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LIVE! Bhilai steel plant: 5 dead, 34 injured in gas leak triggered by explosion

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June 12, 2014

23:05  LIVE! Bhilai steel plant: 5 dead, 34 injured in gas leak triggered by explosion:  NDTV reports that five people have died and 34 others injured in gas leak triggered by an explosion inside Chhattisgarh's Bhilai steel plant.
23:00  The 'rise' of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the threat from Prime Minister Maliki:  

No one can deny that al Qaeda is a violent extremist threat wherever it operates. It poses a threat in terms of transnational terrorism in the United States and Europe, and a far more direct threat to the people who live in every area it operates. It has consistently been horribly repressive, violent, and often murderous in enforcing its political control and demands for a form of social behavior that reflect the worst in tribalism and offers almost nothing in terms of real Islamic values.


Like all extreme neo-Salafi movements, al Qaeda is also an economic and social dead end. It does not offer any practical way of operating and competing in a global economy, it is too dysfunctional to allow meaningful education and social interaction, and it finances itself largely through extortion in ways that cripple the existing local economy. Moreover, it does not tolerate competition even from other Islamist fighters. In Syria, it has provoked its own civil war with other hardline Islamist movements '" a civil war it now seems to be decisively losing to other Sunni rebel factions.


Read more on CSIS

22:54  Brazil World Cup 2014: Clashes at Sao Paulo protest:  

Police in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have used tear gas to break up a protest against the football World Cup, hours before the opening match. At least one person was arrested and five others were injured, three of them journalists.


Protesters had tried to block a road leading to the stadium where the opening ceremony will take place. Further protests are planned in other Brazilian cities over the expense of hosting the tournament.


In another development, striking airport workers in Rio de Janeiro blocked a road outside the airport, demanding a wage increase and a World Cup bonus.


Read more on BBC

22:52  Iraq conflict: All options open to fight insurgents, says Obama:  

US President Barack Obama says his government is looking at "all options", including military action, to help Iraq fight Islamist militants. He said the US had an interest in making sure jihadists did not gain a foothold in Iraq.


His remarks came after the cities of Mosul and Tikrit fell to Sunni Islamist insurgents during a lightning advance. A parliamentary vote to grant PM Nouri Maliki emergency powers was delayed earlier after MPs failed to turn up. Just 128 out of the 325 MPs were present for the vote.


Read more on BBC

22:38  Bhilai: 23 injured after explosion in steel plant; triggers gas leak:  

NDTV: 23 people have sustained injuries after a gas leak was reported from the Bhilai steel plant in Chhattisgarh.


Reports suggest the gas leaked after an explosion at the plant.

21:32  The real tragedy of Mohsin Shaikh:  Mohsin Shaikh, who was killed in Pune ten days ago, wanted to get on in life. A fine report in The Indian Express gives us a window into his world. From TelegraphIndia: He was from Solapur, a large town in southern Maharashtra where his father, Sadiq, like many Indian Muslims, was 'self-employed', which, in his case, meant running a small, unremunerative shop that doubled as an STD booth.

After doing his first degree locally, Mohsin set about acquiring the qualifications that might turn him into a salaried professional. He did a course in hardware networking and moved to Pune, which is to Maharashtra what Bangalore is to India, a symbol of metropolitan modernity.

He became the IT manager of a textile factory.

Read the full article here
19:39  16 militants killed in two US drone strikes in Pakistan:  Sixteen militants, including 10 from the dreaded Haqqani network, were killed in two successive CIA drone strikes in Pakistan's restive tribal region as the US resumed its controversial unmanned spy plane programme after a five-month hiatus.

Six militants including four Uzbeks were killed in the first strike last night around five km north of Miranshah, the capital of the North Waziristan tribal region, Pakistani military sources said today. Reports said all the 10 militants killed in the second strike today were affiliated with the feared Haqqani network that regularly launches attacks on US-led Western forces in Afghanistan.

