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LIVE! Current laws inadequate to check abuse of money in polls: CEC

18:22  Uday Chopra says marijuana should be legal; cops say mind it!:  

Mumbai police reminded Bollywood actor Uday Chopra Saturday that marijuana is a banned commodity in India when the “Dhoom” actor batted for its legalisation.

Chopra tweeted Friday that marijuana, also known as cannabis, should be legalised as it is “part of Indian culture” and also has “medical benefits”.

“I feel India should legalises marijuana. Firstly, Its part of our culture. Secondly, I think if legalised and taxed it can be a huge revenue source. Not to mention it will remove the criminal element associated with it. Plus and most importantly it has a lot of medical benefits,” the actor said through his twitter handle @udaychopra.

The tweet not only invited usual trolling that celebrities sometimes face on social media, but also a response from the city police.

“Sir, as citizen of India, you are privileged to express your view on a public platform. Be mindful, as of now consumption, possession and transportation of marijuana invites harsh punishment as per provisions of Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985. Spread the word,” said @MumbaiPolice.

By Saturday afternoon, Chopra’s post had over 300 retweets, a thousand `likes’ and many comments, many of them countering his view or using `memes’ to ridicule it.

“People here can’t use WhatsApp correctly and you are talking about marijuana…,” said one tweet.

But the actor stuck to his guns.

“The benefits are too many to list. A brief google search will educate you I am sure. Anyway its better than being schooled by people like me who have no work,” he said. “I do not use it, I just really think its a wise move, given our history with the (cannabis) plant,” he said in another tweet.

Twitter user @IshataYadav said, “Easy to you to say when you don’t have to work for living. Imagine a stoned workforce.”

To which Chopra replied, “So your argument is that dont make it legal cause everyone will be stoned. Wonder why the same reasoning didnt stop people from legalising alcohol #Flawed.” — PTI 

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18:20  J&K local body polls to be held from Oct 8 to Oct 16 in 4 phases:  

The panchayat and urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held between October 8 and October 16 in four phases, the Election Commission said today.

“Municipal Elections shall be held in four phases. Date of polling would be October 8, October 10, October 13 and October 16. The counting shall take place on October 20 after all the phases are over,” Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra said.

The two major political parties in Jammu and Kashmir —  the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party — have decided to boycott the polls saying that the central government is yet to declare its stand on Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order and accords special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir citizens.

Article 35A, which also denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state, has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is still under its consideration.

The panchayat polls to elect 4,130 sarpanch, 29,719 panch and 1,145 ward commissioners are expected to be held later next month.

The election to the urban local bodies were last held in 2005 and to panchayats in 2011 after a long hiatus. There were a number of militant attacks on candidates before and after these polls.

The polls to the local bodies were supposed to be held in 2016 but could not be conducted due to the five-month-long unrest in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 that year.

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18:05  Urdu version of PM Modi’s book ‘Exam Warriors’ released:  

The Urdu version of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book ‘Exam Warriors’ was released in the presence of several Union ministers on Saturday.

   

The book, which focusses on 25 mantras for parents and students to cope with the stress of exams, has earlier been published in 14 languages.

 

“This book could not have been written by anyone else other than the prime minister and its aim would have remained incomplete if it had not been published in Urdu. This is also because while the natural language of India in many ways is Hindustani, it is in Urdu language that Hindustani finds the influence of Ganga Yamuna ‘tehzeeb’. It cannot be found in any other language,” said Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office in chaste Urdu.

 

Organised by the India Islamic Cultural Centre, the launch was held at Dr Ambedkar International Centre here.

 

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, actors Rishi Kapoor and Annu Kapoor and producer-director-writer Muzaffar Ali were among those present.

Naqvi said that the book is a message that children should be brought along in the path of development of the nation.

 

“There are people in this audience who love Urdu both as a language and as a courtesy. This book that Modiji has written in Hindi and in Urdu and now that it will be printed in Arabic, I welcome the move,” he said.

 

Actor Annu Kapoor said that Urdu should not be associated with any community, instead it should be seen as an Indian language. He told students to study for themselves, not for a degree or for a job.

