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May 29, 2014

22:54  Did ocean device capture Flight MH370's end?:  Was the sound of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 striking the water captured by ocean devices used to listen for signs of nuclear blasts?

It's a long shot, but an Australian university is studying records from underwater listening devices in an effort to help find the missing plane.

"One signal has been detected on several receivers that could be related to the crash," said Alec Duncan of Curtin University's Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST).

Read more
22:21  30 per cent of world is now fat, no country immune:  
Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis. 

Researchers found more than 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese. The highest rates were in the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly 60 per cent of men and 65 per cent of women are heavy. The US has about 13 per cent of the world's fat population, a greater percentage than any other country. China and India combined have about 15 per cent.

"It's pretty grim," said Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who led the study. He and colleagues reviewed more than 1,700 studies covering 188 countries from 1980 to 2013.

"When we realised that not a single country has had a significant decline in obesity, that tells you how hard a challenge this is."
22:19  A battery-powered suitcase that doubles as a scooter:  
Tired of dragging your luggage through busy airports? Take a ride on your suitcase and honk your way through!

A Chinese inventor has developed a battery-powered scooter with a suitcase which not only helps in transporting his belongings but also himself.

Amateur inventor He Liangcai from Hunan Province has even acquired a patent for this invention.

Liangcai demonstrated his suitcase scooter earlier this week, riding all the way to his home a dozen kilometres away, 'Global Times' reported.

Weighing just seven kilogrammes, Liangcai's scooter is capable of carrying two people and can travel with a speed of 20 kilometres per hour for a distance of 50 to 60 kilometres on a full charge.

Liangcai, originally a farmer, said it took him 10 years to develop the scooter that comes equipped with GPS navigation and a burglar alarm.

The vehicle consists of a stripped-down electric scooter embedded into the suitcase. The rider strides the rectangular luggage and grabs handlebars that control the throttle, breaks and lights, the report said.
21:30  Now, Modi's life in Gujarat school syllabus!:  
Primary school students of Gujarat will learn "leadership" lessons from the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, since the state government has decided to include it in the syllabus from next year.

"We have decided to include all important chapters of Modi's life into the syllabus of primary schools," Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said while interacting with media persons in Gandhinagar on Thursday.

"The chapters may include events starting from his birth, his humble family background, school days, how he faced struggle at different stages of his life and what are the circumstances behind his decision to become a monk," he said.

Chudasma said selected important and inspiring events which took place until Modi became prime minister would in included and a process has been initiated to form a committee to prepare the final list of events to be included. 

"These events will be included in the syllabus of primary schools, such as fifth, sixth and seventh standard. We will form a committee to prepare the list of all the important and inspiring events to be included in syllabus. Since this initiative is at a primary stage, the new syllabus will come into effect only in 2015-16," the minister said.
21:15  Indian national admits stealing trade secrets in US:  
An Indian engineer in the US has admitted to stealing trade secrets from two medical technology companies, media reported Thursday. 

Ketankumar Maniar, 37, an Indian national, was arrested during a search operation by the FBI agents in June 20, 2013. A hard drive containing trade secrets of Bard and Becton companies was recovered from his hotel room in New Jersey state in north-eastern America, the Star-Ledger reported. 

Maniar Wednesday pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, US Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. 

Maniar faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count of stealing trade secrets.  

He has been in custody since his arrest.  

Maniar worked as an engineer in the two firms based in New Jersey. 
20:54  Ukraine military helicopter down; at least 12 dead:  
Rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter today amid heavy fighting around Slovyansk, killing at least 12 soldiers including a general, officials said. 

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air defence missile to bring down the helicopter. He said 14 died, including Gen Serhiy Kulchytskiy, according to the Interfax news agency, which earlier gave the wrong first name for the general. 

Ukraine's National Guards put the death toll at 12, including Kulchytskiy, and said that one soldier was badly wounded, but added that the information is still being clarified. 

Slovyansk, a city of 120,000 residents 160 kilometres from the Russian border, has become the epicentre of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. Its residential areas have regularly come under mortar shelling from government forces, causing civilian casualties and prompting some residents to flee.
20:28  Odisha CM Patnaik to meet PM Modi:  
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday left for a week-long visit to New Delhi during which he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central ministers. "I have sought an appointment to meet the PM. I will also meet some other central ministers and discuss matters about Odisha," Patnaik said.

