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LIVE! No hike of LPG, kerosene prices: Petroleum Minister

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July 04, 2014


22:29  Report claims September 25 launch for iPhone 6:  NDTV reports: Another day and another iPhone 6 rumour. This time a report out of China details an astonishing new launch date for the next iPhone from Apple, ahead of most dates in previous leaks. The report is accompanied with purported pricing details, as well as the name of the anticipated larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant -- iPhone Air

To read the full story, click here
21:59  Mumbai Taximen's Union moves HC for auto, taxi fare hike:  Mumbai Taximen's Union today moved the Bombay high court seeking a direction to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority to implement its decision to allow hiking fares of auto rickshaws and taxis plying in the city, besides Thane and Navi Mumbai.

The MMRTA has proposed a Rs 2 fare hike for auto rickshaws and taxis. Accordingly, the minimum auto fare would go up from Rs 15 to Rs 17, while minimum taxi fares would increase from Rs 19 to Rs 21.

In case the court approves the fare hike, the MMRTA is likely to implement it from July 10.
21:27  'No proposal to increase subsidised LPG, kerosene':  Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today that there is no proposal to increase rates of subsidised LPG, kerosene and diesel.

"There is no such proposal with the government," Pradhan said with reference to a report that his ministry is considering a note to the cabinet for raising kerosene and LPG prices as recommended by an expert committee.
21:16  AgustaWestland: ED slaps laundering case against ex-IAF chief:  The Enforcement Directorate today slapped a money laundering case against former Indian Air Force chief S P Tyagi and 20 others in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal to probe alleged kickbacks of Rs.360 crore.   

The agency, which earlier registered a case under foreign exchange laws in this deal, decided to lodge a criminal case to trace the bribe money involving middlemen and other people named by the CBI in its FIR filed in March 2013.  

Taking cognisance of the more-than-a-year-old CBI complaint, the agency has booked Tyagi, his family members, European nationals Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, four companies -- Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, two companies based in Mauritius and Tunisia, few other firms and unknown persons in its criminal complaint filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
21:04   Djokovic in Wimbledon finals:   Top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia enetered the final of the men's singles at Wimbledon, beating 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(7).

He will meet the winner of the second semi-final, between Roger Federer and Milos Raonic.
20:22  Guwahati flash floods: Eviction continues for 5th day; 396 houses pulled down:   The administration today pulled down 72 houses in Guwahati during an ongoing eviction drive in the city to clear waterways and wetlands.

During the exercise, which entered its fifth day today after the worst ever flood in the city last week, the Kamrup Metro district administration has so far demolished 396 houses and cleared over 50 bighas of government land.

According to an official release, the authorities today carried out its demolition exercise in Silsako lake and on the banks of Bharalu river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra flowing through the city.

Out of the 72 houses pulled down during the day, 46 were in Silsako, while the rest were on the banks of Bharalu. Regarding the displaced people, the authority has already ruled out any relief or temporary accommodation saying it would not be done as they were encroachers.
19:59  Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek bow out of men's doubles:  Wimbledon: 5th seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek bowed out of the men's doubles, beaten by the unseed pair of of Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Jack Sock of United States 6-7(5-7), 3- 6, 4-6.
19:30  Scam-tainted Ashok Chavan put in charge of election strategy for Marathwada:  Maharashtra Congress today gave the former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan the responsibility of drawing up Assembly elections strategy for Marathwada region. Chavan is tainted in the Adarsh housing society scam.

Chavan, now the Lok Sabha MP from Nanded, will be assisted by ministers Madhukar Chavan, Rajendra Darda, Amit Deshmukh, Abdul Sattar and D P Sawant, all of whom hail from Marathwada, party sources said.

Chavan had to quit as the Chief Minister after getting embroiled in Adarsh Society scam in 2010.

Hingoli MP Rajiv Satav and Rajya Sabha member Rajni Patil will also be part of the group headed by Chavan. The region has 46 Assembly constituencies out of which Congress had won 18 in 2009.
19:24  A Japanese politician who broke down in hysterics after being questioned over unexplained uses of public funds has attracted attention from more than just his constituents in the wake of the press conference. Watch
19:21  Unconfirmed reports say that Kalyan Singh may be the new Governor of West Bengal. MK Narayanan has demitted office.
18:55  President of India tweets: Happy, relieved 46 nurses from Tikrit have reached secure area. Look forward to their early and safe return to India. 
18:52  Vaishnodevi shrine eyes jump in footfall as Katra rail link opens:  The Mata Vaishnodevi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir can now look forward to a larger turnout of pilgrims after the train service to Katra, the base camp for the pilgrimage, was today inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Mata Vaishnodevi pilgrimage yearly attracts about 10 million pilgrims although, thus far, the only access to Katra was through National Highway 1-

A. Pilgrims from Kerala, Odisha, Maharashtra, West Bengal and other parts of the country come to the shrine on a regular basis, said an official of the Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board, adding that direct trains may now be planned from places like Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Delhi.
18:46  Don't look! Governors are changing again :  Goa governor BV Wanchoo is believed to  have put in his papers after he got a call from the Home Secretary today. O Rajagopal is likely to be the new governor of Karnataka after HR Bhardwaj quit two weeks ago. Rajagopal is likely to assume office on Wednesday. 
18:35   Swamy writes to ED on National Herald issue:  BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today sought an investigation by Enforcement Directorate in the wake of an order by a Delhi court on a private criminal complaint filed by him against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others in the National Herald case.

