Notice to media houses for disclosing Kathua rape victim's identity

April 13, 2018 05:11 PM

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to several media houses for disclosing the identity of an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar asked why action should not be taken against the media houses for disclosing the victim's identity and said the act was in violation of a law which is punishable under Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code.

The court has asked the National Commission for Women (NCW), Delhi Commission for Women and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to file responses on the matter.

It listed the matter for further hearing on April 17

The victim's body was recovered from Rassana forest in Kathua on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in a forest area.

She was reportedly held captive inside a temple and sedated before being repeatedly raped and murdered.

Sanjhi Ram, the caretaker of the temple, has been named as the main accused and is said to have planned the heinous crime to instil fear among the Bakarwal community to which the victim belonged.


Dead bodies of Phagwara youths swept in Chitti Bein found

July 21, 2018 03:42 PM

PHAGWARA: With the hard efforts of  two days Seven Divers from PAP Jalandhar and Five Hired from Phillaur the bodies of two young friends who were swept away in Chiherru Chitti Bein on Thursday were recovered on Saturday afternoon.

The Superintendent of the Police Phagwara Parminder Singh Bhandhal said the dead body of one youth Sahil Bagga was recovered near Village Jamshed and the body of Lovedeep was recovered near Village Kot-Kalan as the bein water was flowing towards these villages.The Dead bodies of both youths were brought to local Civil Hospital and handed over to their families after post-mortem examination conducted on Saturday evening. Notably two youths on a motorcycle were swept away in the Chitti Bein near Chiherru on the Phagwara-Jalandhar highway on Thursday. They were going to Nakodar to pay  obeisance at a religious place and passing on a slip road under the Bein Bridge, but lost their balance and were washed away in the Chitti Bein.

The Police said, One devotee Balbir Kaur of Kot Kalan village informed the police about the incident.

Punjab News

AAP student wing to contest elections of Punjab University- Meet Hayer

July 21, 2018 03:36 PM

CHANDIGARH: The student wing of Aam Aadmi Party, CYSS will contest the upcoming student elections in Punjab university and colleges of state.

In a press statement, AAP student wing and MLA Meet Hayer said that a meeting to finalise the decision of contesting student elections was held under the guidence of state co-president Dr. Balbir Singh and other senior leaders. AAP student leaders Amrit Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Lambi and Parminder Singh Jaswal attended the meeting.

 Meet Hayer said that youth of country is the backbone of AAP and the party will utilize the energy of youngsters in a constructive way. He said that as the people of state have sent youngsters like him to Punjab Vidhan Sabha to raise their voice, more and more youngsters from non political backgrounds will be given representation in student elections.

National News

New 100-rupee note poses fresh headaches for ATM operators

July 21, 2018 03:29 PM

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) announcement launching a new series of 100-rupee denomination notes has been greeted with trepidation by the major companies engaged in the manufacture and supply of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.

Like the new post-demonetisation Rs 2,000, Rs 500, Rs 200 and the new Rs 50 notes and Rs 10 notes, even the new lavender-coloured Rs 100 is a tad smaller in size compared to the blue-coloured Rs 100 notes currently in circulation.

While the existing Rs 100 notes are sized 157x73 mm, the new ones measure 142x66mm, as per the RBI announcement this week.

"This means that all the 237,000 ATMs in the country would again have to be re-calibrated to dispense the new Rs 100 notes. This entails a massive effort which is both time-consuming and adds to our costs," Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi) Director V. Balasubramanian told IANS.

For recalibrating all the ATMs in the country to enable them dispense the new Rs 100 notes, the operators need the concerned bank's official Cash Agency and an engineer of the machine manufacturer together.

"Though the actual recalibration may take barely 20 minutes per ATM, there are huge logistical issues involved in getting the Cash Agency person and engineer together all the time. Even then, with best efforts they can recalibrate barely 15-20 ATMs per day depending on the banks' cooperation. So, this will be a huge time-consuming and high-cost exercise at a national level," Balasubramanian rued.

Hitachi Payment Services Managing Director Loney Antony estimates that the entire recalibration process could cost over Rs 1 billion (Rs 100 crore) and take a minimum of one year to complete.

