LIVE: Indian spinner Ashwin says racial slurs must be dealt with iron fist

India's Ravichandran Ashwin. File Photo
Taking a swipe at the TMC for accusing it of trying to "destroy the Bengali culture", BJP national President J P Nadda on Saturday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee headed Trinamool Congress never represented the Bengali culture rather symbolised "anarchy and corruption". On speculations about cricketer Sourav Ganguly joining the BJP before Bengal elections, Nadda, without naming anyone, said the "matter will be discussed once it comes before the party".

Indonesia's Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has confirmed the crash of a Boeing 737-500 plane of Indonesian airlines with 62 people on board that lost contact with the air traffic controller. The plane was believed to have crashed near the district's Laki Island and Lancang Island, part of the Thousand Islands chain.

China issued a new order prohibiting firms from complying with foreign laws that ban transactions with Chinese companies and individuals. This order comes in the backdrop of the US threatening to impose sanctions and other restrictions on any and all Hong Kong and Chinese individuals in wake of the arrests of over 50 politicians and pro-democracy advocates by Hong Kong authorities.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day.


Recognise political aspiration of J&K's people for new industrial scheme to succeed: NC MP

National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi on Sunday said the recently announced Rs 28,400 crore new industrial developmental scheme (IDS) would not fetch any result without taking into account the political aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The MP from south Kashmir's Anantnag said the trade bodies must realise that peace and development go hand in hand. Peace would not be possible without the political aspirations of people being respected and addressed, he said.
"It is to be realised that there can be no islands of prosperity in a sea of pain and agony," Masoodi said in a statement.
He emphasised the recently announced industrial scheme would not fetch any result in absence of an aggressive peace initiative to address the political aspirations of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
The NC leader said earlier such announcements -- Rs 6,165 crore package in 2002 by then prime minister A B Vajpayee and Rs 80,000 crore package by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 -- have not changed anything on the ground.
"The alienation, despite such announcements, has been ever increasing and the unconstitutional measures of August 5, 2019 was nothing less than a misadventure and have further widened the gulf," he said.
Provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, were abrogated by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

IIT protest: Goa govt violating human rights, alleges Congress

Days after protesters opposing the upcoming IIT campus in Goa clashed with the police, the Congress on Sunday alleged that the state government was violating human rights by filing cases against the people who had participated in the agitation, an allegation rubbished by the ruling BJP.
On January 6, protesters had attacked police personnel with stones at Shel-Melaulim village in Sattari tehsil who responded with lathicharge.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus is proposed on a 10 lakh square metre area in Shel-Malaulim and Guleli villages, some 50 kilometres from Panaji.
The villagers are opposing the project claiming that it would rob away their precious lands.
"Activist like Shailendra Velingkar was illegally arrested and assaulted in the police custody. The ruling BJP has been indulging in human right violations by filing cases against all the protesters who don't want the IIT at Sattari," alleged Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar in a press conference.

Unlike President Trump, Vice President Pence to attend Biden's inauguration: US media

US Vice President Mike Pence will attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20, an event the outgoing President Donald Trump has decided to skip.
According to US media outlets, word of Pence's intention to watch Biden take his oath of office in person spread after the first major break between him and Trump -- when the Vice President defied the President by performing his constitutional duty to certify the November 3 election results.
Trump, a Republican, announced on Twitter, before his account was suspended, that he would not be attending Biden's inauguration.
Pence will attend the inauguration of President-elect Biden, CNN reported, quoting a source familiar with the plans.
Biden, a Democrat, said on Friday that he was glad President Trump decided not to attend and that Vice President Pence is "welcome to come. I'd be honoured to have him there." "It's a good thing, him not showing up," Biden said on Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, at a news conference.
"He exceeded even my worst notions about him. He's been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. He's not worthy to hold that office," Biden said.
The decision is Pence's second high-profile split from Trump, after standing loyally behind him for years. Despite pressure from Trump, Pence affirmed Biden's victory when the US Congress finished tallying Electoral College votes early on Thursday.

JD(U) is firmly with NDA, says senior party leader Lalan Singh

Scotching rumours of JD(U) quitting NDA in Bihar amid talks of discomfort with the ally BJP, the ruling Janata Dal(United) on Sunday made it clear that the party is firmly with the ruling coalition in the state.
JD(U), one of the major constituents of Bihar NDA, is running a coalition government in the state with the help of BJP, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).
"Speculations are doing the rounds in media circles with regard to our leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Some sends him somewhere while others are sending him somewhere else.
"But, we would like to make it clear that our party (JD-U) is firmly aligned with the NDA," senior party leader and MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh said.
Singh was talking to reporters at the partys state headquarters on decisions taken at the two-day meeting of its state executive and state council.
He was accompanied by partys newly elected state president Umesh Kushwaha and working president and minister Ashok Choudhary.
Singhs statement assumes significance in the backdrop of opposition leaders speaking of political instability in the state in view of alleged lack of compatibility between the two major NDA partners- BJP and JD(U).
Eversince en masse migration of the JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh to the BJP, speculations are rife of "differences" cropping up between the two allies even in Bihar on several issues.
Seeking to fish in troubled waters, the opposition RJD and the Congress have been talking of mass defection of the JD(U) MLAs and some of their leaders also suggesting Nitish Kumar to leave the saffron party once again like in 2015 and join them.

Why is Indonesia prone to plane crashes?

Saturday's plane crash in Indonesia, in which a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 carrying 62 people plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, has once again cast the limelight on the safety of the country's aviation industry.
Indonesia's aviation record is one of the worst in Asia, with more civilian airliner passenger accidents since 1945 than any other country in the region. Past accidents have been attributed to poor pilot training, mechanical failures, air traffic control issues and poor aircraft maintenance.
While experts say there have been many improvements in recent years, the latest crash has experts questioning the true progress of Indonesia's aviation oversight and regulation.

Security downgrade: BJP alleges political vendetta by Maha govt

The shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government's move to downgrade the security cover of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his family, ex-UP governor Ram Naik and MNS president Raj Thackeray, and to withdraw the security cover of state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, has evoked the allegations of "political vendetta".
As per a government notification issued on January 8, the security covers of BJP leader and former CM Narayan Rane, Chandrakant Patil and another senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar have been withdrawn. Rane had 'Y-plus' security.
Reacting to the development, Fadnavis, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, said he was not worried but also alleged that the government was giving security on the "basis of politics".

Bird Flu: Over 200 migratory birds found dead in Himachal Pradesh

Carcasses of 215 migratory birds were found in Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district on Sunday, taking the total number of such birds suspected to have died of avian influenza to 4,235, officials said.
Each day, hundreds of migratory birds were found dead in the lake area since December 29. Last Monday, the samples tested positive for H5N1, they said.
Also, for the fourth day in a row, a large number of dead poultry birds were found dumped by the side of the Chandigarh-Shimla highway in Solan district. The remains of the birds were buried according to safety protocol and their samples sent to a disease diagnostic laboratory in Jalandhar.

Acts of discrimination will not be tolerated: Jay Shah

BCCI secretary Jay Shah on Sunday reacted strongly to the racist slurs hurled at Indian cricketers during the third Test in Australia, saying such "acts of discrimination will not be tolerated" since racism has no place in sport and society.
Shah denounced the abuses that pacers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah had to endure from a few rowdy fans, who were expelled from the stadium.
"Racism has no place in our great sport or in any walk of society. I've spoken to @CricketAus and they have ensured strict action against the offenders. @BCCI and Cricket Australia stand together. These acts of discrimination will not be tolerated," Shah tweeted.

Indian economy heading towards V-shaped recovery in 2021: Assocham

India's economy is showing decisive signs of a 'V-shaped' recovery in 2021 with the return of consumer confidence, robust financial markets, an uptick in manufacturing and exporters braving it out in the global market with never-say-die spirit, Assocham said on Sunday.
The industry chamber said it expects immense accruals of economic benefits from the Covid-19 vaccination programme about to be rolled out.
"The high-frequency data is a strong pointer to a V-shaped recovery in 2021 with the seeds bursting into green shoots over the last two months of 2020 itself," Assocham Secretary General Deepak Sood said.

Manufacturing, infra push to boost logistics in India, automation to be key in 2021

The logistics sector is at the cusp of the next phase of growth on the back of the push for manufacturing and infrastructure development in the country, market players feel.
With the country emerging out of the pandemic, and technology taking a whole new meaning in this post-Covid world, they feel, automation will be the next big thing in logistics.
"Multinationals and global supply chains in the reviving times are finding India an attractive location to establish their manufacturing base which will certainly prove instrumental for our economic growth and will have direct impact on the growth of logistics industry," said Pawan Jain, Founder & Chairman, Safexpress.
He added that government initiatives like 'Atmanirbhar Bharat', setting up of logistics corridors, giving infrastructure status to the industry among others are driving economic growth of the country.

CAIT asks govt to ban WhatsApp, Facebook over new privacy policy

Traders' body CAIT on Sunday wrote to Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanding that the government restrict WhatsApp from implementing its new privacy policy or impose a ban on the messaging app and its parent company Facebook.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) claimed that through the new privacy policy, "all kinds of personal data, payment transactions, contacts, location and other vital information of a person who is using WhatsApp will be acquired by it and can be used for any purpose by WhatsApp".
In the communication to Prasad, CAIT has demanded that "government should immediately restrict WhatsApp from implementing the new policy or put a ban on WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook", the traders' body stated.
CAIT said Facebook has more than 200 million users in India and enabling it to access data of every user can pose serious threat to not only the economy but even to the security of the country.

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

The average air quality was 'very poor' in Greater Noida and 'poor' in Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon on Sunday, according to a 24-hour data provided by a government agency.
Pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 remained prominent in the air of the five immediate neighbours of Delhi, according to the air quality index (AQI) maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
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'.

Chinese state media blast latest Pompeo move on Taiwan

China's state media lashed out at the latest move on Taiwan by the departing Trump administration, accusing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of "seeking to maliciously inflict a long-lasting scar on China-US ties."
A writer for the official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary on Sunday that the lifting of longstanding restrictions on US government contacts with Taiwanese counterparts proves that Pompeo "is only interested in stoking unwarranted confrontations, and has no interest in world peace."
A commentary posted online by CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, called Pompeo's announcement "a cowardly act of sabotage" of the next US administration.

