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LIVE! PM holds meet with Sushma, Jaitley ahead of Kerry visit

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July 29, 2014


20:57  Modi holds meet with Sushma, Jaitley ahead of Kerry visit:  Ahead of the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss various aspects that are expected to figure in his talks.

The status of the Indo-US relations was among the issues that figured in the meeting, sources said. The meeting is understood to have deliberated upon the issues that are expected to come up during the Strategic Dialogue on Thursday to be co-chaired by Kerry and Swaraj. The fifth Strategic Dialogue involves crucial issues of Strategic Cooperation; Energy and Climate Change, Education and Development; Economy, Trade and Agriculture; Science and Technology, Health and Innovation.

Kerry is also expected to call on the prime minister and discuss issues related to his upcoming visit to the US. Modi is expected to travel to Washington towards the end of September for a bilateral Summit at the invitation of President Barack Obama.
20:52  MP:18 colleges blacklisted as scholarship fraud comes to light:  Madhya Pradesh tribal development department has blacklisted 18 colleges which run paramedical courses for alleged involvement in a scam related to scholarship funds.

"A total of 18 paramedical colleges found guilty in the scholarship scam probe were blacklisted, and release of scholarship amounts meant for the reserved category students in these colleges has been banned," an official release issued by J P Yadav, assistant commissioner, tribal development department, said today.

The Lokayukta police have so far registered 16 cases against these colleges, wherein directors of colleges too are named, along with government officials. Probe has revealed that scholarship money to the tune of over Rs 1 crore was siphoned off in the name of bogus beneficiaries.
20:13  Dozens killed in major terrorist attack in China:  Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in a major terror attack by knife-weilding extremists in China's restive Xinjiang province, the police said today.

A gang armed with knives attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku Township in Shache County, Kashgar prefecture. Some of the attackers then moved on to the nearby Huangdi Township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed.

Dozens of Uygur and Han civilians were killed or injured in yesterday's attack, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Police officers at the scene shot dead dozens of members of the knife-wielding gang

Image: Chinese soldiers tell a woman to move on as they enforce a curfew. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

19:14  Haryana power minister resigns, attacks Hooda:  Rebellion against Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda mounted ahead of Assembly polls with Power Minister Ajay Yadav resigning today and attacking him for "failing to learn lessons" from the Lok Sabha election debacle.

The 55-year-old six-time Congress MLA from Rewari alleged bias in matters of development and recruitment and flayed the controversial induction of members of various Commissions and statutory bodies and "domination" of the bureaucracy.

Joining the attack, Congress leader Birender Singh, a known Hooda detractor, today warned that things could "deteriorate" and other ministers may follow suit if Hooda is not replaced. Yadav told PTI here that he had sent his resignation to Hooda.

He, however, said he would continue in the Congress till the end and Sonia Gandhi is his leader.
18:26  Two tigers at an average are killed per week: WWF:  Global conservation organisation WWF today sounded an alarm over poaching of tigers and said that at an average, two wild cats are killed per week due to high demand of their body parts in Asian countries.

It also said wild tigers were facing the risk of extinction in some countries due to a lack of accurate information on their population. "Poaching is the greatest threat to wild tigers today. Along with ivory and rhino horn, tiger parts are in high demand throughout Asia," the WWF said in a release coinciding with Global Tiger Day.

It said that statistics from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, show that a minimum of 1590 tigers were "seized" between January 2000 and April 2014.
18:04  Kejriwal returns to his Kaushambi residence:  Former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has finally vacated his Tilak Lane government accommodation and shifted to his old flat in Kaushmambi. The flat in Girnar Apartment has been alloted to his wife Sunita, who is senior Indian Revenue Service Officer.

She had surrendered the accommodation early this year when Kejriwal became the Chief Minister and shifted to Tilak Road. Interestingly, it is the same "lucky" flat from where Kejriwal chalked out the strategy for the 2013 assembly polls and scripted a spectacular win and went on to form the government.

Even after resigning as the chief minister, he was residing in the government accommodation in Tilak Lane for some five months before moving to Kaushambi.
17:50  Three naxals held, arms recovered in Chhattisgarh:  Three naxals were arrested today and a cache of arms, ammunition and electronic gadgets seized after security forces busted a Maoist transit camp in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district, police said. The incident took place at Rampur village forests, close to Mendki river, under Pratappur police station limits, Kanker Superintendent of Police R N Dash told PTI.

