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LIVE!India, China don't pose threats to each other: Xi

June 13, 2019


23:19  India, China don't pose threats to each other: Xi:  
Chinese President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday that India and China "do not pose threats" to each other as he expressed Beijing's willingness to join New Delhi in pushing forward a closer development partnership between the two sides.
President Xi made the remarks during his meeting with Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek - their first interaction after Modi's re-election following the stunning victory of the BJP in the general elections last month.
In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing said that President Xi told Prime Minister Modi that India and China should deepen cooperation by properly handling differences and called for strengthening Confidence Building Measures to maintain stability at the border.
"China is ready to work with India to continuously advance the closer development partnership between the two countries," Xi said.
He urged the two sides to stick to the fundamental judgement that "China and India offer to each other chances for development, and do not pose each other threats," state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing the statement.
Xi called on the two countries to keep deepening mutual trust, focusing on cooperation, and properly handling their disputes so as to turn the bilateral relationship into a positive element for their respective development.
He pointed out that China and India are the only two emerging markets with a population of one billion in the world, both of which are at an important stage of rapid development.
Working together, China and India will not only boost each other's development, but also contribute to peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large, he said.
Xi said both the countries should deepen mutual trust, focus on cooperation and properly handle differences, so as to make China-India relations a more positive asset and energy for the development of the two countries, the statement said.
On the vexed boundary issue, Xi said, "we need to make good use of the meeting of the Special Representatives on the boundary issue and other mechanisms, strengthen Confidence-Building Measures and maintain stability at the border areas". -- PTI
23:16  Low-pressure area in Bay of Bengal good for monsoon's progress: IMD:  
Indication of a low-pressure area developing in the Bay of Bengal is a good news for the advancement of monsoon, a senior official of the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday.
 
Thursday evening report of the IMD confirmed that the outer line of monsoon had reached across Kannur in Karnataka and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
Cyclone Vayu had slowed down monsoon's progress, the IMD had said earlier.
"A couple of days back, we were solely dependent on Vayu getting weakened as it had pulled all the required winds and slowed down the southwest monsoon's progress in the country," the official said, requesting anonymity.
"Today, we noticed indication of a low-pressure area getting developed in the Bay of Bengal, which always helps in the advancement of southwest monsoon towards northern part," he told PTI.
"Generally, by this date southwest monsoon is supposed to arrive in Maharashtra, but it is still far away. Earlier observations had indicated that Vayu would take a couple of more days to weaken which will make way for monsoon to move northwards," the official said.
"With signs of low-pressure area getting developed in the Bay of Bengal, whatever develops there is certainly going to benefit the advancement of southwest monsoon over the country and it can bring showers," the IMD official predicted.
"The next two days would give an idea about the strength of cyclonic storm Vayu and how the signs of low-pressure area develops further," he said.
Sparing Gujarat after changing course, cyclone Vayu Thursday began moving away from Gujarat coast towards Oman. -- PTI 
22:30  Traffic cops in Chhattisgarh to get air conditioned helmets:  
In a first, Chhattisgarh Police has decided to use indigenously developed 'air conditioned' helmets for traffic cops and other field officers.
 
"We will be using two such helmets on pilot basis. If its trial yields desired result, we will consider to have it for all field staff, mainly those doing traffic and security duty," Director General of Chhattisgarh Police D M Awasthi said on Thursday.
Awasthi himself wore the helmet to check its efficacy.
He said a large number of police officers, about 10,000, work in high temperatures.
The helmet, which works using a battery and a chip, can be of great use to them, the top police officer said.
Awasthi said due to high temperature many cops fall sick or face other health related problems.
The helmet is indigenously manufactured by an Indian entrepreneur.
"As the boss of the state police force, I am committed to ensure welfare of fields staff. This is a step towards that direction," he said. -- PTI

Image: Chhattisgarh Director General of Police DM Awasthi showcases air-conditioned helmets to be used by state traffic police force on a pilot basis, in Raipur
22:06  Amit Shah says BJP yet to reach its peak:  
The Bharatiya Janata Party may have notched up its best ever tally in the recent Lok Sabha polls but it is yet to reach its peak, its president Amit Shah asserted on Thursday, asking key party leaders to expand the organisation in new regions and bring more people into its fold.
 
Chairing a meeting of the party's national office bearers and its key organisational representatives from states, Shah said the party will reach its zenith when it will be running governments in states like Kerala and West Bengal, among others.
He also gave final touches to the party's membership drive, which will be launched soon with an aim to increase its members by 20 per cent, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav told reporters.
Yadav said the schedule of the drive, whose in-charge will be former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and BJP vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan, will be announced in a few days and that the party's organisational polls will follow the exercise.
The party is likely to start the drive from July 6, birth anniversary of its founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
Dushyant Gautam, Suresh Pujari, Arun Chaturvedi and Shobha Surendran will be co-incharges of the drive.
Shah, party sources said, will continue as its national president till the organisational elections are over.
The entire exercise may take several months to be concluded, which means that the party may fight assembly elections in three states -- Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra -- later this year under him.
In his address at the meeting, Shah told party leaders that the Narendra Modi government's return to power with a massive mandate mark the victory of the BJP's agenda of nationalism, good governance and welfare of the poor.
Quoting Shah, Yadav said the party president recounted its growth since the days of Jana Sangh, the forerunner to the BJP.
Shah said the BJP strengthened itself in states like West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana during the last five years while maintaining its dominance in states where it had done well in the last general elections.
In a similar way, the party will expand itself in new states in the coming years, he said. -- PTI
21:45  Priyanka talks tough with Cong workers; says they have let the party down:  
Talking tough with her party men, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Thursday told them that they let down the party in the Lok Sabha polls.
 
Accompanied by her mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who visited her constituency on a thanksgiving visit on Wednesday, Priyanka Gandhi pulled up party workers for failing to work for the Congress during the elections.
"I will find out the names of the workers who did not work for the party in the elections," she said, adding those who had toiled honestly and sincerely for the party know that from the core of their heart.
"But, those who did not, I will find out their names," she said.
A visibly annoyed Priyanka Gandhi complained, "I am saying today from the bottom of my heart that you did not fight the elections sincerely."
"This is the time of struggle. Those who are nervous, those who are willing to compromise and those who are not ready to give their heart to this struggle... for them I will leave no space in the Raebareli Congress and the UP Congress," she said.
"You make up your mind, if you want to work in the right earnest, you have to struggle, this is all I have to say," she added. -- PTI
21:02  Modi should use mandate to resolve issues: Imran:  
Pakistan's relationship with India is probably at its "lowest point", Prime Minister Imran Khan has said even as he expressed hope that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will use his "big mandate" to resolve all differences, including the Kashmir issue.
   
