Fri, 01 June 2018
NIA registers case against 8 'ISIS sympathisers' from Kerala
23:13 NIA registers case against 8 'ISIS sympathisers' from Kerala
The National Investigation Agency has registered a case against eight Kerala men the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for allegedly sympathising with banned terror group Islamic State, a senior official said today.
The NIA took over the case from the Kerala police which had last year booked the eight people in Malappuram district of the state.
The state police had alleged they were 'members' of ISIS or 'Daesh' and 'supported' the organisation by travelling or preparing to travel from Bahrain to Syria for joining the terror group, the official said.
He said the ISIS was waging war against a country that has friendly relations with India.
Those booked were Shaibu Nihar, Manzoor, Mansoor, Shahnad, Fajid, Ashraf Moulavi, Safeer and Muhadis, the agency said.
Last year, the NIA had booked some people for the same reasons under the Act. -- PTI
23:05 Gadkari meets Pawar
Union minister Nitin Gadkari today met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar in Pune, a source said, a day after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party suffered setbacks in Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls held across 11 states.
The source in Gadkari's office confirmed that the minister met Pawar, but said he did not know what they discussed. Pawar and Gadkari are known to enjoy a good equation.
Dealing a blow to the BJP, opposition parties yesterday won 11 out of 14 Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls, limiting the saffron party and its allies to three, and snatching the high-profile Kairana parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh on the back of their new-found unity.
When contacted, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said he was not aware if the two leaders had met.
Malik said if the information was true, there was no reason to believe that the meeting had any political overtones.
They might have discussed state-related issues, including the problems in the sugar sector, he said.
Earlier today, Gadkari held a press conference to highlight the Narendra Modi government's achievements in the past four years. -- PTI
21:54 No scam in An-32 deal with Ukraine: Sitharaman
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman today strongly refuted allegations of kickbacks to officials in the defence ministry and the Indian Air Force in a deal with Ukraine for An-32 aircraft spares.
The Congress had recently demanded action against 'corrupt' officials after a media report said Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau had sent a request to the ministry seeking legal assistance in its probe into the alleged kickbacks.
The defence ministry earlier said the request related to legal assistance in an investigation against officials of Ukraine's state-owned enterprise.
It contained no allegation against any Indian official, the ministry had said.
Sitharaman today said it was straight government-to-government deal and the defence ministry and the IAF 'had not interacted nor entered into agreement' with the company being mentioned in the allegations.
There was no scam of any type in the deal, she told reporters in Ludhiana.
She was in the city to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi government during the last two four years.
The minister said the Indian forces were adequately equipped to meet any eventuality and had sufficient ammunition.
The vice chiefs of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy had been authorised to purchase any ammunition required by the forces, she said.
The funds for this had been sanctioned. -- PTI
21:22 Grenade attacks on PDP MLA's house, CRPF personnel in Kashmir
terrorists carried out two grenade attacks today in Anantnag and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir, including at the residence of ruling Peoples' Democratic Party MLA Mushtaq Shah, leaving six persons injured.
Terrorists lobbed a grenade towards the residence of Tral MLA Mushtaq Shah in Pulwama.
It exploded in the lawn and no one was injured, a police official said, adding the legislator was not in the house at the time of the incident.
The ultras also attacked security forces deployed at KP Chowk in Anantnag in which six persons including four Central Reserve Police Force jawans and a policeman were injured, the official said.
He said Abdul Rasheed, a resident of Amlar Tral, also sustained minor injuries in the explosion.
All the injured were rushed to a nearby hospital and were discharged after treatment, the official said. A case has been registered and investigation is on, he said. -- PTI
20:39 Too early to predict if Opnn unity will last till 2019: Praful Patel
Signs of changing political equations are visible but it is too early to predict if the opposition unity against the Bharatiya Janata Party would sustain till next year's Lok Sabha polls, senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel said today.
Patel stated this a day after the BJP faced electoral reverses in Lok Sabha by-polls in Bhandara-Gondiya constituency in Maharashtra and Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, mainly because of several opposition parties getting together.
