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Change in millennials mindset to prefer OLA, Uber led to automobile sector slowdown: Nirmala Sitharaman

Chennai: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Tuesday said the slowdown in the automobile sector was due to many factors like the change in mindset of millennials, who now prefer taxi aggregators like OLA and UBER instead of committing for monthly installments to own a car.

Sitharaman said the automobile industry did have its "good times" till two years ago. "It was definitely a good upward trajectory for the automobile sector", she told reporters. The minister said the sector had been affected by several things, including movement towards BS-VI norms and registration related matters and (also) change in mindsets.

She said some studies had revealed that there was a change in the the mindset of the millenials not to commit any EMIs (equated monthly installments) towards buying an automobile and instead taking OLA, UBER or the Metro (train) services. "So, a whole lot of factors are influencing the automobile sector. We are all seized of the problem. We will try to solve it", she said.

The Bharat Stage VI (or BS-VI) emission norm will come into force from 1 April 2020 across the country. Currently, vehicles conform to BS-IV emission standards. On August 23, in a bid to address the slowdown in the auto sector, Sitharaman had announced lifting the ban on purchase of vehicles by government departments and allowed an additional 15 per cent depreciation on vehicles acquired from now till March 2020. Also, the government clarified that BS-IV vehicles purchased up to March 2020 would remain operational for the entire period of registration, while also considering various measures, including scrappage policy to boost demand.


I am target of vendetta politics: Shivakumar who is arrested by ED in money laundering case

New Delhi: Former Karnataka Minister and senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar, currently in the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) custody, here on Tuesday reiterated that he had done nothing wrong and was a target of vendetta politics.

"I would like to reiterate that I have done nothing wrong and am a target of vendetta politics," Shivakumar, who was arrested by the ED in a money laundering case on September 3 after four-day questioning, said in a tweet. In the same tweet, the Congress leader said, "With the support and blessings that I am receiving from all of you, and my belief in god and our judiciary, I have full faith that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically."

Earlier in the day, the financial probe agency summoned his daughter Aishwarya for questioning on September 12 in connection with the probe. The officials said while scrutinising the financial dealings of Shivakumar, the ED found documents pertaining to a trust handled by his daughter. "To get the details of the functioning of the trust and its financial transactions, we have summoned Aishwarya for questioning," he said.

Shivakumar has been on the radar of the Income-Tax Department and the ED since demonetisation in 2016. An Income-Tax search at his New Delhi flat on August 2, 2017 led to the seizure of Rs 8.59 crore unaccounted cash. Thereafter, the I-T Department lodged cases against the Congress leader and his four associates under sections 277 and 278 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and sections 120(B), 193 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code.


Ex-MLA from Imran Khan's party seeks political asylum in India, alleges Hindus and Sikhs tortured in Pakistan

New Delhi: Pakistan's record of using unfair means of treatment against the minority communities was exposed once again after a former legislator of Prime Minister Imran Khan's party sought political asylum in India in one of the latest reports of atrocities across the Muslim-majority country.

Baldev Kumar, a former MLA of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI party) from Barikot in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) assembly, is in India, along with his family, to seek political asylum here.

Baldev, 43, no longer wants to return to Pakistan and has alleged that minorities, including Hindus and Sikhs, are being prosecuted in Pakistan.

In 2016, a sitting MLA from his constituency was assassinated. Baldev was charged with a false murder case and acquitted in 2018.

However, the above incident was not the only incident of atrocities against minorities in the cash-strapped nation. In Pakistan, many such incidents are regularly reported where Hindu, Sikh and Christian girls are forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men.

The recent incident of abduction, forcible marriage and religious conversion of a Sikh girl of Nankana Sahib is a telling example. Jagjit Kaur daughter of the Granthi of Nanakana Sahib Gurdwara, the birthplace of Shri Guru Nanak Dev, in Pakistan, was allegedly abducted and forcibly converted to Islam after her marriage to a Muslim man.

The matter had raised a furore in India, with several political leaders across parties asking for action to be taken against the perpetrators.

The incidents have come at a time when Pakistan has been ranting up its diabolic rhetoric of the so-called mistreatment of minorities in India, particularly Muslims, ever since the Indian Parliament decided to revoke the especially accorded constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the fact remains that Pakistan remains a thoroughly unsafe country for its own minorities.

