pic
22:27   Reliance gets DCGI trial nod for phase-I Covid vax
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Friday granted permission to the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Life Sciences to conduct phase-I clinical trial of its indigenous COVID-19 vaccine with certain conditions, sources said.

The phase-I clinical trial will be conducted to evaluate safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 recombinant protein subunit vaccine in healthy volunteers according to protocol, they said.

The firm is required to submit the revised clinical trial protocol for immunogenicity to be assessed on Day 42, instead of Day 14, as recommended by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, a source said, citing the conditions set for the trial.

The DCGI gave the permission based on the recommendations given by the SEC which deliberated on the company's application on August 26.

The trials will be conducted at eight sites in Maharashtra.

India's drug regulator has so far issued emergency use authorisation to six COVID-19 vaccines -- Serum Institute's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D, Russian-made Sputnik V and the two made by US firms Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
21:35   Ganga water should be drinkable if clean: Ex-RSS ideologue
Former RSS ideologue and BJP leader K N Govindacharya on Friday said people should be able to drink Ganga water collected from anywhere and that should be the yardstick to determine whether the river water is clean.

Addressing a press conference, he said there was also a need to ensure "environmental flow" of the Ganga.

Govindacharya, who embarked on his 18-day 'Yamuna yatra' from August 28, completed his 'Ganga yatra' from Ram Tapasthali to Gangasagar in October last year. He also undertook a 29-day journey along the river Narmada from Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh last year.

"There is still much more left to be done. Ganga water should be drinkable from anywhere it is collected. This should be the yardstick to determine whether the river is clean or not," he said when asked if he found Ganga water clean during his journey.

He said he will come out with a detailed report on Ganga, Narmada and Yamuna after competing his 'Yamuna Yatra' at Prayag in Allahabad on September 15.

"This needs to be properly documented. This is part of the plan," he said.

Govindacharya said he embarked on a journey along the three rivers to draw people's attention towards their condition.

"Nature creates the geography, not human. Everything has been destroyed. Condition of rivers has become a common concern. After completion of Yamuna Yatra, a report on all three 'yatras' will be compiled. Then, we have plan to raise the issues with the government and people that concern them," he said.
21:14   Delhi riots chargesheet reads like web series: Umar
Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, arrested under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA in the north-east Delhi riots conspiracy case, told the court on Friday that the chargesheet against him reads like a web-series or TV news script and referred to Harry Potter villain Voldemort while attacking it.

Khalid and several other are accused of being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

He has sought bail in the case.

Senior advocate Trideep Pais, representing Khalid, told Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that the chargesheet makes hyperbolic allegations against his client without any factual basis and is a result of the fertile imagination of the police officer who drafted it.

The lawyer also gave reference of Voldemort, a villain in Harry Potter series of books/movies, to draw parallels between the statements in the chargesheet, among other examples to show that the final report filed by the police was "rubbish".

Pais argued, "The chargesheet is a result of the fertile imagination of the police officer who drafted it and the witnesses are procured... He is not writing the script of Family Man [a web-series]. This is a chargesheet."

Referring to a line in the chargesheet which stated that Umar kept a safe distance from Delhi as he knew that it would be thrown into the fire, he said that the only way the police officer could have known this was if "he was inside Khalid's mind".

"The last person who travelled with someone and got into this officer's head was Voldemort from Harry Potter," the lawyer said.

The counsel further called the allegation that Umar was maintaining a "facade of secular politics" a figment of the police imagination, and said that it "reads like a 9 pm TV news channel script."

Pais said that several statements carried in the chargesheet cannot be relied upon while considering his bail. "There is no way these statements are consistent with each other and meet the test under UAPA," he added.

He further said that there was nothing in Umar's speeches that led to lawless action, sedition, hatred, or any illegality of any sort.

In the last hearing, Pais had argued that the police's case was based on truncated clips of Khalid's speech given at Amaravati telecasted by two TV channels, which were in turn based on an edited video tweeted by BJP leader Amit Malviya.

The matter will be heard again on September 6, 2021.

Delhi Police had recently said that the bail plea has no merit and that it will demonstrate the prima facie case against him before the court by referring to the chargesheet filed in the case.
20:55   KCR meets Modi in Delhi with bouquet of requests
Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the number of IPS officers for the state in view of creation of more districts.

Rao, who met Modi in the national capital on Friday, also sought 100 per cent funding  for constructing road networks in the naxal affected areas keeping aside 60:40 ratio (state 60 per cent and Centre 40 per cent) as the internal security issues are of national importance.

"The allocation will help the posting of IPS officers as Commissioners/ Superintendents of Police/ Zonal  DIGsP/Multi Zonal IGsP in various territorial units. At present these territorial units have no sanctioned cadre posts," Rao said in one of the memoranda submitted to the PM.

KCR, who is camping in Delhi, performed Bhoomi Puja (groundbreaking) for TRS party office on Thursday. He left for the national capital from here on September 1.

The KCR-led government has created 33 districts from the earlier 10.

Rao also requested the Centre to sanction 21 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in view of the increased number of districts.

In order to give a fillip to the textile sector in Telangana, the Chief Minister requested Modi to give Rs 1,000 crore as one time grant in aid for the Warangal Textile Park.

He requested the Prime Minister to expedite the work for setting up a Tribal University in the State as promised in the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The state government has already identified 200 acres of land near Warangal for the purpose, he further said.

Stating that adequate land is available in University of Hyderabad, the CM asked Modi to sanction an Indian Institute of Management for the state, besides an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at Karimnagar under the PPP model.
ANI Photo
ANI Photo
20:30   Tri-forces to induct DRDO-developed drone system
In order to have protection against drone attacks, all the three defence forces including the Army, Navy and Air Force have signed contracts for acquiring DRDO-developed anti-drone systems.