Bird flu: Centre directs zoos to submit daily report to Central Zoo Authority

A day after over 1,200 birds were found dead in the country with seven states confirming outbreak of avian influenza, the Centre on Sunday directed zoo managements to submit daily report to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) till their area is declared free from the disease.
The CZA, under the environment ministry, issued an office memorandum directing management of all zoos to strengthen surveillance and aviary management.
"In endemic areas, entry to aviary sections may be monitored and restricted, and all vehicles entering the zoo may be sanitised. All water bodies within the zoo should be monitored and artificial water bodies may be drained.

Racism has no place in our great sport: Jay Shah

Big steel, cement firms operating as a cartel: Gadkari

Big players in the steel and cement industry are indulging in cartelisation to jack-up prices, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said, pitching to place a regulator for the sectors.
It will be difficult to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of making India a USD 5 trillion economy if the steel and cement prices keep going up, Gadkari said, pointing out the target of investing Rs 111 lakh crore on infrastructure projects in the next five years to aid the economy.
It can be noted that allegations of such cartelisation have been made in the past as well, especially by the real estate industry, which is impacted through higher input prices because of it.

Karnataka Cabinet rejig soon: Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa

B S Yediyurappa meets senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, says this is last meeting with BJP chief JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Karnataka cabinet rejig

Our party (JDU) stands strongly with NDA: Ranjan Singh

Maharashtra hospital fire: Ignoring safety norms worrying, says expert

A day after a blaze at a hospital in Bhandara killed 10 infants, National Fire Service College Director Ramesh Kumar said fire safety standards were being ignored in sensitive establishments, including hospitals, and the issue requires a lot of attention.
Talking to PTI on Sunday, Kumar said advance fire safety equipment are needed to be installed in all buildings and they have to be then properly maintained by trained staff.
Three fire engineers from the National Fire Service College, a Nagpur-based autonomous body managed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, are part of the team conducting a probe into the fire in a hospital at Bhandara in Maharashtra, he said.

ICC condemns racism during Sydney Test

ICC condemns incidents of racism during 3rd India-Australia Test in Sydney; seeks action taken report from Cricket Australia

Indonesia plane crash: PM Modi expresses grief over loss of lives

215 held in two months in fake GST invoice fraud cases

As many as 215 persons have been arrested in the last two months across the country in a drive against fake GST invoice fraud cases perpetrated through fake entities and fly-by-night operators who fraudulently availed input tax credit (ITC) in multi-layered scams.
Those arrested by the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) and the CGST Commissionerates include six Chartered Accountants and one Company Secretary, sources said.
Others arrested include 71 masterminds, 81 proprietors, 36 Directors or Managing Directors, 15 partners, three CEOs, and one each broker and GST practitioner, the sources added.

Top Republican says Trump committed ''impeachable offenses''

Democrats' momentum for a fresh drive to quickly impeach outgoing President Donald Trump has gained support, and a top Republican said the president's role in the deadly riot at the Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters was worthy of rebuke.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said Saturday he believed Trump had committed impeachable offenses. But he did not explicitly say whether he would vote to remove the president from office at the conclusion of a Senate trial if the House sent over articles of impeachment.

Squelched by Twitter, Trump seeks new online megaphone

Though deprived of his big online megaphones, Trump does have alternative options of much smaller reach. The far right-friendly Parler may be the leading candidate, though Google and Apple have both removed it from their app stores and Amazon decided to boot it off its web hosting service. That could knock it offline for a week, Parler's CEO said. Trump may launch his own platform. But that won't happen overnight, and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech as Americans take stock of Wednesday's violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a Trump-incited mob.

Faced racism in Sydney earlier too, needs to be dealt with iron fist: Ashwin

Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday said racist abuse from the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground is not new and needs to be dealt with an iron fist after some spectators were ejected for targetting Indian players during the ongoing third Test against Australia here on Sunday. Speaking at the end of the fourth day's play, Ashwin said the Indian players have faced racism in Sydney earlier too. "We have faced racism in Sydney earlier too. It needs to be dealt with iron fist," Ashwin told reporters at the post-day press conference.

R Ashwin, India vs Bangladesh

Aus set 407 for victory, India reach 98/2 at stumps on Day 4

Set an improbable victory target of 407, India reached 98 for two at stumps on the fourth day of the third Test against Australia here on Sunday. At close of play, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were batting on 4 and 9, respectively, after Rohit Sharma (52) and Shubman Gill (31) had put on 71 runs for the opening wicket in their second innings. The visitors trailed by 309 runs when the stumps were drawn. Australia declared their second innings at 312 for six with Marnus Labuschagne (73), Steve Smith (81) and Cameron Green (84) making substantial contributions on the penultimate day of the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Bird flu spreads to 13 MP districts, poultry markets closed for 7 days

The spread of bird flu is increasing rapidly in Madhya Pradesh and has been found to be the cause of the death of crows in 13 districts in the state till now. The poultry market of Agar Malwa district has been closed for the next seven days as a precautionary measure. It is reported that bird flu has been confirmed in crows in 13 state districts -- Indore, Mandsaur, Agar, Neemuch, Dewas, Ujjain, Khandwa, Khargone, Guna, Shivpuri, Rajgarh, Shajapur and Vidisha. So far reports of death of nearly 1,100 crows and wild birds have been received from 27 districts. As many as 32 samples from various districts of the state have been sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal for examination.

Class 9, 11 exams to be held in schools by April 24: Goa Board

The Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has asked all its schools in the state to conduct examinations for Classes 9 and 11 students by calling them to the educational institutions. In a circular dated January 8, the board's secretary, Geraldina L Mendes, has said all the exams for Classes 9 and 11 shall be finished by April 24, 2021, to enable schools to provide infrastructure and manpower for the conduct of the board exams, which are going to start from April 26.

