Chill Envelops Delhi As Temperature Dips To 9 Degrees


On Saturday, the minimum temperature was hovering at 9 Degree Celsius in Delhi.

New Delhi: 

After much delay, the winters have already arrived over the plains of the northern part of India. In the Delhi, the temperature dropped by three degrees during the last two days. This sudden change in the temperature can be because of the heavy snowfall in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

From the past two days, the chilly northerly winds flowing from the ice-capped Himalayas have engulfed Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.

In Delhi on Saturday, the minimum and maximum temperature was hovering at 9 Degree Celsius and 22 Degree Celsius. In Haryana’s Hisar too, the night temperature was 6.3 degree Celsius. In the majority of the northern states the temperature has reached in single digits.

According to the private weather forecasting agency, Skymet, “No fresh active Western Disturbance is expected to approach as of now. Therefore, icy cold northerly winds will continue for the next few days. In wake of his, we can expect a further drop in both day and night temperatures. We expect parts of Punjab, Haryana and North Rajasthan to even experience frost during the morning hours in the coming days. Moderate to dense fog is possible over parts of these states.”

With the year ending, the Southern states too are witnessing a fluctuation in the weather.

After the depression in Bay of Bengal has picked up the pace, severe cyclone is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu leading to heavy downpour in these regions.

“It is very likely to intensify further into a tropical storm by tonight. Chances are also there that it might become a Severe Cyclonic Storm in subsequent 48 hours but it would be for a very short duration. The cyclonic storm would be seventh in the row and would be named as Phethai. The system would continue to move in ­northwest direction and would be heading towards Andhra Pradesh Coast. The probable cyclone is likely to cross the coast somewhere between Ongole and Kakinada by the afternoon of December 17,” the forecast agency added.

At present, the Cyclone is still away from the coast to give any weather over the coastal areas. However, later in the day. light rain showers are expected to hit the region signalling its appearance all along the North Coastal Tamil Nadu and South Coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The people residing on the caostal lines are suggested to park vehicles under solid shelter. They must close shutters or board-up or heavily tape all windows.

Draw curtains and lock doors. People must also prepare an evacuation kit of having warm clothes, essential medications, baby formula, nappies, valuables, important papers, photos and mementos in waterproof bags to be taken with your emergency kit and Remain indoors (with your pets). Stay tuned to your local radio/TV for timely  information on the upcoming cyclone.





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3 Terrorists Shot Dead In Ongoing Encounter With Security Forces In Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama


An encounter is under way between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama

Srinagar: 

Three terrorists have reportedly been killed in an encounter which broke out this morning between terrorists and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said.

The security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Sirnoo village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the area, a police official said.

“The terrorists opened fire on security forces while they were carrying out search operations,” the official said.

The security forces retaliated, leading to an encounter, the official confirmed.

The gun-battle was still under way, when the latest report of the encounter arrived.

More details are awaited.
 





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Jammu And Kashmir Becomes First State To Bring Law On Sextortion


Necessary amendments are being done. (Representational)

Jammu: 

Jammu and Kashmir has become the first state in the country to have a law banning sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday approved the ‘Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ and the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018’, an official spokesman said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeks to amend the Ranbir Penal Code, whereby specific offence under section 354 E is being inserted to provide for the offence of ‘Sextortion’, he said.

Amendments are being made in section 154, 161 and Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code and section 53 A of the Evidence Act so as to bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under Ranbir Penal Code, and amendment is being made in the Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 5, the spokesman added.





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Top Court Orders Status Quo On Sale Of Shares Of Fortis To Malaysian Firm IHH Healthcare


Fortis approved a proposal from IHH Healthcare to invest Rs 4,000 crore for a 31.1 per cent stake. (File)

New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered status quo with regard to the sale of controlling stakes of Fortis Healthcare to Malaysian IHH Healthcare Berhad by former Ranbaxy promoters and hospital operators — Malvinder and Shivinder Singh.

