Fri, 11 August 2017
Man believed to be behind Basirhat riots arrested

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23:31   Man believed to be behind Basirhat riots arrested
Police have arrested C, who is believed to have hacked the Facebook account of a class 11 student and posted a controversial message that triggered communal violence in West Bengals Baduria and Basirhat towns last month.

A joint team of Basirhat police station and the Criminal Investigation Department of West Bengal police arrested Pal, in his thirties, who is a resident of Basirhat.

Police sources said they are investigating allegations that Pal was responsible for hacking the Facebook account of class 11 student, Souvik Srakar and posting the message.

We are in the process of interrogating him and trying to understand the extent of his involvement behind instigating the riots, said a police officer from North 24 Parganas district.
23:13   Sonia, Rahul express shock over children's death in Gorakhpur
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi today expressed deep shock over the death of 30 children at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh due to lack of oxygen.

The Congress president said she was pained beyond words by the humongous tragedy and that her heart went out to the families of the innocent children who "fell prey to gross negligence and incorrigible misconduct on part of the authorities".

She urged the Uttar Pradesh government to take immediate cognisance of the crime and bring the culprits to book. She also called upon the state Congress workers to provide relief to families of the victims.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the "BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government was responsible for the tragedy."

"Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. BJP govt is responsible and should punish the negligent, who caused this tragedy," he tweeted.

At least 30 children died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh since the past two days, district magistrate Rajeev Rautela said today.
22:57   JNU student Shehla Rashid's dissertation returned over no Aadhaar
Former JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid today alleged that her dissertation was not accepted by the varsity as she did not produce her Aadhaar number on the submission form.

"The JNU administration has sent back my dissertation to my centre because I haven't mentioned my Aadhaar number on the submission form," Rashid said, adding that the varsity was pushing Aadhaar through the backdoor despite there being no mandate for it.

Alike Rashid's, dissertations of others students who did not provide their UID numbers were also sent back in the recent past.

However, JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said mentioning Aadhaar was made mandatory in JNU after the UGC issued a notification on March 21.
22:11   Wife of former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif seeks parliament seat
The wife of Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced she is running for his parliamentary seat.

Kulsoom Nawaz will contest the seat her husband was forced to vacate last month after becoming embroiled in the Panama papers scandal.

Sharif resigned after the papers revealed his children were linked to offshore companies that owned properties in London.

He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Kulsoom Nawaz's nomination papers for her husband's former constituency in Lahore were filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.

She has never run for office before - but the party is hoping she will win "a big majority" in the by-election, which will take place in about 45 days.
21:58   Army launches search operation in Al Qaeda's Zakir Musa's village
The army launched a cordon and search operation in Al Qaeda's Zakir Musa's village in Tral's Norpora of south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Friday.

People took to streets and staged protests as the security forces launched the search operation.

Further details are awaited.

On August 9, the Jammu and Kashmir said that the three terrorists who were gunned down in the Tral encounter were members of the Zakir Musa group.

The operation was launched on the basis of specific intelligence inputs. 
21:22   NCP alleges Abu Salem possesses phone in prison
NCP leader Dhanjay Munde on Friday claimed in the Legislative Council that gangster and 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Abu Salem was found in possession of mobile phone in the jail premises.

On July 4, Special Public Prosecutor Deepak Salvi sought life imprisonment for Salem from the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act Court.

Earlier in the month, six out of seven accused, including Abu Salem, were convicted by a special TADA court, in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case.

The others who have been convicted are Mustafa Dossa, Riyaz Siddique, Firoz Khan, Tahir Merchant, and Karimullah Shaikh.

Dossa, however, died following a heart attack on June 28, 2017 in Mumbai.

However, all accused were acquitted on the charges of waging a war against the nation.
20:59   India deploys more troops along China border in Sikkim, Arunachal
In a strategically key move, India has poured in more troops along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the face of heightened rhetoric by Beijing over the Dokalam standoff, senior government officials said.

The "caution level" among the troops has also been raised, the officials said. 

The decision to increase the deployment along the nearly 1,400-km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China's aggressive posturing against India on Dokalam, the officials said.

