OTHER OPTIONS BEING TRIED FOR 41 TRAPPED IN UTTARKASHI TUNNEL FOR A WEEK
Boring through the debris of the collapsed 60-metre stretch from the Silkyara end was put on hold Friday afternoon when the American-made heavy-duty auger machine encountered a hard obstacle after about 22 metres.
The setback has forced rethink. Officials drew up a series of alternative plans to reach the workers trapped inside the under-construction tunnel.
Officials said a road to the top of the hill has been laid in a single day for digging a vertical shaft down into the tunnel.
But after a visit to the site Sunday, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said boring horizontally through the debris with the huge auger machine appeared to be the best bet. He anticipated a breakthrough two and a half days.
Gadkari said the auger machine had worked well through the soft soil but there were vibrations in the tunnel when it encountered a hard object. This posed a danger to the safety of the rescue workers. "Though I am no technical expert, in the given circumstances horizontal digging seems the best option. If the auger machine does not encounter any obstacles it might reach the trapped workers in two and a half days," he said.
A media brief issued in Delhi said this drilling would begin again Monday, after safety arrangements for rescue workers are put in place.
By Sunday evening, rescue workers had pushed in a six-inch wide tube up to 39 metres into the rubble. Once it cuts across the collapsed stretch, the trapped workers would be sent food and water through this pipe as well. A smaller four-inch wide 'compressor pipe' already runs through the debris and is being used to send in food, water, oxygen and medicines, officials said.
The stretch in which the workers are trapped is about two kilometres of the built-up portion of the tunnel and is 8.5 metres high. There is electricity and water available, a press release said.
The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited has begun work on a vertical pipeline for supplying essential items after the completion of the approach road to the top of the hill.
TEAM WHERE PLAYERS RUNNING EACH OTHER OUT: PM STEPS UP ATTACK ON CONGRESS IN RAJASTHAN
In twin rallies at Taranagar and Jhunjhunu, in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Congress for “disunity” and said, “This govt failed to deliver in Rajasthan for five years because its key players were busy working at cross purposes.”
“In cricket, a batsman comes and scores runs for his team. But in the Congress, there is so much friction that let alone run-scoring, the leaders are busy getting each other run out. The Congress govt spent five years in Rajasthan just getting each other run out,” he said.
The PM argued that the state needed the BJP to put governance back on track. “If you choose the BJP, we will get rid of all these corrupt people and build a score of development,” PM Modi said at the rallies.
At both meetings, the PM also spoke of the controversial “red diary”, which allegedly contains details of corruption of Rajasthan Congress leaders.
“Even the son is now saying ‘Papa’s govt is not coming’,” the PM said, taking a veiled dig at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his son Vaibhav. The PM further underlined the party’s previous line of questioning Congress’ “vote bank politics”. “Development happens where there is trust and security, and honour is safeguarded. The Congress has snatched all this from Rajasthan,” said PM Modi, hammering the trend of curfews at key Hindu festivals.
RAHUL SLAMS PM MODI OVER CASTE CENSUS, ADANI ISSUE
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of working for billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani and said instead of chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, the PM should say “Adani ji ki jai”.
Addressing election rallies in Bundi and Dausa districts of Rajasthan, Rahul alleged that PM Modi wanted to make two ‘Hindustans’ — one for Adani and the other for the poor.
He also targeted PM Modi for not conducting a caste census in the country and said it would be the first thing that the Congress would get done after it comes to power at the Centre.
Speaking at the rally in Bundi, Rahul said, “Instead of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, the PM should say ‘Adani ji ki jai’ because he works for him. PM Modi says ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ but works 24 hours for Adani,” he said.
INDIA A $4 TRILLION ECONOMY? SOME MINISTERS HAIL IT, BUT NO OFFICIAL WORD
Billionaire Gautam Adani to two Union Ministers and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis among others on Sunday hailed India crossing $4 trillion mark though there was no official confirmation if the country has achieved the landmark.
