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LIVE! Assange hails victory after Sweden drops rape probe

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May 19, 2017


23:35  Assange hails victory after Sweden drops rape probe:  
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Friday hailed Sweden's decision to drop its rape investigation against him as an "important victory" even as he attacked the country's authorities for detaining him for seven years
without charge.
Assange, who appeared on the balcony of his Ecuadorean embassy hideout in London, said he will not "forgive" those who "slandered" him.

"Today is an important victory for me and for the UN's human rights system but it by no means erases the years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and almost five years here in this embassy without sunlight, seven years without charge while my children grew up without me. And that is not something I can forget, it is not something I can forgive," he told reporters.
"The claim by the UK that it has a right to arrest me for seeking asylum in a case where there have been no charges is simply untenable," he added.
The 45-year-old Australian, who has lived inside the Ecuador embassy for almost five years after seeking asylum, said the "road is far from over" while adding that it was "extremely regretful" that he was still being threatened with arrest if he leaves the embassy.
23:22  Ex-US Rep. Anthony Weiner pleads guilty in sexting case:  
Former United States Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers ended his political career and sparked a probe that upended the presidential race, pleaded guilty to a sex charge, tearfully apologising
for communications with a 15-year-old girl that he said destroyed his "life's dream in public service".
Weiner pleaded guilty to a single count of transmitting sexual material to a minor, admitting he began exchanging online messages with the girl in January 2015 and engaged in obscene communications that included "sharing explicit images and encouraging her to engage in sexually explicit conduct".
"I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," he said.
The 52-year-old former Democratic congressman paused repeatedly as he fought back tears and tried to compose himself. He said he knew the texting was "as morally wrong as it was unlawful".
Pleading to the charge, which will require that he register as a sex offender, exposes him to a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, but Weiner signed a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison. His lawyer can request leniency at a sentencing scheduled for September 8.
22:32  Apple selling 'Made-in-India' iPhones at select stores: Report:  
The US-based technology major Apple has started selling iPhones at select stores in the country that were assembled in India as part of its trial run.

"Apple is selling iPhone SE in India at select stores. These phones were assembled in India on trial basis in limited quantities," an industry source told PTI.

Apple did not comment on the development.

The technology major a couple of days back had said that it was "beginning initial production of a small number of iPhone SE in Bengaluru".

"The high-end India-made iPhones (iPhone SE) have already hit the Indian market. These have been on sale from May 2 onwards," another source said.

A picture shared by the source showed details of the iPhone SE with 32GB storage capacity with 'Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in India' printed on the box.

The picture showed the price of Rs 27,200 inclusive of all taxes on the box.

The source also said the Cupertino-based maker of iPhones and iPads had completed the manufacturing of iPhones SEs in Bengaluru in April.
22:13  Electoral bonds a retrograde step: EC to Par panel:  The Election Commission on Friday said the introduction of electoral bonds by the government will compromise transparency in political funding and termed it as a "retrograde step". 

The commission made these observations before the parliamentary standing committee on Law and Personnel in a written deposition.

The committee had met to discuss issues including EVMs, paper trail machines and electoral reforms. 

The poll panel also opposed state funding saying it will not be able to check a candidate's own expenditures during elections.

"The amendment in section 29 C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 making it no longer necessary to report details of donations received through electoral bonds is a retrograde step as transparency of political funding would be compromised as a result of the change," it said. 

Senior commission officials, including Deputy Election Commissioners Umesh Sinha and Vijay Dev, had appeared before the committee to speak on EVMs, paper trail machines and electoral reforms. 

The government has said electoral bonds are aimed at cleansing the system of poll funding and invited suggestions from all political parties for making the process better. 

"People have been wanting to pay (political parties) by cheques but there has been a fear that they could land in trouble as their identity would stand exposed. (Through the electoral bonds) we have addressed both the issues -- ensuring clean donations and keeping identity of the donor confidential," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in the Rajya Sabha in March.
22:09  Prepare for any situation: Mamata to party leaders:  
In the backdrop of the Centre mooting the idea of holding Lok Sabha and state assembly polls simultaneously, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday asked her party leaders and elected representatives to be prepared for "any situation" in the days to come. 
Banerjee, also West Bengal chief minister, held an extended core committee meeting  with all TMC MPs and MLAs, chairman of all municipalities and presidents of zilla parishads during the day to spell out the party's line of
action in the days to come.
A senior TMC leader, who was present in the meeting, said Banerjee had told them not to be complacent and prepare for any situation.
"We were told that Centre is mooting the idea of holding Lok Sabha and state assembly polls simultaneously. So we should be prepared for any situation. We should not be complacent and work towards increasing mass contact of the party and should always be in touch with them," the TMC leader told PTI on condition of anonymity.
According to him Banerjee asked TMC leaders during the meeting to "focus on countering BJP and CPI(M) in the state and not to worry about Congress as it hardly has any organization."
Banerjee also lashed out at BJP for "trying to silence every opposition force in the country."
"Mamata Banerjee has told us to prepare for an all out fight against BJP. She has told us to strengthen our social media presence in order to fight against the canards and malicious campaign by BJP in the social networking sites," another TMC leader said.
21:15  UPDATE: Hundreds of pilgrims stranded after landslide on Rishikesh-Badrinath route:  Hundreds of pilgrims are feared stranded after a landslide occurred near Vishnuprayag in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district blocking the Rishikesh- Badrinath National Highway.

