12:39 Akbar will take a call on resigning when he returns, says govt : The government has denied media reports that its Minister of State for Home, MJ Akbar has been asked to quit over several allegations of sexual harassment by journalists.
Government sources told several media houses that the government will hear Akbar’s version after he returns from his trip to Nigeria. The government has passed on the onus of whether Akbar should stay or resign on the minister that Akbar should himself take a call on resigning, but the government has not asked him to resign. The government has also not asked him to cut short his official trip to Nigeria.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi when asked on Akbar’s future in the BJP told ANI, “The question is not about resignation. Question is when I accuse someone it should be proved. Every woman has a right to accuse and investigation should also be done. Women have presented their versions, men also have right to present their version.”
The Congress yesterday supported the #MeToo campaign on the social media and demanded the resignation of Akbar.
The Congress also questioned the silence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the matter.
12:24 Prashant Bhushan @pbhushan1 on tax raids on Quint founder Raghav Bahl’s home. “No doubt that Quint & Raghav Bahl are being raided by the IT Dept only because they have been critical of the govt & in order to intimidate the media. IT, ED & CBI are being misused by this govt like never before.”
12:22 Divya Spandana/Ramya @divyaspandana So Sensex is crashing. The Rupee is falling. Investors are shivering. I am expecting a big step from the finance minister @arunjaitley Something like a 900 words blog.
12:16 Raids look like intimidation: Shekhar Gupta : Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta on income tax raids on Quint founder Raghav Bahl’s home: “IT raids on @TheQuint offices and its founder @Raghav_Bahl home are cause for serious concern. Taxman has the right to ask all questions, but raids look like intimidation. If there is justification, govt must explain quickly. Or it will be seen as targeting critical media.”
12:14 What Odisha is doing to clip Cyclone Titli’s wings : The ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, Titli, which made landfall near Gopalpur district in Odisha this morning will weaken gradually and is expected to turn into a “deep depression” by Friday morning, India Meteorological Department said on Thursday.
“It (cyclone Titli) is very likely to move northwestwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha. It is very likely to weaken gradually becoming severe cyclonic storm around noon, cyclonic storm around evening of today and a deep depression by morning of tomorrow, October 12, 2018,” IMD stated.
Earlier on Thursday, Odisha’s Gopalpur and Andhra Pradesh’s Kalingapatnam reported surface wind speed of 126 kmph at 04:30 am and 59 kmph at 03:30 am respectively.
The cyclonic storm caused ‘heavy to very heavy rainfall’ in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts of Odisha. Damage of thatched and asbestos house, street lights, roads blockage due to falling of trees, has been reported in Ganjam district. Further, minor damage to power and communication has also been reported in the district.
Meanwhile, 13 NDRF teams have been deployed in several districts of Odisha, including Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Kendrapada, Nayagarh, Bhadrak, Jagatsingjpur, Balasore, Jajpur, Khurdha and Sambalpur.
Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) has also deployed its teams in nine districts–Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khordha, Cuttack, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Boudh and Kalahandi.
Fire services team are also on alert to respond at short notice of the district administration. Several preparedness measures have also been taken to ward off any untoward situations.
A total of 30 District Emergency Operation Centres have been activated to track and respond to the cyclonic storm effectively. 300 Powerboats of Special Relief Organisation have been kept ready for relief operation while 879 multi-purpose cyclone or flood shelters have been kept in readiness for sheltering people to be evacuated.
Meanwhile, all government officials have been directed to stay in headquarters and not to avail leave. All schools, colleges and Anganwadi centres will also remain closed till October 12.
As of now, around 3,00,000 people have been evacuated and 1112 relief camps have been opened for the evacuees in the shelters. The situation is being closely monitored at different levels. — ANI
Image: A fishing boat with five fishermen on board capsized in Gopalpur owing to severe cyclonic storm. However, one of the three disaster and rescue teams operating in Gopalpur Paradip area rescued all five fishermen and brought them to safety, the Indian Coastguard said. Pic: ANI
11:56 Mr Akbar must go: “For now, however, India’s MeToo moment is crystallising around an urgent and immediate call for accountability: M J Akbar, the minister in the NDA government who has been called out by several women for predatory behaviour as an influential editor, must go. If he doesn’t step down on his own, the government he serves must persuade him of the untenability of his continuance in office.”
Read the editorial in the Indian Express.
11:43 Govt may ask MJ Akbar to step down : India Today journalist Geeta Mohan @Geeta_Mohan: “Govt Sources after serious deliberations at the top, decision has been arrived at that @mjakbar would be asked to resign (on personal grounds) once he returns from Nigeria. May return to party till his name is cleared. Reports @Rahulshrivstv.
11:40 That’s Karti’s house : Another property owned by Karti Chidambaram, likely the house in Somerset, UK, which was attached by the ED.
