LIVE: TN govt to transfer Tuticorin custodial death case to CBI, says CM

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation through his monthly radio programme "Mann ki baat" on Sunday. The prime minister spoke on a range of issues including the ongoing Ladakh standoff and maintained that India knows how to safeguard its border.

Oil companies did not hike the petrol prices during the day breaking the 21-day-chain of successive hikes in petrol and diesel prices. Looking at the spike in the fuel price amid Covid-19 outbreak, Congress has planned nationwide protests from Monday. The party has been regularly attacking the Centre over the unchecked price hikes.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued Orange alert in Wayanad and Kozhikode districts of Kerala.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day


Exit poll: Andrzej Duda leads in Poland's presidential election

An exit poll shows the conservative Polish president, Andrzej Duda, with the most votes in Poland's presidential election on Sunday, but short of the 50% required for an outright win the first round.

If the poll is confirmed by official results, Duda will face centrist Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in a runoff on July 12.

According to the projection by the Ipsos polling firm, Duda won 41.8 per cent and Trzaskowski 30.4 per cent in Sunday's vote. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Poland's state electoral commission has said it would release the final results by Wednesday evening at the latest.

J&K govt dispels speculations, says LPG stock order issued due to monsoon

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday said an order regarding increasing the stock of LPG in the valley was issued in view of frequent closures of highway due to rainfall during this time of the year, dispelling speculations over it.

"We all know that the NH-44, between Ramban-Jawahar Tunnel stretch, behaves in an unpredictable manner during the rains. Currently, we maintain stock of nearly a month in Kashmir," an official spokesman said.

"We have requested the LPG companies to explore the feasibility of maintaining the stock for nearly two months to prevent any panic situations that may arise in the event of highway closure for longer duration or on multiple occasions during the next three months," he said.

The spokesman said some people are spreading rumours by referring to the letter for "ensuring adequate stocking of LPG in Kashmir", written by the director of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department in Kashmir to nodal coordinators for oil companies. Read full story here

Huge spike in demand, profits make Bigbasket re-evaluate fundraising

Online grocery firm Bigbasket is having a relook at its earlier plan to go for a funding round in July because of the changed business environment. The company, which has started generating profits, is also seeing a huge spike in demand after the relaxation of the lockdown.

The Bengaluru-based firm in January had appointed Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to assist it in raising $150 million in a funding round towards June-July. 

While these bankers had initiated talks with perspective investors, the grocer is in two minds whether it actually needs to go for such a large funding round now, Hari Menon, co-founder and chief executive officer of Bigbasket, told Business Standard. Read full story here

RIL steps on the gas in agritech business, expands farm-to-fork model

Reliance Industries (RIL) is foraying into the growing agritech business through a combination of online technology, leveraging the strength of its new partner Facebook and collaborations in farm equipment innovations as part of its move to expand its “farm to fork” model.

For its own retail supply for Reliance Fresh and other stores and also for the soon-to-be-launched e-commerce play through JioMart, the focus is on ensuring a 12-hour delivery schedule between the harvest to the store by sourcing nearly 50 per cent of all vegetables required by consumers shopping in modern retail.

Facebook has picked up a 9.9 per cent stake in Jio Platforms and has also signed an agreement of collaboration with Reliance Retail. Read full story here...

New domicile law for J&K illegal: Farooq Abdullah

The new domicile law for Jammu and Kashmir is illegal and unconstitutional and it is not acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference leader and Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah said on Sunday.
When we are saying that we are united against everything that they have done, which is illegal, unconstitutional, how do you think am I going to accept what is unconstitutional, Abdullah said in Anantnag district of south Kashmir in response to a question by reporters on the new domicile law for the union territory.
As per the new domicile law, non-permanent residents who have residency proof of at least 15 years in J-K are entitled to get domicile certificates. Prior to the nullification of Article 370 and Article 35A, only state subjects were allowed to buy land and apply for government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.
Abdullah, the National Conference president, also batted for talks between India and China as well as India and Pakistan to address their concerns.

Guwahati landslide kills one; people asked to shift to safer places

A woman student was killed in a landslide near Raj Bhawan here on Sunday, prompting the administration to ask people living in vulnerable areas to move to safer places, officials said.
The administration also closed down a hospital temporarily near Raj Bhawan, a guard wall of which has become vulnerable due to gradual sliding of land, they added.
The governor's residence located in Kharghuli area of the city, however, is safe.
Another incident of landslide took place at Gita Nagar locality. A road and a house were damaged but no casualty was reported from there.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah called up Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and assured him of all help.
Officials said the college student Priyanka Boro was outside her home when a huge chunk of landmass from the hill above came down and buried her, killing her instantly.

DGCA issues show cause notice to AirAsia India executive after pilot alleges safety violations

The aviation regulator DGCA has issued a show cause notice to a top executive of AirAsia India two weeks after one of its pilots, who runs a popular YouTube channel called Flying Beast, alleged violations of safety norms by the low-cost airline, senior officials said on Sunday, PTI reported.
"A show cause notice has been issued to Manish Uppal, Head of Operations, AirAsia India after the pilot's allegations," the DGCA officials said. AirAsia India did not respond to PTI's request for a statement on this matter.
Captain Gaurav Taneja, a popular Youtuber, tweeted on June 14 that he has been suspended by AirAsia India "for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers". On June 15, he posted a detailed video on YouTube titled "Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job".
Taneja alleged in the video that the airline has asked its pilots to do 98 per cent of landings in "Flap 3" mode, which allows it to save fuel. He said if a pilot does not do 98 per cent of landings in "Flap 3" mode, the airline considers it a violation of its standard operating procedure (SOP). Flaps are part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create a drag during a landing or a take-off.

Latest News LIVE update: Around 70% of locust swarm eliminated in Uttar Pradesh's Jalaun

Around 70 per cent of the locust swarm that entered Uttar Pradesh's Jalaun was eliminated in a six-hour-long operation, an Agriculture Department official said on Sunday. Jalaun Deputy Director (Agriculture) RK Twari said chemicals were sprayed on the swarm of locusts which entered Jalaun from Jhansi on Saturday night. The anti-locusts operation continued for six hours from 10 pm to 4 am. In the operation, 70 per cent of the locusts were killed," he said.
The rest of the swarm flew towards Kalpi tehsil of the district, he said. Tiwari said since the locusts invaded in the evening, no damage was caused to crops. If the swarm had invaded in the morning, there would have been difficulties in dealing with it," he said, adding that officials are maintaining a watch on locusts and efforts are being made to ensure that crops are not damaged.
Meanwhile, UP's Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi told PTI, "In the morning, there was news of locusts from Sant Kabir Nagar and Kushinagar. Late night, operations were undertaken to kill a swarm of locusts. Generally, the insects fly in the morning and settle during night, when anti-locust operations are initiated.

Latest News LIVE: Bangladesh braces for massive floods; Brahmaputra flowing 55 cm above danger level

Weather officials in Bangladesh have predicted massive floods in the northwest and southeast portions of the country bordering India, as incessant rains have inflated rivers, posing serious threat to life and damage to farmland. Heavy rains in Meghalaya and Assam in Indian in the last two days have resulted in huge inflows into Bangladesh which is downstream. The Brahmaputra, called Jamuna in Bangladesh, is flowing 55 cm above the danger level and is reported to have already displaced thousands of people in overnight showers on Saturday.
A Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) spokesman told PTI: "We predict a major deluge as water levels in all major rivers are rising. Many have surpassed their danger marks, inundating villages along the river banks particularly in northwest and southeast regions."
According to a FFWC report, the transboundary Brahmaputra in the northwest and rivers in the Meghna delta in northeast are expected to swell further with heavy inflow from the upstream and predicted downpour in the coming weeks.
Monsoon has begun in Bangladesh, which is mainly aided by the southwest seasonal currents. The last week has seen heavy downpour in Bangladesh and adjoining upstream regions in India. The FFWC has said simultaneous flooding of the Ganga-Padma basin and the Meghna basin was unlikely. However, the centre said meteorological data suggested a steady rise in water levels in the Ganges-Padma river.

Latest News LIVE: Real estate developers resort to layoffs, pay cuts as Covid-19 hits sales

Hit by the coronavirus pandemic, real estate developers have resorted to layoffs and pay cuts and are focusing on cost control measures as sales are likely to remain muted in the coming months, according to industry experts.
The real estate sector has been facing headwinds since the past three-four years following demonetisation, RERA and GST rollout as well as delays in approvals. The Covid-19 crisis has further impacted market sentiment and sales.
According to industry estimates, the realty sector employs 6-7 million people, including 300,000 white-collar employees. As per estimates by and, around 200,000 employees (including the white-collared) in the real estate sector are expected to be laid off due to the coronavirus crisis. More than 60,000 jobs have been slashed so far, they added. READ MORE...

Latest News LIVE update: Wreath laying ceremony of CRPF soldier in West Bengal

Latest News LIVE update: Mercury crosses 40-degree Celsius-mark in Delhi

The mercury breached the 40 degrees Celsius-mark in the national capital on Sunday as rains continued to elude the city. The Meteorological Department, however, has predicted light rain and partly cloudy skies over the next four to five days. On Sunday, the Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative figuresfor the city, recorded a maximum of 40.2 degrees Celsius, three notches more than normal.
Humidity levels oscillated between 46 per cent and 85 per cent. The weather stations at Palam, Najafgarh, Ayanagar, and Pusa recorded the maximum temperature between 40 degrees Celsius and 44 degrees Celsius. The India Meteorological Department on Thursday declared the onset of monsoon in the national capital, two days earlier than the usual date of June 27.
However,Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather, a private weather forecasting service, said the rains would remain subdued for now and dry weather wouldprevail for some days.