19:12  LIVE! RIL pumps in Rs 4000 cr in Network I8 :   Reliance India Ltd approves funding of up to Rs 4,000 crore to Independent Media Trust for the acquisition of Network 18 Media & TV18. Read more
19:06  Will Rajiv Gandhi airport be renamed? :  In a move that could cause problems, the Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathiraju has decided to rename the Rajiv Gandhi International airport after N T Rama Rao.

This demand was first made by Chandrababu Naidu and his party leader Gajapathiraju who is the civil aviation minister has said that they would go ahead and rename the airport after NTR.

This is however not a new demand by Naidu. He made this demand in 2008 when the airport at Shamshabad was inaugurated by Sonia Gandhi and named the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

The TDP had cried foul and stated that when the airport was in Begumpet it was called as the NTR airport. Read Vicky Nanjappa's complete report on shortly. 
18:39  The first meeting of the Special Investigation Team on black money will be held on June 4. 
18:38  LIVE! Two dead in bomb blast at market in Imphal :  Update on the Imphal blast: Number of persons killed in the blast has gone up to two. Six people were also injured in the bomb blast near a market area in Imphal this evening, police said. The bomb planted by militants near Shingjamei, a market place, went off at around 5.30 pm. 
18:34  China PM first to call up Modi since he took over as the prime minister:  Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Thursday conveyed his government's desire to establish robust partnership with the new government during a call to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who expressed keenness to work closely to deal with any "outstanding issues".

The call by Li, the first foreign head of government to call up Modi since he took over as the prime minister, came after China's decision on Wednesday to send its Foreign Minister Wang Yi on June 8 as special envoy to meet the new leadership including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
18:27  Modi meets chief of naval staff:  Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan met the Prime Minister in South Block today. Dhowan took over as chief of the Indian Navy on April 17, nearly two months after D K Joshi quit the post in the wake of a series of mishaps.
18:18  Bomb blast at a market in Imphal kills one, injures eight :  Bomb blast near Assam Rifles office in Imphal; one killed, eight injured, say early reports. The blast is believed to have taken place at a market around 5:10 pm. 
18:04  Hanif Kureishi: The migrant has no face, status or story:  Immigration has become a prison of cliche in Europe. Read Hanif Kureshi's piece for the Guardian.  
17:50  25 MoS to be inducted in cabinet :   The Cabinet expansion is likely to take place after June 15, before the Budget session of Parliament. That is when the new defence minister will be appointed. NDA allies will also get berths. The size of the council of ministers will therefore go up from the existing 46. The budget session of Parliament will convene after the preliminary session to be held between June 4 and June 11.
17:50  Piece de resistance from Fox News. 
17:25  Syed Akbaruddin @MEAIndia: Day long "Telephone diplomacy' - @SushmaSwaraj receives congratulatory calls from Australia, Canada, Israel, UAE, UK, USA, S.Africa.
17:23  Jaitley calls Jaya:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha on Wednesday. It's the first high-level contact from the centre, from a ministerial level, no less. This is a marked difference from the UPA regime, where no Union Minister spoke to Jayalalithaa, and especially not former finance minister P Chidambaram.
17:16  I will represent Varanasi in the Lok Sabha and I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to serve Ganga Ma and work for Varanasi's development: PM
17:05  LIVE! Thank you, Vadodara, will ensure you develop: Modi :  "Resigned from Vadodara LS seat. Due to people's affection got elected by historic margin. Will always remain grateful to people of Vadodara.I assure people of Vadodara I will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Vadodara's development scales newer heights in the years to come."
-- Modi on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resigned from his Vadodara seat and will be a member of Parliament from Varanasi. The Lok Sabha Speaker will process the resignation and forward it to the Election Commission, which will then declare the seat, in Modi's home state Gujarat, vacant. Fresh elections will be held for the seat.
16:59  LIVE! 150 Indian fishermen arrested in Pak reach home with gifts made in jail:  150 Indian fishermen released from jails in Pakistan today arrived at Ahmedabad's Kalupur railway station. The state government had made arrangements for the fishermen to travel from the Wagah border to the coastal town of Veralal. The family of each fisherman is paid Rs 150 per day from the date of his mid-sea arrest by Pakistan Marine Security Agency to the date they return.

India will release 30 fishermen and 5 civilian Pakistani prisoners today in reciprocation.

The move by India comes after bilateral talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan had freed the 150 prisoners as a goodwill gesture a day ahead of Nawaz Sharif's visit to New Delhi.
16:30  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit India on June 8th, will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and PM Narendra Modi.
16:26  Ticket checker was drunk :  Update on the incident where a ticket checker pushed a woman from a moving train.

The ticket checker, identified as Sampat Salunkhe, has been arrested, they said.

According to a complaint filed with Jalgaon GRP by the nephew of the deceased, Ujjwala Pandey (38), tried to board an AC coach of LTT-Rajendranagar Patna Express when she was stopped by Salunkhe.

As the train started moving, fearing she would miss it, Ujjwala, with her 10-year-old daughter Palak, made another attempt at boarding following which she was given a hefty shove by Salunkhe.

The victim lost her balance and fell into the gap between the train and platform. Ujjwala's nephew Rahul Purohit, who had come to see her off, raised an alarm and the train was brought to a grinding halt.

However, by then she had been run over and killed. Salunkhe, fearing public anger, hid inside the pantry car but an angry crowed dragged him out and handed over to the police after a sound thrashing.
16:03  16 ways Maya Angelou taught us how to love. Read
15:51  25 years of LOL the good and bad bits:  Love it or hate it, LOL has just turned 25 years old. From David Cameron's text messages to funny pictures of cats, we look back on a quarter-century of the internet's favourite acronym. Read
15:46  LIVE! MS Aiyar: Never used the word 'chaiwala' for Modi:   Mani Shankar Aiyar, the man whose verbal attack ultimately contributed to the thumping victory of the BJP, on Thursday said he never used the word 'chaiwala' (tea vendor) for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress leader said it was Modi who himself told the world about his background.

Speaking to a TV channel, Aiyar said, "You think I am so influential that because of my one comment Modi became PM? Thank you if that is the case."

Aiyar also defended a comment made by Priyanka Gandhi, during the campaigning. Priyanka commented on Modi's 'neech rajniti', which Aiyar said, Modi's fans, "like Hitler's Goebbels, interpreted it differently."

In January, Aiyar told a news channel that Modi was free to sell tea at a Congress session. Modi used Aiyar's barb to his benefit and connected with people through his 'chai pe charcha' programme.
15:32  AirAsia India tickets on sale from Friday, flights from June 12:   The maiden flight of AirAsia's India venture will take off on June 12 and the ticket sales start from this Friday.

AirAsia India is a joint venture between Malaysia-based AirAsia, Tata Group and Delhi-based Arun Bhatia of Telstra Tradeplace. Tony Fernandes, the group chief executive officer of Malaysia-based AirAsia, in a tweet said, "Very very proud to announce AirAsia India open for sale tomorrow. Wow. First flight June 12th."
15:24  Chinese Premier calls Narendra Modi, express desire to develop ties:  Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and conveyed his government's desire to establish robust partnership with the new government of India for further development of ties.Li, who is the first foreign Head of Government to call up Modi since he took over as Prime Minister, congratulated him on his victory in the recent general elections. Modi, on his part, noted that China was always a priority in India's foreign policy.
15:21  LIVE! Cong: Urgency in appointing principal secy smacks of impropriety:  The Congress today attacked the BJP over the "urgency" of bringing in an ordinance for the appointment of former TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra as the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary, saying the move smacks of "impropriety".

Senior party leader Manish Tewari questioned "the urgency of bringing in an ordinance for his appointment when Parliament was scheduled to meet on June 2."

"Now with Parliament scheduled to meet on June 2, there was no immediacy which necessitated that the ordinance route should be taken," he said.

