Thu, 11 July 2024
RSS union seeks rollback of Jio, Airtel tariff hike

Timeline  Refresh

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23:52   Air India introduces real time baggage tracking feature for passengers
Air India has introduced a real time baggage tracking feature for passengers on its website and mobile application. 

In recent times, there have been complaints against the airline about lost baggage and delays in getting baggage. 

The Tata Group-owned carrier on Thursday said it is one of the select few airlines in the world to provide this convenience directly to guests without any intervention from airline staff. 

Among others, current location and arrival details about baggage will be available for the passengers. 

"The status coverage includes all important baggage touch points where baggage tracking technology is available such as check-in, security clearance, aircraft loading, transfers, and arrival in the baggage claim area," the airline said in a release. -- PTI
23:46   CPJ flays criminal probe against 2 journos under new penal code
The Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday called on police in Uttar Pradesh state to drop their investigation into a claim that independent journalists Zakir Ali Tyagi and Wasim Akram Tyagi incited religious enmity through "malicious' posts on social media platform X alleging that a Muslim resident of Shamli district was killed in a July 4 "mob lynching.' 

'The criminal investigation against journalists Zakir Ali Tyagi and Wasim Akram Tyagi for highlighting potential police misconduct and sectarian tensions are an alarming misuse of the legal system,' said CPJ India representative Kunal Majumder. 

'The authorities should drop this investigation and focus on addressing the issues raised by these journalists rather than punishing them for their work,' reports here.
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23:40   RSS union seeks rollback of Jio, Airtel tariff hike
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has demanded a rollback of the increase in mobile tariff by Reliance Jio and Airtel as well as an immediate roll-out of 4G and 5G services of state-run BSNL. 

In a letter dated July 10 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh said BSNL restricts telecom operators from raising mobile tariffs as market balance and it should be allowed to upgrade its infrastructure for 4G and 5G services using equipment from global players till the time indigenous technology gets developed. 

The RSS-affiliated trade union said BSNL is losing customers in the absence of high-speed internet service and its presence in the market as a full-fledged 4G and 5G service provider is a must in the interest of the nation but also for common people. 

"Reliance Jio and Airtel have affected the public at large and the public is being virtually forced to cough up a hefty amount to these telcos as the government telecom operator ie, BSNL has still not rolled out its full-fledged 4G/5G service. It's a known fact that BSNL has always acted as a market balancer in the telecom market which has always kept the private telcos in check for increasing the tariff," BMS general secretary Ravindra Himite said in the letter. -- PTI
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23:30   3.5-km north-bound arm of Mumbai Coastal Road opens for vehicles
A 3.5-km stretch of the Coastal Road's north-bound carriageway in Mumbai was opened for traffic at 7 am on Thursday, which will help in reducing the travel time to suburbs from south Mumbai, civic officials said. 

The stretch extends from Haji Ali to Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road in Worli. It is part of the nearly 10.5-km-long Mumbai Coastal Road Project. 

It will help motorists avoid traffic snarls between Haji Ali and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said. 

The carriageway will be accessible to vehicles from Monday to Friday between 7 am and 11 pm, the BMC said in a release on Wednesday evening. 

The corridor is being opened temporarily for vehicles going to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link from the Coastal Road and will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays for completion of the remaining work, it said. -- PTI
23:22   UP court acquits Jaya Prada in 2019 poll code violation case
An MP-MLA court in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday acquitted former MP and actor Jaya Prada in an election code violation case registered in 2019. 

The actor was the BJP candidate from Rampur in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and was defeated by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. 

The MP-MLA court Judge, Shobhit Bansal, acquitted Jaya Prada in the case lodged against her at Kemri police station in Rampur under IPC section 171 G (false statement in connection with an election), senior prosecution officer Amarnath Tiwari said. 

The 62-year-old former MP, who won the Lok Sabha election from Rampur in 2004 and 2009 on a Samajwadi Party ticket, was present in the court while the judgement was pronounced. 

Talking to reporters after her acquittal in the case, Jaya said, "I want to thank the honourable court for acquitting me in the case. I have been a two-time MP from Rampur... I never said anything wrong or made any such comment." 

"I want to tell the public that I have represented Rampur and will always stay in Rampur. 'Satyamev Jayate' (Truth alone triumphs)," she said. 

Senior prosecution officer Tiwari told reporters that the case against Jaya Prada was registered after she allegedly made remarks on Azam Khan. -- PTI
Job aspirants throng the hotel for interview/Image Courtesy Congress on X
Job aspirants throng the hotel for interview/Image Courtesy Congress on X
22:33   Near-stampede in Gujarat for 40 job vacancies
A stampede-like situation was witnessed after some 800 persons turned up for walk-in interviews held by a firm for 40 vacancies in Ankleshwar in Gujarat's Bharuch district, an official said on Thursday. 

Videos of a massive queue, marked by pushing and shoving as aspirants tried to get a toehold on a ramp leading to the entrance of a hotel where the interview was being held, went viral on social media. 

The railing of the ramp finally collapsed, leading to several aspirants falling off, though no one was injured. 

The incident, which took place on Tuesday, triggered a verbal duel between the Opposition Congress and the ruling BJP. 

While the Congress said it had exposed the "Gujarat model" (of development that the ruling party talks about), the Bharatiya Janata Party said the former was trying to defame the state through the video. 

"As per our information, a company arranged walk-in interviews for nearly 40 vacancies in five different roles. The company booked a hall in a hotel in Ankleshwar expecting some 150 candidates. However, 800 turned up and company officials had to shut the door of the interview hall to control the crowd, which led to the situation shown in the video," Bharuch superintendent of police Mayur Chavda said. -- PTI
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh/File image
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh/File image
22:13   Rajnath Singh admitted to AIIMS Delhi with back pain
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Thursday with complaints of back pain, hospital officials said. 

He is stable and under observation, AIIMS media cell in-charge Dr Rima Dada said, adding he is undergoing tests. 

The 73-year-old was admitted early in the morning and is in the Old Private Ward, she said. -- PTI
Pic: Delhi University/X
Pic: Delhi University/X
22:03   Manusmriti will NOT be taught to LLB students, clarifies Delhi Univ
Following reports that a proposal to teach 'Manusmriti' to Delhi University's LLB students is placed for approval, the varsity's vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh on Thursday clarified that the suggestions have been rejected and the students will not be taught the manuscript. 

"Today a proposal by the faculty of law was submitted to the Delhi University. In the proposal, they had suggested changes in the paper titled jurisprudence. One of the changes was to include readings on Manusmriti. We have rejected both the suggested readings and the amendments proposed by the faculty. Nothing of this sort will be taught to students," said Singh in a video message shared by the varsity. 

A proposal to teach 'Manusmriti' (Laws of Manu) to Delhi University's LLB students was slated to be discussed in a meeting of its Academic Council on Friday, a move which drew criticism from a section of teachers. 