LIVE: Members of an NGO in Mumbai today dressed as cartoon characters and distributed food and books among children

Fully prepared to deal with any locust attack: Haryana govt

The Haryana government is fully prepared to deal with any locust attack, state Agriculture Minister J P Dalal said on Sunday, as he credited officials for a timely response to tackle an infestation of the short-horned grasshoppers in Rewari district.

He also said the Rewari district administration will conduct a survey to assess the damage caused to crops by locusts. The locust swarms have been coming in waves into Rajasthan from Pakistan over the last one and a half months and devouring crops along their path as they cross from one state to another.

"We have sufficient stocks of insecticides, pesticides, machinery to deal with locust attacks. Our officials swing into action as soon as these insects settle down on vegetation, trees, soil, etc," Dalal said.

He said the administration managed to eliminate 35 per cent of a swarm of locusts which had entered Rewari around 5 pm on Friday and settled in the villages around Jatusana at night.

"We were apprehending that they will move towards Rohtak and Sonipat, but due to a change in the wind direction they moved towards Gurgaon, Delhi and then towards Uttar Pradesh," he said.

Dalal, who visited fields in Bohatwas Bhondu and Parkhotampur villages in Rewari's Jatusana on Saturday, said the farmers have been assured that the administration is assessing the damage caused to their crops due to the locust attack.

Northeast India likely to receive widespread rainfall in next 4-5 days: IMD

Northeast India is likely to receive widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rains over the region in next four to five days as the eastern end of monsoon trough continues to run along the foothills of Himalayas with the convergence of strong southerly/south-westerly winds from Bay of Bengal over the northeast and adjoining east India, said India Meteorological Department (IMD).
"Eastern end of monsoon trough continues to run along the foothills of Himalayas with convergence of strong southerly/south-westerly winds from Bay of Bengal over the northeast and adjoining east India. It is most likely to cause widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over northeast India during the next four to five days. Extremely heavy falls also most likely over Assam and Meghalaya during next 24 hours," said IMD
Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity over East Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim during next five days. Isolated heavy to very heavy falls also very likely over the above areas during the next two days and heavy falls subsequent three days, according to IMD.
"Fairly widespread rainfall very likely over central India during the next five days. Isolated heavy falls also very likely over Madhya Pradesh during the next five days, over Chhattisgarh and Vidarbha on 29th and 30th June 2020," said IMD.
Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy falls very likely along the west coast during next five days. Subdued rainfall activity over Western Himalayan Region and adjoining northwest India very likely to continue during next three to four days, according to IMD.
Meanwhile, IMD senior scientist Naresh Kumar said, "Bihar and northeastern states will receive heavy rainfall activity in the coming two days. There will be no heavy rainfall in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi NCR in the coming five days. Central India is likely to receive moderate rainfall in coming days."

DCB Bank plans to raise up to Rs 1,000 crore via equity, debt instruments

DCB Bank is planning to raise up to Rs 1,000 crore through equity and debt instruments, and will seek shareholders' approval in its ensuing annual general meeting (AGM) next month. The private sector lender's AGM will take place on July 11 through video conferencing (VC) and other audio-visual means, DCB Bank said in its annual report 2019-20.
The bank plans to raise up to Rs 500 crore by issue of equity shares to qualified institutional buyers through qualified institutional placement, and an equal amount is slated to be raised by issuing bonds, debentures or securities on a private placement basis, DCB Bank said in the annual report 2019-20.
On fundraising via equity share issuance, it said the board of directors will seek consent from shareholders "to create, offer, issue and allot in one or more tranches by way of a qualified institutions placement of equity shares to qualified institutional buyers... for an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs 500 crore," DCB Bank said.

Phrase in UN 75th anniversary draft declaration changed after objection by India, five others

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has changed a phrase in the draft declaration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations after India along with countries including the UK and the US raised objection to the sentence, understood to be similar to wording used by the Chinese Communist Party.

Muhammad-Bande circulated the draft declaration to UN Member States under silence procedure, under which if no Member State raises any objections to the draft within a specified time period, the text is adopted.

According to United Nations AssociationUK (UNA-UK), a charitable company focusing on UK action at the UN, Britain's acting ambassador Jonathan Allen broke the silence procedure on June 24 "on behalf of the members of the 'five eyes' intelligence community - the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India.

It said that the six countries objected to one phrase towards the end of the declaration that read - "to realise our shared vision for a common future". The countries wanted this wording to be replaced with "to realise our shared vision for a better future as envisaged in the preamble of the UN Charter."

Mann Ki Baat: PM Modi stresses on importance of indoor games

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed on the importance of indoor games in India, saying these traditional games should be presented in a new avatar.
"We should present the traditional indoor games of India in a new and attractive avatar. Those mobilising their sources pertaining to these games, the suppliers and start-ups associated with these traditional indoor games will become very popular, and, we have to remember that, our Indian sports are also local, and we have already pledged to be vocal for local," the Prime Minister said while Addressing the nation through the 'Mann Ki Baat' radio broadcast.
"Our country has a rich heritage of traditional sports. For example, you may have heard the name of a game called 'Pachisi'. This game is played as 'Pallanguli' in Tamil Nadu, is called 'Ali Guli Mane' in Karnataka and is known as 'Vaman Guntlu' in Andhra Pradesh," PM Modi said.
"Now that it has come to studying online, in order to strike a balance and also to get rid of online gaming we must do so for the sake of our children. Herein also lies a strong opportunity for our start-ups and even for our younger generation," the Prime Minister said.
Modi also shed light on another traditional Indian game, called "Moksha Patam" or "Param Padam" and "Gutta". He also stated that there are some indoor games which doesn't need any equipment and are easy to play at home.

Real estate companies must pay GST on shortfall in input procurement by June 30: Govt

Real estate companies that opted for lower GST rates of 1 per cent and 5 per cent from April 1, 2019, but could not procure 80 per cent of the total supplies from registered dealers, will have to pay tax on the shortfall in such procurement by June 30.
The GST Council had allowed real estate players to shift to 5 per cent GST rate for residential units and 1 per cent for affordable housing without the benefit of input tax credit (ITC) from April 1, 2019. However, they were mandated to procure at least 80 per cent of the inputs from registered dealers.
Any shortfall in the procurement would be subject to goods and services tax (GST) to be paid by real estate developers at the rate of 18 per cent on supplies used as inputs or input services and 28 per cent for cement. READ MORE...

China begins reviewing heavily criticised Hong Kong security bill

China's legislature on Sunday began reviewing a controversial national security bill for Hong Kong that critics worldwide say will severely compromise human rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The National People's Congress Standing Committee took up the matter at the start of a three-day session, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported. China has said it is determined to enact the law, and its passage is expected by Tuesday.
The US says it will respond by ending favorable trading terms granted to the former British colony after it passed to Chinese control in 1997. The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill to impose sanctions on businesses and individuals including the police that undermine Hong Kong's autonomy or restrict freedoms promised to the city's residents.

Delhi government allows restro-bars, clubs to sell beer stock expiring by July 15 to liquor shops

The Delhi government has allowed the city's restro-bars, hotels, and clubs to sell their stock of beer expiring by July 15 to liquor shops in a bid to minimise their financial losses, an official said on Sunday.
There are around 950 hotels, clubs and restro-bars in the national capital which have an excise license but have not been allowed to open since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown was announced. Earlier this month, the government had allowed the owners of such establishments to sell to liquor shops their stock of beer expiring in June.
"The department has now allowed restro-bars, hotels and clubs to sell their stock of beer expiring by July 15 to liquor shops in the city," the official said.
The shelf life of beer in Delhi is around six months, the official said.
"Hotel, clubs and restaurants licensee shall prepare an inventory of all beer stock, with barcode, which is to be transferred at licensed vend," the excise department said in an order. "The licensee from hotels, clubs and restaurants shall then submit the barcode list of beer stock and consent letter obtained from licensed vend to excise department with the request for allowing transfer of beer stock," it said.
According to the process, the owners of restro-bars, clubs, and hotels will have to reach an agreement with the liquor vend owners.

Tamil Nadu reports 3,940 new Covid positive cases and 54 deaths today; state tally rises to 82,275

LIVE: Rain lashes parts of Pune; IMD predicts cloudy sky with moderate rain in the city

Latest News LIVE update: Drones in Uttar Pradesh to help control locust

Drone-as-a-Service (DAAS) provider Garuda Aerospace will soon start spraying anti-locust pesticide in several parts of Uttar Pradesh, including Noida near Delhi, said a top company official.
"We have got the order to deploy five drones for anti-locust operations from Banda University of Agriculture & Technology, Uttar Pradesh. We will be sending 10 pilots for operating the drones. The mandate is to deploy the drones for a total of 50 hours at the locations specified by the University," Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Managing Director of city-based Garuda Aerospace, told IANS.
He said the company has already deployed its drones in Rajasthan in locust control operations.
"This is the first time drones are being used in locust control measures in India. It is a new case scenario," Jayaprakash said.
According to him, there are two methods of spraying the pesticide -- one by flying above the swarm of locust and spraying on them and the other is to spray the pesticide beforehand on the areas where the locusts are expected to land.
He said the state government agencies predict the flight path of the locust and give us one/two days notices on the location where the drones are to be used. Sometimes the notice is very short. Jayaprakash said the locust hit percentage is about 70 per cent as per the state government officials.

