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LIVE! Siddaramaiah to contest from 2nd seat, will file nomination from Badami

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April 21, 2018

19:58  Siddaramaiah to contest from 2nd seat, will file nomination from Badami:  JUST IN: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to file nomination for May 12 polls from Badami constituency also on April 23.

The CM filed nomination from Chamundeshwari constituency yesterday.

Earlier, speculations were rife that Siddaramaiah, who was fielded from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru, will be opting for Badami in Bagalkote district of north Karnataka as his second seat.

He said that he was under pressure from Congress leaders from Bagalkote and Bijapur districts to contest from Badami, but maintained that he would abide by the high command's decision.

The Congress, in its list of candidates for 218 seats announced on April 15, had named Dr Devraj Patil as its nominee from Badami. However, issuing of B-form (required to be filed by a political party mentioning name of its approved candidate) was put on hold.

Badami with a strong presence of Karubas,the community to which Siddaramaiah belongs, was seen as the second safe option for the chief minister as reports have suggested that the battle in Chamundeshwari will not be an easy one for him.

Siddaramaiah has won five times and tasted defeat twice at Chamundeshwari, from where he has been announced as the candidate.

He has been representing Varuna constituency in Mysuru since 2008, which has now been allotted to his son Yatindra.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Saturday, Siddaramaiah said he had conveyed to the high command, his desire to contest only from Chamundeshwari constituency.

"I have told the high command that I will contest from Chamundeshwari and not from two constituencies. However, the people of north Karnataka are pressurising the high command that I should contest from north Karnataka too," he said.   -- ANI, PTI
19:51  Gangster Abu Salem denied parole to get married:  Authorities have rejected an application of 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case convict Abu Salem seeking a 40-day parole to get married, a senior police official said today.

The underworld don, lodged in Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, had moved the application a month ago, he said.

The application of Salem, serving a life sentence, was forwarded to the Konkan Divisional Commissioner for a decision, the official said.

The Divisional Commissioner, the competent authority to process such pleas, rejected the extradited gangster's application three days ago on grounds of his security, he said.

Before rejecting the plea, the Divisional Commissioner had sought a report from the Thane Police Commissionerate, the official said.

Salem has given his residential address of Mumbra, which falls under the Thane Police Commissionerate. After receiving a negative report, the Divisional Commissioner rejected Salem's plea for parole, he added.

According to the police, Salem, who is in his 50s, was to tie the knot, reportedly for the third time, with a woman from Mumbra town in Thane on May 5.

In 2015, the Mumbra woman had submitted an application in the special TADA court, which was hearing the blasts case, stating she wanted to marry Salem and he, too, had agreed to tie the knot with her, the official said.

This was the same woman who had claimed to have married Salem during a train journey to Uttar Pradesh in 2014, he said.

The gangster, extradited from Portugal in 2005, originally hails from Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh.

Salem and four others were convicted in the Mumbai blasts case by the special court in September last year.

The 1993 bombings in the financial capital had killed 257 people and injured 713 others.

Besides the blasts case, Salem is facing charges in several other criminal matters.  -- PTI
19:48  Court cancels arrest warrant against Salman in hit-and-run case:  A Mumbai court today cancelled a bailable arrest warrant against Bollywood star Salman Khan in the 2002 hit and run case, in which the Maharashtra government's appeal against his acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, the court had issued the warrant against the actor for not furnishing the surety as per the directions of the apex court.

Khan, 52, today appeared before Additional Sessions Judge M G Deshpande and completed all the formalities of furnishing the surety, after which the court cancelled the warrant.

In February this year, he had approached the apex court seeking discharge of his surety given by his former publicist Reshma Shetty, stating that he wanted to replace it with the surety of his bodyguard Shera alias Gurmeet Singh Jolly.

The top court, which is hearing the appeal filed against his acquittal in the case by the state government, had allowed his plea on February 23.

He was asked to comply with the process. The sessions court had issued two notices to Khan this year -- once on March 5, which was received by his father, and another one on March 16.

In December 2015, the Bombay high court acquitted Khan of all criminal charges for lack of substantial evidence.

He was acquitted seven months after the sessions court held him guilty.

The actor was accused of running his car over some persons sleeping on the pavement in suburban Bandra in 2002.

