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LIVE! Gaza conflict: UN official says both sides committing war crimes

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July 31, 2014

22:10  Gaza conflict: UN official says both sides committing war crimes:  The UN's top human rights official is accusing both the Israeli military and Hamas militants of committing war crimes in Gaza, where Israel is expanding its campaign to destroy Hamas rockets and tunnels. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday said that by placing and firing rockets within heavily populated areas, both sides are committing "a violation of international humanitarian law, therefore a war crime."
21:47  Iraq situation to be debated in Parliament next week:  The Iraq situation with specific reference to Indians stranded there will be discussed in Parliament next week, with the Rajya Sabha taking it up on Monday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told party MPs that both Houses of Parliament will take up a discussion on the Iraq situation in the coming week.
21:41  Identifying Mali air crash victims 'could take years':  Identifying the victims from last week's Air Algerie crash in Mali "could take weeks, months and maybe years", Algeria's chief of police said today. 

An Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas 83 flying from Burkina Faso to Algiers crashed in northern Mali last Thursday, killing all 118 people on board.
21:40  25 drown in Karachi beaches during Eid holidays:  At least 25 people, including children, have drowned at Karachi's popular beaches while bathing in the Arabian sea during Eid celebrations in Pakistan. Rescue teams have recovered all the 25 bodies from the rough sea in the last two days. 

Nineteen bodies were recovered from the popular Clifton Seaview beach while the rest from Hawksbay and Sandspit after the administration sought help of Pakistan Navy helicopters.
21:40  Snooping 'unacceptable': India bluntly tells US:   India today bluntly told the USthat surveillance of political leaders and others in India by the American intelligence was "unacceptable" to which the US responded by saying that any differences that may exist can be resolved by intelligence communities of the two countries.
20:27  Nehchal Sandhu has resigned as deputy National Security Advisor. He was director Intelligence Bureau in UPA 2. 

Sandhu was considered close to P Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel and also to former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh. 
20:20  Earthquake measuring 5.9 hits Andaman Island:  Earthquake measuring 5.9 on Richter Scale hits Andaman Island region,says IMD.
20:14   Indo-US strategic talks: 

Kerry: India has been a responsible steward in nuclear energy.

Swaraj: We empathise with Palestine but relations good with Israel too.

Kerry: India-US relations on upswing in the past 15 years. We have raised issues of tightening immigration laws. 

20:06  Kerry: In weeks to come, we will take series of steps to pave the way for PM Narendra Modi's visit to US in September.
20:05  Indo-US strategic talks:


There is growing global partnership to the relationship. We see great potential in US as our global partner.

We raised the issue of snooping and conveyed that such spying was not acceptable.
20:03  Kerry: Want to help India provide cheap electricity to millions.

John Kerry also met NSA Ajit Doval and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
20:01  Sushma Swaraj said the two leaders discussed issues related to economy and security.
20:00  India, US can be potential partners in for 21st century: Kerry:  Speaking after the Indo-US strategic talks with MEA minister Sushma Swaraj, US Secretary of State John Kerry said:

Together we have opportunities to help India meet its challenges. 
19:44  Blasts as experts finally reach MH17 crash site in Ukraine:  Explosions rang out near the crash site of downed flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on today as international investigators arrived for the first time in nearly a week after Kiev announced a surprise one-day halt to its offensive against rebels. 

A small team of Dutch and Australian experts accompanied by international monitors reached the vast site of the doomed Malaysia Airlines jet after days of fierce fighting between government forces and rebels had stopped them reaching the area.
19:38  US says hopeful of WTO deal with India only hours before deadline:  The United States said on Thursday it was hopeful that differences between India and much of the rest of the world over a major trade agreement could be resolved in time, with only hours remaining before the deal has to be signed.

New Delhi has insisted that, in exchange for signing the trade facilitation agreement, it must see more progress on a parallel pact giving it more freedom to subsidize and stockpile food grains than is allowed by World Trade Organisation rules.
19:33  Space and terrorism part of India-US bilateral agenda:  Sheela Bhatt reports: 

K Radhakrishnan, ISRO chief, was present at a meeting between Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and United States Secretary of State John Kerry. 

