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LIVE! Madras HC delivers split verdict in MLAs’ disqualification case

14:03  Madras HC delivers split verdict in MLAs’ case, TN govt safe for now :  
The two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar of the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict in the  disqualifications of the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs.

Justice Banerjee upheld the disqualification, while Justice Sundar opposed the disqualification.

The matter has now been referred to a third judge, and this three judge bench will now hear the matter. There is no timeline mentioned on when the matter will be heard.

So for now, the High Court had put the floor test on hold and directed that the 18 seats be kept vacant until its decision. There is now no threat to the government as the effective strength of the house would come down to 215.

The 18 AIADMK lawmakers were disqualified in September last year, for writing to then Governor C Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing support to Palaniswami and asking for his replacement. They had made it clear they were not withdrawing support to the AIADMK government.  

Recently, three more lawmakers extended their support to the rebel camp led by VK Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran, bringing down the AIADMK’s numbers to 113 – four short of a majority – should there be a trust vote. The opposition DMK has 89 and Mr Dhinakaran is the lone Independent legislator.

13:36  Ousted Pak PM Sharif leaves for UK to see ailing wife:   Ousted Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif today left for London along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz to see his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, despite the country’s anti-graft body’s request to put their names on the Exit Control List fearing they may not return to face corruption cases in court.

Sharif, 68, and his daughter left for London via Qatar from the Lahore airport this morning. “Leaving for London. We will be back next week. Can’t wait to meet and hug Ami (mother),” Maryam tweeted.

Kulsoom is in an advanced stage of throat cancer and is undergoing treatment in London. — PTI


12:58  WPI inflation rises to 14-month high on costlier fuel, veggies:  Inflation based on wholesale prices shot up to a 14-month high of 4.43 per cent in May on increasing prices of petrol and diesel as well as vegetables.

The Wholesale Price Index based inflation stood at 3.18 per cent in April and 2.26 per cent in May last year. According to government data released today, inflation in food articles was at 1.60 per cent in May 2018, as against 0.87 per cent in the preceding month.

Inflation in vegetables climbed to 2.51 per cent in May, while in the previous month it was (-)0.89 per cent. Inflation in ‘fuel and power’ basket rose sharply to 11.22 per cent in May from 7.85 per cent in April as prices of domestic fuel increased in line with rising global crude oil rates.

Potato inflation was at a peak of 81.93 per cent, against 67.94 per cent in April. Price rise in fruits was in double digits at 15.40 per cent, while pulses saw a deflation of 21.13 per cent.

The WPI inflation for March was revised upwards to 2.74 per cent from the provisional estimate of 2.47 per cent. May inflation at 4.43 per cent was a 14-month peak. The previous high was in March 2017, when the WPI inflation stood at 5.11 per cent.

In its second monetary policy review for the fiscal, the Reserve Bank earlier this month hiked interest rate by 0.25 per cent– the first hike in more than four years — due to growing concerns about inflation stoked by rising global crude oil prices as well as domestic price increases. — PTI


12:53  In 2019, people are going to vote for Modi again: Maharashtra CM:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be voted back to power in the 2019 general elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said emphasising that the Indian leader is addressing basic problems of the common man through flagship schemes of constructing toilets, providing bank accounts and gas connections.

Fadnavis is currently visiting the US following a trip to Canada. After meeting investors and CEOs and attending a community reception in the city, he will visit Washington and San Francisco.

“In 2019, people are going to vote Narendra Modi again because what India could not achieve in 67 years, we have achieved a lot in the last four years,’ Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told PTI in an interview yesterday.

“I won’t say that nothing happened in 67 years but the path on which the country has begun its journey now, is something which was never thought of,” he said.

Fadnavis said at a time when India is the fastest growing economy in the world, is developing infrastructure and technology, Modi is simultaneously addressing the problems of a common man. “We may talk about missions to the moon but even today 50% of the population does not have toilets. Look at that disparity. That disparity is being addressed by Modi,” he said.

According to official data, Maharashtra has constructed the maximum number of individual household toilets under the Centre’s flagship Swachh Bharat Missionscheme, followed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Till November last year, as many as 42.72 lakh household toilets have been constructed against the target of 66.42 lakh.

File pic.


