News

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    I. MERCHANDISE TRADE

    EXPORTS (including re-exports)

    Exports during May 2018 were valued at US $ 28.86 Billion as compared to US $ 24.01 Billion during May 2017 exhibiting a positive growth of 20.18 per cent.

  •         Three Mi 17 helicopters of Indian Air Force undertook flood affected areas of the state of Tripura, particularly in the town of Kailashahar on 15 Jun 18.

     

            The helicopters are operating from Radhanagar helipad located about nine kilometers from Kailashahar and 4.1 tons of food and other essential supplies were delivered to the affected people in the area.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind has greeted fellow citizens on the eve of Idu’l Fitr.

     

    In his message the President has said, “On the auspicious occasion of Idu’l Fitr, I offer my greetings and good wishes to all fellow citizens, and especially to our Muslim brothers and sisters in India and abroad.

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    Commerce Minister addressing the review meeting of sectoral export promotion strategy

    The Department of Commercewill soonopen10 offices in Indian missions abroad for accelerating export promotion activities.

  • Text of PM’s address during his interaction with the beneficiaries of Digital India

  • On the basis of the result of the written  part of the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (I) 2018 held by the Union Public Service Commission on 22nd April 2018, candidates with the under mentioned  Roll Nos. have qualified for Interview by the Services Selection Board of the Ministry of Defence for Admission to  Army, Navy and Air Force Wings of the National Defence Academy for the 141th Course and for the 103rd Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC) commencing from 2nd January, 2019.

  • The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) – Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and National Security Guard (NSG) have lined up Yoga competitions and training camps on the occasion of 4th International Day of Yoga (IDY) being observed on 21st June, 2018.

  • The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Shri K. J. Alphons will attend a series of ‘Incredible India road shows’ in the United States of America, from 18th to 22nd June 2018.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will chair the fourth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday, the 17th June. The day-long meeting will be attended by Union Ministers, Chief Ministers from the States, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories and senior officials from the Government of India.

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    Suresh Prabhu addressing the press on US visit.

     

              To take forward the robust commercial ties with the United States and to resolve outstanding bilateral trade issues, a delegation led by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu visited USA on 10-12 June 2018 for meetings with his US interlocutors.

  • Putting a spotlight on the latest European cinema, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) will premiere in New Delhi on 18th June, 2018 at the Siri Fort Auditorium. With a selection of 24 latest European films from 23 EU Member States, this years' film festival brings some unusual stories for the world cinema enthusiasts.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today interacted with the beneficiaries of various Digital India Mission schemes from across the country, through video bridge. The video bridge connected over 50 lakh beneficiaries, including those from Common Service Centres, NIC centres, National Knowledge Network, BPOs, Mobile Manufacturing Units and MyGov volunteers.

  • In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, being satisfied that it is necessary and expedient so to do, hereby makes the following amendment in the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 36/2001-Customs (N.T.

  • Air quality of Delhi and NCR, which worsened on June 12-13, 2018, due to the incoming dust from Rajasthan, has shown a slight improvement today, with PM10 declining to 759 µg/m3 at 4.00 p.m from a peak of 823 µg/m3 at 5.00 p.m.yesterday.

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  • NITI Aayog has been engaging with State Governments to evolve a shared vision of national development and strategies from time to time to share the best practices. In this context, India Consensus - a partnership between Tata Trusts and Copenhagen Consensus which has undertaken more than 160 cost-benefit analyses across all main policy areas in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan presented their findings on 14th June 2018 in NITI Aayog.

  • The Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh today reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensure fast-track development in the North east region.

  •             The Union Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance & Company Affairs, Shri Piyush Goyal today inaugurated Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited (NLCIL)’s three 100 MW Solar Power Projects for commercial operation and dedicated these projects to the Nation .

    The Solar Power projects situated at Thoppalaakkarai and Sethupuram in Virudhunagar District and Sellaiya Sezhiyanallur in Tirunelveli District, with an installed capacity of 100 MW each, were erected at a cost of Rs.1300 Crores, which includes Operation & Maintenance cost for 15 Years.

  • The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism Shri K.J. Alphons launched the new Incredible India website in New Delhi today. The website showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as, spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more.

  • Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship today met with the Ambassadors from OPEC countries to India. The timing of the meeting comes at a crucial time when the global crude oil prices are at the highest since the peak of 2014.



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said Digital India initiative is creating a group of village level entrepreneurs. Interacting with beneficiaries of D...




  • Slain Kashmiri journalist Syed Shujaat Bukhari was laid to rest at his native place in Baramulla district of North Kashmir. AIR corresponden...




  • In Northeast, thousands of people have been rendered homeless as Assam, Tripura and Manipur reel under flood. In Tripura, Chief Minister Bip...



  • Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has said the situation arising out of dusty haze should become normal in 1 or 2 days.He said dust storm from Rajasthan resulted in deterioration of air quality and high levels of PM 10 in Delhi.



  • Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the government is planning to set up 20 thousand wifi choupals across the country to bring government at the doorstep of people's houses. The IT minister attended the Prime Minister's interaction with the beneficiaries of Digital India in Dankaur, Uttar Pradesh.



  • The Trump administration has reconfirmed its intent to revoke the H-4 visa rule on employment authorisation to certain spouses of H-1B visa holders.



  • Fresh selling once again pulled the key benchmark indices to negative zone in the afternoon trade.



  • India beat Afghanistan in the one-off Test by an innings and 262 runs on the second day at Bengaluru today.


  • Egyptian fans, meanwhile, will hold their breath to see if prolific Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah really has recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final as the Pharaohs take on Uruguay.

    But after host nation Russia's rousing 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener, the highlight of the day will be Spain's clash with Cristiano Ronaldo's European champions in Sochi. The Spanish team had been tipped as one of the favourites to win the trophy for a second time after a two-year unbeaten run under Lopetegui.

    But Wednesday's snap decision by the Spanish Football Federation to dump Lopetegui, after he announced he would take over at Real Madrid post-tournament, has left the team reeling.

    Former Real Madrid stalwart Fernando Hierro has been thrown into the deep end as head coach, with little coaching experience and huge pressure on his shoulders.

    Captain Sergio Ramos and Hierro put on a united front yesterday as they contemplated the opening Group B meeting against their neighbours and arch-rivals following two days of chaotic upheaval. "There is nobody better than Fernando. He was a great player and has known us for a long time," said Ramos.

    Real's appointment of Lopetegui could, the federation apparently feared, have opened up Spanish football's age-old faultline between the squad's Madrid and Barcelona-based players. Ramos, who also skippers Real Madrid, insisted this week's events had not upset any relationships. "There are no cracks. We are all individuals and we all think differently, but the collective idea is the same -- we are here to go for the World Cup," he said.

    Almost 5,000 kilometres away, Lopetegui was being unveiled as the new Madrid coach. The 51-year-old described the day he was sacked as "the saddest day of my life since the death of my mother".

    Ronaldo and Portugal have enjoyed a calmer build-up but the 33-year-old reigning World Player of the Year knows that Russia is probably on his last chance to win a World Cup. The Real Madrid superstar could play on for years yet, but it is difficult to imagine him leading Portugal to glory in Qatar in 2022.

     

  • Interacting with beneficiaries of the various Digital India efforts, PM Modi pushed for use of RuPay, the Indian version of credit/debit card, saying when other similar cards are used the transaction or processing fee goes to foreign companies. However, when RuPay is used, the money remains in India and is used for development works and infrastructure projects.

    The Prime Minister said people made fun of him when he first spoke of digital payments in the country where people were used to stashing money underneath the pillow and ration could not be availed without middlemen. But experiences narrated by beneficiaries of how services are reaching people directly are a befitting reply to such naysayers, he said.

    Now, some people are spreading rumours that money is not safe when used digitally, he said, adding such conspiracies will be hatched as he has created problems for middlemen. "Digital India is a fight with dalali (touts)," he said. "Digital India has checked blackmoney and black marketing and uprooted middlemen." From booking rail tickets to paying bills and availing government services like pensions by giving proof of existence digitally, people are being empowered, he said.

    Digital India is a campaign launched to ensure the government services are made available to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure, increasing internet connectivity and by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. Complementing it has been the launch of large-scale digital payment processing platforms like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and India's home-grown card network RuPay.

    PM Modi said while the National Knowledge Network has linked over 1,700 educational and research institutions, libraries, academicians, government officials and more than 5 crore students, citizen engagement platform 'mygov' has 60 lakh volunteers. "We can now fight for our rights," he said.

    He said the push for domestic electronic manufacturing has seen setting up of 23 electronic manufacturing centres in 15 states and the number of units manufacturing mobile handsets and their components multiply from just two in 2014 to over 120 now, providing direct and indirect employment to 4.5 lakh people.

    Also, the Rs 550 crore BPO promotion scheme has led to the creation of two lakh job opportunities as it took business process outsourcing centres to smaller cities and towns by providing financial assistance of up to Rs 1 lakh for every seat. "Along with digital empowerment, we also want technology to boost innovation," he said.

    PM Modi said the network of about three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs), which act as access points for delivery of digital services, have bolstered employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, thus empowering citizens. He said the initiative was launched with an objective of bringing benefits of technology to people, especially in rural areas.

    Addressing the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs), who run these centres, via video conferencing, Modi said Digital India was launched with an aim to connect India's villages and youth. Over the last four years it has brought a slew of services to the doorsteps of the common man, he said. "Every aspect of digital empowerment has been worked on, from rolling out fibre optics in villages to digital literacy," PM Modi said.

    Some of the beneficiaries narrated their experience of Digital India. 

