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Tue, 18 June 2019
Akhilesh mum on SP MP not saying 'Vande Mataram'

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23:34   Akhilesh mum on SP MP not saying 'Vande Mataram'
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday refused to comment when asked why his party's MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq declined to say "Vande Mataram" in the Lok Sabha.

On being asked if there is an issue in saying the slogan, he said: "Nothing in this world holds more value than my motherland."

"The prime question is 'where is the country heading?'," he said while trying to evade the question asked by the media person. 

Earlier in the day, slogans of Vande Mataram were raised in the Lok Sabha after Samajwadi Party MP Barq refused to say the slogan after taking an oath as the member of 17th Lok Sabha.

He said that "as far as Vande Mataram is concerned, it is against Islam and we cannot follow it."

-- ANI
23:23   Educational norm for drivers may be waived
The government is likely to waive mandatory educational qualification for truckers and bus drivers for seeking a drivers licence in what it says is an attempt to provide employment opportunities.

Under Rule 8 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, a transport vehicle driver needs to have passed class 8.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said on Tuesday that it would amend this rule and issue a draft notification shortly for comments from stakeholders.

The removal of this requirement will open up employment opportunities for a large number of unemployed persons, especially the youth, the Ministry said in a press statement.

The statement said the move would help meet the shortage of 22 lakh drivers in the transport and logistics sector.

The relaxation is applicable for drivers of medium and heavy transport vehicles, which include trucks as well as State transport, school and private buses.
22:56   Trump to hold talks with Xi on sidelines of G20
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he will hold an extended meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan next week, a major development amid the ongoing trade war between two of the world's largest economies.

Trump met with Xi at the previous G-20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last December. The two leaders discussed the trade dispute and tariffs, as well as the US opioid crisis.

"We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting," Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday morning. 

Trump's tweet came after his telephonic conversation with Xi. 

During their telephonic conversation, the two leaders discussed the importance of levelling the playing field for US farmers, workers, and businesses through a fair and reciprocal economic relationship, the US side said.

This includes addressing structural barriers to trade with China and achieving meaningful reforms that are enforceable and verifiable.  

The leaders also discussed regional security issues. The two presidents look forward to meeting again in Osaka, Japan at the G20 Summit on June 28-29.

"Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China," Trump said. 

Despite differences over key trade and strategic issues, Trump and Xi talk at regular intervals.        

Trump ratcheted up trade tensions when he slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products in May. The US president has threatened to place tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, saying he would hold off on doing so until after the G-20.

Trump wants China to take steps to address the issue of massive trade imbalance, stop coercing its companies and stop theft of intellectual property. 

-- PTI
22:31   Cong suspends Karnataka leader Roshan Baig
Congress on Tuesday suspended its Karnataka MLA Roshan Baig for anti-party activities.

"All India Congress Committee has approved the proposal sent by KPCC to take action against R Roshan Baig, MLA on account of his anti-party activities. He has been suspended from the party with immediate effect," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee said in a press statement.

Earlier in the day, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao had told media that he had sought action against Roshan Baig for his outburst against the state leadership.

As Roshan Baig is an AICC member and senior leader, action against him had to be decided by the Congress high command.

Roshan Baig's alleged links with IMA jewels, allegedly involved in a financial fraud, duping thousands of investors, were also brought to the notice of central leadership, Dinesh Gundu Rao had said.

Hitting out at Congress leaders for the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, Roshan Baig had recently held former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah's "arrogance" and Dinesh Gundu Rao's "immaturity" responsible for the "flop show".

Roshan Baig had also called KC Venugopal a "buffoon".
21:51   More doctors brought from outside for treatment of encephalitis: Bihar govt
Some doctors have been brought from outside to provide timely treatment to the encephalitis affected patients, Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar on Tuesday said.

Twelve extra doctors have been deputed at Sri Krishna Medical College & Hospital from different districts in Muzaffarpur, of which 4 are from Darbhanga Medical College & Hospital, 4 from Nalanda Medical College & Hospital and 4 from Patna Medical College & Hospital.

"The CM also gave directions that there is no dearth of doctors and all of them are carrying out their duties but to supplement them, some doctors be brought from outside. Some doctors from DMCH and PMCH are being sent there today," Kumar said while briefing the media.

The Chief Secretary further briefed that the government has directed all ASHA workers, ANMs, Anganwadi workers to distribute ORS in all households.

