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LIVE! Boko Haram attack may have killed at least 400: Officials

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June 05, 2014

23:17  Boko Haram attack may have killed at least 400: Officials:  The attack by suspected militants from the Boko Haram may have killed at least 400 civilians dead  in northeastern Nigeria, local officials are saying.

Locals have alleged that despite reports of an imminent attack, the military failed to help.

Image for representation only

Read the full story here
21:40  Boko Haram kills hundreds in north-east Nigeria: Reports:  Boko Haram militants dressed as soldiers have killed at least 200  civilians across three villages in northeastern Nigeria, witnesses have said. They said that that despite reports of an imminent attack, the military failed to help.

Read the full story here

20:59  Queen Elizabeth II arrives in France for D-Day ceremonies:  Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Paris today for an increasingly rare foreign visit that will see her feted as France's "super guest of honour" at D-Day commemorations attended by an A-list of world leaders. 

The 88-year-old monarch, accompanied by her 92-year-old husband Prince Philip, stepped off a scheduled Eurostar train from London to an enthusiastic welcome from around 300 well-wishers at the French capital's Gare du Nord.
20:45  A section of minority still nervous of Modi: Shabana Azmi:  National award winner actress and former MP Shabana Azmi today said a section of minority was still nervous of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he talked about women, poor and youth but nothing specifically about them. 

"At the time of elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised of taking everyone along...Modi talked about women, poor and youth but, he did not specifically mention minorities...had he did so, it would have been better as a section of minorities is still worried as to what would happen to them," Azmi, who was visiting her native village Mizwa, told PTI.
20:34  Anti-rape protest held outside Indian High Commission:  Hundreds of members of UK-based South Asian women's rights organisations and anti-caste discrimination groups protested outside the Indian High Commission here against a spate of rape cases in India. 

"This was, on the one hand, a solidarity demonstration with the girls who are victims and survivors of Badaun (Uttar Pradesh) and Bhagana (Haryana) and their families, and secondly an outpouring of anger about what has happened," Amrit Wilson, spokesperson for the South Asia Solidarity Group said yesterday.
19:56  Pawar backs demand for CBI probe into Munde's death:  

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a CBI probe into the death of former Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde to bring out the "facts" and assuage the feelings of the BJP leader's supporters.        


In a letter to Modi, Pawar said that after the "sad and untimely" demise of Munde, his last rites were performed at Parli, Beed District of Maharashtra yesterday.        


"This unfortunate incident (the death) left many a people shocked and dismayed, specially supporters of his constituency," he said.        


The former Union Minister noted that Munde's followers have demanded a thorough CBI probe into the accident in Delhi which led to his death.        


He said the sentiment has also been echoed by Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Phadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

19:43  India, US trade ministers to meet in Sydney next month:  

India and US trade ministers would meet next month in Sydney during the G-20 meeting to boost bilateral economic relations. US Trade Representative Michael Froman called up Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the two talked about ways to further strengthen the relations on economic front during their 20 minutes talks, an official said.        


Later Sitharaman tweeted: "Froman called, a good beginning, committed to building a strong partnership. Will meet him at G-20 in July in Australia."         The official said that the Indian minister reciprocated Froman's gesture by signalling interest in making a fresh beginning on a positive note.        


Further, the USTR also talked about the Trade Policy Forum (TPF), which has not "met for quite some time".        


While, the TPF have not met, officials from both the sides have engaged through video conferencing. Notes were exchanged by officials on issues such as intellectual property rights, services, agriculture and investment issues.

19:35  Sri Lanka condemns Jayalalithaas genocide remarks:  

Sri Lanka today reacted strongly against the genocide remarks made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa against the country over the Tamil issue and said it will make formal objections to India over her comments.        


"It is very much in keeping with the character of this politician to make wild allegations against Sri Lanka," the government spokesman and Minister of Information Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.        


He was reacting to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi which carried word "genocide" on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.        


