US, Canada Call for Release of Canadian National Held in Beijing
Ottawa and Washington have stepped up pressure on Beijing, calling for the immediate release of two Canadians detained in apparent retaliation for the arrest in Vancouver of a top Chinese tech executive on a US warrant.
The European Union also said it was backing Canada in the detentions dispute, in which Ottawa has been caught up in the rivalry between Beijing and Washington.
"We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians earlier this month and call for their immediate release," Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement Friday.
US Govt Shutdown Assured As House Adjourns
US government is headed for an assured shutdown as the House adjourned earlier today, reported AFP.
Terrorists and Security Forces Clash
An encounter is underway between terrorists and the security forces in Tral, Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian Diplomats in Pakistan Harassed
Sources say that many Indian diplomats in Pakistan are facing harassment. New gas connections have not being issued, guests visiting diplomats are being harassed, internet services of some senior officials have been blocked. There has been an incident of an intruder entering an official's house in early December.
Sources add that India has taken up the matter with Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
1 Militant Killed in Encounter in J & K
Encounter in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district between security forces and militants. Sources say that one militant has been shot dead and firing is still on. There could be more than one militant still alive.
After getting a tip off, forces went to the village in Pulwama.
(Source: CNN News 18)
6 Terrorists Killed in Pulwama Encounter in J&K
Six terrorists killed in an ongoing encounter in Tral, Pulwama. Arms and ammunition recovered. Operation over, reported ANI.
GST Council Meet Begins
The 31st GST Council meeting begins at Vigyan Bhavan under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Businessman Shot Dead in Bihar's Darbhanga
A businessman K P Shahi was shot dead by bike borne assailants on NH 57 near Ranipur in Darbhanga, reported ANI. More details are awaited.
BJP, Congress Leaders Clash in Panaji
A BJP-led protest against the Congress over the Supreme Court’s Rafale deal verdict led to a clash between workers from the two parties in Goa’s Panaji.
HK Patil Replaces DK Shivakumar as Karnataka Congress Campaign Committee Chairman
HK Patil appointed new Karnataka Congress campaign committee Chairman, replacing DK Shivakumar.
Kamal Haasan Will ‘Definitely’ Contest in LS Polls
At an event held by his party ‘Makkal Needhi Maiyyam’ on Saturday, Kamal Haasan said he would ‘definitely contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections’.
Seven Killed in Somalia Blast
At least seven people were killed in blast near the presidential palace in Somailia, reported AFP, quoting local police.
GST Council Set To Lower Tax Rates on Number of Items
News agency ANI quoted Puducherry CM V Narayansamy as saying that the GST Council has approved lowering the rates of 33 items from the 18 percent slab to 12 and 5 percent. With this, except 34 items, the rest will be taxed at 18 percent or more, Narayansamy added.
GST on Number of Items Slashed
Speaking to the media after the 31st GST Council meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that tax rates on 6 items have been slashed from 28% to 18% and on one item from 28% to 5%. A number of items in the 18 and 12% categories have also been brought to lower slabs, Jaitley said.
The finance minister said that tax rate on movie tickets of upto Rs 100 have been brought down from the 18% slab to 12% slab and those of above Rs 100, have been brought to the 18% category from 28%.
Rush, Anxiety at Sabarimala Temple, 50-Woman Group To Arrive Tomorrow
With the annual 'Mandala Puja' just days away, the Lord Ayyappa Temple here has been witnessing a heavy rush as over one lakh pilgrims visited the hill top temple on Friday.
However, anxiety looms large in and around the shrine in the backdrop of reports that a group of 50 women, all below the traditionally barred age of 50 years, are set to visit Sabarimala on Sunday under the aegis of 'Manithi', a Chennai-based outfit, news agency PTI reported.
Selvy, a member of 'Manithi', told a Malayalam TV channel that the group comprised women from different states, including Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka besides Kerala.
She said they had already written to the office of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard and informed about their plan to trek the hill temple.
The police Saturday confirmed that the women's group will offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple, which had witnessed intense protest against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.
One Naxal Killed In Encounter With Police In Bihar
207 CoBRA along with Bihar Police conducted search and area domination operation in Kaiara forest area in Bihar's Jamui where an encounter broke out with Naxals today. A body of one Naxal, AK-47 and one SLR with ammunition recovered. Search operation underway, reports ANI
RTI Reveals Phone Calls, E-Mails Intercepted During UPA Rule
News agency ANI reported on a reply to a RTI filed seeking details on the number of phone calls and e-mails intercepted by the government. The reply dated 6 August, 2013 shows that the then UPA government intercepted 7,500 to 9,000 calls on an average and 300 to 500 e-mails.
Puducherry CM, Ministers To Stage Demonstration for Statehood
The ruling Congress and its allies in Puducherry would stage a demonstration in front of the Parliament in New Delhi on January 4 to press for their demand for statehood to the Union Territory, reported news agency PTI.
