Sun, 14 April 2024
Cong fields Kanhaiya Kumar against Manoj Tiwari

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22:20   Cong fields Kanhaiya Kumar against Manoj Tiwari
The Congress on Sunday issued another list of 10 candidates for the Lok Sabha election in Delhi and Punjab, tapping former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi for the Jalandhar-SC Lok Sabha seat.

According to the list, the party has fielded veteran politician J P Agarwal from the Chandni Chowk seat and youth leader Kanhaiya Kumar from the North East Delhi seat.

Kumar will be pitted against Bharatiya Janata Party's Manoj Tiwari, the sole BJP candidate not replaced in the national capital.

For the North West Delhi Lok Sabha seat, the party announced the name of former MP Udit Raj.

In Punjab, the party renominated its sitting MPs Gurjeet Singh Aujla from Amritsar and Amar Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib (SC) Lok Sabha seat. 

Former MP Dharvir Gandhi will be contesting from the Patiala Lok Sabha seat.

His candidature comes mere days after he joined the Congress leaving the Aam Aadmi Party.

The party has nominated its All India Kisan wing chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat and Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu from the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency, which is currently represented by SAD chief's wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

The Congress announced the name of Ujjwal Revti Raman Singh from Uttar Pradesh's Allahabad Lok Sabha seat.

The opposition party also announced a list of 75 candidates for the Odisha assembly elections.   -- PTI
21:42   Amid polls, Gujarat transfers, promotes 35 officers
The Gujarat government on Sunday promoted and transferred 35 Indian Police Service officers amid the code of conduct in force for the Lok Sabha polls.

Important cities like Surat and Vadodara got new police commissioners due to the exercise.

Vadodara police commissioner Anupam Singh Gehlot was made Surat police commissioner, while additional director general of police (administration), Gandhinagar, Narashima Komar replaced him.IPS officers Manoj Agarwal, K L N Rao, G S Malik and Hasmukh Patel were promoted from ADG to Director General of Police rank though they will continue to hold current posts, as per the government order.

A total of 20 IPS officers have been promoted by the Gujarat government.

Chirag Koradia, who was awaiting posting has been appointed as Inspector General (IG) of Police Border Range, while J R Mothaliya, who too was awaiting posting, will be new IG (Ahmedabad range).

IPS officer Prem Vir Singh has been made IG (Surat Range).

Tarun Duggal, deputy commissioner of Police (Zone 7) of Ahmedabad city, has been appointed as Superintendent of Police of Mehsana, while Om Prakash Jat, currently Anti Terrorist Squad SP, will be new Ahmedabad Rural SP.

All 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will witness polling on May 7.  -- PTI
21:03   Sanjay Singh meets Kharge, pitches for CMP for INDIA bloc
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge at his residence here on Sunday and urged him to come up with a common minimum programme for the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Singh said he sought Kharge's support after he was released from jail and also told the Congress president how Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is being treated in prison.

Kejriwal is lodged in Tihar Jail after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case linked to the alleged liquor scam in Delhi.

The Rajya Sabha MP of the AAP said as the leader of opposition in the Upper House of Parliament, Kharge 'has been supportive of us and so I wanted to meet him after getting released from jail'.

"During the meeting, several issues were discussed. We discussed the issue of the (BJP-led) government misusing central agencies and the manner in which opposition leaders are being targeted.

"I also informed him about how Kejriwal is being treated in jail and how his rights are being taken away. I put a proposal before him that the INDIA bloc should have a common minimum programme to be taken to the public for the upcoming polls," Singh told reporters after the meeting.

In a post on X, the AAP leader said: 'I met the National President of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge ji at his residence. I held discussions with him on the issues of the INDIA alliance to come out with a joint manifesto, misuse of investigative agencies, inhuman treatment meted out to Arvind Kejriwal and the crisis arising for democracy and the Constitution of the country.'   -- PTI
20:13   Air India temporarily suspends Tel Aviv flights
Air India on Sunday decided to temporarily suspend flights to Tel Aviv amid escalating tensions between Israel and Iran.

An official said the direct flights between Delhi and Tel Aviv will be suspended for now.