The deals for buying the anti-drone systems was signed on August 31, which was the last date for completing deals under the emergency contracts allowed by the defence ministry.

"Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, sign contract with BEL for the supply of DRDO technology-based anti-drone system. The Drone Detect, Deter and Destroy system (D4S), developed by DRDO and manufactured by BEL, is the first indigenously developed anti-drone system to be inducted into the Indian Armed Forces," government officials told ANI.

The need for acquiring these systems under the emergency procedures was felt after the Jammu terror attack, in which two to three small drones were used to drop explosives at the Jammu airbase.

The contract was signed in the presence of senior Armed force officers and DRDO representatives. Indian armed forces have provided consistent support and have led in the joint development of the anti-drone system with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BEL.

Anti-Drone systems are offered by the manufacturers in static and mobile versions.

"Multiple DRDO Labs, namely Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bangaluru, Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) and Centre for High Energy Systems and Sciences (CHESS), Hyderabad and Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE) Dehradun four Units of BEL, namely Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Machilipatanam in close collaboration with the armed forces, were involved in the making of this fully indigenous system, as part of the Atmanirbar Bharat initiative to counter drone threats of adversaries," officials said.

The DRDO said that the D4 system can instantly detect and jam micro drones and use a laser-based kill mechanism to terminate targets. It will be an effective all-encompassing counter to the increased drone threat to strategic naval installations.

The DRDO's RF/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) detects the frequency which is being used by the controller and the signals are then jammed.

The system provides both 'soft kill' and 'hard kill' options to the Indian Armed Forces to tackle fast-emerging aerial threats.

Both the static and mobile versions of D4S will be supplied to the Indian defence forces within a short time from the signing of the contract. BEL hopes to get further order from the Ministries of Defence and Home Affairs.
20:05   BJP MLA Vikram Saini appears before court in Muzaffarnagar riots case
BJP MLA Vikram Saini on Friday appeared before a special court here in connection with a case linked to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.

The case relates to violence by a group of people, who were returning after cremating two youths, in Kawal village here. The group allegedly damaged properties and set houses on fire.

Saini, the MLA from Khataul, and others were booked in connection with the violence.

The court examined Investigation Officer (IO) Inspector Sampurnanand as a prosecution witness in the case.

Special Judge Gopal Upadhyay fixed September 14 as the next date of hearing in the case. 
19:38   Maruti recalls 1.8L vehicles to replace faulty part
The country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Friday said it is recalling 1,81,754 units of petrol trims of various models, including Ciaz, Vitara Brezza and XL6, to replace faulty motor generator unit.

This is the company's largest vehicle recall till date.

As a responsible corporate, keeping in mind customer safety, the company has announced to proactively undertake a recall of some petrol variants of Ciaz, Ertiga, Vitara Brezza, S-Cross and XL6, MSI said in a regulatory filing.

This is to inspect for a possible defect in 1,81,754 units of these models manufactured between May 4, 2018 to October 27, 2020, it added.

Recall campaigns are undertaken globally to rectify faults that may be potential safety defects, MSI noted.

"In the interest of customers, Maruti Suzuki has decided to voluntarily recall the affected vehicles for inspection/replacement of Motor Generator Unit, free of cost," it added.

Affected vehicle owners would be receiving a communication from the company's authorised workshops, the auto major said.

The replacement of the affected part shall start from the first week of November 2021, it added.

Till then, customers are requested to avoid driving in water logged areas and direct water spray on electrical/electronic parts in vehicle, the automaker advised its customers.

The motor generator unit helps in giving more power to the petrol engine.

MSI's previous biggest recall covered 1,34,885 units of WagonR and Baleno models last year.

The company had recalled the models in July last year to inspect and replace faulty fuel pumps.
PS Prasanth
PS Prasanth
19:01   Expelled Kerala Congress leader joins CPM
Ousted senior Congress leader P S Prasanth on Friday joined the CPI-M in the presence of party state secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan in Thiruvananthapuram. 

Vijayaraghavan, along with other CPI-M leaders, welcomed Prasanth to the party at the AKG centre, head office of the party, where the former KPCC secretary also addressed the media. 

The former Congress leader said he joined the CPI-M without any demands and will perform the duties as assigned by the Left leadership. 

Praising the ruling LDF government, Prasanth said CPI-M is a party which intervenes in issues faced by the people. 

"The Kerala model, which upholds secularism, was accepted by the people of the state and re-elected the Left government in the last election. So I decided to join hands with the CPI-M," he said. 

18:39   Citing shortage Kerala sends SOS for more vaccine
A day after Kerala's overall COVID-19 cases crossed the 41 lakh mark, state health minister Veena George on Friday said the state is facing vaccine shortage and the Covishield stock is completely over in at least six districts, following which the government has asked for more vaccine doses from the Centre.

The districts -- Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur -- are facing the shortage of Covishield and only 1.4 lakh doses are remaining in the state's reserve but all districts have limited stock of Covaxin, she said.

The southern state is eyeing to complete the vaccination of all those aged above 18 years this month itself, which requires more jabs, the minister said here in a statement.

"The state is once again facing vaccine shortage. Almost all districts are suffering the scarcity. The Centre has been asked to provide more vaccine doses for the smooth continuation of the drive," George said.

Pointing out that many people are reluctant to take Covaxin, she said there is no need to worry about receiving the country's indigenous jab and both vaccines are effective as well as safe.

George said the state has achieved another target in the vaccine drive as 75 per cent of people, aged above 18 years, have been given the first dose.

