Wed, 31 May 2017
Slovakia's Lajcak elected as next UNGA president

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23:52   Slovakia's Lajcak elected as next UNGA president
The United Nations General Assembly today elected Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak to be the next president of the 193-member powerful body.

Lajcak, 54, was elected by acclamation as president of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly at a special session at the UN.

The 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly will commence from September 12. Lajcak, who was one of the candidates last year for the position of UN Secretary General, will succeed Fijian diplomat Peter Thomson.

'Thank you @UN General Assembly 4 electing me the next @UN_PGA. Looking fwd to work w/all of you to make this world a better place to live in,' Lajcak, Slovakia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, tweeted following his election.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres congratulated Lajcak on his election, saying he has always demonstrated an 'impressive command' of all aspects of UN action and a strong commitment to the principles that govern our work.

In May last year, the Slovak government had formally nominated Lajcak as a candidate for the position of UN secretary-general.

A career diplomat, Lajcak is a graduate of the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.

At the age of 31, he was appointed Slovak Ambassador to Japan, and later to Yugoslavia, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In 2009, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic and later, in 2012, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

In addition, he became chairman of the Slovak government's Council for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality. In 2007, Lajcak was appointed High Representative of the International Community and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During his tenure, Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU. He also launched activities to reach out to the population, including speaking tours and a website for dialogue with citizens. -- PTI
23:44   Will leave WH advisory councils if Trump cancels Paris deal: Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has threatened to stop advising President Donald Trump if the White House withdraws from the Paris climate accords.

Asked on Twitter what he would do if Trump withdrew from the landmark global deal to curb emissions, Musk said he would 'have no choice but to depart [the] councils in that case'.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will announce his decision on the Paris deal 'over the next few days'.

Reports Wednesday indicated that he is expected to withdraw the climate agreement, though some news outlets cautioned that he had not made a final decision.

Read more
22:42   Petrol price hiked by Rs 1.23/litre, diesel by 89 paise
Petrol price was on Wednesday hiked by Rs 1.23 per litre and diesel by 89 paise a litre in sync with rising international fuel rates.

The increase in price, effective midnight tonight, comes on the back of a Rs 2.16 per litre cut in petrol and Rs 2.10 a litre reduction in diesel prices effected from May 16.

Petrol price in Delhi will cost Rs 66.91 per litre from tomorrow as against Rs 65.32 a litre currently.

Similarly, a litre of diesel will be priced at Rs 5.94, as compared to Rs54.90 at present.

Announcing the price hike, Indian Oil Corp, the nation's largest fuel retailer, said the rates have been hiked excluding local state levies or VAT and actual increase will be higher depending on tax rate.

'The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and INR-USD exchange rate warrant decrease in selling price of petrol and diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,' IOC said in a statement.

The movement of prices in the international oil market and INR-USD exchange rate will continue to be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes, it said.  -- PTI
21:51   Will launch 'Samajwadi Secular Front' on July 6: Shivpal
Sidelined Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav said today that he would launch an outfit named 'Samajwadi Secular Front', which will be headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav on July 6, to bring the party on the 'right track'.

Shivpal, who has been at odds with nephew and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, however made it clear that he was forming just a 'front' and not a political party.

"We will constitute the Samajwadi Secular Front on July 6to bring the SP on the right track. We will formally announce it at a meeting in Lucknow", Shivpal told reporters in Lucknow.

He said that those sidelined in the party will be associated with the front while talks will also be held with other parties in order to make the SP strong.

"SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav will be the national president of the front and I would be its convenor," Shivpal said.

It would be a front, and not a political party, he clarified.

"First of all, the family and then the Samajwadi family will be united and this will be possible under the leadership of Netaji (Mulayam). I want to ensure that 'Netaji's' honour is upheld", he said.

The Samajwadi Party has witnessed a prolonged factional fight that began before the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections with Akhilesh and Shivpal camps on the opposite sides. -- PTI
21:19   Siddharamaiah to be Congress' face in 2018 polls
Chief Minister K Siddharamaiah will be the party's face in the Karnataka assembly polls, the Congress on Wednesday said as it asked state Home Minister G Parameshwara to quit the cabinet and devote himself to his duties as Pradesh Congress Committee chief.

Gearing up for the assembly polls due next year, the party restructured its state unit while accommodating all castes and sections.

'The Congress president and vice president have decided that the coming election of the state will be fought under the leadership of K Siddharamaiah, the present chief minister of Karnataka,' a statement from AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.

Parameshwara will devote all his time and energy for the party affairs and will resign from the state cabinet immediately.

The statement also said that S R Patil has been appointed as the working president of Karnataka PCC along with present working president Dinesh Gundurao.

While Gundurao will take care of the party affairs in southern Karnataka, Patil will take care of northern Karnataka.

The party also appointed D K Shivakumar, a minister in the state government, as chairman of the campaign committee for the coming elections.

Party MP and former Union minister K H Muniyappa has been included as a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee, a top decision-making body of the party, while another tribal leader from the state Satish Jarkiholi has been appointed as an AICC secretary.

