Mon, 03 July 2017
Man arrested for plotting French Prez Macron's assassination

Timeline  Refresh

23:33   Microsoft to lay off thousands of employees: Report
Global tech giant Microsoft is planning to let go thousands of its employees associated with its sales arm the world over. The move is aimed at an organisational reshuffle so as to refocus on cloud software sales. 

The reorganisation will include a merger between its enterprise customer unit and one or more of its SME focused divisions, a source said to TechCrunch. 

Microsoft has refused to comment on the matter.

The announcement is likely to be made sometime this week, according to Bloomberg.

Many news organisations around the world had reported the scheduled lay-offs being done to enhance cloud-services related operations of Microsoft Corp on a global scale. The job cuts would be the most important in the sales arm in years and will also affect marketing operations on a local scale in many countries, a source told Bloomberg.
23:07   Man arrested for plotting French Prez Macron's assassination
The French police has arrested a 23-year-old man suspected of planning French President Emmanuel Macron's assassination during a Bastille Day parade on July 14, local media reported on Monday.

According to a report by the RMC radio, he was reportedly arrested after attempting to buy a Kalashnikov assault rifle online.

The report said that during a conversation on a video game site he had written that he was trying to buy a Kalashnikov type weapon to commit an attack.

In custody, the man, described as far-right 'nationalist' said he wanted to make a political gesture by killing the French President of the Republic at the parade on 14 July, on the Champs-Elysees.

Macron will be joined by US President Donald Trump as he oversees a military parade in Paris on Bastille Day.

The arrested man also said that he wanted to attack blacks, Arabs, Jews or homosexuals.

Earlier on July 14, 2002, Maxime Brunerie, a far-right neo-Nazi activist, attempted to assassinate President Jacques Chirac during a military parade. 
22:34   UP cop transferred for standing up to BJP workers says she has been 'rewarded'
UP police officer Shrestha Thakur, transferred out days after a war of words with a BJP leader, has said that she has been "rewarded" for doing her duty.

Thakur, who had sought to fine a BJP member in Bulandshahr, has been transferred to Bahraich as its deputy SP, a UP police spokesperson said.

"I have been rewarded," she wrote on her Facebook timeline, and though she later deleted the post, it had by then gone viral.

Media reports said the transfer decision was taken after a BJP delegation met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The local leaders reportedly urged the Uttar Pradesh government to take action against her.

Thakur, who was posted as deputy SP in Bulandshahr, was among 244 Provincial Police Officers transferred by the UP government on July 1.

The police officer hit the headlines when she had a public argument with BJP's Syana city president Mukesh Bhardwaj.
22:07   Iranians hold 'Trumpism' cartoon contest to mock US leader
Iranians have organised a "Trumpism" cartoon contest in which hundreds of participants were invited to submit artwork mocking the US leader.

The same organisers held a Holocaust cartoon contest last year, which they said was meant to highlight Western double standards on free speech and not to cast doubt on the Nazi genocide.

Hadi Asadi of Iran, who won first prize and a $1,500 award, said he wanted to highlight the "money-mindedness and war monger nature" of Trump. His cartoon shows Trump wearing a jacket made of dollar notes while drooling on books, a reference to cultural material.

"I wanted to show Trump while trampling symbols of culture," said Asadi, who produced the cartoon in two weeks using a stylus pen digital printing method.

Contest organiser Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei said the aim of the contest and exhibition is to show wrong behaviors by Trump in the framework of satirical portraits. Trump and violence against women, media as well as building walls were among themes of the contest.
21:42   Pak to ignore US naming Salahuddin as a global terrorist
Pakistan today dismissed the US designating Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a "global terrorist", saying it was not a UN decision but a move by the Trump administration to "appease" India.

Alleging that India was offering its services to the US to "pressurise" China, Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said India has been trying to downplay the Kashmir issue for a very long time.

Talking to a delegation from the Kashmir Journalists Forum, he said Salahuddin being designated a terrorist by the US was an attempt by the American administration to "appease" India.

Pakistan was not bound to follow the decision as it was not a United Nations declaration, Dawn newspaper quoted Aziz as saying.

The US declared Salahuddin a "global terrorist" just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first meeting with President Donald Trump on June 26 in Washington.
21:13   Venus Williams courts controversy at Wimbledon
Venus Williams choice of a shocking pink bar courted controversy at Wimbledon on Monday in a beach of the championships strict all white rule.

Williams, who has won the Wimbledon womens singles title six times, changed out of the bra during a rain break in her first match against Elise Mertens, amid speculation officials had spoken to her about its bright colour.

Before changing her outfit the bras bright pink straps had been clearly visible to spectators and officials. in contravention of the All England Lawn Tennis Clubs rule that any undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white except for a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre (10mm).

When play resumed after the rain break in the second set Williams was wearing a different top and no bra straps were visible.

21:00   Maharashtra gets 2-week deadline to justify Sanjay Dutt's early release
The Bombay high court today granted two weeks' time to the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit to justify its decision to grant actor Sanjay Dutt early release from prison in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case.

Dutt was sentenced to five years in jail for possession of arms, which were part of a consignment used in the blasts that ripped through the city on March 12, 1993, killing as many as 257 people and injuring over 700 others.

