14:44 Rahul’s talk with TN college students didn’t violate poll code: EC:
The Election Commission on Thursday said Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s interaction with students at a women’s college in Chennai did not violate the model code of conduct, though it has sought a report on his speech.
Tamil Nadu’s Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said local election officials have reported that there was no violation in terms of permission obtained by Stella Maris College for Women to host the interaction on March 13.
He said the District Electoral Officer (DEO) has informed him that ‘there was permission’ for Gandhi’s event.
“So, there is no violation of MCC.”
However, Sahoo has sought ‘further information’ on Gandhi’s speech.
“Have sought further information on what kind of speech was given… have asked the DEO to give report based on the speech content,” Sahoo said.
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu government had ordered an inquiry as to how the college gave its approval for Gandhi to interact with its students when the model code for elections was in force.
The Director of Collegiate Education, R Sarumathi, had directed a subordinate official to inquire into the matter.
In his interaction with the students, the Congress president had promised 33 per cent reservation in government jobs for women and answered several of their questions.
He had also brought up the issue of the Rafale deal and reiterated his allegations about the pricing of the aircraft and the process. — PTI
14:13 Salman believes ‘right kind of education’ can solve Kashmir dispute:
Salman Khan believes right kind of education can heal the conflict-ridden Kashmir Valley. Salman’s upcoming home production Notebook is a love story set in Kashmir featuring newcomers — Pranutan, daughter of actor Mohnish Bahl, and Zaheer Iqbal.
In the film, Pranutan and Zaheer play the role of school teachers.
Asked if education can bring a positive change in the Valley, Salman said in an interview, “Everyone gets an education, but getting the right one is more important.”
In an indirect reference to February 14 terror attack in Pulwama that claimed lives of 41 Central Reserve Police Force soldiers, the actor said,
“(The person) who did it (the attack) even he was given education but his tutors, teachers and principles were wrong…
“When we heard about that, it just killed us. This film’s backdrop is exactly the same that the kids come and leave the gun.”
Salman, 53, was talking on the sidelines of a media interaction held for Notebook on Wednesday night.
The film hits cinema houses on March 29. — PTI
14:10 JD-U set to contest Arunachal assembly polls for first time:
The Janata Dal-United is set to contest the April 11 assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, in what would be its maiden entry in the electoral politics of the Himalayan state.
Chairman of North East Executive Council (NEEC) of the party, Senchumo Lotha, on Wednesday released the first list of candidates for Arunachal Pradesh.
The party, led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has fielded former MLA Tani Loffa from the Seppa West assembly constituency in East Kameng district.
It also fielded four new comers, including Hayeng Mangfi from Chayan Tajo constituency, Topin Ete (Aalo West), Dana Takio (Bordumsa-Diyun) and Dongru Sionju from Bomdila constituency. — PTI
13:08 Encounter breaks out between terrorists and security forces in Baramulla:
An encounter broke out between terrorists and security forces in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, officials said.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the Kalantara area of Kreeri in north Kashmir district of Baramulla following information about the presence of terrorists, a police official said.
He said the terrorists opened firing on security forces, who retaliated, triggering a gun battle.
There were no reports of any casualties so far, the official added. — PTI
Image only for representation.
12:19 India gets new Cyber Chief:
Lieutenant General Rajesh Pant (retd) will be India’s new Cyber Security Chief from April 1.
Gulshan Rai, the country’s first National Cyber Security Coordinator, retires after a long innings.
General Pant has already joined as Officer on Special Duty at the NSCS.
12:11 Kalraj Mishra not to contest Lok Sabha elections:
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Lok Sabha MP Kalraj Mishra says he will ‘not contest elections this time’.
“I have been given a lot of other responsibilities by the party so my time will be devoted to that,” he said. — ANI
11:55 JUST IN: Army soldier killed as Pakistani troops violate ceasefire along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, says officials. — PTI
11:54 2 policemen injured in grenade attack in J&K’s Sopore:
Two policemen, including an officer, were injured in a grenade attack by terrorists in Sopore township of Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, police said.
Terrorists lobbed a grenade at a security forces party at Main Chowk Sopore in the north Kashmir district, a police official said.
He said two policemen, including the station house officer of Dangiwacha police station, sustained minor injuries in the explosion.
The injured have been hospitalised.
Security forces have cordoned off the area and a search has been launched to nab the attackers, the official said. — PTI
Image only for representation.
11:08 Dropped Chhattisgarh’s BJP MPs keep cards close to chest:
The Bharatiya Janata Party MPs from Chhattisgarh are in a state of shock but wary of revealing the next move even as party leadership decides to drop them in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
Taking a lesson from the cadre’s moods in the assembly elections where it faced humiliating defeat, BJP leadership had decided to drop all the incumbent MPs in Chhattisgarh and field fresh faces.
The party has bagged 10 out of 11 seats in 2014.
“Had the party not decided to drop sitting MPs, party workers would not have come out to work even in the Lok Sabha elections,” a senior BJP office bearer said.
