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LIVE! Israeli troops uncover Gaza tunnels; 12-day offensive toll 325

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July 19, 2014

Even as President Pranab Mukherjee was stressing upon the need to promote scientific temper in students in his speech 
at the golden jubilee celebrations of National Institute of Technology in Tiruchirapalli, it was a signboard that caught the attention of many at the venue.

The signboard read: "Zero tolerance for sexual harassment."

Kudos to NIT, Tiruchirapalli for putting up this resolve
22:29  Israeli troops uncover Gaza tunnels; 12-day offensive toll 325:  
Israeli troops uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and battled Gaza militants on the second day of an open-ended ground operation Saturday as the Palestinian death toll climbed to 325 and diplomats scrambled to revive cease-fire efforts.

The Israeli military said it had severely diminished the arsenal of Hamas, the Islamic militant group ruling Gaza, but the militants have continued to fire rockets and on Saturday staged another unsuccessful cross-border tunnel raid.

In the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials reported intensified Israeli air strikes, shelling and numerous civilian casualties, including a mother and four children, as dozens of wounded were rushed to a local hospital in Beit Lahiya.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said the new round of airstrikes raised the death toll from the 12-day offensive to 325 Palestinians, many of them civilians and about a fifth of them children.
21:47  Gas leak at ONGC drilling site off Mumbai coast:   JUST IN:  Gas leak reported at a well being drilled by ONGC in Mumbai High fields, off the Mumbai coast.

According to reports, ONGC has shut well drilling operations and evacuated all non-essential staff.

No loss of life or property has been reported
21:32  Having biryani with Saeed is no patriotism: VHP:  
Vishwa Hindu Parishad today said meeting a terrorist such as Hafiz Saeed was not a patriotic act.

"Journalist like him should think whether it was right to meet the chief of a terror outfit. Having a cup of tea and biryani with Saeed is not patriotism," VHP International working president told reporters here when asked about the controversial meeting of senior journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik with Saeed, the Pakistan-based terrorist group head. 

The VHP leader also said "we expect from the Centre that if India's relations with Pakistan improve, it would ensure Saeed's extradition. This will ensure that terrorism against India from that country is curbed." 

To another question, Togadia said BJP's manifesto promised construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, common civil code and abrogation of Article 370, and VHP believed the party would keep the promises.
21:29  WB Finance Minister injured at function:  
West Bengal Minister Amit Mitra was today injured after he accidentally touched a ceiling fan at a function in North 24 Parganas district. 

At a function to felicitate meritorious Higher Secondary students, Mitra raised his hand as the names were being called when his palm accidentally touched a ceiling fan, Deputy Commissioner (DD) Barrackpore Commissionerate C Sudhakar said.

The state Finance Minister was rushed to a local nursing home where he was administered first aid, following which he returned to the venue to attend the programme, he said. 

Doctors at the nursing home said his wound did not appear to be serious. Mitra, who represents Khardah assembly constituency, later left for Kolkata.
20:21  Make me apologise if you can, Salman dares photographers:  
In a clear message that he is in no mood to back down, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan today dared the paparazzi to continue with their ban on covering him and to make him apologise on the issue. 

"The good part is that the stand they (photographers) have taken, whether it is good or bad, loss or profit... It's a stand and it should continue. I want them to continue with their stand so much so that it brings me down to my knees and makes me apologise to them saying 'don't destroy my career'," Salman told reporters here at a promotional event for his upcoming film, 'Kick'.

Press photographers did not turn up at the event. 

"I did not start this issue. I would be more than happy if this stand of not clicking my pictures continues. Had I been not present at that day, thing could have gone worse," Salman said replying to a query. 

He was referring to a scuffle that reportedly took place between the photographers and his security guards at a promotional event here last week, apparently after the actor turned down their demand to pose at a particular spot. 

"It was the PR team who had called you all. You came close, you reacted...there were bouncers (and) the fight was with them (then) why you want publicity in my name and you got publicity. You cannot ban me. It is your choice to not click my pictures," the 48-year-old actor said.

"I want those photographers to go back to the same bodyguards without Salman Khan and do the same thing, speak to the bouncers and bodyguards in the same way. It is because of me that they got saved that day," the 'Dabbangg' star said.

Salman said that photographers jostled to capture his photographs and came close to him, which was a fallout of competition among them. 

"(But) I have nothing to do with it. I am a winning party in this," the actor said.

The ban will reportedly stay in place till the release of 'Kick' on July 25.

To a query, Salman said, "Why remove the ban, keep the stand. It has became an issue, the ruckus was created and they got all publicity... so continue with it."
20:14  By-election for ten Bihar assembly seats on August 21:  
By-election for ten legislative assembly seats in Bihar, which will turn interesting if the JD-U and the RJD joined hands against the BJP, will take place on August 21, Election Commission officials said today. 

