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Monday, September 23rd, 2019

LIVE! Heavy Pak shelling on Indian posts along LoC: TV reports

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by October 27, 2016 General
22:29  Pakistan expels Indian HC official Surjeet Singh:  

Pakistan declares Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh as Persona non Grata; asks him to leave by October 29.

Persona non Grata refers to a foreign person whose entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country’s government.

22:27  Fire lanterns banned in Mumbai skies during festivities for safety reasons after fire brigade’s suggestion to police.

22:10  Heavy Pak shelling on Indian posts along LoC: TV reports:  

Television channel India Today is reporting that the Pakistani Army has begun heavy shelling on specific Indian posts in the Mendhar and Tangdhar sectors along the Line of Control. 

Heavy Pakistani shelling has also been reported from Channi and Palatan villages in Pallanwala in Akhnoor sector.

Earlier today, Pakistani troops had violated ceasefire in the Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district.

A Pakistani Ranger was killed and another injured in retaliatory firing by Indian troops after heavy overnight shelling by Pakistani forces in R S Pura and Arnia sectors along International Border.

Since the ‘surgical strikes’ by the Army on terror launch pads in PoK, over 55 ceasefire violations by Pakistan have taken place in which four people including three security men died and over 25 have been injured.

21:55  Just In: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale.

21:42  Ex-Goa CM Digambar Kamat among 7 listed in charge sheet in Louis Berger pay-off scandal; Kamat named ‘prime conspirator’

21:14  PM asks MHA to take initiative to reopen schools in Kashmir:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to be concerned over prolonged closure of educational institutions in Kashmir due to separatist-sponsored strike and wants their early reopening for which the Centre is understood to have asked the state police to prepare an action plan for providing security to schools.

Modi is worried that the closure of educational institutions for such a long period is affecting thousands of students and feels that if schools reopen, then it would be a great step towards restoring normalcy in Kashmir, official sources said in New Delhi today.

He is believed to have asked the Home Ministry to explore ways to get the schools and colleges in Kashmir reopened at the earliest, they said.

Accordingly, the home ministry is believed to have asked the Jammu and Kashmir Police to prepare an action plan to provide security to schools, especially those vulnerable, the sources said.

The home ministry is said to have persuaded the Jammu and Kashmir government to direct the state Board of School Education to notify over 500 schools to conduct regular examinations.

Examinations for Class X will commence from November 15 and will culminate on November 28 while examinations for Class XII will commence from November 14 and will culminate on December 3.

21:03  Security Expert Nitin Gokhale tweets: “38 officers doing Naval Higher Command Course met an accident. No life threatening injuries.Over dozen being shifted to Mumbai for treatment.”

The mishap happened in Bhuj, Gujarat.

More details are awaited.

21:00  Vikram Chandra steps down as NDTV CEO:  

Media firm NDTV today announced a top level management change with Group CEO Vikramaditya Chandra stepping down with immediate effect and Executive Vice-Chairperson KVL Narayan Rao taking over the role. 

“The Board of Directors of New Delhi Television has approved the decision of Mr Vikramaditya Chandra to step down from the position of Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of NDTV with immediate effect,” the company said in a statement.

Rao will be the Group CEO in addition to his responsibilities as Executive Vice Chairperson, it added. 

Chandra was appointed as Group CEO in 2011 for a term of three years which was further extended by another two years, with the specific mandate to strengthen the company’s diversification into digital areas while retaining NDTV’s position as the most respected media brand, the statement added.

“He has expressed the wish to return to full time journalism within NDTV and focus on the TV shows of the Group,” the company said.

He has been a key member of the NDTV since 1994, in a large number of roles – reporter, anchor, one of the founding members of NDTV.com and CEO.

20:55  Uncertainty remains over Indo-Pak clash in Women’s Asia Cup:  

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday announced a 15-member women’s squad for a series in New Zealand and the Asia T20 Cup in Thailand but with uncertainty still prevailing over whether India would play Pakistan in the regional event.

Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand are the participating teams in the women’s Asia T20 Cup with the tournament starting from November 27.

But reliable sources in the PCB said that until now it was not clear whether India would play against Pakistan if the two teams matched up against each other in the event given the existing tense relations between the two countries. 