12:40  Afghanistan CEO watches his boys make history in Bengaluru:  Union Sports Min Rajyavardhan Rathore along with Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s chief executive officer watch the India vs Afghanistan cricket test match at Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Rathore said India was committed towards building and strengthening Afghanistan and its sports.

Abdullah Abdullah, said, “It’s a historical event for us. Afghan players have come long way in a short period of time. This is their 1st test match with the first test cricket team (India). Our team has shown talent and we are hopeful for their future.”

India scored 186/1 with India winning the toss and choosing to bat. Shikhar Dhawan gave Afghanistan a rude reality check on what longest format is all about as his 87-ball-century.

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

12:15  Militants attack CRPF party in Pulwama:  Militants today attacked a CRPF party in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. There was no loss of life in the attack. Militants attacked the CRPF party at Gangoo in Pulwama district of south Kashmir by opening fire on the forces, a police official said. A hunt has been launched to nab the militants, the official said. — PTI


11:27  Hafiz Saeed’s MML to contest Pak polls under banner of AAT:  Hafiz Saeed-linked Milli Muslim League has decided to use the platform of a little known party to contest the upcoming general election, a day after Pakistan’s poll panel rejected for a second time an application by the MML, an offshoot of the Mumbai attack mastermind’s banned Jamat-ud-Dawah, to register it as a political party. Around 200 candidates backed by the MML will contest the July 25 election under the banner of the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which is already registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Express Tribune reported. The decision was taken after the ECP again dismissed the MML’s application for registration yesterday. — PTI


11:14  Kejriwal writes to PM: Requesting you with folded hands to end strike:  Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal writes to PM Narendra Modi requesting him to end the the strike. “The Union government has all the powers over IAS officers. The gist of the letter says that Delhi is facing an unprecedented situation and the LG is refusing to intervene. He requests the PM with ‘folded hands’ to get IAS officers to end strike so work in Delhi can restart.

Vowing to continue the partys struggle till its demands are met, the sit-in protest at Raj Niwas by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues entered its fourth day today.

The letter says that the central govt can exercise control over the LG. “This is why people have now started saying that the Central govt and LG are behind the strike,” the Delhi CM says in the letter.

He also listed out development projects that are allegedly stuck because of the ‘strike.’ “Only you or LG can end this strike,” Kerjiwal wrote.

Extending their support to Kejriwal and company, hundreds of AAP workers and leaders marched to  the L-Gs house and raised slogans against Anil Baijal LG sahab, Delhi Chhodo (LG, quit Delhi).

Several regional parties, including the Trinamool Congress backed the protest.

Appealing the Centre to resolve the crisis immediately, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, Elected Chief Minister must get due respect. May I appeal to the government of India and the LG to resolve the problem immediately so that people do not suffer.

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary also called the situation in Delhi a governance failure.

Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also joined the AAP workers during their protest on Tuesday. Had Atal Bihari Vajpayee been the PM, he would have ordered the Home Minister to open a dialogue with the elected CM, Sinha said.

The IAS officers working under the AAP government are on “strike” for over four months following the alleged assault on the chief secretary at the CM’s residence in February. Kejriwal claimed that due to the strike critical public work was being affected. The IAS officers’ association has maintained that no officer is on strike.

Image: Doctors check the health parameters of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who with his cabinet colleagues are on an indefinite fast at Raj Niwas.

10:32  Jobs in Maldives for Indians dry up :  Downturn in ties with Maldives hits Indians’ job opportunities. Advertisements from companies that are hiring say “Indians need not apply’ as they would not be given permits to work there. Read the report here

10:18  PM Modi congratulates Afghanistan over historic Test vs India:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday congratulated the people of Afghanistan as their national cricket team faces India in their historic first ever Test match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

The Prime Minister tweeted, “I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first international Test match. Glad that they have chosen to play the historic match with India. Best wishes to both teams! May sports continue to bring our people closer and strengthen ties.” 

10:16  Married man scripts kidnapping plot to leave live-in partner :  A man was arrested today for concocting the story of his abduction after his live-in partner put pressure on him to marry her, police said. The police have arrested Abhijeet Tiwari, a resident of Jhandapur village in Ghaziabad and a native of Allahabad, Superintendent of Police, City, Akash Tomar said. He had also demanded a “ransom” of Rs 20,000 from the woman, he said.

The man had introduced himself to the woman as a bank employee and had also asked her to marry him. She was unaware that Tiwari was married and had two children, the SP said.

