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LIVE! The choices we make will shape our future: PM @ BRICS Summit

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July 15, 2014

23:34  Football World Cup in Brazil united the world: Modi:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated Brazil for successfully hosting the Football World Cup, saying the "beautiful game" has brought the world together. 

"I convey my profound gratitude to our gracious host, President Dilma Rousseff, the people, and the Government of Brazil," Modi said at the BRICS Summit in this Brazilian sea-side city.
23:09  Protesters chase Palestinian minister out of Gaza:  Palestinian health minister Jawad Awad cancelled a trip to Gaza City's Shifa hospital today after being confronted by angry protesters as he arrived from Egypt, officials said. Witnesses said protesters threw shoes and eggs at Awad's car as he entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Officials said he left the Palestinian territory shortly afterwards.
22:38  Portion of building collapses in Mumbai:  There has been a building collapse in Goregaon West in Mumbai. 

Excess rain is said to be the reason for the collapse.        
21:56  Voters may enroll until last date of filing nominations: EC:  As many as 19.31 lakh applications have been registered so far as part of the ongoing summary revision of electoral rolls in Maharashtra and voters would have the opportunity to enroll themselves until the last date of filing of nomination papers, the Election Commission of India said in Mubai today.

The Election Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath concluded its two-day visit to review poll preparedness in Maharashtra. The EC held interactions with election officials, state administration and political parties. Addressing a press conference, Sampath said that the Maharashtra state electoral office has been asked to communicate constantly with voters even after summary revision ends on July 31.
21:49  PM pitches for 'zero tolerance' towards terror:  Pitching for 'zero tolerance"against terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told leaders of five-nation grouping BRICS that the "choices" they make now will shape the future of the world at large.   

Addressing the summit of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa in Fortaleza, he noted that the region stretching from Afghanistan to Africa is "experiencing turbulence and conflict" and "remaining mute spectators to countries being torn up can have grave consequences".   

Modi, who is attending the Summit for the first time,said, "I firmly believe that terrorism, in any shape or form,is against humanity. There should be zero tolerance towards terrorism".   

He underlined that the "choices we make now will shape the future of not just our countries, but the world at large". The PM referred to the issue of cyber world and said, "Cyber space is a source of great opportunity" but"cyber security has "become a major concern".
20:26  Mumbai waterlogged; locals running late:  

Heavy rains have hit Mumbai and its suburbs all day. Latest reports suggest that Harbour and Central Line local trains are running 15-20 minutes late.   Some reports have also stated that locals on Western line are also running 20-25 minutes late.  


Numerous city suburbs like Bhandup, Vikhroli, Mulund, Andheri and Hindmata Chowk have been waterlogged. Reports of heavy traffic snarls are coming in from the arterial Western Express Highway, LBS Marg.   More to follow.

19:41  Global totalitarianism: Change not forbidden, change is impossible:  

Claudio Gallo on My apparently weird thesis is: the neoliberal system ruling directly or indirectly the greater part of the world is producing a disastrous anthropological mutation that is leading to a kind of planetary totalitarianism.


First let's clarify the lexis. Neoliberalism is generally an economic philosophy established in the 20th century by figures like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.


Typical of that thought is the belief that the only unifying feature of society is the individual, together with the faith that the free market can regulate society better by itself than any external regulation.

Neoliberals are always in favor of any deregulation and privatization. Historically the market's auto-regulation is known as the classical liberal theory of the invisible hand. Usually it is attributed to Adam Smith, although the Scottish economist used it very rarely and apparently with a more restricted meaning.


Anyway, the invisible hand is now forming an integral part of the neoliberal theory, which considers any public intervention in the economy to be the work of the devil. The magic power of the invisible hand needs a society of pure individuals to work: everyone pursuing their best interest, the healthy egoism of society's atoms.


Alchemically, this composite of egoisms will result in maximized benefit for the entire society. It is a machine that never stops, a "perpetuum mobile' [perpetual motion] in which unlimited production goes with unlimited desire. There are literally no limits.


Click here to

18:57  "India attaches high importance to the BRICS forum for promoting global economic growth, peace and stability.

In the course of the past five summits and several ministerial and official processes, BRICS has made major strides in pursuit of these goals.

