Wed, 15 May 2024
BJP invites Raj Thackeray to Modi's Mumbai rally

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MNS chief Raj Thackeray
MNS chief Raj Thackeray
23:27   BJP invites Raj Thackeray to Modi's Mumbai rally
Maharashtra Legislative Council leader Chandrashekhar Bawankule extended an invitation to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at Mumbai's Shivaji Park on May 17. 

"PM Modi will be holding a rally on May 17 evening at Shivaji Park. I have invited Raj Thackeray to come to the rally. Raj Thackeray has supported PM Modi's Viksit Bharat mission. This has been accepted by the people of Maharashtra. We will benefit from Raj Thackeray's support for the Mahayuti in Maharashtra. I met him today and invited him to the rally. In the coming days, Raj Thackeray will be supporting Mahayuti," Bawankule said, speaking to reporters on Wednesday. 

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray extended his party's unconditional support to the Mahayuti alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and the NCP in April. 

Speaking at the party's Gudi Padwa rally here, Thackeray declared support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that everyone should prepare for the elections. 

"Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is unconditionally supporting the grand alliance of 'BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP. This support is only for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA alliance. Now everyone should prepare for the elections," he said. -- ANI
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23:15   92.38%c students pass Goa board's SSC examination; girls outshine boys
Girls outshone boys in the Goa state board Class 10 examination results for which were declared on Wednesday with 92.38 per cent students passing the test. 

Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education chairman Bhagirath Shetye told reporters that 18,914 students had appeared for the secondary school certificate examination (Class 10) in April, of which 17,473 pupils cleared it. 

He said 8,918 girls out of 9,596 who appeared cleared the exam, recording a passing percentage of 92.93. 

Among the boys, 8,555 students out of 9,318 passed, registering a success rate of 91.80 per cent. 

The average passing percentage for the SSC examination was 92.38 per cent, Shetye said. 

Shetye said due to hot weather conditions prevailing in April every year, the board is contemplating to hold the SSC examination from in March from 2025. -- PTI
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22:52   After Wipro, Infosys orders 4L litres treated waste water from Bengaluru civic body
After Wipro, now Infosys has also taken a plunge into greywater. 

The tech giant will soon be supplied with four lakh litres of zero-bacteria water, according to sources in the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board. 

Starting this month, Wipro is being supplied with three lakh litres of treated water every day via tankers. 

"We already have Arvind Mills committing to two lakh litres a day and Channabasappa Construction one lakh litres. I just had a meeting with Ecospace Tech Park and IMZ Ecoworld, they too have expressed interest. The movement is slowly picking pace," said BWSSB chairman V Ram Prasath Manohar. 

Promoting reuse of greywater is important, said Manohar, as water demand in Bengaluru is projected to cross 5,340 million litres per day by 2030. 

Right now, the demand exceeds 2,100 MLD of which BWSSB supplies 1,470 MLD from the Cauvery River and the rest is met through borewells and water tank deliveries. 

"But treated water is always available. Promoting its reuse will bring down pressure on Cauvery," added Manohar. 

However, it still is a long way, as BWSSB is reusing only about 10 MLD while it produces 1,200 MLD. -- PTI
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22:28   Southwest Monsoon to reach Kerala around May 31
Southwest Monsoon is likely to arrive over Kerala around May 31, setting the stage for the four-month rainfall season crucial for India's farm-based economy. 

"This year, the Southwest Monsoon is likely to set over Kerala on May 31 with a model error of four days," the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday. 

"This is not early; it's close to the normal date," IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said. 

The date of monsoon onset over Kerala has varied widely over the last 150 years, the earliest being May 11, 1918, and the most delayed being June 18, 1972, according to IMD data. 

The rain-bearing system arrived in the southern state on June 8 last year, May 29 in 2022, June 3 in 2021 and June 1 in 2020. 

Last month, the IMD had forecast above-normal rain in the monsoon season in India with favourable La Nia conditions expected to set in by August-September. 

Parts of the country battled brutal heat in April, with maximum temperatures shattering records in several states and severely impacting health and livelihoods. -- PTI
22:08   Thousands line up for Modi's roadshow in Mumbai's Ghatkopar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a mega roadshow in Mumbai on Wednesday evening to canvass support for the candidates of the BJP and its allies as thousands of people lined up to greet him. 

The roadshow came ahead of the May 20 polling for the six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai and seven others in the rest of Maharashtra. The elections in Maharashtra will conclude with the fifth phase. 

The BJP's star campaigner started his roadshow amid tight police vigil from Ashok Silk Mills in Ghatkopar (West) in North East Mumbai a little after 7 pm, and concluded it after more than an hour at the Parshwanath Chowk in Ghatkopar (East). 

Earlier in the day, the prime minister addressed two campaign rallies in the state -- at Kalyan in Thane district and Dindori in Nashik district -- in support of BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP 'Mahayuti' coalition's Lok Sabha candidates. 

Thousands of people lined up on both sides of the barricaded stretch in suburban Ghatkopar, waving to Modi, holding the BJP poll symbol and raising slogans hailing him. Many gathered in balconies to wave at him, with the younger lot enthusiastically clicking pictures in their mobile phones. People dressed in fishermen's costumes and traditional attire of the Warkari sect (which worships Lord Vitthal) welcomed Modi along the route. 

BJP supporters held placards thanking the PM for "realising the 400-year-old dream" of building a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya and displaying the slogan of "abki baar 400 paar". 

Ghatkopar, which has a sizable Gujarati population, is considered a BJP stronghold. 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and the BJP's Mumbai North East and Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha candidates Mihir Kotecha and Ujjwal Nikam were present during the roadshow.
NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha (left)/File image
NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha (left)/File image
21:43   NewsClick founder walks out of Tihar after SC order
NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha was released from the Tihar Jail on Wednesday, hours after the Supreme Court declared his arrest "invalid". 

Purkayastha had been lodged in the jail since November 2 last year. 

The Delhi Police's Special Cell had arrested Purkayastha on October 3 last year under anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly receiving money to peddle pro-China propaganda through stories. 

