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LIVE! AIIMS doctor accuses Tharoor, Azad of influencing Sunanda Pushkar autopsy report

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July 01, 2014


23:33  AIIMS doctor accuses Tharoor, Azad of influencing Sunanda Pushkar autopsy report:  Zee News reports: The controversy over Sunanda Pushkar's mysterious death seems to be deepening, with reports on Tuesday saying that All India Institute of Medical Science doctor Sudhir Gupta has claimed that he was pressurised to give a tailor made report in the case. 

According to a report published in a website, Dr Gupta, who was heading the panel that conducted the post-mortem of Sunanda, has filed an affidavit in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) stating that he was pressurised by former union minister and president of AIIMS Ghulam Nabi Azad to act in an unprofessional manner to cover up the matter.

Dr Gupta's has further claimed that he was not able to state the truth in his report due to the influence of two ex-powerful Cabinet ministers Shashi Tharoor and Azad. 

The report quoted the affidavit saying, (The) applicant could not muster courage of openly placing the facts in black and white as the former president of AIIMS Shri Gulam Nabi Azad was an immensely powerful politician and then the health minister and the husband of late Sunanda Pushkar was also a minister and a powerful politician. 

Dr Gupta in his application has asked CAT to allow him to give his views in sealed envelope. 
21:28  Congress lost LS polls in UP due to Modi campaign blitzkrieg:  The Congress lost Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh due to the Narendra Modi campaign blitzkrieg coupled with its failure to counter the propaganda on alleged scams and scandals in the UPA-II, the AK Antony committee was told today.

The committee, going into the rout of the party in the polls, also saw weak organisation, poor strategy and failure to connect with the masses as reasons for the collapse of Congress in the state which sends 80 members to Lok Sabha.

Only party chief Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi could get elected in the polls, which saw waterloo of many a party veteran, including all Union ministers from the state. AICC officer bearers putting forth the reasons for the party's debacle maintained that the central leadership could not be held responsible for the defeat of Union ministers some of whom finished fourth. Some state leaders told the committee that there was no short-cut for hard work and strengthening the organisation in the state to become relevant nationally.

PCC chief Nirmal Khatri, CLP leader Pradipt Mathur and various state leaders appeared before the committee which is expected to complete its task before the Budget session of Parliament starting on July 7.

The Congress high command has already dissolved the UP Congress Committee as also the district party units as part of plans to revive the organisation.
20:29  Indian Air Force may fly out stranded Indians from Iraq:  As per plans, the Air Force may use its planes to fly out Indian nationals stranded in Iraq to safer places nearby such as Kuwait or UAE from where commercial airliners would ferry them back to India.

As per the plan, if required, the IAF aircraft would be used to fly out citizens to safer nearby locations and then the commercial planes would take charge, defence sources said.

The navy has already deployed its warships in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden in stand-by mode and they may be pressed into service based on the analysis of the situation in Iraq in next few days, they said.

Depending on the situation in Iraq, the government will take a call on whether the 300-seater C-17 Globemaster III aircraft would be deployed or the 80-100 seater C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft pressed into action there, they sources said.

The Crisis Management Group headed by the Cabinet Secretary has been monitoring the situation and has been issuing directions to various ministries on the issue. The officials concerned are also working towards providing required documents to the Indian nationals who are not in possession of such papers and have expressed willingness to return.
20:25  CBI hands over documents to MHA related to Ishrat Jahan case:  The CBI has handed over to home ministry the documents sought by it for deciding granting sanction to prosecute four Intelligence Bureau officials in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

The home ministry had demanded "case diary" and the superintendent of police's final report before deciding to give sanction to prosecute the IB officers. CBI sources said the agency has handed over necessary documents to the home ministry officials including "statements of the accused, statements of the witnesses and other documents relied upon during the case".

The sources said the agency has, however, refused to share these documents with the Gujarat government.
19:37  President makes debut on Twitter:   President Pranab Mukherjee today made his debut on social networking site Twitter and his account will have regular updates about his activities as well as news from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Twitter handle -- @RashtrapatiBhvn -- has a message "Rashtrapati Bhavan is now on Twitter. Please follow us for regular updates."