The party leadership has come out with a 'please all' formula by playing a balancing act by accommodating all castes and communities.

While Siddharamaiah is a leader from the Kuruba Gowda community, both Parameshwara and Muniyappa are Dalit leaders from the state.

Jarkiholi is a tribal leader. By appointing Patil, a Lingayat leader and Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga leader, the party has sought to reach out to both the dominant communities.

Both Shivakumar and Patil were contenders for the PCC chief's post.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yeddyurappa also belongs to Lingayat caste.

BJP chief Amit Shah has already announced that Yeddyurappa will be the party's chief ministerial candidate for the May 2018 elections.

The changes come after Rahul Gandhi held a strategy meet with all top leaders of the Congress party from the state, including Siddharamaiah and party general secretary in-charge, K C Vengugopal.

Former Union ministers Mallikarjun Kharge and M Veerappa Moily besides B K Hariprashad and other top state leaders participated in the meet on Monday.  -- PTI
20:54   Sukhoi-30 crash: Both pilots declared dead
JUST IN: Both pilots of Sukhoi-30 aircraft which crashed approx 60 Km from Tezpur Airbase on 23 May died in crash.

A Court of Inquiry has already been ordered.

It was reported that both pilots of the Su-30 aircraft sustained fatal injuries and were unable to initiate ejection before the crash.

Yesterday, search and rescue teams found a blood-stained shoe, half-burnt PAN card and a wallet of one of the two pilots.

The teams comprising the Army, the Air Force and civil administration personnel had recovered the jet's black box on May 28 from the crash site, located in a dense forest.

The wreckage of the fighter jet, which went missing on May 23, was found on May 26 through aerial recce, in a thick forest around 60 km from Tezpur city. -- ANI
20:27   Karnataka's Nandini K R tops civil services exam
Nandini K R, who hails from Karnataka, has topped the prestigious civil services examination, the result of which was declared today by the UPSC.

She had taken the exam last year. As many as 1,099 candidates have been recommended for various government services.

There are 220 other candidates in the waiting list.

The civil services examination is conducted by the UPSC annually in three stages-- preliminary, main and interview -- to select officers for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.  -- PTI
20:27   Karnataka's Nandini K R tops civil services exam
Nandini K R, who hails from Karnataka, has topped the prestigious civil services examination, the result of which was declared today by the UPSC.

She had taken the exam last year. As many as 1,099 candidates have been recommended for various government services.

There are 220 other candidates in the waiting list.

The civil services examination is conducted by the UPSC annually in three stages-- preliminary, main and interview -- to select officers for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.  -- PTI
19:52   Modi leaves for Russia after 'successful' visit to Spain
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for Russia after concluding a 'successful' visit to Spain where he paid a courtesy call to Spanish King Felipe VI and held wide-ranging talks with President Mariano Rajoy.

'I thank the government and people of Spain for their remarkable hospitality during my visit, during which significant ground was covered,' Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

'India-Spain ties are all set to grow and this will benefit the people of both our nations' he said in another tweet.

'Prime Minister Modi wound up a successful visit to Spain, departed for St Petersburg, Russia,' Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.

In the Russian city of St Petersburg, Modi will hold the18th India-Russia annual Summit with President Vladimir Putin tomorrow and attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum the next day. -- PTI

Photograph: @MEAIndia/Twitter
18:57   Akhilesh, Maya to attend Lalu's Patna rally
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said today that he would attend Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's rally in Patna on August 27 and added that Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati would also be present there.

There has been speculation that arch-rivals SP and BSP may shed hostility and inch closer in view of the BJP's spectacular rise in Uttar Pradesh.

"I will be present at Lalu Prasadji's Bihar rally on Aug27 and Mayawati will also be there. If there is any announcement (regarding future alliance) it will me made there", Akhilesh said when asked about the possibility of SP and BSP coming together again.

However, there has not been any confirmation yet from the BSP on whether Mayawati would attend the event.

The RJD chief has invited several top opposition leaders to his party's mega rally in Patna.  -- PTI
18:45   GDP growth slows to 7.1% in year of demonetisation
India's economic growth slowed to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17, the year in which 87 per cent of the currency was demonetised, despite a very good showing by the agricultural sector.

The Gross Domestic Product was 6.1 per in the January-March quarter, the immediate three months after the demonetisation was affected on November 9, 2016.

The GDP, as per the new series with base year of 2011-12, had expanded by 8 per cent in 2015-16.

It was 7.9 per cent as based on the old series. The data released by the Central Statistics Office revealed that the Gross Value Added slipped sharply to 6.6 per cent in the last financial year ended March 31, from 7.9 per cent growth in 2015-16.

The demonetisation seems to have impacted the GVA in the third as well as fourth quarter of 2016-17 which slipped to 6.7 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively, from 7.3 per cent and 8.7 per cent.

Almost all sectors, with the exception of agriculture, showed deceleration in the aftermath of demonetisation.

While the manufacturing sector output in the fourth quarter slowed to 5.3 per cent versus 12.7 per cent in the same period of last year, the construction sector slipped into the negative territory.