"The troop level along the border with China in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors has been increased," said the officials on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The Army's Sukna-based 33 Corps as well as 3 and 4 corps based in Arunachal and Assam are tasked to protect the sensitive Sino-India border in the eastern theatre.
JUST IN: JD-U RS MP Ali Anwar Ansari suspended from parliamentary party for taking part in opposition meeting, says spokesperson K C Tyagi.
20:26   30 children dead in Gorakhpur after 'disruption' of oxygen supply at hospital
At least 30 child deaths in 48 hours were reported in BRD medical college, the largest government hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur district, as a private firm contracted to supply oxygen cylinders allegedly withdrew over non-payment of outstanding dues to the tune of Rs 60 lakh.

The hospital is in chief minister Yogi Adityanath's constituency and he took stock of arrangements at encephalitis wards during his recent two-day visit to Gorakhpur.

Most deaths were reported from the neonatal and encephalitis wards.

A high-level magisterial probe has been ordered into the deaths, district magistrate Rajeev Rautela said in press conference on Friday.

The district magistrate said seven deaths were reported since Thursday night to Friday noon. Twenty-three children died between Wednesday and Thursday. "Total 30 deaths occurred in 48 hours," he said.
JUST IN: Egyptian official says a train collision in Alexandria has killed 25 people and injured 65 others.
19:44   India 'defeated' China in 1962 war, claims Sanskrit textbook in MP
A class 8 Sanskrit textbook being taught in the CBSE-affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh has got the facts wrong about the 1962 Sino-Indian war, as it claims that India had defeated China.

A chapter on the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in the textbook titled 'Sukritika', says "with Nehru's efforts, India defeated China".

Lucknow-based Kriti Prakashan Private Limited, the publisher of the book, admitted its "mistake" and attributed it to a "human error".

The chapter, titled 'Shri Jawaharlal Nehru', talks about the Congress stalwart's achievements and admires his acumen after China invaded India in 1962.
Here's another update from the CBFC: Actor Vidya Balan will be inducted into the Board. 
19:09   UPDATE: Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani sacked; Prasoon Joshi to replace him
Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani has been fired and noted lyricist Prasoon Joshi will now helm the Censor Board. 

Central Board of Film Certification chief Pahlaj Nihalani has faced controversies for suggesting cuts in films like Udta Punjab, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Jab Harry Met Sejal. 

Pahlaj Nihalani was appointed as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification  on January 19, 2015.

Nihalani also featured in headlines for the Censor Board's objection to the word 'intercourse' in a mini trailer of Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma's Jab Harry Met Sejal. Director Imtiaz Ali recently confirmed that the film has been certified 'U/A' without and audio deletion.

18:47   Do not discriminate against NRIs on surrogacy, parliamentary panel suggests
A parliamentary panel has said there should be no discrimination against people of Indian origin living abroad seeking to use surrogacy services in India.

There is "no point" in restricting Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India from using surrogacy services, the panel's report, tabled in Parliament recently, said.

While recommending that foreign nationals be kept out of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, it advocated an appropriate mechanism for a complete background check of NRIs, PIOs and OCIs intending to use the services of surrogates for bearing a child on their behalf.

The committee headed by Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said there were adequate provisions in the Bill for an appropriate authority to scrutinise documents submitted by the intending couple before commissioning surrogacy and to reject an application in case of any violation of rules.
JUST IN: Maharashtra assembly passes Shops & Establishment Bill; now owners can keep establishments open 24 hour
18:20   People who don't hoist tricolor should be categorised as 'traitor': BJP leader
After the Uttar Pradesh government directed all madrassas to hold Independence Day celebrations and videograph the event, the Bharatiya Janata Party's Vinay Katiyar on Friday said that the people who do not agree with it should be categorised as "deshdrohi (traitor)."

Katiyar welcomed the move made by Yogi Addityanath led government to pay tribute to freedom fighters and organise cultural programmes on August 15.

"He (Adityanath) has said the right thing. It is our pride and we should hoist it. Be it any school, madrassa or any other organisation for that matter, national anthem should be sung and national flag be hoisted and people who do not agree with it should be categorised as 'deshdrohi'," he added.
17:57   Dent in Opposition unity? Sharad Pawar skips meet
Sharad Pawar's party was a no-show today at the meeting of the opposition called by Sonia Gandhi. Pawar had earlier confirmed that he would depute a representative to the session. His turnaround comes after the Congress suggested that he had betrayed it in the recent Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. 