According to his lawyer Arshdeep Singh Khurana, Purkayastha came out of jail number 10 of the prison in Rohini at 9 pm. His family members and friends received him outside the jail complex.
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21:17   Mumbai Metro services partially suspended during Modi's roadshow
The services of Mumbai Metro were partially suspended for security reasons on Wednesday evening as Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted a roadshow in Ghatkopar area of the city. 

The services between Jagruti Nagar and Ghatkopar stations were suspended from 6 pm to 7.40 pm, said a spokesperson of Mumbai Metro One. 

The Ghatkopar-Andheri-Versova Metro provides connectivity between the eastern and western suburbs and is used by more than three lakh commuters daily. -- PTI
Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico/Reuters
Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico/Reuters
21:06   Slovak PM Robert Fico wounded in shooting incident
Four-time Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting incident on Wednesday (local time) in Handlova and has been hospitalised, reported The Slovak Spectator

The incident took place after a government meeting in Handlova. 

Handlova is notably a mining town in the Trencin Region of Slovakia, where, the shooter fired at PM Fico, outside the cultural house, where a government meeting was held. 

Multiple gunshots were heard during Fico's conversation with his supporters outside the building, and sometime later Fico, while he was shot, fell to the ground, The Slovak Spectator reported. 

Following the shooting in Handlova, pro-Russian Smer MP Lubos Blaha in Bratislava has suspended today's parliament session. 

He further accused the opposition of being responsible for the shooting. 

Further details are awaited. -- ANI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi/File image
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi/File image
21:01   BJP moves EC against Rahul's Army remarks
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to take strict action against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks that the Modi government has created two categories of soldiers, one comprising those from poor families and reserved classes, and the other from rich families. 

A senior party delegation including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal and Rajeev Chandrasekhar approached the Election Commission and lodged a complaint. 

BJP Rajya Sabha MP and national media incharge Anil Baluni was also part of the delegation. 

"A few days ago, Rahul Gandhi said that Narendra Modi has created two types of soldiers, one comprising sons of those who are poor and belong to dalit, adivasi, backwards, economically weaker sections in the general category and minorities, while the other comprising those who are sons of rich," Jaishankar told reporters after meeting the poll panel officials. 

"This is a lie. This is an attack on our armed forces. They want to make it a controversial topic and lower the morale of the armed forces. This is not a topic of elections. This is a matter of national security," he added. -- PTI
20:28   Constable posted at Tendulkar's home dies by suicide in Maha's Jalgaon
A police constable who was part of the security detail posted at cricketer Sachin Tendulkar's residence in Mumbai allegedly committed suicide at his hometown in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district on Wednesday, an official said. 

Prakash Govind Kapade (39), who was attached to the State Reserve Police Force, shot himself using his service revolver in the early hours, said the police official. 

Kapade had arrived at his hometown Jamner with his family last week. 

As per the preliminary probe, he got up around 1.30 am and shot himself in the head, the official said. 

Others in the house woke up hearing the gunshot and found him lying in a pool of blood. 

Kapade was rushed to hospital but was declared dead before arrival, the official said. 

A team of Jamner police visited the house after the incident. No suicide note was found from the spot, the official added. -- PTI
20:21   Unemployment rate dips to 6.7 pc in March quarter: Govt survey
The unemployment rate for people aged 15 years and above in urban areas declined to 6.7 per cent in the January-March period from 6.8 per cent a year ago, according to the National Sample Survey Survey (NSSO).
Joblessness, or unemployment rate, is defined as the percentage of unemployed people in the labour force.
The unemployment rate in the March quarter of FY23 was 6.8 per cent, while it was 6.6 per cent in April-June as well as in the third quarter (July-September 2023) of the previous fiscal. It was 6.5 per cent in October-December 2023.
The unemployment rate for people aged 15 years and above in January-March 2024 was 6.7 per cent in urban areas, the 22nd Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) showed.
It also showed that the unemployment rate among females (aged 15 years and above) in urban areas declined to 8.5 per cent in January-March 2024 from 9.2 per cent in the same quarter a year ago.
It was 9.1 per cent in April-June 2023, 8.6 per cent in July-September 2023, and 8.6 per cent in October-December 2023.
Among males, the unemployment rate in urban areas rose to 6.1 per cent in January-March 2024 compared to 6 per cent in the year-ago period. It was 5.9 per cent in April-June 2023, 6 per cent in July-September 2023, and 5.8 per cent in October-December 2023.
Labour force participation rate in Current Weekly Status (CWS) in urban areas for people aged 15 years and above increased to 50.2 per cent in the January-March 2024, from 48.5 per cent in the same period a year ago.
It was 48.8 per cent in April-June 2023, 49.3 per cent in July-September 2023 and 49.2 per cent in October-December 2023.
Labour force refers to the part of the population, which supplies or offers to supply labour for pursuing economic activities for the production of goods and services and, therefore, includes both employed and unemployed persons.
The NSSO launched PLFS in April 2017. -- PTI
19:59   Modi takes out huge roadshow, first in Mumbai
Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a mega campaign roadshow in Mumbai on Wednesday evening to canvass support for BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha polls as scores of people lined up to greet him enthusiastically. 

The BJP's star campaigner started his roadshow amid tight police vigil from Ashok Silk Mills in Ghatkopar (West) in North East Mumbai and it will pass through various locations before concluding at Prashavnath Chowk in Ghatkopar (East). 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, BJP's Mumbai North East and Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha candidates, Mihir Kotecha and Ujjwal Nikam, respectively, were also present at the event. 

The half a dozen Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai will vote on May 20 in the fifth and last phase of voting in Maharashtra.
19:37   ED arrests Jharkhand minister Alamgir Alam
The Enforcement Directorate Wednesday arrested Congress leader and Jharkhand Rural Development Minister Alamgir Alam in a money laundering case, official sources said.

The 70-year-old was taken into custody at the agency's zonal office here under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after about six hours of interrogation on the second day of questioning, the sources said.

He was grilled by the federal agency Tuesday for over nine hours and his statement was also recorded.

The agency had last week arrested Alam's personal secretary and state administrative service officer Sanjeev Kumar Lal (52) and the latter's domestic help Jahangir Alam (42) following the seizure of more than Rs 32 crore cash from a flat linked to them.

The money laundering investigation pertains to alleged irregularities and payment of "bribes" in the state rural development department.

