Mon, 10 June 2019
Severe cyclonic storm likely to hit Gujarat: IMD

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A severe cyclonic storm is likely to hit Gujarat on June 12 night with a wind speed of 130-140 kilometres per hour, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday night. 
The Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD said the deep depression over east-central and adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep lays centred at about 320 km northwest of Aminidivi (Lakshadweep), 680 km south-southwest of Mumbai (Maharashtra) and 840 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat).
"It is very likely to intensify further into a Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours and into a Severe Cyclonic Storm in subsequent 24 hours.
"It is very likely to move nearly northward and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and Diu region as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed 130-140 kmph gusting to 155 kmph during midnight of June 12," the Cyclone Warning Division bulletin said.
The state has been put on alert following the IMD prediction. 
With the warning of a heavy rainfall in parts of Gujarat, the state government has decided to deploy NDRF personnel in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch from Tuesday morning.
The government will also put the Army, the Navy and the Coast Guard on alert.
The India Meteorological Department has issued a warning of heavy rains with winds blowing at the speed of over 110 kms on June 13 and 14 in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch.
It has also advised fishermen against venturing into the sea in the next few days while ports have been directed to flag a danger signal.
"A heavy rain warning has been issued for Saurashtra and Kutch on June 13 and 14 due to the depression in the Arabian Sea which will turn into a severe cyclonic storm," state meteorological department director Jayanta Sarkar told reporters in Ahmedabad. -- PTI
23:42   Pak to allow Modi's plane fly over its airspace
Pakistan on Monday decided in principle to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on June 13-14, where his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan would also be present.
Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot. 

Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.
India requested Pakistan to let Prime Minister Modi's aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.
The official confirmed that the Imran Khan government has approved in principle the Indian government's request to let Prime Minister Modi's aircraft fly over the Pakistani airspace to Bishkek.
"The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed. The Civil Aviation Authority will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently," the official said, adding Pakistan was hopeful that India would respond to its offer for peace dialogue.

Pakistan had given special permission to India's then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers' meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on May 21.
Apart from the two routes through southern Pakistan, the neighbouring country's airspace remains closed for commercial airliners.
The IAF announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot airstrike have been removed. However, it is unlikely to benefit any commercial airliners unless Pakistan reciprocates and opens its complete airspace. -- PTI
23:07   Army man killed, 3 others injured in ceasefire violation by Pak
An Army jawan was killed and three others were injured when Pakistan troops resorted to mortar shelling and small arms firing along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district Monday, officials said.
The Pakistan army violated the ceasefire and targeted forward posts in the Doda battalion area, they said.
In the ceasefire violation, one Army man was killed and three others have suffered injuries, the officials said.
The injured have been hospitalised, they said, adding that troops guarding the border retaliated effectively.  
23:04   Heavy rains hit Mumbai; flights, train affected
Heavy rains lashed Mumbai on Monday evening, leading to delay in the running of suburban trains and severely affecting flight operations.

Flight operations at the city airport were put on hold after heavy rains brought down visibility below the required limit, a Mubai International Airport Limited spokesperson said Monday night.
"Due to heavy rains the visibility has gone down and the operations is on hold for the last 13 minutes," the spokesperson said in a voice message.
Due to this, a Newark-bound United Airlines flight from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj international airport was diverted to Delhi, the spokesperson said.
"Runway 09x27 (the main runway) will be handed over to the air traffic control any time soon to restart operations," she said.

Train services on Central and western lines have been hit due to rain with trains running late. 
22:10   Ministries must focus on 'ease of living': PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday directed all ministries of the central government to focus on 'ease of living' for the common man and said the results of Lok Sabha elections have shown that people want to change "status quo". 
Addressing secretaries of all central ministries, the prime minister said the Lok Sabha election results show that the people have voted for "pro-incumbency", a statement issued from the Prime Minister's office said.
The prime minister said that the Indian voter has outlined a vision for the next five years, and this is now an opportunity before the new government. 
He said that the huge expectations of the people should not be viewed as a challenge, but an opportunity for the government to achieve the targets. 
"He said the mandate reflects the will and aspirations of the people to change the status quo, and seek a better life for themselves," the statement said.
Speaking of the demographic dividend, Modi said it is essential that the demographics be utilised efficiently.
 He touched upon the importance of the "Make in India" initiative, and the need to make tangible progress towards this end.
The Prime Minister said that India's progress in "ease of doing business" should reflect in greater facilitation for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Addressing the gathering, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha said a significant impactful decision should be taken in each ministry, for which approvals should be taken within 100 days. -- PTI

Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with secretaries of all central ministries in New Delhi. Photograph: PIB
21:16   Govt dismisses 12 senior I-T officers for corruption, misconduct
The government has dismissed from service 12 senior income tax officers, including one of the ranks of the joint commissioner, on charges of corruption and professional misconduct, sources said.
The list is topped by a Joint Commissioner rank officer against whom there are serious complaints of corruption and extortion from businessmen accused of helping self-styled godman Chandraswami.
It also includes an IRS officer in the post of Commissioner (Appeal) in Noida, who was accused of sexual harassment to two lady IRS officers of Commissioner rank.
Another IRS officer who compulsory retired had acquired movable and immovable assets worth over Rs 3.17 crore in the name of self and his family members. These movable and immovable properties had allegedly been acquired by abusing his official position and by corrupt and illegal means.
A Commissioner Income Tax, who had a Disproportionate Assets case registered against him by the anti-corruption branch of the CBI, and was suspended from service in October 2009 pending criminal prosecution was also compulsorily retired by the government.
Another officer involved in cases of corruptions and extortion and who had passed many wrongs and malafide assessment orders which were later on reversed by the appellate authorities too was dismissed from the service.
An officer amassed disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 1.55 crore, which is 133.71 per cent of his known sources of income and using hawala channels for transferring the ill-gotten money too was compulsorily retired from the service.
Another officer of Commissioner rank, accused of demanding Rs 50 lakh bribe for giving relief to a businessman in a shell company matter, and abusing his official position as a public servant to acquire immovable/movable assets from his ill-gotten money amounting to Rs 3.13 crore was also compulsorily retired. -- PTI 
21:15   'Zakir feels he won't get fair trial in India'
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday said that his country has the right not to extradite controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to India, since the fugitive evangelist claims he will not get a fair trial back home, according to a media report.
Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, reportedly left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.
"Zakir in general feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India)," Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.
He compared the situation to Australia refusing to extradite former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, who was sentenced to death in Malaysia in 2015 for killing a Mongolian model.
"We requested Australia to extradite Sirul and they are afraid we are going to send him to the gallows," the prime minister said.
Naik was booked by the Enforcement Directorate in 2016 based on a National Investigation Agency FIR that was registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The ED last month said that Naik received crores of funds in his and his trusts' bank accounts from unidentified "well wishers" over the years for his speeches that spread "hatred and incited Muslim youths" to take up terrorism.
The Islamic Research Foundation, Mumbai-based charity trust promoted and controlled by Naik, "allegedly received funds in the form of donations and zakat (a form of alms giving in Islam) from domestic as well as overseas donors from countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Malaysia among others," the ED said. -- PTI
21:05   Aviation scam: Praful Patel grilled for 8 hrs
Former Civil Aviation Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel was questioned for nearly eight hours by the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi on Monday in connection with an alleged multi-crore airline seat allotment scam during the United Progressive Alliance government.