The actor, who was on bail during the trial, had surrendered in May 2013 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction.

Dutt was let out in February 2016, eight months early, on account of his good conduct while in Yerwada prison.

A division bench of Justices RM Savant and Sadhana Jadhav had last month directed the state government to file an affidavit explaining the grounds on which Dutt was granted early remission.

The direction was given on a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Pradeep Bhalekar, challenging regular paroles and furloughs granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence.

20:41   India refutes claims of bulldozers being used by China to destroy army bunkers
The Indian Army today maintained that no bulldozers were used when its bunkers were destroyed by the Chinese army amid the current standoff with China in the Sikkim sector.
The army also denied that the border standoff with China is the longest ever since 1962.

"The incident is not the longest standoff between the two nations," said a statement issued by the Army spokesman here.

The spokesman also said that no bulldozers were "ever employed" for destroying the Indian bunkers and that no physical scuffle had occurred between the personnel of Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army. 

A senior government functionary had earlier said that bulldozers were
used to destroy the Indian bunkers.
JUST IN: 22 states, including West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, remove check posts after GST rollout.
20:17   Owaisi slams PM over skipping Palestine during Israel visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi not visiting Palestine during his forthcoming visit to Israel would "strengthen the occupation of West Bank and Gaza" by the Jewish State, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said.

"The PM, during his three-day visit, is not visiting the occupied territories, which we (Indian leaders in the past) have done (visited). Whenever any Indian authorities went to Israel, they have maintained ties with Israel...we also reaffirmed our support to the Palestinian cause.

"That's why I say this (Modi not visiting Palestine) will strengthen the occupation of the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza," Owaisi told reporters.

The Palestine cause is "no more dearer to this government", unlike every previous government, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen chief alleged.

"Agenda now is that the cause of Palestine is no more dearer to this particular government, which had been visited by representatives of every previous government. That has been the cornerstone of our foreign policy," the Hyderabad MP said.

20:08   Downing Street denies rumour of Trump's flying visit to UK
The British government is not aware of any plans for Donald Trump to visit the UK in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson said today, amid reports that the US President is planning a flying visit to the country.

Some UK media reports had suggested that the US President may utilise a gap between his visit to Hamburg in Germany, for the G-20 summit later this week and a planned visit to France for Bastille Day celebrations on July 14 to drop in the UK.

"I am not aware of any plans for the President to visit the UK in the next few weeks," a Downing Street spokesperson said.
19:37   Kailash yatra through Lipulekh still open: China
China today said it would continue to allow Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar through the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand, days after it closed the Nathu La route in Sikkim over a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Sino-Indian border.

"The Nathu La route has been running well over two years and the relevant Chinese departments have already made arrangements before the incident took place," said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

"Due to illegal entry of Indian troops and out of security concern, we have suspended the activity (through Nathu La). Its resumption depends on whether Indian side will correct its mistake or not.

"Regarding the other pass to Tibet, the entry by Indian pilgrims is still going on and the pass is located in the middle section of China-India boundary where there is no dispute. The pilgrimage is going on," Geng said.

The Nathu La route is the second one opened by China for the Indian pilgrims to visit Kailash and Mansarovar areas located at an altitude of 15,160 feet in Tibet.

Like the Nathu La route, the yatra was being organised by the external affairs ministry since 1981 through Lipulekh pass in Himalayas connecting the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand with the old trading town of Taklakot in Tibet.

The ministry permits over 1000 pilgrims a year in 18 batches involving a 22-day arduous journey unlike the Nathu La route which enabled pilgrims to travel 1500-km-long route from Nathu La to Kailash by buses.
19:12   Tea stall where PM Modi sold tea to be developed as tourist spot
The tea stall in Guajarat's Vadnagar where Prime Minister Narendra Modi once sold tea during his childhood is all set to become a tourist spot with the Centre deciding to give it a face-lift.
The stall is located on one of the platforms of the Vadnagar Railway station.
Converting the stall into a tourist spot is part of a larger project of putting Modi's birthplace Vadnagar in Mehsana district of Gujarat on the world tourism map.
Officials of the ministry of culture and tourism and archaeological survey of India visited the town on Sunday.
The team of officials was led by Union Culture Mahesh Sharma, who later announced that the original charm of the tea stall will be preserved while giving it a modern touch.
"Apart from being the birthplace of our PM, Vadnagar is an important historical centre having famous Sharmishta Lake and a step-well. ASI had recently found remains of a Buddhist Monastery during excavation, which is still going on," Sharma told reporters at Gandhinagar.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi had often mentioned that he used to sell tea during his childhood at the Vadnagar railway station along with his father.
"Inside the Vadnagar railway station, there is a small tea stall, from where our PM had probably started his life's journey. We also want to develop that tea stall as a tourism spot. We will try to preserve the original charm of the tea stall while giving it a modern touch. Our aim is to put Vadnagar on world tourism map," Sharma said.
18:40   Ravi Shastri formally applies for India head coach job
Ravi Shastri has become the frontrunner for the India head coach job after he formally submitted his application to the BCCI. 

