Zoramthanga Sworn In As Mizoram’s New Chief Minister


Mr Zoramthanga took the oath as Mizoram’s chief minister in Mizo language.

Aizawl: 

Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Zoramthanga was sworn in as Mizoram’s new chief minister today.

Mr Zoramthanga was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor K Rajasekharan at a ceremony in Aizawal.

The MNF president took the oath in Mizo language.





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Mumbai-Lucknow IndiGo Flight Via Delhi Grounded After Bomb Threat: Report


IndiGo flight 6E 3612 was reportedly grounded at Mumbai Airport after a bomb threat (Representational)

Mumbai: 

An IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow via Delhi was grounded this morning after a bomb threat call, airport sources said.

The aircraft was taken to an isolated bay for a secondary ladder point check after a Bomb Threat Assessment Committee or BTAC found the threat as “specific”, the sources said, according to news agency Press Trust of India.

After a thorough check, security agencies declared the plane “safe”, they added.

Repeated attempts for IndiGo’s reaction on the development did not fructify, news agency PTI said.

The flight was scheduled to depart at 6:05 am. The number of passengers on board are not known yet, as an official response from IndiGo is still awaited.

“A woman passenger travelling to Delhi on Go Air flight G8 329 approached an IndiGo check-in counter at T1 and informed that there was a bomb in IndiGo’s flight 6E 3612 (operating on Mumbai – Delhi/Lucknow route),” an airport source told news agency PTI.

The woman passenger also showed photographs of a few people and claimed that they were a “threat” to the nation, the source informed PTI.

Thereafter, CISF security personnel took her to the airport police station for questioning.

“A Bomb Threat Assessment Committee (BTAC) was convened in CISF Assistant Commander’s office which declared the threat a specific one,” the source added.

NDTV cannot verify the authenticity of the report at the moment, and is trying to get in touch with IndiGo Airlines, which is yet to put out an official statement.
 





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Australia Recognises West Jerusalem As Capital Of Israel: Report


Australia now recognises west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Sydney: 

Australia now recognises west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Saturday, but a contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved.

Morrison also committed to recognising the aspirations for a future state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal.

The prime minister said it was in Australia’s interests to support “liberal democracy” in the Middle East and took aim at the United Nations he said was a place Israel is “bullied”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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State-Run Banks Have No Plans To Shut ATMs, Says Minister Shiv Pratap Shukla In Parliament


2.21 lakh ATMs were deployed in the country as on September 30, said minister. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

The public Sector banks (PSB) have no plans to shut down 50 per cent of their ATMs in the country, Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla told the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Concerns were raised after the Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi) last month said that nearly 50 per cent of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) may be shut down by March 2019 due to unviability of operations.

“As apprised by the public sector banks (PSBs), they do not have any plan to shut down nearly 50 per cent of ATMs by March 2019,” Mr Shukla said in a written reply to a question raised in the House.

Replying to another question, he said that 2.21 lakh ATMs were deployed in the country as on September 30, as reported by the Scheduled Commercial Banks, Small Finance Banks, Payment Banks and White Label ATM Operators.





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Leopard Strays Into Court Building Causing Staff To Flee, Captured


The leopard was caught using a tranquiliser gun and will be released into the wild soon.

Ahmedabad: 

A leopard caused panic after it strayed inside a court building in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district on Friday. It was soon captured and no casualties were reported.

The leopard was first spotted hiding in an abandoned house next to the magistrate’s court, following which locals alerted forest officials, said Deputy Conservator of Forest GA Zala.

“When we tried to catch the leopard, it jumped over the common wall and entered into court premises. Seeing so many people around, it then jumped into a room through its window,” he said.

“Around ten court staff were in the room, who made a quick exit and bolted the door from outside. Our men closed the window. Then we learnt that two employees were still inside. Luckily, they could lock themselves up in a small chamber inside the room,” said the officer.

The forest officials decided to rescue the people stuck inside first. As there was no chance of bringing them out through the main door, they were rescued by breaking the window of the chamber, Mr Zala said.

“We then entered the room and caught the leopard using a tranquiliser gun,” the officer said.

The leopard is “sub-adult”, around two years old, he said.

“The nearby forest is home to some leopards. It might have lost its way and entered the town,” Mr Zala said, adding that the animal will be released in the wild.

Last month, a leopard had sneaked into the secretariat in Gandhinagar. It was caught during a day-long operation.





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In Narendra Dabholkar Murder, Accused Get Bail After CBI Fails To File Charges


Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Maharashtra’s Pune (File Photo)

Pune: 

A Pune court on Friday granted bail to three accused in the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar after the investigating agency, CBI failed to file its charges within the stipulated 90-day time-frame.

The Pune Sessions Court allowed bail to Amil Kale, Rajesh Bangera and Amit Digvekar — all of whom are also accused in the murders of Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh, Kannada author MM Kalburgi and senior Communist leader Govind Pansare.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had taken Kale into custody last September for the Dabholkar killing after he was arrested in May by the Karnataka Police for the Lankesh murder.

However, they may not walk out free immediately in the case since they are in judicial custody in connection with the Lankesh and Pansare killings.

