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Rs 389 cr Bihar Dam collapses ahead of inauguration; Tejashwi Yadav targets Nitish Kumar, alleges corruption

A portion of a dam in Bhagalpur's Kahalgaon came down crashing hours before it was to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The dam built at an estimated cost of Rs 389.31 crore is part of the ambitious Gateshwar Panth Canal Project which was planned to improve the poor land irrigation system in the region.

Several low-lying areas were flooded as water from the collapsed dam rushed into residential areas in Kahalgaon.

"The dam broke due to release of water in full capacity. The incident has not caused any damage to the newly constructed part of the project," Minister of Water Resources, Lallan Singh said.

CM Nitish Kumar, who was supposed to inaugurate the project today, had to cancel his visit.

At U.N Trump says U.S. may have to 'totally destroy' North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that the United States will be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge, mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

Loud murmurs filled the green-marbled U.N. General Assembly hall when Trump issued his sternest warningyet to North Korea, whose ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests have rattled the globe.

Unless North Korea backs down, he said, "We will have no choice than to totally destroy North Korea."

"Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," he said.

He urged United Nations member states to work together to isolate the Kim government until it ceases its "hostile" behavior.


A junior North Korean diplomat remained in the delegation's front-row seat for Trump's speech, the North Korean U.N. mission said.

Turning to Iran, Trump called the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, was an embarrassment and hinted that he may not recertify the agreement when it comes up for a mid-October deadline.

"I don't think you've heard the last of it," he said.

He called Iran an "economically depleted rogue state" that exports violence.

The speech marked his latest attempt to lay out his America First vision for a U.S. foreign policy aimed at downgrading global bureaucracies, basing alliances on shared interests, and steering Washington away from nation-building exercises abroad.

Trump, who entered the White House eight months ago, told world leaders at the 193-member global body that the United States does not seek to impose its will on other nations and will respect other countries' sovereignty.

"I will defend America's interests above all else," he said. "But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it's in everyone's interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure."

Reading carefully from a script, Trump said the U.S. military would soon be the strongest it has ever been.

Turning to Venezuela, Trump called the collapsing situation there "completely unacceptable" and said the United States cannot stand by and watch.


India on Tuesday sought investigations into North Korea's nuclear proliferation linkages and asked to hold accountable those responsible for it, in a veiled reference to Pakistan. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's remarks came days after North Korea fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday. It follows North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 which was in direct defiance of United Nations sanctions and other international pressure.

"External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj deplored North Korea's recent actions and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable," the ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a news conference at New York.

Swaraj's assertion in this regard came during her trilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Monday on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly session at New York.

Responding to questions, Kumar did not specify the country, but said the hints were enough to determine that.

"I think I am giving you enough material to try to figure out what we are talking about," he said.

"We have very clearly mentioned that we not only deplore DPRK's recent actions but also stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable," Kumar said.

In addition to proliferation, the three leaders discussed the issue of maritime security and connectivity.

"Three broad issues were discussed -- maritime security connectivity and proliferation. We have spelled out what these heads mean on security the ministers emphasised the need to ensure freedom of navigation respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes," he said.

"On connectivity, there was discussion on how to base them on universally recognised international norms prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity," Kumar said.

The first trilateral ministerial meeting between the three countries was held in 2015. Senior official level meeting has been taking place since 2011.

India tears into Pakistan at UNHRC, calls Islamabad face of global terrorism


India on Monday tore into Pakistan's statement at the 36th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, and called Islamabad the "face of international terrorism".


Exercising India's 'right of reply' to Pakistan's speech, Indian diplomat from the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva, Dr. Vishnu Reddy spoke strongly against "Pakistan's unsolicited and unwarranted comments pertaining to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir are factually incorrect and absolutely misleading. We outrightly reject them."


Reddy also spelt out the biggest challenge faced by the region. "The foremost challenge to the stability of the region is the scourge of terrorism. Pakistan's malicious attempt to hide its interference behind the facade of domestic discontent carries no credibility with the world", he said.

Hitting back at Islamabad, New Delhi also raised two issues of concern, Pakistan-backed terrorism in the Kashmir Valley and human rights violations in Balochistan, an issue that India has been raising at all international platforms.


Reddy said, "Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is run by a 'deep state' and has become an epicenter of terrorism. Its [Islamabad's] human rights record in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Baluchistan is deplorable."


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Pradyuman's Class Has Only 4 Students As School Reopens After His Murder

Gurgaon: Over a week after seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was found murdered in a toilet of the Ryan International School in Gurgaon, only four of his classmates came to school. Two of them came with their parents to quit the school.

Pradyuman, a student of Class 2, was found with his throat slit after he visited the toilet near his classroom moments after his father dropped him off on September 8.

A conductor of one of the school buses, 42-year-old Ashok Kumar, was arrested for Pradyuman's killing based on security footage that shows he was present when the child entered the toilet. The CCTV footage shows Pradyuman crawling out of the bathroom and collapsing next to a wall with blood pooling around him.

