Mon, 27 April 2015
Rajinikanth, Ramdev recommended for Padma in 2015

Timeline  Refresh

23:49   Indian accused of murdering wife declared wanted by FBI
A 24-year-old Indian national suspected of killing his wife inside a Dunkin' Donuts earlier this month has been declared "wanted" by the FBI here which is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading up to his capture.

Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel is said to have been last seen in the New York area after allegedly having fled from Newark in the neighbouring New Jersey state.

The US attorney's Office in Maryland has issued a federal warrant against Patel in the murder of his 21-year old wife Palak Bhadreskumar Patel. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to Patel's arrest.

Detectives say the Patel couple worked at a Dunkin Donuts restaurant in Maryland. They believe Patel killed his wife in a back room just before midnight on April 12.
23:42   Rajinikanth, Ramdev recommended for Padma in 2015
Superstar Rajinikanth, yoga teacher Ramdev, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha were among the 1,793 prominent persons whose names were recommended for this year's Padma awards but ignored.

Names of spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi, former United States Ambassador to India Robert Blackwil, filmstar Ajay Devgan, noted playback singer Udit Narayan and industrialist Brijmohan Lall Munjal were also recommended to the Padma awards selection committee but they were not selected.
23:35   U'khand sends 25 buses, officials to quake-hit Nepal
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today said the state government has sent 25 buses and a team of officials to help in relief operations in earthquake-hit Nepal. 

Talking to media persons , Rawat said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had called him up seeking assistance to evacuate stranded tourists in affected areas bordering Uttarakhand. 

He said he has asked state Chief Secretary N Ravi Shankar to keep in touch with officials in Nepal on the rescue and relief efforts.
23:28   South Korea prime minister resigns over widening bribery scandal
South Korean president Park Geun-Hye has accepted the resignation of her prime minister Lee Wan-Koo over a widening bribery scandal that has tainted senior members of her faltering administration.

Read this story HERE
22:29   Nepal quake: UNICEF says nearly a million children severely affected
Nearly a million children have been severely affected by a severe earthquake in Nepal that has killed more than 4,000 people, a spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund said, as rescue and aid workers struggle to cope. With hundreds of thousands of Nepalis sleeping out in tents or in the open, UNICEF said its relief workers were watching for waterborne and infectious diseases.
21:59   Facebook to match donations made for Nepal earthquake victims
Social networking giant Facebook said it will match the donations made by people to International Medical Corps for victims of Nepal earthquake, up to $2 million. "Donate to International Medical Corps today and Facebook will match your donation. Facebook will match your donation up to $2 million to contribute to local relief organisations," Facebook said in a statement.
21:54   Nepal earthquake: What can be done to prevent similar disasters in the future?
Although the science of earthquake forecasting is quite advanced, it is nowhere near the stage of reaching a deterministic prediction. For this to happen, seismologists need to find something that reliably happens in a small window of space and time before the earthquake strikes in other words a diagnostic precursor.

Read more HERE
21:34   Panic spreads after fresh tremors are felt in Nepal
Tremors shook parts of Kathmandu, three days after a severe earthquake caused devastation, killing more than 4,000 people and sending thousands of residents rushing out of their homes fearing for their safety. Key highways have been blocked by landslides, and many villages and communities are without water and electricity, surviving on salvaged food and with no outside help.
JUST IN: Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani arrives in Delhi. 

The Afghan president, who was scheduled to arrive earlier, delayed his visit owing to Taliban attacks in Kunduz. Ghani will be in India for three days where he will hold  bilateral engagement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, followed by delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House.
JUST IN: Death toll from massive  Nepal earthquake has surpassed 4,000, say officials. 
20:33   Despite quake and avalanche, climber not ready to quit
Climber Nick Cienski has not given up on his world record bid to scale six 8,000-metre peaks this calendar year, despite narrowly escaping a huge avalanche on Mount Everest set off by an earthquake that killed thousands of people in Nepal. The avalanche unleashed by the 7.9 magnitude quake blew tents, people and gear hundreds of feet, only just missing his team. 

