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7 December 2016

When Cho Ramaswamy introduced PM Narendra Modi as Merchant of Death
New Delhi, 7 December 2016

In multiple tweets today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the death of "dear friend" Cho Ramaswamy, calling him "a multidimensional personality, towering intellectual, great nationalist and fearless voice who was respected and admired".
"Cho Ramaswamy was insightful, frank & brilliant. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family & countless readers of Thuglak," the Prime Minister tweeted from his personal handle, @narendramodi.
"Above all, Cho Ramaswamy was a dear friend. I have been to his annual readers meeting which were an unprecedented editor reader interface," Modi said in another tweet.

Modi's admiration and love for Cho evident from two more candid tweets that he posted today - both videos of an event he attended in Chennai on Cho's invitation.
"The feisty Cho Ramaswamy introduces me as the 'Merchant of Death.' Do watch this memorable interaction," Modi invites his over 25 million followers to watch a YouTube excerpt from the event.
In his introductory remarks, Cho, in his characteristic style, had this to say about Modi:
"I now invite to address you the Merchant of Death, the Merchant of Death of terrorism, the Merchant of Death to corruption, the Merchant of Death to nepotism, the Merchant of Death to official inefficiency, the Merchant of Death to bureucratic negligence, the Merchant of Death to poverty and ignorance, the Merchant of Death to death and despair... he will now address you."
'The Merchant of Death' phrase was first used by Congress president Sonia Gandhi for Modi during an election speech in the run-up to the 2007 Gujarat Assembly election. The controversial statement was made in the context of the 2002 Gujarat riots, when Modi was the state Chief Minister.
In his tribute to Cho today, Modi also posted the video of his address, saying he doesn't think he matched "Cho's eloquence".
"I returned the favour, but don't think I matched Cho's eloquence. Hear what I said about him," Modi posted.

Jayalalithaa: Why funeral procession on Tuesday after 4.30 pm
New Delhi, 6 December 2016
In 1999, Jayaram Jayalalitha shocked Indian politics by suddenly withdrawing support to the then Atal Behari Vajpayee government. Differences were political and but the decision was influenced by astrology.
Before announcing withdrawal of support, Jayalalithaa reportedly locked herself up in her New Delhi hotel room. She refused to meet anyone as the moon was in its inauspicious eighth house.
After having consulted her astrologers, Jayalalithaa gave the letter of withdrawal of AIADMK's support to the Vajpayee government. That was to be handed over after 9 am but before 10 am. It happened that way only on April 14.
Born in a very conservative Iyengar family, Jayaram Jayalalithaa had absolute faith in astrology and numerology. Jayalalithaa would not do anything without consulting astrologers and which was not suited according to Panchangam- the Tamil calendar.
She was known to take all decisions, big or small in accordance with Panchangam.
If she were to announce any scheme, Jayalalithaa would consult astrologers for the date and exact time of the launch. Jayalalithaa would do new things during the muhurta of Budhan Horai of Panchagam.
She once cancelled the oath-taking ceremony because she found out at the last moment that the time was not auspicious.
In 2001, the then Jayalalitha added an extra 'a' to her name. The name change was attributed to a yajna that she performed a year ago to goddess Kali at a temple in Thanjavur.
The yajna was performed with the aim of coming back to power, which she did in the 2001-assembly elections and then the journalists were asked to spell her name with 12 characters instead of 11- from Jayalalitha to Jayalalithaa.
Based on the analysis of her birth chart, she believed that that numbers 5 and 7 were auspicious for her.
And, what an irony that she breathed her last on December 5. The Apollo Hospital's statement said that her demise took place at 11.30 pm- half-an-hour to December 6.
Given her popularity and emotional connect with the people of Tamil Nadu, it was only natural to keep her body till Wednesday the least to allow as many followers as possible to pay their last respects to the departed soul.
It would have been befitting farewell to a leader of Jayalalithaa's stature and mass connect. However, people close to her in AIADMK decided not to wait even for 12 hours because of Jayalalithaa's beliefs in astrology.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) is Ashtami. And, Jayalalithaa would not do any new thing on Ashtami of the Panchangam. How could the final journey begin on Ashtami!
The time of cremation was also decided in accordance with astrology.
According to Tamil Panchangam there is a Rahu Kala during 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Jayalalithaa would not do anything during the period of Rahu Kala. So, the wait till 4.30 pm before the funeral procession is taken out.

