India

Actor Dino Morea, DJ Aqeel’s Statements Recorded In Sterling Biotech Case

While Dino Morea, also a model, has worked in a number of Hindi films, Aqeel is a popular DJ (File Photo)

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has recorded the statements of Bollywood actor Dino Morea and DJ Aqeel in connection with the Sterling Biotech alleged bank fraud money laundering case, officials said Wednesday.
They said the two were grilled over multiple sessions in the past few days and their statements have been recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
It is understood that Dino Morea has been asked to depose again next week.
The actor and the popular disc jockey (DJ) had been asked to join probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last month as the agency had got evidence that the two were paid some money by the Gujarat-based pharmaceutical group in the past.
The officials had said that the payments pertain to a time period between 2011 and 2012 when the two reportedly attended some events organised by the Sandesara brothers, the promoters and owner..

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Government To Strengthen POCSO Act, Set Up Fast Track Courts: Minister

About 1.6 lakh cases of crimes against children are pending in 31 states and union territories

New Delhi: The Centre will soon set up fast track courts to clear the pending 1.6 lakh cases of crime against children and further strengthen the POCSO act with stringent penal provisions, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
A proposal will be moved for seeking cabinet approval to amend the two key laws in this regard, he said while responding to supplementaries during the Question Hour.
“The centre is going to set up fast track courts and a proposal in this regard will be placed before the cabinet in the coming days,” Mr Reddy said.
About 1.6 lakh cases of crimes against children are pending in 31 states and union territories. “We are going to clear these pending cases within two years. We are going to bring a change in the law,” he added.
Besides, the Minister said the government will amend the Protection of children from sexual offences ..

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“Now To Ensure A Fair Trial”: Indian Counsel After Kulbhushan Jadhav Win

Harish Salve said he feels a great sense of relief because of the verdict.

New Delhi: With retired Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav getting a reprieve from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday, Indian lead counsel Harish Salve now aims to ensure that he gets a fair trial in keeping with Pakistan's constitution and is eventually cleared of all charges.
“I am gratified as a lawyer. I feel a sense of relief with the verdict. The court said there is no question of execution, and so I am very happy,” he said.
India had dragged Pakistan to the ICJ after a military court in the neighbouring country sentenced Mr Jadhav to death on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017. However, in its verdict delivered on Wednesday, the world court asked Pakistan to make an “effective review and reconsideration” of the death penalty and grant him consular access as demanded by India.
While Pakistan claims that its security forces had arrested the 49-year-old retired Navy offic..

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Safety Management System Of 5 Airlines Found Deficient: Centre

The DGCA regularly conducts safety audits of scheduled and non-scheduled airlines

New Delhi: Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has conducted safety audits of Air India Express, SpiceJet, AirAsia, IndiGo and GoAir and it found the implementation of their safety management system “to be deficient”, the government informed Rajya Sabha Wednesday.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the audits also found that the flight crew rostering software was not upgraded and untrained staff were manning check-in counters.
The “other staff” at check-in counters too did not have adequate knowledge to handle “dangerous goods” despite being trained in Dangerous Good Regulations, he said in a written response to a question in the upper house.
In a serious lapse, the regulator found, there was a delay in carrying out the corrective actions for the “FOQA exceedances”, Mr Puri said.
Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) is the process of obtaining and analyzing all kin..

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PM Modi Meets BJP Lawmakers In 47-56 Age Group Over Breakfast

PM Modi has already met parliamentarians belonging to backward categories (File)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met BJP parliamentarians in the 47-56 age group over breakfast at his official residence on Wednesday, sources said.
The prime minister will meet parliamentarians from his party who are aged above 56 on Thursday, they said.
Wednesday's meeting was the sixth in a series of interactions PM Modi has been holding with his party's parliamentarians.
The lawmakers have been divided into seven groups and PM Modi has already met parliamentarians belonging to backward categories, young lawmakers and those who were ministers once, the sources said.
The meetings have been planned so that BJP lawmakers from both the Houses get an opportunity to directly interact with the Prime Minister, who can guide them and discuss various issues, especially those related to parliament, a BJP leader said.
In his meeting with young lawmakers recently, PM Modi had said they should invo..

