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Kashmir Reader: Newspaper printing again after ban lifted

The Kashmir Reader resumes publication after a government ban of nearly three months.

Mumbai-Pune Expressway: Three dead in road accident, traffic towards Mumbai affected

Three people died in a road accident involving two container trailers, a tempo and a car on the Mumbai-Pune Express on Tuesday morning, police said.

Representational image: News18

Representational image: News18

“The accident took place somewhere between 8 am to 9 am near the Khalapur toll naka, next to the food plaza,” a Highway Traffic Police official told Firstpost, adding that rescue work is in progress.

The Highway Traffic Police official also said that the accident took place on a lane towards Mumbai and that traffic towards Mumbai has been affected indefinitely. “We are making all efforts to clear the road and resume traffic as soon as possible,” the police said.

According to a Maharashtra Times report, the injured have been admitted in a nearby hospital. However, the identity of the dead has not been ascertained as yet.

“We will able to give a final detail in another half an hour,” the Highway Traffic helpline said.

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway had witnessed an on Monday as well where the driver of an SUV died on the spot.

For more details contact Maharashtra Traffic Police on the following numbers: 022-22626655, 98334 98334, 98675 98675, 95032 11100, 95035 11100

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 12:44 IST

Ahead of Budget 2017, Arun Jaitley says India needs globally compatible tax rates

Ahead of the Union Budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley has pitched for a lower level of taxation that is globally compatible. This, according to him,  is necessary if the country has to have a broader base of economy.

He said gone are the days of the philosophy that high taxation will bring greater revenues and that since 1991 the course of economy has altered itself.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photoFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

“… What you need is a broader base of economy for which you need a lower level of taxation. You need to manufacture products and provide services which are more competitive in character and therefore your taxes have to be globally compatible,” Jaitley said while inaugurating the professional training of IRS officers.

The comments have raised speculation that the government may cut tax rates in the Union Budget for 2017-18 to be presented in Parliament on 1 February.

However, in a later tweet he also indicated that any such interpretation of his speech may be inaccurate.

Ever since the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, there has been speculation that the government may resort to some direct tax cuts to lessen the pain inflicted on the common man. A cut in income tax rates will placate the middle class, a key political constituency of the ruling BJP.

As far as corporate tax are concerned, Jaitley had laid out a road map for cuts in rates and exemptions in last year’s Budget.

In the speech on Monday, Jaitley also said competition is not merely domestic but global and therefore in the last two-and-a-half decades, the governments have been guided by these principles.

Tracing the behaviour of people in the last 70 years, the finance minister said there has been an impression if avoidance could be done of government revenue, there is nothing “improper or immoral” about it.

This was, he said, considered to be “commercial smartness” and of course some people were visited with very serious consequences.

He told the young revenue service officers that in coming future decades they should see that voluntary tax compliance has to increase in India.

“And the mindset of the tax payer (should be) that payment of legitimate taxes is a responsibility and then it should be reciprocated by you with a confidence in the tax payer. The tax payer is to be trusted, except when it’s proven otherwise.

And therefore only in those select cases, very objectively selected, you go in for a wider audit or a wider scrutiny itself,” Jaitley said.

With PTI

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 08:35 IST

WB terror suspect raised ISIS flags in Kashmir, says NIA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday revealed that suspected Islamic State operative Mohammad Masiuddin also known as Musa, who was earlier this month interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his alleged terror activities, had waved flags of the terror outfit during his stay in Kashmir earlier this year.The revelation came after filing charge sheet against Masiuddin stating that the 27-year-old was planning terror attacks in India after being directed to do so by his Syria-based handler.Masiuddin was arrested in July this year following which it was revealed that he had been directed to target foreign tourists instead of Indian locals by his handlers.”Investigation has established that on the instructions of his handler, Abu Suleiman, Musa went to Srinagar in May, 2016, to carry out a Lone Wolf attack on foreign tourists. He also participated in a Friday congregation at the Jama Masjid and waved the ISIS flag. He even planned to kill foreigners near the Mother Teresa House at the Ripon Street in Kolkata,” the NIA said on Monday.A senior J&K police official told DNA that local investigators did not find possible links between Kashmiri youth and the terror outfit. The NIA revelation might however prompt local authorities to dig out travel details of Masiuddin who hails from Labhpur in Birbhum district of WB.According to official sources in the NIA, the accused had visited two locations, one in Srinagar and other in Kolkata, and selected them as venues where he was supposed to carry out an attack using the 13 inch knife that was allegedly recovered from him following his arrest in July.This was after Masiuddin had allegedly gotten in touch with ISIS handler Shafi Armar, who is wanted by Indian agencies for activities during his time with Indian Mujahideen. The NIA also revealed that Musa met Abu Suleiman during his visit to India twice in March, 2015 and May, 2016. Suleiman encouraged him to use secured encrypted chat applications. The probe agency said Forensic Analysis of the electronic gadgets seized from the accused contained pdf files like How to survive in the West- Mujahideen, The Mujahideen Explosives Handbook by Abdel-Aziz.

Centre launches anti-cancer crusade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the Delhi Government for its inability to implement laws on tobacco ban, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of Health and Family Welfare on Monday said that the capital needed to step up its actions for tobacco control.“Sale of tobacco has been banned in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. In Delhi though, the ban on tobacco reflects only on papers,” he said at an event on Monday, where he launched, ‘Cancel Cancer’, a cancer awareness campaign.According to the latest data available with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, between April 2012 to September 2015, at least 13 states, including Delhi, didn’t issue any challan or fine for smoking in public.Speaking at the event held at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, he said, “Tobacco products are easily available at every nook and corner of our country and are being consumed mainly by the youth, specially school-going kids of the middle and poor class.” As part of the campaign on cancer, they aim to raise awareness on the lethal effects of tobacco, how it causes cancer and measures to control it. “Among other things, the campaign aims at educating people against the hazards of tobacco that is the root cause of cancer. The government supports this cause,” Kulaste said.According to a report released in 2013 by the Central Government one in every five person under 21 years of age is addicted to tobacco. The report also mentions that out of 2 crore homeless children in India, 40-70 per cent come in contact with some or the other form of intoxication.The Centre recently issued a complete ban on sale of food products containing tobacco and nicotine across India. These would include Gutka, Paan Masala, Zarda and tobacco-based flavoured mouth fresheners. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed all states to issue strict directions for banning the production, promotion and sale of these food products.

Notice served on legal counsel of Zakir Naik’s NGO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mumbai police on Monday served a notice received from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, set up to examine the evidence on the basis of which the Centre banned televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) last month, on the organisation’s legal counsel here.”The notice was received from the registrar of the tribunal and was served on IRF’s legal counsel SHA Jamati at the organisation’s office here,” a police spokesperson said. The tribunal was set up to adjudicate whether or not there was sufficient cause for declaring IRF an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. IRF was declared an unlawful association under section 3(1) of the UAPA, with the gazette notification, dated November 17, stating that the NGO and its members, particularly its founder Naik, had been “encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups”The “divisive ideology” propagated by IRF and its members, including Naik, is “against India’s pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India”, the notification had said.The tribunal issued notices seeking responses from the Maharashtra government, IRF and other “interested persons” after its preliminary hearing. The NGO has been granted time till February 6 for filing its response.The Centre had cited Naik’s alleged role in radicalising Muslim youths “to commit terrorist acts”, besides the purported role of the organisation’s “members/associates” in unlawful activities to justify the ban before the tribunal.

Punjab: 9 women injured in acid attack after land dispute turns violent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine women, including the wife of a sarpanch were injured in an acid attack after a heated altercation over a Panchayat land turned violent, in Bhui village in Kapurthala district, here on Monday.The incident took place when Vinod Kumar, who is Sarpanch of Bhui village went to the land site alongwith his wife Reena and four other women for construction of a community centre. However, another family belonging to the same village had been locked in a conflict over the land and alleged that it belonged to them. When the family stood their ground on not allowing any construction activity on the land, it led to a heated argument between the two groups. The situation turned ugly, when some members of the family allegedly threw acid on the sarpanch’s wife and women accompanying her.All the injured were rushed to the Civil hospital, where they are currently admitted. However, the sarpanch’s wife, Reena had to be referred to a government hospital in Jalandhar with serious injuries.”It was a land dispute between the two groups. The Panchayat wanted to construct a community centre, which the other group opposed and it led to an argument between them. We have registered a case and investigation is on. One of the accused, who is the husband of the woman who allegedly threw acid has been arrested. We will arrest others, after recording statements of all victims, who are currently in hospital,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Kapurthala, Rajinder Singh while talking to DNA.SSP Singh said all the victims are undergoing treatment and are out of danger.

Tributes flow for soulful British pop idol George Michael, dead at 53 | Reuters

By Edward Baran
| LONDON

LONDON Madonna, Elton John and Paul McCartney paid tribute on Monday to British pop idol George Michael, who has died age 53 after a career of soulful ballads and dance songs that provided a soundtrack to much of the 1980s and 1990s.Michael burst to stardom with “Wham!, one of the most successful pop duos ever, with singles like “”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “”Careless Whisper”, before reinventing himself as a solo artist with sexually daring lyrics and multimillion-selling albums like “Faith” and “Listen Without Prejudice”.He passed away peacefully over Christmas, according to a statement from his publicist. British police said his death was “unexplained but not suspicious”. His manager, Michael Lippman, said the singer had died of heart failure, according to the BBC.”Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog (nickname). Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved,” said former Wham! partner and school friend Andrew Ridgeley on Twitter. “Cleft with grief.” “Farewell My Friend. Another Great Artist leaves us,” Madonna tweeted.”George Michael’s sweet soul music will live on even after his sudden death,” said McCartney. “Having worked with him on a number of occasions his great talent always shone through and his self-deprecating sense of humour made the experience even more pleasurable.”

Michael was highly regarded by fellow musicians as a singer and songwriter – in addition to pop phenomenon – and was a 2017 nominee for the Songwriters Hall of Fame, but he was troubled for years by substance abuse and a topsy turvy private life.With flowing blond hair and handsome smile, Michael won legions of fans as a teenage pin-up in the early 1980s before going solo with “Faith” in 1987, among the more than 100 million albums he sold with Wham! and under his own name.While still in Wham!, Michael became the first Western pop act to perform in communist China, in 1985.

He was publicly outed as a homosexual when he was arrested in 1998 for “engaging in a lewd act” in a public restroom in Beverly Hills, California. But he parlayed that tabloid tale into a successful revamp of his career with the hit single “Outside,” accompanied by a video featuring LA police officers which showcased his sense of humour.On Monday, fans laid flowers and candles at his homes in London and Oxfordshire. “I have grown up with him – he was a songbook to the good times, the bad times. And he’s brought me here today just to say thank you, George, for the music,” said Kavita, a fan outside his home in London’s affluent Highgate district.