"The BJP had been very critical. Now, just because they have a majority in Parliament, they have decided to adopt a process which for the lack of better words is on borders of impropriety," Tewari said.
15:12  Why SAARC leaders came for Modi's coronation:  There was a reason why the leaders of all the South Asian countries and one leader from further afield accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to his inauguration. As within the country, there is a sense in the wider world that a significant political transformation has taken place in India. Read
15:01  Maya Angelou: a titan who lived as though there were no tomorrow. Read
15:00  Read: Seven inspiring quotes from Maya Angelou. 
14:58  Maya Angelou's life in photos :  The poet and memoirist Maya Angelou died yesterday, at the age of 86. A civil-rights activist and a professor at Wake Forest University, Angelou -- born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri -- was the author of works including "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,' and received awards including the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her public life spanned decades and included a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, as well as dozens of honorary degrees.  This is her life in pictures. Take a look.
14:46  Smriti Irani as HRD minister: Why not?:  From the track record of recent HRD ministers, it is clear that academic qualifications have nothing to do with performance. Read
14:40  Modi wants a separate foreign policy advisor :  Sources in the PMO tell us that while Ajit Doval's appointment as the National Security Advisor, is likely to be announced soon, there is another  proposal to have a separate advisor on foreign policy matters.

What this means, is that issues of international affairs will be bifurcated from Doval's portfolio. The foreign policy advisor to PM Modi will be independent and will be from the Indian Foreign Service. He or she will not report to Doval, who is a retired Indian Police Sevice officer.

It is being said that Modi is considering India's Ambassador in the US -- S Jaishanker, or Shyam Saran -- former foreign secretary -- for the job. 
14:26  Severe power cuts in UP after May 16, BJP says SP seeking revenge :  Power cuts in Uttar Pradesh after May 16 have been making life tough for people. The BJP has alleged that the SP is extracting the price of its defeat from the people. Post elections, Lucknow has been hit by severe power cuts many businesses have taken a major hit. Severe power cuts have also hit Noida, Ghaziabad and even Varanasi from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the MP.
14:21  The Supreme Court reserves its order on a fresh plea of Sahara chief Subrata Roy seeking modification of its detention order. The Sahara Group gives a fresh proposal to the SC for release of Roy on bail.
14:13  Good show! Arvind Kejriwal's daughter scores 96% in 12th boards. 
14:07  LIVE! Woman dies after Arjuna awardee TC pushes her out of moving train:  The ticket checker is believed to be the Arjuna awardee for wrestling, Bharat Salunkhe. He was arrested by the Jalgaon GRP. The train was on its way to Madhya Pradesh.

The woman died on the spot. According to her relatives, the train had begun moving when the woman was trying to get into the AC coach. The TC stopped her from entering the bogey and there was an argument during which, the relatives said, she was pushed out. She died on the spot.  
13:58  LIVE! Woman dies after ticket checker pushes her off a train in Maharashtra:  A woman died after a ticket checker pushed her off a moving train near Jalgaon in Maharashtra. The woman, who was on board the Janta Express, was allegedly trying to get into the AC coach with a general class ticket. The ticket checker has been held. Details awaited. 
13:40  Not aware of any move to make me Speaker of Lok Sabha: Mahajan:  Veteran BJP leader and sitting MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan today said that she was not aware of any move afoot to make her the Speaker of new Lok Sabha.

"No one has spoken to me about making me the next Lok Sabha Speaker," Mahajan said.

The MP, who is representing Indore for the eighth term, said that she had read about the speculations regarding her likely appointment only in newspaper reports.

According to unconfirmed reports, BJP patriarch L K Advani was in the reckoning to become new Speaker. Mahajan, however, said that "everything will be clear on June 6".
13:30  Major fire in commercial building in Surat:  Update on the fire in Surat.

A major fire broke out today in a commercial multi-storey building housing a market of sarees on Puna Kumbharia road in Surat and 80 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

"The fire erupted at Orchit tower in Vipul House, a market of sarees, located in front of Sardar market in Puna Kumbhania area of the city," a fire brigade official said.

The number of people trapped inside the premises was yet to be ascertained, officials said, adding that no injuries or casualties have been reported so far.

The fire brigade has declared a 'brigade call' and deployed 170 fire fighters and almost 80 fire vehicles were on the spot, they said. When more than 16 fire engines are called on a spot, a Brigade Call is declared.

The fire broke out at around 10 am on the fourth floor of the building, soon after the complex opened for the day's work, an official said.

"There are 12 floors in the building which mostly have cloth material establishments," the official said. The cause of the blaze was yet to be ascertained, he said.
13:21  Naidu: I can allocate houses to ministers not Prime Minister:  Education, health, water. energy and roads will be priority for the Govt. PM has listed priorities, overall governance, efficiency and delivery system implementation.
PM has given guidelines to all ministers to have their own timetable on the priorities in each ministry for the first 100 days.