The faculty of law had sought approval from the highest decision-making body of the Delhi University (DU) to revise the syllabus of its first and third-year students to teach them 'Manusmriti'. The changes in the syllabus of the jurisprudence paper pertained to semesters one and six of LLB. 

According to the revisions, two readings on Manusmriti -- Manusmriti with the Manubhasya of Medhatithi by G N Jha and Commentary of Manu Smriti - Smritichandrika by T Kristnasawmi Iyer -- were proposed to be introduced for the students. 

The decision to suggest the revisions was unanimously approved in a June 24 meeting of the faculty's course committee headed by its dean Anju Vali Tikoo, according to the minutes of the meeting. 

Objecting to the move, the Left-backed Social Democratic Teachers Front (SDTF) had written to the vice-chancellor stating the manuscript propagates a "regressive" outlook towards the rights of women and the marginalised communities and it is against a "progressive education system". 

In a letter to Singh, SDTF general secretary S S Barwal and chairperson S K Sagar said recommending Manusmriti to the students as a suggested reading "is highly objectionable as this text is adverse to the progress and education of women and marginalised communities in India". 

"In Manusmriti, in several sections, it opposes women's education and equal rights. Introduction of any section or part of Manusmriti is against the basic structure of our Constitution and principles of the Indian Constitution," the letter read. 

The SDTF demanded that the proposal be immediately withdrawn and it should not be approved in the Academic Council's meeting scheduled to be held on July 12. It further requested the vice-chancellor to issue an order to the law faculty and the concerned staff members to continue teaching the paper jurisprudence based on the existing syllabus.
A view of the Samruddhi expressway in Maharashtra/ANI Photo
A view of the Samruddhi expressway in Maharashtra/ANI Photo
21:36   Samruddhi expressway develops cracks!
Maharashtra public works department minister Dada Bhuse on Thursday said cracks that had developed on the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway near Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar have been repaired. 

The 40 metre long crack was detected near Fatiyabad village on chainage 443/650, a release from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation said. 

This crack is on the stretch of the expressway that was opened for traffic in December 2022, officials said, adding it was on the part of the carriageway that is laid at a height of three metres. 

The crack, which developed as the side wall of the road sank a little, was filled using a chemical named 'epoxy material shalfix SC 40' and this 50-metre stretch will be laid once again through the contractor, the MSRDC release informed. 

Talking to reporters, Bhuse said instructions have been given to officials to find out if there are more cracks along the 600 kilometre route of the expressway currently operational. -- PTI
Actor Gaurav Bakshi/Courtesy Facebook
Actor Gaurav Bakshi/Courtesy Facebook
21:08   Actor Gaurav Bakshi arrested by Goa police for `blocking' minister's car
The Goa police on Thursday arrested actor Gaurav Bakshi for allegedly restraining the movement of state animal husbandry minister Nilkant Halarnkar by blocking his car, an official said. 

Bakshi, who has acted in web series and a few films, claimed in his counter-complaint that it was the minister's car that had blocked his way. 

The actor was arrested after Halarnkar's personal security officer filed a complaint at Colvale police station in North Goa district, a senior police official said. 

He was booked under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita sections related to "obstructing public servant" and "wilful restraint", the official added. 

The minister told reporters that the incident took place when he was leaving in his car after attending a function at Revora panchayat hall in North Goa district on Wednesday. 

The accused's car blocked his path, and Bakshi threatened his PSO when asked to move his vehicle, the minister alleged. 

Bakshi, for his part, released a video stating that he had filed a complaint against the minister at the local police station over the incident at the panchayat office. -- PTI
Controversial probationary IAS officer Puja Khedkar/Courtesy X
Controversial probationary IAS officer Puja Khedkar/Courtesy X
20:48   Centre forms panel to look into row involving Maha IAS officer
The Centre on Thursday formed a single-member panel to check the "candidature claims and other details" of controversial probationary IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been accused of allegedly misusing disability and OBC quota to secure a position in the service. 

An additional secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training will enquire into the matter and submit a report within two weeks. 

"The central government has constituted a single-member committee, chaired by a senior officer of the rank of additional secretary to government of India to verify the candidature claims and other details of Ms. Puja Manorma Dilip Khedkar, a candidate of Civil Services Examination-2022 and earlier CSEs. The committee will submit its report in 2 weeks," the personnel ministry said in a statement. 

The 34-year-old probationary officer has been accused of allegedly misusing benefits under the physical disabilities category and Other Backward Class quota to secure a position in the Indian Administrative Service. 

She was transferred on Monday to Washim from Pune over allegations of bullying and entitled behaviour. -- PTI
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20:38   SC to hear on Friday plea seeking probe into Hathras stampede
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Friday a petition seeking a probe into the recent Hathras stampede that left 121 dead. 

The plea has sought the appointment of a five-member expert committee under the supervision of a retired apex court judge to probe the July 2 stampede incident. 

According to the cause list of July 12 uploaded on the apex court website, the plea is scheduled to come up for hearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra. 

The petition, filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, has also sought a direction to the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a status report on the incident and to initiate legal action against the authorities, officials and others for their negligent conduct. 

It has sought the apex court's direction to the states to issue guidelines to prevent stampede or other incidents for the safety of the public in organising any religious or other events where a large number of people gather. 

The stampede at a religious congregation in Hathras on July 2 left 121 people dead. -- PTI
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20:08   TMC students' wing members stop EC meeting of Bengal varsity
Members of the Trinamool Congress students' wing on Thursday staged a protest outside the offices of the vice-chancellor and registrar of Burdwan University, disrupting an ongoing executive council meeting. 

They were protesting against Prof Gautam Chakraborty continuing as the interim VC and making academic and administrative decisions. 

Activists from Trinamool Chhatra Parishad entered the administrative building chanting slogans, which led to the meeting's suspension. 

The student demonstrators also surrounded registrar Sujit Chowdhury in the parking lot upon his arrival, demanding that no meetings take place while the Supreme Court-formed search committee oversees the appointment of vice-chancellors across 31 state universities. 

A TMCP spokesperson criticised the university's handling of jailed Maoist leader Arnab Dam's PhD application, alleging undemocratic practices despite his successful PhD entrance exam results. 

"We will continue our agitation until Dam is allowed to pursue his PhD," the spokesperson said. 

TMC leader Kunal Ghosh posted on X, "Arnab Dam, who was arrested on charges of being a Maoist, should be allowed to do his PhD. He has proved his merit." 

Efforts to contact Burdwan University's VC for comment were unsuccessful. 