The development came after the accused, through their lawyer DR Chandel, filed a bail plea on Thursday seeking relief as the CBI had not sought extension of the time-limit to file supplementary charges against them under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Incidentally, last Tuesday (December 11), the Supreme Court had said the CBI could investigate the four murders if “a common thread” is found in all the crimes, committed in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

While Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Maharashtra’s Pune, Govind Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 and died on February 20 in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, MM Kalburgi was killed in Dharwad, Karnataka on August 30, 2015 and Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017 in Karnataka capital Bengaluru.

Maharashtra Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant sharply criticised the developments, terming it as “the government’s will” that the three accused were granted bail in the Dabholkar case.

“It must be remembered that they were arrested by the efforts of the Karnataka Police Special Investigating Team… The CBI never managed to reach them, the CBI lawyer remained absent from the court for two days and now the agency has failed to even file the charge-sheet on time,” Mr Sawant said.





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Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa To Step Down, Tweets His Son


Mahinda Rajapaksa’s stepping down signals an end to the seven-week long power struggle in Sri Lanka.

Colombo: 

Sri Lanka’s strongman leader Mahinda Rajapaksa will step down from his disputed position of premier, his son said Friday, signalling an end to a crippling seven-week long power struggle.

Rajapaksa’s legislator son Namal Rajapaksa said he will quit Saturday “to ensure stability of the nation”, after the Supreme Court ordered that he should not exercise the powers of the office he has claimed since October 26.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Nitin Gadkari Clarifies On Vijay Mallya Comment


Nitin Gadkari indirectly blamed the banking system for making sick companier “even sicker”.

New Delhi: 

A day after kicking up a storm by pointing out the alleged unfairness of tagging fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya as a thief over a “one-time loan default”, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today chose to deflect criticism by accusing the media of taking his remarks out of context.

Mr Gadkari had reportedly spoken in defence of Mr Mallya at a summit organised by the Times Group on Thursday. “For 40 years, Mallya had been regularly paying interest on loans. He started facing problems after entering the aviation sector, and suddenly he became a thief? If a person repays the interest for 50 years but defaults once, does everything suddenly become a fraud? This mindset is not correct,” he said, hastening to add that he has no business relationship with Mr Mallya — who faces extradition from the United Kingdom for alleged bank fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs9,000 crore.

However, in the face of criticism over his alleged defence of Mr Mallya, the Union Minister issued a clarification today. “I only said that if Vijay Mallya has done any wrong and an investigation is underway, then the investigation is right and suitable,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.

Mr Gadkari also claimed that he was just trying to point out the difference between business cycle downturns and financial fraud. “My statement is about support during downturns to protect jobs. Fraud is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Earlier this week, a London court had ordered Mr Mallya’s extradition in a major boost to the government’s efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman. Ahead of the hearing, the 62-year-old former boss of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines offered to repay the entire principal amount of Rs 9,000 crore to banks in India.

Mr Gadkari has long demanded a more considerate approach to tackling non-performing assets, indirectly blaming the banking system for making sick companier even sicker. “When someone is serious then we put him/her in an intensive care unit, but our banking system first puts a sick company in the intensive care unit and then ensures that it dies,” he said at Thursday’s event.

This is not the first time Mr Gadkari has issued a statement requiring a hasty clarification. Two months ago, he said during a television show that the BJP leadership pushed party members to make “tall promises” to the people in 2014 because it was confident of never coming to power. In his retraction, the Union Minister dubbed the report as “100% baseless”.

(With inputs from Agencies)





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Delhi High Court Sets Aside Centre’s Decision Banning Sale Of Oxytocin


The court said there was no logic behind decision to restrict supply of oxytocin. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

The Delhi High Court Friday set aside the government decision to ban private firms from producing and selling oxytocin, a drug used for inducing labour contractions and controlling bleeding.

A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla said the government’s decision was arbitrary and unreasonable.

The bench also said that there was no scientific basis behind the Centre’s decision restricting private companies from making or supplying the drug, which helps new mothers lactate, to prevent its alleged misuse in the dairy sector for increasing milk production.

As per the Centre’s April 27 notification, the state-run Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) was solely allowed by the Centre to make the drug to meet the country’s needs.

The high court on August 31 had suspended till September 30 the central government’s prohibition on sale and manufacture of oxytocin by private companies for domestic use. The stay was later extended till December 15

 

 





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Attorney General KK Venugopal Welcomes Excellent Rafale Verdict


“I think a clean chit has been given to the government on Rafale deal,” KK Venugopal said.

New Delhi: 

Attorney General K K Venugopal on Friday welcomed the “excellent” Supreme Court verdict in the Rafale deal case, and said it has given a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“I think a clean chit has been given to the government on Rafale deal,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Justice Madan B Lokur’s farewell, who will retire on December 30.

“Superme Court judgement on Rafale deal is excellent and I am extremely happy,” Mr Venugopal said, adding, “The court has accepted all our arguments”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi Friday dismissed the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets saying there was no occasion to “really doubt the process” warranting setting aside of the contract.





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