The anti-BJP front, already seriously dented by the exit of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last month, now appears to have shrunk from 18 to 16 members.

In recent months, as the tension in Maharashtra between the BJP and its junior partner, the Shiv Sena, has swollen, there has been talk of Pawar back-channelling offers of help, suggesting that he could fill in if the Sena exits the government. 

Top Congress sources say they are convinced that he sided with the BJP in Gujarat in covert cooperation while claiming that he remains committed to the league of parties that have come together to explore a joint effort in blocking PM Modi's re-election in 2019.
16:58   Hope for Vrindavan widows: SC constitutes committee
The Supreme Court on Friday constituted a five member team to ensure proper rehabilitation for the Vrindavan widows.

This committee is constituted to suggest steps and measures that could be taken to rehabilitate, compensate and make lives of the widowed women residing in Vrindavan better.

Earlier in July, the top court expressing concern over the plight of widows forced to live a life of destitution asked the Centre to frame scheme to promote their remarriage.

The court said that the Centre must take steps to remove the social stigma faced by the widows after being abandoned by their family, and to rehabilitate them by imparting skills, to make them independent.

16:49   Shun sensationalism, report on deliberations: Naidu to media
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu today advised the media to shun sensationalism and focus more on constructive debates that take place in the House.

Citing a personal example, the vice president said that several years back as an enthusiastic member of parliament, he had gone in-depth into the issues relating to agriculture in India and gave a nearly hour-long speech. He said several members in the House came to him and complimented him on the exhaustive exposition on the various aspects of the issue.

However, next day, to his surprise, he realised that it had been completely ignored by all the papers, barring one. And that too mentioned just one line that Venkaiah Naidu spoke eloquently on agricultural issues. As members smiled and thumped desks, Naidu said the media was independent but as the Chairman of the House, he would like to convey the widely held feeling among the members that media should focus more on constructive debates.
16:37   Sharad Yadav free to make own decision: Nitish on alliance row
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said that former Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav has every right to take his own decision as to where his loyalties lie, adding the decision to form an alliance with the BJP was made with the consent of the entire party.

"Sharad Yadav is free to take his own decision. As far as party is concerned, the party has taken its decision. The decision taken is not based on my will only, it had been made with the consent of the entire party. I have made it clear earlier also, but if still he wants to put forward his opinion then he is free to do so," Kumar told media here.

Yadav has rebelled against party president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for breaking away from the grand alliance to join hands with the BJP last month.

Also, with Sonia Gandhi inviting Sharad Yadav in the Opposition meeting today, the party has come down heavily on the Congress President saying she is trying to create a rift within the Nitish Kumar-led party.
16:34   Amid Dokalam standoff, Swaraj meets Bhutanese foreign minister
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday met her Bhutanese counterpart Damcho Dorji in Kathmandu and is understood to have discussed bilateral issues, amidst the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector.
Both the leaders are in Kathmandu to attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, a grouping of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal are members of the BIMSTEC.
"Time with a close friend and neighbour. The external affairs minister meets with foreign minister of Bhutan Damcho Dorji on sidelines of BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers' meet," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted and also posted a picture of the meeting.
Though there was no official word on as to what was discussed between the two leaders, the meeting comes in the backdrop of the current standoff in Dokalam -- a trijunction between India, China and Bhutan.
India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector since June 16 after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People's Liberation Army from building a road in the area. 
15:49   Toilet: Ek Prem Katha drags unevenly between crusade and entertainment
So the verdict on the only Hindi movie release this weekend, Akshay Kumar's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is out. Here's Sukanya Verma's teaser review for

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha has something pertinent to say about open defecation but isn't cunning enough to venture beyond screaming platitudes to underscore a milieu of antiquated values.

It doesn't help that director Shree Narayan Singh adopts an extremely bombastic tone and in-your-face approach to shove social ideals down the viewer's throat.

At nearly three hours, Toilet drags unevenly between crusade and entertainment but works best when it allows Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar to use their innate humour and warmth to build a relationship that's real and worth caring for.

