Sun, 03 September 2017
Trump hails hurricane relief efforts as he visits Texas

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20:45   Trump hails hurricane relief efforts as he visits Texas
US President Donald Trump has praised the relief response to Hurricane Harvey on his second visit to flood-hit states.

"Things are working out well," he said of the efforts, as he and wife Melania met victims and volunteers in Texas.

"As tough as this was, it's been a wonderful thing," he added. "I think even for the country to watch and for the world to watch."

The devastating hurricane made landfall in the state a week ago.

Some residents have been allowed to return to their homes but flood waters are still rising in other areas. Harvey has been blamed for at least 47 deaths, and about 43,000 people are currently housed in shelters.
20:06   It could have been much worse: Khattar defends handling of Dera issue
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has been facing heat over his management of the Dera issue, today said the violence by the sect's supporters could have turned much worse had the government not
been alert.

Khattar told reporters that the state government had taken steps after due consideration in compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"Had the government had not been alert, the situation could have been much worse," he said in Karnal.

The Haryana government had come under attack for allowing a huge build up of Dera Sacha Sauda followers in Panchkula.

Violence broke out there after Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's conviction in rape cases, leaving 35 people dead. Six others died in incidents of violence in Sirsa.

Ram Rahim was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.

On August 30, Khattar, had ruled out his resignation after meeting BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi, saying his government had acted with "restraint" in handling the situation.

Khattar also told reporters today that he would contest the next election from Karnal as the people of the constituency have accorded him a lot of respect.
19:51   Blue Whale claims one more life in MP
The deadly Blue Whale game reportedly claimed one more life in Madhya Pradesh's Damoha.

Satvik Pandey, a class XI student, committed suicide by jumping in front of train on Saturday night.

Pandey's school friends said that he used to play Blue Whale game and asked them to play the suicidal game too.

However, the family of the deceased student has not commented anything on it.

The police are also investigating the case and have not made any such statement so far.
19:42   Demonetisation will benefit country in long run: RSS
Backing the government on demonetisation, the RSS today said people are now realising that the move to ban high denomination notes will benefit the country in the long run.

The top brass of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh along with office bearers of its allied organisations held a closed door meeting for three days which ended today.

However, earlier some Sangh affiliates had criticised the government on the issue of banning high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

This is the first time that a top RSS functionary has categorically supported demonetisation.

RSS Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya said the issues related to economic policy were discussed at length and Sangh affiliates also shared their views in the meeting.

"Earlier the country was in shock but now people are coming out of those earlier shocks and are realising that the decision of demonetisation will benefit the country in the long run," Vaidya said.
19:22   Modi, Xi expected to meet on Tuesday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to hold a bilateral meeting on Tuesday, nearly a week after India and China announced resolution of the 73-day-long Doklam standoff.

According to officials, the two leaders are scheduled to hold a meeting on September 5 on the sidelines of the 9th Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa Summit, which will start tomorrow in this port city of China.

After the bilateral meeting with the host, Modi will be travelling to Myanmar.

The Chinese and the Indian troops were engaged in a standoff since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese army.
18:57   India 'deplores' North Korean nuclear test
India today said that it "deplores" North Korea's latest nuclear test, calling it a "matter of deep concern that Democratic People's Republic of Korea has once again acted in violation of its international commitments."

The North Korean nuclear test, its sixth and biggest-ever, goes against the objective of the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, which has been endorsed by Pyongyang itself, New Delhi said. "We call upon DPRK to refrain from such actions which adversely impact peace and stability in the region and beyond."

New Delhi also hinted at at its concern about North Korean nuclear missiles falling into the wrong hands, saying, "India also remains concerned about the proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies which has adversely impacted India's national security."
18:41   Well thought-out decision: Goa CM Parrikar on Sitharaman as defence minister
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday congratulated his party colleague Nirmala Sitharaman on being appointed the country's first full-fledged woman defence minister, saying an excellent and a well thought-out decision has been taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Parrikar expressed confidence that Sitharaman will do justice to her post as the defence minister.

"It is an excellent and well thought out decision. Not only women is empowered, which is very close to the heart of the PM, but Nirmala is a very capable minister. She is a very analytical, knowledgeable and hard working person. So, defence ministry has got a very good minister, she will do justice to her job," he said.