One person died in the mishap. The trial court had awarded him a five-year jail term.

A court in Jodhpur had on April 5 sentenced the actor to five years in jail for killing a black buck in 1998.

On April 7, Khan walked out of the Jodhpur jail, where he spent two nights, after a sessions court in Jodhpur granted him bail in the case. -- PTI
19:37  Aadhaar seeding must for bank accounts under KYC norms: RBI:  The Reserve Bank of India has made linking of national biometric ID Aadhaar to bank accounts mandatory as part of its updated 'Know Your Customer (KYC)' guidelines.

This, however, will be subject to the final decision of the Supreme Court on making of Aadhaar mandatory, RBI said in a circular late on Friday night.

Till now, an Officially Valid Document (OVD) for address proof together with Permanent Account Number (PAN) issued by the Income Tax department and a recent passport size photograph were the key KYC documents.

But in the amended Customer Due Diligence (CDD) procedure, RBI said, 'The Aadhaar number, the PAN or Form No. 60' need to be obtained from an individual who is eligible for applying for the biometric ID.

Sources said that the move will facilitate trusted environment for banking services.

The RBI has done away with sections relating to the use of other OVD by banks for address and identity proof. For residents of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam or Meghalaya, who do not submit Aadhaar or proof of application of enrolment for Aadhaar, the bank may obtain a 'certified copy of an OVD containing details of identity and address and one recent photograph', RBI said.

OVD means the passport, the driving licence, Voter's Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India, job card issued by NREGA duly signed by an officer of the state government, letter issued by the National Population Register containing details of name and address.

The RBI said Aadhaar number shall not be sought from individuals who are not residents.

"From an individual who is not eligible to be enrolled for an Aadhaar number, or who is not a resident, the following shall be obtained: PAN or Form No. 60, one recent photograph and a certified copy of an OVD containing details of identity and address."

In case the OVD furnished by the customer does not contain updated address, utility bill of not more than two months old of any service provider (electricity, telephone, post-paid mobile phone, piped gas, water bill), property or municipal tax receipt, pension or family pension payment orders (PPOs) issued to retired employees by Government Departments or Public Sector Undertakings, and letter of allotment of accommodation from employer issued by State Government or Central Government Departments may be considered, RBI said.

The RBI said the KYC norms have been updated following the government's decision to update the 'Prevention of Money Laundering' (PML) rules in June 2017.

The government had last month extended the date for submission of Aadhaar details for existing bank account holders indefinitely.

A date would be notified after the final judgement in the petition challenging Aadhaar being heard before the Supreme Court, the government had said.  -- PTI
18:58  PNB moves Hong Kong HC against Nirav Modi:  Following the recent multi-million dollar scam involving several banks, the Punjab National Bank on Saturday moved the Hong Kong high court against absconding jewellery designer Nirav Modi.

An official from the Bank told ANI that it would approach the courts of other countries where Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have assets and businesses.

PNB had detected a loan default scam in February, wherein Modi and Choksi had acquired separate Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) to avail credit from various sources and did not repay the loan.

The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in the third week of January this year after which PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

In April, the ministry of external affairs had sought a provisional arrest of Modi by the Hong Kong government in connection with the close to two billion dollar scam case.

However, the MEA on Thursday confirmed that the Hong Kong authorities, who, under a treaty with the Indian government, are obliged to surrender a fugitive wanted by India, have not sent word regarding Nirav Modi's whereabouts as yet.     -- ANI
17:55  Cash crunch: I-T says 97% of poll seizures in Karnataka in big notes:  Rs 2,000 and 500 notes constitute 97 per cent of the Rs 4.13 crore cash that the Income Tax Department has seized in poll-bound Karnataka till now, authorities said today.

The revelation comes in the backdrop of a cash crunch being witnessed across various regions in the country as a number of ATMs had gone dry.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes, that makes policy for the ITD, had recently asked its probe wings in the country to check these instances.        The results of this exercise in Karnataka are now known.

'Though the election process is just beginning, the investigation wing of the department in Bengaluru has already seized cash of Rs 4.13 crore and gold jewellery of 4.52 kilogrammes valued at Rs 1.32 crore.

'The interesting fact in these seizures is that the majority of the cash is in the denominations of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500. Out of the total cash seized, an amount of Rs 4.03 crore is in these higher denominations,' the department said in a statement.

