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LIVE! Shazia Ilmi likely to quit AAP over political differences

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May 23, 2014

23:07  Shazia Ilmi likely to quit AAP over political differences:  

The AAP may face a major setback as its media face Shazia Ilmi is likely quit the party on Saturday. Shazia is also going to hold a press conference.


The AAP leader is reportedly not happy with party's policies anymore and this is the main reason behind her decision. Shazia, a journalist who has been with AAP since its inception, had contested elections twice and lost them both.


Read more on CNN IBN

21:00  Modi donates Rs 21 lakh to benefit daughters of drivers, peons:  

After resigning as chief minister of Gujarat on Wednesday, Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi donated Rs 21 lakh for the benefit of daughters of drivers and peons working for the Gujarat state government.        


According to an official press release issued by the Gujarat state information department today, Modi donated his savings of Rs 21 lakh to set up a corpus fund for daughters of drivers and peons who serve the Gujarat government.        

Before leaving for Delhi, Modi hoped that the Gujarat state government would use the fund for the benefit of these girls.        


The corpus fund, started with Modi's Rs 21 lakh would be handled by the present Gujarat chief minister and principal secretary, who would form a foundation to collect more funds from the public and widen its scope in future.        


Earlier, Modi had raised Rs 89.96 crore by selling all gifts he recieved when he was the chief minister of Gujarat and the money was used for educating girls in the state, the release said.

18:58  Mossad behind Congress' defeat in the Lok Sabha Elections, says a Congressman. Read 
18:54  In Delhi, AAP volunteers meeting underway at Constitution Club of India.
18:52  Not satisfied with Pak response on journalists expulsion: India:  India today said it was not satisfied with the Pakistan government's response to the recent abrupt expulsion of two Indian journalists from that country.

India's Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad Gopal Baglay raised the issue with his counterpart concerned in the Pakistan government, the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.

"We are not satisfied with the response of Pakistan government on the expulsion of two Indian journalists," he said.

The two journalists- Snehesh Alex Philip of PTI and Meena Menon of The Hindu newspaper- were asked to leave the country last week within seven days without being assigned any reason.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson had yesterday sought to distance itself from the expulsion saying that visas to journalists did not come under its purview.
18:43  Amul's take on Arvind Kejriwal's jail term. 
18:37  The CPI(M), which faced a complete rout in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, today said that no one from the party's West Bengal unit would attend Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 26.
18:31  nitin gokhale '@nitingokhale: Unexpected casualty of the coup in Thailand: Indian Amy troops there for a joint exercise with Thai Army asked to return midway!
18:12  Army Chief visits south western command headquarters:  Army Chief General Bikram Singh today visited south western Command Headquarters in Jaipur, where he was briefed on the state of operational preparedness of the Command.

He interacted with senior functionaries of the Command and addressed officers of the station on various issues, a defence spokesperson said.

Emphasising on core values of honesty, truthfulness, sincerity, commitment and dedication, the Army Chief called upon all officers to instill greater pride in the service across rank and file.

The Chief of Army Staff also emphasised on value-based leadership in accordance with the legacy of the Indian Army.
17:49  Woman climber, 2 Sherpas killed on Kanchenjunga:  Two days after she went missing on Mount Kanchenjunga, Nepal Police confirmed on Thursday that Chhanda Gayen, a 35-year-old climber from West Bengal, and two of her Sherpa guides are dead.

Gayen, who scaled Everest last year, and three other clumbers from her state had successfully summited Kanchenjunga (8586 metres) last Sunday.

On Tuesday, she and the sherpas were climbing down from a lower (8,505m), Yalung Kang, peak of the world's third-highest mountain when an avalanche struck at 5,500 metres, officials said.
17:44   Amit Mitra and Mukul Roy to represent West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee in Narendra Modi's swearing-in.
17:42  Nitish eyes Rajya Sabha seat to take on Modi:  Now that Nitish Kumar has stepped down as Bihar chief minister and got the man he wanted to replace him, what's his game plan?

It is learn that Nitish is keen to enter the Rajya Sabha, where he will project himself as a Modi-baiter.

This, he feels, will strengthen his anti-BJP stance in Bihar, and is a prelude to the state assembly elections due there in 2015.

There will be three vacancies to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar as its members Ram Vilas Paswan, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Ram Kripal Yadav have just been elected to the Lok Sabha. What's the bet one of these vacancies will be filled by Nitish Kumar?
17:38   AAP tweets this picture of Arvind Kerjiwal being taken back to judicial custody this afternoon after he continued to refuse to furnish the bond in the defamation case filed by Nitin Gadkari against him.