The officer said around 15 days ago, he called her from Allahabad to Ghaziabad and during this period, they stayed at a rented accommodation in Jhandapur village as live-in partners, he said.

On Monday, the woman put pressure on Tiwari for marriage, and a day later, he made a call in a female’s voice and demanded a “ransom” of Rs 20,000, the SP said. The woman informed the Link Road police station that Tiwari had been abducted.

On the basis of the call details, the police traced his location and arrested him from Jhandapur, the official said. During interrogation he told the police that he had concocted his abduction to leave her. Police have sent him to jail, Tomar said. — PTI


09:54  Not going to take Afghanistan lightly: Rahane :  Today is a big day for Afghanistan Cricket, as the national cricket team will play its inaugural cricket Test match against top-ranked India in Bengaluru – an event that has been 17 years in the making.

From being a part of the ICC World Cricket League Division Five in 2008 to achieving Full Member status in 2017, Afghanistan’s cricket team has gone from strength to strength.

The war-torn country, which did not have a national team till as recently as 2001, is now preparing to step into the limelight of a five-day Test match for the first time.

Despite Afghanistan playing only their maiden Test match, stand-in Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane has said his side will not take the visitors lightly.

Afghanistan, who have fast established themselves as a force to reckon with in the shorter formats, will become the 12th side to feature in men’s Test cricket after Ireland debuted against Pakistan last month.

Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June.Speaking on the eve of their historic one-off Test match against Afghanistan, Rahane said that as a team, they would try to be ruthless, but could not take their opponents lightly even if it is the tourists’ first game on the big stage.

“We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team… bowlers [are good]. As a Test team, we cannot take anyone for granted because cricket is a funny game. We want to go out there and be ruthless,” Rahane said.

“We are going to focus on our strengths, our positives. We are not thinking about Afghanistan as well: yes, we respect them as our opponent but it’s important for us to go out there and give more than our 100 percent,” he said.

Rahane was roped in as stand-in skipper in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation for a neck injury that he sustained during his campaign with the Rajasthan Royals at the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League.

IMAGE: Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai. Photograph: Afghan Cricket Board/Twitter.


09:48  Nipah virus scare under control: Kerala Health Minister:  Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Wednesday said that the Nipah scare was under control and there were fewer chances of any new cases.

“No new case of Nipah has been registered in the last two to three days, so we can say that the spread of the virus is under control now. But we have to wait until July 30 as the last case occurred on May 31 and we have to take 42 days as incubation period, but this is just a safety method. I think no more cases will occur,” she said.

The minister praised her department and even the opposition for the ‘joint effort’ in helping to curb the scare.

She said, “It is a combined work of everybody irrespective of whether someone belonged to the opposition or the ruling party. Each and everyone united to control the spread of the virus. I am proud of my department, doctors, nurses, Asha workers and my health secretary, they worked like a machine.”

As many as 16 people lost their lives in Kerala due to the outbreak of the virus in May.

As a precautionary measure, colleges and other educational institutions in Kozhikode were asked to remain closed till June 12.

Furthermore, the state health department issued an advisory for people travelling to the state, urging them to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts.

As per the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus, spread by fruit bats, causes communicable disease and is fatal for both animals and humans. The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion, and can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.  — ANI


09:41  India among over 90 nations without paid paternity leave for new dads: UNICEF:  India is among almost 90 countries in the world without national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies, according to a new UNICEF analysis.

Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one year old — nearly 90 million — live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave, the UNICEF analysis said. India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.

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

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

Representational image: Shah Rukh Khan with his son, AbRam.


09:19  Malegaon blast accused Purohit’s letter reveals horror he faced after arrest:  

Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in a 24-page letter alleged that he was tortured in the custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.

In the letter written to the National Human Rights Commission, which has come into the public eye for the first time, he said that he was beaten and threatened to confess to a crime he never committed.

He accused the ATS and army officers of torturing him in the letter and said that he was held in illegal detention.

He also named six officers for the torture in the letter. His claim was also investigated by the human rights panel.

On September 29, 2008, a blast at Malegaon killed six and injured 101 people.

In November 2008, the Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested 11 people in this connection.

However, in April 2011, the investigation was transferred to the NIA. 



