rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 

LIVE! Freebies worth Rs 16.28 cr including sarees, cookers seized in K'taka

Write a comment

April 17, 2018


23:49   Veteran journalist T V R Shenoy passes away:  
Veteran journalist T V R Shenoy passed away at a hospital in Manipal tonight, where he was admitted following multiple health problems.
    
He was 77 and is survived by his wife and two children, family sources said.
    
A Padma Bhushan awardee, Shenoy was an eminent columnist who contributed to several national and international media houses. He used to write on topics like national politics, economy, social issues and international affairs.
    
He began his journalistic career with The Indian Express and later became the editor of The Sunday Mail.
    
He worked as editor of the Malayala Manorama publication, 'The Week' and also served as the Delhi bureau chief of the Malayala Manorama for a long time.
     
His body would be taken to Delhi tomorrow and the funeral details would be finalised later, family sources said.
    
Shenoy is a native of Cherayi in Ernakulam. 
23:31  Govt examining Facebook, Cambridge Analytica responses:  
The government is "examining" the responses furnished by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on the data breach issue, while it keeps a close watch on global developments on the matter, a senior IT Ministry official said today.

The US social networking giant is facing intense scrutiny from its users as well as governments across the globe after a data leak scandal hit about 87 million users.

British data analytics and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica has been accused of harvesting personal information of millions of Facebook users illegally to help political campaigns and influence polls in several countries.

The Indian government too had shot-off notices to both the companies questioning them on the impact of the data breach, following which Facebook admitted that nearly 5.62 lakh people in India were "potentially affected" by the incident. Facebook has over 20 crore users in the country.

"The responses are being examined in the context of global developments," the official in IT Ministry said.

Noting that the data leak episode was global and the nature of irregularities involved were "by and large similar", the official said that the IT Ministry is keeping a close watch on the developments that are unfolding across countries that have been hit by the data fiasco.

In its reply to the Indian government's notice, Facebook had informed that "only 335 people" in India were directly affected through the installation of an app and another 5,62,120 people were "potentially affected" as friends of those users.

Cambridge Analytica, on the other hand, is believed to have responded saying it had not used the personal information of Indian users from Facebook.

Facebook, which is facing probes in multiple markets over potential breach of user confidentiality, had said yesterday that it is introducing a third-party fact-checking programme in India to combat the spread of "false news" on its platform, starting with a pilot in Karnataka, which goes to polls next month.

-- PTI
22:42  Freebies worth Rs 16.28 cr including sarees, cookers seized in K'taka:  
Freebies like cookers and sarees worth Rs 16.28 crore and over 88,000 litres of liquor have been seized by the Election Commission-appointed surveillance and expenditure monitoring teams in poll-bound Karnataka till now, according to official data.

These teams have also seized 965 cheques, bearing a value of Rs 2.98 crore, as part of total Rs 23.14 crore worth seizures made in the state.
According to the data, updated till yesterday, flying squads and surveillance teams seized freebies and illegal inducements worth Rs 16.28 crore that include laptops, vehicles, cookers and sarees.
In addition, 88,254 litres of liquor worth Rs 3.08 crore, 30.25 kilogrammes of drugs worth Rs 19.79 lakh and precious metals like gold and silver worth Rs 3.71 crore have been seized.  
Seizures worth Rs 4.5 crore, including cash and other items, were released by the surveillance teams post verification as they was meant for genuine purposes, it said.

The EC has appointed a number of election expenditure observers in Karnataka, apart from other central observers, to keep a check on black money and illegal inducements used to bribe voters.
The 224-member Karnataka assembly will go to polls in a single phase on May 12. 

The counting of votes is scheduled for May 15. 
22:30  Rise in child rape, abuse a 'national emergency': Satyarthi:  
Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi today described as a national emergency the alarming and unstoppable rise in rape and abuse of children, and urged political parties to devote one day of Parliament to formulate plans for expeditious delivery of justice to the victims.
Stories of child rape and sexual abuse such as that from Kathua, Unnao, Surat and Sasaram will continue to emerge every day in the absence of a responsive and speedy justice delivery system, he said here at the release of a report, titled The Children Cannot Wait', that highlights the situation of pendency of child sexual abuse cases in the country.
"Each time a daughter is raped and killed, India's soul is raped and killed. Every day, 55 children are raped in India. The ideals of a progressive and free India will never be realised as long as our children are unsafe, Satyarthi said.
I call (on) all the political parties to devote one day in Parliament to formulate a 'National Budgeted Action Plan' for expeditious delivery of justice for rape and violence against children, he said, according to an official statement.
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner reiterated his demand for a national children's tribunal' to uphold the principles of natural justice for child survivors of abuse and also asked for exclusive fast-track courts for swift disposal of cases registered under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

Stories of child rape and sexual abuse such as that from Kathua, Unnao, Surat and Sasaram will continue to emerge every day in the absence of a responsive and speedy justice delivery system, Satyarthi said.

-- PTI
22:10  Girl raped in Surat from Andhra Pradesh:  
A family from Andhra Pradesh has come forward to identify the child who was raped, horribly tortured and murdered in Surat earlier this month. The shocking case was one of the several that sparked nationwide protests over the weekend.   

The girl's parents have arrived in Surat and will soon undergo a DNA test, said Surat police chief Satish Sharma. The child had gone missing in October last year, the police said. Her parents had filed a missing person report with the state police, but it was not suspected that she would be found so far from home.

The parents identified the girl from the photos tweeted by the Surat police yesterday. The police had gone public with the appeal on Twitter after no one came forward to identify the child even after 10 days.

Initially, she was thought to belong to one of the many migrant families from Bengal or Odisha who come to work in the city. The police widened their search zone after they drew a blank despite collaborating with their counterparts in the neighbouring states.

The body of the child, covered in more than 80 injuries, was found on April 6, in a desolate spot near a cricket ground. Postmortem report indicated that she had been raped and violated with wooden objects. She was later strangled and smothered, the report said.  
21:33  India files fresh pleadings in ICJ in Jadhav case:  
India today filed a fresh set of pleadings in the International Court of Justice relating to the case of its national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April last year on charges of espionage and terrorism. 
The second round of written reply by India in the case was in response to the submissions by Pakistan in the ICJ on December 13 last year, the ministry of external affairs said.

