News

  • India has said that the response of developed nations for greater action in combating climate change is inadequate. Makingan intervention at the 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers in Durban today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the world is at a critical stage in combating climate change.

  • The network of Common Service Centres (CSCs), which act as access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, are set to be expanded to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by the year end,Union Minister for Electronics and IT Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad said today at Dhanauri Kalan village in Gautam Budh Nagar (UP).

  • The much awaited ‘Bastariya Battalion’ of CRPF is ready for Anti Naxal operation’s (ANO) in Chhattisgarh. Soon after the Passing Out Parade (PoP)of the new recruits to be held in Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh tommorrow.

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    Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s departure statement prior to his visit to Russia.

    “Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin.

  • Based on the meeting convened by Raksha MantriSmt Nirmala Sitharaman with Members of Parliament and elected Vice Presidents of all 62 Cantonment Boards on 04 May 2018, on the issues relating to Cantonments, a detailed review was undertaken by the Ministry on various issues, in particular those relating to closure of roads in the Cantonments.

  • I am happy to be here today for the seventh convocation of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali. Though a young institution, IISER, as it is popularly known, is an extremely important centre of higher education and research in our country.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the 7th convocation of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali today (May 20, 2018) in Mohali, Punjab. 

    Speaking on the occasion, the President said that though a young institution, IISER is an extremely important centre of higher education and research in our country.

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken up several important conservation, restoration, Up-Gradation & development works at the Historical Purana Qila in New Delhi.

    In a unique initiative, the ASI has taken up conservation and upgradation of Central Antiquity Collection Section (CAC) which spread in the cells along the periphery of the fortification.

  • As part of ongoing operational deployment of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asia and North West Pacific region, three Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kamorta under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet shall be making a port call at Tien Sa Port, Danang from 21-25 May 2018.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today attended the Convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Jammu. At another event, he also laid the Foundation Stone of the Pakaldul Power Project, and Jammu Ring Road.

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  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today dedicated the Kishanganga Hydropower Station to the nation at a function in Srinagar. 

    He also laid the foundation stone of the Srinagar Ring Road. 

    Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister recalled the various occasions in the past four years when he had visited the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project and laid the Foundation Stone of the Pakal Dul Power Project in Jammu & Kashmir today. Pakal Dul, with 1000 MW capacity, will be the largest Hydro Power Project in Jammu & Kashmir on completion.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will visit Punjab (Mohali) and Himachal Pradesh from May 20 to 24, 2018. During his Himachal Pradesh visit (May 20-24), the President will stay at The Retreat in Mashobra near Shimla.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has suggested to the Central and various State Governments to increase investments in agriculture and allied sectors to make farming viable and attractive.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, arrived in Leh on the first leg of a day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir today.

    He attended the Closing Ceremony of the Birth Centenary Celebration of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh. At the same event, he unveiled a plaque to mark the commencement of work on the Zojila Tunnel.

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    President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, paid homage to Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, former President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (May 19, 2018) on his Birth Anniversary.

    The President, officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan paid floral tributes in front of a portrait of Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

  • The Director General of the  National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Shri  Rajiv Ranjan Mishra  inspected the Yamuna River Front Development (RFD) project being implemented by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) today, and  asked officials to expedite the work.

  • The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) will organize a children’s theatre and personality development workshop from 21st May to 21st June, 2018 in partnership with Udaan - the Centre of Theatre Art and Child Development.

  • Green Good Deeds, the societal movement launched by the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan, to protect environment and promote good living in the country



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed confidence that his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin will further strengthen the Special and P...




  • In Chhattisgarh, seven security personnel were killed in a Maoist attack near Cholanar village of Dantewada district this afternoon.The attack took pl...




  • In Jammu and Kashmir, the Border Security force has said, strong retaliation by its troops to Pak shelling along international border in Jammu region ...



  • Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad has said, the network of Common Service Centres (CSCs), are set to be expanded to reach two lakh 50 thousand gram panchayats by the year-end.CSCs act as access points for delivery of digital services.



  • US and China have agreed to abandon any trade war and back off from imposing tariffs on each other.



  • India is the sixth wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of 8,230 billion US dollars.



  • In Uttar Pradesh, death toll in hooch tragedy in Kanpur and Kanpur dehat districts has reached eleven.



  • The Indian women's Hockey team failed to defend its crown at the fifth Asian Champions Trophy, as it lost to hosts South Korea, 0-1 in the summit clash at Donghae City today.


  • A central team will be visiting the state to monitor the situation post the Union Health Minister's direction.

    "Reviewed the situation of deaths related to nipah virus in Kerala with Secreatry Health. I have directed Director NCDC to visit the district and initiate required steps as warranted by the protocol for the disease in consultation with state government," Nadda said in a tweet.

    Nipah virus (NiV) infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    The Kozhikode health department is maintaining vigilance in the wake of three deaths there reportedly due to the virus. Two more persons, who were allegedly in contact with the deceased, are believed to be in a serious condition.

    NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care, the WHO says on its website. 

  • Speaking to the news agency ANI, Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary (Production), Ministry of Defence said that a task force has been set up under the chairmanship of Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran to finalise the specifics and framework of the project.

    "Artificial Intelligence is going to influence everything in the future, our common lives also including it also going to affect the future warfare. Most of the major countries in the world are taking steps to ensure that their defence systems are fully empowered by the use of Artificial Intelligence. In India, we have also taken steps in this direction," Kumar said.

    The project to equip defence forces with Artificial Intelligence, includes the representation from all defence forces or Defence Research and Development (DRDO) labs, government, BEL, experts, professionals and startups.

    "This multi-stakeholder group is looking at what are the kinds of requirements," Kumar said.

    He further said that India has a fairly strong IT industry base which will become the biggest strength in terms of developing Artificial Intelligence capabilities.

    "We need to work on a partnership model between industries and defence forces which should be different from a buyer-seller proposition," he added.

    Artificial Intelligence, which along with robotics, internet and machine learning has been billed as the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, is a system of computers or machines that have the ability to mirror human intelligence. This means, they can learn, reason and do the self-correction on its own.

  • The Indian men's team paid the price for not fielding world number 9 H S Prannoy and the doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, as the young and inexperienced team proved no match for their French counterparts, who were ranked lower. World number 18 B Sai Praneeth gave India a positive start, defeating Brice Leverdez 21-7 21-18 to take a 1-0 lead, but none of the other players could step up when it mattered.

    In the second match, world number 38 Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok, who had recently reached the quarterfinals at Australia and Swiss Open, lost 13-21 16-21 to Bastian Kersaudy and Julien Maio, ranked 47th. Swiss Open champion Sameer Verma, ranked 21, was then handed the responsibility of bringing India back into the contest but he went down 18-21 22-20 18-21 to world number 43 Lucas Corvee in the second singles as France grabbed a 2-1 lead.

    World number 70 Arun George and Sanyam Shukla then took the field in the second doubles match, but they were no match for 103 ranked Thom Gicquel and Ronan Labar, losing 10-21 12-21 in a 28-minute match. Young Lakshya Sen fought hard before losing 20-22 21-19 19-21 to Toma Junior Popov in the third singles. India will face Australia on Monday.

    In the Uber Cup, India is without the services of Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu and the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, and are heavily dependent on Saina Nehwal to guide the women's team, which had won bronze in the last two editions.

    However, CWG gold medallist Saina went down 21-15 16-21 16-21 to Michelle Li in the first match, to hand over a 1-0 lead to Canada. Young Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka then lost 11-21 13-21 to Rachel Honderich as Canada grabbed a 2-0 advantage.

    The doubles pair of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram, ranked 41, gave India a glimmer of hope as they beat Michelle Tong and Josephine Wu 21-19 21-15 in 27 minutes, but Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli failed to get it across Brittney Tam, losing 11-21 15-21, as Canada took an unassailable 3-1 lead.

    In the fifth and final match, Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant lost 15-21 16-21 to Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai to end their miserable outing. The women's team will also play Australia next.

  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used a combination of military pressure and evacuation deals in recent months to recapture territory around the capital from his armed opponents. Last month, troops and allied Palestinian militia launched a fierce offensive to oust IS from a cluster of districts in southern Damascus, including the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk.

    After weeks of combat and heavy casualties, an apparent deal was reached for remaining IS fighters to leave Yarmuk and the adjacent district of Tadamun, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    IS jihadists burned their headquarters in Yarmuk before boarding buses with their relatives to leave the area, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman. "The six buses left at dawn, heading east for the Syrian desert," he said.

    More than two dozen buses remained in Yarmuk for additional evacuations, he said. Syrian state media and a Palestinian official have denied a deal was reached or that evacuations were taking place. IS has had a presence in southern Damascus since 2015, expanding in recent years from Yarmuk to Tadamun and the nearby districts of Hajar al-Aswad and Qadam.

    Yarmuk in particular has been devastated by Syria's conflict, suffering a crippling government siege since 2012 and ruined by years of fighting. It was once home to 160,000 Palestinian refugees, as well as Syrians, but just a few hundred remain. Assad has already ousted tens of thousands of rebels and civilians from areas around Damascus this year through military force and negotiated withdrawals, including the rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta.

    The regime used similar tactics to clear opposition towns northeast and south of Damascus earlier this month, leaving IS as the only armed presence in the capital. The assault against the jihadist force has left more than 250 pro-regime forces, 233 jihadists and more than 60 civilians dead according to the Britain-based Observatory. But the offensive died down around midday Saturday after a truce between IS on one side and pro-government Palestinian militias and regime ally Russia on the other, said the monitor, which relies on a network of sources in Syria.