While seeking the remand of the two arrested persons, the ED had informed a special PMLA court here that Lal collected "commission" on behalf of some influential people and that government officials from "top to bottom" in the rural department are involved in the alleged illegal cash payments nexus.

The total seizure of cash by the ED in this case has been recorded at around Rs 36.75 crore as the agency seized about Rs 3 crore from other locations including Rs 10.05 lakh from Lal's place and Rs 1.5 crore from a contractor's place. -- PTI 
19:36   Slovakia's prime minister wounded in shooting
Slovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting, according to media reports.
Reports on TA3, a Slovakian TV station, said that Fico, 59, was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters. 

A suspect has been detained, it said.  
18:55   SC gave special treatment: Shah on bail to Kejriwal
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that many people feel the Supreme Court's decision granting interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case is akin to him getting special treatment.
 In an interview with ANI, Shah said that the judgement in the case was not a routine judicial order.
"The Supreme Court has the right to interpret the law, I believe this is not a routine judgement. A lot of people in this country believe that special treatment has been given," Shah told ANI.
Responding to a query about Kejriwal campaigning for the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha election, the Home Minister took a dig at the Delhi Chief Minister.
"Right now he (Arvind Kejriwal) is stuck in another issue (alleged assault on Swati Maliwal by CM's aide), let him get free from that then let's see what happens," Shah said.
Dismissing Kejriwal's claims that the central government installed cameras in Tihar jail to keep a watch on him, Shah said that the Tihar jail administration is with the Delhi government.
"Tihar is with them (Delhi government), not with us. They are lying continuously. Jail administration is with the Delhi government, it's with Kejriwal. Not with the Home Ministry," Shah said.
The Supreme Court on May 10 granted interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party supremo in the alleged money laundering case linked to Delhi's excise policy.
The Delhi CM spent over 50 days in Tihar Jail after he was arrested on March 21 this year by the Enforcement Directorate. 

As per court order, the bail is applicable till June 1 and Kejriwal has to surrender to the jail authorities on June 2. The Delhi CM can participate in poll campaigning but cannot attend office as Chief Minister.
18:27   Ex-Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal passes away
Veteran Congress leader and former governor of Gujarat Kamla Beniwal died at a private hospital in Jaipur on Wednesday.
She was 97.
Beniwal was admitted to the hospital after a brief illness. One of her family members said the funeral will be held on Thursday.
Apart from Gujarat, Beniwal also served as governor of Tripura and Mizoram. 

She was also the deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, apart from holding other posts in the state government and the Congress party. -- PTI 
18:22   Lawrence Wong sworn in as Singapore's new PM
Economist Lawrence Wong was on Wednesday sworn in as Singapore's fourth prime minister in a planned political transition for the island state.
Wong, 51, succeeded Lee Hsien Loong, 72, who relinquished his position after two decades; both belong to the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) that has been driving Singapore's economic progress for more than five decades.
Wong, who was the deputy prime minister, will be leading the fourth generation PAP politicians' government as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.
President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 67, administered the oath to Wong, described by the local media as a low-key leadership transition.
Wong cited continuity, stability and the need to avoid disruptions as reasons for not making major changes at the minister (cabinet) level.
"With all other ministers holding on to their portfolios across the leadership transition from Lee Hsien Loong's government to Wong's, it also testifies to the consistency in Wong's decision-making," a Channel News Asia report said. -- PTI 
17:44   400-paar is for PoK to be merged with India: Himanta
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday claimed that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will be "merged with India" if BJP gets more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing an election rally in Jharkhand's Ramgarh for Hazaribag candidate Manish Jaiswal, he said the BJP needed to get over 400 seats to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) across the country.

"PoK will be merged with India if BJP gets over 400 seats in Lok Sabha polls. BJP needs over 400 seats to build the 'Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi' temple and 'Gyanvapi temple', and implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), just like when it crossed the 300-seat mark in 2019, it built the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. It also ensured the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir, and implemented the CAA," Sarma said.

"Like Assam, infiltrators from Bangladesh are changing the demography of Jharkhand, while the JMM and Congress are indulging in their appeasement," he alleged.

He said "infiltrators" have occupied land in 12 districts of Assam, and in Jharkhand, they have started the same by marrying local tribal women.
"If this continues, they will change Jharkhand's demography too," he claimed.

Sarma said the situation has become such that "infiltrators" were trying to become original inhabitants.

He attacked the JMM-led alliance in the state, alleging that corruption has peaked during its rule.

"Over Rs 350 crore in cash has been recovered from premises linked to a Congress MP. Over Rs 35 crore has been seized from the domestic help of a personal secretary attached to a state minister. All leaders here are indulging in corruption," he said.

He said such a government was needed that worked for the poor, needy and deprived.

He said India was prospering under PM Narendra Modi, who will return to power with 400 seats. -- PTI
17:32   Mamata going soft on infiltration: Nadda
Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of compromising on the issue of infiltration and appeasing minorities, BJP chief J P Nadda on Wednesday said during the decade-long reign of the TMC in the state, one scandal after another has plagued West Bengal.

 Speaking at an election rally in support of the party's Purulia candidate Jyotirmoy Mahato, Nadda said while the fragmented INDIA bloc parties were rooting for a 'majboor' (weak) government at the Centre to fulfill their selfish motives, people of West Bengal have already made their choice clear for a 'majboot' (strong) government.

 Nadda also accused Banerjee of converting Bengal into a haven for terrorists. "Mamata Didi's government is going soft on the issue of infiltration besides pursuing the policy of minority appeasement," Nadda said. 

 Regarding alleged corruption charges against the TMC, he remarked, "From scandals in teacher recruitment to clerk appointment fraud, from coal and cattle smuggling to the arrests of her party leaders and ministers for various scams, Mamata Didi's tenure has unfortunately become synonymous with corruption and terror."
17:15   14 people get citizenship for 1st time under CAA
The first set of citizenship certificates to 14 people was issued under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA today, nearly two months after the Centre notified it, initiating the process of granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Under the CAA, the qualification period of citizenship application has been reduced from 11 to 5 years for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla handed over citizenship certificates to the applicants in Delhi and highlighted salient features of the CAA. 
16:58   Cong wants to give 15% of budget to minorities: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday alleged the Congress during its previous rule wanted to allocate 15 per cent of the government budget for minorities and vowed not to allow splitting of budget or reservation in jobs and education on the basis of religion. 

