Thu, 19 May 2022
Petitioners seek ASI survey in Mathura mosque

Timeline  Refresh

23:41   Bihar court decides 108-year-old land dispute
A court in Bhojpur district of Bihar is in news for having disposed of a civil dispute, over a piece of land measuring three acres, 108 years after it was filed.

It has been a while since Additional District and Sessions Judge Shweta Singh decided the case in favour of Atul Singh, ending the legal battle which began with his great-grandfather Darbari Singh in 1914.

'The judge deserves kudos for her perseverance. Documents pertaining to the case had been eaten up by moths. But she took the trouble to sift through these and, finally, the judgement came on March 11,' Satendra Singh, the counsel for the plaintiff, told reporters.

He said Darbari Singh had purchased the land, which falls in Koilwar nagar panchayat area, from family members of one Nathuni Khan.

Khan had died in 1911 leaving behind dependants who squabbled among themselves over rights to his property.

The land was part of a nine-acre estate which fell into a legal wrangle and was attached by the British colonial government.

'The judge has finally said that my client, Atul Singh, can move before the sub divisional magistrate concerned for getting his land released,' said the lawyer.

'It has been a peculiarly mind-boggling matter. None of the family members of Nathuni Khan is here. All of them had migrated to Pakistan after Partition. My clients have fought the case for four generations,' said the advocate.

'I take some satisfaction that I have witnessed the case being decided. It was first taken up by my grandfather Shivvrat Narayan Singh after whose death my late father Badri Narayan Singh began appearing as the advocate,' points out Satendra Singh.

The judgment has piqued the curiosity of legally aware social media users.

Former IPS officer and renowned civil rights activist Prakash Singh referred to the case on his Twitter handle with the remark 'cry, my beloved India!'   -- PTI
23:03   Petitioners seek ASI survey in Mathura mosque
An application was moved in a court in Mathura on Thursday for sending an Archeological Survey of India (ASI) team to the Shahi Idgah Masjid to report on the presence of 'signs of a Hindu temple' there.

Two separate applications on the Shri Krishna Janmasthan-Shahi Idgah mosque dispute were filed in the court of the civil judge senior division by petitioner Manish Yadav.

"In one application, the court has been requested to seek a report from a team of the ASI on the presence of signs of a Hindu temple in the mosque," Deepak Sharma, counsel for the petitioner, said.

In the second application, the court has been requested to issue directions for the installation of CCTV cameras inside the Shahi Idgah mosque of Mathura to ensure that the 'signs of the temple' present there are protected, Sharma said.

The court has also been requested to pass an order to ban entry into the mosque for people other than those residing on the Idgah premises and to direct the home department principal secretary to monitor the mosque and ensure that the temple signs are protected for legal witness, the petitioner's counsel added.

The counsel said the petitioner has expressed apprehensions that the signs of the temple inside the mosque could be defaced, removed or damaged.

The Shahi Idgah mosque is located in the same complex as the Katra Keshav Dev Temple.   -- PTI
22:42   Monsoon likely to reach Kerala early next week
After an early arrival over Andaman & Nicobar islands, south-west monsoon is racing towards the mainland with the weather office forecasting onset over Kerala by the middle of next week.

Conditions will continue to be favourable for further progress leading to onset of Southwest Monsoon over Kerala towards end of the week, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday evening.

If the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala happens this weekend, it will be the earliest onset in recent years.

Monsoon had reached Kerala on May 23 in 2009. Earlier, the weather office had forecast the onset of monsoon over Kerala by May 27, five days ahead of the normal onset date of June 1.

Due to strong westerly flow from Arabian Sea and trough over south Peninsula India, light/moderate fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity likely over southwest Peninsular India and isolated to scattered rainfall over rest peninsular India, the weather office said.

It said isolated heavy rainfall is also likely over Kerala, Coastal & South Interior Karnataka during many days of the week.

Several parts of Kerala, Mahe, adjoining Karnataka and Lakshadweep have received fairly widespread to widespread rainfall/thunderstorm activity for four to five days during the week.

After a brief respite, temperatures shot up across north-west India on Thursday with Barmer reporting 47.1 degrees Celsius, the highest maximum temperature in the country.

At least 16 cities reported highest maximum temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius or more.

A western disturbance over Afghanistan is expected to move slowly towards north Pakistan on Friday and east-northeastwards across the western Himalayan region, bringing rains to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand over the weekend.

Isolated to scattered light rainfall with thunderstorm/lightning/gusty winds very likely over Punjab, Haryana, North Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh during May 20 to 24 with scattered to fairly widespread light rainfall over the region on May 23, the weather office said.   -- PTI
21:39   Mumbai sees over 200 Covid cases after 3 months
Mumbai's single-day coronavirus infection tally crossed the 200-mark on Thursday after a gap of three months with 223 new cases, the civic body said.

On February 19 this year, the city had reported 201 COVID-19 cases, but the daily infection figure kept going down since then.

However, over the past few days there has been a gradual rise in the number of infections.

There were 194 cases on Wednesday.

This calendar year's highest daily count was reported on February 17 with 259 cases.

With 223 fresh cases, Mumbai's caseload increased to 10,62,040, while the fatality figure remained unchanged at 19,566 as no patient succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours, an official said.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also discharged 124 patients during the day, which increased the recovery count to 10,41,472.

There are 1,002 active patients in the city now.

The civic body carried out 8,736 tests in past 24 hours, raising the overall test count to 1,70,33,677.

Mumbai's recovery rate is 98 per cent, while the overall growth rate of COVID-19 cases in the metropolis between May 11 and 17 was 0.012 per cent.

The state capital's doubling rate now stands at 5,450 days.

Although the number of cases is rising, there is neither any containment zone in the city nor any building has been sealed so far, the official said.  -- PTI
21:35   Boxer Nikhat Zareen becomes World Champion
Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen emerged world champion with a comfortable 5-0 victory over Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in the flyweight (52kg) final of the Women's World Championships in Istanbul on Thursday.

The Telangana boxer out-punched her Thai rival to win via unanimous 5-0 verdict.

With this win, Zareen became only the fifth Indian boxer to be crowned world champion.

Six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018) Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006) are the other pugilists who have won the world title.

Apart from Zareen's gold, Manisha Moun (57kg) and debutant Parveen Hooda (63kg) will return home with bronze medals.

A 12-member Indian contingent was sent to participate in the competition and while the medal haul has decreased by one, an Indian has been crowned world champion after four years, Mary Kom had last won the gold in the 48kg in the 2018 edition.  -- PTI
20:54   Sidhu can contest polls despite sentence: Expert
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu can contest future elections despite the Supreme Court sentencing him to one-year jail in a 1988 road rage case, a legal expert said on Thursday, citing provisions of the electoral law.

