News

  • Sh. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, today informed that the Draft Passenger Charter defining rights for air passengers is being notified today for public consultation He was addressing the media on the various initiatives launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure a hassle-free air travel experience.

  • A Task Force was constituted by the Government of India in November, 2017 to review the existing Income-Tax Act, 1961 and to draft a New Direct Tax law in consonance with the economic needs of the country.

  • BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired at 1145 hours today from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, Odisha. The missile was launched from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) and successfully flew in its pre-set trajectory fulfilling its mission objectives.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed a civic reception hosted for him by the Government of Himachal Pradesh in Shimla today (May 22, 2018). 

    Speaking on the occasion, the President praised Himachal Pradesh as an important centre for culture, tourism and the spiritual tradition in our country.

  • With a view to integrate farmers with bulk purchasers including exporters, agro- industries etc. for better price realization through mitigation of market and price risks to the farmers and ensuring smooth agro raw material supply to the agro industries, Union Finance Minister in the budget for 2017-18 announced preparation of a “Model Contract Farming Act” and circulation of the same to the States for its adoption.

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, met here today.

    In continuation of its efforts to streamline defence procurement procedures and to reduce timelines so as to ensure timely delivery of equipment to the Armed Forces, the DAC discussed and approved various measures to simplify the defence procurement procedure.

  • The Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Shri Upendra Kushwaha inaugurated the Annual Summer Fiesta for children of Delhi NCR region in New Delhi today. The Summer Fiesta has been organized by the National Bal Bhawan, an autonomous organization under the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD for Vacationing children of Delhi NCR. The Fiesta is an annual event for children in the age group of 5-16 years to provide them learning opportunities in the world of Innovation, Curiosity and Happiness and to utilize their summer vacation through various creative activities.

  • The International Day for Biodiversity (IBD) 2018 was celebrated all over the country today. The celebration of the IDB under the theme - “Celebrating 25 years of action on biodiversity” provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of and threats to biodiversity, while highlighting its contribution to sustainable development.

  • Ministry of Railways has invited online applications from eligible candidates for recruitment to 8619 posts of Constables (4403 Male & 4216 Female) and 1120 posts of Sub-Inspectors (819 Male & 301 Female) in the Railway Protection Force/Railway Protection Special Force.

  • The Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh (MP), Shri Narayan Singh Kushwah inaugurated the one day Regional Conference on the theme of “New and Renewable Energy” in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh yesterday.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that Southern parts of the country are prone to multiple disaster challenges - hence require the NIDM Centre to help these states build infrastructure to tackle disasters.

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh presented the Police Medals for Gallantry and Meritorious Services to the BSF personnel at an Investiture Ceremony held here today. Out of the 14 Police Medals for Gallantry, four were awarded posthumously.

  • Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari released the report on “Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species” in river Ganga in New Delhi today.

  • The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Shri J P Naddais closely monitoringthe situation arising out of reported cases and deaths due to Nipah Virus in Kerala. He has reviewed it with Secretary (HFW) Ms. Preeti Sudan and DG (ICMR) Dr.BalramBhargavaand has directed for all support to be extended to Kerala in its prevention and management.

  • Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) & FTAs on e- Tourist Visa on the basis of information received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI). The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FTAs one-Tourist Visa during the month of April, 2018:

                                                                                                       

    Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

     

    FTAs in April 2018 were 7,49,477 as compared to 7,17,899 in April 2017 registering a growth of 4.4%.

  • Crude Oil

    Crude oil production during April 2018 was 2915.00 TMT which is 1.44% higher than monthly target but 0.83% lower than the production achieved in April 2018. Unit-wise and state-wise crude oil production is given at Annexure-I.

  • The term of office of 11 members of Karnataka Legislative Council   who were elected by the Members of Karnataka Legislative Assembly is due to expire on 17th June, 2018. The details of the sitting members due to retire on 17.06.

  • “India is firmly committed to achieving universal health coverage for its citizens as has been articulated in our National Health Policy 2017.” This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare during his addresses at the Plenary Meeting of the 71st World Health Assembly, at Geneva today.

  • The Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the ‘Stakeholders’ Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in National Security and Defence, Listing of Use Cases’, here today. It was attended by Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr S Christopher, Secretary (Defence Production) Dr Ajay Kumar and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence and Services.

  • BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired at 1040 hours today from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore, Odisha as part of service life extension programme. The life extension test firing of BrahMos was conducted from a Static Inclined Launcher, proving the efficacy and longevity of the system which was witnessed by the Scientist from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BrahMos.



  • In Tamil Nadu, the death toll in police firing against Sterlite factory protesters in Thuthukkudi has risen to nine. The incident occurred today when ...




  • JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy will be administered the oath of office as Chief Minister of Karnataka tomorrow on the grand steps of the Vidhana Soudha, ...




  • BJP president Amit Shah has said that 16, 850 villages were electrified and other facilities were provided by the Government during the Gram Swaraj Ab...



  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that the family of a paramilitary jawan who dies in action will be given a minimum compensation of one crore rupees.He said, the families of martyrs should not face any difficulty.



  • In Jammu and Kashmir, at least 20 civilians were injured today as Pakistani forces resorted to unprovoked heavy mortar shelling in Arnia, R S Pura, Ramgarh and Hiranagar sectors along the International Border in Jammu Samba and Kathua districts. The BSF spokesperson in Jammu told AIR that incidents of cross border firing and shelling have been reported from almost entire Indo-Pak International Border along the state since this morning..



  • In Afghanistan, at least 16 people including four security personnel were killed and 38 others injured today when a minivan packed with explosives detonated as security forces were trying to defuse it in Kandahar.



  • At the stock markets, snapping five days of losses, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange gained 35 points, or 0.1 percent, to end at 34,651, today.



  • The Assam government will provide pension to 16 lakh senior citizens of the state.



  • In IPL Cricket, playoffs started today after 56 matches spread over 45 days.


  • There could soon be relief from rising petrol and diesel prices. BJP chief Amit Shah said that the govt is taking serious note of the issue with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra set to discuss the matter with heads of oil companies soon. He said the govt was working on a formula to ease fuel prices at the earliest.

    The retail price of fuel is linked with the international market and the recent rise in petrol diesel is largely because the changing geopolitical situation. Blaming the international rise in crude oil prices on fresh US sanctions on Iran IOC Chairman Sanjeev Singh said the company cannot operate if prices don't match global prices.

    BJP Chief Amit Shah has said that the party's Gram Swaraj Abhiyan has been a success..He said that this helped govt programmes reach the doorstep of the poorest of poor in 16,850 villages in a short period of 20 days..The BJP President said now the goal is to ensure 100% benefit of govt's electrification and LPG supply initiatives to 65,000 villages.

    The BJP has claimed massive success in the execution of the many government programs through its Gram Swaraj Abhiyan conducted  between the 14th of April and May 5th.  BJP chief Amit Shah said that 16,800 villages have received the direct benefits of 7 ambitious govt programs including gas and electricity connections. The Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is the first campaign since independence launched by any govt to attempt to resolve the problems of nearly 16,850 villages.

    The BJP President has assured that the campaign will be taken further. The target is to supply gas and electricity to  65,000 of 115 districts by the 15th of August 2018. Shah said that instead of the poor seeking the govt it will now be the other way round.

    Here's a look at the programs that the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan focussed on -

    ---- 10 lakh 93,000 new gas connections distributed under Ujjwala Yojana

    ----Electricity to 5 lakh 2, 434 families under Saubhagya Yojana

    ----16,682 villages supplied with nearly 25 lakh  LED bulbs Under Ujala Yojana. 

    ---20 lakh 53 , 599 bank accounts opened Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana  

    --- Under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana  more than16 lakh people benefitted

    --- 26 lakh10, 506 people receive benefits of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana

    ----1 lakh 64, 398 infants and 42, 762 pregnant women vaccinated under mission Indradhanush 

     

  • In Tamil Nadu, at least 9 people killed in police firing in Tuticorin. The months-long protests for the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper unit in Tuticorin over pollution concerns turned violent on Tuesday, with agitators fighting pitched bottles with police, prompting it to open fire in which 9 people killed.

    Hurling stones and setting government vehicles and public property on fire, the agitators went on the rampage in the town. 

  • Emphasizing on the need for integrated approach to clean Ganga, Union Minister for Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari said that a clean Ganga will not only be helpful for the environment but will also boost our economy.

    He said this after inaugurating a workshop on "Ganga and its Biodiversity: Developing a Road Map for Habitat and Species Conservation" in New Delhi.

  • Pakistan is refusing to mend its ways. It's troops carried out ceasefire violations in a wide area on Tuesday along the Line of Control and the International Border leading to 8 people getting injured. On Monday, an 8-month-old and a woman were killed apart from some others getting injured. Home Minister Rajnath Singh came down hard on Pakistan for its machinations to keep Jammu & Kashmir on edge despite the Centre's decision to halt anti-terror operations in the state during the holy month of Ramzan which has led to improvement of law and order in the state.

    Pakistan's ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir from Akhnoor to Samba during the holy Ramzan period have been incessant. Even civilians have not been spared. BSF jawans have responded with ferocity on India's behalf imposing heavy cost on Pakistan but refuses to learn any lessons.

    Several Pakistan posts and bunkers have been blown up by Indian troops in recent days. But Pakistan has still been directing gunfire and mortar in Arnia, RS Pura sectors apart from villages close to the boundary. Monday saw Pak troops target border outposts and villages which lead to an 8-month-old baby getting killed and 6 people including a Special Police Officer getting injured. The injured also included 3 women but one of them died later.

    Indian troops are also responding with full force to Pakistan's firing. Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has warned Pakistan over the repeated ceasefire violations. He said Indian troops won't fire first..but will respond if fired upon.

    The Home Minister clearly said that India's neighbour does not peace and its motives need to be evaluated.

    2 days earlier, a BSF jawan and 4 civilians had been killed in Pakistan's ceasefire violation in Jammu district. People living in border villages have fled their homes to escape Pakistan's assault. All schools within 5 kms of the border have been shutdown as a precautionary measure. The administration has deployed police forces in border areas to help those affected reach safety. Relief camps have been set up to ensure those displaced by Pakistan's ceasefire violations face minimum hardship. J&K Chief Minsiter Mehbooba Mufti met those affected and termed their predicament unfortunate. The Centre has also come down hard on Pakistan's misdeed saying it is dishonouring Islam by killing innocents during the holy month of Ramzan.

    Meanwhile, J&K Police has said that the centre's decision to conditionally halt anti-terror operations has led to an improvement in the law and order situation particularly in South Kashmir.

    The state's DGP S P Vaid tweeted. "The Ramzan ceasefire has been successful thus far. The initiative of Hon'ble PM has helped in general improvement in law & order. The situation especially in south Kashmir has eased & is serving as confidence Building Measure for families who want their boys to return back home"

    The Central govt had directed security forces not to carry out anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the month of Ramzan to allow peaceful observance of the holy period. But it had also said that if troops are attacked..they are free to hit back. After the Centre unilateral move, J&K DGP had appealed to the kin of Kashmiri terrorists to urge them to shun violence and join the mainstream. Reports say there have been over 750 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan so far this year killing 38 people including 18 troops. Clearly, Pakistan wants to keep Jammu & Kashmir on edge, while its people simply want to live in peace.

  • Civil Aviation Ministry on Tuesday notified the draft of the Passenger Charter. The Passenger charter is open for public consultation and will be operational in a month’s time. 

    Addressing the media, Civil Aviation minister Jayant Sinha said that the draft lists measures for ensuring safety and security of passengers. This includes refund of the entire ticket fare if flight gets canceled due to airline’s fault and no charges on cancellation of tickets within 24 hours of booking.

    Though Aadhar will be used for booking of tickets, it has not been made mandatory. The ID shown by the passenger will be added to the database. 

    The draft also states that Wi-Fi connectivity will be available to passengers after the take off. Airlines will get the permission for Wi-Fi service within 2 months of the application. 

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has made it clear that soldiers have the right to retaliate any violation of peace and tranquility at the border.

    Speaking at 16th BSF Investiture ceremony in New Delhi, the Home Minister said that though India is the nation that propagated the call of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a neighbour is not mending its ways despite best efforts. He said that the forces are free to give a befitting response of any misadventure and no questions will be asked. 

    On the occasion, the Home Minister also released a BSF Wives Welfare Association stamp. 

    He also launched a book named "Happiness and Health: Endeavor towards holistic well being" and "Sipahi ka Safar." He also launched a BWWA "Prahari Sangini" magazine. 

    The Home Minister also presented the Police Medal for Gallantry and Police Medal for Meritorious Services to the BSF officials. He said that the commendations and medals signify the deep respect and gratitude for the brave soldiers from a grateful country. 

  • After a bevy of challenges that took social media by storm recently, here's another one that will inspire people to stay fit. Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore throws a fitness challenge to Indian citizens.

    On social media, the Minister's posted his Fitness video and Challenged 3 Celebrities. The Olympian challenged cricketer Virat Kohli, actor Hrithik Roshan and badminton player Saina Nehwal to join in.  

     

  • The outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala has so far claimed at least ten lives while two persons are still in critical condition. 

    Union Health Minister JP Nadda is closely monitoring the situation. He has directed for all support to be extended to Kerala in its prevention and management. Following which, a multi-disciplinary Central team from National Centre for Disease Control is presently in Kerala constantly reviewing the situation. He has also urged citizens not to believe in rumors posted on social media and not to spread panic. 

    With early and efficient containment measures undertaken jointly by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Government of Kerala, the outbreak is unlikely to spread. The Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratory at Manipal Hospital and the National Institute of Virology are geared up to meet any diagnostic challenges that may arise.

    Maharashtra Health Minister Deepak Sawant has made an appeal to the citizens not to panic over Nipah virus. The Maharashtra Government Hospitals are all geared up to tackle it. He said, people with symptoms will be kept in intensive care and isolation.

    Nipah Virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998. At that time, it was primarily caused in pigs and through them got transferred to humans. A report on precautions one should take to avoid the deadly virus.

    The outbreak of Nipah virus has resulted in casualties in the state of Kerala, while several people with symptoms are undergoing treatment in various places in the state. This is the first detection in Kerala of the Nipah virus which has a high fatality rate and spreads mainly through bats, pigs and other animals. 

    According to the World Health Organization, Nipah virus or NiV infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the Nipah virus is the fruit bat. It probably spread to humans after they came in contact with pig feces and excretions. The worrying aspect is the ability to virus to spread from one human being to another without direct interaction with primary host. 

    Some common signs and symptoms of Nipah virus are headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and mental issues such as confusion. These symptoms can last up to 7-10 days. 

     

    Diagnosing Nipah

    Serology- blood tests to see the antibodies

    Histopathology- microscopic study of tissues

    PCR- Polymerase Chain Reaction technique to look for viral DNA

    Virus isolation

     

    Prevention and cure

    As of now, there is no particular vaccine available for the treatment of Nipah Virus. The only way to treat this virus is through intensive supportive care. Complete quarantine of the cases is also essential to check the spread of virus. 

  • PM Modi, who arrived in Russia Monday morning, held his first informal summit with Putin and discussed a range of bilateral topics, including defence cooperation as well as global issues of common concern.

    "Farewell, my friend! In a special gesture symbolising our friendship, Russian President #Putin personally bid farewell to PM @narendramodi at the airport at the conclusion of PM's short but successful visit to Russia," External Affairs Ministery spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

    Before leaving for home, the two leaders visited an incubator for gifted children. "PM @narendramodi and Russian President #Putin visited Sirius, an incubator for gifted children and interacted with exceptionally talented young people from all regions of Russia at a Special monthly camp.' 

    PM Modi said the strategic partnership between India and Russia has now been elevated into a "special privileged strategic partnership" which is a "very big achievement".

    Prime Minister Modi and the Russian President also took a boat ride from Bocharev Creek to Olympic Park after their informal summit. 

  • The 55-year-old is a member of the Dukha ethnic group, who roam the frozen Taiga forests on the Mongolian border with Russia herding reindeer.

    The lives of this tiny community have barely changed since their ancestors began domesticating the animals thousands of years ago. Every day Chuluu releases his reindeers out into the forests to graze, calling them back once their bellies are full. He has been herding reindeer all his life, circling through a seasonal migration pattern dictated by their search for food.

    The animals are everything to these people. They provide food, tools and transportation for the 280 Dukha, who are considered by some to be one of the smallest ethnic groups in the world.

    "These animals, the reindeers, were herded by our ancestors, so it's our will to maintain the tradition of herding these reindeer in the same way as our ancestors did."

    The Dukha's spiritual lives are ruled by shamanism -- a practice of worshipping spirits of nature and ancestors. Shamans carry out rituals that send practitioners into trances to find answers from these spirits that govern the forests.

    Kyzyl-Ool (Kizil-Ool), 39, is one of them. He taps out a rhythm on a large drum made of reindeer skin to communicate with the spirits. Some spirits are said to be benign, others are aggressive.

    "It's a very terrible feeling. Even though I do it often I still get scared when I put my robes on, sometimes I feel like I really don't dare wear them," he said.

    Kyzyl-Ool did not choose to be a shaman. After his father died he fell ill and began wandering the forest in a state of delirium. Eventually another shaman found him and told him the only way to cure his sickness was for him to become a shaman himself.

    "When I begin the ritual I know what I'm doing, but when the spirit comes to me I'm not in control any more. When it comes I feel like I'm going into a dark hole, when people ask me their questions a spirit gives them the answers," he said as he sat recovering from a ritual carried out to to mark the beginning of the lunar month.

    The mysticism of the Dukhas' way of life stands out in Mongolia, a predominantly Buddhist country.

    The modern world is slowly making its way even to this isolated place, but Chuluu believes the traditions held dear by the reindeer herders will be carried on into the next generation.

  • The cases were in the Wangata neighbourhood of Mbandaka, a crowded port city on Congo where millions of people live in slums with no sewer system. Several public boats travel downstream over the river to the capital on a daily basis, overcrowded with people using filthy toilets with no running water to wash.