The finance ministry and the National Statistical Office did not immediately comment on the viral social media post on India’s GDP crossing $4 trillion.
An unverified screengrab from the live tracking GDP feed for all countries based on IMF data has been widely shared on social media, including by many including senior BJP leaders.
“Congratulations, India. Another two years to go before India becomes the 3rd largest nation in terms of Global GDP by overtaking Japan at $4.4 trillion and Germany at $4.3 trillion. The Tricolour surge continues! Jai Hind,” Adani said on social media platform X.
“India’s moment of global glory as our GDP crosses $4 Trillion.The rise of #NewIndia under PM @narendramodi ji’s leadership is truly unparalleled,” Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said in a post on X.
Another Cabinet minister, G Kishan Reddy in a post said, “Congratulations As The GDP Touches $4 Trillion For The First Time and Marches Ahead. On the course towards $5 Trillion Economy – Modi Ki Guarantee,” Reddy is Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development of Northeast Region as well as Telangana BJP president.
Fadnavis also posted, “This is what dynamic, visionary leadership looks like ! That’s what our #NewIndia progressing beautifully looks like ! Congratulations to my fellow Indians as our Nation crosses the $ 4 trillion GDP milestone! More power to you, more respect to you Hon PM @narendramodi ji!.”
ISRAEL-HAMAS HOSTAGE DEAL EDGES CLOSER AS BATTLE RAGES ON IN GAZA
Hamas gunmen battled Israeli forces trying to push into Gaza’s largest refugee camp on Sunday, but despite the fighting US and Israeli officials said a deal to free some of the hostages being held in the besieged enclave was edging closer.
About 240 hostages were taken during Hamas’s deadly cross-border rampage into Israel on October 7, which prompted Israel to invade the tiny Palestinian territory. Israeli tanks and troops stormed into Gaza late last month and have since wrested control of large areas of the north and northwest and east around Gaza City, the military says.
Hamas and local witnesses say militants are waging guerrillastyle war in pockets of the densely urbanised north, including parts of Gaza City and the sprawling Jabalia and Beach refugee camps.
Even as fighting raged on the ground, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that Israel was hopeful a significant number of hostages could be released by Hamas “in coming days”. On Sunday, Qatari PM Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told a press conference in Doha that the main obstacles to a deal were now “very minor”, with mainly “practical and logistical” issues to surmount.
A White House official also said the “very complicated, very sensitive” negotiations were making progress. “I believe we are closer than we have been in quite some time, maybe closer than we have been since the beginning of this process, to getting this deal done,” White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
The delicate hostage talks coincide with Israel preparing to expand its offensive against Hamas to Gaza’s southern half, signalled by increasing air strikes there on targets Israel sees as lairs of armed militants.
Gaza’s Hamas-run govt said on Sunday at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombardments since October 7, including at least 5,500 children.
ISRAEL SAYS HOUTHIS HAVE HIJACKED INDIA-BOUND VESSEL
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the hijacking of an international vessel by Iran-backed Houthis in the Red Sea and called it a 'very serious incident on the global scale'.
Taking to X, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said, 'Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack against an international vessel. The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran's guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.'
It also shared, 'Onboard the vessel are 25 crew members of various nationalities including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino and Mexican. No Israelis are onboard.'
Condemning the hijack, it said, 'This is another act of Iranian terrorism and constitutes a leap forward in Iran's aggression against the citizens of the free world, with international consequences regarding the security of the global shipping lanes.'
Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that the ship was sailing from Turkey to India with an international civilian crew, without any Israelis aboard and added, "This is not an Israeli ship," The Times of Israel reported.
TRUMP VOWS LARGEST OP OF DOMESTIC DEPORTATION IN US HISTORY IF RE-ELECTED
Donald Trump will return to the US-Mexico border for a visit Sunday as he promotes a hard-line immigration agenda that would be far more expansive than the policies he pursued during his first term as president.
“On my first day back in the White House, I will terminate every open-borders policy of the Biden administration. I will stop the invasion on our southern border and begin largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” he said in Iowa Saturday.
