Modi was denied visa by previous government: John Kerry

In perhaps the first explanation of the US denial of visa for Narendra Modi, the Obama Administration today said the decision was taken by the “previous” government.

“It’s a very big deal. Different government, it’s a different government now. Just like it is here. We will welcome Prime Minister Modi. “He is going to get a welcome. Of course, he will get a visa. No question whatsoever. And we look forward to a terrific meeting with President Obama in September,” Secretary of State John Kerry said.

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Committee submits report on pattern of civil services exams

A committee formed to look into the possibilities of bringing changes in pattern of civil services examination among others on Thursday submitted its report to the government.

The three-member committee under the chairmanship of former Secretary of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) Arvind Varma was formed in March this year to look into demands of students for changes in the pattern of civil services examination.

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EU condemns UN shelter shelling, Netanyahu vows tunnel destruction

The European Union Thursday condemned strikes on a UN shelter and a crowded market in Gaza, as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy underground tunnels in the coastal enclave regardless of any possible ceasefire agreement.

The conflict in Gaza has killed 1,363 Palestinians since it began 24 days ago, Xinhua reported.

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Subhan’s Pakistan link: Delhi Police seeks Kolkata’s aid

Delhi Police has approached its Kolkata counterparts for the custody of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Arshad Khan who had provided contact numbers of Pakistan-based terrorist handlers to arrested LeT operative Abdul Subhan.

Police said Subhan came in touch with his Pakistan-based LeT handlers Javed Baluchi and Ajam Cheema with some phone numbers provided by Arshad, who is presently lodged in Kolkata jail.

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India, US ask Pakistan to bring 26/11 attack perpetrators to justice

India and the US on Thursday asked Pakistan to work towards bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice even as they vowed to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt terror networks including that of al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

In a joint statement after marathon talks between visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the leaders reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.

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Indian wrestler Pawan wins bronze

Indian wrestler Pawan Kumar pulled off a stunning come from behind win against Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam to clinch the bronze medal in the men’s freestlye 86kg category in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the SECC Hall here Thursday.

The two wrestlers were tied at 6-6 but Pawan was adjudged the winner since he scored the last point.


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Taslima Nasreen upset with being given two-month visa to India

Controversial writer Taslima Nasreen has been refused a one-year visa by the government and instead given permission to stay in India for two months.

She has been living in exile here since 1994.

The 51-year-old writer had applied for a resident permit and the Home Ministry granted her the same type of visa but only for two months beginning August 1.

A verification process of Nasreen’s visa application has also been initiated by the government and the two-month visa has been given pending a decision on the longer-term visa.

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India beat South Africa 5-2, qualify for hockey semis

The Indian men’s hockey team won their fourth and final Pool A game 5-2 against South Africa Thursday to qualify for the Commonwealth Games semi-finals where they will take on New Zealand at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre here Saturday.

India needed to at least draw the contest to have any chance of qualifying for the last four and they did it in style by thrashing the Africans, for whom it was a must-win contest.

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Artistes show solidarity with Palestinians

A conceptual artist Thursday smashed watermelons and took out olives from each. The olives represented Gaza’s main crop while the performance narrated Israel’s “ruthless attitude” in Gaza in a conflict that has killed around 1,300 Palestinians.

The performance was part of an event “Artist Action for Gaza”, organised by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat), where artistes, performers and singers came together to show their support for the people of Gaza.

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Natwar attacks ‘ruthless’ Sonia over foreign origin

Former external affairs minister K. Natwar Singh has raked up the issue of Italian origins of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, stating that no Indian would have treated a loyalist the way he was treated by her and that she had a part which was “ruthless.”

In an interview to Headlines Today over his book “One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography”, Natwar Singh also said former prime minister “was not incompetent” but “so trusting”.

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28 civil service aspirants held for violence

At least 28 civil service aspirants were arrested for a violent protest against the aptitude test in the entrance examination, police said Thursday.

The students were arrested after Wednesday night’s clash with police in Mukherjee Nagar and Timarpur areas which led to at least 25 people, including 11 policemen, being injured.

The aspirants also burnt down two buses, a police van and a police booth during their continued protest demanding scrapping of the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT).

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Rains continue to lash north India

Rains continued to lash large swathes of north India on Thursday as rivers in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were flowing to the brim.

In the national capital, the Ridge area received 22.4-mm of rainfall while the rest experienced dry weather. According to the MeT officials, this year the capital is witnessing such “unusual rainfall pattern”, with some parts receiving rain while the rest remaining completely dry.

Overcast conditions, however, prevailed throughout the day, pushing the humidity level, which oscillated between 59 and 83 per cent, causing discomfort to Delhiites.

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Sushma, Kerry discuss terrorism, energy security

Aiming for a re-energised India-US bilateral relationship, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday explored frontiers vis-a-vis security and clean energy during the fifth India-US strategic dialogue here.