Patel refused to answer media queries on what transpired at the ED office.

He was called by the agency to appear at its office here on Tuesday for questioning over his alleged involvement in awarding favourable air traffic rights to foreign airlines that caused losses to Air India.

The NCP leader was earlier summoned to appear on Thursday but he had sought another date due to "prior commitments."

The name of Patel, who was the civil aviation minister between 2004 and 2011, came up in the alleged scam in a chargesheet filed by the ED against corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar on March 30.

The agency in its chargesheet had said that Deepak Talwar, who is currently in judicial custody, allegedly acted as a middleman to favour foreign private airlines, causing huge loss to the national carrier.

It also said that Talwar was in regular touch with the former Aviation Minister.
21:03   Create peaceful atmosphere: Army chief to Kashmiri students
Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday asked a group of Kashmiri students to contribute towards creating a peaceful atmosphere in Kashmir and to "stay away from wrongful activities".
The group of 140 students from Ramban, Reasi, Rajouri and Baramulla, accompanied by four teachers on a national integration tour, interacted with General Rawat, who shared his experiences of serving in these areas and motivated them to work hard and contribute actively in the nation building process.
He also exhorted them to join the armed forces and serve the nation.
"Work hard and you will succeed. Without it, no one can achieve nothing. Contribute towards creating a peaceful atmosphere. Don't indulge in wrongful activities. If you do that, you will be at a loss," he told the students.
"When the situation (in Kashmir) deteriorates, the schools are shut down, the work gets hampered and development takes a hit... We hope for a peaceful atmosphere... Your land is a paradise, you've got everything," he said.
The Army chief told the students that they have an important role to play in the progress of their areas.
"Study hard...become doctors, teachers and engineers and go back to your villages to work. Don't abandon your areas after you succeed. Your villages need good doctors, teachers...resolve the problems in your areas, help people there," he said. -- PTI  
20:20   Days after bombing, Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo to reopen on June 12
Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo announced on Monday that it will partially reopen on Wednesday, seven weeks after the five star property was attacked by a suicide bomber on Easter Sunday.
The Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo was one of three hotels hit by the suicide attacks on April 21 and suffered extensive damages. While the other two hotels reopened in recent weeks, most of the sections of the Shangri-La Hotel remained closed.
"From Wednesday 12 June 6pm onwards, popular dining establishments including Sapphyr Lounge, Capital Bar & Grill and Kaema Sutra will reopen for service. Guests will be able to enjoy room stays and Chi, the Spa from Saturday 15 June onwards," Mahika Chandrasena, Director of Public Relations at Shangri-La, Colombo, told PTI. 
The hotel said in a statement that the Shangri-La Group was grateful to the local authorities and the global community for their outpouring of support and messages of commendations received these past seven weeks.
The group's heartfelt sympathies and support continue to be with those who have suffered injuries and lost loved ones on April 21. They will always be remembered, it said.
At least five Indians were among the dead when the suicide bomber struck the hotel.
"In memory of, and to honour, those that lost their lives on that day, the Shangri-La Group will be making an initial contribution to the Dialog Foundation this will help provide  medical assistance, counselling, scholarships and vocational training for hundreds of families in Sri Lanka who were impacted," the statement said. -- PTI
19:34   Art 370: Nitish advocates 'court ruling or talk'
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday refrained from making a direct comment on what his party would do if the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government goes ahead with its poll promise of scrapping Article 370, which gives special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The Janata Dal-United president reiterated his stand that the proposals to remove Article 370, impose Uniform Civil Code and construct Ram temple at Ayodhya either be settled through dialogue or court ruling.
"It has been our view that Article 370 should not be removed. Similarly, Uniform Civil Code should not be imposed on anyone and the issue of Ram temple at Ayodhya be either resolved through dialogue or court order," said Kumar.
Kumar clarified that there was no "bitterness" in his party's relation with the BJP over the JD-U not joining the Union Cabinet with "symbolic representation".
Kumar was replying to questions of mediapersons after his weekly public interaction programme "Lok Samvad" here.
National chief general secretary of JD-U K C Tyagi had Sunday, after the party's national executive meeting, said the party will oppose the Centre's move to scrap Article 370 while being in the NDA, just as it had done when the party voted against the Triple Talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha.  
"We will continue to oppose it (abrogating Article 370) while being in NDA... It is your (media) wish that we should part ways," Tyagi had said.
On Sunday, the JD-U, an ally of the BJP in Bihar, had also announced that it would contest assembly elections in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Haryana on its own, as part of its goal to achieve national party status by 2020.
Article 370 is expected to a major election issue in the Jammu and Kashmir state polls. -- PTI
19:29   Fire breaks out at Jabalpur high court
A fire broke out at Jabalpur high court on Monday.

According to reports, several fire tenders have been rushed to the spot to douse the flame.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

No casualties have been reported so far.

Further details are awaited. 
19:27   Tamil actor 'Crazy' Mohan is no more
Popular Tamil playwright and theatre and film comedian 'Crazy' Mohan, whose rib tickling one liners and repartees won him a huge fan following, died in Chennai on Monday following a massive heart attack, a city hospital said.
Mohan (66) suffered "cardiac arrest following acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and the measures taken to resuscitate him did not succeed and he passed away at 2 PM," a release from Kaveri hospital said.
He is survived by his wife and son.
The comedy legend's over four decade career began with him taking the theatre by storm with his hilarious middle class centric content and laughter built on ubiquitous themes before he moved on to the silver screen.
A original creative thinker, he successfully reprised his threatre expertise in cinema by clinging on to simple but hugely successful one-liners and word play, seen in films like "Panchathantiram," that went on to redefine comedy in Tamil films.
Mohan entered the movie industry after a successful career as a theatre personality.

