India

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  • 18 hours ago

More than 50 people were feared killed and several injured after a speeding train mowed down Dussehra revellers near Amritsar on Friday. The incident occurred at Joda Fatak when several onlookers celebrating Dussehra near the railway tracks were crushed by the incoming train. Rescue operations are currently underway.

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  • 18 hours ago

Over 50 people were dead and several injured after a speeding train ploughed through Dussehra revellers standing across the tracks in Joda Phatak near Amritsar on Friday. Celebrations turned tragic as the train struck the crowd who were standing and watching Ravana’s effigy go up in flames. Rescue operations are currently underway.

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  • 20 hours ago

The number of people infected with Zika virus rose to 109 in Rajasthan on Friday. According to a spokesperson of the state medical and health department, the nine new cases confirmed were from Jaipur.

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  • 20 hours ago

10-year-old Arshdeep Singh from Jalandhar has made his way to share the dais with the winners of wildlife photographer of the year award for this year. Arshdeep, a class V student, won the award for his photograph titled, ‘Pipe Owls’, in a contest organised by Britain’s Natural History Museum. The award-winning photograph, which features a couple of owlets nesting inside a pipe, was captured by Arshdeep while he was on the way to a wetland in Punjab’s Kapurthala District, clicking photos of the surrounding wildlife as he accompanied his father.

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  • 20 hours ago

The stage is set for the final leg of urban local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir as the counting of votes for the 52 civic bodies, polling for which was held in four phases earlier this month, will be done on Saturday.

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  • 20 hours ago

Chief minister V Narayanasamy Friday said he has written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking a probe into “unauthorised” mobilisation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds by Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi for desilting lakes.

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  • 21 hours ago

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday held a series of bilateral meetings with her counterparts from ASEAN nations and US Defence Secretary James Mattis on the sidelines of ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meet. Defence Ministers from ASEAN countries and that of Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US have gathered here for the 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the 5th ADMM-Plus, which is being hosted by Singapore.

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  • 22 hours ago

Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday celebrated Dussehra with BSF jawans and performed ‘Shastra Puja’ in this forward post along the highly sensitive Indo-Pak border, officials said. This was for the first time that a senior Union minister conducted the ‘Shastra Puja’ or worship of weapons on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami along India’s border with Pakistan.

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  • 22 hours ago

More than a year after CBI opened investigations into the Air India-Indian Airlines merger and acquisition of 111 aircraft, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered four cases of alleged money laundering in the matter. ED sources said the cases are based on four CBI FIRs lodged last year and have been registered after the agency was able to prima facie get some evidence of money laundering in the case. The cases have been registered under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act and could lead to attachment of properties belonging to the accused.

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  • 24 hours ago

Burning effigies of Ravana is a common practice on Dussehra, but some “harassed” husbands in Aurangabad celebrated the festival in a slightly different way – by burning an effigy of Surpanakha, sister of the mythical multi-headed demon king. These men — members of ‘Patni Pidit Purush Sanghatana’, an organisation of victims of harassment by wives — burned the effigy on Thursday evening at Karoli village near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

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  • 1 day ago

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday targeted Congress on its track record on poverty alleviation and said the battle against poverty under the ruling BJP is driven on the fundamentals of service and selflessness, which is resulting in huge transformation in the lives of people. He alleged that the grand-old party used poverty as a campaign to promote the vested interest and development of “one family”.

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  • 1 day ago

The head of Israel’s leading human rights group strongly criticised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government during a contentious UN Security Council meeting on Thursday for what he called its “supremacy and oppression” of the Palestinians.

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  • 1 day ago

Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday said technological solutions in border security, which were being implemented by India, would eliminate the need for a soldier to stand guard round-the-clock to protect the borders. He said a comprehensive integrated border management system was being implemented by the government to strengthen border security and a pilot project under the system was launched in Jammu.

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  • 1 day ago

Two women, a journalist and an activist, attempted to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple on Friday but were forced to turn back fearing violence. This comes a day after another journalist tried to climb the hill shrine but was stopped en route. Since Sabarimala opened on Wednesday, protesters have gathered in large numbers to disallow women from entering the temple, despite the Supreme Court lifting restrictions on women between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the shrine.

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  • 1 day ago

Unfazed by the mounting protests against the Supreme Court judgement allowing entry of all women to the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Kerala women’s rights activist Rehana Fathima, and Hyderabad journalist Kavitha Jakkal, decked up with body armour and helmets for protection from possible attack, went for the trek on the third day of the temple’s opening after the historic order. While an army of agitating protesters blocked their entry just 500 meters away from the shrine — coming face-to-face with the policemen guarding the two women — kilometres away, in Eranakulam, protesters vandalised Fathima’s home.

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  • 1 day ago

Five militants were killed in two separate encounters in Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Friday. Three militants were killed during an operation to foil an infiltration attempt along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rampur sector in northern Jammu and Kashmir, a defence spokesperson had said earlier in the day.  In a separate incident, two militants were killed during a brief encounter in Baramulla district. Confirming the incident, J&K Directorate General of Police Dilbag Singh said the militants were killed in Kanispora area.