India had moved The Hague-based ICJ in May last after Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism. A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

"In keeping with the Order of the International Court of Justice of 17 Janaury 2018, India today submitted its reply in the court in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav," the MEA said.

It said India remains committed to make all possible efforts to "secure and protect" the rights of Jadhav. 

Following an order by the ICJ, India had filed its written pleadings in the case on September 13, 2017 and Pakistan submitted its "counter memorial" on December 13 last. 

"Today, India filed its Reply to Pakistan's submissions  to the court. Pakistan has been given time till July 17 by the court to file its response (Rejoinder)," the MEA said.

India has been maintaining that the trial of Jadhav by a  military court in Pakistan was "farcical". In its statement today, the MEA reiterated this stand.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. 

However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. Jadhav's sentencing had evoked a sharp reaction in India.

India had approached the ICJ for "egregious" violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, by Pakistan in Jadhav's case. 

Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav on the grounds that it was not applicable in cases related to spies. 

-- PTI
21:16  BJP ministers resign from Mehbooba Mufti's government:  
Days after its two lawmakers had to quit, BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government have sent their resignations to the party to prep for a reshuffle that has been on the cards for some time.

Sources said the ministers had been told to send across their resignations at meetings held last week by BJP strategist Ram Madhav when he was in Jammu to iron out differences between the BJP and Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party.
20:53  Protests to greet Modi in UK:  
A series of demonstrations, including a silent protest to condemn the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district, have been planned by various groups at Parliament Square in Britain during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK this week. 
The silent protest tomorrow, being promoted jointly by some Indian women's groups in Britain, is calling on members of the Indian diaspora in the country to join in by wearing some symbolic white clothing to register their condemnation of "atrocities that are taking place in India".
"Following the horrific rape and murder of eight-year-old in the Kathua region of Kashmir, there will be a congregation meeting to silently protest and publicly express pain, sorrow and shock," the protest statement reads.
The silent demonstration will coincide with an anti-India protest, being spearheaded by Pakistani-origin peer Lord Ahmed, at Parliament Square tomorrow afternoon. 
Alongside Sikh Federation UK and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir supporters, the so-called "Minorities Against Modi" group has been circulating some buses on the streets of London with banners such as "Free Kashmir" and "Punjab Referendum 2020 Khalistan".
"The primary focus of Sikhs protesting will be the Indian PM, Narendra Modi, but they will also be there to show support for the Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, for standing up for the rights of Sikh nationalists when he recently visited India," a statement from Sikh Federation UK said.
A counter pro-India demonstration, titled "British Indians Welcome PM Modi" is also planned at the same time at Parliament Square, ahead of Modi's 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath' in-conversation event at nearby Central Hall Westminster tomorrow evening.
The group has been running their own vans on the streets of London welcoming Modi to the UK with the message of "Two Great Nations; One Glorious Future".
Earlier tomorrow, a "Modi Not Welcome" protest by Caste Watch UK and South Asia Solidarity Group is planned outside 10, Downing Street.
"On the one hand, Modi talks about bringing people together and of 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath', but on the other hand his cohorts RSS storm troopers continue to brazenly defy the law unleashing violence on Dalits and religious minorities, a Caste Watch UK spokesperson said.

-- PTI
20:26  Printing of Rs 500 notes to be increased 5 times: Govt:  
The government said on Tuesday the Reserve Bank of India will increase five-fold the printing of Rs 500 notes to deal with cash shortages in certain parts of the country, fuelled partly by hoarding of high denomination currency.

Economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg told reporters the government suspects that Rs 2,000 notes are being hoarded as they are not coming back into the circulation fast enough.

Cash shortage has been reported from Andhara Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka, northern Bihar and certain other parts of the country, apparently on apprehensions about safety of deposits due to recent spurt in banking frauds.

Observing that there is unusually high demand for currency, Garg said there are multiple factors for this including tendency to hoard cash and it is stronger in some parts of the country.

There is also a perception that there may be shortage of currency in the future. So people have started withdrawing and it has contributed to the crisis, he said. We keep adequate stock of currency notes, which is one-sixth of the currency in circulation.

Currently the currency in stock is about Rs 2 lakh crore and the reserves are adequate to meet any unusual spurt in demand, he said.

The unusual spurt in currency demand since January was also met through reserves, he added.
20:21  President Ram Nath Kovind to visit Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow:  
President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Jammu-Kashmir on April 18 and 19, officials said on Tuesday.
 
"On April 18, 2018, the President will grace and address the 6th convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra. On the same evening, he will attend a civic reception at Amar Mahal, Jammu," read a government statement released on Tuesday.

On Apr 19, 2018, the President will visit the Shree Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, before returning to Delhi.
19:44  Swaraj to visit China this week, to take part in SCO meet:  
The India-China rapprochement post-Doklam is set to pick up pace as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is due to visit Beijing this weekend to take part in the foreign ministers' meeting of the SCO and hold talks with her Chinese counterpart on its sidelines.

Swaraj, who will arrive on April 21 for a four-day visit, will hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on April 22 to take forward attempts by both countries to reset ties strained by last year's 73-day Doklam military standoff as well as a host of other issues.

The issues of discord include the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor being built through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, China blocking India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as its opposition to efforts to list Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

This will be Swaraj's first meeting with Wang after he was elevated last month to be state councillor, which makes him the top diplomat in the Chinese hierarchy. He holds the dual posts of state councillor and foreign minister.

She is also scheduled take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers' meeting on April 24 besides meeting Chinese Hindi scholars and students, official sources here said.

Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be visiting China virtually around the same time. Sitharaman is also due to take part in the SCO defence ministers' meeting on April 24.

The SCO meetings are a prelude to the summit of the eight-member group in which India and Pakistan have become new members.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to take part in the SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.

Foreign and defence ministers of Pakistan are also expected to attend the April 24 meetings.

SCO, in which China plays an influential role, is  comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

The visit of Swaraj and Sitharaman were taking place as  India and China stepped up high level exchanges to defuse tensions following the Doklam standoff.

-- PTI
19:04  ATM cash crunch: 'Financial emergency' returns, says Opposition:  Opposition parties today slammed the government over cash crunch in ATMs and banks in several parts of the country, saying the 'terror of note ban' has returned to haunt the people and dubbed the situation as a 'financial emergency'.

On the back foot, the government attributed the cash shortage to an unusual spurt in demand in last three months, and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the 'temporary shortage' in certain states is being 'tackled quickly' and that there is 'more than adequate' currency in circulation.

Currency shortage was reported from several parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and poll-bound Karnataka, among other states.

Several ATMs in the national capital also saw long queues and soon ran out of cash. In his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the 'terror of note-ban' has again gripped the country and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destroying the banking system with his demonetisation decision.

The Congress chief also took to Twitter to attack Modi, alleging he 'snatched' the Rs 500/1000 currency notes from the pocket of every Indian and 'gave' it to Nirav Modi, but was neither speaking a word about it nor facing Parliament.

Nirav Modi, an accused in the alleged Rs 12,700-crore scam at state-run Punjab National Bank, has been absconding.

In Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the cash crunch was a reminder of the demonetisation days.

'Seeing reports of ATMs running out of cash in several states. Big notes missing. Reminder of Demonetisation days. Is there a Financial Emergency going on in the country?' she said in a tweet.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said, 'ATMs were empty in November 2016. ATMs are empty now. And the only party flush with cash is the BJP: People suffer.'

Referring to the government's demonetisation decision in November 2016, when the government had announced withdrawal of the then Rs 500/1000 notes and subsequently introduced new Rs 2,000 notes, Yechury said the country is still paying the price of 'a sudden midnight Firman (order) of demonetisation'.

In a series of tweets, he said the demonetisation did not kill terrorism and it did not kill corruption or fake currency either.

'But it has certainly killed the Indian economy. The cash crisis tells us how Modi's demonetisation disaster is still wreaking havoc,' he added.

In a statement, the Finance Ministry acknowledged there has been an unusual spurt in currency demand in the country in last three months, but did not give specific reasons.

It has also decided to ramp up the supply of new Rs 500 notes, even as reports suggested that Rs 2,000 notes, which was easier to hoard, were particularly impacted by the shortage. While currency supply increased by Rs 45,000 crore in the first 13 days of April, 'unusual spurt in demand' was seen more in some parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, the ministry said.

Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said the government has formed state-wise committees and the issue would be resolved in next 2-3 days.

Besides, the RBI has also formed a committee to transfer currency from cash-surplus states to the others, he said.

Countering the government's stand, Yechury said, 'This government which still has not been able to count the demonetised currency is asking us to trust its Jumla that there is no cash crunch.'

'After the demonetisation disaster where goalposts were repeatedly shifted and deadlines changed, no one trusts the Modi government anymore,' the Left leader tweeted.   -- PTI
18:12  Centre sacks 9 advisors to Delhi ministers:  On recommendation of Ministry of Home Affairs, nine advisors to Delhi ministers -- including advisors to Deputy CM Manish Sisodia have been removed, ANI has reported.

The nine include Atishi Marlena, the adviser to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who the Aam Aadmi Party says, was appointed on a token monthly salary of just Re 1 to help the government improve education standards at schools, says NDTV.

The appointments have been cancelled as they were not sanctioned by the Union finance ministry.

A government order issued today said the appointments by the Delhi cabinet, which created the posts of consultants and advisers back in 2015, had been done 'by an agency not competent under the law to do so'.

AAP's Raghav Chadha called it diversionary tactics by the centre to 'divert attention from the spate of rapes, cash crunch etc'.

'Impressive diversionary tactics by the MHA, at the behest of BJP. To divert attention from spate of rapes, cash crunch etc. an opportune time to rake up non issues with AAP like retrospective sacking for a post I held for 45days in 2016 for a paltry sum of Rs.2.50/-,' he tweeted.   -- Agencies
18:05  I feel sad, hurt and helpless: Mary Kom on growing rape cases:  Legendary Indian boxer M C Mary Kom, who is also a sitting Rajya Sabha MP, said the alarming increase in the number of rapes in the country has left her feeling 'hurt and helpless'.

After the 2012 Nirbhaya case, the Kathua and Unnao rape cases have shook the nation, triggering widespread outrage.

An eight-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir while Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been arrested on allegations of raping a minor in Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh.

The Unnao vicitm's father died in police custody even as Sengar has claimed to be innocent.

"Whatever the government is doing, it will take a correct step. They know better than me. It hurts me, makes me very emotional being a woman (that 8 year-olds are raped). As an Indian I feel sad. I feel helpless," Mary Kom told a TV channel after returning to country from Gold Coast, where she won a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The Unnao case came to light when the victim tried to immolate herself outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's residence.  -- PTI
17:50  2019 polls may throw up a weaker coalition govt: Morgan Stanley:  With the general elections nearing, the street is likely to start pricing in on the poll outcome in the coming months, as there is a possibility of a coalition government coming to power. The Wall Street brokerage Morgan Stanley today said a weak coalition government is one of the biggest concerns for investors, which is a possibility in the 2019 hustings. And it is unlikely that the market will be as optimistic this time around as it was in the past election.


"The world's biggest democratic elections are 12 months away and the market is likely to start pricing in the election outcome in the coming months," the report said.


But "the market could always enter the past elections with the hope of a stronger government than the incumbent. This does not apply to the 2019 polls though where there is a possibility of a weaker government than the incumbent.


"Hence, it is unlikely that the market is as optimistic as it has been in the past going into the 2019 general elections," warns the Morgan Stanley report.


But the brokerage was quick to add that "overall assessment of the current state of indicators favours the incumbent. Growth is looking up, inflation is stable, farmers' sentiment is likely improving, transfers are rising, and jobs are coming back. However, the indicators may shift in the coming months-and together with them, the election outcome."


Basing its pessimism to the past five general elections, Morgan Stanley says while the usual approach of the market in the run-up to the polls is one of optimism, the big change from the past is that none of the elections since the mid-90s has started with a majority government in the run-up to the polls. -- PTI
17:37  Ram was part of Dr Ambedkar's name: UP Guv:   Reacting to the controversy over including 'Ramji' in Dr BR Ambedar's name, UP Governor Ram Naik today asserted that 'Ram' was part of the full name of the Indian Constitution's key architect and that is how he used to sign in the constituent assembly.


