Tue, 01 August 2017
LeT's Kashmir chief was a nuisance for local public too: officials

Timeline  Refresh

23:30   LeT's Kashmir chief was a nuisance for local public too: officials
Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist Abu Dujana, a Pakistani who was killed in an encounter with security forces today in Jammu and Kashmir, was not just involved in many attacks but would also harass the local public, a senior Army official claimed.
Dujana's killing has affected the outfit and more terrorists would be hunted soon, he added. A senior police official also said that Dujana had become an eyesore for everyone and he would even harass girls.
"Dujana was not involved in too many operations, he was more of a nuisance. He was more involved in coercion and not many in terms of terrorist acts. So, he was only enjoying himself here. That is the way I look at it," Lt Gen J S Sandhu, corps commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, told reporters at Awantipora in Pulwama district.
But the leadership of the LeT has been affected and we, of course, will keep hunting for other terrorist in this area, he added.
Our aim is clearing them out as soon as possible, Sandhu said, flanked by Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Munir Khan.
Lt Gen Sandhu said the security forces received the information about the presence of two terrorists in Hakripora area of Pulwama in the early hours today.
By about 4 AM, the police as well as the Army had established the cordon around about 10-12 houses which was the reported area. Subsequently, we closed in and on speaking to the house owner learnt that the terrorists were not allowing the family to come out.
After a couple of hours, after talking to them, the members of the family came out, after which we launched the operations.
It started around early hours of the morning, around 8 (AM) or so and within a couple of hours, the two terrorists were killed, he said.

IMAGE: Villagers near the house which was destroyed during a gunbattle between security forces and militants in Hakhri Pora in Pulwama District on Tuesday. Photograph: S Irfan/ PTI Photo
23:24   RBI will take time to count scrapped notes deposited in banks: FM
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Reserve Bank of India is in the process of counting scrapped currency notes and will come out with the final figures once the fake notes were weeded out.
Answering oft-repeated questions over the issue, he said in the Lok Sabha that the Reserve Bank had received the last tranche of scrapped currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 only in July and the central bank would take time in counting the billions of notes.
On November 8 last year, the government had scrapped high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 which amounted to around 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.
Replying to a discussion on supplementary demands for grants in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said one of the major benefits of demonetisation was squeezing of funds for terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and naxalites in Chhattisgarh.
On questions regarding the amount of scrapped currency deposited back in the banks, the finance minister said, "Today they (RBI) have to count every currency note. They have to take the fake currency out...That exercise the RBI is taken to a very advanced level."
The minister said since March demands were being raised for disclosure of the amount of scrapped currency deposited in the banks but it can not be done over night.

"...I am hearing that argument 'tell us the currency'. Please study the subject closely. And therefore as soon as they (RBI) complete this exercise, the figure will be placed by them before the country along with the figure of fake currency," he added.
Referring to the efforts being made to deal with the menace of black money, Jaitley said the government is taking action on the information received from five sources including HSBC list, Liechtenstein, Panama papers and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
He said the government has decided to amend the 1988 Benami Act and not bring a new law as they want the deals since 1988 to be covered under the Benami law.
22:46   At least 20 killed in blast at Afghanistan mosque
At least 20 people have been killed in an explosion inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in western Afghanistan.

The Jawadia mosque, said to be the site of the blast, is in the Dehr Abad area in Herat city, the regional center of the Herat province, bordering Iran.

The mosque was attended by the members of the local Shiite minority.

The attack was allegedly carried out by two people, Afghan Tolo News says, citing local security officials.

One of the attackers opened fire on the worshippers gathered at the mosque, after another attacker detonated explosives in front of the facility, the news outlet noted.

Representative image 
22:37   After K'taka and Goa, Digvijaya relieved of charge over Telangana
The once formidable general secretary Digvijaya Singh's role in the Congress got further diminished on Tuesday, with the party divesting him of the charge of Telangana.
Singh, who was earlier the general secretary incharge of Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is left with only the charge of Andhra Pradesh.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi removed the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and appointed R C Khuntia in his place.
Satish Jarkiholi has been appointed the AICC secretary in the new team for Telangana.
"Digvijaya Singh has been relieved of the responsibilities as the general secretary incharge of Telangana," a statement from AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
He was divested of the charge of general secretary incharge of Goa and Karnataka by the party chief on April 29, and replaced by A Chella Kumar and K C Venugopal respectively.

This followed Congress' failure to form its government in Goa despite having emerged as the single largest party in the assembly election this February.
The party had clinched 17 seats in the 40-member legislature, four more than the BJP, which managed to cobble together a majority with local parties to form its government under Manohar Parrikar.
22:02   IAF chief felicitates India women's cricketer Shikha Pandey
Flight Lt Shikha Pandey, a member of the Indian women's cricket team, was today felicitated by Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa for her sterling performance at the recent World Cup.
Pandey was awarded the chief of the air staff commendation by Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa for her performance at the recently concluded ICC Women World Cup, the IAF said.
The Indian women's cricket team finished runner-up, losing to England narrowly by nine runs. However, the team's magnificent performance to reach the finals won laurels from all quarters.
Flt. Lt. Pandey had taken three wickets against South Africa and two wickets against England in league matches. In the semi-final against Australia, she had two scalps for 17 runs.
She was commissioned in the IAF on June 30, 2012 as an air traffic control officer.
The IAF said she is the first lady officer from the services to represent the Indian women cricket team. 

21:32   Islamic State, cyber attacks, China major threat for India: Survey
The Islamic State terror group along with climate change are seen as posing a major risk to India by its people, while an assertive China is considered the third top threat to the country, a latest Pew research survey said today.
In India, 66 per cent of the respondents considered Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS or ISIL) as a major threat, while 47 per cent said they considered global climate change as the major threat, the report said.
ISIS is named as the top threat in a total of 18 countries surveyed -- mostly concentrated in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US, it said.
Forty-four per cent said China posed a threat to India. This was closely followed by cyber attacks (43 per cent), according to the report.
Chinese and Indian troops are locked in a face-off in the Sikkim sector's Doklam area, also claimed by India's ally Bhutan, for over a month after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area.
While China tops the list among three countries in terms of threat perception for which Pew did the survey, it is quite low for the US (19 per cent) and Russia (17 per cent).

In fact, China is increasingly being seen as an emerging threat by many countries in the world, the report said.
In South Korea (83 per cent) and Vietnam (80 per cent), the respondents considered China's power and influence as a threat.
In the US, 41 per cent of the respondents expressed concern over Chinese power and influence. It was also a country of concern by people in Spain (51 per cent), Japan (64 per cent), Philippines (47 per cent), and Ghana (46 per cent). 
ISIS is clearly the primary concern among the issues tested in Europe. Many Europeans also see climate change as a major threat to their countries.
In the Asia-Pacific, the ISIS and global warming rise to the top as major concerns, but a median of roughly half (52 per cent) also worry about cyberattacks, Pew said.
20:38   Well known scientist PM Bhargava dies in Hyderabad
Well-known scientist Pushpa Mitra Bhargava, who was instrumental in founding the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, passed away today. 

Bhargava, popularly known PM Bhargava, had been suffering from multiple health problems for some time now and the end came around 6 PM, CCMB sources said. 

Bhargava, who had served as Founder Director of CCMB, is survived by a son and a daughter. His wife pre-deceased him, they said.
20:37   Def forces lost 37 aircraft, helicopters in last 3 yrs: Govt
A total of 37 defence aircraft and helicopters have crashed since May 2014 in which 55 people were killed, the government told the Rajya Sabha today.

According to details provided by the minister of state for defence, the armed forces lost 25 aircraft and 12 helicopters during the period.

Out of the total, the Indian Air Force lost 24 aircraft and five helicopters in crashes since 2014-15 and main reasons for the accidents were human error and technical defect. 

"37 fighters and defence aircraft have crashed during the last three years," Subhash Bhamre said in a written response to a question. 

He said every accident is thoroughly investigated by a court of inquiry and its recommendations are implemented.

To a query on aircraft and helicopters from IAF, he said the main reasons for accidents were found to be human error and technical defect, adding accident prevention programmes have been given added thrust to identify risk-prone areas specific to aircraft fleets and operational environment. 

The minister also informed the house that IAF had upgraded its Mig-21 and Mig 27 aircraft as part of an obsolescence management programme so that they remain relevant. 

Mig 29 aircraft are also being upgraded in a phased manner. 

"These mid-life upgrades enable the aircraft to improve the combat potential and operational capability," he said.

To a separate question on whether the US has agreed for transfer of sophisticated technology and production of F-16 jets under the 'Make in India' initiative, he said "no".
20:16   Pakistan does not see Salahuddin as a terrorist: Abdul Basit
Defending Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahuddin, outgoing Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit today said that for Pakistan the terror outfits chief is not a terrorist. 

Speaking to ANI, Basit said that Salahuddin was struggling for right to self-determination of Kashmiris.

"Whatever he is doing, which is also seen in Pakistan and J&K, is a struggle for the right to self determination," Basit said, adding that Salahuddin is not a terrorist as far as Pakistan is concerned.

"We don't agree with him being a global terrorist and also criticize the decision on part of the United States as well," he said.

Salahuddin, is one of the most wanted terrorists in the National Investigation Agency's list.

In September, 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley "into a graveyard for Indian forces."
19:24   Railways begins process of phasing out of blankets in AC coaches
After the CAG rap, the Railways has begun the process of doing away with providing blankets in AC compartments and is instead regulating the temperature inside the coaches so that passengers don't shiver.
The 'no-blankets rule' has now been implemented in the third AC coach of the Jammu Mail, a senior official of the railway ministry said.
"The ministry has started the process of gathering data from passengers on the viability of not having blankets on trains. Once we find how many of them ask for blankets and how many say that they can do without these, we will come to a decision about replicating the project in other trains," the official said.
The railways is using thermal control and regulating the temperature in the third AC compartment of the Delhi-Jammu train to around 24-26 degree Celsius from the current 19 degrees so that passengers are comfortable and do not need blankets.
The step to phase out blankets from trains was taken after severe criticism from the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report recently about dirty blankets and bedrolls.
Senior officials said that eventually the plan is to replace blankets with cotton sheets which would be enough for passengers given the revised temperatures being maintained in the compartments.
The no-blanket move would also be more economical for the Railways -- it takes Rs 55 to clean the bedroll while passengers are charged just Rs 22 for it.
However, officials said blankets will be carried in the trains in case these are needed by passengers. 
19:08   Heart attacks, depression kill more CRPF jawans than Naxal ops: Govt
Heart attacks, depression and other medical reasons killed sixteen times more CRPF personnel than action in anti-Naxal operations in the last three years, the government said today.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union minister of state for home Hansarj G Ahir said that while a total of 74 personnel of the country's largest paramilitary -- the Central Reserve Police Force -- were killed in action against Maoists between 2015 and 2017, 1,196 lost their lives owing to multiple medical issues.
Breaking down the figures, he said, 219 jawans and officers of the force died due to heart attacks, 77 personnel lost their lives owing to depression or by committing suicide and 20 lost their lives due to malaria and dengue, during the same period.
A total of 880 personnel lost their lives due to "other" medical reasons, the minister said, without elaborating them.
The maximum number of 59 deaths of CRPF personnel in anti-Naxal operations, out of the total 74, were reported from Chhattisgarh.
In the other Left Wing Extremism-hit states of Bihar, 14 personnel lost their lives in operations against the ultras while two were killed in Jharkhand during the same period.

The minister said the government has taken several measures to ensure good morale of all the personnel working in various Central Armed Police Forces like the CRPF.
"Basic amenities like proper accommodation, medical facilities, timely evacuation of injured, better promotional avenues, gallantry awards, rewards and appreciations and grievance redressal are being addressed," Ahir said. 
18:58   Providing subsidy is a social obligation of the govt: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today criticised the Centre for its decision to eliminate all subsidies for domestic LPG and said providing such financial support to the people is its social obligation.
Banerjee said the poor class will be the worst affected by the action. "This decision on stopping subsidy will cause havoc among the common people," she told a public rally here this afternoon.
"To provide subsidy to the people is a social obligation, a humanitarian obligation of a government. Subsidy does not come from somebody's personal fund but from the pockets of the people," she said.
Banerjee had yesterday accused the BJP of deviating from its commitment to the masses and said it "does not care about the people".
The Centre has ordered state-run oil companies to raise subsidised cooking gas prices by Rs 4 per cylinder every month to eliminate all the subsidies by March next year.
The government had previously asked oil marketing companies to raise the prices of subsidised domestic LPG by Rs 2 on 14.2-kg cylinder per month (excluding VAT).
Every household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rates in a year. Any requirement beyond that is to be purchased at market price.
18:40   Have we really earned this?: Varun Gandhi questions MPs' right to hike own salaries
BJP member Varun Gandhi today questioned the lawmakers' power to hike their own salaries and objected to major bills like Aadhaar being passed without serious discussion or referring them to a parliamentary panel.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, he also pitched for an external body to decide on salary hike for lawmakers while wondering whether the MPs had "earned" the 400 per cent renumeration hike they had given to themselves in the last decade.
"When matters regarding salary are raised recurrently, it makes me worry about the moral compass of the House. Nearly 18,000 farmers have committed suicide over the last one year. Where is our focus?" he asked.

Hitting out at the practice of lawmakers to often raise the demand for a salary hike, he said the Jawaharlal Nehru cabinet at its first meeting had taken a collective decision not to avail salaries for six months in view of the people's sufferings at the time. He also cited several other examples from the past.
Arrogating to themselves the authority to increase their own fiscal compensation was not in line with the morals of democracy, the BJP member said.
He referred to the recent protests of Tamil Nadu farmers in the national capital and noted that they had drunk their urine and demonstrated with skulls of fellow farmers who had committed suicide, in order to strongly make their point.

Gandhi then noted that the Tamil Nadu assembly on July 19 doubled the salaries of its legislators, a move which sent a "broad message of insensitivity".
As compared to a 13 per cent rise in the UK, Indian lawmakers had raised their salaries by 400 per cent in the last decade. "Have we really earned this massive increment," he asked.
Citing the MPs' "performance" over the last two decades, he said barely 50 per cent of the bills were passed after scrutiny from parliamentary committees.
17:59   Arun Jaitley and the art of time management
With the heavyweight portfolios of finance and defence under him Arun Jaitley has a hectic schedule in Parliament. 