A day after helping to recover the bodies of 12 of at least 17 avalanche victims, Cienski agonised over whether to continue his quest in the poor Himalayan nation struck by a greater tragedy
19:44   Will adopt Nepal quake orphans, says Baba Ramdev
Baba Ramdev has said that he will adopt orphans who have lost their parents and family members in the earthquake in Nepal. Baba Ramdev, who himself survived the disaster by a few minutes at a yoga camp, called upon his volunteers to donate blood to save the lives of people injured in the quake. Baba Ramdev said he would remain in Nepal till the situation is brought under control. He has set up a relief camp in Kathmandu to provide food and shelter to the victims.
19:35   India not in race to host 2024 Olympics, confirms IOC president
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach expressed surprise at media reports that India may bid for 2024 Olympics saying that it's too early for India to host Olympics. "A year after returning from Olympic suspension, the IOA still needs to find its feet. We are surprised with the speculation about the Olympic bid. It's too quick now for India to host the Olympics in 2024," Bach said.

After holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid growing expectations that India may make its first bid to host the Olympics Games, Bach said doors are always opened for India. "PM Modi is also seriously looking into India's Olympic candidature in the future. But he wants India to be well prepared. From now to September, it would be difficult to get everything ready in time," added Bach.
19:24   Spain, other nations request India to evacuate their citizens from Nepal
Much like India's evacuation ops from Yemen, requests from other countries seeking help to evacuate its nationals from Nepal has come in. Spain has asked India to help with evacuating its people.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar says, "We have requests from many countries to bring back their nationals. Thirty foreign nationals brought back. Roughly 5400 Indians have been rescued from Nepal."

India evacuated 1000 people stranded in Yemen from 41 countries. 
National disaster helpline number 1078 made operational. People can dial using STD code 011.
Number of casualties in Nepal goes up to 3900.
19:09   India sends milk, noodles, blankets, tents, medicines to Nepal
Update from the external affairs ministry on the Nepal quake.

Tents, blankets, milk and milk products, medicines, noodles and food packets are what India has been sending to Nepal, says foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

"130 people have been brought back today. We hope to bring back a total of 1600 Indians. We have a team from Indian Oil Corp helping with the fuel situation there.

"One important development today is that the power gird team which will help in restoration of power in Kathmandu has reached.

"Three additional NDRF teams going in today. Another big change today from yesterday is more movement on the ground," says Jaishankar.

"India has also sent 100 buses to Nepal to evacuate people by road. Our expectation is that the buses that have gone will reach Kathmandu and Pokhara by the end of the day.

"We have had 21 trucks which were sent by the UP Govt with food, water and medicines as well as a medical team of 47 people."
18:41   PM donates month's salary
PM Modi has donated one month's salary to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, for assistance to those affected by the recent earthquake.

Before you swoon in admiration, all MPs have pledged to donate a month's salary for the quake-affected in Nepal and India.
Model and former Bigg Boss contestant Pooja Mishra evacuated from earthquake hit Nepal arrives at IGI airport T3 in New Delhi on Sunday. 
18:37   Fresh tremors of 5.1 magnitude on Indo-Nepal border, Bihar, UP shaken
Tremors felt again in parts of Bihar and West Bengal. Patna and Siliguri affected, but no reports of damage. The quake measured 5.1 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre of quake is believed to be on the Indo-Nepal border. This is the 57th tremor since Saturday's devastating earthquake in Nepal.