The drone strikes came after the deadly attack at Karachi airport on Sunday that left 39 people dead including 10 Taliban militants, reportedly Uzbek fighters.
19:33  Modi releases FIFA stamp at 7 RCR:  To commemorate the world's biggest sporting event, the 2014 FIFA world cup, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released postage stamps on Thursday evening in New Delhi.
18:54  UP chief minister meets prime minister:  His government has been widely criticised for its poor law and order situation, with gruesome rapes being reported almost every day.

The embattled chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at latter's office in South Block.

Prime Minister Modi tweeted the photograph alongside soon after.
18:43  Maharashtra sets up task force to rescue homeless kids:   Altogether 36,154 kids in Mumbai live on the city streets, Minister of State for women and children Fauzia Khan said today. 

This was the finding of a study undertaken by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Acton Aid India organisation, the minister said, replying to a query by Shiv Sena MLC Deepak Sawant and others. 

It was also found that 905 kids live in train compartments, the minister said. 

A special task force has been set up under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to bring these children into the social mainstream, she said.
18:30  Angry minister guns for secretary:  A Union minister who was in a combative mood today shot off a two-page, top secret letter to the Cabinet Secretary giving four illustrations of how disobedient a secretary to the Government of India was.

The latter's fault? Taking off, without informing the minister, on a two-nation official tour.

The minister wanted this bureaucrat shunted out from her ministry -- before he lands back in New Delhi.

In her letter to the CabSec she mentioned that the said secretary had defied the civil conduct rules and flew out of India when the first session of Parliament was on, and that too to pass the vote of thanks to the President of India.
18:19  Beatification joy for Indian Catholics:  Bringing spiritual strength and joy to the Catholic community in India, two beatified candidates from Kerala, Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia, will be conferred sainthood by the Vatican on November 23, six years after Sr Alphonsa became the first woman Saint of the country. 

The date for elevation of Fr Chavara and Sr Euphrasia to sainthood was taken by the consistory of cardinals held in the Vatican today, church sources said. 

Celebrating the occasion, prayers were held in churches in Kottayam and Thrissur associated respectively with the two beatified persons to be conferred with sainthood.
18:17  J&K OSD's guard open fire in Baramulla, set off panic:  Apparently mistaking fire-crackers for a militant attack, personal security guards of an officer posted in the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister's Office opened fire, sparking panic in Baramulla town in Kashmir Valley.  

The security personnel of the Officer on Special Duty opened fire after hearing some blasts near his residence at Kanispora in Baramulla late last night, police sources said. 

 Preliminary investigations revealed a marriage function was on in the vicinity of the officer's residence and some fire-crackers were burst in celebrations, the sources said.
18:15  Infosys co-founder gets ready for post-retirement life:  Grandchildren and books will take up most of NR Narayana Murthy's time after he retires for the second time from the company he co-founded with six friends over three decades ago. 

Murthy will take over as Chairman Emeritus from October 11 as part of a management rejig announced today by Infosys, which named former SAP board member Vishal Sikka as its new chief executive officer and managing director. 

Asked what he planned to do after retirement, Murthy said: "At this time, I want to spend time with my granddaughters, my family...I would also be in a position to read a few books."
17:38  Work comes the way of MoSes after PM's diktat:  The new Union ministers of state are a happy lot. 

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's diktat to Cabinet ministers to allocate more responsibilities to their juniors, they find that work has indeed come their way -- unlike during the UPA regime, when there were complaints that junior ministers did not get any work except signing files of written answers to Parliament questions. 

Now senior ministers like Rajnath Singh, Sushma swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari are learnt to have entrusted 75 per cent of their workload to their juniors. 

The happiest is said to be Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju, both MoS under Jaitley and Rajnath Singh respectively.

"We learn from our seniors, of course they do not behave like headmasters,' commented one junior minister.
17:32  Eminent Bengali novelist Shaktipada Rajguru dies:  Eminent Bengali novelist Shaktipada Rajguru, many of whose works were adapted into Hindi and Bengali films like Amanush, Meghe Dhaka Tara and Barsat Ki Ek Raat, passed away today following age-related illness, family sources said. 

He was 92 and is survived by two sons. 

Rajguru had written more than a hundred novels and was a particular favourite with filmmakers till the 'eighties.