Also present was Home Secretary Anil Goswami.   

The leaders discussed issues related to space, terrorism and intelligence sharing as part of the two countries bilateral agenda.
19:31  Ebola death toll rises to 729: WHO:  The deaths of 57 more people from Ebola in west Africa have pushed the overall fatality toll from the epidemic to 729, the World Health Organization said today. 

The 57 deaths were recorded between Thursday and Sunday last week in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the UN health agency said in a statement.
19:05  Lucky dog! Now, an exclusive eatery for strays in Rajasthan:  Moved by the plight of stray dogs and inspired by religious beliefs, a group of people in this Rajasthan town has started a unique eatery to feed canines without owners.

Located within the city cemetery 'moksdham', the eatery serves cooked food twice a day to the stray dogs -- in the morning and in the evening.

The food is served in a separate plate for dogs. Some sweets are also served daily with food.

Read more
18:28  Celebrations break out in Gen Suhag's village in Haryana:  Celebrations broke out at Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag's village Bishan in Haryana after he took over as the new Army chief today. People in the village, where almost every second house boasts having at least one of its member serving in the defence forces, were in a joyous mood on the occasion.

Suhag took charge of the 1.3 million strong force, succeeding Gen Bikram Singh in the national capital. 59-year-old Suhag, a Gurkha officer who had participated in the 1987 Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka, was till now the Vice Chief of Army Staff.

"It's a great moment for all of us. We are all so proud of him," Gen Suhag's relative, Pradeep Suhag said. He said that 'ladoos' were distributed as celebrations broke out in the village in Jhajjar district.

Pic: Army chief Gen Suhag with his wife.
18:24  Mahasweta Devi's son, author Nabarun Bhattacharya passes away:  Author Nabarun Bhattacharya breathed his last in Kolkata today. He was the only child of actor Bijon Bhattacharya and writer, activist and Magasaysay award winner Mahasweta Devi. His controversial novel, Herbert (1993) was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award. He was 66.
18:13  WTO: Sitharaman says no change in India's stand:  As only a few hours are left for WTO members to ratify the trade facilitation pact, India today asserted that its stand "remains the same". "Our stand remains the same," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters after meeting US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) members have to adopt the protocol on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) tonight.

India has made it clear at the WTO General Council meeting last week in Geneva that it would not ratify the TFA until a permanent solution is found on food security issues.

Pritzker had yesterday said the US is "very disappointed that India has taken a step back from its agreements that it made in December (last) at the WTO.

Sitharaman, however, said that the WTO's Bali issues were not discussed during the meeting with Pritzker. Meanwhile Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said India has suggested "a way of action" to break the impasse.
17:48  Gaza-Israel conflict: What is the fighting about?:  Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are involved in some of the most intense violence for months. Militants are firing volleys of rockets into Israel and Gaza is being hit by waves of air strikes. Here is a look at what is going on.

Pic: Infographic that gives you the toll
17:43  Ebola-hit Sierra Leone declares state of emergency:  Sierra Leone leader Ernest Bai Koroma declared a state of emergency on today and as the country struggled to contain the deadly Ebola epidemic. The impoverished country, along with neighbouring Guinea and Liberia, is struggling to contain an epidemic that has infected 1,200 people and left 672 dead across the region since the start of the year.
17:11  PM Modi denied visa by different govt, we will welcome him: Kerry:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi was denied a visa by a "different government", US Secretary of State John Kerry told NDTV today. "We will welcome PM Modi and definitely give him a visa," said Mr Kerry in an interview.  Read the full report.
16:24  Govt cancels Taslima Nasreen's resident permit :  Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen tweets: "Indian govt has canceled my resident permit that I started getting since 2004. Issued a temp tourist visa for 2 months. Beyond my imagination."

Nasreen had taken refuge in Kolkata in 2004, after a long stay in Europe. But after Muslim protests in the city in November 2007, the government forced her to leave West Bengal. She was then forced to leave India after staying in a safe house for a few months. 