Pradyuman, a student of Class 2, was found with his throat slit in Gurgaon's Ryan International School.

As classes resumed for the first time since the horrifying murder in school - which is being investigated by the CBI - attendance was thin and many parents were torn between concern for their children's studies and fear for their safety.


Subhash Garg, a parent who was present when Pradyuman was taken to hospital that day, was among those who brought their child to school.

"There is nothing to fear, many policemen and security are here, and the administration has now been taken over by the state government," Mr Garg said.

Another parent was less optimistic and said he had come only to cancel his son's admission.

"I know the school will do what is right but my child is scared of that place now. We tried to persuade him to continue but he is just not ready," he said of his son, who is in Class 5. "It will be a challenge to find a new school mid-term but we have to do it."

The parent of one of Pradyuman's classmates said he is "traumatized about going back to the same classroom and using that toilet".

The school's top officials have been accused of severe neglect in security; two have been arrested while three Mumbai-based founders have sought protection from arrest.

The building didn't have a proper boundary wall, no strong system of checking entries and had outside staff like bus workers share the same toilet as students. The Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE has sent notice to the school asking why it should not be stripped of its affiliation.

Sashi, the mother of a Class 1 student, said, "I am not sending my son to school. I don't trust the school anymore."

Pradyuman's parents said the school should have waited for the CBI investigation to be over, as evidence might be lost.

Superpower India Set to Replace China as Growth Engine of Asia

India is poised to emerge as an economic superpower, driven in part by its young population, while China and the Asian Tigers age rapidly, according to Deloitte LLP. The number of people aged 65 and over in Asia will climb from 365 million today to more than half a billion in 2027, accounting for 60 percent of that age group globally by 2030, Deloitte said in a report Monday.

In contrast, India will drive the third great wave of Asia’s growth – following Japan and China -- with a potential workforce set to climb from 885 million to 1.08 billion people in the next 20 years and hold above that for half a century. ``India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia’s workforce in the coming decade, but this isn’t just a story of more workers: these new workers will be much better trained and educated than the existing Indian workforce,’’  said Anis Chakravarty, economist at Deloitte India. ``There will be rising economic potential coming alongside that, thanks to an increased share of women in the workforce, as well as an increased ability and interest in working for longer. The consequences for businesses are huge.’’

While the looming ‘Indian summer’ will last decades, it isn’t the only Asian economy set to surge. Indonesia and the Philippines also have relatively young populations, suggesting they’ll experience similar growth, says Deloitte. But the rise of India isn’t set in stone: if the right frameworks are not in place to sustain and promote growth, the burgeoning population could be faced with unemployment and become ripe for social unrest.

Deloitte names the countries that face the biggest challenges from the impact of ageing on growth as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand. For Australia, the report says the impact will likely outstrip that of Japan, which has already been through decades of the challenges of getting older. But there are some advantages Down Under.

``Rare among rich nations, Australia has a track record of welcoming migrants to our shores,” said Ian Thatcher, deputy managing partner at Deloitte Asia Pacific.  “That leaves us less at risk of an ageing-related slowdown in the decades ahead.’’

Japan’s experience shows there are opportunities from ageing, too. Demand has risen in sectors such as nursing, consumer goods for the elderly, age-appropriate housing and social infrastructure, as well as asset management and insurance. 


But Asia will need to adjust to cope with a forecast 1 billion people aged 65 and over by 2050. This will require:

  • Raising retirement ages: Encouraging this could help growth in nations at the forefront of ageing impacts.
  • More women in the workforce: A direct lever that ageing nations can pull to boost their growth potential.
  • Taking in migrants: Accepting young, high-skilled migrants can help ward off ageing impacts on growth. 
  • Boosting productivity: Education and re-training to bolster growth opportunities offered by new technologies.

PM Narendra Modi may finally reduce income tax burden in 2018-19

Given that 2018-19 budget to be presented on Feb 1 next year will be the last full-year budget of the current NDA government led by prime minister Narendra Modi, the chances of finance minister Arun Jaitley announcing measures to make the tax system reasonable and simple, are quite high.

With the finance ministry issuing the official circular for preparation of the Union Budget for 2018-19, the work on the last full-year budget of the current NDA government led by prime minister Narendra Modi has begun.

This budget will certainly have a bearing on the government’s prospects in the next Lok Sabha polls, due in 2019, and finance minister Arun Jaitley has the critical responsibility of delivering a growth-oriented budget that takes care of investment and job concerns.

In reality, though, being the last full budget of PM Modi’s current tenure, it may turn out to be a populist one even if the space for doles and benefits is limited with the GDP growth expected to be less than 7% in the current financial year.

While the government has done well by getting crucial legislations passed in parliament during its tenure – Bankruptcy Code, Aadhaar Bill and Goods and Services Tax (GST) are among the prominent ones – it has failed in making headway in the land acquisition and labour law changes, which are important for pushing the infrastructure development and job creation. In the next budget to be presented on February 1, the government will have to bring the passage of these legislations to the centre stage before going into the next general elections.