Michael’s friend and fellow musician Elton John, with whom he collaborated, said: “I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.” Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963 in London to a Greek Cypriot family in a flat above a north London launderette. He played music on the London underground train system before finding global fame with Wham!.Michael’s death comes at the end of a year that has seen the passing of several popular music giants, including David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. Rick Parfitt, the guitarist of British rock group Status Quo, died on Saturday at 68. (Writing by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 21:11 IST

SP Tyagi a ‘sound professional’, shouldn’t be treated like criminal: Air Chief Marshal Raha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing former IAF chief SP Tyagi as a “sound professional”, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Monday said he should not have been treated like a “common criminal”.Tyagi, arrested on December 9 in AgustaWestland chopper scam case, was today granted bail by a special court here.Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar granted the relief to Tyagi on a personal bond of Rs two lakh and one surety of like amount.”You know, it is sub-judice so it won’t be right for me to say anything. But, it is very unfortunate, I think for sure, that a person of his stature has been indicted by the CBI and other investigating agencies. He has been put under custody,” Raha told NDTV’s “Walk the Talk” programme.He said the arrest “obviously” hurts the morale of the people of the armed forces. “I can’t say it doesn’t dent our image or reputation. It definitely does and I am sure we will go by the law of the land. And the judicial process will be completed on the (basis of) evidence produced. I will be very happy if he can acquit himself because for the reason that he is the former chief,” he said. Talking about his personal rapport with Tyagi, Raha said he has worked under him.”I have worked with him as well. So I knew him quite well. Professionally, he is very sound and it is very unfortunate that this kind of accusations are there. It does dent our reputation. We are just hoping that the thing gets settled quickly this way or the other. Whatever is the decision of the court or the judicial process, we will go by that. We will accept it,” he said. Asked if he agreed that he should not have been kept with common criminals, Raha replied saying he agrees. “I don’t know the exact evidences that the investigating agencies have but if they could treat him a little more respectfully I would be be very happy,” he said.

Myanmar says Muslim with links to government murdered in troubled Rakhine | Reuters

By Shwe Yee Saw Myint
| YANGON

YANGON A man has been found dead with stab wounds in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, in what the government said on Monday was the second murder in under a week of a Rohingya who cooperated with authorities as they crack down on suspected insurgents.Coordinated attacks on October 9 killed nine police officers and sparked a military operation in northern Rakhine. The government of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar blamed Muslim Rohingyas supported by foreign militants. State media has reported at least 86 deaths and the United Nations says 34,000 people have fled to Bangladesh.The violence poses a challenge to Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and has renewed international criticism that the Nobel laureate has done too little to help the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar.Residents and rights groups say soldiers have raped Rohingya women, burnt homes and killed civilians during the operation near the frontier with Bangladesh.The government denies the accusations, and has launched a social media campaign in an effort to demonstrate that security forces are acting properly in Rakhine.

An administrator in Yae Twin Kyun village, named as Rawphi, was found dead with knife wounds on Sunday, Lieutenant Colonel Aung San Win of the local border guard police told Reuters.He said the killing of the 28-year-old Muslim might be “related to terrorism”. Myanmar’s state counsellor’s office said on Monday evening on its Facebook page that the victim had been “cooperating with members of security forces in administration duties.”

The case is the second murder in Rakhine where authorities have highlighted the victim’s cooperation with the government, appearing to point the finger at Rohingya insurgents.On Friday, the state counsellor’s office said a Muslim man was decapitated after he had denied stories of Myanmar military abuse when speaking to reporters.”He told media that there was no case of arson by the military and police forces, no rape and no unjust arrests,” said a Facebook post accompanied by a picture of a headless body with English text that read: “truth teller beheaded”.

Neither the police nor the state counsellor’s office have said who was responsible for the decapitation.A Rohingya community leader, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, told Reuters many Muslims were sceptical about the government’s account of the beheading.A report by the International Crisis Group said insurgents calling themselves Harakah al-Yaqin were responsible for the attacks on October 9 that sparked the crackdown. The group also have killed Rohingyas who threatened to inform on them to authorities, the ICG said.Reuters could not independently verify the government accounts as access for independent journalists to northern Rakhine has been prohibited since security forces locked down the area. (Reporting By Shwe Yee Saw Myint and Simon Lewis; Writing by Yimou Lee; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 19:49 IST

Harish Rawat seeks fresh date from CBI for appearance in CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday did not appear before the CBI in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him and has sought a fresh date for it.The matter pertains to CBI’s ongoing probe into the alleged sting operation purportedly showing Rawat negotiating a deal to buy support of disgruntled Congress MLAs to save his government earlier this year.Rawat has written to the apex investigating agency expressing his inability to appear before it and sought a fresh date for the purpose, his media advisor and spokesman Surendra Kumar said.He had been served summons by the CBI on Friday last, asking him to appear before it today.After the CBI summons were issued to him, Rawat had questioned its timing and accused the Centre of using the investigating agency as a tool to frame him as Assembly elections were round the corner in Uttarakhand.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.

Indo-Bangla border to be completely sealed by mid 2018: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years.”We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” Singh said addressing BJP workers here.”Bangladesh is our neighbouring country and we share a good and warm relation, which we will continue to pursue and remain committed to in the future,” he said. The Union minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said. Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon. The Union minister said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state.”If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them… We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he added.

Committed to sealing border with Bangladesh in next year and half, says Rajnath Singh

Guwahati: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years.

“We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” Singh said addressing BJP workers in Guwahati.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

“Bangladesh is our neighbouring country and we share a good and warm relation, which we will continue to pursue and remain committed to in the future,” he said.

The Union minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

“We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said.

Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon.

The Union minister said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state.

“If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them. We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 16:59 IST

Launch of Agni-5 a great technological, military achievement: DRDO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday said the launch of intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5 is a major achievement for India both in terms of technology and military might.Former DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta said that with this missile capabilities, current advisories will not dare to attack India with any nuclear weapon. “It is a bold statement of India strength for peace. We are a peaceful country and we want to work for establishing peace in the region. I believe peace is possible when you are strong. So, this a major quantum jam in the deterrent capability of India and with this missile capabilities I am sure that the current advisories will not dare to attack India with any nuclear weapon,” he said.He said missile that has been launched till now was to test India’s testing capabilities but the real equipped with nuclear will be launched if India is under attack. “India has a declared policy of no frosty use and I hope that we never have to use it. That is only possible if we have this kind of capabilities”. the accuracy of the missile is very high when we launched this for the first time on April 19, 2012 it was a dawn of a new era of technology,” he added.Unlike other missiles of Agni series, ‘Agni-5’ is the most advanced having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.The indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile, Agni-5, is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km. It is about 17-metre long, two-metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne. It is the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the long range missile.While the first test was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second test was carried out on September 15, 2013, and the third on January 31, 2015 from the same base.

Tamil Nadu: DMK General Council meet on January 4

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK announced that its General Council meeting on Monday, which was deferred in view of M Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation, would be held on January 4, 2017.DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said that the General Council, originally slated on December 20 under its President M Karunanidhi, will now be held next month.The General Council was earlier scheduled on December 20 amidst an increasing chorus from Stalin’s supporters for his elevation.Stalin, also leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, was expected to be appointed working president of the party in the General Council, the powerful decision-making body of DMK.However, the meet was deferred following Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation due to lung and throat infection.Karunanidhi was discharged from the private hospital on December 23.

Odisha: One student killed, 10 injured in bus accident

Mon, 26 Dec 2016-01:40pm , Nayagarh , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least one person was killed and 10 others injured on Monday after a picnic bus carrying students met with an accident near Maichheli village of Odisha’s Nayagarh district.The untoward incident took place in the wee hours on Monday when the students of Binapani coaching centre were going for a picnic.The injured students have been rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. As per the reports, three students, who were seriously injured were referred to Bhubaneswar.The deceased student has not been identified as yet.

20 pilgrims injured in Sabarimala temple during Thanga Angi procession

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 20 Sabarimala pilgrims were injured in a “minor stampede” at the famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa this evening, which witnessed a heavy rush of devotees. The injured have been admitted to Sannidhanam hospital, Pathnamthitta Collector R Girija said.She said there was a “small stampede” between Sannidhanam and Malikapuram and about 20 persons were injured. There was a heavy rush of pilgrims on Sunday, the penultimate day before culmination of the 41-day mandala pooja.The stampede occurred just as the holy ‘Thanga Angi’ procession carrying ornaments worn by Lord Ayyappa on Mandala pooja on Monday had reached the temple on Sunday evening. The procession starts from Aranmula Sree Parthasarthy temple four days before the Mandala pooja.Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said there was a heavy rush of pilgrims at the shrine when the thanga angi was brought. He was at the temple shortly before the stampede and had left the shrine after ‘deeparadhana’ (evening prayers) with Thanga Angi. The minister said he was on his way to the hospital.Police are restricting movement of pilgrims from downhill Pamba to sannidhanam because of the heavy rush.

Major I-T raids since demonetisation: ED arrests TN chief secy; DRI seizes Rs 1.34cr in new notes at Chennai airport

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Chennai airport raid 

In the latest development, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence busted a hawala gang and seized Rs 1.34 Crore in Rs 2000 notes & $ 7000 from five persons in early morning hours, near Chennai airport, reported ANI.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:26 IST

Modi govt is like Mohammed bin Tughlaq regime: Congress leader Kharge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Likening Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has said every new announcement on demonetization has created confusion in the minds of the public.”It is like Mohammad bin Tughlaq’s government, as everyday they are creating confusion among the people and the public is harassed, particularly by the issuing of new orders without thinking or any vision,” he said.”Ultimately, the people of this country are suffering and the government has failed to implement its policies. They are perturbed and are issuing such orders,” he added.Kharge said government is confused and former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh rightly pointed out that demonetization is a case of monumental mismanagement.Tughlaq, who ruled over Delhi in the 14th century, acquired notoriety for controversially shifting the capital of the Sultanate from Delhi to Daulatabad and for introducing non-precious metal currency, which backfired on him.In a huge U-turn, the Reserve Bank of India withdrew its rule issued Monday that imposed restrictions on deposits of old notes worth more than Rs 5,000 before December 30, after being vilified for it. Now, deposits more than Rs 5,000 in old notes will be allowed until December 30, but only to KYC-compliant accounts, the RBI said.

