Fri, 13 May 2022
Delhi fire very sad, NDRF reaching spot soon: Shah

Timeline  Refresh

23:47   Delhi fire very sad, NDRF reaching spot soon: Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah Friday said National Disaster Response Force personnel are reaching soon the spot in Delhi where a massive fire claimed at least 26 lives. 

The NDRF troops will help in rescue and relief operation. Shah described the fire incident in Delhi's Mundka as "very sad". 

"The incident of fire in Delhi's Mundka is very sad. I am in constant touch with the officials concerned. The administration is engaged in relief and rescue work. The NDRF is also reaching there soon. Our priority is to evacuate people and provide immediate treatment to the injured," he said in a tweet in Hindi. 

The massive fire ripped through a three-storey commercial building near Mundka metro station in west Delhi Friday evening, leaving at least 26 dead. 
23:25   Delhi fire tragedy: Prez, PM express grief
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their grief over a massive fire in New Delhi that killed 26 people. 

"Distressed by the tragic fire accident at a building near Mundka Metro Station in Delhi. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish for speedy recovery of the injured," the President tweeted.

"Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a tragic fire in Delhi. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery," Modi wrote on Twitter.

 At least 26 people died in a fire that broke out at a building near west Delhi's Mundka metro station on Friday. 

Fire department officials said the number could go up as more were feared trapped, and rescue operation was underway. 
22:57   SIT formed to probe Kashmiri Pandit's killing
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday announced formation of a special investigation team to probe the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit employee in Budgam district.
It also said a government job will be provided to the wife of the slain employee.
Rahul Bhat was shot at and critically injured by militants in his office at Chadoora in Budgam district on Thursday. He succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Srinagar.
"A decision has been taken to constitute special investigative team to probe all the aspects of the despicable terror attack. The SHO of the concerned police station has also been attached," Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha tweeted.
He also announced a government job for Bhat's wife and said the administration will bear the educational expenses of his daughter.
"J&K administration to provide a government job to Rahul Bhat's wife in Jammu and financial assistance to the family. The government will bear educational expenses of the daughter," Sinha added.
Bhat's killing has evoked protests from Kashmiri Pandits, who are working in the Valley under the Prime Minister's Employment Package for the migrants.
On Friday, police had to use tear smoke shells and resort to baton charge to disperse a group of protesting migrant employees at Sheikhpura in Budgam who were on their way to Srinagar International Airport to protest against the killing.
Meanwhile, district administration Srinagar has dismissed reports about mass resignation by Kashmiri Pandit employees.
"The social media reports of resignations by Migrant employees are denied as no such letter of resignation(s) have been received by the administration. Service related issues are being addressed in time bound manner, in (a) week," it tweeted from its official handle. -- PTI 
22:30   20 dead in massive fire near Delhi metro station
At least 20 people were killed after a massive fire broke out in a commercial building near Mundka metro station in west Delhi on Friday evening, officials said.

According to fire department officials, information was received about the blaze at 4.40 pm following which 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. 
The fire broke out in a building near pillar number 544, Mundka metro station, they said, adding the process of dousing the flames is underway. 
The police reached the spot after receiving information about the blaze, broke the windows of the building, rescued people and got the injured admitted in a hospital, a senior police officer said. 
Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the three-storey commercial building was generally used for providing office space to companies, Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer) Sameer Sharma said. 
The fire initiated from the first floor of the building which houses the office of a CCTV camera and router manufacturing company, the DCP said. 
22:12   2 warships to be launched in Mumbai next week
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will launch two frontline warships of the Indian Navy in Mumbai on May 17 which will mark a significant milestone in their construction, officials said on Friday.
The ship 'Surat' is the fourth and last of the stealth destroyers under the 'Project 15B' programme.
The second ship, 'Udaygiri' is part of the 'Project 17A' frigate programme.
The launch refers to a ship entering water for the first time.
"The nation will witness a landmark event in the history of indigenous warship building when two frontline warships of Indian Navy will be launched concurrently at Mazgaon Docks Limited in Mumbai on May 17," said an Indian Navy official.
The Project 15B class of ships are the next generation stealth guided missile destroyers of the Indian Navy being built at the Mazgaon Docks Ltd in Mumbai. 
'Surat' is the fourth ship of Project 15B destroyers which heralds a significant makeover of the P15A (Kolkata Class) destroyers, the official said.
The ship Surat has been built using the block construction methodology which involved hull construction at two different geographical locations and has been joined together at MDL, the official said.
The first ship of this class was commissioned in 2021. The second and third ships have been launched and are at different stages of trials. 
The ship 'Udaygiri' is named after a mountain range in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
It is the third ship of Project 17A frigates. 
These are follow on of the P17 Frigates (Shivalik Class) with improved stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors and platform management systems.
Both 15B and P17A ships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design. -- PTI  
21:59   Calling man bald at work is sexual harassment, rules UK tribunal
Calling a man bald in the workplace falls within the purview of sexual harassment, an employment tribunal in England has concluded. 
The three-member tribunal, led by Judge Jonathan Brain, had to determine whether a reference to someone's lack of hair was simply an insult or amounted to harassment. 
The decision relates to a claim of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination brought by Tony Finn against the West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company, where he worked as an electrician for 24 years before he was fired in May last year.
"In our judgment, there is a connection between the word 'bald' on the one hand and the protected characteristic of sex on the other," the judgment said.  
The tribunal accepted that the lawyer appearing on behalf of the company, British Bung Manufacturing Company Limited, was right to submit that women, as well as men, may be bald.
"However, as all three members of the tribunal will vouchsafe, baldness is much more prevalent in men than women. We find it to be inherently related to sex," the judgment notes.  
The case was heard at Sheffield in northern England over February and April this year. 
A future date will be set to determine Finn's compensation after his claims of sexual harassment, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal were upheld earlier this week. 
A related claim of age discrimination was dismissed.  
The incident related to Finn's complaint was with reference to an "altercation" in July 2019 when factory supervisor Jamie King reportedly referred to his lack of hair during an argument.  
Finn told the tribunal: "I was working on a machine that I had to cover awaiting specialist repair. The covers were taken off, and it was apparent that Jamie King had done this. When I spoke to him about it, he began to call me a stupid old bald cunt and threatened to 'deck me.'  
"Fearful for my personal safety I retreated to the nearby office of Ady Hudson, supervisor. Jamie continued his tirade of threats and abuse at the office door. This was witnessed by Ady."
The tribunal concluded that King "did threaten the claimant with physical violence" and "made pejorative remarks about the claimant's age or appearance". 
21:32   12k troops, drones to guard Amarnath Yatra
At least 12,000 paramilitary troops and hundreds of Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel, with the help of drone cameras, will guard the Amarnath yatra which is scheduled to begin on June 30 after a gap of two years, officials said.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday reviewed the security preparedness for the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine located in south Kashmir at an altitude of 3,888 meters.
The Amarnath yatra could not be carried out in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, while it was cut short in 2019 just before the abrogation of Article 370.
The pilgrimage will be a big security challenge for the government as Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing a number of targeted killings by terrorists in recent weeks.
The home secretary reviewed the security preparedness for the Amarnath Yatra with top officials of paramilitary forces and the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the officials said.
About 12,000 paramilitary personnel (120 companies) in addition to Jammu and Kashmir Police are expected to be deployed along the two pilgrimage routes via Pahalgam and Baltal, they said.
Drone cameras will hover over the pilgrim routes to help the security forces ensure the protection of pilgrims, officials said.
About three lakh pilgrims are likely to take part in the yatra, which is expected to end on August 11.
Radio Frequency Identification tags will also be given to the pilgrims.
21:26   India declares state mourning tomorrow after UAE president's death
India announced one day of state mourning on Saturday following the demise of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

According to a communication issued by the Union Home Ministry to all states and union territories on Friday, as a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, the Government of India has decided that there will be one day's state mourning on May 14 across the country.