In a letter to Enforcement Director, he enclosed an order of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Patiala House courts, on his complaint alleging various criminal offences in acquiring the assets of Associated Journals Limited, which ran the now-defunct National Herald newspaper by young Indian, a newly floated company, and sought a probe in this regard.
18:25  Rajdeep Sardesai tweets: Some of you ask: what next. All I can say, watch this space: phir subah hogi! Much to do!
18:07  And here's Sagarika's farewell note to her staff :   Rajdeep's departure comes two days before the new Network18 management is slated to be announced. His wife, deputy editor Sagarika Ghose quit the channel yesterday.

This is her farewell letter to her staff...

Hi there folks,

I never thought I would be writing this mail.

CNNIBN has not only been an integral part of my life for almost every waking minute these past years, but more important, working with you has been a joy and an honour. But now--after almost a quarter century in journalism, among them  9 fabulous years at CNNIBN--I leave to try my hand at something a little more challenging and creative, explore new vistas in reportage and commentary.

At CNN-IBN, an incredible team of professionals brought total commitment and integrity to reporting the news. We put journalism first and because of that we became a trusted and much loved brand. A free fearless press is the infrastructure of democracy--without it the term "citizenship" is diminished indeed.

The words of John Tusa, the venerable former director general of BBC World Service come to me: "Journalists cannot become the outriders of authority...but the freedom we have is the freedom to be responsible."

CNN-IBN was always free and responsible! That's why it became such an incredible success, so beloved of viewers. We created magic and that magic touched millions of lives, and the magic will remain with each of us always!

Goodbye is an unhappy word. I prefer au revoir.. until we meet again.

Warmest wishes and all the very best of luck always,

Sagarika
18:00  Rajdeep quits CNN IBN :  And in other news: CNN IBN editor Rajdeep Sardesai has formally quit the channel. Reproduced here is his farewell letter to his staff.

My dear friends,

This is one of  the toughest letters to write. After nine wonderful years at IBN 18, its time to say goodbye. I must confess its not easy to leave a baby that one has helped create/build/grow and to leave such great colleagues. But I guess certain things in life are written in the stars. Editorial independence and integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe I am too old now to change!

I would though like to look at the brighter side, the many happy times we have all shared. I still remember when we decided to set up an English news channel: we had one chair and a table, and no one gave us a hope in hell. I recall an advertising executive watching our pitch and asking why we were even attempting a new news channel. But madness and a passion for journalism as defined by the spirit of  "whatever it takes" can break many a wall: we eventually did it! CNN IBN was a remarkable success: in nine years, we achieved the seemingly impossible in the news business: ratings, revenue, but most crucially, RESPECT for our  journalism. I am told that our awards tally is now over 200, more than all the other channels put together! This year's election coverage was a good example of what we have been able to achieve: a friend in CNN said he would have been proud to put together such a formidable line up of  programming.

IBN 7 had a more difficult period in a highly competitive market, but again I can look back with pride on the achievements of  the channel. We had a fire in the belly as typified by the tagline "khabar har keemat par'. I remember in a small town in UP when an elderly gent came to me and said, "sir maan gaye, aap hee ka channel hai jo na mayawati ko na mulayam ko chhodta hai!" And thank you to the IBN 7 newsroom for helping me improve my Hindi to the point where I could maybe anchor in Hindi one day!

and then to my friends in IBN Lokmat: you guys in many ways are the real rockstars. You overcame every challenge to build a channel of  substance. You created programming that won awards at the national level and stories that made the people of Maharashtra sit up. "Chala Jag Jinkuiya": truly you showed what the true spirit of journalism can do. My dream was that one day we would have similar quality channels in every Indian language: that dream must wait another day!

None of  all this would have been possible without the freedom one enjoyed at Network 18. For that I am eternally grateful to the leadership. Above all, none of  this would have been possible without the professionalism that each and every one of  you has shown. Television news is the ultimate TEAM game: I know the hard work that every one of  you put to build this network: from OB drivers and engineers from video editors to video journalists to the newsroom, each of  you deserve the highest acclaim for being there 24 x 7, through winter mornings and summer evenings.