    The campaign aims to vaccinate health workers first before moving to those who have been identified to be at risk due to contact with suspected cases.

    Use of the VSV-EBOV shot - an experimental vaccine developed by Merck - marks a "paradigm shift" in how to fight Ebola, said the World Health Organization's head of emergency response, and means regions with Ebola outbreaks can in future expect more than just containment of an outbreak with basic public health measures such as isolation and hygiene.

    The shot is designed for use in so-called ring vaccination plans. When a new Ebola case is diagnosed, all people who might have been in recent contact with the patient are traced and vaccinated to keep the disease from spreading.

    The same strategy was used to test Merck's vaccine in Guinea in late 2015, towards the end of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2016. The trial results showed it was safe and gave very high levels of protection against Ebola.

    Around 30 Guinean health workers who were directly involved in that 2015 vaccine trial have travelled to Congo to help with the immunisations there.

    Congo's minister of health, Oly Illunga posted photographs of two Ebola patients from Bikoro who were cured and released on Saturday (May 19) and an MSF worker said they were the first to recover in Bikoro.

  • The Hawaii County Civil Defense warned the public to beware of caustic plumes of "laze" formed from two streams of hot lava gushing into the ocean after cutting across Highway 137 on the south coast of the Big Island late Saturday and early Sunday.

    The laze - a term combining the words lava and haze - from the plume extended as far as 24 km west of where the lava met the sea. It was just offshore and running parallel to the coast.

    Laze killed two people immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, said the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists said even a wisp can irrigate the skin and eyes and cause breathing problems.

    Frankie Stapleton, a local resident, said they have not experienced such an eruption for decades.

    "We had a fissure eruption in a populated area, which had not happened since 1960. When this eruption started on January 3, 1983, it started up way far away from any population. This having the fissures - 24 fissures open up in a community that has more than doubled in size since the last community was effected," she said.

    Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has been erupting continuously since January 1983. It started erupting over two weeks ago and has burned dozens of homes, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people.

    As most insurance companies do not cover houses near the volcano, many residents who lost their homes in the disaster will face some financial difficulties to rebuild their houses.

    It will take long before the lava stops flowing and solidifies - waiting it out is the only option for now.

  • Pence said that North Korea should not attempt to seek concessions from the United States for promises it did not intend to keep.

    "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump," Pence said according to excerpts of an interview. "Well, I think it's more of a fact. President Trump made it clear: the United States of America, under his leadership, is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies," Pompeo said.

    When asked if Trump could still walk away from the summit scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, he replied: "Well there's no question."

  • Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, is expected to be sentenced by the court in June. He faces a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

    He was accused of covering up a serious indictable offence by another priest, James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 when he was an assistant parish priest in the state of New South Wales. Lawyers for Wilson, 67, had argued that he did not know that Fletcher had abused a boy, media reported.

    Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail in 2006.

    An emailed statement from the local court in Newcastle, New South Wales, said Magistrate Robert Stone ruled the "offence proven."

    Stone said he did not accept that Wilson could not remember a conversation in 1976 in which the victim, who would have been 15 at the time, had described how he was abused by Fletcher a few years earlier, according to media reports.

    Last year, Australia completed a five-year government-appointed inquiry into child sex abuse in churches and other institutions, amid allegations world-wide that churches had protected paedophile priests by moving them from parish to parish.

    The inquiry heard that 7 percent of Catholic priests working in Australia between 1950 and 2010 had been accused of child sex crimes and that nearly 1,100 people had filed child sexual assault claims against the Anglican Church over 35 years.

  • Passenger services on the segment, which has 16 stations, will begin on May 29 at 6 am from the Kalkaji Mandir and Janakpuri West stations simultaneously. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs (Independent Charge) Hardeep Singh Puri and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will officially inaugurate the corridor on May 28 at 4.30 pm at the Nehru Enclave metro station. The dignitaries will travel to Hauz Khas station after the inauguration.

    This section will be the longest stretch to have been opened so far in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC's) Phase-III project. With the opening of this stretch, the entire 38.2 km-long Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden Magenta Line corridor, covering the city's arterial Outer Ring Road, will become operational.

    On December 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the over 12-km-long stretch of the Magenta Line's Botanical Garden-Kalkaji Mandir corridor. Kalkaji Mandir is an interchange facility with the Violet Line (Kashmere Gate- Escorts Mujesar). The highlights of the Janakpuri West-Kalkaji Mandir corridor will be the two new interchange facilities at -- Janakpuri West (with the Dwarka-Noida/Vaishali Blue Line) and Hauz Khas (with the HUDA City Centre-Samaypur Badli Yellow line).

    The domestic terminals of the Indira Gandhi International airport here will also get connected to the metro network through Terminal 1-IGI airport station. Commuters travelling from Gurgaon will now be able to change trains at Hauz Khas station to reach south Delhi and Noida.

    Residents of Noida will also get direct connectivity to the domestic terminal of the airport. The stations on this new corridor are: Janakpuri West, Dabri Mor, Dashrathpuri, Palam, Sadar Bazar, Terminal 1-IGI Airport, Shankar Vihar, Vasant Vihar, Munirka, R K Puram, Hauz Khas, IIT, Panchsheel Park, Chirag Delhi, G K Enclave, Nehru Enclave.

    Out of the 25.6 km-long stretch, 23 kms is underground and the rest is elevated. Only two stations -- Sadar Bazar and Shankar Vihar -- are elevated and the remaining stations are underground, the DMRC said.

    "After the opening of this section, 88 km of Phase-III corridors would have been commissioned and another 72 km are in the final stages of completion," DMRC said.

    The nine stations on the Botanical Garden-Kalkaji Mandir section are -- Botanical Garden, Kalindi Kunj, Jasola Vihar, Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Millia Islamia, Okhla Vihar, Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla NSIC and Kalkaji Mandir. While the Kalkaji Mandir station is underground, all the other stations are elevated. "After the Magenta Line gets fully operationalised, we will be running 24 trains, to begin with, which we will gradually increase to 26, apart from operating reserve," the DMRC official said. "

    The frequency will be 5 minutes and 15 seconds through the whole section and if passenger traffic demands, we may introduce shorter intermediate loops with higher frequency after studying the traffic pattern," he said.

  • Addressing a press conference, Shah also mocked the Congress for its celebration at the turn of events in Karnataka, saying it has found a new way of discovering win in its defeat and added that he prayed that it sticks to its definition of victory. The BJP then would have no problem in winning the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he said.

    Describing the Congress-JD(S) alliance as "unholy", he said the H D Deve Gowda's party fought the election on an anti-Congress plank and benefited from people's mood against the incumbent party in the state.

    In the absence of a clear majority and when fresh polls is not an option, if they had not staked claim, it would be against the popular mandate, he said, claiming that people had made the BJP winner in this election.

    The JD(S) lost deposits of its candidates in over 80 per cent of seats, he said. He also rejected charges of horse-trading, saying if that was the case, then the Yeddyurappa government would not have fallen and noted that even Congress leaders, including an MLA, have said that these were "forged" claims. It was done to influence the case in the Supreme Court, he said, and asked why no question was raised when the Congress sold the "entire stable".

    In a jibe at the Congress, he said one "good" outcome of the Karnataka verdict has been that the party's respect for institutions like the Supreme Court and Election Commission besides Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has increased. "I hope the Congress finds them good when it loses the coming elections and it does not bring impeachment motion if it does not like a Supreme Court judgement," he said.

    Asked about the fate of the alliance government, he said people will certainly question their MLAs when they come out of hotels as their vote was against the Congress but added that he is not an astrologer who can predict its future. The BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition, he said, adding that it will respond to any changed political situation when it arises.

    He also claimed that the Congress lawyer lied in the Supreme Court that Yeddyurappa had sought seven days time from the Governor to prove majority in the House. The BJP's win in Karnataka showed that the "vijay rath" (victory march) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached south India and that people in the state voted for his good governance like the rest of the country, Shah stressed.

  • The president was speaking at a convocation ceremony in Dr Y S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni in Himachal Pradesh. Kovind accompanied by his wife arrived in Shimla on Sunday on a six-day visit to the state.

    Addressing the gathering at the ceremony, he said, “Several enthusiastic youths have opted for their own ventures in agri sector after attaining education and started organic farming of fruits, vegetables and flowers and have become exporters of these produce”.

    He presented gold medals and conferred degrees on 462 students and said, "it is encouraging that the girls have surpassed boys and out of nine medal winners, six are girls and one of them got two medals.” “Girls are proving their supremacy in education, sports, research, defence sciences, aviation and other areas which is a good sign for the country," he said.

    He said there were ample opportunities in fruit and vegetable processing and the farmers can be saved from losses by setting up cold storages. He appreciated the state for making a niche in agri-products' market, saying Himachal has done well in this area as Kinnauri apples, Sirmaur flowers, Solan mushrooms are famous worldwide.

    Himachal Governor Acharya Devvrat, who was also present in the ceremony, urged the students to always acknowledge the contribution of teachers in shaping their lives. He said since this university was the first Horticulture University in the country and the only horticulture university in the state, horticulturists had great expectations from it.