The bypoll on ten Assembly seats have been necessitated after some members got elected to the Lok Sabha and resignation by some others. 

The constituencies that will see the bypoll are Narkatiaganj, Rajnagar (SC), Jale, Chapra, Hajipur, Mohiuddinagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Banka and Mohania (SC). 

Sitting members at Chapra, Bhagalpur, Hajipur, Mohania and Narkatiaganj who are Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Ashwani Choubey, Nityanand Rai, Chhedi Paswan and Satish Chandra Dubey respectively, have been elected to the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded general elections. 

Legislators from the rest five seats resigned for political reasons.
20:10  Forensic experts gather material to ID victims:  
Forensic teams fanned out across the Netherlands today to collect material including DNA samples that will help positively identify the remains of victims killed in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine.

Police said in a tweet that 40 pairs of detectives from the National Forensic Investigations Team would be visiting victims' relatives over the coming days. 

Their aims is to build a database of material including DNA and photographs of distinguishing features like scars and tattoos that can be used to identify bodies and body parts recovered from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. 

Malaysia Airlines said 192 of the 298 passengers and crew killed in Thursday's aviation disaster were Dutch. 

The European Union police coordination body Europol said today it would assist Interpol and other agencies in identifying victims in Ukraine. 

"We will do our utmost to support the work that must be done following this horrific incident, where hundreds of families and friends to the innocent victims on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 are grieving and left with unanswered questions," Europol Director Rob Wainwright said in a statement.
18:29  Indian Army to honour Kargil martyrs on July 25-26:  
The Indian Army is preparing to honour the martyrs of the 1999 Kargil War in a series of solemn ceremonies this year. 

The primary event, which shall mark the 15th anniversary of the victory, is scheduled to be held at War Memorial Drass on July 25-26. 

It will be attended by a large number of dignitaries of the Army and civil administration as well as gallantry award winners of the conflict and families of many martyrs.
The Conflict was fought in the summer of 1999 to evict Pakistani regular forces who had intruded and occupied winter vacated posts on the Indian side of the Line of Control, violating an unwritten agreement. 

The operation cost the Indian Army hundreds of young lives, in whose memory the commemorative function is held every year.
On July 25, the much-vaunted Army Bands will present a breathtaking band display, followed by a solemn memorial service. 

On July 26, top officers of the Army, martyrs' families, war heroes, political representatives and the civil administration shall participate in the commemorative wreath laying ceremony at the Kargil War Memorial located at the base of the Tololing feature, the scene of one of the fiercest battles of the operation.
17:36  MH17 crash: Russia launches blistering attack on US:  
Russia today launched a blistering attack against Washington after US President Barack Obama said that a missile fired from territory controlled by Moscow-backed rebels downed the Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US administration sought to pin the blame on separatists and Russia without waiting for the results of an investigation. 

"The statements of representatives of the US administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington's perception of what is going on in Ukraine," he told Russian news agencies. 

"At least, that is how the relevant statements can be interpreted," the foreign ministry quoted him as saying. 

"Despite an obvious and indisputable nature of the arguments provided by rebels and Moscow, the US administration is pushing its own agenda," he said.
16:39  Budaun rape-murder: CBI begins exhumation of bodies:  

With the level of river Ganga rising, the CBI constituted medical board to look into the alleged rape and murder of two girls in UP's Badaun district will exhume the bodies of the victims today for fresh autopsy.  


Reports have now suggested that the exhumation process has begun. CBI has earlier planned to carry out the process tomorrow but in the wake of rising levels of Ganga threatening to inundate the graves, the medical board has decided to do so today.        


\CBI sources said the agency has made all the arrangements to conduct fresh autopsy near the graves.        


Unless there is a compelling reason to do post-mortem elsewhere, the medical board will undertake the process on the spot.       


The sources said the board of three-forensic experts has recommended that fresh autopsy was needed before forming any opinion which will necessitate exhumation of bodies.        


Following the recommendation, CBI has taken permission from appropriate authority, to exhume the bodies and proceed with fresh postmortem.         The sources said there was no need to take consent of the family members and only permission required is from the local authorities.        


Concerns were raised by locals that level of Ganga river, which flows adjacent to the grave of the minors, is rising because of heavy rains in Uttarakhand and might inundate it.        

15:02  Managing of PM Relief Fund to be modelled on Gujarat scheme:  

Major changes are in the offing in the way the PM's National Relief Fund is managed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi today directed that the Gujarat model should be emulated in selection of beneficiaries, giving priority to the poor and children.        


Modi reviewed the functioning of the Relief Fund and suggested several qualitative changes in the way the fund is managed, a PMO statement said.         Referring to the Gujarat model, he directed that the selection of beneficiaries should be done in a more comprehensive, scientific and humanitarian basis, giving priority to children, poor and cases from government hospitals, the statement said.        