Khan and Modi are in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek for the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.
 
In an interview to Russian news agency Sputnik before heading to Bishkek, Khan said the SCO summit provided him an opportunity to speak to the Indian leadership to improve ties between the two neighbours.
 
Khan said the SCO summit provided Pakistan a "fresh outlet" to develop its relationship with other countries, including India.
 
"At the moment, our bilateral relationship with India is, probably, at its lowest point," he said.
 
Khan said Pakistan was open for "any kind of mediation" and seeks peace with all its neighbours, especially with India, asserting that the three "small wars" have damaged both the countries that now grapple with the "greatest amount of poverty".
 
The ministry of external affairs last week said that no bilateral meetings had been planned between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Khan on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.
 
Khan has twice written to Prime Minister Modi, seeking resumption of dialogue on all issues, including on Kashmir.
 
Modi Thursday raised the issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan during his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping here and said India expects "concrete action" by Islamabad to create an atmosphere free of terror for the resumption of dialogue.
 
Khan said the emphasis should be on peace and resolving differences through dialogue.
 
"Our main difference with India is Kashmir. And if the heads of two countries resolve, if two governments decide, this issue can be resolved. But, unfortunately, we have not had much success from India so far," he said.
 
"But we hope now that the current prime minister has one big mandate, we hope that he will use this mandate to develop better relationship and bring peace in the subcontinent," Khan said.
 
He said he believed that the money should be spent on getting people out of poverty, citing China's example which has lifted millions of people out of poverty. -- PTI 
20:58  Pak extends airspace ban till June 28:  
Pakistan on Thursday extended its airspace ban along its eastern border with India for the third time till June 28, according to a notice issued by the country's Civil Aviation Authority. 
Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot following the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir. 
The CAA notice issued to airmen (NOTAM) on Thursday says: "Pakistani airspace will be closed until June 28 along its eastern border with India. The Panjgoor airspace will remain open for overflying transit flights from the western side as Air India had already been using that airspace." 
 
A Pakistan government official told PTI that since there has been no official communication between the two countries regarding opening of their airspace for each other the "status quo" will prevail. 
"See if some development takes place at the government's level in this respect before June 28," he said.
On Wednesday Pakistan gave a special permission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's VVIP flight to use its airspace for his official trip to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. 
However Prime Minister Modi's VVIP aircraft avoided flying over Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan had allowed India's former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly though Pakistani airspace to participate in the meeting of SCO foreign ministers in Bishkek on May 21. 
Since the latest round of Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistan has only opened two air routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11. 
The IAF announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot airstrike have been removed. 
On May 15, Pakistan first extended the airspace ban till May 30. Then on May 30, it extended the ban till June 15. Now it has prolonged the airspace ban till June 28. 
As a result of the ban, foreign carriers using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan. 
The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia. The flights from Europe and the US flying in and out of New Delhi have been the worst hit.
 
Since Pakistan's airspace closure, the airfare on many routes have gone up significantly, including Delhi-Kabul, Delhi-Moscow, Delhi-Tehran and Delhi-Astana. -- PTI 
20:12  PM Modi meets Putin in Bishkek:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek and the two leaders reviewed all aspects of bilateral relations to further strengthen the bilateral strategic relationship.
 
This is the first meeting between the two leaders after Modi's re-election following the stunning victory of the BJP in the general elections last month.
"A special partner, a privileged relationship! PM @narendramodi met with @KremlinRussia_E Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of #SCOSummit in #Bishkek. Reviewed all aspects of bilateral relations to further strengthen the strategic relationship," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Modi arrived in the Kyrgyz capital on Thursday for the SCO summit, the first multilateral engagement post his re-election. The SCO is a China-led 8-member economic and security bloc with India and Pakistan being admitted to the grouping in 2017.
20:08  Rajnath reviews Navy's preparation to deal with Vayu:  
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday reviewed the Navy's preparedness along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coast in view of cyclone Vayu, officials said.
 
Senior Navy officials briefed Singh at a meeting in naval headquarters here during which he was apprised about various measures being taken by the force to deal with possible scenarios, they said.
He was briefed about the ability and readiness of various assets of Western Naval Command which were kept ready for deployment to the affected areas in case of requirement.
     
"The Western Naval Command, Mumbai is closely monitoring the developing situation. Indian Navy ships Chennai, Gomati and Deepak at Mumbai have embarked with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and are ready to be deployed at short notice," the Navy said.
In addition, 5,000 litres of drinking water is also being kept on board naval ships.
Officials said seven naval aircraft and three helicopters are kept on standby for deployment. 
"Two diving and rescue teams and three medical teams are ready to render necessary assistance. Preparations have been undertaken to setup community kitchen at Dwarka and Porbandar," the Navy said.
 
"Aircraft and helicopters will be deployed for the damage assessment and Search and Rescue operations as required," it said. 
 
The IMD said in a release issued at 5 pm Thursday that the cyclone is likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards, skirting the Saurashtra coast and affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph during the next 12 hours. -- PTI  
20:02  Pak must act against terror: Modi tells Xi:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday raised the issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan during his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bishkek and said India expects "concrete action" by Islamabad to create an atmosphere free of terror for the resumption of dialogue.
 
Prime Minister Modi met President Xi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Bishkek and discussed the full spectrum of bilateral relations.
This is the first meeting between the two leaders after Modi's re-election following the stunning victory of the BJP in the general elections last month.
The meeting also comes a month after the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the powerful UN Security Council designated Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China, Pakistan's closest ally, lifted its technical hold on the proposal to blacklist him.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that there was a brief discussion on Pakistan during the talks between the two leaders.
He said India has a consistent position with respect to Pakistan that it wants peaceful relations with Islamabad.
Gokhale said Prime Minister Modi told President Xi that he has made efforts to improve ties with Islamabad but these efforts have been "derailed".
"Pakistan needs to create an atmosphere free of terror, but at this stage we do not see it happening. We expect Islamabad to take concrete action" to resume talks, Gokhale quoted the prime minister as telling President Xi.
Modi's comments came ahead of President Xi's meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also in the Kyrgyz capital to attend the SCO summit. -- PTI
19:03  Take care of patients: Mamata urges doctors:  
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday appealed to protesting doctors in the state to get back to work and ensure that hospitals can run "smoothly and peacefully".