Noted director K Balachander's "Poikkal Kudhirai" was his launch pad to cinema, for which he wrote the story and dialogues. The film was based on his laugh riot "Marriage made in saloon."
An engineer by qualification, Mohan's penchant for comedy found expression even during his college days and he went on to set up a Tamil drama troupe "Crazy Creations" in 1979.
The troupe, which came out with hugely successful plays, including the present day popular "Chocolate Krishna", staged over 1,000 times, has been popular both in India and abroad.
He prefixed 'Crazy' to his name, synonymous with his theatre group and reminding his hit stage play "Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam (1976)."
Mohan's association with Kamal Haasan, which began with 'Aboorva Sagodarargal' in 1989 evolved and eventually resulted in movies that became iconic for its comedy like "Panchathanthiram," "Pammal K Sambandam," and "Thenaali."
He also penned scripts for several other super hit Haasan starrer films like "Avvai Shanmugi", "Vasool Raja MBBS" and "Michael Madhana Kamarajan", besides acting in many other movies.
Incidentally, Mohan wrote dialogues for the 1997 film 'Ratchagan,' in which Girish Karnad essayed the role of the heroine's (Sushmita Sen) father, both of whom passed away today.
A recipient of many awards, including the 'Kalaimamani' by the Tamil Nadu government, he first wrote the script for a college skit, the "Great Bank Robbery."
His last work as dialogue writer was for the drama "Crazy Premier League." Totally, he has penned 25 full length dramas, including Chocolate Krishna. His dramas have been staged over 6,500 times in India and abroad, including 150 plus shows in the USA.
He was also a painter and had an avid interest in writing 'venba,' a form of Tamil poetry. -- PTI
18:34   Pawar questions EVM veracity, says Oppn will meet in Delhi
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday once again questionned veracity of electronic voting machines and said the issue would be discussed by Opposition parties in Delhi in the presence of experts and technocrats, days after the Bharatiya Janata Party swept the Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing a convention of NCP workers marking the 20th anniversary of the party, Pawar said it needed to be figured out what exactly transpired after a voter pressed the button against the name of a party candidate of his choice and it got reflected on the VVPAT.
His nephew Ajit Pawar, however, appeared to be on the different page on the issue and questionned the criticism of the EVMs.
Ajit asked NCP workers not to waste their time in thinking much over the outcome of the general elections, but instead focus on winning more seats for the party in the Maharashtra assembly elections, due in September-October this year.
Pawar told the party workers that he had spoken to several experts after the poll outcome.
In Maharashtra, the NDA combine won 41 out of total 48 Lok Sabha seats while the NCP managed to retain four.
The NCP chief said apparently there was nothing wrong about the poll process till a voter presses the button against the name of a candidate of his/her choice and the same gets reflected on the VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) equipment.
"In a polling booth, there sits an officer who has a machine before him...When you press the button on an EVM, it gets reflected on VVPAT and from there it is transferred there (to the machine before the officer)," Pawar said.
"...and votes are counted from that machine. Now do you have any idea what is transferred there (to the machine before the officer)? The problem lies there. It needs to be figured out what happens in this stage," he added.
The former Union minister said doubts should not creep in the minds of the people about EVMs in a Parliamentary democratic set up.
He said the people should not be made to feel that the vote they cast for one party got reflected into other party's tally.
"People might keep quiet now, but they may take law into their hands. This should not be allowed to happen. We have to preserve democracy," he added.
NCP leader Dhananjay Munde termed the BJP's win in the general election as the "victory" of the party's "EVM manipulation".
Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil claimed that even those who campaigned for the BJP were wondering how NDA constituents polled a large number of votes. -- PTI
18:00   Ex-Pak Prez Asif Ali Zardari arrested
Pakistan's former president Asif Ali Zardari was arrested on Monday from his residence in Islamabad in the fake bank accounts case by the country's top anti-corruption body, officials said.
A National Accountability Bureau team accompanied by police, including female officials, entered the Pakistan People's Party co-chairman's house in F-8 sector after the Islamabad high court rejected an application seeking extension in the pre-arrest bails of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the case.
However, his sister Faryal was so far not arrested.
The arrest warrants were issued on Sunday by the NAB, the anti-corruption watchdog, which is probing them in the fake bank accounts case.
The case pertains to the use of alleged fake bank accounts to keep money and transferring it out of Pakistan.
According to the NAB officials, the duo made transactions of Rs 150 million through alleged fake bank accounts.
The cases against Zardari are part of the investigations being conducted by NAB in pursuance of the Supreme Court's verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case. -- PTI
17:46   PM to hold talks with Xi, Putin at SCO
India will hold bilateral meetings with Russia and China on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit at Bishkek this week, the ministry of external affairs stated during a press briefing on Monday.

The bilaterals will take place when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to attend the meeting of Council of Heads of State of SCO from June 13 to 14.

The MEA also revealed that India would be holding a meeting with host nation Kyrgyzstan on June 14.

Responding to a question regarding a probable India-Pakistan meeting, or even a bilateral between India and Iran, the Secretary (West), Gitesh Sarma, said that there is limited time available due to which "requests for other bilaterals will be processed as we go along."

However, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar firmly outlined that no meeting between India and Pakistan is being organised.

"Issues of terrorism are likely to be discussed. SCO has a well-oiled mechanism. While all documents reflect consensus, they also talk about serious challenges of terrorism," Kumar said, regarding the probability of India raising the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan during the summit. -- ANI
17:26   No differences with BJP: Nitish
Putting an end to speculation, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said that there are no differences with the ally BJP and all is well in the NDA in the state. "BJP ke saath hamara koi matbhed nahi hai.Hamara jaisa pahle samvandh tha waisa hi majboot sambandh aaj bji hai. Bihar mein NDA mein sabkutch thik hai."

