Special Category For Andhra Pradesh? Jairam Ramesh's Jibe At C Naidu


Congress’s Jairam Ramesh today said in the all-party meeting ahead of parliament’s budget session, demands for special category status for Bihar and Andhra Pradesh were raised.

While members of BJP ally JD(U) raised the demand for  Bihar, the call for special status of Andhra Pradesh was raised by Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. The BJP ally Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, he added, had remained silent.

“In today’s all-party meeting of floor leaders chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the JD(U) leader demanded special category status of Bihar. The YSRCP leader demanded special category status for Andhra Pradesh. Strangely, the TDP leader kept quiet on the matter,” read his post on X, formerly Twitter.

“How the political climate has changed! In the all-party meeting of floor leaders the BJD leader reminded the Defence Minister and BJP President JP Nadda that the BJP’s manifesto for the 2014 assembly elections in Odisha had promised special category status to the state,” read another post.

Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, which earlier supported the government in Rajya Sabha over multiple issues, has now pitted itself firmly against the BJP.

The change of stance came after it was routed by the BJP in the recent assembly election in the state and lost power after 24 years.

The BJP’s Amit Malviya responded with a jab.

“There is a certain propriety and protocol one associates with these all party meetings. There is free and frank exchange of ideas followed by media briefing. But a look at Jairam Ramesh’s timeline and it appears he was live tweeting the proceedings. Next time, the Congress should consider sending a more seasoned hand for these meetings,” his post read.

The budget session of parliament begins on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s presentation of the Union budget.

At the all-party meet, the government urged the Opposition to cooperate and ensure smooth conduct of proceedings, underscoring that disruptions in both Houses during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in the previous session did not measure up to parliamentary traditions.





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Israeli Jets Strike Yemen Rebels After Deadly Attack On Tel Aviv


The strikes came a day after a Huthi drone attack penetrated Israel’s air defences.

Hodeida, Yemen:

Israeli warplanes struck the Huthi-controlled Yemeni port of Hodeida Saturday, a day after a drone attack by the Iran-backed rebels killed a civilian in Tel Aviv, both sides said.

The strikes, which triggered a raging fire and plumes of black smoke, are the first claimed by Israel in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country, some 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) away, analysts said.

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said, adding more operations against the Huthis would follow “if they dare to attack us”.

Gallant said the Hodeida strikes were also a warning to other Iran-backed armed groups around the Middle East that have claimed attacks on Israel during the Gaza war.

“The fire that is currently burning in Hodeida, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear,” he said.

Just hours after Friday’s strike in Tel Aviv, Gallant had vowed Israel would retaliate against the Huthis, who control swathes of Yemen, including much of its Red Sea coast.

The Israeli military said “fighter jets struck military targets of the Huthi terrorist regime in the area of Hodeida port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the state of Israel in recent months”.

The Huthis have previously claimed attacks on Israeli cities including Ashdod, Haifa and Eilat, but Friday’s strike on Tel Aviv appears to have been the first to breach Israel’s vaunted air defences.

‘Brutal aggression’

In a statement on social media, top Huthi official Mohammed Abdulsalam reported a “brutal Israel aggression against Yemen.”

The attack targeted “fuel storage facilities and a power plant” in Hodeida “to pressure Yemen to stop supporting” Palestinians in the Gaza war, he said.

The Huthi-run health ministry said there were deaths and injuries in the Hodeida strikes, but it did not give a toll.

In a statement carried by the Huthi-run Al Masirah television, it said several people suffered “serious burns”.

Footage aired by Al Masirah, which AFP could not independently verify, showed a massive blaze on the seafront, with a large plume of black smoke rising into the sky.

The channel also broadcast images of casualties being treated in hospital, many of them bandaged and lying on stretchers in packed rooms.

A man interviewed by the broadcaster said many of the wounded were port employees.

An AFP correspondent in Hodeida reported hearing several large explosions and seeing smoke over the port.

“The city is dark, people are on the streets, petrol stations are closed and seeing long queues,” said a Hodeida resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing safety concerns.

Maritime security firm Ambrey said it observed four merchant vessels in the port at the time of the air strike and another eight in the anchorage.

“No damage to merchant vessels has been reported at this time,” it said.

Yemen aid lifeline fears

The United States, which along with Britain has carried out several rounds of air strikes against the Huthis in an attempt to put an end to their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, said it played no part in Saturday’s strikes.

“The United States was not involved in today’s strikes in Yemen, and we did not coordinate or assist Israel with the strikes,” a US National Security Council spokesman said.

“We’ve been in regular and ongoing contact with the Israelis following the strike in Tel Aviv that killed an Israeli civilian on Friday morning. We fully recognise and acknowledge Israel’s right to self-defence.”

UN chief Antonio Guterres had appealed for “maximum restraint” after the Tel Aviv drone strike to avoid “further escalation in the region”.

But Huthi politburo member Mohammed al-Bukhaiti swiftly threatened revenge for the Hodeida strikes.

“The Zionist entity will pay the price for targeting civilian facilities, and we will meet escalation with escalation,” he said in a post on social media.

