Fri, 28 January 2022
Maha women cops' duty time reduced to 8 hrs

Timeline  Refresh

23:50   Maha women cops' duty time reduced to 8 hrs
Women police personnel across Maharashtra would now have duty for eight hours instead of 12, as per an order issued by the state Director General of Police Sanjay Pandey.  

The new shorter working day for women personnel will be implemented on an experimental basis. 

Normally, both male and female personnel have 12 hours' duty.

The eight-hour duty for women will be in force until further orders, said the DGP's directive, issued on Thursday.

Unit commanders must ensure that the order is implemented, it added.

The step has been taken to provide better work-life balance to women officials, said a senior official.

Earlier, this system was implemented in Nagpur city, Amarvati city and Pune Rural, the official said. 

In emergency or during festivals duty hours of women personnel can be increased, but only with the permission of respective district superintendents of police or deputy commissioners of police. -- PTI
Azam Khan
Azam Khan
23:19   Azam Khan's son, wife file nomination from same seat as SP candidates
Jailed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan's son and wife have filed their nominations from the same assembly constituency as the party's candidates for the Uttar Pradesh polls. 

Both Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan, who was released from jail recently, and his mother Tazeen Fatma have filed their affidavits from the Suar assembly seat in Rampur district, according to the Election Commission website. 

Azam Khan, who was a cabinet minister in the previous Akhilesh Yadav-led government, had on Thursday filed his nomination papers, while being in jail, for the assembly polls from the Rampur seat. 

"We have seen the Bharatiya Janata Party government framing a former minister, who had developed Rampur, in frivolous cases of goat and cycle theft. They can manipulate even nomination of our candidates and not let them contest the polls and because of political vendetta," Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abbas Haider told PTI on the dual nomination from Suar seat. 

The SP, he said, is resolved to "rooting out" the BJP and its "jungle raj" from Uttar Pradesh in the elections. According to the SP's list of candidates, Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan is its nominee from Suar. 

Suar goes to polls on February 14 during the second of the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh elections. 

While Saturday is the date for scrutiny of nominations for the seat, candidates can withdraw their nomination till January 31, according to the official schedule. 

Azam Khan, his son and his wife had surrendered in a Rampur court in 2020 after they were booked under multiple charges, including cases of forgery and land grab. 

While Fatma got bail in 2020, Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan was released in January this year after almost a two-year jail term, even as Azam Khan, an eight-time MLA and Lok Sabha MP, continues to be imprisoned. -- PTI
22:55   New SBI rules declare pregnant women unfit
The country's largest lender State Bank of India has put in place new rules wherein a woman candidate with more than three months pregnancy will be considered 'temporarily unfit' and can join the bank within four months after delivery. 

The move has elicited criticism from some quarters, including from the All India State Bank Of India Employees' Association. 

In its latest medical fitness guidelines for new recruits or promotees, the bank said a candidate would be considered fit in case of pregnancy which is less than 3 months. 

"However, if pregnancy is of more than 3 months, she will be considered temporarily unfit and she may be allowed to join within 4 months after delivery of child," as per the medical fitness and ophthalmological standards for new recruits and promotees dated December 31, 2021. 

For recruitment, it said, the policy will be effective from the date of approval December 21, 2021. 

The revised standards in respect of promotion will be applicable with effect from April 1, 2022, it said. 

Earlier, women candidates with up to 6 months of pregnancy were allowed to join the bank subject to various conditions. 

The conditions include furnishing a certificate from a specialist gynaecologist that her taking up bank's employment at that stage is in no way likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is not likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health. 

The revised rules have attracted criticism from some quarters, including from the bank's staff. 

An e-mail sent to SBI seeking comments on the guidelines did not elicit any immediate response. 

Communist Party of India's Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanding immediate withdrawal of medical fitness circular issued by SBI pertaining to the guidelines for the recruitment of pregnant women, saying "it undermines women's rights." 

According to the All India State Bank Of India Employees' Association general secretary KS Krishna, the union has written to SBI management urging it to withdraw the guidelines. 

"The proposed amendment by the bank is fundamentally prejudicial and against womanhood. The proposed amendment will be unconstitutional as it discriminates against women, by treating pregnancy as a disease/disability. -- PTI
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
21:57   Delhi to pay ex-gratia to farmers hit by unseasonal rains
The Delhi Cabinet on Friday approved ex gratia relief to farmers at the rate of Rs 20,000 per acre on account of loss due to unseasonal rains, officials said. 

The cabinet chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also approved the rates at which the ex gratia relief to farmers was to be paid as per assessment of the loss. 

The expenditure under the exercise will be about Rs 53 crore for an approximate area of 29,000 acres. 

"Due to incessant rains and water logging of fields owing to overflow of nearby natural drains during September-October 2021 in Delhi, crops of farmers have been severely damaged. Teams were sent to the ground to assess the damage done to the crops," an official statement said. 

"The Delhi Cabinet approved ex gratia relief to farmers at the rate of Rs 20,000 per acre on account of loss due to unseasonal rains. The council also approved the rates at which ex gratia relief to farmers was to be paid as per assessment of the loss. If the loss is assessed to be 70 per cent or less, compensation will be paid at the rate of 70 per cent. If the assessed loss is more than 70 per cent, compensation will be paid at the rate of 100 per cent," it added.
Representational image
Representational image
21:46   EC seizes drugs worth Rs 75 cr so far in Punjab
The Election Commission has seized drugs worth nearly Rs 75 crore from Punjab in the run-up to assembly elections.                 

EC sources said drugs worth Rs 74.64 crore were seized under the expenditure monitoring process in Punjab up to Thursday, followed by Manipur (Rs 65.54 crore), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 25.54 crore), Uttarakhand (Rs 4.03 crore) and Goa (0.98 crore).                 

The poll authority has made seizures worth Rs 240 crore from the five poll bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa in the form of cash, liquor, drugs, freebies and precious metals.                 

The commission also held meetings with chairpersons of Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and director general of Narcotics Control Bureau to tighten the monitoring process in the poll-bound states.                 

"Apart from above mentioned seizure figures, Commission's visit galvanised enforcement authorities as the agencies seized drugs worth Rs 109 crores in Punjab and more than 8 lakhs litres of liquor in Uttar Pradesh, in run up to elections," a source said.                 

Uttar Pradesh has topped in liquor seizures as poll authorities have seized alcohol worth Rs 15.99 crore followed by Punjab (Rs. 7.43 crore), Goa (Rs 2.26 crore), Uttarakhand (Rs 1.54 crore) and Manipur (Rs 29 lakh).                 
The poll authorities have seized Rs 18.86 crore in cash from Uttar Pradesh, followed by Punjab (Rs 16.73 crore), Uttarakhand (Rs 2.23 crore), Manipur (Rs 50 lakh) and Goa (Rs 10 lakh).                 

