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NEW DELHI:  India's Dalveer Bhandari, 70, made it to the International Court of Justice as Britain pulled out its candidate Christopher Greenwood following a stalemate in the hard-fought race. Voting for the last seat was held earlier tonight. Mr Greenwood had support in the UN Security Council, and Dalveer Bhandari had won the vote in the General Assembly. This will be the first time since the ICJ was established in 1945 that there will be no British judge. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted, "Vande Matram - India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind. (sic)"

                                   Here is your 10-point-guide to the ICJ elections:
  1. Pulling out its candidate, the British Ambassador said, "It is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of election."

 

 

 

  1. To win an ICJ election, a candidate needs to get a majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council, which had not happened in this case in the first 11 rounds of voting necessitating a 12th round.

 

 

  1. One-third of the ICJ's 15-member bench is elected every three years for a nine-year term. Elections are held separately but simultaneously in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council in New York.

 

 

 

  1. On November 9, the UNGA and Security Council members had elected judges to four of the five seats up for re-election this year, with the fate of the candidates from India and Britain hanging in the balance.

 

 

 

  1. In all previous such contests, the candidate who got a majority in the General Assembly was eventually elected. Britain is seen to be aggressively pushing in the 15-member UN Security Council, of which India is currently not a member, for resorting to the joint conference mechanism, against which there exists an unequivocal legal opinion, sources said.

 

 

 

  1. A joint conference involves picking three countries each from the the UNGA and the UNSC, which would choose a candidate on whom UNGA and Security Council vote. It was used only once, in 1921, before the establishment of the UN, when Deputy Judges for the Permanent Court of International Justice were selected.

 

 

  1. Britain has argued that there is a deadlock and has reportedly proposed that voting in the Security Council be stopped, which would mean that the UNGA would also have to stop voting. Britain needs nine votes for voting  to be stopped and hopes that the nine Security Council members supporting its candidate so far, will agree.

 

 

  1. Critics had earlier described Britain's move as "dirty politics" which has sent a sense of "uneasiness" among other members of the powerful UN Security Council, many of who are aware of the long-term implications of a move to ignore the voice of the majority of the United Nations General Assembly.

 

 

  1. "Those who talk of bringing the UN and updating it to the 21st Century world cannot look back to the toolkit of 100 years ago and try to take out a tool which has never been used in the history of the UN and perhaps for valid reasons," Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, told diplomats at the UN headquarters, where more than 160 diplomats attended a reception for Judge Bhandari, reflecting the majority India enjoys in the General Assembly.

 

 

  1. The joint conference mechanism has never been used in the entire history of seven decades of the ICJ, sources said. The only time it was used was before the establishment of the UN in 1921, when Deputy Judges for the Permanent Court of International Justice were selected.

 

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PATNA: If any finger or hand is raised against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it should be chopped off - the threat has come from the ruling BJP's top leader in Bihar, Nityanand Rai. Responding to condemnation of his statement, the parliamentarian later dismissed it as a figure of speech.

Mr Rai, an MP from Bihar, was addressing a function in the presence of Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi on Monday when he made the comment while praising the Prime Minister.

Each citizen of the country, he said, should be proud that a "garib ka beta" PM Modi rose from humble beginnings to such heights.

"Unki ore uthne waali ungli ko, uthne waale haath ko...hum sub milke...ya to tod dein, zaroorat pari to kaat dein (Any finger or hand raised towards him, we all should together, either break it or if needed, chop it off)," he thundered, wagging his finger.
Mr Rai is unfazed by criticism of his apparent threat. "Only those who are anti-national and anti-poor will object to the statement. I said PM Modi is the messiah of the poor. Those who raise fingers at the poor and swabhimaani (self-respecting), they are raising it at the Prime Minister. He destroyed corruption, poverty, black money...What I said is a proverb...I mean that there is no space for such forces in the country."

