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Al Qaeda operative arrested from Haryana

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The Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested an Al Qaeda operative from Haryana who was trained in Pakistan in its ongoing operation against the terror outfit as this year’s Republic Day Parade faces a “real threat” from the terror group ISIS.

A 32-year-old  Abdul Sami hails from Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur city. He allegedly belongs to Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

According to the Delhi Police, Sami was allegedly in contact with Abdul Rehman – another AQIS member who was arrested in Odisha last year.

Sami travelled to Dubai from where he went to Mansehra in Pakistan to train and returned to India in 2015.

“The accused, Abdul Sami, was arrested by Delhi Police’s Special Cell from Nuh town in Mewat yesterday. He was brought here and produced before a court which remanded him in police custody till February 1,” Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Arvind Deep said today.

Abdul was allegedly mentored by Abdul Rahman, a madrassa cleric who was arrested from Jagatpur area of Cuttack in Odisha, in December by a Special Cell team, said a senior police official.

Rahman’s arrest was the second in the ongoing operation.

The  police have identified three persons whom Rahman had inducted in al Qaeda’s module in the Indian sub-continent (AQIS) and sent for training.The other two  identified as Abu Sufian and Umar Hyderabadi — are still believed to be in Pakistan, said the official.

He further said, Sami left for Dubai in January 2014, he stayed there for a month before moving to Karachi. From there, he went to Mansehra, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, where he received training in handling AK 47 and light machine guns.

Sami’s movements were being coordinated by a handler, identified as Yusuf, from Pakistan.

During interrogation, it had earlier emerged that Yusuf was also in touch with Mohammed Asif, who is believed to be one of the founding members and the head (amir) of AQIS’s motivation, recruitment and training wing and Abdul Rahman, the official said.

Asif’s was the first arrest in the operation. He was nabbed from Seelampur in northeast Delhi, followed by the arrests of Rahman and alleged financier of the module, Zafar Masood, arrested from mohalla Deepa Sarai in UP’s Sambhal district in December 2015.

Business

Over 50% luxury homes launched in last 3 years stays unsold

In the Rs 3-5 crore price bracket, 56 per cent of the 8,503 units launched during this period are awaiting buyers.

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New Delhi, April 7 : Demand for luxury homes stays muted as more than half of the high-end units launched in the past three years in over nine prime Indian residential markets have remain unsold, according to a report by PropTiger.com.

The data, available with Elara Technologies-owned real estate portal, shows of the 1,131 housing units, priced over Rs 7 crore and launched between December 2016 and December 2019, 577 units or 51 per cent were unsold as of January 2020.

Similarly, of the 3,656 units, priced between Rs 5 crore and Rs 7 crore and launched in the past three years, nearly 55 per cent are unsold.

In the Rs 3-5 crore price bracket, 56 per cent of the 8,503 units launched during this period are awaiting buyers.

According to PropTiger.com report, Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has the highest number of unsold luxury units at 30,015, followed by Hyderabad (8,554) and Bengaluru (5,794).

Compared with 2017, new launches in the luxury segment declined in the most price brackets across the nine markets.

“In the Rs 1-3 crore price bracket, for example, 29,775 units were launched in 2019 against 29,996 homes in 2018. In the Rs 5-7 crore price bracket, only 859 units were launched last year against 1,536 homes in 2018,” it said.

Similarly, in the Rs 7 crore plus range, only 34 units were launched in 2019 against 542 homes in 2018. However, in the Rs 3-5 crore bracket, new launches increased from 2,675 in 2018 to 3,092 last year.

The study covered cities like Ahmedabad, including Gandhinagar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram (including Bhiwadi, Dharuhera and Sohna), Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (including Navi Mumbai and Thane), Pune and Noida (including Greater Noida, Noida Extension and Yamuna Expressway).

“The demand for luxury homes fell post-demonetisation, and the trend has not changed much. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to further impact demand across the residential realty sector in the first half of FY21, including luxury housing,” said Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, PropTiger.com.

He, however, expects renewed interest from NRIs in the luxury housing segment if the value of the Indian rupee continues to fall.

“The Indian currency recently fell beyond Rs 77 against the US dollar. This puts NRI homebuyers in an advantageous position as they would find buying luxury homes a relatively more attractive investment option than before,” he said.