Thanks to good monsoon, the agricultural sector posted a huge jump in growth as it expanded by 4.9 per cent during 2016-17 compared to dismal growth of 0.7 per cent in the previous year.

In the fourth quarter itself, the agriculture sector GVA rose by 5.2 per cent as compared to 1.5 per cent in the same period of 2015-16.

The data further said the per capita income during 2016- 17 is estimated to have attained a level of Rs 1,03,219 as compared to the estimates for the year 2015-16 of Rs 94,130 showing a rise of 9.7 per cent.  -- PTI
18:11   No more human shields: Word quietly goes out to Army officers in J&K
Serving Army officers, some of them still in Kashmir and a few just back, have told the Times of India that though Major Leetul Gogoi, who used a human shield during the April 9 Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll, was commended by Army chief Bipin Rawat "for sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations" in J&K, the word that has quietly gone out to officers is not to follow such measures.  Read more
Watch: AAP leader Kapil Sharma marshalled out of the Delhi Assembly.
Hemant Morparia is one of the finest cartoonists we have, and his latest cartoon is testimony to his brilliance. You can see it here.  
17:56   Should we eat only what the PM desires, asks DMK
DMK hits out at central govt over ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, says situation has arisen where "we should eat only what PM desires".
17:53   Markets snap record run on late sell-off
The benchmark Sensex slipped from life highs to end marginally lower at 31,145.80 today as markets took a breather after four consecutive record-setting sessions. The broader Nifty also settled 3.30 points, or 0.03 per cent down at 9,621.25.

Participants were on a wait-and-watch mode ahead of the GDP numbers for the January-March quarter.

The Sensex, which had gained 857.76 points in the previous four sessions, moved in a narrow 148-point band today and closed at 31,145.80, down 13.60 points or 0.04 per cent.
17:35   Many Muslim bodies favour a Ram temple, says Yogi after Ayodhya visit
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday offered prayers at the Ram temple in Ayodhya on his first visit to the town after taking charge.

He also made a pitch, albeit muted, for the Ram Temple and pledged investment to improve the infrastructure of the town.  

"Ayodhya mein Shri Ram janmbhoomi ke vivad ka baat-cheet ke madhyam se dono paksh samadhan ka marg nikal sake to sarkar apke saath khadi hai.
If both the sides (Hindus and Muslims) can find a middle path to the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, the government will support it," Yogi Adityanath said.

Adityanath said many Muslim organsiations favour a Ram temple. "There is scope for dialogue now, the SC has also asked for talks," the UP CM said.

He also pledged Rs 350 crore for the development of Ayodhya. "Poore Ayodhya mein hum LED street lights denge," he said.

Adityanath's visit assumes significance as it comes a day after criminal conspiracy charges were framed against top BJP leaders in the Babri mosque demolition case.

The UP chief minister, who arrived on Wednesday morning, spent around 30 minutes at the makeshift temple in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid complex. He later offered payers on the banks of the Saryu River.

Adityanath began his visit by offering prayers at the Hanumangarhi Temple in Ayodhya.

He was accompanied by Dharam Das, against whom conspiracy charges were framed on Tuesday along with the other BJP leaders.
17:03   Sopore: Terrorists hurl grenade at police party outside bank, 4 hurt
Terrorists today hurled a grenade at a police party in Sopore town of north Kashmir's Baramulla district, resulting in injuries to four cops.

"The militants lobbed a grenade at a police party deployed near a bank in Sopore town at around 4.10 pm," a police official said.

He said four policemen were injured in the explosion.

Security forces have rushed to the scene and started investigation into the attack.  -- PTI

Representative image
16:49   Priyanka to shoot for 2 Hollywood films before 'Quantico'
Between now, when she's out promoting Baywatch (never mind what the critics have had to say about it) and by the time the shoot for Quantico season 3 begins, Priyanka Chopra has a bit of time on her hands.   

So what does PeeCee do? What Bollywood has taught her so well -- pack in more work.   

Variety reports that India's first truly international star is in talks to join the indie drama A Kid Like Jake, frontlining Jim Parsons and Claire Danes, as well the New Line comedy Isn't It Romantic opposite Rebel Wilson.    

A Kid Like Jake shoots in June, and Isn't it Romantic in July, soon after which PeeCee will return to the Quantico sets.   

'Most network stars with lengthy TV seasons are usually only able to fit one movie into their hiatus schedule, but Chopra will be juggling two, in addition to continuing doing press for Baywatch,' writes Justin Kroll in Varietyhere

Should we say we are the least bit surprised?  
16:32   Fake news almost shut down iconic Indian restaurant in London
At least 30 websites invite people to make up a fake news story and share it on Facebook. Over the past 12 months the articles have generated more than 13 million engagements on the social network, reports   

Craig Silverman and Sara Spary report on how a fake news story on, which went viral via Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp almost brought business at Karri Twist, a restaurant in London that's been around since 1957, to a halt.   

