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LIVE! Who rides SP's cycle? EC verdict on Jan 13

15:27  Who rides SP’s cycle? EC verdict on Jan 13:   Election Commission hearing on Samajwadi Party symbol issue will be decided on January 13.

The Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Akhilesh Yadav faction have both staked claim over the party symbol, the cycle.

Mulayam’s son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his team met the EC as did Mulayam, Amar Singh and his team.

The Samajwadi Party patriarch had made it clear Sunday that he was still the party chief. “I am the national president of Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Shivpal Yadav is still the president of Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh unit,” he said.

The SP supremo also came down heavily on Ram Gopal saying he had no right to call the January 1 convention which “selected’ Akhilesh as the leader of the party.

“Ramgopal Yadav was expelled from the party for six years on 30 December, 2016. Therefore the party’s national convention called by him on 1 January, 2017 was illegal,’ Mulayam said.

15:18  FIFA Council unanimously vote to expand WorldCup to a 48-team format from 2026.


15:13  TN CM to declare ALL districts in state drought-hit :   BREAKING: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to declare all districts in the state drought-hit. Farmers property tax to be waived. A compensation of Rs 5465 per acre will be given to farmers who suffered paddy crop loss. Details awaited.
With increasing numbers of farmer deaths and in the backdrop of monsoon failure in Tamil Nadu, opposition DMK had urged the state government to implement relief measures on ‘war-footing’ and take steps to prevent further fatalities of ryots.

Without naming anybody, he took exception to some ministers’ remarks that not all of the farmers’ deaths can be attributed to drought, pointing out at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issuing notice to the state on the death of 106 farmers.

Stalin, also the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, urged Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to ensure that his ministers did not make such comments, as these “belittle” the deceased farmers.

Representational image


14:49  Puducherry govt told me to be mere figurehead: Kiran Bedi:  In signs of widening rift with Congress government in Puducherry, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi today said that it wants her to be just a “figurehead” though the rules assign her responsibilities of an administrator and made it clear she won’t back down.

Sticking to her announcement about quitting the post on May 29 next year, Bedi said she took the decision as she is discharging her duties for a “cause and not a tenure” and will “set in motion the needed practices” so a “third year may not be needed at all”.

“It (L-G’s role) is of an administrator. And a functioning Lt Governor. Not a figurehead, as they (Congress government) want me to be. For they said so in their last meeting. I told them please read my responsibilities as specified as an administrator,” she told PTI in an interview.

Amid growing differences between her and the Congress government in Puducherry, Bedi had last week said she would quit the post on completion of two years in office.

Asked what prompted her to make the announcement well in advance, Bedi noted she took oath as L-G on May 29 (last year) as it is her mother’s birthday, and said she decided to give this responsibility a similar departure date.

“I said two years because I wanted to let it be known that I am here (as L-G of Puducherry) for a cause and not a tenure, or waiting for extensions. “I will set in motion the needed practices. Third year may not be needed at all. Such a decision gives a sense of urgency to my team and personal freedom to me,” she said. Referring to Puducherry being “in a debt trap”, Bedi said she will take necessary steps for financial prudence.

“Whatever is within my responsibility I shall exercise with maximum financial prudence. Precious resources must go where they are needed most. “Puducherry is in a debt trap. We have to check its further decline,” said Bedi, who was here to attend the valedictory ceremony of the 35th All India Police Equestrian Championship as chief guest.

Image: Kiran Bedi with Home minister Rajnath Singh

14:32  Doctor halts surgery to film cockroach in Thane hospitals operation theatre:  

A 45-year-old man’s leg surgery at one of Thane’s biggest super-specialty hospitals was briefly halted after doctors sighted a cockroach moving around in the operating theatre. 

Senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sanjay Baranwal, who was performing the procedure at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital last Friday, recorded the crawler’s infiltration so he could finally draw the administration’s attention to the poor, and potentially dangerous, conditions in which patients are being treated.

Dr Baranwal had made several complaints about the pest problem last month, but little was done to properly clean and disinfect key facilities such as operation rooms at the Kalwa hospital, which is run by the Thane Municipal Corporation. 

Read full story HERE

13:42  Kardashian’s chauffeur among 17 arrested by French police over hotel jewel heist:  French police investigating the theft of nearly $10 million in jewels from Kim Kardashian arrested 17 people on Monday, including a chauffeur who drove the American reality television star around Paris in the days before the robbery. Many of those arrested in co-ordinated police raids in several different parts of France were known underworld figures aged around 50 and at least three were women, police and judicial sources told the Independent.