"Awareness is being created that children should not sleep on an empty stomach and be immediately brought to the hospital if they fall sick. We have given directions that all ASHA workers, ANMs, Anganwadi workers distribute ORS in all households and tell them its importance," he said.

It was also decided that a team will visit all the houses in encephalitis affected areas to know their socio-economic and environmental background.

"It is been decided that a team will visit all houses, where children have been affected, to know their socio-economic and environmental background. The team will assess their condition, poverty, sanitation and see if there was an environmental factor behind it," he said.

Talking about the government-run SKMCH in Muzaffarpur, where the maximum number of encephalitis affected patients are being admitted, the Chief Secretary said that it will be converted into 2500-bed hospital so that more people will be accommodated at the time of need.

"It has been decided that SKMCH will be converted into a 2500-bed hospital, currently it has 610 beds. In the next year, it will be taken up to 1500 beds and 2500 later. A 100-bed ICU will be made there, it has 50-beds. A 'dharamshala' will be built there for relatives and families," he added.

Kumar reiterated that Bihar government will bear the expense of the treatment of the patients.

So far, 109 children have died due to acute encephalitis syndrome in Muzaffarpur. 

-- ANI
21:26   Modi meets key secretaries ahead of Budget
Ahead of the maiden budget of his second term in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday brainstormed with top bureaucrats of finance and other ministries to finalise the government's 100-day agenda with a focus to revive the sagging economy and create jobs.

Sources said the meeting at the prime minister's residence had in attendance all five secretaries in the finance ministry and other key ministries as well as top officials of the Niti Aayog.

The high-level meeting is also expected to clear a five-year vision for the government with view to achieve USD 5-trillion economy goal in the shortest possible time-frame.

It is believed that future course of many of the prime minister's pet projects like doubling farmers' income, PM-KISAN, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, piped water for all, electricity for all and others was discussed.

With the farm sector facing headwinds, Modi last week stressed upon the need for structural reforms in agriculture which would boost private investment, strengthen logistics and provide ample market support to farmers.

The prime minister is likely to have discussed the road map for reforms for every department with a view to making it easier to do business in the country and boost the economy.

The agenda for increasing revenue mop-up and taking reform steps to push GDP growth, which has slipped to 5-year low of 6.8 per cent in 2018-19, may have also figured in the meeting, they said.

-- PTI
20:41   India may overtake China as most populous by '27
India, projected to surpass China as the world's most populous country around 2027, is expected to add nearly 273 million people between now and 2050 and will remain the most populated country through the end of the current century, a UN report said.

'The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights', published by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the world's population is expected to increase by two billion people in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050.

The world's population could reach its peak around the end of the current century, at a level of nearly 11 billion, according to the study, which presents the main results of the 26th round of the UN's global population estimates, projections and global demographic patterns.

The new report released said that more than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just nine countries, led by India and followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the US.

The report highlighted that "disparate population growth rates among the world's largest countries will re-order their ranking by size. 

India is projected to surpass China as the world's most populous country around 2027, according to current projections made in the report.

"India is expected to add nearly 273 million people between 2019 and 2050, while the population of Nigeria is projected to grow by 200 million. Together, these two countries could account for 23 per cent of the global population increase to 2050," the report said.
magnitude. 

-- PTI
20:14   Maharashtra govt allocates Rs 500 crore for Naxal affected areas in Budget
The Maharashtra government has allocated Rs 500 crore in its Budget for procuring modern weapons, instruments and technologies to put an end to Naxal activities in the affected areas of the state.

It also includes funds for special skill development programmes to provide employment to youth in the Naxal affected areas.

For the above purpose, an outlay of Rs 150 crore is being proposed for the year 2019-20.

Also, Rs 300 crore has been sanctioned to build world-class facilities for 2024 Olympics, said Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar while presenting the Budget in the legislative assembly on Tuesday.

He also said that a memorial would be constructed in Mumbai in remembrance of former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

-- ANI
19:26  
Japan issues tsunami advisory for Yamagata and Niigata Prefectures and the Noto area of Ishikawa Prefecture following earthquake, reports local media
19:21   3 critical as terrorists lob grenade in Pulwama
Three civilians are critical and many others injured after a grenade that terrorists threw at a police station in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama exploded outside on a busy road today.

The injured have been rushed to a hospital.