On demands for his apology, the BJP leader said: "If people don't understand, they should try to...If they can't, what can I do? People threaten to bury people...what I said was not as bad as that."

The comment comes close to a huge controversy over a BJP leader in Haryana, Surajpal Amu, announcing a bounty of Rs. 10 crore for the heads of Padmavati actor Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the middle of protests against the film by Rajputs.

 

The BJP has demanded an explanation from Mr Amu, who says he gave the statement as a "Rajput" and not as someone who holds a post in the Bharatiya Janata Party.

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: Actor Kamal Haasan, who is prepping for a political career, on Tuesday weighed in on the controversy over Bollywood movie Padmavati, saying he wanted the head of Deepika Padukone "saved". His tweet was a response to a shocking comment from a Haryana BJP official on Sunday, announcing a 10-crore bounty on the heads of Ms Padukone, who plays the role of the 13th Century Queen, and the director of the film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Politicians, cutting across party lines, have demanded a ban on the Rs. 200-crore film, the release of which, slated for December 1, has already been deferred by its producers.

The tweet from Mr Haasan this evening read:
 

The comment of Surajpal Amu, the BJP's chief media coordinator in Haryana, added to the threats of violence from the Rajput groups, which say the movie distorts history and has portrayed the legendary Rajput queen Padmini in an offensive manner.

The Rajput Karni Sena, which is spearheading the protests across several cities, has said they would punish Deepika Padukone the way Lakhshman punished Ravana's sister Surpanakha in the epic Ramayana - by chopping off her nose. Their shocking comment had also received an endorsement from Mr Amu. Ms Padukone's security has already been scaled up.
Following the BJP's demand for an explanation, Mr Amu said he had made the statement as a "Rajput" and not as the party's officer-bearer. He also added that he firmly stands by his statement.

Mr Hasaan, who recently announced plans to form his own political party, has posted frequent criticisms not only of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK, but also the BJP. Asked about his political leanings, he had said, "My colour is obviously seen over the 40 years I have been working in cinema, definitely it's not saffron".

His tweets against the AIADMK have become sharper over the recent weeks, prompting frequent warnings from various ministers. In August, a minister threatened to sue him when he said everyone has to face corruption in Tamil Nadu.

In response, the actor asked his fans to flood the state's ministers with emails, exposing their experiences of corruption, and dared the government to arrest everyone.

 

 

 

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New Delhi: The release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's historical drama "Padmavati" has been "voluntarily" deferred from its scheduled date of December 1, a spokesperson for the film's producer and distributor Viacom18 Motion Pictures said on Sunday.

"Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind 'Padmavati', has voluntarily deferred the release date of the film from December 1, 2017," the company spokesperson said in a statement.

 

The film has been mired in controversy over conjectures that it "distorts history" regarding Rajput queen Padmavati, a contention that Bhansali has repeatedly denied.

Some Hindu groups have been protesting against the movie's release while some political outfits have demanded that its release be deferred in view of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

The makers have also not got a clearance yet from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which said the application from the makers was "incomplete".

A new release date will be announced once the "requisite clearances" are in place.

"We are a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and have the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all our institutions and statutory bodies including the CBFC.

"We always have and are committed to continue following the established procedure and convention. We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film.

"We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course," the statement added.

On Saturday, CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi had expressed disappointment over the film being screened for some journalists, who said there was nothing in it to hurt anyone's sentiments.

The makers have described "Padmavati" as "a beautiful cinematic masterpiece that captures Rajput valour, dignity and tradition in all its glory".

"The film is an eloquent portrayal of a tale that will fill every Indian with pride and showcase our country's storytelling prowess across the globe," the spokesperson added.

"Padmavati" features Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: With just three weeks to go for the Gujarat elections, the Congress said it has arrived at an understanding with Hardik Patel, who is leading the politically crucial Patidar community's agitation for reservation in government jobs and education. While the two sides have come to a consensus on the reservation formula, the formal announcement on support will be made by the 24-year-old Patidar leader at a meeting in Rajkot on Monday, the Congress said. Hardik Patel did not attend the meeting.