"In fact, the recalibration of the new Rs 200 notes introduced last year is still not completed in all ATMs, so recalibration of the new Rs 100 notes could take even longer unless planned properly," Antony cautioned.

The RBI said in its notification that initially, the new Rs 100 notes will be dispensed only through bank branches and printing and supply would gradually increase.

Antony said it is important to have sufficient supply of Rs 100 and Rs 200 notes to ensure there are enough lower denomination currency notes in circulation for all transactions.

Balasubramanian said the ATM industry is grappling with the problem of how to recalibrate the ATMs in terms of the new and old Rs 100 notes and may refrain from doing so till sufficient numbers of the new notes are available.

Euronet Services India Pvt. Ltd. Managing Director Himanshu Pujara said unless all the ATMs are recalibrated, the new notes will not be available through this channel to the people, and recalibration itself is a time-consuming and expensive process for the already struggling industry.

Balasubramanian -- who is also the President of FSS Company that manufactures ATMs -- said that since the old and new Rs 100 notes will co-exist till the RBI completely withdraws the old notes, "it will be difficult to recalibrate all the ATMs to support the new Rs.100 notes".

"There is likelihood of an imbalance between the supply of the new notes and the withdrawal of the old notes, especially in the hinterland," Balasubramanian pointed out.

In such a scenario, he thought it would be prudent to let the banks and service providers decide when to calibrate the ATMs for the new notes, depending on the "supply-withdrawal" situation of the old notes across all states over the next few quarters.

At present, as per National Payments Council of India Ltd (NPCIL), there are around 237,000 ATMs functional in the country, but to adequately cater to the entire country's population, the need is almost three-four times more, or around a million ATMs.

Flying in the face of the government's declarations about digitising the economy, a whopping 57 percent of all ATM transactions are only for cash withdrawals. Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) lags at 20 per cent followed by Point of Sale (PoS) 17 percent, and rest for Unified Payment Interface and mobile wallets. (Total = 100 percent, as per RBI).

Major industry players say that, barring the metros and urban centres, people in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and others have to travel 40 km or more to access an ATM.

"Moreover, as per official data, barely 30 per cent of bank account holders in the country regularly use their ATM cards... the others prefer cash transactions. There are problems of infrastructure and connectivity which hamper growth of ATMs network," Balasubramanian pointed out.

India has among the lowest ATM penetration globally, averaging 8.9 ATMs per 100,000 population, compared to Brazil's 119.6, Thailand's 78, South Africa's 60 and Malaysia's 56.4.

Incidentally, China currently has around a staggering one million ATMs, which will touch 1.5 million by 2020.

National News

Modi as PM shouldn't talk about petty things: 'Pained' Chandrababu

July 21, 2018 03:19 PM

NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday said he was pained to hear Prime Minister Narendra Modi comparing him with "corrupt politicians" and talking about "petty things" during his reply to the TDPs no confidence motion.

"As a Prime Minister of this country, you should not talk like that. As the Prime Minister, you should not talk about petty things," Naidu said here.

He was talking to reporters a day after the BJP-led NDA government defeated the opposition's no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

The motion was moved by Naidu's Telegu Desam Party (TDP), which until recently was an NDA constituent but pulled out of the grouping to demand special category status for Andhra Pradesh that was bifurcated and Telangana carved out of it in 2014.

The bifurcation is said to have caused huge financial and resource losses to Andhra as capital Hyderabad and IT city Cyberabad went to Telangana.

Naidu said the "BJP has again betrayed the state… and its five crore people" and Modi had failed to keep his own promises.

"After 15 years, first time no-confidence motion was moved by opposition parties. We knew they have majority. But the motion was majority versus morality," he said.

The Chief Minister said said he was "deeply pained" to hear Modi describing Andhra Pradesh's genuine demand for special category status as TDP's internal fight with YSR Congress in the state.

"How can he compare me with tainted politicians. The YSR Congress is a corrupt (party)."

Naidu said people of Andhra Pradesh were very angry with the BJP and Modi because their sentiments were being taken for granted.

"People of Andhra are totally disturbed. People are very angry because of injustice done to them," he said, adding that was what was done to the people of Punjab, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

"What happened in Punjab? What happened in Assam? What happened in Jammu and Kashmir? It is only a sentiment. We didn't deal with it properly.

