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LIVE! Kushwaha to join mahagathbandhan today

12:28  Rachel McAdams’ powerful photo goes viral:  Actor Rachel McAdams has shared a picture of her showing off her multitasking skills as she strikes a pose pumping breast milk while rocking Versace and Bulgari diamonds for a magazine photoshoot.

The 40-year-old actor took to Instagram where she posted, what she calls a “powerful” behind-the-scenes photo, which was clicked by photographer and founder of the magazine Girls Girls Girls, Claire Rothstein.

“This is such an inspiration to me, for when I become a mother. Swipe to read the backstory of this powerful photo taken by @clairerothstein. I love it! Girls Girls Girls magazine, 2018,” McAdams captioned the photograph.

In a follow-up post, she attached Rothstein’s post, where the photographer explained why she also decided to share the picture that has now gone viral on the Internet. Rothstein wrote, between shots, the “Disobedience” star “was expressing/pumping as still breastfeeding”.

She revealed the shoot was done six months after McAdams gave birth to her son in April. The actor, who is a private person, shocked the people in November when she revealed she was a mother to a seven-month-old boy with boyfriend Jamie Linden. — PTI

11:57  Witness files caveat in 1984 riots case :  1984 anti-Sikh riots case: One of the witnesses in the case, pertaining to the killings in Delhi Cantt, has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court. In the caveat, the witness has demanded that if Sajjan Kumar challenges the life imprisonment awarded by Delhi High Court, then the Supreme Court should also hear the victims before taking a final decision.


11:44  Kushwaha to join mahagathbandhan today:  
Ten days after he quit the BJP-led NDA, RLSP president and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha will formally join the Congress-led mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) this evening in New Delhi.

His decision comes ahead of a meeting of the grand alliance in the national capital to discuss seat sharing for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Bihar, a RSLP leader said. When the mahagathbandhan meeting takes place, Kushwaha will be attending it.

The meeting will be attended by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, among others.

Kushwaha on Wednesday said the arrogance of the BJP and Nitish Kumar was one of the reasons behind him leaving the NDA.

“RLSP will be part of the grand alliance to take on the BJP and Nitish Kumar’s JD-U in next year’s Lok Sabha polls,” RLSP leader said.

MI Khan


11:37  Indian held in Pak arrives at Mumbai home:  Maharashtra: Repatriated Indian national Hamid Ansari arrives at his residence in Mumbai. He was released from a jail in Pakistan and arrived in India on 18 December via Attari-Wagah border.

11:14  UNGA officially adopts roadmap for migrants to improve safety:  The UN General Assembly has officially endorsed the first-ever international cooperation framework on migration for effectively addressing issues that concern the world’s 258 million people on the move and countries of origin, transit and destination.

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted by the General Assembly with 152 votes in favour, 12 abstentions, and five votes against, namely by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and the United States of America.

An additional 24 Member States were not present to take part in the vote. India was among the 152 countries that voted in favour of the resolution endorsing the Global Compact, which was adopted by world leaders in Marrakesh, Morocco, on December 10.

The document is the first-ever negotiated global framework on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. — PTI

11:00  Lalu gets bail in IRCTC scam:  Delhi’s Patiala House Court grants interim bail to Lalu Prasad Yadav in IRCTC scam case. He appeared before the court via video conferencing. But the RJD leader will remain in jail as he has been convicted in the fodder scam.

10:51  Fire at two hotels in Mumbai, no casualties:  Fire incidents were reported in two city-based hotels, including the luxury hotel Trident, late Wednesday night, officials said. No casualties have been reported in the incidents, they said. A fire broke out at a high-end shopping centre on the ground floor of the Trident Hotel in south Mumbai at 11.04 pm, a fire brigade official said Thursday.

The blaze was confined to a shop in the shopping centre, spread in an area of 2,000 sq ft, and it was doused by 1 am, he said.

In another incident, a blaze erupted at the Afzal Hotel located near Mazgaon Circle in south Mumbai, another official said. The fire brigade got a call about the blaze around 11.37 pm. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the flames were extinguished by 1.15 am, he said. Some electric wiring, chimney and items in the hotel’s kitchen were damaged in the fire, he said, adding that the cause of the blaze will be ascertained after an inquiry.

The two incidents come days after a fire at the government-run ESIC Kamgar Hospital at Marol in suburban Andheri on Monday in which nine people were killed and nearly 175 others injured.

10:45  Hearing of 2nd case against Sajjan Kumar on Jan 22:   Hearing adjourned for January 22 in the 2nd case registered by CBI on the recommendation of Nanavati Commission against Sajjan Kumar and other accused. The hearing was adjourned as Sajjan Kumar’s main counsel Anil Sharma didn’t appear before the Patiala House Court today for cross examination of witnesses in the case.


10:23  Rabri, Tejashwi in court today :  Sajjan Kumar has company at the Patiala House Court. Tejashwi Yadav and Rabri Devi are on their way to the Patiala House Court for hearing in the IRCTC scam.


10:12  Anti-Sikh riots: Sajjan Kumar reaches court for 2nd case :  Sajjan Kumar reaches the Patiala House Court for a hearing in the 2nd case registered by the CBI on the recommendation of the Nanavati Commission. He is facing trial on charges of murder and rioting in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case pertaining to the killing in Delhi’s Sultanpuri.

The second case against Kumar was filed by the CBI on the recommendation of the Nanavati Commission.

Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court, while hearing the first case, convicted and sentenced Kumar to life imprisonment.

Two other accused are facing trials on charges of murder and riots held in Delhi, which occurred after the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

According to official records, about 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India, including 2,100 in Delhi, during the clashes, which broke out after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards. — ANI

09:40  US slaps fresh sanctions on Russian spies for meddling in 2016 election, nerve agent use:  

The United States has slapped fresh sanctions on 12 Russian individuals and entities for their alleged interference in 2016 presidential election and the brazen use of a military-grade nerve agent in an assassination attempt inside America’s closest ally.

