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LIVE! Abu Azmi mocks KJo's surrogacy choice: Can't he get married?

17:39  What do Michelle Obama and Jaunpur have in common? Ask Rahul:   Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “grown old” and must be “feeling tired”, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today said his party and ally SP would form a “government of youth” in Uttar Pradesh.

This government of youth, he claimed, will make UP “the factory of the world” and even former first lady of the USA Michelle Obama would find ‘Made in Jaunpur’ embossed over her kitchen utensils.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has grown old, and hence a government of the youth will be formed in UP. And this government will make the state — the factory of the world. Products with ‘Made in Uttar Pradesh’ embossed on them will be made available throughout the world,” he said.

Continuing his jibe, Rahul claimed that since Modi has grown old, he must be feeling tired. “I told Akhilesh that we must extend some help to Modiji. Let’s give him some time…some moments of peace. You (Akhilesh) become the Chief Minister, and he (Modi) would get some rest,” he said. Taking a dig at the PM’s roadshows in Varanasi, Rahul said, “Repeated re-takes of Modiji’s film are taking place.” In four days, there have been four re-takes, but things did not materialise, he said. “Two days ago there was a roadshow, it did not yield desirable results, then there was a roadshow yesterday, it too did not result in anything positive. I heard that today Modiji is walking on foot,” said Rahul, taking a swipe.

Continuing his attack, he said that Modiji’s film of ‘Achhe Din’ has flopped and will not be available for public viewing. “In fact, Modiji is afraid, and hence for the last three days he has been camping in Varanasi,” he alleged.

In his speech, Rahul said that five years from now, if a farmer from the state goes to the US, he would find that the phones available there are manufactured in UP. “We would emboss ‘Made in Uttar Pradesh’ over it, and whichever shop he visits, the entire stock would be from UP,” Gandhi said.

Referring to the former US First Lady, Rahul said, “When Obama’s wife would be cooking food in her kitchen, she would admire the utensils. After admiring the cooking utensils she should read the lines ‘Made in Jaunpur’ embossed over them.”

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17:24  Abu Azmi mocks KJo’s surrogacy choice: Can’t he get married? :   Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi is in the news and once again for all the wrong reasons. Referring to the new blessings in Karan Johar’s life — twins (a boy and a girl) through surrogacy, Abu Azmi today asked, “Why didn’t Karan Johar get married? He is old now. Can’t he get married? If he had any medical issue, he could have adopted. Why this surrogacy theatrics?”

This comes a day after Karan Johar took to twitter to announce to the world that he had welcomed two children in his life through surrogacy.

“I am ecstatic to share with you all two of the most beautiful additions to my life, my children, and lifelines Roohi and Yash. I feel blessed to be a parent to theses pieces of my heart,” Karan had announced on Sunday.

This is not the first time Azmi has made objectionable statements. Reacting to the assault on women on the New Year’s Eve in Bengaluru, Azmi said, he blamed the ‘attire’ of the women for attacks. “In these modern times, the more skin women show, the more they are considered fashionable. If my sister or daughter stays out beyond sunset celebrating December 31 with a man who isn’t their husband or brother, that’s not right,” Abu Azmi had said, adding that “if there’s gasoline, there will be fire. If there’s spilt sugar, ants will gravitate towards it for sure”.

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17:13  ‘Modi is hologramming himself into every state’:  Congress National Spokesperson Manish Tewari, in his book Decoding A Decade — The Politics of Policymaking, details how the United Progressive Alliance government functioned, how it could have saved the blushes and how it was in many ways better than the present Narendra Modi government. Tiwari spoke to Rediff.com’s Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai. Read the interview here.

16:59  Rishi Kapoor gets abusive on Twitter :  Rishi Kapoor is again in news for something that he does always- unabashed replies to trolls or online criticism.

The actor has now abused a woman on Twitter, who was trolling him.

It all started when Senior Kapoor posted a quiz asking his followers to guess what is common between him and Karan Johar.