In the backdrop of cross border firing on a daily basis the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been insisting that there is no question of playing cricket with Pakistan in current circumstances.

BCCI President, Anurag Thakur in fact went as far as to say they would ask the ICC to not keep their match against Pakistan in the group stages in the Champions Trophy to be held next year in England.

20:02  Talks are going on with Navjot Sidhu: AAP:  

Talks between former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and Aam Aadmi Party are going on, AAP senior leader Sanjay Singh said in Chandigarh today, even as suspense continued over which way the cricketer-turned-politician would finally go after Congress recently maintained that it had no reservation if he joins the outfit “unconditionally”.

“Talks are going on with Sidhu. There is no denying this. Talks have been underway for the past 4-5 days,” Singh told reporters here.

Sources said Sidhu held a meeting with AAP’s co-in-charge and Delhi Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s confidante Durgesh Pathak here late last night.

They said former BJP MP is pushing for the deputy chief minister’s post and added that the bone of contention was also some 7-8 seats which Sidhu has demanded, including seats for Hockey Olympian Pargat Singh and two Independent legislators, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains.

They also indicated that a section in the party favoured an alliance with Sidhu’s outfit Aawaz-e-Punjab rather than the former BJP MP joining AAP.

19:27  Pak not to attend Asian ministerial conference on disaster:  

Amidst the ongoing hostilities with India, Pakistan will not send it representative to the Asian ministerial conference on disaster risk reduction to be held in New Delhi early next month.

Pakistan has conveyed its inability to send its Minister for Disaster Risk Reduction for the Asian conference to be held on November 3-5, a senior home ministry official said.

No reason for Pakistan’s non participation in the event has been specified but the ongoing hostilities between India and Pakistan could be the prime reason for Islamabad’s non- participation in the conference to be held in New Delhi.  

18:51  Ex-Mumbai top cop Rakesh Maria questioned in Sheena Bora case:  

The CBI today questioned former Mumbai police Chief Rakesh Maria in Sheena Bora murder case.

Maria was transferred last year as the police commissioner while he was investigating the high profile case. 

Besides Maria, current DG Home Guards Devan Bharti and Satyanarayan Chowdhury, DCP, quizzed by the CBI in connection with the case.

18:26  More from Pak mission may be involved in spy racket: Investigators:  

After the Pakistan high commission staffer detained for his alleged involvement in an espionage ring, investigators probing the case suspect more people from the mission may be involved in the espionage ring.

Sources in Delhi Police also did not rule out possible involvement of some BSF personnel in the racket as they believe the staffer Mehmood Akhtar and his accomplices could not have got hold of deployment details unless somebody in BSF was leaking them.

Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the Pakistani high commission, had procured sensitive defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border and shared them with the ISI. Two of Akhtar’s accomplices were already arrested.

Akhtar was detained but released after prolonged questioning yesterday as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

He said that he is on deputation to ISI since January 2013 and is a serving Hawaldar of 40 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan army and native of village Kahuta of Rawalpindi district, said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of

police(Crime).

During interrogation, Akhtar said that he was posted in Pakistan high commission for last two-and-a-half years, according to police.

It is also suspected that he lured many people into the spying ring by offering them good money and that there was a honey trap at play to lure people, said another officer in the probe team.

18:11  Two ‘hardcore’ stone pelters held in Jammu:  

Two “hardcore stone pelters”, who were allegedly involved in many incidents of violence and arson in Kashmir, were arrested from Jammu, police said here today.

“A special team of Srinagar police arrested two hardcore stone pelters Humair alias Nelcha and Zahid Rasool Shiekh of Nowhatta from Jammu,” a police spokesman said. 

 He said the arrested duo were involved in many stone pelting cases as also in the cases of arson and were evading arrest. 

“They are involved in several FIRs registered in Nowhatta and Khanyar police stations between 2010 and 2016,” he added. 

Kashmir valley witnessed widespread incidents of stone pelting during the months of July, August and September.

Representative image

18:07  Entire Himalayan arc can produce major earthquakes: study:  

The Himalayas can likely generate destructive, major earthquakes along its entire length of 2,400 kilometres — even in Bhutan, a country sandwiched between India and China, which was thought to have little history of major seismological events, a new study has found.

