Thu, 20 June 2019
Women's cricket in, shooting out at 2022 CWG
23:00 Women's cricket in, shooting out at 2022 CWG
Shooting was left out of the 2022 Commonwealth Games programme on Thursday, dealing a big blow to India which won as many as 16 medals, including seven gold, at the 2018 edition in Gold Coast.
The Executive Board of the Commonwealth Games Federation met and approved the inclusion of women's cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis into the Games programme for the Birmingham edition.
The inclusion of these three sports will now need to be ratified by 51 percent of the CGF members next month.
"Our recommendation of adding women's cricket, beach volleyball and Para table tennis is the result of a thorough review and we believe these sports would help us to enhance the existing programme and reach new audiences, while showcasing the sports to our local community, spectators and fans across the world, watching on TV," said Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022.
"It's also a selection that could help ensure that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the most inclusive in history, with a potential for the largest ever para-sports programme and more female medallists than ever before, representing a great story not just for Birmingham 2022, but for women's sport in general," he added.
Last year, the National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh, wanted the Indian government to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games if shooting was dropped from the programme.
The absence of shooting is likely to make a big dent into India's medals tally in the 2022 edition. Indian shooters bagged 16 medals from the Gold Coast Games including seven gold, four silver and 5 bronze.
India has traditionally done well in shooting which has been part of every Commonwealth Games since 1966, except the 1970 edition in Edinburgh. Archery is another sport that was not cleared by the Executive Board. -- PTI
22:58 Force corrupt employees to take VRS: UP CM directs officials
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Thursday directed officials to crack the whip on corrupt employees and give them voluntary retirement.
Reviewing the work of the Secretariat Administration Department at Lok Bhavan here as part of his government's renewed effort to weed out corruption from the bureaucracy and ensure speedy development and effective implementation of welfare measures, Adityanath said there is no place for such officials and staff in the government, an official release said.
Adityanath directed officers to prepare a list of corrupt employees and suggested they should be forced to take voluntary retirement, it said.
He asked the officials to take firm action against the corrupt employees, stop their promotion process and give them voluntary retirement.
He underlined the need to speed up the work of e-office system and directed officials to take appropriate actions on issues related to promotion, filing up the vacancies and retirement of the employees.
Soon, a biometric system will be started in the secretariat, the chief minister said.
Besides, IGRS monitoring system should also be strengthened, so that the complainant could be satisfied by the government. This will help bring in transparency and creating a positive image of the government in the eyes of people, he added. -- PTI
22:28 Ranveer gets legal notice by wrestler Brock Lesnar's advocate
Actor Ranveer Singh has been served with a legal notice over his usage of a war-cry made popular by WWE star Brock Lesnar, the wrestler's advocate Paul Heyman has claimed.
The actor, who attended the cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan in Manchester on Sunday, had given the catch-phrase, "Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat", a spin while captioning his photo with cricketer Hardik Pandya.
"Eat. Sleep. Dominate. Repeat. The name is Hardik. Hardik Pandya. @hardikpandya7 ma boi #unstoppable," Ranveer had tweeted.
Responding to the post, Heyman threatened to sue him for copyright infringement.
"@RanveerOfficial ARE YOU F'N KIDDING ME??????????? 1 - It's Eat Sleep CONQUER Repeat 2 - Copyright #YourHumbleAdvocate and @BrockLesnar 3 - I am litigious 4 - EAT SLEEP DEPOSITION REPEAT," he wrote.
In another tweet, Heyman tagged a report that referred to him as Lesnar's manager and clarified that he is the advocate for the wrestler.
"I didn't warn. I served noticed. And while I applaud for their coverage of #YourHumbleAdvocate and @BrockLesnar, I must stress that I am not a manager (what an outdated, antiquated term). I am an #Advocate. And I'm the best #Advocate in history," he wrote.
Ranveer, who is currently preparing for the shoot of Kabir Khan's "'83", is yet to comment on the matter.
Heyman had previously taken issues with the official Twitter handle of the Cricket World Cup for using the catch-phrase in a tweet praising Indian wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.
"My most (in)sincere compliments to @cricketworldcup for promoting the amazing @msdhoni by paraphrasing my mantra for @WWE #UniversalChampion @BrockLesnar #EatSleepConquerRepeat. Our royalties may be paid in cash, check, stock or cryptocurrency," he had posted on Twitter. -- PTI
22:27 Navy deploys warships in Gulf of Oman
Amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran as well as recent incidents related to maritime security, the Indian Navy has deployed its warships in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to reassure the Indian vessels operating and transiting in the region, it said on Thursday.