11 killed, 70 others injured as fire breaks out in hotel in Karachi, rescue efforts on
Karachi, 5 December 2016
At least 11 people were killed and around 70 others injured in a huge fire that erupted at Karachi's Regent Plaza hotel early on Monday, rescue officials said.
The blaze broke out in the kitchen in the ground floor at the Shahrah-i-Faisal, and spread across the six-floor building, trapping scores of hotel guests in their rooms, Dawn news reported.
Three fire tenders of the fire brigade reached the site and started the rescue operations. The fire-fighters were able to contain the fire after three hours.
11 people were killed, said Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Foundation.
At least 65 others injured and affected by the fumes were brought to the emergency department, said Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency services at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.
People trying to escape the blaze jumped from upper floor windows sustaining fractured bones, while others had shattered glasses piercing their body. Many were treated for smoke inhalation, she said.
She said 10 bodies were brought into the hospital. Six men, including two doctors and four women, are among the dead.
Two foreigners affected by the fire were alive and their condition was satisfactory, said Jamali.
The rescue operation continues, and some people are still reportedly trapped inside the hotel.
The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained.

Army jawan killed as terrorists attack Nagrota base; 3 militants trying to enter India killed in Samba

New Delhi, 29 November 2016
An encounter is underway between militants and security forces in Nagrota area of Jammu and Kashmir. Latest reports said one soldier has succumbed to his injuries, and at least three militants are holed up inside the base.
According to reports, the terrorists targeted a military location near White Knight Corps in Nagrota at 5:30 am today.
"A group of heavily armed militants, believed to be four-to-five in number, attacked the 166 field regiment camp in Nagrota area of Jammu today (Tuesday) morning," the police said.

The field regiment camp is located in the garrison town of Nagrota near the headquarters of Army's 16 corps in the state.
One jawan martyred, two others critical.
As per latest reports, this is a suicide attack and terrorists have come from the Srinagar side of the national highway.
The artillery unit attacked in Nagrota is on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, about 15 kms from Jammu and 39 kms from Pakistan border.
According to the sources, the terrorists first threw a grenade on the guard stationed at the main gate after which they started firing indiscriminately.
Three terrorists holed up in the area..
All schools have been ordered to shutdown.
Army has cordoned off the area.
Terrorists attacked the 166 field regiment camp in Nagrota.

In another encounter, three militants were killed and a BSF jawan Sanjay Kumar was injured in a gunbattle along the border in Samba area.
Some suspicious movement was noticed by thermal imagers in the intervening night of November 28-29 2016, in the general area of Border Out Post Chamliyal, Samba.
The area was immediately cordoned off and when challenged, a BSF patrol was fired upon by miscreants holed up in a tube well pumphouse in the fields.
The fire has been retaliated by BSF parties. Firing is still going on.
This area falls very close to the border fence and International Border.
According to reports, the terrorists crossed the IB in Ramgarh sector of Jammu and took shelter in a village close to the border.

Modi hits back at note ban critics: They accuse us of being unprepared, we gave them no time to prepare

New Delhi, 25 November 2016
Hitting out at the critics of his demonetisation move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said while they accuse the government of not being prepared, it is they who are hurting because the government gave them no time to prepare.
"Aalochna ye hai ki sarkaar ne puri tayyari nahi ki. Peeda iss baat ki hai ki sarkaar ne tayyari karne ka mauqa nahi diya (The criticism is that the government was not prepared. Their pain is that they were given no time to prepare)," Modi said in Hindi during the release of a book in Parliament to mark the Constitution Day.
"If we had given them time, they would have said: wah wah, Modi jaisa koi nahi," the Prime Minister said.

