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LIVE! Deoband should issue fatwas against those who raise Pak flags: RSS

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June 19, 2017

23:47  Car ploughs into police van in Paris Champs-Elysees, armed suspect dead:  
A car loaded with gas canisters rammed into a police van on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris today, leaving the driver dead in what the interior minister said was an attempted attack.
According to media reports, a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas bottles were found in the white Renault Megane.
Video showed orange smoke pouring from the car after the impact as the vehicle sat in the middle of the prestigious avenue which is lined with shops and cinemas.
The police and the army have consistently been attacked by extremists in France.
"Security forces have been targeted in France once again," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, calling the incident an "attempted attack".
The weapons and explosives found in the vehicle "could potentially blow this car up," he added.
Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said bomb disposal experts were on the scene to "ensure the vehicle poses no further danger."
Later, the doors of the car and the bonnet were open as it was searched.
No police or bystanders were injured in the incident near the Grand Palais exhibition hall.
23:18  Deoband should issue fatwas against those who raise Pak flags: RSS:  
The Islamic seminary in Deoband should issue fatwas against those who raise Pakistani flags in Kashmir and those localities in the country which are called "mini-Pakistan", senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar said
"...we all are Hindustanis and the country where we live is Hindustan. So no locality here can be called Pakistan or mini-Pakistan but there are so many such localities...," he claimed.
"There are localities where Pakistani flag is flying on the roof of this according to Islam and are they good Muslims? So why doesn't Deoband issue fatwas against these people," Kumar said in New Delhi at an event.
He was speaking at the Iftar party organised by RSS's Muslim wing Muslim Rashtriya Manch of which he is patron.
He also questioned if those "raising Pakistani flags in the Valley and throwing stones at the armed forces during the auspicious month of Ramzaan were true Muslims?"
"Don't you all think Deoband should issue fatwas against these stone pelters in the Valley," Kumar said.
Asking Muslims to give up beef, Kumar said, "Beef is a disease, instead they should have milk. Cow milk is good for has medicinal values."
He claimed that there was no mention of any Muslim religious head eating beef in Quran and even Prophet Mohammad condemned it.
Asserting that triple talaq was not a part of Islam, he said, "This practice is an injustice to women. It should be stopped.
"I have asked many intellectual and religious heads of Islam why they want to follow the Sharia instead of what is written in the Quran, but no one has an answer. They acknowledge the opposition to triple talaq as an interference with Sharia not Quran," Kumar claimed.
23:04  Boeing gets 3-year deal for maintenance of navy's P-8I fleet:  
United States aircraft manufacturer Boeing has received a three-year contract for continuing its support for maintenance of the Indian Navy's fleet of P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, the company said today.
In addition to field and logistics service representatives, the contract, which was received early this month, includes engineering support and planning.
The scope will also include robust material support, including a 737-based component services programme, which will be executed in conjunction with Boeing Commercial Aviation Services' Fleet Services division.
"With this contract, the Indian Navy can be assured of achieving exceptional operational capability and readiness of the P-8I fleet," said Pratyush Kumar, president of Boeing India and vice president of Boeing International.
The contract continues the service Boeing provides under the programme's current initial production contract, scheduled to expire in October.
The Indian Navy operates eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft at INS Rajali located near Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.
Boeing is also contracted to deliver four additional P-8I aircraft to the Indian Navy. Deliveries will begin in 2020.
Apart from P-8Is, Boeing has also supplied C-17 Globemaster III transport planes to the Indian Air Force and will soon deliver 22 AH-64 Apache (advance attack helicopter) and 15 CH-47 Chinook (heavy lift helicopter) to the Air Force.

Photograph: PTI Photo
22:38  Opposition's views taken into account in picking Kovind: Naidu:  Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said the suggestions of the opposition parties did play a role in the NDA picking Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential nominee.

"I hope they (opposition) would not have any reason to oppose the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind because of his background, non-controversial nature, and sound legal and social background.

"I only hope that the opposition parties will support Kovindji and join us in getting him elected unanimously as the President of India," he told reporters.

The three-member committee, formed by BJP chief Amit Shah to hold consultations with the political parties on the issue,conveyed its views based on the suggestions of the allies and opposition parties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, Naidu said, adding that they took these into account.

Besides Naidu, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley were the other members of the committee.

