09:10 BJP worker hacked to death in Kannur, hartal called in town: A Bharatiya Janata Party worker was hacked to death in Kannur district of Kerala on Wednesday night. 52-year old Mullapram Ezhuthan Santhosh was murdered when he was alone in his house.
The BJP alleged that the Communist Party of India-Marxist is behind the murder, and called for a hartal in Kannur.
The police have taken some persons into custody and are questioning them. The police said it was a political murder.
09:07 Lashkar terrorist killed in encounter in J&K’s Bandipora: A Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist was killed in an encounter with the police and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district today. The encounter took place in Hajin area of Bandipora district.
This comes days after three terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district.
In a similar incident on January 6, Al-Badr terrorist Muzaffar Ahmed was killed in an encounter with the Army and the police in Machu area of Budgam district in Jammu and Kashmir.
08:18 Pro-Jallikattu protests grow stronger; OPS to meet PM today: People in large numbers continued to gather at Chennai’s Marina Beach on Thursday morning in support of bull taming sport Jallikattu.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Pannerselvam will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today to urge him to promulgate an ordinance to lift the ban on Jallikattu, even as he requested the youth and protesters to give up their agitation over the issue.
‘Tamil Nadu Government will continue to take necessary steps to ensure holding of Jallikattu- CM O Panneerselvam (sic),’ the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam tweeted.
Meanwhile, more than 4,000 protesters, mostly students, converged at Marina beach demanding for the removal of ban on Jallikattu. They are also seeking a ban on the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has antagonised the people for having anti-Jallikattu stand.
The call for a ban on PETA also resonated within the AIADMK, with general secretary Sasikala Natarajan leading the chorus for it. — ANI
IMAGE: Pro-Jallikattu protesters at Marina beach on Thursday morning. Photograph: ANI
01:27 Obama defends Manning commutation amid criticism:
President Obama, at his final press conference in office, on Wednesday defended his controversial decision to commute the bulk of Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified documents — claiming the former Army intelligence analyst served a “tough” sentence, and disputing the notion that clemency could embolden future leakers.
“I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent,” the president said.
The president has faced mounting bipartisan criticism over the commutation, announced as part of a wave of clemency decisions a day earlier. Manning, who has served more than six years of the 35-year sentence, will now be released in May.
To detractors warning the decision set a dangerous precedent, the president pushed back.
“Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence, so the notion that the average person who is thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished, I dont think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served,” Obama said.
Citing the time served and saying Manning’s sentence was “disproportionate,” Obama said: “It made sense to commute, and not pardon, her sentencing.”
A South Korean court is considering whether to approve the arrest of Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, one of the country’s wealthiest business leaders, on charges of bribery and other offenses.
Lee, the only son of Samsung’s chairman, did not speak to a crowd of reporters when he arrived and left the Seoul Central District Court today. After a four-hour hearing he was taken to a detention center near Seoul to await the court’s decision.
If Lee’s arrest is approved, prosecutors can detain him for up to 21 days before formally charging him, court spokesman Shin Jae-hwan said. He said the judge will announce a decision on the arrest warrant early tomorrow morning, though the exact timing was unclear.
Samsung is South Korea’s biggest family-controlled conglomerate, or chaebol, with businesses encompassing consumer electronics, shipbuilding and life insurance.
Samsung Electronics, the group’s crown jewel, is the world’s biggest maker of smartphones and computer memory chips. Samsung Electronics and its affiliated companies account for about a third of the market value in South Korea’s main stock market. The company had no comment on the hearing today.
01:18 China’s Xi calls for world without nuclear weapons:
Nations should strive for a world where nuclear weapons are prohibited and where existing stocks are destroyed, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech at the United Nations.
“Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited and destroyed over time to make the world free of nuclear weapons,” the Chinese president said in Geneva.
In a lengthy address at the UN’s European headquarters alongside with the world body’s new chief Antonio Guterres, Xi also made a robust case for a global governance system based on equality among nations.
“We should reject dominance by just one or several countries”, Xi said, adding that “major powers should respect each other’s core interests.”
“Big countries should treat smaller countries as equals instead of acting as a hegemon imposing their will on others,” he further said.
In his disarmament call and plea for sovereign equality Xi offered China as a nation “committed to building a world of lasting peace.”