' isn't an isolated make-your-own-fake-news site. Using domain registration records, BuzzFeed News identified two separate networks that together own at least 30 nearly identical "prank' news sites and that published more than 3,000 fake articles in six languages over the past 12 months. They're also generating significant engagement on Facebook: The sites collectively earned more than 13 million shares, reactions, and comments on the social network in the last 12 months,' they report, here.
There's a huge fire that's been raging for hours at Chennai's iconic Panagal Park area. Anna Isaac tweets: 'Firefighters battling the Chennai Silks blaze. It's been a tough fight, given that the smoke is so thick. @thenewsminute'
16:11   Kerala HC refuses to interfere in cattle slaughter ban
The Kerala High Court has said there is no need for it to interfere with the Centre's ban on cattle sale for slaughter. A PIL seeking the quashing of a notification on a ban on cattle sale for slaughter has been withdrawn after the Kerala HC says there is no constitutional violation in it.

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday observed that there was nothing in the new Central law on cattle trade and slaughter that takes away the rights of people with regard to eating beef.

The public interest petition to this effect filed by Sunil, a Youth Congress activist, came before Chief Justice Navniti Prasad, who said that nothing has been banned as is being spoken about now.

"If anyone reads it properly, the present law prevailing in the country along with the new order that came out none will not have come to this sort of conclusion. There is no ban on slaughter or sale of beef. What has been said in the new order is that mass sale of cattle for slaughter through the cattle market is banned," observed the Chief Justice.

When the advocate general CP Sudhakara Prasad pointed out the ruling of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court that stayed the new order, the Chief Justice expressed surprise about it.

With the Chief Justice taking a strong stand, the petitioner pointed out that he is withdrawing the petition and the court also agreed. 
15:39   Merkel ignores Modi handshake... again
Gaurav Pandhi @GauravPandhi Remember Modi's handshake faux-pas with Angela Merkel in 2015? Well, it happened again yesterday.

15:34   Cattle slaughter ban: Will Centre now decide what we eat, asks Yechury
Condemning the attack on an IIT-Madras PhD scholar by some students protesting against a "beef fest" held on the campus, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury questioned the Centre asking if the government would decide what people should eat?

"It is not mandatory to follow every notification which comes from the Centre as this matter is a state issue. So after this amendment, does the government decide as to what we should eat and what we should not? We want this government to look into other serious matters concerning the country not this," Yechury told ANI.

Earlier today, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan requested his Tamil Nadu counterpart Edappadi K. Palaniswami to take necessary action in the attack on the scholar.

Taking to social media, Vijayan, in his Facebook post said, "It was unfortunate that Suraj, a Malayalee PHD student was assaulted in the IIT campus Chennai for participating in beef fest. Our constitution grants rights to have food of our own choice. Any act of intolerance is the violation of our constitutional rights."

The scholar was thrashed by a group of students on Tuesday, reportedly because he had led Sunday's "beef fest" at the IIT-Madras campus against the Centre's cattle trade rules last week.

At the fest, around 80 students reportedly discussed the Central government's recent ban on sale of cattle for slaughter at cattle markets and ate beef as a mark of protest. Slaughter of cow and calf is banned in Tamil Nadu but there is no bar of slaughter of buffaloes, ox or bull.

The incident took place at the hostel mess around lunch when Sooraj R was asked by another student why got involved with the "beef fest".

Around the same time, five-six other people surrounded Sooraj and started beating him up. Sooraj's received injuries in his right eye and was taken to hospital by his friends.

Later, a group of students protested outside the institute campus against the violence.

Nine people have been booked so far in the case.
15:23   Belgian PM suffers hearing loss after princess fires starting pistol
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was forced to seek medical treatement after Princess Astrid fired a starter's pistol signaling the start of a 20K road race in Brussels.

Prime Minister Michel was standing too close to Princess Astrid at one of the routine ceremonial appearances during a show up at a 20K race, wave to the crowd and cheer as the runners bolt from a starting line and dash through the streets of Brussels.

Michel has been suffering hearing loss since a starter pistol, signaling the beginning of the race, was fired near his left ear, CNN quoted the Prime Minister's spokesman, Barend Leyts, as saying.

Michel, 41, is following a series of treatments for the injury and is still coming to work between doctor appointments, Leyts said.

The Prime Minister had to cancel a meeting at Parliament on Tuesday morning, but his schedule has not been cleared and his office is going about things as normally as possible, Leyts said.
15:23   Bail provisions set to change -- for the better?
The Law Commission of India has released its 268th Report titled 'Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 -- Provisions relating to bail', writes Abhinav Sekhri in his blog. 

'The report has been in the pipeline for over a year and has provided a draft Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2017 focusing on making changes to the provisions on arrest and bail throughout the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 [CrPC].'   

The recommendations cover 13 broad areas, like arrest, statutory bail and remand, conditions for bail, etc.   

Analysing the recommends, Abhinav concludes that 'it would be misleading to label this report as batting for 'reform'.'   

'It is, frankly, conservative, and only shifts to the front foot while facing run-of-the-mill deliveries. It would be unfortunate if the annexed Amendment Bill is tabled in the upcoming session of parliament without changes. It would be a tragedy if it becomes part of the statute books in its current form,' he says, here
15:01   Kejriwal baiter Kapil Mishra dragged out of Assembly
Former minister Kapil Mishra was heckled and dragged out of the Delhi Assembly today.

