Tue, 06 June 2017
Situation in RK Nagar has not improved for holding bypoll: EC

Timeline  Refresh

23:39   Situation in RK Nagar has not improved for holding bypoll: EC
The byelection to RK Nagar assembly constituency could not be held within the stipulated time period of six months as the ground situation has not improved, the Election Commission has said.
The April 12 bypoll was cancelled by the poll body over use of money power.
"The byelection would now be held when the situation in the constituency concerned becomes conducive to the conduct of free and fair election," an EC communication said today.
" is not possible to conduct the by-election within the time limit set, i.e six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, caused due to former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death on December 5, 2016," it said.
The six month period as mandated under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 expired on June 4, the EC communication released to the media here by Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said.
The commission recalled it had rescinded the April 12 by-election following "distribution of money and gift items by candidates and political parties to bribe the voters seeking electoral favours."
We are constantly monitoring the situation but the ground situation in the constituency has not improved, it said.
Lakhoni had also submitted a report to the EC recommending to "extend the period for holding the byelection", it said.
Subsequently, EC had informed the Central government last month explaining the "difficulties" in holding the bypoll within six months as mandated in the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Commission said, adding the government in a June 2 letter concurred with the view.
23:13   Govt to issue rules on no-fly list by June 20
The Centre is likely to release its rules on a no-fly list for unruly passengers by June 20, Union minister Jayant Sinha said.
The ministry of civil aviation had last month issued its draft rules for a national no-fly list and invited stakeholders' comments within the next 30 days. It had mooted a ban on flying from three months upto an indefinite period for unruly passengers.

"The deadline (for comments) has passed, and we have received many suggestions. June 20 is our target date for issuing the final Civil Aviation Requirement," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
He added that the ministry is currently evaluating the suggestions and taking the advice of the DGCA on the matter.
The government has recommended three levels of unruly behaviour, each with a corresponding duration of flying ban of 3 months, 6 months and two years or more without limit.
The draft is an amendment to the existing Civil Aviation Requirement, a set of rules on unruly and disruptive passengers.
The move to revise the existing rules came in the wake of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulting an Air India staffer with a slipper for not being able to fly business class in an all-economy flight in March. 
22:43   George and Amal Clooney welcome twins Ella and Alexander
George and Amal Clooney have welcomed their twins -- a girl and a boy called Ella and Alexander.

"This morning Amal and George welcomed Ella and Alexander Clooney into their lives," a spokesperson for the 56-year-old actor said in a statement.

"Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine," the statement added.

The announcement ended with the quip: "George is sedated and should recover in a few days."

The couple's friend, actor Matt Damon, revealed the news that Amal was pregnant with twins back in February. 
21:49   Pak artistes are not terrorists, they don't throw bombs: Paresh Rawal
Stressing that artistes and cricketers are not the ones who throw bombs, actor-politician Paresh Rawal says he would love to work in Pakistani serials and films.
"Yes, I would love to work in Pakistani films and shows. I love all Pakistani TV serials like Humsafar, the way they act, the story, the writing, the's all good. I feel our shows are boring," Rawal told PTI.
Director-producer Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, faced the wrath of political parties before its release last year as they demanded a ban on artistes from the neighbouring countries in the wake of the Uri terror attack in September last year.
Rawal was recently in the news for his controversial comments against author Arundhati Roy where he suggested that she should be tied to an army jeep to deter stone pelters in Kashmir.
The 67-year-old actor says cinema and cricket bridge the gap between the two countries.
"I believe that artistes and cricketers don't come and throw bombs. They are not terrorists, rather they bridge the gap between the two countries. But when the mood is not good why rake up issues at that time? It is better to stay with your country," he says.  

The actor maintains that he is not okay with the ban on Pakistani artistes.
"There should be no ban on anyone or anything. Even in 'Hindi Medium' there was a Pakistani actress but nothing happened as the mood is good in the country," he says. 
21:13   Trump backs Arab nations, says isolating Qatar 'beginning of end of terrorism'
United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday supported the actions of four Arab countries to cut off diplomatic relationship with Qatar, saying his visit to the Middle East is "paying off" to end the "horror of terrorism".
Led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates have blamed Qatar for "financing, adopting and sheltering extremists", and alleged that it supports terrorist groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!" Trump tweeted.
"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding, extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar," he said.
"Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" Trump said.