The bigger challenge, however, for the government would be on the taxation front, both indirect and direct taxes. On indirect taxes, though with GST in place, all the decisions will have to be taken by the GST council, FM Jaitley will do well by outlining the required changes in the GST structure going ahead, especially the reduction in the number of rates and if possible merging of the 12% and 18% rates into one, and inclusion of the petroleum products in the GST structure, in the budget.

But, the most important area where major changes are needed is direct taxes, and PM Modi has already hinted at the need to lessen the tax burden here. The corporate tax rate has been reduced from 30% to 25% for companies with annual turnover up to Rs 50 crore.

Beyond visual range missile Astra completes development phase


The indigenously developed beyond visual range air-to-air missile -- Astra -- underwent a series of successful trials for four days over the Bay of Bengal, marking completion of its development phase.

"The final development flight trials of Astra BVRAAM were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha during September 11-14. A total of seven trials were conducted against pilotless target aircraft successfully," the defence ministry said in a statement today.

The successful trial of the Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) paves way for its induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The missile system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in cooperation with the IAF.

A number of defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and more than 50 public and private industries have contributed in developing the weapon system.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the DRDO, IAF, DPSUs and industries for the successful trials of the missile.

The defence ministry said the successful trials marked completion of the development phase of the weapon system "successfully".

Director General of DRDO's Missiles and Strategic Systems G Satheesh Reddy said the technologies developed under the programme will be the building blocks for development of more variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

The ministry said the flight trials included multiple launches of the missile to engage multiple targets including at "very long" range and medium range.

It said all the sub-systems performed accurately, meeting all the mission parameters and objectives. Two missiles were also launched in the combat configuration with warhead. 


Parsons Green explosion: ‘Many injured’ in stampede as people flee reported blast at London station

People have been injured in a "stampede" as they attempted to escape a reported explosion on the London Underground, according to a witness.

While the explosion itself may not have injured anyone, a number of people were hurt as people ran from it, one commuter said. People were "pushed and trampled on", and had to be treated by ambulance crews, he said.


"I was blissfully reading my paper and listening to a podcast and suddenly the whole world charged past me down the platform, down the Tube," said Richard Aylmer-Hall, a media consultant who was on the District Line train when panic unfolded at around 8.20am UK time.

"I was on the Tube, we had just stopped at Parsons Green, I was on my way up from Wimbledon towards Paddington and suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming.

"There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so obviously something had gone off.

"It was an absolutely packed, rush-hour District Line train from Wimbledon to Edgware Road.

"I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets.

"Some people got pushed over and trampled on, I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews.

"Since then, every emergency vehicle in London has gone past me, fire engines, ambulances, every type of police vehicle."

North Korea threatens to 'sink' Japan, reduce U.S. to 'Ashes and Darkness'

North Korea threatens to 'sink' Japan, reduce U.S. to 'Ashes and Darkness'


A North Korean state agency threatened on Thursday to use nuclear weapons to "sink" Japan and reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" for supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test.


Pyongyang's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles the North's external ties and propaganda, also called for the breakup of the Security Council, which it called "a tool of evil" made up of "money-bribed" countries that move at the order of the United States.


"The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us," the committee said in a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.


Juche is the North's ruling ideology that mixes Marxism and an extreme form of go-it-alone nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un.


Regional tensions have risen markedly since the reclusive North conducted its sixth and by far its most  powerful, nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The 15-member Security Council voted unanimously on a U.S.-drafted resolution and a new round of sanctions on Monday in response, banning North Korea's textile exports that are the second largest only to coal and mineral and capping fuel supplies.


The North reacted to the latest action by the Security Council, which had the backing of veto-holding China and Russia, by reiterating threats to destroy the United States, Japan and South Korea.


"Let's reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness. Let's vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now," the statement said.


Japan's Nikkei stock index and dollar/yen currency pared gains, although traders said that was more because of several Chinese economic indicators that were released on Thursday rather than a reaction to the North's latest statement.


South Korea's won also edged down around the same time over domestic financial concerns.



The North's latest threats also singled out Japan for "dancing to the tune" of the United States, saying it should never be pardoned for not offering a sincere apology for its "never-to-be-condoned crimes against our people", an apparent reference to Japan's wartime aggression.


It also referred to South Korea as "traitors and dogs" of the United States.

Japan criticised  the North's statement harshly.


"This announcement is extremely provocative and egregious. It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference on Thursday.

North Korea had already categorically rejected the Security Council resolution imposing sanctions over its latest test, vowing to press ahead with its nuclear and missile program in defiance of international pressure.


A tougher initial U.S. draft of Monday's resolution was weakened to win the support of China and Russia. Significantly, it stopped short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.


The latest sanctions also make it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile, but has also asked China to do more to rein in its isolated neighbor .China in turn favour's an international response to the problem.


The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

(Reporting by Jack Kim in SEOUL and Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Paul Tait)


My father wanted a Bengali girl for me, I needed a boy: India’s first Miss Trans Queen

The 26-year-old realised she was a woman trapped in a man’s body when she was just a child and has seen a lot of heartbreaks and broken friendships after she decided to change her gender.

She started the transformation process through hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after she moved to Delhi and has held her high ever since.

Nitasha, who is pursuing a management course, will now represent India in the Miss International TransQueen in Thailand in March 2018.

We caught up with the Kolkata girl to get a peek into her life’s struggles, her beliefs, and how her Miss Trans Queen title could change things for the transgender community in India.


How long does the transition process take to change one’s gender?

It takes around three to four years. Throughout the process, I was talking with my psychologist and my cousin brother. It’s tough because you need to understand who you are as a person and who you are as a soul.

When did you realise you wanted to be a woman?

Right from childhood. When my school friends from St Xavier’s went to play football, I stayed home. I was fond of badminton though and played a lot. But, mostly I was nurtured within the walls of my house and watched TV and stayed home. My mother died when I was very small so my dad played the role of a mother and father both. My brother (seven years elder) also supported me a lot because I came out to him in Class 6, though I knew about myself since Class 4.

What sort of reactions did you get when you told people you wanted to change?

I had a lot of friends leaving me and people talking behind my back. Initially, I felt bad but I held my head up high. I hardly had any friends during that phase. It was basically my friend Raunak, who was there for me, and my father, back in Kolkata.

When I finally came out to my father, I told him, “I am the reincarnation of your wife, so you cannot throw me out. This is when I was in Mumbai, had become a girl, and my father had come to meet me.”

Even before my transition, my father was trying to convince me that I should get married and that he would look for a Bengali girl for me. Which is when I told him, “But I want a Bengali boy!”

What are the issues faced by transgender women in India?

There is a lot of discrimination; there are rapes and no family support. When a person is taking such a decision, the family just throws them out. When you go out and people look down on you, it feels really bad. Due to this 70% of the transgender population is going under depression because society discriminates against them and looks down upon them. There is no monetary or job support and many end up in the s*x trade.

Sometime back, I also came to know about a transgender woman who was not accepted by her family due to which she decided to leave her house. She ended up in a circus, performing as a freak show. Though people used to laugh at her, she used to feel good because she could finally be what she thought herself as. But, the situation kept worsening for her, and ultimately when she died, there was no one there to even cremate her.

Petrol prices may come down from Rs 70 to Rs 38 under GST. Will government do it?

Questions are being asked if Finance Minister Arun Jaitlely-headed GST Council will pay heed to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's suggestion on petroleum prices.

"The Petroleum products' inclusion in GST only way for rational fuel prices," tweeted Dharmendra Pradhan as the petroleum prices reached three-year high. Bringing petroleum products under the GST regime will make the fuels cheaper.

In Mumbai, petrol prices touched Rs 80 a litre while in Delhi, it is over Rs 70 per litre. If petrol is brought under GST, it may cost as little as Rs 38.10 in Delhi at 12 per cent GST rate.

It was August 2014, when petrol prices breached Rs 70 mark the last time. Back then the crude oil prices was around USD 98 per barrel. But, now the crude oil prices are hovering around USD 50 per barrel.


According to data released by the Indian Oil Corporation for the petrol price build up in Delhi, the fuel costs only Rs 26.65 at the refineries. Dealers get a litre of petrol at Rs 30.70. But, petrol is sold at Rs 70.39 a litre in Delhi. This means Rs 39.41 is charged as tax component and dealer's commission on every litre of petrol sold in the national capital.


While most of the taxable articles moved under the GST regime, petroleum products are still governed by VAT system. Different states have different rates of VAT applicable on petroleum products.

As per the data available with the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), Delhi charges a VAT of 27 per cent on petrol while it is 47.64 per cent in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. This explains the difference of about Rs 9 in the petrol prices in the two cities.


Centre imposes excise duty on petrol and diesel. As per the PPAC data, excise duty on petrol has increased by 54 per cent since November 2014. An average increase of 46 per cent has been seen with regard to VAT on petrol while dealer's commission has been increased by as much as by 73 per cent.

Similarly, in the case of diesel, the excise duty has gone up by 154 per cent, VAT by 48 per cent and dealer's commission by 73 per cent. The excise duty on petrol and diesel has been increased on 12 occasions since 2014.


'25 mn jobs can be created in digital infra space in 5-7 yrs' 

More than 25 million jobs can be created in the digital infrastructure space in the next five to seven years, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said today.

"If Internet of Things alone can create 10-15 million jobs, the digital infrastructure space will create more than 25 million jobs in next five to seven years...," she told PTI on the sidelines of IoT India Congress here.

"Just look at the scenario - we are still importing 90 per cent of our equipments from abroad. We still need a million wifi hotspots. There are requirements in cloud-based telecom services and many startups are catering these services.

"So, as far as jobs are concerned, there is huge potential. We just need to start skilling people in all these new areas," she said.

Updating skills in the midst of emerging technologies is the most important antidote for tackling joblessness, she said.

"When we say technology is disruptive, what do we mean? Some technologies and conventional jobs will disappear, but new technologies will appear. So, we have to keep ourselves updated on technological front," she said.