Two days in a week he has to answer five starred questions on finance in the Rajya Sabha and eight starred questions on defence, and does the same in the Lok Sabha as well. With officials briefing him on a daily basis, he is able to pull off what would tax most men.   

Despite the pressure, Jaitley still finds time to spend in Parliament's Central Hall, where he can be invariably found from 2 to 3 pm, meeting MPs from various political parties, and interacting with media-persons.   

Other Union ministers like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Ram Vilas Paswan also come to the Central Hall to interact with MPs and fellow ministers, but many prefer to stay away, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his very first Union Cabinet meeting in 2014 implored them to spend more time in Parliament library than on gossiping in Central Hall. 
JUST IN: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected 18th prime minister of Pakistan.  
17:43   'Insecure' Nitish wanted to sacrifice Tejashwi, says Lalu Yadav
Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav today said that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted to sacrifice his son Tejashwi Yadav out of sheer insecurity.

He claimed that Nitish got alarmed, when people started taking about Tejashwi's good work as the deputy chief minister.

"We supported Nitish Kumar, but when people started talking about my son, Tejashwi's work, he got alarmed out of insecurity and wanted to sacrifice him," said Lalu.

He also accused Nitish of being on Bharatiya Janata Party's side from the very beginning of their alliance.

"There was a fixed match between Nitish Kumar and the BJP to break mahagathbandhan and form the government in Bihar," Lalu said.

He also mentioned that, "Once Sharad Yadav had put his life on stake in an election campaign against me for Nitish."

Further lashing out at Nitish, the RJD supremo stated that only because of Mulayam Singh, the JD-U chief was allowed to become the chief minister.

"Yesterday, when he accused me and my family; I knew it was coming, as he is not a man of his words. He has also forgotten the day when I made him rule the state and join my alliance with open arms. It was only because of Mulayam Singh that I agreed to accept him in my party. But today I regret of the time spent and the moment lost," he said.
16:56   Why Lalu's daughter is upset with Jaitley
Rajya Sabha MP Misha Bharti, daughter of Lalu Prasad, is very articulate and spends a lot of time in Central Hall.    

But these days Misha is upset with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who she would once address fondly as 'Uncle'. But the recent ED and I-T raids on her family has changed her mind. Now she does not even say 'Namaste' to the FM, and attributes this change of behaviour to the "harsh treatment' the BJP meted to her.   

Will the tax troubles faced by the family lead to a split? Misha says there is no feud in the Lalu parivar, unlike with Mulayam Singh Yadav, and attributes this to her mother, Rabri Devi, who has always sought peace among brothers Tejashwi, Tej Pratap and her.   

"If you fall apart enemies will use this feud and get into family issues,' she says. 
16:47   Sensex, Nifty hit new closing highs ahead of RBI rate review
Pulling off records for the second consecutive day, the benchmark Sensex today closed at 32,575 and the Nifty 10,115 as investors wait for the outcome of the RBI policy meet tomorrow amid corporate earnings momentum.   

Improving monthly sales numbers from automakers and a firming trend in global markets fuelled the rally.   

The Sensex settled at yet another new high of 32,575.17 by surging 60.23 points, or 0.19 per cent. It surpassed its previous record of 32,514.94 reached yesterday.   

The gauge had risen 205.06 points in the previous session.   

The NSE Nifty closed at 10,114.65 -- a new peak -- up 37.55 points, or 0.37 per cent. It broke the previous record closing of 10,077.10 hit yesterday.   

The two-day RBI policy meet concludes tomorrow.
The break-up of women officers in the army. According to figures, the Indian Air Force has 13 per cent women in the team. 
15:44   Why BJP is happy over Yechury's exit from RS
Mayawati has resigned from the Rajya Sabha. Sitaram Yechury's term will soon be over, and Sharad Yadav will now sit along with the BJP and not with the opposition, as the Janata Dal-United has decided to join the NDA.   
Senior Union ministers heave a sigh of relief over these changes. Reason being, Mayawati, Yechury and Yadav were posing a lot of political problems to the treasury benches by basically acting as a glue for the Opposition.   

With Yechury not in the Rajya Sabha from the winter session, the CPM may cease to be the main attraction for Opposition unity. While he is expected to continue his efforts to coordinate opposition strategy outside the house, what observers say is that offering quick solutions to political issues will be difficult.   

Nothing beats walking across the benches for a quick confabulation, after all.
15:24   UPDATE: NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya resigns
Arvind Panagariya resigns as the vice chairman of NITI Aayog. According to reports,  he will resume teaching in the United States. 

He said August 31 would be his last day in office. 

He was appointed vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, the replacement for the Planning Commission on Jan 5, 2015. 

Panagariya was previously Chief Economist at the Asian Development Bank. 

He has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
15:13   PM announces Rs 2,000 crore for flood-hit north-eastern states
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reviewed flood situation in north-eastern states at a series of high-level meetings in Guwahati and announced assistance of over Rs 2,000 crore.

The prime minister announced the package for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and flood mitigation measures in the flood-affected north-eastern states.

Through the course of the day, the PM held separate, detailed review meetings on the situation in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.

Over Rs 1,200 crore will be given by the Union government for the infrastructure sector alone. The funds will be utilised for repair, maintenance, and strengthening of roads, highways, bridges, and other damaged infrastructure.

Around Rs 400 crore will be provided for improving the water holding capacity of the Brahmaputra River, which will assist in flood control.
14:56   Businessmen gifts Mithali Raj a Mercedes
Mithali Raj, who led Team India to the finals of the recently-concluded ICC Women's World Cup, was on Tuesday gifted a BMW by businessman V Chamundeswaranath. 

India ended up as the runner-up in the global tournament after losing to England in the finals by just nine runs. 

However, the team did put up a good show and gave a a tough fight through the tournament, managing to reach the finals. 

"This is not the first time, but the second time that he is gifting me a car," Mithali said. Back in 2005, he had gifted a Chevrolet to her after the team reached the World Cup finals where they lost to Australia.  

"He (Chamundeswaranath) is one person a sportsperson can count on for encouragement and support," she added. "Not just this, he has also gifted me many bats, with which I have scored a lot." 

This is not the first time that Chamundeswaranath has felicitated a sportsperson. Earlier, for their stellar performance in Rio Olympics 2016, PV Sindhu (badminton singles silver medallist), Sakshi Malik (women's wrestling bronze medallist), Dipa Karmarkar (women's gymnastics 4th spot finish) and Pullela Gopichand (badminton coach), were each gifted a BMW by the businessman.
14:50   Former Gujarat cop Vanzara discharged in Sohrabuddin case
Former police officers DG Vanzara and MN Dinesh, accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, were discharged by a special court in Mumbai today. The court dropped the charges against them citing insufficient evidence. With their discharge, the number of accused let off in the case has gone up to 15.

Vanzara - one of Gujarat's most controversial police officers - was granted bail in the case in 2014. He was released from Ahmedabad's Sabarmati jail in February the next year after getting bail in the other case he was accused in - the killing of college student Ishrat Jehan, which, investigators say, was another fake encounter.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a petty criminal, was killed in near Gujarat's Gandhinagar area in November 2005 along with his wife Kauser Bi.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which later took over the case, said Sheikh and his wife were abducted while on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra and killed by the police. A witness to the crime, Tulsiram Prajapati, was killed a year later by the police.
14:28   Geelani aide passed secret information to Pakistan: NIA
Devinder Singh Behal, a close aide of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, whose premises were raided by the NIA on Sunday in the J-K terror funding case, was allegedly in touch with people in the Pakistani high commission and may have leaked national secrets, including Indian troop movement details, to the ISI.

"We suspect that Behal, who has been in close contact with people in Pakistan HC, was passing on classified information to alleged ISI moles, putting national security at risk. This is a serious offence and a potential ground to charge him under Section 121 of IPC (waging war against the state)," a senior NIA officer said.

Preliminary probe by the investigating agency found that Behal, who heads the Jammu & Kashmir Social Peace Forum and is also a member of the Hurriyat's legal cell, has been publicly raising pro-azaadi slogans and exhorting Kashmiris not to let the "martyrdom" of militants go in vain.

The NIA will question Behal and may move for his arrest soon. An NIA source said Behal had visited Pakistan at least 5-6 times.
14:21   BJP's parliamentary office upbeat over Shah's RS entry
Amit Shah's impending entry into the Rajya Sabha has cheered up the BJP's parliamentary office.   

All political parties have office space in Parliament, and BJP being the ruling party has a huge space, within walking distance from the prime minister's office.   

With Amit Shah's presence in Parliament the BJP's office is expected to create a flurry of activities. Expectedly, it is now creating a space for Amit Shah to interact with MPs, media-persons and party cadres.   

Will Amit Shah spend more time in the PM's office or will he be seen more at the BJP's office?   

Time will alone tell, chuckled a senior BJP MP.
14:13   Hungry for theplas, Cong MLAs to get Gujarati chef at Bengaluru resort
For Gujarat Congress MLA Gyasuddin Shaikh, being shipped off on an unexpected retreat to a luxury resort near Bengaluru is going great, save for one little hitch: the food.

Shaikh was among 42 Congress legislators taken to a four-star resort in Karnataka a state Congress rules in an ostensible effort by the party to stop a string of defections last week.

The politics aside, the lawmakers are struggling to adjust with the South Indian cuisine, prompting the state government to arrange for a Gujarati chef. 

All the arrangements are great. But there is bound to be a difference in cuisine, said Shaikh. We Gujaratis have food that is not very spicy. We like roti, dal and kadhi, so there is a change, he told Hindustan Times.

Karnataka power minister DK Shivakumar said a Gujarati chef will be arranged for the legislators soon.