To a question on when the PM was moving in to 7 RCR, his official residence, Naidu says, "Chinta mat kariye, jald se jald ho jaayega. I can allocate houses to Ministers not Prime Minister."
13:15  PM Narendra Modi has asked ministers to focus on governance, delivery and implementation and resolve all pending issues urgently.
PM has told all Cabinet Ministers that all Ministers of State should be taken into confidence and given proper work.
PM has said that all states should be taken along by the Centre.
PM has directed ministers to prepare agenda for the first 100 days.
13:00  LIVE! Parl Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu spells out agenda for 16th Lok Sabha:   Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu shares the agenda for the 16th Lok Sabha.

The agenda for the session to be held from June 4 to 12 is as follows:
June 4-5: Swearing-in of new members of Parliament.
June 6: Election of speaker of the Lok Sabha.
June 7,8: Weekend break
June 9: President to address joint session of Parliament.
June 10-11: Vote of thanks on the President's speech, PM's address to both houses of Parliament, and discussion of any urgent business. The session may be extended by a day or so, depending on urgent business if any.
Naidu said he met the President yesterday and okayed the appointment of Kamal Nath as pro-tem speaker. Nath is the seniormost member in Parliament with over 31 years as an MP.
Naidu said two other people have been identified to be in a panel of speakers -- PA Sangma (former speaker) and Biren Singh Engti. 

Rajya Sabha will begin on 9th June with a  joint session.
12:43  Kamal Nath to introduce new members:  Senior Congress leader and former union minister Kamal Nath will be the pro-tem speaker of the new Lok Sabha.

As the pro-tem speaker, Kamal Nath will be expected to formally kick-off the proceedings to the new Lok Sabha. Among his responsibilities will be to swear-in the newly-elected MPs and facilitate the election of the Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha. 
12:38  What will Narendra Modi do?:  What will Narendra Modi do with his mandate? The Bharatiya Janata Party and its supporters ask, not unreasonably, that critics wait upon events.

Spokespersons for the party reiterate that Narendra Modi has promised development for all.

They rather ruin the effect of this by tacking on 'and appeasement of none'. The word 'appease' is a curious choice in this context.

Appeasement is generally used to describe the propitiation of all-powerful beings, mortal or divine, but the BJP always uses it to describe the republic's treatment of its most depressed and marginalized community, Indian Muslims.  Read
12:34  Major fire at 17-storey building in Surat:   Fire breaks out in a textile market in Surat in the Sahara Darwaza area. The fire broke out in the upper floors in the 17-storey building at around 10:30 am today. There are 30 fire tenders at the spot. Thankfully, no casualties so far. Smoke bellows out of the building as we write this.
12:27  Brief parliament session before Budget session:   Here's why there will be two sessions of Parliament. It was suggested Parliament be convened for seven sittings lasting over nine days, so that newly inducted ministers could familiarise with their portfolios and duties.

"This is to ensure Parliament functions smoothly and the Budget session is more productive,' said a highly placed source.

The seven sittings will include oath administration to new members and a joint session of Parliament, to be addressed by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Three days will be kept for the debate on the motion of thanks. After that a Budget session can be held, and Parliament has time till July 31 to pass it.
Here's more
12:13  VK Singh assumes office :  Gen VK Singh assumes office as the minister for Development of North Eastern Region. The former Army chief has the experience of serving in the Northeast in different capacities as an Army officer. He was also the GoC-in-C of the Eastern Command looking after the Easter and entire Northeaster region.
12:04  Cabinet expansion only after July Parliament session:   Only those who perform well as parliamentarians will be eligible for induction into the Narendra Modi-led council of ministers, likely to be expanded after the new government's first full Parliament session in July. The National Democratic Alliance government will present its first Budget during that session.

The message from the BJP leadership to its members of Parliament is that Modi will keep an eagle eye on the performance of all party MPs during the July session.

To expand his council of ministers, he will pick only those he deems to have made a mark. Party sources said expansion of the council of ministers would have to wait until the July session because most MPs were unknown entities. "We will like to see their interests and skill sets and how they perform in Parliament," a party leader said.
11:59  LIVE! Parliament session from June 4-12:   Parliament session to be held from June 4 to June 12.
11:42  LIVE! PM Narendra Modi to retain Varanasi, vacate Vadodara seat:  As expected, PM Narendra Modi will retain the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat and will give up the Vadodara seat. Modi had won both the seats with a thumping majority. He had contested against Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Ajai Rai in Varanasi. He had won the Vadodara seat by the biggest margin of 5.75 lakh votes. He is said to have informed the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party about his decision.

While his win in Vadodara was on expected lines, the fight in Varanasi was said to be tough. However, he defeated his closest rival Arvind Kejriwal by a margin by over 4 lakh votes. The BJP won 73 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
11:38  Modi's cabinet meet begins, dates of Parl session on agenda :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet meet begins. This is the second time the cabinet is meeting in the last 48 hours. Modi is expected to unveil his top 10 policy priorities, seeking to unblock an investment logjam and setting deadlines for action in order to revive the economy. The cabinet will also decide on the dates for the monsoon session of Parliament, expected to begin in the first week of June.
11:29  Narendra Modi resigns as Vadodara MP.
11:27  UP: 2 Dalit sisters gang-raped; bodies found hanging from tree:  Two teenage Dalit sisters were allegedly gang-raped and murdered with their bodies found hanging from a tree in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun district. The two girls, who were cousins and aged 14 and 15 years, went missing from their house on Tuesday night and their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree in the village in Ushait area on Wednesday morning. Read
11:19  The fearful asymmetries of Modis world:  Narendra Modi must plan for the looming battles of the future -- not prepare to fight yesterday's wars again. To do that, he will have to give India new tools of political, economic and military persuasion, writes Praveen Swami. Read
11:16  Narendra Modi met the Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, yesterday. 
11:12  Is Rahul fit to be Leader of Opposition?:  If the Congress is to challenge the NDA government, Rahul Gandhi will have to shed his indifference to Parliament, become more visible and vocal and, essentially, lead from the front,' says contributor Anita Katyal. Read
11:06  Modi takes a round of the PMO:  PM Narendra Modi takes a round of the PMO on reaching South Block this morning. The cabinet is meeting for the second time since he took over, this morning. Modi met PMO officials telling them to prioritize issues raised by states. 

11:03  'Priyanka lao desh bachao' chants continue:  And the demand for Priyanka Gandhi to join active politics and 'rescue' the party continues. Congress ally NCP, says it's high time Congress leaders give up sycophancy.

This comes in the wake of remarks by AICC member and senior leader T H Musthafa's demand that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi should quit and Priyanka Gandhi should step in to save the Congress. Addressing the media in Kochi, the former state minister said Rahul's "foolish' policies and "immature' approach contributed to the Congress's worst-ever defeat in elections. If Rahul is not willing to voluntarily go, he should be removed, he said. "There are many leaders in the party who think that only Priyanka can ensure a comeback for the Congress,' Musthafa added.
10:53  Smriti gets support from Uma Bharti:  Yesterday, Smriti Irani's senior Cabinet colleague Uma Bharti targeted Congress president Sonia Gandhi over comments from Ajay Maken. Uma said: "I want to ask Madam Sonia Gandhi, what is her qualification? Because she was heading the UPA government, she was giving directions to the government. I want to see her certificate, see how qualified she is. Then the Congress people have the right to ask about the qualifications of Smriti Irani." Congress leader Ajay Maken had on Tuesday tweeted, "What a Cabinet of Modi? HRD Minister (Looking after Education) Smriti Irani is not even a graduate! Look at her affidavit at ECI site pg 11." Maken's comment had triggered outrage across Twitter, with many calling his stance 'sexist' and 'elitist'.
10:50  LIVE! Smriti responds to affidavit row: Judge me by my work:   HRD minister Smriti Irani responds to the huge row over the discrepancies in her affidavits. She says, "I have been judged by my organisation with regard to my capacity to deliver on assignments. Judge me be my work.  Extraneous circumstances have been created to deviate my attention from the work I have been given."