More details are awaited.
19:06   Heatwave toll in Bihar rises to 83
At least 83 people have died in the last four days in three districts of Bihar as a blistering heatwave swept several places in the state, officials said Tuesday.
  
An official of the Disaster Management Department Control Room in Patna said 35 people died in Gaya, 34 in Aurangabad and 14 in Nawada due to heatwave in these three districts since Saturday.

Major cities in Bihar - Patna, Gaya and Bhagalpur - have been witnessing heatwave for the past couple of days.

Patna recorded a maximum temperature of 41 degree Celsius on Tuesday. Gaya and Aurangabad town also recorded a maximum of 41 degree Celsius, while in Bhagalpur, the mercury settled at 39 degree Celsius, the MeT department said.

A heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature is recorded at 4.5 degree or more above the normal for two consecutive days, a Met official said

Due to continuing heatwave, the state government on Monday ordered suspension of academic activities in all schools, colleges and educational institutes across the state till June 22 apart from ordering closure of markets between 11 am to 5 pm in three south Bihar districts of Gaya, Aurangabad and Nawada.
-- PTI
18:33   Govt restores provision of ration in kind to military officers in peace areas
The government has restored the provision of 'ration in kind' to military officers in peace areas, a defence official said on Tuesday.
  
The facility was withdrawn by the government in 2017 and it started paying a certain amount in instead of the ration to defence personnel.

"The Government of India has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Defence for restoration of the 'ration in kind' to the defence officers posted in peace areas," a defence official said.

The decision to withdraw the provision of 'ration in kind' had met with criticism from several quarters within the three services of the armed forces.

-- PTI
18:03   Don't want thieves: Mamata on MLAs defecting
In wake of the massive exodus of members of the legislative assembly and councillors from her party to the Bharatiya Janata Party over the past couple of months, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she does not want thieves in her party.

The TMC is not a weak party. If our MLAs want to leave, they can. I do not care if 15-20 Councillors quit the party by accepting cash. We dont want thieves in TMC. If one person leaves, I will prepare 500 more, she said in Kolkata during an event.

Her statement comes a day after TMC legislator Sunil Singh joined the BJP along with his associates in presence of BJPs West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya and veteran TMC-turned-BJP politician Mukul Roy in New Delhi. As many as 12 TMC Councillors also joined the BJP on Monday.

Singh is the third TMC leader to quit the party and shift allegiances to BJP after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP made massive inroads into West Bengal, upping their early tally of 2 to 18 this year. Seeing the Modi wave turning around BJPs fortunes in Bengal for the first time since Independence, several opposition leaders in the state chose to switch sides hoping for greener pastures.

Last month, around 50-60 TMC councillors and 2 MLAs (along with one CPM MLA) joined the BJP in the presence of Vijayvargiya dealing a massive blow to Mamatas hopes to salvage her state from the saffron partys influence.
17:15   Final goodbye to a fallen hero
A large number of people gathered in Meerut at the residence of Major Ketan Sharma to receive his mortal remains.

The Indian Army Major lost his life after an encounter broke out between the security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday. A terrorist was also killed during the encounter.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also paid their homage to Major Sharma.

In another encounter, one security personnel and two terrorists were killed in the district on Tuesday.

-- ANI
16:52   Ayodhya terror attack: Court convicts 4, acquits 1 in 2005 case
A special court in Allahabad on Tuesday convicted four and acquited one in the 2005 Ayodhya terror attack case.

Seven persons, including five alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed operatives and two local residents (Ramesh Panda and Shanti Devi) were gunned down, while seven CRPF jawans got injured in the attack.

The UP police had arrested five persons, Irfan, Ashiq Iqbal alias Farooque, Shakeel Ahmed, Mohammad Naseem and Mohammad Aziz, in the case and they are lodged at Naini jail in Allahabad. Dr Irfan hails from UPs Saharanpur district while others are residents of Poonch in Jammu.
16:21   Adhir Chowdhury could be Cong leader in LS
Congress leader from West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is tipped to be the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, top sources in the grand old party said on Tuesday.

Chowdhury's name has been cleared by the top party leadership, the sources said, but the party did not confirm it officially.

When asked, Chowdhury said the issue of who would lead the Congress in the Lower House of Parliament was not discussed at a meeting of party leaders at Sonia Gandhi's residence.

The Congress failed to get the post of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha as it did not get the benchmark 10 per cent seats required to stake claim for the post.

