Tue, 05 June 2018
Gauri Lankesh murder: Brother demands 360 degree probe

Timeline  Refresh

23:39   Gauri Lankesh murder: Brother demands 360 degree probe
Journalist Gauri Lankesh's brother Indrajit Lankesh on Tuesday demanded a 360-degree investigation in connection to his sister's murder case.

Speaking to ANI, Indrajit said, "Here, there should be a 360-degree investigation in the case. There should be more specification, saying Hindu fringe elements create more doubts. It should be enquired who these people are, are they a constitutional organisation or not? There should be a clear conclusion in the case."

Indrajit expressed optimism that the investigation was progressing slowly but steadily. He urged the politicians and others to not give a political colour to the case.

Lambasting the previous Congress government under Siddaramaiah for failing to provide security to Gauri, Indrajit said, "Everyone knew that she has anti-Hindutva views and despite this, the Congress did not provide her security. No personal guard was also allotted to Gauri."

Earlier on Tuesday, Sanatan Sanstha, the organisation accused in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, accused former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of targeting them and Janajagruti Samiti in the same case.

-- ANI
23:06   Trump-Kim summit to be held at Sentosa's Capella Hotel
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's summit next week will take place at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Island, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. 

"We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality," Sanders wrote in a post on Twitter announcing the venue for the planned June 12 meeting.

Sentosa and the linkway to the island from Harbour front had earlier been designated by the Singapore government as a special event area for the upcoming summit for the two leaders.

It said extra security measures would be in force for these areas in the period between Jun 10 and 14. 
22:52   Djokovic out of French Open, loses in QF

The winner of the 2016 French Open winner Novak Djokovic has been ousted from the tournament by Marco Cecchinato, the Italian ranked 72 in the world. 

Djokovic, who is currently ranked 22 afrer returning from an injury lost in four sets -- 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 6-7 -- in the quarterfinals. 

JUST IN: Terrorists attack army post in Bandipora's Hajin: 4-6 terrorists came from two sides of the army camp of 13 Rashtriya Rifles and Hajin police station, fired around 8 rounds of Underbarrel Grenade Launcher towards the army & police.
JUST IN: Terrorists attack army post in Bandipora's Hajin: 4-6 terrorists came from two sides of the army camp of 13 Rashtriya Rifles and Hajin police station, fired around 8 rounds of Underbarrel Grenade Launcher towards the army & police.
22:01   Miss America pageant drops the swimsuits and evening gowns
The Miss America pageant is dropping the swimsuit and evening gown competition and will no longer judge contestants on their physical appearance, organisers announced today.

"We're changing out of our swimsuits and into a whole new era #byebyebikini," @MissAmericaOrg said in a tweet which featured a bikini vanishing in a puff of smoke.

Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of Miss America's board of trustees, outlined the changes to the 2019 contest on ABC's "Good Morning America." "We are no longer a pageant," said Carlson, who won the 1989 Miss America contest and went on to become an anchor at Fox News. "We are a competition.

"We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance," she said. "That's huge." Carlson said that both the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the nearly century-old competition would be scrapped.

"It's going to be what comes out of their mouth that we're interested in, when they talk about their social impact initiatives," she said of the contestants from all 50 US states.

Carlson has been a champion of the #MeToo movement combating sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men in business, entertainment and media.

The 2019 Miss American competition will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on September 9 and air on ABC.

Image: Nina Davuluri competes in the 2013 Miss America Pageant
JUST IN: Fashion designer Kate Spade found dead in New York in apparent suicide.
21:16   Kumaraswamy's ministers to take oath tomorrow at 2.12 pm
A fortnight after becoming Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy will expand his two-member cabinet tomorrow at 2.12 pm after days of hard bargaining between the ruling coalition partners, JDS and Congress.

Under the power sharing arrangement, Congress will have 22 ministers and the JDS, 12.
Kumaraswamy said there would be "two to three vacancies" which would be filled later.

Deputy chief minister and KPCC chief G Parameshwara said the Congress ministers would be a combination of seniors and juniors, setting aside speculation that juniors want seniors to pave the way for them.

According to the agreement, Congress will get the portfolios of Home, Irrigation, Bangalore City Development, Industry and Sugar Industry, Health, Revenue, Urban Development, Rural Development, Agriculture, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and IT/BT, among others.
The JDS' portfolios include Finance, Excise, Information, Intelligence, Public Works Department, Power,Cooperation, Tourism, Education and Transport.

-- PTI
JUST IN: Police personnel, posted on guard at J-K's Mirza Kamil Shrine, thwarted the attempt by terrorists to snatch his weapon in Srinagar's Hawal. Terrorists managed to escape. Area has been cordoned off, search operation underway.
20:49   India to go ahead with S-400 deal with Russia notwithstanding US sanctions
India has very clearly conveyed to the US that the "time-tested" Indo-Russian cooperation in the defence sector will continue, including the deal for S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems for the IAF, notwithstanding the American sanctions against Moscow.
Sources said India wants its defence transactions with Russia to be insulated from the purview of stringent American law CAATSA and is likely to raise the issue with the US when the two sides meet in Washington for the 2+2 talks next month.

"In all our engagements with the US, we have clearly explained how India and Russia's defence cooperation has been going on for a long time and that it is a time-tested relationship. We have mentioned that CAATSA cannot impact the India-Russia defence cooperation," Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference.

She said India has got quite a lot of defence assets from Russia and the cooperation between the two countries will continue.