Trump last month visited Saudi Arabia during which he addressed leaders of 50 Muslim countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Members of the Gulf Cooperation Countries signed a memorandum of understanding with the US to make it illegal in their countries for raising funds for terrorist and extremist organisations.
Trump also slammed the mainstream American media.
"Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO chance winning WH," he said in yet another tweet.
"The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out," he wrote.
21:04   Anupam Kher to play Manmohan Singh in 'The Accidental Prime Minister' movie
Veteran actor Anupam Kher is set to play Manmohan Singh in the movie based on the book "The Accidental Prime Minister" written by the former prime minister's media adviser Sanjay Baru.

The 62-year-old actor told PTI that he is essaying the role of Singh in the film to be directed by debutante Vijay Ratnakar Gutte.

National Award-winning filmmaker Hansal Mehta is working on the screenplay. 

 "Yes, I am writing it," Mehta said.

The makers will be releasing the first look of the film on Wednesday.
20:43   Man attacks cop with hammer in Notre Dame in Paris
French police have shot a man outside the Notre Dame in Paris after he tried to attack them with a hammer, according to local media. 

The main square has been evacuated  and a police operation is underway. 

Two "blasts" sparked panic among tourists amassed outside Notre Dame. A man was then seen "lying on the ground inert", according to a journalist.

20:36   Gunshots reported at Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral
Gunshots have reportedly been fired at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris sparking panic.   

The French landmark is said to be on lockdown as witnesses have told of hearing explosions.   

Parisian police have warned people to avoid the area.
19:18   India to receive 98% monsoon, forecast IMD
The monsoon is likely to be better than earlier expected, according to the Met department which revised its initial forecast today, upgrading it marginally.
The India Meteorological Department Director General, K J Ramesh, said the revision to 98 per cent precipitation of the Long Period Average, was done because of reduced chances of occurrence of an El-Nino, a
phenomenon associated with the heating of the Pacific waters.
In its initial forecast released in April, the IMD said the country could receive rainfall 96 per cent of the LPA.
"We are expecting a good rainfall across the country this year. July is likely to receive 96 per cent of the LPA while August is expected to witness precipitation of 99 per cent of the LPA," Ramesh said.

He said rainfall in central India is likely to be 100 per cent of the Long Period Average and 99 per cent in the southern peninsula, where several parts are reeling under drought.
Northeast and northwest India, a region that has been receiving deficient monsoon for the three consecutive years, is likely to get 96 per cent of the rainfall of the LPA.
Northwest India comprises major agricultural states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, apart from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.
Veteran Nepalese politician Sher Bahadur Deuba elected Nepal's prime minister for the fourth time.
18:56   NDTV probe is about wrongful gains, not loan default: CBI
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday sought to clarify its decision on carrying out raids against NDTV bosses saying the agency respects freedom of press and the action was taken as per the due process of law.
The statement comes in the wake of various media organisations, including the much-powerful Editors Guild of India, expressing deep concern over the raids conducted by the CBI on the offices of NDTV and its promoters.
"Entry of police and other agencies into the media offices is a serious matter," the Editors Guild statement had said after the raids on Monday.
In an unusually lengthy statement, the agency said it has not conducted any search on the registered office of NDTV, media studio, news room or premises connected with media operations.
"The CBI fully respects the freedom of press and is committed to the free functioning of news operations," it said and clarified that the allegations under investigation are not regarding the default in loan repayment.
The allegations "relate to the wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters--Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and a corresponding wrongful loss to the ICICI bank arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy," the CBI said.
NDTV in its statement had termed the action of the CBI to register FIR and carry out searches at Roys' as an attempt to muzzle the media.
17:15   Day 6 of farmers' strike in Maha: Vegetable supplies dry up, prices soar
The farmers' strike in Maharashtra entered the sixth day today, with prices of vegetables shooting up in various markets due to short supply. Farmers are on the warpath since June 1 for demands including loan waiver and higher minimum support prices.

Despite the government announcing a loan waiver for marginal farmers on Saturday, the agitation has continued.

In Pune's Agricultural Produce Market Committee, the inflow of vegetables and fruits was only about 50 per cent today, resulting in their prices going up by three to five times, sources said.

The workers of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna held protests outside the collector's office in Sangli and 20 of them were taken into custody by police.

The rural economy has been affected in Nashik where apart from farmers, potters, tempo drivers and others working in allied fields are losing their jobs, sources said.

The daily business of around Rs 20-25 crore in 17 major APMCs in Nashik and other smaller market committees has come to a standstill, they added. Farmers locked the offices of talathi (revenue officer) in some villages of Kolhapur and Nashik districts.

In Ahmednagar district, the inflow of vegetables was mere 1 per cent and there was no milk collection, increasing the woes of the people, sources said. In the district's Puntamba village, the agitating farmers threw vegetables outside the divisional commissioner's office.

In Amravati too the protesters dumped vegetables outside the district collector's office. Police took into custody six workers of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna in Amaravati.
Mandsaur farmers' protest (MP): Death toll rises to three, curfew imposed in sensitive areas.
16:19   Army independent, Kashmir under control: Govt
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Tuesday said the situation in Kashmir is under control and that the Army is working independently to tackle any situation.

"The people are seeing, what the media is reporting. The situation in Kashmir is under control and the Army is totally independent and functioning accordingly," he said.

Meanwhile, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar visited Kashmir today.

He interacted with 45 Battalion CRPF Sumbal, Cheetahs of 45 and 44th Battalion.

He lauded the army, while stating that the Bandipora encounter was successful.

"We succeeded in saving our camps. The Jammu and Kashmir Police also helped us. We have reviewed the Amarnath Yatra too," he added.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police S.P. Vaid said the Bandipora encounter was a live example of coordinated work.

At least four militants were killed in retaliatory firing by 45 Battalion CRPF and the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) at Sumbal in Bandipora district yesterday.

The militants were reportedly attempting a suicide attack on the CRPF camp.
15:29   Stalin wonders whether TN govt will continue till June 14
DMK Working President M K Stalin today wondered if the K Palaniswami-led government in the state, would continue to be in power till the commencement of the state Assembly session, scheduled to begin on June 14.

Talking to reporters in Chennai, the DMK leader wondered whether the present regime will survive till the Assembly session commences on June 14.

He sarcastically said that in case the state government survived, the DMK would do its "democratic duty."

The AIADMK is now split in three groups, no one knows how many more groups will be formed (in the future), he said. The DMK leader is here to participate in a seminar conducted by the Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi.

"It was DMK, which had arranged for the desilting of tanks and ponds in Tamil Nadu to facilitate the storage of good quantity of water, when it was in power," he claimed. Terming the inauguration of desilting work by Chief Minister K Palaniswami at the Stanley Reservoir at Mettur as mere "eyewash," Stalin alleged that after the inauguration no work was carried out there.

He also assured that if DMK comes to power again, they will continue the desilting work in tanks, ponds and even the reservoirs.
15:23   1 dead in farmers' protest in MP
A farmers' protest at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh ended in the death of one farmer after police opened fire on protestors. Four protestors were also injured in the firing.  The Rashtriya Kisaan Mazdoor Sangh has called for a state-wide shutdown on Wednesday,

Following the clashes, internet services in Mandsaur and adjoining Ratlam and Ujjain, remain suspended.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said his government is taking all necessary steps to address the issues of agitating farmers. "This government is a farmers' government. All necessary steps have been initiated to address farmers' concerns," PTI quoted Chouhan as saying.
15:05   Sehwag sends 2-line resume for Team India coach post
Former opener Virender Sehwag has sent a two-line resume to the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the post of head coach of the Indian cricket team.

In his application, Sehwag just stated that he is the mentor of Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab and that he is quite familiar with the current crop of Indian players.

"Mentor and a coach of Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League and has played with all these (Indian) boys before," his two-line application reads.

Sehwag's application has stunned the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, which immediately asked him to send an elaborate application with a full resume.

Apart from Sehwag, current head coach Anil Kumble, former Australian Test player Tom Moody, former Indian cricketers Lalchand Rajput and Dodda Ganesh and former Pakistan and Bangladesh coach Richard Pybus are the other candidates to have put their names forward for the role.

Kumble's contract as head coach will end post-India's campaign at the Champions Trophy and the BCCI has already invited applications for the position.

The iconic leg-spinner, who took over the post of head coach from former cricketer Ravi Shastri, has had a successful tenure as under him, team India claimed the ICC Test ranking top spot.

The BCCI's three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising cricket icons Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman will conduct interviews and seek presentations to select the best possible candidate to guide the team and take the team forward.
14:37   Army Chief's views reflect Modi govt's views: CPI-M
A day after Bengali scholar Partha Chatterjee compared Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat to British General Dyer, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday slammed the Army Chief over the Kashmir human shield row.

The CPI (M) in its mouthpiece 'People Democracy' said the remarks made in an interview by the Army Chief of Staff General Bipin Rawat about dealing with civilian protestors in Kashmir exemplifies all that is wrong with the way the Modi Government is dealing with the situation there.

"Gen. Rawat stated in the interview that: "In fact, I wish these people instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us, then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do)"," the article added.

The party in its mouthpiece alleged that General Rawat also defended the wrongful action of Major Nitin Gogoi who had tied a civilian in front of a jeep to act as a human shield and drove his convoy through a number of villages.

"The army chief had given a commendation to the officer even while an enquiry into the action was being held. Gen. Rawat justified the serious violation committed by Major Gogoi in the following words: "This is a proxy war ....It is played in a dirty way....That is where innovation comes. You fight a dirty war with innovation"," it added.

The mouthpiece said the way Farooq Ahmad Dar, who had gone to vote in the Srinagar by-poll, was caught and tied to a jeep as a deterrent to stone pelters was a shocking incident.

"The army chief of staff, by commending this act, has let down the high professional standards of the army. Some former serving generals of the army have decried the use of the civilian as a human shield. They have correctly pointed out that the army cannot treat its own people in such a manner," it further said.

It alleged that General Rawat makes no distinction between young protestors throwing stones and armed militants.

"He had, on an earlier occasion, warned that the army would treat all those who do not support army operations or obstruct them during encounters as "overground workers of terrorists". To taunt protestors to take up arms, so that the army could deal with them appropriately is a needless provocation and displays an attitude which is unbecoming of a senior army officer," the mouthpiece added.

The mouthpiece said that General Rawat is reflecting the views of the Modi Government which seeks to suppress the people of Kashmir, who are voicing their political protest, through the sole reliance on use of force.

"Not only the people of Kashmir but the army itself will suffer irreparable damage due to the government's blind adherence to the use of coercive force against the civilian population," it further said.
14:27   Hold the airbrushing, please
Hot or what not?

Deepika Padukone Instagrammed this picture from Maxim India magazine. Padukone was recently titled as the hottest woman of the year by the men's magazine. After conquering Cannes, Deepika appeared on the latest cover of Maxim and makes it to their list of Top 100 Hot Women.

While her fans couldn't get enough of her (rockstar_ayutansh__Looking So Cute My Crush), star_shugzOmg posted: "thousands of filters and editing she doesn't even look like depika."
14:17   Bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi for Hamid Ansari after he demits office
The Narendra Modi government today allotted a spacious bungalow at 31 APJ Abdul Kalam Road (formerly Aurangazeb Road) to Vice President Hamid Ansari after he demits office on August 10.  

As per standard protocol, the President, Vice President and Prime Minister are allotted government accommodation when they demit office. 
13:53   Mallya drops in at Virat's dinner, Team India hotfoots it home
Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya yesterday landed up at a 'charity dinner' organised by Virat Kohli's foundation but the national cricket team including the skipper maintained a safe distance from him. In fact, Mallya's presence forced the Indian team to leave early in order to avoid any controversy.

Mallya, had earlier watched the India's match against Pakistan at the Edgbaston on Sunday. He has currently taken refuge in England. The Indian government is trying for Mallya's extradition from UK for alleged unpaid debts to the tune of Rs 9000 crore. Incidentally, Mallya used to own Royal Challengers Bangalore, an IPL franchise which is captained by Kohli.

Mallya also tweeted today saying, "Wide sensational media coverage on my attendance at the IND v PAK match at Edgbaston. I intend to attend all games to cheer the India team."

A BCCI source present at the event confirmed that Kohli and the Indian team were "uncomfortable" due to Mallya's presence. "Look, Virat or his foundation never invited Mallya at the function. But normally what happens at the charity dinner is that someone who has bought a table is entitled to invite his guests. Similarly, someone who bought a table must have invited him," a top BCCI source present at the function told PTI today.

"The Indian team wasn't comfortable and they maintained a dignified distance from Mallya. Mallya's presence is one of the reason that team left early. The players were very uncomfortable. It was an unavoidable situation as one couldn't have possibly asked him to leave," the source said.

Image: India skipper Virat Kohli with Royal Challengers' former owner Vijay Mallya
13:38   London terrorist had access to tunnel under Parliament
The family home of London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt has been raided in Pakistan as it emerged the killer had worked at Westminster tube station and had access to tunnels under Parliament. Butt, a 27-year-old British citizen born in Pakistan, and Rachid Redouane, who claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan, carried out the deadly assault in which seven people died and dozens more were injured on Saturday night. Read more
13:26   Cattle smuggling, slaughter to be punishable under NSA, Gangsters Act
Those involved in cow slaughter and illegal transport of milch animals for slaughter will be booked under the stringent National Security Act and Gangsters Act in Uttar Pradesh.

The directive has been conveyed to all district police chiefs by the state DGP Sulkhan Singh.

"NSA and Gangsters Act is to be invoked against those involved in cow slaughter and trafficking of milch animals for slaughter," the DGP's order said.
13:08   Rocket lands in Indian envoy's tennis court in Kabul, all safe
A rocket has reportedly landed on the tennis court of the Indian envoy Manpreet Vohra's residential compound in the Green Zone in Kabul. No casualties, or reports of anyone injured, says Tolo News.

A blast was also reported today at a peace conference in Kabul that was opened by President Ashraf Ghani. Nobody was hurt, said sources. Leaders of nearly 30 countries and international organisations are attending the summit.

This comes a week after the devastating truck bomb in Kabul's diplomatic quarter. Casualties have jumped to more than 150, President Ashraf Ghani told an international peace conference in the capital today. 

Kabul has been on edge since the bombing in the highly fortified area last Wednesday, the deadliest in the city since 2001.
12:45   On 33rd anniversary of Bluestar, 'Khalistan Zindabad' slogans ring out in Golden Temple
Pro-Khalistan slogans were today raised by Sikh hardliners in the premises of the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on the 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar. A bandh was also observed in the holy city on the call given by radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa on the anniversary of the military operation that was carried out in 1984 to flush out heavily-armed terrorists holed up in the Golden Temple.

Policemen in civil clothes were deployed along with the SGPC's task force to thwart any attempt to disturb law and order. When the Akal Takht (the highest temporal seat for Sikhs) Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh started his customary address, supporters of the SAD (A) led by Simranjit Singh Mann raised slogans of 'Khalistan Zindabad'.

Despite sloganeering, the Jathedar continued with his address to the Sikh community. Some Sikh hardliners even raised slogans against Gurbachan Singh.

The 'Sarbat Khalsa' appointed "parallel" Jathedar Dhian Singh Mand, in his address from the ground floor of the Akal Takht, accused former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of interfering in Sikh religious affairs including in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Mann said SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar had assured them yesterday that the Jathedar would not be allowed to address the Sikh community from the platform of Akal Takht. 
12:35   In Bihar, men hung upside down for stealing chairs
Two young men, Raj Kumar and Birbal, of Sonbarsa village in Bihar's Kaimur district, were hanged upside down and thrashed for stealing five chairs from a wedding last week.

The wedding was that of Mahangu Bind's daughter. Bind is an influential figure in the village.

Bind suspected both young men of stealing the chairs and put them through the ordeal for three hours in front of the entire village, till, their poor families paid up Rs 3,000 to Bind.

Raj Kumar and Birbal initially refused to file a case against Bind and the other suspects, but were later convinced into taking action against the latter. One of the four suspects has been arrested. Bind and others are absconding.
12:15   Now, Piyush Goyal lunches at a Dalit home
The BJP's Dalit outreach: Union Minister Piyush Goyal eats food at a Dalit party worker's home. The last time the BJP ate at a Dalit's home it ended in controversy. Last month when Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa had breakfast at a Dalit home, a complainant alleged that the food the former CM and the BJP leaders accompanying him consumed, was not prepared by the Dalit family, but was brought from a hotel. Consequently, a complaint under the Untouchability Offences Act was filed.
12:01   Why Modi hates the English news media and what it means for India's democracy
"Hindu nationalist Modi loves to hate liberal-leaning media. He has been Prime Minister for three years but has not addressed a single press conference in India yet. Each month, Modi uses All India Radio to say his "Mann ki Baat' to promote some of his government's policy.

"He steadfastly ignores the mainstream national media, gives controlled access to only a few selective journalists and prefers to use social media to convey his version of the story. Modi's tweets have become the primary news source for Indian media."

Read more here.
11:53   Shocking, says Rajnath on Trump's cash-for-climate allegations
Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that the statements made by US President Donald Trump on the Paris climate accord were "shocking", and added that he hoped the USA would rethink its decision.

Trump had claimed that India signed the Paris climate agreement to get "billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid", which earned him criticism from India.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj slammed the US, saying, "What Trump said is not the reality. We have signed the Paris accord not under any pressure nor for any money say we did it for money, I totally reject that," she told reporters.

Swaraj said India had signed the accord because of Indian culture and ethos.

While withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate accord last week, Trump had said the deal was not tough on India and China.
"India makes its participation on receiving billions and billions of dollars from developed countries. Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States. The current India will be allowed to double its coal production and so does China," Trump alleged.
11:38   Ruchira Khamboj is India's envoy to South Africa
Ruchira Kamboj has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of South Africa. Khamboj is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO-Paris. She was formerly the Chief of Protocol to the Government of India, and was the first woman in the Indian Foreign Service to hold this position.
11:13   Cong meeting at Sonia's residence
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr Karan Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad among other leaders at the party's working committee meeting at Sonia Gandhi's residence.
11:11   Prophet and his family never consumed meat, says RSS leader
In what may spark a fresh controversy, RSS leader Indresh Kumar has said that Muslims who are observing fast (Roza) during the holy month of Ramzan should not include 'gosht' (meat) in their meal as it is a 'beemari' (disease).