  • Dhawan bludgeoned the rookie Afghan bowlers into submission with a power-packed unbeaten 104 (91 balls) while Murali Vijay (41 no off 72 balls) held one end up with the home team setting the foundation for what promises to be a mammoth first innings total.

    Incidentally Dhawan became the first ever Indian batsman to score a century in the first session of a Test match joining the illustrious ranks of Sir Don Bradman, Victor Trumper, Majid Khan, David Warner.

    Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons' statement about "not knowing what it's all about till you get there" seemed prophetic as the talented bunch of cricketers got their introductory lessons in red ball cricket from two openers, who have played 85 Test matches between themselves.

    Rashid Khan (7-0-51-0) the reigning crown prince of 24-ball spells, received a harsh treatment from Dhawan, who smacked him for three boundaries to complete a half-century in 47 balls. Dhawan also hit a flowing cover drive off Rashid to complete his hundred as Vijay also frustrated the minnows with his watertight technique. Call it irony, Dhawan stepped out to hit straight sixes off Afghanistan's three IPL participants, Rashid, Mohammed Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahaman with effortless ease.

    In all, Dhawan hit 19 boundaries and three huge sixes while Vijay had six boundaries and a six to show for his efforts. The 25 boundaries and four sixes in the first session was a testimony that there is a long road that Afghanistan need to travel.

    The hapless bowlers struggled with the 'Test match length', especially the spinners who are used to ball flat and quick. The moment Rashid or Mujeeb (0/32 in 4 overs) tried to flight, Dhawan would step out, if they upped the pace of the deliveries, they were cut forcefully.

    At the onset, opening bowler Yamin Ahmadzai (4-1-18-0) bowled a few sharp outswingers before leaving the field with a muscle pull. He did comeback at the stroke of lunch but leaving the field when he was hitting some kind of rhythm did hamper Afghan skipper Ashgar Stanikzai's plans.

    The other new ball bowler Wafadar was angling it across the left-hander and Vijay faced him more to wear him out and take advantage of the spinners.

  • They are eager to show their breathtakingly beautiful city to the world, befittingly enough, through the 'Beautiful Game's' quadrennial showpiece.

    For some, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, starting Thursday, is President Vladimir Putin's equivalent of China's 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. And the hosts are waiting for their guests as they seek to present their motherland in a different light, without the Soviet era stereotypes, without the haunting stories of the past, told and retold by her adversaries to define the country, whose map was torn apart by history.

    "FIFA World Cup means people from all over the world will converge here. They will stay here and know about Russia and go back with a different image. The perception will change and the spectators will see it in a different light, a local said, two days before the start of the tournament.

    Unfortunately enough, observers say there has been no equivalent of the PR campaign witnessed prior to the Sochi Winter Olympics, what with the local media playing down the World Cup due to the national team's rapid decline in fortunes.

    For a city gearing up to host one of the world's biggest sporting events, the initial build-up had been a bit subdued, but it gathered steam as the tournament's dates approached. Thousands of foreign journalists are set to descend on the country for the one-month extravaganza. Many writers and photographers from countries, which are not even part of the tournament, are already at work. But that's how it has always been such is the allure of FIFA World Cup.

    The lure is not lost on Russia and even the recent failures of Sbornaya, as the national team is called, have failed to dampen its spirit as far as successfully organising the tournament is concerned. Be it from hospitality to organising the games.

    The hulking security guard on every corner can be a put-off but the helpful locals more than make up for the stare with their smiles. Known to house some of the world's costliest hotels, the enigmatic city has opened itself for travellers, the frugal ones included -- from across the world.

    But the picture turns grim when the focus shifts to the national team's pre-tournament results and prospects. By chance (or whatever), Russia have been drawn into a group that has been called by many as the weakest in the history of Worlds Cup.

    While Uruguay are the frontrunners by some distance to top the group, teams such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia give the host nation a chance, but still people here don't seem to be too optimistic of their side shining. But they seem to care that the organisational aspect is important.

    Authorities are leaving no stone unturned to draw attention to the World Cup, Russia's first ever in the tournament's 88-year-old existence. As part of the build-up, a light show is organised everyday near the famous Red Square, there are football and World Cup-themed hoardings on buildings, a tournament branding is seen in front of Manege museum. The Russian capital has dressed itself in a colourful World Cup look.

    With 12 matches, including the opening and the final on July 15, Moscow leads the host venues. The famous Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening game, as well as round-of-16 matches, one semifinal and the final. The city's Spartak Stadium will host four group-stage matches and a round-of-16 game.

  • The striker and Egyptian superstar, who is nursing an injured shoulder, is crucial to the north African side's hopes of making it out of a weak-looking Group A also featuring the hosts and Saudi Arabia.

    Egypt play Uruguay -- tipped by some to be dark horses -- in Yekaterinburg in just the second game of the tournament, following Russia against Saudi Arabia in the opening match.

    Salah, who turns 26 on the day of the game, gave 100 million frantic Egyptians a massive boost on Wednesday when he joined a squad training session at their Grozny base.

    He had been sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury in Liverpool's Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on May 26, casting severe doubt on his World Cup participation. He went through a range of warm-up exercises with his team-mates, but Egyptian team officials are giving little away.

    "There's a good degree of progress but no definitive decision on whether he takes part, as we are following his case day by day," team director Ihab Lahita told reporters.

    Egypt's 62-year-old Argentine coach Hector Cuper will conduct a pre-match press conference on Thursday, but there are suggestions that he wants to see Salah train again before making any decision on whether the player is fit to face a Uruguay side boasting the twin attacking threat of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

    The most likely outcome is that Salah, one of the outstanding players in the world this season as he helped propel Liverpool to the Champions League final, will be on the bench on Friday.

    Salah's World Cup dream was left on the brink when he exited the final in tears after Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos wrestled him to the ground. Cuper has attempted to dismiss the notion that Egypt are a one-man side, but with 44 goals in all competitions this season for Liverpool, Salah's badly timed injury has become a national obsession back home.

    Salah is regarded as a contender for the Ballon d'Or for his spectacular debut season at Anfield, alongside Argentina's Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar of Brazil.

    The tournament in Russia will be the poorer for Salah missing out and Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has expressed hope that Salah will play against the South Americans. "I like the best players to play, I train with the best and I want the best players to play," said Muslera. Egypt, a no-frills side who play on the counterattack under the wily Cuper, face hosts Russia on Tuesday and the Saudis on June 25 in their last group game. 

  • Two-fifths of that ice loss occurred in the last five years, a three-fold increase in the pace at which Antarctica is shedding its kilometres-thick casing, a consortium of 84 scientists reported in the journal Nature.

    The findings should dispel any lingering doubts that the continent's ice mass is shrinking, the authors said. They also highlight the existential threat facing low-lying coastal cities and communities home to hundreds of millions of people.

    "We now have an unequivocal picture of what's happening in Antarctica," said co-lead author Eric Rignot, a scientist at NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory who has been tracking Earth's ice sheets for two decades. "We view these results as another ringing alarm for action to slow the warming of our planet."

    Up to now, scientists have struggled in determining whether Antarctica has accumulated more mass through snowfall than it loses in meltwater run-off and ice flows into the ocean. But more than two decades of satellite data -- the new findings draw from 24 separate space-based surveys -- have finally yielded a more complete picture.

    Covering twice the area of the continental United States, Antarctica is blanketed by enough ice pack to lift global oceans by nearly 60 metres (210 feet). More than 90 per cent of that frozen water sits atop East Antarctica, which has remained mostly stable even as climate change has driven up Earth's average surface temperature by a full degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Some studies had suggested a net gain in mass over recent decades. West Antarctica, however, has proven far more vulnerable to global warming, especially the Antarctic Peninsula, where more than 6,500 sq km of ice shelves have sheared off into the sea since 1995.

    Already floating, ice shelves breaking off into icebergs do not add to sea level. But massive glaciers on West Antarctica slowly gliding seaward hold enough water to push oceans up by 3.5 metres (11 feet). Two of these glaciers -- Pine Island and Thwaites -- have accelerated and are today seen as unstable. Together, they act as corks holding back ice mass further inland from falling into the ocean.

    Nearly all of the mass shed over the last quarter century has come from West Antarctica, the study found. Ice loss of 2.7 trillion tonnes since 1992 added about eight millimetres to sea level. "Whilst there's still considerable uncertainty about East Antarctica mass balance, it is increasingly clear that ice loss from West Antarctica has accelerated," said Kate Hendry, a researcher at the University of Bristol, commenting on the findings.

    On current trends, Antarctica could become the single largest source of sea level rise, ahead of runoff from the Greenland ice sheet and mountain glaciers, and the expansion of ocean water as it warms, the study found. Oceans are currently rising by 3.4 millimetres (0.13 inches) per year.

    Since 1993, the global ocean watermark has gone up by 84.8 mm (3.3 inches). By century's end, sea level -- compared to a pre-industrial benchmark -- could increase from a few dozen centimetres to a metre or more, depending in part on efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

    Under any scenario, oceans will continue to rise for several centuries, scientists say.

    In the two decades prior to 2012, Antarctica lost about 76 billion tonnes annually, according to the new findings. Since then, that figure has jumped, on average, to 219 billion tonnes. "There has been a step increase in ice losses from Antarctica during the past decade," said Leeds University professor Andrew Shepherd, co-leader of the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Exercise (ISMBE).

    "The continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years." Scientists not involved with the study lauded its methodology. "The power of this research is that it brings together independent methods and results from a collection of different teams throughout the world," noted Twila Moon, a scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado. They also said governments should take note.