    "After the ceasefire yesterday, IS withdrew from areas in the western part of Yarmuk camp, east towards the centre of the camp," Abdel Rahman said. "Troops and Palestinian loyalist militias entered that area for sweeping operations," he said.

    Syrian state media on Sunday denied evacuations were taking place in Hajar al-Aswad and made no mention of any departures from Yarmuk or Tadamun. "Army units in southern Damascus continued their operations against the remaining terrorists in a small area of Hajar al-Aswad, making further progress towards ending the terrorist presence in the area," it said.

    Anwar Abdel Hadi, the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) also denied the evacuations but said IS appeared to be giving up. "Daesh is surrendering in Yarmuk, Hajar al-Aswad, and Tadamun," he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. It remains unclear exactly where Sunday's evacuees will go, or if they will be pursued by regime troops.

    A similar deal reached last year by Syria's regime and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah saw IS fighters bussed out of the Lebanon-Syria border area towards Syria's east. IS once held large parts of Syria's north and east, but offensives by rival forces have whittled down its control to less than three percent of the country.

    The jihadists still hold some territory in remote parts of central Homs province and Deir Ezzor in the east, according to the Observatory. But IS is even under attack there. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by Western powers, launched an assault on IS holdouts in Deir Ezzor earlier this month.

    On Sunday, they were closing in on a key IS-held village, backed by close US and French ground support, the Observatory said. "There are intense clashes around Hajjin, and the SDF is advancing thanks to American and French artillery fire," Abdel Rahman said.

    The SDF has already driven IS out of large parts of northern and eastern Syria, including the onetime jihadist capital of Raqa, with help from the coalition's air strikes, weapons and special forces advisors.

  • Earlier on Saturday evening, in Karnataka, the Congress-JDS combine staked claim to form Government after the resignation of chief minister BS Yeddyurappa ahead of floor test.  Karnataka Governor invited JD-S leader HD Kumaraswamy to form the government in the state. He will take oath as the Chief Minister on Wednesday.

    Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before facing a crucial trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly with numbers stacked against the BJP in the newly elected House, bringing an end to a political thriller that began after May 12 elections threw up a hung verdict.

    In an emotional speech in the Assembly, Yeddyurappa said the BJP didn't get the numbers needed to prove majority in the House.

    "I will lose nothing if I lose power, my life is for the people," he said. In his 15-minute speech, the 75-year-old BJP leader said there was no way he could have served the people of Karnataka as the Congress was not even allowing its MLAs to speak to their family members.

    "If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise. But I will fight for the state till my last breath. We will get 28 out of 28 seats in Lok Sabha and I will win 150 Assembly seats for Narendra Modi (in the next Assembly elections)," Yeddyurapa said.

    He then said he would resign as the Chief Minister of Karnataka and after the speech, drove to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala.

    The resignation came two days after he took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the state.

    The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies of the 225-member assembly, including one nominated, threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. Polls in two constituencies were deferred.

    Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, the Congress 78, the Janata Dal-Secular, 37 and one each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and an Independent.

    As JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party's effective strength in the House was 36. As the single largest party, the BJP was short of crossing the halfway mark.

    Yeddyurappa required the 111 halfway mark to win the motion or one more than the half of the members present at the time of the floor test was conducted in the House with an effective strength of 221.

    Though the Governor earlier directed Yeddyurappa to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House within 15 days from the date of assumption of office as the Chief Minister (May 17), a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ordered the floor test on Saturday, rejecting his plea for a week's time to prove his majority.

  • Police has arrested 11 accused so far suspected to be involved in the hooch tragedy.

    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased, an official statement said. In Kanpur district, four people died in the hooch tragedy yesterday. 

  • The border guarding force also released a 19-second thermal-imagery footage showing the destruction of a Pakistani picket across the border in retaliation to the unprovoked firing and shelling along the international boundary on May 19.

    “(Pakistan) Rangers called up Jammu BSF formation today and beseeched to stop firing,” a BSF spokesman said. "The befitting reply by BSF units to the unprovoked shelling and firing across the IB by Pakistani forces has forced them to plead for ceasefire," a senior official said. "For the last three days, the precision fire of BSF troopers on Pakistani firing locations inflicted heavy losses and yesterday this firing found their mark with one of the rangers in chicken neck area," the official said.

  • In regions of high wind, the robot is designed to stay aloft, much like its avian counterpart. Where there are calmer winds, the robot can dip a keel into the water to ride like a highly efficient sailboat instead. The robotic system, which borrows from both nautical and biological designs, can cover a given distance using one-third as much wind as an albatross and travelling 10 times faster than a typical sailboat.

    The glider is also relatively lightweight, weighing about 6 pounds. The researchers hope that in the near future, such compact, speedy robotic water-skimmers may be deployed in teams to survey large swaths of the ocean. "The oceans remain vastly undermonitored," said Gabriel Bousquet, a former postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

    In a previous study, researchers decoded the dynamics of albatross flight and identified the mechanics that enable the tireless traveller to cover vast distances while expending minimal energy. The key to the bird's marathon voyages is its ability to ride in and out of high- and low-speed layers of air.

    Researchers found the bird is able to perform a mechanical process called a "transfer of momentum," in which it takes momentum from higher, faster layers of air, and by diving down transfers that momentum to lower, slower layers, propelling itself without having to continuously flap its wings. They observed that the physics of albatross flight is very similar to that of sailboat travel. Both the albatross and the sailboat transfer momentum in order to keep moving.

    The team drafted a design for such a hybrid vehicle, which ultimately resembled an autonomous glider with a three-metre wingspan, similar to that of a typical albatross. They added a tall, triangular sail, as well as a slender, wing-like keel. They then performed some mathematical modelling to predict how such a design would travel. "We found that in light winds you can travel about three to 10 times faster than a traditional sailboat, and you need about half as much wind as an albatross, to reach 20 knots," Bousquet said.

    The team built a prototype of their design, using a glider airframe designed by Mark Drela, professor at MIT. To the bottom of the glider they added a keel, along with various instruments, such as GPS, inertial measurement sensors, auto-pilot instrumentation, and ultrasound, to track the height of the glider above the water.

    "The goal here was to show we can control very precisely how high we are above the water, and that we can have the robot fly above the water, then down to where the keel can go under the water to generate a force, and the plane can still fly," Bousquet said.

    Experiments prove that the team's conceptual device can travel successfully, powered by the wind and the water. Eventually, he envisions fleets of such vehicles autonomously and efficiently monitoring large expanses of the ocean.

    "Imagine you could fly like an albatross when it's really windy, and then when there's not enough wind, the keel allows you to sail like a sailboat," Bousquet said. "This dramatically expands the kinds of regions where you can go," he said. 

  • One of India's most-loved and revered authors, Bond, who turned 84 yesterday, still churning out thousands of words even before breakfast every day. In a new book "Stumbling Through Life", the writer also reveals why he is enamoured by the ballpoint pen instead of a fountain pen, which found favour with legends such as Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore and Munshi Premchand.

    Bond says over the many, many years he has done most of his writing by hand and only occasionally resorted to a typewriter. He recalls that as a boy he even took lessons for shorthand and typing but soon these forms of writing turned obsolete. "My great-grandson's laptop looks as though it may also be obsolete very shortly," says the author, who lives in the hills of Landour, near Mussoorie.

    Even now the octogenarian's writing hand is legible and he can put down a thousand words before breakfast without any difficulty, crediting it to his consistent practice of wielding a pen or pencil all these years.

    "There is something about putting pen to paper that is physically as well as mentally satisfying. There is a certain sensuous intimacy about this connection, an intimacy that is absent from any form of writing. "Maybe it's the texture and touch of the paper, the flow of ink, the movement of the pen, the connection of all three with the human hand and the hand's connection with the mind of the writer.

    "It all amounts to the power of the pen," says Bond, whose award-winning debut "The Room On The Roof" was published 60 years ago. But writing by hand does not mean that Bond, fondly called 'Rusty' by his fans, would use any pen or pencil that comes handy. He says people often gift him fountain pens, unaware that for him they are a "formidable form of technology", designed with the express purpose of "tormenting" him.

    "Being one of the most clumsiest humans on earth, I am unable to full or refill or empty a fountain pen of its ink without getting the said ink, black, blue or blue-black, all over my hands or on to my coat-sleeves or shirt front. I will then soil a good handkerchief trying to wipe myself clean," confesses the octogenarian. On one occasion, unable to locate a handkerchief, he reached out for the nearest piece of cloth, only to realise (too late) that it was a lady's dupatta.

    "That's one way of how to lose friends and fail to influence people," he quips. And that is why it is the good old ballpoint which would be the pen for him. "It doesn't make a mess and it can be thrown away when its usefulness is over. There is no bottle of ink waiting to be tipped over on to my writing pad," he says. "Stumbling Through Life", by Rupa Publications, is an anthology of Bond's essays and writings, including some unpublished ones, which give an insight into the his remarkable journey as a writer.

  • For better waste management, the city civic body plans to run public transport buses on the bio-Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) made from the vegetable waste. "We have set up a bio-methanation plant at the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Fruits and Vegetables Market. The plant can convert about 20 tonnes of waste into 1,000 kg of bio-CNG," said Asad Warsi, the Indore Municipal Corporation's (IMC) consultant under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

    Tests were being conducted to run some auto rickshaws on the bio-CNG fuel, he said. If the results are promising, then the plan is to run 20 buses on this fuel in the initial phase, he said, adding that these vehicles are so far being run on the normal CNG.