A university official said various administrative and academic matters were scheduled for discussion during the EC meeting. -- PTI
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar/File image
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar/File image
19:48   JD-U will push for special status for Bihar: Nitish aide
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's key aide Manish Kumar Verma, who was given a key organisational position on Thursday within two days of joining the Janata Dal-United, said his party will strongly push for the fulfilment of its demand that the Centre grant special status or a special package to the state. 

Citing the JD-U's good show in the Lok Sabha polls, he said the party believes the next assembly polls should be held under Kumar's leadership and added that there has been no other view on the issue so far. 

He, though, told PTI that the National Democratic Alliance will take a call on the matter near the polls, which are scheduled for next year end. 

The NDA includes the Bharatiya Janata Party and Union Minister Chirag Paswan-led LJP and some other smaller parties in Bihar apart from the Janata Dal-United. 

Amid swirling speculation that JD-U president Kumar may groom the former IAS officer, who is a Kurmi like the chief minister and hails from his native district Nalanda, as a key face of the party, Verma recalled his long association with him and said he will carry out whatever responsibility is assigned to him. -- PTI
Pic: Pradeep Bandekar
Pic: Pradeep Bandekar
19:17   Priyanka-Nick Jonas fly into Mumbai for Ambani wedding
Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas arrived in Mumbai with her husband, singer Nick Jonas, on Thursday ahead of the high-profile wedding ceremony of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

After months-long pre-wedding festivities, Anant, son of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and Radhika, daughter of industrialist Viren Merchant, will finally tie the knot on Friday.

Priyanka shared a series of pictures on her Instagram Stories ahead of the grand event.

"#AnantandRadhika," the actor, who was recently in Australia shooting for her Hollywood film The Bluff, wrote in a post.

"Mumbai monsoon," she captioned a video of clouds from her plane.        

According to videos circulating on social media, Priyanka, 41, and Nick, 31, were spotted exiting from the airport as it rained.

The actor smiled, waved at and greeted the paparazzi stationed outside with a namaste before she left with her husband, who also acknowledged the photographers when they called out his name.

Anant and Radhika will tie the knot at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai tomorrow.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee/File image
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee/File image
18:53   Mamata to meet Uddhav, Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav in Mumbai
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she will meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Friday to discuss the present political situation in the country. 

Speaking to reporters on Thursday before leaving for Mumbai to attend the wedding of Mukesh Ambani's son, Banerjee said she will also meet Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. 

"I am going to Mumbai as you all know that Mukesh Ambani ji's son is getting married. They have extended the invitation multiple times, and Mukesh Ambani ji has attended the Biswa Bangla convention multiple times upon Bengal's invitation. I might not have gone, but since they have repeatedly asked me to come including Mukesh ji, his son, and Neeta ji, I decided to go," she said. 

Asked about her political engagements in Mumbai, the TMC supremo said she will be meeting Uddhav Thackeray tomorrow for "political talks" since they haven't met after the Lok Sabha elections. 

"I will also go to Sharad Ji's place and have made an appointment to meet him as well. Akhilesh is also coming tomorrow and I could meet him as well. I will return day after tomorrow," she said. 

The Shiv Sena, TMC, NCP, and SP are part of the opposition at the national level along with the Congress. -- PTI
18:34   CBI nabs another NEET-UG leak kingpin from Bihar
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday arrested one of the alleged kingpins in the NEET-UG paper leak case who was on the run ever since the crackdown on irregularities in the entrance exam began, officials said. 

Rockey alias Rakesh Ranjan, who hails from Nalanda, and is said to be a relative of mastermind Sanjeev Mukhia, was nabbed by the agency from outskirts of Patna, they said. 

The CBI had been trailing him since the case came to the agency. His run came to an end Thursday morning when he was arrested by the agency, they said. 

The agency produced him before a special court in Patna which has remanded him to 10 days of CBI custody, they said. 

The CBI conducted searches at three locations in Patna and nearby areas and one in Kolkata after his arrest, they said. 

Earlier this week, the CBI had conducted searches at 15 locations in Bihar and Jharkhand gathering incriminating evidence in the case, they said. 

The agency had earlier arrested the principal and vice principal of Jharkhand's Hazaribagh-based Oasis school in the case and two persons who allegedly lent premises to NEET candidates where burnt question papers were recovered by the Bihar police. -- PTI
Former Union minister Smriti Irani/File image
Former Union minister Smriti Irani/File image
18:05   Former Union minister Smriti Irani vacates official bungalow
Former Union minister Smriti Irani, who lost the recently held Lok Sabha elections, has vacated her official bungalow at 28 Tughlak Crescent in Lutyens' Delhi, officials said on Thursday. 

Irani vacated the bungalow earlier this week, weeks after she was defeated by Congress leader Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi parliamentary seat with a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes. 

The former women and child development minister was dubbed a giant slayer in 2019 after she defeated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the seat. 

"She (Irani) vacated her official residence earlier this week," an official said, adding that former ministers and MPs need to vacate their government accommodation within a month after a new government is formed. -- PTI
Puja Khedkar
Puja Khedkar
17:40   Controversial IAS officer gets a vehicle downgrade
Controversial IAS officer Puja Khedkar on Thursday took charge as an assistant collector at the Washim District Collectorate in Vidarbha region, but declined to comment on the flurry of claims that she used illegal means to clear her civil services exam. 

Khedkar (32), who has been accused of allegedly misusing benefits under the physical disabilities category and other backward class (OBC) quota to secure a position in the Indian Administrative Services, was transferred on Monday to Washim from Pune over allegations of bullying and entitled behaviour. 

"I am happy to join duty at the Washim District Collectorate and am looking forward to working here," the probationary officer of the 2022 IAS batch said. 

Asked about the allegations against her, Khedkar told reporters, "I am not authorised to speak on the issue. Government rules don't provide (allow) me to speak on this."

Instead of the swanky Audi car with beacon during her tenure in Pune, Khedkar was on Thursday seen alighting from a more humble Bolero car provided by the district administration. 

When Pune police officials went to Khedkar's bungalow in Pune on Thursday to inspect the Audi car over the violations on beacon and VIP number, they found the bungalow gates locked. 

A Marathi news channel showed her mother, who was inside the gate, trying to shoo away their camera team from the spot. 

Khedkar was shunted to Washim after Pune district collector Suhas Diwase wrote to state additional chief secretary Nitin Gadre requesting him to consider giving a posting to Khedkar in another district to avoid administrative complications. 

Diwase had sought action against Khedkar for her behaviour, including aggressive treatment of junior staff, illegal occupation of the ante-chamber of additional collector Ajay More, and violations pertaining to sporting a red beacon on the Audi and flashing it during the day, among others.
Accused Mihir Shah. Pic: mihir__shah888
Accused Mihir Shah. Pic: mihir__shah888
17:22   BMW crash: Mihir Shah's driver sent to jail
A Mumbai court on Thursday sent Shiv Sena politician Rajesh Shah's family chauffeur, an accused in the fatal BMW hit-and-run case, to 14-day judicial custody. 