The death toll in India from Saturday's monster earthquake on Monday shot up to 72 even as New Delhi ramped up relief and rescue efforts in Nepal to provide succor to the nation devastated by the temblor.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Lok Sabha that the toll in the country has climbed up to 72 with 56 deaths reported in Bihar, 12 in UP, three in West Bengal and one in Rajasthan.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar says death toll in the state has risen to 57, while 200 have been injured in the earthquake.
17:52   India evacuates 2246 people from Nepal
MoD spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweets: 1 IL-76 of IAF brings back 213 persons frm KTM to Palam. Landed at 5.15 PM, taking the total number of evacuees to 2246. Two more ALH Dhruv and 2 Cheetahs are being inducted to Pokhara to provide greater momentum to rescue and relief operations.
17:45   Dogs from India, France assist in rescue ops in Nepal
Rescue teams on Monday deployed specially trained dogs from India, France and Spain for locating victims buried under tonnes of debris following the devastating earthquake in Nepal. A team of 15 personnel and six dogs were brought in Nepal from France and Spain to assist in the rescue operations. Read
17:38   Miracle in Nepal: Woman rescued alive 54 hours after quake
In Machha Pokhari, Kathmandu, NDRF men rescue a Nepali woman from deep within the rubble of a collapsed building. She was alive but injured. In the despair and desperation that has gripped Nepal, the rescue was met with cheers and clapping.  Overwhelmed authorities are trying to cope with a shortage of drinking water, food and electricity, as well as the threat of disease, as the government appealed for international help. The Nepal home ministry has put the death toll at 3726.
17:31   Zero. BJP's score in WB polls, forsees Derek O'Brien
TMC MP Derek O'Brien who is the party's spokesperson in the Rajya Sabha has taken a sneak peek into the future and believes that the BJP will score a zero in the West Bengal civic polls. That was his riposte to BJP MP Varun Gandhi who was the central observer of BJP for West Bengal. O'Brien told Gandhi that all he had to do was wait and watch for the results to be declared (Wednesday) to see how the BJP would be washed out.
17:15   BCCI secy asks N Srinivasan to reveal names of bookies
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur has written a letter (see image) to ICC President N Srinivasan, asking him to share the list of "unverified suspected bookies" with him and other BCCI officials so that they can keep away from them.

Thakur also accepted knowing Karan Gilhotra but denied having any knowledge of Gilhotra's activities as a suspected bookie. Thakur also accused former BCCI President of using International Cricket Council to send official complaint to the BCCI.
17:12   ISIS leader killed?
Just in: Radio Iran claims Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died. Al Baghdadi had reportedly sustained severe injuries following an attack carried out by air strikes and has apparently succumbed to it.
And another MP who was ignored in Parliament today....

Kerala CPM MPs ignored CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechuri today since many of these MPs are loyal to the anti-Achuthanandan group while Yechury is an Achudanandan loyalist.
17:06   Cong leader ignores Sonia in Parliament
We interrupt news from the Nepal tragedy, to tell you what's been happening in Parliament.

The Punjab Congress Committee chief Pratap Singh Bajwa did the unthinkable inside Parliament House today. He ignored Congress prez Sonia Gandhi. The reason? Bajwa is close to Rahul, but has kept Sonia at arm's length because she encourages Captain Amrinder Singh who is his arch rival.  
16:49   Oil espionage case: Santanu Saikia's bail plea dismissed
In other news, a Delhi court dismisses the bail plea of journalist Shantanu Saikia, arrested in the Petroleum Ministry documents leak case. Delhi Police crime branch arrested the former journalist and another energy consultant Prayas Jain on February 20.

Saikia runs an energy portal named Saikia and Jain have been accused of buying the leaked documents, analysing them and selling them off to business houses, police say.
16:45   Amul never fails
Jonty Rhodes seems to have made a life-long connection with India after he named his newborn daughter 'India Jeanne Rhodes'.

And the other person, who was named India, is the last viceroy's granddaughter -- India Hicks.

16:40   Tourists fight to leave Nepal, chaos at Kathmandu airport
Chaos prevailed at Nepal's only international airport on Monday with hundreds waiting to be evacuated from the earthquake-ravaged country as India and other nations scurried to bring back their panic-stricken citizens. Read the report on
16:16   Rescue and relief planes return without dropping payload from Kathmandu
The ministry of defence says that the two C-17 aircraft carrying communication equipment and Water, 1 C-130J and 1 IL-76 (NDRF teams) return to Palam (New Delhi) due to 'congestion' at Kathmandu airport. India has deployed 13 military aircraft to Nepal as part of Operation Maitri.
16:13   Nepalese flee to India by road, Bihar, UP advised to set up relief camps
The MoD tweets this picture of a "Search and rescue" op being carried out by the NDRF in Kathmandu.The Indian government has advised Bihar and Uttar Pradesh state governments to set up relief camps along the border for people coming by road. Reuters reports that two days of powerful aftershocks and fearing shortages of food and water, many Nepalese are fleeing the country by road to India. Roads leading out of Kathmandu were jammed with people.

