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At least 20 dead in Kerala due to flooding, landslides

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Thiruvananthapuram: At least 20 people have lost their lives in rain-related incidents as heavy showers continued to lash Kerala .
According to the state administration officials, the deaths were attributed to flooding and landslides triggered by incessant rains across the state.
Idukki district remained the worst hit with maximum 10 deaths, of which five from one family lost their lives after their house caved in due to a mudslide.
The other five victims were from Malappuram district who were washed away by the waters of the Chaliyar river that is flowing at its highest levels since 1994.
State Power Minister MM Mani, who hails from Idukki, has warned of the worsening situation in the district and the adjoining area.
“Things are pretty bad and I have visited the affected areas and on Thursday morning, the shutters of the Idamalyar dam was opened. We will open one shutter of the Idukki dam also…,” Mani said.
Idukki dam was opened after 26 years, following rising water levels due to heavy rains in the district. The dam’s shutter was last opened in 1992.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who held an emergency meeting to assess the situation, has directed the state officials and various state and central agencies like the SDRF and the NDRF to be on alert mode and help people in affected areas.
The Kerala government has sought the help of Army, Navy, Coast Guard and the NDRF.
”3 NDRF teams have arrived, 2 teams will arrive soon and 6 additional NDRF teams have been called in,” Kerala CM said.
”Nehru Trophy Boat Race has been cancelled,” he added.


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National

Modi, Wickremesingle discuss India-assisted development projects in Sri Lanka

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday and discussed a range of issues related to bilateral ties, including the progress of India-assisted development projects in the island nation.

The two leaders held talks at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on the third day and final day of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s India visit.

“Special place in our hearts for Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes the Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. At the delegation level talks, the leaders took stock of the entire range of our bilateral relations, specially the development projects in Sri Lanka,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders at the Hyderabad House.

During the visit, the two sides reviewed the status of the India-assisted housing projects in Jaffna. They were also expected to deliberate on the Tamil issue — the reconciliation process and devolution of powers in Tamil-dominated areas.

Mr. Wickremesinghe’s India visit comes in the backdrop of controversial media reports that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has accused Indian intelligence agency RAW of plotting his assassination, a claim firmly rejected as “false” by Colombo.

Earlier in the day, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also separately called on the visiting Lankan leader.

Mr. Wickremesinghe and Mr. Singh discussed issues related to security and anti-terror cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

In her meeting with the Lankan premier, Ms. Swaraj also reviewed the progress of India-assisted development projects in the island nation.

Mr. Wickremesinghe arrived on Thursday on a three-day visit to boost ties in a range of areas, including trade, investment and maritime security.

On Friday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi met Mr. Wickremesinghe and discussed cooperation between the two countries.

 

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Assam man held for running fake currency racket in Bengaluru

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Guwahati: The National Investigation Agency has arrested a man from Assam for circulating fake Indian currency notes (FICN) in Bengaluru.

An NIA team from Hyderabad arrested Mohammed Akbar Ali, a resident of Goroimari Pathar in Kamrup district, near Guwahati. He was produced before a local court for a transit remand. He is being taken to Andhra Pradesh to be produced before a special NIA court in Vijayawada.

NIA officials said Akbar Ali was the kingpin of a racket that brought FICN from the international borders and circulated them in Bengaluru and elsewhere in Karnataka. The NIA had registered a case against him in Hyderabad in 2015 after announcing a reward of ₹25,000 for information leading to his whereabouts.

The case pertains to the seizure of FICN worth 501,500 from one Saddam Hossain in Visakhapatnam in September 2015.

“Investigation revealed that Saddam was part of a larger group involved in smuggling of FICN and had travelled between West Bengal’s Malda and Bengaluru four times for circulating the fake currencies,” an NIA officer said on condition of anonymity.

The proceeds of the fake currency distribution were deposited in the accounts of Saddam and his associates, including Akbar Ali, and suppliers in Malda.

Charge sheet

The NIA in Hyderabad had filed charge sheets against Saddam and his associate Amirul Hoque in 2016 and against two other associates— Roustam and Hakim — on July 24 this year.

“Akbar went to Bengaluru from Assam in 2007 and began working in a flower shop. He was soon introduced to the FICN business by his uncle Hakim. Akbar gradually formed an inter-state gang to spread the network,” the NIA officer said.

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Please expedite matter’: Pachauri after Delhi court frames molestation charges

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New Delhi:  A Delhi court on Saturday framed molestation charges against former TERI chief R K Pachauri in a case of alleged sexual harassment lodged by his former colleague.

Metropolitan Magistrate Charu Gupta put Pachauri on trial for the offence punishable under sections 354 (outraging modesty), 354 A (making physical contact, unwelcome and sexually coloured remarks) and 509 (teasing and using vulgar gesture and actions) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The charges were framed after Pachauri, who was present in the courtroom, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Advocate Ashish Dixit, appearing for the accused, sought a speedy trial after which the court put up the matter for further proceedings on January 4, 2019.

News agency ANI reported that Pachauri sought a speedy trial saying, “my age is 78 years, please expedite matter”.

On February 13, 2015, an FIR was registered against Pachauri and he was granted anticipatory bail in the case on March 21, 2015.

The former TERI chief had earlier secured an interim order from Additional District Judge making it mandatory for media houses to publish or telecast the coverage of the case with a title that “in any court, the allegations have not been proved and they may not be correct”.

This order had also said “when such information is published in any page of a magazine or report, then it should be in middle of the page in bold letters and it should be five times larger than the font in which the article is being published”. Over 1,400-page charge sheet was filed by the Delhi Police on March 1, 2016, saying there was “sufficient evidence” against Pachauri that he had sexually harassed, stalked and threatened the complainant.

A supplementary charge sheet was filed in March 2017 after the police said it had retrieved several deleted e-mails and chats exchanged between the accused and the complainant.

The final report had said the deleted WhatsApp chats, text messages, retrieved from the cell phones, computer hard disks and other devices, were “not fabricated”.

The charge sheet, which was filed a year after the former research analyst of TERI lodged the complaint, had said Pachauri had committed offences under various sections of IPC. Pachauri has denied all the allegations against him.

 

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