"My humble request to all of you. Please take care of all patients. Poor people are coming from all districts. I will be obliged and honoured if you all please take care of the hospitals. Hospitals must run smoothly and peacefully. Thanks for your full cooperation," Banerjee said in a letter to all senior doctors and professors.

Earlier today, Members of Joint Platform of Doctors met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and demanded adequate security in every medical college and hospital.

"We demand proper action against those who attacked doctors in NRS Hospital on June 10. We will resume working as soon as our demands are fulfilled," one of the doctors said after meeting Tripathi.

The protest erupted on June 11 after a junior doctor at the Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital was allegedly attacked by the relative of a patient who died on June 10.

The junior doctors locked up the hospital gates, stopped work at the outpatient department and started a dharna as a mark of protest against the attack. However, patients later broke open the gates to enter the hospital. 

The West Bengal chief minister, in a Facebook post, reiterated her appeal to restore normalcy in healthcare services to the patients "without any further delay," while adding that the state government has "taken full care of the injured doctor."

"We pray that he recovers quickly. As per information received, he is stable and improving," Mamata said in her post.

"An unfortunate incident took place in NRS Hospital 3 days ago. I sent my colleague, Chandrima Bhattacharjee, Minister-of-State, Health and Family Welfare to visit the injured doctor and talk to a section of the junior doctors who are agitating and request them to withdraw the agitation as people are not getting treatment. Cancer patients, kidney patients, accident victims, even children coming from distant places are suffering for not getting treatment," the TMC Chief said.

Mamata also appealed to the doctors to not fall into the "trap" laid by political parties. "Our government is giving full co-operation and taking all necessary action. But, in spite of that, provocations are coming from other political parties, which no one should fall trapped into," she said.

"Today when I visited SSKM, I saw gatherings of outsiders of different political parties shouting slogans in hospital silence zones and stopping emergency services. Patient parties are crying and outdoor services are closed. I sent some patients to private hospitals for immediate treatment. I am grateful to senior doctors and professors who are offering full services to the people. My humble regards to them for their cooperation. Some misinformation/disinformation being spread on social media by some political parties are completely untrue," she added.

-- ANI
18:42  All-party meet called by West Bengal Governor inconclusive:  
An all-party meeting convened by Governor K N Tripathi was held on Thursday to discuss steps to end political violence in the state.
 
After the meeting, BJP state vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar said the governor gave some suggestions, but the TMC's representative said he needs to consult the party.

The TMC was represented in the meeting by its Secretary General and state minister Partha Chatterjee.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the Governor's decision to call a meeting on the law and order issue and declined to attend it. 

She alleged that the meeting was called at the behest of the BJP. "The governor could call people for a cup of tea or a peace meeting," the TMC supremo said, adding, "So I am sending a party representative there. He will go there, have a cup of tea and come back."

Majumdar said the meeting proves that law and order situation has completely failed in the state. "The governor during the meeting gave few suggestions. We said we are ready to follow those suggestions. But, the friend from TMC said he needs to consult with the leadership," he told reporters.

CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim alleged that both the BJP and the TMC were trying to vitiate the atmosphere of the state.

-- PTI
18:29  Xi to visit India this year after PM's invite:  
Chinese President Xi Jinping has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to visit India later this year for an informal summit, the foreign ministry said today after his bilateral meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO summit. PM Modi had reached Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, earlier today to take part in the two-day summit. 

"PM Modi invited Xi (to India) for the next informal summit. Xi confirmed his readiness to visit India this year and that both sides should begin preparations," said foreign secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale.

PM Modi and Xi Jinping had held their first informal summit in Wuhan in April last year, which was a great success. 

At that meeting, President Jinping had accepted PM Modi's invitation to come to India for a second meeting.
18:22  UP CM Adityanath pays tribute to air warriors killed in AN-32 crash:  
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday paid tributes to the 13 people, including one from Lucknow, on board the ill-fated AN-32 aircraft of the IAF that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh.
  
In a statement issued, Adityanath said he saluted them. He also conveyed his condolences to the family members of Non-Combatant Putali, a resident of the Bakshi Ka Talab area of the state capital.

All 13 occupants of the aircraft died in the crash, the IAF said after a team of rescuers searched the wreckage of the plane in a heavily forested mountainous terrain of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.

Those who died in the crash are Wing Commander G M Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenants L R Thapa, MK Garg, Ashish Tanwar and Sumit Mohanty, Warrant officer K K Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, LAC (leading aircraft man) SK Singh, LAC Pankaj, and non combatants Rajesh Kumar and Putali.

The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China on June 3 when it lost contact around half-an-hour after taking off.

The wreckage of the plane was spotted by an IAF chopper on Tuesday.
17:59  Amit Shah could stay as BJP president till Dec:  
BJP on Thursday dropped hints that Amit Shah could stay as party president till December.

Despite the massive mandate it achieved to form the government for the second time, Shah told party leaders that BJP has not reached its peak even after getting 303 seats in the Lok Sabha.

"The party will first go for the membership drive. Organizational elections will happen only after that," party leader Bhupendra Yadav told reporters at the party headquarters while briefing about Amit Shah's meeting with party leaders.

When reporters repeated the same question about Amit Shah heading the party, he kept maintaining that the party would first have to complete the membership drive.

BJP has decided to increase its members by 20 per cent which could take up to three months.

-- ANI
17:49  Theme of this year's World Yoga Day is 'Yoga for Heart':  
Union Minister Shripad Yesso Naik said the theme for this year's World Yoga Day is 'Yoga for Heart'.

Naik, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, said with the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the entire world is observing Yoga Day on June 21.

"Yoga has become an important aspect in the life of the people, which is an honourable achievement for the country that has given Yoga to the world," he told a press conference.

Naik said the prime minister will be present in the main event to be held at Prabhat Tara Maidan in Ranchi.

The Union minister said the objective of the Centre and the state is to take the message of Yoga to every person and house.

He said AYUSH ministry is encouraging every individual and institutions like educational institutions, business firms, industry and cultural organisations in this endeavour of making Yoga a mass movement as people can benefit from Yoga.
He said that among five cities, Ranchi has been chosen to organise the main event on June 21, which will be an historic day for the people of Jharkhand and expressed optimism that Ranchi programme will prove to be the best among the previous four events.

He said about 40,000 people participated in the first International Yoga Day in Delhi and expected Ranchi event to draw about 50,000 Yoga enthusiasts.
       