In addition, aerial surveillance by Indian Navy aircraft was also being undertaken in the area, it said.
"INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations. In addition, aerial surveillance by IN aircraft is also being undertaken in the area," the Navy said.
The Information Fusion Centre - Indian Ocean Region, which was inaugurated by the Navy in December, 2018 at Gurugram, was also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf region, it added.
India's strategic and security interests are closely linked to the Indian Ocean Region. The country's energy security is also linked to the safety and security of ships while operating and transiting in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
"The Indian Navy has deployed warships in the Gulf of Oman to re-assure the Indian Flagged Vessels operating/transiting through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, following the maritime security incidents in the region," the navy said.
In further escalation of tensions, Iran's Revolutionary Guards shot down a US drone on Thursday.
Previously, the US military had accused Iran of firing a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blamed Iran for the attacks on the oil tankers, a charge denied by Tehran.
22:24 Iran made 'mistake' by downing US drone: Trump
President Donald Trump on Thursday said that Iran has made a "very big mistake" by shooting down a United States spy drone, an incident that is likely to further escalate already soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Both the US and Iran said that Iranian forces had shot down an American military surveillance drone, but the two sides offered conflicting details on the incident.
US officials confirmed that a high altitude drone on a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz was hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in international airspace.
Iran, however, said its elite Revolutionary Guard shot down an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone as it flew over southern Iran and that the incident sent a "clear message to America".
The US military's Central Command confirmed a US Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system.
The BAMS-D is a RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long, Endurance (HALE) drone that can carry out surveillance and reconnaissance missions over vast ocean and coastal regions, according to the US military.
Iran's Foreign Ministry issued a condemnation of the purported violation of its airspace and warned of a strong reaction to what it called a "provocative" act by the US.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump was briefed Wednesday night and again Thursday morning about the incident.
Later, President Trump tweeted: "Iran made a very big mistake!"
Trump's tweet came as his national security officials were huddling to weigh possible responses, CNN reported.
The incident comes at a time of escalating tension between the two countries. -- PTI
22:03 Fresh triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha on Friday
A fresh bill to ban the practice of instant triple talaq will be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, which has been listed in the Lok Sabha's agenda for Friday, will replace an ordinance issued in February by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.
With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month, the previous bill had lapsed as it was pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The bill, which proposes to make the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) a penal offence, had faced objections from the opposition parties which claimed that jail term for a man for divorcing his wife was legally untenable.
The new bill is a copy of the ordinance in force.
Bills that are introduced in the Rajya Sabha and are pending there do not lapse with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. However, bills passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse with the dissolution of the lower house.
The government had promulgated the ordinance on triple talaq twice -- in September 2018 and in February 2019 -- as the contentious bill remained pending in the Rajya Sabha, though it was passed by the Lok Sabha.
Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq is illegal, void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
Seeking to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision for bail for the accused during trial.
These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on August 29, 2018. -- PTI
21:09 PM hosts dinner for MPs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hosted a dinner for members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at a state-run five-star hotel.
The Parliamentary affairs ministry had sent out invites to all members of both the Houses -- over 750 MPs.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, various leaders of the ruling NDA, DMK's Kanimozhi, AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and three of four TDP Rajya Sabha members who joined the BJP -- Y S Chowdary, C M Ramesh and T G Venkatesh -- among others attended the dinner at hotel Ashok.
Sources said the dinner was hosted so that the prime minister and other members of the Union council of ministers could meet all MPs from both the houses in an informal atmosphere.
During the all-party meet on Sunday, ahead of the start of the Parliament session, Modi had told leaders that political differences can be kept aside to discuss issues related to public interest. -- PTI
21:05 IOC officially lifts provisional ban imposed on India
The International Olympic Committee on Thursday lifted the restrictions imposed on India with regards to hosting international events, two days after the Union government's assurance that no eligible athlete would be denied visa on political grounds.
The decision was taken at the IOC's Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on Thursday. In a letter addressed to Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra, IOC's Director (Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations) James Macleod expressed the world body's satisfaction with the written guarantee from the Indian government on the issue.
"Lift, with immediate effect, all provisional measures and restrictions imposed under Points 2 and 3 of the IOC EB decision on February 21, 2019 in relation to awarding and hosting any sports events in India, and inform the international federations accordingly," wrote Macleod.
"We take this opportunity to thank you NOC (National Olympic Committee) and government of India for your joint efforts and co-operation in resolving the situation," added the letter.