At least 150 Indians who reached the Indian border at Raxaul from Nepal this morning were sent to their homes by different trains and 10 buses were dispatched to Pokhara in the neighbouring country by Bihar government. 
16:06   Govt smells a rat in Mulayam's pro-farmer move
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav wrote to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister seeking the withdrawal of PAN cards by farmers who spend cash above Rs 1 lakh.

Mulayam feels that this practice of seeking income details from small and medium farmers will open them up to harassment by income tax authorities.

The PMO and the North Block (which houses the finance ministry) interpret this as a ruse by the Samajwadi Party leader is to block the efforts of the BJP government weed out black money.
15:24   The ground was shaking...
Caught on camera: The avalanche in the immediate aftermath of the Nepal quake. Watch.

And yes, Jost Kobusch, the mountaineer who filmed the video, survived the avalanche.
15:17   And on Twitter...
@rahulkanwal tweets: Seeing condition of villagers Indian Air Force crew air dropped their own rations for those stranded. #Selfless #Dedicated #Respect.

@vikramchandra An army man told me: generations of Nepalis have given their lives for the Indian army. It's time to honour that debt of blood.
15:15   NDRF@ Nepal: 10 survivors, 46 bodies found
Update from Sandeep Rathore (IG, NDRF) on the Nepal quake rescue and relief efforts: "We are sending six teams today, three from our battalion in West Bengal and three from Bhatinda. We have been able to locate 10 survivors so far and, roughly 46 bodies. If we find a dead body we are only going to hand it over to Nepalese authority, disposal of bodies is left for them to decide. Nepal is a separate country and has their own system."

Mass cremation in Bhaktapur underway as you read this. 
@DrSweta148 tweets: Golden temple will send 1,00,000 packets of
#meal per day to #Nepal everyday along with a few other # Respect.

14:57   NO visa fee for foreigners who want to be evacuated to India: HM
Another important update from the govt of India: The MHA has decided to "give Gratis Visas to foreigners coming to India from Nepal," home minister Rajnath Singh announced in Parliament today.

Which means foreigners stranded in Nepal can take an Indian Airforce flight to India without paying a visa fee. The government has also decided to grant visas on priority to those who are to be evacuated from Nepal, said the home minister.

India responded immediately after a massive earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament today, commenting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "knew of the incident before me and took swift action."

"Just five minutes before the earthquake, I was with the PM. He informed me about the earthquake. The quick response that should have been shown by me as home minister was shown by the PM," Singh said in a statement in the Lok Sabha on the disaster that has left at least 3617 dead.
"The government is in constant touch with the state governments and have assured them of all necessary help," Rajnath Singh said in Parliament today. 
14:21   MPs contribute month's salary for quake relief in India, Nepal
Union minister Venkaiah Naidu today proposed that all MPs contribute a month's salary towards relief and rehab efforts in India and Nepal. "As a Parliamentary Minister I proposed that we should all contribute one month of our salary for rehabilitation program in Nepal and the affected states in India. All political parties unanimously agreed to this," Naidu said.
14:16   Telugu film actor K Vijay dies in Nepal
An inter-ministerial team comprising senior officials from ministries of home, defence, external affairs and NDMA today left for Nepal to coordinate rescue and relief operations in the quake-hit country.

Toll: 3,617 killed, 6,515 injured.

Meanwhile, seven pilgrims from Assam feared dead in Nepal. And news just coming in says Telugu film actor K Vijay dead in Nepal. The car he was travelling in overturned.

Vijay, 25, was in Nepal along with the unit of Telugu movie for shooting.

Music director Kishan said in Hyderabad that he received information Monday that Vijay died when they were returning from shooting. The car in which they were travelling overturned.
Baby food on its way to Nepal. 
13:55   5 hurt in clashes at Army recruitment rally in J&K
Five people including a policeman and a woman were injured in clashes during an Army recruitment rally in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district today.

Chaos broke out during the Territorial Army recruitment rally at Subsidiary Training Centre (STC) in Talwara belt of Reasi district as aspirants rushed towards the entrance in large numbers while those rejected started pushing each other on the way out, police said.