The commission has also seized freebies worth Rs 91 lakh and precious metals worth Rs 3.35 crore from these states. -- PTI
21:18   TMC leader Madan Mitra hurt as lorry hits his bike
Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra met with an accident on Friday evening at BT road in Kolkata, after a lorry hit his bike when he was on the way to attend a programme.
20:47   Andaman and Nicobar command inducts advanced light helicopter MK III
The Andaman and Nicobar command on Friday inducted indigenously developed advanced light helicopter MK III at Indian naval station Utkrosh in Port Blair, the ministry of defence said.                  

"The induction marks a continuing increase in the capabilities of the Andaman and Nicobar command in the past two decades of its raising as India's only joint theatre command," the ministry said in a statement.                  
The MK III helicopter is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and represents a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of military aircraft, in line with the government's push towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat, it said.                  

"Till date, over 300 of these aircraft have been delivered by HAL and are being flown by the armed forces," the statement noted.                  

Amongst its variants, the MK III variant is a maritime role variant with state-of-the-art sensors and weapons, it mentioned.                  

The state-of-the-art aircraft has multirole capabilities, including maritime surveillance, support for special forces, medical evacuations besides search and rescue roles, the ministry added. -- PTI
20:34   Statement misconstrued, am sorry: Shweta Tiwari
Popular TV actor Shweta Tiwari has apologised after she received backlash for allegedly hurting religious sentiments with her remark on God.                 

The 41-year-old actor had made the controversial statement in Bhopal on Wednesday during the promotion of her web series "Show Stopper".                 
A video of Tiwari's statement has gone viral on social media, in which she purportedly referred to God while speaking about her innerwear. 

Her co-actors were also present when she made the remark during an interaction with media persons.                 

The TV star, best known for her role in shows Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Parvarrish, said her statement was 'misconstrued.'                 

"It has come to my notice that a certain statement of mine referring to a colleague's previous role has been taken out of context and has been misconstrued. When put in context, one will understand that the statement in reference to Bhagwan was in context with Sourabh Raj Jain's popular role of a deity.                 

"People associate character names to actors and hence, I used that as an example during my conversation with the media. However, it has been completely misconstrued which is saddening to see," Tiwari said in a statement issued on Friday.                 

She said she would never intentionally or unintentionally say or do any anything that would hurt sentiments of people at large.                 

"I have, however, come to understand that when taken out of context, it has unintentionally hurt feelings of people. Please be assured that it has never been my intention to hurt anyone, with my words or actions. Hence, I would like to humbly apologise for the hurt that my the statement has unintentionally caused to a lot of people," she added. -- PTI 
20:06   Decommissioned INS Khukri handed over to Diu adminstration
Decommissioned Indian naval ship Khukri was handed over to the Diu administration so that it can be developed as a full-scale museum, the Indian Navy said on Friday.                  

The missile corvette was decommissioned on December 23 last year after 32 years of service.                  

INS Khukri had the distinction of being part of both -- western as well as eastern fleets -- during its service.                  

An elegant but solemn ceremony was conducted in Diu on Wednesday to hand over the decommissioned ship, the Indian Navy's statement noted.                  
Rear Admiral Ajay Vinay Bhave, Flag Officer Doctrine and Concepts, handed over the decommissioned ship formally to Praful Patel, administrator of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep, it noted.                  

Khukri is planned to be converted into a museum by the Diu administration for public visits, it mentioned.                 

"The museum will be co-located with the existing Khukri Memorial, where the scaled-down version of the first INS Khukri (F149), a blackwood class anti-submarine frigate, is also placed," it noted.                  
The recently decommissioned vessel is the second ship of the Navy to carry the name INS Khukri, the first was lost during the 1971 India-Pakistan War off the coast of Diu.                  

The valiant crew of that ship, led by late Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla (Maha Vir Chakra winner), has been immortalised in the Khukri Memorial at Diu where a scaled-down model of their old ship is displayed in solemn splendour. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
19:36   A Dharavi first: Zero new Covid case in 3rd wave
For the first time since the latest surge in coronavirus cases began in Mumbai, the slum-dominated Dharavi area of the metropolis on Friday recorded no new infections, a civic official said.           

Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G- North ward, said new cases fell to zero in the densely-populated area after 39 days. It had recorded zero cases last on December 20, 2021.         

The area now has 43 active cases, 11 of them hospitalised, Dighavkar added.          

Dharavi's coronavirus caseload is 8,581, of whom 8,121 have recovered. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation does not publish the number of deaths from the area.         

It had logged a record 150 new cases on January 6, 2022, before the numbers started dipping.          

Dharavi, teeming with shanties and micro-industrial units over  2.5 sq km area, has a population of around 6.5 lakh. -- PTI
Sachin Pilot
Sachin Pilot
19:05   Cong's CM face for Punjab polls to be announced soon: Sachin Pilot
Amid the logjam over the chief ministerial face of Congress in Punjab, party leader Sachin Pilot on Friday said that the announcement regarding this will be made soon after consultation with party workers. 

"Like Rahul Gandhi had said we do not usually declare the situation in state but the situation here is different. Workers had demanded the chief ministerial face. So Rahul Gandhi said that announcement will be made soon after consulting the workers," Pilot said. 

After Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu urged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to announce the chief ministerial face for the Punjab assembly elections on Thursday, the Wayanad MP said that decision will be taken by the party workers. 

Addressing a virtual rally in Jalandhar, Rahul Gandhi had said, "We have had a talk in the car that who will lead Punjab going forward. Media people call this the CM candidate. Both Channiji and Sidhuji told me that this is the most crucial question in front of Punjab that who will lead the Congress." 

He further said that both Channi and Sidhu assured him that whoever be the chief ministerial face for Punjab, the other person will support him. 

"See, two people cannot lead. Only one will lead. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu assured me that whoever becomes the chief ministerial face, the other person will support him. I was listening to them. I was happy. We will ask Congress workers to decide Punjab chief ministerial candidate," Rahul Gandhi had said. -- ANI
18:43   Dr V Anantha Nageswaran appointed as CEA
Just In: Dr V Anantha Nageswaran has been appointed as the chief economic advisor in the Union finance ministry. 

Prior to this appointment, Dr Nageswaran has worked as a writer, author, teacher and consultant. He has taught at several business schools and institutes of management in India and in Singapore and has published extensively, the ministry of finance said.
Representational image
Representational image
18:40   Bengal post-poll violence: CBI arrests 7 in BJP worker's death case
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing cases of political violence in the aftermath of assembly elections in Bengal, has arrested seven persons in connection with the death of Bharatiya Janata Party worker Manik Moitra in Sitalkuchi area of Cooch Behar district, agency sources said on Friday. 

The accused are residents of a village in Cooch Behar, according to the sources. 

They will be produced before a court in the district, the sources added. 

The agency had registered the case in August last year, on the orders of Calcutta high court. 

Initially, a complaint was registered at a police station in Sitalkuchi. 

The high court had, on August 19, ordered that probe into post-poll violence cases involving rape and murder be held by the CBI, taking note of an NHRC report in the matter. -- PTI
18:12   Covid 3rd wave under control, Maha, BMC tell HC
The Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Friday assured the Bombay high court the situation related to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was under control and that authorities were fully geared to meet any eventuality.           

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and M S Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation seeking judicious distribution of the state's resources to tackle the pandemic.         

Advocate Purnima Kantharia, appearing for the government, and senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for the BMC, on Friday told the court the situation was under control and authorities were prepared to handle the effects of the Omicron variant of the virus if required in future.         

The court, while accepting the statements, in its order said, "The state government as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation submit that the situation is 100 per cent under control and that the government is fully geared to meet any eventuality in future with regard to the spread of the omicron variant."         

Chief Justice Datta noted that, as per experts, the Omicron variant was not as lethal as the Delta variant of the virus but was spreading quicker.         Sakhare told the court there was a hike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the first week of this month in Mumbai but the numbers were now decreasing.         

"As on date, there is no pressure on the hospitals and there is sufficient machinery in place. There is enough oxygen stock available and also medicines,' he said.         

The court posted the matter for further hearing on February 4. -- PTI
Former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari
Former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari
17:32   India doesn't need certificate of democracy: MEA
 MEA on the Indian American Muslim Council event attended by former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari: "India a vibrant democracy; does not require certification from others. The claim that others need to protect our Constitution is presumptuous and preposterous."

Hamid Ansari, while addressing the Indian American Muslim Council program, had reportedly said, "Hindu nationalism is a matter of concern. People are being divided into religious lines in the country. Controversy is being created among the people regarding nationality."
 He added, "Especially people of a particular religion are being instigated. Intolerance is being fueled and an atmosphere of insecurity is being created in the country." 
17:10   This is what Union Budget is likely to be: Report
In view of upcoming state elections, the Union Budget for the 2022-23 financial year will aim at boosting growth, achieving fiscal consolidation and driving consumption, Bank of Baroda (BoB) said in its latest economic research report. 

 It also stated that there could be changes in tax concessions, while production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes may see higher allocation to push investment demand. 

 To avoid bond market volatility, gross borrowing will likely be maintained in the range of Rs 12-13 trillion, despite higher repayment obligations. Thus the estimated fiscal deficit is expected to be between 6 per cent and 6.25 per cent in the 2022-23 fiscal, the report said. 

 In line with a 13 per cent increase in nominal Gross Domestic Product, the Centre's net revenue is estimated to rise by 12.2 per cent and spending to increase by 4.5 per cent in the coming fiscal, it said. 

 Assuming that a large part of the divestment target in the current fiscal will be met, the expected disinvestment proceeds in the next financial year will be around Rs 750 billion, the report claimed. 

 According to it, the fiscal deficit will be financed by market borrowing next fiscal. The report also mentioned that the gross tax revenue to GDP ratio is expected to remain broadly unchanged.
Punjab CM Channi with Navjot Singh Sidhu
Punjab CM Channi with Navjot Singh Sidhu
16:45   Punjab CM face to be announced soon: Pilot
Amid the logjam over the chief ministerial face of Congress in Punjab, party leader Sachin Pilot on Friday said that the announcement regarding this will be made soon after consultation with party workers.

"Like Rahul Gandhi had said we do not usually declare the situation in state but the situation here is different. Workers had demanded the chief ministerial face. So Rahul Gandhi said that announcement will be made soon after consulting the workers," Pilot said. 

After Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu urged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to announce the Chief Ministerial face for the Punjab Assembly elections on Thursday, the Wayanad MP said that decision will be taken by the party workers.

Addressing a virtual rally in Jalandhar, Rahul Gandhi had said, "We have had a talk in the car that who will lead Punjab going forward. Media people call this the CM candidate. Both Channiji and Sidhuji told me that this is the most crucial question in front of Punjab that who will lead the Congress."

He further said that both Channi and Sidhu assured him that whoever be the chief ministerial face for Punjab, the other person will support him.

"See, two people cannot lead. Only one will lead. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu assured me that whoever becomes the chief ministerial face, the other person will support him. I was listening to them. I was happy. We will ask Congress workers to decide Punjab chief ministerial candidate," Rahul Gandhi had said.
16:41   The top losers at the markets today
The BSE gauge Sensex dived nearly 900 points from the day's peak to finish Friday's highly volatile session 77 points lower at 57,200, triggered by a late sell-off mainly in banking and auto shares.
16:27   SP's red cap sales rack up after Modi's jibe
Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's red cap is red alert jibe, Samajwadi Party workers are buying the cap in hordes in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh to drive home their point that the headgear is a symbol of change and revolution. 

 And the SP's resolve to prove a point has come as blessing for those selling election paraphernalia as they are witnessing a huge jump in the sales of red caps, a compensation of sorts for the losses they have suffered due to the ban on election rallies due to Covid. 

 Led by party chief Akhilesh Yadav, SP leaders and workers are registering a silent protest against the prime minister's statement by flaunting their red caps, according to senior leaders. 

 "Today, every leader and worker of SP is campaigning in villages and streets of the state while wearing a red cap," SP national spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan told PTI. 

 After PM Modi and CM Adityanath's statement that red, the colour of socialism, is a 'red alert for UP' and 'goons with red caps', party leaders and workers are putting on red caps to bring back socialism in the state and change the current government, he added.

 Addressing a rally in Gorakhpur in December last year, Modi had targeted the SP, saying those in red caps were a red alert and sign of danger for the state. 

 In February last year, Adityanath had said every child sees those wearing red caps as "goons". He had also said the House should not be taken lightly as a "drama company" with some members sporting caps in red, some blue, some yellow or even green.

Raju Shukla of Sheela Enterprises, a wholesaler of election material here said, due to the Election Commission's ban on physical rallies and roadshows to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the sale of banners, posters and other campaign merchandise is low except for the red caps which are selling in huge numbers.

"As there is no restriction on wearing a cap, people are preferring it," Shukla said.

Shukla said he is offering a variety of 'red caps' at different price points.