Naidu recalled that Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was unanimously elected as the president and there was an "understanding"among all the major parties when A P J Abdul Kalam was elected to the country's top constitutional post. Despite a majority, the BJP reached out to all the political parties "in the spirit of democracy", the urban development minister said.
22:32  SRK buys team in Cricket South Africa's T20 league:  
Shah Rukh Khan and the co-owners of Kolkata Knight Riders and Trinbago Knight Riders today came together to own Cape Town Franchisee of T20 Global League, a Cricket South Africa initiative.
The new franchise will be called Cape Town Knight Riders, CSA President Chris Nenzai and CEO Haroon Lorgat made the announcement at a London five-star hotel today.
South African batsman J P Duminy has been allotted as the marquee player for the Cape Town Knight Riders.
The tournament, which will feature eight teams, will be played in November-December.
"On behalf of all of us from Knight Riders, congratulations to Cricket South Africa for the launch of exciting new T20 Global League. We are delighted and thankful that you have made Knight Riders part of the new Global League. South Africa is a beautiful country with beautiful people and I really look forward to be part of the exciting new journey and building something special together. We are particularly thrilled to make Cape Town and Newlands our new home away from home," said Shah Rukh Khan.
"We want to grow the Knight Riders brand globally, and acquiring a team in T20 Global league is a step in that direction. The South African league promises to be a great extravaganza and we are thankful to Cricket South Africa for making us part of the new ph
22:21  Will seek support of all major political parties: Prez nominee Kovind:  
The NDA's presidential nominee and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind today said he will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support to emerge as a 'consensus candidate' for the coveted post.
He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah after he arrived in New Delhi from Patna following the BJP's decision to project him as the ruling NDA candidate as the Head of the State.
Kovind said he was a "small citizen" entrusted with a big responsibility.
"All those who are members of the electoral college...I will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support...I hope that every citizen will support me," he said.

After meeting Modi, Kovind briefly visited the Bihar Niwas where he declined to answer any question from the media and only said, "I thank everyone."
Kovind is likely to file his nomination on June 23.
If elected, which appears to be a certainty, the 71-year-old former lawyer would be only the second Dalit to occupy the Rashtrapati Bhavan after K R Narayanan.

Photograph: PTI Photo
22:10  BJD supports NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind in Prez poll:  
Biju Janata Dal president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced his party's support to NDA presidential poll candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
"After discussing with senior party leaders, BJD has decided to support the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind," Patnaik told reporters after receiving a telephone call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Elaborating the reasons behind BJD's support to the NDA candidate, Patnaik said Ram Nath Kovind is an eminent lawyer belonging to the scheduled caste community. 
"The office of the President of India is above political consideration and Biju Janata Dal wants to keep it above the politics," he said.
Stating that the prime minister spoke to him about the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind, Patnaik said, "He (PM) sought BJD's support in this regard."

"As you know, the last time when presidential elections were held, BJD had proposed the name of P A Sangma, an eminent leader from the tribal community. Based on the request of BJD, many parties including the BJP had supported his nomination," he said.
21:35  Dalit Prez candidate is merely a vote-bank politics: Uddhav:  
On the day the BJP announced Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA's presidential nominee, its alliance partner Shiv Sena today said the party will come out with its "final decision" tomorrow.
Addressing the 51st Foundation Day function of Sena in Mumbai suburban Matunga, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said his party will not back Kovind if he has been chosen with an intention to garner Dalit votes.
"We have never played politics using anybody as a shield. We had suggested the name of M S Swaminathan so that farmers get benefited. We will always support the cause of farmers.

"There are attempts being made to play politics over a Dalit presidential candidate. If that is so, we are not interested in backing him. We will give our final decision on the NDA nominee tomorrow," Thackeray said.
Earlier in the day, the BJP named Dalit leader and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, who has been associated with the party and the RSS, as the NDA nominee for the top constitutional post.

21:08  Government ropes in Big B to promote GST:  
The government has roped in Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan to promote Goods and Services Tax, ahead of the sweeping tax reform's implementation scheduled from July 1.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs will be making the 74-year-old Bachchan brand ambassador for GST. A 40-second video featuring him has already been shot and is being circulated.
"GST - An initiative to create a unified national market," the finance ministry said in a tweet, attaching the video.
In the video, Bachchan explains GST as an unifying force just like the three colours in the national flag. GST is an initiative to create 'one nation, one tax, one market', he says.
The megastar has been roped in just as the rollout of the biggest tax overhaul since independece entered its final phase.
Ace badminton star PV Sindhu was previously the GST ambassador.
GST will simplify a web of taxes, regulations and border levies by subsuming an array of central and state levies including excise duty, service tax and VAT.

It is being dubbed as the most significant economic reform since BJP government came to power in 2014 and is expected to add as much as 2 percentage points to the GDP growth rate.

