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LIVE! Superstar Rajinikanth speaks about liking 'power', TN waits

10:18  Superstar Rajinikanth speaks about liking ‘power’, TN waits :  Superstar Rajinikanth’s recent statement about liking “power” has sent ripples through Tamil Nadu. The actor then clarified that he was talking about spiritualism, reports NDTV.

This comes amid speculation that Rajinikanth may launch his own political party, with support from the BJP, which wants to make inroads in Tamil Nadu. The superstar who has a cult following the state, has so far stayed away from politics, but it is believed he has been unhappy with the current state of affairs in Tamil Nadu politics.

If Rajinikanth indeed enters active politics, he will fill in the void after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death. Fans even sent Rajinikanth SOS messages after Jayalalithaa’s long-time friend and companion, VK Sasikala, was picked for the Chief Minister’s post by the ruling AIADMK.

Though Rajinikanth’s appreciation for Jayalalithaa grew over the years, in 1996, the superstar’s famous statement, that “even god can’t save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa was voted to power” is believed to have led to her defeat.

A decade later, his views took a 180-degree turn, when he praised her as “the reincarnation of (goddess) ashtalakshmi”. He lives near Jayalalithaa’s upscale Poes Garden residence. 

10:06  Shootout near Nehru Place metro station, wanted criminal nabbed:  The Delhi Police on Monday arrested a wanted criminal in an encounter near Nehru Place metro station. Akbar, who was carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head, was nabbed after a gunfight with the police, while his accomplice Rashid managed to escape.

Around 13 rounds of firing were exchanged between Akbar and the police.

No policemen got injured during the gunfight as they were wearing bullet proof jackets.Akbar is wanted in many cases of robbery, theft, snatching and attempt to murder. 


09:56  The election in Uttar Pradesh:  Punditry about elections is, understandably, about forecasting their results. Since opinion writers generally aren’t privy to exclusive information, their predictions are a form of entertainment. A reporter’s insights into likely election results are always more nutritious than a columnist’s because eye-witness accounts, even when they are anecdotal, have some roughage: fact-free speculation has none. An auto- wallah is a more reliable guide to the pulse of the people than your average op-ed writer. Read more


09:34  SC to hear SEBI-Sahara refund case today:  

The Supreme Court will hear the SEBI-Sahara refund case Monday. The apex court had decided to hear the Sahara refund case on February 6 after Subrata Roy’s lawyer Kapil Sibal urged that this matter be advanced. Roy’s interim parole will expire Monday.

In a major relief to Roy, the court on November 28, 2016 extended his interim bail and ordered him to pay Rs 600 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India by February 6. 

During the hearing, Sibal proposed to the three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur, that Roy pay Rs 11,000 crore within a period of two-and-a-half years.

His parole was earlier extended till November 28 taking note of the deposit of Rs 200 crores made by him with SEBI in October, as a condition precedent for his release. The apex court had then granted four weeks’ custody parole to Roy to perform his mother’s last rites.

Roy was in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014, till his mother’s death in May 6, 2016, for not complying with the apex court’s orders in connection with a long dispute with the market regulator. SEBI had alleged that Roy failed to comply with the 2012 SC order directing him to return investors more than Rs 20,000 crore with 15 percent interest that his two companies Sahara India Real Estate Corp Ltd and the Sahara Housing Finance Corp Ltd had raised through optionally fully convertible debentures in 2007 and 2008.

09:31  UP STF seals house of Noida ponzi scam prime accused’s wife:  

ANI reports: House of Ayushi Mittal, wife of prime accused in Rs 3,700 crore Noida ponzi scam, Anubhav Mittal, sealed by UP STF in Kanpur.

On Sunday, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at five premises in Noida, Ghaziabad and Kanpur related to Anubhav, the 26-year-old kingpin of the scam, his wife Ayushi and four companies they ran  — Ablaze Info Solutions Pvt Ltd, Social Trade Pvt Ltd, 3W Digital Pvt Ltd and Intmaart Pvt Ltd.

The income tax department, Serious Fraud Investigation Office and Hyderabad Police have also started their own investigations into what is estimated to be a Rs 3,700-crore fraud, which makes it bigger than the Saradha scam that unravelled in West Bengal in 2013.

The ED raid came after its Lucknow office registered a case under the anti-money laundering act. 

Additional director of ED’s Lucknow zone Rajeshwar Singh said, “Searches have resulted in recovery of incriminating documents.” The Rs 3,700-crore scam estimate was made by UP Police’s Special Task Force, which busted the racket in Noida on February 2, on the basis of total deposits made.