A senior BCCI official confirmed to PTI that Shastri has submitted his application ahead of the July 9 deadline. 

The interviews will be conducted the following day by the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar. 

"Yes, Ravi has applied and so has Phil Simmons," the official said. 

It has also been learnt that former West Indies all- rounder and coach, who has a vast experience in the role, too has applied for the high-profile job. 

The others who have thrown their hat into the ring are Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Venkatesh Prasad, Richard Pybus, Dodda Ganesh and Lalchand Rajput. 

Shastri, who has served as Indian team director from August 2014 to June 2016, shares a healthy rapport with the players including captain Virat Kohli. 

It remains to be seen how the CAC will consider Shastri's case considering Ganguly backed Kumble over the former Indian all-rounder when the coach was picked last year. 

 Irrespective of who gets the job, it will big shoes to will considering the team did well under Kumble, winning the Test series against the West Indies, Australia, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh before reaching the Champions Trophy final last month. 
18:14   Salahuddin's utterances prove he's a terrorist: MHA
The Centre on Monday condemned Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin's recent utterances against India, and said his designation as a global terrorist by the United States was "well deserved".
Home Ministry spokesperson Ashok Prasad said the government had been describing Salahuddin as a terrorist all along, and his own remarks had confirmed that.
"His designation as a global terrorist by the US is well deserved," he told reporters.
Prasad said Salahuddin was also "instrumental" in providing funds to terrorists and separatists and giving other kinds of assistance to the militants.
Salahuddin had on July 1 claimed that his group had the capability to launch attacks inside India.
The US declared him a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" on June 27.
"We are not terrorists... Our struggle is for freedom from India and it will continue till the liberation of Kashmir," the 71-year-old Kashmiri separatist leader, who is based in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, had said.
18:07   How to overcome exam stress? PM Modi will tell you
In a first-of-its-kind initiative by a serving prime minister, Narendra Modi will write a book dedicated to the youth, in which he will address core issues like overcoming examination stress, keeping one's composure and even what to do after the exams are over.
Publisher, Penguin Random House India said the book will be in multiple languages and out in book stores later this year.
The book will cover many aspects that students can relate to, especially with regard to the crucial class X and XII examinations.
Through the book, the prime minister hopes to become a friend of the students and support them as they prepare for the examinations, the publishers said.
The tone and tenor of the book, which states why it is important to prioritise knowledge over marks, and how to take responsibility for the future, is informal and conversational.

The idea for the book came from Modi himself. In the wake of the good response to his 'Mann Ki Baat', the prime minister decided to compile those thoughts, complementing them with some unique new insights and anecdotes, in the form of a book. 
"I have chosen to write on a subject that is close to my heart, and one that is fundamental to my vision for a youth-driven and youth-led tomorrow," a statement by the publishers quoted Modi as saying.
17:46   Maharashtra: Gas tanker overturns on Thane's Ghodbunder Road; traffic affected
A gas-tanker today overturned on the busy Ghodbunder road in Maharashtra's Thane affecting vehicular traffic for hours. 

A gas-tanker belonging to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited turned turtle on the Ghodbunder Road near Chana creek this noon while it was on its way to Mira Road from Thane, District Disaster Management Officer Manashri Mhatre of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation told PTI

The gas in the tanker started leaking and we have asked technical personnel from the BPCL to plug the leakage, she said. 

The fire brigade personnel are trying to put out the leakage, Mhatre added. 

The officer said the villagers in the area were unaffected. Meanwhile, the traffic police have appealed the citizens to avoid using the Ghodbunder Road till the situation returns to normal.
17:20   Recognise her?
Union Textiles minister Smriti Irani's throwback picture of the Ekta Kapoor soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, that catapulted her to success and politics. Smritiiraniofficial writes: 17yearsofkyunki #it#began like this. 
17:13   Shatrughan: GST in a India where majority don't have PAN cards!
Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha is all praise for PM Narendra Modi, who he has referred to in the past as a, 'dashing, dynamic  action hero', but sceptical at the same time.

The PM's push to launch GST has evoked mixed feelings in the MP. I am not sure if a majority of Indians understand GST. Weve seen the peril of hasty economic reform and I just hope there wont be confusion over the finer points this time. A large part of the Indian population doesnt know about digitised  banking and taxation. Forget about digitisation, a majority of Indians dont even own a PAN card, Sinha said.

When asked if he was questioning the Prime  Minister or the Finance Minister's decision on GST, Sinha said, Not at all. I am very confident that Modi saab and Jaitley Saab know what theyre doing. I am just not  sure if the public is ready for these radical reforms. I hope and pray they are ready.

--  Subhash K Jha
16:23   Sensex cheers GST, up 300 points after India's biggest tax reform
The BSE Sensex rose nearly 1 per cent on Monday heading for a third straight session of gains. The Sensex zoomed 300.01 points to close at 31,221.62; Nifty gained 94.10 points to 9,615. 

This comes in the backdrop of India on Saturday rolling out its biggest tax reform, replacing more than a dozen Central and state taxes with the GST.

The midnight launch of the GST, the biggest tax reform since independence, catapults India into a select league of nations that have a national sales tax.