"You cannot do injustice to our people. But I gave confidence to my people. I told them if you go into destruction mode, agitation mode, we will land up nowhere.

"At the same time, we will work very hard, we will create wealth but we will fight for our genuine demands. For every problem, there is a political situation," Naidu said.

National News

PWD directs engineers to visit roads to check street-lights

July 21, 2018 03:13 PM

NEW DELHI: The Public Works Department has directed its Executive Engineers to visit roads under their jurisdiction at least once in a month to identify non-functioning lights so that corrective action is taken promptly.

The directives were issued at a meeting held earlier this week, chaired by Engineer-in-Chief (E-in-C) Rakesh Kumar Agrawal.

"It is being reported by the public that there are many dark spots as many street-lights are not functioning. The field staff was advised that these should be promptly corrected and Executive Engineers (Elect) should visit roads under their jurisdiction at least once in a month to identify non-functioning lights so that corrective action is taken promptly," according to the minutes of the meeting.

In the meeting, the E-in-C also stressed the need for auditing the requirements of staff employed on contractual basis and their performance and use.

"Unnecessary staff should be discontinued. Executive Engineers were directed that no staff should be employed on contract without express approval in writing from the concerned Chief Engineer," it said.

National News

Nepal, China military drill to be held in September

July 21, 2018 03:11 PM

KATHMANDU: Nepal and China will hold their second joint military exercise in China's Sichuan province from September 17, the Nepali Army announced on Saturday.

Nepali Army personnel and a squad of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will take part in the 10-day "Sagarmatha Friendship-2" exercise in Chengdu, the Kathmandu Post reported.

The first joint exercise was conducted at the Army's Para Training School in Nepal's Maharajgunj area in April 2017. The platoon level training will be led by captains from both sides.

The Nepali Army, which has long been holding joint military exercises with India and the US, has collaborated with the Chinese PLA, extending its military diplomacy.

The national defence force said the drill is part of its regular bilateral and multilateral military exercises aimed at sharing experiences, skills and professional knowledge, a practice common with nations that have diplomatic ties with Nepal, the report said.

The joint exercise, according to the Nepalo Army, is aimed at fighting terrorism and might also focus on disaster management. Army Spokesman Brig. Gen. Gokul Bhandari said the exercise will be conducted on a rotational basis.

The participating platoon is likely to have around 15 personnel from each side.

Nepal has been conducting battalion level exercises called Surya Kiran with the Indian Army for the last 13 years engaging some 300 personnel from both sides. The defence forces from Nepal and China have increased their engagement of late.

On February 19, Maj. Gen. Zhao Jinsong of the western command of the PLA was in Nepal on a three-day visit. That was followed by a visit by former Chinese Defence Minister and State Councillor Chang Wanquan in the third week of March.

The decision to hold the first ever joint military exercise was taken by then Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand and Chang during the visit.


Heavy rains in Himachal from Sunday

July 21, 2018 03:06 PM

SHIMLA: The hills of Himachal Pradesh may experience heavy rainfall in the next two days starting Sunday, a weather official said on Saturday.

The government has advised motorists to take precautions while travelling to higher reaches.

"There are chances of heavy to very heavy rainfall and even snow in high altitude hills in the state till Tuesday.

Most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Kalpa, Kasauli, Chamba, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali may see good spells of rain from Sunday.

While Shimla, which saw 21.8 mm of rain, recorded a low of 17.4 degrees Celsius; another picturesque tourist resort Manali saw the minimum temperature at 13.2 degrees, the lowest in the state.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Dharamsala town recorded the night temperature at 14.6 and 19.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Palampur in Kangra district recorded state's highest rainfall at 33 mm.

An advisory was issued to avoid travelling to the high hills of Kullu, Sirmaur, Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts as chances of snow and rain are high over the next two days,

National News

Central team in Kerala to inspect flood-hit districts

July 21, 2018 02:56 PM

KOCHI: A team led by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju arrived in Kerala on Saturday to visit flood-hit districts amid differences over compensation promised by the Centre.

Just after his arrival the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and his team took a helicopter from the airport and headed straight to Alappuzha, the worst affected district.

They will also visit Kottayam before returning to Delhi late on Saturday, an official said.