11:37 ED attaches Karti’s properties worth Rs 54 cr in India, UK, Spain: The Enforcement Directorate attaches around Rs 54 crore worth properties and bank deposits of Karti Chidambaram in connection with the INX Media case. Properties include, Jor Bagh in New Delhi, bungalows in Ooty and Kodaikanal bungalows, a house in UK and property in Barcelona, Spain.
An FIR by CBI, filed on May 15 last year, had alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media for receiving Rs 305 crore in overseas funds in 2007 when Karti’s father, P Chidambaram was union finance minister.
The central probe agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for attachment of Indian assets in Kodaikanal and Ooty in Tamil Nadu and a flat in Delhi’s Jorbagh. A cottage and house in Somerset in UK and a tennis club located in Barcelona, Spain have also been attached as part of the same order, the agency said.
Fixed Deposits worth Rs 90 lakh, kept in a bank in Chennai, in the name of Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited have also been attached, it said. The assets are in the name of Karti and ASCPL, the firm allegedly linked to him, it said.
“The attached assets collectively amount to Rs 54 crore,” it said. The ED had registered a PMLA case in this deal case on the basis of a CBI FIR and had alleged that irregularities took place in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when his father P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. The ED had grilled Karti in this case in the past.
11:10 The importance of listening : “The recent explosion of “Me Too’ and “Time’s Up’ in India bares this pervasive nature of sexual harassment. As the movement forges ahead, there will be conversations that the traditional discourse on gender rights in India is yet to keep pace with — affirmative consent, casual sexism, and most importantly the need to believe the survivor irrespective of the route she chooses to tell her story.”
Read the column here.
11:09 IT dept searches premises of media baron Raghav Bahl: The Income Tax Department Thursday searched the premises of media baron Raghav Bahl in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion, officials said. They said a team of sleuths raided the residence of Bahl in neighbouring Noida early morning and are looking for documents and other evidence related to the case under probe. It is understood that the searches are being conducted at the premises of a few other people as part of the ITD action to probe tax evasion by a set of business professionals. Bahl is the founder of the Quint news portal and the Network18 group and is a known media entrepreneur. — PTI
11:07 #MeToo dam breaks on Akbar: Pressure piled on the Narendra Modi government to act against junior external affairs minister and former editor MJ Akbar as more women journalists alleged sexual predatory behaviour and wrote traumatic accounts.
Such was the wave of revulsion and outrage on social media that the Opposition Congress was forced to press, albeit reluctantly, for the minister’s resignation. But the Modi government stuck to its silence for the second day running.
Sources said Akbar was expected to return from abroad on Friday amid indications that the government would prefer that he step down quietly. Read more
10:56 Prateik Babbar refuses blood test after car mishap in Goa: Bollywood actor Prateik Babbar has refused to give his blood sample for analysis after he was booked by the Goa Police for rash driving, a police official said Thursday.
The police wanted his blood sample to check whether the actor, who is in his early 30s, was driving under the influence of alcohol, the official said.
Babbar’s car allegedly dashed a scooter on the Panaji- Mapusa highway Wednesday evening following which a case of rash driving was registered against him.
“When Babbar was taken for medical examination at the state-run Asilo Hospital in Mapusa town, he refused to give his blood sample,” Porvorim police station inspector Paresh Naik told PTI.
10:41 Global stocks tumble after Trump ‘crazy’ Fed comment: The other reason why the Asian markets plunged Thursday morning.
US President Donald Trump, Wednesday, said the Federal Reserve had “gone crazy” with plans for higher interest rates.
This morning, the benchmark Nikkei 225, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Composite all plummeted more than three per cent in early morning trade, as investors fretted about surging interest rates and an ongoing trade war.
In India, the benchmark BSE Sensex crashed today over 1,030 points to slip below the key 34,000-mark in early trade, tracking a global sell-off as the rupee hit yet another record low of 74.45 against the US dollar.
Traders attributed the carnage in domestic bourses to the sell-off in international bourses after US stocks tumbled on heavy correction in tech stocks, fresh concerns over Fed rate hike and looming impact of the US’ trade war with the China.
The steep drop in Asia followed a decline on Wall Street of nearly 830 points, the biggest fall since February, amid Trump’s latest criticism of the Federal Reserve, the US central bank.
The rout in US shares followed substantial losses on European bourses, due in part to tensions between Brussels and Rome over Italian budget plans that have revived fears about the eurozone.
The Business Insider reported that President Trump signaled his anxiety about the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep raising interest rates into 2019 after stocks plunged on Wednesday. “I think the Fed is making a mistake,” Trump said to reporters after landing in Erie, Pennsylvania, for a campaign rally on Wednesday. “They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.”