-- PTI
17:37  Party can go from defeat to victory under Rahul's leadership: Rawat:  A day after the Congress asserted that Rahul Gandhi will remain party president, senior leader Harish Rawat said the statement reflected the party workers' sentiment who believed that under Gandhi's leadership the party can go from defeat to victory. 


Gandhi was, is and will remain the Congress president, chief spokesperson of the party Randeep Surjewala had said on Wednesday, ending the speculation triggered by his insistence to quit the post for the time being. Surjewala's assertion came after an informal meeting presided by former Union minister A K Antony, in which senior Congress leaders discussed the party's strategy and preparations for the assembly elections in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Maharashtra later this year. 


Gandhi had offered to quit as the party chief during a May 25 meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which was called to analyse the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, in which it managed to win just 52 seats. The CWC had unanimously rejected his offer to quit but Gandhi was apparently firm on his stand. -- PTI
17:31  Tanushree's full statement on clean chit to Nana:  "A corrupt police force and legal system giving a clean chit to an even more corrupt person Nana who has been accused even in the past of bullying, intimidation and harassment by several women in the film Industry. Our witnesses have been silenced by intimidation and fake witnesses have been put forth to weaken the case. What was the rush to file a B summary report when all of my witnesses have not even recorded their statements yet?" 


She added, "I'm neither shocked nor surprised being a woman in India. This is something we all have got used to. I mean if rape accused Alok Nath got a clean chit and returned to movies then surely it was not going to be difficult for harassment accused Nana Patekar to get himself or shall we say buy himself a clean chit to continue to bully hapless young women." 


"....Continue to expose these creeps through social media and other platforms so that in future people would think twice before troubling an innocent young girl. I still believe by the way that I will get justice and victory will be mine! How...only time will tell." 
17:18  Allegations against Nana were false: Patekar's lawyer:  Nana Patekar's lawyer's statement on the harassment case filed by Tanushree Dutta: Advocate Aniket Nikam says, "The entire allegations against my client were false from the inception. My client is innocent and justice will be served."


In a relief to veteran actor Nana Patekar, the Mumbai police informed a local court that it has no evidence to prosecute him in a molestation case lodged against him by actor Tanushree Dutta. Dutta's complaint against Patekar last year sparked a nationwide '#MeToo' movement on social media. 


The suburban Oshiwara police on Wednesday filed a 'B Summary' report before a metropolitan magistrate in Andheri, Deputy Commissioner of Police Paramjit Singh Dahiya told PTI. 


A 'B Summary' report is filed when police do not find any evidence against the accused person to file a charge sheet and seek trial. While Patekar's advocate Aniket Nikam welcomed the move, Dutta's lawyer Nitin Satpute claimed that the police acted in a negligent manner.
17:02  Striking doctors defy Mamata's deadline, to continue stir till demands are met:  Striking junior doctors in West Bengal on Thursday defied Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 2 pm-deadline to join work and said the agitation will continue till their demands related to security in government hospitals are met. 


The doctors have been on strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS medical college and hospital in Kolkata. Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM hospital around noon in the wake of disruption of medical services in several parts of the state over the past three days, warned the doctors of action if they do not resume work. 


A team of doctors met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at Raj Bhavan over the issue and said the chief minister's reaction to their protest was unexpected. "We will continue with our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. We have spoken to the Governor. He listened to us and hopefully will speak to the chief minister," one of the junior doctors told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan after meeting Tripathi. 


The delegation reiterated the demands of the striking doctors. "We will continue with our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. Our demands are simple... proper security with armed policemen at all hospitals, arrest of culprits involved in the NRS attack on Saturday under non-bailable sections, "We did not expect the chief minister to say what she did. Listening to her, we felt like that we were the culprits," another junior doctor said. 


The team met the Governor after Banerjee, who also holds the health and family welfare portfolio, came down heavily on the doctors for striking work. "I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors' strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP," she said. -- PTI 


Image: WB CM Mamata Banerjee's letter asking doctors to resume work since patients were being denied treatment. 
16:59  Modi meets Chinese President Xi in Bishkek:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit here and discussed ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations. 


This is the first meeting between the two leaders after Modi's re-election following the stunning victory of the BJP in the general elections last month. "Deepening friendship with China. PM @narendramodi's first meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit is with President Xi Jinping. Both leaders are discussing ways to further strengthen bilateral relations," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted. 


Ahead of the meeting, China hinted that President Xi would highlight the need to forge a united front against US President Donald Trump's policies of trade protectionism and unilateralism using tariffs as a weapon. China and the US have been in an escalating conflict over trade for the past year. The scope of the battle has expanded in recent months as Washington has tightened trade restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Chinese officials hope that India, which is also facing trade frictions with the US specially over termination of its designation as a 'beneficiary developing country' under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), would join the fight against Trump's protectionist policies. 


Prime Minister Modi arrived in the Kyrgyz capital on Thursday for the SCO summit, the first multilateral engagement post his re-election. The SCO is a China-led 8-member economic and security bloc with India and Pakistan being admitted to the grouping in 2017.  -- PTI
16:34  In my thoughts and prayers: Rahul condoles AN-32 deaths:  Rahul Gandhi condoles the 13 people who died in the AN-32 crash: "For over 10 days India has hoped & prayed that our 13 Air-Warriors on the missing IAF #AN32 were safe. Sadly, it is now confirmed that all 13 have perished in a crash. My deepest condolences to the families of our 13 brave men in uniform. You are in my thoughts & prayers."
16:23  Tanushree lashes out at 'corrupt police, legal system':  Tanushee Dutta's statement on the clean chit given to Nana Patekar: "A corrupt police force and legal system giving a clean chit to an even more corrupt person Nana who has been accused even in the past of bullying, intimidation and harassment by several women in the film industry. 
16:17  Choppers to ferry bodies from AN-32 crash site:  AN-32 update: All 13 bodies and the black box of the AN-32 transport aircraft have been recovered. Choppers will be used to ferry the bodies from the crash site in Arunachal Pradesh. 


Earier today, the IAF confirmed that all 13 people on board the AN-32 aircraft were dead, after a team of rescuers searched the wreckage of the plane in a heavily forested mountainous terrain on Thursday.


An IAF official said there were no survivors from the crash of the An-32 aircraft.


"IAF Pays tribute to the brave Air-warriors who lost their life during the #An32 crash on 03 Jun 2019 and stands by with the families of the victims. May their soul rest in peace," the Air Force said in another tweet.


