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LIVE! Pak troops violate truce twice, villager hurt

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August 18, 2014

22:42  Pak troops violate truce twice, villager hurt:  Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire in Arnia and R S Pura sub-sectors in Jammu region and in Kupwara district in Kashmir opening unprovoked firing at Indian forward posts that left a villager injured, BSF and army officials said today.

Pakistani soldiers resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing targeting 15 to 20 border outposts and civilian areas in Arnia and R S Pura along the International Border in Jammu region at around 2130 hrs last night, A BSF officer said.

The BSF troops retaliated, triggering an intermittent exchange of fire which lasted till 0630 hrs this morning, he said. An elderly villager identified as Attar Singh was injured in the mortar shelling, the officer said.
22:09  UK Iraq mission no longer strictly humanitarian:  Britain has moved past a strictly humanitarian mission in Iraq '" and the country's leader warned Monday that the effort won't be over any time soon.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the British government has "fully worked through" its strategy and stressed troops would not get involved in another war. But he argued limited action is needed to prevent violence from being exported back to Britain's streets.

"We are not going to be putting boots on the ground," Cameron told the BBC. "We are not going to be sending in the British Army."
21:42  Iraq says it seizes Mosul dam; militants deny it:  Backed by US airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish forces on Monday wrested back control of the country's largest dam from Islamic militants, a military spokesman in Baghdad said, as fighting was reported to be underway for the rest of the strategic complex.

Soon after the news broke, the Islamic State group, which two weeks ago captured the Mosul Dam spanning the Tigris River just north of the city of Mosul, denied the claim, insisting it was still in control of the facility.

A US defense official in Washington confirmed the Islamic State group has not entirely lost control of the Mosul Dam. "It's not over," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.
21:25  'Close fight between NDA-UPA in Bihar':  According to a ABP News-Nielsen opinion poll, it will be a close fight between the NDA and UPA in Bihar with 4 seats each in the assembly poll.

53 per cent are likely to vote for BJP if polls are to be held today. Sushil Modi most is said to be the preferred CM

The BJP along with JNSP+RLSP are likely to get 4 seats and the Congress along with RJD+ JD(U) + NCP also likely to bag 4 seats. 

There are two seats which can swing to either alliance.
21:18  Censor Board chief Rakesh Kumar arrested:  Censor Board chief Rakesh Kumar arrested for allegedly demanding money to certify a regional language film.
20:24  Bangladesh cabinet approves proposal to impeach SC judges:  Bangladesh cabinet today approved a proposal to restore parliament's authority to sack Supreme Court judges, a move the opposition denounced as a precursor to one-party rule. 

"According to the cabinet decision today, the existing provision of the Supreme Judicial Council to impeach the (SC) judges, the original provision of the 1972 Constitution will be revived in this regard," cabinet secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said.
20:12  Telangana braces for massive household survey tomorrow:  Life in Telangana may come to a standstill tomorrow with the Government conducting a massive household survey across the newly-formed State to ascertain comprehensive information on the citizens, an exercise which has attracted criticism from certain quarters.
19:49  Ukraine blames rebels for shelling civilians:  Ukraine claimed Monday that pro-Russia rebels fired rockets and mortars on a convoy of civilians who were trying to flee from the intense fighting in eastern Ukraine.

"Many people were killed, among them women and children," Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's national security council, said at a briefing. 
He did not say how many people or vehicles were in the convoy.

The barrage took place between the towns of Khryashchuvate and Novosvitlivka, which lie on the main road leading to Russia from the besieged rebel-held city of Luhansk.
18:44  The National Judicial Appointments Commission will destroy the independence of the judiciary. The composition of its panel will inevitably lead to serious political manipulation. Read
18:43  First reactions to the cancelled Indo-Pak foreign secretary level meeting.
Kashmiri Separatist Leader Shabir Shah: What's the harm in meeting Pak High Commission? Vajpayee-ji held talks with us too.
18:28  Only path for Pakistan is resolve issues through peaceful bilateral talks under Shimla Agreement & Lahore Declaration: MEA
18:22  MEA: Pak envoy's meet with Hurriyat raises questions about its sincerity:  The MEA statement on the cancelled Indo-Pak secy level talks.