10:19 In MP, village bans girls from wearing jeans to end male gaze: In the wake of a garba event, the Mali community in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur has asked girls above the age of 10 to not wear jeans and a top.
“We are holding a Garba programme. We have decided that girls above the age of 10 will not wear jeans and top. They will not wear it in houses too and not in any of other events,” Manjula Mali, president, women committee of the Alirajpur community.”
The reason is that men don’t look at women in a decent way. So, we need to make our girls understand,” she added.
The men of the community have also given go-ahead to the decision. “We have taken this decision because boys don’t see women properly. We want to run this event properly as per our religion and customs,” said Himmat Mali, president of the community. — ANI
10:10 Prateik Babbar booked for rash driving in Goa : Bollywood actor Prateik Babbar was on Wednesday booked under the Motor Vehicles Act for dangerous driving. The incident took place when Prateik’s vehicle knocked down a motorcycle driver before entering a one-way street at Porvorim in Goa.
The ‘Dhobi Ghat’ actor was immediately taken for medical examination, which he refused to take. Prateik’s police interrogation is scheduled for tomorrow.
When asked to comment on the same, the actor steered away from giving an answer. Prateik was last seen in the Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu starrer Mulk. His past credits also include, ‘Issaq’, ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’, ‘Dhobi Ghat’ and ‘Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na’. — ANI
09:55 Bloodbath at the bourses, Sensex crashes 1000 points : Sensex crashes over 1,000 points, Nifty below 10,200 on global sell-off.
In opening trade, the Sensex plunged 1,037 points to 33,723.53 and the Nifty 50 slumped 321 points to 10,138.60. Asian share markets sank in a sea of red after US stocks suffered its worst drubbing in eight months.
Around 175 stocks have hit fresh 52-week lows at this point on the BSE. Some of the names include Bank of Baroda, Bharti Airtel, Bombay Dyeing, Central Bank of India, Deepak Fertilisers, Finolex Industries, HAL, HUDCO, Indostar and Nilkamal, among others.
09:51 It’s [email protected] as Cyclone Titli makes landfall in Odisha: Visuals from Ganjam’s Gopalpur after the Titli Cyclone made landfall in the region at 5:30 am today. At least 10,000 people from low lying areas have been evacuated to government shelters till last night.
The process of landfall of the very severe cyclone Titli started early Thursday with surface wind reaching speeds of 126 kmph at Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district, the India Meteorological Department said.
“The process of landfall has started and it will completely cross the Odisha coast in one or two hours. The system will pass close to Gopalpur,” HR Biswas, Director of Metereological Centre, Bhubaneswar, told PTI.
The IMD said, “The forward sector of the eye of the storm has been entering into the land mass.” While Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface winds at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded wind speed of 56 kmph. As the landfall process started, at least five districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur are receiving good amount of rainfall coupled with high speed winds under the impact of Titli. — PTI
09:40 Rupee hits new low, falls 24 paise against US dollar: Rupee making it to the news every day for all the wrong reasons.
The rupee Thursday weakened by 24 paise to hit another low of 74.45 against the US dollar on strong demand for the American currency from importers amid unabated foreign fund outflows and a sharp losses in the domestic equity market.
At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the domestic currency opened weak at 74.37 and slipped further to quote at an all-time low of 74.45, depreciating 24 paise against the US dollar in the early trade.
Forex dealers said besides strong demand for the American currency from importers, concerns of fears of rising fiscal deficit and capital outflows weighed on the domestic currency.
On Wednesday, the rupee snapped its six-session losing streak to end 18 paise higher at 74.21 against the US dollar after the American currency weakened overseas.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares net worth a net of Rs 1,096 crore Wednesday, provisional data showed. Investors remained concerned over sustained foreign capital outflows. Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex crashed 1,030.40 points, or 2.95 per cent, to hit 33,730.49 in opening trade. — PTI
09:22 JUST IN: Sensex opens with a fall of more than 980 points, currently at 33,774.89
09:20 “India will find out”: Trump on Sanctions for S-400 deal with Russia:
US President Donald Trump said that India “will soon find out” about his decision on the punitive CAATSA sanctions after India signed a $5 billion deal to purchase the much-vaunted S-400 air defence system from Russia.
Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA sanctions, which was amended early this year, only Trump has the authority for the presidential waiver to India on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia.
India last week inked a $5 billion deal to purchase S-400 Triumf air defence system from Moscow. The mega deal was sealed in New Delhi during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Asked about the agreement between India and Russia, Trump while interacting with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House, said, “India will find out. Aren’t they?”
“India is going to find out, he reiterated in response to India specific question.
Asked when, he said, “You will see. Sooner than you think.”
Last week, the White House had said that the US presidential waiver on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia is intended to “wean” countries like India off the Russian equipment.