Combining historical documents with new geologic data, the study shows the previously unstudied portion of the fault in the country Bhutan is capable of producing a large earthquake and did so in 1714.

“We are able for the first time to say, yes, Bhutan is really seismogenic, and not a quiet place in the Himalayas,” said lead author Gyorgy Hetenyi, from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

The Himalayas have produced some of the world’s largest earthquakes, like the April 2015 Gorkha earthquake that devastated Nepal.

However, scientists had not been able to prove whether every region along the 2,400-kilometre arc was seismogenic, or capable of producing quakes.

Bhutan was one of the last open gaps along the mountain chain: the country had no records of recent major earthquakes and no major seismological work had been done there.

17:55  Infiltration bid foiled in J&K’s Tangdhar sector, one jawan killed:  

An infiltration bid by terrorists has been foiled in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector, the army said.

The terrorists from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir were trying to slip into the area near the Line Of Control, Press Trust of India quoted an official as saying.

One soldier has died in the operation and one has been injured. The injured soldier has been evacuated, the official said. 

The operation was in progress and further details were awaited, he added.

17:35  Pak violates ceasefire again in Mendhar sector of J&K:  Pakistan today again violated ceasefire in Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Since surgical strikes by army on terror launch pads in PoK, over 55 ceasefire violations by Pakistan have taken place in which four people including three security men died and over 25 have been injured.

In the wake of the continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the LoC and heavy shelling in residential areas along the IB, the concerned authorities have ordered the closure of all schools in Rajouri district as a precautionary measure.

17:03  Tatas: Unforgivable of Mr Mistry to besmirch group’s image :   Tata Sons releases statement a day after Cyrus Mistry’s explosive email.  Tata Sons hits out at Cyrus Mistry for making “unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations”.

Highlights…

Tatas: Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman was fully empowered to lead.

— Mistry lost board’s confidence due to several factors.

— The Tata Way is not to run away from problems or constantly complain.

— Matter of regret that communication marked confidential to Tata board made public in an unseemly, undignified manner.

— Allegations made by Mr Mistry unwarranted not based on facts. Tata Sons board gives its Chairman complete autonomy to manage opportunities and challenges.

— However, the tenure of the former Chairman was marked by repeated departures from the culture and ethos of the group.

— It is unforgivable that Mr Mistry has attempted to besmirch the image of the Group in the eyes of the employees. There is a multitude of records to show that the allegations made by Cyrus Mistry are unwarranted.

— Mistry was fully empowered to lead and it’s only after removal that allegations of being lame-duck chairman have been made.

Also read:Cyrus Mistry’s letter to Tata group

16:26  Will always be with Mulayam’s son Akhilesh, not CM Akhilesh: Amar Singh:  Mulayam Singh Yadav’s “crisis manager” Amar Singh, at the centre of the storm that’s threatening to destroy the Samajwadi Party says, not surprisingly, he will always support Mulayam.  

“I may not be with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, but I will always be with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh. If this issue can be resolved at my expense, then they can go ahead,” Amar Singh told ANI.

On the power tussle within the party, Amar Singh said, “I will  always be with Mulayam.
When Akhilesh Yadav replaced Shivpal Yadav as the UP SP President, even then I was blamed for it.

“I never talked to Ashu Malik, news report (where UP CM is referred to as Aurangzeb and SP Chief as Shahjahan) has nothing to do with me.”

Mulayam’s friendship with Amar Singh goes back to the days when Veer Bahadur Singh was chief minister of the Congress government in UP, in 1985-88. He joined the SP formally in 1996 and went to Rajya Sabha courtesy Mulayam.

15:58  There is a marked change in India’s approach towards Pakistan:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the BRICS summit and the Bimstec outreach at Goa in mid-October to attack Pakistan (without naming it) on the terrorism issue with unprecedented verbal vehemence.