The MEA says: "The Pak High Commissioner's meeting with so called Hurriyat leaders undermined the constructive diplomatic arrangements made by PM Modi.

"At a time when serious initiative was taken to take bilateral ties forward, the invite to Hurriyat leaders raises questions about Pakistans sincerity.

"Our Foreign Secretary conveyed to the Pakistan High Command that Pakistans continued efforts to interfere in Indian internal affairs are unacceptable.

"Under present circumstances seems no useful purpose will be served by Foreign Secy visiting Islamabad, therefore visit stands cancelled."
18:08  India calls off foreign secy meeting with Pak after envoy meets Hurriyat:   India has called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, says PTI. This comes after Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit's invitation to the separatist leaders from J&K "for consultations". 

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan were to meet on August 25 in Islamabad to discuss a road map for dialogue, two years after secretary-level bilateral talks.

There have been 48 ceasefire violations -- 11 since August 8 -- from across the border in 2014 and observers feel that these are part of Pakistan army's game plan to scuttle the talks.
17:48  Aparna Sen: Will cooperate with the probe:   So, the Enforcement Directorate has finished questioning filmmaker, editor Aparna Sen in connection with the chit fund Saradha scam. Aparna Sen used to edit a magazine titled 'Paroma'  that was promoted by Sudipta Sen's Saradha Group. The filmmaker has said that she would cooperate with the ED.
17:45  Indo-Pak talks ahead, experts question rise in ceasefire violations:  The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet on August 25 in Islamabad to discuss a roadmap for dialogue, two years after secretary-level bilateral talks.

There have been 48 ceasefire violations -- 11 since August 8 -- from across the border in 2014 and observers feel that these are part of Pakistan army's game plan to scuttle the talks.

"The Pakistan Army does not want peace talks with India. They, therefore, put pressure on their government. If the government does not listen, they try to do some mischief so that India is forced to call off talks.

"The continued ceasefire violations are a step towards that goal," claimed security and strategic analyst and former brigade commander, Brig Anil Gupta.
17:16  More problems in AAP?

Party senior leader Yogendra Yadav tweets: Shocked at reports about some volunteers demanding continuation of LG rule in Delhi. This is against the party, against Delhi and its people.
17:08  PMO on Hurriyat meeting with Pak envoy: India's stand on Kashmir unchanged:  In the wake of the Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit's invitation to the separatist leaders from J&K "for consultations", the PMO has said that there is no change in the Indian government's stand on Kashmir. the MoS PMO said the government will take a structured view on talks with separatists and has taken note on the meetings and is keeping a close eye on developments. The RSS has condemned the meeting saying it was inappropriate for the Pakistan ambassador to meet Hurriyat leaders.

Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was invited by the Pakistan high commission for consultations in Delhi on August 19.

While it is not unusual for Pakistani officials to consult Hurriyat leaders ahead of any important India-Pakistan engagement, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif chose not to meet the separatist leaders on his visit to India earlier this year for the swearing-in ceremony of PM Narendra Modi.
16:35  That hashtag was my colleague: A year after the Shakti Mills gang rape :  Doubting doctors, corrupt cops, jeering lawyers and, of course, mercenary reporters. A middle class woman gang raped in the heart of Mumbai makes for a perfect storm of anxiety and righteousness. But what if the rape survivor is also a journalist? A year after the Shakti Mills gang rape, a colleague of the survivor writes of their reluctant ringside view of the circus of such cases, and the stark lesson that the system will not spare you even if you're part of the system. Read
16:25   Iraqi forces retake control of Mosul Dam:  Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters today wrested back control of the country's largest dam from the hands of Islamic militants who captured it less than two weeks ago, an army spokesman in Baghdad said.

