Tue, 22 May 2018
Chinese official media slams report on mining near Arunachal border

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23:16   Chinese official media slams report on mining near Arunachal border
Slamming a report about large-scale mining by China at the Arunachal Pradesh border, official Chinese media in Beijing today questioned the report's motive while hoping that India would not be 'provoked' by it and blight the progress achieved at last month's Wuhan summit.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Sunday reported that China has begun large-scale mining operations Lhunze county under its control adjacent to the border with Arunachal Pradesh where a huge trove of gold, silver and other precious minerals valued at about $60 billion has been found.

The report also claimed that China is rapidly building infrastructure to turn the area into another South China Sea-like scenario.

'It is to be hoped that India will not be provoked by this report, lose focus on the big picture of the relationship between Beijing and New Delhi and get off the track of Sino-Indian cooperation', the Global Times tabloid daily, known for its abrasive commentaries against India, said in an editorial today.

The editorial titled, Dodgy report disturbs Sino-Indian ties said, 'the report poked a sensitive spot in Sino-Indian ties but severely lacked factual evidence'.

It also said the Chinese expert quoted by the Post told the Global Times that he did not mention the South China Sea at all in his comments.

Terming the report as 'coarse', the editorial said it 'attracted widespread attention from Indian media on Sunday. Since the paper quoted people familiar with the project as describing China's move as a part of an ambitious plan by Beijing to reclaim South Tibet, relevant news stories from Indian media were full of vigilance', it said.

'But to many Chinese people, their first impression is that the report is not credible, given the vague facts, the geopolitical point quoted by a geologist and the denial by the expert', it said and questioned the motive saying that it is aimed at 'seeking to disturb Sino-Indian ties'.

'The report was bound to make waves. Lhunze county is not a disputed region. Whether or not there are mining operations there falls entirely within China's sovereignty. The Sino-Indian border dispute is different from the South China Sea issue and so it is quite farfetched to compare the two', the editorial said.

It also said 'after the Doklam standoff, Beijing and New Delhi increased their strategic communication and coordination in the border areas'.

'After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Wuhan last month and his meeting with his President Xi Jinping, the two sides achieved major progress in strengthening mutual trust. Both countries have no intention of provoking border disputes and China is unlikely to kick-start an aggressive plan on territorial issues', it said.

'The two governments, not the media, should take the lead in solving border disputes, as the latter can easily mislead public sentiment. Negotiations should be conducted by the two countries' professional diplomatic and security teams, which should present a solution acceptable to both parties and the two nations' societies', it said.

The daily also quoted experts alleging that Western countries are trying to create discord between India and China.

"The 'groundless hype' reflected the fact that some Western powers are constantly sowing discord between China and India, and using Delhi as a pawn on the frontline challenging Beijing," Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations told the daily.

The South China Sea disputes to a great extent were created and intervened in by powers from outside the region, said Qian Feng, a researcher at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies in Beijing.

"China and India, although they have border disagreements, are addressing such disputes through direct negotiations and making sure such issues won't undermine normal ties," Qian said.  -- PTI
22:37   NHRC issues notice to Guj govt over Dalit man's death
The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Gujarat government over an incident in which a Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death in a factory compound near Rajkot district's Shapar town.

The NHRC, in a statement, said that it had issued notice to the state's chief secretary and had called for a report on the matter within four weeks, along with measures taken to provide relief to the affected family.

A Dalit ragpicker, Mukesh Vaniya, 35, was allegedly beaten to death, and his wife assaulted, on May 20 by five people in the factory compound, including the factory owner.

They suspected that Vaniya and his wife were stealing scrap.

A video of the incident -- purportedly showing two people taking turns to beat Vaniya with a stick while another person holding him by a rope tied to his waist -- had gone viral on social media.

The police arrested the five people based on the video, a police official had said.

The couple was picking through garbage near Radadiya Industries, located in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) area, when they were held and beaten up by the accused.

A delegation of Congress leaders, including state unit president Amit Chavda, state in-charge Rajiv Satav and its Scheduled Caste Cell convener Ravindra Dalvi, met Vaniya's family at their native Parnara village in Surendranagar district and presented Vaniya's wife a cheque of Rs 1 lakh.

Talking to the media, Chavda and Satav alleged that the BJP government in Gujarat had failed to stem the atrocities being committed on the Dalit community.

"The number of cases have seen a steady increase. The government, instead, is shielding the perpetrators," they alleged.

"Dalits are not feeling safe in the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. The government makes false promises in the wake of such incidents but no leader from the ruling party meets families of the victims," they said.

The opposition party demanded that the state government provide the deceased's wife 5 acres of cultivable land, a house, as well as make arrangement for the treatment of a disease related to the liver she is suffering from.

Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani said the incident was more 'dangerous' than the Una incident in which seven Dalits were flogged by a group of cow vigilantes in July 2016.

"I strongly condemn the incident in which a Dalit man was cruelly beaten to death. In my view, this incident is much more dangerous than the Una incident. While in Una, the victims were beaten and abused, here a man was killed," he said.  -- PTI
21:17   India to attend SCO meet on counter-terror in Pak
An Indian delegation will be among those attending an anti-terrorism conference being held in Islamabad under the banner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Pakistan's Foreign Office said today.