"Some people have the speciality of raking up controversies in politics... in Uttar Pradesh, Dr Ambedkar's name was not being used properly and so I had given a suggestion in this regard to the government," said the Governor who was here to attend a school programme in Dharhara village under Sukhpura police station area.


"A postal stamp released on the centenary functions of his birth anniversary also bore his full name as Dr Bhim Ram Rao Ambedkar... his signatures in the constituent assembly also had his full signatures,' Ram Naik said.


To a question on Samajwadi Party allegation that he had remained very vocal during the Akhilesh Yadav government, but has gone silent during Yogi Adityanath's regime, Ram Naik said he had been in the Raj Bhawan for over three years now and had never said anything which had political overtones.


"It is another thing if someone sees political colour in my statements," he said, adding he has the constitutional responsibilities and does not get involved in political allegations. The Governor, however, said he as always been putting his views on the incidents taking place in the state.
-- PTI
17:09  Jammu & Kashmir: Terrorists fired upon Army patrol party in Tral's Seer, area being cordoned off; More details awaited
17:01  Chhattisgarh to challenge SC order on SC/ST Act: Raman Singh:  The Chhattisgarh government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging its order modifying certain provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Chief Minister Raman Singh said today.

Singh said his government had also revoked a police department circular for implementation of the Supreme Court order across the state.

The Supreme Court guidelines, which several Dalit groups claimed allegedly diluted the stringency of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, led to a nationwide shutdown on April 2.

"On March 20, Supreme Court had delivered a judgment on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The state government will file a petition in the Supreme Court against the decision," Singh told reporters.

"In this connection, the state's police headquarters had issued an order. That order stands cancelled with immediate effect," he said.

"The state government is affected by the judgment. In Chhattisgarh, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the honour of SCs and STs. The state government has always been sensitive towards them," he said.

"The state government is completely capable of protecting the interests of SCs and STs. Therefore, we took this decision immediately," he added.

Singh said his government would present its side strongly in the apex court. On being asked about the lack of coordination between the state and the Centre, he said that his government got to know about the Centre's decision to file a review petition against the order yesterday.

"When we came to know about the stand of the Centre, we took a decision on the matter yesterday," he said.

He hit out at the opposition Congress claiming that the party was making grandiose statements on the issue but was doing nothing about it.   -- PTI
16:42  Kathua case: Ex-BJP minister leads rally to seek CM's resignation:  Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Singh, who had resigned from the state cabinet over the Kathua rape and murder case, today led a rally in support of Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the incident and called for the resignation of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for her 'failure' to address the issue.

Singh and industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga had resigned on April 13 over their participation in an earlier rally in support of the accused in the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district.

The former forest minister said the chief minister had failed to understand the popular sentiment and was yet to seek a CBI probe into the brutal incident.

It is her (Mehbooba Mufti's) biggest failure. If she has wisdom and conscience, she should resign, Singh told reporters in Samba.

"If two ministers can sacrifice their posts in the interest of peace, those who are actually responsible for creating such an atmosphere should listen to their conscience," he said targeting the People's Democratic Party leader.

Singh also said that he would press for CBI probe into the incident.

Asked about his decision to resign from the state government, Singh blamed the media for 'creating a perception', thus forcing him to take such a step.

"We resigned because the perception created by the national media was not good. It portrayed the situation in a wrong way, which was not the case at all. It was portrayed that the entire Jammu region was siding with rapists," he claimed.

There was no need to resign had the media not created such a perception, the BJP leader said.

"It (the perception) created problems for our prime minister and country. It was not good. So, we preferred to resign. We have not done anything wrong," Singh added.

The brutal gang rape and murder of the girl from the nomadic Bakerwal community and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'silence' on the issue were also written about in an editorial of the New York Times.

In the editorial titled Modi's Long Silence as Women in India Are Attacked, the NYT editorial board said Modi tweets frequently and considers himself a 'talented orator' yet he 'loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party'.  --  PTI
15:47  She wrote 'Mai, I sent the horses back home':  Parvathy Nair's poem about the little girl who went to graze horses and never returned has moved many Indians to tears.

The school teacher tells Rediff.com's Archana Masih that writing the poem was a catharsis and wonders if only the horses could speak.

Read more
15:39  We are happy to host Sikh pilgrims: Pak's Deputy HC :   Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah on Tuesday underscored that Islamabad is "always happy to host Sikh pilgrims."


"We are always happy to host them, we deal with these issues in the light of our bilateral agreements and protocols," Haider Shah said.


His remarks came in the backdrop of the ongoing controversy regarding the denial of consular access to Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan.


The Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner was summoned on Monday to lodge a "strong" protest over the attempts of inciting the Indian pilgrims.


Last week, around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims from India had travelled to Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Rawalpindi. However, Pakistani authorities reportedly blocked the Indian High Commission from performing basic consular and protocol duties for its citizens.


Soon after this, India lodged a strong protest with Pakistan and said that such incidents during the visit of pilgrims were against the spirit of the bilateral Protocol of 1974 governing the exchange of visits of pilgrims between the two countries.


However, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal released a statement on Sunday stating that the Secretary of the Evacuee Trust Property Board suggested cancellation of the visit considering an emotionally charged environment and the possibility of any untoward situation. ANI
15:19  Modis long silence as women in India are attacked:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India tweets frequently and considers himself a talented orator. Yet he loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party.


The NYT editorial on the PM's silence in the wake of the Unnao and Kathua rapes. 
15:16  Before breaking into a song :  "In Uttar Pradesh, the other BJP-ruled state where an unidentified girl was raped allegedly by the party's MLA and his brothers last year, the victim's father was thrashed for taking the case to the chief minister's residence. The father died last week in police custody. Prime Minister Modi has spoken finally. The two ministers have resigned and the MLA has been locked up. But the poison has not stopped spreading."