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  • 1 day ago

Reacting to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s advocacy of a law to facilitate construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, the ruling JD(U) in Bihar on Thursday said it stood by its original stand that the issue must be settled through a consensus between the affected communities or a court order. The party, headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar which shares power with the BJP, also pointed out that the NDA had been formed with an understanding among all allies that the three contentious issues of Ayodhya, Article 370 relating to Jammu and Kashmir and uniform civil code will be kept on the backburner.

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  • 1 day ago

Trupti Desai, a Pune-based activist, was detained by the police Friday morning ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Shirdi. Desai, the chief of Bhumata Brigade, had written a letter to the Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar, on Thursday demanding to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the Supreme Court’s recent verdict on Sabarimala, reported news agency ANI. Desai had threatened to intercept the Prime Minister’s convoy if she wasn’t given permission.

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  • 1 day ago

A day after an FIR was registered against Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan on a complaint by Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh — who claimed the former was threatening his family members — the SP on Thursday alleged that BJP was behind the move.

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  • 1 day ago

The only politician to have served as chief minister of two states, Narayan Dutt Tiwari — who passed away in a Delhi hospital on his 93rd birthday — was remembered by his UP Cabinet colleagues as a “visionary” right from his Youth Congress days.

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  • 1 day ago

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered regularisation of services of an 84-year-old woman at a Punjab government school. The woman has been working as a part time ‘kuhar’ since 1977 at a school in Sangrur district. ‘Kuhar’, according to Shanti Devi’s counsel, is a person appointed to serve water and perform other menial tasks. “In accordance with the state government policy, her services will now be regularised as a sweeper,” her lawyer Charanpal Singh Bagri said.

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  • 1 day ago

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for compensation to farmers for eliminating paddy stubble without burning, while also asking for his intervention to ensure settlement of the Rs 31000 crore CCL gap and assistance for the preparation of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev.

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  • 1 day ago

Hours after he turned 93, veteran politician N D Tiwari, died here on Thursday. Tiwari was ailing for a long time, and undergoing treatment at Max Super Speciality Hospital since September last year after a brain stroke. He breathed his last at 2.50 pm. Doctors said the end came after a heart attack. For many years, Tiwari was perceived as potential prime ministerial material just in case the Congress were to look for someone from beyond the dynasty. He had everything working in his favour — mass appeal in the Hindi heartland, Brahmin roots, education, proven administrative competence and wide acceptability. And he almost got his chance, but luck played the spoiler. He lost the Lok Sabha election by only 800 votes in 1991, and P V Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

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  • 1 day ago

As many as 16 years after the infamous ‘kidney scam’ rocked Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a slew of directions for expeditious trial of the accused in two FIRs registered in 2002 and 2003. Meanwhile, the High Court Wednesday acquitted six persons in a related FIR registered for illegal organ transplant. The accused had been convicted in 2013.

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  • 1 day ago

Comparing the recent protests over the amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to the protests against the film Padmaavat last year, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said he feels the ongoing protests will soon fizzle out. Madhya Pradesh saw widespread protests by upper caste groups after the SC/ST Act was amended to override a Supreme Court ruling. The issue found traction in the poll-bound state because government employees were unhappy with the state government’s policy of reservation in promotions.

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  • 1 day ago

Pon Radhakrishnan, Minister of State for Finance and Shipping and BJP MP from Kanyakumari, has said that the #MeToo movement has been started by “some perverted minds”. He also said “if someone says that you did something wrong while playing with them in Class 5, will you accept such an allegation”.

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  • 1 day ago

D K Shivakumar, Minister of Water Resources in the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka, has said that the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government made a mistake by recommending a separate religion tag and minority status for the Lingayat community and the move cost the Congress in the May 2018 Assembly elections in the state. During a dharma sabha attended by Lingayat seers in the Gadag region, the Congress leader who was the energy minister in the Siddaramaiah government said, “We made a big mistake in the government. No government must interfere in the matter of caste or religion. Our government committed a big crime. Even I was a minister in that government. There was a lot of difference of opinion among the ministers. The decision of the government created a lot of controversy. The election results that we saw this year in the state bear witness to the fact that governments should not interfere in the matter of religion.”

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  • 1 day ago

Amid deepening rift between the Chautala family, INLD chief and former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala has suspended party MP Dushyant Chautala and his younger brother, Digvijay Singh Chautala, from the primary membership of the party. Both brothers were suspended and issued a showcause notice on October 11, but the party made the decision public on Thursday after a meeting of its executive committee in Gurgaon. While Dushyant Chautala had replied seeking more time to prove his innocence, Digvijay maintains that he has not received a copy of the notice yet. The October 11 letter had also warned of initiation of disciplinary proceedings in case of an unsatisfactory reply.

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  • 1 day ago

The police were tipped-off by a 17-year-old boy who refused to believe that his girlfriend had succumbed to heart attack. On October 2, as they rushed to the spot, retrieving the body from the funeral pyre, the Nashik (Rural) police knew that a delay of a few minutes would have meant loss of crucial evidence of an alleged murder. The intervention led to the arrest of the 17-year-old girl’s parents and her cousin accused of strangling her to death in a case of alleged honour killing in Malegaon.

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  • 1 day ago

Returning the spotlight on the Ayodhya issue ahead of the assembly polls in states and the Lok Sabha elections next year, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat Thursday urged the government to bring in a law for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site, and urged the Supreme Court, where hearing on the title suits are to resume later this month, to expedite its decision.