Air India operates four weekly flights between the national capital and Israeli city.

The Tata group-owned carrier recommenced services to Tel Aviv on March 3 after a gap of nearly five months.

Air India suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv, starting October 7, 2023, in the wake of the Hamas attack on the Israeli city.   -- PTI
19:47   Baramati LS fight not about relationships: Sunetra Pawar
The fight for Baramati Lok Sabha seat is not about relationships but about ideologies, Nationalist Congress Party candidate and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra Pawar said on Sunday.

She is pitted against three time sitting MP Supriya Sule, who is NCP founder Sharad Pawar's daughter and Ajit Pawar's cousin.

"This election is not about relationships but about ideologies," she told reporters after paying tribute to Babasaheb Ambedkar on his 133rd birth anniversary.

She said she was getting good response from the people of Baramati, a bastion of the Pawars that has been represented several times as MP by Sharad Pawar and as MLA by Ajit Pawar.

"I used to earlier ask votes for others but this time it is for myself. This is a different kind of responsibility," she added.

Incidentally, Sunetra Pawar had got emotional on Saturday when asked about Sharad Pawar's 'original' and 'outsider' comment.

During a workers' meet, Ajit Pawar urged voters to give 'the daughter-in-law (Sunetra Pawar) a chance since they had elected saheb (Sharad Pawar), daughter (Supriya Sule) and son (Ajit Pawar) several times'.

Responding to the comment, Sharad Pawar had said one was 'original' (referring to daughter Supriya Sule) and the other was an 'outsider' (Sunetra Pawar).   -- PTI
19:18   Indian student shot dead inside his car in Canada
A 24-year-old Indian man who went to Canada in 2022 to pursue higher education was shot dead in his car in Vancouver city, police said on Sunday.

The Vancouver Police Department in a press release said officers were called to the scene around 11 pm on April 12 after residents heard the sound of gunshots.

Chirag Antil was found deceased inside a vehicle in the area, police said. No arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing, it said.

The incident happened within a block of the route for Saturday's Vaisakhi parade and festival, police said.

The body was found in a vehicle in the area around 11 pm Friday, according to police spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin, CBC News reported. Visintin did not say if the killing was connected to gang activity.

Chirag Antil's family has set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe with a goal of Canadian dollars 40,000 to repatriate his body to India.

'Hi, my name is Anurag Dahiya, and I'm seeking help or donations for my younger brother,' the fundraiser says.

'Chirag Antil, an international student from Haryana, India, who arrived in Vancouver in 2022 for his studies, tragically lost his life due to a recent murder in the city,' it said.   -- PTI
18:09   Iran 'concludes' op with a warning to US, Israel
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Sardar Bagheri, has said that the military operation against Israel has 'concluded' from Tehran's side, while issuing warning that if the United States helps Israel in their possible next actions, their bases will 'not have any security', and will be dealt with, according to CNN.

"Israel's actions in the consulate were condemned so a response should have been given," Bagheri said.

He also noted that, although the operation is concluded, Iranian forces continue to remain on high alert.

Iranian officials have made it apparent that the strikes this weekend were reprisals for an Israeli strike on April 1 that destroyed an Iranian consulate facility in Damascus.

Israel has not taken responsibility for the attack, which Iran claims cost the lives of several officials, including Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammed Reza Zahedi.

Following its attack on Israel, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander declared that a 'new equation' has been developed.

He stated that as a result, Iran will henceforth immediately retaliate against any Israeli attack on its interests, resources, or citizens.

"We have decided to create a new equation, which is that if from now on the Zionist regime attacks our interests, assets, personalities, and citizens, anywhere and at any point we will retaliate against them," CNN quoted the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami as saying to Iranian state TV.

"The Honest Promise operation is a prominent and very clear example of this new equation," Salami said.  -- ANI
17:52   Kangana a threat to state BJP leadership: Vikramaditya Singh
Actor Kangana Ranaut's entry into Himachal Pradesh politics has threatened the future prospects of the state Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, her opponent, Public Works Minister and Congress candidate from Mandi Lok Sabha seat, Vikramaditya Singh, said on Sunday.

