10:44 Just in: A bomb has been hurled at the CPM office, and two bombs thrown at the BJP office in Kannur, Kerala.
Masi Sadaiyan and Vaidivel Gopal, both in their 50s, from the Irula tribe of Tamil Nadu, are successful python hunters in India, and were brought in, along with two translators, to work with detection dogs earlier this month to track down and capture the giant snakes.
In just eight days, they have surprised officals of Florida Fish and Wildlfe Conservation Commission (FWC) by bagging as many as 13 pythons, including a 16-foot-long female.
10:34 Media pronounced me guilty without trial, tweets Mallya: Absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya took on the media with a series of tweets, saying the media has pronounced him guilty without trial.
This morning Mallya tweeted from his personal Twitter account @TheVijayMallya saying, “In our Country I assumed that innocence prevails till proven guilty. Media have convicted me guilty without trial with widespread influence.”
On Thursday, he hit out at SEBI for barring him from securities market with regard to alleged fund diversion from United Spirits and termed the charges “baseless”.
In a series of tweets, he called the allegations of fund diversion concerning now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines a “joke” and said he is getting used to “witch hunts coming from all directions with no legal basis whatsoever”.
“CBI alleges diversion of funds OUT of Kingfisher Air. SEBI alleges diversion of funds from USL INTO Kingfisher Air. What joke is this?,” Mallya tweeted.
He further said: “Allegations of fund diversion out of USL are baseless. USL accounts were approved by top Auditors, an eminent Board of Directors n (sic) shareholders.”
Mallya, who is now staying in London, also scoffed at suggestions that he had fled the country in the wake of the investigations against him saying his departure was “nothing sudden. I have been a non resident since 1988”.
10:20 Trump to speak with Putin on Saturday: US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to speak on the phone Saturday in their first conversation since Trump took office, an administration official told CNN. Trump has vowed to have better relations with Russia than his predecessor. Read more
10:18 The PM and his pagdis: With his pagdis, consistent as a statement yet variant in textures, Prime Minister Narendra Modi retains his role as the best exemplar of “occasion wear’. The segment sandwiched between couture and prt, that’s dressy but not theatrical, it has a majority of Indian fashion designers fussing to give it recognition and signature. Let’s give it to Narendra Modi for showing how to give occasion wear an instant definition with two metres or more of well-chosen, woven cloth. A made in India crown. Worn with a tailored bandhgala or worn with an ordinary kurta.
The post will fall vacant after incumbent foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, who has been designated as ambassador to the US, moves to Washington to take up his new assignment replacing outgoing ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani.
Here’s what the Dawn says.
10:00 How Kissinger wanted to choke India: Barely four months before the start of the 1971 Bangladesh war, documents recently declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency show how US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wanted to choke India.
At a Washington Special Actions Group meeting held at the White House situation room on August 17, 1971, documents show, Kissinger, then US national security adviser, asked if the Indians will attack, and CIA chief Richard Helms tells him, “My personal feeling is that they will not do so.”
The meeting was called to discuss a contingency paper, of which Option C — everyone present agrees — was likely the most suitable strategy for the US.
Later on during the meeting, when Helms remarks that “In that part of the world one still has the problem of passions outrunning good judgement,’ Kissinger’s disdain for India can be seen from his reply: “Passions don’t have to run very far to do that in India.”
The meeting even discussed cutting aid to India if hostilities begin.
Here’s Kissinger again, with his question: “Can someone study what we mean when we say we are going to cut economic aid (to India)? We should look at the consequences… Can we cut off aid through the consortium?”
When assistant secretary of state Joseph Sisco replies that they will produce a paper on it, Kissinger responds: “We will also be getting talking points for the Soviets and Chinese both before and after an attack. You will let us know what you are doing on this, and we in turn will let you know about anything we are doing here that may affect the situation.”
Photograph alongside shows Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and US President Richard Nixon, talking at the White House, Washington, DC, on November 9, 1971, less than three weeks before the 1971 War began. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
09:53 Nabha jailbreak: Harminder Mintoo to be produced before court : Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Harminder Singh Mintoo will be produced before a Delhi court on Friday in the Nabha jailbreak case.
The court earlier on January 3 re-issued production warrant against Mintoo after the Punjab Police failed to produce him before it in connection with the case.
Mintoo was nabbed on November 28 last year from New Delhi railway station, a day after he escaped with five other inmates from Punjab’s Narbha Jail.
He has been in custody since November 29 last year. Mintoo has reportedly told his interrogators about the KLF’s expansion plans with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.
The self-styled KLF chief has reportedly told his interrogators about the KLF’s expansion plans with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.
09:19 Salman, Saif, Sonali, Tabu to appear in Jodhpur court today: After being acquitted in the Arms Act case last week linked to the killing of a blackbuck 18 years ago, actor Salman Khan along with Hum Saath Saath Hain co-actors Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and Tabu will appear before a Jodhpur court today, to record their statements in the 1998 case.
Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, and Tabu arrived in the Rajasthan city yesterday.
During the shooting of Sooraj Barjatya’s movie Hum Saath Saath Hain, Salman allegedly went on a shooting expedition along with actors Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and Tabu, killing two blackbucks in Kankani village.
Following protests by the local Bishnoi community, a case was filed against Salman and other actors, besides a local named Dushyant Singh.