Read: The 3 mistakes of Arvind Kejriwals life
17:25  Pak Foreign Office recommends Nawaz Sharif to attend Modis swearing-in ceremony:  Pakistan's Foreign Office has recommended Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to accept India's invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony of prime minister-elect Narendra Modi on May 26 in New Delhi, saying it will be a "mistake' to let this opportunity go."

The Foreign Office has made the recommendation and the decision will most likely be in favour,' a senior diplomat at the Foreign Office (FO) said.

"It will be a mistake to let this opportunity go. We need to see beyond today," the official said while speaking to Dawn online.

The government is, however, yet to take a final decision on the invitation received on Wednesday.Modi has invited the leaders of member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to the ceremony.
17:18  There is no ambience for serious talks with Pak; Narendra Modi should not forget this in euphoria of his coronation, says Congress.
17:16  LIVE! FIR against Goa man for FB post: 'Holocaust if Modi comes to power' :  An FIR has been filed against Devu Chodankar for his Facebook comment on Narendra Modi. The 31-year-old shipbuilding professional is likely to be arrested in BJP-ruled Goa as police suspect him to be part of a "larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony in the state"

Chodankar's anticipatory bail was rejected on Thursday by the district and sessions court in North Goa, clearing the ground for his arrest.  Police say custodial action is necessary.

Civil society activists and the Opposition plan to picket outside the police headquarters on Saturday against what they believe is "draconian" action against free speech.

Chodankar had cautioned against Modi coming to power, claiming that a holocaust would follow and also that Christians in Goa would lose their identity. "There is imminent threat of Holocaust as it happened in Gujarat th(r)ough the garb of cunning government policies of Parrikar," Chodankar had said, before deleting the post.

16:48  LIVE! Short, one-on-one meetings will be held between India and SAARC leaders: MEA :   MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin holds a presser on who will be attending Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Monday, May 26.
Akbaruddin says confirmations have been received from Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Nepal. He says India has also invited Pakistan, and the response is being awaited.

"Normal for a host to hold a dinner when such leaders are in attendance. It is also normal practice that when senior leaders come to your country, short meetings are held as a courtesy to the guest. There will be short duration meetings between our leadership and visiting dignitaries. Meetings will be held on May 27," says Akbaruddin.
16:45  Tharoor jibe at Modi: Let's hope Sharif is served biryani:   "If Nawaz Sharif does accept the invitation, let's hope Narendra Modi will serve him chicken biryani!" Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said in an apparent jibe at the BJP's Prime Minister-designate.

The reference was obviously to Modi's earlier attack on Congress accusing it of serving chicken biryani to visiting Pakistan premier Raja Pervez Ashraf in 2013 when he had come here on a private visit in the midst of the controversy of beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani Army.
16:39  MEA: Will host dinner for SAARC leaders on Monday:  Syed Akbaruddin, says this is the first time that all SAARC countries will be present for the swearing-in ceremony of a prime minister in India. However, he says, with a smile, his archival knowledge of SAARC is limited. He confirms that India would be hosting a dinner for the SAARC leaders on Monday.
16:29  LIVE! Furious Mulayam slams Akhilesh: Dimple can't speak, how will we tackle Modi in Parl?:   A furious Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today tore into his son, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhikesh Yadav, over the party's rout in the national election and wondered at a meeting - "how will we tackle Narendra Modi in Parliament?"

The Samajwadi Party has won just five of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, the state it has ruled since 2012.

Mulayam Singh won two of the seats; his daughter-in-law Dimple and nephews Akshay Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav won the rest.

"Dimple can't speak, neither can Ramgopal's son Akshay Yadav. He is new to Parliament. Only Dharmendra Yadav and I have to take on Modi in Parliament," Mulayam Singh said at a meeting of his Samajwadi Party legislators today.

Earlier this week, at an introspection meet with 73 party candidates who lost, Mulayam Singh had asked, "With whom will I sit in Parliament?" In 2009, the party had 23 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Read more
16:08  Moments after Manjhi is sworn in as the Bihar CM, BJP's Sushil Modi, who was the deputy CM when JD-U, BJP were allies, said, "We will continue to fight against this Nitish-Lalu Govt in Bihar."
15:48  Manjhi was sworn in as the 32nd Chief Minister on Tuesday evening. Governor D Y Patil who administered the oath to Manjhi and 17 ministers at a function at Raj Bhawan directed the new government to seek a trust vote on the floor of the House today.

The new Cabinet comprised all ministers of the Nitish Kumar government. Vijay Chaudhary was the first to take oath after Manjhi. Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel, Ramai Ram and Bhim Singh followed.
15:47  LIVE! Bihar's new CM Jitan Manjhi wins trust vote in Assembly:  Bihar chief minister Jeetan Manjhi wins trust vote in the floor of the house.  The Assembly was connvened by the new Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi to seek a trust vote. Before the House started its business at 11 am, Manjhi went to the Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav and shook hands. He later went to all members cutting across party lines and shook hands with them.
15:42  With the new govt... here come the changes:  Speculation in Shastri Bhavan, which houses Union ministry of culture, is that government funding in the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation will be reviewed and the accounts of four trusts will be audited. Why? Your guess is as good as ours...