08:52  Nirav Modi travelled to US, UK and Hong Kong on revoked passport: Interpol:  

The Interpol has informed Indian investigation agencies that absconding diamond jeweller Nirav Modi travelled four times between three countries as recently as March on an Indian passport that was revoked by the ministry of external affairs on February 24. 

In a June 5 letter to Indian agencies, Interpol said Nirav travelled between United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong on his Indian passport between March 15 and March 31. According to Interpol, he travelled four times on that passport on March 15, March 28, March 30 and March 31.

On February 24, the MEA revoked the passports of Nirav and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, promoter of Gitanjali Group, after they failed to respond to a February 16 notice issued by the ministry, asking them to show-cause why their passports should not be impounded or revoked. 

This was after they came under the scanner of multiple investigation agencies following state-owned Punjab National Banks complaint against their companies, saying it had been cheated of an estimated Rs 13,500 crore through fraudulent issue of letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit.

08:18  1 Army jawan, 2 terrorists killed in ongoing operation in J&K:  

Two terrorists and an army jawan were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district today, officials said.


“Two terrorists have been killed in an ongoing operation in Panar forest area of Bandipora district (in north Kashmir),” a defence spokesman said.

He added that a jawan also lost his life in the operation. 

Further details are awaited, the spokesman said. 



07:55  At Rahul’s iftaar party, Pranab finds special place:  

Days after a row erupted over his address at the RSS headquarters, former president Pranab Mukherjee broke bread with Rahul Gandhi at an iftaar party hosted by the Congress chief. 

Among the prominent personalities included Mukherjee’s predecessor Pratibha Patil and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, besides former vice president Hamid Ansari besides a host of opposition leaders.

While top opposition leaders were conspicuous by their absence, middle-rung leaders of many parties were at the iftaar hosted at a local luxury hotel. No senior leader of Samajwadi Party attended it. 

This is the first iftaar hosted by Gandhi as Congress president.

Among other leaders included CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra, TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi and DMK’s Kanimozhi.

Breakaway JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, JD-S leader Danish Ali, JMM’s Hemant Soren, NCP’s DP Tripathy, RJD’s Manoj Jha, AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal, RLD’s Mehrajuddin also attended the party.

“Good food, friendly faces and great conversation make for a memorable Iftar!  We were honoured to have two former Presidents, Pranab Da and Smt Pratibha Patil ji join us, along with leaders from different political parties, the media, diplomats and many old and new friends,” Gandhi said on Twitter after the iftaar.

Mukherjee was seen conversing with Gandhi and exchanging pleasantries with him and several other senior Congress leaders.

There was considerable disquiet in the Congress after Mukherjee accepted the invitation of the RSS to address its workers at its headquarters in Nagpur. 

After much consternation, the party however, later complimented him for his speech for showing the mirror of truth that carried lessons on pluralism and secularism to the Sangh.

Gandhi came along with Mukherjee and while the former president left after sometime, the Congress chief offered to drop him back but Mukherjee politely refused. 


00:37  Heavy rains trigger floods in Tripura, Manipur; thousands homeless:  

Floods triggered by heavy rains in Tripura and Manipur have rendered thousands homeless.

Incessant rain in the past 24 hours has wreaked havoc in parts of the northeast, triggering flash floods and rendering thousands of people homeless in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, officials said.

Heavy rains in Tripura rendered over 3,500 families homeless in the past 24 hours.

Over 500 families were evacuated to six relief camps in West Tripura’s Sadar sub-division as their homes were submerged in water, officials said.

Over 3,500 families are lodged in 89 relief camps as heavy downpour inundated their houses, according to the latest report of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC).

In Manipur, incessant rains over the past 24 hours have triggered flash floods in the Imphal Valley with several low-lying areas in Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur districts have been inundated, officials said.

The General Administration Department declared a holiday today for all government offices and educational institutions.

Incessant rain in the past 24 hours has affected as many as 1,48,912 people in Assam’s 222 villages under eight revenue circles in the districts of Biswanath, Karbi Anglong West and Karbi Anglong East, Golaghat, Karimganj and Hailakandi, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) report issued on Wednesday.

Karimganj in the Barak Valley remained the worst-hit with the breaching of the Longai river at the Nayadhar area.

The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has so far evacuated 124 people in the district. The authorites have opened 71 relief camps.

More rain has been forecast by the meteorological (MeT) department over Meghalaya and Assam, with heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.  — PTI

Source: Rediff