Thu, 22 June 2017
Don't have any 'tapes' of Comey meetings: Trump

Timeline  Refresh

23:33   Don't have any 'tapes' of Comey meetings: Trump
United States President Donald Trump today said that he did not have recordings of his meetings with former Federal Bureau of Investigation cheif James Comey, after weeks of speculations that the Republican billionaire leader himself fueled.
"With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not
make, and do not have, any such recordings," Trump said on Twitter.
The announcement came after weeks of challenges to the president to prove his assertion that he might have recordings of his private conversations with his former chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whom he fired on May 9.
"James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump tweeted three days later.
Trump's claim became the focus of allegations that Comey's firing was an effort to obstruct the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian interference in last year's

In a June 8 hearing in Congress, Comey said he hoped there were tapes to support his view that in their discussions, during which he said Trump had pressured him over the Russia probe.
"I've seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes," he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
23:09   MHA to introduce social media policy to check on anti-India activities
The government is finalising a policy which is aimed at keeping a hawk's eye vigil on the social media to check if it is being "misused" to conspire against India and spread anti-national propaganda.
A meeting was held today among representatives of central security agencies and the home ministry to discuss various issues related to it, officials sources said.
At present, there is only a set of "do's and don'ts" for the social media which needs to be graduated to a full-fledged guidelines that should be adopted on such a network.

The move assumes significance as there have been instances where terrorists were found to be using social media to conspire against the country or to propagate anti-India materials.
There have also been instances where rumours spread on the social media had resulted in violence and tense situation in different parts of the country.
The misuse of social media is more challenging especially with reference to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
The stake holders are discussing ways to finalise a policy to help intelligence agencies and security forces effectively deal with any propaganda, the sources said.
22:25   It's Kumble's personal decision to step down: Ganguly
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly today said it was Anil Kumble's personal decision to step down as head coach but refused to comment on the speculated rift with Virat Kohli. 

"He has resigned at the last minute, it's his personal decision. I don't want to talk on this matter," Ganguly, a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee formed to recommend the coach, said at CAB today. 

Kumble, in his parting statement, has said Kohli had reservations about his coaching 'style' and there partnership was untenable as he did not accompany the side in the ongoing tour to the West Indies. 

The BCCI has decided to invite more applications for the post of Indian team's coach to give the CAC a wide range of options for picking the suitable candidate who will be appointed before the tour of Sri Lanka next month.
22:16   JD-U firm on supporting NDA even as oppn pits Meira against Kovind
After the opposition named former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar as its Presidential nominee, the Janata Dal-United on Thursday remained firm on its stand of supporting NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

"We decided to extend our support to Kovind and our decision will not change. We took everything into consideration. We can't change our decision every other second," JD-U leader KC Tyagi told ANI.

Tyagi earlier in the day asserted that his party supported Kovind because he has proven his calibre at all levels.

"Ram Nath Kovind's tenure in Bihar has been laudable. He has always performed his constitutional duties wonderfully. And as a governor, he has conducted himself very well and executed his duties with finesse," said Tyagi.

The party downplayed the reports of it opting out of the grand alliance and said that that favouring Kovind is the single incident where the party has supported the Bharatiya Janata Party..

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said that he would appeal to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to rethink over his decision of supporting Kovind.
22:10   NDA's prez nominee Ram Nath Kovind gets Z+, NSG security cover
NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind has been given 'Z+' and National Security Guard security cover by the central government.
The commandos of the National Security Guard and security agencies have also done security audit of Kovind's temporary residence -- 10, Akbar Road, which is allocated to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma.
"A Z+ and NSG security cover has been given to Ram Nath Kovind," a home ministry spokesperson said.
A security and threat analysis carried out by central security agencies favoured the armed security cover for the presidential candidate.
A squad of 10-12 armed NSG commandos will be with Kovind, along with escort and pilot vehicles.
It is expected that the elite force will guard him till he takes over the office of the first citizen of India, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.
The NSG commandos will move around with Kovind who is expected to travel across the country extensively to meet legislators and leaders of political parties to seek support for his candidature.
21:22   Sedition charges dropped against 15 held for celebrating Pak's CT win
The Madhya Pradesh police has dropped sedition charges against 15 persons, arrested in Burhanpur district for cheering Pakistan cricket team after it won the ICC Champions Trophy final against India.
Tension had gripped Mohad town, about 23 kms from the district headquarters, on Sunday night after some persons shouted slogans in favour of Pakistan and celebrated its cricket team's win by bursting firecrackers.
According to police, the suspects had also raised anti-India slogans.
"We have dropped the sedition charge under section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code and have invoked IPC section 153 (a) instead against them for disturbing communal harmony," Burhanpur Superintendent of Police RRS Parihar told PTI on phone today.
He said the investigation revealed that their action did not amount to sedition and they also do not have any past criminal record.
On Monday, the police had arrested 15 persons, aged between 19 and 35, and had booked them for sedition and criminal conspiracy (IPC section 120-B).
They were arrested on Monday and the next day produced in a court which sent them to jail.
The accused are lodged at a jail in Khandwa, the neigbouring district of Burhanpur.
21:05   'Discussions are on': Rajinikanth on joining politics
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth today gave more hints of taking the political plunge, saying he is discussing the prospects and would make an announcement once he finalises it.
"I have not denied it. We are discussing and yet to take a decision. Once I take a decision I will inform you", the actor told reporters at Chennai airport in response to a question regarding his meeting with the political leaders.
The actor, who met his fans in May, had asked them to "prepare for war" hinting that he might consider entering politics.
"When a war comes, they will come to the rescue of their motherland. I have a profession, work, duty and so do you. Go to your places, do your duty, take care of your vocation. Let us face the war when it comes," he had said.
Last week, Rajinikanth had met a delegation of 16 farmers, led by P Ayyakannu and supported their request to interlink rivers.
The 66-year-old actor told them that their request would be forwarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had pledged Rs one crore for the same.
Rajinikanth was talking to reporters before he left for Mumbai to resume the shooting of upcoming movie "Kaala".
"I am going to Mumbai for the shooting of 'Kaala'. So far the shooting has been going on smoothly," he said.
The actor also said that he would meet his fans again in October. 
20:50   Meira Kumar made scapegoat by Congress: BJP
The Congress has made Meira Kumar a "scapegoat" by fielding her as the opposition's presidential candidate, the BJP today said and questioned why the party did not nominate her when it was in a position to get her elected to the highest office.
"When the Congress had the opportunity to elect a Dalit president when they were in power they did not find Meira Kumar suitable. But when the defeat of the opposition candidate is certain they have fielded her as a scapegoat.