IMAGE: A video grab of the GST advertisement featuring Amitabh.
20:59   Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi after he was elected as NDA's presidential candidate. Photograph: PIB
20:33  United Nations lights up for International Yoga Day:  
The United Nations headquarters was lit up with the word 'Yoga' in commemoration of the third International Day of Yoga.
Renowned actor Anupam Kher switched the illumination lights.
"Yoga lights up @UN...Here's a sneak peek of the iconic UN Headquarters building being lit up like never before for International Day of Yoga," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
Kher also tweeted, "Great honour to illuminate the #UnitedNation building, NY in preparation of #InternationalDayofYoga."
It is the second year in a row that the UN headquarters have been specially illuminated on the occasion of International Yoga Day.
Several events have been planned by Indias Permanent Mission to the UN as well as the Indian Consulate here to mark the day.
The Consulate will hold its flagship Yoga event 'Recharge at Battery Park' in the city today during which several Yoga sessions will be conducted by leading practitioners. 
19:53  Soon, F-16s to be made in India, Tata signs pact with Lockheed Martin:  
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official visit to United States, military manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin has tied up a pact with Tata to produce F16 fighter planes in India.

Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Saab's Gripen fighter plane from Sweden are regarded as the front-runners in getting a lucrative, multi-billion dollar contract for 200 to 250 jets for the Indian Air Force.

According to sources, the deal has been signed on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.

In 2016, the defence ministry requested foreign manufacturers if they were willing to produce a single-engine combat plane in India in collaboration with a local partner, as part of the government's drive to build a domestic industrial base and reduce imports.

Prime Minister Modi will be on a two-day visit to the US from June 25.
19:18  Down to earth man cared for those around him, say Kovind's neighbours:  It is celebration time for the residents of the nondescript Maharishi Dayanand Vihar colony in Kalyanpur as one among them -- Ram Nath Kovind -- was rather unexpectedly announced today as the ruling NDA's presidential candidate.

Since the moment Kovind's name was announced in New Delhi, scores of BJP workers, especially those associated with the Kalyanpur Vypar Mandal descended here with crackers and sweets, dancing to drum beats.

Kovind, the 71-year-old BJP veteran, who rose from a modest background to become the Governor of Bihar and is now, in all likelihood, set to occupy the country's highest constitutional office.

Associates and neighbours in Maharishi Dayanand Vihar remember Kovind as a simple, soft spoken person who has maintained relations with those who have been with him.

"He comes from modest background and has achieved heights sheerly by the dint of his hardwork and dedication...He did LLB and had also appeared for the civil services exam but had to opt out due to medical reasons," Ashok Trivedi, who served as the two-time MP's PRO from 1996 to 2008, told PTI.

According to Trivedi, Kovind is a man of simple tastes.

"His likings are simple. He likes simple food and is not very fond of sweets. He has stayed in touch with all of us. He last visited my home in 2012 after coming to know of my wife's death," Trivedi recalled.

The presidential nominee, along with his wife Savita, visited this colony almost one-and-a-half month ago.

Kusuma Rathore, in her sixties, has been the caretaker of Kovind's modest mini-HIG house for the past 15 years. Kovind's two children, a son and daughter, are both married and well settled, she says, adding that during his visits here he has generally been staying either at the circuit house or some other government accommodation.

The residence of the man, who is set to be the next president of India, does not exhibit signs of power or pelf.

Only a simple nameplate that would let a passerby know that it belongs to Ram Nath Kovind, an MP.

According to Rathore, till only a few years ago, the house was a bit secluded.

So much so that it was burgled thrice, the caretaker said. Next door neighbour Devendra Juneja is a long time associate who went to the 'RSS shakha' with Kovind.

"It is a big day for me and for all those who had known Kovind...He is a very down to earth person and has always been concerned about all those around him," Juneja said.

In Paraukh, Kovind's native village, located in the Jhinjhak area of Kanpur Dehat, it's 'Diwali' time with fire crackers being burst and sweets being distributed.

Kovind's niece Hemlata, a teacher in a government school there, says, "I had met him in Patna about 10 days ago but till then there was no such thing in our notice..It is a matter of pride that our uncle will be the president."  -- PTI

IMAGE: Neighbours of NDA nominee for president Ram Nath Kovind celebrate outside his home in Kanpur. photograph: ANI
18:25  Properties will NOT be linked with Aadhaar, PAN:   The Centre has denied reports in the media that it is considering 'linking all land records with the owners' Aadhaar number and the PAN card number' under the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme.

Rejecting the report, a release on the Press Information Bureau said: 'The letter attributed to Cabinet Secretariat on Digitalisation of Land Records & subsequent linking of the same to AADHAR, being widely circulated in the sections of social media is completely fake and mischievous.'

'It is clarified that the government of India has issued no such letter. A police complaint has been filed in this regard and the matter is being investigated,' the release said.

Earlier, it was reported that properties not linked to PAN and Aadhar will be considered benami properties.