Addressing an election rally at Pimpalgaon Baswant in north Maharashtra's Nashik district in support of Mahayuti candidates -- Union minister Bharati Pawar (BJP) and Hemant Godse (Shiv Sena) -- the PM said splitting budget on religious lines was dangerous. The BJP's star campaigner maintained Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Constitution, was firmly against religion-based reservation in jobs and education. 

Modi claimed the Congress, when in power at the Centre, had drawn up plans to allocate 15 per cent of the total budget to minorities. "When I was the chief minister (of Gujarat), the Congress had brought up this proposal. The BJP opposed this move strongly and hence it could not be implemented. But the Congress wants to bring this proposal again," he told the gathering. 

The PM asserted Ambedkar was against religion-based quota, but the Congress wants to take away reservation rights of SCs/STs/OBCs and give them to Muslims. 

"Modi is the chowkidar (watchman) of rights of deprived sections of society and will never let the Congress take away their rights," the BJP stalwart declared. Modi said the ongoing Lok Sabha polls are about electing a prime minister who takes strong decisions for the country.

 In the last 10 years, the PM said, his government has provided free ration, water, electricity, houses and gas connections irrespective of religion. "Welfare schemes are made for every one," he maintained. 

Without naming NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar, Modi said, "An INDI alliance leader from Maharashtra knows the Congress is losing badly (in elections). So, he has suggested that small parties merge with the Congress so that it at least stands as an opposition party." 

"When the duplicate Shiv Sena (referring to Sena UBT) merges with the Congress, I will remember Balasaheb Thackeray because the late leader dreamt of a grand Ram mandir in Ayodhya and abolishing Article 370," he added. PTI
16:36   EC operating under Modi's directions: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister on Wednesday labeled the Election Commission (EC) as a "puppet" operating under the directives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 Addressing an election rally at Chinsurah, Hooghly district, Banerjee criticised the EC for scheduling the polls over a period of two months, alleging that this decision favoured the saffron party while disregarding the hardships faced by the common people due to excessive heat. 

 "The Election Commission is a puppet and operates according to Modi's directions. Poll is being held for two-and-half months, have you (poll officials) ever realised the struggle of the common people," Banerjee said. Accompanying the party's Hooghly nominee actress Rachana Banerjee, the CM accused Modi of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by allegedly announcing plans to expand the Ayushman Bharat Yojana to cover senior citizens over 70 years of age during the ongoing elections. 

 "Why are you saying this now when the elections are on? You should have announced this earlier... Modi babu, you are violating the MCC," she said. Banerjee expressed skepticism about the BJP's ambitious target of achieving 400 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. 

 "BJP is claiming of winning 400 seats, but people are saying it will not happen this time. We (TMC) will support the INDIA bloc from outside to form a government at the Centre," she said. Banerjee declared her party's unwavering stance against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), and Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Bengal. PTI
16:16   16 Sri Lankan mercenaries killed in Russia-Ukraine war
At least 16 retired Sri Lankan military personnel have been killed in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Sri Lanka's defence ministry said on Wednesday. 

 The Sri Lankan mercenaries had joined the Russian and Ukrainian forces after unscrupulous foreign employment agencies misled them in the name of foreign employment, according to police. 

 State Minister for Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon said that 16 Sri Lankan retired military personnel were killed in the Russia-Ukraine war. "That is the confirmed information we have, he said, adding that plans are being made to bring back Sri Lankans who are currently in Russia and Ukraine. Former military personnel are engaged to fight on both sides, according to police.
15:56   Modi will not be PM after June 4, asserts Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said no matter how much the BJP consoles itself through its "lies", it will not make any difference and Narendra Modi will no longer be the prime minister after June 4. 

 Gandhi shared a video put out by the Congress on social media where they highlighted how his comments made during a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh were being "distorted" and differentiated between the truth and lies. 

 "No matter how much the BJP consoles itself through the 'factory of lies', it is not going to make any difference. I am saying it again -- Narendra Modi will no longer be the Prime Minister after June 4," he said in a post in Hindi on X. 

 "A storm is blowing in every corner of the country in favour of INDIA," he said referring to the opposition bloc. The Congress and Gandhi have been claiming that the INDIA bloc is forming the next government and the BJP was being thrown out of power in these Lok Sabha elections. PTI
Rahul Gandhi with coal carriers
Rahul Gandhi with coal carriers
15:25   Double ration to every poor India, promises Kharge
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced Wednesday that if the INDIA bloc is voted to power, it will double the quantity of free rations provided by the BJP government to the poor. 

 He referred to the Modi government scheme providing five kilograms of ration to the poor every month and said, "The Congress brought the Food Security Act, you did nothing." 

 "You are giving five kg, if INDIA bloc government is formed, we will give 10 kg of ration to the poor," Kharge said, addressing a joint press conference here with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. 

 "I am saying this with guarantee because we have already done it in states, including Telangana and Karnataka," he added. 

 In a campaign speech recently, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had pitched for more employment opportunities for youngsters, saying the Modi government's scheme to provide free ration to the poor every month was not a solution. 

 "This will not build your future, this won't make you self-reliant," she had said. BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, list the government's free ration scheme in every political rally. The party has even mentioned in its manifesto that it will continue the scheme till 2029 after coming to power. Yadav has also promised in several of his rallies that the quality of ration distributed to the poor will be improved if the INDIA bloc comes to power. PTI
14:51   Priyanka is a tourist politician: Piyush Goyal
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday described Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as a "non-serious" and "tourist" politician who disappear after elections and cannot understand the real India. 

 Goyal also said that he respected the role of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the freedom struggle and claimed that the "personal ambition of an individual prevailed over the will of the people of India" post-Independence. 

 "I don't think so. These are non-serious politicians. They don't seem to connect with the real India. They live in an utopian world. Occasionally, they come out into the field during elections and disappear after that," Goyal said in response to a question by PTI during his campaign trail in Mumbai on whether Priyanka Gandhi would emerge as a formidable politician in the future. 

