News

  • Himachal Pradesh will go to Polls in Phase-7 of General Elections on Sunday, 19th May. Polls will be held in all 4 Parliamentary Constituencies (PC) of Kangra, Mandi, Hamirpur, and Shimla on 19th May.  45 candidates,including 1 female candidate, are in fray for the 4Lok Sabha seats.

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

     “On the auspicious occasion of Buddha Purnima, I offer warm greetings and good wishes to all fellow citizens as well as followers of Lord Buddha across the world.

  • It is informed that the 18 member Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition team to Mt Makalu (8485m) had successfully scaled the peak on 16 May 2019. While descending from the summit point to Camp IV (first camp during the descent), one of the team member Naik Narayan Singh died.

  •             The Indian Navy achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its Anti Air Warfare Capability with the maiden cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM).

  • The Reuters news agency has, earlier today, published a story titled “Modi proclaims a cleaner India, but the reality may be more murky”. In this story, it has raised questions around the progress made under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), specifically the findings of the recent National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of ‘Buddha Purnima’. In a message, he said that Lord Buddha was one of the most illustrious spiritual leaders to have walked this earth.

  • 8 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) of Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Patliputra, Ara, Buxar, Sasaram, Karakat and Jahanabad in Bihar will go to Polls in Phase-7 of General Elections on 19th May.

    157 candidates, including 20 female candidates are in fray for these 8 Lok Sabha seats.

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    PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCIES (PCs) VOTING ON PHASE-7 (19.05.

  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) today conferred Sasakawa Award 2019 for Disaster Risk Reduction to Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India.

  • In the State of Punjab, 13 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) namely Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Khadoor Sahib, Jalandhar (SC), Hoshiarpur (SC), Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib (SC), Faridkot (SC), Firozpur, Bathinda, Sangrur and Patiala will go to poll in a single phase i.e. the 7th Phase of General Elections, 2019.

  • The third meeting of the Advisory Council of the Fifteenth Finance Commission was held in New Delhi today. It was chaired by Shri N.K. Singh, Chairman, XVFC and attended by Members of the Advisory Council, Members of the Commission Dr. Anoop Singh, Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog (Special Invitee), Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Finance Secretary (Special Invitee), Shri Girish Chandra Murmu, Expenditure Secretary (Special Invitee) and senior officials of the Commission.

  • The Indian Delegation led by I&B Secretary Shri Amit Khare today met Film Commissioners of participating countries at Cannes Film Festival. During the meeting, India was positioned as an attractive filming destination by highlighting the steps taken to easy the process of obtaining permissions for filming in India through the Film Facilitation Office which facilitates Single Window Clearance for film-makers.

  • The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on May 16, 2019 was 35.99 BCM, which is 22% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 24 for the week ending on May 09, 2019.

  • In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), and in super-session of the notification of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) No.35/2019-CUSTOMS (N.T.

  • The parliamentary constituency of UT of Chandigarh will go to poll in the 7th Phase of General Election, 2019. The polling will take place on Sunday, 19th May, 2019 from 7 AM till 6 PM. Chandigarh parliamentary constituency is a general category constituency.

  • In the Seventh phase of General Elections 2019, Rajmahal, Dumka and Godda Parliamentary Constituencies (PC) in Jharkhand would be going to polls on 19th May. Rajmahal (PC No. 1)and Dumka (PC No. 2) are ST seats, whereas Godda (PC No. 3) is a General seat.

  • The joint meetings of three conventions on chemicals and waste that is the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal  (COP 14) was held along with the ninth meeting of the COP to Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the ninth meeting of the COP to Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

  • The Website of the Lokpal was inaugurated by the Chairperson, Justice Shri Pinaki Chandra Ghose in presence of all the Members of Lokpal today.  The DG, NIC, Smt. Neeta Verma was also present on the occasion.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that nuclear electricity could significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and has the potential to meet increasing energy demand in the country.

  • The Finance Commission held consultations with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance on yesterday on the overall economic situation and key economic variables.  These discussions are credible to the ongoing work of the Commission to reach an appropriate conclusion on both the vertical and the horizontal devolution.

  • High Peace Council Secretary and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's Special Envoy Umer Daudzai met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Friday and briefed her on the outcome of the recently held Loya Jirga.

    Both sides also discussed India's role in Regional Peace Consensus with regard to Afghanistan, progress in peace talks and bilateral relations.

    Daudzai also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay K Gokhale.
     

  • The 30-share BSE benchmark closed 537.29 points, or 1.44 per cent, higher at 37,930.77. It hit an intra-day high of 38,001.13 and a low of 37,415.36

    Similarly, the broader Nifty rose 150.05 points, or 1.33 per cent, to settle at 11,407.15. During the day, it hit a high of 11,426.15 and a low of 11,259.85

    In the Sensex pack, Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Auto ended up to 6.09 per cent higher after posting strong quarterly numbers

    Hero MotoCorp, Maruti, Kotak Bank, HDFC, HUL, M&M, HDFC Bank, ITC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Coal India, SBI, IndusInd Bank and Asian Paints were also among the top gainers, rising up to 4.26 per cent

    On the other hand, Yes Bank, Vedanta, Infosys, HCL Tech, Sun Pharma, TCS and NTPC ended up to 2.36 per cent lower

    Investors lapped up banking and auto stocks, boosting key indices, ahead of the exit poll results scheduled for Sunday.

    Broader indices followed the benchmarks, with the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices settling in the green

    While Japanese stocks ended higher, bourses in China and Korea ended in the red amid the US-China trade conflict. European equities too opened significantly lower

    The Indian rupee depreciated by 16 paise to 70.20 against the US dollar intra-day

    Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.26 per cent higher at USD 72.81 per barrel.

  • At a time when the who's who of world cinema are converging at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, India too is making its presence felt at the prestigious festival.

    Deliberations are taking place on Indian films and film industry at the India Pavilion.

    The Indian delegation is in talks with delegations from other countries.

    On the table are proposals to forge a close bond between Indian cinema with world cinema and expand co-operation in films beyond national borders by exploring co-production opportunities.

    Led by Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Amit Khare, the Indian delegation held talks with film-makers from Israel.

    In discussions with Film Commissioners of participating countries, the Indian Delegation has been highlighting the possibility of India emerging as a major post production hub and a hub for shooting world class international movies by forging bilateral co-production agreements leading to new markets and wider audiences.

    Israel has proposed India as the focus country in Jerusalem Film Festival, 2020. Indian actors are frequenting the India Pavilion. National award winner Kangana Ranaut visited the India Pavilion and discussed a range of issues with Indian representatives. Lyricist and CBFC Chairperson Prasoon Joshi was among the visitors at the India Pavilion.