It was reported by a section of media that the Centre's plan to link land records with Aadhaar and PAN is considered as a valuable step towards exposing benami properties and the government hopes to bring transparency in land records. -- Agencies
18:14  Kovind leaves for Delhi to meet PM:  Bihar Governor and National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has left for New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"I thank the people of Bihar for their support," Kovind said before leaving for Delhi. -- ANI
17:46  No scope for consensus on BJP's prez nominee: Congress:   The Congress today spurned the BJP's appeal for consensus on its choice for president and said the opposition would take a call on contesting the election after a meeting on June 22. The BJP had taken a "unilateral decision", Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said soon after the announcement of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA's candidate for president.

"Congress does not want to comment on this issue as we want to take a unanimous decision with all other opposition parties on the presidential elections. The final call will be taken in a meeting of all opposition parties on June 22," Azad said.

Terming the BJP's efforts to reach out to the opposition through its senior leaders as a "formality and a PR exercise", Azad said the ruling party should have built consensus before announcing the candidate.

"But they informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now... we were not expecting this from the ruling party. But it is their will, they are free to take a one-sided unilateral decision," Azad added.

No names were discussed when senior BJP leaders M Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh met Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week, the Congress leader said. Asked to comment on the BJP fielding a Dalit candidate for the top constitutional post, Azad said, "...I don't want to comment on this...I don't want to comment on the merits and demerits of the candidate."

He added that minorities, backwards and Dalits were not priorities for the BJP-led government. Atrocities on Dalits in Saharanpur were a clear example of this. Discussing whether Nitish Kumar would attend the June 22 meeting, Azad said he had himself called the Bihar chief minister who had assured him that there would be somebody from his Janata Dal-United.
17:29  Muted birthday celebrations for Rahul:  Now, that the BJP has decided its nominee for the presidential election, the other news of the day is that Rahul Gandhi turned 47 today.

The Congress vice president's birthday was a quiet affair at 10 Janpath, Sonia Gandhi's residence at 10 Janpath, primarily because Rahul is in Italy with his grandmother.

Sources say that Priyanka and Sonia called Rahul to wish him, as did the party's senior leaders Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Few other Congress leaders have Rahul Gandhi's personal mobile number. 

President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari, did the unusual -- wrote Rahul a letter and sent him flowers, while the Prime Minister tweeted birthday greetings to Rahul

Traditionally, Rahul never stays in India on his birthday. He is spending his birthday with his grandmother Paolo Maino on the outskirts of
Orbassano village, 125 kilometres from Rome.

His itinerary is not known to even the Special Protection Group tasked to protect him in India, since he does not take them on
foreign visits.

Rahul Gandhi's office informed the SPG chief that he will be travelling from New Delhi to London by a commercial flight, but the itinerary thereon has been kept a secret.

Normally, Rahul takes a small aircraft owned by a steel magnate of Indian origin in the UK, to get to Italy.  And invariably, the aircraft is piloted by the magnate's son.

In India, his birthday was celebrated by the Delhi Pradesh Congerss Committee leaders.

There were full page advertisements in a few Hindi dailies and in English, released by a company based in Chennai. The owner of the Company in Chennai is an MLA in Tamil Nadu assembly.
16:33  Oppn parties to meet on June 22 to decide on consensus Prez nominee:  Opposition parties will meet on June 22 to decide on fielding a consensus candidate for the presidential election, with the NDA declaring Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its nominee for the post, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal today said. "The parties will meet and decide whether or not to field a consensus opposition candidate for the July 17 presidential election," he said.

CPI national secretary D Raja said Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, who were part of the BJP's three-member panel formed to hold discussions and build a consensus on a presidential candidate, had not propose any name.

"Now, they have named a person with RSS background. We are against it, but we will have to discuss the issue within the CPI and with other opposition parties. A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same," he said. Raja said Naidu spoke to him over the phone after BJP chief Amit Shah announced Kovind's name and sought the CPI's support for his candidature. AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said the non-NDA parties will discuss the issue before taking any step
16:04  Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis with Bihar governor and NDA Prez nominee. 
15:56  Cong on Kovind: One-sided decision :  Congress party's Ghulam Nabi Azad on the BJP's prez candidate: The BJP told us that when we will take the decision they will also inform us, but they didn't. We are not going to comment on this decision yet, nothing to say, but the BJP has taken one-sided decision. BJP leaders when they met us said they would inform us before any announcement for a consensus, but they informed us only after the decision. 
15:40  Nitish congratulates Kovind :  Bihar CM Nitish Kumar calls Ram Nath Kovind and congratulates him for being chosen as NDA's presidential candidate.
15:22  TDP, TRS to support Kovind for President :  AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu says TDP will offer full support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

That's the second party to lend support to the BJP's prez candidate. TRS chief KCR Rao said his party would support Kovind's candidature.
15:20  PM: Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President:  PM Narendra Modi on the BJP's choice of the Bihar governor as its presidential candidate: "I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for poor, downtrodden & marginalised."