On the day of mourning, the national flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment, the communication said.

Sheikh Khalifa, ailing for a long time, died on Friday. He was 73. 

He was the eldest son of the UAE's founder President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
20:36   UK sanctions Putin's ex-wife, girlfriend
The United Kingdom government on Friday added further names to its list of financial sanctions aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, including his former wife and a retired gymnast allegedly in a relationship with him, in reaction to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the latest tranche of sanctions are intended to strike at Putin's "wallet" of family and friends, whom he rewards with state positions and wealth in return for their undying loyalty. She noted that while the Russian President's official assets are "modest", his lifestyle is funded by a cabal of family, friends and elites.
"We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin's luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle. We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin's aggression until Ukraine prevails," said Truss.
The UK Foreign Office pointed out that official records list few assets for President Putin including: a small flat in St. Petersburg, two Soviet-era cars from the 1950s, a trailer, and a small garage.
"In reality, Putin relies on his network of family, childhood friends, and selected elite who have benefited from his rule and in turn support his lifestyle. Their reward is influence over the affairs of the Russian state that goes far beyond their formal positions," the Foreign Office said.
Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, the former First Lady of the Russian Federation, is on the list of sanctions for benefiting from preferential business relationships with state-owned entities since her divorce from Putin in 2014.
Alina Kabaeva, a retired Olympic gymnast, is also on the sanctions list. The Foreign Office said she has risen to become Chair of the Board of the National Media Group, reportedly the largest private Russian media company, and is alleged to have a close personal relationship with Putin. 
Also sanctioned is Anna Zatseplina, grandmother of Alina Kabaeva and associate of Gennady Timchenko -- a longstanding Putin associate sanctioned by the UK in February 2022. Others include first cousins of Putin, Russian businessmen and close friends reportedly part of the "cabal who owe Putin their wealth and power, and in turn support his war machine".
20:18   India abstains from voting against Russia at UNHRC
India abstained in the United Nations Human Rights Council on a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression, in which the Council reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation of military hostilities.
The Geneva-based Council on Thursday closed its 34th special session after adopting the resolution. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, China and Eritrea voting against and 12 abstentions, including India, Armenia, Bolivia, Cameroon, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Since January this year, India has abstained on procedural votes and draft resolutions in the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council that deplored Russian aggression against Ukraine.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, at the session said that India's position on the Ukraine conflict has been steadfast and consistent.
"We remain deeply concerned at the unfolding developments in Ukraine. We have constantly called for immediate cessation of violence and an urgent end to hostilities," he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated this in his interactions with global leaders, including the leaderships of Russia and Ukraine.
"India continues to believe that pursuing the path of dialogue and diplomacy is the only way out," he said.
In the resolution as orally revised, the Human Rights Council reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation of military hostilities against Ukraine, to refrain from any human rights violations and abuses in the country, refrain from any State-sponsored disinformation, propaganda for war or advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, related to the aggression against Ukraine.
The Council also requested the Commission of Inquiry to conduct an inquiry, consistent with its mandate and international standards, and in coordination with other national and international mechanisms, to address the events in the areas of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions in late February and March 2022, including their gender dimension, with a view to hold to account those responsible. -- PTI
20:13   Woman dies as fire breaks out in building near Delhimetro station
A woman died after a massive fire broke out in a commercial building near Mundka metro station in west Delhi on Friday evening, officials said. 
According to fire department officials, information was received about the blaze at 4.40 pm following which 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. 
The body of a woman has been recovered, they said. 
The fire broke out in a building near pillar number 544, Mundka metro station, they said, adding the process of dousing the flames is underway. 
The police reached the spot after receiving information about the blaze, broke the windows of the building, rescued people and got the injured admitted in a hospital, a senior police officer said. 
Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the three-storey commercial building was generally used for providing office space to companies, Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer) Sameer Sharma said. 
The fire initiated from the first floor of the building which houses the office of a CCTV camera and router manufacturing company, the DCP said. 
The owner of the company is in police custody. One person has died in the incident and efforts are being made to control the situation, police said. 
Fire brigades present at the spot are trying to bring the situation under control. Ambulance is also available at the spot for providing immediate medical assistance to the victims, police said. -- PTI  
20:06   Imran Khan attacks Pak Army, blames it for worsening economic crisis
Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday took a veiled dig at the powerful army for allowing the Opposition's crucial no-confidence motion filed against him to become a success, saying he had warned the "neutrals" that if the "conspiracy" succeeded, the country's fragile economic recovery would go into a "tailspin."
Khan took to social media after the Pakistani rupee continued to depreciate and reached Rs 193 against the US dollar, the lowest in the country's history.
He said the "imported government" was doing nothing as the market was waiting for action.
"Market awaiting policy & action, which Imported Govt has failed to provide. Both myself & Shaukat Tareen had warned the Neutrals' that if conspiracy succeeded our fragile economic recovery would go into a tailspin. That is what has now happened," he said in a tweet.
Interestingly, Khan could do little as the prime minister to improve the economy and failed to control inflation but is now using the bleak economic conditions to target his opponents.
"Rupee at all time low Rs193/$ (from Rs178/ on 8 March); Interest rates at 15% highest since 1998; stock market down 3,000 points or 6.4%; stock market lost Rs604 billion capitalisation; Inflation 13.4% highest since Jan 2020. Reflects lowest ever confidence in Imported government," he said in another tweet.
Khan has been using the word neutral' to target the Pakistan Army after its military spokesman announced in March at a press conference that the armed forces would stay neutral in the political tussle between Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and the joint Opposition.
Criticism is growing against the coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as he has so far failed to do anything to address the key economic problems.
He is currently in London with a key party leader to consult with his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif about the daunting political and economic issues.
Khan is having a field day as he is addressing rallies to build pressure on the government to call early elections, and slams the government for failing to do anything on the economic front.
Sharif has accused his predecessor Khan of planning to trigger a civil war in the country and warned of legal action for concocting a narrative against the country's national institutions.
His remarks came on Monday on the heels of Pakistan's powerful army warning its critics to avoid throwing dirt on the premier institution as it took "strong exception" to "intensified and deliberate attempts" to drag it into politics after the removal of the Khan-led government last month.
19:52   Gyanvapi survey begins on Sat, mosque mgmt on board
The stalled videography survey of Gyanvapi Masjid complex is set to resume Saturday and the mosque management committee has indicated that it will cooperate for now with the team assigned the task by a local court.
"An important meeting was held with all the concerned parties on Friday. An appeal was made to them to cooperate in the commission's work and the maintenance of law and order," Varanasi district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said.
He said the survey will begin on Saturday.
A mosque committee member said it is waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on the matter but till then it will cooperate with the district court, which has ordered the survey.
The mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple and the local court is hearing a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.
In his order on Thursday, District Civil Court (Senior Division) judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar turned down a plea by the mosque committee to replace Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed advocate commissioner by him to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex.
The judge also appointed two more advocates to help the commissioner with the survey and said it should be completed by Tuesday.
Lawyers representing the Hindu and Muslim sides were present at meeting held Friday by the district magistrate.
Also on Friday, the Supreme Court refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey. The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey.
Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee's joint secretary Sayyad Mohammed Yaseen said it will think about moving the high court against the local court's order after the Supreme Court delivers its ruling.
"Till then we will cooperate with the district court order in the matter," he told PTI.
Earlier, in the day, a counsel for the mosque panel had said the local court's order was not final and it may be challenged it in the High Court.
"We have four days to challenge this order. We can challenge the order in the high court after consultations," advocate Abhay Nath Yadav had said.
19:37   4 killed, 20 injured as bus catches fire in J-K's Katra
Four people were killed and 20 others injured when a passenger bus caught fire in Katra area of Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district on Friday, officials said.
According to the officials, the bus, on its way to Jammu from Katra, caught fire near Nomai, about 3 kilometers from Katra.
Katra is the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine.
The injured have been hospitalized, they said.
Confirming the deaths, Additional Director General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh said initial probe does not point to use of any explosive.
A forensic team is looking into the cause of fire.
Further details are awaited. 
19:23   Delhi court grants bail to AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan
A Delhi Court on Friday granted bail to Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, arrested in a case of alleged rioting and obstructing public servants from discharging their duty, saying he is no more required for custodial interrogation.
Metropolitan Magistrate Himanshu Tanwar granted the relief to the accused after he was produced before the court on the expiry of his one-day judicial custody.
The court granted the bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of like amount, after hearing the submission of counsel for the accused and Delhi Police.
The judge said that the accused was an elected public representative and being an MLA, it was expected from him that he will make efforts to maintain the law and orders.
Also, there are negligible chances of him absconding, if he is released on bail, the judge said.
"The fact that accused is no more required for custodial interrogation, and considering a submission made on behalf of accused and above stated facts and circumstances, application moved by the IO for judicial custody of the accused is hereby rejected and accused Amantullah Khan is granted bail," the judge said.
The accused was arrested on Thursday in connection with a case registered at Kalindi Kunj Police station for allegedly creating obstructing public officials from discharging their official Duty during a demolition drive in the Kanchan Kunj area near Madanpur Khadra.
He was produced before the duty magistrate, who sent him to one-day judicial custody till today. -- PTI  
18:55   Ukraine war: India to reopen embassy in Kyiv
The Indian embassy in Ukraine -- shut after the war broke out -- will reopen in Kyiv on May 17.

