Yuva Sai Sagar

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Month: October 2016

Bhopal jailbreak: Two SIMI activists killed in encounter were wanted for 2014 Chennai blasts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two of the SIMI activists, among the eight killed in an encounter near Bhopal, were wanted by Tamil Nadu police in connection with the 2014 train blast case in Chennai and warrants obtained for bringing them to the city remained pending due to concerns that they might escape in transit.Sources in CB-CID, which investigated the May 1, 2014 blasts on a Bengaluru-Guwahati train at the Chennai Central station which killed a young software engineer, said the Madhya Pradesh police were apprehensive that the duo might escape if they were sent to Chennai.Out of the three accused in the case, Aijajudeen was killed in an encounter by police on April 4, 2015 at Suryapet in Telangana and the remaining two Zakir Hussain, and Mehboob died in the encounter on Monday. Their death virtually brings the curtains down on the case. Both Zakir Hussain alias Sadiq and Mehboob alias Guddu had escaped from Khandwa jail in Madya Pradesh in 2013.”A prisoners’ transit warrant was obtained to bring Zakir Hussain and Mehboob to Chennai in connection with the Chennai blasts case. However, MP authorities were concerned. They thought that the duo may try to escape if sent out,” a senior police official told PTI. He said by July this year, the PT warrant was obtained for the duo, however, it remained pending.Another official said, “all legal procedures will be followed in the case” with the death of the accused persons, but did not elaborate. He said the links of the accused to several crimes in more than one state involved probe by multiple state and central agencies.The SIMI activists, called “Khandwa module” in police parlance, were behind a number of serious crimes. After their escape in 2013, they were involved in a number of crimes including the Rs 46 lakh heist at SBI’s Choppadandi branch at Karimnagar in Telangana in February 2014, police said.

Judicial ethics should not be compromised at all: CJI Thakur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Judicial ethics should never be compromised as aberrations could bring disrepute to the entire justice system, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said today, asking the judges to introspect about the public perception regarding their rectitude.”We need to introspect about public perception about our rectitude. It is painful to see sometimes aberrations occuring at some level or the other which bring a disrepute to entire justice system,” the CJI said at an event to celebrate 50th anniversary of the establishment of Delhi High Court. “I think Delhi High Court has achieved much, but in terms of ensuring that such incidents (aberrations) do not happen, there is much more to be done. I only hope that brother judges at all level take extra care not to give any room for any doubt or anything that is not in tune with judicial ethics and professional rectitude,” Justice Thakur said.The function was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice B D Ahmed and other judges of the apex court and high court. The CJI said financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access to justice a reality which cannot be achieved if people have to wait for years for their cases to be decided.”Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access to justice a reality. That is absolutely in tune with our Constitutional philosophy that access to justice should be a reality and it cannot be a reality if people have to wait for years and years for their cases to be decided,” he said. Thakur said this after Kejriwal, who also addressed the gathering at Vigyan Bhawan here, assured support of his government in improving infrastructure and recruitment of more judges in judiciary.

Others talked but only Modi govt implemented OROP: Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a veiled attack on Congress over One-Ra nk-One-Pension (OROP) for soldiers, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said Narendra Modi government was the first regime to implement this scheme unlike others who merely paid “lip service” to the issue.”No one did anything for OROP for 43 years, but only talked about it. OROP is an issue of 43 years. All others who are talking (on OROP) are only talking and they have been talking for 43 years. It is not a demand of last year… This government has fulfilled it,” he said. He was talking to reporters after inaugurating a multi-storey parking facility here. The Union minister said the government has already disbursed more than Rs 5,500 crore for implementing the OROP scheme.”The annual cost of OROP is around Rs 7,500 crore. We are giving arrears as well as the current payment,” he said. He said around 20,69,000 ex-servicemen are benefiting out of the scheme. “This assurance (OROP), which was given by the Prime Minister, has been kept by his government and (it) has actually given money,” Parrikar said.Reacting to the jawans getting killed on border, the minister said, “For any jawan who loses his life, I always feel pain. I salute them for their courage and bravery.” Over the ongoing tension on LoC, Parrikar said, “The briefing on how we are responding was given by Army headquarters. We have given appropriate reply in this matter.”

Defamation case: Delhi CM Kejriwal to appear before court in Amritsar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will appear before the District Court in Amritsar on Tuesday in connection with a defamation case filed by Punjab Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.”On last hearing in the case on October 15, he (Kejriwal) took exemption from the (personal) appearance,” AAP’s legal wing head Himmat Singh Shergill said.Shergill, according to a party release, said that Kejriwal will appear before the court on Tuesday.On May 20, Majithia had filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and two other AAP leaders in the Amritsar court alleging that AAP was bent upon tarnishing his and his family’s image by levelling baseless allegations on drug issue.Besides Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh and Ashish Khaitan were also named in the case which accuses them of “tarnishing” the reputation of Majithia and his family members by levelling “false, baseless and malicious charges”.

Kashmir school fire: Jammu & Kashmir govt sees separatist hand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid increasing incidents of burning of schools, the state government on Monday pointed accusing fingers at separatists, saying they had started the “era of destruction” in Kashmir but were now trying to find an escape route. Education Minister Naeem Akhtar also ruled out any probe into these incidents, saying, “One does not have to research for the source of this huge conspiracy against the hapless people of Kashmir.”In a statement, he said, “burning of schools is one of the ploys to keep the fire burning (in Kashmir)… It is the same people who are promoting looting of banks, torching of shops and vehicles, stoning innocents, intimidation of citizens, who are responsible for burning the educational institutes.”Over the last few months, around 25 schools have been burnt down mysteriously across the Kashmir valley. Asserting that “no inquiry is needed to find out who is behind all this”, the minister said, “It is those people who have created this tirade against education, because they see it as a threat to their vested interests.” Akhtar said the separatists had mounted a tiger and are now trying hard to keep the conflict going.Targeting Yasin Malik, the minister said in the initial phase, the JKLF chief and others were “at the forefront of driving the shutdowns but now they have distanced themselves and thrown the ball solely in the court of (hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman) Syed Ali Shah Geelani.”Defending his decision to hold Board examinations as per schedule, the Education Minister said the government is not trying to invent or impose anything new in the academic arena of the state.”We are only trying to safeguard the career of lakhs of students, whereas separatists, with their shutdown calls, are trying to destroy their academic career,” said Akhtar, who is also government spokesman.Referring to the Malik’s statement that the burning of schools in Kashmir was a conspiracy to defame the separatist leaders, Akhtar said, “those saying that government decision to hold exams has forced students to torch the educational institutes should go for a self-introspection”.The Education Minister appealed to people from all schools of thought to keep the education conflict-neutral. “Just see Palestine or the recent happenings in Aleppo, Syria. Their schools are never shut even if there are bombings, killings and full-fledged war. They know that education is the key and in no way they can stop education. Compared to that, Kashmir is a peaceful region, except for the insecurity caused by the hartal politics being promoted through stone-pelting and intimidation,” Akhtar said.”In Kashmir too, we faced unfortunate deaths for which all of us are heartbroken and pained, but for saving the future generation, education has to go on,” he said.Taking on Yasin Malik, Akhtar said, “It is the examination time for leaders like Mohammad Yasin Malik who is now facing questions from the people over the way they are pushing Kashmiris into perpetual economic and academic disempowerment.” He also asked him to clarify whether he is with militancy or non-violence.”Malik is famous for saying that he was inspired by (Mahatma) Gandhiji when he announced ceasefire and abandoned his path to martyrdom whereas he is promoting others to do so and continues to glorify violence. Now I want to ask him whether he stands with violence or Gandhi Ji’s principles of non-violence. Has he again changed his thoughts,” Akhtar asked.Congress wants sternest punishmentCondemning the burning down of schools in Kashmir, state Congress chief G A Mir on Monday said it is an attack on the future of children and the culprits must be identified for sternest punishment.”We express disappointment over the incidents of burning down of school buildings in various parts of the valley and strongly condemn these unlawful activities, which are being performed to destroy the career of our children,” Mir said.The former Tourism Minister said it the inefficiency and incompetence of the State, which is not able to protect the infrastructure in the valley and secure the future of children from being getting ruined. He said the burning down of schools is an attack on the future of our children and the culprits must be identified sternest punishment.”The attack on schools is a ploy to damage the education system. The government must come out of the deep slumber and stop such unlawful activities,” he said.Describing burning down of schools as one of the greatest tragedies, the Congress unit chief said the government must rise to the occasion to protect education institutions, as such type of unfortunate incidents reflect the utter failure of the state government.

Oil ends at one-month low on OPEC doubts, expected record output | Reuters

Oil ends at one-month low on OPEC doubts, expected record output | Reuters

Updated: Oct 31, 2016 23:32 IST


By Ethan Lou

NEW YORK Oil prices settled at one-month lows on Monday after dropping over 3 percent on doubts about OPEC’s ability to implement its planned production cuts, with the market further weighed by expectations that the cartel had record output in October.The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) approved a document on Monday outlining its long-term strategy, a sign its members are achieving consensus on managing production.But OPEC has achieved little otherwise. Representatives met on Friday in Vienna, and then again on Saturday with their counterparts from non-member producers. They did not reach any specific terms, and sources said Iran has been reluctant to even freeze output.A Reuters survey found on Monday OPEC’s oil output likely hit a record high in October, rising to 33.82 million barrels per day.Brent’s front-month contract LCOc1, which expires after Monday’s session, was down $1.41, or 2.8 percent, at $48.30 a barrel. It hit a low of $47.98 during the day.

The more active next-month Brent contracts were down $2.03, or 4 percent, at $48.65 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were trading down $1.84, or 3.8 percent, at $46.86 a barrel after falling to $46.71.The settlement for WTI was the lowest price since Sept. 29 and for Brent was the lowest since Sept. 30

“Investors in crude oil and energy stocks must be having a nightmare this Halloween,” said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at Forex.com. “The latest fruitless discussions from the OPEC and non-OPEC members have caused … a technical development that could lead to further momentum-based selling pressure.”Reservations over OPEC’s output cut prompted analysts to leave their price outlooks broadly unchanged, a Reuters poll on Monday showed.

Compounding the bearish sentiment was data from energy monitoring service Genscape, cited by traders, which showed a build of 585,217 barrels of crude at the storage hub and delivery point for WTI in Cushing, Oklahoma, in the week to Oct. 28. Oil prices have risen as much as 13 percent since OPEC announced on Sept. 27 a production cut to support prices after a slump that began in mid-2014. The cartel said how much each member should cut will be finalised at a Nov. 30 meeting.Non-member Russia had agreed to cooperate, but a draft federal budget showed it expects to increase its output by 0.7 percent next year and 0.9 percent in 2018. (Additional reporting by Libby George in LONDON and Aaron Sheldrick and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO; Editing by Alan Crosby and Meredith Mazzilli)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Facebook pledges fewer content removals, new criteria as yet unclear | Reuters

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO Facebook will allow more content on its platform that it would have earlier removed because it violated its standards, with new criteria being worked out, a senior executive said on Monday, following a row over the removal of an iconic Vietnam War photo.His comments came on the same day that more than 70 rights groups asked Facebook to clarify its policies for removing content, especially at the behest of governments, alleging the firm had repeatedly censored postings that document human rights violations.Only a month ago, the company and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg came into conflict after Facebook deleted the photo of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack, called “The Terror of War”.Solberg posted the photograph on her Facebook page after the company had deleted it from the sites of a Norwegian author and the newspaper Aftenposten, which mounted a front-page campaign urging Facebook to permit publication.”We have made a number of policy changes after The Terror of War photo. We have improved our escalation process to ensure that controversial stories and images get surfaced more quickly,” said Patrick Walker, Facebook’s director of media partnership for Europe, Middle East and Africa.”(And) in the weeks ahead, we are going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest, even if they might otherwise violate our standards,” Walker told a meeting of the Association of Norwegian Editors in Oslo, to which he was invited following the row.

Walker’s comments echoed an Oct. 21 blog post by Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s head of global public policy, and Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s head of global operations and media partnerships, in which the executives said the firm would change its guidelines on removing content.

“Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them,” they wrote.On Monday, Walker told Reuters Facebook was at the beginning of the process of changing its guidelines and could not give further details. Reuters reported on Friday that an elite group of at least five senior executives, including chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, regularly directs content policy and makes editorial judgment calls, particularly in high-profile controversies.

To the audience of journalists, the Facebook executive said the company had to have global standards of content as it was mindful that content, such as nudity, that was acceptable in one country may not be acceptable in another.Many were left unconvinced after the debate.”Facebook is trying to isolate this as a question of rules about nudity, about being careful. But this is not the question I am raising,” Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief of Aftenposten, told Reuters. “The question is whether they now have such a dominant role in distributing information and news that they are becoming a threat against important democratic processes.” (Editing by Ralph Boulton)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Kashmir fire: J&K HC asks civic officials to protect school buildings from being burnt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday directed police and civil administration officials to devise modes and methods for protecting schools which have become target of miscreants in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. “All the three responsible officers present in the court are directed to sit together along with higher authorities and lower officials and to devise modes and methods which will be effective in protecting school institutions,” a division bench of the court said.The directions were issued to the Inspector General of Police, the Divisional Commissioner and the Director of School Education of Kashmir.The high court took suo motu cognizance of the reports about 26 schools being burnt in Kashmir Valley over the past 115 days of the unrest which started following the killing of terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in early July. The case was heard by Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey.The court also directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to issue necessary instructions to their district level officers including Deputy Commissioners and SPs to take all preventive measures as shall be necessary for saving the school buildings from being burnt and to ensure that no other school building is harmed or destroyed.”Further the mysterious enemies of education shall be unmasked and dealt with iron hand,” the court said.The bench lashed out at the state government, saying the “administrative authorities are required to have resort to protective measures but they are still in deep slumber, appear not to have devised any protective policy for protecting school buildings”. The bench observed that the mysterious burning of centres of learning has sent shock waves awakening all to ponder.”Education is the main factor for intellectual excellence and prosperity. Imparting education in the centres of learning has no other viable substitute,” it added.The court also expressed hope that the “mysterious persons” will stop burning school buildings and “also hope that the citizens will also help in protecting school buildings”. The court listed the case for next hearing on November 7 and directed the three officials to remain present.

How West Bengal became an easy transit point for terror outfits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal with its porous borders has turned into an easy transit point and secure hideout for the agents of terror outfits like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Pakistani secret service ISI.”West Bengal’s border is porous and this was used by militant groups to get an entry into the country and spread to other states. This is nothing new. The state has became a safe and secure shelter for them,” a top CID officer said. Militant outfits like JMB, IS and ISI operatives are recruiting agents and training them here, he added. A special task force of Kolkata Police had arrested six top JMB militants, including four wanted, in connection with the 2014 Khagragarh blast case, from West Bengal and Assam in September.”Taking advantage of the unemployment situation, the agents have been recruiting people with ease. These groups also have recruitment cells which look for possible youths either studying in senior schools or looking for job as their possible targets,” the CID official said, adding social networking sites have played crucial roles in this connection. “Now one can scan through anybody’s profile sitting thousands of kilometres away in another country to choose a possible candidate. Then the message goes to the outfit’s local agent to do the needful to get the person under its umbrella,” he said.The officer cited the arrest of 18-year-old student of a private polytechnique college in Durgapur in Burdwan district, Ashik Ahmed by NIA for his links to the ISIS in March. Ashik, who was trying to build an unit of ISIS in West Bengal, was the second youth to be arrested from the state after Mehdi Masroor Biswas, for his links to the Pakistani agency. A senior officer of Kolkata Police told PTI that the state’s strategic location along the international border and the slack security arrangement at a few places have made such incidents possible through the last decade or more.In December last year Kolkata Police STF had arrested one labourer, a couple of passport agents, a college student and a bartender for alleged links with ISI. The arrest of the bartender from the central part of the city had revealed that a network of ISI agents were working in the state, he added. The officer said, “Specific roles were given to each of these agents by ISI. Some are here to recruit agents, some others to collect information from areas where either the Navy, Army or the Air Force have their base.” “There are people who smuggle in high quality fake Indian currency notes and spread them here with the aim to devastate the economy,” he said. Intelligence sources here said JMB and the IS have spread their network in Howrah, and North and South 24 Parganas districts.”They have set up organisational bases in districts like Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan and Birbhum and we are probing whether they have spread into other states like Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya etc,” the officer said. “The ISI agents first bring outsiders into the country through Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and help them settle by providing fake passports, fake voter identity cards, Aadhar cards and ration cards,” the CID officer said.The cultivation of illegal poppy in the state and smuggling it to other parts even across the border to foreign lands has become one of the principal source of funds for terror outfits like ISIS and JMB. Districts like Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan and Bankura have seen a spurt in illicit poppy cultivation mainly because of the easy way of producing it, he added.

Jayalalithaa doing well: AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, undergoing treatment at a hospital in Chennai since last month, was recovering fast and would soon resume her “people’s duty”, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi said on Monday.”Amma is doing well and will come back to resume her ‘makkal pani’ (people’s duty) very soon,” she told reporters outside Apollo Hospital where Jayalalithaa is being treated since September 22.Meanwhile, state ministers and the AIADMK cadre continued to organise special poojas at various temples across the state for the speedy recovery of their party supremo. Former Congress MLA Yasodha, veteran actress Saroja Devi and South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce vice-president Kalyan were among those who visited the hospital today to enquire about Jayalalithaa’s health condition.”She is a great lady. She will return home and meet the people. I spoke to the doctors and was told by them that she was recovering,” Saroja Devi said.Jayalalithaa, initially admitted for fever and dehydration, was being treated for an infection with respiratory support among others. In the last medical bulletin issued on October 21, the hospital had said she was “interacting and progressing gradually”.

Rolls-Royce ‘made secret payments’

A BBC investigation has found evidence suggesting Rolls-Royce made secret payments to an unregistered Indian agent.

Sardar Patel’s family never took copyright over him: PM Modi’s jibe at dynastic politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel neither did anything for his family nor has his family taken a “copyright” over him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as he emphasised on highlighting contributions of such great men before future generations.Speaking at an event where he inaugurated a digital exhibition on the life of Patel on his 141st birth anniversary, he also said a country as diverse as India cannot run if we focus on our divisions and not live by the mantra of oneness. “When we talk about unity, the message is clear, that I am a BJP ‘wallah’ but Sardar Patel was from Congress and still we are celebrating this jayanti with the same pomp and fervour,” Modi said.He said in the times of every great man there are different ideas and debates associated with them but the succeeding generations don’t have the right to use contributions and achievements of great men to create divisions. The attempt should be to find things from their lives which bind everyone, he added. “I am surprised that some people ask who am I to celebrate the jayanti of Sardar Patel. But Sardar was such a person whose family has not taken any copyright. And anyways in public life, he did not do anything for his family. Whatever he did, was as duty for the country,” Modi said hitting out at critics.”If we present these examples to the current generation, we can say – it is alright there is family but pay some attention to the country also,” he said taking a swipe at dynasty politics. Some people were so great, he said, that attempts were made to make their contributions forgotten for 70 years but these met with no success.Terming Patel as a visionary, Modi said that he had brought in a proposal for 33 per cent women’s reservation as Ahmedabad municipality chief. He said that most states were in favour of Patel and not Jawaharlal Nehru to head the government after independence. He added that Sardar however accepted Gandhiji’s wishes after which Nehru headed the government.In a lighter vein, he said perhaps being a Gujarati himself Gandhi did not want to pick another Gujarati. Speaking about Patel’s sacrifice in the present context, he said people won’t even give up the chairmanship of a municipality. Earlier in the day, Modi paid floral tributes to Patel at his statue in the heart of national capital at Patel Chowk here. “I bow to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary. We recall his rich contribution to India,” he said.In his speech digital exhibition event, Modi also emphasised on the role of lives of people like Patel in inspiring people to stay united. “We are watching it everyday and sometimes it appears as if we are looking for ways to diverge. As if we are sitting with binoculars seeking things which can create divisions. A country so filled with diversities cannot run like this. We will have to live by the mantra of oneness. And inculcate it as our heritage and percolate to further generations,” he said.Modi credited to Patel’s stature that rulers of hundreds of princely states got convinced to merge in India. There is a traditional rivalry between Patels and Kshatriyas in Gujarat but even Kshatriya royals agreed with Patel, he said highlighting the spirit of unity. Modi also said people should be made aware of the contributions of people in freedom struggle. It was more a struggle of the people, than that of the leaders and the contribution of these people should be highlighted.He said museums would be created in each state to bring forth the contributions of the tribals in the freedom struggle. At the event, Modi also launched the government’s ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ scheme to promote greater awareness among people of various states about one another and hence promoting the spirit of unity in diversity. Six MoUs between two states each were also signed under this initiative.Modi said people often take pride when their kids speak Spanish or French, but an environment needs to be created when encouragement should be given to speaking more Indian languages.He suggested a range of activities which children from various states can undertake to know each other better under Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat. A database of 5000 questions related to each state can be prepared and there can be quiz competitions, he also suggested.

Mumbai sees quieter Diwali thanks to loud message from CM Fadnavis, NGO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai saw a quieter Diwali this year thanks to an appeal made by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a pre-festival campaign launched by activists and environmentalists against use of firecrackers. Fadnavis had vowed not to burst firecrackers this Diwali and appealed to people to do the same.”Realising the health hazards of noise pollution and firecrackers, people used fewer firecrackers this year as compared to last few years,” said environmentalist Sumaira Abdulali, who is founder of an NGO, Awaaz Foundation, which has been campaigning for brining down noise levels. She sent an e-mail to Fadnavis, thanking him for his appeal to curb use of firecrackers.”I sincerely thank you for your pre-Diwali statement that your family and you would not burst firecrackers. Citizens of Mumbai have responded to your message and our awareness campaigns. You leading by example in this manner has made a huge impact to inspire citizens to use fewer crackers and bring down noise levels sharply, helping protect the health and well-being of our city,” Abdulali said.Awaaz Foundation, along with its partners, including Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, has been conducting periodic tests of noise levels from firecrackers, loudspeakers in the metropolis as part its anti-pollution campaign.”Although Mumbaikars used fewer firecrackers, enforcement of time limits was found lacking at many places. At prominent locations such as Marine Drive, firecrackers were used after 10 pm in spite of police presence. The highest reading of 113.5 dB was recorded at about 11.15 PM at Marine Drive,” she said.In 2012, there were norm violations all over the city, but this year, most firecrackers were found to be within the permissible noise limit of 125 dB, Abdulali said.According to her NGO’s noise pollution tests, Worli, KEM Hospital and Marine Drive were among places where noise level ranged between 90 and 113.5 dB. Most other places in the metropolis saw quieter Diwali, she said.