    "The outcome is deeply concerning," commented Imperial College London professor Martin Siegert, who did not take part in the study. "We appear to be on a pathway to substantial ice-sheet loss in the decades ahead, with longer term consequences for enhanced sea level rise. "If we aren't already alert to the dangers posed by climate change, this should be an enormous wake-up call," he added.

     

  • Almost two-thirds of the world's children under one year old, nearly 90 million, live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave, the UNICEF analysis said.

    India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.

    The UN agency noted that around the world, momentum for family-friendly policies was growing. It cited the example of India, where officials are proposing a Paternity Benefit Bill for consideration in the next session of Parliament which would allow fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave.

    Noting that much work remains to be done, UNICEF said in eight countries across the world, including the United States which is home to nearly four million infants, there was no paid maternity or paternity leave policy. Other countries with high infant populations, including Brazil and Congo, all have national paid paternity leave policies, albeit offering relatively short-term entitlements.

    "Positive and meaningful interaction with mothers and fathers from the very beginning helps shape children's brain growth and development for life, making them healthier and happier, and increasing their ability to learn. It's all of our responsibility to enable them to fill this role," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.

    Evidence suggests that when fathers bond with their babies from the beginning of life, they are more likely to play a more active role in the child's development.

    Research also suggests that when children positively interact with their fathers, they have better psychological health, self-esteem and life-satisfaction in the long-term, the UNICEF said. UNICEF urged governments to implement national family-friendly policies that support early childhood development, including paid paternity leave, to help provide parents with the time, resources and information they need to care for their children.

    Earlier this year, UNICEF modernised its approach to parental leave provisions, with up to 16 weeks of paid leave for paternity across all of its offices worldwide, the first United Nations agency to extend such leave beyond the standard four weeks.

    "We cannot be 'For Every Child', if we are not also 'For Every Parent'. We have to ask more of governments and more of employers if we're going to give fathers and mothers the time and resources they need to nurture their children, particularly during the earliest years of a child's life," Fore said.

    The new analysis forms part of UNICEF's 'Super Dads' campaign, now in its second year, which aims to break down barriers preventing fathers from playing an active role in their young children's development. The campaign celebrates Father's Day, recognised in more than 80 countries in June, and focuses on the importance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young children's brains. 

  • High pollution levels in Delhi are mainly due to the dust storms from the desert state, the ministry said after air quality in the national capital deteriorated beyond "severe" level.

    It has also alerted major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ensure water sprinkling, and asked Delhi's Chief Secretary to issue appropriate instructions in the matter to the agencies concerned.

    The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also convened an urgent meeting of the Task Force regarding implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and issued necessary directions to contain local dust sources.

    The air quality in Delhi deteriorated beyond the "severe" level because of a ground-level dust storm in western India which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board data showed. The CPCB data showed that the PM10 (particles with diameter less than 10mm) level was beyond "severe" at 778 in Delhi-NCR area and 824 in Delhi particularly, leading to hazy conditions and limiting visibility.

    The CPCB said the pollution of this season was very different from that of last year.

    In November last year, both PM2.5 and PM10 had spiked which was posing serious health hazard.

    However, the current increase in levels of pollution is mainly due to drastic increase in coarse particles in air which has caused a spike in PM10 level but PM2.5 is not as high as that of last year. "The high pollution levels during this time of the year in Delhi are unusual and primarily due to dust storms from Rajasthan. Rajasthan is facing extremely dry weather conditions, with high temperatures and wind speeds," a ministry statement said.

    It said the wind direction in Delhi since June 10 has changed to West and North West and then since June 12 to West and South West, due to which hot air, along with dust from Rajasthan has started moving into Delhi. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the current surface winds in Delhi are in the range of 5-6 m/sec and wind direction is West to South West, which is likely to continue over the next three days.

    "Therefore, it is expected that dusty conditions will prevail in Delhi over the next three days. Major construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been alerted to ensure water sprinkling, as required," it said.

    The Environment Ministry has requested the Chief Secretary, Delhi to issue appropriate instructions in the matter to the agencies concerned, it said. "CPCB convened an urgent meeting of the Task Force regarding implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and issued necessary directions to contain local dust sources.

    The Task Force has also recommended that public should avoid prolonged exposure," the Ministry said. Gufran Beig, a scientist at the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research institute, said the dust storm deteriorated the air quality in Delhi-NCR.

    "There was a ground-level dust storm in the western part of the country that increased drastically coarser particles in the air, causing a spike in pollution levels in Delhi," he said.

    According to CPCB, the air quality index at several places in Delhi crossed the 500-mark, with east Delhi's Anand Vihar area recording an AQI of 891. An AQI between 0-50 is considered Good, 51-100 Satisfactory, 101-200 Moderate, 201-300 Poor, 301-400 Very Poor, and 401-500 Severe.

  • He will also take part in programmes in Naya Raipur - the upcoming capital city of the state.

    This is PM Modi's second visit to the poll-bound state in the last two months.

    The PM will inaugurate Integrated Command and Control Centre at Naya Raipur. Thereafter, in Bhilai, he will inaugurate Raipur-Jagdalpur air service, lay foundation stone for the new building of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bhilai, besides dedicating to the nation the expanded and modernised Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) of SAIL.

    PM Modi will also address a public meeting at Jayanti Stadium in Bhilai.

    Soon after reaching, he will proceed to Naya Raipur by road and dedicate to the nation Naya Raipur smart city's Integrated Command and Control Centre. Through this centre, water supply, power supply, sanitation, traffic movement, integrated building management, city connectivity and internet infrastructure (data centre) and monitoring of complete Naya Raipur will be carried out.

    The Command and Control Centre will be managed through GIS platform, where the residents can register their complaints regarding service dysfunction through helpline numbers. Subsequently, he will proceed to Bhilai, where he will dedicate the expanded and modernised project of Bhilai Steel Plant.

    Meanwhile, he will lay the foundation stone for the new building of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bhilai and inaugurate air connectivity betweenRaipurand Jagdalpur under the Centre's 'Udaan' scheme, he said. With the launch of this air-connectivity, Bastar will be put into the country's aviation map.

    On the occasion, the PM will distribute laptops under Suchna Kranti Yojana scheme to five students apart from distribution of citations, cheques and materials to select beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Matri Vandana Yojana, Standup and Mudra Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Scheme, Mukhya Mantri Aabadi Patta Vitaran Yojana.

    Massive security arrangements have been made in the capital and Bhilai for the PM's visit.

  • Prolonged sittings and wrong posture may lead to many health problems, like neck pain or backache. Doctors suggest that one should avoid sitting in one posture for a longer duration and keep the back straight while sitting. Doing desk jobs and long periods of sitting day-in and day-out can impact your health and cause many problems.

    PROBLEMS OF PROLONGED SITTING:-

    - Stiffness in Joints

    - More wear and tear in joints

    - Muscle stiffness

    - Affect on soft tissues

    - Weight gain and obesity

     

    PRECAUTIONS:-

    - Do not sit in one posture for long duration

    - Keep your back straight while sitting

    - Avoid prolonged sitting

    - Take a break after every 45 minutes of  sitting

    - Walk, stretch and exercise

    WRONG SITTING POSTURE MAY CAUSE:- 

    - Backache

    - Neck pain

    - Joint pain

    - Increased Risk of degenerative conditions

    - Pain in upper back or shoulders

    - Numbness in fingers

    - Pain in wrist and arms
     

    While sitting for long duration don't forget to take short breaks in between to move and be cautious about the proper posture.

     

     

  • A 32-year-old, giving up a good job, and taking off for some remote land, may sound like he's had enough of the world. But not Mangesh Jha.

    He gave up a lucrative job in 2014 to distribute sanitary pads to tribal women living in remote villages of Jharkhand, and his mission has transformed the way people live.

    Mangesh Jha would visit several remote villages of the state, and teach tribal women, who were initially skeptical of him about menstrual hygiene.

    He also distributes sanitary pads to them. But how effective has his campaign been?

    Mangesh who worked with a leading 5-star hotel chain, gave up the comfort of that job to travel to distant places without proper roads, just to spread the word about menstrual hygiene, among women who normally wouldn't discuss these issues, and would not address them due to poverty. Mangesh was recognized by film star Akshay Kumar for this unique work.

    Well, there has been plenty of change due to Mangesh's efforts.

    The rural communities are now discussing this matter and taboos associated with menstrual cycles, health and hygiene have gone away. Women have taken it upon themselves to change their habits and the men folk too are in agreement.
    Mangesh's efforts have borne fruit, and it is catching on in other parts too.

  • Saweety Boora was the lone Indian boxer to clinch a gold, while two others signed off with silver medals in the Umakhanov Memorial Tournament in Kaspiysk, Russia.

    Saweety, who is also a former world championships silver-medallist, prevailed over home favourite Anna Anfinogenova in a unanimous verdict to finish on top in the middleweight (75kg) category.

    However, in the men’s draw, Brijesh Yadav (81kg) and Virender Kumar (91kg) lost their respective summit clashes to end with silver medals.

    While Yadav lost to Russia’s Murad Rabadanov, Kumar was beaten by Sweden’s Alexandr Mvalbale.

    Earlier, world youth champion Shashi Chopra (57kg), former Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pinki Jangra (51kg) and Pavitra (60kg) had lost their respective semifinal bouts to settle for bronze medals.

    Among the men, world bronze-medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) had finished with a bronze after going down in his semifinal bout.

  • In a major decision to boost affordable housing, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has approved the revision of the carpet area of houses eligible for interest subsidy.