This is the second time in a row that the grand old party has failed to get the post. Chowdhury is a five-time MP from West Bengal and has not lost the Lok Sabha election since 1999.

He currently represents the Berhampore Lok Sabha constituency in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Chowdhury has also been a member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 1999.

He has been the chief of the West Bengal Congress and was also the Minister of State for Railways during the UPA government from 2012 to 2014.

Chowdhury's fighting spirit has helped him win the confidence of his party. Mallikarjun Kharge was the leader of the Congress in the previous Lok Sabha, but he lost the election this time, forcing the party to decide on another name.  -- PTI
16:08   Mamata to skip party chiefs' meet called by PM
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday excused herself from the scheduled meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with political party chiefs in New Delhi on Wednesday, while asking the government to prepare a white paper on 'one nation, one election' instead of doing it 'hurriedly'.

Modi has invited heads of all parties who have an MP either in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha for a meeting on June 19 to discuss several issues including the 'one nation, one election' idea, celebration of the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year.

It will be followed by a dinner-meeting with all MPs on June 20. In a letter to the Prahlad Joshi, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Banerjee has said that the matter requires consultations with experts.

"A proper response on such a sensitive and serious subject like the 'One Country, one election' in such a short time would not do justice to the subject it deserves. The matter requires consultations with constitutional experts, elections experts and above all the party members.

"Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would request you to kindly circulate a White Paper on the subject to all political parties inviting their views by providing adequate time. If you only do so, we will be able to give concrete suggestions on this important subject," she wrote.

She further stated that regarding the development of aspirational districts, her part Trinamool Congress had already conveyed that they are not in support of selection of a few districts as it would not conform to the overall objectives of achieving balanced and uniform development of all the districts of the state.

"Our state is committed to ensuring social and economic development of all districts uniformly so that regional imbalances do not rise," she said.

She also said that she and her party would participate wholeheartedly in the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year but stated that the issue regarding ways to improve the productivity of Parliament was a matter of the Lower House and should be dealt with by the concerned ministry.

Banerjee had skipped the Niti Ayog meeting also last week.  -- PTI
15:49  
JUST IN: Prayagraj Special Court sentences four convicts to life imprisonment and acquits one person in 2005 Ayodhya terror attack case.  -- ANI
15:48   Govt retires 15 Customs officers including Arup Srivastava
After dismissing 12 senior income tax officers, the government on Tuesday retired as many as 15 senior officers of the customs department with immediate effect. 

The officers of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, who were retired compulsorily, are of the ranks of principal commissioner, commissioner, additional commissioner and deputy commissioner. 

The retirement has been ordered under Rule 56 (j) of the General Financial Rules of Central Government Services. 

The officers who have been compulsorily retired are: 

1. Dr Anup Srivastava, Principal Commissioner 
2. Atul Dikshit, Commissioner 
3. Sansar Chand, Commissioner 
4. G Shree Harsha, Commissioner 
5. Vinay Brij Singh, Commissioner  
6. Ashok R Mahida, Additional Commissioner 
7. Virendra K Agarwal, Additional Commissioner 
8. Amresh Jain, Deputy Commissioner  
9. Nalin Kumar, Joint Commissioner  
10. S S Pabana, Assistant Commissioner 
11. S S Bisht, Assistant Commissioner 
12. Vinod Kumar Sanga, Assistant Commissioner 
13. Raju Sekar, Additional Commissioner  
14. Ashok Kumar Aswal, Deputy Commissioner  
15. Mohammed Altaf, Assistant Commissioner.
15:39   Doctors resume work, hospital services back to normal in WB
Patients heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday after junior doctors resumed work at all state-run hospitals following their week-long stir that had disrupted healthcare services across West Bengal.

All the 14 medical college and hospitals in the state started functioning, with normal work resuming at outdoor facilities, pathological units and other departments.

The patient turnout was high at all the hospitals, including the Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital, which was the epicentre of the junior doctors' agitation.

"Most of our colleagues have resumed work and they are helping the seniors in delivering regular services in the outpatient departments (OPD) since Tuesday morning," a spokesperson of a joint forum of junior doctors told PTI.

Since many junior doctors were in Kolkata to take part in the agitation, they could not reach their workplaces in far-off areas on Tuesday morning, he said, adding, "They will resume work as soon as they reach the hospitals."