It is only in 2011 that she got permission to live in Delhi. Busy writing essays and poems, Nasreen is also planning to bring out a sequel of her controversial book 'Lajja' in Bengali. The sequel has already been published in Malyalam.
15:52  Ukraine announces halt to offensive over MH17 probe:  Kiev today announced a day-long halt to its deadly offensive to oust pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine after fighting had stalled efforts by international investigators to kickstart a probe into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

International fallout from the crisis tearing apart the ex-Soviet nation rumbled on as the Group of Seven major developed economies warned Moscow that it could face even tougher sanctions over its backing for the insurgents, despite the EU and US already hitting Russia with the most punitive measures since the Cold War.

Dutch and Australian police experts were trying for the fifth day running to access the crash site of the downed Malaysian airliner after clashes between government and insurgent forces thwarted previous attempts to reach the scene.
15:49  Nepal PM discusses ways to make Modi's visit a grand success:  Prime Minister Sushil Koirala today met leaders of all 31 political parties to discuss key issues, including a key power trading pact, to be taken up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his maiden official visit to Nepal.

During the meeting, Foreign Minister Mahendra Pandey briefed the leaders of different political parties, which have representation in the Constituent Assembly, about the preparations of the upcoming two-day visit of Modi, Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Dinesh Bhattarai said.

Koirala is having hectic consultations with top leaders, senior government officials and his own party colleagues despite his fragile health condition, said Bhattarai.

The Prime Minister has instructed all concerned to cooperate for making the visit from Sunday a grand success.
15:10  Pune landslide: Rs 2 lakh for kin of victims :   Pune landslide update: Families of victims to be given Rs 2 lakh compensation from PM's relief fund, announces home minister Rajnath Singh.

See our slideshow on the rescue operations at Malin village near Pune, where 30 people have been killed in a landslide
15:02  Manmohan backs Sonia: NO files were sent to 10 Janpath:  Former PM Manmohan Singh backs Sonia Gandhi ahead of the release of K Natwar Singh's book, 'One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography'.

Dr Singh said trashed Natwar Singh's claims that key files were sent to her official residence 10 Janpath for approval. He categorically said today that "No files were sent to 10 Janpath."

He added that "some conversations that take place should not be used for capital."

Natwar Singh has backed former Manmohan Singh's former media advisor Sanjaya Baru's allegations that key files were sent to Sonia Gandhi's official residence 10 Janpath for approval.

Baru in his book 'The Accidental Prime Minister' had claimed that Sonia Gandhi was the super prime minister during the UPA-I regime and Manmohan Singh had been reduced to being an object of ridicule.
14:53  Srinagar (J&K): Militants open fire, SMHS hospital's guard critically injured. Security tightened outside hospital.
14:50  LeT's I-Day terror plot revealed:  Captured Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Abdul Subhan reveals terror strikes planned in Delhi before Independence Day. Vicky Nanjappa/ reports. Read
14:39  Someone, somewhere is getting a dressing down...
14:34  Why should I feel hurt? I am far from getting hurt by these allegations: Sonia :   More reactions from Sonia Gandhi on Natwar Singh's book. Sonia says, "I saw my mother-in-law riddled with bullets, I saw my husband assassinated. I was not scared. Why should I feel hurt? I am far from getting hurt by these allegations," she said.
14:26  1 killed in landslide in Mumbai, Met warns of 'very heavy rainfall' over 48 hours:  A six-year-old boy was today killed in a landslide at suburban Chembur in Mumbai, following heavy rainfall lashing the city for the last 48 hours, a civic official said. The boy, a resident of Mahul village near Vashi Naka in Chembur East, was killed this morning when the hut in which he was sleeping was destroyed in a landslide that occurred in the area, an official of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said.