Delhi pollution during Diwali worst in 3 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diwali fireworks pushed pollution in Delhi to a dangerous level, the worst in three years, as it turned the air highly toxic due to a deadly cocktail of harmful respirable pollutants and gases, engulfing the city with a cover of thick smog triggering health alarms.Various monitoring agencies including Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Central Pollution Control Board, Pune-based SAFAR and Centre for Science and Environment were unanimous about the severity of the air quality in the city. As per DPCC’s real time monitoring mechanism, the ultra pollutant PM 2.5 breached the safe standard by over 14 times at Anand Vihar, Delhi’s most polluted area, at 2:30 AM. Many other areas including densely populated R K Puram had nearly similar readings when pollution peaked past mid night. Noise pollution, which was monitored at five locations in the city, was marginally higher than last year as it ranged between 66.1 decibel(A) and 75.8 dB(A), while last year, it had varied from 65.9 dB(A) to 74.8 dB(A), according to DPCC findings.In the morning, the city woke up to the season’s worst air quality as smoke from Diwali fireworks, coupled with moisture and nearly stagnant wind movement, shrouded the city in a thick cover of smog. Commuters in several areas found it difficult to find their way as the visibility level plunged to nearly zero in several areas. SAFAR, an agency of Earth Sciences Ministry, said air quality was not only severe but plunged to its worst in three years during Diwali mainly due to low wind movement and falling boundary layer, that traps pollutants close to the surface. The most critically polluted period was between 11 PM on October 30 and 10 AM today. The volume of sulphur dioxide (SO2), which can aggravate asthma, also breached the safe standards, indicating that the crackers contained a high level of sulphur. It averaged between 20-131 ug/m3 while it was between 26-64 ug/m3 last year.On Diwali night, PM 10 ranged from 448 (micrograms per cubic metre) g/m3 to 939 g/m3 in Delhi as against the national safe standard of 100 g/m3, DPCC said. The 24-hour average of PM 2.5, particles that measure less than 2.5 microns in diameter, ranged between 180 g/m3 and 440 g/m3. The prescribed standard for it is 60. Diwali in 2015 saw PM 10 averaging between 296 and 778 g/m3 while in 2014, the same was recorded between 421 and 790 g/m3. In case of PM 2.5, the average concentration recorded in 2015 was between 184 and 369 g/m3. The data for 2014 was not immediately available. Prolonged exposure to PM 2.5 and PM 10 beyond the safe limits can harm the respiratory system as the ultra fine particulates can find their way deep into the lungs and also enter the bloodstream. Even areas like Shanti Path, which record moderate levels of air quality even on the worst of days, had hazardous air, with the US Embassy’s pollution monitor recording extremely high levels of PM 2.5, even way beyond the severe category.Agencies like SAFAR and CPCB advise people not to go outdoors when air quality turns ‘severe’ as it has adverse effect especially on children, elders and those having heart or lung diseases. “The ambient air is influenced by plumes of smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana. There is no significant wind movement and the fireworks add to that. So, this is an accumulative effect,” a Delhi Environment Department official said. SAFAR said the Delhi University area was the most polluted while Ayanagar was the least polluted. On the other hand, DPCC identified Anand Vihar as the most polluted in terms of both PM 2.5 and PM 10. Level of pollution, in real-time, peaked at Anand Vihar at 3.30 AM when it reached a whopping 1,068 ug/m3, violating the safe limit by over 10 times. PM 2.5 peaked at 883 ug/m3 in the same spot at 2.30 AM, over 14 times above the safe limit of 60. In its analysis, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said lower wind speed and lower mixing height (vertical mixing of air) came in the way of pollutants getting dispersed and gave rise to smog. “Wind speed fell from 6km/hr on October 28 to 1 km/hr on October 30 night and remained so till the next morning. Temperature remained low at 15 degrees Celsius on Diwali night.The boundary layer height (inversion layer) over Delhi fell to 40-60 metres between October 30 midnight till 7 AM on 31st morning,” Gufran Beig, Project Director, SAFAR, said. In its report, CSE said this year Diwali pollution was not only worse but also more toxic as maximum levels of several gases and particles have gone up from last year. “Neither policy action nor awareness campaigns could prevent toxic loading of our lungs. This is unacceptable in a city where lung of every third child in impaired. Festival of light cannot turn into scary statistics of illness and deaths Delhi is awaiting yet another deadly winter. Action to control pollution this winter has to gather momentum now,” it said. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain claimed people burnt 40 per cent less crackers this Diwali compared to last year. However, he did not give any details to substantiate his claim. CSE said the minimum and maximum levels of nitrogen oxide this year was 70-123 microgramme per cubic metre compared to 37-79 microgramme per cubic metre in 2015. “The maximum levels have increased by nearly 1.5 times. The lower level has doubled,” said CSE adding Carbon monoxide in the air has also shot up. “CO levels, that otherwise is declining in Delhi increased during this year compared to last year. This year CO has ranged between 2000 microgramme per cum and 4200 microgramme per cum as opposed to 1100 microgramme per cum to 4000 microgramme per cum last year. High level of CO can curdle blood and lead to instant deaths,”

Bhopal jailbreak: Constable killed by SIMI activists was preparing for daughter’s wedding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Head Constable Ramashankar Yadav, killed by SIMI activists for escaping from jail in Bhopal, was a doting father who was excited over forthcoming marriage of his daughter but the tragedy has now pushed the family into profound grief.”Ramashankar was happy and excited over his 24-year-old daughter Sonia’s wedding scheduled for December 9,” his nephew Vijay Shanker Yadav said.Ramashankar, who had earlier suffered a heart attack, was busy making arrangement for the wedding, he said.”My uncle was busy making arrangements for his daughter’s marriage. But as fate had it, we got the news of his killing by SIMI men this morning,” Vijay said.Ramashankar’s two sons — Shambhunath (36) and Prabhunath (32) — are in Army, who are currently posted at Guwahati and Hissar, respectively. While Prabhunath has reached Bhopal, Shambhunath is scheduled to arrive late tonight, he said.”My uncle’s body is at morgue after postmortem. His mortal remains will be consigned to flames tomorrow,” he added. A pall of gloom has descended on Yadav family after the incident.”We will sit and talk whether to go ahead with the wedding or postpone it,” Vijay added.

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee finally released from hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee was released from hospital on Monday evening.Around 5.30pm on Monday, Banerjee seen sporting dark glasses was escorted out of the hospital by his security personnel to his vehicle.The 28-year-old Banerjee met with an accident on October 18 and suffered injuries to orbit bone beneath the left eye. Since then, he had been undergoing treatment at the Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata. On October 25, doctors operated for over three hours on the orbit bone, beneath the eye.The hospital constituted a 14-member medical board to attend to the MP. The members of the board revealed that over last 13 days, ever since Banerjee was admitted to the hospital, his health condition has steadily improved. A medical bulletin issued on Monday said, “Abhishek Banerjee’s health condition has substantially improved over the past two days with improvement in all vitals. His superficial stitches of lacerated wound over the left cheek were comfortably removed on Sunday afternoon while most important stitches within the eye/orbit area shall be removed in due course after appropriate planning by the Medical Board.”Though he has been released from the hospital, Banerjee will have to come to the hospital for routine check-up later this week. Banerjee had met with an accident while returning to Kolkata from Berhampur on October 18. Banerjee’s vehicle suffered a head-on collision with a truck and overturned near Singur on the Durgapur Expressway. The Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited him a number of times at the hospital.

Oil down more than $1 on OPEC output-cut concerns | Reuters

Oil down more than $1 on OPEC output-cut concerns | Reuters

Updated: Oct 31, 2016 21:30 IST


By Ethan Lou

NEW YORK Oil prices dropped more than $1 a barrel on Monday to hit one-months low on doubts about OPEC’s planned production cut and a build in U.S. crude inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub.Officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-member producers met in Vienna on Saturday, but did not come to specific terms, agreeing only to meet again before a scheduled regular OPEC meeting on Nov. 30.On Friday, talks in Vienna between OPEC members sputtered following objections from Iran, which has been reluctant to even freeze its output, sources said. A Reuters poll on Monday showed reservations over OPEC’s ability to reach an agreement to limit output prompted analysts to leave their price outlook broadly unchanged.Brent’s front-month contract, which expires after Monday’s session, was down $1.50 at $48.20 a barrel by 11:02 a.m. EDT (1502 GMT). It hit $48.17, its lowest since Sept. 29.The more active next-month Brent contracts were down $1.39 at $49.29 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down $1.31 at $47.39 a barrel after falling to $47.36, the lowest since Sept. 30.”The market is becoming a bit weary,” said Kyle Cooper, analyst at ION Energy in Houston. “Unless OPEC can circle the wagon and get everyone on the same page, the market’s going to be skeptical.”Compounding the bearish sentiment was data from energy monitoring service Genscape, cited by traders, which showed a build of 585,217 barrels of crude at the storage hub and delivery point for WTI futures in Cushing in the week to Oct. 28.

Global oil prices have risen by as much as 13 percent, encouraging a recovery in the industry after OPEC announced on Sept. 27 a production cut to boost prices after a slump that began mid-2014.But General Electric Co, which announced on Monday it would merge its oil-and-gas business with Baker Hughes Inc, said the move assumes a “slow” oil price recovery.A representative for oil transport company Euronav NV said on Monday it is unlikely that OPEC will push up prices due to Iran and Iraq, which has also resisted cuts.

OPEC had not specified how much each individual member should cut, saying that will be finalized at the Nov. 30 meeting.Non-member Russia had agreed to talks to cooperate, but a draft federal budget showed it expects to increase its output by 0.7 percent next year and 0.9 percent in 2018. (Additional reporting by Libby George in LONDON and Aaron Sheldrick and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

SC notice to Centre on plea alleging abuse of national anthem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Acting on a PIL seeking directions for playing the national anthem in cinema halls before a movie begins, the Supreme Court has asked the government to specify what would constitute disrespect to it and its abuse.A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy passed the order while hearing a petition referring to the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and also alleging that the national anthem was sung in various circumstances which were not permissible.The PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey has sought directions that the national anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and the programmes where constitutional dignitaries are present. The matter will now be heard on November 30.The petition, filed through advocate Abhinav Srivastava, said the national anthem should be respected and due honour should be shown to it by every citizen. It also gave certain suggestions to avoid alleged abuses to it.”There should be no commercial exploitation to gain financial advantage or any kind of benefit. There should be no interruption in between till the completion of national anthem and no abridged version shall be sung at any point of time. There should not be dramatisation of the national anthem and it should not be sung in an entertainment programme,” the plea suggested. It also said the anthem should not be sung before those who do not understand it unless they are properly apprised that when the National Anthem of India is to be played, they are required to show respect.”It should not be printed on undesirable objects and should not be displayed in such a manner and at such places which may be disgraceful to its status and may tantamount to disrespect,” the plea said.The plea also cited instances where the anthem was allegedly abused, including one in which the anthem was played in entertainment shows in order to “dramatise the whole thing”.

Home Ministry denies Kejriwal’s allegation of judges’ phones being tapped

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Government today strongly denied allegations that telephones of some judges were being tapped saying all such reports were “baseless and unfounded”.”The Ministry of Home Affairs strongly denies media reports alleging tapping of telephones of some judges. There is no truth in these reports. These reports are baseless and unfounded,” MHA spokesperson Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia said in a statement. The denial came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal created ripples by alleging that there is a “widespread” fear that the phones of judges are being tapped and said if it is true, then it is the biggest assault on the independence of the judiciary.Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has also denied the allegations, saying the independence of judiciary is fundamental and uncompromising for the Modi government. Kejriwal made the allegations while addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of Delhi High Court here in which Modi and Chief Justice of India T S Thakur were present.The Union Home Secretary is the competent authority for sanctioning of tapping of telephones and all such orders have to be ratified later by a high-level committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.Kejriwal claimed during his meetings with judges he has “overheard them telling each other that they should not talk on phones because they could be tapped”. The Chief Minister said when he told them the phones of judges cannot be tapped, “they retorted by saying that all phones could be tapped”. “I don’t know whether it is true or not but there is a widespread fear. If it is true that phones are tapped then judges can be influenced…,” he said.Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of Delhi High Court here in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India T S Thakur also participated, he said even if there has been a wrong-doing by a judge then phone tapping should not be allowed. “There are many other ways to gather evidence for wrongdoing, otherwise it will be the biggest assault on the independence of the judiciary,” he said.Prasad, who spoke after Kejriwal, said, “I deny with all authority at command the allegations that phones of judges have been tapped.” He said right from the prime minister to other ministers and the government, all have fought for the independence of judiciary and individual liberty and freedom of media during emergency.”Independence of judiciary is fundamental, impeachable and uncompromising for the government,” he said. Kejriwal also referred to the actions of judiciary as well as the executives which may take away the rights of the people. “If any action of the executive snatches the power of the people, if any judicial interpretation of the Constitution takes away power of the people then it is not good for democracy,” he said.