"It is a relief for us. We are poor and have no other option but to go to government hospitals. The stir had impacted our treatment. I am happy that it has been called off," Ariful Haque from Malda district, who regularly visits the NRS hospital for the treatment of his brother's cardiac ailments, said.

Santanu Hazra, a thalassaemia patient undergoing treatment at the SSKM hospital in the city, was also happy with the doctors calling off their agitation and rejoining work.

"It was a terrible experience last week when I had to go back home almost everyday due to the agitation. I am financially not that sound to visit private hospitals. I am happy that my treatment has resumed," he said.

Private hospitals, which witnessed a low patient turnout and most doctors taking leave on Monday owing to a strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), also saw a normal inflow of patients.

The junior doctors called off their week-long strike on Monday night after meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who assured them of steps to scale up security at the government hospitals in the state.

The medicos were on strike since last Tuesday, protesting against the assault on two of their colleagues by the kin of a patient who died at the NRS Hospital and Medical College.

Principal of NRS hospital Prof (Dr) Saibal Mukherjee said, "Doctors are having a busy time at the OPDs. The patients had come here last week but could not be attended to due to the agitation. We are trying our best to treat most of them as it is our duty to serve them."

Senior police officials in the rank of assistant commissioners, along with adequate force, are stationed on the hospital premises to keep a check on the situation, as per the demands of the junior doctors.

At an hour-long televised meeting with the representatives of the junior doctors on Monday, Banerjee announced a number of steps, including asking the police to appoint nodal officers for the security of doctors at all government hospitals in the state, following which the doctors agreed to call off the stir.

They had received support from across the country.

On the call of the Indian Medical Association, medicos in Delhi and other states stayed away from providing non-emergency healthcare services on Monday.  -- PTI
15:12   Sonia, Maneka take oath as Lok Sabha MP
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi takes oath as a Member of Parliament.

MPs across party lines thumped their desks to welcome her while she was walking to take oath.

She took her oath in Hindi.

The House burst into cheers when Bharatiya Janata Party MP Maneka Gandhi's name was called right after Sonia's swearing-in.
14:44   Bihar govt announces measures to control AES
Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar addresses media over death of children due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Muzaffarpur after the visit of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar:

"The chief minister gave a few directions. He said the main reason of deaths is that patients reach hospitals late. It's been reiterated that patients won't have to bear any expense in coming to hospitals. Their fare will be reimbursed, they'll be given Rs 400 at flat rate.

"The CM also gave directions that there is no dearth of doctors and all of them are carrying out their duties but to supplement them, some doctors be brought from outside. Some doctors from Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital and Patna Medical College and Hospital are being sent there today."

The chief secretary said that awareness is being created among people that children shouldn't sleep on an empty stomach and be immediately brought to hospital if they fall sick.

"We've given directions that all ASHA workers, ANMs, Anganwadi workers distribute ORS in all households and tell them its importance," he said.

"It's been decided that a team will visit all houses, where children have been affected, to know their socio-economic and environmental background. The team will assess their condition, poverty, sanitation and see if there was an environmental factor behind it," he said.

"It's been decided that SKMCH will be converted into 2,500-bed hospital, currently it has 610 beds.

"In next one year, it'll be taken up to 1,500 beds and 2,500 later.

"A 100-bed ICU will be made there, it has 50 beds. A 'dhrmshala' will be built there for relatives and families," Kumar said.  -- ANI
14:31   Cyclone Vayu weakens, crosses Kutch coast
Cyclone Vayu has weakened and crossed Gujarat's Kutch district on Tuesday morning, causing rainfall at some places in the state, a MeT official said.

Rains are likely to continue till Wednesday in Kutch, Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions because of its impact, she said.

"Cyclone Vayu converted into a low pressure area when it crossed over Kutch in the morning. This will cause rainfall in the region," said Manorama Mohanty, scientist at the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Ahmedabad centre.

"Warning for ports has been lowered, but the advisory for fishermen will continue till Wednesday morning. The low pressure system is going to further weaken," she said.

The low pressure system will cause strong winds over northeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Saurashtra and Kutch regions with a speed of 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph till Tuesday evening, the IMD said in a release.

Weather will remain rough over northeast Arabian Sea and along and off the Gujarat coast, it said.

Several parts of Saurashtra, Kutch and north Gujarat regions received rainfall in the last 24 hours, the state's emergency response centre said in a release.