Meanwhile, a fresh alert of "very heavy rainfall" in the city during the next 48 hours has been issued by the India Meteorological Department's regional centre.
14:23  Home minister Rajnath Singh visits landslide-hit village in Pune :  Home Minister Rajnath Singh visits landslide-hit Malin village in Pune. Singh promises maximum relief from both the state and the Central Govt and said that continuous rainfall is creating problems in rescue efforts, but officials are working extremely hard. 
14:14  India gave befitting reply to Pak after beheading incident: Gen Bikram Singh:  Outgoing Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today said that India has given a befitting reply to Pakistan after the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in 2013 along the Line of Control (LoC) even as he did not rule out the possibility of skirmishes on the western front in future.

Talking to reporters before demitting office, he admitted that face-offs between Indian and Chinese Army soldiers take place while patrolling their 'claimed areas' along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but they are dealt with in accordance with the existing mechanisms.

Asked if India had given a befitting reply after the January 8, 2013 beheading incident, he said, "It has been done. Please understand that when we use force, that use is from tactical to operational to strategic levels.

"When I mention that during that incident, it was aimed at operations at the tactical level, which have been undertaken. I think this has been done by the local commander, the chiefs have nothing to do with it," Gen Singh said.
13:51  UN spokesman bursts into tears over deaths of Palestinian children:  A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinians in Gaza, broke down in tears during a TV interview in the aftermath of Wednesday's fatal attack on a UN-run school, used as shelter.

Twenty people were reportedly killed after a shell hit the UNRWA school in Jabalia, Gaza, where 3,300 people had been taking refuge.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UNRWA, was unable to check himself while giving an interview to Al Jazeera Arabic the same day. "The rights of Palestinians, even their children, are wholesale denied,' he official said before breaking down sobbing in front of the camera.
13:39  Natwar's claims will hugely help Modi :  Some analysts believe that it suits Prime Minister Narendra Modi at this stage to debunk the image of Sonia Gandhi as a woman who declined the prime ministership of the country with great personal sacrifice, just as it would suit him to portray Rahul as a coward who was afraid his mother would be killed --  claims made by former Union minister Natwar Singh in his yet-to-be-released book. contributor Renu Mittal reports.
13:29  Sonia reacts to Natwar Singh's book: I will write my own book, truth will be told:  UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has finally reacted to Natwar Singh's interview to Karan Thapar on Headlines Today, that it wasn't her inner voice, but Rahul Gandhi who told her not to become PM.

Sonia broke her silence on ex-Congress leader, , former external affairs minister and family friend K Natwar's Singh's book, One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography, and said she would write her own book one day, and everything would be clear. "When I write a book, the truth will be exposed," Sonia said today.

In his book, Natwar Singh says Sonia declined to become Prime Minister in 2004 because of strong opposition from her son Rahul Gandhi who was afraid she would be killed like his father and grandmother if she accepted the post.

To persuade him from not referring to this particular episode in his autobiography, the Congress president along with her daughter Priyanka Gandhi met him on May 7 at his residence but he decided to disclose facts as they were and tell the "truth", Singh claimed in an interview to Karan Thapar on Headlines Today.  The book will be released in August.

File pic of Sonia Gandhi with Natwar Singh.
13:11  Meanwhile, Suzanne continues to trend on Twitter. 
13:05  Hrithik trashes reports of Rs 400 crore alimony demand:  Actor Hrithik Roshan has rubbished rumours that his estranged wife Sussanne Roshan has allegedly demanded Rs 400 crore alimony from him. The 40-year-old actor said that such "fabricated" stories were "demeaning". "Fabricated news articles. Demeaning my loved ones. Testing my patience," the 'Krrish 3' star posted on twitter.

