LIVE news: Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Jammu and Kashmir

Representative image | Photo: ANI Twitter
Latest News LIVE UPDATES: The Pakistan army on Friday opened heavy fire and shelled forward posts in two sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district. Indian troops retaliated befittingly.

The Supreme Court issued show-cause notices to stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja on Friday for their alleged scandalous tweets against the apex court. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah sought response from both in six weeks on the notices issued in two separate cases. It, however, exempted them from personal appearances in the cases.

Four people have been arrested for allegedly posting an online advertisement listing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi office for "sale", police said.

The MET today sounded an orange alert for the national capital for two days till Sunday after icy winds blowing from the snow-clad Himalayas brought down the city's mercury to nearly 3 degrees Celsius. It will be a cloudy Saturday with fog causing trouble for traffic till Monday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be on a two-day tour of West Bengal from Saturday, during which he is slated to eat food at the houses of a farmer and a baul singer and also meet with state BJP leaders. 

 
Stay tuned for all the updates here

LIVE UPDATES

Quad officials meet to advance a inclusive Indo Pacific region

Senior officials from the United States, Australia, India, and Japan met virtually Friday as part of regular Quad consultations to advance a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
 
Quad is the informal grouping of four major democracies in the region: US, Australia, Japan and India.
 
The meeting followed the productive discussions held in Tokyo during the second Quad Foreign Ministers' Meeting on October 6, the State Department said in a readout.

China emerging as major challenge for India: Retired military official

China is emerging as a major challenge for India, therefore the country needs to look at the future and frame its diplomatic, political and military strategies accordingly, Lt Gen (retd) D S Hooda said on Friday.
 
Participating in a discussion on "Sabre Rattling in Ladakh" on the inaugural day of the three-day Military Literature Festival, the former Northern Army commander talked about the India-China border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
 
He said a series of talks at political, diplomatic and military levels were held but there seems to be very little progress happening on the ground.
 
"...is this the situation we are continuing to see over the next months and years with thousands of soldiers standing on both sides or is there some potential for negotiations, settlement," he said.

Ahead of crucial Congress meet, Bihar socialist has one advise for Sonia

Senior RJD leader and veteran Bihar socialist Shivanand Tiwary on Friday called Rahul Gandhi a "reluctant and uninspiring" leader and urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to overcome "putra moh" (weakness for her son) in deciding her political successor.
 
Tiwary, who is currently a national vice president of the RJD founded and headed by Lalu Prasad, made the explosive statement with the remark that he was aware that he could "irk the leadership of the very party of which I am at present a member".
 
"But, I have reached a stage where I do not always care about party diktats and choose to speak my mind.....Sonia Gandhi is going to hold an important meeting tomorrow. I wonder if it is going to yield any result," the former Bihar minister and ex-Rajya Sabha member said in his statement.

It's good that rotten elements are leaving: Mamata to TMC leaders

Amid the ongoing spree of desertions, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday night termed the deserters as "baggage" for the party and said it is good that rotten elements are leaving on their own.
 
Banerjee held an internal meeting with a select group of leaders at her residence to take stock of the situation.
 
According to party sources, Banerjee told TMC leaders not to be "worried about the desertions" as the people of the state are with them.
 
"Our party supremo during the meeting told us not to be worried about the desertions as it is good that the rotten elements are leaving the party on their own. She said deserters were baggage for the party," a senior TMC leader said on condition of anonymity after the closed-door meet.

Modi to hold virtual summit with Vietnamese counterpart Monday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a virtual summit with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday with a focus on future development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
 
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) made an announcement about the summit.
 
"The two leaders will exchange views on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and global issues and provide guidance for the future development of India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership," the MEA said in a statement.

TMC rocked by a fresh desertions

The ruling TMC was rocked by a fresh bout of desertions on Friday with at least ten of its leaders exiting it and deepening the crisis in the party hours before the arrival of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the state.
 
A new twist was added to the unfolding political drama when Speaker Biman Banerjee rejected the resignation of senior leader Suvendu Adhikari as a member of the House on technical grounds.
 