The complete review shortly.
15:33   Babri Masjid Case: Mosque can be built elsewhere to avoid dispute, says Shia Board council
After the Shia Waqf Board told the Supreme Court that a mosque can be built at a distance, the court on Friday has commenced the cross-appeals hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, to look for an amicable settlement of the dispute.

MC Dhingra, the lawyer appearing for Shia Waqf Board in the Ayodhya case, while speaking to ANI, said that the Shia Board has decided to leave the one-third land allotted to them, to avoid problems for both the religious denominations, in regard to their prayers.

"The basic reason is that even if in one-third area the mosque is built, they will use loud speaker, and similarly in the remaining area, temple will also have its loud speaker. Hence, this will create problem for both the religious denominations," he said, adding, "So it is better for the Shia board to bring upon a situation where there is no such kind of disturbance. I am of firm belief that if land is provided elsewhere, in a Muslim dominated area, then there will be no recurrence, at least on this score."

Briefly explaining the Shia Board's stand, Dhingra said that if mosque is built in the one-third area, there will not be any permanent solution to the long-driven dispute.
15:26   Akshay's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha... should you go?
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, teaser: The actors are good, the point it makes is valid but it's extremely loud, sanctimonious and loud, says Sukanya Verma.

Wait for the review before you book.
15:22   Varnika Kundu: 'My fight is to make women fearless'
"I live in a privileged city, I have a privileged life, I was in a car. If it can happen here, then there is literally no hope for women in rural India or smaller cities. If more women think we can help ourselves, we can survive, and men would be a lot more hesitant to try something like this."

Varnika Kundu, the young woman, who is spearheading a movement to embolden women to own the streets, speaks on the attempted abduction and the life thereafter, in an interview with Do read.

Pic: Deejay Varnika Kundu at work. Image kind courtesy: Varnika Kundu
15:16   Expelled from Cong, 7 MLAs resign as legislators, to join BJP
Seven Congress MLAs in Gujarat, who were expelled from the party after they had voted against party candidate Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls, have resigned as legislators, Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora said today. Cracking down on dissidents in Gujarat, the Congress had on August 9 expelled from the party for six years former Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela and the seven MLAs who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election on August 8.
14:58   Basis of BJP-PDP alliance is status quo on special status for Kashmir: Mehbooba
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today amid reports that she was seeking help against attempts to alter Constitutional provisions that give special status to the state. The chief minister, who arrived in New Delhi yesterday, called on the prime minister at his Parliament office, reports PTI.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with PM Modi, the J&K CM said of the BJP-PDP alliance, "The PM gave 100 per cent assurance on the agenda of alliance. The situation is normalizing but people think our identity can be in danger so our message that J&K is the crown of India, should be reiterated. Idea of India has to accommodate the idea of Jammu & Kashmir.

"The basis of our agenda of alliance is that status quo of 370 has to be  maintained and none of us can go against that.

"Discussions on 35A have a negative impact on Jammu & Kashmir, it should not happen." 

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the debate on Article 35A of the Constitution that grants special status to the state and is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

The chief minister had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday. Details of the meeting were not made public by either the Centre or the state government. Officials in the home ministry had said yesterday that its law officers would be presenting legal aspects related to Article 35A only and would refrain from joining the case.

Mehbooba is keen to build consensus against scrapping the Constitutional provision, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define the state's "permanent residents" and their special rights and privileges, sources said.

Mehbooba had met opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah this week to seek the support of his party on the issue. Abdullah had told her that she should meet the prime minister, all important central ministers and also the BJP leadership to convince the Sangh Parivar against striking down the constitutional provision.

The state BJP, an alliance partner in the state government, had upped the ante with its spokesperson Virendra Gupta saying yesterday that time had come to bid a farewell to Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution as they created a "separatist psyche". The controversy erupted in 2014 after an NGO 'We the Citizens' filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking that Article 35A be struck down. Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954, it said.

While the state government contested the petition, saying the president had the power to incorporate a new provision in the Constitution by way of an order, the Centre, recently, expressed its reservations.

