Thu, 07 July 2016
Sena to be part of Fadnavis' cabinet expansion

Timeline  Refresh

23:28   Sena to be part of Fadnavis' cabinet expansion; gets 2 MoS berths
Two Shiv Sena MLAs will be joining the Devendra Fadnavis Ministry in Maharashtra, which will be expanded tomorrow, putting to rest the speculation whether the Uddhav Thackeray-led party would be part of the exercise in the wake of growing strain between the two ruling partners.
However, Sena's demand for elevation of the existing Ministers of State to the Cabinet rank was turned down by the Chief Minister, as these two Sena MLAs will be inducted as MoS.
Five BJP legislators will also take oath as ministers. 

Uncertainty over whether Sena would be part of the cabinet expansion loomed large throughout the day as there was speculation that Sena will not become part of the exercise, as it was not given a single berth during the recent Union Cabinet expansion.
23:15   Death toll from Baghdad blast rises to 292
A Baghdad bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed 292 people, a minister said today, raising the toll of one of the deadliest single attacks in Iraq since the US-led invasion.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle in Baghdad's Karrada neighbourhood early on Sunday, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Officials had previously put at more than 250 the death toll from the powerful blast, which sparked infernos that gutted nearby buildings in the popular shopping district.

Health Minister Adila Hamoud said the identities of 177 people killed in the bombing have yet to be determined, while 115 bodies have been handed over to families, according to a statement from the ministry.
The attack also wounded 200 people, Hamoud said.

The minister told AFP on Tuesday that the process of identifying all of the unknown bodies -- which she said at the time numbered 150 -- was expected to take between 15 and 45 days.
23:06   Dhaka cafe victims were hacked and shot dead: Forensic experts
A three-member team of forensic experts has dismissed reports that all 20 hostages, including an Indian, were slaughtered by slitting of their throats during the brazen assault at a cafe here by a group of gunmen.

Dhaka Medical College Hospital forensic department's Assistant Professor Md Sohel Mahmud led the three-member team to conduct the autopsies at the Combined Military Hospital on Sunday.

"All the deceased had sharp weapon wounds on their heads and necks. Some were hacked on their throats too," he was quoted as saying by bdnews24.

"But most of the foreign hostages were hacked to death. Bullets were found on the bodies of seven of them and they were also hacked in the head and neck," he said.

Responding to a query, Mahmud confirmed that none of the hostages had been killed by the slitting of their throats. 

He said, "One of the Italian nationals and one of the Bangladeshi women had died from trauma caused by a blunt force."
22:17   'Should have spent more time with you' PM Modi tells Indian diaspora in Mozambique
Addressing the Indian community in Maputo as part of his one day trip to the African nation of Mozambique, PM Modi told those present that he would've loved to have spent more time with them. 

"But I assure you that when I come here next, I will give you all more time," PM Modi said.

"Africa is a land which contributed to India being known internationally, Indians in Africa contribute to India's status worldwide," the PM stated.

"And I want to thank you all for that," he added.

"You all have conserved what is "Indian" even here, and you keep handing it over generations after generations," the PM added. 

"Even as you mix with local societies, you've conserved the essence of your Indian-ness," the prime minister said.
22:00   21 injured in Taipei train explosion
At least 21 people were injured following an explosion on a commuter train in Taipei on Thursday night.

According to the Taiwan Railway Administration, the train was at Songshan Railway Station when an explosion was heard from the sixth carriage at about 10 pm local time. 

It subsequently burst into flames. The cause of the blast and the fire is not yet known. 

TRA added that the fire has since been put out. It is also trying to determine the number of passengers who were rescued and evacuated from the scene. The injured have been sent to various local hospitals, TRA said in an update on Facebook. 

21:17   Theresa May v Andrea Leadsom in Conservative leader race
Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom will battle it out to become the next leader of the Conservative Party after Michael Gove was eliminated from the contest.

After the second MPs' ballot, Home Secretary Mrs May finished with 199 votes, Energy Minister Mrs Leadsom 84 and Mr Gove, the justice secretary, 46.

Conservative members will now decide the winning candidate, with the result due on 9 September.