    "The bio-GNG is expected to be cheaper by Rs 5 as compared to the normal CNG. Therefore, with the use of about 1,000 kg of bio-CNG, there could be a saving of Rs 5,000 on the fuel expenses of these buses. That means there will be a saving of about Rs 1.5 lakh every month," Warsi said.

    The civic body also wants to generate bio-CNG from the waste of meat products like mutton, chicken and fish, the official said, adding that comparatively more bio-fuel can be generated from raw meat. The consultant said the IMC plans to set up two more bio-methanation units to increase the production of bio-CNG to nearly 4,000 kg, so as to run about 70 buses on it. Besides, the IMC has signed an agreement with the NGO, Sarthak, to convert the daily hair waste -- around eight quintals generated in nearly 15,000 salons in the city -- into an amino acid.

    The NGO's secretary, Imtiaz Ali, said under the agreement, a plant would be set up to treat hair waste and convert it into a bio-fertiliser, especially for horticulture. The project is at an experimental stage as of now, he said.

    The human hair is a good source of amino acid. Ali said, adding that about 12 litres of amino acid can be prepared by processing nearly 1,000 kg of hair. Indore was adjudged the cleanest city in the country, in the government 'swachhta' survey released a few days back. According to a rough estimate, Indore is inhabited by about 35 lakh people who daily produce nearly 1,100 tonnes of garbage -- 650 tonnes of wet and 450 tonnes of dry garbage - which is safely disposed of. 

  • He said that NDA government at the Centre always acknowledged the contribution of the North East. Addressing the third conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance in Guwahati, Amit Shah said it is the geo-culture alliance. He said that North East Democratic Alliance must represent all 217 tribes of North East.

    Shah, while addressing a gathering, said before Independence the GSDP of Assam was the highest in this country, but after it came under the rule of the Congress, they lagged behind. He alleged that Congress always used North-East for its political gain. 

    "Before Independence, GSDP of Assam was the highest in this country. At that time, the whole North East used to come in Assam. But, what happened after that? Why did north-east lag post independence? It was all because of Congress government," Shah said.

  • President Kovind, who was addressing the 7th convocation of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali, also encouraged students, who graduated today, to become entrepreneurs and asked them to give back to society, especially to the less privileged.

    "The purpose of scientific research is threefold. First, science and technology must continue to play a role in nation building. As our nation evolves and our society changes, are needs too are transformed. Yet, science and technology will always be required to find answers to developmental questions," he said.

    "Today, the questions before us range from battling climate change to providing low-cost, but effective, healthcare solutions. And, from helping our farmers overcome productivity and water-scarcity challenges to building sustainable cities and houses that are socially inclusive and provide a life of dignity to the last family in the last mohalla. The IISER network must immerse itself in these tasks," the president said.

    Noting that science and technology have a symbiotic relationship with business and industry, Kovind said science and commerce can do a lot together. "Product invention and process innovation; converting the learning of the lab into commercially viable products; using technology to promote efficiency, enterprise and employment, there is so much science and commerce can do together.

    "The combination of research institutions, technology start-ups incubated in campuses, and a knowledge-based business culture can be transformational. Silicon valley in California (in the US) and Bengaluru in India are two examples of this. IISER must strive to play a similar role in Mohali and neighbouring cities," he said.

    President Kovind said institutions of scientific education and research were important for innovation and expanding frontiers of knowledge. "This is the fundamental and to my mind, most critical value of scientific research. It is to keep alive the instinct of curiosity that is at the root of our civilisation. The history of science tells us, this route requires patience. But, it can lead to unexpected and dramatic leaps in human imagination," he said.

    "I urge those graduating today, as well as others studying at IISER, to keep these three motivations in mind as they climb higher. In their own way, these three motivations of science and research will help you to serve fellow citizens, to serve society and country, and to serve the larger cause of humanity," Kovind said.

    Punjab has a long history of technocrats who ventured into successful businesses, the president said. "Those who are graduating today, too, should consider the path of entrepreneurship, and of becoming job and wealth creators as so many great scientists and technologists have done," he said. "This is a day to cherish and show gratitude to your parents and families, who have helped you through this process. You must not forget the rest of society, fellow citizens, hardworking taxpayers, government agencies, and so many other stakeholders who have supported your alma mater and contributed to your education,"  President Kovind said.

    The president lauded the academic performance of graduating woman students. "Going through the list of the 152 students, who are graduating today by getting undergraduate and master's degrees or PhDs, I find that 66 are girl students. That is a little over 40 per cent. "However, both the gold medals for academic performance have gone to girl students. Three of the four awards for academic excellence have been won by girl students," President Kovind said.

    "It is my privilege to travel to convocations across the country. I find this commendable performance of our young women, of our society's daughters, to be something of a national trend. They are consistently outscoring their male counterparts. This is a step forward in the cause of gender equity and in making India a developed society," he said.

    Noting that IISER is one of India's foremost destinations for students interested in science, President Kovind said, "The institute is well on its way to fulfilling its mandate of promoting and providing facilities for basic science research and integrating these with the needs of India." "This is one of the most exciting and promising urban agglomerations in our country. In parallel, IISER Mohali is also drawing inspiration from the rich tradition of basic and applied scientific research in Punjab. This legacy goes back to the period before Independence, when Punjab was one of India's earliest centres of scientific knowledge production and training," he said.

    "This legacy also provides us some excellent examples of how collaboration between scientific researchers and technologists on one side, and the larger developmental process on the other, contributed to nation building," Kovind said. "We can't forget the technologists who did the groundwork for large projects such as the Bhakra Nangal project. It was agricultural scientists and universities in Punjab that provided the basis for enhanced food productivity and the Green Revolution.

    "Today, Mohali is a hub for the knowledge economy, information technology, biotechnology and bio-informatics and related fields. It is critical that we see IISER as not just a standalone institution, but as the fulcrum of an entire ecosystem," he said. On the occasion, the governors of Punjab and Haryana were also present.

    The conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance was also attended by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and Senior BJP leader Kiren Rijiju in Guwahati. The minister said that the conclave is an excellent platform for taking North East closer to the rest of the country and for transforming the region into a hub of prosperity.

  • Russia's summer beach resort city Sochi is all set to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. After becoming Russia's president for the 4th time, Vladimir Putin himself invited Prime Minister Modi to visit Russia where both the leaders will hold informal talks.

    The two leaders will review the entire gamut of bilateral relations. Since India and Russia are both victims of terrorism, the two sides will also discuss ISIS threat and the situation in Afghanistan and Syria. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he is looking forward to his visit to Sochi tomorrow and meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ahead of a day visit to Russia, the Prime Minister took to Twitter and said that his visit will strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between two countries.


    "Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin. It is always a pleasure to meet him," he tweeted.


    "Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia," he said in another tweet.

    After hosting Winter Olympics in 2014, Sochi gained popularity worldwide and became one of the best tourist destinations in Russia. The resort city Sochi is ready to add another chapter in the time tested friendship. In recent years, Sochi has become a diplomatic hub. 

    Sochi is often called the unofficial 'Summer Capital' of Russia, or the Black Sea Pearl. This is the country's biggest and busiest summer sea resort, attracting more than four million visitors annually with its amazing mountainous coastline and endless shingle beaches similar to Indian climate. From May to September Sochi's population at least doubles with tourists, including celebrities and the political elite of the country.

    “This will be an important occasion for the two leaders to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective of further strengthening our Special and Privileged Strategic partnership,” the MEA said in a statement. It said both the leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters.

    “This informal Summit in Sochi between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin is in keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest levels,” the MEA said.

  • One policeman was also seriously injured in the IED blast. Naxals triggered the blast between Cholnar and Kirandul villages when a joint team of the Chhattisagarh Armed Force and the District Force was escorting a vehicle carrying material for road construction work.

    Following the blast, security forces have intensified their search operation against Naxals who had planted the Improvised explosive device. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman has expressed his deep condolences over death of the jawans in Naxal attack.

    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his deep anguish over death of Chhattisgarh police personnel in an IED blast in Dantewada. Expressing his condolences, the home minister tweeted that his thoughts are with the bereaved families of the martyred police personnel.

  • Set a target of 175, Mumbai Indians crumbled against quality leg-spin bowling by Sandeep (3/36), Amit Mishra (3/19) and medium pace of Patel (3/28). The visitors lost three wickets -- Evin Lewis (48), Kieron Pollard (7) and Krunal Pandya (4) -- in five balls.

    Hardik Pandya (27) and skipper Rohit Sharma (13) added 43 runs before they were sent back as Mumbai slipped to 122 for seven in 14.5 overs. Ben Cutting tried his hand with a 19-ball 37 before MI were dismissed for 163 in 19.3 overs.

    Mumbai's ouster makes the final league match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab interesting as the latter will not only have to win the contest but also better the net run rate of Rajasthan Royals (-0.250).

    Earlier, Rishab Pant (64) continued his purple patch, hitting his fifth half-century of the season, to guide Delhi to a competitive score. The 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman shared a 64-run fourth wicket stand off 47 balls with Vijay Shankar (43 not out) to lay the foundation.

    Lamichhane then rocked Mumbai's chase early, removing the in-form Suryakumar Yadav (4) cheaply. However, Evin Lewis (48) exploded in the fourth over, hitting Patel for two fours and a six. He treated Glenn Maxwell with equal disdain, clearing the ropes twice, as MI zoomed to 50 for one in five overs.