"This clearly shows that it has no commitment to elect leaders from marginalised sections to high offices and had decided to field her purely done as a token exercise," BJP spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao said.
The NDA has chosen Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader from the BJP, as its candidate and his victory is almost a foregone conclusion as the ruling bloc enjoys a comfortable majority in the electoral college with the support of parties like the AIADMK, the TRS and the JD-U.
Kumar, a former diplomat and daughter of the late Dalit icon Jagjivan Ram, was the unanimous choice of the 17 opposition parties at a meeting today. 
20:34   Afghanistan, Ireland get Test status
Afghanistan and Ireland have been approved as Full Members by the International Cricket Council, meaning they have become cricket's 11th and 12th Test-playing nations. 

This was signed off on by the ICC Board in London on Thursday, during the ICC's AGM.

Afghanistan and Ireland's boards had applied to the ICC to have their status upgraded from Associates, and this was put to vote at the meeting on Thursday and unanimously supported.
20:32   Respect Kumble's decision to 'step out', says Kohli
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli said that he respects former Indian coach's decision to 'step out' and won't reveal dressing room details.

"I respect Kumble's decision to step out...I will never reveal dressing room details. I will always maintain sanctity of dressing room," Kohli said.

On Tuesday, Kumble stepped down from his position after a widely-speculated feud with Kohli, marking a bitter end to a highly successful tenure.

In an open statement following his resignation, Kumble said that the 'partnership between him and Kohli was untenable and hence it was best to move on'.

Kumble also revealed that he was informed by the BCCI on Monday that captain Kohli had reservations with his style.

" I was informed for the first time yesterday by the BCCI that the Captain had reservations with my 'style' and about my continuing as the Head Coach. I was surprised since I had always respected the role boundaries between Captain and Coach. Though the BCCI attempted to resolve the misunderstanding between the Captain and me, it was apparent that the partnership was untenable, and therefore believe it is best for me to move on," he further wrote in the statement.
20:02   Prez poll: BSP will back 'more capable, popular' Meira Kumar
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati today extended her party's support to the Opposition's nominee for President, Meira Kumar, saying she was "more capable and popular" than NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. 

"The Opposition's nominee for President's post Meira Kumar is more capable and popular than the NDA candidate," she said moments after the UPA announced Kumar's candidature. 

"The BSP will support Meira Kumar in the presidential election," she said. 

Mayawati had said on Monday that her party was positive about the NDA nominating Kovind but wished the ruling alliance had named a non-political Dalit candidate for the top post. 

"Although Kovind has been associated with the RSS and the BJP from the beginning but since he is a Dalit, our party's stand towards him cannot be negative. It will be positive, provided Opposition parties do not field any Dalit for the post who is more capable and popular than him," she had told newspersons.
19:50   Kulbhushan Jadhav files mercy plea to Pak Army chief
Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death on charges of spying, has filed a mercy petition to Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan Army's public relations agency, ISPR said.

In a statement, the ISPR has claimed that Jadhav has admitted to his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of many precious innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions.

The statement also claimed that Jadhav is seeking forgiveness for his actions and he has requested the Chief of Army Staff to spare his life on compassionate grounds.

Pakistan Army's spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also posted Jadhav's second confessional video on Facebook in which he is "accepting his acts of terrorism and espionage."

Jadhav had earlier filed an appeal to the Military Appellate Court, which was rejected. 

The International Court of Justice had recently ordered Islamabad to put on hold Jadhav's death sentence pending a decision on India's appeal in the case.
Two Army jawans killed in BAT attack on patrolling party along LoC in Poonch district of J&K; intruder killed in retaliatory fire: Army official.
18:56   Will meet Nitish, ask him not to back Kovind: Lalu
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav today said he would meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a bid to make him change his mind about supporting NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. 