Ritwik Ghatak's path-breaking Bengali film Meghe Dhaka Tara was based on his novel by the same name. The 1975 film Amanush was based on another novel of his which was made both in Bengali and Hindi.
16:56  Campa Cola residents defiant, say they won't move out:  Even as Thursday is the last day for the residents of Campa Cola to vacate the premises, the residents remained defiant and said they won't move out. In fact, they have sent a 14-point charter to the Municipal Commissioner. They have also demanded a written affidavit agreeing to these conditions.
16:50  US mulls sending drones to battle jihadists in Iraq:  Vowing to help Iraq in its hour of need, the United States government has vowed to help the troubled country and is mulling over sending drones to the area to fight the militants that have taken over Mosul and Kirkuk. The militants, on the other hand, have said that they will be marching on to Baghdad and that the people of Iraq should be ready to experience more violence.  
16:11  AirAsia India begins operations :  AirAsia India's inaugural flight takes off from Bangalore's Kempegowda International Airport for Goa.

With an eye-catching promotional fare of Rs 990, AirAisa fulled a fare war among domestic airlines.

AirAsia India, the Indian arm of the Malaysian no-frills airline headed by Tony Fernandes, is the fourth budget carrier in the country -- after IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir.  
16:01  TMC dismisses that it reached understanding with BJP:  The Trinamool Congress today dismissed that it has reached an understanding with the BJP in Rajya Sabha where the NDA does not have majority.

"There is no basis in it," all India TMC General Secretary Mukul Roy told PTI, referring to CPI-M leader Mohammad Selim's remark.

The CPI-M Lok Sabha MP and central committee member while reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's praise for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday, had told a local TV channel that it was aimed at enlisting TMC's support in the Rajya Sabha.
15:55  What Infosys founder Narayana Murthy thinks of its new CEO :  "Vishal Sikka means lots of money," said Infosys founder Narayana Murthy as he announced a massive top-level changes in the IT major.

Addressing a press conference, Murthy, 67, welcomed 45-year-old Vishal Sikka as chief executive officer.

"Vishal brings valuable experience as a leader of a large, global corporation. His illustrious track record and value system make him an ideal choice to lead Infosys," Murthy said.
15:33   It's official: Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appointed as the new Attorney General of India.
15:31  What Jaitleys Budget speech will have:  The first three paragraphs of Union Budget 2014 is almost certain to have heaps of praise for the BJP, how it got a landslide victory in the recent elections. A couple of sentences will also praise Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for standing by the BJP.  

Salutations to Deendayal Upadhyaya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee will find mention, and  obviously so.

However, there will not be any quotes from the Thirukkural, made popular by the previous incumbent, but it will include a few extracts from the Granth Sahib.

Also, one can expect a couple of refrains from popular Raj Kapoor songs, which Arun Jaitley, the new finance minister, is in the habit of always humming.

15:27  Law and order better in UP than many other states: Akhilesh:   Under fire over a spate of serious crimes in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today said that the law and order situation in his state was better than that in many other parts of the country and maintained that his government was working to improve matters.

Speaking to reporters at an Investors' Conclave organised by UP, Yadav said that the "big" participation by investors at the meet was evidence that the law and order situation was fine in the state.

"Whenever somebody asks me about this (law and order), I say it is a very important subject and it is the government's responsibility to ensure that it remains in good condition. It (law and order situation) is fine in UP and better than in many other states... That is why they (investors) have come in such large numbers," he said.
15:13  Chemists in Punjab protest against 'harassment' by police:  Over 31,000 chemist and drug shops in Punjab remained shut today in protest against the alleged harassment caused by state police in its state-wide drive against drug menace.

Punjab Chemists Association had given a call to shut down medical shops in order to express their anger against the state police for allegedly raiding their shops and arresting shop owners under the garb of selling narcotic drugs.

"Except in hospitals, all chemist shops in Punjab are closed today," Punjab Chemists Association President Surjit Mehta said today. He said 31,470 drug shops are association's members across the state. "However, we have allowed shops in hospitals to continue with their operations so that patients do not suffer," he said.
15:11  Modi, Jaitley to visit Budgets underground printing press:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a confidential visit to the Union Budget printing press situated below North Block, at the request of the Finance ministry which is housed there.