 

Javadekar said that PM Modi is the only leader of the world who has written a book for school children at a time when most politicians would be only concerned with vote and constituencies.

 

“There is a hidden teacher in him…he has ensured that the education of poor children do not suffer. Today the subsidy for them is Rs 2,200 crore. This book is not a deal for votes. It is his way of telling students to not take stress during exams, his way of telling parents not to pressure their children. He is a hands on PM,” said the HRD minister. — PTI

Image: HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, actor Rishi Kapoor, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh and producer-director-writer Muzaffar Ali at the launch of Urdu version of ‘Exam Warriors’, a book written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a function, in New Delhi on Saturday, September15, 2018. Photograph: PTI Photo

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17:51  Current laws inadequate to check abuse of money in polls: CEC:  

Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said on Saturday the present set of laws are “inadequate” to tackle the menace of black money in elections, and noted that Cambridge Analytica like “machinations” of data theft, data harvesting and fake news pose a potent threat to the electoral process in the country.

   

Rawat, speaking on ‘challenges to India electoral democracy’ at a symposium, said democracy does not run on whims and it requires traits such as courage, character, integrity and knowledge that are diminishing and are on the “verge of extinction” in the country.

 

The CEC, underlining a number of issues and challenges that face the electoral body, said clean elections are like a “well spring of legitimacy” for the leadership and the people of the country and if this was contaminated by such issues, the common man becomes “cynical” about the entire system, which is an area of concern.

“With the rise of fake news, with the rise of make believe things, with the rise of all kind of machinations like data theft, data harvesting, profiling, targeted communication affecting not only communication but referendum world over and changing the outcome of any process which is meant to translate popular will in (taking) a healthy decision, in (choosing) a healthy representative government. That’s the potent threat every democracy in the world is facing,” Rawat said at the event organised by the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi.

 

The CEC said the EC was well aware of these issues amongst many others similar to them.

 

“Here in our country, the commission is seized of issues such as cyber security, securing our data so that Cambridge Analytica kind of things do not happen over elections, about misuse and abuse of social media platforms, about fake news, about all kinds of ills that get into whether it is management of electoral rolls, campaign finance, polling process and technology,” he said.

 

Specifically talking about the use of money power during polls, the top EC functionary said current laws were not of much help for them to ensure a complete check at this abuse and that is why “state funding” of polls was not possible in India at present.

 

“Abuse of money is the main concern for India and in Indian elections. There has been a lot of talk for bringing about transparency in campaign finance, even people talk about state funding. 

 

“But, whatever legal framework is available as on date today, is not adequate to address this issue. And therefore, the commission has been suggesting a number of reforms in this direction,” the CEC said.

 

On state funding, he said, the commission feels that “it won’t serve the purpose effectively because so long as you have torrents of money from such sources flowing into the election arena, the state funding is just like a fig leaf trying to control that torrent.”

 

Rawat said effective use of media and curbing use of fake news and paid news were an important area on which the poll body has been working upon.

 

“…major challenge is about management of media including social media. That is multiple dimensions, starting from ownership of media.

 

“If you study the ownership of media, you will find that enormous change has come about and whatever we could think in terms of freedom of press, that “press” is may be, just a miniscule part languishing in some corner of the whole media spectrum,” he said. — PTI

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17:51  Current laws inadequate to check abuse of money in polls: CEC:  

Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said on Saturday the present set of laws are “inadequate” to tackle the menace of black money in elections, and noted that Cambridge Analytica like “machinations” of data theft, data harvesting and fake news pose a potent threat to the electoral process in the country.

   

Rawat, speaking on ‘challenges to India electoral democracy’ at a symposium, said democracy does not run on whims and it requires traits such as courage, character, integrity and knowledge that are diminishing and are on the “verge of extinction” in the country.

 

The CEC, underlining a number of issues and challenges that face the electoral body, said clean elections are like a “well spring of legitimacy” for the leadership and the people of the country and if this was contaminated by such issues, the common man becomes “cynical” about the entire system, which is an area of concern.