The seizures have been made since the Election Commission announced on March 27 the schedule for the assembly election in Karnataka.

It said that these revelations have come at a time 'when people are finding it difficult to withdraw the money from the banks/ATMs' and that this development is sure to raise eyebrows.

'Among the cash seizures, the Bengaluru city tops the list with the figure of Rs 2.47 crore followed by Bellary at Rs 55 lakh,' it added.

It said that while there are reports of cash shortage in some parts of the country, cash 'seems to be flowing' in the poll-bound state.

It said that as part of the enhanced alertness in the wake of the single-phase polling scheduled on the May 12, the investigation wing of the department in Karnataka and Goa has 'stepped up its surveillance and monitoring activities'.

'A high level of alertness is being maintained in airports and railway stations,' it said.    -- PTI

Image only for representation.
17:14  Asaram verdict: Security around victim's house stepped-up:   With a special SC/ST court in Jodhpur all set to pronounce its verdcit in a 2012 rape case against self-styled godman Asaram, the district administration in Shahjahanpur has stepped up security around the house of the victim.

"The security of the victim's family is continuously being monitored...Five policemen have been deployed at the house and a strict vigil is being maintained on all the visitors," SP (City) Dinesh Tripathi told PTI today.

"I am personally reviewing the security as the court judgement likely to come soon and officials are in touch with the family," the superintendent of police said.

The father of the victim said that he had complete faith in the judiciary and was confident that justice would be done.

Earlier this month, Judge Madhu Sudan Sharma of the Jodhpur court heard the final arguments from the prosecution and defence counsels for five months and reserved the order for April 25.

The teenaged girl had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur.

The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.

Asaram, who has in jail since August 31, 2013, was charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

If convicted, Asaram faces a maximum sentence of 10 years. He is also facing a rape case in Gujarat.  -- PTI
16:44  Body found in Kerala suspected to be of missing foreign tourist:  A highly decomposed body, which was recovered from Vazhamuttom near Kovalam, is suspected to be of a Lithuanian tourist, reported missing since March 14, the police said today.

The woman's body was recovered yesterday.

The police said the woman was 33-year-old Liga, who had come for Ayurvedic treatment of depression and had gone missing from Kovalam on March 14.

Police Commissioner, Thiruvananthapuram, P Prakash said DNA and forensic tests would be carried out to confirm it.

Liga's husband and sister, who came to Thiruvananthapuram from Mangaluru in the morning, saw the body and told the police that the shirt and hair were similar to that of the missing woman.

The police had formed a Special Investigation Team and launched a massive search to trace Liga.

They had also announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for anyone providing information about the missing woman.

Liga was staying at a private Ayurveda treatment centre at nearby Pothencode.

She had come to Kovalam with her sister Ilzie on the morning of March 14.

She went missing soon after.

A case was registered based on a complaint from the authorities of the treatment centre.  -- PTI
16:41  Kerala: CPI-M leader gets death, 5 lifer in Congress leader murder case:  A fast track court in Alapuzha today sentenced a former local secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist to death and awarded life imprisonment to five others for the murder of a Congress worker at Chertala in 2009.

The Alapuzha Fast Track Court Judge, Anil Kumar, pronounced the verdict this morning.

The court found that R Baiju was the main conspirator in the case and awarded the death sentence to him.

The prosecution case was that Baiju and the others went to the residence of Divakaran on December 9, 2009, to sell a coir product as part of the then Left government's scheme to promote such products.

However, Divakaran refused to buy them, saying they were priced too high, leading to a heated argument.

He was then hit on the head and suffered serious injuries. He succumbed at a hospital after a week.  -- PTI
15:58  Ordinance allowing seizure of fugitive economic offenders' assets approved:  The Union cabinet today approved a proposal to promulgate Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 that provides for confiscating properties and assets of economic offenders like loan defaulters who flee the country, sources said.

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 12 but could not be passed due to logjam in Parliament over various issues.

It seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders -- like Nirav Modi -- who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution.

The ordinance was approved at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the sources said.

It will come into effect after the assent of the President.

The provisions of the ordinance will apply for economic offenders who refuse to return, persons against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for a scheduled offence as well as wilful bank loan defaulters with outstanding of over Rs 100 crore.

