09:52 ‘Truth’ has prevailed, now stop protesting: AIADMK to OPS: With former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam announcing protests and processions in each constituency opposing Edappadi K Palaniswami’s appointment as the new chief minister, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has called on the former to stop his futile efforts, as the ‘truth’ has prevailed.
Speaking to ANI, AIADMK spokesperson Vaigai Selvan said that supporters of OPS are now fighting against the party and it must be stopped at all costs.
“OPS is saying he will meet people across districts now. He can go wherever he wants, but the truth is on our side and I’m sure that truth will win,” he said.
Panneerselvam visited Jayalalithaas memorial on Thursday night and spent some time there with his supporters.
He asserted that the people were against the new government.
“Until this government is removed, we will not sleep or rest. The people don’t want this government,” he said. — ANI
IMAGE: Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam addresses a press conference at his Greenways Road residence in Chennai. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/ PTI Photo
09:24 Sharmila cycles 20km to file nomination: Irom Sharmila of People’s Resurgence Justice Alliance files nomination for Thoubal assembly sear in Manipur to contest against Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
She rode a bicycle to file the nomination and covered a distance of about 20 km from Imphal.– ANI
09:23 NYT calls Karan Johar ‘The man who let India out of the closet’: Director Karan Johar took India by storm with his bold and unapologetic revelations about his life, friends, colleagues and most importantly his identity, in his biography An Unsuitable Boy.
Though he did not utter those “three simple words” — ‘I am gay’ — the filmmaker in a way revealed almost everything about himself in the book.
The New York Times, in an article by Aatish Taseer, has paid KJo a tribute for being what he is.
Aatish Taseer writes, ‘An ocean of innuendo has always surrounded Mr. Johar’s sexuality. He has done more than anybody to introduce the idea of homosexuality into the Indian home. It would seem no closet door was better primed to spring open than his. And yet when he tries the latch, he finds it sticks.’
09:15 Gopal Baglay to replace Vikas Swarup as MEA spokesperson: Rajeev Sharma tells us: Gopal Baglay will take over as the ministry of external affairs’s spokesperson any day after February 19.
Currently joint secretary in the MEA’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran division, Baglay is from the 1992 batch of the Indian Foreign Service.
Baglay replaces Vikas Swarup, IFS batch 1986, who has been appointed as India’s high commissioner to Canada, a post that has been lying vacant since Ambassador Vishnu Prakash retired several months ago.
Vikas Swarup will fly to Ottawa on February 28. He has to present his credentials before March 2 as the Canadian government has advised New Delhi that if Swarup doesn’t present his credentials by March 2 he may have to wait at least four months.
Swarup, whose novel Q&A was made into the Oscar-winnig film, Slumdog Millionaire, has been the MEA’s spokesperson for nearly two years.
At a time when India’s relations with Pakistan are rather frigid, Baglay’s rich experience on Pakistan will come in handy for the Modi government.
Prior to his current hands-on assignment in the MEA headquarters, he had served as India’s deputy high commissioner in Pakistan.
IMAGE: Vikas Swarup
09:03 Malaysia seeks DNA sample to release body of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother: Police in Malaysia’s Selangor state has said that they will not release the body of North Korean leader half-brother until his family has provided a DNA sample.
Pyongyang has requested for the body of the leader’s half-brother.
“So far no family member or next of kin has come to identify or claim the body. We need a DNA sample of a family member to match the profile of the dead person,” Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat was quoted as saying by news agencies.
“North Korea has submitted a request to claim the body, but before we release the body we have to identify who the body belongs to,” he added.
09:02 Dead rat in midday meal served at Delhi school, 9 kids hospitalised: Nine students at a government school in Delhi have been hospitalised after they consumed a midday meal in which a dead rat was allegedly found.
“A rat was found in the meal my son had consumed yesterday, such negligence is not acceptable,” said the mother of one of the students hospitalised.
Meanwhile, Congress’ Kiran Walia said, “Strict supervision must be done on cleanliness, hygiene during food preparation. An enquiry should be ordered and nobody at fault should be spared.”
More details awaited. — ANI
00:47 Will issue new order next week to protect Americans: Trump:
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would be issuing an order next week aimed at keeping the American people safe, as his temporary ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries remains kept on hold by a federal court.
“We will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people,” Trump said at a news conference.