The multi-channels analysis of assembly poll debacle had concluded that party workers were reluctant and did not work for the party candidates.
The BJP faced humiliating defeat in Chhattisgarh; contesting the predictions of psephologists.
The resentment against its own government was so high that BJPs vote share dropped nine per cent while party was confined to just 15 seats in the 90-membered assembly.
The party leadership did not want to repeat the assembly poll experience and had taken stern decision to drop all the sitting MPs. The incumbent parliamentarians are stunned but silent to spill out their strategy in open waiting for party leaderships next move.
“I am hopeful that I would get ticket,” former Union minister and Raipur MP Ramesh Bais said. He would not like to discuss further as list of candidates (replacing them) had not yet come, he said, adding that his supporters were charged but would accept whatever decision the party leadership would take.
Abhishek Singh, MP from Rajnandgaon and son of former Chief Minister Raman Singh said as party worker, the decision was acceptable.
“At present, our goal is to win all the 11 seats in Chhattisgarh,” he said, adding that all MPs performed best to their ability in last five years.
The BJP MPs were supposed to meet at the residence of Bais today evening. But the meeting could not take place as couple of MPs flew to New Delhi.
The fear of disciplinary action was cited as one of the reasons as party managers had been keeping a close watch on the development.
— Business Standard
10:46 Indian-American Neomi Rao sworn in as judge of powerful US court:
Neomi Jehangir Rao, a prominent Indian-American lawyer, has been sworn in as United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, becoming the second from the community to be a part of the powerful court considered next only to the US Supreme Court.
Rao, 45, was sworn in by US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday. She will replace US Supreme Court Judge Justice Brett Kavanaugh who was nominated by President Donald Trump for the top post.
Before being sworn in as the US Supreme Court Judge, Kavanaugh, whose confirmation process was marred by sexual misconduct allegations, was a judge at the United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Joined by her husband Alan Lefkowitz, Rao took the oath on the Bible.
According to a White House schedule, Trump participated in the swearing-in ceremony.
Born in Detroit to Parsi physicians from India — Zerin Rao and Jehangir Narioshang — Rao is the second Indian-American after Sri Srinivasan to be part of the powerful court said to be next only to the US Supreme Court.
Srinivasan was appointed during the previous Obama regime.
Nominated by President Trump during Diwali celebrations last November, Rao was confirmed by the Senate last week by 53-46 votes.
“She is going to be fantastic. Great person,” Trump had said about his nominee.
10:40 CSK to donate proceeds from first IPL home to Pulwama martyrs’ families:
Chennai Super Kings will donate proceeds from their first Indian Premier League home game to the families of the Central Reserve Police Force personnel martyred in the Pulwama terrorist attack, with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni presenting the cheque.
The 12th Indian Premier League will begin with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore and ticket proceeds of the game, scheduled to be heal at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday, will go to the kin of the CRPF personnel who lost their lives in the February 14 terror attack, said CSK’s director Rakesh Singh.
“ChennaiIPL first home match ticket proceeds will go towards the families of the victims of Pulwama Attack. Captain MS Dhoni, who is honorary Lt. Colonel of the Indian territorial army, will present the cheque!” Singh said on the team’s twitter handle.
Tickets to the much-awaited game were sold out within hours of the opening day sale.
More than 40 jawans lost their lives in the attack perpetrated by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in South Kashmir’s Pulwama.
A convoy of 78 buses, in which around 2,500 CRPF personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar, came under attack on February 14.
As a mark of respect for the personnel who lost their lives, Indian cricketers recently sported special army caps during the third ODI against Australia and donated their match fee to the National Defence Fund. — PTI
09:50 Indian-origin bizman sentenced to prison in US for investment fraud scheme:
An Indian-origin businessman has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison for orchestrating an USD 1.3 million Ponzi scheme that caused losses to more than 40 victims.
According to court documents, Amrit Jaswant Singh Chahal (31) of Fairfax operated an investment fraud scheme through a company established by him.
Chahal held out the company as a private capital investment group that sought to earn profits and investment returns on behalf of its clients by purchasing, trading, or otherwise investing in commodities for future delivery and other financial instruments, the documents stated.
Chahal executed this fraud through falsely representing that his company had earned returns of roughly 28 to 34 per cent annually, when in fact, Chahal had suffered substantial losses in managing investors’ funds, the court documents said.
The businessman also created falsified brokerage statements to conceal the losses he had sustained and siphoned off some of his investors’ funds by transferring the money to accounts he controlled or by spending the funds on personal items, the documents added.
When investors asked for returns on their investment, Chahal frequently used money from newer investors to pay disbursements to older investors, without disclosing this fact to his investors.
In addition, Chahal opened an unauthorised bank account in the name of one of his investors to further divert funds to his personal use. — PTI
09:49 Kalanithi Maran’s daughter Kaviya Kalanithi joins Sun TV board:
Kaviya Kalanith Maran, daughter of Sun TV Network promoter Kalanithi Maran has been inducted into the Board of Directors of the company, marking the entry of one more next gen entrepreneur into the industry.