This would comprise 2,15,27,035 people of the total 3.58 crore population of the state, she said, adding that of them, 27.74 per cent people (79,60,935) had received the second dose also.

According to the estimated population of 2021, it is 60.81 per cent and 22.49 per cent respectively.

With this, a total of 2,94,87,970 people have received either the first dose or both doses of vaccine. Strenuous efforts taken by the state as part of the vaccination drive, had helped achieve this goal so quickly.

"Over 86 lakh doses could be given in the month of August alone. The government is aiming to complete the vaccination of those aged above 18 years this month itself. This requires more vaccine doses," the minister added.

Kerala's overall Covid cases breached 41 lakh as its consistently high daily numbers showed no signs of a let-up, with the state once again witnessing over 30,000 new infections yesterday.

The state, which recorded the country's first coronavirus case in early 2020, reported 32,097 new COVID-19 infections and 188 deaths on Thursday, which pushed the total infection count to 41,22,133 and the fatalities to 21,149.
The material seized in Kolkata
The material seized in Kolkata
18:09   Material seized in Kolkata not radioactive: DAE
The department of atomic energy on Friday clarified that the material seized from two persons in Kolkata was non-radioactive and not the highly expensive 'californium' as suspected earlier. 

The persons were arrested from Kolkata airport by the West Bengal police last Thursday with 250 gm of what was then suspected to be californium worth Rs 4,250 crore, as per media reports. 

After inspection of the material and relevant laboratory analyses of the material, the DAE clarified that the material was not californium. 

Also, it is confirmed that the material was of natural origin and it is not radioactive, an official statement from the department said. 

Media reports had said the material was found engraved inside stones by a CID team, which arrested the two persons. Four ash-coloured stones, weighing about 250 gm, were also recovered from the arrested duo. 

Californium is said to be used in nuclear power plants, and the CID was reported to be investigating the source of the material.
17:45   JD-U MLA in undies in train files counter complaint
JD-U MLA Gopal Mandal lodged a complaint against a fellow passenger onboard in Tejas Express train for allegedly abusing, misbehaving and snatching his gold ornaments.

The complaint has been registered at GRP New Delhi Railway Station. In his complaint, Mandal accused one Prahlad Paswan of abusing, misbehaving and snatching his gold chain and rings. The case is now being transferred to Buxer to take further action. 

The JD(U) MLA from Gopalpur in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar was on the Tejas Rajdhani Express train on Thursday. Fellow passengers of the train had complained about the behaviour of the MLA when he was seen roaming in his undergarments.

After a picture of JDU MLA Gopal Mandal roaming around in undergarments on a train went viral on social media, he clarified that his stomach was upset during the journey from Patna, Bihar to New Delhi.

"I was wearing only the undergarments as my stomach was upset during the journey," he told ANI.

"The moment I boarded the train, I wanted to use the loo immediately. So I removed my kurta-pyjama and took the towel on my shoulder. I did not have the time to wrap it around my waist," said Mandal.

Elaborating the series of events, the MLA said that an individual sitting in the adjoining compartment stopped him by holding his hand and questioned him for roaming "naked".

"That person asked me why I roaming naked. He held my hand. He disturbed me. Then I rushed to the toilet," he said.

The JD(U) MLA said, "The moment I came out, I asked him who are you. He said I am general public. To which I questioned who does this to an MLA."
Pic: @ToloNews
Pic: @ToloNews
17:14   Afghan women demand to right to work, education
A group of Afghan women staged a protest today in Kabul to demand their right to work and education. Taliban have banned many women from working outside their homes and girls from attending school, university. 
16:49   SC pauses Kerala Class XI exams over rising cases
Worried by the "alarming" Covid-19 situation in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed a state government decision to hold offline Class 11 exams. 

The court ordered the exams be paused for a week, saying: "Children of tender age can't be exposed to the risk (of contracting the virus)".

A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said that situation in Kerala is alarming because of the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases and children of tender age cannot be exposed to risk while noting that around 35,000 cases are being reported daily from the state. 
16:39   Sensex rallies 277 points to end above 58K
Equity benchmark Sensex surged 277 points to close above the 58,000-mark for the first time on Friday, driven by gains in index major Reliance Industries amid a largely positive trend in global markets and sustained foreign fund inflows. 

The 30-share Sensex settled 277.41 points or 0.48 per cent up at its lifetime closing high of 58,129.95. It touched an intra-day record of 58,194.79. Similarly, Nifty advanced 89.45 points or 0.52 per cent to its all-time closing peak of 17,323.60.

During the session, it touched a record of 17,340.10. Reliance Industries was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, soaring over 4 per cent, followed by Titan, Tata Steel, Bajaj Auto, Maruti and Dr Reddy's. On the other hand, HUL, Bharti Airtel, HDFC twins and IndusInd Bank were among the laggards.
16:35   Trial in Ahmedabad serial blast case concludes after 13 years
Thirteen years after 56 people were killed in a series of bomb blasts in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, a special court here has concluded the trial against 77 accused, while reserving its verdict in the matter. 

The prosecution examined over 1,100 witnesses in the lengthy trial, which began in December 2009, over a year after a series of bomb blasts rocked the city. 

 Special judge A R Patel on Thursday announced the conclusion of the trial and reserved the order. At least 56 people were killed and over 200 injured in 21 bomb blasts that hit Ahmedabad city, within a span of 70 minutes, on July 26, 2008.

 The police had claimed that people associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts. -- PTI
16:33   Domestic flights from Kabul airport to resume on Friday
The domestic flights from Kabul will resume on Friday. The airport has been closed since the last evacuation flight took off on September 1.Citing an Afghan civil aviation official, the Doha-based Al Jazeera reported on Thursday said that he expected international flights "to take time". 

