India has been pro-active in preparing for an outbreak of Ebola, but authorities need to improve the surveillance of travellers and raise public awareness about the deadly virus, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

There are nearly 45,000 Indians living and working in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria - where more than 1,300 people have died of Ebola in the worst outbreak of the disease in history.
There is also a large population of West Africans, mainly students, in India and there are concerns that the disease could be imported into the country.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced preventive measures on August 6 which included in-flight announcements prior to landing, informing passengers to self-report at immigration.
Almost 500 passengers - mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu - are currently being tracked, a health ministry statement said on Wednesday.

Asheena Khalakdina, the WHO's Team Leader for Communicable Diseases, said while the risk of Ebola coming to India was low, it was important that authorities put in place the precautionary measures outlined by the organisation.

"No country is perfect. You can go to any Western country and every country has areas where they can make improvements and certainly India is not an exception, so we are working closely with the ministry of health to see where those gaps are," Mr Khalakdina told a news conference.

The government has set up facilities at airports and ports to manage travellers showing symptoms of the disease such as fever, intense weakness or bleeding. Those displaying symptoms are being tracked for up to four weeks.

State authorities have also been instructed to designate hospitals with isolation wards for response to possible cases and to stock protective equipment.



Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal was admitted to a super-specialty hospital in Kolkata today after he suffered a brain stroke.

"He (Pal) was brought to the hospital at 4 pm. After conducting the necessary tests, we found he had suffered a brain stroke. He has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit and is under 72-hour observation," said Belle Vue Hospital official P Tandon.

Earlier, he had been admitted to the same hospital after a sudden spurt in his blood pressure.

Mr Pal has been in the eye of storm since June after he was caught on camera at a rally, threatening women relatives of Left workers with rape. The two-time MP, whose party is headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had also said he would have workers of the Left Front killed or he would shoot them dead himself.

"If (the Communists) try to kill and intimidate our workers... I will not spare them. I will let loose my men to rape your women," he had said. The comments made in his constituency, Krishnanagar, were filmed on a smartphone. The hazy footage aired by local television channels created outrage, especially after Mr Pal was let off by his party without even a slap on the wrist.

Though the Calcutta high court ordered that he be booked by the police for the comment, Mr Pal got a reprieve after a different bench of the court stayed the order following a petition.


Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Sunil Joshi was killed by his own associates for having allegedly ‘misbehaved’ with Pragya Singh Thakur, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday claimed in its chargesheet in the case.

As reported by HT on August 5, the NIA did not invoke the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as the agency has found it only to be a murder case alone. Earlier it was suspected that Joshi was silenced to keep a lid on the larger Hindu terror conspiracy.

But after a three-year long probe, the agency has found that Joshi was killed because of his alleged ‘vulgar advances’ towards Pragya.

The NIA has filed fresh charges against four accused — Lokesh Sharma, Rajendar Chaudhary, Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha leader Jitender Sharma and Pragya Singh Thakur. According to chargesheet Joshi was allegedly shot dead by Lokesh and Rajendar on December 29, 2007.

According to a senior NIA official, the alleged misbehaviour was the only obvious motive. However, the agency was unable to figure out as to why Joshi and his associates collaborated for terror blasts in mosques and places frequented by Muslims even after his alleged misbehaviour with Pragya and waited for more than year to kill him.

Hindustan Times


The Delhi Police has nabbed a high profile thief with a penchant for expensive cars, branded clothes and accessories, after a year-and-a-half long chase.

Sanjay Pahadia was arrested from a lodge after the police monitored his whereabouts using a tracking device and zeroing in on his most frequented areas in Haryana’s Surajkand and other places in its vicinity.

The special cell, which was handed the responsibility to nab Pahadia after he gave the police a slip time and again, managed to turn the tables on him by using the same technology he foiled.

The police had caught Pahadiya on a 10-second CCTV footage from a house in Sarita Vihar after which they put him under surveillance and fished out details about his cars.