While some gave the right answer, others trolled him.

Instead of ignoring them, the 64-year-old messaged them personally and abused them.

While many started criticising the actor, a woman claimed that this is not the first time he is using curse words.

She posted the screenshot of the message received from Rishi Kapoor.

16:50  No bidder turns up for prime real estate assets of Vijay Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airlines in Mumbai and Goa during auction by lenders.

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16:45  The process of social change is seldom linear or pretty:   The Bharatiya Janata Party is no longer crying Ram Mandir (since there is no masjid to demolish any more); the Samajwadi Party is talking laptops and expressways rather than ‘social justice’ and job quotas; and Mayavati is promising development and not revenge of the oppressed castes. But for all that, the flavour and the fault-lines that animated the heartland state more than two-and-a-half decades ago seem to have returned with a vengeance. And so have the possibilities of fresh realignments, new coalitions between former partners-turned-bitter adversaries to take on an old foe in new clothes. Read Manini Chatterjee’s piece in the Telegraph.

16:38  Former BCCI president Anurag Thakur renders unqualified and unconditional apology in the Supreme Court.

16:37  Kashmiri youth should unmask ‘duplicity’ of leaders: Jitendra Singh :   Minister of State (MoS) for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh on Monday said the so-called ‘Kashmir-centric leaders’ with separatist leanings instigate poor children to become stone pelters and sacrifice their lives for the so-called ‘jihad’, whereas they themselves have lodged their children in ‘safe havens’ in metropolitan cities outside the Valley.

Launching a scathing attack on what he termed as the ‘duplicity’ of the Kashmiri leaders, Singh said that recent developments in the Valley have made the youth more awakened and, therefore, it was time to unmask these leaders.

“It is also an opportunity for the youth of Kashmir, who are already much more awakened than before to see through this duplicity and also call upon this Kashmir-centric leaders that if they are indeed as sincere as they claim to be to the so-called freedom struggle, then, why don’t they offer their own children to become stone pelters and risk their lives?” he told ANI.

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15:53  China opens a 2nd airport terminal in Tibet:  

China on Monday operationalised the second-largest airport terminal in Tibet, close to the Indian border, which will be able to handle 750,000 passengers and 3,000 tonnes of cargo annually by 2020. 

The new terminal, the sixth to be opened in Tibet, is part of Nyingchi Mainling Airport, which is located close to Arunachal Pradesh.

China’s extensive development road, rail and air infrastructure in Tibet has sparked concerns in India as it also provides major advantage to the Chinese military.

India too has initiated border infrastructure development in the recent years.

The airport covers an area of 10,300 square meters and will be able to handle 750,000 passengers and 3,000 tonnes of cargo annually by 2020, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nyingchi airport will open new air routes to Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, resume routes to Beijing and increase more round trip flights to Lhasa, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chongqing and Shenzhen after the new terminal comes into service, said Liu Wei, deputy director of Civil Aviation Administration of China in Tibet. 

The airport has seen year-on-year increases in passenger flow since it was put into service in 2006. Passenger volume hit 390,000 in 2016, bringing the total passenger numbers to two million in the past years, Liu said, adding that the new terminal will effectively alleviate pressure brought by the growing number of passengers.

Nyingchi is located in southeast Tibet at an average elevation of 2,950 meters above sea-level. The city has attracted more visitors in the recent years due to tourist attractions such as its peach blossom festival, the report said. 

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15:53  Ramjas incident: Court asks Delhi Police to file ATR:  

A Delhi court on Monday directed the Delhi Police to file an action taken report in a criminal complaint seeking lodging of an FIR in the Ramjas College incident in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. 

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra asked the SHO of Maurice Nagar police station in north Delhi to file the report and listed the matter for further hearing on March 30. 

“Notice be issued to the SHO concerned to file Action Taken Report before the court on March 30,” the court said. 

During the hearing, complainant and advocate Vivek Garg submitted that the leaders/students from All India Students Association/Students Federation of India allegedly raised anti-national slogans in Ramjas College on February 21 when a seminar was organised there. 

15:48  Sensex rebounds 215.74 pts to end at 29,048.19; Nifty recovers 65.90 pts to 8,963.45.

15:27  85 Indian fishermen jailed in Pakistan:  

At least 85 Indian fishermen were today sent to jail after being arrested by Pakistani authorities for allegedly fishing into the country’s territorial waters.

The fishermen were arrested yesterday by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency. 

A spokesman for the agency said the fishermen were asked to leave the Pakistani territorial waters near Sir Creek in the Arabian Sea but they did not pay attention to the call. 

“We have also seized 14 boats and handed them over to the Docks police for further action,” he said. 

Shaukat Ali, a senior police official at the Docks police station, said the Indian fishermen were today presented before a judicial magistrate who ordered them to be sent to jail. 

A fishermen’s association in India yesterday put the number of those arrested at 94. On January 27, the Maritime Security Agency had arrested 60 Indian fishermen and seized 10 boats. 

India and Pakistan share an extensive maritime boundary which is poorly defined, resulting in fishermen on both sides inadvertently crossing over to the other side.

15:26  Women in India earn 25% less than men: Survey:  

Women in India earn 25 per cent less than men, with men earning a median gross hourly salary of Rs 345.80, while for women it is only Rs 259.8, says a Monster India report. 

Though the gender pay gap has narrowed by 2 percentage points from 27.2 per cent in 2015 over last year. 

About 68.5 per cent women of India Inc feel that gender parity is still a concern. 

The Monster Salary Index on gender noted that sector-wise the average gender pay gap in the manufacturing sector stood at 29.9 per cent — the highest in India.

The Manufacturing sector was followed by the IT sector where it stood at 25.8 per cent. The gender pay gap in the BFSI sector was at 21.5 per cent, slightly under the general gender pay gap in India (25 per cent). 

In Education and Research sector, the average gender pay gap was at 14.7 per cent. 

“In India, the gender pay gap story holds true and the overall gap across India Inc is at 25 per cent. This primarily is a manifestation of the underlying diversity challenges that organisations currently face,” Sanjay Modi, Managing Director, APAC & Middle-East, Monster.com said.

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15:16  Trump will hate Der Spiegel:  Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s most well-read publications has this on its latest cover. It’s Trump’s face merged with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Or Putin’s face with Trump’s hair. The cover states: “How much of Putin is in Trump?”

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15:05  Enough of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, time for some ‘Kaam Ki Baat’, taunts Akhilesh:  Launching a blistering attack on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said the former has done a lot of ‘Mann ki Baat’ and now it is time for him to do some ‘Kaam ki Baat’.

“He has done a lot of ‘Mann ki Baat’ but somehow people could not understand his ‘Mann ki Baat’. We would just like to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he has done enough of ‘Mann ki Baat’ but now it’s time for him to do some ‘Kaam ki Baat’,” Akhilesh said while addressing a rally in Jaunpur.

Terming Prime Minister Modi’s back-to-back rallies in Varanasi as a sign of ‘desperation’, Akhilesh said the BJP does not have any agenda and that the people must not believe them.

Escalating his attack on the Prime Minister, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said while the former was yet to fulfill his promise of ‘acche din’, the Samajwadi Party government had done a lot of developmental work in the state, including ambulance services, dedicated 100 number for police, medical college, constructions of roads etc.

“The people who promised ‘acche din’ are nowhere to be seen. The people have failed to understand Prime Minister’s Mann ki Baat,” he added.

Claiming that the Samajwadi government has managed to give over 22 hours of power in cities and 14-18 hours of electricity in villages, Akhilesh said “Even in Kashi, which is the constituency of the Prime Minister, we gave 24 hours of electricity.”