The development marks the first major victory for Iraqi and Kurdish troops since US airstrikes began earlier this month and could significantly boost their morale as they try to free territory overrun by the Islamic State group in a blitz this summer.
16:16  Delhi: Kashmiri Separatist Leader Shabir Shah reaches Pakistan High Commission
15:57  Gandhis name their daughter, Anasuya:   That's the image of the announcement of the birth of his daughter that Varun Gandhi tweeted today. The Gandhis have named her, Anasuya.
15:48  'This was the best Independence Day address I have seen':  He came, he conquered, but did not quite like what he saw. On August 15, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held up a mirror to India and proceeded to tell us how things could change. On, a critique of the PM's I-day speech.
15:43  Varun Gandhi, Yamini Roy Chowdhury blessed with a daughter :  BJP MP from Sultanpur, Feroz Varun Gandhi and his wife Yamini Roy Chowdhury were blessed with a baby girl today. Gandhi tweeted the announcement today.

The couple were wed in 2011, at the Shri Kashi Kamkotishwar temple in Varanasi. The function had remained totally apolitical with no politician even from Bharatiya Janata Party present on the occasion. Neither was any of the Gandhis present. 
15:35  BJP MP Varun Gandhi and his wife Yamini Roy Chowdhury blessed with a girl.
15:19  New drug restores hair growth in some bald patients:  In a breakthrough, scientists may have discovered a cure for a form of baldness after they found a drug which restored the hair of three patients within five months. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Centre  identified the immune cells responsible for destroying hair follicles in people with alopecia areata, a common autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. They report initial results from an ongoing clinical trial of an FDA-approved drug, which has produced complete hair regrowth in several patients with moderate-to-severe alopecia areata.
14:56   WB CM Mamata Banerjee to arrive in Singapore today:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is paying an five-day official visit to Singapore from today. Banerjee is visiting the city state at the invitation of Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam. She is being accompanied by senior officials from the West Bengal government. Banerjee is scheduled to call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tomorrow, the Singapore Foreign Ministry said.
14:35  How soon is soon?:   Assange has said that he may leave Ecuador soon, but hasn't said how soon. Assange has developed a life threatening heart defect and a chronic lung condition during his years confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in southwest London.
14:25  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange: May leave Ecuador soon :  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds a press conference at the Ecuadorian foreign ministry office now, and says he plans to leave the Ecuador embassy in London "soon" after two years of refuge. Assange was granted diplomatic asylum in Ecuador.

Assange, whose website WikiLeaks published classified US military and diplomatic documents, has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy building since being granted diplomatic asylum by the Latin American nation in August 2012.

Britain wants to extradite him to Sweden under a European Arrest Warrant for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation. Australia-born Assange fears that from Sweden he will be extradited to the US, where he could face 35 years in prison for publishing classified documents related to the Pentagon's activities in Iraq and Afghanistan on WikiLeaks.
13:53  Nifty, Sensex hit new life-time highs :   The NSE Nifty and BSE Sensex today scaled new record highs of 7,848.30 and 26,320.66 respectively in afternoon trade on the back of rally in banking, auto, capital goods and oil & gas sector stocks amid sustained capital inflows.

The 50-issue Nifty regained the psychological 7,800-level for the first time since July 25 by surging 56.60 points, or 0.72 per cent, to trade at an all-time high of 7,848.30, surpassing its previous intra-day high of 7,840.95 touched on July 25.
13:51  Sonia's lunch date with the Prez:   Our sources in Delhi tell us that Congress president Sonia Gandhi has a lunch date with President Pranab Mukjherjee today. Sonia met with Pranab to discuss the ongoing political situation, it is believed. She had met the president last month in the backdrop of the UPA pitching for Leader of Opposition (LoP) status for her party in Lok Sabha.
13:47   Richard Gere enjoys dinner date with Padma Lakshmi:  Hollywood superstar Richard Gere and supermodel-girlfriend Padma Lakshmi were spotted dining at a restaurant in New Jersey. The 64-year-old actor and Lakshmi, 43, who have kept their relationship low key, are going strong, reported the New York Post. "They kept to themselves, but they looked like a couple. She was giving him design tips," an onlooker said.
13:39  Jaitley heads to the borders :  Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to visit the Indo Pakistan Border areas near Wagah in Amrtisar.