"I will meet Nitish Kumar and will continue to urge him to change his decision of supporting the NDA candidate," he told reporters after attending the opposition meeting that picked former speaker Meira Kumar as its candidate for president. 

There was no threat to the coalition government in Bihar, Lalu Yadav said, referring to his party's alliance with Nitish Kumar's JD-U in the state.  

The JD-U's surprise decision to back Kovind had led to cracks in the opposition camp as its chief Nitish Kumar was the one who had initiated the process for a joint opposition strategy on the issue. 

The opposition's move to field Kumar makes it a Dalit vs Dalit presidential poll.
18:24   Indo-Pak matters have to be resolved bilaterally: MEA
India today affirmed that bilateral issues between India and Pakistan will have to be decided "bilaterally", reacting to suggestions by United Nations chief Antonio Guteress that he is engaged in bringing about a dialogue between the two neighbours.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Bagley told reporters he was aware of the remarks made by Guteress that he has raised the issue during his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

"I have seen the reply which has been reported in the media. Essentially the secretary general asked a question in response to a question... Bilateral issues have to be decided bilaterally and the UN secretary general has been made aware of that position," Bagley said.
Addressing reporters at his first press conference at the world body's headquarters since assuming office in January, Guterres recently said that he is engaged in bringing about a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
"Why do you think I met three times the Prime Minister of Pakistan and two times the Prime Minister of India," Guterres said with a laughter, responding to a question on whether he is involved in the matter.
17:40   Meira Kumar is Opposition's Prez candidate
It's Dalit vs Dalit for Prez poll.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar will be opposition's candidate for the upcoming Presidential polls.   

Kumar will take on the NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind on July 17.   

Like Kovind, Meira Kumar belongs to the Scheduled Castes.   

She is the daughter of Dalit stalwart and former deputy prime minister late Jagjivan Ram. 
17:13   Sonia chairs Opposition meet to decide Presidential candidate
The Opposition meets to decide on the Presidential candidate. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is chairing the meeting.

A day after backing Ram Nath Kovind's candidature for the president's post, the JD(U) today said that there was no question of going back to the NDA and it continued to be an integral part of the united opposition. "The decision to back Kovind's candidature is an isolated incident... we'll never go back to the NDA-fold again," the JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi told PTI over phone from Delhi.

Following the JD-U 'defection' hectic parleys between leaders of non-NDA parties began this morning, hours ahead of a crucial opposition meeting where they were expected to zero in on a joint candidate for the presidential election.
1993 Mumbai blast case: Argument on quantum of sentence adjourned till 3 pm, tomorrow.
17:07   A tale of three ministers and a woman called Nirmala
Three Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan, rushed to a Noida hospital recently after the daughter of Union Minister Mahesh Sharma told them that 'Nirmala' was critically ill. Kailash hospital where 'Nirmala' was admitted is owned by her father.

As the convoy neared the hospital, Arun Jaitley's wife called to him ask his whereabouts and tell him guests were awaiting him at home.  Jaitley said he would be delayed as Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had been hospitalised. At that point, Mrs Jaitley interrupted her husband to say she had spoken to Minister Mahesh Sharma's daughter, who told her that her maid 'Nirmala' was breathless and had to be rushed to hospital. The three ministers heaved a sigh of relief and Jaitley returned to his guests at home.

The next day both Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman were in Paris and it was in Paris that Jaitley told her about the mix up. Sitharaman, we are told, made a magnificent effort to control her laughter and succeeded, for her mirth would have been the proverbial salt to the finance ministers wound.
16:39   1993 Mumbai blasts: Hearing on quantum of punishment begins
1993 Mumbai blast case: Prosecution begins its argument for quantum of sentence, demand maximum sentence for all six convicts. Prosecution brings to the Special TADA Court's notice that 257 lives were lost and 713 were injured.

The lone accused acquitted in the case, Abdul Qayyum, was released from the Arthur Road jail on Saturday.

A special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court in Mumbai on Friday convicted six persons including mastermind Mustafa Dossa and extradited gangster Abu Salem in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. This was the second leg of the trial.

All the seven accused were facing multiple charges which included criminal conspiracy, waging war against the government of India and murder.

In the first leg of the trial that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused in the case, while 23 people were acquitted.

The present trial of the seven accused -- Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum -- was separated from the main case as they were arrested at the time of conclusion of the main trial.

The dastardly attacks had also left 713 seriously injured and destroyed properties worth Rs 27 crore.

Image: 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Mustafa Dossa.
16:29   The BJP is building the mother-of-all party offices in New Delhi
New Delhi is talking about the new national headquarters of the BJP that promises to be uber luxurious.

The plot of land where the HQ is being constructed was given to the BJP in 2008 during the UPA regime. While other parties too were given plots, it's only the BJP that has begun construction of a new office building. The RJD has a three-storeyed building as its national HQ in Delhi.

Heres what we can tell you about the under-construction national headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party:

- It promises to be luxurious, spacious and is located on Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg in the heart of New Delhi.