6 reasons why, despite being criticised, demonetization has failed to halt BJP’s victory march

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s been over six weeks since November 8, when the unthinkable happened. In one fell swoop, PM Modi delegitimised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in an audacious bid to curb black money. What has happened post that has been nothing short of chaotic. The RBI and the Finance Ministry have literally made up rules on the go, chopping up and changing one arbitrary decision after another. It has been a baptism by fire for them, trying to outdo money launderers and black money hoarders. Unfortunately, hardworking average Indians have been caught in the crossfire. The latest decision to scrutinise any deposit above Rs 5,000 (issued this Monday) has left even the most ardent supporters of demonetization baffled.The Opposition has gone hammer and tongs over PM Modi’s decision, with Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal almost indulging in a game to outdo each other by ramping up the rhetoric against the government. No one can disagree the common people have been greatly disadvantaged by currency swap and that the Opposition parties have tried their best to latch on to it. Yet, something curious seems to be happening in India’s political firmament. Across the states, the lotus continues to bloom unabated, notwithstanding the urban backlash BJP has received. The Maharashtra municipal poll results (till the third phase), by-elections in six states and the latest result from Chandigarh municipal corporation poll shows no signs of the BJP wave slowing down. If anything, it seems to have picked up after a momentary lull. What explains this dichotomy? Let’s look at some of the possible causes.PM Modi’s personal charisma‘Hum to fakir aadmi hai, jhola leke chal padenge’. To a large extent, this statement, made at a rally at Moradabad on December 3, explains Modi’s rustic charm and appeal among his core vote base. He is looked upon as an honest crusader against corruption, with no family to pass on wealth to or curry favour for. This is in stark contrast to the general dynasty-centric political norms in India, where often lineage and not ability dictates a person’s post in an organisation. The appeal of a quintessential outsider embarking on a Himalayan shake-up is too irresistible for a large section of the urban population, who had so far equated politicians with a staid pace of work and a penchant for amassing wealth. Modi offers a refreshing change in that regard and many are giving him the benefit of doubt for at least trying to change the system, notwithstanding the gigantic loopholes in the implementation. If the 2014 mandate demanded a big bang shake-up of the status quo, Modi has provided it via demonetization. Schadenfreude among common peopleThe German word ‘schadenfreude’ refers to the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain. The reaction to demonetization has been a textbook case of this. People have stood in line for hours and yet not complained, thinking that the wealthy must be suffering a lot more. The fault lines between the poor and the rich have always been stark, hence demonetization has been hailed as a great leveller. This is something PM Modi has managed to sell well by essentially branding the move as a pro-poor step meant to tighten the screws on the unscrupulous rich. Whether it has happened in reality or the rich have managed to give them a slip is immaterial. The perception lingers and that’s what matters in politics.‘Nation building’ in the age of hashtag activismIn another example of potent political messaging, the PM has managed to convey that all the hardships faced by the common man would not be in vain. In fact, it is an important path of nation building, a sacrifice of few hours for the greater good. To paraphrase PM Modi, this is the line to end all the queues of the past 70 years. At a time, when cyber warriors are in abundance, trolling people for not conforming to their set of beliefs, demonetization gives them the validation of not merely being hashtag activists. ‘If the soldiers can stand guard in Siachen, why can’t you stand in line?’ has been an oft-repeated argument in the last couple of weeks. For many who can’t ever think of joining the army or performing a similar level of sacrifice, standing in a queue for the sake of the nation is a quick path to patriotic nirvana.Shifting goalpost has helpedThe government has constantly shifted its goalpost about what exactly the main objective of demonetization is. From the initial thrust of eradicating black money and counterfeit currency, the focus has shifted to promoting digital economy. An aggressive PR campaign has meant that the real issues have been obfuscated. The government has managed to remain unscathed so far without quite revealing what it has gained from the entire exercise. Public reaction may take a turn for the worse when Q3 results of industries and other related economic indices are released in January 2017.Opposition’s unconvincing tiradeFrom day 1, some of the major allegations the Opposition has raised have been about how BJP workers and leaders were in the loop and how businessmen close to BJP were taken into confidence before the decision was announced publicly. Many accusations have been hurled but none have stuck so far, owing to the lack of any tangible proof. Merely calling demonetization a scam doesn’t make it one without any clear evidence. The Opposition may have lost out on a trick here by questioning the intent of demonetization rather than its merit. Sorry state of CongressThe present and future of the principle Opposition party, Congress, remains bleak like a moonless night. In many states, the party remains radar-less without an empowered state unit. With a top heavy structure providing no coherent leadership, Congress has islands of influence of local satraps. It doesn’t have any organised plan to counter BJP’s rampage. Congress was supposed to gain in Chandigarh, but fell by the wayside. In Maharashtra, BJP is making inroads in Congress’ deepest bastions. Punjab is its best shot in the next batch of elections, which will take place in 3-4 months. Yet the party looks wobbly, unsure of its next move. It has given BJP the breathing space to commit a few mistakes of its own without getting severely penalised. The BJP-SAD alliance is widely expected to lose Punjab and yet it managed to increase its numbers in the Chandigarh municipal polls. While it would be wrong to over-analyse the data, owing to the absence of AAP which didn’t take part in the elections, one thing is for sure. BJP-SAD is not a spent force in Punjab, and Congress and AAP can only ignore the ruling alliance at their own peril. In a border state like Punjab, where terrorism, drugs and counterfeit currency are big causes of concern, demonetization may even have a positive effect on voters as it is likely to crack down on these burning problems.Can BJP continue this momentum into the five state polls in 3 months time? A lot will depend on how quickly the system normalises post December 30. The PM asked for 50 days to get rid of black money. The citizens of India seem to have given its ‘pradhan sevak’ that grace period, but patience may run out soon.It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that demonetization hits a section of dedicated BJP voters badly— the trader community and the urban upper class. Yet PM Modi has used his courage of conviction to implement the scheme. Only the future will tell if he can upend all political calculations and end up with a new larger voting block, steadfastly supporting his decisions. That will be no less radical than the decision of demonetization itself.

Demonetization: Constant change in notifications will lead to erosion of trust, says Yogendra Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav told a bank on Tuesday that he “believed” in the assurance made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RBI that demonetized currency could be deposited till December 30, when he deposited his old notes.Yadav said he had not deposited old currency notes because he was waiting for the rush to subside as the deadline for the same was December 30. After the circular was issued on Monday, his wife Madhulika Banerjee went to the UCO bank to deposit old currency notes. “I have made no cash deposit in my account since November 8. I see no reason to offer any special explanation for the same for making the deposit now. I normally like and wait for the queues to end. I was assured by the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the RBI that there was no need to rush to the banks and that I had till December 30 for making any deposit. I believed them,” Yadav said in his explanation to the bank.The Swaraj India President also posted this message on Twitter and Facebook which went viral. The government had said on Monday individuals can deposit over Rs 5,000 in old currency bills only once until December 30 and that too after explaining why it has not been done so far.After banning Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, the government had initially allowed people to deposit the scrapped currency notes in bank accounts till December 30 and there was no limit to the amount that could be deposited. Yadav also lambasted the government and the RBI for regularly changing rules. “On November 12, the Finance Minister says that there is no need to rush as the deadline is December 30. On December 20, the RBI asks why did you take so much of time to deposit old notes. You need an explanation? Currency functions on trust. Such actions will only lead to erosion of trust in institutions,” he said.

Pinarayi Vijayan violated oath of office by ordering release of activist with Maoist links: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP in Kerala alleged on Tuesday that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has violated the oath of office by “ordering” the release of an activist who was taken into custody for his suspected Maoist links. Party state president Kummanam Rajasekharan said Vijayan had “directed” the police to release Nadeer Gul Mohammed, who was taken into custody in Kozhikode on Monday.It was for the police to confirm whether the detained person has any connection with the radical outfit, he said in Thiruvananthapuram in a statement. “The direction given by Chief Minister to release the person taken into custody in connection with Maoist link was violation of the oath of office,” he said. Referring to the criticism of CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Marxist veteran VS Achutanandan against the police action, he said Left leaders were “trying to sabotage the investigation by putting pressure on police.” Releasing a person without proving him innocent was amounted to bypassing the judiciary itself, he said.Joining the issue, KPCC president VM Sudheeran wanted Vijayan to demit the home portfolio as he has “lost moral right to continue.” The ruling CPI(M)’s “intervention in police force for political purposes has resulted in home department losing control over it, he said.”Taking a dig at Vijayan, he said even veteran CPI(M) leaders like VS Achutanandan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were forced to denounce the police actions. He also pointed out that CPI, a key partner in LDF, had also came down against state police.A day after taking into custody for his suspected Maoist links, Nadeer Gul Mohammed was let off by police on Monday saying there was no evidence against.

When I was treated with suspicion for depositing my mother’s rainy day savings: An open letter to Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dear Mr Jaitley,When PM Modi asked citizens of the country to give him 50 days, we supported him because he claimed that we would get a better future. We were led to believe that there was a proper plan in place, and we’d be able to deposit our old notes without too much of a hassle. Time and again, we were assured that we had till December 30. Of course, given the number of rule changes till this point, it was optimism to the file of foolishness. On Monday morning, RBI announced that an amount exceeding Rs 5,000 can be deposited in the bank accounts only once till the December 30, quite contradictory to your earlier announcement. Later the same evening, you clarified that “No questions will be asked if any amount of junked currency is deposited in one go,” and we believed in you again.
ALSO READ Inquisition for Rs 5000: Why Modi govt is making it very hard to support demonetizationHowever, reality was a little different as I realised when I went to deposit my mother’s savings. Like any other Indian woman she liked to keep some money aside for a rainy day and hoped to deposit the money once the queues had thinned. Upon hearing the Dec 19 announcement, she freaked out and asked me to deposit the money as soon as possible. As much as I hated waiting in queue to deposit some cash whose existence my mom didn’t remember for ages now, I was mentally prepared to come across at least 40-50 other hassled people who would have come to deposit their ‘old currency’.
ALSO READ Govt will come with structured response: RS Prasad goes into damage control over Rs 5000 deposit announcementHowever, to my surprise there wasn’t a long queue, with only 5-7 people waiting to deposit and withdraw cash. I thought that the process would be fairly simple when the security guard handed me a form to fill and directed me towards the queue. In the form, I just had to fill basic information such as my account details and the value of currency (I didn’t even need to fill my PAN card details because the amount was less than Rs 50,000). I thanked my stars that I won’t have to wait in the queue till the end of the year.
ALSO READ New Rs 5000 deposit rule an influential step to curtail misuse: MoS Finance Gangwar I had assumed I would be done in 10-15 minutes. However, that wasn’t the case. Mr Jaitley, I am sure you’re trying your best to help all the individuals out there, but I must say that the ground reality is slightly different.Firstly, the person at the deposit counter was already hassled because he hadn’t found time to have lunch till 4.30 PM, and then he had to deal with a person who didn’t have stamp on his cheque and me and the person behind me who had old currency of the value more than Rs 5000.He asked me if I had made a deposit yesterday, I denied and stated that this is my first deposit in all the days. I further went on to explain that you had assured that we can deposit more than Rs 5000 without being questioned, he told me I could deposit a ‘huge amount such as Rs 6,500’ only if I submitted an acknowledgment and presented an original identity proof.I was then asked to meet one of his seniors, who asked me to fill another form wherein I had to give my account details, details and a copy of identity proof along with an address proof and the reason for depositing the amount late. The senior checked all the original identity proofs and signed the acknowledgment, and called his colleague to do the same, who choose to sign it ‘later’.To add to it, the colleague mocked me for finding Rs 6,500 in a purse. He even thought I was the most innovative of the lot he had met ever since morning.Unfortunately, by the time I was done, the deposit counter was shut but since I was in queue earlier, they were kind enough to let me deposit the money. What was truly galling during the entire process was the fact that I was made to feel like a petty criminal.Why do I need to explain where the money came from? Rs 6500 isn’t a huge amount,. Both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of the country had assured me that I had all the time in the world to deposit my money. Does the FM and PM’s words have no value at all?But I guess I should soldier on, because all this is for the betterment of the country? Isn’t feeling frustrated for 45 minutes, being late for office, being treated like a petty criminal to deposit a small amount of my mother’s savings all justified for the greater good of nation? Of course, we are willing to soldier on because we believe, but it’d nice if we weren’t treated like criminals. Thank you,Another citizen waiting for ‘acche din’

Manohar Parrikar has a advice for Goan Media critics: Take off clothes and dance naked

Panaji: In a stern critique of a section of the Goan media, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said his advice to those who blabber needlessly was to take off their clothes and dance naked to get publicity.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Parrikar, who attended a Bharatiya Janata Party meeting in Sattari sub district in north Goa, located 40 km from Panaji, was speaking on Monday vis-a-vis the limits of criticism.

