12:23 Number plate of molestors’ scooter masked by tail light makes ID tough: B’luru police : Six people have been detained for questioning in the Kammanahalli molestation case with suspects from the area questioned by the police team probing the case.
A woman was groped and assaulted by two men on a scooter near her home in the Kammanahalli area of Bengaluru. The entire incident was captured on CCTV cameras, even as bystanders a stone’s throw away did not intervene.
Teams are also looking for the scooter seen in the CCTV footage, but the scooter’s tail lamp masked the number plate -a hurdle for investigators, the police said.
Commissioner of police Praveen Sood said that the footage is credible and officers were on the job. Police have been trying to access other CCTV cameras in the area. Police said there are a few ATMs near the spot where the attack took place. But these ATMs were shut because there were no currency notes loaded into machines, and so the cameras recorded no footage.
Police began their hunt by scanning mobile phones active in that area when the incident took place. “We prepared a list of mobile numbers active between 2am and 3am on January 1. After filtering out women and senior citizens, we will start calling the remaining numbers, seeking details of the receiver,” a senior police officer said.
While no complaint has been filed, the police have filed a case suo moto.
12:00 BSP releases first list of 100 candidates for upcoming UP assembly elections.
“It was the first such arrest of two Sikh pilgrims since Prakash Utsav began last week,” a district police official said. The state government and organizing committee of Prakash Utsav has appealed to Sikh pilgrims to respect Prohibition orders in Bihar. In the last nine months, nearly 29,000 people have been arrested in Bihar for violation of Prohibition orders.
The Bihar government clamped total Prohibition in the state on April 5, 2016. The main function of holding special prayers and kirtan will be held on January 5, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will be present.
MI Khan in Patna/Rediff.com
11:17 Bill targeting H1B visas reintroduced in US Congress: A bill backing key changes in the H1-B programme that allows skilled workers from countries like India to fill high-tech jobs in the US has been re-introduced in the US Congress by two lawmakers who claim that that it will help crack down on the work visa abuse.
The ‘Protect and Grow American Jobs Act’ makes important changes to the eligibility requirements for H1-B Visa exemptions was re-introduced yesterday by Republican Darrell Issa and Scott Peters — both from California.
The bill among other things increase the minimum salary of H-1B visa to USD 100,000 per annum and eliminate the Masters Degree exemption. The legislation, they argued, will help crack down on abuse and ensure that these jobs remain available for the best and brightest talent from around the world.
The bill comes after a number of companies — Disney, SoCal Edison and others — have come under fire for abusing the H1B Visa programme to replace American workers with foreign workers.
11:13 Just in: The Supreme Court agrees to expedite a hearing on the issue of whether those facing trials for serious crimes can be allowed to contest polls.
11:05 SC dismisses PIL on ‘mystery’ surrounding Jayalalithaa’s death : Just in: The Supreme Court has dismissed a PIL seeking a probe in the death of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. The PIL was filed by a primary member of the AIADMK, PA Joseph and lists the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation at Apollo Hospitals on September 22. The PIL says the secrecy preceding her death gave rise to grave doubts in people’s mind.
10:51 Female CM has given free hand to hooligans, says Babul Supriyo on Mamata: Asserting that during the Communist Party of India (Marxist) rule there was free hand to goons, Union Minister of State and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babul Supriyo on Thursday alleged that under the regime of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), hooliganism has been taken to another level.
“This is their tradition. What is most unfortunate is that a female chief minister has given a free hand to TMC hooligans and has kept them safe. During CPM rule, the condition was same but TMC has taken it to another level,” Supriyo told ANI.
Supriyo also accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of tampering evidence related to Saradha and Rose Valley chit-fund scam.
“I have been urging Mamata Banerjee since yesterday not to act childish saying ‘arrest Babul Supriyo, arrest Sujan Chakraborty.’ You have been in politics since long. You never cooperated with central agencies. You got the evidence destroyed by police in the Khagragarh Blast…The SIT which Didi constituted was formed to destroyed the documents related to Saradha and Rose Valley. If Didi has evidence against us, why doesn’t she produce them?” he added.
In contrast to the BJP minister’s claim of TMC goons attacking his home, the ruling party in Bengal termed the entire incident ‘concoctive’ and that the attackers belonged to the saffron party itself.
TMC MLA Sovan Deb Chatterjee told ANI, “This is completely a blatant lie. There was no such attempt from the Trinamool Congress. The information which we have gathered… agencies tell us that this is their concoctive story. They built up the story to come in the limelight. From the agencies (police) we have come to know that the boys who demonstrated the action were their own men.”