The account, which came into existence at 3 pm today and already has over 9,000 followers, is the first one being held by a President of the country ever since the micro-blogging site was launched in July 2006.
19:36  Big blunder by Tapas Pal, says Mamata Banerjee :  Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has finally broken her silence on the Tapas Pal controversy. "It was a big blunder. We have asked him for an unconditional apology and an explanation," she said.   
19:23  Another tape of Trinamool MP Tapas Pal surfaces :   Even as Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal apologised for his remarks threatening to rape Communist Party of India-Marxist women, another controversial tape of his speech has emerged.

"Kill CPI-M workers with an axe and prove yourself. Cut off their legs and then come to me," the MP is caught saying on tape.
18:31  Chief Justice slams govt for 'segregating' Gopal Subramanium:   NDTV reports: Chief Justice of India R M Lodha today criticised the government for dropping former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium from the panel of four names recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges by a collegium.

'The segregation was unilaterally done by the executive without my knowledge and consent,'' the Chief Justice of India said. He also expressed disappointment over Subramanium going public with his grievances when he was abroad. The independence of judiciary will never be compromised, he said.
18:28  Congress sends pink skirt to Goa minister Sudin Dhavalikar :  The Congress in Goa today sent a pink skirt to state public works department minister Sudin Dhavalikar to protest against his remarks supporting Sri Ram Sene Chief Pramod Muthalik and claiming that wearing skirts was not Goan culture.   

Congress' Goa spokesman Durgadas Kamat told PTI that a pink colour skater jersey skirt has been couriered to Dhavalikar's Porvorim office address to protest against his statements.   

"We will not tolerate moral policing. The Indian Constitution allows those above 18 years to decide what is good or bad," Kamat said, condemning Dhavalikar's statements.
18:01  BJP to send CD of Tapas Pal's remarks to Lok Sabha Speaker:  Demanding immediate removal of TMC MP Tapas Pal from Lok Sabha membership over his controversial remarks, West Bengal BJP today said the party will request the Speaker to see whether an MP like Pal has diminished the honour of the House. 

"We would send a CD of the speech by Tapas Pal to the Lok Sabha Speaker and request her to see whether an MP like Pal, who had made such derogatory and obscene comments, diminished the honour of the Lok Sabha," state BJP president Rahul Sinha said.
17:36  S Korea snubs North's new peace offer as 'nonsensical':  South Korea today rejected North Korea's proposal that the two sides halt hostile military activities as "nonsensical", and suggested it show sincerity by dumping its nuclear weapons. 

"North Korea's proposal is nonsensical and lacks sincerity," the South's unification ministry said in a statement, referring to yesterday's offer from the North's top military body, the National Defence Commission.
17:34  Pistorius trial focuses on 'screams' during shooting:  The murder trial of South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius focused today on whether neighbours could have heard his model girlfriend screaming on the night he allegedly shot her dead. 

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Reeva Steenkamp did scream and that this showed the star athlete known as the "Blade Runner" knowingly gunned her down in a fit of anger after a row in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.
17:29  Cameroon FA to probe matchfixing claim:  Cameroon football chiefs said they are determined to root out the seven players they termed as 'bad apples' implicated in an alleged matchfixing scandal over their World Cup group game with Croatia.
17:16  Police complaint against TMC MP Tapas Pal:   BJP worker files police complaint against Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal for his rape remark.
16:41  Ukraine relaunches attack on rebels after failed truce:  Ukrainian forces today went on the attack against pro-Russian insurgents in the separatist east in defiance of European efforts to extend a shaky 10-day truce. 

Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko told the nation in an emotional late-night address that his peace plan for Ukraine's worst crisis since independence was being used by the militias to regroup and stock up on heavy arms from Russia.
16:40  Twitter buys TapCommerce:  Twitter is fattening its mobile ad portfolio by agreeing to acquire TapCommerce, a company that specialises in targeting app consumers, the latter has said. 