She had demanded that India should sponsor a resolution in the United Nations condemning the genocide in Sri Lanka. "I request that India should sponsor a resolution in the United Nations condemning the genocide in Sri Lanka and to hold to account all those responsible for the genocide and thereby render justice to Tamils in Sri Lanka," the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had said in the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister.        


"It is very wrong to use words like genocide to describe what happened in Sri Lanka," he said.        


Rambukwella said Sri Lanka was to make formal objections to the Indian government over Jayalalithaa's comments. Sri Lanka is happy that Modi won outright control of the Lok Sabha without having to rely on the support from Jayalalithaa.

19:05  Modi's mother poses with Nawaz Sharif's gift:  Narendra Modi's mother with the sari that was gifted to her by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. 
18:58  No room for LK Advani in Parliament:  When former deputy prime minister LK Advani reached his office in Parliament during the lunch-break today, he was confronted with a humiliating situation. The plaque with his name at the door of the room allotted to him - which said that he is acting chairman of the National Democratic Alliance or the NDA - had been removed. Read more
18:50  AIIMS to be made 'green hospital': Dr Harsh Vardhan:  The country's premier medical facility AIIMS should move away from using conventional energy that is responsible for polluting environment and adding green house gases, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said today as he resolved to convert the hospital into a "green hospital".

Vardhan said that his plan for 'Green AIIMS' is based on the government's determination to fight climate change.

"Healthcare institutions should strive to reduce their energy consumption and maximise use of solar energy and other similar natural resources," he said, addressing a gathering on the occasion of World Environment Day.
18:46  Nitin Gokhale's confirmatory tweet: So I was wrong on PM's choice for his first overseas visit! It's going to be Thimphu not Tokyo apparently! Not a bad choice at all!
18:44  Maha govt allocates funds for Shivaji memorial:  Ahead of the Assembly polls, the Maharashtra government today announced the allocation of substantial funds to build memorials of its icons, including that of the warrior king Shivaji.  "The state government has decided to construct Shahu Maharaj monument at the Shahu Textile Mill premises in Kolhapur. A budget provision of Rs 3.50 crore has been made in the current financial year to start the work," deputy CM Ajit Pawar said.
18:40  Modi's first official visit abroad is Bhutan, NOT Japan:  Keen to start his foreign tours from the neighbourhood, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake his first visit to Bhutan, the friendliest among all neighbouring countries, this month. The Indian Express reports that an official team will be leaving for Thimphu on Friday to set up the visit and work out the relevant logistics. The visit is planned to take place after the ongoing Parliament session, possibly in the third week. Read more
18:08  Munde death impact: Motor Vehicle Bill to be redrafted:  India's Motor Vehicle Bill will be re-drafted within a month in line with advanced international practices to enhance road safety, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

His comments come within days of former Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde's death in a road accident in the national capital.

The new bill is likely to include measures such as installing CCTV cameras at all traffic signals, redesigning of heavy vehicles and centralising data to check misuse of driving licences.
18:01  Irish writer pips Jhumpa Lahiri to win top UK prize:  First-time Irish novelist Eimear McBride beat five other authors including Pulitzer Prize winning Indian American writer Jhumpa Lahiri to win this year's Baileys Prize, the UK's only annual book award for fiction written by a woman. McBride's debut "A Girl is a Half-formed Thing" tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour.
17:48  Cong: Too early to comment on govt, what has changed? :   "It's unfortunate that the 10 point agenda that Modi govt kept forth doesn't include women safety as a priority. It is too early to make any comments on the Govt. You tell me, what has changed? Shobha Oza Congress spokesperson.
17:39  PM to decide on CBI probe demand into Munde's death: Gadkari:   Amid demands for a CBI probe into the death of former Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde following a road accident, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will decide the course of action on the matter.

"Yesterday, I spoke to the Prime Minister and Munde's family. It is the Prime Minister who will decide the proper course of action on the matter and truth will prevail," Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said. Gadkari said if there is any doubt in the minds of people it should be cleared.
17:22  Cong distances itself from Tharoor's 'avatar of modernity' praise for Modi:   As expected, the Congress distances itself from Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor's comments on Narendra Modi.