He called it the mothership of terrorism to which terrorist modules all over the world are linked. Terrorism, he said, has come to define the fundamental character and nature of the neighbouring country. He exhorted BRICS and Bimstec countries to stand up and act decisively against the State sponsors of terror.  Read more

15:37  Three London 2012 gold medal weightlifters disqualified for doping: IOC

15:32  KRK leaks Ajay Devgns Shivaay opening scene:  Kamaal R Khan leaked the opening scene of Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay while watching it in Dubai. He also shared important plot details on Twitter, which Devgn has been at pains to keep a secret. Read

15:27  Did you win a bronze from the tax dept?:  If you are one of the lakhs of income tax assessees getting appreciation e-certificates by email hold the champagne. This is an indirect way of finding defaulters, said a senior CBDT official. The Union Ministry of Finance has issued bronze certificate of appreciation certificates to Indians who have filed their income tax returns. The certificate is signed by the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and can be framed and displayed in your house if you so wish.

It reads like this:

“We sincerely appreciate your payment of Income Tax and filing of the Income Tax return for Assessment year 2016-17.

“In recognition of your contribution towards the building of our great nation, please find attached a BRONZE Certificate.

With regards,

Chairperson,
Central Board of Direct Taxes
Ministry of Finance
Government of India. 

15:06  Another school set afire in J-K:  A primary school building and two vehicles were set ablaze by some persons in Kashmir in separate incidents of arson over the past 24 hours, police said today. This was the 19th school building set on fire by unknown persons since the current unrest began in Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

A police official said the Government Primary School at Taaper in Pattan area of Baramulla district was set on fire by unknown persons late last night, a police official said.

14:51  Now, Tata’s AirAsia deal will be ‘closely watched’ after Mistry’s fraud allegations:  The Civil Aviation Ministry is keeping a close watch on developments related to the purported disclosures made by ousted Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry about AirAsia India, where Tatas are a partner, and will act if something actionable is brought to its notice.

“We are waiting for any input from any quarter,” Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said, adding “we have not received anything so far”. Mistry raised “ethical concerns” in Tata group’s aviation joint venture with AirAsia and alleged that forensic investigation revealed fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore involving non-existent entities in India and Singapore.

“If anything new is brought to the ministry attention, appropriate authorities will look into it,” another civil ministry official said on Mistry’s allegations against AirAsia India. Mistry was removed abruptly as chairman of the Tata Group on Monday and replaced by his predecessor Ratan Tata, who will lead India’s biggest conglomerate for the next four months till a permanent replacement is identified by a specially- created committee.

Mistry’s family firm, Shapoorji Pallonji, is a construction major and one of the largest stakeholders in the Tata Group. In a letter written to the Board members of Tata Sons yesterday, Mistry alleged that due to the interim Chairman Ratan Tata’s passion for aviation, Tata Sons board increased capital infusion in the aviation sector at multiple levels of the initial commitment.

“Board members and trustees are also aware that in the case of AirAsia, ethical concerns have been raised with respect to certain transactions as well as overall prevailing culture within the organisation.

“A recent forensic investigation revealed fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore involving non-existent parties in India and Singapore,” Mistry said in the letter. He went on to allege that “executive trustee Mr Venkataraman, who is on the board of Air Asia and also a shareholder in the company, considered these transactions as non-material and did not encourage further study”.

It was only at the insistence of the independent directors, one of whom immediately submitted his resignation, that the board decided to belatedly file a first information reports, the letter noted.

He claimed it was Tata who completed negotiations with Air Asia but early in his tenure as the Chairman of Tata Sons he was asked to table a proposal for the JV with AirAsia at a Tata Sons board meeting. Claiming that in the case of JV with AirAsia, he was able to extract a “promise of no debt to be raised at the level of JV, as well as limiting Tata Sons investment to 30 per cent of the USD 30 million equity”, Mistry said.

14:23  Govt may call for CBI inquiry after Cyrus Mistry’s letter bomb :  The buzz in the Ministry of Finance offices in North Block is of course the sordid Tata tales.

Senior officials confide that they are keen that the CBI conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by sacked Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry against the company.

Market regulator SEBI has maintained that if Mistry’s allegations suggesting financial misdemeneaours are indeed true, a detailed inquiry will be conducted.

North Block is keen to get an analysis from SEBI and a report is likely to be submitted by early November.