In January, the US announced sanctions against Russia under its Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act for Moscow's alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016. 

CAATSA, which came into effect in January, mandates the Donald Trump administration to punish countries and entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia. 

Asked whether India will go ahead with the S-400 deal with Russia, the defence minister said the long-drawn negotiations relating to it have reached final stage. 

"The S-400 deal has been on for a very long time and we have reached the final stage of negotiations. That explains it," she said.

India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border. 

Official sources said both Russia and India are likely to announce the deal before an annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in October. 

-- PTI
20:44   Virat's statue to be unveiled at Madame Tussauds tomorrow
Indian skipper Virat Kohli's wax statue will be unveiled on Wednesday at Madame Tussauds in New Delhi.

While announcing it, he invited his fans to click selfies, writing,"Come 6th of June, let's play statue! ?? Excited to be at #MadameTussauds #TussaudsDelhi @MadameTussauds @tussaudsdelhi."

Kohli's statue will be the latest addition at the Madame Tussauds, in the national capital, as he is set to join other sports icons there.

His wax figure will join other sporting heroes including Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, and Lionel Messi.

-- ANI
20:17   Trump hopes summit with Kim will be 'start of something big'
US President Donald Trump today said that his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore would hopefully be the start of "something big".

Preparations for the summit on June 12 are on in Singapore. There was initially much uncertainty over whether the summit would go ahead at all, and it was briefly called off last month by Trump after a dispute with the North Koreans.

"Meeting in Singapore with North Korea will hopefully be the start of something big...we will soon see!" Trump said. 

Last week, Trump met with a top North Korean official at the White House to plan for the summit. Kim Yong Chol, a top aide of Kim handed over to Trump a letter from the North Korean leader.

The two leaders are tentatively scheduled to meet at 9:00 am Singapore time on June 12.
20:03   No FIR, yet a probe against me: Chidambaram on ED questioning
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case today, said all the answers he gave to the probe agency were already recorded in  government documents.
Chidambaram also said no FIR was registered against him, yet a probe had been initiated against him.
"Appeared before the ED. The questions were about what is already recorded in the file. Hence, answers too were what is recorded in the file. Need to reiterate there is no FIR, no offence alleged, yet there is an investigation," he tweeted.
The former finance and home minister said during the six-hour questioning by the ED, more than half the time was taken up by typing the answers without errors, reading the statement and signing it.
The agency today recorded Chidambaram's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Chidambaram's role has come under the scanner in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal, in which the ED had already questioned his son, Karti.
The Congress leader had last week approached the court of Special Judge O P Saini seeking relief from arrest by the ED in the case.
The same court today directed the ED not to take any coercive action or arrest him till July 10 in connection with the case.
The ED had first asked him to appear before it on May 30 and on the same day, Chidambaram knocked on the court's door.
The court, in its order on May 30, had noted that Chidambaram had undertaken to comply with the summons issued by the ED, while saying he apprehended his arrest by the agency.
The Aircel-Maxis cases pertains to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to firm M/s Global Communication Holding Services Ltd. in 2006 for investment in Aircel. 

-- PTI
19:44   Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape, sex assault charges
Harvey Weinstein appeared in court in New York on Tuesday, to plead not guilty on rape and criminal sex act charges.

A grand jury indicted the former film mogul last week on charges involving two women. Weinstein later posted bail for $1m.

One alleged victim, who has not been identified publicly, told investigators Weinstein cornered her in a hotel room and raped her. The other accuser, Lucia Evans a former actor, has gone public with her account of Weinstein forcing her to perform oral sex at his office in 2004.

Outside judge James Burkes courtroom on Tuesday, the corridors were packed with photographers looking to get a clear sight of the producer. Weinstein was not expected to say much but this was still a momentous day in downfall of a man who dozens of women have accused of sexual misconduct in what is likely to become the signature trial of the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein walked in with a limp, looking pale and taking in his surroundings. Seated between his attorneys, he said clearly in a low voice: Not guilty.

Weinstein, 66, has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has challenged the credibility of his alleged victims and says his client is confident he will clear his name.

Brafman has called the rape allegation absurd, saying the accuser and Weinstein had a decade-long consensual sexual relationship that continued after the alleged 2013 attack.
19:38   Rahul Gandhi to meet kin of farmers killed in Mandsaur
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will meet family members of the farmers killed in police firing during an agitation in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh on the first anniversary of the incident tomorrow and addressed a farmers' rally.
According to party sources, Gandhi, who returned from the United States last night, held a meeting with his party leaders and security forces ahead of tomorrow's visit to Mandsaur.
Gandhi is scheduled to fly to Mandsaur tomorrow afternoon. He would address the "kisan rally" at Khokhra (Pipliya Mandi) in the district. Family members of three out of the six people killed in police firing would share dais with the Congress president.
Former Mandsaur MP and Congress leader Meenakshi Natrajan said her party had urged the kin of the deceased to participate in the meeting.

Farmers had held statewide protests in Madhya Pradesh last year demanding better prices for their crops. The agitation was marred by violence at many parts in the state, especially in Mandsaur, which emerged as the epicentre of protests.

The Congress sources added that Gandhi would also hold a meeting with senior leaders of Madhya Pradesh Congress.
Top Congress leaders from Madhya Pradesh including PCC chief Kamal Nath, campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia and other state leaders would be in attendance.
Madhya Pradesh is slated to go to polls later this year and the Congress is seeking to make this rally big ahead of the assembly election.
The Congress, which has been in political wilderness for the past 15 years, is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in the state.

