13:12 2 coaches of Delhi-Vizag AC train catch fire: Two coaches of a Visakhapatnam-bound train from New Delhi caught fire today near Birlanagar station in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior city. Coaches B6, B7 of the Andhra Pradesh AC Express caught fire. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the flames are now under control. Reports say all passengers have been evacuated safely.
Image: Burning train: Reports say the fire has been doused and all passengers evacuated safely. Pic: ANI
13:01 Karnataka: A sobering lesson for Messrs Shah and Modi: Anyone who likes a drink, or has been in the company of tipplers, knows only too well the different stages of inebriation that follow from every peg or pint imbibed. It begins with a sense of well-being that slowly turns into elation, and then comes the stage of over-confidence and feelings of invincibility. Finally, if one has had far too much or has become addicted to the stimulating brew, there is a loss of reason, an inability to think clearly.
Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party – and certainly Messrs Narendra Modi and Amit Shah – are diehard teetotallers who would shudder at the very thought of loosening up with a drink after a hard day’s work the way we lesser mortals do. Read the full column here.
12:34 PM reaches Russia for informal summit : Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Russia’s Sochi for an informal summit with President Vladimir Putin.
The informal summit between the two leaders, which, has a broad-based agenda on global and regional issues, is expected to see the discussions on global terrorism, situation in Afghanistan-Pakistan, Syria, Islamic State.
Indian envoy to Russia Pankaj Saran on Sunday exclusively told ANI that the two leaders will discuss mutual cooperation to improve each other’s economy and influence in the international sphere.
Apart from holding bilateral talks on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, Saran said Prime Minister Modi and President Putin may also discuss the repercussions of Iran nuclear deal post the withdrawal of the United States from the same.
Since India and Russia are both victims of terrorism, the two sides will also discuss ISIS threat and the situation in Afghanistan and Syria.
He is now scheduled to visit the residence resort of President Putin.
According to the sources, a large part of the informal meeting is one to one and a restricted delegation-level meeting is likely.
During the summit, the Indo-Russian cooperation in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are likely to come as well.The two leaders may also discuss the India-Russia civil nuclear cooperation in third countries. — ANI
Sarna Dharma is centred around the worship of nature.
The Jharkhand Disom Party has called the dawn-to-dusk bandh in Jharkhand, Bengal, Assam and Odisha in association with some other outfits to demand ‘Sarna Dharma’ as a religion.
At least eight passenger trains were cancelled and three express trains, including New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express and Puri-New Delhi Purshottam Express were diverted through different routes, the South Eastern Railway spokesman said.
The SER spokesman also said the railway has short-terminated five other passenger trains at different stations in its Adra division owing to blockades at several stations by bandh supporters. Bandh supporters blocked train movement at Kantadih, Indrabil and Madhukunda stations in Purulia district of West Bengal, the spokesman said. — PTI
All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha writes to HD Kumaraswamy, demanding Shamanuru Shivashankarappa (Congress), a Veerashaiva leader be made the Home Minister in the new govt and five other leaders from the community be made ministers in the cabinet Karnataka.
Krishna Prasad, the well-known journalist and former editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine, who in a pre-poll interview to Rediff.com clearly expected the Congress to perform better, argues that the Congress has not been entirely rejected by Karnataka’s voters. “There’s no question that Modi’s rallies changed the mood in the last 15 days,” Krishna Prasad tells Rediff.com’s Utkarsh Mishra. Read the full interview here.
11:48 Naxal massacre: Jawan’s body comes home : Mortal remains of jawan Ramkumar Yadav, who lost his life in an IED blast in Dantewada yesterday, arrives at his residence in Kanker, Chhattisgarh.
Six security personnel were killed and another was critically wounded on Sunday when Maoists detonated an improvised explosive device in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district.
The deafening blast, on the Bacheli-Cholnar road, targeted a jeep in which seven security personnel were patrolling in a remote area, killing five of them instantly, Inspector General of Police (Bastar) Vivekanand Sinha told the media. A sixth person succumbed to his injuries later.
The explosion was so powerful that the jeep was shattered into many parts. The team was surveying a road being built between Kirandul and Cholnar when it was attacked.
