News

  • In the interest of taxpayers, it has been decided to extend the last date for filing of return in FORM GSTR-3B for the month of April, 2018 for two days, i.e., till 22nd May, 2018. The notification in this regard shall be published shortly.

  • The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology has decided to adopt the word ‘AYUSH’ in Hindi and English languages for scientific and technical purposes. The “AYUSH” became popular as the acronym for five traditional and complementary systems of medicine, namely Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy and successfully adopted and used in all Government communications.

  • The United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics was adopted by the Union Cabinet on 04-05-2016. The formal adoption of these Principles was a reiteration of the Government’s commitment to constantly work towards improving the quality of Official Statistics.

  • India has called for a judicious use of resources amidst concerns over resource depletion and scarcity.  Addressing the 4th BRICS Ministerial meeting in Durban, South Africa today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that a decrease in global materials, or at least stabilization at present levels, demand major reductions in metabolic rates in the Asia-Pacific region, especially India.

  • In line with Government’s priority to provide connectivity to Northeast region and empowering local industries of this region particularly, Northeast Frontier Railway has started operating one lease Parcel Cargo Express Train (PCET) on fortnightly basis,  connecting Northeastern part of the country to the West Coast.

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, M.P., Lok Sabha are examining various aspects related to the subject ‘Citizens’ data security and Privacy’.

  • NMDC Limited has bagged the prestigious S&P Global PLATTS Global Metals Award 2018 in corporate social responsibility (CSR) category held on 17.05.2018 at London. The shortlisted 12 nominations were of renowned companies across the world.

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    1. Background

     

    Southwest monsoon sets over Kerala on 1st June with a standard deviation of about 7 days. The event marks the start of the rainy season over the region and as the monsoon progresses northward, relief from scorching summer temperatures is experienced over the areas.

  •  The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Sh. K. J. Alphons yesterday held a high level meeting with the Minister for Civil Aviation, Sh. Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Sh. Jayant Sinha along with senior officials from both the Ministries regarding providing better air connectivity for tourist destinations.

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    The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will be on a day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir on May 19, 2018.

    The Prime Minister will attend the Closing Ceremony of the Birth Centenary Celebration of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh. At the same event, he will unveil a plaque to mark the commencement of work on the Zojila Tunnel.

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    Minister of State for Culture(I/c), Dr Mahesh Sharma along with other CultureMinisters of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states at the 15th Meeting of Cultural Ministers of the SCO in Sanya, China.

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    The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today addressed the Annual Convocation of Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) in presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Smt Anupriya Patel, Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare.

  • Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre is on a three-day official visit to Republic of Nauru from 16 May 2018. He attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of its Constitution Day on 17 May 2018 as the Chief Guest.

  • Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba has asked all concerned officials of Central and State governments to be better prepared so as to minimize losses due to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes etc.  In his inaugural address at the annual conference of relief commissioners/secretaries, he said we have to build our capacities through better weather forecast, conducting mock drills and improved resource management.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will attend the commencement of work on Zojila Tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway at an event in Jive-tsal in Leh tomorrow. He will also lay the foundation stone for Srinagar Ring Road and Jammu Ring Road at separate events at Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Srinagar and at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu the same day. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari will also be present at the events.

  • The Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal chaired a detailed review meeting with Shri R.K. Singh, Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy and with top officials of Ministries of Coal, Railways and Power in New Delhi today.

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) celebrates its Annual Day every year on 20th May.  To commemorate the day, a Lecture Series has been instituted where in distinguished speakers are being invited to deliver the Annual Day Lecture.

  • Shri Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State(I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs has said that “The National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), which seeks to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor through access to gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, has expanded its ambit to cover some additional sectors in the informal economy”.

  • Conservation of water in enroute consumption is not only an effective way to avoid enroute watering complaints in coaching trains but is also a small but significant step in conserving the precious resource of water.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that Swachh Bharat is a prerequisite for establishing a Swasth Bharat. He was addressing the Convocation of Lady Hardinge Medical College, here today.



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Zojila Tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway in Leh tomorrow. Our corresp...




  • In Jammu and Kashmir, a BSF jawan was martyred while four civilians lost their lives as Pakistan troops resorted to heavy mortar shelling in Arnia, RS...




  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said, lack of adequate medical facilities in the rural areas and the shortage of doctors and para-medical personne...



  • Indian Meteorological Department has issued an advisory to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and the Lakshadweep archipelago over cyclonic storm 'Sagar'. The cyclonic storm lay centered over the Gulf of Aden, about 390 km east-northeast of Yemen's Aden city and 560 km west-northwest of Socotra Islands.



  • British political consulting group Cambridge Analytica has filed for bankruptcy in the US.



  • The Reserve Bank has advanced the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) by a day to 4th June.



  • The Supreme Court today approved the Centre's draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states.



  • In IPL Cricket, Chennai Super Kings will take on Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi this evening.


  • 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.

  • Several fissures shot lava into the air on Wednesday but one flow had not advanced any further toward coastal Highway 137, which remains around a mile (1.6 km) distant, County of Hawaii Civil Defense said in a statement.

    No serious injuries or deaths have been reported from the eruption.

    Meanwhile "ballistic blocks" the size of microwave ovens shot from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on Wednesday in what may be the start of explosive eruptions that could spew huge ash plumes and hurl smaller rocks for miles (km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

    Such eruptions, last seen nearly a century ago, have been a looming threat since Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted nearly two weeks ago.

    Ash is a new hazard for Hawaii's Big Island, already grappling with volcanic gas and lava that has destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 residents from communities in the southeast Puna district.

  • Indore  has once again emerged as the cleanest city, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh in the government's cleanliness survey.

    The results of Swachh Survekshan 2018, which aims to estimate levels of cleanliness across cities in the country, were announced on Thursday by Minister of State for Housing Hardeep Singh Puri. 

    Jharkhand was adjudged the best performing state in the survey followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

    Compared to the previous surveys, this year's exercise allocated substantial weightage to the feedback from citizens based on their daily experience.

    Indore was the cleanest city last year as well but that survey was conducted only for around 430 cities.

    This time it was conducted for around 4,200 cities. The names of the worst performing cities would be announced on the day of the awards.

  • Centre has taken a huge initiative to make the month of Ramadaan peaceful in the state of Jammu and kashmir.

    In a major decision, the Centre has directed the security forces not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan. According to home ministry, the decision has been taken to help the peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment.

    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has informed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the central government's decision.

    The centre has underlined the importance to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror.

    The centre however has made it clear that the security forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

    Earlier this month, after an all-party meeting, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had appealed the central government to consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramzan in mid-May till the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August.

    She had said that a ceasefire would provide relief to the people and help create a better atmosphere in the state.

    Reacting to the development Mehbooba Mufit tweeted to appreciate the step taken by the centre. She welcomed the step and thanked the PM and HM for the same. CM also extended a word for all the leaders and parties who attended the all party meeting and helped buid consensus for it. She said that such a decision will go a long way in creating a peaceful and amicable environment for a sustained dialogue.

    Her bitter opponent and National conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted to assert that if the terrorists don't respond in kind they will stand exposed as the true enemies of the people.

    The government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties.  The holy moth of Ramzan is likely to start on Thursday or Friday depending on the sighting of moon.

  • CBI has filed their 2nd Chargesheet in PNB Scam under sections 409, 420, 120-B of IPC.