It is a seven-storeyed building.

- The entire office is wi-fi enabled.

- The office will be dedicated to the BJP on December 25, 2017, the birthday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

- 60 % of the construction is over.

- The building will have 45 chambers (large rooms with a sitting area and a desk) and 25 rooms (desk space only) for Karyakartas from states to do their routine work while in Delhi

- The first two floors will have a conference hall, a media room, a library, a room to hold exhibitions.

- The BJP president Amit Shahs chambers are on the top floor.

- Each General Secretary will have rooms with an en suite bathroom.

- This building has solar panels on the roof and the BJP hopes to cut electricity consumption drastically.

- The foundation of the building was laid on August 10, 2016 by  Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said that the sacrifice of generations of karyakartas (workers) inspired him to work.

- The design and architecture is by a renowned Mumbai company.

- The construction work is on full swing.

- Amit Shah visits the construction site at least once a month for updates.

- The BJP has also instructed all 625 district party leaders to get their own office in the next two years so that the party can avoid paying huge rentals and get a permanent address as well.
16:08   Russian hackers targeted election systems in 21 US states
Russian hackers targeted voting systems in nearly 50% of states in the 2016 US presidential election, officials have revealed in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Read more
15:45   Out of action since Rio, Dipa to also miss World Championship
Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who has not competed since her historic fourth place finish in the Rio Olympics, is all set to miss the World Gymnastics Championships as she is recovering from a knee surgery. It is another setback of sorts for the 23-year-old who also missed the Asian Championships earlier this year due to the anterior crucial ligament injury.

She had undergone the surgery in April and her rehab will take at least six months before she can resume training. The World Championships will be held in Canada in October.

"There is not much you can do in case of an injury. It is frustrating as an athlete but I won't call it a setback. Though it is surely a challenge," Karmakar told PTI today. Karmakar, who is camping at the IG Stadium in presence of her coach Bisweshwar Nandi, has started jogging but can only think about training once six months of rehab is over.

Coach Nandi said that her ward will not be competition ready for the World Championships and therefore the focus shifts to the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year.
15:30   Prez poll: Cong, Left's emergency meeting with Pawar ends
Update on the Opposition's Presidential candidate nominee.

Hectic parleys between leaders of non-NDA parties began this morning, hours ahead of a crucial opposition meeting where they were expected to zero in on a joint candidate for the presidential election. 16 parties will meet later today at a session chaired by Mrs Gandhi to decide their strategy.

After the JD-U's decision to support NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, the Congress stepped up efforts to keep the opposition united as its top brass held discussions with the leaders of a host of other parties.

Cracks appeared in the opposition camp after the JD-U's surprise decision yesterday, as its chief Nitish Kumar was the one who had initiated the process for a joint opposition strategy on the issue.

Sources said a contest for the country's top constitutional post is on the cards as the majority in the opposition sees it an "ideological battle" that has to fought.

"No matter what happens, we will contest the election," a senior left leader said. Efforts were on to ensure that the NCP did not stray, as the Sharad Pawar-led party held internal discussions to decide on its strategy for the July 17 presidential election.

Top Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel met NCP supremo Pawar at his residence and are learnt to have discussed the opposition plan for the poll. CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury was also part of the informal discussions, the sources said.  Pawar is believed to be leaning towards Kovind as president. 

By naming Kovind, a dalit, the NDA has put the opposition camp in a fix as it has now been forced to think of a suitable dalit candidate to oppose Kovind so as not to be branded "anti-dalit" by the ruling dispensation.

The opposition, which had earlier discussed the possibility of pitting former governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi against the NDA candidate, is now looking at a dalit face for the contest.

The names of former Speaker Meira Kumar and Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of the principal architect of the Constitution, B R Ambedkar, have been discussed, the sources said. Kumar yesterday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with other senior party leaders, fuelling speculation that the party was willing to support her candidature.

The opposition camp is yet to name its candidate for the presidential poll. The Congress, which is coordinating the opposition meet, expressed the hope leaders of all the parties which attended the May 26 lunch hosted by Gandhi would be present today.

Opposition leaders also maintained the bloc was united against the ruling BJP and that the JD-U continued to be with it, as its decision was a "one-off" development. Asked about the Congress's choice for the poll, AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari yesterday said it was a "hypothetical" question.

"There will be a far clear, coherent and an articulate answer available after the opposition meeting," he said. Senior leaders from several opposition parties who attended the May 26 meet are expected to be present at today's meeting.

File pic.
15:03   Different time zones for India? Govt feasibility study ends
The Department of Science and Technology is conducting a study to assess the feasibility of having different time zones in the country. The study is being conducted to give "scientific inputs" on the matter, DST secretary Ashutosh Sharma said.

Recently, Pema Khandu, the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, had demanded a separate time zone for the northeast.

"The DST has been conducting studies on this, looking at what is the potential of energy saving if you have two different time zones," Sharma said. "One can actually save energy because the sunrise and sunset timings are different (in the country), but the office timings are one across the nation," he added.

The study is also expected to cover the overall impact, especially on the transportation system. Leaders from the northeast region argue that a separate time zone, a long pending demand, would increase daylight savings and efficiency. One of the arguments is that early sunrise means that by the time they start their day, almost half the day has passed. This means an early sunset which requires extra use of lights in both homes, offices and public places, hampering the productivity.

Similar is the case with the archipelagos of the Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep where sunrise and sunset timings are different from the mainland.
14:55   Karnataka Speaker sends journalists to jail for 'defamatory' articles
Karnataka assembly Speaker KB Koliwad imposes a 1-yr jail term and fine of Rs 10,000 on two journalists for writing defamatory articles against legislators.

The State Assembly has decided to punish the two journalists of Kannada tabloids for publishing defamatory articles against legislators," Koliwad announced on the floor of the House in Bengaluru.

Besides the jail term, the speaker also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them. Besides the jail term, the speaker also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them.
14:45   After Pak victory old videos on cheering Indians circulated
After India's loss to Pakistan in the Champion's trophy, multiple fake videos are being circulated with the claim that Indian Muslims are celebrating Pakistan's victory. We debunked two such videos in a post yesterday, one of which was from Pakistan and the other one was an old video from Vadodara, Gujarat, on the occasion of Eid-E-Milad. Now, we have been alerted about another video that has gone viral after Indian's loss in which it has been claimed that a youth shouted "Pakistan Zindabad' in Bhagalpur, Bihar, and the police beat him up and arrested him.

Read the report on Alt News.
Australian Open Super series: P V Sindhu beats China's Chen Xiaoxin to reach the quarterfinals.
14:36   15 dead, 50 injured in Kabul car bomb explosion
A car bomb exploded outside a bank in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, reports Al Jazeera.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said at least 50 people were wounded, including members of the police and army, civilians and staff of the New Kabul Bank branch where the attack took place.The blast took place around 12 noon local time, according to Zwak, when civilians and members of the security forces waiting to collect their pay.
Just in: 22 people killed, 54 injured in Helmand suicide terror attack in Afghanistan.
14:20   A (temporary) house for Mr Kovind in Lutyens Delhi
Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma's residence in Akbar Road will be the new temporary address of BJP's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Kovind will be staying at the expansive 10 Akbar Road bungalow in the heart of Lutyens Delhi for about a month till the presidential election on July 17, top sources said.

The 71-year-old, who looks certain to be the next president, had earlier been allocated 144 North Avenue as Bihar governor. After his resignation as governor, top authorities in the Centre decided he should move to a bigger bungalow for security reasons, the sources added.

Interestingly, this is not Sharma's first tryst with presidents, former, would be and present.

The Union culture and tourism minister had earlier been allocated 10 Rajaji Marg, the residence of former president A P J Abdul Kalam, but was asked to leave it for President Pranab Mukherjee who will be moving to the bungalow after his retirement.

Kovind was picked as the ruling National Democratic Alliance's candidate for president earlier this week. He has already got backing from several non-NDA parties, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and both factions of the AIADMK.
Britain's Theresa May still to be PM at year end, says finance minister Hammond.
13:43   Pak to review 'lenient' visa policy for Chinese citizens
Pakistan will review its 'lenient' visa policy for Chinese nationals to plug the loopholes in the current system, weeks after the killing of two Chinese 'missionaries' who entered the country on business visas.

The conditions and requirements for issuance of business and work visas to the Chinese nationals will be reviewed, the Interior Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The decision comes days after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had been informed that the murdered Chinese citizens were missionaries who were part of a group of Chinese nationals which obtained business visas and entered Pakistan.
13:34   Pakistan not being isolated, says US lawmaker
So far, there are no indications that Pakistan is being isolated in the United States, says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who heads the Pakistan caucus in the US Congress. Talking to newsmen at an Inter-Faith Iftar-dinner hosted by the Pakistan Embassy, Ms Jackson Lee also said that the Trump administration was reviewing its policies towards Pakistan and Afghanistan but it had yet to come to Congress for discussion. Readthe full report in the Dawn.
aasifsuhaf News24 @asifsuhaf  tweets: CM @MehboobaMufti hoisted iftar at Srinagar, where invitees served food on floor like beggars & host's can b seen enjoying food lavishly @jkpdp
How Sarfraz Ahmad 'accidentally' rose to cricketing fame. Read
13:07   Sheena Bora murder: CBI court adjourns matter till July 4
The Special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Thursday adjourned the hearing in the Sheena Bora murder case till July 4.

Earlier on June 12, the CBI informed a Special Court that it is considering challenging the High Court's order in the Supreme Court which held one statement inadmissible in the case.

In March this year, the CBI court deferred the trial after the defence protested over the non-appearance of approver and first witness Shyamvar Rai, who was Indrani Mukerjea's former driver.In January, the special CBI court had charged Indrani, her husband Peter Mukerjea and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna with murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with this case.

The murder, which took place on April 24, 2012, came to light in 2015 with the arrest of Rai, who later turned approver for the CBI.Indrani, Khanna and Rai have been accused of strangling 24-year-old Sheena - Indrani's daughter from a previous relationship-on April 24, 2012.