District Collector Ashish Joshi said that Border Roads Organisation personnel are engaged in clearing the roads and it could be opened for the traffic by Saturday afternoon.

He also said efforts are on to provide all facilities to 1,000-1,500 pilgrims who are at Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Pipalkoti, Govindghat and Badrinath.

Photograph: ANI
20:12  Pak moves ICJ to rehear Jadhav's case within 6 weeks: Report:  
Pakistan on Friday filed a plea in the International Court of Justice to rehear the case of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, within six weeks, a Pakistan-based news portal reported.

"Pakistan was set to re-challenge the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice after it granted injunction on Thursday on an Indian plea to stay Jadhav's execution," Dunya News reported.

According to law, Jadhav can challenge till the end of Saturday his death sentence in an appellate court. A military court sentenced him to death on April 10 on spying and terrorism charges.

Within 60 days of the verdict of the appellate court, the inmate can make a clemency appeal to the Chief of the Pakistan Army, Dunya said.

A death row inmate is permitted to make the final clemency appeal to the Pakistan President within 90 days of the Army chief's order.
19:43  
Around 15, 000 tourist stranded in Uttarakhand after a landslide near Vishnuprayag on Badrinath route, ANI reports.

More details are awaited. 
19:14  Army will give adequate response to ceasefire violations: Jaitley:  
In a stern message to Pakistan, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said Indian forces will give "adequate response" to any form of ceasefire violation on the border.
After a visit to the Line of Control, he said that the Indian Army is fully prepared to foil any form of infiltration bid. For those perpetuating violence from within, he said such people will be dealt with.
He also said that investigation is on into the incident of the army allegedly tying a man to the front of a jeep as a human shield, but went on to add that the Army was interested in saving the lives of both the people who had come to vote and a large crowd of protesters.
Priority right now, he said, is to restore normalcy.
"I did visit the LoC. I would compliment the Indian army for the level of preparedness and enthusiasm. Our soldiers are fully confident that they would not allow any form of infiltration to take place," he told reporters in Srinagar.
To a question on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, while he was briefing the media on tax rates fixed under Goods and Services Tax, Jaitley said: "If there is any effort and any form of ceasefire violation our soldiers will give an adequate response to that."
He said terrorism and militancy are aimed both against the Indian state, its sovereignty and also against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and it is local people, alongside security personnel, who are losing their lives.
18:36  BJP fields record 27 Muslim candidates in Malegaon civic polls:  
Reaching out to the minority community, the Bharatiya Janata Party has given candidature to as many as 27 Muslims, out of the record 56 nominees it has fielded for the Malegaon Municipal Corporation polls due next week.
"This is for the first time that the BJP is contesting polls on record 56 seats, out of total 84 seats spread across 21 wards in Malegaon. Out of the 56 candidates as many as 27 are Muslims," a senior local BJP leader said.
Malegaon is a Muslim majority town in Maharashtra's Nashik district, where the municipal corporation was established in 2001.
In the first MMC election held in 2002, the BJP and Shiv Sena had joined hands. While the Sena had won eleven seats, the BJP managed to win only one seat that year.
In the 2007 and 2012 civic polls, the BJP failed to open its account.
For the upcoming elections, the Nationalist Congress Party, which is currently in power in MMC, has forged a pre-poll alliance with Janata Dal-Secular in its bid to retain the power.
The Sharad Pawar-led NCP has fielded 52 candidates, while 10 Janata Dal-Secular candidates are in the fray.
Opposition Congress has fielded a total of 73 candidates, while the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen has fielded 35 candidates.
Sitting deputy mayor Yunus Isa, his three sons and two sister-in-laws will contest in the polls on AIMIM tickets.
18:24  OPS assures PM of support for prez polls :  AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction) chief O Panneerselvam on Friday, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi and conveyed the support of his faction of 10 MPs and 9 MLAs for the BJP's presidential candidate.

OPS was accompanied by Rajya Sabha MP Dr V Maitreyan, former minister Palanisamy and former MP Manoj Pandian.

Our sources tell us that OPS had a 15-minute one-on-one with the prime minister where he discussed the political future of Tamil Nadu.
The chemistry between the PM and OPS has been good even when J Jayalalithaa was the CM. On two occasions they had even exchanged confidential information. At this meeting too, the two leaders were cordial.

Modi has earnestly begun the exercise of getting commitments from smaller parties to support the BJP candidate for the presidential polls.

In fact, the Prime Minister's meeting with OPS is the third in a series of meetings. Last week, he met the YSR Congress and the Akali Dal

The PM has entrusted Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu with the task of coordinating with smaller parties. In fact, Naidu had a detailed meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edaapadi Palaniswami last week, when he was in Chennai to flag off the Chennai Metro.

