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LIVE! Cabinet brings onions, potatoes under the Essential Commodities Act

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July 02, 2014

23:54  Will retire from politics if BJP gets majority in J&K: Omar:  
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said he would retire from politics if BJP gets a majority in Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. 

"The day BJP gets majority in Jammu and Kashmir (Assembly elections), I will take retirement from active politics and go into hibernation," Omar told reporters in Doda district. 

He was responding queries on BJP's mission of getting 44+ seats in the state Assembly elections which is expected to be held by year end. 

"I do not want to see that day nor will that day come in the future," Omar said.

In reply to a question on fighting the polls without ally Congress, he said, "No such decision has been taken as yet. 

But the truth is that in both the parties, voices are raising the pitch that elections should be fought separately." 

"In my party, there are most of the people who do not want that elections should be fought in alliance with Congress. But the final decision would be taken by Dr Farooq Abdullah (president of the party). But I do not feel that he will be able to reject the demand of the party workers," he said. 
23:53  80 more migrants drown in latest Italy boat tragedy:  
Eighty more migrants are feared drowned after another shipwreck off Italy, just days after dozens of others suffocated in the hold of an overcrowded fishing boat. 

The victims "met an atrocious end at the hands of unscrupulous death merchants who profit from desperation to make money out of journeys carried out in inhuman conditions," Italy's Interior Minister Angelo Alfano told the Senate today. 

In the latest tragedy, a group of 27 survivors told the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) that there had been another 75 people on board their boat -- a large rubber dinghy -- who were lost at sea. Six more are missing from another migrant boat attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya. 

"According to the information gathered so far, the shipwreck occurred because the rubber dinghy was overcrowded and in a poor state," Catania prosecutor Giovanni Salvi was quoted as saying by Italian media.
21:24  Amit Shah accorded 'Z-plus' category security:  BJP General Secretary Amit Shah has been accorded a 'Z-plus' category security by the Home Ministry following high threat perception, official sources said today. Shah, a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be guarded by paramilitary CRPF commandos round the clock and armed guards will be posted at his residence, they said.

He will enjoy the high level of security across the country wherever he travels. The BJP leader, who was instrumental in the party's landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh in Lok Sabha elections, has so far been under the security of Gujarat police.

Shah, a former Minister of State for Home of Gujarat, was arrested in 2010 in connection with the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and Sheikh's associate Tulsiram Prajapati.
19:43  Iranian jets deployed to help Iraq fight militants: Report:  Iran has supplied Iraq with fighter jets to help it counter the belligerent offensive by Islamist militants who have taken over large swathes of territory, a media report said today.   

Russia supplied an initial delivery of the aircraft justa few days ago but analysts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies here say that a further delivery on July 1, originates from Iran, BBC reported.   

This means that the US -- which has also sent aircraft to Iraq -- is operating alongside Iran in this conflict. The US has deployed drones and helicopters to Iraq and is actively gathering intelligence on the advance by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.   

The US is also supplying Iraq's existing air force with Hellfire missiles, the report said.
19:34  200 peacocks killed over last two months in Rajasthan: NGO:   Around 200 peacocks have been have been killed over the last two months in Rajasthan, an NGO today alleged.

State president of NGO, People For Animals, Babulal Jaju, has written a letter to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje seeking her intervention in the matter. "Carcasses of about 200 peacocks were found in Tonk, Bhilwaral, Bundi, Nagaur, Jhunjhunu, Ajmer, Jhalawar and Sikar and 21 FIRs have been lodged but no action against poachers were taken," Jaju alleged.

Jaju alleged that it was "negligence" of the forest department officials and the police which was taking toll on the national bird.
19:10  Agriculture minister warns of drought-like situation, Earth Sciences minister disagrees:   Union Minister Jitendra Singh today disagreed with his cabinet colleague and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh over the looming drought-like situation but conceded monsoon could be weak in some parts of the country.

"There is no drought-like situation. There is no change in what we are saying. The monsoon is likely to remain weak this year. However, some parts will receive less rainfall," Minister of Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh told reporters today during his visit to the ministry office.

"The monsoon is delayed. Western India is expected to be worst-affected and a drought-like situation might prevail in some pockets," the Agriculture Minister had told reporters yesterday.
18:56  Govt steps in to curb price rise:   Finally, the government has stepped in to curb inflation. The Cabinet has decided to bring onions and potatoes under the Essential Commodities Act.