Dawood Ibrahim's properties worth $6.7 billion freezed by British authorities

British authorities have freezed properties belonging to fugitive Indian underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim. Reports say assets worth $6.7 billion belonging to the wanted underworld don have been seized by British authorities. Dawood, who Indian agencies claim runs his crime empire from Cliffton area in Karachi, Pakistan, appears on the latest UK Treasury department's Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets, updated last month.

According to Forbes, Dawood Ibrahim is one of the richest gangsters of all time. In 2015, Forbes estimated Dawood Ibrahim's net asset at US$ 6.7 billion. Dawood Ibrahim has his business interests in more than a dozen countries spread over Europe,Africaand South Asia. 

He has assets worthUS$450 million in the UK alone. He is said to have invested in over 50 properties in different countries. Dawood Ibrahim, who is an accused of carrying out 1993-Mumbai bomb blasts, has been named by the UN Security Council's IS and al-Qaida Sanctions Committee asglobalterrorist.

The UN list has put out 15 aliases of Dawood Ibrahim. These are: Dawood Ebrahim, Sheikh Dawood Hassan, Abdul Hamid Abdul Aziz, Anis Ibrahim, Aziz Dilip, Daud Hasan Shaikh Ibrahim Kaskar, Daud Ibrahim Memon Kaskar, Dawood Hasan Ibrahim Kaskar, Dawood Ibrahim Memon, Dawood Sabri, Kaskar Dawood Hasan, Shaikh Mohd Ismail Abdul Rehman, DowoodHassan Shaikh Ibrahim, Shaikh Ismail Abdul and Hizrat.

Princess Diana revealed 'the greatest love I've ever had' was bodyguard Barry Mannakee in secret tapes


Princess Diana revealed the “greatest love I’ve ever had” was a bodyguard, Barry Mannakee, in video footage broadcast for the first time.

In tapes broadcast in the Channel 4 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, she sensationally claimed he was sacked from his job and then “bumped off".

While Prince Charles’ late ex-wife did not name Mr Mannakee, it was clear that this is who she was talking about.

Diana also said she was "completely traumatised" when Prince Charles said "whatever love is" when asked before their wedding whether he was in love with her.

She only found true love several years later, she revealed.

"When I was 24 or 25 I was deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment [security],” she said.


"But then he was chucked out and he was killed.

"Eventually he had to go and then three weeks after he left he was killed in a motorbike accident.

"He was the greatest love I've ever had, and that was a real killer."

Mr Mannakee, a police officer, was her bodyguard for about a year in the mid 1980s before he was moved to the Diplomatic Protection Group in London.

The 39-year-old died in 1987 when a motorcycle being driven by a friend, who survived, was involved in a collision with a car. The driver £85 for careless driving and a coroner ruled it had been an accident.

While there is no evidence to suggest it was not, Diana appears to have believed the death was related to their affair, saying he had been "bumped off".

Doklam disengagement incomplete: Chinese troops insist on staying behind on plateau

A fortnight after the high-stakes Doklam standoff between India and China was diffused via diplomatic channels, soldiers of the People's Liberation Army continue to remain on the contentious plateau. The PLA personnel have even built bunkers on a ridge line behind the disputed area, sparking fears of a fresh standoff between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The Chinese presence on the plateau was raised by India during a September 8 flag meeting between the Indian division commander and his PLA counterpart at the Nathu La mountain pass.

During the four-hour meeting, the Indian Army insisted that the agreed-upon August 28 disengagement would be incomplete without PLA soldiers vacating the plateau. The Chinese side is believed to have told the Indian army that they would get back after consulting their superiors.

An unspecified number of Indian and Chinese troops currently remain on the Doklam plateau, separated by a distance of 150 metres.

The August 28 disengagement led to a successful visit by Prime Minister Modi to the BRICS summit in Xiamen, between September 3-5. PM Modi held bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the latter emphasised the need for 'peace and tranquillity on the border areas as a pre-requisite for the further development of ties'.


The 71-day Doklam standoff was sparked on June 16 when the Indian Army halted a Chinese construction party building a road in Bhutanese territory towards the Jampheri ridge. The ridge overlooks India's sensitive Siliguri Corridor also called the 'Chicken's Neck' due to its strategic vulnerability.

New Delhi fears that Chinese PLA being in close proximity to the Siliguri Corridor could allow it to cut the Northeast off from Indian mainland during a hypothetical conflict.

The standoff, which was marked by sharp bellicose from China's state media, ended on August 28, with Chinese and Indian troops carrying out a sequential withdrawal from the disputed area and the Chinese halting road construction and taking back their equipment.

Sources privy to the September 8 meeting told India Today that the Chinese also insisted on patrolling up to the Jampheri ridge which is where they insist the trijunction between India, China and Bhutan lies. Both India and Bhutan insist the trijunction lies four kilometres north of the ridge, at the Batang La pass.

The flag meeting at Nathu La was the second since the August 28 de-escalation when both sides withdrew 150 metres from the disputed road construction site.