In his other responsibility as Finance Minister, Jaitley will also review drug smuggling with Revenue Officials. On the cards is a visit to the Golden Temple to offer prayers and special lunch with friends at his newly renovated bungalow in Amritsar which he bought early this year.

It is also his Parliamentary constituency. Attraction is Arun Jaitley will travel frquently to Amrtisar in the coming years. 
13:35  Who's in, who's out of the Standing Committees?:  Sumitra Mahajan, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, has been flooded with requests from 500 MPs for inclusion of his or her name in the all-powerful Standing Committees.

Before the Winter Session of Parliament commences, 45 committees will be in force and the list is almost ready.

Mahajan wanted to consult the Leader of the Lok Sabha, Narendra Modi, and also Venkaiah Naidu -- Paliamentary Affairs minister -- before announcing the composition of the of the committees.

Mahajan does not hide the fact that 400 MPs were silent in debates during question hour, but 44 created a ruckus and adjourned the House.

People are watching how the majority of the House maintained a stoic silence while just 44 MPs managed to stall proceedings.
13:30  Why Smriti was upset on I-Day:  Some invitees to the Independence Day celebration overheard union HRD minister Smriti Irani discreetly enquiring about the seating arrangements in the VVIP enclosure. She asked seniors in President's Secretariat on the protocol of seats next to the President. She was not on the list and was asked to stay with VVIPs only and found to her consternation that there were not enough seats.

What upset her further was the sight of Arun Jaitley seated next to Rajnath Singh.

What the protocol book says is that the leader of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are permitted by Pranab Mukherjee to sit in a specific enclosure near him, while others have stay among 2500 other invitees. The matter was treated as closed, but not before the incident went viral.  
13:20  Thambidurai and the conflict of interest :  M Thambidurai's promotion as Deputy Speaker is likely land in legal litigation since he has continued as Propaganda Secretary of AIADMK and according to BJP circles this is a conflict of interest. There is buzz in Delhi circles that some MPs are keen to move a privilege motion in Parliament against Thambidurai if he continues as propaganda secretary.

These MPs quote Lok Sabha rule books and consequently, the AIADMK is in a tight spot. As a presiding officer, such conflict of interest will hinder justice inside the Lok Sabha.

There are two options -- Thambidurai may resign as Propaganda Secretary or the Jayalalithaa government may replace him as propaganda secretary.
12:44  Iraqi children drinking parents' BLOOD to stay alive:  Parents trapped with their families on a mountain by Islamic State militants are resorting to cutting themselves so their starving children can drink their blood. Read
12:21  Karnataka HC stops sale of flats at Mallya's Kingfisher Towers:  UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya has got another problem to deal with. After razing his ancestral bungalow, housed in an expansive 4.5-acres of prime location in the central business district of Bangalore, Mallya's attempt to unlock value in the land by building the luxury KingfisherTowers has been stalled.  Read
12:19  WikiLeaks founder Assange develops heart defect:   WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has developed a life threatening heart defect and a chronic lung condition during his years confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in southwest London, according to a report.

43-year-old Assange is unable to get hospital treatment because he fears he will be arrested by police if he leaves the embassy, The Telegraph reported, citing his supporters.

Assange, whose website WikiLeaks published classified US military and diplomatic documents, has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy building here, since being granted diplomatic asylum by the Latin American nation in August 2012. Britain wants to extradite him to Sweden under a European Arrest Warrant for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation.
12:11  ED questions filmmaker, editor Aparna Sen in Saradha scam:  Filmmaker Aparna Sen, who headed the magazine, Poroma, launched by the Saradha group, has been called in for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate. Sen was the executive editor of Saradha's magazine -- Poroma.