Mocking Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, Akhilesh said people slept in her rally while she was reading long speeches.”Who will believe such a leader who created her own statues across the state…beware of my bua, she could join hands with BJP at any time,” he warned.

On the last day of campaigning in the marathon Uttar Pradesh elections, star campaigners will today make a final pitch for votes in multiple rallies.

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14:45  Modi tells UP: Will double farmer incomes by 2022:  PM Modi addressing a rally at the Rohaniya Assembly segment falling under his Lok Sabha constituency. Highlights…

“Being raised in a poor family, I am aware of the hardships poor face. We would take every step that uplifts them. I have a dream of doubling farmer incomes by 2022. We have brought the Soil Health Card. We are training our farmers using scientific farming methods.

“The UP government is anti-farmer. Why is it that farmers don’t benefit from the Fasal Bima Yojana? Why they don’t help farmers in distress? 

“We want poor households to have access to clean fuel. We aim to provide 5 crore families with LPG connections in 3 years.

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14:28  26/11 attack carried out by Pak-based terror group: Pak ex-NSA:  Pakistan’s former national security adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani today said the 26/11 Mumbai attack was carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan and called it a “classic” example of cross-border terror. At the same time, he, however, said the Pakistani government had no role in the attack. Durrani was speaking at a conference on combating terrorism at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis. 26/11 Mumbai strike, carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan, was a classic trans-border terrorist event, he said.

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13:58  AIIMS hands over Jayalalithaa’s health reports :  The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has handed over the five visit reports on the health of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to the Tamil Nadu government. The papers were handed over in New Delhi today by V Srinivas, Deputy Director Administration AIIMS to Dr J Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary Health & Family Welfare, Govt of Tamil Nadu.

At the request of Government of Tamil Nadu, AIIMS had deployed a team of senior specialists to visit Chennai five times between October 5, 2016 and December 6, 2016 under the leadership of Dr GC Khilnani, pulmonologist. The Tamil Nadu government requested AIIMS on March 5, 2017 for handing over the visit notes of the AIIMS delegation to Chennai for their official records.

Jayalalithaa died on December 5.

13:34  RBI refuses to allow deposit of demonetised notes: SC to hear plea on March 10:  SC notice to Centre, RBI, on plea alleging that people are not being allowed to deposit demonetised currency notes till March 31, 2017 as promised. SC fixes the petitions on demonetisation for further hearing on March 10.

The RBI conditions for exchange of defunct notes for those, including non-resident Indians, who failed to do so till December 30, 2015, the last day for depositing the invalid currency notes in banks are:

1. Resident Indian citizens who were abroad from November 9 to December 30 can avail this facility up to March 31, 2017.

2.  NRI citizens, who were abroad during this period, can exchange their defunct notes up to June 30, 2017.

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13:28  SC’s final orders on Babri demolition on March 22, D-day for Advani :   The Supreme Court will deliver its final orders on the Babri Masjid demolition on March 22. The court said it will not accept discharge of BJP leader LK Advani and 12 others on technical grounds.

This means conspiracy charges against Advani and others may be revived in the decades-old Babri mosque demolition case.

The order on March 22 will reveal whether or not Advani and other leaders will face charges.

Advani and a dozen others were discharged by a court of conspiracy charges and the main case against Karsevaks or Hindu activists accused of razing the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992 is pending in the Lucknow trial court.

The court was hearing the CBI’s appeal against the dropping of conspiracy charges against Advani and others

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12:46  PM’s road show in Varanasi today near model village he adopted:  On the final day of campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding a rally in predominantly rural Rohaniya Assembly segment falling under his Lok Sabha constituency.

This will be the third consecutive day of electioneering by the Prime Minister in Varanasi. Since Friday, Modi has addressed as many as three public meetings and taken out two processions in open vehicles. The Congress has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission that prior permission had not been sought for Friday’s “roadshow”, taken out hours before a similar show of strength by Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav.