6.1 magnitude earthquake in northwestern Argentina

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake has occurred in Argentina's northwestern province of Jujuy, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said Sunday. The earthquake was registered at 03:54 GMT, 90.7 miles west of the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, with its epicentre located at the depth of 112.4 miles, according to the EMSC. There have been no reports on victims and damage.

OPEC crude output cuts should help U.S. shale profits in 2021

A decision by OPEC and allied countries to cut crude production through March delivered a late Christmas present for U.S. shale firms that have slashed costs, but any rise in prices spurred by the unexpected move may be just a modest stocking stuffer. US crude oil production has fallen 2 million barrels per day in the last year as low prices and demand forced shale producers to cut their losses. Investors had already been pressuring the industry to curb spending and boost returns before the pandemic hit. Shale output was quickly cut, but might return quickly if prices keep rising.

Yediyurappa in Delhi, to meet HM Shah to discuss state politics, finalise by-poll candidates

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who reached here Sunday morning, said he will meet Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the state's political scenario and also finalise candidates for the upcoming parliamentary and assembly by-polls. The chief minister, however, did not divulge if they would also deliberate on the much-awaited cabinet rejig in the state. "I am going to discuss the political situation in Karnataka," the CM told reporters after landing in Delhi.

India's coal import drops 17% in Apr-Nov: mjunction

India's coal import declined by 17 per cent to 137.16 million tonne (MT) in the April-November period of the current fiscal. The country had imported 165.35 MT of coal in the year-ago period, according to provisional compilation by mjunction, based on monitoring of vessels' positions and data received from shipping companies. mjunction, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL, is a B2B e-commerce company that also publishes research reports on coal and steel verticals. The country's coal import in November also dropped to 20.35 MT from 21.72 MT in the corresponding month of previous fiscal, it said.

'Very unfortunate': Sehwag condemns racial abuse at SCG

Former Indian swashbuckling batsman Virender Sehwag on Sunday termed it "very unfortunate" that pacer Mohammed Siraj was once again subjected to unsavoury comments from the fans at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and said they are "spoiling the vibes of a good Test series". His remarks came minutes after the security personnel asked the unruly group to leave the stands at SCG. Sehwag, known for his humour and sarcasm, took to social media to share his thoughts. "Tum karo toh Sarcasm, aur koi Kare toh Racism. Very unfortunate with what some of the Australian crowd has been doing at the SCG and spoiling the vibes of a good test series," Sehwag wrote on Twitter.

Free Covid vaccination for all in West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Apple, Amazon remove Parler from their platforms

Technology giant Apple has suspended US-based microblogging platform Parler, where most of the supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump are shifting their base, from its Play Store, asserting that there is no place on its platform for threats of violence and illegal activity while e-commerce major Amazon also removed the social network favoured by conservative politicians. The move comes a day after Apple warned Parler, saying it has received numerous complaints over objectionable content in its services, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate and facilitate illegal activities in Washington DC on January 6 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries and the destruction of property.

Top four steel players' production rises 6 pc to about 15 MT in Oct-Dec

The country's top four steel makers jointly produced 14.95 million tonne (MT) steel in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal, registering a 6 per cent year-on-year rise. The total steel output of JSPL, JSW Steel, SAIL and Tata Steel India was 14.09 MT during the same quarter of 2019-20. During the quarter under review, the total sales of the steel producers - excluding JSW Steel - surged 2.25 per cent to 10.88 MT, as against 10.64 MT in the year-ago quarter, according to the data provided by the companies.

Nepal PM Oli to address National Assembly today

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will on Sunday address the National Assembly, Khabarhub reported. According to officials, Prime Minister Oli, in his address, will speak on current issues of the country. The meeting has been scheduled for 1:00 pm. Citing the Press Adviser to Prime Minister Oli, Surya Thapa, Khabarhub reported that the Prime Minister, in his address, will speak on current issues of the country.

File photo of Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli.

Cargo traffic at 12 major ports falls for 9th month in Dec; down 9% in Apr-Dec

Impacted by COVID-19 pandemic, India's top 12 ports witnessed a considerable decline in cargo traffic for the ninth straight month in December to 478 million tonnes (MT), according to ports apex body IPA. Cargo traffic at 12 major ports that are under the control of the Centre dropped by 8.80 per cent to 477.75 million tonnes (MT) during April-December this fiscal compared to 523.84 MT in the same period last financial year. Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently said the cargo traffic at 12 major ports declined considerably March onwards due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Another crowd complaint from Team India, fans asked to leave SCG

Play was stopped in the second session on Day Four of the ongoing third Test after Indian players made a complaint to umpires about unsavoury comments being made for Mohammed Siraj by a section of crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The incident happened before the start of the 86th over in Australia's second innings when Siraj, fielding on the boundary line, went to skipper Ajinkya Rahane and raised the issue that some fans were passing abusive comments directed at him. Rahane then walked up to the square leg umpire Paul Reiffel and complained about the same. While players huddled in the centre, security personnel entered the stands and a group of six Australian fans were removed from their seats by New South Wales Police. The incident follows alleged racial abuse of Indian players by a small section of the SCG crowd on Saturday.