-- PTI
19:19   JDS pulls out candidate for Jayanagar seat, supports coalition partner Cong
The Janata Dal-Secular today pulled out its candidate from the Jayanagar assembly constituency for the June 11 polls and extended the party's support to its ruling coalition partner, the Congress.

JD-S supremo and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda announced that his party candidate Kalegowda was "retiring" from the contest.

JD-S would support Congress' Sowmya Reddy, he said and asked party men and leaders to work for her.

Gowda's announcement in a release followed a meeting with him by senior Congress leader and former Minister Ramalinga Reddy, who is Sowmya Reddy's father.

The Karnataka assembly election was held on May 12 but the Jayanagar poll was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate B N Vijayakumar, who was holding the seat.
BJP has named B N Prahlad, brother of Vijaykumar, as its candidate.
Both the Congress and JDS had fielded candidates against each other, despite being coalition partners, in the recent election to the Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly seat in the city.

-- PTI
18:58   WHO pays tribute to Kerala nurse who died of Nipah
The World Health Organisation has paid glowing tributes to Kerala's young nurse Lini Puthussery, who died of the Nipah virus last month, after treating one of the patients.
Lini died on May 21 after being infected by a patient, whom she treated initially at the Perambra Taluk hospital, where she was a nurse.
In a tweet, WHO'S Health Workforce Director Jim Campbellsaid: "Remember them, lest we forget: Razan al-Najjar (Gaza); Lini Puthussery (India); Salome Karwah (Liberia). #WomeninGlobalHealth, #NotATarget.
A 28-year-old  mother of two young boys, Lini died at the Kozhikode Medical college hospital days after being infected.
The young nurse in a poignant letter scribbled from her deathbed to her husband Sajeesh had said 'am almost on the way. I don't think I can meet you again...."
The letter had evoked an emotional response from across the world after it went viral on the social media.
The Kerala government has offered her husband a government job and financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh each to her sons aged five and two.
Razan al-Najjar was a 21-year-old paramedic who was shot and killed, allegedly by Israeli soldiers on June 3 while trying to aid wounded protestors in Gaza.
Salome Karwah from Liberia, who was named by Time Magazine as 'Person of the Year' in 2014 for her work fighting Ebola in West Africa, died in February last year from childbirth complications in a hospital in Liberia after hospital staff allegedly refused to help her due to the stigma that still surrounds the disease.

-- PTI
18:36   IPL scandal: After Arbaaz, bookie Sonu Jalan names filmmaker Sajid Khan
After Arbaaz Khan admitted to have participated in IPL betting, another well-known Bollywood celebrity has been named in connection with crickek match betting.

Bookie Sonu Jalan, who has named Arbaaz, has now named director-producer Sajid Khan in the betting scandal. 

The bookie who is said to have links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has named the "Housefull" director and has informed the police of the director's involvement in betting, said ANI quoting police sources.

According to ANI, Jalan has said that Sajid used to place bets on cricket matches around 7 years ago. Thane police is investigating into Sonu's claims. However, they have not decided to summon Sajid for joining the investigation yet, reported ANI quoting Thane crime branch sources. 

Actor producer Arbaaz Khan, who was also named by Jalan in the IPL betting scandal, confessed to his participation in the betting. According to media reports, Arbaaz told police that he has known bookie Jalan since last six years and that he had bet in the 2016 IPL season.

Arbaaz had also been getting threats by bookie Jalan after the actor failed to pay Rs 3 crore that he had lost in betting to Sonu Jalan.
18:10   Singapore launches commemorative medallions for Trump-Kim Summit
Singapore today launched three commemorative medallions carrying the inscription "World Peace" ahead of the highly anticipated summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the city-state.

The medallions will depict an "affirmative handshake" between the two leaders, the scheduled date of the summit, and the flags of both countries, the Singapore Mint said in a statement today.

The medallions would not only commemorate the "momentous step to world peace", but also mark Singapore's role "as a neutral host, and an economic and security gateway between the East and the West", the statement said.

The coins photos are on display on the Singapore Mint website.

The North Korean flag is depicted on the left, while the US flag is placed on the right. This represents both countries' positions on the political spectrum, explained the Singapore Mint.

The summit date and text "Summit in Singapore" are also minted at the top of the medallion.

The back of the medallion features a peace dove "which embodies the significance of the summit to bring about world peace," said the Singapore Mint.

The national flowers of US and North Korea - the rose and the magnolia - are also featured on the back.

A total of 1,000 pieces of the gold medallion, priced at SGD1,380 each, will be made available to Singapore and the international market.

-- PTI
JUST IN: Naveen Jindal was questioned by CBI yesterday in an ongoing coal scam case.
17:48   K'taka HC asks govt to give security for 'Kaala' screening
The Karnataka High Court today directed the state government to provide necessary security for peaceful release of superstar Rajinikanth-starrer 'Kaala', which pro-Kannada outfits had threatened to stall over the actor's reported remarks on the Cauvery row.

Justice G Narendar issued the direction on the basis of a Supreme Court order, which had stayed ban orders imposed on the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film 'Padmaavat' by four states, including Rajasthan, early this year.

"Freedom of speech and expression, particularly as a medium of expression in films, cannot be curtailed. The creative content is am insegregable aspect of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution," the judge said, citing the Supreme Court verdict on the release of the film 'Padmaavat'.