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  • 1 day ago

The Mamata Banerjee government’s move to rename West Bengal as “Bangla” may be hindered after the Union Home Ministry wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), sharing concerns that the new name may sound like Bangladesh, and it would be difficult to differentiate the two at international forums, officials said. The neighboring country shares close and friendly relations with India, therefore it was advised that a response from MEA on West Bengal’s proposal should be obtained before examining it further, sources said, adding that unlike the change in name of a city or district, the change in name of the state will require a Constitutional amendment.

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  • 1 day ago

The Income Tax (IT) department has launched an investigation against at least 7,500 Indians who have bought high-end properties in Dubai in the last few years, sources told The Indian Express. The Intelligence and Criminal Investigation (I&CI) wing of the tax department has obtained data of Indian nationals who have invested in real estate in Dubai and is probing the source of funds of such investments abroad. Sources said the tax authority is also investigating if these real estate assets acquired by Indians have been declared to the tax agency.

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  • 1 day ago

A Delhi court on Thursday took cognizance of the criminal defamation complaint filed by former Union Minister and former editor MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani. The court directed him to appear on October 31 when Akbar’s statement will be recorded in connection with the complaint. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal said: “I take cognizance of the offence under Section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the IPC. Examination of the complaint and the witnesses will happen at the next hearing.” The court will begin pre-summoning evidence in the case on October 31.

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  • 1 day ago

A sessions court dismissed a 29-year-old trafficking victim’s appeal to be released from the shelter home where she was lodged after being rescued. She moved the court after a trial court had ruled against her release. The trial court had said that the woman was HIV positive and if released, there was “a possibility of spreading” sexually-transmitted diseases “in the society”.

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  • 1 day ago

As India’s own #MeToo gathers momentum, the lone woman Supreme Court judge, part of the three-judge bench that laid down the landmark Vishakha guidelines in 1997 to address sexual harassment at the workplace, said that “it is time to rethink” the law to address incidents in the past — from framing new norms to relooking penal provisions.

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  • 1 day ago

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has given his approval to suspend Railway Claims Tribunal judge RK Mittal, under the scanner for a Rs 50 crore scam related to compensation claims in Patna. The file was pending with the office of the previous CJI for months. Justice Gogoi’s office cleared it this week and sent his approval to the Railway Board, sources confirmed.

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  • 1 day ago

The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Delhi government on former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin’s plea alleging he was subjected to custodial torture at Tihar Jail. In his plea, the MP alleged he was kept in solitary confinement at Tihar Jail since February last year. The Tihar jail is run by Department of Delhi Prisons that comes under the government of Delhi.

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  • 1 day ago

The Bombay High Court said on Wednesday that the partial occupation certificate granted by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to Bellissimo Crown Buildmart Private Limited — a Lodha Group company — for its New Cuffe Parade project in Wadala is within the rules.

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  • 1 day ago

Sitting on a patch of pavement on Dr Annie Besant Road for nearly four decades, Narendra Singh, the kulfi wala, has seen the locality of Century Bazaar go from what he calls a working-class “khatron ki jagah (place of dangers)” to an affluent commercial area. Very little though, has changed when it comes to his clientele that keeps returning for his range of mawa kulfis.

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  • 1 day ago

A day after M J Akbar was forced to step down as Union Minister in the wake of the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi Thursday urged all recognised political parties to set up internal committees immediately to look into the complaints of sexual harassment.

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  • 1 day ago

THAT elections are a political imperative for the RSS too is evident by the fact that the Ram temple which hit headlines Thursday did not find mention in the last four Vijayadashami speeches of the RSS chief. An analysis of past Vijayadashami speeches of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat reveals that the last time he raised the demand for a Ram temple in Ayodhya was in 2012, less than two years before 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The subject of voting, too, raised in Thursday’s speech last found mention in his 2013 Vijayadashmi speech, months ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.“…non-voting or using the provision of None of the Above (NOTA) goes in favour of the one who is most ineffective,” Bhagwat said today exhorting voters to choose the “available best” and advocating 100 per cent voting.

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  • 1 day ago

As much as Navratri is the time for Garba and Dandiya in the Maratha-dominated parts of the city, the Bhondla dance was celebrated with much pomp by women. The nine-day affair, full of song, dance and delicacies, culminated on Dussehra on Thursday.

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  • 1 day ago

Fresh from the success of arresting Rehan Qureshi, allegedly involved in 19 offences of molestation, the Navi Mumbai Police Crime Branch is now focusing on another molester who has six sexual offences registered against him. Apart from these six, the police also suspect his involvement in the sexual assault on two siblings in Vashi in 2006. The only clue the police have is his image captured in the CCTV camera from the area and his modus operandi where he pretends to be an employee of a gas cylinder agency while approaching his victims.

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There Is uncertainty over the venue of next year’s Durga Puja as the Bengal Cultural Association (BCA), which has been organising the celebrations in the city for over seven decades, was told to stop the sale of non-vegetarian food items at the stalls by Ahmedabad Education Society (AES). A plot belonging to AES has been the venue for the puja for the last decade.

