11:25 NO Jallikattu for Pongal, SC tells TN, AIADMK says CM will take action: Just in: Setback for Tamil Nadu government: The Supreme Court dismisses Jallikattu plea to be heard on Saturday before Pongal. The AIADMK says the CM will take action. “Amma was very keen on Jallikattu. We need Central govt to support us,” AIADMK leader CR Saraswathi said. Police have also foiled a Jallikattu attempt at Cuddalore.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary VK Sasikala on Wednesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking promulgation of an ordinance for conduct of the bull taming sport Jallikattu, noting that the ban on it had caused “resentment” in the state.
Sasikala’s letter to the prime minister on the issue comes days after Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged the Centre to promulgate an ordinance for the conduct of the sport.
“No cruelty is practised on the animals per se. Also bulls are worshipped as a deity by the religious in Tamil Nadu and care is always taken by the youth taming them (to) not to inflict any pain on them,” Sasikala told Modi in a letter.
“The ban on Jallikkattu has incensed the public of Tamil Nadu and the youth in particular, and all efforts have to be taken to revoke it,” she said.
11:10 On Priyanka Gandhi Vadera’s birthday today, wishes from her sister-in-law.
Monicka Vadera @mvadera One of my biggest inspirations,a woman of impeccable poise & beauty. Happy birthday sis in law #PriyankaGandhi!! Wishing her health & happiness.
The 13-minute, 35-second video circulated by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid yesterday offers the first apparent proof that they were still alive. Australia said today it “has been working closely with other governments to secure the release” of the hostage, but would not elaborate citing his family’s wishes and safety concerns.
10:34 Amazon removes Indian flag doormats after Sushma’s visa threat : After strong protest by India over Amazon selling doormats depicting Indian flag, the e-retail giant today removed the offensive article from its Canadian website.
A spokesman for Amazon based at its headquarters in Seattle told The Washington Post that the doormat was no longer for sale on its website.
Taking strong exception to Amazon Canada selling doormats depicting Indian flag, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday asked the e-retailer to withdraw the products and tender an unconditional apology, failing which no official of Amazon will be granted Indian visa and the ones issued earlier will also be rescinded.
The minister also asked the Indian Embassy to take up the matter with Amazon Canada. In a series of tweets, Swaraj had expressed her anger at the sale of such an offensive doormat by Amazon, which is seeking a big presence in India.
“Indian High Commission in Canada : This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level. “Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately. “If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier,” Swaraj said in her tweets after she received a complaint on Twitter.
Swaraj’s tweets went viral and led to an outrage on the social media by Indians and people of Indian-origin. “Her tweet storm escalated the protest into a possible diplomatic spat,” The Washington Post said.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey P Bezos is also owner of The Washington Post. Amazon Canada removed the offensive doormat from its website. However, it was selling similar doormats with US and British flags.
10:29 Rudy taunts ‘vacationing’ Rahul Gandhi : Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Thursday poked fun at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and said the latter seems disconnected with the ongoing developments in the nation as he was on a vacation.
Rudy said Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government is making all efforts to serve all sections of the society.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is taking care of people from all walks of life. It is happening after a long time in our nation that all sections of the society are being looked after, several schemes for different sections of society are being implemented by the Modi government, I guess this is disturbing the Congress,” Rudy told ANI.
“I guess Rahul Gandhi was on a vacation (and) that’s why he has got disconnected with what is happening in the nation. And that’s why is making such comments,” he added.
Rahul, who yesterday led the Congress Working Committee’s meeting at New Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium in the absence of party president Sonia Gandhi, alleged that the Prime Minister has in the last two years destroyed institutions that were built over many years.
“Modi ji has done in two years, what we haven’t done in 60 years. He has destroyed institutions that were built over many years. The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) for example. The RSS and the BJP have ruined the RBI… Notes ban was a personal decision of Modi ji that was forced upon the RBI,” Rahul said.
10:21 As Paytm becomes a bank, what happens to the money in the wallet?: Over the next five days, the money in 160 million Paytm wallets will show up in a corresponding number of Paytm Payment Bank wallets as the wallet company becomes a payments bank.
As news of the change emerged, some social media chatter created panic amongst Paytm users who thought they would lose the amount in their accounts. Paytm has scotched these rumours. Read more
10:15 BJP to release Goa and Punjab candidate list today at 11 am.
TCS shares rose 0.82 per cent to Rs 2,342.00 ahead of Q3 earnings to be released later today. Nifty was trading above 8,400-level by rising 24.05 points or 0.28 per cent at 8,404.70.