The meeting in Brazil will usher in the second cycle of BRICS Summits. We meet at a time of political turmoil, conflict and humanitarian crisis in several parts of the world, and persisting weakness and risks in the global economy." That's the PM's statement before he left for the summit. Read

Many emerging economies have experienced a slowdown, which has increased the challenge of pursuing inclusive and sustainable economic development.
18:55  PM Modi at the BRICS summit. 
18:54   In a departure statement in New Delhi, Modi said that India looks forward to the BRICS initiative for setting up the Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

Modi is visiting Brazil at the invitation of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to attend the Sixth BRICS Summit being held in Fortaleza and Brasilia on 15-16 July.

The prime minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Adviser A K Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.
18:51  LIVE! India likely to get equal share in Brics bank :  Possible breakthrough for India.

While China is all set to get the Brics bank headquarters, India's demand for an equal share in the Brics bank may be accepted. PM Narendra Modi has also suggested that the Brics bank be called New Development Bank.

The leaders of the five emerging market economies are expected to sign a deal on Tuesday that creates the $100 billion bank and a reserves fund of the same size to challenge Western dominance over global finance.

The five nations are Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.
18:46  And while on Pakistan, read this: The facts about the military operation in North Waziristan, which often goes with the adjective 'restive province'. 
18:44  LIVE! Pak journalist: Vaidik came to Pakistan with a mandate :  Pakistani journalist Iftikhar Shiraz says it is impossible for anyone to me Hafeez Saeed. Shiraz is the journalist who interviewed Ved Pratap Vaidik in Islamabad. Shiraz said that Vaidik came to Pakistan with a mandate but it is unlikely that the meeting was facilitated by the Indian embassy.
18:30  Will Congress play musical chairs :  Congress may be in for some humiliation from three regional parties. On Tuesday,  MPs from the Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK, and Trinamool Congress, decided to form a group and meet Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. They want three seats for themselves in the front row. If this is accepted, and it's unlikely to be, the Congress will get the second, which will be a major shock for a 130-year-old party. 
17:53  LIVE! Vaidik: Have contributed to making Narendra Modi our PM:   Ved Pratap Vaidik, the journalist who met JuD chief Hafeez Saeed in Pakistan has been speaking to the media all day. This is his latest, self-effacing quip:  Modi-ji ko PM bana-ne mein mera bhi thoda bahut yogdaan hai. I have contributed to making Narendra Modi, PM, in a small way.

Read Sushant Sareen's column on why Vaidik's meeting with Saeed is extremely problematic. 
17:47  Dr P K Misra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has occupied the chambers of Information Advisor to the Prime Minister that Harish Khare, Pankaj Pachauri and Sanjaya Baru used to occupy earlier. The new officer dealing with the media in PMO is given a small cabin in the ground floor. 
17:45  CBI chief meets Jaitley:  CBI director Ranjit Sinha was in Parliament to meet Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley today. Why? Your guess is as good as ours. 
17:36  More Indians stuck in Iraq back home:  Syed Akbaruddin @MEAIndia tweets this happy news: "Returning from Iraq! About 2500 return on tickets from Govt. Embassy assisted 1000 more to get tickets from Employers. Others still 2 come."

However, no news yet of the 40 Indian construction workers, mostly from Punjab, who were abducted from Iraq's Mosul town.
17:12  Salut, Ms Patel!:   As we pointed out earlier today, the likelihood of Priti Patel getting promoted becomes a reality. 

George Osborne @George_Osborne, British Conservative party politician and chancellor of the exchequer tweets: Very warm welcome to Priti Patel @priti4witham who joins Treasury team as Exchequer Secretary - strong addition to our excellent HMT team.