You can get 100 caps for either Rs 2,500 or Rs 1,500. These are of superior quality and usually adorned by the SP leaders, he said.
16:24   Sensex slumps 884 points from day's high
The Indian equities markets benchmark Sensex closed 77 points down in a volatile session on Friday. The index slumped 884 points from the day's high.The markets witnessed volatile trading. Key indices started the day on a positive note and ended in the red due to selling pressure at the last hour. The 30 stock S&P BSE Sensex closed at 57,200.23 points, which is 76.71 points or 0.13 per cent lower from its previous day's close at 57,276.94 points.
16:21   Maha govt builds bridge after pic goes viral
Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray today inaugurated a bridge in Shendripada, a remote tribal village in Nashik, where people used a makeshift bamboo bridge risking their lives. He also inaugurated a tap water project in the village and had a discussion with the local women.

"I saw the photo of this place on social media & directed the authorities to solve the problem. We've built a bridge here and within the next 3 months, we'll provide tap water to every household here. Our focus is to solve people's problems," Thackeray said. 

The power of social media employed for the good of people.
16:16   Army training plane crashes, pilots safe
An aircraft of the Indian Army's Officers' Training Academy in Gaya, Bihar today crashed soon after taking off during training. Both the pilots in the aircraft are safe: Army officials
15:57   Dr Reddy's Laboratories posts Rs 707 crore profit in Q3
Dr. Reddy's Laboratories on Friday reported Rs 707 crore net profit for the third quarter of the current financial year against Rs 27.9 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, posting year-on-year growth of 3,468 per cent.

The company's revenue during the quarter ended December 31, 2021, rose to Rs 5,320 crore, posting a year-on-year growth of 8 per cent. For the first nine months of the current financial year, the revenue rose 12 per cent to Rs 16,002 crore.

The company's net profit for the first three quarters of the current financial year rose to Rs 2,269 crore, posting a growth of 67 per cent year-on-year. -- ANI
15:48   A bridge and the power of social media
Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray inaugurated a bridge and interacted with locals in Shendripada, a remote tribal village in Nashik earlier today. 

"I saw the photograph of this place on social media and directed the authorities to solve the problem. We've built a bridge here and within the next three months, we will provide tap water to every household here. Our focus is to solve people's problems," Aaditya Thackeray said. 
15:43   Yediyurappa's granddaughter's postmortem over
KC Madhuswamy, Karnataka Law Minister on former CM BS Yediyurappa's granddaughter Soundarya's demise: "I got the information just now, so I arrived at the hospital; reason is not known to us, the post mortem is over."

Dr Soundarya V Y allegedly ended her life by hanging herself from the ceiling fan at her Vasant Nagar flat on Friday morning, police said. According to police, the reason behind the extreme step taken by the 30-year old doctor working in a private hospital was not known immediately.

 Soundarya, daughter of the BJP leader's second daughter Padmavathi, was married to Dr Neeraj S, who works in the same hospital, in 2018, police said.
15:24   Stranded in Delhi, not allowed to fly: Akhilesh
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday alleged that he was stranded in Delhi as his helicopter was not being allowed to take off for UP's Muzaffarnagar. 

 In a tweet in Hindi, the SP president posted a picture with the helicopter in the background and said no reason was given for it.

 "My helicopter is still detained in Delhi without assigning any reason and not being allowed to go to Muzaffarnagar, whereas a top BJP leader has just flown from here. This is a desperate conspiracy of the losing BJP," he said.

 Akhilesh Yadav and RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary are scheduled to take part in some programmes besides addressing a press conference in Muzaffarnagar. PTI
BS Yediyurappa
BS Yediyurappa
15:16   Yediyurappa's granddaughter found dead
Former Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa's granddaughter Soundarya, a doctor, was found hanging at a private apartment in Bengaluru. Postmortem is going on at Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, the Yediyurappa's office says. 

 According to police, the reason behind the extreme step taken by the 30-year old doctor working in a private hospital was not known immediately.

 Soundarya, daughter of the BJP leader's second daughter Padmavathi, was married to Dr Neeraj S, who works in the same hospital, in 2018, police said. 

 On Friday morning, Neeraj left for the duty at around 8 am and it is suspected that she ended her life two hours later. 

 The matter came to light when the maid came to the house and knocked on the door repeatedly but in vain.

 She informed Dr Neeraj, who too called her on phone but there was no response, the police said, adding, the door was then opened by force. The body was later shifted to the Bowring Hospital where the post-mortem was performed.
15:05   'Death on the Nile' to release theatrically in India on February 11
Actor-filmmaker Kenneth Branagh's "Death on the Nile" is set to release theatrically in India on February 11, the makers announced on Friday. The mystery-thriller is based on the 1937 Agatha Christie novel of the same name. 

 The film is Branagh's follow-up to his 2017 blockbuster "The Murder on the Orient Express". 

 According to the official synopsis, "Death on the Nile" is a tale of "unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy" which makes the travellers on board suspects in the case. 

 On its official Instagtam account, the 20th Century Studios' shared the release date of the movie and the Hindi trailer. 

 "One of them is the murderer, find out who! Watch #DeathOnTheNile in cinemas, February 11 in English and Hindi," the post read. 

 Branagh returns as director and reprises his role of detective Hercule Poirot. "Death on the Nile" boasts of star-studded ensemble including Ali Fazal, Armie Hammer, Gal Gadot, Letitia Wright, Annette Bening, Rose Leslie, Russell Brand and Emma Mackey. PTI
14:52   Sidhu abandoned our mother, alleges his 'sister'
Days ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections, a woman, Suman Toor, who says she is Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu's sister described her brother, Sidhu as a 'cruel person' and alleged that he had deserted their old mother after their father's death.

Toor, who is based in the United States alleged, "Sidhu abandoned our old mother after the death of our father in 1986 and she later died as a destitute woman at Delhi railway station in 1989." 

According to her, Navjot Singh Sidhu ended "everything for the sake of money". She also said that in a news article earlier Sidhu had lied about their parents having been separated, when he was two years old.

Meanwhile, a response from Navjot Singh Sidhu on the allegations is still awaited.

Punjab will go to the polls on February 14 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10.
14:17   India gets 1st export order for BrahMos missiles
India got its first ever export order for BrahMos missiles on Friday when the Philippines' Defence Ministry signed USD 374 million contract with the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL) to supply undisclosed number of missiles, military officials stated. 

 The BAPL, an India-Russian joint venture, produces the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or from land platforms. 

 The USD 374 million contract is to supply shore-based anti-ship BrahMos missiles to the Philippines' Navy, the military officials noted. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said: "The BAPL signed a contract with the Department of National Defence of the Republic of Philippines on January 28, 2022, for supply of shore-based anti-ship missile system to Philippines." 

 "The BAPL is a joint venture company of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The contract is an important step forward for Government of India's policy of promoting responsible defence exports," it added. 