The winner will become the UK's second ever female prime minister.
20:59   Terrorists are 'enemies of Islam and humanity': B'desh PM
Those who carry out assaults even in Eid congregations are "enemies of Islam and humanity", Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Thursday after the Muslim-majority country witnessed a second terror attack in less than a week.
Hasina also appealed to parents to inform authorities of their missing children after it emerged that most of the hostage-takers in the July 1 Dhaka cafe incident had vanished several months ago.
"Those who are carrying out assaults even in Eid congregations, are enemies of Islam and humanity," said Hasina at an Eid reception at her residence.
"Terrorism will never be tolerated in Bangladesh. The government will do everything to establish peace," she said.
Hasina said the government would give every support, including the dissemination of information through all forms of media outlets, to help parents to trace their missing children and bring them home.
"We will track them down using modern technology, if required they will be given treatment in specialised facilities," she said.
Referring to Thursday's attack before the main Eid prayer, the prime minister said, "They have killed people instead of offering their prayers at time for prayers. How can this be a way to protect Islam?"
"... those who carry out such heinous crimes, dont believe in Islam in reality. They are the enemies of Islam."
She also spoke of the suicide bombing outside the Prophet Mohammad's Mosque in Saudi Arabia's Medina. "Some people commit such crimes in the name of Islam, tarnishing Islam's image."
"Steps must be taken against such people who are involved in false preaching and pushing the youths towards death and hell."
She said the Middle East-based militant group had 'gone too far' with their fanaticism regarding Islam. "Islam doesn't allow the killing of innocent people."
20:32   Terrorist threat in Bangladesh is real: US
Terrorist threat in Bangladesh is "real and credible", the United States said today as it cautioned its citizens to carefully consider the risk of travelling to the country after a series of terrorist attacks there, including one on a Dhaka cafe that left 22 people dead.
US citizens should take stringent security measures, remain vigilant and be alert to local security developments, a US travel advisory said.
In the advisory, the State Department urged "US citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Bangladesh" in light of the latest attacks.
"The US government assesses that the terrorist threat is real and credible," the advisory said.
On July 1, suspected Islamic State terrorists killed 22 people at a restaurant frequented by foreigners in Dhakas diplomatic enclave, including one US citizen, it said.
Attacks continued against religious minorities, bloggers, publishers, and security forces throughout the country.
Daesh (also referred to as ISIL, or ISIS) and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have publicly claimed responsibility for various attacks since September 2015, the advisory noted.
19:56   Congress alleges Rs 45,000-crore telecom scam
The Congress on Thursday alleged a staggering Rs 45,000-crore telecom scam and that the Modi government was "surreptiously taking steps" to protect the interests of six leading telecom companies which owe the money
to the public exchequer.
"Latest is a staggering 'Telecom Scam' of approximately Rs.45,000 crore plus that is being buried under the carpet by 'Modi Sarkar'", party's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala alleged at a joint press conference with party spokespersons Shaktisinh Gohil and R P N Singh.
He alleged that the government is "surreptitiously taking steps to protect the interests of six leading telecom companies by helping them avoid the payment of charges rightfully owed to the government."
He claimed that this is a clear-cut case of loss to the public exchequer verified by the comptroller and auditor general  "with the sole aim of helping friendly 'crony capitalists'." The telecom companies named by Surjewala are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Idea, Tata and Aircel.
Replying to a question whether Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was this week shifted to Law and Justice Ministry from Telecom was involved, Surjewala claimed that what has happened in the matter cannot take place "without the direct or indirect concurrence" of the prime minister and it would be "improper"  to blame any one minister.
The Congress leaders said that the CAG initiated an audit of the six telecom companies for four years from 2006-07 to 2009-10 at the instructions of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. It specifically looked at underreporting of income and non-uniform method of accounting adopted by various telecom companies and consequent lack of obligation to pay outstanding licence fee and Spectrum Usage Charges.
In its report submitted this year, the CAG found an alleged understatement/underreporting of income by the six companies of Rs.46,045.75 crore in the four years.    
19:42   Dhaka cafe attackers used five pistols, two AK-22 rifles
The Islamist militants who killed 22 people, including an Indian girl, in the brazen assault at a cafe here used five pistols and three AK-22 rifles, police said.
Three knives, a machete, a white handkerchief and around 300 rounds of bullet shells were also found on the premises of Holey Artisan Bakery that was stormed by at least five gunmen on July 1, sparking a 12-hour stand-off with police that saw 20 hostages murdered with machetes.
The police also found nine safety pins and suspect these are of the grenades used by the terrorists, the bdnews reported.
A police official said the bloodied handkerchief with something written on it in black ink, was found on a dead body.
Two police officers and 20 hostages, including 18-year-old Indian girl Tarishi Jain, nine Italians, seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis and one American were killed in Bangladesh's worst terror attack.
Thirteen hostages were rescued when security forces stormed the restaurant.
19:26   UK Parliament in lockdown over 'suspicious' package
Britain's Parliament was today briefly locked down after a member of the House of Lords received a "suspicious" envelope with white powder inside, on a day the British capital marked the 11th anniversary of terrorist
bombings across its transport network.
Windows of the Palace of Westminster in central London were closed and people were locked out onto rooftop terrace as police officers investigated the "suspicious" envelope.
"A suspicious package has been delivered to the Houses of Parliament. Officers are at the scene examining the contents of the package," said a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

"There have been no reports of any related injuries or illnesses at this time," the spokesperson said.
A correspondent for the 'The Times' was among those caught up in the lock-down and tweeted from the terrace: "Chemical incident in parliament underway for almost an hour. Investigating a white powder."
"Emergency supplies have arrived for the stranded on the Lords terrace," he later added.
July 7 marks the 11th anniversary of the terrorist bombings across London's transport network in 2005, which claimed 52 lives.
19:18   Maharashtra orders probe into preacher Zakir Naik's speeches
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asks Mumbai Police chief to probe preacher Zakir Naik's speeches and submit a report.

The probe will include inquiry into his all public documents, according to TV reports.

Police have been deployed outside the city office of a foundation run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, whose 'hate speech' is reported to have inspired one of the five Bangladeshi militants involved in the recent Dhaka carnage.

A senior Mumbai Police official said security personnel have been deployed outside Naik's 'Islamic Research Foundation' office at Dongri area in South Mumbai, as a precautionary measure in the wake of the recent developments.

"We have neither received any threat perception nor particular instructions from the State or Central government. We have deployed our forces only as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident," the official told PTI.

The Mumbai Police that Zakir Naik's public documents, videos and social media posts will be examined.

The move by the Maharashtra government comes a day after Bangladesh asked India to examine the speeches of Zakir Naik and on the day that another terror attack took place near Dhaka killing four people, including one terrorist.

President Pranab Mukherjee said that India stands with Bangladesh in its fight against terrorism, radicalism and fundamentalism". 
18:53   Sania-Martina lose Wimbledon quarter finals
Defending champions Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis suffered a shock defeat in the womens doubles quarter-finals at Wimbledon, beaten by Timea Babos of Hungary and Kazakhstans Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-5 on Thursday.
18:37   Serena romps into Wimbledon final
Serena Williams of the United States romped into the final of the women's singles at Wimbledon, trouncing Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-2, 6-0 in the first semi-final on Thursday.
18:00   The Khans say Eid Mubarak
The Khandan say Eid Mubarak in this picture tweeted by Salman's sister Arpita. However, the Sultan star is missing from the picture as are his parents. 
17:57   Zakir Naik on Dhaka terrorists: Did not inspire people to kill
First reactions from controversial preacher Zakir Naik after the Dhaka attacks. Two of the seven terrorists who hacked to death 20 people at a Dhaka cafe on Friday had said they were inspired by Naik. The government has said that, "we don't ban individuals, we ban organisations," but today Venkaiah Naidu said said his speeches were excellent hinting that he may be banned.

