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Fri, 12 May 2017
IT unearths siphoning of foreign exchange of approx Rs 1,000 crore

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23:52   IT unearths siphoning of foreign exchange of approx Rs 1,000 crore
The Income Tax Department on Friday unearthed siphoning of foreign exchange of approximately Rs 1,000 crore.

Sources said, they recently searched a family in Visakhapatnam and Kolkata and found them engaged in money laundering at massive level.

During the investigation, the Tax department found that 12 shell companies were floated, out of which 10 of them are based in Kolkata.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Rs 550 crore was transferred from four bank accounts in two banks of Visakhapatnam.

Money was transferred to Hongkong, China and Singapore during April 2015 to March 2017 for import of customised software, which inquiries revealed are bogus.

During the search, 29 more accounts of the company were found.

Eight such accounts revealed total inward remittances to the tune of Rs 578 core and outward remittances of Rs 572 cores approximately.

The key person admitted that this was done for the commission at the rate of 85 paisa per dollar transferred.

Commission income was invested in properties, documents of which are impounded.

The operation was facilitated through taking multiple PAN, obtaining bogus form from CA at the rate of Rs 500/certificate and floating of proprietary/partnership in the name of his employees for opening bank accounts and faking turnover.

The IT will also forward this case to Enforcement Directorate and Custom authorities for action under FEMA and Customs act.

An offence of cheating under Sections 420 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code is also being made out. Pursuant to FIR police has detained a key person. -- ANI
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23:22   UK hospitals hit by major cyber attack
Hospitals across Britain today cancelled appointments and turned away patients after a large-scale cyber attack by a suspected 'ransomware' crippled major IT systems at the health facilities.

A number of hospitals across 16 trusts in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire have been affected, resulting in many doctors resorting to pen and paper as phone and IT systems were shut down.

Following the cyber attack, the hospitals cancelled appointments and turned away patients, asking them to come only if it was an emergency. National Health Service England said they are 'aware of the issue and are looking into it'.

Among those affected is the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which said it is experiencing problems with computers and phone systems.

It has postponed all non-urgent activity today and is asking people not to come to A&E at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

'A number of NHS organisations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack,' the public health service said in a statement.

IT specialists are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

An NHS Digital statement said: "NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and ensure patient safety is protected."

"Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available," it said.  -- PTI
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22:29   Vijay Mallya's extradition hearing deferred to June 13
The hearing on the issue of embattled Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya's extradition from the United Kingdom has been deferred to June 13, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said on Friday.

The CPS will be arguing on behalf of the Indian authorities when the fugitive businessman's extradition case comes up for hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on June 13.

The hearing was earlier scheduled for May 17.

"The next hearing is June 13 for a case management hearing," a CPS spokesperson said on Friday.

A four-member joint Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate team had arrived in London earlier this month.

"Our aim is to build a strong, infallible case and these meetings will help resolve issues across the table. The CPS will be arguing based on documents provided by CBI and ED, therefore a joint team is here to address queries they may have," official sources had said. -- PTI
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21:41   Sonia Gandhi discharged from hospital
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was undergoing treatment for food poisoning at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, was discharged tonight, hospital authorities said.

She was admitted to the hospital on May 7 and has recovered, according to Dr D S Rana, Chairman (Board of Management), SGRH.

"Gandhi after recovering from food poisoning was discharged today at 7 pm. Her condition at the time of discharge was stable," he said.

The 69-year-old Congress supremo had underwent a shoulder surgery in the same hospital last year.  -- PTI
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21:01  
Bronx Zoo in New York has posted this photo on Instagram with the following information:

'New to The Bronx Zoo are eight Indian gharials -- critically endangered reptiles of the crocodilian order, indigenous to the Chambal River, in India. They eat mainly fish, and not humans, perhaps only because their mouths aren't wide enough. You can find them basking in the Jungle World exhibit. Pictured here is the photographer Philip Montgomery snapping the gharials.'
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20:56   Former soldier's wife sends '56-inch blouse' to PM
A former soldier's wife, shaken by recent attacks on Indian troops by Pakistan, has sent a 56-inch blouse to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an apparent reference to claims that he had a 56-inch chest, largely seen as a symbol of courage.

In a letter to the prime minister, Suman Singh, wife of ex-armyman Dharamvir Singh, reminded Modi that the Bharatiya Janata Party had before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls claimed if it came to power, Pakistan would not 'dare' attack Indian soldiers.

"But the situation is even worse now," she wrote.

Her husband told reporters here that the letter addressed to the prime minister, along with the blouse, had been submitted to the Zila Sainik Board in Fatehabad.

Dharamvir, who claimed he was a former district observer of the Aam Aadmi Party, said he had served in the Army from December 1991 to 2007 and retired as a havaldar.

Being an ex-armyman's wife, he said, Suman had expressed anguish at the recent spate of killings.