Read the column in the Dawn.
14:57  Parl panel summons RBI guv on banking crisis:  A parliamentary panel has called Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel on May 17 to answer queries on a spate of banking scams unearthed in the last few months, sources said. The Standing Committee on Finance, headed by veteran Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, today raised several queries related to the banking sector with Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar.


"We have invited the RBI Governor on May 17. We will be asking him about the scams and other banking regulations," said a source. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is member of the Committee, attended the meeting.


Patel had recently said that the RBI doesn't have adequate powers to deal with pubic sector banks. "We would like to know what kind of powers the RBI Governor needs," another source said, adding that regulation is an important part and that is why the Governor has been called.


The panel, sources said, discussed a spate of banking scams, both in public and private sector banks. When asked if PNB and ICICI Bank issues figured during the meeting, the source said issues related with "all commercial banks, including ICICI Bank" were discussed.


The finance ministry officials gave part replies to queries of the lawmakers and they have been given three weeks time to file a complete report on questions. -- PTI
14:53  Apply early for US visas this summer:  The US Embassy in New Delhi recommends travelers across India apply early for US visas due to heavy demand.


This is what a press release from the embassy says.


Applicants across India may wait 30 days or more for a visa interview appointment to become available and the Embassy expects this wait time to continue for at least the next few months.


Mission India's non-immigrant visa workload is one of the largest in the world, processing over a million visas a year.


The US Embassy and our four Consulates are constantly working to improve service and meet demand, but applicants should be aware that the summer is a peak travel season and there will be delays in getting visa appointments.


Travelers should apply early to avoid potential delays.Applicants are also reminded to beware of scams and fraud. The only way to get a U.S. visa is through official channels. Someone can either apply and have an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or if they have had a visa before and meet certain criteria, they may qualify to have their visa renewed.


Anyone claiming they can guarantee a visa in exchange for a fee is attempting to defraud you. Applicants should be smart and apply the right way.


To request an emergency appointment, contact them at www.ustraveldocs.com, schedule a regular interview appointment, and then click "apply for an expedited appointment.'
14:47  What the finance ministry has to say on the cash crunch:  SC Garg, Secretary, Dept of Economic Affairs, on the cash crunch: "We print about 500 crore Rs 500 notes per day. We have taken steps to raise this production five times. In the next couple of days, we will have supply of about 2500 crore of Rs 500 notes per day. In a month, supply would be about 70000 to 75000 crore

The government is taking all steps to ensure that ATMs are supplied with cash and to get non-functional ATMs normalised at the earliest. Govt of India would like to assure that there have been adequate supply of currency notes which have met entire demand so far. It would also like to assure it would be supplying adequate currency notes to meet even higher demand in coming days/months.
14:32  Evidence emerges of Pakistan's support to Sikh terrorists:   Photographic evidence has emerged that Pakistan based terror-outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamaat-ud-Dawah are backing Sikh militants with an aim to malign India. LeT's chief Hafiz Saeed has been seen with Sikh militant leader Gopal Singh Chawla in Lahore.


Chawla, under instructions from the Pakistani authorities, recently stopped Indian officials from entering Gurudwara Panja Sahib on April 14 (Baisakhi day).


Earlier on April 12, the officials were also stopped from meeting the Sikh pilgrims when they reached Wagah - the first station when a train crosses over to Pakistan.


The embassy officials went to meet the Indian pilgrims as a standard practice to help them out with consular duties and emergencies.


A group of around 1,800 Indian pilgrims reached Pakistan to visit the shrines on the occasion of Baisakhi, which marks the 320th birth anniversary of the Khalsa.


The visit of pilgrims takes place under a bilateral agreement on facilitating religious visits. To run Pakistan's anti-India propaganda, the Sikh militants also placed posters of Sikh Referendum 2020 in Parikarma of Gurudwara Panja Sahib, the holy Sikh shrine.


Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, who was to greet the pilgrims on Baisakhi, was also "compelled" to return for unspecified security reasons while on his way to Gurdwara Panja Sahib.


The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement described it, as an "inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy" in violation of the Vienna Convention.


This also violated the 1992 bilateral protocol on the treatment of each other's diplomats, which the two countries "reaffirmed" recently, said the statement. ANI
14:08  Kathua, Unnao: Struggle for justice marred by whataboutery:  "Those who genuinely seek justice do not differentiate between a victim and a victim or an accused and accused.'They demand justice for all," says Utkarsh Mishra. Read the column here.
13:53  Modi has destroyed the banking system: Rahul:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi on the cash crunch. "Modiji has destroyed the banking system. Nirav Modi fled with Rs 30,000 crore and  PM didn't utter a word. We were forced to stand in queues as he snatched Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from our pockets and put in Nirav Modi's pocket.

PM parliament main khade hone se darte hain. Hume 15 minutes ka bhashan mil jaye Parliament house main PM khade nahin ho payenge, chahe wo Rafael ka mamala ho ya, chahe wo Nirav Modi ka mamla ho, PM khade nahi ho payenge.


Rahul's statement comes after reports of a cash crunch in at least six states -- Gujarat, Eastern Mahashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said in a tweet that he has reviewed the currency situation in the country and it is a temporary shortage caused by sudden and unusual increase in demand.
13:40  Indian among Pulitzer winners :  News agency Reuters won the 2018 Pulitzer prize in international reporting for coverage of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. Reuters also won in the feature photography category for its coverage of the Rohingya crisis. This is Indian photographer Adnan Abidi's prize-winning picture on the Rohingya crisis. The picture captures Rohingya siblings fleeing violence as they hold one another as they cross the Naf River along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Palong Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh in November 2017.
13:29  NIA was misused, says former MHA official:  Former Under Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, RVS Mani, on Tuesday, said that the National Investigation Agency painted the 'Hindu Terror' angle in every case.


"The original case by the CBI, which had gathered a lot of evidence and was progressing well, the then political leadership of the home ministry transferred the case from one central agency to another, handing the case to NIA. I don't know what they did with the original evidence, but since then the saffron terror narrative was enforced," Mani said.


"Initially they did only saffron terror cases, I think it was more of a painting agency than an investigation agency, they were colouring everything (every case) in saffron," he added.