The BJP today named the Dalit leader as the NDA's candidate for the post of president. Kovind is likely to file his papers on June 23, BJP president Amit Shah said after a nearly two-hour meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board. He said political parties had been informed of the NDA's choice. "I hope all will agree to the name," he said at a press conference.
15:14  Nirmala Sitharaman @nsitharaman BJP#RamnathKovind, genial, soft-spoken, well-read & articulate. Was @BJP4India spokesperson from 2010. Proud to have you as Rashtrapati, Kovind-ji.
15:08  Ram Nath Kovind to meet PM tomorrow :   Bihar governor and the BJP's prez candidate Ram Nath Kovind to meet PM Narendra Modi tomorrow in the evening. Kovind will be filing his nomination on June 23.

Reactions from the JD-U: Opposition ki baithak hogi, usme naam pe vichaar karenge, NDA ne naam announce kiya hai uspe bhi baat karenge. The Opposition will also meet to decide a candidate also discuss the candidature of the Ram Nath Kovind," said  Sharad Yadav, JDU.

Nitish Kumar to meet Ram Nath Kovind at 4 pm today.
14:42  Prez polls: Meeting of Opposition parties on 22nd June:  Updates on the Prez Poll. The BJP's candidate for the President of India is Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind. 

Governor Kovind is 71 years old, a Dalit and has served as Bihar Governor for three years.

Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh is among opposition leaders who have been informed of the government's choice, Amit Shah said.

PM Modi has spoken to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, AP CM Chandrababu Naidu and TN CM E Palaniswamy.

Meeting of Opposition parties to be held on 22nd June

Venkaiah Naidu informed LK Advani and MM Joshi before the announcement of the name of Ramnath Kovind as the NDA presidential candidate.

Telangana CM and TRS Chief KC Rao extends his party's support for the BJP's presidential candidate. KCR said the PM called him personally and informed him of the party's choice for the prez polls and requested his support.

Image: President Pranab Mukherjee with Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind
14:32  TRS lends support to BJP prez candidate :  Telangana CM and TRS Chief KC Rao extends support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind after speaking to PM Modi. KCR said his party will lend support as Kovind is a Dalit. 
14:31  A 17-year-old American Muslim girl killed after leaving Virginia mosque in US: authorities.
14:27  Ram Nath Kovind on Dr Ambedkar :  The Opposition has maintained they will only agree to a consensus candidate only if the person has secular credentials. Kovind, even though he was a BJP spokesperson, rarely made any statement and has always steered clear of controversy. One of the few times, he actually made it to the papers was when he spoke in January as on the 'reason' behind the Dr BR Ambedkar's resignation from Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

The Bihar Governor said that Dr Ambedkar resigned as the law minister from Nehru's cabinet when the government refused to back the reformist Hindu Code Bill.   
14:22  Sena to announce decision on BJP's prez candidate this evening :   First reactions from Shiv Sena. Party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will discuss the matter internally and announce his decision this evening. Raut said they were not given the name earlier, and the fact that he is Dalit did not matter to the Sena. "The Sena does not decide on the merits of a candidate based on his caste. We don't judge a leader by his caste," Raut said.

14:13  Sonia, Manmohan informed: Amit Shah:  Amit Shah at the press conference announcing the party's presidential candidate, said Ram Nath Kovind has always fought for Dalits and the backward classes. The PM has informed Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh. He said there has been no discussion yet on names for Vice President. Shah said Sonia Gandhi has said she will discuss the name and inform the government on her decision. 
14:09  Who is Ram Nath Kovind?:   "Kovind who?" That's how Bihar politicians reacted to Ram Nath Kovind's appointment as the new Bihar governor. Read moreon the man who is likely to be India's next President.
14:08  Bihar guv Ram Nath Kovind to be NDA prez candidate :  Ram Nath Kovind was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh during the two terms of 1994-2000 and 2000-2006. He is an advocate by profession and practices in Delhi. He is a former President of the BJP Dalit Morcha (1998-2002) and President of the All-India Koli Samaj. He also served as national spokesperson of the party. On 8 August 2015, he was appointed him the Governor of Bihar. He is NDA's candidate for Indian presidential election 2017.
14:03  Bihar guv Ram Nath Kovind to be NDA prez candidate :   Just in: Bihar Governor Ram Nath Govind to be NDA presidential candidate
13:59  BJP parl board meet ends, Amit Shah to address media :   Just in: The BJP Parliamentary Board meeting ends. Party president Amit Shah.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the most senior leaders from the BJP, Amit Shah, today. The agenda was focused on deciding the ruling party's choice for the next President of India. Shah will address the media any time now. Left leader Sitaram Yechury has said that if the government does not name its candidate by tomorrow, the opposition will share its nominee, which would force an election.
13:17  Mamata asks concerned parties to attend all-party meeting:  West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today urged all concerned parties and stakeholders to attend an all-party meeting called by the state government in Siliguri on June 22 on the prevailing situation in Darjeeling.