13:35  Goodbye, Om Puri:  Acting legend Om Puri passed into the ages on January 6 at his residence in Mumbai. His prayer service, was conducted by former wife Seema Kapoor as well as his estranged wife Nandita Puri, at two locations. While Seema held the prayer service at a gurudwara in Four Bungalows (in Andheri, a western suburb of Mumbai), Nandita organised it at the ISKCON temple in Juhu, just a few kilometers away, and it was attended by several of Om’s friends from the film fraternity. Here’s who attended.


13:27  EC orders all photos of netas in 5 poll-bound states be removed:  Election Commission instructs Chief Electoral Officers of 5 poll bound states that photos of political leaders in all hoardings, advertisements should be removed or covered.

Congress on Monday had moved the Election Commission demanding removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modis photograph from government posters at public places, including petrol pumps, ahead of assembly polls in five states.

AICC secretary and head of legal and human rights department, K.C. Mittal, raised strong objection to presence of Modis photograph in posters of oil companies put up to popularise cooking gas distribution initiative.

He said the EC should order removal of such posters as they are not permissible during the operation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in wake of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

13:23  Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin files nomination for Hyderabad cricket Association’s President’s post.


13:09  Auto sales at 16-yr low in Dec as demonetisation takes toll:  Monthly automobile sales growth rate in India slipped to a 16-year-low in December with total vehicle sales declining by 18.66 per cent as demonetisation hits the industry hard.

According to latest SIAM data, most of the major segments, including scooters, motorcycles and cars, witnessed record decline December sales as the automobile sector continued to bear the brunt of negative consumer sentiments in the wake of the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes announced in November. Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 18.66 per cent last month at 12,21,929 units, from 15,02,314 units in December 2015, as per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).


12:49  Jolie, Pitt reach agreement to handle divorce privately:  

Former star couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have decided to handle their divorce privately and work together to reunify their family.

The actors have released a joint statement stating that they have reached an agreement to handle their divorce in a private forum and will keep future details of their divorce confidential by utilising a private judge, reported People magazine.

“The parties and their counsel have signed agreements to preserve the privacy rights of their children and family by keeping all court documents confidential and engaging a private judge to make any necessary legal decisions and to facilitate the expeditious resolution of any remaining issues.

“The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification,” the statement reads.

Since the beginning of their divorce proceedings, Pitt, 53, and Jolie, 41, had been trading harsh accusations in filings in Los Angeles Superior Court, but recently both agreed to seal sensitive records relating to their six children.

Pitt and Jolie, who are parents to Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 11, Shiloh, 10, and twins Knox and Vivienne, eight — have a voluntary temporary custody agreement in place that allows the actor supervised visitation with the children.


12:26  Post note ban, Rs 25,000 crore deposited in cash in dormant bank accounts:  Following demonetisation, the government today released some figures.

Here are some of the important figures:

–Rs 3-4 lakh crore of evaded income deposited in banks post demonetisation

— More than Rs 2 lakh deposited in over 60 lakh bank accounts post demonetisation

— I-T Dept, ED looking into over Rs 16,000 crore deposited in different accounts of cooperative banks

— Rs 25,000 crore deposited in cash in dormant bank accounts post demonetisation

— Nearly Rs 80,000 crore of repayment of loans done in cash post demonetisation

— More than Rs 10,700 crore cash deposited in different bank accounts in North Eastern states since November 9


12:09  Rahul returns after foreign holiday, will meet party leaders today:  Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was on a foreign holiday over the first week of the new year, is back in the national capital, news agency ANI reported. Gandhi, who is reported to have arrived in the country Monday night, will be meeting party leaders later today.

On December 31, Gandhi’s official Twitter handle @OfficeOfRG had tweeted that he would be travelling ‘over the next few days’ although it wasn’t clear where he was going. The Congress leader is known to go for short holidays during the new year.

Gandhis departure from the country came at a critical time when five states, including the politically crucial Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh, is scheduled to go to polls from February 4.


12:00  AI hits back at criticism with Amartya’s letter :   A day after Air India was listed as the third worst performing airline in the world in a recent survey by flight data firm FlightStats, the national carrier has responded with indignation. “We totally disagree with the report published by FlightStats about AI. Initially it seems that the report is fabricated so AI managment will investigate the report till the end,” a statement by Dhananjay Kumar, Spokesperson, AI said.