After the UPAs poll debacle, a resignation spree has begun. In the next few days, sources tell us, there will be a bevy of babus opting out of their government jobs, just so that they can avoid being sacked.

Congress leaders had made personal recommendations in public sector banks, port  trusts, advisory committees etc, and it is these people who are believed to be keen to shift their loyalties to the new government.
15:34  Kejriwal: The constant martyr:  On the evening of 21 May, traffic came to a halt for a long time in West Delhi. This was peak rush hour, with thousands, if not lakhs of commuters returning home from work. Among the vehicles stuck in the gridlock were at least two ambulances. Read
15:24  LIVE! BJP wants merger of Lok Sabha TV, Rajya Sabha TV :  Informed sources tell us that the BJP leadership wants a merger of Lok Sabha Television and Rajya Sabha television, which will then be called 'Parliament TV'.

A decision to this effect will be taken soon after the Union Budget in July. The speaker of Lok Sabha and the chairman of Rajya Sabha will take a final call on the issue.

BJP insiders allege the blackout of the Telangana debate by Lok Sabha TV was intentional --  a CCTV installed in the main studio captured the action of a senior official, in effect, pulling out the plug. 
15:11  Vaiko: Met Modi for 25 minutes, gave documents against Rajapakse:   MDMK chief Vaiko on Friday met BJP  president Rajnath Singh and PM-in-waiting Narendra Modi and lodged his protest against an invitation extended to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 26. This is what Vaiko tweeted: "Met Modi-ji,he heard me patiently for 25 minutes, Jaitley and Shah were also there. Gave them documents against Rajapakse."
15:11  Exclusive! Rahul to be told: Improve or get lost!:  According to a powerful section of the Congress party the vote was anti-Congress, anti-dynasty and pro-Modi, in that order. Sonia Gandhi is being accused, privately, of protecting her son at the cost of the party's interest.

For the first time ever, 24 Akbar Road, the Congress headquarters, is assessing the "intent" of the Gandhi Parivar, which has never happened before. A Rediff Correspondent lifts the veil off the churning within the Congress party in the wake of the party's rout in the election. Read
14:48  Why is ATC collecting data on six VVIPs:  So, why is IGI Air Traffic Control busy collating data of six VVIPs who use private aircraft? The jury is still out on whether this is an exercise to pin down a few individuals or whether it's a regular security drill, since senior officials of the Delhi airport remain tight-lipped. Whether the data will be used during Parliament debates remains to be seen.
14:41  Afghanistan to keep friendship with India at all costs: envoy:  Condemning the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat province, Afghan ambassador Shaida Mohammad Abdali today said the incident will only "embolden" his country's determination to keep the friendship with India "at all costs".

Observing that the pre-dawn assault was an attack on the friendship of India and Afghanistan, he said, "I can tell you very confidently that this attack can only embolden our determination that we will keep this friendship at all costs," he said.

Replying to a query, Abdali said that there was little doubt that it was a "terrorist" incident but it was too early to determine who was behind it.

"There is no doubt that it is a terrorist incident but technically speaking we have to wait to investigate this incident," he said.

The Afghan Ambassador to India said he has spoken to the national security force commanders in Afghanistan, who confirmed that they had finished the operation and all the terrorists had been killed.
14:27  Here's how KP stays cool in hot, humid Mumbai. See
14:26  Now, we have a democratically elected totalitarian governmen: Roy:   In Pakistan, apprehensions are rife about Narendra Modi's flamboyant success. But fervent Modi supporters in the Indian middle classes prefer to place him in the economic governance arena. Pakistan's Dawn speaks to  Arundhati Roy to explore what Modi's rise means for India. Read
14:21   Former Delhi law minister, Somnath Bharti says of Nitin Gadkari, "How can a defamed person like Gadkari file a defamation case?!"
14:10  'Pakistani media is the main casualty':  On May 13, the only two Indian journalists in Pakistan, Snehesh Alex Philip of the Press Trust of India and Meena Menon of The Hindu, were told by the country's Ministry of Information that their visas would not be renewed and that they would have to leave Pakistan in a week. Here's what Meena Menon has to say. Read
14:08  Rashtrapati Bhavan closed for two days for Modi's swearing-in :  In view of preparations being made for the forthcoming swearing-in-ceremony, the Rashtrapati Bhavan will remain closed for tours on May 24 and 25, 2014.  There will also be no Change of Guards ceremony on May 24, 2014.
14:05   PPP chief Imran Khan: We condemn repeated attacks against Sikh places of worship & their Holy Book in Sindh. All religious places must be respected & protected.
13:59  Syed Akbaruddin @MEAIndia: Prez Karzai of #Afghanistan calls PM designate @narendramodi assures that #Afghanistan will do all to protect #India's Missions there.
13:58  AAP leader Gopal Rai says they will appeal to a higher court and "put forth our view."
13:57  Pak PM Nawaz Sharif likely to attend Modi's do :  The announcement of Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif attending the swearing ceremony of Narendra Modi is expected to made at 2 pm today.