Urging the people to maintain peace, she said, "Violence cannot be a solution to any problem and only talks can solve it." "Though I will not be there, other ministers have been given the responsibility to hold the meeting," Banerjee told reporters at the airport before leaving for Netherlands to speak on the occasion of UN Public Service Day on June 23.

She accused the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha of hatching a "conspiracy to divide the state". The GJM had on Saturday ruled out any discussion with the West Bengal government. "We are ready for talks with the Centre, but the agenda has to be only Gorkhaland," GJM Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai had said.
13:09  CBI team goes to JNU to probe Najeeb's disappearance:  A CBI team today visited Jawaharlal Nehru University to probe the mysterious disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed, a student who had gone missing from his hostel on October 16, 2016. The team is looking into allegations of a scuffle between Ahmed and ABVP students in JNU's Mahi-Mandvi hostel and the circumstances that may have led to it as well as other events that preceded his disappearance. It is likely to meet the suspects and people whose names have cropped up in the matter, sources said. Najeeb's mother Fatima Nafees recently met CBI officers who are investigating the case.
12:37  PM arrives at BJP Parl meet on prez candidate :  BJP Parliamentary Board meeting begins at party headquarter in New Delhi. PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah at the meeting apart from all senior leaders of the party.

The presidential elections are on July 17 and the BJP is yet to announce its candidate.  

The BJP has formed a three-member panel to discuss with the Opposition the possibility of a consensus candidate. The partys parliamentary board will take stock of the talks this committee had with opposition leaders.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu have held consultation with allies and the opposition camp. Naidu and Singh have already spoken to Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence.

BJP chief Amit Shah met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Sunday, and Thackeray said his party will take a call only after the name of the candidate is decided.

12:31  Bengal's new problem: Marx-spouting stone-pelters :  Stones and bottles in hand, the highly motivated youths are giving a tough time to the security forces in keeping law and order in the restive Darjeeling hills.

Meet 18-year-old Pranab, a student of class XII, who has become a regular stone-pelter since June 8 when the first stirring of disturbance appeared after the 'imposition' of Bengali language in schools.

"We want Gorkhaland. We want a separate state. It is a fight for our own identity and future. It is my right and I will have it,' he asserted. He is one of thousands of youths who have come out in open support for Gorkhaland and have challenged the security forces when they were lathi-charged.

"India is a democracy and in democracy everybody has the right to hold peaceful protest. How can someone stop us from organising protest? We did not resort to violence first, but if we are beaten up we will not sit idle. The police will be paid back in their own coin,' a third year student, whose face was covered with a black cloth, told PTI.

Well-versed with the ideals of communists like Karl Marx and Che Guevara, the student said, "I have my own identity and don't want to get it mixed up with others. I respect all communities and religions. But everybody should understand our sentiments."

Most of the youths who have indulged in stone-pelting are educated and come from good families. "I am not a goon or a street guy whom the police can just beat up whenever it wants to. I am fighting for my right. Several of my family members have been in the Army and have served the nation. We are not anti-nationals. We just want a state of our own," said 25-year-old Binay who has completed his masters in English from Calcutta University.

With the state government making it mandatory to learn Bengali in the schools of Bengal, the people of Darjeeling, whose local lingo and mother tongue is Nepali, felt that it was a threat of infringement into their cultural rights.

"Had the state government come out with a statement declaring that Bengali would not be imposed in the hills, the situation would not have turned so violent," said a student of renowned college of Darjeeling.

With their agility and intimate knowledge of the local terrain, the youths frequently switch positions while pelting stones giving the police a hard time.

To be honest, the youths have stayed away from hurling stones at the Army, as defence forces have a passionate place in their heart with as many as 90 per cent of the families in Darjeeling having either a serving or a retired army personnel in their families.

"Indian Army has a special place in our heart. You will not find a single family in the hills which doesn't have either a serving or a retired army personnel,' a 20-year-old youth said.
12:20  2nd CBI visit on AAP: Morning knock at health minister's home :  The CBI today went to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain's residence to seek clarifications from his wife in connection with an ongoing inquiry into allegations of money laundering against him. CBI sources said the agency had sought time from the minister's wife.

The AAP accused the central government of "vendetta politics". "Central govt (sic) of BJP is misusing CBI for its vendetta politics. After Dy CM Manish Sisodia, BJP's CBI raids on Minister," the party said in a tweet. CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against the AAP minister in connection with the allegations of money laundering in April. He was recently examined by the agency in connection with the probe. Jain is alleged to be involved in money laundering to the tune of Rs 4.63 crore while being a public servant during 2015-16 through Prayas Info Solutions Private Limited, Akinchan Developers Private Limited and Managalyatan Projects Private Limited, CBI sources said.