“I still remember in 1968 during the Watergate issue, he (an editor) had written a large editorial advising (Richard) Nixon. Now, how could an editorial written by him in Marathi reach Nixon? He is in America.

“Some people do not understand their limits. They keep blabbering. I have some good advice for them. Remove your clothes and dance naked (kapde kadha ani nagde nacha).

“One will get even better publicity,” Parrikar said, while referring to an editor of a vernacular newspaper in Panaji.

“I give one advice to those who abuse to get publicity. There was a newspaper here. It is still there. I will not take its name. It had an editor.

“He was an international level editor, he was brought here in his old age. His newspaper had a sale of 1,000…” the former Goa Chief Minister said.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 22:08 IST

Sushma Swaraj released from hospital

India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is released from hospital after a kidney transplant.

Demonetistion: Sudden spurt in queues at bank branches as new deposit rules kick in

New Delhi – Unnerved by new set of guidelines announced by the RBI, people rushed to bank branches to deposit the now defunct Rs 500/1,000 notes in their accounts.

Many branches witnessed sudden surge of customers for deposits on Monday, a day before the new rules kick in.

The Reserve Bank on Monday imposed stiff restrictions on depositing more than Rs 5,000 in the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, mandating that it can be deposited only once per account till December 30, that too after explaining to bank officials the reasons for not having done that so far.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Stipulating that restrictive conditions will also apply on the cumulative deposit of such notes in a single account when it exceeds Rs 5,000, RBI said that defunct currency up to any amount can be deposited under the new black money amnesty scheme PMGKY.

Under PMGKY, black money holders can deposit unaccounted cash in account which will be subject to 50 per cent tax and 4-year interest free lock-in for the remaining 25 per cent of the amount.

The RBI said old notes in excess of Rs 5,000 into a bank account will be received for credit only once during the remaining period till December 30, 2016.

Even after 39 days after the demonetisation of old Rs 500/1,000 notes, banks are still struggling to manage long queues as cash starved customers throng branches to get valid currency notes.

To meet the demand, branches are resorting to cash rationing as they are getting less than their requirement from currency chests.

However, the situation seems slightly better at many ATMs with increased cash availability.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said everyday RBI is injecting a large amount of currency into the banking system as part of its remonetisation exercise.

“Significant amounts are going to be injected in next three weeks which are gradually bringing the pressure down. As more and more new currency comes into circulation, the recirculation itself in the banking system and ATMs will make more currency available,” Jaitley had said.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 08:49 IST

Jaitley says deposit any amount of banned notes in one go, escape queries; confusion compounds

New Delhi – After tightening rules for depositing old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday night said no questions will be asked if any amount of junked currency is deposited in one go but repeated deposits may raise queries.

This is in clear contradiction to the Reserve Bank of India notification in the morning, which said customers depositing more than Rs 5,000 will have to satisfactorily explain why they did not do so early on, even if it is just once.

With nearly Rs 13 lakh crore out of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore worth of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 junked already deposited in banks, the government has changed rules to mandate that individuals can deposit over Rs 5,000 in old currency bills only once until December 30 and that too after explaining why it had not been done so far.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI file photoFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Jaitley said all exemptions to certain sectors and utilities, which had been allowed to accept the banned currency post demonetisation, ended last week and all those in possession of the old notes are supposed to deposit them with banks.

“Anyone who has old currency notes is not allowed to trade in them. He can only go and deposit them with banks,” he said.

With a view to curtail queues at banks, holders are encouraged to deposit the entire holding in one go, rather than going repeatedly.

“If they go and deposit with bank any amount of currency no questions are going to be asked to them and therefore the Rs 5,000 limit does not apply to them if they go and deposit it once.

“But if they are going to go everyday and deposit some currency, same person, that gives rise to suspicion that where is he acquiring this currency from. In that event a person may have something to worry about. Therefore everyone is advised whatever old currency you have please go and deposit it now,” he said.

However, the morning notification from the RBI had said that the those customers depositing more than Rs 5,000 will have to face the questioning by the bank officials.

“Tenders of SBNs in excess of Rs 5,000 into a bank account will be received for credit only once during the remaining period till December 30, 2016. The credit in such cases shall be afforded only after questioning tenderer, on record, in the presence of at least two officials of the bank, as to why this could not be deposited earlier and receiving a satisfactory explanation. The explanation should be kept on record to facilitate an audit trail at a later stage. An appropriate flag also should be raised in CBS to that effect so that no more tenders are allowed,” the RBI notification said.

The latest statement by the finance minister will only add to the confusion of customers of the worried customers, who have already started queuing up in front of the banks to deposit their old notes. Many of them could have waited patiently for the rush at banks to decline to deposit their cash as the government had time and again promised that the deadline for depositing any amount is 30 December.

However, Jaitley justified the move to restrict the deposits saying there is no scope now for earning any old currency because all exemptions have been waived and it makes sense to go deposit all the holding in one go, Jaitley said. “This is the objective of the order passed today (on Monday).”

After banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, the government had allowed all of the cash holdings with any person to be deposited in bank accounts till 30 December. There was no limit on the quantity or value of the junked notes that could be deposited.

However, the government on 17 December issued a gazette notification putting restrictions on deposits henceforth.

“The deposits of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations have been reviewed by the government from time to time. Already more than five weeks have elapsed since the time of the announcement of the cancellation of the legal tender character of these notes. It is expected that, by now, most of the people would have deposited such old notes in their possession,” an official statement said.

With a view to “reduce the queues in the banks”, the government said it has now been decided that “amounts exceeding Rs 5,000 in old notes can be deposited only once between now and December 30, 2016.”

“The banks have been advised to conduct due diligence regarding the reasons for not depositing these notes earlier,” the statement said.

Amounts of Rs 5,000 or less may continue to be deposited with banks in the customers account, as at present.

“However, cumulative deposits exceeding Rs 5,000 between December 19 and December 30, 2016 will be as per the procedures advised by the RBI in respect of deposits exceeding Rs 5,000,” it said.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) too came out with deposit guideline stipulating that restrictive conditions will also apply on the cumulative deposit of such notes in a single account when it exceeds Rs 5,000.

However, the defunct currency up to any amount can be deposited under the new black money amnesty scheme, PMGKY.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 08:32 IST

Coast Guard apprehends 26 Pakistani fishermen on five boats off Gujarat coast

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-10:52pm , Ahmedabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Coast Guard on Monday apprehended 26 Pakistani fishermen and seized their five fishing boats off Gujarat coast near Kutch as they crossed the Indian territorial waters.These Pakistani fishermen on five boats were held when they were inside Indian territory, said a release by Defence PRO.”The ICG vessel C-419 apprehended five Pakistani fishing boats with 26 crew members on board in Indian waters. These boats and the crew are being escorted to Jakhau port for further investigation,” it added.This is the second such apprehension in recent times by the Coast Guard off the Gujarat coast.Earlier in October this year, ICG ship ‘Samudra Pavak’ seized a Pakistani boat and apprehended 9 crew members onboard, off Gujarat coast during patrolling.

BJP slams Uttarakhand govt for declaring special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Monday slammed the Uttarakhand government for declaring a special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees, saying it will set a wrong precedent and accused the Congress of “communalising” the state’s politics ahead of the assembly polls.Accusing the Congress of pursuing a divisive agenda in its greed for power, the party said few people will be left working in the government offices if Hindus, who observe different forms of pujas across the month, are also given a similar concession. BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here that Congress has a history of “dividing” people on communal lines in its greed for power and what it has done in Uttarakhand is an attempt to hide the Harish Rawat government’s failures.”There is no issue with people of different faiths offering prayers of their choice. But this decision will set a wrong precedent on the matter of principle. From Monday to Saturday, faithfuls in our culture worship different Gods and offer prayers. “If everybody is to be given a favour like this, then who will work in government offices. It is an attempt to communalise the state’s politics ahead of the polls as the government has failed on all fronts. It has nothing to show to people for its work and is attempting to hide its failures under its communal agenda,” he said.Congress has given communal colour to terrorism in its greed for power, Sharma alleged, claiming that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had gone on to say that minorities have the first right to the nation’s resources. For BJP, the poor have the first right, he claimed. The Uttarakhand government has announced a special 90- minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in the state for Friday prayers.

Kota: 16-year-old handball player repeatedly raped by teacher

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 16-year-old Dalit handball player was allegedly raped by her physical training teacher repeatedly over two years, police said on .The girl lodged a complaint against Abdul Hanif (40) of Mangrol town, currently posted as Physical Training Instructor (PTI) at a government senior secondary school, Circle In-charge (CI) Ram Singh Meena, Mahila Police Station, said.The victim has been playing for the school team for the last two years, he said. “She alleged that Abdul would take her to different cities to participate in handball events and rape her in hotel rooms,” he said, adding that he would provide fake ID for the girl to get hotel rooms.The girl in her statement said the accused raped her 7-8 times in the last two years, adding, that he last raped her on December 17 in a hotel room in Baran.The girl has been sent for medical examination and a statement before the magistrate would be recorded later on Monday, Meena said.Abdul has been booked under various sections of IPC, POCSO and SC/ST Act. He has not been arrested yet, he said.

