Thu, 25 June 2015
Islamic State attacks Syrian cities of Kobani and Hasakah

Timeline  Refresh

23:36   Islamic State attacks Syrian cities of Kobani and Hasakah
Islamic State militants staged multiple attacks on the Syrian Kurdish strongholds of Kobani and Hasakah on Thursday, in a clear warning to the Kurdish militias and moderate opposition forces who are slowly advancing toward Raqqa, the extremists' de facto Syrian capital.

Some three dozen militants penetrated Kobani's lightly guarded city limits at dawn, residents and Kurdish officials said. Disguised as Kurdish militants and moderate opposition Free Syrian Army fighters, members of the extremist group sneaked into Kobani in five cars, they said.
21:58   Pakistan's MQM dismisses BBC report on India funding
Pakistan's Muttahida Quami Movement today rejected a BBC report that alleged India has been helping the party with funds and training to create unrest in its stronghold of Karachi.

In a statement the party's coordination committee said the allegations levelled against the MQM were not new. It said "MQM is a peace-loving political party that believes in the unity and integrity of Pakistan".

"MQM was accused of the Jinnahpur Conspiracy in the past and a host of other allegations to blemish its image. All these allegations proved to be false in the fullness of time," the statement said.

In the same manner, India has also rejected having any connection with the MQM but some anti-MQM elements are bent on carrying out media trial of the MQM by repeating the allegation again and again.

The Karachi-based party said the new report is part of the media trial that is going on against it for many years and "aimed at tarnishing the image of the MQM in Pakistan and throughout the world".

The coordination committee said, "We believe that people of Pakistan will reject this false and baseless report in the same way as they have been doing in the past".

India had also dismissed the BBC report as "completely baseless".
21:56   Was Advani not invited for event on Emergency?
The absence of BJP leader L K Advani at an event to mark 40 years of Emergency, where party chief Amit Shah was the main speaker and organised by a party-affiliated body, set off speculation whether the veteran leader was not invited.

A stalwart of the opposition's crusade against the Emergency, Advani was missing at the event organised by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation.

The Foundation's treasurer Shyam Jaju, who is BJP's vice-president, insisted that Advani was invited. Shah declined to answer to reporters' queries on the matter.
21:49   Nobody is tainted: Jaitley jumps to Raje's defence
Senior BJP leaders today jumped to beleaguered Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's defence with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying nobody is "tainted" and the party questioning authenticity of documents, showing her to have backed Lalit Modi's application for immigration to the UK.

"There is nobody who is tainted please," Jaitley told reporters at the Delhi airport after his return from the US.

Another senior minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, said the Narendra Modi government was working in the "most honest and transparent" manner blamed some "unhappy people" for the outcry over Raje's help to the former IPL boss.

"As far as party is concerned everything is happening positively," he said as reporters sought to know BJP leadership's stand on the raging row. Their defence of the formidable Rajasthan leader, who has led party to its biggest Assembly as well Lok Sabha win, came after she dismissed media reports against her as "untrue" and aimed at "harming her politically"
21:37   Highest category Z-plus security cover for Union minister Rijiju
The security cover of Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has been upgraded to the highest level of Z-plus by the government following a threat from a number of militant groups of the northeast.

Rijiju till now had 'Z plus' category cover provided by the elite commando unit of paramilitary CISF across India but now this will be further enhanced. The decision has been taken after an intensive review of his security cover by intelligence agencies.

A threat to Rijiju is perceived from a host of insurgent groups for his vocal statements against insurgency, Muslim fundamentalists, stepped-up offensive against militants and the ministerial position held by him, official sources said.

Requisites of security arrangements to be made for a Z-plus protectee are contained in the 'Yellow Book' which are being implemented, the sources said.

A recent assessment indicates a severe threat to Rijiju's life from a newly-formed conglomerate called United National Liberation front of West and South-East Asia comprising NSCN-K, ULFA and other rebel groups. "Keeping in view the threat quotient of Rijiju, it is imperative that the security arrangements made for him is robust and in tune with the guidelines contained in the Yellow Book," an official order said.
21:20   'Obamacare' programme vetted by US Supreme Court
The signature health care programme of President Barack Obama was vetted by the United States Supreme Court today which ruled that medical insurance subsidies can go to residents of any state, in what is seen as a huge win for the president.

However, the Republican leadership continued to stress that 'Obamacare' must be repealed, which was pledged by Bobby Jindal when he announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election.