    In the 12,000 pages chargesheet, Mehul Choksi has been hown as wanted accused, while 50 witnesses have been mentioned in 2nd chargesheet. Allahabad bank, MD, Usha Ananth Subramanian has also been chargsheeted again in this case.

    Chargesheet mentions that 12 transactions has been done worth around 512 crores. While 7000 crore is the amount  of the scam committed by Choksi of which CBI has found evidence 6 FLC's and 6 LOU's amounting to 512 crores.

  • Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime MInister Narendar Modi on Wednesday approved setting up Freight Village at Nangal Chaudhary in Haryana under High capacity Delhi-Mumbai corridor project for faster delivery of goods at the busy line.

    Union Cabinet also approves setting up of a new AIIMS in Deoghar in Jharkhand. The new hospital in Deoghar will consist of 750 beds, a medical college with an in-take of 100 MBBS students per year and a nursing college with an in-take of 60 B.Sc nursuing students per year.

    Union Cabinet also approved expansion of Metro line from Noida City centre to Sector 62 in Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

    Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved Corpus for Micro Irrigation Fund with NABARD under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
     

  • The step was taken to address the problem of people's inability to access diagnostic services, thus failing to receive the correct treatment.

    "An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment. No one should suffer or die because of lack of diagnostic services, or because the right tests were not available," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

    An estimated 46 per cent of adults with Type 2 diabetes worldwide are undiagnosed, risking serious health complications and higher health costs, said a statement by the world health body.

    Late diagnosis of infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis increases the risk of their spread and makes them more difficult to treat, it said. The essential diagnostics list concentrates on in vitro tests like tests of blood and urine.

    Apart from this, 58 tests are listed for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions, thus providing an essential package that can form the basis for screening and management of patients. The remaining 55 tests are designed for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of 'priority' diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis, the statement said.

    Some of the tests are particularly suitable for primary health care facilities, where laboratory services are often poorly resourced and sometimes non-existent. "Our aim is to provide a tool that can be useful to all countries, to test and treat better, but also to use health funds more efficiently by concentrating on the truly essential tests," said Maringela Simo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals.

    For each category of test, the Essential Diagnostics List specifies the type of test and intended use, format, and if appropriate for primary health care or for health facilities with laboratories.

    The list also provides links to WHO guidelines or publications and to pre-qualified products. Similar to the WHO essential medicines list, which has been in use for four decades, the essential diagnostics list is intended to serve as a reference for countries to update or develop their own list of essential diagnostics.

    The WHO will update the essential diagnostics list on a regular basis. It is also expected to issue a call for applications to add categories to the next edition.

    The list will expand significantly over the next few years, as it incorporates other important areas, including antimicrobial resistance, emerging pathogens, neglected tropical diseases and additional noncommunicable diseases, the statement added.

  • The astronomers have looked back more than 12 billion years to the early dark ages of the universe, when this supermassive black hole was estimated to be the size of about 20 billion suns with a one per cent growth rate every one million years.

    "This black hole is growing so rapidly that it's shining thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy, due to all of the gases it sucks in daily that cause lots of friction and heat," said Christian Wolf from Australian National University (ANU).

    "If we had this monster sitting at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, it would appear 10 times brighter than a full moon. It would appear as an incredibly bright pin-point star that would almost wash out all of the stars in the sky," said Wolf.

    The energy emitted from this newly discovered supermassive black hole, also known as a quasar, was mostly ultraviolet light but also radiated x-rays. "Again, if this monster was at the centre of the Milky Way it would likely make life on Earth impossible with the huge amounts of x-rays emanating from it," he said.

    The SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory detected this light in the near-infrared, as the light waves had red-shifted over the billions of light years to Earth. "As the universe expands, space expands and that stretches the light waves and changes their colour," Wolf said.

    "These large and rapidly-growing blackholes are exceedingly rare, and we have been searching for them with SkyMapper for several months now. The European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, which measures tiny motions of celestial objects, helped us find this supermassive black hole," he said. The Gaia satellite confirmed the object that they had found was sitting still, meaning that it was far away and it was a candidate to be a very large quasar.

    The discovery of the new supermassive black hole was confirmed using the spectrograph on the ANU 2.3 metre telescope to split colours into spectral lines. "We don't know how this one grew so large, so quickly in the early days of the Universe," Wolf said.

    Wolf said as these kinds of black holes shine, they can be used as beacons to see and study the formation of elements in the early galaxies of the universe. "Scientists can see the shadows of objects in front of the supermassive black hole," he said.

    "Fast-growing supermassive black holes also help to clear the fog around them by ionising gases, which makes the universe more transparent," he added. Instruments on very large ground-based telescopes being built over the next decade would be able to directly measure the expansion of the universe using these very bright black holes, Wolf said.

     

  • The Luzhniki Stadium, the venue which will stage the opening match on June 14 and the final on July 15, hosted a "Russia Loves Soccer" event over the weekend.

    On Monday, the local organising committee chairman Arkady Dvorkovich said that preparations are in their final stages and they just need to add the finishing touches before being ready to welcome the world to Russia. Landscaping and additional security systems are all that is left to add at some of the newly-built stadiums.

    Schools in the 11 host cities also marked the one-month point by holding "soccer lessons" and inviting soccer personalities to play a match and to speak about the tournament.

    Moscow International School no.1498 welcomed LOC chairman Dvorkovich and retired Russian soccer player Alexei Smertin.

    Smertin, who is now the Russian Football Union's anti-discrimination inspector, took part in a soccer match held between some of the school's students.

  • Action has followed on all fronts after the tragic flyover collapse in Varanasi. The CM Yogi Adityanath also assured of strict action against the guilty. 4 officials responsible with the construction of the flyover have faced immediate action. Chief project manager HC Tiwari, project manager Rajendra Singh and KR Sudan and another official Lalchand have been suspended. A high level committee has been instituted to probe the incident which will submit its report by Thursday.

    UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the accident site where he first took stock of the situation and then met the injured being treated at the Trauma Centre at Banaras Hindu University.

    The CM directed 2 lakh rupees assistance to be given to the family of the injured and 5 lakh rupees to the family of the deceased. He also instructed free treatment be given to those injured.
     
    Injured are being treated at the hospital. The administration officials are monitoring the relief work and have ordered to provide best medical treatment to the injured.

    The tragedy took place when a portion of a flyover under construction near the railway station collapsed where at least 15 people died on Tuesday after which rescue teams were rushed to the spot .

     

     

     

  • Israeli forces shot dead two more Palestinians on Tuesday, although protests were quieter than the previous day. It appeared that many protesters had gone to mourning tents rather than back to the scene.

    On the Israeli side of the border, Israeli sharpshooters took up positions to stop any attempted breach of the fence should demonstrations break out again. Tanks were also deployed.

    In Jerusalem, Palestinians protested near Damascus gate but were dispersed by the Israeli police and security members. Israeli peace activists held another protest.

    For the past six weeks, Palestinians have been holding Gaza border demonstrations demanding access to family land or homes lost to Israel when it was founded in the 1948 Middle East war. Israel rejects that demand, fearing it would deprive the state of its Jewish majority.

    Palestinian medical officials say 107 Gazans have now been killed since the start of the protests and nearly 11,000 people wounded, about 3,500 of them by live fire. Israeli officials dispute those numbers.