 India has already deployed a sizable number of the Brahmos missiles and other key assets in several strategic locations along the Line of Actual Control with China in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. PTI
13:58   'Wish my father could have accepted medal himself'
On Republic Day 2022, ASI Babu Ram was awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously, the nation's highest gallantry award in peace time in the most solemn part of the ceremony.

For the first time the top gallantry awards -- the Ashok Chakra, the Kirti Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra -- were awarded to J&K police personnel.

The Ashok Chakra was received by his wife Rina Ram and son Manik Sharma who had travelled from Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Standing there in front of the whole nation my pride was tinged with sadness. I was happy, yet sad. My happiness would have been complete had my father accepted the medal himself," Manik, a student of Class 12, tells Archana Masih/ from Jammu the day after Republic Day.

Read the story here
13:53   DCGI nod for intranasal booster dose trials
Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gives permission to Bharat Biotech for intranasal booster dose trials. The trials will be done at 9 different sites.

The Hyderabad-based manufacturer has proposed the booster dose for those who have been already been innoculated against COVID with Covishield and Covaxin vaccines.

Bharat Biotech aims to conduct clinical trials on 5,000 subjects (50 per cent vaccinated with Covishield and 50 per cent vaccinated with Covaxin).

The interval between the second dose and booster dose will be six months, sources have told. According to the sources, India is expected to get an Intranasal booster vaccine in March, after timely conduction of trials.
13:44   BJP masterstroke in Goa: Cong's Rane can't contest
In a setback to the Congress in Goa, party veteran and former state chief minister Pratapsingh Rane, whom the grand old party gave a ticket from his traditional Poriem seat for the next month's Assembly elections, has now withdrawn from the poll race.

Although Rane was not available for comment, a Congress leader on Friday confirmed that the former CM has told the party that he will not be contesting the February 14 election. 

 Sources close to Rane told PTI that the veteran leader has decided to withdraw from the fray to avoid a clash with his daughter-in-law, Deviya Rane, who will be contesting the election from Poriem constituency as a candidate of the ruling BJP. 

 Rane, 87, who has served as the chief minister of the coastal state for six times, had won from the Poriem Assembly constituency as many as 11 consecutive times.

 "Pratapsingh Rane has confirmed that he won't be contesting the upcoming polls from Poriem, after which the party has selected another candidate from the seat," a Congress spokesperson said. 

 The BJP has nominated his daughter-in-law Deviya Rane, wife of state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, from Poriem.

 Reports were rife that Pratapsingh Rane might suggest the name of his wife, Vijayadevi, to the Congress as its candidate from the seat. But the revised list of candidates, which the Congress announced on Thursday evening named Ranjit Rane as its nominee from that constituency.

 Reportedly, the BJP had earlier tried to convince Pratapsingh Rane to contest on its ticket from Poriem before announcing the name of his daughter-in-law. 

 The incumbent Pramod Sawant-led Goa government has bestowed upon Rane the lifetime cabinet status for completing 50 years as a legislator.

 Rane was elected from Poriem constituency for the first time in 1972 on the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), but fought all subsequent elections till 2017 as a Congress candidate. 

 In the 2017 polls, he had secured 54.27 per cent votes in the constituency winning with a major margin. Deviya Rane will be contesting her maiden Assembly election, while her husband Vishwajit has been winning from Valpoi Assembly segment since 2007, first as an independent, then as a Congress candidate, before he joined the BJP.
13:27   On Cong's Parl agenda: China, Covid, AI, farmers
Ahead of the commencement of the Budget Session of the Parliament, the Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group on Friday held a meeting, chaired by interim party president Sonia Gandhi, via video conferencing.

As per sources in the meeting it was decided at the meeting, issues like a relief package to victims of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Air India disinvestment, inflation, the border row with China and farmers' concerns will be raised in the upcoming session. 

It was also decided that the Congress will coordinate with like-minded parties on the issues. 

The decision was backed by Sonia Gandhi.Chaired by the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Sonia Gandhi, the meeting was attended by AK Antony, KC Venugopal, Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Anand Sharma, Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh, Jairam Ramesh, Manickam Tagore, and Manish Tiwari attended the meeting.
12:50   SC/ST promotion: SC refuses to lay down yardstick
The Supreme Court Friday refused to "lay down any yardstick" for granting reservation in promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs.

 A three-judge bench headed by Justice Nageswara Rao said states are obligated to collect data on inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs. 

 "On the basis of arguments, we have divided submission into six points. One is yardstick. In the light of Jarnail Singh and Nagaraj, we have said we cannot lay down any yardstick.

 "With respect to the unit for collecting quantifiable data, we have said that the State is obligated to collect quantifiable data," said the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and B R Gavai. 

 The apex court said the collection of information regarding inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs cannot be with reference to the entire service or class but it should be relatable to grade/category of posts to which promotion is sought. "Cadre, which should be the unit for collection of quantifiable data in relation to promotional posts, would be meaningless if data pertaining to the representation of SC/STs is with reference to the entire service," the bench said.

 With regard to proportionate representation and test of adequacy, the top court said it has not gone into this aspect and it has left it to the states to assess inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs in promotion of post by taking into account relevant factors. The apex court had reserved its verdict on October 26, 2021.
12:40   Chinese mainland reports 39 new local COVID-19 cases
The Chinese mainland recorded 39 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, local media reported citing National Health Commission on Friday.

Xinhua News Agency reported that out of the new local infections on Thursday, 16 were reported in Zhejiang, nine in Heilongjiang, eight in Beijing, four in Tianjin, and one each in Guizhou and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, according to the commission.

 Thursday also saw reports of 25 imported COVID-19 cases across the mainland.

Three new suspected cases arriving from outside the mainland were reported in Shanghai, and no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on the day, the news agency said.
12:33   TV actor Shweta Tiwari booked for 'hurting religious sentiments'
Police here on Friday registered a case against television actor Shweta Tiwari for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her remark on God, an official said. 

 The case was registered against Tiwari in the wake of Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra's directions to the city police to investigate her remark and submit a report.

 Tiwari had made the controversial statement in Bhopal on Wednesday during the promotion of her web series "Show Stopper". 

A video of Tiwari's statement has gone viral on social media, in which she purportedly referred to God while speaking about her bra.

 Her co-actors were also present when she made the remark during an interaction with media persons. 

 "A case was registered against Shweta Tiwari early on Friday under IPC section 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs)," the official of Shyamla Hills police station said. 

 The case was filed based on the complaint lodged by Sonu Prajapati, a local citizen, who alleged that the actor has hurt his religious sentiments through her comment.