Naik said that he was not shocked to learn that the Bangla terrorists were inspired by him. "More than 90 per cent Bangladeshis know me, more than 50 per cent are my fans. But every fan of mine may not follow everything I say.

"Terrorists may have been misguided by others to kill innocents. Indian media saying that I'm encouraging terrorism is devilish. I disagree that I inspired people to kill. I'm totally against terrorism and I don't condone killing innocents," he said.

Naik has said on the 9/11 attacks: It is a blatant, open secret that this attack on the Twin Towers was done by George Bush himself... Even a fool will know that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.

And on terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, Naik had this to day, "If he is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him. I dont know him personally. If he is terrorising America, the biggest terrorist, I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist. The thing is that if he is terrorising a terrorist, he is following Islam."

Do take the poll alongside and vote: Should India ban Zakir Naik?
17:33   Salman skips Maharashtra Commission for Women summons again
Salman Khan has skipped the summons by the Maharashtra Commission for Women again. The MCW had sent summons to the superstar for the third and final time.

Meanwhile, not satisfied with the written reply from Salman Khan, the National Commission for Women has summoned the Bollywood actor to appear before it tomorrow in connection with his controversial "rape" remarks.

The Commission also warned the 50-year-old actor that if he fails to appear before the panel, it may proceed to take action as it deems fit.

17:17   Javadekar distances himself from Smriti's legacy, says students must rebel
India lacks in innovation in education as children are discouraged to ask questions in schools something which should not be allowed to go on, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said today, contending "unless you rebel, unless you challenge the status quo, how can you innovate anything".

"Innovation is a process of rebellion essentially. Unless you rebel, unless you challenge the status quo, how can you innovate anything," he said, emphasising the Modi government's focus on innovation in education.

"Why do we lack innovation in India? Because, we don't allow questioning. We don't promote inquisitiveness. If a child asks questions in school, he is asked to sit down. This should not go on. We need to promote inquisitiveness, children should ask questions," the newly appointed HRD Minister said.

Javadekar said if children are encouraged to be inquisitive, innovation would follow as the status quo would be challenged and there would be transformation. The minister, who had been given the charge of the HRD Ministry after Tuesday's reshuffle, was speaking at an event, 'Infocom 2016', organised by the Ananda Bazar Patrika Group.

Javadekar reached out to students on day one, asserting that dialogue is the key to avoid the kind of agitations seen on campuses around the country in recent months.
Javadekar, seen as non-confrontational and reportedly handpicked by the party leadership for the complete contrast he provides to his aggressive predecessor Smriti Irani, said he would use his experience as a student leader to initiate "good dialogue" with students to prevent protests and clashes on campuses.

Image: Prakash Javadekar with Smriti Irani
16:51   Venkaiah hints at action against Zakir Naik, says speeches objectionable
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said speeches of Islamic preacher and Salafi ideologue Zakir Naik are objectionable, indicating the government may take action against him.

"The Home Ministry will analyse everything," Naidu said, adding that speeches of Naik "are objectionable'.

A controversial preacher, Zakir Naik recently hit the headlines following revelation that two out of five young militants who attacked a popular cafe in Dhakha on July 1 drew their inspiration from his speeches.Young militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, posted a message on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV's preacher Naik "urging all Muslims to be terrorists".

Condemning the attacks in Bangladesh, Naidu said terrorism has no religion or region and called for the entire world to unite against it.Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday indicated that the government was contemplating action against Naik, saying it was a "matter of law' and the agencies concerned will take "appropriate action'.

Naik, founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, is banned in the United Kingdom and Canada for his alleged hate speeches aimed against other religions.

Also read: Decoding Zakir Naik: A TV preacher or a threat?
16:30   Railways to sell garbage at stations
Eager to generate non-fare revenue from various sources, Railways is firming up proposals to sell the garbage generated at stations across the country.

"We are examining a proposal from a waste management group which has offered Rs 1.50 per kg for garbage to be collected at railway stations," said a senior railway official involved in exploring various avenues for generating non- tariff revenues.

Railways has created a separate Non-Fare Revenue Directorate to find ways for generating substantial revenue from sources other than passenger fares and freight. The waste management company will collect the garbage from stations round-the-clock.

"The collection and disposal of garbage will be the company's responsibility. It can be utilised for generating energy and manure," the official said.

Risk insurance cover for workers involved in garbage collection, provisions of black plastic bags for carrying it from dustbins at stations will be the responsibility of the waste management company, according to the proposal.

The company has offered to take up garbage collection at 12 stations, including Amritsar, Ambala, Haridwar, Jammu, Katra, Dehradun, Moradabad, Saharanpur, CST, Mumbai Central and Dadar.

It will serve the dual purpose of maintaining cleanliness at stations and also generate revenue for railways, he said. A substantial amount of solid waste is generated by passengers, visitors, vendors and staff. The solid waste consists of biodegradable as well as non-biodegradable materials.

At present solid waste generated at the stations is transferred to the nearest designated location of municipality and, in this process, a considerable effort and physical transportation is required. The delay in transfer also causes early degradation leading to unhygienic conditions within the railway premises.
16:25   We will be a trusted friend: PM Modi assures Mozambique
Following their interaction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed a joint press conference with Mozambique President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi.

Highlights of PM Modi's remarks: 

* I am particularly happy about our agreement to facilitate youth & sports cooperation and exchanges.