The IOC had decided to "suspend all discussions" with India regarding hosting of global sporting events after Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the World Cup held in New Delhi in February this year.
As a result, World wrestling body moved the junior Asian wrestling championship out of India. The country also lost the hosting rights of the junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup due to the same issue, though the national tennis federation maintained that it let go of the events due to financial constraints.
The IOC had also revoked the Olympic qualification status for two quota places in the 25m rapid fire event from the New Delhi World Cup due to the denial of visas to the Pakistani shooters in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Last year, India did not give visas to boxers from Kosovo for the world women's championships in Delhi. India does not have diplomatic ties with Kosovo as of now.
20:41 Rahul mocked for using phone during Prez speech
Several BJP leaders and ministers criticised Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for looking at his mobile phone during President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday.
Terming it as "unfortunate", Union minister Giriraj Singh called Gandhi a "non-serious" leader.
"He is a tall leader of a party. The president was presenting a roadmap about the country's progress in the next five years. It is extremely unfortunate that a leader who calls himself a serious leader but is not serious," he said.
"Nothing can be more unfortunate than his using a mobile phone and does not pay heed to what the President was saying," Singh said.
Minister of State of Sports Kiren Rijiju also criticised the Congress president and said, "Rahul Gandhi keeps playing with his phone. He should practice yoga to focus on himself."
Minister of State for Environment Babul Supiyo said that Gandhi has no interest even in own his party and he may have found "something more important" than President Kovind's speech.
"He may have something more important in his mobile than the President's address or about what the government is going to do in its tenure," he said.
A video purportedly showing Rahul Gandhi using his mobile phone during President's customary address at Thursday's joint sitting of Parliament went viral on the social media. -- ANI
20:15 NHRC notice to Centre over 'deplorable' public health infra
Expressing serious concern over the "deplorable public health infrastructure" in the country, the National Human Rights Commission on Thursday issued notices to the Centre and all states and Union Territories, underlining loss of lives in various parts of the country in recent times, including of over 100 children in Muzaffarpur.
The National Human Rights Commission has also directed that teams comprising doctors on the panel of the NHRC, along with its officers, will visit hospitals, primary health centres and other health facilities in "vulnerable" states one by one, starting with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to conduct on-the-spot fact-finding investigation, officials said.
"Expressing serious concern over deplorable public health infrastructure in the country, the National Human Rights Commission has today taken suo motu cognisance of a series of media reports about the loss of precious human lives in various parts of the country in recent times, due to deficiencies and inadequacies in the healthcare system," the rights panel said in a statement.
The NHRC has issued a notice to the secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, asking for a comprehensive report within four weeks on the observations made by the commission.
The rights panel said it has also sent notices to the chief secretaries of all the states and Union Territories to submit their reports within six weeks, giving details of the incidents related to deaths. -- PTI
19:42 Crises not new to TDP: Naidu on defection of MPs
As four of his party Rajya Sabha MPs joined the BJP, Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu Thursday said such crises were not new to the party.
Taking stock of the situation, Naidu, who is vacationing in Europe, spoke to a couple of senior party leaders in Amaravati over phone, party sources said.
Naidu enquired about the rebellion and told the leaders that such crises were not new to TDP, they said.
The TDP fought with the BJP only for securing the state's interests, the sources quoted him as having said.
19:17 PM Modi wishes a speedy recovery to Shikhar Dhawan
After it was announced that Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the World Cup because of a thumb fracture, Prime Minister Modi has tweeted, "Dear @SDhawan25, no doubt the pitch will miss you but I hope you recover at the earliest so that you can once again be back on the field and contribute to more wins for the nation."
Dhawan was officially replaced by Rishabh Pant in India's World Cup squad. Pant has been with the Indian side for the past one week after he was asked to fly in as a cover for Dhawan.
Notably, Dhawan has been India's highest scorer in the last 5 multi-nation tournaments including 2013 Champions Trophy and World Cup 2015.
The left-hander also went on to score a century with a broken thumb in India's win against Australia.
18:17 Setback for Naidu as 4 TDP MPs join BJP
Four of the six parliamentarians in Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party today joined the BJP.
This evening, the Rajya Sabha members met Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the upper house, and gave him a letter that said they have "decided to merge with the BJP" with immediate effect.
The lawmakers -- YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh, Garikapoati Mohan Rao, TG Venkatesh -- were accompanied by the new BJP working president JP Nadda.
The rebel leaders moved as party chief N Chandrababu Naidu is in the US on vacation.