Jain had dismissed the allegations after the Enforcement Directorate last month attached properties linked to him in the matter. A PE is the first step by the CBI to gather information about allegations.

If the agency is convinced that there exists prima facie material in the matter, it may register a regular case against the accused. Allegations against Jain also include purported money laundering to the tune of Rs 11.78 crore during 2010-12 through these companies and Indometal Impex Pvt Limited.
11:40  Sensex up by 122.68 points :  The Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday opened at a positive note with the sensex crossing the 100-point mark and Nifty capped at 9622.80 points.

With Finance Minister Arun Jaitley providing relief to traders by extending the deadline for filing initial returns under the forthcoming Goods and Services Tax bill, the market opened with a surge in Sensex by 122.68 points, with the current figure recorded at 31,179.08 points.

Meanwhile, oil prices witnessed a decline on Monday morning.The top market gainers were Bajaj Auto and L&T.

In the 17th meeting of the GST council that was held on Sunday, it was decided that for the first two months, tax will be payable based on a simple return (form GSTR-3B) containing summary of outward supplies which will be submitted before 20th of the succeeding month. However, the invoice wise details in regular GSTR-1 would have to be filed for the month of July and August 2017.
11:38  Bihar: Girl gang-raped, thrown out of moving train :   A Class X girl was allegedly gang-raped by a group of six people and thrown from a moving train before it reached Bihar's Kiul junction.

The girl's condition was said to be critical and a team of doctors was continuously monitoring her health at the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

The girl hails from Lakhochak village in the Lakhisarai district.She stepped out on Thursday night to answer the nature's call and was captured by a group of six people.

The accused took her to the Vanshipur Railway station and boarded a local train.As the Kiul Junction approached, they threw her from the moving train in the wee hours of Friday.

The locals took the girl to a nearby medical centre where her parents reached in the afternoon.With her condition continuously deteriorating, the doctors referred her to the PMCH where she was initially denied a bed.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has assured the girl of bringing the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice. A team, led by Lakhisarai DSP Pankaj Kumar, has been formed to investigate the matter.
11:20  Corbyn in touch with mosques, police :  British Prime Minister Theresa May has described the attack on worshippers near Finsbury Park mosque as a "terrible incident"."All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene," the Guardian quoted May, as saying.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, expressing shock over the incident, said in a statement, "I've been in touch with the mosques, the police and Islington council regarding the incident. My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event."
10:45  London van incident is potential terrorist attack: UK PM:   A van ploughed into worshippers outside a mosque in London today, killing one person and injuring eight others in what Prime Minister Theresa May described as a "potential terrorist attack".

The attack took place just after midnight outside the Muslim Welfare House, which houses a mosque, on the Seven Sisters Road in the northern part of the city, the Guardian reported. The site of the incident is close to another mosque near the Finsbury Park on the same road.

Several worshippers were in the area at the time of incident after attending Ramzan prayers. Counter-terror police were investigating the incident.

The Metropolitan Police said that one man was pronounced dead at the scene and eight others were injured. Prime Minister May said police were treating the van incident "as a potential terrorist attack".

Earlier she described it as a "terrible incident", adding: "All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene."

"The driver of the van - a man aged 48 - was found detained by members of public at the scene and then arrested by police in connection with the incident," a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.

"He has been taken to hospital as a precaution, and will be taken into custody once discharged. He will also be subject of a mental health assessment in due course." Scotland Yard said armed police were at the scene, with the investigation being carried out by Counter Terrorism Command and an extra officers deployed to reassure Muslims during Ramzan.

The Metropolitan Police earlier declared the collision as a "major incident" and said that there were "a number of casualties". Harun Khan, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted that the van had "intentionally" run over people leaving night prayers.

According to the Independent, footage of the incident showed injured people motionless on the pavement as angry crowds surrounded a white man believed to be the driver.

The Guardian quoted an eyewitness, Boubou Sougou, as saying: "It was not an accident, I saw everything. People were badly injured. The van driver tried to escape but people grabbed him. He did not say anything." London's transport authority said on Twitter that the Seven Sisters road had been closed due to an "emergency services incident".

The city's ambulance service said in a statement on Twitter that it had sent "a number of resources" including ambulance crews, paramedics and specialist response teams to the scene.