Al-Jazeera earlier reported a Qatari technical team was assessing damage at the airport with plans to bring it back into operation.

This comes after the Taliban accused the United States of intentionally damaging equipment at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport during their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Anas Haqqani, a key Taliban member, visited Kabul airport a day after the last American soldier left Afghanistan, and said the US had deliberately destroyed military equipment including helicopters, military vehicles and facilities, reported Ariana News.

The last flight carrying American forces left Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday morning - ending 20 years of military presence in the country. --ANI
16:20   NIA files charge sheet against Sachin Waze
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a charge sheet against dismissed police officer Sachin Waze and other accused in Antilia bomb scare-Mansukh Hiran murder case. 

 The central probe agency filed the charge sheet before a court here. Besides Waze, former 'encounter specialist' Pradeep Sharma and a few other former police personnel are also accused in the case. 

 The agency filed the charge sheet two days before the end of the 30-day extension granted to it by the court last month to complete the process, a defence lawyer said. 

 The case relates to recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25 this year. Thane-based businessman Mansukh Hiran, who had claimed that he was in possession of the SUV, was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5. PTI
15:51   Maha Dy CM warns of lockdown again if...
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday urged citizens not to put the state government in a position where it has to shut everything in the event of a third wave of the pandemic. 

Pawar said the Centre has already cautioned all the states, citing that Kerala and Maharashtra have been reporting the highest number of cases.

 "Unfortunately, in rural areas, some people are becoming lax. They are not scared of coronavirus. They don't use masks, don't follow physical distancing, and they have assumed that everything (COVID-19 pandemic) is over. This has led to rise in infections," Pawar said. 

"The chief minister has appealed to people from time to time, but some people politicise the issue and resort to celebrating festivals," he said. 

"All this should stop somewhere. People should not put the state government and administrations in a position where they have to close everything if the third wave hits," he appealed. 

When asked about reopening of schools, Pawar said discussions are being held with the concerned experts and a decision will be taken. 

"There are two opinions. Some say schools should open after Diwali, while others say they should be reopened in places where the COVID-19 positivity rate is zero. The chief minister, however, will take the decision," he said. 

Speaking about the BJP and MNS' demand to open temples in the state, Pawar said as the civic elections are round the corner, every party was striving to make its presence felt, which is why this "emotional" issue was being raised. 

Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of Pune, was speaking to the media after holding a review meeting of the COVID-19 situation in the district. -- PTI
15:35   Covishield vax scarcity in Kerala: Health Minister
A day after Kerala's overall COVID-19 cases crossed the 41 lakh mark, state Health Minister Veena George on Friday said the Covishield vaccine stock is completely over in at least six districts and the government has asked for more vaccine doses from the Centre. 

The districts- Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur- are facing the shortage and only 1.4 lakh doses are remaining in the state's reserve, she said. However, all districts have limited stock of Covaxin, the minister said.

"We have already requested the Centre to provide more doses of vaccine at the earliest," George said here in a statement. 

 Pointing out that many people are reluctant to take Covaxin, she said there is no need to worry about receiving the country's indigenous jab and both vaccines are effective as well as safe. 

 Kerala's overall Covid cases breached 41 lakh as its consistently high daily numbers showed no signs of a let-up, with the state once again witnessing over 30,000 new infections yesterday. 

The state, which recorded the country's first coronavirus case in early 2020, reported 32,097 new COVID-19 infections and 188 deaths on Thursday, which pushed the total infection count to 41,22,133 and the fatalities to 21,149. PTI
15:16   Will restore internet in Kashmir soon: J-K DGP
As the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is under control, the police will review and restore the internet soon, said Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh on Friday.

"Situation is absolutely under control. Not even one incident occurred in the last two days. People cooperated, security forces are working with great restraint. I congratulate people. They have faith in peace." said the DGP when asked about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the death of former Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

"We will soon have a review and I think we will restore it soon," he said, while replying to reporters on internet shutdown.

The restrictions and internet shutdown were imposed on Kashmir valley after the demise of former Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on September 1.

Earlier on Wednesday, People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti informed that Geelani passed away at the age of 91.

Geelani had resigned from the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in June this year.  -- ANI
14:55   CBI makes 3rd arrest in Bengal's post-poll violence cases
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested a person in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district in connection with its probe into a case of post-poll violence in the state, an agency source said on Friday.

Ratan Halder, an accused in the murder of a Bharatiya Janata Party worker's mother following the declaration of assembly election results on May 2, was apprehended from Jagaddal area, the source said.

The central agency had on August 28 arrested two more persons -- Bijoy Ghosh and Asima Ghosh -- in Nadia district for allegedly being involved in the murder of a saffron party worker after the announcement of the poll results.

The CBI had on Thursday filed a chargesheet in another case of post-poll violence in Birbhum district -- its first since being handed over the probe into 'heinous crimes'.

The chargesheet, submitted before the Rampurhat court, contains names of two accused allegedly involved in the murder of a BJP worker.

The Calcutta high court had, on August 19, ordered that probe into cases of alleged murder and rape be carried out by the CBI.

So far, the agency has filed a total of 34 FIRs against those allegedly involved in murder or other heinous atrocities on BJP workers.   -- PTI
14:39   Actor Sidharth Shukla cremated
Actor Sidharth Shukla has been cremated. 

A crowd gathered outside the Oshiwara crematorium where the mortal remains of actor Sidharth Shukla were brought for the last rites. Family and friends of the late actor were present. 