India to block Chinese Taipei, Japan's WTO panel request in ICT tariff case

India will block the requests of Japan and Chinese Taipei for setting up of a dispute settlement panel at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against New Delhi's customs duties on imports of certain information and communications technology (ICT) products, an official said. The requests of both the countries are scheduled to come up on Monday in the dispute settlement body meeting in Geneva and "we will block it", the official added.
According to the trade dispute norms of the WTO, if these countries would come with their requests for second time, the panel will be set up in the case, PTI reported.
In May last year, both the countries filed a case against India in the WTO over the import duties imposed on certain electronic goods, including telephones for cellular networks; machines for reception, conversion and transmission or regeneration of voice, images or other data; and parts of telephone sets. They have alleged that imposition of import duties on these products by India infringes WTO norms as India has committed zero per cent bound tariffs on these products. India has strongly opposed these allegations.
While bound tariffs or duties refer to the ceiling over which a WTO member country cannot impose import duty, the applied tariff is the duty which is currently in place. India has stated that these ICT products are part of WTO's Information Technology Products (ITA-2) agreement, and New Delhi is not part of this pact. India is a part of ITA-1, signed in 1997, in which it did not contain any obligation to eliminate customs duties on these products.
According to the minutes of the meeting of the dispute settlement body, which was held in February and March, India had stated that it was fully committed to its ITA-1 commitment and had been abiding by it over the years.

Tuticorin custodial death case: Tamil Nadu govt for CBI probe into death of father, son after alleged police torture

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to trasfer the probe into the death of a father-son duo, alleged victims of police torture in Tuticorin district, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chief Minister K Palaniswami said on Sunday. The government's decision will be informed to the Madras High Court, which is seized of the matter, and secure its approval before transferring the case to the central agency, he told reporters here.
"The government has decided that the CBI will probe the case," Palaniswami said.
P Jayaraj and his son Fennix, arrested for 'violating' lockdown norms over business hours of their cellphone shop, died at a hospital in Kovilpatti on June 23, with their relatives alleging they were severely thrashed at the Sathankulam police station by police personnel earlier.
The incident has triggered a national furore, leading to the suspension of four policemen, including two sub- inspectors.

World Bank clears $500 mn loan to improve quality of education system

The World Bank on Sunday said its Board of Executive Directors has approved USD 500 million (about Rs 3,700 crore) loan to improve quality and governance of school education in six Indian states. The board approved a loan for Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) on June 24, 2020, the World Bank said in a statement.
"Some 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools, and over 10 million teachers will benefit from the program. The STARS program builds on the long partnership between India and the World Bank (since 1994), for strengthening public school education and to support the country's goal of providing Education for All," it said.
Prior to STARS, the bank had provided a total assistance of more than USD 3 billion towards this goal.

We will seek permission from Madras HC to transfer Tuticorin custodial death case to CBI: CM Palaniswami

Chinese companies contributed to PM-CARES fund, alleges Congress

Amid political mudslinging between the opposition Congress and the ruling BJP on the issue of donations from Chinese companies, the Congress has alleged that PM-CARES fund also received donations from Chinese firms.
Senior Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said "Why has PM Modi received Chinese money in the PM-CARES fund, despite the overt Chinese hostilities? Has PM received Rs 7 crore from the controversial company Huawei ? Does Huawei have a direct connection with People's Liberation Army of China? Has the Chinese company owning TikTok facilitated a donation of Rs 30 crore to the controversial PM CARES Fund?"
The Congress has also asked if Paytm, which has 38 per cent Chinese ownership, given Rs 100 crore, Oppo 1 crore and Xiomi Rs 15 crore in the fund.
"Has Prime Minister Modi diverted the donations received in PMNRF to the controversial PM-CARES Fund and how many hundred crores is the amount diverted?" Singhvi asked. Singhvi said reports suggest that as on May 20, 2020, the fund received Rs 9,678 crore. "The shocking part is that though Chinese forces have transgressed into our territory, Prime Minister has received money in the fund from Chinese companies," he alleged.
"No one knows the constitutional or operational framework of the PM-CARES fund and how it is controlled or money given to it utilised. The fund is not even subject to audit by any public authority including CAG. PMO has gone to the extent of saying this fund is not a public authority."

Govt approves additional Rs 1,691 crore for highway works in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand

The government has approved an additional Rs 1,691 crore for highway works by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand for 2020-21.
Of this, Rs 1,351.10 crore has been sanctioned to BRO for road works in Jammu & Kashmir, the road transport and highways ministry said in a communication to Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) Director General Lt Gen Harpal Singh.
A total of Rs 340 crore ceiling has been approved for Uttarakhand for national highways, according to the communication dated June 24. In addition, it has also given nod for additional sanction of Rs 71 crore for highway works by the state's Public Works Department in Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu. READ MORE...

LIVE: Rainwater enters the residence of State Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav in Patna

No plans to sell non-core assets, sale of real estate on cards: PNB Chief

There are no plans to sell non-core assets, including subsidiaries, in the current financial year, Punjab National Bank managing director S S Mallikarjuna Rao has said. However, the bank intends to sell some of its real estate assets and properties, including its old headquarter building, he told PTI in an interview.
"We have a lot of real estate assets because of the merger. We are planning to sell some of them. We are planning to sell a good amount of these assets by the end of the third quarter provided the market is available. We will be not selling at a discounted price," he said.
PNB has a number of associates like PNB Housing Finance Ltd with 32.65 per cent stake and PNB MetLife with 30 per cent shares. After merger of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) with PNB beginning April 1, it has some more associates in its fold including, Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance with 23 per cent stake. READ MORE...

Govt allows I-T exemption on conveyance allowance under new tax regime

The government has allowed individuals under the new lower tax regime to claim I-T exemption on conveyance allowance received from employers.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has now amended Income Tax rules to prescribe certain exemptions which can be availed by the employees. These include any allowance granted to meet the cost of travel on tour or on transfer, any allowance, whether, granted on tour or for the period of journey in connection with transfer, to meet the ordinary daily charges incurred by an employee on account of absence from his normal place of duty.
It also includes exemption for any allowance granted to meet the expenditure incurred on conveyance in performance of duties of an office or employment of profit, provided that free conveyance is not provided by the employer. READ MORE...

Maharashtra not to lift lockdown on July 1, to ease curbs gradually: Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra government will not lift the lockdown from July 1 but will continue to gradually ease restrictions in the state, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday. Maharashtra has reported 159,000 plus cases and Mumbai alone accounts for over 74,000 cases. The Mumbai police too, has warned residents that it will impound vehicles which are found driving away from residence without any valid reason.
"We will have to take steps cautiously. The crisis is still not over," Thackeray said while urging residents to maintain discipline.
Hair cutting salons and beauty parlours  in the state opened from Sunday. Offices can function with only 10 per cent staff, while malls and hotels remain shut in Mumbai.
Thackeray said that the number of cases was rising due to the movement of people on reopening of certain activities and increase in testing across the state. " We are creating health infrastructure in the state. The state may become number one in the country for use of plasma therapy against Covid-19.  We are also procuring adequate stocks of Remdesivir and Favipravir and will provide them free at government hospitals," he added.

There will be no heavy rainfall in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi NCR in the coming five days: IMD

Six security force members killed in Taliban attack

About six security force members were killed in a Taliban attack in northern Kunduz province on Saturday night. The attack took place in Imam Sahib district when Taliban terrorists attacked the security checkpoints.
"The Taliban attack was pushed back after the arrival of the reinforcements..The Taliban have escaped from the area," the source was quoted as saying. "Five army soldiers and a policeman were killed in the attack," the source said while adding "Four Taliban were also killed and two others were wounded."
However, the Taliban is yet to make any statement on this attack.

Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao attended birth centenary celebrations of late former PM Narasimha Rao

Latest News LIVE: Govt extends deadline to bid for Air India by two months till August 31

The government has again extended the deadline to bid for AirIndia by two months till August 31 as the COVID-19 fallout has disrupted economic activities globally. This is the third time the deadline has been extended.
The divestment process for the national carrier was initiated on January 27. Issuing a corrigendum to the Expression of Interest (EoI) for sale ofAirIndia, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said the deadline has been extended in view of the "request received from the IBs (interested bidders) in view of the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19."
While issuing the EoI in January, the last date for bids was kept at March 17, which was later extended till April 30. This was further extended to June 30, and now till August 31. Also, the date for intimation to Qualified Interested Bidders (QIBs) has been extended by two months till September 14, the DIPAM said in the corrigendum posted on its website.
"Further changes with respect to the Important Dates, if any, will be communicated to the Interested Bidders subsequently," it added. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have disrupted economic activities globally. The aviation sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with airlines cancelling flights and announcing pay cuts for employees.

Dr Reddy's Lab expects to launch 25 products in US this fiscal year

Dr Reddy's Laboratories expects to launch 25 products in the US market in the current financial year, according to a top company official.
The drug major has also earmarked a capital expenditure (capex) of Rs 1,000 crore for finding various projects during the ongoing financial year.
"On a full-year basis (2019-20), we launched 27 products, including four re-launch of the earlier discontinued products. We expect the new launches momentum to continue during the year with about 25 product launches lined up despite uncertainty due to Covid-19," Dr Reddy's Laboratories CEO Erez Israeli said in an analyst call. READ MORE...