Pakistan has repeatedly been asked by the international community to end discrimination against religious minorities on its soil. Last month, the United States, the UK, and Canada raised the issue of suppression of religious freedom Pakistan and slammed the nation for "persecuting and repressing" its religious minorities.

The incidents are occurring despite the PTI government's promises to keep a check on anti-Hindu sentiments and its failure to cater the minorities with equal rights and justice.

The cricketer-turned politician's time and again ranting of diabolic rhetoric against the RSS ideology, especially in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is a burning example.

Amid such incidents, the prime minister currently needs to focus on its cash-strapped economy and providing equal rights to his countrymen, instead of calling "the goons of the RSS" are lynching people, threatening judges, intellectuals, and deeming anyone who speaks against them as anti-nationals, which is "exactly what the Nazis did. India is heading towards disaster with extremist ideology".


India-Pakistan tensions 'less heated' now than 2 weeks ago: Donald Trump

Washington: The relationship between India and Pakistan is "less heated" now than what was two weeks ago, United States President Donald Trump has said, reiterating his offer to help the two South-Asian neighbours only if both of them want.

The comments by Trump were his first and comes two weeks since his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France on August 26. "India and Pakistan are having a conflict over Kashmir as you know. I think (it) is a little bit less heated right now than (what) was two weeks ago," Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday.

Tensions between the two neighbours escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status by scrapping provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution. "I get along with both countries very well," Trump said while responding to a question on his assessment of the situation between India and Pakistan. "I am willing to help them if they want. They know that. That (offer) is out there." During a meeting with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in July, Trump had offered to mediate between the two countries on the issue of Kashmir.

India was quick to reject the offer, saying the Kashmir issue was bilateral. It has also dismissed Trump's astonishing claim that Modi had asked him to mediate. During his meeting with Modi in France last month, Trump had said Kashmir is an issue that needs to be resolved between India and Pakistan.

By Lalit K Jha/PTI


All measures in Kashmir aimed at safeguarding lives, we have been successful, says Advisor to J&K Governor

Jammu: Asserting that the administration has successfully dealt with the law and order situation in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions, advisor to J-K governor Farooq Khan on Monday said that not a single bullet has been fired by security forces for over a month and slammed Pakistan for spreading lies.

He stressed that all measures in Kashmir were aimed at safeguarding the lives of people and normalcy was slowly returning to the Valley. "We have been successful in that (safeguarding lives). More than a month has now passed, but not even a single bullet has been fired by security forces and police to deal with the law and order situation. It is a big thing. It is the reality," he said, adding they "will not be cowed down" by the Pakistani propaganda. His remarks came on a day UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet expressed concern on the restrictions and asked India to ease the current lockdown.

In her opening statement at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council, she asked both India and Pakistan to ensure that human rights of the Kashmiri people are respected and protected. Khan told reporters that the Indian government is exposing the propaganda by Pakistan which "has bitterly failed to internationalise the issue of Kashmir by spreading lies". "China too has failed... Everyone in the world knows it well that Pakistan is spreading propaganda and has been a master of lies," he said.

Normal life has remained affected in Kashmir since August 5, when the special status for Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped and restrictions were imposed. However, Khan told reporters that trade and business activity will resume soon. "The situation in the Valley is slowly getting normalised. You will soon see children attending schools and normal trade and business will resume soon," Khan said. He termed the firing by terrorists on a family in Sopore, in which a two-and-a-half-year-old child was injured, as an act of frustration.

Khan also called for making unified efforts to fight against the menace of malnutrition for a healthy and a prosperous nation. The Advisor stated this while chairing an inaugural event of POSHAN Maah-2019 as part of Jan Andolan under POSHAN Abhiyaan held at Convention Centre. Khan stressed on the utmost need for proper implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan in Jammu and Kashmir and insisted that the problem of malnutrition should be tackled on a war footing.


Apple Event 2019: Apple to launch iPhone 11 today at 10.30 pm IST, where to watch live; all you need to know

A big day for Apple iPhone fans, as the countdown to Apple event for new iPhone 11 launch has begun. Apple is going to unveil its next-gen iPhones at an event in Cupertino today i.e. September 10. For people in India, the event will begin tomorrow at 10.30 pm IST.

