SC seeks govt view on petition against FDI in retail
The Supreme Court today sought the view of the top government law official -- either the attorney general or the solicitor general -- on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the government's decision to permit FDI in multi-brand retail.
The apex court sought clarification from the attorney general or solicitor general while hearing a PIL filed by lawyer M.L. Sharma, challenging the government notification on procedural grounds.
Sharma contended that the notification was in violation of existing Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines which do not permit foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and that the government could not overrule RBI regulations by a notification.
Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave held that policymaking was the prerogative of the government, but sought the assistance of top government law officials to understand the issues raised in the petition against the opening of retail sector for foreign investment.
Sensex falls 120 points on profit booking
A benchmark index of Indian equities markets fell 120 points on profit booking Friday, a day after breaching the psychological 19,000-mark. Technology, health care and banking stocks were the worst performers.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,115.89 points, closed at 18,938.46 points, 119.69 points or 0.63 percent down than its previous day's close at 19,058.15 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 19137.29 points and a low of 18757.34 points in intra-day trade. The BSE midcap index was down 53.12 points, while the smallcap index was lower by 65.16 points.
On the sectoral front, the BSE IT index was down 97.12 points followed by health care index, down 105.83 points, and the banking index, down 145.33 points.
Supreme Court halts all mining activities in Goa
The Supreme Court Friday halted all mining activities in Goa, including transportation of already mined manganese and iron ore, and sought responses of the union and state governments on an environmental group's petition.
The apex court's forest bench of Justice Aftab Alam, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar, while directing that all mining operations in the state be halted, also blocked the Goa government's move to revoke a ban on mining operations after the festival of Diwali.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikar had earlier announced that the temporary ban imposed on the mining operation in the state would be revoked after Diwali.
Vadra got properties for low rates, alleges India Against Corruption
Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan held a press conference in New Delhi where they leveled allegations against the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadra.
Vadra is the husband of Priyanka Gandhi.
Bhushan, representing India against Corruption, listed 31 properties which he alleged were owned by Vadra.
The properties are worth hundred of crores now. However Bhushan alleged that Vadra got the properties for an investments of as little as Rs. 50 Lakhs.
Bhushan also alleged that DLF (Delhi Land & Finance) Limited, one of India's largest development companies, gave Vadra interest-free loans of up to 65 crores to make purchases.
It is unclear what exactly the underlying allegation is.
Bhushan says that there is a 'scam' here due to the apparently 'special' relationship between DLF Limited and Robert Vadra. He alleged that Vadra got the properties for rates that were far below market rates, terming the deal as an 'open loot'. He alleged that Vadra had received kickbacks from DLF, but dd not go into details about what those kickbacks were for.
Bhushan has asked for an investigation into the deals through the prevention of corruption act.
Despite all the posturing, it is not illegal to do business in India and it may prove difficult to prove that the DLF actually did anything illegal, even if they did give Vadra the properties for a cheap price.
But an important question was raised during the press conference. Prashant Bhushan asked, "What did DLF gain by this deal? Why did it sell properties at below market prices, for a song?"
Natarajan's 'no' to missile firing range in Andamans
The environment ministry has rejected an Indian Navy proposal to test fire missiles at the Tillanchong sanctuary in the Andaman and Nicobar islands as a firing range would destroy the habitat of the Nicobar megapode, an endangered bird species.
"The matter came up during the meeting of the National Board for Wildlife last month and many non-official members raised concerns about it. I decided yesterday (Thursday) that the range should not come in that area," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters here Friday.
She said it was a very tough decision as there was lot of pressure from the defence ministry to clear the project.
"It was a very difficult decision to reject the proposal as it involves security and missile range is important for the country's defence. But as environment minister it is my mandate to make sure that wildlife, flora and fauna of our country are protected and I should stay with it," she said.
China's river antics may harm India
China's vast requirement for water is pushing it into making some rivers originating in the Tibetan Plateau flow upstream - which would spell trouble for India, said Tibetan political leader Lobsang Sangay.
Speaking to select journalists in the Indian capital Friday, Sangay said northeast China faces severe water shortage. "Sixty percent of the country needs water from somewhere," he said.