Sidharth Shukla's autopsy was completed last night at a Mumbai hospital and "no injuries were found", police said. A viscera analysis will establish the cause of his death.

The 40-year-old TV and movie actor's sudden death on Thursday, reportedly after a cardiac arrest, shocked his fans and had the entertainment fraternity grieving the loss of a hugely popular star.

A team of three doctors carried out the post-mortem, which was recorded on video. 
14:20   Mapped: Covid numbers in India
Covid cases continue to rise in Kerala. 
14:09   Senior Taliban leader meets German envoy
Taliban Political office Deputy Head Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai met with Germany's Ambassador to Afghanistan Marx Putzel on Friday, reported TOLO news.

Stanekzai and Putzel discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the reopening of Kabul Airport and the continuation of German humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, reported TOLOnews. 

The senior Taliban leader also met Turkey's Ambassador to Qatar Mustafa Goksu on Thursday.

The situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating after the Taliban seized control of the war-ravaged country earlier this month. On August 15, the Afghan government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the country. -- ANI
13:57   Schools in Kathua named after martyrs
Government Higher Secondary Schools in Chandwan and Barwal in Kathua district of Jammu have been renamed after Sepoy Bua Ditta Singh and Naik Yograj Singh respectively, who lost their lives in action.

"This is a good initiative and will motivate students to do something for the nation," says Shradha, granddaughter of Sepoy Bua Ditta.

Neelam Kumari, wife of Naik Yograj says," It will teach the coming generation about the sacrifice my husband made for the nation. For me, he is still alive."
13:42   Is Rahul's closest aide a 'BJP agent'?
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee Secretary PS Prasanth wrote to former party president Rahul Gandhi seeking the removal of Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal, who is arguably Rahul's closest political aide.

Prashant was almost instantly expelled from the party without a show cause notice. PS Prashant in conversation Divya Nair. Read it here.
Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar
Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar
13:37   Taliban co-founder will lead Afghanistan govt
Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead a new Afghan government set to be announced shortly, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday, as it battled rebel fighters in the Panjshir Valley and strived to ward off economic collapse. 

Baradar, who heads the Taliban's political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, in senior positions in the government.
13:28   Taliban parade captured US military equipment in Kandahar
A bunch of helicopters was seen flying over southern Afghanistan while jubilant Taliban members below stood aboard captured US military hardware as the Islamist group paraded them with pride.

The United States forces left Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, marking the end of a chaotic and messy exit from America's longest war. 

In the second-biggest city of Kandahar, a long line of green armoured vehicles was driven in single file on Wednesday, with the group's flags attached to it, Dawn reported cities agencies.

Local media reports said multiple trucks of US and Nato forces were paraded at Ayno Maina town, on the outskirts of the city.

Video footage also surfaced on social media showing a US-made Black Hawk helicopter flying over Kandahar province, with a person seen hanging below from a rope. Later on Tuesday, it was clarified that a pilot was reportedly flying the chopper, and a Taliban member was trying to install the group's flag. -- ANI
13:18   Mapped: Covid vaccination drive in India
India has vaccinated 67 crore people.
13:06   Japan PM to resign over poor Covid response
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said he will not run for party re-election as a leader this month, amid criticism over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes as just under a year Suga took office and as his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prepares to hold its presidential election on September 29, with campaigning starting on September 17, Kyodo News reported.

 "I had planned to run, but dealing with both COVID-19 and the election would require an enormous amount of energy. I decided that there was no way to do both, that I had to choose," Suga told reporters, adding, "I decided to focus on coronavirus measures."Suga was quoted by a participant at a meeting of LDP executives held earlier in the day, as saying he will serve out his term through September 30.
13:00   Congress never monetised core, strategic assets: Chidambaram on NMP
Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram on Friday slammed the Centre's National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), saying his Congress party monetised non-core, loss-making assets when in power.

Chidambaram said the Congress never sold off strategic assets. 

"We always ensured that there is no monopoly in monetisation as we chose assets based on criteria," he said.

Chidambaram asked the government if provisions will be included in the invitation to bid (ITB) to ensure the monetisation process doesn't create monopolies or duopolies in the sector. 

"What provisions will be included to prevent monopolies emerging in ports, airports, telecom and power sectors," he asked. 

"What the Modi government plans is a day-light robbery of assets which took years to build," he said. 

 Issuing a list of 20 questions to the Modi government, Chidambaram demanded that the Centre reveal the current revenue from the assets it plans to sell. Konkan Railway and Delhi Mumbai freight corridor will also be sold, he said, adding the announcement was made without discussions and consultations and to avoid parliamentary debate. 

 Chidambaram asked the government to reveal the value of assets that will come back to the government after a period. "What are the objectives of the National Monetisation Pipeline? Is the sole objective raising revenue over a four-year period," he asked. 

"The finance minister must be surely owning a house somewhere in India. She should give it to me on lease for 99 years and she can hang on with the paper that calls her as the owner of the house. What will I give back to her after 99 years? 

"Will I maintain, repair and upgrade it if I am not the owner, he said, referring to the government's stand that it will continue to be the owner of the assets. "What will be the interest of the party in maintaining the assets if it is not the owner," he asked. -- PTI
12:43   Helmet review
Helmet's sole attribute are its three actors.Aparshakti Khurana, Abishek Banerjee and Ashish Verma have an effortless witty quality and breezy camaraderie, observes Sukanya Verma. Read it here. 
File pic
File pic
12:41   Abba announces 1st album in 39 years
Swedish pop band Abba has announced its first album in 39 years and debuted two new songs.