"She is woman and we are very proud of her but at the same time she is equally hard working, capable, and intellectual," he added.

Earlier in the day, Parrikar took to Twitter to congratulate Sitharaman.

"Many congratulations to @nsitharaman Ji on becoming India's next & first full time woman Defence Minister. Wish her all the best," tweeted Parrikar.
18:25   Modi arrives in Xiamen to attend BRICS Summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Xiamen today to attend the BRICS Summit during which he would look forward to having "productive discussions and positive outcomes" with leaders of the grouping to support the agenda for a stronger partnership among the member countries.

During his two day visit, Modi is also expected to hold a series of bilateral meetings including with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other BRICS leaders.

He is also expected to meet leaders of countries like Egypt, invited by China as part of the outreach exercise. China has invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the Summit.

"I look forward to building upon the results and outcomes of the Goa Summit. I also look forward to productive discussions and positive outcomes that will support the agenda of a stronger BRICS partnership under the chairmanship of China," the prime minister had said ahead of his visit to this Chinese city.
17:57   Trump condemns 'hostile and dangerous' North Korea
Donald Trump has condemned an apparent nuclear test by North Korea as 'hostile and dangerous' after the secretive state said it had performed a 'perfect' explosion of its most powerful weapon yet.

"Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States," the US president said in a tweet hours after the blast caused condemnation around the world.

Japan said the explosion was ten times the strength of Pyongyangs test last September, while reports in South Korea said it was up to five times more powerful than the Nagasaki bomb in 1945.

Fears that Kim Jong-un's regime had carried out the country's sixth nuclear test came after an earthquake was detected in the reclusive states north-east.

US President Donald Trump tweeted: "North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.

"North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success."
17:26   Protests continue over Dalit girl's death; DMK vows to continue fight against NEET
Pro-Tamil outfits continued with their protests for the second day today over the suicide of a Dalit medical aspirant and a court petitioner against NEET, even as DMK vowed to keep up its fight against the entrance exam.

Scores of activists of the 'May 17 Movement' outfit were detained when they attempted to lay siege to the BJP's state headquarters here, police said.

They raised slogans against the Central and state governments over the suicide of 17-year-old Anitha from Ariyalur, daughter of a daily wage earner who allegedly hanged herself at her house in her native village in that district on September 1, reportedly upset over not getting an MBBS seat.     

Security has been beefed up at the BJP office.

Protests were also held at various locations in Tiruvallore, Kanniyakumari and Thiruvarur districts on this issue.

Opposition DMK also targeted BJP and the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, faulting both for failing to ensure at least one year exemption for the state from NEET.
17:01   Modi has sent a strong message that Indian women can perform: Sitharaman
New defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is the second woman to take charge of the ministry after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, says that PM Narendra Modi has sent a strong message that Indian women can perform. 

When asked what is going through her mind after her elevation, she told News18, "I understand the impact of the decision and it is a huge responsibility. I just have no way to convey my gratitude to the prime minister and the party that they thought I am good enough for the role entrusted to me. 

She added, "Decisions on security-related matters will be taken by women along with the others. This is a big message to women."
16:46   Decoding the message behind Modis Cabinet reshuffle
Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked supremely self-confident at Rashtrapati Bhawan this morning as he brought in nine more men into his Council of Ministers, four of them former bureaucrats. 

The message couldnt be clearer to his political colleagues as well as to the rest of the party. 

Modi isnt waiting for anyone in the BJP to breach the governance deficit that has been staring India in the face in recent months. He believes that former bureaucrats who have handled the ropes of governance for nearly 40 years of their lives can pull the government out of its present morass.

Read full HERE
16:20   Confused about changes in the Cabinet? We simplify it for you
Here are some key changes in the Cabinet.

Photograph courtesy: @PIB_India/Twitter
16:13   Congress terms PM Modi's new team as 'senior citizens club'
Responding to the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet, the Congress on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inducting a 'senior citizens club', alleging that the message being given out by the newly appointed cabinet is of 'maximum government, but no governance'.

Addressing a press conference, Congress leader Manish Tewari alleged that Prime Minister Modi looked 'disconnected' from the process, while Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah looked more like the Prime Minister in charge.

"What is strange is that Prime Minister Modi seemed disconnected, while Amit Shah looked like the prime minister. Looks like he has inducted a senior citizens club, as the average age of the nine new ministers is 60.44 in a country where the median age of is 27 years. The message he is trying to convey is unclear," he said.