The BJP has named Kangana as its candidate from the Mandi Parliament seat. This is the first time that a celebrity is contesting an election in Himachal Pradesh.

Vikramaditya Singh, the titular king of the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr, is the son of six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

His mother Pratibha Singh is the sitting MP from Mandi and the Congress' state unit president.

He is a two-time MLA from Shimla (Rural) assembly constituency.

The speech made by Kangana in Manali on Thursday overshadowed the BJP state leadership's Hamirpur rally, with which the party launched its election campaign, Vikramaditya Singh told PTI.

"The state BJP leaders are feeling threatened by Kangana who has overshadowed the BJP leaders by her controversial outburst," he said. 

Kangana in her rally had taken a dig at the 'dynastic and family-centric' Bollywood, which, she said, undermined her career in the industry. She also launched a blistering attack on certain political families, including that of former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, and dubbed Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Vikramaditya Singh as 'Bada Pappu and Chhota Pappu'.

Vikramaditya Singh said the actor may be hogging limelight with her controversial remarks, diverting the focus away from senior party leaders, but "It is your work and service to people that gets you support and not the celebrity tag."

"I have always risen above the political lines in matters of development, and as a public works minister I was successful in getting Rs 3,000 crore from the Centre for my department. I will continue to work for the development of the state," he said.

"I have a successful track record and would replicate the model in time to come but Kangana has to answer where she was when the worst-ever monsoon disaster hit the state, what has been her contribution to the welfare of Mandi, and how, being a celebrity, she would do justice to the constituency," the minister added.

Both Vikramaditya Singh and Kangana have come up with derisive monikers for each other in the run-up to elections.

Singh termed her the 'Queen of Controversy' and Kangana called him the 'Chota Pappu' who is banking on his 'dynastic legacy'.

Polling in the state will take place on June 1.  -- Bhanu P Lohumi/PTI
17:08   Israel 'still intercepting cruise missiles'
The Israel Defence Forces said its fighter jets were 'still intercepting cruise missiles outside the country's borders' in the early hours of Sunday morning as Iran fired drones and missiles in its first direct attack on Israel.

According to the IDF, more than 200 missiles and drones had been launched.US military forces intercepted many drones, but did not specify locations, numbers or methods.

Jordan, which closed its airspace, also shot down several drones.

Only one person was injured in the barrage, a 10-year-old girl who was injured by falling shrapnel from a missile near the Negev town of Arad.

The IDF said that a military base in southern Israel also sustained minor damage.

Sirens sounded in Jerusalem, northern Israel and the Negev, sending Israelis to shelter in safe rooms. Because ballistic missiles are intercepted at higher altitudes, shrapnel can fall over a wider area, the IDF said, explaining the widespread sirens.

The IDF said dozens of ballistic missiles were intercepted by the Arrow 3 air defense system.

The Arrow-3 system, which is capable of intercepting missiles in space, made its first interception when it shot down a Houthi ballistic missile in October.

It may have been the first time a missile was shot down outside Earth's atmosphere, but Israel has not confirmed that.

Before the widely expected attack, Israel authorities announced that schools would be closed on Sunday, as was Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Palestinians in Gaza were seen cheering the missiles.   -- ANI/TPS
16:58   Just empty jugglery of words: Cong on BJP manifesto
The Congress on Sunday trashed the Bharatiya Janata Party Lok Sabha poll manifesto as a 'jumla patra' full of rhetoric, with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge saying that Modi's guarantee is a 'warranty of jumlas' as he has failed to fulfil the promises made in the past.

The Congress also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not fulfilling promises made on the issue of jobs, doubling of farmers' incomes and tackling price rise and inflation,  and alleged that he was now shifting the goalposts by talking about 2047 instead.

Kharge charged that the prime minister did not do any major work during his tenure which would have benefited the people, youth and farmers of the country.

Modi released the BJP's Lok Sabha poll manifesto at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday. The manifesto has a special focus on the poor, youngsters, farmers and women.

Kharge said the youth are protesting for jobs and prices of food items have skyrocketed due to inflation and people are troubled by it, but the manifesto has nothing to say on it.