"States have been told to crack down on hoarders. There is enough onion and potato in the country; there is no need to panic," said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.        

"The current inflation is a result of UPA 10 year misrule," he added. 

17:58  Pal's apology was written in the right spirit: TMC:  Following his controversial remarks, the Trinamool Congress has accepted Tapas Pal's unconditional apology, as it believed the letter was written in right spirit, said Derek O'Brien.
17:14  BMCs water cut to be effective from Wednesday night:  Owing to the lack of rainfall, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is imposing a 20 per cent water cut in Mumbai. The cut will be effective from Wednesday night, said civic officials. The municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte made a written statement before the civic Standing Committee and members too approved the cut. 
17:00  Ness Wadia writes to Mumbai police:  Hours after Preity Zinta issued a statement on Facebook explaining why she had filed a complaint against her former boyfriend Ness Wadia, the industrialist has written a letter to the Mumbai police, claiming that her allegations are false. In the letter, he has also provided a list of people who were present at Wankhede stadium at the time of the alleged assault. 
16:37  Don't be scared: Moon Moon Sen reacts to TMC MPs rape threat:  

Reacting to the controversy over Trinamool leader Tapas Pal's remarks, his colleague Moon Moon Sen said, "As a woman I definitely don't endorse what Tapas Pal had said. His words can be part of a dialogue in a film's fight sequence. How could he make such irresponsible statements? How could Tapas forget that our leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee always tells us to maintain peace and harmony? She doesn't support any act of violence."

She added, "To the women of West Bengal, I have a message: there is no need to panic. Raping someone is not that easy. You are safe in this state. There is peace in Jangalmahal. There is harmony in the hills. There is nothing to be scared of."

Sen shared screen space with Pal in the film Baidurya Rahosya

16:13  CBI court adjourns hearing in Shah's discharge application:  

The special CBI court in Mumbai today adjourned the hearing in the discharge application of BJP leader Amit Shah, in connection with the alleged fake encounter cases of Shorabbuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati, till July 14.        


The new judge B H Loya, before whom the case came up for hearing today, adjourned the case. Meanwhile, Shah is likely to appear before the court on July 4 for the regular hearing.        


It can be noted that the previous judge J T Utpat was transferred to Pune on June 25. The court had on May 9, issued summonses Shah and other accused in the case, which was transferred from Gujarat.        


The CBI had charge-sheeted Shah and 18 others,including several police officers in the case, last September.

15:29  Sheela Bhatt sent us this photograph of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (left) holding a meeting with the FICCI women's wing at the Oberoi hotel in Delhi today afternoon.
15:16  Have always requested for thorough probe: Tharoor on Sunanda controversy:  

Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor has issued a statement on Facebook over the new developments over the new twist in the Sunanda Pushkar death controversy:  


"My statement on the current controversy: Upon the tragic loss of my wife Sunanda and from the very beginning, I have requested for a thorough investigation by the authorities to be conducted and concluded rapidly and transparently. The Pushkar family has taken the same view and we have all fully co-operated with the authorities. I reiterate my request to bring this protracted inquiry to a clear and definitive conclusion at the earliest, so as to put all speculation to rest."


Read the full story here

15:14  Mamata trying to shield Tapas Pal: BJP:  

Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of trying to shield Tapas Pal, who has made controversial remarks, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Siddharth Nath Singh said only an apology was of no use and he should be made to quit as Trinamool Congress MP.  


"Two tapes of TMC MP Tapas Pal are out and Mamata Banerjee is still trying to shield him. This is the policy of Trinamool for TMC goons. Only apology is of no consequence, he should be made to quit his parliament seat,' Singh said.

14:57  The #NaMo wave has yet to translate into effective governance:  

Author and eminent scholar Dan Hahn described successful political communication as something where "some will be attracted to what is said, to the position taken by the orator. Others will be impressed by the orator's crafting of the speech '" the organisation, the word choice, or the how the language is combined."


He might as well have been describing the #NaMo campaign, where the combination of a message of hope, soft ideology and communication craftsmanship has attracted a substantial number of voters within and outside BJP's traditional vote bank.


Read more on Mail Online

13:56  Sheela Bhatt writes: Any woman who multi-tasks -- which means every single one of them, right -- should try to hear Sheryl Sandberg's address to the FICCI women's wing. The petite Sheryl, we know through her book and work, is a strong woman, and the FICCI women are treating her like a rock star. When I asked a woman from Random House if I could meet Sheryl for a minute to shake her hand, she told me without any hesitation, 'No!'   
13:41  New Infosys CEO to get annual salary of $5.08 million:  

Infosys Ltd will pay its new chief executive officer Vishal Sikka up to $5.08 million in annual salary besides a stock option of $2 million, a package considered lower than global peers.     