In a detailed criticism of the newly-inducted ministers, Manish claimed that the nine new entrants comprise of four former bureaucrats, one 'doctor beater' and four other inconsequential individuals.

"On the other hand, he has dropped ministers like Bandaru Dattatreya and Kalraj Mishra, and promoted people like Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan," he added, highlighting the irony.

Tewari further branded the appointment of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Nirmala Sitharaman as 'mere tokenism'.
15:43   Cabinet rejig: Spare a thought for Nitish, tweets Omar Abdullah
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday asked his followers on Twitter to "spare a thought" for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who used to be held in high regard when he was a part of the United Progressive Alliance-led by the Congress, but got to know of the Cabinet reshuffle of the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, only through the media.

"Spare a thought for Nitish Kumar ji who was the bee's knees in the UPA & now only hears of union cabinet reshuffles through the media," he posted a sardonic tweet.
15:12   Happy to have a competent successor: Jaitley on new defence minister
Arun Jaitley seems to be a happy man. After being released of the defence portfolio, the finance minister said that he was happy with the decision of making Nirmala Sitharaman the next defence minister. 

"It was a great experience. Not possible to continue indefinitely in two ministries. Happy to have a competent successor," he said. 

"Now, we have two competent women in the Cabinet, which is not just great for the women of this country, but also for the nation. Our external affairs minister is a lady, our defence minister is a woman too."

"Performance is the only message that the Prime Minister is trying to send through the reshuffling," said Jaitley. 
15:01   Chidambaram 'welcomes' Prabhu into commerce and industry minister
Congress leader Chidambaram clearly isn't impressed by the reshuffle. After the rejig, the former finance minister wrote, "Welcome Mr Prabhu to Industry (manufacturing in doldrums) and Commerce (exports stagnant). Best wishes. Agriculture in distress, Health in crisis, but ministers remain."

14:48   When Piyush Goyal's mother-in-law fainted in Rashtrapati Bhavan
The swearing-in ceremony for new inductees in the Union Cabinet was scheduled to start at 10.30 am today at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The programme, however, started 5 minutes late as an elderly woman sitting in the rows reserved for guests fainted.

The woman, who was initially administered medicines, was later taken out of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in a stretcher. This led to commotion and delayed the oath-taking ceremony by a few minutes.

The elderly woman was later identified as the mother-in-law of Piyush Goyal, who took oath as a Cabinet minister and is the new Railways Minister, reports India Today. 
14:40   Omar Abdullah congratulates Nirmala Sitharaman
Former Jammu-Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was one of the first to extend his wishes to India's first female Defence Minister after Indira Gandhi -- Nirmala Sitharaman. 

He wrote on Twitter, "Wow, straight from MoS (independent charge) to a seat at the Cabinet Committee on Security. Amazing trajectory. Well done @nsitharaman ji."

Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi also congratulated Sitharaman on her elevation to Cabinet rank. 

In a Twitter post, Bedi praised her and said, "Proud of her. She is brilliant in her work. She has earned her way thru every bit. @nsitharaman Wish her the best."
14:28   JD-U downplays Lalu's flak, says rejig was a non-NDA affair
Retorting to the flak over Janata Dal-United not being able get a representation in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, party general secretary KC Tyagi on Sunday said that the rejig was Bharatiya Janata Party's internal matter and non-National Democratic Alliance affair.

Tyagi said JD-U commenting on an internal reshuffle, hence, was not pertinent.

"This was a reshuffle, amid the BJP and it is the prime minister's prerogative to handle his Cabinet. It was the BJP's internal reshuffle and not the NDA's, so we would not like to comment on it," said Tyagi.

Tyagi also downplayed Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Yadav's remarks ridiculing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said that the latter is famous for making frivolous comments.

"Lalu Yadav is known for his non-serious comments and people don't give any importance to his statements. Nitish Kumar's fate is better than Lalu Yadav's fate," he added.

At a time when JD-U patched-up with the BJP, it was speculated that the Nitish Kumar led party will claim high stakes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet.

However contrary to the expected, no JD-U leader got upgraded in the Central team.