Naidu has been given a verbal commitment, but it will be properly endorsed only after Palaniswami formally meets the Prime Minister and assures him of his support.

Palaniswami belongs to the VK Sasikala faction of the AIADMK (Amma),  which holds the votes of 26 Lok Sabha MPs and 124 MLAs.
 
These numbers are not to be sniffed at.

This faction's support will be given to the PM  by the TN CM once TTV Dinakaran gets bail. 

-- R Rajagopalan


File pic
17:58  SP leader Abu Azmi takes over school run by hate preacher Zakir Naik:  Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi has taken over the Islamic International School (IIS), located in Mumbai's Mazgaon, which was earlier run by Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation.

Explaining the move, Azmi said, "Now, there are cases on Zakir Naik. Initially, the students, teachers and parents from his school were very worried. We went to the Education Minister, but he told us that there was an inquiry underway on properties related to Naik. If this school is run by somebody else, then the officials have no problem regarding this. So, I gave admission to all those children to the school running under my trust. Now, this school has nothing to do with Zakir Naik and his trust," Azmi told ANI.

The IIS will now be renamed as 'Avicenna International School'.

In November last year, the Centre, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), had banned the IRF for five years.

Naik has been accused of allegedly making hate speeches and indulging in the circulation of terror among the people.
17:49  NIA registers case against Hurriyat's Geelani for receiving LeT funding :  NIA team lands in Srinagar to quiz separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, alleged to be involved in subversive activities and receiving funds from LeT chief Hafiz Saeed.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said that the accused must be interrogated and punished as per the law of the land.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said that if the Hurriyat leaders were accepting money from illegitimate sources, then they must be held accountable for the same.

"There have been instances and specific reporting about leaders of the Hurriyat conference receiving funds through unapproved and illegal sources," said Kohli.

"From this perspective, if they are receiving funds from, for example, somebody in Pakistan in cash beyond the prescribed amount, then they are obviously answerable for it and when we see the situation there, where militants are involved and if these funds are related to terrorism, then the NIA will have to look at it," he added.

Echoing similar sentiment, another BJP leader G.V.L. Narsimha Rao urged that it was an open secret that Hurriyat was accepting money from Pakistan and that it is high time that needed to be exposed.

"It has always been an open secret that separatist groups and those who are actually giving a financial assistance to disturb peace in Jammu and Kashmir region are all funded by Pakistan," said Rao.

"Not only there have been allegations and evidence available in the public domain, but recently many media organisations have also brought out the manner in which separatist groups have fuelled trouble and created disturbances like stone pelting. I think all of them need to be exposed and be punished," he added.

The NIA has registered a preliminary enquiry into the funding of Hurriyat leaders - Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Naeem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Gazi Javed Baba and others in J-K by Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Muhammed Saeed and other Pakistan based terrorists and agencies to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir. According to sources, a team of NIA led by a senior member has reached the Valley for the inquiry into Hurriyat funding.

The team will probe into the nuances of the funding, which are mostly being made for subversive activities including stone pelting and damage of public properties there.

According to reports, post the recent arrest of two ISI operatives in India, it has come to light that separatists in Jammu and Kashmir area have been getting a constant flow of funds - to the tune of Rs. 70 lakh - from Pakistan's ISI over the past few months.

Slew of documents that have been accessed that cite that the nexus between Pakistan and the separatist leaders is responsible for instigating the youth to conduct violent acts in the conflict-ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Also, while Hurriyat leaders and separatists have been telling Kashmiris to not send their children to army-run schools, alleging that these institutions were weaning the next generation away from their religion and culture, the family members and children of many of these have got the best education, settled abroad and eventually led a luxurious life.

An apparent example of how the kith and kin of these Hurriyat leaders availed the above-mentioned is the faction of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, which inversely always has goaded the youth of Kashmir to come out on the roads and leave their studies for a 'bigger cause', indirectly urging them for 'stone-pelting'.
16:30  Sensex rises on GST push; makes 2nd weekly gain:   Benchmark Sensex gained 30 points to end at 30,464 today as FMCG stocks rallied after the GST Council finalised tax rates for bulk of the goods. Nifty, however, finished a shade lower.
16:25  These are the new GST rates :  Finance Minister Arun Jaitely fixes the GST rates. The historic tax reform will be rolled out on July 1 and will subsume a host of indirect taxes levied by the Centre and states, including excise duty, VAT, service tax, entry, luxury and entertainment levies.

The main beneficiaries include steelmakers and some consumer goods, though personal care items including sanitaryware will be taxed at the top rate, along with appliances such as air conditioners.


Healthcare, education to remain exempted from GST, services to be taxed at 5, 12, 18, 28%; transport services to be taxed at 5%:

Restaurants with turnover of Rs 50 lakh or below to face 5% tax under GST; non-AC restaurant at  12%, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

AC restaurants and those with liquor licence to charge 18% GST; 5-star hotels to levy 28%; hotels with tariff of Rs 1,000-2,500 to pay 12% rate.

Telecom, financial services to attract GST of 18 per cent; 28% tax for race club, betting and cinema halls.