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  • 2 days ago

A Kashmir University graduate who joined militant ranks two weeks ago was killed in a brief encounter on Wednesday night in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, less than 12 hours after the J&K Police said that he had managed to escape after a grenade attack.

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  • 2 days ago

Three days after an air hostess with Air India accidentally fell off a parked aircraft at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, doctors treating her said she is on the road to recovery and responding well to treatment. “We are yet to ascertain when she will be discharged,” said chief operating officer at Nanavati Hospital, Dr Rajendra Patankar.

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  • 2 days ago

“No young woman is going to climb up to Sabarimala Sannidhanam… We would prevent them at any cost. Let police use firearms on us, we are ready to die for Lord Ayyappa,’’ said a youth, among the 70-odd protesters hiding along the forest path leading to the Sabarimala temple from Pamba base camp to prevent women between 10 and 50 years of age from entering the temple.

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  • 2 days ago

“Are all Supreme Court verdicts being followed? What about underpaid nurses in Kerala? Despite SC orders, why are their wages not hiked? What about the Jacobite Church row?” 43-year-old Jayarajan from Perinthalmanna in north Kerala had a flurry of questions about the implementation of the top court’s order lifting age restrictions on the entry of women at the Sabarimala temple.

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  • 2 days ago

A day after the Sabarimala temple opened to violent protests against the Supreme Court order to allow women of all ages to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine, the Travancore Devaswom Board on Thursday said it was ready for any compromise to bring peace to the hill shrine, including a review petition.

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  • 2 days ago

Facing attempts at being cornered on her home turf, BJP’s prominent Other Backward Class (OBC) face and Women and Child Development Minister, Pankaja Munde, put up a show a strength on Thursday. “I’m not hankering for any particular post. Mundesaheb (late Gopinath Munde) was a kingmaker, now people have put the responsibility of carrying forward his legacy on my shoulders. My responsibility is to ensure that we get a government that works in public interest,” she said while addressing a massive rally at Sawargaon in her native Beed district on the occasion of Dussehra.

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  • 2 days ago

THE moment Meenakshi and Hitesh Valand had been waiting for eight years, and a 20-member team at Pune’s Galaxy Hospital for 17-18 months, finally passed within minutes in the early hours of Thursday. At 12.12 am, after a 12-minute Cesarean  section operation, India had its first baby born following a uterine transplant — a 1.4-kg girl who let out a robust cry at birth. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she heard that sound, said Meenakshi, 27. “It was like music to my ears.”

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  • 2 days ago

Oil marketing companies on Thursday reduced the prices of petrol and diesel, for the first time in over two months, citing a drop in their cost of production. Petrol price was cut by 21 paise per litre and diesel by 11 paise, a price notification issued by the firms said. This is the first price cut for the two auto fuels by OMCs, arising from a drop in international oil prices, after the global crude prices started rising since January.

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  • 2 days ago

Presenting estranged alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party with a challenge on the latter’s Hindutva agenda, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday declared his intention to visit Ayodhya next month and belittled the BJP for not building a Ram temple there, despite its promise to do so.

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  • 2 days ago

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a fresh showcause notice to NDTV in connection with a case of forex violation it is probing against the media company. The notice has been issued for violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore. The notice was issued to the media company on Wednesday.

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  • 2 days ago

A 24-hour strike called by a little-known Hindu outfit over the subject of entry of women of a certain age group at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala ended up affecting lots of pilgrims streaming into the temple on Thursday. Lots of pilgrims who depend on public conveyance like buses to reach the remote hill shrine in Pathanamthitta district had to either postpone their journey by 24 hours or pay exorbitant prices for cabs. A large number of pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu disembark by train at Chengannur or Kottayam railway stations and then take buses to reach Pamba, the base camp of the temple. However, the unavailability of state transport buses, private buses or autorickshaws hurt the pilgrims a lot.

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  • 2 days ago

The Congress on Thursday announced 12 candidates for the Bastar region, replacing three candidates from the 2013 election, including a sitting MLA. These twelve seats, plus six more from Rajnandgaon district, will go to polls on November 12, the first phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. The second phase, when the remaining 72 seats will vote, is on November 20.

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The number of people infected with Zika virus rose to 106 in Rajasthan on Thursday. Of the total affected people, 25 are pregnant women, said a Union Health Ministry official.

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Former BJP MLA Manvendra Singh, who recently joined Congress, said Thursday that the people of Rajasthan will take revenge on his former party for insulting Rajput leader and former Union minister Jaswant Singh. “The people of Rajasthan, especially from Barmer, Jalaur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur will take revenge for that insult caused to “my father Jaswant Singh when he was denied the party ticket and was expelled,” Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.

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  • 2 days ago

Lt General Paramjit Singh, the general officer commanding (GOC) of the Army’s Nagrota-based XVI Corps, Thursday reviewed security situation of hinterland in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri districts, a defence spokesperson said.

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The CPI Thursday accused the BJP-RSS combine and Congress of indulging in “double-talk” and playing “dirty games” over the Sabarimala issue to target the Left government in Kerala by exploiting people’s sentiments.

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  • 2 days ago

Union minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said she has requested the in-charge of all political parties to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee as mandated in the Sexual Harassment at Work Act, 2013. At present, no political party has implemented the redressal mechanism to deal with complaints of sexual harassment as mandated in 1997 by the Supreme Court (Vishakha) and in 2013 by the Statute, at their main offices.

