News

  • Indian Statistical Institute(ISI) today presented its Report on the sample size of  Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slip counting to the Chief Election Commissioner Shri  Sunil Arora  and Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra.

  • The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on March 20, 2019 was 54.002 BCM, which is 33% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 35% for the week ending on March 14, 2019.

  • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has greeted nation on the occasion of Navroz.

    “Navroz Mubarak! Praying for a year filled with peace and prosperity. May everyone be happy and be blessed with good health”, the Prime Minister said.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has greeted people on the occasion of Holi.  

    “???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?????????? ?? ????? ??????????? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ??????? ????”,the Prime Minister said.

  • The Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), today presented a “Voluntary Code of Ethics for the General Election 2019” to Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind in his message on the eve of Holi has said:-

    “On the occasion of the joyous festival of Holi, I convey my greetings to all fellow citizens in India and abroad.

  • In another inspring example of indigenisation of defence equipment, 5 Metre Short Span Bridge was formally handed over to the Indian Army on 20 March 2019 in a ceremony at the Talegaon facility of Larsen & Toubro Limited.

  • The following is the text of this speech of Shri N.K. Singh, Chairman, Fifteenth Finance Commission at the 2nd International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, being organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in New Delhi:

    “It is indeed an honour and privilege that the National Disaster Management Authority  has asked me to address the inaugural session of the International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

  • As per the terms of reference of the Fifteenth Finance Commission –

    · “The Commission may consider proposing measurable performance-based incentives for States, at the appropriate level of government, in following areas (i) Achievements in implementation of flagship schemes of Government of India, disaster resilient infrastructure, sustainable development goals, and quality of expenditure; (ii) Progress made in sanitation, solid waste managementand bringing in behavioural change to end open defecation.

  • As part of its visit to the different states across the country before submitting its recommendations, the Fifteenth Finance Commission shall be visiting the State of Mizoram on 25-26 March, 2019.  This will be the 20th State that the Commission will be visiting.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has greeted the people on the eve of Holi. In a message, he said that the festival of colours Holi, celebrated with traditional fervor and enthusiasm throughout the country, is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has advised the media to present a report card on the performance of parties in an objective manner to enable people make an informed choice during elections.

  • The two-day International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) successfully concluded here today. Experts from 33 countries representing a wide variety of development and disaster risk contexts, multilateral development banks, the United Nations, the private sector, academia, policy think tanks and other stakeholders participated in the workshop.

  • The ships of First Training Squadron of Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul) operating in the Southern Indian Ocean were diverted to Port Beira, Mozambique based on request received from the Government of Mozambique to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the local population post the devastation caused by cyclone 'IDAI' which struck the coast of Mozambique on 15 Mar 19. INS Sujata along with ICGS Sarathi arrived at Port Beira morning of 18 Mar 19 whilst INS Shardul arrived on 19 Mar 19 and are providing necessary support to the local administration.

  • Election Commission of India has appointed two eminent former Civil Servants Sh. Shailendra Handa & Ms. Madhu Mahajan as Special Expenditure Observers for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. While Sh. Shailendra Handa ex-IRS (1980) has been deployed in Maharashtra, Ms. Madhu Mahajan ex-IRS (1982) has been deployed in Tamil Nadu.

  • The President of India has been pleased to appoint the following as Lokpal:-

    Chairperson

    1.   Shri Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose

     

    Judicial Members

    2.   Shri Justice Dilip B. Bhosale

    3.

  • Election Commission of India today had in-depth interactive session with representatives of various Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on the usage of Social Media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

  • Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN-235 led by Cmde Dafit Santoso arrived at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India for the Opening Ceremony of the 33rd edition of the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) to be held from 19 Mar to 04 Apr 2019.

  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with the officials from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reviewed the current situation, state preparedness and action taken to deal with West Nile Fever (WNF) in Mallapuram district, Kerala,  today.

  • The 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships concluded in New Delhi today. The three-day conclave was organised by the Ministry of Commerce inassociation with Confederation of Indian Industry and EXIM Bank of India.

  • Sajjad Khan (27), a resident of Pulwama was arrested near the Lajpat Rai market late Thursday night, the police said. 

    "Muddasir, the mastermind of Pulwama attack was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir recently," Pramod Singh Kushwah, Deputy Commisisoner of Police (Special Cell) said.

    Sajjad was tasked by Mudassir to establish a sleeper cell in Delhi, the officer added.

     

  • With his reach of nearly nine million followers on Twitter, the 37-year-old cricketer was conferred with India’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri award.

    Gambhir made his one-day international debut for the Indian team in April 2003 against Bangladesh and went on to play 147 ODIs for the side.

    His performances in the finals of the 2007 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan and the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka helped India win both the titles. He also earned 58 Test caps and scored nine hundreds and 22 fifties in the longest format of the game.

    The 37-year-old announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last December.

  • Freshwater biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide, and nature-based solutions which increase the resilience of ecological communities are becoming increasingly important in helping communities prepare for the unavoidable effects of climate change.

    Researchers from Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia and Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal varied the water current and depth in a simulated river with obstacles, and found that fish were able to rapidly adapt to the changes when alone and also when in groups.

    "The findings suggest that cues initiated by obstacles in the flow can be detected by fish to find energetically-beneficial places in the flow even under extreme and rapid environmental change," said Jeffrey Tuhtan, a researchers at Tallinn University of Technology.

    The concept of observing fish in simulated rivers as individuals or in groups is not unusual, but the effects of rapid environmental variations, such as quickly changing water depths due to hydropower plant operations or a flash flood remain largely unknown.

    Barbel are a common fish species in many European rivers, and are usually found in rocky-bottomed and slow flowing rivers with plenty of dissolved oxygen. "These fish are an important indicator of ecosystem health in the Iberian peninsula and in many other European rivers. Hydropower operations and the uncertainty caused by climate change mean we need to begin to look at the compound effects of rapid changes, from 'the fish's perspective'," said Maria Joao Costa, a research biologist at the University of Lisbon.

    Fish sense their surroundings using the biological lateral line, which consists of canals and tiny hair-like structures which are sensitive to minute changes in the water motion and pressure near the fish's body.

    This study was the first to combine biological observations of individuals and groups of fish with a new bioinspired sensing technology. The researchers observed that both individual fish and groups of fish reacted to the changing flow conditions in very clear ways and wondered if their natural flow sensing abilities were guiding their ability to cope with the stressors.