Acting on specific inputs, a joint squad of 127th battalion of Border Security Force and district force was dispatched on a combing exercise from eight different company operating bases in Badgaon region.
17:22  China's ex-security chief under investigation: Xinhua:  In a significant political move, China's ruling Communist Party is probing former security czar Zhou Yongkang for charges of corruption and abuse of power, targeting one of the most powerful politician in the country.

Zhou, who retired from the country's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in 2012, is under investigation for "serious disciplinary violation," state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The term "serious disciplinary violation" in Communist Party of China parlance refers to corruption and abuse of power.

The Central Committee of the CPC has decided to place Zhou under investigation for suspected breach of discipline, it said, confirming rumours that he and a number of his close aides were being probed.
16:39  Left parties form grand alliance in Bihar:   Describing the JD(U), RJD and Congress tie-up as "opportunistic", the three major Left parties in Bihar today formed a grand alliance to contest Assembly by-polls on 10 seats in the state.

As per seat sharing agreement, CPI-ML will contest on five seats, while CPI-M and CPI will fight on three and two seats, respectively, state secretaries of the three Left parties told reporters at a joint press conference.

CPI-M state secretary Vijay Kant Thakur said, "CPI-ML will contest Narkatiaganj, Rajnagar (SC), Bhagalpur, Hajipur, Mohania (SC) seats, CPI (M) will put up candidates on Chapra, Mohiuddinagar, Parbatta, while CPI will fight on Jale and Banka."
15:23  Raj police arrest 'mastermind' of RPSC exam paper leak:  In a major breakthrough, Rajasthan police today nabbed the "mastermind" of a gang which was involved in alleged leakage of papers of competitive exams held by Rajasthan Public Service Commission from Bihar.

The accused identified as R K Singh alias Verma was arrested in Arrah town of Bihar's Bhojpur district by Special Operation Group of Rajasthan Police with the help of a central agency and Bihar Police, ADG Umesh Mishra, who is supervising the investigation, told PTI here.

"Singh is an inter-state criminal involved in major financial crimes. One central agency played key role in nabbing him. He will be brought to Jaipur soon," he said. Mishra said Singh's name cropped up during interrogation of a member of his gang Amrit Meena and others who were arrested earlier this month by the SOG.
15:16  Wanted Maoist leader arrested in Bihar:  A wanted Maoist 'Area Commander' was arrested in a joint operation of Bihar Police and CRPF from Bajaria in East Champaran district today. Dinesh Pandit was arrested with a sophisticated 7.62 mm pistol, 35 cartridges and several pieces of Naxal literature, Additional Superintendent of Police (Operations) Rajeev Kumar said.

"The arrested Maoist leader is the Area Commander of the Naxal groups active in Sheohar district in the state. He was involved in blasting the railway tracks in Muzaffarpur district along with several other incidents of violence.

The police had been looking for him for the past several years," Kumar said, adding, Pandit was being interrogated to find out about his links.
14:57  Don't take part in Lanka defence meet, Vaiko urges Centre:  MDMK, an ally of BJP in Tamil Nadu, today urged the Union government to not participate in a defence conference which is to be hosted by Sri Lanka next month.

"It is shocking to learn that an Indian delegation, comprising senior military personnel, officials and BJP leaders, including Subramanian Swamy, will be participating in a defence conference being organised by Sri Lanka," MDMK general secretary Vaiko said in a statement.

The conference is to be held in the island nation between August 18 and 20. Reiterating his charge that Sri Lanka had committed genocide and annihilated Tamils using even banned chemical weapons, Vaiko said the Centre's "pro-Lanka" stance had led to doubts whether India was going to bury justice by joining hands with the island nation
14:49  ' The BJP's senior ministers were surprised to receive recommendatory phone calls  from NCP president Sharad Pawar-to solve certain personal issues of DMK leader  Dayanidhi Maran who was union minister for telecommunication in the previous government.

Maran also contacted a senior PMO official for whose promotion he was instrumental, said a source.
14:43   A former Gujarat cadre IAS Officer who demitted Office as chairman of a statutory  body - had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. This former IAS was seen conversing with Modi in fluent Gujarati -- though he belongs to South India.

According to sources, the said officer wanted high level government intervention to consider buying weaponry from a foreign firm with who a close relative of his is a dealer.

But according to sources, the PMO was upset with such recommendations and suggestions.
14:40  Moderate intensity quake hits off North Andaman island:   A moderate intensity earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter Scale hit off the coast of North Andaman island today but the Meteorological Department said there was no threat of a tsunami.

