Top news of the day: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 complications; Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 4 others get life term in 19-yr-old murder case, and more

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 complications

Colin Powell, the first black United States’ Secretary of State and top military officer, died on Monday at the age of 84 from COVID-19 complications, his family said in a statement. “He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” Mr. Powell’s family said in a post on his Facebook page.

Also read: Coronavirus updates | October 18, 2021

J&K recent attacks reveal terror outfits’ new strategy

The latest spate of attacks in Jammu and Kashmir is a part of the terror outfits’ new strategy to derail the measures being taken by the government to promote industrial development and extend domicile status to various categories of people, making them eligible for jobs and other benefits, according to the National Investigation Agency findings.

Lakhimpur Kheri violence | Farmers block trains in Punjab, Haryana

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana squatted on rail tracks on Monday morning as part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha's six-hour 'rail roko' protest demanding the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

Kerala rains | Live updates | October 18, 2021

The death toll in rain-related incidents in Kerala rose to 27 on October 17, with the recovery of more bodies from the landslip-ravaged areas of Kottayam and Idukki districts. While the government agencies are yet to complete assessment of the total losses, preliminary reports suggested that houses located within a two-kilometre stretch on the banks of the Pullakayar river were destroyed with the water level rising upto 15 feet.

In pictures | Heavy rain and landslides over southern Kerala | Couple braves Kerala floods to get married

A Congress leader vilified Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at CWC meet: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday accused the Congress of having “sinned” after news reports surfaced that a leader at the recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting made critical remarks about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on Jammu and Kashmir.

Sri Lanka's first Test captain Bandula Warnapura dies at 68

Sri Lanka's first-ever Test cricket captain Bandula Warnapura died at the age of 68 on Monday. Warnapura had his right leg amputated earlier this month after being diagnosed with high sugar levels, which hindered his blood circulation, according to local media reports.

‘Rail roko’ affects 130 locations in Northern Railway zone, hinder running of 50 trains

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) six-hour ‘rail roko’ protest on Monday over the Lakhimpur violence affected 130 locations in the Northern Railway zone and hindered the running of 50 trains, said its chief public relation officer (CPRO).

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 4 others get life term in 19-year-old murder case

A special CBI court on Monday sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and four others to life imprisonment in the 19-year-old murder case of sect manager Ranjit Singh. The court in Panchkula had convicted Ram Rahim and four others — Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Avtar Singh and Sabdil — in the murder case on October 8.

Protesters disrupt flame lighting for the Beijing Winter Games

Three activists protesting the human rights abuses in China broke into the archaeological site where the flame lighting ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was being held on Monday and ran toward the Temple of Hera holding a banner that read “No genocide games.”

Mumbai lost 40% green cover between 1991 and 2018

Mumbai lost 81% of its open land (barren spaces without any vegetation), 40% green cover (forests & scrublands) and approximately 30% of its water bodies (lakes, ponds, floodplains) between 1991 and 2018, while the built-up area (areas developed upon) rose by 66% in the same period, says a recent study. It concludes that the city witnessed a 2-degree Celsius average temperature rise across 27 years.

Myanmar junta leader blames opponents for prolonging unrest

Myanmar's junta chief on Monday, October 18 2021 said that the ruling military was committed to peace and democracy, and that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should consider the provocations and violence being carried out by its opponents. In his first comments since Myanmar's neighbours decided to exclude him from an upcoming ASEAN summit over a lack of commitment to its five-point roadmap, Min Aung Hlaing reiterated the junta's own five-stage plan to restore democracy.

Also read: News Analysis | With Myanmar’s military coup, the tightrope between idealism and realpolitik returns for New Delhi

Jaishankar unveils plaque at ‘Bhoodan Grove’ in Israel

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday unveiled the “Bhoodan Grove” plaque at the Jerusalem Forest, bringing out lesser-known aspects of Indo-Israel relations before the establishment of full-fledged diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Delhi govt. launches online registration for e-auto permits with 33% reservation for women

The Delhi government launched online registration for e-auto permits with 33% reservation for women on Monday, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said. In the first phase, 4,261 e-auto permits, including 1,406 for women applicants, will be issued. Those eligible can apply through the website of the Delhi government's transport department, he said.

DVAC books former TN Health Minister C.Vijayabaskar in a disproportionate assets case

Officials of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) launched simulatenous searches at the houses of former Health Minister C.Vijayabaskar and his relatives in Pudukottai and other places in the State on Monday, October 18, 2021 after booking a disproportionate assets case against him and his wife.

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