    Devvrat said that in order to promote zero budget natural farming in the state, the university was implementing Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) model in its campus. The zero budget natural farming would not only help in environment conservation, minimal wastage of water and increase the soil fertility, but will also produce healthy food.

    Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur lauded the contribution of the university in producing best scientists and professionals and said that horticulture was playing a major role in strengthening the economy of the farmers of the state.

  • Pro-Syrian government forces have been battling for weeks to recover al-Hajar al-Aswad district and the adjacent Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp since driving rebels from eastern Ghouta in April.

    A state television presenter said the recovery of al-Hajar al-Aswad meant the area south of Damascus had been completely cleared of insurgents. The ultra-hardline jihadist group now controls only two besieged desert areas in eastern Syria, while another insurgent group that has pledged loyalty to it holds a small enclave in the southwest.

    A temporary humanitarian ceasefire had been in place since Sunday (May 20) night in al-Hajar al-Aswad to allow women, children and old people leave, state media said early on Monday. Army soldiers fired into the air in celebration and held Syrian flags, against a smashed cityscape of shattered buildings and widespread destruction. Buildings and walls were pocked-marked from bullets and shell-fire, metal satellite dishes were bent and scorched, and the dome of a mosque had a gaping hole near its base.

    On Sunday, a war monitor said fighters had begun withdrawing from the area towards Islamic State territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal, but state media said fighting continued. The war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Monday that buses had already started leaving south Damascus for Islamic State areas in eastern Syria. While Assad has vowed to win back “every inch” of Syria, the map of the conflict suggests a more complicated time ahead from now on.

    The U.S. military is in much of the east and northeast, which is controlled by Kurdish groups that want autonomy from Damascus. It has used force to defend the territory from pro-Assad forces. Turkey has sent forces into the northwest to counter those same Kurdish groups, carving out a buffer zone where anti-Assad rebels have regrouped.

    In the southwest, where rebels hold territory at the Israeli and Jordanian border, Assad faces the risk of conflict with Israel, which wants his Iranian-backed allies kept well away from the frontier and has mounted air strikes in Syria.

  • The leaders are believed to have given final touches to power-sharing arrangements in Karnataka including ministerial berths and a common agenda of an alliance.

    As B S Yeddyurappa stepped down as the chief minister without facing the floor test in the state Assembly as the Bharatiya Janata Party fell short of numbers, All eyes were on JD(S) leader HD  Kumaraswamy who met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Monday. The talks veered about the allocation of ministerial berths and the common agenda for the coalition government in the state.

    Kumaraswamy has met state Governor Vajubhai Vala and has been invited to form the government.

    Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and K C Venugopal also met Rahul Gandhi and apprised him about the sense prevailing among the party MLAs in the state. The meeting of Kumaraswamy with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi was to give final touches to the power-sharing arrangement in the southern state.

    He also met BSP chief Mayawati while his stay in the national capital. JD(S) had a pre-poll alliance with BSP and the later has a single MLA in the JD(S) camp. 

    Kumaraswamy will take oath as the chief minister on May 23 in Bengaluru.

  • “We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness,” Pompeo said in his first major foreign policy address since moving to the State Department from the CIA.

    “The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran,” he added in the speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

    “Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East,” he said in outlining the new US strategy on handling the Islamic regime, including 12 tough conditions from Washington for any “new deal” with Tehran.

    Pompeo said if Iran were to abide by the stricter terms, including ending its ballistic missile program and its interventions in regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria, the United States would lift its sanctions.

    “We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them,” Pompeo said.

    “Iran will be forced to make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It will not have the resources to do both.”

    President Donald Trump has long said the original 2015 deal with Iran—also signed by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—did not go far enough, and now wants the Europeans and others to support his hardline strategy.

    “In the strategy we are announcing today, we want the support of our most important allies and partners in the region and around the globe. I don’t just mean our friends in Europe,” Pompeo said.

    The secretary of state also warned European businesses who work with Iran in violation of US sanctions that they will be held “to account.”

    The re-establishment of the US sanctions will force European companies to choose between investing in Iran or trading with the United States. In reality, there is no choice—European companies cannot afford to forsake the US market.

    For now, the European Union is trying to persuade Iran to stay in the 2015 agreement, even without Washington’s participation.

  • Needing 140 runs to win, Chennai chased down the target with five balls to spare.

    Du Plesis kept on playing sensibly throughout when no other batman clicked and went back cheaply. He played 42 balls and slammed five boundaries and four sixes.

    Hyderabad will now face the winner of the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 on May 25 at Kolkata.

    Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad: 139/7 in 20 overs (Carlos Brathwaite 43 not out; Dwayne Bravo 2/25) against Chennai Super Kings: 140/8 in 19.1 overs (Du Plesis 67; Rashid Khan 2/12)

     

  • The reading was given by the Palam observatory. However, the Safdarjung observatory, whose reading is considered official for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 41.8 degrees Celsius, two notches above normal.

    "The minimum temperatures recorded by Palam and Safdarjung observatories are 27 degrees and 25.5 degrees Celsius, respectively," a MeT official said.

    The humidity levels oscillated between 47 and 21 per cent. The weatherman has predicted mainly clear sky for Tuesday morning with possibility of strong winds during day. "Strong surface winds during day time expected.

    The maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 43 degrees and 26 degrees Celsius, respectively," the official said. On Sunday, the minimum and maximum temperatures were recorded at 26.4 degrees and 42.6 degrees Celsius, respectively.

  • In the study published in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, individuals with either a musical or bilingual background activated different brain networks and showed less brain activity, researchers said.

    "These findings show that musicians and bilinguals require less effort to perform the same task, which could also protect them against cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia," said Claude Alain, a senior scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in Canada.

    "Our results also demonstrated that a person's experiences, whether it's learning how to play a musical instrument or another language, can shape how the brain functions and which networks are used," said Alain.

    Musicians and people who are bilingual have long been shown to have a better working memory, the ability to keep things in mind, such as remembering a phone number, a list of instructions or doing mental math. However, it remains a mystery as to why this is the case. This is the first brain imaging study looking at all three groups and this work uncovers how these activities boost different parts of the brain among individuals, said Alain.

    The study looked at the brains of 41 young adults between the ages of 19-35, who fit into three categories: English-speaking non-musicians, musicians who only spoke English and bilinguals who didn't play a musical instrument. Brain imagery was captured for each participant as they were asked to identify whether the sound they heard was the same type as the previous one.

    Sounds from musical instruments, the environment and humans were among those used in the study. Participants were also asked to identify if what they heard was coming from the same direction as the previous noise. Musicians remembered the type of sound faster than individuals in the other groups, while bilinguals and musicians performed better on the location task.

    Bilinguals performed at about the same level as individuals who spoke only one language and didn't play a musical instrument on remembering the sound, but they still showed less brain activity when completing the task.

    "People who speak two languages may take longer to process sounds since the information is run through two language libraries rather than just one," said Alain, who is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto in Canada. "During this task, the brains of bilinguals showed greater signs of activation in areas that are known for speech comprehension, supporting this theory," he said. As next steps, researchers are exploring the impact of art and musical training among adults to see if this leads to changes in brain function. 

  • Authorities on Sunday warned the public to stay away from the toxic steam cloud, which is formed by a chemical reaction when lava touches seawater. Further upslope, lava continued to gush out of large cracks in the ground that formed in residential neighborhoods in a rural part of the Big Island.

    The molten rock formed rivers that bisected forests and farms as it meandered toward the coast. The rate of sulfur dioxide gas shooting from the ground fissures tripled, leading Hawaii County to repeat warnings about air quality.

    At the volcano's summit, two explosive eruptions unleashed clouds of ash. Winds carried much of the ash toward the southwest.

    Scientists said the steam clouds at the spots where lava entered the ocean were laced with hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles that can irrigate the skin and eyes and cause breathing problems. The lava haze, or "laze," from the plume spread as far as 24 kilometers west of where the lava met the ocean on the Big Island's southern coast. It was just offshore and running parallel to the coast, said U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall.

    Scientists said the acid in the plume was about as corrosive as diluted battery acid. The glass was in the form of fine glass shards. Authorities warned that the plume could shift direction if the winds changed.

    The Coast Guard said it was enforcing a safety zone extending 984 feet (300 meters) around the ocean entry point. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. John Bannon said in a statement Sunday that "getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death."

    Gov. David Ige told reporters in Hilo that the state was monitoring the volcano and keeping people safe. "Like typical eruptions and lava flows, it's really allowing Madam Pele to run its course," he said, referring to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire. Ige said he was thankful that the current flows weren't risking homes and hoped it would stay that way.

    On Saturday, the eruption claimed its first major injury. David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency who was helping Hawaii County respond to the disaster, said a man was struck in the leg by a flying piece of lava. He didn't have further details, including what condition the man was in.

    Kilauea has burned some 40 structures, including two dozen homes, since it began erupting in people's backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 3. Some 2,000 people have evacuated their homes, including 300 who were staying in shelters. In recent days, the lava began to move more quickly and emerge from the ground in greater volume.

    Scientists said that's because the lava that first erupted was magma left over from a 1955 erupted that had been stored in the ground for the past six decades. The molten rock that began emerging over the past few days was from magma that has recently moved down the volcano's eastern flank from one or two craters that sit further upslope - the Puu Oo crater and the summit crater.

  • Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.

    "The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have," Lopetegui said. "We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do."

    Two more Chelsea players also missed out as Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas were not included in the 23-man group. Morata's absence was the stand-out decision, however, even if it was not an entirely surprising one given the 25-year-old's dramatic dip in form. After scoring seven goals in his first seven games for Chelsea, a back injury seemed to affect his confidence. Morata has scored only three times in 22 games since the turn of the year.

    "I've talked to the players I had to talk to," Lopetegui said. "I'm not going to name anybody, but there are players who had to find out from me that they were not going to be on the list."

    In contrast, Aspas and Moreno have been in excellent form for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively, with Aspas the top Spanish scorer in La Liga on 22 goals. Costa is expected to start when Spain open up against Portugal in Group B on June 15 but Aspas, with his speed and direct running, remains an attractive option.

    Alonso only made his debut in a friendly against Argentina in March and lost out to Arsenal's Nacho Monreal. Fabregas fell behind Spain's impressive wealth of options in midfield, which will include Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez. Manchester United's David de Gea was included as expected, along with fellow goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

    Chelsa defender Cesar Azpilicueta did make it in, as did Monreal. Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Jordi Alba complete Spain's group of defenders. "I've had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult," Lopetegui said. "But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup."

    Spain squad for 2018 World Cup:

    Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga

    Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jordi Alba, Nacho Monreal

    Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Saul, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva

    Forwards: Isco, Sergio Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Iago Aspas, Rodrigo, Diego Costa

  • Leading women players like Kiwi Suzie Bates, Aussies Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and England's Danielle Wyatt were part of the game which took place before the Qualifier 1 between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

    After restricting the Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers to a modest 129/6, Supernovas rode on a collective batting effort from the top order to overhaul the target on the last ball of the innings.

    Needing four runs in the last over, Pooja Vastrakar (2 not out) and Ellyse Perry (13 not out) held their nerves to take Supernovas over the line.

    The Supernovas started the chase with a decent 47-run opening stand between Mithali Raj (22) and Danielle Wyatt (24) in the powerplay.

    Later, Meg Lanning (16) and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (21) contributed handsomely but as the team came close to the target, the Supernovas switched on the self-destruction mode and started losing wickets at regular intervals.

    But the target they were chasing was not too big and middle-order players Sophie Devine (19) and Perry played sensibly to drag the match into the final over. The final over saw Perry coming to the rescue of Supernovas as they finished the match on the final ball.

    For Trailblazers, Suzie Bates and Poonam Yadav scalped two wickets.

    Earlier, Trailblazers posted 129/7 in their 20 overs with Suzie Bates (32), Deepti Sharma (21) and Jemimah Rodrigues (25) scoring handsomely.

    Skipper Smriti Mandhana, however, failed to convert her good start and fell after scoring 14 runs in nine balls.

    For Supernovas, Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry scalped two wickets each.

    Brief scores: Trailblazers: 129/6 (Suzie Bates 32; Megan Schutt 2/18) lost to Supernovas: 130/7 (Danielle Wyatt 24; Poonam Yadav 2/21) by 3 wickets.

  • While Indian women's team, led by Saina Nehwal, notched up a dominating 4-1 win against Australia in the second Group A match of the Uber Cup, the men's team blanked their Australia counterparts 5-0 in the Thomas Cup Final later in the day.

    After going down 1-4 to Canada in the opening match, Saina and Co seemed to get their act together as they won all the matches, except the first women's doubles. World No 10 Saina saw off Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen 21-14 21-19 in a 35-minute opening match to give India a 1-0 lead. However, Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram suffered a 13-21 16-21 loss to Gronya Somerville and Renuga Veeran within half an hour.

    Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka, 16, then dumped Jennifer Tam 21-17 21-13 to once again hand India lead in the contest. Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant then defeated Louisa Ma and Ann-Louise Slee 21-19 21-11 in the second women's doubles match to help India take an unassailable 3-1 lead. Anura Prabhudesai, the 19-year-old from Goa, then brushed aside Zecily Fung 21-6 21-7 in 18 minutes to seal the contest 4-1 for India.

    India's qualification for the knockout stage will now depend on Wednesday's match against top seeds and five-time champions Japan, who have fielded a full-strength squad.

    The Indian men's team, spearheaded by world no. 9 H S Prannoy also brought some cheers back to the camp after their disappointing outing against France on the opening day. Prannoy, who didn't take the court against France, started the proceedings for India, defeating Anthony Joe 21-19 21-13 in 32 minutes in the first singles.

    Doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok then streamrolled Aussie combo of Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe 21-11 21-15 within 30 minutes to make it 2-0 in favour of India. B Sai Praneeth, who was the only Indian men to win his match on Sunday, then took just 20 minutes to see off Jacob Schueler 21-9 21-6 in the second singles.

    Arun George and Sanyam Shukla overcame Simon Wing Hang Leung and Raymond Tam 21-16 20-22 21-8 in the second doubles match, while young Lakshya Sen defeated Kai Chen Teoh 21-5 21-14 in the third singles as India sealed the contest 5-0. Despite the result, things still look pretty gloomy for the men's team as they will have to beat heavyweights China tomorrow to keep quarterfinals hopes alive. 

  • Torres scored twice on his final appearance for Atletico, even if a Lucas Hernandez red card helped Eibar claim a 2-2 draw on the last day of the La Liga season.

    Iniesta's 22-year association with Barcelona, meanwhile, ended with a victory as the player marked out as the Spaniard's successor, Philippe Coutinho, proved the difference in a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.

    With a tear in his eye, Iniesta walked off to a standing ovation from the Camp Nou in the second half, having unfastened his captain's armband and handed it to Lionel Messi. He hugged the Argentinian and then embraced the rest of his colleagues. The 34-year-old clapped the crowd, blew them a kiss, before exhaling and ducking into the dug-out.

    An extravagent post-match ceremony followed, celebratng both Iniesta and the winning of La Liga and the Copa del Rey. Barca's players returned to the pitch all wearing shirts with Iniesta's name on their backs. "It is a difficult day," Iniesta said in a speech to the crowd. "But it has been a wonderful 22 years. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to defend and represent this club, for me the best in the world. I will keep you in my heart forever."

    Barca's players then huddled beneath Iniesta and tossed him into the air. "I feel privileged," coach Ernesto Valverde said. "Just as they all do to have been a part of it. He is a unique, unrepeatable player. There is none like him."

    After 22 years at the club and 16 in the first team, Iniesta's 674 appearances for Barcelona is bettered only by Xavi Hernandez, who was also on the pitch before kick-off to join in the tributes. Real Sociedad welcomed Iniesta with a guard of honour while the crowd formed an impressive mosaic to spell out 'Infinit Iniesta' on the two sides of the stadium, with an infinity symbol, doubling up as number eights, at the ends. A giant flag behind one of the goals read 'Gracies Per Tant', 'thank you for so much'.

    Torres' swansong was less emotional, perhaps because his fairytale ending had already arrived on Wednesday, when he lifted his first Atleti trophy after the Europa League final against Marseille. But his double against Eibar added some extra sparkle in front of his own supporters, who stayed on after the final whistle to watch the team form another guard of honour as the striker left the pitch.

    On his 404th appearance for Atletico, Torres' goals were his 128th and 129th for the club, coming 17 years after his first, scored against Albacete in the Segunda Division in 2001. "I thank the whole Atletico family," Torres said afterwards. "I knew I wanted to play here and it has been an honour and a privilege to wear this shirt more than 400 times. You have made me the happiest person in the world."

    Torres, like Iniesta, has yet to declare his next move but this display -- speedy, sharp and clinical -- will have caught the eye of any interested parties. He had walked out before kick-off, with his three children, through a corridor formed by the Eibar players as Atletico's fans displayed the words, 'De Nino A Leyenda', meaning 'from a kid to a legend'. Outside the ground, fans had posed for photos next to life-size Torres cut-outs and peered at message boards, detailing the player's greatest moments.

     This, after all, was a boyhood Atletico fan, who first watched his team with his grandfather as a child, and who, when he returned to the club for a second spell in 2015, drew a crowd of more than 40,000 just for his presentation. Atletico coach Diego Simeone predicted Torres will one day be back again. "His return was something I'd never seen before and today's farewell was equal to that," Simeone said. "I have no doubt he will return to the Atletico, maybe we will meet again at some point. A life in football is very long."

  • Obesity increasingly affects millions of people worldwide, with cases rising sharply in young children and babies - a trend which is not explained by evolving diets and lifestyles alone. Chemicals that interfere with how our bodies store and process fat are referred to as 'obesogens', and have been suggested as a possible contributor to the increasing number of obesity cases.

    Researchers from the University of Aveiro and University of Beira Interior in Portugal reviewed existing studies, and showed that the most important sources of exposure to obesogens indoors are diet, house dust, and everyday products such as cleaning chemicals, kitchenware or cosmetics.

    Diet samples in some of the studies showed, for example, that obesogens such as tributyltin - a chemical in anti-fouling paint banned a decade ago, and cadmium - a metal widespread in the environment associated with certain cancers, can still be found in food products, in some cases at high concentrations.