The Congress's first list of 77 candidates announced on Sunday night featured 19 members of the Patidar community including Lalit Vasoya, a close aide of Hardik Patel.

Earlier, after an hour meeting, Mr Patel's group, the PAAS or Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, refused to divulge details. The Congress is making a big effort to capture power in the state, which has been ruled by the BJP for 22 years and support from the Patidar community, staunch BJP supporters for decades, is a crucial step.

 

Hardik Patel has made it clear that the BJP's lack of support to their demands will cost it during the elections. But sources in the Congress had suggested that its demand for 20 assembly seats from where it wanted its supporters to be fielded in next month's assembly election, is too steep a price for its support.

Giving too many seats to Hardik Patel's nominees for their support is likely to antagonise local leaders of the Congress, which has already lost a section of its leaders following the rebellion of its last state chief Shankersinh Vaghela.
After this evening's meeting, Bharatsinh Solanki, the Gujarat chief of Congress said Mr Patel's group has made no demand. "PAAS has made no demand for seats, neither did Alpesh Thakur or Jignesh Mewani," he said. "Anyone who is willing to work for states welfare will be given tickets," he, however, added.

Senior PAAS leader Dinesh Bhambhania said that all the queries raised by his organisation last time have been "by and large" cleared by the Congress. "But any decision on formally accepting it will be taken by Hardik and announcement made by him only,'' he told the media.

The last date for filing nominations for the first phase of the assembly elections is Tuesday.

Hardik Patel has made his support to the Congress conditional - he wants Patidars brought under the 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes. Over the weeks, the young leader has delivered many ultimatums which he later cancelled.

 

 

 

 

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NEW DELHI:  The vitriol over Bollywood film Padmavati went up a notch as a BJP office bearer from Haryana said he would double the bounty on the heads of actor Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to Rs. 10 crore. Surajpal Amu, the party's chief media coordinator who made the announcement, also threatened to "break the legs" of Ranveer Singh, who plays the role of Alauddin Khilji, the Delhi Sultan obsessed about the legendary 13th Century Queen of Chittor.

Asking his cheering audience if a Rs. 10 crore bounty cannot be offered instead of the 5 crore offered by a man from Meerut, he was quick to add a disclaimer. "We do not want to take law into our hands", but if someone "raises an eye at our sisters and daughters," they will be punished, he said in the speech peppered with threats and inflammatory comments.

Questioning how the film has been funded, he even said, "Sanjay Leela Bhansali is not worth Rs. 3 crore - where did he get Rs. 300 crore? Modi-ji you have to speak."

 

The release of the film was "voluntarily" deferred today by its producers following extensive protests, vandalism and threats. But it has not placated the protesters, who demand a complete ban. "Vasundhara-ji says there will have to be cuts in the film. Forget that, we will not let this film run," Mr Amu declared.

 

The film has run into trouble since shooting started. Alleging that it invented a romantic angle between Padmini and Alauddin Khilji, politically influential Rajput groups have been on the warpath. Film  sets have been wrecked in two cities, movie ticket windows smashed, shops vandalized and the fort of Chittor shut to visitors.

A leader of the Rajput group Karni Sena, which has been spearheading the protests, even said they would punish Deepika Padukone the way Lakhshman punished Ravana's sister Surpanakha in the epic Ramayana - by chopping off her nose.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan -- whose government has been accused of inaction against the protesters - wrote to Union minister Smriti Irani yesterday. The film, she said, should be put on hold to allow time discussion and removal of controversial portions.

The Uttar Pradesh government, led by Yogi Adityanath, has said it anticipates law and order disruption upon the film's release. In Gujarat, the ruling BJP has asked the Election Commission to defer the release of the film till after the elections, which would be held next month.

The Central Board of Film Certification, popularly called the censor board, withheld the movie's clearance last week, saying its paperwork was incomplete.