* India-Mozambique signed 3 agreements: MoU in the field of youth affairs & sports; Long term agreement for purchase of pulses from Mozambique; and on drug demand reduction & prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances & precursor chemicals.

* We agreed to put cooperation in agriculture on the fast track. We are also strengthening our partnership in food security.

* Mozambique has already been one of the gateways for Indian investments into Africa.

* Terrorism is the gravest security threat facing the world today.

* India was one of the strongest supporters of Mozambican Independence. Our shared struggles & suffering under colonial oppression brought our two countries together. In Mozambique's march towards economic prosperity, India will walk every step of the way. We will be a trusted friend.

* India will be donating essential medicines for the Mozambican public health system, including medicines for treatment of AIDS
15:51   PIL seeks scrapping of BJP's lotus symbol
A public interest litigation seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to scrap the 'lotus' symbol allotted to BJP was filed in the Bombay high court today, contending that it is a national flower and cannot be used as a party icon.

The petition alleged that BJP is using the national flower (lotus) for electroral purposes and thereby violating the Emblems and Names (Prevention of improper use) Act 1950. 

"Lotus is a sacred flower and occupies a unique position in art and mythology of ancient India and it has been an auspicious symbol of Indian culture. Lotus is a flower of Goddess Laxmi and symbolises wealth, prosperity and fertility," said the petition filed by activist Hemant Patil. 

"Lotus symbolises purity, achievement, long life and good fate and hence cannot be used as a symbol by any party for election purpose," argued the petition, which is likely to come up for hearing next week. 

The petitioner said he had given a representation to the Election Commission to scrap the Lotus symbol of BJP as it was a national flower but it had not been considered and hence he had moved the Bombay high court. 
Sensex inches up 34.62 points to close at 27,201.49; Nifty up 1.95 points at 8,337.90.
15:30   Ban provocative speeches by all religions, Digvijaya defends Zakir hug
In wake of him attending an event of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in 2012, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday said all provocative speeches by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians should be banned.

"If the speeches are to be banned...all provocative speeches on religion by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians should be banned," Singh told media

He said if the Government of India or the Government of Bangladesh has any evidence against Naik's involvement in the ISIS, they should take action against him. Issuing a clarification, Singh said he spoke against religious fundamentalism and terrorism in his speech at the conference organised by Zakir Naik, adding that he had also appealed for communal harmony.

"The conference was for communal harmony and against terrorism. It was also to explain that Islam is against innocents being killed," he added.

Naik is in the midst of a controversy after his 'hate speech' was reported to have inspired one of the five Bangladeshi militants involved to indulge in the July 1 terror attack on an upscale cafe in Dhaka's Gulshan suburb.

The video shows Digvijay Singh saying that people like Zakir Naik can bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims. "Zakir should travel all over India.I am very happy that he is spreading the message of peace," he said.

"We need your message to reach the country," Singh had told Zakir Naik back then. The office bearers of his organization ' Islamic Research Foundation' in Mumbai's Dongri are being questioned by a team of the Mumbai Police.

Zakir Naik is reportedly in Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage and would return to India on July 11. He will be addressing a press conference the next day to respond to the allegations against him for which he has hired a Mumbai based PR agency.
15:18   Police deployed at 'hate' preacher Zakir Naik's Mumbai office
Police have been deployed outside the city office of a foundation run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, whose 'hate speech' is reported to have inspired one of the five Bangladeshi militants involved in the recent Dhaka carnage.

A senior Mumbai Police official said security personnel have been deployed outside Naik's 'Islamic Research Foundation' office at Dongri area in South Mumbai, as a precautionary measure in the wake of the recent developments.

"We have neither received any threat perception nor particular instructions from the state or Central government. We have deployed our forces only as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident," the official told PTI.

He, however, parried question on whether Mumbai Police has received any particular information or instruction to share some inputs on Naik. "There is nothing as such. This is something which is being handled at the state and Central government level. But as a law enforcing agency, we are keeping a close eye on the situation," the official said.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had yesterday told reporters in Delhi that, "Zakir Naik's speech is a matter of concern for us. Our agencies are working on this. But as a minister, I will not comment what action will be taken." Bangladeshi newspaper 'Daily Star' had reported that militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik. Naik, in his lecture aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly "urged all Muslims to be terrorists".

The controversial Islamic orator and founder of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation is banned in the UK and Canada for his 'hate speech' aimed at other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He is known in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects, the report said.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant yesterday said he had written to the Union Home Minister, demanding a ban on Naik and Islamic Research Foundation, in the country's interest. Last week, Islamist gunmen stormed a popular restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
15:15   Sena men burn effigy of Mumbai BJP chief over 'demon' remark
A day before the expansion of the Maharashtra Cabinet, Shiv Sena workers today burnt an effigy of Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar over his "demon" remark, which apparently alluded to frequent digs and taunts took by the Sena at the senior partner.

Speaking at a party meet in Mumbai last evening, Shelar, without naming Shiv Sena, had invoked a fable from 'Mahabharat', of a "small demon making too much of a noise".

Shelar also went on to add that BJP's 'Lord Krishna', a reference to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, would ensure that this demon would be bottled during the ensuing Mumbai civic polls.

Today, Shelar said his analogy was twisted by media to create tension in the government. "I had narrated that tale only with the aim of making BJP workers understand that in every election, the tools are different," Shelar said.
15:05   CBI seeks time to file affidavit against Peter's bail plea
The CBI today sought time to file its affidavit in response to a bail application filed by former media baron Peter Mukherjea, arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of his wife Indrani Mukerjea's daughter Sheena Bora.

The Central Bureau of Investigation today told Justice Revati Mohite Dere that it would require time to file its affidavit opposing Peter's bail. Justice Dere then posted the bail plea for further hearing on July 19.

Peter approached the high court seeking bail after the sessions court rejected his bail on two occasions earlier. In his bail plea, Peter said there is nothing incriminating against him in the charge sheet.