"Despite the court's decision, Obamacare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it with my consumer-centered plan that puts patients and families back in control of their health care decisions. We need consumer care, not Obamacare," Marco Rubio, another Republican presidential candidate said.

This was echoed by John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives. "Obamacare is fundamentally broken and increasing health care costs for millions of Americans. Today's ruling doesn't change that fact. Republicans will continue to listen to American families and work to protect them from the consequences of Obamacare," he said.

Top Democratic senator Mark Warner said this is the second time the nation's highest court has validated the country's important shift toward affordable and accessible health care for everyone.
21:11   MERS alert at all airports
An alert has been sounded at all airports to screen passengers especially from Middle East and South Korea, for Middle East Corona Virus, a kind of deadly respiratory disease.

Airports throughout the country have been asked to report any passengers who are self-reporting at immigration counters with symptoms of fever and respiratory distress.

Flights coming from Saudi Arabia, South Korea and 23 other countries which include China, the US, the UK, Malaysia and Turkey have been asked to make an in-flight announcement asking passengers complaining of fever, cough or respiratory distress to report to medical unit at the airport.

Since 2012, there have been 455 cases till June 18, 2015, Most people affected by the virus have severe illness and pneumonia with around 36 per cent mortality.
20:43   Sri Sri conferred with Colombia's highest civilian award
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been conferred with Colombia's highest civilian award for his contribution to peace issues around the world, particularly in the Latin American country.

Fabio Raul Amin Saleme, president of the house of representatives, Congress of Colombia presented 'Orden de la Democracia Simon Bolivar' award to Sri while highlighting his achievements in peace matters through his foundation, The Art of Living.

"Even amidst a 50-year-old conflict, the South American country of Colombia salutes the power of peace. A passionate resolve to work on restoring peace in its country echoed through the corridors of the Colombian Parliament as the President of the House bestowed the country's highest civilian award on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar," Art of Living told PTI.

"I promise I will do all that is in my capacity to bring peace to all in the conflict in Colombia," Sri, 59, said while receiving the honour. The award is in recognition of Sri's peace work around the world, with special reference to his work in Colombia through his foundation.
20:39   Deadline to phase out pre-2005 currency notes extended
Just in: The deadline to exchange pre-2005 currency notes (those which do not have a date printed at the bottom) has been extended till December 31.

As a part of its standard practice of phasing out bank note series, Reserve Bank of India has decided it will withdraw the circulation of currency notes issued prior to 2005.

The RBI had urged the public to either deposit the old design notes in their bank accounts or exchange them in a bank branch by June 30, but the deadline has been extended yet again.   
20:24   CBI probe against Teesta Setalvad's firm likely
The government may ask the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe alleged transfer of funds by the Ford Foundation to activist Teesta Setalvad's Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited.

Official sources said SCPPL had accepted a grant of US $2.9 lakh from the Ford Foundation despite being a private company not having clearance from the ministry of home affairs under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. This donation was, therefore, a serious violation of FCRA provisions, which mandate funding from a foreign source to only those recipients who have FCRA registration, they said.

The sources claimed the home ministry during its inspection of the company's accounts found that an amount of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly transferred to it by Setalvad's Sabrang Trust which also was in violation of FCRA norms. The  Gujarat government had asked the home ministry to take action against Ford Foundation, alleging that the US-based organisation was "interfering in internal affairs" of the country and also "abetting communal disharmony" through an NGO run by social activist Teesta Setalvad.
19:48   Pakistan heat wave subsides as rain lashes Karachi, toll past 1,000
Millions of people in Karachi heaved a sigh of relief as temperatures plunged by nearly 10 degrees today after rain lashed the parched Sindh province, providing a break from the killer heat wave that claimed over 1,000 lives in less than a week.

The temperatures, which hovered around 45 degrees Celsius for the most of the past week, plunged to around 35 degrees Celsius as sea breezes and cloud cover brought some respite to the port city in the last two days.

The Met office has forecast more rains signalling an extended relief from the crippling heatwave sweeping Karachi since June 19. It said the weekend was the hottest since 1981. Pakistan Meteorological Department's chief meteorologist Touseef Alam warned of another bout of heat wave next week, with temperatures likely to soar to 42 to 43 degrees Celsius.
19:45   ACB likely to summon ex-Maha minister Chhagan Bhujbal's son
In more troubling news for Maharashtra's former public works department minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the anti-corruption bureau is likely to summon his son Pankaj.

The summons are related to the Bandra government colony redevelopment project, CNN-IBN reports.