Forget the cynics, journalism my friends is a great profession. Good journalism makes a genuine difference to the world by offering a mirror to society. Our stories have exposed corrupt netas and forced ministers to resign; we did stories that got jobs for the disabled, land to the landless, justice to acid attack victims. Hell, we even pioneered the idea of citizen journalism and of  India Positive and Real Heroes to showcase an India that otherwise is lost in the noise of  breaking news. Yes, putting news above noise, sense above sensation and crediiblity above chaos must remain a credo forever: else journalism will lose its moral compass. I hope the new management will always put journalism first and I wish them well.I don't want this note to be too long, (editors takes can get awfully long-winded) so I shall end here. I shall leave you with a Hindi film song which I believe should be a life philosophy: Aadmi musafir hai, aata hai aur jaata hai, aate jaate raste pe apne yaadein chhod jaata hai.. I hope, in my own small way, I have touched you on life's journey; you guys certainly have made be a better person. I will treasure the memories of  what must be nine of  the best years of my professional life. As I move on, I have no doubt our paths will cross: the friendships and warmth will endure forever.

Thank you for the memories,
Warmest,
Rajdeep

P.S. am sorry if I would occasionally call at 3 am in the morning. Blame it on being a news junkie. And remember, every time there is a spelling mistake on the ticker, my ghost will haunt you!!
17:54  MEA: Land route is dominated by the captors. The captors decide if the land route is available. 
17:47  MEA: Anything we say may possibly impact other elements so I won't say who we worked with and how we worked. The external affairs minister is working on this for almost 24 hours. 
17:43  'Nurses are safe and in touch with the embassy':  MEA: The resources used to free the nurses will now be diverted to other Indians stranded in Iraq.

"The nurses are all safe, obviously they have gone through a traumatic experience. Will make arrangements for their comfort and well being. Best antidote for them is to be with their near and dear and that's what we are working on," says Akbaruddin.
17:39  AI plane will first stop at Kochi and then at Delhi: MEA :  MEA: Still more Indians are there in the conflict zones in Iraq. India is doing all it can to secure the release of all Indians. It's a national endeavor, not a individual endeavor.

"We will leave no stone unturned to get our nationals back. Air India is sending a Boeing 777 aircraft to bring back the 46 nurses and 70 other Indians stranded in Kirkuk.

"This is a war situation. We have been building tenuous links, and anything we do should not undermine them. We will not get into who are the captors right now." 
17:33  LIVE! MEA confirms ALL Indian nurses free, AI plane on the way to Erbil:  MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin holding his presser on the situation in Iraq and the nurses who will be on their way back home tomorrow.

"All the Indian nurses are free. It has been a day of dramatic happenings. Conventional tools of diplomacy don't exist. EAM Sushma Swaraj is leading the diplomatic effort.

"There are no hopeless situtions only people who feel situaions are hopeless. Nurses are in touch with embassy officials. The nurses will move to Erbil tonight. AI plane will land tonight, has already taken off from Delhi.

Seventy others will also fly back. The plane on its way back will fly from Erbil to Kochi and then to Delhi if required. A senior Indian diplomat is on that plane and will coordinate with Kurdish and aviation authorities." 
17:18  Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha election on Monday:   The post of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha may go to either the Biju Janata Dal or the Shiv Sena according to top BJP leadership. The Deputy Speaker is crucial to conducting the house after question hour. 
17:10  AgustaWestland: Pleased to give statement to CBI, says Wanchoo:  Goa Governor BV Wanchoo has said he was "pleased" to have given CBI his statement today in connection with the alleged bribery scandal in the VVIP helicopter deal and hoped that the agency would now bring the truth out in the case at the earliest.

A statement issued by 63-year-old Wanchoo's office after the CBI team left his official residence in Panaji said the governor recorded his statement as a "witness" in the VVIP helicopter case under Section 161 CrPC. Under this section, any police officer may examine orally any person supposed to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of a case.
17:08   Oomen says the nurses will reach Erbil airport soon. Erbil is approximately 80 km away from Mosul, which is where they were taken from Tikrit yesterday.  
16:59  Kerala CM on nurses' evacuation: Nobody can take credit, it's a humanitarian issue :  Kerala CM Oommen Chandy holds a presser after news that the 46 nurses from India will be back in Kochi tomorrow. He says that the government of India has agreed to send a special aircraft to send the nurses back to Kochi. "We are very thankful to the GoI for their active involvement. This is a humanitarian issue, there's no question of credit. Centre and state government worked together to bring back the nurses," says Chandy.  The government will be sending a larger plane so that other stranded Indians can also return home. He said the state government will be sending two officials to accompany the nurses.
16:38  Amul's Sharapova moment :  Amul captures the moment as usual.