A day after four senior TMC leaders including two MLAs
 
Suvendu Adhikari and Jitendra Tiwari quit the party, nine disgruntled leaders including Barrackpore MLA Silbhadra Dutta and Uttar Kanthi representative Banasree Maity sent their resignations to the TMC top brass.
 
Opposition CPI(M) too felt the tremors of desertion as one of its MLAs quit the party.

Sebi bans 16 entities for front-running activities

Regulator Sebi on Friday barred 16 entities from the capital markets for up to seven years for indulging in front-running activities.
 
The entities have been prohibited from the capital markets for a period ranging from five to seven years. Of the 16 entities, six have been asked to disgorge illegal gains of nearly Rs 20 crore.
 
Front-running refers to an illegal practice in stock market where an entity trades on the basis of advance information from a broker or analyst before the information has been made available to their clients.

ADB, India sign $300 million loan agreement

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the union government have signed a $300 million loan to upgrade rural power distribution networks and provide reliable electricity supply to consumers in Uttar Pradesh, the Finance Ministry said

Exam paper leak scam: Assam Police files charge sheet

Assam Police files charge sheet before special court in Guwahati against 36 people for their alleged involvement in state police exam paper leak scam

Pakistan army shells forward posts in two sectors along LoC in Jammu and Kashmir

The Pakistan army on Friday opened heavy fire and shelled forward posts in two sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district. Indian troops retaliated befittingly, they said.
 
"At 1740 hours today, the Pakistan army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars along the LoC in Mendhar and Balakote sectors in district Poonch," defence spokesman said.
 
The LoC has witnessed heavy firing and shelling during the last few weeks, resulting in an increased number of casualties and triggering a fear psychosis among the residents of border areas. On December 1, the Pakistan army violated the ceasefire by shelling forwards posts in Rajouri sector along the LoC. A BSF sub-inspector was killed in the shelling.

On November 27, two soldiers of the Indian Army were killed when Pakistani troops opened heavy fire and shelled forward posts in Sunderbani sector in Rajouri district.
 

Winter chill to continue for a week, slight relief expected later: IMD

As winter chill grips the plains, the India Meteorological Department on Friday said night temperatures would continue to be below normal in north India over the next week and a slight relief can be expected only a week later.
 
In its forecast from December 17-24 and from December 24-30, the IMD said the minimum temperatures would be below normal by 2-6 degrees Celsius over most parts of northwest, central and east India.
 
Near normal or slightly above normal temperatures are likely over remaining parts of the country during the first week. Cold wave to severe cold wave conditions would occur in some pockets over Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, west Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan during the first half of the first week and decrease thereafter, the IMD said.

CBI books Hyderabad-based Transstroy (India) Ltd for Rs 7,926-crore bank fraud

ICMR DG (Prof) Balram Bhargava tests positive for Covid-19, admitted to AIIMS Delhi

ICMR DG (Prof) Balram Bhargava tests positive for Covid-19, admitted to AIIMS Delhi

J&K: Final phase of DDC polls on Saturday; voting to be held in 28 constituencies

The staggered voting for the maiden District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir will conclude on Saturday as 28 constituencies are set to go for polling in the eighth and final phase.
 
Voting will also be held for 369 vacant panch and sarpanch seats on Saturday across Jammu and Kashmir, state election commissioner K K Sharma told reporters here on Friday.
 
"A total of 28 DDC constituencies will go to polls including 13 seats from Kashmir division and 15 from Jammu division, with 168 candidates contesting the last leg of the elections," Sharma said.
 
Giving details, he said against the 13 DDC constituencies of the Kashmir division going to the polls on Saturday, there are 83 candidates in fray, including 31 women.
 
In the Jammu division, there are 85 candidates, including 15 women, in fray for the 15 DDC constituencies in this phase, he added.
 
"Over 6.30 lakh electors including 3,03,275 female voters are going to elect their representatives in the 28 DDC constituencies," Sharma said.
 
There are 1,703 polling stations – 1,028 in Kashmir division and 6,75 in Jammu division -- where voting will take place on Saturday.