Talking to PTI, Patel said Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati andSamajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav joining hands in UttarPradesh and Congress-Janata Dal-Secular coming together in Karnataka aresigns of changing political equations.
To a question on whether the anti-BJP opposition unitycan sustain till the Lok Sabha polls next year, he said, itis too early to say.
Patel said the Congress and the NCP have been in analliance earlier and therefore it was easier for the two parties to join hands again.
We have been alliance partners barring the 2014 assembly elections. I see no problem in continuing the alliance, he added.
The Bhandara-Gondiya seat was won by the NCP which was being supported by the Congress.
He said the BJP could win the Palghar seat in Maharashtra because the Opposition was severely fragmented there.
"See the number of votes polled by Bahujan Vikas Agadhi, CPM, Shiv Sena and Congress. The BJP poached on the Congress candidate at the last minute and fielded him as their nominee," the NCP leader said.
Patel said the by-poll results declared yesterday proves that people are unhappy with the performance of the central government.
"Be it agriculture distress, rising prices including that of petrol and diesel, there is a question mark on the Centre's ability to handle these issues, said the former Union minister. -- PTI
19:18 World will have a better future when India, China work together: PM
Asia and the world will have a better future when India and China will work together with trust and confidence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, over a month after his first informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Modi said India and China have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border.
He asserted that an Asia of "rivalries" will hold the region back while an Asia of cooperation will shape the century.
"It is a world that summons us to rise above divisions and competition to work together," the prime minister said.
Referring to regional maritime issues, Modi said India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members.
"India stands for a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific region, which embraces us all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity," he said.
He further said, "We believe that our common prosperity and security require us to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region."
On issues relating to trade, Modi said India stands for an open and stable international trade regime.
"Competition is normal. But, contests must not turn into conflict; differences must not be allowed to become disputes," he said.
Modi and Xi had held an informal summit in Chinese city of Wuhan in April last week during which they exchanged views on solidifying the relationship between the two Asian powers. -- PTI
18:49 INX Media case: P Chidambaram summoned for questioning on June 6
Former Union minister P Chidambaram has been summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation on June 6 in the INX Media corruption case.
Yesterday, the Delhi high court had granted Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till July 3.
Chidambaram's role has come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Aircel-Maxis deal of Rs 3,500 crore and INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore. It was during his tenure as finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance-1 regime that Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance was granted to the two ventures in which alleged irregularities have been found.
In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15 last year against alleged irregularities in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when Chidambaram was finance minister.
Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram was also arrested in the matter for allegedly receiving funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh in the case.
18:01 Major fire breaks out in south Mumbai's Scindia House
A massive fire has broken out at Scindia House office building near south Mumbai's Ballard Estate Area.
According to officials, the fire has been designated at Level-2 and five fire tenders have been rushed to the spot.
No casualties have been reported so far.
17:51 Congress, JDS to contest 2019 polls together, reach K'taka cabinet deal
The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha polls together as a pre-poll alliance, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal announced today after the two parties reached an agreement on Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's cabinet.
The Congress has ceded the crucial finance ministry to the JD-S.
The Congress has got 22 ministries including home, irrigation, health, agriculture and women child welfare.
Apart from finance ministry, the JD-S got 12 ministries which includes PWD, education, tourism and transport.
Kumaraswamy said that ministry expansion will take place on June 6.
17:19 Be an informer to I-T dept; earn up to Rs 5 cr
Sharing "specific information" with the income tax department about any benami transaction or property could earn you up to Rs 1 crore, while the same for undisclosed black money stashed abroad could fetch up to Rs 5 crore.
Besides, the 'Income Tax Informants Reward Scheme' has also been amended under which a person can get reward up to Rs 50 lakh for giving specific information about substantial evasion of tax on income or assets in India, which are actionable under the Income-tax Act, 1961.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes today announced Benami Transactions Informants Reward Scheme, 2018, under which any person, including foreigners, can inform Joint or Additional Commissioners about benami transactions and properties which can be tried under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016.
This reward scheme is aimed at encouraging people to give information about benami transactions and properties as well as income earned on such properties by such hidden investors and beneficial owners, the said.
