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Live! Guj to give Rs 3 crore more to U'khand disaster victims

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June 24, 2013

23:49  Berlusconi sentenced to jail in sex trial:  
An Italian court today sentenced Silvio Berlusconi to seven years in jail and banned the former premier from public office after convicting him of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power. 

The judges handed down a sentence that went beyond the request of prosecutors, who had called for the 76-year-old billionaire to serve six years. 

The sentence is "completely illogical. The judges even went beyond the prosecutors' request," Berlusconi's lawyer Niccolo Ghedini told journalists after the verdict was read out.

A small group of protesters cheered and applauded outside the courtroom, and sang the national anthem. 

The verdict brings to a climax a two-year trial which sparked a media frenzy amid allegations of strippers dressed as nuns and erotic party games with topless girls. 

The sentence will be suspended until all appeals have been exhausted, a process likely to take years.

Berlusconi's age also means he is unlikely to ever see the inside of a prison cell because of lenient sentencing guidelines in Italy for people over the age of 70. 
22:45  Live! Guj to give Rs 3 crore more to U'khand disaster victims:   The Gujarat government today announced a fresh relief of Rs 3 crore from Chief Minister's Relief Fund in addition to Rs 2 crore announced last week for victims of Uttarakhand disaster.

The decision was taken at a high-level disaster management meeting chaired by Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Last week, the Gujarat government had announced Rs 2 crore for the relief of those who were stranded in Uttarakhand after heavy rains, landslides and cloudbursts wrecked havoc there.

In today's meeting, held to take stock of the latest situation and chalk out plans for assisting those trapped there, a decision to grant Rs 2 lakh as compensation to the kin of those who had lost their lives in Uttarakhand was also taken, an official press release issued here said.
20:06  Omar says attacks won't demoralise forces:  

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today condemned the militant attack on an army convoy here, saying such strikes would not demoralise the security forces.        


Immediately after the attack in which five army men were killed, the Chief Minister spoke to the Corps Commander of 15th Corps, Lt Gen G Singh, and expressed his condolences at the loss of lives.      


"Such high-profile attacks are aimed at restoring the shattered morale of militants while trying to demoralise the security forces," he said.           However, such strikes would not lower the morale of the security forces who have had great success in the past against militant groups, Omar said.

20:04  Rescue mission to be on till last survivor evacuated: Antony:  

Defence Minister A K Antony today said the armed forces will continue their rescue efforts in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand till the last survivor is brought out safely.    


In a meeting to review the ongoing operations to provide help to the affected people in Uttarakhand, the Defence Minister complimented the IAF and the Army for continuing their missions despite bad weather conditions.    


"Our efforts will continue till the last survivor is rescued to safety," he said at the review meeting attended by the National Security Adviser, the three Services chiefs and top ministry officials.   


The meeting is understood to have discussed briefly role of the armed forces in reconstruction work in the hill state after the relief and rescue operations get over.

20:02  Live! Rahul going to Uttarakhand not as VIP: Cong:  

Downplaying questions over the belated visit of Rahul Gandhi to Uttarakhand, Congress today said it was not necessary that all leaders visit the calamity-hit state together and hamper relief and rescue work.        


The party also hit out at BJP for criticising the state government over the tragedy saying it has become an "obsessive compulsion disorder" of the latter to criticise.        


"Rahul Gandhi is not going there as a VIP. He is going there as a citizen, as the Vice President of Congress to oversee that the relief materials reach in place. Rahul did not say I am a Rambo and I did this and I did that," party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary told reporters as she tried to make a difference between Rahul's visit and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's tour of flood-hit area.        


"There are some people who have it in their habit to publicise everything that do. Had he been able to do this during Godhra, the situation would not have gone to that extent," she said.

19:13  Rescue work to be completed in 2-3 days, assures U'khand CM :  Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today said the remaining stranded people-- numbering about 10,000 -- in the flood-ravaged state are safe and that the mammoth multi-agency evacuation process will be completed in two to three days.    