For further proof, AI also tweeted this thank you note by none other than Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. @airindiain tweeted: #AI is honoured with the words of appreciation from #Noble Laureate #AmartyaSen for travel on #AI111. Hope to see you on board again.

11:48  Tellis tipped to be next US envoy to India:  Mumbai-born strategic expert Ashley J Tellis, who had played an important role in the inking of the India-US nuclear deal nearly a decade back, could be US president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next US ambassador to India, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

The report said: “Transition sources said Trump is close to selecting Ashley Tellis, a former White House official and renowned India expert, to be the next US ambassador to India.”

The report said the appointment would be part of Trump administration’s focus on Asia, and a more hawkish line on China that would see the US forge stronger alliances with its partners in the region.

In case Tellis becomes the next occupant of the Roosevelt House in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, he would be succeeding Richard Verma, also an Indian-American.

On Sunday night, Verma, the 25th US ambassador to India, tweeted after a meeting with actor Amitabh Bachchan that he would depart on January 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration as the next US president.

Tellis is currently a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank. He is also known to have been a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts at strengthening India-US relations, and had met the PM when the think tank opened its India chapter in April 2016.

Tellis is well-known among India’s foreign policy leaders, including foreign secretary S Jaishankar. The two had played important roles in negotiating the India-US nuclear deal.

According to his profile on the Carnegie Endowment website, Tellis has served as senior advisor to US ambassador Robert Blackwill and has been National Security Council special assistant to the US president.

Archis Mohan/Business Standard

Read our 2016 interview with Ashley Tellis here.
Also read the 2015 interview with Tellis here.

Also read:

11:34  Bhai-Bhai again? BJP to join Nitish’s human chain:  Friends turn foe, opposition turns into support; all this is possible in politics. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s proposed formation of the world’s longest human chain on January 21 in support of prohibition in the state has received support from an unexpected quarter — the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Read the report on


11:24  BSF jawan whose ‘look what we eat’ video went viral, has been shifted :  The Border Security Force jawan, who posted a video alleging poor quality of food given to them, has been shifted from the Line of Control to the headquarters of his 29 battalion in Poonch.

Deployed along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir, the jawan says that troops are facing cruelty as they are served bad quality food and even have to go on an empty stomach at times.

This prompted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to order appropriate action.

I have seen a video regarding a BSF jawans plight. I have asked the HS (home secretary) to immediately seek a report from the BSF & take appropriate action, Singh tweeted.

In at least three different videos clocking over four minutes released online, constable T B Yadav, 40, of BSF’s 29th battalion also goes on to show the food that is allegedly being served to him.

We only get a paratha and tea as breakfast and this is without any pickle or vegetables… we slog for 11 hours and at times we have to stand throughout the duty hours. For lunch, we get daal (pulses) which only has haldi (turmeric) and salt… with roti. This is the quality of the food we get … how can a jawan do his duty? I request the Prime Minister to get this probed.

… No one shows our plight, Yadav alleged, adding, It is cruelty and injustice against us.

He said he may not be here hinting action might be taken against him  for shooting and uploading the video a s he urged people to take the issue forward so that corrective action is taken.

The BSF took cognisance of the video and tweeted from its official handle that an inquiry has been ordered.

(The) BSF is highly sensitive to the welfare of tps (troops). Individual aberrations, if any, are enquired into. A senior officer has already rchd (reached) the location, the force tweeted after tagging the video.

A senior BSF official said Yadav is currently deployed along the Line of Control in J&K and the BSF jawans here work under the operational command of the army which also provides for food and other logistics of the jawans.

However, administrative tasks like cooking are done by the BSF.


11:15  Air India disagrees with report card :   National passenger carrier Air India on Monday said that it disagrees with a report published by data services company FlightStats which has ranked the airline as the third worst global performer in terms of on-time operations in 2016.

“We totally disagree with the report published by FlightStats about AI,” Air India’s spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar was quoted as saying in a statement. According to the website, the FlightStats OPS Awards recognises airlines around the world that deliver the highest percentage of flights to their arrival gates within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.

In contrast, low-cost carrier IndiGo reported that it has been recognised as one of the leading “On-Time Performers” in the Asia-Pacific region by FlightStats in its 8th Annual Airline On-Time Performance Service Awards, January 2017. IndiGo has been recognised among major carriers including Japan Airlines, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Jetstar and Jet Airways (India).