 "We will summon Tiwari to the police station either by sending her a notice by post or by sending a police team to her place to serve notice," he said.
12:04   SC grants three weeks to SpiceJet to resolve financial issues
The Supreme Court on Friday granted three weeks' time to SpiceJet to resolve its financial dispute with Swiss firm Credit Suisse AG, and stayed the operation of the Madras High Court verdict permitting winding-up petition and directing the official liquidator to take over the assets of the low-cost airline. 

 A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana took note of the submissions of senior advocate Harish Salve that SpiceJet would try to resolve the issue with the Swiss firm. 

 Senior counsel Harish Salve sought three weeks' time for trying to resolve the matter and Mr K V Vishwanathan (appearing for the Swiss firm) also agreed to the adjournment. 

Meanwhile, the high court order is stayed for three weeks, the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli, ordered. SpiceJet has rushed to the top court against the January 11 order of a division bench of the high court upholding a recent verdict of a single judge bench ordering its winding up and directing the official liquidator attached to the high court to take over the assets.
12:02   TMC changes Goa candidate from stalwart to newbie
Trinamool Congress Vice-President Luizinho Faleiro on Friday announced his withdrawal as a TMC candidate from Goa's Fatorda constituency for the upcoming Assembly polls.

"I announce my withdrawal as Goa TMC candidate from Fatorda and hand over the baton to a young woman advocate. That has been the policy of the party - to empower the women," said Luizinho Faleiro. 

The TMC's new candidate for the Fatorda constituency is Seoula Avilia Vas.

According to Faleiro, he has taken the decision after 'could not do justice' in the last election.

 "My earlier experience says that when I fought the election last time, we could not do justice to them. To replace me, we have a very able Flora, who will represent the Fatorda constituency," he added.

He said that he had consulted the party leaders before stepping down as Fatorda's candidate.

 "I've taken this decision after consulting our party's national chairman because I would like to fight and campaign all over Goa for all the TMC candidates so that they can perform well," said the TMC's National vice-president.

Speaking at the press conference Mahua Moitra said, "We are here in Fatorda to put up a fight and defeat the BJP. We are here not as the last moment option but a true and honest option to people of Fatorda who do not want BJP."

"We have chosen a woman who is a fighter, an activist and most important she is not connected to a political family. That is what Mamata Banerjee wants to do", said Moitra. -- ANI
11:59   Win-win situation for all: Scindia on AI sale
Air India had to be sold because debt had been piling up to a point where it could no longer be sustained by the government, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said today.

Scindia said Air India had a running loss of Rs 85,000 crore over last 14 years and was earning losses of almost Rs 20 crore a day. 

"I think it is a win-win situation for all stakeholders concerned, for Govt and for Tata Group. This transaction represents a huge quantum jump in terms of capabilities in the Civil Aviation sector.

"It represents culmination of a long process that took almost 20 yrs to conclude. It also sets in perspective a 69-yr-old history which was started on wrong step by nationalisation of an airline that actually belonged to the private sector, it's going back to that sector," Scindia said. 

On the Tatas, Scindia said it was a player with tremendous capabilities for international and domestic traffic -- a party that probably has a game plan and strategy to ensure best value for our customers. 
11:47   Google to invest USD 1 bn in Airtel
Internet major Google will invest USD 1 billion in telecom major Bharti Airtel which includes equity investment as well as a corpus for potential commercial agreements, to be identified and agreed on mutually agreeable terms over the course of the next five years. 

 Google made the investment as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund. "This will comprise- USD 700 million equity investment in Bharti Airtel at a price per share of Rs 734," Airtel said in a statement. 

 Out of the total investment, USD 300 million will go towards implementing commercial agreements, which will include investments in scaling Airtel's offerings that covers a range of devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs as well as other offerings aimed at accelerating access and digital inclusion across India's digital ecosystem, it added.
11:41   Resolution suspending 12 MLAs beyond period of remainder of session unconstitutional: SC
Update:  The Supreme Court on Friday held that a resolution suspending 12 BJP MLAs from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly beyond the period of the remainder of the session held in July 2021 is unconstitutional and irrational. 

 The apex court delivered its verdict on the pleas filed by the 12 BJP MLAs, who had challenged their one-year suspension from the state assembly for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer. "In conclusion, we have no hesitation in allowing these writ petitions and the impugned resolution suspending these members beyond the period of the remainder of the concerned Monsoon session held in July 2021 is non-est in the eyes of law, nullity, unconstitutional, substantially illegal and irrational," a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said. 

 The impugned resolution is thus declared to be ineffective in law in so far as the period beyond the stated session in which the resolution came to be passed, the bench said. 

 The 12 suspended members are Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Parag Alavani, Harish Pimpale, Yogesh Sagar, Jay Kumar Rawat, Narayan Kuche, Ram Satpute and Bunty Bhangdia.

 These MLAs had filed petitions in the apex court challenging the resolution passed by the Assembly to suspend them for one year. They were suspended on July 5 last year from the Assembly after the state government had accused them of misbehaving with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in the Speaker's chamber. PTI
11:21   SC quashes 1-yr suspension of Maha BJP MLAs
Supreme Court quashes one-year suspension from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly of 12 BJP MLAs while terming it unconstitutional and arbitrary. MLAs were suspended for one year for allegedly misbehaving with the presiding officer. 

 They were suspended on July 5 last year from the assembly after the state government accused them of "misbehaving" with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav in the Speaker's chamber.

The 12 MLAs are Sanjay Kute, Ashish Shelar, Abhimanyu Pawar, Girish Mahajan, Atul Bhatkhalkar, Parag Alavani, Harish Pimpale, Yogesh Sagar, Jay Kumar Rawat, Narayan Kuche, Ram Satpute and Bunty Bhangdia.
11:18   Worshippers of Jinnah: Yogi slams UP Opposition
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday slammed the Opposition for favoring former Governor-General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah instead of freedom fighter and Former Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and termed them 'worshippers of Jinnah'.

In a tweet today, Adityanath said in Hindi, "They are worshipers of 'Jinnah', we are worshipers of 'Sardar Patel'. Pakistan is dear to them, we sacrifice our lives on Maa Bharati."

 As Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections are around the corner, several political leaders in Uttar Pradesh have been commenting on Jinnah.

National Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party Gaurav Bhatia on Thursday slammed Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for "chanting Jinnah's ideals".

"Akhilesh Yadav said Pakistan is not a real enemy of India. Besides this, he keeps on chanting "Jinnah" to appease the Muslim community of Uttar Pradesh," tweeted Bhatia.

