10:36 Rain fury continues in Kerala, 2 more shutters of Idukki reservoir opened:
As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki Reservoir, were opened today as the water level touched 2,401 feet.
For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni Dam was opened yesterday and two more were opened at 7 am.
The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and storage capacity is 69,268 Mcft and storage percentage is 97.61 per cent.
The South-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state since the past two days.
So far 26 people have been killed, including 11 in high range Idukki in landslips yesterday as rain continued to pound the southern state.
Idukki has received 129.80 mm rainfall.
With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.
According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas.
Over 5,500 people from Wayanad district, where a red alert had been sounded yesterday, have been shifted to relief camps, the sources said this morning.
In Ernakulam, 3,456 people have been shifted to camps following floods after 4 shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened yesterday.
According to Indian Meteorological Department bulletin at 8 am, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are likely to affect Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts. — PTI
10:09 Woman gang raped in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur:
A 28-year-old woman was allegedly raped by four men in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, the police said today.
The woman, who lives in the S R Nagar area in Hyderabad, told the police that the incident took place in March, but she did not approach the police then, they said.
As her pictures appeared online recently she lodged a formal complaint with the police, DCP (West Zone) A R Srinivas said.
In her complaint she said one of the accused, Raj Kiran, known to the her, took her to a room in Guntur on the pretext of a job and offered her drinks laced with sedatives following which she fell unconscious and when she gained consciousness she found that she had been raped by the four men, the DCP said.
A case of gang rape has been registered and as the alleged offence took place in Guntur, the case will be transferred to the Guntur police, Srinivas said, adding that as per preliminary investigation there are also allegations of a financial dispute between the woman and Kiran and that angle is also being probed. — PTI
09:14 Atif Aslam faces backlash for singing Indian song at Pak I-Day parade:
Pakistani vocalist Atif Aslam has been trolled on social media and also criticised by the country’s mainstream media, for singing an Indian song at a Pakistan Independence Day function in New York earlier this month.
Atif, who has lent his voice to many Bollywood songs, sang one of his Indian tracks ‘Tera Hone Laga Hoon’ from the 2009 film “Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani”, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.
This prompted many of his fans back home to question his patriotism and also hit out at him.
A twitter user who uses the handle @sakhwa wrote, “Zero respect for Atif Aslam!”
Another user with @Pakistani09 handle tweeted calling for boycott of the singer.
“Boycott Atif Aslam @itsaadee Ap Ne Dil Tor diya #boycottAtifAslam #AtifAslam.”
However, many like vocalist Shafqat Amanat Ali, who has also lent his voice to some Indian songs, defended Atif.
“I stand in support of Atif Aslam for singing his songs at the parade. Music is not Indian or Pakistani. It’s just music. Singers are synonymous with their songs which are loved equally by fans from every country,” Amanat said.
Film critic, Omair Alavi said people need to remember that Bollywood films and dramas are shown openly in Pakistan in cinemas and on television channels as art, film or music has no boundaries.
“Don’t Pakistanis go to watch Indian films? Are not Indian dramas a regular on our channels,” he questioned. — PTI
09:12 Huge quantity of explosives found in Maharashtra’s Palghar:
A huge quantity of explosives, suspected to be RDX, was found at Nallasopara in Palghar district of Maharashtra, police said.
The explosives were found at Bhandar aali in Nallasopara west, they added.
After getting information about the explosives, officials of the Maharashtra ATS and senior officials of Palghar Police rushed to the spot and an investigation was on, an official said.
“A forensics team have been called and we are analysing the substance to determine if it is RDX,” he added. — PTI
09:07 Triple talaq bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha today:
The Centre will make a fresh attempt in Rajya Sabha today to clear the draft law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence.
TOday is the last day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament and the government could introduce amendments in Rajya Sabha.
If the bill is cleared by the upper house, it will have to go back to Lok Sabha for approval of the amendments.
The move comes a day after the Union Cabinet made some amendments to the draft bill, including adding a bail provision to it.
While the proposed law will remain “non-bailable”, the accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.
Under a non-bailable law, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail “after hearing the wife”.
08:33 Trump’s in-laws become US citizens using ‘chain migration’, which he denounces:
President Donald Trump’s Slovenian in-laws became United States citizens through “chain migration”, a programme he has repeatedly denounced, in which adult American citizens can obtain citizenship for their relatives.
First Lady Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became US citizens at a private ceremony here. She had sponsored her parents for their green cards, their lawyer Michael Wildes said in a report in The New York Times.
“Once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible,” he said.
When asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through “chain migration”, Wildes, said, “I suppose.” “It’s a dirty a dirtier word,” he said, but added that “it stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification.”
Trump has vehemently opposed the “chain migration” system, more commonly known as family-based immigration, that lets adult American citizens obtain citizenship for their relatives.
In November, he had tweeted, “CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!
Trump also often speaks out against the family-based immigration system at his rallies, saying it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country, the NYT report added.
According to the report, the first lady’s communications director Stephanie Grisham said since the Knavses are not part of the administration, she is not commenting on them.
Standing alongside the Knavses, their lawyer said the couple has “travailed a wonderful journey, like most have, millions have in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time.”
He said their application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody’s else’s.
“These doors that are in America remain hinged open to beautiful people as they have today. They would appreciate their privacy and we just thank everybody for their attention to this very important dialogue that we are having on immigration. This is an example of it going right,” he said.
Viktor, 74, is two years older than President Trump.
Amalija is 73.
The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modelling.
According to news reports, Melania came to the US in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for “individuals of extraordinary ability” as a model.
She became a United States citizen in 2006.
The Knavses came and went from the ceremony at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Homeland Security police.
Melania Trump was not present for the ceremony.
She was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where Trump is currently staying. — PTI
00:04 Rescued Thai cave boys granted citizenship:
Three boys from the Wild Boar soccer team and their coach, who were rescued from deep within a flooded cave in Thailand last month, have been granted Thai citizenship.
In a ceremony in Chiang Rai province, the Mae Sai district chief approved citizenship for Ardoon Sam-aon, Mongkol Boompiam, Ponchai Khamluang, and assistant coach Ekkapol Ake Chanthawong.
The Wild Boar team attracted international attention in late June when 12 young players and their coach ventured inside a cave in northern Thailand for an afternoon excursion but found the exit blocked by rising floodwater.
The team was trapped for almost three weeks, before cave diving experts from around the world led a complex operation to bring them out on stretchers carried through narrow tunnels.