09:16  ANI reports: KC Venugopal and NK Premachandran give adjournment motion in Lok Sabha over the issue of E Ahamed’s death


08:46  Lady Gaga soars over Super Bowl stage with bow to inclusion:  

Reuters reports: Standing atop the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium with drones illuminating an American flag in the night sky behind her, Lady Gaga kicked off her Super Bowl halftime set on Sunday by singing “God Bless America” as a subtle message of inclusion and unity in a deeply divided United States.

As many speculated about whether the outspoken singer would use her spotlight to address women’s rights, immigration or President Donald Trump, Gaga recited part of the American Pledge of Allegiance, “one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” in her opening song.

She then swung down from the roof to a stage suspended on cables and embarked on a meticulously choreographed 13-minute set of her greatest hits during the National Football League championship game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

Ahead of her high-profile performance, watched by more than 100 million US viewers, Gaga, 30, said in a post on the Instagram social media network that she planned to headline the slot entirely on her own, eschewing a tradition of halftime main acts bringing on special guests.


08:38  She hasn’t even done basic party work, says the other Sasikala:  

Expelled AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Puspha has opposed party chief V K Sasikala becoming the Tamil Nadu chief minister, alleging she had a “criminal background”.

In letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, she said, “It is condemnable to nominate or invite Sasikala Natarajan to be a Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu due to her criminal background. All criminal cases are pending and (she is) convicted.” 

Pushpa was apparently referring to the disproportionate assets case against late chief minister Jayalalithaa in which Sasikala was a co-accused and convicted by the trial court in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka High Court had set aside the conviction. An appeal challenging the acquittal is now pending before the Supreme Court.

Pushpa also alleged Sasikala, who was on Sunday elected leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party paving the way for her to become the Chief Minister, had “not done any basic work to the party.”

“The then Chief Minister (J Jayalalithaa) not even proposed her (Sasikala) as a candidate when she was in hospital. When she will be Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, there would be law and order problems,” she alleged.


08:30  Trump to meet NATO leaders in May: White House:  

Donald Trump will meet fellow NATO leaders in May, the White House said after the president’s call with the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump expressed “strong support for NATO” but called on European members to pitch in more, the White House said in a statement yesterday, adding that Trump “agreed to join in a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe in late May.” 

“The parties agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of security challenges facing NATO,” the White House statement said.

The United States provides significant funding to NATO, and Trump has previously urged other member nations to step up their contributions.

“The leaders discussed how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments,” Sunday’s statement added.

European leaders are concerned about Trump’s virulent criticism of NATO — he has dubbed the transatlantic military alliance “obsolete” — at a time when it stands as the main defense against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. 

08:19  Denmark is naming an ambassador to deal with increasingly powerful tech companies:  

The job of an ambassador has changed a lot over the centuries, perhaps first with the advent of the telegraph in the 19th century, which dramatically diminished the authority of an overseas ambassador. But at its heart, the core purpose of the job has been the same: to act as a state representative to a specific nation or international organization abroad.

However, in an increasingly interconnected world, that purpose could soon change. Denmark recently announced that it would be creating a new diplomatic posting — a “digital ambassador” — to deal not with states and international organizations, but with giant technology companies like Facebook and Google. According to the Danish Foreign Ministry, it is the first such position in the world.



How Swedish Deputy PM roasted Trump

Donald Trump has suffered a severe international bruising – after a world leader hit back at his notorious all-male executive order photo. 

Isabella Lvin, the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, rebuffed Trump by posting a picture of herself signing a new climate law surrounded by a group of women.

In a subtle diplomatic message to the new US President, Lvin said the energy act would provide for a safer and better future.

It appeared to be a deliberate reference to the now-infamous photograph of Trump signing an executive order to cut $600 million in funding for abortion groups, flanked by five men.


08:13  Oil prices edge up on Iran tensions:  

Oil prices edged up on Monday on fears that new US sanctions against Iran could be extended to start affecting crude supplies, but markets were capped by further signs of growing US production. 

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since a recent Iranian ballistic missile test which prompted US President Donald Trump’s administration to impose sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the Revolutionary Guards.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $56.86 per barrel at 0037 GMT, up 5 cents from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate futures were up 5 cents at $53.88 a barrel.

Traders said the strain between Tehran and the United States raised concerns that US sanctions could be tightened further to impact Iranian oil exports, which were only allowed to return to normal last year.

08:11  What’s making news today:  

* Home Minister Rajnath Singh to address election rallies in Kasganj, Firozabad, Mathura and Bulandshahr.

* Congress VP Rahul Gandhi to address election rallies in Aligarh, Shamli and Mathura.

* UP CM Akhilesh Yadav to address election rallies in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh

* Police nabbed criminal Akbar, carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 on his head, after firing frm both sides near Nehru Place metro. His aide escaped.

* Dimapur Commissioner of Police Liremo Lotha and Deputy Commissioner of Police of zone-I Vilhousie Peseyie removed by govt: DGP Nagaland

08:00  Good morning…

Source: Rediff