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Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari Thursday said he was ready to donate Rs 1,11,100 to the Aam Aadmi Party, provided that the Delhi government passed Phase IV of the Delhi Metro expansion project. “Arvind Kejriwal ji, do not punish people who have elected you. Delhi gave 67 out of 70 seats to Kejriwal, but he says he will not give them Metro. Take your donation. I will give you Rs 1,11,100 that I earn through singing if you clear Phase IV Metro,” Tiwari tweeted.

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  • 2 days ago

The Editors Guild of India Thursday asked MJ Akbar to withdraw the criminal defamation case he filed against journalist Priya Ramani, as the top editors’ body came out in support of the women journalists who have accused him of sexual harassment.

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A Delhi court Thursday took cognisance of the criminal defamation complaint filed by former minister MJ Akbar against Priya Ramani, the first woman journalist to publicly accuse him of sexual misconduct. The court said that it has taken cognisance of the offence under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code.

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  • 2 days ago

Arshdeep Singh, 10, is among the winners of the 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in the 10-years-and-under category for his photograph ‘Pipe Owls’, which is of two spotted owlets nested inside a pipe. Now in its 53rd installment, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is organised by the Britain’s Natural History Museum.

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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday spoke on a wide range of topics while delivering his Vijayadashami speech at an event in Nagpur. From urging the Narendra Modi-led government to bring a law for construction of the Ram Mandir to stressing on the need for consensus to resolve the ongoing Sabarimala row, the RSS leader made the comments in his annual Vijayadashmi address, the last before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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Aadhaar-issuing body the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) issued a statement Thursday clarifying that re-verification of mobile numbers done through Aadhaar is not needed and is voluntary. Telecom providers will not delete authentication logs already done via Aadhaar eKYC before the Supreme Court judgement that prohibited enrollment through Aadhaar-based authentication for issuing fresh SIM cards, the statement said.

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Calling for early construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat Thursday demanded ‘an appropriate and requisite law’ for it. “The government should clear the path for construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya through an appropriate and requisite law. The temple construction was necessary from the ‘self-esteem point of view’ and it will also pave way for an atmosphere of goodwill and oneness,” he said in his annual Vijayadashmi address in Nagpur.

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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday said that “premise of the tradition that has been accepted by society and continuously followed for years together was not taken into consideration” in the Sabarimala case. “The version of heads of religious denominations and faiths of crores of devotees was not taken into consideration,” the RSS chief said while delivering his speech at a Vijayadashami event in Nagpur.

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As the number of people infected with Zika virus rose to 100 in Rajasthan Wednesday, the Centre rushed an Indian Council of Medical Research team to the state to intensify vector control measures. Of the total affected people, 23 are pregnant women, said a health ministry official in Delhi, adding that the 20 new Zika cases confirmed Wednesday were from Jaipur and two neighbouring districts.

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Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is expected to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party on various issues including the pending promise of constructing a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, recent cases of sexual harassment of women and rising fuel prices during the Sena’s annual Dussehra rally in Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Thursday. Sources in the Sena said this year’s rally assumes significance as it would be the last Dussehra rally before next year’s Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls.

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Nepal on Thursday said that it has decided to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the country on the occasion of ‘Bibaha Panchami’ — the wedding procession of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Janakpur in Nepal — which falls on December 12. “We have decided to write to Indian PM Modi inviting him for a state visit to Nepal on December 12 on occasion of ‘Bibaha Panchami’. PM KP Oli’s chief adviser Bishnu Rimal had earlier confirmed. A detailed report will be released as soon as the festive season is over,” ANI quoted Nepal PM Office sources as saying.

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A local court in Delhi Thursday began hearing the criminal defamation complaint filed by former union minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani – the first woman journalist to speak out against him on sexual harassment charges. Akbar, earlier this week, sued Ramani, stating that her alleged “defamatory articles” on him were a “figment of imagination” and “only” intended to “malign” his reputation.

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A poster outside the office of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) shows Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as “Ravana” and leader of Opposition in Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav as “Ram”. The poster was pasted by RJD spokesperson Anand Yadav ahead of Tejashwi’s fresh leg of his yatra to take on the NDA government in the state.

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An illegally run drug de-addiction centre in Ropar district’s Jand Sahib village, from where the police freed 195 patients in a dramatic 20-hour operation that ended Wednesday, was more a well-guarded prison where the treatment was worse than the condition of those who went there looking for a cure. Inmates allege abduction from their homes, physical torture at the hands of the man running the centre and his staff, and being used as captive labour in his fields and cattle farm.

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Two days after the AIIMS Patna administration filed a case against former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar in connection with a brawl on its premises, Begusarai police have filed another case against him for allegedly fighting with organisers of a Durga Puja Tuesday.

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The Jharkhand CID has written to the state authorities recommending a CBI probe into alleged violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, 2010 by several NGOs. The CID is probing 88 NGOs, most of them Christian missionary-backed, and inquiry into the dealings of at least 10 has been completed, officials sources said. The alleged violations in these 10 cases have crossed Rs 1 crore, they said.