Last week, the ACB and the Enforcement Directorate initiated independent criminal proceedings against Bhujbal. On June 8, the ACB had registered a criminal case against him over the manner in which a prime piece of land was given to a developer at a nominal price under the public, private, partnership scheme.

Another FIR was lodged against Bhujbal, his son Pankaj, nephew Samir and high-ranking serving and retired engineers of the public works department for their alleged involvement in the Maharashtra Sadan scam. Subsequently, the ACB conducted raids on properties of Bhujbal and all 16 accused in the Maharashtra Sadan scam.

On June 12, the ED registered a case against Bhujbal

In a public interest litigation filed before the Bombay high court, it has been alleged that in the Rs 2,900 crore contract for the Bandra government colony redevelopment awarded to three construction firms, a bribe of Rs 34 crore was paid. 
19:31   Lalu Yadav welcomes JD-U legislator Anant Singh's arrest
Welcoming the arrest of JD-U MLA Anant Singh, RJD president Lalu Yadav today admitted that it was his "pressure" which led to the arrest.

"Yes it was my pressure (which led to Singh's arrest). What should I have done? What will you do if somebody pulls your child and takes him away or if somebody attacks a journalist? Such people destroy social harmony," Yadav said while talking to media persons.

It is noteworthy the youth -- Putus Yadav -- whose kidnapping and subsequent murder turned the heat on Singh, hailed from the same caste as that of Prasad, and that too in an area where the rivalry for dominance between Yadavs and Bhumihars (the caste to which the MLA belongs) had gained notoriety over the last few decades.
19:17   Media running 'false' news about Raje to tarnish image: Her office
JUST IN: The media is running 'false' news about Rajasthan Chief Minister
Vasundhara Raje to tarnish her image and cause 'political
damage', her office office has said.

More details are awaited.

19:05   AAP govt presents budget; education, health major focus
The Aam Aadmi Party government today presented a Rs 41,129 crore budget with a major focus on education, health and transport sectors besides allocating funds to provide free wi-fi facility in colleges and villages.

Presenting the budget, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said his government will put major focus on reforming tax collection system and asserted that it will develop Delhi as a world-class skill centre and medical hub. Calling it the country's first "Swaraj" Budget, he said government has decided brought down the Value Added Tax rates for certain items. Reaching out to the youth, he announced free wi-fi facility in all colleges as the AAP government's first budget saw a 106 per cent rise in allocation to education sector.

He said the Budget document was a milestone towards achieving the ideal of "Swaraj" and a development model that was driven from the bottom instead of a top-driven one as it was prepared by the public at the 'Mohalla Sabhas'.
19:02   Fire brigade jawan jumps to death from Vidhan Bhavan terrace in Mumbai
A 45-year-old fire brigade jawan allegedly committed suicide today by jumping off the terrace of Vidhan Bhavan (legislature complex) in south Mumbai. Arjun Kachre, employed with the fire brigade, jumped to his death at around 8.15 am, the police said.

Kachre was receiving treatment for schizophrenia for the past one year, said Assistant Police Commissioner Rajendra Chavan. He was rushed to the nearby GT hospital but was declared dead on arrival, Chavan said.

The body has been sent for post-mortem. No suicide note was found and police are conducting further probe.
18:33   Karachi's morgues full as heat-wave kills more than 1,000 in Pakistan
The worst heatwave to hit Pakistan's southern city of Karachi for nearly 35 years has killed more than 1,000 people, a charity said on Thursday, as morgues ran out of space and residents rushed to supply over-stretched public hospitals.

Read this story HERE
18:27   Why Egyptian girls fear the summer
Summer days: They're what childhood memories are made of, glorious afternoons of unchecked freedom to frolic with friends in the sun, unshackled from the earthly obligations of a math class that never seemed further away.

But for millions of schoolgirls in Egypt, this time of year represents something much darker: the start of the female genital mutilation season.

Read this story HERE
18:24   Will seek legal opinion: Hazare on diktat to change NGO name
Social activist Anna Hazare today said he would seek a legal opinion on the Pune-based Charity Commissioner notice for removal of the word 'Bhrashtachar' (corruption) from the name of his NGO, Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andholan-Maharashtra.

"The government should be tackling corruption. Organisations like ours come up as it has failed to do this," Hazare said, in his village Ralegan Siddhi. He said he learnt that the order was issued not only to BVJA but also to 16 other NGOs which had "corruption" in their name. "Our functioning is transparent," Hazare said.