Pakistan will be hosting its first SCO meeting, since the country along with India became a member of the organisation in June 2017. Experts from the eight SCO member states -- China, Kazakhstan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan -- as well as representatives of the SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) will participate in the three-day meeting beginning tomorrow, it said in a statement.

The legal experts will discuss the terror threat faced by the region and ways and means to enhance the counter-terror efforts.

"The Pakistan government is pleased to welcome delegations from the SCO member states," it said.

The FO said that it supports SCO's efforts for regional cooperation in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime.

"We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS," according to FO.

India's presence at the meeting assumes significance since it had boycotted the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation summit in Islamabad in 2016 citing continuing support to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

SAARC Summits are usually held biennially hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the Chair of the Association.

The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu. The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad.

But after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to 'prevailing circumstances' and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.  -- PTI
20:26   Speaker accepts resignation of Yeddyurappa, Sriramulu as LS MPs
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today accepted the resignations of Bharatiya Janata Party MPs B S Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu following their election to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Lok Sabha Secretariat sources said.

Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu represented Shimoga and Bellary seats in the Lok Sabha, respectively.

The two BJP leaders had tendered their resignations after declaration of the Karnataka Assembly poll results.

Yeddyurappa, who was the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP, won from the Shikaripura assembly seat with a margin of over 35,000 votes.

Sriramulu had contested from Badami and Molakalmuru, but registered victory from the latter. The BJP won 104 seats in the Karnataka Assembly polls securing the pole position, while the Congress and the Janta Dal Secular bagged 78 and 37 seats respectively.

However, Yeddyurappa resigned before the floor test on May 19, following which Governor Vajubhai Vala invited H D Kumaraswamy to form the government.  -- PTI
19:34   Congress's G Parameshwara to take oath as Karnataka deputy CM tomorrow
JUST IN: Karnataka Congress chief G Parameshwara to take oath as Karnataka deputy chief minister tomorrow along with H D Kumaraswamy.

Moreover, Congress's K R Ramesh Kumar to be the Speaker of the assembly.

Earlier, a meeting of the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular to discuss portfolio sharing was held in Bengaluru, attended by Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, K C Venugopal, Mallikarjun Kharge, H D Revanna, and D K Shivakumar.

Today we took decision regarding the expansion (of the cabinet). The speaker and deputy speaker would be elected on 25 May. Portfolios would be decided day after tomorrow. Everything is alright, no differences, Kumaraswamy said after the meeting.   -- ANI
19:28   Palaniswami orders judicial inquiry into Tuticorin violence
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has ordered judicial inquiry into Tuticorin violence and police action that left nine people dead.

The CM also announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for those killed during the protest and Rs 3 lakh each for the injured, government jobs for the family members of the deceased also announced.

Earlier, the state government assured that it will take action 'respecting' people's feelings on the plant and appealed to all for calm.

About 20,000 people took out a procession towards the district collectorate and the copper plant with the intention of picketing them, demanding for its permanent closure, and resorted to violence, a government statement said.

'The mob resorted to violence, set on fire police vehicles and those parked at the collectorate and pelted stones at the collector's office.

'To bring the violence under control, under unavoidable circumstances, police had to take action. To maintain law and order additional police personnel have been sent to Tuticorin,' the statement said.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed the deaths of the nine people a 'brutal example of state sponsored terrorism'.

He said people were murdered in Tuticorin for protesting against injustice.

'The gunning down by the police of 9 people in the Sterlite protest in Tamil Nadu is a brutal example of state sponsored terrorism. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured,' Gandhi said on Twitter.  -- PTI

IMAGE:  Smoke billows out of burning vehicles after a violent protest demanding closure of Vedantas Sterlite Copper unit entered the 100th day, in Tuticorin, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:59   Nipah virus outbreak: Situation under control, says Nadda
In the wake of the Nipah virus claiming 10 lives in Kerala, the Union Health Ministry today asked people not to 'panic' and said the outbreak is 'unlikely' to spread as early and efficient containment measures were being taken.

The ministry also noted that the outbreak appeared to be a 'localised' occurrence.

The situation is under control, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said.

The minister after reviewing the situation in Kerala with Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and Director General, ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava, also directed officials to extend all support to the Kerala government in its prevention and management.

The health ministry said a total of nine persons are currently undergoing treatment and isolation wards have been opened in several hospitals in Kozhikode.

It said that a multi-disciplinary central team from the National Centre for Disease Control is in Kerala and is constantly reviewing the situation.

The NCDC team has visited the house in Kerala's Perambra from where the initial death was reported, and found many bats in a well from where the family took water.

Some of the bats have been caught and sent for examination to a laboratory to confirm whether they were the cause of the disease, an official statement said.

"Sixty different samples have been collected from the spot and sent for examination. There are two confirmed cases with history of contact with the index case.

"They were admitted to the Calicut Medical College and Hospital and died due to the Nipah virus," the ministry said in the statement.

The central team includes Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director, NCDC; Dr S K Jain, Head of Epidemiology, NCDC; Dr P Ravindran, Director, Emergency Medical Relief (EMR); Dr Naveen Gupta, Head of Zoonosis at NCDC; Dr Ashutosh Biswas, Professor of Internal Medicine at AIIMS; and Dr Deepak Bhattacharya, Pulmonologist at the Safdarjung Hospital.

Besides, the team also has two clinicians and an expert from the animal husbandry ministry.

The ministry has also mobilised a public health team from the NCDC's Kozhikode branch to assess the extent of the problem for risk assessment and management.   -- PTI
18:07   Gowda won't mind a Cong MLA becoming Dy CM: Shivakumar
Senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar today claimed Janata Dal-Secular supremo H D Deve Gowda does not have any problem with a Congress MLA becoming deputy chief minister in the coalition government of the two parties.

"I have been given to understand in the media that he (Deve Gowda) has no issues with a Congress MLA becoming the deputy chief minister. He has left the decision to us (Congress) and his son H D Kumaraswamy," Shivakumar told PTI in an interview.

The names of G Parameshwara, Shivakumar and S R Patil are doing the rounds for the deputy chief minister's post.

Shivakumar has emerged as a key man in the political drama that preceded the formation of Congress-JD-S alliance as he was entrusted with the task of keeping his party flock together from 'poaching' attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party before the floor test on May 20.

The MLAs were camped at a resort on Bengaluru city outskirts and shifted to Hyderabad under the supervision of Shivakumar, whose hostility to the Gowda family is well known but has now buried the hatchet.

To a query, Shivakumar said senior party leaders including All India Congress Committee general secretary in Karnataka K C Venugopal will soon sit with chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy to finalise issues regarding cabinet formation and contentious deputy chief minister's post.

"Venugopalji has just returned from Delhi. The senior party leaders will soon sit with Kumaraswamy and his leaders to deliberate on cabinet formation and deputy chief minister's post," he said.

Shivakumar said he is unsure of what position he is going to get, whether KPCC president or a minister's post, but would be patient to hear from the high command.

Asked why should the Congress not press for proving majority soon after Kumaraswamy takes oath as chief minister, he said there are no fears of cross-voting.

In fact, party MLAs are keen on participating in the floor test as soon as possible so that they start their work in their constituencies, he said.

On doubts being raised on Congress-JDS coalition completing its five-year term, he said it is going to be tough, but things have to be sorted out in the name of secularism and the nation.   -- PTI
17:34   Centre taking issue of petrol prices seriously: Shah
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah says the government is taking the matter of rising oil prices 'seriously'.

"The government is taking the matter of oil prices seriously. The petroleum minister will have a meeting with the officials of the oil companies tomorrow. We are working out a formula to reduce the prices," Shah said.

Petrol and diesel prices have been raised for the ninth straight day across the country today.

With effect from 6 am, Tuesday, a litre of petrol was sold at Rs. 76.87 in Delhi, Rs. 79.53 in Kolkata, Rs. 84.7 in Mumbai and Rs. 79.79 in Chennai, according to Indian Oil. Diesel was sold at Rs. 68.08 per litre in Delhi, Rs. 70.63 per litre in Kolkata, Rs. 72.48 per litre in Mumbai and Rs. 71.87 per litre in Chennai.   -- with ANI inputs
17:17   CBI records Rabri's statement in money-laundering case
A CBI team today recorded the statement of former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi at her residence in Patna in connection with an alleged money laundering case involving a cooperative bank in which a huge amount of old high-value currency notes were deposited after demonetisation.

The four-member CBI team reached Rabri Devi's 10, Circular Road residence, around noon and left after about 20 minutes. Her husband and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who is out on provisional bail in fodder scam cases, was also in the bungalow at the time.

Rabri Devi had received a CBI notice a few days ago. The agency wanted to record her statement in connection with the money laundering case against the Bihar Awami Cooperative Bank, the family's close aide RJD national general secretary and MLA Bhola Yadav told reporters outside the bungalow. 

The Bihar Awami Cooperative Bank is headed by Anwar Ahmed, a close confidant of Prasad. Ahmed's culinary skills had earned him the sobriquet of "kebab mantri" when the RJD supremo was the chief minister in the 1990s.

The CBI case pertains to alleged conversion of black money into white through the bank by depositing a huge amount of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes which were invalidated on November 8, 2016.

Bhola Yadav said she also produced before the CBI officials her income tax returns and all necessary documents which "satisfied the team", and it left without speaking to any other member of the family.   

While Prasad is serving sentences in a number of fodder scam cases, Rabri Devi and her children, including RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav, have been named in FIRs registered by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate in railway hotels-for-land scam. 
17:06   BJP names dead candidate's brother for Karnataka's Jayanagar seat
The BJP today named B N Prahlad, brother of the incumbent MLA who died during the election campaign, as its candidate from Karnataka's Jayanagar assembly constituency, where the election will be held on June 11.   

The Election Commission had countermanded polling in the constituency after the BJP candidate and incumbent MLA B N Vijaykumar died of heart attack on March 4.