11:40 Communalism has no place in West Bengal: Mamata : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said communalism has no place in the state which believes in unity in diversity. The chief minister said this on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
“Today is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Our State Government has always believed in unity in diversity. Communalism has no place in the minds and hearts of the people of Bengal,” she tweeted this morning.
The Day, observed annually, is a United Nations sanctioned international holiday for the promotion of diversity issues. West Bengal had witnessed a few incidents of “communal clashes” in places such as Dhulagarh in Howrah district in 2016, and in Asansol and Raniganj, in March this year.
The chief minister then had dubbed the incidents as a local matter and not a communal problem. Banerjee has accused the BJP of stoking communal tension in the state to fan Hindutva ideology.
Incidentally, an analysis of the data on the number of incidents of communal violence in different states in the country, tabled in Parliament by Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir on February 6, showed that such incidents had sharply increased in West Bengal over the past three years. — PTI
11:04 Virus with no vaccine kills 3 in Kerala, Centre rushes help: Union Minister JP Nadda on Sunday directed the Director of National Centre for Disease Control or NCDC to visit Kerala’s Kozhikode district to assist the state government in the wake of the death of three people due to the Nipah virus there.
A central team will be visiting the state to monitor the situation post the Union health minister’s direction.
“Reviewed the situation of deaths related to Nipah virus in Kerala with Secretary Health. I have directed Director NCDC to visit the district and initiate required steps as warranted by the protocol for the disease in consultation with state government,” Nadda said in a tweet.
Nipah virus (NiV) infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis, according to the World Health Organisation.
The Kozhikode health department is maintaining vigilance in the wake of three deaths there reportedly due to the virus. Two more persons, who were allegedly in contact with the deceased, are believed to be in a serious condition.
Earlier on Sunday, Lok Sabha MP and former Union minister Mullappally Ramachandran sought the central government’s intervention to contain the outbreak of what he termed was a “rare and deadly” virus in some parts of Kozhikode.
NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care, the WHO says on its website.
10:52 Chinese varsity lifts ban on wearing miniskirts in library: A Chinese university has apologised and lifted a ban on girls wearing miniskirts and hotpants in the library, revoking a regulation imposed over a student’s complaint that such clothes were “harmful to the study atmosphere and are a form of sexual harassment”.
The cancelled regulation had banned girl students from wearing pants or skirts shorter than 50 centimetres. The regulation came into effect after a complaint was filed by a male student, alleging miniskirts were “harmful to the study atmosphere and are a form of sexual harassment”.
Miniskirts and hotpants may be worn at the library, the university said in a statement after revoking the regulation that had banned them.
“We apologise for the confusion and inconvenience brought by our recent work,” state-run Global Times quoted the Hunan Agricultural University statement as saying.
“We’re determined to optimise management and improve service quality, creating a better reading environment. We welcome students to come to the library to study and be readers with good manners,” it said.
It is now fine for students to wear fashionable clothes as long as they are not solely wearing briefs, an unnamed staff member at the library of Hunan Agricultural University said. “The regulation was already revoked,” he was quoted as saying. — PTI
10:37 BJP promises justice for anti-Sikh riot victims : The BJP-led NDA government has taken steps and “will do its best” to render justice to each and every family that has suffered from the grave injustice perpetrated against them during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said in Washington DC.
On Sunday morning the BJP general secretary, visited the Gurunanak Foundation of America Gurudwara, where he addressed and assured the Sikh community.
He said the NDA government has decided to go to any extent to punish the guilty in the crimes that were perpetrated against the Sikh community during 1984 riots.
The Justice Dhingra Commission is actively looking into 186 serious cases of crime against the Sikh community in 1984, he added.
A number of FIRs have been filed again.”In fact, arrest warrants have been issued against the leaders who were in the forefront of this whole crime against the community,” he said.
“I stand before you to assure the community that we will do our best to render justice to each and every family that has suffered during those unfortunate years,” Madhav said amidst applause from the few hundred Sikh Americans who had gathered in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC on Saturday to celebrate Vaisakhi that was organized by the Sikhs of America Foundation. — ANI
10:15 Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister-designate HD Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Lakshmi Narasimha Temple in Hassan.