Trump also wants to revive and expand his controversial travel ban, which initially targeted seven Muslim-majority countries, and begin new “ideological screening” for immigrants, aiming to bar “Christian-hating communists and Marxists” and “dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots and maniacs” from entering the US. Trump wants to build more of the border wall, crack down on legal asylumseekers and reimplement measures such as Title 42.
'NETANYAHU SHOULD BE SHOT DEAD': CONG MP SPARKS ROW
Senior Congress leader Rajmohan Unnithan has come under criticism over his remarks that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a 'war criminal' and should be shot dead without trial for allegedly murdering Palestinians in the Gaza strip.
Condemning the Kasaragod MP's remarks, the Kerala BJP unit termed it 'deplorable'.
At a recent Palestine solidarity event organised by the United Muslim Jama-ath, a collective of mosques in and around Kasaragod town, Unnithan said another Nuremberg trial was the need of the hour.
In a video which has gone viral, Unnithan said: "The Nuremberg trial was held after the Second World War, and the war criminals were shot dead without trial. Another Nuremberg trial is the need of the hour. Because Benjamin Netanyahu is standing in front of the world as a war criminal. It is time to shoot down Benjamin Netanyahu -- who has violated the Geneva convention -- without trial, such is the amount of murders he has committed."
BJP state president K Surendran on Saturday said Unnithan's speech echoed 'terrorist propaganda' and sought immediate legal action.
HUGE FIRE, BLASTS AT VISAKHAPATNAM FISHING HARBOUR, 23 BOATS TURN TO ASH
About 23 fishing boats turned to ashes in a massive fire at a harbour in Visakhapatnam last night. The estimated loss in the shocking incident is ₹ 30 crore. Fishermen suspect some criminals set the boats on fire. There is also suspicion that the fire was triggered by a party in a boat.
Shocking visuals from the harbour showed firefighters trying to douse the flames as fishermen stared helplessly at the fire destroying their means of livelihood.
Blasts in some of the boats, apparently caused by the fire reaching fuel tanks, led to panic in the area.
OBJECT SEEN ABOVE IMPHAL AIRPORT, AIR DEFENCE ACTIVATED; FLIGHT OPS HIT
Normal flight services at Manipur's Imphal International Airport were affected on Sunday afternoon over sighting of an unidentified flying object (UFO), officials said.
Two flights were diverted and three others delayed. Services normalised after around three hours.
'Due to sighting of an unidentified flying object within Imphal controlled airspace, two flights have been diverted and three departing flights have been delayed. Flight operations commence after receipt of clearance from the competent authority,' a statement issued by Airport Director Chipemmi Keishing said.
"The UFO was visible with bare eyes moving westwards of the airfield till 4 pm," an official said.
CANADA'S CHARITY FOOD BANKS DENY FREE GROCERIES TO INT’L STUDENTS
For many desi newcomers settling in Canada, the transition isn’t as intimidating as it used to be. Thanks to YouTube and Instagram influencers, they arrive armed with information, from scoring a free phone to accessing free groceries at charity food banks, and more.
Yet in recent weeks, several international students lining up for free groceries haven’t just left empty-handed. They’ve also received notices from their colleges stating that these food banks are intended for the most vulnerable in society.
In London, Ontario, one food bank noticed a steep increase in students from Fanshawe College. Investigation revealed that an Indian video had misguided many, suggesting they cut weekly expenses by visiting a food bank instead of shopping at Walmart.
Similarly, in Brampton, Ontario, housing one of Canada’s largest international student populations, a food bank outright banned international students after witnessing a surge in their numbers starting in September, coinciding with the fall session intake. They put up a board that explicitly read: “DO NOT ENTER FOOD BANK. No International Students!!”
An official from the Brampton food bank expressed concerns, telling the CBC, “We see groups of three, four, sometimes nine, 10 students, backpacks ready for free stuff. We tell them, ‘We can’t provide for you; you’re responsible for yourself and your family.’ If they’re hitting up multiple food banks and churches, this is now a matter of abuse.”