Amid boycott of the launch ceremony by principal opposition parties like the Congress which termed it as "tamasha" (gimmick), the new tax regime replaces the messy mix of more than a dozen state and central levies built up over seven decades.

The one national GST unifies the country's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market, an exercise that took 17 tumultuous years.

The GST will eliminate the compounding effect of the current multi-layered tax system as well as the cross-state tax heterogeneity by fixing the final tax rate.
15:50   Nothing wrong with it: Aparna Yadav
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav reacts to the RTI report that says 86 per cent of the grant sanctioned by the SP government for organisations working for cow welfare in Uttar Pradesh went to an NGO run by her. Aparna Yadav said there was nothing wrong with it. "If some organisation is doing good work for welfare of animals then why should it not be helped financially?"
15:25   Life remains paralysed in Arunachal Pradesh
With the coming of the monsoon, the state of Arunachal Pradesh, including its capital Itanagar, has been severely affected by landslides, flash floods and road blockades.

The road between Itanagar and Naharlagun has been blocked due to a massive landslide.

The road between Hoj-Potin has also been blocked by a landslide and left vehicles stranded.

In Tirap District, a huge landslide occurred between Khonsa and Longding roads, threatening the very lifeline between the two districts.In East Siang District, the Siang River crossed the danger mark last night measuring at 153.98 meters, threatening Pasighat.

The river volume in the morning receded at 153.91 metres, which is below the danger mark.

The district administration has advised the residents living in the low-lying areas to take precautionary measures and remain alert, in case of any mishap.

The affected roads and bridges have made the people's movement in the capital and its peripheries extremely difficult.

There has been no report of casualties from any part of the state.The state government along with the concerned authorities is working hard to restore the normal road communications.
15:04   Israel's $40 mn fund for trade, tourism, filmmaking ahead of PM's visit
India and Israel will elevate their ties and sign several agreements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in the country, the first ever by an Indian premier, hailed as a "very significant step" in strengthening bilateral relations that are on a "constant upswing".

Modi's three-day visit beginning tomorrow is aimed at commemorating 25 years of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and will also see discussions between him and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to explore ways to enhance cooperation in key strategic areas.

The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved major decisions to deepen Indo-Israel ties.

Among the measures proposed include:

-- the establishment of a US$ 40 million joint fund to encourage Israeli and Indian business cooperation,
-- agreements permitting and extending incentives to Bollywood filmmakers looking to shoot in Israel,
-- efforts to promote growth in tourism and a joint government project in the fields of water and agriculture.

Modi will not travelling to neighbouring Palestine during the visit, a clear signal of de-hyphenation of its ties with the two West Asian nations.

-- The two sides are expected to sign number of agreements in the field of innovation, development, science and technology and space.

-- Apart from boosting cooperation in the water and agriculture sectors, India and Israel will also discuss ways to strengthen people-to-people contact, air connectivity and investments.

-- During the visit, a deal with the Uttar Pradesh government is also likely to be signed to clean-up a patch of river Ganges apart from setting up of industrial research and development fund of USD 40 million.

-- Before the visit, the external affairs ministry in New Delhi said it will provide an impetus for deeper bilateral engagement in areas of mutual interest.

-- Modi will also pay homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa.

-- Modi will also meet 26/11 Mumbai terror attack survivor Holtzberg Moshe, who was only two when he was saved by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel. Moshe's father Rabbi Gavriel and mother Rivkah were among eight Israeli nationals killed in the 2008 terror strike. Netanyahu earlier hailed Modi's visit as a "very significant step" in strengthening bilateral relations that are on a "constant upswing".

-- The Indian prime minister would also be meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the leader of opposition Isaac Herzog on July 5.

"Next week, the Indian Prime Minister, my friend, Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel, This is a historic visit to Israel.

In the 70 years of the country's existence, no Indian Prime Minister has ever visited and this is further expression of the state of Israel's military, economic and diplomatic strength," Netanyahu had said.

"This is a very significant step in strengthening relations between the two countries," he had said. The two leaders have already met twice on foreign soil on the sidelines of UN-related events and are said to be constantly in touch with each other over the phone.

The defence ties between India and Israel have often drawn worldwide attention and acquired strategic dimensions. It is believed that Modi's visit would further solidify security ties as Israeli defence industries have shown greater inclination towards participating in joint ventures to give a boost to the National Democratic Alliance government's 'Make in India' campaign.
 President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015 and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in 2016 visited both the countries. Modi's visit will be the first by an Indian premier to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Ezer Weizman visited India in 2003 and 1997 respectively. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had also paid a visit to India in November last year.
Man held for threatening to kill France's President Macron: ANI.
14:37   The dawn of Pakistan
Pakistani newspaper, Dawn covers 42 years from 1906 to 1948, that led to the creation of a separate Muslim state under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the Pakistani nation. Take a look.
14:19   India's action a betrayal, border well-demarcated: China
China today said the Sino-India border in the Sikkim sector is well demarcated and the Indian Army's action there is a "betrayal" of the position taken by successive Indian governments.

"Former Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru endorsed the 1890 Sino-British Treaty on Sikkim in a letter to the then Chinese counterpart Zhou Enlai in 1959. Successive Indian governments have also endorsed this," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a media briefing.