The BJP has maintained that these were not “roadshows” but “Jan Sampark yatras” and there was no breach of model code of conduct as the PM merely waved at the cheering crowds, without uttering a word, on his way to a temple on Friday and the venue of his rally yesterday.

Today’s rally appears strategically timed and placed as Modi will deliver his speech when less than a quarter of the day will be left before campaign comes to a close at 5 PM.

Rohaniya houses Jayapur, the first village to be adopted by the PM under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. The assembly segment had come into being after the delimitation of constituencies in 2008.

It has stuck out like a sore thumb for the BJP in Varanasi, which is otherwise considered a party stronghold. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Murli Manohar Joshi won the seat for the BJP though the party trailed in Rohaniya behind the candidates of Samajwadi Party, BSP and Apna Dal, one of the reasons why his victory margin remained a slim 18,000 votes.

In the 2012 assembly polls, the BJP finished a distant fourth with its candidate securing a paltry 9.67 per cent of votes and forfeiting his deposit.

Wary of the tricky nature of this assembly segment, the party entered into a tie-up with Apna Dal (AD), just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.The AD enjoys a following among the Kurmis, who form a major chunk of voters. AD’s Anupriya Patel was the sitting MLA from the seat and she went on to win from Mirzapur in the Lok Sabha polls riding the Modi wave. Her party, though lost Rohaniya in the ensuring

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12:11  SC refuses to stay Gayatri Prajapatis arrest:  The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a plea by Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Gayatri Prajapati’s seeking a stay on his arrest and asked him to approach the concerned court. Prajapati, who has been absconding since February 27, had approached the  apex court asking for a stay on his arrest.

After the police failed to trace him, Prajapati’s passport was impounded and a non-bailable warrant was issued against him. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Governor Ram Naik also wrote a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asking him why Prajapati was still continuing as a minister in his cabinet.

12:04  Make the men answer:   The recent attack on a woman actor in Kerala has shaken the state. Both government and employers, including the film industry, are accountable on women’s safety. Read more
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12:02  UP: NO Exit Polls till 5:30 pm on March 9:  The Election Commission (EC) has prohibited exit polls for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections till 5.30 p.m. on March 9 following the death of the Samajwadi Party candidate for the Alapur seat, in the wake of which polling, originally scheduled for February 27, has been pushed back to Thursday, an official said.

State Chief Electoral Officer T. Venkatesh said on Monday that if any media organisation published or broadcast exit polls before the stipulated deadline it would be treated as violation of the Model Code of Conduct and strictly dealt with.

The earlier deadline of the exit polls was 30 minutes after the conclusion of the staggered seven-phase polls on March 8.

Voting in Uttar Pradesh began on February 11 and was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday after a hectic, long drawn and caustic campaigning by various political parties.

Results of the 403 state assembly seats would be announced on March 11.
Hectic preparations were underway across the state for the counting of votes. The Electronic Voting Machines are stored under heavy security in the 75 districts of the state.

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11:44  PM Modi offers prayers at Gadhwaghat Ashram in Varanasi.

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11:42  PM’s 3rd and final day on campaign trail in Varanasi :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah will continue their campaign out Varanasi. The PM was at a gaushala at Gadhwa ghat Ashram in Varanasi this morning.

Modi will be spending the third consecutive day at his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi today campaigning for the Assembly election which has now transformed into a do-or-die battle for all the major parties. The last of the seven-phase voting is scheduled to be held on March 8. The PM will address a public rally in Rohaniya, about 200 km from Varanasi, before returning to New Delhi late in the evening.  

On the last day of campaigning in the marathon Uttar Pradesh elections, star campaigners will today make a final pitch for votes in multiple rallies. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, seeking a second term in UP, will address seven rallies through the day.

40 assembly constituencies in eastern UP, including five in Varanasi, will vote in the final round of the seven-phase UP assembly election on Wednesday. Votes will be counted on Saturday, March 11.    