Sachin Tendulkar was in the Royal Box at Wimbledon with former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss on Saturday. When Sharapova was asked at her post-match press conference whether she knew that a cricket icon had come to watch her play, the she replied that she had met Beckham a few times but wasn't familiar with Tendulkar.

When Sharapova was told: 'Sachin Tendulkar was the other person who came in at the same time as David. Do you know who Sachin is?'

The French Open winner flatly replied: 'I don't!'
16:33  Not dirty dozen, but UPAs dirty 10:  Rattled by reports of disgruntled ex-ministers doing the dirty on them, three Congress leaders have formed a private group to monitor and neutralise erstwhile Congress MPs and MLAs who may expose the UPA government with documentary evidence.

This private group has identified and drawn up a list of 10 former Union ministers who were disgruntled even during their tenure.

In particular, the letters exchanged between 10 Janpath-7 Race Course Road and one former minister, if they were to surface should animate our news TV studios for at least a week, say sources in the know.
16:31  FIFA World Cup 2014: Indian condoms sell like hot cakes:   It is time to change your opinion that India has no role in this World Cup in Brazil other than sitting on the sidelines and enjoying the show.

If Pakistan makes the much-acclaimed balls for the Cup, India markets devices to add to the pleasure of the people there.

The products are nothing but condoms and the Kerala-based miniratna HLL Lifecare sent some 15 million pieces to Brazil in March ahead of the World Cup in one of its biggest shipments to make the biggest show on earth, safe for many.  Read more 
16:12  Bengal governor MK Narayanan demits office :  West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan today demitted office and left for Chennai along with his wife Padmini. Narayanan was given a guard of honour by the Kolkata Police's Mounted Police Division.

Many people gathered outside the Raj Bhavan gates as he talked to the staff who gave an emotional send-off to him.

Narayanan had taken over as West Bengal's 24th Governor on January 24, 2010. The resignation of Narayanan as West Bengal Governor was accepted by President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday and Bihar Governor D Y Patil was asked to hold additional charge of the post as interim arrangement.

Narayanan resigned on June 30, becoming the fourth Governor appointed during UPA rule to put in his papers after the NDA government prodded some of those Governors to quit.
16:10  Former Notw editor Andy Coulson jailed for 18 months:  Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones. The 46-year-old, who went on to become director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron, was found guilty last week.
15:56  Explosive emails ahead:  Congress leaders are concerned about another 'bombshell" waiting to explode. The matter concerns about six emails between a former minister and Rahul Gandhi, containing explosive material that could stall the ensuing Parliament session if they were to leak out. The BJP, of course, is said to be sharpening its knives in anticipation.
15:51  Can you guess who this ex-minister is?:  A close confidant of Sonia Gandhi, this former Union minister is said to be disgusted with the prevailing affairs in the Congress and may soon hold a press meet to expose the party and get closer to the BJP.

The ex-minister defended Robert Vadra when the latter was under attack - after the party leaderships special instructions to do so - and was provided with a special aircraft to return to Delhi.

The ex-minister has been conveying to close friends and mediamen that the Congress has become history and even if Indira Gandhi were to be reborn, she would find it difficult to revive the  party.
15:48  Mangalore's age-old tiles survive the shift towards cement. Read
15:39  Court exempts Amit Shah from appearance in encounter cases:  The special CBI court in Mumbai yet again exempted BJP leader Amit Shah from appearing before it today in connection with the alleged fake encounter cases of Tulsiram Prajapati and Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
15:32  MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tells a reporter: "This is not Peepli Live that we need to communicate through you with the nurses".
15:30  And a fond farewell for Sagarika: Face The People @FaceThePeople:  Goodbye @sagarikaghose: fiery, brilliant, journalist of courage! You are irreplaceable. #WeWillMissYou - FTP team

Sagarika hosted the programme Face the People.
15:26  Can you guess who this ex-minister is?:  A close confidant of Sonia Gandhi, this former Union minister is said to be disgusted with the prevailing affairs in the Congress and may soon hold a press meet to expose the party and get closer to the BJP.

The ex-minister defended Robert Vadra when the latter was under attack - after the party leadership's special instructions to do so - and was provided with a special aircraft to return to Delhi.

The ex-minister has been conveying to close friends and mediamen that the Congress has become history and even if Indira Gandhi were to be reborn, she would find it difficult to revive the  party.
15:25  A handy issue for BJP:  Congress leaders point out in private that Sonia Gandhi should not have rushed to place a wreath over the remains of Sunanda Pushkar, leaving the AICC delegates in the lurch. Because if the BJP raises this issue in Parliament, it will only only embarrass the Congress, but also put Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, in silent mode.