Tharoor said that he (Modi) has remodelled himself from a "hate figure' to an "avatar of modernity and progress".

He also said it would be "churlish" of the Congress to ignore his "inclusive and accommodative' outreach.

"Just as he remade himself from a hate figure into an avatar of modernity and progress, he is seeking to remake the BJP from a vehicle of Hindu chauvinism to a natural party of governance. This will mean a change in both language and tone, as he has demonstrated,' Tharoor wrote in The Huffington Post.
16:53  Jyotiraditya Scindia to be Cong's chief whip :  Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the chief whip of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. Captain Amarinder Singh will be party's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi remains in the back benches.
16:51  Shawl-sari diplomacy between India and Pakistan, a good start to bilateral relations.
16:49  When Modi sent Nawaz Sharif's mother a shawl:   It may be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gifted a shawl for Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif's mother, when Sharif had visited Delhi for Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 26.

It was during a one-on-one meeting, the following day, that Modi had gifted the shawl for Sharif's mother and a compilation of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's poetry as a symbol of affection and respect.

Sharif's daughter Maryam had acknowledged the gift with the tweet: Thank u v much PM @narendramodi for the beautiful shawl for my grandmother. My father personally delivered it to her.

Sharif's gift of a white sari for Modi's mother, is in reciprocation. 

Pic: The shawl Narendra Modi had gifted Nawaz Sharif's mother
16:40  LIVE! Modi: Nawaz Sharif sends wonderful white sari for my mother :  Narendra Modi tweets that Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif has sent a "wonderful white Sari for my Mother. I am really grateful to him & will send it to my Mother very soon."
16:26  Dimple Yadav on incidence of rapes in UP: It's an important, sensitive issue :   And so Dimple Yadav states the obvious. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh's daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav assured the media today that the Akhilesh government in Uttar Pradesh was taking the issue of rising crimes against women seriously and was working towards it. "This is a very important and sensitive social issue. We take this very seriously and the culprits must get stringent punishment. Our government is working towards it,' said Dimple, who is an MP from Kannauj.
16:17  MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan arrives at 7 RCR to meet PM Narendra Modi.
16:07  Repercussions bound to happen: BJP leader defends Pune techie's murder :   Anil Shirole, the newly-elected BJP MP from Pune, left his party leaders red-faced by justifying the murderous assault on a techie four days ago by members of a radical Hindu outfit, reports NDTV.

"The people of Pune want peace. What was posted on Facebook was sad. It was bound to have some repercussions," Shirole told reporters. He, however, took care to qualify his remarks by saying, "This was not right."

A 28-year-old software professional was bludgeoned to death allegedly by persons with suspected links to a Hindu outfit near Pune. The murder of Shaikh Mohasin Sadiq, who hailed from Solapur and who was a resident of Hadapsar, sparked tension in the area.

The trigger for the attack was apparently uploading of derogatory pictures of warrior king Shivaji and late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Facebook, which led to a protest bandh on Sunday.

Four more persons suspected of having links with the Hindu outfit were arrested today taking the total number of arrests to 17.