Those who died in the crash are Wing Commander G M Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenants L R Thapa, M K Garg, Ashish Tanwar and Sumit Mohanty, Warrant officer K K Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, LAC (leading aircraft man) S K Singh, LAC Pankaj, and non-combatants Rajesh Kumar and Putali.
15:59  BJP yet to reach peak: Amit Shah:  The ruling BJP is set to launch its membership drive as the party begins the process for its organisational polls, party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said on Thursday. 


Amit Shah is likely to continue as party president till the organisational elections get over, sources said. The decision was taken at the meeting of the BJP's national office-bearers, which is being attended by the general secretaries and presidents of the party's state units and chaired by Shah. 


Addressing a press conference, BJP's general secretary Bhupender Yadav shared the details of Shah's speech in the meeting. Yadav said the party president told the organisational office bearers that "the party has still not peaked in terms of its electoral performance despite winning the highest ever 303 seats in 2019". 


The party's reach is needed to be further expanded to new regions and sections of the society, Yadav said quoting Shah. 


Attributing the party's success in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls to party workers, Yadav said Shah credited the hard work of the crores of party supporters for the BJP getting more than 50 per cent vote share in 220 seats. 


Yadav also informed that during the meeting it was decided that former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is also a vice-president of the BJP, will lead the party's membership drive and he will be assisted by four other leaders. Yadav said BJP has 11 crore members at present and is aiming to increase it by 20 per cent. -- PTI
15:44  Vayu: No damage to airports, says AAI :  Cyclone Vayu update: The Airport Authority of India on Thursday said that no damage to airport infrastructure or facilities has been reported in Gujarat and the "effect of Cyclone Vayu is milder at most of the airports". 


In the wake of Cyclone Vayu, the AAI conducted a review meeting through video conference to check the status of Gujarat airports. 


"It was observed that the effect of Cyclone Vayu has been milder at most for the airports of Gujarat. No damage to any airport infrastructure or facilities has been reported so far. The situation is normal at Surat, Bhuj, Keshod, Kandla, Jamnagar, Vadodara, and Ahmedabad," said airport authorities in a statement. 


According to the Directors of the airports in the state, Diu, Porbandar and Bhavnagar airports are currently witnessing a wind speed between 30 to 60 Kmph. They have been asked to closely monitor the situation and take note of meteorological data. Action on reviewing NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) and resumption of flights will be taken after the next review meeting scheduled for this afternoon.  -- ANI


Image: Nearly 1000 NDRF personnel including medical and rescue experts were flown in to join many more NDRF rescuers on ground to help citizens of Gujarat &  Diu in their difficulty.Pic courtesy: @NDRFHQ 
15:35  Boy who detected FB bug rewarded $5000:  Zonel Sougaijam, a 22-year-old engineer from Manipur was awarded $5000 by Facebook for detecting a bug. "I came across this bug during a voice call with my friend and reported it to Facebook, they acknowledged the bug and fixed it within 15 days,"  he said. 
15:18  Human in space by 2022:  Union Minister Jitendra Singh announces manned mission to space: "On the eve of the 75th Independence anniversary of India in 2022, ISRO has resolved to send its first human mission into space. It could be before 2022. An exclusive special cell has been created. The Gaganyaan National advisory council will monitor the planning and preparation.
15:16  Last rites of UP Bar Council president, shot dead by lawyer, performed in Etah:  Uttar Pradesh Bar Council president Darvesh Singh Yadav, who was shot dead by a lawyer on the Agra court premises, was cremated at her village of Chaandpur in Etah district on Thursday. 


State Law minister Brijesh Pathak attended the funeral, besides a large number of lawyers and members of the public. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is also likely to visit the family of the deceased later in the day. 


Following Yadav's killing inside the Agra court complex, the Uttar Pradesh government said it was committed to providing adequate security on the high court and district court premises. 


In a statement issued in Lucknow late Wednesday night, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, "Along with the Bar Council, the Bar Association and the judiciary, the state government is committed to providing adequate security on the premises of the high court and the district court." 


He added that clear-cut instructions in this regard were given to the state chief secretary and Director General of Police. "The government will take effective steps, keeping in mind all the parameters of security," the chief minister said. 


He expressed grief over the demise of the newly-elected Uttar Pradesh Bar Council president and conveyed his condolence to the members of the bereaved family and legal fraternity. 


Yadav was allegedly shot dead on the Agra court premises by a lawyer, who then tried to kill himself, police said. Yadav, who was elected as the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council president only two days ago, had come for a visit to the civil court when she was attacked around 2.30 pm. 


Agra City's Additional Superintendent of Police Praveen Verma said lawyer Manish Sharma, a long-time acquaintance of Yadav, fired shots at her. "After spraying three bullets on her, Sharma also shot himself," he added. 
-- PTI
15:04  Vayu: Fishermen claim compensation for boat damages :  As very strong winds hit the region and the sea turned rough due to cyclone Vayu, the fishermen in Veraval coastal area of the district have claimed that at least 40 to 45 boats were damaged due to the impact of cyclone. 


Anwar Patel president of Veraval Fishermen Community said, "heavy winds and waves as of now have damaged 40 to 45 boats at Jaleshwar area of Veraval." 


Outlining the gravity of situation, he asserted that after 1982 he had witnessed such huge waves for the first time. Another fisherman, Gafur Bhai Patel demanded assistance from government and said, "These boats are our livelihood and government must help us during such loss is not easy to bear for us," he said. 


As of Thursday afternoon, Ministry of Earth Science had stated that very Severe Cyclonic Storm VAYU is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 135-145 kmph gusting to 160 kmph from afternoon of June 13th. -- ANI    
14:54  Wet outfield delays start of India-New Zealand game:   Inclement weather and wet outfield has delayed the start of the ICC World Cup game between India and New Zealand here Thursday. An inspection was scheduled for 3 pm IST but was put off after it started raining again. 


The outfield is pretty wet and is expected to take time to dry up as there's no sunshine. After heavy showers in the past two days, Thursday has been relatively drier although it remains overcast. Even if the match happens, it is expected to be a curtailed one as there is forecast of intermittent showers through the day. -- PTI
14:47  Cops 'unable to probe' Tanushree-Patekar case :  Update on the status of Tanushree Dutta's harassment case against Nana Patekar: Mumbai Police files a 'B Summary' report in the case. A 'B summary' report is filed when police cannot find evidence in support of the complaint and are unable to continue the investigation. More details awaited.


Dutta created a stir in Bollywood 11 years ago, when she accused Nana Patekar of misbehaving with her on the sets of Horn Ok Pleasss. It was her interview last year, when she spoke about the incident, that galvanised the MeToo movement in India. 