“With the rise of fake news, with the rise of make believe things, with the rise of all kind of machinations like data theft, data harvesting, profiling, targeted communication affecting not only communication but referendum world over and changing the outcome of any process which is meant to translate popular will in (taking) a healthy decision, in (choosing) a healthy representative government. That’s the potent threat every democracy in the world is facing,” Rawat said at the event organised by the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi.

 

The CEC said the EC was well aware of these issues amongst many others similar to them.

 

“Here in our country, the commission is seized of issues such as cyber security, securing our data so that Cambridge Analytica kind of things do not happen over elections, about misuse and abuse of social media platforms, about fake news, about all kinds of ills that get into whether it is management of electoral rolls, campaign finance, polling process and technology,” he said.

 

Specifically talking about the use of money power during polls, the top EC functionary said current laws were not of much help for them to ensure a complete check at this abuse and that is why “state funding” of polls was not possible in India at present.

 

“Abuse of money is the main concern for India and in Indian elections. There has been a lot of talk for bringing about transparency in campaign finance, even people talk about state funding. 

 

“But, whatever legal framework is available as on date today, is not adequate to address this issue. And therefore, the commission has been suggesting a number of reforms in this direction,” the CEC said.

 

On state funding, he said, the commission feels that “it won’t serve the purpose effectively because so long as you have torrents of money from such sources flowing into the election arena, the state funding is just like a fig leaf trying to control that torrent.”

 

Rawat said effective use of media and curbing use of fake news and paid news were an important area on which the poll body has been working upon.

 

“…major challenge is about management of media including social media. That is multiple dimensions, starting from ownership of media.

 

“If you study the ownership of media, you will find that enormous change has come about and whatever we could think in terms of freedom of press, that “press” is may be, just a miniscule part languishing in some corner of the whole media spectrum,” he said. — PTI


17:41  Man lynched on suspicion of stealing vehicles; 5 arrested:  

A man has been allegedly lynched in Imphal West district of Manipur on suspicion of stealing vehicles, a senior police officer said.

 

Five persons have been arrested in the matter, he said.

Two associates of the victim managed to escape from the scene, the officer said.

The incident took place at Thouroijam Awang Leikai area on Thursday, Imphal West superintendent of police Jogeshchandra Haobijam said.

Along with four persons, suspected to be involved in the lynching case, an owner of a two-wheeler, who had parked his vehicle in a garage, was arrested on Friday, the SP said.

The reason for arresting the owner of the two-wheeler was not disclosed by the police officer.

The five accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and remanded to police custody for four days by a city court on Saturday.

The Manipur Human Rights Commission took up the case suo motu in connection with the incident and directed the state director general of police to probe the matter and submit a report by September 22.

Locals of Thouroijam village on Friday gheraoed Patsoi police station on Friday, demanding release of the arrested persons.

The spokesperson of a local club of the village said that instead of arresting the two vehicle-lifters, who managed to escape from the spot, the police arrested five persons, including the owner of the two-wheeler. — PTI 


17:26  Radhika Apte on why #MeToo movement hasn’t reached Bollywood:  

Actor Radhika Apte says to bring #MeToo movement to Indian entertainment industry the artistes need to have a good support system. 

 

The 33-year-old actor said not only women but men also need to “come out of their fears” and share their stories of harassment and sexual abuse. 

“The main cause is power game. Be it religious, sexual or economical- it happens everywhere. Nobody wants to lose their power…

“This is a grey area. We need to have a good support system and come out of our fears. Well, not just women but men too are harassed in our industry,” Apte said during a session at the India Today Mind Rocks 2018. 

The Ghoul actor also shared her #MeToo moment at the event.

“I can share one incident that happened recently, I had actually hurt my back. We did the shoot and I was heading back to my room with another guy who was in the same lift. He was part of the film but we had not spoken much. He said that, ‘Let me know if you need me in the middle of the night for help, I can come and give your back a rub.’