The Supreme Court in January had cleared the release of 'Padmaavat' and had stayed ban orders imposed by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Miffed with Rajinikanth's reported comments that whichever government comes to power in Karnataka should implement the Supreme Court order on Cauvery water sharing in toto.

The Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce had on May 29 decided not to allow screening of 'Kaala', due for release on June 7.  -- PTI
Miss America scraps swimsuit competition: "We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance."
17:34   Charges preposterous, malicious: Tharoor says on court summons
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor issues a statement in connection with the Sunanda Pushkar death case. A Delhi court today summoned Tharoor as an accused in the case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death and asked him to appear before it on July 7, saying there were sufficient grounds to proceed against him. Responding to the summons Tharoor in a written statement said, "I find the charges preposterous and baseless, the product of malicious and vindictive campaign against myself."

"I will continue to vigorously contest these charges and maintain my steadfast conviction that ultimately truth will prevail through the judicial system that we are privileged to have in our country," Tharoor said the in  the statement.
17:17   Shekhar Guptas The Print raises funds from Tata, Nilekani, Kotak
Editor-turned-entrepreneur Shekhar Gupta's media venture Printline Media Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed sum from investors including Ratan Tata, Uday Kotak and Nandan Nilekani, all of whom are putting money in the company in their personal capacity.  Read the report here.

16:28   Karnataka HC refuses to intervene in 'Kaala' ban
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday refused to intervene in the ongoing 'Kaala' movie ban row.

The court further asked the lawyers representing the Rajinikanth starrer to provide all details of theatres screening the movie to the state so that necessary security arrangements can be made.

Last week, media reports said pro-Kannada outfits sought a ban on the release of Kaala in Karnataka as the Cauvery water dispute remained unresolved.

Reportedly, Rajinikanth had asked the new government in Karnataka to release Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery river water to the state as mandated by the Supreme Court verdict. -- ANI
16:23   Bihar: Two arrested for sexually assaulting minor girl
Two people were arrested for sexually assaulting a minor girl in Kaimur district after a video of the same surfaced. The incident took place in Bhagwanpur village of Kaimur district, where six people were filmed assaulting a minor girl. Kaimur Superintendent of Police (SP) Faroguddin said the video was received by the authorities and the perpetrators have been identified.

"Seven people have been identified in the video, out of which one of them is the victim's boyfriend. Two out of the six assaulters has been arrested till now," he told ANI. Investigation in the matter is underway.
Malaysia appoints ethnic Indian Tommy Thomas as new attorney general, replaces official who cleared ex-PM in 1MDB scandal. Read the report here.
15:44   Gurkhas of Nepal to protect Kim-Trump at summit
When US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet for their historic summit in Singapore later this month, they will be protected by men from one of the fiercest warrior tribes in the world '" the Gurkhas of Nepal. Read the report here.
15:42   Trump-Kim summit on June 12, 6:30 am IST
The preparations for the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next Tuesday in Singapore are going well with "significant progress" made, the White House said today, painting an upbeat picture of the unprecedented meeting.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the two leaders would first meet at 9:00 am local time (6:30 am IST) and that President Trump was receiving daily briefings from his national security team.

With just one week to go to the summit, hosted by Singapore, very few details have been publicly confirmed. It remains unclear exactly where in the city state the two leaders will meet. But Washington has made it clear that sanctions would not be lifted against North Korea unless it gave up its nuclear weapons.

Commenting on the upcoming summit, Sanders said, "I can tell you the president has been receiving daily briefings on North Korea from his national security team, and I can also tell you the schedule tentatively, for that first meeting will be on June 12 at 9:00 am Singapore time, and take place June 11, 9:00 pm East Coast time."

The Trump administration, she said, is actively preparing for the summit between the US President and the North Korean leader. There was initially much uncertainty over whether the summit would go ahead at all, and it was briefly called off last month by Trump after a dispute with the North Koreans.

"The advance team in Singapore is finalising logistical preparations and will remain in place until the summit begins. In the Demilitarised Zone, the US Ambassador's delegation continues diplomatic negotiations with the North Korean delegation. Discussions have been very positive, and significant progress has been made," Sanders said.

Last week, Trump met with a top North Korean official at the White House to plan for the summit. Kim Yong Chol, a top aide of Kim handed over to Trump a letter from the North Korean leader.

"I am not going to get into the specifics of the letter, but as the president said, they were interesting, and we feel like things are continuing to move forward, and good progress has been made, and we're continuing to prepare for the president's summit," Sanders said.

When asked whether Trump supports a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim, she said the focus of the administration right now was the President's meeting with the North Korean leader.

"And the President will make his views known directly to him when we're in Singapore, and our focus will continue to be on denuclearisation," Sanders said. Responding to a question on "maximum pressure" policy on North Korea, the press secretary said the US policy towards Pyongyang has not changed.
14:57   Tharoor to face trial in wife Sunanda Pushkar's death
A Delhi court today summoned Congress leader Shashi Tharoor as an accused in the Sunanda Pushkar death case and asked him to appear before it on July 7. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal said there were sufficient grounds to proceed against Tharoor for commission of offences in the case.

Tharoor has been charged with abetting the suicide of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in a five-star hotel in Delhi in 2014. Her last mails and messages on social media have been taken by the police as her dying declaration.