Hardik Patel-led PAAS to launch fresh agitation for Patel quota

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) on Monday vowed to launch another round of agitation for OBC quota next month to “open eyes” of Gujarat government which it said was “dragging its feet” on the issue.The announcement was made by Samiti leaders at Jangvad village in Rajkot district, where thousands of Patels, including all the 50-odd PAAS conveners, gathered to attend a rally, organised by the PAAS to mark birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The call for the rally was given by Hardik, currently based in Udaipur in Rajasthan.Hardik’s close aide and PAAS convener for Saurashtra region, Lalit Vasoya announced that Hardik has given a go ahead to restart the stir. Since Hardik, on bail in sedition cases in connection with last year’s Patel quota stir, is currently barred from entering Gujarat, he addressed the gathering through a video message consenting the launch of second round of the protest.”In his video message, Hardik asked our community to stay united and start the fresh round of agitation, as the state government has closed all other doors for us. PAAS will start this fresh round of agitation from November 20 with a massive rally at Bhayavadar village of Rajkot,” Vasoya told PTI.Last week, 31 PAAS members, including Vasoya, were detained by police in Gandhinagar for allegedly creating a ruckus outside the office of state OBC commission, where they had gathered to submit an application for granting OBC status to Patel community.”We went there to make a representation as the state government earlier asked us to follow the legal procedures. But, police stopped us from making our representation and detained us. Thus, we are left with no other option than to start the agitation once again to open the eyes of government,” Vasoya said.Another PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhaniya said Hardik has urged Patel community to repose faith in entire PAAS team.”Hardik gave assurance that the community will get reservation with consistent efforts. After our rally in Bhayavadar on November 20, we will organise one such rally in each taluka of Gujarat after every 10 days. We will reach out to each and every village to spread awareness about our cause,” he said.Last year, the agitation spearheaded by Hardik had led to violence as Patel community members clashed with police at various places across the state. The quota issue has put the ruling BJP government in quandary, which is facing Assembly elections next year.

Bhai Dooj 2016: Date, timings and all you need to know about the festival!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the fifth day of Diwali and marks the end of the auspicious festival of light. The festivities of this day are similar to that of Raksha Bandhan where sisters apply red tikka post an aarti, pray for their brother’s well being and get gifts from them. This festival has several other names:– It is called Bhai Dooj in Northern part of India.– Celebrated as the second most important festival, it is called Bhai Tikain Nepal. Here sisters offer prayers to Yamraj and wish for her brother’s long life and prosperity.– In West Bengal it is called Bhai Pota where sisters offer prayers to Yamraj and chants this mantra-“Bhai er kopale dilam phota, Jomer Duar e porlo kata,Jamuna Dae Jomke phota, Ami di amar bhai ke phota,Bhai jeno hoy lohar vata.”This means-On my brother’s forehead I put the “phota”, Death’s door are now closely crossed,Yamuna applies “phota” on Yama, While I give the “phota” to my brother.Let my brother be as tough as Iron”.Sisters chant this mantra in order to keep Lord of Death, Yamraj away from her brother.– Gujarati, Marathi and Konkani community call it as Bhai Beej or Bhau Beej.There are other names for this festival- Bhatru Dviteeya or Bhatri Ditya.Here are the timings for Bhai Dooj:Duration = 2 Hours 15 MinsDwitiya Tithi Begins = 01:39 on 1/Nov/2016Dwitiya Tithi Ends = 04:11 on 2/Nov/2016Significance of the festival:According to Hindu mythology, it is commemorated in significance of Lord Krishna visiting his sister Subhadra, who welcomes him and applies tilak on his forehead, after he slays the demon Narkasur. Another folklore says that the day is celebrated for the God of Death, Yama, as he visits his sister Yami who puts a tilak on his forehead. Here’s wishing all brothers and sisters and very Happy Bhai Dooj!

Bhopal jailbreak: Police rejects criticism of fake encounter of SIMI activists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police on Monday dismissed criticism over the encounter killing of eight SIMI activists near Bhopal, saying there was heavy exchange of fire in which they were felled after which four country-made guns and some sharp- edged weapons were recovered from them.”There was heavy firing from the other side (activists) and they were killed in retaliatory fire. Three policemen received injuries from sharp weapons. Police opened 45-46 rounds of fire,” IG Yogesh Chaudhary told a media briefing after questions were raised over the genuineness of the encounter.The 8 activists of the banned SIMI were killed in an encounter hours after they escaped from the high-security Bhopal jail after slitting the throat of a guard and scaling the wall using bedsheets between 2 and 3 in the morning.Chaudhary repeatedly maintained that all questions raised over the encounter were a matter of investigation as the series of events over seven hours between their escape and killing were still being probed. The slain activists, Chaudhary said, were dangerous criminals who were involved in the killing of two constables in Khandwa and elsewhere in 2008 and 2011. Besides, three of them were involved in an earlier jailbreak in Khandwa in 2013.Asked about a video purportedly shot at the encounter site in which a policeman is seen firing at a motionless body, he said, “We have been involved in the action the whole day. We have to look at the video and into its veracity.”Justifying the police action against the SIMI activists, the IG said these were dangerous criminals who were involved in serious crimes and who had escaped after a hacking a security guard in jail. He said the Bhopal police, Special Task Force and CTG were jointly involved in the operation.Replying to a question about some accounts that the activists had no weapons, he said there will be investigation according to rules and all these factors will be taken into account.Describing the terrain where the encounter took place, Chaudhary said police personnel were attacked by SIMI activists from higher position and there was even a scuffle. He, however, maintained no mobile phone was recovered from the slain SIMI activists.Chaudhary said how the SIMI terror suspects could lay their hands on weapons after their escape will also be probed. “How they got the weapons, did they receive any external help are matters of investigation,” he said.

Bhopal jailbreak: Opposition demands judicial probe, BJP defends police action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress and other opposition parties on Monday demanded a judicial probe into the killing of 8 SIMI terrorists in an encounter after their escape from Bhopal Central jail. While Congress and CPI-M sought a judicial probe so people get to know the truth, the BJP questioned Congress for coming in support of SIMI terrorists and accused it of politicising the incident.”I am demanding a judicial probe because even the government must know under what circumstances they escaped. People of the state and country must know how terrorists with with such a record were able to escape from such a high security jail and within hours caught and shot dead,” Congress leader Kamal Nath, a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh, said. His party colleague Manish Tewari, however, said he would comment on the issue after more details are received since the situation is still evolving.”It is an evolving situation. Let the police come out with further details as to what happened. We will await for the details. It’s much better to wait for more details,” he said.CPI-M’s Brinda Karat termed the official version of the incident as “highly dubious and suspicious”. She said the versions of state government and police were “contradictory”.”Therefore, to get to the truth, it is essential to have an independent probe under a high court judge and should be time-bound because nobody can believe what seems to be a highly manufactured version,” she said. Karat said those killed were undertrials and dubbing them as terrorists amounted to “subverting the law”.Coming out in defence of the police action, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao accused the Congress of batting for terrorists belonging to SIMI the way it had done for LeT in the past.”I don’t think why Congress wants to speak up for such individuals. Politicising the encounter is certainly not a done thing. But Congress party has done this for a long time. Looking at the way Congress is politicising the encounter, and that too concerning the particular group or organisation, is a matter of concern. Congress seems to raise concern only when LeT terrorists are killed and when SIMI activists who are convicted and involved in jailbreak. Congress party springing to their defence raises curiosity,” he said.

Bhopal jailbreak: All you need to know about Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight SIMI activists who were under trial were killed on Monday in an alleged encounter with police on the outskirts of Bhopal, hours after they escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail after killing a security guard. The eight activists were identified as Amzad, Zakir Hussain Sadiq, Mohammad Salik, Mujeeb Shaikh, Mehbood Guddu, Mohammad Kalid Ahmed, Aqeel and Majid, a police official said.SIMI was banned by the government of India in 2001. Here is what you need to know about this banned organisation.FOUNDATION OF THE ORGANISATION:Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, was founded on April 25, 1977 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. Mohammad Ahmadaullah Siddiqi was the founder of SIMI, who currently is a Professor of Journalism and Public Relations at the Western Illinois University in USA. It was launched as a student wing of Jammat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), however the alliance broke in 1981 after SIMI activists protested against Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat’s visit to India. Arafat was greeted with black flags upon his visit to New Delhi by SIMI activists. JIH eventually abandoned SIMI and floated a new student wing called the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO).IDEOLOGY:As an organisation, SIMI does not believe in the Indian Constitution or the secular order. SIMI is widely believed to be against Hinduism, western beliefs and ideals, as well as other ‘anti-Islamic cultures’. Young extremist students of SIMI declared Jihad against India; to establish Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam) by either forced conversion or by violence is the aim of it.STRONG PRESENCE OF SIMI:SIMI has strong presence in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra (especially in Thane, Jalgaon, Malegaon and Aurangabad), Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, Kondutty in Malappuram district), Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It is alleged that prominent Islamist organisations like Kerala-based National Democratic Front and Islamic Youth Centre (IYC), and Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), are controlled by former SIMI cadres. BANNING OF THE ORGANISATION:Following the 9/11 attack in America, the Government of India banned SIMI under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for alleged anti-national activities. As soon as SIMI was outlawed, national president of the organisation Dr Shahid Badar Falah was arrested from Delhi and was charged with sedition and inciting communal trouble in Uttar Pradesh.Organisation’s secretary general, Safdar Nagori, who was absconding since 2001, was arrested in 2008 from Indore. He is alleged to have established links with Pakistan’s ISI and other Islamist fundamentalist leaders. SIMI is alleged to have conducted the 2006 Mumbai bomb blasts that killed 187 people. Top SIMI leader Abul Bashar Qasmi was arrested in August 2008 for allegedly being the mastermind behind the July 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts.

Civil Aviation Ministry awaits Home Ministry inputs on drones policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After stakeholder consultations, the Civil Aviation Ministry is now awaiting final inputs from the Home Ministry for deciding the regulations on commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including drones. Aviation regulator DGCA banned the use of UAVs for commercial purposes in October 2014 amid concerns over security. In April 2016, the watchdog came out with draft norms for public consultations but there is yet to be a final decision on the issue.Recently, officials from the Civil Aviation Ministry held discussions with their counterparts in the Home Ministry about the proposed regulations for UAVs, including drones and others. A senior official said views from the Home Ministry are awaited on the matter.”We had a meeting with the Home Ministry officials. We have requested for inputs on our proposed policy on drones and expedite the matter. As soon as we get their inputs, we will be putting out the policy on drones,” he said.The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its draft regulations had proposed that drone users would have to secure a permit and a unique identification number for their operations.In the wake of technological advancements in UAVs over the years and their increased use, it has become necessary to develop guidance material to regulate their activities, according to officials. There have been growing instances of drones and other UAVs coming into the flight paths of aircraft, especially near busy airports, leading some of these countries to formulate rules to regulate these operations.”Civilian use of UAS (unmanned aircraft system) includes damage assessment of property and life in areas affected with natural calamities, surveys; critical infrastructure monitoring, among others… UA (unmanned aircraft) operations present problems to the regulator in terms of ensuring safety of other users of airspace and persons on the ground,” it had said.In October 2014, the government had banned the use of UAVs by any non-government agency, organisation or an individual.

Police shoot dead eight SIMI militants after prison escape in Bhopal | Reuters

Police shoot dead eight SIMI militants after prison escape in Bhopal | Reuters

Updated: Oct 31, 2016 20:31 IST


By Jatindra Dash

BHUBANESHWAR, India Madhya Pradesh police shot dead eight Islamist prisoners who had escaped from jail hours earlier on Monday by using knotted bedsheets to scale the walls, officials said.The men, members of a banned militant group awaiting trial, fled the high security jail in the early hours in Bhopal, after slitting the throat of a prison officer.Police tracked the armed men down after local villagers reported suspicious movements, surrounded them outside the city and shot all eight dead, inspector general of police Yogesh Choudhary told Reuters.

The escaped prisoners “fired on the police party first” he said. “In retaliation police fired and all eight were dead. Four firearms and three knives were recovered.”The men had been facing charges including murder and robbery, Choudhary said. Three had escaped from another Indian prison in 2013.

All eight were members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a group formed in 1977 which has been accused of involvement in bomb attacks across the country.