 Hrithik and Sussanne, who had called off their marriage in December 2013, filed for divorce in a family court here earlier this year. The couple has two children Hrehaan and Hridhaan.
12:57  Countering negative publicity of India in international media :  The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture & Tourism SY Naik has said that the World Travel and Tourism Council, India in its report "Tourism Action Plan Unleashing India's Potential' has included a section on Safety and Security and has suggested measures to counter safety and security threats and negative publicity.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today Naik said, Public Order and Police are State subjects as per the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. As such, prevention of crime, including crimes against tourists is the primary responsibility of the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations.
He said, in order to ensure safety and security of tourists, including foreign tourists, Ministry of Tourism has advised all the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations to deploy Tourist Police in the States/Union Territories.
12:46  Ebola: Liberia shuts schools to tackle outbreak:  Liberia's government has announced that it is closing down all schools across the country to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Some communities would be placed under quarantine as well, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said. Non-essential government workers will be sent home for 30 days and the army deployed to enforce the measures. The number of people killed by the virus in West Africa has now reached 672, according to new UN figures. Read more
12:35  Young love often reported as rape in our 'cruel society':  In January 2013, Seema (name changed), who had moved to Delhi from rural Bihar with her brother went to the Hanuman temple on Delhi's Panchkuian Road with 19-year-old Sameer (name changed). He put vermilion on her forehead, the couple embraced and now married in their own eyes, they ran away to Sameer's native village in Samastipur.

By May, Seema, now pregnant, was in a court-mandated shelter home for young women visited only by Sameer when he got bail, accused of kidnapping and raping his young love.

The content of 600 court judgements analysed by The Hindu and interviews with complainants, judges and police officers illuminate for this first time the real stories behind the headlines on the national capitals rape statistics.

Read the second part of Rukmini Srinivasan's report on the Hindu.
12:22  US secy of state John Kerry meets Jaitley. Will bilateral ties revive?:   US secretary of state John Kerry on Thursday met finance minister Arun Jaitley as he held meetings with the Narendra Modi government while seeking to reboot a relationship seen as a bulwark against a rising China.

The secretary of state will co-chair the 5th India-US strategic dialogue with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday.

The two sides are keen to lock in "transformative initiatives' to make Modi's visit result-oriented in spheres of energy, skill-development, defence and security.

India will also take up the issue of NSA snooping with Kerry. India's position that the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) at the World Trade Organisation -- be put on hold until a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security is found has riled the west, including the US.

Kerry arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday to narrow the differences on various issues ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US in September.
12:10  'The world stands disgraced' - Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15:  United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday. Read
12:00  Delhi HC directs Delhi govt to stop e-rickshaws from plying:  Delhi HC directs Delhi govt to stop e-rickshaws from plying. The capital's traffic police has informed the Delhi High Court that the uncontrolled plying of e-rickshaws in the city has led to more than 29 accidents, in which two passengers lost their lives.Raising serious concern over the accidents, the traffic police, in an affidavit, also said unregulated operation of the battery-operated vehicles tends to cause traffic problems and are causing nuisance on the roads.
11:52  PM Narendra Modi arrives at the Central Hall of Parliament to attend the BJP Parliamentary Party Meeting 
11:46  Difficult diplomatic decision:  The tragic loss of more than a couple of hundred European lives in the horrific downing of Flight MH17 appears to have been the final provocation for the European Union and the United States to impose sanctions on Russia for backing the Ukrainian separatists. But penalties against Moscow would cause considerable economic pain at home. Read
11:44  Going beyond the ceremonial:  Given Nepal's scepticism over renewed engagement with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Himalayan nation should focus on the doable. Read
11:31  NEWS FLASH: Naxals blow up a CRPF jawan house at Aurangabad, no casualities.
11:29  A leafy monument to Tapas Pal:  Bodh Gaya got its name because Siddhartha sat cross-legged under a peepal tree and achieved enlightenment to become Gautam Buddha.

Battala "lost" its name because Trinamool MP Tapas Paul stood on a plastic chair under a young banyan tree, delivered the "rape-and-shoot" speech and achieved national "fame'.

Battala is now known as Tapastala -- a rare honour that not many public figures other than Nelson Mandela have been accorded during their lifetime.