The Mamma Mia hitmakers -- Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad -- also unveiled plans for a high-tech concert show featuring digital versions of themselves, reports the Independent.

The anticipated projects will be titled Abba Voyage and the album will consist entirely of new material recorded by the quartet, known for hits such as Dancing Queen, Super Trouper and Waterloo, in Andersson's studio in Stockholm.
12:16   As extreme poverty returns, India sees surge in child slavery
Among many gains lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, child labour shows resurgence, worsened by inadequate rescue efforts. Read the report here. 
11:58   Living with the Taliban?
Living with the Taliban involves major risks and uncertainties, and it will be more than difficult even if it proves successful. No one can dismiss the risk that the Taliban will emerge as a hardline extremist state and/or use, or at the very least, tolerate some form of terrorism. Any form of cooperation will mean accepting a substantial amount of the Taliban's restrictions on human rights and authoritarianism. It will also involve dealing with a movement that operates with such different --  and unpredictable -- political dynamics. Read more here. 
NZ PM Jacinda Ardern
NZ PM Jacinda Ardern
11:48   SIS-inspired terrorist killed in NZ, stabbed 6
New Zealand authorities said Friday they shot and killed a violent extremist after he entered a supermarket and stabbed and injured six shoppers. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as a terror attack. 

She said the man was a Sri Lankan national who was inspired by the Islamic State group. She said he was well known to the nation's security agencies and was being monitored around the clock. She said that by law, the man was not allowed to be kept in prison. Auckland is in a strict lockdown as it battles an outbreak of the coronavirus. 

Most businesses are shut and people are generally allowed to leave their homes only to buy groceries, for medical needs, or to exercise. One bystander video taken inside the supermarket records the sound of ten shots being fired in rapid succession.
11:23   Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win 2 Paralympic medals
Trailblazing shooter Avani Lekhara on Friday became the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals by claiming the 50m Rifle 3 Position SH1 bronze to add to an unprecedented gold she had won earlier in the ongoing Games in Tokyo. 

 The 19-year-old Lekhara qualified second for the event with a score of 1176, including 51 inner 10s. In the fiercely contested finals, Lekhara totalled 445.9 to finish ahead of Ukraine's Iryna Shchetnik, who let slip her grip on the medal spot with a poor third shot of 9.9 in the elimination.

 Lekhara had become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold by claiming the top honours in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event. The Jaipur-based shooter, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, had fired a world record equalling total of 249.6, which was also a new Paralympic record. 

 Prior to her, Joginder Singh Sodhi was the lone Indian to win multiple medals in the same edition of the Games when he fetched one silver and two bronze medals in the 1984 Paralympics. His silver came in shot put, while the two bronze medals were won in discus and javelin throw. 

 The gold in Friday's event was claimed by China's Zhang Cuiping with a new Games record of 457.9, while German Natascha Hiltrop took the silver with a 457.1 in the final. Athletes in SH1 Rifle have an impairment in their legs, for example amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes will compete in a seated position, while others will compete in a standing position.
11:11   SC refuses interim bail to Sajjan Kumar
Supreme Court refuses to grant interim bail to Congress leader and former MP Sajjan Kumar, convicted to life imprisonment in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, after noting that his medical condition is stable and improving. 
10:55   Tokyo Paralympics: Avani Lekhara wins bronze
Tokyo Paralympics: India's Avani Lekhara wins bronze in women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions (SH1) event. Lekhara had scripted history last week as she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics, firing her way to the top of the podium in the R-2 women's 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event at the Tokyo Games. 
10:36   Torture can't be justified, UN tells Taliban
Noting that Afghanistan has entered into "a very challenging new chapter of power transition", the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) urged Taliban-led authorities of Afghanistan to uphold "the international obligations of the State".

Experts serving on the UN human rights treaty body expressed particular concern over the situation of people in Afghanistan deprived of liberty along with the conditions of where they are held, including prisons, police stations and other detention facilities as well as psychiatric and social welfare institutions. Torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment cannot be justified in any situation, be it a state of war, internal political instability or public emergency, they underscored.

Moreover, the Afghan authorities must protect everyone against torture and ill-treatment, "regardless of their ethnic background, religious belief, or political affiliation", the SPT added.
10:23   Drugs case: Actress Rakul Preet Singh appears before ED
Actress Rakul Preet Singh appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Friday after being summoned as part of a money laundering probe in connection with a high-end drugs racket that was busted in the city in 2017. 

 The ED had earlier summoned over 10 Tollywood (Telugu film industry) personalities in connection with the sensational racket of supplying high-end narcotics such as LSD and MDMA, that was busted by the Telangana's Prohibition and Excise department. The ED had already grilled Telugu director Puri Jagannadh and actress Charmee Kaur in the case. 

 The drug racket was exposed in July 2017 and several cases related to drug trafficking were registered and over 20 people were arrested including a US citizen, who was a former aerospace engineer and had worked with the NASA, a Dutch national, a South African national besides seven B.Tech degree holders employed with multi-national companies. The names of some Tollywood personalities came out during the interrogation of people arrested in connection with the racket.
M&M was among the laggards
M&M was among the laggards
10:20   Sensex jumps 250 pts to cross 58K in early trade; Nifty tops 17,300
Equity benchmark Sensex jumped over 250 points in early trade to scale the 58,000-level for the first time on Friday, led by gains in index majors Reliance Industries, Kotak Bank and ICICI Bank amid a positive trend in global markets and sustained foreign fund inflows. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty too crossed the 17,300-mark in the opening session. 

 The 30-share Sensex was trading 250.75 points or 0.43 per cent up at its lifetime high of 58,103.29, and Nifty advanced 67.65 points or 0.39 per cent to record 17,301.80 in initial deals. 