 "They can't really serve the people, understand the real India as a tourist politician." 

 Asked whether Priyanka's statements on martyrdom experienced by the Nehru-Gandhi family will resonate with the people, the senior BJP leader said the Congress, after Independence, preferred to encash the work of many freedom fighters for an individual family. 

 "Well, we respect the fact that their family has played a role in India's Independence struggle, but we should not forget the fact that Sardar Patel was chosen to lead the Congress by almost everybody in the Congress at that time. But, it was the personal ambition of an individual that prevailed over the will of the people of India," Goyal said in an apparent reference to the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

 In an emotional speech during the Congress campaign in Madhya Pradesh early this month, Priyanka had asserted that her father Rajiv Gandhi had inherited "martyrdom" from his mother and not wealth and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will never understand the sacrifices made by her family. -- PTI
The MEA statement
The MEA statement
14:18   Deeply saddened: India on Col Waibhav Kale's death
India on Wednesday said it is "deeply saddened" over the death of Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd), the Indian national who was working with the UN in Gaza. 

 The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York as well as its mission in Tel Aviv and Ramallah are extending all assistance in the repatriation of mortal remains of Kale to India. 

 Kale was killed after the vehicle he was travelling in came under attack in Gaza's Rafah region on Monday. "We are deeply saddened by the death of Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd), Security Coordination Officer in the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) in Gaza on May 13," the MEA said. 

 "We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and dear ones," it said "Our Permanent Mission to the UN in New York and our Missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah are extending all assistance in the repatriation of mortal remains to India and continue to be in touch with relevant authorities regarding the investigation into the incident," the MEA said in a statement. PTI
14:04   Court extends Sisodia's judicial custody till May 30
A Delhi court on Wednesday extended the judicial custody of AAP leader and former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia till May 30 in a corruption case related to an alleged excise scam.

 Special judge for CBI and ED Kaveri Baweja also fixed May 30 for further arguments on framing of charges in the case. The judge noted that an application for postponement of arguments on the charge is pending before the high court. 

 Sisodia and other accused persons in custody were produced before the court through video-conferencing from prison. The court had on April 30 dismissed the bail pleas of Sisodia in corruption and money laundering cases, lodged by the CBI and the ED in relation to the alleged scam. The court had reserved the order after hearing arguments from the CBI and ED as well as the counsel appearing for Sisodia. PTI
13:48   Modi's Mumbai visit: Drones, gliders, balloons banned
In the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's planned visits to Mumbai, the police have banned the use of drones, paragliders, balloons, kites and remote-controlled microlight aircraft in the city, an official said on Wednesday.

Modi is scheduled to hold a campaign roadshow in Ghatkopar in eastern Mumbai on Wednesday and address a public meeting in the city on Friday.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) has issued prohibitory orders banning the flying objects under section 144 of CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) from 00.01 hrs till 24.00 hrs of May 15 (Wednesday) and May 17 (Friday), the official said.

According to the orders, it is apprehended that during PM Modi's visits to Mumbai, 'terrorist/anti-social elements might launch attack using drones, paragliders, remote-controlled microlight aircraft and there is a likelihood breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquillity'.

There is a grave danger to human life, health, safety and injury to public property on that account, as per the orders.

A large number of VIPs and officials are expected to attend PM's programmes on Wednesday and Friday.

"As it is necessary to put some checks and immediate action on terrorists and anti-social elements," the orders were issued banning the flying of drones, paragliders, all types of balloons, kites, remote-controlled microlight aircraft, the official said.

According to the orders, the curbs will be in force under the jurisdiction of Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg, Parksite, Ghatkopar, Pant Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Chembur, Chunabhatti, BKC, Kherwadi, Vakola, Vile Parle, Sahar, Airport, Bandra, Worli, Mahim, Dadar and Shivaji Park police stations in Mumbai.

Those not following the orders will be punished under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 188 (disobeying a lawful order given by a public servant), he said.   -- PTI
Pic: Hitesh Harisinghani/
Pic: Hitesh Harisinghani/
13:11   Finding survivors slim in billboard crash: NDRF
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which is engaged in the search and rescue operation at the hoarding collapse site in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, on Wednesday said the number of casualties going up in the tragedy cannot be ruled out as the chances of finding survivors are slim.

 Two teams of the NDRF along with the fire brigade and police have been working relentlessly since the last two days to rescue the people trapped under the billboard that collapsed on a petrol pump in Chheda Nagar area of Ghatkopar on Monday evening due to gusty winds and unseasonal rains.

 So far, the search and rescue teams have pulled out 89 persons from under the collapsed hoarding, of whom 14 were declared dead while 75 others were injured. Two more bodies have been located under the debris, but they are yet to be pulled out, officials said. 

"Heavy machinery has been deployed for clearing and lifting the steel structure and girder of the billboard that collapsed on the petrol pump and a parking lot," an NDRF official said. 

 "The probability of more casualties cannot be ruled out as the chances of finding people alive are slim," he said. 

Cutting and drilling equipment are not being used due to the presence of the petrol pump there. Also, fuel has leaked from damaged vehicles that were struck under the 120x120-feet billboard, he said. 

On Wednesday morning, a small fire broke out at the incident site during the operation, but it was immediately doused by the fire tenders deployed there, another NDRF official earlier said. PTI
12:54   India ready to bid farewell to Modi: Kharge
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday asserted that the opposition INDIA bloc is in a strong position after four phases of Lok Sabha polls and that the people of the country are prepared to bid farewell to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

 He also said that the election is to save the Constitution and asked why PM Modi has not taken action against those talking of changing the Constitution.

 "Four rounds of polling have been completed in the country. The INDIA bloc is in a very strong position. I can say with full confidence that the people of the country have prepared to bid farewell to Narendra Modi. INDIA bloc is going to form the new government on June 4," he said at a joint press conference with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow. 

 He claimed that the BJP will change the Constitution if it comes to power again. 

 "These people are trying to change the Constitution. RSS leader Mohan Bhagawat said it first. It was said in Karnataka that two third majority is needed to change the Constitution. In Uttar Pradesh, so many from the BJP have talked of changing the Constitution," Kharge said. 