    Ishan Kishan (5) was then caught at long-on off Amit Mishra. The leg-spinner was unlucky not to have the wicket of Kirton Pollard who was dropped by Prithvi Shaw off his bowling. The West Indian got another respite when an airborne Abhishek Sharma failed to held on to a catch off Liam Plunkett. Mishra then dismissed Lewis with a googly, which the opener failed to read and was stumped by Pant.

    Mumbai were reduced to 74 for four when Maxwell and trent Boult combined to pull off a sensational catch at the boundary line off Lamichhane's bowling. Krunal Pandya was next to go when his weak drive found the hands of substitute Rahul Tewatia at short cover, as Mumbai were looking down the barrel at 79 for five in 9.4 overs.

    Once Hardik (27) and skipper Rohit Sharma (13) were sent back, Cutting hit some lusty blows before Patel took two wickets in the final over to earn the win for DD. Prithvi Shaw (12) and Maxwell (22) gave a good start to Delhi before a silly run-out cost the former his wicket in the fourth over. It was a poor judgment by Shaw as he stepped out of the crease and was found short of wicket at the non-striker's end by a direct throw from Hardik.

    Maxwell, who slammed four boundaries and looked in good touch till then, was cleaned up by Bumrah in the next over to bring two new batsmen onto the crease. Pant, who has been in ominous form this season, didn't waste any time as he slammed two fours and a six to help Delhi cross the 50-mark after the powerplay ended with 46 for two.

    A lot was expected from skipper Shreyas Iyer, but he made the mistake of hitting a Markande delivery straight to Krunal at deep midwicket, as Delhi slipped to 75 for three in 9 overs. New man Vijay Shankar hit the second ball he faced for a boundary, before blasting Ben Cutting for a six over long-on, as Delhi brought up the 100 in the 13th over.

    Pant and Shankar kept Delhi the scoreboard ticking as they picked up the ones, the twos and the occasional boundaries. The duo completed a fifty-run fourth-wicket partnership off 37 balls as Delhi reached 120 for three in 15 overs. Pant scored his fifty off 34 balls in the 15th over and survived an LBW verdict after winning a video referral.

    Pant sent Hardik sailing over deep midwicket for a maximum with a one-handed shot but he holed out soon after at long. The 17-year-old Abhishek Sharma (15) then joined Shankar and the duo added 35 off 19 balls. Krunal (1/11), Jasprit Bumrah (1/29) and Mayank Markande (1/21) took a wicket each for MI. 

  • Punjab had started the season with a string of wins before going off the boil. Currently placed at the seventh position with 12 points, Kings XI still have a slender chance of making it to the play-off.

    The cash-rich league is still alive and kicking with only Sunrisers Hyderabad (18 from 13 games), Chennai Super Kings (16 from 13 games) and Kolkata Knight Riders (16 from 14 games) having clinched play-off spots.

    While Delhi Daredevils (8 points in 13 matches) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (12 points in 14 matches) are already out of the tournament, Rajasthan Royals kept their play-offs hope alive with a 30-run win over RCB in their last league match on Saturday.

    Mumbai Indians are also at 12 points with one match to go but Punjab will have the advantage of knowing exactly what they need to do to make a last-ditch effort to steal a play-off berth. It has been a story of individual brilliance for Punjab who have failed to click as a team. Only KL Rahul (652 runs) has been scoring runs in a heap but none of the other batsmen have played to their potential on a consistent basis.

    Kings XI had come agonisingly close in securing a win against Mumbai Indians in their last outing before a last-minute slip saw the defending champions seal the contest by three runs in the last over. Chris Gayle played some superb knocks early in the tournament but he has looked inconsistent. Among others, Aaron Finch, Karun Nair, Marcus Stonis, Mayank Agarwal and Yuvraj Singh -- all have failed to score runs when it mattered.

    Among bowlers, only Andrew Tye (24 wickets) has delivered along with injured rookie Afghan leggie Mujeeb Ur Rahman, which has hurt the side's chances. If they have do the improbable, R Ashwin's side would need a better show from their bowlers and batsmen alike in their last league game.

    Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, have already qualified for the play-off but they would be eager for a top-two finish. Handed a reality check by an out-of-reckoning Delhi Daredevils last night, Chennai will be looking to plug the gaps before they take on Punjab.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai are sitting in second spot with 16 points and a victory would pilot CSK into the top two and a place in Qualifier 1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai on May 22. However, the 34-run defeat against a bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils exposed the weakness of two-time champions Chennai and they need to quickly regroup.

    For Chennai, Ambati Rayadu (585 runs) has been brilliant throughout the season as he has delivered wherever he was asked to bat - as opener or at number 4. He and experienced Australian campaigner Shane Watson (438 runs) will have to give the Southern outfit a solid start.

    The tournament has seen some vintage innings from Dhoni (430 runs), who has reminded his critics that he has not past his prime. His role will be crucial tomorrow when CSK play their last game at their adopted home venue - the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. Others like Suresh Raina, who failed with the bat last night, West Indian Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja will also need to chip in.

    The return of pacer Deepak Chahar from injury has bolstered CSK's bowling attack that will also depend on Shardul Thakur and the experienced spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Jadeja to stop in-form Rahul and Gayle from taking the game away.

    Teams (From):

    Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, David Miller, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Axar Patel, Akshdeep Nath, Mayank Agarwal, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Dagar.

    Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf Du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayadu, Deepak Chahar, K M Asif, Kanish Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshtiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey.

  • Opting to bat, hosts SRH were restricted to 172 for nine after a flying start at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Playing in their crucial final league game, KKR held their nerves to chase down a target of 173 with two balls to spare. If young medium pacer Prasidh Krishna's three wickets in the last over was highlight of KKR's rally with the ball, openers Chrish Lynn and Sunil Narine's scintillating start, scoring 52 runs in 3.4 overs, headlined the two-time winners' response with the bat.

    While Lynn struck a brisk 55 off 43 balls with three sixes and four boundaries, Narine smashed 29 in just 10 to set up KKR's chase. Robin Uthappa, who got a life early in his innings, contributed 45 off 34 balls, as the visitors became the third team to qualify for the play-offs after Chennai Super Kings and their tonight's opponents. There were fours and sixes galore, especially from the willows of Lynn, Narine and Uthappa, as the visiting bowlers struggled to pose any serious challenge to KKR's batsmen.

    Though they lost both Lynn and Uthappa when they were going great guns, KKR were never really troubled following that smashing start. Losing Lynn's wicket pegged back KKR for a while. They required 52 in the last six overs but a six each by skipper Dinesh Karthik and Uthappa brought the equation down to 26 off 24 balls.

    Uthappa and Andre Russell got out with the job yet to be done, but Karthik was there to see his team through. Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan top-scored for the hosts with 50 off 39 balls, while Kane Williamson blazed away to 36 in just 17, hitting three sixes. But KKR, who needed a win in their last league game to make the play-offs on their own, staged a fightback as SRH managed just 45 runs in the last 7.1 overs after Williamson's dismissal.

    The hosts, who have already qualified for the play-offs, were past the 100-run mark in the 11th over. The 22-year-old Prasidh was the most successful bowler for KKR, returning exceptional figures of 4/30 in four overs. Despite the last collapse, Sunrisers have still got to their highest score batting first at home this season.

    The Sunrisers were off to a brisk start as Dhawan and Shreevats Goswami (35) added 79 runs in 8.4 overs, an opening record for the home team this season. With his 26-ball 35, Goswami, who has scored a fifty on his IPL debut in the inaugural season, more than made up for Alex Hales' absence. Batting for the first time in this edition of the cash-rich league, Goswami got into the act in style, smashing Andre Russell for 20 runs in the third over. Two fours and a classy six over extra cover from Goswami and SRH were cruising at 36 for no loss at the end of the third over.

    Dhawan lofted Narine over long-on for a maximum to maintain SRH's healthy run rate, but KKR's last match hero Kuldeep Yadav, after being hit for two boundaries in his first over, castled Goswami with a flighted delivery. In came the in-form Williamson, and he was off the mark straightaway, with a boundary. Yadav tried another flighted ball, but Williamson smoked it over long-on for a six, as SRH crossed the 100-run mark in the 11th over.

    Williamson then smashed medium pacer Javon Searles for two massive sixes over fine leg, off successive balls. But the cricketer from Barbados had his revenge when he had the prolific Williamsaon caught at deep point two balls later. Meanwhile, Dhawan was offered a life on 45 when Narine dropped a sitter, but the left-handed India opener could not capitalise and got out for the addition of five runs. 

  • The Spanish top seed will meet second-seeded holder Alexander Zverev, a 7-6 (15/13) 7-5 winner over Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic yesterday. His impressive win over Djokovic will give Nadal added confidence ahead of the French Open, where he has won a record 10 titles.

    Nadal, still unbeaten in semi-finals at the Foro Italico, unleashed a trademark clay-court attack after winning a tight first set lasting well over an hour in his 51st meeting with old rival Djokovic. "I need to be able to play my best tomorrow," Nadal said of his Sunday final. "I'm very happy with my game. It all worked for me, the tactics, the shots."

    "To play against Novak you always have to play at the limit of your game with a high intensity and understand well the tactics you want to play." The 31-year-old world number two cut the deficit in his head-to-head series with Djokovic to 26-25 since they first faced off in 2006. But the Serb complained afterwards about poor scheduling which affected his preparation, playing a late-afternoon quarter-final on Friday before returning to court on yesterday mid-afternoon.