 The driver, Rajrishi Bidawat, was sitting in the car with Rajesh Shah's son and prime accused in the case, Mihir Shah, at the time of the crash on Sunday. Mihir Shah (24) was allegedly behind the wheel when his BMW car rammed into a scooter in Mumbai's Worli area, killing a woman, who was riding pillion, and leaving her husband injured. 

According to police, after the crash Bidawat swapped the driver's seat with Mihir Shah allegedly at the instruction of Rajesh Shah, a politician from adjoining Palghar district.

 The driver was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Sewree court) S P Bhosale at the end of his police remand on Thursday. Police sought further extension of his custody, saying the investigation in the high-profile case was still in progress.
17:07   Why has SC summoned top babus of 16 states?
The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned the chief and finance secretaries of 16 states for non-compliance of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission recommendations on the payment of arrears of pension and other retirement benefits to the judicial officers. 

 Expressing strong displeasure over non-compliance of the SNJPC's recommendations, a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said, "We know how to extract compliance now. If we just say that the chief secretary will be present if the affidavit is not filed then it will not be filed. "We are not sending them to jail but let them be here and then an affidavit will be submitted. Let they be personally present now," the bench said. Though seven opportunities have been granted to the states, it appears that full compliance has not been affected and several states are in default, it said. 

 "The chief and finance secretaries have to be personally present. Failing compliance, the court will be constrained to initiate contempt," it said.

 According to the order, the bench directed the top two bureaucrats of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Odisha and Rajasthan to appear before it on August 23. 

 The bench made clear that it will not grant any more more extensions. It passed the orders after taking note of the submissions and perusing the note provided by lawyer K Parmeswar who is assisting the court as amicus curiae (a friend of court).
16:42   Feeding pigeons? It can be fatal for you
A new case study of a boy, who developed potentially fatal allergic reactions after a prolonged contact with pigeon feathers and droppings, has brought to light severe health risks related to long-term exposure to the bird. 

 The 11-year-old from east Delhi was brought to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here with what initially seemed like a routine cough, doctors said in the study. His condition, however, worsened as his respiratory functions declined, they said in a statement. 

 The child was diagnosed with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP), which was triggered by an allergic reaction to pigeon proteins, and required immediate medical attention, Dr Dhiren Gupta, Co-Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), said. Medical tests showed lung inflammation and opacities consistent with HP, he said. 

Opacities refer to areas appearing white on a chest radiograph, when they should be darker. Gupta explained that HP is a chronic interstitial lung disease, in which the organ gets scarred, making it difficult to breathe. 

The condition is more common among adults and rare in children, affecting 2-4 per one lakh population in a year, he added. The boy was administered steroids and provided breathing support via high-flow oxygen therapy, in which the gas is passed in the body through a tube placed in the nostrils.

 This helped bring down inflammation in his lungs and restore breathing to near-normal levels, the doctor said in the case study. Seeing the boy responding positively to treatment, he was eventually discharged with a comprehensive care plan to manage his condition, Gupta said.
16:39   Smriti Irani vacates official bungalow
Former Union minister Smriti Irani, who lost the recently held Lok Sabha elections, has vacated her official bungalow at 28 Tughlak Crescent in Lutyens' Delhi, officials said on Thursday. 

 Irani vacated the bungalow earlier this week, weeks after she was defeated by Congress leader Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi parliamentary seat with a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes. 

 The former women and child development minister was dubbed a giant slayer in 2019 after she defeated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the seat. "She (Irani) vacated her official residence earlier this week," an official said, adding that former ministers and MPs need to vacate their government accommodation within a month after a new government is formed. PTI
Family mourns the death of Naik Vinod Singh
Family mourns the death of Naik Vinod Singh
16:32   Kathua ambush: Intense search ops enter 4th day
More army personnel were deployed in the hills and dense forests of Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua-Udhampur-Doda belt as the search for the terrorists behind the ambush on an army patrol in Kathua district entered its fourth day on Thursday. 

 Since the attack on Monday, that killed five army personnel and injured as many, 60 people have been detained for questioning, including three individuals suspected of providing food and shelter to the terrorists, officials said. One those detained is a woman who cooked food and handed over it to a person. The quantity of food prepared was sufficient for "10 to 15 people", they said. 

Security agencies suspect that the food was intended for the terrorists, the officials added. In Kathua, senior police and Border Security Force officers from Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab met to discuss the security grid along the International Border (IB), from across which the terrorists are believed to have infiltrated, the officials said. In the interstate security review meeting, discussions were held on devising a joint strategy for addressing cross-border infiltration along the Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab stretch of the IB and countering terrorist activities in the Jammu region, bordering Punjab, they said. 

 On the search operation, the officials said troops are moving with caution as there is a threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS). The search has been expanded into the hilly areas of Kathua, Udhampur, and Doda districts of the Jammu region, that has seen a spate in terror incidents since June. -- PTI
Rahul Gandhi in Manipur last week
Rahul Gandhi in Manipur last week
16:13   Will raise Manipur with 'full force' in Parl: Rahul
The Congress and the INDIA bloc will raise the need for peace in Manipur with full force in Parliament to put pressure on the government to end this tragedy, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday, days after his visit to the violence-hit state.

 He also reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should personally visit Manipur, listen to the problems of the people of the state and appeal for peace.

 Gandhi made the remarks in a post in Hindi on X as he shared a video of his interactions with the people of Manipur during his day-long visit to the violence-hit state on Monday. 

 "I have visited Manipur three times since violence broke out there, but unfortunately there is no improvement in the situation -- even today the state is divided into two parts. Houses are burning, innocent lives are in danger and thousands of families are forced to live in relief camps," the former Congress chief said. 

"The prime minister should personally visit Manipur, listen to the problems of the people of the state and appeal for peace," Gandhi said. 

 "The Congress party and INDIA will raise the need for peace in Manipur with full force in Parliament to put pressure on the government to end this tragedy," the Congress leader said. 

 During his day-long visit to Manipur, Gandhi had visited three relief camps in different districts of the BJP-ruled state and interacted with people belonging to both the warring ethnic groups -- Meiteis and Kukis -- who were displaced by the violence. Gandhi had also visited Manipur weeks after ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3 last year. 

He also began his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' from the state in January 2024. In the video, Gandhi is seen interacting with people at various relief camps. The people narrate to him their plight and fears and urge him to fight for them and raise their voice. Gandhi is seen in the video telling the people that the Congress and its MPs had raised the problems the people of Manipur were facing in the Parliament session that has just gone by and promised to raise the issues again in the upcoming session.
15:33   Why is Mamata Banerjee going to Mumbai today?
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee will be in Mumbai today. "I am going to Mumbai for the wedding of Mukesh Ambani's son. Tomorrow I have an appointment with Uddhav Thackeray. I will also meet Sharad Pawar there. There will be political discussion as we will meet after (Lok Sabha) elections. Akhilesh Yadav will also reach there, so there is a possibility that I will meet him too."