An official who is familiar with SEBI says this is the way the door will be opened up for the CBI  to enter the probe.

Sebi has begun looking into the high profile Tata-Mistry case for any possible breach of corporate governance norms and listing regulations at various listed companies of the over $100 billion conglomerate. Besides, stock exchanges, late this evening, sought clarification from many of the group’s listed companies on the purported disclosure by ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry about Rs 1.18 lakh crore possible writedown at the group firms.

13:57  Pak ‘spy’s’ fake Aadhar card :  Pakistan high commission staffer Mehboob Rajput’s fake Aadhar card. India declared the staffer persona non grata for espionage activities after he was caught red handed by the Delhi Police with documents relating to defence deployment.

13:32  Detention of staffer in contravention of Vienna Convention rules: Pak envoy :  Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit protests over the brief detention of his staffer held over charges of spying. The man was arrested after Indian defence papers were found on him, but was released because he had diplomatic immunity.  Basit said the detention was in contravention of the Vienna Convention.

India declared the Pakistan high commission staffer as persona non grata for espionage activities after he was caught red handed by the Delhi Police with documents relating to defence deployment.

This was conveyed by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar who summoned Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit to his office following brief detention of the staffer who was later released.

“FS summons Pak high commissioner to convey that Pak high commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs.

Continuous ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control and heavy shelling in residential areas along the International Border was also discussed with the Pakistan envoy.

Image: Mehmood Akhtar, the Pakistani high commission staffer, expelled from India for spying.  

13:19  Is Akhilesh forming a new party? Uncle Ram Gopal has met EC:  Expelled Samajwadi Party leader and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother, Ram Gopal Yadav, met the Deputy Election Commissioner to understand the basics of registering a political party.

Samajwadi Party observers were taken aback with this new development.

The Mulayam Singh Yadav group, especially Amar Singh, immediately contacted his source in the Election Commission to ascertain the reasons for Ram Gopal Yadav’s visit.

Ram Gopal Yadav was accompanied by a senior advocate of the Supreme Court to help him understand the legal aspects of registration of political parties.

The party is divided over whether Akhilesh Yadav is behind this quiet move, or whether Ram Gopal Yadav is testing waters for forming a new party.

In UP’s first family, it is Ram Gopal Yadav who has been opposed to the political interferance and influence of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s second wife Sadhana Gupta.

Delhi political circles say that Akhilesh Yadav’s political party will be launched soon.

On Sunday, Mulayam expelled Ram Gopal, who had had thrown his weight behind Akhilesh, from the party for six years.

Yadav wrote an open letter to the party chief in which he said that the latter was “surrounded by demonic forces”. In the letter, Ramgopal wrote: “Not sad that I have been expelled from the party but I am hurt because of the allegations that have been levelled against me. It is not a crime to meet leaders from any other political party in a democracy. Whether I am in SP or not I will continue to extend my support to Akhilesh Yadav till he becomes CM. Mulayam Singh Yadav is not just my elder brother but also my ‘guru’ in politics, currently is surrounded by evil powers.”

12:43  SC defers hearing of election petition against Sonia Gandhi:  

The Supreme Court today deferred hearing of a plea challenging Sonia Gandhi’s election from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 on the issue of her citizenship and for allegedly playing the communal card to garner Muslim votes.

A bench headed by Justice A R Dave said a seven-judge Constitution bench was already hearing a matter on a similar issue and therefore it will not be appropriate to take a view in this matter now.

“Similar issue is being dealt with by a seven-judge Constitution bench. Let that issue be decided. Then we can take up this matter. We are not passing any orders. If we take a view in this matter, then it will not be appropriate as larger bench is hearing the issue,” the bench said.

The Allahabad high court had on July 11 dismissed a petition filed under the Representation of People Act, 1951 with costs and held that the election petition lacked material facts and did not constitute a complete cause of action.

On the plea that Gandhi has committed “corrupt practice” by allegedly seeking Muslim votes, the high court had said it should be shown that the act was done during the election campaign between the date of her candidature and the poll and she should have committed the act herself or through her agent or any other person with her consent to appeal for votes on ground of her religion.