    "It was exciting to compare the results of the artificial lateral line with actual observations of fish behaviour. This was a very unique opportunity to combine sensor research with real-world biological observations, something which is rarely done," said Juan Francisco Fuentes-Perez, a PhD candidate at Tallinn University of Technology.

    "A fish's sensing abilities have developed over millions of years and are incredibly advanced compared to what engineers have available. This is likely part of the reason they have survived for hundreds of millions of years," said Isabela Boavida, a senior researcher at the University of Lisbon.

    "Understanding how a fish's advanced sensing system help them react to rapid changes in the flow environment will help scientists develop new designs for nature-based solutions to improve climate change resilience," Boavida said.

    "With more than 500 million years of real-world experience, fish are likely to have learned a few tricks for quickly adapting to challenging conditions" said Antonio Pinheiro, from the University of Lisbon.

  • Social-emotional learning (SEL) is gaining increased recognition as an important goal of education. Competencies include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and goal-directed behaviour.

    Developing these skills may help students perform better academically and enjoy enhanced emotional and social well being. "There's a strong body of research supporting the clear value of developing social-emotional competency for students," said Laurent Valosek, Executive Director of the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education (CWAE) in US.

    "Middle school is an especially formative time and poses a major opportunity to provide students with the tools to develop positive social relationships, responsible decision-making, and healthy behaviours," said Valosek, lead author of the study published in the journal Education.

    "We're encouraged by the results demonstrating the value of a Quiet Time programme to enhance social-emotional learning and mental health in middle school students," Valosek said.

    The study compared over a four-month period 51 sixth-grade students who took part in a Quiet Time program with twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation to 50 students from a matched control school within the same West Coast urban public school district.

    The study found a significant increase in overall social-emotional competency in the Quiet Time group compared to controls. The effects were particularly pronounced with high-risk subgroups, which experienced a significant increase on social-emotional competency and a significant decrease on negative emotional symptoms compared to controls.

    Results on the individual items indicate improvement in the Quiet Time group compared to controls in the areas of decision-making, goal-directed behaviour, personal responsibility, relationship skills, and optimistic thinking.

    These results have implications for schools looking to implement evidence-based programs for student social-emotional learning and mental health, researchers said. 

  • This year Ladakh region has built ice Stupas in over a dozen villages. Best Ice Stupas among 12 villages will be awarded in Leh district on the occasion of World Water Day being celebrated on Friday.

    For the last 4 years, there was not enough snow fall in the region. With global warming, the glaciers have thinned, some have vanished. However, after consequent adverse years, this year Ladakh has received good snow fall.

    Taking the opportunity, the Himalayan institute of Alternatives, Ladakh ( HIAL) has encouraged the villages to compete in building Ice Stupas. 

    The call and was taken positively by the youth. Over 12 villages have participated in competition. HIAL has provided material and technology to the villagers. 

    To commemorate ice Stupas and create awareness among the world on how Himalayas are affected by the global warming, the Posts Department has released a special Stamp on ice Stupas. Wangchuk assured that Ganglas village have enough water storage to help the farmer this season.

    He said that it will benefit many households of Ganglas village.

    International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. 

    World Water Day provides an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. Each year, UN-Water — the entity that coordinates the UN's work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge.

    The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-Water Members with a related mandate.

  • The resolution was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and moved by the UK, Canada and Germany at the UNHRC 40th session in Geneva Thusrday night. 

    During the interactive dialogue on Wednesday,  UNHRC chief Michelle Bachelet expressed concern over Sri Lanka's slow progress in establishing transitional justice mechanisms to address the accountability and called on Sri Lanka to implement a detailed, comprehensive strategy for the transitional process with a fixed timeline.

    She was critical of the progress, proposing that her organisation open an office in Colombo to push for progress. Srilankan Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana delivering a response statement said Sri Lanka is committed to pursue the process of Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of non- recurrence.

    Sri Lanka has co- sponsored a resolution in 2015 to address all the transitional justice pillars in aftermath of decades long conflict but the progress on it has been slow. 

    The decision by the Council to reprieve Sri Lanka came despite criticism of the government’s  record of keeping promises it had made to the war-affected people in the country and the international community.

    An independent research foundation noted that Sri Lanka has fulfilled only 6 of the 36 promises it made to the international committee four years ago.

  • The 38-year-old American, a quarter-finalist at Indian Wells last week, turned back Jakupovic 7-5, 6-3 in 78 minutes to reach the second round after a rough start.

    Jakupovic was serving for the first set and Williams was on the back foot before the qualifier wilted under the pressure and 43rd-ranked Williams booked a second-round matchup against Spanish 24th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.

    Tenth seed Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion and younger sister of Venus, will open in the second round against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson, who eliminated German qualifier Laura Siegemund 6-1, 5-7, 7-5.

    Venus credits her mother, Oracene Price, with instilling the character and desire to match the tennis skills developed by their father and long-time coach Richard Williams. "Growing up in my home, we weren't allowed to be weak, so it just wasn't an option," Venus Williams said. "The only option was to be strong. You had a choice of being strong or being strong, so we were strong."

    Williams, a three time Miami Open champion, is the oldest player in the women's singles draw but has no problem striving for more titles. "I don't think there is really any sacrifices," she said. "I think it's really only pluses, especially if you're able to execute on your dream. That's really what anyone and everyone wants.

    "One of the challenges is that it's really a lifestyle and there is never any moment where you're not trying to get better or that you forget about tennis. You just feel intense pressure to get better and to work."

    Three consecutive breaks saw 80th-ranked Jakupovic ease into an early 3-2 lead with Williams struggling on serve, and she served for the first set at 5-4 before Williams answered to claim a set that saw seven service breaks in all. Williams stormed ahead 5-1 in the second set and cruised from there.

    Williams, in a record 20th Miami appearance, knows she faces a tougher test in Suarez Navarro even though she owns a 6-3 career edge on the Spaniard.

    "She's crafty, feisty, and competitive," Williams said. "She plays maybe a little more topspin than others and then some slice. So it's a little bit atypical game."

    Mari Osaka, the older sister of world number one Naomi Osaka, was ousted in her opening match, falling to American Whitney Osuigwe 6-2, 6-4. Canada's Bianca Andreescu, fresh off the Indian Wells title, rallied to beat Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 in her opening match.

    World number two Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic downed Greece's Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4, to become the first player into the third round.