Rijiju told the media here that the compensation package would be based on prescribed guidelines. "When a calamity occurs, the Centre and state jointly works and both pool in their resources. We already have cleared Rs 80 crore on Friday."

Huge damage has been caused on account of heavy rains that lashed most parts of the state over two weeks. Some of the worst-hits include Idukki, Ernakulam, besides parts of Kozhikode, Thrissur, Wayanad, Palakkad and Kannur.

More than 10,000 people have been put up in relief camps, he added.

The death toll in these rains touched 20 and according to State Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunilkumar the total damage has crossed Rs 900 crore.

"About 22,000 hectares of agricultural produce has been destroyed. The biggest lacunae is the rate of the compensation that is prescribed as these are all old norms and insufficient," Sunilkumar said on Saturday.

He said the damage to the crops is around Rs 220 crore. "We will again brief the Centre the urgency to increase the old compensation rates.

Explaining the lacuna in compensation, the Agriculture Minister said Rs 95,000 was being provided for a house completely destroyed. "We have sought an increase as it requires Rs four lakh," he said.

J&K News

Two CRPF troopers injured in J&K firing

July 21, 2018 02:51 PM

SRINAGAR: Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were injured in firing by militants on Saturday in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, police said.

Militants fired at the CRPF party in Bamzoo village while they were patrolling on the Anantnag-Pahalgam road, police sources said.

A cordon and search operation is underway in the area.

Punjab News

AAP student wing (CYSS) to contest student elections of Punjab University- Meet Hayer

July 21, 2018 11:35 AM

CHANDIGARH: The student wing of Aam Aadmi Party, CYSS will contest the upcoming student elections in Punjab university and colleges of state.In a press statement, AAP student wing and MLA Meet Hayer said that a meeting to finalise the decision of contesting student elections was held under the guidence of state co-president Dr. Balbir Singh and other senior leaders.

AAP student leaders Amrit Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Lambi and Parminder Singh Jaswal attended the meeting.

 Meet Hayer said that youth of country is the backbone of AAP and the party will utilize the energy of youngsters in a constructive way. He said that as the people of state have sent youngsters like him to Punjab Vidhan Sabha to raise their voice, more and more youngsters from non political backgrounds will be given representation in student elections.

Punjab News

Punjab Education minister promotes 2282 ETT teachers to master cadre

July 21, 2018 10:56 AM

CHANDIGARH: With the tireless efforts of the Punjab Education Minister Mr. Om Prakash Soni to fill all vacant posts in the governments schools, the pending cases of promotion from ETT to Master Cadre, have been disposed of as today Education Department has promoted 2282 ETT teachers to Master Cadre.

It was disclosed by Punjab Education Minister Mr. Om Parkash Soni. He said that we were consistently trying to fill all the vacant posts of teachers in schools before the commencement of new academic session. He said that 2282 ETT cadre teachers have been promoted to Master Cadre, which included 895 Science subject teachers, 478 Mathematics, 625 English, 274 Social Education and 10 Hindi Subject teachers. He said that remaining vacant posts of other subjects will be fulfilled immediately after availability of the posts under promotion quota.

Mr. Soni said that the department has specifically considered English teachers for promotion for the first time and Mathematics and Science teachers have also been given priority to clear the backlog of promotion quota. He further said that if any teacher could not be considered for promotion, he/she can give his application within 15 days at the head office. After that, all such cases will be disposed of in one month by the department.

Newly promoted teachers have been asked to co-ordinate with their concerned District Education Officer (Secondary Education) for postings. The department has decided to allot the stations to these promoted teachers on merit basis and with transparent manner and they will be allotted stations at the head office on July 23 and 24.

Chandigarh News

Chandigarh girl raped by 40 men in four days in Morni guest house in Haryana

July 21, 2018 10:53 AM

CHANDIGARH: A 21 year old married girl of Chandigarh has alleged that she was raped by about 40 persons over four days in a guest house in Morni falling in Panchkula district of Haryana.

The Haryana police had refused to register FIR in the case and cops threatened her of dire consequences if matter is reported. She finally approached Chandigarh police where police registered a complaint and arrested two key accused the owner and manager of the guest house.