TN: DMK chief Karunanidhi’s health is improving, says Stalin

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-03:09pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ailing DMK leader M Karunanidhi is “improving” and his discharge from a private hospital will be decided in a day or two, his son and party treasurer MK Stalin said on Monday. Karunanidhi’s “health is improving well. A decision on his returning home will be taken in a day or two,” Stalin said in response to reporters’ queries. Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital here on the night of December 15 due to breathing difficulty caused by lung and throat infection. He later underwent a tracheostomy.Stalin earlier greeted party General Secretary and the No 2 in the ranks, K Anbazhagan, on turning 95, and heaped encomiums on him.

Demonetisation: Cashlessness sting still painful on day 41

New Delhi: There was no respite in sight for cash-strapped people on Monday as queues outside banks and ATMs for withdrawing money continued across the city with rising anger and pain.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

An IANS correspondent who visited about 10 banks and ATMs across the city, found over 150 people outside Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India in Kalkaji area of south Delhi.

Similar conditions were witnessed outside the Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank in Preet Vihar area in east Delhi.

Jaswant Sharma, a security guard with a law firm and resident of Kalkaji extension, told IANS: “Since the day I got my salary I am looking for an ATM to withdraw some cash. Three of my attempts have gone in vein as the ATM machine runs out of cash before my turn comes.

Asked if he supports the government’s move of scrapping the old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, Sharma said: “I have nothing to do with the government decision, I just want to withdraw some cash as I am left with only Rs 10 in my pocket. Cash is the necessity.”

“I have borrowed the bicycle from one of my friend to reach here,” he rued.

There were around 300 people outside the Yes Bank and HDFC ATM kiosk in Kalkaji area around 12.30 a.m. which was dispensing cash till early morning.

Balkishan, a lawyer who had arrived at the ATM to withdraw cash with his 12-year-old son, told IANS: “At most of the places people in the queues do not allow withdrawal from multiple cards. So I have come with my son to withdraw money from two cards.”

“We cannot stand in bank or ATM queue everyday, what comes in mere Rs 2,500,” he asked.

However, similar situation was witnessed outside the banks on Monday morning, which opened after Sunday. Hundreds of people were seen waiting for their turn.

Balwinder Singh, a resident of South Extension Part II who was standing outside Punjab National Bank in south Delhi, told IANS: “It is completely mismanaged show.”

“The government has made the middle and working class people suffer. Today I have skipped my office for the third time since demonetisation to withdraw cash.”

“Is government going to pay me for the days I have skipped my office to withdraw some cash?” he said.

Echoing similar opinion, Neha Sharma, an IT professional working with an MNC in Noida, said: “We cannot skip office everytime by giving the excuse that we need to withdraw some cash.”

“The government has set the limit of Rs 24,000 a week, but the bank officials are only giving Rs 4,000,” she rued.

“How do we manage our expenses for whole month in just Rs 4,000,” she asked.

Serpentine queues have been witnessed across the country after the government’s November 8 decision to spike higher currency notes to curb “black money and corruption”.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 12:32 IST

Kerala ragging case: Victim with kidney damage undergoes dialysis, 5 accused surrender

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five of the seven students accused in the ragging case in government polytechnic, in which a first year student suffered kidney damage, have surrendered before police, police said on Monday.The five senior students surrendered before the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Changanassery on Sunday night.According to police, there are a total of seven accused in the case and two are still absconding.On December 2 night, eight first-year students of the polytechnic at Nattakom here were allegedly subjected to brutal ragging by a gang of senior students at the men’s hostel of the college.Two students–one hailing from Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur district, and another from Cheranallur in Ernakulam district– were seriously injured in the incident. They have been admitted to hospitals in Thrissur and Ernakulam respectively.The student from Irinjalakkuda has been hospitalised with kidney damage, police said.He was put on dialysis after doctors diagnosed him with kidney damage. The victim underwent dialysis three times after his admission in the hospital 11 days ago.The accused allegedly forced the victim to consume liquor mixed with some harmful powder following six hours of brutal ragging which included hard physical exercises like push-ups.The accused were absconding after police booked them for allegedly ragging their juniors in the hostel.They have also been suspended from the institution.Two cases have been registered against the accused based on two separate complaints by the two students, police said.Meanwhile, the state human rights commission has sought a report from the education department on the alleged ragging incident.

‘Hundreds die’ in India police custody, says rights group report

Some 600 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, says a rights group report.

Rawat appointment row: Never played politics with Army like BJP, won’t ever do it, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Monday said they have fullest confidence in the Indian armed forces and maintained that it has never played politics with the institution and will never do so unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”Look, things are very simple; the Congress party knows what is to be done and what is not to be done. The Congress has full confidence in the Indian soldiers, the army and army brass. We never did any politics with the army and we will never do this,” Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya told ANI.”The Congress has the fullest confidence in our army; we know what is to be done and what is not to be done. I don’t want any advice from the BJP. Our love for the Indian Army is much more genuine than that of the BJP,” Bhattacharya added.
ALSO READ Army chief appointment: Govt cites Rawat’s track record to blunt opposition’s attack Bhattacharya’s reaction came after the BJP yesterday condemned the Congress Party for its criticism of the Centre over the appointment of new Army Chief Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat, saying there should be no politics on defence forces.The BJP said Lt. Gen. Rawat has been elevated to the top post considering the current security scenario.
ALSO READ Cong questions new army chief’s appointment, MoD sources say Rawat best suited to deal with terror threatsTerming Lt. Gen. Rawat’s appointment as ‘unprecedented’, Congress leader Manish Tewari said the party does not doubt the new army chief’s abilities, but seeks to know as to why senior people were superseded and the fourth in line has been named as the new army chief.The CPI too criticised Lt. Gen. Rawat’s appointment by superseding two officers. CPI national secretary D. Raja alleged that every appointment by the government has become controversial, be it in the judiciary, the CBI or the army.Describing the controversy as ‘unfortunate’, he said it is not in the interest of democracy and the country.

Pakistani cinemas to resume screening of Indian movies from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cinemas in Pakistan will start screening Indian movies from Monday as film exhibitors and cinema owners lifted the self-imposed suspension on their screening that was put in place after escalating Indo-Pak tensions following the Uri terror attack.Zoraish Lashari, Chairman of the Film Exhibitors Association, told reporters that after thorough discussions with parties concerned, it has been decided that screening of Indian films would resume from Monday.”The cinema owners and other stakeholders in the industry have been hit by the decision to impose a temporary suspension on screening of Indian films. A lot of investment has been made into upgrading or building new cineplexes and multiplexes and the business at this time is dependent on screening of latest Indian films,” he said yesterday.The cinema houses’ owners said that they had only suspended the screening of Indian films but had not completely banned them.Movies which were missed and could not be screened due to the suspension will be screened first, said Nadeem Mandviwala of Atrium cinemas.The first film to be screened will be actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Freaky Ali.”We lifted the suspension as a cinema guild. We took this decision because we would like to support them (Indian cinemas) and expect them to support us,” Aadil Mandviwala, Director Mandviwala Entertainment, was quoted as saying by the Dawn.The Pakistan Film Exhibitors and Distributors Association, which includes most owners of cineplexes, multiplexes and single screen cinemas in the country, had announced to “temporarily” stop screening Indian films soon after tensions escalated between Pakistan and India following the Uri terror attack and cross border firing incidents in late September.The exhibitors and cinema owners had taken the decision voluntarily after the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) announced a ban on Pakistani artistes and technicians working in India.Sources in the industry said that most of the cinema owners, exhibitors and importers of Indian films had got panicky after Pakistani films including old and fresh releases and even latest Hollywood movies failed to fill up the halls.”Plus in recent weeks several Indian films have been released while everyone is eagerly anticipating the release of Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’,” a source said.One source, however, said some cinema owners were still apprehensive of any backlash from religious parities or groups once they resumed screening of Indian films and have asked for protection if required.”A private media group is presently trying to import and release ‘Dangal’ in Pakistan,” the source added.Pakistan’s leading English newspaper ‘Dawn’ had in a editorial last month termed the ban on screening of Indian films in Pakistani cinemas as “damaging” and said Pakistani cinema houses were losing money because of the move.The Media and Marketing Manager of a major chain of cineplexes, Sabina Islam, said 75 per cent of the revenues generated in the industry came from screening of Indian films.Pakistan is considered as the third largest market for Indian films.Indian movies returned to Pakistani cinema houses in 2008 after a 43-year-long hiatus imposed during the 1965 war.

Manipur: 2 security personnel was killed in ambush by terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A police convoy was ambushed by terrorists on Monday. Two polce personnel were killed and four were injured in the incident.An injured policemanAs per IndiaToday, the incident took place at 6.30 am in Moreh town of Chandel district. The gunfire between security forces and terrorists is on.More details are awaited.

Uttar Pradesh: Man arrested for raping and murdering nine-year-old girl

Mathura: One person was arrested from Hathkauli village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, for raping and murdering a nine-year- old girl, police said on Wednesday.

Indrajit, who is in his 40’s, kidnapped and raped the girl, who was his neighbour, on Monday, SSP Mohit Gupta said.

Indrajit has confessed to his crime, SSP said, adding that he was arrested near Hathkauli village falling under Baldeo police station.

Indrajit confessed to his crime before the press, saying, “After alluring the girl I took her to a mustard field near Yamuna Expressway and murdered her, after raping her.”

SSP Gupta said that the accused was earlier trying to dodge the police by pretending to help in the girl’s search operation, but when he suddenly disappeared, police became suspicious of his involvement.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 09:10 IST

Uttar Pradesh: Man arrested for raping and murdering nine-year-old girl in Mathura

Mathura: One person was arrested from Hathkauli village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, for raping and murdering a nine-year- old girl, police said on Wednesday.

Indrajit, who is in his 40’s, kidnapped and raped the girl, who was his neighbour, on Monday, SSP Mohit Gupta said.

Indrajit has confessed to his crime, SSP said, adding that he was arrested near Hathkauli village falling under Baldeo police station.

Indrajit confessed to his crime before the press, saying, “After alluring the girl I took her to a mustard field near Yamuna Expressway and murdered her, after raping her.”

SSP Gupta said that the accused was earlier trying to dodge the police by pretending to help in the girl’s search operation, but when he suddenly disappeared, police became suspicious of his involvement.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 09:10 IST

Bengaluru: Flat guarded by elderly woman yields Rs 2.89 crore in new Rs 2,000 notes

Bengaluru: On a tip-off, the investigation wing of the Income Tax (IT) department found and seized Rs 2.89 crore in unaccounted cash, mostly in new Rs 2,000 notes, from a flat in Bengaluru, an official said on Wednesday.

“Unexplained cash of Rs.2.89 crore, including Rs 2.25 crore in Rs 2,000 notes, was found during a search in a flat at Yeshwantpur (in the city’s northwest suburb) on Tuesday,” said Alex Mathew, spokesperson for the IT department, in a statement.