    In ATP first-round matches, Australia's Bernard Tomic dispatched Brazilian qualifier Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-1 and Aussie Jordan Thompson downed Britain's Cameron Norrie 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

  • Out of 25 Lok Sabha seats at stake in Andhra Pradesh, the party had earlier announced candidates for 22 seats.

    In the remaining three seats, the party is fielding Ramana Kumari Pedada from Visakhapatnam, N. Narasimha Rao from Vijayawada and J. Lakshmi Narasimha Yadav from Nandyal Lok Sabha constituencies.

    Polling in the state will be held on April 11.

    Both the Lok Sabha and legislative assembly polls will be held in the state simultaneously on this day. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.

  • The TRS has dropped three sitting MPs and denied re-nomination to another former MP in the list of party candidates released on Thursday. 

    Those dropped included TRS leader in the Lok Sabha and Mahbubnagar MP A.P. Jithender Reddy, Mahbubabad MP A. Sitaram Naik and Khammam MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy who won on YSR Congress ticket last time but joined the TRS later. 

  • Responding to a question on India's economic development in the last five years at a fortnightly news conference, IMF communications director Gerry Rice Thursday said, "India has of course been one of the world's fastest growing large economies of late, with growth averaging about seven per cent over the past five years."

    "Important reforms have been implemented and we feel more reforms are needed to sustain this high growth, including to harness the demographic dividend opportunity, which India has," he said.

    Details about the Indian economy would be revealed in the upcoming World Economic Outlook (WEO) survey report to be released by the IMF ahead of the annual spring meeting with the World Bank next month, he said. This report would be the first under Indian American economist Gita Gopinath, who is now IMF's chief economist.

    "The WEO will go into more details. But amongst the policy priorities, we would include accelerate the cleanup of banks and corporate balance sheets, continue fiscal consolidation, both at centre and state levels, and broadly maintain the reform momentum in terms of structural reforms in factor markets, labour, land reforms and further enhancing the business climate to achieve faster and more inclusive growth," Rice said. 

  • The confirmed death toll in Zimbabwe, neighboring Mozambique and Malawi surpassed 500, with hundreds more feared dead in towns and villages that were completely submerged.

    Aid agencies and several governments continued to step up their deployments, with helicopters in short supply for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the cyclone.

    Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel of the World Food Program told reporters in Geneva of the "alarming news" that the Marowanyati dam in Zimbabwe was hit by heavy rains overnight, putting populations in the region at risk.

    Zimbabwe's defense minister said more than 120 bodies had been washed into neighboring Mozambique, where residents there buried them, and more bodies were still being recovered in rivers, raising the official death toll in the country to 259.

    "Most of the bodies were washed into Mozambique and because they were in a really bad state, they could not keep the bodies," Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri said, speaking in the eastern city of Mutare. "So they ended up burying them."

    Meanwhile, the confirmed death toll in Mozambique rose to 217, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported, and in Malawi, at least 56 people were killed. But that was sure to rise.

    Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has estimated that 1,000 people could have been killed in his country alone. Zimbabwean officials have said some 350 people may have died in their country.

    Homes, villages and entire towns were submerged across central Mozambique, where flooding created a muddy inland ocean 30 miles (50 kilometers) wide. The U.N. food aid agency said 400,000 people were displaced and "in urgent need of life-saving assistance" in Mozambique's coastal city of Beira and flooded areas along the Pungue and Buzi rivers.

    The persistent rains lifted in some areas on Thursday, and floodwaters began to recede in Beira, the worst-hit city, and in the countryside, according to a Mozambican government report.

    "Yesterday, 910 people were rescued by the humanitarian community," said Caroline Haga of the International Federation of the Red Cross in Beira. She said 210 were rescued by five helicopters and 700 were saved by boats.

    Aid groups were continuing to work non-stop to rescue families desperately clinging to tree branches and rooftops for safety from the surging waters. 

  • There was an outpouring of grief among residents who only this year resumed the annual festivities on the banks of the Tigris after the northern city's recapture from the Islamic State group.

    Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi decreed three days of national mourning as he visited the site of the tragedy. He ordered a swift investigation "to determine responsibilities".

    The vessel was crammed with men, women and children crossing the Tigris Thursday to go to a popular picnic area to celebrate Nowruz, the Kurdish New Year and a holiday across Iraq marking the start of spring. The accident, which struck as the overloaded vessel turned back, also coincided with Mother's Day in Iraq.

    The interior ministry, issuing a fresh toll, said 94 people had died and 55 were rescued, after its spokesperson Saad Maan said at least 19 children were among the dead. The premier said 61 women had died in the accident.

    While war and jihadist attacks have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq in recent years, such accidents are relatively rare. "It's a disaster, no one expected that," said a young man who had just managed to reach the shore. "There were a lot of people on the boat, especially women and children," he told.

    A Mosul security source said the high water levels and overcrowding on the boat, with well over 100 people on board, had been to blame for the disaster. "The boat sank because there were too many passengers on board," another security official based in Mosul said.

    Iraq's justice ministry said it had ordered the arrest of nine ferry company officials and banned the owners of the vessel and the tourist site from leaving the country.

    The authorities had warned people to be cautious after several days of heavy rains led to water being released through the Mosul dam, causing the river level to rise.

    Videos shared on social media showed a fast-flowing, bloated river and dozens of people floating in the water or trying to swim around the partly submerged boat.

    Hundreds of people who had flocked to the forested area for the first days of spring gathered on the river banks as the disaster unfolded.

    Ambulances and police vehicles transported the dead and wounded to hospitals in the city of nearly two million people. Photos of victims, many of them women and children, were posted on the walls of a morgue for families unable to enter because of the large crowd who had gathered to identify their relatives.

    One man, scanning over the pictures, stopped abruptly at the image of a woman. In shock, he gasped: "It's my wife", before collapsing in tears.

    IS turned Mosul into their de facto Iraqi capital after the jihadists swept across much of the country's north in 2014. The city spent three years under the group's iron-fisted rule until it was recaptured by Iraqi troops backed by a US-led coalition in 2017. 

  • "I met Prime Minister May several times tonight to make sure the UK accepts the extension scenarios and I am pleased to confirm we have an agreement on this," the EU council president said. 

  • Security sources said that at least two terrorists are believed to be trapped in a residential area. 

    There was no report of any fatal or non fatal casualties on either side so far.

    Meanwhile in another incident in Jammu and Kashmir, two terrorists were killed and three Army personnel, including an officer, were injured in an encounter in Baramulla district on Thursday. 

