• Special Report
  • Mahanadi river case: NGT directs MoEF to submit report

    New Delhi:The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to submit a report on steps taken by the ministry in connection with the six barrages constructed over the Mahanadi River by Chhattisgarh.

    A bench of Justice Raghubendra Singh Rathore and expert member Dr Satyawan Singh Garbyal directed the ministry to file compliance report within three months before the tribunal.

    “Ministry of Environment and Forest shall act expeditiously in furtherance to the letter it has written in September 20, 2017 to Chhattisgarh and submit a report within three months before the tribunal,” said the bench.

    Notably, the ministry has written a letter, following an inspection by the Nagpur regional office, to Chhattisgarh raising objection over the construction of barrages on the river and requested Chhattisgarh to inform the reason for not informing the ministry and Odisha government, a riparian state, about the construction of six barrages on the River.

    The Nagpur regional office of the environment ministry had conducted a inspection of all the six barrages and stated that no studies, pertaining to e-flow to be maintained in the downstream and impact on the flora and fauna in the large area to be submerged over 120 km stretch of the River, has been conducted by the implementing agency through an institute of repute. A cumulative impact assessment and carrying capacity of the river needs studied.

    The bench has disposed off the matter, however the petitioner said that if the Union government does not comply with the direction of the tribunal then the court will again take up the matter and the matter will be heard.



  • 12 Killed, Over 5,000 Displaced in Karnataka Floods; Rains Cut off Roads, Snap Power Supply

    Bengaluru: Heavy rains in Karnataka districts that neighbor flood-ravaged Kerala have left at least 12 people dead and more than 5,000 displaced, prompting Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to question why the Centre has not come forward to offer any relief so far.

    Among those killed were a mother and son, who were missing for the last four days. Leelavathi, 65, and her son 28-year-old Umesh, who were stranded in Mukodlu in rain-affected Kodagu district were declared dead in the evening. However, their bodies have not been recovered by the rescue team.

    BA Saldana, a former municipality member in Hassan district, had gone to Arehalli village near Beluru to review the misery caused by rain. But his trip turned fatal as he slipped into an overflowing lake. Locals tried to rescue him, but their attempts were in vain.

    As per official records, so far 12 people have died in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan and Kodagu districts. Shivamogga, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts too are facing a flood-like situation.

    In Kodagu, officials said 4,225 people have been rescued from 1,194 places so far, but hundreds are still missing. Out of 296 villages in the rain-affected district, 13 have been completed submerged.

    The rain coupled with the landslips has also affected power supply to the district as over 3,800 electric polls have broken down, 260 transformers are submerged and power cables have snapped.

    Areas like Madapura, Shuntikoppa, Chettalli, Bidalli, Shanthalli, Somvarpet, Shrimangala, Virajpet have no electricity since the last two days.

    The last remaining open road link between state capital Bengaluru and Mangaluru was also cut on Monday. Heavy rains had earlier shut down Charmadi Ghat and Shiradi Ghat, leaving only Bisile Ghat as the link between the two centres. But heavy landslide in Bisile Ghat caused major damage to the road and it too had to be shut down.

    Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy addressed the media on Monday after reviewing the situation in Kodagu. “Around 845 houses have been destroyed, 123km roads are damaged, 58 bridges, 28 government offices, 3,800 electric polls have broken down. Our officers are working round-the-clock to ensure situation comes under control,” he said.

    He further said that he had sought help from Himachal Pradesh government as the state witnesses natural disasters like floods and landslides almost every year.

    “In Himachal Pradesh, every year they face flood-like situations. So I have requested their assistance as they are well trained to handle the situation. I got good response from them and they agreed to extend all help,” Kumaraswamy said.

    The CM also announced another Rs 100 crore as part of flood compensation, to add to the Rs 100 crore announced earlier.

    He also questioned why nobody from the central government had visited the state so far.

    “I have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi's help. Defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman should have visited the state to review the situation, but she has not come. I don't want to comment on this," he added.

    He further said that the government will keep victims of flood away from paying tax.

    Garuda commandos, who have been deployed in rescue operations, managed to rescue a 62-year-old women, Maramma, who was stranded near the Kabini water reservoir. The reservoir has reached its maximum capacity and overflowing water has created huge risk in the downstream villages. Many have already shifted to safe places and rescue operation is underway.

    Around 97 Pourakarmikas of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have also reached Kodagu to help in relief works and to install moveable bio-toilets in Kodagu areas where the rescue camps have been set up.


  • Chinese Premier Li Hopes Imran Khan Will Further 'All Weather' Sino-Pak Friendship

    Islamabad: Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Monday telephoned Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan to congratulate him and hoped that the "all-weather" friendship between the two countries would further strengthen under his leadership.

    According to a press release issued from Prime Minister House here, the Chinese premier said his government wishes to work closely with the new Pakistani government and hoped that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will be completed on time.

    The over USD 50 billion CPEC is a network of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan that will connect China's Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

    India has objected to the CPEC project as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    Premier Li expressed hope that the "all-weather" friendship between the two countries would strengthen under the new government in Pakistan, the release said.