Modi has only increased unemployment and inflation in the last 10 years, he charged.

'No accountability for old guarantees, just empty jugglery of words! 'Modi ki Guarantee' equals 'warranty of jumlas (rhetoric),' he said in a post in Hindi, posing 14 questions to the PM.

Addressing a joint press conference, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said in his 2014 manifesto, Modi had promised to bring back black money by forming a special task force, but electoral bonds came instead.

He also promised to strengthen law and order in the North East, but today violence is continuing in Manipur, on which PM Modi is maintaining silence, Khera claimed.

Khera also alleged that Modi promised that poverty in 100 districts will be eradicated through a special package, but the figures of the Hunger Index reveal the truth.

The BJP had promised to build 100 new smart cities but they were never made and instead China is building 'smart villages' on the border, the Congress leader said.

"The public is fed up with these promises of Narendra Modi and is extremely angry," he claimed.

"We have strong objections to the name of BJP's 'Sankalp Patra', it should be named 'Maafinama'. Modi ji should have apologised to the Dalits, farmers, youth and tribals of the country," Khera said.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, "This is not a manifesto but a jumla patra."

She said while the Congress set up its manifesto committee in December and collected suggestions from a cross-section of people across the country, the BJP's manifesto committee was set up 13 days ago and presented their manifesto without any consultations.

"PM Modi, after 10 years of rule, has started befooling people. The claim that 25 crore people were taken out of poverty is hollow and no third party has confirmed it. The truth is that every hour two farmers and two youth are committing suicide in the country.

"In a country where there is maximum joblessness, the mention of jobs comes only twice in the BJP manifesto. There is no mention of legal guarantee to MSP in the manifesto. There is no mention of Manipur or China in the BJP's manifesto," she alleged.

"People are saying enough of your jumlas, it is time to bring another government," Shrinate added.  -- PTI
15:41   Indian mission in Israel issues fresh advisory
The Indian mission in Israel on Sunday issued a fresh 'important advisory' for its nationals after attacks on the Jewish State by Iran with hundreds of projectiles, advising them to stay calm and adhere to safety protocols.

In an unprecedented attack, Iran and its proxies launched 330 missiles and drones on Israel on Saturday in retaliation to an alleged attack by Israel on a diplomatic installation of the Islamic Republic in Damascus in which several people were killed, including two top commanders.

'In light of the recent events in the region, all Indian nationals in Israel are advised to stay calm and adhere to the safety protocols issued by the local authorities,' the Indian mission said in the 'important advisory' advisory posted on its social media handles.

'The Embassy is closely monitoring the situation and it is in touch with the Israeli authorities and Indian community members to ensure the safety of all our nationals,' it added.

It also urged Indian nationals to register with the embassy at a given link.

The Indian embassy had also issued an advisory on Friday amid growing speculation of a retaliatory attack by Iran advising its nationals to 'avoid unnecessary travel, remain calm and follow safety guidelines issued by the local authorities'.

It was the first time that the Islamic Republic launched an attack on the Jewish State from its own soil.

Despite the barrage of projectiles fired on Israel, none of the countries have taken any steps so far to evacuate their nationals, even though some of them, including the US, have issued advisories.

Schools and other educational institutions in Israel have suspended their activities till Monday but government offices and private businesses largely are functioning as usual with the government instructing all to follow guidelines being issued by the Home Front.

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson said that 99 per cent of the roughly 330 missiles and drones launched by Iran were intercepted, but that 'the threat is not over'.

Iran has warned Israel of a larger attack on its territory should it retaliate, adding that US bases would be targeted if Washington backs any Israeli military action against Iran.

The United States, France, Britain and Jordan are said to have helped intercept the projectiles fired by Iran.

'We intercepted, we stopped [the attack]. Together we will win,' Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet on Social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Hamas called the Iranian attack a 'natural right'.

Iranian threat had led to worldwide diplomatic initiatives to thwart a possible further conflagration in the region already struggling with Israel's offensive in Gaza following a terror attack carried out by Hamas in its territory on October 7 and also regular exchange of fire between the Jewish state and Lebanese Shia faction Hezbollah, which joined the war in solidarity with Hamas.