"First, during Ramzan they should plant trees in their localities, lanes, mosques and dargahs to check pollution and to protect the environment. Second, they should keep a Tulsi plant in their homes, because it's called Rehan (Jannat ki Jhaad) in Arabian and isse jannat naseeb hogi," he said.

He further appealed to the Muslim community to include cow milk in their sherbet.

"Prophet and his family never consumed meat. They used to say meat is a disease and milk is a cure," he added.

The RSS leader further said that consuming meat during the holy month of Ramadan is equivalent to consuming poison. Indresh made the statement during an iftaar party organized by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch in Jamia Millia Islamia University yesterday.
10:55   Crucial Cong meet begins, Rahul elevation hangs in the air
The Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, will meet today to discuss the current political situation in the country and the issue of forging a larger opposition unity.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will chair the meeting which will be held at her residence. She had skipped the last meeting which was chaired by Rahul Gandhi. Meeting after a gap of seven months, senior members of the CWC are likely to discuss the raging issue of cow vigilantism and also the declining economic condition, party sources said.

They said the CWC is expected to ratify the schedule for organisational polls. According to the schedule, the next Congress president has to be elected by October 15. The CWC is meeting at a time when the Congress is seeking to unite opposition parties ahead of the presidential election.

It wants a broad coalition of opposition parties in place ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to take on the BJP. The BJP and its allies have gained in strength since the Modi government was formed in May 2014. The CWC members had in November unanimously expressed "strong sentiment" for Rahul's elevation for the first time and may take it further.

At the November 7 meeting, all members, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior leader A K Antony, had made a strong pitch for Rahul to take over the reins of the party.

The Congress president has created a record by being at the helm of the 130-year-old organisation for nearly two decades since late Sitaram Kesri's ouster by the CWC in early 1998. Rahul was appointed party vice president in January 2013 at Congress's brainstorming session in Jaipur. 
DG CRPF Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar to visit Kashmir today to interact with 45 Battalion CRPF Sumbal, Cheetahs of 45 and the 44th Battalion where troops to be deployed for the Amarnath Yatra are undergoing pre-induction training.
10:28   Up, up and away! Nifty, Sensex on record highs
It was a record setting spree for the markets early on today as the NSE Nifty crossed the 9,700-mark for the first time and BSE Sensex shot up by 121 points to hit a fresh all-time high of 31,430.32.

Trading sentiments got a boost as investors widened positions ahead of the Reserve Bank's monetary policy review meet tomorrow amid a mixed trend in Asian region, brokers said.

The Nifty opened at 9,704.25, topping the 9,700 mark for the first time. It then gained 34.20 points, or 0.35 per cent, to trade at 9,709.30, breaching its previous intra-day high of 9,687.20 it touched yesterday.

The 30-share BSE Sensex too was on the uptrend, climbing 120.83 points, or 0.38 per cent, to quote at 31,430.32, breaking its previous all-time high of 31,355.42 (intra-day) that it touched yesterday.
10:24   'Against fraud? Or Against freedom, Mr Roy?'
The government has finally acted against Mr and Mrs Prannoy Roy and NDTV Ltd for fraud and deceit, which has been the subject matter of litigation in courts. Before the high financial rise of NDTV began, one must remember that when the UPA assumed office in 2004, NDTV had a huge cash loss of Rs 248 crore. It had no funds even to pay salaries, and its shares were trading at less than par. Its fortunes soared after the UPA came to power, and it received funds through a host of shell companies floated by it after 2004.  S Gurumurthy on the raids on NDTV. Read the column here.
10:18   The inheritors of Naxalism should lay down their arms
"Those who want Maoist violence to stop must tell us what happens to their conscience in the face of the RSS's contempt for the rule of law. The Sangh defends itself by flaunting its patriotism. But Naxalites are nationalists too '" they see themselves as political inheritors of Bhagat Singh. When the Home Minister denounces the Sukma incident as cold-blooded murder, he needs to be reminded that that his political allies have been murdering people on some pretext or other on a regular basis." Read more
Chiki Sarkar, publisher and founder of Juggernaut Books @Chikisarkar: Reviews for Arundhati Roy are so schizo - raves or takedowns. Haven't seen this kind of yo yoing for a writer of her stature.
10:10   Maharashtra farmers' strike: Prices double, stocks fall
The Maharashtra bandh announced by farmers is making lives difficult and causing rise in prices due to shortage of stock.