"Worst is over now. All are safe in Badrinath, Harsil and Gangotri. The army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and National Disaster Response Force
are present there. It will take two to three days to finish the rescue work. Kedarnath valley is almost evacuated," Bahuguna told PTI over phone.   

As the state tries to recover from the floods and landslides triggered by the monsoon rain on June 16, Bahuguna said precautionary measures have been taken  in the wake of the forecast by the weather office that heavy to very heavy rainfall will hit the state over the next three days.   

"There are people stranded in Badrinath and Harsil but they are looked after. Army, ITBP and NDRF are present there.All the arrangements of food and water are made. As soon asthe weather permits, they will be evacuated," he said.    

Bahuguna also said the state did not require helicopters from other states.
19:06  Eight pilgrims from AP killed in Uttarakhand floods:  

Andhra Pradesh government today said that eight pilgrims from the state were killed in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand out of the total 2624 tourists.   


So far, 1500 pilgrims have either returned home or reached the AP Bhavan in New Delhi, a press release from the Chief Minister's Office said this evening.     Another 140 persons were staying in the AP Bhavan. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was on a tour of Visakhapatnam, spoke to his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna over phone and discussed the rescue and relief operations.     


He thanked the Uttarakhand government for extending all possible help to the AP pilgrims.

18:54  Live! All pilgrims from Hemkunt Sahib evacuated:  

All pilgrims stranded at Hemkunt Sahib in flood ravaged Uttarakhand have been safely evacuated, Punjab state government officials said today.        


Punjab Housing and Urban Development secretary A Venu Parsad, who is stationed at Rishikesh to oversee relief and rescue operations of pilgrims from Punjab said, till last night five thousand pilgrims have been safely dispatched to the state.        


Divulging details of rescue operations, DIG Punjab Police Khubi Ram said a fleet of 36 mini buses has been sent from Rishikesh to Joshi Math to bring back the stranded pilgrims.       


Punjab government has set up a base camp at Gurdwara Sahib in Rishikesh, which is 248 km from Joshi Math, Ram said adding that the Punjab Police is setting up its own wireless system at Joshi Math to enhance the communication network.

18:42  VIPs may be denied permission to land in flood-hit U'khand:   Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday advised VIPs not to visit rain-ravaged Uttarakhand saying such visits created difficulties in relief and rescue operations.

"We advise all VIPs not to visit Uttarakhand now. All agencies are engaged in relief and rescue efforts...Such visits hamper their works," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Shinde's advise came on a day when Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was visiting the disaster-hit hill state. The home minister said if any VIP does not listen to the advice he may not be given landing permission in Uttarakhand.
18:08  Nelson Mandela 'still critical in hospital':  BBC reports: Former South African President Nelson Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital, President Jacob Zuma says. Zuma said the doctors were doing everything they could to make the former leader comfortable, but he could not give any more medical details.

Read the full story here
18:04  4 jawans killed, 7 hurt in attack on army convoy in Srinagar:  According to an army spokesperson, four jawans have been killed and seven injured in militant attack on army convoy in Srinagar on eve of PM's visit.
18:02  PM to visit Kashmir despite terror threat:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will go ahead with his visit to Kashmir tomorrow despite the terror attack in Srinagar today. PMO sources said there is no change in the Prime Minister's schedule. Singh will be undertaking a two-day visit along with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to Jammu and Kashmir from tomorrow. During the visit, Singh is expected to announce a package for border areas of the state.
17:58  Harbhajan to donate Rs 10 lakh for Uttarakhand flood victims:   He was a witness to the plight of people affected by the devastating flash flood in Uttarakhand and it is no wonder that cricketer Harbhajan Singh has decided to help the victims in his own small way.

The India international will contribute Rs 10 lakh which will be utilised for the benefit of the victims of the tragedy. "I have decided to contribute Rs 10 lakh. A part of it will be donated to the Prime Minister's relief fund and the remaining part will go to the Punjab government's relief fund," Harbhajan told PTI today.
17:53  40 LS seats enough to make Mulayam next PM, says SP leader:  Exuding confidence that a strong third front would emerge after the Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party general secretary Kiranmoy Nanda said even if his party bagged 40 seats, its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav would become the prime minister. 