    The carpet area for MIG I category houses has been raised from 120 square metre to 160 square metre while that of MIG II category houses has been increased from 150 square metre to 200 square metre.

    The initiative is aimed at fast-track the slow-moving ‘Housing for All’ scheme. Officials said people from the middle income group (MIG) will get benefits due to this initiative of the ministry under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).

    These enhancements will now enable more people under MIG category to qualify for subsidy and avail the benefits provided under the flagship Mission of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).

    Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said that the decision to increase the carpet area was taken after inputs from various stakeholders.

    “One of key issues was denial of CLSS benefits to potential beneficiaries, because they were buying/constructing flats or houses where the carpet area exceeded the limit, thus rendering them ineligible for the interest subsidy under MIG,” he added.

    During review meetings by the Central Nodal Agencies—Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and National Housing Bank (NHB)—there had been requests for increasing the carpet areas specified for the MIG I and MIG II categories, added the official.

    Apart from increasing the number of beneficiaries, the step is expected to improve the construction activity.

    Officials said it also augured well with the Reserve Bank of India policy to revise the housing loan limits for Priority Sector lending (PSL) eligibility where it has been decided to revise the housing loan limits for PSL eligibility from existing Rs 28 lakh to 35 lakh in metropolitan centres (with population of 10 lakh and above), and from existing rs 20 lakh to 25 lakh in other centres, provided the overall cost of the dwelling units does not exceed Rs 45 lakh and 30 lakh, respectively.

  • Greece and Macedonia on Tuesday reached a historic accord to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name that has troubled relations between the two neighbours for decades.

    Under the deal, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his country would officially be called the "Republic of Northern Macedonia".

    It is currently known formally at the United Nations under the interim name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

    Zaev said the deal would open the way for the tiny Balkan nation's eventual membership of the European Union and NATO, currently blocked by Greece's objections to its use of the name Macedonia.

    Athens says that the name implies territorial claims on a northern Greek province of the same name.

    The accord still requires ratification by the two national parliaments and a referendum in Macedonia, a tough test for the leaders of both the countries.

  • A special court in Mumbai has issued a non-bailable warrant against diamantaire Nirav Modi and his family members in the over Rs 13,000 crore PNB scam case, after taking cognizance of a charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate last month.

    The ED had last week moved the special court, seeking warrants against the accused.

    The non-bailable warrants were issued by Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act judge Salman Azmee against Nirav Modi and 10 others, including his family members.

    The ED had last month filed a 12,000-page chargesheet in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank cheating and fraud case against Nirav Modi and 23 others.

  • The Enforcement Directorate is expected to file a fresh charge sheet against former finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram in connection with Karti's alleged involvement in the Aircel-Maxis Case.

    He allegedly took service charges for getting the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving funds from abroad worth Rs 305 crore in 2007, when his father was the finance minister.

    Meanwhile, P Chidambaram appeared before the Enforcement Directorate for the second round of questioning in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case on Tuesday.

    He was summoned after he was first questioned on June 5 by the agency.

    Chidambaram, also a former home minister, had earlier approached the court of Special Judge O P Saini seeking relief from arrest by the ED in the case.

    The court then directed the ED not to take any coercive action or arrest him till July 10 in connection with the case.

     

  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi will face trial in a defamation case filed against him by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker after a magistrate court in Bhiwandi framed charges against him.

    Rahul Gandhi has pleaded not guilty in the case.

    Rahul arrived at the magistrate's court in Bhiwandi and appeared before a civil judge, who read out the charge leveled against him and also the statement of the complainant Rajesh Kunte.

    The court then proceeded to frame charges against the Congress leader under IPC Sections 499 (Defamation) and 500 (Punishment for Defamation). Next hearing in the case is on 10th August.

  • The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday seized 11 plots of land in Patna worth 44.75 crore rupees, attached by the agency in the name of a firm linked to RJD chief Lalu Prasad's family, as part of the IRCTC hotel money laundering case.
    The central probe agency was allowed to take possession of the seized assets by a designated PMLA authority recently.

    In July last year, the agency registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his family members and others under the provisions of the PMLA.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a seven-day, three-nation tour this weekend on his maiden visit to Europe and Latin America as the head of the state.

    The president will visit Greece, Suriname and Cuba.

    In the first-leg of the trip, President Ramnath Kovind will visit Greece from June 16-19.

    In his second leg of the visit, president Kovind will be in Suriname, between June 19 to 21.

    While, President Kovind will be in Cuba from June 21-22, where he will hold talks with newly elected Cuban President Miguel Diza-Canel Bermudez.

  • As part of BJP's "Contact for Support" campaign, BJP chief Amit Shah held a series of meetings with prominent people in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.

    The BJP Chief visited retired justice PP Naolekar's residence for 'Sampark for Samarthan' campaign at Jabalpur.

    He also met former Justice C S Dharmadhikari at his residence and briefed him about the achievements of the Modi government during the last four years.

     

  • India has welcomed the agreement reached at historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim. Calling it a positive development, the Ministry of External Affairs said that "India welcomes the United States-DPRK Summit held in Singapore.

    This is a positive development. India has always supported all efforts to bring about peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy.

    On Tuesday US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Unsigned a document pledging to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean in return for US providing security guarantees to the DPRK.

    After two rounds of talks the two leaders signed a joint statement, which reaffirmed the DPRK's commitment to the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, for complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    The summit meeting was the first of its kind between a sitting American president and a leader of North Korea.

    The statement said that there is the new relationship between the United States and North Korea and that they will join efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime in the Korean Peninsula. Both countries will also repatriate each other's prisoners and missing persons.

    Donald Trump also said  that he was  suspending military exercises on the Korean Peninsula and that he expected the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to move "very quickly" to dismantle his nuclear arsenal after a day of discussions in Singapore.

    Howerver, Trump also said economic sanctions against North Korea would remain in place.

  • The health condition of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is stable.

    In a statement, the AIIMS said, "His condition is stable. He is responding to treatment and is on injectable antibiotics. All his vital parameters are stable. He will continue to be in the hospital until the infection is controlled".

    The former Prime Minister was admitted to the AIIMS with urinary tract infection, lower respiratory tract infection and kidney issues on Monday.

    PM Modi met the doctors and enquired about the well-being of Vajpayee on Monday, while Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat were among the leaders who visited AIIMS to inquire about his health on Tuesday. 
     

  • Four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, including an officer, were martyred and five others injured in unprovoked firing by Pakistan Rangers along the International Border (IB) in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

    The BSF troops are effectively and strongly retaliating to the cross-border firing.

    IG, BSF (Jammu Frontier) Ram Awtar said that Pakistan Rangers and the BSF had recently agreed to ensure ceasefire along the IB but the former violated it by initiating cross-border firing.

    In a tweet, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid expressed his condolence over the incident.

    "In Ramgarh Jammu sector of IB, 4 BSF personnel were martyred including one Asstt Commandant & 5 injured due to firing from across. Our heart goes to those who lost their dear ones," he said.

    This is the second major ceasefire violation along the IB this month and came despite Director General Military Operations (DGMO) of the two countries agreeing, on May 29, to implement the ceasefire pact of 2003 in "letter and spirit" and a sector commander-level (BSF DIG-Rangers Brigadier) meeting here on June 4 to ensure peace by "holding fire" along the IB.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of his entire 73-member council of ministers today.

    The meeting is aimed at reviewing the progress of the government's flagship schemes and the agenda for the last year of the current NDA rule.

    Many schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana, Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, among other schemes will be reviewed in the meeting.

     

  • Coupled with projected sea level rise driven by global warming, reef decline could see flooding increase four-fold by century's end, they reported in the journal Nature Communications.

    Without coral to help absorb the shock, a once-in-a-century cyclone would wreak twice the havoc, with the damage measured in the tens of billions of dollars, the team calculated. "Coral reefs serve as natural, submerged breakwaters that reduce flooding by breaking waves and reducing wave energy," said Michael Beck, lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy research and environmental group, and a professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

    "Unfortunately, we are already losing the height and complexity of shallow reefs around the world, so we are likely already seeing increases in flood damages along many tropical coasts," he told.

    Not all coral reefs are declining, and reefs can recover from bleaching, overfishing and storm impacts, Beck noted. "But the overall pattern of signficant losses across geographies is clear." Much of the world's 71,000 km of coastline with shallow reefs -- concentrated in the tropics -- has been decimated by coastal development, sand mining, dynamite fishing and runoff from industry and agriculture. Coral is also highly sensitive to spikes in water temperature, which have become sharper and more frequent with climate change.

    A marine heatwave in 2016, for example, killed off nearly 30 percent of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef. Damage from yet another bout of destructively warm water in 2017 has yet to be assessed. Global coral reefs risk catastrophic die-offs if Earth's average surface temperature increases two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, earlier research has shown.

    The 196-nation Paris Agreement seeks to cap global warming "well below" that threshold, but the planet has already warmed by more than 1 C. Combining coastal flooding and economic models, the new study calculated -- country by country -- the value of coral reefs as a barrier against storm-related wreckage. Globally, seaside flooding is estimated to cause nearly USD 4 billion dollars (3.4 billion euros) a year in damages.

    With the erosion of the top metre (three feet) of coral reefs worldwide, that figure rises to USD 8 billion, Beck and his colleagues found. "The topmost living corals will die and can break off very quickly," said Beck.