Five per cent GST to be levied on cab aggregators like Ola and Uber.

Consumer staples including milk, fruits and vegetables, grain and cereals have been exempted. Sugar, tea, coffee and edible oil will be taxed the lowest rate of 5 percent.

Jaitley says there are hardly any areas where rates have been hiked.

More details awaited.
15:49  Japanese Cabinet approves Emperor Akihitos abdication:  Japan's Cabinet has approved a bill to let 83-year-old Emperor Akihito to abdicate and allow his elder son Crown Prince Naruhito to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne. The abdication will be Japan's first in 200 years. Akihito indicated his desire to abdicate due to his age and health concerns last August, reviving a longstanding debate in Japan over the issue of imperial succession in the 2,000-year-old monarchy. Read more
15:43  Also read on the Dawn: Experts wonder why ICJ jurisdiction was recognised in March
15:41  Jadhav case: Pak reacts to ICJ order by replacing lawyer :  After suffering a major setback at the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav death penalty case, Pakistan is set to replace the lawyers that represented the country at the World Court, Pakistani media reports said.

Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was quoted by The Nation as saying that Islamabad will appoint a new team of lawyers to defend Pakistan's position at the The Hague, Netherlands-based International Court of Justice.

The Pakistani legal team was led by Khawar Qureshi who faced off against Harish Salve on Monday when both argued their respective countries' position on the Jadhav death penalty matter.

State-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan further reported Aziz saying that Qureshi had courageously represented Pakistan at the International Court of Justice.

The ICJ on Thursday allowed India's petition that Pakistan be directed not to execute Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was handed a death sentence by a Pakistani military court in April this year.

The ICJ, accepting India's plea, said Pakistan must not hang Jadhav until the court hears the matter in full and that Islamabad must inform the World Court of the steps it has taken to ensure that the Indian national is not executed.

Responding to the ICJ order, Aziz, Pakistan's de facto foreign minister, was reported to have said, "Pakistan's security is so important and we have to maintain our fundamental sovereign right."

Image: The Pakistani legal team was led by Khawar Qureshi

15:32  President Mukherjee approves the removal of Kapil Mishra as a Delhi govt minister.
15:10  Assange reacts with this 'happy' picture :  Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been living for almost five years.
15:05  'Burhan Wani or Lt Ummer Fayaz? Kashmiris have to decide':   "100 Fayazs will bring a change in Kashmir, that's why they don't want a Fayaz," soldiers who have served in Kashmir tell Rediff.com's Archana Masih. Do read
14:59  Rape charges against WikiLeaks founder Assange may be dropped :  Swedish prosecutors have said on Friday they will drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, bringing to an end a 7-year legal stand-off.

Reuters reports that Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange," the prosecutors office said in a statement.

Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.
14:15  Baahubali 2 collections cross Rs 1500 crore, highest in Indian film history!:  SS Rajamouli's epic movie Baahubali: The Conclusion has shattered all the records in Indian cinema history with a worldwide collection of Rs 1500 crore. This is the highest collection for any Indian film.

The film broke records during its opening week, with Rs a 121 crore collection netting Rs 320-325 crore over the first three days of release.

At Rs 320-325 crore, Baahubali 2 is now the highest opening Indian film, beating Bollywood blockbusters and its 2015 predecessor Baahubali: The Beginning by a huge margin.

The highest opening weekend collection by a Bollywood film so far is by Sultan (2016) at Rs 180 crore. However, the movie was released mid-week and hence enjoyed a five-day opening weekend. If one were to consider the Friday-Sunday opening weekend period, Baahublali 2 has left Sultan far behind as estimates peg the opening weekend collection for the Hindi dubbed version only at Rs 128 crore (net after tax).

Baahubali 2 has earned Rs 1,502 crore gross across the world in which India's contribution is Rs 1,227 crore according to trade analyst Ramesh Bala.

Baahubali stars Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Ramya Krishnan, Tamannaah Bhatia and Sathyaraj in pivotal roles.

Yet to watch the film? Read the review before you go. 
14:02  Jaitley satisfied with 'aggressive domination' of troops along LoC:  Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today expressed satisfaction over the "aggressive domination" and "readiness" of troops along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir to give a befitting response to any "misadventure" by Pakistan.

Jaitley held a meeting with senior army commanders at a forward post along the LoC in north Kashmir, and reviewed the security situation in the valley which has been witnessing spiralling violence.

"Had a meeting with senior commanders & troops at a forward post along the LoC, and reviewed security situation.

"The aggressive domination and readiness of troops for befitting response to any misadventure by enemy is very satisfying," he tweeted.

Jaitley, who also holds the finance portfolio, is here to primarily attend a two-day meeting of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council which began yesterday.

He conducted an aerial survey of forward posts along the LoC and interacted with troops in Rampur sector where he told them to maintain vigil and foil any misadventure from across the border, an army official said. Jaitley, who was accompanied by General Officer Commanding of Chinar Corps, lauded the high morale of the troops and assured them that the entire nation was with them, he added.

His visit comes weeks after Pakistani Army beheaded two Indian security personnel in Poonch district which was termed "barbaric" by India.

While Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had hinted at retaliation to avenge the killings, Jaitley had said the sacrifice of the two soldiers will not go in vain and that the armed forces will react "appropriately".

On Wednesday, in a meeting to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, had asked the Army to remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across the border.
13:38  Controversy queen Kangana gets legal notice for 'hijacking' Ketan Mehta film:  Kangana Ranaut is undoubtedly controversy's favourite child. "Simran" writer Apurva Asrani recently accused her for taking credit for his work in the movie and now filmmaker Ketan Mehta has sent her a legal notice for "hijacking" his dream project on Rani Lakshmi Bai. Mehta and Kangana were supposed to team up for "Rani of Jhansi: The Warrior Queen". But the National Award-winning star recently announced another film titled "Manikarnika - the Queen of Jhansi" with director Krish.


"We sent the legal notice earlier this week, but there is no response to it. After we learnt that they are making the film on the same subject, we decided to go the legal way," Mehta told PTI.


"This is complete breach of trust. I believe hijacking a fully developed project is a brazen attack and this is not acceptable," added the director of films such as "Maya Memsaab" and "Mirch Masala".


The filmmaker, who has worked with some of the biggest stars in the Indian film industry, says he is in deep shock and has never faced a situation like this before.


"It's my dream project and I have been working on it for 10 years. This has been a life-long ambition. I have worked with stars like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, but this has never happened to me. This is unethical."


Mehta says he had approached Kangana to play the role of Rani Lakshmi Bai in June 2015 and the "Queen" actress had committed to doing the film. "Since 2015, we have been talking about the project. We have shared various versions of the script, research material, and books with her. We were planning it as an international co-production so that we could reach out to the global audience. She had said she was excited about the film."


Before taking legal action, the filmmaker had tried to contact Kangana. "I was hospitalised for a minor surgery. I recovered in early March and that's when I learnt she is doing the film with someone else. This is shocking. She said she was under great pressure to start the film after the box office failure of 'Rangoon'.


She said producer Kamal Jain wanted to do the film with a new team. It's crazy," he said. Apparently, Kangana has said she was not keen on doing the film in English. But Mehta says his film was supposed to be bilingual - English and Hindi- and that the 30-year-old actress was aware about it.


"This is fabrication of sorts as the film was supposed to be made in both English and Hindi. The story of Rani of Jhansi has the potential to travel across the globe. It's the story of a courageous woman." Kangana, he says, never informed him that she was not keen to work on the movie with him.


"She had said she would like to work on the script with us and she sent some notes for it. We were waiting for the final draft from the writer so that we could fine-tune it. Even our film was to start soon." Kangana launched the first poster of "Manikarnika..." in Varanasi earlier this month. The actress was accompanied by the whole team including the director, producer and music composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
13:01  India's first emotional intelligence training for Maharashtra cops :  Seeking to ensure a sensitive approach in handling unruly situations, the Maharashtra police has introduced a course in 'emotional intelligence' (EI) for its personnel, a top official has said.

He claimed that the state police is the first to start such a course in the country.

The move comes as policemen are often criticised for handling unruly situations, crowd or individuals without proper emotional understanding though their actions may be legally correct, he said.

This often portrays a negative image of the police in public, despite the personnel having knowledge and skill to tackle the situation in a lawful manner, the official said.

"To enhance the service delivery of police to the public, improving the decision-making ability and to build their confidence level, the state police has introduced a course in emotional intelligence in the training," Maharashtra Director General of Police Satish Mathur told PTI.

He claimed that Maharashtra police is the first in the country to formally introduce the course in emotional intelligence in its training curriculum, thereby making it integral to the ethos of the state police.

This is a benchmark practice for other states too to emulate and reap the substantial benefits therein, he said. A select group of around 50 officers from the state police have been recently trained in EI.

The group will go to various units and impart training in the course to policemen and officers across Maharashtra, a senior police official said. As of now, this group has trained around 800 officers and 2,500 police personnel, he said.
12:44  National Investigation Agency (NIA) registers 'preliminary inquiry' against hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for alleged subversive activities in Kashmir. Details awaited.
12:43  TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay granted bai:  The Orissa High Court today granted conditional bail to Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, arrested for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley Group chit fund scam. The bench of Justice J P Das had reserved the order on his bail plea after hearing arguments of both the prosecution and defence on May 8.
12:15  Aila! Sachin meets PM:  Sachin Tendulkar meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefs him on the upcoming movie 'Sachin: A Billion Dreams'. 
12:14  Rajinikanth bats for Stalin, hints major change in TN politics:   Continuing to maintain his see-sawing attitude towards the recent criticism over his remarks on joining politics, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Friday rhetorically said the people would see what happens when the 'ultimate war' comes.

"I have responsibilities and works, same with you. Let's do it, but when the ultimate war comes, we all will see," he said.

The actor was possibly reacting to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy's remarks dubbing him as a 'disaster' in Tamil Nadu politics.

The superstar also expressed his disappointment over the 'wrong system' which needs to be changed.

While mentioning the names of eminent Tamil politicians, Rajinikanth said those people are able administrators but the 'wrong system' does not let them work properly.

Rajinikanth further said that the system needs to be changed, and moreover the mindset of the people has to change.

"There are many senior people in politics. One among them is M.K. Stalin who is very able. Anbumani Ramadoss is an able administrator who has toured across the world. Thirumavalavan has been very vocal about each and every subject," he said.

Rajinikanth left his fans and political circle into a speculation spree when he hinted towards joining politics earlier on Monday.

Continuing to maintain his intriguing stand over joining politics, Rajinikanth further asserted that some people used his name for 'political gains'.

Addressing his fans in Chennai, the superstar said, "Some of my fans urged me to join politics and it's not bad even to enter politics, but making money out of this is bad."

However, the star added, "If in case I decide to join politics, then those making money will not be entertained."

"God made me an actor and I promise Rajini will never ever disappoint his fans in acting," he added.

Rajinikanth made the remark during first of his five-day 'Janta Darbar' which he held to interact with fans after a gap of eight years.
12:05  Pay Rs 5000 if you gotta go by the Yamuna: NGT :  The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today banned open defecation and dumping of waste on the floodplains of the Yamuna and announced an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 for those who violated the diktat.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also constituted a committee headed by Delhi Jal Board CEO to oversee the execution of work pertaining to cleaning of the river and asked it to submit reports at regular intervals.

The Delhi government and the municipal corporations were directed to immediately take action against industries which operate in residential areas and are a major source of pollution to the river.

The green panel noted that almost 67 per cent of the pollution reaching the Yamuna would be treated by the two sewage treatment plants (STP) located at Delhi Gate and Najafgarh under Phase 1 of the 'Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017'.

The apex green panel had on May 1 ordered inspection of the STPs at Delhi Gate and Okhla with a view to ensure that wastewater was cleaned before it reached the Yamuna. It had sought a report with regard to functioning of these plants.

The tribunal was informed that a total of 14 STP projects are to be constructed to clean wastewater. Of these, seven are to be built by the Delhi Jal Board with its own funds. The directions came as the NGT was hearing a plea on the monitoring of implementation of the 'Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017'.
12:05  Pay Rs 5000 if you gotta go by the Yamuna :  The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today banned open defecation and dumping of waste on the floodplains of the Yamuna and announced an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 for those who violated the diktat.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also constituted a committee headed by Delhi Jal Board CEO to oversee the execution of work pertaining to cleaning of the river and asked it to submit reports at regular intervals.

The Delhi government and the municipal corporations were directed to immediately take action against industries which operate in residential areas and are a major source of pollution to the river.

The green panel noted that almost 67 per cent of the pollution reaching the Yamuna would be treated by the two sewage treatment plants (STP) located at Delhi Gate and Najafgarh under Phase 1 of the 'Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017'.

The apex green panel had on May 1 ordered inspection of the STPs at Delhi Gate and Okhla with a view to ensure that wastewater was cleaned before it reached the Yamuna. It had sought a report with regard to functioning of these plants.

The tribunal was informed that a total of 14 STP projects are to be constructed to clean wastewater. Of these, seven are to be built by the Delhi Jal Board with its own funds. The directions came as the NGT was hearing a plea on the monitoring of implementation of the 'Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017'.
11:48  Judge Karnan asks President to suspend jail term:  The lawyers representing Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan have claimed that a representation has been made to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking suspension of the Supreme Court order sentencing him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.

However, the president's office said, "It was not aware of any such representation."

The lawyers yesterday said a memorandum/representation under Article 72 of the Constitution was sent through e-mail on behalf of Justice Karnan seeking "suspension/stay of his sentence of six months imposed on him" by a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar. Article 72 states that the president shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence.

The representation prepared by Justice Karnan's counsel Mathews J Nedumpara and A C Philip referred to the developments since the May 9 judgement.

His lawyers had earlier claimed that the judge had shot off letters to the president, the prime minister and others against his jail term. Justice Karnan has also moved a petition in the apex court seeking recall of the May 9 order but has been denied urgent hearing by the CJI.
11:40  Sensex surges to record high in late morning trade:  Benchmark Sensex scaled a fresh lifetime high of 30,712 in late morning trade today on sustained buying in FMCG, realty, telecom, power and metal counters. Sentiment was also bolstered by the progress on the GST front, with the GST Council finalising rates for most goods.

The BSE Mid-Cap index was up 0.56 percent while the Small-Cap index rose 0.89 percent. The Sensex resumed higher at 30,539.65 and advanced to 30,712.35.

It was quoting at 30,619.16 at 1100 hrs, showing a rise of 184.37 points or 0.61 per cent. The NSE 50-share Nifty was also up 52.20 points or 0.55 per cent at 9,481.65 at 1100 hrs. Major gainers were ITC 5.02 per cent, HUL 2.38 per cent, SBI 1.83 per cent, Bharti Airtel 1.66 per cent, Power Grid 1.51 per cent, Axis Bank 1.47 per cent, Coal India 1.46 per cent and NTPC 1.17 per cent.
11:38  ED files money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram :  The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, and others, taking cognisance of a recent CBI FIR against them.


Officials said the central probe agency registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), ED's equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in the CBI complaint including Karti, INX media and its directors, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea, and others. The ECIR has been registered under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.


They said the ED will probe the alleged "proceeds of crime" generated in this case and may also attach assets of the various accused. It is the ED which had provided information about the alleged illegal payments made by INX media, based on which the CBI had filed its FIR.
11:29  Akhilesh govt splurged Rs 15 crore on functions to distribute Rs 20 crore: CAG:  The Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh spent Rs 15.06 crore between 2012 and 2013 on functions to distribute cheques worth Rs 20.58 crore to beneficiaries of its flagship unemployment allowance scheme. And this, when the scheme specified that the money should be deposited directly in the bank accounts of beneficiaries.

This startling finding is part of a "General and Social Sector' report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and tabled in the UP assembly Thursday.  Read more
11:20  2 CRPF jawans injured in blast triggered by Naxals in C'garh:  Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were today injured in an IED blast triggered by Naxals at a forest in Chhattisgarh's insurgency-hit Sukma district, police said.

The incident took place this morning when a team of CRPF's 2nd battalion was out on an anti-Maoist operation in a forest area under Kerlapal police station limits, Deputy Inspector General (Dantewada range) Sundarraj P told PTI.

While they were cordoning-off a forested patch near Pariya village, the Naxals triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) in which two CRPF jawans suffered injuries, he said. Reinforcements were rushed to the spot soon after, he said.

The injured jawans were admitted in a local hospital in Sukma. They were stated to be out of danger, the DIG said.

Meanwhile, a combing operation was underway in the region, he said. On April 24, as many as 25 CRPF personnel were killed and seven others injured when Naxals attacked a patrol party of the paramilitary troops while they were ensuring security to road construction work near Burkapal village in Sukma district.

Also read: Hidma Madvi, the Maoist behind the CRPF attacks

File pic.
11:15  Anil dave cremated next to his beloved Narmada:  The mortal remains of Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave were consigned to flames on the banks of the river Narmada at Bandrabhan in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad district today, with full state honours. Dave, who died in New Delhi yesterday at the age of 60, had expressed the desire to be cremated on the banks of the Narmada, a river that was close to his heart and ran through his home state of Madhya Pradesh.


The funeral pyre was lit by his brother and nephew amid a tearful adieu by those present on the occasion at Bandrabhan, where Dave used to organise international river festivals to create awareness among people on the issue of conserving rivers, BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal told PTI.


Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Uma Bharti, Anant Kumar, Narendra Singh Tomar and Thawar Chand Gehlot, senior RSS leaders Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Dattatraya Hosbole and Suresh Soni, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya among others were present on the occasion.


The mortal remains of Dave were brought early this morning to Bandrabhan from his home, 'Nadi Ka Ghar', in the state capital. Chouhan and other BJP leaders lent their shoulders to the departed leader. A guard of honour was also given as a mark of respect him.
10:46  EC to hold live demo of EVMs to prove they can't be hacked :  The Election Commission will hold a live demo of EVMs and VVPATs tomorrow in Delhi as well as a press conference on claim by political parties that EVMs can be hacked.

The Election Commission last week formally threw a challenge to political parties to prove electronic voting machines used in the recent assembly polls were tampered with after several opposition parties questioned their reliability and demanded going back to the paper ballot system.

Several major opposition parties had claimed the faith of people in the machines has eroded.

While announcing the challenge at an all-party meeting convened by the Commission here, Chief Election Commission Nasim Zaidi, however, did not mention any date for the proposed event.

He said parties can try and prove that EVMs can be tampered with even under strict technical and administrative safeguards as applicable during elections.

An EC official said the challenge will not be restricted to machines used in recent assembly polls.

"Other machines will also be available. But since allegations were regarding the elections, the CEC made specific mention," he said.

Also read: AAP 'rigs' EVM in Delhi assembly, EC calls it 'duplicate' gadget


10:06   Rajinikanth on non-Tamilian jibe: I lived in Karnataka for 23 years and Tamil Nadu for 43 years. Although I am from Karnataka, you welcomed me; made me true Tamilian. 
10:00  My fans have made me Tamilian: Rajinikanth responds to Swamy's jibe:  On the last day of his interaction with fans superstar Rajinikanth responded to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's quip that the actor was not even Tamilian.

Meeting fans in Kodambakkam in Chennai, today, Rajinikanth first spoke about the speculations of his entering politics. "I have responsibilities and work. It's the same with you. Let's do that first. But when the ultimate war comes, we all will see".

Then, responding to Swamy's quip, Rajinikanth said his fans had made him Tamilian.

Subramanian Swamy has gone on record to say that Rajinikanth is a "Marathi from Bengaluru." Swamy also took potshots at the megastars fans: It is a cult following, he said.

However, Swamy denied he had made the statement, saying, "I never said Rajinikanth is not Tamilian; don't think he's addressing me but the DMK, who always made an issue of his Marathi origin."

Rajinikanth also said today that his last interaction with fans was blown out of proportion and became a controversy on social  media.