But Pahadia gave them a slip again and escaped from Sangam Vihar’s Batra Hospital leaving his car behind. The team then installed a tracking device on the car.

When he came to get his vehicle a few days later, the police activated the tracker and started keeping a tab on his daily movements.

Pahadia was caught with substantial amount of gold and diamond jewellery, rings, high-end mobile phones and other expensive items.

Police say he possesses a unique 'five key' device that can open any lock within seconds.

Pahadia, who used a different luxury car for every theft, mostly stole gold and diamond jewellery and before committing the crimes he would break the CCTV cameras or severe their connection. The police got the better of him after he failed to disconnect the CCTV wires.

Pahadia is involved in major heists in the posh areas of New Delhi like Malviya Nagar, Vasant Vihar, Greater Kailash, Saket and Hauz Khas, a senior police officer said.

He added that Pahadia is also involved in thefts in other metro cities like Mumbai and Kolkata.

There are a total of 20 cases registered against Pahadia.

Hindustan Times

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested Censor Board chief Rakesh Kumar for allegedly demanding Rs. 70,000 from an agent to clear a regional film.

Mr Kumar was questioned by the CBI over the weekend and the investigators found enough prima facie evidence to suggest he had demanded the bribe, sources said. The CBI had last week arrested an agent and advisory panel member in connection with the case.

Sources said an authorised agent for censor certification had approached the CBI alleging that another agent Shripati Mishra has been demanding Rs. 70,000 on behalf of Mr Kumar for issuing the censor certificate for regional language film from Chhattisgarh "Mor Dauki Ke Bihav".

After getting the complaint, the CBI laid a trap at to catch the suspects red handed, said sources. The film was not released as the arrests were made before the clearance was given.

Sources also said that producers of the film wanted an urgent certificate as the date of the release of movie was on August 15.

An Indian Railways Personnel Officer (IRPS), Mr Kumar joined as CEO of Central Board of Film Certification in January this year.



Twenty people, including eight children, were killed today when a speeding train rammed into a packed autorickshaw at a railway crossing between Semra and Sugauli stations in Bihar's East Champaran district, the police said.

The mishap took place at a manned railway crossing at Chinauta village when Dehradun-bound Rapti Ganga Express hit the autorickshaw at full speed, Superintendent of Police Sudhir Kumar said.

Two other passengers suffered serious injuries in the mishap.

Some bodies were mutilated beyond recognition while some others were dragged by the train to some distance as the vehicle was tossed several metres away under the impact of the collision.

The dead and the injured all belonged to a single family from Chiknauta village, the SP said adding the injured persons had been admitted to a government hospital in Motihari where they were battling for life.

Meanwhile, the ECR Samastipur Division's Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Arun Kumar Malik has left for the spot by a special train to supervise rescue and relief work. The Superintendent of Railway Police (SRP) Muzaffarpur Vinod Kumar has also rushed to Motihari to assist in the relief work.

In Patna, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has expressed heart-felt grief over the loss of lives in the accident and announced Rs. 1.5 lakh compensation to the kin of each victim.

A report from Motihari said that the train service on Sugauli-Semra section has been disrupted after the mishap. Efforts were on to remove the mangled remains of the autorickshaw from the railway track to restart train services on the route, they said.

A crowd of villagers gathered on the spot and raised slogans demanding Rs. two lakh compensation for each of the victim. The SP intervened to calm the agitators.

The SP said that the victims, eight of them women, were going back to their home at Chiknauta village after offering puja at a temple at another village.

The deceased have been identified as Subhash Pandey, Neha Kumari, Sarita Devi, Sandhya Kumari, Jayanti Kumari, Adarsh Pandey, Nikki Kumari, Himanshu Kumar, Amit Kumar,

Manish Kumar, Nawal Kishore Mishra, Soni Kumari, Rupa Kumari, Rani Kumari, Ujjwal Kumar, Pramod Pandey, Meera Devi, Manisha Kumari, Nitesh Kumar and Subhdra Kumari.