    The countries most at risk from coral reef loss are Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico and Cuba, each of which could avoid USD 400 million in damage per year if reefs are maintained. Saudi Arabia, the United States, Taiwan and Vietnam would also become significantly more vulnerable to flooding with severe coral erosion. "When we consider the devastating impact of tropical storms in just the past few years -- Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Typhoon Haiyan -- the effects would be much worse without coral reefs," Beck said.

    The study adds to a growing body of research seeking to calculate the monetary value of assets and services -- long taken for granted -- that Nature provides us for free. Mangrove forests, for example, also protect against storm surges and serve as nurseries for dozens of aquatic species. They are disappearing at the rate of one-to-two percent per year, scientists say. Likewise, bee populations that pollinate tens of billions of dollars worth of crops each year are collapsing. 

  • The Meteorological (MeT) department has forecast light to moderate rain in some parts of northern India.

    In West Bengal, four people were killed in lightning strikes in Bankura district, three in Hooghly district, while one death each was reported from West Midnapore, Birbhum and North 24 Parganas districts, officials said.

    Heavy monsoon rain triggered flood in Lunglei and Aizawl district of Mizoram. Over 1,000 people were evacuated to safer places in the two districts due to the flood. State school education department declared holidays for Tuesday and Wednesday for all schools due to heavy downpour, officials said.

    Scattered rains occurred at isolated places in the mid and higher hills of Himachal Pradesh. The MeT has forecast rains or thundershowers at isolated places in the mid hills over the next six days, rain or thundershowers in the lower hills and rain or snow in the higher hills from June 15.

    Heat wave conditions continued unabated in most parts of Punjab and Haryana, with Amritsar and Patiala sizzling at 42.8 degrees Celsius, making these as the hottest places in the region. The MeT has forecast light to moderate rain at isolated places in the region after two days.

    In the national capital, hot and humid conditions continued to prevail with the mercury settling at 41.7 degrees Celsius, even as the weatherman forecast dusty winds towards the night.

    Heat wave conditions have abated in parts of Rajasthan where pre-monsoon showers brought down day temperatures by a few degrees. The highest temperature was recorded at 43.8 degrees Celsius in Jaisalmer followed by Sriganganagar, which registered a maximum of 43 degrees Celsius.

    The weather is likely to remain dry in Uttar Pradesh, with Kanpur registering as the hottest place in the state at 44.8 degrees Celsius. The MeT forecast rains or thunderstorm are very likely at isolated places over the eastern parts of UP on June 14.

    In Jammu, the weatherman has forecast dry weather for the next three days, indicating rise in the temperatures across the region. The city recorded a high of 39.6 degrees Celsius.

    Squally winds are very likely along and off Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal coasts. Sea condition is likely to remain rough to very rough over these areas. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

  • The carpet area of a house has been enhanced to 160 sq m from 120 sq m for Middle Income Group-I (MIG-I), while it has been increased to 200 sq m from 150 sq m in case of MIG-II.

    The new rules will be effective from January 1, 2017, the date on which the scheme became operational, the ministry said in a release. Under the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), each beneficiary can avail subsidy up to Rs 2.35 lakh on purchase of a house under the scheme.

    Under MIG-I, 4 per cent interest subsidy is available on loan up to Rs 9 lakh for people with an annual income between Rs 6-12 lakh, while 3 per cent interest subsidy is given on loan up to Rs 12 lakh to people with income between Rs 12-18 lakh per annum.

    “The enhancements will now enable more MIG customers to qualify for subsidy and avail the benefits provided under the ambitious flagship mission of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) ,” the release said.

    Apart from increasing the number of beneficiaries, the enhancement in carpet area will increase the construction activity and will give a push to housing sector, it added. As of June 11, an amount of Rs 736 crore has been disbursed to 35,204 beneficiaries belonging to the MIG category, the ministry said. The decision to increase the carpet area for MIG section was done after inputs from various stakeholders, it added. 

  • He arrived at the ED's headquarter annexe office shortly before 11 am. He was summoned after he was first questioned on June 5 by the agency.

    The investigating officer of the case is expected to record Chidambaram's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It is understood that the agency wants to put across a fresh set of questions to him regarding the deal and decisions taken by him. The agency had recorded his statement for six hours on various aspects last time.

    Chidambaram, also a former home minister, earlier had approached the court of Special Judge O P Saini seeking relief from arrest by the ED in the case. The court then directed the ED not to take any coercive action or arrest him till July 10 in connection with the case. 

  • The industrial growth, based on Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 3.2 per cent in April last year. The IIP for March this year has been revised upwards to 4.6 per cent from 4.4 per cent estimated earlier.

    As per the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the manufacturing sector which accounts for over 77 per cent weight of the index, recorded a growth of 5.2 per cent in April this year, up from 2.9 per cent a year ago.

    Similarly, the mining output grew by 5.1 per cent, compared to 3 per cent in the year ago period. As per the 'use based' classification, capital goods out, a barometer of investment, expanded by 13 per cent in April this year as against a decline of 4.8 per cent in the year-ago month. Consumer durable as well as consumer non-durable segments too posted higher growth on yearly basis.

    "While the rise in consumer non-durable points the revival in rural sector, the increase in consumer durable posted a positive outlook for the urban centres," said D S Rawat, secretary general of industry body Assocham. According to him, the rise in output of the capital goods sector is indicative of improvement in investment demand.

    In terms of industries, 16 out of 23 groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth in April this year on yearly basis. The industry group 'manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products' has shown the highest positive growth of 27.5 per cent followed by 21.9 per cent in 'manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers' and 15.7 per cent in 'manufacture of food products'.

    On the other hand, the industry group 'other manufacturing' has shown the highest negative growth of 30.7 per cent followed by 13.4 per cent in ‘manufacture of wearing apparel' and 10.3 per cent in ?printing and reproduction of recorded media', CSO data said. The CSO data also revealed that infrastructure/ construction goods recorded a growth of 7.5 per cent, up from 4.7 per cent in the year ago period. 

  • The famous Madhavpur Mela in Gujarat was organised under the initiative where a beautiful cultural integration of Gujarat and the North East was on perfect display. Here's a ground report.

    In a unique initiative, the famous Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat witnessed its first-ever cultural integration with the North-East. As the folklore goes, Madhavpur Ghed is the place where Lord Krishna married Rukmini, the daughter of King Bhishmaka. The annual fair celebrates the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna.

    WATCH | Ground Report: How ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ celebrates the diversity in rich Indian culture

    The 4-day utsav saw a vibrant cultural trail of art, dance, music, poetry, story-telling and folk drama from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and other North-Eastern States with the aim to integrate the rich cultures of the two regions.

    The fair provided a unique opportunity to artists to showcase their talent and interact with each other. 

    Among the highlights of the event were Krishna – Rupen ballet by Kalashree and Krishna Rukmini dance drama. Artists from the North East showcased a popular folk theatre Rukmani Haran in the Ankia-Naat genre. In the folk dance segment Pung Cholam dance of Manipur with acrobatics along with Manipuri Ras and Sankirtanaand was performed. 

    An exposition and sale of art and crafts of Gujarat and handloom and handicrafts products from Arunachal, Manipur and other North-Eastern states were part of the event.

  • Continuing with the series of interactions, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma presented an account of the achievements and accomplishments.

    He said after 2014, efforts have increased substantially to showcase Indian culture and its uniqueness at the global stage. He also said that due to the consistent efforts of the government, India has climbed up from 65th position on tourism map to reach 40th position worldwide. 

    WATCH | Exclusive interaction with Culture Minister Dr. Mahesh Sharma in special programme 'Sawal Aapke, Jawab Mantriji Ke'

    Talking about the achievements in the last 4 years:

    - Swadesh Darshan has given a boost to the basic infrastructure at tourist destinations. 13 theme circuits are being developed with an investment of Rs. 780 crore.
    - Scheme to spend 100 crore for the beautification of places of religious importance.
    - 60 percent of the digitalisation work at historical places is complete.
    - 100 historical monuments designated as Adarsh Smaraks.
    - E-ticketing has been made available for historical places. Theme based tourism has begun across the country.
    - The three key aspects of tourism - Connectivity, cleanliness and security are the main focus of the ministry

    To promote cultural diversity, many programmes have been initiated which also includes Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. With an investment of Rs 490 crore, cultural mapping of India for artists has begun. Since 2014, cultural exchange programmes with 44 countries have been successfully carried out..

     

  • Giving details about his ministry, Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said that Department of Telecommunications and Department of Posts have played a vital role in giving impetus and in adding more strength to Digital India and Financial Inclusion.

    In the last four years, the Minister said that transparency was ushered in the telecom sector. “Government has been successful in providing digital connectivity and people centric services and initiatives,” he added.

    Manoj SInha expressed hope that National Digital Communication Policy 2018 will get Cabinet's approval by July end. The main aim of the Policy is:

    - To ensure Broadband for all by 2022.

    - To generate 40 lakh jobs in communication sector by 2022.

    - To increase the GDP of digital communication sector to 8 percent by 2022.

    - To ensure digital sovereignty of the nation.

    The minister said the amount spent on telecommunications sector has increased by 6 times from 2014-2019. Telecommunication density increased to 93 percent by 2018 from 75 per cent in June 2014. Mobile internet consumers also increased from 23 crores in March 2014 to 42.5 crores in December 2017. In the last three years, FDI has increased 5 times in the telecom sector.

    Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Anant Geete, while recounting the achievements of his ministry said that BHEL which was incurring losses has now turned profitable with a healthy profit margin of Rs. 1500 crores.

    To give a boost to electric vehicles, Heavy Industry Ministry is beginning phase 2 wherein the availability of battery operated 2 wheelers and 4 wheelers will increase substantially.