Nitish Kumar,who is also president of Janata Dal (United), told reporters in Patna. Nitish Kumar said this a day after his party has made clear that JD-U will remain a part of the NDA in Bihar. It will contest the state assembly polls next year as part of the NDA.But at the same time the JD-U announced that it would contest the assembly polls in Jharkhand, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and Haryana on its own. The JD-U as an NDA ally won 16 of the 17 seats it contested in the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar. Nitish 

Kumar in a reference to BJP Union Minister Giriraj Singh's statements during the Lok Sabha campaign trail that ended last month polls said the JD-U had never compromised with its fundamental ideology. Nitish Kumar said he would attend the Niti Aayog meeting in Delhi and reiterated that he will raise the old demand of a special category status to Bihar. 

MI Khan/Patna
17:18   Chhattisgarh: Naxal involved in attacks on security forces held
A Naxal "militia commander" involved in several attacks on security personnel was arrested in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on Sunday evening, an official said. 

Arjun Kunjam (27) was held from the forest near Empur village in Pamed police station limits by a joint team of the Black Panther, a specialised anti-Naxal unit of the state's Special Task Force (STF), and the district police, he said. 

He said Kunjam was involved in the killing of two security personnel in the district on April 27 this year, as well as in an attack which killed 12 troopers here in 2007. He also participated in a raid on a grocery shop in Pamed in 2010 in which two jawans lost their lives, the official added. 

-- PTI 
17:17   Get well soon, Mulayam Singh Yadav
UP CM Yogi Adityanath meets SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav at his residence. Yadav was admitted to hospital yesterday due to high levels of blood sugar. SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Chief Shivpal Yadav (Mulayam Singh Yadav's brother) were also present.
17:01   Kathua murder: 3 get life, 3 get 5-year-jail
Just in: Life imprisonment for the three Kathua rape-murder convicts. The other three convicts get a five-year jail term. Sanji Ram, the village head, special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar were given a life sentence. The three accused have also been sentenced to 25 years for charges of gang-rape, says the lawyer.

Special Inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma were sentenced to five years for destruction of evidence.

An eight-year-old girl was kidnapped in January 10 last year and gangraped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua after having been kept sedated for four days. She was later bludgeoned to death. The incident led to a country-wide outcry and the trial was held on day-to-day basis at the district and sessions court in Pathankot. 
16:39   Tension na le, Yuvi told Ishant
Ishant Sharma tweets his farewell to Yuvraj Singh who announced his retirement from international cricket today, with this picture: "Yuvi paji! I still remember when I played my 2nd test match against Pakistan in Bangalore and u were there I was quietly sitting in a corner as I was youngster, so you approached me and said-tension na le enjoy the journey of test cricket! All the best for future!! @YUVSTRONG12."
And another picture of that mammoth traffic jam on the Manali-Rohtang road
16:20   Pilgrims rush brings traffic to standstill in Uttarakhand
With a large number of pilgrims paying a visit to Char Dham every day, the Uttarakhand's traffic has come to the standstill. Around 15 lakh pilgrims have already paid the visits to the four shrines -- Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The number is increasing with passing days. However, the arrangements were made for the accommodation of only 8000 devotees. This year's Char Dham yatra started with the opening of portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines on May 7. While doors of Kedarnath were thrown open for devotees on May 9, portals of Badrinath reopened on May 10. 
16:19   No end in sight
If you're sweltering in the heat in the plains, may be it's not so bad if you put yourself in their shoes. For those escaping to the hills, that's the traffic jam on the Manali-Rohtang road in Marhi. 
16:16   Anti-Dalit BJP behind atrocities in UP: Cong
The Congress Monday hit out at the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh government over "rising" incidents of atrocities on women and Dalits in the state. It also alleged that the "anti-Dalit mentality" of the saffron party was responsible for the failure of law and order in the northern state. 

Tagging a PTI report on the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Dalit girl by six men in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, "In BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, the law and order situation is ineffective." 

"Day by day, atrocities are increasing on women and Dalits. Ajay Singh Bisht Sarkar is sitting with its eyes closed. BJP's anti-Dalit mentality is responsible for this," he said. The Congress has often referred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as "Ajay Singh Bisht". 

According to the Uttar Pradesh police, the Kushinagar incident took place in a village in the Ahirouli Bazar police station area on June 7. "

A case against six persons has been registered under various sections of IPC, including section 376 (rape), POCSO Act and SC/ST Act," Superintendent of Police R N Mishra said on Sunday. -- PTI
16:09   Will continue strict vigil on border with Pak: Army chief
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on reports about Islamabad shutting down terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK): "No way to verify whether Pakistan has closed down terrorist camps or not. We will continue to maintain strict vigil along our borders." 
15:47   Three vacancies in RS
Three vacant Rajya Sabha seats (possibly a fourth); and at least three claimants (or not). Smriti Irani, Amit Shah and Ravishankar Prasad have all won Lok Sabha elections and have already given up their Rajya Sabha membership. 

The fourth is Birender Singh who is supposed to have promised the BJP leadership that he would resign his seat if his son Brijendra Singh, contesting the Lok Sabha seat from Haryana (Hissar) won.  

The question is: whom will the BJP nominate to these seats. LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and the latest margdarshak, Sushma Swaraj? Or some new, upcoming leaders? Swaraj has already begun making preparations to move out of her official residence. Where she will move is not known. 

-- Business Standard
15:46   Praise for Modi
"On May 23, not the political weather but the political climate of India changed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his first term as a novice. He opens his second innings as a statesman. Jawaharlal Nehru was the maker of the India of the 20th century. Modi is perhaps destined to be the maker of the India of the 21st century. Modi is the third Prime Minister to serve a second consecutive term with a majority. The other two being Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Prime Minister Modi is now in the same league as Presidents Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan." 

Guess who said this? 

K Natwar Singh, former foreign minister of India and the pointsperson in the Congress party for at least three decades. 

-- Business Standard
15:42   Sheila Dikshit wants to meet Kejriwal
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee on Monday sought time from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for discussing issues related to the national capital. 

Based on the request, Kejriwal has fixed the meeting with DPCC members on Wednesday. A delegation led by former DPCC chief Sheila Dikshit is also expected to take part in the meeting to discuss the problems that the capital is facing. Sharing the details of the proposed meeting, 

Delhi Congress leader Rajesh Lilothi said the main agenda of this meeting would be the electricity and water problem that people of Delhi are facing. The discussion will be on fixed electricity bill in the capital. 

Sheila Dikshit will forming the team that would attend the meeting and their demand will be to return the amount which they have taken through fixed electricity bill charge, he further added. 