The parliamentarian from Kerala has also been accused of cruelty to his wife in the chargesheet submitted in court last month.
14:51   Pak army will 'punish' former ISI chief for spy book
The Pakistan Army has said that former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, will be punished as per the law and the country's Army Act for controversially co-authoring the book "The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI And The Illusion Of Peace" with India's former Research and Analysis Wing chief A.S. Dulat.

Interacting with the media on Monday afternoon, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor said an inquiry has been ordered against the former ISI chief and outcome of the inquiry will be shared with the media.

"He (Durrani) is retired as a three-star general and you know the circumstances of his retirement - it was premature. He's involved in the Asghar Khan case as well," said Major General Ghafoor, adding that the army is clearly unhappy with what the retired officer had done.

"As soon as the book was published, we took action. We all know why he [Asad Durrani] was kicked out from the Army. He remarked that no one can become an angel after wearing the army uniform. He also noted that Durrani's book referred to incidents that took place after his tenure. It was not okay for the retired spy chief to use his experience to comment on matters that happened after his retirement,"said Major General Ghafoor.

"We are all human, we make mistakes. But when you make mistakes, you suffer the consequences. The Pakistan Army has never forgiven any mistake, whether made by a soldier or a general. What will happen to Durrani will be in front of you," he said.

He added that the reason why the forces had reacted so sharply to Durrani's book was because the army does not take violations of its code lightly.

"Had he taken an NOC (no objection certificate) for the book, all of this would not have happened," he said. -- ANI
14:44   ED grills Raj Kundra in Bitcoin PMLA case
The Enforcement Directorate today questioned Raj Kundra, husband of actor Shilpa Shetty, in connection with a money laundering probe related to a bitcoin transactions case, officials said. The businessman was summoned at the ED office in Mumbai and was asked questions about his involvement in the trade, termed as illegal by the government, they said. There are some instances of the case that are linked to Kundra and hence, he has been asked to record his statement, the officials said without elaborating. The Enforcement Directorate sometime back, had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against bitcoin-based investment website GainBitcoin, its founder Amit Bhardwaj and eight others.

It is alleged that about 8,000 investors lost about Rs 2,000 crore by transacting in this scheme. The ED had filed its case based on an FIR of the Maharashtra Police in this case and the Pune Police arrested Bhardwaj and his brother Vivek from Delhi earlier. Bhardwaj reportedly was behind ventures like GainBitcoin, GBMiners, MCAP and GB21, and the investors were allegedly duped after transactions on these portals.

 Last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had informed Parliament that there are no regulations governing virtual currencies in India and the RBI has not given any licence to any entity/company to operate such currencies. The government had also cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies such as bitcoin, saying they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection. -- PTI
14:30   Cop undergoing sex change op to be treated as male constable
Lalita Salve (29), a constable from the district who recently underwent a sex reassignment surgery, will get benefits granted to a male constable after joining duty, a police official said today.

 But, the constable will have to bear expenses of the sex-change operation, he said.

Salve had on May 25 undergone the first stage of sex reassignment surgery at the state-run St George's Hospital in Mumbai. The second stage operation will be conducted after six months, doctors had said after the surgery.

"Salve (on resumption of duty) will be treated as a male constable. We have received a letter from the director general of police in this connection.

According to the letter, Salve will get all benefits entitled to male constables after joining duty," Beed Superintendent of Police G Shreedhar said. -- PTI
Sunanda Pushkar death case: Shashi Tharoor summoned by Patiala House court, asked to appear before it on July 7.
14:25   No scam in Rafale deal: Sitharaman
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said allegations of scam in the Rafael deal are baseless.

"There is no shortage of defence ammunition today. Allegations of scam in the Rafael deal are baseless," Sitharaman stated while addressing a press conference on the occasion of the completion of four years of the National Democratic Alliance government.

On a related note, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has long been criticising the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, alleging that the government has signed an overpriced deal.

Gandhi had also said the United Progressive Alliance government had cracked a better deal, while the incumbent government's deal will be causing a loss of over Rs 40,000 crore. In February, Gandhi posed eight questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the deal and alleged that the Prime Minister personally went to Paris and changed the deal. -- ANI
14:09   No cash crunch in defence: Sitharaman
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the Ramzan ceasefire with Pakistan.  Addressing a press conference, Sitharaman says terror and talks cannot go together. She said the army was consulted before the ceasefire was announced. The defence minister said 50 terrorists were killed in 19 weeks before Ramzan, while seven terrorists were killed in two weeks during Ramzan. "We will keep our borders safe," the minister said.

On the Ramzan ceasefire, the minister added, "When it is an unprovoked attack the Army was given the right to retaliate. We honour the ceasefire but of course, a margin was given to us when there is an unprovoked attack. The MoD's role isn't to asses whether it was successful or not. It's our business to guard the border and we won't stop if we're provoked. We shall be alert that no unprovoked attack goes without us responding. It's our duty to keep India safe."

She said the defence ministry spending was its highest last year for over a decade. She said there was no real cash crunch in defence. She said when the government came in there was an ammunition shortage, but not any more.

Image: Villagers staying along the Indo-Pak border take shelter at a temporary camp, after heavy shelling from the Pakistan side, at Arnia, about 40 km from Jammu.  File pic. 
14:03   Who will be the next RS deputy chairperson?
The Election of the Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha is critical for the Narendra Modi government with the entire Opposition ganging up against the BJP. If the Opposition does unite, the BJP will not get the numbers to get its candidate elected.

Battle-weary they may be, but PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah make a lethal combo proven by successive wins in state elections.