The hung verdict thrown up by the Karnataka assembly poll has lent an extra edge to the election in Jayanagar, and in Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency where polling was deferred to May 28 by the EC following the recovery of thousands of forged voter ID cards. The poll panel had also ordered registration of an FIR against the Congress candidate from the constituency.

The BJP has emerged as the single largest party by winning 104 of the 222 seats in the Karnataka assembly polls and will pull out all stops to emerge victorious in the couple of constituencies in the southern state to take its final tally closer to the majority mark.

The rival Congress-JD-S alliance, which was formed following the results and is set to form the new government, is also taking it as a prestige battle. 
17:01   HC grants S Ve Shekher relief from arrest till June 1
The Supreme Court today granted interim protection from arrest till June 1 to actor-turned-BJP leader S Ve Shekher, against whom a case was lodged for sharing a Facebook post allegedly containing derogatory references to women scribes and the media.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha also issued notice to Tamil Nadu seeking its reply on the plea filed by Shekher, who has challenged the May 10 order of the Madras high court dismissing his petition seeking anticipatory bail in the case.   

The bench, while posting the matter for further hearing on June 1, said no coercive action should be taken against Shekhar till then.   

An FIR was registered against Shekher by the cyber crime cell for alleged offences under various sections of the IPC, including insult intended to provoke breach of peace, gesture and words intended to insult the modesty of a woman and under provisions of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment Act.   

He has claimed in his plea that he was not the author of the Facebook post and was not aware about its contents when he forwarded it after receiving it from one Tirumalai Sa.   

He also said that he had removed the post after he came to know about its content.   

"I am no way connected to the said message, which was simply forwarded by me without reading the contents of the message only on the bona fide impression and over-confidence," he had said in his plea filed in the high court.   

He had claimed in the high court that the case was lodged against him by making baseless allegations and there was no iota of truth in it. He had also said there was no intention on his part to defame or hurt anyone.   Journalists had condemned and staged protests against Shekher for the post, which he had later deleted. 

The post had made insinuations against the media and women journalists following the row involving Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit.   The 78-year-old governor had last month patted a woman journalist on the cheek, apparently seeking to avoid answering a question she had asked. The governor later apologised to the scribe.
16:28   Digvijay named Cong's Madhya Pradesh coordination committee chief
Congress today named senior leader Digvijay Singh as the coordination committee chief of Madhya Pradesh where elections are due later this year. 

Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the election campaign chief while Suresh Pachauri has been named as election planning committee chief.

The term of the 230-member assembly is coming to an end in January 2019 and polls are due in the state later this year. -- PTI
16:23   No ban on day-dreaming: Javadekar on Rahul's PM aspirations
Union minister Prakash Javadekar today took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi's remark that he is ready to be the prime minister, saying there is no ban on "day-dreaming".
The Congress has lost 20 states and it is in power only in a couple of states now. "If on that basis, Gandhi is thinking of becoming the prime minister, then there is no ban on day-dreams in this country," Javadekar told a regional television channel, when asked about the Congress chief's remark.
Gandhi had recently said he is ready to become the prime minister if his party emerges as the "biggest" party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Asked if Gandhi could pose a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the parliamentary elections next year, Javadekar said, "A smart tweet or big talk is not politics. It is much more than that."
The BJP had only two MPs in the Lok Sabha in 1984 and it won 282 seats in the 2014 general polls. The Congress was then 400, which reduced to 44, he pointed out.
"There are lessons to be learnt by the Congress from our example," he said.
Asked about the recent political scenario in Karnataka, he said the southern state's governor had invited the BJP by acting within the constitutional framework.
"When we realised that we do not have the sufficient strength, our chief minister (B S Yeddyurappa) stepped down," he added.
On the Punjab National Bank scam involving diamond merchant Nirav Modi, the BJP leader said, "It happened during Congress period but we have arrested more than 13 people in connection with the case. We will seize their properties spread across the country."
On the BJP's slogan of 'Congress-free India', the minister said it means a country free of "crony-politics, lobbying and passing on benefits only to selected people."
"The bad culture in politics, introduced by the Congress, is what we have been opposing," Javadekar said. 
Asked about Rahul Gandhi using a similar slogan of "Modi-mukt Bharat", he claimed that it does not have any appeal among people. "Being so anti-Modi is negative politics which will never be successful in the country."
Despite being a nationwide party, if the Congress was going to say it will only oppose (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, then it is negative politics, he said.
Javadekar exuded confidence that the BJP will not only win the 2019 general elections, but its performance will also be better than earlier in West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. "We will also retain our current base in the country." -- PTI
15:50   Akhilesh, Maya will be sharing dais for the 1st time ever tomorrow
The swearing-in of HD Kumaraswamy as Karnataka chief minister tomorrow is set to see one-time rivals in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, sharing a public platform.

Though Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party have recently come closer, particularly after they together managed to win the Lok Sabha byelections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, their leaders have not been seen together on a public platform.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has got an invitation to attend the oath-taking ceremony in Bengaluru and will attend it, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI.