A strong third front would emerge after the upcoming general elections, Nanda told party workers in Ballia yesterday. 

The Uttarakhand natural calamity had damaged prospects of the Congress further and it would not get even 100 seats, he said. 

On the other hand, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, head of the BJP's poll campaign committee, alone was enough to sink his party's boat, Nanda said. 

"The NDA is scattered and will not get the support of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," the SP leader said.
17:52  Y security or no, appear before us, Delhi court tells Raj Thackeray:  A Delhi court has asked Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray to appear before it on July 26 in connection with a complaint about his alleged hate speeches against Bihar natives, rejecting his plea for exemption from personal appearance. 

The court rejected Thackeray's plea for exemption on the ground cited by him that since he has been given Y-category security, he is unable to appear before it. 

"This is no ground for exemption. The person has already been provided security and thus he is supposed to appear before the court. Otherwise also, a bailable warrant has been issued against him on January 3, 2009. Exemption plea is dismissed," additional chief metropolitan magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma said.
17:49  Hizb claims responsiblity on attack on army convoy in Srinagar:  CNN-IBN reports: Hizbul Mujahideen claims responsibility for attack on army convoy near Srinagar that claimed the life on two jawans.  
17:35  Cong wants Raja silenced? :  Reports our correspondent from New Delhi: Buzz from the DMK internal politics is that A Raja has fallen from grace of the DMK leadership. With the Congress getting closer to the DMK, the condition put forth by the Congress is that Raja should be silenced from demanding that the prime minister be summoned before JPC probing the 2G spectrum scam.
17:33  Reports our correspondent from New Delhi: Ghulam Nabi Azad is rushing to Chennai on Tuesday to meet Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi to assure him of the five votes of Tamil Nadu Congress MLAs to ensure the victory of his daughter Kanimozhi to the Rajya Sabha. Mukul Wasnik, who was appointed as general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu is new to the DMK politics. Hence, Sonia Gandhi deputed Azad to mollify the DMK chief.
17:33  Reports our correspondent in New Delhi: The joke doing the rounds of the BJP headquarters in New Delhi: Is Rahul Gandhi vice-president of the International Congress Committee as he is a frequent traveller to Sweden, London, Italy and many a times to the Maldives. Incidentally, soon after BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi made a sarcastic comment on the issue during a press conference, Rahul Gandhi rushed back to India and made a special guest appearance at the AICC function to flag off relief supplies to the flood-ravaged state and later rushed to Uttarakhand.
17:32  UPA faces a tough July:  Reports our correspondent in New Delhi: July is likely to be a crisis month for the UPA-2 as the Supreme Court to take up Coalgate on July 10. The Monsoon Session of Parliament to commence from July 22. The government will face the wrath from of the Bharatiya Janata Party for mishandling the Uttrakhand disaster. 
17:22  2 jawans killed in attack on army convoy in Srinagar:   Mukhtar Ahmad reports: Ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to J&K tomorrow, a firing was reported at an army convoy in the Haidarpura area near Srinagar, the police said. Two jawans have been killed when terrorists attacked an army convoy near the Jammu-Muzzafarabad highway, according to a police source.

According to the source, paramilitary reinforcements have been called in.
16:43  Just In: The Uttarakhand government will not allow any other state government to undertake unilateral rescue effort, reports PTI quoting sources. The decision has obviously been taken following Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's blitz into the disaster-hit zone last week.
16:39  Hit-and-run case: Salman to be tried for culpable homicide:  Bollywood Actor Salman Khan's review plea in the 2002 hit-and-run case has been rejected by the Mumbai's sessions court. The actor will be tried for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He has been given a month's time to appear before the court.

If convicted for this charge, Salman faces a 10-year jail term.

One person was killed and four others were injured when an SUV ran over a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.  
16:38  Sensex hits over 2-month low; down 233 pts on selling by FIIs:  After a day's relief, the BSE benchmark Sensex today fell 233.35 points to close at its lowest level in over two months, as foreign funds resumed selling, mainly in realty and consumer durables sector stocks, after rupee fell to near record lows. 