15:23  When a work of art is considered great, we may stop thinking about it for ourselves. So, is the Mona Lisa, really a great work of art? Read
14:59  Barkha Dutt rubbishes report of her joining CNN IBN as editor-in-chief :   Barkha Dutt tweets: Sahara story entirely speculative; they've not spoken to me. If there's ever any news at my end, you will hear it from me :-)

That's in response to Sahara Samay's story that senior journalist and NDTV group editor, Dutt, is joining CNN IBN as editor in chief.

Ending days of speculation, Sagarika Ghose, deputy editor of CNN-IBN, tweeted today that she had quit Network 18. She said, "Goodbye CNNIBN. God Bless!"

This is what the Sahara Samay story said. Read
14:58  It's business all the way at Modi's cabinet meets :  Narendra Modi has introduced a new culture while conducting Cabinet meetings -- complete silence and professionalism.

Union ministers like Ram Vilas Paswan and a couple of other ministers who have served under various prime ministers, have been comparing comparing  the styles of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Viswanath Pratap Singh, Chandra Sekhar, Inder Kumar Gujral and even Dr Manmohan Singh.

Comparing the styles of functioning, Paswan says Modi is real taskmaster and has a superb memory, while Vajpayee would give guidance, but would be jovial. Modi has rarely flashed a smile during cabinet deliberations. 
14:31  Antilla gets the blues in the rains :  The Mumbai rains spare no one. This is the world's most expensive home, Antilla, the 27-storey residence of Mukesh Ambani, after two days of rain. The picture was tweeted by Dharmesh Thakkar. 
14:25  Tata Motors shareholders turn down higher pay packet to 3 directors:  In a rare case of investor activism on managerial remuneration, shareholders of Tata Motors, India's biggest automotive maker, rejected compensation payment in excess of prescribed limits to three directors.

The company did not get the required 75 per cent votes in a postal ballot to compensate Executive Director (commercial vehicles) Ravindra Pisharody, Executive Director (quality) Satish Borwankar and the legal heir of former managing director Karl Slym (who died in January) in excess of the limits for the year ended March.  Read more
14:20  Cricket's Oscars selfie moment goes viral:  The Marylebone Cricket Club vs Rest of the World will see cricketing legends -- former and present -- take the field at Lord's cricket ground on Saturday.

And a selfie -- featuring players from both teams -- went viral on the internet on Friday. 'Take that, #OscarSelfie! #teamSachin & #teamShane ahead of #MCCvROW', said one tweet.
14:07  The special flight that will carry the nurses stranded in Iraq from Erbil to Kochi, is expected to reach Saturday morning. 
14:05  Nurses to be flown back in special aircract tomorrow:  More on the situation in Iraq: A special flight to leave from Delhi to Erbil at 5 pm today to bring back nurses stranded in Iraq. One official from Kerala House and one from the Central Govt will be on board the special flight from Delhi to Erbil. 
14:02  Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen tweets:  Not only was I @virendersehwag driver last night, but I also had to do Viru's tie...
13:58  'Nurses will be flown home tomorrow in special aircraft':  Government sources tell CNN IBN that the nurses will stay in Erbil today and will be flown to Cochin from Erbil tomorrow in a special aircraft. All the necessary papers will be provided to them. 
13:49  Red Cross claims all Indian nurses in Iraq have been freed :  Just in: International Red Cross confirms that the 46 Indian nurses in captivity in Mosul, Iraq, have been freed.  

The 46 nurses from Kerala moved in a vehicle by rebels from their hospital in Tikrit in Iraq are lodged in an old building near a hospital in Mosul and are safe, according to family members of a nurse in Kottayam.

Though they are lodged in a godown-like hall without power, their abductors have treated them well, a mother of one of the nurses said.
13:45  Suicide or murder? CBI to probe Jiah Khan death:  More than a year after the death of 25-year-old actor Jiah Khan, the Bombay High Court on Thursday transferred the investigation into her death to the CBI.

The court, however, expressed its displeasure over the central agency that asked it not to transfer the case to it, citing shortage of manpower and logistics.

"We are surprised and anguished by the stand taken by the CBI. If the CBI has difficulties like logistical support or other support, a request should have been made to the court to direct the state to provide support.

"Ultimately the interest of the citizen is of paramount importance.An agency like the CBI cannot say that they don't have infrastructure and personnel. When a crime is committed, it is an offence against society and it is the duty of the state to protect citizens," a bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode observed.
13:42  The Enforcement Directorate registers money laundering case against former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and others in VVIP helicopter deal.
13:33  Keeping faith in change :  For many months to come, both media and academia are certain to focus their minds on the question: what does the mandate of 2014 imply? No doubt there are those who perceive every election as just another Indian tamasha and refuse to be drawn into assessing their larger implication. Read
13:25  'Nurses holed up in old building in Mosul':  The 46 nurses from Kerala moved in a vehicle by rebels from their hospital in Tikrit in Iraq are lodged in an old building near a hospital in Mosul and are safe, according to family members of a nurse in Kottayam.