The Cabinet rejig saw the promotion of as many as four Ministers of State to the rank of Cabinet ministers today.
JUST IN: Vijay Goel moved from sports ministry to MOS parliamentary affairs while Alphons K is new MoS tourism  and electronics.
13:48   Uma Bharti sulks as she is no longer Ganga and water management minister
Nitin Gadkari has been given the additional charge of Ganga and Water Management while Uma Bharti has got the get drinking water and sanitation. 
13:30   Smriti Irani retains Information and Broadcasting ministry, say reports
Smriti Irani, who held the additional charge after the elevation of Venkaiah Naidu as the Vice-President of India, will now retain the I&B portfolio. However, India is likely to get a new textiles minister. 
Clarification: Hardeep Puri is MoS of Urban development. It was earlier reported that he would be MoS of commerce. 
JUST IN: Suresh Prabhu, who exits as rail minister, retains Cabinet rank. He will be the new Commerce Minister. 
13:17   Nirmala Sitharaman to be new Defence Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman, who was elevated to Cabinet rank this morning, has been handed over the Defence portfolio, reports NDTV. 

Just minutes ago, it was reported that Arun Jaitley would be handing over the defence portfolio after it was earlier announced that he would keep defence and finance with him. 

Sitharaman, a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, will be India's first female defence minister after Indira Gandhi. 

Jaitley leaves for Japan tonight for a day to attend an international meeting of Defence Ministers. Sources said the change in portfolios will happen once he is back on Tuesday evening.    

Hardeep Singh Puri will be the MoS for commerce. 
12:59   Arun Jaitley not to be Defence Minister?
There's a twist to the reshuffle in the Cabinet. 

After reports emerged that Arun Jaitley would be retaining the Defence and Finance portfolios, it is now emerging that Jaitley would be giving up defence portfolio after the reshuffle as he wants to focus on the upcoming Gujarat assembly election. 

The Union minister leaves for Japan tonight for a day to attend an international meeting of defence ministers.  
12:28   This is a BJP reshuffle, taunts Shiv Sena
The Shiv Sena who stayed away from the reshuffle that took place today, taunted its ally at the Centre by saying, "This cabinet reshuffle and the one before this were only BJP reshuffles not of NDA."

The Shiv Sena was demanding more share and feel they have been ignored. 
12:15   UPDATE: Jaitley retains Defence and Finance, Goyal set to be Railway minister
Arun Jaitley will retain the portfolios of Defence and Finance. 

Earlier on August 31, Jaitley had hinted that he would not be serving as Defence Minister for long. Responding to a poser, during a press briefing, on his tenure as the defence minister, the union minister said, "At least I hope not very long. That's anyway not me to decide."

Reports state that Piyush Goyal, who was elevated to Cabinet minister earlier today, has been given the Railways ministry. 

Prabhu had tendered his resignation after back-to-back rail accidents, but it was not accepted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
11:49   Bidding adieu? Suresh Prabhu signals he's no longer rail minister
As the media speculates over who will get which portfolio shortly after the reshuffle, here's a hint of things to come. 

Suresh Prabhu, the current railway minister, signals a farewell. 

Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "Thanks to all 13 Lacs+ rail family for their support, love, goodwill. I will always cherish these memories with me. Wishing u all a great life."

On August 23, Prabhu had offered to quit after back-to-back train derailments in last four days. Suresh Prabhu wrote on Twitter that he took full moral responsibility for the accidents. 

The Kalinga Utkal Express, travelling from Puri to Haridwar, had derailed at Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar killing 22 people and injuring over 150 others. Fourteen bogies of the train had derailed allegedly due to repair and maintenance work being carried out on those tracks at the time.

Later, nine coaches of the Kaifiyat Express derailed near Auriaya injuring over 70 persons.
11:42   PM Modi congratulates new Cabinet ministers, MoS-es
Shortly after the swearing-in ceremony ended, PM Modi extended his greetings to the new ministers, writing, "I congratulate all those who have taken oath today. Their experience & wisdom will add immense value to the Council of Ministers."

He also extended his congratulations to the four -- Pradhan, Sitharaman, Goyal and Naqvi -- who were elevated to Cabinet rank ministers. 
11:14   Glimpse of the nine new ministers in the Modi Cabinet
Here are the newly inducted ministers who took oath just now, as Ministers of State. 

Photograph courtesy: @PIB_India

11:11   9 ministers sworn in; portfolios likely to be announced by 11.30 am
As part of revamping his Cabinet, Prime Minister inducted nine new ministers and elevated four of his previous leaders -- Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi -- to the rank of Cabinet ministers. 