Pic: Pune techie Shaikh Mohasin Sadiq was targetted because he was wearing a skull cap and had a beard, said the police.
15:46  Just in: Witnesses say Boko Haram militants dressed as soldiers slaughtered at least 200 civilians in 3 communities in northeastern Nigeria. 
15:42  For quicker governance:  By abolishing the system of having Empowered Groups of Ministers and Groups of Ministers -- of which there were nine and 21 respectively that he inherited from the UPA government -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent out an unequivocal message: the new BJP-led NDA intends to end the "policy paralysis' that its predecessor was accused of, and achieve its goal of "minimum government, maximum governance." Read
15:41  Journalist Rupa Subramanya tweets: Sad to see AAP members quitting the party at a time when party needs them the most.Quitting when going gets tough seems to AAP's trademark.
15:07  Why we need AAP:  The AAP for all its vulnerabilities and mistakes pursues a new way of thinking. The promises it made during the election do not disappear with defeat. They have to be honoured in more inventive ways. Read Shiv Visvanathan's column.
15:06  A father's wail: 'Why would anyone abduct a Jesuit priest?':  Ganesh Nadar meets the devastated father of Alexis Prem Kumar, the Indian Jesuit priest who was abducted by the Taliban in the Herat province of Afghanistan. Read
14:59  Nitin Gokhale tweets: Navy Chief briefs defence minister on operational preparedness. All PSOs also present at hour-long briefing.
14:49  Crucial meeting tomorrow between Jaitley and India Inc:   Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will meet captains of Indian industry to elicit their views on the budget, which is likely to be presented in the first week of July.

As a part of the pre-budget consultation exercise, the Finance Minister has already met with agriculturists and will meet representatives of social sector later today.

The industry wants the new government to take steps to boost the manufacturing sector, which has remained stagnant in the past two years.

It also wants clear and credible policies to attract investments, push mega projects and encourage growth.

It has already made a case for non-adversarial, conducive and fair tax regulatory environment. The sub-five per cent GDP expansion poses a big challenge for the new government which needs to act fast to revive the economy.
14:33  BJP's Hitesh Bajpai jumps to Gaur's defence: Babulal Gaur-ji's comment is being twisted, we have always believed in zero tolerance for rapists.
14:30  Sumitra Mahajan's was the lone name which was proposed by 19 members cutting across party lines including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
14:15  LIVE! BJP minister: What can Akhilesh do, rapists don't inform before they rape:   BJP's Babulal Gaur, has been diagnosed with foot-in-the-mouth disease. The Madhya Pradesh home minister, speaking to TV channels today, said preventing crimes against women was impossible.

"Koi aapse keh kar toh nahi ja raha ke balaatkar karne ja raha hai, info toh hoti nahi, ye samajik burai hai. Isme bechaare Akhilesh ya Mulayam-ji kya kar sakte hain?" he said. (The perpetrator/rapist will not tell you that he is on his way to commit a rape. There is no such information (available with the government). It's a social evil. So, what can poor Akhilesh and Mulayam do?)

Gaur was speaking on the increased incidences of rapes in UP.
13:57  Praful Patel files nomination for Rajya Sabha election:  Former Union minister and senior NCP leader Praful Patel today filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha election in Maharashtra slated for June 19. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and a few ministers in the Congress-NCP government in the state were present at Vidhan Bhawan, when Patel filed the papers. NCP leader Tariq Anwar, who was elected to Lok Sabha, has quit his Rajya Sabha seat.
13:56 was the first to tell you on May 28 that Modi would use Hindi:   We were the first to tell you that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen Hindi over English as the official diplomatic language. As our May 28 story says, Narendra Modi spoke in Hindi to all the eight SAARC leaders present at his swearing-in ceremony on May 26.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke in English while with few Pakistani leaders he did speak in Punjabi. But, it's now official that Modi has brought Hindi into vogue in the Videsh Mantralaya. Modi will use interpreters from now onwards.

A day after the swearing-in he took the help of a joint secretary in the MEA in the meetings with SAARC leaders.  Read the full story on
13:54  Modi vacates Vadodara seat, Mulayam resigns from Mainpuri:  The resignations of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav from Vadodara and Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituencies respectively have been accepted.

The Speaker also accepted the resignation of K Chandrasekhar Rao from Medak Lok Sabha constituency, Protem Speaker Kamal Nath informed the Lok Sabha today.

Yadav and Rao had resigned on May 26, while Modi tendered his resignation on May 29. All the three resignations were accepted with effect from May 29. Modi and Yadav had contested the Lok Sabha elections from two seats.

While Modi has retained the Varanasi constituency, Yadav retained Azamgarh. Rao vacated the Medak seat after he became the first Chief Minister of Telangana on June 2.