  • To this end, the EU will launch intensive discussion at all levels with Iran in next few weeks, Mogherini said at a press conference following a meeting with foreign ministers of Britain, Germany, France and Iran.

    The discussion will focus on, among others, how to maintain economic relations and effective banking transactions with Iran in the context of renewed U.S sanctions, according to Mogherini.

    "We are determined to ensure that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) stays in place. We know it's a difficult task but we are determined to do that," Mogherini said, adding to which she said, "We've started to work to put in place measures that help ensuring that this happens."

    She went on saying that similar willingness has been expressed by the European and Iranian sides.

    She proclaimed that she will brief leaders of EU members states on Wednesday in Sofia, Bulgaria, which is about to host the EU-Western Balkans summit.

  • A ministry spokesperson told reporters that Pyongyang's decision to unilaterally postpone high-level talks between the two Koreas citing an annual joint air drill between South Korea and the United States, was not in line with the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration and was regrettable.

    Unification Ministry spokesperson Baik Tae-hyun urged the North to swiftly return to the talks.

    An official statement would be sent to North Korea some time on Wednesday, he said.

    Earlier North Korea said it was suspending high-level talks with South Korea scheduled for later in the day on Wednesday (May 16) due to U.S.-South Korean military exercises that it said went against the trend of warming North-South ties.

    North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also cast doubt on whether next month's summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump could go ahead as planned.

    Wednesday's meeting was due to focus on plans to implement a declaration that emerged from an April 27 inter-Korea summit in the border village of Panmunjom, including promises to formally end the Korean War and pursue "complete denuclearization," the South's unification ministry, which handles ties with the North, said on Tuesday.

    KCNA called the U.S.-South Korean "Max Thunder" air combat drills, which it said involved U.S. stealth fighters and B-52 bombers, a "provocation" and said Pyongyang had no choice but to suspend the talks.

  • BJP legislature party leader BS Yeddyurappa was today sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka for a third time. Governor Vaju Bhai Wala administered him oath of office. Yeddyurappa has been granted 15 days time to prove his majority.

    Meanwhile, As the chief minister of Karnataka, Yeddyurappa held his first Cabinet meeting and expressed confidence of winning the vote of confidence on the floor of the house. He also said that a decision on farm loan waiver will be announced in couple of days. Chief secretaries from various departments attended the cabinet meet.

    B.S. Yeddyurappa has thanked people of Karnataka for their support and blessings. In a tweet he said "With your continued support, I assure you that I'll strive hard to fulfill the aspirations of 6.5 Cr Kannadigas and take 'Namma Karunadu' on the path of development & prosperity!"

    BJP chief Amit Shah has congratulated BS Yedyurappa for being sworn in as the CM of Karnataka. In a tweet he said "This is the victory of every Kannadiga who voted to uproot the corrupt & divisive politics of Congress. I am sure the new govt under the guidance of PM @narendramodi will fulfil the aspirations of the people."

    Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has also congratulated Yedyurappa. In a tweet he said "The state will tread on a new path of development, growth, progress and prosperity under his leadership."

    Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to stay Yeddyurappa's swearing-in as Karnataka Chief Minister after a rare pre-dawn hearing which saw the Congress-JD (S) combine making a last-ditch attempt to stall BJP's surge in the southern state. 

    Meanwhile, speaking on the overnight hearing in the apex Court, Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that there was no need for the matter to be listed at night while adding that the apex court has the power to undo if any wrong is done.

    Noted constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap has said that Constitution provides the Governor complete power to appoint  the Chief Minister adding the Governor's decision can't be challenged.

    Senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar has said that it is unfortunate that a party as old as the Congress is indulging in nefarious activities, while they should work as a constructive opposition party.

    Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was arguing on behalf of the Congress and JD(S), has welcomed the decision of supreme court for hearing at midnight.

    The BJP has 104 MLAs in the House, eight short of the magic figure of 112.

    Polling was held in 222 of the state's 224 seats. 

  • National Disaster Response Force personnel have been pressed into service to trace the missing persons, official sources said. The number of passengers in the boat at the time of the accident was also not clear even as reports said at least 10 persons swam to safety.

    Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa spoke to East Godavari district officials over phone and enquired about the incident. The Chief Minister directed the District Collector to deploy special teams to rescue the victims, a release said.

    Strong wind was said to have caused the mishap, an official said over phone from Rajamahendravaram. The ill-fated boat was on its way to Rajamahendravaram from Kondamodalu when tragedy struck. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the loss of lives in a boat tragedy in Andhra Pradesh and prayed for the safe return of those missing. "Anguished by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district. Condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for the safety of those missing," he tweeted.

  • Blood tests do not necessarily pick up infection with the plasmodium parasite, especially at low parasite densities, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DNA tests for the parasite usually show infection, but they are far from rapid.

    "Our previous work in a mouse model found that malaria infection altered the odours of infected mice in ways that made them more attractive to mosquitoes, particularly at a stage of infection where the transmissible stage of the parasite was present at high levels," said Consuelo De Moraes, adjunct professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US. "We also found long-term changes in the odour profiles of infected mice," said Moraes.

    The researchers wanted to see if they could identify changes in human odours associated with malaria infection that might be useful for diagnosing infected individuals. They were particularly interested in identifying those who were infected, but had no symptoms. The researchers initially used microscopy and an SD Bioline Rapid Diagnostic Test to identify patients with malaria.

    Since these methods have limited sensitivity, particularly when parasite loads are low, infections were confirmed by DNA tests. They identified 333 people who unambiguously were either infected with malaria or were not infected with malaria. Only if both microscopy and DNA studies were negative were subjects considered malaria-free. In some later analyses, the researchers included 77 people who were positive for malaria according to DNA, but showed no parasites in the microscopic tests.

    Malaria infection does not create new volatile chemicals in the body, but alters the amounts - up or down - of volatile chemicals that are already present in the odours of healthy people.

    "It is interesting that the symptomatic and asymptomatic infections were different from each other as well as from healthy people," said Mark C Mescher, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. This difference among infected, infected asymptomatic, and healthy individuals may eventually lead to tests capable of rapidly and accurately identifying infected people, even those without symptoms.

    The researchers found that predictive models using machine learning reliably identify infection status based on volatile biomarkers. "Our models identified asymptomatic infections with 100 per cent sensitivity, even in the case of low-level infections not detectable by microscopy," the researchers said. These results far exceed any currently available rapid diagnostic tests, they said.

  • Dismissing the ‘government vs media’ debate, he said his ministry would work in a direction where any media, whether public broadcaster Prasar Bharati or private channels, becomes the 'voice of people'.

    “The prime minister is very clear that the media in our country is one of the very important pillars of democracy and they have to self-regulate,” Rathore told reporters.

    Rathore assumed charge as Minister of State (Independent charge) of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry after replacing Smriti Zubin Irani. He also holds the portfolio of Sports Ministry.

    In Indian media, the I&B minister said self-regulation was done in various layers, first by a journalist and then by editors, and that the government believes in self-regulation by the media.

    He said that the government has been able to establish two-way communication with the people of the country. On the challenges posed by social media, I&B minister said the social media platform was ‘totally independent’ and that there would be ‘all kinds of dialogues’ in it. “We hope people put across their views with responsibility,” he added.