Sharif's arrival schedule is not fixed, and if he does visit, it will be for a very short duration. Modi is expected to hold 30-minute meetings with all SAARC leaders who attend the swearing-in ceremony. 

Sharif is believed to be personally keen to attend Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony, but has to go through a process of 'consultation'.

Yesterday, Pakistan foreign office confirmed the invitation had been received, no formal announcement has yet been made.

The announcement of Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif attending the swearing ceremony of Narendra Modi is expected to made at 2 pm today. Sharif's arrival schedule is not fixed, and if he does visit, it will be for a very short duration. Modi is expected to hold 30-minute meetings with all SAARC leaders who attend the swearing-in ceremony. 

Sharif is believed to be personally keen to attend Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony, but has to go through a process of 'consultation'.

Yesterday, Pakistan foreign office confirmed the invitation had been received, no formal announcement has yet been made. 
13:56   Kejriwal spent a sleepless Wednesday night in the Tihar Jail, struggling with mosquitoes and the heat in the cell, said Tihar sources.
13:52  LIVE! Arvind Kejriwal sent to 14 days judicial custody:  AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal sent to 14 days judicial custody. Kejriwal was sent to two-day judicial custody by a Delhi court on Wednesday following his refusal to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000 in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. Today, as well, Kejriwal has refused to sign the personal bond. The judge has pulled up Kejriwal telling him to act more responsibly.
13:45  Full statement of Manmohan Singh on consulate attack:  Dr Manmohan Singh's full statement on the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat.

"I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on the Consulate General of India in Herat this morning.  We are greatly relieved that all staff and security personnel at the consulate are safe.

"No words of gratitude would be enough for the bravery and skill with which the Afghan Security Forces and the Indian security detail at the Consulate have repulsed the attack. I also thank the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for their prompt and decisive response, and for their unstinting support over the years for the security of Indians in Afghanistan.

"These attacks will neither succeed in undermining the close relations between India and Afghanistan, nor deter India from fulfilling its commitment to help the Afghan people in building a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. India will continue to support Afghanistan in its brave fight against terrorism."
13:42  Zeliang is new Nagaland CM:  Nagaland Governor Ashwani Kumar appoints TR Zeliang as the new Chief Minister of the state.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio will officially resign today. Sources in Delhi and Kohima said the outgoing chief minister returned to the state capital on Thursday after hectic parleys in Delhi for a berth in Modi's BJP-led NDA government. Rio is likely to meet governor Ashwani Kumar to put in his papers.
13:33  Tulsi Prajapati encounter case: Hearing adjourned till June 6:   A sessions court today adjourned till June 6 the hearing in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case in which former Gujarat Minister of State for Home Amit Shah is one of the accused.

The court staff recorded the presence of all the advocates and some of the accused and deferred the matter for hearing on June 6, as the designated CBI judge was on leave.

A special CBI court had on May 9 issued summons to Shah and others accused in connection with the case. Earlier, the case was transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai court.
13:31  LIVE! After Modi, Manmohan 'condemns' Indian consulate attack in Afghanistan:   "I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on the Consulate General of India in Herat this morning. We are greatly relieved that all the staff and security personnel at the Consulate are safe," says Dr Manmohan Singh on the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan early this morning.

Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi today condemned the attack on Indian consulate in Herat province of Afghanistan and said he is closely monitoring the situation. Modi, who is in New Delhi ahead of his swearing-in on Monday, said he spoke to Indian Ambassador in Afghanistan Amar Sinha following the attack this morning.
13:19  Seven steps to an economic rebalancing :  India's economy is at the core of its global profile. The incoming government can transform global equations by rebalancing the Indian economy, making it a platform for a foreign policy outreach. Read
13:18  After coup, Thai army summons Shinawatra family:  Thailand's ruling military today summoned the entire ousted government and members of the politically influential family at the heart of the country's long-running conflict, a day after it seized control of this volatile Southeast Asian nation in a non-violent coup.

There was virtually no military presence on Bangkok's streets, which were less crowded than usual but still filled with vendors and people heading to work after a 10 pm - 5 am curfew the night before. There were no reports of overnight violence.