So, will the BJP offer the deputy chairman's post to the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti or the YSR Congress? If the latter happens, both Chairman (Venkaiah Naidu) and Deputy Chairman will be from Andhra Pradesh.

Or will the BJP offer the post to AIADMK Which has 13 MPs.

There are 30 political parties represented in the Rajya Sabha. Congress wants to ensure that 25 parties which are anti BJP should unite and put up on common candidate like the Karnataka/Kairana model of politics.

The incumbent deputy chairman PJ Kurien retires in June. Once the monsoon session of Parliament begins on July 23, the election to the deputy chairman's post becomes inevitable and may then be held in the first week of August. The government may even postpone the election to a Budget session.

Image: Deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien.
13:10   Tamil Nadu to ban plastic from Jan 2019; oil, milk exempt
The Tamil Nadu government today announced banning use of plastic items, including non-biodegradable bags, from January 2019 in the interest of the environment and to "gift a plastic-free" state to future generations.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami's announcement in the state assembly coincided with International Environment Day today.

Late chief minister J Jayalalithaa had earlier constituted an expert panel on the issue that had suggested banning plastic products, including bags, plates and cups, and recommended that traditional items such as plantain leaves and plates made of palm leaves be used, Palaniswami said.

The chief minister said non-biodegradable plastic products, mainly polythene covers affect the environment, impeding water flow. Burning plastic also causes problems, he said, adding that plastic products contributed to various forms of pollution-- air, land and water.

"Considering the damage caused by plastic, and to ensure this is not left behind for future generations, the Amma government has decided to ban non-biodegradable plastic covers, plates, cups, water packets, straws and bags," he said.

However, plastic sachets used to pack milk, curd and oil, besides those used to wrap medical products, will be exempted from the ban, Palaniswami said.  -- PTI
12:55   Seat sharing to be discussed at appropriate time: Akhilesh
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today said there was no decision on seat sharing between his party and the BSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and that it would be discussed at an "appropriate time".

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister's remark come amid reports that the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party is demanding 40 out of the total 80 seats in the state for the next year general elections.

"Whatever seats are to be given will be decided once talks proceed. We will discuss at the appropriate time. Whatever is being reported regarding seats is only in newspapers.

"We have not discussed anything. We 'samajwadis' (socialists) have a big heart," he told PTI in an interview, his first after the Kairana bypolls in which the joint opposition candidate trounced the BJP's nominee, snatching the seat from the ruling party in the state. RLD's Tabassum Hasan polled 4,81,182 votes in the bypoll, while BJP's Mriganka Singh got 4,36,564 votes, a difference of 44,618 votes.

The SP chief also alleged that "the (communal) fire in which Kairana burnt was doused by the people there by voting against the BJP".

On assembly polls in other states, Yadav said, "The SP will contest all the seats in Madhya Pradesh and is also preparing for polls in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand." Regarding possibilities of a BSP-Congress tie-up for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, he said, "I have no information about this." -- PTI
12:44   Raj Kundra summoned in Bitcoin scam
Businessman and actor Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Bitcoin scam. Kundra is presently being questioned in Mumbai. The ED is recording Kundra's statement.

Image: Raj Kundra with actress and wife Shilpa Shetty
12:26   Tamil Nadu to ban plastic from Jan 2019
Tamil Nadu to ban plastic from January 2019. Milk and oil pouches, along with other basic need items will be exempted from the ban, says Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Update on the Jaguar crash: The Pilot, Air Commodore Sanjay Chauhan, lost his life in the crash. A court of Inquiry ordered to investigate cause of accident.
11:49   IAF jet crashes in Kutch, pilot injured
An Indian Air Force Jaguar aircraft has crashed in Mundra in Kutch. The pilot, who was initially reported to be missing, has been found, but is seriously injured. The reasons for the crash are not known yet, but the jet was on a routine sortie.

Image: Wreckage of the IAF jet.
11:37   Time to look for a safe deposit box
A gentleman with a name eerily close to the prime minister's has been making news. Companies associated with him borrowed billions from a bank and did not repay; while the bank is in trouble with authorities, its customer flits from city to city abroad and continues to live in luxury.

He is not the only one living it up on loans from government banks. There is another, once famous for throwing lavish parties on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean, who lives comfortably in a country cottage in England while his Indian creditors try without success to get Britain to extradite him.

If their examples are any guide, borrowing big sums from Indian banks and escaping abroad to enjoy life is excellent business; it may attract more seekers for good times. Read the full column here.
11:32   Nine JD-S MLAs to be 1st inducted as ministers, Cong MLAs later
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy today said at least nine MLAs from the JD-S will be inducted in the first phase of cabinet expansion of the JD-S-Congress coalition government in the state.

"In the first phase (of the cabinet expansion), eight to nine members (MLAs from JD-S will be there (inducted in the cabinet). Two to three vacancies will be there," Kumaraswamy said here when asked about the first phase of cabinet expansion.

Kumaraswamy also ruled out any differences among JD-S MLAs over cabinet berths and allocation of portfolios and said party president H D Deve Gowda has been given total freedom on the next phase of cabinet expansion.

"There are no differences at all among our MLAs (over cabinet berths and portfolio allocations). Actually they have given total freedom to the national president to select the future cabinet," he told reporters.

Kumaraswamy also said the national president has advised all MLAs about giving good governance with their cooperation.