  • The decision to send the two leaders to Bengaluru was taken by the BJP parliamentary board on Tuesday.

    "J P Nadda and Dharmendra Pradhan will attend the meeting of newly-elected MLAs of the party at 11 am in Bengaluru. They would be the central observers," BJP media in-charge Anil Baluni told reporters.

    With the BJP appearing to be falling short of a majority after the results of the Karnataka assembly polls were declared, the party today rushed its three senior leaders to the state to talk with possible allies to cobble up the numbers required to form the next government in the state.

    The Congress has announced it will support the third-placed JD(S) in forming the government in Karnataka. Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Prakash Javadekar and J P Nadda left for Bengaluru after meeting BJP chief Amit Shah in New Delhi this afternoon. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also present at Shah's residence. 

  • The top court, however, held Sidhu, the Punjab Tourism Minister, guilty of minor offence of "voluntarily causing hurt" to a 65-year-old man but spared him of a jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 1000. It also acquitted Sidhu's aide Rupinder Singh Sandhu of all charges saying there was no trustworthy evidence regarding his presence along with Sidhu at the time of the offence.

    Despite conviction, Sidhu will not be barred from electoral politics under the Representation of the People Act as the offence under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC does not fall under the scheduled offence entailing disqualification. Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC entails a maximum jail term up to one year or with a fine which may extend to Rs 1,000 or both.

    A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, while allowing the appeals of Sidhu and Sandhu, said the medical evidence was "absolutely uncertain" regarding the cause of death of victim Gurnam Singh.

    It said the only fact established on evidence was that Sidhu gave a single fist blow on the head of the deceased Gurnam Singh but no weapon was used, nor was there any past enmity between them.

    The top court held that there were lapses in the investigation but said a person cannot be convicted on basis of doubts. "No doubt that there are lapses in the investigation. We cannot hazard a guess whether such lapses occurred because of the general inefficiency of the system or as a consequence of a concerted effort made to protect the accused. The law of this country is not that people are convicted of offences on the basis of doubts," the bench said.

    With regard to a CD brought on record by the relatives of deceased in which Sidhu had purportedly made some statements about the incident, the bench said all that is avoidable for the reason that even if it is assumed that Sidhu admitted to his participation in the occurrence, but in the light of the medical evidence on record, he cannot be held guilty of causing the death of Gurnam Singh.

    Dealing with the medical evidence, the bench said neither any specific details regarding the volume of the subdural hemorrhage are available on record, nor any medical opinion that this hemorrhage had caused compression of the brain that caused the death.

    The court said the material on record leads to the only possible conclusion that Sidhu had voluntarily caused hurt to Gurnam Singh, that is punishable under Section 323 of IPC. Considering that the incident is 30 years old and no weapon was used by the accused in the case, the bench said a fine of Rs 1000 would meet the ends of justice in the case.

  • Using acoustic chirps emitted from a ring and received by a wristband the system is able to recognize 22 different micro finger gestures that could be programmed to various commands - including a T9 keyboard interface, a set of numbers, or application commands like playing or stopping music.

    The system can accuratly recognise hand poses using the 12 bones of the fingers and digits '1' through '10' in American Sign Language (ASL).

    "A wearable is always on you, so you should have the ability to interact through that wearable at any time in an appropriate and discreet fashion. When we're talking, I can still make some quick reply that doesn't interrupt our interaction," said Cheng Zhang, PhD student at Georgia Tech.

    The system is also a preliminary step to being able to recognise ASL as a translator in the future, Zhang said. Other techniques utilise cameras to recognize sign language, but that can be obtrusive and is unlikely to be carried everywhere. "If my wearable can translate it for me, that's the long-term goal," Zhang said.

    The system is called FingerPing. Unlike other technology that requires the use of a glove or a more obtrusive wearable, this technique is limited to just a thumb ring and a watch. The ring produces acoustic chirps that travel through the hand and are picked up by receivers on the watch. There are specific patterns in which sound waves travel through structures, including the hand that can be altered by the manner in which the hand is posed.

    Utilising those poses, the wearer can achieve up to 22 pre-programmed commands. The gestures are small and non-invasive, as simple as tapping the tip of a finger or posing your hand in classic "1," "2," and "3" gestures.

    "The receiver recognises these tiny differences. The injected sound from the thumb will travel at different paths inside the body with different hand postures," Zhang said.

    "For instance, when your hand is open there is only one direct path from the thumb to the wrist. Any time you do a gesture where you close a loop, the sound will take a different path and that will form a unique signature," he said. Zhang said that the research is a proof of concept for a technique that could be expanded and improved upon in the future. 

  • There are no specific guidelines in the Constitution on what the Governor should do or whom he or she should invite in case there is a face/off between parties or coalition allies. In this matter, the Sarkaria Commission recommendations, which were affirmed by a Constitution Bench of the SC in Rameshwar Prasad vs Union of India in 2005 are often the guiding principle and are the main reference point. The mandate is outlined in the Commission recommendation. 

    The Commission report details the options before the governor in the situation where no single party has obtained an absolute majority. 

    The order of preference for the Governor in such case is 

    (1) An alliance of parties that was formed prior to the elections

    (2) The single largest party staking a claim to form the government with the support of others, including independents

    (3) A post-electoral coalition of parties, with all the partners in the coalition joining the government

    (4) A post-electoral alliance of parties, with some of the parties in the alliance forming a government and the remaining parties, including independents, supporting the government from outside.

    Sarkaria Commission was set up in June 1983 to examine the relationship and balance of power between state and central governments and suggest changes within the framework of the Constitution.

    However, the discretionary powers of the Governor offer him or her vast liberty in actions. According to the Constitution, the decision of the Governor is final and the validity of anything done by him as a matter of his discretion cannot be questioned.

  • "DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests," North Korea's ambassador to the UN in Geneva Han Tae-song said in an address to the Conference on Disarmament, using North Korea's official acronym.

    His comment came amid a recent whirlwind of diplomacy and outreach by the long-isolated regime, and ahead of a historic summit next month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

    Kim last month announced that his country would halt its own nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, which was widely hailed as an important step towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula. But Pyongyang has yet to rejoin the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it withdrew from in 2003.

    It is also one of eight countries with nuclear test capacity, including the United States, China and Iran, which have so far failed to either sign or ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, blocking it from taking effect.

    Han, who made no reference to the treaties, told the UN assembly that his country aimed to make more "efforts to achieve the development of intra-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of the war on the Korean peninsula."

    "It will make sincere efforts... to establish a durable lasting peace mechanism" with its neighbour to the south, he said, urging the international community to "extend its active support in encouraging and promoting the current positive climate."

    The recent diplomatic frenzy comes after years of tensions and ever-tightening sanctions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

    Asked about the continued threats of sanctions from Washington, Han warned Tuesday that they were "a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue."

  • Russian state television showed Putin dressed in jeans and a casual jacket sit behind the wheel of a construction truck with workers to drive 19 kilometres (12 miles) across the bridge, which links the Taman peninsula in southern Russian to Ukraine's Crimea peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

    "I want to sincerely congratulate you with this remarkable, festive and, in the full sense of the word, historical day," Putin told workers upon arrival on the Crimean side of the bridge. "In different historical eras, even under the tsar, people were dreaming of building this bridge," Putin told cheering workers.