"She told me that women send their sons, brothers, husbands to the border to defend their motherland and not to get beheaded and get pelted with stones. Where has the 56-inch chest gone now, she asked," the Fatehabad resident said.

The ex-serviceman was asked if the gesture could be seen as an insult to the office of the prime minister.

"You tell me one thing -- are we not being insulted? Our prime minister used to say never ever will our soldiers have to go through what they went through before. But what is happening under the present regime is even worse," he said.

Suman wrote in her letter that videos had surfaced 'in which our soldiers are seen being slapped, humiliated andpelted with stones'.

Two soldiers were beheaded by Pakistan, she wrote.

She referred to Lance Naik Hemraj, who was beheaded byPakistan's Border Action Team in January, 2013.

"At the time of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, we felt that nomore of our soldiers will be beheaded like Hemraj and enemy will think ten times before doing such action, but they havebeen repeated," the letter said.

She urged the PM to give the Army a 'free hand' to tacklethe situation on the border.

"The way the hands of our soldiers are tied they areunable to take the situation head on, which is mostunfortunate," she wrote.

Dharamvir said he was deployed in Jammu and Kashmir forover 11 years.

"I was part of several counter insurgency operations. Ialso got the Sena Medal from the President on two occasions.My son is also preparing to join the forces," he said.  -- PTI
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20:50   Air India flight overshoots runway at Pune airport
As many as 152 passengers on board an Air India aircraft today had a close shave after the plane overshot the runway after landing at the Pune airport.

Following the incident involving the flight AI 849, which flew from Delhi, the runway has been closed.

An Air India spokesperson said the plane overshot the runway and 'emergency evacuation' was carried out.

All the 152 passengers on board are safe and no one suffered injuries, he added.

The runway is expected to resume operations soon. -- PTI
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19:35   PM Modi leaves for home after Lanka visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for home after wrapping up his two-day Sri Lanka visit during which he took part in the the International Vesak Day celebrations and addressed Indian-origin Tamils.

'Thank you Sri Lanka! This was a memorable visit, in which I got to take part in various programmes including Vesak Day celebrations,' Modi tweeted before emplaning for New Delhi.

'I thank President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the government and (the) warm-hearted citizens of Sri Lanka for their hospitality,' he said.

Earlier in the day, Modi took part in the International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo where he also addressed the gathering as the chief guest.

Later, Modi addressed the Tamils of Indian origin in Dickoya town in the tea growing Central Province of Sri Lanka and inaugurated a Rs 150 crore super-speciality hospital built with India's assistance.  -- PTI
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19:17   Tejas successfully test-fires BVR missile
Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft, today successfully demonstrated an Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range missile firing capability by releasing Derby Air-to-Air BVR missile in RADAR guided mode.

The missile launch was performed in Lock ON after Launch mode for a BVR target in the look down mode and the target was destroyed.

The objective of the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems on-board Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery System and to verify its performance.

The test was conducted on a Manoeuvrable Aerial Target at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur.

The sensors at ITR also tracked the target and missile.

A safe separation was followed by missile guidance towards RADAR acquired target.The flawless launch was demonstrated with all on-board systems performing satisfactorily and the missile scored a direct hit on the target with complete destruction of it.

The test firing achieved all its planned objectives.

The Derby firing is a major step towards clearing BVR capabilities on LCA aircraft for FOC. -- ANI
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18:47   Govt 'agents' circulating wrong info on Herald case: Congress
As the Delhi high court gave its nod for an income tax probe of the National Herald case, the Congress Party on Friday asserted that it is proud to be associated with the National Herald, adding that the media is misrepresenting the facts.

"We are proud to be associated with the National Herald. The media is misrepresenting facts," Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said while addressing a press conference.

Singhvi further said that the government agents and the proxies are circulating 'false facts' (sic) to the media.

"The government agents and proxies are circulating unsigned notes to media which are false facts (sic) from today's hearing," he added.

Singhvi said that the Young Indian Company has been given full liberty to object to the reopen of the case.

"We will now await the assessing officer's decision in accordance with law and, in those proceedings, will be raising all the objections that we have raised today in the writ petition, that the IT department had absolutely no reason to believe in reopening the assessment," said Singhvi.

He said all jurisdictional questions raised in the writ petition were kept alive and allowed to be raised by the party before the assessing officer. -- ANI
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18:10   BSF lodges protest with Pak Rangers over Arnia ceasefire violation
The Border Security Force on Friday lodged a formal protest with the Pakistan Rangers over a ceasefire violation along the International Border in Arnia, Jammu and Kashmir.

BSF sources said that one of their personnel was injured during the cease-fire violation by the Pakistan Rangers early on Friday morning.

The BSF retaliated to the violation and said that there was no loss of life.

The BSF said in a statement that the Pakistani Rangers had fired a few bullets warning troops working ahead of the fence in Arnia area in Jammu.