 He asked why PM Modi has not taken any action against those who talk of changing the Constitution. "I am surprised that Modi remains quiet on this. You talk of strength and 56 inch chest, why don't you scare them, expel them from the party. One should not say such things against the Constitution," he added. 

 Kharge said the Congress made a law to ensure food is provided to the poor. "If INDIA bloc govt is formed, we will provide 10 kg of free ration per month to the poor," he added.
12:29   Raj mine collapse: All 15 rescued, 1 feared dead
All 15 Hindustan Copper Limited officials who had been trapped in a mine in Neem ka Thana district since last night were taken out Wednesday, with one of them is feared dead, an official said. 

Neem ka Thana Collector Sharad Mehra said 14 rescued were sent to SMS hospital in Jaipur for treatment and one was taken to a company hospital for examination as he is feared dead. 

 Fifteen personnel of the public sector company got trapped in a mine Tuesday night when a cage used to carry the personnel fell down after a rope broke, police said.

The team included members of vigilance department and other officials that had gone for an inspection. When the cage was coming up, it collapsed due to breakage of a rope. PTI
Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav in Jhansi
Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav in Jhansi
12:00   PM yet to muster courage to debate Rahul: Cong
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not yet "mustered the courage" to accept the invitation for a debate with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. 

 "Day 4 of Rahul Gandhi's letter accepting an invitation to debate the Prime Minister. The 56-inch chest has not yet mustered the courage to accept the invite," Jairam Ramesh posted on X with the hashtag "Daro Mat". 

 Earlier, while accepting the invitation for a public debate with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha President Tejasvi Surya nominated BJYM's Vice President Abhinav Prakash. 

 On May 13, BJYM Vice President Abhinav Prakash, who was nominated by Tejasvi Surya to debate with Rahul Gandhi, said he looked forward to the debate and hoped that the Congress leader would not run away from it the way he ran away from Amethi. 

 It is pertinent to note that the invitation was extended to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by Retired Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Ajit P Shah, and journalist N Ram for a debate on the key election issues. 

 Tejasvi Surya proposed the name of Abhinav Prakash, stating that he is from a Dalit caste, Pasi, which makes up a significant proportion of over 30 per cent of the scheduled caste population in Raebareli where Rahul Gandhi is contesting in the current Lok Sabha election. 

 Elaborating on the credentials of Abhinav Prakash, he wrote in a letter, "He is not only a distinguished leader within our youth wing but also an articulate spokesperson for the policies and reforms implemented by our government. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and an assistant professor of economics at Delhi University's Ramjas College, with previous teaching stints at SRCC, his profound understanding of social, economic, and political dynamics is poised to enrich the debate significantly." 

 On May 10, Rahul Gandhi in a letter addressed to retired judges Madan B Lokur, Ajit P Shah, and journalist N Ram, Gandhi expressed readiness to participate in the debate either himself or through Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.

 "It would be a positive initiative for the major parties to present their vision to the country from one platform for a healthy democracy. Congress welcomes this initiative and accepts the invitation for discussion. The country also expects the Prime Minister to take part in this dialogue," Rahul Gandhi said while accepting the invitation. -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
11:32   Close shave for two cops as Naxalites trigger IED blast in Chhattisgarh
Two police personnel had a narrow escape on Wednesday when Naxalites detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district, an official said. 

 The incident took place near Somanpalli village on Kutru-Farsegarh road when Farsegarh police station's SHO Akash Masih and constable Sanjay were heading in a car to Bijapur town for a government work, he said.

 "When the vehicle was near Somanpalli, Naxalites triggered the blast causing damage to the bonnet of the car. None of the two occupants was harmed in the blast," he said. 

 A joint team of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force and Farsegarh police was out on an area domination operation in the area when the incident occurred, he said. After being alerted, security personnel rushed to the spot and a combing operation was launched in the area, he added. -- PTI 
11:15   Jyotiraditya Scindia's mother dies
Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia's mother Madhavi Raje Scindia died Wednesday morning at AIIMS, Delhi, a source said. She died at 9.28 am and had been on ventilator in her last few days, the source said. She was undergoing treatment at the premier hospital for the last three months and suffered from pneumonia along with sepsis, the source said. PTI
Prabir Purkayastha
Prabir Purkayastha
11:13   SC orders release of NewsClick founder Purkayastha
The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared as "invalid" the arrest of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha in a case under the anti-terror law, and directed that he be released from custody.

 The order was issued by a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta. According to the FIR, the news portal allegedly received huge funds from China to "disrupt the sovereignty of India" and cause disaffection against the country.

 It also alleged that Purkayastha conspired with a group -- People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) -- to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. PTI
10:49   Modi pathological liar: Cong reacts to Hindu-Muslim
Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications, reacts to PM Narendra Modi's statement that he does not do Hindu-Muslim politics. Read what the PM said here

Ramesh says, "The nation knows very well that the outgoing PM is a pathological liar. But even by his own pathetic standards, Mr. Modi's latest claim that he does not do Hindu-Muslim politics shows the new depths he reaches daily in lying. Since April 19th 2024, it is a matter of public record that cannot be erased from our collective memory - even if Mr. Modi erases it from his own - that the outgoing PM has blatantly and brazenly used communal language, symbols, and allusions. 

"We have brought this to the attention of the Election Commission of India as well. Action should have been taken, but sadly it has not. Throughout this campaign, the outgoing PM has had no agenda barring Hindu-Muslim politics. His party's manifesto, an incoherent jumble of words amidst an array of his own photos, has found zero traction. Modi ki Guarantee, promoted at tremendous cost to the public exchequer for the last few months, has fallen flat. 400 Paar has been given a silent burial. 

"His last, desperate attempt at having a campaign has been to lie and spread untruths about the Congress Party's and the INDIA janbandhan's agenda for equitable growth for each and every Indian citizen. The certainty of his exit has now forced him to feign memory loss."
10:31   'Taxing Billionaires Is Not A Bad Idea'
Are economic disparity, poverty and unemployment the real issues confronting India this election?

"The growth of wealth disparities is not new, but it was almost certainly reinforced in the last ten years by economic policies favourable to big business, such as corporate subsidies, loan waivers, land concessions, protective tariffs, stimulus packages and relaxation of environmental norms.