    Inclusive and overall development was the aim of govt when it came to office 4 years ago and the ministers are now taking the achievements to people about the work done so far in that direction.

  • It’s been a rather long journey of mistrust, war and skirmishes that finally culminated in the historic summit in Singapore. Take a brief look at the recent events that finally lead to the signing of agreement on Tuesday. 

    How the Trump-Kim summit came together:

    January 1, 2018: After an unusually provocative 2017 during which North Korea tested a thermonuclear warhead and three intercontinental ballistic missiles, Kim Jong Un initiates diplomacy in his annual New Year address. Calls for improved relations and engagement with South Korea but adds he has a nuclear button on his desk.

    Trump responds that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button adding "And my Button works"

    January 9, 2018: North and South Korean officials meet at a border village and agree on North Korea sending athletes and delegates to the Winter Olympics in the South. Hundreds of North Koreans go to the Pyeongchang Games in February, including Kim's sister, who conveys her brother's desire for an inter-Korean summit with South Korea's president.

    March 8, 2018: South Korean envoys meet Trump in Washington and deliver an invitation from Kim to meet. Trump accepts the invitation.

    April 18, 2018: Trump confirms that Mike Pompeo, then the CIA chief, had met Kim secretly in North Korea and said "a good relationship was formed" heading into the anticipated summit.

    April 21, 2018: North Korea suspends nuclear and ICBM tests and plans to close its nuclear test site as part of a shift in its national focus to developing its economy.

    Trump tweets: "This is very good news for North Korea and the World"

    April 27, 2018: Kim holds a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The leaders announce aspirational goals of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.

    May 9, 2018: Pompeo, US Secretary of State, makes another visit to Pyongyang to prepare for the Trump-Kim summit. North Korea releases three Americans who had been imprisoned.

    May 10, 2018: Trump announces he will meet with Kim in Singapore on June 12. He tweets: "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!"

    May 12, 2018: North Korea says it will hold a ceremony to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23rd-25th.

    May 16, 2018: North Korea abruptly cancels a high-level meeting with the South and threatens to cancel the Summit with Trump too in protest over U.S.-South Korean military exercises and U.S. comments that the North should follow the "Libya model" of denuclearization by eliminating everything upfront. The North says it won't be unilaterally pressured into abandoning its nuclear weapons.

    May 22, 2018: Trump and Moon meet at the White House to discuss the Trump-Kim talks. The South Korean President says the fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge on the meeting in Singapore.

    May 24, 2018: North Korea dismantles its nuclear testing ground infront of foreign journalists. Trump announces hours later that he's pulling out of the summit.

    May 25, 2018: North Korea attempts damage control, saying it is still willing to hold talks with the United States at any time and in any format.  Moon calls Trump's move to cancel the summit "very perplexing." Says Washington and Pyongyang should get the talks back on track.

    May 26, 2018: Kim and Moon meet at a border village in an effort to revive the summit with Trump. Moon says Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearize their peninsula but also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to provide a credible security guarantee in return.

    May 30, 2018: North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean official visits the United States. He arrived in New York for pre-summit negotiations with Pompeo.

    June 1, 2018: After meeting Kim Yong Chol at the White House, Trump says his meeting with Kim Jong Un is back on for June 12.

    June 5, 2018: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets the Trump-Kim meeting will be held at Singapore's Capella Hotel.

    June 10, 2018:  Trump and Kim arrive in Singapore for the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. 

    June 11, 2018: Mike Pompeo says US is offering "unique" security guarantees to North Korea in return for a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization.

    June 12, 2018: President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet for a historic face-to-face summit.

  • The Indian skipper, who has been in prolific form, received the award for his stupendous performance during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation for a neck injury sustained during the IPL, which ruled him out of his much debated County assignment for Surrey. Kohli is expected to appear for a fitness test at the NCA on June 15.

    The Awards function was also attended by the Afghanistan national team which will take on India in their first ever Test match, starting Thursday. Former England captain Kevin Pietersen, who delivered the key note address for the MAK Pataudi Memorial lecture, was also present. It was an evening in which the past and the current generation of Indian cricketers came together under one roof.

    Anshuman Gaekwad and Sudha Shah received the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement award. The domestic cricketers got their due recognition as Jalaj Saxena, Parvez Rasool, Krunal Pandya were all feted for their consistent domestic performances.

    Jalaj and Rasool were adjudged ‘Best All Rounders' in Ranji Trophy while Krunal was rewarded for his performance in the Hazare one-day championship. However, Krunal did not turn up to receive the award as he is on national duty with the India A team.

  • ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has offered to transfer the in-house developed li-ion cell technology to competent industries on a 'non-exclusive' basis to establish Li-ion cell production facilities in the country.

    Li-ion cells find wide applications in electronic gadgets, telecommunication, industrial applications as well as in aerospace. This initiative is expected to enable Zero Emission Policy of India and accelerate the development of indigenous electric vehicle industry, ISRO said in a statement said.

    According to ISRO, presently, Lithium-ion battery is the most dominating battery system which finds applications for a variety of societal needs, including mobile phones, laptops, PDA, cameras and many other portable consumer gadgets. Recent advances in Li-ion battery technology have made it the preferred power source for electric and hybrid electric vehicles also.

    "VSSC, ISRO is now offering to transfer this technology to competent Indian industries/start-ups on non-exclusive basis to establish Li-ion cell production facilities in the country that can produce cells of varying size, capacity, energy density and power density catering to the entire spectrum of power storage requirements," the ISRO said.

    The RFQ intends to qualify and short-list industries in India/start-ups based on eligibility criteria through an open evaluation process in accordance with the procedures laid down, ISRO said in its website. 

  • Researchers at Western University in Canada have shown that our brains are pre-wired to perceive wrinkles around the eyes as conveying more intense and more sincere emotions. This eye-wrinkle feature, called the Duchenne marker, occurs across multiple facial expressions, including smiles, expressions associated with pain, and - as found by the researchers - expressions of sadness.

    Using a method called visual rivalry, the researchers showed participants photos of expressions with and without the Duchenne marker to study which of the expressions our brains perceive as more important. When different images are shown in each eye, the brain alternates between these two images, but will bring the image that is perceived as more relevant into perceptual awareness more often.

    Visual rivalry is like a window into the unconscious, and demonstrates what our brains involuntarily see as more relevant or important, according to the study published in the journal Emotion.

    "The expressions involving the Duchenne marker were always dominant. So if the emotion is more intense, your brain actually prefers to bring it into perceptual awareness for longer time," said Julio Martinez-Trujillo, a professor at Western University.

    The researchers also asked participants to rate the expressions on a scale for intensity and sincerity, and found that people systematically ranked the Duchenne smiles and Duchenne sad expressions as more sincere and more intense than the non-Duchenne expressions.

    "These findings provide evidence of a potential universal language for reading emotions. In other words, a given facial action may have a single role across multiple facial expressions - especially if that facial action shapes your social interactions," said Nour Malek from Western University. "For example, knowing if a stranger's smile is genuine and whether that person can be trusted, warns you whether you should evade or not," said Malek. 

  • The absence of a number of traditional big hitters means many of the world's best players will be missing at Russia 2018. While the Socceroos left it late to qualify for the World Cup, some dominant football powers failed to make it at all. For the first time since 1958, Europeans giants Italy won't be there. They'll be watching from afar along with fellow giants the Netherlands.

    Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal failed to guide their Chilean side to Russia while the United States failed in qualifying — the first time the Stars and Stripes will miss a World Cup since 1986. We've put together a team of players all denied by qualification failure and, on paper, it's a star-studded fantasy XI that could conceivably contend for the greatest prize in football.


    GOALKEEPER: GIANLUIGI BUFFON (ITALY)

    Italy's most capped player couldn't help guide the Azzurri to Russia after bowing out to Sweden during qualifiers. Buffon won the Jules Rimet trophy back in 2006 in Germany after his side downed Zinedine Zidane's France in the final. The legend will be sorely missed in Russia as it was probably his last chance to lift the World Cup as Italy captain.


    RIGHT BACK: ANTONIO VALENCIA (ECUADOR)

    One of the first names on Manchester United's teamsheet, Valencia couldn't quite guide Ecuador to Russia. His tough tackling in defence and ability to get beyond the ball in attack with relentless energy will be missed in Russia.


    CENTRE-BACK: VIRGIL VAN DIJK (NETHERLANDS)

    The star-studded Dutch squad normally comes into the World Cup with high expectation but this time they won't be there at all. It robs the tournament of one of the nation's top footballing prospects in big-money Liverpool recruit Virgil van Dijk.


    CENTRE-BACK: GIORGIO CHIELLINI (ITALY)

    Known for their regimented defensive tactics, the Italians always do well in major competitions, especially with players like Giorgio Chiellini mopping up at the back. Along with his ability to get forward and find the back of the net, Chiellini's tough tackling attitude will be missed in Russia.


    LEFT BACK: DAVID ALABA (AUSTRIA)

    Bayern Munich's ever-consistent left back won't be making his World Cup debut any time soon after Austria failed to qualify yet again. Unfortunately for fans, David Alaba's wonder left peg won't be seen in Russia.



    MIDFIELD: MARCO VERRATTI (ITALY)

    Verratti has been pulling strings at PSG for a while now and is a big name that won't feature in Russia. Italy's strong spine through the middle was regularly orchestrated by the talented 25-year-old.



    MIDFIELD: ARTURO VIDAL (CHILE)

    Bayern Munich's Vidal has been bossing the midfield in the Bundesliga this season, helping them win their sixth successive league title. The box-to-box Chilean will be missed by fans in Russia.