    "I don't want to seem like I'm complaining about losing the match because of the schedule. But having to end at night and coming back to play early in the day affects a lot," he said.

    "Nobody has ever, ever reached me in my entire career to ask me about what I think would be the best scheduling. I don't think that is fair, we will address it in the next players' council." Djokovic has rediscovered his form this week after months of elbow injury problems, including an operation earlier this year. He can also feel his confidence increasing. "I don't think there was that much of a difference, which is great news for me. Winning the tie-break was for him a great wind in his back.

    "Rafa was just better in the important moments, played the better shots. He deserved to win "I haven't had many breaks in the last period, so I'm pleased by how I've played in the last days. I hope Roland Garros can be the continuation."

    Nadal now stands 10-8 over Djokovic in semi-finals, with the pair having played each other at all four Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP Finals, Davis Cup, the Olympic Games along with eight of the nine Masters 1000 events. Nadal took 73 minutes to win the opening set after leading 5-2. But to take the early lead, the top seed had to avoid being reeled in by Djokovic. Djokovic, a four-time Rome winner and former world number one, battled back to 5-5 with a break of the Spaniard before the set went to a tie-break, which Nadal took on the first of two set points with a backhand winner down the line.

    Nadal earned a 2-1 lead in the second set with another break of Djokovic and never lost control. The top seed kept his nose ahead until the end, winning on his second match point as he fired another untouchable backhand. Zverev will aim for an upset of Nadal as well as a claycourt Masters double after winning Madrid last weekend.

    The 21-year-old German will be playing his fifth final in the last 10 Masters events -- he won Rome and Montreal in 2017 and played the Miami final this season. Yesterday's win over Cilic extended his current win streak to 13 matches while he has 30 match wins in total in 2018. 

  • The bones of the tiny mammal were found at a fossil site in 1999, unearthed when a new high-speed train track was built east of Brussels, but researchers spent decades sifting through tonnes of soil to make the discovery.

    Eventually they encountered the bones of a tiny bat, from the myotis or mouse-eared bat genus, barely changed from those commonly found in Europe today. This discovery has led to the bat being baptised 'Myotis belgicus'.

    Senior palaeontologist at the Institute, Thierry Smith, said that the discovery was unexpected because most rodents have a complex evolutionary history.

    The Belgian discovery shows that the previous estimate of when such bats appeared for the first time was off by some seven million years.

    Smith explained the long life of the bat species could be explained by the fact that bats are the only mammal capable of flying and as such did not need to compete with others for resources.

  • The government said the safety measures that involve testing travellers' body temperature were put in place on May 10.

    Mbandaka, a city of 1.5 million people, is near the Congo River and north of Bikoro, the small town where most of the 45 confirmed, probable or suspected Ebola cases have occurred since April 4.

    The World Health Organization's (WHO) head of emergency preparedness and response Peter Salama said the contact tracing rate was "extremely high" in the city of Mbandaka and "very high" in Bikoro.

    More challenging were the small peripheral villages, reachable only by motorcycle, where the first cases went initially unrecorded last month.

    A vaccine is due to be deployed to Mbandaka and Bikoro in the coming days to try to halt the outbreak and isolation units have been set up by MSF (Doctors Without Borders).

    The WHO's Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said emergency response teams planned to start vaccinating frontline health workers in Congo by Sunday (May 20), but Salama said the date had not been fixed.

    Residents said they were worried about Ebola and were constantly washing their hands and avoiding physical contact.

  • Kore-eda is only the second Asian Palme d'Or winner this millennium (after Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul for 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives', 2010).

    This is the seventh time that a director from Asia has bagged the coveted trophy. Spike Lee's engaging, feisty anti-racism period drama 'BlacKkKansman', the true story of an African-American police detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in the 1970s, won the Grand Prix, while Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki's neorealist Beirut street life tale Capharnaum earned the Jury Prize.

    The Best Director prize went to Poland's Pawel Pawlikowski for the wonderfully well-crafted black-and-white 'Cold War', a 1950s story of impossible love between a music composer and a gifted singer, two strong-willed individuals from dissimilar backgrounds drawn to each other amid disruptions caused by history.

    On Wednesday, in the parallel Cannes Critics' Week, the Franco-Indian co-production 'Sir', directed by debutante Rohena Gera, had won the Gan Foundation Award for Distribution. The film's principal characters ? a wealthy young Mumbai man and his efficient, ambitious housemaid are played by Vivek Gomber and Tillotama Shome.

    The section's top prize, the Grand Prix, went to the Brazilian comedy-drama Diamantino, about a footballer whose life is upended by an error in a crucial World Cup final and the death of his father.

    Besides Kore-eda, Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi (along with co-screenwriter Nader Saeivar) figured on the Cannes 2018 winners list with Se Rokh (3 Faces), which shared the Best Screenplay prize with Italian director Alice Rohrwacher's Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazzaro). Lazzaro, one of three women directors in the fray, joined Labaki among this year's winners.

    The only woman who missed out was Eva Husson, whose 'Girls of the Sun', was panned by the critics.

    In the sidebar, Un Certain Regard section, where Iranian-born Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi won the top prize for 'Grans' (Border), a multi-layered, angst-filled identity drama served up with a liberal dose of Nordic mythology, Morocco's Meryem Benm'Barek bagged the best screenplay award for 'Sofia', a film that, with empathy and courage, addresses the sensitive theme of pregnancy out of wedlock in her conservative country.

    The acting honours went to Italian Marcello Fonte for his deeply affecting performance as the tragically vulnerable dog-washer in a small town in Matteo Garrone's Dogman and Kazakhstan's Samal Yeslyamova for her performance as an illegal immigrant who abandons her newborn child in a cold, forbidding Moscow in Sergey Dvortsevoy's Ayka.

    Jury president Cate Blanchett announced a Special Palme d'Or to 88-year-old Jean-Luc Godard's 'The Image Book'. The French New Wave pioneer was absent. He has never attended the festival since 2004 and the film's producers accepted the honour on his behalf.

  • Guterres met Trump in the White House on Friday and, according to a readout provided by the UN Chief's office, the two discussed the situation in the broader Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and the ongoing United Nations reform.

    The Secretary-General also expressed his appreciation for the continued US engagement in the work of the United Nations.

    Following the meeting, Trump, in a tweet, praised the UN Secretary General for his leadership at the UN, saying he was working to make the world body "great again," using his campaign phrase of 'Make America Great Again.'

    "Just met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is working hard to 'Make the United Nations Great Again.' When the UN does more to solve conflicts around the world, it means the U.S. has less to do and we save money. @NikkiHaley is doing a fantastic job!" Trump said in his tweet.

    A readout of the meeting provided by the White House that the two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including North Korea, Syria, Iran, and reform of the United Nations. "The President reiterated his support for the Secretary-General's efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations. The two committed to work together in the months ahead to address these and other common threats and challenges," it said.

    The relationship between the UN and Trump has been contentious as Trump has been very critical of the world body. His administration has pulled out of the landmark UN agreement -- the Paris Climate deal, underscoring the rift between the US and UN.

    As President-elect, Trump had tweeted that the United Nations has great potential "but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!" The US also negotiated a USD 285 million reduction of the UN budget for 2018-2019 compared to the budget for 2016-2017.

    "The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked," Haley had said following the announcement of the budget cuts last year.

    "This historic reduction in spending in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year's budget negotiations, you can be sure we'll continue to look at ways to increase the UN's efficiency while protecting our interests," she had said. 

     

  • Built in Saint Petersburg, the Akademik Lomonosov arrived in Murmansk on Thursday where it was moored in the port and presented to the media. 

    Constructed by the state nuclear power firm Rosatom, the 144 by 30 metre (472 by 98 foot) ship holds two reactors with two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors that are similar to those used to power icebreaker ships.

    The 21,000-tonne barge will be towed in the summer of 2019 to the port of Pevek in the autonomous Chukotka region in Russia's extreme northeast, 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

    The barge can produce enough electricity to power a town of 2,00,000 residents, far more than the 5,000 who live in Pevek, Russia's northernmost town.

    It will be primarily used to power oil rigs as Russia pushes further north into the Arctic to drill for oil and gas and needs electricity in far-flung locations.

    Vitaly Trutnev, who is in charge of the construction and operation of floating nuclear power stations at Rosatom, said such units would "supply electricity and heat to the most remote regions, supporting growth and sustainable development."

    He said use of such floating reactors can save 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

    The barge had initially been scheduled to be fuelled in Saint Petersburg, but that work was moved to Murmansk instead due to concern in countries along the Baltic Sea.

  • Based on the directions of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump, the Chinese and U.S. delegations conducted constructive consultations on trade issues on Thursday and Friday, the statement said.

    The two sides agreed to take effective measures to substantially decrease the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China.

    China will significantly increase its purchase of U.S. goods and services to meet the consumption needs of the Chinese people and propel the high-quality economic development of China, which also helps support the U.S. economic development and employment, according to the statement.

    The two nations agreed to meaningfully increase the export of U.S. agriculture and energy products. The U.S. side will send a delegation to China for further consultations. The two sides talked about the expansion of trade on manufactured goods and services, and have reached consensuses to create favorable conditions to increase trade in those areas.

    The statement said that the two sides highly valued intellectual property protection and agreed to promote cooperation in this regard.

    China will promote revision of related laws and regulations including the Patent Law, according to the statement.

    The two sides also agreed to encourage the two-way investment, and committed to creating a business environment for fair competition. The two nations agreed to maintain high-level contact in this regard and actively seek to resolve their economic and trade concerns.

