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LIVE! ATM free withdrawals may be halved to just three

12:11  JUST IN: The Wholesale Price Index inflation for December 2016 inches up to 3.39 per cent, from 3.15 per cent in the previous month. 

12:00  ATM free withdrawals may be halved to just three :  If you thought not being able to withdraw as much as you wanted to from ATMs was painful, here’s some more worry coming your way. The government is considering a proposal to reduce the free withdrawals by more than half to just three, instead of the nearly 8-10 now, including from banks where one has accounts, reports The Economic Times.

This proposal, floated by bankers, was discussed in the pre-budget consultations with the finance ministry, and the feeling was that this is one of the ways to push digital, said people familiar with the matter.

“A proposal to bring down free ATM transactions to three per month has been discussed with the finance ministry, and this is one of the measures being considered to disincentivise use of cash,” a senior banker said on the condition of anonymity.

11:49  1984 riots case: SC directs Centre to file status report:  The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Government to file a report regarding the status of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar had fixed the next date of the hearing on February 20.A Delhi Court had on December 21 last year granted anticipatory bail to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in connection with 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on the condition that he would cooperate with the investigation agency and not leave country without permission.

The Delhi High Court had earlier on November 4 last year rejected Kumar’s plea to change the judge hearing the case.

Kumar’s case was transferred to the Patiala House Court by the High Court, which directed the district judge to video record the proceedings.

Kumar has been accused of instigating a mob for killing two Sikhs – Sohan Singh and his son Avtar Singh – in Delhi’s Janakpuri area on November 1, 1984.


11:23  I am born a Congressman, this is ghar wapasi: Sidhu:   Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu addressing a press conference after joining the Congress party yesterday. Highlights…

“I am a born Congressman. My birth was in the Congress. I have  come back to my roots. My father was in the Congress and served the party for 40 years and participated in the freedom struggle. The British ordered that he be shot by the firing squad, but later he was released and went on to become the advocate general of Punjab.

“This is my ghar wapasi. BJP exiled me from my home. This is not a personal fight for Sidhu. This is a fight for the rights of Punjab. Punjab has been turned into a dust bowl. 55 per cent of the population in Punjab are youths. A state which was known for the green revolution is now known for drugs.

The cricketer-turned-politician on Sunday joined the Congress after meeting Rahul Gandhi and the party said it would be “immensely strengthened” in poll-bound Punjab with his presence.

Sidhu, 53, will contest from Amritsar East assembly seat, party leaders said.

Sidhu was earlier member of Lok Sabha from Amritsar and was apparently not happy when in the last Lok Sabha polls, he was replaced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who was subsequently defeated by Amarinder Singh.


11:08  World’s eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%:  The world’s eight richest billionaires control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe’s population, according to a charity warning of an ever-increasing and dangerous concentration of wealth.

In a report published to coincide with the start of the week-long World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam said it was “beyond grotesque’ that a handful of rich men headed by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates are worth $426bn (350bn), equivalent to the wealth of 3.6 billion people.

The development charity called for a new economic model to reverse an inequality trend that it said helped to explain Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.

Oxfam blamed rising inequality on aggressive wage restraint, tax dodging and the squeezing of producers by companies, adding that businesses were too focused on delivering ever-higher returns to wealthy owners and top executives.  Read more


11:03  Trump was a ‘change candidate’, don’t underestimate him: Obama:  US President Barack Obama has said Donald Trump was a “change candidate” and cautioned people against underestimating the President-elect, even as he acknowledged that it has been an “unusual” transition.

“He was a change candidate,” Obama told CBS News in his final interview as the President of the United States. Asked if anyone can change Washington, Obama said, “I think the American people can change Washington.”

“But I think that it is not going to change, because somebody from high directs that change. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, are motivated by all kinds of issues,” the 55-year-old outgoing President said.