Houthis, considered Iran's proxy in Yemen, and other factions seen as close to Tehran have also from time to time carried out attacks against Israel and assets of other countries that seem to be supportive of the Jewish state, disrupting international waters and global trade routes.

Some analysts believe that the United States, preparing for elections, will not be supportive of an Israeli retaliation as it can shake up the oil market and cause further economic turmoil that can adversely impact President Joe Biden's re-election bid.   -- PTI

IMAGE: A police officer inspects the remains of a rocket booster that, according to Israeli authorities critically injured a 7-year-old girl, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, near Arad, on April 14, 2024. Photograph: Christophe van der Perre/Reuters
14:38   Amit Shah to campaign in Manipur tomorrow
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will campaign in ethnic strife-torn Manipur on Monday, besides visiting Tripura and Rajasthan to garner support for Bharatiya Janata Party candidates in the Lok Sabha polls, sources said.

Shah will address a rally in Imphal seeking votes for Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, the education minister of the northeastern state who is also the BJP's candidate from the Inner Manipur constituency in the upcoming election.

The seat is currently held by BJP leader and Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh.

The Inner Manipur Lok Sabha segment has 32 Assembly constituencies across the conflict-scarred Imphal valley.

Ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, 2023 after a tribal solidarity march was organised in the state's hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Since then, more than 220 people have been killed in the continuing violence. 

The BJP has not fielded any candidate from Outer Manipur, the other Lok Sabha seat in the northeastern state, and extended support to the candidate of the Naga People's Front's (NSF), its partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Before the rally in Imphal, Shah will address a public meeting in the morning at Kumarghat in Agartala under the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency.

In the evening, the home minister will participate in a road-show in Jaipur to garner support for the BJP candidates in Rajasthan.

The Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to be held in seven phases starting April 19 and the counting of votes will be taken up on June 4.   -- PTI
Image only for representation
Image only for representation
13:49   MP: 6-yr-old boy who fell into borewell two days ago dies
A six-year-old boy, who fell into an open borewell in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa district two days ago, has died despite hectic efforts by multiple agencies to save him, an official said on Sunday.

The child fell into the borewell in Manika village, located close to the Uttar Pradesh border, at around 3 pm on Friday when was playing near it.

He was stuck at a depth of around 40 feet, officials earlier said. Teams of the State Disaster Emergency Response Force (SDERF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local administration were engaged in the operation to bring the boy out of the borewell.

The rescue teams supplied oxygen into the 70-feet-deep borewell and parallel pits were dug to reach him.

Collector Pratibha Pal said the child was located on Sunday after 40 hours of rescue operation but he was 'unresponsive'.

"The boy was located at around 8 am. We made all efforts but could not save the child as the borewell was too narrow," Pal told reporters at the spot.

The body was sent to a hospital for postmortem, she added.  -- PTI
13:32   We do not seek conflict with Iran, but...: US
United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin has stressed that the US does not seek conflict with Iran but will not hesitate to act to protect their forces and support Israel's defence.

The defence secretary further highlighted that the US forces, at the direction of President Joe Biden, intercepted dozens of missiles and UAVs en route to Israel.

"At the direction of President Biden, US forces in the Middle East on April 13 intercepted dozens of missiles and UAVs en route to Israel, launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Our forces remain postured to protect US troops and partners in the region, provide further support for Israel's defense, and enhance regional stability," Austin said.

US Defense Secretary further condemned the 'reckless and unprecedented attacks' by Iran and its proxies on Israel.

"We condemn these reckless and unprecedented attacks by Iran and its proxies, and we call on Iran to immediately halt any further attacks, including from its proxy forces, and to deescalate tensions," he said.

US Defence Secretary Austin added, "We do not seek conflict with Iran, but we will not hesitate to act to protect our forces and support the defense of Israel."

Moreover, Austin commended the bravery of US troops who stood guard to prevent further conflict or escalation.