Deb asserted that if the TMC would initiate a fight, it would initiate it politically and would fight out with Prime Minister Narendra Modi instead of a ‘tiny man’ like Supriyo.
“They appeared to be from Trinamool Congress but there was no such attempt as we don’t believe in such actions…We will fight politically. We will fight Modi. He (Babul Supriyo) is a very tiny man as compared to Modi. So, we are going to fight out Modi. We are not going to fight out Babul Supriyo,” he added.
Supriyo yesterday alleged that TMC ‘goons’ tried to break into the apartment in Kolkata where his parents stay.
He took to Twitter to vent out his ire. “TMC Goons trying 2 break into my Apartment in Kailash Bose Street where my MumDad are staying. How shameful is this,” Supriyo tweeted.
10:37 Rs 6 crore fencing for Mumbai’s disappearing mangroves : The Mangrove Cell of Maharashtra government has decided to put up fences around some of the most encroached mangroves in Colaba, Worli and Malvani areas as they need protection on priority, an official said today.
“The maximum damage to mangrove area has taken place in these areas. Our team has completed the survey of these areas, including route of the fence. The state government’s sanction for Rs 3 crore is received and the Cell is expected to start the work by next month,” Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell) N Vasudevan told PTI today.
“The projected cost for construction of fence is Rs 6 crore, of which Rs 3 crore should be utilised before the beginning of the monsoon season. The cost is of first phase only. The proposals were being discussed since September last year,” he said.
10:26 In Madhya Pradesh, two people including Congress leader Raju Mishra shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Jabalpur.
10:25 K’taka Cong leader accused of forcibly aborting daughter’s foetus: Deputy Chairman of the Karnataka Planning Board and former Union Minister CM Ibrahim on Tuesday was accused of forcibly having his daughter’s foetus aborted. His brother CM Khader filed a complaint with the Cubbon Park police in Bengaluru, alleging that his daughter-in-law (who is Ibrahim’s daughter) was fed with juice laced with some medicine to facilitate a miscarriage, reports the News Minute.
22-year old Iffa got married to Khader’s son Faizal in August last year and was four-and-a-half months pregnant. In a four-page complaint, Khader goes on to accuse Ibrahim and his family of having deliberately aborted the foetus, as they did not approve of Iffa’s marriage to his son. According to Khader’s complaint, his daughter-in-law Iffa Afsa had called his son CM Faizal on Monday afternoon, and told him that her elder siblings Faiz and Shabina had forcibly administered a sour-smelling Mausambi juice to her against her wishes, which brought on stomach pain and bleeding.
Khader goes on to allege that on 22 December last year, when Faizal went to Ibrahim’s house, Faizal was tied and beaten up with a hockey stick, tortured and warned against returning to meet Iffa. He has also named two gynaecologists for forcibly terminating Iffa’s pregnancy without her husband’s consent.
A press statement released by Vikram hospital on Tuesday stated that a young female who was 15 weeks pregnant was brought to the hospital on 02 January by her family with “profuse vaginal bleeding.’ She was diagnosed with “incomplete abortion of unknown cause and underwent emergency evacuation procedure’.
10:11 Mumbai suburban train services hit during peak hours today due to a fault in a Thane-CST train at Vikhroli.
09:57 Pichai looks at his birthplace to launch SMB product for the globe: Sundar Pichai, the India-born chief executive officer of Google, used his homeland to launch a global platform that allows small firms to build websites on their smartphones before the largest Internet firm takes it to other countries.India has around 51 million small and medium businesses, but less than a fifth of them, or around 9 million, are online.
Google is looking to bring more small firms online, launching do-it-yourself courses for users to build websites on smartphones. This will help it engage and lock these users on its platform. At the same time, Google expects local solutions built for India can be replicated in other emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
“When we solve for a place like India, we solve for everyone around the world. That has led us to grow our team here and spend more time and ensure the products are useful for everyone,’ said Pichai, launching the MyBusiness tool with Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Google also launched Digital Unlocked, an education programme, in association with industry body FICCI and the Indian School of Business to teach mobile and online courses to help small businesses.
Karan Choudhury/Business Standard
09:55 Washington is behind Indias brutal experiment of abolishing most cash: In early November, without warning, the Indian government declared the two largest denomination bills invalid, abolishing over 80 percent of circulating cash by value. Amidst all the commotion and outrage this caused, nobody seems to have taken note of the decisive role that Washington played in this. That is surprising, as Washington’s role has been disguised only very superficially. Read more
09:45 Rupee makes more gains, up 16 paise against dollar: The rupee firmed up 16 paise to 67.89 against the dollar today after the United States currency saw higher selling by exporters and banks amid a higher opening in the domestic stock market.