    The Chinese delegation was led by Xi's special envoy and Vice Premier Liu He, and the U.S. officials included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

    Liu arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon for economic and trade consultations with the U.S. side at the invitation of the U.S. government. Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, led a delegation whose members come from major economic sectors of the Chinese government.

     

     

  • As magma destroyed four more homes, molten rock from two huge cracks merged into a single stream, threatening to block escape routes. It was expected to hit Highway 137 overnight if it kept up its rate and direction of flow, the County of Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency said.

    Authorities are trying to open up a road that was blocked by lava in 2014 to serve as an alternative escape route should Highway 137 or another exit route, Highway 130, be blocked, Jessica Ferracane of the National Park Service told reporters.

    The park service is working to bulldoze almost a mile (1.6 kilometers) of hardened lava out of the way on nearby Highway 11, which has been impassable, she added.

    The Hawaii National Guard has warned of mandatory evacuations if more roads become blocked.

  • The 'Dabbawalas', who feel a special bond with the royal family ever since Prince Charles met them during his last visit to India and invited two Dabbawala representatives to his wedding to Camilla, have already sent their wedding gifts - a traditional sari dress and kurta jacket - for Harry and Meghan.

    A spokesperson of the Mumbai Dabbawalas Association, Subhash Talekar, said their way of celebrating the royal wedding was to distribute food that they got with their own money.

    Prince Harry and his bride Meghan Markle married on Saturday in a dazzling ceremony that blended ancient English ritual with African-American culture, watched up close by royals and celebrities and from afar by a global TV audience of millions.

    Thousands of people across Britain gathered at street parties and picnics in the sunshine to celebrate the wedding. Residents hosting parties on their streets put up bunting and served tea and cakes on tables decorated with British flags. Others came together in local parks, pitching tents and marquees decked with balloons and flags.

    Large crowds watched live broadcasts of the wedding ceremony on big screens across Britain, including in St. Andrews in Scotland, at Winchester Cathedral and in Cambridge.

    Some revellers wore masks depicting the faces of Meghan Markle and members of the British royal family.

     

  • Speaking at a symposium on "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal: A Futuristic View" in Lalitpur today, he said that visit was ice breaker and both the countries have shown sincere desire to resolve pending issues.

    He also said that India and Nepal should move forward with positive thinking to fulfill past resolutions. The symposium was organised by Nepal-Bharat Friendship Society. In his address, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri said that future perspective of Indo-Nepal relations will depend upon how "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas"and "Samridh Nepal, Khushi Nepali" can be made complementary for the benefit of people of both the countries.

    Nepali Congress leader and former Foreign Affairs and Finance Minister, Ram Sharan Mahat said that PM Modi's visit was very refreshing and it has highlighted special bonding between both the countries.

    He also said that India is a rising global power and it can be a great source of capital investment and development in Nepal. Rashtriya Janta Party Nepal's presidium member Rajendra Mahto said that Nepal should take India's cooperation in the development process.

    He also said that mind set needs to be changed to maximize benefits of unique Indo-Nepal friendship. A large number of other dignitaries including members of parliament, former ministers, diplomats, intellectuals and journalists also expressed their views about ways to further enhance age old Indo-Nepal relations.   

  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Jitendra Singh were present on the occasion. The project has been built by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. It has been constructed at a cost of 5200 crore rupees. 

    It is expected to generate 1,713 million units of electricity per annum. Jammu and Kashmir would get 12 percent of power from the project. PM Modi also laid the foundation stone of the ring road project in Srinagar. This will boost connectivity with Bandipora, Uri and Ganderbal.

    Earlier, PM Modi laid the foundation stone of Zojila Tunnel, providing all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil, and Leh.The Zojila pass will be Asia's longest bi-directional tunnel. It is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway which remains closed during winters.

    Addressing the gathering in Leh, PM Modi said, Jammu and Kashmir is going to get development projects worth 25,000 crore rupees. He said these projects will have a positive impact on the people of the state.

    PM Modi said, there is great scope for agricultural growth across the state. He said Jammu and Kashmir can play a key role in holistic healthcare. 

    The Prime Minister also attended the closing ceremony of the birth centenary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. He said the Buddhist leader distinguished himself as an outstanding diplomat. PM Modi said, during his Mongolia visit, he witnessed the goodwill Bakula Rinpoche has in that country. 

    The Prime Minister reached Leh this morning on a day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He expressed happiness that he will be visiting all three regions of the state. The Prime Minister will visit Jammu also. 

    In Jammu, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of a 1,000 MW hydroelectric power project. Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project is being built on the tributary of the Chenab river in far-flung Kishtwar district. It is expected to be completed in over five years at an estimated cost of 8,112 crore rupees. The project would be equipped with an underground powerhouse having 4 units of 250 MW each. 

    PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone of ring road project in Jammu. The road project is being built at an estimated cost of 2,024 crore rupees. 

  • An official statement said that certain technical issues are being faced by the taxpayers during the filing of GSTR-3B for April. "In order to resolve the same, emergency maintenance is being carried out on the system. Therefore, in the interest of taxpayers it has been decided to extend the last date for filing of returns in GSTR-3B for the month of April by 2 days till May 22," the statement said.

    The goods and services tax (GST) mop-up in April the first month of current fiscal came in at Rs 1.03 lakh crore. From 2018-19 fiscal year that began last month, the government has shifted to a cash basis of accounting where revenues accrued at the completion of a month would be taken on record immediately at the end of the month. Accordingly, the Rs 1.03 lakh crore GST collected in April reflects the central GST and state GST which accrued in March.

    The GST collections which accrue in April and collected in May will be released on June 1. Meanwhile, GST Tech, which is the official twitter handle for IT related queries on GST tweeted: "Due to emergency maintenance activity, GST Portal will be unavailable on 18th May 2018, from 2:45 PM to 3:15 PM".

  • Tata Steel Ltd had won the bid to acquire debt-laden Bhushan Steel Ltd (BSL) in an insolvency auction. The bankrupt firm was among the 12 stressed assets the RBI had referred for NCLT proceedings last year. "BNPL has successfully completed the acquisition of controlling stake of 72.65 percent in BSL in accordance with the approved resolution plan under the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 (IBC) which has been managed by Vijaykumar V lyer, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, in his capacity as the resolution professional," Tata Steel said in a statement.

    The admitted CIRP cost and employee dues have been paid as required under IBC, it said. Further, settlement of the amounts equivalent to Rs 35,200 crore towards financial creditors of BSL is being undertaken as per the terms of the resolution plan and corresponding transaction documents, the company said. Tata Steel said Rs 1,200 crore will be paid to operational creditors of BSL over a period of 12 months as per their admitted claims and as per the terms of the approved resolution plan. "The investment from BNPL in BSL has been done through a combination of equity of Rs 158.89 crore and inter-corporate loan of Rs 34,973.69 crore.

    Additionally, Rs 100 crore has been paid by BNPL to the financial creditors of BSL as consideration for novation of remaining financial debt of BSL. "The acquisition is being financed through a combination of an external bridge loan of Rs 16,500 crore availed by BNPL and balance amount through investment by Tata Steel in BNPL. The bridge loan availed by BNPL is expected to be replaced by debt raised at BSL over time," the company said.

    The nominees of BNPL have been appointed on the board of BSL and the existing directors of BSL are deemed to have resigned from its board as per the terms of the approved resolution plan, it said. "As per the resolution plan approved by NCLT, BNPL shall be classified as the promoter of BSL, and the existing promoters/promoter group shall be re-classified from promoters/promoter group to public shareholders of BSL for the purposes of SEBI..." Tata Steel said.

  • While the national transporter is already using this technique to detect flaws or problems in the signalling system on a real-time basis and rectifying it in order to avoid possible delays and mishaps, this is the first time that such a technology will be used in a tunnel in the country. The system will control air circulation in the system, along with other aspects. It will alert the passenger in case of fire and help us in quick evacuation in case of an issue.

    This tunnel is especially unique as it also has a safety tunnel at every 500 meters," said Yogesh Verma, deputy chief, construction, Northeast Frontier Railway. "So, in case of an accident or any mishap, all a passenger has to do is go 500 meters into the safety tunnel and through signages find his way out. The entire thing will be controlled by artificial intelligence, Verma said.

    This tunnel is one of 47 such tunnels in the Jiribam-Imphal line and part of the railways' project to bring connectivity to the capital city. The system will continuously monitor signals, track circuits, axle counters and their sub-systems of interlocking, power supply systems, including the voltage and current levels, relays, timers collect the data on a predetermined interval and send them to a central location. While it will help run trains safely through the tunnel, it will also help its management and maintenance.

    As tunnels deteriorate, officials said, they become more dangerous to the public and more costly to repair. By properly maintaining these tunnels, much of this unnecessary danger and cost can be avoided. AI will help engineers and inspectors organise and analyse data collected about specific tunnels. The results of this data can then be evaluated and used to predict future tunnel deterioration patterns and corresponding maintenance needs, officials said. This system will also be used in the Hyderabad, Mumbai and Ahmedabad metros. 

  • "The teeth are authentic, there is no possible doubt. Our study proves that Hitler died in 1945," professor Philippe Charlier said. "We can stop all the conspiracy theories about Hitler. He did not flee to Argentina in a submarine, he is not in a hidden base in Antarctica or on the dark side of the moon," Charlier said. The study, which Charlier co-authored with four other researchers, was published Friday in the scientific magazine European Journal of Internal Medicine.