In the last 24 hours, Talala and Veraval talukas in Gir-Somnath district received 33 mm and 25 mm rainfall, respectively, while Borsad taluka in Anand district got 29 mm rain, as per official data.

Some parts of Dahod, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Sabarkantha districts also received showers during this period. Ahmedabad is also expected to receive moderate to light rainfall till Thursday, the IMD said.

The cyclone was earlier predicted to make landfall in Gujarat on June 13. However, it later began to move away from the state, sparing the coastline of any possible damage.

The IMD last Friday said the cyclone was likely to 're-curve' and return to the coast in Kutch district as a weakened system.  -- PTI
14:15   CBI files FIR against Lawyers Collective for FCRA violations, names Anand Grover
The CBI has registered a criminal case against the Delhi-based NGO, Lawyers Collective, for alleged violations of FCRA rules, officials said. 

They said the FIR names Anand Grover, a trustee and director of the organisation, as an accused. 

Grover is the husband of noted Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising. 

Unknown officer-bearers and functionaries of the NGO and unknown private persons and public servants have also been made accused in the FIR filed under IPC sections that deal with forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy. 

Sections of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 have also been included in the FIR by the central agency after receiving a compliant against the Collective from the Union home ministry. 

The organisation, which had its inception in 1981, states on its website that it "is a group of lawyers with a mission to empower and change the status of marginalised groups through the effective use of law, and an engagement in human rights advocacy, legal aid and litigation."
13:45  
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on outbreak of AES in Bihar: "We have promised every possible help to the state govt. We are monitoring the situation hourly."  -- ANI
13:38   After 108 deaths, Nitish visits AES patients
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur today. As many as 89 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome at the hospital.

Total death toll due to AES in the state stands at 108.

Locals held protest outside SKMCH as the Bihar CM was present at the hospital.

S K Shahi, MS, SKMCH, said, "The CM met the patients and their relatives. He was satisfied with present medical treatment being provided and ordered us to release a bulletin daily at 3 pm.

"He was pained by the fact that adequate facilities for treatment were not available here."   -- ANI
13:01   UP govt to now issue press releases in Sanskrit too
In a bid to promote Sanskrit, the Uttar Pradesh government will now issue press releases in Sanskrit along with Hindi, English and Urdu, an official said on Tuesday.

The first press note in Sanskrit was issued by the state government's Information Department on Monday.

Senior officials of the Information Department said the important speeches of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and government information will be released also in Sanskrit, along with Hindi, English and Urdu.

The department has decided to take help of Lucknow-based Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan for translating chief minister's speeches for public release.

"This is the first time that such a step is being taken. The speech of chief minister (Yogi Adityanath) delivered at a recent NITI Aayog meeting in New Delhi was released in Sanskrit and was well received. Now we plan to expand it further," the official said.

During a function on Monday, Adityanath had said that Sanskrit was in the DNA of the country.

"Sanskrit is in the DNA of India, it is now limited to the work of priests," he had said. Incidentally, there are 25 periodicals in Uttar Pradesh which are printed in Sanskrit but none of them is a daily.  -- PTI
12:47   Cong not to oppose, Birla set to be next Speaker
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Bharatiya Janata Party MP Om Birla's candidature for Lok Sabha Speaker:

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari were the proposers.

"Biju Janata Dal, Shiv Sena, National People's Party, Mizo National Front, Akali Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, YSRCP, JD-U, AIADMK, and Apna Dal have signed the proposal."

He said he met Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to seek the party's support.

"We have talked to the Congress. They haven't signed the proposal yet but they won't oppose it," Joshi said.

Birla took oath as MP in Lok Sabha today.  -- ANI
12:46   Suspected IED recovered near school in Navi Mumbai
The police on Monday defused a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) found near a school in Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.   

Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said, "The object resembling a bomb was spotted on a handcart. A bomb detection and disposal squad along with Navi Mumbai police reached the spot after receiving information and dismantled the device."

Further, he added that there was an alarm attached to the device which was set for 12 hours before it was defused.   

"We have received the CCTV footage and an investigation will be carried out on the basis of the evidence," the senior police official said.   

However, it is yet to be ascertained whether the device contained explosives or cement, the police said.
12:15   Strikes end, SC defers hearing on docs' security
The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing on a plea seeking protection of doctors in government hospitals, saying since doctors have called off their strike in West Bengal and other states, there is no urgency to hear the matter.

A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant said it will not issue notice (to the Centre) but is keeping the larger issue of protection of doctors open.