"Under the Benami Transactions Informants Reward Scheme, 2018, a person can get reward up to Rs one crore for giving specific information in prescribed manner to the Joint or Additional Commissioners of Benami Prohibition Units in investigation directorates of income tax department about benami transactions and properties as well as proceeds from such properties which are actionable under Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, as amended by Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016," it said.
The tax department also assured full confidentiality of the informer for all the reward schemes saying that the identity of the persons giving information will not be disclosed.
With regard to information shared with the I-T authorities about any undisclosed black money held overseas under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, an informer could earn a reward up to Rs 5 crore.
The reward amount for information under the Foreign Black money Act has been kept high at Rs 5 crore to make it "attractive to potential sources" in foreign countries, the I-T department said.
"Under this scheme, a person can get reward for giving specific information in prescribed manner about substantial tax evasion on income and assets abroad which are actionable under Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015," it added.
16:35 Yogi Adityanath scorned by UP BJP MLAs after bypoll loss
A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA today blamed the ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government for the party's humiliation in Uttar Pradesh bypolls, while another dejected lawmaker resorted to poetry.
Surendra Singh, BJP MLA from Bairia constituency (Ballia district), said if certain ministers in the state cabinet are not removed, the party's downfall in UP is certain.
The other BJP MLA, Shyam Prakash from Gopamau (SC) in Hardoi, posted a satirical poem on Facebook.
"First it was Gorakhpur and Phulpur, and now it is Kairana and Noorpur," the poem began, recalling the string of bypoll losses suffered by the Bharatiya Janata Party in UP this year.
In the bypoll results announced yesterday, a combined opposition wrested Kairana parliamentary and Noorpur assembly constituencies from the BJP.
"For the losses in the bypolls, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is less responsible. But his ministers are more responsible for the defeat," Surendra Singh told reporters today.
"The style of working of more than 50 per cent of the ministers in Adityanath government is not proper. They do not give any importance to party workers," he said.
"If these minister continue to remain in office, the party's downfall in the state is certain," he added.
Singh said if the grievances of the poor people are not heard at police stations, tehsil offices and block offices, they will not vote for the BJP.
He said the expected improvement had not taken place at these levels, and this could lead to the party's defeat.
"The BJP government has not been able to give a transparent government, the MLA said.
He said he also endorsed the view of senior JD(U) leader K C Tyagi that the rising prices of petrol and diesel were responsible for the BJP's defeat in the recent bye-elections.
Gopamau MLA Shyam Prakash's poem in Hindi said the party came to power invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but could not deliver up to the people's expectations.
"Modi naam se paa gaye raaj, kar naa sake janta man kaaj," it read.
He said the poem does not target the chief minister. "All I want to convey is that the officials are not working as per the intention of the chief minister," he told -- PTI.
16:24 J&K: Terrorists hurl grenade at PDP MLA's house
Terrorists today hurled a grenade at People's Democratic Party MLA Mushtaq Shah's residence in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.
No one was injured in the attack, they said.
Shah, who represents Tral, is a legislator of the PDP which has a coalition government with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to police, the area has been cordoned off and a manhunt has been launched to nab the attackers.
16:02 Arbaaz Khan summoned by cops in IPL betting scam
Arbaaz Khan has reportedly been summoned by the Thane police for questioning in regards to a betting probe into the Indian Premier League, according to a TV report.
His name cropped up during the investigation of high profile bookie Sonu Jalan. Arbaaz has been asked to record his statement by the ant-extortion cell of Thane crime branch.
Arbaaz was summoned for alleged placements of money on matches during the 11th season of the IPL through bookies, it was reported.
On May 16, the anti-extortion cell of the Thane Crime Branch raided a building in Dombivli where the nerve centre of an IPL betting ring was located. Three people were arrested and two more arrests were made in the following days.
Jalan (41) was nabbed on the Kalyan sessions court premises, where he had come to "comfort" his partners who were produced there on Tuesday.
Jalan, a Mumbai resident, is a partner in an online portal which was active during the IPL season. The anti-extortion unit of Thane police claims that his arrest would further expose the betting racket and bring to light an army of bookies.