Though they are lodged in a godown-like hall without power, their abductors have treated them well, a mother of one of the nurses said.

"My daughter called me around 10.45 last night and said the group had been accommodated in a hall in Mosul. It appears to be part of a hospital. She could not speak more since the charge of her mobile phone was low. She told me not to get panicky if she did not call home frequently as she was not sure if there would be a facility to get the phone charged," said Sobha, whose daughter is one of the nurses of the group.

Sobha and her husband Sasikumar, like parents of other nurses from different parts of the state, said they are praying for safe return of their children and pinned hope on the efforts being made by the Centre and the state for their evacuation without delay.

But some of them complained that there was delay on the part of the Centre to intervene effectively in the matter.

They claimed that as soon as Tikrit came under the control of rebels a few days back, the nurses had informed Indian Embassy in Baghdad about their willingness to give up the job and return home.
13:22  'For achche din, give us at least a year':  'Understand one thing, if you want immediately and magically that things should become cheap, it's not possible. It's a long-term policy.' Read Nitin Gadkari's interview to Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt.
13:19  Minding the babu log :  "In 18 years of writing National Interest I have often been advised by many who get riled with it to go, get my head examined. But even I am not unhinged enough, at least not yet, to start my first National Interest in a publication I will be editing very shortly by upending the central premise of its cover story of the week. "

Shekhar Gupta's National Interest column moves finally. Read
12:47  Jammu and Kashmir seeks Rs 6,000 cr for rehab of Pandits:  Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, the Jammu and Kashmir government has sent the Centre a fresh rehabilitation plan for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.The new rehabilitation proposal keeps in consideration housing, employment and security for the Pandits. Under the proposal the state government had sought an assistance of around Rs 6,000 crore from the Centre. Read
12:43  Have you heard of Tanu Sharma?:  The attempted suicide by the anchor of a Hindi news channel raises several questions. Who has the answers? Read
12:39  Kani to meet Pranab today :  Meanwhile, DMK MP Kanimozhi, the daughter of party supremo Karunanidhi will be meeting President Pranab Mukherjee this afternoon hours at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. She will be accompanied by DMK MP Trichy Siva and will present a memorandum on the atrocities committed on the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. 

She will also hand over a personal note from Karunanidhi on the present political issues concerning Tamil Nadu.

Kanimozhi had also met many union ministers during her stay in Delhi especially the Union Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda to present a memorandum on rail projects for Tamil Nadu which were pending since the DMK regime. 
12:35  Nurses in captivity in Iraq says ISIS likely to release them:  Update on the 46 nurses in captivity in Iraq. Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa reports that Marina, one of the nurses has managed to get in touch with her father, Jose, and told him that the ISIS is ready to release them. Jose said that his daughter told him that the ISIS told the nurses to keep their bags ready and that they would be dropped to the Tikrit airport soon.

CNN IBN reports that the ISIS otld the nurses to get ready in five minutes and they were likely to be released. The nurses were also allowed to call home.

All the Indian nurses, who were trapped in their hospital basement in Tikrit for the last several days, were moved to a new location and are believed to be safe, the government confirmed yesterday.
12:14  Riot-accused BJP MLA Sangeet Som detained near Moradabad:  BJP MLA Sangeet Som was detained today while on his way to Moradabad. Som, along with some party workers had planned to hold a mahapanchayat in Moradabad. They have been detained since the BJP did not get the permission to hold the mahapanchayat. BJP MPs Satyapal Singh and Nepal Singh have also been detained enroute to Moradabad.Som is an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
12:01  Why the US stuck with Maliki -- and lost Iraq:  To understand why Iraq is imploding, you must understand Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- and why the United States has supported him since 2006. Read
11:59  Sherlock Holmes sent to 'encourage change' in North Korea:  Sherlock Holmes -- or, at least, Benedict Cumberbatch --  has been dispatched to unravel the mystery that is North Korea. Read
11:54  SP: MEA is lying :  SP senior leader Naresh Agarwaal has his two-bit to add on the abducted nurses: "The MEA is lying, how can the nurses be safe in the captivity of terrorists?"