    "Obesogens can be found almost everywhere, and our diet is a main source of exposure, as some pesticides and artificial sweeteners are obesogens," said said Ana Catarina Sousa, from University of Lisbon in Portugal. "Equally, they are present in plastics and home products, so completely reducing exposure is extremely difficult - but to significantly reduce it is not only feasible, but also very simple," said Sousa.

    Based on the findings of the review, the researchers suggest removing shoes when entering the house to avoid bringing in contaminants in the sole of shoes, vacuuming often, and minimising carpet at home or work.

    Researchers also recommend people to choose fresh food over processed products and buying organic fruit and vegetables produced without pesticides. Further studies are needed in order to provide unequivocal evidence of how obesogens contribute to the obesity epidemic.

    "These are baby steps to achieve an obesogen-free lifestyle but a really good start. Essentially, watch your diet and get rid of the dust at home," Sousa said.

    "Adults ingest about 50 milligrammes of dust every day, and children twice as much, so keeping the house clean is a very effective measure. And use a humid cloth to dust your furniture, rather than a cleaning product that may contain more of these chemicals," she said.

  • The study, published in the journal Applied Nano Materials, outlines a new method of producing a type of nanoparticle called quantum dots.

    “Our research confirmed previous evidence that tea leaf extract can be a non-toxic alternative to making quantum dots using chemicals,” said Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu from Swansea University in the UK, who led the study. “The real surprise, however, was that the dots actively inhibited the growth of the lung cancer cells. We had not been expecting this,” Pitchaimuthu said.

    Quantum dots can be made chemically, but this is complicated and expensive and has toxic side effects. The team, including researchers from K S Rangasamy College of Technology and Bharathiar University in Tamil Nadu, explored a non-toxic plant-based alternative method of producing the dots, using tea leaf extract.

    Tea leaves contain a wide variety of compounds, including polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants. The researchers mixed tea leaf extract with cadmium sulphate (CdSO4) and sodium sulphide (Na2S) and allowed the solution to incubate, a process which causes quantum dots to form.

    They then applied the dots to lung cancer cells. They found that tea leaves are a simpler, cheaper and less toxic method of producing quantum dots, compared with using chemicals, confirming the results of other research in the field.

    The study found that quantum dots produced from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells. The researchers penetrated into the nanopores of the cancer cells and destroyed up to 80 per cent of them.

    The CdS quantum dots derived from tea leaf extract showed exceptional fluorescence emission in cancer cell bioimaging compared to conventional CdS nanoparticles. Quantum dots are therefore a very promising avenue to explore for developing new cancer treatments, researchers said.

  • The film was chosen by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) to represent the spirit of secularism in the country, a release issued by the movie's director, Zaigham Imam said. Besides 'Nakkash', the Cannes festival, which commenced on May 8, saw Indian films like Nandita Das-directed and Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer 'Manto'.

     Nakkash, which stars Inaam-ul-haq and Sharib Hashmi -- the actors of National Award winning film 'Filmistan', is the story of a Muslim craftsman who uses his craft to do engravings in Hindu temples but gets boycotted by his community and faces hardship along with his son.

     "I & B Ministry especially chose 'Nakkash' for representing the spirit of communal harmony. The film represents a new and different perspective about India in the backdrop of the holy city Varanasi," Imam said in a statement.

    This was the third installment of Zaigham Imam's trilogy of stories revolving around Varanasi. His first film 'Dozakh: In Search Of Heaven', released in 2015, was based on his novel with the same name. The second film 'Alif' was released it in February 2017.

    "I was born in a Muslim family near Banaras. Since childhood I had a peculiar relation with mosques and temples. That bond grew as I started my journey as a journalist and became a successful one. That fascination became the fuel to my stories," he said in the release. "Nakkash (The Craftsman) is all about humanity and spreading your wings breaking all religious boundaries," Imam said.

  • Trump's move came after it was reported that the FBI dispatched a confidential source to speak with some aides to Trump's presidential campaign about its possible ties to Russia, according to US media reports.

    "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!" Trump tweeted.

    Trump's latest demand came amid a series of tweets yesterday denouncing a "witch hunt" that, he said, had found no collusion by his campaign with Russia. US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein said action would be taken if any infiltration was found.

    "If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action," Rosenstein said in a statement.

    There is already an investigation into all aspects relating to Trump's campaign for the 2016 election and whether Russia tried to influence the outcome. There is an ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election, whether there was any collusion between the Kremlin and Trump's election campaign and whether the president tried unlawfully to obstruct the inquiry.

    Trump has constantly attacked the inquiry. Trump first made the accusation that the FBI had sent a spy into his campaign team on Friday. "It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a 'hot' Fake News story," Trump had tweeted, adding: "If true - all time biggest political scandal!"

    The New York Times followed with an article that suggested there was, indeed, an FBI informant - whose identity it did not reveal - who had been sent to speak to campaign aides but only after the FBI had received reports of "suspicious contacts linked to Russia".

    The informant - an American academic working in the UK - had made contact with George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, the report said. The Washington Post too reported that in addition to Page and Papadopoulos, the source met with Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign's co-chairman, to talk about relations with China.

    Clovis' attorney told the Post that Russia never came up in their conversation. Although Trump has suggested the source was embedded in his campaign, US officials have told CNN that was not the case. The officials say that the identity of the source had been closely held at the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community, and the individual has been a source for the FBI and CIA for years, the report said.

    Officials from the Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have maintained that turning over that information that congressional Republicans have requested on the source would pose a grave risk to the source's life. Trump's new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani said that he and the President talked over the weekend and agreed Trump should call for the Justice Department investigation involving the confidential source, adding that he expected the President to send a follow-up letter.

    "I mean, he's got to clean house in his agency," Giuliani said. "If there was an informant, we're entitled to know it. We're entitled to know the fact. We're entitled to know what he knows," the former mayor of New York said.

    Meanwhile, House Democrats stood by the Justice Department following the President's demand for an inquiry into the department's actions regarding the Trump campaign. California Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said that Trump's demand could amount to obstruction of justice.

    "This is appalling that President Trump would be so uninformed and that his chief of staff, his counselors, the White House counsel, would allow him to spew into the thinking of Americans that he has any right or authority to dictate to what the Department of Justice does," Texas Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, said.

  • The programme will provide health cover to almost 40% population of the country, open new hospitals and boost the number of doctors in the country. The inspiration for the Ayushman Bharat programme comes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Gujarat experience where a similar scheme is already benefiting those in need of health care and facilities.

    WATCH VIDEO | 4yrs Modi Govt.- Ayushman Bharat to provide cashless treatment to 40% of population in the country

    Amin who works as a labourer in a village near Ahmedabad was suffering from a major heart problem but thanks to Gujarat govt,  his treatment was done free of cost under Amrutam Card which otherwise would have costed him 3 Lakh rupees.

    Trustees of the hospital believe that scheme of Gujarat Government should be implemented all over India.

  • The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher stationed at Launchpad 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here at 10.40 am, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials said.

    The trial was conducted to validate its "life extension" technologies developed for the first time in India by DRDO and team BraHmos, said an official of the ITR.

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratualated DRDO scientists and team BrahMos for the successful launch of BraHmos missile with new technology today. "Smt @nsitharaman congratulates Team Brahmos & @DRDO_India for successful flight test carried out at 1040 hrs on 21 May 2018 from ITR, Balasore to validate BRAHMOS missile life extension technologies developed for the first time in India," her office said in a twitter post.

    The successful test will result in huge savings of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of the Indian Armed Forces, it said. The two-stage missile - first being solid and the second one, a ramjet liquid propellant - has already been introduced in the Army and Navy, while the Air Force version had witnessed successful trial, the DRDO scientists said.

    BrahMos variants can be launched from land, air, sea and under water. India successfully launched the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet for the first time against a target in the Bay of Bengal in November, 2017, they said. The missiles land and naval variants are already in service. At least two Su-30 squadrons with 20 planes each are planned to be equipped with the air-launch variant BrahMos missile, 500 kg lighter than land/naval variants.

    India has already extended the range of the three-tonne missile from its earlier 290 km to 400 km and successfully test-fired the variant in March 2017. Increasing the missile's range from 400 km to further 800 km is now possible after India's induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime in June 2016, they said. Prior to that, India was bound by restrictions that limited the range of the missile, which is an Indo-Russian joint venture product, to less than 300 km.

    Currently the Army is equipped with three regiments of Block 111 version of Brahmos missile. Induction of the first version of BrahMos missile system in Indian Navy began with INS Rajput in 2005. It is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army, said the scientists.

    After two successful test trials of BrahMos missile from INS Kolkata in June 2014 and February 2015, the test firing from INS Kochi on September 30, 2015, had validated the newly commissioned ship's systems. The air launch version and the submarine launch version of the missile system are in progress.

    So far, the Army has placed orders for the BrahMos missile which are to be deployed by three regiments. Two of them are already operational. The last land-based trial was conducted from the same base on March 11, 2017 successfully. 