The wedding of the billionaire's youngest son Anant Ambani, 29, and his long-time girlfriend Radhika Merchant, 29, is the culmination of lavish celebrations throughout the year and according to police, has been deemed a "public event" due to the presence of international and Indian household names.

Raising the ire of locals, roads near the venue -- the upmarket Jio World Convention Centre owned by Ambani's Reliance conglomerate in Mumbai's central business district -- will be open only for "event vehicles" between 1 p.m. and midnight between July 12-15.
15:14   Juvenile boys molest minor girl, push her in canal
A nine-year-old girl was allegedly molested and pushed into a canal by three minor boys, said a police official on Thursday. Nandyala district superintendent of police K Raghuveera Reddy said the girl, who was playing in a park on Sunday, was molested by the boys and then pushed into Mucchumarri Lift Irrigation canal. 

 "They (boys) molested and pushed her into the canal. It happened on Sunday at around 5 pm. They were all from Mucchumarri village and everybody knew each other," Reddy told PTI.

 Two of the accused are 15 years old, while the other one is 12 years old, the official said. Police received a missing complaint from the girl's parents, prompting them to launch a search for her but are yet to find her body.

 They are also interrogating the boys. According to the SP, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team arrived on Thursday to search for the body. Reddy said that it cannot be ascertained whether the girl was raped until her body is found.
14:51   BMW crash: Mihir Shah consumed excessive alcohol
The main accused in the Worli hit-and-run case, Mihir Shah had consumed an excessive amount of alcohol at two different places on the night of the incident, said Mumbai police sources on Thursday.

According to the Mumbai police, "During the investigation, it was found that the arrested accused Mihir Shah consumed alcohol before the incidents. He consumed alcohol at two different places on the night of the incident."

"The probe revealed that after drinking alcohol at Vice Global Tapas Bar located in the Juhu area, accused Mihir Shah drank alcohol at another place between Malad and Borivali," the police said.

"The interrogation with Rajrishi Rajendra Singh Bidawat, accused driver, also revealed that these people had come to visit Marine Drive since the day of the incident fell on a Sunday," said police.

Police said that the accused driver Rajrishi Rajendra Singh had taken the car from Borivali to Marine Drive, but once they reached there, Mihir had forcefully taken the car keys from the driver to drive the car near Girgaon Chowpatty.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day both accused in the Worli hit-and-run case reportedly confessed to their roles in the crime and are in the custody of the Mumbai police.

According to police sources, the main accused, Mihir Shah and his driver Rajrishi Bidawat, were both confronted by the police during interrogation.

"Both accused confessed their roles in the crime and the police did a scene recreation from the night of the accident. With a similar sequence to the actual accident night, the scene was recreated from CJ House Worli to Sea Link Worli," said police.Earlier on Wednesday, a Mumbai court sent Mihir Shah to police custody until July 16.
Search ops being conducted in Kathua
Search ops being conducted in Kathua
14:17   Interstate meet begins on terrorists' infiltration
Senior BSF and police officials gathered at a high-level interstate security review meeting in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua on Thursday, days after terrorists, who are believed to have infiltrated from across the International Border, ambushed an army patrol. 

Five army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, were killed and as many injured when terrorists opened fire on two army vehicles on the Machedi-Kindli-Malhar mountain road near Badnota village, about 150 km from the district headquarters of Kathua, on Monday. 

 The meeting was attended by Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police R R Swain, his Punjab counterpart Gaurav Yadav and Special Director General of BSF, Western Command, Y B Khurania, among others, to review the security grid along the International Border and plug any loopholes, officials said. 

 Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), J-K, Vijay Kumar, ADG (Law and Order), Punjab, Arpit Shukla and Inspector General-rank BSF officers of Punjab and Jammu were also present at the meeting, they said. The officials said the terrorists are believed to have successfully infiltrated through the International Border and managed to reach the dense forests of Machedi that connects Basantgarh in Udhampur and Bhaderwah in Doda district. 

 The terrorists have also used the route in the past when militancy was at its peak in the area over two decades ago. The area was cleared of terrorist presence but the revival of terror activities has led to serious security concerns.
13:38   SC to hear pleas related to NEET-UG 2024 on July 18
The Supreme Court on Thursday said the pleas related to the controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024 would be heard on July 18. A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud noted that the Centre and the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the prestigious test, have filed their affidavits in compliance with the apex court's July 8 order. 

 The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, observed that lawyers appearing for some of the petitioners have not yet received the affidavits filed by the Centre and the NTA. 

 It posted the matter for hearing on July 18. The top court is hearing a batch of pleas related to NEET-UG 2024, including those alleging irregularities and malpractices in the May 5 test and seeking a direction to conduct it afresh. PTI
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma
13:34   Want TLC with mom, dad? Assam govt gives sp leave
The Assam government has declared two days of special casual leave in November for its employees to spend time with their parents or parents-in-law, the chief minister's office (CMO) said on Thursday.

 The special leaves cannot be used for personal enjoyment and those without parents or parents-in-laws will not be eligible for the leaves, it added. 

 "The Assam government, under the leadership of CM Dr @himantabiswa, has declared special casual leave for state government employees on November 6 and 8, 2024, to spend time with their parents or parents-in-law," the CMO said in a post on X. 

 It said the leave must be used "solely for spending time with aging parents or parents-in-law to honour, respect, and care for them, and not for personal enjoyment". The leaves can be availed along with holiday for Chhat Puja on November 7, second Saturday holiday on November 9 and Sunday on November 10, the CMO said.

 It said that employees in essential services can avail it in a phased manner, and those who do not have parents or parents-in-law will not be entitled to it. The two special casual leaves for spending time with parents and parents-in-law for government employees was announced by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in his first Independence Day speech after assuming office in 2021. PTI
13:31   News updates at this hour
-- Samyukt Kisan Morcha says it will submit charter of demands to PM, LoP and MPs on July 16, 17 and 18, respectively. 

-- SC fixes July 18 for hearing pleas related to controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024.

-- Excise case: After SC judge's recusal from hearing AAP leader Manish Sisodia's pleas for reviving bail petitions, another bench to hear matter on July 15.
13:15   Man claims wife left him as he is dark-skinned
A 24-year-old man in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior city has claimed his wife left him because of his dark complexion and also filed a harassment complaint against him. 

 The man has also filed a police complaint against his wife over the issue, an official said on Thursday. The police have called both of them for counselling on Saturday before initiating any action in the matter. Talking to reporters on Wednesday, the man, resident of Vicky Factory area in the city, said he got married about 14 months back. 