JD-S leader Kumaraswamy had yesterday met BSP chief Mayawati in New Delhi and she will also attend the function, a BSP leader said. The SP leader said though the two leaders held a meeting in the state capital after the March byelections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, this will be the first time that the two will appear on a dais together. -- PTI
15:40   Anti-Sterlite protest in TN turns violent, 4 dead
Four people have died in clashes over protests demanding the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Thoothukudi (also known as Tuticorin).
Protestors pelted stones and toppled police vehicles after they were prevented from marching towards the plant. Police said section 144 of the CrPc has been invoked in and around the Sterlite unit to provide security to it as per the orders of the Madras High Court.

However, angered over not being allowed to take out a rally, the slogan-shouting protesters forcibly tried to push back the security personnel in riot gear. They then started hurling stones at police and also overturned a vehicle after which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells to disperse them, they said.

While more than 20 people suffered minor injuries in stone-pelting incident, some vehicles were set on fire, leading to tension in the area, they added.

Meanwhile, a peaceful demonstration was held near the old bus stand in the town, also demanding the closure of the Sterlite unit and the proposed expansion of the plant.
14:31   Dantewada villagers forced to drink drain water
Villagers in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district are forced to drink contaminated water every day. As the villagers have no access to potable water, they are compelled to scrounge water from a drain to drink.

"The water is visibly murky; we cannot consume the water nor use it for cleaning, cooking and other basic needs," a local told ANI.

Taking note of the issue, District Collector Saurabh Kumar assured help and said, "We will look into the matter, if there is a shortage of hand pumps then we will install them soon."
14:16   We're praying that nation should walk in right direction: Archbishop
Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, reacts to the uproar on his letter asking priests to pray for the country ahead of the 2019 polls. "What else will I talk? Elections and govt concern us. We have to have a govt that cares for freedom of people, rights and welfare of the Christian community. I'm not meddling in partisan politics. We're just praying that the nation should walk in the right direction.

"In all churches and institutions we pray and fast. We pray for our own renewal and that of the country. Keeping in mind all that's happening in our country we said that we look forward to the next elections and the next govt. Every govt should protect people and the Constitution."  
14:02   Here's who's attending Kumaraswamy's swearing in
Karnataka Chief Minister designate HD Kumaraswamy on the swearing-in tomorrow: Most of the leaders, other than BJP leaders, will attend. Rahulji, Ghulam Nabi Aazad, Maywatiji, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, Stalin, several people are coming." Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan will also be attending.
Inadvertent confession of the BJP's inability to do horse trading?

Amit Shah says that if the Congress and JD-S had not held its MLAs hostage, the BJP would have formed the government in Karnataka.  
13:55   Nipah outbreak: 10 dead, 2 critical
Kerala Health minister KK Shailaja Teacher on the Nipah virus outbreak: As of now we have test results of 18 samples. Twelve of them have been tested positive for Nipah virus. Ten have already died. Two are in critical condition. No new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours.
13:50   Deve Gowda does not want man-of-the match Shivakumar in Cabinet
HD Deve Gowda, the man of the moment, does not want two faces in his son, HD Kumaraswamy's Cabinet. Kumaraswamy will take oath at 4:30 pm tomorrow.

The two leaders are Congress leaders DK Shivkumar and MR Patil because both these men have been strident opponents of Deve Gowda for
over two decades. Gowda has conveyed his reservations to the  
Congress leadership.

Shivakumar, well knowing he is unlikely to be given a ministerial berth in the Kumaraswamy government, has been giving interviews to the media about how he had to swallow a bitter pill (the alliance with the JD-S) for the sake of the greater good of the nation so that secular forces would be in power in Karnataka.

Shivakumar has also mentioned in passing that he should be given the deputy chief minister's portfolio. Dubbed the man of the match, Shivakumar has 25 MLAs with him. Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah also has 20-25 MLAs and these 50 MLAs can rock the boat.

The central leadership of the Congress will not be able to control these dissatisfactions in a month's time.  

Rahul Gandhi is believed to be toeing the line set by Deve Gowda in keeping with the promise that the Congress support was unconditional.

Even as we write this, a group of Muslim organisations have said that either their 7-time Congress MLA Roshan Baig or some other leader from the Muslim community be made the Deputy CM in the new government in Karnataka.

Uncharted but certainly turbulent waters for the alliance to navigate.

Governor Swaraj @governorswaraj It has taken me a lifetime to realise that I have only four well wishers in life - my mother, my wife, my sister and my daughter. When bad times come, even good friends behave like relatives.

Governor Swaraj is External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's husband.
13:01   Rajnath on Archbishop's letter: Religious discrimination not allowed in India
Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Archbishop of Delhi's letter to priests asking them to "pray for the country" ahead of the 2019 elections. "I have not seen the letter, but I want to say India is one of those countries where minorities are safe and no one is allowed to discriminate on the basis of caste and religion."

The Archbishop of Delhi has set off a political controversy after his letter, written to all parish priests in the capital, refers to a "turbulent political atmosphere" threatening democracy and secularism and urges all priests to "pray for the country" ahead of the 2019 national election.

Citing the "turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation", Archbishop Anil Couto in his letter says, "It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time but all the more so when we approach the general elections."
ANI: Speaker for the Karnataka Assembly will be from the Congress. The name is likely to be announced this evening.