 

Air quality 'very poor' in Ghaziabad, 'poor' in Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad

The air quality was in the "very poor" category in Ghaziabad, while it remained in the "poor" zone in Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad in the national capital region, according to data issued by a government agency on Friday.  Presence of pollutant PM 2.5 and PM 10 also remained high in the five immediate neighbours of Delhi, according to the air quality index (AQI) maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
 
According to the index, an AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
 
The average 24-hour AQI at 4 pm on Friday was 304 in Ghaziabad, 297 in Greater Noida, 288 in Noida, 214 in Faridabad and 224 in Gurgaon, according to CPCB's Sameer app.
 
The CPCB states that an AQI in the "very poor" category may cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while air quality in the "poor" zone may lead to breathing discomfort to people.
 
The average AQI on Thursday was 277 in Ghaziabad, 283 in Greater Noida, 267 in Noida, 213 in Faridabad and 241 in Gurgaon.
 

Adhikari's resignation does not conform to rules of House, not accepted: Bengal Speaker

West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee on Friday said that he has not accepted the resignation tendered by TMC MLA Suvendu Adhikari as it does not conform to the provisions of the Constitution and the rules of the House.
 
Banerjee noted that Adhikari did not hand over the resignation letter to him personally, and maintained that he wasn't aware if his move was "voluntary and genuine".
 
The speaker further said that the legislator has been asked to appear before him personally in his chamber on December 21 to make a submission in the matter.
 
"Unless and until I am satisfied that the resignation is voluntary and genuine, it is not possible for me to accept the same in the light of the provisions of the Constitution of India and the rules of procedure and conduct of business in West Bengal Legislative Assembly," he told reporters.
 
Adhikari, who had earlier quit the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, submitted his resignation as MLA at the Assembly secretariat on December 16. The speaker was not present in the House at that time.

Winter chill to continue for a week, slight relief expected later: IMD

As winter chill grips the plains, the India Meteorological Department on Friday said night temperatures would continue to be below normal in north India over the next week and a slight relief can be expected only a week later.
 
In its forecast from December 17-24 and from December 24-30, the IMD said the minimum temperatures would be below normal by 2-6 degrees Celsius over most parts of northwest, central and east India.
 
Near normal or slightly above normal temperatures are likely over remaining parts of the country during the first week.
 
“Cold wave to severe cold wave conditions would occur in some pockets over Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, west Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan during the first half of the first week and decrease thereafter,” the IMD said.
 
Cold day to severe cold day conditions would occur in some to many pockets over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, north Rajasthan and northwest Uttar Pradesh during next two days and abate thereafter, it said.


 

Media industry has potential to grow to $100 bn in 10 years: Star & Disney India MD

The media and entertainment industry has "humongous" potential in India and can grow up to four times to $100 billion in the next 10 years, said Star & Disney India Managing Director K Madhavan.
 
The audience demand for entertainment is only going up and the mode of distribution has changed for the industry, he said in his valedictory address in the 'Big Picture Summit' organised by industry body CII.
 
Currently, the media and entertainment industry stands at $24 billion and is about one per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), he added.
 
"The industry has the potential to grow from $24 billion to $100 billion by 2030, which is what our vision is and our target should be. The potential of the media industry is untapped and humongous," said Madhavan.
 
However, he also added that the industry needs 'light-touch regulation' and need to be able to experiment with content and technology.

Pak army shells forward posts in two sectors along LoC in J&K's Poonch

The Pakistan army on Friday opened heavy fire and shelled forward posts in two sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, officials said.
 
Indian troops retaliated befittingly, they said.
 
"At 1740 hours today, the Pakistan army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars along the LoC in Mendhar and Balakote sectors in district Poonch," defence spokesman said.
 
The LoC has witnessed heavy firing and shelling during the last few weeks, resulting in an increased number of casualties and triggering a fear psychosis among the residents of border areas.