The 30-share index started the day on a weak note at 18,643.68, down over 130 points from Friday's close and fell further to close 233.35 points, or 1.24 per cent lower, at 18,540.89. 

This is its lowest closing level since ending at 18,357.80 on April 15.
16:17  Biden to visit India in July, says Kerry:   United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said US Vice President Joe Biden will visit India in July to continue talks between India and the US. 

He also added that both the countries  have reaffirmed their commitment to full and timely implementation of the civil nuclear deal. 

Kerry said the US "welcomes India's strong leadership on the world stage" and it was looking forward to taking the relationship to "new heights".

He made the comment while addressing a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Delhi.During the fourth India-US Strategic Dialogue, Kerry and Khurshid discussed cooperation in the fields of agriculture, technology and space exploration.

Kerry also defended NSA's spy programme, saying it has avoided terrorist acts and saved lives. He denied that the agency had violated any civil liberties with its actions.

Kerry has said the US will ensure that none of India's concerns on talks with the Taliban are overlooked or undermined, says External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

Kerry distances the US from talks with Taliban. He says Afghanistan's High Peace Council will talk if Taliban agrees to proposed conditions.

16:14  Will Dr Singh announce a J&K package tomorrow?:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to announce a package for border districts of Jammu and Kashmir when he travels there tomorrow along with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on a two-day visit. 

The package will be for development and reconstruction of the border areas, sources said, but refused to reveal details of the "gift". 

Dr Singh and Gandhi will also launch train service on a railway section between Qazigund in Kashmir and Banihal in Jammu region that will provide an all-weather link to the Valley which often gets cut off from rest of the country in the winter season due to heavy snowfall.  
15:31  15,000 still trapped in Uttarakhand: Centre:  The central government on Monday said that while over 8,000 people had been rescued from the flood-ravaged parts of Uttarakhand, 15,000 people were still feared trapped there.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had earlier said that the death toll from the disaster could cross the 1,000 mark.
15:29  BJP '8 ft down' by appointing Modi: Cong :  Slamming the appointment of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as BJP's poll campaign committee chief, Congress MP Francisco Sardinha today said that the saffron party has gone "eight feet down" by making such a move.        

"The Congress is happy. By selecting Narendra Modi as their campaign manager for Lok Sabha polls, the party (BJP) has gone eight feet down," Sardinha quipped while responding to a query by reporters.
15:27  Power generation stalled at Uttarakhand plant:  The state-owned NHPC today said power generation at Dhauliganga power station in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand has been stalled due to heavy damages to the plant and its infrastructure.        

"Due to cloud burst and unprecedented high flood in Uttarakhand, the water has entered into the Dhauliganga power station (280 MW) of NHPC and submerged all the system in the early hours of June 17, last week," the company informed BSE in a filing.
15:25  Delhi Police to donate Rs 1 crore for Uttarakhand victims:  Delhi Police will contribute Rs one crore from its personnel's salaries to Prime Minister's Relief Fund for Uttarakhand flood victims.        

"We have decided to contribute Rs one crore from the salaries of our personnel to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund for those affected by the devastating flash-floods in Uttarakhand," Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said.
15:24  275 TN pilgrims rescued from Ukhand: Govt:  Elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure the safe return of pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, who are stranded in Uttarakhand's calamity-hit Kedarnath and Badarinath, state government officials said today.        

Of the 377 pilgrims from Tamil Nadu who are stranded in the two holy places, 275 travellers were brought to Tamil Nadu House, officials said.        

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has announced that all the travellers from Tamil Nadu, who are stranded in Kedarnath and Badarinath area, will be brought to Dehradun by helicopter and by flight from Delhi to Chennai free of cost.
15:18  Judge opts out of hearing cop's plea in Ishrat case:  A Gujarat high court judge today recused himself from hearing the petition filed by Addl DGP P P Pandey seeking the quashing of an FIR filed against him by the CBI in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case. 