    He was referring to Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, who first proposed such a bridge, but the outbreak of World War I prevented it going ahead.

    Another unsuccessful attempt was made in the 1930s under Joseph Stalin. During World War II the occupying Nazis also began building a bridge but abandoned the project. "And finally, thanks to your work, your talent, this project, this miracle happened!" Putin said.

    The Russian leader, who was re-elected for a fourth Kremlin term in March extending his long rule, then pledged to build more of "such projects" across Russia. The Crimean Bridge overtakes Lisbon's Vasco da Gama Bridge as the longest in Europe.

    Built at a cost of 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion), the new structure connects the southern Krasnodar region with the Crimean city of Kerch, spanning a strait between the Black and Azov seas.

    Ukraine's Condemnation

    Ukraine, which along with most of the international community has not recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea, condemned the project, which was personally championed by Putin.

    "The Russian occupying powers, which have temporarily occupied Crimea, are continuing to act outside international law," Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said.

    Ukraine has also previously complained that the construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea. Meanwhile, Ukraine's security service raided the offices of Russian state media in Kiev and detained one journalist, moves the chief editor of Russia's RT television suggested were linked to the bridge opening.

    The chief editor of the Kremlin-funded channel, Margarita Simonyan, wrote on Twitter that "Kiev decided to take revenge on us for the Crimean Bridge," after the raids on the offices of RIA Novosti state news agency, which is part of the same media group as RT.

    European Union and US sanctions have targeted those involved in building the bridge, principally Putin's close ally, businessman Arkady Rotenberg, whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract.

    The annexation of the peninsula in 2014 was condemned by Kiev and the West as an illegal land grab but applauded in Russia. The peninsula has been hard to reach from southern Russia with long queues of vehicles often forming to board ferries, which cannot always run in winter storms, so the easiest way across is to fly.

    Because of blocks imposed by Kiev, in addition to Western sanctions, a large amount of food is currently shipped to the peninsula from Russia, so the bridge will play an important role in reducing the region's reliance on sea transport.

    The four-lane road bridge is opening ahead of schedule as it was due to be completed in December. Once it opens for traffic on Wednesday, it will be able to carry up to 40,000 cars per day. The railway bridge is not yet finished and has a deadline of the end of 2019. A connecting highway from Kerch to the regional capital of Simferopol is set for completion in 2020.

    Ships will be able to pass through an arch of the bridge that is 35 metres (115 feet) high in the deepest part of the strait. It is also designed to withstand ice floes in winter.

  • Eighteen bodies have been recovered from the Varanasi flyover collapse site, UP Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said. "It is feared that several people are buried under the rubble," an official said, adding rescue teams were at spot to rescue those trapped. Some vehicles, including a bus, were crushed in the collapse, they said. At least three persons had been rescued, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official said.

    The Uttar Pradesh Bridge Construction Corporation was constructing the 2261-metre-long bridge at a cost of Rs 129 crore, officials said. The span which fell today was laid barely three months ago, they added.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who represents Varanasi in the Lok Sabha, and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the deaths.

    Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya rushed to the spot, an official spokesperson said. Meanwhile, the opposition targeted the state government over the tragedy in the "top-priority constituency of the country".

    Chief Minister Adityanath set up a three-member committee to probe the flyover collapse. Adityanath also announced a Rs five lakh ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs two lakh to the seriously injured, an official said. The chief minister also directed the district administration and PWD officials to take all necessary steps for relief and rescue operations.

    "Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected," PM Modi tweeted.

     

    In another tweet, the prime minister said he had spoken to Adityanath. "The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected," he said.

    Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Governor Ram Naik too condoled the deaths. Opposition Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav attacked the state government over the incident.

     "This is the reality of development in the top-priority constituency of the country. The ministers of the state used to visit this district for regular inspections. Is this incident an accident or result of corruption? This should be told to the people of Varanasi by the state government," the SP chief said.

    Yadav appealed to his party workers to cooperate with the administration in relief and rescue. The incident should be probed "honestly", he demanded.

  • Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over a cheque of grant to Dr. Sanjay Sharma, Secretary Ministry of Energy, Irrigation & Water Resources, Nepal in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

    Minister for Energy, Irrigation & Water Resources Barsha Man Pun was also present on the occasion.The river training and embankment works in the Lalbakeya, Bagmati and Kamla rivers in Nepal aimed at flood control and water resources management, which benefit several million people inhabiting in the watershed of these rivers in India and Nepal.

    Since 2008 the Government of India has given NRs. 4.68 billion to Nepal for the river training and embankment works. India remains committed to continue working closely with Nepal for further cooperation in the field of river training, flood control and water resources management in these and other rivers.

  • Imports too grew by 4.60 percent to USD 39.63 billion in the month on yearly basis, leaving a trade deficit of USD 13.72 billion. Oil imports during the month under review were valued at USD 10.41 billion, 41.5 percent higher than the same month of previous year.

    Non-oil imports, however, dipped by 4.3 percent to USD 29.21 billion in April 2018. Engineering, chemicals and pharmaceutical exports recorded a growth of 17.63 percent, 38.48 percent and 13.56 percent respectively during the month.

    However, petroleum products, carpet, gems and jewellery and iron ore recorded negative growth. Gold imports too dipped by 33 percent to USD 2.58 billion in April. Exports had dipped by 0.66 percent to USD 29.11 billion in March, even as foreign shipments increased by 9.78 percent for the full 2017-18 fiscal.

  • Manohar, who became the first independent ICC Chairman in 2016, will continue for a second two-year term following his unopposed election. According to the election process, ICC Directors were each allowed to nominate one candidate, who had to be either a present or a past ICC Director. Nominees with the support of two or more Directors would have been eligible to contest an election.

    However, given that Manohar was the sole nominee for the position, the independent Audit Committee Chairman, Edward Quinlan, who has been overseeing the election process, declared the process complete, and Manohar the successful candidate. That Manohar will get a second term was clear during last month's quarterly meet of ICC in Kolkata as there wasn't any opposition to his candidature.

    During the last two years, Manohar has led the significant reform of the sport, reversing the resolutions of 2014, introducing a revised governance structure, including the appointment of the ICC's first independent female Director.

    “It is an honour to be re-elected as the Chairman of the International Cricket Council and I would like to thank my fellow ICC Directors for their continued support. Together we have made big strides over the last two years, fulfilling promises I made to the sport when I was appointed in 2016," said Manohar.

    Manohar said that ICC plans to launch a global strategy for the sport. “Over the next two years, we can look forward to launching a global strategy for the sport in partnership with our members so we can grow the game and ensure more of the world can enjoy cricket. The sport is in good health but we are the guardians of the game and we must continue to work hard to maintain that.” 

  • The government says that as from today, 13 water-dropping helicopters are available, with other aircraft already contracted for the critical period from June 1.

    Authorities have enacted a series of measures since last year's deadly blazes, including a national and mandatory forest cleaning programme.

    A severe drought last year left forests tinder-dry. Experts have blamed the large-scale wildfires on woodland that is often neglected. Rural areas of Portugal are commonly populated by elderly people who sometimes are unable to clear forest debris. Critics say the government has been slow to act.

  • Residents of Farah, capital of the province of the same name, have warned for months the city was vulnerable and the attack appeared to threaten a repeat of the Taliban's capture of the northern city of Kunduz, which fell briefly in 2015.

