09:59 Akhilesh, Mayawati may announce alliance for Lok Sabha poll tomorrow:
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati will address a joint press meet in Lucknow on Saturday amid talks of seat sharing for Lok Sabha polls.
This was announced Friday by SP national secretary Rajendra Chaudhary and Bahujan Samaj Party national general secretary SC Misra.
The top leadership of both the parties met in New Delhi recently to discuss broad parameters of an alliance to take on the BJP unitedly in the Lok Sabha elections. — PTI
09:57 Security beefed up in Haryana, Punjab ahead of murder trial verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim:
A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula will likely to pronounce verdict in a journalist’s murder case, allegedly involving jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is accused of orchestrating the killing of Ramchandra Chhatrapati, a Sirsa-based journalist, for openly criticising the Dera chief in his newspaper Poora Sach.
The Dera chief is currently serving a 20-year prison term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for raping two of his women followers.
Ahead of the verdict, elaborate security arrangements have been made in Haryana and parts of Punjab.
Several companies of the state armed police, anti-riot police and commando force have been deployed to combat any untoward situation.
Rohtak’s deputy duperintendent of police Tahir Hussain said: “We have heightened the security of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ahead the verdict. We have established four more police posts, five patrolling parties around the jail, PCRs and three more inspectors have been put on the duty.”
On 25 August 2017, 41 lives were claimed and scores of people were injured after violence erupted in Panchkula and other towns of Haryana following the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. — ANI
09:38 Rahul Gandhi in UAE, to interact with Indian community today:
Congress President Rahul Gandhi who will interact with the Indian overseas and student communities during his maiden visit to the UAE was accorded a warm welcome by the Indian diaspora at the Dubai airport on Thursday, the party said.
He is also set to meet some UAE ministers during his two-day visit to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Khaleej Times reported.
Gandhi, who will begin his tour on Friday, reached Dubai on Thursday evening.
“CP @RahulGandhi will be on a two-day tour in Dubai from tomorrow. He will be interacting with the Indian overseas community and the student community,” the Congress Party tweeted Thursday.
Gandhi had also previously addressed such public gatherings in the US, London, Germany and Bahrain.
“Indians from across Dubai gather at the airport to greet Congress President @RahulGandhi with warmth & love ahead of his two day tour in UAE,” the party tweeted.
The Congress President would also be the “official chief guest” at the ‘Indo-Arab cultural programme’ at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on January 11. The programme would also celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. — PTI
09:09 Don’t align with those views: Kohli on Pandya’s sexist remarks:
Indian skipper Virat Kohli broke his silence on the ongoing controversy involving KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya over their sexist comments on a talk show, Koffee with Karan.
Reacting to the comments made by the duo, Kohli said that Indian team cricketers don’t align with that views and those were the opinions of the players (Pandya and Rahul).
On the eve of the first ODI against Australia in Sydney, Kohli said,” We as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers don’t align with those views, those were individual opinions. We are still waiting for a decision to be made.”
“From the Indian cricket team’s point of view, this changes nothing in our beliefs in the change room, it does nothing to the spirit we have have been able to create. Combinations will have to be thought of once the decision comes out,” he added.
Pandya, along with teammate KL Rahul, face potential suspension from the BCCI for their controversial comments on women on the chat show Koffee With Karan.
08:53 Andy Murray announces retirement, eyes Wimbledon as last event :
Britain’s Andy Murray says he plans to retire after this year’s Wimbledon but fears next week’s Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, who is struggling to recover from hip surgery, was in tears as he spoke to journalists in Melbourne on Friday.
“I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” Murray said .
“I want to get to Wimbledon and stop but I’m not certain I can do that.”
31-year-old Murray says he still intends to play his Australian Open first-round match against Spanish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week.
The former world number one had surgery on his right hip last January and has played 14 matches since returning to the sport last June.
08:37 Transferred on basis of false and frivolous charges: Alok Verma:
Alok Verma, who has been removed from the post of Central Burau of Investigation director unceremoniously by a high-powered selection committee, has claimed that he was transferred on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations” made by only one person who was inimical to him.
The high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Verma from the post on Thursday on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty.
Breaking his silence over the issue, Verma, in a statement on Thursday night, said the CBI being a prime investigating agency dealing in corruption in high public places is an institution whose independence should be preserved and protected.
“It must function without external influences. I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the CVC dated October 23, 2018, which were without jurisdiction and were set aside,” he said.
Verma termed it “sad” that he was transferred to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to him”.
The 1979-batch IPS officer has been posted as the Director General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, under the Union home ministry.
The charge of the CBI has been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, said a government order issued on Thursday.
Headed by the prime minister, the high-powered committee comprised Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee.
Verma said the committee was assigned the task of deciding his future course of action as the director of the CBI.
“I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law,” he said.
Verma had resumed duty as CBI director on Wednesday, a day after the apex court paved his return with some riders and asked the three-member panel that selects the CBI chief to decide on his continuance in a week in the light of charges against him in the report of the Central Vigilance Commission. — PTI
00:11 Trump cancels trip to Davos amid standoff over shutdown:
US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter he will not be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is likely to lead the Trump administration’s delegation to the forum in Davos even if the government remains closed when the conference starts later this month, according to senior administration officials.
However, Mnuchin will likely lead a smaller-than-expected group of administration officials to Switzerland if a large chunk of the government remains closed, the officials said, declining to be identified. The forum is scheduled for January 22 to 25.
Trump told reporters Thursday he planned to go to Davos but would stay home if the shutdown continued