The Huthis’ Supreme Political Council vowed the “aggression will not pass without an effective response.”

Hodeida port, a critical entry point for imports and international aid for rebel-held areas of Yemen, had remained largely untouched through the decade-long war between the rebels and the internationally recognised government propped up by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

“Traders now fear that this will exacerbate the already critical food security and humanitarian situation in northern Yemen, as the majority of trade flows through this port,” said Mohammed Albasha, senior Middle East analyst for the US-based Navanti Group.

He said the Israeli strikes “would likely be perceived by many Yemenis as an attack on their homeland, which could bolster Huthi recruitment and funding.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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India Hints At Roles Of Pakistan, China That Could Undermine Shanghai Bloc


R. Ravindra, the charge d’affaires of India’s UN Mission addressed the Security Council on Friday

United Nations:

While extolling the importance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for the region, India has drawn attention to the roles of certain countries that could undermine it.

Without directly naming any country, the references to terrorism were aimed at Pakistan and at the need for respecting territorial integrity to both China and Pakistan in the address to the Security Council on Friday by R. Ravindra, the charge d’affaires of India’s UN Mission.

“Certain countries are using terrorism as an instrument of state policy (and) such an approach has the potential to affect cooperation in multilateral platforms including at the SCO,” he said.

“India has also consistently advocated respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity for connectivity and infrastructure projects,” he said in what is seen as a reference to Chinese projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

He was speaking at a Council meeting convened by its current president Russia on cooperation between the UN and the regional and sub-regional organisations like the SCO, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for maintaining international peace and security.

“India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners on the basis of equality, respect, and mutual understanding,” Mr Ravindra said.

“India’s priorities in SCO are shaped by Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi’s) vision of a ‘SECURE’ SCO, he said, explaining that ‘SECURE’ stands for Security, Economic cooperation, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Environmental protection”.

The Security Council resolutions and targeted sanctions on terrorists and groups must be fully implemented, he said.

“The July 4 SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, said in its declaration that the international community must isolate and expose those countries that harbour terrorists, and condone terrorism,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, participating virtually in the summit, had made the case for making combating terrorism an important element of the declaration.

He had told the leaders at the summit, “Let us be clear that if left unchecked, it can become a major threat to regional and global peace”.

US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield, however, took issue with the SCO’s counter-terrorism efforts.

She accused the SCO of repressing “peaceful dissenters” and ethnic and religious minority minorities “under the guise of combating ‘terrorism, separatism and extremism'”.

“I think about the SCO Member States that have prosecuted individuals for speaking out about the importance of regional political autonomy. That have forcibly repatriated asylum seekers fleeing repression in other SCO Member States,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield said that the regional organisations were “cynically promoting concepts such as ‘dialogue among civilizations’ or ‘civilizational diversity’ in an attempt to justify restrictions on the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The SCO is a ten-member international group focused on Central Asia, which India formally joined in 2015.

Its other members are Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran, the four Central Asian nations, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, and Russia’s European ally Belarus from further afield that joined this month.

“India shares deep civilizational ties with the people of Central Asia,” Mr Ravindra said.

India has offered a $1 billion Line of Credit for developmental projects in addition to grants for High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) for Central Asian countries, he said.

The India-Central Asia Dialogue platform works to strengthen cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries, he added.

He further said that India’s contract to develop the Chabahar Port in Iran “is a testament of our commitment towards realising the potential of the place as a connectivity hub for Afghanistan and Central Asia”, which are landlocked countries.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, who presided over the meeting, said that the SCO, CIS and CSTO “have achieved significant results, including in boosting integration processes, preventing conflicts and combating terrorism”.

“A constant priority of the SCO is combatting the threats of terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug trafficking and transnational organised crime, especially those emanating from Afghanistan,” he added.

China’s Permanent Representative Fu Cong also touched on the dangers of terrorism, even though Beijing blocks UN sanctions for Pakistan-based terrorists.

“Terrorism, separatism, and extremism are major threats to global security,” he said.

China, he said, wants the UN to work with the SCO to “strengthen dialogue and cooperation in counter-terrorism”.
 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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90% Flights Disrupted In Bengaluru Terminal 1 Due To Microsoft Outage


90% flights in Bengaluru affected due to CrowdStrike Microsoft outage

New Delhi:

The global Microsoft outage has affected 90 per cent flights operating from Bengaluru airport’s Terminal 1, sources have said. IndiGo airlines officials said the situation is likely to continue till midnight.

When the outage began, other airlines such as Air India Express, SpiceJet, and Akasa began checking in passengers manually at Bengaluru airport, issuing handwritten boarding passes.

Passengers at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) had a harrowing time following the disruption in flight services.

“Flights are cancelled due to the cascading effect of the worldwide travel system outage, beyond our control. The option to rebook/claim a refund is temporarily unavailable…” IndiGo said in a post on X.

Civil Aviation Minister Rammohan Naidu has assured passengers that the ministry and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) are actively managing the situation using manual methods to ensure minimal disruption.