Read full story HERE

Image: Karnataka Power Minister D K Shivakumar with Gujarat Congress MLAs arrive for a press conference at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Sunday. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo
13:20   China will never compromise on its sovereignty and security: Xi
President Xi Jinping today said China will never compromise on its sovereignty and security and its army has the confidence to defeat "all invasions".

"We will never allow any people, organisation or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form," Xi said addressing a special ceremony to mark the 90th anniversary of the 2.3 million strong People's Liberation Army, the world's largest standing army.

Xi's remarks came amid the Sino-India standoff in the Sikkim section.

"The Chinese people love peace. We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions," Xi, 64, said.
JUST IN: DG Vanzara and Dinesh MN discharged in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case by special CBI court in Mumbai
12:06   Upset with government apathy, Indian Deaflympics team refuse to leave airport
The Indian continent of hearing impaired athletes that participated in the 23rd edition of the Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey, refused to leave Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday morning as there was no one around to receive them or celebrate their success.

The contingent of 46 athletes and support staff said they were upset with the government not welcoming their success in the games, which included winning four medals, including one gold. This is the best showing ever for the country in this category.

It is also learned that the players wanted to speak to Sports Minister Vijay Goel but he paid no heed to their request.

"The Indian contingent participated in a total of eight disciplines at the games. Out of those eight disciplines, we won medals in three. We won gold and bronze in wrestling, bronze in lawn tennis and silver in golf," Ketan Shah, the team's interpreter said.

"The day we won the medals, we told the government that we have made the nation proud. These medal winners made the nation proud, but no one, not even the sports minister, is here to welcome us."

"All we want is either the sports minister or any government official comes here and appreciates our players. We had informed them that we will be coming on August 1, but we haven't got any reply. We have been trying to contact officials, but we are just being told that they are unavailable," he added. 
11:46   UPDATE: 'Ensure it's not repeated': Amit Shah unhappy over absent MPs in RS
BJP chief Amit Shah is unhappy his party MPs bunked the Rajya Sabha session on Monday, allowing the Opposition to affect crucial changes to the backward classes bill.

Union Minister Ananth Kumar said Shah took a strict view of the absence and asked lawmakers not to repeat this ever.

Shah told lawmakers at the BJP's weekly meeting of Parliamentarians this morning: "This is not a good thing as people have elected MPs to represent them in the House. It sends a wrong message."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has taken up the case of absent or truant MPs, telling them at the same meet just last week that they need to be present when Houses are in session. 

Observing MPs were particularly absent after lunch, the PM had said it is the duty of the treasury benches to push through the government's legislative initiatives.

It is understood the PM has sought a list of the MPs missing Monday.

Over 30 MPs of the BJP and allies were not in the Rajya Sabha on Monday when a Constitution amendment bill on backward classes sailed through on Opposition power where it is in the majority.

Since the government does not have numbers in the Rajya Sabha, the missive to MPs is clear: be present in full strength to challenge the Opposition.
11:19   PM Modi in Guwahati to take stock of Assam floods
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Guwahati on Tuesday to take stock of the flood situation in the state.

On July 25, an inter-ministerial team, comprising seven members, had visited the state to assess the damage caused by recent floods.

After meeting Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on July 18, the PM had sent the seven-member team to state.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority says that 11,93,458 people have in 1,795 villages of 24 districts have been affected by the floods.

As many as 79 people have lost their lives in the devastating floods, eight of them from Guwahati.

Assam has been dealing with heavy floods since mid-July.
11:16   eBay India is now a Flipkart group company
E-commerce major Flipkart on Tuesday said it has completed the merger with eBay India's operations.   

With this, will now be a Flipkart group company.   

The deal was announced in April when the Flipkart group raised USD 1.4 billion from global technology majors eBay, Tencent and Microsoft.   

In exchange of an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay had made a cash investment of USD 500 million and sold its business to Flipkart.   

The announcement comes a day after smaller rival Snapdeal said it was terminating all discussions of a potential merger.   

While Snapdeal did not name Flipkart, it had been widely reported that both were negotiating a merger for the last five months.   

"Effective immediately, Flipkart will own and operate, which will remain an independent entity as part of Flipkart," Flipkart said in a statement.   

Besides, the companies will also partner to leverage opportunities in cross-border trade, it added.   

"As a result, Flipkart customers will get expanded product choices with the wide array of global inventory available on eBay while eBay customers will have access to a more unique Indian inventory from Flipkart sellers," the statement said.   

The partnership will, therefore, provide an opportunity to sellers on Flipkart's platform to expand their sales globally.   

"Our coming together directly benefits Indian customers and sellers for whom we want to provide the best possible e-commerce experience. This is a step in that direction," Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said. 

-- PTI
11:10   26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed's house arrest extended by 2 more months
Authorities in Pakistan's Punjab province have extended the house arrest of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed for another two months to maintain public order.

Saeed, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief, has been under house arrest since January 31 this year. His detention had been extended for three more months in April.

This time Saeed's house arrest has been extended under the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order.

In a notification issued on July 28, the Punjab Government Home Department said on the recommendation of the federal interior ministry the detention of the activist - Saeed - has been extended for another 60 days. It said Saaed and others detention expired on July 27.
10:54   Want to listen to SRK-Diplos Phurr? Pay for it
Can't wait for Jab Harry Met Sejal's upcoming track 'Phurrr'? 

To be the first one to listen to Pritam and Diplo's number featuring superstar Shah Rukh Khan and the gorgeous Anushka Sharma, listeners will have to pay. 

In a landmark move, Sony Music India has taken what is potentially its biggest track this year and put it behind a limited-time paywall. 

A sample video unit of the song will release on YouTube, along with the audio on August 3; however, the full song will release much later. 

Shridhar Subramaniam, president, Sony Music Entertainment - India and Middle East, said, "The concept of 'everything-free' will change, or rather needs to change to an ecosystem where some things will be free and other things will be paid.   

"The reason 'Phurrr' was chosen is because it is the biggest project of the year with an international collaboration so we felt that if we are taking this step then we must do it with a very big song. We needed a big project with a must-listen song that had so much anticipation." 

He further added, "We're inserting a paid window in the music business, which didn't exist prior to this."  

This means that any consumer/listener who wants to access the song first will now have to pay for the same. The stakeholders do seem to be supportive of the decision.   

Shridhar says, "At the end of the day, it is the health of the music industry and the health of the platforms that are at stake and this decision directly benefits the health of the creators. They will definitely be in for this. Red Chillies, SRK and Pritam embraced this idea whole-heartedly."
10:39   Stop sulking and debate, Nitish Kumar tells upset Sharad Yadav
Sharad Yadav's formal dissent on the political upheaval in Bihar after five long days, drew a prompt response from Nitish Kumar. And the message from the chief minister was sharp: Stop sulking and debate in party forum. The forum is the national executive of the Janata Dal United, to be held in Patna on August 19, which will also decide whether the party will join the ruling NDA.

Kumar said before taking any decision he always keeps in the mind "what is best for the party". He also said that he had informed Sharad Yadav about his decision to break alliance with Lalu Yadav and seek support from the BJP.

Sharad Yadav, 70, who held the post of the party chief for a decade, had stepped aside last year, making way for Kumar. 

Last morning, at Parliament House, Sharad Yadav told reporters, "Whatever happened is very unfortunate, the mandate by the people was not for this".
10:38   Will Modi pull up MPs for missing Parliament?
The BJP Parliamentary party meeting underway. It is reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pull up the MPs after the government faced embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha on Monday as many MPs from the ruling BJP were missing when a Bill granting constitutional status to the Other Backward Castes Commission came up for amendment.
10:18   So what exactly did Scaramucci say?
Anthony Scaramucci's resignation as Trump White House's communications director followed an interview last week in which he used language that has been described as unparliamentary and colourful, against his colleagues in the administration.   

So what exactly did Scaramucci, who sold his company SkyBridge Capital to join the Trump administration, say in the interview?   

Being a family publication we are loath to reproduce the exact words, so we will do the next best thing by linking to the original interview in The New Yorker magazine, here.
10:00   Union Minister in soup for saying transgenders shouldn't wear saris
Known for courting controversies, Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale said members of the transgender community should not wear a sari.

"They are not men, they are not women, but they are human... why should they wear a sari when they are not women?" Athawale said. 

When asked what transgenders should wear, he said: "They can wear pant and shirt. They should be wearing men's dress."

Athawale said there are nearly six lakh transgenders in India and the Centre is taking several steps for upliftment of the community. 

Vidya Rajput of the Third Gender Welfare Board, Chhattisgarh, said that nobody can question the rights of the transgender community.

She said, "I don't understand that how can a person in his position question my rights. The constitution gives me the choice to wear or not wear a sari. It is my personal choice."

She stressed that a person of Athawale's stature, especially the ones with a following, shouldn't comment on the rights of the minority, adding that such comments have affected the lives of the transgenders for a long time

09:41   Aamir Khan donates Rs 25 lakh for Assam flood victims
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan has donated Rs 25 lakh to the Assam government for its flood relief operations which has so far killed over 80 people and in the devastating catastrophe that has rendered many homeless.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took to Twitter to thank Aamir Khan for his kind act as a responsible citizen. "Thank you @aamir_khan for contributing Rs 25 Lakh towards Assam Chief Minister's Relief Fund through Aamir Khan Productions Pvt. Ltd," the Assam CM wrote on Twitter. 

Aamir Khan, who has voiced his concerns over various social issues plaguing the country, had recently posted a video on Twitter asking people to come out in support of flood victims in both Assam and Gujarat.