"If the sentence was two years or more, then he would have been disqualified from contesting elections for six years," legal expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general P D T Achary told PTI, citing Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act-1951 which deals with disqualification.

The former cricketer had recently contested the assembly polls but had lost.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul allowed the review plea filed by the victim's family on the issue of the sentence awarded to Sidhu.

Though the apex court had in May 2018 held Sidhu guilty of the offence of 'voluntarily causing hurt' to a 65-year-old man in the case, it spared him a jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000.

'...we feel there is an error apparent on the face of record ... therefore, we have allowed the review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we consider it appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of one year,' the bench said while pronouncing the verdict.

In September 2018, the apex court had agreed to examine the review petition filed by the family members of the deceased.  -- PTI
20:29   Hindu Mahasabha organises puja on birth anniversary of Nathuram Godse
The Hindu Mahasabha organised a special puja at its office in Meerut on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse on Thursday and demanded that Meerut in Uttar Pradesh be renamed after him.

Hindu Mahasabha state spokesperson Abhishek Agarwal said activists of the outfit assembled at its office on Sharda Road to mark Godse's birth anniversary and took a pledge to eradicate 'anti-Hindu Gandhiwad'.

He also claimed that India will soon become a 'Hindu rashtra'.

Citing Godse and his family's close ties with Meerut, the outfit demanded that the city be renamed as Nathuram Godse Nagar.

Agarwal said that an open letter has been sent to the central government for the renaming of Meerut.

He said Nathuram Godse's brother Gopal Godse had contested the 1989 Lok Sabha election from Meerut.

On the occasion, Agarwal also alleged that mosques were built after demolition of Hindu temples and demanded that excavation be carried out at two large mosques in Meerut to look for remnants of temples.    

"Wherever there is an excavation, 'Mahadev' (Lord Shiva) will appear," he claimed.

His remarks came days after the claimed discovery of a Shivling in Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque complex.

Earlier this week, Hindu lawyers had claimed that a structure found in the 'wazookhana' reservoir at the mosque during a court-ordered survey was a Shivling.

The mosque committee members disputed the claim, saying the structure was part of the fountain mechanism at the 'wazookhana', where people perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz.   -- PTI
19:42   Monitoring it: MEA on Chinese bridge in Pangong
A day after reports emerged that China was building a second bridge across Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, India on Thursday said the area where the reported construction is being undertaken is under the occupation of that country for decades.

At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India monitors such developments.

"We have seen media reports and other reports on the so-called bridge... somebody said second bridge or if it is an expansion of the current bridge," he said.

Bagchi said India always felt that the area that is referred to in the reports is under the occupation of the Chinese side for decades.

He was responding to questions on the bridge being built by China in the Pangong Tso region.

Bagchi also said that India had various rounds of conversations with the Chinese side at the diplomatic and military levels and will continue to remain engaged.

"You are also aware that Foreign Minister Wang Yi was here in March this year and the external affairs minister conveyed our expectations to him," he said.

"And the external affairs minister had said talking to the media subsequently then that the friction and tensions that arise from China's deployments since April 2020 cannot be reconciled with a normal relationship between two neighbours," Bagchi said.

"So we will continue to remain engaged with the Chinese side, both at diplomatic and the military levels to ensure that the directions given by the two ministers are implemented fully," he added.

People familiar with Chinese construction on Wednesday said China is building a second bridge in an area held by it around the strategically key Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.

The bridge is being built amid the lingering standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies at several friction points in eastern Ladakh for over two years.  -- PTI
Rupee fluctuation against US dollar this week.
Normal dates of monsoon onset.
19:05   Maharashtra will be enraged if Raj Thackeray is harmed, says hoarding in Mumbai
A hoarding warning of strong repercussions across Maharashtra if Raj Thackeray came to any harm has cropped up in south-central Mumbai, ahead of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief's Ayodhya visit next month.

Thackeray is going to visit Ayodhya on June 5, but Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Uttar Pradesh Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh recently demanded that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief first apologise for 'humiliating' north Indians in the past before visiting the city.

'The entire Maharashtra will rise up in rage if even a strand of Raj Thackeray's hair is harmed,' said a hoarding put up by MNS functionary Santosh Nalwade in Lalbaug area.

It featured photographs of Thackeray, his son Amit and MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar.

Earlier, Nandgaonkar had issued a similar warning after he received a letter threatening Raj Thackeray.

The letter followed Thackeray's 'ultimatum' to the Maharashtra government in April to remove loudspeakers from mosques in the state.

The MNS chief's demand about mosque loudspeakers -- supported by the main opposition BJP -- as well as his scheduled visit to Ayodhya are being seen as an attempt to corner the ruling Shiv Sena which professes to be pro-Hindutva.   -- PTI
18:38   Modi to attend Quad summit in Tokyo on May 24
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the third Quad leaders summit in Tokyo on May 24, the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday. 

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the forthcoming Quad summit will provide an opportunity for the Quad leaders to exchange views about developments in the Indo-Pacific and contemporary global issues of mutual interest. 

In Tokyo, Modi will have bilateral meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden, Bagchi said. He is also likely to hold a bilateral meeting with his Australian counterpart.
The Punjab CM with the Union Home Minister
The Punjab CM with the Union Home Minister
18:13   Centre to amp up paramilitary forces in Punjab
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured him of providing 10 paramilitary or Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies to Punjab by this evening.

Mann made the statement while speaking to the media after his meeting with Shah at his North Block office. 

"10 paramilitary companies have been already sent to Punjab earlier. Union Home Minister has assured to provide 10 more paramilitary companies by today evening to maintain law and order in Punjab," Mann said.

The Punjab Chief Minister said he also discussed issues related to border security and appointment in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) in Chandigarh among others.

Mann said he also requested Home Minister to provide anti-drone technologies to the Punjab government to tackle the smuggling of arms and ammunition as well as drugs.

He further said that the Home Minister has assured to provide all necessary help to the Punjab government to keep the state safe from anti-India activities.

Mann also discussed ongoing farmers' protests near the Chandigarh- Mohali border, demanding a bonus on the wheat prices, with the Home Minister. -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
18:04   Principal sent to jail in Assam for bringing cooked beef to school
The headmistress of a school in Goalpara district of Assam was arrested and sent to jail for bringing to school cooked beef for her lunch, officials said on Thursday. 