India vs Australia. Photo: @cricketcomau

Bird flu cases confirmed in 13 MP districts so far: Official

Bird flu cases have so far been confirmed in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh, while around 1,100 crows and other wild birds have been found dead across 27 districts since the flu virus was first detected in the state last month, a government official said on Sunday. A poultry market in Agar Malwa district has been shut for a week after the bird flu virus was detected in one sample there, the official from the public relations department said. The district administration has started culling and burying of poultry birds as per guidelines, she said.

Trump likely to target big tech in his final days

President Donald Trump will be targeting Twitter and other social media platforms during his final days in office to shift the narrative away from the riots at Capitol Hill which took place earlier this week, reported CNN.

A Trump adviser said that Trump was outraged by Twitter on his permanent suspension from the platform on Friday night (local time).

Trump aides have advised him to use this opportunity to reignite arguments of anti-conservative bias on social media and to frame the ban as an attack on his supporters.

Australia reach 312/6 at tea on Day 4, 406 runs ahead of India

Australia were 312/6 at tea on the fourth day of the third Test against India, extending their overall lead to 406 runs here on Sunday. Tim Paine was batting on 39, while all-rounder Cameron Green was dismissed just before break at 84.

Brief scores:

India 1st Innings: 244 all out
Australia: 338 and 312/6 in 87 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 73, Steve Smith 81, Cameron G

In 2021, railways eyes to complete most sections of DFC

With two back to back inaugurations of the 351 km Khurja-Bhaupur section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and 306 km Rewari-Madar section of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor within a gap of 10 days, the railways is now eyeing to complete most of the sections of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) this year, officials said on Sunday.

A railway ministry official said that work on the 335-km long Madar-Palanpur section of the WDFC is in full swing and it will be ready by March 2021.

The official further said that even 122-km long Rewari-Dadri section will be complete by December 2021.

Puducherry CM continues protest against LG Kiran Bedi

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Saturday continued his sit-in protest near Raj Nivas, demanding the Central government recall Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi. The ruling Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance in Puducherry started a four-day protest against Bedi on Friday, claiming that she was not allowing the elected government to function. The Chief Minister along with his cabinet colleagues, legislators of the ruling party, and workers of the alliance parties have participated in the dharna. They were seen carrying posters and placards, reading "Corporate Modi Quit! Quit!, Call back Kiran Bedi."

Australia, US, UK, Canada criticise Hong Kong mass arrests

The foreign ministers of Australia, the United States, Great Britain and Canada issued a joint statement Sunday expressing serious concern about the arrest of 55 democracy activists and supporters in Hong Kong last week. The arrests were by far the largest such action taken under a national security law that China imposed on the semi-autonomous territory a little more than six months ago. It is clear that the National Security Law is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing political views, the four foreign ministers said.

Landslides in Indonesia leave at least 11 dead

Two landslides triggered by heavy rain in Indonesia left at least 11 dead and 18 injured, officials said Sunday. The second landslide in Cihanjuang village in the Sumedang district of West Java province occurred as rescuers were still evacuating people following the first disaster on Saturday, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati. Rescuers were among the victims, he said. The rain stopped on Saturday night. A bridge and roads were blocked by the landslides as authorities struggled to bring in heavy equipment to clear the debris.

Trump to visit US-Mexico border to laud border wall

President Donald Trump is expected to travel to the US-Mexico border on Tuesday to highlight his administration's work on the border wall, the White House said Saturday. Trump will travel to the town of Alamo, Texas. He will mark the completion of 400 miles of border wall and his administration's efforts to reform what the White House described as the nation's broken immigration system. Trump's campaign for the presidency in 2016 focused extensively on the president's desire to construct a border wall. He also promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but it has been paid for by US taxpayers. While most of the wall went up in areas that had smaller barriers, the government has built hundreds of miles of fencing as high as 30 feet (9 meters) in a short amount of time most of it this year.

Fog engulfs parts of the national capital

'Should be banned for life': Hussey slams racial abuse at SCG

Former Australian cricketers Michael Hussey and Shane Warne have condemned the racial abuse at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) during the Test match between India and Australia. The Indian team on Saturday lodged an official complaint after the crowd at the SCG racially abused pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj over the second and third day of the ongoing Pink Test between India and Australia. "It's terrible behaviour and I can't believe it's still happening in this day and age. They should be banned for life from coming to cricket. The Indians have come here to our shores to entertain us, play some great cricket, we should be so grateful that we can watch some live sport. To treat the players like that is unacceptable," Hussey told Fox Cricket.

Kanpur zoo shut after bird flu is confirmed

The Kanpur zoo has been shut down for 15 days after samples of fowls found dead in the zoo, tested positive for bird flu. Four birds were found dead in the zoo premises on January 6 and the samples were sent to Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal under high security. The reports on Saturday confirmed the presence of H-5 strain bird flu in the dead jungle fowls. Zoo Director Dr Sunil Choudhary said that the zoo has been closed for visitors for 15 days. The hospital enclosure where the infected birds had been placed, has also been shut down. Four fowl and two parrots had been found dead in the zoo in the five days, putting the forest officials on alert.

Boeing responds to Sriwijaya Air flight crash

Boeing said that the company was in contact with its airline customer and stands ready to support them after the Indonesian Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ-182 crashed. "We are aware of media reports from Jakarta regarding Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182. Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families," the company said in a statement on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported. Indonesia's Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has confirmed the crash of a Boeing 737-500 plane of the Indonesian airlines with 62 people on board, which lost contact with the air traffic controller on Saturday.