The home ministry has ordered an enquiry into the prison break, Indian media reported. (Writing by Tommy Wilkes; editing by Andrew Roche)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Govt relaxes norms for overstay beyond official foreign tour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government has relaxed the 50% norm for overstaying abroad after official visit, by allowing bureaucrats to avail a four-day holiday if their official tour is of less than 8 days. Under the earlier norms, bureaucrats travelling abroad on official tour could seek leave for staying abroad up to 50% of the duration of visit, subject to a maximum of 15 days.”It has been decided that in case of official visit/tour abroad (including training and excluding study leave) where the period of deputation is less than 8 days, the government official may be granted ex-India leave for a maximum period of 4 days,” said the office memorandum issued by the Department of Expenditure in the Finance Ministry.The memorandum, however, clarified that in respect of official visit/tour abroad, including training for more than 8 days, the limit of 50% ex-India leave will continue. It further said, that during ex-India leave the closed holidays, like Saturday, Sunday, etc, may be pre-fixed/ suffixed subject to the condition that no extra financial implications like payment of hotel charges/per-diem allowance are involved.Earlier this year, the Ministry had said that bureaucrats can go on a maximum four overseas trips in a calendar year, and that Secretaries should undertake such travels only when no one else can be deputed.Secretaries to government departments had also been barred from travelling abroad during a Parliament session unless absolutely unavoidable. Also, Secretary and the Minister of a department cannot be abroad at the same time. The foreign travels of bureaucrats have to be authorised by Screening Committee of Secretaries (SCoS).

Governmet is the biggest litigant, says PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming government as the “biggest litigant”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said there is a need to lessen the load on the judiciary which spends its maximum time in tackling cases where the government is a party. He also pitched for an All India Judicial Service on the lines of Indian Administrative Service.Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court, Modi said the government is the “biggest litigant”. “The judiciary spends its maximum time on us. Us does not mean Modi, but the government,” he said.The Prime Minister said the load on the judiciary can be reduced if cases are filed after taking a considered view. He said if a teacher approaches court over a service matter and wins, then the judgement should be used as a yardstick to extend the benefit to thousands of others to reduce litigation at a later stage. Though there are no concrete figures, government is party to at least 46% of the court cases ranging from service matters to indirect taxes.While the Centre has so far failed to finalise the litigation policy, several states have gone ahead with their respective policies based on the 2010 draft of the Law Ministry. The draft litigation policy, which is being fine-tuned keeping in view the latest trends, makes it clear that the mindset that matters should be left to the courts for an final decision, should to be discarded.Recalling the role Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary on the formation of an All-India Civil Service, Modi said its officers work as a bridge between the Centre and the states in implementing policies. He said due to the training, an IAS posted in a district thinks on national lines. He said though “controversial”, the issue of an All-India Judicial Service should also be debated.Against the backdrop of opposition to the idea by some states and high courts, Modi said debate is the essence of democracy. The chief justices’ conferences in 1961, 1963 and 1965 favoured creation of an AIJS, but the proposal had to be shelved after some states and HCs opposed it. Subsequently, the Constitution was amended in 1977 to provide for an AIJS under Article 312.The proposal was again floated by the UPA government in 2012 when it got it vetted by a committee of secretaries and prepared a Cabinet note. But the draft bill was shelved after opposition from HC chief justices who felt it to be an infringement of their rights.AIJS is an attempt to ensure that younger judges are promoted to the SC and HCs. Modi also called for imparting training to young people in law universities in drafting laws, which he said can “narrow down” scope of discrimination and interpretation. However, he said the scope cannot be reduced to zero. He appreciated the role of the bar and the bench in giving time for alternate dispute resolution and said it can also help reduce pendency of cases in courts.Besides the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, Delhi Lt Governor Najib Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were also present.

PM Modi pays tribute to Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid tributes to Indira Gandhi on her 32nd death anniversary.”Tributes to Mrs. Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary,” Modi tweeted. Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, was assassinated on this day in 1984 by two of her own security guards. Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a number of other party leaders paid floral tributes to Indira Gandhi at 1, Safdarjung Road, where she was assassinated.The party had cancelled the annual commemoration programme at Shakti Sthal, the memorial of Indira Gandhi, as it remains shut after reporting a number of duck deaths amid the bird flu scare in the city.

Aspiring superpower? 6.54 crore Indians have never attended school, reveals Census data

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 6.54 crore people in the age group of 5-19 years in the country have never attended any school while another 4.49 crore have dropped out of schools in the last decade.According to the 2011 Census data, there is 38.01 crore population in the age group of 5-19 years of which 26.98 crore (71%) is attending educational institutions. 4.49 crore (11.8%) people have attended schools earlier while 6.54 crore (17.2%) have never been to a school. There were about 65.7 lakh disabled people in the age group of 5-19 at census 2011 in India, according to the census data.17.5 lakh (26.7%) of the disabled population has never attended any school, eight lakh (12.1%) has dropped out of schools in the last decade while 40.2 lakh people (61.2%) are attending educational institutions.The proportion of disabled persons who never attended any educational institution in 2011, was found to be highest among persons with ‘multiple disability’ (54.4%), followed by ‘mental illness’ (50.3%) and ‘mental retardation’ (41.2%) whereas persons with ‘any other disability’ (17.7%) show the least percentage. Further, out of 40.2 lakh disabled persons attending educational institutions, 22.8 lakh (56.7%) are males and 17.4 lakh (43.3%) are females.In 2001, about 33 lakh (50.5%) out of 65.3 lakh disabled persons in the same age group reported attending educational institutions. There is an improvement of about 11 percentage points for the disabled persons attending schools in the age-group 5-19 during the decade 2001-2011. It is further noticed that disabled persons with ‘any other disability’ show the highest percentage (71.2%) in attending educational institution followed by ‘seeing’ (68%), ‘hearing’ (67%), ‘movement’ (59.6%), ‘speech’ (58.9%), ‘mental retardation’ (47.2%), ‘multiple disability’ (37.2%) and least with ‘mental illness’ (34.1%).Maximum percentage of disabled persons who attended educational institution earlier is seen in ‘movement’ (17.7%) followed by ‘mental illness’ (15.5%), and least in ‘multiple disability’ (8.4%).

Shoot at sight action for terrorists, says former MP CM Babulal Gaur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that judicial process takes a long time to give justice which gives opportunity to the terrorists and terror organisations to become stronger, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Babulal Gaur on Monday demanded a shoot at sight action against the terrorists.”There is a need to change the law so that the police can shoot the perpetrators directly as they pose danger to the society. The court trials for terrorists should be closed. There should be shoot at sight action for people like these,” Gaur told ANI.Hailing the valour and bravery of the Madhya Pradesh Police who took prompt action to kill the eight SIMI terrorists, Gaur asked the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government to give bravery medals to the officers.”I hail the valour and bravery of the Madhya Pradesh Police who took prompt action to kill the terrorists. I urge the government to give bravery medals for the police officials who conducted it,” he said.The eight SIMI terrorists, who were killed had escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail, earlier this morning. The SIMI terrorists escaped from the jail at around 2:00 a.m. after killing a security guard and scaling the prison wall using bedsheets. They were cornered and gunned down 10 km away from the prison in the city outskirts in a joint operation by the city police, counter terrorist group (CTG) and ATS team.Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring states were put on high alert following the jail break. A number of prison officials were also suspended by the state government. Madhya Pradesh Home minister Bhupendra Singh called the jail break “unfortunate” and suspended five prison officers with immediate effect for negligence in duty. The Union Home Ministry has asked the Madhya Pradesh government to send a detailed report about the jail break.

Watch: Unverified video of encounter between police and escaped SIMI operatives in Bhopal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight SIMI activists were killed on Monday in an alleged encounter with police on the outskirts of Bhopal hours after they escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail killing a security guard but questions have emerged over the encounter. This is the second major jail-break by operatives of SIMI in three years after the sensational escape by seven members of the group from a jail in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh in 2013. According to eyewitnesses, the terrorists’ hurled stones on the villagers and police before being gunned down in the encounter.As a controversy raged over the police action after the daring pre-dawn jail-break, TV channels showed footage purportedly from the encounter site in which a policeman is seen pumping bullets into a man from close range after some unidentified person takes out what appears to be a knife said to be in a plastic cover and places it back.Watch the unverified video doing rounds on social media here: IG Yogesh Choudhary said the fleeing SIMI activists had weapons in their possession and opened fire when confronted and the police fired in retaliation, in comments that appeared to contradict the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister’s statement.State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said the under-trials used spoons and plates they carried from the prison as weapons to attack the security personnel. Asked for his comments on the TV footage that appeared to contradict his theory, he maintained that it was an encounter and police had no option but to eliminate them.OPPOSITION DEMANDS JUDICIAL PROBE INTO ENCOUNTERAIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said a probe by NIA is not enough, as it would be in the interest of justice that an apex court-monitored probe is ordered. Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said, “SIMI activists have escaped from the jail which is a high security prison, and within few hours they have not only been traced but killed. Now they can’t be questioned, there is no evidence, their statements cannot be recorded. I am demanding a judicial probe because even the government must know under what circumstances they escaped.” Congress leader Digvijay Singh, a former chief minister of MP, also demanded a probe.(With inputs from agencies)

Facebook says will remove fewer pictures, stories after Vietnam photo row | Reuters

Facebook says will remove fewer pictures, stories after Vietnam photo row | Reuters

Updated: Oct 31, 2016 18:25 IST


By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO Facebook will allow more content on its platform that it would have earlier removed because it violated its standards, a senior company executive said on Monday, following the controversy over the removal of an iconic Vietnam War photo.His comments come after a dispute in September between the company and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg after Facebook deleted the photo of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack, called “The Terror of War”. “We have made a number of policy changes after The Terror of War photo. We have improved our escalation process to ensure that controversial stories and images get surfaced more quickly,” said Patrick Walker, Facebook’s director of media partnership for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“(And) in the weeks ahead, we are going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest, even if they might otherwise violate our standards,” Walker told a meeting of the Association of Norwegian Editors in Oslo, to which he was invited following the row, by both the association and the Norwegian culture minister.”We will work with our community and partners to explore exactly how to do this,” he said. “Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing a safety risk or showing graphic images to minors or others who do not want to see them.”

Facebook re-instated the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph after Solberg and others accused Facebook of censorship and of editing history by erasing the image from their accounts under its restrictions on nudity.

Facebook backed down, ruling that the historical importance of the photo outweighed the company’s nudity rules. (Editing by Alison Williams)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Help us! Women in Indian mill pen letter describing sexual abuse at work | Reuters

By Anuradha Nagaraj

DINDIGUL, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A letter from six women at a spinning mill in Tamil Nadu, describing the sexual harassment they face at work and asking for help, exposes the widespread exploitation of women in the multi-billion-dollar textile industry, campaigners said.”He forces himself on us, constantly hugging us and squeezing our breasts,” the women write, describing the behaviour of their male supervisor.”Any worker who resists his advances loses part of her salary. We need this job and don’t know who to talk to about the abuse we face everyday. Please help us.”Sent to the social welfare officer in Dindigul, a district in Tamil Nadu, the eight-page letter dated Aug. 29 is a plea for help from abused and exploited women, rights campaigners said.”Women normally share their experiences only after quitting their jobs,” said S. Thivyarakhini of the all-women Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union.”This is the first time, we have such raw details of ongoing exploitation. The letter has exposed the underbelly of the textile industry in the region.”The mill management said they were unaware of the letter and had not received any official complaint.

“There were unsubstantiated allegations against the same person around a year back by a woman worker,” said K.R. Shanmugavel, senior manager at the Rama Spinning Mills.”We gave him a warning and also terminated the (employment of the) woman worker to avoid further problems.” India is one of the world’s largest textile and garment manufacturers. Many of the workers employed in this $40-billion-a-year industry are trapped in debt bondage, face abuse or are forced to work long hours in poor conditions, activists said.

Traditionally, the dyeing units, spinning mills and apparel factories have drawn on cheap labour from villages across Tamil Nadu to turn the cotton into yarn, fabric and clothes, most of it for Western high street shops.More than 2,000 units employ an estimated 300,000 people, most of them young women from poor, illiterate and low-caste or “Dalit” communities.There are around 100 women working in the Rama Spinning mills near Nallamanarkottai village in Dindigul district. “There is constant use of vulgar language and other male workers are also encouraged to seek sexual favours from us,” the letter states.