PWD Minister and president of PCC A Namassivayam said in a press release here Saturday that the legislators of the ruling Congress, its ally the DMK and Left parties, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, MDMK, Indian Union Muslim League and Federation of the Students Associations among others would take part in the protest.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of leaders of various parties convened by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy here Wednesday night, where concern was expressed over the Centre 'slashing' grants to the UT and the style of functioning of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, who has been at loggerheads with Narayanasamy on various issues.
5 Security Personnel Injured In Grenade Attack In J&K's Anantnag
Five security personnel were injured in a grenade attack by suspected militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district on Saturday, news agency PTI quoted police as saying.
The incident occurred when the militants among a crowd lobbed a grenade at the security forces in Arwani area of Bijbehara, a police spokesperson said.
Five security forces' personnel sustained injuries and were evacuated to a hospital, where they were discharged after first-aid treatment, the spokesperson said.
A case has been registered and an investigation is on, he added.
Bus Carrying Students Falls In Gorge in Gujarat, 5 Dead
Five students died after a bus carrying 50 students fell into a deep gorge on Mahal-Bardipada route in Dang district in Gujarat, news agency PTI reported.
Death Toll in Kedarnath Roadway Incident Rises to 8
Death toll rises to 8 in the incident where rocks fell on labourers on Kedarnath roadway near Rudraprayag's Banswara on Friday.
Somalia Blast Kills At Least 16 Near Presidential Palace
An explosives-packed vehicle detonated at a military checkpoint near Somalia's presidential palace, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 20 others, police said.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which often targets Mogadishu, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Those killed include three staffers from the London-based Universal TV station, including prominent journalist Awil Dahir Salad, said police Capt. Mohamed Hussein, who gave the toll of dead and wounded.
The bomber targeted the checkpoint near the rear entrance of the heavily fortified palace, Hussein said. A lawmaker and a deputy mayor of Mogadishu were among those wounded, he said.
Soldiers also were among the dead, Col. Ahmed Mohamud said.
Sudan Opposition Leader Says 22 Killed in Bread Protests
Protests this week in Sudan over the rising cost of bread have claimed 22 lives, Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi said on Saturday, although officials gave a lower death toll, reported news agency PTI.
A government decision to raise the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three (from about two to six US cents) sparked demonstrations across the country on Wednesday.
The protests first erupted in the eastern city of Atbara before spreading to Al-Qadarif, also in eastern Sudan, and then to the capital Khartoum and twin city Omdurman and other areas.
Two demonstrators were killed in Atbara and six others in Al-Qadarif, officials said on Thursday, as protesters torched offices of the ruling National Congress Party of President Omar al-Bashir.
But according to Mahdi "22 people were martyred and several others wounded".
Govt To Meet Fiscal Deficit Target of 3.3%: Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday expressed confidence of meeting the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP for the current fiscal despite revenue loss due to reduction in GST rates, reported news agency PTI.
"At the stage, when we are looking at the (revenue) target, indirect tax is little behind the scheduled direct tax, the direct tax is ahead of schedule. Our non-tax revenue also seems to be moving ahead fairly well. At the moment, the government is quite optimistic that we will be able to meet fiscal deficit target," he said after the GST Council meeting here.
The government has budgeted to contain fiscal deficit at 3.3 per cent of the GDP in the current fiscal, lower than 3.5 per cent in 2017-18.
As per the latest data, the fiscal deficit in the April-October period stood at 103.9 per cent of budget estimates.
France's 'Yellow Vests' Block Borders Ahead of Christmas
Three days from Christmas, French "yellow vests" turned out in small numbers for a sixth Saturday of protests in cities and border points as a fatal road accident brought the death toll to 10 since the movement began last month, reported news agency PTI.
Near the border between France and Spain hundreds of protesters disrupted traffic as they gathered around an autoroute toll booth.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the "yellow vests" who retreated to a bridge, throwing objects on the road, an AFP photographer at the scene said.
"The autoroute is now being cleaned to allow traffic to resume normally," local authorities said.
France borders the Catalan region of Spain, and the French protesters were joined by dozens of Catalan pro-independence activists, also wearing yellow vests.
Partial Govt Shutdown Grips US Capital Washington
An air of chaos enveloped Washington Saturday as the US government kicked off the holidays by partially shutting down, following the failure of leaders to pass a federal spending bill as negotiations stalled over Donald Trump's demand for money to build a US-Mexico border wall, reported PTI.
One of Tigress Avni's Cubs Captured, Sent for Rehabilitation
Forest department officials have tranquilised and captured one of two cubs of T1- Avni tigress of Pandharakawda (Yavatmal) which was shot dead on November 2 this year. The cub will be sent to Pench in Madhya Pradesh, reported news agency ANI