The election petition filed by one Ramesh Singh contended that Sonia Gandhi has dual citizenship, as she is an Italian citizen by birth and the Italian law does not allow dual citizenship.

He had also sought that her election from Rae Bareli be set aside as void and as she allegedly had got an appeal made to Muslim voters through the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid to vote for her and her party, the Indian National Congress, ahead of elections, which amounted to corrupt practice.

The high court had said the allegation of corrupt practice was based on news channel reports which were of no value if it is without any further proof of what had actually happened.

12:30  Pakistan high commission staffer was kingpin of spy racket: Delhi police:  

A Delhi police official in a press conference revealed details about the spy racket being carried out from the Pakistan high commission. 

The official disclosed that the Pakistan high commission staffer, who was earlier detained, had documents about BSF deployment to the Pakistanis. 

He revealed that besides the Pakistan high commission staffer, two residents — Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir — were also arrested after receiving credible inputs about the spy racket. 

According to the official, Maulana Ramzan and Jangir were recruits by the staffer. The official said that Ramzan taught children in a mosque while Jangir had a small business, which was not doing well. 

When the three were arrested, the Pakistan high commission staffer initially revealed himself to be Mehmood Rajput, a resident of Chandni Chowk in Delhi and also produced an Aadhar card. 

It was only after further probing that it was disclosed that he was a Pakistani high commission staffer and used to work with the visa section.

Talking about the documents that were recovered, the official said that it contained information about BSF deployments along the border and also of officials — past and present — who served in the BSF. 

Officials added that they are hunting for a man known as Shoaib, who had recruited Maulani Ramzan. 

11:58  Pak high commission staffer, detained for espionage, to be expelled from India:  Following an eight-minute meeting with Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit, India has conveyed that the Pakistan high commission staffer, Mehmood Akhtar, has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities. 

Earlier in the day, Akhtar was detained after he was found in possession of defence documents. On intelligence inputs, Delhi Police Crime Branch took the staffer identified as Mehmood Akhtar in custody. He was released after questioning as he enjoys diplomatic immunity, they said.

11:50  Pak envoy’s 8-minute meeting with MEA ends:   Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit’s meeting with the MEA ends. The meeting lasted all of eight minutes. The Pakistan high commissioner was summoned by the ministry of external affairs after his staffer was found in possession of defence documents.

On intelligence inputs, Delhi Police Crime Branch took the staffer identified as Mehmood Akhtar in custody. He was released after questioning as he enjoys diplomatic immunity, they said. Details of what happened at the meeting are awaited.

The Crime Branch also arrested two persons, residents of Rajasthan, for allegedly passing on sensitive information to the staffer.

The spies are residents of Rajasthan working for Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence. The spies were in touch with the staff at the Pakistan high commission and were providing sensitive information, said a senior police officer.

Those arrested have been identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir.

11:26  Pak commission staffer let off due to diplomatic immunity:  Pakistan High Commission staffer, who was earlier arrested by the Delhi police with defence documents, has been let off because of diplomatic immunity. The staffer has been declared persona non grata and will be asked to leave India in 24 hours. The government’s decision will be communicated to Pak envoy Abdul Basit.

11:16  1 BSF jawan killed in Kashmir as Pakistan violates ceasefire again:  A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was killed in the RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir in cross-border fire by Pakistan. Jitendra Kumar,a  head constable posted in Abduliya post was martyred. Pakistan has been shelling along the Line of Control since 2 am. Six civilians were also injured.

Pakistan Rangers used 82 mm mortar shells to target civil and Border Security Force facilities in R.S.Pura. The BSF retaliated effectively using same calibre weapons, police sources said.

Shelling and firing exchanges took place in Korotana Kurd, Bidipur, Jattan, Abdullian, Chandu Chak, Shamka and Hansu Chak areas. Loud explosions could still be heard in these areas.

On Wednesday too, the Indian Army gave a befitting response to Pakistan firing at Jammu and Kashmir’s RS Pura and Rajouri sectors. The firing is going on since Tuesday afternoon and led to the death of two Pakistani soldiers after India retaliated to Pakistan shelling.There have been more than 40 ceasefire violations from the Pakistani side since the Indian side carried out surgical strikes inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir targeting terror launching pads, post the attack on an army camp in Uri on September 18.