All the bodies have been sent for post-mortem, the SP said.

The railways has enhanced ex-gratia for those dead to Rs. two lakh and for the seriously injured to Rs. 1 lakh, railway sources said.

Semra station superintendent, gateman of the level crossing and traffic inspector have been suspended for dereliction of duty, the ECR PRO said.

Meanwhile, the track has been cleared and normal train movement has resumed.

Six newly-wed women in Uttar Pradesh walked out of their in-laws’ homes rather than walk into the fields to ease themselves. Taking their cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call in his Independence Day address for a toilet in every household, especially in rural areas, the young brides protested to their husbands and in-laws over lack of such a facility.

These brides from Kushinagar district returned to their parents within weeks of getting married, a non-governmental organisation said. Neelam, Kalawati, Shakina, Niranjan, Gudiya and Sita of Khesiya village protested when they found there were no toilets attached to their houses.

After spending a couple of days, they returned to their parental homes over the past two months. Sulabh International, an NGO working for providing low-cost sanitation, has announced it would build toilets free for the brides. Terming the brides’ rebellion as a “bold and extraordinary step”, Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak told IANS that such incidents clearly show the changing mindset of girls over modern toilets.

Sulabh spokesman Madan Jha said the NGO would construct the toilets free of cost without any delay so that the brides can return to their in-laws soon. He also said the six women would be honoured for their bold stand.Two years back, Priyanka Bharti, a bride from Maharajgunj, was honoured for taking a similar step.

Bharti now works as a Sulabh motivator and has also appeared with Bollywood actress Vidya Balan in a sanitation advertisement of the union government. Sulabh has in the past handed over a cheque of Rs500,000 (Dh30,172) to a tribal woman, Anita Narre of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh, after she left her marital home within days of her wedding protesting lack of a toilet.

Prime Minister Modi, during his Independence Day address, mentioned the need to build toilets in every home.

Gulf News



After a lull of two days, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice today by resorting to heavy firing with automatic and small arms along International Border and Line of Control in Jammu and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops to retaliate.

"In major escalation, Pakistani troops opened unprovoked firing from small arms and automatic weapons at our forward posts in Hamirpur sub-sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir around 0840 hours," a Defence spokesman said.

The spokesman said the Army troops responded with equal calibre weapons to Pakistan's firing which resulted in intermittent exchanges of fire, he said. "There was no loss of life or damage to property in the firing on this side of LoC," he said.

"Earlier in another such ceasefire violation, Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy firing on 5-6 Border Outposts (BoPs) in R S Pura and Arnia sub-sectors in Jammu district around 0200 hours," a BSF officer said.

The BSF troops guarding the borderline with Pakistan responded with equal calibre weapons to Pakistan's firing which resulted in intermittent exchanges of fire, which has stopped late this morning, he said.

"There was no loss of life or injury to any in the firing on this side of IB (International Border)," he said. There have been 10 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along LoC and IB in Jammu region during past nine days and 11 in August this year. There was no ceasefire violation for past two days as gun fell silent along the International Border and the Line of Control (LoC) on August 15 and 16 after a nearly week-long heavy firing exchanges along Indo-Pak border.

The last ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops took place on August 14, when they resorted to unprovoked small arms and automatic weapons firing on Indian posts along LoC in Hamirpur sector of Poonch district around 1730 to 1810 hours.

Besides this, there were two other violations of ceasefire in Balakote (Mendhar) and Hamirpur sectors in Poonch on August 14 morning and August 13 night.

On August 13, Pakistani troops had resorted to firing by small arms and automatic weapons on forward posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Poonch district, in which one jawan was injured.

On August 12, Pakistani Rangers had resorted to heavy firing with mortar shells, small arms and automatic weapons on five BoPs and civilian areas along the IB in Arnia-R S Pura areas in Jammu district.

Two BSF jawans were among four persons injured on August 11 when Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire by firing with small arms, automatic weapons and mortar shells on 10 border out posts and civilian areas along the International Border in Arnia and RS Pura belts of Jammu district.