“Some desperate women go along with the exploitation and they are exempt from over time work. But those of us who resist are forced to complete the work orders. Any show of protest results in wage cuts.”The women said that they were unable to communicate their problems with the mill owner, who lives in a different city and relies on the manager for feedback.”We don’t mind the wage cuts and the overtime work. It is the sexual harassment that we cannot bear,” the women wrote in the letter. “It is something we cannot talk to our families about. We dread going to work every day.” Dindigul social welfare officer G. Shanti told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that they were in the process of putting together an enquiry committee to inspect the mill premises and look into the allegations. (Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

SC to hear PIL for making ‘Yoga’ compulsory for students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court would next week hear a plea seeking framing of a ‘National Yoga Policy’ and making ‘Yoga’ compulsory for students of Class I-VIII across the country.A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao has agreed to hear on November 7 the PIL that seeks inclusion of Yoga as a compulsory subject in the curriculum on grounds including that its “secular” and right to health was an integral part of right to life. The plea, filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson, has sought a direction to the Ministry of Human Resources Development, NCERT, NCTE and the CBSE to “provide standard textbooks of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ for students of Class I-VIII keeping in spirit various fundamental rights such as right to life, education and equality.”‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of Right to Life under the Article 21. It includes protection, prevention and cure of the health and is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity.”State has a obligation to provide health facilities to all the citizens, especially to children and adolescents. In a Welfare State, it is obligation of the State to ensure the creation and sustaining of conditions congenial to good health,” the plea said. It said that right to health cannot be secured without providing ‘Yoga and Health Education’ to all children or framing a ‘National Yoga Policy’ to promote and propagate it.”There are about 20 crore children, throughout the country, studying in primary and junior classes at the cost of public exchequer. Yoga should be taught to them as a compulsory subject as per National Curriculum Framework 2005, notified under Section 7(6) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009…”, it said.It also sought a direction to the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Social Justice and Empowerment to declare ‘First Sunday’ of every month as ‘Health Day’ on the lines of ‘Polio Day’ to make the people aware about health- hazards and health-hygiene.” The plea also said that a court at California had held that “yoga is secular”.

OPEC oil output hits new record on Nigeria, Libya – Reuters survey | Reuters

By Alex Lawler

LONDON OPEC’s oil output is likely to set another record high in October, a Reuters survey found on Monday, as Nigerian and Libyan output partially recovered from disruptions and Iraq boosted exports. [nL8N1D13V4]The rise in output could add to scepticism about OPEC’s ability to finalise a plan agreed in September to limit supplies. Oil LCOc1, which rallied to a 2016 high near $54 a barrel following the decision, has since slipped towards $48.Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has risen to 33.82 million barrels per day (bpd) in October from a revised 33.69 million bpd in September, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from industry sources.That would be 820,000 bpd above the top end of a target output range OPEC agreed to adopt at a Sept. 28 meeting. According to analysts, production near 34 million bpd would prolong the supply surplus weighing on the market.”With OPEC production creeping up towards 34 million barrels a day, a production freeze guarantees that the oil market will remain out of balance throughout 2017 and into 2018,” said David Hufton of oil broker PVM.Supply has risen since OPEC in 2014 dropped its historic role of fixing output to prop up prices as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran pumped more. Production has also climbed due to the return of Indonesia in 2015 and Gabon in July as members.

October’s supply from OPEC excluding Gabon and Indonesia, at 32.88 million bpd, is the highest in Reuters survey records starting in 1997. In October, the increase was led by Nigeria, Libya and Iraq. Supply in Nigeria, where output had fallen due to militant attacks on oil installations, rose as exports of Qua Iboe and Forcados crude resumed.In Libya, production has been hit by port shutdowns, strikes and protests since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Output has increased in recent weeks since the reopening of some major terminals, but remains a fraction of the 2011 rate.

Iraq exported more crude from its northern and southern ports, lifting supply to 4.58 million bpd in October from a revised 4.52 million bpd in September, according to the survey. Iraq says its September production is higher. [nL8N1CT0HY] Saudi Arabia has kept supply steady to lower, but still within sight of the record high reached in the summer, sources in the survey said. One source said there were signs of a bigger drop in output.Fellow Gulf producers the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait both pumped slightly more. The two say their production is higher than estimated by both the Reuters survey and by the sources that OPEC uses to monitor its output.

Supply growth in Iran, OPEC’s fastest source of production increases earlier this year after the lifting of Western sanctions, has slowed down as output nears the pre-sanctions rate. Iran is seeking investment to boost supply further.Among countries with lower output, the biggest drop was in Angola because of planned maintenance on the Dalia crude stream which pushed exports to a 10-year low.OPEC’s smallest producer Gabon pumped less because of a workers’ strike, which cut output for part of the month. [nL8N1CV7FY]The Reuters survey is based on shipping data provided by external sources, Thomson Reuters flows data, and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC and consulting firms. (Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by William Hardy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

DNA Evening Must Reads: NIA to probe Bhopal jailbreak, fresh ceasefire violations by Pakistan, ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. NIA to probe Bhopal jailbreak; locals helped locate escaped SIMI operatives, says MP CM ChouhanEight SIMI activists, who pulled off a daring prison break and escaped in the wee hours of Monday after killing a security guard at the Bhopal Central Jail, were hunted down and killed in a police encounter on the city outskirts. Read more here.2. NSG bid: India, China meet for ‘substantive and constructive’ discussionsIndia and China on Monday held “substantive and constructive” discussions on India’s bid for NSG membership during the second round of talks between their top nuclear experts in Beijing. Read more here.3. Ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Mendhar, Rajouri; one jawan martyredPakistani troops violated ceasefire on Monday in Bala Kote village of Mendhar sector in Poonch district and Manjakote and Gambhir sectors of Rajour. One army jawan lost his life and two army jawans were injured. Read more here.4. 15 Hindu temples vandalised in Bangladesh over Facebook post allegedly disrespecting IslamTemples in Brahmanbarhia district’s Nasirnagar were vandalised on Sunday besides over 100 houses of Hindus in the area have also been looted. Read more here.5. Box Office: Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ to cross 50 crore on Day 3!Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has fetched a weekend collection of 35.6 crore Friday – 13.3 crore, Saturday – 13.1 crore, Sunday – 9.2 crore. Read more here.

PM Modi cautions against divisive forces, says unity needed to make India strong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called upon the people to make India a “powerful and strong nation” even as he cautioned them against divisive forces.Modi paid rich tributes Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel while speaking at a function to mark India’s first home minister’s birth anniversary, which is celebrated as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’. “When we travel by train from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we do not need any visa or permit, we do not pay any tax when we pass through all the states that fall on the route. It is because of one man, Sardar Patel, who united all states of this country. Patel united this country with his political will,” Modi said before flagging of the ‘Run for Unity’.”Don’t you think that India should be more powerful and strong? The first condition for that to happen is ‘unity’. There should be no discrimination on the basis of caste or creed, village and city,” Modi said.He asked the people to be vigilant against elements trying to divide the society. The Prime Minister said he was dedicating to the nation a digital museum in the national capital in the memory of Patel, who will always be remembered as an ‘Iron man’.(AFP)”It should have been built 40-50 years ago. The history will ask the question why it was not built before.” He also administered the oath of unity to thousands of children who had gathered at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium for the Run for Unity. In his address, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, said India would have been different had Patel been its first Prime Minister.”Today we need more leaders like Sardar Patel and I see all his traits in our Prime Minister Modi,” he said. Modi flagged off the run together with veteran weightlifter N Kunjarani Devi and Rio Paralympics gold medal winner Devendra Jhajaria.

Why All India Radio could not announce the death of Indira Gandhi till six in the evening

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The events of October 31, 1984 are still vivid in my memory. I was the head of the News Services Division of the All India Radio. As was my usual practice, I had just returned home after a visit to the newsroom to have a look at the morning 8 am. series of bulletins. I had just finished my breakfast, when the RAX telephone rang. At the other end was Sharada Prasad, the Information Advisor to the Prime Minister.Sharada Prasad told me: “Ramamohan, the Prime Minister has been shot by her security guards. The injury is serious and she has been shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). For further information you will have to be in touch with the doctors.”I soon rushed to the newsroom of the All India Radio and deployed reporters at the AIIMS and at the official residence of the Prime Minister at 1, Safdarjang Road.In our bulletins, we stated that the Prime Minister has been shot at by security guards at her residence, the injury is serious and she has been shifted to the AIIMS. Sharada Prasad updated me saying that the doctors are trying to save her.In the newsroom, we were aware that the injuries suffered by Indira Gandhi were fatal and there was little chance of her survival.Being a public broadcaster, the All India Radio had to get the information confirmed by the government. Unfortunately, on that day, the President was out of the country, the Home Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and the Home Secretary were out of Delhi. The Prime Minister’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, was away in Calcutta.In a parliamentary democracy, the government automatically stands dissolved with the death of a Prime Minister.Looking back at the precedents, when the Prime Minister died, an interim Prime Minister was sworn in. Gulzarilal Nanda acted as Prime Minister on two occasions. There was speculation that someone may be sworn in till a regular Prime Minister was elected.Very soon, foreign broadcasting stations like the BBC were announcing that Indira Gandhi had been shot dead by her security guards in her house, but we in the All India Radio had to wait. I was told that in case of the death of the King of England, the news was not given out until the successor Prince, who was on a tour in South Africa, was informed.Meanwhile, All India Radio cancelled all of its programmes and was broadcasting devotional musicI was told that the President, who was on a foreign tour, was on his way back, and that Rajiv Gandhi was returning from Calcutta (now Kolkata) President Zail Singh went straight to the hospital after landing in Delhi, and so did Rajiv Gandhi.The All India Radio staff stationed at the AIIMS said that confabulations were going on and it was likely that there would not be an interim Prime Minister, and Rajiv Gandhi would be sworn in as the next Prime Minister of the country. But no one would confirm the information.I went to the Vice President R Venkataraman to seek his advice. I had known him closely when he was the Defence Minister and I was the spokesman for the Ministry and the armed forces. He told me that he would cross check the information. Soon he told me that Rajiv Gandhi would be sworn in at six in the evening. He also decided to come to the newsroom himself. He himself announced in our 6 pm bulletin that Rajiv Gandhi has been sworn in as the Prime Minister following the death of Indira Gandhi.Following reports that some persons had distributed sweets near the AIIMS after hearing of the death of Indira Gandhi, violence broke out in the area. My house was in West Kidwai Nagar, next to the AIIMS Safdarjang Hospital complex, and I told my family not to move out.Incidentally, in the All India Radio News Services Division we had a canteen. Following reports from our correspondents that there was tension in the city, I authorized the purchase of enough rations for nearly a week. Our canteen fed staff of the All India Radio for the next three days.Among the unsung heroes of the critical days that followed, were the All India Radio and Doordarshan correspondents, news readers and staff car drivers. They stayed in the office for three days to ensure uninterrupted service. Two engineers of the All India Radio were pulled out of their vehicles and set on fire. I remember virtually quarantining the Station Director of the All India Radio, MS Batra, for a night.For three days there was uncontrolled violence in parts of Delhi. The army had to be called to restore normalcy.One of the first steps taken by Rajiv Gandhi after he was sworn in as Prime Minister was to address the grievances of Sikhs, and he signed the Rajiv-Longowal Accord. But the controversy regarding the violence that followed the death of Indira Gandhi has not yet died down.The Government of India soon promulgated rules regarding the announcement of the death of senior ministers. And I as Principal Information Officer of the Government of India, had the misfortune to announce the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.Mr I Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India and can be reached on his e-mail: [email protected]

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s health condition improving

Mon, 31 Oct 2016-05:35pm , Kolkata , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The health condition of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee has substantially improved over the past two days.The TMC youth wing president and party supremo Mamata Banerjee’s nephew has been allowed free mobilisation and normal diet from today, a medical bulletin issued this morning by Belle Vue Clinic, where the leader is undergoing treatment, said. “His superficial stitches of lacerated wound over the left cheek were comfortably removed yesterday forenoon while the most important stitches within the eye/orbit area shall be removed in due course after appropriate planning by the medical board,” the bulletin said.Banerjee’s eye movements and vision were better as compared to that on Friday and the swelling had also reduced “substantially”, Belle Vue Clinic CEO P Tandon said. Banerjee’s car had met with an accident on National Highway-2, near Singur, in Hooghly district on October 18.