It provides for confiscating assets even without conviction and paying off lenders by selling off the fugitive's properties.

Such economic offenders will be tried under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The ordinance defines a fugitive economic offender as a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing offence like counterfeiting government stamps or currency, cheque dishonour for insufficiency of funds, money laundering, and transactions defrauding creditors.

A fugitive economic offender is one who has left the country to avoid facing prosecution, or refuses to return to face prosecution.  -- PTI
15:11  Fire breaks out at Amit Shah's meeting venue in UP:  A minor fire broke out at the venue of a public meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, triggering panic and commotion in the audience.

The fire, which was brought under control in short time, broke out due to an electrical short-circuit near the media enclosure, officials said.

Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were present on the dais at the time of the incident.

State BJP chief Mahendranath Pandey was addressing the gathering when smoke and sparks were noticed.

Because of the fire, the programme was stopped for a while.  -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
14:47  Cabinet okays ordinance to award death for raping girls below 12 yrs:   JUST IN: The Union cabinet has approved an Ordinance to be promulgated to provide for stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape particularly of girls below 16 years age and below 12 years of age.

Death penalty has been provided for rapists of girls below 12 years of age.

The Union cabinet also decides to put in place measures for speedy investigation and trial of rape cases.

In case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment; minimum 20 years' imprisonment or life imprisonment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided in the Ordinance.

Minimum punishment in case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years, extendable to life imprisonment; in case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, punishment will be life imprisonment or death sentence.  -- ANI
14:18  Kathua SP replaced:  Kathua Superintendent of Police Suleman Choudhary has been replaced with Shridhar Patil.

The development comes days after the investigation began into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the district.

The case dates back to January when the father of the victim filed an FIR after the child went missing on January 10.

After an initial arrest, protests followed questioning the handling of the case by the local police.

The case was then transferred to Jammu and Kashmir Police's Crime Branch, which filed a charge sheet earlier this month.

The details of the rape and murder revealed in the charge sheet triggered public and political outrage in various parts of the country, as many are calling for speedy justice in the case.

In connection with the case, two FIRs have been filed -- one against eight people for allegedly being involved in the crime and another has been filed against a group of lawyers who allegedly stopped the police from filing the charge sheet against the eight accused.  -- ANI
13:39  Yashwant Sinha quits BJP, says will unite opposition parties:  M I Khan reports from Patna

Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Saturday announced that he is quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party and will launch a countrywide campaign to 'save democracy'.

"I am announcing here the end my long-time association with the BJP," Sinha said while addressing the first meeting of 'Rashtra Manch' founded by him months ago.

He said now onwards he will try to unite all non-BJP parties.

"I will not join any political party and will have nothing to do with party-politics," he said.

"I am not an aspirant for any top post and I am making it clear here that I am not at all interested in seeking any post," Sinha said.

Sinha along with sulking BJP MP Satrughan Sinha, Congress leader Renuka Choudhary and Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh attended the meeting of Rashtra Manch.
12:16  Cases of violence against minors getting more publicity these days: Hema:  Bharatiya Janata Party MP Hema Malini on Saturday said the number of crimes reported against women and minors might be rising due to the recent publicity it has gathered.

Speaking to ANI, the actor-turned-politician said that such crimes might have been common earlier too.

"Such cases are being given more publicity these days. So, it may have been happening earlier too, but wasn't known. The government will definitely take more precaution and will come out with a solution," she said.

"Such incidents should not have happened; it is also showing our country in a bad light," she remarked.  -- ANI
12:14  Cop suspended for demanding pizza for booking FIR:  A lady Sub-Inspector was allegedly suspended for demanding pizza from a restaurant owner, who came to register a complaint in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow.

The incident is of Hazratganj Police Station, where the owner, Rohit Berry went to the police station to file a case against an unknown man, who did not pay for the food in the restaurant.

The woman Sub-Inspector wrote the FIR, but asked the owner to bring Pizza when he comes again to take the copy of the FIR.

"She asked us to bring food and take our FIR copy. We supplied the order but they returned it and paid us after the incident went viral on social media," said the owner of the restaurant Rohit Berry.