"Why was no objection taken when the organisation was formed?" he asked. "We have not got the notice. After we receive the notice, we will take legal opinion and go to court if needed," he said.
18:07   20 killed, 15 injured in bus-container crash in Maharashtra
At least 20 persons were killed and 15 others injured, some of them seriously, when a packed state transport bus collided with a container truck in adjoining Jalgaon district today, the police said.

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus was on its way to Surat from Chalisgaon when it crashed into the container coming from the opposite direction, said the Special I G control room based in Nashik.

At least 20 persons, including the container driver, were killed and 15 others injured in the accident that took place at around 2.30 PM on Dhule-Chalisgaon Highway in North Maharashtra, it said. 

The injured, some in serious condition, were admitted to hospitals in Dhule and Chalisgaon, the control room said.
18:04   Guinness record holder attempts in new records in martial arts
A Navi Mumbai resident here attempted three records in Martial Arts seeking to enter the Guinness and Limca Books by performing most number of 'Alternate Squat Thrust', most number of 'One leg martial arts kicks at face level' and maximum squats, all in a minute.

B B Nayak, 50, who attempted the records at Airoli Gurudwara Hall yesterday, said he surpassed the existing best of maximum number of alternate squat thrust 68 in a minute by completing 71 alternate squat thrust. The existing record is registered in Guinness World Records. He performed 252 one leg martial arts kicks, against the previous record of 128 in a minute, which is a Guinness book record.

His third record was accomplished by doing a maximum of 75 squat in a minute, breaking the existing record of 67, which is recorded in the Limca Book.
17:27   Awaiting Prabhu Chawla's 'presidential' book
Prabhu Chawla,  Editorial Director of The New Indian, has penned a coffee table book on President Pranab Mukherjee.

A private venture of Chawla's, this book is being released on July 24, 2015 by Vice President Hamid Ansari just before the completion of the third year of Pranab Mukherjee's stint at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

We hear that the President's Secretariat wanted to read the contents before it is sold in book stalls.

The book has interesting pieces of information not only about the President but also about prestigious the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

We can't wait.
17:24   Why it really is Acchhe Din for the Congress ... finally
The Lalit Modi saga has worked wonders for the Congress party which has been on mute since the NDA government took office a year ago. Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh quipped to a few reporters at the party office that it was really "Acche din" for the party. Senior party leaders KV Thomas, Motilal Vohra and others say they can't be happier to see that the party is on the page 1 of most newspapers for all the right reasons. As for TV news channels, the reporters thronging to the party office at 24 Akbar Road for press conferences, has party elders humming happily.

In the aftermath of the party's poll debacle, the media has all but abandoned visits to the party office. All that has changed since the Lalit Modi soap opera unfolding over the last two weeks.

On Wednesday evening the Congress released copies of a seven-page document signed by the Rajasthan CM supporting former IPL commissioner Lalit Modis immigration to the UK, and mounted pressure on the party for her resignation.

The Congress showed documents "signed" by her endorsing the former IPL commissioner's immigration to the UK.
17:15   AK Antony buys a cell phone
Former defence minister A K Antony has finally begun to use a mobile phone, or rather he now owns one. This is breaking news for top Congress leaders (most of who do not have his number) because Antony never owned a mobile phone. He has never texted either.

Oh and yes, it's a basic phone, not a smart one.
17:03   President's office fears Omita Paul tweets may hamper international relations
We hear that officials close to President Pranab Mukherjee have been upset that defamatory, critical and adverse references about the office of the president and the president's secretariat on the social media is being taken seriously.

They feel that the 'misinformation' may hamper international relations and stymie diplomatic ties. The office wants references to the President's secretary, Omita Paul's alleged links to Lalit Modi to be deleted on Twitter.

Yesterday, the office of the President denied the charges leveled against Omita Paul, by former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

The Presidents office, in a letter, has termed  Lalit  Modis charges as baseless, tendentious and malicious allegations.

This is with reference to a news report which has appeared today in various publications, referring to a tweet issued by Mr. Lalit Modi in which the name of the Secretary to the President is mentioned. Mr. Modis charges are baseless, tendentious and malicious," said the statement.

Lalit Modi, in a tweet, had accused Omita Paul of having connections with a big hawala operator.

BJP is all set to release details of senior Congress leaders involved with  Lalit Modi and also IPL.