And more trouble for the Congress-JD-S alliance in Karnataka:A Lingayat group asks MLAs to back BS Yeddyurappa as CM.  
12:14   The sneaky suit Pak snipers wear to prevent detection
Pakistan Army and Rangers are now resorting to sinister tactics to deceive the Indian surveillance measures of the Border Security Force and the Armed Forces, in Samba.

Reports say that Pakistani rangers and the Army along the International Borders and the Line of Control have changed their tactics to not only hoodwink the Indian border surveillance measures but also to target the Indian security forces.

The Pakistani troops have started using the thermal camouflage suits/clothing. This clothing suppresses the heat and keeps it trapped inside the suit, thus decreasing the heat signature of the troop.

It is to be noted that Indian Army uses the Hand Held Thermal Imagers (HHTI) to keep an eye on the movement of the inimical forces. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the Indian troop to observe the presence of the enemy closely, and thus vulnerability of getting hit by them rises.

This was found out when recently the BSF troops were targeted by the Pakistan side, which led to the killing of two BSF jawans.

The recent movement and targetting from the Pakistan side, when observed closely, has revealed that the pro-active actions of the BSF have forced the enemy to change its tactics.

The sources have revealed that there is a possibility of the Special Service Group (SSG) of Pakistan also using similar sinister tactics. -- ANI

Image: File pic of Indian Army jawans at the LoC
11:55   Yeddyurappa writes to EC alleging irregularities in K'taka poll
Days after voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were found from a house in Vijaypur district of Karnataka, BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa has written a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner alleging 'grave irregularities' in the recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections.

In the letter, Yeddyurappa wrote, "I am of a firm belief that Election Commission has taken a serious note of VVPAT machines found abandoned in a shed near Managuli village in Vijayapur district. It indicates grave irregularities in the conduct of assembly polls in Karnataka."

Yeddyurappa also stated that prior to the Karnataka polls, the BJP had raised the same concern about the reoccurring issue but the officials paid no heed.

"This is not the first time that irregularities in the conduct of elections were brought to the notice of Election Commission and officials holding elections at ground level. Prior to polling, we brought many such irregularities to notice of concerned officials, but in vain," added Yeddyurappa.

On May 18, eight VVPATs without batteries were seized from a labourer's house in Vijaypura, a week after elections were conducted in the state.

Yeddyurappa, who was sworn in as Chief Minister on April 17, stepped down two days later before the floor test as he did not have the numbers.
-- ANI
11:46   Deadly Nipah virus claims 12 lives
Two more people suspected to be infected by Nipah Virus have died today in Kozhikode Medical College hospital. Both were being treated in the isolation ward. Samples have been sent for tests. Around 12 deaths are believed to be related to Nipah. 

The Times of India had reported a nurse at Perambra Taluk Hospital died on Monday after possibly getting exposed to the deadly virus while tending to a Nipah virus  infected patient.

Nipah induces flu-like symptoms that often lead to encephalitis and coma. Fruit bats are considered the main carrier of the virus for which there is no vaccination, according to the World Health Organization.

Nipah was first identified in Malaysia in 1998. In India the disease was first reported in 2001 and again six years later, with the two outbreaks claiming 50 lives.

Image: Staff at a hospital in Kozhikode treating Nipah virus patients wear protective gear.
11:46   'Karnataka verdict indicates the limits of the BJP'
A fractured mandate in Karnataka is just right. A BJP win would have been validation of its dark, dangerous tactics. A. Narayana, a journalist turned academic in an interview to Praja Vani makes his point. Read the translated interview here.
11:26   'Congress-JD-S alliance will be intact for the next three years'
Why couldn't Prime Minister Narendra Modi lead the Bharatiya Janata Party to a clear majority in the Karnataka assembly elections? Will the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular alliance, formed to keep the BJP out of power in the state, last? All your questions answered by political scientist Muzaffar Asadi in an interview to's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Read it here.
11:12   SC refuses urgent hearing on Kumaraswamy's oath taking tomorrow
The Supreme court has refused to give an early hearing into the petition filed by the Hindu Mahasabha that challenged the oath taking ceremony and appointment of H D Kumarswamy as the Karnataka Chief Minister, stating it is unconstitutional.

the JD-S leader will take oath as chief minister of Karnataka on May 23 at 4.30pm on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat. Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to  Kumaraswamy.

The Hindu Mahasabha in its plea filed through lawyer Barun Kumar Sinha, has sought quashing of the Governors communication inviting Kumaraswamy to form government.

On May 19, the Supreme Court had ordered live telecast of the crucial floor test in the Karnataka Assembly to ensure transparency in the trust vote.

Soon thereafter, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa had resigned without facing the trust vote on the floor of the House.

Elections held on May 12 to 222 of the states 224 seats had resulted in a hung assembly with the BJP getting 104 seats, while the Congress winning 78 and JD(S) 37. Polling in two seats will be held later.
11:06   'Will cut hands of people who touch women inappropriately'
Strongly condemning crimes against women, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party leader Arvind Rajbhar said that he will cut the hands of those people who touch women and girls inappropriately.

"I will cut the hands of those people who touch women & girls inappropriately," Rajbhar told in a public gathering on Monday.