Budget like never before in a way in 2021: FM Nirmala Sitharaman at CII Summit

5,456 new coronavirus positive cases have been reported in Kerala today

5,456 new coronavirus positive cases have been reported in Kerala today

Amit Shah to visit West Bengal for two days from Dec 19

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will undertake a two-day tour of West Bengal from Saturday, during which he is slated to eat food at the houses of a farmer and a baul singer and also meet with state BJP leaders. BJP national media incharge and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni released the details of Shah's visit, wherein he will also perform puja at two temples, participate in road shows and public meetings as well.
 
The senior BJP leader will also pay homage to Swami Vivekananda at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Kolkata at 10.45 am on Saturday. After giving a statement to the media, he will offer prayers at the famous Maa Siddheshwari temple in Medinipur at 12.30 pm and wish for the prosperity of all Indians.
 
He will also lay a wreath at the statue of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose and offer prayers at Devi Mahamaya temple, around 12 km from here, at 13.25 pm. On Saturday afternoon, the Union Minister is also slated to visit Belijuri village in Medinipur to eat lunch with a farmer's family.

IKEA opens its second store in India in Navi Mumbai

Swedish furniture giant IKEA welcomed the first customer at its second store in India, which was opened at Turbhe in Navi Mumbai on Friday. Spread across 5.30 lakh square feet, the store will permit only pre-registered customers up to 2,500 daily in view of the Covid-19 restrictions and following all the protocols, said a company spokesperson.
 
On Thursday, Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray made an inauguration-eve visit to the IKEA store, went around the premises and interacted with the staff.
 
IKEA India CEO Peter Betzel said that people can now not only visit the store, but also shop online, or buy their favourite and affordable products through its 'click & collect' services.

Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch

Pakistan violates ceasefire by firing with small arms and shelling with mortars along LoC in Mendhar sector in Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir.

Four arrested after PM Modi's Varanasi office is listed on OLX for sale

Four people have been arrested for allegedly posting an online advertisement listing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi office for "sale", police said on Friday.
 
The accused had taken a picture of the "Jansampark Kaaryalay (public relations office)" of Modi, who represents Varanasi in the Lok Sabha, and put it "up for sale" on OLX website, they said. The office is located in the Jawahar Nagar locality of the city, and it falls under the Bhelupur police station limits, Varanasi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Amit Pathak said.
 
"Yesterday, it came to our notice that the prime minister's office here has been put up on sale on OLX website. An FIR was immediately lodged at the Bhelupur police station, and the matter is being investigated," Pathak said. READ MORE...

Rupee settles 3 paise higher at 73.56 (provisional) against US dollar


PM Narendra Modi's Varanasi office listed on OLX for 'sale'; four people arrested: Police

PM Narendra Modi's Varanasi office listed on OLX for 'sale'; four people arrested: Police

SC grants interim protection to BJP leaders facing criminal cases in WB

The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection to five BJP leaders, including Mukul Roy and MPs Kailash Vijayvargiya and Arjun Singh, in criminal cases lodged against them in West Bengal and directed the state police not to taken any coercive action.
 
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul sought response from the West Bengal government on five separate pleas filed by BJP leaders alleging foisting of criminal cases to deter them from political activities and said interim protection from coercive action will continue till the next date of hearing.
 
The bench posted the batch of pleas for further hearing in the second week of January. Besides Roy, Vijayvargiya and Singh, two other BJP leaders Sourav Singh and Pawan Kumar Singh have moved the apex court for protection in cases lodged against them in the state.

Political activities prohibited in Delhi till Dec 31: Police to HC on AAP leaders' plea

The Delhi Police on Friday informed the Delhi High Court that protests inside the national capital cannot be allowed currently as political activities are barred till December 31 in view of the prevailing situation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Advocate Gautam Narayan appearing for the Delhi Police made the submissions before a single-judge bench of the high court presided over by Justice Navin Chawla.
 
The court also sought response from the Delhi Police over a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) politicians Raghav Chadha and Atishi seeking permission to protest outside the residence of Home Minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal respectively. While the matter was being heard by video conferencing, Narayan submitted that in Delhi, no political gathering on any kind is permissible.
 
"The prohibition applies across the city and not just one road," he said while adding that there are only two designated spots for protests - Ramlila Ground and Jantar Mantar.