 The headmistress allegedly brought the cooked beef during the 'Gunotsav 2022', an exercise to evaluate the performance of the schools in the state, was underway between May 11 to May 14.

 She was taken to the police station on May 16. Consumption of beef is not illegal in Assam, but The Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021 bans cattle slaughter and sale of beef in the areas where Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are in a majority or within a five-km radius of a temple or satra (Vaishnavite monasteries) or any other institution as maybe prescribed by the authorities.
17:50   Court sets Indrani's bail bond at Rs 2 lakh
A special CBI court in the city on Thursday said Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, can walk out on bail after furnishing a bond of Rs 2 lakh as it finalised her bail conditions.

 Mukerjea (50) was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, six-and-a-half years after she was arrested in the murder case. 

The CBI court said the former media executive can be released from the Byculla women's prison in Mumbai upon furnishing a cash bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and a solvent surety of the same amount. 

The special court, which is hearing the sensational case, also directed Mukerjea not to tamper with evidence while out on bail. It granted her two weeks to furnish the solvent surety and directed her to scrupulously observe" the bail conditions.

 Mukerjea was arrested by the Mumbai police in 2015 on charges of killing her daughter Bora (24) in April 2012. The high-profile case was taken over by the CBI subsequently. PTI
17:30   Oil India, ONGC on alert for militant attack
The Assam Police has issued an advisory to Oil India Ltd (OIL) and ONGC regarding probable subversive activities by banned ULFA(I) militants on their installations in the state as well as their employees, officials said on Thursday. 

 The two PSU energy majors have taken the security input "seriously" and already issued a series of "dos and don'ts" for their staff after meetings with various agencies such as CISF and AISF.

 A senior official at the Assam Police told PTI that a telephonic advisory was issued to the officials of Oil India on possible strikes, including kidnapping of officials, on its installations by the ULFA(I). 

 "During the monsoon, many places where the oil rigs are located become inaccessible. So, we alert the companies about the security aspect. This is a periodic and routine thing," he said, without elaborating further. When contacted, OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika told PTI from its field headquarters in Duliajan that the company received "some intelligence input" from the police earlier this week. 

 "Immediately an internal meeting was called and chaired by Resident Chief Executive In-Charge. It was attended by senior officials of CISF, AISF OIL Security and other departments," he said. The meeting decided to sensitise the employees and officers on various issues of security and accordingly, certain steps were taken, Hazarika said.
17:27   Stocks which gained or lost in the Sensex today
From the Sensex firms, HCL Technologies, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the major laggards. ITC and Dr Reddy's emerged as the gainers.
16:54   Centre to review Covid vax program with states
With India witnessing a decline in COVID-19 cases and following the administration of 191.79 crore vaccine doses, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan will review the coronavirus vaccination program with all the states and union territories on Friday, informed sources. 

 India's COVID vaccination coverage had exceeded 191.79 crores (1,91,79,96,905) till 7 am today, according to data shared by the Union Health Ministry. COVID-19 vaccination for the age group 12-14 years was started on March 16, 2022. So far, more than 3.22 crore adolescents have received the first dose of the COVID vaccine. 

The administration of precaution dose for the age group 18-59 years was also started from April 10, 2022, onwards. The country witnessed a slight rise in coronavirus infections with 2,364 fresh cases in the last 24 hours. India's active caseload now stands at 15,419 at present. The daily positivity rate of the country is 0.50 per cent. -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
16:40   Doctors' body pitches for reviving concept of family physicians
The Academy of Family Physicians of India (AFPI) on Thursday highlighted the need for reviving the concept of family physicians and popularising family medicine as a clinical speciality.

World Family Doctor Day is being observed on May 19 to highlight the role and contribution of family doctors in healthcare systems around the world. 

"Family doctor is not a new concept in India. Historically family doctors used to be generalist practitioners who would not only act as health managers but as a friend, philosopher, protector, and guide for a family," Dr. Raman Kumar, President of the Academy of Family Physicians of India, said. 

 Those days the community reposed enormous faith in the easily accessible and affordable family doctor, he states. "During the past few decades fragmentation of medicine into subspecialties has made generalist mode of practice languished. Spectacular advances were made in the health sector with a focus on expertise in single organs, systems, or diseases. It is the development of these subspecialists and their concentration in hospitals that have given rise to growing demand in the community for a physician, who is caring, accessible and who is also an expert. 

"The emergence of a clinical speciality called Family Medicine' has created a hope for reviving the ancient traditions of general medicine and redefining 'Family Doctor' who is best trained to meet the requirement of the modern era," Dr Kumar said. 

 Family medicine is a person-centred speciality which provides comprehensive care through continuous healing relationship-oriented towards a family in particular and the community in general. -- PTI
16:28   Court fixes May 23 for next hearing in Gyanvapi
A Varanasi court hearing the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri case on Thursday posted the matter to May 23 for the next hearing. Both the parties filed their objections and counter-objections on Thursday.

 In view of the Supreme Court's order to the lower court not to proceed with the matter till Friday, it fixed May 23 for the next hearing, Madan Mohan Yadav, the lawyer representing the Hindu side, said. 

 Two petitions filed in the Gyanvapi case were to be heard on Wednesday, but due to a lawyers' strike over the remarks of a special secretary-level official, the hearings could not be held. The strike call was given by the Banaras Bar Association and the Central Bar Association and the hearing was scheduled on the same on Thursday. 

 On Tuesday, Rekha Pathak, Manju Vyas and Sita Sahu had filed an application in the court, stating that there is a basement in the wall on the east side of the place where a Shivling is situated, which has been sealed with brick, stone and cement, while the basement in front of the face of Nandi is covered with brick stone sand, bamboo debris and the court-appointed team should carry out its work by getting it removed. 

 They had also asked for orders to the commission to report the length, width and height of the Shivling, besides to open the door of the west wall, which has been covered with debris inside the barricading, and to carry out its work there. Accepting the application, the court had said it would hear the matter on Wednesday. -- PTI
16:24   Freudian slip, Mr Bush?
Speaking in Dallas this afternoon, former US President George W Bush made a significant verbal slip-up while discussing the war in Ukraine. He tried referencing what he described as the "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion"  -- but said Iraq, instead of Ukraine. He corrected himself and said, "I mean of Ukraine."

The Bush administration, at the time, claimed there were weapons of mass destructions in the country although United Nations inspectors later discovered no evidence weapons of the kind existed before the invasion.
Dr Reddy's was among the few gainers
Dr Reddy's was among the few gainers
15:59   Sensex tanks over 1,400 points
Equity benchmarks fell sharply on Thursday, mirroring a sell-off in global markets, with the Sensex and Nifty tumbling over 2.60 per cent on across-the-board selling. 

 Persistent foreign fund outflows also continue to dampen sentiment. The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex dived 1,416.30 points or 2.61 per cent to settle at 52,792.23. During the day, it tumbled 1,539.02 points or 2.83 per cent to 52,669.51. The broader NSE Nifty tanked 430.90 points or 2.65 per cent to end at 15,809.40. 

 From the Sensex firms, HCL Technologies, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the major laggards. ITC and Dr Reddy's emerged as the gainers --PTI
15:57   No tears for Sidhu
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Congress leader on Navjot Singh Sidhu's being sentenced to a year in jail. "No one can challenge SC's decision...The loss Sidhu has caused to Congress party no one can repair. What Congress couldn't do, SC has done today. In Feb, I had asked Rahul Gandhi to expel Sidhu and Sunil Jakhar from the party."
15:44   'I'd have loved to present Pratidwandi at Cannes'
Dhritiman Chatterjee, a post-graduate in economics, came from a world outside of cinema, yet made an impressive debut in the first film in Satyajit Ray's Calcutta trilogy, Pratidwandi. 

He played Siddhartha Chaudhuri, forced by his father's sudden demise to quit his studies and hit the streets of Kolkata in search of a job that eludes him.

Unwilling to compromise like his sister or be radicalised by Left politics like his brother, Siddhartha eventually leaves the city to settle for a future with perhaps no ambitions or aspirations.

Surprisingly, even though Siddhartha Chaudhuri is more of a passive spectator than a raging crusader and explodes just once, Dhritiman Chatterjee was typed as the urban, angry, young man, a tag he has shrugged off in the five decades since.

Speaking to Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya, the actor rewinds to his first tryst with the camera as the digitally restored Pratidwandi gears up for screening at the 75th Cannes film festival.
Read the interview here. 
Kuldeep Bishnoi with ML Khattar
Kuldeep Bishnoi with ML Khattar
15:34   Desertion #3? Cong's Kuldeep Bishnoi meets Khattar
Senior Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi, who is learnt to be miffed with the party after he failed to get a position in the revamped Haryana unit, met Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, triggering speculation about his next move. 

 Bishnoi, the 53-year-old son of former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal, said he held a detailed discussion with Khattar on political issues. 

 The meeting took place in Gurugram on Wednesday evening, an aide of the Congress leader said. Taking to Twitter, Bishnoi said there was a detailed positive discussion with the chief minister when he met him regarding some issues pertaining to the Congress leader's Adampur constituency and some other matters. 

 "I am grateful to him that he gave instructions in front of me, after accepting my point of view regarding the restoration of Adampur Gram Panchayat," he tweeted in Hindi. 

 Notably, after the new appointments in the state unit, Bishnoi had in April told his supporters that he was also angry like them, but urged them to have patience. 

 The Congress last month appointed former legislator and Bhupinder Singh Hooda loyalist Udai Bhan as chief of its state unit, replacing Kumari Selja, and named four working presidents. 

 Bishnoi's meeting with Khattar has sparked speculation about his next move as the Congress is facing an exodus of leaders amid a decline in its electoral fortunes. It received a jolt in neighbouring Punjab on Thursday when its former state unit chief Sunil Jakhar joined the BJP. The Congress' Gujarat unit working president Hardik Patel resigned from the party a day earlier. -

Congress leaders Sunil Jakhar and Hardik Patel have quit the Congress in the last 24 hours.  
15:30   Value of Pakistani Rupee touches fresh low at Rs 200 to a USD
The Pakistani rupee continued its month-long run of devaluation, with the currency trading at its all-time low of Rs 200 against the US dollar on Thursday. 

 The Pakistani rupee (PKR) continues to slide in line with the predictions of analysts who fear more losses ahead as the country remains mired in political and economic instability. 

A business analyst said the dollar was already selling for PKR 200 on Wednesday in the open market but on Thursday it breached the PKR-200 mark in interbank trading as well. 

"Until the government gives more clarity on how it intends to halt the economic slide and put us on the path to revival the market will continue to function like this and the dollar will gain by the day," said Saeed Nazam, an analyst at Topline Securities. 

 The Forex Association of Pakistan reacted with deep concern. "It is a black day in the history of Pakistan. I never imagined I would see this day all because of poor economic management," said Secretary General Zafar Paracha. -- PTI
15:18   Will submit to majesty of law: Sidhu on jail term
"Will submit to the majesty of law," tweets Navjot Singh Sidhu after Supreme Court imposes one-year jail term on him in 1988 road rage case.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul allowed the review plea filed by the victim's family on the issue of the sentence awarded to Sidhu.

Though the apex court had in May 2018 held Sidhu guilty of the offence of "voluntarily causing hurt" to a 65-year-old man in the case, it spared him a jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000.

Read the report here. 
14:59   Congress newsmakers today
Former diplomat KC Singh on today's news highs: "Look at the news cycle. Hardik Patel gets overshadowed by Sunil Jakhar, in turn eclipsed by Navjot Sidhu. #PunjabPolitics."
14:56   Rahul leaves for UK as Cong battles desertions
Amid deepening crisis in Congress with the party's working president in Gujarat Hardik Patel quitting the party ahead of the Assembly polls, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday left for London to address an 'Ideas for India'.

This afternoon, senior party leader Sunil Jakhar joined the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi, former Congress chief, will speak at the 'Ideas for India' conference. He will also interact with the Indian diaspora on what the present and future hold for the country, said the Congress media department head and general secretary Randeep Surjewala. 

On May 23, Rahul Gandhi will address and interact at Cambridge University on "India at 75: The challenges and way ahead for a resilient-modern India". 

The 'Ideas for India' event is slated for Friday in London.

He will be reaching London on Thursday evening. Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Priyank Khadge are also in London to take part in the event.

Notably, this is the first such overseas event for Rahul Gandhi after the return of travel normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rahul Gandhi has left for London at a time when Congress is battling desertion of party leaders from key states. 
14:44   Error apparent, says court while sentencing Sidhu
Update: The Supreme Court Thursday imposed a one-year sentence on cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 1988 road rage case. 

 A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul allowed the review plea filed by the victim's family on the issue of the sentence awarded to Sidhu.

 Though the apex court had in May 2018 held Sidhu guilty of the offence of "voluntarily causing hurt" to a 65-year-old man in the case, it spared him a jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000. ..we feel there is an error apparent on the face of record. Therefore, we have allowed the review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we consider it appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of one year," the bench said while pronouncing the verdict. 

 In September 2018, the apex court had agreed to examine a review petition filed by the family members of the deceased and had issued the notice, restricted to the quantum of sentence. 

 The top court had earlier asked Sidhu to file his response on the application which had said that his conviction in the case should not have been merely for the lesser offence of voluntarily causing hurt. 

 Sidhu had on March 25 told the top court that the plea seeking enlargement of the scope of notice in the matter relating to review of the sentence awarded to him was an abuse of process.

 In a reply filed to the application seeking enlargement of the scope of notice, Sidhu had said the apex court, after a careful perusal of the contents of the review petitions, has restricted its scope to the quantum of sentence.

 It is well settled that whenever this court issues notice confining to sentence, arguments will be heard only to that effect unless some extraordinary circumstance/material is shown to the Court. 

It is respectfully submitted that the contents of the present applications reiterate only overruled arguments and do not show any extraordinary material, calling for interference on all aspects from this court, the reply had said. -- PTI
14:37   A PM's assassin out on bail
AG Perarivalan, his mother Arputhammal and other members of their family meet MDMK chief Vaiko in Chennai. The Supreme Court ordered the release of Perarivalan yesterday. He was one of the convicts serving life imprisonment in connection with the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. 
14:29   Navjot Sidhu gets 1-year jail in road rage case
The Supreme Court imposes a one-year sentence on cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 1988 road rage case. 

Navjot Sidhu has to surrender before a court.
The case involves charges that on December 27, 1988, Sidhu beat Gurnam Singh on his head, leading to his death.

The court had earlier reserved its order on an application seeking to enlarge the scope of notice in the road rage case. The application was also filed in an ongoing review petition.

Sidhu has opposed the plea seeking to enl
14:15   Sunil Jakhar breaks 50-yr tie with Cong, joins BJP
Former Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar joins Bharatiya Janata Party in presence of party president JP Nadda in Delhi.

"I welcome Sunil Jakhar to Bharatiya Janata Party. He is an experienced political leader who made a name for himself during his political career. I am confident he will play a big role in strengthening the party in Punjab,"  BJP president JP Nadda said in Delhi.

"Three generations of my family served the Congress party over the last 50 years. Today, I have broken the 50-year-old tie with Congress over issues of nationalism, unity and brotherhood in Punjab.
"I decided to quit Congress when notice was issued to me for speaking my mind. 
"PM Modi's participation in the 400th celebrations of Prakash Parv showed that he had his hand on the pulse of Punjab," Sunil Jakhar says.

13:29   No defence policy before Modi: HM
Union Home Minister Amit Shah at and event at  Delhi University. 
-- India a geo-cultural country. Till we understand this, we will not understand idea of India.
-- From 2014 to 2022 under PM Modi, India achieved several things and 80 crore people started considering themselves as part of country.
-- Before PM Modi, India did not have a defence policy but we showed what it means with surgical & air strikes.

A court team visiting the Gyanvapi mosque
A court team visiting the Gyanvapi mosque
13:23   'Remove mosque' plea allowed in Krishna birthplace
Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute: Mathura district court allows hearing of lawsuit in lower court over removal of Shahi Idgah Masjid. 

The mosque is built on the land belonging to the Keshav Dev temple, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, a lawyer for the Hindu side said.

"Plaintiffs had filed a suit in the lower court and observed that plaintiffs don't have a right to sue. A revision was filed before the Mathura district court. The court now said that the lower court's order is wrong and stayed it," says Advocate Mukesh Khandelwal.

The Krishna Janmabhoomi complex spans 13.37 acres. 

According to the petition, the mosque is built on the land that belongs to the temple.
13:22   SL PM says no shoot-on-sight orders given during violence
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Thursday that no shoot-on-sight orders were issued to the Defence Ministry amidst violent anti-government protests in the island nation. 

 On May 10, Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence ordered the Army, the Air Force and the Navy personnel to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others amidst violent protests in the island nation over the unprecedented economic and political crisis.

 The order came after mobs had gone on the rampage attacking properties linked to the Rajapaksa family and those close to them. 

The attack on the properties linked to people close to former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa occurred after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters in Colombo. 

 Wickremesinghe said that no such order has been issued in writing, the Colombo Gazette news portal reported. The Prime Minister said that the Police can use their discretion and open fire if there is a need to do so but there are procedures to follow. 

 He said that while properties belonging to some members of Parliaments had been attacked last week, a shoot-on-sight order was not issued. The Ministry of Defence had, however, announced last week that shoot-on-sight orders were issued to prevent further violence. -- PTI
13:05   Anti-encroachment drive in Delhi's Sultanpuri cancelled
An anti-encroachment drive scheduled to take place in northwest Delhi's Sultanpuri area was cancelled on Thursday due to unavailability of adequate police force, civic authorities said. 

According to a North Delhi Municipal Corporation official, the drive to remove temporary and permanent encroachment from roads and government land was scheduled at Sultanpuri's Jagdamba market. 

 "The anti-encroachment drive was scheduled to be carried out in Jagdamba Market area of Sultanpuri for Thursday but it did not take place as we could not get adequate police force," the official told PTI. 

 The official said an encroachment removal drive was cancelled on Wednesday too at Sultanpuri's Fish Market area due to unavailability of police force.

 A series of anti-encroachment drives were conducted by the three civic bodies in different parts of the city in the last one month, including Shaheen Bagh, Jahangirpuri, Madanpur Khadar, New Friends Colony, Mangolpuri, Rohini, Gokulpuri, Lodhi Colony, Janakpuri among others. 

 Last month, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation had come under fire from several civil rights groups and opposition parties after it bulldozed structures in violence-hit Jahangirpuri area during an anti-encroachment drive. The drive was stopped after the intervention of the Supreme Court. PTI
13:03   It's Sidhu on an elephant
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu rides an elephant in order to protest over inflation in Patiala. 'Elephantine rise in prices' is what he suggests. 
12:59   No decision yet on joining BJP or AAP: Hardik Patel
A day after resigning from the Congress, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday said he has not taken any decision yet on joining any other party, be it the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat or the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party.
Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Patel (28) claimed the Congress had no vision and that leaders of the party were biased against Gujarati people.
Ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year, Patel on Wednesday resigned from the Congress, claiming top leaders of the party were distracted by their mobile phones and that Gujarat Congress leaders were more interested in arranging chicken sandwiches for them.
Asked if he would join the BJP or the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, Patel on Thursday said, "I have not taken any decision as of now on joining any political party, be it the BJP or AAP."
Hitting out at the Congress, he said the party never speaks anything on the issues concerning Hindus, such as the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) or on the issue of a 'Shivling' (said to be) found in a mosque in Varanasi. 
"Moreover, the Gujarat Congress is too much into caste-based politics. I wasted my three years in this party," Patel said.
He claimed the Congress had no vision and that leaders of the party were biased against Gujarati people, like "Adani and Ambani".
On Wednesday, in his resignation letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, he had accused the party's top leadership of behaving as if they hated Gujarat and Gujaratis, and said he was quitting as the state Congress working president and from the party's primary membership.
12:43   Yasin Malik convicted in terror funding case
A Delhi court on Thursday convicted Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, who had earlier pleaded guilty to all charges, including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), in a terror funding case.
Special Judge Praveen Singh directed the NIA authorities to assess Malik's financial situation to determine the amount of fine to be imposed and posted the matter for arguments on quantum of sentence on May 25. 
Malik had told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included section 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act) and 20 (being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC.
12:35   'Is it a crime to be Hindu in Kashmir?'
The killing of Ranjit Singh in a grenade attack by terrorists in north Kashmir's Baramulla district has snatched away his family's sole breadwinner.

Singh had infused the hope of a better life in his family of seven, living below the poverty line, when he took up the job of a salesman at a newly-opened liquor shop in Baramulla, 470 kms from his home in Rajouri. But their hopes were dashed Tuesday evening when he was killed in a grenade attack -- just 20 days after he had joined the shop. 

 On the day of the incident, Singh was at the shop when a burqa-clad terrorist had walked up to it, dropped a grenade inside through the porthole window, causing an explosion which had killed him and left three other employees injured. The injured employees have been identified as Govardhan Singh, Ravi Kumar, both residents of Billawar in Kathua, and Govind Singh, a resident of Kangra in Rajouri. 

 "The terrorists snatched the lone bread-earner of my family," Ranjit Singh's daughter Shivani told mediapersons after the cremation of her father's body Wednesday. "It is not a crime to be a Hindu. Hindus can also work in Kashmir. It is not their (Islamic) State." 

Singh's second daughter Priyanka says her father had left for the new job in Kashmir about 20 days ago. "We hoped that now our lives would become better. But terrorist shattered our dreams. What will we do now? Who will feed us? We have a family to feed? They snatched our only bread-earner. They killed our father," she said.

 She also asked questions of those who carry out such attacked, and also to their sympathisers. "I want to ask them -- what mistake did my father commit by working in Kashmir to feed his family? What did my father do to them? Has he done any wrong to them?" Singh used to work as a daily wage labourer before he got the job at the Baramulla liquor shop.

 "He was a Hindu that is why he was killed by terrorists of Kashmir. He had gone to a place so far from home to feed his family. He was just a labourer. We feed our family by working as a labourer. He was our lone bread-earner. He is no longer with us," she said.

 Hundreds of mourners gathered at Ranjit Singh's home in Bakra Wednesday morning when his mortal remains reached from Baramulla. They kept his body on the highway to block it and raised slogans against Pakistan-sponsored terrorists, demanding an end to killing of Hindus in Kashmir. 

 The cremation was conducted after authorities intervened. The protesters demanded Rs 25 lakh compensation for the family and a government job to a member. PTI

Image: Kashmiri Pandits stage a sit-in protest against the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit, Rahul Bhat, in Srinagar. Pic: ANI
12:19   SC dismisses plea to review decision on removal of Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons head
The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a plea of the Sapoorji Pallonji (SP) group seeking a review of the 2021 verdict which had upheld the Tata group's decision to remove Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of the Tata Sons. 

 A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, however, ordered the deletion of certain remarks made against Cyrus Mistry in the March 2021 verdict. Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Tata group, said the court may permit the deletion of one or a few sentences not for the reasons given in the application of the Sapoorji Pallonji (SP) group. 

 The top court on March 26, 2021, had set aside a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order restoring Mistry as the executive chairman of USD 100-billion salt-to-software conglomerate. The apex court had also dismissed a plea of Shapoorji Pallonji Group seeking the separation of ownership interests in Tata Sons Pvt Ltd (TSPL). Mistry had succeeded Ratan Tata as the chairman of TSPL in 2012 but was ousted four years later. PTI
12:16   SC grants Azam Khan interim bail
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted interim bail to jailed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a cheating case. A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao invoked its special power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant relief to Khan in view of the peculiar facts of the case.

The apex court said the interim bail will operate till the court decides the application for regular bail.

 "This is a fit case to exercise the powers under Article 142," the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and A S Bopanna, said. Khan is presently lodged in Sitapur jail in connection with a number of cases, including that of land grabbing, against him in Rampur. PTI
Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anand
Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anand
12:04   Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Anand' to get a remake
No lessons learnt about remaking iconic films. Remember what happened to Sholay and Padosan?
Over 50 years after its release, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's cult classic "Anand" is headed for a remake. 

Sameer Raj Sippy, grandson of N C Sippy, the producer of the 1971 hit, is working on a new version of the film along with producer Vikram Khakhar. Regarded as one of the finest films in Hindi cinema, Mukherjee's "Anand" featured the late superstar Rajesh Khanna in the title role of a terminally ill cancer patient and megastar Amitabh Bachchan as Dr Bhaskar, fondly called 'Babumoshai' by Khanna's character. According to the makers, the project is in the scripting stage and a director is yet tobe finalised. 

 Sameer Raj Sippy said stories like "Anand" need to be narrated to the new generation. "Keeping in mind the sensibilities of the original film and the emotions attached, I felt the current generation needs to be retold the many stories that are so relevant today and especially when there is a great appetite for good content," the producer said in a statement on Thursday.
11:57   Sheshnag sculpture inside Gyanvapi: Surveyor
Several sculptures of gods and goddesses along with other structures related to Hindu belief were seen in the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, said advocate Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed commissioner by Varanasi court to survey the Gyanvapi-Gauri Shringar complex but was later removed for leaking the information.

The report was submitted by former court-appointed Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra as the Supreme Court is set to resume the hearing of the Gyanvapi mosque case on Wednesday with petitioners contending that the videographic survey carried out of the site was in violation of the Places of Worship Act. 

The report submitted by Mishra stated, "Outside the barricading of the disputed area, the ruins of the old temple were found in which sculptures of gods and goddesses and patterns of lotus were seen. In the middle, stone sculptures of Sheshnag and "Nag phan" like patterns were seen. All the slabs seemed to be part of a big edifice."

The local court had removed Advocate Commissioner Ajay Mishra on Tuesday, stating that he had been "highly irresponsible" in executing the work.

"Further four idol like structures with "Sinduri" mark were observed. It seemed that arrangments for lighting diyas were there. The stone slabs with artistic patterns were kept in the west wall behind the mosque appeared to be in the continuity with the big structure," the report said.

The report by Mishra also mentioned that the three-four sculptures with Sindoor marks and 'Choukhat' like stone slab are believed to be 'Sringar Gouri'. -- ANI
11:31   Gyanvapi survey report submitted to Varanasi court
A commission appointed by a court here to conduct a videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex submitted its report on Thursday, an advocate said. 

 Special Advocate Commissioner Vishal Singh submitted the report of the survey work carried out on May 14, 15 and 16 in the court of the District Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar, said advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, who is representing the Hindu side in the case. 

 Also, Ajay Mishra, who was removed by the court as the advocate commissioner, file a report late Wednesday evening on the survey conducted by him on May 6 and 7, Yadav said. 

 After removing Mishra on Tuesday, the court had appointed Vishal Singh as the special advocate commissioner and Ajay Pratap Singh as the assistant advocate commissioner. The reconstituted commission had carried out the survey on May 14, 15 and 16. -- PTI
11:26   India fastest-growing major economy: UN
As the Ukraine conflict impacts the global GDP, India is projected to grow by 6.4 per cent in 2022, slower than the last year's 8.8 per cent but still the fastest-growing major economy, with higher inflationary pressures and uneven recovery of the labour market curbing private consumption and investment, according to a UN report.

 The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in its World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report released on Wednesday that the war in Ukraine has upended the fragile economic recovery from the pandemic, triggering a devastating humanitarian crisis in Europe, increasing food and commodity prices and globally exacerbating inflationary pressures. 

 The global economy is now projected to grow by only 3.1 per cent in 2022, down from the 4.0 per cent growth forecast released in January 2022. Global inflation is projected to increase to 6.7 per cent in 2022, twice the average of 2.9 per cent during 20102020, with sharp rises in food and energy prices, it said. 

 The report said that the outlook in South Asia has deteriorated in recent months, against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and higher commodity prices and potential negative spillover effects from monetary tightening in the United States. The regional economic output is projected to expand by 5.5 per cent in 2022, which is 0.4 percentage points lower than the forecast released in January.

 India, the largest economy in the region, is expected to grow by 6.4 per cent in 2022, well below the 8.8 per cent growth in 2021, as higher inflationary pressures and uneven recovery of the labour market will curb private consumption and investment, it said. For the fiscal year 2023, India's growth is forecast to be 6 per cent. -- PTI
11:12   Truth can't be hidden: RSS on Gyanvapi mosque
Amid the Gyanvapi Mosque row, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Sunil Ambekar on Wednesday said that the time has come to put historical facts in the right perspective before society. 

 Speaking at the Devrishi Narad Patrakar Samman Samaroh, an RSS event, Ambekar said, "Gyanvapi issue is going on. The facts are coming out. I believe we should let them come out. In any case, truth always finds a way out. How long can you hide it? I believe it is the time we put historical facts in the right perspective before society." 

 The three-day-long court-monitored videography survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi concluded on Monday. 

 The Hindu petitioner in the case, Sohan Lal Arya on Monday claimed that the committee found a Shivling at the complex. Arya, who accompanied the court commission for the mosque survey, said that they have found "conclusive evidence".

 After the conclusion of the survey, the Varanasi court ordered the District Magistrate of Varanasi, Kaushal Raj Sharma, "to seal the area where the Shivling was found and to bar people from going to the place." -- ANI
10:45   Investors poorer by over Rs 5 lakh cr this morning
Equity investors became poorer by over Rs 5 lakh crore in early trade on Thursday as domestic benchmark indices tumbled mirroring weak trends in global equities. 

 The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex tanked 1,154.78 points to 53,053.75 in early deals tracking weak global markets, persistent foreign fund outflows and a spurt in crude oil prices.

 The weak broader market trend pulled down the market capitalisation of BSE-listed firms by Rs 5,02,731.03 crore to Rs 2,50,74,714.78 crore in early trade. From the Sensex firms, Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Wipro, HCL Technologies, IndusInd Bank and TCS were the biggest laggards. ITC emerged as the only gainer from the 30-share pack. Asian markets in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo were trading lower. Stock exchanges in the US had ended significantly lower on Wednesday. -- PTI
Nosing around for Covid
Nosing around for Covid
10:23   Active Covid cases in India dip to 15,419
India added 2,364 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 4,31,29,563, while the active cases declined to 15,419, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. 

The death toll climbed to 5,24,303 with 10 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated. The active cases comprise 0.04 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.75 per cent, the ministry said. 

 A decrease of 228 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.50 per cent and the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 0.55 per cent, according to the ministry. 

 The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,25,89,841, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.22 per cent. The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 191.79 crore. -- PTI
09:58   Sensex tanks over 1000 pts in opening trade
Equity benchmarks fell sharply on Thursday in line with an extremely weak trend in the global markets, with the Sensex plunging over 1000 points in early trade.
Persistent foreign fund outflows and a spurt in crude oil prices also dampened sentiment.
The 30-share BSE benchmark was trading  1,024.99 points while the broader NSE Nifty tumbled 306.75 points.
From the Sensex firms, Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Finserv, Infosys, Wipro, Tata Steel, HCL Technologies, Bajaj Finance and State Bank of India were the major laggards in early trade. ITC emerged as the only gainer from the 30-share pack.
Asian markets in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo were also trading lower. 
Stock exchanges in the US had ended significantly lower on Wednesday.
"US markets saw the worst sell-off since June 2020 as inflation fear looms," said Mohit Nigam, Head - PMS, Hem Securities. 
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude gained 1.61 per cent to USD 110.87 per barrel.
09:38   Biden to travel to Japan for Quad Summit, have bilateral meetings with Modi
United States President Joe Biden would travel to Japan for the second in-person Quad summit during which he would hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his national security advisor said Wednesday. 
Formed with Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, Quad was an initiative of the Trump Administration, which Biden has elevated to the leadership level. 

There have so far been three summits, two of them virtual.
"We believe that this summit will demonstrate both in substance and in vision that democracies can deliver and that these four nations working together will defend and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific," US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters during the daily White House news conference.
While he's in Tokyo, Biden will also launch a new and ambitious economic initiative for the region, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which will be a 21st century economic arrangement,  designed to tackle new economic challenges, he said. 
The framework, he said, will involve work ranging from setting the rules of the digital economy to ensuring secure and resilient supply chains to managing the energy transition to investing in clean, modern high standards infrastructure."
Biden will be joined in person by the Prime Minister of Japan for the launch of IPEF and virtually by leaders from a number of Indo-Pacific partners from down under to southeast Asia to northeast Asia.
"On security and economics, on technology and energy, on investment in infrastructure, we think this trip is going to put on full display President Biden's Indo-Pacific strategy and that it will show in living colour that the United States can at once lead the free world in responding to Russia's war in Ukraine, and at the same time, chart a course for effective, principled American leadership and engagement in a region that will define much of the future of the 21st century," Sullivan said.
Before arriving in Japan, Biden is scheduled to travel to South Korea for a summit meeting with its leaders.
"The message we're trying to send on this trip is a message of an affirmative vision of what the world can look like if the democracies and open societies of the world stand together to shape the rules of the road to define the security architecture of the region to reinforce strong, powerful historic alliances," Sullivan said.
"We think putting that on display over four days bilaterally with the ROK and Japan through the Quad, through the Indo-Pacific economic framework, it will send a powerful message. 
"We think that message will be heard everywhere. We think it will be heard in Beijing. But it is not a negative message and it's not targeted at any one country," he said.
"It's targeted at an audience the world over about what American leadership working flanked by allies and likeminded partners can deliver for people everywhere," he added. 
"And we think we go into this trip very much with the wind at our back with a strong case to make that we have what it takes to be able to deliver against the security and economic challenges of our time," Sullivan added. 
09:19   LPG price hiked again
Domestic cooking gas LPG price was on Thursday hiked by Rs 3.50 per cylinder, the second increase in rates this month. 

Non-subsidised LPG now costs Rs 1,003 per 14.2-kg cylinder in the national capital, according to a price notification of state fuel retailers. 

The hike comes on the back of a Rs 50 per cylinder increase effected on May 7. 

Prior to that, prices were increased by the same amount on March 22. 

08:59   US confirms first case of monkeypox
The US' Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male with recent travel to Canada, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts said in a press release. 

According to the release, the initial testing was completed on late Tuesday at the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain while the confirmatory testing was completed at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, the Department of Public Health is closely working with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient's health care providers in order to identify the individuals who may have contacted the patient while he was infectious. 

According to the release, the case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition.

"Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2-to-4 weeks. In parts of central and west Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products," the statement reads. 

This virus does not spread easily between people but transmission can occour through the contact with the body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
08:57   No improvement in security situation after abrogation of Art 370: Omar
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said there has been no improvement in the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A.
Targeted killings are taking place continuously one after another. "In this week, three such killings took place. After every few weeks, this phenomenon restarts. Then it stops for some days," he added.
Abdullah also called for respecting the sentiments of the people in view of the loudspeaker ban, and said there is a need to find a middle path to resolve the issue of noise emanating from loudspeakers.
"There has been no improvement in situation even after removing Article 370 and Article 35A," he told reporters at the Kotranka area of Rajouri district.
Asked about the fate of Article 370, Abdullah said, "We will put forth our point of view before the court. We will not take the law into our hands. We are not the people who speak the language of another country." 
08:25   At UN, India calls out West, defends wheat export ban
Calling out the West, India on Wednesday said that food grains should not go the way of the Covid-19 vaccines as it voiced concern over hoarding and discrimination amid the "unjustified increase" in food prices.
It stressed that its decision to restrict wheat exports will ensure it can truly respond to those most in need.
"A number of low income societies are today confronted with the twin challenges of rising costs and difficulty in access to food grains. Even those like India, who have adequate stocks, have seen an unjustified increase in food prices. It is clear that hoarding and speculation is at work. We cannot allow this to pass unchallenged," Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said at United Nations on Wednesday.
Muraleedharan was speaking at the ministerial meeting on 'Global Food Security Call to Action' chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken under the US Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of May. 
The meeting came just days after India's last Friday decision to ban wheat exports in a bid to check high prices amid shortage of wheat due to scorching heat wave. 
The decision is aimed at controlling the retail prices of wheat and wheat flour -- which have risen by an average 14-20 per cent in the last one year -- and meet the foodgrain requirement of neighbouring and vulnerable countries. 
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade had in the last week notification said that wheat exports will be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the central government.
At the high-level meeting, India spoke about the issue of the wheat export ban for the first time in the UN since its May 13 announcement. 
Muraleedharan said the Indian government has recognised the sudden spike in global prices of wheat which put "our food security and those of our neighbours and other vulnerable countries at risk."
"We are committed to ensuring that such adverse impact on food security is effectively mitigated and the vulnerable cushioned against sudden changes in the global market. 
"In order to manage our own overall food security and support the needs of neighbouring and other vulnerable developing countries, we have announced some measures regarding wheat exports on 13 May 2022, he said.
"Let me make it clear that these measures allow for export on the basis of approvals to those countries which are required to meet their food security demands. This will be done on the request from the concerned governments. Such a policy will ensure that we will truly respond to those who are most in need," he said.
The minister emphasised that India will play its due role in advancing global food security "and it will do so in a manner in which it upholds equity, display compassion, and promotes social justice."
India called out the West and cautioned that the issue of food grains should not go the way of Covid-19 vaccines, which were purchased by the rich nations in quantities excess of what they needed, leaving the poor and less developed nations scrambling to administer even the initial doses to their people. 
"It is necessary for all of us to adequately appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains. 
"We have already seen to our great cost how these principles were disregarded in the case of Covid-19 vaccines. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination," Muraleedharan said, making a strong statement.
01:25   Pak Bilawal FM raises J-K issue with UN chief
Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in his meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday and emphasised that Islamabad desires peace with all its neighbours, including India, which will continue to remain elusive unless the Jammu and Kashmir issue is resolved.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Zardari, in his meeting with the UN chief, 'underscored that Pakistan desires peace with all its neighbours, including India, which will continue to remain elusive' unless the Jammu and Kashmir issue is 'resolved in accordance with the UN Security resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people'.

Zardari also referred to the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

India's decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 outraged Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019 by the country's Parliament was its internal matter. India has also repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall forever remain an integral part of the country.

It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

During his meeting with Guterres, Zardari also 'appreciated' the Secretary General's role in 'mobilising humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people. The Foreign Minister shared Pakistan's concern about the spillover of instability in Afghanistan into Pakistan'.

'He emphasised the international community's response must address the urgent humanitarian needs and avoid a complete collapse of the economy in Afghanistan that will have dire consequences for ordinary Afghans.'  -- PTI