  • While addressing the gathering he said, Common Service Centres are making people literate, empowering them and providing them employment. Union Minister and Local MP Dr. Mahesh Sharma was also present.

    Village Dhanauri Kalan in Gautam Buddha Nagar District of Uttar Pradesh has become the sixth village in India to be connected digitally.  Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad visited candle making unit, Sanitary Pad making unit, LED bulb making unit, telemedicine unit and others established by the Common Service Centre in the village. Speaking on the occasion, Prasad said, Government wants to empower people digitally as India is becoming a digital economy.

    Village Dhanauri Kalan comes under the parliamentary constituency of Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma, who has worked in tandem with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to digitize the village.

    People in this village are availing all types of services at the Common Service Centre set up in the villages. 

    DigiGaon was conceptualized as a connected village where citizens can get various e-services of the Centre and State governments and private players in rural and remote villages of the country. The DigiGaon project is aimed at improving health and education services in rural areas. DigiGaons are projected to be change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods through community participation and collective action.

  • The private bus was on its way to Ahmedabad in Gujarat from Banda in Uttar Pradesh when it hit the truck's rear side on a road near Ruthiyai town around 4.30 am, Guna Police Station in-charge Vivek Asthana said.

    The truck was stranded on the road due to some technical problem, the police said. Seven persons, including the bus driver, died on the spot while three others succumbed to injuries in the district hospital, Asthana said.

    The deceased included nine men and a one-and-a-half- year old girl. The injured persons were admitted in the district hospital where the condition of three of them was reported to be serious, he said. A case was registered in connection with the mishap, the police added. Further details were awaited. 

  • The two coaches -- B-6 and B-7 -- of the fully air-conditioned train, caught fire around 11.45 am. After the fire, some passengers pulled the emergency chain to stop the train and immediately alighted from it.

    The two damaged coaches were segregated and the process and after reaching Gwalior, the train continued its onwards journey after getting a track clearance.

  • The Union Health Ministry has sent a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala's Kozhikode district to probe the rising number of cases and reported deaths due to the Nipah virus. The high-level team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been asked to assist the Kerala government and closely monitor the situation.

    "We are closely monitoring the situation. I have spoken to Tourism Minister K J Alphons and Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja, and assured them all support of the central government. "I have also dispatched a central team to assist the state government and initiate required steps," Union Health Minister J P Nadda said in a statement from Geneva. 

    Meanwhile, though the virus has been reported only in Kozhikode, Kerala Chief Minister has issued a statewide alert to remain vigilant. A 24-hour control room has been opened to monitor the situation. CM has also requested all to follow the instructions of the health department to tackle this crisis.

    Transmission of Nipah virus takes place through direct contact with infected fruit bats or from other NiV-infected persons. People have been also cautioned that they should not consume fruits that have fallen to the ground.

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

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

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

  • Three persons were hurt in the Arnia sector while a policeman got injured in the R S Pura sector. Indian troops have fired back with intensified ferocity.

    Pakistani Rangers fired mortars shells and used small arms to target Border outposts. BSF troops effectively retaliated to the Pakistani firing. Schools around five-kilometer radius of the border have been closed for security purposes.

    Slamming Pakistan over ceasefire violation in the month of Ramadan, Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh said those who are indulging in firing from across the border have proved to the entire world that they have the least of faith in Ramzan, Islam & Holy Quran. 

    Meanwhile, constantly living under the threat of mortar fires and shells landing at their homes, many residents along LoC in Arnia sector have started migrating to safer places. 

    The casualties are also mounting. The number of people killed in firing from Pakistan along the international border and Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir since January has climbed to 38, including 19 security personnel.

    The misadventure is costing Pakistan dear as the retaliatory precision fire from Indian forces has inflicted heavy collateral damage on the Pakistani side. Pakistani Rangers had on Sunday morning called up BSF formations and pleaded to stop retaliatory fire after India inflicted heavy damage to Pakistani side for starting unprovoked firing. The message given by the forces is crisp and clear - a ceasefire violation and targeting of civilian areas will invite tinging reply.

  • The singer, who was nominated in 15 categories this year, also took home trophies in Top Male Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Song Sales Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist categories. Besides Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars also were competing in 15 segments, Billboard reported. Lamar came a close second by scoring four wins as the Top Streaming Songs Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Male Artist, Top Streaming Song (Audio) for "Humble" and Mars followed in the third position by winning the awards in Top R&B Artist, Top R&B Male Artist and Top R&B Tour categories.

    The major award wins may have been dominated by male artistes this year, but it was a moment in time when Janet Jackson was announced as the BBMA Icon Award - the first African American female artiste to receive the recognition. She performed a rendition of her '80s hit "Nasty", "Throb" and danced to another chartbuster "If" before accepting the honour from Mars. The 52-year-old singer rooted for the #MeToo campaign and declared her support for the people "outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind".

    "I believe that for all of our challenges, we live at a glorious moment for history. It's a moment when at long last, women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind. "This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness - that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance: compassion, sensitivity, patience and a boundless love," she said in her address.

    Taylor Swift won Top Female Artist for her album "Reputation" with Cardi B winning the title of Top Rap Female Artist and SZA being adjudged Top R&B Female Artist. Maren Morris received the award for Top Country Female Artist. "Havana" hitmaker Camila Cabello won the Billboard Chart Achievement Award. Khalid emerged as the Top New Artist Khalid and Drake pulled a win as Top Billboard 200 Artist. EDM genius The Chainsmokers snagged the Top Dance/Electronic Artist award.

    The duo - Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart - paid tributes to deceased Swedish DJ Avicii, who was found dead on April 20 in Muscat, Oman at age 28. "I know everyone that was nominated for this award was massively influenced by him. He is somebody who made us believe this was a realistic career, something we could do with our lives, inspired all of us, influenced our music, influenced pop music, music in general and he will be missed. "I hope you're somewhere and I hope you found peace. We love you," Taggart said in the acceptance speech. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber "Despacito" ruled the roost at the 2018 BBMAs as the hit track bagged five honours in across categories, besides being named the Top Latin Song.

    The chart-topper was also chosen as the Top Hot 100 Song, Top Streaming Song (Video), Top Selling Song and Top Collaboration. Chris Stapleton took home to awards for - Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist. Jay-Z scored a win in Top Rap Tour category. While Ozuna won the gong for Top Latin Artist, MercyMe was named Top Christian Artist. Imagine Dragons won two awards in Top Duo/Group and Top Rock Artist segments. K-pop boy band BTS bagged the trophy of Top Social Artist. They are the first-ever Korean act to perform at the BBMAs. They took to the stage with their new single "Fake Love" to perform the song first time on television. U2 was named the Top Touring Artist and Top Rock Tour. Florida Georgia Line won the title of Top Country Duo/Group Artist with Luke Bryan being named for Top Country Tour. The ceremony, which was hosted by Kelly Clarkson, aired on Vh1 in India. 

  • The traditional way to grow cells for biomedical research is to culture them as flat, two-dimensional sheets, which are overly simplistic. In recent years, researchers have been increasingly successful in growing stem cells into more complex, 3D structures called mini-organs or organoids. These resemble rudimentary organs and in many ways behave similarly. While these properties make organoids ideal for biomedical research, they also pose a challenge for mass production. The ability to mass produce organoids is the most exciting potential applications of the new robotic technology, according to the developers.

    In a study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, researchers from University of Washington in the US used a robotic system to automate the procedure for growing stem cells into organoids. Although similar approaches have been successful with adult stem cells, this is the first report of successfully automating the manufacture of organoids from pluripotent stem cells. That cell type is versatile and capable of becoming any type of organ. In this process, the liquid-handling robots introduced the stem cells into plates that contained as many as 384 miniature wells each, and then coaxed them to turn into kidney organoids over 21 days. Each little microwell typically contained ten or more organoids, and each plate contained thousands of organoids.

    With a speed that would have impressed Henry Ford's car assembly line, the robots could produce many plates in a fraction of the time. "Ordinarily, just setting up an experiment of this magnitude would take a researcher all day, while the robot can do it in 20 minutes," said Benjamin Freedman, an assistant professor at UW. "On top of that, the robot doesn't get tired and make mistakes. For repetitive, tedious tasks like this, robots do a better job than humans," he said.

    The researchers further trained robots to process and analyse the organoids they produced. They used an automated, cutting-edge technique called single cell RNA sequencing to identify all the different types of cells found in the organoids. "We established that these organoids do resemble developing kidneys, but also that they contain non-kidney cells that had not previously been characterized in these cultures," said Jennifer Harder, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan in the US. "These findings give us a better idea of the nature of these organoids and provide a baseline from which we can make improvements," Freedman said.

    The researchers discovered a way to greatly expand the number of blood vessel cells in their organoids to make them more like real kidneys. They also used their new technique to search for drugs that could affect disease. In one of these experiments, they produced organoids with mutations that cause polycystic kidney disease, a common, inherited condition that affects one in 600 people worldwide and often leads to kidney failure.

  • The win gave the Spaniard his 56th title on clay - eight of them in Rome - and he will reclaim the world number one ranking from Roger Federer when the revised ATP standings are released on Monday.

    Despite breaking to love in the first game, Nadal made a shaky start, losing his serve in the opening game before bouncing back.