They were involved in a wide range of malign activities, including attempts to interfere in the 2016 US elections, cyber-enabled attempts to undermine international organisations and the brazen use of a chemical weapon in an assassination attempt abroad, the State Department said.

Several of these people were related to ‘Project Lakhta’, a broad Russian effort which includes the Internet Research Agency that has sought to interfere in political and electoral systems worldwide, the State Department said.

As a result of this action, any person determined to knowingly engage in a significant transaction with any of these persons will be subject to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) Section 231 sanctions, the State Department said.

In addition, the Treasury Department designated several members of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and individuals and entities related to ‘Project Lakhta’, including the 12 persons added to the List of Specified Persons.

Treasury also designated Victor Boyarkin for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of Oleg Deripaska.

According to the State Department, the sanctions and listings undertaken are one part of an aggressive stand against the irresponsible acts directed by the Government of the Russian Federation.

“Russian intelligence services’ cyber operations continue to seek to undermine democratic elections and delegitimise international organisations,” it alleged.

Additionally, it is clear that Russian intelligence operatives used a military grade nerve agent to carry out an assassination attempt inside the borders of America’s closest ally, a violation of Russia’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, the State Department charged. — PTI


08:42  Legendary kabaddi player Anup Kumar announces retirement:  

Anup Kumar, one of the most impactful kabaddi players the country has seen, on Wednesday announced his retirement with immediate effect, drawing curtains to an illustrious 15-year career.


A veteran in the sport, Arjuna awardee Anup began his international career in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. He led India to gold medal at the Asian Games and was also part of the team which repeated the feat in the 2014 edition. 


The 35-year-old had also led India to memorable Kabaddi World Cup title triumph in 2016. 


In season 2 of the Pro Kabaddi League, Anup captained U Mumba and led the team to victory.


“When I started playing kabaddi, it was a great hobby and over the years a hobby became the most important part of my life. The day I took to playing kabaddi professionally, I had one dream, to represent my country and bring back a gold medal,” Anup said.


“I am one of the few lucky people who had the opportunity to accomplish the most important dream of my life. Today, with the Pro Kabaddi League, the magnitude of the sport has grown by leaps and bounds and I could not be happier than to watch and grow and be a part of this journey. 


“Coincidentally, today is also the 10th birthday of my son, and that makes this date even more memorable. Going forward, if there is anything I am confident about, it is knowing that I will always want to be connected to the sport,” he added. 


Reacting to the announcement, Pro Kabaddi League Commissioner Anupam Goswami, said, “This is a great decision by a great player from a great stage of kabaddi. Anup has been a senior player and a role model athlete for this sport. We totally respect his decision.”


Ronnie Screwvala, team owner U Mumba, said, “When I heard of Anup Kumar’s retirement, I have to say it didn’t surprise me because he is one of the smartest and intelligent players in Kabaddi. He gets his sense of timing on the field and I think he gets his timing when he is looking at his own career off the field as well.” — PTI  


08:37  Court to hear another anti-Sikh riots case against Sajjan Kumar today:  

A Delhi court will hear today a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who is accused of instigating a mob to kill Sikhs.


District Judge Poonam A Bamba is scheduled to record the statement of a key prosecution witness in the case and Kumar is directed to appear before the court.

Three persons — Kumar, Brahmanand Gupta and Ved Prakash — are facing trial on charges of murder and rioting in the case pertaining to the killing of Surjit Singh in Sultanpuri.

The witness, Cham Kaur, had on November 16 identified Kumar before the court as one who had allegedly instigated the mob to kill Sikhs.

Kaur had told the court that she had seen Kumar allegedly addressing the crowd in national capital’s Sultanpuri area in 1984 that Sikhs had killed “our mother” and instigated the mob to kill them.

“On October 31, 1984 we were watching TV on the demise of Indira Gandhi. On November 1, 1984 when I stepped out to look for my goat, I saw accused Sajjan Kumar addressing the crowed and was saying ‘hamari ma maar di. Sardaro ko maar do’ (killed our mother. Kill the Sikhs),” Kaur had told the court.

She had further said the next morning, they were attacked in which her son and her father were killed.

“My son Kapoor Singh and my father Sardarji Singh were pulled out of the hiding place on second floor, beaten badly and were thrown down from the roof,” she had said, adding that she herself received injuries in the attack.

During the proceedings, Kaur had also identified Kumar, who was present in the court.

“I could recognise the accused Sajjan Kumar, as we used to visit him for getting help in making ration card, passport. We used to visit the accused for getting the papers stamps as he was the MP/MLA,” she had said.


00:13  Greenpeace may halve India staff after donations row:  

Environmental group Greenpeace said on Wednesday it could halve its workforce in India to 30 early next year due to a block on its bank account after accusations of illegal donations.

The Centre has tightened scrutiny of non-profit groups over the past four years. The government says they often act against India’s interests and has revoked licenses for thousands of foreign-funded groups.

Known for its campaigns against India’s coal-fired power plants, Greenpeace has been barred from receiving foreign donations since 2015.

The Enforcement Directorate froze Greenpeace’s main bank account on October 5.

Greenpeace, which denies wrongdoing, said it only had funds to pay employees for about two more months, meaning half of the staff of 30 were at risk of losing their jobs.

“There are multi-pronged attacks on us,” said Greenpeace spokesman Nandikesh Sivalingam, blaming the coal lobby.

“The coal industry is strong and powerful even if governments do want to move away from coal, including for climate change reasons.”

Source: Rediff