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SC to rule on privacy, Punjab, Haryana on alert for Ram Rahim verdict: Top stories to bring you up to date

Income ceiling for OBC’s ‘creamy layer’ category raised to Rs 8 lakh, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu offers to quit: A digest of important news stories in the last 24 hours.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2017 08:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Ram Rahim verdict,Right to Privacy,Aadhaar
Followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh gather at a park in Panchkula on August 23, ahead of the court judgement in a sexual exploitation case against him. (PTI Photo)

1- ‘Creamy layer’ income bar for OBCs raised to Rs 8 lakh, new panel to take call on sub-categories

The government on Wednesday announced a panel for sub-categorisation of other backward classes for a “more equitable distribution” of quota benefits, as it raised the income ceiling for “creamy layer”. The creamy layer, the ceiling that bars people in the OBC category from getting reservation in jobs, has been raised from Rs 6 lakh a year to Rs 8 lakh. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the commission, which will have to present its report in 12 weeks from the date it is formed, will examine the extent of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among the castes and communities.

Read the story here.

2- Air India’s Ashwani Lohani is new Railway Board chief, minister Suresh Prabhu offers to quit after train tragedies

The railways stared at a shake-up as its board chairman resigned and minister Suresh Prabhu offered to quit on Wednesday after back-to-back train derailments hit India’s largest public transporter. Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani was appointed chairman of the Railway Board after incumbent AK Mittal resigned, citing personal reasons. Lohani is an Indian Railway Service officer of the 1980 batch. He has four engineering degrees. The petroleum and natural gas ministry’s financial adviser, Rajiv Bansal, is the new head of the ailing national airline. He is a 1988-batch IAS officer from the Nagaland cadre.

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3- Ram Rahim rape trial: Punjab, Haryana on alert, Dera followers throng Panchkula

Haryana and Punjab are on maximum alert ahead of the court judgment in a sexual exploitation case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh on August 25. As a precautionary measure, the government has ordered closure of schools and colleges in Panchkula district on August 24 and 25, deputy commissioner Gauri Parashar Joshi said on Wednesday. Nearly 50,000 dera followers, intelligence sources say 100,000, are estimated to have already reached and many more are still arriving at the sect’s Sector-23 based Naam Charcha Ghar (congregation/prayer centre) in Panchkula to show their solidarity with the sect chief, who has been asked to appear in person in the special CBI court on Friday. Amid reports that the Dera followers could stock petrol, ‘lathis’ and other weapons’, Punjab Police has asked officials to be alert against any such action by the followers if the verdict goes against the Dera chief.

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4- Is privacy a fundamental right? Supreme Court to decide today

A nine-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar will on Thursday decide if privacy is a fundamental right, a judgment that will have a bearing on civil rights as well as Aadhaar. The other members of the bench, which will assemble at 10.30am, are justice J Chelameswar, justice RK Agarwal, justice SA Bobde, justice AM Sapre, justice RF Nariman, justice DY Chandrachud, justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice S Abdul Nazeer. Privacy is central to the legal challenges facing Aadhaar, the 12-digit biometric unique identity number, which has raised data breach and privacy concerns. Critics also say it helps the government spy on people.

Read the story here.

5- No Durga idol immersion on Oct 1 due to Muharram, maintain communal harmony: Mamata

With Muharram scheduled a day after Dussera this year, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee asked the people on Wednesday to cooperate with each other and not to fall prey to provocation leading to communal problems. Some quarters may try to instigate people to flare up

communal tension and there are people who may try to take political advantage of this, Banerjee said, addressing a meeting of Durga Puja committees in the evening. Banerjee directed SPs in the districts to talk to Durga Puja committees and Muharram committees regarding holding of their rallies, and said that there would not be any idol immersion on October 1, on the scheduled day of Muharram.

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6- Trump unshackled: President defends Charlottesville response, warns of govt shutdown for Mexico wall

US President Donald Trump revved up supporters on Tuesday with a defense of his response to a white supremacist-organised rally in Virginia and a promise to shut down the US government if necessary to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Under fire for saying “both sides” were to blame for the violence between white supremacists and left-wing counter protesters in Virginia on August 12, Trump accused television networks of ignoring his calls for unity in the aftermath. “I didn’t say I love you because you’re black, or I love you because you’re white,” Trump said. “I love all the people of our country.” Police used pepper spray to disperse crowds after protesters threw rocks and bottles outside the convention center where Trump spoke.

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7- Trump breathing down my neck during debate made my skin crawl, says Clinton

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her new book says US President Donald Trump made her skin crawl by stalking her around the stage in a campaign debate and she wonders if she should have told him to “back up, you creep.” In audio excerpts of the book “What Happened” aired on Wednesday on MSNBC, Clinton described her 2016 campaign as “joyful, humbling, infuriating and just plain baffling” and acknowledged she failed her millions of supporters by losing to Trump in the November election. In the excerpts, Clinton described the October 9 debate in St Louis in which Trump followed her closely about the stage, lurking behind her as she fielded questions from a live television audience.

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8- Take back control? Row over EU law in UK after Brexit

Sensitive issues are yet to be discussed between the UK and the EU in Brexit talks, but a position paper published by the Theresa May government on Wednesday raised doubts whether London will be able to “take back control” of its laws – one of the red lines of exiting the bloc. May insisted the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will end after Brexit, but there remained questions over whose laws will apply to EU citizens in the UK and for businesses that operate across national borders. Critics said the ECJ may continue have jurisdiction over UK for years after Brexit, as indicated by a section in the paper.

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9- Samsung launches Galaxy Note 8, eyes turnaround after battery debacle

After months of leaks and rumours, Samsung has finally taken the wraps off its latest premium smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8. The smartphone will be available for pre-orders in the US on Thursday and sales will begin from September 15. There in no word yet on the India launch though. Marginally bigger than the Galaxy S8+ (6.2-inch QHD+ display), the Note 8 comes with a 6.3-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display with 18:5:9 aspect ratio. Like the Galaxy S8-series, Note 8 also ditches the physical home button on the front. Note 8 is now expected to lead the flagship Galaxy series and compete with Apple’s next iPhones.

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10- How Sri Lankan coach was bullied by cricket officials ahead of 2nd ODI vs India

Sri Lankan cricket, in crisis with the national team plunging from one low on the field to another in the ongoing India tour, scrambled on Wednesday to limit the public relations disaster that followed the defeat in the first One-day International. Sri Lankan cricket team’s interim coach, Nic Pothas had blasted the current set up following the nine-wicket defeat at Dambulla saying “too many cooks” were responsible for the current plight of the national team, which was also routed 3-0 in the Test series. On Wednesday though Pothas said everything was fine with the team set-up and the processes put in place would pull Sri Lanka out of the rut. He even blamed the media for putting a “spin” of his previous statement and that he had no issues with the Sri Lankan cricket board.

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First Published: Aug 24, 2017 08:02 IST