Pic: Sonia Gandhi greeting Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha after she took oath.
13:41  Attempt to commit suicide 'evidence' against Irom Sharmila :  A local court has ruled that there is prima facie evidence of attempt to commit suicide against Manipur social activist Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on fast for the past 13 years to demand withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state.

Chief Judicial Magistrate of Imphal East A Noutuneshwori gave the ruling yesterday after an FIR was filed by Manipur Police.

Cross examination of the prosecution will begin from July 7.

Sharmila said she was not trying to commit suicide but only demanding withdrawal of AFSPA from the state. She said her demand was solely the withdrawal of AFSPA so that people could live without any fear in the state.

Sharmila launched her fast in November 2000 after 10 persons were killed allegedly by Assam Rifles in an encounter with militants at Malom near Imphal airport.

Read our report: Meeting Irom Sharmila 
13:29  Indian NGO worker abducted in Afghanistan traced :   Indian aid worker Alexis Prem Kumar who was abducted from Herat in Afghanistan has been traced. Prem Kumar was kidnapped on Monday by six gunmen from Zenda Jan district in Heart province of the restive country. He is the country head of Jesuit Refugee Services  - an international NGO working for refugees through the world.

Thirteen people have been arrested in the case. The exact location of Father Alexis has not been revealed for security reasons.
13:15  Sumitra Mahajan files nomination for Speaker's post :  BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan, whose name was proposed by all political parties including Congress files her nomination for the Lok Sabha Speaker post.
13:13  We welcome this move: Mulayam Singh Yadav on reports of PM Modi using Hindi as the diplomatic language. 
12:55  No more English, Modi chooses Hindi for talks with foreign leaders:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it appears, has taken a call to hold his diplomatic conversations in Hindi, with interpreters being deployed in almost all his meetings, including those where the dignitary on the other side speaks in English.

While Modi is quite conversant in English given that many New Delhi-based diplomats have met him and never found language to be an impediment, sources said he seems to have decided to stick to the national language in his interactions.

That he is reasonably comfortable with the English language is clear by the fact that interpreters are not required to translate from English to Hindi.  Read more
12:44  AAP's Ashutosh on Anjali Damania: She was with us, is with us and will remain with us. We have got no resignation.
12:40  PM bats for cleaner, greener planet:  On World Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked the people to serve as "trustees" in protecting the environment and utilising natural resources for the present while ensuring happiness of future generations. He said there is a need to reaffirm the pledge to protect environment and make the planet cleaner and greener.

And this is the picture that's doing the rounds on social media.
12:30  BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi tweets on Anjali Damania quitting AAP: When a Ship is sinking then you don't need to shout to ask ppl to jump, ppl start leaving themselves
12:26  AAP: Anjali Damani not angry with party:  AAP in damage control mode. Party tweets that Anjali Damania is not angry with AAP, she is with the party. While, Mayank Gandhi  @mayankgandhi04  tweets: Anjali is a great asset to the nation. We must convince her to continue to lead Maharashtra AAP.
12:17  Senior members Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD), P A Sangma (NPP) and Biren Singh Engti (Cong), appointed on the Panel of Chairpersons by the President to help the Protem Speaker in oath taking process, took oath after Prime Minister Modi, Advani and Gandhi.
12:16  Sushma Swaraj vows India with her decision to take the oath in Sanskrit :  And External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj wows India with her decision to take her oath as an MP in the 16th Lok Sabha in the mother of all languages -- Sanskrit.

Here's the buzz...

‏@thtTALLgirl  Sushma Swaraj took Lok sabha oath in Sanskrit. Heard someone speak that language after ages!

‏@RohitBJP  Smt. Sushma Swaraj takes oath in Sanskrit. #Respect

‏@TheHumerus  Ms Swaraj took oath in Sanskrit? Respectum

‏@pujyam1  Wow: Mrs Sushma  Swaraj takes oath in Sanskrit as member of Parliament. !!