Amazon India to hire 20,000 temporary staff in customer service to serve global customers

E-commerce major Amazon India on Sunday said it is offering close to 20,000 'seasonal' or temporary employment opportunities in its customer service (CS) organisation to help customers in India and globally with a seamless online shopping experience.
The new temporary positions -- being added to meet the anticipated demand in customer traffic in the next six months -- are open in Hyderabad, Pune, Coimbatore, Noida, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Mangaluru, Indore, Bhopal and Lucknow, Amazon India said in a statement.
Most of the positions are part of Amazon's 'Virtual Customer Service' programme that provides flexible work-from-home options, it added.
The new positions will see associates support customer services through e-mail, chat, social media and phone. The eligibility criteria for these positions include having minimum educational qualification of 12th standard pass and proficiency in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada.
Based on the candidates' performance as well as business needs, a percentage of the current temporary positions are likely to be converted into permanent positions towards the end of the year, Amazon India said.
"We are continuously evaluating hiring needs across the customer service organisation in response to the growing customer demand. We estimate that customer traffic will further scale up over the next six months with the onset of Indian and global holiday seasons," Amazon India Director (Customer Service) Akshay Prabhu said.
He added that new seasonal positions will provide candidates job security and livelihood during these unprecedented times.
Earlier this year, Amazon had announced that it plans to create one million new jobs in India by 2025 through continued investments in technology, infrastructure, and its logistics network. The jobs created both directly and indirectly will be across industries, including information technology, skill development, content creation, retail, logistics, and manufacturing, and is in addition to the 7 lakh jobs Amazon's investments have enabled over the last seven years in India.
In May this year, Amazon India had announced adding 50,000 seasonal roles across its warehousing and delivery network to meet the surge in online demand for products after easing of the lockdown that had been put in place in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Latest News LIVE update: Govt to auction five mineral blocks in Gujarat, Karnataka

The government will beginning Monday auction five mineral blocks in Gujarat and Karnataka having reserves of 667.2 million tonnes. The development assumes significance in the wake of the Centre asking each state having mineral resources to identify at least five new mining projects for auction with pre-embedded clearance on a pilot basis, with a view to expediting the sale process as well as operationalisation of the blocks.
While the auction of one mineral block in Karnataka will begin on Monday, the sale of other four mines will commence on Thursday and last till July 8, according to government documents. The notice inviting tender for Kannur (Wadi Area) limestone block in Karnataka was floated in November, while that for four limestone mines in Gujarat was out on March 19.
The mines ministry had recently released guidelines for the auction of mineral blocks with pre-embedded clearances as it explored ways to address the key issue of delay in mining production due to lack of various approvals such as forest and environment permissions.

Latest News LIVE: Village in Chhattisgarh's Surguja gets electricity under Saubhagya scheme

After years of being forced to live without electricity, residents of Kanda village in Balrampur tehsil of Surguja district have received the gift of electricity under the Saubhagya scheme. Villagers thanked the administration for the efforts and said it has made their lives much easier.
"The education of children was affected due to lack of electricity. Our whole generation suffered due to it. However, it is great that our children will not have to face the same difficulties as us," a village elder told ANI.
A young student said, "It is a welcome change for us, due to it we can study at night. Even moving out of the house at night has become much easier for us."
"Under Saubhagya scheme 269 homes have been provided with light and fan and they will run through solar panels installed on their houses. The area is secluded and is surrounded on all sides by wilderness, the lights will bring about a drastic change in the lives of the villagers," Suman Kindo, Assistant Engineer, CREDA (Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency) said.


Suicide and domestic violence cases have increased during lockdown in Punjab: DCP

Govt, companies, workers should work together to spur growth: Trade Unions

With the Covid-19 pandemic casting a shadow on business and industrial activities, top leaders of national trade union organisations have pleaded with the government to support MSMEs to tide over the crisis.
Participating in a web meeting conducted by the National Institute of Personnel Management (NIPM), trade union leaders emphasized that the government, management of companies, and the labour force must work in unison in a coordinated manner to pull the economy out of the crisis and spur growth.
Seeking concrete measures to increase the purchasing power of workers, the national president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), CK Saji Narayanan, said it will boost economic activities and facilitate growth in the country. READ MORE...

Centre addressed issue of migrant workers very well, says Amit Shah

With lakhs of migrant workers returning to their native states through 'Shramik' trains amid COVID-19 lockdown, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the Central government has addressed the issue of labourers "very well".
The Home Minister, while responding to the criticism faced by the Centre over no proper arrangements for labourers, said that the government has addressed the issue relating to migrant workers "very well". However, the efforts taken up by the Centre were not "projected properly", he added.
"I think that the government's efforts were not projected properly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I talked to all the state Chief Ministers on day one of the lockdown for the arrangement of stay and meals for the labourers as industries will be closed. Every state had arranged accommodation and food for workers. Around 2.5 crore people were served," Shah said.
Highlighting the collaboration between Centre and state governments to address the needs of labourers since the start of lockdown, Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed to transfer Rs 11,000 crore to all the states through the account of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Moreover, the arrangement of hospitals and quarantine centres were made for them and after that Prime Minister decided to run Shramik trains for them.

China top buyer of Indian steel under lockdown, accounts for 48% exports

In April and May, while India was under curbs to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, China emerged as the most important export destination for steel companies, accounting for about 48 per cent of total steel exports.
According to Joint Plant Committee (JPC) data, finished steel exports to China during April 1, 2020 and May 31,2020, stood at 440,000 tonnes while semis was at 1 million tonnes; total finished steel exports during the same time was at 1.7 million tonnes and semis at 1.3 million tonnes. While in finished steel exports, volumes to Vietnam were higher, China accounted for the lion's share of semis.
Icra senior vice president, Jayanta Roy, said, that in the first two months of the current fiscal, Indian exports of finished steel reportedly grew by almost 76 per cent on a YoY basis. READ MORE...

Under PM Modi's leadership, India is going to win both the battles: Amit Shah

MP received 88% excess rainfall in June as compared to normal average: IMD

Madhya Pradesh has received 88 per cent excess rainfall in June so far as compared to the normal average due to the early onset of monsoon and conducive atmospheric systems, an IMD official said on Sunday.
The monsoon arrived in Madhya Pradesh on June 14 and became active in the entire state in next 10 days, G D Mishra, senior meteorologist of India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Bhopal office said.

Earlier, the monsoon used to reach Madhya Pradesh in the second half of June and would take time to expand its footprint in the while state, he said. This time, barring Gwalior and Jabalpur districts, the state has received 88 per cent excess rainfall between June 1 and June 27, Mishra said.

Discoms' outstanding dues to power gencos rise 63% to Rs 1.23 trillion in April

Power producers' total outstanding dues owed by distribution firms rose nearly 63 per cent to Rs 1.23 trillion in April 2020 over the same month previous year, reflecting stress in the sector. Distribution companies (discoms) owed a total of Rs 75,642 crore to power generation firms in April 2019, according to portal PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators).
The portal was launched in May 2018 to bring in transparency in power purchase transactions between the generators and discoms. In April 2020, the total overdue amount, which was not cleared even after 60 days of grace period offered by generators, stood at Rs 1,08,487 crore as against Rs 58,200 crore in the same month of the preceding year.
According to the latest data on the portal, total outstanding dues in April has increased over the preceding month. In March 2020, the total dues of discoms stood at Rs 1,13,048 crore. The overdue amount in April 2020 also increased from Rs 1,01,181 crore in March 2020.
Power producers give 60 days to discoms for paying bills for the supply of electricity. After that, outstanding dues become overdue and generators charge penal interest on that in most cases. In order to give relief to power generation companies (gencos), the Centre enforced a payment security mechanism from August 1, 2019. Under this mechanism, discoms are required to open letters of credit for getting power supply.

Joe Biden's election campaign refers to Kashmir, Indian Muslims

Joe Biden, the Democratic Party candidate for US President, mentionedKashmir into his campaign in a religious context rather than as a foreign policy or a general human rights issue. His "Agenda for Muslim American Communities" published by his campaign also criticises the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. Biden is assured of being formally nominated by the Democrats as its candidate at the party's national convention in August to challenge President Donald Trump in the November election as he has won the required delegates in the primary elections. Read More

Emergency should be remembered by people: Amit Shah

After Indira ji, was there any Congress Pres from outside Gandhi family? What democracy do they talk of? I didn't do any politics during COVID. You look at my tweets of the past 10 years. Every June 25, I give a statement. Emergency should be remembered by people as it attacked the roots of our democracy. No political worker or citizen should forget. There should be awareness about it. It is not about a party but about the attack on the country's democracy: Amit Shah

31 flap shell turtles found dead in Vadodara lake

Thirty-one flap shell turtles were found dead on Saturday under mysterious circumstances at a lake in Kamla Nagar, Vadodara. According to the Forest Department, a local, during the morning walk saw the carcasses of the flap shell turtles in the lake situated in Kamla Nagar and informed the authority. Following that, the Forest Department reached the spot and retrieved the carcasses from the lake.

Rahul indulging in "shallow minded politics", ready for "robust debate"

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of doing "ochhi rajniti" (shallow minded politics) and making remarks "liked by" China and Pakistan during border tensions with China and asserted that the government was prepared for a debate in Parliament in which "1962 se aaj tak do-do haath ho jayein" (let us discuss from 1962 war onwards till now, ready for robust debate). In an interview with ANI, Home Minister Amit Shah said Rahul Gandhi should introspect that his hashtag of 'Surender Modi' is being encouraged by Pakistan and China. He said that the government was fully capable of handling anti-India propaganda but it was painful when a former President of such a big political party indulges in shallow minded politics at a time of crisis.

Modi remembers ex-PM Narasimha Rao on his birth anniversary

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on his birth anniversary, calling him a great scholar. The Prime Minister said, "Shri Narasimha Rao JI belonged to a humble background. He fought injustice from a very young age." Modi said that Narasimha Rao had defied Nizam's order of not singing Vande Matram at the age of 17. He said, "I hope many more Indians will read more about our former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao Ji." Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996 and has been credited for bringing reform in the country during his leadership.