On August 10, Pakistani troops had violated ceasefire by targeting Indian forward posts with small arms and automatic weapons along the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting Indian forces to retaliate.

Pakistani troops violated had violated the ceasefire on August 8 by resorting to firing on Indian Posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Poonch district. On August 5, there was ceasefire violation along LoC in Poonch.



A five-member committee headed by UP minister Shivpal Yadav, which probed the communal violence in Saharanpur that left three persons dead, has blamed administrative lapses for the incident and questioned the role of BJP.

“The report has been submitted by the committee to chief minister in which a BJP MP has also been named besides laxity of administrative officers”, Samajwadi Party’s National General Secretary Naresh Agarwal said.

BJP has dismissed the report as an attempt by the Samajwadi Party to gain political mileage.The report of the committee has blamed laxity of some officers and said the government should take stern action against them to give a message to the bureaucracy, Agarwal said.

“As role of a BJP MP has also come to the fore, we can say that the party (BJP) has a role in the Saharanpur incident”, he said. The committee in its report, sources said, has alleged that a local BJP MP provoked the rioters which led to attempts to torch shops.

It alleged that the administration became active only after the violence broke out. As the holy month of Ramzan was going on, the administration should not have allowed any construction at the disputed site or members of opposite community to assemble, the report said.

Reacting to the report, BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said that on the one hand, the report blames administrative failure and on the other it has blamed an individual (BJP MP).“When there is an administrative failure then how BJP is responsible for the clashes,” he asked.

Pathak dismissed the report, saying the SP was indulging in a blame game to take political mileage.“It is report of the party and not the government. What do you expect from SP which had been blaming BJP time and again to conceal its own government’s failure,” Pathak alleged.

The five-member inquiry committee headed by Shivpal having Shivakant Ojha (minister for technical education), Minister for Rural Development Arvind Singh Gope and SP leaders Ashu Malik and Haji Ikram Qureshi, who is also the district president of Saharanpur district as its member, had visited Saharanpur to prepare the report.The committee was constituted by SP state president Akhilesh Yadav.

Violence erupted in Kutubsher area of Saharanpur on July 26 when members of two communities clashed for several hours over a land dispute. The violence had claimed three lives and left more than 20 people injured.

Indian Express

India's recent saga of spineless performances touched a new low as they crashed to a humiliating innings and 244 runs defeat well inside three days in the fifth and final cricket Test against England, who clinched the series with a 3-1 margin, here today.

It was yet another abject surrender by the batsman, who were shot out for 94 in just 29.2 overs as they continued their embarassing display succumbing to their heaviest Test defeat in 40 years.

This was after England took a gigantic 338 runs lead with a healthy first innings score of 486 riding on a brilliant 149 not out by Joe Root. The series win enbaled Alastair Cook and his boys to retain the Pataudi Trophy for the second straight time in three years.

While statistically, it was not a 'Whitewash' like the last time in 2011 when India lost 0-4, but once the script took a different turn in Southampton, it had only been a case of humiliation of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men, who simply were not good enough to put up a semblance of fight against a rampaging English outfit, running all over them.

The likes of Gautam Gambhir (3), Cheteshwar Pujara (11), Virat Kohli (20) whose faulty techniques in adverse conditions was cruelly exposed by the likes of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad. While Kohli did not have a clue about how to tackle deliveries shaping away, Pujara was all at sea against the ball coming into the right-hander.

It was ironical that India lost two Test matches with a total playing time of five days -- which is the duration of a single Test match.

It was near-impossible to prevent a landslide victory for England but opener Murali Vijay (2), who had a decent first half of the tour got an incutter from Anderson was adjudged leg-before.

Gautam Gambhir (3) didn't slide the bat in as he was a feet short off the crease failing to beat a direct throw from Chris Woakes. While India went into the lunch at 9 for two, the writing was there on the wall.

Deccan Chronicle