Body parts, debris found after Indonesia plane crash

Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early on Sunday morning, a day after a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said. Officials were hopeful they were honing in on the wreckage of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 after sonar equipment detected a signal from the aircraft. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told reporters that authorities have launched massive search efforts after identifying "the possible location of the crash site".

Australia reach 182/4 at lunch on Day 4, 276 runs ahead of India

Australia were 182 for four at lunch on the fourth day of the third Test against India, extending their overall lead to 276 runs here on Sunday. Steve Smith and Cameron Green were batting on 58 and 20 respectively after debutant pacer Navdep Saini picked up two wickets in the first session.
Brief scores:
Australia: 338 and 182/4 in 64 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 73, Steve Smith batting 58; Navdeep Saini 2/47).

Biden hints at impeaching Trump

Death toll from Filomena storm in Spain rises to 4

The death toll in Spain from the storm Filomena, which unleashed the heaviest snowfall on the Iberian peninsula in 50 years, has increased to four people, the country's law enforcement said. Earlier, the interior ministry reported three victims of the natural disaster. According to the local police, a homeless person froze to death in the country's northern province of Zaragoza.

Massive blackout in Pakistan

Several cities and towns across Pakistan plunged into darkness late on Saturday night following a huge blackout due to a fault in the power distribution system, according to media reports. The power outage was reported shortly before midnight almost simultaneously in many cities. Residents of Karachi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and others faced the blackout, the reports stated. Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat tweeted that the National Transmission Despatch Company's lines have tripped, causing outage. "It will take sometime before everything gets back to normal," he added.

Pompeo voids restrictions on diplomatic contacts with Taiwan

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the State Department is voiding longstanding restrictions on how US diplomats and others have contact with their counterparts in Taiwan, another move that is expected to upset China as the Trump administration winds to an end. The Trump administration has sought to strengthen bilateral relations with Taiwan. It announced on Thursday that UN Ambassador Kelly Craft would go to Taiwan, a move that sparked sharp criticism from Beijing and a warning that the US would pay a heavy price. In August, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the first Cabinet member to visit Taiwan since 2014. Pompeo said on Saturday that the State Department has created complex restrictions when it comes to contacts between the two parties. He said those actions were taken to appease the Communist regime in Beijing.


40-yr-old Punjab farmer ends life at Singhu border: Haryana Police

A 40-year-old Punjab farmer, who was taking part in the protest at the Singhu border against the Central farm laws, allegedly took his own life by consuming some poisonous substance on Saturday evening, police said.
The farmer, Amarinder Singh, was a resident of Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib district. The man was rushed to a local hospital in Sonipat where he died, said Sonipat's Kundli police station's inspector Ravi Kumar.
Farmers from various parts of the country, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at different border points of Delhi for over a month now demanding repeal of the three agri laws, which were voted through in Parliament in September amid strong protests by opposition parties.
The three laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

JP Nadda targets Mamata govt, says TMC working with criminal instinct

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda who is in West Bengal for a day-long tour, ahead of the state elections targetted ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) saying that it is working with criminal instinct as BJP has lost about 130 party officials, 300 supporters in Bengal.
This is the second visit of the BJP President in two months, as his convoy was attacked last month.
"Last time when I came, the manner in which I was welcomed enroute Diamond Harbour, we were attacked under a plan by the administration and political party, the nation witnessed it. Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) took a strong note of this. Today when I am here again, I say so far so good," Nadda said while addressing a press conference here.
Nadda targetted the state government over the law and order situation in West Bengal.
"The ruling TMC is working with criminal instinct. Corruption has been institutionalised. The administration is politicised and the politics is criminalised in West Bengal. The point-blank attack on a protectee like me is a testament to the state of law and order to which a regular citizen is subject," he said.

CBI registers case against pvt firms for causing Rs 4,736 cr loss to banks

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against a private company based at Hyderabad on allegations of causing loss to banks to the tune of approximately 4736.57 crore.
"The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against a private company(borrower company) based at Hyderabad and others including its Chairman and Managing Director, Guarantor; Managing Director and Guarantor; other Directors; Mortgagor; Other private firm and unknown public servants on a complaint from State Bank of India (Lead Bank) on behalf of other member banks (i.e. IDBI Bank, Canara Bank, BOB, BOM, PNB, UBI, EXIM Bank), for causing an alleged loss of Rs.4736.57 crore (approx) to the Banks," read an official statement.
As per the statement, It was alleged that the accused in connivance with unknown public servants and others defrauded the consortium of Banks. The account became NPA on 25.01.2017 with retrospective effect from 28.10.2013 and reported as a fraud on 20.02.2020.

Bird flue scare: Delhi bans import of live birds; Ghazipur poultry market, Sanjay Lake shut

The Delhi government on Saturday announced a ban on import of live birds and closure of the city's biggest poultry market at Ghazipur after more avian deaths were reported in the national capital where three recreational parks and the famous Sanjay Lake were shut.

Addressing an online media briefing, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said while no confirmed case has so far been registered in Delhi, his government is taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of the avian flu.

He said a 24-hour helpline -- 23890318 -- has been set up for the assistance of the people, adding that 104 samples have been sent to a laboratory in Jalandhar.