Modi's statement outside Parliament is further going to rile a united Opposition which has been demanding his participation for a debate on demonetisation in the House.
On Thursday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had led the Opposition's attack by calling the banning of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes a "monumental mismanagement" and a case of "organised loot and legalised plunder", warning that it will drag India's GDP by 2 percentage points.

"Why can't we use mobiles?"
The Prime Minister once again said the country can go cashless and use the mobile techonolgy for payments amid the cash crunch.
"Everyone has the right to use their money but today the world is changing. Money is not just available physically, it is digital. We must move towards cashless economy," he said.

NIA files FIR against Zakir Naik, conducts searches at 10 IRF premises in Mumbai
New Delhi, 19 November 2016
Government recently banned Zakir Naik's IRF for five years terming it illegal. The ban was enforced under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and was approved at a meeting of the Union Cabinet.
Naik's "objectionable and subversive" speeches, criminal cases filed against him,"dubious" links with Peace TV that allegedly features "communal" and "pro-jihad" were among the reasons cited by the Centre.
Top sources in the Home Ministry told India Today there was a strong case based on inputs and material shared by Maharashtra government and the central intelligence agencies. Multiple agencies including state police, NIA and Intelligence Bureau (IB) in recent months scanned hours of tapes to look for evidence against Naik and his NGO.
Naik has been under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper 'Daily Star' reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
Several ISIS Indian recruits also confessed before NIA that Naik deeply influenced them.
As per a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the IRF and its members, particularly, the founder and President of the association, Zakir Naik, has been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.
The Central Government has received information that the statements and speeches made by Zakir Naik, the President of IRF are objectionable and subversive in nature as he has been extolling the known terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, proclaiming that every Muslim should be a terrorist and claiming that if Islam had indeed wanted, eighty per cent of Indian population would not have remained Hindus as they could have been converted "if we wanted" by sword, justifying the suicide bombings, posting objectionable comments against Hindu gods, claiming that Golden Temple may not be as sacred as Mecca and Medina and making other statements which are derogatory to other religions.
Through his speeches and statements, Zakir Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups and inspiring Muslim youths and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.
The Central Government is of the opinion that the aforesaid activities of the IRF and its President Zakir Naik are highly inflammatory in nature and prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between various religious groups and communities and if urgent steps are not taken there is every possibility of many youth being motivated and radicalized to commit terrorist acts leading to promoting enmity between different religious groups.
The Central Government, having regard to the above circumstances, is of the firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an unlawful association with immediate effect.

Now withdraw Rs 2000 a day at select petrol pumps
New Delhi, 18 November 2016
In a bid to ease cash crunch, the government today allowed dispensing cash of up to Rs 2,000 through debit card swipe at select petrol pumps.
The facility will be available at 2,500 petrol pumps across the country. "It has been decided that an amount up to Rs 2,000 per day per person in cash, can be dispensed against swiping of debit card from select petrol pumps, where POS machines of SBI are already available," an official said.
POS machines are the machines which are generally used for debit or credit card transactions.
Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (independent charge) for petroleum and natural gas, retweeted the press release on Twitter, saying, "It has been decided that an amount of up to Rs 2,000 per day per person can be dispensed against swiping of debit card from select petrol pumps."
The petrol pumps, run by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited where POS machines of the SBI are available, will have the facility. This facility will be available till the situation of cash crisis improves across the country.
The new measures for withdrawing cash came after people have been complaining of problems faced by them. The oil industry is also in further discussions with SBI and other banks to extend this facility to over 20,000 petrol pumps gradually.