Police resorted to mild cane charge as the crowd clashed with them in which five persons including a cop and a woman suffered minor injuries, they said, adding that the situation was brought under control and the screening of aspirants is underway.
13:51   Showstopper sarkar: Suited, booted, but not quite rooted
When empathy is missing, smart clothes distance you from the general public. When real change in voters' lives is not evident, changes in the PM's wardrobe stand out rather glaringly . It's the persona that brings the clothes into focus. Modi's not known for a soft touch. His is a shoot-from-the-hip, strongman image.

Sagarika Ghose's compelling piece for the Times of India. Read
@amitabhmattoo tweets: Holistic healer, motivational speaker, a grt human being Renu Fotedar is no more. An avalanche at Everest base camp washed her tent away RIP. 
Official figures from the Government of India:

Death toll in the Nepal earthquake (not counting India): 3615
Number of Indians rescued: 2500

13:27   2500 Indians rescued so far: Home Ministry
Home minister Rajnath Singh making a statement in Parliament on the Nepal quake.

Immediate steps were taken by the GoI under the leadership of PM Modi after the Nepal earthquake. "PM informed me about the earthquake and the quick response that should have been shown by me as home minister, was shown by the PM. "Sankat ki ghadi mai Bharat ki sarkar Bharat-vaasiyon ke saath bhi khadi hai, aur Nepal-vaasiyon ke saath bhi. (In times of disaster and distress, the government of India will stand by both Indians and Nepalese)," Singh says.

"Over 2500 Indians evacuated from Nepal. Tonnes of relief material sent to Nepal. A total of Rs 6 lakh has been pledged to families of Indians who have died in the earthquake," Rajnath said.
13:20   History comes crashing down in Nepal
Centuries-old Nepalese history has been completely demolished by one stroke of nature's fury. At least four out of the seven Unesco World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley -- three of them ancient city squares -- have been severely damaged by the 7.9 magnitude quake that rocked Nepal on Saturday. Take a look.

12:59   Awesome, Mr Khurshid!
Amid death, destruction and despair that the Nepal earthquake has wrought in the Himalayan kingdom and India, a moment of levity...

When former foreign minister Salman Khurshid pranced around with the German ambassador's wife! Take a look
12:56   Appreciate #ThankYouPM, real thanks goes to our great culture: PM
PM Narendra Modi tweets his thanks to India and Indians.

"To all those saying #ThankYouPM -- appreciate the sentiment -- real thanks should be to our great culture, which teaches us 'Seva Parmo Dharma'.

"If we want to thank anyone, it should be the 125 crore people of India who have made Nepal's pain their own & extended all help.

"We must thank our armed forces, NDRF teams, doctors and all those volunteers who are overcoming every obstacle to restore normalcy in Nepal.

"We owe a big thanks to the enthusiastic youngsters who are mobilising contributions for relief work be it cash, resources & medicines etc.

"The immense co-operation between Centre & the States is a major asset in times like these. A big thanks to all State Governments.

"And above all, we salute the resilience of our sisters & brothers in Nepal & parts of India, for their courage in the face of disaster."

The Indian Army has named the aid to Nepal 'Operation Maitri' or friendship, after India started extending help to the neighbouring country that was hit by a massive earthquake just before noon on Saturday, leaving a trail of death and destruction.

In addition to the specialist teams of its National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), India has already moved large amounts of relief material to the Himalayan kingdom, besides its Air Force moving essential supplies to Nepal and flying back over 1935 of its stranded citizens from its capital Kathmandu since late Saturday.
12:12   Desperate Nepal police dig with bare hands as chances of survivors dim
India sends another batch of relief equipment to Nepal. India has already dispatched 10 NDRF teams to the quake-hit country. At least 1900 Indians have been rescued so far. Nepal police tell the media that they lack rescue equipment, which means they have been digging with bare hands. They say they don't even have shovels. Narrow lanes in Bhaktapur have also made it difficult for JCB cranes to gain access to the collapsed houses.
12:03   In an already troubled Nepal, a picture of despair emerges
Nepalis are known for their toughness. But the country they have been navigating for years is one that tests resolve. Read the New York Times report.
11:56   Over 100 people from Kerala trapped in Nepal
More than a 100 people from Kerala, including tourists, are trapped in quake-hit Nepal, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said today. In a Facebook post, he said state Minister K C Joseph has gone to Delhi to initiate steps to get the stranded persons back to Kerala.