"I am grateful for the professionalism and the skill of the brave U.S. troops who took part in today's actions and who continue to stand guard to prevent further conflict or escalation. I will continue to monitor the situation closely and to consult with our allies and partners," he said.   -- ANI

IMAGE: Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle is pictured at an air base, said to be following an interception mission of an Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel, in this handout image released April 14, 2024. Photograph: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via Reuters
12:50   India likely to suspend flight operations to Israel
Indian airline companies are likely to announce the suspension of flight operations to and from Tel Aviv, Israel, amid rising tensions between Iran and Israel.

Iran and its proxies operating out of Yemen, Syria and Iraq launched more than 200 projectiles at Israel on Saturday night, including dozens of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones.

According to the sources, "Flight operations to and from Israel are likely to be suspended, an official announcement will follow."

An Air India flight safely landed in Tel Aviv yesterday at Tel Aviv International Airport and is scheduled to operate from Tel Aviv to India.

Two major airlines, El Al and Air India, are operating commercial flights between Israel and India.

India's two major airlines -- Air India and Vistara, have announced the avoidance of Iranian airspace and are taking longer flight paths for their Europe and US operations to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.

Indian airlines are altering flight paths for Europe and the Middle East due to escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

Air India and Vistara, two major carriers, have opted to avoid Iranian airspace following the Indian government's advisory urging citizens to steer clear of travel to Iran.

As a result, they are now taking longer routes to ensure passenger safety and operational stability.

Vistara Air issued a statement regarding the change in flight path due to ongoing tensions between Iran and Israel.

In the statement, Vistara Airlines said, 'Due to the current situation affecting parts of the Middle East, we are making changes to flight-paths of some of our flights. Contingency routes, which are kept available to ensure operational continuity during such eventualities, are being used instead.'

Vistara Airlines has acknowledged that it will be taking longer routes as a precautionary measure, resulting in increased travel time to reach destinations.

'This may result in longer flight times on certain routes and associated delays. The situation is being monitored closely and further changes will be made if required,' a Vistara spokesperson said.

Air India, the largest Indian airline with extensive operations in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East, has said that they are monitoring the developing situation in the Middle East.

Air India said in a statement, 'We are closely monitoring the developing situation in the Middle East. Presently, our aircraft will operate on alternate flight paths to and from India, according to the top priority of the safety of our passengers and crew.'  -- ANI
11:43   Israel shuts schools, educational systems
Israel, in a move to protect its citizens, has announced to close all schools and other educational systems, effective Sunday, as the country's defence forces remain on high alert following Iran hitting Israel with over 200 projectiles, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Moreover, it further urged the Israeli civilians to be vigilant, to head to shelters upon hearing a warning siren, and to remain there for 10 minutes.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been on high alert for an attack from Iran, with dozens of planes in the sky prepared to defend the country.

IDF spokesperson Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari, in a video statement, said, "Starting tomorrow morning and during the next few days, none of the educational systems, camp programs, or planned trips will take place."

No public events with more than 1,000 people can be held, the Home Front Command stated, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The statement also highlighted the growing sense of emergency due to the threats from Tehran following Israel's attack in Damascus on April 1, killing seven Iranian generals, according to the Jerusalem Post.

"We are taking all steps possible to ensure your safety," Rear Admiral Hagari told the Israeli public.

He reassued the Israeli citizens and said, "Since the start of the war, we have faced a variety of threats sent here by Iran's proxies and adapted our defense and attack systems accordingly," adding that the IDF was 'fully prepared'.