The visit is basically meant to familiarise himself with the  process of printing the top-secret document, Modi will also briefed by officials about how the utmost secrecy is
maintained on the exercise, and how the Intelligence Bureau handles its security cover.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will explain the logistic support the Budget preparation process.

Only last week, Modi and Jaitley undertook a similar top-secret visit to the Strategic Command of the defence ministry located underground somewhere in Delhi.
15:11  PM writes to Jaya about Indian aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan :   In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the that the government will spare no effort to ensure safe release of the abducted aid worker in Afghanistan.

Informing her that his top officials are in touch with their counterparts in Kabul, the Prime Minister says, "Our primary concern at this stage is to ensure the integrity of the ongoing efforts for Father Prem Kumar's release and to ensure that he does not come to harm."

The 47-year- old aid worker was kidnapped earlier this month; three Taliban members have been arrested, but no group has claimed responsibility for the case.
14:46  Goa govt spending Rs 89L to send MLAs to Brazil :  CNN IBN reports: Six MLAs from Goa have been granted funds by the state government to travel to Brazil for the football World Cup starting today.

The delegation includes Goa Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar, according to sources in the Goa Chief Minister's Office.

Sources say that no expert or member of the Sport Authority of Goa is part of the delegation.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar refused to comment on the junket even as the Congress alleged that the state government is spending Rs 89 lakh for the tour.
14:34  Finally, rains bring respite from heat in Delhi:  Finally, there is some respite from the killing heat for Delhi. Rains and hailstorms in part of the city has brought temperatures down.

Delhi has been reeling under intense heat wave. The maximum was yesterday recorded at 43.6 degrees, easing slightly from the record-breaking spree when it stayed above the 45-degree mark.
14:07  1 jawan killed, 2 hurt in IED blast along LoC :  One jawan has been killed and two others injured in an IED blast near Poonch along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

More details are awaited.    
14:03   Narmada Control Authority gives nod to increase height of dam :  Times NOW reports: The Narmada Control Authority has given a nod to raise the height of the dam. The height will be raised from 121 to 138 metres.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had earlier expressed hope that with Narendra Modi as prime minister the state need not worry about getting the height of Narmada dam increased by installation of gates.

The state government had conveyed that 97 per cent of concreting work on Sardar Sarovar Dam has been completed and it is the gates that remain to be installed to increase the height of the dam to 138.68 metres from the present 121.92 metres.

13:51  Just In: One jawan killed, two others injured in IED blast along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, says senior police official.
13:44  Environment ministry eases norms for defence projects at LOAC:   The defence ministry need not come to the Centre to get green clearances for constructing border roads and strategically important projects coming up within 100 km of the Line Of Actual Control, the environment ministry said today. 

A decision on environmental and forest clearances on building defence infrastructure in areas in the 100 km-range from the LAC can be taken by the state governments concerned, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

A policy in this regard will be formulated very soon, he told reporters.   

The 4,056-km-long LAC with China touches four states -- Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
13:21  Reports come in of seawater flooding roads in Mumbai:  Reports have come in from many coastal areas of Mumbai of seawater entering the roads during high tide.

@devd71 has tweeted a photograph of the high tide waters entering Marine Drive, while @sidkumarsingh tweeted to say that the sea was brimming over the wall at World Seaface. @mpalso too tweeted a photograph of waters on the road in Marine Drive (left). 

According to tide forecast, Mumbai's high tide was to set in 12.14 pm with waves expected to reach a height of 4.79 metres.
13:06   Addressing his first presser, Infosys new CEO and managing director Vishal Sikka, said, "Infosys has put India on a global map. I am humbled and privileged to take this responsibility."
12:58  Prevez Musharraf can leave Pakistan:   In a huge relief to former Pakistan military rule Prevez Musharraf, the Sindh High Court today ruled that the name of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf be removed from the exit control list.  

The two-member bench of the SHC comprising Justice Mohammad Ali Muzhar and Justice Shahnawaz heard the case in which the ruling to strike off Musharraf's name from ECL was issued, Dawn reports.