    An officer and two soldiers were injured in the operation.

    The injured personnel have been sent to the Army's 92 Base Hospital at Badamibagh Cantonment. 

    Another terrorist was killed by security forces in an encounter at Mir Mohalla in Hajin area of Bandipora district. 
     

     

     

  • Maj Gen Saad Maan, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, says another 55 have been rescued, including 19 children.

    Officials say the ferry sank in the Tigris River near the northern city of Mosul because of a technical problem, and that there weren't many boats in the area to rescue people.

  • Holi celebrations in political circles were rather muted this year as a mark of respect for the Pulwama martyrs.

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore was in Jaipur where he dedicated Holi to our defence and security forces. Rathore wished that this festival may bring peace, joy and prosperity to everyone's lives. He also called for efforts by youth towards building a New India.  

    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, celebrated holi at the Swayam Sevak Sangh at Gorakhpur. Speaking on the occasion, he said that, this holi marks India's progress and growth under the leadership of Prime Minster Modi, and that makes it even more special.

    Samajwadi party President Akhilesh Yadav also hosted a Holi celebration at his residence. The trademark 'lal topi' was seen in different hues. His father Mulayam Singh was also seen participating.

    And in Delhi, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also celebrated at his residence.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's residence was also awash with Holi colours.

    Congress leader Sandeep Dixit was seen in different colours on Holi....as they say bura na mano Holi hai....

    In Ghaziabad, Poet politician, Kumar Vishvaas also celebrated the festival of colours with full zeal.

    In Kolkata, Mamata Bannerjee decided not to celebrate ....State power minister  Sovhandeb Chatterjee celebrated the festival of colours.

    Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur also celebrated Holi.

    National General Secretary of BJP Kailash Vijayvargia said that one should use Holi as a day to renew old ties.

    All in all, while celebrations were muted, the spirit of the festival with its emphasis on harmonious co-existence was palpable throughout.

  • Countrymen greeted each other with sweets and colors representing brotherhood.

    Every color of the rainbow mixes with every color symbolically of India. In some areas holi was played with tomatoes.

    While Ayodhya celebrates the colors of brotherhood, Mathura the city of Lord Krishna is truly the place to celebrate Holi... escpecially for devotees of Lord Krishna.

    Visauls of people immersed in Holi celebrations from Banke Bihari temple Vrindavan Mathura. People in Raipur, Chhattisgarh too were deeply immersed in Holi festivities, while some people in Ahmedabad chose to celebrate using tomatoes.

    Foreign tourists too just soaked in the spirit of Holi in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Holi celebrations were vibrant in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Guwahati in Assam as well.

    Such is the widespread joy of Holi that Afghan students drenched themselves in the colors of Holy along with locals in Himachal capital Shimla.

    People were seen applying colours on each other at Sangam in  Prayagraj.

    Lucknow too had residents completely immersed in the spirit of Holi.

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Thursday slammed UPA for vicious theory of 'Hindu terror' which was coined during the UPA Government.

    In a blog, Jaitley said that the 'Compulsive Contrarians' adopted it and Thursday's verdict by the Court has judicially put the last nail in the coffin of the so called 'Hindu terror theory'. It was a conspiracy to give a bad name to the otherwise liberal majority community in India. Terror is alien to the Hindu culture.

    Godhra train fire of 2002

    On Godhar train fire case Jaitley said, The burning of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra in 2002 was an attempt to instigate social and communal tension in the State. The accused in the case were identified. Accused were arrested at different points of time, chargesheeted. Many of the accused were convicted earlier and an accused arrested subsequently has been convicted by the trial court on Thursday.

    Nirav Modi Arrest

    On the arrest of Nirav Modi, Finance Minister wrote that Nirav Modi's arrest the compulsive contrarians' fakery has again been exposed. This also busts the fake campaign that the present Government had anything to do with him. The country is reassured again that whoever cheats India and its institutions cannot get away.

    There is an inherent danger in relying only on fake issues. They crack up and collapse as three of them did on Thursday. I hope the manufacturers' of fake campaign learns some lesson. They don't seem to be considering their brazen attitude.
     

  • BJP on Thursday announced six more candidates for the 60 member Arunachal Pradesh assembly which goes to polls simaltaneously with the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Aprill 11.

    Party had earlier announced 54 candidates for the state assembly. Among the names declared today, Assembly speaker T N Thongdok will contest from Kalaktang seat while Information and Public Relations Minister Bamang Felix will contest from Nyapin assembly constituency of Kurung Kumey district.

    Senior leader Kipa Babu has been made a candidate from Itanagar seat. One of the key highlights of today's list is the  name of senior leader and Minister Nabam Rebia who hasn't been given party ticket.

    BJP'S FIRST LIST FOR SIKKIM ASSEMBLY POLLS

    BJP also released its first list of candidates for the ensuing assembly elections in Sikkim. Party released the a list of 12 candidates for 32 member Sikkim assembly which also goes to polls on April 11 simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election.
     

  • BJP president Amit Shah is contesting from Gandhinagar.

    Rajnath Singh has been fielded from Lucknow and Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur.

    Union ministers V K Singh from Ghaziabad, Mahesh Sharma from Gautambudh Nagar and Smriti Irani from Amethi.

    Union ministers Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal East and Jitendra Singh from and Udhampur.

    West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh will contest from Medinipur and  Union minister Babul Supriyo from Asansol.

    BJP has finalised names of all 17 party candidates from Bihar and the names will be announced in the state jointly with allies.

     

     

  • This will be fourth title clash between the two teams, India had won on earlier three occasions. The match will start at 2.45 in the afternoon.

    India has unbeaten record in the championship, since the inception of the tournament in 2010 India has won all 22 matches. 

    Expressing confidence in her team coach Maymol Rocky has said that players are eager to clinch their fifth SAFF title in a row and set the record straight. 

    Keeping in view the recent encounters between the two sides the final is expected to be a thrilling one. In November 2018, Nepal draw a 1-1 against India.

    At the Hero Gold Cup in Bhubaneswar last month Nepal defeated India by 2-1. 

  • Bunia is the second-largest city in eastern Congo to confirm a case of the haemorrhagic fever during the current outbreak, which was declared last August and is believed to have killed 610 people and infected 370 more to date.

    The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the outbreak was concentrated in two areas and could be stopped by September, but poor security in Congo’s militia-ravaged east and community resistance to health workers continue to hamper the response.

    The confirmed case in Bunia is a six-month-old infant, whose parents appear to be well, Congo’s health ministry said. Investigations are underway to identify how the child was infected, it added.

    The cities of Butembo, which has a slightly larger population than Bunia, and Beni, which is slightly smaller, have also experienced Ebola cases.

    The current outbreak is the second-deadliest in history behind the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa that is believed to have killed more than 11,000 people.

    Five Ebola centres have been attacked since last month, sometimes by armed assailants. The violence led French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to suspend its activities at the epicentre of the outbreak last month.

  • "We're not talking about removing them. We're talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time, because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal," Trump told reporters on the south lawns of the White House.

    Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of an agreement that both sides have said they would like to reach, with American officials demanding profound changes to the Chinese industrial policy.

    Asked about the progress in the trade talks, the US president said, "We're getting along with China very well. President Xi is a friend of mine.

    The deal is coming along nicely. We have our top representatives going there this weekend to further the deal." The world's two largest economies are locked in a trade war since Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items from China in March last year, a move that sparked fears of a global trade war.

    Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods. In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the US, imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on USD 110 billion of American goods "No president has ever done what I've done with China.

    China had free reign over our country, taking out USD 500 billion a year for many years. We actually rebuilt China, in the truest sense of the word. We rebuilt China," he added.

  • People across the country celebrated the festival of 'Holika Dahan' in full festive spirit by setting 'Holika' pyre on fire.

    While women in some cities sang folk songs meant for the day and performed rituals, Army jawans in Amritsar also celebrated the festival by burning 'Holika' pyre.

    People in states like Lucknow and Madhya Pradesh also took rounds of the burning pyre.

    Holika Dahan is celebrated one day before Holi. On this day, holy pyres are burnt on streets and open spaces, signifying the victory of good over evil. 

  • The Fall Armyworm pest is continuing to sweep across the globe, having moved eastwards from its native Americas onto Africa before arriving in Asia only last summer.

    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has convened a three-day meeting of international experts in Bangkok and officials from affected countries, who began discussing what to do about stopping the onward march of the crop-guzzling insects, and limiting the devastation they cause.

    "We are here today ? together ? because we share a growing sense of alarm ? but also to learn from each other, particularly from those countries who've already been responding to their own infestations," said Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

    Kadiresan said nations need to work together because this is a "pest that has no respect for international boundaries, threatens our food security, our economies, domestic and international trade, and of course the smallholder farmer who wakes up one morning to a cash crop under attack".

    Fall armyworm have been moving steadily east since 2016 and caused up to USD 3 billion-worth of damage to crops across Africa, a UN news release said.

    The insect lays eggs which develop fast into grubs, which can devastate crops such as maize, rice and sugarcane, overnight. India began to suffer the effects of the flying invaders in July, and the insects have now reached Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and China's Yunnan province, FAO said.

    In the case of Sri Lanka, there were reports that up to 40,000 hectares had been infested, damaging some 20 per cent of its crops. China is the biggest maize producer in Asia, and second largest producer globally.

    "When Fall Armyworm made landfall in India, its arrival did not come as a complete surprise, we were not caught unaware. And that's a good start ? indeed it was a good head start," Kadiresan said.

    The Plant Protection Commission for Asia and the Pacific began raising awareness about the threat early last year, sharing key information on the pest, its spread towards Asia, and how to manage it sustainably in case of infestation.

    Once an infestation is confirmed, governments are initiating efforts to continue to raise awareness and monitor the presence and spread of FAW on maize and other crops.

    The FAO has been working with the relevant authorities to initiate awareness programmes that inform and train farmers on integrated pest management techniques.

    These include identifying natural enemies of the Fall Armyworm, enhancing natural biological controls and mechanical controls, such as crushing egg masses and employing the use of biopesticides.

    The use of chemical pesticides needs to be very carefully considered, given that FAW larvae hide largely in the ring of leaves (whorl), and that chemical pesticides can have negative effects on environment and public health.

    This is taken into consideration at policy and field level. With these measures put in place, the negative effects of infestations can be sustainably managed and can help to maintain populations low enough to limit economic and livelihood damage, the FAO said in a statement. 

  • Warning of the immense economic and social costs of inaction, they said that better screening, treatments and public awareness were needed to reduce the more than 10 million cases recorded every year.

    A chronic lung disease which is preventable and largely treatable if caught in time, tuberculosis is the top infectious killer of our time, causing over 1.6 million deaths each year.

    "That is huge and the economic burden of that to both developing and developed nations is staggering," Eric Goosby, the United Nations' special envoy for the disease, told.

    "It's not rocket science, it's really common sense. We need to initiate a new prevention strategy." Tuberculosis has existed for millenia and is latent in around a quarter of the world's population.

    Despite killing nearly as many people each year as HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, there has not been a new, commercially available tuberculosis vaccine in a century.

    The disease currently receives only around 10 percent of the research funding allocated for AIDS.

    A team of experts from 13 nations, writing in The Lancet, said that funding for research and development would need to quadruple to around USD 3 billion per year if the disease is to be properly tackled.

    In India alone, where one in three global tuberculosis deaths occur, providing better access to treatment and targeting at-risk communities for screening could cut deaths by nearly a third with an annually outlay of USD290 million.

    That compares to the USD 32 billion each year in economic losses including treatment costs and lost productivity attributed to tuberculosis.

    "The real key is that we are going to need much more new research and new tools," said Paula Fujiwara, scientific director at The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

    "Even if we use the tools we have today it's not going to be enough. The goal is to end tuberculosis but the current decline is only 1.5-2.0 percent a year," she told.

    The Lancet study says that even if currently available treatments were given to 90 percent of tuberculosis sufferers, 800,000 people would still die given their inefficacy and the gaps in diagnosis.

    A series of breakthroughs in recent months have provided some hope to patients. In October, a new treatment for drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis cured 80 percent of sufferers in Belarus.

    The treatment has since been repeated in other high-incidence nations, with similar results. A month earlier drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline unveiled a study showing that a new vaccine was effective in 54 percent of trial participants.

    In parallel, doctors say a new testing method could help reduce the 240,000 deaths of children under five that tuberculosis causes each year.

    Goosby said trials needed to continue to drive a production line of new treatments against the disease. "The inevitability is that we will need new drugs as the disease evolves," he said.