The meeting between the two leaders is coming about a fortnight after the announcement of general election results in which both Congress and AAP had failed to win any seat. AAP, which is running the government in Delhi, slipped to the third position with a vote share of a little over 18 per cent. The BJP got over 56 per cent and Congress over 22 per cent vote share in this year's elections. -- PTI
15:30   Steven Spielberg penning horror series for Quibi
Veteran filmmmaker Steven Spielberg is writing a horror series for forthcoming digital platform, Quibi. According to Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, the users will only be able to see the show when their phone knows it is dark outside. 

In an appearance at the Banff World Media Festival, Katzenberg revealed that his former DreamWorks Animation partner Spielberg is writing a horror series. 

"Steven Spielberg has a super scary story. He's actually writing it himself. Getting him to write something is fantastic," Katzenberg said. The iconic filmmaker has already written "five or six episodes of a 10- or 12-chapter story", he added. 

Spielberg wanted viewers to only be able to watch the programme after midnight and to meet the requirement, Katzenberg said Quibi challenged their engineers to come up with an idea to view the show at the spookiest time. 

A clock will appear on the phones, ticking down until the sunset, wherever the user is, until it is completely gone. Then the clock starts ticking again to when the sun comes back up and the show will disappear until the next night, reported Deadline. 

Besides Spielberg, the talents that have already been tapped in to produce for Quibi or star in its projects include Steven Soderbergh, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi, Catherine Hardwick, Anna Kendrick, Doug Liman, Laurence Fishburne and Antoine Fuqua. -- PTI
15:24   Gave 'general description' about condition in Bengal: WB Governor
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Monday said he gave a "general description" about the condition in the state during meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. 

The "courtesy" meetings came after a day the Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory to the West Bengal government expressing "deep concern" over the deaths of people in post-poll violence. "I gave a general description about the condition in Bengal to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister," Tripathi told reporters at Banga Bhawan.
15:17   France welcomes Modi's call for global conference on terrorism
France on Monday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal for a global conference to tackle the threat of terrorism, saying the fight against terror is at the heart of its priorities. 

Minister of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean Baptiste Lemoyne made the remarks on the sidelines of an interaction with Indian alumni of French institutions in the fields of business administration, engineering and design. 

"Every single initiative to fight terrorism is welcome because it is a threat to every country in the world... So, everything that can be done to unite efforts is welcome. It's (terrorism) a global challenge like climate change. We will be closely looking at this initiative," he said. 

"Fight against terrorism is at the heart of our priorities... France stands alongside India on this... and I can say that we have strong relations on this front," he added. Lemoyne's trip is the first French ministerial visit to India after the Narendra Modi government assumed office for a second term. The French minister said the first Rafale fighter jet will land in India in September and it will be a strong signal of Indo-French cooperation. Thereafter, 36 Rafale jets will be delivered one by one, he said. 

On the Rafale deal, Lemoyne said, "The French govt doesn't care about controversies. We just want to deliver; it's in national interest of the two countries. We want France and India to be more sovereign and Rafale is a tool for the better sovereignty for India."

Lemoyne will Monday meet Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and a Confederation of Indian Industry delegation. 

During a speech on his first foreign visit since winning re-election, Modi told Maldivian Parliament in Male Sunday that "terrorism is not just a threat for a country, but to the entire civilisation". 

"The international community has actively arranged for global convention and many conferences on the threat of climate change. Why not on the issue of terrorism?" Modi said. -- PTI
15:09   Kathua convicts to be sentenced at 4 pm
The quantum of punishment for the six convicts in the Kathua rape and murder case to be delivered at 4 pm at Pathankot. 

The National Commission for Women has welcomed a Pathankot court decision convicting six persons in the horrific gangrape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, and sought harshest punishment for them. 

NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said, "I welcome the decision of the court and request them to give harshest punishment and hang them to set example for others because cases against minors are increasing and it would set an example." 

The girl was kidnapped on January 10 last year and was allegedly gangraped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua after having been kept sedated for four days. She was later bludgeoned to death. The incident led to a country-wide outcry and the trial was held on day-to-day basis at the district and sessions court in Pathankot. -- PTI
14:39   Amid incidents of violence, Bengal Guv meets PM
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday amid incidents of political violence in the state over which the home ministry has issued an advisory to the state government.

Tripathi told reporters before the meeting that it was a courtesy call as he had not called on the prime minister since he took over for a second term.

The state's ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have been trading charges over political violence in the state, with the TMC terming the MHA advisory as a conspiracy against its dispensation.  -- PTI
14:20   Modi to meet secretaries of all ministries today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of all secretaries on Monday, where he is likely to outline priorities of his government, sources said.  

Besides about 100 top bureaucrats, a few key ministers are expected to attend the meeting which the sources said will be a freewheeling discussion. 

The Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, the Additional Principal Secretary to PM and the Cabinet Secretary will be in attendance alongside the secretaries of all ministries.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at 6:30 pm at the Prime Minister's residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg. 

During the meeting, Modi is expected to outline the agenda of his government while at the same time he will also take feedback from the top officials, sources said. 

A similar meeting was held in 2014 after Modi assumed charge as prime minister in his first term. He has been meeting secretaries of various ministries at regular intervals. 

In Modi's previous tenure, the PMO had formed eight group of secretaries on various subjects to suggest reforms in governance. He has also been interacting with various state chief secretaries on a monthly basis. -- PTI
13:58   Yuvraj retires from international cricket
India's 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh has called time on playing international cricket. Ina a media interaction at a plush South Mumbai hotel on Monday, he announced his retirement from international cricket.

"After 25 years in and around the 22 yards and almost 17 years of international cricket on and off, I have decided to move on. This game taught me how to fight, how to fall, to dust off, to get up again and move forward," Yuvraj said in an emotional farewell statement he read out at the press conference. 

"I would like to thank selectors and Sourav Ganguly for giving me another chance. 

"I have never stopped believing in myself... always believe in yourself. | This sport taught me how to fight, how to fall and to dust myself off, get up and move. Ive failed more times than Ive succeeded but I never gave up," he said. 

One of India's greatest limited overs cricketers, Yuvraj has been seriously contemplating retirement from international cricket and pursue a freelance career in ICC approved foreign Twenty20 leagues.