The price was not given but the Wall Street Journal put it at around USD 100 million, quoting a source close to the transaction.
16:40  Tapas Pal's 'rape' remarks: Now Trinamool blames media:  

The Trinamool Congress under attack over its MP Tapas Pal's remarks where he threatened to kill and rape CPI-M workers in West Bengal has now blamed the media.  

 

Earlier, party boss and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had refused to comment on the issue, however stating that TMC doesn't tolerate violence and obscenity and would act against people who indulge in violence.  

 

Reports suggest that Union home ministry has now sought a report from the West Bengal government over Pal's statement.  

15:39  Not surprised by fuel price hike under Modi govt: Nitish:  

Senior JD(U) leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he was not surprised at rise in prices of petrol and diesel besides, soaring rates of food items under Narendra Modi government which could not deliver on tall promises made so far.        

 

"I am not surprised. The rise in petrol and diesel prices along with soaring food prices have come as surprise to those who harboured expectations from the new government which had made tall promises of 'achhe din' (good days) on election eve," Kumar told reporters emerging from the legislative council.        

 

Asked if the pet slogan of Narendra Modi "achhe din" (good days) have come true or was it like "India Shinning" of previous NDA government, Kumar with a caustic smile said opposition was giving some more time to the new government before taking the government to task for its failures.        

 

Kumar's terse remarks came as reaction to hike of petrol price by a steep Rs 1.69 per litre and diesel by 50 paise a litre.

15:06  The disintegration of the Iraqi State has its roots in World War I:  

Created by European powers, the nation of Iraq may be buckling under the pressure of trying to unite three distinct ethnic groups.

 

When Serbian nationalists conspired to assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, they lit the fuse that would, six weeks later, explode into World War I. The fallout from those murders, and the ghastly legacy of the entire war, extend far beyond the time frame of the late 1910s. Nor were they limited to Europe; the war's effects are as fresh as the grisly stories and images coming out of Iraq today.

 

For nearly 400 years prior to World War I, the lands of Iraq existed as three distinct semi-autonomous provinces, or vilayets, within the Ottoman Empire. In each of these vilayets, one of the three religious or ethnic groups that predominated in the region '" Shiite, Sunni and Kurd '" held sway, with the veneer of Ottoman rule resting atop a complex network of local clan and tribal alliances. This delicate system was undone by the West, and for an all-too-predictable reason: oil.

 

Read Scott Anderson's article on Smithsonian.com

15:03  Mamata refuses to comment on Pal's 'rape' comment:  Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refused to comment on party MP Tapas Pal's 'rape' remarks. The actor-turned-politician had allegedly threatened to send his men to kill CPI-M workers and 'rape' women.
14:33  BJP allies in TN urge Centre to rollback fuel price hike:  

Two BJP allies in Tamil Nadu today urged the NDA government to rollback the hike in fuel prices, saying it would impact the common man already reeling under the "burden" of rail fare hike, among others.        

 

PMK founder S Ramadoss said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should meet the expectations of the people that prices will go down if he took over and "it is the duty of the new government to do that."        

 

"People are carrying a heavy burden following increase in railway fare, price of sugar and the earlier revision in diesel price. In these circumstances, this hike will further impact the ordinary people," he said in a statement.        

 

Another ally of the BJP, MDMK, also expressed similar opinions and said that Congress-led UPA was shown the door by the people in elections because of its "shirking of responsibility" by allowing oil marketing companies to determine fuel rates.        

 

Party chief Vaiko demanded that the government should take back from the OMCs the right to determine fuel prices.

14:32  Rangarajan panel submits report on poverty to plan panel:  

Former PMEAC chief C Rangarajan has submitted the report on Tendulkar Committee methodology for estimating poverty to Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh.        

 

"I met Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh yesterday in Delhi and submitted the report on poverty," Rangarajan told PTI.  The Planning Commission in May 2012 had constituted the expert group under the then Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan to review the Tendulkar Committee methodology for estimating poverty, following an uproar over the number of poor in the country.        