    The head of the Indian delegation Amit Khare endorsed Kangana's views.

    Internationally acclaimed actor Tannistha Chatterjee also appreciated The India Pavilion.

     

  • The total prize pot of 10 million dollars will see the runners-up take home 2 million dollars and the losing semi-finalists 8 lakh dollars each at the end of the 46-day tournament being played across 11 venues in UK from May 30.

    There are prizes for each league match won, in what promises to be a competitive tournament with the world's best teams playing each other in a round-robin format.

    The 2019 edition though only sees a 6.25% increase in prize money from the 2015 World Cup that had prize money of 3.75 million dollars.

  • Australia's Trent Mitton, Flynn Ogilvie, Blake Govers and Tim Brand scored in their victory while Nilakanta Sharma and Rupinderpal Singh registered their names on the scoresheet for India.

    India needed to score heavily in the last quarter if they were to make a comeback into the match.

    The visitors tried to create chances but the Australian defence made sure that they did not give them space in the circle.

    The defensive lapses, the lack of cohesion between the midfielders and men up front will be a cause for concern when the Indians touch down in Bhubaneswar in an attempt to make the final of the FIH Series Finals.
     

  • This was stated by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu after meeting the top Buddhist clergy in Kandy on Friday.

    Addressing the media after his meeting, the High Commissioner said India stands firmly and strongly with Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the attacks on April 21st in which many innocent lives were lost including 11 Indian nationals.

    He said India will fight this jihadist ideology and jihadist terror together, shoulder to shoulder and assured India’s support for Sri Lanka.

    Earlier, he met and discussed the prevailing security situation with the Mahanayake theros of Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters.

    Both the Mahanayake Theros deeply appreciated India’s unconditional and strong support for Sri Lanka including in the security sphere.

    The high commissioner conveyed greetings on the auspicious occasion of Vesak to the Theros and recalled the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka for the International Vesak Day celebration in 2017.

  • The Centre has extended the deadlines for filing of Goods and Services Tax returns for taxpayers registered in 14 cyclone-hit districts in Odisha.

    The date for filing GST returns for April 2019 has been extended from May 20th to June 20th.

    Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Debasish Panda reviewed the banking service situation in the cyclone-affected districts on Thursday. He said that barring Puri district, 99 percent of banks have become functional again in Odisha.

    Meanwhile, after the largescale destruction caused by cyclone Fani, life is slowly returning to normal in the state. Massive efforts by the centre are yielding results. NDRF is providing continuous support in the rebuilding initiatives. Assistance by the Centre, in form of manpower, finances and logistics, has ensured that the normal life is back on track. A number of NGOs are also pitching in to provide relief to the cyclone affected masses by providing essential commodities and ration- free of cost.

    Electricity supply to parts of Puri, including the Jagannath temple, has been restored around 12 days after Cyclone Fani hit the state's coast. While, electricity supply across the entire town is expected to be restored in a phased manner within five more days.

     

  • The Supreme Court has vacated interim protection given to former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from arrest by CBI over his alleged role in destroying evidence in Saradha chit fund case.

    The Apex Court has, however, granted a seven- day protection to Rajeev Kumar from arrest and allowed him time to seek legal remedies.

    The court has accepted the CBI's plea to interrogate Rajeev Kumar in connection with the case, after seven days.

  • Attacks on leaders from other parties in West Bengal continue as BJP candidate from Dum Dum, Samik Bhattacharya attacked in Nagerbazar area on Thursday night. His vehicle was complete vandalised.

    Samik Bhattacharya has claimed that the attack was carried out by Trinamool Congress.

  • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted an international racket involving smugglers from Pakistan, China, Myanmar and India to import high-end drones, remotely-piloted aircraft, into the country through the north-eastern border. 

    The shipment of drones and other related items, worth 1 crore rupees, was intercepted and seized by the DRI in March. However, the Ahmedabad-based mastermind, whose identity was not revealed, was arrested on Thursday. 

    A release by the DRI in Ahmedabad said the drones were smuggled into India from China through Myanmar. It was also revealed that some Pakistan-based smugglers and their firms were also involved in the entire racket. 

  • Enforcement Directorate is questioning former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar along with her husband Deepak Kochhar for the fifth consecutive day on Friday in New Delhi. 

    They are being questioned in connection with the ICICI-Videocon loan case. Last week,  the ED  had summoned Kochhar to record her statement after she failed to appear on 5th of this month.

    The ED has registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act early this year against Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak, Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon Group and others to probe alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in sanctioning of 1,875-crore rupees loans by ICICI Bank to the corporate group. The ED action was based on a CBI FIR.
     

  • He has asked the Committee to submit its report within ten days. In a tweet, Shah said the remarks of these leaders are their personal opinion and the party has nothing to do with them. 

    He said although they have withdrawn their statements and apologized these comments are against the party's ideology and dignity and the matter has been taken seriously.

    Pragya Singh Thakur, who is the  BJP candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, had termed Nathuram Godse as a patriot. 

    In a tweet, Union Minister Anant Hegde was seen supporting Pragya Thakur while BJP MP Nalin Kateel compared Godse with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

  • The delayed mission is designed to carry into low-Earth orbit an initial batch of 60 satellites for Musk’s new Starlink global internet service, a venture intended to generate cash for the rest of the billionaire entrepreneur’s space exploration ambitions.

    The Falcon 9 rocket and its satellite cargo were originally set to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Wednesday night, but the flight was postponed by Space X, citing excessive winds over the launch site.

    The launch was rescheduled for Thursday night, and SpaceX said in a midday Twitter message that the “Starlink and Falcon 9 are looking good” and that “winds are better for tonight’s launch.” Hours later, however, the company tweeted that the mission was being delayed.

    “Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again,” the company said. “Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success. Next launch opportunity in about a week.”

    No further elaboration was provided to reporters at the Cape.

  • The movie, starring Taron Egerton, tracks the singer’s first steps in the music business, from his tentative tryouts on the piano as a child to his explosion onto the U.S. scene and its drug and alcohol-fueled party world.

    Although not competing for awards, it was still one of the most anticipated screenings of the film festival on the French Riviera. Actresses including Julianne Moore and Priyanka Chopra lined up on the Croisette’s famous steps to see the movie, an all-singing, all-dancing depiction of John’s most famous hits.

    Accompanied by his husband David Furnish, John posed for photographers alongside the cast in heart-shaped, jewel-encrusted sunglasses.

    Directed by Dextera Fletcher, who also worked with Egerton on “Eddie The Eagle”, the biopic has echoes of traditional Hollywood musicals, with dance scenes set in a fairground or down the local pub during flashbacks to John’s teenage years.