PM Narendra Modi attends 'Kisan Kalyan' event in MP through video conferencing

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan addresses 'Kisan Kalyan' event in Raisen

Chinese hackers targeted shoppers during Flipkart festive sales

China-based hacking groups are leaving no stone unturned in attacking Indians and a new report revealed on Friday that fraudsters from GuangDong and Henan province in China targeted online shoppers during the record-breaking Flipkart festive season sales.

Nigerian Military frees over 300 students abducted by Boko Haram

Over 300 boys who were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group from a school in northern Nigeria have been freed, Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari announced. On Tuesday the jihadist organization claimed responsibility for last week's attack on the Kankara Government Science Secondary School and the kidnappings of hundreds of its students. The group's leader Abubakar Shekau said the abductions were made in the name of Islam and against "the Western education." The national security forces were tasked to rescue the kidnapped students.

With Trump silent, reprisals for hacks may fall to Biden

All fingers are pointing to Russia as the source of the worst-ever hack of US government agencies. But President Donald Trump, long wary of blaming Moscow for cyberattacks, has so far been silent. The lack of any statement seeking to hold Russia responsible casts doubt on the likelihood of a swift response and suggests any retaliation whether through sanctions, criminal charges or cyber actions will be left in the hands of President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration. I would imagine that the incoming administration wants a menu of what the options are and then is going to choose, said Sarah Mendelson, a Carnegie Mellon University public policy professor and former US ambassador to the UN's Economic and Social Council. Is there a graduated assault? Is there an all-out assault? How much out of the gate do you want to do?

Security issues may arise before India in future: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that with changing times, the nature of threats and wars is also changing, adding that in the future, more security-related issues may arise before India. Attending the Military Literature Festival-2020 via video conferencing, the Defence Minister said, "From another point of view, I find this event very important. With changing times, the nature of threats and wars is also changing. In the future, more security-related issues may come before us." On the issue of military literature, the Defence Minister said, "I myself have been deeply interested in linking military literature with the common people. My wish is that future generations understand the history of our country, especially the border history."

US President Trump, Saudi King Salman discuss regional security, bilateral issues

US President Donald Trump spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during which they discussed regional security and key bilateral issues, the White House has said. "President Trump thanked King Salman for his leadership and expressed his optimism towards resolving the Gulf Rift, the White House said in a readout of the call on Thursday. The two leaders discussed regional security and key bilateral issues, it said. Trump's call comes in the waning days of his administration with the president set to depart office on January 20 when President-elect Joe Biden will be officially sworn-in.

 

Indian Air Force gets Astra MK-1 BVR air to air missile

Defence Min Rajnath Singh hands over a model of Astra MK-1 BVR air to air missile to IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria, at DRDO. Astra is the first indigenously developed BVR (Beyond Visual Range) air to air missile;it can be launched from SU-30, LCA &MiG-29K with range 100 plus kms.

Iran builds at underground nuclear facility amid US tensions

Iran has begun construction on a site at its underground nuclear facility at Fordo amid tensions with the US over its atomic programme, satellite photos obtained Friday by The Associated Press show. Iran has not publicly acknowledged any new construction at Fordo, whose discovery by the West in 2009 came in an earlier round of brinkmanship before world powers struck the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. While the purpose of the building remains unclear, any work at Fordo likely will trigger new concern in the waning days of the Trump administration before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Already, Iran is building at its Natanz nuclear facility after a mysterious explosion in July there that Tehran described as a sabotage attack.

Trinamool loses 3 MLAs in a row: Now Shilbhadra Dutta resigns

A day after Trinamool Congress heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari resigned just hours before Jitendra Tiwari from the party, the trend continued on Friday as another legislator from Mamata Banerjee's party from Barrackpore assembly constituency, Shilbhadra Dutta, too called it quits. According to sources, Dutta also replaced Banerjee's photo, hung on the wall of his office, with Swami Vivekananda. He surrendered the car given by the state government. He said if the government wants it can withdraw his security cover as well. Dutta sent his resignation letter to Trinamool supremo Banerjee. "I am tendering my resignation as a member of All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), as well as from all other positions held by me in the party and its associate organisations with immediate effect," he write in the letter.