Sikka, 47, will replace SD Shibulal and take charge on August 1.    


India's second-largest software services exporter sent out a circular calling for an extraordinary general meeting of company shareholders on July 30 at Bangalore to approve appointment of Sikka as the new Chief Executive Officer.

13:39  Jaya thanks Modi for constituting supervisory committee on Mullaperiyar dam:  

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today thanked the NDA government for constituting a Supervisory Committee for raising the water level of Mullaperiyar dam to 142 ft initially in lines with the Supreme Court order.       


In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa said the state government had received the orders of Union Ministry of Water Resources constituting the committee and 'sincerely' thanked him for acceding to her demand in this regard, taken up during their meeting on June 2, in Delhi.

13:30  Facebook COO's meeting with FICCI women's wing is a sellout:  Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO, is expected anytime soon at the Hotel Oberoi in Delhi where she is addressing the FICCI women's wing. Naturally, the venue is standing room only, reports Sheela Bhatt.

The Oberoi has served a heavy lunch to the womenfolk, the menu ranging from risotto to marinated fish.

The Facebook COO is in India to do PR for her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, a must-read book. Random House, her publisher, is unaware of Sandberg's schedule which is being kept a secret, but we do know that she be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   

However, the details worth knowing from that meeting may not come out because the PMO is likely to tweet only a photograph of the meet, not what the two discussed.
12:59  Afghan candidate Abdullah claims 2m votes cast in poll were fraudulent:  

Afghan presidential hopeful Abdullah Abdullah said he believes 2m votes cast for his rival in a June runoff poll were fraudulent and that the planned inauguration of a new leader in August should be delayed if more time is needed to audit ballot boxes rigorously.


The position places him at odds with the other contender, former World Bank technocrat Ashraf Ghani, and much of the international community, who claim the uncertainty stirred up by the months-long election process is costing the country's fragile economy dearly.


Pushing back the 2 August inauguration date could also threaten long-term military support from the US and other Nato countries after their combat mission ends this year. It is due to be replaced by a training mission and billions in financial support, but they can only be provided under a long-term cooperation deal that incumbent president, Hamid Karzai, has refused to sign, saying it is a decision for his successor.


"The international schedule is important, but it is more important that we do not sacrifice the rights of people in favour of a date," Abdullah said, after a day of meetings to try to defuse the standoff over results. "I don't think that people are waiting for the wrong solution."


Read more on The Guardian

12:56  Govt hikes onion export price to check price rise:  The government has further hiked the minimum export price of onion to $500 per tonne to improve domestic supply.
12:17  Syria not for Syrians, Iraq not for Iraqis, but for all Muslims':  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled caliph whose Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has sent shivers across the world with its aggressive conquest of parts of the two nations and has unmasked global ambitions, has called upon Muslims everywhere to immigrate to his land, fight under the ISIS banner throughout the globe, and do something that was never done before: to conquer Rome.

Reports in the Telegraph, UK, Damien McIlroy notes that in an audio recording, Baghdadi, a PhD holder in Islamic studies, says, 'Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the house of Islam is a duty. Rush o Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims. This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills,' writes McIlroy.

And what sort of people does this new land want, according to Baghdadi? 'Judges and those who have military and managerial and service skills, and doctors and engineers in all fields,' he says in his audio message. 

As the Islamic holy month of Ramzan is here, Baghdadi says, 'In this virtuous month or in any other month, there is no deed better than jihad in the path of Allah, so take advantage of this opportunity and walk the path of you righteous predecessors. So to arms, to arms, soldiers of Islam, fight, fight.' 
11:52  NSA snooping on BJP: India summons top US diplomats:  

India has summoned top United States diplomats to lodge a protest after reports emerged that American National Security Agency spied on foreign parties including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.    


New Delhi has told the Americans that such acts of snooping are unacceptable.  India has also sought assurance from the US that it will not happen again.

11:08  Sensex hits life-time peak of 25,788; Nifty at 7,711:  

The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty hit their life-time peaks of 25,788.40 and 7,711.25 in morning trade on widespread buying on the back of sustained foreign capital inflows coupled with higher global cues.        


