India is in advanced talks with Sri Lanka to operate an airport on the southern tip of the island, where China has invested heavily as part of its Belt and Road initiative, a Sri Lankan minister said.
Assembly elections will be held in Himachal Pradesh on November 9 this year and votes will be counted on December 18, the Election Commission said today. It has not yet announced dates for assembly elections in Gujarat, but said that they would be held before December 18.
Chief Election Commissioner AK Jyoti said a model code of conduct, a set of dos and don'ts for political parties for their election campaign, will be effective today.
He said Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs with the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system will be used for the Himachal Pradesh election.
Himachal Pradesh has 68 assembly seats. The Congress had won 36 seats and the BJP 27 in the last assembly elections. Independent candidates had won five seats.
"Polling in Gujarat will take place before December 18 (counting day for Himachal) so that in no way the result of Himachal can affect the voting in Gujarat," the Chief Election Commissioner said. "We will, in a few days, announce the dates for Gujarat election, but I can say for sure that voting in Gujarat will happen before December 18."
The official said the reason the voting date for Himachal was fixed for November (resulting in a large gap with counting of votes) is due to the consideration of weather. "Himachal might get very heavy snowfall and severe weather from mid-November... so keeping that in mind, we are holding votes on November 9."
There were nearly 300 people packed into the tiny courtroom where dentist couple Nupur and Rajesh Talwar were waiting to find out if they would spend their lives in prison after being accused of murdering their teen daughter, Aarushi, and domestic help Hemraj.
The judges of the Allahabad High Court arrived at 2.40 pm. It took them 10 minutes to read out the verdict which acquits the Talwars of the double murder at their home in Noida near Delhi in 2008.
They were in jail when the verdict was announced.
The Talwars had been found guilty by a lower court in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison. The CBI had sought the death penalty for them.
The judges today said that the Talwars were given the benefit of the doubt and that there was "no irresistible conclusion that accused did the murders" which means the CBI failed to provide enough evidence against the couple. Their earlier conviction was based on circumstantial evidence.
Aarushi Talwar, a teen just days away from turning 14, was found with her throat slit in her bed in her home. Hemraj, the family's Nepali help, was at first the main suspect, but next day his body was found on the roof of the apartment building where the Talwars lived.
The CBI said in 2010 that it did not have evidence against the Talwars and wanted to close the case as unsolved, though it also said that it believed Rajesh Talwar had killed his daughter. However, a CBI court said the case could not be shut.
The investigation has been marked by a series of lapses including the mishandling of evidence and allowing reporters to access the crime scene when Hemraj's corpse was found.
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