Also read: Holidays take a hit in Thai coup
13:15  Hectic parlays for Cabinet berths :  Narendra Modi is believed to be busy with the second round of talks with leaders in the next 24 hours. Rajnath Singh likely to join the government, while Sushma Swaraj and MM Joshi are likely to get one of the top four portfolios -- home, finance, external affairs and defence. 

Lobbying for the plum Cabinet berths is in full swing ahead of his swearing-in ceremony. BJP president Rajnath Singh held a meeting with the party's general secretaries to oversee the preparations for the event, invitations to which are being sent to more than 3,000 people.
12:58  Sena corporator shot dead:  A Shiv Sena corporator of Badlapur Municipal Council in Thane district was today shot dead by unidentified persons, police said. The assailants opened fired at Sena leader Mohan Raut at around 11.30 am in Apte Wadi locality of Thane's Badlapur township. Raut, in his late thirties, was rushed to Ulhasnagar Central Hospital where he was declared brought dead, police said.
12:44  A saffron sweep in Uttar Pradesh :  The BJP seems to have succeeded in evolving a grand Hindu coalition, while the Muslim vote by and large went to non-BJP parties. Read
12:39   Modi invite to Rajapaksa not acceptable: DMK:  DMK president M Karunanidhi today said Narendra Modi's invitation to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his swearing-in was "not acceptable and unwelcome" by Tamils all over the world and urged the BJP leader to drop the initiative.
12:31  Neighbourhood initiative :  Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi's surprise invitation to the leaders of India's neighbours to attend his swearing-in ceremony on May 26 has the makings of a shock and awe tactic with three messages: the first to Pakistan, the second to the region and the third for domestic consumption.

While dressed up as an outreach to all SAARC leaders, the invitation was clearly meant primarily for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan.
Read more
12:27  Rajapaksa thanks Modi for inviting on swearing-in ceremony:  Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today thanked Narendra Modi for extending an invitation to him to attend his swearing-in ceremony on Monday. "Thank you for the invitation to attend your swearing-in ceremony. I look forward to being there," tweeted Rajapaksa, who just returned to Colombo last night after a visit to China.

Other key SAARC leaders, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom have confirmed that they will attend the ceremony in New Delhi on Monday.

Modi will be administered the oath as 15th Prime Minister of India by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony to be attended by over 3,000 guests.
12:25  CBI registers 20th FIR in Coal scam. Searches on at four places in Raipur, Nagpur and Raigad, CBI sources.
12:21  LIVE! Amitabh, Rajinikant, Lata invited to Modi's swearing-in:   Just in: Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikant and Lata Mangeshkar have been invited to Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

Bachchan has been the ambassador for Gujarat tourism from past five years. During a television interview on a Hindi news channel, Modi had thanked Bachchan for keeping his alliances with SP aside and being a part of Gujarat's promotions since the past five years.

In November, Lata Mangeshkar had said she would like to see Modi taking the top job.

On May 17, a day after the results, Rajinikant had tweeted: "Hearty Congratulations dear @narendramodi Ji on your historic win. Best wishes."

Salman Khan is also believed to have been invited for the ceremony.
12:07  Sonia finally congratules Modi :  Just days before Narendra Modi's swearing-in as Prime Minister, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has finally written a letter, congratulating him on BJP's victory in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress chief and vice-president Rahul Gandhi had on Friday refrained from mentioning Modi and his party when the poll results were announced. The Congress's top brass was slammed by BJP for omitting any mention of Modi or BJP in their congratulatory massage to the "new government".
11:57  Pakistan condemns the reported gunmen attack on the Consulate General of India in Herat today: Pak Govt Spokesperson.
11:56  Nitin Gokhale tweets: Contrast betn Ex-PM & incoming PM could not have been more stark: Modi calls up Envoy in Kabul. Did MMS do it ever? May have, but not known.
11:55  Coming soon: NIA, the Modi-fied version:  The National Investigation Agency is set for a major revamp, both in terms of power and performance. Read the report on
11:53  LIVE! Indian consulate attack in Afghanistan: Modi calls envoy, boosts morale:   Syed Akbaruddin, MEA spokesperson tweets: PM designate @narendramodi following events related to attack on India's consulate in Herat. Speaks to Amb. Sinha in Afghanistan. @MEAIndia.

PM designate @narendramodi talks to Amb Sinha in Afghanistan. Bolsters morale of all staff in India's Missions in Afghanistan.
11:51  Rajnath Singh tweets: @BJPRajnathSingh Happy to know that all staff members and others working at the consulate are safe.Once again kudos to our security forces.
11:38  LIVE! Modi plans 30-minute meetings with each SAARC leader on Monday:  Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi's invitation to neighbours has divided opinion in Pakistan that is still toiling over it and angered Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa who may skip the oath-taking ceremony.