 

 

 

 

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New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, who has been prepping for his promotion as Congress President, could take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi as the top boss of the party before the Gujarat assembly elections. The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, is meeting on Monday to decide on the timeline for the party president's election but this may just be a formality.

Mr Gandhi is expected to be elevated unopposed like his mother has been for the last 17 years.

The schedule for the next party president's election shall nevertheless be finalised by the party's 25-odd top leaders at the closed-door meeting of the CWC chaired by Mrs Gandhi at 10.30 am. It is expected to be one of the last CWC meetings that she would head.

The party has to complete the organisational elections before December 31, the extended deadline set by the Election Commission.

The party's central election authority has suggested letting aspirants apply from next week and keep December 1 as the last date for filing nominations. An election, if required, would be conducted on December 8, just a day before the first phase of polling for the Gujarat assembly elections.
"If only one nomination is filed, it will be announced on date of withdrawal of nominations that he is the president since there is no other nomination," Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters on Saturday.

That means the Congress could, in all likelihood, have a new president by December 1 or thereabouts.

Mrs Gandhi had last month told news channel NDTV that son Rahul's elevation was going to happen soon.

Sonia Gandhi, 70, has served as the Congress chief since 1998 and is already the longest-serving president of the party. In recent years, she has been keeping unwell and scaled back her public engagements, pushing to the fore Rahul Gandhi. She has travelled more than once to the US for treatment.

Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the party's vice president in January 2013 and has since then, operated as the party's number 2. In November last year, the CWC had discussed Mr Gandhi's elevation and expressed their "unanimous and strong sentiments" for his promotion.

 

 

 

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BANDIPORA: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders and the nephew of the Mumbai terror attacks plotter Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi were among the six terrorists killed in a massive operation carried out by security forces in north Kashmir's Bandipora district on Saturday evening, a senior police officer said.

An Air Force commando, who was part of the joint team, however, lost his life in the operation. Another soldier is reported to be injured.

"All of the terrorists neutralised today were Pakistanis," Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid said, calling the encounter "a huge success" for security forces.

Around 170 terrorists have been killed in gunfights with security forces this year.

One of the six was Owaid, nephew of Lashkar's operations commander and plotter of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Owaid is also the son of Abdul Rehman Makki, the second-in-command of terror outfit Jamat-ud-Dawah. Makki is Hafiz Saeed's second in command of the terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa which claims to be a social and welfare outfit. Saeed is also the co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Two Lashkar commanders -- Zargam and Mehmood Bye -- were also eliminated in this operation.

Troopers of the army's Rashtriya Rifles, the state police's anti-terror squad and the Central Reserve Police Force had surrounded Chandergeer village in Bandipora district's Hajin area, following specific information about the presence of terrorists there.

It is a big setback for the terrorists, a senior police officer said, pointing that the same area had witnessed a series of attacks on security forces by terrorists. It was also in this neighbourhood that two soldiers from the Air Force's commando squad, Garud, had lost their lives last month.

The Air Force had recently started attaching its Garud commandos with the army in Kashmir to give them "live situation training".

On Saturday, army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said as the cordon around the hiding terrorists was tightened, they fired at the security forces triggering an encounter.

 

 

 

 

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NEW DELHI:  Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan, the epicentre of protests against the Deepika Padukone-starrer movie Padmavati, on Saturday broke her silence on the movie. In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Ms Raje asked that the Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film be put on hold and a special panel of historians, filmmakers and community' members offended by the movie can discuss the film and its storyline. Members of the Rajput Karni Sena and other fringe groups, which has been at the forefront of the protests, had also threatened to harm Ms Padukone.

 

 

  1. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, whose government has been accused of going soft on protesters despite instances of vandalism, has told the Union Minister that the film should not be released till necessary changes are made to ensure that it does not hurt sentiments of any community.