In a counterattack, the BJP has also demanded the resignation of those leaders who are still close to Lalit Modi -- there are eight Congress leaders in the list of friends Lalit Modi's. That's a bomb the Congress hopes will be a dud.
Delhi finance minister presents AAP's maiden budget. 
Inside Mosul: What's life like under Islamic State? Read
16:03 CEO Rahul Yadav quits, again
Rahul Yadav has decided to step down as CEO of for the second time in less than two months, and this time his resignation will be accepted by the board of the real estate portal, two people directly aware of the development said.  Read more
15:50   Vasundhara defends herself: I signed documents as Lalit's friend
The Rajasthan CM's first statement since the Lalit Modi controversy broke two weeks ago.

Vasundhara Raje defended her action with the BJP's central leadership saying she signed the affidavit as Lalit Modi's friend. Raje, however, said she did not depose before any court of law.

On Wednesday evening with the Congress releasing copies of a seven-page document signed by the Rajasthan CM supporting former IPL commissioner Lalit Modis immigration to the UK, pressure mounted on the party for her resignation.

The Congress showed documents "signed" by her endorsing the former IPL commissioner's immigration to the UK.

In the document, Raje says I make this statement in support of any immigration application that Lalit Modi makes, but do so on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authorities.
15:23   AAP readies to present maiden budget
Finance minister Manish Sisodia in his office as he readies to present the Delhi government's maiden budget today.  The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi is expected to double the allocation for education in its maiden budget. Sources in the government said this would be the highest allocation for the sector in the last 22 years.
15:10   Mastering the drill of democracy
The Emergency is a distant memory today because the nation's collective spine did not bend, the media stayed unbent and the judiciary remained independent. Yet we have to be wary of the robotisation of our minds into a 'yogic' acceptance of one drill -- majoritarianism. Read
15:08   'I stand by the truth'
Yes, I stand by my interview: Rohini Salian, Public prosecutor on her statement on 2008 Malegaon blast. My conscience is clear, whatever I have said in the interview is a fact, I stand by the truth:
Why solo dining can be tough for women in Delhi. Read
JUST IN: Myanmar's parliament blocks Aung San Suu Kyi from presidency, in vote against charter changes.
14:34   New govt told me to go soft in Malegaon case: Public prosecutor
Rohini Salian, Special Public Prosecutor in the case related to the Malegaon 2008 blasts in which four Muslims were killed during Ramzan and in which Hindu extremists are the accused, has said that over the past one year, since "the new government came to power,' she has been under pressure from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to go "soft" in the case.

Read the Indian Express report here
14:21   'Emergency was a time when everyone was scared'
'Overall responsibility must be taken by Indira because she was the one who gave the order'

'Indira was a strong and ruthless leader and Indians admire strong leaders' 'I do not think that many young people really know what happened'

Veteran journalist Coomi Kapoor, whose book The Emergency: A Personal Account was published recently, speaks to Sheela Bhatt/ about Independent India's darkest phase.

Name this former RSS worker.

14:18   Worker sacked over washing shoes in coffee shop's sink in Singapore
An employee at a Singaporean hospital food court stall, who was videographed washing her shoes in the shop's sink, has been fired.

The video, which shows Singaporean coffee and dessert chain Kopitiam's employee washing her rubber shoes in a food preparation sink, was posted on Facebook reported.

She was then seen putting the brush she was using back into a brush holder next to the sink, which contained knives used in food preparation.

In a post on its Facebook page, Kopitiam confirmed it had fired the employee, adding "with regard to the incident in our food court located at NUH, we would like to apologise for this unpleasant encounter. Please be assured that we take this matter seriously."

They also confirmed that the sink used had been disinfected and all brushes had been replaced. 
13:40   Governors to be reshuffled?
Andhra Pradhesh governor ESL Narasimhan has been summoned to New Delhi today to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh at 8 pm and other leaders tomorrow. Speculation in Delhi is that there will once again be a reshuffle of governors and Narasimhan may be told that he is being moved out of AP.

It may be recalled that eight governors appointed by the UPA regime quit since the NDA government came to power in May 2014.
13:31   Munde mess: Maha CM meets PM, ACB asks principal secy for info
The Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau writes to the Principal Secretary after the Congress lodged a complaint with the it alleging that the state's woman and child welfare department headed by Pankaja Munde had cleared 24 contracts for purchase of items worth Rs 206 crore in a day. 

The ACB has asked the Principal Secretary for more details on the case. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has also met the PM over the charges against Munde and over the meeting between police commissioner Rakesh Maria and Lalit Modi in London.