In New Delhi, Nelson Mandela Marg was named so when the anti-apartheid legend was alive. History has repeated itself -- as farce and by default. Read the full report here
11:19  Why are journalists reproaching Modis sarkar?:  Arnab Goswami's news show has an exciting fairground quality to it. It's like the coconut shy stall where the paying customer gets to throw balls at stranded nariyals. On the news hour, Goswami does the job for his viewers and since his targets are often netas, he provides his audience with a way of purging itself of its exasperation (long felt or Arnab-stoked) with desi politics. Read Mukul Kesavan's excellent piece for the Telegraph
11:17  Modi Capitol Hill address in jeopardy:  Even as the US Senate introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in late September, the prospect of his delivering such an address appeared to grow dimmer this week, with the Indian side shrouded in uncertainty as they awaited news from the Speaker of the House of Representatives on when the ongoing session of Congress would terminate. Read
11:13  Modi govt's first big reform push in Parliament today: Insurance Bill :  The two-month-old Narendra Modi government is set to push its first big reforms; it is expected to introduce in Parliament today, the Insurance Amendment Bill and the Sebi Act, which seeks to provide more teeth to the market regulator.
11:10  The Supreme Court appoints a one-member commission headed by its ex-judge S B Sinha to inquire into 2006 Meerut fire tragedy in which
around 60 persons died. SC asks UP govt to pay an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh to the
seriously injured. SC asks the commission to submit its report by January
31, 2015.
09:43  John Kerry to hold strategic dialogue with Sushma Swaraj today:  
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who arrived here on Wednesday to re-energise the bilateral ties and to narrow the differences on various issues, will on Thursday hold strategic dialogue with Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. 

Today's meeting between the two leaders holds significance as it aims to lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's much-awaited visit to the United States in the September month. 

Kerry, who is on a three-day visit to India, and his entourage was received by the US charg d'affaires to India, Kathleen Stephens upon his arrival here. 

Kerry and Swaraj will jointly chair the fifth annual India-US Strategic Dialogue at 3 pm today. This will be followed by delegation-level talks. 

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had told reporters yesterday that both Kerry and Sushma Swaraj will interact with the media after the talks. 
09:11  4 killed in cloudburst in Uttarakhand's Tehri district:  
At least four people are feared dead after a cloudburst in Uttarakhand's Tehri district on Thursday. 

As per initial reports, six-eight houses were washed away and several others were flattened in the Ghansali block of the district, 60 kilometres from the district headquarters New Tehri town.
Search and rescue operations are underway even as reports suggested that the toll could rise. 

The hill state, popular with tourists for the Chard Dham Yatra, is battling heavy rains and landslides since the start of the monsoon season this year. 

This after the deadly devastation that hit the state last June that left thousands dead. 
09:00  Bangalore bandh today to protest crimes against women, kids:  
Security has been tightened by police in Bangalore who have mobilised "maximum amount" of force in the wake of a 'city bandh' today called by Kannada outfits to protest against the rising incidents of sexual offences against women and children.

The bandh comes after the public outrage over the alleged recent gang-rape of a six-year-old girl at Vibgyor High school that spilled into the streets and drew all-round condemnation with the government and police coming in for criticism.

"Kannada Okoota (federation)", an umbrella body of several Kannada organisations led by Vatal Nagaraj, has given the dawn-to-dusk bandh call, also demanded "severest" punishment to the perpetrators of sexual offences.

"We have taken all the necessary preparatory measures in terms of mobilising maximum amount of force both civil as well as armed from the city police, also the home guards. Nearly 1000 home guards will be on duty today," City Police Commissioner M N Reddi told reporters.

"Apart from this, we are also getting two companies of central reserve forces; we have alerted our intelligence units to collect information on any potential problems that can be created. We expect that we will be able to handle the bandh today, fairly well," he added.
08:59  Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag takes over as new Army Chief today:  
Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, whose appointment as Army chief had kicked up a row, will take over on Thursday as the next head of the 1.3 million strong force succeeding Gen. Bikram Singh who is retiring. 

Lt Gen Suhag was designated as army chief in May by the outgoing UPA government ignoring protests from his predecessor Gen VK Singh and the BJP. 

59-year-old Lt Gen Suhag, a Gurkha officer who had participated in the 1987 Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka, is currently the Vice Chief of Army Staff. 