Here's a backgrounder of Priti Patel.
17:05  Tagore, one of the world's most popular Nobel winner's in literature:  Telegram from Rabindranath Tagore, read by Mr. Clive, British Charg d'Affaires, at the Nobel Banquet at Grand Htel, Stockholm, December 10, 1913 on his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature. "I beg to convey to the Swedish Academy my grateful appreciation of the breadth of understanding which has brought the distant near, and has made a stranger a brother."
17:04  Nadine Gordimer's Nobel lecture. Read 
17:00  Watch a 1991 interview with Nadine Gordimer :  Nadine Gordimer talks about her childhood in South Africa; how she became aware of the racism around her (7:01); her first novel and the development of her writing (13:02); changes in South African society (20:10); the anthology 'Telling Tales' (25:50); and receiving the Nobel Prize (30:32). Watch
16:46  The veshti culture :   The veshti controversy in Tamil Nadu is not about the dress -- but a dress-code, which seems permissible in private homes and offices, but not in private clubs that are open only to well-heeled, and well-paying private members. Read
16:38  LIVE! TN club says dhotis cause wardrobe malfunction :  The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club in Chennai, which has been pilloried for refusing entry to a Madras High Court Judge in a dhoti, will re-examine its dress code. The club management board said that the rule had been in place because wardrobe malfunction was common with members wearing a dhoti when they got drunk.

The denial of entry to Madras High Court Judge, Justice D Hariparanthaman into the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club for wearing dhoti, has triggered a controversy with several parties like DMK and the Congress condemning it.

When he alighted from his official car at the club premises to participate in a book release function, organised by T S Arunachalam, a former Chief Justice of the High Court, some staff of the club told him that he could not enter wearing dhoti as they had instructions from the office-bearers not to allow anyone in the premises who violated the club's dress code.
only allows members or guests dressed in full trousers, shirts or T shirts with collars and leather shoes to access the club. And so it told the dhoti-clad Justice Hariparanthaman, who had come there to attend a book release function on July 11, as it turned him away.

"After over 60 years of Independence, I can't accept this. They can have rules for their members, not for visitors who come on invitation," said the Judge crossly. Political leaders backed him.
16:33  Bomb scare at Mumbai airport over unclaimed baggage. Details  awaited.
16:19  While IAS officer Ashok Khemka being deputed to the Centre as Joint Secretary is confirmed, the ministry has not been allocated yet.
16:18  With William Hague out of the way, look who's up for promotion:  With William Hague dramatically quitting as Great Britain's Foreign Secretary last night, David Cameron embarked on a cull of white, middle-aged men in his most brutal reshuffle since becoming Tory leader. Up for a promotion is also a certain Ms Priti Patel. Read
16:12  PM presses Chinese Prez for solution to boundary issue:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Chinese President Xi Jinping here and pressed for a solution to the boundary question, saying if the two sides could amicably resolve the vexed issue, it would set an example for the world on peaceful conflict resolution.

The two leaders, who arrived almost at the same time in this seaside city of Brazil last evening to attend the BRICS Summit, engaged shortly thereafter for what was described as "good discussions and good meeting". The meeting - first between the two leaders - was scheduled for 40 minutes but it went on for 80 minutes as it was a free-wheeling discussion without any constraints.
16:06  2002 riots: HC judge recuses from hearing Kodnanis bail plea:  A single judge bench of the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday recused itself from hearing a plea by former state minister Maya Kodnani, convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patia riot case, seeking regular bail on the ground of her ill-health.

Kodnani on Tuesday sought the relief while citing her deteriorating health.

Justice Anant S Dave, however, recused himself from hearing Kodnani's bail plea. As the case came up for hearing, the judge said, "not before me,' without giving any reasons.

The bail application is likely to be heard on Wednesday before another judge.

Kodnani has submitted in the bail plea that her appeal challenging the judgement of special court is pending before the Gujarat High Court since December 2012.

The appeal is not likely to be heard in near future, considering this she shouldbe released on bail, the plea said.Kodnani further contended that the Naroda Patia special trial court had relied upon the testimonies of many of the witnesses, which is not considerable as per the provisions of the law.
15:35  Kashmir hamare dil ka tukda hai,alag karne ki baat koi kaise kr sakta hai?, says Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, Shia cleric on Ved Vaidik.

Kalbe Jawwad who? Read this interview on  'Islam says the person who has been hurt has the right to pardon the accused. So don't ask me on whether I will pardon Narendra Modi or not. Go and ask this question to Gujarati Muslims who have been hurt.'
15:29  Congratulations, Mr Bhatt :  President Pranab Mukherjee presented the 2013 Gandhi Peace Prize to environmentalist and pioneer of the Chipko movement Chandi Prasad Bhatt today. 
15:20  Why Praveen Swami and P Sainath quit The Hindu. Read
15:17  LIVE! Shakti Mills gang rapes: Two juvenile accused found guilty:   Two juvenile accused in the Shakti Mills gang rapes case have been found guilty. Both are found guilty of raping the telephone operator and a journalist. They have been sent to a correctional facility in Nashik, called the Borstal School, for three years. They are expected to "learn good behavior," here, said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nika.

The two gang rapes in Mumbai involving two women -- a telephone operator and a photojournalist -- took place within a few weeks at the Shakti Mills compound in Central Mumbai last year, shocking the metropolis.

The 18-year-old telephone operator was gang-raped in the deserted premises in July last year while the 22-year-old photojournalist was brutalised on August 22, 2013.

The scribe was raped by Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Siraj Rehman and a minor boy when she had gone to the desolate mill compound with a male colleague on an assignment.

While the three common convicts were awarded death penalty, Siraj was sentenced to life term in the photojournalist case.
15:03  LIVE! Chinese prez Xi Jinping to visit India in September :  Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit India in September says, MEA India. In a significant development, China has invited India to attend a summit of Asia and Pacific leaders as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Xi Jin Ping and discussed various issues, including the need to resolve the boundary question in an amicable manner.

The two leaders, who arrived almost at the same time in Fortaleza on Monday evening for attending the BRICS summit, engaged shortly thereafter for what was described as "good discussions and good meeting".

The meeting was scheduled for 40 minutes but it went on for 80 as it was freewheeling discussion without any constraints. The two leaders appeared well-prepared for the meeting as both of them referred to the statements made by the other before they assumed power, Akbaruddin said.

He quoted Xi as saying that "when India and China meet the world watches us".
15:00  Paid news issue figures in LS after EC notice to Ashok Chavan:  The paid news issue was raised in the Lok Sabha today by a BJP member who sought immediate disqualification of any member convicted of such malpractices, days after the Election Commission slapped a notice on former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan. Raising the matter during the Zero Hour, Kirit Somaiya said the poll panel had served a notice on paid news to an elected representative and urged the government to consider it as it had "adversely affected" the poll process.
14:53  Amit Baruah is The Hindu's RE in Delhi:  The Hindu gets a new Resident Editor -- Amit Baruah in Delhi. Read this.
14:03  LIVE! World Cup champs touch down in Berlin, victory parade begins:   Hundreds of thousands of German football fans have descended on the centre of Berlin for the World Cup party. Their heroes have landed in Berlin later than expected. The World Champions were delayed for two hours on take-off in Rio de Janeiro because of a scratch on their Lufthansa plane. When loading the Boeing 747-800, the last baggage car touched the plane leaving a mark on the paint. For safety reasons technicians had to check the damage, delaying the flight, reports The Local.
13:44  Anti-Vadra IAS officer Khemka gets transferred:   IAS officer Ashok Khemka, against whom the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana had sought a CBI probe, will be transferred on Central deputation, a report said on Tuesday.

The civil services board has approved the whistle-blower's deputation.

In January, the Haryana government had sought a CBI probe into Khemka's role in allotment of work for roofing sheets for warehouses.

Khemka had left the Hooda government embarrassed in October 2012, when he had cancelled the mutation of a Rs 58-crore land deal between United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's company, Skylight Hospitality, and reality giant DLF.
13:36  Gaza conflict: Israel accepts cease-fire proposed by Egypt, Hamas rejects it:  The Israeli Cabinet has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end a week of conflict with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has killed 185 Palestinians and exposed millions of Israelis to Hamas rocket fire.

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Cabinet met on Tuesday morning and accepted the proposal, which went into effect at 9 am.

It calls for a cease-fire to begin within 12 hours of "unconditional acceptance' by the sides, followed by the opening of Gaza's border crossings and talks in Cairo within two days. Read
13:33  Congress is making a fool of themselves. Can't believe the nation was in their hands for last 10 years, says man of the moment, Ved Vaidik. "I met Hafeez Saeed through another Pakistani journalist and as a journalist."
13:29  Vaidik has no relation with RSS: Ram Madhav:  RSS leader Ram Madhav, who recently joined BJP, today asserted that journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik has no relation with RSS, saying a person roaming around with Congress leaders is not from the Sangh fountainhead. "Vaidik saab has no relation with RSS. The person who roams around with Mani Shankar Aiyer and Salman Khurshid is not from RSS," he said.

"In any case Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist. With regard to India he is a criminal. Whenever he comes to India, he will brought as a criminal under the Indian law and order system," Madhav said.

His comments come after Congress party, includings its Vice President Rahul Gandhi, described Vaidik as an "RSS man" and questioned whether the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had facilitated the meeting between him and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
13:18  Modi's Brics moment :  The Bharatiya Janata Party's election manifesto made it a point to mention BRICS as a foreign policy priority. Thus, there is really no scope to debunk the upcoming summit of the grouping in Brazil tomorrow as an "inherited baggage' for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as some detractors in India have prematurely judged in their haste to caricature the event.  Read MK Bhadrakumar's column.
12:37  Rahul sees RSS hand in everything: BJP:  "Seems Mr Rahul Gandhi sees an RSS hand in everything, Mr Vaidik went with Mr MS Aiyar and Salman Khurshid, so are they from RSS too?" BJP leader Nalin Kohli asks.
12:34  Tharoor does an Arnab:  Shashi Tharoor does an Arnab.  Tharoor on Ved Vaidik: "What was the role of Indian embassy? Was he there as an emissary? The nation is entitled to answers. The nation wants to know, who was he representing."

12:23  Sushma: Vaidil's meet was personal:  Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj's statement on the Vaidik meet in Parliament today. "Vaidik's meet was personal. The government has nothing to do with it. Allegation that government facilitated the meet is baseless."
12:16  Govt has nothing to do with Vaidik-Saeed meet: Jaitley:  Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Ved Vaidik's meeting with Hafeez Saeed.   "Not directly, not indirectly. The government has nothing to do with the meeting. This is a diplomatic misadventure of a private citizen. Categorically and unequivocally I would like to state, the government has nothing to do with Vaidik's meet with Hafiz Saeed."
11:57  Jethmalani on Rahul calling Vaidik an RSS man: Don't talk to me about Rahul :  Reactions to Rahul Gandhi's comment that Ved Vaidik is an RSS man. RSS leader MG Vaidya says, "Rahul Gandhi must have more knowledge. But even if Ved Vaidik is from RSS, so what?

"It would have been good if Ved Vaidik didn't meet Hafeez Saeed. But he went as a journalist, it's not against the nation. A journalist can put his thoughts across, not everyone will accept it."

Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader Ram Jethmalani says he doesn't see what the argument is about. "Ved Vaidik is a free man and he went to Pak to interview Hafeez Saeed." When asked to comment on Rahul Gandhi's claim that Vaidik is an RSS man, he said testily, "Dont talk to me about Rahul Gandhi."

And journalist Rezaul Hasan Laskar ‏tweets: I know why Hafizsab started calling Vaidik bhaisab & blabbering about his 3 wives - it was the blinding impact of that red waistcoat.
11:34  Nadine Gordimer: evergreen, ageless and an inspiration to all writers. Margaret Atwood pays tribute. Read
11:31  Nobel prize winner author Nadine Gordimer dies aged 90:  South Africa mourned one of its literary giants on Monday, with the death at 90 of Nadine Gordimer, a Nobel laureate praised for remaining politically and intellectually courageous until the end.Gordimer, arguably the foremost chronicler of racial apartheid and the subsequent vicissitudes of democracy, died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Johannesburg on Sunday, her family said. Her son, Hugo, and daughter, Oriane, were with her at the time.

The daughter of a Jewish watchmaker from Latvia and middle-class woman from Britain, Gordimer started writing in earnest at the age of nine and produced 15 novels as well as several volumes of short stories, non-fiction and other works.

She was published in 40 languages around the world. Her literary gaze was unsparing on both white minority rule and the governing African National Congress (ANC).  Read more
11:21  'Ved Vaidik-Hafeez Saeed meeting not organised officially' :  TV reports say that the Indian embassy in Islamabad was not aware of the meeting between Ved Vaidik and Hafeez Saeed and that the meeting was not organised officially. 
11:19  Rajya Sabha has been adjourned over the Vaidik-Saeed meeting.
11:09  'When China and India meet, the world watches':  Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, conveyed India's desire to maintain peace at the border, while the two neighbours work at attempting to finding a solution to their border dispute.

At the meeting in Brazil, which was to have lasted about 40 minutes but stretched to 80, the Chinese President invited PM Modi to Beijing for a summit of Asia and Pacific (APEC) leaders in November. Modi posted a picture of the meeting and tweeted, "Had a very fruitful meeting with Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping. We discussed a wide range of issues."

Read more
10:59  'I don't regret meeting Hafeez Saeed':  Journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik's meeting with Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed at his residence in Pakistan has snowballed into a controversy.

Vaidik, however, said he had no reason to apologise and had met Saeed as a journalist."I am a journalist of repute and have a right to meet anyone I want,' said Vaidik.

"It is laughable when people say that that the meeting was held at the behest of someone in the Indian government. That is not correct. Let people say what they want to,' he said.

Vaidik said he would appreciate if people stopped speaking nonsense and calling the meeting stage managed. 

Read the interview on
10:57  LIVE! Rahul: Journo who met Hafeez Saeed is an RSS man :  A day after the uproar in Parliament over the meeting between journalist Ved Vaidik and JuD chief and terrorist Hafeez Saeed in Pakistan, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi makes a statement to reporters. "The man is an RSS man, that is a known fact. We are curious to know if the Indian embassy facilitated this meeting."

Vaidik said today, that if the government or the opposition calls him to Parliament, he is ready to share all records of every meeting he had in Pakistan. "No intel agency person has come to me. They probably need okay from senior govt official. I am ready to speak to anyone," Vaidik said. "Congressmen have no issue to raise right now so they are raising this one. This is okay with me, this is their attack on Modi Govt," he added.
10:50  India - China leaders meet at Fortaleza, Brazil prior to BRICS Summit, yesterday.
10:34  Sensex rebounds 188 pts in early trade on easing inflation:  
The benchmark BSE Sensex rebounded by over 188 points in early trade today on revival of buying by funds and retail investors after retail inflation eased to 30-month low of 7.31 per cent. 

The 30-share barometer recovered 188.70 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 25,195.68 with stocks of realty, capital goods, power, PSU, metal, auto and oil & gas sectors leading the gains. 

The index had lost almost 1,093 points in the previous five sessions. 

On the similar lines, the National Stock Exchange index Nifty reclaimed the 7,500-mark by recovering 60.30 points, or 0.80 per cent, to 7,514.45. 

Brokers said sentiments turned better after retail inflation dipped to a 30-month low of 7.31 per cent in June and WPI index slid to a four-month low of 5.43 per cent, raising hopes of a rate cut by the RBI at its policy review next month.
09:52  FIFA chief Blatter gives World Cup 9.25 out of 10:  
FIFA president Sepp Blatter lavished praise on the World Cup in Brazil, saying it had been a "very special" event.

"What makes the World Cup so very special this time is the quality of the football, the intensity of the games," said Blatter, adding that FIFA gave the tournament 9.25 out of ten. 

"This World Cup on the field of play was exceptional," he added. 

Blatter saluted the passion and intensity of the 32 teams in the event which culminated in Germany beating Argentina in the final on Sunday to win their fourth title. 

"There was not one single match which didn't have this intensity," Blatter told reporters, while conceding that no tournament could ever be perfect. 

"It's more than emotion and passion -- it is a drama," said Blatter, who was presiding over his fifth World Cup as the head of football's world governing body. 

He said that after an explosive first phase, teams had become more tactical, but that the tournament had been one of the most attractive ever, with a joint record 171 goals scored.

Blatter admitted he had been "a little bit surprised" to see Argentine star Lionel Messi selected as best player after his fine early form tailed off during the knockout stages, but added "his goals were decisive" in the group stage. 
09:39  William Hague quits as UK foreign secretary:  
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was in New Delhi last week, has quit.

Hague announced that he will leave the House of Commons at next year's general election after 26 years as MP for Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who is expected to name a new Foreign Secretary on Tuesday when he completes a wider than expected Cabinet reshuffle, said: "William Hague has been one of the leading lights of the Conservative Party for a generation, leading the party and serving in two cabinets.

"Not only has he been a first class foreign secretary - he has also been a close confidante, a wise counsellor and a great friend.

"He will remain as First Secretary of State and my de facto political deputy in the run up to the election -- and it is great to know that he will be a core part of the team working to ensure an outright Conservative victory."

Read more HERE
09:24  Archie comics series to end with hero's death:  
Archie Andrews will die taking a bullet for his gay best friend. 

The famous freckle-faced comic book icon is meeting his demise in Wednesday's installment of "Life with Archie" when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first openly gay character. 

Andrews' death, which was first announced in April, will mark the conclusion of the series that focuses on grown-up renditions of Andrews and his Riverdale pals. 

"The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie," said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO.

"He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It's what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years."

Keller's character first joined Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones and Reggie Mantle in the Archie Comics spin-off "Veronica" in 2010. He later appeared in his own solo title.

In "Life with Archie," Keller is a married military veteran and newly elected senator who's pushing for more gun control in Riverdale after his husband was involved in a shooting.

"We wanted to do something that was impactful that would really resonate with the world and bring home just how important Archie is to everyone," said Goldwater. 

"That's how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin. He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born."

Read more HERE
08:58  President to present Gandhi Peace Prize today:  
President Pranab Mukherjee will on Tuesday honour noted environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt with 2013 Gandhi Peace Prize. 

The pioneer of the Chipko movement has also been awarded with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 1982 followed by the Padma Bhushan - the third highest civilian award of India in 2005.
The Gandhi Peace Prize was instituted in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. 

"This annual award is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods," said a statement. 
08:58  Indian Navy in Russia for joint exercise:  
Indian Navy officers were welcomed by representatives of the Russian Pacific Fleet Command as ships of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy -- Shivalik, Ranvijay and Shakti -- arrived in Vladivostok.
The aim of the visit is to strengthen and develop friendly relations between the navies of India and Russia, a statement from the Indian Navy said. 

The statement added that a joint naval exercise, INDRA 2014, is on the cards. "In the exercise, the Russian Navy will be represented by guided-missile cruiser Varyag, destroyer Bystry, large landing craft Peresvet along with supply vessels. Air assets of the Pacific Fleet and Indian Navy will also be actively involved in the exercise."  

The first Indo-Russian bilateral naval exercise was conducted in May 2003. 
08:56  Israel to mull on Egypt's Gaza truce proposal today:  
As Israel continued air strikes against Gaza for the seventh day, Israel's security cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss truce between the two countries proposed by Egypt. 

Meanwhile Hamas has rejected the idea of ceasefire and said that the group will not accept truce unless a proper deal is reached upon to end the crisis from both sides, the AFP reported. 

"In times of war, you don't cease fire and then negotiate," he told AFP. 

He said Hamas had not received any official proposal, and that even an Israeli cessation of hostilities "on one side" would have "no value" after the damage it has wreaked in Gaza, the report stated.
The discussion will take place when US Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in the country tin a bid to end the ongoing crisis. 

The US had earlier warned Israeli against a ground invasion of Gaza
04:21  Egypt launches initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict:  Egypt launched an initiative on Monday to halt fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, proposing a ceasefire to be followed by talks in Cairo on settling the conflict in which Gaza authorities say more than 170 people have died.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene his decision-making security cabinet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal on the Gaza violence, an Israeli official said.
04:07  Bruised Iraqi army leans on Shi'ite militias, volunteers:  The Iraqi soldier says he abandoned the army last week in despair. And while he still plans to fight he will not rejoin the unit he deserted in the western city of Ramadi.

Instead, he wants to sign up as a volunteer, alongside tens of thousands of others, to help defend Shi'ite shrines against Sunni insurgents who have swept the country's north and west and who he believes now threaten his sect.
04:07  William Hague quits as foreign secretary in cabinet reshuffle:  William Hague has stood down as foreign secretary and will stay in the cabinet as Leader of the Commons, Downing Street has said.

Mr Hague is to leave Parliament at the 2015 general election after 26 years as MP for Richmond, North Yorkshire.As part of a significant ministerial reshuffle, veteran Conservative MP Ken Clarke has also stepped down.
04:05  Church of England general synod backs women bishops:  The Church of England has voted to allow women to become bishops for first time in its history.