10:15 And while on Priyanka Chopra, former Samata Party president, Jaya Jaitly, makes a case for swadesh, tweeting, “How sad an Indian actor attending the royal wedding in UK should dress like a British aristocrat at Ascot rather than represent a free and independent India in a beautiful Sari.”
10:06 And then she danced the night away… Priyanka thanks Dior : Priyanka Chopra took to Twitter today to thank French fashion house Christian Dior for the dreamy gown she wore to the ball at Windsor Castle after the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday.
The stunner wrote, “And then she danced the night away…. A very special thank you to @Dior for making me sparkle. Also thank you to my incredible team for your brilliance and dedicated hustle…no one just wakes up like this, and I feel so happy to work with you…”
The ‘no one just wakes up like this’ remark is in fact a hat tip to Sonam Kapoor, who in a blog in 2016 busted the myth that actresses look stunning 24X7. She had written, Please know that nobody wakes up like this. Not me. Not any other actress. (Not even Beyonc. I swear.).
Priyanka sported a lilac Vivienne Westwood dress suit at the wedding.
The actress met Meghan at an ELLE Women in Television dinner two years ago, following which Priyanka has said that they “bonded as actors. We just became friends, like two girls would.”
She was among the high-profile guests which included Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, David and Victoria Beckham, Idris Elba, Elton John, Tom Hardy, James Corden, James Blunt, Carey Mulligan.
Tennis star Serena Williams and rugby star Jonny Wilkinson were also present.
09:52 ‘Whatever I have is because of India’: “15 years back we were not even in existence in the US. Today nearly 1/3 of prescriptions written comes from India. ‘India is showing that in a very competitive environment — like the US and Europe — our industry is doing very well,” Dr Habil F Khorakiwala, who founded the pharmaceutical company Wockhardt, tells Rediff.com’s Vaihayasi Pande Daniel.
09:42 Oh my God, she looks stunning: Prince Harry to Markle’s designer : And some sunshine on Monday as the week looms ahead.
A tidbit on the Harry-Meghan wedding…
Prince Harry, who seemed “absolutely in awe” of actress and now Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, went to the latter’s dress designer Clare Waight Keller of French Fashion House Givenchy, to thank her.
“He came straight up to me and said, oh my God, thank you. She looks absolutely stunning,” People quoted Keller, as telling reporters on Sunday at Kensington Palace in London.
“I think everybody saw on television he was just absolutely in awe. I think she looked incredible,” she added.
The Givenchy designer highlighted that she had the opportunity to talk to the newlyweds at the lunchtime reception.
Markle wore a boat-necked, sculpted white dress for her Royal wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday, designed by Keller for French fashion house Givenchy.
Markle looked beautiful in the pure white silk Givenchy gown, which was 15 feet veil embroidered with flowers and held in place by a diamond tiara lent by the Queen for her wedding.
Markle met Keller earlier this year and the pair worked closely together on a design that Kensington Palace described ‘epitomises a timeless minimal elegance’, according to the official site of the British Royal Family. — ANI
09:35 LIVE! My father gave me two valuable gifts, Rahul on Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniv today: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today remembered his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 27th death anniversary.
Taking to Twitter, Rahul thanked his father for teaching him how to love and respect every one.
“My father taught me that hate is a prison for those who carry it. Today, on his death anniversary, I thank him for teaching me to love and respect all beings, the most valuable gifts a father can give a son. Those of us that love you hold you forever in our hearts,” he said.
Earlier today, Rahul along with sister Priyanka Gandhi paid homage to Rajiv Gandhi at Vir Bhumi in Delhi.Rajiv Gandhi’s wife and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leaders Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mallikarjun Kharge also paid tribute to him.
A recipient of Bharat Ratna, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing at Chennai’s Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. — ANI
President Donald Trump has termed special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections as “the world’s most expensive witch hunt” as he trashed a media report that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE offered help to his campaign.
Trump said Mueller was turning to other leads around the world after finding no collusion or obstruction of justice in its ongoing probe.
The president was reacting to a story in The New York Times that George Nader, purportedly representing the two Persian Gulf states, met with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, at Trump Tower in August 2016.