“But the good part was that the atmosphere on the sets was so easy and comfortable, I told the filmmakers and they had a meeting with him in person. Then I came to know that the culture that he comes from is such that he didn’t realise that he made me uncomfortable with that statement. However, later he never made me feel uncomfortable and apologised,” she revealed. 

The #MeToo movement began with allegations of sexual harassment and rape against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and triggered a global movement. It  eventually led to structural changes in Hollywood and the launch of the Time’s Up campaign. — PTI   

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16:46  Army man among three accused in Haryana gang rape: Police:  

One of the three accused in the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old woman is an army man posted in Rajasthan and a police team has been sent to arrest him, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu said on Saturday.

 

The trio allegedly abducted the woman from a bus stop and raped her in Haryana’s Mahendargarh district on Wednesday.

“Out of the three accused, one is an Army man and a police team has gone to Rajasthan to arrest him. I am sure that he will be arrested today,” he said.

The hunt for the other two accused is also on, he added, expressing confidence that they will land in police net soon.

Sandhu said all the three accused were known to the victim.

A Special Investigation Team has been set up to probe the case.

According to the complaint, the woman was allegedly kidnapped by the accused who arrived in a car and was taken to a secluded place where she was raped after being offered a drink laced with sedatives.

The accused left her near a bus stop in Kanina later in the day.

However, the father of the young woman, a school topper who was felicitated by the government, told reporters on Friday that she could have been raped by 8-10 persons.

Her mother has accused the police of failing to take action in the case.

She said on Friday that her daughter was in a state of shock after the incident, while the accused were “roaming freely” after the incident. — PTI

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16:10  Fire breaks out at hotel in Srinagar; none hurt:  

A massive fire erupted at a local hotel in Srinagar in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir today, but there was no loss of life or injury, police said.

 

The fire broke out at Hotel Pamposh near Regal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar, a police official said.

He said the fire started in the attic of the six-storey building and spread fast.

Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and police, and fire and emergency services were trying to douse the flames, the official said.

The building houses offices of several news channels. 

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the police official said, adding there was no reports of any loss of life or injury to anyone so far. — PTI 


16:03  Cricket Australia open to Shastri’s request for extra warm-up game:  

Cricket Australia has responded positively to India coach Ravi Shastri’s request for more warm-up matches ahead of their Test series Down Under later this year.

   

India only had one practice match ahead of their recent Test series against England — which they lost 1-4 — and Shastri believes his side would be better prepared to tackle Australia if more red-ball cricket was scheduled prior to the first Test in Adelaide starting on December 6.

 

“We are happy to discuss options with the BCCI, but we have not received any formal notification to increase the number of tour matches prior to their series commencing in Australia,” a Cricket Australia spokesperson was quoted as saying.

 

In England, even the lone four-day practice match against county side Essex was reduced to three days amid high drama over the condition of the pitch and the outfield, both of which apparently left the visitors unhappy.

 

On Thursday, Shastri said he was not averse to the idea of playing practice games.

 

“Absolutely not. Why would we be? You can only see the results (in the England Tests). Every time after the second Test we have improved. You can still get better. But why can’t we be in that position in the first Test match?,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

 

Australia and India are scheduled to play three T20 matches prior to the Adelaide Test and Shastri said India had “requested a couple of (warm-up) games in Australia before the Test series commenced”.

 

India are slated to tour Australia for three T20 internationals, four Test matches and three ODIs from November 21 to January 18.

 

India were beaten 2-0 in the four-Test series on their last tour of Australia in 2014-15. — PTI 


16:02  Congress’ charge against Jaitley over Mallya ‘meeting’ ridiculous: Sena:  

The Shiv Sena on Saturday hit out at the Congress saying its allegations against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya’s claims on meeting him were “ridiculous”.

   

The saffron party asked if the Congress knew about their meeting, why did it remain silent all these years.

 

Wondering who was pulling the strings of the Congress and Mallya, the Sena said the controversy was a part of the preparation for the 2019 general elections.

 

“Mallya is a liar. The statement he made in a London court has landed Arun Jaitley in trouble. He claimed that before leaving India, he had met Jaitley and offered settlement.”