"The air force's defense and attack formations are on alert and dozens of planes are in the sky. We are conducting a situational assessment with our strategic partners, led by the USA, and we are maintaining close coordination with them," he stated.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Iranian demonstrators attend an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, April 14, 2024. Photograph: Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
11:13   LS polls: Demand for private jets, choppers jumps up to 40%
With politicians and political party representatives crisscrossing the country for the Lok Sabha polls, the demand for chartered planes and helicopters has jumped up to 40 per cent, and the operators are expected to net 15-20 per cent more earnings, according to industry experts.
The hourly rates for chartered services have also spiked. The charge is about Rs 4.5 -5.25 lakh for an aircraft and around Rs 1.5- 1.7 lakh for a twin engine helicopter, they said.
While the demand has surged compared to the normal times and previous election years, there is lesser number of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters available. Some of the operators are looking to take planes and helicopters on wet lease.
"There is an increase in demand for helicopters and it is up to 25 per cent more in the election period compared to the normal period. The supply is less compared to the demand," Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI) President (Western Region) Captain Uday Gelli told PTI.
Generally, political parties use helicopters for their candidates and leaders to reach places in a shorter time, especially remote areas.
Gelli said the use of helicopters is being seen more in bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) Managing Director Captain R K Bali told PTI that the demand for chartered planes is 30-40 per cent higher compared to the previous general polls.
The bookings for chartered planes are done in advance and operators will be looking for maximum utilisation of aircraft.
"There is always a gap between supply and demand. Some entities are looking to wet lease planes and helicopters to meet the demand," Bali said.
Helicopter use is charged on an hourly basis and the operators generally insist on booking by political parties for a specific number of days and a minimum number of flying hours every day during that period.
"Normally, the hourly rate for single engine helicopters is around Rs 80,000 to 90,000 while it is about Rs 1.5 to 1.7 lakh  for twin engine helicopters. During election time, the rate is higher at up to Rs 1.5 lakh for single engine helicopters and up to Rs 3.5 lakh for twin engine helicopters," Gelli said.  
10:59   Toddler mauled to death by stray dogs in Hyderabad
A two and half-year-old girl was mauled to death by stray dogs while she was playing outside an under construction apartment building at Gayatri Nagar near Hyderabad.

According to police, the victim and her sister were attacked by two dogs while they were playing at the construction site where the children's father, a native of Chhattisgarh, has been working.

The incident took place on April 12.

The child was rescued and taken to a local hospital. However, due to the severity of the injuries, she was referred to another government hospital here, where she was declared dead.

A case was registered and investigation is on, they said.

In a similar distressing incident, a one-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs when the child's father and other family members were asleep in their hut in Shamshabad near here in February this year. --
10:48   Biden condemns Iran's attack on Israel; to convene G-7 leaders' meeting
President Joe Biden has condemned Iran's unprecedented air attack on Israel and convened a meeting of the G-7 leaders on Sunday to develop a coordinated response to the brazen assault.

His comments came as American forces joined efforts to down drones and missiles launched by Tehran. 

Israel said it and its allies have intercepted the vast majority of more than 200 drones and missiles launched by Iran.

"Earlier today, Iranand its proxies operating out of Yemen, Syria and Iraqlaunched an unprecedented air attack against military facilities in Israel. I condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms," Biden said after his call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden said at his direction, to support the defence of Israel, the US military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defence destroyers to the region over the course of the past week. 

"Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles, he said.

"I've just spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu to reaffirm America's ironclad commitment to the security of Israel," he said.

Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel, he said.

"Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran's brazen attack. -- PTI
10:44   'Seriously concerned': India as Iran attacks Israel
India on Sunday said it is seriously concerned over escalating hostilities between Israel and Iran, and called for immediate de-escalation of the situation.
Iran has launched a missile attack on Israel as part of its retaliation to a suspected Israeli air strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1.

"We are seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

"We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy," it said in a statement.
The MEA said India is closely monitoring the evolving situation.

"Our embassies in the region are in close touch with Indian community. It is vital that security and stability are maintained in the region," it added. -- PTI
10:20   'Modi ki Guarantee': BJP releases LS poll manifesto
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday released its manifesto or 'Sankalp Patra', with the tagline "Modi ki Guarantee", for the Lok Sabha election 2024 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president JP Nadda and other senior leaders at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
10:02   Andhra CM Jagan Reddy injured in stone pelting during roadshow
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy was injured in pelting of stones on Saturday by some people during his election campaign here, his office said.
The YSRCP president suffered a small cut on the left side of his temple during his "Memanta Siddham (We are all ready)" bus yatra. Saturday was the 14th day of Reddy's 21-day election campaign ahead of polling for the 175-member assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats of the state on May 13.

Counting of votes is scheduled on June 4. 

 "A stone hit the chief minister while he was acknowledging the crowd as part of his bus tour at the Vivekananda School Centre in Singh Nagar, Vijayawada," a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.