PoK would have been a part of India had Sardar Vallabhai Patel been given more power, says MP CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Applauding India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel for his valuable contribution in keeping the nation united on National Unity Day, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) would have been a part of India if the ‘Iron Man’ of India had the power to deal with Jammu and Kashmir”Vallabhai Patel played an implant role in incorporating princely states into the nation. If there is anyone who should be lauded for, it should be Vallabhai Patel . The nation is indebted to him. If he had the power to deal with Jammu and Kashmir back then, surely PoK would have been part of India today. That is why our government and Prime Minister Modi decided to celebrate his memorial as National Unity Day,” Chouhan told reporters here.Today, India is observing Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on the occasion of the 141st birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The theme this year is Integration of India.”Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel worked to bring everyone together, he worked for unity, fought for unity and brought unity among the people. We also have to forget about all our customs and traditions and treat a girl and a boy equally, and we are moving fast,” said Prime Minster Modi while addressing the nation in the 25th edition of his ‘ Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme. “We should take a positive step towards it and work to promote equality in the society. But on one Sardar’s birthday, history remembers how the Sikhs and ‘sardars’ all over the country faced violence and pain, which is why we all need to learn that we all must unite and work towards unity rather than allowing divisiveness to spread,” he added.

Diwali fireworks choke Delhi, angering Indians

Angry Indians share pictures of smog in Delhi, after Diwali celebrations saw many fireworks set off.

NSG bid: India, China meet for ‘substantive and constructive’ discussions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China on Monday held “substantive and constructive” discussions on India’s bid for NSG membership during the second round of talks between their top nuclear experts in Beijing. Following the first such meeting in New Delhi on September 13, India and China continued their discussions on the NSG issue in Beijing on Monday when JS (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill met Director General of Department of Arms Control Wang Qun, sources said.”The talks were substantive and constructive. The engagement will continue as per the directive of the leadership,” sources said. During the talks, India once again asserted to the Chinese side that its implementation of Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) principles was “second to none”.Today’s talks come ahead of a possible informal consultations in next two months on India’s membership in a NSG panel, headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the NPT. Wang, who was the Chief negotiator for China in the South Korea meet, had told reporters that signing of the NPT “is a must”, maintaining that the rule has not been set by China but by the international community.Wang had also warned “if exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non- proliferation regime will collapse altogether”.China has been maintaining that the question of the non- NPT states’ participation is, in essence, a multilateral issue, and can only be subject to multilateral solution by the Group. China also pointed out that the issue of the non-NPT states’ participation in the NSG raises new questions for the Group under the new circumstances, and the crux of the above question is how to address the gap between the existing policies and practices of the non-NPT states and the existing international non-proliferation rules and norms based on the NPT as the cornerstone.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announces Rs 11 lakh ex-gratia for martyr’s family

Mon, 31 Oct 2016-04:51pm , Patna , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday announced Rs 11 lakh ex-gratia for the kin of soldier Rajiv Kumar Rai killed in Pakistan firing at Udhampur border in Jammu and Kashmir three days ago. Eariler in the day, Kumar also announced that the soldier’s last rites to be performed with full state honour, an official statement said in Patna.Rai, a Havaldar in 157 Lt AD Regiment (Comp), is a native of Mahua in Vaishali district of Bihar.Saluting the martyred soldier, the Chief Minister said the country would always remember his courageous deed and the entire state was with his family in this hour of grief.The soldier’s last rites were held during the day at his native village where his son lit his funeral pyre in the presence of locals.

Diwali fireworks ‘worsen Delhi pollution’

The level of pollution in Delhi has risen to nearly ten times the safe level after thousands of fireworks were let off during Diwali celebrations.

10,851 chikungunya cases reported in Delhi this season

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 10,851 chikungunya cases have been reported in Delhi this season, with nearly 640 of them being recorded in the last week, according to a municipal report released on Monday.Of the total chikungunya cases, nearly 720 of them have been reported in areas falling under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). “As many as 10,851 suspected cases have been recorded this season till October 29, out of which 8,720 have been confirmed,” the report by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation said.SDMC tabulates the data for vector-borne disease cases in the national capital on behalf of all the civic bodies in New Delhi.At least 10,210 suspected chikungunya cases were reported in the city till October 22. As per the report, at least 3,650 dengue cases were reported in the national capital till October 29 this season.3,333 cases were recorded till October 22.Among the three corporations, 718 confirmed chikungunya cases have been reported in areas under NDMC, 638 under SDMC and 354 under EDMC this season. 3,395 cases have also been reported from areas falling outside the jurisdiction of the three municipal corporations. And, 3,615 cases have been recorded from other states. At least 15 fatalities have been reported at various hospitals in the city due to complications triggered by the chikungunya, though the civic bodies have kept the death tally at zero.Delhi and other parts of north India are facing a spike in chikungunya cases after nearly 10 years. In 2006, over 13 lakh suspected cases of chikungunya were reported.Dengue cases on the other hand, continued to taper down, with just 317 fresh cases reported in Delhi in the last one week. This month 1,517 cases have been recorded till October 29.Last year, out of the 15,867 dengue cases, 7,283 were reported in October, the highest among all the month. Also, September last year had seen 6,775 cases but only 1,362 cases were reported this September.At least 21 deaths due to dengue have been reported at various hospitals, including nine at AIIMS, though the civic bodies said only four persons died of the disease this season. Experts say a “less virulent strain” of dengue virus is in circulation this year compared to the one last year or in 2010 when 6,259 cases and eight deaths were reported by SDMC. 1,477 cases were reported from areas falling outside the jurisdiction of municipal corporations in the city. 1,133 cases were reported to have originated from neighbouring areas outside of Delhi.In NDMC area, breeding of mosquitoes was found in 62,690 houses, 84,943 houses in SDMC area and 22,930 in EDMC area. The number of prosecution launched in these areas was 5,000, 9,016 and 3,007 respectively.In 1996, Delhi had recorded about 10,252 cases of dengue and 423 deaths, prompting the authorities to declare it a notifiable disease.

Four of the 8 SIMI activists killed learned bomb-making in UP’s Bijnor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four of the eight SIMI activists, who were killed in an encounter near Bhopal on Monday after breaking from jail, had learned bomb-making in Bijnor and escaped from here after an accidental explosion. According to police sources here, an explosion occurred in a house in Jaatan colony here on September 12, 2014. By the time police reached the spot, the six persons living in the house had escaped. The six persons, who were living in the house, were identified as SIMI activists Aslam, Ejaz, Zakir, Amzad, Sallu alias Salik and Mehboob.On investigation, it was found that the SIMI activists were trying to make bomb with matchstick heads when the explosion occurred. Mehboob was injured in the incident.While Aslam and Ejaz were killed in an encounter in Telangana on April 3, 2015, Zakir, Amzad, Salik and Mehboob were killed this morning by Madhya Pradesh Police near Bhopal.Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Sahni said a case of sedition and under other serious charges is pending against them.

Harvard University keen on inviting Mamata Banerjee: Derek O’ Brien

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Harvard University is keen on inviting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to hear about her experiences of the Singur anti-land acquisition movement and other aspects of the sociopolitical struggle, Trinamool Congress (TMC) national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien said on Monday.”Recently, I had an interaction with the students of Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. My lectures were focused on the Singur movement, covering all aspects of the sociopolitical struggle led by Mamata Banerjee to the historic Supreme Court judgement a few weeks ago,” O’ Brien, who is currently on a tour of US, said in a statement.Students of the prestigious university, who are organising their annual India-centric programme in February 2017, were keen to have Mamata Banerjee deliver the keynote address at the event, he said. “It is, however, unlikely that the Bengal Chief Minister will accept their invitation for February as she is planning a trip to the US in the latter half of 2017. Boston, where Harvard, MIT and Tufts universities are situated, is likely to be a stop on the proposed US tour,” O’ Brien said.The TMC leader has, in the last two years, conducted similar interactive sessions in Yale, Columbia, IIMs, IIT, National Law School and other institutions in India and abroad on Singur, Banerjee’s mass movements and other current aspects of parliamentary democracy.

Kerala govt declares state drought-hit; to approach Centre for aid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Government on Monday declared the state as drought-hit in view of the sharp decrease in rainfall during the South West Monsoon and said that Centre would be approached for necessary assistance to meet the emergency situation.Kerala Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan made the announcement in the Assembly while replying to a notice seeking adjournment motion moved by Congress-led UDF opposition on the serious situation prevailing in the state due to the sharp decrease in rainfall. The state Disaster Management Authority had been entrusted to seek necessary additional funds from the Centre to tide over the crisis, he said.The UDF wanted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to meet and appraise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the seriousness of the situation to receive more funds to address the concerned issues.”According to IMD figures, there has been a sharp decrease in rainfall to the tune of 34 per cent during the South-West monsoon. There has also been a sharp decline in rainfall during North-East monsoon also,” Chandrasekharan said. “So, the government has declared the state as total drought-hit. A high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Minister was convened on October 13 to discuss steps to be taken to meet the emergency situation,” he said.Detailing the measures planned to tackle the drought, he said the government had brought out a list containing 26 guidelines to address the drought situation. All District Collectors were asked to follow the guidelines which included steps to reduce the usage of water, recycle used water, set out priority for water usage. “Chief Minister will conduct video conferencing with District Collectors to verify the situation. Chief Secretary will also evaluate the drought response programme being implemented,” he said.Among the measures to help farmers, who are already reeling under crisis, the government has decided to declare a moratorium on recovery of agriculture loans taken by them, he said. “The state government will submit a memorandum to get fund from the Centre Disaster Mitigation Fund (to tackle drought),” he said.Seeking notice for adjournment motion, VS Sivakumar (Congress) said the state received 1352.3 mm rains against the normal rainfall of 2039.7 mm, a deficiency of 34% during the South West Monsoon.Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister and Revenue Minister should meet Prime Minister and appraise him of the specifics of the state’s drought situation to get more assistance.

India jail break prisoners killed

Eight prisoners who escaped from a jail in the central Indian city of Bhopal have been killed, police say.

Setting schools in Kashmir on fire a combination of madness, perversion: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over the repeated incidents of burning of schools in Jammu and Kashmir, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh on Monday asserted the people, especially the youth in the Valley, are fed up with the repeated incidents of violence and hatred.”This is a combination of madness and perversion. Otherwise, how can anyone think of setting fire to educational institutions?” asked Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.Speaking to ANI, Jitendra Singh insisted that the youth of the state, which wishes to be a beneficiary of the enormous beneficiary schemes led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cannot afford such incidents of violence to continue. “All of us will have to understand and those who refuse to understand would sooner than later also be made to realise that this kind of mayhem cannot carry on for long. The common man in Kashmir, the common man in the streets of Srinagar, particularly common youth does not wish for this disturbance to continue,” Singh said.”It is more of a frustration where some of the disgruntled elements, who are not able to carry on with their political agenda, are involving politics in such issues. A country like India in 2016 has more than 65% of population below the age of 35-40 years and the youth which has come of age, cannot afford this to continue,” he added.So far, over 26 schools have been burnt down in the last two months with the unrest in the Valley having prolonged for more than three months now, majority of them government-run, suffering irreparable damage. The attacks have soared after the state government decision to go ahead with the Class 10 and Class 12 Board exams, scheduled next month, despite calls by students, parents for delaying them due to the ongoing agitation.Most educational institutes in the Valley have been non-functional since July 9, keeping in mind the unrest in Kashmir that entered 115th day on Monday.

Two Bangladeshi nationals arrested in Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two Bangladeshi nationals were on Monday arrested by GRP officials from a train at Barauni railway junction in Bihar’s Begusarai district.During routine checking, the Government Railway Police (GRP) men found two Bangladeshi men in a coach of Sampark Kranti Express and arrested them for their suspicious behaviour, GRP Inspector Alok Pratap Singh said.They were identified as Md Mustafa Kamal (23) and Md Salim (24). They told the interrogators that they were residents of a refugee camp in Myanmar before shifting to a refugee camp in Bangladesh last year, he said.Singh said the two Bangladeshis had crossed the international border to reach Agartala recently and boarded a train to Jammu and Kashmir on “someone’s direction”, the inspector said.The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Patna was on its way to Barauni to question the two Bangladeshi nationals, Singh said.