In 2008, she said in several interviews that he made her so uncomfortable while shooting for a dance number, that she eventually had to opt out of the film. She also said goons, at the behest of Patekar, bashed up her car.


Read her no-holds-barred interview with Rediff.com here. 
14:33  Cyclone Vayu baby: NDRF rescues pregnant mom:   As a severe cyclonic storm "VAYU" raged towards Shiyalbet Island in Gujarat, a team of NDRF personnel rescued a pregnant lady in need of a pre-term delivery from the island and safely handed her over to a hospital. 


Shiyalbet Island is a small village in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast. 

She was rescued by 5 Battalion team of National Disaster Response Force, which is deployed at the island she resides at. The disaster management force safely took her to the hospital in Jafarabad city through a boat. The woman gave birth to a boy later at a hospital, confirmed NDRF. - ANI


Image: The woman gave birth to a baby boy. Pic courtesy: @PBNS_India 
14:24  Karnataka government to waive all farm loans in one go:  Following reports of loan-waiver gaffe, Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy-led Karnataka government has decided to waive all eligible farm loans taken from nationalised banks in one go. 


On Wednesday, an order by the state government was issued after reports came to fore that money credited into bank accounts of 13,988 farmers was withdrawn by banks after farmers were found ineligible for loans during an audit. 


The news rattled that state government, with affected farmers alleging that the Kumaraswamy dispensation government had deposited money only to win votes and withdrew it after losing in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. 


The Kumaraswamy-led JD(S) government, after coming to power in 2018 had announced partial farm loan waiver amounting to Rupees 34000 cr in its inaugural budget session. 


The amount for each loan waiver was limited to 2 lakhs which was to be paid initially in four installments. The new announcement means the government has to release about Rs 4,617 crore at one time to complete the process in commercial banks. -- ANI
14:09  Delhi court sends member of Pak-based terror outfit to 5-day NIA custody:  A Delhi court Thursday sent Mohammad Arif Ghulambashir Dharampuria, member of banned Pakistan-based terror outfit Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation arrested by NIA, to five-day custodial interrogation in connection with a terror funding cases. 


Some of the accused in the case are in judicial custody. 


Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil allowed NIA to quiz Dharampuria in its custody. Dharampuria was arrested in connection to the case related to receiving of terror funds being sent by FIF operators to their associates through hawala operators to further nefarious activities to create unrest in India. PTI
13:33  Mamata asks docs to resume work within 4 hrs:  
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked agitating junior doctors across the state to resume work within four hours and warned them of action if the order is not followed.

Banerjee, who reached the state-run SSKM hospital in the wake of the disruption of medical services in several parts of the state over the past three days, directed police to vacate hospital premises, asserting that no one other than the patients should be allowed on the campus.

The chief minister also alleged that the agitation was a part of the conspiracy of rival parties.

"The junior doctors' agitation is a conspiracy by the CPI-M and the BJP," Banerjee, who also holds the health and family welfare portfolio, said.

She contended that outsiders had entered medical colleges and hospitals to create disturbances.

The doctors, who have been agitating since Tuesday after one of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS hospital in Kolkata, raised 'we want justice' slogans before Banerjee.

Emergency wards, outdoor facilities, pathological units of many government medical colleges and hospitals, and a number of private medical facilities in the state have remained closed over the past two days in the wake of the protest.  --  PTI
13:15  Names of those who died in AN 32 crash:  The Indian Air Force names the 13 people who lost their lives in the tragic AN-32 CRASH: "Following air-warriors lost their life in the tragic #An32 crash - W/C GM Charles, S/L H Vinod, F/L R Thapa, F/L A Tanwar, F/L S Mohanty, F/L MK Garg, WO KK Mishra, Sgt Anoop Kumar, Cpl Sherin, LAC SK Singh, LAC Pankaj, NC(E) Putali & NC(E) Rajesh Kumar.
13:08  Girish Karnad's son on the appa he loved:  Playwright, actor, director, Rhodes Scholar, Girish Karnad's son, Raghu, a journalist and author, pens a tribute to the Jnanpith award winner.

Karnad passed away on the morning of 10 June.


Raghu writes, "The picture that is growing rooted in my mind is of Appa in his spot on the sofa, his hand around a glass of whiskey, gently bubbling with bits of history, legend, song, folktale and philosophy. That was the man I loved. 

"As many friends have pointed out, he had an immaculate sense of timing. This past weekend, my sister and I were both at home for a friend's wedding. On Saturday evening, he completed a set of audio interviews with Arshia Sattar. On Sunday evening, the family sat together warmed by the long lines of sun on the terrace. I gave him his physio and my sister cut his nails. We talked about some new, difficult issues with his body. It was sad, but not only sad. On Monday morning he was gone. 


"In the days since then, it's felt like a tribute to Appa that the house and my mind have been swirling with languages; Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, English, Hindi, without much incomprehension.


"We're all feeling a lot of love, relief and gratitude. 


"Thank you for the many messages about how you felt enriched by his life and work. The reverse is also true. His life and work were enriched and elevated by gurus and professors, aunts and sisters, friends, collaborators, directors, students, publishers, actors, readers, rivals, aides, some very important drivers and many drinking companions. In his last few weeks and even hours I heard many of those names. Thank you all for being a part of the journey and building up the extraordinary person."  


Also read: 'I will never have the joy of sitting with Girish again'
12:47  No survivors in AN-32 crash: IAF:  IAF search teams, who reached the AN-32 crash site this morning, did not find any survivors. The families of the 13 personnel have already been informed that there are no survivors.


A 15-member team of rescuers was airlifted on Wednesday close to the crash site of the IAF's AN-32 aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh to look for possible survivors, but difficult terrain and inclement weather had hampered their progress.


The nine personnel from IAF's mountaineering team, four from the Army and two civilian mountaineers were dispatched a day after the wreckage of the aircraft was located by an IAF Mi-17 helicopter at a height of 12,000 ft near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts in Arunachal Pradesh following an eight-day-long, muti-agency search.


The area is thickly forested and has been receiving heavy rains since the last three days, according to local officials. 


A massive search operation had been launched to look for the missing aircraft which had 13 people on board.The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China on June 3 when it lost contact with ground staff at 1 pm, within 33 minutes of taking off.
12:42  Fewer traffic jams in Manali from now on?:  To combat the problem of hectic traffic jams in Manali, the local administration on Wednesday decided to enforce one-way traffic system in the town from today. 