RS 2000 NEW NOTERS 2000 NEW NOTE

The new Rs 2,000 note. PTI

Though the IT sleuths got information on Monday that a huge amount of cash was lying in an apartment, occupied by an old woman and guarded by two fierce dogs, they could not enter the premise to search, she was not cooperative and refused to tie the dogs.

“We had to take the help of local police and other inmates in the building to enter the premises where one room was found locked. On opening the room, the cash was found stashed in boxes,” said Mathew.

When a survey operation revealed that a person was visiting the flat in the early hours, the sleuths summoned him and asked him about the cash source. As his claims were found to be incorrect, he admitted it was unaccounted income.

“We have been active and successful in the post-demonetisation investigations as evident from seizure of Rs 29.86 crore in cash, 41.6 kg of bullion and 14 kg of gold jewellery since November 9,” income tax commissioner Rati Menon told IANS.

Of the total cash haul, Rs 2.22 crore was in new currency of Rs.2,000 notes.

“In the process, the directorate general of IT (Investigation) in Karnataka and Goa has unearthed unaccounted income in excess of Rs 1,000 crore from 36 cases,” added Menon.

In another case in Goa, Rs 67.98 lakh in Rs 2,000 notes were seized from a person on Tuesday when IT sleuths approached him as decoy customers in desperate need of hard cash. “The seizure was made at a place called Banda on the Goa-Maharashtra border,” said Mathew.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 21:26 IST

Shaina NC requests CM for fast track court for physiotherapist’s murder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a 24 year old physiotherapist was raped and murdered at her residence in Vile Parle on December 6, social activist and BJP spokesperson Shaina NC on Tuesday requested Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for a fast-track court for the case to bring relief to the traumatised family of the victim and ensure justice is delivered soon.She also led a delegation to the Vile Parle police station on Tuesday and interacted with the senior police inspector and other officers on the progress in the case.The victim’s parents had submitted a complaint to the Vile Parle police on Monday night asking for a probe into how the identity of the victim had become public.Several days after the gruesome crime, the police have failed to nail the culprit. They however claimed to be close to finding the guilty.The police have formed eight teams and questioned as many as 300-400 suspects, but are yet to make a breakthrough in the case.”We are investigating the case from all the angles and have questioned many people to zero in on the culprit,” said senior police inspector Mahadev Nimbalkar.The victim’s family has demanded a speedy probe and justice. Her father said, “It’s been a week now that we have only been getting assurances from the police, but the culprit has not been arrested yet. We are cooperating with the police and going whenever they calling us questioning. We have shared everything with the police, but they still say they do not have any strong evidence against anyone and are clueless.We want speedy justice and the culprit to be punished”.

India, Indonesia ties: Maritime cooperation is key takeaway from President Joko Widodo’s visit

Closer maritime cooperation between India and Indonesia is the key takeaway from President Joko Widodo first visit to Delhi.

Though China was not mentioned, the stock diplomatic phrases used in a statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the visiting dignitary, is a clear give away. The same language was used when Modi and US President Barack Obama issued a joint statement on the South China Sea after his 2015 visit. Freedom of navigation, reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), are all there.

Clearly all Asian countries, including Indonesia which does not have a maritime dispute with China, (unlike Japan, Phillipines, Vietnam, Taiwan), are wary of Beijing’s growing overreach in the East and South China Seas and the larger Pacific and Indian Ocean region. Land reclamation and fortifications to ensure that airstrips are available for Chinese fighter jets have alarmed the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday. PTI

“Both leaders committed to maintaining a maritime legal order based on principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS,’’ a statement on maritime cooperation released after talks in Hyderabad House on Monday said. The references cannot be missed.

Like every nation, India and Indonesia want to ensure that the sea lanes of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, through which trillions of dollars worth of trade passes must run smoothly. “Both leaders recognised the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight on the high seas, unimpeded lawful commerce, as well as resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means,’’ the statement went on to add.

This emphasis on peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for international law comes in the face of China’s refusal of an international arbitration tribunal which had earlier this year ruled against China in a case with the Phillipines about Chinese fishermen landing in what the tribunal ruled was Filipino waters. Beijing refused to accept the arbitration ruling.

The fear of an economic powerhouse like China, which now has both the funds and the naval and military might to coerce smaller neighbours is making Asian nations look to building a network of maritime alliances among themselves. This is why, Asians generally had welcomed Obama’s pivot to Asia policy. A strong American presence could act as a confidence booster for small Asian nations.

India on its part is looking to build maritime cooperation with all its Indian Ocean neighbours as well as countries like Vietnam. In 2015, Modi visited Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Mauritius in an attempt to shore up naval ties with these island nations.

After talks with Widodo, Modi in his media address, said: “We agreed to prioritise defence and security cooperation. As two important maritime nations that are also neighbours, we agreed to cooperate to ensure the safety and security of the sea lanes, in disaster response and environmental protection.’’

“The joint statement on maritime cooperation outlines the agenda of our engagement in this field,’’ the prime minister added.

Modi and Widodo directed their respective defence ministers to upgrade the existing defence cooperation to a substantive bilateral defence cooperation pact. At present, the Indian and Indonesian Army and Naval officers of both nations meet regularly for talks. Now the Airforce officers will also be included. There will also be increased defence exercises, including among special forces as well preliminary work on joint production of defence equipment and technology transfer, obviously from the Indian side.

Modi as prime minister has been paying a lot of attention to naval cooperation and the Indian Navy now holds regular exercises with more and more countries. Indian ships are now regularly visiting ports across Aisa, Africa and Europe. The highlight of defence cooperation are the Malabar exercises between India and the US Navies which started in 2002. Japan had once been part of the exercises, but stayed out after China’s vehement protests. But from 2016, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) have joined the US and Indian Navies for trilateral manouevres at sea. Malabar exercises will be held annually between the three navies, alternately in the Western Pacific (near Japan) and the Indian Ocean. This decision not to heed Chinese protests was taken by the Modi government.

Since 2002, India and Indonesia have been expanding maritime cooperation by holding joint coordinated naval patrols biannually. This got a much needed political boost on Monday with Modi and Widodo calling for greater closer maritime cooperation.

“Maritime cooperation has a wider reach than mere naval strategy,” said Gautam Mukhopadhya, former ambassador to Myanmar, who was also MEA’s representative in the Defence Ministry.  “Widodo is completey geared to boosting Indonesia’s economic potential. Strategically he wants to make sure that the scattered smaller islands of the country are well protected and so cooperation with the Indian Navy will also help in capacity building,’’ the former envoy added.

“Our partnership will also extend to combating terrorism, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking,’’ Modi said, signaling the cooperation is not just limited to defence.

A memorandum of understanding between India and Indonesia is on the cards to accelerate maritime cooperation in maritime safety and security, and promotion of maritime industries, as one of the important pillars towards enhancing the bilateral relationship. The two nations also spoke of the need to combat and eliminate “illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing” and recognised transnational organised fisheries crime as one of the emerging crimes, which has become an ever-growing threat to the world.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 15:39 IST

Kerala: 14-year-old girl, recuperating from meningitis, dies after being raped by father’s friends

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 14-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by her father’s three friends in September, died at a hospital in Kottayam on Monday, police said.The minor girl, belonging to a poor family in Kalamassery, was sexually abused by her father’s drunkard friends at her house while she was recuperating from meningitis, they said.The girl who fell ill after the incident was admitted at Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam, for getting special medical care, police said.Police suspect that the infection caused due to the assault could be the reason for the death.Based on a complaint filed by childline activists, Kalamassery police had arrested Ravi (49), Raju (36) and Rajesh (31) in September for their alleged role in the crime.The girl’s father had recently died due to illness.Kalamassery police has registered a case under relevant section of CrPC after the girl’s death.

ED unearths racket involved in illegal currency conversion, seizes Rs 93 lakh in new notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unearthing a racket involved in illegal conversion of demonetised notes, the ED has arrested seven alleged middlemen and seized Rs 93 lakh in new currency in Karnataka as part of its money laundering probe.Officials said the agency placed the seven, including the relative of a government official, under arrest late Monday night under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).Rs 93 lakh in new notes of Rs 2000 have been seized in the case, they added.Officials said the action was taken as part of a probe in a case where the Income Tax department had recently seized Rs 5.7 crore cash in new currency and the Enforcement Directorate had booked a money laundering case against a government engineer and others based on a CBI FIR in the case.The modus operandi adopted by the alleged middlemen, officials said, was unearthed after ED officials launched a special operation and themselves posed as ‘customers’ looking to get old currency changed illegally, after paying commission to the said middlemen.Officials said the probe by the agency found that these alleged middlemen were reportedly charging a commission between 15-35 per cent and were executing the racket of illegal conversion of new notes in alleged connivance with bank officials.They said the agency suspects that there is a chain of middlemen involved in converting black funds into white even as they added that the probe in continuing.The accussed are expected to be produced in a local court here for further custody.

Cold and fog conditions disrupt daily life in Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cold day conditions and dense fog in many parts of the state has thrown life out of gear in Bihar with people virtually remaining indoors over the weekend and on Monday, a public holiday on account of Id-ul-Milad Nabi.At least five people, including two women, died in an accident when their car rammed into a stationary truck on NH 2 due to poor visibility in Aurangabad district of the state.“The incident took place between 4 am and 5 am due to dense fog. It appears the driver could not see the parked 18-wheeler truck and rammed into it. The car was then hit by another truck from behind and the occupants got sandwiched between the two heavy vehicles,” a local police officer said.Police sources said the number of road accidents has increased over the last few days after different parts of Bihar started witnessing dense fog and has claimed at least 8-10 lives besides seriously injuring many.The state disaster management department has already issued an advisory to all district magistrates to make adequate arrangements of night shelters for the homeless.The district administrations have also been asked to burn firewood at certain public places auto-rickshaw stands, bus and railway stations and regularly monitor and report the situation to the department. “No death related due cold stroke have been reported till Monday afternoon,” department’s joint secretary Anirudh Kumar told DNA.A number of flights and train operating to and fro Bihar are delayed by several hours daily. The east central railways has also discontinued the service of over two dozen trains once a week to restore their punctuality. Some other mail or passenger trains plying through the zone have also been cancelled for a month.Meanwhile, with the maximum temperatures plummeting almost 10 degrees below normal and the minimum temperature hovering between seven and 12 degree Celsius, many districts, including Patna, have asked schools to shut down their Montessori sections and reschedule their primary and senior classes from 10 am for the next few days.