"Om Prakash Rajbhar (UP Minister) had said earlier that unless there are stringent laws in place, these dirty-minded people will always be around. Against these people, we should no longer just raise voices and file FIRs, now we have to make laws, like in foreign countries, which will see these criminals hanged," Rajbhar said.

He then went on to praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he (PM Modi) introduced a new law regarding the rising incidents of crime, which will be implemented very soon. Under this law, the accused of rape will be sentenced to death. He then called upon the attendees to make Om Prakash Rajbhar the chief minister of UP in the future. -- ANI
10:52   Monkey attack in Taj Mahal
Two tourists were injured today after being attacked by monkeys inside the Taj Mahal in Agra. Rabies can occur with a monkey bit. Details awaited.  
10:48   Verdict pending: Indian farmers sue powerful international organisation
The US Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal by Indian villagers against a power plant in Gujarat, funded by US-based international finance institution, which has allegedly resulted in environmental damages.

"Petition granted", the Supreme Court said yesterday. The case would come up for hearing in the next session, beginning October.

The villagers, led by Budha Ismail Jam, along with several other farmers and fishermen, allege that coal-fired Tata Mundra Power Plant has resulted in widespread environmental damages.

Washington DC-based International Finance Corporation, the financing wing of the World Bank, has provided USD 450 million in financial assistance to the project.

The Supreme Court said it would decide whether the IFC enjoyed immunity under the 1945 International Organisations Immunity Act.

Jam and other petitioners knocked the door of the Supreme Court this year after lower courts dismissed their petitions arguing that the IFC enjoyed immunity, like other foreign countries, under the 1945 International Organizations Immunity Act. In their petition, the villagers argued that the Tata Mundra Power Plant has failed to comply with international environmental standards. This has resulted in devastation of local environment.

"International organisations play an ever-increasing role in the economic landscape of this country and the world. Therefore, the question whether they are absolutely immune from any kind of lawsuit - no matter how strictly commercial their activities; no matter how egregious their actions; and no matter the views of the Executive Branch - has great significance," the petitioners argued.

In 2015, the applicants - Indian farmers, fishermen, a trade union of fishworkers, and a local government entity - sued the IFC in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

They brought claims for negligence, negligent supervision, public nuisance, private nuisance, trespass, and breach of contract. The petitioners lost the case before a district court in 2016 and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2017. Both the courts argued that IFC enjoys immunity. -- PTI
10:30   Cauvery water meeting underway
Earlier visuals of leaders arriving at DMK Headquarters in Chennai; all party meeting over the Cauvery Management Board issue is now underway. On the extreme right holding a phone, is DMK acting president MK Stalin.
10:20   What the Kashmir ceasefire means for the army
"Viewed militarily, the cease-fire puts the brakes for sure on the hard fought dominance that our security forces have achieved.''The ensuing weeks will witness their losing ground to the terrorists," fears Brigadier S K Chatterji (retd). Read the column here.
10:00   Priyanka visits Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh
It's back to work for actor Priyanka Chopra after a weekend with the royals at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. See the pictures here.

Work is her duties as a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights.  Chopra is visiting Rohingya refugee camps on a field visit to Bangladesh. She tweeted the pictures saying, "Im in Coxs Bazaar, Bangladesh today for a field visit UNICEF; visiting one of the largest refugee camps in the world..."

On Monday tweeted a photograph of herself from an aircraft looking out of the window and said, "Follow my Instagram to share my experiences as I visit the Rohingya refugee camps on this Unicef field visit. Children uprooted, the world needs to care. We need to care."

Priyanka, 35, has worked with Unicef for a decade and was appointed as the national and global Unicef goodwill ambassador for Child Rights in 2010 and 2016 respectively. She promotes causes such as environment, health and education and womens rights among many others.

Almost 700,000 refugees have fled violence in neighbouring Myanmar and arrived in Coxs Bazar since August 2017, according to the UN.

Last year, Priyanka had met Syrian refugee children in Jordan.
09:53   Goodbye, daddy!
In Dehradun, the daughter of Jawan Deepak Nainwal pays tribute to her father. Nainwal succumbed to his injuries sustained in the Kulgam encounter in J&K last month. He was being treated at the Command Hospital in Pune.

Three civilians also died that that day. On the day of the incident, the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a cordon and search operation in the Khudwani area, following information about the presence of terrorists there.
09:45   Delhi Archbishop calls for 'prayer campaign' for 2019 polls, row erupts
The Archbishop of Delhi has set off a political controversy after his letter, written to all parish priests in the capital, refers to a "turbulent political atmosphere" threatening democracy and secularism and urges all priests to "pray for the country" ahead of the 2019 national election.

Citing the "turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation", Archbishop Anil Couto in his letter says, "It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time but all the more so when we approach the general elections."

"As we look forward towards 2019 when we will have new government let us begin a prayer campaign for our country," states the letter.