14:29   What would India have been without Nehru?
Writing in the Sunday Times of India, Amulya Gopalakrishnan recently brought out the huge Nehru vilification industry that exists across cyberspace. In Rajasthan, India's first prime minister is being wiped out from schools since it is more easy to fiddle with textbooks than write academic tomes based on verifiable facts, footnotes and peer-review. But what would India have been minus Nehru? Read the column here.
14:04   Baba Ramdev doesn't want you to read this book
Baba Ramdev places injunction against publishing house Juggernaut Books for Godman to Tycoon. Read

Also read: How the Ramdev Book was researched
13:52   Achieving high end of 6.75-7.5% growth difficult: Survey
Achieving the high end of the 6.75-7.5 per cent growth projected previously will be difficult due to appreciation of rupee, farm loan waivers and transitionary challenges from implementing GST, the Economic Survey said today.

For the first time today, the government presented a second or a mid-year economic survey for the year 2016-17 (rpt 2016-17) highlighting the new factors that the economy faces since the last such exercise in February.

It also said that the scope for monetary easing was considerable and this, coupled with reform to address the twin balance sheet challenge, will help the economy achieve its full potential quicker.

"Cyclical conditions suggest that the policy rate should actually be below... the neutral rate. The conclusion is inescapable that the scope for monetary easing is considerable," he said.

The Economic Survey said that a number of indicators-- GDP, IIP, credit, investment and capacity utilisation, point to a deceleration in real activity since first quarter of 2016-17 and a further deceleration since the third quarter.

The first volume of the Survey in February had predicted the range of GDP growth of between 6.75-7.5 per cent, factoring in more buoyant exports, a post-demonetisation catch-up in consumption and a relaxation in monetary conditions consequent upon demonetisation.

File pic.
13:43   SBI net profit goes sky high
SBI consolidated net profit jumps to Rs 3,105.35 crore in Q1 FY 2018 against Rs 867.32 crore a year ago. 
13:32   'My birthplace is Germany but my heart beats for Pakistan'
"When I first saw Dr Ruth Pfau sitting under an old banyan tree in Manghopir, it reminded me of a childhood story told by my great grandmother, Babi.Babi in her youth was the prettiest girl in her hometown of Banaras, and so was taken away by djins. She was saved by an old woman who sat under a banyan tree along the Ganges, surrounded by the outcast widows, young and old.

"She was Devi Maa, her world revolved around these bald women in white saris, otherwise despised by everyone in town. She was their psychiatrist, their spiritual leader and, above all, their only hope," Babi would narrate.

Read the full story here.
13:24   Nitish to meet PM at 1:30 pm today
Big ticket meetings in New Delhi today:

Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami met PM Modi today.

Then Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met the PM.

And at 1:30 pm, Bihar CM will meet the PM. 
12:46   Damning evidence: CCTV footage shows Vikas Barala buying alcohol before chase
In another damning evidence in the Chandigarh stalking case, a CCTV footage has been recovered of August 4th which clearly shows accused Vikas Barala purchasing alcohol before chasing down Varnika Kunda at midnight.

In the footage, Barala along with his friend Ashish Kumar were seen buying alcohol from a shop located in Chandigarh sector 9, strengthening the victim's claim that they were allegedly intoxicated on the night when the incident took place.

Earlier on Thursday, a Chandigarh court sent Barala and his friend to two-day police custody.

On August 5, Vikas Barala, Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Subhash Barala's son, and his friend were arrested on the charges of stalking and harassing an IAS officer's daughter Varnika Kundu in Chandigarh. They were, however, granted bail on the same day.

Following this, a notice was issued to both the accused under 160 Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the case has been filed under Section 354D (stalking), 341 (wrongful restraint), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 185 MV Act (driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs).

Director General of Police Chandigarh Tajender Singh Luthra had said that Vikas and his friend Ashish were slapped with charges of abduction.

Vikas and Ashish appeared in Chandigarh Sector 26 Police Station on Wednesday following which they were arrested.

Sharing the horrifying experience in her Facebook post, Varnika Kundu had accused that the duo was allegedly drunk and were driving recklessly behind her.

On August 9, Luthra informed that both the accused in the Chandigarh stalking case had refused to give their blood and urine sample for the investigation, spurring doubts about them being possibly drunk.