The purchases relate to a host of items including chikki, plastic mattresses, steel plates, workbooks, water filters and medicine kits for anganwadis. Fadnavis, in a late evening statement yesterday, had defended her, saying, "Prima facie there appears to be no wrong-doing. If needed, we will probe the issue. Pankaja called me and she said she had not committed any irregularity and is ready to face any inquiry."
13:08   The tale of the 16 ED notices to Lalit Modi
Lalit Modi has received 16 showcause notices from the Enforcement Directorate for alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act. Of these, 15 were issued under the United Progressive Alliance government and one was issued by the current regime in January 2015. Take a look.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal as he announces his run for the White House: If you are looking for a candidate who will politely manage America's descent into mediocrity, I'm not your man.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal as he announces his run for the White House: If you are looking for a candidate who will politely manage America's descent into mediocrity, I'm not your man.
13:02   3 rocket launchers, detonators seized from Naxal hotbed
In a major haul of Maoists' weaponry, three improvised rocket launchers and two detonators have been seized from a dense forest in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district, police said today.

The rocket launchers were recovered yesterday by a joint team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and district police from the forest under Madanwada police station limits, Rajnandgaon Superintendent of Police P Sundarraj said.

On receiving specific inputs that improvised rocket launchers and directional mines were hidden between Dorede and Birjupara village forests, the joint squad of security personnel launched an operation in the region, located around 200 kms from the state capital, he said.

While cordoning off the area, three improvised rocket launchers, two detonators and flexible wires hidden underground were recovered, the SP said.
12:56   Fake degree row: Fadnavis comes to Tawde's rescue
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis defended state education minister Vinod Tawde, saying the latter had made it very clear that he had done his BE from Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth. "Vinod Tawde's matter is being brought up without any reason. He has not said anything wrong in the affidavit. He has made it very clear that he did his BE from Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth."

The Maharashtra Congress protested against Tawde yesterday and demanded his resignation following a row over his alleged fake engineering degree.
12:45   Heavy rains in Kashmir bring trains to a halt
The heavy rainfall has caused flooding of tracks leading to the suspension of rail services between Banihal area of Jammu and Qazigund belt of Kashmir Valley, rail officials said.

Kashmir is on flood alert after the Jhelum crossed the danger mark earlier on Wednesday. 
12:22   I have been told to go soft on Hindu extremists: SPP in Malegaon blasts case
Rohini Salian, Special Public Prosecutor in the case related to the Malegaon 2008 blasts in which four Muslims were killed during Ramzan and in which Hindu extremists are the accused, has said that over the past one year, since "the new government came to power," she has been under pressure from the National Investigation Agency to go "soft" in the case. 

Read more HERE
12:04   Vasundhara Raje on extended London trip when she signed 'Secret' Document
Top BJP leader Vasundhara Raje was in London on an extended trip when she furnished a secret affidavit supporting the immigration appeal of tainted cricket tycoon Lalit Modi, sources say pointing to new evidence.

That document - in which Raje described the extensive investigation at home against Modi as "politically motivated" - was released by the opposition Congress last night as it scaled up the demand for her resignation for helping a man engulfed in corruption cases in India.

Read the full story on NDTV.
12:00   China has dual standards on terrorism: Sena on Lakhvi case
Shiv Sena today accused China of adopting "double standards" in dealing with terrorism after it blocked India's move in the UN demanding action against Pakistan over release of the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

"The (UN) sanctions committee has five permanent and 10 non-permanent UN member states in it. Out of these, almost all countries, including the US, Britain, Russia, France and Germany supported India's stand, but China opposed it.

"On one hand, China brutally crushes terrorism in its state and on the other hand supports the perpetrators of terrorism in India. This is China's double standards," the Sena said in its editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

Sena said 13 Muslims were recently hanged in China's Xinjiang province for engaging in terrorist attacks and in the past as well hundreds of Muslims have been killed in that country.

"China's ideology seems to be eliminating terrorism from its country but letting terrorist activities flourish in India," the Sena said. China's call of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai (Indians and Chinese are brothers) in 1960 has proved to be a farce time and again in the aftermath, it said.
11:57   Nation bound with chains of Emergency for lust for power: PM
On the 40th anniversary of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said, "Nobody can forget June 25-26 when the nation was turned into a jail and bound with chains of Emergency for lust of power 40 years back. Forty years later, we want to preserve the dreams under which all citizens prosper under a democratic system. Our decision to set up a memorial for Jai Prakash Narain will always inspire those who love democracy." 