And on reports that  26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed was spotted at the border: "Earlier Modi-ji used to roar daily against Pakistan, now he has become mute."
11:46  Kerala CM meets EAM Sushma Swaraj:  Kerala CM Oommen Chandy meets EAM Sushma Swaraj. Yesterday, 46 Indian nurses, who were stranded in Tikrit in war-torn Iraq, were forced to move out of the hospital they were at, by the militant outfit the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The government said they were unharmed but in the custody of the militants. 
11:42  ISIL challenges Modi government :  The Narendra Modi government has come face to face with its first foreign policy crisis -- in Iraq. What seemed a tricky operational challenge up until today has turned critical politically with the calculated move by the extremist elements who are behind the mayhem in northern Iraq to forcibly take away nearly 4 dozen Indian female nurses from India who were working in Tikrit to their stronghold of Mosul. Read MK Bhadrakumar's column
11:38  Jaitley declares war on hoarders: States should take action:  And the other big story: The government presses the emergency button to reign in spiraling prices. Finance minister Arun Jaitley holds a presser saying, "During July-December every year, prices of some food
items increase because of hoarding. Onion prices are lower than last year, so there is no panic situation. Hoarders are taking advantage of the forecast of below normal monsoon. State governments should take stern action against hoarders to rein in prices; Centre will give complete support."
11:16  'Winning the hearts of the people of J-K is my primary goal':  Jammu aur Kashmir kay logon ka dil jeetna, yahii meri prathmikta hai. The journey begun by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be taken ahead by us. Our aim is to win hearts of people of J&K through development. People in the remotest parts of the country should be a part of national development.

Modi concludes his speech.
11:12  This is Modi's first visit to J-K as PM:  This will be Modi's first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since he became the Prime Minister. His government bitterly opposes any special status for Kashmir.

After a prolonged wait, pilgrims will be able to directly reach Katra, the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, by rail after PM Modi flags off the first train from the station nestled in Trikuta Hills in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district today.

The train for Jammu will chug along the newly-constructed line from the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Station after Modi along with Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda waves the green flag.

The train will traverse through seven tunnels and over 30 small and large bridges. There will be a small station - Chakrakhwal - between Udhampur and Katra.

The 25-km long Udhampur-Katra line, which is being commissioned today after prolonged delays, has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,132.75 crore.
11:07  Have met rail officials, you will find change soon: PM:   The PM added, "Harek Bharat nagrik ki ichcha hai ki hamara Jammu aur Kashmir samriddh rahe. People in the remotest parts of the country should be a part of national development. It is every Indian's dream that people in J&K are happy and there is prosperity. We have to work for this, whether you are in power or not in power." 

"I met railway officials and soon you will find change," he said.
10:59  Modi invokes Vajpayee:  In his speech, Narendra Modi invoked Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said the "start made by Atal-ji of connecting J&K through railways, has to be taken ahead. The J&K CM expressed the concerns of the people, but development in Kashmir will not face any obstacles. Katra will now develop rapidly."

"I  heard people are already setting up businesses around the station. I assure you development of Jammu will not be hurt because of the railway link. Katra will become an economic centre.

"We will in fact make Jammu's development more qualitative. Katra will develop very fast in the coming times.

"The Vaishno Devi Express is a facility not only for the people of J&K but also for the people of India, who want to visit J&K .

"I also want to congratulate the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine board. I assure you that there will be no shortage or obstacle in the development of Jammu.

"This train should be known as the Shri Shakti Express. The railway link is not just a gift for people of JK, it is for lakhs of Indians who want to visit Mata Vaishno Devi. Overall this is an auspicious occasion to provide railway services to the people," Modi said.   
10:53  Omar: Want Vaishnodevi Exp to extend to other parts of Kashmir:   Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah who made a speech after the PM flagged off the train, said he wants this train to be extended to other parts of the Kashmir valley as well. "I would also request the central government to upgrade the Jammu Railway station. I want to allay fears from the residents of Jammu that this (Katra) Railway station will not affect their prime position in the state's railway network."
10:37  PM flags off Vaishnodevi Express linking Katra-Udhampur-Delhi:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Katra-Udhampur-New Delhi Vaishnodevi Express. The 25km rail link between Katra and Udhampur traverses through 10 tunnels and 36 bridges.

 

Earlier Modi arrived in Katra in his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after becoming PM.  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was present alongside Modi during the train inauguration ceremony.  

 

Modi is expected to visit Srinagar at 11 am where he will preside over a security review meeting attended by senior army and administration officials. Hevay restrictions under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, M R Gunj and Safakadal police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure ahead of Modi's visit, a senior police official said.         

 

He said the restrictions were imposed as there was apprehension about some persons creating trouble during theprime minister's visit to the state today. 

 

Meanwhile, normal life across the Valley was disrupted due to the strike call given by all the three factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF against Modi's visit.

09:51  Bihar: CRPF official killed in Naxal encounter:  A deputy commandant of the CRPF has been killed in an encounter with Naxals in Bihar's Jamui district.
08:50  Mamata says Tapas Pal's rape remark blown up to malign her government:  

Unfazed by the public outrage over Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal's 'rape for revenge' remark, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the media of blowing the matter out of proportion with the aim to malign her party and government.

 

Addressing an official programme, Banerjee said while "good work" was never publicised, small matters were getting highlighted. "Now, as you can see, if you do some good work that is never publicised. But if somebody does something small, or even if somebody does not do it, everybody is out with a vengeance," Banerjee said during a function at Nazrul Mancha.