Mexico's LGBT community holds world's largest online pride event

Mexico's LGBTQI community along with celebrities came together for the world's largest online pride event, held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organized and coordinated by the Incluye T (Includes You) Committee, the event with the hashtag #ElOrgulloPermanece (#PrideEndures) took place on Saturday evening and was aired live on Youtube, Facebook and Mexican broadcaster Canal Once, reports Efe news. The event focused on four main themes: recognition of trans childhoods; recognition of rights of diverse families; standardization of rights for all people across the country; and the timely detection and care for HIV along with the struggle for cross-sectional healthcare. "Our fight has to be cross-sectional," said the Incluye T Committee members, who read out a manifesto of the "world's biggest digital march", on the main channel.


Earthquake of magnitude 4.1 struck Andaman and Nicobar island

Earthquake of magnitude 4.1 struck near Diglipur, Andaman and Nicobar island at 8:56 am today: National Center for Seismology

88 pc excess rainfall in MP this month: IMD

Madhya Pradesh has received 88 per cent excess rainfall in June so far as compared to the normal average due to the early onset of monsoon and conducive atmospheric systems, an IMD official said on Sunday. The monsoon arrived in Madhya Pradesh on June 14 and became active in the entire state in next 10 days, G D Mishra, senior meteorologist of India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Bhopal office said. Earlier, the monsoon used to reach Madhya Pradesh in the second half of June and would take time to expand its footprint in the while state, he said. This time, barring Gwalior and Jabalpur districts, the state has received 88 per cent excess rainfall between June 1 and June 27, Mishra said.

Locust swarms enter Nepal

Nepalese officials have confirmed that swarms of desert locusts, which ravage crops, have entered the country after more than two decades. The locusts were spotted in Nepal's southern plains of Bara, Sarlahi, Parsa and Rupandehi districts on Saturday morning, Hari Bahadur KC, spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, told Efe news. The government officials, however, have not ascertained the scope of the swarms that have wreaked havoc in 60 countries. The movement of the migratory bugs depends on the winds, and in Nepal it was blowing west to north for two consecutive days, said KC. According to the spokesperson, the locusts could have migrated to Nepal via Varanasi in India.

PM Modi talks about families of soldiers killed in Ladakh

Martyr Kundan Kumar's father from Bihar said that he will send his grandsons also to armed forces to protect the country. This is the spirit of every martyr's family. The sacrifice of these families is worth worshipping: PM Narendra Modi

PM Modi's suggestion to children

PM Modi urges youngsters and children to record interviews of their grandparents and says, "ask them about their childhood, the games they played, films they watched and this will you understand the India of the past and you will enjoy." He adds that their answers will help children to know about their grandparents.

Stories that inspire, from Arunachal Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh

PM Modi talks about migrant returnees, who are participating in the development of their areas.

People are lending support to Atmanirbhar Bharat: PM

People from all over India are writing, reiterating their support to the movement to make India self-reliant. Being vocal about local is a great service to the nation. Rajani ji from Assam writes, "After what has happened in East Ladakh, I have not only resolved to buy only local but always be vocal for local." Similar messages are coming from all parts of the country: PM Narendra Modi

India is unlocking in 2020: PM Modi

We are out of lockdown and need to be more careful during Unlock, if you do not wear masks and don't follow social distancing you are risking everyone including children and the elderly. The PM urged people to not be irresponsible and said that India is also unlocking in sectors in which it was tightly closed. He mentioned the government's decision to open the space sector for private players and commercial mining.

PM invokes glocal and self-reliance in defence production

The world has seen India's commitment to protecting its borders & sovereignty. In Ladakh, a befitting reply has been given to those coveting our territories. PM says that if you are vocal for local you are strengthening the nation no matter what profession you are in.

World has realised India's commitment towards safeguarding its borders: PM

* India has always converted challenges into opportunities and moved forward and 130 Indians will continue moving forward and 2020 will reach new heights. No matter how big the challenge is, India has always helped the world in a tough situation and countries have realised India's commitment towards safeguarding its borders. 
* If India knows how to maintain a friendship, it also knows how to look into the eyes and our soldiers have shown it. The entire country is paying tributes to the soldiers killed in Ladakh. 
* PM Modi talks about soldiers and their families

PM Modi is addressing the nation via "Mann ki Baat"

India faces multiple challenges, says PM Modi as he refers to coronavirus, cyclones and clash on eastern border. He doesn’t mention China. Indians wondering when will coronavirus pandemic end, say this is not an auspicious year

Rahul Gandhi attacks government on security issues

Watch | PM Modi's monthly 'Mann ki baat' here

UP CM Adityanath to visit Ayodhya, inspect Ram temple construction work

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya on Sunday afternoon and inspect the ongoing temple construction work, officials said here. The chief minister will also inspect the progress of development works underway in various parts of Ayodhya, they said. "The CM will be visiting Ayodhya on Sunday afternoon. He will inspect non-COVID hospitals, along with construction works on development schemes at various places of Ayodhya," District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha told PTI. "He will also visit the Ram Janmabhoomi site and some other temples during his visit," he added.

Heavy rains in parts of Bihar

Oil companies pause after hiking petrol, diesel prices for 21 days straight

State oil marketing companies did not hike petrol and diesel prices in Delhi on Sunday, pausing after 21 days as the Congress party said it would protest against the government. Petrol in Delhi costs Rs 80.38 a litre and diesel 80.40 per litre after companies hiked prices on Saturday. On June 27, price of petrol was increased by Rs 0.25 per litre while that of diesel by Rs 0.21 per litre. Rates differ from state to state, depending on value-added tax (VAT). The state had increased the VAT on diesel from 16.75 per cent to 30 per cent and on diesel from 27 per cent to 30 per cent. The cumulative hike since the oil companies started the cycle on June 7 now totals to Rs 9.12 for petrol and Rs 11.01 for diesel. Read More

Micheal Martin elected new PM of Ireland

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has been elected as new Prime Minister of Ireland in a vote held here on Saturday at a special meeting of the lower house of the Irish parliament. Announcing the voting results, Sean O Fearghail, speaker of the lower house of the Irish parliament, declared that Micheal Martin has won the election by receiving 93 votes in favour, 63 votes against and 3 votes in abstention, Xinhua reported. There are altogether 160 seats in the current lower house of the Irish parliament with one seat going to the speaker of the house who was not involved in the vote. Sean O Fearghail is a member of Fianna Fail.


Shooting reported at Breonna Taylor protest in Kentucky

Authorities were investigating a shooting Saturday night at a park in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, where demonstrators regularly gather to protest the death of Breonna Taylor We are currently working an active police situation at Jefferson Square Park," Louisville police said in a statement, according to news outlets. Officials did not immediately release additional information. Praying for our city, tweeted Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville. The Democrat is running for his party's nomination to challenge Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell in the fall. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed in her Louisville home in March by police who were serving a no-knock warrant. 

7.65 lakh farmers receive interest-free agricultural loans worth Rs 2,721 cr for kharif crops in C'garh

The Chattisgarh government on Saturday announced that 7.65 lakh farmers received interest-free agricultural loans worth Rs 2,721 crore for kharif crops in the state. "This year, a target of disbursing loans worth Rs 4,600 crore to the farmers of the state has been set in the kharif season. With reference to the target, interest-free short-term agricultural loans worth Rs 2,721 crore has been already disbursed to 7.65 lakh farmers for the current kharif crop season," read a press release from the state government.

Centre approves Rajasthan's action plan for implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has approved the action plan of Rajasthan for the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). To take the programme further, Rajasthan presented the Annual Action Plan on the JJM. The Ministry of Jal Shakti has been working with the states in preparing a roadmap to implement the Centre's flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide 55 litres of potable water per person per day to every rural household of the country by 2024, according to an official release. The JJM aims to improve the lives of rural people especially women and girls by reducing their drudgery.

2 killed, 4 injured in Walmart shooting in California

Two people were killed and four suffered injuries in a shooting at a Walmart distribution centre in Red Bluff in California, The New York Times reported citing a hospital official. Two people were fatally shot and four others injured and were in fair condition on Saturday, Allison Hendrickson, a spokesperson for St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, told The New York Times. Earlier, it was reported that a shooting took place at around 3:30 pm (local time) on Saturday at a distribution centre of the Walmart retail corporation in the city of Red Bluff, located about 120 miles north of California's capital Sacramento.

Ladakh stand-off: Zomato employees burn company T-shirts in protest

A group of Zomato food delivery platform employees in Kolkata tore and burnt their official T-shirts on Saturday in protest against the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by the Chinese Army in Ladakh last week. During the protest at Behala, some of them claimed that they had quit their job as Zomato has a sizeable Chinese investment and urged people to stop ordering food via the company. In 2018, Ant Financial, part of Chinese major Alibaba, had invested USD 210 million in Zomato for a 14.7-per-cent stake. The food delivery major recently raised an additional USD 150 million from Ant Financial.


Biden slams Trump over reported bounties placed on US troops

Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump on Saturday over a report that he said, if true, contains a "truly shocking revelation" about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia. The New York Times reported on Friday that American intelligence officials concluded months ago that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing US troops in Afghanistan. The report said the Russians offered rewards for successful attacks last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war.

Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden departs after addressing supporters. Photo: Reuters

Keep the ideas coming: Modi

Cong leader files petition against Scindia's RS election

A pro-Digvijaya Singh Congress leader on Saturday filed a petition against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, alleging that the nomination papers filed for the recent Rajya Sabha election concealed a criminal case pending against him. The petition was filed before Gwalior district court by Gopi Lal Bhartiya through his counsel Kuber Bouddh. Judicial Magistrate first class Pawan Patel, however, asked the petitioner to move special court at Bhopal designated to hear cases against public representatives.