India vs England Live Score: 2nd Test at Visakhapatnam, Day1
New Delhi, 17 November 2016
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane complete 50-runs stand for the fourth wicket. India reach 298/3 in 83 are looking in a commanding position against England. Virat Kohli batting on 142 and Ajinkya Rahane is unbeaten on 15.
Four runs. Virat Kohli flicks Ben Stokes to backward square leg boundary. Single off the next ball and Ajinkya Rahane is back on strike. Four runs. perfect timing from Rahane; uses Stokes pace and open the face of the bat to guide the ball to third-man boundary. India 276/3 in 75 overs.
Here is a story on the dog who forced an early tea in Vizag: http://www.news18.com/cricketnext/news/dog-interrupts-test-match-is-immediately-rewarded-with-a-twitter-account-1312816.html
Did enjoy commentating on this: evidence of what our friend left behind at deep point. And it's is still there!
OUT! A brilliant innings from Cheteshwar Pujara comes to an end. Plays a rash shot off James Anderson outside the off stump and gets caught by Jony Bairstow at the slips. James Anderson gets his second wicket. Pujara made 119 runs off 204 balls. India 248/3 in 66.4 overs.
Preview: Under fire after a below-par show on a good batting strip, the Indian spinners will aim for an improved show on a comparatively more helpful track as they take on a gritty England in the second cricket Test, starting Thursday.
The pitch at the ACA-VDCA ground is expected to be a rank turner that will test the visiting side's batting unit big time after skipper Virat Kohli expressed his displeasure about the Rajkot strip where Indian spinners got a total nine wickets with four English batsmen scoring hundreds.
Kohli on Wednesday declared fit-again KL Rahul as the team's No.1 choice opener, putting paid to veteran Gautam Gambhir's chances of playing any further role in the ongoing series against England here.

Families can now withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh for weddings from one account, says govt-modified demonetisation rule
New Delhi, 17 November 2016
In a latest modification and relaxation in the demonetisation drive rules, families will now be able to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh for weddings from one account. The rules have also been changed for farmers who will be able to withdraw Rs 25,000 per week from their accounts.
This was announced by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Thursday morning.
However, the limit to exchange old currency notes at banks has been reduced from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,000 per person.
Speaking at a press conference, Das said, "The government has decided to permit farmers to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week against crop loans sanctioned and credited to their accounts.
ly condition is that the accounts have to be in the farmer's name and will be subject to loan limits.
The government has also decided that the time limit in crop insurance premium cases will be extended by 15 days.