He said India needs to observe the treaty and pull back troops immediately from Doklam. "The India-China boundary in the Sikkim section is well demarcated. The action taken by India is a betrayal of the position taken by the Indian governments," he said.

China accused Indian troops of transgressing into the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector, which it claims as a part of its territory. Bhutan also claims the area as a part of its territory.

China also said it has closed the Nathu La route in Sikkim for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims from India. "The other route to Tibet through Lipu lake is open as it is located in the middle section where there is no dispute, Geng said.
14:16   Stephen Hawking says Donald Trump risks 'turning Earth into Venus'
Professor Stephen Hawking has slammed President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and said it could lead to a "tipping point" that "turns Earth into Venus". Read more
14:09   Father of the bride
Union minister for Law and Justice and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad tweets this lovely picture that is far removed from politics.

@rsprasad My daughter Aditi got married to Ajay - son of Girija and Shekar Iyer from Tamil Nadu. Maya & I seek your blessings & good wishes.
13:40   'Insensitive' Centre must roll back 'disability tax' under GST: Rahul
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday called on the 'insensitive' Centre to roll back the 'disability tax' under the Goods and Services Tax regime, stressing that it would lead the disabled people through further hardship.

"Congress Party demands a full roll back of this 'disability tax' that will put millions of our disabled people through further hardship," Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

Venting his ire on the Union Government, Rahul said that GST on disability aids like wheelchairs and Braille typewriters shows Centre's insensitivity toward the most vulnerable faction.

The Indian National Congress also said in a tweet that Modi Government has abandoned those who need its support the most by rolling out the GST hastily.

The GST on Braille typewriters and papers, carriages for the disabled and wheelchairs and other assistive devices have been fixed at rates varying between 5 to 18 percent.

As per rates approved by the GST council, 18 per cent tax has been imposed on Braille typewriters, 12 per cent on Braille paper, five per cent on carriages for the disabled, wheelchairs and assistive devices, and 12 per cent on hearing aids.

Prior to the new uniform tax regime, which was rolled out on July 1, these goods were exempt from any custom and excise duty. 
13:20   Opposition needs alternate narrative, reactive won't work: Nitish
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaks on reports of his criticism of the Congress, a member of the Grand Alliance government headed by him in Bihar.

"What I said during a party meeting yesterday was in a particular context, don't interpret it differently.

"I have said several times that the Congress is a big party and it should set the agenda. Opposition needs an alternate narrative, just reactive narrative won't work.

"I have said earlier also that I am not the PM face of opposition in 2019, neither am I eligible."

On not attending the midnight GST event, he said, "There was no invitation,so where is the question of attending or skipping?"

On various allegations leveled by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Modi against his government and his alliance partner Lalu Yadav and his two sons, Kumar said, "He (Sushil Modi) has a habit of giving statements daily, I don't read and neither do I have interest."

At a meeting of top leaders yesterday of his Janata Dal-United, the Chief Minister said that the Congress has heavily dented the impact of a large league of opposition parties with lethargy and inaction on key issues including the decision on who to field as the candidate for President of India.
13:10   SC allows woman to abort 26-week abnormal foetus
The Supreme Court today permitted a woman, who is in her 26th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus which has severe cardiac problems.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and M Khanwilkar said the procedure of termination of pregnancy should be carried out 'forthwith' at the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata.

The direction came after the bench perused the report of the medical board and the SSKM Hospital, which advised the termination of pregnancy on the grounds that the mother would suffer 'severe mental injury' if the pregnancy is continued and the child, if born alive, has to undergo multiple surgeries for severe cardiac ailments.

"Keeping in view the report of the medical board, we are inclined to allow the prayer and direct medical termination of pregnancy of petitioner no. 1 (woman)," the bench said.

The woman and her husband had approached the apex court seeking permission to abort her foetus on grounds of abnormalities which could be even fatal to her.  -- PTI
UPDATE: Jammu and Kashmir police issues clarification that a policeman who was shot at by terrorists in Anatnag is alive and admitted to hospital in critical condition.
12:05   SC stays contempt proceedings against Roy
The Supreme Court stays criminal contempt proceedings against author Arundhati Roy. The case was being heard in a Nagpur court. Roy had written an article supporting GN Saibaba when Nagpur bench of Bombay HC had refused to grant Saibaba bail. Saibaba is a Delhi University professor who was sentenced to life for links with Maoists. 
12:02   Terrorists kill unarmed cop in Kashmir's Anantnag
A policeman has lost his life after terrorists attacked a police party near a bus stand in Anantnag, reports ANI. 

Constable Ghulam Hassan was shot in the neck by militants from close range at Anantnag bus stand, a police official said.

The policeman who was injured in the attack and succumbed thereafter, was taken to a district hospital in Anantnag from where he was referred to 92 Base Hospital of the Army in view of his "critical" condition.

Hassan was unarmed at the time of the attack, the official said.
11:51   UP minister to sit on dharna to demand DM's transfer
In a move that could be embarrassing for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a minister in his cabinet has announced a dharna in Ghazipur tomorrow to demand transfer of the district magistrate there.