The embassy was temporarily relocated to Warsaw, Poland on 13 March 2022 as Russian shelling intensified after the invasion.

18:34   Cong bans mobiles for meetings at Chintan Shivir
With party's internal deliberations often making their way out in public, the Congress has adopted a cautious approach at the Chintan Shivir in Udaipur with delegates not allowed to carry mobile phones during internal discussions.
The move comes after the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had raised concerns at the Congress Working Committee meeting this week over internal discussions finding their way out into the media.
The three-day Shivir here began Friday afternoon with Gandhi's address following which over 400 delegates began deliberations on subject-specific issues across six groups.
Keeping in view the confidentiality of the meetings of these groups, the leaders involved were not been allowed to take their mobile phones inside.
Before the start of the meetings, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken told leaders that lockers have been provided for keeping mobile phones outside the meeting rooms.
He said that apart from the delegates, no one else would be present at the premises of the meetings.
Congress sources said that in view of some past experiences, the emphasis has been given on confidentiality in these meetings for a free and fair discussion.
The discussions at the Shivir will continue on the first and second day and the conclusions will be recorded in the form of a declaration, a draft of which will be discussed at the CWC meeting to be held there on the third and last day. -- PTI 
18:11   Sohail Khan, Seema Khan file for divorce after 24 years of marriage
Actor Sohail Khan and fashion designer Seema Khan's marriage of 24 years has come to an end.

Reportedly, the two, on Friday, filed for divorce.

Several images of Sohail and Seema leaving the Family Court in Mumbai have been doing the rounds on the internet, leaving fans heartbroken.

"What? This is so sad," an Instagram user wrote.

"OMG! Can't believe," another one wrote.

Seema and Sohail have been living separately for a long time now. In the show The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, the two were shown as living separately.

The two tied the knot in 1998 and welcomed their first child, son Nirvan in 2000. 

In June 2011, the couple welcomed their second son Yohan via surrogacy.  
18:08   Kerala to get monsoon rains by May 27: IMD
Southwest monsoon, considered the lifeline of India's agri-based economy, is likely to bring first showers to Kerala by May 27, earlier than the normal onset date, the weather office announced on Friday.
The normal onset date for monsoon over Kerala is June 1.
"This year, the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala is likely to be earlier than the normal date of onset. The monsoon onset over Kerala is likely to be on May 27 with a model error of four days, India Meteorological Department said.
The early arrival of the southwest monsoon comes at a time when parts of north-west India are experiencing extremely high maximum temperatures.
Monsoon is likely to make early onset over Andaman and Nicobar Islands by May 15, the weather office said. -- PTI 
Representational image
Representational image
17:44   2 LeT terrorists killed in encounter in Kashmir
Update: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who had recently infiltrated into Kashmir were killed in an encounter with security forces in Bandipora district on Friday, police said. 

 Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Brar in the Aragam area of Bandipora in north Kashmir following inputs about the presence of terrorists there, a police official said. 

 He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the hiding terrorists fired upon security forces personnel, who retaliated. In the ensuing exchange of fire, two terrorists were killed, he said. 

 The official said the identity of the slain terrorists was being ascertained.

 Earlier in the day, Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Kashmir Vijay Kumar said the two terrorists trapped in Brar were Pakistani and belonged to the LeT. They had infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir recently. They had managed to escape during an encounter in the Salinder forest area on Wednesday, he said. -- PTI
17:31   2 dead, 22 injured in bus accident in Katra
Two persons dead and 22 others injured after a local bus from Katra to Jammu caught fire near Kharmal about 1.5 km from Katra. As per preliminary details, bus caught fire from the engine area which soon engulfed the whole bus,  ADGP Jammu said.

File pic
File pic
17:27   LeT terrorist killed in encounter in Kashmir
LeT terrorist who had infiltrated into Kashmir recently killed in encounter with security forces in Bandipora district.

An encounter broke out in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday after security forces trapped two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who had recently infiltrated into the valley, police said. 

 Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Brar in the Aragam area of Bandipora in north Kashmir following inputs about the presence of terrorists there, a police official said. 

 He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the hiding terrorists fired upon security forces personnel, who retaliated. The gunfight was underway, he said. Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Kashmir Vijay Kumar said the trapped terrorists were Pakistani and belonged to the LeT. They had infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir recently. 

They had managed to escape during an encounter in the Salinder forest area on Wednesday, he said. The terrorists were tracked down and trapped at Brar in Bandipora on Friday, the IGP said in a tweet. PTI
17:26   Delhi HC seeks Aakar Patel's reply on CBI's plea against order on withdrawal of LOC
The Delhi High Court Friday sought the response of Amnesty International India Board chair Aakar Patel on a plea by CBI challenging a trial court's order directing the withdrawal of a lookout circular issued against him in connection with a case for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. 

Justice Yogesh Khanna issued notice to Patel on CBI's petition and listed the matter for May 18. 

 The CBI had told the high court that it was not against the relief granted to Patel and its grievance was directed towards the reasoning adopted by the trial court and apprehended that the same would be used against it in other cases. 

 While CBI was represented through Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, advocate Saud Khan appeared on behalf of Patel.

 In its petition, the CBI has said that the trial court returned a finding that the investigating agency can take recourse to provisions of a LOC once an accused has absconded and such a view is plainly perverse. 

 In the plea, which has assailed several other legal findings for the trial court, the CBI has argued that the trial court as well as the magisterial court, completely misconstrued the scope and purpose of taking recourse to a Lookout Circular (LOC) notice. 

 lt is submitted that a Lookout circular notice is a lessor form of coercive action which an investigating agency can take to ensure that an accused is available to face the process of law. 

The order of the ACMM (Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate) suggested that a lessor coercive measure like the opening of a LOC should not be resorted to without arresting an accused is completely wrong, the petition stated. -- PTI
17:18   Anik Dutta's film on Ray finds no show in two WB govt-run theatres
Filmmaker Anik Dutta's much-hyped latest venture 'Aparajito', which is a tribute to auteur Satyajit Ray on his 101st anniversary, has found no slot in Bengal government-run auditoriums of Nandan and Cinema Centenary Building, leaving its makers baffled. 

 'Aparajito', which recently received acclaim at a Mumbai film festival, traces Ray's journey during the making of classic 'Pather Panchali'.

 Firdausal Hasan, the producer of the film, said that the screening committee of Nandan which is considered the cultural epicentre of Bengal had assured him that the film would be allotted slots, but "what went wrong, I am quite not sure". 

 Dutta, a known critic of the Mamata Banerjee-led government, had earlier, too, run into trouble when his anti-establishment satire 'Bhobisyoter Bhoot' was pulled off cinema halls in February 2019, just days after its release. Several prominent personalities, including actor Soumitra Chatterjee, had then protested against the "attempt to curb freedom of artistic expression".

Talking to PTI, Hasan said, "They (Nandan screening committee) liked the film and communicated the same to me and director Anik da. I am not sure what happened after that. We are hoping that audience, who like content-rich Bengali cinema, will be able to see the film in these state-run theatres from next week. -- PTI
17:01   Mohali blast: Cops claim Babbar Khalsa, ISI nexus
The Punjab Police has arrested five people in connection with the RPG attack at its Mohali office and pointed at the nexus of militant outfit Babbar Khalsa International and Pakistan's spy agency ISI. Director General of Police V K Bhawra said a sixth accused is in police custody in a separate case. PTI
Red, red whine
Red, red whine
16:49   Sensex ends in red for 6th straight day
The Indian stock markets' key indices, Sensex and Nifty, closed in the red for the sixth straight session on Friday dragged by heavy selling pressure in banking stocks.

The 30 stock S&P BSE Sensex dipped 136.69 points or 0.26 per cent to close at 52,793.62 points against its previous day's close at 52,930.31 points. The markets witnessed volatile trading. 
16:26   UAE president dead
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan dead. 

"The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE," Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM, said in a statement. 

Sheikh Khalifa Al Nahyan served as the president of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi since November 2004, Khaleej Times reported.

He succeeded his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in November 2004.
Empty Covishield vials at a vaccination centre
Empty Covishield vials at a vaccination centre
16:23   Booster vax 3 months after 2nd jab if going abroad
Those travelling abroad for jobs, education and business purposes can take the precaution dose of Covid-19 vaccine anytime after three months from the second dose as required by the destination country, the Centre said on Friday, a day after it relaxed the stipulated nine-month waiting period for international travel. 

In a letter to states and union territories, the Centre said necessary provisions have been made on the Co-WIN portal to enable updation of the precaution dose so administered and citizens will not be required to upload documents such as visa. 

 The Health Ministry received several requests for the early administration of precaution dose to those who need to undertake international travel for educational purpose, employment opportunities, participation in sports tournaments, attending bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of India's official delegation, and business commitments, Additional Secretary in the ministry Manohar Agnani said. 

 In this context, to facilitate international travel for such genuine reasons, the necessary provision of early administration of precaution dose for these travellers has been done on the Co-WIN portal under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Agnani said in the guidelines shared by him. 

Based on the recommendations of experts, the competent authority has approved early administration of precaution dose as required by the destination country for these overseas travellers, subject to a minimum period of 90 days between the second dose and the precaution dose. 

 "The necessary provisions for the same have been made on Co-WIN," Agnani stated. "It is requested that the guidelines may be widely publicised to all government and private CVCs and for general public and all necessary measures be taken immediately for the implementation of the same," he said.
Representational image
Representational image
16:09   800 employees of firm owned by Byju's resign as WFH ends
Over 800 employees of edtech startup WhiteHat Jr have resigned in the last two months after being asked to 'work from office', a media report said. WhiteHat Jr is owned by edtech giant Byju's, which acquired the startup firm for $300 million in 2020. 

 On March 18, 2022, in a company-wide email, the startup asked remote employees to return to respective office locations within a month's time.

 The sales, coding and math teams were asked to work from Gurugram, Mumbai and Bengaluru offices, respectively, according to a report in Inc42. This has led to en masse resignations. 

According to Inc42 report, over 800 full-time employees across the company, including from sales, coding, and math teams, have voluntarily resigned from the startup as they didn't want to relocate to their respective office locations. 

 "As part of our back-to-work drive, most of our Sales and Support employees have been asked to report to Gurgaon and Mumbai offices from April 18. We have made exceptions for medical and personal exigencies and have offered relocation assistance as required. Our teachers will continue to work from home," WhiteHat Jr is quoted as saying in the report. 

 WhiteHat Jr has been running on losses. It posted a total loss of Rs 1,690 crore in FY21. Between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, the startup earned Rs 483.9 crore from its operations, while posting a total expense of Rs 2,175.2 crore. -- ANI
16:05   Govt fixes LIC issue price at Rs 949 a share
The government has fixed the issue price of LIC shares at Rs 949 apiece, the upper end of the IPO price band, ahead of the listing of the country's largest insurer on May 17. 