It is now learnt that the new portfolios will be announced by 11.30 am. Who will get Defence? Will it be Arun Jaitley who retains it or will Sushma Swaraj be the new Raksha Mantri? Will Suresh Prabhu remain as Railways minister?

Keep following our updates to find out. 
11:04   From former Mumbai Police Commissioner to MoS: Journey of Satyapal Singh
Singh 61, is a Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. A 1980 batch Maharashtra cadre IPS officer, he retired as the Mumbai Police chief.

He was honoured for his services by the Centre in 2008 with Antrik Suraksha Sewa Padak and a special medal for extraordinary work in naxal hit areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1990. Singh has written books, including on topics like tribal conflict resolution and naxalism.

Born in Basauli village in Baghpat, he has MSc and MPhil degrees in chemistry, an MBA in strategic management from Australia and an MA degree in public administration as well as a PhD on the naxalite movement.
11:01   Former envoy to UN, Hardeep Singh Puri now a MoS
A former envoy to the United Nations, Hardeep Puri was one of the top diplomats of India. A 1974-batch IFS officer, he is reported to be made a MoS defence or commerce. 

10:57   Know more about new MoS RK Singh
Singh, 64, is a former IAS officer of the 1975-batch Bihar cadre and a former Union home secretary. He is a member of the current Lok Sabha representing Arrah in Bihar.

Singh studied English literature at St. Stephens College and is a law graduate. He also studied at the RVB Delft University in the Netherlands.
10:54   UPDATE: Ministers of State being sworn-in
After the Cabinet rank of ministers being sworn in, now is the chance of ministers of state. 

First up is Shiv Pratap Shukla followed by Ashwini Kumar Choubey have been sworn in as minister of state. 

Image: Bihar's Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who has been a health minister in the Nitish Kumar government in the past, takes the oath of office. 
10:49   Pradhan, Goyal, Sitharaman and Naqvi take oath as cabinet ministers
Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Dharmendra Pradhan to be made Cabinet ministers. 

First up for the promotion was Dharmendra Pradhan, followed by Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. 

Pradha, Goyal and Naqvi took the oath of office in Hindi while Sitharaman took the oath of office in English. 

The current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81.

According to a constitutional amendment, the limit cannot exceed beyond 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha which is 545.
10:41   It's confirmed: Dharmendra Pradhan elevated to Cabinet minister
And it's confirmed: Dharmendra Pradhan, who was the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum, Natural Gas, has been promoted to Cabinet rank minister. 
10:39   Sushma Swaraj, Suresh Prabhu likely names for Defence
Reporters say Sushma Swaraj or Suresh Prabhu likely contenders for defence.

Media reports speculate that Sushma Swaraj may leave the ministry of external affairs and move to the defence ministry. 

If Sushma Swaraj becomes the Defence minister, she would be the second woman heading the department after Indira Gandhi.

Speculation is rife that Suresh Prabhu may also get the portfolio. 
10:32   PM Modi arrives for swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the swearing-in ceremony. 

Nine new members will be inducted in the Union Council of Ministers. 

While carrying out the reshuffle, Modi is likely to keep an eye on upcoming state elections in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka and his party's re-election bid in 2019.

After assuming office in May 2014, Modi expanded his council of ministers twice--first on November 9, 2014 and then on July 5, 2016.
With Nirmala likely to enter Cabinet, women gain in strength in the Cabinet -- Sushma, Harsimrat there already. 

Go woman power!
10:20   BJP MP RK Singh thanks PM, promises to live up to expectations
Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former home secretary RK Singh on Sunday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inducting him in his Cabinet, promising to live up to the expectations of the former.

Talking to the media, "I thank Prime Minister Modi for expressing confidence in my ability and I will try live up to that confidence and expectations."

He further apprised that his portfolio has not been decided yet.
10:12   Mr Naqvi is all smiles.... a hint of a promotion?
As promotion awaits for four ministers, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ravi Shankar Prasad are seen greeting each other with smiles.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is expected to be elevated to the Union Cabinet. Other than Naqvi, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Petroluem Minister Dharmendra Pradhan are also likely to be promoted. 
10:07   Congress slams rejig, calls it meaningless
The Congress has slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet reshuffle with Sanjay Jha and Sushmita Devi taking to Twitter to voice their displeasure. 