@ash_dubey  Wow !!! @SushmaSwaraj  took Oath as MP in Sanskrit !!!!!!!  Lessons for many others....!

@ramsv0312  1h Sushma Swaraj takes oath in the Parliament in Sanskrit... Bravo... Loved that.

@chotivalebaba   @SushmaSwaraj swears in Sanskrit... Awesome
12:06  India's multi-cultural ethos comes alive in Parliament:  Here's more from Parliament House.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Food Processing Minister, took the oath in Punjabi.

Jual Oram, Minister for Tribal Affiars, took the oath in Odiya.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Health Minister, too the oath in Sanskrit as well. External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also took the oath in Sanskrit, earlier.

Sarbananda Sonowal, MoS (Independent), took oath in Assamese.

Siddheshwar Rao took the oath in Telugu Kiren Rijiju, MoS (Home), took the oath in Hindi.
11:57  BJP MP from Surendranagar (Gujarat) Devjibhai Fatehpura performs a traditional dance before entering parliament.
11:56  GNLA militants threaten publisher of Garo Weekly for breaking the news of the horrific murder of a 35-year-old woman.
11:54  LIVE! AAP crusader and Gadkari's nemesis Anjali Damania quits the party:   This is Anjali Damania's message to AAP:

"Dear colleagues, with a heavy heart, I am ending my association with AAP," she said in her resignation message to top AAP office bearers.

"My greatest regards for Arvind (Kejriwal), who is like an elder brother. All I want to request is that please do not have any conspiracy theories over my exit," Damania said.

The AAP state convenor added she had never compromised her values and would never do so.

"I request the media to respect my privacy," she said.

A former crusader against corruption in high places, Damania said she had nothing more to add except that she cared a lot for AAP and expressed her best wishes for it.

Damania took on BJP heavyweight Nitin Gadkari from the Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency. 
11:53  Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu confirms Sumitra Mahajan will be the Speaker in the 16th Lok Sabha. 
11:51  LIVE! Sushma takes oath in Sanskrit, Sadananda Gowda in Kannada :  Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh was first of the Cabinet Ministers to take oath, followed by Sushma Swaraj, who took the oath in Sanskrit. Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda took the oath in Kannada. The ministers of state will be sworn in after their senior ministers. They will be followed by members from various states and union territories, in alphabetical order.
11:42  Oh, Brother! Here come Martinians:   They don't pack the punch of Rajiv Gandhi's Doscos but the Martinians from Calcutta may soon hit the quorum needed to form a cosy little political club in Delhi.

Barry O'Brien, who was once nominated by the Left to represent the Anglo-Indian community, today joined the BJP along with his wife Denise. Barry is the younger brother of Derek O'Brien, the Trinamul spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP -- a detail that drew much comment in Bengal's political circles although the elder sibling could not be contacted for comment despite repeated attempts.

Another nugget drew attention in Delhi: that Barry is an alumnus of La Martiniere for Boys. Read the full story here.
11:41  The New York Times on Narendra Modi's kurtas. Read
11:25  AAP leader Anjali Damania quits party :  AAP leaders leaving a sinking ship? Senior party leader Anjali Damania quits AAP. After the party's debacle in the polls, another party leader Shazia Ilmi had quit the party. Then Capt Gopinath, another senior member, quit the party.
11:22  TMC MP Derek O' Brien tweets: One of our new MPs is in her 20s. She will take her oath in Santhali. Another is a prof with a PhD on role of women in promoting sanitation.

His brother, Barry, joined the BJP yesterday.

The subsidized tea and coffee at Parliament House caught the attention of new Kerala MP and actor Innocent, who quipped, "Coffee and tea is so cheap, MPs will keep coming out for breaks."
11:19  Sonia greets Modi after taking oath:  Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj take oath. After taking oath Sonia and Modi greeted each other with folded hands. Pro-tem speaker Kamal Nath administers the oath to each member.