 However, LIC policyholders and retail investors have got the shares at a price of Rs 889 and Rs 904 a piece, respectively.

 The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) closed on May 9 and shares were allocated to bidders on May 12. The government sold over 22.13 crore shares or 3.5 per cent stake in LIC through the IPO at a price band of Rs 902-949 a share. 

 The retail investors and eligible employees of LIC were offered a discount of Rs 45 per equity share over the issue price, while policyholders got a discount of Rs 60 per share.

 As per the prospectus filed by LIC on May 12, the offer price of the share sale has been fixed at Rs 949 per equity share. Shares were allocated to policyholders and retail investors after applying the discount applicable to them. The share sale fetched the government around Rs 20,557 crore. -- PTI
15:45   Reliance top-ranked Indian firm on Forbes Global 2000 list
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd climbed two spots to No. 53 on Forbes' latest Global 2000 list of public companies worldwide.

 Forbes Global 2000 ranks the largest companies in the world using four metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value, Forbes said releasing the 2022 ranking of the world's top 2,000 companies. 

 Reliance is the top-ranked Indian firm on the list, followed by State Bank of India at No. 105, HDFC Bank at No. 153 and ICICI Bank at No. 204. Other top 10 Indian firms on the list include state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at 228 rank, Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) at No. 268, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at No.357, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) at No. 384, Tata Steel at No. 407 and Axis Bank at No. 431. 

 "Energy and banking sector corporations were among the highest-ranking Indian companies in Forbes' Global 2000 list of public companies this year," the publication said. Oil-to-telecom-to-retail conglomerate Reliance, which recorded sales of USD 104.6 billion between April 2021 and March 2022, became the first Indian company to generate over USD 100 billion in annual revenue. 

 "On the Global 2000, Reliance climbed two spots to No. 53 among all public companies worldwide and ranked first among Indian companies," it said. "Earlier this year, Forbes estimated Ambani's net worth to be USD 90.7 billion, landing him at No. 10 on this year's billionaires list." -- PTI
15:40   Twitter deal temporarily on hold, says Musk
Elon Musk said on Friday his $44-billion deal for Twitter Inc was temporarily on hold, citing pending details on spam and fake accounts.

"Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users," tweets Elon Musk.
File pic
File pic
15:22   Sonia@Chintan Shivir: PM brutalising minorities
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, charging that it has become clear that his mantra of 'minimum government, maximum governance' means keeping the country in a permanent state of polarisation, "brutalising" minorities and "threatening" political opponents. 

 In her inaugural address at the party's 'Chintan Shivir' in Udaipur, she urged delegates to deliberate with an open mind and send out a clear message of strong organisation and unity. 

 She said the Shivir is also an occasion to deliberate on the many challenges ahead of us and bring organisational changes. 

"It is both 'Chintan' about national issues and meaningful 'aatmachintan' (self-introspection) about our party organisation," she said. 

 Gandhi charged that it has become painfully clear what Prime Minister Modi and his colleagues really means by their frequently used slogan of maximum governance, minimum government. 

"It means keeping the country in a permanent state of polarisation, compelling people to stay in a constant state of fear and insecurity. It means viciously targeting, victimising and brutalising minorities who are an integral part of our society and equal citizens of our republic," she said. 

It means using our societies age old pluralities to divide us and subverting a carefully nurtured idea of unity and diversity. 

It means threatening and intimidating political opponents, maligning their reputation, jailing them on flimsy pretexts using investigative agencies Gandhi further alleged. She urged party leaders to keep the organisation above personal ambitions, saying the party has given us a lot and it's time to pay back.

Noting that changes in organisation are the need of the hour, she said, We need to change the way of our working. PTI
The distraught family of Rahul Bhat. Pic: Umar Ganie
The distraught family of Rahul Bhat. Pic: Umar Ganie
15:10   Reciting Hanuman Chalisa won't save Pandits: Raut
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday pointed out that reciting the Hanuman Chalisa or switching off loudspeakers will not solve the problems of the Kashmiri Pandits and that the central government must take tough decisions to end the "atmosphere of instability" in the Union Territory.

Raut's remarks came a day after a Kashmiri Pandit Rahul Bhatt was killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam district. 

The incident attracted condemnation from the J-K Governor and the BJP leaders who have alleged Pakistan's hand behind the targeted killing.

Speaking to the reporters in Mumbai, Raut said: "Don't raise fingers at Pakistan time and again, what are we doing for the Kashmiri Pandits? Even after the revocation of Article 370, they are not safe and are not able to return to the Valley. Now the common people are not safe, it has no more remained limited to the Pandits," he said.

"The atmosphere of instability that has been created in Kashmir once again will have to be finished by taking harsh decisions. Issues like Hanuman Chalisa and loudspeakers will solve the issue of neither Kashmiri pandits nor Kashmir," the Shiv Sena leader said.

Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah "emotional on the issue of Kashmiri pandits", Raut said that the Union Home Minister needs to think about their killings "very seriously".

"The Kashmiri Pandit was a government employee. It is happening time and again. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are very emotional about Kashmiri pandits. There were talks about their return to the Valley. Don't know how many of them returned in seven years. But the ones who were already there are not being allowed to live and they are being killed. The Home Minister needs to think about it very seriously. The killing of the young Kashmiri Pandit is painful," he said. -- ANI
15:09   Is Doval the reason there's no CDS?
Gen Bipin Rawat's appointment, first as army chief superseding two other army commanders, and then as CDS, was the consequence of his close personal rapport with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Now, with General Rawat gone and nobody named to replace him as CDS, it is evident that no other top military officer enjoys that relationship with Doval, observes Ajai Shukla.

Read the column here. 

IMAGE: National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval with then army chief late General Bipin Rawat, then navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and then air chief Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, October 15, 2019
14:25   Chintan Shivir: Cong to bring these big changes
The Congress is likely to enforce the 'One family, one ticket' formula granting exemption to only another family member who has been doing 'exemplary work' for the party for a period of at least five years, as the grand old party promised big ticket changes while acknowledging that it had not kept pace with changing times.

The other major organisational reforms being considered include establishing mandal committees between booth and block level in the organisation, 50 per cent representation to those below 50 years of age in party committees at all levels, fixing the maximum of five years tenure for party positions with a cooling off period of three years, setting up of a 'public insight department' for creating an in house survey mechanism and an assessment wing to gauge the performance of office bearers.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the party's 'Chintan Shivir' in Udaipur on Friday, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken, while acknowledging that the organisation needed an overhaul to keep pace with the changing times, said these 'big changes' are in store for the party organisation and it will completely transform its working style going forward.

He said there is unanimity on establishing mandal committees between booth and block level in party organisation, which will further help strengthen the organisation.

Each Mandal, he said, would comprise of 15-20 booths and a Block Congress committee would comprise three-four mandals.

Maken, who is a member of the coordination committee on organisation for discussion at the Chintan Shivir, said the party is deliberating on setting up a 'public insight department' to ascertain views of the people and carry out surveys for getting battle ready for elections.

The Congress is also considering setting up an 'assessment wing' to gauge performance of office bearers, he said, adding that 'good' workers should be rewarded and promoted while non-performers be removed.