"A new traffic plan has been prepared, there will be one-way vehicular movement. This planning will be permanent, implemented for the entire year so that locals and tourists get habituated," said SDM Manali, Raman Gharsangi. 


The move comes after severe traffic jams lasting up to five hours were reported from different parts of the region. The situation has been more troublesome towards Rohtang Pass, as tourists throng the area to enjoy in the snow.
12:38  Nirmala holds pre-Budget meeting :  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs a pre-Budget meeting. Sitharaman will present her first Budget on July 5. MOS Finance Anurag Thakur also present.
12:26  India is a racist country: African professor:  "India is a racist country. Indians are not ready to accept foreigners, especially those from Africa." 

So said Isa Danjuma, an assistant professor, during his address to a group of Indian officials and fellow African students."We want to have a symbiotic relationship with the Indians but is it possible?' Danjuma asked.The Nigerian had completed his Ph.D. program in New Delhi, India's capital city, and was more than happy at the prospect of a return to his home country.

Read the report here
12:12  Dear PM, this village has no lights for 71 years!:  
The fake narrative of the Narendra Modi government's proud claim that electrification of all inhabited villages in India has been completed.


The villagers of Trishuli in Balrampur district complain that they are being forced to live in darkness for the last seven decades despite the availability of electricity poles in the region. 


There are around 100 houses in Trishuli village. Locals have written to the collector demanding electricity supply. "Since the time I was born I have not seen electricity in this village. Leaders come here at the time of elections. They are not willing to do anything for the development here," said a 70-year-old local. Narrating her ordeal Sukbi, a local told ANI, "Without electricity, at night they feel threatened by the scorpions, snakes and other insects." Children in the village are forced to study in the light of lanterns.


"Kids are forced to study in the light of lanterns. For that also, they face the issue as there is not enough supply of kerosene in the region. They then burn woods for the light," Rameshwar Pal told ANI. 


Earlier, locals in a village in Balrampur district had complained of acute water shortage in the region. People here are forced to use water from a pond which is also the source of water for animals in the region, and thereby prone to contamination. 


As per the Union power ministry's definition, a village is said to be electrified if at least 10% of the households in it have power connections and if electricity is provided in public places such as schools, panchayat offices, health centres and community centres.


This is why even though 100% electrification of villages has been achieved, government data shows that as of today, there are still 31 million households without electricity.    
12:03  Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah arrives at the BJP headquarters for the meeting of party national office bearers and state-heads.
11:43  BJP chiefs arrive at Amit Shah's meeting :  BJP leaders Dilip Ghosh, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Uma Bharti and others arrive at the BJP headquarters to attend a meeting of party national office bearers and state-heads. The meeting will be chaired by party chief Amit Shah.
11:42  Kolkata doctors' strike continues:  Kolkata: Junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital continue their strike for the third day after doctors were allegedly attacked by a patient's family who died on June 10. A doctor says,"We have already explained our demands in posters. CM should come here." 
11:35  Adani wins final approval to begin work on coal mine project in Australia:  Indian energy giant Adani on Thursday cleared the last regulatory hurdle to commence the work on its controversy-hit Carmichael coal mine project in Australia with the Queensland state authorities approving its groundwater management plan. 


The final and last approval for the Adani Group's long-delayed billion dollar mega coal mine project came weeks after a surprise election win of Australia's pro-coal ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 


On May 31, Adani won the first approval from the Queensland state government to protect the endangered black-throated finch bird population as part of its crucial environmental plan at the site of its mine project. The mining company is now expected to start construction at the site within days. -- PTI
11:28  Devotees continue to visit Somnath temple despite Vayu warning:  Gujarat: The shed at the entrance of Somnath Temple, in Gir Somnath district, damaged due to strong winds. Devotees visited the Somnath Temple earlier this morning despite the alert issued in view of Cyclone Vayu.


Gujarat Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama reacts to the issue saying, temples can't be closed. "We have requested tourists not to visit, but 'aarti' is being performed since many years and can't be stopped. Yeh kudrati aafat hai, kudrat hi rok sakti hai, to kudrat ko hum kya rokein (this is a natural disaster, only nature can stop it, who are we to stop nature). 
11:24  Vayu effect: All beaches in Konkan shut :  In view of  Cyclone Vayu coupled with high tide on June 12 and 13, all beaches in the Konkan region have been shut off to the public. This is the Arabian Sea from Bandra.  
11:20  Is that thepla?:  Gujarat: Food packets being prepared by various groups in Rajkot, in the light of Cyclone Vayu . The food packets will be dispatched to the cyclone affected areas of the state, as per the instructions by the govt officials. 


However, a scientist from the IMD says Cyclone Vayu is not expected to make landfall in Gujarat. "It will pass nearby from Veraval, Porbandar, Dwarka. Its effect will be seen on the coastal regions as there will be heavy wind speed and heavy rain as well," the scientist said.  
11:08   GTDC seeks report on cruises operating despite cyclone warning:  The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has sought a report over some cruise ships operating in the Mandovi river in Panaji located close to the Arabian Sea despite a warning of rough weather along the state coast due to cyclone Vayu, an official said. 


The GTDC received complaints that some cruise vessels were operating close to the sea waters, the state-run entity's chairman, Dayanand Sopte, told reporters on Wednesday. 


The weather department on Tuesday predicted heavy rainfall in the state due to cyclone Vayu, prompting the authorities to close the shoreline for swimming. However, despite the warning, some cruise vessels operated in the river, Sopte noted. -- PTI
11:06  Gujarat on high alert even after Vayu skips state:  The severity of Cyclone Vayu remains a threat for Gujarat's coastal areas even though it has changed course and is unlikely to make landfall in the state on Thursday, an IMD official said. 


"The threat of surge in wind, dust storm and rainfall stays very much. The centre of the storm -- known as the eye -- has slightly moved away from the Gujarat coast, but its diameter is well over 900 km," the official said. 


Earlier, the cyclone was moving straight towards the Gujarat coast, but is has now slightly moved away, the the India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said. "But going by its extension, there is no relief from the high alert sounded for the Gujarat coast. The cyclonic storm is going to hit Porbandar in Gujarat and other parts till Kutch area," he said. 


The IMD will issue further updates about the cyclone by afternoon, the official added. While heading towards Gujarat earlier, the cyclonic storm had brought some good spell of rain to Mumbai and neighbouring Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts of Maharashtra. 


Precautionary measures have been taken by the Gujarat government and over three lakh people living in low-lying areas and thatched houses in the coastal districts have been evacuated, an official said. 