"The duty doctor did want to take the blood and urine sample, but the accused are law graduates, they knew the law very well. Therefore, they refused to give the blood and urine sample," DGP Luthra told the reporter.
12:40   Common men now in high posts, says PM welcoming Venkaiah as RS chairman
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday welcomed Venkaiah Naidu as the Rajya Sabha Chairman, saying he is the first Vice President who was born in independent India, adding that the former Union Minister knows the workings of the House very well after being active in it for so long.

Naidu takes over the charge from Hamid Ansari whose second term ended on Thursday.

Praising Naidu for his various rural development schemes, Prime Minister Modi said, "Venkaiah Naidu has gifted the nation with Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,

"Venkaiah Naidu is a farmer's son and during his tenure as Poverty Alleviation Minister, he has always upheld the interests of the poor, said PM Modi while speaking in Rajya Sabha.

Modi further stated that the presence of a farmer's son in a highly dignified position is a proof of a "matured democracy" in India.

He concluded his speech with an inspiring couplet, "Amal karo aisa sadan mein, jahan se guzre tumhari nazrein, udhar se tumhe salaam aaye."

Naidu was sworn-in as the 13th Vice President of India today, succeeding Hamid Ansari, in a glittering ceremony.

President Ram Nath Kovind administered him the oath of office and secrecy at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Following the ceremonial reception Naidu took over as the speaker of the Rajya Sabha in the Parliament.

Earlier in the day, he visited Rajghat to pay floral tribute to the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee and former union minister Naidu was elected as the 13th Vice President of India with 516 votes.

Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi secured 244 votes out of 760 valid votes.

Born at Chavatapalem in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh on July 1, 1949, Naidu is the second Vice-president from Andhra Pradesh.

Before joining active politics, Naidu was much of a social worker. After completing his graduation, Naidu pursued law from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam.

Venkaiah Naidu's entry into politics was marked by his active participation in 'Jai Andhra Movement' of 1972. He was a swayamsevak in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1973 during his college days.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was formed in 1980, he became Vice president of its youth wing. He was leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Andhra Pradesh, state general secretary and state unit chief.

He won the Andhra Pradesh assembly elections twice in 1978 and 1983 from Udayagiri constituency and was made national president in 2002.

Naidu was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 1998 and was re-elected twice in 2004 and 2010 from Karnataka.

He served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting in Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government before he was nominated for the post of Vice President.
12:22   RBI halves payout to government, likely cause is notes ban
The Reserve Bank of India halved its annual dividend to the government, a move that's likely to put a strain on public finances and imperil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aim of reining in the fiscal deficit, NDTV reports quoting Bloomberg.

Marking a five-year low, the Reserve Bank of India transferred Rs. 30,660 crore ($4.8 billion), which was more than 50 percent lower than the Rs. 65,876 crore transferred last year. The central bank sends a dividend every year after closing its accounts in June. Bloomberg Quint reported earlier this year the government budgeted an inflow of Rs. 58,000 crore from the RBI, with the dividend being paid out of its surplus generated from market operations and investments.
11:52   TN CM Palaniswami meets PM Modi, alliance on the cards?
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi this afternoon.

The two factions of the AIADMK -- E Palaniswami's (Amma faction) and former CM O Panneerselvam's (Puratchi Amma faction) are in New Delhi for the oath-taking ceremony of Venkaiah Naidu as the country's Vice-President.

Both camps of the AIADMK have reportedly been in touch with senior leaders of the BJP ahead of a merger of the both the factions, expected by next week.

Prospects of a merger of the two factions of the AIADMK brightened with the Palaniswami-led Amma camp on Thursday moving against the appointment of V K Sasikala's nephew T T V Dinakaran as deputy general

The move by the chief minister's faction was hailed by the rebel camp with its chief O Panneerselvam saying a decision 'reflective' of people's expectations would be taken soon.

A resolution adopted at a meeting of the chief minister's faction said the appointment of Dinakaran was against the party rules and that its cadres have been asked to ignore his directives.

The Panneerselvam faction, which has been demanding ouster of Sasikala, now in jail, and Dinakaran as a pre-condition for merger, termed Thursday's development as an 'awakening'.

Dinakaran, who was in Thanjavur, on his part put up a brave face and asserted he was in control of the party.

An AIADMK Amma meeting chaired by Chief Minister Palaniswami said Dinakaran cannot hold any party post as he was not a member continuously for the past five years.