The 52-year-old 'Dangal' star said, "Friends, many areas of Assam and Gujarat have been affected by heavy floods. And, our brothers and sisters there are facing a lot of difficulties. Lots of lives have also been lost and there has been a huge financial loss too. We are helpless in front of nature but we can help those staying there."
He appealed his fans to help people staying in Assam and Gujarat by contributing to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

The Centre has already announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each under the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of people killed and Rs 50,000 to seriously injured persons in the recent flood in Assam.
09:28   UPDATE: Security forces kill top LeT commander in encounter in J-K
An encounter has broken out between terrorists and security forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, police said.

Acting on specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in Hakripora village of Pulwama, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area, a police official said.

The terrorists opened fired during the operation, prompting retaliation from the forces which triggered a gunbattle, he said.

According to reports, LeT chief Abu Dujana and another terrorist has died in the encounter, which is in progress. 

Image used for representational purposes only. 
09:18   HBO says data hacked; 'Game of Thrones' targeted
US cable channel HBO said that hackers had stolen upcoming programming, and reported that the theft included a script for an unaired episode of the hit fantasy show "Game of Thrones."

"As most of you have probably heard by now, there has been a cyber incident directed at the company which has resulted in some stolen proprietary information, including some of our programming," HBO Chairman Richard Plepler wrote in a message to employees, which the company shared with reporters.

Entertainment Weekly reported that hackers stole 1.5 terabytes of data and had already posted online unbroadcast episodes of "Ballers" and "Room 104," along with "a script or treatment" for next week's episode of "Game of Thrones."
08:40   PM Modi leaves for Assam, flood relief package likely to be discussed
Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Assam in the wee hours of Tuesday to take stock of the flood situation in the state. 

Modi will do an assessment of the affected areas with top officials of the state. Assam is going through one of the worst floods due to heavy monsoon showers in the state which has affected more than 25 lakh people. 

Earlier on Monday, the PM had announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh for next of kin of those who died in the Assam and Rajasthan floods, and Rs 50,000 for those who have been seriously injured in the floods. 

The floods have claimed more than 70 lives in Assam so far.

Though the floods have receded in most parts of the state, six districts are still affected. More than 1,000 relief camps and distribution centres have been setup by the government with Air Force, NDRF and Army being summoned for rescue and relief operations.
JUST IN: Encounter underway in Hakripora area of Pulwama, three Lashkar terrorists trapped including top Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief
08:25   Pakistan to pick its 18th prime minister today
The National Assembly of Pakistan will pick the country's 18th prime minister on Tuesday, following the July 28 landmark judgment in the Panamagate case, in which a five-judge bench unanimously disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding any public office.

Major political parties have already fielded their respective candidates for the day.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has fielded Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as its candidate, whereas the Pakistan People's Party has nominated Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has fielded Sheikh Rashid as it nominee.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Jamaat-e-Islami have named Kishwar Zehra and Sahibzada Tariqullah respectively for the coveted post.

As the rules go, the speaker will announce the process for members to elect a new Leader of the House.

"The speaker will announce the name of every member one-by-one and in alphabetical order to receive his/her ballot paper. The members would mark the candidate of their choice with a tick on the ballot paper and put it in the ballot box," Geo News reports.

According to the Constitution, the process of the election will continue until a candidate achieves a clear majority, that is of 172 votes.
07:56   Anthony Scaramucci out as White House communications director
Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House communications director, the latest sign of chaos inside the Trump administration.

Scaramucci's ouster is the most recent high-profile departure from the Trump White House. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned at the end of last week, replaced by John Kelly, whose first day is Monday.

"Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best."

Scaramucci started Monday thinking he could weather the storm surrounding him after a salacious interview he gave The New Yorker magazine, three people who talked to him Monday said. It wasn't until after he attended the Oval Office swearing-in ceremony of John Kelly that he learned he was being asked to step aside.

A White House official said Kelly, a retired Marine general who is known for his fastidious nature, wanted Scaramucci removed from his new role as the communications director because he did not think he was disciplined and had burned his credibility.

"John Kelly is in charge now," one source close to Kelly told CNN as Scaramucci resigned, noting that it was clear Kelly "had no confidence in him."
00:58   6 candidates in race for Pak PM's polls
Pakistan's opposition parties failed to agree on a joint candidate against PML-N's Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the prime minister's election, with six candidates filing their nomination papers for the polls scheduled to be held on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified 67-year-old Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing him to resign.
President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, tomorrow at 3:00 PM to elect the new leader of the house.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has nominated Abbasi as interim prime minister candidate.
Abbasi on Monday submitted his nomination papers to NA Secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik.
Talking to reporters after submitting his nomination papers, Abbasi said he would continue with the policies of ousted prime minister Sharif over the period of his tenure.
If elected, Abbasi will run the government as interim prime minister until Sharif's brother Shehbaz is elected as member of parliament to succeed him as his eventual successor.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties failed to agree on a joint candidate, with each party throwing its weight behind different candidates who submitted their nomination papers.