Om Prakash Rajbhar, national president of the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, a BJP ally that won four seats in the assembly elections, alleged that Ghazipur DM Sanjay Kumar Khatri was not paying heed to the problems of the people.

Rajbhar said he had spoken to the chief minister on the issue but nothing had been done. "We will be sitting on dharna in Ghazipur tomorrow for removal of DM," Rajbhar, who holds the backward and handicapped welfare department portfolio in the Yogi government, told PTI.

Asked whether he would meet the chief minister, Rajbhar said, "CM is in Delhi. Let him come... I will try to meet him." "I have been complaining against the DM... if he is not removed I will sit on dharna," the MLA from Zahoorabad constituency in Ghazipur said.

He added that he had taken up 19 issues with the DM so far, but none had been resolved. "On June 25, I met UP BJP organisation secretary Sunil Bansal and on June 27 called on the chief minister to take up the matter.

However, the DM is yet to be removed," Rajbhar said. "People's representatives are accountable to those who voted us to power. People are angry that their work is not getting done even after the cabinet minister's request." The demonstration will be held at the Surju Pandey Park in Ghazipur.
J&K: A policeman has lost his life after terrorists attacked a police party near bus stand in Anantnag. More details awaited.
11:44   HM rejects reports of J-K Guv offering resignation
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday rejected reports of Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra offering his resignation. "So far Home ministry has not received any proposal from Jammu and Kashmir Governor N. N. Vohra offering to resign," said MHA spokesperson.

Reports are rife that Vohra has offered to step down as Jammu and Kashmir Governor and has also written a letter to the Centre demanding the same.Some sections of media reported that Vohra sought his resignation citing health issue.

The home ministry, however, clarified that they did not receive any letter regarding it.Vohra was appointed Governor of Jammu and Kashmir in 2008 and was offered second term in 2013.Earlier, he had also served as Defence Secretary and Union Home Secretary.

Vohra, a Padma Vibhushan awardee, had also served as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister I.K. Gujral during 1997-98.
11:12   No bail for Justice Karnan
The Supreme Court refuses an urgent hearing on the plea of of jailed former High Court judge CS Karnan seeking bail and recall of order convicting him for contempt.
11:11   In the hot seat: KK Venugopal takes charge as Attorney General
KK Venugopal takes over as the next Attorney General of India. To his left. is former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi. The decision to appoint 86-year-old Venugopal as the successor of Rohatgi was discussed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, Portugal and Netherlands.

PTI said that Venugopal had a meeting with the Prime Minister before his departure for the three-nation tour. When PTI reached out to Venugopal for his comments on the same, he said: I will speak only after the notification is issued.

Rohatgi asked the NDA government to not reconsider him for reappointment to the top constitutional post, the government had decided to appoint senior constitutional expert Venugopal as the Attorney General.
10:56   Rioting case against Indrani, others handed to Crime branch
The case of rioting against Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, and some 200 other inmates of Byculla women's prison in central Mumbai, has been handed over to the Mumbai crime branch. Sanjay Saxena, Joint Commissioner of Police (crime), said yesterday that the crime branch had taken over the case from Nagpada police station.

Mukerjea, who is 'accused no 1' in this case, instigated other inmates to rioting after the death of a convict, the police had claimed earlier. The 44-year-old former media executive was among the nearly 200 inmates of the Byculla Jail booked by the Nagpada police for rioting and other offences after they staged a protest over the death of convict Manju Govind Shette. Shette (45) died at the government-run J J Hospital on the night of June 23 after allegedly being beaten up by jail officials.

The next day, enraged women inmates rose in protest, some of them went up to the prison's roof, while others made a bonfire of newspapers and documents on the premises to express their anger, a police official said.

The inmates alleged that Shette was mercilessly beaten up by the woman prison official which led to her death. Indrani instigated the inmates, police had claimed. Six jail personnel were suspended in connection with Shette's death.

They were arrested on Saturday on the charge of murder. Indrani, lodged in the prison after her arrest in August 2015, and the other inmates were booked for rioting, unlawful assembly, assault on public servant and other relevant sections of the IPC.

The jail houses 251 inmates. Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and ex-driver Shyamvar Rai are accused of killing 24-year-old Sheena, Indrani's daughter from an earlier relationship, on April 24, 2012.

Also read:'Is that a terrorist or is that Indrani?!'
10:42   Mulayam's daughter-in-law's NGO gets 86% of SP govt cow welfare grant: RTI
Nearly 86 per cent of the grant sanctioned by the SP government for organisations working for cow welfare in Uttar Pradesh went to an NGO run by the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's sister-in-law Aparna Yadav, an RTI reply has revealed.

To a query by activist Nutan Thakur, the UP Gau Sewa Aayog replied that from 2012 to 2017, it sanctioned Rs 9.66 crore, of which Rs 8.35 crore (86.4 per cent) went to Jeev Ashraya, the NGO run by Aparna Yadav. Aparna is the wife of Prateek Yadav, the step-brother of Akhilesh Yadav. Her NGO runs a gaushala at Amausi in Lucknow district.