"As a precautionary measure, Delhi is taking several steps to control the spread of bird flu. The import of live birds is being completely banned from today onwards. The Ghazipur poultry market will remain closed for the next 10 days," the chief minister said.

An official said the ban on import of live birds will be in place till further orders in the national capital.

4.2 magnitude earthquake jolts Himachal Pradesh

Nadda assures successful implementation of Ayushman Bharat in Bengal

I assure you that Ayushman Bharat will be implemented here in letter and spirit as soon as we come to the power here: BJP chief JP Nadda, in Bardhaman, West Bengal

TMC working with criminal instinct, attack on me testament to law & order of state: Nadda in Bengal

Amid brid flu scare, DDA shuts Hauz Khas park, Dwarka sector 9 and Sanjay Lake

As a precautionary measure, Hauz Khas park, Dwarka sector 9 park and Sanjay Lake closed. Hastsal park also closed: Delhi Development Authority 

Import of live birds banned in Delhi, Ghazipur poultry market to be closed for 10 days: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced a ban on import of live birds in the national capital and closure of Ghazipur poultry market for the next 10 days in view of bird flu scare. Noting that there is no confirmed case of avian influenza in Delhi so far, the chief minister said samples have been sent to Jalandhar laboratory. He also said that a 24-hour helpline has been set up for assistance of people. "In the last few days, there have been several cases of bird flu across various parts of the country, which is a cause of worry. Cases of bird flu have been registered in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

"No confirmed case of bird flu has been registered in Delhi until now. We have collected around 104 samples until now, which have been sent to Jalandhar for testing and examination in a laboratory," Kejriwal said at a press conference," the chief minister said. He said Delhi is taking several steps to control the spread of bird flu as a precautionary measure. "Upon receiving the results day after tomorrow, the Delhi government will take all decisions and measures based on the results. The import of live birds is being completely banned from today onwards. Second, the Ghazipur poultry market in Delhi will remain shut for the next 10 days," Kejriwal added. He said the Delhi government is following all guidelines and directions issued by the central government with regards to bird flu.

Avian influenza detected in 7 states so far: Ministry of Animal Husbandry

So far, Avian Influenza has been confirmed from Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. An advisory has been issued to the affected States so as to avoid further spread of disease: Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying

Sriwijaya Air plane crashes in waters off Jakarta, debris found: Report

The passenger plane of Indonesia's Sriwijaya Air, that lost contact soon after the takeoff, has crashed in water not far from Jakarta on Saturday, Xinhua reported citing local TV. Human body parts and debris of the plane were found, Captain EKo Surya Hadi, commander of Trisula coast guard ship. The flight was carrying 59 passengers, including six children, reported Indonesian newspaper Republika.

Earlier it was reported, Indonesia's Sriwijaya Air lost contact with a Boeing 737-500. The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport. It was heading to Pontianak, the provincial capital of West Kalimantan.

Madhya Pradesh brings anti-conversion law into effect

Indonesian airliner loses contact on domestic flight

A Sriwijaya Air passenger jet carrying 62 people lost contact with air traffic controllers after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Saturday on a domestic flight. Indonesian Transportation Ministry said the Boeing 737-500 took off from Jakarta at about 1:56 pm and lost contact with the control tower at 2:40 pm. There were 56 passengers and six crew members onboard.

Plane 'disappears'

Plane 'disappears'

Indonesia plane loses contact

A Sriwijaya Air plane lost contact shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Saturday, according to media reports.

Chinese soldier held for crossing Line of Actual Control

A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier was apprehended after he crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and entered the Indian territory, the Indian Army has stated. "During early hours of January 8, a Chinese soldier was apprehended on the Indian Side of the LAC in Ladakh in area South of Pangong lake," the Army said.

Republicans condemn Trump Twitter suspension

Several Republican leaders, including popular Indian- American politician Nikki Haley, have condemned Twitter for permanently deactivating outgoing President Donald Trump's account, saying that the "US is not China". Twitter on Friday permanently suspended Trump's account due to the "risk of further incitement of violence", days after his supporters stormed the US Capitol and caused the deaths of four civilians and a police officer.

India to become $5 trn economy by 2025: Goyal

India is strengthening the entire ecosystem to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 through rapid structural reforms, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday. Addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas conference, the Commerce and Industry Minister said: "We are working simultaneously to bring about a quantum leap in our quality, in our productivity, in our efficiency, so that Indian Industry can truly expand our export basket, making it bigger, better and broader".

Nadda in Bengal

DGCA issues guidelines for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines

The government on Friday issued guidelines for the packaging and transportation of COVID-19 vaccines by air, directing the airport authorities and airlines to use dry ice as the refrigerant material during the transportation in order to maintain the low temperatures between -8° C to -70° C.

Tamil Nadu elections 2021: Incumbent E Palaniswami named as AIADMK CM candidate

Tamil Nadu elections 2021: Incumbent E Palaniswami named as AIADMK CM candidate, O Panneerselvam as Deputy CM candidate.

Tamil Nadu: AIADMK general council meeting being held in Chennai today

Ajit Pawar orders audit of all hospitals following Bhandara hospital tragedy

Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra Deputy CM and Finance Minister has ordered audit of all hospitals on an urgent basis following the fire incident at Bhandara District General Hospital that claimed lives of 10 people.