He will have a tenure of 30 months as the 26th Chief of Army Staff. 

Lt Gen Suhag was made the Vice Chief of Army Staff in December last year. Earlier, he had taken over as the Eastern Army Commander on June 16, 2012. 

He was at the centre of a controversy triggered by discipline and vigilance ban imposed on him by the then army chief Gen VK Singh in connection with an intelligence operation in Assam earlier. 

The ban on Lt Gen Suhag, the then 2 Corps Commander, was lifted soon after Gen Bikram Singh took over in May, 2012. 

BJP had questioned the "hurry" in making the appointment and insisted that the matter be left to the next government. 

However, soon after the NDA government took over, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the new dispensation will continue with the appointment made during UPA rule.
03:16  Kerry's mission overload:  

It will take more than a meeting of two leaders to reverse the damage of the past year in India-U.S. ties '" the hurt needs to be addressed as well It has been a challenging month for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been charged with nuclear negotiations with Iran, dispatched to the Middle East to try and broker a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, and tasked with leading a campaign to sanction Russia further for the conflict in Ukraine.


 Compared to those missions, his 48-hour visit to India should have been a snap, but both circumstances and a lack of diplomatic headway so far will mean that Mr. Kerry will have his work cut out for him as he begins his meetings this morning.


Read more of Suhasini Haider's piece on The Hindu

03:14  City where police face the questions:  

Once a rebel stronghold, CNN's Matthew Chance finds Ukraine's Slovyansk riven by mistrust and its police taking lie detector tests to gauge their loyalty to Kiev.


Click here for more on CNN

03:13  Ukraine conflict: Russia faces more sanctions, warns G7:  

G7 leaders say Russia will face further economic sanctions if it continues to support rebels in Ukraine. The group of leading industrialised nations said Russia had undermined "Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence."


The warning came after the EU added eight more Russians to its sanctions. Earlier, Russia described new US and EU sanctions as "destructive and short-sighted", and said they would lead to higher energy prices in Europe. The G7 group of economic powers includes the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada.


Its leaders said Russia could still "choose the path of de-escalation", but warned President Vladimir Putin that he would face greater economic costs if he continued to back Ukrainian separatists.


They also called on all sides to establish a ceasefire at the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines jet that was shot down on 17 July in eastern Ukraine.


Read more on BBC

00:17  US House Republicans to vote to sue Obama:  

The US House of Representatives is set to pass legislation authorising it to sue President Barack Obama for what Republican leaders describe as his overreach of authority.


The resolution is expected to pass the Republican-controlled chamber in a party line vote on Wednesday. Its sponsors say Mr Obama exceeded his powers when he delayed an insurance deadline in his healthcare law. The president's aides say the prospective suit is a political stunt.


Read more on BBC

00:16  Gaza market bombed during Israel army 'pause':  

At least 17 Palestinians have been killed and 200 wounded in the bombardment of a market area near Gaza City during a "humanitarian pause" unilaterally announced by Israel.


The attack came on the outskirts of Shujayea shortly after the Israeli army said it was observing a four-hour Wednesday ceasefire from midday GMT, or 3pm local time. Al Jazeera understand that at least three air strikes or artillery rounds hit the area, which is a collection of warehouses, market area and stalls.


Read more on Al Jazeera

00:15  Ukraine claims rebels planted mines near MH17 site:  

International investigators' quest to carry out their duties at the crash site of the downed Malaysian airliner hit another roadblock Wednesday, as Ukrainian officials warned of possible land mines near the site.


Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council claims that "terrorists" -- the term it uses to describe rebels -- have set up firing positions and laid mines on the access road to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels are fighting over control of eastern Ukraine. Dutch investigators in Ukraine did not mention mines but announced Wednesday that unsafe conditions kept their contingent from visiting the crash site for the fourth straight day.

CNN could not independently confirm the veracity of the statement by the Ukrainian officials, though CNN's Nick Paton Walsh traveled to and from the debris field safely Wednesday.


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