    RIGHT WING: ARJEN ROBBEN (NETHERLANDS)

    The Dutch wizard has been embarrassing fullbacks for years now. Robben lit up the show at the World Cup in Brazil four years ago, leading Holland to a third-place finish, but will be absent from this years tournament.

    Retiring from international football after his team's unsuccessful qualifying campaign, the flying Dutchman would have captained his side in Russia.


    LEFT WING: GARETH BALE (WALES)

    Blistering pace and a high work rate saw Gareth Bale lead Wales on a terrific run at the European Championships in 2016. The Real Madrid star lead from the front for Wales during the Euros, with many expecting them to qualify comfortably for the World Cup. But it wasn't to be, and Bale's world class talent won't be on show.


    ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ALEXIS SANCHEZ (CHILE)

    His move to Manchester United from Arsenal was met with some indifferent form and it seemed to carried through to his national team duties with Chile.


    STRIKER: PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (GABON)

    Aubameyang had started hitting his straps in England after the big-money move to Arsenal. But Gabon's failure to qualify for a first World Cup for a means he won't get to build on it in Russia.

  • The results of the study of 5,222 employees across the US suggest that workplaces can play an important role to help ensure access to and promote healthier food options.

    "Our results suggest that the foods people get from work do not align well with the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans," said Stephen Onufrak from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study used data from the US Department of Agriculture Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey (FoodAPS), a nationally representative household survey on food purchases and acquisitions during a seven-day study period.

    The researchers analysed the food or beverages employees purchased at work from vending machines or cafeterias or that were obtained for free in common areas, at meetings or at worksite social events. The analysis showed that nearly a quarter of study participants obtained food from work at least once a week and that the average weekly calories obtained was almost 1,300.

    The food tended to be high in empty calories - those from solid fats and/or added sugars - with more than 70 per cent of the calories coming from food that was obtained for free. The researchers say that employers could help their employees eat better at work by using worksite wellness programmes to promote healthy options that are also appealing.

    Employers could also ensure that foods in cafeterias or vending machines follow food service guidelines, which translate the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans into practical recommendations, researchers said. "Since we found that a lot of the foods obtained by employees were free, employers may also want to consider healthy meeting policies to encourage healthy food options at meetings and social events," said Onufrak.

  • India has conveyed a strong protest through diplomatic channel against the so-called "Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018".

    It was clearly conveyed that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the 'Azad Jammu and Kashmir' is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947.

    MInistry of External Affairs in statement said that any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever, and is completely unacceptable.

    MInistry of External Affairs also added that instead of seeking to alter the status of the occupied territories, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

     

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in hailed the outcome of the summit between President Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un as a "historic event" that ended the last Cold War conflict.

    "I offer my heartfelt congratulations and welcome the success of the historic North Korea-United States summit", Moon said in a statement. "The June 12 Sentosa Agreement will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on Earth," he said.

    Moon has made great efforts playing the role of mediator to bring the Cold War foes back to dialogue. He praised Trump and Kim for their "courage and determination" not to settle for "that outdated and familiar reality but to take a daring step towards change". He lionised Trump for achieving "a feat that no one else has ever delivered", adding Kim would also be remembered as "a leader who made a historic moment by taking the first bold step toward the world".

    "Building upon the agreement reached today, we will take a new path going forward. "Leaving dark days of war and conflict behind, we will write a new chapter of peace and cooperation. We will be there together with North Korea along the way", he said.

    Moon however cautioned that this was "just a beginning and there may be many difficulties ahead". "But we will never go back to the past again and never give up on this bold journey. History is a record of people who take action and rise to a challenge," he added. 

    UN chief says Trump-Kim summit 'important milestone'

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "an important milestone" toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

    Guterres urged all those concerned to "seize this momentous opportunity" and again offered UN help to achieve the goal of dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

    EU hails Trump-Kim talks as 'crucial and necessary step'

    The EU today praised the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "crucial and necessary step", saying it indicated "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula could be achieved.

    "This summit was a crucial and necessary step to build upon the positive developments achieved in inter-Korean relations and on the peninsula so far," the EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement. 

    Mogherini stressed that the aim of the international community remained "the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" -- a longstanding formulation that implies Pyongyang allowing inspections and not rebuilding any weapons it gives up.

    China urges 'full denuclearisation' as Kim-Trump meet

    China also has praised the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as historic and called for "full denuclearisation" to resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    The fact that the two leaders "can sit together and have equal talks has important and positive meaning, and is creating a new history," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters.

    "The crux of the peninsula nuclear issue is a security issue. The most important, difficult part of this security issue is for the United States and North Korea to sit down to find a way to resolution via equal talks," Wang said. "Resolving the nuclear issue, on the one hand of course is denuclearisation, full denuclearisation.

    At the same time, there needs to be a peace mechanism for the peninsula, to resolve North Korea's reasonable security concerns." Beijing is Pyongyang's sole major ally and main trading partner, but it has backed a slew of United Nations sanctions to punish the North over its nuclear and missile tests. Despite tensions, the Cold War-era allies have sought to mend ties recently, and Kim borrowed an Air China plane to travel to the landmark summit in Singapore.

    IAEA offers to help verify future US-North Korea deal

    The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog said that it stood ready to help verify any future agreements between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

    In a statement, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, welcomed the statement issued by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the end of their summit in Singapore, "which includes the DPRK's commitment towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". "The IAEA will closely follow the negotiations to be held between the two countries to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK Summit," the statement added.

    Japan PM hails Trump-Kim agreement as 'first step'

    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also welcomed a document signed by North Korea's leader at an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump as a "first step" towards denuclearisation.

    Abe also said he was pleased that the US leader had raised the emotive issue of Japanese abducted by Pyongyang. "Through this US-North Korea summit, Chairman Kim Jong Un's intent for complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was confirmed in writing," Abe told reporters. "I support this as a first step to the comprehensive resolution of issues concerning North Korea."

    The issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted in the 1970s and 1980s to help Pyongyang train its spies has long soured already strained relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang. The Japanese government has officially listed 17 people as abductees, but there are strong suspicions that dozens more citizens were snatched to train Pyongyang's spies in the Japanese language and culture. Japan has repeatedly called for the issue to be raised in discussions with Pyongyang, and Trump said at a press conference on this afternoon that he had discussed the issue with Kim. "I highly appreciate the fact that President Trump firmly touched upon what I told him recently about the abduction issue which is very important to us, to Japan," Abe said.

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, the wreath laying ceremony of two police personnel, who lost their lives in exchange of fire with terrorists early today, was held in the state.

    The two police personell sergeant Ghulam Rasool Lone & sergeant Ghulam Hassan were martyred after terrorsits fired upon Police Guard of new court complex in Pulwama early in the morning. Three policemen got injured in the attack, in which two police personnel, secumbed to their injuries while the third police personel was rushed to hospital. 

    In another attack, 10 CRPF jawans sustained minor injuries after they were attacked by terrorists with grenades in Sadar in Anantnag. The attack occured at around 3 am today. They were admitted to hospital.

     

  • Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED)  for the second round of questioning in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case. 

    The senior Congress leader arrived at the ED's headquarter annexe office in New Delhi.

    He was summoned for today after he was first questioned on June 5 by the agency, a department that reported to him during his tenure in the Finance Ministry.

    The investigating officer of the case is expected to record Chidambaram's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) today, like the last time, they added.

    It is understood that the agency wants to put across a fresh set of questions to him regarding the deal and decisions taken by him. The agency had recorded his statement for six hours on various aspects last time.

     

  • Former PM Manmohan Singh, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat were among the leaders who visited AIIMS to enquire about his health.

    In a statement, the AIIMS said, "His condition is stable. He is responding to treatment and is on injectable antibiotics. All his vital parameters are stable. He will continue to be in hospital till infection is controlled".

    A team of doctors, under the supervision of AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria is monitoring the vitals. Vajpayee continues to remain in the ICU of the cardio-thoracic centre of AIIMS and underwent dialysis on Monday. 

    PM Modi met the doctors and enquired about the well-being of Vajpayee on Monday. BJP veteran L K Advani, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, party chief Amit Shah, Health Minister J P Nadda, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were among those who paid a visit to the ailing leader on Monday. 

    Vajpayee was thrice elected the prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and is the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004. As his health deteriorated, he had slowly withdrawn himself from public life and was confined to his residence for years. 

  • Curious onlookers in Singapore also lined up at the streets to click pictures of Kim Jong Un's entourage making its way to the Changi airport. Kim's car had the North Korean flag fluttering on it as the leader headed back home.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday agreed to work toward "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" in return for security guarantees from the US as Donald Trump wrapped up his historic summit which he described as "honest, direct and productive."

    Trump also said that the US would end joint military exercises with South Korea, fulfilling a major demand by North Korea that has long claimed they are invasion rehearsals. The president, however, said the sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear tests will remain for now.

    Trump and Kim conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new relations between the two countries and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, according to a joint statement signed by Trump and Kim at the end of the summit.

    "President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the statement read.

    It said the two sides committed to recovering POW/MIA (prisoners of war and missing in action) remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified. The document was signed after the two leaders had a one-on-one meeting, with translators only, followed by an expanded meeting including their top aides and a working lunch at Capella Singapore hotel in Sentosa Island after months of diplomatic twists and turns.

    "We signed a joint statement that is an unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of North Korea," Trump told reporters after the summit - the first between a sitting US president and North Korea's top leader. He said the US is 'prepared to start a new history' with North Korea. "Kim told me that North Korea has already destroyed a major missile engine testing site," he said, without elaborating on it.