Cases involving life-threatening diseases should be accorded priority and applications should be decided on need and merit, the Prime Minister added.        


He also directed that pendency in appeals for help should be minimised and the draw to select the cases should be conducted in a manner that does not leave out any genuine case.        


It was decided that a letter from the Prime Minister should be sent to all beneficiaries. Beneficiaries whose appeals have been approved for grant of relief will be informed through an SMS alert, it said.       


The PM National Relief Fund was established in 1948 with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan.        


The resources of the PMNRF are now utilised primarily to render immediate relief to families of those killed in natural calamities like floods, cyclones and earthquakes and to the victims of major accidents and riots.

13:13  MH17 plane crash: Ukraine rebels 'limit investigation':  

A team of international observers say pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have limited their access to the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines plane. An OSCE spokesman said access to the site had been controlled by armed men, with one firing shots into the air.


It is believed flight MH17 crashed after being hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area in east Ukraine on Thursday. All 298 people - including 80 children - on board died.


The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It fell between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk.


Read more on BBC

10:58  'Terrible' scenes at MH-17 crash site:  

International monitors investigating the Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine said Friday the team was not given full access to the site and was greeted with hostility by armed men.


"There didn't seem to be anyone really in control," Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe team, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.


Armed men, apparently pro-Russia militants, loosely guarded the area but couldn't answer the monitors' questions, he said. Bociurkiw said the group only stayed about 75 minutes and examined about 200 meters at the scene before being forced to leave.


Pieces of the airplane and bodies are spread over several kilometers. The OSCE team arrived at the crash site near Torez in a remote section of eastern Ukraine that's controlled by pro-Russian militants battling the Ukraine government.


The United States says a surface-to-air missile, possibly fired by the militants, took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday as the plane traveled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. All 298 people on board died. U.N. Under Secretary General Feltman said 80 of the victims were children.


Read more on CNN

10:49  After 6-yr-old's alleged rape, questions on Bangalore school's role:  

July 2 was an average day at school for this first grade student in Bangalore, until 11:30 am, when she was allegedly 'punished' for misbehaving.


Reports suggest the six-year-old at the elite Vibgyor High School was asked to leave the class and stay in an empty room used for storing gym equipment. The child reportedly told her mother that was when she was assaulted.She was allegedly raped by two gym instructors.


She reportedly returned to class 25 minutes later, looking uncomfortable. Hours later she complained of severe stomach pain.

Her mother would find out only seven days later.When a private nursing home hinted that the child could have been sexually assaulted, the parents went to the police.


Read more on NDTV

10:11  Prez all set to offer prayers at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple:  

President Pranab Mukherjee is all set to offer prayers at the famous Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.   The President arrived on his two-day visit to Kerala on Friday. After offering prayers he'll head to Tiruchurapalli.  


In this photograph, President's press secretary Venu Rajamony (right) is seen with a member of the accompanying media team, senior journalist R Rajagopalan.  


The temple recently shot into the limelight after the discovery of priceless treasures kept in its vaults.

03:57  Interpol to help identify Malaysia flight crash victims:  Interpol has said it will send a team in the next 48 hours to help identify victims killed by the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in east Ukraine. Experts from Interpol's disaster identification squad and missing people's units will be deployed to the site, where 298 died after the apparent downing of the airliner in the rebel-held region.
03:56  1 in 5 of Gaza dead are children:  Sobbing and shaking, Ismail Abu Musallam leaned against the wall of a hospital Friday, waiting for three of his children to be prepared for burial. They were killed as they slept when an Israeli tank shell hit their home, burying 11-year-old Ahmed, 14-year-old Walaa and 16-year-old Mohammed under debris in their beds.

His personal tragedy is not unique: the U.N. says minors make up one-fifth of the 299 Palestinians killed in 11 days of intense Israeli bombardment of the densely populated Gaza Strip, where half the 1.7 million people are under age 18.

Read more
02:52  Malaysia Airlines MH17: What we know about the victims:  News is trickling out from around the world about the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 tragedy. The victims include an internationally renowned AIDS researcher, British soccer fans, a South African rescue helicopter pilot and a Dutch senator.

Among the most heartbreaking aspects of this disaster is an Australian family that is believed to have lost two loved ones in this latest incident after two other family members disappeared on the mysterious Malaysia Airlines flight four months ago.

Read more
02:51  Russian TV reporter quits over crash coverage:  A reporter for a global Russian TV channel resigned over what she called the Kremlin-funded station's "disregard for the facts" in its coverage of the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine.

Sara Firth, based in London, quit Friday morning after five years with RT, calling Thursday's coverage "the straw that broke the camel's back for me," she told the Press Gazette after tweeting her departure. 