Narendra Modi is considering 30-minute meetings with each SAARC leader on Monday after the swearing-in, which is believed to be an informal meet to break the ice between the leaders. India will also be hosting a dinner for all the SAARC leaders. 

The decision to invite Saarc member nations (and Mauritius) to Modi's swearing-in ceremony is being seen within officialdom as a deft diplomatic move.
11:33  ITPB on consulate attack in Afghanistan: All Indians safe:  Subhas Goswami, Director General, ITBP, issues a statement on the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan.

"Today morning 3-4 militants attacked the Indian consulate in Herat, we shot one down, rest fled. We are very happy and proud that the ITBP managed to repulse the attack in Herat. Yes, all inside are safe. There were 23 ITBP personnel under the command of Inspector Manjit Singh, attack repulsed."

The assault, which began at 3.25 am went on for several hours. The local police was quoted as saying that three gunmen opened fire on the consulate from a nearby home with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, "India's Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan attacked. Brave ITBP personnel and Afghan soldiers rebut attackers. All safe. Operation underway."

He added, "India-Afghanistan officials in touch on attack on India's Consulate in Herat. Foreign Secy Sujatha Singh monitoring situation. All safe."
11:24  One week to form SIT to probe black money cases: SC:  The Supreme Court grants a week more to the Centre to constitute a SIT to probe and monitor all black money cases. The SC directs that all documents relating to black money must be kept in safe custody of a secretary-level officer of the revenue department.
11:22  Up ahead today:

1. Trust vote in the Bihar Assembly. The RJD yesterday extended unconditional support to the JD-U.

2. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal's bail hearing today. Kejriwal is in Tihar jail after he refused to furnish a bail bond in the defamation case slapped by Nitin Gadkari against him. Kejriwal's AAP had listed Gadkari's name under India's most corrupt politicians. Kejriwal had refused to furnish the bail amount of Rs 10,000 because he said he was not a criminal.
11:15  A minister once probed over porn, another for mining:  The list of new Gujarat ministers has very few changes from the previous one, but two of these involve controversial leaders who have come under a corruption cloud -- first-timer Shanker Chaudhary and Porbandar strongman Babu Bokhiriya, who has been re-inducted. Read
11:11  Will you be at Modi's swearing-in?:  Everyone in the BJP wants to attend Narendra Modi's Monday swearing-in but the party is struggling with its guest list, the President's office having set the standard ceiling of 1,250.

That's the maximum that the Rashtrapati Bhavan's forecourt can accommodate after the President's office follows protocol by inviting another 1,250 guests. Read
11:07  Here's what veteran classical musicians want of Modi:   Modi has job cut out for him in Varanasi. First, the promise of cleaning the ancient city and the Ganga and now comes a demand for revival of the music heritage of the city.

The city that has produced musicians like shehnai maestro late Bismillah Khan, a Bharat Ratna, late sitar legend Pandit Ravi Shankar and thumri queen Girija Devi does not have a state-of-the-art music academy.

And now Padma Bhushan Devi, renowned classical singer Pandit Channulal Mishra, who was Modi's proposer in the Lok Sabha elections and Khan's family have expressed hope that Modi as prime minister will take interest in reviving the fortune of the city in the field of music.

"I have been demanding land for music academy in Varanasi since the past 50 years but no government cared for it. I could not get land for the proposed academy. If I was given the land, I would have built a world class academy of music," 85-year-old Devi said.

"If there would have been such an academy in Varanasi, I would not have gone to Kolkata," she rued.

She is a faculty at Kolkata-based ITC Music Research Academy. She became the second recipient of Gujarat government's Tanariri award in 2011 after Lata Mangeshkar and is hopeful that Modi will take the initiative to revive musical tradition of the holy city.

"I will meet him and talk to him about this," said the legendary singer. Pandit Mishra also wants a state-of-the-art music academy for the Benaras Gharana in the city which sent Modi to Parliament.

"I hope Modiji will do something for the musical fraternity of Varanasi. The city needs an academy where Thumri, Dadra, Hori, Chaiti, Khyal etc. are taught," he said.
11:00  LIVE! What's brewing? Expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh meets Advani:  So, what's brewing? In Delhi, Jaswant Singh meets LK Advani at his residence.

Remember, Singh, was expelled from the BJP and fought as an Independent candidate from Barmer constituency of Rajasthan. He lost by a big margin against BJP's Colonel Sonaram.

The BJP candidate, who had joined the party recently from the Congress, defeated the former union minister by a margin of over 87,000 votes.