Here are some interesting tidbits from the first day of the 16th Lok Sabha yesterday.

For the first time Narendra Modi addressed the media outside the Parliament House Gate Number 4, in what is a customary interaction with the media.

For the first time Modi presided over a Union Cabinet meeting inside Parliament Houseat 11.30 am to approve the President's address to the joint session of Parliament on Monday, June 9, 2014.

For the first time Modi said Namaste to Sonia Gandhi inside Lok Sabha just before the session began.

For the first time Modi went to room number 9 inside Parliament House, which is the Prime Minister's Chambers. He met Union ministers and officials there.

For the first time Modi entered the Lok Sabha. He was accompanied by Venkaiah Naidu. Modi went to the benches of all political leaders to greet them at 10.55 am, just a few minutes before Pro-tem Speaker Kamal Nath occupied the Speaker's chair.

For the first time Modi was in Central Hall. There he shook hands with many MPs, including from the Congress.

For the first time, well, the number of first-time MPs, 315 according to PRS Legislative Research, was huge in Central Hall of Parliament. Needless to say, the representation of Congress MPs was not much. 
11:12  Modi watches Sonia take oath :   Sonia Gandhi takes oath watched closely by Narendra Modi and Maneka Gandhi, who is seated in the front on the treasury benches. Each member gets a brief round of applause before he takes oath. 
11:09  LK Advani takes oath :  After Modi, LK Advani takes oath. He will be followed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Kamal Nath who is the prot-tem speaker  says cabinet ministers, ministers of state and other members will be sworn in that order. This will be followed by MPs from states, and union territories in alphabetic order.

After taking the oath, each MP signs the register.
Advani signs the register and shakes hands with Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh.
11:06  Narendra Modi takes oath as member of the 16th Lok Sabha.
11:05  Day 2 of the 16th Lok Sabha begins. Sumitra Mahajan will be the speaker. The deputy speaker's post will go to the AIADMK.

Yesterday, Union Minister Gopinath Munde's death cast a shadow over the first day's sitting of the Lok Sabha which adjourned for the day after paying homage to the departed leader.

Proceedings of the House began on a sombre note, after the national anthem was played out.

Earlier, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath was sworn in as the Pro-tem Speaker of the newly constituted Lok Sabha by President Pranab Mukherjee. 
11:00  1989 as a cautionary tale: Towards a Congress-mukt pluralism:  By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, there existed in Western Europe and most other parts of the world, a Marxist intellectual culture independent of (and vehemently critical of) Soviet-style socialism. Paris and Frankfurt nurtured Marxist (or marxisant) intellectuals who thought the Soviet Union was a political abomination, whose socialist aspirations and prescriptions shared nothing with the reality of 'actually existing socialism'. Read Mukul Kesavan's piece on the Telegraph. 
10:48  LIVE! Look who's singing praises of Narendra Modi! :   In high praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said that he (Modi) has remodelled himself from a "hate figure' to an "avatar of modernity and progress'. He also said it would be "churlish' of the Congress to ignore his "inclusive and accommodative' outreach.
Read more
10:40  Work without fear, Ill protect you, PM Modi tells senior bureaucrats:  PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday assured the bureaucracy of protection against malicious prosecution for bonafide decisions, saying secretaries to the government can approach him or mail him directly with inputs and ideas on any issue for deciding matters quickly.

At his first direct interaction with some 72 secretaries who head the bureaucracy in various ministries on Wednesday, the message from Modi was clear: Top officers must take their leadership role seriously and be decisive to make things happen quickly and improve governance.

This is the first time in eight years that a PM has undertaken such an exercise and indicates Modi's aim of establishing a direct connect with the bureaucracy. Read

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10:23  Shooter on the loose after killing 3 policemen in Canada:  CNN reports: Police in Canada's New Brunswick province scoured overnight for a man who allegedly shot three officers and wounded two others.Police say the shooter is believed to be in a subdivision in Moncton.