Yuvraj last played a Test in 2012 and ODI and T20 in 2017.
Yuvraj Singh announces retirement from International cricket
13:41   Can live without food, not water: Thirsty villagers
In Amravati, Maharashtra, residents of Bihali and Bhandri village in Melghat survive on muddy and contaminated water. "We can live without food for a while but how will we survive without water. We spend 3-4 hours here every day to collect water. Government is not doing anything." 
13:12   Omar, Mehbooba unite over Kathua verdict
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti Monday welcomed a court order convicting six accused in the Kathua rape-and-murder case. 

"Amen to that. The guilty deserve the most severe punishment possible under law. And to those politicians who defended the accused, vilified the victim & threatened the legal system no words of condemnation are enough," Abdullah tweeted. 

He was reacting to the Pathankot court verdict convicting six of the seven accused in the rape-and-murder case of the eight-year-old nomadic girl in Rasana area of Kathua district in January last year. 

"Welcome the judgement. High time we stop playing politics over a heinous crime where an 8 year old child was drugged, raped repeatedly & then bludgeoned to death. Hope loopholes in our judicial system are not exploited & culprits get exemplary punishment," Mehbooba tweeted. 

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal lauded the police for securing the conviction of the accused persons. "Congratulations to @JmuKmrPolice for getting Raisina Kathua rapists convicted. Politicians tried their best to sabotage the movement for justice to A (the victim). But the Honble Court and the law enforcement agencies stood their ground. Pray we never have to see such horror again," he tweeted. -- PTI 
12:59   Karnad, an intellectual giant who remained humble, say friends
As the literature world mourned the demise of veteran playwright and actor Girish Karnad, some of his old friends and colleagues from Maharashtra revealed little known aspects of his life, saying he never boasted about his intellect despite his towering stature. 

Ashok Kulkarni, Karnad's Pune-based friend since their college days, said though the actor was well read and was known for his love for books, his colleagues "never felt that pressure". "We used to discuss cinema, theatre and other forms of literature but I don't remember any time when Karnad tried to dominate the conversation with his intellect," he told PTI. 

Karnad's command over several languages and his deep understanding of the literary and creative worlds made him the first non-civil servant director of Pune's prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). He was also the only director of FTII who went on to serve as its chairman, an official from the government-run institute said. He was FTII's director from January 1, 1974 to December 31, 1975 and later served as its chairman from February 1999 to October 2001, the official said. Karnad was also the youngest director of FTII when he took charge of the post at the age of 35 years and, incidentally, some his students were older than him, he said. 

"He introduced an 'Integrated Course' in the institute's syllabus that required students of one specialisation course to learn about other specialisations as well. It is still in the syllabus in the form of a 'Common Course'," FTII Director Bhupendra Kainthola said. 

Noted translator Uma Virupaksh Kulkarni recalled how her meetings with Karnad used to be "warm and pleasant". She translated four of Karnad's dramas as well as his autobiography into Marathi, titled 'Khelata Khelata Ayushya'. "He used to understand Marathi as his early education was in that language and never lost the grip. He was the only Kannada author who could understand Marathi, and he used to put me at ease during our discussions," she said.

"His drama 'Nagamandala' was one of the first plays that I translated into Marathi and it gave me confidence. I was already translating other forms of literature and never tried my hands at drama, but, with Karnad's support, I was able to do so," she said. -- PTI

Image: Girish Karnad's colleague and actress Shabana Azmi tweeted this image, saying, "Deeply saddened to learn about #Girish Karnad. Havent yet been able to speak with his family. Its been a friendship of 43 years and I need the privacy to mourn him. I request  the media to kindly excuse me from giving quotes."
12:47   RPower shares plunge nearly 24 pc post Q4 results
Shares of Reliance Power tumbled nearly 24 per cent Monday after the company reported a loss of Rs 3,558.51 crore for the quarter ended March 31. 

The scrip plunged 23.66 per cent to Rs 4.71 -- its 52-week low -- on the BSE. At NSE, shares of the company cracked 21.13 per cent to hit a one-year low of Rs 4.85. 

Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Power Sunday reported a loss of Rs 3,558.51 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 as against a net profit of Rs 189.21 crore in the year-ago period. In a filing to the BSE, Reliance Power said the board in its meeting on June 8 approved the audited financial results for the quarter and financial year ended March 2019, and also approved raising resources by issuing debt securities by way of privately placed debentures, subject to approvals. 

For full fiscal, Reliance Power reported a net loss of Rs 2,951.82 crore as against a net profit Rs 840.46 crore in 2017-18. Selling was also seen in other group shares, with Reliance Naval and Engineering plunging 13.41 per cent, Reliance Infrastructure 11.95 per cent and Reliance Capital 10.54 per cent on the BSE. -- PTI
12:28   Six convicted in Kathua rape-murder case
Update: A special court on Monday convicted six people (and not five as reported earlier) accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. 

A seventh accused, Vishal, who is the son of main accused Sanji Ram, was acquitted. The quantum of punishment will be announced later Monday. The in-camera trial in the case that shook the nation ended on June 3. According to the 15-page charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death. 

The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in neighbouring state of Punjab, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua, after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Those convicted are Sanji Ram, the village head, his juvenile nephew Anand Dutta and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Also convicted are Head Constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. -- PTI
12:06   5 convicted in Kathua rape-murder case
Kathua rape and murder case: Five persons have been convicted by the Pathankot court in the Kathua rape & murder case. Village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma and Head constable Tilak Raj were convicted by the Pathankot court. 

The eight-year-old girl, belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed on January 10 last year. The trial, which had begun in April 2018 against seven accused out of eight, concluded on June 3 last week. 

The trial of a juvenile is yet to begin as the petition on his age is yet to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. 

The Crime Branch has arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. 

Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested by the Crime Branch. 

All of them, except the juvenile, are currently lodged in Gurdaspur jail in Punjab. 

File pic: The mother of the eight year old girl who was brutalised and murdered. 
11:57   Jagan holds his 1st ever Cabinet meeting
Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy holds his first Cabinet meeting in Amaravati. He is also the only CM to have five deputy chief ministers. 

Yesterday, he received Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening as he arrived in the temple town of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh to offer prayers to Lord Venkateswara, atop the sacred Tirumala Hills.

Apart from Jagan, Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy and others received the prime minister at the Tirupati airport at Renigunta after he landed from Colombo.

Reddy, who revolted against the mighty Congress high command of Sonia Gandhi, quit and started his own party, faced a slew of corruption charges and spent over 16 months in prison before he emerged victorious in the Lok Sabha polls.
11:28   Kathua murder: Accused arrive in court
The men accused of raping and murdering an eight year old girl in Kathu have been brought to the Pathankot court ahead of the verdict in the case. 