"Cabinet Minister K C Joseph is in Delhi to coordinate the efforts of getting the affected persons back to Kerala," Chandy said.

The Chief Minister also congratulated the Indian Army for their rescue effort. "Indian Army's rescue mission in Nepal is commendable. I wish them all the best for their efforts in Nepal," he said.
11:49   India with Nepal...
Vikas Swarup @MEAIndia  tweets: #IndiaWithNepal 22 tonnes of food packets, 120 large oxygen cylinders moved yesterday. More en route this morning.
11:34   India sends desperately needed medical equipment to Nepal
Sitanshu Kar @SpokespersonMoDIndia tweets that India today sent telecommunication equipment to improve helicopter operations in Nepal.

Vikas Swarup @MEAIndia tweets that a team of 34 Indian doctors were sent to Nepal along with NDRF for relief and rescue. This morning, a RO Plant, oxygen regenerators, medicines, 1000 blankets, 100 tents, 3 teams of NDRF, field hospital equipment, Air Force Communication Centre vehicles were also sent.  

Swarup took over from Syed Akbaruddin.

Picture tweeted by the MEA of the medical equipment waiting to be flown to Kathmandu
NDTV's Vishnu Som reports that no flights are landing at the Kathmandu airport. Air India flight to Kathmandu has been delayed by two hours, a Jet Airways flight has been diverted.
11:09   Nepal appeals for body bags, tents, water
In Delhi, the National crisis management committee (NCMC) meeting will take place at the Cabinet Secretariat at 11 am. Relief efforts in Nepal are intensifying after more than 3200 people were killed in the worst earthquake there in more than 80 years. Rescue missions and aid material have started arriving in the country, but the government has appealed for body bags, tents and water. Survivors have been sleeping outdoors braving the rain all through yesterday. Thankfully, the sun is up and shining on day 3. Markets are shut and very few shops are functional. There are long queues for provisions at whatever stores are open and even longer lines at petrol pumps.

Pic: People queue up to get drinking water from a tanker at an open ground. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
10:52   Whatever it takes, says Indian army
Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh says the army will do whatever is needed in Nepal.  The government has said that at least 1900 people have been rescued so far.  The death toll in Nepal stands at 3200.   
10:27   Part of India slid up to 10 feet northwards
CNN reports: Geophysicists have long monitored how fast the Earth's plates are moving, and we know that the entire subcontinent of India is being driven slowly but surely underneath Nepal and Tibet at a speed of around 1.8 inches per year. It's the reason Everest exists.

Over millions of years, the squeezing has crushed the Himalayas like a concertina, raising mountains to heights of several miles and triggering earthquakes on a regular basis from Pakistan to Burma. Saturday's quake was neither unusual nor unexpected, although it was larger than most.

In the 81 years since the 1934 Bihar earthquake, the land mass of India has been pushed about 12 feet into Nepal. 

Saturday's slip took place over an area about 1,000 to 2,000 square miles over a zone spanning the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara in one direction, and almost the entire Himalaya mountain width in the other. A part of India slid about one to 10 feet northwards and underneath Nepal in a matter of seconds.

Read more HERE
09:50   High-level Indian team leaves for quake-hit Nepal
An inter-ministerial team comprising senior officials from ministries of home, defence, external affairs and NDMA today left for Nepal to coordinate rescue and relief operations in the quake-hit country.

Headed by Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry B K Prasad, the team will also monitor the evacuation of stranded Indians in Nepal.

Sources said the team will coordinate with the Nepalese government in the salvage operation and assess the damage. 

It will send a report to New Delhi so that all help could be provided to the Himalayan nation on priority. 

The decision to send the high-level team was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday. 

India has scaled up relief and rescue operations in quake-hit Nepal, deploying over two dozen aircraft and choppers along with nearly 1000 trained personnel and said the situation in the Himalayan nation was "very, very serious". 