15:58 Curfew imposed in parts of Shillong after communal tension
Curfew was imposed in 11 localities of the Meghalaya capital this morning following a clash between a group of bus drivers and residents of Them Metor area, a senior district official said.
The curfew was imposed at 4 am today and will remain in force till further orders, East Khasi Hills District Deputy Commissioner P S Dkhar said.
A journalist was among those injured in the clash and many youths were picked up after they were found trying to instigate a mob last night, he added.
The clash broke out after a bus handyman was allegedly assaulted by a group of residents of Them Metor area yesterday afternoon, the official said.
Trouble escalated when rumours spread on social media that the handyman had succumbed to injuries, prompting a group of bus drivers to converged at Them Metor. The police had to fire teargas shells to disperse them, the official said.
The handyman and three injured persons were taken to a hospital where they were released after being administered first-aid.
The curfew was promulgated to prevent the breakdown of law and order in the state capital, the official said.
The areas where curfew has been imposed include localities under the Lum Dieng Jri Police Station and the Cantonment Beat House.
15:25 Congress-JD-S to share portfolios equally: Kumaraswamy
Karnataka's newly appointed Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday said both the Congress party and Janata Dal-Secular will share the portfolios equally.
Leaders from both the parties, through mutual understanding, agreed on everything regarding portfolio allocation, Kumaraswamy said, adding, "Congress president Rahul Gandhi had given some advice and the leaders of the party have agreed to it."
JD-S Secretary General Danish Ali said, "We have finalised everything, coordiantion committee, common minimum prog, everything. HD Kumaraswamy Ji & Rahul Ji talked over phone yesterday. After Deve Gowda ji talks to Rahul ji today, everything will be finalised"
The Bharatiya Janata Party lost to the Congress in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) assembly constituency in Karnataka by 41,162 votes on Thursday.
The constituency was scheduled to go to polls on May 12, along with the other 222 constituencies of Karnataka, but was postponed due to reports of an alleged fake voter ID scam.
In the run-up to the Karnataka assembly polls, 9,746 voter ID cards were found from a flat in SLV Park View Apartment in Bengaluru's Jalahalli locality by Election Commission officials on May 8.
Thereafter, a political slugfest broke out between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janta Party, both accusing each other of being involved in the scam.
The Election Commission subsequently countermanded the polling in the constituency.
15:06 Nipah scare: Doctors, nurses asked to go on leave
Several staffers, including nurses and four doctors, of a hospital in Balussery have been asked to go on leave from today as a precautionary measure after the death of two people being treated for Nipah virus, officials said.
The virus has so far claimed 16 lives in Kerala's northern districts.
Two people, who succumbed to the virus in the past two days, had undergone treatment at the taluk hospital before being shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
A senior health official said the health staff, including four doctors and nurses, of Balussery hospital who were in contact with the patients were asked to go on leave for a week as a precautionary measure.
Alternative arrangements have been made for the functioning of the hospital, the official said.
Resin, 25, who died yesterday, was initially treated at the Balussery hospital when another Nipah affected patient, Nikhil was undergoing treatment.
The official also said there have been enquiries from various institutions, including the local employment exchange, seeking permission to shut office for the time-being.
The objective was to avoid crowding of people, the official said.
Kozhikode District Collector U V Jose would file a report to the Kerala High Court on the situation in the district in the wake of Nipah virus, a source said.
The report was being finalised, the source said.
Following the death of a superintendent of Kozhikode district court complex due to Nipah, the district bar association asked the collector to stop the functioning of the district court for the time-being.
As a precautionary measure due to the Nipah virus, schools in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts did not re-open today after summer vacation and would commence their new academic session from June 5.
14:45 Malala and Elon Musk's hilarious Twitter banter wins Internet
Twitterati are praising renowned Pakistani educational activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai over her epic reply to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
It all began when a satirical website called Clickhole, published a piece with the headline "More Bad Press For Elon: The Car Elon Musk Launched Into Orbit Has Fallen Back Down To Earth And Crushed Malala Yousafzai," along with the link on Twitter.
The story, explains how Musk's Tesla car fell from the sky and 'crushed Malala to death', saying "the successful launch of [Elon Musk's] car into orbit... will be forever linked to the tragic and untimely death of the 20-year-old activist who has inspired millions around the globe with her amazing advocacy for peace and education," according to TeenVogue.
Undeterred, Malala wrote on her Twitter handle, "Hello from the other side ?? @elonmusk"
Musk, who tweeted on the story earlier on Wednesday, replied to her, along with the love and smiling face with cold sweat emojis saying, "Hi @Malala! ??????"
Malala then gave Musk an epic reply, "I'm keeping the car btw! ????
14:30 Govt to review Air India deal after sale plan flops
Prime Minister Narendra Modis government will review plans to sell Air India after his administrations most high-profile privatisation offer ended in a whimper with no buyers showing interest in the unprofitable flag carrier.
The government will make changes to the plan, if needed, economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said. As the deadline to show preliminary interest expired Thursday, no bidder came forward to propose purchasing 76% of Air India Ltd., which was offered along with $5 billion debt, Aviation Secretary RN Choubey told reporters in New Delhi. The process for the next steps will start in two weeks, he said.
We were certainly looking forward to better participation than this, he said.
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14:05 Sita's birth shows test tube babies existed during Ramayana: UP Dy CM
Uttar Pradeshs Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said on Friday the advance medical procedure of test tube baby existed during the period of Ramayana, a day after equating the mythological character of Narada to Google.
People say Sita ji was born from an earthen pot, which means at the time of Ramayana, a concept similar to test tube baby must have existed, Sharma was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Sharma also seemed to echo Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Debs views that internet and satellites existed during the era of the Hindu epic Mahabharata and India invented advanced technology lakhs of years ago.
Today, the live telecast is being done, but I think a similar technology was present at the time of Mahabharata when Sanjay presented a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata to Dhritarashtra, Sharma said according to ANI.
Sharma joined the long list of the leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party who have courted controversy by claiming that advance medical procedures like cataract, plastic surgery, nuclear tests and even the gravitation theory, started during the ancient times in India.
The BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh had said on Wednesday journalism began during the period of Mahabharata and cited various instances from the epic to support his claim.
He said Sanjaya narrated a birds eye view of the 18-day war in Kurukshetra to blind king Dhritarashtra while sitting in Hastinapur. This was something Tripuras Deb had also said.
Your Google has started now, but our Google started a long time back. Narad Muni was the epitome of information. He could reach anywhere and transfer a message from one place to another by saying Narayana three times, Sharma said while speaking at an event to mark Hindi Journalism Day.
13:45 US soldier died before meeting his baby, so army family welcomed her with open arms
Two-month-old Christian Harris just got to meet some very special people: the soldiers who served alongside her late father.
Army Specialist Christopher M Harris died in August, just one week after his wife, Britt Harris, told him she was pregnant. He was serving in Afghanistan when his wife called from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to share the news.
Read the beautifully touching story HERE
13:31 According to Gujarat class 12 textbook, 'Sita was abducted by Rama'
The Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks has shot itself in the foot yet again. The latest blooper comes in the Class 12 Sanskrit textbook, which says Sita was abducted by Lord Ram.
The error appears in a paragraph describing poet Kalidas' 'Raghuvansham'. The offending line on Page 106 of the textbook's English version reads: There is a very heart-touching description of the message conveyed by Laxman to Ram when Sita was abducted by Rama.
The textbook errs on several counts. Firstly, teams that are involved in translating textbooks from one language to another have written wrongly used abducted instead of abandoned. The Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi versions have used the phrase Sita Tyaag.
The GSBST has admitted to having made the error and promised to rectify it at the earliest.
12:52 Explain firing in Tuticorin: Madrac HC seeks answers by June 6
The Madras high court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to explain the circumstances in which police opened fire during protests in the southern port city of Tuticorin, killing 13 people.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami's administration needs to reply by next Wednesday -- June 6.
The HC's Madurai bench issued the directive after it received a petition demanding the registration of a murder case against the state police chief, as well as the formation of a special investigation team.
The target of public ire was a Sterlite copper smelter owned by the London-listed firm Vedanta resources -- a plant which locals and environment activists have long wanted closed. They cite air and water pollution -- but Vedanta denies the accusations.