She had worked for the Moscow-based outlet for five years.
02:40  Iran nuclear deadline may be pushed to November: Russia:  World powers are strongly considering delaying a Sunday deadline to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear programme until November, Russian media reported, citing Moscow's negotiator at the Vienna talks. 

"The dominant point of view is that we need a new control date in November. That is, a year from reaching the Geneva agreement," RIA Novosti quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying today.
02:39  Jet crash rekindles MH370 families' grief, suspicion:  The latest Malaysia Airlines disaster has rekindled the grief of MH370 relatives who say the new crash bears out their furious criticisms of the nation's flag carrier and government. Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, went down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday with 298 passengers and crew, mostly Dutch citizens.
01:30  Rebel leader gives bizarre account of plane crash:  A top pro-Russia rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has given a bizarre version of events surrounding the Malaysian jetliner crash suggesting many of the victims may have died days before the plane took off. 

The pro-rebel website Russkaya Vesna today quoted Igor Girkin as saying he was told by people at the crash site that "a significant number of the bodies weren't fresh," adding that he was told they were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.
01:28  Reports: 115 killed in seizure of Syria gas field:  Islamic extremists killed at least 115 Syrian troops, guards and workers as they captured a gas field in central Syria following day long clashes, activists said today. 

More than 20 militants had died in the fighting yesterday for the Shaer gas field, the deadliest battles so far between fighters of the Islamic State group and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
01:27  Boko Haram Islamists 'kill many' in northeast attack:  Boko Haram gunmen killed many people in an attack in the restive northeast, throwing explosives into residential homes and shooting dead civilians who tried to surrender, an official and witnesses said today. 

Residents in the town of Damboa said they were left completely defenceless after the security forces pulled out of the area following a militant attack two weeks ago.
01:21  Pope seeks justice 20 years after attack on Argentine Jews:  Pope Francis today called for justice to be done in the unsolved bombing at a Jewish center in Argentina that killed 85 people and wounded 300 others two decades ago. 

"Twenty years on from the tragedy at the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA), I want to express my closeness with the Argentine Jewish community and all the victims' families, whether Jewish or Christian," the pope said in a recorded message played at commemorations of the anniversary.
01:12  Opportunity to reframe ties with Pakistan post 2014: Dunford:  As America's dependence on the crucial line of communication passing through Pakistan decreases post 2014, a US General based in Afghanistan has has said this could give the United States an opportunity to reframe relationship with Islamabad.
00:23  Serious lapses made by Lotus Business Park developers: MCGM:  Serious lapses have emerged on part of the builders of 22-storied Lotus Business Park, in which fire broke out claiming life a firefighter, and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) would take strict action against those responsible, Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said. 

"There was no fire fighting system found in the building and there was no water in their tanks. The generator of the building was also not working. There were also no sprinklers found there and the smoke detector machines was not active.
00:21  South African High Commission celebrates Nelson Mandela Day:  The South African High Commission today commemorated 'Nelson Mandela International Day' on the first posthumous birth anniversary of its iconic leader Nelson Mandela. 

The South African embassy celebrated the day by carrying out a 67-minute cleanliness drive to honour Mandela's 67 years commitment to public service.
00:20  Militants storm Iraqi air base: military:  Fighters from the jihadist-led coalition that controls large parts of Iraq launched a brazen raid on an Iraqi air base near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, military sources said today. 

The army and an Islamic State statement differed on the outcome of the battle and the death toll, but a military intelligence officer admitted the air field known as Speicher was stormed yesterday
00:20  US says can't rule out Russian role in downing Malaysia plane:   The United States today said that it is not ruling out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the surface-to air missile that downed the Malaysia Airlines plane. 

Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN, said that because of the technical complexity of the surface-to-air missile SA-11 operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine, it is "unlikely" that the separatists could "effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel".
00:18  Forbes publisher sold to Asian investors:  The publisher of the US business magazine Forbes said today that a controlling stake in the group had been sold to a Hong Kong-based investment consortium. 

Forbes Media will remain privately held and US-based, but a majority stake is being sold to the newly formed Integrated Whale Media Investments, based in Hong Kong. The Forbes family will retain "a significant ownership stake" in the company under the plan and will continue to participate in its operations.
00:16  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  MH17 shot from pro-Russia rebel-controlled area: Obama
MH17: Signals intercepts reveal rebels claiming responsibility
Pak violates ceasefire again, targets BoPs along IB in Jammu
China distributes millions of maps claiming Arunachal to troops: Report
Photos:Firemen airlifted from burning Mumbai high rise, 1 killed
A year after Chhapra tragedy, lizards, rats in mid-day meals
Badaun RERUN: Woman raped and murdered in UP
Who brought down MH17? 6 conspiracy theories
ISIS, Al Qaeda on recruitment drive in India
President Pranab heads South with busy itinerary

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