Mamata, a housewife, said that vegetables which used to cost Rs. 40-50 per Kg, are now coming for Rs. 80-100 per kg and that this is pinching her pocket.

"The vegetables have got expensive. Things which used to cost Rs. 40-50 per kg, are now coming for Rs. 80-100 per kg. The rise in price of vegetables is affecting our monthly budget," she added.

Similar sentiments were echoed by another local Manju, who said that the strike is making the lives of commoners difficult.

"We are extremely tensed. The condition is very bad. There is no stock and everything is so costly. The high prices are digging a hole in our pockets," she added.

The vendors are also crying foul as the shortage is causing a price rise which is resulting in low sales. Ram, a vendor in the Dadri vegetable market, urged the Devendra Fadnavis Government to sort out the farmers' issue so that the incumbent strike can end.

"There is shortage of vegetables. The farmers are on strike and it is resulting in shortage. And because of the high prices the customers are not buying vegetables. We are not able to earn. We request the government to chalk out measures to end this strike," he added.
10:06   Bengal boy who played with London attacker
A Barrackpore boy had played table tennis a couple of times with Khuram Shazad Butt, one of the three van-and-knife terrorists shot dead by police during the London Bridge attack.

The IT consultant, who does not want his identity revealed, is a resident of the apartment block in Barking, east London, from where 12 people were arrested on Sunday in connection with the attack that left at least seven dead and 48 injured on Saturday night in the London Bridge area.

Read more
09:41   Party dishonouring my traditions, culture: BJP's Meghalaya leader quits
After the resignation of BJP leader from Tura, Bernard Marak, another party leader from the North Garo Hills, Bachu Marak has quit the party on Monday evening protesting against the recent notification of the Centre on cattle slaughter.

Earlier, National Spokesperson of BJP Nalin Kohli and in charge Meghalaya had warned action against the move of Bachu and Bernard to organise a beef festival in Tura on June 10 to celebrate three years of Modi government.

Bachu Marak said the party was dishonoring his culture and traditions and questioned why the party was insistent about a beef ban and not a ban on other animals. "Why beef, why not other animals. Why is this a issue every time," he asked.

Stating that he cannot compromise on the sentiments of the Garos, Bachu said that beef eating is part of Garo culture and tradition and added that BJP should not impose non-secular ideology on the people of Garo Hills.
In Patna, RJD chief Lalu Yadav appeared before a special CBI Court in the fodder scam case.
09:31   All 12 suspects in Saturday's London terror attack released
All the 12 people arrested by the the London Metropolitan police over the London Bridge terror attack have been released without charges, Scotland Yard said.

The Independent reports that the 12 include seven women and five men, who were arrested in Barking on Sunday following Saturday's terror attacks which left seven dead and 48 injured.

A 55-year-old man and 53-year-old woman were released on Monday. The remaining 10 people - six women aged between 19 and 60 and four men between 27 and 55 - were released later in the day, meaning all 12 have now been released without charge.

The arrests were made after police raided properties in Barking on Sunday and two on Monday in Newham and Barking.

Police have so far identified two of the three attackers as Khuram Shazad Butt, a 27-year-old British citizen born in Pakistan, and Rachid Redouane, who claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan.

Butt was known to the security services, but there was no evidence of "attack planning" by him, according to Scotland Yard.

Image: People speak with police officers near the London Bridge in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's terror attack.
09:18   Adani gives final investment approval for coal mine project in Australia
Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani today gave the final investment approval for the Indian conglomerate's controversy-hit 21.7 billion dollars coal mine project in Australia which had hit several roadblocks over environmental concerns.

"I am proud to announce the project has Final Investment Decision approval which marks the official start of one of the largest single Infrastructure -- and job creating -- developments in Australia's recent history," Adani said.

This is a historic day for Adani, a historic day for regional Queensland, and a historic day for the Indian investment in Australia, he said.

The announcement comes just days after the Adani Group agreed to pay royalties on coal produced from its project after it struck an agreement with the Queensland government to help the controversy-hit project move forward.
09:05   Thane call centre scam: 4 Indians, 1 Pakistani plead guilty in US
Four Indians and one Pakistani have pleaded guilty to the charges for their role in a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme in the US perpetrated by India-based call centres, the US department of justice has said.

Three Indians -- Rajubhai Patel, 32, Viraj Patel, 33, Dilip Kumar Ambal Patel, 53 -- and Fahad Ali, 25, a Pakistani national,  each pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy before US District Court Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas.