The first meeting, between Brigadier-ranked officers, was called for on August 30, a day after the de-escalation, when the Indian army objected to the Chinese leaving behind a flag at the spot guarded by eight soldiers.

The Chinese withdrew two days later, but continue to occupy their positions on a ridge abutting the plateau where they have built the bunkers.

GST Council hikes cess on large cars, SUVs, slashes rates for 30 common use items


Hyderabad/New Delhi: The goods and services tax (GST) Council on Saturday raised the cess on mid-sized to large cars and SUVs in the range of 2-7 percentage points but kept the tax burden lower than pre-GST levels.

The council, which met in Hyderabad, also reduced the GST rate on about 30 commonly used products like dosa batter and rain coats as it sought to pass on benefit of better than expected revenue receipts under the two-month old tax regime to the consumer. The revised rates including the cess will be effective from the date they will be notified. Dried tamarind, custard powder, disposables and rubber bands are among the other items on which tax rate has been reduced.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who briefed reporters after the meeting said that there is no change in the GST cess on small petrol and diesel cars, hybrid cars or on 13 seater vehicles. The cess on mid-segment cars will go up by 2 percentage points, large cars by 5 percentage points and SUVs by 7 percentage points. Even after the increase, the effective tax burden will be less than the pre-GST levels, the minister explained.

“The council decided that it is only in large vehicles, affordability of consumers is high. Accordingly, the cess has been increased by two, five and seven percentage points. Even then, the pre-GST rate has not been restored even though we had a headroom for increasing by ten percentage points,” said Jaitley.

The government had on 4 September authorized the council to raise the cess on cars attracting 15% cess to a maximum of 25% through an ordinance.

Rahil Ansari, head, Audi India said taxes on the automobile sector were already very high and that the industry expected its unfulfilled potential to increase after the implementation of GST and rationalization of taxes. “Even if the rumoured cess hike of 10% was not concluded, prices will go up again, which is disappointing. We will need to study the impact of this hike on buyer sentiment.”

The council also expanded the ambit of the 5% GST on branded packaged food items to include those products which were earlier sold under a brand name but the producers chose to abandon their trade marks to escape the tax. As per Saturday’s decision, the 5% tax is applicable on food items sold in packages if they had a brand name as on 15 May or have a mark or name on which the producer is entitled to make an actionable claim, explained the minister.

The council also decided to exempt handicraft makers below Rs20 lakh sales and sell in other states from the need to take temporary registration. Khadi fabrics sold through Khadi and Village Industries Commission will be exempt from 5% GST.

The council also decided to give extra time to file various tax returns for the month of July in view of the technical glitches in the return filing process. As per the revised return filing schedule decided by the Council, the last date for filing GST return 1 dealing with supplies made by companies that was to expire on Sunday, has been extended to 10 October. The council also gave extra four months for filing a summary return for the month of July, the original deadline for which had expired on 25 August.


CBI carries out raid at former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan’s premises in Chennai


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday carried out searches at the premises of former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan in Chennai after registering an FIR against her in connection with alleged anomalies in environment clearance in Jharkhand during her tenure.

An FIR has been filed against Natarajan, Umang Kejriwal, the then managing director of Electrosteel Casting Limited, and the company besides other unidentified persons. The case is related to clearance given for diversion of forest land in Saranda Forest, Singhbhum District in Jharkhand to mining company Electrosteel in alleged violation of Forest .

The 63-year-old allegedly gave the permission after former environment minister Jairam Ramesh rejected the nod for the same.

“Jayanthi Natarajan, the then Minister of State for Environment and Forests accorded the approval for diversion of 55.79 hectares of forest land for non-forestry use to ECL, though the same had been rejected by the earlier Minister of State…without any change in the circumstances after rejection,” the CBI FIR alleged.

The agency also said Natarajan allegedly gave the approval without adhering to the advice of Director General Forests and directions of Supreme Court in this regard. In 2015, Natarajan had quit the Congress party after mounting a direct attack on Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.


‘Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim has 15-20 guards inside Rohtak jail, inmates livid’


Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda cult imprisoned last month for raping two women, moves in a posse of 15-20 security guards inside the Rohtak jail and fellow inmates are “so angry that someone might kill him”, a man who was released from the same facility has said.


Sonu Pandit, released on bail on Friday, said that Singh has been given security on the pretext that he faces threats from fellow inmates. “Ever since he has come here, problems of jail inmates have increased. All restrictions were imposed on us. This made inmates hate him,” he said.


Singh enjoyed mass following as the leader of the spiritual cult, so much so that thousands went on a rampage after his conviction to burn down millions in public and private property. The BJP-run state government drew criticism for letting the violence go on before police opened fire to contain mobs, leading to the deaths of at least 30 people.


Pandit said that he wears white clothes at the prison and has not been assigned any work, suggesting that authorities may be giving the rape convict preferential treatment. “Reports of him gardening at Rs 40 per day were false,” he said. Earlier, another person who spent time at the Rohtak prison said the Dera Sacha Sauda chief kept screaming in his initial days in jail and did not eat anything.