“They’re sincerely interested in the economy, in terrorism, in social issues. But the one overriding thing they’re interested in is getting re-elected. And if they think that it’s harder for them to get re-elected by cooperating with each other, then they won’t cooperate,” Obama said. Reflecting on the election campaign, the US President said Trump was clearly able to tap into a lot of grievances. “And he has a talent for making a connection with his supporters that overrode some of the traditional benchmarks of how you’d run a campaign or conduct yourself as a presidential candidate,” Obama said of the billionaire-turned-politician, who will be sworn-in on January 20. “What will be interesting to see is how that plays out during the course of his presidency. We are moving into an era where a lot of people get their information through tweets and sound bites and some headline that comes over their phone,” he said, in an apparent reference to the series of tweets that Trump writes everyday, which very often are the main source of news. “And I think that there’s a power in that. There’s also a danger, what generates a headline or stirs up a controversy and gets attention isn’t the same as the process required to actually solve the problem,” Obama noted. Obama also cautioned political pundits and others who are critical of Trump that they should not underestimate him. “First of all, I think everybody has to acknowledge don’t underestimate the guy, because he’s going to be 45th president of the United States,” he said. “The one thing I’ve said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that, as we go forward certain norms, certain institutional traditions don’t get eroded, because there’s a reason they’re in place,” he said.


10:54  Sasikala will be Tamil Nadu CM on January 29:   We posted this on Sunday. Should you have missed it, here it is.

Rajeev Sharma tells us: Sasikala Natarajan will take over as Tamil Nadu chief minister on January 29, knowledgeable sources have disclosed.

Why January 29?

One, because it is an auspicious date and Sasikala, like the late J Jayalalithaa, is a stickler to religious beliefs and rituals.

Two, the position of Surya will be firmly in Uttarayan (ascending Sun) from that date as January 27 is Amavasya.

AIADMK cadres have of late stepped up their clamour for Sasikala’s elevation as chief minister as it has been the AIADMK’s convention that the party leader is also the chief minister if the party happens to be in power.


10:47  Cow only animal that inhales, exhales oxygen: Rajasthan minister:  Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani has said cow is the only animal that inhales as well as exhales Oxygen. He made the claim while speaking at the Hingonia Goshala during an event organised by Akshay Patra foundation Saturday.

The minister underscored the ‘scientific significance’ of the cow. “Gai ekmatra prani hai jo oxygen grahan karta hai, aur oxygen his chodta hai (The cow is the only animal that takes in oxygen and also releases oxygen),’ he said, adding that “there is a need to understand the scientific significance of the cow and ensure that the message reaches all people”  Read more

10:24  February gold 2% cheaper on duty cut hopes:  The MCX February gold contract is quoting Rs 510, or 1.8 per cent, lower than the spot market in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar’s Friday closing price of Rs 28,890 per 10 gm on expectations of an import duty cut.

Futures prices are usually higher than spot prices because these include a cost for carrying forward positions, but the market is expecting the government will lower the import duty on gold.

The April contract is trading even lower than the February price.With declining imports and a virtual collapse of the black economy, the government might bring the gold duty structure in line with the proposed 4-6 per cent goods and services tax rate for precious metals, a trader said.

He added a duty cut would also deal a blow to smuggling.Arbitrage traders, especially those who have ready bullion, prefer to sell in the spot market now and buy futures. When futures used to fetch a premium, they bought in the spot market and sold on the MCX.

Rajesh Bhayani/Business Standard


10:22  NSA Doval may attend Trump’s inauguration:  Rajeev Sharma tells us: National Security Advisor Ajit Doval may travel to Washington, DC for Donald Trump’s inauguration as US President on January 20.

There is no tradition of the Indian government sending its nominee to attend the inauguration of a US President, however, new conventions may evolve in view of the improved ties between India and the US.

Trump’s NSA-designate Michael Flynn had telephoned Doval a month ago after which Doval visited Washington and met Flynn.

The Trump team has invited leaders of several nations, whom Trump considers important to his scheme of things, to attend his inauguration.
These nations include Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Australia.


10:16  Disappearing Gandhi:  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has been a totem for half a century and more. His ideas, even when he was alive, were seen by his peers and protgs as impractical pieties. It is appropriate that the tokenism that surrounds his legacy was taken to its absurd conclusion last week when the Khadi and Village Industries Commission published a calendar that featured a photograph of Narendra Modi sitting at a charkha. The picture provoked hysteria among liberals who read it as an act of insolent appropriation. They were right, but it’s more interesting than that.

Read Mukul Kesavan’s column for the Telegraph.

10:02  15 feared killed in cargo plane crash in Kyrgyzstan:   Just In: A cargo plane on a flight from Istanbul to Bishkek, has crashed near the Kyrgyzstan capital, TASS has reported quoting the press service of the Bishkek airport.   

The crash occurred several kilometres from the Manas airport.   

The plane had an unspecified number crew members on board and Kyrgyzstan said up to 15 people may have been killed in the crash.


09:39  PM-led panel may decide on CBI director today:  The selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet today to decide on the name of next Central Bureau of Investigation director. 

Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, and Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, will also attend the meeting.  

The meeting of the selection committee is expected to finalise the name to head the country’s premier investigating agency. Currently Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer of the 1984 batch, is holding additional charge as the director of CBI. 

Asthana’s appointment as the interim chief of the CBI has been challenged in the Supreme Court as after the enactment of the Lokpal Act, the director of the agency has to be appointed by a collegium comprising the prime minister, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee, and the Leader of the Opposition. 


09:35  Child rapist who targeted nearly 500 minors arrested in Delhi:  A 38-year-old serial rapist was arrested from Delhi’s New Ashok Nagar on Sunday for targeting minors girls aged between seven and 11 years. 

The accused, Sunil Rastogi, who wore the same set of clothes — a ‘red jacket’ (which he considered lucky) — used to come from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi by train and look for lone minor girls, kidnap them to under-construction buildings or isolated locations, rape them and then flee the city.  

The rapist targeted nearly five hundred children over the last 13 years not only in Delhi but even in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.  

According to the police, three cases of child rape and molestation under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act were registered in New Ashok Nagar police station on January 10 and 13. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police Omvir Singh told the media that the accused — who is a tailor by profession and is married, with children — is a clear case of paedophile.  

“The accused told police that he used to target minor girls. Whenever he would find any minor girl going home from school, he used to mislead her on the pretext that her father had sent some clothes or some other articles to give her and take her to an isolated place,” he said.  

“During interrogation, he confessed that he committed the alleged offences and also revealed he committed similar offences with other girls in New Ashok Nagar, Delhi, Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), and Rudrapur (Uttarakhand),” he added. Singh said a team was formed to identify the man after another complaint was received on December 13. 

The police scanned the CCTV footage of the area where Rastogi had raped the girls and were able to identify him but his face was not clearly visible. They spoke to the vendors and some of the victims and got a sketch made. They then went door to door with the sketch. 

Finally, the accused was nabbed yesterday.


09:31  Who will ride away on Cycle today — Mulayam or Akhilesh?:  The Election Commission is likely to pronounce its order today regarding the Samajwadi Party factions, one led by party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and the other by his son Akhilesh Yadav, staking their claims over the party symbol ‘Cycle’. 

The three-member poll body, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, on Friday heard the arguments put forward by the two factions. 

The commission’s order is expected today as the notification for the first phase of the seven-phase assembly elections in the state will be issued tomorrow.  

The Samajwadi Party tussle refuses to subside, with the stalemate between Akhilesh and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav over the post of the party president, not reaching a solution. 

According to sources, Mulayam told Akhilesh to step down from the post saying that he would remain to be the party’s face for Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. But, Akhilesh refused the offer saying that he would pass on the baton once the elections are over. 

The sources further stated that the two are likely to meet again to discuss the issue. 


09:21  Swamy says anti-Jallikattu protests inspired from abroad:  Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged that protests organised against Jallikattu have been inspired from abroad and he intends to take the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation in terms of funding of the animal rights organisations.

“As the Tamil Nadu government has successfully suppressed any revolt against the Supreme Court and any indignity caused to the Supreme Court. The next step we should take is to investigate these NGOs like PETA and others and find out what is their source and why are they doing this. I am have strong feeling that this has been inspired from abroad and I intend to collect the information and ask the CBI to investigate into their financing,” he said.

Supporting the claim of hosting Jallikattu, Swamy said that he has given a written submission of 23 pages and is waiting for the judgment of the apex court over the issue.

Swamy took on the protestors of Jallikattu and said: “This is a democratic country and we have to abide by the Constitution and all these LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) types and anti-national people, who want separate Tamil Nadu are the ones who are creating all these problems.”


09:11  Supreme Court to hear LGBT plea today:  The Supreme Court will hear the curative petition filed by the Naz foundation in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) matter today. 

In a much-needed reprieve to the LGBT community, the apex court last year referred the matter to a five-judge bench for further hearing on a curative petition challenging its earlier order.  

An apex court bench headed by former chief justice of India T. S Thakur had earlier agreed to hear the curative petition against its December 2013 order upholding the validity of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code and a January 2014 order by which it had dismissed a bunch of review petitions. 

The petitioners include the NGO Naz Foundation, working for the LGBT community. The plea stated that the judgment was reserved on March 27, 2012, but a verdict was delivered after around 21 months; during this period lots of changes took place, including amendment in laws, which were not considered by the Bench, which delivered the judgment.  

Section 377 of IPC criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature’, including homosexual acts.  

A fresh plea filed by celebrities from different walks of life affected by Section 377 was dismissed by the top court in June because of the petitions already pending with another bench.  

The Indian government’s stance on LGBTQ rights was made amply clear in the country’s refusal to vote in the United Nations Human Rights Commission’s resolution to set up the office of an independent expert to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community.


08:30  3 terrorists killed in encounter in Pahalgam:  Three terrorists have been gunned down in an encounter with security forces in Pahalgam encounter, Jammu and Kashmir, says the army.

Three AK-47 rifles have been recovered from them.

The encounter broke out yesterday when, acting on specific intelligence input about the presence of unspecified number of militants in Awoora village in Pahalgam area of Anantnag district, security forces launched a search operation in the area, a police official said.

As the forces were conducting the search operation, the hiding terrorists fired at them, he said, adding the security forces retaliated, ensuing in an encounter.

Image for representation only.


08:22  Pramila Jayapal will not attend Trump inauguration:  Indian-American Congresswoman from Seattle Pramila Jayapal has announced that she won’t attend Donald Trump’s inauguration this week, saying the President-elects ‘language and actions’ undermine America’s democracy and its history.

‘I did not undertake the decision lightly,’ Jayapal said in a statement.

So far two dozen US lawmakers have announced that they are boycotting Trumps inauguration.

‘I had hoped in the days following the election that we would see a President-elect who broke from his campaign rhetoric and worked to unite the American people. Instead, we have seen this President-elect continue to use language and take actions that demean our history and our heroes, and undermine our democracy,’ she said.

The only lawmaker to oppose Trump’s presidential victory confirmation during the joint session of the Congress early this month, Jayapal alleged that his Cabinet appointments underscore the grave threat to the country that his presidency represents.

‘Appointments of people such as Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions and Andrew Pudzer threaten the very fabric of our country and the institutions that these men and women will lead.  The continued promises to create a Muslim registry, to repeal DACA, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and punish women for abortions, fly in the face of our 7th District values,’ she said.

Instead of being in Washington DC attending the swearing-in ceremony of Donald Trump, Jayapal said she would be with her constituents attending a seminar on immigration. — PTI

Source: Rediff