    "We should as a global health response anticipate and expect (drug) resistance and continue the work." The Lancet study said reducing tuberculosis deaths to less than 200,000 a year would cost around USD 10 billion annually.  

  • Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal on Wednesday pulled out of the Indian Open BWF World Tour Super 500 which begins in New Delhi on Tuesday, after failing to recover from an acute gastroenteritis problem.

    Saina had played through pain during the All England Championships after suffering from an acute gastroenteritis and mild pancreatitis ahead of the tournament.

    She was forced to withdraw from Swiss Open last week and was admitted to hospital for treatment.

  • The specially determined athletes of Team Bharat at the Special Olympics makes history. India crossed the 300 medal tally mark at the Special Olympics World Games 2019.

    This is by far the best performance by Team Bharat at the Special Olympics. The current medal tally  stands at 85 Gold, 153 Silver and 124  Bronze. Total - 362 medals.

    India is participating in the World Games for the 9th time. India has won 49 medals at the roller skating event. Indian paddlers also made history in table tennis.
     

  • Britain Prime Minister Theresa May has told the public she is "on their side", laying the blame for the delay to Brexit squarely with MPs.

    Speaking from Downing Street, Britain prime minister said people were tired of infighting and political games and it was high time politicians made a decision on the next steps.

    Earlier, She wrote to EU Council President Donald Tusk requesting to delay Brexit until 30 June.

    Theresa May was forced to ask for a postponement after MPs twice rejected the withdrawal deal she has negotiated and also voted to reject a no-deal departure.

    She said the delay was a "matter of great personal regret", but insisted she would not be willing to extend Brexit any further than 30 June - despite appeals from some MPs for a longer extension to give time for a change in direction.

  • Kazakhstan's parliament today voted to rename the country's capital Astana as Nursultan in honour of longtime ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev, a day after he resigned as president.

    The state-owned Kazinform news agency said after a parliamentary vote Astana is now officially renamed Nursultan.

    Kazakhstan's new interim president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed renaming the capital.

    Astana replaced Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty as the capital in 1997. 

  • A special NIA court in Panchkula has acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others in the Samjhauta train blast case that left 68 people dead in 2007.

    The blast in the India-Pakistan train took place near Panipat in Haryana on February 18, 2007, when it was on its way to Attari in Amritsar, the last station on the Indian side.

    The blast had ripped apart two coaches of the cross-border train.

    The Haryana police registered a case, but the probe was handed over to the National Investigation Agency in July 2010.

    Of the eight, Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary appeared before the court and faced trial.

  • Italian media reported on Wednesday, a 47-year-old school bus driver in Milan had asked teenagers onboard to get out of his vehicle before he set light to it in protest at the treatment of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean.

    Fire services arrived in force to put out the blaze. No one was injured but twelve teenagers were taken to hospital with intoxication, hospital sources said.

    The bus driver, believed to be Senegalese with Italian citizenship, was arrested at the scene. Armed police patrolled the area.

    Earlier in the day the Italian parliament blocked prosecutors from pursuing an investigation into Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini for abuse of power and kidnapping migrants.

    Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, has followed a "closed ports" crackdown on illegal immigration since he formed a ruling coalition last year with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

  • In a major boost to India's diplomatic efforts fugitive Nirav Modi is going to be produced before a Court in London after his arrest.

    He has reached the Westminster Magistrates' Court.

    Nirav is the main accused in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam case.

    His arrest came days after a London court issued an arrest warrant against him in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate for his extradition in a money laundering case.

    The Metropolitan Police in a statement said he was arrested on behalf of the Indian Authorities on 19 March, in Holborn.

    Nirav Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, are the main accused in the PNB scam and they both left India before the details of the fraud came to light in January 2018.

  • The court of Special SIT judge H C Vora convicted Yakub Pataliya based on submissions made earlier in the case by five other accused.Pataliya was arrested by the Godhra Police in January 2018, nearly 16 years after being booked in connection with the incident.

    His trial was held at a special court set up at the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad.
     

  • Delivering first Atal Behari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said that Free media is the Cornerstone of Democracy.

    India, being the world's largest democracy, the role of media becomes all the more important.

    Described as the fourth pillar of democracy, media can actually be a force multiplier to sustain democracy.

    The Vice President added that Participatory Democracy is only possible through active participation of citizens.

    The function was also attended by Prasar Bharati Chairperson Dr A Suryaprakash, who underlined the importance of media's crucial role in an election year.

    He urged the fourth estate to remain balanced and non-partisan, in keeping with the guidelines laid down by Prasar Bharati.
     

  • The blast in the India-Pakistan train took place near Panipat in Haryana on February 18, 2007, when it was on its way to Attari in Amritsar, the last station on the Indian side.

    The blast had ripped apart two coaches of the cross-border train.

    The Haryana police registered a case, but the probe was handed over to the National Investigation Agency in July 2010.

    Of the eight, Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary appeared before the court and faced trial.Another accused Sunil Joshi was shot dead near his home in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas district in December 2007.

    The three other accused -- Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and Amit -- could not be arrested and were declared proclaimed offenders.

    Before pronouncing the verdict, NIA special judge Jagdeep Singh dismissed the plea filed by a Pakistani woman for examining some eyewitnesses from her country.

  • The Code of Ethics has been developed as a follow up to the Tuesday's  meeting with IAMAI and representatives of Social Media Platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat and TikTok etc.

    Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora while appreciating the steps taken, said that formulation of the Code augurs a good beginning but is essentially, a work in making.

    He said the Participants need to follow in letter and spirit the commitments made in the Code of Ethics.

    The Platforms have committed to process any violations reported under Section 126 of RP Act, 1951 within three hours as per Sinha Committee recommendations.

    The Platforms have also agreed to create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism for the ECI and appoint dedicated teams during the period of General Elections for taking expeditious action on any reported violations.

    Participants have also agreed to provide a mechanism for political advertisers to submit pre-certified advertisements issued by Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.

    The Code of Ethics also promises to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements.

    IAMAI has agreed to coordinate with participants various steps mentioned in this code. Participants have also committed to voluntarily undertake voter awareness campaigns.

    The ‘Code of Ethics” has been developed to ensure free, fair and ethical usage of Social Media Platforms to maintain the integrity of the electoral process for the General Elections 2019.

    The Code voluntarily agreed upon by the Participants comes into operation with immediate effect.

  • The arrest came two days after a London court issued warrant against him in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate for his extradition in a money laundering case.