The UP assembly election, a contest between the BJP, the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance and the BSP, is seen as a bellwether for the 2019 national election.   

On Saturday, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav along with ally Rahul Gandhi of the Congress too held a roadshow in Varanasi almost crossing the path of PM Modi. 

11:19   Five Pak Army men killed in terrorist attack along Afghan border posts :   At least five Pakistan Army soldiers and more than 10 militants have reportedly been killed in a terrorist attack on three border posts along Afghasnistan in Mohmand Agency on Sunday night.

Pakistan army’s military media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that last night terrorists from across the border attempted physical attack on three Pakistan border posts in Mohmand Agency.

“In exchange of fire five soldiers embraced martyrdom and over 10 terrorists were reportedly killed,” Dawn quoted the ISPR statement as saying. “Effective presence, vigilance and response repulsed terrorists attempt,” it added.

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11:11  Varanasi: PM Narendra Modi at Gadhwa ghat Ashram

11:07  US Republicans expected to unveil healthcare bill this week:  Republican US lawmakers expect to unveil this week the text of long-awaited legislation to repeal and replace the Obamacare healthcare law, one of President Donald Trump’s top legislative priorities, a senior Republican congressional aide told Reuters on Sunday.

Since taking office in January, Trump has pressed his fellow Republicans who control Congress to act quickly to dismantle former Democratic President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and pass a plan to replace it, but lawmakers in the party have differed on the specifics.

Democrats have warned that Republicans risk throwing the entire US healthcare system into chaos by repealing the 2010 law that was passed by congressional Democrats over united Republican opposition. Republicans condemn it as a government overreach, and Trump has called it a “disaster.”

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10:47  US hate crime: Sikhs in Washington express concern, fear :  Alarmed by incidents of the recent killings of Indian citizens in the United States, the Sikh community in Washington DC has expressed their concerns and conveyed the need to prevent such incidents and protect the Indian community.

“The Sikh community in United States is saddened by the incident in Kent Washington. A Sikh gentleman was shot in the arm. He was told to “go back to your own country. That has really created a heightened sense of alert and concern throughout the United States. It’s the similar situation,” said Dr Rajwant Singh, Founder and Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.

Asserting that there is deep concern for the safety of the community members, Singh said it’s very important that the national leadership comes forward and make a very powerful and strong statement against these kinds of hateful acts.

“Our heart goes to all the people who have faced similar circumstances. An Indian-American was killed in Kansas just few days ago and the Jewish community has seen the rise of threats against the community and their centres. So this is not the American that we have always felt so proud of. We feel America is a great country but there are some fringe elements who have now come out and they are trying to create hate among communities and against minorities,” he added.

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10:41  The REAL reason Rahul-Akhilesh press meet was cancelled today:  In battleground Varanasi, Akhilesh-Rahul’s joint press conference cancelled. The Congress party says the press meet has been cancelled because Rahul’s plane has not been allowed to land because the airport is closed due to PM’s departure.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday held a road show in Varanasi on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.

Political heat picked up in Varanasi as Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav joined in the medga road show, which witnessed a huge crowd cheering for both the leaders.

The Samajwadi Party-Congress road show began from ‘Kachehri chauraha’ area and will culminate at the ‘Girjaghar chauraha’.

Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also held a rally at Jaunpur where Prime Minister Modi also addressed a rally.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Varanasi this morning and offered prayers at Kashi Vishwanath temple after a massive road show.

He also visited the Kaal Bhairav temple before leaving for Jaunpur where he held an election rally.

“Uttar Pradesh’s voters have already given majority to BJP. We will form government in Uttar Pradesh, will waive loans of small farmers,” he said.

Mayawati, while holding a rally on the outskirts around Rohaniya said, “BJP and Samajwadi-Congress are competing for second and third places in Uttar Pradesh.”

10:25  Sensex scales past 29,000-mark, up 217 pts in early trade:  The BSE Sensex staged a smart recovery by about 217 points to top the 29,000-mark in early trade today as fresh buying by investors led to widespread gains amid a mixed trend in other Asian markets.

The broader NSE Nifty too followed suit, going past the 8,900-mark. The 30-share index, which had lost 152.04 points in the previous two sessions, recovered sharply by 216.60 points, or 0.75 per cent, to trade at 29,049.05.

Brokers said that besides buying by retail investors, pumping of funds into the market by domestic institutional investors too contributed to the recovery. Stocks of auto, banking, PSU, oil & gas, power, capital goods, FMCG, healthcare, realty and metal led the gains.

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10:10  This is what INS Viraat looked like in its previous birth. HMS Hermes was commissioned by the British Royal Navy in 1959. In 1986, the Indian Navy purchased it and named it INS Viraat

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09:51  India’s tallest tricolour hoisted at Attari border:  

India on Sunday hoisted the tallest tricolour in the country at the Attari border. The 360-foot tall flag is high enough to be spotted from Lahore in Pakistan.

Hoisted on a 110-meter high mast, the flag is 120-foot long and 80-foot wide. The weight of the flag pole is 55 tonnes, and an estimated Rs 3.50 crore rupees have been spent on this project by the Punjab government.

Before this, the title of the tallest national flag in India belonged to a 293-foot-high tricolour that was hoisted in Jharkhand’s Ranchi.

Interestingly, Pakistan is not happy with India’s decision to hoist the tricolour at the international border.

Pakistan authorities apparently fear that India could use the mast to spy in Pakistani land by installing cameras on the flag pole.

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09:45  Pollution kills 1.7 million children every year: WHO:  

A shocking report by World Health Organisation reveals that each year, environmental pollutants cost an estimated 1.7 million lives among children under five.

The causes include unsafe water, lack of sanitation, poor hygiene practices and indoor and outdoor pollution, as well as injuries.

The new numbers equate to these pollutants being the cause of one in four deaths of children 1 month to 5 years old.

One new report highlights that the most common causes of child death are preventable through interventions already available to the communities most affected. These causes are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia, which can be prevented using insecticide-treated bed nets, clean cooking fuels and improved access to clean water.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one — particularly for young children,” Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, said in a statement. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

Infants exposed to indoor or outdoor air pollution, including secondhand smoke, have an increased risk of pneumonia during childhood as well as an increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases — such as asthma — for the rest of their lives, one report states.

09:42  Vice Prez heads to Jakarta for IORA Summit:  

Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari is embarking on a two-day visit to Indonesian capital Jakarta from today to attend the Summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Connectivity, open maritime trade and rights of navigation are expected to be priority areas to be discussed during his visit.

Vice-President Ansari is also expected to stress on the member countries about evolving common strategies to meet the conventional and non-conventional threats to the security of the member countries.

This is the first Summit level conference hosted by Jakarta, at a time when the regional forum is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Indonesia had played a key role in elevating the IORA to become a summit level forum.

During the summit Indian Ocean Rim Association will produce four documents to make Indian Ocean peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

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09:39  INS Viraat will be broken up in 4 months if there’s no buyer: Navy chief:  

Aircraft carrier INS Viraat, to be decommissioned today, will be broken up in 4 months if there’s no buyer: Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has told NDTV.

Another option, the naval chief said, would be to sink INS Viraat, converting her into a tourist hub for divers. The proposal, though, is yet to be forwarded to the government.

Defence ministry had earlier this year indicated that it may be forced to scrap the 27,800-tonne carrier, which saw operational service in the Royal British Navy for 27 years before being inducted by the Indian Navy in 1987, because of the continuing imbroglio with the Andhra Pradesh government over who will foot the bill for converting it into a museum.

According to media reports, it will cost almost Rs 1,000 crore to convert the 13-storey high INS Viraat into an aircraft carrier museum, with a proper final resting place or berthing, backed by a self-sustaining revenue model. The Andhra government is willing to take the carrier but is demanding the MoD foot half the cost.