The earthquake struck at 12.37 PM at a depth of 35 km off the coast of North Andaman island, Director General of India Meteorological Department L S Rathore said, adding it was of moderate intensity. He said there was no threat of tsunami.

The Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea is prone to earthquakes and often records tremors.
14:34  From our correspondent in New Delhi: Prathap Simha -- a first-time BJP MP from Karnataka was really a surprised to get a message from a senior party leader that the former should not wear colorful T shirts -- when he is attending the sessions in Lok Sabha. Simha had sported a T-shirt in House last week.
Simha has authored a book in Kannada on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

13:50  5.5 magnitude earthquake hits off Andaman coast at 12:37 pm; no tsunami threat, says IM.
13:22  Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile: US:  Russia has violated the landmark 1987 nuclear missile treaty by testing a new ground-launched cruise missile, the US has said, describing it as a "very serious matter".

President Barack Obama yesterday wrote a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in this regard. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, a day earlier on Sunday. "The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty," a senior administration official told PTI.

"More specifically, the 2014 Compliance Report includes a determination that the Russian Federation is in violation of its INF Treaty obligations not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles," the official said on condition of anonymity.
12:15  US hopeful to find magic formula to end Gaza violence: Kerry:  Stating that the US is working hard at trying to deal with the Middle East crisis, Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed hope of finding a "magic formula" to bring an end to the violence in Gaza.

"We are still working hard at trying to deal with the issue of the crisis in the Middle East. We want to be able to find a way to get to a table to discuss the underlying issues which are real and impactful on everybody and on the region," said Kerry. Kerry has just returned from the Middle East and from Paris, where he had a series of discussions aimed at de-escalating the conflict, ending the rocket and tunnel attacks against Israeli civilians, and easing the suffering of innocent people in Gaza, in Israel, and in the West Bank.

"We hope to be able to find the magic formula by which the violence could cease for a long enough period of time to try to find that sustainable ceasefire which could allow you to move on from there. The region has known violence for far too long," he said.
12:02  Ban Ki-moon calls on Israel, Palestinians to avoid more tensions :  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly appealed to Israel and the Palestinians to avoid further escalation of tensions amid concerns that Israeli forces dropped leaflets in the northern Gaza Strip warning residents to evacuate the area.

A statement issued by Ban's spokesman said the UN chief has "learned with concern that leaflets are reportedly being dropped by the Israeli Defence Forces in the northern Gaza Strip this evening," warning tens of thousands of residents to leave their homes and evacuate to Gaza city.

"If true, this would have a further devastating humanitarian impact on the beleaguered civilians of those areas of the Gaza Strip, who have already undergone immense suffering in recent days. The United Nations agencies present in Gaza do not have the resources on the ground to cope with, or provide assistance to, an enormous extra influx of desperate people," the statement said.
01:34  India should carefully weigh China's strategic intentions:  

All indications are that Prime Minister Modi government in India is going to continue its predecessor's policy of 'engaging' the People's Republic of China (PRC). Within a short time of taking over, it has taken  initiatives to improve bilateral political, military and economic relations with Beijing; they  have  led to certain positive results; notable are the prospects that have emerged  for establishment of Chinese industrial parks in India during the late June 2014 visit to Beijing of an  Indian delegation led by Vice-President Ansari and for increased military contacts between the two sides at the time of the  trip to Beijing of the  Indian Army chief, Bikram Singh in early July 2014.  

 

Modi has met the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) summit held in Brazil in mid-July 2014.  On its part, the People's Republic of China (PRC) lost no time in sending its Foreign Minister Wang Yi to meet India's new leadership; this taken together with a reported proposal for a visit to India by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September this year , has signaled PRC's priority  to strengthen contacts with the new regime in India.

 

There are reasons to believe that the present bonhomie with Beijing as only a tactical phase in which the two sides find their interests, especially economic, converge. India seems to be far away from fully developing a strategic vision for itself, while China's future outlook already stands concrete and well documented.

 

In any case, one cannot miss the divergence between India's long term view seen so far and the already firm and well documented China's postulates set to determine its future world position. Looking from India's point of view, the task for it to begin crafting  a sound long term strategy towards China capable of handling such divergence, thus, assumes priority,  noting the increasing contradictions in Chinese foreign policy  and the emerging uncertainties  in regional geopolitics, especially as an offshoot of the impending US withdrawal from Afghanistan.  It needs to be acknowledged that New Delhi has already shown signs of change with respect to its China policy.