“He would say things like ‘What is my fault, what have I done?’ He would cry in the night and request authorities to not lock him in the cell because he feels afraid,” said Dalit activist Swadesh Kirad, who had been in a cell next to Singh’s.


Authorities, meanwhile, enforced a no-fly zone over the prison. Rohtak deputy commissioner Atul Kumar said on Friday the administration has also written to DG jails to request for mobile jammers inside the prison. He said till further orders, section 144 of the CrPC will remain clamped in 5km radius of the jail premises. He said at present there were no plans to shift Singh to any other jail.


The arrangements in Sunariya jail are better than Delhi’s Tihar. Constant efforts are being made to ensure other inmates do not suffer due to Ram Rahim,” he said.

Army will cross LoC and strike if needed, says northern commander


Northern Army Commander Lt General D Anbu on Thursday said the Indian Army would cross the Line of Control if required and claimed that there had been fewer successful infiltrations this year than in 2016. He also spoke of the need to create employment opportunities for Kashmiri youth to wean them away from the agitation dynamics.

Pointing out that there has been an increase in the number of infiltration attempts and terror camps across the LoC, Lt General Anbu said that “when we want to we will be able to breach it, go across and strike when we need’’. He said the surgical strike by India “was a point we wanted to drive home”. India wanted to convey “this subtle message” that the “LoC is not a line that cannot be breached”, he said.

Lt Gen. Anbu was addressing a press conference after presenting gallantry and distinguished services medals to 103 officers and jawans and certificates of appreciation to 31 units apart from 31 civilians at an investiture ceremony at the Northern Command headquarters here.

“There is no dearth of people who are trying to infiltrate.The launch pads and terrorist camps across the Line of Control have increased as compared to the previous year,” Lt Gen. Anbu said. “While they attempt to cross the LoC, the success they have been able to attain this year, despite large number of people trying to infiltrate, has been much less as compared to the previous year because of the very robust counter-infiltration grid we have on the LoC,’’ he said.

According to official figures, 75 people have infiltrated from across the LoC this year, “but our assessment is that their number is not more than 45-50”, Lt Gen. Anbu said.

Referring to the number of local terrorists in the Valley, the Northern Army Commander said their number has been largely constant over the past three years, including the current year. “The youth turning into separatists are those who are in the age group of 15-25 and who are not very sure of the future. This is one aspect which needs to be looked at,” he said.


“It shows that we have to engage the youth.The state government and everybody has to play a part in ensuring employment generation and a positive security environment will be created by the security forces,’’ he said. “This is what has happened now. While the effect of elimination of so many terrorists will manifest in a couple of months from now, we have already seen a decrease in local youth getting recruited in terrorist ranks,’’ he claimed.


To a question about the stone throwing youths on the streets in the Valley, Lt Gen. Anbu said: “A lot of youths are involved in it, but it is not that all the youths are involved in it and their entire population comes out into the streets.... Their heart and soul is not in it.”

Asked about the situation along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, he said it was under control.


Digvijaya Singh Shocks With Abusive Tweet Against PM, 'Diseased Mind,' Says BJP

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has been severely criticised for tweeting a meme that attacks Prime Minister Narendra Modi with crude abuses. The Congressman prefaced his post by saying it is not his but he "couldn't help posting it."


"Digvijaya Singh's comments on Twitter reflect the Congress party's diseased mind. They have not only insulted the elected Prime Minister of this country, but also the people of India," said BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao. 

Amid shocked protests, Digvijaya Singh was defiant, also tweeting, "When Modi ji & those he follows have used abusive language against Sonia ji Rajivji Indira ji Nehru ji Gandhi ji why they remained quiet?"

Mr Singh's trolling of PM Modi comes amid his party's attack on the Prime Minister and the BJP over vicious messages posted by some Twitter accounts against journalist Gauri Lankesh who was murdered at her Bengaluru home on Tuesday evening. 

Social media raged that an account Nikhil Dadhich (@nikhildadhich), which used cuss words in reference to Ms Lankesh, was followed by Prime Minister. "While we fight trolls, PM Modi ignites them," the Congress had said in a statement.

The PM's party said in a statement yesterday that the PM's following someone is "not a character certificate." and does "not in any way a guarantee of how a person would conduct himself." 

It pointed out that PM Modi has not unfollowed either Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal despite his abusive comments about him or Rahul Gandhi despite his being accused of a corruption scam.

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan to make Come Back

Raghuram Rajan willing to come back if it makes big difference
Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday said that he was open to stay for the second term because he thought that there were still some unfinished business at the Central Bank.
Image result for raghuram rajan
Rajan said it in an interview to India Today that came days after launch of his book -I do what I do. He also clarified that he never resigned. "My term came to an end and I left," Rajan said when asked whether he left the RBI voluntary.

The former governor said that he was open to stay if the nation which is represented by the government wanted him at the RBI. During an-hour long interview, Raghuram Rajan talked about various financial issues such as demonetisation, bad debts and economic growth.