Image: People pray outside a mosque in London after the horrific attack in Finsbury Park.
10:04  PM wishes Rahul on his birthday:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today wished Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on his birthday. Gandhi turned 47 today. "Birthday greetings to the Congress Vice President, Shri Rahul Gandhi. I pray for his long and healthy life. @OfficeOfRG," Modi wrote on Twitter.
10:03  Mirwaiz tweets 'early Eid' after Pak win, Gambhir suggests he 'cross border' :  Veteran Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has suggested Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to pack his bags and cross the border to go to Pakistan in an apparent jibe taken on him after he congratulated the Pakistan Cricket Team on their victory over Team India in the ICC Champions Trophy final held on Sunday.

Gambhir tweeted, "A suggestion @MirwaizKashmir why don't u cross the border? U will get better fireworks (Chinese?), Eid celebs there.I can help u wid packing."

Farooq had earlier tweeted, "Fireworks all around, feels like an early Eid here. Better team took the day. Congratulations team #Pakistan."

Mirwaiz, a few days back too, had cheered for the Pakistan Cricket Team after their win over England in the first semi-final match of the ICC Champions Trophy.

The chairman of Hurriyat Forum tweeted, "As we were finishing taraweeh, could hear the fire crackers bursting, well played team #Paksitan. Best of luck for the finals!"

This tweet of his earned the ire of many, including political leaders, who asked the media and the people to ignore the comments made by 'anti-national elements like him.'

Meanwhile, fans of the Indian Cricket Team have not been pleased with India's defeat and the locals in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur and Uttarkhand's Haridwar broke their TV sets and protested after Pakistan's win.

Image: Celebrations in Pakistan after the Greenshirts won the Champions Trophy last night.
09:44  1 dead in mosque van attack in UK, Muslim worshippers targetted :  A man has died and eight people have been injured after a van struck a crowd of pedestrians near a north London mosque, reports the BBC.

A 48-year-old man was arrested following the collision near Finsbury Park Mosque in Seven Sisters Road.

News agency ANI reports that the van attack at Finsbury Park targetted Muslim worshippers leaving Finsbury Park mosque, according to reports.

According to reports, at least ten people were hit outside the mosque with three of them being critically injured.

The London Ambulance Service said in a statement, "We were called at 12.15 a.m. to reports of a road traffic collision at Seven Sisters Road."

"We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene. An advance trauma team from London's Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by car," it added.

Meanwhile, Harud Khan, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted he was "shocked and outraged to hear a van has intentionally run over worshippers leaving Ramadan night prayers."

The Muslim Council works "to promote consultation, cooperation and coordination on Muslim affairs in the United Kingdom."

Image: Police stand vigil at Finsbury Park in London after a van tried to run over Muslim worshippers outside a mosque. Pic: Reuters
09:06  UPDATE: Who will be BJP's presidential candidate? Party to take final call today:  
The BJP Parliamentary Board, the party's highest decision making body, will meet today to take a decision on its presidential nominee.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah will attend the meeting.

It is not clear whether the board will announce its candidate today as a party leader said it may authorise Shah to take a call.

The Board members will be briefed about the consultation undertaken by a three-member party committee with allies and opposition parties.

The committee members include union ministers Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley, who are also the members of the Board. 
09:00  PM Modi wishes Rahul Gandhi on birthday:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended birthday greetings to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. 

Taking to Twitter, the PM wrote, "Birthday greetings to the Congress Vice President, Shri Rahul Gandhi. I pray for his long and healthy life."
08:21  Last minute preparations on in Lucknow ahead of International Yoga Day:  
Last minute preparations were underway to host the third International Yoga Day event in Lucknow on June 21 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead some 55,000 people in performing 'asanas' (yogic postures) at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan. 

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will lead a rehearsal of the IYD function at the programme venue today and is himself monitoring all arrangements.

"Police chiefs of adjoining districts of Lucknow have also been alerted to take preventive measures, especially in the wake of call given by Bharatiya Kisan Union to stage a dharna on highways," a police official said.

Officials of the Lucknow administration said that more than 400 CCTV cameras will be installed.

The main programme will begin around 6.30 am, for which the state government has sent invites to senior political leaders including former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav (of Samajwadi Party), BSP supremo Mayawati, and former chief ministers and governors.
07:50  Van hits pedestrians near London's Finsbury Park Mosque; 1 arrested:  
More than 10 pedestrians were hit by a white van that veered onto a pavement near a renowned north London mosque, in what is being described as a 'terrorist attack'.

One man has been arrested but it is feared two more suspects may be on the run after the van ploughed into a crowd outside Finsbury Park Mosque, as they finished taraweeh, Ramadan evening prayers.

Eye witnesses reported seeing bystanders wrestle the suspect to the floor and pin him down until officers arrived. 

Others suggested that the congregation of victims were trying to save a man who had collapsed at a bus stop.

Emergency service crews were also spotted trying giving cardiac massages to the injured in a desperate bid to save them.

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