    In response to a question about denuclearisation, Trump said, "We're starting that process... very quickly." Trump said there will be a meeting next week to go over the details of the denuclearisation process. "We are working with the regional countries on getting this deal going. We are sitting with John Bolton next week to go over the details, to get this stuff done. We are working with South Korea, Japan, China to a lesser extent," he said, while addressing an hour-long press conference.

    Trump, however, said the US sanctions would remain in place until Washington had seen progress. When asked about North Korea's future economic model, Trump said it is for the country and its people to decide. He pointed out the real estate potential of its "great beaches" which can be seen on missile test footage. Earlier, Trump said the summit went "better than anybody could have expected." "We have decided to leave the past behind," Kim said through a translator, after signing the statement.

    US to stop 'war games' with South Korea: Trump

    President Donald Trump has said that the US will stop conducting military drills on the Korean peninsula, after his historic summit. "We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," Trump told reporters, adding he had agreed to stop the "war games" because he considers them "very provocative".

    The US president also said he wants to withdraw American troops stationed in South Korea, like he had promised during his election campaign. "I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home," Trump said, adding "But that's not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually". Trump's assertions could alarm South Korean conservatives who have urged him not to jeopardise their country's security.

    The US and South Korea are security allies, with about 30,000 American troops based in country to defend it from its northern neighbour, which launched an invasion in 1950. They hold joint military exercises every year that anger North Korea which has long demanded an end to the drills and frequently responds with volatile steps of its own, leading to a spike in tensions.

    "I think it's very provocative. Under the circumstances we are negotiating a complete deal," Trump said, adding "It is inappropriate to have war games. Number one, we save money. A lot. Number two, it is really something they very much appreciated".

    The move appears to be based on the 'freeze for freeze' proposal mooted by China, under which North Korea would stop nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt to the military exercises. Kim has earlier declared a moratorium on testing, saying North Korea has completely developed its nuclear arsenal.

     "The world will see a major change," he added. Trump said he was very proud of what took place today and the two leaders would "take care of a very dangerous problem for the world." The 71-year-old Trump said the summit worked out far better than expected and he's developed a "very special bond" with 34-year-old Kim.

    Trump said Kim is "a very talented man" and he will invite him to the White House at the "appropriate time", and he will also travel to Pyongyang at a certain time. Earlier this morning, the summit began with the two leaders arriving separately at the luxurious hotel. They walked towards each other, stood face to face for the first time and shared a 12-second handshake against a backdrop of American and North Korean flags. They then appeared to share a few light-hearted words as they walked down a corridor to the hotel's library.

    In brief remarks to the media before the start of their meeting, Trump hoped that the historic summit would be "tremendously successful." Kim then said there were a number of "obstacles" to the meeting taking place in Singapore today. "We overcame all of them and we are here today," he told reporters through a translator. Trump responded, "Thank you very much". The two leaders held one-on-one meeting for around 45-minutes with just translators present.

    According to North Korean media, Kim actually arrived at the venue 7 minutes earlier than Trump to show respect as it's cultural, the young one should arrive earlier than the elder one. The red tie that Trump wears may also show some respect to Kim as well, it's the colour that North Koreans like. Later, they held delegation-level talks.

    Kim was asked at least three times if he would give up his nuclear weapons. In response, he just smiled. "There will be challenges ahead but we will work with Trump. We overcame all kinds of skepticism and speculation about this summit and I believe that this is good for the peace," Kim said.

    After the delegation-level meeting, Trump joined Kim for a working lunch which had a mix of Western and Asian dishes, such as Korean stuffed cucumber and beef short rib confit with some Haagen-Dazs ice cream to top things off. The two leaders then took a post-lunch stroll in the courtyard of the hotel. On the eve of the summit at Sentosa, the US had offered "unique" security guarantees to North Korea in return for a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation.

  • In its reaction, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at the same time hoped that any resolution to the North Korean "peninsula issue" will address New Delhi's concerns about Pyongyang's proliferation linkages with India's neighbourhood, seen as an apparent reference to Pakistan. India has been pressing for a probe into North Korea's proliferation linkages with India's neighbourhood.

    "India welcomes the United States-DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Summit held in Singapore. This is a positive development. India has always supported all efforts to bring about peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy," the MEA said in a statement.

    Trump and Kim signed a "very comprehensive" document after their summit in Singapore. After the talks, the US president said that the process of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula will begin "very soon" and the North Korean leader promised to leave the past behind. "We hope that the outcomes of the US-DPRK Summit will be implemented, thus paving the way for lasting peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," the MEA said.

    It further said, "We also hope that the resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue will take into account and address our concerns about proliferation linkages extending to India's neighbourhood." Trump and Kim had a one-on-one meeting followed by an expanded meeting including their top aides and a working lunch at Capella Singapore hotel in Sentosa Island after months of diplomatic twists and turns.

    "We're signing a very comprehensive document, and we've had a really great time together, a great relationship," Trump said while signing the document along with Kim at the end of the summit - the first between a sitting US president and North Korea's top leader. 

  • Ten people were killed on a river cruise when their boat collided with a tugboat in the Russian city of Volgograd, which is hosting matches in the soccer World Cup.

    Emergencies services received notification at around 10 pm on Monday that the vessels had collided on the Volga river, about 1 km from the riverbank.

    Ten people were killed, while one person is unaccounted for, Russia's RIA news agency cited the local administration as saying.

    There were a total of 16 people on board the pleasure craft when the collision happened, all of them Russian citizens.

    Rescuers were able to save five people from the passenger vessel, three of whom are in the hospital, according to the website of regional governor Andrei Bocharov.

    Volgograd will play host to World Cup opening round matches involving England, Tunisia, Nigeria, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Japan, and Poland.

  • NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission has selected 3,000 additional schools for the establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) , bringing the total number of ATL schools to 5,441.

    The selected schools shall receive a grant of Rs 20 lakh spread over the next five years to establish Atal Tinkering Labs for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurial spirit among secondary school children across India. ATLs will soon be established in every district of India, seeking to enable an innovation ecosystem, which will facilitate transformational change in technological innovation and pedagogy.

    “These additional 3,000 schools will greatly expand the reach of the ATL program, increasing the number of children exposed to tinkering and innovation and providing access to the young innovators of India to technologies like 3D Printing, Robotics, IoT and microprocessors”, said Shri Ramanathan Ramanan, MD, Atal Innovation Mission.

    These additional schools will facilitate the creation of over One Million Neoteric Child Innovators by 2020. ATLs will function as innovation hubs for these student innovators to explore solutions to unique local problems which they come across in their everyday lives.

    These new additions take the number of ATLs to 5,441 representing all states and five out of seven union territories.

    With these new schools, NITI Aayog’s AIM envisions strong growth in the collaborative ecosystem created by the ATL initiative, where students, teachers, mentors and industry partners work to facilitate innovation, foster scientific temper and an entrepreneurial spirit in the children of today, who will go on to become successful contributors to nation-building tomorrow.

    These newly selected schools will be contacted soon with all details regarding the formalities they have to complete to receive the grant and establish the Atal Tinkering Lab on their premises.

     

  • Researchers from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of Oviedo in Spain analysed the data collected by the K2 mission of NASA’s Kepler satellite, which started in November 2013.

    The study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), reveals the existence of two new planetary systems detected from the eclipses they produce in the stellar light of their respective stars.

    The first exoplanetary system is located in the star K2-239, characterised as a red dwarf type M3V from observations made with the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafia, La Palma).

    It is located in the constellation of the Sextant at 50 parsecs from the Sun (at about 160 light years). It has a compact system of at least three rocky planets of similar size to the Earth (1.1, 1.0 and 1.1 Earth radii) that orbit the star every 5.2, 7.8 and 10.1 days, respectively. The other red dwarf star, called K2-240, has two super-Earth-like planets about twice the size of our planet.

    The atmospheric temperature of red dwarf stars around which these planets revolve is 3,450 and 3,800 Kelvin respectively, almost half the temperature of the sun. These researchers estimate that all planets discovered will have temperatures tens of degrees higher than those of Earth due to the strong radiation they receive in these close orbits to their stars.

    Future observation campaigns with the new James Webb space telescope will characterise the composition of the atmospheres of the discovered planets.

    Spectroscopic observations with the ESPRESSO instrument, installed in the Very Large Telescope (VLT), of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), or with future spectrographs in the GTC or in new astronomical facilities, such as the ELT or the TMT, will be crucial to determine the masses, densities and physical properties of these planets.

     

  • Gandhi has pleaded ‘not guilty’ in the case. Rahul arrived at the magistrate's court in Bhiwandi and appeared before civil judge A I Sheikh, who read out the charges levelled against him and also the statement of the complainant Rajesh Kunte.

    The court then proceeded to frame charges against the Congress leader under IPC sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation). Next hearing for the case is on August 10.

    On May 2, the court in Bhiwandi had asked Gandhi to appear before it today to record his plea in the defamation case filed by RSS worker Rajesh Kunte in 2014.

  • The two police personnel sergeant Ghulam Rasool Lone and sergeant Ghulam Hassan were martyred after terrorsits fired upon police Guard of new court complex in Pulwama early in the morning.

    Three policemen got injured in the attack, in which two police personnel, secumbed to their injuries while the third police personel was rushed to hospital.  

    In another attack, 10 CRPF jawans sustained minor injuries after they were attacked by terrorists with grenades in Sadar in Anantnag.

    The attack occured at around 3 am today. They were admitted to hospital.