The top court was hearing the plea of Japanese firm Daiichi Sankyo which is seeking to recover Rs 3,500 crore, awarded to it by a Singapore tribunal in its case against Malvinder and Shivinder Singh.

The Japanese firm, which has filed the contempt plea against the Singh brothers, has said that it was promised some shares of Fortis Healthcare by the brothers.

“Status quo with regard to sale of the controlling stake in Fortis Healthcare to Malaysian IHH Healthcare Berhad be maintained,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.

The top court also issued notices to the two asking them to explain as to why contempt proceedings be not initiated against them for allegedly violating its earlier order by pledging the shares.

The board of Fortis Healthcare had approved in July a proposal from IHH Healthcare to invest Rs 4,000 crore by way of preferential allotment for a 31.1 per cent stake.

The Malaysian IHH Healthcare Bhd became the controlling shareholder of Fortis Healthcare Ltd by acquiring a 31.1 per cent stake in the company.

Daiichi had bought Ranbaxy in 2008. Later, it had moved the Singapore arbitration tribunal accusing that the Singh brothers had concealed information that Ranbaxy was facing probe by the US Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice, while selling its shares.

Daiichi had to enter into a settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice, agreeing to pay $500 million penalty to resolve potential, civil and criminal liability.

The company had then sold its stake in Ranbaxy to Sun Pharmaceuticals for Rs 22,679 crore in 2015.





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Last Spoke To Sheena Bora On Her Birthday Two Months Before She Was Killed, Father Tells Court


Sheena Bora was allegedly killed by her mother Indrani Mukerjea with the help of others in 2012. (File)

Mumbai: 

Shidharth Das, the biological father of Sheena Bora, told a special court in Mumbai on Friday that he spoke to her for the last time on her birthday in February 2012, two months before she was allegedly murdered.

Sheena was allegedly killed by her mother Indrani Mukerjea with the help of others inside a car in April 2012. The body was disposed of in neighbouring Raigad district.

Mr Das, a prosecution witness, told special court judge JC Jagdale: “Before that, she had called me in 2011 and sought my blessing for her engagement with Rahul. After her birthday in 2012, I never received any call from Sheena”.

He also told the court that he met Indrani Mukerjea in 1986 during his college days.

Sheena was born in 1987 while Mikhail a year later, Mr Das said.

During this period, he along with the two children was staying at Indrani Mukerjea’s parents’ house in Guwahati, he said.

She left me and the children in 1989 and I never met her or talked to her again, Mr Das told the court.

He denied the defence lawyer’s claim that Indrani Mukerjea left home due to physical abuse.

Mr Das said, “It was actually through media that I came to know that Sheena was murdered and that Indrani had been arrested.”

The police had called him to Mumbai for a DNA test, but neither the police nor the CBI (which took over the case later) conducted the test, he said.

Defence lawyers pointed out that between April 2012 to May 2013, over 700 messages were exchanged between Mr Rahul (son of former media baron and co-accused Peter Mukerjea) and Mr Das.

In one of the messages, he advised Mr Rahul to file a missing complaint about Sheena.

“May be I advised Rahul to file a missing complaint since she went missing from Mumbai. But I never filed any missing complaint,” Mr Das said.

Sheena’s murder came to light in August 2015 after Indrani Mukerjea’s then driver Shyamvar Rai, arrested by police for possessing a firearm illegally, spilled the beans.

The Mumbai Police arrested her, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Rai for allegedly killing Sheena. Later, Peter, Indrani Mukerjea’s current husband, was also arrested for allegedly being part of the conspiracy. The driver was made an approver in the case.

The CBI claimed that a financial dispute was the reason for the murder. It also claimed that Indrani Mukerjea was opposed to Sheena’s relationship with Mr Rahul.