09:49 Short-lived friendship? Nitish opposes Centre’s questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code :
Nitish Kumar’s bonhomie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have hit a snag days after they swapped high praise. The Bihar chief minister has made it clear that his opposition to a Uniform Civil Code stands.
Kumar has not just rejected the proposal in a 16-point questionnaire sent by the National Law Commission, but has also urged it to consult the “affected parties”.
A Uniform Civil Code would mean same family laws for all religions and communities.
After taking his law department’s opinion, the CM explained to his cabinet colleagues that one can’t even think of such vital change being contemplated on a “yes or no” basis.
Taking a detour from the opposition’s aggressive campaign against the centre’s notes ban and facing the anger of leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Kumar said he fully supported PM Modi’s anti-corruption move.
The PM returned the favour last week at a public meeting in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh. He praised Kumar’s move to ban liquor in Bihar.
09:40 Khanderi, submarine with superior stealth features, is launched: India’s second Scorpene class submarine, INS Khanderi, was launched at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai today, with Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre presiding over the function.
The submarine will undergo rigorous tests and trials till December 2017.
The state-of-the-art features of this Scorpene class submarine include superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles, while underwater or on surface.
The stealth features will give it a scale of invulnerability unmatched by many submarines.
The submarine is designed to operate in all theatres, including the tropics. All means and communications are provided to ensure inter-operability with other components of a naval task force. It can undertake multifarious types of missions typically undertaken by any modern submarine, ie, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance etc.
Khanderi is named after the island fort of Maratha forces, which played a vital role in ensuring their supremacy at sea in the late 17th century.
08:52 Vin Diesel arrives in Mumbai in style!: Hollywood actor Vin Diesel arrived in Mumbai at Kalina via a private airline this morning. He was welcomed by his XXX co-star Deepika Padukone.
Diesel is in town to promote the movie in India.
The actors, along with other members of the film’s cast and crew, have been on an extensive worldwide promotional spree to promote “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”. They are coming to India from London, before which they had visited Mexico.
The movie, a new installment in the “xXX” series after the 2002 film “xXx” and the 2005 entertainer “xXx: State of the Union”, is releasing in India on January 14, before anywhere else in the world. Directed by DJ Caruso, the film also stars Ruby Rose, Samuel L Jackson, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa.
The actors will be addressing the media over a press conference, after which the actors will head to the High Street Phoenix, Courtyard where they would be attending a crowd event.
08:44 India launches second Scorpene-class submarine Khanderi:
India launched the second Kalvari class submarine, named Khanderi, in Mumbai. Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre is present at the launch ceremony.
This Scorpene-class submarine has superior stealth and can use guided weapons – torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles — on enemy subs from surface or underwater. Besides warfare, its varied functions will include intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance etc.
The submarine will undergo rigorous trials till December, both in harbour and at sea, on surface and under water.
08:35 Waiting for Vin Diesel: Vin Diesel, Hollywood actor, playing the lead role in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, along side Deepika Padukone, is land in Mumbai this morning ahead of the grand premier of the movie.
Our correspondent Rajesh Karkera was at the Kalina airport waiting for the arrival of the big ticket star.
08:02 Sushma tells Amazon to ‘apologise or no visa’ after flag doormats:
Union minister Sushma Swaraj has demanded an unconditional apology from online retailer Amazon, which has been selling Indian flag themed doormats. The external affairs minister has demanded that the company withdraw the product immediately. Unless this is done, Amazon officials will not be given visas, she said in a series of tweets.
Disrespect to the national flag is a punishable offense in India. It involves a three-year jail term and a fine or both.
The minister’s tweets read:
“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately.
“If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier.”
The minister also asked the Indian embassy to take up the matter with Amazon Canada.
Swaraj’s response came after a Tweeter user tagged her, pointing out the sale of the flag floormats on Amazon.
00:44 People now run away hearing ‘mitron’: Uddhav takes a dig at PM: Amid uncertainty over forging an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for high-stake Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls, which were announced on Wednesday, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has said he has not received any proposal on seat-sharing so far even as he took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Sena chief said though he expects the seat-sharing talks to begin on Wednesday he is also prepared to face any ‘eventuality’.
“Earlier, I used to start my address saying bhaiyon aur behno (brothers and sisters) or mitron (friends), but now I don’t use these terms as people have started running away when they hear this. Nowadays, the chai wala is the only one heard speaking,” he said without taking Modi’s name while addressing a gathering in Mumbai.
“Had I been negative about an alliance (with the BJP), I would not have sent party leaders to hold initial parleys. I have a formula on seat sharing but I have received no response as yet,” he said.
Uddhav said the decision to partner with BJP for zilla parishad polls will be taken by local leaders.