Naidu had quit the NDA last year and became one of the key interlocutors of the opposition. But his plan failed spectacularly.
Arch-rival Jaganmohan Reddy, the chief of the YSR Congress, not only won the state elections, but also scooped up 22 of the state's 25 Lok Sabha seats.
Earlier today, two of them had announced their intention.
"Yes I am leaving the TDP. I will join the BJP," Telugu Desam Party's TG Venkatesh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. "I have been a former member of ABVP and the BJYM (the BJP youth wing)," he added earlier today.
The party's senior leader YS Chowdary also admitted that he was switching camp.
17:44 4 out of TDP's 6 RS members to back BJP
The Telugu Desam Party is heading for a split in the Rajya Sabha, with at least four of its six MPs deciding to break away and back the ruling BJP.
At least two of these MPs -- YS Chowdary and TG Venkatesh -- have confirmed their decision to join the BJP. The latter is a former member of the BJP's student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and its young wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
The four MPs are going to RS chairman Venkaiah Naidu right now to inform him about their decision, highly placed sources added.
Their decision to back the BJP will give a boost to the saffron party in the Upper House as the ruling National Democratic Alliance does not have a majority there yet.
The sources said the breakaway faction may merge with the BJP.
The TDP, which is led by former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, has six members in the Rajya Sabha. If four of them break away, then it will meet the legal requirement of anti-defection law, which mandates the support of at least two-third members for a split to be recognised in Parliament.
The Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245 members and the BJP is the single largest party with 71 MPs.
Interestingly, back in Andhra Pradesh, 12 MLAs of the TDP are also likely to form a separate group in the Andhra Pradesh assembly.
The leaders blame the crisis on party chief N Chandrababu Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, who they accuse of blocking access to his father.
Interestingly again, TDP MPs CM Ramesh and YS Chowdary had an hour-long meeting with the Home Minister Amit Shah today.
Image: TDP Rajya Sabha MPs YS Chowdary, TG Venkatesh, and CM Ramesh resign from TDP, submit resignation letter to Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Photograph: ANI/Twitter
17:25 US State Secy Pompeo to visit India on June 25
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit India from June 25-27, the first high-level engagement between India and the United States after NDA's return to power for a second term.
"It will be the first high-level engagement with the United States after elections in India. During his visit, Pompeo will hold talks with the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and will also call on other dignitaries in the government of India," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday.
Pompeo's visit will provide "an important opportunity for both sides to explore further ways to strengthen India-US strategic partnership", he said.
Kumar noted that the two sides will hold high-level engagements on matters of mutual interest including bilateral, regional and global issues.
In addition, Pompeo's visit will further prepare grounds for a summit meeting between US president Donald Trump and Prime Minister Modi in Osaka, Japan, on the sidelines of the G20 meeting scheduled to be held later this month.
On June 15, India imposed retaliatory tariffs on American goods, less than two weeks after Trump announced an end to preferential trade treatment for India over the trade barriers.
Kumar said that despite all the talks over trade issues between India and the US, "the bilateral trade has almost touched 150 billion" and there has been growth since the last few years.
He said, India has been granted a major defence partner status, adding that Washington had supported New Delhi for the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
17:12 Angelina Jolie is Time magazine's newest contributing editor
Actress Angelina Jolie is joining Time magazine as a contributing editor.
Jolie's pieces will appear each month and focus on topics including displacement and human rights, the magazine said in a statement.
Time cited Jolie's experience working with the UN Refugee Agency for 18 years, the last seven of which she has been the Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Jolie has carried out more than 60 field missions to countries including Colombia, Peru and Bangladesh, the magazine said in its statement.
Jolie's first piece as a contributing editor, titled "What we owe refugees," published on Wednesday, World Refugee Day.
The article will be included in the July 1 issue of the magazine. The actress previously contributed an essay to the publication.
16:56 One Nation, One Election will create confusion among voters: Gowda
Former prime minister and JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda on Thursday said "One Nation, One Election" -- holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies -- would create confusion among the voters.
"I have my own apprehensions about it. I feel we are not so advanced," he told reporters here, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an all-party meeting in New Delhi to build a consensus on the idea.
It was announced after the meeting that a committee for giving "time-bound" suggestions on "One Nation, One Election" would be set up by the prime minister.
Deve Gowda said, "There are some people who welcomed it and some who did not. Let us be honest. The only thing is, there is one polling booth here and another polling booth for the Assembly polls that side. There will be confusion. That is the one disadvantage where I am little bit perturbed."
He said there would be somebody to guide the voters, which the Election Commission alone could do and not the political agents as they were not permitted.
Deve Gowda said when elections were held using paper ballots, officials gave separate paper slips to the voters if polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies took place simultaneously.
The process used to clear the doubts among the voters, he added.
However, now that elections take place using electronic voting machines, there will be a problem if simultaneous polls are held, Deve Gowda, whose party is in the ruling alliance with the Congress in Karnataka, said.
16:37 PM Modi to host dinner for all MPs tonight
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold a dinner for all the Members of Parliament on Thursday. The PM's dinner party will be held at the Ashoka Hotel in the national capital, according to reports.
On behalf of the PM, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has extended an invitation to all Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. It will also be for the first time that the Prime Minister will be meeting all the MPs after the BJP-led NDA II government was formed last month.
PM Modi had on Wednesday chaired a meeting of all political parties to discuss the idea of `One Country, One Election` along with other issues of national importance.
During the all-party meet on Sunday, ahead of the start of the 17th Lok Sabha, the PM had urged all leaders to keep their political differences aside.
16:15 Who said you can't say Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, asks Speaker Om Birla
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday said it will not be challenging for him to run the lower House of the Parliament, where chants of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' were heard when several leaders including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi took oath earlier this week.
Asked whether it was going to be tough for him to run the Lok Sabha amid religious chants, Om Birla said, "There is no challenge. We will run the House by keeping all party leaders together... Who said you cannot say 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'?"
Sonia Gandhi, who retained the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat for the Congress, took oath on Tuesday. She was welcomed to take the oath amid slogans of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Jai Sri Ram'.
Owaisi was also greeted with slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram', 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram' on Tuesday as he went on to take oath as a member of the 17th Lok Sabha.
Owaisi, a Member of Parliament from Hyderabad constituency, gave it back and said, "Jai Bheem, Jai Meem, Takbeer Allahu Akbar, Jai Hind" while concluding his oath.
Moreover, slogans of "mandir vahin banayenge" (temple will be built there) were raised in the Lok Sabha after Sakshi Maharaj, the BJP MP who won from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, took oath as a member of the House.
Maharaj concluded his oath with 'Jai Shri Ram'.
15:32 NIA court rejects Pragya Thakur's exemption plea
A special NIA court in Mumbai on Thursday rejected Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur's plea seeking exemption from appearing before it once a week in connection with the 2008 Malegaon terror blast case.
Thakur, a key accused in the case, had moved the plea citing ill-health, distance, security, attending Parliament on a day-to-day basis and her life as a Sadhvi. However, the court has given her exemption from attending the court for today.
Thakur's lawyers said her party BJP has issued a whip from time to time for attending Parliament. To this, the court said obeying the party and attending Parliament is necessary. However, no papers were submitted regarding it.
Last week, the court had granted her exemption from appearing before it on Saturday following a plea by her advocates that while she was willing to appear, they had advised her against it as the judge was on leave.
Last month, the special court had passed an order directing all the accused to remain present before it at least once a week.
15:18 Encephalitis outbreak: Sharad Yadav blames Nitish govt over failure of arrangements
Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, who visited the SKMCH hospital in Muzaffarpur on Thursday blamed the Nitish Kumar-led state government for the rising cases of encephalitis in the district.
"Doctors are doing well. We are so incapable to find out the reason behind this outbreak. Proper arrangements have not been put in place. It is a failure of arrangements. I believe if promises made earlier would have been fulfilled then we would not be facing this issue," Yadav told reporters outside the hospital.
The death toll due to the encephalitis touched 117 on Thursday morning in Muzaffarpur district.
As per the official data, a total of 98 deaths were reported at government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital while 19 children died at Kejriwal hospital in the district due to the vector-borne disease till 8 am today.
The AES is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms such as high fever, vomiting and in extreme cases, can lead to coma, brain dysfunction, seizure and inflammation of heart and kidney.
14:51 Modi to perform yoga with 35,000 people in Ranchi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in the Jharkhand capital Ranchi for International Yoga Day tomorrow.
Over 35,000 people are expected to be present at the venue where the prime minister will perform yoga tomorrow.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said, "The PM wanted it to be a jan andolan (people's movement), and in Jharkhand and across the globe it will turn into a jan andolan tomorrow."
14:16 WB on boil; 1 killed, 3 injured in clashes
One person was shot dead and three others were seriously injured in Bhatpara area of West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district as clashes broke out between two groups on Thursday, a police officer said.