When the protests turned violent last week, and civilians died as a result of police action, Chief Minister Palaniswami defended law enforcement authorities.
"When someone hits you, you naturally tend to defend yourselves. So [in] such situations, no one acts in a pre-planned manner," he said in the first of a series of tweets.
The state government ordered the permanent closure of the plant on Monday. Vedanta was preparing a legal challenge to the shutdown, Reuters reported a day later.
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12:22 All accused in 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts get life imprisonment
A special National Investigation Agency court has sentenced all accused in the 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts to life imprisonment.
On May 25, the NIA court had convicted five Indian Mujahideen terrorists in the case.
The world-renowned Buddhist pilgrim town of Bodh Gaya was rocked by a series of explosions on the morning of July 7, 2013 which had left a number of people, including some Buddhist monks, injured.
A sixth accused in the case -- Taufiq Ahmed -- was less than 18 years of age and sentenced to three years in remand home by a juvenile court last year which found him guilty of involvement in the case.
12:16 Terrorist involved in 1993 Mumbai blast arrested from Gujarat
The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad on Friday arrested a terrorist identified as Ahmed Lambu from Gujarat's Navsari-Valsad coastal area, who was allegedly involved on 1993 Mumbai bomb blast case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and Interpol had earlier circulated a lookout notice against Ahmed.
The arrested terrorist also carried a bounty of Rs five lakh on his head.
Ahmed was also involved in the illegal supply of weapons.
11:58 After bypoll loss, BJP MLA attacks Yogi government in UP
A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party performed poorly in the bypoll elections, including its lost in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, a BJP MLA has attacked the Yogi-led government, highlighting its poor performance.
Shyam Prakash, a BJP MLA, said, "Officers are corrupt. Farmers aren't happy with government. There are several reasons behind BJP's loss. I've nothing against the government, officers are at fault. Corruption, as compared to last government, is on a rise. That's the reason of my resentment."
Earlier, the Janata Dal-United, the BJP's ally in Bihar, which lost the Jokihat assembly seat to the Rashtriya Janata Dal, fumed at the increasing fuel prices.
11:26 Supply of milk, veggies to be hit as farmers launch 10-day strike across 3 states
Farmers unions across Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab launched a mega 10-day protest on Friday morning, shutting down supply of milk, vegetables and essential farm produce to mark the first anniversary of the Mandsaur demonstration in MP in which six farmers were killed in police firing.
Among their major demands are one-time loan waiver, higher minimum support prices and higher prices for their produce in general.
Over 100 outfits claiming to be farmers organisations had met at Bhopals Gandhi Ashramin Wardha on May 11. The meeting was convened by Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh an umbrella organisation of all the outfits. Modalities of the 10-day agitation were discussed during the meet.
In Mandsaur, the police were reported to have made farmers sign bonds of Rs 24,000 that they would not join the strike.
Meanwhile, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will also be in Mandsaur on June 6 to mark the first anniversary of the bloody protests.
10:58 Launch of RuPay, BHIM represents Digital India initiative: Modi in Singapore
Highlights from PM Modi's joint statement with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
>> I express my gratitude to PM Lee, he has always made untiring efforts towards strengthening relations with India
>> We have been able to conclude successfully the second review of comprehensive economic cooperation agreement but we agreed this is not just our target and goal but this only means to an end & officials will soon start discussing how to reform and upgrade this further
>> I was happy to see that CEO's of many important companies are looking at India with confidence. Both the countries are going to enter into a new 'Air Service Agreement' really soon & we are soon going to preview it
>> I am happy to note that Indian companies use Singapore as a spring board for not only this country but for the entire ASEAN region. For Singaporean companies, as India progress and develops, opportunities are coming up
>> The international launch of RuPay, BHIM and UPI based remittance app in Singapore, represents Digital India initiative and our renewed partnership
10:47 Pakistan to block Pervez Musharraf's passport, national identity card
Pakistan's interior ministry has asked for the suspension of former President Pervez Musharraf's computerised national identity card and passport, a media report said on Friday.