The Assembly met at a special session today to discuss and pass the GST bill.

Mishra said he had written to the Speaker saying he wanted to make a statement against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and health minister Satyendra Mishra.

But, he said, the moment he stood up to speak, the Speaker asked marshalls to escort him outside the Assembly.

However, other AAP MLAs said Mishra was raising slogans against the Delhi CM and the health minister.

Following this, Mishra was dragged out of the Assembly.

Mishra, once a close confidant of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had levelled corruption charges against him and other AAP leaders, an allegation which the party has junked.

Mishra said he would expose the party at a meeting at Constitution Club on June 8.
Shereen Bhan tweets: #CNBCTV18Exclusive @Ashok_Gajapathi on finding a buyer for air India: "Hardly any bakras around, to get one will be difficult"
PM Narendra Modi with the President of Spain Mariano Rajoy at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid.
German Foreign Ministry says embassy workers have been wounded in Kabul blast, Afghan security officer killed.
The Last Caveman? @CarDroidusMax  LOL Now how about a televised showdown between the current national animal and the proposed national animal? Winner takes all. ??
14:15   India will beat Pakistan, win Champions Trophy: Laxman
Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has backed the Virat Kohli-led side to not only beat arch-rivals Pakistan in their Champions Trophy opener, but to defend the coveted title as well.

"I am very confident that India will do well in the Champions Trophy and will defend the title," Laxman said on Wednesday.

India had an ideal start in their defence of the title with comfortable victories over New Zealand and Bangladesh in both the warm-up games at the Kennington Oval.

While bowlers came to fore in the first game against the Black Caps where they bundled out a strong batting line up of Kiwis for just 189 and won the match by 45 runs through D/L method, it was an all-round performance with some solid batting backed up by hostile opening spell from pacers that helped India embarrass Bangladesh by 240 runs in the second warm-up game.

"Especially, the way they played in the last two warm-up games. The batsmen are in form. I am very impressed with the way Shikhar Dhawan batted in both the games. Even Dinesh Karthik used the opportunity against Bangladesh brilliantly," said Laxman."Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya were also amongst runs."
14:06   It is beyond sport at the moment, says Laxman on India-Pak series
Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has backed the government's decision not to play bilateral cricket series with arch-rivals Pakistan, saying "it is beyond sport at the moment".

"I have always enjoyed playing against Pakistan," said Laxman on Wednesday. "But it is very important to respect whatever decision the government takes because it is beyond sport at the moment," he added.

Two days ago, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel had ruled out a bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, saying "sports and terrorism cannot go hand in hand".

"BCCI should come out with a proposal on Pakistan only after consultations with the government. I have already made it clear that any bilateral series with Pakistan is almost impossible because there cannot be sports relations between the two countries until there is terrorism from the Pakistani side," Goel had said in New Delhi while talking to reporters.

According to the ICC Future Tours Programme, the Indian cricket team is scheduled to play Pakistan in a bilateral series later this year. But that seems highly improbable as hostilities continue from across the border.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had earlier this month sent a legal notice to its Indian counterpart for failing to honour the MoU signed between the two cricket boards in 2014.

The PCB had also demanded compensation close to USD 60 million from the BCCI for not honouring the MoU signed when N. Srinivasan was at the helm of affairs in the Indian board.

According to the 2014 agreement, India were scheduled to play six series against Pakistan , four of them were going to be Pakistan's home series, subject to clearance from the Government of India.

The two Asian neighbours have not played a full bilateral series after the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.
14:02   Pro-Left student bodies protest attack on IIT-M student
Pro-Left student bodies today staged a protest outside the IIT Madras here condemning the attack on a PhD scholar for taking part in a beef fest in the campus opposing the Centre's ban on sale of cattle for slaughter.

Expressing solidarity with R Sooraj, who was attacked yesterday, the slogan-raising activists of the Left leaning bodies demanded action against the assailants. Police said the activists were detained. Sooraj had participated in a beef fest held by some students on Sunday night.

In a related development, some IIT-M students took out a procession, urging the institute management to take action against those involved in the attack on the scholar.

A pro-Tamil fringe outfit also staged a protest outside the IIT campus over the assault. Sooraj, associated with the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, was injured in his right eye in yesterday's assault allegedly by some students claimed to be Sangh Parivar supporters.
13:35   Raj HC wants life term for cow slaughter
Rajasthan HC says the cow should be declared a national animal and that a life term should be given for cow slaughter.
13:23   Sharif in huddle with Army chief, ministers, over Kulbhushan Jadhav
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif is chairing a high-level meeting with the Army Chief and Cabinet ministers on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Pakistan has decided to appoint an ad-hoc judge at the International Court of Justice for the next hearing on a plea filed by India against the sentencing of Jadhav, who it alleges is a spy.

An Express Tribune report said that Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali will be leading Pakistan's legal team at the next hearing of the case on June 8 at the UN court, which stayed Jadhav's execution on May 18.

