Impasse over Maharashtra govt formation likely to end after Pawar meets Sonia; parties to meet governor at 3 pm
A three-party coalition of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, a new experiment in Maharashtra involving political parties with different ideologies, seems to finally materialize on Friday when Sharad Pawar said that he will ensure the formation of a stable government which will be development-oriented.
The three parties have already prepared a draft common minimum programme (CMP) that will guide their fledgling coalition's agenda in the state, where politics has broadly revolved around BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP blocs in the last two decades.
Settling the contentious leadership issue, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar said a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed and it will complete five-year term as he ruled out the possibility of mid-term polls in the state, which is currently under President's rule.
Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Pawar said, "There is no possibility of mid-term polls. This government will be formed and it will complete five years. We all will ensure this government runs for five years."
The three parties are also likely to meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday at 3 pm to discuss the 'wet drought' facing the state's farmers.
NCP chief spokesman Nawab Malik was quoted by News18 India as dismissing the media reports that suggested that the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena will stake claim to form government in their meeting with Koshyari on Saturday.
Delhi becomes most polluted city in world with AQI at 527
As the pollution in Delhi continued to hit the headlines, private weather forecasting agency Skymet reported on Friday the National Capital to be the most polluted city in the world with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 527.
The report also named Kolkata and Mumbai on its list, as the fifth and ninth most polluted cities, respectively, with AQIs at 161 and 153.
Breaking several records of the past, Delhi's air quality remained in the hazardous category for nine days, which is also the longest toxic air quality spell since since AQI record-keeping had commenced.
The severity of the crisis was highlighted by the Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority, Environment Pollution (Control & Prevention) Authority (EPCA), on Thursday after it ordered closure of schools in Delhi-NCR, and industries not running on clean fuels, to shut down for two days.
Sabarimala temple opens today; women can enter hill shrine, but with 'court orders'
Against the backdrop of the Supreme court's decision to refer the Sabarimala case to a larger seven-judge bench, the Lord Ayyappa shrine is all set to open on Saturday, even as the government said those women desirous of visiting the hill temple should get a "court order. "
The apex court has decided to set up a larger bench to re-examine religious issues including those arising out of its earlier verdict on 28 September, 2018, that lifted a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age visiting the shrine.
With the two-month long annual pilgrimage season set to commence from 17 November, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said Sabarimala was not a place for activism and the LDF government would not support those who make announcements about entering the hill shrine for the sake of publicity.
Sri Lanka presidential election today: Over 15 million to vote; 35 candidates including former wartime defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in fray
Sri Lankans began voting Saturday in a tightly fought presidential election where former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa's family is seeking a return to power after five years.
The election that will decide the future of the country that struggles with security challenges after the Easter Sunday bombings in April 2019, and increasing political polarisation.
The election will see a close contest between former wartime defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 70, and the ruling party candidate Sajith Premadasa, 52. Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the National People's Power (NPP) coalition is also a strong candidate.
There are 15.9 million eligible voters who will choose a successor to President Maithripala Sirisina among a record 35 candidates. Sirisena, who was elected in 2015, is not seeking a re-election.
The front runner candidates would be either depending on their legacies or hoping that the larger electorate would forget them while making their choices.
Premadasa, the ruling United National party (UNP) candidate, banks on his 'man of the commoner' image " a legacy of his father Ranasinghe Premadasa, the country's president between 1989 and 1993 until the LTTE assassinated him in 1993.
Premadasa senior was a man of the poor. His welfare schemes and his low cost housing programmes had endeared him to the masses.
IIT Madras suicide: Opposition leaders, students continue protest seeking fair trial into death of Chennai student
As political parties including the DMK staged protests on Friday pressing their demand for "a transparent" probe into the suicide of an IIT Madras student, the institution said it is extending full cooperation to the police investigation, transferred to the Central Crime Branch.
The student's father, who has earlier alleged that a faculty was responsible for his daughter's extreme action, met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and the state police chief in Chennai and demanded a fair probe and said they promised necessary action.
Cadres of the DMK youth wing, Congress affiliated National Students Union of India and CPI's student wing, All India Students Federation staged protest demonstrations in front of the institute seeking justice for Latheef. DMK cadres held placards embossed with images of Fathima and slogans like "besiege IIT protest; seeking justice for Fathima Latheef."
India in a commanding position as they head into Day 3
A blistering double ton from Mayank Agarwal and handy contributions from Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja powered the hosts to 493/6 at stumps on Day 2. Having attained a massive lead of 343 runs, skipper Virat Kohli would be keen to see a few fireworks from Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and the remaining batsmen before he announces the declaration. Indian bowlers would also be looking to repeat their heroics from the first innings and seal the deal as soon as possible. The match begins at 9.30 am and the over-by-over commentary of all the days of the Test match can be followed on Firstpost.com.
Pre-installed Android apps on low-end devices are vulnerable
A new report by security research company Kryptowire states that pre-installed software and firmware on Android devices have more than 140 exploitable security bugs. About 146 apps were discovered that could potentially allow attackers to snoop into the microphone, change the permissions, and send back data to the manufacturer without the knowledge of the user. The bugs were found on phones from 29 different manufacturers.