    Born Reginald Dwight in Middlesex, England, Elton John - whose stage name is half stolen from a friend, and half from John Lennon of the Beatles - went on to become one of the world’s best-selling artists.

    The film delves into the “Crocodile Rock” singer’s uneasy relationship with an unfeeling father and a harsh mother, as well as a toxic early relationship which contributes to the singer’s descent into addiction.

    But it also celebrates some of John’s enduring friendships, including with Bernie Taupin, who penned the lyrics to his greatest hits, including “Your Song”, which helped propel the singer into superstardom.

    Taupin was also present at the screening, where crowds - including actors Eva Longoria and Shailene Woodley - erupted into applause as it drew to a close, while an emotional Egerton was in tears.

  • Some 600,000 fans worldwide had signed a Change.org petition by Thursday criticizing Season 8 of the HBO series and calling for a remake.

    “This series deserves a final season that makes sense,” said Dylan D, from Texas, who launched the “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8” petition ahead of Sunday’s series finale.

    The story of warring families in the fictional kingdom of Westeros has drawn to a close with ever more bloody battles and favourite characters being killed off.

    “Season 8 was very disjointed and rushed. Characters were hastily written off and plots became twisted. It was not a good close to a great series!!!,” wrote Marilyn Marnell, one of those signing the petition.

    HBO did not return a request for comment on the petition.

    The show was created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who have taken the story beyond George R.R. Martin’s source material book series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

    Despite the criticism, the eighth and final season of the Emmy-winning series has broken records for HBO, which says it has so far averaged 43 million viewers per episode in the United States alone - a 10 million increase over Season 7 in 2017.

    Among television critics, reviews have gone from 92 percent positive for the Season 8 opener on April 14 to 47 percent favourable for the penultimate episode, “The Bells,” which aired on May 12, according to review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.

    “The Bells” saw character Daenerys Targaryen descending into madness and destroying the Westerosi capital of Kings Landing with her dragon. Some fans thought that was too sharp a departure for Daenerys, who had previously said she wanted to create a better world.

    “This is definitely not how it was supposed to go. Daenerys Targaryen has gone rogue,” wrote CNN.com’s AJ Willingham.

    Meanwhile, British website Bark.com is launching a “Game of Thrones” counselling service offering expert advice on how fans can deal with the loss of the show, which first aired in 2011.

  • A day after the southern state passed the country’s most restrictive abortion law, Maryland’s Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot said he would advise his state’s $52 billion pension fund to divest from Alabama, and urged other states to follow suit.

    Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold called for a boycott of Alabama and urged the Election Center, an organization that trains election officials from across the country, to move out of the state.

    The hashtag #BoycottAlabama gained momentum online, with activists calling for boycotts of products ranging from Mercedes-Benz cars to broiler chickens that are produced in Alabama.

    “The radical anti-abortion bill signed into law yesterday by the Governor of Alabama is a malicious assault on the rights and protections of women,” Franchot wrote on Facebook. “I can work to ensure that Maryland’s taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize extremism.”

    Griswold said Colorado state employees regularly travel to Auburn, Alabama to attend the Certified Election Registration Administrator (CERA) training and certification.

    “I will not authorize the spending of state resources on travel to Alabama for this training or any other purpose,” Griswold said. “This is one action that I can take in response to this egregious law against women.

    Alabama is the latest state to all but ban abortion with laws that are unenforceable under federal law, but meant to push the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 ruling declaring the procedure a constitutional right.

    Moves to boycott Alabama came after Hollywood stars like Alyssa Milano called on the media industry to pull out of neighboring Georgia, a hub for film and television production, after it passed a strict abortion law last week.

    Economic boycotts in recent years have pressured states to roll back legislation. North Carolina repealed a 2017 law barring transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice after the National Collegiate Athletic Association, as part of a wider boycott, said the state could not host championship games unless it scrapped the legislation.

    But there were signs of opposition against the boycott movement, even among Democrats.

    In Georgia, ex-gubernatorial candidate and Democratic rising star Stacey Abrams urged Hollywood producers to think twice before bailing out of her state.

    In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she suggested media companies put money into local groups fighting abortion legislation, rather than turn their backs on Georgia.

  • Fans packed into the Al Janoub stadium, a 40,000 seat venue designed by late architect ZahaHadid and made to resemble the sail of a dhow, or traditional wooden sailboat, to cheer on Qatari teams playing in the final of the Emir Cup, a local tournament for the country's club sides.

    The inauguration comes as soccer's world governing body FIFA floats a plan to expand the next World Cup to 48 teams from 32, which could require a last-minute co-host despite a protracted dispute between Qatar and some of its neighbours, bans on alcohol and a lack of facilities restricting likely candidates.

    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a political and trade boycott on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies. That rift has strained efforts by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to push for a suitable Word Cup co-host even as qualifying matches begin early next month.

    FIFA will host its annual congress in Paris on June 5, where it is expected to make a final call on the expansion, though any decision must be signed off by Qatar, the first Arab country to win hosting rights for the tournament in 2010.

    The finals will start in November 2022, having been moved from the usual June-July slot to avoid the searing summer heat.

    Al Janoub, a fully air-conditioned stadium which kept the temperature 10 degrees lower than the 29 Celsius outside during Thursday's inauguration match, was previously called Al Wakrah after the city hosting it just south of Doha.

    However, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani tweeted before the match that it was being renamed. It is one of seven venues built from scratch for the 2022 World Cup, with an eighth stadium renovated and opened in 2017.

    Qatar has pushed ahead with an ambitious scale-up of its infrastructure ahead of 2022 that includes $6-8 billion on stadiums and sporting facilities, part of efforts to use the tournament to diversify its energy economy and project itself on to the world stage through sport.
     

     

  • They were in Stockholm for the annual meeting of the International Capital Markets Association, an industry body. Speakers on the first day warned about an unsustainable build up of debt and that liquidity would dry up in certain asset classes in stress scenarios, although they did not expect that to happen any time soon.

    Ultra-low interest rates have prompted companies and governments to load up on debt faster than ever before, often selling bonds with less protection for investors. That has led to concerns that a turn in market sentiment could result in a credit crunch.

    “Of course there are bubbles building up,” Hans Stoter, global head of core investments at AXA Investment Managers told the conference. “There is much more debt in the world than there was before ... and most of that growth is coming out of debt financing with interest rates so low.”

    Leverage in the system has increased some 50%-60% since the financial crisis a decade ago, with debt now worth some 230% of economic output globally according to IMF estimates, said Frank Czichowski, treasurer at KfW.

    “There is no banking system in the world that can cope with the flood coming out of this,” he said. Affordability is not an issue while rates remain low but a rise in borrowing costs could create major problems, Axa’s Stoter said: “The question is, with the debt level where it is, can central banks ever afford to let interest rates go back up because it will lead to a major bankruptcy wave.”

    A key risk for markets is low liquidity, the ease with which assets can be bought or sold.

    Alexi Chan, global co-head of capital markets at HSBC, said a reduction of up to 50% in banks’ holdings of bonds, the result of regulation and increased costs, meant banks are no longer major providers of market liquidity.

    “The question is, when a serious stress point comes, how this constrained liquidity we are now seeing will impact that,” he said. “It is a big question for the system. And I think we are not really tested on that.”

    Other speakers said investors had to be made aware liquidity in some asset classes would disappear in any credit crunch.

    Sebastian Domanico, head of debt capital markets at Credit Agricole CIB, said investors and issuers “need to realise that if something happened to the specific corporate sector or the high yield market ... they will be stuck.

    “And I’m not sure the end-investors in the fund completely realise that,” he said, describing it as a systemic risk. Roman Schmidt, divisional board member capital markets at Commerzbank, said a proliferation in electronic trading platforms would exacerbate the problem.

  • Beijing has yet to say whether or how it will retaliate to the latest escalation in trade tensions, which saw Washington put telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on a blacklist that will make it extremely difficult for the telecom giant to do business with U.S. companies.

    The world’s two largest economies are locked in an increasingly acrimonious trade dispute that has seen them level escalating tariffs on each other’s imports in the midst of negotiations, adding to fears about risks to global growth and knocking financial markets.

    The United States is not sincere about wanting to resume trade talks with China and has damaged the atmosphere for negotiations with its recent moves, a state media social media account said.

    Without sincerity there was no point in coming for talks and nothing to talk about, Taoran Notes, a WeChat account run by a daily, said in a post late on Thursday that was re-posted by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper.

  • Paris on Wednesday marked the 130th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower’s public opening in 1929 with a laser light show retracing the monument's history that will be visible each hour from 10pm to midnight local time through Friday.

    A 12-minute laser light show recounting the history of the tower will play across the Iron Lady's facade through Friday to mark 130 years since the tower opened to the public after being built for the 1889 World’s Fair.

    Rising 324 meters (1,063 feet) above Paris, the famed "Iron Lady" was designed by Parisian engineer Gustave Eiffel and built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition.

    The construction of the most famous of Parisian monuments took two years, two months and five days, which was considered a feat of technical prowess at the time, mobilising between 300 and 450 workers.

    Seven million tourists visit the Eiffel Tower each year, with a total of 300 million visitors from across the world since 1889.

  • As per the complaint filed at Panaji police station, the incident took place at Mala locality in the Panaji Assembly constituency when Kunkolienkar was returned after visiting a temple. "Two youths who were wearing helmets and standing on the roadside suddenly attacked the car in which I was travelling.

    They threw bottles on the car before fleeing on a motorcycle," Kunkolienkar claimed. A senior police officer said the complaint was registered against unknown persons and search is on to track them on the basis of the description provided by Kunkolienkar.

    Bypoll to the Panaji Assembly seat, which fell vacant following the demise of siting MLA and then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on March 17, will be held on May 19.

  • Second-seeded Spaniard Nadal defeated Jeremy Chardy of France in straight sets 6-0,6-1. Swiss Federer defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4 6-3 to reach in the third round.

    Federer plays Borna Coric next, while Nadal faces Nikoloz Basilashvili later tonight. Sixth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori secured a place in last sixteen defeating Tailer Fritz of United States 6-2, 6-4. Spain's Fernando Verdasco defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 5-6.

    In Women's section, Britain's Johanna Konta has entered in the 3rd round. She defeated world's eight number sloen Stefence of US 6-7, 6-4, 6-1. In the next round, Konta will take on venus Williams of US. World number Naomi Osaka also entered in the 3rd round defeating Dominika Cibulková 6-3, 6-3.

    She will face Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu. In another match, world's fourth number Kiki Burtence of Denmark defeated Amanda Anisimova of US 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Wimbledon champion of 2017 Garbine Muguruza entered in the 3rd round defeating Danielle Rose Collins6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

  • Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmad, Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq and Head Coach Micky Arthur have decided to include fast bowler Mohammad Amir and hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali in World Cup squad of Pakistan cricket team.

    Struggling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and newly-selected opener Abid Ali will make way for both players.

    Asif Ali impressed the team management with 51 off 36 and 52 off 43 in the second and third One Day International against England respectively.

    This performance cemented his place in the World Cup squad. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir is recovering from suspected chickenpox and is undergoing treatment in London.

  • The over 2-month-long election marathon has now reached its last leg. Friday saw campaigning for the 7th phase of polling coming to an end. Although canvassing for votes for the 9 remaining to be polled Lok sabha seats in West Bengal had been curtailed prematurely on Thursday, Sunday will see all 59 seats in the 7th phase go to the hustings. The last day of campaigning saw all political stakeholders making their final push for votes through rallies, roadshows and several other means.

    The last day of campaigning saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi wooing voters in Madhya Pradesh's Khargaon. Congress President Rahul Gandhi holding a rally in Himanchal Pradesh's Solan for the Shimla lok sabha seat and among the regional powers, even the Mahagathbandhan's Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav addressed a joint political meet in Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur.

    Punjab is having a single shot election for all its 13 seats in the final phase with 278 candidates in fray. It's a 3-way fight between the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal combine, the Congress ruling in the state and the Aam Admi Party.

    The 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh that are going to the hustings in the last phase include the PM's constituency Varanasi, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's traditional stronghold Gorakhpur, Ballia, Ghazipur as well as Mirzapur. A total of 167 candidates are fancying their chances here.

    In Bihar, 157 candidates are vying for voters' blessings on 8 Lok Sabha seats..Keen fights have been seen for seats such as Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Patliputra and Arra. It's the NDA vs the Mahagathbandhan in the state.

    8 seats are also going to polls in Madhya Pradesh with 82 candidates in the last phase. It's mostly a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress in MP. Key seats include Devas, Ujjain, Indore & Ratlam.

    The last phase also includes all 4 seats in Himachal Pradesh with 45 candidates fighting it out. 3 remaining seats in Jharkhand are also polling the same day with 42 candidates.

    Sunday will also see polling in the union territory of Chandigarh where the BJP's Kiron Kher is facing off with Congress's Pawan Kumar Bansal..34 more candidates are also vying for the voters' blessings in the city beautiful.

     

    VVIP CANDIDATES IN FINAL PHASE
     

    -- The field of VVIP candidates in the final phase of elections is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

    -- Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hardeep Singh Puri, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, R K Singh, Manoj Sinha & Anupirya Patel are also in the fray
     

    -- Top names from the BJP include Actors Ravi Kishen and Sunny Deol and U.P BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey
     

    -- The Congress has Manish Tewari, Meira Kumar, Pawan Kumar Bansal & Shatrughna Sinha as some of well known contenders
     

    -- The Akali Dal also has Sukhbir Singh Badal
     

    -- AAP has Bhagwant Mann
     

    -- and Trinamool's Saugata Roy battling it out

    The 7th phase also saw frenzied campaigning by all political stakeholders like the previous phases. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP Chief Amit Shah and several other union ministers as well as top leaders were among the pinch hitters for the BJP. The Congress relied on the dynastic draw of party President Rahul Gandhi and his General Secretary sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Akhilesh-Maya led Mahagathbandhan reached out to voters in Uttar Pradesh through multiple rallies. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also did her own brand of combative campaigning as did the Left. Leaders of JD(U) and RJD also vied for voters' blessings in Bihar..AAP Arvind Kejriwal was also seen stepping out of the national capital to canvas for his party's candidates in Punjab.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narednra Modi and Congress Presdient Rahul Gandhi hold press conferences and thanked the voters for their support.

  • The proposed fix, which addresses a problem with a flight handling system thought to be a factor in both crashes, must now win approval from US and international regulators before the planes can return to service.

    "With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight," said Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.

    "The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives depend on what we do." Boeing's announcement sent shares up 2.6 per cent to USD 354.44 in afternoon trading.

    The halt to the 737 MAX has dented Boeing's revenues and clouded the company's earnings outlook. Boeing said it has flown 737 MAX with updated software for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System for more than 360 hours on 207 flights.

    Boeing is providing additional information to the Federal Aviation Administration in anticipation of a certification test flight, a key step in winning regulatory approval, the company said.

    In both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, the MCAS pointed the plane sharply downward based on a faulty sensor reading, hindering pilot control after takeoff, according to preliminary crash investigations.

    The FAA has called a May 23 meeting of international civil aviation regulators in Texas to discuss the FAA's process for clearing the 737 MAX to resume service.

    Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell told a congressional panel on Wednesday that he hopes the gathering builds support for international bodies to approve the 737 MAX soon after the United States gives it the green light. 

  • Three British people and a South African were killed Thursday in a plane crash close to Dubai airport, the United Arab Emirates' state news agency reported. The UK-registered Diamond Aircraft went down five kilometers south of the international hub, WAM said, citing civil aviation authorities.

    "The four-seat plane crashed while on a mission to calibrate terrestrial navigation systems at the airport, with all crew members, three British, and one South African, killed," the news agency said. An earlier report by the emirate's government media office said the pilot and co-pilot of a small plane had been killed.

    The aircraft, owned by US tech giant Honeywell, crashed due to a technical malfunction, it said. It added that all operations at the airport were running smoothly after "a slight delay and diversion of some flights as a precautionary measure". Dubai's international airport is one of the world's busiest aviation hubs.

  • India Thursday strongly condemned the drone attacks targeting oil installations in Saudi Arabia two days ago. The drone strikes hit two pumping stations on Saudi Arabia's east-west pipeline on Tuesday, resulting in shutting down of a major pipeline which can carry five million barrels of crude per day.

    India also reiterated our resolve to fight terrorism and violence in all its forms and manifestations. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reopened the key oil pipeline and officials say that it "is fully operational".

    Yemen's Huthi rebels had claimed responsibility for twin drone strikes on the pipeline from the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea coast. Two pump stations on the East-West pipeline in the Kingdom were attacked by armed drones which caused a fire and minor damage to one Pump Station. 
     

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he wants to overhaul the immigration system to favor young, educated, English-speaking applicants with job offers instead of people with family ties to Americans.

    Trump's plan is aimed at trying to unite Republicans ahead of the November 2020 presidential and congressional elections. In new policy, Trump proposed a shift to a "merit-based" system similar to one used in Canada - a plan that would result in 57 per cent of green cards to be based on employment and skills.

    Trump said that we will replace the existing Green card categories with a new visa - the 'Build America Visa'. He also mentioned that he is unveiling a plan to create a fair, modern and lawful system of immigration for the U.S. He said, if adopted, this plan will transform America's immigration system into the pride of our Nation and the envy of the modern world.

     

  • Nadal, an eight-time champion in Rome, took 66 minutes to eliminate Chardy, who has never defeated Nadal in their three career encounters, reports Efe news.

    "It was a good start today," said Nadal, who is seeking his first title this year. "I am happy with that victory and happy because it took one hour, and that is important for what is coming up," the 32-year-old said.

    In other Italian Open action, Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina beat Germany's David Goffin 6-4, 6-2 taking his revenge after he was defeated by the German at the 2018 edition of the Italian Open and the 2018 Cincinnati Masters.

    Argentine del Potro is set to square off against world No. 76 Casper Ruud of Norway, who got past 36th-ranked Nick Kyrgios of Australia.

  • After trading on a tepid note throughout the session, the BSE Sensex surged in the last hour of trade to finish at 37,393.48, up by 278.60 points, or 0.75 per cent.

    Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty rose 100.10 points, or 0.90 per cent, to settle at 11,257.10.

    IT, financial and banking stocks saw robust buying.

    Bajaj Finance was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, spurting 3.64 per cent, after the company reported a jump of 50 per cent in standalone net profit at Rs 1,114 crore for the March quarter.

    Tata Motors, Infosys, Vedanta, ONGC, PowerGrid, NPTC, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, SBI, HDFC Bank, Tata Steel, TCS and RIL rose up to 3.48 per cent.

    On the other hand, Yes Bank was the top loser, cracking 4.07 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, IndusInd Bank, Coal India, ITC, M&M, HDFC, Maruti and Asian Paints, shedding up to 1.87 per cent.

    Global markets recoiled after US President Donald Trump slapped sanctions on Chinese telecom major Huawei, ratcheting up its trade tensions with Beijing.

    Sectorally, the BSE oil and gas, realty, power, metal, IT, teck, bankex and finance indices ended up to 1.53 per cent higher.

    The BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices followed the benchmarks, gaining up to 0.27 per cent.

    Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) net sold shares worth Rs 1,142.44 crore on Wednesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased equities to the tune of Rs 671.77 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.

    Bourses in China, Japan and Korea ended on a mixed note, while European stocks opened in the red.

    Meanwhile, the Indian rupee appreciated by 27 paise to 70.07 against the US dollar intra-day.

    Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.56 per cent higher at USD 72.17 per barrel.

  • The move seems aimed at banning Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from U.S. networks on suspicion of cyber spying. Almost in tandem, the US commerce department added Huawei to its "entity list", a move that bans the company from acquiring technology from US firms without government approval.