11:07  Just in: Mulayam Singh Yadav meets Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow.

11:03  Police picket attacked by unknown assailants last night in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj; 2 Policemen injured.


10:37  Budget: Govt to seek AG’s opinion:  Rajeev Sharma tells us:  The Modi government is likely to seek Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s legal opinion on the controversy about the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1, three days before the voting process for five state assemblies begins.

The AG will be asked to give his considered opinion on whether the Union government is well within its rights to choose a date for presentation of the Budget irrespective of external factors like the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

The Congress party has petitioned the Election Commission and President Pranab Mukherjee seeking a directive to the Modi government to present the Budget only after the poll process is over with the counting of votes on March 11.

The Congress party’s argument is that presentation of the Budget before the voting process would influence voters and would thus be violative of the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct.

The Modi government’s move to seek the AG’s opinion on the controversial issue is to prepare itself for a legal haul as Opposition parties have already knocked at the Supreme Court’s doors in this context.


10:23  Don’t make Chidambaram’s man Shaktikanta Das SEBI Chief, Swamy urges PM:   After training guns on former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday targeted the Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to appoint him as Securities and Exchange Board of India chief. Swamy has written a letter to Prime Minister Modi asking him that the Das should not be made the SEBI chief alleging that he is corrupt and working for former union finance minister P Chidambaram. Earlier, Swamy had alleged Das of sitting idle to tackle the currency crunch post demonetisation.

Image: Shaktikanta Das with RBI governor Urjit Patel


10:10  EC serves showcause notice to Sakshi Maharaj for population control remark:  The Election Commission serves a showcause notice to BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj for his population control remarks. The EC said the MP violated the model code of conduct and has demanded a reply from him by tomorrow.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh had sought a report from the district administration on the allegedly communal remarks that the BJP MP from Unnao, Sakshi Maharaj, made at a religious event in Meerut on Friday. Besides, the Meerut Police has lodged an FIR against the MP on charges of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion and caste.

Speaking at a gathering of holy men in Meerut, Sakshi Maharaj had said, Desh mein samasyaein khadi ho rahi hain jansankhya ke karan. Uske liye Hindu zimmedar nahin hain Zimmedar toh wo hain jo chaar biwion aur chalees bachchon ki baatein karte hain. (There are problems in the country because of the growth of population. Hindus are not responsible for that. Those responsible are the ones who talk of four wives and 40 children.) He also said that the money earned from cattle slaughter was being used to fund terrorism.


09:56  The backlash that worked…:  Facing a severe backlash for appointing scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as life presidents, the Indian Olympic Association has been forced to revoke its controversial decision.

A top IOA official confirmed that the appointments of Kalmadi and Chautala has been declared “null and void” in order to get the recognition of the Sports Ministry and also to avoid any possible action from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Kalmadi and Chautala were elevated to the honorary position at the IOA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chennai on December 27, but the Olympic body was forced to reverse its decision after it was opposed by a majority of IOA members.

09:46  Obama to make final Air Force One trip to hometown Chicago:  

Outgoing US President Barack Obama will make a final ride on Air Force One to his hometown of Chicago to deliver a major speech at the end of his successful eight years of presidency, a top American official has said.

This is also likely to be Obama’s final out of town-travel as the 44th President of the US before he would pass on the baton to Donald Trump at a swearing in ceremony on January 20.


09:11   Government advised RBI of note ban day before PM’s announcement:  

Contradicting the Modi government, which had asserted that the Reserve Bank of India recommended a ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the central bank has said that it was the government which advised it to do so, as late as November 7, the day before the note ban was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to a report in The Indian Express, in a submission to a Parliamentary panel late in December, the RBI in a 7-page note said that, “Government, on 7th November, 2016, advised the Reserve Bank that to mitigate the triple problems of counterfeiting, terrorist financing and black money, the Central Board of the Reserve Bank may consider withdrawal of the legal tender status of the notes in high denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.”

Backing the government’s move, the note added that, “Elimination of black money will eliminate the long shadow of the ghost economy and will be positive for India’s growth outlook.”

The RBI Central Board met the very next day (ie November 8) to “consider the government’s advice,” and after “deliberations,” decided to recommend to the central government that the legal tender status of the banknotes in the high denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 be withdrawn, said the note.