The ICJ had on May 18 stayed the execution of 46-year-old Jadhav, who was sentenced to death last month by a Pakistan military court that convicted him of alleged spying and subversive activities.

The Attorney General for Pakistan informed that the parliamentary committee on national security that Pakistan would appoint its ad-hoc judge for the upcoming hearing and he would himself lead Pakistan's team at the ICJ.

Earlier in the parliamentary panel's meeting on May 23, the committee had expressed outright dissatisfaction over Pakistan's legal strategy to deal with Jadhav's case at the ICJ.

It said the government's "lack of preparation" had resulted in allowing India to get a provisional stay order against the military court's verdict.

Pakistan raised the confession statement of Jadhav as a base of its argument and accused India of using the ICJ for its "political theatrics".

India termed that the confession of Jadhav was forcibly taken by the military while in captivity and he was tried by a military court in Pakistan.

Amjad Shoaib, an ex-ISI official and a retired Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army, has acknowledged India's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav was captured from Iran.

Pakistan claimed that Jadhav was taken into custody in Balochistan in March 2016 while India has repeatedly maintained that Jadhav was on business trip to Iran and Pakistan had captured him from there and planted a false case against him.
Death toll in the Kabul blast continues to rise. Afghanistan's Ministry of Health says nearly 80 killed and 350 wounded. 
13:15   Flipkart COO Nitin Seth resigns citing personal reasons
Flipkart Chief Operating Officer (COO) Nitin Seth has put down his papers, says News18.

Seth was at the helm of logistics unit Ekart and corporate functions such as human resources and strategy. He has quit citing personal reasons, adds the report.

This comes at a time when Indian e-comerce major Flipkart is in talks to take over rival company Snapdeal in a major acquisition.

Nitin Seth had joined as chief people officer only in February 2016 and seen Flipkart witness multiple management restructurings. He was first promoted to the position of Chief Administrative Officer halfway through 2016 after which he began handling strategies and corporate functions for the firm.
12:53   In Spain, PM talks trade, tech and terror
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived Madrid last night on the second leg of his six-day, four-nation tour aimed at boosting bilateral economic engagement.

Modi's visit to Spain is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister since 1988.

Modi will hold discussions with Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy on ways to deepen bilateral engagement, including in the high-tech sector. Modi will also call on King Felipe VI of Spain.

This afternoon, Modi met Rajoy at La Moncloa Palace. In a short press statement, the PM said, "We are in favour of making ties with Spain even more productive in the coming years. I am sure the discussions with PM Mariano Rajoy will lead to enhancement of India-Spain bilateral ties. India and Spain can cooperate in so many areas, including infrastructure. We must have even closer economic ties. Terrorism is a challenge for all of our societies, we get to hear a lot about terror attacks these days."

Image: PM Modi with his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy.
12:24   Modi strongly condemns Kabul bombing
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly condemned the bomb blast in Kabul and underlined the need for defeating forces supporting terrorism. Modi, who is in Spain on a visit, said India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all forms of terrorism.

"We strongly condemn the terrorist blast in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured," he tweeted.

In another tweet, he said, "Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated."

The prime minister's message came after a powerful truck bomb killed at least nine people and wounded scores of others in the Afghanistan capital's diplomatic quarter today morning.

Image: An injured man is taken to hospital after the blast in Kabul. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters
11:53   Suspicious box in Kashmir shrine leads to panic
More from Kashmir: A suspicious box found in the compound of the Kheer Bhawani shrine in Tulumulla ahead of an annual mela to be attended by thousands of devotees tomorrow triggered panic in the area, police said today.

An anti-sabotage team of police found the empty ammunition box containing a bomb-like substance in the Kheer Bhawani complex in Ganderbal district last evening, a police official said. He said the box was taken out from the complex and destroyed at Manasbal by a bomb disposal squad.

The detection of the suspected bomb caused panic as the highly guarded shrine will be hosting thousands of devotees tomorrow.

An internal inquiry has been ordered into what seems to be a security lapse as the temple complex is highly protected with hundreds of security personnel guarding the shrine, the official said.

The annual Mela Kheer Bhawani will be observed tomorrow with Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus expected to pay their obeisance at the shrine.
11:48   ATM stolen in Anantnag
In the real world, unknown persons stole an ATM machine of the State Bank of India from Anantnag town in Kashmir, police said today. The amount of cash present inside the machine was not known yet. Police have registered a case and started investigations.
11:47   Trump's 'covfefe' tweet spawns the best memes ever!
Speculations amok that US President Donald Trump was punch drunk last night as he typed out a particularly cryptic tweet with a term which has left Twitter in hysterics and baffled at the same time- 'covfefe'. Trump's incoherent tweet, "the constant negative press covfefe", is spewing memes.

Almost instantly after the President's tweet went out, meme's and jibes began flying around wondering what on earth could a 'covfefe' actually mean.

Here are some of the gems that are taking Twitter by storm:

The tweet, sent at 12:06 a.m., was retweeted nearly 10,000 times in one minute and drew ridicule.