 

Read more here

01:29  Israel's Netanyahu: 'There is no war more just than this':  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel must be ready for a "prolonged" military operation in the Gaza Strip and will "act aggressively and responsibly" until the mission is completed.

 

Israel launched the operation against Gaza's Hamas rulers three weeks ago, initially from the air and then on the ground. Israel has said it wants to decimate Hamas' ability to fire rockets at Israel and to destroy a network of Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.

 

However, Netanyahu indicated in a televised speech Monday that he is widening the objectives, saying that a demilitarization of Gaza must be part of any future solution for the territory of 1.7 million people. "There is no war more just than this," Netanyahu said.

 

More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed over the past three weeks, Palestinian health official say. According to the United Nations, about three-fourth of them were civilians. Israel has lost 43 soldiers and two civilians, as well as a Thai worker. Netanyahu said Israel will "not end the operation without neutralizing the tunnels whose only purpose is" to kill civilians.

 

Read more on CBS News

00:23  On chutzpah and war :  

Israel has had a problem since its inception. It's a terribly serious, existential problem; one that existed since its realisation as a European implantation in sea of Arabs, and it continues to haunt it today. Israel is a tiny state built on the ruins of another nation.

 

What began as a Zionist dream to transform the Jews of Europe into a modern nation soon turned into an Arab and Jewish nightmare upon its collision with reality:

The homeland chosen to build their state, Palestine, belonged to its Palestinian inhabitants. But Israel went on to expel or dispossess most Palestinians from their homes and take control of their entire homeland.

 

To maintain and enforce its gains, Israel had to keep the Palestinians down or out, the Arabs away, and draw the West in. For this, it needed to employ pre-emptive and overwhelming force, while at the same time embrace, even embody victimhood, to elicit western as well as Jewish sympathy and support. After decades even centuries, of being victims of repression, the Jews couldn't afford to have the image of aggressors.

 

From the 1950s through the last decade, the likes of Ariel Sharon, "the Bulldozer", mastered violence just as the likes of Shimon Peres, the great communicator, mastered the art of public relations. This was best captured by the Hebrew phrase, "yorim ve bochim", literally "shooting and crying".

 

Read more on Al Jazeera

00:21  MH17 jet 'downed by missile shrapnel,' says Ukraine:  

Security officials in Ukraine say the downed Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine suffered an explosive loss of pressure after it was punctured by shrapnel from a missile. They say the information came from the plane's flight data recorders, which are being analysed by British experts.

 

However, it remains unclear who fired a missile, with pro-Russia rebels and Ukraine blaming each other. Many of the 298 people killed on board flight MH17 were from the Netherlands.

 

Read more on BBC

00:20  To punish Russia, Europe must be prepared to suffer:  

For months, the West has struggled to take a strong stand against Russia for its incursion into Ukraine. And while Europe's leaders are acutely aware of the threat to peace on their Eastern flank, the countries with the most at stake have, time after time, seemed unable to present a united and resolute front.

 

But the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has become a game changer -- a watershed moment which most concede would be too dangerous to let go. And now, as Europe prepares to finally take decisive steps, its chiefs will have to recognize that, if they are to be effective, they will also have to hurt their economies.

 

As a block, the European Union exports about 100 billion euros worth of goods and services to Russia and takes in roughly 200 billion euros of the latter's imports.

 

That is money that matters, for sure, but it's not Russia's role as a consumer that would affect Europe most. Rather, it's Russia's function as a major supplier of energy. Should Russia cut its gas to the West in response, the loss in European production would more damaging than the hit its trade balance would take.

 

Read more on CNN

00:18  Top headlines at this hour:  

Rahul's 'old friends' fail to show up at Sonia's iftar party

One union minister to visit BJP office everyday

India asks its nationals to leave Libya

Ministries asked to give inputs for Modi's first I-Day speech

UN, US call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Involve international players too for war memorial, PM to Army

Pak: Mob kills woman, 2 minor girls over 'blasphemous' Facebook post

ULFA threatens to use arms against illegal migrants from Bangladesh

PHOTOS: How Muslims break their Ramzan fast the world over

Congress demands probe into bugging reports

PHOTOS: After riots, eerie calm in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur

India, China admit to intrusion by Chinese herdsmen in Ladakh

Tension between Punjab, Haryana govts continue to simmer

With focus on Delhi, AAP won't contest any state elections

UPSC issue to be resolved in a week: Rajnath Singh

Goa Dy CM apologises for his 'Christian Hindu' remark

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