 

 

 

  1. Ms Raje is the second Chief Minister after Uttar Pradesh's Yogi Adityanath to ask the centre to push back release of the movie. Both had cited disruption of law and order as one of the grounds for delaying release of the film.

 

 

 

  1. Film producers have the right to make movies according to their understanding but fundamental rights too can be curbed on grounds of law and order, morality and hurting public sentiment, Ms Raje said.

 

 

 

 

  1. Actor and social activist Shabana Azmi had spoken out against the threats, ostensibly by fringe groups that she said appeared to have the patronage of the ruling party. She asked the film industry to unite and boycott the Goa film festival in retaliation. Ms Azmi had also raised questions about the Censor Board returning the film because of gaps in the application form.

 

 

 

  1. In his defence, Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi said film makers too had conceded that their paper work wasn't complete. They hadn't even specified if Padmavati is work of fiction or based a historical fact.

 

 

 

  1. Leaders of the Karni Sena have escalated the protests in recent days. Yesterday, they had forced shut the entrance of Chittorgarh Fort. Today, that protest spread to Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajsamand district.

 

 

 

 

  1. The protesters say Padmavati wrongly implies a romantic relationship between the queen and Emperor Alauddin Khilji, the all-powerful Delhi Sultan. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has repeatedly denied the allegation and released a video clarifying that his film does not distort history.

 

 

 

  1. Union Minister Uma Bharti had also asked actors to steer clear of the controversy. "The director and his associate as the scriptwriter of #Padmavati are responsible for its story. They should have taken care of the sentiments and the historical facts," she tweeted this week.

 

 

 

  1. On Saturday, Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot too waded into the controversy, demanding that the censor board cut the "objectionable" scenes. History is distorted to enact filmy scenes which should be taken seriously by the censor board," he said.

 

 

 

 

  1. In neighbouring Gujarat that goes to polls next month, the ruling BJP has asked election commission to defer the release till after the state elections. The opposition Congress has said if there is actually "distortion of history" in the movie then it should not be released at all.

 

 

 

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New Delhi:  India and China today held their first meeting on the border consultation and coordination mechanism here after the Doklam standoff and reviewed the situation in all the sectors of their border and exchanged views on enhancing CBMs and military contacts.

The 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held in Beijing, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said.

The WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.

 

It was established to deal with the tensions over recurring border incursions as well as to exchange views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between the border security personnel.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.

Today's talks were held in a constructive and forward- looking manner, the release said.

 

Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations, it said.

The two sides also exchanged views on further confidence building measures (CBMs) and strengthening of military-to- military contacts, it said.

The talks between the delegations headed by Pranay Verma, Joint Secretary (East Asia), Ministry of External Affairs and Xiao Qian, Director General, Department of Asian Affairs, were the first such dialogue between the two countries after the 72-day-long standoff at Dokalam in the Sikkim section.

The standoff which began in mid-June ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India's Chicken Neck corridor. India objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by the Chinese troops in the area also claimed by Bhutan.

 

This is the first round of talks between the two countries after Chinese President Xi Jinping began his second five-year term as the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China last month.

Today's talks took place ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's planned to visit to India to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting expected to be held in New Delhi next month.

Chinese officials earlier said Wang is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj as well as top Indian leaders.

The contentious issues bedeviling both the countries, including the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as Beijing's veto blocking UN listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist are expected to be discussed during Wang's talks with Indian leaders.

Ahead of the talks, Chinese officials have expressed optimism that differences over the listing of Masood Azhar by China in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council may be resolved soon. China has blocked India's application last year and vetoed a similar resolution sponsored by the US, the UK and France twice this year.

Also the 20th round of India-China border talks headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, who are the designated Special Representatives, are expected to be held in New Delhi next month.

The dates for both RIC and border talks are yet to be announced.

The Special Representatives were also mandated to discuss all issues related to India-China relations.

The delegations at today's talks comprised of diplomatic and military officials from each side.

The two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the WMCC at a mutually convenient time, the release said.

 

 

 

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