"Today we had a meeting with our MLAs. Our national president advised all MLAs to cooperate with the cabinet for developing the state and providing good governance," he said.

As per the coalition agreement on June 1, Congress was allocated 22 ministerial berths and 12 to JD-S. Congress were allocated Home, Irrigation, Health, Agriculture and Women Child Welfare ministries, while JD(S) Finance and Excise, Public Works Department, Education, Tourism and Transport ministries.

Both parties also agreed on setting up of coordination and monitoring committee to oversee smooth functioning of the coalition. The committee will be led by senior Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, while JD-S' Danish Ali will work as its convenor.

Meanwhile, ahead of the Cabinet expansion tomorrow, Congress leaders from the state are likely to visit New Delhi to discuss the list of ministers and portfolio allocation with the party high command. -- PTI
11:11   Nipah Virus result of tampering with nature
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda claimed that the Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala is the result of "tampering with nature".

Addressing a press conference in Raipur on Monday, Nadda assured that the Centre is closely monitoring the situation in Kerala.

"All such incidents were the result of tampering with nature. Nipah Virus wasn't a man-made problem. There were natural reasons. Every person suffering from the virus has been mapped and those in contact with such patients have been detected," he said.

Nadda further noted that scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital, National Institute of Virology in Pune and doctors from the National Centre for Disease Control are supporting health authorities in Kerala in managing the outbreak.As many as 16 people lost their lives in Kerala due to the outbreak of the virus in May.

As a precautionary measure, colleges, and other educational institutions in Kozhikode have been asked to remain closed till June 12.

Furthermore, the Kerala state health department issued an advisory for people travelling to the state, urging them to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus, spread by fruit bats, causes communicable disease and is fatal for both animals and humans.The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion, and can progress to coma within 24-48 hours. -- ANI
11:03   Ten killed in landslide in Mizoram
Ten people, including six women, were killed and one person was injured when a building was swept away by landslide triggered by heavy rain in Lunglawn area of south Mizoram's Lunglei town, police said today.

The landslide hit the two-storied semi-pucca building last night killing seven members of a family living in the ground floor and three people belonging to another family residing in the first floor, they said. 

Four persons were rescued from the building, police said, adding that one of them suffered injuries. Police said that 14 people were residing in the building. The Lunglei District Disaster Response team and local volunteers rushed to the spot for the rescue operation and clear the debris. -- PTI
10:39   Aircel Maixis case: Chidambaram can't be arrested till July 10
Update: A Delhi court today extended till July 10, the interim protection from arrest granted to former Union Minister P Chidambaram in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case.

Special Judge O P Saini passed the order after the Enforcement Directorate sought more time to file a detailed reply to Chidambaram's plea seeking anticipatory bail in the case. Senior advocate Sonia Mathur and advocate Nitesh Rana moved the plea on behalf of the ED, saying the agency needed four weeks time to file a detailed reply.

At this, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and advocate P K Dubey, appearing for Chidambaram, requested the court to fix the matter to July 10 when the court is already scheduled to hear the anticipatory bail plea of Chidambaram's son Karti in the same case.

The senior Congress leader had on May 30 moved his plea for anticipatory bail in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case. In his plea, Chidambaram said all the evidence in the matter appears to be documentary in nature which is already in the possession of the incumbent government and nothing was to be recovered from him.

The court has already granted interim protection from arrest till July 10 to the former minister's son Karti in two cases filed by the CBI and ED in 2011 and 2012, respectively in the Aircel-Maxis matter arising out of 2G spectrum cases.

The relief was granted to Karti after the ED sought time to argue on his application seeking anticipatory bail.
10:33   Relief for Chidambaram from arrest till July 10
Update on the Aircel-Maxis case: The court gives P Chidambaram protection from arrest by the Enforcement Directorate till 10 July. The ED seeks time for filing a detailed reply in the case. Court fixed the matter for further hearing on July 10, the same date on which hearing against Karti Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis case is scheduled.
10:29   Trump has not done anything wrong, so no need for pardon: WH
Donald Trump has not done anything wrong and therefore there would be no need for a pardon, the White House has said, sidestepping questions about the US president's remarks that he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself.

Trump yesterday said that he has absolute right to pardon himself as he slammed the opposition Democratic party for witch-hunt against him alleging that the appointment of a special counsel is unconstitutional. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is the Special Counsel appointed by the Department of Justice to investigate into the allegation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections in Trump's favour.

"Thankfully, the President has not done anything wrong and wouldn't have any need for a pardon,' White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Sanders, at her daily news conference, was flooded with questions on President Trump pardoning himself, after he twitted that he had an absolute right to pardon himself.

"Certainly, the Constitution very clearly lays out the law. And, once again, the President hasn't done anything wrong, and we feel very comfortable in that front,' she said.

"Certainly no one is above the law,' she added. The assumption that president has done anything wrong is incorrect, she asserted in response to another question. -- PTI
09:53   Sensex down 102 points
The BSE benchmark Sensex slipped below the key 35,000-mark in early trade today following losses in banking, power, realty and capital goods stocks. Investors are cautious ahead of RBI's policy decision due tomorrow, brokers said.

The RBI's Monetary Policy Committee began its three-day meeting yesterday amid speculation that it may hike the key interest rate for the first time in over four years on account of firming inflation.