Noisy scenes in Delhi Assembly over Rs 2,500 cr 'scam' in municipal corporations

Noisy scenes were witnessed on the second day of Delhi Assembly's special session on Friday, with AAP MLAs alleging Rs 2,500 crore scam in BJP-ruled municipal corporations and demanding a CBI inquiry into it. The AAP MLAs trooped into the well of the House raising slogans as soon as the session started. The party legislators also displayed a large banner in the House alleging Rs 2500 crore scam in the municipal corporations.

Australia 35 for 2 at dinner on day 2 of first Test

Australia were 35 for two after dismissing India for 244 at the end of the opening session on the second day of the first Test here on Friday. Marnus Labuschagne (16) and Steve Smith (1) were at the crease at the break.

Brief Score: India first innings: 244 allout in 93.1

Australia first innings: 35 for 2 in 19 overs (M Labuschagne 16 batting, Jasprit Bumrah 2/8).
 

India vs Australia. Photo: @cricketcomau

Transition stumbles test Biden's bond with Capitol Hill

President-elect Joe Biden brings more Capitol Hill experience than any president in decades, but his transition has stumbled in ways large and small, exposing the challenges of navigating a Congress that is a different place than when he last served in 2009. He rolled out an almost all-white national security team when allies were expecting diversity. He filled top posts with familiar Washington hands rather than fresh newcomers. His team clumsily floated some names and retracted others for the Cabinet. None of the setbacks has been politically devastating. In fact, key Republicans are reaching out for personal calls with Biden, and Democrats are excited about the skilled and savvy professionals poised to join the administration as it battles the COVID-19 crisis and withering economy.

US to blacklist dozens of Chinese firms including SMIC: Report

The United States is set to add dozens of Chinese companies, including the country's top chipmaker SMIC, to a trade blacklist on Friday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. The move, which has not previously been reported, is seen as the latest in President Donald Trump's effort to cement his tough-on-China legacy. It comes just weeks before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office on Jan. 20. In total, the United States is expected to add around 80 additional companies and affiliates to the so-called entity list, nearly all of them Chinese. The designations by the Commerce Department are expected to name some Chinese companies that Washington says have ties to the Chinese military, including some helping it construct and militarize artificial islands in the South China Sea, as well as some involved in alleged human rights violations, the sources said.

Parliamentary panel Chairman meets Speaker, refutes allegations levelled by Rahul Gandhi

The day Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking protection of rights of MPs to freedom of speech in a parliamentary panel meeting, Chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on Defence, Jual Oram, reportedly met the Speaker to apprise him on the issue. He also refuted allegations of muzzling opposition's voice in the meetings of the committee, levelled by the Congress leader. Highly placed sources informed ANI that Jual Oram, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence met the Speaker on Thursday and apprised him on the events that led to the Rahul Gandhi walking out of the meeting.

 

SC proceeds with contempt action against Kunal Kamra

Supreme Court decides to proceed with contempt of court case against Kunal Kamra, Rachita Taneja for their Tweets/ The apex court issued notice to Kunal Kamra and Rachita Taneja. Alleged contemnors need not appear in person. The order was delivered by a three-judge Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah on a slew of contempt of court petitions filed against Kamra and Taneja.
 

Home Ministry summons Bengal Chief Secretary, DGP

Ministry of Home Affairs has asked chief secretary and DGP West Bengal for a meeting in Delhi, regarding law and order situation in the state. Communication was sent yesterday and the meeting is scheduled for 5:30pm today

Microsoft identifies over 40 victims in SolarWinds hack

Microsoft President Brad Smith has said that the company has identified and notifying more than 40 customers who have been affected by nation-state hackers who installed malware in software firm SolarWinds Orion platform. Cybersecurity firm FireEye's CEO Kevin Mandia said earlier this week that "we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities," and the Washington Post reported that a hacker group backed by the Russian government is behind data breaches at the Treasury and Commerce departments and other US government agencies. According to Smith, the attack is ongoing and is being actively investigated and addressed by cybersecurity teams in the public and private sectors, including Microsoft.