Peter was arrested in November last year in the Sheena Bora murder case. Prior to it, his wife Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna, and her former driver Shyamvar Rai were arrested in connection with the sensational murder case. In his bail plea before HC, Peter questioned the lower court's refusal to grant him bail on the ground that the probe was still on. A further probe once the charge sheet is filed has no fixed deadline, and merely mentioning that they are still investigating the case is not fair ground to keep a man in custody indefinitely, the application contended.

"There is still not an iota of evidence against Peter, and he has been kept behind bars only on suspicion. An arrest on mere suspicion based only on calls at odd hours is extremely tenuous," the plea said.
14:48   Remembering Capt Vikram Batra
This day, 17 years ago, Capt. Vikram Batra died in the Kargil War. He was just 24 years-old.

It was under his leadership that the Indian army snatched point 5140, from right under the enemy's nose.

Captain Batra volunteered for the next mission to recapture point 4875. This point was 17,000 feet above the sea level and 80 degree steep. On July 7, 1999, in the early hours, he was commanding a mission to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack. It is believed that during the rescue attempt, he pushed aside the injured officer saying, "You have children, step aside."

He was killed in action.

In his remembrance, Captain Batra's name is used by the Indian Army for various constructions and cantonments.

Read's 2015 tribute to Capt Batra: The soldier who became a legend
14:37   Modi visit will cement India-SA ties: South Africa FM
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to South Africa tomorrow, the country's foreign minister today said the visit will cement and strengthen the excellent relations that exist between the two countries.

"South Africa and India share common values and objectives which were forged during the struggle against colonialism and for liberation and democracy in South Africa," said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. Modi will be in South Africa as part of a whirlwind five-day tour of Africa that will also take him to three other African countries - Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya.

"India played a leading role in isolating the apartheid regime, resulting in a shared history of friendship and solidarity," Nkoana-Mashabane, a former high commissioner to India, wrote in the daily The New Age.

"India also provided consistent support to the liberation movement during South Africa's struggle for democracy and was at the forefront within multilateral forums, such as the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement, in promoting international efforts towards South Africa's liberation," she added.
14:18   Canadian student goes from hostage to detainee suspected of involvement in Dhaka attack
The reported leader of ISIL in Bangladesh, a recent University of Windsor chemistry graduate named Tamim Chowdhury, has not personally claimed involvement in the Dhaka restaurant attack in which 20 people, mostly foreigners, were slaughtered when they failed to recite Koranic scripture by memory.

But his involvement is suggested by the claim by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that the attackers acted on its behalf, the distribution of images from inside the massacre on ISIL social media channels and the clearly global audience of the attack in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter.
Read more
14:10   Aamir Khan on Dhaka attacks: Terrorism and terrorists have no religion
"Jo aatankvaad failaate hain aur jo log aatankvaad karte hain, unka mazhab se koi lena dena nahi. Those who spread terrorism and those who are terrorists, have nothing to do with religion", says superstar Aamir Khan in Mumbai today in the immediate aftermath of the 2nd terror attack in Dhaka this morning.

Aamir is the second actor to condemn the Dhaka blasts after Irrfan Khan, who has been in the news for irking Muslim clerics with his remark on sacrifice of animals during Eid-uz-Zoha.

Khan recently condemned the terror attack at the Holey Artisan cafe with a strong-worded post on social media.

The actor took to social media to express his condolences to the victims and also expressed his anger towards terrorists for associating the stigma with Islam.

"Bachpan mein mazhab ke baare mein kaha gaya tha ki aapka parausi(neighbor) bhooka ho toh aapko usko shamil kiye bina akele khana nehi khana chahiye," the actor wrote. (When we were children, we were told not to eat without inviting the hungry to share our meal as well..hearing of the Bangladesh terror attacks has led to deep unease in my heart)

The actor went ahead and lashed out on ISIS terrorists for bringing a bad name to the entire community and said that such incidents happen because of a lack of understanding about Quran's true teachings and that in such a situation, Muslims shouldn't stay silent.

Image: Aamir, wife Kiran Rao and their son Azad during Eid last year
13:40   Absconding Mallya to make rare public appearance in UK on Friday
Troubled Indian businessman Vijay Mallya is set to make a rare public appearance in the United Kingdom on Friday when he is scheduled to attend the team bosses press conference ahead of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

Mallya, who has been in the UK since March, has been declared a proclaimed offender by a special court in a money laundering case back home.

The creditors in India have also been trying to recover dues of Rs 9000 crore owed by his long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines.It will be the first time this season that Force India boss Mallya will be seen in the paddock. Mallya is scheduled to address the press conference alongside fellow team principals Maurizio Arrivabene (Ferrari), Eric Boullier (McLaren), Dave Ryan (Manor), Claire Williams (Williams) and Toto Wolff (Mercedes).

The liquor baron is going through tough times but his team Force India has had a successful season so far. Sergio Perez's third place finish in Monaco and Baku helped the team record two podiums in a season for the first time.

Force India, who had a forgettable last race in Austria, remain in the fifth place with 59 points are aiming to catch up Williams, who are fourth with 92 points.

The British Grand Prix is considered a home race for Force India, whose factory is a stones throw away from the circuit.
13:23   'No legal obstacle to hold second referendum on UK's exit'
There is no legal obstacle in holding a second referendum on whether Britain should exit from European Union (EU), according to Lord Karan Bilimoria, who said that Article 50 cannot be triggered until Parliament votes on it.

"The June 24 referendum was advisory, and pro-remain MPs outnumber leave backers in the house of Commons by 3:1 and in the House of Lords by far more," Lord Bilimoria, founder chairman of the Cobra Beers said during a debate on the outcome of the European Union Referendum in the House of Lords.