10:52  Mulayam sends Shivpal to Delhi to explore ‘Grand Alliance’:  Shivpal Yadav is in Delhi to invite leaders of several other parties for the grand 25th birthday celebrations of the Samajwadi Party in Lucknow next week, among them prominent Uttar Pradesh leader Ajit Singh and Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal United.

The Delhi visit of the Samajwadi Party’s UP chief comes a day after he invited “all followers of Lohia, Chaudhary Charan Singh and Gandhi to come together and fight communal forces,” and he is expected to pursue putting together for the UP elections, a “Grand Alliance” on the lines of the one that fought and won the Bihar elections under Nitish Kumar’s stewardship last year.  Read more

10:46  Youngest American voters back Clinton for presidency: Poll :  America’s youngest voters are overwhelmingly supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president but a majority of them say they are “fearful” about the country’s future and do not feel hope, a Harvard poll has said. The national poll of America’s 18 to 29 year olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), at the prestigious John Kennedy School of Government found Clinton leading Donald Trump by 28 per cent.

10:27  And now…

10:26  Then…

10:25  MEA arrests Pak high commission staffer, summons envoy :  The Delhi police has reportedly arrested a staff member Mehmood Akhtar of the Pakistan High Commission after a tip-off by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Akhtar was arrested with defence documents and has been remanded at Chanakyapuri police station. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has summoned Pakistans High Commissioner Abdul Basit at 11.30 am on Thursday, say reports.

Staffers at the Pak embassy came under scrutiny after a spy ring with links to Pakistan intelligence was busted in November, 2015, according to an NDTV report.

Four arrests were made in Jammu and Kashmir and one of the accused was supposed to meet a high commission staffer who would have helped him with papers to reach Pakistan.

The identity of the accuseds source at the High Commission could not be ascertained then. Further details are awaited.

Image: Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit

10:03  Journalist Rana Ayyub prevented from speaking at Doha event:  In what appears to be an example of an unofficial gag order from the Modi government, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub was prevented from addressing a public gathering in Doha on October 22 by the Indian embassy in Qatar.  Ayyub is the author of the recently released book, Gujarat Files — Anatomy of a Cover Up, which indicts many top officials and politicians, including BJP’s current party president Amit Shah, for the role they played in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots.  Read more

09:57  Trump offers strategy lessons to military expert:  The latest target of Donald Trump’s ire is a military expert who questioned his analysis of the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul, with the Republican nominee offering him a couple of lessons in strategy.

“You can tell your military expert that I’ll sit down and teach him a couple of things,” Trump told ABC News in an interview yesterday.

He was responding to a question on a military expert who had criticised his analysis of the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS. Trump also hit out at the Obama administration for its strategy against ISIS, particularly in Mosul.

“I’ve been hearing about Mosul now for three months. ‘We’re going to attack, we’re going to attack.’ Why do they have to say three months before the attack, ‘We’re going in?’ Don’t talk about it. (It’s the) element of surprise,” Trump said. “One of the reasons they wanted Mosul, they wanted to get ISIS leaders who they thought were in Mosul. Those people have all left. As soon as they heard they’re going to be attacked, they left,” he said.

09:32  Tata stocks open in red for third consecutive day :  Tata-Mistry spat effect: Scrips of Tata stocks open in red again for the third successive day.

Tata scrips of Tata Group’s subsidiaries have been closing in the red for the last two days since Cyrus P Mistry was removed as the Chairman of Tata Sons.

Tata Sons is the holding company of the Tata Group. Shares of various subsidiaries of the industrial conglomerate initially fell in a range of about one to four per cent during the day’s trade on Tuesday.

Yesterday, NSE and BSE wrote to some of the listed Tata Group companies to clarify about Cyrus Mistry’s claim that the group faces a $18-billion writedown. Markets regulator Sebi, on the other hand, is watching the developments at the Tata Group but has not taken any proactive step as of now. 