The District and Sessions Court in Pathankot on Monday was turned into a fortress, as a large number of security personnel and riot control vehicles were deployed here ahead of verdict in the gruesome rape and murder of the nomadic minor girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua. 

The court is expected to pronounce its order in the rape and murder case today. 

The eight-year-old girl, belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed on January 10 last year. The trial, which had begun in April 2018 against seven accused out of eight, concluded on June 3 last week. 
10:48   Versatile actor across all mediums: PM pays tribute to Karnad
PM Narendra Modi tweets: "Girish Karnad will be remembered for his versatile acting across all mediums. He also spoke passionately on causes dear to him. His works will continue being popular in the years to come. Saddened by his demise. May his soul rest in peace."

Karnad made his acting debut and screenwriting debut in iconic Kannada movie, "Samskara" (1970), based on a novel by UR Ananthamurthy. It was directed by Pattabhirama Reddy and the film won the first President's Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema. 

Though he started off his career in cinema as an actor, he is best known as a writer and thinker. Karnad was one of the most prominent artistic voices of his generation. He was an eminent playwright with works such as "Nagmandala", "Yayati" and "Tughlaq", which was one of the most successfully performed plays, to his credit. 

He also worked in Hindi cinema's parallel film movement in movies such as "Swami", and "Nishant". His TV credits include "Malgudi Days" in which he played Swami's father.
10:40   Xi, Modi may discuss US' trade protectionism in Bishkek: China
Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping as "good friends", China on Monday hoped that the two leaders would discuss their respective trade frictions with the US and reach a consensus on opposing trade protectionism during their "very important" meeting this week on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Bishkek. 

This year's summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be held in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on June 13-14 where Modi and Xi are scheduled to meet and discuss bilateral and international issues. 

The meeting assumes significance as this is the first meeting between the two leaders after Modi-led BJP's massive victory in the recent elections in India. Xi had congratulated Modi on his re-election through a letter on May 23. 

"Once again we congratulate Prime Minister Modi. President Xi and Prime Minister Modi are good friends. They had very successful informal summit at Wuhan last year," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui told a media briefing in Beijing answering a question on the Modi-Xi meeting. 

He said the Wuhan summit has provided strategic guidance for the development of India-China ties, paving the way for stable growth of China-India relations in the long run. 

The April 27-28 Wuhan summit between Modi and Xi was largely credited to have turned around the bilateral relations soured by the 73-day Doklam standoff in 2017, triggered by Chinese troops' attempt to build a road close to the Indian border in an area also claimed by Bhutan.  -- PTI

File pic.
10:32   TMC sniffs conspiracy in MHA advisory
The Trinamool Congress Monday in a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged that the MHA advisory to the West Bengal government is a "deep-rooted conspiracy" and an "evil ploy to grab power" in opposition-ruled states. 

TMC secretary general and West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee said in the letter that the Ministry of Home Affairs has drawn conclusions without verifying the ground reality or taking a report from the state government. 

"We have reason to believe that it is an evil ploy to grab power in states run by parties politically opposed to the BJP. Moreover, this is a deep-rooted conspiracy and game plan to malign the state government and capture the Bengal administration through undemocratic, unethical and unconstitutional means," he said. 

In the advisory sent to the West Bengal government on Sunday, the MHA had expressed "deep concern" over the continuing post-poll violence in the state and asked it to maintain law and order. 

On Sunday night, the West Bengal government shot back a letter saying the situation in the state was "under control" and there was no failure on part of its law enforcement agencies. 

The advisory came in the backdrop of violence in Sandeshkhali on Saturday. The BJP has claimed that five of their workers were killed whereas the ruling TMC claimed one was killed. -- PTI
10:28   Verdict in rape-murder of Kathua girl likely today
The verdict in the gang-rape, torture and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, which shocked the nation, is expected to be pronounced by a special court in Pathankot today. 

Charges of rape and murder were framed against seven of eight accused in the case; one of them believed to be a minor. The accused, if convicted, would face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum of death penalty.

The in-camera trial in the case ended on June 3, following which District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced that the verdict would be delivered today. Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place because of the high-profile nature of the case.

According to the charge-sheet, the girl, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was kidnapped and held captive at a village temple in Kathua district on January 10 last year. She was drugged, starved and repeatedly raped for days. She was finally strangled and her head was bashed in with a rock.
The child's mutilated body was found in a forest area on January 17. 
10:15   Karnad was writing a brilliant historical play: Tharoor
Author, politician, Shashi Tharoor tweets his condolences on Girish Karnad's passing. "This is a devastating loss. Just a few months ago he sent me the draft of his brilliant new historical play. He was at the peak of his creative talent. Profound condolences to his devoted wife Saras & brilliant son @rkarnad. A flame has been extinguished that lit up so many minds."
10:06   Hunt for new UP BJP chief: State minister, MLCs likely contenders
With Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey making it to the Union cabinet, all eyes are now on who will lead the party in the politically crucial state where bypolls to 11 assembly seats are slated this year. 

Leading the charge of the BJP's state unit in the Lok Sabha elections, Pandey took on an united opposition in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP won 62 of the 80 parliamentary seats and demolished the SP-BSP alliance that got 15 seats between them. 

The saffron party's ally Apna Dal (S) won two seats and the Congress, the lone Rae Bareli seat of Sonia Gandhi. Pandey, who is now Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, cannot simultaneously be minister and state president under the BJP's "one person-one post" principle. 

Though leaders are tight-lipped on who will eventually head the BJP's affairs in the state, some senior party members have hinted that Uttar Pradesh minister Swatantradev Singh, MLCs Vidyasagar Sonkar and Laxman Acharya, and MP Mahesh Sharma are likely replacements for Pandey. They, however, did not rule out that there can be new entries in the race to the coveted post in the state. -- PTI
10:02   Sensex rallies, rupee gains
In other news, the benchmark BSE Sensex rallied over 350 points and the NSE Nifty reclaimed the 11,900 level in early trade Monday driven by gains in IT and banking stocks amid positive global and domestic cues. After hitting a peak of 39,979.48, the 30-share index was trading 272.07 points, or 0.69 per cent, higher at 39,887.97. 

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty spurted 76.25 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 11,946.90. In the previous session on Friday, the Sensex settled 86.18 points, or 0.22 per cent, higher at 39,615.90. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 26.90 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 11,870.65. 