"We agreed to hear the plea today as there was a strike by doctors and medical fraternity in West Bengal and other states. The strike has been called off and there appears no urgency to hear the petition. List (the matter) before an appropriate bench," it said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association also filed an impleadment application seeking the court's intervention into the plea already filed, saying protection needs to be provided to doctors across the country.

The bench said it needs to take a holistic view in providing security to doctors.

"We can't protect doctors at the cost of other citizens. We have to look at the larger picture. We are not against the protection given to doctors," the bench said.  -- PTI
12:05   IB ministry asks TV channels to curb vulgarity in children's dance shows
The information and broadcasting ministry has asked all private satellite TV channels to avoid showing children in an indecent, suggestive and inappropriate manner in dance reality shows or other such programmes. 

The I&B ministry has noticed that several dance-based reality TV shows portray young children performing dance moves originally done by adults in movies and other popular modes of entertainment. 

"These moves are often suggestive and age-inappropriate. Such acts may also have distressing impact on children, impacting them at a young and impressionable age," an official statement said. 

All private satellite TV channels are expected to abide by the provisions contained in Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed, the I&B ministry advisory to the channels read. 

According to the rules, no programme should be carried on TV which denigrates children, and programmes meant for children should not contain any bad language or explicit scenes of violence, it said. 

The ministry has accordingly issued an advisory to all private satellite TV channels to avoid showing children in an indecent, suggestive and inappropriate manner in dance reality shows or other such programmes. 

The channels have been further advised to exercise maximum restraint, sensitivity and caution while showing such reality shows and programmes, the statement said.

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11:47   BJD, YSRC to support Om Birla for Sepaker's post
JUST IN: Biju Janata Dal has passed a resolution to support National Democratic Alliance candidate Om Birla for his candidature for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker.

Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress will also support Birla's candidature.

Om Birla will file his nomination around 12 pm, today.  -- ANI
11:29   SC refuses to pass order on plea seeking security for docs
JUST IN: Supreme Court refused to pass any order today on the petition seeking to provide security to doctors in government hospitals, directed the matter to be listed before an appropriate bench after vacation.

The Indian Medical Association has filed an IA (Intervention Application) and supported the cause of the petitioner, Alakh Alok Srivastava in the case.  -- ANI
11:20   Muzaffarpur encephalitis death toll rises to 108
The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur rose to 108 on Tuesday.   

As many as 89 children have died in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), while 19 others lost their lives in Kejriwal Hospital.   

Sunil Kumar Shahi, Superintendent of SKMCH said, "330 children were admitted out which 100 have been discharged and 45 people will be discharged today."   

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had recently announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children, who died due to AES in the city.   He had also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the disease.   
AES is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions, and headaches.
11:06   Verdict in 2005 Ayodhya terror attack case today
 A special court in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) will announce its verdict in the 2005 Ayodhya terror attack case today.

Special judge Dinesh Chandra is hearing the case. 

The attack took place on July 5, 2005.

Due to security reasons, the verdict will be announced in Naini Central Jail, where all the accused are imprisoned.

Among those accused are Irrfan, Mohammad Shakeel, Mohammad Naseem, Mohammad Aziz, Asif Iqbal and Farookh. 
11:04   2 jawans injured in Pulwama IED attack succumb
JUST IN: Two army personnel who were injured in an improvised explosive device attack on a mobile vehicle patrol of 44 Rashtriya Rifles in Arihal, Pulwama yesterday, have succumbed to their injuries.

Nine Indian Army personnel and two civilians were injured when terrorists triggered an IED fitted in a vehicle near an army patrol in the militancy-hit Pulwama district of south Kashmir Monday, officials said.

They said the multi-vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles was moving on Arihal-Pulwama road when the IED was detonated by the terrorists, injuring the personnel travelling in a bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle.

The site of the blast was 27 kilometre from the area where a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a suicide bomber on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.  -- ANI/PTI
10:24   Don't know about it: Birla on Speaker nomination
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Om Birla leaves the residence of party National Working President J P Nadda.

On being asked if he is National Democratic Alliance candidate for post the of Lok Sabha Speaker, he said, "I have no information, I had just went to meet the Working President as a 'karyakarta'."