    The analysis of Hitler's bad teeth and numerous dentures found white tartar deposits and no traces of meat fibre - the dictator was vegetarian, Charlier said. In March and July 2017, Russia's secret service the FSB and the Russian state archives authorised a team of researchers to examine the bones of the dictator, for the first time since 1946, he said. The French team was able to look at a skull fragment presented as being from the Fuhrer, which showed a hole on the left side which was in all probability caused by the passage of a bullet. The scientists were not authorised to take samples from this fragment.

    As it stands, the fragment's morphology was "totally comparable" to radiographies of Hitler's skull taken a year before his death, the research found. If this study confirms the generally accepted view that Hitler died on the 30 April, 1945, in his Berlin bunker with his companion Eva Braun, it does also shed new light on the exact causes of death, Charlier said. "We didn't know if he had used an ampule of cyanide to kill himself or whether it was a bullet in the head. It's in all probability both," he said.

    The examination of the teeth did not find any traces of powder, which indicates there was not a revolver shot to the mouth, more likely the neck or the forehead. Equally, bluish deposits seen on his false teeth could indicate a "chemical reaction between the cyanide and the metal of the dentures," the researcher said. Charlier, a specialist in medical and legal anthropology, was also involved in the analysis of the mummified heart of Richard Lionheart.

  • Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, says around 45 others have been wounded at the sports stadium late Friday night in the provincial capital of Jalalabad. The attack happened as players and hundreds of spectaculars gathered for a nighttime tournament during the holy month of Ramadan.

    Khogyani says an investigation is underway. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar province. 

  • The accident took place on Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar highway when the cement-laden truck was coming from Pipavav Port in Bhavnagar district, police said. "There were 25 labourers travelling in the truck. The vehicle turned turtle early morning and 19 people were crushed to death," Ahmedabad Superintendent of Police R V Asari said.

    The deceased included 12 women and three children, he said, adding that while 18 of them died on the spot, another one died in a hospital. Six injured were admitted to a nearby hospital, the officer said. "The accident seems to have taken place as the driver of the truck lost control over the vehicle. After the mishap, the driver escaped from the spot and a search has been launched to trace him," Asari said. Further investigation is underway.

  • The incident took place at Santa Fe High School in the city of the same name, located about 50 kilometres southeast of Houston. An unidentified law enforcement officer was shot, but sources said he was "clipped" and was not seriously injured. At least 10 people, nine students and a teacher were killed in the gunfire a law enforcement said.

    Authorities have said two people have been detained in the shooting at Santa Fe High School. Federal law enforcement officials identified one of them as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, and said he is suspected of having fired the shots. The shooter used a shotgun and a revolver that were legally owned by his father, Governor Greg Abbott said. "We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It's time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again," Abbott told reporters Friday. "Officers inside encountered a bloody mess in the school," a source said, adding, "Evidently this guy threw pipe bombs all in there. We don't know if any of them went off."

    A search of the school is ongoing, Gonzalez said. He said he has no information about explosives being found at the scene. Ten other students were injured in the shooting. This is the third school shooting in the past seven days, and the 22nd since the beginning of the year in the US. Friday's bloodshed is the worst mass shooting in America since February, when 17 people were gunned down at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Witnesses described students running from the school as they heard gunshots; they also described hearing an alarm at the school.

    Junior Liberty Wheeler, 14, was in class when she heard five shots ring out near the art room. Her teacher told them to run toward the theatre department's storage room, where they hid for 45 minutes before being escorted outside by the SWAT team. "You could small the gunpowder that came from the gun," Wheeler recalled as she was escorted out of the building. "We were all scared because it was near us." President Donald Trump expressed concern over the incident. "School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!," he tweeted. He expressed "sadness and heartbreak" over the incident, describing it as "absolutely horrific". "This has been going on too long in our country." "My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves, and to others," he said.

    Trump has previously favoured arming teachers instead of gun control measures. Today's shooting was the third at a US school in recent days. On Wednesday, an Illinois school resource officer shot and wounded a former student who fired a weapon near a graduation rehearsal at Dixon High School, authorities said. The suspected gunman faces three charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm. On May 11, a 14-year-old boy in In Palmdale, California, went to Highland High, his former school, and began shooting a semiautomatic rifle shortly before classes began. He was taken into custody and is accused of attempted murder. One person was wounded.

  • Cuban state media reported that three women had been pulled alive from the mangled wreckage and were in critical condition in hospital. They were the only known survivors from the nearly 40-year-old Boeing 737, operated by Cubana de Aviacion. It crashed into a field close to a wooded area near Jose Marti airport, sending a thick column of acrid smoke into the air. The 110 people aboard included six Mexican crew, said the Mexico-based company that leased the plane, Global Air, also known as Aerolineas Damojh. Two victims were Argentine, the country's foreign ministry said. Most of the others were Cuban, according to state media.

    The plane carrying 104 passengers was almost completely destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire. Firefighters raced to the scene along with a fleet of ambulances to put out the blaze, as emergency personnel combed through the wreckage. What appeared to be one of the wings of the plane was wedged among scorched tree trunks, but the main fuselage was almost entirely destroyed. Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who visited the scene, said an investigation has been opened into the disaster, and that its findings would be made public as soon as possible. A press conference was scheduled for 1900 GMT on Saturday.

    The 58-year-old president, who succeeded Raul Castro as the communist island's leader only last month, appeared aghast as he surveyed the recovery efforts, wearing a short-sleeved green shirt and surrounded by officials. He said an investigation into the cause of the accident was underway. Cuba declared two days of national mourning. Raul Castro sent condolences to families of the victims of the "catastrophic accident," a statement read, as Russian President Vladimir Putin and a string of Latin American leaders also expressed sympathy. Airport sources said the plane took off at 12:08 pm (1608 GMT) heading for the eastern city of Holguin, 670 kilometers (415 miles) away. From the supermarket where he works near the airport, Jose Luis, 49, said he could see the plane taking off before it banked and plunged to the ground. "I saw it taking off. All of a sudden, it made a turn, and went down. We were all amazed," he said.

    Yasniel Diaz, a 21-year-old musician, said the pilot appeared to attempt an emergency landing, but crashed instead. "The explosion shook everything," he said. "I started running, I was so afraid." Images from Cuban television showed rescue workers at the scene removing what appeared to be a survivor on a stretcher as rain began to fall. Global Air said the plane was flying with a crew of six Mexicans the pilot, co-pilot, three flight attendants and a maintenance technician. In Mexico City, anguished relatives and colleagues of the crew gathered outside the company's offices demanding information some of them hugging and crying. "I was friends with the captain, with the co-pilot, with the head flight attendant," said a former Global Air employee, 44-year-old Ana Marlene Covarrubias. "When I heard the news on the phone, I thought it was one of those jokes people play," she said. Mexico said it had sent two civil aviation specialists to help in the investigation.

    The Mexican communications and transportation ministry said the plane was built in 1979. Global Air had the necessary permits to lease it, and had passed inspections in November last year, it said. The company, formed in 1990, had a fleet of three planes, all Boeing 737s. Prior to Friday's crash, Cuba's most recent air accident occurred in April 2017, when eight military personnel died when a Russian-made AN-26 transport aircraft went down in western Cuba. The country's last major airline disaster was in November 2010 when a Cuban Aerocaribbean jet crashed on a flight from Santiago de Cuba to Havana, killing all 68 people on board, including 28 foreigners.

  • The monsoon, the lifeblood of the country's $2 trillion economy, delivers nearly 70% of rains that India needs to water farms and recharge reservoirs and aquifers.

    Nearly half of India's farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

     

  • Addressing the 'Convocation Ceremony of Lady Hardinge Medical College, the Vice President urged the doctors to provide their services in the rural areas to ensure better health facilities there.

    He also said that doctors are believed to be second to god and so efforts should be made to maintain this image.

  • Despite the rugged and mountainous terrain the work on four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar national highway is in full swing. Men and machines are working day and night to complete this project by 2021. From Jammu to Udhampur, this section is complete and giving a better ride to the commuters.

    Last year,with the opening of Chenani-Nashri tunnel by the prime minister Narinder Modi, the road journey from Jammu to Srinagar has been reduced by two hours. With the completion of this project, road journey between Jammu and Srinagar will be reduced by five to six hours.

    This project has brought happiness to the local people of this state, as on one hand they are getting employment opportunities in the construction activities while on the other hand they will get smooth and better roads. They say tourism activities will also get boost with the better road communication.

    The initiatives of the Modi government during the last four years have given a new look to the road sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
     

  • The prime minister who is on a day's visit to all the three regions Leh, Kashmir and Jammu- of Jammu and Kashmir also attended the closing ceremony of the 100th birth anniversary celebrations of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (Buddhist spiritual guru).

    The tunnel will be cutting down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from three and a half hours presently to just fifteen minutes. Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir through roads. The project aims at construction of 14.15 kilometer long two lane bi-directional single tube tunnel.

    At the ceremony Prime Minister Modi said projects worth Rs 25,000 crore would either be initiated or inaugurated today in all three regions and it showed the commitment of the central and the state governments towards the speedy development of the state. On developmental work carried in the country after forming his government, he said 18,000 villages which did not receive power since Independence have been given electrical connectivity within 1,000 days. There are four crore households in the country which do not have electricity even after 70 years of Independence and they will be given power connections within a year and a half, he said.

  • Governor Vajubhai Vala has sworn in BJP MLA, K.G. Bopaiah as the Protem Speaker. He was administered the oath at the Raj Bhavan. Bopaiah had served as the Assembly speaker between 2008 and 2013. He represents Virajpet in the current assembly.