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India Is The Top Exporter Of Virtual Water As Cities Stare At Scarcity

Buying water will burn holes in farmers' pockets and in the ground water reserves.

Kolkata: After Chennai's water shortage, people are rushing to fix leaky taps and toilets in their homes. Good move, say water experts, but time to stop sweating the small sweat and tackle India's biggest water consumer. No, not factories, not power plants, not homes but farms.
Experts want an urgent rethink on growing water intensive crops like rice and cotton. Their export has made India the world's biggest virtual water exporter.
The crisis is dawning on farmers like Saddam Hussain and Alauddin Mondal of Deganga, 50 km north of West Bengal capital Kolkata. By mid-July, the paddy in their fields should have been knee high. But they are still waiting for monsoons to transplant saplings.
But there are no rains and they may have to buy ground water for their fields. They routinely use ground water for winter crops. But to pay for water in the monsoon, too, will spell twin disasters.
I..

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“Priyanka Gandhi Should Command Congress At Critical Time”: Party Leaders

Congress leader say Priyanka Gandhi should fill the leadership void in the party.

New Delhi: With the Congress facing uncertainty after Rahul Gandhi's resignation as party chief, voices within are growing in favour of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leading the party in critical times.
Former lawmaker Abhijit Mukherjee, son of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee, made an open plea in favour of Priyanka Gandhi, saying she should not ignore the “clarion call of lakhs of Congress workers” across the country to take over the party.
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Anil Shastri said Priyanka Gandhi is the best person to lead the party at this time and the AICC should elect her as the new Congress chief in the wake of Rahul Gandhi's insistence on quitting the post.
“Now that Rahul Gandhi is firm on his resignation as Congress President, it is the question of party's existence. And, if the party has to survive we have to have a President at the earliest. There can't be a ..

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1,000 Employees Sacked From Home Ministry In 5 Years

1,083 officials have been dismissed from the Home Ministry in last 5 years

New Delhi: More than 1,000 employees have been sacked by the Home Ministry in the last five years on the grounds of lack of integrity and ineffectiveness in public interest, union minister of state for Home, Nityanand Rai told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Mr Rai said action against government officials is a continuous process and as per the applicable disciplinary rules, the government has the right to take disciplinary action against erring officials by imposing prescribed penalties, including dismissal and removal from service.
“A total number of 1,083 officials have been dismissed from government service under the applicable disciplinary rules in the ministry, including its organisations, during the last five years,” he said, replying to a written question.
The minister said the provisions of Fundamental Rules (FR) 56(j), Rule 48 of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 and Rule 16(3) (Amended) of Al..

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Indians Got 67-72% Of Total US H1-B Visas In 5 Years: Foreign Ministry

No comprehensive changes have been made to H-1B visa programme: S Jaishankar

New Delhi: Indian nationals have received between 67 and 72 per cent of the total H-1B visas issued by the US in last five years, the External Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said no comprehensive changes have been made to the H-1B visa programme so far.
“The Indian government has closely consulted all stakeholders and engaged with the US administration and the Congress on issues related to the movement of Indian professionals, including those pertaining to the H-1B programme,” he said.
“Most recently, issues of H-1B visa were raised during the visit of the US Secretary of State, Michael R Pompeo, to India on June 26, 2019. In our engagements, we have emphasised that th..

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Day Before Trust Vote, Karnataka Rebel Lawmaker Withdraws Resignation

Ramalinga Reddy is among the 18 legislators who quit the Karnataka coalition government.

Bengaluru: In some relief to the embattled coalition government in Karnataka, Congress legislator Ramalinga Reddy said today that he has decided to withdraw his resignation from the assembly and will vote in favour of the trust vote to be sought by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
“I will take part in the assembly session tomorrow and vote in favour of the party. I will continue to remain in the party and serve as MLA, he told news agency PTI.
Mr Reddy, a former minister, is among the 13 Congress and three JDS lawmakers who have tendered their resignations. Two independent legislators have also withdrawn their support to HD Kumaraswamy's government, leaving it tottering on the brink of collapse.
The survival of the Congress-JD(S) government hangs precariously on the eve of the trust vote with the Supreme Court holding that the rebel lawmakers cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedin..

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