 Titan was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 2 per cent, followed by Reliance Industries, Kotak Bank, SBI, NTPC and IndusInd Bank. On the other hand, HCL Tech, HUL, M&M, Tech Mahindra and TCS were among the laggards.
10:16   'Kisan mahapanchayat' to be held in UP's Muzaffarnagar on Sunday
A "kisan mahapanchayat" on issues related to farmers, including three new agriculture laws of the Centre, has been convened in this Uttar Pradesh district on Sunday. 

 The venue for the "mahapanchayat" that would be held under the banner of "Kisan Morcha" would be the government college compound, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said on Friday, adding that farmers from across the country, including Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and the southern states, will take part in the event. The district administration has stepped up the security measures in view of the event, officials said. PTI
10:11   We will raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir: Taliban
Amid India's concern that Afghanistan territory might be used for anti-India activity under the Taliban regime, the terror group has said that it has the right to raise its voice for Muslims anywhere including in Kashmir.

 However, it added that the group does not have the policy to raise arms against any country.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said: "We have this right, being Muslims, to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir, India, and any other country." 

"We will raise our voice and say that Muslims are your own people, your own citizens. They are entitled to equal rights under your laws," he added, according to Geo News.

Shaheen remarks are in contrast with the group's earlier statements on Kashmir. Days after taking control of Kabul, the Taliban had said Kashmir is a "bilateral and an internal matter".

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said India's aim is to ensure Afghanistan's land is not used for terror activity of any kind.

In the first formal and publicly acknowledged contact, Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai on Tuesday and conveyed India's concerns that Afghanistan's soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism. -- ANI
10:04   India's Covid numbers rise, 45,352 cases in a day
With 45,352 people testing positive for coronavirus, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,29,03,289, while active cases registered an increase for the third consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. 

 The death toll climbed to 4,39,895 with 366 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am. The active cases increased to 3,99,778 comprising 1.22 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.45 per cent, the ministry said. 

 An increase of 10,195 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. 

 India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.
09:53   Hurricane Ida: Death toll mounts to 46 in US
The death toll from the remnants of Hurricane Ida has risen to 46 on Thursday local time in the United States.

This comes after New Jersey announced that atleast 23 people have died in the state.

According to CNN, Governor Phil Murphy said that the majority of the deaths have occurred as people, who were caught in their car, and were 'overtaken by the water'.

Officials said many people were unaccounted for.

"We're going to withhold a complete rundown of the blessed losses of life. They are spread across a handful of counties, largely concentrated -- not entirely -- but largely concentrated in central Jersey and a few in the north," Murphy said in an evening update.

Dozens of people have died in six Eastern states -- Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia -- after the storm brought unprecedented rainfall to some areas.

The death toll included a state trooper in Connecticut who was swept away as he responded to a missing person's call.

On Thursday, water rescues continued in some areas, and in New York City a new task force was going to homes to make sure there weren't more victims in basements.

In southern New Jersey, residents were cleaning up from a tornado that flattened homes, one of eight twisters that hit the Northeast.

On Wednesday, the US had deployed thousands of National Guard troops to aid first responders by rescuing trapped victims, clearing roads and distributing food and water in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Roads are covered in floodwaters caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida which brought drenching rain, flash floods and tornadoes to parts of the northeast in New Brunswick, New Jersey, US, on September 2, 2021. Photograph: Drone Base/Reuters
09:48   China will maintain their embassy in Kabul: Taliban
Abdul Salam Hanafi, the deputy head of the Taliban political office in Qatar, held a telephonic conversation with Wu Jianghao, Deputy Foreign Minister of China and the latter informed that Bejing would maintain their embassy in Kabul, said Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen on Friday.

During the phone talk, both sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

'Abdul Salam Hanafi, Deputy Director, PO held a phone conversation with Wu Jianghao, Deputy Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China. Both sides discussed the ongoing situation of the country and future relations,' Qatar-based spokesperson of Taliban Suhail Shaheen tweeted.

'The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister said that they would maintain their embassy in Kabul, adding our relations would beef up as compared to the past. Afghanistan can play an important role in security and development of the region. China will also continue and increase its humanitarian assistance especially for the treatment of covid-19,' Shaheen further tweeted.   -- ANI
09:24   Only 2nd Covid jab at public centres in Mumbai on Sep 4: BMC
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday said only the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines will be given to eligible beneficiaries at civic and government-run inoculation centres in the metropolis on September 4.

In a release, the civic body said in the wake of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, a special inoculation session has been organised for people due for their second dose.

'Therefore, the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines winotll  be given to anyone (at public centres) on Saturday (Sep 4),' the BMC stated.

Over the last two days, Mumbai has reported more than 400 daily cases.

Since January 16, when the  nationwide inoculation drive was  launched, as many as 95,62,080 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Mumbai.

Of these, 69,63,200 beneficiaries have been given the first dose, while 25,98,880 people have received the second shot too.

Explaining the reason behind a special session for the second dose, the civic body said the number of beneficiaries who have been fully vaccinated is low as compared to those who have received the first shot.

Currently, the number of daily COVID-19 cases is showing an upward trend and experts have predicted a third wave of the pandemic, according to the  BMC.

In this backdrop, it is necessary to complete the vaccination of adult citizens and beneficiaries waiting for their second dose should take maximum advantage of the session, it added.   -- PTI
09:04   Taliban expected to announce new govt today
The Taliban is expected to announce a new government in Afghanistan within hours amid the United Nations' warning of the impending food crisis, urging the global community to step up support for the war-ravaged country.