Asserting that the alleged religious politics that the Home Ministry played with several acts of terror in the country was after his transfer from the ministry, he said, "The seeds of Hindu terrorism were sowed in the Home Ministry only after my transfer. I have left the government and have no selfish motives. I took voluntarily retirement 22 months before the due date. I am standing with truth. Chasing after posts is a politicians' job, not mine." -- PTI
13:24  Will hanging rapists stop rape?:  "The first thing is that we must accept that this is not just a function of the justice and policing system.

There is a breakdown of values, and in a place where women and minorities are respected, there is no encouragement to bestiality.

Do we live in such a place?

The honest answer to that is obvious. Saying that the government should do something to stop such violence from happening ignores our own roles."

Read Aakar Patel's column here.
13:05  Amul's comment on the horror of the spiraling rapes all over India.
12:59  Court allows Salman to travel abroad:  The Jodhpur District and Sessions Court grants permission to Salman Khan to travel outside India. The actor will be travelling to Canada, Nepal and the USA from 25 May to 10 July. 
12:57  Blackbuck case: Salman files petition to visit abroad:  Salman Khan, who was granted bail in the blackbuck poaching case, has now filed a petition before Jodhpur District and Sessions Court seeking permission to visit four countries.


Salman was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of killing two blackbucks in Jodhpur during the shooting of his movie 'Hum Saath Saath Hain' in 1998.


The actor spent two nights in Jodhpur Jail but was later granted bail by the Jodhpur court on two bail bonds of Rs 25,000 each.


While granting the bail, the court ordered Salman to seek permission from the court to travel abroad. ANI
12:43  Cash shortage temporary, caused by unusual demand: Jaitley :  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said there is "more than adequate" currency in circulation and the temporary shortage in certain states is being "tackled quickly".


There have been reports of currency shortage in at least six states -- Gujarat, Eastern Mahashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Jaitley said in a tweet that he has reviewed the currency situation in the country.


"Overall there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the Banks. The temporary shortage caused by 'sudden and unusual increase' (in demand) in some areas is being tackled quickly," Jaitley said.


Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said the government has formed a committee to address the problem of currency shortage in certain states and the issue would be resolved in next 2-3 days.


"The Government has set up state-wise committee and RBI has also formed a committee to transfer currency from one state to other because for money transfer you need the permission of the RBI. It (the shortage) will be solved in 2-3 days," Shukla said. RBI report show that the currency in circulation in the country has reached the pre-demonetisation level of about Rs 17 lakh crore. -- PTI
12:22  Minor raped in Etah:  A seven-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered by a man in an inebriated state in this town in western Uttar Pradesh early today, police said. The latest incident of assault of a minor comes amid public outrage over the rape of minor girls in Unnao and Kathua.


The incident in Etah happened when the 7-year-old girl had gone with her family members to attend a marriage ceremony. According to police, the incident took place at around 1.30 am near Mandi Samiti gate on the Aliganj road.


Sonu Jatav, who was given the task of putting up tents for the marriage ceremony lured the girl, raped her and subsequently killed her, Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaurasia said.


"After this, the accused fled from the spot. The body of the girl was found in an under-construction house in the vicinity of the marriage venue. A rope was found tied around the neck of the girl," he said. The girl was rushed to the district hospital, where she was declared brought dead. The body of the girl has been sent for post-mortem. "On the basis of complaints filed by the family members, police have arrested Sonu Jatav," he said. -- PTI
12:19  Unnao rape: CBI registers case against fourth accused :  The CBI, on Tuesday, registered a case against Shashi Singh's son Shubham, making it the fourth one in the ongoing Unnao Rape case issue.


Shashi Singh, a close aide of the accused BJP MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, was sent to a four day police custody on Monday.


It was alleged that Shashi who has been remanded to Police Custody till April 19 took the victim to Sengar on the day crime was committed.


She was detained by the police authorities yesterday.


Earlier on April 13, the CBI arrested Sengar on the charges of raping a minor last year. He was later sent to a seven-day CBI custody.An FIR was lodged against the BJP MLA on Thursday under sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (abduction of woman), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.


The victim's family had also alleged that the accused MLA's brother, Atul Singh Sengar, along with his companions also raped the girl and thrashed the victim's father on April 3 for refusing to withdraw the FIR lodged. The father of the victim later died in judicial custody. ANI
11:55  Economist Kaushik Basu @kaushikcbasu tweets: The tragedy of religious fundamentalists & hypernationalists is that instead of spending time trying to do mathematics, philosophy, literature or science, they spend their time trying to show that 5000 years ago their ancestors did mathematics, philosophy, literature and science.
11:53  Kathua victim's name becomes top trending search on porn websites:  On Monday morning, a Facebook post shocked and left the author speechless. The post had a screenshot of a popular porn website's trending searches. On top, even above the celebrities and sought-after porn genres, was the name of the little girl who was gangraped and murdered in Kathua. Read more    
11:47  Kendrick Lamar, NYT and The New Yorker win Pulitzer:   Rapper Kendrick Lamar has created history by being the first non-classical or jazz winner to win Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album 'D.A.M.N.'. The 30-year-old artiste is known to have had a deep impact on a racially fraught America and has emerged as the bona fide King of Rap. The album was perhaps the most inspired piece of work in the list of winners, EW reported.


In the journalism segment, The New York Times and The New Yorker shared the Public Service award for their avant garde reportage on uncovering the long-running Harvey Weinstein saga of sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood last October.


The prize was awarded to the Times team, led by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and New Yorker contributor Ronan Farrow, for reports that brought down the disgraced media mogul and sparked movements such as #MeToo and Time's Up - encouraging women to call out men who abuse their position.


Over 100 women, including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong'o, Salma Hayek, have publicly accused the producer of misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to rape. Andrew Sean Greer took home the Pulitzer in Fiction for his comic queer novel "Less".


In Letters and Drama catergory, Caroline Fraser's Prairie Fires won the prestigious award for Biography and Martyna Majok's acclaimed off-Broadway play 'Cost of Living' won the Pulitzer for Drama. In 20 of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a USD 15,000 cash award. -- PTI
11:41  India has recovered from demo, GST; 7.3% growth predicted: WB:  The World Bank on Monday noted that the Indian economy has recovered from the effects of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax and predicted a growth rate of 7.3 percent for the country in 2018.


Further, the apex international financial institution forecasted a rate of growth of 7.5 percent for 2019 and 2020.


The World Bank in its twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus report said that the growth is expected to accelerate from 6.7 percent in 2017 to 7.3 percent in 2018, and will subsequently stabilise, supported by a sustained recovery in private investment and private consumption.


The report also noted that India should strive to accelerate investments and exports to take advantage of the recovery in global growth.


The bank also acknowledged that disruptions from demonetisation and the implementation of GST led to a setback in the economic activity, and a potentially larger negative effect on the poor and vulnerable. ANI
11:35  Maharashtra CM beating drums without sound: Shiv Sena:   Taking a dig at the BJP-led government in Maharashtra over the recent unseasonal rains and falling prices of vegetables, the Shiv Sena today said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is beating drums that have no sound.


The Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit, which is part of the ruling coalition, said instead of bragging about development during his tenure, Fadnavis should pay attention to the falling prices of sugar, tomatoes, onions and other farm produce which have adversely affected agriculturists.


"The chief minister talks about having details of development in his tenure, increase in agriculture production and efficient implementation of the loan waiver scheme in a pen drive," the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.


"The CM can continue beating this drum that has no noise but he should also pay attention to the falling prices of tomatoes, onions, sugar and other agricultural produce," the Marathi daily added.


Citing an example of the trauma the falling prices of farm items has had on farmers, the Sena said a cultivator in Ahmednagar district called a music band and destroyed his own crop by letting cattle graze it amid music.


The Sena publication said distressed farmers have no option but to destroy their own crops if they do not fetch even the basic cost of production.


"Leave aside the minimum support price, if farmers do not even get the cost of their agricultural produce, what option are they left with except throwing away their produce or letting cattle graze it?" it asked. PTI
10:30  Sensex extends gains on normal monsoon forecast:   Extending its rising streak for the ninth session, the benchmark BSE Sensex advanced nearly 100 points in opening trade today, after forecast of a normal monsoon for the year.


The 30-share barometer was trading higher by 92.66 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 34,398.09, with power, metal, PSU, infrastructure, realty, capital goods and auto sector stocks leading the trend. The gauge had gained 1,286.36 points in the previous eight sessions. Similarly, the NSE Nifty rose 29.20 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 10,557.55.


The Indian Meteorological Department yesterday said the country will receive "normal" monsoon rainfall this year, raising hopes for higher farm output and a boost to the rain-dependent rural economy. PTI
10:20  Rahul gives bizarre answers to students in Amethi:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi gave bizarre answers to students while he was on a visit to a government school. During his interaction with school children in Amethi, one of the girl students asked: The government has enacted many laws but why are not they properly being implemented in the villages?


Rahul smilingly replied: "Yeh aap Modi Ji sey puchiye. Meri sarkar thodi hi hai. Jab hamari sarkar hogi tab hamsey poochna (You ask this question to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. My government is not there. You should ask this question to us (Congress) when our government comes into power)."


The Congress President's answer was supposed to invite laughter and it did. But it is not clear whether Rahul knowingly or unknowingly gave this answer as everybody knows that the Parliament enacts laws and many of them are implemented by the state governments and not by the Union government.


When the same student asked a question about Amethi, the Congress President shrugged off his responsibilities as an MP and put the blame on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath instead. "Nahi-Nahi. Amethi ko toh Yogiji chalate hain. Mai to Amethi ka MP hoon. Mera kaam Lok Sabha mey kanoon bananey ka hai. Magar Yogiji kaa kaam UP ko chalaney ka hai aur Yogiji doosra kaam kar rahey hain. Bijli kaa kaam nahi kar rahey hain, paani ka kaam nahi kar rahey hain, Shiksha ka kaam nahi kar rahey hain aur krodh faila rahey hain. (No! No!. Yogi governs Amethi. I am MP from Amethi and my work is to enact laws in the Lok Sabha. It is responsibility of Yogi to govern UP but he is busy doing something else. He is not working on electricity, water, education and spreading anger,"
Rahul replied and walked away while the students wanted to ask more questions. -- ANI
10:11  Sushma Swaraj to visit China later this week:  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit China later this week to participate in the Foreign Ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation during which she will also hold talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Swaraj, who will be arriving in China on April 21, is expected to meet Wang on April 22. She is scheduled to take part in the SCO Foreign Ministers meeting on April 24, official sources said.  


This will be their first meeting after Wang has been elevated last month to be the State Councillor, which makes him the top diplomat in the Chinese hierarchy. He will hold the dual posts of the State Councillor and Foreign Minister.


After her China visit, she will travel to Magnolia. Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are visiting China virtually around the same time. Sitharaman is due to take part in the SCO Defence Ministers meeting on April 24.


The SCO meetings are a prelude to the June summit of the eight-member grouping in which India and Pakistan have become new members. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to take part in the SCO summit to be held in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June . -- PTI
09:51  Terrorists fire at police station in Shopian :  Terrorists fired upon a police station in Shopian in Kashmir and fled after firing several rounds. No loss of life or damage to property has been reported. The area is being cordoned off.

Terrorists have frequently barged into police posts decamping with service rifles and ammunition.

Last year, clashes had erupted in Shopian after terrorists attacked a police outpost. Some youths assembled in the villages and started pelting stones on the security forces.

Bank robberies and weapon snatching incidents have been on the rise in the Valley, triggering alerts.


Representational image.
09:40  Bomb blast outside Indian consulate office in Nepal:  A bomb went off outside an Indian consulate office in Nepal's Biratnagar, damaging the wall of the premises, a media report said today. Morang SP Arun Kumar BC said the blast took place last night in an open space behind the building that caused minor damage to the wall.


Police said they are investigating who caused the blast, Kathmandu Post reported. Investigating officers suspect that cadres of a local political group have caused the blast. The party had called a general strike in Biratnagar yesterday. The security around the blast site has been upped after the incident.