On Monday, the actor had triggered rumours of a political plunge saying he would not allow "wrong people" to join him if he decided to enter politics.
In an open interaction with his fans, Rajinikanth had said, Right now God is using me as an actor, but I cant say anything about the future. If God decides that I join politics, then I will do so.


Congress leader Nagma said Rajinikanth would be an asset to any party.


Image: Rajinikanth meeting fans in Chennai today.
09:35  Villagers lynch 6 on suspicion of child lifting:  Villagers lynched six persons in two places of Rajnagar police station area in Seraikela-Kharswan district on Thursday, suspecting them to be child lifters.

Agitated villagers also torched two vehicles belonging to the police in connection with the incidents.

Three persons were lynched by the villagers, who suspected them of being child lifters in Nagadih within the limits of Bagbera police station on Thursday night, Superintendent of Police (City) Prasant Anand said.

An old woman was also seriously injured and has been admitted to a hospital here, he said. Two of the victims were identified as Uttam Kumar Verma, a resident of Jugsalai, and Ganesh Kumar Gupta of Bagbera, the SP (city) said adding, the identity of another victim could not be established.

The SP (city) said when a police team reached the spot, agitated villagers started pelting stones at them, injuring some police personnel. Two vehicles were damaged.

"A police picket has been posted at the spot to maintain law and order," Anand said.

Earlier, two persons were beaten to death in Sosomoli village, while another was lynched in Shobhapur village by local residents, DIG (Kolhan region) Prabhat Kumar said.

Some of the villagers were identified and action would be taken after investigation, Kumar said adding senior officers have gone to the spot with reinforcement.

The incident occurred a week after two persons had been beaten to death and as many injured by a mob on suspicion that they were child lifters in Uranium township of Jadugora in East Singhbhum district.

Following the incident, the police had asked the villagers not to pay heed to rumours.  -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
09:24  Rs 2 crore given to AAP was donation, not bribe, says trader:  A Delhi-based businessman has claimed he had donated Rs 2 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party, rubbishing sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra's allegation that the amount was paid by a shell company.

Mukesh Sharma, a property dealer and tobacco trader, said he had donated the money through a demand draft on March 31, 2014.

"The public support to the AAP at that time was overwhelming and I had donated the money to the party hoping that it will do good for Delhi and for the nation," Sharma said.

Mishra had on Sunday alleged 'massive irregularities' in the funding of the AAP and raised questions about the 'suspicious' donation of Rs 2 crore.

He had also claimed that several shell companies had given money to the AAP and the party knew it.

Asked what took him so long to claim that he donated the money, Sharma said, "I was tired of the allegations that it was given by shell companies."

He added that tax men are probing him since last two-and-half years over the donation made to the party.

A video clip of Sharma's interview by a news channel was also retweeted by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra shows copies of the complaint before lodging an FIR against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders with the CBI at its headquarters in New Delhi. Photograph: Subhav Shukla/PTI Photo
09:14  Last rites of Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave being held at Bandrabhan Ghat in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh. Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, Union Minister Uma Bharti pay tribute. Photograph: ANI
08:31  Indian detained at US airport dies in custody:  A 58-year-old Indian who was detained by American customs officials last week for not possessing necessary immigration documents while entering the country died in custody at an Atlanta hospital.

Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was taken in custody by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days.

He died on Tuesday afternoon at the hospital with the officials stating the preliminary cause of his demise as complications from congestive heart failure.

Patel arrived at the Atlanta airport on May 10 on a flight from Ecuador.

US Customs and Border Protection subsequently denied him entry into the country as he did not possess the necessary immigration documents, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.

Patel was transferred into the ICE custody last week at the Atlanta City Detention Center where he received an initial medical screening and was found to have high blood pressure and diabetes.

On Saturday, two days after being in the ICE custody, a nurse checking Patel's blood sugar noticed he had a breathing problem following which he was shifted to a hospital where he passed away.

ICE said it is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is 'undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of the incident, as it does in all such cases'.

The agency the informed the Indian consular representatives who notified Patel's kin about his demise.

The agency added that fatalities in its custody are 'exceedingly rare' and occur at a fraction of the rate of the US detained population as a whole.

Patel is the eighth such individual who died in the custody of ICE the fiscal year 2017.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, US. Photograph: Tami Chappell/Reuters
00:02  Mirwaiz defends stone-pelting, says govt forcing students to take up stones:  
Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq defended stone-pelting by Kashmiri students, arguing it was a way to vent their anger against the system that is "inimical and hostile" towards them.

He also said a "blanket ban" on the freedom of expression and absence of student activism in the educational institutions was the primary factor for the ongoing students' agitation in Kashmir.

"There is a blanket ban on freedom of expression, even inside school premise, let alone in colleges and universities. Student activism is a distant dream in Kashmir and no form of deliberation and exchange of ideas and expression of thought is "allowed," he said. 

The Hurriyat Conference chairman said with such "strict" curbs in place for students, authorities have pushed students and youth of Kashmir to wall leaving them with the only option of hitting the streets to be heard.

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