Top Sensex gainers in early session Monday include PowerGrid, Tata Steel, TCS, Yes Bank, L&T, Infosys and IndusInd Bank, rising up to 2 per cent. While, Kotak Bank, M&M, HDFC, ONGC, Sun Pharma and Coal India fell up to 1 per cent. Investors took positive cues from other Asian markets which were trading positive amid easing global trade war concerns after the United States dropped its threat to impose tariffs on Mexico. 

On the currency front, the rupee appreciated marginally to 69.43 against the US dollar. -- PTI
09:59   Actor, playwright Girish Karnad passes away
Girish Karnad, veteran actor and playwright, and Jnanpith awardee, passed away this morning at around 6:30 am. He was 81. 

Karnad was awarded the Padma Shri in 1974 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992.

Girish Karnad was born on May 19, 1938, in Mumbai and was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he wrote his first play - the critically-acclaimed "Yayati" in 1961. Other acclaimed plays written by him include Tughlaq (1964), Hayavadana (1972). 

He was also active in the world of cinema; he made his acting and screenwriting debut in a Kannada movie "Samskara" in 1970.

Author Amitav Ghosh, tweeted, "Saddened to hear of the passing of Girish Karnad - a great writer and a very important public voice. Thoughts are with @rkarnad and his family."

09:55   Puducherry ex-CM dies
Death comes in threes, they say. DMK leader and former Chief Minister of Puducherry RV Janakiraman passed away in Puducherry today at the age of 79.
09:51   First Indian scribe to interview Che, Fidel, passes away
Another veteran -- a journalist -- passes into the ages. E Gopinath, who was associated with news agency ANI for nearly three decades, passes away. He covered the first polls in independent India and was the first Indian journalist who interviewed Che Guevara  and Fidel Castro in Cuba. RIP. 
09:09   Record 2,500 register for Yoga Day event at Washington Monument
The iconic Washington Monument is set witness a record of sorts on Sunday, when more than 2,500 people will gather in the United States capital to meditate and celebrate the fifth International Day of Yoga by flexing their body in multiple complex postures.

For the third time, the Washington Monument -- that faces the National Mall overlooking the US Congress -- would host the International Yoga Day celebrations.

This would be possibly the largest gathering of a free yoga event in Washington, given the enthusiasm of health-conscious people.

So far, more than 2,500 people have registered for the event on June 16. Following a proposal moved by India on December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

"We are seeing a robust response to our call for participation at the fifth International Day of Yoga at the iconic Washington Monument on Sunday, June 16. The event has already received over 2,500 registrations," the Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, told PTI.

The event is being organised by the Indian Embassy in association with more than 20 organisations.

And as an added incentive, Shringla said, the embassy has scheduled a vegetarian food festival immediately after the yoga event as part the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.

Since his arrival in January 2019, Shringla has been spearheading efforts for successfully organising the yoga day, which in five years has become a sought-after event in Washington.

He has chaired a preparatory meeting of embassy officers and representatives of the partner organisations.

All ambassadors and representatives of UN organisations have been invited to the event. Representatives from various wings of the US government and the Congress are also likely to attend it.

"Over the last few years, the popularity of yoga has increased manifold in the US. I am told there are now about 36 million yoga practitioners in the country. And this is good news!" Shringla said.

To quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "Yoga has evolved as a way to achieve a healthy living and combines physical, mental and spiritual pursuits to achieve harmony of the body and mind. Its appeal today has truly transcended cultural and linguistic boundaries and it has become a global phenomenon," he said.

The proposal to declare the International Day of Yoga was first moved by Modi in his maiden address to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014.

Then permanent representative of India to the UN Ashok Mukherji introduced the draft resolution in the UNGA on December 11, 2014.

It was co-sponsored by a record 177 countries.

For the event this year, the Indian embassy has mounted an active promotion campaign through its social media channels and website.

It has been running a Facebook ad campaign targeting individuals within 25 miles of DC, and individuals with interest in meditation, LuLulemon, yoga and yoga-related activities.

The advertisement is expected to reach around a million people by June 15. In the run up to the event, more than 12 curtain raiser events have been organised at various locations across the US, including Maryland, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.

Several other promotional programmes have also been held. The Indian embassy reached out to yoga studio owners and teachers to ensure participation from American yoga enthusiasts.

The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall, built to commemorate George Washington, the first US president.  -- PTI
08:29   Situation under control: Bengal govt to Centre
Stating that there were a few 'stray post-poll clashes' in West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee government on Sunday claimed that situation in the state was 'under control' in a letter to the Centre, which had issued an advisory after four people died in violence between workers of the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

State Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De wrote that 'firm and appropriate actions' were initiated in all cases of violence without any delay.

'There have been a few stray post-poll clashes in the state perpetrated by some anti-social elements, the law enforcement authorities have been taking firm and appropriate actions in all such cases without any delay,' De wrote in the letter to the Union Home Ministry.

'In the instant case under Nazat Police Station in North 24 Parganas district too, police case has been registered and investigation has been initiated, even while the maintenance of peace in the area has kept the police contingents busy on the roads and in the neighbourhood,' the letter read.

'There has been no delinquency in discharge of functions by public officials yet, strict vigil has been kept on the evolved affairs,' it added.

The chief secretary said the situation is under control and it may not be construed under any circumstance to be a failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and impure confidence among the people.

Earlier in the day, the Centre expressed 'deep concern' over continuing violence in the state, saying the 'unabated violence' even after the Lok Sabha polls appears to be a failure on part of the state government.

In the advisory, the home ministry asked the state government to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquillity.

'The unabated violence over the past weeks appears to be a failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and inspire confidence among people,' the advisory said.

Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee described the Centre sending the advisory as a conspiracy against the state government.

"West Bengal is the most peaceful state in the country and there has been no incident of any political bloodshed here. And you are floating a conspiracy theory by sending us this advisory note," Chatterjee told reporters.

Chatterjee questioned why there was no advisory note sent to the Uttar Pradesh government when incidents of violence were reported from there.

"You are using the home ministry in an undemocratic manner to issue this advisory to the state government. This is nothing but a political conspiracy," he said.  -- PTI

IMAGE: BJP MP Locket Chatterjee in an argument with the police personnel who stopped her party team from taking the bodies of two the workers to Kolkata, at Minakhan in North 24 Parganas, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo