17:42 Putin ‘insulted’ by US election meddling claim: Trump:
United States President Donald Trump today said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin seems “very insulted” by the persistent allegations of Russian interference in the US election.
“He (Putin) said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again,” Trump said.
“You can only ask so many times… he said he absolutely did not meddle in our election,” the US president told reporters on Air Force One as he headed to Hanoi.
Trump said that he believed Putin was “very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country”.
The US president said he had had “two or three” brief conversations with his Russian counterpart at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang.
Image: US President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters
Twitter has more than doubled its count for users’ display names from 20 to 50 characters, days after the social media giant ended the iconic 140-character tweet limit.
The San Francisco-based company announced yesterday that a user can add a display name of up to 50 characters, up from the original 20 characters.
The change comes as a relief to many users who have bigger names or want to add colour to their names.
“Starting today, your Twitter display name can be up to 50 characters in length! Go ahead, add that middle name or even a few more emojis,” said Twitter.
The company announced last week that it was rolling out a 280-character tweet limit for nearly all its users, including for those who tweet in Hindi, abandoning its famous 140-character limit.
“We’re expanding the character limit! We want it to be easier and faster for everyone to express themselves,” Twitter said.
The move was both appreciated and mocked by the users.
“The best bit about 280 is never having to shorten whilst, amidst, and amongst ever again,” posted one user.
“I’ve always thought that 140 characters were too little to effectively convey ones thoughts,” another user wrote.
“The whole point of Twitter was its brevity #280characters,” a Twitterati wrote.
“Already massively bored by everyone’s mind-numbing 280 character tweets. This is a terrible mistake,” another user said. — PTI
A Doha-bound Qatar Airways aircraft from Thiruvananthapuram made an emergency landing this morning at the Goa airport after its commander fell sick mid-air, a senior official said.
The plane landed at the Goa airport at 7 AM after getting the necessary clearances, said Airport Director BCH Negi.
“We received a message that the pilot on a Qatar Airways aircraft was feeling uneasy and that the plane sought permission for an emergency landing, which was granted after following all the procedures,” he added.
The plane took off for Doha in the afternoon, Negi said.
A response from Qatar Airways was awaited. — PTI
16:41 Credit for GST rate cuts goes to Rahul Gandhi, says Congress:
The Congress today claimed credit for the GST Council’s decision to cut tax rates on 178 items of daily use, saying the government was forced to do so due to the pressure mounted by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and the “huge response” his campaign had been receiving in poll-bound Gujarat.
Leading the charge against the government on the goods and services tax, Gandhi said the Congress would continue to fight for a 18-per cent cap on the highest GST slab instead of the current 28 per cent, and vowed that the party would get the job done “if the ruling BJP doesn’t”.
He also reiterated that India needed a simple tax and not the “Gabbar Singh Tax” as he had been describing the tax regime to target the Modi government.
Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot told PTI that the GST Council yesterday decided to cut the tax rates due to the pressure mounted by Gandhi and the “huge response” he had been receiving in the poll-bound western state.
Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, has been under the BJP’s rule for over two decades and the Congress is trying to oust it from power. Congress leaders, particularly Gandhi, have made the GST and demonetisation as key issues of their campaign.
Gehlot claimed the GST Council brought about the changes in tax rates with an eye on votes in Gujarat. The state goes to poll in two phases on December 9 and December 14.
“It (BJP) is rankled by trepidation that Gujarat will slip off its hands. That’s why the rates were cut. The Council did so because of the pressure Rahulji mounted and response his yatras in the state are getting,” he said.
Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala termed the GST Council’s move “installment-based tinkering” which he said underscored the “chaos within and adhocism” of the BJP-led central government.
Accusing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the government of “paying lip service and creating havoc”, Surjewala said the Congress was determined to make the tax regime “flawless”.
“India does not need a Gabbar Singh Tax. We want a true GST. Congress, along with the people of India, fought for and ensured reduction in items in 28% bracket. Next we will fight for one rate, with a cap at 18%. If BJP doesn’t do it, Congress will,” Gandhi tweeted.
Surjewala demanded that petroleum products, real estate and electricity be brought under the ambit of the GST. He also called for reducing “compliance burden” of the GST and added that the textile sector was faced with deep stress due to “distorted duty structure”.
“Adjournment and deferment, rather than decision, appear to be the ‘way forward’ for this government.
“None of these challenges have been addressed by the council. This is owing to the sheer ineptitude and amateurish handling of the biggest tax reform by BJP the government,” he added.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said that the credit should be given to Gandhi.
“There was a pressure from Rahul Gandhi. The Gabbar Singh Tax went so much viral in Gujarat that the BJP did not know how to deal with it,” Khera said. — PTI
15:52 No odd-even from Monday: Delhi govt:
Hours after the National Green Tribunal gave its nod for the implementation of the odd-even plan with certain riders, now the Delhi government has called off the scheme which was supposed to come into force from November 13 to November 17 in the national capital.
“In light of the two conditions by the NGT on 2-wheelers and women drivers, at the moment we are calling it off (the odd-even scheme),” Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot said.
“We will go back to the NGT on Monday, file a review petition for them to reconsider their decision regarding the two,” he added.
Earlier in the morning, the green court had directed the Delhi government not to exempt two-wheelers, women drivers and government cars from the scheme.
The car-rationing scheme, which was enforced twice in the national capital in 2016, will be in place between November 13 and 17 from 8 am to 8 pm.
Under the policy, private vehicles are allowed to run based on the last number of their licence plates.
Odd-numbered cars are allowed to run on odd dates while even-numbered cars can only run on even dates.
14:50 Delhi may breathe a little easy as Met dept predicts light rain:
Delhi woke up to a hazy morning today, with the weather office predicting light rainfall later in the day, which may clear the smog enveloping the national capital.
A dense blanket of smog enveloped Delhi this week, prompting authorities to announce the “odd-even” rationing of cars from November 13 for five days, closure of schools till tomorrow and a four-fold hike in parking fee for vehicles.
According to the Met department, humidity levels in the national capital shot up to 91 per cent this morning.
“The minimum temperature was recorded at 12.6 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal,” an official of the department said.
Visibility was recorded at 800 metres at 5.30 AM, which dropped further to 500 metres by 8.30 AM.
The maximum temperature is expected to settle at 30 degrees Celsius, the official said. — PTI
Netflix has decided to pull the plug on a new Louis C K stand up special after reports surfaced alleging the comedian engaged in sexual misconduct with multiple women during his career.
C K had signed a deal to produce two new stand up specials for the streaming service, the first of which debuted in April, reported Deadline.
“The allegations made by several women in The New York Times about Louis C K’s behaviour are disturbing. Louis’s unprofessional and inappropriate behaviour with female colleagues has led us to decide not to produce a second stand up special, as had been planned,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.
The New York Times published a piece alleging that C K had repeatedly asked women he encountered in work-related environments to watch him masturbate.
This is the latest fallout post the expose. HBO had earlier announced that C K would no longer be performing on the charity event “Night of Too Many Stars,” and that his past projects would be removed from HBO On Demand services. — PTI
13:32 India doesn’t want 5 different types of taxes: Rahul on GST :
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today said that structural changes are needed in the goods and services tax.
Speaking at a rally in Gandhinagar, Raul Gandhi said, “It’s a good thing that the Bharatiya Janata Party government has slashed the tax rate from 28 percent to 18 percent for many products due to the pressure made by the Congress and the people of India.”
He further said, “We are still not happy and won’t stop here. India doesn’t want five different types of taxes, we want one. There’s a need to make structural changes in the GST.
Earlier on Wednesday, while interacting with traders in Gujarat’s Surat, the Congress vice-president said that his party will reassess and restructure the GST, if they come to power at the Centre in the 2019 general elections.
“We were against the implementation of GST because the government’s version was not right. Eventually when Modi ji realised it was a mistake, he said the Congress was also a part of it,” Rahul said.
He further said that ruling government is making the uniform tax reform “complex”.
“The GST is one tax reform not five tax. The centre does not know the meaning of GST. They made the GST complex. We asked them for a simple version,” he said. — ANI
13:22 Amul boards Indian Railways via Twitter:
Nearly a month after dairy giant Amul approached the Indian Railways on its official Twitter handle with a business proposition to use refrigerated parcel vans to transport butter across India, the first shipment is on its way.
“First refrigerator van with 17 MT #Amul butter being flagged off from Palanpur to Delhi with our milk train. Thanks @RailMinIndia for the prompt action,” Amul tweeted today.
On September 23, Amul had reached out to the railway ministry on its Twitter handle for advice on the proposition, saying the dairy major was “interested in using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul butter across India.”
The railways promptly responded on the micro-blogging site, using a popular tag line of the company. “IR will be utterly butterly delighted to get the taste of India to every Indian,” the ministry’s handle @RailMinIndia tweeted.
The national transporter uses Twitter extensively to address passenger woes. But that was perhaps the first time it received a business proposition on the popular social site.
The Indian Railways had introduced the refrigerated van service a few years ago with an aim to facilitate the transportation of perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, frozen meats/poultry and chocolates.
However, these services existed only on specific routes.
12:54 NGT gives green signal to odd-even plan in Delhi:
The National Green Tribunal today cleared path for implementing odd-even scheme in Delhi to counter pollution.
The NGT directed that the scheme must be implemented in Delhi NCR as and when PM 10 crosses 300 level and PM 2.5 crosses 500
However, the green court asked the city government not to exempt two-wheelers, women drivers, and government cars from the scheme.
The NGT exempted e-CNG buses, ambulances, fire brigade trucks, vehicles carrying solid waste from the odd-even plan.
12:14 Why no odd-even earlier, why exemptions, NGT asks Delhi govt:
The National Green Tribune today questioned the Delhi government over implementation of odd-even scheme.
Asking tough questions, the green body asked the Aam Aadmi Party-led government,”Why didn’t you introduce odd-even scheme earlier when the air quality was worse?”
The NGT asked the Delhi government to show the letter on basis of which this decision was taken, and whether the LG’s approval was taken for the same.