On August 16, the CBI conducted searches at 56 places, including the premises of BJD MLA Pravata Tripathy and owner of a local newspaper in Odisha, in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.

Searches were carried out at as many as 54 places in Odisha and two in Mumbai by sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation which has claimed that they were looking for money trail in the case.
11:39  Ninety days of the Modi government :  The prime minister, Narendra Modi, is the best orator in India. He has spent 90 days considering ways forward. He has very few experienced people in his party -- Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and Rajnath Singh, whose experience as chief minister and later as cabinet minister was very brief. Lacking a majority in the Rajya Sabha is a limitation. Oratory cannot overcome the disadvantage of inadequate talent. Read
11:30  The right remedy?:  On the face of it, with an enabling amendment to the Constitution, and a law setting up the National Judicial Appointments Commission, the new procedure seems to have been set. Read
11:26  Emergency led to an atmosphere of fear: Manmohan:   The Emergency came as a surprise to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who saw an atmosphere of fear in the country during which there were many "arbitrary arrests and detentions", says a new book on him by his daughter.

"Well, it was a surprise. There had been unrest, but nobody expected that Mrs Gandhi would go that far," Singh's daughter Daman Singh quotes him as saying in her book "Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan".

The book is based on Daman's conversations with her parents and hours spent in libraries and archives.

When his daughter asked him how the Emergency affected the government servants, Singh replied, "I think there was a lot more emphasis on punctuality, on discipline. So some good things happened. But I think the atmosphere in the whole country was one of fear. There were arbitrary arrests and detentions."

According to Singh, there was a "lot of unrest in the country, particularly due to the way the family planning programme - the sterilisation programme - was implemented in some of the northern states and in Delhi".
11:18   Sensex recovers 89 points in range-bound trad:  Broad-based buying led the benchmark BSE Sensex to recover 88.99 points in a volatile range-bound trade today. Heavy buying was seen in capital goods, oil & gas, consumer durables, banks, auto, power, metals and healthcare sector stocks as well as in mid-cap and small-cap companies.
11:04  Pakistan targets 20 BSF posts in spurt in border attacks before key talks:   Pakistani troops have fired at 20 Indian posts along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, in a spike in attacks a week before foreign secretary level talks between the two countries. Read
11:02  Mallya may have to exit company boards if declared 'wilful defaulter':  A wilful defaulter tag may force UB Group boss Vijay Mallya to quit the boards of India's largest alcoholic beverage companies, dealing a big blow to the tycoon whose jet-setting lifestyle once won him many young admirers. Read
10:08  Sensex falls over 14 points in early trade on profit-booking:  
The benchmark BSE Sensex fell over 14 points in early trade today as funds and retail investors booked profits after four sessions of gains amid a mixed trend in other Asian markets.

The 30-share barometer, which had gained 774.09 points in the previous four sessions, shed 14.47 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 26,088.76, led by weakness in FMCG, IT, realty and tech sector stocks.

Similarly, the National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 5.10 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 7,786.60. 

Brokers said besides profit-booking by speculators after recent gains, a mixed trend at other Asian markets amid weekend losses in the US markets, influenced the sentiments here.

Among other Asian bourses, Japan's Nikkei was trading 0.07 per cent higher, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.16 per cent in early trade today. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.30 per cent lower in Friday's trade.
09:35  32 dead in Uttarakhand monsoon fury; lakhs homeless in north India:  
Heavy rains have claimed 32 lives in Uttarakhand and flash floods ravaged the state. 

Numerous districts across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Assam have been badly affected and lakhs of people displaced. Release of water from Nepal has also added to the problem.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh did a status check of Uttarakhand on Sunday. Last year, the state had witnessed heavy rains flooding towns and villages, killing thousands.

Rajnath reached Dehradun on Sunday to review the situation and promised maximum assistance possible to the state. The village of Bairagarh was one of the worst affected in the state. It proved to be extremely difficult to reach the village given the havoc caused by heavy rains and flooding.

