Apple’s iPhone X launch, Rahul Gandhi’s speech at Berkeley, SC on divorce under Hindu law: Top stories to bring you up to date

From Rahul Gandhi’s address at University of California, Berkeley to Apple’s 10th anniversary event, here are the top stories today.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2017 08:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Congress,UC Berkeley
Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi delivering a speech at Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley, California on Monday. (PTI)

Rahul Gandhi says ‘absolutely ready’ to take over as Congress president

Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday he was ready to take over as president of the Congress but it was up to the party to elect him to the post. The Congress vice president made the comments at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also took a broad swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies, including the scrapping of high-value banknotes and the “hasty” rollout of a goods and services tax (GST). He accused the government of pursuing divisive politics and doing little to stop vigilante violence and attacks on activists and journalists. Gandhi’s comments triggered protests from the BJP, which called him a “failed dynast” who spoke in the United States because nobody in India was listening to him. Read the story here.

Cabinet clears 1% DA hike; good news for 49 lakh staffers, 61 lakh pensioners

The Union government raised the dearness allowance for central government employees and pensioners by 1% on Tuesday, and approved a bill to raise the ceiling of tax-free gratuity from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for private sector employees. The increase in dearness allowance and dearness relief to 5% from 4% will benefit around 49.26 lakh central government employees and 61.17 lakh pensioners, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Fatter pay cheques could help increase spending in an economy that is seen to be still reeling from the effects of last year’s note ban, though experts said the impact is likely to be mild. Read the story here.

Apple launches iPhone X priced at Rs 89,000, also unveils iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Watch upgrade

Apple lived up to the hype it generated on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone on Tuesday at its Steve Jobs Theatre by unveiling three flagship phones: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The first two phones, incremental upgrades over last year’s iPhone 7, will be available in India from September 29, with prices starting at Rs 64,000. The iPhone X will be available in India from November 3, with prices starting at Rs 89,000. Read the story here.

Gauri Lankesh murder: Activists, seers, litterateurs protest in Bengaluru

Bengaluru echoed with slogans on Tuesday, when thousands of people who had rubbed shoulders with journalist Gauri Lankesh marched together to condemn her murder exactly a week ago. Lankesh was shot dead by unidentified people while she was entering her residence in the city on September 5. The rally began from the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna railway station in the heart of the city and culminated at the Central College ground, where a convention was held. The slogan ‘I am Gauri’ was raised throughout. At the convention, which police said was attended by at least 3,000 people, the organisers released a commemorative edition of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike – her weekly tabloid. Read the story here.

Six-month cooling-off period for divorce under Hindu law not a must: Supreme Court

A six-month waiting period for Hindu couples seeking divorce is not mandatory, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, laying down directions for lower courts to speed up separation if both spouses agree upon the terms. The decision will bring significant respite to couples who file for divorce “by mutual consent”. “The period mentioned in Section 13B(2) is not mandatory but directory, it will be open to the Court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there is no possibility of parties resuming cohabitation and there are chances of alternative rehabilitation,” the bench of judges Adarsh Goel and UU Lalit said. Read the story here.

India says perplexed by UN criticism on Rohingya issue, Gauri Lankesh murder

India on Tuesday said it was “perplexed” by the top UN human rights official’s criticism of New Delhi’s approach to Rohingya refugees and his remarks related to journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Responding to the criticism by the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, at the opening session of the 36th Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Rajiv K Chander said there was inadequate appreciation of the freedoms and rights guaranteed and practised daily in India. “Tendentious judgements made on the basis of selective and even inaccurate reports do not further the understanding of human rights in any society. Like many other nations, India is concerned about illegal migrants, in particular, with the possibility that they could pose security challenges. Enforcing the laws should not be mistaken for lack of compassion”, he said. Read the story here.

Can’t rule out possibility of security threat: HM hints at action with regard to Rohingyas

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday indicated that some action will be taken with regard to deportation of Rohingyas , who are considered to be a security threat to Jammu and Kashmir. Talking to reporters in Jammu, Singh said the Centre has a tough stand towards illegal migrants but a “sympathetic view” towards those displaced within the country and the minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have become refugees in this country. To a question on deportation of foreigners from Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “we are discussing the issue of illegal migrants and some action will be taken.” Read the story here.

AIADMK removes Sasikala from all party posts, Jaya to be ‘eternal general secy’

Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK removed jailed general secretary VK Sasikala from all party posts on Tuesday and named former chief minister J Jayalalithaa “eternal general secretary”, signalling a fresh stand-off in a protracted political crisis that has roiled the southern state. At a general council meeting in Chennai, the party removed Sasikala and her nephew, TTV Dinakaran, from all positions and scrapped all appointments made by them. The AIADMK also restored all people appointed by Jayalalithaa, whose death last December triggered the crisis.The meeting also resolved to approach the election commission to reclaim the party’s frozen two-leaves symbol. Read the story here.

Army’s new US-made M777 howitzer in trouble, barrel explodes at Pokhran range

The army’s new M777 ultra-light American howitzer was partly damaged when a 155mm artillery round misfired and exploded in the barrel during a drill early September. The gun is one of the two howitzers that arrived in New Delhi in May as part of a $750-million contract signed with the US in November 2016. India has ordered 145 howitzers. The gun was firing Indian ammunition in Rajasthan’s Pokhran ranges. “During the firing on September 2, the projectile, which was fifth of the series, exited the barrel in multiple pieces,” an army officer said on Tuesday. Read the story here.

Pakistan fears law and order situation, denies Hafiz Saeed’s plea to end his detention

Pakistan’s Punjab government has dismissed the plea of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed to end his detention fearing that it may create a law and order situation in the province, the Lahore High Court was informed today. The Home Department of Punjab on Tuesday submitted a two-page reply to the LHC, informing the court of its decision. Citing different illegal acts of his organisations - JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat - the department said: “The act on the part of Hafiz Saeed reaffirms the apprehension of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies that if he is released his activities will create law and order situation.” Read the story here.

Pragyan Ojha goes ‘missing’, CAB names Bengal squad without him

The cold war between Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and former Indian cricket team spinner Pragyan Ojha intensified after the state body “failed to establish contact” with him before naming the Bengal squad for two-match warm-up tour of Gujarat, starting September 17. Ojha, who played two seasons for Bengal, wanted to return to Hyderabad but has not been granted No Objection Certificate (NOC) by CAB. “We have not yet established any contact with him, so we are forced to name the squad without him,” CAB joint secretary Avishek Dalmiya said. Ojha has not joined the training camp under coach Sairaj Bahutule. Bengal started their pre-season training for more than two weeks. Read the story here.

First Published: Sep 13, 2017 08:32 IST