 

The report of the expert group is expected to clear the ambiguity over the number of poor in the country.        

 

Asked about the suggestions or recommendations of panel, he replied, "It is not proper for me to tell you. Now government has to take a view on the report."        

 

The expert group was to submit its report in 7-9 months of its creation. But it got several extensions with the last one extended to June 30.

14:31  India to play proactive role to deal with climate change:  

India today said it will play a proactive role to deal with climate change and strengthen the national action plan to tackle global warming.        

 

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who discussed a gamut of climate change issues with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said that he "welcomed" the French announcement of one billion Euros credit line over next three years to India to take initiates in climate control.        

 

France will host the World Climate Conference next year. "We emphasised that India will play a proactive role because climate change is real and we have decided on our national action plan. We will strengthen it further. But we expect the developed world to walk the talk," Javadekar told PTI.

14:10  Tapas Pal 'rape' comment: MHA seeks report from WB govt:   Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the West Bengal government to submit a report on MP Tapas Pal 'rape' comment issue.

Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament Tapas Pal allegedly threatened to kill Communist Party of India-Marxist workers and have their women raped. 
13:24  Modi spends 18 hours on Budget preparation :  

A correspspondent in New Delhi reports: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spent 18 hours (in three settings) for the preparation the Budget, which will be presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha on July 10.

 

The three departments -- revenue, economic affairs and expenditure -- took around six hours to deliberate various policies on taxation. In a first, the PM cross-questioned taxation experts about the differences between state finances and Union finances.

 

Modi has given free hand to the finance ministry for Budget preparations. Three joint secretaries from the finance ministry have given their inputs to the PM regarding the Budget. This was not done in the past 10 years when the United Progressive Alliance was the Centre, say insiders.    

13:03  Paid news case: Election Commission to disqualify Ashok Chavan?:  

A Correspondent in New Delhi reports: Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath presided over the full bench of the Election Commission meeting today. An informed source says that the Commission discussed the case of alleged paid news against former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.

 

According to insiders, Chavan may be disqualified, but there is no conformation in this regard from the EC.     The Commission had last month framed five charges against Chavan who recently won Lok Sabha polls from Nanded in Maharashtra. The EC, on the directions of the Supreme Court, had issued a notice to Chavan in May last to appear before it in connection with the case of alleged expenses made by him during the 2009 polls which were categorised as "paid news".

 

The poll panel also prepared a blueprint for assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh by yearend.  

12:37  SC grants bail to Tejpal in sex assault case:  

Supreme Court has granted regular bail to Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal, TV channels report.  Tejpal was out on interim bail in a case of sexual assault.

 

Tejpal has told the court that he will neither tamper with the evidence nor threaten the witnesses, CNN IBN reports. 

12:23  SC rejects PIL to recover Rs 21,000 cr from Vodafone:  Just in: The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a public interest litigation seeking direction to Centre to recover Rs 21,000 crore from Vodafone, reports PTI.
11:33  Ukraine ends ceasefire with rebels :  

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to renew operations against pro-Russian rebels, hours after a ceasefire with the separatists in the east of the country expired.

 

"We will attack and free our lands. The decision not to continue the ceasefire is our answer to terrorists, militants and marauders," he said on his website early on Tuesday. The fragile ceasefire expired on Monday night.

 

The idea was to give rebels a chance to disarm and to start a broader peace process including an amnesty and new elections. Kiev had accused the rebels of numerous violations of the ceasefire, and a statement tweeted by the Foreign Ministry said 27 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed since the ceasefire began on June 20.

 

"The unique chance to put the peace plan into practice was not realised," Poroshenko said in a speech prepared for delivery to the nation, the Associated Press reported.

 

Read more on Al Jazeera

11:28  BJP among six foreign parties authorised for NSA surveillance:  

India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was included in a top-secret list of six non-U.S. political parties worldwide that the U.S. National Security Agency received official permission to covertly spy upon, according to the latest trove of data released to the media by Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor-turned fugitive whistleblower.