Noting that this is going to be a historic conclave, he said a range of discussions are ongoing mainly across six specific subjects and after debates of various panels on organisational matters are adopted and implemented, 'you will see a massive overhaul of the Congress organisation from bottom to top across all levels'.

"The discussions at the Shivir will lay the foundations for a massive organisational overhaul. The 'One family, one ticket' rule has been discussed and will be discussed further. There is near consensus on this formula and exception will only be made if the second ticket aspirant has worked in the party for five years, doing exemplary work," Maken told reporters.

This should not happen that a relative or son of an old leader straight away comes and fights polls, he added.

The formula will be applicable to all in the party including the Gandhi family.

The exemption, however, assumes significance considering that the party is often under attack for promoting dynastic politics.

The rule is being taken up to weed out multiple ticket seekers from influential families and parachute candidates.

The exemption would provide a lifeline to families with many members working relentlessly for years for the organisation.

Noting that the Congress organisational structure has not changed in 50 to 60 years, the Congress leader said, "We have not undertaken any transformation. Consensus is now emerging on building a new organisational unit called the mandal between the polling booth and the blocks."

Maken said we normally commission survey agencies during polls and 'there is now near unanimity for establishing an internal public insight department for routine surveys related to people's issues and to assess which pro people agenda should the Congress espouse'.

"The time is changing, but we have not been able to change as fast as the times," he admitted.

The public insight department will be an in house department which will be active not just in elections but will also work round the year to provide a technology-based feedback mechanism on which issues matter most to the people and which issues should the Congress take up as a strong opposition, Maken said.

With party workers often discussing that good workers are not rewarded and poor performers are not punished, he said, consensus is building on developing an internal assessment wing which will set parameters to promote talent.

"Assessment of office bearers is being mooted to promote good workers and to remove others from active posts."

"We are also working on a mechanism for enforcing stricter discipline," he said.

The three-day 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir' is being held in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party for the past many years.

The Shivir will focus on time-bound party restructuring, finding ways to combat politics of polarisation and getting battle-ready for upcoming electoral challenges.

It will begin Friday afternoon following which over 400 delegates will discuss subject-specific issues across six groups.

These discussions will continue on the first and second day and the conclusions will be recorded in the form of a declaration, a draft of which will be discussed at the Congress Working Committee meeting to be held there on the third and last day.   -- PTI
Pune railway station
Pune railway station
13:43   Firecracker-like object found at Pune railway station
A suspicious object that looked like a firecracker was found on the premises of Pune railway station on Friday, the Government Railway Police said. 

The Pune police's Bomb Detection & Disposal Squad (BDDS) reached the spot and took away the object for examination, an official said.

"The object found was not gelatine, it looked like a cracker. BDDS teams of the Pune police and railway police have taken the object out of the railway station and they have verified it," said Sadanand Ways Patil, superintendent of police, Government Railway Police. 

The object was in a box near the waiting room and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had alerted them, he said. 

 According to an official from the BDDS, three firecracker tubes were tied together with some wire attached to them. "The object has no detonator or explosive substance inside it. We will dispose it," said the officer. PTI
13:33   Police tear-gas protesting Kashmiri Pandits
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday resorted to baton charge and firing of tear gas shells to disperse Kashmiri Pandit community members marching towards Srinagar airport to protest the killing of Rahul Bhat by terrorists in Budgam a day ago, officials said.

The protesters first assembled at the Sheikhpora area of Budgam district, in central Kashmir, and then tried to proceed towards the airport but were stopped by a posse of police personnel, they said.

The protesters were requested to disperse but they refused to budge and insisted on marching ahead, following which the police used batons and fired some tear smoke shells, the officials said.

There are no reports of any casualty, they added.

The community has been protesting since Thursday against the 'failure' of the government to protect their lives.

Bhat, 35, a Kashmiri Pandit employee, was shot dead by terrorists at a crowded government office in the Chadoora area of Budgam on Thursday.

People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, meanwhile, claimed that she has been placed under house arrest to stop her from visiting Budgam to express solidarity with the protesting Kashmiri Pandits.

In a tweet, Mufti said she was put under house arrest as the Bharatiya Janata Party did not want Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits to empathise with each other's pain.

"Wanted to visit Budgam to express my solidarity with Kashmiri Pandits protesting against GOIs failure to protect them. Have been put under house arrest as the fact that Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits empathise with each other's pain doesn't fit into their vicious communal narrative," the PDP chief said.

Police officials, however, refused to comment over Mufti's claim.National Conference vice-president Omar Abddullah said it was 'shameful that legitimate and justified protests' are met with a 'heavy-handed response'.

"This is not new for the people of Kashmir because when all the administration has is a hammer every problem resembles a nail. If the LG's Govt can't protect KPs they have a right to protest," he wrote on Twitter.

"Tourism is not normalcy, it's a barometer of economic activity. Normalcy is the absence of fear, the absence of terror, the inability of militants to strike at will, the presence of democratic rule & by any yardstick you choose to use, Kashmir is far from normal today," Abdullah said.

The NC leader, while condemning the killing of a policeman in Pulwama on Friday, said targeted killings continue 'unabated' in the valley.

"Rahul in his office yesterday, Riyaz Ahmad Thoker, a SPO with J&K police, in his own home today. Targeted killings continue unabated. 

"I can't condemn this killing strongly enough. May Allah grant Riyaz place in Jannat," he said. -- PTI
13:10   Cong to have poll manifestos for each MP district
For the 2023 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, the opposition Congress has decided to issue 'Vachan Patra' (election manifesto) not only for the state level, but also separately for each district based on the local issues and demands, a party leader said on Friday. 

The decision to issue manifesto for the state level and separately for each district was taken during a meeting of the Vachan Patra Advisory Committee chaired by state Congress president and former chief minister Kamal Nath on Thursday, chairman of the panel Rajendra Singh said.

"During the meeting, Nath directed the committee members to take into account the aspirations of the people from different areas of the state, study their problems and suggest solutions and based on all these factors, Vachan Patra should be prepared, keeping the requirements of each district in mind," he said. 

Nath also asked the committee members to prepare a detailed report about the functioning of various departments of the state government, and to keep an eye on the "misinformation campaign spread by the ruling BJP" against the Congress, Singh said. 

"This Vachan Patra will also have promises for all sections of the society, especially those from the backward community, Dalits, tribals, youths and women," he said. 

The members of the committee also gave important suggestions for the Vachan Patra, he said, adding that the panel would discuss in detail all these issues before incorporating them into the manifesto. 

Committee members, including former Union ministers Suresh Pachouri and Arun Yadav, Leader of Opposition Dr Govind Singh, former LoP Ajay Singh and some former ministers, attended the meeting. PTI
12:48   Why SC refused to postpone NEET-PG-22 exam
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to postpone the NEET-PG-22 examination on a plea of doctors, saying the delay would cause unavailability of doctors and seriously affect patient care.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said postponement of the examination would create chaos and uncertainty and would affect the larger section of students, who have registered for the examination. 

 There are two categories of students -- one which is seeking postponement and the larger category of over two lakh six thousand candidates -- who would be affected by the postponement after having prepared for the examination, the bench said.

 It noted that the government is trying to bring back the schedule of examination on time as it was affected due to the pandemic. As the country gets back on the rails, which was derailed due to the pandemic, the time schedule laid down by this court must be adhered to, it said. 

 On May 10, the top court had agreed to hear the plea of doctors seeking postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET-PG) 2022 which is scheduled to be held on May 21 on grounds that it will clash with the ongoing counselling for NEET-PG 2021. PTI
12:30   Nawab Malik can be treated at pvt hospital: Court
News updates: Special PMLA court allows Maharashtra Minister & NCP leader Nawab Malik to get treated at a private hospital. Malik's lawyer requested a private hospital medical treatment, to which ED didn't object, keeping some conditions.

-- Patna High Court issues arrest warrant for Subrata Roy for non-admittance at the court despite clear instructions pertaining to the same. He was ordered on Thursday, 12th May to be physically present in the court failing which an arrest warrant was to be issued.

-- Supreme Court rejects plea seeking to postpone National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET-PG 2022) examination. Supreme Court says the request to postpone NEET-PG 2022 cannot be entertained as it would affect patient care and doctors' career; the needs of patient care is paramount.
12:05   A tough job ahead for Ranil Wickremesinghe
India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay (right) meets with the newly appointed PM of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo.
Rahul Bhat's body being taken from the hospital. Pic: Umar Ganie
Rahul Bhat's body being taken from the hospital. Pic: Umar Ganie
12:01   Kashmiri Pandit Rahul Bhat cremated
Government employee Rahul Bhat, who was shot dead by terrorists inside his office in central Kashmir's Budgam district, was cremated on Friday amid a protest by members of the Kashmiri Pandit community in Jammu. 

Rahul Bhat was gunned down by terrorists inside the Tehsil office in Chadoora town on Thursday. He had got the job of a clerk under the special employment package for migrants in 2010-11. 

 As the mortal remains of Rahul Bhat reached his home in Durga Nagar area of Jammu on Friday morning, his relatives wept inconsolably. 

 Rahul Bhat's wife and daughter who lived with him at the Sheikhpora migrant colony in Budgam, accompanied the body as it arrived from Kashmir. 

 His brother Sunny lit the pyre at the Buntalab cremation ground as chants of "long live Rahul Bhat" rented the air. 

 The community members, including Rahul Bhat's family, accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of making young Kashmiri Hindus "cannon fodder" in the name of rehabilitation of the community. 

 They also said the incident has shattered their dream of resettling permanently in the valley. 

"You (BJP) have formulated a plan to get young Kashmiri Pandits killed in the name of giving them jobs and rehabilitating them," Soon Nath Bhat, a relative of Rahul Bhat said. Such people are sitting ducks for terrorists who are using them for target practice, he added.
11:38   Gyanvapi survey: SC refuses to order status quo
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. 

 The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey of the Gyanvapi premises. 

 A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was told by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Muslim side in the Gyanvapi mosque case, that a plea has been filed against the survey being conducted at the Varanasi site. 

"Let me see, the CJI said on urgent listing of the plea. We have filed in relation to a survey which has been directed to be conducted in relation to the Varanasi property. This (Gyanvapi) has been a mosque since time immemorial and this is clearly interdicted by the Places of Worship Act," Ahmadi said.

He said the direction to conduct a survey has been passed and an order of status quo be passed at the moment. 

"I do not know anything. How can I pass such an order? I will read. Let me see," the CJI said. 

 A Varanasi local court on Thursday rejected a plea to replace the advocate commissioner it had appointed for conducting a videography survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex here and ordered the completion of the task by May 17. 

 The district court also appointed two more lawyers to help the advocate commissioner carry out the survey at the mosque, which is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. It ordered the police to register FIRs if there are attempts to scuttle the exercise. PTI
11:14   Protests in J-K after Kashmiri Pandit's killing
Protests are being held in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir since last evening as Kashmiri Pandits demand safety in the wake of the killing of a 36-year-old government employee from the community.

Members of the Kashmiri Pandit Employees Association are protesting at Anantnag and demanding justice for the killing of Chadoora Tehsil office employee Rahul Bhat in Budgam.

"We ask the govt to re-locate us to places where we feel rehabilitated," Sandeep Bhat, a member of the association, said. 

Kashmiri Pandits are also protesting at Sheikhpora, Budgam. "The administration should provide security, else we will resort to mass resignation from our respective posts," says Amit, a Kashmiri Pandit.

This morning,  SPO Riyaz Ahmad Thoker, a local resident, was shot at and injured by terrorists at Gudoora Pulwama. He succumbed to his injuries at a Pulwama hospital. 

In what appeared to be another targeted attack, terrorists barged into the Tehsildar's office at Chadoora village in Budgam district yesterday and shot Rahul Bhat. He was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The 36-year-old had been working in Budgam district for the past 10 years after his appointment under a special package to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits. His body was taken to Jammu for last rites.

Rahul Bhat is the third Kashmiri Pandit to be killed in the past six months. Two others have been injured.
11:00   'Achhe din' term should be archived: NCP
With the retail inflation rising to an eight-year high at 7.79 per cent in April, the NCP on Friday took a dig at the BJP, saying its "achhe din" poll slogan needs to be "archived and forgotten" now.

 In a veiled attack on the J P Nadda-led party, NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto also sarcastically said it needs to be seen who will be blamed for the same and what will be the new diversion to hide this "failure". 

 The BJP had raised the "achhe din" (good days) slogan during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls campaigning. "India's #RetailInflation rises to 8 year high of 7.79% in April almost twice the rate targeted by #RBI which is 4%. #AchheDin, #Vikas, these words need to archived and forgotten. Now to wait and watch who will be blamed and what will be the new diversion to hide this failure," Crasto tweeted. 

 Retail inflation soared to an eight-year high of 7.79 per cent in April on annual basis mainly due to stubbornly high food prices, remaining above the RBI's upper tolerance level for the fourth month in a row. 

 Inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.95 per cent in March this year and 4.23 per cent in April 2021. Inflation in the food basket rose to 8.38 per cent in April from 7.68 per cent in the preceding month and 1.96 per cent in the year-ago month. PTI
10:35   Week after Kedarnath Yatra opens 28 tourists dead
 After an unprecedented number of devotees turned up at the Kedarnath Temple, one of the Char Dhams in Uttarakhand, the Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) was deployed for crowd management on Friday.

Since the yatra began, as many as 28 tourists en route to Kedarnath have died due to various reasons

On Thursday, a meeting of the Uttrakhand State government was called over the huge influx of tourists visiting the state for the yatra.

It was decided to deploy the ITBP at the Kedarnath for crowd management. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will also assist temples in handling the crowds.

Vivek Kumar Pandey, spokesperson of the ITBP said that the force has been deployed for security and streamlining darshan at Kedarnath Temple after a huge influx of pilgrims.

"ITBP has been managing the heavy rush to the Kedarnath temple and the Kedarnath valley," he said.