Rajan spoke about some of the conversations that he had over demonetisation while he was heading the RBI. He said that the Central government had once asked him about the cost and benefit of such move. To which, Rajan as the RBI head gave the analysis -orally- and cautioned the government that short-term cost would outweigh long-term benefits.

When asked that despite the RBI's caution the government moved ahead with the demonetisation, Rajan said that the Centre does not need the RBI's permission. "The government can also passed a directive and do it," Rajan said. He also revealed that during his time there was no date fixed for the move. "My sense was that there was still time to persuade the government otherwise," he said.

Rajan himself was surprised by the demonetisation announcement on November 8 and later he had to come back to India to exchange scrapped currency.

Rajan also spoke about the impact of demonetisation and said until complete data comes in one cannot tell the real effect of demonetisation. He referred to financial services company JP Morgan's report on demonetisation where it claimed that the cost of note ban could be 1-2 per cent of the GDP.

When asked if he would be willing to return to India for another position or was happy teaching in the US, Rajan said he is not special among the diaspora and there were many people who, if called upon, would come back and do what is necessary.
"Many of us have certainly fairly comfortable lives there...coming back to India and doing what I did, gave a tremendous sense of fulfilment. I think it's very selfish thing to come back. Ya, if called upon and if there is a place where you can make a big difference, of course," he said.

Army Chief Says 'Salami Slicing' By China Could Lead To War

With Pak Too 

A week after India and China ended their worst military confrontation in decades, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that the possibility of a two-front war against China on the North and Pakistan to the West cannot be ruled out.

"As far as the Northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started. Salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits or threshold is something we have to be wary about. Remain prepared for situations that are emerging gradually into conflict," he said about China.

He warned that a war with China could easily end up involving its long-term ally, Pakistan. "Whether these conflicts will be limited and confined in space and time, or whether these can expand into an all-out war along the entire front with the Western adversary (Pakistan) taking advantage of the situation developing on the Northern border is very much likely."

This isn't the first time the Army Chief has spoken about the possibility of a two-front war, but the timing of his remarks indicate how sensitive the Army remains to the situation with China. The remarks come just a day after Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Xinping met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Xiamen in China. Both leaders spoke of the need to "do more" to prevent border aggression. President Xi stressed to PM Modi that it's important for relations between the two countries to get on "the right track."

In mid-June, Indian soldiers crossed the border at Sikkim to stop China from constructing a new road on the remote Dokalm Plateau that Beijing considers its own, though India backs Bhutan's claim to the region. Enraged, China accused India of "illegally transgressing" into its terrain.

India said it had warned that the new road would be treated as a serious threat to the security of its northeastern states. Soldiers from both sides than stood eyeball-to-eyeball for more than 70 days, till both sides agreed, through diplomatic talks and despite daily shrill rhetoric from China, to withdraw their troops. China has not clearly indicated whether it has abandoned its plans for the new road. Indian sources say Beijing has removed its bulldozers and other road-making equipment.

While yesterday's discussions between PM Modi and President Xi have been described as being positive, India has decided to expand the scope of its military relationship with Japan which has a testy equation with China.

If decision (noteban) is exposed, country will ask what inputs went in, says Raghuram Rajan

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran/Files)


Nine months after demonetisation, with almost 99 per cent of the banned notes back into the system and the economy gripped by slowdown, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, has said that if a decision such as this turns out exposed — of not having the right effects on the economy, “as a country, you would want to ask what were the inputs that went into that decision”.  Although the government announced it was withdrawing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes on November 8 last year, Rajan, who was Governor until September 4, 2016, was asked by the government in February that year for his views on demonetisation, which he says he provided orally.

In his new book, I do what I do, launched here Tuesday, Rajan says he had conveyed to the government that though there could be long-term benefits, the likely short-term economic cost would outweigh them and that there were potentially better alternatives to achieve the main goals.



He has also said that the RBI put together a note to the government outlining the potential cost and benefit of demonetisation as well as alternatives that could achieve similar aims besides flagging off what would happen if the preparation was inadequate. He added that at no point during his term, was the RBI asked to make a decision on demonetisation.

“I would rather ask the question — to what extent does the decision get informed by good economics? That’s what we would all want. And to that extent if that decision turns out exposed — to not having the right effects on the economy — as a country, you would want to ask what were the inputs into that decision, (demonetisation),” he told The Indian Express in an interview here on Tuesday.  Rajan, who has returned to his teaching assignment at University of Chicago, said that he wouldn’t want to share details of who were the top policy-makers who received his and the RBI’s assessment. “I would say anybody who was involved in the demonetisation decisions was informed,” he said.

What he did indicate, though, was that the chilling effect that such a move would have on economic activity, especially on informal activities which cannot migrate to other modes of transactions such as credit cards, was red-flagged to the government.  As for the RBI’s apparent suggestion prior to demonetisation to withdraw only 1,000 rupee notes and not the 500 rupee note, Rajan said that the more a currency is used for transactions, the more the central bank has to be in readiness to replace it.




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