09:22  No backdoor bid by Ratan Tata to grab power, says lawyer :  The Tata camp hit back at Cyrus Mistry’s allegations against interim chairman Ratan Tata on Wednesday, saying that the 78-year-old veteran had no intention to “grab power through the back door”. It also indicated that courts could be the last resort to resolve any dispute if “aggression gets the better of statesmanship”. Read more

09:01  Why 130? PM asks officials to analyse India’s low ease-of-doing-business rank:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked top bureaucrats to study a World Bank report that has dampened Diwali cheer, ranking India a low 130 among 190 countries on ease of doing business.

The PM sought feedback from the officials within a month and has asked the government’s most senior bureaucrat Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha to oversee the exercise, which will include an analysis by officials of the potential areas where there is scope for improvement in their respective departments and states.

PM Modi has set a goal for India to feature in the top 50 soon for ease of doing business and Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that target remains. But this year’s rank is just one spot ahead of last year’s revised rank of 131. 

Though India improved on some things like faster access to electricity, resolving contractual obligations or starting a business, there were still many challenges. Registering a property, getting credit and negotiating the maze of taxes are still a big put off for potential and existing investors.

08:57  Kashmir a matter for India, Pak to sort out: British PM:  

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the UK’s stand on Kashmir remains unchanged and it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan to address.

The issue was raised in the House of Commons during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session by Pakistani-born Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, who asked if the Kashmir issue would form part of May’s discussions during her visit to India next month.

“I take the same view as this government has since it came into power, and indeed previously, which is that the issue of Kashmir is a matter for India and Pakistan to deal with and sort out,” the British PM said in Parliament, clearly indicating that Kashmir was unlikely to be on the agenda

during her bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when she visits India between November 6 and 8.

08:27  India pulls out all stops for ‘spy’ Kulbhushan Jadhav:  

India has issued not 1, or 2, but as many as 6 note verbales to the Pakistan foreign ministry for consular access to alleged India spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, top government sources have said. 

The revelation shatters the perception that the government has given up, or gone slow, on Jadhav who has been booked for terrorism by Pakistan authorities. 

A note verbale is an unsigned diplomatic communication which is less formal than a letter of protest but is used to forcefully remind the receiving nation of its diplomatic obligations.

Official sources said India will continue to seek consular access to Jadhav. While Pakistan claims that Jadhav is a commander-rank officer with Indian navy, India maintains that he retired from the navy in 2002 and had nothing to do with the Indian government when he was arrested allegedly from Balochistan.

07:53  6 injured as Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire:  Six civilians have been injured as Pakistan continued to violate the ceasefire in Jammu-Kashmir’s RS Pura sector. 

On Wednesday, a Border Security Force jawan was injured. Pakistani Rangers pounded civilian areas and Indian military posts in two sectors of the International Border. 

The constant cross-border firing has forced authorities to close schools and border residents have moved out of their homes, fearing for their lives. 

The Pakistani side has been targeting Indian posts and civilian areas with heavy mortar and small arms fire.

Several villages along the International Border wear a deserted look as the residents have decided to migrate to safer places after Pakistan violated the ceasefire, targeting the civilian population.

00:32  Hacked emails show Clinton campaign’s fears about Sanders:  Allies of Hillary Clinton felt threatened by the power of Sen Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and wondered about getting some signal of support from President Barack Obama in the heat of the Democratic primaries, according to the latest emails in a hacked trove from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Ahead of the Illinois primary in March, liberal operative Neera Tanden asked Podesta, who formerly worked on Obama’s transition in 2008, if the president could give any kind of indication that he was supporting Clinton over Sanders. 

Tanden asked Podesta whether Obama could “even hint of support of Hillary before yesterday?” Obama stayed officially neutral in the primaries until Clinton clinched the nomination in June.

Tanden wrote, “Maybe they don’t want to do this, but the stakes are pretty damn high in this election for him.” 

The email exchange was contained in more than 1,500 emails released today by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. 

The notes were stolen from the email account of Podesta as part of a series of high-profile computer hacks of Democratic targets that US intelligence officials say were orchestrated by Russia, with the intent to influence the Nov 8 election. 

Russia has denied the allegations.

In a separate June 2015 email, the Clinton campaign worried that some state affiliates of the nation’s largest labor union, the National Education Association, were set to endorse Sanders even though the national union had not yet made an endorsement.

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