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Disaster

Covid19: Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, April 7 : A day after her telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister on the fight against Covid-19, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting five measures to curb government “expenditure” and to divert money in fighting the deadly virus.

Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi #Covid19

🔴 Suspend all govt, PSU ads

🔴 Suspend Central Vista project

🔴 30% reduction in Expenditure Budget (not salaries) to use as economic safety net

🔴 Put all foreign visits on hold

🔴 Transfer money from PM CARES to PMNRF

Sonia Gandhi in her letter suggested to Scrap Central Vista project of approximately Rs 20000 crore, suspension of government advertisements and foreign visits of ministers and other dignitaries, and asked to divert the money to PMNRF from PM-CARES fund.

Sonia Gandhi in her letter wrote to convey her support to the decision taken by the Union Cabinet to reduce salaries for Members of Parliament by 30 per cent. Austerity measures which can be used to divert much needed funds to the fight against Covid-19 are the need of the hour, she said.

“In this spirit, I am writing to offer five concrete suggestions. I am certain you will find value in them.”

The first suggestion Sonia Gandhi made was to impose a complete ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the Government and Public Sectors Undertakings (PSUs) for a period of two years.

“The only exceptions should be advisories for Covid-19 or for issues relating to public health. Given that the Central Government currently spends an average of Rs 1250 crore per year on media advertisements (not including an equal or greater amount spent by PSUs and Government companies), this will free up a substantial amount to alleviate the economic and social impacts of Covid-19.” wrote Sonia Gandhi

The Congress President suggested to suspend Rs 20,000 crore ‘Central Vista’ beautification and construction project forthwith. “At a time like this, such an outlay seems self-indulgent to say the least. I am certain that Parliament can function comfortably within the existing historical building and this sum could instead be allocated towards constructing new hospital infrastructure and diagnostics along with equipping our frontline workers with Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and better facilities.”

Proportionate reduction of 30 per cent in the expenditure budget (other than Salaries, Pensions and Central Sector Schemes) should be done for the Government of India as well. This 30 per cent (i.e. Rs 2.5 lakh crore per year approximately) can then be allocated towards establishing an economic safety net for migrant workers, labourers, farmers, MSMEs and those in the unorganised sector, wrote Sonia Gandhi

“All foreign visits including that of the President, the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, State Ministers and Bureaucrats must be put on hold in a similar fashion,” she said.

The Exceptions can be made in case of special emergency or exigencies in national interest to be cleared by the PM. This amount (which is around Rs 393 crore for just the Prime Minister and Union Cabinet’s trips in the last five years) can be utilised extensively in measures to combat Covid-19, Sonia Gandhi added.

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

“This will ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and audit in the manner in which these funds are allocated and spent. It seems like a waste of effort and resources to have and create two separate silos for the distribution of funds. I understand that Rs 3800 crore approximately are lying unutilised in the PM-NRF (at the end of FY2019). These funds, plus the amount in ‘PM-Cares’, can be utilised to ensure an immediate food security net for those at the very margins of society.” wrote Sonia Gandhi.

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India

Kapil Sibal to PM Modi: You gave in to Trump’s threats

On Saturday, India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the country manufactures in large quantities.

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Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, April 7 : Congress leader Kapil Sibal has slammed the Prime Minister for lifting temporary ban on hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol which are presumed as preventive life saving drug for front line workers against COVID-19.

Kapil Sibal said “Modiji :UPA remembers your advice on Chinese intrusions . You said Look them in the eye. But this was time to look Trump in the eye. But he threatened, you gave in. Where is the 56 inch chest ?” tweeted Sibal.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, party leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jaiveer Shergill on Tuesday slammed US President Donald Trump’s alleged threat to retaliate in case India did not supply a drug requested for by Trump to fight coronavirus.

Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said: “Never in my decades of experience in world affairs have I heard of a Head of State or government openly threatening another like this.”

“What makes Indian hydroxychloroquine ‘our supply’, Mr President? It only becomes your supply when India decides to sell it to you,” said Tharoor.

Trump called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and allegedly said that the US could “retaliate” if India did not release drug that he termed “game-changer” in the fight against Covid-19. On Saturday, India had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which the country manufactures in large quantities.

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