Justice S R Brahmabhatt today decided not to hear the petition filed by Pandey on Friday last on the grounds that in the past, as a lawyer, he had represented Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara, who is also an accused in the case. 

Vanzara, one of the main accused in the 2006 encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, was arrested by the CBI in the Ishrat case on June 4 and has been lodged in Sabarmati central jail here since then. 

The FIR, filed by the CBI in the Ishrat case, alleges that Pandey provided the "so-called crucial intelligence inputs" to the fellow officers which said that Ishrat, a college student, and three others were LeT operatives and were on a mission to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
15:08  A/C stops working at Kerry-Khurshid event!:  Much to the embarrassment of the politicians and bureaucrats present at the venue, an air-conditioner stopped working during the joint press conference by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

One could say that India's energy problem were, quite woefully, exposed.
15:00  Day before LA concert, Justin Bieber falls from stairs:  A day before his concert in Los Angeles, teen pop star Justin Bieber tumbled down the stairs, injuring his neck. 

The 19-year-old 'Baby' hitmaker uploaded a picture of his bruised skin on Instagram, reported Contactmusic

"So I decided I was gonna fall down the stairs. So I did! That's exactly what I did," Bieber joked, posting a video online. 

Writing about the Adidas photo shoot which was due for him to be shot, Bieber wrote, "Why I gotta fall and cut my neck before a photo shoot. Fun."
14:57  NDMA defends reaction to Uttarakhand disaster:  The National Disaster Management Authority, which has been under flak for its tardy response to the massive floods in Uttarakhand, on Monday defended its actions.

NDMA authorities shot down reports about lack of coordination between various agencies, stating that each agency was doing its own job.

"In a disaster of this magnitude, there are bound to be some loopholes," CNN-IBN quoted a NDMA official as saying.
14:27  MiG-29 fighter aircraft crashes near Jamnagar:  A MiG-29 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force has crashed near a village in Jamnagar in Gujarat.

The pilot is reportedly safe.

14:24  Musharraf will be put on trial: Pakistan PM:  Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said former President Pervez Musharraf will be put on trial for treason for subverting the constitution.

Further details are awaited.
14:22  CPM's swipe at Modi: 'Leaders claiming publicity sad':  CPI-M today termed as "very unfortunate and sad" political leaders claiming publicity over relief efforts in flood-devastated Uttarakhand.        

"It is very unfortunate and sad. Relief efforts should not be hampered by such publicity-seeking (by political leaders). Instead, all efforts should be made to mount rescue and relief operations," senior CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters.
14:21  Goa seeks special package for those hit by mining crisis :  A senior Congress leader today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to sanction a financial package for Goa to bail out people hit by the mining crisis.     

"The prime minister has assured Rs 1,000 crore package for flood-ravaged Uttarakhand. It is a natural calamity. The priority should go there. But I hope that the financial package demanded for people affected by the mining industry would also be materialised. I hope the PM will extend some help to us," said Goa MP Francisco Sardinha.
14:20  Murray admits he might never win Wimbledon:  Andy Murray has admitted he may never win Wimbledon, as he prepares for another shot at the title.   

The British tennis ace will be facing Benjamin Becker on Centre Court.   

According to the Sun, the 26-year-old said he has never thought about ending his career and not winning Wimbledon, but added he was comfortable with that. 

The World no. 2 said that he was going to win Wimbledon, and that was his number one priority.
14:18  Rahul Gandhi to visit Uttarakhand:  Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who faced flak from the opposition for his absence at the time of the Uttarakhand disaster, will visit the flood-hit state today.        

Rahul, who along with party chief Sonia Gandhi today flagged off a convoy of trucks carrying relief material, will be visiting the AICC control room set up in Dehradun to monitor the relief work being done by the party.        

He is also expected to meet the victims during his visit, party sources said.
14:16  BCCI announces Rs 1 crore bonanza for cricketers:  The BCCI today announced monetary incentives for the members of the Indian cricket team including the support staff for winning the ICC Champions Trophy. 