Sunny the owner of Lovely Guest House offered job to the girl for Rs.12,000 per month in his farm house in Morni. He however took her to his guest house and raped her. The girl in her complaint said that Avtar Singh manager of the guest house also raped her. They gave her sadatives and invited other men to take turns. She was confined in the hotel for four days and every day 8 to 10 people raped her. Two cops posted in the Morni police stationalso raped her. Sunny is friend of the girls's husband.

The girl threatened Sunny to make a police complaint or let her go. Sunny let her go and she boarded a bus for Panchkula. She first went to sector 16 hospital for her medical examination where doctors told her to approach wonmen police station in sector 5. The Police incharge of police station refused to lodge her complaint and told her to approach Manimajra police.

The girl then approached Chandigarh police and FIR was registered. The Panchkula police facing flak for turning away rape victim later formed a SIT to ivestigate the case. Three cops including Saraswsati ASI incharge of woman police station were suspneded.

Rajinder Singh Meena SSP Panchkula said case has been transferred to Haryana Police from Chandigarh and probe is started. He said strict action will be taken against guilty cops.

Delhi News

Cloudy Saturday morning in Delhi

July 21, 2018 10:47 AM

NEW DELHI: It was a cloudy Saturday morning in the national capital with the minimum temperature recorded at 28 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season's average, said the Met office.

"The sky will remain mostly cloudy throughout the day with chances of moderate to heavy rainfall, along with thunderstorm," an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 33 degrees Celsius. The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 85 per cent.

Friday's maximum temperature settled at 32.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season's average, while the minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degrees Celsius.

National News

No-confidence motion against Modi government defeated

July 21, 2018 10:30 AM

NEW DELHI: The no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was defeated in the Lok Sabha on Friday after a 12-hour heated debate which saw the government and opposition trade charges and a moment of drama when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, after a blistering speech, walked over to hug the Prime Minister.

Punjab News

SAD to approach High court CJ to request rejection of Justice MS Gill’s candidature as Lokpal

July 21, 2018 10:21 AM

CHANDIGARH: Former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced the party would write to Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice Krishna Murari not to approve former judge Mehtab Singh Gill’s name for appointment as Lokpal, saying the judge was a known Congress worker as well as Akali baiter and could not be expected to perform his duties in an honest and non-partisan manner.

Reacting to news reports stating Justice (retd) Mehtab Singh Gill’s name had been forwarded to the chief justice for appointment as Lokpal, Mr Sukhbir Badal said the SAD would submit a detailed report on this issue to the CJ and request him to reject the proposal forthwith. “We cannot have someone appointed as Lokpal purely on the basis of his proximity with the chief minister as well as leader of opposition. The appointment of the Lokpal cannot be a quid pro quo arrangement”.

Giving details, the SAD president said Justice MS Gill had a long political association with the chief minister. “During the 2013 Moga by-election when Capt Amarinder was the Pradesh Congress president Justice Gill not only assisted in the Congress election campaign but also provided his residence in Charik village in Moga to Amarinder as residence cum camp office for the entire duration of campaigning”. He said Justice Gill was also given an official role in the Congress campaign for the 2017 assembly elections with Amarinder making him part of a committee which was assigned with the task of preparing the blueprint for the party’s election manifesto in 2016. He said immediately on coming into power as chief minister in March 2017, Capt Amarinder appointed Justice Gill as head of a Commission of Inquiry to look into alleged false cases registered during the SAD-BJP tenure. “The Commission has since worked as an institution to settle scores against Akali leaders and workers. Now the chief minister proposes to intensify persecution against Akali leaders and workers by moving to appoint his crony as Lokpal”, he added.

Stating that Justice Gill had been benevolent on even leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira, the SAD president said the Gill Commission had recommended cancellation of 17 cases registered against the leader of opposition and his supporters. He said Khaira had on his part had appreciated the “impartial” services rendered by the Commission. “Khaira, who is known to object to every appointment forwarded to him by the government for consultation as leader of opposition, has understandably also entered into a quid pro quo arrangement with Justice Gill and favours his appointment”, Mr Badal asserted.

Calling for immediate rejection of Justice (retd) Gill’s candidature as Lokpal, the SAD president urged the chief justice to intervene and ensure the new Lokpal was an apolitical person whose past was above board and who enjoyed impeccable credentials. “Appointing Justice Gill to this august post will only result in furthering the cause of vendetta politics and defeating the purpose of public good”, he added.