    Residents said Taliban forces began their attack at around 2.00 a.m. (2130 GMT Monday) from several directions.

    Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the defence ministry in Kabul, said security forces from neighbouring provinces had been ordered to Farah to protect civilians and government buildings and said the Taliban had been pushed out of the city.

    There were no immediate casualty assessments but residents said there were wounded and dead on both sides as well as among the civilian population.

  • India's Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal said on Monday that the global compact on migration being negotiated was tainted by a focus on illegal immigration in some countries.

    "This is unfortunate, since this negative narrative is not at all helpful and, in fact, hurts the genuine interests and concerns of regular, legal migrants whose ongoing contribution to both their host and origin countries is well-documented but risks being ignored," he said at a session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the global compact on migration that is to be adopted in December in Marrakesh, Morocco.

    "It needs to be stressed and made clear that this category of (illegal) migrants cannot be treated at par under national laws with the legal migrants," he said.

    Blurring the distinctions between the regular migrants and the "numerically far fewer irregular migrants can only disadvantage the larger interests of regular migrants and even incentivise irregular migration," he added.

    Criminal networks are involved in illegal migration and agencies of all the countries should cooperate to defeat the challenge they pose, Lal said.

    Several activist organisations, some international leaders and, even, some arms of the UN have tried to remove distinctions between the categories of legal and illegal immigrants and refugees creating chaos in some places and attempting to limit the rights of some countries to observe their laws.

    Some of this sentiment has coloured the debates on immigration at the UN and seeped into the draft global compact.

    Lal said that the global compact draft provides too much attention to "what rights the irregular migrants should be entitled to" and it must, instead, "focus more on how to facilitate regular migration."

    It should be reworked to "highlight the overwhelmingly positive contribution of international migration upfront in the document and be provided adequate space in the text", he suggested.

  • "The commissioner for metro rail safety has given the mandatory approval for the start of passenger operations for Janakpuri West-Kalkaji Mandir, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions and stipulations," a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation official said.

    The Magenta Line section has 16 stations, including two inter-change stations - Hauz Khas (with Yellow Line) and Janakpuri West (with Blue Line). The Magenta Line would reduce the travel time between west Delhi and south Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad and Noida considerably.

    For instance, traveling between Hauz Khas and Janakpuri West at present requires an inter-change from Rajiv Chowk that takes nearly 55 minutes, but after the opening of the Magenta Line, the journey would take less than 30 minutes.

    "The exact date of opening of this corridor will be intimated after compliance of the same by DMRC," the official added.

  • ”Long-term and short-term trajectories typically pull apart after you’ve known someone for weeks or months,” said Paul Eastwick, an associate professor at University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in the US.

    “In the beginning, there is no strong evidence that people can tell whether a given relationship will be long-term and serious or short-term and casual,” said Eastwick, who led the study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

    Eastwick and his colleagues surveyed more than 800 people from a wide range of ages. They used a state-of-the-art “relationship reconstruction” survey in which people reproduce the events and experiences they had in their prior real-life short-term and long-term relationships. The researchers asked the participants to reconstruct these relationships from the very beginning. This procedure differs from the standard “relationship science” approach, which starts studying people once they are already in a dating relationship.

    “Some of the most interesting moments in these relationships happen after you meet the person face-to-face, but before anything sexual has happened,” Eastwick added. “You wonder ‘is this going somewhere?’ or ‘How much am I into this person?’ It is somewhere around this point that short-term and long-term relationships start to diverge, and historically, we have very little data on this particular period of time,” he said.

    The researchers found that romantic interest rises at the same rate in both short-term and long-term relationships. However, at some point, romantic interest tends to plateau and decline in short-term relationships, while in long-term relationships, it continues to ascend and reaches a higher peak.

    “People would hook up with some partners for the first time and think ‘wow, this is pretty good.’ People tried to turn those experiences into long-term relationships,” said Eastwick. “Others sparked more of a ‘meh’ reaction. Those were the short-term ones,” he said.

    The study offers a new twist on the distinction between the stable, long-term partner and the exciting, short-term partner. 

  • "In 2017, India emerged as the third largest solar market ...having grown at a CAGR of approximately 170 percent since 2010," it said. As per the report, India set a new record with 9.6 GW of solar installations in 2017, which was more than double the 4.3 GW installed in 2016. The robust growth boosted the country's total solar installed capacity to 19.6 GW as of December 2017, it added.

    "In 2017, larger players started consolidating their positions at the top as India quickly emerged as one of the most important solar markets in the world for suppliers and vendors,"Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu said.

    As of 2017-end, large-scale project development accounted for 92 percent of the all-time cumulative solar installations in India with 19.6 GW, and 2017 alone made up 90 percent of such installations with 8.6 GW.

    Of the total 1.6 GW cumulative solar rooftop installations in India by 2017, 995 MW was installed last year. Mercom Communications India is an arm of global clean energy consulting firm Mercom Capital Group. 

  • Kuldeep (4/20) flummoxed Rajasthan Royals batsmen with his wrist spin as the visitors were bowled out for 142 from 19 overs after being sent into bat. KKR chased down the small target with two overs to spare with Chris Lynn top-scoring with a 42-ball 45 while skipper Dinesh Karthik remaining not out on 41 off 31 deliveries.

    Karthik took his side home with a six as KKR reached 145 for 4 in 18 overs. Sunil Narine played a typical but brief explosive innings of 21 off just seven balls at the top of the innings to lay the foundation of the successful run chase.

    Except for Narine, all the KKR batsmen chose to bat in business like fashion, shunning extravagance and looking for loose deliveries for boundaries. With the win, KKR kept themselves in the hunt for a play-offs spot with 14 points from 13 matches as they remained at the third spot.

    Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, stuck on 12 points from 13 matches and they will now find it difficult to make it to the play-offs though theoretically still in contention. Opener Narine gave KKR a flying start taking K Gowhtam to cleaners with 21 runs from the first over with two fours and two sixes.

    Ben Stokes claimed two wickets -- that of Narine and Robin Uthappa (4) -- in successive overs en route to his superb 3/15 as KKR looked in a spot of bother with 69/3, requiring 74 from 70 balls. But Lynn remained steady and cut down his strokes to anchor the innings. He and Karthik batted sensibly to put together 48 runs before the Australian became Stokes' third victim but by then the equation had come down to a simple 26 from 28 balls.

    Earlier, Kuldeep's magical four-wicket spell flummoxed Rajasthan Royals as KKR brilliantly turned it around with a superb bowling show to bundle out the visitors for 142.. Sent in, RR were looking ominous at 59 for no loss after four overs, already their highest inside the powerplay, before the home side triggered a batting collapse on the visitors in the middle overs by taking six wickets for 31 runs.

    With none of their middle-order batsmen showing any fight, it would have been worse for RR but No. 8 Jaydev Unadkat struck 26 from 18 balls (3x4, 1x6) before Prasidh Krishna dismissed him to end the innings in the 19th over.

    The India chinaman spinner had a nightmarish outing in their last game here, leaking 43 runs in three overs against Mumbai Indians but it was a different evening today as he turned it around with the season's best show of 4/20. Shouldering extra responsibility in the absence of an injured Piyush Chawla (side strain), Yadav's magic arm completely exposed RR's frailty in tackling spin, as his four-for included the prized wicket of Jos Buttler (39 from 22 balls; 5x4, 2x6).