“I have directed airport authorities and airlines to be compassionate and provide extra seating, water, and food for passengers affected by delays. We understand your concerns and are working tirelessly to ensure your safe and swift travel. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated,” Mr Naidu said.

He asked passengers to cooperate with airport staff during this period of disruption. Mr Naidu said regular updates on flight statuses will be given to passengers; extra staff has been deployed to address concerns of passengers, and airports are offering additional seating, water and food to ensure passengers are comfortable.

A Bengaluru airport spokesperson had said the global outage with the Navitaire Departure Control System (NDCS) has been affecting operations of some airlines across their network, including Bengaluru airport since.



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Relationship Timeline Of Hardik Pandya, Wife Who “Parted Ways”: 5 Facts


Hardik and Natasa reportedly met two years before their wedding (File)

Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya and his wife Natasa Stankovic, a Serbian model and dancer, have announced separation after four years of marriage. The star cricketer announced that they have “mutually parted ways” and will co-parent their son Agastya.

Here are 5 facts about the couple:

  1. The cricketer-model couple reportedly met in 2018 through a common friend and started dating later.

  2. Hardik and Natasa got engaged on January 1, 2020, on a cruise before tying the knot during the COVID-19 lockdown. Later that year, the pair was blessed with a baby boy they named Agastya.

  3. They renewed their wedding vows in an Indian and Serbian-style grand wedding ceremony in 2023. The couple shared several photos from their ceremony on Instagram.

  4. Speculations on trouble in their marriage started circulating in May this year. It was triggered when Natasa dropped ‘Pandya’ from her Instagram handle. People added fuel to the fire after “Natasa and Hardik separated” went viral on Reddit where the user questioned her absence from IPL 2024 matches and pointed out that she has not posted any picture with Hardik recently.

  5. The couple today announced that have decided to “mutually part ways” in an instagram post. The couple said that they “tried their best” and “gave it their all” before taking the tough decision. The couple also announced that they will continue to co-parent their son Agastya. “After 4 years of being together, Natasa and I have decided to mutually part ways. we tried our best together an gave it our all, and we believe this is in the best interest for both of us. This was a touch decision for us to make, given the joy, mutual respect and companionship we enjoyed together and as we grew a family,” the post read. 



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Joe Biden Tests Positive For Covid As Age Worries Mount


The White House said Biden was suffering from a runny nose, cough and “general malaise.

Washington:

US President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid on Wednesday, shortly after conceding that he would consider dropping his troubled reelection bid if he was diagnosed with a serious medical condition.

The 81-year-old Democrat gave media the thumbs up from his limousine and said “I feel good” as he cut short a campaign trip to Las Vegas following the diagnosis.

The White House said he was suffering from a runny nose, cough and “general malaise,” was taking Covid medication, and was flying straight to isolation at his beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware.

The diagnosis came hours after the release of comments by Biden in an interview conducted on Tuesday, in which he said he could step aside as a presidential candidate “if I had some medical condition that emerged.”

It was also the latest development over a dramatic few days in the already frenetic and polarized White House race that saw his rival Donald Trump survive an assassination at a campaign rally of his own.

Biden has been fighting for political survival since a disastrous debate against Trump nearly three weeks ago, in which his tired and confused appearance sparked concerns about his age.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden had tested positive shortly after the first in a series of events in Las Vegas targeting crucial Latino voters.

“He is vaccinated and boosted and he is experiencing mild symptoms. He will be returning to Delaware where he will self-isolate and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” Jean-Pierre said.

Biden’s doctor said he was suffering from a runny nose and a “non-productive cough” along with “general malaise,” the White House said in an accompanying note.

He has received the Covid drug Paxlovid and has already taken his first dose, the statement read.

“His symptoms remain mild, his respiratory rate is normal at 16, his temperature is normal at 97.8 and his pulse oximetry is normal at 97 percent,” it added.

– ‘I feel good’ –

Biden later leaned out of his limousine, dubbed the Beast, as he arrived at a Las Vegas airport to give the thumbs up.

“Good,” he said to the press as he walked to Air Force One without a mask. “I feel good.”

Janet Murguia, the president of the Unidos union for Latino workers, told the crowd about the diagnosis shortly before the White House announcement.

“I was just on the phone with President Biden, and he shared his deep disappointment at not being able to join us this afternoon,” she said.

The furor over Biden’s health is now set to go into overdrive, with a growing number of Democrats calling on him to step aside.

Asked what could make him rethink his presidential bid, Biden told the Black media outlet BET in an interview taped Tuesday in Las Vegas: “If I had some medical condition that emerged, if somebody, if the doctors came and said ‘you’ve got this problem, that problem.'”

He suffered a major blow hours earlier on Wednesday when a top Democrat, Representative Adam Schiff of California, urged Biden to “pass the torch.”

“A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the President can defeat Donald Trump in November,” Schiff said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Around 20 House Democrats and one senator have now called on Biden to leave the White House race.

Most polls show Biden trailing the election in a tight race with Trump.

Biden insists that Democratic voters support him, but a poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research said Wednesday that nearly two-thirds want him to step aside.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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