Forex dealers said weakness in the greenback against other currencies overseas gave the rupee some relief.
Further, a higher opening in the domestic equity market gave the uptrend some momentum, they added.
On Wednesday, the domestic unit ended higher by 28 paise at 68.05 following a fresh bout of dollar selling.
Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex rose 171.39 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 26,804.52, in early session today. — PTI
09:31 JUST IN: The Election Commission has asked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to reply by January 9 on each other’s petitions filed before it claiming party and poll symbol, ANI quoted EC sources as saying.
09:27 Army chief Gen Rawat to visit J&K today: Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat will today visit Jammu and Kashmir in his first official trip after taking over as India’s 27th Chief Of Army Staff.
According to top army sources, he will be visiting the army formation in Jammu.
This will be his median tour to J&K after taking over last week as the chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army, succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retired after 42 years of service.
Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.
Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from IMA, Dehradun. He was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ at the academy.
Gen Rawat has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations. He commanded an infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley, a Corps in the Eastern theatre and the Southern Command.
Gen Rawat has held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary’s Branch at Army HQ.
09:21 US allows turbans, hijabs, beards in military: The US Army has issued a new regulation under which servicemen who wear turbans, hijabs or beards can now be enrolled in the military, making the force more inclusive of minority religions and cultures, reports Lalit K Jha for the Press Trust of India.
The new set of rules, issued by Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, allows religious accommodations to be approved at the brigade-level. Previously it was at the level of secretary.
Once that approval occurs, the change will ensure that the religious accommodation is enduring and applies to most positions within the US Army.
“This is a major progress, not just for the Sikh-American community but for our nation’s military. Sikh-Americans love this country and want a fair chance to serve in our country on equal footing. Today’s announcement will help do just that,” Congressman Joe Crowley said welcoming the directive issued by the US Army Secretary.
“We are a stronger nation, with a stronger military because of our respect for religious and personal freedom,” he said.
The move has been welcomed by Sikh-Americans and US lawmakers who have been on the forefront of a national campaign in this regard for the past several years.
Before the January 3 changes announced by the US Army, Sikh-Americans and others had to be granted a limited accommodation or permission to serve in the army while maintaining their articles of faith.
09:12 ‘Budget date too close to polls’, opposition parties to meet EC today: A united Opposition will visit the office of the Election Commission on Thursday to discuss about the date of the budget session.
‘Trinamool, Congress, SP (Samajwadi Party), BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party), JDU (Janata Dal-United), RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) & some other Oppn parties to meet Election Commission 11am. Subject: budget date too close to polls,’ Trinamool Congress MP Derek OBrien tweeted.
‘Three from Trinamool to be part of Oppn party delegation to meet Election Commissioner in Delhi: Derek OBrien, Dinesh Trivedi, Saugato Roy,’ he said in another tweet.
The budget session of Parliament will begin from February 1.
The session is being advanced as the government wants early allocation of funds for various schemes– from April 1, the beginning of the financial year.
The Election Commission yesterday announced seven-phase polling for 403 assembly constituencies in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, two-phase polling in Manipur and one-phase polling each in the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa respectively.
08:35 JUST IN: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat to visit Northern Command today to review security and operational preparedness and interact with troops in forward areas.
08:27 Rajendra Kumar claims CBI pressurised him to implicate Kejriwal in graft case: Rajendra Kumar, former principal secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who has been chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in an alleged case of corruption, has sought voluntary retirement while claiming that he was forced to name the Delhi CM by the interrogators.
According to an Indian Express report, Kumar wrote to the Delhi chief secretary on Wednesday, claiming that he was repeatedly ‘told by his interrogators that they would set him free if he implicated the chief minister’.
‘I have been made to pay the price for my belief in the political neutrality of a civil service officer in the form of false cases against me, accusing me of corruption and other charges during the last few months, I have experienced an administrative environment wherein it seems extremely difficult to secure fair treatment and justice from central government agencies,’ Kumar wrote, according to the report.
Kumar was chargesheeted by the CBI last month.
00:24 Trump cites Assange claim about Russia hacking:
Gearing up for a high-profile briefing on claims that Russia hacked Democratic officials during last year’s election, President-elect Donald Trump is apparently taking the word of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over that of US intelligence officials who will brief him.
“Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
John Podesta was the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman whose emails were released by WikiLeaks during the campaign, part of an effort that U.S. intelligence officials attributed to the Russians, perhaps in order to help Trump win the election.