Meanwhile, the Archbishops secretary, Father Robinson Rodrigues said that such prayer campaigns took place before every general election. However, he claimed this time the exercise was being politicised.
09:07   White House releases commemorative coin before Kim-Trump meet
The White House has released a commemorative coin to mark the June 12 meeting between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Released by the White House Communications Agency, the "trip coin" describes the North Korean leader as the "supreme leader" and the occasion as peace talks.
The much-anticipated meeting between the two leaders is scheduled to be held in Singapore on June 12. 
Last week, North Korea had threatened to cancel the meeting, blaming the US demands for "unilateral nuclear abandonment". Pyongyang has also taken strong exceptions to military drills between the US and South Korea.  
The White House said it was going ahead with the preparations of the summit. -- PTI 
08:57   Pak election commission suggests July 25-27 for general polls
Pakistan's election commission on Monday proposed July 25-27 as possible dates for holding general elections in the country.
The Election Commission of Pakistan forwarded a report to President Mamnoon Hussain requesting him to set one of the proposed dates as the day of the polls.
The announcement comes just days before the term of the sitting PML-N government is set to expire on May 31.
Consultations regarding candidates for the post of caretaker prime minister are also ongoing.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held a meeting with Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah regarding the matter last week. A final meeting is expected to take place on Tuesday.
Prior to the meeting, Abbasi met PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to discuss candidates for the post.
A close aide to Sharif and a senior PML-N leader told the daily that the meeting was of the view that it did not make much difference whether the PML-N proposed a name for the caretaker prime minister "as everyone knows who would control him at the end of the day".
"In such a situation there is a view in the party that it should not be keen in nominating someone for the slot, he said, adding that if this view prevailed (in the party) either the opposition (PPP) nominee would get the nod of the PML-N or the matter might be referred to the ECP.
Another leader who was privy to the development was quoted as saying that Sharif was not in favour of referring this matter to the ECP and wanted consensus.
He said the huddle also seriously pondered over accepting the nominee of the PPP for the caretaker premier. -- PTI
08:43   Farewell, my friend!
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally see off  Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport. 

"Farewell, my friend! In a special gesture symbolising our friendship, Russian President #Putin personally bid farewell to PM @narendramodi at the airport at the conclusion of PM's short but successful visit to Russia," external affairs ministery spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted with this photo. 
08:38   PM returns home after informal summit with Putin
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back home after holding an informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders discussed a range of bilateral topics, including defence cooperation as well as global issues of common concern.
08:31   Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla's killer pleads guilty to hate crime
A United States navy veteran, who is serving life in prison for killing Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring two others at a suburban Kansas City bar last year, has pleaded guilty to hate crime and firearm charges.
Adam Purinton admitted that he fatally shot Kuchibhotla in February 2017 after confronting him and another man Alok Madasani from India at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe.
He is already serving life in prison on a state murder charge. 
He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, which is the sentence that the prosecution and defense are jointly requesting. 

Sentencing is scheduled for July 2. 
"Hate crimes are acts of evil, and the Department of Justice has prioritised their zealous prosecution," said acting associate attorney General Jesse Panuccio.  
In this case, Purinton embarked on a murderous rampage with clear premeditation to kill on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin, he said.
"It was a hate crime, and he is being brought to justice. While we cannot ameliorate the irreparable harm to the victims and their families, we hope that securing this guilty plea brings them some measure of closure.  And this prosecution sends a message across the nation: hate crimes will not be tolerated," Panuccio said. -- PTI
08:19   Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire in J&K
In yet another ceasefire violation, Pakistani troops on Tuesday fired mortar shells on border outposts at several places in Jammu and Kashmir's Arnia sector, prompting retaliation by the Border Security Force personnel guarding the International Border.

The residents of the Arnia sector have migrated to safer places after Pakistan continued to violate ceasefire along the Line of Control on Monday.

On Sunday night, Pakistani troops fired small arms and mortars, targeting Narayanpur area of Ramgarh sector in Samba district, hours after "pleading" with the BSF to stop firing, after being pounded with heavy artillery that left a trooper dead across the border.

The BSF also released a 19-second thermal-imagery footage, showing the destruction of a Pakistani picket across the border, in retaliation to the unprovoked firing and shelling along the IB.

The BSF has lost two of its jawans in the latest round of unprovoked firing along the IB in Jammu region since May 15.

Four civilians were killed and 11 others injured on Friday in the Jammu area due to the firing, which increased in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir on May 19.
00:18   IS ousted, Syrian army in complete control of Damascus
Syria's army is in complete control of the capital and its outskirts for the first time since 2012 after ousting the Islamic State group from a last pocket of resistance.

It marked a major milestone in the protracted war, which began in 2011 and saw parts of Damascus fall to armed rebels the following year.

But in recent months, President Bashar al-Assad has used a blend of military pressure and negotiated withdrawals to steadily flush rebels out of territory around Damascus.

A small IS holdout remained in the capital's south.

Troops and allied Palestinian militia launched an offensive last month to recapture the area covering the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk and adjacent districts of Qadam, Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad.

On Monday, the army declared it had ousted IS from that zone, sealing its control of the capital.

'The Syrian army announces today that Damascus, its outskirts and surrounding towns are completely secure,' it said in a statement.

'The wheel of our progress on the battlefield will not stop until all Syrian land is purified,' it said.   -- Agencies