A resolution adopted at the meeting referred to Dinakaran's expulsion in December 2011 by then party chief Jayalalithaa and subsequent re-admission in February this year by her successor and his aunt V K Sasikala.

File pic.
11:31   Jaitley to present 2nd volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 today
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 in both houses of the Parliament today.The second volume will be presented by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian and his team and will contain updated macroeconomic data.

Today is the last day of Monsoon session.

A lot of Bills are scheduled to come up for discussion in Rajya Sabha today, that includes The Companies (Amendment) Bill, The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, The Appropriation Bill, The Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill, The Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill and The Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill.

The Lok Sabha is scheduled to discuss, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, The Repealing and Amending Bill, The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, The Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill and The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, today
10:51   Naveen Patnaik's grassroots blitz
The emergence of an aggressive BJP in the state has made the Naveen Patnaik government sit up and establish direct contact with the masses through a slew of grassroots-level programmes.

The purpose of the mass contact programmes is to directly interact with the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes of the state government. Talking about the obvious political import of the programmes, a BJD leader said it would help the party galvanise its rural network using the government platform. Read the full report here.
10:39   North Korea shoots down Sensex
The BSE Sensex slumped over 336 points and the NSE Nifty slipped below the 9,800-mark in early trade today following global sell-off triggered by mounting geo-political tensions between the US and North Korea. Besides, caution ahead of IIP data for June due later in the day too weighed on the sentiments.

The BSE 30-share barometer tanked 336.46 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 31,194.87. It had tumbled 794.08 points in the previous four sessions hit by sliding global sharers due to stand-off between the US and North Korea, and market regulator Sebi's directive imposing trading restrictions on suspected 331 shell companies.

All sectoral indices led by infrastructure, capital goods, realty, auto, metal and healthcare were in the red. Also, the NSE Nifty was trading down by 115.90 points, or 1.18 per cent, at 9,704.35. Brokers said that apart from continuous selling by investors and sustained foreign fund outflows, deep losses at other bourses and the US markets as investors reacted with dismay to escalating North Korea tensions led to a further slide in the Sensex.

In addition, weakness in the rupee against the American currency too weighed on the sentiment. The rupee fell 19 paise to 64.27 against the dollar in early trade at the forex market.

Major losers that dragged down the key indices were Tata Motors, L&T, Sun Pharma, Cipla, ONGC, Dr Reddy's, Asian Paint, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, Coal India and Maruti Suzuki, declining up to 2.87 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.59 per cent, while Shanghai Composite Index plunged 1.30 per cent in early trade today. Financial markets in Japan are closed today for a public holiday. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 0.93 per cent in yesterday's trade.
President Ram Nath Kovind congratulates Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
Naidu will also be the Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament i.e. Rajya Sabha.
10:12   Venkaiah Naidu sworn in as vice president of India
Venkaiah Naidu took oath as India's 13th vice president. 

President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath office to Naidu.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Outgoing Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were present at the swearing-in ceremony.
09:54   Over 25 fall ill, two critical after consuming momos in Delhi
More than 25 people fall ill and two children are critical after consuming momos in Delhi's Rajpur Khurd village.

The children have been admitted in the intensive care unit.

Family of the complainant lodged a case against the owner of the shop in Mehrauli Police station.

Further investigations are underway.
09:37   Former Uber chief Travis Kalanick sued for fraud
Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital has filed a lawsuit against former Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick to force him off the board of the ride services company and rescind his ability to fill three board seats.

The lawsuit filed Thursday accuses Kalanick of concealing a range of misdeeds from the board and scheming to retain power at the company even after he was forced to resign as chief executive of Uber in June following a series of scandals.

Benchmark is a major investor with 13 percent of Uber's stock. 
A spokesperson for Kalanick said the lawsuit is "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations."
09:33   Indian-American fined $40K for filing false visa applications
An Indian-American businessman from New Hampshire has been fined $40,000 and put on three years of probation by a federal court on charges of filing false H-1B visa applications, a US attorney has said.
The businessman, Rohit Saksena, had previously pleaded guilty to making false statements to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to court documents.
Saksena, 42, president and chief executive officer of Saks IT Group LLC, a company based in Manchester, New Hampshire, allegedly filed 45 fraudulent visa applications, claiming that his company was hiring foreign workers to provide professional services to a California-based company.
However, the California company had not entered into a contract with Saks IT Group and had no vacancies for foreign workers. Saksena knew that foreign workers would not be employed, acting US attorney John J. Farley said yesterday.