"We mark 40 years of one of India's darkest periods the Emergency, when the then political leadership trampled over our democracy," he tweeted.

"A vibrant liberal democracy is the key to progress. Let us do everything possible to further strengthen our democratic ideals and ethos," he said. The PM recalled that lakhs of people had resisted the Emergency declared by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on this day in 1975.

Pic: Indira Gandhi during the Emergency
This defiant picture of Janata Dal leader George Fernandes in chains during the Emergency in 1975. Fernandes went underground during the Emergency, while challenging Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for imposing a state of emergency, but in 1976 he was arrested.
11:36   'Lalitgate like Bofors, is there a V P Singh in this government or outside?'
The Lalit Modi scandal is much like the Bofors arms scandal that eventually brought down the Rajiv Gandhi government despite his humongous parliamentary majority, Trinamool Congress PM Dinesh Trivedi tells Sheela Bhatt/ Read
11:20   More freebies? AAP to present Delhi Budget today
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will table its first Budget in the Delhi Assembly today.

"Today's budget will be a budget reflecting the hopes, dreams and desire for change of the people of Delhi. #SwarajBudget," Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Twitter.

The Delhi Assembly had passed three bills on the first day of the Budget session, including the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement (Amendment) Bill and the Delhi Legislative Assembly Members (Prevention of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill yesterday.

It also passed a Bill according university status to Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (NSIT). The budget session of Delhi Assembly began on Tuesday, it will have six sittings and conclude on June 30.
11:17   Uddhav is a benevolent dictator like his father: Manohar Joshi
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi feels Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has inherited the streak of a "benevolent dictator" from his father, late Bal Thackeray even as he dismissed the "perception" that he has been sidelined in the party.

"Yes, of course. It is the style of a benevolent dictator. That was Balasaheb's style. Uddhavji has also adopted the same style," Joshi, veteran Sena leader and former Maharashtra chief minister, said today.

Asked about the perception that he has been sidelined in the Sena for the last few years, Joshi said, "There is no such perception. I have been active. I do my work."
11:05   Peter Singer: How a future World War III could be a cyberconflict
Peter Singer, strategist at New America think tank, is coauthor of forthcoming novel 'Ghost Fleet,' which explores what would happen if digital warfare erupts between nations. Read
11:03   Bobby Jindal puts his kids on hidden camera
Bobby Jindal's campaign for the presidency got off to an awkward start, with the above video. In a gesture of good, old-fashioned family values, Jindal and his wife, Supriya, wanted to let their kids know he's running before they told the world. But the gesture took a modern twist: Jindal recorded the family conversation, using a hidden camera -- up in a tree. Read
10:56   The midnight knock
On this date in 1975, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi instituted a state of emergency on India. Senior journalist Coomi Kapoor revisits India's darkest hour: The midnight knock of the Emergency: how Indira Gandhi arrested her opponents. Read
10:44   Flood alert in Kashmir, Jhelum crosses danger mark
The water level in Jhelum crossed the danger mark at Sangam in south Kashmir early today as most parts of the Valley were lashed by incessant rains since yesterday.

A flood alert was late last night sounded for Anantnag and Pulwama districts with the MeT department predicting more rains over the next 48 hours in the region. The water level at Sangam was 25.30 feet at 3 am, 2.30 feet above the danger mark, a police official said. The river was flowing at 17.10 feet at Ram Munshibagh, closing in on the danger mark of 19 feet, the official said. The water level in Jhelum and its tributaries rose sharply following heavy rainfall since yesterday.  People living in and around flood prone areas in the two districts have been advised to shift to safer areas
10:06   A two minute problem
The Maggi muddle has resulted in the destruction of over Rs 320 crore worth of packed noodles. That is only a small part of the story. The real story is the poor state of our public hygiene, the poor regulation of foods, drugs and cosmetics, the consequent blas attitude of many manufacturers towards safety standards, and the many thousands of almost wholly unregulated small, medium and large enterprises that produce these products. Sadly, this failure of the government in doing its regulatory job exists in all spheres -- water, sanitation, power, roads -- to name the principal ones. There is no accountability of government servants, no punishment for carelessness and even corruption.

Read more HERE
09:48   India to offer Rs 10,000 crore aid to Nepal for quake reconstruction
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj just announced that India will be offering a Rs 10,000 crore package to Nepal for post quake reconstruction. At the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction, Sushma said, "PM Modi personally led our response for relief and rescue. Nepal has good wishes of many friends. India stands ready to help Nepal."