Musharraf had earlier applied to clear off his name from the list, after which the court upon listening to the other party's arguments, had reserved the judgement in the case on May 29.
12:37  Heres reading the World Cup of Literature:  For those of you who may not know about it, here's Three Percent, a resource for international literature at the University of Rochester. 

What they've done, in keeping with the zeitgeist, is to announce a World Cup of Literature.   

'We received way more recommendations than we expected -- along with requests to serve as a judge -- and it was pretty tough narrowing these all down to a mere 32 titles. (Which, incidentally, makes me think that we should do this again next year for the Women's World Cup, but include only books written by women),' say the brains behind this initiative. 

And how did they go about finalising the titles vis-a-vis the football playing nation? 

 'Our criteria shifted based on the country in question, but, if at all possible, we only looked at books written in the original language after 2000 (thus eliminating all the "old guys' like David Beckham), and tried, in some quasi-logical way, to tie each book to its country's actual team,' they say.

But which are the titles against the competing nations, you want to know, right? You can read all about them here. And do write in, in the discussion board below, to tell us how many of the titles you have read, and if you agree with Three Percent jury's decision.
12:34  Will Delhi get respite from the heat? :  There was promise of some relief from the blistering heat in the national capital today as Delhiites woke up to partially cloudy skies.   

The minimum temperature was at 30.5 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal, with the weatherman hinting at the possibility of thunderstorms or dust storms occurring in some areas of the city.   

With the sky set to remain partly cloudy for the rest of the day, the maximum temperature is expected to settle at 43degrees, according to the MeT officials.
11:39  Now, NCW demands Akhilesh Yadav's resignation :  The National Commission for Women hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government today for the lawlessness in the state. "UP CM Akhilesh Yadav must resign. The government has been unable to protect women."   
11:37  CBI takes over probe in Badaun rape case:  The Central Bureau of Investigation has take over the probe in the Badaun gang rape and murder case. The CBI has registered an FIR in the case. A 20-member team to visit Badaun to further investigate the incident.

Two teenaged girls, who were cousins aged 14 and 15 years, were allegedly gangraped and murdered with their bodies found hanging from a mango tree, a day after they went missing on May 27, in a village in Ushait area in Badaun.   
11:29  Revolt in National Conference, senior leader Beg lashes out at Abdullahs :  Senior National Conference leader Dr Mehboob Beg hit out at the Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah and party chief Farooq today, saying the father-son duo has marred the image of the party for their own vested interests.

He lashed out against the two saying they were being nepotistic and neglecting the people. "The people have rejected the party because of  brazen favoritism," he said. 
11:21  UP: Family cries rape as 16-yr-old found hanging from tree:  The situation only seems to worsen in Uttar Pradesh. Another teenager has been found hanging from a tree outside Rajupur Milak village in Moradabad district.

Her family has alleged that she has been raped and murdered.

On Tuesday night, a woman was found hanging from a tree in Bahraich district of UP, in what too had chilling similarities to the killing of two young girls who were gang-raped and then murdered two weeks ago in Badaun district.
11:06  SC refuses to hear Bihar cricket association plea on N Srinivasan :  The Supreme Court today refused to hear a plea of Cricket Association of Bihar seeking to restrain N Srinivasan from contesting for ICC president's post.

The ICC elections are scheduled for June 27.
10:06  Sensex recovers 56 points ahead of IIP data:  The BSE Sensex today gained nearly 56 points in early trade on selective buying in oil, IT and banking stocks ahead of industrial output data for April to be released later in the day.

The 30-share index, which had retreated from record high by losing almost 110 points in the last session, recovered 55.77 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 25,529.66 in early trade.

The National Stock Exchange Nifty moved up by 4.35 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 7,631.20. It breached 7,700 level for the first time yesterday.

Brokers said fresh buying by funds and retail investors ahead of of industrial production data for April and Consumer Price Index Inflation for May to be released later in the day contributed to the gains. Stocks of IT, healthcare, oil and gas, realty, capital goods and metal sectors led the gains.
10:03  US supportive of dialogue between India, Pakistan:  Welcoming the discussion held between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, the US has said that dialogue between the two neighbours is a positive step and it is supportive of such efforts.