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The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday sought response from the state government on a PIL seeking probe into the “menace of fake BPL cards” in the state. The petitioner, Adam Chaki, a Congress leader from Bhuj, has claimed in the PIL that he conducted an inquiry into the list of 511 cardholders and found that 150 of them belonged to much higher income group. “Most of them own a car, live in posh bungalows and even serve with co-operative banks,” the PIL stated.

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A Dalit family of Delvada village in Gir Somnath has written to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that they be allowed euthanasia as the state government “has failed to rehabilitate” them even after they were declared displaced three years ago.

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While taking up the task of monitoring the conservation of Asiatic lions in the Gir forest area, the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday ordered the state government to take up measures to prevent the deaths of the big cats. The court held that the issues concerning lions should be resolved in a time-bound manner.

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Stating that in the last eight days no incident of attack on migrant workers from north India has taken place, the state government on Wednesday told the Gujarat High Court that the “overall impression gathered by officials is that migrant workers have gone to their native places for Durga puja festival, Chhath puja festival and other social, religious and family reasons”.

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The Chhattisgarh unit of Congress has accused the ruling BJP of attempting to buy its MLAs and has submitted a complaint to the Election Commission. The allegation is based on a seven-minute audio clip, purportedly of a conversation between Congress’s Lundra MLA Chintamani Maharaj and self-styled godman Ganesh Yadav. Yadav who is also known as “Kambal Baba” in north Chhattisgarh and has claimed proximity with the BJP in the past.

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Manvendra Singh, Rajasthan BJP MLA and son of BJP stalwart Jaswant Singh, on Wednesday joined the Congress, a move which could give a symbolic boost to the grand old party weeks ahead of Assembly elections. Senior Congress leaders said Manvendra’s entry would help attract Rajput votes to the party as they believe his father’s name still carries a lot of political capital in Rajasthan. Manvendra’s entry also fits into the narrative that the Congress has been trying to craft that the present leadership of the BJP is “autocratic” and has little respect for anyone else, including elders and the party’s founders. Manvendra met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and later told reporters that it has been a fight for self-respect for him.

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UNION Minister M J Akbar, accused by several women of sexual harassment and assault, tried to dig his heels in — but the #MeToo campaign moved the ground beneath his feet, forcing him to step down Wednesday. Over the past week, several women accused Akbar of inviting them to his hotel room, touching them inappropriately, kissing them forcibly or molesting them when he was their Editor. Akbar, MoS, External Affairs, is the first Minister who has had to resign in this government after a media firestorm, the most high-profile of the men who have been called out, primarily in media, film and entertainment, in the growing #MeToo campaign. Rashtrapati Bhavan issued a statement Wednesday night that Akbar’s resignation had been accepted by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.Calling the allegations “fabricated,” Akbar had filed a criminal defamation case Monday against journalist Priya Ramani who was the first to mention him by name. That case comes up in the Patiala House Court tomorrow and he referred to it in a statement on Wednesday.

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Retired Gujarat policeman VL Solanki, who had conducted the preliminary enquiry in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case in 2006, told the court on Wednesday that he had attempted to seek permission from his seniors to interrogate Tulsiram Prajapati, but he did not get a go-ahead. “I had made an attempt to seek permission from Inspector General of Police CID (Crime) Geeta Johri, to visit Udaipur Central prison to record the statement of Tulsiram, but could not get permission,” Solanki told the special court.

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Ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s two-day visit to India beginning Friday, a news report claiming that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had said India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) was trying to assassinate him has sparked a controversy. Both the Sri Lanka President’s office and the government have denied the report. On Wednesday evening, Sirisena called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This evening, I had a very successful telephone conversation with the Indian Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi, who assured India’s fullest cooperation towards the development and prosperity of Sri Lanka,” he tweeted.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of preparing a strategy based on lies in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and said the opposition party has three Chief Minister candidates and over a dozen others have the same aspiration. During an interaction with the BJP’s booth-level workers in five Lok Sabha constituencies — Hoshangabad in MP, Chatra in Jharkhand, Pali in Rajasthan, Ghazipur in UP and Mumbai (North) — through video conferencing via the NaMo app.

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THE list of those who have quit the Union Council of Ministers is one of heavyweights — starting with the first finance minister R K Shanmukham Chetty (1949), Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1950), B R Ambedkar (1951), Lal Bahadur Shashtri (1956), V Krishna Menon (1962), Jagjivan Ram (1977), V P Singh (1987), George Fernandes (1979 and 2001), Ram Vilas Paswan (2002), K Natwar Singh (2005) and A Raja (2010) among others. Certainly, junior foreign minister M J Akbar’s resignation Wednesday may seem a small step but it could be a big milestone in India’s evolving politics. Behind the earlier resignations, the key reasons were: Opposition allegations of corruption (Shanmukham Chetty, TT Krishnamachari, K D Malviya, Kalpnath Rai, Fernandes, Natwar Singh, A Raja); ideological grounds (K C Neogi, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Ambedkar, John Mathai), political calculations (CD Deshmukh, Jagjivan Ram, VP Singh and Ramvilas Paswan) and even the moral high ground (Lal Bahadur Shashtri, Madhav Rao Scindia).