    Coming in the eighth over, Kuldeep ran through his four overs and took a wicket in each of them to help KKR bounce back from a poor start. Kuldeep started off by cleaning up RR skipper Ajinkya Rahane who continued his woeful form to get out for 11 and in the next over he denied Buttler a record sixth straight fifty. Buttler too attempted a reverse sweep like Rahane but holed out at third man by Javon Searles.

    It was Andre Russell (2/13 from three overs) who used his short-pitch ball strategy to full effect to dismiss Rahul Tripathi for 27 (15 balls; 4x4, 1x6). Thereafter, KKR seized the momentum riding on Yadav and Sunil Narine's tidy show (1/29).

    Earlier, Mavi almost dismissed Tripathi first ball with an unplayable delivery in a superb first over that yielded just two runs. But what unfolded from the second over was a series of boundaries and sixes from Buttler and Tripathi in a run sequence that read 6-4-4-4-4-6-4-4-6-4 as RR cruised to 50 in 20 balls.

    Promoted to open the innings, Tripathi turned it around against Prasidh Krishna after the probing Mavi over, smashing the seamer for a six, followed by a hat-trick of boundaries. Mavi came to bowl in the third over, and it was time for the in-form Buttler to explode with a series of boundaries and sixes as the youngster bled 28 runs.

  • Sudarshan had been teaching as a professor at University of Texas for over 40 years. He served as Honorary Advisory Council Member of Houston Sri Meenakshi Temple. He was associated with the temple from 1977. Sudarshan, an outstanding theoretical physicist, was born in Kottayam, Kerala, India, in 1931. The professional career of Sudarshan spans five decades. He discovered the V - A theory of weak interactions while working on his PhD thesis under the late Robert E. Marshak.

    He has made remarkable discoveries in many fields of physics, including quantum optics, tachyons, quantum Zeno effect, non-invariance groups, positive maps of density matrices, quantum computation, etc. His contributions include also relations between east and west science, philosophy and religion. In 2007, the Indian government recognised and awarded the physicist with the second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan. He was also awarded the Dirac Medal in 2010, which is known to be given out to scientists who have made substantial contributions in theoretical physics, computational chemistry and mathematics. The renowned physicist was even recommended for the Nobel Prize nine times but never awarded.

  • The machine, a PR2, taught itself in one day, by analysing nearly 11,000 simulated examples of a robot putting a gown onto a human arm. Some of those attempts were flawless, while others were spectacular failures - the simulated robot applied dangerous forces to the arm when the cloth would catch on the person's hand or elbow. From these examples, the PR2's neural network learned to estimate the forces applied to the human. In a sense, the simulations allowed the robot to learn what it feels like to be the human receiving assistance.

    "People learn new skills using trial and error. We gave the PR2 the same opportunity," said Zackory Erickson, PhD student at Georgia Institute of Technology in the US. "Doing thousands of trials on a human would have been dangerous, let alone impossibly tedious. But in just one day, using simulations, the robot learned what a person may physically feel while getting dressed," said Erickson. The robot also learned to predict the consequences of moving the gown in different ways. Some motions made the gown taut, pulling hard against the person's body. Other movements slid the gown smoothly along the person's arm.

    The robot uses these predictions to select motions that comfortably dress the arm. After success in simulation, the PR2 attempted to dress people. Participants sat in front of the robot and watched as it held a gown and slid it onto their arms. Rather than vision, the robot used its sense of touch to perform the task based on what it learned about forces during the simulations. The robot is currently putting hospital gown on one arm. The entire process takes about 10 seconds. Researchers said that fully dressing a person is something that is many steps away from this work.

  • The show, based on Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy, will feature a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Variety reported. The iconic film's stage interpretation is headed to the Broadway more than six decades after the movie's release. "Some Like It Hot" show will be directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who also led Broadway version of "Mean Girls".

    Playwright Matthew Lopez has adapted the script for theatre. The play comes from The Shubert Organization and will be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who acquired the rights to the iconic movie from MGM. "We are grateful to MGM for allowing us to tackle the challenge of translating the film's singular energy and magic to the stage," Zadan, Meron, Philip J Smith and Robert E Wankel said on behalf of the Shubert Organization in a statement.

    Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM's motion picture group and head of live stage theatrical productions added, "'Some Like It Hot' is one of the crown jewels of MGM's library. Craig, Neil and the Shubert Organization have assembled a world-class creative team and we can't wait to see it on Broadway." The film also starred Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

  • It would be Prime Minister Modi's second informal summit in as many months as he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jingpin in China's Wuhan in a similar format last month. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it 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 'special and privileged strategic partnership' between the two countries. "Both leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters," the MEA said.

    The annual summit talks between the top leadership of the two countries, bound by 'special and privileged strategic ties', have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000. Sources said President Putin will be in India later this year for the annual summit. The last summit had taken place in St Petersburg in June 2017. "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.

    Prime Minister Modi and Putin will discuss issues of strategic importance besides exploring ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of trade, commerce, nuclear energy and defence. Russia is keen to enhance economic cooperation with India. Putin has been making concerted efforts to push economic growth in his country which witnessed significant slowdown following Western sanctions after the Ukraine crisis.

    Russia has been India's biggest supplier of arms though New Delhi has started buying more military hardware from the US in the last few years. India has been pressing Russia to share critical technology with it for defence production. Energy-starved India, the third largest oil importer after the US and China, has also been pushing for greater involvement in major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia. Russia is one of the top oil producers globally and has huge reserves of natural gas.

  • The MNRE is also in the process of launching a scheme for new hybrid projects under this policy, which are 10 to 15 percent cheaper than 100 percent solar or wind projects, an official told said. The official said that under the scheme, the government would bid out wind-solar hybrid projects on tariff-based competitive bidding and these projects can be set up anywhere across the country depending on feasibility and land availability with bidders.

    The official said the efficiency of such projects ranges from 40-45 percent as the two clean sources complement each other while 100 percent solar or wind projects have an efficiency of 20 to 30 percent. Elaborating further on the lower cost of a hybrid project, the official said that common land, transmission system to evacuate power and equipment reduce costs by as much as 15 percent. The ministry had initially planned for 10 GW of such hybrid projects in the country, but now it depends on the response of bidders in view of merits over 100 percent solar or wind projects, the official added. The objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid-connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure and land, an MNRE statement said.

    The policy is also aimed at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. On technology front, the policy provides for integration of both the energy sources i.e. wind and solar at AC (alternate current) as well as DC (direct current) level. The policy also provides for flexibility in share of wind and solar components in hybrid project, subject to the condition that, rated power capacity of one resource be at least 25 percent of the rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project.

    The policy seeks to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects. The existing wind/solar projects can be hybridised with higher transmission capacity than the sanctioned one, subject to availability of margin in the existing transmission capacity. The policy provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which government entities may invite bids. It also permits use of battery storage in the hybrid project for optimising the output and further reduce the variability.

    The policy mandates the regulatory authorities to formulate necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems. With significant capacity additions in renewables in recent years and with hybrid policy aiming at better utilisation of resources, it is envisaged that the hybrid policy will open up a new area for availability of renewable power at competitive prices along with reduced variability. A scheme for new hybrid projects under the policy is also expected shortly, it added. 