09:09 Declassified CIA report says 6 were hanged for trying to kill General Cariappa:
“An attempt to assassinate General Cariappa, the commander-in-chief of Indian Army, was made during the General’s recent inspection tour of East Punjab,” said the CIA declassified report, titled “Rift in Officers corps of the Indian Army”, filed on June 12, 1950 that was hitherto unknown to the public.
The report is among some 13 million declassified documents, which the CIA have released online. The report was declassified in accordance with the US government’s 1995 executive order that allows automatic declassification of nonexempt historically valuable records 25 years or older.
The “confidential” report states that six people were sentenced to death for making an attempt on the life of Cariappa.
“Six persons have been sentenced to death in connection with the plot; several high army officers are believed to be involved,” the report said without identifying those sent to the gallows.
The report also states, “General Cariappa as South Indian is resented by the Sikh officers of the Indian Army. The RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) is capitalising on the North-South split among army officers, persuading Sikh officers, whom informant considers treacherous and unreliable, to spread dissension. Officers from Travancore (later Kerala), Madras and Maharashtra are invariable loyal to General Cariappa.”
“His successor, Lieutenant General K M Cariappa, gives the impression of being vain, temperamentally unstable, and lacking sound military judgement; there is a danger that in attempting to give palatable military advice to the Indian government he may fail to give due consideration to all of the military and political factors involved and that he may use his new position to seek the personal glory that a speedy termination of the Kashmir campaign would provide.”
08:34 Symbolic ‘Doomsday Clock’ moves closer to midnight:
Comments by US President Donald Trump on nuclear weapons and climate change have helped make the world less safe, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned today, moving its symbolic “Doomsday Clock” 30 seconds closer to midnight.
The clock — which serves as a metaphor for how close humanity is to destroying the planet — was last changed in 2015, from five to three minutes before midnight.
It is now set at two and a half minutes to midnight, amid concerns about “a rise in strident nationalism worldwide, President Donald Trump’s comments on nuclear arms and climate issues, a darkening global security landscape that is colored by increasingly sophisticated technology, and a growing disregard for scientific expertise,” said a statement by the group of scientists and intellectuals, including 15 Nobel laureates.
The clock was last set this close to midnight in 1953, marking the start of the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thursday’s reset was the first since 2015.
The bulletin cited nuclear volatility, especially as the United States and Russia seek to modernise their atomic arsenals and remain at odds in war-torn countries such as Syria and Ukraine.
The chief of the Border Patrol has left the agency that’s in charge of securing America’s borders with Mexico and Canada.
According to a US official and a former official, Border Patrol agents have been told that Mark Morgan is no longer on the job. It’s not immediately clear whether Morgan resigned or was asked to leave.
The US official wasn’t authorised to discuss the move before a public announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. The former official asked not to be identified before a government announcement.
Morgan’s departure comes a day after President Donald Trump announced plans to build a wall at the Mexican border and hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents.
08:20 Visa ban: Trump non-committal on Pakistan:
US President Donald Trump has defended his plan to limit the entry of people from several Muslim countries, saying it was necessary as the world is “a total mess”, even as he was non-committal on whether nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia would be on the list of the proposed visa ban.
When asked about countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia figuring in the list, he said, “You’re going to see. You’re going to see. We’re going to have extreme vetting in all cases. And I mean extreme. And we’re not letting people in if we think there’s even a little chance of some problem.”
“We are excluding certain countries, but for other countries, we’re going to have extreme vetting. It’s going to be very hard to come in,” Trump told ABC News, refusing to be pinned down on which countries he was talking about.
Trump denied that it was a ban on Muslims. “No it’s not the Muslim ban, but it’s countries that have tremendous terror,” he said.
“Right now, it’s very easy to come in. It’s going to be very, very hard. I don’t want terror in this country. You look at what happened in San Bernardino. You look at what happened all over. You look at what happened in the World Trade Center, OK? I mean, take that as an example. People don’t even bring that up,” he said.
Asked if he was concerned this would anger Muslims around the world, he said, “Anger? There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?”.
“The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. The world is a total mess. The world is a mess,” the President said.
08:19 IndiGo says Twitter account ‘compromised’, probing matter:
Private carrier IndiGo has claimed that its Twitter account was “compromised” and it is investigating the matter.
“Our handle was compromised @8:32pm on 26 Jan 2017. Our team is investigating the matter. We have taken precautionary actions,” IndiGo said in a tweet.
The airline’s team is investigating the matter, it said.
The budget airline, which started in 2006, now has a fleet of 126 aircraft today and currently operates flights on 41 destinations, including 36 domestic and five international.
* BJP leaders Mukhtar Naqvi and Bhupendra Yadav to meet EC officials in Lucknow today. The BJP alleges that state administration is adopting partisan approach.
* Delhi: 20 trains delayed, 9 rescheduled and 1 cancelled due to fog
* People gather for Mauni Amavasya puja in Allahabad
* PM Modi to address a rally in Jalandhar and Rahul Gandhi to address a rally in Amritsar.
* Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan has resigned: Raj Bhavan sources.
* Criminal carrying an award of Rs 50,000 on his head arrested in Delhi by Police late last night after exchange of gunfire.
08:18 Good morning…