Earlier on January 24, taking a jibe at Centre's call to install a statue of Sardar Patel at India Gate, Samajwadi Party leader Imran Masood said to reporters, "Not Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav but those who worked with (Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali) Jinnah and supported two-nation theory will install statues of him." -- ANI
10:47   Too Gur To Be True?
Not all that passes for jaggery is the undiluted thing. Though oftentimes for good reason. Read the sweet report here. 
10:42   Amul gets 3/6 in Wordle
Amul tries the viral word game to good effect. As a WhatsApp philosopher said, Wordle is to the Covid 3rd wave, what Dalgona coffee was to the 1st wave. 
10:34   Sensex rebounds over 700 pts to reclaim 58K-level
The BSE gauge Sensex shot up more than 700 points to revisit the key 58,000-level in opening deals on Friday, as participants indulged in buying across counters. 

 The 30-share index zoomed 723.55 points 1.26 per cent to 58,000.49 in initial trade. Likewise, the NSE Nifty advanced 217.45 points or 1.27 per cent to 17,327.60 in opening trade. 

 On the Sensex chart, all shares, barring Maruti, were trading with mild to hefty gains. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital markets, offloading Rs 6,266.75 crore on Thursday, as per official exchange data.
10:28   Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Gangubai Kathiawadi' to release on Feb 25
Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed magnum opus Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring Alia Bhatt, is set to release theatrically on February 25. The filmmaker's banner Bhansali Productions announced the new release date via their official Instagram page. 

 "Witness her reign in cinemas near you on 25th February 2022. #GangubaiKathiawadi" read the tweet from the production house. The upcoming period movie is adapted from one of the chapters of noted author Hussain Zaidi's book "Mafia Queens of Mumbai".

 It features Bhatt in the title role of Gangubai, one of the most powerful, loved and respected madams from Mumbai's red-light area Kamathipura during the 1960s.
10:26   Kevin Pietersen thanks PM Modi for his greetings on Republic Day
 Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen expressed his gratitude towards  Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his greetings on India's 73rd Republic Day.

Taking to Twitter, Pietersen wrote, "Dear, Mr @narendramodi, Thanks for the incredibly kind words in your letter to me. Ever since stepping foot in India in 2003, I've grown more in love with your country on every visit. I was recently asked, 'what do you most like about India' & my answer was easy - THE PEOPLE." "Happy Republic Day to all Indians for a couple days ago. A proud country & a powerhouse globally! I look forward to meeting you in person soon, to thank you for how India is a global leader in protecting its wildlife! My best wishes!" said in another tweet.

Pietersen's tweets were a response to PM Modi's letter of appreciation, in which he had thanked the former skipper for his affections towards India.

Pietersen's remarks came a day after PM Modi also wrote a letter to the former South Africa batter, Jonty Rhodes, thanking him for his profound connection with the Indian culture.
09:58   Equity indices open in green
Equity indices opened in green on Friday with Sensex up by 304.84 points and Nifty up by 104 points.

The 30-scrip BSE Sensex was up by 304.84 points or 0.53 per cent at 57581.78 at 9.25 am. 

Similarly, the 50-scrip NSE Nifty was trading at 17214.20 at 9.25 am, up by 104 points or 0.61 per cent.

On the Sensex, all the sectors were trading in positive; Oil and gas, realty and consumer durables among those trading at the highest. 
09:55   47kg of heroin seized in Gurdaspur
Punjab BSF in an encounter seized 47 Kgs of heroin along with arms and ammunition from Chandu Wadala post in Gurdaspur. A soldier was also injured. 

At about 5.15 am today, BSF jawan observed movement near the fence and fired on the Pakistan smugglers. Pakistan smugglers also retaliated and in the firing, one jawan got injured and is stable now.

BSF troops foiled attempts of Pakistani smugglers and seized 47 yellow plastic covered packets suspected to be heroin, 7 packets susp.ected to be opium, 44 rounds of 0.30 calibre, 1 Chinese pistol with 2 magazines, one Beretta pistol, 4 magazines of AK 47 and others

A case for Younus Khan perhaps? Khan is the inspector in the heroin-laced action-packed series Aarya headlined by Sushmita Sen. 
09:53   India logs 2,51,209 new Covid cases
India reported 2,51,209 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry reported on Friday. With this, the daily positivity rate in the country dropped to 15.88 per cent. 

 As per the ministry, the country's active caseload mounted to 21,05,611, which is 5.18 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases reported so far. 

 As many as 627 covid-19 deaths and 3,47,443 recoveries from the virus have also been reported in the last 24 hours. 

 The weekly positivity rate too witnessed a drop today; was recorded to be 17.47 per cent. 164.44 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.

 The Ministry, in its release, informed that 15,82,307 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. Over 72.37 crore tests have been conducted so far in the country, said the ministry. 