"We encourage dialogue between India and Pakistan. We feel that's a positive step. There have been some steps in recent weeks that we've been encouraged by. We believe dialogue is an important step in the process between India and Pakistan," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

Psaki was referring to the recent meeting held between Modi and Sharif in New Delhi on the former's first day of assuming office as India's new Prime Minister on May 27.
10:02  51 Indian fishermen on their way home from Sri Lanka :  Sri Lanka today released 51 Indian fishermen, the ministry of external affairs said today. The fishermen are on their way home.

More details are waited.  
09:21  Mumbai: Will residents of Campa Cola evict flats? :   The residents of Campa Cola have dared the authorities after being slapped with an eviction notice following a Supreme Court order.

The deadline for them to vacate their flats in the Campa Cola society in Mumbai ends today.

Over the past two years, the residents have been at loggerheads with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation hoping that their flats would be regularised. For over a decade, over 100 residents have stayed in the flats of Campa Cola and now they been asked to vacate.
09:16  Vishal Sikka is new Infosys CEO:   Former SAP board member Vishal Sikka will be appointed as the new CEO and managing director of Infosys.

Sikka says he is humbled to lead Infosys, an iconic pioneer in IT. He will take over from current Chief Executive S D Shibulal, one of the engineers who founded Infosys, on August 1.

The Vadodara-born Sikka is the first non-founder CEO of Infosys. His name has been doing the rounds since Sikka, 47, resigned from the German business software maker early last month.
08:34  Woman raped by cop inside UP police station:   NDTV reports: A 35-year-old woman was allegedly raped by a cop in the presence of his subordinates in a police station in Uttar Pradesh's Hamirpur district.

The incident took place on Monday night when the woman had gone to Sumerpur police station to seek her husband's release who had been picked up by cops after a country-made pistol was seized from him.

The policemen allegedly demanded a bribe from the woman which she reportedly refused to pay.

She was then allegedly raped by the Station House Officer Rahul Pandey. .
03:02  Ankara 'will retaliate' if Turkish hostages harmed in Iraq:  

Turkey today pledged to retaliate if dozens of its citizens seized in an attack by Islamist militants in northern Iraq are harmed.        


Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement today that jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had kidnapped 49 of its citizens at the Mosul consulate and taken them to another part of the city.        


"All those involved should know that if our citizens are harmed in any way, they will be the subject of harsh reprisals," Turkish media quoted Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying at the United Nations in New York.       


Turkish officials told AFP earlier that militants storming the consulate had kidnapped 48 Turks, including the consul, staff members, guards and three children.   The ministry also said 31 Turkish truck drivers kidnapped by ISIL fighters Tuesday were being held at a power station in Mosul.

03:00  Oil prices rise on US inventories, Iraq turmoil:  

AFP: Oil prices finished somewhat higher today following an unexpectedly large decline in US crude supplies and worsening turmoil in Iraq. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery edged higher by five cents to $104.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.        


In London, European benchmark Brent oil for July delivery advanced 43 cents to $109.95 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange.

01:49  ISIL militants are just 70 miles away from Baghdad:  

Sunni militants extended their control over parts of northern and western Iraq on Wednesday as Iraqi government forces crumbled in disarray. The militants overran the city of Tikrit, seized facilities in the strategic oil refining town of Baiji, and threatened an important Shiite shrine in Samarra as they moved south toward Baghdad.


The remarkably rapid advance of the Sunni militants, who on Tuesday seized the northern city of Mosul as Iraqi forces fled or surrendered, reflects the spillover of the Sunni insurgency in Syria and the inability of Iraq's Shiite-led government to pacify the country after American forces departed in 2011 following eight years of war and occupation.