The 30-share index, which had lost 310.49 points in the previous two sessions, fell further by 101.70 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 34,910.19. Sectoral indices led by power, banking, realty, capital goods and PSU declined up to 1.20 per cent. The NSE Nifty also shed 33.55 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 10,594.95. -- PTI
09:40   Chidambaram to appear before ED today in Aircel-Maxis case
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram is likely to appear before Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday in connection with the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case.

Chidambaram was on Monday on summoned by the ED to appear before the investigating officers for questioning.

Earlier on May 30, a Delhi court granted Chidambaram protection from arrest till June 5 in the case, after he filed an anticipatory bail plea.

The Aircel-Maxis deal, arising out of 2G spectrum cases, pertains to grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to firm M/S Global Communication Holding Services Ltd for investment in Aircel.

The ED had earlier said that the FIPB approval granted in 2006 by Chidambaram was beyond his mandate as he was only authorised to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore.  -- ANI
09:38   10 killed, one injured in landslide in Mizoram
At least 10 people were killed and another injured when a building was swept away by a landslide triggered by heavy rains in the Lunglawn area of south Mizoram's Lunglei town, police said today.

It was raining heavily last night in the Lunglawn area when the landslide hit the building killing 10 people, they said.

The Lunglei District Disaster Response Team and local volunteers rushed to the spot to rescue people, police said.  -- PTI
09:24   Guatemala volcano eruption: Toll rises to 69 as more bodies recovered
The death toll from a highly active volcano that erupted near Guatemala's capital on Sunday rose to 69 as rescue workers pulled more bodies on Tuesday from under the dust and rubble.

In addition, there are 46 people injured, most of them seriously, more than 1.7 million being hit by the disaster, including 3,271 ordered evacuated and 1,787 in shelters in the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango since Sunday's eruption.

The 3,763-metre volcano erupted early on Sunday, spewing out towering plumes of ash and a hail of fiery rock fragments with scalding mud.

Authorities had warned the death toll could rise.

After an initial toll of 25 dead, it was revised upwards within hours as bodies were recovered from villages razed by the tumbling mud.   -- Agencies

IMAGE: A woman is comforted by a firefighter while mourning for her missing relatives at an area affected by the eruption from Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala on Monday. Photograph: Luis Echeverria/Reuters
09:06   Amit Shah to meet Uddhav Thackeray
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah will meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's residence in Mumbai at 6 pm tomorrow, as a part of BJP's 'Sampark for Samarthan'.

Sampark for Samarthan initiative was launched by Shah on May 30 in an attempt to reach out to people and generate awareness about the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his National Democratic Alliance government in the last four years.  -- with ANI inputs
08:44   Centre to announce Rs 8,000cr package for sugarcane farmers
In order to improve the liquidity of sugar industry and support the cane farmers, the government will be coming up with a comprehensive package of more than Rs 8,000 crore, as per government sources.

The sources further said that the government has implemented a series of interventions in the past four months to provide relief to the sugarcane farmers and to ensure clearance of their dues.

These interventions include -- increase in custom duty on import of sugar from 50 per cent to 100 per cent, removal of custom duty on export of sugar, imposition of reverse stock holding limits on sugar mills for the months of February and March 2018, allocation of mill-wise Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) of 20 LMT and financial assistance at the rate of Rs 5.50/quintal of cane crushed amounting to about Rs 1,500 crore.

The comprehensive package of more than Rs.8000 crore will include creation of buffer stock of 30 LMT, for which the money will be transferred directly to the accounts of the sugarcane farmers.

The creation of such a buffer stock will facilitate clearing of cane dues of the farmers and also ensure regular supply of sugar in the market by maintaining the demand and supply balance, the sources added.

The cost of creation of the buffer stock, including carrying costs and other incidental charges, is estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore.

The government sources further said that the package will also include a major scheme worth more than Rs 4,400 crore for increasing the ethanol capacity in the country, which will help in diversion of sugarcane for production of ethanol in surplus season to facilitate timely payment of sugarcane dues to the farmers.

The government is also understood to have decided a minimum price for sale of sugar at around Rs 29/kg, which will help clearance of sugarcane dues to the farmers.

At the same time, a mechanism will be put in place to ensure that the retail prices of sugar are kept fully under control and sufficient supplies are maintained throughout the year.

The sugar industry is an important agro-based industry that impacts the livelihood of about five crore sugarcane farmers and around five lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills.

India is the second largest producer of sugar in the world after Brazil and is also the largest consumer. Today Indian sugar industry's annual output is worth approximately Rs 80,000 crore.

The sugar season of 2017-18 witnessed highest ever production of more than 315 LMT in the country, the sources stated, adding, the depressed global price of sugar and the surplus domestic production has however led to a decline in the market price of sugar, leading to accumulation of cane arrears of more than Rs 20,000 crores.  -- ANI
00:07   I don't owe Monica Lewinsky an apology, says former US president Bill Clinton
Former US President Bill Clinton defended himself from recent criticism of his affair with Monica Lewinsky in light of the #MeToo movement, telling NBC News he never reached out to the former White House intern following the scandal.

Clinton defended his decision to remain in office following the scandal.

"A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work, I think partly because they're frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office and his voters don't seem to care," Clinton said, pointing to a series of sexual misconduct allegations against current President Donald Trump, who has denied them. 

"I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution."

Asked if he owed Lewinsky an apology, US President Clinton said, "No, I do not -- I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That's very different. The apology was public."

Clinton publicly acknowledged at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1998 that he had "sinned."

"I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned. It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine -- first and most important, my family, also my friends, my staff, my Cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people."