 Meanwhile, under the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, 1,64,44,73,216 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
09:42   Indians that froze to death near US-Canada border identified
A family of four Indian nationals found frozen to death near to the Canada-US border has been identified, with Canadian authorities saying the family had moved around the country for a period of time and was driven to the border by someone in a case being described as that of human smuggling.
Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel, 39, Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel, 37, Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel, 11 and Dharmik Jagdishkumar Patel, 3, all from the same family, were found dead near Emerson, Manitoba, approximately 12 metres from the Canada-US border on January 19 by Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 
Earlier, authorities had said that the family included an adult male, adult female, teen male and infant. But it has now revealed the victims included a young girl and not a teen male.
Identities of the victims were confirmed by Canadian authorities and autopsies were completed on January 26. 
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba has confirmed that the cause of death was due to exposure, a statement from Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Thursday.
India's High Commission in Ottawa, Canada said in a press release, which also identified the four victims, that the next of kin of the deceased have been informed. 
The Consulate General of India in Toronto is in touch with the family of the deceased and is providing all consular support. 
"The High Commission offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims," it said.
The press release from the Indian High Commission added that Canadian authorities have also, after medical examination, informed that based on the circumstances, the death of all the persons have been determined to be consistent with exposure to the outdoor elements.
The RCMP confirmed that the Patel family arrived in Toronto on January 12, 2022 and from there they made their way to Emerson around January 18.
"There was no abandoned vehicle located on the Canadian side of the border. This indicates that someone drove the family to the border and then left the scene," RCMP said adding that it is looking to determine how they travelled from Toronto to Emerson. -- PTI
09:31   Cong to launch booklet highlighting how BJP govt 'compromised' with interests of armed forces
The Congress will launch a booklet on Friday to highlight how the BJP government "compromised" with the interests of armed forces and soldiers while seeking votes in the name of their valour, party sources said.
This comes a few days after the party launched a booklet to highlight the farmers' plight under the Modi government.
The booklet will highlight how 1.22 lakh posts in the armed forces have remained vacant under the Modi dispensation and how ex-servicemen have been "cheated" in the name of "one rank, one pension", the sources said on Thursday.
They also alleged the BJP government imposed tax on the disability pension of soldiers and that soldiers were discriminated against in the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.
The Congress is also alleging in its booklet that the Modi regime has sought to "weaken" the morale of the forces and describes how it hit the re-employment of former servicemen, they said.
While Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala will launch the booklet in Dehradun, Harish Rawat will launch the same in Haldwani and Sachin Pilot will do so in Chandigarh, the sources said.
Karnataka PCC chief D K Shivakumar will launch the booklet in Goa, while Deepinder Hooda will launch the same in Meerut and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan will launch it in Lucknow.
Boxer Vijender Kumar and party leader Supriya Shrinate will launch the booklet in Varanasi and Praveen Davar, who heads the party's ex-servicemen cell, will launch it in Almora, they added. -- PTI
09:24   7 Indian nationals, illegally in the US, released from Border Patrol custody
Seven Indian nationals, who entered the United States illegally and were arrested near the US/Canada border last week, have been released from Border Patrol's custody and processed for removal from the country.
"All seven migrants who illegally entered the United States last week were administratively processed for removal and/or placed into removal proceedings as per the Immigration and Nationality Act," the statement said.
The statement added that six of the seven Indian nationals were placed under an Order of Supervision and one was released on an Order of Recognisance for humanitarian purposes.  
"All the migrants have been released from Border Patrol's custody" and ordered to report to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a later date, the statement added.
The seven Indian nationals were apprehended last week by US authorities near the US/Canada border. Steve Shand, 47 has been charged with human smuggling.
Shand was arrested on January 19 less than one mile south of the US/Canadian border in a rural area between the official ports of entry located at Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota. 
He was driving a 15-passenger van and was transporting two Indian nationals, who were present in the US illegally.
While Shand and the two passengers were being transported to the Pembina Border Patrol Station in North Dakota, law enforcement encountered five additional Indian nationals approximately a quarter mile south of the Canadian border walking in the direction of where Shand was arrested. All seven Indians were then arrested by border authorities.
The five Indian nationals told authorities that they had walked across the border from Canada expecting to be picked up by someone. 
The group said it had been walking around for over 11 hours. One of the group members was carrying a backpack that did not belong to him. 
He told authorities that he was carrying the backpack for a family of four Indian nationals that had earlier walked with his group but had become separated during the night.  
The backpack contained children's clothes, a diaper, toys, and some children's medication. 
Later during the day on January 19, Canadian authorities found the bodies of the four Indian nationals near Emerson, Manitoba, approximately 12 metres from the Canada/US border.
The deceased family members have been identified as Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel, 39, Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel, 37, Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel, 11 and Dharmik Jagdishkumar Patel, 3. 
Identities of the victims were confirmed by Canadian authorities and autopsies were completed on January 26. 
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba has confirmed that the cause of death was due to exposure, a statement from Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Thursday.
The criminal complaint against Shand had added that two of the seven Indian nationals arrested "sustained serious injuries." -- PTI
09:20   'Welcome aboard this historic flight': Message for AI flyers from today
The passengers who will be travelling on Air India flights on Friday will be hearing about the Tata Group's take over of the airline during in-flight announcements, according to an official order.
The Indian government handed over Air India to the Tata Group on Thursday afternoon, after approximately 69 years when it was taken from the conglomerate.
In an order, the operations department told the airline's pilots to make a specific announcement after door closure on every flight departing on Friday.
As per the order, the announcement will be as follows: "Dear Guests, This is your Captain (Name) speaking........Welcome aboard this historic flight, which marks a special event."
"Today, Air India officially becomes a part of the Tata Group again, after seven decades. We look forward to serving you on this and every Air India flight with renewed commitment and passion," the announcement will state, as per the order.
"Welcome to the future of Air India! We hope you enjoy the journey. Thank you," the announcement will further state.
After a competitive bidding process, the government had on October 8 last year sold Air India to Talace Private Limited -- a subsidiary of the Tata Group's holding company -- for Rs 18,000 crore. -- PTI
08:23   Mandaviya to hold Covid meet with southern states
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will chair a high-level virtual meeting with the health ministers of southern states and Union territories today at 2.30 pm to review the COVID-19 situation and public health preparedness as well as response measures being taken in the context of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

The health ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands will attend the meeting, official sources told ANI.

The meeting will also be attended by Senior health officials also.

Earlier he conducted a high-level meeting with nine Northern States,UTs and advised to send COVID testing and vaccination data timely. 

He also said that testing should be ramped up in the States where it has gone down.

He also advised states and UTs to ensure that those in home isolation are efficiently monitored in line with the National Guidelines. 

"This will ensure that the vulnerable categories of active cases in home isolation get the required medical help in a timely manner," he said.
00:41   Honour to receive Padma Bhushan: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday said it is an honour for him to receive the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award and he looks forward to continuing to work with people across India to help them use technology to achieve more. 

On the eve of its 73rd Republic Day, India conferred the Padma Bhushan on Nadella, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and chairperson of Tata Group Natarajan Chandrasekaran. 

"It's an honour to receive a Padma Bhushan Award and to be recognised with so many extraordinary people. I'm thankful to the President, Prime Minister, and people of India, and look forward to continuing to work with people across India to help them use technology to achieve more," Nadella tweeted. 

Hyderabad-born Nadella, 54, was named CEO of Microsoft in February 2014. 

In June 2021 he was also named the company's Chairman, an additional role in which he will lead the work to set the agenda for the board. 

India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu during a virtual celebration of the country's 73rd Republic Day on Wednesday, said this year, three of the distinguished diaspora members have been conferred the Padma Bhushan -- Madhu Jaffrey for popularising Indian cuisine, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai for their leadership in the technology sector. 

"This is a matter of pride for all of us, as well as a testament to the strength of the community," Sandhu said on Wednesday from the lawns of India House, the official residence of India's Ambassador to the US, in Washington DC. -- PTI
00:37   SC verdict on quota in promotion to SCs/STs today
The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Friday its judgement on the issue of the grant of reservation in promotion to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs. 

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Nageswara Rao had heard all the parties in the matter including attorney general K K Venugopal, additional solicitor general Balbir Singh, and other senior lawyers appearing for various states. 

The Centre had earlier told the bench that it is a fact of life that even after around 75 years those belonging to SCs and STs have not been brought to the same level of merit as the forward classes. 

Venugopal had submitted that it is more difficult for those belonging to the SCs and STs to get a higher post in group A category of jobs and time has come when the apex court should give some concrete basis for SCs, STs, and Other Backward Classes to fill up vacancies. 

The bench had earlier said it would not reopen its decision on the issue of the grant of reservation in promotion to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and said it was for the states to decide how they are going to implement the same. 

The apex court had reserved its verdict on October 26, 2021. -- PTI