QBullet: Cyclone Titli Hits Odisha; SC Quizzes Govt on Rafale Deal
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1. More Than 3 Lakh Evacuated as ‘Very Severe’ Cyclone Titli Nears Odisha, Army on Stand By
With Cyclone Titli, now intensified into a ‘very severe cyclonic’ storm, expected to hit its coast around dawn Thursday, 11 October, Odisha closed schools and other educational institutions across the state, evacuated lakhs of people and put armed forces on standby.
As the cyclone moved across the Bay of Bengal towards the the Indian coastline where it is likely to make landfall between Odisha’s Gopalpur and Andhra Pradesh’s Kalingapatanam around 5.30 am at a wind speed gusting up to 165 kilometres per hour, there was heavy rainfall in many parts of Odisha under its influence.
2. SC Asks Govt How Rafale Deal Decisions Were Taken
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 10 October, directed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to provide details of the decision-making process that led to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.The top court said it did not want to examine the issue of pricing and suitability of the Rafale jets but only the decisionmaking process.
The court asked the government to file the details by October 29 with the court’s registrar general in a sealed envelope.
“It is only for the purpose of satisfying ourselves” that the court has called for details of the deal, said a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SK Kaul and Justice KM Joseph .
3. UP Raebareli New Farakka Express Train Derails: 7 Dead, 9 Seriously Injured
At least seven people died and around 35 injured after nine coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express (Train No. 14003) derailed near Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh at around 6 am on Wednesday, 11 October. Several passengers on the train are feared trapped. The train was expected to reach New Delhi a little after 2.30 pm.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has been deployed to Harchandpur Railways Station to conduct rescue and relief operations. Doctors have been rushed to the site of the accident as well. The District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police are also present at the site of the accident
4. J&K Urban Local Body Polls: Jammu Registers 80 Percent Voter Turnout, Only 3.4 percent Show up
The voter turnout in Kashmir again drew a sorry figure as only 3.4 percent of the 2.20 lakh eligible voters came out to exercise their franchise in the second phase of municipal polls in the state. These figures drew a sharp contrast with the voting percentage in Jammu where 78.6 percent of over 1.26 lakh voters turned out to give their mandate.
The state witnessed an overall voter turnout of 31.3 percent out of the total electorate of 3.47 lakh in the second phase. In the first phase of elections concluded Monday, 8 October, Kashmir had seen only 8.3 percent voter turnout while Jammu and Ladakh regions had witnessed over 65 percent voting. The total poll percent of the state after two phases stands at 47.2 percent, with Jammu and Kashmir regions contributing 67.7 percent and 8.3 percent respectively.
5. Supreme Court Orders Nine Properties of Amrapali Group to Be Sealed
In further trouble for beleaguered Amrapali real estate group, which is facing lawsuits by homebuyers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered sealing of nine of its properties where account books of its 46 group companies are kept. A bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice U U Lalit ordered the sealing of Amrapali properties in Noida, Greater Noida, Rajgir and Buxar in Bihar and asked the keys to be handed over to the SC registrar.
The SC order came after three directors of the real estate group, who were sent to police custody on Tuesday, informed the bench that all documents relating to 46 group companies were stacked in the nine properties.
6. #MeToo Dam Breaks on Akbar
Pressure piled on the Narendra Modi government to act against junior external affairs minister and former editor MJ Akbar as more women journalists alleged sexual predatory behaviour and wrote traumatic accounts.
Such was the wave of revulsion and outrage on social media that the Opposition Congress was forced to press, albeit reluctantly, for the minister’s resignation. But the Modi government stuck to its silence for the second day running.
Sources said Akbar was expected to return from abroad on Friday, 12 October, amid indications that the government would prefer that he step down quietly.
(Source: The Telegraph)
7. Amid US Friction, China Wants India to Deepen Trade Ties
Amid trade friction between China and the US, Beijing has called for India and China to deepen their cooperation to fight trade protectionism. Facing unilateralism and bullying activities, the Chinese embassy said in a statement, China and India had more reasons to join efforts to build a more just and reasonable international order.
Making a common cause with India, which too has been at the receiving end of the Trump administration's mercurial trade policies, China asked the US to reflect on its own practice of interfering in the internal affairs of developing countries such as China and India "under the pretext of human rights and religious matters''.
8. Delhi's Air Quality Remains Poor for Third Consecutive Day
Delhi's air quality remained 'poor' for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, 11 October, due to change in direction of wind, which is now flowing from stubble burning areas in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
The overall air quality index (AQI) recorded at 4 pm stood at 239, which falls under 'poor' category.
On Tuesday, Delhi's AQI stood at 256, according to the data by the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)
9. Longest Flight to New York Draws Curious Flyers
Eighteen non-stop flights per week connect India to New York and several others hop through airports in the Middle East and Europe, but the Indian market is still eager for more it seems even if they fly the rather longer eastward route. Which is probably why a number of passengers from India, especially Mumbai, are booked on Singapore Airlines' non-stop, 18-19 hour Singapore-Newark flight.
It's either that or plain curiosity to know what it's like to be airborne for so long. For, the Singapore-Newark flight will be the world's longest flight when it is relaunched on 11 October.
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