Her burnt body was dumped in a bag in the forests in Raigad district near Mumbai.The trio was arrested in August 2015, while Peter was arrested later in November 19 that year. has been covering the Sheena Bora murder. Read this month's reportage from the CBI court. 
12:47   No royal wants the throne, says Britain's Prince Harry
Prince Harry's astonishing claim about the future of the monarchy is revealed in extraordinary interview. Read more
12:39   Farmers' protests reignite in MP, Naidu calls loan waivers 'fashionable'
Just in: Madhya Pradesh: Protesting farmers from Sivani, Malwa and Banapur block railway tracks and stop trains, in Hoshangabad.

On Tuesday, two farmers allegedly committed suicide in separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh, as the state continues to be hit by violent protests by farmers over plummeting crop prices and ballooning debts.

A 40-year-old farmer, Babulal Verma from Hoshangabad district died after he attempted self-immolation last Thursday and 65-year-old Laxmi Gomasta killed himself in Narsinghpur district after consuming poison on Monday night.

The total number of farmer suicides in the state has now risen to 17 since the protests started on June 6 in Mandsaur by farmers, who have been demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu today said that waiving of crop loans has become a 'fashion' these days.

The BJP leader said that loans should be waived off, but in extreme circumstances. He opined that loan waiver is not the final solution for the betterment of the farmers.

Criticising Naidu's statement over loan waiver, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said 36-40,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last three years, therefore calling loan waiver fashionable is a disrespect to our 'anndaata' (farmers)."

Image: Farmers block railway tracks in Hoshangabad.
12:14   Angry farmers protest govt's 'land grab' for airport
Update on the farmers' protest near Mumbai. Hundreds of angry farmers protesting against a proposed international airport on the outskirts of Mumbai held up traffic, clashed with police and burned down an official vehicle early on Thursday, reports the Hindustan Times.

Local resentment had been building against plans to turn an abandoned World War II airbase into an international airport at Nevali, about 45 km northeast of Mumbai. But Thursday's protests took an unexpected violent turn with farmers whose land had been acquired for the project attacking police.
12:10   Prez polls: Azad, Ahmed Patel meet Sonia
In Delhi, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel meet Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath ahead of the Opposition meeting on the Presidential polls. 
12:07   Kovind meets Vajpayee
Delhi: NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind along with his wife, met former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his family, at his residence. The lady in the red is Vajpayee's daughter. 
12:03   Why jailing Justice Karnan should have been avoided
The imprisonment of Justice CS Karnan, who recently retired as a judge of the Calcutta High Court, for contempt is the culmination of a series of unfortunate and unpleasant developments. It was a step that was best avoided in the interest of maintaining the dignity of the judiciary.

It is indeed true that Justice Karnan's offences in making wild and totally unsubstantiated allegations against a number of fellow judges, and his tactics of intimidation against Chief Justices who tried over the years to discipline him, were shocking and completely unacceptable.  Read more
Better sense prevails: Police drops sedition charges against the 15 arrested in MP's Burhanpur for celebrating Pakistan's win against India on 18th June.
11:57   Loan waiver has become fashion, should be waived in extreme situations: Naidu
Even as another debt-ridden farmer committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said loan waivers have become fashionable now and should be waived in extreme situations only.

"Loan waiver has become fashion now. It should be waived but in extreme situations only. It's not a final solution. You have to take care of systems. The farmers should be taken care in distress," Naidu said at India's largest municipal bond programme in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the farmers protest in Maharashtra turned violent on Thane-Badlapur highway as the protesting farmers said that their land is being acquired by the Ministry of Defence. Additional forces have been sent to the spot including riot control vehicles.

Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district became the epicentre of farmers' agitation over a demand for loan waivers and better prices for their produce.
11:52   Villagers humiliated after, 'I am poor, receive rations', painted on houses
In a bizarre case, several houses in Rajasthan's Dausa district were found painted with the message, 'I am poor, receive ration'.

Several houses in this region have been painted in yellow by administration with their names and a message on it saying, "I am poor, receive ration from National Food Security Act (NFSA)."

Around 70 per cent of the total population of this region takes benefit of this government scheme and have this humiliating message painted outside their houses.

As per the local administration, this initiative has been taken so that only the needy can avail the benefits of the governments' scheme.

"At the time of the Congress, many got themselves registered to avail the benefits of the government's scheme. But the one who deserve to get the right are still deprived of it. The ruling government has taken this initiative for the backward class," said a NFSA official.

Meanwhile, the villagers also claimed that they were told that they will be paid Rs 750 if they allowed their homes to be marked.

"Even when we opposed, they painted our walls with this message. We feel very humiliated but what can we do. The government is just making fun of us by painting this," said a villager.

The NFSA was undertaken during the United Progressive Alliance government, as per which the people belonging to backward classes were given five kilograms of food grains per person per month at subsidised rates.
11:45   'Republic TV harassing my parents, children'
Dr S. P. Udayakumar an academic, writer and anti-nuclear activist has written to the Press Council Chairperson literally asking for restraining orders for Republic news television reporters who he said are "harassing' his aged parents, wife and children with incessant questions, and visits.

Udaykumar is the convenor of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy that came into prominence for its protest against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant project.