Oliver Willis posted a tweet: "And the orb, having bestowed upon you the power to smite your enemies, can be invoked using the simple code word '#covfefe '"

BrooklynDad_Defiant! @mmpadellan I have the best #covfefe.

Lance Hodges @lancehodges Wow, that was quick! #covfefe (wasn't me btw)

the real jonny lim‏ @jlimmy_  Me reading #covfefe tweets and then realizing that is an actual tweet from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Christian Becker‏ @TheAmazingBeck  #Covfefe is a pre-existing condition.

DiAndre Matthews‏ @champagnepimpin  To all the people who went to bed early and missed #covfefe shame on you.

Allegra Craver‏ @allegra_craver  "Four score and a million #covfefe memes ago, I was going to go to bed..."

Dante Enriquez‏ @spikesarsenal  Can't wait to see Fox&Friends justify #covfefe. "It's a legitimate shortening of 'coverage' & 'facts.' And now onto the covfefe of the day"

Covfefe‏ @ilieknachos  To err is human, to #covfefe is divine

Hari Kondabolu @harikondabolu  Remember Kids, always use a #covfefe when you have sex.

David‏ @Econ_Dave  The United States is one stroke away from Mike Pence being president and I'm pretty sure it just happened #Covfefe
11:20   Trolled for 'showing leg' at meet with PM, Priyanka responds...
Newly-minted Baywatch star Priyanka Chopra who happened to be in Berlin at the same time as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted a picture of the meeting yesterday, saying, "Thank you for taking the time to meet me this morning @narendramodi Sir. Such a lovely coincidence to be in #berlin at the same time." 

The Bollywood actress is in Berlin to promote Baywatch and also attended the premiere of the film last night.

The picture with the PM had Priyanka wearing a pretty white dress embellished with lace. However, hours after the tweet, 'sanskari' Indians tweeted a response saying she wasn't properly dressed to meet the prime minister. "Priyanka, you were sitting with the Prime Minister of our country. You should have at least had the basic sense of covering your legs," a comment read.

The feisty actress posted this picture on Instagram with her mother in response:  "Legs for days... #itsthegenes with @madhuchopra nights out in #Berlin."

Break a leg, lady!
Donald Trump's incoherent tweet, "the constant negative press covfefe", is spewing memes. 
11:02   Worth the 20-year wait
"Now, in an era that feels impossibly removed from 1997, comes her second novel, "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,' a book always threatening to surge beyond its covers. Truly, this is a remarkable creation, a story both intimate and international, swelling with comedy and outrage, a tale that cradles the world's most fragile people even while it assaults the Subcontinent's most brutal villains."

The Washington Post reviews Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Read
10:58   AIADMK ministers to meet Jaitley today
An AIADMK delegation led by M Thambidurai is meeting finance minister Arun Jaitley this evening assuring support to the BJP's presidential candidate. The meeting comes in the aftermath of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami meeting PM Narendra Modi last week, ostensibly to seek the Centre's support for drought relief in the state. The AIADMK leaders who will meet Jaitley are MPs P Venugopal and A Navaneethakrishnan and state minister P Thangamani.
10:44   Yogi offers prayers at Ram temple in Ayodhya
UP CM Yogi Adityanath offers prayers at makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Adityanath's visit comes a day after the crucial Babri Masjid hearing in which senior BJP leaders were slapped with charges of criminal conspiracy.

This is Adityanath's first visit, post taking charge as Chief Minister.

Yesterday, he had paid a visit to BJP veterans Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, who had come to Lucknow to appear before a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

In a major setback to Advani, Joshi and Uma, the court yesterday rejected their discharge application, framing charges against them and the other nine accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Charges of criminal conspiracy under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have been framed.

Image: UP CM Yogi Adityanath offers prayers at the banks of the river Saryu in Ayodhya.
The immediate aftermath of the Kabul explosion. Afghan Health Ministry says 60 people wounded so far. Pic courtesy: ANI.
10:23   By God's grace Indian embassy staff safe: Sushma
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweets: @SushmaSwaraj By God's grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive #Kabul blast.
10:17   At least 60 wounded, says Afghanistan's ministry of health
Update on the Kabul blast: Afghanistan news channel TOLO News says the explosion happened on 14th Street of Wazir Akbar Khan. The Ministry of Public Health officials say at least 60 wounded so far in a suspected car bombing.

Image: The wreckage at the site of the blast, suspected to be a car bomb. Picture courtesy: Tolo News.
10:10   Several killed in Kabul explosion
Update on the Kabul blast: The explosion in Kabul was caused by a car bomb near the German embassy, several have been killed and wounded, says Afghan police.
10:07   Yogi visits Ayodhya's 2nd most important temple in first visit to city
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya, the second most important temple in the holy city after the makeshift Ram temple. He is also expected to offer prayers at the Ram temple, which is at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

The visit is his first in the city after taking charge as chief minister and comes a day after the CBI Court in Lucknow filed conspiracy charges in the Babri Masjid case against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and union Minister Uma Bharti. The court, in its charge sheet said the three leaders and six others conspired to demolish the 16th century Babri mosque in 1992.

The BJP maintains that the visit a day after the court hearing is simply a coincidence, but speculation is rife on whether the Ram temple is back on the party's agenda.

The CM will also meet party workers in the city.
09:49   Huge blast near Indian embassy in Kabul, all officials safe
Just in: A huge explosion has hit the Afghan capital, Kabul, say reports. The explosion occurred near the Indian embassy in the diplomatic area of the city. Early reports say the glass panes of the windows and doors of the embassy are damaged. Reports say all officials are safe. Images on social media show a large cloud of black smoke over the city. Details awaited.

The picture was tweeted by @pajhwok.
09:30   New Re 1 notes to be in circulation soon
New one rupee notes with predominantly pink-green on obverse and reverse in combination with other colours will be soon put into circulation.

The notes bearing the rupee symbol have been printed by the Government of India.

At present, one rupee coins are minted. Printing of one rupee notes was discontinued in 1994 but was relaunched in 2015.

"The Reserve Bank of India will soon put into circulation currency notes in one rupee denomination," the central bank said in a statement.

The note will bear signature of Shaktikanta Das, secretary in the ministry of finance. Rest other currency notes bear the signature of the RBI Governor.

The numbering will be in black at right hand bottom portion of the note.

On the reverse side, the year '2017' is mentioned. There is also representation of One Rupee coin with rupee symbol having floral design and the surrounding design consists of the picture of 'Sagar Samrat' the oil exploration platform.

"The colour of one rupee currency note shall be predominantly pink green on obverse and reverse in combination with others," the RBI said.
09:13   Tripura refuses to implement new cattle slaughter rules
Tripura's Left Front government will not implement the new cattle trade and slaughter rules as it is against the interests of the people, a state minister said. 

"The new cattle trade and slaughter rules framed by the central government are against the interest of the people. We will not carry out the new rules," Tripura's Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Minister Aghore Debbarma said. 

"The central government is yet to send us the new cattle trade and slaughter rules. They did not consult us on this issue," he said.

"If people are not able to sell their cattle, how will they take care of livestock when it turns unnecessary for them? How will it be determined that the cattle being purchased from the market is for slaughtering?" said Debbarma, also the member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist central committee.

With the aim to prevent cruelty to animals, the union forest, environment and climate change ministry last week modified rules, making it mandatory to ensure that cattle are not bought or sold at cattle markets for slaughtering. The list of animals includes cows, bulls, buffaloes, heifers, calves and camels.
08:31   Day after ruling against BJP leaders, Yogi Adityanath to visit Ayodhya
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit Ayodhya today and is expected to offer prayers at the makeshift Ram temple at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi- Babri Masjid site. 

The chief minister will be in Ayodhya, his first visit after taking charge, just a day after senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and union Minister Uma Bharti were charged by a Lucknow court with conspiracy to demolish the 16th century Babri mosque in 1992. 

The CM's visit to Ayodhya immediately after trial began in the case on Tuesday has added to speculation on whether the Ram temple agenda, pushed to the backburner by the BJP for years amid a court battle, is being brought back by the party with an eye on the 2019 national election. 

The BJP hopes to replicate its unprecedented feat in the last election of winning 71 of the state's 80 parliament seats. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a second term in 2019 and UP will be crucial. 
08:03   Armed man at Orlando airport taken into custody after standoff
A man with a gun at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday night has been taken into custody after a lengthy standoff in a rental car area, police said.

"Everyone is safe," Orlando police tweeted.

Earlier, police spokeswoman Sgt Wanda Miglio said officers responded to reports of a man with a gun in the terminal. No shots were fired, she said.

A crisis negotiator spoke with the suspect, police said on their verified Twitter account before the man was detained. 

The incident took place in the rental car area of Level 1, Side A, the airport tweeted.

There was minimal impact to airport operations, the airport wrote on Twitter. The Federal Aviation Administration website listed a ground stop for the airport, known by the three-letter code MCO. The airport said planes due to arrive there were affected. Flight tracking websites indicated some flights were still departing.
00:17   Graft probe: Pressure on Rawat to withdraw names of NHAI officials from FIR
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who had recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation probe in the multi-crore NH24 scam, appears to be under pressure from the Centre to withdraw the names of NHAI officials from a first information report lodged in this connection.

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had written to the Chief Minister last month seeking 'corrective measures', saying the case will have an adverse impact on the morale of the National Highway Authority of India officials and impede execution of projects.

NHAI Chairman Y S Mallik too recently wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy asking him to re-examine the culpability of the NHAI officials and claimed that they had no role in changing the land use or determination of compensation paid to the landowners.

He also repeated Gadkari's warning that it would be very difficult to expect NHAI officers to deliver on projects in the state if the situation persists.

The officials named in the FIR approached the Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday seeking a stay on their arrest.

The high court issued notices to the Udham Singh Nager ADM and the private parties whose land had been acquired for construction of the national highway and fixed the matter for next hearing on July 28.

Alleged irregularities running into Rs 240 crore in the acquisition of land for national highway 74 located in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand were detected in March this year. -- PTI