NINE-DAY IFFI STARTS IN GOA TODAY, 270 FILMS TO BE SCREENED
The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is all set to start in Goa on November 20. More than 270 films will be screened at four venues over nine days. Thirteen world, 18 international, 62 Asia and 89 India premieres will be screened during the festival.
A total of 2,926 entries from 105 countries were received, which is three times the international submissions last year. Talking of international presence this year, Hollywood actor Michael Douglas will be honoured with the prestigious Satyajit Ray Excellence in Film Lifetime Award.
A total of 32 entries have been received in 10 languages from 15 OTT platforms for Best Web Series (OTT) Award. Fifteen feature films (12 international and 3 Indian) will compete for the coveted Golden Peacock Award. A docu-montage section has also been introduced this year. It has been introduced to highlight the importance of documentary film-making. Besides, seven international films and three Indian films that reflect the ideals of UNESCO will be featured in the ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Award session during the festival.
Actors Madhuri Dixit, Shahid Kapoor, Shriya Saran, Nushrat Bharucha, Pankaj Tripathi and composer-musician Shantanu Moitra; and singers Shreya Ghoshal and Sukhwinder Singh will perform at the opening ceremony.
AUSTRALIA BREAK A BILLION HEARTS, BEAT INDIA TO WIN 6TH WORLD CUP
India's thundering juggernaut came to a screeching halt in an anti-climactic finish as Australia denied a golden generation of Indian cricketers the silverware it so desperately craved by lifting an unprecedented sixth World Cup trophy, in Ahmedabad Wednesday.
The Australians once again showed what meticulous planning and ruthless execution is all about, chasing 241 in just 43 overs with Travis Head (137 off 120 balls) once again proving to be India's nemesis.
Prior to the showdown, Australia skipper Pat Cummins had said that there is "nothing more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent" and he kept his word. There was pin-drop silence as Australia marched towards victory.
Motera was drowned in 'Ocean of Blue' in anticipation of World Cup trophy but the 10 emphatic wins on the trot ended in nothingness as India saved their worst for the last scoring a below-par 240 in 50 overs. Many broken pieces of shattered hearts lay all around the gigantic Narendra Modi stadium, which was expected to become the new 'Theatre of Dreams' for a buoyant Indian cricket team.
To their dismay, Australian team under its inspirational skipper Pat Cummins, weathered the early jitters before Head, buoyed by a superlative fielding effort in the afternoon, anchored his team with a chiselled knock that had 15 fours and four sixes.
Head had missed first part of the World Cup due to a broken hand but came back at the right time to once again torment the Indians with a hundred after scoring one in that World Test Championship final.
With every six that Head hit, a few hundred of fans left the stadium.
Head needed one ally for this middling total and found a perfect one in Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out off 110 balls), who played the second fiddle to perfection.
It was a battle Australia won tactically and also with brilliant field placement which complemented a fine bowling performance.
‘BROUGHT IMMENSE PRIDE TO NATION…”: PM MODI TO TEAM INDIA
As Australia defeated India in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a message for the Men in Blue.
“Dear Team India, Your talent and determination through the World Cup was noteworthy. You’ve played with great spirit and brought immense pride to the nation. We stand with you today and always,” the Prime Minister wrote on his social media handle.
Congratulating Australia for the win, PM Modi added: “Congratulations to Australia on a magnificent World Cup victory! Theirs was a commendable performance through the tournament, culminating in a splendid triumph. Compliments to Travis Head for his remarkable game today.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. - Oscar Wilde
A fourth-grade teacher was giving her pupils a lesson in logic.
"Here is the situation," she said. "A man is standing up in a boat in the middle of a river, fishing. He loses his balance, falls in, and begins splashing and yelling for help. His wife hears the commotion, knows he can't swim, and runs down to the bank. Why do you think she ran to the bank?"
A girl raised her hand and asked, "To draw out all his savings?"