Congress's Harish Chaudhary came third.Sonaram secured over 4.87 lakh votes while Jaswant Singh was able to get over 4 lakh votes. Chaudhary got over 2.20 lakh votes.
10:54  What it means to have an uneducated leader:  Extreme certitude, of the sort we observe in Gujarat's chief minister Narendra Modi, is actually a negative quality when coupled with a lack of proper education.

Modi has never been to college and his degree is from a correspondence course.

His writing, which is all in Gujarati, is mainly hagiography. It is mediocre (perhaps it will come to wider attention now that he is where he is) and shows little awareness of the world.

He has not travelled much outside India. Unfortunately, his English is also poor, which, in my opinion, has contributed to leaving his mind unopened because there is little access to the world for the Gujarati-only individual.

Read more
10:50  RushdieExplainsIndia @RushdieExplains After a hard day's work at PMO, Modi settles down to watch House of Cards on Netflix. "Amateurs," he says, softly chuckling under his breath.
10:40  Anti-aircraft guns, security tighter than R-Day, at Modi's swearing-in:  Narendra Modi's swearing in as India's next Prime Minister on Monday will take place under an extraordinary three-tier security. Roads near Rashtrapati Bhawan will be closed four hours before the event and offices in the area will be shut by noon.  Security will be "tighter than the annual Republic Day parade," officials have confirmed.

Sources say the Air Force and the Army will be "discreetly involved" but most of the arrangements are being overseen by the Delhi Police, along with paramilitary forces.

Anti-aircraft guns of the air force are being positioned in strategic areas to take care of any flying threat.  Read more
10:04  China's mining tycoon sentenced to death:  
A Chinese court today sentenced former mining tycoon Liu Han and his brother Liu to death finding them guilty of "organising and leading mafia-style crime and murder". 

The Xianning Intermediate People's Court in central China's Hubei Province announced the verdicts on the first trials of 36 members of an allegedly mafia-like gang led by Liu.

Liu Wei, Liu Han's brother, was also sentenced to death, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The Liu brothers and 34 other defendants were accused of crimes including organising, leading and participating in a criminal gang and intentional homicide. 

The trials, which saw 36 defendants simultaneously prosecuted in seven cases, ended on April 19.

They were the largest criminal group of its kind on trial in China in recent years
09:24  Will Nawaz Sharif be at Modi's swearing-in? Decision today:  
Pakistan will on Friday announce the decision whether Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will participate in the swearing-in ceremony of India's Narendra Modi. 

Modi, the Prime Minister-designate, had invited leaders of all SAARC countries for his swearing-in ceremony. His initiative has evoked a warm response with the Afghan, Maldivian and Sri Lankan Presidents and the Bhutanese and Nepalese Prime Ministers confirming their participation. 

Bangladesh will be represented at the ceremony by its Parliament speaker. 

Apart from leaders from SAARC countries, Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam will also attend the swearing-in.

The Pakistan Foreign Office had, meanwhile, said Prime Minister Sharif will decide on Thursday whether or not to attend Modi's oath-taking ceremony and noted that it expects a "meaningful dialogue" with India after Modi assumes charge. 

Sources within Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that Prime Minister wanted to normalise ties with India to promote commercial and business activities.
09:20  Bihar: JD-U to seek trust vote today:  
The Janata Dal (United) government, which is facing tumultous days after the Lok Sabha poll results would be seeking trust vote in Bihar assembly on Friday. 

The floor test comes after, Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar chief minsiter and a close aide of his Jitan Ram Manjhi, a 'Mahadalit' leader, was on Tuesday sworn-in as the 23rd CM of the state.

Howver, the JD-U is all set to sail through the test in the assembly as not only the Congress but Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal has also announced to extend unconditional outside support to the government. 

Lalu had on Thursday said that his party's "unconditional support" to the JD-U in Bihar is aimed at foiling BJP's "design" to capture power in the state, but evaded questions on future possibilities with Nitish Kumar's party

The JD-U has been dismayed by the poor performance of his party in the recently held polls. RJD's decision comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led by Narendra Modi registered an emphatic win in the General Elections. The party won 22 seats out of the total 40 in Bihar. The ruling JD-U led by Nitish Kumar managed to bag only 2 seats, while RJD won 4 parliamentary seats.
09:07  Thai army chief summons ousted PM for talks a day after coup:  
Thailand's army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, will begin to govern a polarized country on Friday, a day after he seized power in a bloodless coup in a bid to end six months of turmoil.

Prayuth launched his coup after factions refused to give ground in a struggle for power between the royalist establishment and a populist politician that has raised fears of serious violence and damage to Thailand's economy, southeast Asia's second biggest.

Soldiers detained some politicians from both sides when Prayuth announced the coup after talks he was presiding over broke down. The military censored the media, dispersed protesters and imposed a 10 pm to 5 am curfew. 