This is what he said in the letter to the Press Council of India.

Also read our interview with SP Udaykumar here.

11:35   J-K: Cordon laid in Anantnag after reports of terrorists hiding
The joint team of Army's first Rashtriya Rifles and SOG of Jammu and Kashmir Police have laid a cordon in several villages. The cordon has been laid in Baghpora, Magraypora of Marhama in Bijbehara in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district after some inputs of militants hiding there. A search operation is currently going on.
11:20   Sensex soars to all-time high of 31,450
The BSE Sensex soared to an all-time high of 31,450.32 today. The NSE Nifty also moved up by 33.85 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 9,667.45. Major contributors to the recovery were HDFC Ltd, PowerGrid, Asian Paints, Tata Motors, Tata Motors DVR, Sun Pharma and Axis Bank, gaining up to 1.37 per cent.
11:08   Farmers protest land acquisition by govt in Maharashtra
Maharashtra: Farmers' protest turns violent on the Thane-Badlapur highway, protesting farmers say their land is being acquired by the Ministry of Defence. Additional forces have been sent to the spot including riot control vehicles. More details awaited. 
10:54   'RSS will use him as a poster boy of Hindutva'
'I have been in the Dalit movement for 27 years, I have not heard of R N Kovind's views on the Dalit agenda. He is a BJP man among Dalits, not a Dalit man in the BJP. What does Ram Nath Kovind's selection as the National Democratic Alliance candidate for the Presidency mean to India's Dalits?'s Archana Masih spoke to Dalit thinker Chandrabhan Prasad to find out. Do read
10:48   Prez polls: OPS camp backs Kovind hours after EPS support
Just in: The AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) camp will support BJPs Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, says former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam.

The announcement comes hours after the AIADMK (Amma) camp decided to support the NDA presidential candidate.

Though the party's deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran had announced a few days back that only the general secretary VK Sasikala could decide which candidate the party will support, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday evening told reporters at the party headquarters that they have decided to support Kovind.

The NCP is at a meeting now to decide which way it will lean. The Opposition meeting comes later today.
10:40   Had Kumble survived, Kohli would have left
Virat Kohli may have resigned as the India captain had the Board of Control for Cricket in India accepted the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC)'s recommendation and given Anil Kumble a further two years as the head coach.

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman constitute the CAC and have been empowered to recommend the one most suited. A year ago, the same gentlemen had picked Kumble and ignored Ravi Shastri's credentials. Kohli's quitting would have triggered a fresh crisis, but got averted as Kumble himself chose to withdraw from the position he'd held for the past year. Read more
10:29   Justice Karnan: a long history of confrontation with colleagues
Allegations of misconduct by Justice CS Karnan, who was sent to jail in Kolkata on Wednesday, to serve a six-month prison term for contempt of court, have been recorded in detail by past Chief Justices and Acting Chief Justices of the Madras High Court, where he served between 2009 and 2016.

Read more
10:09   Jungle justice in UP: Man suspected of raping minor lynched
A man who allegedly raped and murdered a minor girl was lynched by the locals to death in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh district.

The incident took place yesterday in Aligarh's Bheekamapur village when a man raped and then murdered a six-year-old girl, following which the locals killed the accused for his heinous act.

As per reports, the accused who hailed from Badaun, used to work at the girl's father snacks shop. A month ago, the father of the girl fired him from work, after which he was not seen around in the village.

The man possibly lured the daughter of the shop owner and took her to the nearby farm where he raped and later killed her.

When the parents of the girl were unable to find her after a stretch of time, they started looking for her and later recovered her body from the farm. The accused was also found sitting beside the girl's body.

Angry over the incident, the locals thrashed the accused. When the police reached the spot, the villagers handed over the man.

He was later admitted in a hospital and declared dead after few hours. "The accused was nabbed by the locals. He was sitting near the body of the girl. He was drunk. He was thrashed by the people and later died at around 3 am.," said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Aligarh, Rajesh Kumar Pandey.

Image: The minor was lured to a field and allegedly raped by the accused.  The villagers, later, found the man sitting by the girl and lynched him.
09:58   'Made in India' assault rifle fails all tests
In a major setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make In India initiative, the Army has rejected home-made 7.62 x51 mm assault rifles that were meant to replace AK-47s and INSAS rifles, the basic weapon used by jawans.

In recent tests held at the Rifle Factory in Ichapore, West Bengal, India's indigenous 7.62 x 51mm prototype assault rifle failed trials on multiple parameters, with the Ministry of Defense's PMT (Project Management Team) ruling that the assault rifle was "at best only a prototype and requires comprehensive design analysis and improvement."

In a shift from the current 5.56 caliber rifles, the security establishment had floated a 'Request for Information' document last year for procurement of 1,85,000 assault rifles with more lethal firepower.

"A 5.56 caliber rifle may just wound the adversary and there is always a chance of engagement getting prolonged," said Defense Expert Brigadier SK Chatterji.

In it's Request for Information document the objective of the new 7.62 x51mm assault rifle's lethality was 'Shoot to kill'.