Hindustan Antibiotics seeks redemption amid rising anti-China sentiments

Rising anti-Chinese sentiments and India’s search for alternative sources of bulk drugs have come as booster dose for sick public sector enterprises like Hindustan Antibiotics (HAL). The firm is charting a turnaround plan by beginning the manufacturing of key bulk drugs that the government has identified under a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme. Speaking to Business Standard, Nirja Saraf, managing director of HAL, said: “We have requested the government to review the decision to go for a strategic sale of HAL.” Read More

PM Modi to address the nation at 11 am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the nation through his radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' at 11 AM today. 

Locust swarms enter Gurgaon, border areas in Delhi; several UP districts suffer crop damage

Swarms of locusts entered Gurgaon in Haryana and border areas of the national capital on Saturday, and attacked crops in another half a dozen districts in Uttar Pradesh, prompting authorities to sound an alert while the Centre deputed more teams from Rajasthan to assist in the control operations.

The locust swarms have been coming in waves into Rajasthan from Pakistan over the last one and a half months and devouring crops along their path as they cross from one state to another. The border state has now asked the Centre to use helicopters for spraying insecticides to exterminate the locusts.

The skies over many parts of Gurgaon turned dark around noon as a swarm spread over several kilometres descended on the city from Rewari district where it had settled at night.

An advisory was issued by the district administration to all the residents on Friday asking them to keep their doors and windows closed as a precautionary measure. Yet, the invasion of the locusts, which settled on trees, rooftops and plants, left the people anxious and many shared videos taken from their high-rise perches.

Ahmed Patel questioned by ED in money laundering case

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel questioned by ED team for about 8 hours at his Delhi residence in connection with Sandesara brothers money laundering case: Officials

India 1st country to control locust by using drones: Union Ministry of Agriculture

Locust control operations are going on in states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra. In total, 60 ground control teams of Locust Circle Offices and 12 drones are being used for locust control operations.

India is the first country to control locust by using drones after finalising the protocols and getting all statutory approvals. Major operations are concentrated in Rajasthan where maximum resources are committed: Union Ministry of Agriculture

South peninsular India to experience heavy rainfall for next 4-5 days: IMD

Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall likely over parts of south peninsular India during next 4-5 days. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall very likely to continue over northeast & adjoining eastIndia during next 2-3 days: IMD

Heavy rainfall expected in northeast India expected in 24 hours

Isolated extremely heavy rainfall is also likely over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim and Assam & Meghalaya during the next 24 hours: India Meteorological Department

Cong leader Ahmed Patel's response after ED team left his residence

Another earthquake in Haryana

An earthquake of magnitude 2.4 on the Richter scale hit 3 km northwest of Rohtak, Haryana at 21:11:23 (IST) today: National Center for Seismology

Mann ki Baat at 11 am tomorrow

Assam rains

CRPF personnel of 171 CPRF battalion headquarters have been shifted to their facility in Mankata. We have shifted 25 of police personnel to a school near the police reserve: Dibrugarh Superintendent of Police Sreejith 

Floodwaters submerge roads and enter many buildings in Dibrugarh

3 locust swarms active in Delhi-NCR, control operations underway

Three locust swarms were spotted in the national capital and adjoining areas of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, following which local administrations issued advisory to deal with the menace.

Locust swarms were seen in South and West Delhi along with Gurugram, Faridabad and Palwal, Rewari and Jhajjar in Haryana.

Locusts eat up leaves and the tender tissues of plants, therefore, kharif crops are under threat, said an agricultural scientist.

Locust swarms were seen in the satellite city of Gurugram in the morning which entered Haryana from Rajasthan and were moving towards Palwal, said Dr. K.L. Gurjar, Deputy Director (Plant Pathology), Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine& Storage, Faridabad.

IDBI Bank to sell stake in insurance joint venture to partners

IDBI Bank on Saturday said its board has approved the sale of more than half of the bank's 48 per cent stake in IDBI Federal Life Insurance Co Ltd (IFLI) to current joint venture partners for Rs 595 crore.

In a regulatory filing, IDBI Bank said it will sell 23 per cent stake to Ageas Insurance International N.V and 4 per cent to Federal Bank.

After the deal, the Belgian insurer Ageas stake in IFLI will increase to 49 per cent, while Federal Bank's stake would go up to 30 per cent. Post stake sale, IDBI Bank will have 21 per cent stake in IFLI.

Govt allots land to MSME units to set up Goa Maritime Cluster

The Goa government has allotted land to the consortium of 49 Goan MSME units for setting up Goa Maritime Cluster with an aim to create world class facilities for ship building.

In a function held earlier this week, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant handed over 14,380 square metres of land for the project to set up its Common Facility Centre.

The project, which is first Maritime Cluster of India, has been supported by the Union shipping ministry, Directorate General of Shipping, and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Suraj Dialani, CMD of the project, said that it is a consortium of 49 Goan MSME units, with direct benefits extending to another 180 units.


Over 700,000 people affected due to Assam floods

We're not expansionists & never supported terrorism in any country: Gadkari

Alternative bridge opened for traffic near Sino-India border in Uttarakhand: BRO official

The BRO on Saturday opened an alternative bridge for traffic, days after a bailey bridge collapsed nearly 50 km from the Sino-India border in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district.

The alternative bridge, which is very important for high altitude villages of the district, was built in five days, a BRO official said.

"The construction of the bridge has reconnected 15 high altitude villages with the sub-divisional headquarters at Munsyari and made it convenient for the security personnel who commute through the route," BRO official PK Rai said.

The bailey bridge in Senargar on Munsiyari-Milam road had crashed on Monday when a truck carrying a JCB machine was crossing it, an official said.

Locust swarms hit Dholpur in Rajasthan

SBI working on setting up e-commerce portal for MSMEs: Rajnish Kumar

State Bank of India is working on setting up an e-commerce portal for marketing of products manufactured by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, its chairman Rajnish Kumar said on Saturday.

The portal called Bharat Craft would be jointly run by the bank and the government.

"It is a work in progress. We have conceptualised how it should be done and the development work on this platform is going to commence soon," Kumar said at a webinar organised by CII.

"This is one of the things that MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari once mentioned about Bharat Craft where SBI will develop this platform. We are very much dwelling on the subject. It requires a lot of elements to be put together. It is definitely on our radar and we are going to do it," he said.

Zee Media Corporation Q4 net profit at Rs 11.14 cr

Zee Media Corporation Ltd on Saturday reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 11.14 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31.

The company had posted a net loss of Rs 86.66 crore during January-March quarter of the previous fiscal, Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) said in a regulatory filing.

Its revenue from operations was down 18.42 per cent at Rs 138.15 crore during the quarter under review, as against Rs 169.35 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

ZMCL's total expenses slipped 11.46 per cent to Rs 134.40 crore in Q4 FY 2019-20, as against Rs 151.81 crore.

For the fiscal 2019-20, ZMCL had a net loss of Rs 271.11 crore. It had a net profit of Rs 13.17 crore in the previous year.

Centre should support locust-hit states, farmers: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday asked the Centre to support farmers and states who have suffered damage to crops due to locust attacks.

"Locusts have destroyed crops in Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, UP, MP, Gujarat and Maharashtra. GOI (Government of India) must provide support to the states and farmers who have suffered this menace," Rahul tweeted.

The former Congress President raised the issue when a swarms of locusts, which descended upon Gurugram on Saturday morning, entered Faridabad by afternoon and were expected to head towards Uttar Pradesh.

The swarms were spotted at DLF Phase 1 and MG Road in Gurugram at 11 a.m.


SC/ST organisations' confederation to hold virtual rally on PSU privatisation

The All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations will hold a virtual rally on the issues of reservation and privatisation of public sector undertakings (PSUs) on June 28, chairman of the outfit Udit Raj said on Saturday.

Raj, a Congress leader and former Lok Sabha MP, said the Supreme Court's order that reservation cannot exceed 50 per cent is "against the interests of SC, ST and OBCs".

"The government is eroding the base of reservation by privatising PSUs," he said in a statement.

Raj accused BSP chief Mayawati of betraying the cause of SCs for power.

Start-ups showing interest in space, big cos yet to come: ISRO chief

The land acquisition for India's second rocket launch centre at Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin is progressing and further work will progress after this is done, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K. Sivan said on Saturday.

With the Central government announcing the opening up of the space sector for the private sector, Sivan, who is also the Secretary in the Department of Space, said many start-up companies have expressed interest in the space sector while big corporates are yet to come to the front.

Interacting with reporters here via video conference, Sivan said the process of acquiring land is in progress in Kulasekarapattinam for building a second rocket launch centre and only after the land is handed over, then work would progress further.


Locust spotting: Delhi airport on high alert

National capital's IGI Airport has been kept on high alert following swarm of locusts were spotted near to the key installation.

The spotting took place near to national highway 8's stretch which connects the national capital to Gurugram around 11.00 a.m., sources said.

Accordingly, the airport was kept at high alert as operations could have bee n affected due to the incoming locust swarm.

However, due to a change in wind direction the swarm has moved in a complete ly different direction altogether.

Locust menace in several UP districts

Swarms of locusts have invaded several districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Deoria, in the past 48 hours and attacked trees and crops, officials said Saturday, adding authorities were taking steps to either chase them away or kill them.

The UP Agriculture Department said reports of locust attacks were received from Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Bhadohi, Azamgarh and Ambedkar Nagar on Friday. It said authorities of the neighbouring districts - Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Mirzapur, Sultanpur, Mau and Ballia - have been asked to remain alert.

Deoria District Magistrate Amit Kishor said a swarm spotted in the district has moved to Kushinagar.


Govt envisions 'Atmanirbhar Agriculture' through investments, ecosystem upgrade

Projecting a vision of 'Atmanirbhar Agriculture', the government on Saturday said it can be achieved by transforming farmers into entrepreneurs, providing investment opportunities and making India the food basket for the world.