"There is now a strong legal case, as we have heard, that Article 50 (the process to commence Britain's exit from EU) cannot be triggered until Parliament votes on it.  Here is a conundrum: with the lies, the deceit, the treachery and the turmoil that has been caused, will a responsible Parliament affirm the 52:48 referendum result built on such shaky ground?

Stating that the outcome of the referendum should be based on a two-thirds majority, Lord Bilimoria said "with hindsight - this point has not been brought up by anybody - a decision as important as this should have had a two-thirds hurdle. Changing the fixed-term Parliament in the other place needs a two-thirds majority. To change the Indian Constitution, you need a two-thirds majority. There would then have been a definitive result."

As for the Opposition, he said Jeremy Corbyn, (opposition leader) has been absolutely useless as a leader, and his role in the referendum was pathetic.
12:55   India sends 4 NSG bomb experts to probe both Dhaka terror attacks
Just in: India sends a four-member NSG team to Dhaka to probe both the blasts. All the four NSG members are bomb experts.

Meanwhile, two policemen have been killed with over nine officers wounded, says Reuters.  The toll remains at four. The other two dead are a terrorist and a civilian.

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has condemnned the attack this morning at Kishorganj near Dhaka and said that this is not Islam. She said she was Worried that 400 young Bangladeshi men have been missing from their homes and could have been radicalised. "Islam says you can't kill innocent people. Terrorism is against humanity. How can terrorists kill people during namaz," she said in Dhaka's second attack in a week.

To bring you up to speed, four people, including a policeman, have been killed and 11 injured after bombs went off near Bangladesh's biggest Eid gathering in the north of the country this morning.

Bangladesh media reports that a bigger police contingent has been dispatched to Kishoreganj, 140 km from Dhaka where the attackers are believed to be holed up in a school.

Locals say 6-7 youths led the attack on Eid the congregation of 30,000 people. A cop was attacked with knife and bombs exploded injuring seven.

According to reports, a group of six to seven terrorists led the attack on policemen at around 9:45 am when the law enforcers were frisking people into the Eidgah ground.

Bangladeshi media reports said that the police has been trading gunfire with the attackers who are now reportedly holed up inside a school.

Image: The five terrorists who killed 20 at the Holey Artisan cafe in Dhaka last week.
12:45   Open Letter To MJ Akbar From Ravish Kumar, Zero TRP Anchor
Respected Akbar ji,
Greetings, Eid Mubarak.

That you have become the Minister of State for External Affairs is no less a special occasion than Eid. We journalists should be very happy that you first became a spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party and then a parliamentarian and now a minister. You fought an election on a Congress ticket. Then you came back to become an editor. Then you again went from an editor to a spokesperson and then a minister. Perhaps I will never know what you thought about journalists becoming netas and the work ethics that come into play with that.

Did you ever pass through a crisis of conscience? Even though there are no Gods in journalism, during these times, did you ever fear God?

Read more
12:42   China: Construction of life-size replica of Mecca shocks Muslim world
The disclosure by Chinese authorities of a planned life-size replica of the religious site of Mecca has stemmed controversy in the Arab world as King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has vehemently attacked Chinese officials for this "blatant offense to Islam' and promises "repercussions similar to 9-11" if the project is not abandoned, reports Al Jazeera this morning. Read more

Image: Pilgrims pray at the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
12:37   Prakash Javadekar can walk the tightrope
The weather is set to change for Prakash Javadekar, the only minister of state with Independent charge to get elevated to Cabinet rank in the reshuffle on Tuesday. He was given an important portfolio in the government, of human resource development. Read more

Image: Prakash Javdekar formally assumes charge of the HRD Ministry.
12:33   Financing India's road investments
Business Standard reports that private investment will fund 55% of the investment in roads sector in India this year. The government has set a target of 25000 km for development in 2016-17, with 55% under various forms of BOT and 45% as EPC, compared to 10,098 km last year. Read more
Reuters: Tata Steel to announce sell-off of some of its speciality businesses, to delay decision on future of rest of its UK business. 
12:22   Attackers armed with machetes
Tofazzal Hosain, the district's deputy police chief, told AFP that several people had taken part in the attack and some had been armed with machetes - a hallmark of recent attacks in Bangladesh. "They first threw a small bomb targeting police and then attacked them with machetes. Police retaliated by returning gunfire," Hosain said.

Last weekend, 20 people, including 18 foreigners, were hacked to death at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.
12:18   This is NOT Islam, Bangladesh PM condemns 2nd attack
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has condemnned the attack this morning at Kishorganj near Dhaka and said that this is not Islam. She said she was Worried that 400 young Bangladeshi men have been missing from their homes and could have been radicalised. "Islam says you can't kill innocent people. Terrorism is against humanity. How can terrorists kill people during namaz," she said in Dhaka's second attack in a week.

To bring you up to speed, four people, including a policeman, have been killed and 11 injured after bombs went off near Bangladesh's biggest Eid gathering in the north of the country this morning.

Bangladesh media reports that a bigger police contingent has been dispatched to Kishoreganj, 140 km from Dhaka where the attackers are believed to be holed up in a school.

Locals say 6-7 youths led the attack on Eid the congregation of 30,000 people. A cop was attacked with knife and bombs exploded injuring seven.

According to reports, a group of six to seven terrorists led the attack on policemen at around 9:45 am when the law enforcers were frisking people into the Eidgah ground.

Bangladeshi media reports said that the police has been trading gunfire with the attackers who are now reportedly holed up inside a school.

Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the attack is a political move and has no Islamic agenda. He also confirmed that the attack was aimed at the police convoy which was guarding the Eid congregation.

According to media reports, Maulana Farid Uddin Masud, who's the imam Masjid at Sholalkia, was the main target of the terrorists. He had started a signature campaign and over 1 lakh religious leaders had signed a fatwah condemning terrorism in the name of Islam.