On the advice of doctors, he was taken to the Vijayawada Government Hospital for treatment, following which he headed back to his night halt station at Kesarapalle in NTR district around 12:30 am on Sunday.

A plastic surgeon administered two to three fine stitches on Reddy's wound, a doctor told reporters, adding that the chief minister has been advised not to sleep on his stomach. His treatment lasted for about 10 minutes, according to the doctor.

In a statement, the YSRCP said the party has announced that the bus yatra will take a break tomorrow. The party will release the next programme on Sunday, the statement released around 1 am said.

"Doctors examined Chief Minister Jagan's injury and gave local anaesthesia before stitching the wound...doctors have advised him on getting some rest. After greeting the hospital staff, Chief Minister Jagan proceeded to the Kesarapalle stay point (night halt)," it said. 

In a post on X, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "I pray for the speedy recovery and good health of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy Garu."  

Reddy's Tamil Nadu counterpart and DMK president M K Stalin condemned the incident. 

"Political differences should never escalate to violence. Let's uphold civility and mutual respect as we engage in the democratic process. Wishing him a quick recovery," he said on X.  

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on X said, "I am shocked to hear about the attack on Jagan ji. Praying for his speedy recovery."  -- PTI
09:47   World cannot afford another war: UN chief
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned the "serious escalation" caused by the large-scale attack on Israel by Iran, cautioning that neither the region nor the world can afford another war. 

The UN chief urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

"I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening. I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities, Guterres said in a statement on Saturday.

He said he is deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. 

"I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war," he said.

The Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN informed the UN Security Council in a letter that Iran carried out a series of military strikes on Israeli military objectives in the late hours of April 13.  

"This action was in the exercise of Iran's inherent right to self-defence as outlined in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, and in response to the Israeli recurring military aggressions, particularly its armed attack" on April 1 against Iranian diplomatic premises in Damascus, Syria.

"Regrettably, the United Nations Security Council has failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security, allowing the Israeli regime to transgress red lines and violate the fundamental principles of international law. Such violations have exacerbated tensions in the region and threatened regional and international peace and security," the Iranian mission said.

It said Iran will not hesitate to exercise its inherent right of self-defence when required. 

"Should the Israeli regime commit any military aggression again, Iran's response will assuredly and decisively be stronger, and more resolute, the mission added.

"While warning about any further military provocations by the Israeli regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran reaffirms its unwavering determination to defend its people, national security and interests, sovereignty, and territorial integrity against any threat or acts of aggression and to respond to any such threat or aggressions vigorously and in accordance with international law," it said. -- PTI
09:02   Iran fires over 200 drones, missiles on Israel
Iran on Sunday said that it has launched an airborne attack on Israel.

The state-run IRNA news agency quoted an anonymous official saying ballistic missiles were part of the attack.

Iran launched dozens of drones toward Israel late Saturday, Israeli and Iranian officials confirmed, on an unprecedented revenge mission that pushed the Middle East ever closer to a regionwide war.

Israel's military said over 100 drones had been fired but that its air defenses were prepared for the attack and it was ready to respond. 

Israeli aviation authorities on Saturday said they are closing the country's airspace to all flights as it braces for an Iranian drone attack. 

Meanwhile, the United States has reaffirmed its "ironclad" support for Israel's security, vowing to help the country's defense against threats from Iran.

The US stands with the people of Israel and supports their defence against this threat from Iran, National Security Council's spokesperson at the White House Adrienne Watson said.

The attack marked the first time Iran had ever launched a full-scale military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran had vowed revenge since an April 1 airstrike in Syria killed two Iranian generals inside an Iranian consular building. Iran accused Israel of being behind the attack. Israel hasn't commented on it.
08:17   Shots fired outside Salman Khan's Mumbai home
Two unidentified bike-borne men opened fire outside the house of actor Salman Khan in Mumbai's Bandra area early on Sunday. 

The incident occurred around 4:51 am when two men fired three rounds and another four rounds outside Galaxy Apartments before fleeing the spot.

More details are awaited.