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Protests intensified and turned violent Wednesday as the Sabarimala temple opened its doors to devotees for the first time since the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine. And after clashes with devotees and attacks on women journalists along the road to the Lord Ayappa shrine and calls by fringe groups for a strike Thursday, prohibitory orders were issued at Pamba and Nilakkal. Despite assurances by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday that nobody will be blocked from entering the Lord Ayappa shrine and heavy police security, protesters at Nillakal and Pamba — the two base camps before the temple — turned back two women pilgrims and heckled, threatened and attacked at least five women journalists and targeted their vehicles.

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Minutes after Minister of State (External Affairs) M J Akbar resigned Wednesday over allegations of sexual harassment and assault, journalist Priya Ramani, who was the first to name him publicly, tweeted: “As women, we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo.” On Monday, Akbar filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court against Ramani. She was the first to name him in a Twitter post October 8. Thereafter, over a dozen women, who had also worked with Akbar when he edited the The Asian Age newspaper in the 1990s, accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Ramani’s lawyer Rebecca John told The Indian Express that Akbar’s resignation is unlikely to have any impact on the defamation case — it is to come up in court Thursday — as it is up for “cognizance” and “nothing will happen tomorrow”. But John said now that Akbar has resigned, she does not know “how interested he will be in fast-forwarding the case”. She said while Akbar was a minister “he might have wanted to fast-forward it” but she wasn’t sure “how interested he will be in fast-forwarding the case now”. She said it is “his call” and she couldn’t answer that.

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The poor rainfall at 38 per cent in Maharashtra’s Solapur district is a cause of serious concern and all departments will have to gear up to ensure proper coordination and put out a comprehensive plan to tackle the drought situation, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Wednesday.

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Spread over 2.40 sq km and home to over 60,000 slum families, Dharavi is Asia’s largest slum. The state government has now proposed a makeover of Dharavi as Mumbai’s new business district. On Tuesday, the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government approved a fresh plan for Dharavi’s redevelopment. While it involves resettlement of the slum residents into planned habitats, the revamp plan’s mainstay is to transform Dharavi into a commercial hub.

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“My goal in life in all my books, and I write a lot, for over 20 years, has been to get Saraswati out of the closet. She belongs everywhere and she has to flow everywhere.” That was author and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik at the Express Adda on Tuesday where he opened up on a range of topics including the #MeToo phenomenon that is sweeping across film, media and entertainment, the Supreme Court’s Section 377 verdict, the problem with textual dependency in religion, and the flawed perception of tradition versus modernity. Pattanaik correlated the ancient concept of matsya nyaya with the #MeToo movement. “In Hindu mythology, there’s the fundamental concept of matsya nyaya, the crude English translation of which would be jungle law. It’s where the predator runs after the prey and there’s nothing immoral about it because it’s doing so purely out of sustenance,” he said.

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Captain Irwin Sequeira, who has more than 15 years of experience in sailing, and his crew are all set for the launch of the first cruiseliner of India. Having steered more than 60 ships in his career, Sequeira said he is excited to hit Mumbai waters on Saturday with his merchant vessel, MV Angriya — owned by Angriya Sea Eagles Private Limited — which is going to be the first cruise from Mumbai with a carrying capacity of 400 passengers.

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An income-TAX probe has found dubious transactions to the tune of about Rs 100 crore in a company associated with TDP Rajya Sabha member C M Ramesh. The company, Rithwik Projects Pvt Ltd (RPPL), has been found to have allegedly siphoned off Rs 74 crore through untraceable transactions, while bills of Rs 25 crore have been allegedly found to be “dubious”.

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Fresh allegations of molestation against celebrity consultant Suhel Seth (55) surfaced on Facebook late on Tuesday night after model and actor Diandra Soares (39) posted about being “forcibly kissed by Seth” at a party in Delhi in 2012. On Wednesday morning, another woman called Jasmine Divekar (44) posted her account of being “groped” by Seth in January 2017 at a friend’s house in Bandra, Mumbai.

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A day after he gave up water and started observing ‘maun vrat’ (vow of silence), Sant Gopal Das (39), who has been on a fast-unto-death for a “nirmal” (clean) and “aviral” (free-flowing) Ganga since June 24, this year, was shifted to AIIMS Rishikesh on Wednesday.

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As many as 41 Hindu organisations, representing people from the upper caste Nair community as well as those from the tribal community Mala Araya, joined ranks on Wednesday to stop women in the 10-50 years age group from visiting Sabarimala.

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A 20-year-old air hostess was allegedly molested on a Bengaluru-bound flight on Tuesday evening following which the Airport police station registered a case of molestation and arrested the flyer. According to police, the accused, who is in his early 30s, is employed with a private firm in Bengaluru. He had come to Mumbai for work, said police.

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Rejecting the bail applications of two men jailed for partially tonsuring two children, parading them naked in a locality in Ulhasnagar and then circulating the video of their humiliation in May last year, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday observed, “This incident will certainly lead to unbearable trauma, fear and behavioral problems to the victims who happen to be young kids.” Justice A M Badar said the incident “will certainly lead to several abnormalities in their future life”.

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The first prosecution witness (PW) in the Pathankot airbase attack deposed in a special court of National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday. The witness- warrant officer M S Rawat told the court that the attack was carried out by terrorists of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

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A day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that Punjab government would ensure full protection for SAD patriarch and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal in the wake of increased threat perception to their lives, senior Badal on Wednesday said that he required no “additional security cover”.