K Vijayakumar, managing director and chief executive officer of the company has resigned from the post with effect from March 31, 2019, but will continue as an executive director of the board.
The 27 year old Kaviya Kalanithi Maran is a B.Com graduate from Stella Maris College, Chennai, and had internship in various departments in Sun TV, including content and programming.
After a couple of years working with the company, she joined for MBA in Leonard N Stern School of Business, New York University.
After completing the course, she returned to India and took responsibility to run the operations of Sun TV Group’s Indian Premier League team Sun Risers Hyderabad.
From 2017, she has conceptualised and led the foray of the Group into digital. She currently heads the Sun NXT, the Over-The-Top platform of Sun TV Network, which has crossed 1 million subscribers already and adding around 20,000 subscribers a day.
The company has recently said that it would be rolling out a larger plan for the OTT business, with investment behind original content into the platform.
According to a company filing with the exchanges, the Board of Directors of the company today approved appointment of Kaviya Kalanithi Maran as an additional director and executive director of the company, a decision which will be going for shareholders’ approval through postal ballot.
Apart from Kalanithi Maran, his wife Kavery Kalanithi is also sitting in the board as the Executive Director.
R Mahesh Kumar, who has been the president of the company, has been appointed as an Additional Direcetor as well as Managing Director of the company. It has also appointed two more members to the Board.
The postal ballot will also seek approval from the shareholders for continuation of payment of remuneration payable to Kalanithi Maran, Chairman and Kavery Kalanithi, executive director, as per the Sebi regulation.
— Business Standard
09:02 Another attack on India will be ‘extremely problematic’: US to Pak :
The United States has asked Pakistan to take sustained, verifiable and irreversible action against the perpetrators of terrorism, while warning the country that another terror attack on India will prove to be “extremely problematic”.
“We need to see Pakistan taking concrete and sustained action to reign in the terrorist groups, mainly the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in order to ensure that we don’t have re-escalation (of tension) in the region,” a senior administration official told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
“And, if there’s any additional terrorist attack without Pakistan having made a sustained, sincere effort against these groups, it would be extremely problematic for Pakistan and it would cause re-escalation of tensions, which is dangerous for both countries,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Asked about the steps being taken by Pakistan in the aftermath of the Balakot air strike by Indian fighter jets, the official said the US and the international community needed to see “irreversible and sustained” action against the terror groups.
“It’s early to make a full assessment,” the official said.
In the recent days, the official said Pakistan has taken some “initial” actions. They have frozen the assets of some terrorist groups and made some arrests. They have taken administrative control of some of the JeM facilities, the official added.
“But we clearly need to see more. We need to see irreversible action because in the past, what we’ve seen is they made some arrests and then a few months later, they released these individuals. The terrorist leaders are sometimes still allowed to travel around the country, hold rallies,” the official said.
Reiterating that the United States is looking for “irreversible action”, the official said America is working with its international partners to increase pressure on Pakistan. “Because it has been too long that these groups have been able to operate.”
Observing that Pakistan has economic concerns as well, the official said the Financial Action Tasks Force (FATF) is one area which demonstrates the need for them to take these actions against terror groups. “Otherwise, they’re at risk within the system and the FATF to be grey-listed,” the official said. — PTI
08:28 Trump says he uses Twitter to bypass ‘corrupt’ media:
United States President Donald Trump has defended the frequent use of micro-blogging site Twitter to reach out to the public, asserting that it lets him bypass the “corrupt” and “fake” media.
“I think that Twitter is a way that I get out the word when we have a corrupt media. And it is corrupt and it’s fake. So Twitter is a way that I can get out the word,” Trump told reporters at the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday.
“On five sites, I have over 100 million people, and that includes Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and everything. And it’s a way that I can get honesty out, because there’s tremendous dishonesty with respect to the fake-news media,” the US president added. — PTI
08:22 New Zealand bans sale of assault, semi-automatic rifles:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday an immediate ban on the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatics in response to the Christchurch terror attack that killed 50 people.
“I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles,” Ardern said, while announcing interim measures that will stop a rush of purchases before legislation on the measures takes effect.
She added that high capacity magazines and devices similar to bump stocks — which make rifles fire faster — will also be banned.
“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” she said.
00:09 New Zealand PM Ardern urges students to reject hate:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited old students at Cashmere high school, which is dealing with the loss of two students, and implored the children to join her in rejecting messages of racism and hate.
This is my request, I alone cannot get rid of those things, I need help from every single one of us, she said. So yes, gather together, show those outpourings of love, but also let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism ever. Thats something we can all do.
The crowd of 400 students performed a haka and took the opportunity to question Ardern over the attack. One student asked the prime minister how she was feeling, to which Ardern replied: I am very sad.
As she promised on Tuesday, Ardern did not say the attackers name, and at one point was spontaneously hugged by one of the pupils.
Asked if she would welcome a visit by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to New Zealand after she criticised social media for its role in spreading footage of the attack, she said Im not interested in a PR exercise.