New Zealand hit by second strong quake
An earthquake measuring 6.3 in

magnitude has hit New Zealand's South Island, hours after an initial quake killed two people.
The new tremor struck at 13:45 local time (00:45 GMT) at a depth of 10km (6 miles), northeast of Christchurch.
A 7.5-magnitude quake, with the same depth, had hit the same area just after midnight, triggering tsunami warnings.
A large river dammed up by a landslide has now breached its banks sending a "large wall of water" downstream.
Residents around the Clarence River - one of the largest on South Island - were being urged to move immediately to higher ground.
There have been hundreds of strong aftershocks, causing power shortages and cuts in water supply, since the initial quake.
GeoNet, a government-funded project monitoring earthquakes, said the first earthquake was actually two related tremors, and that aftershocks would continue over the next few months.
As the aftershocks keep coming, Kiwis up and down the country are sharing the same emotions.
Exhaustion from a sleepless night, concern for those still cut off from communication, and sadness for the two people who lost their lives. But there is also real relief.
This earthquake was greater in magnitude than 2011's Christchurch tremor, but it didn't bring the same level of devastation.
The cost of rebuilding will be huge - major parts of New Zealand's infrastructure have been twisted and snapped out of shape.
But as is often the case when disaster strikes, New Zealand's people have pulled together, checked on their neighbours and offered each other a safe haven.
line
Authorities have spent the night and day rescuing and evacuating residents along the east coast.
New Zealand media reported that a 100-year-old woman and her daughter-in-law were pulled out alive from their home in the town of Kaikoura, after the house collapsed in the first earthquake. The younger woman's husband died.
A woman also died at Mount Lyford, southwest of Kaikoura, though there are reports she may have died from an existing medical condition.
Waves of around 2m (6.6ft) hit the coast shortly after the first earthquake. Authorities have since lifted the tsunami alert, but are still warning people to stay away from the shoreline.
Residents in Christchurch and surrounding towns have rushed to stock up on basic supplies. Some schools in the affected area have remained closed on Monday.
A map showing the epicentre of the earthquake in New Zealand
Image caption
Culverden and Kaikoura are thought to be the worst affected areas
Kaikoura, a popular tourist destination, saw its main road blocked by landslides, with telecommunications, water and power supplies cut off.
The military and fire service have dispatched teams in helicopters to the town, and some people are being airlifted out.
The New Zealand Herald shared images of three cows left stranded on a tiny island after the surrounding earth collapsed from landslides near Kaikoura.
Picture of overturned car in aftermath of 13 November earthquake in New ZealandImage copyrightHENRY MCMULLAN
Image caption
New Zealand resident Henry McMullan tweeted this picture of an overturned car on State Highway One, with the words 'Driver out and safe' written on it
A handout picture released by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) on 14 November 2016 shows an aerial view taken during aerial surveys by Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircraft showing damage to infrastructure following the 7.5 magnitude Hanmer Earthquake near the Kaikoura Coast, New Zealand.Image copyrightEPA
Image caption
The New Zealand Defence Force released this photo showing a huge landslide on State Highway One near Kaikoura
Prime Minister John Key told reporters that he believed the number of fatalities would remain low, while civil defence minister Gerry Brownlee said damage to infrastructure appeared to be the biggest problem.
One expert told TVNZ that the low number of fatalities may have been due to the fact that the first quake struck in the middle of the night.
"People were safe in their homes, homes might get damaged but they're safer for the people inside," said Ken Elwood from the University of Auckland.
Empty shelves in the bread aisle at the Four Square Hanmer Springs after the 7.8 magnitude Hanmer Earthquake, in Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, 14 November 2016.Image copyrightAP
Image caption
Christchurch residents have rushed to stock up on supplies like bread and water in the aftermath of the quake
The quake was also felt in Wellington on the North Island, where the city's central business district (CBD) remained quiet on Monday as workers cleared debris and checked buildings.
Resident Adam Roland told the BBC: "The CBD's been closed off so most people are either working from home or not working today."
A paved road is lifted at the ports in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, 14 November 2016, following an earthquakeImage copyrightAP
Image caption
The tremors were felt in Wellington as well, where cracks emerged on roads
Logs are dislodged from their stacks at the ports in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, 14 November 2016, following an earthquake.Image copyrightAP
Image caption
The quake dislodged logs at Wellington's port
GeoNet said the first quake was the strongest to have hit New Zealand since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2009 in a remote area of the South Island.
New Zealand lies on the Ring of Fire, the fault line that circles virtually the entire Pacific Rim bringing frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions.
Christchurch is still recovering from a 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed the city centre.

US Election 2016: Trump wins key battleground states

NEW YORK: 9 November. 2016
Donald Trump spent much of the end of his campaign claiming the election would be rigged - but at the moment, the New York Times is predicting he has a better chance of winning than his rival.

It also suggests the Republican could win enough electoral college votes to become president but lose the popular vote.
Trending emojis tell the story of upset Clinton supporters
Emojipedia, the "emoji search engine", is tracking all the emojis that have been trending tonight.

The pistol emoji has just started trending in the past 30 minutes.

The Canadian flag has been trending as well as a variety of facial expressions, which have been growing increasingly dire in recent minutes.
Could third-party voters have swung Florida for Clinton?
According to the latest reports, Trump won the state of Florida by about 130,000 votes. At the same time, votes for third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein topped 260,000.