The deceased has been identified as Rambabu Shaw, while the details of those injured in the incident were yet to be ascertained, he said.
According to reports, bombs were hurled and several rounds of bullets fired in the air by the members of the two warring groups near a newly constructed police station, which was scheduled for inauguration on Thursday.
A team of police officers along with Rapid Action Force personnel has been deployed in the area, with shops, market places and business establishments seen downing shutters following the unrest.
Bhatpara has witnessed a series of clashes since May 19, when bypoll was held in the assembly constituency.
13:51 Rapper Hard Kaur charged with sedition for posts against Adityanath, RSS chief Bhagwat
Rapper-singer Hard Kaur has reportedly been booked for sedition for some of her latest social media posts.
According to a report by Times of India, the singer has been booked for social media posts against RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
A compalint was filed by lawyer Shashank Shekhar, after which the police lodged an FIR against the singer under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity different groups on ground of religion, etc), 500 (defamation), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of IPC and section 66 of IT Act.
The complainant, an RSS volunteer, said that he was deeply hurt to see derogatory remarks against RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and UP CM Yogi Adityanath. Hard Kaur, recently, posted a bunch of posts on her Facebook page.
13:26 Rahul makes it clear that he'll step down as Cong chief
Congress's Rahul Gandhi, who decided to step down from the position of the party chief after the abysmal performance in the Lok Sabha election, made it clear that he is sticking to his resolve and would not be involved in the process of the selection of the new party chief.
Underscoring that there has to be "accountability in the system", he said to NDTV, "I am not going to get involved in that process, otherwise it will complicate things and the party has to decide".
The Congress has refused to accept Gandhi's decision, and over the last weeks has insisted on maintaining the status quo.
12:52 India rejects Pak report claim that New Delhi ready for talks with Islamabad
India on Thursday rejected a Pakistani media report claiming New Delhi is ready for talks with Islamabad, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made no such reference in their response to congratulatory messages from their counterparts in that country.
A report in the Express Tribune on Thursday claimed that Modi and Jaishankar responded to Islamabad's renewed call for dialogue by conveying New Delhi's desire to engage with all countries, including Pakistan, for the prosperity of the region.
Responding to the queries regarding the replies to congratulatory messages by Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "As per the established diplomatic practice, PM and EAM have responded to the congratulatory messages received from their counterparts in Pakistan."
In their messages, they have highlighted that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan, he said.
"In his message, PM said 'For this, It is important to build an environment of trust, free of terror, violence and hostility'. EAM also emphasised the need for an 'atmosphere free from the shadow of terror and violence'," Kumar said.
Asked if there was any reference to holding talks in the letters, the MEA said there was no such reference.
Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Khan exchanged pleasantries last week during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek.
It is also learnt that Khan congratulated Modi on his election victory during their first face-to-face interaction, which took place in the Leaders' Lounge at the SCO venue.
However, there was no meeting between the two leaders.
11:54 Prez speaks about cross-LoC strikes, NRC, Rafale
President Kovind speaks on national security.
He mentions India's efforts in getting Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar getting listed as a global terrorist by the United Nations.
Amid prolonged thumping of desks mainly by the Treasury Benches, the President also mentions 2016 surgical strikes and Balakot air strikes.
Expressing concern over illegal migration across the border, the President mentions the 'efforts of the government in implementing the National Register of Citizens'.
Speaking about modernisation of the armed forces, he said that the country will soon get its first Rafale fighter jet and Apache helicopter.
11:47 South-west monsoon to hit Goa on Friday
After a delay of almost a fortnight, the south-west monsoon is expected to hit Goa on Friday, a met department official said.
Pre-monsoon rains have been lashing parts of the state for the last few days and continued on Thursday as well, he said.
Moderate showers were witnessed in the state capital Panaji on Thursday morning.
"The monsoon is likely to arrive in the state on Friday. Most places in North Goa and South Goa districts received light to moderate rains on Thursday," he said.
Strong winds with speed reaching 40 to 50 kmph are likely to prevail over south-west and west-central Arabian Sea on Thursday and Friday, the India meteorological department's centre in Panaji said in a bulletin.
It advised fishermen not to venture into the sea.
11:35 Minor earthquake rattles Satara
An earthquake of magnitude 4.8 shook parts of Satara district in Maharashtra on Thursday morning, an official said.
The epicentre of the quake, which occurred around 7.47 am, was recorded at a depth of 10 km, the official at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) centre in Pune said.
No casualty or damage to property has been reported so far, an official from Satara district administration said.
Satara is located around 120 km from Pune.
11:27 Necessary to eradicate triple talaq: President
President says eradication of practices like triple talaq and nikah halala is necessary for empowerment of women.
"I request all members to support the efforts in the direction to eradicate these practices," he said during his address to joint session of both the Houses.
11:19 We have to save water for our children: Prez
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the joint session of both Houses of Parliament.
"One of the biggest challenges the country is facing today is water crisis.
"We have to conserve water for our future generations.
"The new Jal Shakti Ministry is a decisive step in that direction which will give long-term benefits.
"Through this ministry, the policies of water conservation and management will be made more effective," the President says.
10:58 7 kids feared drowned after van falls into canal
Seven children were feared drowned after a van fell into the Indira canal here, district officials said on Thursday.
The van carrying 29 people, who were returning from a marriage ceremony, fell into the canal late on Wednesday night, Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, adding that 22 of them have been rescued.
"As many as seven children, all in the age group of 5-10 years, are missing. They might have been washed away to a significant distance as the flow of water in the canal is rather high...rescue operations are on," Sharma said. -- PTI
10:29 Encephalitis toll in Muzaffarpur rises to 117
The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) touched 117 on Thursday morning in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district.
As per data, a total of 98 deaths were reported at government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital while 19 children died at Kejriwal hospital in the district due to the vector-borne disease till 8 am today.
The State Health Society had on Tuesday ordered delegation of more doctors in Muzaffarpur from Darbhanga, Supaul, Madhubani, Samastipur and Sitamarhi districts.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday visited the SKMCH to take stock of the encephalitis situation. Earlier, Kumar had announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to the AES. -- ANI
10:12 Iran claims to have shot down US drone
Iran's Revolutionary Guard said on Thursday it had shot down a United States 'spy drone' over its territory after it violated Iranian airspace, according to Iranian state television.
"The US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force" in the country's southern coastal province of Hormozgan, the Revolutionary Guard added, according to the English-language Press TV.
The US has so far issued no comments. -- Agencies
10:03 Sensex, Nifty turn cautious despite strong global cues
Domestic equity benchmark BSE Sensex dropped over 150 points on Thursday, dragged by losses IT stocks, despite strong global cues.
The 30-share index, however, pared some losses and was trading 34.59 points, or 0.09 per cent, lower at 39,078.15 at 0930 hours.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty was quoting 23.45 points, or 0.20 per cent, down at 11,668.
In the previous session Wednesday, the BSE gauge settled 66.40 points, or 0.17 per cent, higher at 39,112.74, while the Nifty closed almost flat at 11,691.45.
Top losers in the Sensex pack included Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, TCS, Maruti, Infosys, Asian Paints, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Axis Bank and HCL Tech, shedding up to 1.43 per cent.
On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, Kotak Bank, Coal India, RIL, L&T, PowerGrid and HDFC gained up to 1.10 per cent.
According to experts, investors were cautious despite strong cues from global markets, amid concerns over weakening economic data, lack of liquidity and deficit in monsoon.
Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai Composite Index, Hang Seng, Nikkei and Kospi were trading significantly higher in their respective early sessions after the US Fed policy outcome.
The US central bank on Wednesday left rates unchanged, opening the door to an interest rate cut soon, saying uncertainties about the economic outlook are on the rise and vowing to act to keep the economy growing.
Bourses on Wall Street too ended in the green last night.
Meanwhile, on a net basis, foreign institutional investors sold equity worth Rs 97.05 crore, and domestic institutional investors offloaded shares to the tune of Rs 104.91 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed on Wednesday.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee appreciated 10 paise to 69.58 against the US dollar.
The global oil benchmark Brent crude futures were trading 1.29 per cent higher at 62.62 per barrel. -- PTI
09:55 Indian man, wife torture, starve mother to death in Dubai
A 29-year-old Indian man and his wife have been charged in a court in Dubai with physically assaulting his mother, causing her bone and rib fractures, internal bleeding as well as severe burns and unintentionally causing her death, according to a media report.
The man and his 28-year-old wife, whose identity have not been revealed, tortured the elderly woman repeatedly and they even cut her right eye iris out and part of her other eye, the Court of First Instance heard.
The torture is believed to have lasted from July 2018 till October 2018.
A forensic doctor said that the elderly woman weighed just 29 kg at the time of her death, the report added.
The couple has been detained but they denied the charge.
A case was registered at Al Qusais police station.
The case was exposed by the couple's 54-year-old neighbour, who is a hospital employee, the report said.
The Indian witness recounted how the man's wife visited her at her apartment in the same building.
"She was then holding her daughter. She claimed that her mother-in-law had come from India but did not take proper care of their daughter and that the girl would often fall sick while in her care.
"She wanted me to look after the girl until she came back from work."
About three days later, the witness spotted an elderly woman lying down in her neighbours' balcony.
"That woman was almost naked with apparent burn marks on her body. I informed the security guard," she said.
The witness said she then knocked on the couple's door.
"I found his mother on the floor... She was in a critical condition and needed urgent medical treatment. I called the ambulance."
The witness recalled how the mother cried and screamed in pain when the paramedics tried to carry her because of the burns she had.
"The defendant remained in the flat and did not go with his mother. I told the paramedics he should go along. He went later after they talked him into it."
A Filipino paramedic, 36, recalled how he found the victim in a very bad shape in her son's flat.
"She was in awful pain. Her hands and legs were swollen and her legs bore burn marks. Her son claimed she had poured hot water on herself when we asked him about the cause of the burn injuries. He was standing far from her, apparently indifferent about her condition."
The paramedic added that the son did not help carry his mother to the ambulance while the neighbours, who were around, stepped in to help.
"She was tortured repeatedly over a short span of time. Burns covered 10 per cent of her body. The bone and rib fractures, internal bleeding, beating with different tools, burns, negligence and starvation have all led to the deterioration of her health condition," the doctor said.
According to a hospital certificate, the woman died on October 31, 2018. The trial has been adjourned until July 3 and the couple will remain in custody till then. -- PTI
09:02 President Xi Jinping arrives in North Korea
Xi Jinping arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday for a two-day state visit, the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, according to Chinese state media.
Xi, accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials, landed at 11.40 am local time (0240 GMT), according to China's CCTV broadcaster. -- Agencies
08:59 President to address joint sitting of both Houses today
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of both the houses of Parliament at the Central Hall today.
The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha began on Monday in which the newly elected members took the oath.
The election of the Speaker was held on Wednesday.
The Rajya Sabha will begin its proceedings from today after the address of the President.
The Parliament session will continue till July 26.
The Economic Survey will be presented on July 4 followed by the Union Budget for 2019- 20 on July 5. -- ANI
08:28 Infant dies in UP as docs give kin the runaround
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday ordered the suspension of a doctor and departmental proceedings against another after reports of negligence in attending to an infant at a government hospital in Bareilly surfaced, officials said in Lucknow.
The Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) of the men's wing at the government hospital, Dr Kamlendra Swaroop Gupta, was suspended after the death of the four-day-old girl, an official release stated.
Departmental proceedings have also been ordered against Dr Alka Sharma, CMS, women's wing.
"A critically-ill child was brought to the men's wing of the hospital, where paediatricians were available. Instead of stablising the child, her family was sent to the women's wing, from where the child was sent back," officials said.
According to reports, the four-day-old baby girl died after being shuttled from one wing of the hospital to another.
The girl born at a private hospital on June 15 had a difficulty in breathing after which her parents brought her to the government hospital in Bareilly.
Her family alleged they were made to run from one wing of the hospital to another for over three hours due to which the infant died. -- PTI
Image used only for representational purposes.
00:13 Imran trolled for quoting Tagore as Khalil Gibran
Prime Minister Imran Khan was mercilessly trolled on Wednesday for wrongly attributing a famous quote of Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore to Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran.
Khan, 66, took to share an inspirational quote which goes as "I slept and dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy".
The Prime Minister captioned the quote, saying "Those who discover and get to understand the wisdom of Gibran's words cited below, get to live a life of contentment".
The tweet garnered 23,000 likes and was retweeted over 5,000 times, while more than 2,000 people commented on it.
But the netizens were quick to pick the Prime Minister's mistake and started making fun of him.
Most of the Twitter users teased Khan for his poor knowledge and asked him to confirm things before going public.
"Mr Khan it doesn't hurt to Google a quote if you are not into reading. By copying a Tagore's quote and attributing it to Khalil Gibran, you are not only getting mocked but you are making a laughing stock of the country in the process! Please!" wrote journalist Murtaza Solangi.
"Another gem from Imran Khan's trove of knowledge, shares Tagore's work and calls it work of Kahlil Gibran," wrote another.
Khan has made headline in recent months for lack of knowledge or slip of tongue.
While visiting Iran in April, he had said Japan and Germany shared borders. -- PTI