The NGT also asked the city government about reasons behind exemptions and the impact of pollution emanating from two wheelers.
While announcing the car-rationing scheme — starting from November 13 to 17 from 8 am to 8 pm — the Delhi government had exempted women drivers, two-wheelers and vehicles carrying children in school uniforms, besides VVIPs from the scheme under which cars bearing registration numbers ending with odd digits are allowed to ply on odd dates while those ending with even digits run on even dates.
The court will today decide if the Delhi government’s odd-even plan will be implemented in the national capital from next week.
11:03 Rahul visits Akshardham temple to begin fourth leg of his Gujarat yatra: The fourth leg of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s Navsarjan Yatra begins today.
As part of the yatra, he will travel from Gandhinagar to Banaskantha on Saturday.
He visited the Akshardham temple in the morning before starting the yatra.
Addressing people in Chiloda, Gandhinagar, Rahul said the Congress and people of India put pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party and they had to lower GST on many items from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.
He also said that note ban and GST caused losses to people and the prime minister is harming the economy. — ANI
10:10 After threats, stones pelted at Muslim woman yoga teacher’s house: Unidentified assailants allegedly pelted stones at the house of a woman yoga teacher in the Hatia area in Ranchi, following which security was increased at her residence, an official said.
Two days ago, Rafia Naaz was allegedly threatened by members of her community after she performed yoga.
She had informed the Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) about it, Deputy SP Vikas Chandra Srivastav said.
Following her meeting with the SSP, the police had provided security to her. But after she gave an interview to a TV channel on Friday, some people pelted stones at her house, the police officer said.
Two quick response teams have been stationed near Naaz’s house, Srivastav said, adding that senior police personnel have assured security to the teacher and her family.
The police is investigating the matter, he said. — PTI
Image for representation only.
09:23 I-T raids at Jaya TV office continue for 3rd day: Income tax raids at offices of Jaya TV and Tamil newspaper Dr Namadhu MGR continue for the third day in alleged tax evasion matter.
The raids are being conducted at 40 locations, including the residences of managing director Vivek Jayaraman and his sister Krishna Priya.
Earlier, Jaya TV premises in Chennai and deposed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary T T V Dinakaran’s farm house were searched as part of ‘Operation Clean Money’.
Dinakaran condemned the searches undertaken by the Income Tax department mostly in Tamil Nadu as a conspiracy and targeted the Centre. — ANI
Photograph: R Senthilkumar/PTI Photo
08:18 Delhi smog delays 64 trains; situation better in some areas: Residents of Delhi today said the smog situation is a little better now, though air quality index in several areas continued to be in ‘hazardous’ category.
Saturday also brought a smoggy morning for the national capital.
Residents at the Rajpath area said the situation was better than the past four days but long-term solutions must be found.
Meanwhile, 64 trains were delayed, 14 rescheduled and two cancelled due to smog/fog conditions in Delhi.
In terms of Air Quality Index, Delhi’s Mandir Marg with AQI 326, Anand Vihar at 430, Siri Fort at 316, Dwarka at 327, and Shadipur at 331 fell in the ‘hazardous’ category.
Following a directive by Delhi’s Environment Minister Imran Hussain, the Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited on Friday has been assigned to settle down particulate matter (PM) in the national capital region through aerial sprinkling in Delhi.
This measure has been taken up due to the rising levels of air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas that has hit 70 times the World Health Organisation’s safe limit.
The Ministry of Food and Supplies, Environment and Forest, Election in a letter, addressed the possibility of carrying out the exercise to sprinkle water aerially through helicopters to settle the PM in Delhi.
Meanwhile in Haryana, Vikas Sadan Gurugram had AQI 330 in ‘Hazardous’ category, while Sector16A Faridabad with AQI 204 fell in ‘Very Unhealthy’ category. — ANI
IMAGE: Smog at Rajpath area in New Delhi on Saturday morning. Photograph: ANI
00:15 I am yet to understand GST, says Madhya Pradesh minister:
A candid confession by Madhya Pradesh minister Om Prakash Dhurve that he did not understand the goods and services tax left the BJP red-faced as it argued that he is only a minister and not a chartered accountant.
According to Dhurve, even big CAs are not able to understand the GST leave aside traders and people like him.
He made the remarks during an address to a gathering of BJP workers organised to mark anti-black money Day at Umaria town on November 8, the first anniversary of demonetisation.
A video of his speech has gone viral on social media.
“The results (of GST) would come after some time… there are problems as of now. What is GST, I am not able to understand myself… (Hence) I will not speak on this issue, let the experts speak,” Dhurve told the gathering.
“Even big CAs are not able to understand. What it is…. even traders are not able to understand,” he added.
The BJP, however, tried to defend him stating that Dhurve is right in saying that people would gradually understand the new taxation system.
“GST is a new tax regime. He (Dhurve) is a minister and not a CA. So, what he was saying is that people would gradually understand about this new tax system,” state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said.
Dhurve’s statement gave an opportunity to the opposition Congress to slam the BJP-led NDA government as it said that the GST is complex and even the Centre is unable to understand it. — PTI