Facebook suspends US-based analytics firm over data concerns

July 21, 2018 10:18 AM

WASHINGTON: After the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has now suspended Boston-based data analytics company Crimson Hexagon over concerns that it harvested users' data.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal late on Friday, the social media giant was investigating whether the analytics firm's "contracts with the US government, a Russian non-profit organisation tied to the Kremlin and the Turkish government violate the platform's policies".

Crimson Hexagon has reportedly collected more than 1 trillion public social media posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and other online sources.

The company has had contracts in recent years to analyse public Facebook data for third-party clients, the report claimed.

It was co-founded by Harvard professor Gary King in 2007 who now leads Facebook's independent research initiative titled "Social Science One" which is focused on preventing election interference, said the report.

"We are investigating the claims about Crimson Hexagon to see if they violated any of our policies," Ime Archibong, Facebook's Vice President of Product Partnerships, said in a statement.

Facebook, however, said the firm didn't inappropriately obtain any Facebook or Instagram user data, adding that using the data for surveillance is a violation of the company's policies.

"We do not collect private data from social media providers or anyone else," Crimson Hexagon's Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham said in a blog post.

"Crimson Hexagon only allows government customers to use the platform for specific approved use cases; and under no circumstances is surveillance a permitted use case," Bringham wrote.

According to Crimson Hexagon, it uses technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help clients get insights and shape marketing campaigns and develop new products.

In a statement to the portal Fast Company, King said: "Even though he is co-founder and board chairman, he has never had day-to-day involvement in Crimson Hexagon."

In April this year, Facebook had warned investors that more users' data scandals in the future may adversely affect the social networking giant's reputation and brand image.

In its quarterly report, Facebook said that its ongoing investments in safety, security, and content review will identify additional instances of misuse of user data.

"We may also be notified of such incidents or activity via the media or other third parties," Facebook said.

Appearing before the US Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of 87 million users' that was 'improperly shared' with the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook warned investors that there may be more such data breaches in the future.


Toddler dies in accidental shooting in US

July 21, 2018 10:14 AM

NEW YORK: A two-year-old girl has died after being accidentally shot by her four-year-old cousin who got hold of a gun at a home in the US state of California, said police.

The 53-year-old grandfather of the victim has been arrested for child endangerment, KABC TV reported.

The shooting happened around 9 a.m. at a home in Duffy Street in San Bernardino's Muscoy area on Friday, the sheriff's office told the media.

A neighbour said: "When they brought her out, she had a little patch right here over her chest. It didn't look like a big hole. They were pumping her as they put her in the ambulance."

The boy allegedly involved in the shooting was also visibly distraught as he was carried out of the home, KABC TV reported.

She died about an hour after being hospitalised. The adults of the house were taken to the Sheriff' s Department headquarters for questioning, the San Bernardino Sun reported.

After several interviews, investigators determined Cesar Lopez, the victim's grandfather, had left the gun in a place accessible to kids.

Lopez was arrested and will be booked for child endangerment and felon in possession of a firearm, the sheriff's office said.

Neighbours termed the incident "devastating" and said people who got guns have to lock them up away from kids.

In 2018 alone 7,971 people have died in the US due to gun violence, of whom 381 are children, not for profit organisation said.

Punjab News

Charges framed against AAP MLA Sandoa in molestation case

July 21, 2018 10:10 AM

ROPAR: A local court today framed charges against Rupnagar AAP MLA Amarjit Singh Sandoa. A case of using foul language and manhandling land lady of the house, taken on rent by him, was registered on July 29, 2017.

The trial court of judge Pooja Angodra has fixed August 21 next date of hearing when prosecution will present evidence. Sandoa was however allowed to visit Canada during the period of trial.

Complainant Tarminder Kaur said she owned a house in Zail Singh Nagar had alleged that Sandoa had taken her house on rend of Rs.30,000 per month besides power and water bill. She told the police that Sandoa failed to pay the rent of over six months and also damaged her property causing repair of Rs.3 lakhs. She alleged that she was manhandled when she went to demand rent at Sandoa's house. MLA also used foul language, she alleged.

