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Man detained for Jet Airways hijack scare, Trump’s former campaign manager arrested: Top stories

With Gujarat assembly polls nearly two months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is striking a chord with home state’s grassroots BJP workers by phone-a-friend, an attempt to rekindle emotional bonds.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2017 08:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Trump,Donald Trump,Jet Airways
A businessman from Gujarat has been detained in connection with a bomb scare that forced a Jet Airways flight to execute an emergency landing at Ahmedabad airport on Monday morning.(Reuters File Photo)

Kaun jeetega Gujarat: Modi uses phone-a-friend lifeline to remember old connections

Hello, the Prime Minister is on the line. Narendra Modi is striking a chord with his home state’s grassroots BJP workers with his phone, a weapon that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi may miss in his arsenal in the battle for Gujarat. “These personal calls by the Prime Minister are making a huge impact both on the party and the people of Gujarat. His approach is infusing new energy into our strong organizational network. This goes to prove how he remains a people’s leader unlike Rahul Gandhi,” BJP media cell in-charge Harshad Patel said. The phone-a-friend strategy is seen as an attempt to underline his ability to remember old connections and rekindle emotional bonds ahead of elections in Gujarat. Read the story here.

China plans 1000-km tunnel to take Brahmaputra water to Xinjiang: Report

Top scientists backed by the ruling Communist Party of China are working on a plan to drain the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river near the Indian border and divert the water through a 1,000-km tunnel, the world’s longest, to arid Xinjiang. The tunnel project, submitted to the government in March, is in the blueprint stage but could trigger a serious water crisis in India’s northeast if implemented as the Tsangpo is an upper riparian river. Chinese engineers are “testing techniques” that could be used to build the 1,000-km tunnel to carry water from Tibet to the Taklimakan Desert in Xinjiang, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported, citing experts involved in the project. Read the story here.

First cockroach, now bomb threat: Man detained over Jet Airways flight hijack scare a repeat offender

A wealthy businessman from Gujarat has been detained in connection with a bomb scare that forced a Jet Airways flight to execute an emergency landing at Ahmedabad airport on Monday morning. A note, which threatened of a fatal explosion in the hold unless the passengers were flown to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, was found in a lavatory of the aircraft flying from Mumbai to New Delhi. Jet Airways, in a statement, said Flight 9W339 was diverted after the “declaration of an emergency as per established security procedures, due to the detection of an onboard security threat”. Read the story here.

Jet Airways hijack threat: Flyers unaware of drama during flight

Of the 115 passengers, who were on board the Jet Airways flight facing hijack threat, apart from Birju Kishore Salla, no one knew why the flight had landed an hour before the scheduled time. The next shock came in form of inflight announcement when the pilot informed that flight has landed in Ahmedabad instead of Delhi. “We knew something was amiss as scheduled time of landing was 5am and flight landed at 3:50am. Most of the passengers were sleeping and woke up when the announcement was made. The pilot said due to security situation, we have landed in Ahmedabad. For the next 30-40 minutes we were inside the plane,” said a passenger who was on board Jet airways flight 9W 339. Read the story here.

Supreme Court refers all Aadhaar cases to Constitution bench

The Supreme Court said on Monday a five-judge Constitution bench will hear a slew of petitions related to the validity of the Aadhaar identification number, including linking it to bank accounts and making it mandatory to avail social benefits. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said this after Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the government would be amenable to various Aadhaar cases pending before the court being decided by a Constitution bench, instead of the Supreme Court passing any interim orders. Read the story here.

Gujarat polls: Mellowed Hardik ready to discuss EBC with Congress

Hardik Patel-led Patidars are willing to consider the Congress proposal of providing 20% reservation to economically weaker classes (EBCs) through a Constitutional amendment, a group’s spokesperson said on Friday, even as their meeting with the main opposition party seeking their support for forthcoming polls remained inconclusive. The Patidar leaders, however, decided to withdraw their threat to disrupt Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Surat on November 3, an indication of forward movement in the first round of talks. Patel, who did not participate in the meeting but has been seeking other backward classes (OBCs) reservation for his community, said he was ready for a “compromise”. Read the story here.

Punjab: Hindu outfit leader shot in Amritsar, fifth murder in 2 years

Exactly 13 days after the killing of a local leader of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in Ludhiana, another Hindu right-wing activist, Vipan Sharma, 45, was shot dead in broad daylight in Bharat Nagar locality of the city on Monday. This is the fifth such murder of Hindu outfit leaders, and the ninth overall of any religious or religio-political leader, in the last two years in Punjab. It is also the third such killing in the tenure of the Congress regime under Captain Amarinder Singh that took power in March. Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have remained clueless so far, and the probe into RSS leader Ravinder Gosain’s October 17 killing has even been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Read the story here.

Chennai: IPS officer on probation caught cheating in civil services test, held

Safeer Karim, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer on probation, was allegedly caught cheating in a civil services test conducted at the Presidency Girls Higher Secondary School in Chennai on Monday. The accused, who has been arrested, faces dismissal from the force because he was still under probation when the incident occurred. An assistant superintendent of police posted at Tirunelveli, Karim wanted to rise up in the ranks and join the Indian Administrative Service. The alleged fraud was detected while he was appearing for the main civil services examinations. Read the story here.

Trump campaign ex-chair arrested for conspiracy against US, aide pleads guilty on Russia links

Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and associate Rick Gates, were arrested on Monday and charged by investigators with conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents while another aide has pleaded guilty to lying about his Russia links. Manafort and Gates were indicted on 12 counts, that included failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller said in a statement. It added the two men “were permitted to surrender themselves to the custody of the FBI”, which happened in the morning. Read the story here.

Trump plays down indictments, says Manafort charges ‘years ago’

President Donald Trump said alleged misdeeds by ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort were “years ago,” and asserted there was “NO COLLUSION!” between his campaign and the Russian government. Responding to news that two former senior campaign aides were charged by special counsel Robert Mueller, the president asked on Twitter why “Crooked Hillary & Dems” aren’t the focus of the probe. His Twitter response marked the first official comment by the White House on the news that Manafort and Rick Gates turned themselves into federal authorities in the first arrests in Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. The indictment against Manafort and Gates alleges criminal activity through “at least 2016.” Read the story here.

Pakistan confirms killing of two Chinese kidnapped by ‘Islamic State’

Pakistan on Monday confirmed the death of two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped in the southwestern city of Quetta, the foreign office said, months after the Islamic State group claimed it had killed them. The pair, a man and a woman, were abducted in May this year from the city, capital of restive Balochistan province, which is at the heart of a multi-million dollar investment by Beijing in Pakistan but is also wracked by militancy. They were dragged into a car by three unknown men, witnesses said, adding that another Chinese woman managed to escape. Read the story here.

How Gordon Brown’s Indian doctor saved his sight twice

Hector Chawla, an Indian-origin eye surgeon who saved former prime minister Gordon Brown’s right eye after the left went blind following a rugby incident when he was 16, came to the rescue again when his famous patient was in 10, Downing Street, in 2009. Brown recalls in his memoir, to be published next week, how he sought his “old friend” Chawla’s second opinion when he had problems in the right eye and was about to go in for surgery in London. The Edinburgh-based eye surgeon, now in his late 70s, was consulted. Read the story here.