Union Minister for Power Piyush Goyal had however claimed on November 16 during a debate on demonetisation in Parliament that the RBI Board of Directors had taken the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

09:07  JUST IN: IOA annuls decision of Abhay Chautala & Suresh Kalmadi’s appointment as life presidents


08:51  He’s a mama’s boy! :  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state Gujarat, tweeted Tuesday that he skipped yoga, went to meet his mother and had breakfast with her before dawn.

The PMs 97-year-old mother, Hiraba resides with his younger brother Pankaj Modi on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. PM Modi visits his mother on his birthdays and whenever he is in Gandhinagar. He had last visited his mother in December, 2016 when he was in Gujarat for a day. He had then addressed a rally in Deesa in Banaskantha district and held party meetings.

This time, the PM was in the state capital to inaugurate Indias first international exchange at GIFT city. The exchange, known as India INX, is located in the International Financial Service City in Gift city. It claims to be one of the most advanced technological platforms operating for 22 hours a day.

08:24  JUST IN: Terrorist gunned down during encounter in J-K’s Hajin area of Bandipora


08:23  Hotline between PMO and White House to continue post Jan 20:  

The hotline established in 2015 between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will continue to exist after the outgoing US President hands over the baton to his successor Donald Trump on January 20, a presidential aide has suggested.

It is the only new hotline that was established during the eight years of Obama Administration, reflecting on deepening of India-US ties.

“I’d be surprised if that was something that was discontinued,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “Typically, those kinds of arrangements are intended to persist beyond just one presidential term,” he said in response to a question. 

The decision to establish the hotline was finalised during Obama’s historic visit to India in 2015 to attend the annual Republic Day parade on January 26 as its chief guest.

Modi had then said the effort was part of their exercise to give the critical partnership between two countries “a new thrust and sustained attention.”


07:55  In a first, Arab soldiers to march on Delhi streets:  

A marching band from the UAE’s defence forces will join the parade on Republic Day, the first time Arab soldiers will be marching in New Delhi.

After the French marching band joined the parade in 2016 in honour of Francois Hollande, the practice has caught the fancy of others as well. 

With UAE crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan preparing to be the chief guest this year, the visiting dignitary who is also the deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, will bring a contingent to match the music and rhythm of India’s numerous military bands who put up a spectacular show on that day.


07:19  Yahoo to change name to Altaba, turn into investment company:  Yahoo, or what is left of yesteryear’s internet giant once the $4.8 billion sale to Verizon is completed, will be renamed as Altaba, the company has said in a filing to SEC, various reports have said.   

Business Insider reports that along with the name change, the tech company will also have a new board of directors, but current CEO Marissa Meyer will not be on it despite having expressed her interest to stay on.   

‘In its filing to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Yahoo also explained that following the closing of the purchase by Verizon, Altaba will be required to register and be regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940,’ Business Insider has reported.  

Yahoo’s acquisition by Verizon is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2017.

07:10  Another cop shot dead in US, this time in Orlando:  Orlando police officer Sergeant Debra Clayton, a mother of two, was shot dead by a suspected murderer on Monday night, the latest in the series of attacks on the police force in the United States.   

The killing triggered off a manhunt for the suspect, in which a sheriff was killed in a motorcycle crash, reports said.   

Debra Clayton was trying to attempt a murder suspect when she was gunned down.    


00:12  As UN orders probe, 140 Indian soldiers to be given cholera vaccination in Haiti:  Nearly 140 Indian soldiers, who are part of United Nations peace-keeping force in Haiti, will be administered cholera vaccine after the UN reportedly ordered a probe on how they had landed in the Caribbean country without the mandatory vaccination.

Haiti has been grappling with a cholera outbreak and the UN has been part of massive effort to contain the disease. The Indian soldiers had landed in Haiti in August last year and reportedly India had certified that they were administered the cholera vaccine.

“The India soldiers will be administered the cholera vaccine tomorrow,” a government source said, adding there was some communication on the issue from the UN.

The source said the cost of vaccination will be deducted from the fund allocated by the UN for Indian peacekeepers.

Previous UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month had apologised to the people of Haiti for the role played by the UN peacekeepers in sparking the cholera epidemic in the country.

According to several experts, cholera was introduced to Haiti by infected Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent to the Caribbean country after the massive 2010 earthquake. — PTI

Representative image

Source: Rediff