Saksena filed visa applications that falsely claimed jobs awaited the foreign workers at the California company, the US Justice Department said.
He supported those applications with bogus independent contractor agreements between the his IT group and the other company with sham work orders that purported to show that the foreign workers would provide professional services for the California company, it claimed.
"Some of the false visa applications resulted in foreign workers receiving H-1B visas. Many of the fraudulent applications were denied once Saksena's deception came to light," the department said.

09:25   Venkaiah Naidu to take oath as India's 13th vice president today
Former Union minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M Venkaiah Naidu will take oath today as India's 13th Vice President. 

The swearing-in ceremony will take place in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan at 10 am. 

Nominated by the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, he won the vice presidential election last week. 

Prior to the formal function, Naidu, 68, paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat in the capital.  

With 516 votes, Naidu won 67.9 per cent vote share in the 15th Veep election, defeating the opposition's candidate, Gopalkrishna Gandhi.  
08:35   Bihar IAS officer found dead on rail tracks in Ghaziabad, suicide suspected
The body of Buxar district magistrate Mukesh Pandey was on Thursday found near the railway tracks in Ghaziabad, police said.
His body was found from the rail tracks about 1 km from the Ghaziabad railway station, they said, adding a purported suicide note was also recovered from the spot.
In the note it was written that Pandey, a 2012-batch IAS officer, was fed up with his life and lost his "belief on human existence".
"I am committing suicide in district centre area of Janakpuri in west jumping off the 10th floor of the building. I am fed up with life and my belief on human existence has gone, my suicide note is kept in a Nike bag in room 742 of a five-star (name withheld) hotel in Delhi. I am sorry, I love you all! Please forgive me," said the note, according to Senior Superintendent of Police H N Singh.
Singh said it was not immediately known that at what time or how Pandey committed suicide.
The SSP added that the post mortem would be conducted tomorrow.
Officials of the Government Railway Police who reached the spot, near Kotgaon, said prime facie it appeared a case of suicide.
Senior officials of Ghaziabad district administration also reached the spot.
Meanwhile, a senior Delhi Police official said that police received information from his friends that Pandey would commit suicide and had gone to a west Delhi mall.
00:13   Pak builds nuke warhead underground storage facility in Balochistan: Report
Pakistan has built a 'hardened, secure, underground' complex in a remote mountainous region in the restive Balochistan province that could serve as a storage site for nuclear warheads, an American think tank said on Wednesday.

The Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit and non-governmental institution, said its observation is based on satellite imagery and investigation.

It said in a report that the underground complex in the southwestern province 'could serve as a ballistic missile and nuclear warhead storage site'.

The purpose of the complex is not yet available publicly.

But, the report authored by David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, Allison Lach and Frank Pabian, said it could serve as a storage site for strategic reserves and hence a means of protecting a counterforce nuclear strike capability.

Given that Pakistan's preferred delivery vehicle for nuclear weapons is missiles with warheads and given the physical characteristics of the site, this site is an ideal, probable storage site for parts of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, the report noted.

"Although the site is located in the province of Balochistan, which has endured many local insurgencies, Pakistan is likely more focused on having a secure area in a remote mountainous area in the middle of the country, as far as possible from its international borders, including India," it said.

According to the report, the complex has three distinct entrances and a separate support area and the entrances are large and can accommodate even the largest possible vehicles.

As of 2012, the security was relatively modest, with some possible signature suppression (eg no obvious perimetre security).

"Nonetheless, the site did include at least one possible anti-aircraft position with a guard post at that time," the report said.

"In contrast, 2014 DigitalGlobe images show considerably more physical security in the form of added fencing and checkpoints and several new possible antiaircraft positions. This analysis resulted from a 2014 request from a journalist who provided the coordinates of the ballistic missile base and the mountain site. The person requested that they remain anonymous," it said. --  Lalit K Jha/PTI