 

“But what is the need of making Jaitley an accused in the case just on the basis of Mallya’s statement? But the Congress has done that,” the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana.

 

“Mallya left the country without repaying loans worth thousands of crores. Currently, he is facing extradition trial in London. There are 16 banks in the country that are hit by NPAs and those who took loans from these banks were tycoons, including Mallya,” it added.

 

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party added that although Mallya tried to go for one-time settlement, the banks were not ready for it.

 

“The banks were not ready for Mallya’s offer and hence he met Jaitley in the Parliament. Being an MP himself, it was Mallya’s right to roam on the Parliament premises. Therefore, the Congress leader (P L) Punia’s charge that Jaitley is also an accused in the case is outrightly ridiculous,” it said.

 

In fact, the kind of people Congress and BJP have as their MPs, the ministers face a dilemma whom to meet and whom to avoid. 

 

Moreover, Mallya is not the only one who defaulted on loan repayment. There are many such loan defaulters roaming openly as MPs, the party said.

 

“It has now come to light that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was present at a family function of (fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi). So, should Congress chief Rahul Gandhi be blamed for his escape?” the Sena asked.

 

“Mallya made the revelations in the court after so many years. If the Congress knew about the meeting beforehand, why did it hide it for so long?”

 

“Or is it that there is somebody else behind Mallya’s revelations and the subsequent attacks by the Congress. It is all a part of 2019 poll preparations. Those unwanted are being removed now. It is happening with Jaitley,” the Sena said.

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15:47  PM’s blue-eyed boy in CBI allowed Mallya to flee: Rahul:  

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday alleged that it was the “blue-eyed boy” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Central Bureau of Investigation who weakened the lookout notice against fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya and allowed him to flee the country.

 

Taking to Twitter, Gandhi alleged that it was AK Sharma, a Gujarat-cadre officer in the CBI, who played a crucial role in weakening the lookout notice against Mallya. 

He also alleged that the same officer played a key role in the escape plans of fugitive diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

“CBI Jt. Director, A K Sharma, weakened Mallya’s “Look Out” notice, allowing Mallya to escape. Mr Sharma, a Gujarat cadre officer, is the PM’s blue-eyed-boy in the CBI. The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi’s escape plans. Ooops…investigation! (sic),” he wrote on the microblogging website.

Gandhi and his party have accused Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “helping” Mallya to flee the country after defaulting on bank loans. The Congress has demanded Jaitley’s resignation over the issue and a probe into how Mallya escaped.

The 62-year-old tycoon, who is on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.

Gandhi’s tweet came days after Mallya claimed that he had met Jaitley before leaving the country in March, 2016.

“I met the finance minister before I left,” the liquor baron had told reporters Wednesday outside the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, where his extradition case is being heard.

Jaitley has, however, denied the charges against him. — PTI  


15:44  Army jawan injured as Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC:  

An army jawan was injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir today, a defence spokesman said.

   

The Pakistani troops resorted to small arms firing on forward posts in Noushera sector from across the border at around 10.30 am, the spokesman said.

 

The injured person was rushed to the Command Hospital at Udhampur, he said, adding that his condition was stated to be stable.

According to officials, Indian troops guarding the LoC also fired in retaliation and the firing between the two sides continued for quite some time. — PTI 

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14:42  Unemployed youth commit rape: BJP lawmaker on Haryana rape:  

Reacting to a horrific incident of gangrape of 19-year-old CBSE topper from Haryana’s Rewari, a Bharatiya Janta Party MLA Prem Latha has made a controversial statement.

“Youth who do not have employment get frustrated and commit such (rapes) crimes,” Haryana’s Uchana Kalan MLA Premlata said.

According to the FIR, the victim had gone to attend a coaching class when she was abducted late afternoon Wednesday while she was waiting at a bus-stop in Kanina.

She was allegedly kidnapped by the accused who arrived in a car and was taken to a secluded place where she was gang-raped after being offered a drink laced with sedatives, the survivor alleged in her complaint.

The accused later in the day left her near a bus stop in Kanina.


14:26  Parrikar admitted to AIIMS:  

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday.