By late Wednesday, witnesses in Samarra, 70 miles north of Baghdad, were reporting that the militants, many of them aligned with the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, were on the outskirts of the city. They said the militants demanded that forces loyal to the government leave the city or a sacred Shiite shrine there would be destroyed. Samarra is known for the shrine, the al-Askari Mosque, which was severely damaged in a 2006 bombing during the height of the American-led occupation. That event touched off sectarian mayhem between the country's Sunni Arab minority and its Shiite majority.

Read more on The New York Times

01:46   ISIL: Rising power in Iraq and Syria:  

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has outgrown even Al Qaeda as it seeks to establish a new caliphate.


Read the full story on Al Jazeera

01:44  Mysterious kidney disease plagues Central America:  

Juan Salgado was 16 when he started cutting sugarcane, in a town near the Pacific coast of Nicaragua in 1966. His symptoms began about 35 years later: Fever. Headaches. Poor appetite. Feelings of faintness. For no obvious reason, his kidneys were severely damaged, to the point that doctors said he couldn't do agricultural work anymore.


Many of his friends had it worse. "I know, many, many workers who were colleagues of mine, who have already died, and I know also many who are not capable of working anymore because of the disease," said Salgado, now 65, who worked near the town of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The disease is known by scientists as "chronic kidney disease of unknown origin," or CKDu.


In rural communities in Nicaragua, it's "creatinina," the Spanish word for creatinine, a biomarker of kidney strength. At least 20,000 people have died prematurely from this mysterious disease in Central America in the last two decades, according to one estimate, but the real scope of the problem is unknown. The illness is not related to diabetes or hypertension -- drivers of kidney disease in the United States -- and affects primarily young men.


Read more on CNN

00:15  Over 3.27 lakh Delhi University admission forms sold:  

Delhi University has sold over 3.27 lakh admission forms, both online and offline, and around 1.92 lakh students have applied for various undergraduate courses.               


"As many as 1,91,949 online registrations and 1,35,781 offline forms for admission to the Delhi University undergraduate courses have been sold till today," an official from DU's Dean of Students' Welfare office said.                


He said, till today, a total of 87,767 offline forms have been received by the university and a total of 1,04,666 students have made payments for the admissions at the varsity's portal.               


The official said the number of students who have shown interest to get admission in DU in the first nine days was much more than it was seen last year.                


The number of online registrations for Bachelor of Honours in Management Studies (BMS) on the second day was 21,426 while 12,181 students have made online payment for admissions.                


The DU admissions for 54,000 seats began on June 2 and will end on June 16.

00:07  Jawan's wife moves HC for job on compassionate ground:  

A widow of an army jawan, who died due to illness while in service in 2004, has knocked at the doors of the Madras High Court for relief after her plea for a government job on compassionate ground was rejected by Mettur Municipality in Tamil Nadu.   


When the petition by M Mary Metilda of Salem District came up for hearing, Justice S Nagamuthu directed the state Chief Secretary to submit a report on whether the government had any scheme for providing employment for dependents of members of armed forces who died in service.   


"This court is not informed as to whether there is any scheme available with the government of Tamil Nadu to provide employment for the dependents of the members of armed forces who lost their lives while in service befitting their educational qualification.


Since it involves a policy of the government, this court wants to know the stand of the government in this regard,' the Judge said.   


Passing the interim order on the petition seeking a direction to appoint her as a Revenue Assistant in the Mettur Municipality, the Judge posted the matter for further hearing on June 23.   

00:06  Iraq army capitulates to Qaeda-linked militants in four cities:  

Iraq is facing its gravest test since the US-led invasion more than a decade ago, after its army capitulated to Islamist insurgents who have seized four cities and pillaged military bases and banks, in a lightning campaign which seems poised to fuel a cross-border insurgency endangering the entire region.


The extent of the Iraqi army's defeat at the hands of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) became clear on Wednesday when officials in Baghdad conceded that insurgents had stripped the main army base in the northern city of Mosul of weapons, released hundreds of prisoners from the city's jails and may have seized up to $480m in banknotes from the city's banks.


Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers - roughly 30,000 men - simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq's second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting.


Senior government officials in Baghdad were equally shocked, accusing the army of betrayal and claiming the sacking of the city was a strategic disaster that would imperil Iraq's borders.


Read more on Guardian

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