Trump said it will be issued “sometime next week, toward the beginning or middle, at the latest.”
Earlier in his remarks, the president criticized a federal appeals court’s decision to block his late January travel ban. Among other restrictions, it temporarily banned travelers from seven largely Muslim countries.
00:46 Trump: ‘I inherited a mess’:
US President Donald Trump has said the United States faces a host of problems at home and abroad, declaring: “I inherited a mess.”
Trump, speaking at his first solo news conference, said jobs were leaving the country to Mexico and other places, and mass instability was prevalent overseas.
“To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad. A mess,” he said.
“Low pay, low wages. Mass instability overseas no matter where you look. The Middle East a disaster. North Korea. We’ll take care of it, folks. We’re going to take care of it all.”
He made the remark after presenting Alexander Acosta, a former federal prosecutor from Florida, as his nominee for to lead the Department of Labour.
Acosta was tapped after Trump’s first nominee for the post, Andrew Puzder, withdrew under pressure over his business record and other past controversies in his personal life.
00:41 HC dumps plea to turn Jayalalithaa’s home into memorial:
The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to Tamil Nadu government to convert the Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa into a public memorial.
Dismissing the petition filed by S Parthiban, the division bench comprising justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and R Mahadevan said, “It appears that seeking an identical relief a petition was filed before the Madurai Bench of this court and by an order dated January 12, 2017, the said petition was dismissed as not maintainable.”
“In view of the above, nothing remains to be reconsidered in the present petition. Petition is dismissed,” it said.
The petitioner submitted that Jayalalithaa was in possession of ‘Veda Nilayam’ residence in Poes Garden in Chennai. After her demise, politicians belonging to AIADMK party were using the residence and not her legal heirs, he claimed.
Therefore, he had made a representation to the authorities concerned to convert the residence into a memorial. However, no action was taken, he said.
Recently, caretaker Chief Minister O Paneerselvam had launched a signature campaign, seeking public support to convert the residence into a memorial. The 24,000 square feet residence in Chennai is named “Veda Nilayam” after Jayalalithaa’s mother, who was known as Sandhya in the Tamil film industry.
00:40 Talks on for Made in India F-16s, says Lockheed:
American defence major Lockheed Martin has said that discussions are currently taking place between the US and Indian governments on the company’s plans to set up manufacturing base for F-16 fighter jets in India.
“The conversation has progressed to the point that we are deferring at this point to the government-to-government conversation. And that conversation is ongoing,” a top company official told reporters at Aero India 2017 air show in Bengaluru.
The comments from Randy Howard, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Integrated Fighter, Director, Business Development, came when asked about its move to push ahead with its plan to move production of its F-16 to India, but that the Trump Administration is taking a “fresh look” at its proposal.
“We had really very strong support up to this point. We are deferring those questions and concerns over to governments who are having an ongoing conversation. The discussions have progressed to the point that the requirements need to be more fully articulated…,” he said.
“There are a number of internal discussions going on here in India on strategic partners. Discussions between the two governments at this point. We will wait to hear from the two governments and Lockheed Martin is fully supportive of those decisions,” he said.
Lockheed had said recently that its officials have briefed the Trump Administration on the current proposal, which was supported by the Obama Administration as part of a broader cooperative dialogue with the Government of India.
Trump has flayed US firms for having moved manufacturing overseas and then sell their products back to the US and asked them to produce in the US itself. Lockheed, however, does not plan to sell back F-16 in the US which has not placed fresh orders for it.
00:39 US, Russia military chiefs meet in Azerbaijan:
The top military commanders from the US and Russia have met for the first time since Donald Trump became president, as Moscow warned Washington against trying any strongarm tactics.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford held talks with his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, as both sides have mooted potential cooperation against Islamic State jihadists.
Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement that the two generals “exchanged opinions regarding the condition of Russian-American relations” and on the security situation around the globe.
They also determined areas for cooperation in “increasing the security of military activity, decreasing tensions and the risks of accidents,” the statement said.
Relations between Russia and the US have slumped to their lowest point since the Cold War over Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine, and military ties are limited to a system aimed at avoiding clashes in the air over Syria.
Trump has repeatedly held out the prospect of cooperating with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State group, a goal that the Kremlin has long been pushing for.
The United States insisted, however, that today’s meeting between the military bosses was not political in nature and had been planned for months.