Media reports suggest that the cabinet could be presented after morning prayers on Friday and a ceremony was being prepared at the presidential palace in the capital city Kabul.

Anamullah Samangani, from the Taliban's cultural commission on Thursday, said that Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada will be the leader of the new government.

"Consultations are almost finalised on the new government, and the necessary discussions have also been held about the cabinet. The Islamic government that we will announce will be a ... model for the people. There is no doubt about the presence of the Commander of the Faithful (Akhunzada) in the government. He will be the leader of the government," Samangani said.

Earlier on Tuesday, senior Taliban leader Anas Haqqani had said the group has covered about 90 to 95 per cent.

The senior member said the new government aims 'to maintain and be faithful' to what the group 'are fighting for' and 'to serve the Afghan people and to serve Islam', Al Jazeera reported.

Even as the government is being announced, two weeks after the fall of Kabul, the role of women in government offices is still unclear.

Taliban said that women will not be appointed in higher ranking positions despite, TOLO News reported citing one of the group's officials.

The Taliban has taken control of war-torn Afghanistan, but there is still an important gap between naming a government and fully taking up its functions.

Matthieu Aikins, writing in The New York Times said that two weeks since Kabul fell, the Taliban officials are still attempting to take up the functions of a new government on the eve of its announcement.

But there is still an important gap between naming a government and fully taking up its functions, says Aikins.

In Kabul, as in much of the country, the most important government departments, apart from street-level security, are not functioning.

The Taliban has urged officials with the former government to stay in their roles.

But in the face of a looming economic crisis, including a worsening cash shortage that has put strains on the availability of fuel, food and other staples, the past two weeks have been a scramble by the Taliban to establish themselves.   -- ANI
08:50   Paralympics: Praveen wins silver in high jump
India's Praveen Kumar clinched the silver medal in the men's high jump T64 event of the Paralympics, taking the country's haul to 11 in the ongoing Games in Tokyo.

The 18-year-old Kumar, competing in his debut Paralympics, set a new Asian record with a 2.07m jump to finish behind Great Britain's Jonathan Broom-Edwards, who notched up his season's best of 2.10m for the gold.

The bronze went to Rio Games champion Maciej Lepiato of Poland who produced an effort of 2.04m.

T64 classification is for athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

T44, the disability classification that Kumar has but is eligible to compete in T64, is for athletes with a leg deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in the legs.

His impairment, which is congenital, affects the bones that connect his hip to his left leg.

The ongoing Games are turning out to be India's best ever and the nation has so far claimed two gold, six silver and three bronze medals.   -- PTI
Representative image only
Representative image only
08:44   Army foils infiltration bid along LoC in Poonch
The Army has foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, defence officials said on Friday.

This is the second infiltration bid foiled by the Army in the last five days.

"There was an infiltration attempt (by terrorists) along LoC in Poonch sector last night," said the PRO defence.

The infiltration bid has been foiled with effective fire by the troops on our side of the LoC, he said.

Further details are awaited, the PRO added.

He, however, denied any ceasefire violation along the LoC.

Earlier in the week on Monday, two terrorists were killed as Army troops foiled a similar infiltration attempt along the LoC in Poonch district.  -- PTI
08:24   26 dead in Ida-triggered floods in US
At least 26 people have died after flash floods triggered by hurricane Ida hit parts of New York, New Jersey, and across the northeast United States, local media reported on Thursday (local time).

Eight people were confirmed dead in New York City, including a 2-year-old boy, a 48-year-old female and a 50-year-old man who were all found inside a home in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens as a result of the severe weather, Fox News reported.

Officials said at least eight people died in New Jersey -- four were found dead in an apartment complex in Elizabeth, the city's mayor and a spokesperson told local media.

Three people died in Pennsylvania's suburban Montgomery County and Connecticut State Police and local authorities said an on-duty state trooper was swept away in his cruiser and later taken to a hospital.

A 19-year-old man was found dead in Maryland.

The remnants of Ida brought record levels of rain to the mid-Atlantic and northeast US.

Early on Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden said that he had spoken with New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy and intended to speak with Pennsylvania Gov Tom Wolf.

"We want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the first responders and everyone working through the night well into the morning to save lives and get power back," Fox News quoted Biden as saying.

"There's a lot of damage. I made clear to the governors: My team at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is on the ground ready to provide all the assistance that's needed," said Biden.

On Wednesday, the US had deployed thousands of National Guard troops to aid first responders by rescuing trapped victims, clearing roads and distributing food and water in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

'More than 5,400 Guardsmen from 11 states were in Louisiana on Wednesday, assisted first responders with 36 aircraft, 74 boats, 198 high-water vehicles, generators and engineers,' National Guard Bureau General Daniel Hokanson said in a press release on Wednesday.   -- ANI

IMAGE: Cars sit in water after flooding on the Major Deegan Expressway spilled over into the neighbouring street and flooded a parking lot, when the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida brought drenching rain and the threat of flash floods and tornadoes to parts of the northern mid-Atlantic, in the Bronx borough of New York City, US, on September 2, 2021. Photograph: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters
00:07   Maha: Mysterious boat spotted near Palghar coast
Police and Coast Guard have started probe after an unidentified boat was found stranded off Vasai coast in Maharashtra's Palghar district, officials said.
The boat -- a mini barge -- was spotted around 10 nautical miles from Builgaon-Kalamb area. It raised red flags as usually fishing boats do not venture in this rocky patch, said a local police official. 

A small surveillance aircraft was also sent to inspect it but it didn't get a clear view due to bad weather, he said.
Two persons were also seen on board the boat, the police official said, adding that probe was on. -- PTI