In Uttar Pradesh, 10 people have been killed and around 600 villages have been affected by floods and heavy rain. The UP government has, however, assured that the entire state machinery has been engaged in rescue and relief work

In Bihar, the water levels of the Kosi river have flooded many villages along it's course. The state government has requested the Army to be on standby. In Assam, one lakh people have been affected with the Brahmaputra flowing above the danger mark.

Seventy percent of Kaziranga National Park area is inundated, forcing the administration to move the animals to highlands. In Jorhat district, 45 villages have been flooded. In the Morigaon district 25 villages have submerged affecting about 2000 people. The Army has evacuated 145 civilians in the Nagaon distric of Assam so far.

Even as the central government has promised support to all states, thousands still await rescue and relief.
08:23  Delhi road rage: Youth shot at over parking:  
In an apparent case of road rage, a 22-year-old man was shot at by his neighbour following a heated exchange over parking of motorcycle on road in their colony in outer Delhi's Narela area on Sunday.

The victim is being treated for gunshot injuries to his abdomen, police said, adding that the accused managed to flee from the crime site. A senior police officer said they have launched a manhunt for him.

Anuj, the victim, lives with his family in Banker village in Narela and runs a grocery on the ground floor of his house. He had returned home from the local market at about 3.45 pm on Sunday and parked his scooter in the lane outside his house. 

He then started to speak to someone over the phone while standing near the parked scooter.

Just then an allegedly speeding motorcyclist rammed into his scooter from behind, police said, adding "the tail lamp glass of Anuj's scooter was broken due to the impact of the hit. The two were involved in an argument over the accused riding carelessly and Anuj parking his scooter wrongly." 

The altercation soon turned violent and during the scuffle the accused, identified as Mukesh Kumar, allegedly pulled out a pistol and shot at Anuj. 

While Kumar fled, Anuj was rushed to a nearby hospital from where he was referred to Lok Nayak Hospital. His condition is stated to be out of danger, police said. 
08:22  President, PM greet nation on Janmashtami:  
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have greeted the nation on the occasion of Janmashtami. 

"On the joyous occasion of Janmashtami, I convey greetings and good wishes to all my fellow countrymen," Mukherjee said in his message. 

"On this auspicious festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, let us strive to build a world free from malice and full of brotherhood and compassion," he said. 

"May Lord Krishna's noble message of righteous conduct and action inspire each and every one of us to strengthen the moral foundations of our society and strive selflessly to take our country to new heights," the president said. 

The prime minister tweeted: "Greetings on Janmashtami! May Lord Krishna bless our lives with peace, prosperity and happiness."
08:21  Sultan of Brunei bids for Sahara's hotels: report:  
The Sultan of Brunei has made a bid for New York's Plaza Hotel, Dream Hotel and London's Grosvenor House hotel, the Wall Street Journal's website edition reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the situation.

An investment firm affiliated with Brunei has offered to pay $2 billion for the three hotels, which are currently owned by India's Sahara conglomerate, said.

Sahara's chairman Subrata Roy has been negotiating a sale of the company's luxury hotels from a makeshift office in prison, having been held for more than five months after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running dispute over his group's failure to repay billions of dollars to investors who were sold outlawed bonds.

Roy's lawyer S Ganesh last week told Supreme Court that the businessman was holding "very effective" negotiations with potential buyers and that the group had signed a preliminary accord for the hotels.

Brunei officials have reportedly been in discussions throughout the summer with representatives of Sahara, said, citing its sources, adding that an agreement could be reached as early as next month.
08:19  Hindustan Hindu rashtra hai: RSS chief Bhagwat:  
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat has once again triggered a controversy by declaring that "Hindutva hamare rashtra ki pechaan hai" (Hindutva is the identity of our nation).

Making the remark at a function in Mumbai to mark 50 years of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bhagwat also asserted: "Hindustan Hindu rashtra hai" (Hindustan is a country of Hindus).

The RSS chief had made similar comments last week, provoking a political storm.