Read more HERE
09:02  ITBP, Afghan soldiers rebut attackers; all safe: Govt:  The Indian foreign ministry has said all staff is safe and the Afghan army has come in.

Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin has tweeted, "Brave ITBP personnel and Afghan soldiers rebut attackers. All safe. Operation underway."
09:00  Attack on Indian consulate in Afghan city of Herat:  
Gunmen on Friday morning attacked the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Herat. 

The area is surrounded by security forces and the exchange of gunfire is on.

Police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi said that Afghan suicide attackers have stormed the Indian consulate.
03:56  UN imposes sanctions on Nigeria's Boko Haram:  

The UN Security Council has approved sanctions against the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, five weeks after it kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls. It will now be added to a list of al-Qaeda-linked organisations subject to an arms embargo and asset freeze. US envoy Samantha Power said it was an "important step" in support of efforts to "defeat Boko Haram and hold its murderous leadership accountable".


It was earlier blamed for the deaths of 27 people in a north-eastern village. Residents said gunmen had shot dead farm workers in Chikongudo, set fire to nearly all the homes there and stolen food in an attack on Wednesday night. The assailants stormed the village in cars and motorbikes, a trademark of Boko Haram, the residents added.


Read more on BBC

03:55  Newcastle's Paul Dummett receives death threats after Luis Surez injury:  

Paul Dummett has received death threats and menacing messages from Uruguay fans who blame the Newcastle United defender for the knee injury which has placed Luis Surez's World Cup hopes in jeopardy. Surez is still hoping to play some part in the tournament after undergoing minor knee surgery on Thursday but there remains a possibility that the Liverpool striker will be forced to sit out Brazil 2014.


It is thought that a heavy tackle from Dummett during Liverpool's final Premier League game of the season '" a home win against Newcastle '" caused the damage. The Wales left-back was sent off for the challenge, although that red card was rescinded on appeal.


One message read: "Hi Paul Dummett. I hope some day you come here [Uruguay] to have a nice time with friends. We have things for you, like a bullet in the head.'


Another tweeted: "Hey, Paul Dummett. If Surez doesn't play against England, you'll never play again.'


Read more on The Guardian

03:52  Thailand's military criticised as coup takes hold:  

BBC: The US has led widespread international criticism of a military takeover in Thailand as the South-East Asian nation spent its first night under curfew. US Secretary of State John Kerry said there was "no justification", and $10m in bilateral aid could be suspended.


France and Germany condemned the coup, with the UN expressing serious concern. The army on Thursday suspended the constitution, banned gatherings and detained politicians, saying order was needed after months of turmoil. The military had declared martial law on Tuesday.


Two days later, it gathered political leaders together in Bangkok for talks on the crisis.


The moment Jonah Fisher and other reporters realised a coup was under way However, army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha then went on TV to announce the coup. Several key figures at the talks, including opposition protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and pro-government protest leader Jatuporn Prompan, were detained.

00:25  Ukraine: 16 killed in attack on soldiers in Donetsk:  

Sixteen people were killed an attack overnight on soldiers in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, local health officials said, in the latest spike in violence ahead of the weekend's presidential election.


At least 13 of those who died in Donetsk were soldiers, according to acting President Oleksandr Turchynov. Another soldier was killed in a strike on a military convoy in the Luhansk region, the Defense Ministry said earlier, bringing the death toll overnight to at least 14 Ukrainian troops.


Donetsk region's Health Department said 16 people had died in total and that 32 were hospitalized across the region, but did not specify how many were soldiers. In the Donetsk attack, an armored vehicle at a checkpoint in Volnovaha was hit by rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, which caused ammunition on board to ignite, the Defense Ministry said.


Read more on CNN

00:23  Top headlines at this hour:  

Jayalalithaa dubs invite to Lankan Prez as 'unfortunate'

Kathleen Steven to be interim US envoy to India

Mulayam makes everyone other than son Akhilesh accountable for poll debacle

Meet the man likely to be Modi's personal secretary

Tarun Gogoi to continue as Assam CM

'Aavjo Gujarat', Modi's last words as he bids state farewell

Former IB chief Rajiv Mathur takes over as new CIC

Pizza delivery by drone irks Mumbai cops

NCP blames UPA rout on PM, Sonia's failure to connect with masses

Thai army chief announces military coup

Yogendra Yadav released after furnishing Rs 5,000 bond bail

Congress should do 'ruthless introspection': Senior party leaders

Underwater search for Flight MH370 resumes; hunt to end next week

Cong criticises BJP for inviting Pak PM to Modi's swearing-in

AAP to challenge Delhi court's decision against Kejriwal

Nitish Kumar to become Lalu's neighbour

Wanting to back 'mahadalit', RJD extends support to Manjhi-led govt

Anandiben takes oath as Gujarat chief minister

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