"Gautam Adani's meteoric rise under Modi is just the tip of that iceberg. All this is being done in the name of employment and poverty removal, but that's just a fig leaf," Professor Jean Dreze, the eminent Belgian born Indian economist and social scientist, tells's Shobha Warrier.

Read the interview here. 
10:29   8 of 15 officials rescued from Rajasthan mine
Eight of the fifteen members of a team of Hindustan Copper Limited who had been trapped in a mine in Neem ka Thana district since last night were rescued on Wednesday morning.

Fifteen officials of the public sector company got trapped in a mine Tuesday night when a cage used to carry the personnel fell down along the shaft after a rope broke, police said. 

 Three persons were rescued and taken out of the mine in the first round and five more were taken out in the second round.

 Neem ka Thana Collector Sharad Mehra told reporters that remaining persons would also be taken out in around two hours. 

 Earlier, Dr Mahendra Singh, a part of the medical team, said the three rescued were sent to SMS hospital in Jaipur with fractures and other injuries. Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma said officials have been instructed to speed up the relief and rescue operations. 

 "Information was received about the accident caused by the breakage of the lift rope in the Kolihan mine of Hindustan Copper Limited in Khetri, Jhunjhunu. The concerned officials have been instructed to immediately reach the spot and speed up the relief and rescue operations and provide all possible help and health facilities to the affected," he said in a post on X. 

 A vigilance team, along with senior officials and workers of the state-owned company, had gone inside the mine for an inspection. However, when they were about to come up, the rope holding the cage broke due to which it collapsed and the personnel were trapped at a depth of several hundred feet, police said. PTI
09:59   PM will get PoK in India if we get 400 seats: Sarma
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that when the BJP got 300 seats, it built the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and now temples will be built at Krishna Janmabhoomi site in Mathura and in place of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi after it gets 400 seats in Lok Sabha polls. 

 He also said that Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) will be included in India under the leadership of PM Modi. 

 He further said that during Congress' rule, no discussions were held in Parliament regarding Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

 "When the Congress government was in power, we were told that one Kashmir is in India and the other in Pakistan. It was never discussed in our Parliament that Pakistan has 'Occupied Kashmir,' it is actually ours. Right now, agitation is happening every day in PoK and people are protesting against Pakistan by holding the Indian tricolour in their hands. If Modi ji gets 400 seats, then PoK will also become India's. It has already started," Himanta added.

 The Assam Chief Minister also asserted that the BJP government is working to give more strength to reservations.
Army men conduct search ops in Kashmir. File pic
Army men conduct search ops in Kashmir. File pic
09:39   Armed men spotted in J-K's Kathua, search operation launched
A joint team of the Army and J-K Police launched a massive search operation in the Jakhole-Juthana forest area of Kathua district during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday after villagers spotted armed men moving about in a village in the district. 

"Security forces including the Army and the police launched a search operation in the Jakhole-Juthana forest area of Kathua after locals sighted an armed person during the intervening night," said officials. More details are awaited. 

 Earlier on May 9, the Indian Army concluded 'Operation Redwani Payeen', eliminating three terrorists after a vigil of 40 hours. -- ANI
Waibhav Kale's family
Waibhav Kale's family
09:36   He was ready to give his all for country: Family mourns Waibhav Kale
A silence has descended on the Thane residence of Waibhav Anil Kale after his family members received word of the killing of the former Indian Army officer, who worked for the United Nations in Gaza. 

 Kale (46) died while travelling in a vehicle to a hospital in the Khan Younis area from Rafah. 

 Speaking to ANI, Mugdha Ashok Kale, the aunt of the retired colonel, said she was still struggling to come to terms with the fact that he was no more. "When we heard about Waibhav, it came as a big shock. We still can't believe he is no more. We hadn't even seen much of him in the recent past. However, it feels he still with us in spirit. Even though the bitter truth comes out eventually, our minds aren't ready to accept and reconcile with it. Hence, for us, Waibhav is still alive," she told ANI. 

 On his lifelong dedication to service as an army officer and thereafter, as a UN staffer, Chinmay Ashok Kale, his cousin, told ANI, "He was very active and always up to something since childhood. However, he was also very dedicated to his family and would catch up and spend time with us whenever he could. Patriotism and service to the nation run in the veins of the Kale family. It was his grandfather's wish that he join the forces. He sat for the exam on several occasions but couldn't crack it. However, he did not lose heart and kept at it till he finally fulfilled his grandfather's dream by being drafted into the army." -- ANI
Pic: Hitesh Harisinghani/
Pic: Hitesh Harisinghani/
09:31   Hoarding crash: 2 more bodies found under debris
Two more bodies were found under the debris at the site of a giant hoarding collapse in Mumbai as the search and rescue operation continued on Wednesday, an NDRF official said. 

 The bodies were spotted last night, but were yet to be pulled out, a civic official said. Rescue teams had earlier recovered 14 bodies from the hoarding crash site, while 75 persons were injured in the incident, as per officials.

 A small fire broke out at the incident site in Ghatkopar during the search and rescue operation on Wednesday morning, but it was immediately doused by the fire tenders deployed there, an NDRF official said.

 "There was a small fire but it was extinguished immediately," the official said. The search and rescue operation continued even 40 hours after the incident, officials said. 

The illegal hoarding that stood on a piece of land in possession of the Government Railway Police (GRP) crashed on a petrol pump in Chheda Nagar area on Monday evening when the city was hit by dust storms and unseasonal rains. PTI
09:19   Six killed after truck hits bus and catches fire
Six persons were charred to death when a private bus in which they were traveling, caught fire after being hit by a tipper lorry near Chilakaluripet in Palnadu district, police said. The mishap occurred during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, they said. 

 "We got the information through some people about the incident. We have alerted ambulances and fire tenders. When we reached the spot, the bus was engulfed in flames. We understand that six people died," a police official told TV channels, adding drivers of both the vehicles died. The official further said the injured were admitted to a hospital. PTI
09:09   Didn't refer to Muslims: Modi on Banswara speech
In a bid to clarify his 'infiltrators' and 'those with more children' remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview with News18 said that he did not only talk about Muslims but spoke about every poor family, adding that the day he starts doing Hindu-Muslim, he will be 'unworthy of public life'.