A case was registered against Sandoa under various sections of IPC including 354 (intent to outrage modesty of woman), 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (Criminal intimidation) at Ropar city police station.

World News

US expresses concern about LeT affiliates contesting elections

July 21, 2018 10:07 AM

ISLAMABAD: The US State Department has expressed concern over the participation of Lashkar-e-Taiba-affiliated (LeT) individuals in the upcoming elections in Pakistan, media reports said on Saturday.

However, the department has noted with satisfaction that the Pakistan Election Commission had rejected the registration of Milli Muslim League (MML) in June, citing its linkages to LeT, an internationally-sanctioned terrorist organisation, Dawn News reported.

In a statement, the State Department said it has also amended its Foreign Terrorist Organisation designation of LeT in April to add the MML as a "Lashkar alias".

"We have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the Pakistani government about LeT, including the participation of LeT-affiliated individuals in the elections," the statement added.

The State Department earlier encouraged the Pakistan to continue the electoral process despite recent terrorist attacks targeting politicians.

"These attacks on political candidates and their supporters are cowardly attempts to deprive the Pakistani people of their democratic rights," the report quoted the US State Department's spokesperson Heather Nauert as saying.

Meanwhile, the European Union, in a statement, also urged Islamabad to ensure that electoral activities in all parts of Pakistan continued in "safe and secure conditions".

"All political contestants and citizens should be able to exercise their constitutional rights to participate in the forthcoming general elections without intimidation or fear for their security," the statement said.

National News

Rahul hugs unwilling Modi, winks; Speaker annoyed

July 21, 2018 10:05 AM

NEW DELHI: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday surprised the Lok Sabha when after bitterly criticising the BJP-led government during the no-confidence motion, he walked across to the treasury benches and hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the Congress MPs thumped their desks in appreciation of Gandhi's gesture as he walked back to his seat, a visibly displeased Speaker Sumitra Mahajan underlined that the code of conduct inside the House did not approve of such behaviour, especially Gandhi's winking at a fellow MP after the hug.

"I have not an iota of hatred or hard feelings against you. You hate me. You may call me Pappu, you can use a stream of expletives for me. But I don't hate you or have even slightest of anger for you. I am the Congress," Gandhi said at the end of his nearly 40-minute fiery speech.

Accusing Modi of lying to the nation and making empty rhetoric "jumlas" to deceive the poor of the country, he also lashed out at the government and questioned Modi's silence over women not feeling safe in the country and people from the minority communities being lynched.

Resuming his speech after a brief adjournment, Gandhi said opposition members and even some MPs from the treasury side congratulated him for speaking "really well".

He then walked across to the ruling benches and hugged Modi who was taken by surprise. The Congress leader was heard telling the Prime Minister to get up and allow him to do "pranaam" to him.

Modi was taken aback as the Congress President bent over, threw his arms around him and hugged him.

After recovering from an apparent shock moment, the Prime Minister called Gandhi back towards him and the two shook hands. He patted Gandhi on his back and exchanged a word or two with him, smilingly.

Akali Dal member Harsimrat Kaur Badal questioned Gandhi for saying she was smiling at him when he was speaking. "This is Parliament and not a 'pappi jhappi' area of Munna Bhai," she said, mocking him.

As the Speaker said that she was smiling when Gandhi was speaking, there was a burst of laughter in the House.

By this time Gandhi had returned to his seat amid a loud cheer from his Congress colleagues. He was seen winking at fellow party MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was sitting next to Gandhi.

As the opposition members gave Gandhi a standing ovation and thumped their desks, Mahajan said the rules of the House did not encourage such a conduct inside the House.

A few hours later, Mahajan again expressed her disapproval at Gandhi's conduct.

"You (Congress members) might have liked it but I did not. And especially the way he (Rahul Gandhi) winked after hugging the Prime Minister," Mahajan said, adding: "It is upto us to maintain the decorum of this House."

She said that Gandhi was like her son but she also deemed it her duty as a mother to polish his manners and etiquette.

In response, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "It seems the Speaker could not separate herself from the disturbed behaviour of the BJP members. If Rahul Gandhi's behaviour was immature, then would she say that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged heads of states of other nations, it was also an immature act? Isn't that an expression of friendship?"

"Would she say that the Prime Minister is immature?" Surjewala asked.

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