The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Justin Bourque. The police have posted a photograph of a man dressed in fatigues, carrying what appeared to be a rifle.

"Shooter still believed to be in Pinehurst Subdivision area of Moncton. Stay locked inside. Leave outdoor lights on," the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in New Brunswick tweeted early Thursday morning.

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09:57  Retired Indian Army Lt General appointed member of UN panel:  A retired Indian Army Lieutenant general has been appointed member of a UN expert panel on peacekeeping that will advice the world body on how to use new technologies and innovations in that field.

Lieutenant General (retd) Abhijit Guha is part of the five-member panel of experts appointed by under-secretaries -- general for peacekeeping operations and for field support Herve Ladsous and Ameerah Haq.

Guha has recently concluded a term as director of the office for peacekeeping strategic partnerships in the department of peacekeeping operations and also served as the former deputy military adviser in the department from 2010 until 2012, a statement said.
09:08  Meghalaya: Encounter on with terrorists who killled woman for resisting rape:  An encounter is on in Meghalaya with Garo militants who killed a woman for resisting rape.

A 35-year-old woman was shot dead by suspected Garo National Liberation Army militants sparking outrage.

The woman was at home with her husband and five children when four to five armed militants of the GNLA entered their house around 6 pm on Tuesday. They locked up her husband and five children inside the house and pulled out the woman, police said.

She was first assaulted and molested. When she resisted, they shot her with automatic assault rifles from point blank range blowing her head in almost two pieces, Inspector General of Police (operations) GHP Raju said.

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09:02  Hold Indo-US strategic dialogue in US: Senator :   A top American Senator has called for holding the next round of India-US strategic dialogue in New Delhi this year as against the scheduled venue of Washington, to show a good will gesture towards the new Narendra Modi-led government.

"The (India US strategic) dialogue (in New Delhi) would provide an early opportunity for the US government to engage with the new government in India," Senator Mark Warner, told a Washington audience yesterday.

The strategic dialogue, which was launched by the previous secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is held every year alternatively in India and the United States. Last year it was held in New Delhi, for which the US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to India.

As such the dialogue for this year is scheduled this year in Washington. But Warner and many friends for India in the US have been arguing that this year it should be held in New Delhi.

"Since the new Indian government will just be getting started, holding the dialogue in Delhi will be less disruptive to organizing meetings and will provide both sides the opportunity to meet and get to work early in the term on joint initiatives," Warner said.

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08:57  Obama suspends Iran oil sanctions for six months:   With Iran complying with its commitment on a controversial nuclear weapons programme, US President Barack Obama has suspended his action on Iranian oil sanctions for the next six months.

Even though there is enough oil in the international market for countries like India and China to reduce their dependence on Iranian oil, so as to avoid US sanctions as per Congressional Act, Obama determined that there is no need to do so for the next six months as Tehran is fully co-operating with the US-led international community to address their concerns about its nuclear weapons program, the White House said yesterday.
08:49  Modi, Obama to meet in Washington in September:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed to United States President Barack Obama that he will have a bilateral meeting with him in Washington in the last week of September this year, The Times of India reports. 

The meeting won't happen on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly in New York but in the form of a full-fledged bilateral summit in Washington. Obama had invited Modi when he called to to congratulate the new PM after his May 16 win.

After the 2002 riots, Modi was denied visa to the US.
00:40  Yashwant Sinha refuses party's request to apply for bail:  Jailed BJP leader Yashwant Sinha today refused party leaders' request to secure bail, saying he would come out only when the administration dropped the "illegal case" lodged against him and his supporters for protesting against power crisis here.

Sinha's refusal came when a state BJP delegation led by former Assembly speaker C P Singh called on him in the jail and urged him to apply for bail, one of the accompanying party leaders said.

"Sinha refused to come out of the jail. The arrests were illegal as the BJP workers were agitating peacefully and did not resort to any violence. He said he will come out of jail only when the illegal cases against him and the BJP workers are withdrawn by the administration," the leader said.
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