The paper reported that Nader told Trump Jr that Saudi and UAE princes were interested in helping his father win the election and that an Israeli social media expert who also attended the meeting suggested ways to help manipulate public opinion. According to the newspaper, Trump Jr reacted approvingly to the offer, though it is unclear whether any plan was put into action by the campaign.
“Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the world’s most expensive witch hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!” Trump said in a series of tweets.
“At what point does this soon to be USD20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP!. They have found no collusion with Russia, no obstruction,” he said.
He then went on to target Mueller’s team, calling for an investigation into former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton instead of him.
“But they aren’t looking at the corruption… .in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got US45,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife USD700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam,” Trump alleged.
“Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party,” Trump said.
This week marked the one-year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. Trump has repeatedly attacked the investigation as a “witch hunt” and claimed that the probe is biased against him. — PTI
09:00 Day after ‘pleading’ to stop firing, Pak violates ceasefire again:
In yet another ceasefire violation, Pakistani Rangers today fired mortar shells on border outposts at several places in Jammu and Kashmir’s Arnia sector, prompting retaliation by the Border Security Force personnel guarding the International Border.
The mortar firing from across the border started around 0700 hours in Arnia sector of Jammu and was still continuing when last reports were received, a senior Border Security Force official told PTI.
“Three border outposts are under fire from the Pakistani Rangers and the personnel deployed there are also retaliating to silence the Pakistani guns,” the official said.
“However, there was no immediate report of any casualty in the shelling,” he said.
Last night, Pakistani troops fired small arms and mortars, targeting Narayanpur area of Ramgarh sector in Samba district, hours after “pleading” with the BSF to stop firing, after being pounded with heavy artillery that left a trooper dead across the border.
The BSF also released a 19-second thermal-imagery footage, showing the destruction of a Pakistani picket across the border, in retaliation to the unprovoked firing and shelling along the IB.
The BSF has lost two of its jawans in the latest round of unprovoked firing along the IB in Jammu region since May 15.
Four civilians were killed and 11 others injured on Friday in the Jammu area due to the firing, which increased in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir on May 19. — PTI
08:51 Solution to combat surging fuel prices soon: Petroleum minister:
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the increase in fuel prices was due to reduced production of oil in Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and hike in crude oil price in the international market.
Petrol prices on Saturday touched a record high of Rs 76.24 per litre and diesel climbed to its highest-ever level of Rs 67.57 as the oil PSUs passed on four weeks of relentless rise in international oil prices to consumers.
Noting that people, especially the middle-class, have to suffer due to price hike of oil, the minister said the government would try to work out a solution soon to deal with the situation.
“It’s not in our hand. There is less production of oil in OPEC countries. The government will soon come out with a solution,” he told reporters in Bhubaneswar.
Pradhan, however, did not spell out the details.
Stressing the need for stable and moderate oil prices, he said the surging fuel prices have negative impact on consumers and the Indian economy.
With global crude prices soaring, the minister has already pressed OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia to keep prices stable and moderate, saying that spike in rates would have a negative impact on Indian consumers as well as on the economy.
Pradhan had conveyed India’s concerns when Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih called him recently. — PTI
08:43 Rahul, Priyanka pay homage to their father: Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra pay their respects to their father, ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary.
08:36 Former Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi pays homage to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 27th death anniversary at Vir Bhumi in New Delhi.
08:25 PM leaves for Russia for informal summit with Putin:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left for Russia for an informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
During their informal summit, the two leaders will primarily focus on pressing global and regional issues, including impact of the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
Official sources have said the two leaders will meet for four to six hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.
They said the issues on the table may include economic impact on India and Russia in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, situation in Afghanistan and Syria, threat of terrorism, and matters relating to the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS summits.
The sources said the possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act on Indo-Russia defence cooperation might also figure during the talks between Modi and Putin.
India is not going to allow its defence engagement with Russia to be dictated by any other country, the sources have said, adding New Delhi has been lobbying with the Trump administration on the issue.
The aim of the informal summit is to use the friendship and trust between the two countries to create convergence on key global and regional issues, the sources said.