The explosion happened at around 8:20 pm and caused a hole in the compound wall. No one was in the office at the time of the incident, sources said. Biratnagar is the industrial capital of Nepal and 6 km north of the border of Bihar. PTI
09:17  Bodies of missing Indians family disappeared during road trip in US, found:  
An inter-agency search and rescue team has recovered two more bodies of an Indian American family who were feared drowned in a California river some 10 days ago, US officials said.
The bodies have been identified of that of Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and his daughter Saachi, 9, who along with his wife, Soumya, 38, and son Siddhant, 12, went missing 10 days ago. 

They were driving from Portland, Oregon to San Jose in Southern California.
The bodies of Sandeep and Saachi were recovered on Sunday inside the vehicle, a Honda Pilot, which was recovered from about 4-6 feet of river water, the police said.
Last week, the rescue team had found the body of a woman, later identified to be that of Soumya, and remains of the vehicle and the belongings of the Thottapilly family.
"At approximately 11:30 AM a boating team noticed a gasoline smell emitting from the water approximately 1/2 mile north of the reported crash site (downstream). The searchers began to probe the water and located a vehicle submerged approximately 4-6 feet beneath the water," California's Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Soon thereafter, search divers entered the water and were able to feel what they believed to be a person inside of the vehicle. Visibility was extremely poor and divers noted the vehicle was encased in a large amount of sediment from the river current, a media release said.
Recovery efforts continued for several hours and at approximately 6:30 PM the vehicle was partially removed from the Eel River by use of a tow truck. This provided searchers the ability to conduct a visual inspection of the inside of the vehicle.
"Searchers subsequently recovered the bodies of Sandeep Thottapilly and Saachi Thottapilly from inside the vehicle," the Sheriff Office said adding that the autopsies are expected to be performed this week as part of the coroner's investigation into the incident.
Another search operation is being conducted around the Eel River in an attempt to locate Siddhant Thottapilly who still remains missing.
According to the San Jose Police Department, the Thottapilly family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6 but did not make it as scheduled. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5.
The family was officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on April 8.
Sandeep grew up in Surat city in Gujarat and settled down in the US over 15 years ago. -- PTI
09:14  Girl gets parents booked for 'settling' rape case:  
A 16-year-old girl has alleged that her parents tried to coax her into changing her statement in court after taking money from two men accused of raping her in outer Delhi's Aman Vihar area, police said.
The victim approached police on April 10 with help from her neighbours, following which a case was registered. Her mother was arrested but her father is on the run.
She alleged that her parents forced her to change statement in court after taking Rs five lakh from the accused, police said.
She claimed that when she refused to listen to her parents, they beat her.
The girl had gone missing in August last year after which her parents had filed a police complaint. She returned after a week and told police that she was held captive by two men who raped her. The two men were arrested. -- PTI 
09:07  Scripting History PM Modi arrives in Sweden :  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached the capital of Sweden, Stockholm.

This is the first bilateral visit by an Indian premier to the Nordic nation in 30 years.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven received Modi at the airport.
Modi is on the first leg of his five-day foreign tour which will also take him to the UK where he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
"Scripting history! PM @narendramodi arrives in Stockholm on a first bilateral visit by an Indian PM in 30 years to a warm and personal welcome by @SwedishPM Stefan Lofven at the airport and to participate in the first ever India-Nordic Summit," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Modi and Lofven also travelled together in the same vehicle from the airport to the hotel, he said.
Earlier, ahead of his visit, Modi said in New Delhi he was looking forward to deepening bilateral engagement with both countries in a number of areas including trade, investment and clean energy.
"India and Sweden share warm and friendly ties. Our partnership is based on democratic values and commitment to an open, inclusive and rules-based global order. Sweden is a valuable partner in our development initiatives," Modi had said in a departure statement.
The two prime ministers will hold bilateral talks today.
Modi said he and Lofven would also interact with top business leaders of both countries and chart out a future roadmap of cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, science and technology, clean energy and smart cities.
The prime minister said he would also call on King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf.
India and Sweden will also jointly organise the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm today. 

The summit will also be attended by the prime ministers of Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
From Sweden, Modi will later today travel to the UK where he will also attend the CHOGM, besides holding bilateral talks with his British counterpart Theresa May. -- PTI
08:46  Facebook says it collects data even if you're logged out:  
Facebook, embattled in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, today revealed that it collected information from people beyond their social network use.
"When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you're logged out or don't have a Facebook account," Facebook's diretor of product management David Baser said in a post on the social network's blog.
"This is because other apps and sites don't know who is using Facebook," he added, noting Facebook was also following up with Congress on a few dozen questions Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was unable to answer at the time of the hearings last week.

Baser said "many" websites and apps use Facebook services to target content and ads, including via the social network's Like and Share buttons, when people use their Facebook account to log into another website or app and Facebook ads and measurement tools.

He also said that the practice was widespread, with companies such as Google and Twitter also doing the same.

"Most websites and apps send the same information to multiple companies each time you visit them," the post said.
"There are three main ways in which Facebook uses the information we get from other websites and apps: providing our services to these sites or apps; improving safety and security on Facebook; and enhancing our own products and services.
"I want to be clear: We don't sell people's data. Period," Baser added. 
00:07  Syria air strikes: UK's Theresa May says action 'moral and legal':  
Theresa May has said it was "legally and morally right" for the UK to join air strikes against the Syrian regime to prevent "further human suffering".

She told MPs there was "clear evidence" the Assad government was behind the Douma chemical weapons attack.

The UK had "explored every diplomatic channel" in response but regrettably decided there was no alternative to "limited, carefully targeted action".

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the action was "legally questionable".

Calling on Mrs May to publish the legal advice in full, Mr Corbyn said the government must be "accountable to this Parliament and not to the whims of this US President".

He questioned who was responsible for the attack, saying that while it was "highly likely" the Assad regime was behind it, other groups had carried out similar attacks and weapons inspectors must continue their work.

Sites near Damascus and Homs were hit on Saturday by the US, French and UK in response to the alleged chemical attack on Douma on 7 April.

Both Syria, which denies any chemical use, and Russia, which provides military support to the Syrian government, have reacted angrily to the action.

Stars spotted!  What's this?

What was Tiger's dad doing in Kolkata?
Reader Ardhendu Samanta sends us a picture from...

More stars spotted

Met a celebrity?
Email us photos & videos