    The 31-year-old top seed broke Zverev to level the score and then turned up the heat, striking eight winners and making only four unforced errors to his opponent's 10 to take the opener.

    Zverev regrouped, holding for the first time in the match at the start of the second set before breaking Nadal to lead 2-0.

    The 21-year-old came into the final as the form player on the ATP Tour, and he settled into a rhythm that had Nadal on the back foot on his favourite surface.

    The youngster went 0-30 down while serving for the set but kept his head to win next four points before forcing the decider with a backhand winner down the line.

    He carried his momentum into the third set, breaking Nadal to go 2-0 up and gain an early advantage.

    Nadal kept himself alive with a hold to love, and two more service games went by before play was halted for the first time with the rain spitting down.

    Nadal emerged after a short break trailing 3-1 and held serve again before the heavens opened a second time, forcing the 45-minute delay that proved decisive.

    The Spaniard broke back immediately after the restart to draw level at 3-3 and then held to 15 to get his nose in front.

    Scenting blood, Nadal did what he does best, hounding Zverev into coughing up another break point that he claimed with a stunning crosscourt backhand volley.

    His confidence soaring, Nadal served for the match, gaining two match points with a trademark forehand winner.

    Zverev saved the first, but could do nothing about the second as Nadal dropped a short volley over the net to claim the title.

  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba welcomed the crew at INS Mandovi boat pool in Panaji. The 'Navika Sagar Parikrama' expedition was flagged off on September 10.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated the all-woman crew of an Indian naval vessel for sailing around the world. "Heartiest congratulations to Indian Navy's all-women crew of INSV Tarini for completing the Navika Sagar Parikrama, their mission to circumnavigate the globe. Welcome home. The entire nation is proud of you," he tweeted.

    Terming the expedition historic, Sitharaman said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would meet the six crew members in Delhi on Wednesday. Led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, the crew comprising Lt Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and Swati P, lieutenants Aishwarya Boddapati, S Vijaya Devi and Payal Gupta covered a total of 21,980 nautical miles in INSV Tarini, inducted into the Indian Navy on February 18 last year.

    "Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept a tab on what is going on (with Navika Sagar Parikrama). Occasionally, he also directly spoke to them and kept the nation's motivation and interest on," Sitharaman said after receiving the crew. She said she felt "honoured" by the achievement of the young women. "I just don't want to say that it is a pleasure (to receive the crew), I feel honoured and I feel humbled by the great achievement of these six women," the minister said.

    She recalled that flagging off the crew on September 10 last year was her first "out-of-Delhi appointment", three days after she became the defence minister. She praised the women for making history. "And today, by the grace of God and the grit and courage that the girls have shown, they are back home to join all of us, having made history," she said.

    The minister said "the feat is not about girls' achievement, it is (about) youngsters from India achieving and it is a whole motivation for the youth. The women of the country have shown to youngsters that if they want to do something they can do it indeed". She said she followed the circumnavigation everyday.

    The minister said the girls have made history not only for themselves but also for the Navy. "In every small way and big way, the Navika Sagar Parikrama is something that we can be proud of for generations to come," she said.

    The six women officers were trained for the project under Captain Dilip Donde, the first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the globe between August 19, 2009, and May 19, 2010, onboard the Indian-built vessel INSV Mhadei, a Navy official said.

    A Navy spokesperson said the expedition was completed in six legs, with stopovers at Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falkland Islands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Mauritius. "The crew covered 21,600 nautical miles in the Indian-built sailing vessel INSV Tarini that visited five countries and crossed the Equator twice. It sailed across four continents and three oceans, and passed south of the three Great Capes - Leeuwin, Horn and Good Hope," the spokesperson said.

  • Some 14,638 voting centers have been set up nationwide for Venezuela's more than 20.5 million eligible voters, who are also voting for state legislators. The voting concluded smoothly at 18:00 local time on Sunday.

    In Venezuela's capital--Caracas, many lined up outside polling stations in the morning. Delcy Rodriguez, President of the Constitutional Assembly of Venezuela, also casted her ballot at a polling station.

    "The turnout is very good. I just attended a press conference of campaign committee of the ruling party and that event disclosed the data we have so far (till Sunday noon). More than 2.5 million Venezuelan voters have casted their ballots," she said.

    The ballots were recorded electronically, which made the voting quick and easy. The government added troops around the polling stations to ensure safety and the violence that occurred during a constituent assembly voting last year didn't happen this time.

    The opposition coalition once called on its supporters to give up the vote, so in the opposition stronghold voters were not that many, but still the whole process went smoothly.

    Some 150 international observers from 30 countries and international organizations are in Venezuela for the elections.

    Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, former Spanish Prime Minister and also an international observer, gave a positive feedback about the presidential elections.

    "I do not have any doubt about the voting process. It is an advanced automatic voting system. I come here to keep peace, coordinate and promote dialogue so as to improve the democratic mechanism here. What I need to do here is to see whether people can cast their ballots at their own discretion. Now we all see how people vote, don't we?" he said.

  • The satellite, named Queqiao (Magpie Bridge), was carried by a Long March-4C rocket that blasted off at 05:28 from southwest China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

    About 25 minutes after liftoff, the satellite separated from the rocket and entered an Earth-Moon transfer orbit with the perigee at 200 km and the apogee at about 400,000 km. The solar panels and the communication antennas have been unfolded.

    Queqiao is expected to enter a halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, about 455,000 km from the Earth. It will be the world's first communication satellite operating in that orbit.

    Chinese scientists and engineers hope the Queqiao satellite will form a communication bridge between controllers on Earth and the far side of the Moon where the Chang'e-4 lunar probe is expected to touch down later this year.

    Two microsatellites were also launched at the same time and will enter highly elliptical lunar orbits to perform their astronomy tasks.

    Monday's launch was the 275th mission of the Long March rocket series.

  • Delhi Daredevils had done a favour to Punjab by knocking out Mumbai Indians with an 11-run win in the first match of the day as it kept Punjab in the hunt to take the last-available spot in the Play-offs. When Punjab batsmen needed to fire in unison, only Karun Nair (54) showed stomach for fight with his 26-ball knock, which was laced with three fours and five sixes. Nair's half-century helped Kings XI Punjab recover from a poor start and post 153 in 19.4 overs but they needed to win by at least 53 runs to qualify for the Play-offs.

    It was South African paceman Ngidi who triggered a top-order collapse as he swung the ball both ways to confound the Punjab batsmen. He conceded only 10 runs in his four-over quota and scalped key players. CSK needed to win in 17.3 overs to snatch the top spot but they had to be content with a second-place finish behind Sunrisers Hyderabad as they could overhaul the target only in 19.1 overs. Deepak Chahar (39 from 20) shared a crucial 56-run stand Suresh Raina (68 not out) in Chennai's win while skipper MS Dhoni, who batted down the order, scored 16 off seven balls and finished the match with a six. With the wicket helping seamers, CSK's chase was far from smooth with Ankit Rajpoot dismissing Faf du Plessis (14) and Sam Billings (0) in successive balls.

    This was after Mohit Sharma had scalped in-form Ambati Rayudu (1). Harbhajan Singh (19) was sent up the order with a licence to go after the bowling. He swung his bat wildly but did not connect all the time, though he found a six and two fours. The wicket was tough for aggressive batting and working the ball around was the best option. Raina changed his approach and started rotating the strike even as Harbhajan kept attempting big shots. His struggle ended when rival captain R Ashwin trapped him. MS Dhoni delayed his arrival at the crease and sent Deepak Chahar ahead of himself. After getting his eye in, Chahar slammed Ashwin for two sixes and a four before launching Axar Patel for a massive six. His innings was ended by Ashwin, bringing Dhoni at the crease. The two experienced players took the side past the finish line.

    CSK and SRH will now clash in the Qualifier 1 on Tuesday while Royals and KKR will lock horn in Eliminator on Wednesday. Earlier, Ngidi first had dangerous Chris Gayle (0) caught behind and then bowled other opener KL Rahul with a peach of delivery that swung in and sent the stump kart-wheeling. Deepak Chahar had Aaron Finch (4) caught by Raina as Punjab managed only 29 runs in the Powerplay overs. In his sensational three-over spell, Ngidi conceded just seven runs and scalped both the openers. David Miller (24) and Manish Tiwary (35) repaired the innings with a 60-run partnership before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja broke the stand by dismissing the latter.

    Miller too did not last long after departure of Tiwary as he was undone by a well-executed yorker by West Indian Dwayne Bravo. The Miller wicket meant that Punjab were reeling at 80 for five in 12.1 overs. A small partnership developed between Axar Patel (14) and Nair but Sam Billings pulled off a stunning diving catch to get rid of the left-hander. Still, Punjab got 18 runs from that Shardul Thakur over with Nair finding a six and two fours. Ngidi returned to the attack and saw the back of rival captain R Ashwin, who could not even open his account, nicking the ball to his counterpart MS Dhoni behind the wickets. Punjab could not even bat for full 20 overs and were bowled out in 19.4 overs. Had it not been a fighting knock from Nair, they would not have crossed even 150-run mark.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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