IND vs AUS LIVE SCORE, 1st Test Day 2: India falls apart, all-out for 244

On Day 2 of first Test of four-match series, Indian cricket team was bundled out for 244, adding only 11 runs to overnight score, as its tail did not wag against Australia in the first innings at Adelaide Oval today. After conceding an early advantage a day before, Team India slumped from 188-3 to 233-6 at stumps on Day 1. Meanwhile. Australia bounced back on the first day of the first Test against India by picking three late wickets, including those of captain Virat Kohli (74), Ajinkya Rahane (42) and Hanuma Vihari (16) in just over six overs for 18 runs to leave its opponents on 233 for six at stumps. Follow LIVE SCORES Here
Pat Cummins. Photo: cricketcomau
 

South Asia migration set to spike due to global warming: Study

More than 62 million South Asian people will be forced to migrate from their homes due to climate disasters by 2050, a new study revealed on Friday. According to the study conducted by ActionAid International and the Climate Action Network South Asia, political failure to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius, as per the Paris agreement goal, is already driving 18 million climate migrants from their homes in 2020. The analysis estimates climate migration will treble in South Asia alone, a region badly affected by climate disasters, including floods, droughts, typhoons and cyclones.

 

Asian stocks sink after Wall St hits record on stimulus hope

Asian stock markets declined Friday after Wall Street hit a new high on optimism about economic stimulus and coronavirus vaccine development despite a spike in US unemployment claims. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated. Overnight, Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index gained for a third day on optimism about progress in Washington toward a new economic aid package while the government reported the highest level of new jobless claims in three months. Market action suggested investors see bad data is good news for progress toward a stimulus, said Mizuho Bank in a report.

 

US plans family deportations, including girl with broken arm

The US government is preparing to deport more than a dozen children and their parents held at a Texas immigration detention centre, including a 4-year-old girl with a broken arm requiring surgery, according to lawyers for the families. Medical records show that doctors at the Dilley, Texas, detention centre diagnosed the girl with a fracture and prescribed painkillers due to the ongoing injury. A doctor on December 1 noted a greenish spot on the girl's right elbow and said that surgery is needed within 6 months to 1 year, according to medical records reviewed by The Associated Press.

But US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has denied the surgery, according to Brianna Rennix, an attorney with Proyecto Dilley, which represents families detained at the facility. Rennix said ICE also declined to release the family so the girl can have the surgery in the US while they pursue their immigration case. ICE declined to comment on Thursday, citing pending litigation.

 

IOC accused of ignoring human rights for 2022 Beijing Games

A coalition representing ethnic minorities in China is again accusing the International Olympic Committee of ignoring widespread human rights abuses as the country prepares to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Rights groups speaking for Tibetans, Uighurs and others representing Hong Kong have sent an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach and IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., who oversees preparations for the Beijing Games. Obtained by The Associated Press, the letter says the IOC has "turned a blind eye to the widespread and systematic human rights violations being committed by the Chinese authorities."

Biden picks first Native American Interior Secretary

US President-elect Joe Biden has decided to nominate Deb Haaland, a Democratic Congresswoman from New Mexico, to serve as the first Native American Interior Secretary and thus oversee the country's vast natural resources including tribal lands. According to US media reports, if confirmed by the Senate, it will place a Native American in a cabinet secretary position for the first time in the US history and mark a turning point for a 171-year-old Interior Department that has often had a fraught relationship with 574 federally recognised tribes. The 60-year-old member of Pueblo of Laguna would not only head the federal agency most responsible for the well-being of the country's 1.9 million Indigenous people, but is also expected to play a central role in Biden's environmental and climate change agenda.

 

Smiles, cheers as B'desh's Chilahati-Haldibari rail track reopens

It was a moment of happiness and a day to cheer for many residing on the Bangladesh side of the Indo-Bangla border as the railway line from Chilahati to Haldibari in India was reopened, ending the residents' 55-year-old wait to see trains plying once again on a route that was lying defunct since 1965. On Thursday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the rail link via video conference. The railway line from Haldibari in Cooch Behar in the Indian state of West Bengal to Chilahati in northern Bangladesh has been non-operational since rail links between India and then East Pakistan were snapped in 1965.