Kejriwal alleges ‘widespread’ fear of judges’ phones being tapped; govt denies claim

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday created ripples by alleging that there is a “widespread” fear that the phones of judges are being tapped and said if it is true, then it is the biggest assault on the independence of the judiciary. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad promptly denied the allegations, saying the independence of judiciary is fundamental and uncompromising for the Narendra Modi government.Kejriwal claimed during his meetings with judges he has “overheard them telling each other that they should not talk on phones because they could be tapped”. The Chief Minister said when he told them the phones of judges cannot be tapped, “they retorted by saying that all phones could be tapped”. “I don’t know whether it is true or not but there is a widespread fear. If it is true that phones are tapped then judges can be influenced…,” he said.Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of Delhi High Court here in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India TS Thakur also participated, he said even if there has been a wrong-doing by a judge then phone tapping should not be allowed. “There are many other ways to gather evidence for wrongdoing, otherwise it will be the biggest assault on the independence of the judiciary,” he said. Prasad, who spoke after Kejriwal, said, “I deny with all authority at command the allegations that phones of judges have been tapped.”He said right from the prime minister to other ministers and the government, all have fought for the independence of judiciary and individual liberty and freedom of media during emergency. “Independence of judiciary is fundamental, impeachable and uncompromising for the government,” he said.Kejriwal also referred to the actions of judiciary as well as the executives which may take away the rights of the people. “If any action of the executive snatches the power of the people, if any judicial interpretation of the Constitution takes away power of the people then it is not good for democracy,” he said.

Delhi: Over 300 fire-related incidents reported on Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 300 calls related to minor fire incidents were received by authorities from across the national capital during Diwali festivities in New Delhi, in which few people, including a child, sustained burn injuries.The Delhi fire department received 243 calls till 12 am while another 107 calls were attended to between midnight and morning, an official said. “One woman and a child received burn injuries when a roadside firecracker stall caught fire around 3 pm at west Delhi’s Mohan Garden area yesterday,” a senior Delhi fire services officer said.Forty calls were received during the peak hours from 8 pm to 10 pm, when the department receives maximum fire calls as festivities peak in the form of incessant fireworks and lighting of earthen lamps.Besides the 59 permanent fire stations, the fire services had set up temporary stations at 22 locations across the city from where maximum fire calls were received during last year’s Diwali.The authorities had also increased the number of phone lines to the control room in view of the increased number of fire calls on Diwali.

NIA to probe Bhopal jailbreak; locals helped locate escaped SIMI operatives, says MP CM Chouhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated security forces after they killed the eight SIMI operatives who escaped from jail on Monday. “I want to congratulate our forces, but we are looking at this very seriously. Prisoners escaping is a serious matter, ” the CM said. Singh added that NIA would investigate the jailbreak to see how the prisoners had escaped. “I spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, I spoke about how NIA should carry out the investigation in the matter. The Home Minister agreed,” he said.Congress leader Kamal Nath said, “Now we can’t get any information as all of them died. There should be a judicial probe to know how they escaped.”The eight SIMI activists, who pulled off a daring prison break and escaped in the wee hours on Monday after killing a security guard at the Bhopal Central Jail, were hunted down and killed in a police encounter on the city outskirts. All the eight activists were killed by Bhopal Police at Malikheda on the city outskirts, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh told PTI. CM Chouhan said that locals played a crucial role in locating the fugitives. “They updated us about the location and all other info,” he said.Acting on the leads provided by locals, the cops tracked them down to Malikheda, where they were encircled and killed when they tried to challenge the police.Daring escapeThe activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India had managed to escape around 2-3 AM after killing a jail security guard and scaling the prison wall with the help of bed sheets, DIG Bhopal Raman Singh said. The activists were identified as — Amzad, Zakir Hussain Sadiq, Mohammad Salik, Mujeeb Shaikh, Mehbood Guddu, Mohammad Kalid Ahmed, Aqeel and Majid, a police official said.Soon after the incident, the state government on Monday released their sketches and suspended four officials including Jail Superintendent Akhilesh Tomar. It had also announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh each on the heads of the activists.The Union Home Ministry has sought a detailed report from the Madhya Pradesh government on the jail break whether there was any lapse on the part of the jail administration and the steps taken to check such incidents.Second major jail break by SIMI operativesThis is the second major jail break by operatives of banned SIMI in three years after the sensational escape by seven members of the group from a jail in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh in 2013.The central security agencies were particularly anxious as four of the seven SIMI activities, who escaped from a jail in Khandwa October 1, 2013, could be arrested only after three years and during the period of their hiding, the militants were involved in multiple incidents of terror and a bank robbery. While in hiding, the SIMI men were allegedly involved in terror activities in several states including Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. SIMI was banned by the government in 2001.

West Bengal: Fire breaks out in under-construction hospital building

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fire broke out in an under construction hospital building in Egra in West Bengal on Monday. One fire brigade engine brought the fire under control, reported ANI.The fire broke out on the sixth floor of the building. According to ANI, the fire broke out due to a short circuit.More details are awaited.

Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary: Congress slams Modi for disrespecting her martyrdom

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari paid floral tributes to Indira Gandhi on her 32nd death anniversary while Rahul Gandhi led a march from 24 Akbar road to 1 Safdarjung road, where the former Prime Minister was assassinated.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present at the Indira Memorial, where the Congress Vice President paid tributes to her along with party President Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders.The dignitaries attended a prayer meeting on the occasion during which no one from the Union government was present, senior leader Anand Sharma said. Sharma also attacked the Narendra Modi government for “deliberately disrespecting” the memory and martyrdom of Indira Gandhi, describing her as the “tallest leader, and a popular Prime Minister who gave her life for India.””Indira Gandhi’s martyrdom is respected by the people of this country. It is matter of shame that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government are disrespecting the memory and ultimate sacrifice of India’s late prime minister Shrimati Indira Gandhi,” he said. “I would like to remind the BJP and the RSS that they should also remember Sardar Patel’s action and the decision to ban the RSS. They should also publish this in their government advertisements,”Sharma said.Leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharma, Kumari Selja, Ahmed Patel and Randeep Surjewala covered the one- kilometre-long distance from the Congress headquarters to the memorial with Rahul. Earlier, the party had cancelled the annual commemoration programme at Shakti Sthal as it continues to remain shut after reporting a number of duck deaths amid the bird flu scare in the city. Remembering the contribution of the ‘Iron man’ of India, Prime Minister Modi had on Sunday urged the nation to promote unity and equality among all.”We should take a positive step towards it and work to promote equality in the society. But on one Sardar’s birthday, history remembers how the Sikhs and ‘sardars’ all over the country faced violence and pain, which is why we all need to learn that we all must unite and work towards unity rather than allowing divisiveness to spread,” he added.Indira Gandhi was the first and to date the only female prime minister of India. She was assassinated after she ordered the storming of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar to counter the Punjab insurgency. On October 31, 1984, two of her Sikh bodyguards shot her with their service weapons at the Prime Minister’s residence.Both the accused were sentenced to death and hanged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, while following her cremation, millions of Sikhs were displaced and nearly three thousand were killed in anti-Sikh riots. With ANI/PTI inputs

Govt denies tapping phones of judges after Kejriwal expresses concern

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government denied tapping phones of judges after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed concern at an event in the national capital on Monday.Kejriwal said, “I have seen two judges say that ‘don’t talk on phone, it is being tapped’. I said phones of the judges can’t be tapped.” Kejriwal said he couldn’t attest to whether the statements were true. “I don’t know if it is true or not, but if this is true, then it’s dangerous. Where is the independence of the judiciary then?” he asked.”If any judge has done something wrong, even then phone tapping shouldn’t happen. There are many other ways to gather evidence,” he added.At the same event, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad categorically denied the allegations and said, “I deny with all authority at command the allegations that phones of judges have been tapped.”Kejriwal also brought up vacancies in the judiciary. The Delhi CM said, “I read that SC collegium had many months back given recommendations for judicial appointments, but its still lying with Centre.”Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had on Sunday said that the government has the highest regard for the judiciary and was committed to addressing the shortage of judges in High Courts.In a statement, he said the process of appointment of judges would continue even while the new Memorandum of Protocol for such appointments is under consideration. According to the statistics furnished by him, there were 280 vacancies out of 877 posts in 2008, 276 of 886 posts in 2009, 265 of 895 posts in 2010, 286 of 895 posts in 2011, 273 of 895 posts in 2012, 282 of 895 posts in 2013 and 267 of 906 posts in 2014. In 2015, 78 new posts were created and in 2016, 138 posts were created, Naidu said. Hence, the vacancies were 268 out of 984 posts in 2015 and 286 out of 1044 posts in 2016, he said, adding the total strength increased “substantially” in last two years.

Bangladesh blues just the start for England — India awaits | Reuters

Bangladesh blues just the start for England — India awaits | Reuters

Updated: Oct 31, 2016 13:05 IST


By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI If England’s struggles in Bangladesh are anything to go by, they could be in for an even rougher ride in India over the next couple of months when they take on the world’s number one side in a five-match series in similar spin-friendly conditions.England narrowly won the opening test against Bangladesh in Chittagong by 22 runs before losing the second by 108 runs in Dhaka, their first defeat to the South Asian side in 10 tests.Alastair Cook’s men looked well placed to maintain their perfect record against Bangladesh by reaching 100 without loss at tea while chasing 273, but lost all 10 wickets in the final session to lose inside three days. Bangladesh are ranked ninth among the world’s 10 test playing nations and had won just seven of their 94 tests before Sunday — five against minnows Zimbabwe and two against second-string West Indies sides.Joe Root’s meagre average of 24.50 was the highest of England’s top five in the batting order in four innings in Bangladesh, with Cook, Ben Duckett and Moeen Ali all averaging in the low 20s while Gary Ballance could muster only 24 runs.”We showed our inexperience in these conditions,” Cook said after the defeat. “A lot of these guys have not played many test matches and when that ball got rolling we found it very hard to stop.”You lose a couple of wickets, then men come round the bat and the crowd get into it. Being able to deal with it and get through it is crucial.”England, who will travel with the same squad, can expect more of the same in India.

Under Virat Kohli India have won their last four test series, including a 3-0 win in a four-match contest against South Africa last year and the recent 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand at home.STOKES CRUCIAL
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 58 wickets in those seven home tests against South Africa and New Zealand and will be licking his lips at the prospect of bowling against the English batsmen after their struggles against Mehedi Hasan.

Off-spinner Mehedi, who made his debut and turned 19 during the series, finished with 19 wickets in the two matches.England are the last team to win a test series in India when they beat the hosts 2-1 in a four-match series in 2012.Spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar had a huge impact on that series, ably supported by England’s most prolific wicket-taker James Anderson, who has been left out of the 16-man squad due to injury and is expected to only join the tour later.All-rounder Ben Stokes scored the most runs and was joint highest wicket-taker with Moeen against Bangladesh. His role will be crucial for the side against India, who will use the Decision Review System on a trial basis during the series.

The influential Indian board (BCCI) has long been a staunch opponent of the DRS system, which aims to reduce umpiring errors by detecting edges and predicting the ball trajectory to ensure correct catch and leg-before decisions.With the England spinners being out-bowled by their Bangladesh counterparts, Cook has no qualms in accepting that his side will travel to India as ‘heavy underdogs’.”We’re not hiding behind the fact that we haven’t got world-class spinners,” Cook rued. “It doesn’t mean our spinners are bad bowlers. “We’ve got guys who can bowl some really good balls and spells. But we can’t quite control well enough at the moment. We don’t hold our length and line well enough. “We bowl jaffas, but we’re easy to knock off strike and we don’t build the kind of pressure we’d like.” (Editing by Peter Rutherford)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Gunmen try to enter Pak school, open fire

Mon, 31 Oct 2016-01:00pm , Lahore , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two armed men tried to enter a school in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Monday and opened fire, injuring a school guard, but their bid was thwarted by security personnel.Panic and fear gripped as two armed men tried to enter a private school in Haroonabad area of Bahawalnagar, Express News reported.According to reports, the men opened fire as they tried to enter the school. However, heavy contingents of police reached the site and the gunmen fled.All students were safely evacuated from the school. The school guard was reportedly injured during the gunfire.

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