The Aayog comes under the state Animal Husbandry department and gives funds to guashalas (cowsheds) and organisations working for the welfare of cows.

In the reply, the Aayog's Public Information Officer Sanjay Yadav said that during financial years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, Jeev Ashraya was given Rs 49.89 lakh, Rs 1.25 crore and Rs 1.41 crore, respectively. In the financial year 2015-16, Jeev Ashray got Rs 2.58 crore, while Sripad Baba Goshala in Vrindavan got Rs 41 lakh, the RTI reply stated.

"In 2016-17, of the total grant of Rs 3.45 crore, Jeev Ashraya got Rs 2.55 crore, while among other four NGOs, Sripad Goshala got Rs 63 lakh," it stated.

However, during 2017-18, till now, Rs 1.05 crore has been given to various gaushalas. But Jeev Ashraya was not one of the recipients. Dayodaya Goshala in Lalitpur got the highest amount, Rs 63 lakh, it said. Nutan Thakur is the wife of IPS officer Amitabh Thakur who had running feud with the Samajwadi Party's first family. Aparna Yadav was not immediately available for comments.
10:27   Lucknow acid attack: UP govt supporting criminals, says SP
Condemning the Lucknow acid attack, the Samajwadi Party on Monday said that somewhere the state government is supporting the criminals to execute such horrific acts.

"This incident has confirmed the fact that law and order in Uttar Pradesh has been shattered. The state is now being ruled by goons and criminals. I feel that somewhere these criminals are getting support from the state government," Samajwadi Party leader Sunil Sajan told ANI.

He added that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath himself went to meet the victim and even after his warning, the same horrific act was witnessed which shows the corrupt administration of Uttar Pradesh.

The acid attack victim, whom the UP Chief Minister met in the hospital a few months back, again faced the same brutal act in Uttar Pradesh's Aliganj on Saturday.

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had earlier given a cheque of Rs one lakh as compensation to the victim's husband.

He also directed the police officials to immediately nab the accused and take strict action against the guilty.

The Dalit victim was attacked by the same group of suspects, marking the fourth such attack on her.

She was forced to drink a 'corrosive liquid' by unidentified persons on train while she was returning to Lucknow from her village.

She was gang-raped earlier in 2008 and a case was registered in this regard in Unchahar town of Raebareli district.

She was first attacked with acid in 2011 followed by other serious attacks again in 2011, twice in 2012 and another in 2013.
10:22   Swamy wants to pray inside Ram Janmabhoomi temple. SC to hear matter today
The Supreme Court will today hear the plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, seeking its intervention in the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. Swamy sought permission to perform puja in the temple.

On March 31, the apex court refused Swamy's plea, seeking urgent and expeditious hearing of the Ayodhya matter.

The apex court questioned Swamy's role in the matter and said it did not have the time to hear the plea. "What is your locus standi in the case? We didn't know that you are a party to the case. We don't have time to hear you now," the court said.

Swamy said, "Of course, I m not connected with the petty issue of property ownership. All I am concerned about is with my fundamental right to worship."

The court has said that the Ayodhya dispute is a sensitive and sentimental issue that needs to be settled amicably and through consensus.The court suggested that if required, a principal mediator can be chosen by the court to settle the issue.

Chief Justice JS Khehar said if the parties want him to mediate, then he is ready for the task.
09:58   Pulwama encounter: 1 terrorist dead, 2 trapped
A terrorist has been gunned down in an encounter by the security forces in Pulwama district's Bamnoo area on Monday morning.

On a specific information received, the Special Operations Group Pulwama and 44 Rashtriya Rifles of the army launched cordon and search operation in the area.

Meanwhile, two more terrorists are trapped in the area, and operations are underway to smoke them out.

Yesterday, the security officials in a joint operation began to cordon off Pulwama's Malangpora area in search of terrorist. Army, local police and Central Reserve Police Force began search operation in to nab terrorists trapped in the area.

Representational image.
09:51   EVM tampering: SC to hear plea seeking thorough investigation
The Supreme Court today will hear the plea filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma, seeking a thorough investigation into the Electronic Voting Machines.

He further claimed that American computer scientists should investigate the alleged tampering of EVMs.

He, in his petition, claimed that in the recently concluded five state elections, the EVMs were allegedly tampered.

Earlier, the apex court had issued a notice to the Union Government seeking a reply into Sharma's plea.

A bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar and also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and DY Chandrachud, issued the notice over the petition filed by lawyer Sharma.

The top court, however, at this stage refused to pass any order for a CBI inquiry.

Image: AAP had demonstrated how EVMs could allegedly be tampered, but the EVM was a replica of the ones used by the Election Commission and not a genuine EVM. 
09:48   US continues to push for dialogue between India-Pakistan
Senator John McCain, who is leading a US Congressional delegation to Islamabad, reiterated Washington's stand that dialogue is a prerequisite for India and Pakistan to solve the Kashmir issue.

The delegation met Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and discussed bilateral issues, including terrorism, Pakistan's relations with India and Afghanistan and regional peace, reports Dawn.

"Kashmir problem should be resolved in a peaceful way through negotiations," McCain said, adding that the U.S. has not changed its stand regarding the Kashmir issue.