  • Elimination of trans fats is key to protecting the health and saving lives, the WHO said. The global health body estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to over 5,00,000 deaths worldwide from cardiovascular diseases. Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack, baked, and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats.

    But, healthier alternatives can be used, which would not affect taste or cost of food, the WHO said in a statement yesterday. "WHO calls on governments to use the 'REPLACE' action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply," WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said. "Implementing the six strategic actions in the 'REPLACE' package will help achieve the elimination of trans-fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular diseases," he said. The initiative provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from food supply.

    In Denmark, the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, the trans-fat content of food products declined dramatically and cardiovascular disease deaths declined more quickly, the statement said. "New York city eliminated industrially-produced trans-fat a decade ago, following Denmark's lead," Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, said. Trans-fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there is no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed to it, Frieden said. He said action is needed in low and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially-produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world.

  • The four states and the Union Territory of Chandigarh inked MoUs with the Union Health Ministry for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission. Union Health Minister J P Nadda presided over the MoU signing ceremony at a regional workshop for northern states. Stating that the scheme will be a big game changer in the healthcare sector, he said, "We are witnessing history as the first MoU of Ayushman Bharat is being signed ."

    Nadda said that the initiatives undertaken by the government would eventually become the largest health care programme in the world because of India's large population. "Through our programmes and initiatives, we are ensuring that healthcare is accessible, affordable and equitable, he said.

    The centrally-sponsored scheme, which will provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually and benefit more than 10 crore families belonging to the poor and vulnerable sections of the society, is likely to be launched in August. The scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers' families 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic and Caste Census data, and will cover around 50 crore people.

    It will be cashless and paperless access to services up to Rs 5 lakh per year will be available for the beneficiary families at the point of service in both public and private empanelled hospitals across India, said. He further said that the beneficiaries under the scheme can avail of services anywhere in India and it is expected to bring a visible relief to the target families by mitigating the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes.

    Through these MoUs, the states formally committed to implementing the programme. The MoU clearly outlines roles of central and state governments/UT administrations for the implementation of the scheme. Similar regional workshops are also planned in due course of time across India to sign MoU with other states.

  • These fraudulent guarantees enabled Nirav Modi to secure loans from overseas banks which he siphoned off, the CBI alleged. The scam pertains to the alleged issuance of fraudulent Letters of Undertakings of more than USD 2 billion to companies of Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi by the Punjab National Bank's Brady House branch in Mumbai during 2011-17, officials said. The agency will file supplementary charge sheets for the remaining amount in which it will detail the role of other accused such as Mehul Choksi, his companies, and Nirav Modi's wife Ami Modi, they said.

    The officials said supplementary charge sheets will have information from foreign governments, shell companies, foreign banks, and detail the role of officials posted in foreign branches of Indian banks which issued credits to Modi's firms on the basis of PNB LoUs etc. In its charge sheet filed before a special court in Mumbai, the agency alleged that PNB officials dishonestly and fraudulently issued LoUs to overseas banks for obtaining buyer's credit in favour of three accused firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds without any sanction limit or cash margin, they said.

    A LoU is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant. The investigations revealed that messages for fraudulent LoUs were sent to overseas banks by misusing an international messaging system for banking called SWIFT platform and without making their subsequent entries in the PNB's internal banking software, thus bypassing scrutiny in the bank, they said. The agency alleged that the proceeds of buyer's credit availed from overseas banks on the basis of LoUs of the PNB were dishonestly and fraudulently diverted to pay off the oustanding liabilities of the three accused firms, directly and indirectly controlled by Nirav Modi.

    Funds were siphoned off to purported overseas supplier firms that were set up and controlled by Nirav Modi through his associates, it alleged. It is alleged that senior officials of the PNB, including the then CEO and MD Usha Ananthasubramanian, did not implement the circulars and caution notices issued by the Reserve Bank of India regarding safeguarding swift operation and misrepresented the factual position to the RBI. Reconciliation of CBS and SWIFT messages was not done despite repeated RBI circulars caution notices and questionnaires, it alleged. Gokulnath Shetty, the then Deputy Manager at Brady House branch of the PNB, continued in the same seat for seven years and issued fraudulent LoUs with "impunity", the CBI alleged.

    The agency also made it clear that the naming of Ananthasubramanian in the charge sheet does not mean that her predecessors have been given clean chit as the investigation is going on, they said. The agency has charge-sheeted billionaire Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal, seven employees of his companies including Chief Financial Officer Vipul Ambani and three companies Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds. Chartered Accountant Subhash Kumar Rambia has also been charged with not mentioning loans of Rs 1,700 crore taken by each of the three accused companies in their books, it said. Then MD and CEO Ananthasubramanian, Executive Directors K V Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, and General Manager (international operations) Nehal Ahad are among the 12 officials of the PNB who have been named in the charge sheet. Gokulnath Shetty, the then Deputy Manager of the PNB, who allegedly issued the LoUs, has also been charge sheeted.

    The CBI filed the charge sheet for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. The agency has said bank officials have been charged under anti-corruption laws because their acts led to loss to exchequer, corresponding gains to Modi and his companies and "criminal breach of trust" to the public. The probe into the alleged bribe paid to employees of the PNB to issue such guarantees is underway. 

  • Heena was in a rollicking form in the final where she was tied with France's Mathilde Lamolle on 239.8 points. She won the tie to win the gold ahead of Mathilde. While Shri Nivetha finished on 219.2. The finish marks a strong build-up to next week's ISSF World Cup in Munich. After beginning with a series of scores in the 9s, Heena switched gears and notched up 10 and above consistently to break away from the field. Her second series produced consistent 10s and she even hit a perfect 10.9 in the elimination round to put herself in contention for gold.

    After initially fighting for the 3rd-4th position, the Commonwealth gold medallist Indian scored a 10.9 on her 13th shot in the final to take the lead and then held her nerve till the end. Heena qualified for the final in the fourth place scoring 572 while Shri Nivetha topped the qualification with a total of 582. "I am feeling good with how my training is shaping up. Of course, it's not perfect but we are moving in the right direction so it's just a matter of time, said Heena after her gold medal win.

    The ISSF Munich World Cup will be held from May 22 to 29 and will be Heena's second major competition after her twin medal success at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and the World Cup in Korea. Heena had won a gold in the women's 25m pistol event in Gold Coast and a silver in 10-metre air pistol.

  • "The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest," read a draft of the statement, a copy of which was seen by the news agency. "The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability," read the text. In the bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 Gaza war, at least 55 Palestinians were killed in the clashes and more than 2,400 Palestinians wounded. They erupted before Israeli officials and a White House delegation including President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka formally opened the embassy in Jerusalem, and the bloodshed continued throughout the day.

    The dead included eight children under the age of 16, according to the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations. The Gazan health ministry provided the overall death and injury toll. "The Security Council expresses its grave concern regarding recent developments in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the context of the peaceful protests in the Gaza Strip and the tragic loss of civilian lives," the draft statement read. "The Security Council calls upon all sides to exercise restraint with a view to averting further escalation and establishing calm," it said.

    "The Security Council calls on all States not to undertake any steps that further aggravate the situation, including any unilateral and unlawful measures undermining the prospects of peace." It also said that any decisions and actions "which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect" a reference to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.