 

Parrikar, who has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic ailment, is being examined by a team of doctors at the premier hospital, a source at AIIMS said.

 

“He is being examined by a team of doctors and will undergo a few tests,” the source said.

 

Parrikar, 62, was flown to the national capital owing to his declining health.

 

He had returned from the US in the first week of September, days after which he was admitted to a hospital at Candolim in north Goa.

Earlier this year, he had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the US. — PTI

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13:57  TN govt’s request to free Rajiv’s killers not referred to Centre: Guv:  

Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit denied on Saturday reports in a section of media that he had forwarded to the Centre the state government’s recommendation to release all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

   

The governor said a decision on the issue would be taken in a “just and fair manner” in accordance with the Constitution.

 

“A section of media has been reporting that in the matter of the release of the convicted prisoners undergoing life imprisonment for involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, a reference has been made to the ministry of home affairs, government of India,” a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said.

 

Also, some television channels have been holding debates on this “assumption”, it said.

 

“It is clarified that no reference has been made to the ministry of home affair in the matter. The case is a complex one and involves the examination of legal, administrative and constitutional issues,” the statement by joint director-public relations of the Raj Bhavan said.

 

Noting that voluminous records on the matter were being received from the state government, the Raj Bhavan said court judgments on connected matters were handed over to it only on September 14.

 

“All efforts will be taken to process the papers scrupulously. Necessary consultation may be carried out, when required, in due course. The decision will be taken in a just and fair manner and in accordance with the Constitution,” the Raj Bhavan said.

 

On September 9, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had recommended the release of all the seven Rajiv case convicts, including Nalini and her husband Sriharan alias Murugan.

All the seven prisoners are in jail since 1991. — PTI


13:33  Eminem apologises for using homophobic slur on ‘Kamikaze’ album:  

Rapper Eminem has regretted the use of homophobic lyrics on his new album, Kamikaze.

 

The 45-year-old musician was criticised by many, including Imagine Dragons’ lead singer Dan Reynolds, for using homophobic slurs in the track Fall in an attempt to take a dig at rapper Tyler, The Creator.

Tyler had tweeted about Eminem’s 2017 single Walk on Water, saying, “Dear god this song is horrible, sheesh how the f**k.”

In an interview with Sway Calloway, Eminem said, “I think the word that I called him on that song was one of the things where I felt like this might be too far.” 

“Because in my quest to hurt him, I realize that I was hurting a lot of other people by saying it. … It was one of the things that I kept going back to and going ‘I don’t feel right with this’,” he added. — PTI  

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13:20  Modi sweeps premises of Delhi school:  Prime Minister sweeps the premises of Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School in Paharganj , Delhi as a part of  ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign.

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13:05  ‘High time’ Parrikar gives charge to seniormost minister, says BJP ally :  

The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, an alliance partner in the Manohar Parrikar-led government in Goa, today said it was “high time” the chief minister handed over the charge to the seniormost minister during his absence in the state.

 

Parrikar, 62, was flown to Delhi on Saturday for a follow-up treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. According to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sources, he is scheduled to undergo a series of tests in the afternoon at the AIIMS.

Parrikar has been undergoing treatment for his pancreatic ailment. Earlier this year, he had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the US. He had formed a Cabinet Advisory Committee to guide the state during his absence.

The MGP, with its three legislators, has given support to the BJP to form the government in the state along with the Goa Forward Party and other independent legislators.

Talking to reporters Saturday morning, MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar said, “It is high time Parrikar hands over the charge to the seniormost minister for smooth functioning of the government.”

He said in the last eight months, the government has not been able to function smoothly.

Dhavalikar said Parrikar can remain the chief minister and hand over the charge to someone else in his absence.

When asked whether he wanted his elder brother and MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar to be given the charge, he said, “I don’t know…let them tell who is the seniormost. I am just saying that whoever is given charge should be the seniormost. Let them tell who is the seniormost.”

Sudin Dhavalikar, who is the the Public Works Department Minister, is the seniormost member in the Parrikar-led cabinet.