    Nirav Modi is the main accused in connection with the 13,500 crore rupees Punjab National Bank scam.

    He was produced before the Westminster Magistrates' Court , where he contested his extradition to India.

    District Judge Marie Mallon denied bail to Modi and remanded him in custody till the 29th of March.

    Back home, the Government has reiterated its commitment to take action against economic offenders after Nirav Modi's apprehension.

    On the other hand, officials said that the Enforcement Directorate will sell 173 paintings and 11 vehicles "beneficially owned" by Nirav Modi after it obtained permission from a special court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

    The same court also issued a non-bailable warrant against his wife Ami after the ED recently filed a supplementary charge sheet underlining her role in the PNB scam.

    The ED had registered a money laundering case against Nirav Modi and others on February 15, 2018 under the provisions of PMLA.

     

  • The Indian Navy was requested to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the local population post-cyclone 'IDAI', which struck the Mozambique coast on 15th March.

    INS Sujata, ICGS Sarathi and INS Shardul are providing necessary support to the local administration. Cyclone 'IDAI' made landfall at Beira, causing widespread damage and loss of human life in the Central and Northern provinces.

    About 5000 personnel are also reportedly marooned at Buzi, near Port Beira requiring immediate evacuation.

    The safe evacuation by the Indian Navy(IN) ships is being coordinated in consultation with local authorities. The disembarkation of HADR stores including food, medicines and clothing to the Mozambique Defence authorities has been completed.

    Arrangements are in progress to disembark potable water.The Defence Minister of Mozambique also visited IN ships to oversee the relief efforts.

    The helicopter from INS Shardul is operating from the local airport for recce and SAR. The boats, Landing Craft Assault and Gemini rubberised craft with divers would be used to render assistance for evacuation of marooned personnel.

    The IN ships are likely to set up medical camps and provide food, water, blankets and other necessary relief items, as required by the local authorities. 

  • In the semi final India defeated Bangladesh by 4-0 in Biratnagar, Nepal a short while ago.

    Dalmia Chibbar scored first goal for India in 18th minute. Within 4 minute Indumati scored second goal.

    In 37th minute with her second goal Indumati took Indian lead to three. In second half also Indian girls kept pressure on Bangladesh and Manisha scored fourth goal just before the end of game.

    Earlier in the first semi final host Nepal defeated Sri Lanka by 4-0. Now India will take on Nepal in the final on Friday.

    This is India's 22nd continuous win, since inception of the tournament in 2010.

    India has clinched all four editions of the championship.

  • Holi is also known as Fagu Purnima in Nepal. Revellers including young, old and children celebrating the festival by smearing colourful powders and throwing colours at each other.

    In Tarai region Holi will be celebrated tomorrow. President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in separate messages, have extended their best wishes to all Nepalis at home and abroad on the occasion of the festival.

    Holi was also celebrated at Embassy of India in Kathmandu.

    Officers, staff and their family members joined the celebrations.

  • Pulsars are superdense, rapidly spinning neutron stars left behind when a massive star explodes.

    This one, dubbed PSR J0002+6216 (J0002 for short), sports a radio-emitting tail pointing directly toward the expanding debris of a recent supernova explosion, NASA said in a statement.

    "Thanks to its narrow dart-like tail and a fortuitous viewing angle, we can trace this pulsar straight back to its birthplace" said Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in the US.

    "Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions are able to 'kick' neutron stars to such high speed," said Schinzel.

    Pulsar J0002 was discovered in 2017 by a citizen-science project called Einstein@Home, which uses time on the computers of volunteers to process Fermi gamma-ray data.

    Thanks to computer processing time collectively exceeding 10,000 years, the project has identified 23 gamma-ray pulsars to date, NASA said.

    Located about 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia, J0002 spins 8.7 times a second, producing a pulse of gamma rays with each rotation.

    The pulsar lies about 53 light-years from the centre of a supernova remnant called CTB 1.

    Its rapid motion through interstellar gas results in shock waves that produce the tail of magnetic energy and accelerated particles detected at radio wavelengths using the VLA.

    The tail extends 13 light-years and clearly points back to the centre of CTB 1. The team was able to measure how quickly and in what direction the pulsar is moving across our line of sight.

    The result supports the idea that the pulsar was kicked into high speed by the supernova responsible for CTB 1, which occurred about 10,000 years ago.

    J0002 is speeding through space five times faster than the average pulsar, and faster than 99 per cent of those with measured speeds. It will eventually escape our galaxy, researchers said.

    At first, the supernova's expanding debris would have moved outward faster than J0002, but over thousands of years the shell's interaction with interstellar gas produced a drag that gradually slowed this motion.

    Meanwhile, the pulsar, behaving more like a cannonball, steadily raced through the remnant, escaping it about 5,000 years after the explosion.

    Exactly how the pulsar was accelerated to such high speed during the supernova explosion remains unclear, and further study of J0002 will help shed light on the process.

    One possible mechanism involves instabilities in the collapsing star forming a region of dense, slow-moving matter that survives long enough to serve as a "gravitational tugboat," accelerating the nascent neutron star toward it.  

  • In the vote of confidence, the BJP-led coalition government garnered the support of 20 MLAs which include 11 from BJP, three MLAs each from MGP and GFP and three independents.

    15 MLAs including 14 from congress and one from NCP voted against the motion. 

    The support of at least 19 MLAs was required to pass the floor test in the 40-member assembly, the strength of which has been currently reduced to 36, following resignations of two MLAs and demise of two including former chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

    Congress continues to be the main opposition in the assembly as well as the single largest party with 14 MLAs, while BJP has 12 legislators including the speaker.

    GFP and MGP have three MLAs each in the house, which also includes three independents and one NCP legislator.

    Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the new chief minister of Goa along with 11 ministers on Tuesday following the demise of Manohar Parrikar.

    The one-day assembly session commenced with a motion of condolence, during which tributes were paid to former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, former deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza and former deputy speaker of the Goa legislative assembly Vishnu Wagh, who passed away recently. 

    The proceedings of the house were conducted by Deputy speaker Michael Lobo.

  • A new "checkout" button for instant purchasing launched in a beta version of the app in the US with a limited number of businesses, according to the popular image-centric messaging service.

    "We're introducing Checkout on Instagram. When you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app.", the Silicon Valley based division of Facebook said in an online post.

    Tapping the checkout button will allow shoppers to select options such as size or color and then pay for items without leaving the Instagram app.