The MoD, in turn, says it can provide technical help and advice, not major funding for the project. 

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09:16  PM Modi to address rallies in Varanasi today:  

It’s another day of rallies for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh.

PM Modi will address a gathering at Rohania in Varanasi. 

He will also be participating in a public-contact programme in northern parts of the town.

09:11  Earthquake measuring 4.8 hits northwestern J&K:   An earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter Scale has hit northwestern Jammu & Kashmir region. 

According to the Indian Met Department, the earthquake struck at 8:14 am. 

The location of the epicentre of the earthquake was Latitude 35.7 N and Longitude 74.0 E, with a depth of 50 km. 

There were no immediate reports of any injuries to life. More details are awaited.

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08:48  6.5 quake hits off Papua New Guinea, no tsunami:  

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea on Monday, officials said, but no Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued.

The tremor hit at a depth of 28 kilometres (17 miles) near sparsely populated New Britain Island, 450 kilometres northeast of the capital Port Moresby, the United States Geological Survey said.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ruled out a widespread tsunami.

“Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected,” it said.

New Britain, the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, is east of mainland New Guinea and has a population of around 500,000 people.

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08:27  INS Viraat, world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier, retires today:  

India will on Monday decommission its 57-year-old 24,300-tonne Centaur-class aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

Commissioned into the Royal Navy in November, 1959, as HMS Hermes, she served the British for 27 years before being decommissioned in 1984. India then bought the vessel and rechristened it INS Viraat, to be commissioned into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.

INS Viraat sailed under her own power for the last time from Mumbai to Kochi in July 2016. In October 2016, she was towed out of Kochi and returned to Mumbai, where she will be formally decommissioned on March 6.

Soon after commissioning, it saw active operations when it became part of Operation Jupiter in July 1989 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka, after the Indo-Sri Lankan accord broke down. But it was not the first time that she had seen active operations. While with the Royal Navy, she had played a major role in the Falkland wars.

The last of operational duties for the ageing INS Viraat came when she was deployed in the International Fleet Review in Viskhakapatnam in February 2016. But then, the Navy had to decide on its fate, primarily due to the ever increasing operational costs involved to keep her battle ready.

08:24  US assures India of speedy justice to Indian-American victims:  

The US has assured India of working with all agencies to ensure “speedy justice” to the Indian-American victims of bias-related incidents. 

“State Department, on behalf of US Govt, expressed condolences and assured they are working with all agencies concerned to ensure speedy justice,” the Indian Embassy in the US said in a series of tweets. 

India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna reached out to the State Department to convey his “deep concerns” to US government on recent tragic incidents involving Hardish Patel and Deep Rai. 

Sarna also “underlined” need to prevent such incidents and protect Indian community. 

Indian Embassy officials are in constant communication with local police officials in both the cases. 

In the case of Patel, the County Sheriff has pointed out that this may not be a hate crime. “We will remain in touch with them,” an Indian Embassy source said.

The Consulate General of India in Atlanta has deputed a consular official to meet the family and offer condolences and any required assistance.

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08:19  North Korea fires ballistic missiles into ocean:  

North Korea today fired “several” banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) into waters off its east coast, South Korea’s military said, an apparent reaction to huge military drills by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang insists are an invasion rehearsal. 

It was not immediately clear what type of missile was fired or the exact number; Pyongyang has staged a series of missile test-launches of various ranges in recent months. The ramped-up tests come as leader Kim Jong Un pushes for a nuclear and missile program that can deter what he calls US and South Korean hostility toward the North.

Seoul and Washington call their military drills on the Korean Peninsula, which remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty, defensive and routine. 

The South’s Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement that today’s launches were made from the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province. The area is the home of the North’s Seohae Satellite Station where it has conducted prohibited long-range rocket launches in recent years.

08:16  Good morning….

08:16  Good morning….

Source: Rediff