He said that BSF troops counter fired. The exchange of fire also included the firing of mortar shells.

Friday's ceas-fire violation came a day after a woman was killed and her husband injured during a cease-fire violation by Pakistan in the Nowshera sector of Rajouri district.

The deceased was identified as Akhtar Begum and the injured as Mohammad Hanief.

The couple was hit by a mortar shell. They were taken to the local hospital, but the woman died.
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18:00   Ensure comfortable environment for Kashmiris: HM to states
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today advised all chief ministers to ensure a "comfortable environment" for Kashmiri students and workers in their states as there have been incidents of their harassment at some places. Singh's advice came at a meeting of Northern Zonal Council of the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan, National Capital territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

"He (Rajnath Singh) has advised all the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries who were here today that they should take care that the youth of Kashmir, wherever they are studying, should be treated well and they should be made feel that they are welcomed," Secretary of the Inter-state Council Secretariat Sanjeevani Kutty said.
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17:52  
Retail inflation declines to 2.99 per cent in April, as against 3.89 per cent in March.

Industrial growth recorded 5 per cent in 2016-17 as against 3.4 per cent a year ago based on the new series.
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17:39   Maoists? CRPF jawans battle multiple enemies in Bastar
CRPF troopers confront loneliness, poor network connectivity, poor work conditions, dismal work-life balance, and immense psychological stress. Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore and Uttam Ghosh report on the challenges CRPF jawans face while battling the Maoists. Do read the first of a series of reports from India's Maoist heartland.
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17:30   Hack into EVMs used in recent polls, challenges CEC
The Election Commission today said it will offer political parties an opportunity to prove that electronic voting machines used in the recent assembly polls were tampered with.

A "challenge" is on the cards, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told a meeting of political parties here, going on record for the first time regarding the EC's proposed move to counter allegations of EVM tampering.

"Although use of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail system) with EVMs will ensure total credibility and transparency and put to rest all controversy, the Commission will, after today's meeting, hold a challenge," he said.

It will offer an opportunity to political parties to demonstrate that EVMs used in the recent elections were tampered with or that EVMs can be tampered with even under strict technical and administrative safeguards as applicable during elections, Zaidi said.

He, however, did not give any date for the proposed challenge which he announced in his opening remarks at the meeting.

Zaidi also said the Commission has "no favourites" and was equidistant from all parties.

"You should be convinced that EC has no favourites...we maintain equidistance from all parties and groups. It is our constitutional and moral duty to stand dead centre of the circle drawn around us by 56 political parties (seven national and 49 state recognised parties)," he said.

His remarks come against the backdrop of Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal reportedly questioning the independence of two Election Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat.

He had claimed in an interview that the two ECs were close to the BJP governments in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh respectively. Following the allegations, Rawat had recused himself from the cases related to disqualification of AAP MLAs the Commission is hearing.
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16:38   Can't deny right to non-veg food: HC tells Yogi govt
Allahabad High Court today said government can't deny an individual his rights to have non-veg food.

The court made the statement while hearing nearly 27 pleas filed against the Uttar Pradesh government after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's crackdown on illegal abattoirs.

According to reports, the court has directed the state government to commission new licences and renew old ones.

The court said that those whose licence has been expired and those who  want a new licence could apply to the food safety department.

The court has asked the state government to solve the crisis as soon as possible.

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16:26   I have a special association with tea, PM tells Lanka Tamils
"I have a special association with tea" was how Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an instant connect with the Tamil community members here in the tea-growing Central Province of Sri Lanka. Modi, in his address, lauded the Ceylon Tea, saying it was world famous but what was lesser known was the sweat and labour behind it.

"You and I have something in common. I have a special association with tea," Modi said. "Chai pe Charcha or discussions over tea is mark of deep respect for dignity and integrity of honest labour," he said.

Prime Minister Modi has often recalled his days as a tea-seller while addressing gatherings in India and abroad. "We remember your forefathers. Men and women of strong will and courage, who undertook the journey of their life from India to then Ceylon," the Prime Minister told thousands of Tamils during the public rally in the presence of Lankan President Maithripala Srisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
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16:00   Axed AAP minister on hunger strike should be hospitalised, warns docs
Axed Delhi minister Kapil Mishra, whose hunger strike entered day three today, has been advised hospitalisation by a team of doctors who examined him.


Mishra, who is on an indefinite hunger strike, is demanding that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) divulge details of foreign tours undertaken by five leaders of the party. AAP has, in turn, accused him of following a script penned by the BJP.


"His blood sugar level has dropped to 81 mg/dL and intravenous fluids need to be started immediately. His pulse is low. He is going into dehydration because of poor salt intake. We have thus advised hospitalisation," said Dr Javed Salam of the Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital who examined him.