Its ruling General Synod gave approval to legislation introducing the change by the required two-thirds majority.

A previous vote in 2012 was backed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy but blocked by traditionalist lay members.
01:59  Kerry heads to Mideast in search of Gaza truce:  Washington's top diplomat is to head to the Middle East tomorrow to throw his weight behind diplomatic efforts to end a devastating week-long conflict between ally Israel and its Islamist foe Hamas. 

With Israel's punishing air campaign in its seventh day, the death toll in Gaza hit 184, prompting growing calls for a ceasefire which have so far showed little sign of progress.
01:58  Heavy fighting rages over town north of Baghdad:  Government forces and allied Sunni tribal fighters battled to dislodge militants from a small town north of Baghdad today, while two car bombs in the capital killed at least seven people, officials said. 

The clashes in Duluiyah are part of the Islamic State extremist group's larger offensive across Iraq as it tries to expand the territory under its control.
01:56  Brazil interested in Russian air defenses: Rousseff:  Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today that Brasilia was keen on obtaining air defenses from Moscow and cooperating on nuclear energy. 

Putin's visit is part of an ambitious Latin American tour that has already taken him to Cuba and Argentina as he seeks to shore up support for his policies amid a showdown with the West in Ukraine.
01:56  Mary Robinson named UN special climate change envoy:  United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today named former Irish president Mary Robinson as his special envoy for climate change, ahead of a summit set for September. 

Robinson will seek to "mobilize political will and action" ahead of the special summit of heads of state and government, called by Ban, to be held in New York on September 23, the UN said.
00:37  UN authorises cross-border aid to Syrians:  The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution authorising cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrians in rebel-held areas in desperate need of food and medicine, without government approval. 

The resolution adopted today expresses "grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria" and deplores the fact that its previous demands for humanitarian access "have not been heeded" by the government and opposition fighters.
00:14  WTO rejects India's challenges against steel import laws: US:  The US today claimed that the WTO has rejected most of India's challenges against American trade remedy laws and determinations regarding imports of certain steel products from India. 

According to US Trade Representative Michael Froman, the World Trade Organisation panel rejected India's challenges to key aspects of US countervailing duty laws and regulations, and most of the hundreds of challenges brought by India against case-specific Department of Commerce determinations in a countervailing duty proceeding covering hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from the country.
00:14  Days before deadline, Kerry in 'very tough' Iran talks:  US Secretary of State John Kerry held what he called "very tough" talks with his Iranian counterpart in Vienna today just six days before a deadline to cut a historic nuclear deal. 

"We are in the middle of talks about nuclear proliferation and reining in Iran's programme, it is a really tough negotiation I will tell you," Kerry said during a second day of high-stakes discussions in Vienna.
00:13  Loser of Afghan run-off will have role in new govt: US:  Afghanistan's new leader -- whoever it may be -- will include the loser of the presidential runoff in a proposed unity government, a US official said today. The United States served as a key broker in Saturday's breakthrough in Kabul which saw Afghanistan's rival claimants to the presidency, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, agree to an audit of all votes cast.
00:12  Ukraine says military plane 'likely' shot down from Russia:  Ukrainian forces hunted for the crew of a downed military plane today after Kiev said the aircraft was "likely" shot down from Russia, ratcheting up tensions along their volatile border. 

"Crew members from an AN-26 plane... that was shot down have established contact with the general staff," said a statement on the Ukrainian presidency website, without giving further details on the whereabouts of the eight people on board.
00:11  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  Israel downs Hamas drone, death toll touches 177
No jail time for former TVU students in visa fraud case
Govt rules out changes in AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir
Anti-Israel protests rock Kashmir Valley
Delhi gang rape: SC stays execution of 2 convicts
Rahul thought Congress is a lab, destroyed it: Ex-party MP
Uproar in Parliament over journalist meeting Hafiz Saeed
Cong opposing PM secy's appointment for the heck of it: BJP
764 firms polluting Ganga; 48 told to shut down: Govt
Coming soon: BrahMos-Mini missile
ISIS sympathisers to strike Mumbai during Ramzan?
Tamil Nadu govt takes note of dhoti controversy
MP: 7 children killed, 9 injured in wall collapse

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