The Sensex resumed higher at 25,660.57 and rose further to an all-time peak of 25,788.40, showing a sharp gain of 272.05 points, or 1.06 per cent, surpassing previous record of 25,725.12 reached on June 11.        


The NSE 50-share Nifty also rose by 76.55 points, or 1 per cent to hit an all-time high of 7,711.25, surpassing previous record of 7,700.05.        


In the global market, the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to all-time highs yesterday as manufacturing activity picked up in the US and Asia in June and increased optimism about the global economy's health.        


Major gainers were SSLT (2.78 per cent), Sun Pharma (2.00 per cent), HDFC (1.47 per cent), Coal India (1.44 per cent), ICICI Bank (1.32 per cent), Dr Reddy's Lab (1.31 per cent), Larsen (1.31 per cent), Tata Steel (1.23 per cent) and NTPC (1.23 per cent).        


Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 856.35 crore yesterday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.        


Asian stocks rose in their early trade after reports showing manufacturing expansion in US, the world's biggest economy, sent American stocks to record-highs.

10:20  Former French President Sarkozy placed under investigation:  

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation over alleged influence peddling. He appeared before a judge late on Tuesday, after presenting himself early that morning for police questioning, which lasted 15 hours.


This is thought to be the first time a former French head of state has been held in police custody. Mr Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, was also placed under formal investigation as part of the same case. A magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, also appeared before a judge.


Read more on BBC

10:04  India to protest after report that US agency spied on BJP:  

 India will lodge a strong protest today with the US after a report that its National Security Agency was allowed to snoop on the BJP.India's ruling party was among six political outfits in the world that National Security Agency or NSA was allowed to spy upon, according to classified documents reportedly leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.


"India will lodge a protest today, the modalities are being worked out," top sources told NDTV.


According to documents made public by Washington Post on Monday, BJP is listed along with the Pakistan People's Party and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood among outfits for whom the NSA had sought permission to carry out surveillance.


Read more on NDTV

09:48  JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has throat cancer:  

JP Morgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said he has been diagnosed with throat cancer but his condition is curable and will soon begin treatment while continuing to be "actively involved" in the banking giant's business.        


In a brief letter to his colleagues and shareholders, Dimon disclosed that the cancer was detected quickly and is confined to the original site and adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of his neck with no evidence of cancer elsewhere in his body.        


"The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly, and my condition is curable."        


Dimon, 58, said as he begins the eight-week long radiation and chemotherapy treatment at New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, he plans to continue to be "actively involved in our business, and we will continue to run the company as normal."

09:40  Chennai building collapse: Death toll rises to 42, rescue operations on:  

Five days after an under-construction building came crashing down in Chennai, the death toll has now risen to 42. Rescue operations continue to pull out five people still feared trapped. Twenty-seven people have been rescued so far.


A woman rescued almost 60 hours after the tragedy unfortunately died at the hospital. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has said that the builder violated norms. The police have arrested 6 including the real estate developer for negligence.


Read more on CNN IBN

09:34  Over 300 passengers looted on Ranchi-Patna Janshatabdi Express:  

CNN IBN: A brazen dacoity took place on board the Janshatabdi express in Bihar on Tuesday night. More than 300 passengers were looted on board the Janshatabdi express that was heading to Patna from Ranchi.


More than 30 armed dacoits looted of gold worth several lakhs from passengers in the AC coaches. The incident took place between Kodarma in Jharkhand and Gaya in Bihar. "Around 20-25 dacoits came and took away jewellery, money and whatever they could find. They even fought with some passengers. There were no police personnel on board," said a passenger.

08:48  Case against Ness: 3 witnesses confirm Preity's version, one not sure:  

Mumbai Police have almost finished recording the statements of those witnesses who were sitting next to actor Preity Zinta -- who has accused her former boyfriend Ness Wadia of threatening her at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 30 - at the time of the allegedincident.


Ms Zinta, 39, has accused Mr. Ness Wadia, 44, a former boyfriend, of abusing and threatening her during the match played by the Indian Premier League cricket team they co-own, the Punjab Kings XI.


According to sources, three witnesses have confirmed the sequence of events as narrated by Ms Zinta in her statement to the police, which she had recorded on June 24 at the Wankhede Stadium, the site of the alleged incident.


Read more on NDTV

02:40  Rome will be conquered next: ISIS chief Baghdadi:  
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic State stretching across Iraq and Syria, has vowed to lead the conquest of Rome as he called on Muslims to immigrate to his new land to fight under its banner around the globe.