The MGP chief also ruled out any possibility of the MGP’s merger with the BJP.

“There is no question of merger. We are not interested in the merger. It will never happen. We have built the party over several years and it is the hope for future of Goa’s politics. We have 12-13 per cent vote share in the state, so where is the question of merging the party,” Dhavalikar added. — PTI  

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12:23  Bishop accused of raping Kerala nun hands over charge to another priest:  

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese, accused by a Kerala nun of raping her, today issued a circular stating that he is handing over charge of the administration of the Jalandhar diocese to Fr Mathew Kokkandam.

“In my absence Msgr. Mathew Kokkandam will administer the diocese as it is normal practice when I am away from the diocese,” says in the circular dated September 13

He also gave additional responsibilities to two priests in the diocese and made a new appointment. 

“I am likely to be called for further clarifications by investigating officer in Kerala, appoint Rv, Fr Joseph Thekkumkattil and Rev Fr Subin Thekkedathu,” he said in the circular. 

Kerala police on 12 September, had summoned the Bishop, asking him to appear before it on 19 September.

Meanwhile, according to ANI, the accusations against the Bishop have been brought to the notice of the Vatican. 

Quoting sources, ANI reports that the church’s representative from India was at the Vatican to discuss the issue and is expecting intervention in the coming days.

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11:26  Doval holds talks with Pompeo, Mattis on ‘future direction’ of Indo-US ties:  National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday held ‘broad-based’ talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary James Mattis and his American counterpart John Bolton during which they discussed the ‘future direction’ of the strategic Indo-US ties.

Doval’s meeting with the top three officials of the Trump administration came a week after the successful India-US 2+2 Dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries. 

This was Doval’s first meeting with Bolton, the new National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump. Doval had met Pompeo and Mattis last week in New Delhi too. 

“During the three back-to-back meetings, Doval had good chance to review the entire bilateral relationship after the 2+2 talks. They build upon the discussion in New Delhi last week,” informed sources told PTI. 

India’s ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, accompanied Doval in these meetings.

Describing it ‘as a very broad-based discussion’, the sources said that Doval and the three top Trump administration officials talked about the ‘future direction’ of the strategic relationship and identified areas of co-operation. 

Regional issues and global developments too figured in the talks, they said, without going into specifics. The US Ambassador to India, Ken

Juster in a tweet said that the last week’s 2+2 dialogue ‘set the course for even closer ties’ between the two countries. He said India-US partnership are on an upward trajectory. 

“We’ve seen positive momentum regarding the US-India relationship these past few weeks with 2+2 dialogue and the progress continues with Doval’s visit to the US,” said the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF).   — PTI

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11:08  JNUSU poll: Counting suspended after ABVP protest:  Counting of votes for the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) polls was suspended early morning after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members protested alleging they were not informed about the process.

The ABVP said their counting agent was not informed about the beginning of counting of votes polled in science schools. 

In a statement, the JNU Election Committee said it suspended the counting temporarily but refused to name the party which protested.

Members of Left student unions alleged that the ABVP created a ruckus. The ABVP denied the allegation.

“The counting process, which began on September 14 at 10 pm has been suspended due to forcible entry into the counting venue and attempts to snatch away the sealed ballot boxes as well as ballot papers from our counting centres,” according to the Left bloc. 

They also claimed that their members, including women, faced intimidation. The Left bloc claimed, “Around 4:00am, ABVP broke the glasses of the School of International Studies building. EC stopped the counting indefinitely.”

They also claimed the ABVP counting agent was called but he did not turn up on time. Vijay Kumar, ABVP president of JNU, said their counting agent was not called and the counting process was initiated in front of the members of the Left outfit.

“We protested peacefully as the EC is biased towards the Left. We did not create any ruckus,” he said.

The voter turnout in the keenly contested JNUSU election on Friday was 67.8 per cent, believed to be the highest in six years.

Over 5,000 students cast their votes. The Left-backed All India Students’ Association, Students’ Federation of India, Democratic Students’ Federation and All India Students’ Federation have come together to form the United-Left alliance.