Each player in the team will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 crore while the each member of the support staff will be richer by Rs 30 lakh, according to a BCCI media release. 

India won the Champions Trophy final by beating hosts England by five runs in a thrilling encounter at Birmingham yesterday.
13:45  Mass funerals turn Kedarnath into crematorium:  
The Centre has urged the Uttarakhand government to conduct mass cremations at Kedarnath, one of the worst flood-hit regions in Uttarakhand, as the bodies of the victims who died in the disaster have started decomposing.

Uttarakhand authorities are trying to arrange for as much as 50 tonnes of wood and as much volume of desi ghee to conduct the last rites of those who perished in the deluge.        

Officials of the Garhwal administration have asked authorities in the state forest department and other agencies to gather firewood and logs and get cans of ghee from the open market.       

"We want to start the funerals today in Kedarnath provided the weather permits. All concerned authorities have been asked to make arrangements," a senior state government official said.

The state government will put up the photographs and panchnamas on its website of all the victims who will be cremated today.

Click here for the latest information and updates.
13:37  4th India-US strategic dialogue starts in Delhi:  The 4th India-US strategic dialogue meeting began in Delhi today.

The meeting is co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry. 

Kerry arrived in India last evening, accompanied by a high-level delegation, on a three-day visit to India. The visiting dignitary will also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Vikram Kumar Doraiswami, joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs, said this is the first high-political interaction in the second term of the Obama presidency.
13:20  Uttarakhand death toll may cross 1,000: Shinde :  The death toll in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand may cross the reported 1,000 mark after the debris is cleared, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said today.        

"Reports suggest the toll was around 1000, but it could rise after the debris is cleared," he told reporters.        

Shinde said the authorities will now evacuate victims from the temple-town of Badrinath, adding that rains had hindered the rescue operations by helicopters.
13:19  Taliban claims responsibility for killing tourists in Pak:  Banned organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the killing of nine foreign tourists and their guide in Gilgit-Balitistan.   

TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan called The Express Tribune and said the Junud-e-Hafsa -- a faction of the group -- carried out the brutal attack.    

According to the report, the group carried out the attack to avenge US drone attacks and the killing of TTP chief Waliur Rehman Mehsud.    
13:18  Captured Taliban leader helping with peace talks:  Senior Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is currently being held by Pakistani authorities, was instrumental in bringing the militant leadership to the negotiating table, according to a media report.        

Baradar, Mullah Omar's former second-in-command, was captured in Karachi in 2010 by a joint team of CIA and Pakistani intelligence officers. He has been quietly communicating with the Taliban leadership and with US and Afghan officials over the past few months, an unnamed foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
13:15  300-400 people from MP still missing: Minister :  Nearly 300 to 400 people from Madhya Pradesh are still missing in flood-hit Uttarakhand and efforts are going on to trace them, State Culture and Public Relations Minister Laxmikant Sharma today said.        

"Right now, nearly 300 to 400 persons from Madhya Pradesh are missing and efforts are on to trace them," he said.        

An aircraft carrying pilgrims from Madhya Pradesh left today morning from Dehradun and it will reach Bhopal soon, he said.
13:14  14 American tourists evacuated from Kinnaur :  Fourteen American tourists -- stuck at Banjar camp in Himachal Pradesh's rain-ravaged Kinnaur district -- were evacuated and brought to Rampur as rescue operations to airlift 200 tourists and locals resumed today morning.        

Two choppers positioned at Rampur started sorties to Sangla, Pooh and Nako while one chopper had to return due to bad weather.
13:13  UN disaster management team monitoring India flood situation :  The UN is closely monitoring the situation in north India, where torrential rains have triggered floods and landslides that have killed hundreds of people.        

UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey told reporters on Sunday in New York that the UN Disaster Management Team is monitoring the situation through its field offices.
13:11  Goddess Kali unleashing her wrath on Uttarakhand?:  Here is another 'divine' conspiracy theory about why Uttarakhand has been the target of nature's uninhibited fury recently.