Varanasi, Allahabad did not have single good-air day in ’15: study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Delhi has been in the spotlight as the world’s most polluted city, Varanasi and Allahabad did not record a single good air-quality day in 2015, a new study revealed on Monday. It also found a total absence of any action plan to tackle pollution and that there was only one air-quality monitoring station in Varanasi. The study, based on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, showed that the holy city and Allahabad had zero good-air days, out of the monitored 227 and 236 days, respectively. A good-air day is one when the air-quality index is below 50. The report, prepared by the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), IndiaSpend and Care4Air, brought out the severity of air pollution in the Indo-Gangetic plains, home to 11 coal-fired power plants. “The key industrial hotspots of Uttar Pradesh, starting with Ghaziabad, bordering Delhi, to the district of Sonbhadra, bordering Madhya Pradesh, which produces close to 10 per cent of India’s coal-fired electricity, are all located on the Key Ganges river basin,” the report pointed out. The Purvanchal region of UP has close to 11 coal-fired thermal plants that produce nearly 12,000 MW of energy. Aishwarya Madineni, the lead author of ‘Varanasi Chokes’, released on Monday, said that compared to Delhi, the absence of air-quality data and functioning monitoring stations was glaring. “CPCB monitors the PM 2.5 quality while UP Pollution Control Board manually monitors PM 10 levels. There were huge gaps as data was missing for several days,” Madineni told DNA. PM2.5 and PM10 levels are fine, but lethal pollutants directly enter the human bloodstream and cause upper respiratory diseases.

Qatar’s new labour law won’t stop abuses of migrant workers, say rights groups | Reuters

By Ed Upright

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – – Qatar’s labour law reforms won’t end the abuse and exploitation faced by migrant workers in the country – and may even make it worse, human rights groups said on Monday.The Qatari government said a new law coming into effect on Tuesday will replace the controversial “kafala” or sponsorship system that forces foreign workers to seek their employer’s consent to change jobs or leave the country.Rights groups say the kafala system has forced workers to live in squalor and toil under dangerous, sometimes fatal, conditions which amount to modern-day slavery.Qatar is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure related to the World Cup it is hosting in 2022 and has imported hundreds of thousands of construction workers from countries such as India, Nepal and Bangladesh for ambitious building projects.The reforms won’t lead to significant changes on the ground, however, according to an Amnesty International report which says workers will continue to need their employer’s permission to change jobs and will still require exit permits to leave the oil-rich Gulf state.”This new law may get rid of the word ‘sponsorship’ but it leaves the same basic system intact,” James Lynch, deputy director for global issues at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

“FIFA [football’s governing body that organises the World Cup] its sponsors and foreign governments seeking business ties with Qatar cannot and must not use this reform to claim that the problem of migrant labour abuse has been solved.”According to Amnesty, abusive employers can also withhold workers’ passports under a new loophole – something that wasn’t allowed under the previous laws.The International Trade Union Confederation told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that despite the new laws, “Qatar remains a slave state”.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “This is just new labels on old laws. The exit permit system still remains a fact of life. This is just a relabelling of an extremely exploitative system.”The Qatar government on Monday said the reforms would make it easier for migrant workers to change jobs and leave the country, bringing “tangible benefits”.”The new law is the latest step towards improving and protecting the rights of every expatriate worker in Qatar,” Labour Minister Issa al-Nuami said in a statement.

“We urge the international community not to draw any definitive conclusions until there has been time to see the new law in action.”The Qatari embassy in London did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Amnesty report on Monday.Bangladeshi labour activists said on Friday they had joined a lawsuit in Switzerland against FIFA for allegedly failing to use its influence to ensure people working on World Cup facilities in Qatar are treated fairly.The suit, filed in FIFA’s home city of Zurich with the backing of the Netherlands’ largest labour union, calls on FIFA to force Qatar to adopt “minimum labour standards” for migrant workers preparing for the tournament. (Reporting by Ed Upright; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

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

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 00:24 IST

PV Narasimha Rao’s son Rajeswara Rao passes away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s son and former MP PV Rajeswara Rao passed away in Hyderabad on Monday. He was 73. Rao had been suffering from heart-related complaint and he passed away at around 4 PM on Monday at a private hospital in Hyderabad, his nephew and Telangana BJP spokesperson NV Subhash said.Rajeswara Rao was Congress MP from Secunderabad here during the 1990s. He was also an accomplished singer and shuttle badminton player. Condoling the death of Rajeswara Rao, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao recalled his association with him.The departed leader had deep interest in public service, music and literature, the Chief Minister said, according to a release from his office. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also mourned Rajeswara Rao’s demise. Chandrababu, in a message, extended his condolences to the bereaved family.YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy too expressed grief over Rajeswara Rao’s death. “Rao was active in literary and cultural fields,” Jagan recalled in a statement.

Delhi court sends KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintoo to Tihar jail for two days

New Delhi: Khalistani Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo was on Monday sent to judicial custody till 14 December by a Delhi Court when the Punjab Police plea for his transit remand will be considered.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba sent the accused to Tihar Jail after the Delhi Police said they did not require him for further custodial interrogation, asking the probe agency to produce him before the court concerned on the next date of hearing.

After that, Punjab Police personnel moved a plea seeking Mintoo’s transit remand, claiming that they require him for unearthing the larger conspiracy. The plea will also be taken up on 14 December.

The court had on 28 November sent Mintoo to Delhi Police custody for seven days which was later extended till on Monday.

The Delhi Police had earlier submitted that they needed his custody to know about the role of “insiders and outsiders” who assisted him and five others in fleeing from Nabha jail in Patiala.

It had said that the role of Inter-Services Intelligence and some terror organisations was required to be probed in the case as he had also visited Pakistan.

According to the Delhi Police, one loaded pistol and six live cartridges were recovered from his possession. He was earlier a member of Babbar Khalsa International and later floated his own group, they said.

Mintoo was nabbed from a Delhi railway station, a day after he escaped with five other inmates from the prison.

UP Police had on 27 November arrested the alleged “mastermind” of the daring daylight jailbreak, Parminder Singh, from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district when the getaway vehicle — a Toyota Fortuner — was stopped at a police picket.

He had escaped along with five other prisoners in a sensational prison break after armed men in police uniform tricked the sentries into opening the gates and fled with the inmates while firing a hail of bullets.

Mintoo, who was wanted in ten terror cases, was arrested by Punjab Police after he was deported from Thailand in November 2014.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 17:06 IST

Narendra Modi, Joko Widodo meet: India, Indonesia agree to strengthen maritime cooperation

New Delhi: India and Indonesia on Monday affirmed their commitment to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

“Both leaders affirmed that India and Indonesia are maritime neighbours whose relations are rooted in civilisational contacts developed through the seas and who share similar perceptions of the evolving maritime environment in the region and the world at large,” said a joint statement on maritime cooperation issued following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday. PTI

“Both leaders recognised their shared commitment to democracy, pluralistic society, human rights and the rule of law,” it stated

It stated that both Modi and Widodo affirmed the countries’ “deep respect for each other’s contribution to promoting peace, stability and development in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and beyond”.

“Both leaders committed to maintaining a maritime legal order based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).”

The joint statement assumes significance as several Southeast Asian nations have problems with China over South China Sea.

In July, an international arbitration tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that China violated the Philippines’ rights in the South China Sea, one of the busiest commercial shipping routes in the world.

The court accused China of interfering with the Philippines’ fishing and petroleum exploration, building artificial islands in the waters and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.

China reacted angrily, calling the verdict null and void with no binding force and that “China neither accepts it nor recognises it”. But Beijing has since decided to go for bilateral talks with Manila.

India urged all stakeholders to follow the Unclos.

Indonesia, the largest of the Southeast Asian nations, however, does not have any such issue with China.

“Both leaders recognised that India and Indonesia share common interests in ensuring maritime security and the safety of sea lines of communication,” Monday’s joint statement said.

“Both leaders recognised the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight on the high seas, unimpeded lawful commerce, as well as resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law including the Unclos.”

The statement said Modi and Widodo affirmed the need to combat, prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing.

“Both leaders recognised transnational organised fisheries crime as one of the emerging crimes, which has become an ever-growing threat to the world,” it said.

“Both leaders agreed to conclude a memorandum of understanding on maritime cooperation between Indonesia and India in order to further strengthen and accelerate maritime cooperation inter alia in maritime safety and security, and promotion of maritime industries, as one of the important pillars towards enhancing the bilateral relationship.”

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 16:56 IST

Cyclone Vardah inspires Rajinikanth memes: Storm is superstar ‘blowing out birthday candles’

Cyclone Vardah inspires Rajinikanth memes: Storm is superstar ‘blowing out birthday candles’

While coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are experiencing heavy rainfall due to Cyclone Vardah, there are some who seem to have found humour in the situation — especially since the storm has coincided with the birthday of superstar Rajinikanth. Thailavaa (as Rajini is fondly called) turns 66 today and the cyclone-related birthday wishes for the actor just won’t stop.

The most popular meme seems to be that Cyclone Vardah is nothing but a result of Rajini blowing out his birthday candles. Clearly, Thailavaa’s fans seem to be on a different tangent altogether while the Tamil Nadu government has asked people not to step out of their houses till Monday evening at the very least.

Cyclone Vardah LIVE: Storm moves closer to Chennai coast; winds clock 100 kmph

So while businesses come to a halt, as does routine life, the Rajinikanth-Vardah jokes continue unabated.

Cyclone Vardah: Heavy rains hit Tamil Nadu coastal districts, high winds uprooot many trees

Cyclone Vardah disrupts normal life in Chennai, rail and flight services delayed

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 14:56 IST

Cyclone Vardah: Over 9,400 evacuated in SPS Nellore in Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati: Over 9,400 people living along the Bay of Bengal coast in SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh were on Monday evacuated to relief camps amid heavy rains due to the influence of severe cyclonic storm Vardah.

Eight fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu were rescued from the sea near the Sriharikota High Altitude Range while search was on for ten more persons feared trapped at sea.

With the cyclonic storm Vardah set to make landfall between Sriharikota and Chennai, a state of high alert is being maintained in SPS Nellore district.

“The police and CISF personnel are on the job and all the ten fishermen are safe. But they are somehow reluctant to come to the shore. We will soon bring them out,” Nellore Superintendent of Police Vishal Gunni told PTI over phone.

Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana, who is camping in Nellore to oversee the rescue and relief operations, said Vakadu and Tada received 4.8 and 3 cms of rain, respectively, since on Monday morning.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“We have already moved over 9,400 persons in seven vulnerable mandals to safety. All necessary measures have been taken to ensure safety of people,” he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had directed the Nellore district administration to evacuate people in about 255 low-lying areas to safer places.

The Chief Minister reviewed the situation through teleconference and asked the official machinery to remain on high alert to prevent loss of lives.

The holy Tirumala Hills have been receiving rainfall since last night, causing some hardship to devotees visiting the shrine of Lord Venkateswara.

Temple Executive Officer D Sambasiva Rao has directed the temple staff to make necessary arrangements for the comfort of the pilgrims in view of the inclement weather.