In compliance with the order of a special court, the ministry on Thursday asked the National Database and Registration Authority and the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports to carry out the suspensions, the Dawn report said.
After the suspension of his CNIC and passport, Musharraf's bank accounts would be frozen and his international travelling restricted.
A special court hearing a high treason case against Musharraf had on March 8 directed the ministry to suspend his passport and CNIC.
The court had also ordered the ministry and other departments, divisions and agencies to take steps for the arrest of Musharraf and attachment of his properties abroad.
The former military ruler is facing the treason trial for subverting the Constitution by declaring a state of emergency in November 2007, Dawn news reported.
Ending his self-imposed exile, the former military ruler returned to the country in March 2013 and a ban was imposed on his travel abroad by courts the following month.
10:18 discusses bilateral ties with Singapore PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and discussed bilateral ties.
Modi, who arrived in Singapore on a three-day visit, also called on Singapore President Halimah Yacob.
After his arrival at the presidential palace Istana, he was accorded a ceremonial welcome.
"Prime Minister Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome on his arrival at Istana - Presidential Palace of Singapore. Millennia old ties now powered by partnership in innovation and technology," said Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs.
Modi received a 'guard of honour' at the palace.
During his talks with Singaporean leaders, Modi discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral ties.
Modi is in Singapore on the last leg of his three-nation tour. He earlier visited Indonesia and Malaysia.
10:01 Row over Vogue Arabia cover featuring Saudi princess in driving seat
A Vogue cover photo of a Saudi princess behind the wheel of a red convertible has a ignited a heated debate following a string of arrests of womens rights activists.
The image of Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud in the drivers seat wearing leather gloves and high heels is on the front cover of Vogue Arabias June edition, published as the conservative kingdom prepares to lift a driving ban on women.
The issue is dedicated to the trailblazing women of Saudi Arabia and lauds the reforms launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has sought to loosen social restrictions in the conservative kingdom and curb the powers of religious hardliners.
In our country, there are some conservatives who fear change. For many, its all they have known, Princess Hayfa, daughter of the late King Abdullah, was quoted as saying in the magazine.
The image was criticised by campaigners protesting at the arrests in May of at least 11 activists, mostly identified by rights groups as veteran women campaigners for the right to drive and to end Saudis male guardianship system.
Rather than celebrating Saudi Arabian women by championing brave womens rights activists like the detained Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, and Aziza Yousef, who played a crucial role in campaigning for womens basic right to drive, the [Vogue Arabia] issue instead contributes to the whitewashing of the ongoing human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and the isolation of their brave human rights activists, Kareem Chehayeb of Amnesty International said.
Terrorists fired upon a bunker vehicle of the 183 CRPF battalion while it was on its way to Idgah in Pulwama. No casualty reported, area being cordoned off by CRPF and police.
09:34 High alert after 20 terrorists sneak into Jammu-Kashmir
Security forces in Jammu-Kashmir have been put on a high alert following reports of large scale infiltration of terrorists in the Valley from across the Line of Control, officials said today.
There are reports of infiltration of over 20 terrorists into Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir recently, the officials said.
They said most of the terrorists are believed to be affiliated to Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit headed by Maulana Masood Azhar.
The security grid is apprehending a spike in terrorist attacks in the state, particularly in the Valley, the officials said.
The security forces have been asked to remain on a high alert and maintain vigil around sensitive security installations across the state, they said.
The officials said it is rare for such a large number of terrorists to infiltrate in one go and indicated the desperation of their handlers across the LoC to keep the Kashmir pot boiling.
09:30 Kumaraswamy to be Karnataka chief minister for 5 years, agrees Congress
Congress and JD-S are likely to announce a power-sharing deal for their coalition government in Karnataka on Friday, with unambiguous reiteration that H D Kumaraswamy will be chief minister for the full term and the two parties will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls together.
Contrary to speculation, the protracted negotiations were focussed not just on ministerial portfolios to be apportioned between the two partners but also on other dimensions setting up a coordination committee, common minimum programme and stability of the government.
Among key portfolios, finance will go to JD-S while the home department will be run by Congress.