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The stand-off between protesting Haryana transport employees and government has intensified with the government taking disciplinary action against drivers and conductors of buses who participated in the strike. The agitators responded by extending the strike for two more days, Thursday and Friday. Today was the second day of the strike, which started on Tuesday.

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Cereal grains are high in carbohydrates (65-75%) and low in protein (7-12%). Even their proteins are deficient in essential amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan, which the human body cannot synthesise and have to be supplied through diets.

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Two militants, a policeman and a civilian was killed during a gunfight between militants and a joint team of J&K Police and CRPF in the old city area of Srinagar Wednesday morning. According to a police spokesperson, a search was launched on specific inputs regarding the presence of militants in Syed Ali Akbar area of Fateh Kadal. While the operation was on, militants fired indiscriminately from inside a house, said the spokesperson.

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Deepak Gadhvi has reasons to feel both lonely and sad these days. This farmer from Virvadarka village in Maliya taluka of Morbi district, in June, had to part with a cow — which he was rearing to make milk available to his mother suffering from cancer — because there wasn’t sufficient fodder. Even after the monsoon’s arrival in July, the rains failed after the first showers, causing fresh pain for the 46-year-old, this time from watching his Kharif crop fail.

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Franco Mulakkal was on Wednesday given a ‘grand’ welcome by the Diocese of Jalandhar as he returned from Kerala after getting bail in a rape case. Mulakkal, who headed the Diocese of Jalandhar before stepping aside last month, has been accused of raping a nun. He remained in jail for over three weeks before getting conditional bail on October 15.

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The resignation of Dakha MLA and senior AAP leader, H S Phoolka, is unlikely to be accepted by the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha because it has not been sent in the proper format and is more of a complaint against the Congress government than a resignation letter.

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday visited Ganjam and Gajapati districts, which were worst-affected by Cyclone Titli and subsequent rain last week. The death toll due to the cyclone and rain went up to 52 on Wednesday, an official said, adding that the loss has been estimated at around Rs 2,200 crore.

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Observing that the firecrackers serve no purpose and only add to the already “over-polluted” air, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday ordered restrictions on the bursting of firecrackers in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh on Diwali, Gurpurab and Dussehra.

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From 80 per cent turnout in the 2011 panchayat polls and 45 per cent in the 2005 municipal polls, the voting percentage in Kashmir hit an all-time low of only 4.27 per cent in the municipal polls this year. This is even lower than the turnout in the 1989 parliamentary elections, the year militancy-hit the Valley.  While mainstream political parties have said the low turnout puts a question mark on the credibility of the elections, Governor Satyapal Malik has said the “numbers are irrelevant” and that both he and the central government are satisfied with conduct of the election. The state has been under Governor’s rule after coalition partners in the previous government, PDP and BJP, parted ways.

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The Congress Wednesday termed as “victory of truth” the resignation of Union minister M J Akbar following charges of sexual harassment against him, and asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dare to speak up now on the #MeToo movement.

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As the number of people infected with Zika virus rose to 100 in Rajasthan Wednesday, the Centre rushed an Indian Council of Medical Research team to the state to intensify vector control measures. Of the total affected people, 23 are pregnant women, said a health ministry official in Delhi, adding that the 20 new Zika cases confirmed Wednesday were from Jaipur and two neighbouring districts.

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Pakistan Maritime Surveillance Agency (PMSA) on Wednesday apprehended an Okha-registered fishing boat ‘Khuda Dost Ka Karam’ and 11 fishermen at a mutually agreed No Fishing Zone, about 36 nautical miles from Jakhau port in Kutch district of Gujarat,  an official release said. The boat was apprehended by Pakistani Maritime Surveillance ship ‘Basol’.

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Trains services between Ernakulam and Kottayam will be affected for five days, starting from October 20 till 24. Several trains have been cancelled or diverted to facilitate engineering works as part of doubling of tracks between Kuruppantara and Ettumanur in Ernakulam–Kottayam section.

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Union Minister and former journalist M J Akbar has tendered his resignation after several women, mostly journalists who had worked under him, accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he worked as a newspaper editor. Akbar has been outed by over 15 women journalists as part of the #MeToo movement that has swept Indian media and the entertainment industry.

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Junior foreign minister MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by over 10 women, resigned from his post on Wednesday. In a statement that was tweeted by news agency ANI, Akbar said he was resigning since he had decided to “seek justice in a court of law in a personal capacity”. He said he would “challenge” the “false accusations” levied against him. His resignation was accepted by President Ramnath Kovind.

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Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) founder Shivpal Yadav Wednesday shifted to the government bungalow vacated by Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati at 6 Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg here.

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Kashmiri students at the Aligarh Muslim University have deferred their decision to surrender their degrees and leave the campus en masse Wednesday following revocation of the suspension order of the two students by the varsity.

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Four days after the wife and son of an additional district and sessions judge were shot by his personal security officer (PSO) at a busy Gurgaon market, police on Wednesday termed the incident as a “cold-blooded murder”. The police also revealed that the incident occurred in the spur of the moment, after the judge’s spouse and son rebuked the accused for being untraceable when they returned after shopping.