 

Covid restrictions push U.S. weekly jobless claims to three-month high

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week as a relentless wave of new COVID-19 infections hobbled business operations, offering more evidence that the economy's recovery from the pandemic recession was faltering. That was underscored by other data on Thursday showing manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region cooled in December, with factories reporting a sharp slowdown in new orders and job growth. But the housing market remains resilient, with homebuilding and permits powering ahead in November, thanks to record-low mortgage rates and pent-up demand.

S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record as investors eye fiscal stimulus

Technology shares lifted the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to record highs on Thursday as investors grew more optimistic about a coronavirus stimulus bill, helping markets look past signs of economic strain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The S&P 500 technology and consumer discretionary indexes also hit record highs, up 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively. A surge in technology outsourcing firm Accenture gave the S&P 500 its strongest lift. Top Republicans and Democrats grew closer to agreeing on a fresh round of aid in response to a crisis that has killed more than 304,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

Delhi's air quality in the 'poor' category

Microsoft says it found malicious software in its systems

Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it found malicious software in its systems related to a massive hacking campaign disclosed by U.S. officials this week, adding a top technology target to a growing list of attacked government agencies. The Redmond, Washington company is a user of Orion, the widely deployed networking management software from SolarWinds Corp, which was used in the suspected Russian attacks on vital U.S. agencies and others. Microsoft also had its own products leveraged to attack victims, said people familiar with the matter.

Japan raises GDP outlook for FY2021 on lift from stimulus package

Japan's government raised its economic growth forecast for the next fiscal year thanks to its latest stimulus package aimed at speeding up the recovery following the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. The economy is expected to grow 4.0% in price-adjusted real terms in the next fiscal year starting April 2021, the latest estimate by the Cabinet Office showed on Friday. The new estimate compared with its previous forecast of 3.4% growth projected in July.

Open for dialogue: Sonia Gandhi to meet Congress leaders including dissenters from Dec 19

Congress's top leadership has started taking steps to redress grievances and other pending issues of the organisation while chalking out a strategy on key issues as its interim chief Sonia Gandhi will be meeting the party's state and Central leaders. She will also meet the dissenters who had asked for reforms in Congress. According to top sources in Congress, Gandhi will start in-person meetings with leaders from December 19. A week-long program has been planned for these meetings with the leaders who had sought an appointment from her in the last couple of months.

Post-Brexit trade talks with EU in serious situation: Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has underlined the post-Brexit trade negotiations between Britain and the European Union (EU) were now "in a serious situation," a Downing Street spokesperson said. "The Prime Minister underlined that the negotiations were now in a serious situation. Time was very short and it now looked very likely that an agreement would not be reached unless the EU position changed substantially," said the spokesperson in a statement issued after a phone call between Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday

Coca-Cola laying off 2,200 workers as it pares brands

The Coca-Cola Company has said that it was laying off 2,200 workers, or 17 per cent of its global workforce, as part of a larger restructuring aimed at paring down its business units and brands. The Atlanta-based company said on Thursday that around half of the layoffs will occur in the US, where Coke employs around 10,400 people. Coke employed 86,200 people worldwide at the end of 2019. The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Coke's business, as sales at places like stadiums and movie theaters dried up due to lockdowns. Its revenue fell 9 per cent to USD 8.7 billion in the July-September period.

Fiji cyclone kills at least 2, destroys dozens of homes

A powerful cyclone hit Fiji overnight, killing at least two people and destroying dozens of homes in the Pacific island nation, authorities said on Friday. While Cyclone Yasa proved terrifying for those in its path, there was a sense of relief in other parts of the country that the devastation wasn't as widespread as many had initially feared. Vasiti Soko, the director of the National Disaster Management Office, told reporters the cyclone hit with wind gusts of up to 345 kilometers per hour. "We will continue to assess the scale of damage in the coming days," she said. "But we are likely looking at hundreds of millions of dollars."

 

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