    Previously, people inspired to buy products featured in Instagram posts had to follow links to outside online shopping sites.

    Information entered for an initial purchase will be stored for future use, according to Instagram.

    It remained to be seen how people would feel trusting information such as credit card details to a service owned by Facebook, which has been hit with waves of criticism for its handling of personal data.

    Brands taking part in the checkout feature included Adidas, Burberry, Dior, H&M, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, and glasses retailer Warby Parker.

    Facebook makes the bulk of its money from digital advertising but has dabbled with e-commerce in the past.

    It has pitched its Messenger service as a communication platform for shops or brands to connect with customers.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo rejoined his Portugal team-mates ahead of the start of Euro 2020 qualifying this week following a nine-month absence from the national team.

    The 34-year-old Juventus forward was recalled by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for games at home to Ukraine and Serbia having not played for his country since the 2018 World Cup.

    Ronaldo was rested for the last six Portugal games while he settled at his new club following his departure from Real Madrid last July.

    The reigning European champions, who are through to the UEFA Nations League final in June kick off their Group B campaign in Lisbon against Ukraine before facing Serbia on March 25.

    "Cristiano adds quality to any team. It's a pleasure to play with him and he's very important for us" Portugal defender Joao Cancelo, Ronaldo's team-mate at Juventus told.

  • GST council approved a transition plan for new goods and services tax rates on residential properties under which developers of under-construction buildings may either opt to shift to the revised lower rates without input tax credit or stick to the previous rates.

    Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey told media that for housing projects launched on or after the first of April this year, the developers will have to adhere to the new GST rates recommended by the council last month.

    Developers can also opt for different GST options for separate buildings in a project depending on if construction started before or after 31st March this year. He added that there will be no revenue loss to the government due to the new GST structure for under-construction housing.

    The next GST Council meeting will be held after the Lok Sabha elections. The Revenue Secretary informed that authorities will, however, seek permission of the Election Commission if the need arises for any meeting of the body.

  • Local Government Minister July Moyo told reporters at a post-cabinet meeting that the current toll was around 100.

    "The total number, we were told they could be 100, some are saying there could be 300. But we cannot confirm this situation," he said.

    "I understand there are bodies which are floating, some have floated all the way to Mozambique," said Moyo.

    At least 217 people are missing and 44 stranded, according to the Information Ministry.

    The worst-hit region includes of eastern Zimbabwe, especially the town of Chimanimani.

    The area was pounded by Tropical Cyclone which on ripped into neighbouring Mozambique before wreaking havoc in southern Malawi and Zimbabwe.

  • After waiting anxiously for the results to appear on the big screen, the Indian flag finally soared high in the noisy hall at the Abu Dhabi as three paddlers won medals in the women's singles section. After registering three wins out of three, Anu Chennakota and Sabita Yadav bagged gold, while Reshma Shaikh claimed silver following a narrow loss to Sabita in the division final.

    Meanwhile Sabita, who chose table tennis over badminton in 2015, defeated close friend Reshma in the final.

    The journey to the gold medal hasn't been an easy one for the 18-year-old. Back in Goa, she would travel nearly for two hours on the bus every day to reach the practice hall in Panjim, train for hours and come back home to look after her family.

    The everyday hustle was a hassle due to financial constraints. The Indian contingent underwent four preparatory camps in Gurgaon, Jodhpur, Haryana and Mumbai before competing in Abu Dhabi. These athletes trained four hours on a daily basis to get a grip of their game.

    The men's team wasn't too far away, clinching two gold medals on Saturday. Akash Tukaram and Sandesh Krishna, who represented age group 18-21, topped their respective divisions to add to India's tally.
     

  • Talking to DD News on the sidelines of 1st India International Broadcast Conclave in Hyderabad, Prasar Bharati CEO said that the public broadcaster may launch a new co-branded channel in future.

    Many new initiatives taken in DD News: Mayank Agrawal, DG DD NEWS

    While, Director General of Doordarshan News, Mayank Agrawal said that DD NEWS has taken many new initiatives to improve its presentation. He also said that the channel has also introduced to Mobile Journalism which has led to timely updation of news with quality visuals. He also highlighted various other initiatives launched in DD News.

  • In a video blog, Arun Jaitley claimed that the economic performance of the NDA govt has been the best in the entire history since independence.

    Jaitley said that NDA govt's performance on several parameters leave no room for any doubt that this govt's economic policies have been most productive.

    Giving some details of economic development in India over the last five year Jaitley in his blog series, 'Agenda 2019 – Part-9 : The NDA Government's Economy Report Card vs.

    It's Predecessors' wrote that Inflation during the period 2009-14 was 10% plus. During the period 2014-19, it will come down to an average of about 4.5%.

    In fact, the last three years average is much lower. Presently it is close to 2.7 per cent.

    He added that rural roads were built in 2013-14 at 69 km per day. It has increased to 134 km per day in 2017-18.

    He added that Currently the Metro service operates in 14 cities and its length is 645 km. India's air traffic in the last four years has seen the largest ever growth.

    Today we have 102 functional airports. We have moved towards near total rural electrification.

    Jaitley said that various global agencies have already complimented the government for its efforts to stimulate economic growth. However, he added that, majority of so-called economists questioning validity of data are 'compulsive contrarians'.

    Rejecting opposition's 'fake campaign' by opposition on job losses, Jaitley asserted that Modi govt has systematically and consistently introduced the much-needed second-generation reforms.

    FM'S 5-YEAR REPORT CARD

    -- Jaitley's blog: 'Agenda 2019 – Part-9 : The NDA Government's Economy Report Card vs. It's Predecessors'

    -- Inflation during the period 2009-14 was 10% plus.
    -- During the period 2014-19, it will come down to an average of about 4.5%. In fact, last three years average is much lower. Presently it is close to 2.7%

    --- rural roads were built in 2013-14 at 69 km per day.

    -- It has increased to 134 km per day in 2017-18

    -- Currently, Metro service operates in 14 cities and its length is 645 km.

    --- India's air traffic in the last four years has seen the largest ever growth.

    -- we have 102 functional airports. We have moved towards near total rural electrification
     

    PM MODI PRAISES FM ARUN JAITLEY’s VIDEO BLOG
     

    Prime Minister Modi praised the video blog of Finance minister Arun Jaitley describing it...as a sharp and insightful piece which presents an accurate picture of the transformation in the last five years. He said it gives a befitting reply to the spreaders of fake news and narratives.