Apparently, the state is suffering the aftereffects of angering Goddess Kali.

Read this report for more information
12:15  SC dismisses WB govt's plea against CBI probe:  The Supreme Court today dismissed Mamata Banerjee government's plea challenging a Calcutta high court order for a CBI probe into the alleged custodial death of a Trinamool Congress worker in Dhaniakhali police station area in Hooghly district of West Bengal. 

"We are not inclined to entertain it," a bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi stated on the West Bengal government's petition.
12:14  China ready for bigger steps in space exploration: Xi :  Chinese President Xi Jinping today hinted at a major expansion of China's space programme, saying the country is poised for "bigger strides" in space exploration after the success of various manned missions.        

"The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger. With the development of space programmes, the Chinese people will take bigger strides to explore furtherinto the space," Xi, via a video link, told the country's three astronauts who are orbiting the earth in an experimental spacelab Tiangong-1, 300 km above the earth
12:12  Sonia, Rahul flag off relief material for Uttarakhand :  Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi today flagged off relief material for the victims of flash floods in Uttarakhand.        

Top Congress leaders were present at the AICC headquarters, where Gandhi and her son Rahul flagged off 24 truckloads of relief supplies in addition to the 125 trucks already sent to Dehradun.        

Besides the Gandhis, leaders present on the occasion included Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Road Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes and political secretary to Congress President Ahmed Patel, AICC general secretaries Ambika Soni and Ajay Maken.
11:23  Vicky Nanjappa reports: A herd of 15 elephants have wrecked havoc and killed four persons at Kolar near Bangalore. 

The incident occurred at Kanivehalli village near Kolar. Forest department officials are now trying to drive the elephants back into the forests. 

The elephants, who initially entered Kolar from the forests of Tamil Nadu in search of water, have gone astray since then. 

Assistant Conservator of Forests Puttanna told that the elephants had strayed into the town and chased the villagers.

Currently the forest department officials from the Bannerghatta National Park Range are on the job. They are trying to chase the elephants back into the forest area.
11:01  ITBP suspends aerial rescue operations:  ITBP personnel have suspended air rescue operations in Uttarakhand after a cloud cover formed near the Kedarnath and Badrinath axis, reports CNN-IBN.

Meanwhile, bulldozers have been deployed to clear the debris in the wake of minor landslides near Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi.
10:49  Unclaimed bag triggers bomb scare in Srinagar :  An unattended bag outside the headquarters of the Indian Army's 15 Corps in Srinagar led to a bomb scare, resulting in a massive traffic jam on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway today.        

A bag was found unattended near the main gate of Corps headquarters today morning by the army personnel posted on duty there, official sources said.        

They said a bomb disposal squad was called in to check the bag, which was later found to be containing clothes.
10:35  Militants kill police officer, driver in Peshawar :  A senior police officer and his driver were gunned down by suspected militants in the restive Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan today, officials said.        

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Amanullah Khan and his driver were killed in an attack in Dalazak area.       

Khan was being driven from his home to his office.       

The bodies of the two men were taken to a nearby hospital.  
10:07  More landslides reported from Uttarakhand:  Two more landslides were reported in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand on Monday morning.

A minor landslide was reported from the Uttarkashi-Rishikesh route and another one was reported between Rudraprayag and Guptakashi, according to CNN-IBN.
10:05  This is what Kedarnath Temple looked like in 1882!:  Much before it became a tourism hotspot, the grand temple of Kedarnath was a remote destination in a scantily populated region.

Take a look at photographs of Kedarnath Temple dating back to 1882!
09:44  Focus on Uttarakhand, not Modi: BJP to Cong:  The BJP today criticised the Congress for making political statements over the Uttarakhand tragedy, saying the ruling party's leaders in the state and the Centre should instead focus on relief and rescue operations.        

On Narendra Modi's criticism by some Congress leaders, BJP spokesman Srikant Sharma said Gujarat is sensitive to such tragedies as it has suffered and dealt with them the past.       

