21:38 Congress CMs to skip Modi's swearing-in ceremony:
Anita Katyal reports: Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan will not be attending Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi's swearing-in function on Monday.
Chavan was in New Delhi on Sunday for a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi where he is believed to have offered explanation for the party's rout in Maharashtra.
The Congress won only two seats in the state.
Although Chavan has received an invitation for Modi's swearing-in, he is not staying back for the programme.
He will be leaving for Mumbai on Monday morning. Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah too are not attending the function.
21:32 Rediff.com's Delhi Correspondent says: 530 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh cadre and leaders above the age of 80 who have toiled for the Parivar and were part of the independence movement have been invited to Narendra Modi's swearing-in
20:06 J P Nadda to replace Rajnath as BJP chief?:
CNN-IBN reports: Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda is all set to take over as the party chief with Rajnath Singh making his way into the Narendra Modi Cabinet.
A lesser known face, Nadda was from the beginning a favourite for the party chief's post.
Nadda was anointed as the national president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1991 at the age of 31.
20:00 Advani may not get Lok Sabha Speaker post:
NDTV reports: Senior BJP leader and eight-time MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan could be named the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Mahajan is the longest serving woman parliamentarian.
Apart from Mahajan, the other name doing the rounds for the post is Karia Munda, who was deputy speaker in the 15th Lok Sabha.
This is going to be a setback for senior party leader L K Advani, who has reportedly expressed his keenness for the Speaker's post in which he doesn't have to directly report to PM.
Sources said Advani's name is not being considered for the post.
Sources have also said that senior lawyers Uday Lalit and Mukul Rohatgi are the contenders for the post of Attorney General.
19:05 Armyman kills 2 colleagues, self in Poonch:
Mukhtar Ahmad reports: An Army trooper shot at and killed two of his colleagues before killing himself in the Poonch sector of Jammu region on Sunday.
A defence spokesman said, The soldier turned the gun on himself after killing his colleagues and ended his life.
The Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the killing
18:29 @narendramodi tweets: I welcome the step by Sri Lanka & Pakistan to release our fishermen. I welcome our fishermen brothers back home!
17:54 Modi to visit Rajghat on Monday morning:
Narendra Modi will visit Rajghat on Monday morning to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi ahead of being sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister.
Modi, who is scheduled to take the oath of office and secrecy at 6 pm on Tuesday, would visit Rajghat at 7 am, official sources said.
The swearing-in ceremony of Modi will be attended by nearly 3,000 guests, including top leaders from SAARC countries like Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
15:17 Modi effect: Forex reserves up $11 billion since April:
India's forex reserve rose by close to $11 billion so far this fiscal on the back of massive inflows from overseas investors, who pumped in dollars into the domestic market on expectation of a strong and stable government under Narendra Modi.
The foreign exchange reserve stood at $314.92 billion as of May 16, the highest since October 2011 when it was $320.39 billion, according to the RBI data.
In May so far, FIIs have poured in $4.4 billion into equity and debt markets, as per data from Sebi.
Foreign currency assets (FCAs), the main constituent of the reserves, also rose around $12 billion to $287.816 billion in the period from March end to May 16.
FCAs, expressed in dollar terms, include the effect of appreciation/depreciation of the non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in reserves.
The rupee has appreciated around 3 per cent in the last fortnight, riding high on expectations of a slew of reforms from the incoming government, to end at 58.52 against the dollar on May 23.
Some analysts feel RBI's likely intervention so far to minimise volatility on account of sudden inflows from FIIs also helped in building the country's reserves.
15:15 Encounter on in south Kashmir:
A gunbattle is on between militants and security forces in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.
Security forces launched a search operation in Nowpora village of Kulgam district, 53 km from Srinagar, following information about presence of militants there, the police said.
As the security personnel were approaching the house where militants were hiding, the ultras opened fire, triggering a gunbattle, the police said.
There are no reports of casualties on either side so far.
15:14 New graphene-type material created:
Scientists have created a new material, related to graphene, which has the potential to improve transistors used in electronic devices.
The new material, 'triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride', or TGCN, was predicted theoretically in 1996, but this is the first time that it has been made.
Graphene is one atom thick, strong and conducts heat and electricity highly efficiently. The new TGCN material is also two-dimensional, but it has an electronic band gap, making it potentially suitable for use in transistors.
At present, transistors are made of expensive silicon that generates heat when used in electronic devices.
Scientists have been looking for a material that is carbon-based and that has the electronic band gap needed for use as a semiconductor.
"This is an exciting result because there are relatively few ordered two-dimensional organic solids. Finding a new member of the 'graphene family' is very significant," said Professor Andrew Cooper, from the University of Liverpool's Department of Chemistry.
15:11 111-year-old US man crowned world's oldest by Guinness:
A 111-year-old US man has been crowned the world's oldest living man by the Guinness World Records.
Guinness announced Dr Alexander Imich, a parapsychologist and retired chemist, from the New York City as the new oldest living man.
The latest record was verified after the previous title holder Arturo Licata of Italy passed away last month aged 111 years and 357 days.
Imich was born in present-day Czestochowa, Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire, on February 4, 1903.
In 1951, he and his wife, Wela, immigrated to the US from the Soviet Union and Imich has lived in Manhattan alone since she passed away in 1986, Guinness said.
While his own longevity has surprised even himself, Imich credits his life to good genes and an overall moderate, healthy lifestyle by which he has eaten very leanly his entire life.