However, his wife Amita Birla said: "It is a very proud and a happy moment for us. We are very thankful to the cabinet for choosing him."  -- ANI
09:53   BJP's Om Birla NDA pick for post of LS Speaker
JUST IN: Om Birla, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Kota, is likely to be the National Democratic Alliance's candidate for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker, ANI reports quoting sources.

Birla is likely to file nomination today.

More details awaited.   -- ANI
09:50   Top Cong leaders at Sonias house for Parliament strategy meeting
JUST IN: Congress leaders A K Antony, Jairam Ramesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, P Chidambaram, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and K Suresh have arrived at United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi's residence for the meeting of Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group.

The meeting is also likely to see a discussion on who will be Congress' leader in the Lok Sabha.   -- ANI
09:39   India will overtake China's population in 8 yrs
India will overtake China to become the world's most populous country in just eight years, according to a United Nations report.

Meanwhile, the Chinese population will decrease by 31.4 million, or around 2.2 per cent, between 2019 and 2050.

The report titled 'The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights' estimated that the world's population is expected to increase by two million by 2050, from 7.7 billion today to 9.7 billion.

Moreover, Indian along with eight other countries will constitute half of the population.

The nine countries expected to show the biggest increase are India, Nigeria and Pakistan, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America.

In all, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to practically double by 2050, the report said.

The report has mentioned that the growth in population will come despite the slowing of the global fertility rate.

In 1990, the average number of births per woman was 3.2. By 2019 this had fallen to 2.5 births per woman and, by 2050, this is projected to decline further to 2.2 births: a fertility level of 2.1 births per woman is necessary to avoid national population decline over the long run (in the absence of immigration).

Further, life expectancy at birth for the world, which increased from 64.2 years in 1990 to 72.6 years in 2019, is expected to increase further to 77.1 years in 2050. -- ANI
09:29   Encounter breaks out between security forces, terrorists in Anantnag
An encounter broke out between terrorists and security forces in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, police said.

Based on inputs about the presence of terrorists in Bijbehara area of the south Kashmir district, the security forces launched a cordon and search operation there in the morning, a police official said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists fired upon the forces, who retaliated.

The exchange of firing was going on when last reports came in, the official said.

There were no reports of any casualties on either side so far, he said, adding that further details were awaited.  -- PTI

Image only for representation.
09:06   Encephalitis death toll in Bihar mounts to 107
Death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur rises to 107.

As many as 88 people have died in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital and 19 in Kejriwal Hospital.  -- ANI
08:43   Cong meet today, may decide on LS leader
Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to chair a meeting of her party's Parliament strategy group on Tuesday morning to chalk out an approach for the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

In the meeting, leaders are likely to discuss a common agenda to ensure better floor coordination among the Opposition parties, a source in the party said.

Talking to ANI, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had earlier given a sense of what will be his party's line during the session.

"The government should end the ordinance culture. It should respect the parliamentary process and important bills should be sent to Parliament Committees before being discussed in the house," Sharma had said.

Appointment of the party's leader in the Lok Sabha will also be taken up in the meeting.

Though the announcement would be made after the election of Lok Sabha speaker, the above-mentioned source said. Sonia Gandhi holds the authority of appointing the leader of the party in the Lower House.

Congress needs to chalk out a strategy for the first session of Parliament after the elections.

The session becomes more important as the Union Budget and some key legislations including the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill will be presented.

Being the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Congress has the responsibility to coordinate among the opposition parties to corner the government at various issues.

However, it falls short of the required number for the leader of the Opposition post. Congress won a meagre 52 seats in the recently concluded general elections.   -- Siddharth Sharma/ANI
00:04  
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00:03   Trump a poster boy for racists: London mayor
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called Donald Trump a "poster boy for racists" after the US president hit out at him over London's knife crime.

Trump retweeted a post from right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins blaming the violence on "Khan's Londonistan".

Her comments came after four people were killed in a spate of shootings and stabbings in London over three days.

Britain's Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt said he "150 per cent agreed" with Trump.

Speaking in central London on Monday, Khan said: "It's remarkable that you've got the president of the USA amplifying the tweets of a far-right activist, amplifying a racist tweet.

"That's one of my concerns about Donald Trump - he's now seen as a poster boy for racists around the world, whether you're a racist in this country, whether you're a racist in Hungary, a racist in Italy, or a racist in France."

The original post by Hopkins called the capital "Stab-City", alongside screenshots of BBC News articles detailing the violence.

But a number of people pointed out the much higher homicide rates in US cities.

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