SSP Hirendra Kumar confirmed the suspension of the sub-inspector and said a departmental inquiry has been initiated in the matter.  -- ANI
10:45  MP shocker: 6-month-old girl raped, killed in Indore :  
The blood-soaked body of a six-month-old infant was recovered from the basement of a building in Indore, a police official said.
Police identified the accused as Sunil Bheel, 21, claiming that he was seen in CCTV footage, at around 4.45 am on Friday, carrying the infant on his shoulder.
The post-mortem of the infant, which was carried out at the state-run MY Hospital in Indore, suggested that she might have been raped before being killed as her private parts bore an injury mark, a source said.

The child's body had injury marks on the private parts and the head.
"The body of the infant was recovered from the basement of a commercial building in Rajwada area. The accused, Sunil Bheel, had kidnapped her early in the morning when she was asleep with her parents outside the Rajwada Fort. The accused was sleeping close to the family," said HC Mishra, deputy inspector-general of police, Indore.
The accused and the infant's parents knew each other and were in the business of selling balloons, Mishra said.
"The accused is seen carrying the infant in CCTV images of around 4:45am today. He then took her to the basement of the building, some 50 metres away from where the family was sleeping, and her body was recovered in the afternoon," he said.
"The infant had an injury on her head. The accused probably threw her to the ground. However, only the post-mortem report will verify if she died due to this or whether she was smothered," Mishra said.
"We are going to arrest the accused shortly," he added. 

The rape and murder follows a disturbing pattern emerging even as the country tries to cope with grief and anger over the kidnapping, gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January. -- PTI
10:22  CRPF officer killed in gunfight with Maoists in Chhattisgarh, :  
An officer of the Central Reserve Police Force officer was killed in a gunfight with the Maoists in a dense forest in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, police said today.
The gunfight took place last night in Kistaram police station area when a team of CRPF's 212th battalion was out on a search-cum-area domination operation, Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Bastar Range) Sundarraj P told PTI.
"Assistant sub inspector Anil Kumar Maurya was killed in the incident," he said.
The deceased was a native of Madhya Pradesh.
Security forces have launched a combing operation in the area, located around 500 km away from the state capital Raipur, he added. -- PTI 
10:18  India's growth momentum must continue despite elections: IMF:  
The International Monetary Fund has said it wants continued momentum in India's growth and structural reforms despite the election period.
A number of elections are scheduled to be held in India within the next one year with assembly polls in Karnataka, Mizoram, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as well as the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
"We are not saying that India's structural reform speed will slow down because of elections. What we are saying is that the growth momentum and the structural reform momentum should continue despite the election period," said Changyong Rhee, Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF.
India is projected to grow at 7.4 per cent in the fiscal year 2018-2019 as the economy recovers from temporary destruction due to currency exchange initiatives and the roll out of the new goods and services tax, Rhee said yesterday.
Ken Kang, Deputy Director, at the IMF Asia and Pacific Department said the implementation of the GST was "a major reform" of the Indian tax system. 
"In recent years, India has made impressive progress in reforms.. It (GST) will enhance the efficiency of intra-Indian movement of goods and services, help create a common national market as well as help boost jobs and growth," said Kang.
He said India's introduction of flexible inflation targeting and of a statutory monetary policy which has helped strengthen the monetary policy framework was another big achievement. 
"The government has recently announced a major recapitalisation plan for the public-sector banks in order to accelerate the work out of non-performing loans, as well as made some important legal improvements through a new insolvency and bankruptcy law," said Kang.
"The IMF hopes that the reform momentum would continue," Kang added. 
Looking ahead, said Kang, India needed to focus on labour market reforms with a focus on increasing formal female labour participation, to improve the business environment, and reduce complex regulations, but also to address supply bottlenecks, particularly in the agricultural sector and distribution networks.
Responding to a question, Kang said that the IMF expects India's role in the region to expand.
"India does have a room to expand its export orientation and to reduce further trade and non-trade barriers. The statutory tariff rate in India is relatively high at about 15 per cent and higher than those in the rest of the region. So there is room to do more on trade reforms," he said. -- PTI 
09:39  Impeachment is the extreme remedy, could have been avoided: Ex-Law Min:  
Congress leader and former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar has opposed his party's decision of moving an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and said that the move could have been avoided.