“The two sides recognised that the decisive mandate provided by the Indian people to their new government provided a unique opportunity to re-energise this relationship,” said a joint statement on the strategic dialogue.

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Indian wrestler Geetika gets silver

India’s Geetika Jakhar had to settle for the silver medal after she lost the women’s freestyle 63 kg final to Canada’s Danielle Lappage in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the SECC Hall here Thursday.

The 28-year-old Geetika proved no match for the 23-year-old Danielle, who won 7-0.

It was the second medal for India from wrestling in the day after gold medals from Babita Kumari and Yogeshwar Dutt.


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Israel vows to continue offensive till Hamas tunnels destroyed

Israel on Thursday rejected global appeals to stop its military offensive in Gaza and said it will not agree to any ceasefire until the tunnels built by Hamas have been destroyed even as the death toll in the 24-day conflict neared 1,400.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is determined to destroy all the tunnels built by Hamas to infiltrate into its territory.

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India, US ask Pak to bring 26/11 attack perpetrators to justice

India and the US today asked Pakistan to work towards bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice even as they vowed to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt terror networks including that of al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In a joint statement after marathon talks between visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the leaders reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.

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TDP MPs meet Oil Minister

A delegation of TDP MPs today met Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with the allegation that guidelines of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas have been violated for appointing new LPG distributors in Andhra Pradesh and demanded and end to irregularities.

In a representation to the Minister, they drew Pradhan’s attention to a recent advertisement for appointment of about 499 new LPG distributorships in the state.

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World Bank warns against excessive healthcare in India

Excessive healthcare is emerging as a serious issue in India, the World Bank warned today, saying people with private health insurance are two to three times more likely to be hospitalised than the national average.

Many of these medical interventions deliver only marginal benefits and can actually harm the patients, leading to unnecessary suffering, especially among the frail and elderly, it said.

The harmful practice can worsen as, it said, many more people will be able to afford healthcare as the government ramps up medical coverage for poor households.

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Snooping ‘unacceptable’: India bluntly tells US

India today bluntly told the US that surveillance of political leaders and others in India by the American intelligence was “unacceptable” to which the US responded by saying that any differences that may exist can be resolved by intelligence communities of the two countries.

This emerged after marathon talks between visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, the highest-ranking dignitary to visit India since the installation of the Modi government, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here. The two sides had wide-range of key issues like trade, defence and energy.

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UP government sets up committee to probe Saharanpur clash

Uttar Pradesh government today constituted a committee to probe the incidence of violent clash in Saharanpur on July 26, which left three persons dead and over 30 injured.

The committee headed by PWD Minister Shivpal Yadav would visit Saharanpur and after going through all the aspects will finally give its report to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, party spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.

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Identifying Mali air crash victims ‘could take years’

Identifying the victims from last week’s Air Algerie crash in Mali “could take weeks, months and maybe years”, Algeria’s chief of police said today.

An Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas 83 flying from Burkina Faso to Algiers crashed in northern Mali last Thursday, killing all 118 people on board.

“It is too early to talk about identification, it is an operation that could take weeks, months and maybe years. The important thing is to find the truth,” Abdelkader Kara Bouhadba told reporters.

He added that identifying the victims’ bodies was a “human priority”.

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City Police asks rowdies to fall in line

In less than 48 hours after Hyderabad Police Commissioner P Mahender Reddy’s warning to the anti-social elements of stern action if they try to disturb the peace in the twin cities, the area police began summoning all the history sheeters in their jurisdiction.

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Telangana lawyers boycott courts over demand of separate HC

Telangana Advocates’ Joint Action Committee today boycotted the courts, demanding bifurcation of the existing common High Court for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Its members also staged a demonstration near the High Court. Police took several demonstrators in preventive custody.

The lawyers boycotted the courts in the 10 Telangana districts, demanding separate High Court for the newly formed state, the JAC’s co-convener T Sriranga Rao said.

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Andhra Bank’s Rs 1,000-crore infra bond gets ‘stable’ rating

Rating agency Crisil today said it has given an ‘AA+’ (stable) rating to Andhra Bank’s Rs 1,000-crore long-term infrastructure bond, making it the first rated issuance after revised Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.

It has also reaffirmed its ratings on the bank’s tier I perpetual bonds and upper tier-II bonds at ‘AA/stable’.

Earlier this month, the RBI had revised regulations on long-term bonds, with a minimum maturity of seven years, for financing infrastructure projects and affordable housing, issued by banks.

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Muslim priest killed in China, two arrested

At least two suspects were shot dead and another arrested after an imam of China’s largest mosque was murdered in a city in the country’s restive Xinjiang region, police said Thursday.

Jume Tahir, 74, was stabbed after he led early morning prayers at the Id Kah mosque in the county-level city of Kashgar in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region Wednesday.

The suspects resisted arrest with knives and axes that led to their killing, Xinhua reported.

Turghun Tursun, Memetjan Remutillan and Nurmemet Abidilimit were wanted for Tahir’s murder.

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