In April, a 7.8 magnitude quake struck Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and injuring more than 20,000. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 NepalBihar earthquake.
09:04   Mastering the drill of democracy
The Emergency is a distant memory today because the nation's collective spine did not bend, the media stayed unbent and the judiciary remained independent. Yet we have to be wary of the robotisation of our minds into a 'yogic' acceptance of one drill -- majoritarianism. 

Read more HERE
08:22   40 years on, PM remembers 'India's darkest period'
On the 40th anniversary of the Emergency, which was imposed by Indira Gandhi back on June 25 1975, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets about 'India's darkest period'. In a series of tweets, he writes, "We mark 40 years of one of India's darkest periods- the Emergency, when the then political leadership trampled over our democracy. Inspired by the call of JP, several men & women across India selflessly immersed themselves in the movement to safeguard our democracy."

He added that India should be proud of the lakhs of people who resisted the Emergency and whose efforts ensured that 'our democratic fabric be preserved'.

In his last tweet, the PM wrote, "A vibrant liberal democracy is the key to progress. Let us do everything possible to further strengthen our democratic ideals & ethos."
04:15   Boston bomber Tsarnaev tells court he's sorry and prays for the victims
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, told a federal court Wednesday that he is sorry for those he killed in the attack and the suffering he caused.

Though Tsarnaev, who sat stone-faced during his trial, was given the option to address the court at the formal sentencing, legal experts initially did not expect him to because he had little to gain since the judge was required to impose the jury's death sentence.
04:15   UN warns of impending famine in conflict-torn Yemen
The UN special envoy for Yemen has warned that the conflict-torn Middle East nation is "one step" from famine, with 31 million people in need of humanitarian assistance compared with just 7 million two years ago. 

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council behind closed doors that all parties to the conflict are responsible for the dire suffering of the Yemeni people until there is "a true cease-fire."
04:08   Syria: ISIS destroys ancient Muslim shrines in Palmyra
ISIS fighters have destroyed two ancient Muslim shrines in the oasis city of Palmyra, the Syrian government confirmed Wednesday, the latest act of cultural vandalism by the Sunni extremists.

ISIS seized control of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back 2,000 years, last month, prompting fears for the site's survival.
03:55   UN troops help 'neutralise' DR Congo militia
The United Nations has said that around a quarter of Congolese militia group the Patriotic Revolutionary Forces of Ituri(FRPI) had been "neutralised" after a three-week military operation. 

The Congolese army, backed by UN peacekeeping troops, launched an offensive against the FRPI in early June -- leaving 35 people dead, 52 wounded, and 36 captured alive, according to Martin Kobler, head of the UN's MONUSCO mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
02:24   Iran would get nuclear help in proposed deal
Western powers are offering Tehran high-tech reactors under a proposed nuclear agreement, a confidential document says, but a defiant speech by Iran's supreme leader less than a week before a negotiating deadline casts doubt on whether he's willing to make the necessary concessions to seal a deal. 

The talks, which resumed today in Vienna on restraining any Iranian efforts to make atomic arms, appeared to be behind schedule judging by the draft document obtained by The Associated Press.
02:23   Egyptian Army foils militants attack, kills 2
Egyptian army today foiled an attack on a military checkpoint by militants linked with the Islamic State terror group, killing two attackers and wounding five others in North Sinai. 

The forces clashed with the militants who tried to attack the checkpoint in al-Gora village in Sheikh Zowayed, sources said, adding 15 militants were arrested during the clashes.
00:31   Saudi-led warplanes bomb rebels across
Warplanes from the Saudi-led Arab coalition have launched heavy raids against rebel positions in seven Yemeni provinces, witnesses and military sources said today. 

The attacks that began overnight and continued today were the most intensive since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan last week, witnesses said.
00:30   Rakesh Maria's explanation seems satisfactory, tweets Fadnavis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted here tonight that Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria's explanation about his 2014 meeting with former IPL-boss Lalit Modi in London appeared "satisfactory". 

"Prima facie explanation of CP Maria appears satisfactory. However, some points need further elaboration. Have asked ACS to look into it," read Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Twitter.
00:22   Five things Im wondering about smart cities
Two days, countless cities in the balance Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be launching three crucial national missions: Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All on June 25. 

The invite to the two-day summit (June 25-26) at Vigyan Bhawan has been tough to get, the agenda is power packed, representatives from state governments have started arriving in the Capital and the Smart Cities universe we traverse is abuzz with excitement. 

Read more here