The controversy over human resource development minister Smriti Irani's educational qualifications took a new turn on Wednesday after it surfaced that she had made contradictory declarations in her affidavits for the 2004 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Contesting the elections 10 years ago from Chandni Chowk in the Capital, the actor-turned-politician had claimed that she had a Bachelor of Arts degree. "B.A.1996 Delhi University (School of Correspondence),' she had written in the column which seeks details of university education and the year in which the course was completed.But, in her affidavit filed from Amethi in the 2014 elections, she had mentioned: "Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994'.

Have a look at her affidavits here.
09:49  Will Amit Shah be named the next BJP president?:  

The BJP has begun its search for a new president, with Rajnath Singh being inducted into the Narendra Modi cabinet as home minister.


Sources said one of the names being discussed is that of Amit Shah, Prime Minister Modi's close aide who the BJP says scripted a spectacular victory for the party in Uttar Pradesh in the general elections.


For some days now, party general secretary JP Nadda has been seen as a forerunner, and he still remains in contention, the sources said. Now, another party leader, Om Mathur's name has cropped up too. Mr Mathur is also close to Mr Modi - he was the BJP general secretary in charge of Gujarat for the general elections.


Read more on NDTV

08:43  Kerry calls Swaraj; discusses US-India ties:  NDTV reports: US secretary of state John Kerry has celled newly-appointed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and the two leaders have discussed ways to re-energise the US-India ties.
08:34  UP power cuts: BJP says SP deliberately doing it due to poll loss:  

Power cuts in Uttar Pradesh after May 16 have been making life tough for people. While the BJP has alleged that the SP is extracting the price of its defeat from the people, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has clarified that power cuts have not been driven by any ulterior motive and that the government is committed to the welfare of the people.


RP Sahu, who runs a bakery shop in Lucknow, was elated after a 'chai wallah' became the Prime Minister of the country. However, his joy was short lived. Post elections, Lucknow has been hit by severe power cuts and Sahu's business has taken a major hit. Severe power cuts have also hit Noida, Ghaziabad and even Varanasi from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the MP.


Vidyut Upabhokta Parishad president Avdesh Verma defended the power crisis citing the system failures, which, he further said, happens during every summer season. The government figures supporting Avdesh Verma's statement say that the state of Uttar Pradesh is going through a power crisis while the BJP has hit out at the SP.


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08:20  Modi's top 10 priorities likely to be revealed today:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's top 10 priorities for the country are likely to be revealed on Thursday, said Nripendra Misra, in an interview to The Hindu Businessline after taking over as Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). "These, in Mr. Modi's characteristic style, will necessarily have to be implemented in a time-bound manner,' he added. Mr. Misra, who was hand picked for the new role in a surprise move, having neither worked for nor having met Mr. Modi earlier, asserted that the PMO will have to reflect the image, personality and commitment of the Prime Minister.

"The entire machinery will be geared up to fulfil the mandate of the new leader,' he said. The 1967 batch IAS officer and the former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman said he saw the PMO, which is set to become an important power centre in the new dispensation, as playing three main roles.


"Priority will be placed on implementation, catalysing and facilitating inter-ministerial issues, and addressing concerns relating to the economy.' Asked to outline the PMO's strategy in connection with infrastructure and policy reforms, Mr. Misra said it was for the PM to spell this out.


"However, personally, I think we need to ask why despite large investments, completed power projects are not operational, why the NHAI is unable to deliver on road building targets, and why despite India's rich natural resources, earnings from exports of minerals have come to a halt while coal is being imported.'


On what can be done to restore confidence among serving bureaucrats, who resort to strategic inaction to avoid the risk of being dragged into court cases because of controversial decisions taken by their political masters, Mr. Misra drew attention to Mr. Modi's leadership style in Gujarat.


"Mr. Modi does three things: he guarantees stability in tenure for as many as four to five years for competent officers, offers tremendous freedom to innovate and deliver, and takes personal ownership of all decisions,' he said. "The officials and secretaries are all padded up for their new innings,' he added.


Read more on The Hindu

04:07  Kerry: Snowden should 'man up' and return to the US:   Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called for fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to "man up" and return to the U.S. to face the legal consequences for his leaks about sweeping U.S. surveillance efforts.