This is the most-anticipated event in the world of technology and Apple fans worldwide today would witness the next generation of iPhones, top-of-the-line Apple Watch models, and ramped up services like Apple TV+. According to NDTV's, set for its unveiling at the Steve Jobs Theatre at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, iPhone 11 or XI is likely to be opened for pre-orders on September 13 and be available in-store on September 20 globally. The India availability is generally within a few weeks of the global launch date. Apple traditionally launches the new iPhones on Tuesday, starts pre-orders on Friday, and begins delivering the devices a week later. This year, the company will launch three models on expected lines.

When and Where to Watch?

The Apple event will begin at 10:00 AM PDT (10.30 PM IST) and will be live-streamed from its California headquarters. It will be broadcast live on YouTube from the official handle of Apple. It may also be streamed on Twitter similar to last year’s event.

Alternatively, the launch event can also be streamed on the company’s website, accessed through Apple’s Safari browser on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch (iOS 10+) or even on Mac desktop computer. Further, Apple TV users can watch the launch on the Apple Events channel.

What to expect: iPhone 11 series, Apple Watch, 16-inch MacBook Pro


The company is expected to announce its three new iPhone models. A leak on MyDrivers a few days ago suggested that none of the new iPhones will apparently feature Touch ID. And as per the leak, these iPhones will be called the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Max.

The new iPhone series is expected to have the first-ever triple rear camera setup. It will also have the OLED display that is already used in Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10. Moreover, reports also suggest that the upcoming models will be equipped with a reverse wireless charging feature. Further, there are likely to be several internal upgrades including a bigger battery.

Doing away with their original 5-watt charger, the new iPhones are expected to come with a USB Type-C charger and a lightning to USB Type-C cable that will ensure twice-as-fast charging time. The official price of the new iPhone in India will be announced at the time of the launch. However, if reports are to be believed, the iPhone 11 Pro is expected to be priced at $999 (Rs 71.860), iPhone 11 Pro Max may cost $1,099 (Rs 79,050), while the iPhone 11 is likely to be priced at $749 (Rs 53,880), becoming the most affordable of the lot.

iOS 13:

With the launch of iPhone 11, the Apple operating system will roll out its final version, i.e., iOS 13 with features like the Dark Mode and Apple sign-in during WWDC 2019. The new operating system on iPhones is loaded with India-specific features like the Indian-English accent for virtual assistant Siri that would now speak in a more natural and expressive way - in both male and female voices. The users would be able to access content drawn from Indian languages in a seamless conversational style. According to the iPhone maker, iOS 13 would reduce app download sizes by up to 50 percent and make app updates over 60 percent smaller, resulting in apps launching up to twice as fast.

16-inch MacBook Pro:

According to Firstpost, Apple will also launch 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro has been in the pipeline for sometime now. Apple was expected to announce it this year and while the iPhone event is not the ideal place to launch the product, we expect the company to address the laptop at the very least.


Pakistan secretly releases JeM chief Masood Azhar from custody amid tensions with India: Report

Amid tensions between India and Pakistan over the Narendra Modi government’s Article 370 move, now reports have surfaced saying that Pakistan has released Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar to carry out terror attacks.

According to the Hindustan Times, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has alerted the government about the deployment of additional Pakistani troopers along the border near Rajasthan, saying that Pakistan secretly released Masood Azhar. The IB's input states that Pakistan is planning “big action” in Sialkot-Jammu and Rajasthan sectors in the coming days in response to the government’s move to revoke Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir some autonomy and prevented non-residents from buying the property and getting government jobs in the state. The input warned that Pakistan has started deploying additional troops near the Rajasthan border as part of the plan.

The Indian Navy had recently warned that an "underwater wing" of JeM was training people to carry out attacks. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh said all stakeholders in coastal security are ensuring that there is no intrusion from the sea.

An official told the leading daily, that the input has been conveyed to the respective Border Security Force and army field formations in Jammu and Rajasthan sectors “to avoid any surprises” from the Pakistani army and the troops have been asked to remain alert.

Recently, India declared Azhar the first individual terrorist under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Ministry of Home Affairs, through a gazette notification, declared Azhar, LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Mumbai 26/11 attack mastermind Zakir Ur Rehman Lakhvi and 1993 Bombay blast accused Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists, which means that irrespective of the organisation they are associated with, they will be treated as terrorists under the Indian law.


S-400 defence missile systems will be delivered to India within 18-19 months: Russia

By Asian News International

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Sakhalin island), [Russia]: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov on Sunday said S-400 air defence missile systems will be delivered to India in strict accordance with the schedule.

"The advance payment has been received and everything will be delivered in strict accordance with the schedule, within about 18-19 months," Borisov told state-owned broadcaster Rossiya-1. Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was in Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss ways to further advance bilateral cooperation.

India had signed a USD 5.43-billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 5 last year for long-term security needs.


Obstacles on lunar surface may have been stopping lander from receiving signals: Chandrayaan-1 Director

Chennai (Tamil Nadu): The obstacles on the lunar surface may have been stopping the lander from receiving the signals, Chandrayaan-1 Director Mylswamy Annadurai said on Sunday.

"As we have located the lander on the lunar surface, we now have to establish contact with it. The place, where the lander alighted is expected to be not conducive enough for the lander to soft-land. There may be some obstacles, which could have been stopping us from establishing the connection," Annadurai told ANI. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with the Vikram Lander, one of three components of the Chandrayaan-2, minutes before its touchdown on the lunar surface in the early hours on Saturday.

The same orbiter which located the lander has also been provided with a communication channel, which envisages such eventuality, he said, adding that a same line of side-channel can be used to establish the communication with the lander. "In the past, the Chandrayaan's orbiter had beamed the signals towards the lander to establish signals, but in the present case, it has to be seen whether the latter receives it or not," the director added.

"There is always a two-way communication between the orbiter and lander, but we can attempt to communicate through one way." He, however, asserted that the communication will not be for more than 5-10 minutes. "It is a tricky situation but our scientists are capable enough to handle it," he added. The lander was 2.1-km above the moon's surface when it lost the connection with the ground station at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.

Earlier today, ISRO chairman K Sivan had told ANI that the agency has found the location of Lander through a thermal image clicked by the Orbiter, which is already in the intended orbit around the Moon. Sivan, however, maintained that no communication has been established with the Lander and that the agency will try to establish it in the next 14 days. Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22.

After revolving around the earth's orbit, the spacecraft began its journey to the moon on August 14 and all manoeuvres were carried out to perfection until the last few minutes of descent. The incident saw all of India uniting in showing their support to the space agency and its scientists, who have said that moon mission has accomplished at least 90 to 95 per cent of its objectives despite the severance of communication with the Lander.


91 per cent of Kashmir Valley free from any day-time restrictions: Official sources

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): The situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is turning back to normal as the majority of areas continue to function peacefully without any day-time restrictions, said official sources in the government of India.

"91 per cent of Kashmir valley is free from any day time restrictions, while all of Jammu and Ladakh regions are free from any day-time restrictions," said sources. Adding that telephone and mobile communications have been restarted in the majority of the regions, the sources added, "All landlines are functional. Mobile facility restored in all districts of Jammu and Ladakh division and in Kupwara district of Kashmir." The administration is also going to launch the biggest ever recruitment drive in the two Union territories to fill up close to 50,000 positions lying vacant in the government sector.

The information has come almost a month after the Central government scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution, which conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre, in August, had also bifurcated the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The sources also added that there were hardly any instances of violence reported from the Valley region and the minuscule number of protests which took place were handled by the police without any significant damage to life and property.

"The situation has remained peaceful across the Kashmir valley. There has been no incident of major violence. Not even a single live bullet has been fired. There has been no loss of life. Some protests have been handled by local police while exercising full restraint," the government sources said. All primary, middle and high schools are running with improved performance while the banks and ATMs are functioning normally in the region.

They also said that the administration has set up a media centre to enable both the local and national media houses to cover events in the region. A media centre has also been set up in Jammu and Kashmir to enable the media to cover events in the region. While regular press briefings are being held, over 400 press passes have been issued, the majority to local journalists. "All mainstream newspapers are being printed. Satellite channels and cable TV networks are operational," the sources said.

"The full focus is on returning the situation to normalcy. Some remaining restrictions on the communications and preventive detentions remain with a view to maintaining public law and order. These restrictions are being reviewed continuously and being eased by local administration based on the ground situation," they added.