Over 20 companies had shown their intent to fulfill this generational shift in assault rifles however the indigenous Rifle Factory at Ichapore had taken upon itself to produce this weapon, which ultimately failed tests held last week.

The Project Management Team constituted to evaluate the gun ruled that, "During internal evaluation excessive number of faults and stoppages to the extent of more than twenty times the maximum permissible standards were observed in the prototype."

Some of the issues highlighted by the MoD's PMT included excessive recoil of the gun upon firing, an inefficient magazine for loading of bullets and excessive flash and sound during firing.

One of the guns also showed a 'Barrel Bulge' during live firing exercises that highlighted improper safety mechanisms of the gun. Moreover, the gun did not have an inbuilt scopes for sighting and accuracy and was not ergonomically designed to facilitate portability for troops.

Image: The rifle was supposed to replace the AK-47 and INSAS rifles used by the Army, but has failed several crucial parameters. 
09:44   Mosul mosque destruction means ISIS is admitting defeat: Iraq PM
Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that the ISIS act of destroying the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri amounts to "an official announcement that they have admitted their defeat" in the eight-month-old battle of Mosul.

The Islamic State jihadists in Iraq have destroyed the 12th-century Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and the leaning minaret, which has dominated Mosul's skyline for centuries and is pictured on Iraq's 10,000 dinar bank note.

Iraqis military commanders said militants blew the mosque up after troops closed in.

It was the same Mosque from where Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ascended a pulpit and declared the creation of the caliphate in summer 2014 after his fighters took control of Mosul and swept through other parts of northern Iraq and Syria.

ISIS, through its news agency, said US warplanes were responsible for the loss late Wednesday of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its leaning minaret. US officials told that the ISIS claim was "1,000% false," the CNN reported.

The black flag of ISIS had been fluttering over the leaning minaret since June 2014. Now the site has largely been reduced to rubble. The fight to retake the country's second largest city , which has been a key Isis stronghold, was launched more than eight months ago and has displaced more than 8, 50,000 people.

The Iraqi military said "ISIS terrorist gangs" blew up the mosque as they saw Iraqi forces backed by U.S. and British forces were approaching and encircled the fighters in the Old city.

Image: The leaning minaret of the 12th-century Great Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul from where ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared the formation of the Caliphate. 
08:55   Prez poll: Opposition meet today, Congress hopes to change JD-U's decision
The Congress on Thursday expressed hope that the Janata Dal-United will extend support to the Opposition's presidential nominee.

JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday chaired a meeting of party leaders in Patna that decided to support the National Democratic Alliance candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the President's post.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge termed Nitish's support to Kovind 'his personal decision' and said JD-U leader Sharad Yadav in the all-party meeting had come up with the view of deciding on the presidential candidate once the government declares its nominee.

"It might be Nitish Kumar's personal decision. Earlier, when the all-party meeting took place, Sharad Yadav had suggested that we should not decide on the candidate so soon and should wait for the government to come up with its candidate. All the parties' leaders will come today and what steps are to be taken will be decided. Suggestions from all the parties will be heard and then a decision would be taken," Kharge told ANI.

However, another Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad refrained from commenting on the same and said that any discussion on the same would take place post the Opposition's meet.

"Let the Opposition party meet take place and then the decision will be taken," Ahmad told ANI.

The JD-U has been a part of the Opposition's joint initiative on the presidential elections.

The Opposition is against Kovind's name being finalised for the post of president on grounds that they were not consulted prior to the announcement. -- ANI
08:02   3 Lashkar terrorists killed in encounter in Pulwama
Security forces today gunned down three Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists in an encounter that lasted for over six hours in Pulwama district of South Kashmir.

The encounter started last evening in Kakapora area of Pulwama following an intelligence input that three local boys, who had joined terrorist ranks in banned Lashker-e-Tayyaba terror group, were holed up in a house located in a densely populated locality, a police official said.

This is the first successful counter-insurgency operation in Pulwama area which is believed to have large presence of local terrorists aided with a strong-network of over ground workers, he said.

The identity of the three killed terrorists was being established, he said, adding the successful operation was a big blow to the LeT terror outfit which recently lost its commander Junaid Mattoo in an encounter at Arwin village in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on June 17.

This is the second successful operation against the terror outfit within three days.

Yesterday, two terrorists were killed in an encounter in Sopore township of Baramulla district in north Kashmir.  -- PTI

Representative image.
01:04   ISRO to launch earth observation satellite and 30 nano satellites on Friday
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will launch Cartosat-2 series satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on June 23, ISRO said.
PSLV-C38 will launch the 712 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passenger satellites together, weighing about 243 kg at lift-off, into a 505-km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, the space agency said. 
The co-passenger satellites, comprise 29 Nano satellites from 14 countries - Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America besides a Nano satellite from India.
The Indian Space Research Organisation said PSLV-C38 will be launched from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre on June 23 at 09.29 hrs.
This will be the 40th flight of PSLV and 17th flight of PSLV in 'XL' configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).
The space agency also said the 29 international customer Nano satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), commercial arm of ISRO and International customers.

Cartosat-2 is a remote sensing satellite and it is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series with the objective of providing high-resolution scene specific spot imagery.