It’s impossible to say how those voters might have cast their ballot were Johnson and Stein not in the race, but some “protest voters” might be questioning their choices now – just as thousands of Brexit voters did.
Clinton 'the devil you know', Trump 'the great unknown'

The BBC's Asia Business Correspondent Karishma Vaswani says:

"A Clinton victory is seen as broadly positive for Asia because, as one trader told me, it’s very much the case of 'the devil that you know'. As secretary of state she has travelled out here before. Meanwhile Trump is the great unknown, prompting great uncertainty with moves such as calling for a tariff on Chinese imports. That has concerned Asian investors."
Californians "Legalise It"

Legal marijuana is now the law of the land throughout the entire West Coast of the USA!

If approved in the other four states where it is being considered, more than 75 million Americans tomorrow will live in states where it is legal to light up for fun.
Clinton 'has one path to victory'
Hillary Clinton now needs to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin if she is going to win the White House, Norm Ornstein tells BBC News.

"She has one path to victory and he (Trump) has many others."

Why are voters queuing at this grave?
Clinton voters have been flocking to the grave of Susan B Anthony, who fought to gain womens' access to the ballot box.

It wasn't until 1920 that women were permitted to vote in the US.
Controversial sheriff loses Arizona race
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks at a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona - 18 December 2013
AP
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Republican, is projected to lose his bid for a seventh term.

Sheriff Arpaio, 84, became known nationally after cracking down on illegal immigration.
He lost to Democrat Paul Penzone.
Canadian immigration website crashes
The websites for Canada's Citizenship and Immigration department have crashed, Twitter users have found.

People who tried to access the site couldn't load the page, when they tried around 22:30 EST (03:30 GMT).

Prior to election night, many celebrities and people online had claimed that if Trump were to win, they would head north of the border.

But Business Insider still has a helpful guide for anyone fleeing northwards.
'Clinton will lose Florida' - former US Senator
Clinton ran a "textbook ground game" to drive voter turnout in the Sunshine state but she's simply not getting the support that she needs, according to former Democratic Party senator Bob Graham.

US media are projecting a win for Donald Trump in the state, but the result has yet to be confirmed.

What UK Wants: More Trade. And India? Student, Techie Visas: 10 Facts

NEW DELHI: 7 Nov. 2016
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in Delhi today that Britain will become the ultimate free trade champion as she laid the groundwork Monday for a potential post-Brexit deal with India, the world's fastest growing major economy.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
Although Britain cannot sign any bilateral trade deals until it has left the European Union - most likely in 2019 - Ms May is indicating a desire to get the ball rolling as early as possible. "Identifying... (areas of common interest) does not need to wait for us to leave the European Union," she told a group of industrialists today.
But with the Indian government keen to secure more access to Britain for students and skilled workers, visa numbers are likely to be a sticking point in any talks. Ms May promised to ease access for Indian business travellers but not for its students.
Britain's need to cut deals quickly once it leaves the EU gives PM Modi added bargaining power for a potentially huge market.
Ms May, who said she wants Britain to be a global leader in free trade, has said she plans to use the visit to try to reduce barriers to trade with India and pave the way for a post-Brexit free-trade deal.
While the benefits of a deal to Britain are evident, sealing one will be no easy task. India still has a rigorous regime of tariffs and red tape which have traditionally made it one of the most complex places to do business. Also, bilateral trade is relatively low - $14 billion last year, smaller than the volume of trade between India and Germany
There is particular unhappiness in Delhi over visa restrictions on students wanting to stay on in Britain after completing university courses which have led to a 50 per cent drop in Indians enrolling.
Ms May, however, said Britain already gives Indians special status by letting them apply for same-day visas and planned a new "registered travellers fee" allowing Indian businesspersons to be fast-tracked through customs.
Accompanied by a delegation of around three dozen business leaders, Mr May arrived smog-thick Delhi late last night and will travel to the tech hub of Bengaluru tomorrow.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was vital that India and Britain work together to define the knowledge economy of the 21st century, and invited UK partners to get involved in his signature policy initiatives such as his plan to develop 100 "smart" cities.
He also called for "greater mobility and participation of young people in educational and research opportunities" - an apparent reference to the sharp fall in the number of Indian nationals studying in Britain since 2010.