India has a strong advantage in the agriculture sector and the government recently announced three new ordinances for developing a strong agri ecosystem, it said.

The competence of Indian farmers and efforts of the industry in the COVID-19 crisis situation is evident by the fact that the area covered by kharif sowing this year has reached 316 lakh hectares so far, as compared to 154 lakh hectares in the year-ago period, it added.

"Developing a strong agri ecosystem by providing access to better marketing avenues for farmers' produce and freeing up the sector from restrictive laws is a key focus area for the government," an official statement quoted Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal as saying.

The agri ecosystem is also being strengthened by several enabling schemes.

India's oil imports see biggest drop in over a decade in May

India is on its way to make its biggest savings in the oil import bill this year with Covid-19 related disruptions and sluggish demand conditions squeezing down the country's crude payments to a fourth of previous years' level in the first two months of current fiscal.

In the period of April-May 2020-21, India's oil import bill has fallen to a meagre $5.4 billion as against $19.3 billion in the same period a year ago. Apart from lower oil prices, the quantum of imports in the two month period has also fallen to 31 million tonne (MT) from 39 MT last year.

The fall has been more stark in the month of May this year when the oil import bill stood at a mere $2.3 billion as compared to $9.5 billion last year. In fact, India's crude oil import in May fell 22.6 per cent to 14.6 MT, the biggest single month drop since 2005, as both fuel demand and refinery production was hit by Covid-19 disruptions.

Interestingly, between April and May, global crude oil prices have bounced back 60 per cent from a level of average $20 a barrel in April to over $30 a barrel in May. But compared to last year May's average crude price of over $70 a barrel, the current price are still at less than the halfway mark.

Rajasthan teams deputed to help in controlling locust swarm in Haryana, UP: Centre

As crop-threatening locust swarm enters the outskirts of Delhi, the Union Agriculture Ministry on Saturday said more teams from Rajasthan have been deputed to help in the control operations being undertaken in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The locusts keep flying during day time and settle down only after dark in the evening. Ground control teams are constantly tracking them and will undertake major control operations once they settle down, it said, adding the control teams in Uttar Pradesh have been alerted in this regard.

The control operations are underway in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, it added.

India moves air defence missile systems into Eastern Ladakh sector

Threat of locust swarms looms over Delhi

The locust swarms threatening crops in many states amid the coronavirus crisis have now reached the doors of the national capital. The locusts swarming areas in Haryana, bordering Delhi, could overrun the capital city any time, an official said on Saturday.

Dr K L Gurjar , Deputy Director, Directorate of Vegetation Conservation, Quarantine and Collection, told IANS that the locusts had reached Haryana for the first time on Friday night and there was an outbreak in areas around Delhi.

He pointed out that the locust swarms are moving towards Palwal in Haryana and could move towards Delhi since they travel in the direction of the wind. Locust swarms can be seen in Gurugram and Rewari in Haryana.

The locust swarms are widespread in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh at this time, while smaller swarms have reached Rohtas in Bihar and Varanasi and Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Leftover locusts regrouped, moving towards UP, Haryana, Delhi: Govt

Control teams deployed to eliminate locusts: Govt

Sacrifice of national interest to accept money for personal trust: BJP's Nadda

Rajiv Gandhi Foundation got donations from Chinese Embassy from 2005 to 2009: Nadda

District Magistrates advised to guide people to distract locusts: Delhi govt

Taken all precautionary measures to drive locust away: Haryana govt

Delhi govt issues advisory to contain locust menace

Cheating case: ED opposes closure of probe against Naresh Goyal

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has objected to the Mumbai Police filing a closure report in a cheating case registered earlier against now-defunct Jet Airways, its promoter Naresh Goyal, and his wife.

Stating that the police didn't consider crucial facts of the case, the ED has filed an intervention application before a court.

Jet Airways, Goyal and his wife Anita were booked on charges of cheating and a criminal beach of trust in February this year by MRA Marg police on a complaint filed by city- based Akbar Travels India Private Limited alleging that they were cheated of Rs 46 crore by the Goyals.

In its closure report filed before a court a month later, the police stated that there was no evidence to probe the case further.

Delhi environment minister asks South Delhi, West Delhi to remain on high alert

With swarms of locusts descending on neighbouring Gurugaon, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Saturday asked the national capital's south and west districts' administrations to remain on high alert, said officials.

According to an official who attended the meeting, the minister was informed that a small swarm of locusts has also reached the Asola Bhatti area in South Delhi.

The Agriculture Department has been asked to issue a detailed advisory to all district magistrates and sub-divisional magistrates to deal with a possible locust attack in Delhi.

The minister also asked Forest Department to play DJs, beat drums and dhols to repel the swarms of locusts, the official said.

Rai also asked officials of the Agriculture Department to make field visits to areas close to Gurgaon.

The development secretary, divisional commissioner, director, agriculture department and district magistrates of South Delhi and West Delhi attended the meeting, the official said.

China grabbed 45,000 sq kms of Indian land post-1962 war: NCP chief Pawar

Amidst a war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the face-off with China, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said matters of national security shouldn't be politicised and added one cannot forget China had captured about 45000 sq kms of Indian land after the 1962 war.

Pawar's comments came in response to a query about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had surrendered Indian territory to the Chinese aggression.

Pawar also said the Galwan Valley incident in Ladakh cannot immediately be labelled as a failure of Defence Minister, as Indian soldiers were alert during patrolling.


Petrol, diesel demand reach 89% of normal in May, June

The worst phase for oil marketing companies may be over due to smart recovery in the sales of both petrol and diesel in May and June, with India gradually unlocking itself from the lockdowns imposed to contain Covid-19 spread.

According to a research report by ICICI Direct, though sales were down 45 per cent in April due to the lockdown for almost all oil marketing companies, mainly the country's largest fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), it recovered sharply in May and June. Petrol and diesel demand is currently at 85-89 per cent of the normal level.

With fuel prices revised upwards for the last three weeks starting June 7, and IOC having hiked retail prices by Rs 9-10/litre in June, the marketing situation of oil companies would once again get steadied.

But the brokerage has taken a cautious approach over the fortune of IOC going ahead as pressure points remain in terms of declining refining margins.

Police college trainees boycott Chinese goods, delete apps

At a time when debates on banning Chinese goods and apps are on, a police training college in Karimnagar, Telangana, has suggested to its trainees to ban Chinese products and delete mobile apps developed by the neighbouring country.

The college imparts training to directly recruited constables and head constables and assistant sub-inspector promotees.

Principal in-charge of the college G Chandramohan said though there is no official order to keep off Chinese products or to delete apps, the trainees are boycotting those goods after the recent killing of Indian soldiers, including Colonel Satish Babu, by the troops of the neighbouring nation.

There was a banner also put up at the entrance of the the college saying "Chinese apps, products are prohibited in this college,"

US imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over HK security law

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Washington was imposing visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for the national security law for Hong Kong, the media reported.

On Friday, Pompeo said the sanctions targeted "current and former" party officials, reports the BBC.

China has proposed the security legislation that would make it a crime to undermine Beijing's authority in Hong Kong, and could also see China installing its own security agencies in the territory for the first time.

Pompeo's statement on Friday, which did not name the Chinese officials affected by the US visa restrictions, followed a recent vote by the US Senate to impose sanctions on individuals who undermine Hong Kong's autonomy and the banks that do business with them.

SBI sanctions loans to over 400,000 MSMEs under credit guarantee scheme

State Bank of India (SBI) has sanctioned loans to over 400,000 accounts under the Rs 3-trillion Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSME sector, hit hard by the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

On the occasion of International MSME Day, SBI managing director C S Shetty on Friday addressed MSME customers and employees across the nation video conference.

SME products were highlighted to the customers to increase awareness and enable them to choose the right product for their business, SBI said in a statement.

At the national level, the bank has sanctioned loans to over 400,000 customers under guaranteed emergency credit line (GECL) facility so far, a senior bank official said.

Thunderstorm with light rain likely in Haryana in next 2 hours: IMD

I want PM to publicly condemn China, we'll support him: Kapil Sibal

Delhi environment minister calls emergency meeting over locust attack

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Saturday called an emergency meeting here to discuss the situation following a locust attack in neighbouring Gurugram.

The minister also directed the administration to be alert, an official said.

"After the emergency meeting, an advisory will be issued on steps to be taken to deal with the situation," Rai told PTI.

He asked the officials of the Agriculture department to make field visits to areas close to Gurugram.

The development secretary, divisional commissioner, director, Agriculture department, and the district magistrates of South Delhi and West Delhi will attend the meeting, the official said.


Locust swarm reaches Faridabad; visuals from Sector-30

Locust swarms spotted near Delhi airport, pilots urged to be cautious during landing, take-off

Delhi Air Traffic Control (ATC) on Saturday directed pilots of all airlines to take necessary precautions during landing and take-off of aircraft in view of locust swarms seen near the airport in areas along Gurugram-Dwarka Expressway.

A team has been set up to monitor the situation.

"Pilots of all airlines have been warned about the locust has seen near the airport, we have set up a team to monitor in view of the locust," a senior ATC official told ANI.

Present Delhi Airport is operational and all flight movements are as per schedule, an airport official said.

After the resumption of domestic flights operation, Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport operates around 500 total aircraft in a day.

Delhi Labour and Development Minister Gopal Rai has called an emergency meeting today, over the possible locust attack in the national capital

Delhi Labour and Development Minister Gopal Rai has called an emergency meeting today, over the possible locust attack in the national capital. Development Secretary, Divisional Commissioner, Agriculture Director and District Magistrates will also be present.