The ongoing campaign in India to empower the poor is being discussed around the world: PM Modi

The ongoing campaign in India to empower the poor of the country is being discussed around the world. We have shown that in the sector of renewable energy, a developing country too can take lead: PM Narendra Modi

People said that India will break & democracy is impossible in the country, says Modi at Pravasi Bharati event

People said that India will break & democracy is impossible in the country but the truth is that India stands together with a strong and vibrant democracy today: PM Narendra Modi

Today, India is using technology to end corruption, says PM Modi

Today, India is using technology to end corruption, says PM Modi

When India stood in the face of terrorism, world too got the courage to face this challenge; PM Modi

When India stood in the face of terrorism, world too got the courage to face this challenge. Today, India is using technology to end corruption. Money worth lakhs & crores are directly being credited to account of beneficiary: PM Modi at 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray orders probe into the fire incident at Bhandara district hospital

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expresses grief over death of newborns in the fire at the Bhandara district hospital, orders probe.

Noted conspiracy theorists, supremacists among rioters in US Capitol attack

There were infamous white nationalists and noted conspiracy theorists who have spread dark visions of pedophile Satanists running the country. Others were more anonymous, people who had journeyed from Indiana and South Carolina to heed President Trump’s call to show their support. One person, a West Virginia lawmaker, had only been elected to office in November.
All of them converged on Wednesday on the grounds of the US Capitol, where hundreds of rioters crashed through barricades, climbed through windows and walked through doors, wandering around the hallways with a sense of gleeful desecration, because, for a few breathtaking hours, they believed that they had displaced the very elites they said they hated. Read on...

Bird flu scare: Assam bans entry of poultry products from outside NE

The Assam government has imposed an indefinite ban on the entry of poultry products from outside the Northeastern region as a precautionary measure following avian flu outbreak in some states.
The ban comes into force with immediate effect and will remain in force until further orders, according to a notification issued by the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department.
However, there is no need to panic as the state has not reported any confirmed case of the bird flue so far, director of the state veterinary department Ashok Barman said. Read on...

Maharashtra: NCB is conducting raids at three locations in Mumbai in drug cases

Maharashtra: Narcotics Control Bureau is conducting raids at three locations in Mumbai in drug cases.

Mumbai witnesses worse air quality than Delhi, records AQI of 317

Mumbai on Friday once again recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 317 which was worse than that of Delhi, an official of the India Meteorological Department said.
On Thursday too, the city's AQI was worse than that of the national capital.
The quality of air was worst in Colaba in south Mumbai on Friday as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR-India).
With AQI of 352, the air quality in the area fell in the "very poor" category. Read on...

Madhav Singh Solanki, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Gujarat, passes away

Madhav Singh Solanki, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Gujarat, passes away.

Won't be silenced: Trump after Twitter permanently suspends his account

Outgoing US President Donald Trump has slammed Twitter for permanently suspending him, vowing that he and his support base would not be silenced.
The unprecedented move by the California-based microblogging site on Friday comes after Trump tweeted that he would not attend the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden on January 20.
"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them - specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter - we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said in a statement. Read on...

Trump one of 'most incompetent' presidents in US history: Joe Biden

President-elect Joe Biden has said President Donald Trump was the "most incompetent" presidents in US history.
Sidestepping the questions related to impeachment or removal from office in the remaining 12 days, Biden said that quickest way Trump could be removed is his inauguration on January 20.
"I have been saying for now well over a year he (Trump) is not fit to serve," Biden said. "He is one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America and so the idea that I think he shouldn't be out of office yesterday is not the issue." Read on...

Donald Trump is an embarrassment, says US President-elect Joe Biden

US President Donald Trump has said that he will skip President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, refusing to fulfill the outgoing president's traditional role in the peaceful transition of power and undercutting his own message just one day earlier on the need for "national healing and unity."
President-elect Joe Biden welcomed Trump's announcement that he won't attend the 20 January inauguration, calling it a "good thing."

Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra: PM Modi

Fire accident in Bhandara district hospital, Maharashtra is very unfortunate, says Amit Shah

The unfortunate incident of fire at Bhandara Hospital in Maharashtra is extremely tragic: Rahul Gandhi

Ten children die in a fire at Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of Bhandara District General Hospital

Ten children died in a fire that broke out at Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of Bhandara District General Hospital at 2 am today. Seven children were rescued from the unit: Pramod Khandate, Civil Surgeon, Bhandara, Maharashtra

US Capitol violence: Team Trump's official Twitter account suspended

US Capitol violence: Tweets from Trump's official account 'POTUS' taken down

After the suspension of US President Donald Trump's personal Twitter account and the tweets from his official account 'POTUS' were taken down. 

Minutes after Donald Trump accused Twitter of conspiring with his political enemies to silence him after the social media platform permanently suspended his account, the micro-blogging site on Saturday (IST) quickly deleted new tweets from the US President from an official government account.
Trump tweeted, "Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me -- and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me."

Reddit bans r/donaldtrump forum for inciting violence

Reddit has banned r/donaldtrump for encouraging and glorifying violence after Wednesday’s mob attack on the US Capitol. 

Twitter permanently suspends Trump's account after US Capitol violence

Twitter has announced that it had permanently suspended the account of outgoing President Donald Trump due to "risk of further incitement of violence", three days after his supporters stormed the US Capitol and five people died in the violence.
The unprecedented move by the California-based social media platform comes after Trump tweeted that he would not attend the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden on January 20. Read on...

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