Baghdadi, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies, said Muslims were being targetted and killed from China to Indonesia. Speaking as the first Caliph, or commander of the Islamic faithful since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, he called on Muslims to rally to his pan-Islamic state.

"Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the house of Islam is a duty," he said in an audio recording released on a website used by the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

"Rush O Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims.

"This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills."
02:33  7 things you need to know about Facebook's mood experiment:  
With the uproar continuing over Facebook's manipulation of some users' News Feeds to conduct an experiment on emotions, there are several things users need to understand.

News reports recently surfaced that Facebook enabled researchers to surreptitiously control the posts, comments and photos that about 700,000 users were seeing as part of a psychological experiment.

Users, analysts and bloggers have been voicing their outrage over what many are calling emotional manipulation and a breach of users' trust.

From how the experiment was conducted to its legality, what Facebook had to say and what recourse users have, here are seven things users e need to know.

Read more HERE
02:25  NASA to try carbon satellite launch today:  
The US space agency will try again on Wednesday to launch a satellite designed to track carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas that is responsible for global warming.

The first bid to send the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 to space was aborted at the last minute today, after engineers discovered a problem with water flow to the launch pad. 

The next attempt is now set for 2:56 am Pacific time from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

NASA's two previous bids to send a carbon-tracking spacecraft into orbit failed due to rocket malfunctions in 2009 and 2011.

This time, NASA switched to a different type of rocket, the Delta 2, but an issue with the water suppression system to the launch pad caused engineers to halt the process at 46 seconds before liftoff early today.

"Pending the outcome of troubleshooting, the launch is rescheduled for Wednesday," NASA announced on its website. 

The launch window is quite short, just 30 seconds. 
02:25  56 dead in Nigeria market blast:  
A civilian patrol group says a car bomb in a marketplace in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri has killed at least 56 people. 

Sadiq Abba Tijjani, leader of the Civilian Joint Task Force, said his group recovered at least 56 dead bodies at the blast site today, although many were in parts or burnt beyond recognition.

Other witnesses also estimated the death toll to around 50. Some officials said only 17 people died in the explosion that ripped through the market early today, but officials regularly play down the death toll. 

Witnesses and officials blamed Boko Haram, the Islamic extremists accused of a bombing campaign that has killed scores in recent weeks.
02:24  Shah Rukh conferred with top French award:  
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan was on Tuesday night conferred with top French civilian award -- 'Knight of the Legion of Honor'.

Visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius presented the prestigious award to the 48-year-old actor at a function in Mumbai for his outstanding contribution to cultural diversity across the world.

"I feel very humbled and grateful for this prestigious honour. Today is my mother's birthday and if she had been alive she would have been happy that I got this prestigious honour. I accept this award not as an individual but on behalf of hundreds of filmmakers," Shah Rukh said. 

"It makes me feel proud to be recognised for the field I am passionate about. This award has motivated me to take Indian cinema to the next level of acceptance, love and glory. I thank the President of France for this honour." 

Shah Rukh is second Bollywood personality after megastar Amitabh Bachchan to be bestowed this award. 
02:23  Indian bowlers struggle as Derbyshire pile up 326/5:  
India yet again produced a listless bowling performance as Derbyshire piled up 326 for five at stumps of the first day of their second tour game ahead of five-match Test series against England. 

Billy Godleman (67 not out of 159 balls, 8x4s) and 17-year-old Harvey Hossein (53 not out of 89 balls, 8x4s) were at the crease at the end of opening day's play. 

The only bright spark for the visitors was the first hour of the lunch session when Ravindra Jadeja (2/27) and Ishwar Pandey (1/34) bowled well in tandem to pick up three quick wickets.

Jadeja only bowled one spell in the middle session and that was when Indian looked in control. But on either side of his spell, Derbyshire batsmen made merry while the sun shone bright all day, accumulating runs at ease. In the post-tea session, the hosts scored 140 runs in 34 overs. 

Wes Durston scored 95 runs off just 90 balls, hitting 14 fours and two sixes. With Godleman, Durston put on 124 runs for the fifth wicket before falling to a return-catch to Stuart Binny (1/25) just when he was close to completing a deserved hundred.
02:22  Top headlines at this hour::  Chennai building collapse toll rises to 32; 3 survivors rescued

Govt acted on its own in excluding Gopal Subramanium: Chief Justice

IAF may fly out stranded Indians from Iraq

After 'girls in pubs' row, Goa minister now seeks ban on bikinis

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