He added that if he would have been a member of parliament and had been given the paper to sign, he would not have done it.

"I would not like to get into the merits of the controversy. I am on a larger principle and the larger principle is that impeachment is the extreme remedy and that to against the chief justice, which is an unprecedented move," Kumar said.

On Friday, the opposition parties led by Congress moved the impeachment motion in the Rajya Sabha seeking the removal of CJI Misra under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India. The motion was signed by 64 sitting members of the House.

As per Article 124 (4), "A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity." -- ANI
09:34  Army jawan injured in ceasefire violation in J-K's Rajouri dies:  
An army jawan, who was injured in Pakistani firing along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district, succumbed to injuries at a military hospital in Jammu, a defence spokesman said today.
His death raised the number of persons killed in over 650 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the state this year to 31, including 16 security personnel.
Havildar Charanjeet Singh, 42, suffered bullet injuries in the unprovoked Pakistani firing on army posts along the LoC in the Sunderbani sector on April 17. He was evacuated and provided intensive medical care in a military hospital, the spokesman said.  
He said Singh, hailing from Kalsian village of Nowshera in Rajouri district, succumbed to his injuries yesterday despite all out efforts by doctors to save his life.  
Singh is survived by his wife Neelam Kumari, the spokesman said, adding that he was a brave and sincere soldier.

"The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty", he said.
The spokesman said the mortal remains of the soldier had reached his home for last rites and he will be given a farewell with full military honours later in the day. -- PTI 
09:15  PM Modi returns home:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back home after his three-nation tour in Europe. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received him at the airport. 
08:43  PM Modi 'had a wonderful meeting' with German Chancellor Merkel:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had a "wonderful meeting" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed multiple aspects relating to bilateral cooperation as well as other global issues.
Modi met Merkel during a brief stopover in Berlin after wrapping up his visit to the United Kingdom where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and held a series of bilateral meetings.
It was the third and last leg of Modi's three-nation tour to the UK, Sweden and Germany.
"Had a wonderful meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. We discussed multiple aspects relating to India-Germany cooperation as well as other global issues," Modi tweeted.
The two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen India-Germany cooperation, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, adding that Modi's visit "demonstrates India's mutual desire to strengthen the strategic partnership".
"Further cementing a cherished friendship! PM @narendramodi warmly welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the  Chancellery ahead of the bilateral meeting," Kumar said in a tweet.
Modi's meeting with Merkel comes after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier's trip to India last month, which focused on boosting economic and strategic ties between the two countries.
Germany is India's largest trade partner in the European Union bloc. -- PTI 
08:17  North Korea suspends missile testing, closes nuclear site:  
Ahead of a planned meeting with United States President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced the his country will suspend its nuclear and missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that North Korea, amidst preparing for discussions with the United States and South Korea, would shut down its nuclear test site in the northern area.

"From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles," Yonhap quoted the Korean Central News Agency as saying.

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to guarantee transparency in suspending nuclear tests," the statement from North Korea added.

The decision was made in a meeting of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea's full Central Committee that had convened to discuss a "new stage" of policies.

Kim Jong-un is set to hold a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday.

A meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will possibly happen in May or early June, this year. -- ANI
00:07  EDM star Avicii found dead in Muscat, at age 28:  Swedish-born producer and DJ known as Avicii has been found dead in Oman, his representative said.

The musician -- born Tim Bergling -- was 28, The Independent reported.

Avicii's publicist Diana Baron confirmed the news in a statement that the DJ was in Muscat, Oman when he passed away.

Avicii was a pioneer of the contemporary Electronic Dance Movement and a rare DJ capable of worldwide arena tour, said KRON4.

No cause of death was given and Baron said no further statements would be released.   -- Agencies

Photograph: ANI
00:01  Modi arrives in Germany to hold talks with Merkel:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Germany today on a short visit to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Berlin from Britain on the third and last leg of his three-nation tour.

'Maintaining the momentum of regular high-level dialogue, PM @narendramodi arrives in Berlin on a short visit to meet with German Chancellor Merkel,' Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

The visit demonstrates India's mutual desire to strengthen the strategic partnership, he said.

Modi reached Berlin after wrapping up his visit to the United Kingdom where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and held a series of bilateral meetings.  -- PTI

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