Both sides also came to the agreement that U.S. and Pakistan need to forge closer cooperation in confronting the peace and security challenges in the region and beyond.

Aziz conveyed to the US delegation about Pakistan's success against terrorism through Operations Zarb-i-Azb and Raddul Fasaad, asserting that the terrorist networks had been dismantled, their sanctuaries eliminated under the overarching National Action Plan.
09:43   Hizb chief Salahuddin admits to carrying out terror strikes in India
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin admits on a Pakistan TV channel to carrying out terror attacks in India.

Syed Salahuddin, declared a global terrorist by the US last week, vowed on Saturday to continue his armed struggle against Indian forces to liberate Jammu and Kashmir.

"We will not end this fight without liberating Kashmir from India," Salahuddin, 71, told a news conference in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The United States declared Salahuddin, who also heads the Pakistan-based United Jihad Council, a "global terrorist' hours ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington on June 26, a decision the militant leader said was only made to appease India.

He said the Hizbul Mujahideen only targets Indian forces and the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda have no presence in Kashmir.
09:34   SC to hear Haji Ali Dargah case on removing encroachments today
The Supreme Court will today hear the Haji Ali Dargah trust case, regarding demolition of encroachments around the area.

The apex court earlier in April asked the Haji Ali Dargah Trust in Mumbai to demolish all encroachments in and around the Dargah excluding the mosque standing on 171 sq metres area.

A bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar passed the interim order after hearing a plea filed by the petitioner, Haji Ali dargah trust which told the court that the encroachment portion should be removed.

The apex court also made it clear that the Haji Ali Dargah trust will remove the alleged encroachments by May 8.

The apex court also in its order said that no court shall grant any injunction on the removal of the alleged encroachments, adding that if any party wanted some modification of the court order, it can certainly move to this court.
09:31   Difference of opinion with PM never affected our relationship: Prez
President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said there has been difference of opinion between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on numerous issues, but that didn't affected the relation between him and the latter.

"Surely there have been divergences of views, between me and Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi. But we have been able to keep divergences only to ourselves, that didn't affect our relation," Mukherjee said on the occasion of the release of the book, 'President Pranab Mukherjee - A statesman'.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, it was his privilege to work with President Mukherjee.Prime Minister Modi said, "It is my privilege that I got to work with the Honourable President."

Getting emotional during his speech, the Prime Minister added, "The Presidency is much more than protocol. Through the photographs in the book, we see the human side of our President and we feel proud."

He also took the occasion to laud the efforts of photographer Varun Joshi towards the making of the coffee table book. President Mukherjee's term expires on July 12. The polls for the post are slated for July 17.
09:23   Narendra Modi is giving shape to M.S. Golwalkar's dream
To his long list of skills - powerful oratory; indefatigable energy; peerless grandstanding; bear hugging every world leader within handshaking distance - Narendra Modi just added another one: a talent for black humour.

That talent was evident in his remarks in Ahmedabad last Thursday. Speaking at a function at Sabarmati Ashram, the prime minister said, "Killing people in the name of gau bhakti is not acceptable." And added, with a straight face, "We are a land of non-violence. We are the land of Mahatma Gandhi. Why do we forget that?"

Those words certainly jogged -and mocked - public memory, coming as they did from a man who was chief minister of Gujarat when riots left over 2,000 dead and who resolutely refused to express any remorse, then or since. And a man who, as prime minister, has chosen to ignore the violence unleashed by vigilantes on a regular basis.  Read the column here.
09:08   Pakistan pivots to China amid fresh concerns over US ties with India
At a news conference welcoming China's foreign minister to Islamabad, Pakistan's foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz declared, 'Pakistan's relations with China are the cornerstone of our foreign policy.'

Islamabad's political pivot from Washington to Beijing, already its dominant investor and increasingly important global interlocutor, is hardly surprising, a Washington Post report said quoting experts.

Pakistan has been concerned about Washington's emerging friendship with India, at the same time, Pakistani officials have been worried for months that the Trump administration will put heavy pressure on their government, possibly by cutting aid or even declaring it a 'state sponsor of terrorism'.

Read more
UPDATE: Ongoing encounter in Pulwama's Bamnoo. Gunned down terrorist identified as Kifayat.

Two other terrorists are trapped.
08:54   Terrorist killed in Pulwama, encounter continues
One terrorist has been gunned down by security forces in Pulwama's Bamnoo in Jammu and Kashmir.

The operation is still going on.

Security forces began a cordon and search operation in Bamnoo on Monday morning to hunt down terrorists hiding in the area.

More details awaited.

Representative image.
08:13   8 injured in shooting outside French mosque
At least eight people suffered injuries after two gunmen fired gun shots outside a mosque in South France's Avignon city.

The incident took place on Sunday late night at 10.30 pm (local time), after two men fired shots, the Independent quoted La Provence.

The police officials, however, have ruled out a terrorist motive and suggested it could have been a revenge attack or related to a quarrel.

The policemen now have launched a manhunt for the accused.

This incident comes days after a man was arrested for driving his car into a crowd in front of a mosque in the Paris' Creteil city.

However, no injuries were reported. -- ANI