He added that Mishra, who is on a hunger strike in his home in Civil Lines, may also suffer from heat exhaustion, not just because of the hot days but also because he is surrounded by many people radiating body heat. Mishra, however, has refused to get admitted, Salam said.

Earlier this morning, Mishra's mother had written a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, accusing him of spreading lies about her son. This was after AAP leaders tweeted a picture in which Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari and Mishra were seen in one frame.

Annapurna Mishra, a former mayor of Delhi, claimed that the picture was clicked at an event to felicitate AAP leader Kumar Vishwas' father and was attended by Kejriwal and all his ministers. She said Kejriwal had pursued her to convince Mishra to join politics despite the latter not being interested.
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15:50   Delhi HC hears domestic abuse case against AAP's Somnath Bharti
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti used to harass and beat his wife, say the Delhi police to the High Court which is hearing a domestic violence case against him.

The former Delhi law minister was chargesheeted for alleged offences of attempt to murder and cruelty to his wife in a domestic violence case lodged by her last year.

It has alleged that Bharti had tried to endanger the life of an unborn child which his wife Lipika Mitra was carrying by unleashing his dog on her.

"The accused unleashed his dog on the complainant (Lipika) which bit her badly, it is pertinent to mention that the complainant was in an advance stage of pregnancy and she being further diabetic, the act by the accused not only was an attempt (to endanger) the life of the complainant but also seriously endangered the life of the unborn child which the complainant was carrying," the charge sheet said.

"...There are sufficient evidence on record and as per the statements of the witnesses there are sufficient evidence on record to file a charge sheet under section 307 (attempt to murder), 315 (act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 417 (punishment for cheating), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of IPC against accused Somnath Bharti," it said.

Besides Bharti, the police has also named Kapil Vajpayee, Baney Singh and one Natish as accused in the case.

The chargesheet also mentions the name of Bharti's mother Manorama Bharti but did not make her an accused saying there was lack of evidence against her.
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15:21   Bindi refutes dating rumours between mother and Russell Crowe
TV personality Bindi Irwin has shut down romance rumours between her mother, Terri, and Oscar-winner Russell Crowe, by saying the two are "just friends".

"There's a lot of crazy rumours. You know we do love Russell, but Mum and Russell aren't actually in love," the "Dancing With the Stars" season 21 winner said on E! "Daily Pop".

"My dad is still very much my mother's soul mate," she said, referring to her late father, Steve Irwin. Steve was a wildlife expert who was working on the documentary series "Ocean's Deadliest" when he was attacked by a stingray off the coast of northern Australia and died in 2006.

"I think that no matter what, Mum always says that they'll always be married. So in this life and the next, they're a couple and a team. So I think that's really important." She added, "Russell is a wonderful wildlife warrior. He was a dear friend of Dad's, now a dear friend of ours. He feels like family to us, but Mum and Russell? Just friends. For sure."
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15:01   CRPF jawan committs suicide
J&K: Anil Kumar of 35 battalion of CRPF commits suicide inside a paramilitary force training center in Humhama area of Budgam district.
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14:58   Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?
Spanning more than 68 countries and encompassing 4.4 billion people and up to 40% of the global GDP, China's One Belt, One Road project is not short on ambition.

Its boosters tout its massive economic promise and claim it could benefit the entire world and lift millions out of poverty.

But no one can say for sure what exactly the plan encompasses, and detractors warn it could be an expensive boondoggle at best or a massive expansion of Chinese imperial power at worst. Read more
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14:23   US Imposes Sanctions to Disrupt funding of Hafiz Saeed's JuD, Lashkar
The United States has imposed sanctions on Pakistan-based terrorists and an organisation run by 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed's JuD, reports PTI. The sanctions have been slapped to disrupt the funding of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front for "charitable activities', the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Dawa al-Qu'ran (JDQ), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and ISIS Khorasan."

These sanctions seek to disrupt the financial support networks of terrorists based in Pakistan who have provided support to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and LeT for recruitment and funding of suicide bombers and other violent insurgent operations," said John Smith, Director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

"The US continues to aggressively target extremists in Pakistan and the surrounding region, including charities and other front groups used as vehicles to facilitate illicit terrorist activities," Smith said.

"The three individuals and (an) entity we designated have connections with terrorist groups that are a direct threat to the security of both the United States and Pakistan," he said.
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14:05   Explosion in Rome
An explosion has been reported outside a post office in Rome, says the Independent. No injuries were immediately reported after the blast, which damaged a nearby car.Investigators believe it may have been caused by a letter bomb, Il Giornale reported.
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14:05   One-sided termination of marriage abhorrent: Jethamalani on Triple T
Update on the triple talaq hearing in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court today said the practice of triple talaq was the "worst" and "not desirable" form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims, even though there were schools of thought which termed it as "legal".