Besides the Left bloc, there are candidates of ABVP, NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) and BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar PhuleStudents Association).

Technical glitches in EVMs had led to a ruckus during the counting process for Delhi University Students’ Union polls on Thursday, leading to suspension of counting for close to three hours.

The counting had resumed only after parties reached a consensus. — PTI

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10:11  Parrikar to be flown to Delhi AIIMS for follow-up treatment :  Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will fly to Delhi on Saturday for his follow-up treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a senior official said.

Parrikar, 62, is currently undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment at a private hospital at Candolim in North Goa. 

“He will be flying to Delhi around 10.30 am today by a special flight and would be admitted to AIIMS for his follow-up treatment,” a senior official from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

Parrikar had returned from the US in the first week of September following which he was admitted to the hospital at Candolim.

Earlier this year, he had undergone a three-month-long treatment in the US.    – – PTI

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08:55  3 terrorists killed in encounter in Kulgam:  Three terrorists were killed on Saturday in an encounter with the security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

Three terrorists have been killed in the operation at Chowgam in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, a police official said. 

He said a total of five terrorists were believed to be engaged in the encounter. 

Acting on specific information about the presence of terrorists in Chowgam, the security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area this morning.

Amid the ongoing search operation, the terrorists opened fire on the security forces, prompting them to retaliate and kill three of the outlaws, the official said, adding the operation is continuing.

Meanwhile, train services have been suspended in the valley due to apprehensions of law and order problems. 

The train services between Baramulla-Qazigund have been suspended, the official said.  — PTI

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07:41  Parrikar spoke to Shah, to continue as Goa CM: BJP leader:  Manohar Parrikar, who has been admitted to hospital, spoke to Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on Friday and it was decided that he would continue as the chief minister of Goa, a party leader said.

“Parrikar spoke to Shah and briefed him about the political situation in the state, and also informed him about his health condition. It was decided that Parrikar will continue as the chief minister but he might give some of his portfolios to his cabinet colleagues,” he told PTI. 

“By next week, the government will work out the exact arrangement through which the work burden on Parrikar could be reduced. A thought would also be given to replacing the two ailing ministers in the cabinet, Pandurang Madkaikar and Francis D’Souza,” the leader said.

Both Madkaikar and D’Souza are currently hospitalised.

Earlier in the day, Goa BJP held a meeting of its state-level core committee.

The core committee later met Parrikar. 

Parrikar, who returned from the United States after medical check-up on September 7, was admitted to a private hospital at Candolim in North Goa district on Thursday evening. 

Earlier this year he underwent three-month-long treatment in the US for a pancreatic ailment.  — PTI

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00:08  Blast in Jalandhar police station, terror angle not ruled out:  

A blast occurred in Maqsudan police station in a busy area of Punjab’s Jalandhar city on Friday evening, in which a police personnel sustained minor injuries, police said.

They said the possibility of a terror angle or even plain mischief could not be ruled out at this stage.

The blast, caused by some crude explosive, in all likelihood was triggered after the explosive material was hurled inside the police station, the police said.

The incident created panic as the police station is located in a busy area.

“The police station is housed in a building of a primary health centre. It appears that someone hurled some explosive from outside. The police station is open from two sides and has low boundary wall,” Jalandhar Police Commissioner Praveen Kumar Sinha told PTI over phone.

At the time of the incident, Maqsudan Police Station’s SHO was holding a meeting with some other personnel posted there. Sinha said a police personnel sustained minor injuries.

“We will investigate case from all angles,” he said.

Asked if it was an attempt to blow up the police station and if there was a terror angle, he said, “it’ll be presumptuous to say anything at this stage, but at the same time nothing can be ruled out. It can be anything. It can also be a mischief on someone’s part. But we are taking it very seriously.”

“We have cordoned off the area and security has been stepped up in entire Jalandhar,” he said.

A case has been registered against unidentified persons under provisions of the IPC and the Explosives Act, he added. Forensic team has been summoned and the CCTV footage will be examined, he said.  — PTI

Source: Rediff

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