 Soon after the marriage, his wife started troubling him and kept taunting him because of his dark complexion, he claimed. His wife gave birth to a girl about a month back, he said. 

 "But after 10 days, she left the child (at the man's home) and went to stay with her parents," the man said. 

 "When I went to her house to bring her back, she again raised the issue of my dark complexion and refused to come back with me," he claimed. 

 Later, she also filed a complaint of harassment against him at the women's police station, he said. When contacted, Deputy Superintendent of Police Kiran Ahirwar said the woman had gone to her parent's house, leaving the child at her in-laws' place.

 The woman's husband and his mother also filed a complaint over the issue during a public hearing with the local police on Tuesday, the official said. "We have called both the parties for counselling on July 13 and only after that we will take some action in the matter," she added. PTI
12:44   Didn't know woman was stuck under car: Mihir Shah
NDTV reports: The 23-year-old accused in the Mumbai BMW hit-and-run case was made to sit face-to-face with his driver as the police interrogated both men today. 

Mihir Shah, who drove the BMW that hit a two-wheeler and killed a woman, had changed seats with his driver following the accident.

The police also recreated the sequence of events at the accident site today.

Shah and his driver, Rajrishi Bidawat, claimed they did not know the woman was stuck under the car as they drove away after hitting the two wheeler.

Police sources told NDTV the two men "admitted to their mistake", and Shah told them he "regretted his actions".

Kaveri Nakva and her husband Pradik Nakva were on a two-wheeler when the BMW driven by Shah, the son of sacked Shiv Sena leader Rajesh Shah, rammed the scooter and sped away.

12:38   Adani Ports' Vizhinjam International Seaport welcomes first mothership
India's first semi-automated container port, the Vizhinjam International Seaport on Thursday welcomed its first mothership, 'San Fernando'. The Ship was welcomed by Kerala's Minister of Ports V N Vasavan and Minister for Food and Civil Supplies G R Anil along with other officials at the port. The San Fernando, carrying over 1,000 containers, is anchored at the port as part of a trial run ahead of the commencement of commercial operations.
12:35   J-K: Blast across LoC, search operation launched
A blast occurred across the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Thursday. The blast occurred on Wednesday night. Suspicious movement was reported across the LoC in Laam sector late on Wednesday night. The blast occurred very close to the zero line during the movement, the officials said. A search operation has been launched in the area, they said. PTI
12:24   Where is Priyanka holidaying?
Priyanka Chopra Jonas shares this picture with her daughter Malti Marie and writes on Instagram: "A pause (island, baby emojis).

She is at Stradboke Island, Australia, with her mother. 
12:14   News at this hour...
-- INLD, BSP announce alliance, to jointly contest upcoming Haryana polls: INLD's Abhay Chautala. 

-- The Delhi High Court on Thursday listed for hearing on September 9 Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's petition challenging the summonses issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its probe into an excise policy-linked money laundering case. 
11:55   CJI welcomes Brazilian judge on bench
Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on Thursday welcomed Brazilian judge Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin on the bench, and termed him as a great friend of India. Justice Benjamin, who is set to become the chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court in July, is on a visit to India. He shared the dais with the CJI and two other SC judges and keenly watched the judicial proceedings. 

 "He is a great friend of India... He is soon going to take charge on July 22 as the Chief Justice (of SC in Brazil). We are pleased to have him with us," the CJI said while introducing him to lawyers and the litigants present in the courtroom. 

 Justice Chandrachud said Justice Benjamin is a distinguished scholar, who has done significant work in the field of environment protection. During his stay in the country, Justice Benjamin visited Jammu and Kashmir. He is the founder of the Brazilian Consumer Law and Policy Institute and the Law for a Green Planet Institute. PTI
11:40   Delhi canal barrage breaches, Bawana flooded
Residents of JJ colony, Bawana, in Delhi have been wading through knee-high water after the barrage of Munak canal of North Delhi broke and water entered residential areas. 

A resident, Alam says, "Water has entered almost every block of JJ colony. The barrage of the Munak canal broke at approximately at midnight. The administration, especially the irrigation department, isn't making enough effort to stop the flow. The local leader came to see, but nothing has happened so far."
11:24   Political power couple get engaged
Alex Soros shares this image on Instagram, writing: This happened...we couldn't be happier, more grateful, or more in love (engagement ring emoji)."

So, who are they?

Alex Soros is the son of the son of billionaire Democratic donor George Soros. His lady love is Huma Abedin, former top aide to Hillary Clinton.

The couple shared the news on social media, with Soros posting a photo of himself proposing to Abedin.   
Representational image
Representational image
11:09   There are 66 Chinese planes hovering around Taiwan
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence (MND) on Thursday said that it had detected 66 Chinese military aircraft and vessels around the island, apparently en route to a Chinese military exercise in the Western Pacific.

The media outlet embedded a statement by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence on its X platform."66 PLA aircraft and seven PLAN vessels operating around Taiwan were detected up until 6 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) today," the statement said.

Fifty-six of the aircraft crossed the sensitive median line bisecting the Taiwan Strait - a narrow 180-kilometre (110-mile) waterway separating the island from China, it said.

They were headed toward the Western Pacific to take part in a joint air and sea military exercise there alongside the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, Taiwan's defence ministry said.

The ministry added it had "monitored the situation and responded accordingly". 

The Taiwan defence ministry also released an illustration showing some of the aircraft came within 33 nautical miles (61 km) of Taiwan's southern tip.

On July 10, the ministry said that 36 Chinese military aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and were headed toward the Western Pacific to take part in a joint air and sea military exercise there alongside the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong.

Previously in May this year Beijing sent 62 military aircraft and 27 naval vessels around Taiwan, amidst war games Beijing launched following the inauguration of Taiwan President Lai Ching-te. -- ANI
10:50   'Sharia Was Used To Deny Alimony'
Founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, social activist Zakia Soman has waged many a legal battle against the orthodox Muslim clergy seeking equality for Muslim women in social, economic and religious affairs.

Soman, who fought against the practice of triple talaq and is also a vocal proponent of the Uniform Civil Code discusses the Supreme Court verdict of July 10, 2024 delivered by the two-judge bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustne George Masih that ruled that divorced Muslim women can seek maintenance from their husbands under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"So far, we have been told that we will not give you (legal justice) because Sharia doesn't require us to give (justice to) you (divorced women). They (the orthodox Muslims in India) have used the name of Sharia to deny Muslim women alimony rights. That is now being rendered immaterial," Soman tells Prasanna D Zore/

Read the interview here. 
10:48   Heavy rain over 5 days leaves parts of UP flooded
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will inspect the flood-affected areas in Shravasti, Balrampur of Uttar Pradesh and distribute relief materials on Thursday. 