On Thursday, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal and JD(S)'s Ali flew to Bengaluru for final talks with local leaders after five rounds of negotiations in the national capital. On Wednesday night, Congress president Rahul Gandhi joined the negotiators through a conference call to settle matters.
09:06 14-year-old Karthik wins US National Spelling Bee
Karthik Nemmani, 14, of McKinney, Texas was named the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee champion in the United States after correctly spelling "koinonia."
He defeated the Bee's largest ever pool of competitors after 515 spellers took the national stage beginning Tuesday for three days of spellbinding competition.
"I had confidence, but I didn't really think it would happen," Karthik said. "I'm just really happy. This has just been a dream come true."
He also spelled "haecceitas" correctly after seventh-grader Naysa Modi from Frisco, Texas, missed the word "Bewusstseinslage" in the final round.
This is the eleventh year in a row that an Indian-American has emerged victorious in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Also please read: Why Indian-Americans dominate spelling bee
08:34 Petrol price cut by 6 paise per litre, diesel by 5 paise
Prices for petrol and diesel have fallen by 6 paise and 5 paise per litre respectively on Friday.
In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 78.29 per litre, while diesel price has been revised to Rs 69.20 a litre.
Besides Delhi, the revised Petrol prices in other metro cities are - Rs 80.92 in Kolkata, Rs 86.10 in Mumbai and Rs 81.28 in Chennai.
Meanwhile, the revised diesel price was Rs 71.75 in Kolkata, Rs 73.67 in Mumbai and 73.06 in Chennai.
The fuel price was slashed for the third day after it remained high for 16 consecutive days.
07:50 Parties should learn valuable lessons from victories and defeats: Rahul
Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked all the parties to draw lessons from victories and defeats, as he congratulated the winners of the bypoll results in various states.
"Congratulations to all the winners in the by polls, across India. Valuable lessons to be learnt from the victories and defeats for all parties. I want to thank all the workers and leaders of the Congress party for their hard work and dedication in these elections. God bless you all," he said on Twitter.
The BJP suffered reverses managing to win just one of the four Lok Sabha seats and one of the 10 assembly seats, where bypolls were held. The NCP and the RLD won one Lok Sabha seat each while BJP ally NDPP emerged winner in the lone Nagaland seat.
The Congress bagged three assembly seats (in Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab) and others got six -- JMM two in Jharkhand; CPI-M, SP, RJD and Trinamool one each in Kerala, UP, Bihar and West Bengal, respectively.
Opposition leaders latched onto the results across 11 states to claim sliding popularity of the Narendra Modi-led government, even as the BJP played down the outcome saying people do not vote for a prime minister or chief minister in such elections but are driven by local issues.
00:24 North Korean envoy to deliver letter from Kim to Trump
North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, who is in New York to hold talks with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would deliver a special letter from his leader Kim Jong Un to President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday.
'We're doing very well with North Korea. Our Secretary of State has had very good meetings. He's meeting again today. I believe they'll be coming down to Washington on Friday,' Trump said.
'And a letter is going to be delivered to me from Kim Jong Un. So I look forward to seeing what's in the letter. But it's very important to them. So, they'll be, probably, coming down to Washington, DC on Friday for the delivery of a letter. I look forward to that,' Trump said, adding he does not know the content of the letter.
Running against time, the US and North Korean officials are having three separate meetings in New York, Singapore and at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. Trump described the meetings as very positive.
"We'll see what happens. It's a process. It's all a process. We'll see. And hopefully we'll have a meeting on June 12th. That's going along very well, but I want it to be meaningful. It doesn't mean it gets all done at one meeting; maybe you have to have a second or a third. And maybe we'll have none," he said.
"But it's in good hands, that I can tell you," Trump said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is holding talks with the North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol.
A US advance team, led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, is also having meetings with a North Korean team in Singapore.
At the DMZ, the US delegation, led by Ambassador Sung Kim, is having meetings with North Korean officials.
'Good progress today during our meetings with Kim Yong Chol and his team. North Korea and the world would benefit greatly from the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,' Pompeo said in a tweet from New York.
'Substantive talks with the team from North Korea. We discussed our priorities for the potential summit between our leaders,' he said in another tweet. -- PTI