    China hit back hard at the American move the next day warning of retaliation urging it not to further escalate trande tensions.

    "China has emphasized many times that the concept of national security should not be abused, and that it should not be used as a tool for trade protectionism. (China) hopes that the relevant country (or countries) respects market rules and creates a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for companies from different countries including China"

    The US executive order has come almost on the back of the trade war being escalated between the two adversaries..Both have imposed tit for tat tarriffs posing a challenge to the world economy after engaging in a blame game over a botched up trade deal meeting. Matters seem to be moving further away from resolution with China has been left smarting following the lastest US trade jab.
     

  • The Cannes Film Festival is the star attraction for film buffs all over the world. This edition is also witnessing the efforts by the Indian delegation to project India as a preferred destination for foreign film makers.

    The Indian delegation held a meeting with film officials from across the globe. The delegation, headed by Amit Khare, the information and broadcasting secretary sent a message that India is working towards making it easier for foreign film units to shoot in the country not only by overhauling clearance-granting mechanisms, but also by providing incentives like tax refunds and subsidies to international movie projects.

    The efforts bore fruits as the after a meeting with delegation, Israel proposed India to be the focus country in Jerusalem Film Festival, 2020. The buzz created by the Hindi movie Newton in Israel was also highlighted by the Israeli Delegation. Israel also proposed the idea of making concept based films in India, with a focus on regional and small budget films.

    The India Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival 2019 was also inaugurated and a special IFFI poster marking its Golden Jubilee Edition was also released.

    A comprehensive Film Guide to showcase the importance of the film ecosystem and government incentives to shoot in India was also released.

    Officials also stressed about the growing importance of regional cinema in the country and the increasing role of states in giving incentive to shoot films.

    India also highlighted the steps taken by the Government to ease shooting films in India through Film Facilitation Office that facilitates Single Window Clearance for film-makers
    Government is exploring avenues to further incentivize foreign filmmakers to shoot in India.
     
    The Indian Delegation interacted with key stakeholders of Cannes as well as other members of the film fraternity. To take advantage of availability of technicians and skilled professionals, the Delegation will showcase India as a post-production hub to promote collaborations for films with international production houses.

    Thursday also saw screening of two Indian films, Lohardagga and Phulmania at the Cannes Film Festival. Lohardagga is a film based on the circumstances that force a youth to join naxal ranks.

    Other film Phulmania is a movie made in Nagpuri language which has dealt with a key social issue concernig the state.

    The India Pavilion has been set up to showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, with the aim of forging international partnerships in distribution, production, filming in India, script development, technology, promoting film sales and syndication. It will serve as a platform for the Indian Delegates to meet International Delegates attending the Festival to promote networking with other countries and organizations.
     

  • Speaking at the closing ceremony of the two-day Nepal-India Franchise Investment Expo and Conclave in Kathmandu on Thursday, Nepal's Finance Minister Yuvraj Khatiwada said, there is a big scope for investment in the country from both domestic as well as foreign investors.

    He also said that Nepal's youth should venture their own business by forging franchise collaboration with the renowned companies of India instead of searching for employment opportunities in foreign countries.

    In his address Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri, also emphasized the need for more collaborations between Nepalese and Indian companies for mutual benefits.

    The event was organised by the Indian Embassy in collaboration with the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

    The conclave focused on building the relations between India and Nepal through entrepreneurship development.

  • Addressing a joint press conference, Minister of Highways and Road development  Kabir Hashim said that anything which is not suitable for Sri Lanka and influenced by foreign culture  will be looked into as the unity of the country is important.

    He said that legal amendments have also been proposed including the Madrasa Act. The minister said Muslims have been an integral part of the country from the Sinhala kings onwards and have defended the nation various times when the nation was under threat.

    He said the very small minority of persons who are responsible for Easter Sunday attacks are not real followers of their faith. Former Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar said that the Muslim community have made it clear that they will not accept the teachings of the bombers involved in the Easter Sunday attacks.

    He also said that globalisation has impacted Sri Lanka as a whole and not just the Muslims. President’s Counsel Ali Sabry said as Muslims they have a big responsibility to fulfill and that some things need to be done within the Muslim community itself such as regulating Madrasas and reflecting on their culture.

    He also said that there are some decisions which need to be taken with the entire Sri Lankan society coming together for a common purpose.

    Sri Lanka has been tense since Easter Sunday attacks in which nine suicide bombers targeted churches and hotels in the country killing over 250 people including 45 foreigners.

    The country  faced violence against Muslims in several areas on Monday following the attacks but the situation has returned to normalcy with curfew removed from all parts of the country.

     

  • The Ruling BJP has pulled out all stops in the last phase of campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections going full throttle in UP and West Bengal. On Thursday, PM Modi addressed five rallies and appealed to voters to repose faith in the BJP. Three of those rallies were in UP and two in West Bengal.

    At his first rally of the day in Ghosi, Uttar Pradesh, the PM targeted the opposition. The PM said that the Mahamilawat allaince, which was till a month ago shouting slogans of 'Modi Hatao', are themselves sulking sensing that their defeat at the hustings is imminent. The Prime Minister alleged his opponents used the Modi hatao slogan as a ruse, in fear, to hide their own sins of corruption. Questioning Mayawati's silence on Mamata Banerjee's alleged indecent references to people of UP, Bihar and Purvanchal... The PM said Mayawati is interested only in power and has little real concern for the people.

    The PM then addressed a rally at Chanduli, and once again charged the Opposition with being hypocritical about the 'Modi Hatao' slogan... because each of them was vying individually for the Prime Minister's post. He pointed out the absurd state of affairs where parties with eight, 10 or even 20 MPs are hoping to claim the Prime Minister's chair.  His next rally was in Mirzapur where he praised the electorate of UP for discerning that SP, BSP and Congress are only interested in splitting the state on caste lines. The Prime Minister pointed out that as the opposition's personal insults on him increase... so does the people's love.

    BJP President Amit Shah was also in UP on Thursday where he targeted the Congress and the Mahagathbandan on several issues. He accused Rahul Gandhi and Akilesh Yadav of spreading disbelief and doubt after the airstrikes on Balakot and trying to dampen the euphoria of the people in the country. Amit Shah also questioned Congress President Rahul Gandhi on the issue of Mani Shankar Aiyar who is justifying comments for which he was earlier punished.

    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also thick on the campaign trail. Yogi participated in a Vanvasi Sammelan in Varanasi.\

    The BJP has intensified its campaign in Punjab as well. On Thursday, film actor and BJP Gurdaspur candidate Sunny Deol joined the party's roadshow in Amritsar. A large number of people thronged the event. With the exception of Bengal, canvassing for all other seats in the 7th phase will end at five pm on Friday.

    Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed  a rally in Kushinagar in UP. He promised that 5 crore people will come under the umbrella of NYAY if congress is voted to power

    On tour to bihar soon after, Rahul addressed a rally in patliputra in support of Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter Misa Bharti and then held  a road show in patna seeking votes for shatrughan sinha. Congress president Rahul Gandhi Thursday met a Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped in front of her husband in Rajasthan's Alwar district. He said that such things will not be tolerated and that a message should go across the country, not just in Rajasthan. He assured that the victim will get justice.

    Meanwhile, fissures are appearing within the congress party in Punjab which goes to polls in the last phase. Navjot Kaur, wife of Navjot Sidhu has raised questions over the ticket distribution in the state.

    Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also held road show in Maharajganj in support for congress candidates.

    13 seats in Eastern UP go to poll in the last phase. The Mahagathbandhan held a massive rally in Varanasi. BSP Supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav addressed the rally lashing out at political opponents. 

    In West Bengal, SP far the theatre of political violence in these elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, made the most of the time before the deadline of 10pm.

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also campaigned in Moga, Punjab and sought votes for the party candidates.

    All the political parties are leaving no stone unturned to ensure maximum coverage before the voting on 19th when 59 Lok Sabha seats go to polls.

  • The three terrorists who were killed in Dalipora encounter in Pulwama have been identified. They have been identified as Naseer Pandith of Karim Abad from Pulwama, Umar Mir of Bethipora from Shopian and Khalid from Pakistan according to sources.

    Khalid was a top Jaish commander and was active since the last eight years in Kashmir. He was the mastermind of the 2017 suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora that left five paramilitary personnel dead.

    Earlier, a soldier was martyred and a civilian was also killed and three other persons including two Armymen were injured in the operation. The injured soldiers are undergoing treatment.

    Curfew has been imposed in the town, following intense clashes and law and order deterioration. The internet services have also been suspended in the southern district.

  • Police Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that curfew will be re-enforced in Gampaha police division and North Western Province from 7.00 p.m. tonight to  4.00 a.m. tomorrow.

    He said that 78 suspects in the North Western Province have been arrested and remanded for inciting violence against Muslim minorities in which dozens of shops and houses were damaged.

    Meanwhile, a defence spokesman has said that an investigation has been launched in a video clip which showed an armed forces personnel helping the rioters carry out the attacks.

    Sri Lanka Air Force has said it will deploy helicopters day and night to capture the perpetrators of disruptive activities in the affected areas as well as in other parts of the country.

    Air Force Spokesman said that people who are engaging in disruptive activities, will be photographed from air to use them as evidence against the perpetrators.

    Security remains tight all over the country in wake of Vesak celebrations beginning today. Sri Lanka has been tense since Easter Sunday attacks in which nine suicide bombers targeted churches and hotels in the country killing over 250 people including 45 foreigners.

     

     

     

  • Sudanese army rulers and protest leaders Wednesday agreed on a three-year transition period for transferring power to a full civilian administration even as negotiations over a new sovereign ruling body remain unfinished. The protest movement is demanding a civilian-led transition following 30 years of iron-fisted rule by now deposed president Omar al-Bashir, but the generals who toppled him have been holding onto a leadership role.

    The two sides announced early Wednesday that they had reached an agreement on the transition period. "We agreed on a transitional period of three years," Lieutenant General Yasser al-Atta, a member of the military council told reporters. Atta said a final agreement on the sharing of power, including the forming of the next ruling body -- the sovereign council -- will be signed with the protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, within a day. "We vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in a way that it meets the people's aspirations," Atta said. He said of the three-year transition period, the first six months will be allocated to signing peace accords with rebels in the country's war zones like Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

    Talks between the two sides resumed earlier in the week but were marred by violence when an army major and five protesters were killed by unidentified gunmen at a long-running sit-in outside military headquarters in Khartoum. The army generals had initially insisted on a two-year transition period, while the protest leaders wanted four years. The key negotiations however remain on the composition of the sovereign council, which the generals have insisted to be military led while the protest leaders want it to be majority civilian.

    After the forming of the sovereign council, which will replace the existing ruling body made up solely of generals, a new transitional civilian government would be formed to run the country's day-to-day affairs. That civilian government would work towards having the first post-Bashir elections after the end of the transition period. Atta said that during the transitional period the parliament will be composed of 300 members, of which 67 per cent will be from the Alliance for Freedom and Change and the rest will be from other political groups. 

     

  • The Election Commission of India has received complaints against three media houses with respect to displaying poll surveys, predicting results of Lok Sabha elections.

    The poll panel has sought explanation from these media houses namely IANS India Pvt Ltd, Economic Times & Swaraj Mass Media as to why action should not be taken against them for the violation of the provision of Section 126A of Representation of People Act.

    The Commission has also sought response within 48 hours from these media houses. The seven-phased Lok Sabah polls began on April 11. The last phase of polls will be held on May 19. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.

  • Jonny Bairstow smashed a sensational century as England coasted a chase of 359 to beat Pakistan by six wickets in the third one-day international in Bristol. Bairstow clubbed 128 from 93 balls, supported by 76 from Jason Roy, Joe Root's 43 and an unbeaten 46 by Moeen Ali.

    It meant England completed their second-highest run-chase in ODIs, and best at home, with more than five overs to spare. Asked to bat first, the tourists piled on 358-9, led by Imam-ul-Haq's composed 151.

    But Pakistan had no answer to the Bairstow assault, England taking a 2-0 lead without rested trio Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer. The home side can seal victory in the five-match series, their final one-day internationals before the World Cup begins on 30 May, at Trent Bridge on Friday.

  • Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman appeared in person before BCCI Ombudsman and former justice DK Jain in Delhi on Wednesday.

    Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman are alleged to be conflicted for their dual roles as members of Cricket Advisory Committee and as an icon (Tendulkar for Mumbai Indians) and mentor (Laxman for Sunrisers Hyderabad) of IPL teams.

    However, the hearing which just ended remained inconclusive. Sachin and Laxman though may not be required to appear personally again unless they personally desire so.

    Both cricketers have denied having any conflict and in fact, blamed BCCI for the mess as the Board never mentioned before their written submission that there is 'tractable Conflict of Interest" which can be sorted on full disclosure.

    This is the 3rd case of conflict of interest allegation being filed after Sourav Ganguly had to appear for deposition

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has welcomed India’s GS Lakshmi as the first female to be appointed to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees. Following close on the heels of Claire Polosak, who earlier this month became the first ever woman umpire to stand in a men’s ODI, Lakshmi will be eligible to referee international games with immediate effect.