There are "school of thoughts (which) say that triple talaq is legal, but it is the worst and not desirable form for dissolution of marriages among Muslims," a five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, said on the second day of continued hearing on the matter.


The observation came when former Union Minister and senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who is assisting the court in his personal capacity, told the bench that it is not an issue where judicial scrutiny is required and moreover women have the right to say 'no' to triple talaq by stipulating a condition to this effect in 'nikahnama' (marriage contract).


The court asked Khurshid to prepare a list of Islamic and non-Islamic countries where triple talaq has been banned. The bench was then informed that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia do not allow triple talaq as a form to dissolve marriages.


Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for one of the victims, was blunt in his arguments and assailed the practice of triple talaq on constitutional grounds including the Right to Equality.


"The right of triple talaq is available only to the husband and not to the wife and it breaches the Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution," Jethmalani said.


"There is no saving grace for this method of granting divorce. One-sided termination of marriage is abhorrent, and hence, avoidable," he said. "Triple talaq makes a distinction on the ground of sex and this method is abhorrent to the tenets of holy Quran and no amount of advocacy can or will save this sinful, repugnant practice which is contrary to the constitutional provisions," he added. No law can allow a wife to become an ex-wife "at the fancy of the husband" and it is "the highest kind unconstitutional behaviour", Jethmalani said.

The high profile hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq will continue after the lunch break.
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13:47   These are the terrorists who killed Lt Ummer Fayaz
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have identified three suspected Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists believed to be involved in the killing of young Indian Army officer Ummer Fayaz.

The Police on Friday pasted posters of three terrorists in Shopian claiming they were a part of the group which was responsible for abduction and the killing of the Lieutenant on Tuesday night.

According to reports, the police have also announced rewards for any information on the suspects.

Fayaz, a Rajputana Rifles officer, was kidnapped from a relative's home and killed.

A resident of south Kashmir's Shopian district, he had gone to attend his cousin's wedding.

Lieutenant Fayaz, a farmer's son, was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 2016.

The police said the officer was shot by terrorists five times in an orchard. His body was found in the Harman orchard by locals.
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13:42   Triple T 'worst', form of divorce among Muslims: SC
Update on the triple talaq hearing in the Supreme Court. Triple talaq is the "worst and most undesirable form" of dissolution of marriage among Muslims, the court observes. However, different schools of thoughts in Islam term triple talaq as "legal", says the SC. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani calls triple talaq "abhorrent"; says it does not give women equal right to divorce.
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13:23   Flipkart makes $1 billion informal offer for Snapdeal
Flipkart's offer for Snapdeal is non-binding, due diligence may begin next week; no consensus yet on exit payouts to Snapdeal investors Kalaari, Nexus. Read more
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13:20   Sonia, Rahul to face income-tax probe in National Herald case
The Delhi High Court clears the way for the Income Tax department to investigate the National Herald Case. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, who are directors in the company, are likely to approach the Supreme Court in the matter. Earlier, the Patiala House court allowed an investigation of the Gandhis in the case, which was challenged at the Delhi HC.


You cant be arrogant, the bench said, adding that Young Indian Pvt Ltd must submit its tax documents.


Earlier, a Patiala House court had allowed an investigation in the case, which was challenged at Delhi HC.

The case pertains to a private criminal complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress. The Gandhis and other accused Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda have denied the allegations levelled against them.
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12:25   Triple talaq hearing: If it's sinful, can it be in Shariat, observes SC
The triple talaq hearing begins in the Supreme Court. The five-judge bench headed by CJI JS Khehar hears arguments from Salman Khurshid, who is arguing the case on his personal capacity. He is the amicus curae in the case.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would "examine" whether the practice of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion. However, it may not deliberate upon the issue of polygamy as it began hearing petitions challenging the practice

A five-judge bench, made up of judges from different religious communities -- Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim -- is hearing on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of 'triple talaq', 'nikah halala' and polygamy practices among Muslims

Today, Justice R Nariman observed that one should see the difference between theory and practicality in the present context in connection with nikah and talaq in Islam. Khurshid told the SC that the AIMPLB takes a stand that triple talaq is abhorrent yet valid. The court observed: Something which is sinful, can it be a part of Shariat?' The Muslim Personal Law is based on the Shariat.

The CJI said that all customs are subservient to the 1937 Act. (The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937).

The pleas before the apex court have also challenged the constitutional validity of other practices like 'nikah halala' and polygamy among the Muslims.

The bench is also taking up the main matter on its own as a petition titled "Muslim Women's quest for equality".

The apex court had on its own taken cognisance of the question whether Muslim women faced gender discrimination in the event of divorce or due to other marriages of their husbands.

The hearing assumes significance as the apex court has decided to hear the case during the summer vacation and is likely to sit on Saturdays and Sundays to expeditiously decide the contentious and sensitive issues arising in the matter.
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11:28   We gave the world the gift of Buddha and his teachings: Modi
PM in Sri Lanka:  PM Modi calls on the two countries to uphold the ideals of Lord Buddha and promote values of peace, inclusiveness and compassion in policies and conduct.

"I firmly believe that Buddhism's message of peace is the answer to growing arc of violence all over the world," the Prime Minister said. 

The biggest challenge to sustainable world peace today is not necessarily from conflict between nation states. It is from mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence.

The menace of terrorism in our region is a clear manifestation of this destructive emotion. It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence.

Our region is blessed to have given to the world the invaluable gift of Buddha and his teachings.
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11:21   PM in Lanka: Let us celebrate our unbroken, shared heritage
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka. Today he will participate in the International Vesak Day celebrations, the biggest festival of Buddhists, and address the Indian-origin community. He will join the celebrations along with the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka. This is PM's second visit to the island nation.  Addressing Sri Lankans on the occasion Of Vesak Day the PM said,  "Vesak is an occasion for us to celebrate the unbroken shared heritage of Buddhism. the key national symbols, such as the wheel - chakra - is taken from Buddhism."

Highlights... 

-- Today, Sri Lanka takes pride in being one of the most important centres of Buddhism.

-- Buddhism and its various strands are deep seated in our governance, culture and philosophy. 

-- Vesak is an occasion for us to celebrate the unbroken shared heritage of Buddhism.

-- The themes of Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace, chosen for the Vesak day, resonate deeply with Buddha's teachings.

-- Lord Buddhas message is as relevant in the 21st century as it was two-and a half millennia ago.

-- You will find in India a friend and partner that will support your nation-building endeavours.

-- I believe we are at a moment of great opportunity in our ties with Sri Lanka.

-- My Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath.

-- I have the great pleasure to announce that from August this year, Air India will operate direct flights between Colombo and Varanasi.

-- I also bring with me the greetings of 1.25 billion people from the land of the Samyaksambuddha, the perfectly self awakened one.

Image: The PM at the Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka. Pic courtesy @PMO.
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11:11   EC's all-party meet on EVMs begins
The Election Commission begins its all-party meeting regarding the EVM tampering issue and other electoral reforms. All seven national and 35/48 state recognised political parties are attending the meet. An EC officer made a detailed presentation the on EVM's security features.
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11:06  
Delhi High Court upholds charges, including tampering of evidence, against Ansal brothers in Uphar tragedy case.
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10:27   Hizbul Mujahideen won't hesitate to kill Kashmiris too: Defence expert
After the Jammu and Kashmir Police established that the Hizbul Mujahideen was responsible for killing Army Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Kashmir, defence expert PK Sehgal on Friday said the cruelty displayed that such terror outfits would open fire at anyone irrespective of whether the victim was a Kashmiri or a non Kashmiri.

"People of Jammu and Kashmir must realise that Hizbul Mujahideen and similar outfits are their enemies. They perpetrate such cruelties without considering if the people are Kashmiri or non Kashmiri," Sehgal told ANI.

"It should open the eyes of the local population who must realise that it is not going to be in their interest to backup or to be seen supporting these people," he added.

Earlier, Rajputana Rifles officer Fayaz was kidnapped from a relative's house during a wedding ceremony, and was shot dead the same night.Fayaz had been commissioned into the Army's Rajputana Rifles regiment five months ago and had taken leave to visit big family in Kashmir.

Police said they recovered two empty INSAS rifle cartridge cases used for the crime.

Meanwhile, a massive manhunt has been launched to catch the terrorists involved in the killing of 22-year-old Fayaz.


Image: Family and friends mourn Lt Ummer Fayaz's death. This was Fayaz's first leave since he had joined the armed forces in December. Pic: Umer Ganie.
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10:21   India protests against Justin Trudeau attending 'Khalistan event'
The Indian Government has lodged a strong protest with Canada over the presence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Khalistan event in Toronto, where separatist elements were felicitated.

"We have taken up such issues in the past with the government of Canada, and in this particular instance, without getting into details, I can tell you the practice has not been discontinued," said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay.

Two legislators, who had authored a motion in the Ontario assembly terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots "Genocide", were felicitated at the Khalistan event.

On April 30, Trudeau addressed a parade for 'Khalsa Day', which included floats glorifying Sikh militant leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amreek Singh and former General Shahbeg Singh who were killed in the siege of the Golden Temple and Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

The procession, organised by the Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwara Council, also felicitated the legislator from Trudeau's Liberal Party, Harinder Kaur Malhi who had moved a resolution on "genocide" against India for the anti-Sikh riots of November 1984, that was passed by the Ontario Assembly on April 6 this year.

India has been raising the issue of emerging anti-India elements in Canada calling it a "misguided motion based on a limited understanding of India, its constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and its judicial process,", with the government expressing its unhappiness both with the High Commission in Delhi, and with the Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan when he met with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi on April 18.
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10:19   What you can expect at the EC's all-party meeting on EVMs
The Election Commission today will convene an all-party meeting over the issue of Electronic Voting Machines and other electoral reforms in New Delhi today.

The poll panel intends to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units attached with EVMs in the coming elections for greater transparency and to ensure voters' confidence in the electoral process.

The Union Cabinet had given its nod to sanctioned funds of nearly Rs 3200 crore to procure more than 16 lakh VVPATs as sought by the EC.

Here's what is expected at the meeting.

1. The Election Commission will persuade political parties about the security of EVMs saying that technology used by standalone gadgets made it virtually impossible and impractical to tamper with the machines, given that the machines are kept in a secure location.

2. The commission will also stress that such concerns would be automatically taken care of since the poll body had decided to use the VVPAT or voter-verifiable paper audit trail-equipped machines in all assembly and parliamentary elections that it conducts.

3. The meeting is expected to deliberate on making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount Rules.

On Tuesday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), during a special session of the Delhi assembly, conducted a live demonstration on how EVMs can be tampered with.

Reacting to the demonstration, the poll panel said the machine used to conduct live demonstration was a 'look-alike'' which was made to function in a 'tampered' manner.

"It is commonsense that gadgets other than ECI EVMs can be programmed to perform in a pre-determined way, but it simply cannot be implied that ECI EVMs will behave in the same manner because the ECI EVMs are technically secured and function under an elaborate Administrative and Security Protocol," an official release said.

"Such so called demonstration on extraneous and duplicate gadgets which are not owned by the ECI cannot be exploited to influence our intelligent citizens and electorate to assail or vilify the EVMs used by the Commission in its electoral process," it added.

Conducting a mock poll on an EVM machine, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj demonstrated how despite giving two votes each to various parties; the final count showed that votes of some parties had been transferred to one party.

A day before the all-party meeting, the AAP on Thursday forwarded a new demand, calling for an all party committee to be formed under the monitoring of the EC to ascertain whether EVMS were hacked in the recently held elections or not.
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09:50   Ceasefire violation: BSF retaliates to Pak firing in Arnia sector
Pakistan violated the ceasefire on Friday morning by opening fire to the Border Security Force troops deployed in Arnia sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the morning Pak Rangers fired a few bullets warning our troops working ahead of the fence with a tractor in the Arnia area and our troops also retaliated with a few rounds of fire, said the BSF in a statement.

A few shells of small mortar firing also took place from both sides but no loss and damage has been reported so far.

Earlier, two Pakistan Army soldiers were injured in retaliatory firing from the Indian side post a ceasefire violation in the Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.

A woman was killed and her husband was injured in the ceasefire violation. Pakistani troops reportedly fired 120 mm mortars in the area early in the morning.

Home Minister Rajanth Singh had said earlier that he had given the BSF a free hand in dealing effectively with Pakistan over the cross-border firing.

There is my standing order to the Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) that first bullet shouldnt be fired from our side but if Pakistan fires, then the bullets fired from our side shouldnt be counted, he said.


Representational image
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09:42   Haryana shocker: Snake found in mid-day meal at government school
Raising questions again on the quality of the mid-day meal supplied in government schools, a baby snake was found in the food served to children in Rajkeeya Girls Senior Secondary School in Haryana.

On finding the snake, the children were immediately stopped from consuming the meal, but unfortunately some students had already eaten portions of it.

Some students even vomited as soon as they had eaten the meal.

When the principal and other teachers were tasting the food, they saw the snake after which they immediately told other students not to eat it.

The students were taken aback upon discovering the reptile in their food. They admitted that they often got a 'stale smell' from the food generally, but this was something which was terrifying for them.
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09:37   Light a candle for Lt Umer Faiyaz, say Army officers
Some serving Army officers have initiated a WhatsApp message following the shocking, mindless and brutal killing of Lt Umer Faiyaz by Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar e Tayiba terrorists, suggesting how he can be honoured without expecting any government effort.   

We reproduce the message, which has been quickly going viral, here as a PSA:   

'Esteemed Seniors and friends, let us introspect. Have we paid our tributes to Lt Umer Faiyaz the way he deserves? His Kashmiri brethren killed him in cold blood, they humiliated his family and threw stones during his last rites.   

'The family requested that the last rites be kept a low key affair, understandable. Some of us tweeted in his favour. Did all of us do it? NO. What a shame?   

'Can we do something for him? Let all of us give him the honour without expecting any Govt effort. Let us show the nation how we honour Umer.   

'Why not go to India Gate on Saturday and Sunday evening, light a candle there. Spend a few minutes and remember Umer at India Gate.   

'In other places choose a central location and light a candle on Saturday and Sunday evening. He deserves our love and respect.   

'This initiative would be better than the OROP, 7 th PC or NFU outcry -- or even the Nirbhaya protest marches. 

'Let us prove that we respect our martyrs.   

'Please pass the message far and wide -- make the nation sit up and watch.   
'Let us be positive.'
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09:03   In 2007 hate speech case, UP govt denies sanction to prosecute Yogi
The Uttar Pradesh government informed the Allahabad high court Thursday that it had refused sanction for the prosecution of Yogi Adityanath, former Member of Parliament and the current Chief Minister, and others named in an FIR for allegedly inciting communal violence in Gorakhpur in 2007.

Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who appeared before the bench comprising Justices Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Ramesh Sinha, filed an affidavit conveying the governments decision. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Parvez Parvaz, complainant in one of the FIRs lodged after the 2007 incident. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for July 7.

In its affidavit, the government said that sanction for prosecution under different IPC sections including 153 (A) promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony was refused because the CD, which was presented as the main evidence, had been tampered with. The government said this conclusion was reached by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in October 2014.
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08:50   Pak-based terror groups plan to attack India, Afghan: top US spymaster
Pakistan-based terrorist groups are planning to attack both India and Afghanistan, a top US spymaster has said.

"Islamabad has failed to curb militants and terrorists in Pakistan," Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during a Congressional hearing on Worldwide threats.

"These groups will present a sustained threat to the United States's interest in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan," Coats said.

Pakistan, he rued, is expanding its nuclear arsenal in pursuing tactical nuclear weapons, potentially lowering the threshold for their use.
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08:28   Pakistan says Sharif-Jindal meeting was part of back-channel diplomacy
The April meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian tycoon Sajjan Jindal was "a part of a back-channel diplomacy", Pakistan's civil leadership have informed. 

According to Geo News, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz, during one of his recent meetings with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa, had taken the latter into confidence over Jindal's visit to Pakistan.

Jindal went to Pakistan to reduce tension between the two neighbouring countries, Geo News quoted a BBC Urdu report, as saying.

The report also stated that General Bajwa also took his officials into confidence over the matter.

Earlier in April, businessman and entrepreneur Sajjan Jindal made a visit to Pakistan and met Nawaz Sharif.

Sajjan Jindal, along with other businessmen, met PM Nawaz Sharif in Murree.

The meeting came at a time when the two neighbouring nations were going through turbulent times
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08:25  
JUST IN: Pakistan violated ceasefire in Jammu & Kashmir's Arnia between 7-7:30 am today, BSF retaliated
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08:10   Kulbhushan Jadhav case: ICJ writ may not be applicable to Pakistan
Prominent commentators have expressed doubts over the ability of the International Court of Justice to enforce its order in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The case, which will come up for hearing on May 15, is likely to face a difficult hurdle as Pakistan had on March 29 revised its commitment to the ICJ and has withdrawn all domestic and national security related issues from the jurisdiction of the court.

Read the full story HERE
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07:44   Ahead of EVM hackathon, Election Commission to meet 55 parties today
As the political tussle over the use of Electronic Voting Machines heats up, the Election Commission will on Friday meet representatives of 55 political parties, 16 of which had urged it to return to ballot papers.


The Election Commission has convened the meeting of seven national and 48 state parties to discuss the reliability of EVMs and is also likely to brief them on its planned EVM hacking challenge.


The Election Commission had trashed AAP's claim saying the machine is a look-alike and not the ECI-EVM. The date of the proposed challenge would be decided after the all-party meeting.
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00:17   US blames Pak for deteriorating ties with India
The Trump administration on Thursday blamed Pakistan for deteriorating Indo-Pak relations and warned that the ties might worsen further if another 'high-profile' terrorist attack emanates from across the border this year.

"Islamabad's failure to curb support to anti-India militants and New Delhi's growing intolerance of this policy, coupled with a perceived lack of progress in Pakistan's investigations into the January 2016 Pathankot cross-border attack, set the stage for a deterioration of bilateral relations in 2016," Daniel Coats, director of National Intelligence, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.

Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence along with top intelligence officials, Coats said the relations between India and Pakistan became more tense following two major terrorist attacks in 2016 by terrorists crossing into India from Pakistan.

"They might deteriorate further in 2017, especially in the event of another high-profile terrorist attack in India that New Delhi attributes to originating in or receiving assistance from Pakistan," Coats said in his testimony before
the Senate committee on worldwide threats.

Supporting India's pre-condition for bilateral talks on Islamabad stopping support to cross border terrorism, Coats said increasing numbers of cross-firing along the Line of Control, including the use of artillery and mortars, might aggravate the risk of unintended escalation between the two countries.

"Easing of heightened Indo-Pak tension, including negotiations to renew official dialogue, will probably hinge in 2017 on a sharp and sustained reduction of cross-border attacks by terrorist groups based in Pakistan and progress in the Pathankot investigation, Coats said. -- PTI