 

According to documents that Mr. Snowden published via the Washington Post on Monday, the U.S.' shadowy Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court gave the NSA "broad leeway' in conducting surveillance upon not only these six political parties but also a list of 193 foreign governments '" including India '" and only four countries were off-limits under this programme.

 

The Post reported that Washington has long adhered to broad "no-spying arrangements' with only the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, a group known collectively with the U.S. the "Five Eyes.' Yet the classified 2010 legal certification given to the NSA by the FISA court suggests the Agency received "a far more elastic authority than previously known,' one that reportedly allowed it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about those targets too.

 

Read more on The Hindu

10:37  Wasn't in favour of Modi, but happy to allow him to rule in a secular way: Amartya Sen:  

Long time Narendra Modi critic Amartya Sen seems to be softening his stand against the Prime Minister. The Nobel laureate says that he did not vote for Modi but is happy to give him a chance to rule fairly.

 

"I've not been to India since Modi came to power. But I think he is accessing what administratively should be done, if that's the case, that's a good thing. I was not in favour of Modi winning the election, but he has won and as a democratic Indian I'm happy to allow him to rule in a democratic way," Sen said.

 

Talking about his expectations from the Modi government's Budget, Sen said, "My hope is that no matter what their election manifesto was, that basic lesson of India's failure to learn from Asia will be the bigger part of the agenda of the new government."

 

Read more on CNN IBN

09:49  BJP preps to combat and explain price rise to public:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made controlling inflation a priority since taking office last month, but prospects of weak monsoon rains and turmoil in Iraq have increased the risk of rising food and fuel prices.  

 

With the Budget Session of Parliament beginning from July 7, the Centre has called for a meeting of all state food ministers on Friday (July 4) to discuss the crisis.

 

Read more on NDTV

09:05  Trinamool MPs wife apologises for 'rape' remark :  

Now Trinamool MP Tapas Paul's wife has apologised for her husband's obnoxious remarks.   The actor-turned-Trinamool leader had reportedly told his supporters in May last year that he won't spare opposition CPI-M for challenging him, threatening that his 'men would rape women' with links to the Left party.  

 

His wife has now conceded that Pal shouldn't have used the word 'rape'. However, speaking to CNN IBN earlier, Tapas Pal said he never used the word rape. He claims to have said 'raid' instead  

08:37  U.S. sends more troops to Iraq :  

The United States has increased its military presence in Iraq, ordering 300 more troops to the violence-ravaged nation, the Pentagon announced Monday. ISIS militants have "continued to pose a legitimate threat to Baghdad and its environs," a U.S. official told CNN.

 

"We have seen them reinforce themselves around Baghdad enough to convince us more troops was the prudent thing to do." The new troops, 200 of whom arrived Sunday and Monday, will provide security for the U.S. Embassy, the Baghdad airport and other facilities in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

 

The deployment includes "a detachment of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, which will bolster airfield and travel route security," Kirby said in a written statement.

 

Read more on CNN

08:31  TMC MP Tapas Pal says he said 'raid', not 'rape'; demands to sack him grow:  

A huge controversy has been sparked by Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal's comment that party workers would be sent to rape women from the Opposition.

 

Addressing a rally in West Bengal in May, Tapas Pal said he would not spare anyone who tried to challenge him. His speech has sparked massive outrage across party lines. With demands for his resignation growing louder, the TMC was forced to act. The party has asked Pal to give an explanation for his remarks within 48 hours. The party has already said it doesn't endorse his comments.

 

However, speaking to CNN IBN, Tapas Pal said he never used the word rape. He claims to have said 'raid' instead. "I never said rape. I said raid. I said they should raid all the people and places, including women and old," Pal said claiming that the Opposition was trying to defame him.

08:29  Chennai building collapse: Death toll rises to 24:  

Three days after an under-construction building came crashing down in Chennai, the death toll has risen to 24. Meanwhile, 24 people have been rescued so far. Among those rescued is an Andhra Pradresh worker who was pulled out alive on Tuesday morning. But over 20 are still trapped under the debris.