Pandey further said that more than 20,000 devotees are visiting the temple daily and due to the pilgrims' rush places such as Sonprayag, Ukhimath and Kedarnath are packed.

The ITBP teams, deployed at these locations, are keeping a close eye on the movement of the yatris, he said.

"It's been a week since the portals of the temple were opened on May 6, 2022, and more than 1,30,000 pilgrims have so far visited the Kedarnath Temple," Pandey added.

10:23   Active Covid cases in India dip to 18,604
With 2,841 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's tally of Covid-19 cases rose to 4,31,16,254, while the active cases dipped to 18,604, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Friday. 

 The death toll climbed to 5,24,190 with nine fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The active cases comprise 0.04 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.74 per cent, the health ministry said. 

 A decrease of 463 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. 

 The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.58 per cent and weekly positivity rate was 0.69 per cent, according to the health ministry. 

 The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,25,73,460, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.22 per cent. The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 190.99 crore. --- PTI
10:03   Markets rebound after heavy fall in previous trade
The Sensex rebounded in early trade on Friday after falling sharply the previous day and jumped over 635 points, in tandem with rally in Asian markets and buying in index major Reliance Industries. 

The 30-share BSE Sensex was trading 635.43 points higher at 53,565.74. The broader NSE Nifty jumped 186.4 points to 15,994.40. 

 Among the Sensex firms, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Finserv, Titan, Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank, Reliance Industries, Dr Reddy's and Tata Steel were the major gainers in early trade. In contrast, NTPC and TCS were the laggards. -- PTI
09:42   NIA arrests 2 aides of Chhota Shakeel in Mumbai
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested two aides of gangster Chhota Shakeel from western suburbs of Mumbai for allegedly handling the illegal activities and financial transactions of the crime syndicate controlled by fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, an official said on Friday.

The accused, identified as Arif Abubakar Shaikh, 59, and Shabbir Abubakar Shaikh, 51, were placed under arrest on Thursday, he said.

"Both of them were apprehended from the western suburbs by an NIA team, which is probing the cases against Dawood Ibrahim's syndicate," the official said, adding that the duo was closely associated with gangster Chhota Shakeel and were involved in the cartel run by Ibrahim.

Sources said that during the recent raids at multiple locations in Mumbai and Thane, the NIA had picked up many suspects for investigation, sources said.

Arif and Shabbir were also among the suspects, who were picked up for their alleged connections with the D-Company (Dawood Ibrahim's crime syndicate), they said.

During their interrogation, the NIA team found that Arif and Shabbir had carried out some transactions with Chhota Shakeel, following which they were placed under arrest, they added.

Chhota Shakeel operates an international criminal syndicate from Pakistan and Interpol has issued a red corner notice against him.

Shakeel is involved in extortion, narcotics smuggling and terrorist activities, the official said.

Both the accused will be produced before the NIA special court later in the day, he added.   -- PTI
09:14   Day after 1st case, N Korea reports 6 Covid deaths, 3.5 lakh infections
At least six persons were confirmed dead on Friday in North Korea and over 350,000 people were infected with a fever that spread 'explosively' in the country, which had a day ago announced its first case of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

North Korea announced an 'explosive' COVID-19 outbreak that has killed six people and infected more than 350,000, CNN reported citing state media.

On Thursday, the country announced a 'major national emergency' after reporting its first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant and put in place a 'maximum emergency' virus control system with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to 'eliminate' the virus.   -- ANI
09:09   Congress Chintan Shivir: Rahul Gandhi arrives
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrived in Rajasthan's Udaipur on Friday morning to attend the party's three-day Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir.

Rahul Gandhi left for Udaipur from Delhi by train on Thursday.

Congress is going to hold a 'Chintan Shivir' in Udaipur under the leadership of its interim president Sonia Gandhi to hold discussions on party organisation, and to formulate a strategy to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming 2024 general elections.

The top leaders demanded that Rahul Gandhi should take over the post of Congress president in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held on March 14.

In the meeting, senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told Wayanad MP that he should accept the post of president, according to sources.

Sources further informed, "Rahul is ready to consider the post. After this, a proposal came in the meeting to hold the election of the president of August-September. However, it was then decided that the ongoing process cannot be preponed."

After the defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post of Congress president and Sonia Gandhi turned up to become the party's interim president.   -- ANI
08:33   Cong Chintan Shivir from today, Sonia to address
The Congress' three-day Chintan Shivir which is all set to begin on Friday in Udaipur will emphasise on discussions over 'communal polarisation', farmers' issues and strengthening the party for the upcoming elections, informed party sources.

Sources informed that Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will address the party leaders at the Chintan Shivir.

"Six groups have been formed for Chintan Shivir. Every group will have 60 to 70 people. No paper discussion will take place," sources told ANI.

During the program, the Congress leaders will discuss the Centre-State relationship, the situation of the northeastern states, the Jammu and Kashmir issue, and communal polarisation, said sources.

Besides this, other committees will have discussions on the issues like public sector disinvestment, rising inflation, minority issues and women's issues, while youth will discuss New Education Policy and rising unemployment.

The Agriculture Committee will discuss the legalisation of MSP, loan waiver and the wheat price issue will be discussed.

On the part of the organisation committee, the national, state, district and block level reforms will be discussed but most importantly, the 'One Family One Ticket' strategy is also on the agenda for discussion.

A party leader who is an active member of the Chintan Shivir exercise said that the moto of Congress behind holding the exercise is to deliberate upon the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The focus of Chintan Shivir will be formulating an action plan for the party, and steps to be taken to strengthen the organisation.

On the first day, Sonia Gandhi will address the Shivir and then discussions will be continued for the second day.

After that, Rahul Gandhi will address the people on the last day and the Congress interim president will give concluding remarks.  -- ANI
00:57   BJP attempt to paint Pawar anti-Hindu backfires
A day after the Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party tweeted an edited video of his speech and accused him of being a Hindu-hater, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said he was reading out lines from a poem which presents the pain of the labourer class, but those who wanted to spread misinformation were free to do so. 

The @BJP4Maharashtra on Wednesday tweeted a short video of Pawar's speech in Satara and claimed that "atheist Sharad Pawar always hated Hindu religion" and he would not have achieved his political success without insulting Hindu gods and goddesses and indulging in casteism. Some social media users pointed out that Pawar was quoting a poem by Jawahar Rathod which deals with the issue of casteism. 

Speaking to reporters at Purandar in Pune on Thursday, Pawar explained that he was reading lines from Rathod's poem Patharvat (stone-cutter). 

In the poem, the stone-cutter says he made the idols of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh using his chisel and these idols were installed in the temple, but the stone-cutters themselves were not allowed to step inside the temple because they are from a lower caste. 

"The stonecutter questions whether Brahma is the creator of the world or we (those who make his idols) are his father," the NCP chief said, reading out the poem again. 

"The poet voices the pain of the labourers who rue that they sculpted idols from the rock but they are stopped from entering the temple. The poem depicts pain, but if some people want to spread misinformation, they are free to do so," the NCP chief said, without naming the BJP. 

"When people will look for where it is written, they will find this book," he added. -- PTI