13:49 Narendra Modi averts invitation mess:
The new government's first foreign policy initiative in inviting South Asian heads of state and government to New Delhi nearly became a monumental disaster till Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi took it into his own hands and salvaged it with the benefit of his vast experience as a hands-on chief minister.
Before leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Mauritius received invitations to Modi's swearing-in and accepted them, aspirants jockeying for the national security adviser's job in the new government had freelanced on the initiative in order to prove their credentials and almost got egg on the incoming Prime Minister's face.
Fortunately, Modi realised in the nick of time the need to take matters into his own hands and also to seek advice from President Pranab Mukherjee with his reservoir of resources on diplomacy.
13:16 Pope lands in Bethlehem, nod to Palestinian state:
Pope Francis landed today in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in a symbolic nod to Palestinian aspirations for their own state as he began a busy second day of his Mideast pilgrimage.
Jubilant, flag-waving Palestinians greeted Francis in Bethlehem's Manger Square, where he was to celebrate Mass on a stage next to the Church of the Nativity, built over Jesus' traditional birth grotto.
Giant Palestinian flags in red, white, green and black hanging alongside the Vatican's yellow-and-white flags decorated the square.
Many in the crowd also wore black-and-white checkered scarves around their heads or necks, a symbol of the Palestinian cause.
Previous popes always came to the West Bank after first arriving in Tel Aviv, Israel. Francis, however, landed at a Bethlehem helipad from Jordan aboard a Jordanian helicopter and immediately headed into an official welcoming ceremony and meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In its official program, the Vatican referred to Abbas as the president of the "state of Palestine."
12:32 3 MBA students detained for sending anti-Modi messages:
Vicky Nanjappa reports: A day after a youth in Goa got into trouble for allegedly posting anti-Narendra Modi comments, three MBA students from Karwar in Karnataka have been detained for questioning for a similar offence.
The Karwar police detained three MBA students for allegedly sending out anti-Modi messages following a complaint.
The police is trying to find out if these messages were intended to disrupt peace and harmony or create communal tension.
A youth from Goa was was detained two days back for allegedly posting anti-Modi content on his Facebook account
12:32 China offers amnesty to militants in restive Xinjiang:
Stepping up its crackdown against radical separatists in the troubled Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province, China has offered an amnesty to militants saying they would face lenient punishment if they surrender.
Legal, procuratorate and public security authorities in China's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region issued a joint statement last night calling for law-breakers who are involved in terrorist activities to surrender to get lenient punishments, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The statement forbids people to organise, lead or join any terrorist groups. It bans people from implementing or instigating terrorist violence.
It also prohibits people from directly or indirectly funding, supporting or harbouring terrorist activities, terrorist organizations and terrorists.
Those who turn themselves in and make major meritorious performances will be given minor punishment or exempted from punishment, it said.
The new initiative follows the bloodiest terror attack in years at a busy market in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, on Thursday that left 43 people dead.
12:30 Modi effect: Rupee best performing Asia-Pacific currency:
Boosted by capital inflows and euphoria around the incoming government, rupee's surge to 11-month high levels has made it the best performing currency in Asia-Pacific region against the US dollar so far in 2014.
With a gain of about 5.3 per cent since the start of this year, rupee has sprinted ahead of its other Asia-Pacific peers, including Indonesia's rupiah and New Zealand dollar, in terms of year-to-date rise, shows an analysis of various currencies vis-a-vis the Greenback.
The rupee, which closed at 58.52 levels against the US dollar on the last trading day on Friday, has incidentally seen a lion's share of 5.3 per cent gain in the past one month.
The Indian currency stood at Rs 61.8 level per US dollar at the start of 2014 and has recorded a gain of 327 paise in less than six months, partly helped by robust foreign fund inflows. This marks a major turnaround since August last year when rupee touched its life-time low of 68.80.
"...positive sentiments out of the election results enabled us to upgrade our FII flows estimates by USD 5 billion to USD 20 billion, implying an overall BOP (balance of payment) surplus of USD 29 billion. We expect the USD/INR range to be 57-61 in FY2015," said Indranil Pan, Chief Economist of Kotak Mahindra Bank, in a report.
12:28 Thai coup leader warns against protests:
The top general in Thailand's ruling junta warned people today not to join anti-coup street protests, saying normal democratic principles cannot be applied at the time, as troops fanned out in central Bangkok to prevent rallies.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha also defended the detentions of dozens of politicians and activists, most of them associated with the ousted government, with a spokesman quoting him as saying that the measure would not last more than a week and was allowed by law.
In a chilling move apparently aimed at neutralising critics and potential opposition, the junta has also ordered dozens of outspoken activists, academics and journalists to surrender themselves to military authorities, including a prominent Thai reporter.
Pravit Rojanaphruk, an outspoken columnist for the English-language daily The Nation, tweeted that he was reporting to the junta: "On my way to see the new dictator of Thailand. Hopefully the last," he wrote.
12:01 Modi's Cabinet: List likely to be sent to President today:
With stage set for Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 26, the list of those who could be inducted in the new Cabinet may be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday, as per reports.
Speculations have also been doing the rounds that Modi may opt for a smaller and leaner Cabinet, keeping in tune with his 'minimum government, maximum governance' agenda.
00:05 3 dead in shooting at Jewish Museum of Belgium:
CNN reports: Three people were killed and another was seriously injured in a shooting Saturday at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in central Brussels, Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet told CNN affiliate Bel RTL.The circumstances of the shooting have raised suspicions that it may have been an anti-Semitic attack.
Read the full story hereImage: Belgium Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo is seen at the site of a shooting in central Brussels. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters