Sat, 02 June 2018
Melania Trump to skip Camp David trip, marking a 22-day absence

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21:06   Melania Trump to skip Camp David trip, marking a 22-day absence
The White House said that Melania Trump would not be joining her husband at the Camp David presidential retreat.

Donald Trump was scheduled to head to Maryland on Friday afternoon, but officials said his wife would not be boarding the presidential helicopter with him.

Her absence will mark 22 straight days without a public appearance by the first lady following a recent hospitalization. The first lady was last seen on 10 May, when she and the president welcomed home three Americans who had been released from detention in North Korea.

The White House announced four days later that Melania Trump had been hospitalised to treat a kidney condition. She stayed five days before returning to the White House.

On Thursday night, she tweeted: Im here at the White House with my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!

It remains unclear when her next public appearance will be.

Questioned recently about his wifes health, Donald Trump told reporters: Shes doing great. The president pointed up at a window and said: Right there. Shes doing great. Just looking at us, right there.

Melania Trump did not appear, intensifying speculation.
JUST IN: Former head of INX Media and prime accused in Sheena Bora murder case, Indrani Mukerjea discharged from Mumbai's JJ Hospital this evening.
20:11   US may have to foot Kim's hotel bill for Singapore summit: Report
The iconic Fullerton hotel in the heart of Singapore, is the site of an odd yet urgent logistical issue ahead of the Trump-Kim summit, according to a news report.

The United States is trying to figure a way to pay for North Korean delegation's stay without offending the nation, the Washington Post reported.

The June 12 summit between the US and North Korea has seen its fair share of controversy already when US president Donald Trump called it off a week ago only to make a U-turn later.

Fullerton is the five-star star hotel preferred by Kim Jong Un, and the nation requires another country to cover its costs whenever a delegation visits foreign shores, said the Post.

The US is on board with footing this bill the presidential suite at the Fullerton costs $6000 a night yet must do so without embarrassing or offending Pyongyang. An option is to ask Singapore to pay the bill. The Post report does not say how the city-state playing host to the summit might react.

It's not just Pyongyang's reaction the US staff planning the meeting is worried about. Any request to pay for North Korea needs written waivers from its own Department of Treasury and from the United Nations, given the sanctions the West has imposed on the DPRK. Any questions about the waivers could also go down ill with Pyongyang. 
19:52   BJP equates alleged Purulia killings to 'political murder'
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday equated the alleged murder of its party workers in West Bengal's Purulia district to a 'political murder'

"It's a political far 19 BJP workers have been killed. The recent killings in West Bengal are inhuman. We condemn this brutal political murder and the murder culture. The people of West Bengal will teach a lesson to those who indulge in such acts. Political murder has no place in a democracy," Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said in a press conference.

The BJP leader further claimed that in the wake of recent incidents, the West Bengal state election commission has become the "Mamata election commission."

"I challenge to say, if in Purulia district there would have been fare elections we would have been the ruling party. However, the state election commission has become Mamata election commission," he said.

Earlier in the day, the body of a BJP worker, Dulal Kumar, who went missing on Friday, was found hanging from a pole in Balarampur of Purulia district.

This comes a week after the body of another BJP activist, Trilochan Mahato, was found hanging from a tree in the same district on May 30.
19:03   PM Modi returns to India after successful three-nation visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday returned to New Delhi after concluding his significant and successful three-nation visit to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the prime minister's visit added momentum to India's Act East Policy. "After a significant and successful three-nation visit to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, PM @narendramodi emplanes for India," Kumar tweeted.

During his three-day visit to Singapore, PM Modi held wide-ranging talks with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and delivered a keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue - Asia's premier defence and strategic affairs conference. In his keynote address at the Dialogue on Friday, PM Modi said an "Asia of rivalry" will hold the region back while an Asia of cooperation will shape the current century.
18:33   Amit Shah slams Mamata govt after another BJP worker found hanging
Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on Saturday slammed Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government after another party worker was found hanging from a high-tension tower in Purulia's Balrampur on Saturday.

Attacking the state government over continued brutality and violence, Shah tweeted, "Distressed to know about yet another killing of BJP karyakarta Dulal Kumar in Balrampur, West Bengal. This continued brutality and violence in the land of West Bengal is shameful and inhuman. Mamata Banerjee's government has completely failed to maintain law and order in the state."

He further added, "I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved family. I along with millions of BJP karyakartas share grief of Dulal Kumar's family. May God give his family the strength to withstand this irreparable loss. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti."

The BJP worker, who has been identified as Dulal Kumar,32, was found hanging from by a pole in Dabha village of Purulia's Balarampur.

Meanwhile, the BJP has urged the National Human Rights Commission to conduct a probe into the alleged murder of its party workers.
15:47   Benedict Cumberbatch saves cyclist from being mugged
"Avengers: Infinity War" star Benedict Cumberbatch channelled his inner superhero after he saved a cyclist on takeaway duty from a gang of muggers.
The actor jumped out of an Uber taxi to fight off four miscreants who allegedly smashed the cyclist over the head with a bottle, The Telegraph reported.

The incident took place near his fictional character Sherlock Holmes' home in London's Baker Street.

According to witnesses, Cumberbatch's timely intervention foiled the mugging.

The 41-year-old actor dragged the perpetrators off the victim, who was in his 20s, after screaming at them to leave him alone. One of the men had tried to steal the cyclist's bike, but nothing was stolen.

Uber driver Manuel Dias said the cyclist was lucky and described Cumberbatch as a "superhero".

Dias, 53, said the actor and his wife, Sophie Hunter, were riding in his taxi but he only recognised him when he got out of the car.

The driver, who also tried to help the victim, said, "Then it all got a bit surreal. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street. I had hold of one lad and Benedict another. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was very brave. He did most of it, to be honest.

"They tried to hit him but he defended himself and pushed them away. He wasn't injured. Then I think they also recognised it was Benedict and ran away." 

Dias said the actor embraced the cyclist after the scuffle.

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that they were called to reports of an assault, and that the group had headed off along Marylebone Road towards Baker Street. 

The victim did not need hospital treatment. 

No arrests have been made.
15:14   Farmers' protest affects vegetable, milk arrival at Nashik markets
The arrival of vegetables at various market committees and collection of milk in Nashik were affected as a 10-day nationwide farmers' protest entered its second day today, said a senior functionary of one of the participating farm organisations.

"All milk dairies in the district are closed and collection centres for milk has been affected. Agitating farmers poured milk on the roads at Visapur in Yeola taluka in the morning today. Arrival of vegetables at APMC is also low," said Raju Desale, working president of the All India Kisan Sabha.

An official of the Nashik Agricultural Produce Market Committee said that the arrival of vegetables there was low due to the protest.

Several farmers' organisations have jointly called the 10-day protest, which started on June 1, across 22 states in the country demanding remunerative prices for their produce, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and farm loan waivers etc.

-- PTI
14:48   'Will respond in Nagpur': Pranab on calls to skip RSS event
Amid clamour for him to skip the RSS function on June 7, former President Pranab Mukherjee has said he will respond only in Nagpur. 

Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters and phone calls but I havent responded to anyone yet, Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.

Several senior Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh, CK Jaffer Sharief and Ramesh Chennithala, have written to Mukherjee asking him to reconsider his decision.

Leader of opposition in the Kerala assembly Ramesh Chennithala has said that Mukherjees decision to attend the function has come as a rude shock to the secular minds and he asked the former President to refrain from going to Nagpur.

Anandabazar Patrika quoted Ramesh citing sources. What happened suddenly that a great leader like Pranab Mukherjee who guided us all through his political career, is now going to attend RSS event to deliver a speech, Jairam Ramesh said, according to the Bengali daily. 

However, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has gone against the grain and asked his former colleague to go ahead with his visit to the RSS headquarters. But he has a special request for him. 

Chidambaram said Mukherjee should tell the RSS what is wrong with the outfit's ideology when he addresses its event. Now that he has accepted an invitation, there is no point debating why he did so, said Chidambaram. The more important thing to say is, sir you have accepted the invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology, he added. 
14:34   Kerala woman under observation for Nipah symptoms dies
A 39-year-old woman, who was under observation for Nipah virus symptoms, died today.
However, the samples of the woman were found to be negative, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja told reporters.

The cause of her death has to be ascertained, she said.

A health department official said the woman had accompanied a patient to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital where a Nipah-affected person was being treated.

After she fell ill, she was shifted from the Pariyaram Medical College to the Kozhikode Medical College hospital as she showed symptoms similar to that of the Nipah virus.

The health authorities had drawn up a list of 1,949 people who had come in contact with the Nipah-affected persons to monitor their health condition.

The woman also figured on the list and had tested negative for Nipah virus earlier as well.

Shailaja chaired a high-level meeting this morning, which was attended by top health officials.

Two patients, who tested positive for the virus, are undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital and their condition is stable.

The newly emerging zoonosis has so far claimed 16 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

-- PTI
14:11   Arbaaz admits to placing bets in IPL last year
Arbaaz Khan has confessed that he used to place bets during Indian Premier League matches. Arbaaz Khan, 50, has told the police in Maharashtra's Thane that he placed bets this year also.

The actor and filmmaker also confessed that he had lost Rs 2.75 crore during the bets. 

The Thane police yesterday issued summons to the 50-year-old actor-producer for recording his statement today in connection with the betting racket. 

In a letter sent to Arbaaz Khan, the police asked him to join the probe in the wake of the arrest of an alleged bookie who was placing bets on the recently-concluded IPL, a police official had said. 

The Anti-Extortion Cell busted the racket on May 15 with the arrest of four people in Mumbai, including Sonu Jalan alias Sonu Malad, who is believed to be one of the top bookies of the country, officials have said. 

During the investigation, a "connection" between Jalanand Arbaaz was established, said Pradeep Sharma, Senior Inspector and head of the AEC, yesterday. 
13:23   Another person found hanging from tree in WB's Purulia; triggers protests
The body of a 35-year-old man was today found hanging from a high-tension tower in Purulia, triggering protests by locals, police said.
The incident comes two days after the BJP claimed that its worker Trilochon Mahato (20), who was found hanging from a tree at Balarampur in the district on May 30, was killed by the TMC. However, the Trinamool Congress has denied the allegations and termed it as baseless.

The West Bengal government today ordered a criminal investigation department probe into Mahato's death, ADG Law and order Anuj Sharma said.

The body of Dulal Kumar was found hanging from a tree near a field in Daha village under the same police station area this morning, said Superintendent of Police Joy Biswas.

Kumar's death triggered an uproar among the locals who put up demonstrations outside the Balarampur police station, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.

-- PTI
12:56   Discussions begin for AAP-Congress alliance for 2019
As the battleground is getting set for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, another Congress-triggered alliance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party has begun taking shape. 

Mirroring the 'Mahagathbandhan' template of the Bihar assembly elections of 2015 and the recent Congress-Janata Dal-Secular combine in Karnataka, the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress are in talks of a similar alliance in Delhi.

As per sources, informal talks between the Congress party and AAP started on May 24, with Jairam Ramesh and Ajay Maken representing the former.

Source further added that the AAP approached the Congress for the alliance, with an offer of a 5:2 ratio for seat sharing in Delhi -- five seats for the AAP and two for the Congress.

The Congress party, however, demanded for three out of the seven seats, which are -- New Delhi for Sharmishtha Mukherjee, Chandni Chowk for Ajay Maken and North West Delhi for Rajkumar Chauhan. However, talks may have hit a stumbling block as AAP is not willing to give up more than two seats to the Congress.

The speculations about the rumoured alliance got a further boost after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday praised former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Twitter. 

It is worthy to note that Kejriwal had earlier been a strong critic of Manmohan Singh going as far to say in 2013 that, "Manmohan failed to check corruption within Congress and his own government". However, BJP's ever expanding footprint in the country has now made once bitter foes, the best of friends.

-- ANI
12:24   IPL betting case: Arbaaz appears before cops to give statement
Bollywood actor and filmmaker Arbaaz Khan met the cops today for recording his statement in connection with an alleged IPL betting racket, an official said.

The Thane police yesterday issued summons to the 50-year-old actor-producer for recording his statement today in connection with the betting racket.

In a letter sent to Arbaaz, the police asked him to join the probe in the wake of arrest of an alleged bookie who was placing bets on the recently-concluded Indian Premier League, a police official had said.

Arbaaz has reached the office of the Thane Police's Anti-Extortion Cell for recording his statement, said DCP (Crime) Abhishek Trimukhe.

The AEC busted the racket on May 15 with the arrest of four people in Mumbai, including Sonu Jalan alias Sonu Malad, who is believed to be one of the top bookies of the country, officials have said.

During the investigation, a "connection" between Jalan and Arbaaz was established, said Pradeep Sharma, Senior Inspector and head of the AEC, yesterday.

"We suspect that Arbaaz Khan had placed bets on IPL matches and want to scrutinise his bank transactions," another police official had said.

Arbaaz allegedly lost Rs 2.8 crore in betting to Jalan and was not paying the amount, following which the bookie had threatened the actor, the official had said, citing the interrogation of the arrested accused.

-- PTI
12:16   15 persons killed, 9 hurt in thunderstorm in UP
Thunderstorms claimed 15 lives and injured nine people in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, a senior government official said today. 

The MeT department has warned of rain or thunderstorm at isolated places in the state in the next two days. 

Incidents of thunderstorm in various states of the country this month have left a spate of destruction. 

On May 2-3, a storm had killed 134 people and injured over 400 in five states. Uttar Pradesh was the worst hit, accounting for 80 deaths, most of them in Agra district. 

At least 18 people lost their lives in the thunderstorm that struck on May 9 and May 10. Fifty one people died in similar incidents on May 14.
12:05   Hollywood celebrities wear orange in protest against gun violence
Anne Hathaway, Jeff Bridges, Amy Schumer and Mark Hamill were among several Hollywood celebrities who wore orange clothing to voice their protest against gun violence in the country.
The stars took to social media using hashtag #WearOrange in support on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, a campaign by Everytown for Gun Safety with orange as the movement's colour. 

The movement is being observed in the US since 2015.

Hathaway, who was enroute, shared a selfie on Instagram and scribbled her shirt in orange to show solidarity for the cause.

The Oscar winner demanded for "peace" and "policy change" in gun control laws.

"I am travelling and don't have anything orange to wear but I still wanted to be a part of today. Today I #wearorange to remember all those who have died, especially in schools, churches and movie theatres - spaces in which I grew up feeling safe but where the current generation cannot.

"I wear orange because, as per @newsweek, more children have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook than US soldiers in combat since 9/11... I also want to thank all the responsible gun owners who do not feel threatened by the call for common sense gun laws. We need your voices more than ever (sic)," she wrote alongside her photograph.

Hathaway also acknowledged Hollywood's role in "the glamourisation of guns" --that she is dealing with the fact and recognising the issue can bring a change from within. 

Schumer urged people to wear orange to show support "as a sign to end gun violence".

Everytown for Gun Safety also created anti-gun violence pins for the 2018 Oscars in the wake of Florida high school shooting that claimed 17 lives in February.

-- PTI

Image: Anne Hathaway wearing orange in solidarity for the cause.
JUST IN: Earthquake of 5.2 magnitude struck 114 km from Teju in Arunachal Pradesh
11:36   After moving out, Akhilesh books suites in VVIP guesthouse
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has booked four suites in the VVIP guesthouse on Mahatma Gandhi Marg. In a letter to the estate officer, Akhilesh has requested that four suites be reserved for himself, his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav, as well as Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Seth and Surendra Nagar.

An estate department officer confirmed that four suites were booked for the SP leaders but they did not move into the guesthouse on Friday. 

An SP leader said since the private accommodation of the party chief in a private township near Saheed Path was located far from the party office, he decided to move into the guesthouse situated near the state unit office. It will be easy for him to move to the party office and meet the party leaders from there, he said.

Image: Workers move belongings of Akhilesh Yadav from 4 Vikramaditya Marg. Photograph: ANI/Twitter
11:13   Kashmiri youth succumbs to injuries after being run over by CRPF vehicle
A youth, who was injured after he was allegedly hit by a security forces vehicle during clashes between protesters and forces in Srinagar, died at a hospital, police said today.

Kaiser Bhat, 21, a resident of the Fatehkadal area of Srinagar, was injured when the security forces vehicle allegedly hit him and another youth during the protests in the Nowhatta area of the city in Srinagar yesterday.

Both the injured were taken to the SKIMS hospital at Soura where Bhat succumbed to his injuries.

"Bhat succumbed to his injuries at the hospital around midnight," a police official said. 

After the Friday prayers culminated at the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta yesterday, a group of youth started pelting stones on the security forces, the official said. 

Few of the protesters attacked a vehicle of the security forces which hit two of them, leaving them injured.  

-- PTI
10:02   Petrol, diesel prices cut by 9 paise per litre
Prices for petrol and diesel were cut by nine paise on Saturday.

In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 78.20 a litre, and diesel costs Rs 69.11 per litre.

On Friday, price for petrol was Rs 78.29 per litre, while diesel price was Rs 69.20 a litre in the national capital.

The revised petrol prices in other metro cities are -- Rs 80.84 in Kolkata, Rs 86.01 in Mumbai and Rs 81.19 in Chennai.

Meanwhile, the revised diesel prices in other metro cities are -- Rs 71.66 in Kolkata, Rs 73.58 in Mumbai and 72.97 in Chennai.  -- ANI
09:06   PM meets Mattis in SIngapore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets United States Defence Secretary James Mattis in Singapore. Photograph: ANI
09:04   Indrani Mukerjea hospitalised again
Indrani Mukerjea, former head of INX Media and the prime accused in Sheena Bora murder case, was on Friday admitted to Mumbai's JJ Hospital.

Mukerjea reportedly complained of chest pain, following which she was rushed to the state-run-hospital.

Mukerjea is currently facing trial for allegedly killing her daughter Sheena Bora.

Earlier in April, she was hospitalised in JJ Hospital following an alleged drug overdose.  -- ANI
08:52   PM unveils Mahatma Gandhi plaque in Singapore; to meet Mattis today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday unveiled the plaque, marking the immersion site of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi's ashes at Clifford Pier in Singapore.

Singapore's former Prime Minister and Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong was also present at the event.

The prime minister will then hold a meeting with United States Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis.

Next, Prime Minister Modi will visit the National Orchid Garden, located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

It is the only tropical garden to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The prime minister will also pay a visit to Chulia Mosque, one of the oldest mosques of Singapore, located in Chinatown.

Chulia Mosque has been the country's national monument since 1974.

Prime Minister Modi will visit the Sri Mariamman Temple, which is located nearby to the Chulia Mosque and is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.

He will next visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, also located in Chinatown.

The temple gets its name from what the Buddhists regard as the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha, which was recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, according to

After this, the prime minister will visit the Indian Heritage Centre, situated in Little India.

Lastly, Prime Minister Modi will visit the Changi Naval Base, where he will see the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Satpura and interact with officers and sailors of the Indian Navy and Royal Singapore Navy.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former PM of Singapore ESM Goh Chok Tong unveil a Plaque marking the immersion site of Mahatma Gandhis Ashes at Clifford Pier in Singapore. Photograph: Courtesy @MEAINdia/Twitter
00:03   Post-Doklam, first Chinese military delegation to visit India
China has announced the visit of its military delegation to India, the first after the Doklam standoff, as a major follow up to the informal summit in April between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping.

India and China in contact with each other about the visit of Chinese military delegation from Western Theatre Command, China's Defence Spokesman Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said in Bejing.

The Western Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) guards the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control with India.

Currently, the two sides are in consultation with each other on the upcoming visit to India by the border defence delegation from the Western Theatre Command of the PLA, Ren was quoted as saying in the transcript of the media briefing posted on the Chinese defence ministry website on Friday.

"These border-related exchanges between the two sides at different levels will help to strengthen the management and control of border areas. They will also help to build trust between the field troops of the two sides and translate the consensus reached by the two heads of state into real actions," he said.

"The two sides are also in contact with each other regarding other cooperation programmes. We will release relevant information in due course," he said in response to a question about cooperation in the fields of defence and security following the Modi-Xi summit meeting at Wuhan on April 28-29.

The two sides had reached an important consensus on practical cooperation and proper management of differences.

After the 73-day military standoff at Dokalam last year, that caused major disruption in relations, both sides made efforts to improve ties leading up to the Wuhan summit.

Ren said China and India are big countries in Asia and both are also each other's important neighbour.

"The Chinese side attaches great importance to the development of the military-to-military relationship with the Indian side," he said.

"Under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, we are willing to work with the Indian side to expand exchanges, strengthen cooperation, build mutual trust, properly manage differences, and facilitate the development of the mil-to-mil relationship in a healthy and stable manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas and safeguard peace and stability in this region," he said.  -- PTI

Image only for representation.