In an interview with News18, Modi said that he does not market love towards Muslims, "I do not work for a vote bank. I believe in sabka saath, sabka vikas."

"I am shocked. Who told you that whenever one talks of people with more children, the inference is they are Muslims? Why are you so unjust towards Muslims? This is the situation in poor families too. Where there is poverty, there are more children, irrespective of their social circle. I didn't mention either Hindu or Muslim. I have said that one should have as many children as you can take care of. Don't let a situation arise where the government has to take care of your children," the prime minister said on Tuesday.

"The day I start doing Hindu-Muslims, I won't be entitled to live in the public domain. I won't do Hindu-Muslim. This is my pledge," Modi said.

Earlier, in a public rally in Rajasthan, Modi alleged Congress wants to take away the gold and property of people and distribute it among 'those having more children', citing former PM Manmohan Singh's remark that Muslims had the first claim on the country's resources.

"The Congress manifesto says they will calculate the gold with mothers and sisters, get information about it and then distribute that property. They will distribute it to whom -- Manmohan Singh's government had said that Muslims have the first right on the country's assets," he claimed.

"Earlier, when their (Congress) government was in power, they had said that Muslims have the first right on the country's assets. This means to whom will this property be distributed? It will be distributed among those who have more children.

"It will distributed to the infiltrators. Should your hard-earned money go to the infiltrators? Do you approve of this?" Modi had said.   -- ANI/PTI
08:39   12 members still trapped in Rajasthan mine after lift collapse
Three of the fifteen members of a team of Hindustan Copper Limited who had been trapped in a mine in Neem ka Thana district since last night were rescued on Wednesday morning.

Fifteen officials of the public sector company got trapped in a mine Tuesday night when a vertical shaft used to carry the personnel collapsed, police said. 

Dr Mahendra Singh, a part of the medical team, said the three rescued were sent to a hospital. Efforts are on to bring the remaining 12 out.

"All have been rescued. Of them, three have been taken out of the mine and sent to hospital. They have fractures," he said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma said officials have been instructed to speed up the relief and rescue operations.

'Information was received about the accident caused by the breakage of the lift rope in the Kolihan mine of Hindustan Copper Limited in Khetri, Jhunjhunu. The concerned officials have been instructed to immediately reach the spot and speed up the relief and rescue operations and provide all possible help and health facilities to the affected,' he said in a post on X.

A vigilance team, along with senior officials and workers of the state-owned company, had gone inside the mine for an inspection.

However, when they were about to come up, a rope of the shaft or 'cage' broke due to which the cage collapsed, police said.   -- PTI
01:15   Shabana Azmi awarded Freedom of the City of London
Celebrated actress Shabana Azmi has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her prolific contribution to Indian cinema and as a campaigner for women's rights. 

The 73-year-old winner of five National Awards for Best Actress and six Filmfare Awards, who was in London for a celebration of her 50 years in cinema at the annual UK Asian Film Festival, received the honour at a ceremony last week. 

The Freedom of the City of London dates back to the 13th century and is conferred upon individuals as a way of paying tribute to their outstanding contribution to London or public life, or to celebrate a very significant achievement. 

"I am deeply honoured to receive the Freedom of the City of London award. It is a testament to the power of cinema and activism that we are able to transcend borders and make a meaningful impact on society," said Azmi. 

"I am grateful for this recognition and remain committed to using my voice and platform to advocate for positive change," she said. 

She was nominated by Alderman Alastair King DL and Deputy Brian Mooney BEM for the award, conferred by the financial hub of London referred to as the City of London or the Square Mile. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
01:08   14 officials of Hindustan Copper trapped in Rajasthan mine as lift collapses
Fourteen officials and members of a vigilance team of PSU Hindustan Copper Limited were trapped in a mine in Rajasthan's Neem ka Thana district on Tuesday night when a vertical shaft used for transportation of personnel collapsed, the police said. 

Praveen Nayak, superintendent of police of Neem ka Thana district, said that a rescue team has reached the trapped personnel and some of them could be injured. 

Efforts are on to bring out the personnel who are stuck at a depth of several hundred metres at the Kolihan mine, the police said. 

According to preliminary information, the incident occurred when the vigilance team along with senior officials of the state-owned company went inside the mine for an inspection. 

When they were about to come up, a rope of the shaft or 'cage' broke due to which around 14 people were stuck, the police said. Khetri MLA Dharmpal Gurjar reached the site and took stock of the situation. -- PTI
00:59   Powerful solar storm impacts Earth, says ISRO
A powerful solar storm impacted Earth in early May 2024, triggered by the highly active region AR13664 in the Sun, ISRO said on Tuesday. 

This region unleashed a series of X-class flares and Coronal Mass Ejections directed at Earth. 

According to ISRO, the resulting geomagnetic storm was the most intense since 2003, causing disruptions to communication and GPS systems. 

"This is the biggest geomagnetic storm since 2003 in terms of its strength, as the flaring region on the Sun was as big as the historically important Carrington event that took place in 1859," ISRO said in a statement. 

Multiple X-class flares and CMEs have hit the Earth in the past few days, the space agency said. 

"This (CME) had severe effects over high latitudes where trans-polar flights are already being reported to get diverted. More events are expected in the next few days," ISRO noted. -- PTI
00:50   Shinde Sena links Mumbai hoarding crash to Uddhav camp
The ruling Shiv Sena on Tuesday claimed Bhavesh Bhinde, the owner of the advertising agency linked to the hoarding tragedy in Mumbai, was associated with the rival camp led by former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. 

Maharashtra industries minister Uday Samant shared a photograph of Bhinde alongside Shiv Sena-UBT president Uddhav Thackeray to back his party's assertion. 

Bhinde is the owner of Ego Media Pvt Ltd, the advertising agency which had allegedly put up the hoarding that crashed on a petrol pump in suburban Ghatkopar on Monday evening, killing 14 people. 

He is currently absconding. 

"Initially assigned duties within the Sena, Bhinde was given the responsibility of installing hoardings in Mumbai. Exploiting his access to hoarding spaces allocated by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Bhinde illicitly utilised them for (displaying greeting) for Sena-UBT's leaders' birthdays and election campaigns," Samant claimed. -- PTI