After the Dhaka terror, the Islamic State terror group had issued a chilling video on Wednesday threatening more attacks.

"What you witnessed in Bangladesh was a glimpse. This will repeat, repeat and repeat until you lose and we win and the sharia is established throughout the world," said a man identified as Bangladeshi fighter Abu Issa al-Bengali, in the video monitored by SITE intelligence site.
11:58   Minister denies making 'cover her body' remark for Smriti's textile portfolio
Reacting strongly over the alleged remark against Smriti Irani being shifted to the Textile Ministry would help cover her body, Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar on Thursday rubbished the charges and said that there are some sections in the media who are portraying him in negative light.

Upon being asked to apologies for the remark, Anwar instead asked the media to apologies that modified the statement.

"There are some sections in the media who altered the statement I made. I think the media should instead apologies which have portrayed me in a negative manner," he told ANI.

Anwar however said that the statement was made in regard to Textile Ministry and was not directed against the minister. "This is completely wrong. I never made such a statement, I never commented on Smriti Irani, rather I was commenting about the Textile Ministry which covers the body of people. I always respect women, why would I say about her. I have immense respect for her," he added.

He further clarified that had he made any derogatory remark, he would have apologized within minutes. The JD (U) leader and Rajya Sabha MP had allegedly made a shocking statement after Irani was shifted to the Textile Ministry. "Good that Irani has been elected as textile minister; it will help her cover body," he said.
11:48   Pakistani hackers attack Indian management institute's website
Hindustan Times reports: The website of a prominent management institute in Noida was attacked by Pakistani hackers, officials said on Thursday.

The website of the School of Law, Design and Innovation Academy of the Institute of Management Studies was hacked and along with a Pakistani flag another flag resembling a Chinese flag was posted on the website, the officials said.

Probe has so far revealed that the site was hacked on Monday night and the hackers also posted a message - hacked by Pakistani hackers Mister ji.

The hackers also posted many sacrilegious and obscene comments on India, the officials added. The site has been put offline.
11:40   HRD minister Javadekar takes charge; says focus on quality education
Raising the quality of education in the country will be the "top priority" of Prakash Javadekar who today took over as the Human Resource Development minister. 

65-year-old Javadekar, who was the environment minister, was elevated to the Cabinet rank in Tuesday's rejig of the Council of Ministers. He replaced Smriti Irani, who has been shifted to the textiles ministry.

Talking to reporters, he said raising the quality of education is his "top priority" as the HRD minister. 

He assured cooperation to all the states in developing the quality of education. 

He, however, did not speak about policy issues, saying he would comment only after being briefed by ministry officials.

Irani did not turn up for the event. Asked about her absence, he said certain family issues have held her back. 
11:33   People should not blame me now: Dr Zakir Naik on B'desh Eid attack
Dr Zakir Naik, whose sermons reportedly inspired two of the killers in the Dhaka terrorist attack last week, took to Twitter on Thursday after after bombs went off near Bangladesh's biggest Eid gathering in the north of the country on Thursday.

Shortly after the news of the attack broke, Naik tweeted: "People should not blame me now."

Ironically, even as Indian agencies were looking into Naik's speeches, the controversial preacher also tweeted: "My son said to me over the phone that he wants to become Somalian pirate when he grows up. Felt extremely proud!"

Sounding belligerent about reports that action may be initiated against his Dubai-based television channel Peace TV which he owns and airs his brand of Salafi Islam to the world, he said: "If PeaceTV is banned in India, we may change its name & again run the channel." 

Naik has been banned from public speaking in the United Kingdom, Canada and Malaysia, but he is immensely popular in India. A medical doctor-turned-TV preacher, Naik has more than 100 million viewers, and has been called the rock star of tele-evangelism and a proponent of modern Islam.
10:51   Bangladesh under attack again; 2 dead at Eid congregation blast
Two people, including a policemen, have been killed and five injured in an explosion near the entrance of Bangladesh's largest Eid congregation in Kishoreganj.

The incident, that happened within a week of the Gulshan restaurant attack, took place around 9:45 am this morning at the Sholakia field of Kishoreganj where hundreds of thousands gather each year for Eid congregation.

Bangladeshi media reports that police is now trading gunfire with the attackers.

Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the attack is a political move and has no Islamic agenda. He also confirmed that the attack was aimed at the police convoy which was guarding the Eid congregation.

More details are awaited.
09:45   Modi arrives in Mozambique; 1st Indian PM to do so in over 3 decades
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived at Mozambique capital Maputo as part of his four-nation tour of the African continent.

Prime Minister Modi is the first Indian head of government to visit Mozambique after 34 years. 

Former prime minister Indira Gandhi was the last to visit that country in 1982.

During his five-day four-nation tour to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, energy, food security, trade, maritime cooperation and diaspora interactions will high on the Prime Minister's agenda.

Prime Minister Modi will be given a ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Office at 9.30 am (Mozambique time) or 1pm IST, after which, he will hold a "restricted meeting" with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi. This will be followed by delegation-level talks, a signing of agreements and an issue of a joint statement.

The Union Cabinet had on Tuesday given its approval for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Mozambique on drug demand reduction and prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals and related matters. The MoU is aimed at enhancing mutual cooperation between the two countries in combating illicit trafficking in narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors through an exchange of information, expertise and capacity building.

The cabinet also approved a long-term contract by signing an MoU with Mozambique for the import of pulses either through the private channels, or, via Government-to-Government sales through state agencies nominated by both nations.

Besides, Mozambique is the third largest exporter of natural gas after Qatar and Australia.

Thereafter, Prime Minister Modi will attend a state banquet hosted by President Nyusi in the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Office.