"The bottom line is this is a man who has betrayed his country, who is sitting in Russia, an authoritarian country where he has taken refuge. He should man up and come back to the United States. If he has a complaint about what's wrong with American surveillance, come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case," Kerry said in an interview on "CBS This Morning."
03:33  Three soldiers wounded in new Boko Haram attack in Cameroon:  Three soldiers were wounded in an attack carried out by Boko Haram Islamists in northern Cameroon, police has said.
02:33  Rocket with 3-man crew lifts off for space station:  A Russian rocket carrying a three-man crew to the International Space Station has blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

The Soyuz booster rocket lifted off as scheduled and soared into the darkness over the Central Asian steppe.
02:33  63 killed in brutal Iraq post-election attacks:  Attacks across Iraq, including a spate of car bombs in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul, killed 63 people today in the bloodiest violence to hit Iraq since April elections. 

The worst of the blasts went off during the evening and left dozens of people wounded, fuelling fears a protracted surge in violence is pushing Iraq back into the brutal communal conflict that left tens of thousands dead in 2006 and 2007.
02:32  Qatar nears exclusive talks on buying Rafale fighter: report:  Qatar could firm up its interest in buying French Rafale fighter planes when its new Emir, Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani visits Paris on June 23, the La Tribune financial website reported today. The contract is of vital importance to the Dassault Aviation group which builds the plane and to the French government.
02:16  Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies:  The owner of Manchester United football club, Malcolm Glazer, has died aged 85.

The news was announced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the American football club he owned since 1995.

The club said it was "saddened" after he passed away on Wednesday morning and described him as a "pioneering thinker" and "dynamic business leader".
01:22  Is Edward Snowden a 'real' spy?:  Edward Snowden says he's a spy. True?

Not really.

If a spy is anyone who has worked at a spy agency then, sure, he's a spy, having worked at both theNational Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before legging it to Hong Kong and on to Russia last year. But that's not what the word commonly means.

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01:21  Assads supporters abroad vote in Syrian election:  Tens of thousands of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad voted Wednesday at embassies abroad, clogging entrances to the Lebanese capital for hours and clashing with soldiers overwhelmed by their sheer numbers a week before national elections widely expected to give him a third seven-year term. 

But reflecting the schism within Syrian society, many of the estimated 2.5 million refugees scattered across neighboring countries were either excluded or abstained from the balloting, which they deem a mockery because it is being held in the middle of a civil war.
00:41  MH370 relatives accuse Malaysia of withholding data:  Families of passengers aboard missing flight MH370 today accused Malaysia of withholding crucial satellite data, saying a long-awaited report is incomplete and does not prove the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean. 

Authorities yesterday released a 47-page summary of communication logs from the Malaysia Airlines plane recorded by British satellite operator Inmarsat, information which relatives and independent experts had demanded.
00:39  Iraq attacks kill 38 as 2014 toll tops 4,000:  Attacks across Iraq, including a spate of car bombs in Baghdad, killed 38 people today, the latest in a months-long surge in violence that has left more than 4,000 dead this year. 

Shootings and bombings, which left dozens more wounded nationwide, also struck in restive areas of the north and west, fuelling fears Iraq is slipping back into the sectarian war that killed tens of thousands in 2006 and 2007.
00:39  Gitmo detainee seeks US Senate report:  A Guantanamo detainee accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole today asked a US military judge to order the release of a Senate report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques. 

Lawyers for Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent, made the argument during a pretrial hearing at the US Navy base in Cuba.
00:38  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  
Is Rahul fit to be LoP?
Brief Parliament session soon
Chandrababu Naidu to take oath as Andhra CM on June 8
DRDO tests Akash air defence missiles
Gujarat govt reinstates cop accused in Ishrat case
TRS calls for shutdown in Telangana on Thursday
The strange case of Smriti Irani: BA pass in 2004, undergrad in 2014
Mukul Rohatgi to be Attorney General of India
Article 370: Row intensifies as Kashmir parties face off against Centre, RSS
Fast track people's grievances: Modi asks PMO officials
'The Modi-led BJP govt is on global terror radar'
Decoding: How Modi picked his 'mantris'

Yesterday's Live commentary
00:37  Drone strikes on terrorists to continue: Obama:  US President Barack Obama today made it clear that he will continue to authorise CIA-operated drone strikes and covert operations abroad to capture terrorists based on "actionable intelligence", moves that are controversial in countries like Pakistan. 

In a major speech outlining his foreign policy framework, Obama said there still would be times when America must go it alone "when necessary to protect ourselves."

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