Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Vishnu, and these are the major news stories of the day:
1. Salman Rushdie taken off ventilator, can speak, say reports
2. Kerala Governor condemns KT Jaleel's controversial Kashmir remark
3. CBI to end probe against Hibi Eden over complaint of solar-scam accused
4. Stipulated National Highways resurfacing once in five years rarely followed in Kerala
5. Indian billionaire, Akasa Air promoter Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dies at 62
Let's get into the details:
1. Writer Salman Rushdie was taken off the ventilator and managed to talk on Saturday, said reports, a day after he was stabbed as he prepared to give a lecture in upstate New York.
Rushdie remained hospitalised with serious injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted in the evening that he was "off the ventilator and talking and joking." Rushdie's agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed the same without offering further details.
Earlier in the day, Hadi Matar, the man accused of attacking him on Friday at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat centre, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called a "preplanned" crime.
Rushdie suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, Wylie said on Friday evening. He is likely to lose sight in the injured eye.
The attack was met with shock and outrage from much of the world, along with tributes and praise for the award-winning author who for more than 30 years has faced death threats for blasphemous passages in his book "The Satanic Verses".
Authors, activists and government officials cited Rushdie's courage and longtime advocacy of free speech despite the risks to his own safety.
2. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Sunday said he could never accept former Minister KT Jaleel's controversial "Azad Kashmir" remark.
Terming his reference unfortunate, Khan wondered whether it was intentional or came out of ignorance. He also said it was not the time to discuss such disgraceful opinions, but the time to celebrate India's democracy.
Khan was speaking to the media after participating in the parade at the Army Camp at Pangode in Thiruvananthapuram.
The former State Minister had triggered a row on Friday by terming Jammu and Kashmir as ‘India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir’ and referring to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir' as 'Azad Kashmir'. Defending himself, Jaleel said he had written Azad Kashmir in double inverted commas. In other words, Jaleel implied it was not his view.
The controversial references were in a relatively long post elaborating on the socio-political and historical aspects of Jammu and Kashmir.
While the BJP and Congress made scathing attacks on Jaleel and the CPM, the party's state secretariat member MV Govindan made it clear that the statement made by Jaleel on Kashmir was not the CPM's view. Jaleel withdrew his Facebook post after the controversy erupted.
3. The Central Bureau of Investigation is all set to end its probe against Hibi Eden, MP, over a sexual assault case filed by a woman entrepreneur involved in the sensational solar scam years ago. The central probe agency failed to make any headway as no evidence was forthcoming, it's learnt. The complainant too failed to submit proof to substantiate her allegation.
The woman complainant had accused Hibi of sexually exploiting her at his room in the Nila Block of the MLA Hostel in Thiruvanathapuram. She alleged the incident took place in 2012. She has raised similar complaints against five other Congress leaders including former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.
Besides Chandy, Venugopal, and Hibi Eden, Adoor Prakash, MP, former minister A P Anil Kumar, and BJP leader A P Abdulla Kutty are the accused in six different cases registered over the sexual abuse charge.
4. The poor condition of both National and State Highways in Kerala has become a contentious topic of late with the Central and State governments indulging in a blame game and the opposition too butting in to score brownie points. It has come to light that regular maintenance of the highways is not done as stipulated and their condition worsens especially during the rainy season.
Even as the contract provides for carrying out road resurfacing work once every five years across all National Highway stretches where tolls are collected, it is blatantly ignored in Kerala.
As per the contract, the relaying of road surfaces every 5 years is besides the regular repair works.
In the event of such a contract violation, authorities should direct those concerned to halt toll collection. However, that is not the case. For instance, the toll collection at Paliyekkara along the Thrissur-Angamaly stretch of NH-544 was started on February 2, 2012. However, road resurfacing works have not been done here even once. As per the contract, relaying works should have been carried out at least twice during this period.
5. Indian billionaire stock investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, known as "India's Warren Buffett", passed away on Sunday. He was 62.
Jhunjhunwala died due to a cardiac arrest, a source in his newly set up airline Akasa Air said. He had not been keeping well for the last few months because of a kidney ailment. He was seen on a wheelchair at recent public events.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
A trader, investor and entrepreneur, Jhunjhunwala, was known as the 'Big Bull of Dalal Street' for his successful investments in stock market. With an estimated net worth of around Rs 46,000 crore, Jhunjhunwala was the 36th richest billionaire in India, according to Forbes' 2021 listing. The Chartered Accountant managed his own portfolio as a partner in his asset management firm, Rare Enterprises.
Born on July 5, 1960 in a Rajasthani family, Jhunjhunwala grew up in Bombay, where his father worked as a Commissioner of Income Tax. He graduated from Sydenham College and thereafter enrolled at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
He had investments in more than three dozen companies, the most valuable being watch and jewellery maker Titan, part of the Tata conglomerate. His portfolio included companies like Star Health, Rallis India, Escorts, Canara Bank, Indian Hotels Company, Agro Tech Foods, Nazara Technologies and Tata Motors.
He was also the chairman of Hungama Media and Aptech and sat on the board of directors of firms such as Viceroy Hotels, Concord Biotech, Provogue India and Geojit Financial Services.
His 5.05 per cent holding in Titan alone is worth over Rs 11,000 crore.
He recently teamed up with ex-Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube and former IndiGo head Aditya Ghosh to launch Akasa Air -- India's newest budget carrier. The airline began commercial operations this month with its maiden flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.
We wish you a memorable Independence Day! Jai Hind!