About 5:40pm IST, the prime minister will visit the National Assembly, where he will receive a ceremonial welcome and will be introduced to the members, followed by a meeting with President of the National Assembly Veronica Macamo and signing of visitor's book. Before departing for South African capital city of Pretoria at 9:50pm IST, the prime minister will interact with Indian Diaspora.
16 Indian fishermen apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy and 3 boats at Neduntheevu (Palk Strait), in early morning hours.
09:36   Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations begin across India
Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the culmination of the fasting and holy month of Ramzan, will be celebrated across the country, barring Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday.

Faithfuls have been offering Eid prayers in Eidgahs and mosques.

In Delhi, main Eid congregations are being held at the Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri Masjid and Shahi Eidgah.

Ramzan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is observed as a fasting period by Muslims world over who abstain from food and water during the period extending from 30 minutes before the sunrise to sunset.
09:27   Maharashtra CM Fadnavis to expand ministry tomorrow
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will expand his Cabinet on Friday. 

The 20-month-old Fadnavis government will fill up portfolios rendered vacant after the resignation of senior minister Eknath Khadse over corruption charges last month. 

The 10 portfolios handled by him are temporarily with Fadnavis.

The expansion comes ahead of the Monsoon session starting July 18 and two days before Fadnavis begins his four-day Russia tour on July 10. 

The Fadnavis government, which has 19 Cabinet ministers and 10 Ministers of State, has 14 more berths to fill. It is not known if all berths will be filled tomorrow. 

BJP allies -- Sadabhau Khot of Swabhimani Paksha and Mahadev Jankar of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha -- are likely to be inducted.
08:51   SC to hear plea challenging Centre's ordinance on NEET
The Supreme Court will hear the petition challenging the government ordinance diluting an apex court order declaring the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test as the sole means to gain admission to undergraduate MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-2017, on Thursday.

Activist Anand Rai, known for exposing the Vyapam scam, has filed a petition in the Apex Court against the Centre's decision to promulgate the ordinance.

The petition that sought the quashing of the ordinance questioned the Centre's flip-flop stand on the issue.
08:36   Modi's ambitious 'Namami Gange' programme to commence today
The Narendra Modi government will commence execution of its ambitious 'Namami Gange' programme today with the launch of 300 projects including those of installation of sewage treatment plants aiming to clean the holy river and ensuring its unfettered flow.

The projects on entry-level activities such as ghat and crematoria construction/repair, river front beautification, installation and repair of STPs and others work will be launched simultaneously from over 104 locations initially in all five basin states of Ganga. 

Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, Narendra Tomar and Mahesh Sharma will launch the works in Haridwar during an event, which will also be attended by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

"It is a historic moment... for the first time the river is being cleaned with wholesomeness. We will show phase I of Ganga cleaning in October 2016, while the second phase will be completed two years later," Bharti told reporters. 

The government will also launch an application to monitor level of pollution in the river.
08:34   Monsoon above normal limit this year: IMD
All regions, barring the east and northeast India, have started recording monsoon above the normal limit. The northeast and eastern regions are at present experiencing monsoon deficiency.

"Heavy to very heavy rain very likely at a few places with extremely heavy falls at isolated places over West Madhya Pradesh and at a few places over East Madhya Pradesh and at isolated places in Vidarbha; heavy at isolated places over East Rajasthan, Konkan and Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands," India Meteorological Department said in its forecast for today.

According to IMD, the country as a whole received 218.2 mm of rainfall as compared to normal of 215.3 mm, which is 1 per cent more than the normal precipitation the country receives from June 1 to July 6.

Northwest India, where the rainfall has been playing hide and seek in many parts, including Delhi, ever since the monsoon hit the region last week, has also recorded 19 per cent more rains than normal. Similarly, the southern peninsula and central India got 16 and 4 per cent more rains. 
08:30   Barcelona's Messi to appeal tax fraud sentence
After a court in Spain sentenced Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, the footballer vowed to appeal the sentence and clear his name.

The prison sentences are likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years. 

The Argentine's lawyers feel an appeal would eventually succeed in persuading the court that Messi and his father have behaved correctly, the player's representatives told AFP in a statement.

The Barcelona court found the Argentina international and his father Jorge Horacio Messi guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007-09. 

The income related to Messi's image rights that was allegedly hidden includes endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company.
08:29   WikiLeaks mole Manning hospitalized amid suicide reports
Imprisoned transgender soldier Chelsea Manning was briefly hospitalized this week, the US Army said today amid media reports the famous intelligence leaker had attempted suicide.

Manning's legal team, however, was unable to contact their client to ascertain the circumstances surrounding her visit to the hospital. 

Army spokesman Colonel Patrick Seiber told AFP that Manning had been taken to a local hospital in Kansas's Fort Leavenworth area yesterday morning. 

"She was returned to the disciplinary barracks yesterday morning," Seiber said, without providing any information on Manning's medical condition. 

Celebrity news site cited an unnamed source saying Manning had tried to hang herself and was currently being monitored. 

And CNN, citing an official who also spoke anonymously, said Manning was hospitalized after an apparent suicide attempt.

Manning's lawyer Nancy Hollander reacted furiously to the apparent disclosure of medical information to the media, noting she'd had no word from the Army about Manning's condition.
08:28   3 astronauts blast off for ISS in upgraded Soyuz craft
Three astronauts blasted off today from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome towards the International Space Station in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft.

First-time astronauts Kathleen Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japanese space agency set off for a four-month mission at the ISS with two-time Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin at 0136 GMT.

"And lift-off!" said a commentator on NASA TV, which broadcast footage of the launch in Kazakhstan. 

The trio's launch was delayed by over two weeks as Russian space officials carried out further software tests on the modified vehicle. 

Features of the new Soyuz series include upgraded boosters, an improved navigation system, strengthened shielding from debris and more cells on the craft's solar panels. 

NASA's Rubins will be the first woman aboard the ISS since Italian Samantha Cristoforetti returned to earth with the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman (199 days) in June last year.