At a function in Cuttak, Odisha, Bhagwat had suggested that India is a Hindu state and "citizens of Hindustan should be known as Hindus".

"The entire world recognises Indians as Hindus, therefore India is a Hindu state. The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture," he had said
08:02  Indian cricketers have embarrassed the country: Gavaskar:  
Batting great Sunil Gavaskar has said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys have "embarrassed" the country with their "jelly-like" resistance in the Test series against England and even suggested that those not interested in playing longer-format should quit the Test team. 

India suffered yet another humiliating defeat as they lost the fifth Test by an innings and 244 runs. 

"If you do not want to be playing Test cricket for India, quit. Just play limited-overs cricket. You should not be embarrassing your country like that," Gavaskar said in BBC Radio's Test Match Special show.

Gavaskar though said England should be cautious for future series since this win has come against an Indian side which did not play tough cricket. 

"Everything about England has been top-class. But, India have shown jelly-like resistance. Therefore, England should not get carried away because there are sterner tests to come," he said. 

Commenting in the same programme, former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned Indian players' commitment. 

"It's a disgrace to think that India have been blown away in 29 overs under blue skies on a pitch that was only doing a bit. They should be embarrassed. Some of those strokes were of players who didn't want to fight for their country," Vaughan said.
08:01  Iraqi Kurds retake country's main dam from jihadists:  
Iraqi Kurdish fighters backed by US warplanes retook the country's largest dam from jihadists today, as Sunni Arab tribesmen and security forces fought the militants west of Baghdad.

The recapture of Mosul dam marks the biggest major prize clawed back from Islamic State (IS) jihadists since they launched their offensive in northern Iraq in early June when they swept Iraqi security forces aside.

IS militants, who have declared a "caliphate" straddling vast areas of Iraq and Syria, also came under air attack in their Syrian stronghold of Raqa today, a monitoring group said.

Syria's air force carried out 16 raids on the city of Raqa and several more on the town of Tabqa in Raqa province, killing at least 31 jihadists and eight civilians, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Two months of violence have brought Iraq to the brink of breakup, and world powers relieved by the exit of divisive premier Nuri al-Maliki are sending aid to the hundreds of thousands who have fled their homes as well as arms to the Kurdish peshmerga forces.
08:01  Months needed to repair facilities in Gaza: UN:  
United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said today on a visit to Iran that it will take months to repair damage to the UN's infrastructure caused by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

"Damage to hospitals, schools and UNRWA shelters where people displaced sought refuge will take months to rebuild," she said, referring to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

Amos was speaking to reporters at the start of a two-day visit for talks with Iranian officials on the humanitarian crises wreaked by conflicts in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Iraq. 

"The UN response continues including deliveries of food, water and households goods. Medicines and fuel are being delivered to hospitals," she said. 

A total of 97 UNRWA installations, including health and food distribution centres as well as schools, have been damaged in the war since July 8 between Israel and the Hamas movement which controls the Gaza Strip.

The conflict, in which an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire has taken effect, has killed almost 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers. 
08:01  Israel warns on security as Gaza truce talks resume:  
Israel has warned that it would refuse any long-term truce deal that failed to satisfy its security needs as Gaza ceasefire talks resumed in Cairo. 

Egyptian-brokered indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are taking place during a five-day lull in the fighting that was due to expire at midnight on Monday.

The aim is to broker a long-term arrangement to halt over a month of bloody fighting which erupted on July 8 and has so far claimed 1,980 Palestinians lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

But as the Israeli team landed in Cairo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they would not agree to any proposal which did not offer a clear answer to Israel's security needs. 

"The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel's security needs," said Netanyahu.

"Only if there is a clear answer to Israel's security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding." 

The talks began today afternoon at the headquarters of Egyptian intelligence, with four Gaza officials, among them Hamas and Islamic Jihad delegates, due later the same day. It was the first time the teams had sat down since Wednesday after the negotiators returned home for consultations with their respective political masters.
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