A slew of steps have been taken for speedy evacuation of stranded tourists including goodwill visas to foreigners and mobilising of buses and ambulances to bring them by road. 

India has so far deployed 13 military aircraft, three civilian aircraft of Air India and Jet Airways, six Mi-17 helicopters, two Advanced Light Helicopters while two more Mi-17 choppers are kept in standby.
09:26   Quake overwhelms Nepal's weak healthcare system
A massive earthquake in Nepal has exposed the woeful state of its medical facilities as hospitals struggle to treat vast numbers of injured with limited supplies and staff.

The country of 28 million has only 2.1 physicians and 50 hospital beds for every 10,000 people, according to a 2011 World Health Organization report.

The situation is worsening a humanitarian crisis triggered by Nepal's worst earthquake in 81 years. The 7.9 quake, which struck just before noon on Saturday, has killed more than 2,200 people and injured more than 5,400.

Casualties are expected to rise, as many more people are feared trapped in debris across the country, from the capital Kathmandu to remote villages and mountain peaks.

So far many of the seriously injured in Kathmandu were being referred to Bir Hospital's Trauma Centre, which opened in February this year with 200 beds.

Doctors said they needed more than 1,000 more beds to treat the patients that were being brought in ambulances and taxis.

Read more HERE
09:25   'Demons on the mountain'; survivors recall avalanche terror
When Khile Sherpa opened his eyes, the snow around him was bright red, drenched with blood streaming from gashes in his body from the avalanche that catapulted him across Mount Everest's base camp at lunchtime on Saturday.

Khile was among the first 15 survivors flown from Everest to Kathmandu on Sunday after a powerful earthquake hit Nepal a day earlier killing more than 2,460 people, at least 17 of them in the avalanche it triggered on the world's tallest peak.

"It was a monstrous sound, like the demons had descended on the mountain," Khile told Reuters, a bandage wrapped around his head and covering half his face.

Like hundreds of other earthquake victims, the 20-year-old was waiting for treatment outside Kathmandu's overcrowded Medical College hospital.

The mountain guide recalled how he had just served lunch to a group of foreign climbers in the high altitude tented town when he heard the roar higher up the slope.

Seconds later, a vast cloud of ice and boulders hit and he was knocked unconscious for, he estimates, about an hour.

Read more HERE
09:22   SC to resume hearing in Jayalalithaa DA case today
The Supreme Court will on Monday resume hearing in the 18-year-old disproportionate assets case against former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa.

DMK leader K Anbazhagan had recently filed a petition seeking removal of the Special Public Prosecutor from appearing in the appeal filed before the high court in the DA case against Jayalaithaa.

On October 17, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27.

The 66-year-old Jayalalithaa, who had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9 after being denied by the Karnataka High Court, had submitted that she had been sentenced to only four years jail and was suffering from various ailments as grounds for immediate relief.

The Special Court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs. 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs. 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.
08:59   24x7 emergency helpline numbers in Nepal
Here are the 24x7 emergency helpline numbers in Nepal:

Police emergency number : +977 4228435/4226853

Metropolitan police range (Kathmandu) : +977 4261945/ +977 4261790

Metropolitan police range (Lalitpur) : +977 5521207

Metropolitan police range (Bhaktapur) : +977 6614821
Paropkar Ambulance service: +977 4260859

Lalitpur Red Cross ambulance service: +977 5545666

Bishal Bazaar Ambulance service: +977 4244121

Red Cross ambulance service: +977 4228094

A control room has also been set up in the external affairs ministry to provide all help and information round the clock. The numbers to the 24-hour Control Room are +91 11 2301 2113, +91 11 2301 4104 and +91 11 2301 7905.
08:54   India evacuates 1,935 Indians from Nepal in 12 sorties
MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweets: 1,935 Indians evacuated from Nepal via 12 IAF aircraft sorties.

Stepping up relief and rescue operations in quake-hit Nepal, India on Sunday deployed over two dozen aircraft and choppers along with nearly 1000 trained personnel and said the situation in the Himalayan nation was "very, very serious".

A slew of steps have been taken for speedy evacuation of stranded tourists including goodwill visas to foreigners and mobilising of buses and ambulances to bring them by road. Over 1,000 people have been flown from there since Saturday.