“The (CAATSA presidential) waiver is narrow, intended to wean countries off Russian equipment and allow for things such as spare parts for previously-purchased equipment,” a White House National Security Council Spokesperson had said after the conclusion of the S-400 contract.
The US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi had said that the CAATSA was aimed at Moscow and not intended to damage the military capabilities of its “allies and partners.”
08:58 45% rise in sexual harassment cases at workplace over 3 years:
As many as 1,971 cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace were registered in four years till December 12, 2017, or one case every day, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha on December 15, 2017.
Cases reported increased by 45 per cent from 371 in 2014 to 539 in 2017 (till December 12, 2017).
08:30 Aamir Khan pulls out of film citing #MeToo, issues detailed statement:
In the wake of #MeToo movement, Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao have decided to “step away” from a film – what appears to be their next production venture.
On Wednesday, Aamir issued a statement on Twitter, in which he stated that his production company Aamir Khan Productions has a “zero tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour of any kind.
Aamir Khan, who is busy with promotional duties of Thugs Of Hindostan, had earlier confirmed he was producing the Gulshan Kumar biopic.
The untitled film was to be directed by Subhash Kapoor, who was accused of molestation by actress Geetika Tyagi back in 2014, according to an IANS report.
Since Aamir hasn’t taken any name, it is unsure if he was hinting at him or somebody else.
Aamir wrote: “Two weeks ago, when traumatic #MeToo stories began emerging, it was brought to our attention that someone we were about to begin work with has been accused of sexual misconduct. Upon enquiry we found that this particular case is subjudice, and that the legal process is in motion.”
“We are not an investigative agency, nor are we in any position to pass judgement on anyone – that is for the police and judiciary to do. So, without casting any aspersions on anyone involved in this case, and without coming to any conclusions about these specific allegations, we have decided to step away from this film,” read an excerpt from Aamir Khan’s tweet.
Khan notes in his statement that the film industry must start working towards creating a “happy and safe” work environment for women and added, “We believe that this is an opportunity for the film industry to introspect and take concrete steps towards change. For far too long women have faced the brunt of sexual exploitation. It has to stop. In this regard we are committed to doing any and everything to make our film industry a safe and happy one to work in.”
08:16 Trump mocks #MeToo movement:
US President Donald Trump has mocked the “#MeToo” movement, saying that he needs to censor himself due to the rules of this movement, which is being enforced by the press.
“There’s an expression, but under the rules of #MeToo, I am not allowed to use that expression anymore. I can’t do it,” Trump said at a mid-term election rally in Pennsylvania, and then he pointed at the phrase “the girl that got away”.
07:54 Cyclone Titli hits Odisha’s Gopalpur, over 3 lakh moved to safety:
The process of landfall of the very severe cyclone Titli started early Thursday with surface wind reaching speeds of 126 kmph at Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district, the India Meteorological Department said.
“The process of landfall has started and it will completely cross the Odisha coast in one or two hours. The system will pass close to Gopalpur,” said H R Biswas, Director of Metereological Centre, Bhubaneswar.
The IMD said, “The forward sector of the eye of the storm has been entering into the land mass.”
While Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface winds at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded wind speed of 56 kmph.
As the landfall process started, at least five districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur are receiving good amount of rainfall coupled with high speed winds under the impact of Titli.
Reports of trees, electric poles getting uprooted and damages to kuchha houses were reported, officials said, adding that road communication in some places, including Gopalpur and Berhampur, was snapped.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government has geared up its machinery to tackle the situation. The state government has already evacuated over 3 lakh people living in low lying areas and kuchha houses ahead of the landfall in five coastal districts.
00:26 Colleges have to return original documents, fees on no admission:
The University Grants Commission has warned varsities and colleges against retention of original documents of admitted students and non-refund of fees in case an admission is withdrawn within one month.
The higher educational institutions will be penalised with withdrawal of affiliation, deemed status and barred from receiving any assistance from the UGC if they fail to follow the directive.
“No student will be required to submit any original academic and personal certificate like marksheet and school leaving certificate at the time of submission of admission form.
“No institution can take any original certificate into their custody. They can only ask for self attested copies of the documents,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
“In case a student withdraws the admission 15 days before the notified last date of admission, he or she shall be entitled for a 100 percent refund. Some colleges which deduct a processing fee can not deduct more than 5 per cent paid by the student, subject to a maximum of Rs 5000,” he added.
In case a student decides to withdraw within 15 days before the last date of admission, he will be entitled for a 90 per cent refund of the fees and if the withdrawal happens 15 days after the last date, the amount supposed to be refunded will be 80 per cent.
While the refund amount will be 50 per cent if the admission is withdrawn between 16 to 30 days after the last date of the admission, no refund will be given for admissions withdrawn after the prescribed timeline. — PTI