"Chinese companies are building 20 dams per river in the Tibetan Plateau, and on some rivers efforts are made to turn it upstream… If that happens what will happen to the river flow downstream?" said Sangay, who completed one year as political leader of the Tibetans.
The damming of the rivers was also affecting their natural flow downstream, and along with it the fishing activities of people in India and Bangladesh, he said.
Bangalore: Gang loots ATM van, decamp with Rs 65 lakh
A four-member gang waylaid a van carrying cash to an ATM here and decamped with Rs 65 lakh, police said today.
The gang waylaid the van when it was proceeding from Electronic City to fill cash in the Union Bank of India's ATM in Jayanagar last night.
After spraying chilli powder into the eyes of those inside the van and threatening the security person, they decamped with Rs 65 lakh cash, police said.
The gang had come in two motorcycles, they said, adding, hunt was on for the gang members.
Girl molested on board Rajdhani Express
A pantry car staffer was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of molesting a young girl on board Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, police said.
Mohd. Sheikh, 24, attempted to outrage the modesty of the girl late Thursday night near Chandauli.
The girl raised an alarm and fellow passengers came to her rescue. The man was handed over to the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Mughalsarai.
Police said the man was drunk and does not have any past criminal record.
The girl, who is a resident of Gaya and studies in Delhi, told police that a few other pantry staffers were loitering around the wash room and were drunk.
A case has been registered and a probe is underway, said spokesman of the GRP.
Shatabdi kills three in Haryana
Three people were killed Friday when the New Delhi-Ludhiana Shatabdi Express ran over them while they were crossing the rail tracks in Haryana, police said.
One person was injured seriously in the accident near Bahadurgarh railway station in Rohtak district, about 40 km from New Delhi.
Police said the four were labourers living in a slum close to the tracks. They failed to see the approaching train. The train was briefly halted before it resumed its journey.
SC: Ban on illegal mining in Goa to stay
The Supreme Court has decided not to lift the ban on illegal mining in Goa. Transportation of iron and manganese ores mined illegally has also been banned.
70th b'day just another day for me: Big B
There is a huge buzz around Amitabh Bachchan's 70th birthday, which falls Oct 11, but for the megastar, it's "just another day".
"A million interviews, a million good wishes and a million desires of continuance... birthdays at 70 seem special to some. Just another day for me," tweeted the 69-year-old veteran.
These days, he is busy meeting mediapersons for interviews, sharing insights and experiences of his life. Big plans are in store for his birthday, and his wife Jaya Bachchan, has reportedly planned each part of the celebrations including painting and poster exhibitions.
SC rejects Jagan Mohan Reddy's bail plea
The Supreme court Friday declined to grant bail to YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy, who is in custody for a case of his alleged disproportionate assets.
While declining to grant bail, the apex court bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam rejected the petition, saying: "You will have to wait."
Sachin admits that his career is coming to an end
Sachin Tendulkar has finally come out and stated the obvious. In an interview to Times Now, he said, "I am 39 and I don't think I have plenty of cricket left in me."
Tendulkar went on to suggest that he would re-assess his future when he takes the field against England next month.
The maestro, who has played 190 Tests, rubbished suggestions that he wanted to continue till the 200-mark. "I go series by series, rather than by numbers," he said.
He also shrugged off the recent criticism from Sunil Gavaskar who had expressed concern at Sachin being repeatedly bowled. "Sunil Gavaskar has also said positive things about me. When there have been a lot of positive feedback as well, why keep harping only on the negative comments?" he asked.
A glorious 23-year-old career may be coming to an end sooner than you think.
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India tests Dhanush ballistic missile
India Friday tested its nuclear-capable ballistic missile Dhanush from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal in Odisha, an official said.
The missile was fired from a naval ship somewhere between Puri and Visakhapatnam as part of the training exercise of the Indian Navy.
"The test was successful," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesperson Ravi Kumar Gupta told IANS.
Dhanush is a naval version of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile Prithvi. It has a range of 350 km.
Congress in stupor as BJP gets into poll mode
As politics in the cool environs of Himachal Pradesh heat up with the Election Commission sounding the poll bugle, has the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed an edge over its seemingly somnolent rival Congress?
While Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has already carried out a whirlwind tour of the entire state before the polls were announced, the Congress is yet to activate itself.
Having taken a lead by declaring party candidates for 45 of the 68 assembly constituencies, the BJP is almost ready to release a list of the remaining candidates.
Forget about beginning electioneering, the main opposition party in the state is still mulling over the names of its candidates.
For almost a fortnight, Pradesh Congress Committee president Virbhadra Singh, fighting a battle of survival, has been camping in New Delhi, lobbying for tickets for his favourites.
39 rhinos killed in Kaziranga National Park
The death of 39 rhinos in and around the world-famous Kaziranga National Park in less than 10 months has brought to the fore the threat faced by the endangered animal.
The threat comes from poachers, who kill the rare one-horned rhinoceros for its prized horn whose price in the international market varies from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 90 lakh, and flood which is an annual occurrence in Assam.
Early last month, the poachers killed five rhinos in four days taking advantage of the flood waters that submerged 90 per cent of the UNESCO world heritage site.
US blacklists new alias of Al Qaeda-linked outfit
The US State Department has blacklisted the outfit Ansar al-Shari'a, which it said was a "new alias" of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The move bars American citizens from doing business with or providing support to the group, and freezes all of its assets under US jurisdiction, Xinhua reported.
A UN sanctions committee also added the outfit to its list Thursday, a move that subjects the group to a worldwide assets freeze, a travel ban and an arms embargo, the department said.
The outfit, based in Yemen as the AQAP, was established to attract potential followers to the Islamic Sharia rule in areas under its control, the department said.
S M Krishna meets families of US Gurdwara shooting victims
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna met family members of victims of Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting and said India and the US stand united against those who perpetrate a culture of violence and hatred.
Krishna paid a visit to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and met the family of priest Punjab Singh, who is still in coma after being critically injured in the August shooting.
He later met with families of six Sikh persons who were killed when lone gunman Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage in the gurdwara, critically injuring three others.
18 students killed in China landslide
All 18 primary school students who were buried in a landslide Thursday in southwest China's Yunnan province have died, officials said early Friday.
The disaster, which occurred in Zhenhe village of Yiliang county, affected more than 800 people, Xinhua cited the county government as saying.
The landslide had earlier buried 19 people, including the 18 students at the Tiantou Primary School. The other man was a villager, who is still missing, the government said.
Six houses near the school were also hit by the landslide. Thursday's landslide also blocked a nearby river.
Four arrested in connection with attack on Lt Gen K S Brar
The Metropolitan Police have arrested four persons, including a 40-year-old woman, in connection with the stabbing of retired Lt Gen K S Brar, who had led 'Operation Blue Star' 28 years ago to flush out pro-Khalistani militants from the Golden Temple.
"Officers from the MPS have this evening arrested three men and one woman on suspicion of conspiracy to murder in connection with the investigation into the attempted murder of an Indian man (Brar) in central London on September 30," a spokesperson of the Metropolitan Police Service told PTI yesterday.
"All the four are being taken to a central London police station where they will be interviewed by detectives," he added.
Changing its plans, DMK said that it will not hold a human chain protest against the ruling AIADMK today as they had previously planned and would instead launch a door-to-door pamphlet distribution campaign.
With the police yet to give them permission for the Oct.5 human chain protest, a DMK statement said its workers dressed in black would distribute pamphlets at every household starting today to Oct 7.
Party chief M Karunanidhi would lead the protest at Thousand Lights area, followed by general secretary K Anbazhgan and Treasurer MK Stalin at Villivakkam and Kolathur respectively. Karunanidhi also said that from today he would only wear a black shirt.
Writing in the party mouthpiece 'Murasoli', Karunanidhi recalled that he was the first person to enroll into a "Black Shirt Division" of Periyar's Dravidar Kazhgam.
"I had announced leading the human chain protest tomorrow. Yes, I had planned to wear black shirt. But this government did not give permission. Doesn't matter. I will start wearing black shirt against the misdeeds of this government from today.(I) will wear it forever," he said. Read More
In other news, Australia will take on the Chris Gayle-powered West Indies in the second of the World Twenty20 semis later today. Both teams will fight for a spot in the final to take on the home-team Sri Lanka and lift the coveted trophy.