    The Assembly Secretariat is preparing for the floor test after the 14th Legislative Assembly was dissolved by the Governor. The Secretariat has sent alerts and letters to all legislators to be present for the session that starts on Saturday morning at 11 am. First the legislators will be sworn in and by 4 in the evening the test of strength will be undertaken.

    The Congress Party has opposed the appointment of Bopaiah as Protem Speaker... alleging that the BJP is not following the conventions of procedure, by which the seniormost member of the house is nominated to the post. The BJP dismissed the allegation stating that Bopaiah had served both as Protem Speaker and speaker earlier in 2008.

    The governor appoints the Protem Speaker. By tradition, it is the senior most member of the House. The appointment is temporary until the Assembly elects its speaker.

    The Protem speaker is responsible for swearing in the newly elected MLAs and conducting the floor test. It assumes significance in the conduct of the floor test. The Protem Speaker cannot vote, but has a casting vote in case of a tie.

    Many JDS and Congress MLAs have been housed in five star hotels and resorts in Hyderabad.

    Elections have been held for 222 seats in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. The majority needed is 112 seats. The BJP has 104 elected MLAs. The JDS Congress post poll alliance have 116 seats. There are two others.

    HD  Kumaraswamy of JDS has won two seats and will need to resign from one seat. One member has become protem speaker. Hence the House strength will be decided on the basis of 220 seats.

    Meanwhile, both sides claim they have the majority of the house. All eyes are on Saturday's trust vote...everyone is waiting for a stable government.
     

  • In an emotional speech in the Assembly, Yeddyurappa said the BJP didn't get the numbers needed to prove majority in the House.

    "I will lose nothing if I lose power, my life is for the people," he said.

    In his 15-minute speech, the 75-year-old BJP leader said there was no way he could have served the people of Karnataka as the Congress was not even allowing its MLAs to speak to their family members.

    "If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise. But I will fight for the state till my last breath. We will get 28 out of 28 seats in Lok Sabha and I will win 150 Assembly seats for Narendra Modi (in the next Assembly elections)," Yeddyurapa said.

    He then said he would resign as the Chief Minister of Karnataka and after the speech, drove to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala.

    The resignation comes two days after he took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the state.

    The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies of the 225-member assembly, including one nominated, threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. Polls in two constituencies were deferred.

    Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, the Congress 78, the Janata Dal-Secular, 37 and one each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and an Independent.

    As JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party's effective strength in the House was 36.

    As the single largest party, the BJP was short of crossing the halfway mark.

    Yeddyurappa required the 111 halfway mark to win the motion or one more than the half of the members present at the time of the floor test was conducted in the House with an effective strength of 221.

    Though the Governor had directed Yeddyurappa to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House within 15 days from the date of assumption of office as the Chief Minister (May 17), a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ordered the floor test on Saturday, rejecting his plea for a week's time to prove his majority.

  • Managing Director of Seven Summit Treks, Mingma Sherpa told DD News Kathmandu correspondent that 16-year-old Shivangi successfully stood atop world’s highest mountain on Thursday morning.

    Born in Hisar of Haryana Shivangi climbed Mt Everest to spread the message that women could overcome any obstacle to achieve their goals.

    She was inspired by Arunima Sinha, the first Indian amputee to climb Mt Everest. In 2014, 13 year old Malavath Poorna from India had climbed Mt Everest from Tibet side and became youngest girl in the world to summit at Everest.

    Meanwhile, two more mountaineers from India, Bhagwan Chawale and Prajit Pardesi have also successfully scaled tallest peak on the earth on Thursday.

  • A day after UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura warned a regime assault on the rebel-held area of Idlib could affect 2.3 million people, Putin yesterday met Assad in the southern Russian city of Sochi. "After the success of the Syrian government army in the fight against the terrorists" the condition are in place for "the start of a political process on a major scale," Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin following the meeting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

    "With the start of the political process in its most active phase, foreign armed forces will withdraw from Syrian territory," Putin said, without specifying which foreign forces. Russia has been involved in Syria's civil war since September 2015. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Assad's regime but also changed the course of the war. Putin also congratulated Assad on the "successes of the Syrian government's army in the fight against terrorist groups". "The next task, of course, is the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a difficult situation," Putin added.

    The latest round of Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana wrapped up on Tuesday, but did not however make any concrete progress towards ending the seven-year conflict that has cost 350,000 lives. Russia, Iran and Turkey have been attempting to resolve the conflict in the talks that started last year in Astana in competition with a US and UN-backed Geneva initiative. In a statement from the Syrian presidency, Assad added yesterday "we have evaluated the political process" and will select candidates for a constitutional committee, a suggestion proposed in January at a summit in Sochi, that will work with the United Nations. According to the Kremlin statement, Assad said "stability is improving" in Syria, "opening the door to the political process we started some time ago". 

  • "Firing in Heeranagar area was on during the intervening night of May 16 and 17 in which one BSF trooper was injured. Thursday, during the daytime, it stopped but Pakistan resumed firing in night in Arnia sector which claimed the life of a jawan early Friday," a senior official of the border guarding force said.

    The official added that in the R S Pura sector of the IB in Jammu, unprovoked shelling of mortars and heavy fire from the Pakistani side started at about 4 am today which was being "suitably countered" by the BSF units. "The firing in the R S Pura sector has stopped now," he said. The incidents of unprovoked firing and attempts to infiltrate the IB have increased in the last few days even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to reach Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday as part of an official visit. A BSF jawan was killed along the Jammu border area earlier this week in a similar incident.

  • The holy month of Ramzan began on Thursday after moon was sighted in parts of the country on Wednesday. Ramzan is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one's inner self.

    Muslims commemorate this month-long period by observing Roza or fast.

    Fasting for the 30 days includes sehri and iftar. Sehri is a pre-dawn meal that is consumed early in the morning before the fajr prayer. Once sehri is done, people observe fast for the whole day and break it with iftar, which is the evening meal.

    Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramzan.

  • In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress reinforced its dominant position in rural local bodies, bagging 9,270 seats in gram panchayats.

    According to results available, BJP emerged as the main challenger to the ruling party in most districts. State Election Commission sources said, TMC is also ahead in 2,317 gram panchayat seats for which counting is in progress.

    The BJP has won 2,079 seats and is leading in 200 seats, while the CPI(M) got 562 gram panchayat seats and is ahead in another 113. 

    Congress won 315 seats and is leading in 61 seats. Independent candidates have won 707 gram panchayat seats and are leading in 120 seats.

    According to the Election Commission sources, TMC has so far won 95 panchayat samiti seats and is leading in another 65, while the other parties are yet to open their accounts. In zilla parishads, the TMC has won 10 seats and is leading in 25 seats.

    BJP emerged as the main challenger to the TMC in gram panchayat in almost every districts except Murshidabad and Malda, the two Congress strongholds. The counting of votes began at 8 am today amid tight security.

    Of the 48,650 seats in gram panchayats, 16,814 went uncontested. There was no contest for 3,059 of the 9,217 panchayat samiti seats. 

    In all, 203 of the 825 zilla parishad seats were uncontested. The panchayat polls took place on Monday amid reports of widespread violence and clashes between rival political groups. Re-polling was held yesterday on 573 polling booths after complaints of false voting and booth rigging.

    Opposition political parties and a section of the media claimed that 21 people were killed in violence on the polling day, while five more people died on the next day.

  • In the first ministerial visit from India to North Korea in nearly 20 years, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh held talks with his North Korean counterpart and a host of other leaders.

    The minister who is on a two-day official trip to North Korea, held discussions with Kim Yong Dae, Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Foreign Minister, Minister of Culture and Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK on a range of issues covering political, regional, economic, educational and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

  • The unification of both the parties was announced in the presence of CPN (UML) Chairman and Prime Minister of Nepal K.P.Sharma Oli and CPN (Maoist Centre ) Chief  and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda in Kathmandu this evening.

    Oli and Prachanda have been elected Co-Chairpersons of Nepal Communist Party. The new party will have nine member secretariat. There will be 45 members in the Standing Committee and 441 members in the Central Committee of Nepal Communist Party.

    Addressing the party comrades, Co-Chair and Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli said that unification has created history and Nepal has entered into a new era of democracy. He said that unification will take Nepal to a new path of development and economic prosperity.

    In his address Co-Chairperson of newly formed party Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda said that with the unification Nepal has given a new message of development and political stability to the international politics. He said that main objective of unification is prosperity and economic development of the country based on social justice.

    The CPN (UML) and  CPN (Maoist Centre ) had announced electoral alliance in October last year and contested provincial and parliament elections together.

    The Left Alliance had registered massive victory in the historic elections and formed government in the center and six provinces out of seven.
     

  • Turkey has been among the most vocal critics of the Israeli use of deadly force against protesters at the Gaza border and of the U.S. decision to open its new embassy in Jerusalem. It called for an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Friday.

    Speaking at a dinner on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Erdogan said the majority of the international community had failed to react to the events in Gaza.

    The events in Gaza have also sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel, with both countries expelling each other's senior diplomats on Tuesday.

    The dispute appears to mark the worst diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers since Israeli marines stormed an aid ship to enforce a naval blockade of Gaza in 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists and prompting a downgrade in diplomatic ties that lasted until 2016.

    Erdogan, who described Monday's bloodshed as genocide earlier this week, said Turkey had launched initiatives to get the issue onto the U.N. General Assembly's agenda. He said Ankara was pressing members of the U.N. Security Council to be more active.