Addressing a press conference here, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said that situation may worsen in Nepal as heavy to very heavy rainfall is predicted over the next two days, which will hamper the salvage operations.
08:07   US sends aid workers to Nepal
The United States has sent a military aircraft with relief materials and nearly 70 rescue workers to Nepal to provide assistance after the powerful earthquake that killed more than 2,400 people.

The C-17 Globemaster aircraft left Dover Air Force Base in Delaware around this morning for Nepal. It is expected to land in Nepal on Monday. 

"The aircraft is transporting nearly 70 personnel including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team and several journalists along with 45 square tonnes of cargo,"  Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said. 

The initial estimated cost of the Department of Defence's support mission is USD 700,000, and there are currently no other requests for intervention, officials said. 

There are 26 American defence personnel and one US C-130 in Nepal who were there to conduct a previously scheduled training exercise. No member of the US military is known to be missing in the quake.
08:05   Chinese island threatens peace in S China Sea: ASEAN
Chinese island-building efforts "may undermine peace, security and stability" in the disputed South China Sea, said a statement by Southeast Asian leaders meeting for a summit. 

The statement, yet to be publicly released, was prepared on behalf of leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathering in Malaysia for an annual meeting.

"We share the serious concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability," it said.

Today's summit in Kuala Lumpur opens under a cloud caused by fresh evidence in the form of recently released satellite photos showing the scale of Chinese land reclamation. 

They depict flotillas of Chinese vessels heaping huge amounts of sand on fragile coral reefs also claimed by the Philippines.

ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the sea, which is rich in energy reserves, fishery resources, and is a vital conduit for much of world trade.

But Beijing claims nearly all of it, and its increasingly bold actions to underline those claims have caused fears of Chinese dominance of the waterway and potential armed conflict.
08:02   Clinton Foundation admits missteps in donor disclosure
The acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation is acknowledging the global philanthropy made mistakes in how it disclosed its donors amid growing scrutiny as Hillary Rodham Clinton opens her presidential campaign as the presume Democratic frontrunner. 

In a blog posting yesterday, Maura Pally defended the foundation's work and reaffirmed its commitment to transparency, describing its policies on donor disclosure and contributions from foreign governments as "stronger than ever."

Still, Pally said the foundation expected to refile some of its tax forms, following a voluntary external review, because it had "mistakenly combined" government grants and donations. She said the foundation would "remedy" any errors but stressed the total revenue was reported accurately and that grants were properly broken out on audited statements on its website.

"Yes, we made mistakes, as many organisations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future," she said. 

Pally also described the foundation's work with the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which she said received funding from a separate organisation in Canada. She said that partnership does not disclose its donors because under Canadian law they are not disclosed without prior permission from each donor.

"This is hardly an effort on our part to avoid transparency," Pally said. 

That partnership has come under scrutiny because it is named after Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining billionaire who has donated more than USD 31 million to the Clinton Foundation since the mid-2000s.
08:01   Air India slashes fare to Kathmandu
National carrier Air India has reduced the one way fare to Kathmandu from Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi from Rs 14,000 to Rs 4,700 inclusive of all taxes, a company release said in Kolkata. 

This has been done for the benefit of the Indians who have been stranded in Nepal following earthquakes since Saturday.

Besides, Air India announced waiver of cancellation and refund charges for travel between Delhi/Kolkata and Kathmandu up to May 2, the company said in its website. 

The airline will also carry relief material free of charge on priority basis, on its flights to Kathmandu from Delhi and Kolkata, the release said. 
08:00   Govt to people: Don't believe in rumours about possible quake
Taking note of rumours being floated in various media platforms about earthquake, the Centre has appealed to people not to believe unreliable information saying only authorised persons of the government should be taken into cognisance.

A Home Ministry spokesperson termed as "baseless and untruth" reports of predictions by some international organisations about possible earthquake. 

"No such prediction has been made by any foreign or domestic organisation. The reports of possible earthquake is completely baseless and untruth," he said. 

Asking people to ignore such rumours, the spokesperson said that statements of only authorised persons from the Ministries of Home, Defence, External Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority or India Meteorological Department should be taken into cognisance.
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