Plane Fire Sparks Frantic Evacuation On Chicago Runway, 20 Injured

CHICAGO: 29 OCt. 2016
American Airlines Boeing 767 bound for Miami caught fire during take-off
161 passengers and nine crew were on board the plane when it caught fire
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear
Approximately 20 people were injured when an American Airlines Boeing 767 bound for Miami caught fire Friday as it attempted to take off from Chicago's O'Hare airport, emergency officials said.

The blaze broke out on American Airlines Flight 383 -- with 161 passengers and nine crew on board -- as the plane was on the runway at one of the nation's busiest airports.

"We transported about 20 patients with minor injuries to several hospitals," Juan Hernandez of the Chicago Fire Department told a news conference.

He described the injuries as bruises and ankle injuries incurred as passengers exited via emergency slides.

"We are taking care of our customers and crew and are re-accommodating our passengers on another flight to Miami this evening," American Airlines said in a statement.

The cause of the incident was not immediately clear, with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline offering conflicting information.

The FAA said the plane suffered a tire blowout, but spokesman Tony Molinaro told AFP that that information was preliminary and based on initial reports from the plane's pilots.

In a separate statement, American Airlines blamed the incident on an "engine-related issue."

Timothy Sampey, with the Chicago Fire Department's airport operations, said the fire was in one of the plane's engines.

"There was substantial fire on the starboard (right) side of the aircraft," he said. "There was substantial fuel leak."

Officials did not explain the cause of the leak, saying it would be determined by the ensuing investigation.

Bystanders posted photos and videos on social media showing black smoke billowing from the airliner.

One video showed passengers coming down emergency slides and running away from the aircraft, with black smoke and flames visible on the right side of the plane.

Emergency crews surrounded the jet, which appeared to be intact on the runway, though its right side and right wing were charred.
The FAA said it was investigating the incident and the National Transportation Safety Board had been notified.

Service was not interrupted at O'Hare, but the FAA said delays were expected.

Don't Make It About Ego, Supreme Court Warns Centre Over Selecting Judges
NEW DELHI: 28 Oct. 2016
In an ongoing dispute, the Supreme Court today accused the government of holding up essential appointments of judges, warning "Don't make it an issue of ego".
The government and the top court have been unable to decide on a new process to select judges, with both sides accusing each other to trying to exercise unfair control over the procedure.
"You can't bring the institution to a grinding halt. We are working very patiently. We don't want to have situation where the institution is decimated and courts are locked," said Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.
"You can't sit over on our recommendations. Don't make it an issue of ego," he said to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
The case will next be heard on November 11.

Expelled Pak High Commission Officer Met Alleged Spies At Delhi Zoo

NEW DELHI: 27 OCt. 2016
A Pakistan High Commission officer has been asked to leave India over alleged espionage. Two men from Rajasthan have been arrested for allegedly leaking sensitive intel and documents to him.
The official, Mehmood Akhtar, was questioned by the Delhi Police but let off because of diplomatic immunity. He has been declared "persona non grata" for espionage, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned this morning and told by the foreign ministry.
Abdul Basit reportedly registered strong protest and said Akhtar's detention was a "violation of the Vienna convention."
The men, from Rajasthan, have been arrested for allegedly leaking the documents to Pak High commission official.
The men who were arrested, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, had accessed sensitive defence-related documents and information and allegedly handed them to the official.

Some employees in the Pakistani mission came under scrutiny last year after a spy ring associated with Pakistan's intelligence was exposed and five people, including a non-commissioned Air Force officer, were arrested. The police say today's arrests may be connected to that network.
The spying allegations have resurfaced amid strained relations between the two countries over terror attacks from Pakistan, especially last month's Uri attack in which 19 soldiers were killed. In what was widely seen as retaliation, the army carried out surgical strikes on September 29 across the Line of Control to target staging camps for terrorists planning to target cities in India.

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