Single portal for info on govt, private job vacancies in Goa: CM Sawant

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that a portal has been created to provide information about the job vacancies in government and private sectors, which will help the common people in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The portal is part of a number of measures announced by the state government on Friday to help the industrialists and common people in the state recover from the situation created by Covid-19. Read on...

Andhra Pradesh: Ammonia gas leak detected at factory in the outskirts of Kurnool district's Nandyal town

Andhra Pradesh: Ammonia gas leak detected at factory in the outskirts of Kurnool district's Nandyal town; one dead, says District Collector. Concerned officials and fire tenders deployed at the spot.

Pakistan has conveyed its readiness to India to reopen Kartarpur corridor from Monday: Foreign Office

Pakistan has conveyed its readiness to India to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor on Monday on the occasion of the death anniversary of Sikh guru Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the Foreign Office said on Saturday, over three months after it was temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
India temporarily suspended the pilgrimage and registration for the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan on March 16 in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
As the religious places are gradually opening up around the world, Pakistan has also made necessary arrangements to reopen Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Sikh pilgrims, the FO said.

Trump makes vandalising national monuments punishable offence with up to 10 yrs jail

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to prosecute those who damage national monuments, making it a punishable offence with up to 10 years in jail.
The order comes in the wake of rioters defacing and destroying historical sites, monuments and statues in the country as violence erupted following the brutal custodial death of African-American George Floyd on May 25. The president has accused radical left for the violence.
Trump, in a strongly worded executive order on Friday, said: My administration will not allow violent mobs incited by a radical fringe to become the arbiters of the aspects of our history that can be celebrated in public spaces.

Swarms of locusts seen in areas along Gurugram-Dwarka Expressway today

Keep windows shit, make clanging noise to ward of locusts, warn Gurgaon administrators

Swarms of crop-destroying desert locusts have reached Gurugram, right next to national capital Delhi. Multiple videos shot by residents of Gurugram city and villages in the district this morning show massive clusters of locusts flying in.
Thousands of locusts were seen covering the sky near the Cyber Hub area of Gurgaon. 
Gurugram residents were last evening asked to keep their windows shut as precaution against a locust possible by the city administration as a swarm was sighted at an adjoining district.
The administration has asked residents to make clanging noise by beating utensils to ward the insects off.

Rajasthan reports 127 new Covid-19 positive cases and 9 deaths today

Rajasthan reports 127 new Covid-19 positive cases and 9 deaths today, taking the total number of positive cases and deaths to 16787 and 389 respectively. Active cases rise to 3249: State Health Department

Swarms of locusts seen in areas along Gurugram-Dwarka Expressway today

Assam: Flood-like situation prevails in Tinsukia district today, following heavy rainfall.

Israeli military says 2 Gaza rockets hit southern part, hits Hamas targets

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into southern Israel late Friday, shattering months of near-total calm.
In response, Israeli aircraft attacked two military facilities for Hamas, the Islamic group ruling Gaza.
There were no reports of injuries in either incident and no Palestinian militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket attack. The rockets, which hit in open areas of Israel, were fired a day after Hamas warned of violence over Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Read on...

BJP engaged in diversionary tactics on Chinese incursions, says Surjewala

Congress on Friday accused the BJP of engaging in "diversionary tactics" on the issue of Chinese incursions and restoration of status quo ante goes.
"To suppress the facts, BJP President J P Nadda, Modi Government and their puppet allies in the media have unleashed a diabolical design of disinformation, distraction and diversion from the real issue of Chinese incursions and restoration of status quo ante, which is the solemn duty of the Modi Government," Randeep Surjewala said in a statement. Read on...

UN rights chief urges Mali to probe abuse by security forces

The UN human rights chief said Friday that 580 civilians have been killed in central Mali this year amid worsening inter-communal violence, faulting security forces for rights violations and saying radical groups like the regional wings of al-Qaida and Islamic State are fanning and exploiting it.
The office of Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Malian authorities to set up prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into alleged rights violations and abuses, adding: This is the only way to reverse this trend of continuing violence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers inaugural address at the 90th birth anniversary celebrations of the Reverend Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers inaugural address at the 90th birth anniversary celebrations of the Reverend Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, through video conferencing. Several followers of the Mar Thoma Church from India & abroad take part in the programme.

Petrol price up 25 paise, diesel 21 paise; rates hiked by Rs 9.12, Rs 11.01 in 3 weeks

Petrol price on Saturday was hiked by 25 paise per litre and diesel by 21 paise, taking the cumulative increase in rates in three weeks to Rs 9.12 and Rs 11.01 respectively.
Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to Rs 80.38 per litre from Rs 80.13, while diesel rates were increased to Rs 80.40 a litre from Rs 80.19, according to a price notification of state oil marketing companies.
Rates have been increased across the country but the final retail selling price differs from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or VAT.

20 US senators seek emergency refugee protection for Afghan Sikhs, Hindus

As many as 20 US senators have urged the Trump administration to grant emergency refugee protection to Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan facing persecution as religious minorities.
In a bipartisan letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the senators called on the State Department to prioritise resettlement opportunities under the US Refugee Admissions Program allocation ceilings for Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities.
The population of Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan have plummeted markedly due to years of persecution by the Taliban and more recent terrorist actions perpetrated by ISIS Khorasan (ISIS-K), they said.
This Administration has repeatedly highlighted protecting religious freedom as a top foreign policy priority, the senators wrote.

Tamil Nadu custodial deaths: DMK MP Kanimozhi seeks NHRC inquiry, says police failed in their duties

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi on Friday wrote to the National Human Rights Commission seeking immediate action against police personnel and others responsible for the alleged custodial death of a father and son – Jayaraj and Bennix – in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu.
There has been widespread criticism of the incident and backlash on social media. Jayaraj and Bennix were arrested on June 19 after they kept their mobile accessories shop open beyond permitted hours during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. They were remanded in judicial custody and lodged in the Kovilpatti sub-jail on June 21. Both of them died at a hospital days later. The family has alleged the two were tortured by Sathankulam police officials. 

Coronavirus in India latest update by MoHFW

Active cases: 197,387 (Net addition: 7,924)
Deaths: 15,685 (Net addition: 384)
Cured: 295,881 (Net addition: 10,244)
Total cases: 508,953 (Net addition: 18,552)

MP govt asks police dept to recruit over 4,200 constables

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to recruit over 4,200 police constables in the state, an official said.
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra has asked the Director General of Police (DGP) Vivek Johri to initiate the process to recruit 4,269 constables at the earliest, a public relations department official said.
The minister gave the instructions during a review meeting held at the police headquarters here on Friday, he said.

US agrees to launch dialogues with EU on threats posed by China

The United States and the European Union have agreed to launch a dialogue on China to address the threats of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.
Pompeo made the remarks during the Brussels Forum in a discussion with the German Marshal Fund.
"Enjoyed the discussions today at the German Marshall Fund's #BrusselsForum. I am excited to announce the U.S. and EU are launching a dialogue on China to address the threats the CCP poses to our common values and way of life," tweeted Pompeo on Friday.

Pak's anti-graft body files corruption case against Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan's anti-graft body has filed a corruption case against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and three others for their alleged involvement in the illegal allotment of land in Punjab province about 34 years ago.
An arrest warrant has been issued against the 70-year-old three-time premier who is in London for medical treatment.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has approached an anti-corruption court to declare Sharif a proclaimed offender since he did not respond to any of its summons.

Dispassionate scrutiny, reform of multilateral entities needed: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said a dispassionate scrutiny and reform of all multilateral entities was needed to make them purpose-built for the present times and representative of this century.
Delivering his remarks at the virtual ministerial meeting of Alliance for Multilateralism, Jaishankar underlined that the world stood at a "transformative moment" and was facing a two-pronged attack — a pandemic and misinformation going viral.
"Today, once again, we stand at a transformative moment. A pandemic has devastated our globalised economic system, apart from taking a toll of over 400,000 lives. It has fundamentally affected the way we live, work, travel and indeed, relate to each other," he said.

Egypt secures $5.2 billion IMF loan amid coronavirus fallout

The International Monetary Fund on Friday approved Egypt's request for a $5.2 billion loan as the country's economy reels from the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
The one-year arrangement, which comes on top of a separate USD 2.77 billion emergency financing announced last month, aims to boost Egypt's social spending, spur job creation and advance structural reforms to put Egypt on a strong footing for sustained recovery," the IMF said in a statement.

COVID-19 dedicated hospitals to install CCTV cameras in wards: Delhi govt

The Delhi government on Friday ordered all COVID-19 dedicated hospitals to install CCTV cameras in all wards.
"All the COVID-19 dedicated hospitals are directed to ensure that CCTVs shall be immediately installed in all wards of the hospital. The PWD has already been directed to do it on an emergent basis to assist the hospital management to immediately find out the requirement of proper care with regard to patients admitted in the wards, and also ensure transparency in patient care," an order said.

A special Air India flight for repatriation of stranded Indian nationals leaves from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for Kochi, Kerala

ICMR gearing up to conduct 400,000 tests per day

In order to combat Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is taking all steps to attain a capacity to conduct four lakh coronavirus tests per day, a government official said on Friday. In a high-level Governing Body (GB) meeting of ICMR held on Friday, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan who also holds the chair of the president of the apex medical research institute -- appreciated the 100 days of ICMR' efforts in the fight against the virus menace.
"The governing body meeting entirely focused on Covid-19 pandemic. Talks were on to strengthen our testing capacity, strong surveillance of contact tracing and proper treatment to an infected person. ICMR is making all possible efforts to scale up testing capacity to four lakh each day," said the official.

Rajasthan: Swarms of locusts attack Hasteda village in Chomu

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