    Meanwhile, Australia’s Eloise Sheridan has joined compatriot Polosak on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires, taking the number of women on that panel to an unprecedented eight.

    Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Sue Redfern, Mary Waldron, and Jacqueline Williams are the other women officials on that panel. The first woman on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires was Kathy Cross, who retired last year.

    Lakshmi, 51, who first officiated as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket in 2008-09, has overseen three women’s ODI matches and three women’s T20I matches.

  • A United Nations fact-finding mission has called for financial isolation of Myanmar's military as part of efforts to hold the army accountable for human rights abuses.

    The independent investigators, working under a mandate from the UN Human Rights Council, said in a statement that there has been no progress toward resolving the crisis over Myanmar's mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.

    The mission found that the military has committed atrocities against many ethnic groups living within Myanmar. It also faulted armed ethnic groups for committing human rights abuses.

    Myanmar denies allegations of human rights violations in Rakhine, saying its security forces have not targeted civilians and have taken action only in response to attacks by Rohingya militants.

    The Fact-Finding Mission is to hand over its findings to a new group of the Human Right Council, the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar, in September. That organisation was set up to handle criminal prosecution of violations of international law.

  • Amid rising tensions between US and Iran over nuclear deal, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said US does not want war with Iran. Speaking in Russia, Pompeo said the US was looking for Iran to behave like a "normal country" but would respond if its interests were attacked.

    Last week, the US deployed warships and warplanes to the Gulf. Tensions escalated even further after an incident with four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, with US investigators reportedly believing Iran or groups it supports were involved.

    Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also said there will be no war with the US. Pompeo, who held talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian city of Sochi, said the US "fundamentally" did not seek a conflict with Iran.

    Pompeo said "We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion."

    In remarks carried on state media and on his Twitter account, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated Tehran's position that it would not negotiate with the US on a nuclear deal to replace the one President Donald Trump withdrew from last year.

    But Khamenei said: "We don't seek a war, nor do they." On Monday, President Hassan Rouhani told a meeting with clerics that Iran was "too great to be intimidated by anyone", saying: "God willing we will pass this difficult period with glory and our heads held high, and defeat the enemy."

  • Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara said that investigations are continuing to arrest persons who express hate speech on social media to disrupt national unity.

    He mentioned that if mobs continue to engage in communal violence, the tri forces and police will use force to stop them.

    Overnight curfew imposed countrywide has been lifted from Wednesday morning.

    Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said a group of people are trying to disrupt the Vesak festival and no room should be allowed to fulfill their intention. He visited an affected area yesterday where mobs have attacked mosques and Muslim homes.  

    Wickremsinghe said Easter services were disrupted by the terrorist activities and they cannot allow the saboteurs to disrupt the Vesak festival as well. He said all necessary powers have been given to the police and the armed forces to ensure peace and security of the country.  

    Chief Buddhist Prelates and Christian leaders have emphasized that the public should behave peacefully, adding it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain peace and reconciliation.

  • Odisha is recovering after the onslaught of Cyclone Fani. A central team is in the state to review the damage caused to give appropriate central assistance. Efforts are on to ensure that people do not suffer as rebuilding takes place.

    Help is being given with free rice and kerosene apart from money and making cheap vegetables available. Restoring power in some parts still remains a challenge.

    Meanwhile, an eleven-member inter-ministerial central team, who is on a visit to Odisha to take stock of the situation in cyclone Fani-affected areas of the state, will hold a meeting with senior state government officials, including Chief Secretary AP Padhi.

  • With only three days left for campaigning, all the major political parties have intensify the efforts to woo the voters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold rallies in Paliganj in Bihar and Deoghar in Jharkhand. He will also address public meetings in Basirhat and Diamond Harbour in West Bengal on Wednesday.

    Congress president Rahul Gandhi will address public meetings in Faridkot and Laudhiana in Punjab for the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls. He will also visit Rajasthan to meet the gang-rape survivor at Thanagazi in Alwar district.

    Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will hold a roadshow in Varanasi for the party candidate Ajay Rai. SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP Supremo Mayawati and RLD President Ajeet Singh will hold address joint rallies at Mau and Deoria in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Joint efforts by the centre and state are yielding results. NDRF is also providing continuous support in the rebuilding initiatives.

    Besides the efficient action by the administration, a number of NGOs are also pitching in to provide relief to the cyclone affected masses by providing essential commodities and ration- free of cost.

    The administration is working round the clock to restore banking facilities in the flood affected area, so that the shortage of cash doesn't increases the list of woes faced by the people.

    Earlier on Wednesday, 12 days after the deadly cyclone struck the coast of Odisha, electricity was retored in renowned Jagannath temple in Puri. Odisha CM Navin Patnaik tweeted and said--- Extremely happy to share that electricity supply has been restored to Srimandir & Bada Danda now. Thank thousands of workers from so many states who are working day and night to ensure electricity supply to Puri
     

    The Odisha govt on wednesday submitted a prelimnary report on the cyclone affected regions to a central team. State govt has estimated the damage caused by the cyclone at 12,000 crore rupees. It has also appealed to the centre for relaxation in disaster assistance norms. Atleast 60 lives were lost in cyclone fani in the state and over 5 lakh houses were destroyed.

     

  • West Bengal has been hogging the headlines this election season. The BJP is pulling out all stops to challenge West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her home state. The BJP has intensified campaigning in the state.

    Party President Amit Shah held a roadshow in Kolkata North on Tuesday where supporters turned out in large numbers.

    Amit Shah travelled in an open vehicle acknowledging the heavy turnout of people. But in a sudden twist, Amit Shah's vehicle was attacked and his roadshow disrupted.

    Speaking to the media Amit Shah pointed to how the attack took place despite police presence.

    Earlier, another controversy broke out when police allegedly removed some posters of BJP. BJP leaders raised slogans in protest against the Mamata govt.

    In Delhi, a BJP delegation met the Election Commission and complained against recurring violence in West Bengal.

  • No fresh incidents of violence has been reported on Tuesday and night curfew is in place from 9 PM to 4 AM. Curfew in affected northwestern province will continue and was relaxed for only two hours during the day.

    Two people were killed and dozens of shops burnt in anti-Muslim riots since during past few days after Easter Sunday attacks had killed over 250 people.

    Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem called on the Prime Minister and tri-forces commanders to control the violent incidents.

    In a statement, the minister said Muslims are suffering for a dastardly crime committed by a few with whom the larger Muslim community has nothing to do with whatsoever. United Nations has warned that if not adequately dealt, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further.

    Hate crimes has been on the rise against Muslims following Easter Sunday attacks which killed over 250 people including 45 foreigners.