Fishermen have also been warned not to venture into the sea as it has turned rough. The coast guard, army, navy, air force and the Border Security Force have been put on high alert. Around 52 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and 11 columns (each having around 70 personnel) of the army have been deployed in the coastal districts of Gujarat. Besides, 24 army columns have been kept reserved for any emergency situation.  -- PTI


Image: The Somnath temple near Veraval has been closed to pilgrims. 
10:40  Bay watch:   Six teams of the National Disaster Response Force are on alert in Porbandar. This is one of the many NDRF teams comprising 30 members on standby at Chowpatty beach in Porbandar. As per the latest IMD update Cyclone Vayu has decided to change course and now won't hit Gujarat, but will have an effect on coastal districts in the state.  


Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secy, Revenue Department, Gujarat Govt, says the alertness for Cyclone Vayu continues with same intensity. Persons shifted to shelter homes to stay there. People should continue to stay in safe areas. Their preparedness to continue at same level.
10:13  Sensex falls over 100 pts; Yes Bank tanks 9 pc:  Domestic equity benchmark BSE Sensex fell over 100 points in early trade Thursday amid heavy foreign fund outflow and negative global cues. The 30-share index was trading 130.35 points, or 0.33 per cent, lower at 39,626.46 at 0940 hours. 


Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty was quoting 35.90 points, or 0.30 per cent, down at 11,870.30. In the previous session on Wednesday, the BSE gauge settled 193.65 points, or 0.48 per cent, lower at 39,756.81; and the Nifty fell 59.40 points, or 0.50 per cent, to close at 11,906.20. 


Yes Bank was the worst performer in the Sensex pack, cracking up to 8.73 per cent, after Moody's placed the private sector lender's ratings under review for a possible downgrade. 


IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharma, Vedanta, Tata Steel, Infosys, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and Tata Motors too fell up to 5.75 per cent. On the other hand, L&T, TCS, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints and Bajaj Finance rose up to 1.20 per cent. 


According to experts, market mood was negative tracking weak cues from global markets amid rising uncertainty over trade talks between the US and China. -- PTI
10:11  3 held with demonetised currency worth over Rs 1 cr:  Three people were arrested on Wednesday after demonetised currency with face value of over Rs 1 crore was recovered from their possession, police said. According to Pune rural police, one accused in the case is absconding. Further investigation in the case is underway. -- ANI
10:00  Tactics used to woo voters: Sonia's jibe at BJP :  In her first public address after Congress' drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in a veiled attack on the BJP on Wednesday said that all type of tactics were adopted to win the recently concluded general elections. 


"All type of tactics were adopted to woo the voters. Everyone in this country knows whether it was moral or immoral of whatever happened in the elections. I feel this is the greatest misfortune that limits of dignity are crossed to retain the power," Sonia said at a thanksgiving rally in Rae Bareli. 


Raising questions on the electoral process, the Congress leader said: "In the past few years, many types of doubts have emerged regarding our electoral process." 


Sonia was accompanied by her daughter and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on her maiden visit to the parliamentary constituency after retaining the seat in the Lok Sabha elections. 


Speaking at the rally, a visibly angry Priyanka came down heavily on Congress workers for not working in favour of the party in the elections. "I will find out the names of the workers who did not work for the party in the elections," she said. 


Priyanka was appointed as the general secretary and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh just before the elections. It was widely expected that her presence will make a difference in the poll outcomes but she could not make a dent in the Lok Sabha elections. 


Priyanka had campaigned vigorously in favour of Congress candidates in UP, especially in Rae Bareli and Amethi but Congress could only manage to win Rae Bareli. 


Several party stalwarts including Congress President Rahul Gandhi lost the polls from his constituency Amethi to Union Minister Smriti Irani. Congress had put up a poor show in the Lok Sabha elections by winning a meagre 53 seats. -- ANI
09:02  IMD scientist says Cyclone Vayu won't hit Gujarat:  
JUST IN: Manorama Mohanty, scientist at India Meteorological Department (IMD), Ahmedabad, says Cyclone Vayu won't hit Gujarat.

"It will pass nearby from Veraval, Porbandar, Dwarka. Its effect will be seen on the coastal regions as there will be heavy wind speed and heavy rain as well," Mohanty said.

Earlier, the cyclone was expected to make landfall on Thursday afternoon.

The state government has shifted around three lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions, officials said on Wednesday.

According to the latest weather report, the cyclone has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and changed its course slightly.

Now, it would hit the Gujarat coast anywhere between Veraval in the south and Dwarka in the west Thursday afternoon.

The Airports Authority of India announced that flight operations will remain suspended at five airports in Gujarat for 24 hours from midnight Wednesday to minimise the damage to airport infrastructure and to avoid inconvenience to passengers due to the cyclone.

State Relief director M R Kothari said, "The evacuation process, which was started today morning, is nearing its end. Our target is to shift around three lakh people to safer places".

After making landfall, the cyclone 'is likely to move along and parallel to Saurashtra and Kutch coast', the Met department had said.
08:39  PM leaves for SCO summit in Bishkek:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left for Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he will attend Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14.

He will also hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.  -- ANI
00:18  BJP may offer dy speaker post to friendly party:  
The BJP is open to offering the post of deputy speaker in the Lok Sabha to a friendly party but it has not taken a final decision on the matter, sources said on Wednesday.
 
The saffron party is likely to finalise its decision next week when the first Parliament session begins from June 17 after the Modi government assumed charge for the second time.
There have been reports that the BJP may offer the deputy speaker's position to the YSR Congress or the BJD, two parties which are not members of the ruling National Democratic Alliance but are seen to be favourably disposed to it.
The YSR Congress, which has stormed to power in Andhra Pradesh under Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, and the BJD, whose president Naveen Patnaik has led the party to victory in the recent Odisha assembly polls for a fifth straight term, have studiously refrained from joining the opposition camp.
The Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has also staked its claim on the post.
The BJP has refrained from making any official comment on the matter.
The ruling party had given the key Lok Sabha post to the AIADMK in 2014 when the Dravidian party had emerged as the third largest parliamentary group in the Lok Sabha after the BJP and the Congress.
The Dravidian party was decimated in the recent Lok Sabha polls and won only one seat.
The YSR Congress has won 22 seats, while the BJP's allies Sena and JD-U have bagged 18 and 16 seats respectively. The Biju Janata Dal has won 12 seats.
Two other big parties in the House are Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which has 23 MPs, and the Trinamool Congress, which has 22.
Both the DMK and the TMC have been stridently against the BJP-led NDA. -- PTI

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