 The Chief Minister is scheduled to visit Shravasti at 11:40 am and will meet the area's people. He will also inspect the flood relief camp and leave for Balrampur at 1.40 pm. Uttar Pradesh's Jal Shakti Minister Swatantra Dev Singh on Thursday said that the administration and government are monitoring the flood situation in the state. 

 "CM Yogi has held many meetings virtually with the officials of the flood-affected areas. Due to the heavy rainfall in Nepal, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh over the past 4-5 days a flood-like situation has occurred in the area. The government and administration are on alert. The officials (SP, DM) are on alert and working day and night. Few people were affected because of the floods and two drowned in the water and later their bodies were found. The government is providing relief materials to the people," Singh told reporters.

 Earlier on Wednesday, Yogi Adityanath inspected the flood-affected areas in Lakhimpur Kheri. He also conducted an aerial survey, met the flood-affected people in Pilibhit, and distributed relief materials.
The Starliner spacecraft
The Starliner spacecraft
10:29   Stuck in space for a month Sunita Williams says...
NASA astronauts Sunita 'Suni' Williams and Barry 'Butch' Wilmore who travelled to the International Space Station on Boeing's Starliner spacecraft and were supposed to have returned to Earth last month might have to remain in space a few weeks longer till August this year.

As engineers continue to sort out technical issues that has kept the duo in space longer than scheduled, Williams and Wilmore spoke to reporters in their first press conference from space.

The Starliner had experienced a series of delays during its launch caused by safety concerns due to faulty thrusters and a series of helium leaks. Williams and Wilmore are the first human crew on the historic test mission of the Boeing-built Starliner capsule.

The two astronauts have expressed confidence that the Starliner can get them back to Earth. NASA has, however, not shared a projected return date for the astronauts.

"I feel confident that, if we had to, if there was a problem with the International Space Station, we would get in (the Starliner spacecraft) and we could undock, talk to our team, and figure out the best way to come home," Williams said as per a CNN report.

"We're absolutely confident," Wilmore said of Starliner's capability to get them home, the US broadcaster said. "I have a real good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home, no problem," Williams told reporters from the ISS. -- ANI
10:24   Markets rebound in early trade on rally in global equities
Equity benchmark indices rebounded in early trade on Thursday amid a rally in global markets and continuous foreign fund inflows. Buying in IT stocks also added to the positive trend in equities. 

 The 30-share BSE Sensex climbed 245.32 points to 80,170.09 in early trade. The NSE Nifty went up by 78.2 points to 24,402.65.

 Among the Sensex pack, Tata Consultancy Services climbed over 1 per cent ahead of its quarterly earnings announcement later in the day. The other prominent gainers were HCL Technologies, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Maruti, Infosys and State Bank of India. Power Grid, Nestle, Sun Pharma, HDFC Bank and Mahindra & Mahindra were among the laggards.
10:13   CBI chargesheet against man for doctored paper
The CBI is likely to file a charge sheet against a youth who allegedly circulated a "doctored" screenshot of the UGC-NET paper on Telegram which led to the cancellation of the exam after an alert from the Union Home Ministry about a possible "breach", officials said. 

 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not find any large-scale conspiracy in the episode and would limit the charge sheet to offences of attempt to cheat or cheating, they said.

 The central agency's probe into the alleged UGC-NET paper leak had found that the screenshot of the "leaked" question paper for the June 18 exam was "doctored" by a school student, the officials said. The CBI has informally conveyed its findings to the government and is likely to file a charge sheet against the youth, they said. 

 More than 11 lakh candidates had registered for the exam which determines eligibility for junior research fellowship, appointment as assistant professors and admission to PhD in Indian universities and colleges. The exam was cancelled by the Union Education Ministry on June 19 following the alert from the Union Home Ministry's National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C). 

 "The UGC received certain inputs from the National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs on the examination. These inputs prima facie indicate that the integrity of the aforesaid examination may have been compromised," the Ministry of Education had said after the cancellation of the examination.
09:51   What did Modi speak to a quantum physicist about?
Nobel laureate and Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a spiritual person, and asserted that other international leaders should possess this trait as well.

The Nobel laureate Zeilinger, who is known for his work on quantum mechanics and was awarded Nobel Prize for Physics in 2022, met PM Modi in Vienna on Wednesday.

Zeilinger on his meeting with PM Modi said that the two had discussions on several topics, ranging from spirituality to quantum technology. He said, "A very pleasant discussion. We discussed about spiritual things, we talked about possibilities of quantum information, quantum technology, and about the basic fundamental ideas of quantum physics. I experienced him as a very spiritual person, and I think this is a feature that more leaders in the world should have today."
09:47   Mumbai Coastal Road: Haji Ali to Worli opens today
The third phase of the Dharmaveer Swarajya Rakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Mumbai Coastal Road (South) Project has been temporarily opened for traffic from Thursday onwards.

The road that connects Haji Ali to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Road in Worli and Haji Ali's Arm 8, which runs from the Lotus Jetty Junction to the main bridge at Haji Ali on the northbound lane, will be opened from Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm.

The road will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays to allow the completion of the remaining work for the project. The third phase of the Coastal Road is a 3.5-kilometre stretch towards the northbound that connects Haji Ali with Worli.

On Wednesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde took an inspection tour of this road before it was opened for commuters today. 

On June 10, the second phase of the Dharmveer Swarajya Rakshak Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Coastal Road connecting Worli to Marine Drive was inaugurated by CM Shinde, along with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. 

This road is 6.25 km from Haji Ali and Amarsons. The first phase was inaugurated on March 11 by CM Shinde, along with Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.
09:25   Can't expect justice for Sidhu Moosewala from...: Cong slams AAP govt
Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring on Thursday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state over a report submitted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to Haryana and Punjab court which suggested that the TV interview of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi was conducted from Bathinda jail in 2023, where he was lodged. 
 Lawrence Bishnoi is a jailed gangster and an accused in the murder case of Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala. 
 Moosewala was murdered on May 29, 2022, in the Mansa village of Punjab. According to the police, the assailants fired several bullets at him. He was also active in politics. He had fought Punjab assembly polls from Mansa on a Congress ticket but was defeated. 
 Punjab Congress Chief Warring said that we cannot expect justice for Sidhu Moosewala from a government where gangsters hold such 'power' over the administration.
 Taking to 'X', he wrote, "The people of Punjab demand answers, @AAPPunjab. How is it possible for a gangster to give an interview from inside a jail? How can the public feel safe when such liberties are afforded to murderers?"
 The Congress leader further claimed that 'dark days' are looming for Punjab.
 "We cannot expect justice for Sidhu Moosewala from a government where gangsters hold such power over the administration. Law and order have deteriorated severely, and dark days are looming for Punjab", he said.
 The SIT is probing two TV interviews of jailed gangster Bishnoi, reportedly given to private channels in 2023, when he was lodged in Bathinda jail in Punjab. 
 He is currently incarcerated in Gujarat's Sabarmati jail.
08:46   No indication of mass malpractice NEET-UG: Govt
The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court there was neither any indication of "mass malpractice" nor a localised set of candidates being benefitted leading to abnormal scores in NEET-UG 2024.
It said the data analytics of results of NEET-UG 2024 was conducted by IIT Madras and as per the findings given by the experts, the marks distribution follows the bell-shaped curve that is witnessed in any large-scale examination indicating no abnormality. 

In an additional affidavit filed in the apex court, the Centre said for 2024-25, the counselling process for undergraduate seats will be conducted in four rounds starting from the third week of July. 

Meanwhile, the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the prestigious test, also filed a separate additional affidavit in the top court and said it has carried out an analysis of distribution of marks in NEET-UG 2024 at the national, state, city and centre level. 

"This analysis indicates that the distribution of marks is quite normal and there seems to be no extraneous factor, which would influence the distribution of marks," the NTA said in its affidavit, which also gave details about the system in place for ensuring confidential printing of question papers, its transportation and distribution. 

 A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud is scheduled to hear on Thursday a batch of pleas related to the controversy-ridden medical entrance exam NEET-UG 2024, including those alleging irregularities and malpractices in the May 5 test and seeking a direction to conduct it afresh.  

While hearing the matter on July 8, the apex court had observed that sanctity of NEET-UG 2024 has been "breached". 

In its additional affidavit filed on Wednesday, the Centre said pursuant to the apex court's direction, the Ministry of Education had made a request to the Director of IIT Madras to undertake comprehensive data analytics of the result of candidates who appeared in NEET-UG 2024. 

"It is submitted that pursuant thereto an exhaustive and elaborate technical evaluation of the data pertaining to the NEET-UG 2024 examination was carried out by IIT Madras, using the parameters like marks distribution, city-wise and centre-wise rank distribution and candidates spread over marks-range, and the following findings have been given by the experts of the IIT Madras," it said. -- PTI
01:50   Modi concludes two-nation visit, leaves for India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for home on Wednesday after concluding his visit to Russia and Austria, during which he held talks with the top leadership of the two countries and discussed ways to expand bilateral cooperation. 

"PM @narendramodi emplanes for New Delhi after concluding a successful visit to Austria," the Prime Minister's Office said in a post on X. 

Modi first travelled to Russia, where he participated in the 22nd India-Russia summit with President Vladimir Putin, in his first trip to Moscow since the Ukraine conflict. 

From Moscow, Modi travelled to Austria, becoming the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 41 years. 

During his visit, Modi met Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Karl Nehammer and discussed ways to expand bilateral cooperation in several sectors, including the environment and combating climate change. 

He also discussed the ongoing disputes in the world, including the Ukraine conflict and the situation in West Asia, with the two leaders. 

"My visit to Austria has been historic and immensely productive. New vigour has been added to the friendship between our nations. I am glad to have attended diverse programmes while in Vienna. Gratitude to Chancellor @karlnehammer, the Austrian Government and people for their hospitality and affection," the prime minister said in a post on X. 

Modi also addressed the Indian community in both countries during his visit.
Sheena Bora
Sheena Bora
01:46   Sheena Bora's remains found at CBI office in Delhi
Weeks after it informed that parts of the purported skeleton of murder victim Sheena Bora were untraceable, the prosecution on Wednesday told the trial court in Mumbai that they were lying at the CBI's office in New Delhi. 

Sheena Bora (24) was allegedly murdered by her mother Indrani Mukerjea and others in 2012. 

The revelation came on a day when the trial court received an email alleging that Sheena's bones had not gone missing but they were in the possession of a forensic expert who had examined the skeleton and who was deposing before the court as a witness. 

This witness had suddenly amassed wealth, the email further alleged. 

The special CBI judge S P Naik Nimbalkar informed the defence lawyers present in the court on Wednesday about the email. After reading it, the lawyers submitted that the allegation should be investigated. 

The judge then sought a response from the central probe agency. The prosecution noted that it had first informed the court about Sheena's remains being untraceable on April 24, and on June 10 it further stated that they could not be found. 

"But meanwhile, again after going through the office malkhana (store).... the articles, ie, the bones are (found to be) lying in the malkhana," prosecutor C J Nandode said. 

The CBI did not rely on these articles as evidence as they were not cited in the chargesheet, and it wanted to proceed without bringing them on record, the prosecution added. 

The court then resumed the cross examination of the forensic expert. 

Indrani Mukerjea, a former media executive who is the prime accused in the murder case, is now out on bail. 

The murder came to light in 2015, three years after Sheena was allegedly strangled in a car by her mother with the help of Indrani's former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyamvar Rai in April 2012. 

The body was allegedly burnt in a forest in the neighboring Raigad district. 

Bora was Indrani's daughter from a previous relationship.
00:08   India has given Buddha to the world, not yuddha: Modi in Austria
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India has given 'Buddha' to the world, not 'yuddha' (war) which means it has always given peace and prosperity, and therefore the country is going to strengthen its role in the 21st century.

Addressing the Indian diaspora in Vienna, Modi also said that India is working towards being the best, the brightest, achieving the biggest and reaching the highest milestones.

"For thousands of years, we have been sharing our knowledge and expertise. We didn't give 'yuddha' (war), we gave the world 'Buddha'. India always gave peace and prosperity, and therefore India is going to strengthen its role in the 21st century," Modi said in Austria, a day after he arrived in Vienna from Moscow where he highlighted the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict during his talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Describing his first visit to Austria as 'meaningful', Modi said that after 41 years, an Indian Prime Minister has visited the country.

"This long wait has come to an end on a historic occasion. India and Austria are celebrating 75 years of their friendship," he said.

"India and Austria are geographically on two different ends, but we have many similarities. Democracy connects both countries. Our shared values are liberty, equality, pluralism, and respect for the rule of law. Our societies are multicultural and multilingual. Both countries celebrate diversity, and a big medium to reflect these values are elections," he said, amid chants of  Modi, Modi'.

Recalling the recently concluded general elections, Modi said 650 million people exercised their right to vote and despite such a big election, the results of the elections were declared within hours.

"It is the power of our electoral machinery and democracy," he said.

More than 31,000 Indians are living in Austria.

The number of Indian students in the country is more than 450, according to the Indian embassy in Vienna.   -- PTI

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets the scholar of Buddhist philosophy and a linguist Dr Birgit Kellner, scholar of Modern South Asia Prof Martin Gaenszle, Professor of South Asian studies Dr Borayin Larios and the Head of Indology Department University of Vienna Dr Karin Preisendanz, in Vienna on Wednesday. Photograph: ANI Photo