Hardik Patel, 31, an Indian national pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy before the same court on June 2.

Sentencing dates are pending for all five defendants, the DoJ said.  

Image: Crime Branch detectives from the Thane police, Maharashtra, take some of the accused in the call centre scam for a medical check-up on October 7, 2016.
09:01   IS claims responsibility for Melbourne violence, Aus to treat it as terrorism
The Australian police has confirmed that a shooting and hostage situation in Melbourne, which killed two people, including the gunman, was an act of "terrorism", after the Islamic State claimed responsibility. 

The gunman, identified as Yacqub Khayre, was shot dead yesterday following a stand-off with police which lasted for more than an hour at serviced apartments on Bay Street in Brighton, 11km south-east of Melbourne's central business district.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said Khayre, was known to police and had a long criminal history.

Khayre was charged and acquitted by a jury over a plot to attack the Holsworthy Army barracks in Sydney in 2009. Three of his co-accused were found guilty of planning the terrorist attack for Australia's military involvement action in the Middle East. 

Ashton was quoted as saying by the ABC that the siege was being treated as a "terrorism incident".
08:43   7 Indian cos receive less H-1B visas in 2016:
Seven India-based outsourcing companies in the US received fewer H-1B visas in 2016 as compared to 2015, and as a group their numbers dropped 37 per cent, according to a new report.

The companies experienced a drop of 5,436 approved petitions (37 per cent) in 2016 as compared to the previous year, a report by the National Foundation for American Policy '" a Washington-based non-profit think-tank said.

The 9,356 new H-1B petitions for the top seven Indian-based companies approved in fiscal 2016 represent only 0.006 per cent of the US labour force.

'While the threat of job loss has long been exaggerated by critics, it reaches illogical proportions when discussing fewer than 10,000 workers in an economy that employs 160million workers nationwide,' the National Foundation for American Policy said in a statement after releasing the report.

According to the report, the number of approved new H-1B petitions for Tata Consultancy Services declined by 56 per cent from FY 2015 to FY 2016, from 4,674 to 2,040, a dropof 2,634. 

For Wipro, the petitions declined by 52 per cent between FY 2015 and FY 2016, a drop of 1,605, going from 3,079 to 1,474 approved petitions for initial employment during those years.

For Infosys, it declined by 16 per cent (or 454 petitions), with 2,376 approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2016, compared to 2,830 in FY 2015, said thereport, which based its research from government data.

'The drop in new H-1B visas for Indian-based companies, which is expected to continue when data are released on cases filed in April 2017 for FY 2018 start dates, is due toindustry trends toward digital services such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, which require fewer workers, and a choice by companies to rely less on visas andto build up their domestic workforces in the US,' the report said.

'H-1B petitions approved for initial employment in FY 2016 were filed by employers in April 2016, which means the drop in H-B visa use by these companies is not due to DonaldTrump's election.

Among the top companies with new H-1B petitions approved in 2016 were Cognizant (3,949), Infosys (2,376), TCS (2,040), Accenture (1,889), IBM (1,608), Wipro (1,474), Amazon (1,416), Tech Mahindra (1,228), CapGemini (1,164), Microsoft (1,145), HCL America (1,041), Intel (1,030), Deloitte (985), Google (924), Larsen &Toubro (870), PricewaterhouseCoopers (713) Ernst & Young (649), Apple (631), Syntel (583), Facebook (472), Oracle (427), Cisco (380), Mindtree (327), Goldman Sachs (287), UST Global (283), JPMorganChase (271), IGATE(255), Stanford (221), Yahoo! (206) and KPMG (198).
08:23   Adani's Aussie coal mine underway
The Adani group has given its final investment approval for its massive coal mine project in Australia.
01:19   Apple unveils iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad
Apple CEO Tim Cook has officially announced iOS 11 onstage at WWDC 2017. 

The next major update to the operating system running on millions of iPhones and iPads will improve on the "core technologies" that power the OS and also introduce numerous new user-facing features. 

Chief among them are new, improved productivity solutions for iPad, but other enhancements are coming to Messages, Apple Pay, and other apps. iOS 11 will be released this fall -- presumably alongside new iPhone 8 and iPhone 7S smartphones. 

A public beta will be available later in June.
00:20   Trump will not block ex-FBI chief's testimony: White House
The White House has said that United States Donald Trump would not use presidential powers to prevent ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey from testifying to Congress.

"The President's power to assert executive privilege is well-established," the White House said in a statement.
"However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey's scheduled testimony."

On May 10, the US President fired Comey, abruptly removing the top sleuth overseeing a criminal probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election that was won by the real estate mogul.