Under the influence of Vardah, Nellore and Chittoor districts are expected to receive heavy rainfall.

In Sullurpeta mandal in Nellore district, 30 persons were shifted to a relief camp this morning.

The South Central Railway has cancelled some passenger trains between Sullurpeta and Chennai in view of the cyclone.

The Vijayawada-Chennai-Vijayawada Pinakini Express has been diverted via Renigunta and Arrakkonam. Some other Express trains on the Chennai route have also been diverted via Arrakkonam.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:59 IST

PM Modi an expert on misleading people: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is misleading the nation by diverting attention towards demonetization.”Prime Minister’s statement (in Bahraich) is another attempt to mislead people. He is an expert on misleading people. He has failed miserably in bringing back black money from abroad, so he has diverted people’s attention through demonetization. Again, he is playing the same game,” said Congress leader PC Chako.On Sunday, the Prime Minister while addressing the rally in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, via phone asserted that his fight against black money and graft would go on. He also used the occasion to lampoon the opposition for not allowing him to speak on demonetization in parliament.”They (opposition) come to the Well of the House…threw paper at the Speaker. We want to put forth the government’s view point…but they are not allowing us to do so,” he said.On Saturday, he said, “Government has always said we are ready to debate. I am not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha, so I am speaking in the Jan Sabha.””From the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, I want to share something with my friends in the opposition,” Modi said.

Cyclone Vardah: Storm moves further, expected to make landfall near Chennai

Chennai: Chennai and its suburbs continue to receive rains since Sunday night with severe cyclonic storm set to cross close to the coast here on Monday afternoon, said weather department.

According to the meteorological department, the cyclonic storm Vardah over Bay of Bengal moved further at a speed of around 13 kmph.

It lay centred over west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal about 150 km east-northeast of Chennai and 290 km east-southeast of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, the weather department said.

“The system is very likely to move nearly westwards and cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts, close to Chennai with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph by Monday afternoon,” a bulletin issued by meteorological department said.

IMD_1IMD_1

The MET department has predicted rainfall over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next 36 hours (till Wednesday).

The rainfall intensity would increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (less than equal to 20 cm) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on December 12.

The weather department has warned of squally winds speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph along and off Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts becoming 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph during the time of landfall along and off Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh.

The tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has taken necessary steps and precautions to meet the situation that may arise due to the cyclone.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Sunday reviewed the preparedness with ministers and officials.

District administrations and all field officers were put on high alert.

Similarly Army, Navy, Air-force and Coast Guard were also geared up to lend a helping hand when required.

The government declared a holiday for all government, government-aided private schools, colleges and other educational institutions in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur districts.

The Tamil Nadu government has also advised private sector organisations to allow their workers to avail holiday or work from home.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 10:04 IST

Cyclone Vardah: Public holiday declared in some parts of Tamil Nadu on December 12

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of the upcoming danger posed by cyclone Vardah in Tamil Nadu, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed five teams in Andhra Pradesh and six in Tamil Nadu as a precautionary measure. “NDRF has taken adequate precautions to pre-position its teams. We have pre-positioned five teams in Andhra Pradesh, one in Tada, one in Sullurupeta, one in Ongole, one in Chittoor district, and six in Tamil Nadu,” said RK Pachnanda, Director General, NDRF.Stating that NDRF is in constant touch with the concerned authorities monitoring the situation, Panchnanda said the NDRF battalions would be ready to move to any place at short notice. “The NDRF is in close touch with state government authorities and agencies like the Indian Meteorological Department. We have been monitoring the situation very closely,” he said.With Cyclone Vardah presently lying 450 km approximately North East of Chennai and all set to make a landfall north of Chennai on Monday evening, the state has been put on high alert. The government had also declared public holiday on December 12 in Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Chennai & coastal Talukas of Villupuram, apart from issuing advisory to private undertakings and establishments to permit their staff to avail holiday or work from home. Educational institutions in Thiruvalluvar and Kanchipuram districts will also remain close on Monday.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh brace to deal with Vardah as it makes landfall near Chennai tomorrowOn the other hand, Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority met on Sunday under chairmanship of CM O Panneerselvam to review preparedness. The CM issued instructions to make arrangements for evacuating people in low lying and vulnerable areas. TANGEDCO (Electricity Board) was also asked to take all precautionary measures, including disconnection of power supply to ensure safety of people.

1,400 tourists stranded in Andamans due to cyclonic weather

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 1,400 tourists are stranded at Havelock and Neil islands in the Andamans due to cyclonic weather conditions and four ships have been pressed into service by the Navy.The two islands, approximately 40 km from Port Blair, have been hit the most by the cyclonic weather conditions caused by a severe depression over Bay of Bengal, which led to heavy rainfall, strong wind and rough sea conditions, officials said.The administration has already declared the cyclonic weather as ‘L1 Disaster’. Neil and Havelock are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Andamans and the only means of transportation from them are vessels and choppers, which have stopped operation since Monday last due to bad weather.Mobile and Internet connectivity have also been snapped in many areas. “About 1,400 tourists, who had visited the islands, are now stranded and unable to return to Port Blair to fly back home,” South Andaman’s deputy commissioner Udit Prakash Rai said.The local populace of 10 villages of Havelock and Neil islands have also been hit severely.Andaman administration officials said the cyclonic weather has uprooted trees, disrupted power supply and caused flooding in some low-lying areas of Port Blair. Mobile and internet connectivity have also been snapped in many areas.There is, however, no reason to panic, the officials said, adding that the administration is fully geared up to tackle any situation. At a high-level meeting in Raj Niwas, Lt Governor Jagdish Mukhi reviewed the situation and relief operations.Though the Navy was pressed into action, operations could not begin due to tough weather conditions. Naval ships Bitra, Bangaram, Kumbhir and Light Craft Utility (LCU) 38 have been deployed for evacuation. The sudden evacuation mission was planned at the request of the Andaman and Nicobar disaster management, fearing a “cyclonic storm” at Havelock.“Ships are waiting outside the harbour. Adequate food, fresh water, medicines and doctors, besides divers and local administration personnel, are being ferried to provide relief,” said a navy official.The ships, which departed Port Blair at 0315 hours, will ferry the stranded tourists back to Port Blair.(Inputs from PTI)

Lok Sabha to break for a four-day holiday this weekend

New Delhi: Lok Sabha will have a four-day holiday starting this weekend, with the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) on Wednesday deciding to have a holiday on 12 December, besides Tuesday which has already been declared a holiday on account of Eid-e-Milad-un Nabi.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Leaders of all major parties, who attended the BAC meeting held in Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s chamber, raised the issue of declaring a holiday on Monday as in some southern states the Prophet’s birthday was being observed on Monday.

After the leaders of Congress, BJP, NCP, TMC and others raised the demand, it was unanimously decided to have a holiday on 12 December as well.

The BAC also decided to allocate four hours for the discussion and voting on Second Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) for 2016-17 and Demands for Excess Grants (General) for 2013-14, which are likely to be taken up on Thursday.

The Committee also decided to allocate three hours for consideration and passage of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, once it is passed by the Rajya Sabha.

Earlier in the Lok Sabha also, Opposition members had sought a holiday on 12 December.

Sudip Bandopadhyay (TMC) had raised the issue after the House met at noon as he pointed out that 13 December has been officially declared a holiday for Milad-un Nabi, the Prophet’s birthday.

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge also supported this.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the matter can be discussed at the BAC meeting.

He also used the occasion to urge the opposition members, who were protesting in the Well demanding a debate on demonetisation under a rule entailing voting, to start a debate on Wednesday, pointing out that the Session will end on 16 December.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 14:51 IST

437 ceasefire violations till November, 37 killed: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has violated ceasefire 437 times along the LoC and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir till November this year in which 37 people were killed and 179 suffered injuries, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday. Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said 27,449 people living along the border in Jammu and Kashmir were temporarily shifted to safer places due to ceasefire violations after the surgical strikes. Of them, around 6,000 people stayed in relief camps while the remaining stayed with their relatives. Of the total ceasefire violations, 216 incidents were reported along the Line of Control (LoC) and 221 incidents along the International Border till November this year, he said, adding that among the dead, 12 were civilians, eight were Army personnel and five were BSF personnel.There were 405 incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC and International Border in 2015 in which 26 people were killed and 97 others were injured, he said. Ahir said majority of the people have since returned to their homes from relief camps and at present, about 220 families comprising around 700 persons are in relief camps.

Jayalalithaa’s demise: Three die of shock in Coimbatore; two attempt suicide

Coimbatore: Three persons died, apparently due to shock, while two cases of suicide attempts were also reported from Coimbatore district on Monday evening after news of Jayalalithaa’s deteriorating health spread.

Image used for representational purposes only. ReutersImage used for representational purposes only. Reuters

Image used for representational purposes only. Reuters

In Singanallur, a 65-year-old painter complained of chest pain while watching television news on Jayalalithaa’s health in his house. Before he could be taken to the hospital, he passed away, police said.

In another incident, Palaniammal (62) of Thudiyalur, died of shock after watching the TV news in her house on Monday afternoon. Similarly, a 38-year-old load worker, Raja, collapsed on the chair while watching the news in Erode. Though his wife called for assistance, the 108 crew of emergency service declared him dead on arrival, police said.

Meanwhile, one person, identified as Loganathan, attempted suicide by jumping from a 50-foot-tall mobile tower in Kuniamuthur in the early hours of Tuesday. However, police reached the spot and managed to bring him down, before letting him off with a stern warning.

In another such incident, a 45-year-old AIADMK worker, Ramachandran, attempted self-immolation near Annur. With 60 percent burns, he is being treated at the Government Hospital, police added.

Jayalalithaa passed away at Apollo Hospital in Chennai after waging a grim battle for life since her hospitalisation on 22 September.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 16:07 IST

Uber launches UberFLEET app to improve efficiency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uber India, on Monday, launched UberFLEET, an Android app for its fleet-partners in India.The new app will allow fleet partners with driver positioning, helping drivers achieve maximum performance and run their fleets more efficiently, the company said in a statement.“We have hundreds of thousands of driver partners in India; a lot of them have progressed forward in life as entrepreneurs: They now own their own fleets and work with us as fleet partners.” said Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India.The application is designed to improve the overall productivity for fleet managing drivers to make them more efficient and reduce the downtime.How will UberFLEET work?The app will be available on the Google Play Store. Once logged in, the fleet partners will be to see a live map of their fleet and the details related to driver activity and performance.They will be able to click on an individual driver to check detailed statistics like fares, cash collected, hours online, login/ logout time stamps, trip details, incentives earned as well as a live map for the individual online drivers and last online location for offline drivers.“UberFleet app is yet another step towards encouraging and support the entrepreneurial ambitions of our fleet partners,” Dalal added.

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