 

NDRF teams are continuing with search operations. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has blamed the builder for violating all norms. The police have arrested six people including the real estate developer for negligence.

 

Read more on CNN IBN

03:34  Faking it: Why football players feign injury:  
We all know that professional football players feign injury. Is it getting worse? Probably. Do we know why? Not really, but history suggests some plausible answers.

The first thing to say is that feigning injury in football today has reached truly epidemic proportions. 

A Wall Street Journal article reported 132 minutes of writhing time in just 32 World Cup games. Of the 302 separate instances of players appearing to be very seriously hurt, 293 of them were up and playing within seconds. Just nine were actually injured.

Read more HERE
03:28  Liqour in Delhi becomes costlier from today:  
Liquor in national capital New Delhi is set to become costlier from today. 

The rates of liquor is likely to increase by eight to 12 per cent as the revised excise duty regime and increased retailers margin component on liqour, notified by the Delhi government, would come into effect from Tuesday. 

Delhi government has decided to increase the retailer's profit margin in order to promote fair play and make the liquor trade look more profitable. 

According to the revised list, the retailer's profit margin component on Beer, Cidrem Alcopop has been hiked from the existing 8 per cent to 12 per cent of wholesale price. 

The retailer's profit margin on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has been increased to 20 per cent from the existing 15-18 per cent of the wholesale price. 

The retailer's profit margin on country liquor (Delhi Medium Liquor) has been increased from 3 to 6 per cent. 
03:26  Camel to be Rajasthan's state animal:  
Rajasthan government has decided to declare Camel as the state animal and also to strengthen road network in the state and create job opportunities for the youth. 

These decisions were taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Vasundhara Raje on the last day of the 'Sarkar Aapke Dwar' campaign in Bikaner on Monday. 

"One of the important decisions is to declare camel as the state animal. The cabinet gave its nod to prepare an act for
the protection and conservation of the animal which will help in checking smuggling and migration of the animal," Rajendra Rathore, Parliamentary Affairs minister told reporters after the meeting.
03:24  Declaration of 'caliphate' in Iraq, Syria has 'no meaning': US:  
The United States today said the declaration by Sunni militants of an "Islamic caliphate" on territory they have seized in Iraq and Syria has "no meaning." 

"We have seen these types of words from ISIL before," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, referring to militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"This declaration has no meaning for the people in Iraq and Syria," she said, adding that the militants -- who have now renamed their group the Islamic State -- were just trying "to control people by fear." 

The White House said the jihadists spearheading the offensive in Iraq had waged "a campaign of terror of gross acts of violence and repressive ideology that pose a grave threat to Iraq's future." 

"ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq. ISIL is fighting to destroy Iraq. And that's why you've seen this administration work closely with Iraq's political leaders to encourage them to unite the country as they confront this existential threat," spokesman Josh Earnest said.
03:24  Any Israeli attack will open 'gates of hell': Hamas:  
Any Israeli action to punish Hamas for the alleged murder of three teenagers whose bodies were found today would open "the gates of hell," the Islamist movement warned. 

"If the occupiers carry out an escalation or a war, they will open the gates of hell on themselves," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. 

The warning came shortly after Israel confirmed finding the bodies of the three students who disappeared while hitchhiking in the southern West Bank on June 12. 

The bodies were found in a field near Halhul some 10 minutes from the roadside spot where they were last seen, media reports said. 

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of kidnapping the teens, two of whom were minors, and launched a major crackdown on the movement's West Bank infrastructure. 

Hamas has dismissed the Israeli allegations as "stupid" with Abu Zuhri accusing Israel of fabricating the kidnapping as an excuse to crack down on the Islamist movement.  
03:19  Top headlines at this hour::  Chennai building collapse toll rises to 20; 2 rescued

94 Indians leave Iraq; nearly 600 more to return this week

Rs 60,000-cr deal with France for Rafale fighter jets taking off

Monsoon likely to hit north India by July 5

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