 

Read more on CNN IBN

08:45  31 ACs, 25 heaters were installed at Dikshit's official residence:  

NDTV: As many as 31 air conditioners and 25 heaters were among a number of electrical appliances installed in the official bungalow of Sheila Dikshit in Delhi when she was the Chief Minister.


An official response to an RTI query said Mrs. Dikshit's residence on 3-Motilal Nehru Marg, which has now been allotted to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had at least 31 air conditioners, 15 desert coolers, 25 heaters, 16 air purifiers, 12 geysers among others.

 

An expense of Rs. 16.81 lakh was incurred on the electrical renovation of the bungalow at that time to customise it according to the needs of then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, CPWD (Central Public Works Department) said.

02:36  Your Android phone might be broadcasting your Wi-Fi history:  
If you are an Android user, the smartphone in your pocket might be blasting out a list of your favorite hangouts, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). 

The group discovered that Android devices released within the last three years or so have a nasty habit of broadcasting the names of previous Wi-Fi networks you've used, potentially revealing locations you visit and damaging your privacy in the process.

Read more HERE
02:35  Centre, states to discuss food inflation today:  
Manipulation by vested interests to create an artificial shortage of food items is expected to figure prominently at the day-long meeting of state food ministers convened by the Centre on Friday.

According to officials, the meeting is to be chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and presided over by both Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. The meeting will deliberate on the possible measures to rein in prices, especially in the backdrop of a poor monsoon this year.

Despite government measures, prices of some food items, especially onion and potato, have been rising even as their production is sufficient on likely below-normal monsoon.

The price rise issues and monsoon situation will be discussed during the first session and the Food Security Act will be deliberated in the second session, said a senior food ministry official.
01:30  New 'Batman v Superman' photo worries fans:  
To say that some fans aren't exactly excited for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the next installment from Warner Bros. and DC, may be an understatement. 

Between the confusion and disappointment with the movie's title and the sad first picture of Ben Affleck as Batman (which quickly became a meme), the films teases so far seem to be having the opposite effect on fans than what the studio intended.

Instead of increasing excitement, fans are growing more worried about what we can expect to see when it hits theaters.

Read more HERE
01:26  DU admissions: 2nd list out, marginal drop in cut-offs:  
The cut-off percentages for admission to popular courses in Delhi University did not drop remarkably in its second list even as a some colleges closed admission for most courses. 

While Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) closed its admissions for B.A.(Honours) Economics, the drop in cut-offs for Commerce honours course was by a mere 0.25 per cent. 

In Hindu College, admissions for History, Political Science, Hindi, Sanskrit, Maths and Statistics honours courses have been closed. 

The drop in cut-offs for Commerce, English and Economics honours courses was marginal. 

Most of the courses were closed for admission at Kirori Mal and Gargi colleges, while popular girls college Lady Shri Ram College has declared admissions closed for four courses -- BA pass, Hindi, Philosophy and Psychology.

While eleven colleges closed admissions for English Honours course, 16 were closed for Political Science honours course.

Out of the three colleges that declared a cut-off at 100 per cent for Computer Science (H) course, only Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College reduced its cut-off by a significant margin of 5.5 per cent for Arts students.

Much to the delight of students keen to get admission in Journalism Honours, the course continued to remain open except in Kamala Nehru College. 

Students can take admission into colleges based on second cut-off list from tomorrow till July 7 
01:24  World Cup bolsters Brazil president: poll:  
The World Cup has boosted the standing of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as she targets re-election in October, a poll showed today. 

Leftist Rousseff gained four points over the past month to stand at 38 per cent of voter support, a Datafolha poll for Folha de Sao Paulo daily showed.

Main opposition candidate Aecio Neves had 20 per cent of voter intentions, up from 19 in June, while support for socialist Eduardo Campos and ecologist running mate Marina Silva rose from seven to nine per cent. 

Rousseff, a 66-year-old former urban guerrilla from the Workers Party (PT) had lost three points between May and June as the World Cup approached amid a climate of tension stemming from opposition to the cost of the event and late-running preparations. 

Even so, she has consistently held a strong lead over her rivals and is favorite to win the election, albeit in a second round run-off. 

The latest poll showed World Cup support has been rising across the event, which kicked off June 12 and has been widely judged a success so far. Support rose from 51 per cent in early June to 63 per cent now, according to Datafolha.
01:21  Top headlines at this hour::  Ahead of PM Modi's visit, Pak says Kashmir not India's

Indian Air Force comes out with first mobile game

Indian nurses are safe in Iraq, no need for panic: Kerala CM

Subrata Roy urges SC to release him on parole to sell properties

Morale-boosting win for India ahead of England series

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