"The Congress is suffering from NaMonia and instead of making statements against the BJP leaders, they should focus on relief work and rescue thousands of those stranded in the tragedy-struck state," Sharma said
09:42  Congress to boycott Chhattisgarh assembly session:  The Opposition Congress has decided to boycott the monsoon session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly starting from July 15 to protest against the state government's 'failure' to provide security, which, it said, led to the Naxal attack on the convoy of party leaders in Bastar on May 25.        

"Party members will attend the obituary references to pay tribute to slain Congress leaders before boycotting the remaining session," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ravindra Choubey told reporters.
09:36  UK considers India a 'high-risk' nation:  Visitors from India, Pakistan, Nigeria and other Asian and African countries deemed 'high-risk' will be forced to pay a hefty cash bond of 3,000 pounds before they can enter the United Kingdom.       

According to a Sunday Times report, the British government is planning to pilot a scheme from November targeted at visitors from at least six countries, also including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ghana.        

Tourists aged 18 and over would be forced to hand over 3,000 pounds for a six-month visit visa, which they will forfeit if they overstay in Britain.
09:34  Police zero in on 2 foreigners in ATM fraud case:  Mumbai Police, who are probing an ATM skimming fraud, have established the identity of two foreign nationals involved in the case.        

The duo was identified from the CCTV footage of the Axis Bank's ATM located outside the Maharashtra police headquarters in south Mumbai, a senior police officer said.
09:31  Snowden betrayed America: NSA chief:  Whistle-blower Edward Snowden 'betrayed' America by leaking information about its secret surveillance programmes, the US National Security Agency said today, as authorities sought cooperation from other countries where the former CIA operative attempts to seek refuge.

"He betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him," General Keith Alexander, the Commander of US Cyber Command and Director of National Security Agency, told ABC News in an interview.
09:29  Jharkhand: Maoist plot to target police foiled:  As many as 45 Improvised Explosive Devices set serially to target security forces were discovered near Maoist-affected Jhumra Hills in Bokaro district today, police said.        

The IEDs were found under Mahutand police station during a joint search operation by CRPF and the district police, sources said, adding that they were defused on time.
09:22  Nelson Mandela in critical condition: Presidency:  The condition of former President Nelson Mandela is critical, the South African presidency has said, two weeks after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon was admitted to a hospital with a recurrent lung infection.        

President Jacob Zuma and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela on Sunday evening, Mac Maharaj, presidential spokesman, said in a statement.        

The condition of the revered world leader, who was admitted to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on June 8, has worsened in the past 24 hours.
09:21  No tie-ups with Congress, NDA: Mamata :  Trinamool Congress would like to chart it own course and not have any alliance with the Congress or the NDA, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said today.       

"We are not in alliance with either the NDA or the Congress. Our alliance is with the people. Trinamool Congress is going it alone and will do so in future also," Banerjee asserted at a rally in North 24-Parganas district for the panchayat election.
09:20  Pakistan condemns terrorist attack on foreign tourists:  Pakistan today condemned a brazen terrorist attack on a mountaineering camp in a remote northern region that left at least nine foreign tourists dead, saying the incident was aimed at disrupting relations with China and other friendly countries.        

"Those who have committed this heinous crime seem to be attempting to disrupt the growing relations of Pakistan with China and other friendly countries," said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
09:18  Chiranjeevi slams Jaganmohan :  Union Tourism Minister T Chiranjeevi today criticised YSR Congress Party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who has been in jail in connection with a disproportionate assets case.        

"Despite being in jail for one year, Jaganmohan Reddy has shown no signs of repentance for the irregularities and malpractices he had indulged in. He continues to defend himself," Chiranjeevi said during a programme at Etukuru village near Guntur.
09:17  Snowden should not be allowed to travel: US:  The United States today asked countries not to allow American whistleblower Edward Snowden to proceed ahead with any other international travel except for coming back home.        

Computer technician Snowden, who leaked the secretive internet and phone surveillance programmes of the US, is wanted in the United States of felony charges.       

"As is routine and consistent with US regulations, persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked. Such a revocation does not affect citizenship status," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

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