Sanjay Jha wrote on Twitter, "Modi Ji's cabinet reshuffle: One incapable replaces an inefficient. An ineffective makes way for an incompetent."

Sushmita Devi wrote, "Cabinet reshuffle is meaningless for India. PMO will continue to control ministries. Bhagwat will control PMO. Both are failures. Jai Hind!"
Uma Bharti will be skipping today's oath taking ceremony for PM Modi's new team, says she is out of town.
09:57   Cabinet reshuffle: Piyush Goyal likely to get Railways
The oath ceremony of new ministers of the Narendra Modi government will take place at 10.30 am today. Out of those who will take oath for their respective ministers, names of nine have been declared already. 

According to media reports, Piyush Goyal, who is in charge of Power, will be elevated to a Cabinet minister and will be give the Railways ministry. 

On the other hand, Suresh Prabhu who helms the Railways ministry currently, is likely to be handed over the environment portfolio. 
09:47   Nitin Gadkari unlikely to move out
Nitin Gadkari will continue with current portfolios -- surface transport and shipping. However, he is also believed to have said that any added responsibility is welcome. 
09:41   Shiv Sena to skip today's oath taking ceremony: Reports
The Bharatiya Janata Party's key ally in Centre and Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena will not attend today's oath taking ceremony.

According to media reports, the Sena said that it hasn't been invited to the ceremony 

After government sources disclosed the names of nine people who will take oath as ministers, a surprise factor was the absence of any member from the Shiv Sena from the list.
Though top BJP leaders maintained silence on the development, sources in the party said the Shiv Sena and new NDA entrant, Janata Dal-United not figuring in the list was likely due to lack of a formula for representation which could satisfy all allies.
The Sena, with 18 Lok Sabha members against two from the JD-U, wanted its share of representation in line with that of the Nitish Kumar-led party, which would have meant several more berths for the Maharashtra party, a demand the BJP did not concede, the sources said.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Sena has three members while the JD-U has 10.
Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet the new ministers over breakfast. 
08:57   Nine new members who will take the oath today
1) Anant Kumar Hegde
2) Raj Kumar Singh
3) Hardeep Puri
4) Gajendra Singh Shekhawa
5) Satyapal Singh 
6) Alphons Kannanthanam 
7) Virendra Kumar
8) Pratap Shukla
9) Ashwini Kumar Choubey 
08:42   Trump, Abe discuss 'growing threat' posed by North Korea
The United States and Japan today discussed the 'growing threat' posed by North Korea with President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirming the importance of a close cooperation.
The discussion took place in the backdrop of North Korea announcing the development of a hydrogen bomb which can be loaded into the country's new intercontinental ballistic missile.
"President Donald J Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to discuss ongoing efforts to maximize pressure on North Korea," the White House said in a readout of the call, the third between the two leaders in less than a week.
According to the White House, Trump and Abe reaffirmed the importance of close cooperation between the United States, Japan, and South Korea in the face of the growing threat from North Korea.
"Trump noted that he looks forward to continued trilateral coordination on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly," the White House said.
Yesterday, Trump also talked to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in and discussed a coordinated response to deal with the "destabilising and escalatory behaviour" of North Korea.
08:38   PM Modi to induct new faces in his council, swearing in at 10.30 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will rejig his cabinet on Sunday at 10.30 am as he looks to revamp his Council of Ministers with an eye on the 2019 general elections.

"Swearing-in ceremony of new ministers of the Union government will take place at 10.30 am on Sunday, September 3, at Rashtrapati Bhavan," President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet. 

Among the new inductees are two former bureaucrats, one retired diplomat and an ex-police commissioner

Three of the BJP MPs being inducted -- Virendra Kumar (63), Anant Kumar Hegde (49) and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (49) -- are from Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan respectively where assembly polls are due next year.
Former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam (64), who hails from Kerala, is another pick by Modi, a move seen as the BJP's efforts to expand its base in the southern state to take on the ruling Left Democratic Front led by the CPI(M).
The other new faces to be included in the ministry are BJP MPs Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Bihar), Shiv Pratap Shukla (Uttar Pradesh), former Home Secretary Raj Kumar Singh (Bihar), former diplomat Hardeep Puri and ex-Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh, the sources said.