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Mamata Banerjee For Separate Front After Congress Assembly Election Wins: Sources


Mamata Banerjee is seen to have projected herself as the pivot of a “non-Congress, non-BJP” grouping

New Delhi: 

The BJP’s defeat in three big states energises the opposition just months before the 2019 polls but a Congress victory could achieve the opposite of the proposed “maha gatbandhan unity” to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the chief of the Trinamool Congress, is believed to have taken the lead in trying to gather her counterparts leading regional parties, into a separate front to counter the Congress and to negotiate with it as an alternate and separate front.

Sources say among those ready to join this club are Telangana’s ruling party TRS led by K Chandrasekhara Rao, Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) of Chandrababu Naidu, the BJD of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Uttar Pradesh rivals turned allies Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Many of these leaders last came on a big stage during the Karnataka oath ceremony in May, which became an opposition success party.

Over the past few months, Mamata Banerjee is seen to have projected herself as the pivot of a “non-Congress, non-BJP” grouping, with prominent one-on-one meetings with Chandrasekhara Rao, Mr Naidu and Mr Kejriwal.

Leaders like Mr Rao, Mr Kejriwal and Naveen Patnaik have never been comfortable with the idea of a front in which the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress is the leader, especially as the party is the opposition in their states. Even Chandrababu Naidu, though he buried his differences with the Congress to fight in Telangana against Mr Rao. In May, he and Ms Banerjee both pitched for regional parties to gather forces and consolidate their strength.

The Congress believes its claim to a leadership role just became stronger and high-def after its state election wins. But the Bengal chief minister, it seems has another idea. Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi even called her out for her “silence” after the Congress win.

It is early days yet but the regional alliance, if it crystallises, is likely to damage the Congress’ plans for Uttar Pradesh, where it wants an alliance with the Samajwadi Party and BSP for the 2019 national election.

Uttar Pradesh, with 80 parliamentary seats, is key to power for any political party. Most of these seats are currently with the BJP, with the Congress reduced to just two in the 2014 elections – the seats held by its top two, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

Sources say regional leaders, especially Mamata Banerjee, calculate more benefits in going into a coalition government as a separate bloc, with a greater say and even the bargaining power to project a regional leader as a possible Prime Ministerial candidate.

The Samajwadi Party has already indicated it would like to be part of the opposition unity moves and is not sure of Mamata Banerjee’s initiative to start another front.





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“Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani”


Rahul Gandhi also raised questions about the Supreme Court judgement referring to a CAG

New Delhi: 

Though the Supreme Court today said there was no proof of wrongdoing in the Rafale fighter jet deal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi claimed there was corruption in the deal and that he “will prove Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped his friend, Anil Ambani.”

“Our basic question is how price of each aircraft has gone up to Rs 1,600 crore from Rs 526 crore,” Rahul Gandhi asked in a press conference this evening, posting a series of questions for the Modi government.

Hours after the Supreme Court’s clean chit to the government on the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi raised questions about the basis of the court’s decision and declared: “Chowkidar chor hai. We will prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped his friend Anil Ambani.”

The Congress president also raised questions about the Supreme Court judgement referring to a CAG or Comptroller and Auditor General report on the pricing of the 36 Rafale jets to be purchased from France’s Dassault.

Mr Gandhi said though the court had mentioned the report and said it was in the public domain, no one had seen it, not even senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who heads the Public Accounts Committee.

“The basic foundation of the Supreme Court judgement is the CAG report. PAC chairman has not seen the CAG report. Yet the court has seen it. I am seriously not able to understand. You are laughing (to the media) but I don’t understand,” said the Congress chief.

The Supreme Court has ruled that there is no reason to doubt the decision-making process behind the Rafale jet deal, clearing the government, which has been repeatedly accused by the Congress of corruption in the Rs 59,000-crore deal. Petitions alleging that the government had gone for an overpriced deal to help Anil Ambani’s company bag an offset contract with jet-maker Dassault also didn’t wash with the top court, which dismissed the need for a probe and said: “There is no evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity.”

Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.





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Two Cages, Camera Trap To Capture Leopard Who Killed Monk In Maharashtra


Mumbai: 

Forest rangers have launched a hunt for a leopard that killed a monk meditating under a tree deep in a jungle.

The monk, Rahul Walke Bodhi, had been meditating in the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra for the last month, and was attacked while offering morning prayers on Tuesday, a forest official said.

Two other monks who were on their way to give him food said they witnessed the attack but Walke was dead by the time they reached him, according to a second forest official.

“I would like to tell everyone not to go into the forest,” Gajendra Narwane, deputy director of the reserve, told the BBC Marathi-language service.

Forest rangers have set up two cages and a camera trap to try to capture the animal. It was not clear what they would do with it if they caught it.

The forest, some 825 km (510 miles) east of Mumbai, is in a reserve for big cats where four other fatal attacks have occurred in the last few weeks, according to media.

Forest officials have cordoned off the area where the monk was killed and are restricting the timing of visitor access to a Buddhist temple there.





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3 Men Climb Up A Tank, Scream Support For Sachin Pilot


3 men climbed up a tank in Rajasthan demanding Sachin Pilot to be the chief minister of the state.

New Delhi: 

Three men climbed up a tank in Rajasthan to showcase their support for Congress leader Sachin Pilot. Their demand – he should be declared the chief minister of the state.

“Sachin Pilot Zindabad!” they can be heard screaming from atop a tank in a video shot by a passerby on his phone.

Watch the video here:

The people of Rajasthan have chosen Congress to lead the state, but there had been a tussle to decide who would steer it as the chief minister. Two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, who is popular among the youth, have been the top contenders for the job.

This morning, a group of protesters from the Gujjar community, which supports Sachin Pilot, blocked the highway at Alwar. There have been sporadic protests since Tuesday, after the Congress won Rajasthan.

In a formal announcement made by the Congress today, Ashok Gehlot will be the new Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Sachin Pilot will be his deputy.

“Ashok Gehlot – a stalwart of the Congress party has been appointed CM of Rajasthan. We wish him the best as he takes on this new appointment with vigour, sincerity and a commitment to our democratic values,” the Congress tweeted.





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Navjot Sidhu Courts Trouble Over Stuffed Bird Black Partridge Gift From Pakistan


Navjot Singh Sidhu gifted a stuffed bird, a black partridge, to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Ludhiana: 

Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been named in a police complaint for gifting a stuffed bird, a black partridge, to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh after his return from Pakistan, where he recently went for the launch of the Kartarpur corridor. Mr Sidhu reportedly got the bird as a gift from a Pakistani journalist.

Sandeep Jain, an animal activist, has filed a complaint with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau in New Delhi demanding an investigation into how the black partridge was brought from Pakistan by Mr Sidhu and kept in Punjab for so long.

“I got to know from newspapers that black partridge was brought from Pakistan by Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. It was stuffed with “masala” and gifted to the Chief Minister. This is against the Wildlife Protection Act,” Mr Jain, who is an animal welfare officer, told news agency ANI.

“Under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act’s Schedule 4, it’s illegal to keep an animal or a bird or their body parts without any permission. The punishment could be a jail term up to three years or Rs 25,000 fine or both,” he added.

Mr Sidhu has been engulfed in controversies since his visit to Pakistan for the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan in August. His act of hugging Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa drew a lot of criticism at home. His second visit last month also became controversial over his comments on his boss Amarinder Singh. To a question on why he went to Pakistan despite the Chief Minister’s objection, he remarked that his “captain” was Rahul Gandhi (Amarinder Singh is popularly known as Captain). Many within his party in Punjab demanded that he quit the party. 

When Mr Sidhu handed Amarinder Singh his unusual gift from Pakistan, the Chief Minister reportedly said he would have to check if the law allowed keeping protected species like this.

(With Inputs From ANI)





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