    Li also invited Khan, who was sworn-in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan on Saturday, to visit China.

    The prime minister thanked his Chinese counterpart and said he is "keen to learn from [China's] experience in poverty alleviation, anti-corruption and social sector reforms like health and education as these are his government's priorities for domestic reforms", the Dawn newspaper quoted the release as saying.

    Khan also "vowed" to work closely with China on "all regional and international issues of mutual concern", it said.

    Khan thanked Li for his invitation and said that he looked forward to his trip to China. He then extended a counter invitation to Li, asking him to visit Pakistan "at his earliest convenience".

    China has historically come to Pakistan's rescue with economic, political and military assistance and the leadership of the two countries have often described their ties as "all weather".


  • Asian Games 2018: Indian shooter Deepak Kumar wins silver medal in men’s 10m air rifle event

    Palembang: Indian shooter Deepak Kumar claimed the silver medal in men’s 10m air rifle event after producing excellent scores at crucial junctures, pipping fancied teammate Ravi Kumar at the 18th Asian Games here today. Deepak shot 247.7 to finish second on the podium behind China’s Haoran Yang, who won the top prize with a Games record 249.1 at the JSC Shooting Range of this port city.

    Chinese Taipei’s Shaochuan Lu (226.8) bagged the bronze after being beaten by a near-perfect score of 10.9 by Deepak in the third-place shoot-off. Deepak then shot a 10.8 to get the better of Ravi (205.2), who combined with Aprurvi Chandela to win bronze in the air rifle mixed event yesterday. This is India’s third medal at the ongoing Games and second in shooting.

  • India vs England: Focus on what you want to achieve, Sachin Tendulkar advises Virat Kohli

    Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar gave a piece of advice to Virat Kohli after the first Test against England. Sachin advised Kohli to focus on what he wants to achieve. Sachin was quoted by ESPN Cricinfo, “Don’t worry about what’s happening around you, keep your focus on what you want to achieve, and let your heart guide the way. Along the way there will be plenty of things said and done, but eventually, if you are passionate about what you want in life, then the results will invariably follow.”

    Sachin also applauded Kohli’s batting till now. “I would say, just continue, he’s doing a fantastic job so just continue.” He also urged Kohli to not to be satisfied with his batting. “I can tell you from my own experience, however many runs you score they are never enough,” Tendulkar said.

    “You want more runs, and that is the case with Virat. However many runs he scores, it will never be enough for him. “The downfall starts when you are satisfied. It’s nice to be happy, but never be satisfied when you are a batsman. Bowlers can only get 10 wickets, but batters can go on and go, so don’t be satisfied, just be happy,” he said.

    Sachin also spoke about selection of young players and said that age should not be sole criteria while selecting a national team. “If somebody is good, he should play for the country and age shouldn’t be the criteria,” Tendulkar told ESPN Cricinfo after being asked about England blooding young players like the 20-year-old all-rounder Sam Curran and now batsman Ollie Pope.

    Tendulkar, who made his debut against Pakistan as a 16-year-old in 1989 remembered his time as a rookie international. “When I played my first game, I was only 16. In a way, it only helped. I didn’t know what it was like to face Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Abdul Qadir. Possibly, the best bowling attack at the stage,” Tendulkar recalled.

    The batting legend believes that throwing a young cricketer to the deep end of the pool is a good thing. “You only see one side of the coin as you are young and fearless but with experience and maturity, you start seeing the other side as well to balance things out,” he added. He urged Curran and Pope to enjoy the challenge that makes international cricket so fascinating. India lost to England in the first Test by 31 runs. Virat Kohli showed amazing performance by hitting 149 and 51 runs in both the innings.

    With Agency inputs

  • Virat Kohli is close to becoming a legend: MS Dhoni

    Says former India skipper Dhoni praising his successor who is consistent in all three formats

    Mumbai : Virat Kohli is going through a purple patch across all formats for some time now and so is used to being showered with praises. But getting a pat on the back from the man you made your debut under is still quite special.

    On Tuesday, former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that his successor has now close to being a legend thanks to his consistency and impressive performances in recent years.

    “He (Kohli) is the best. He has already reached a stage, where he is close to the legend’s status. I’m very happy for him and the way he has been batting everywhere in the last few years is just brilliant. He keeps taking the team forward and that’s what you want from a leader,” said Dhoni, who was in town for a promotional event.

    Kohli, who recently became No. 1 Test batsman, scored his first Test century in England when he smashed 149 in the first innings at Edgbaston last week, which India lost by 31 runs against England.

    Though India lost the opening Test of the five-match series, Dhoni, who captained India in the last Test series in England in 2014, is still confident that India will make a comeback. “To win a Test, you need to take 20 wickets and we did that. It doesn’t matter how well you bat and how well you are there for five days. But if you take 20 wickets, you can win a Test,” Dhoni said.

    “I’m very happy for Kohli and the way he has been batting everywhere in the last few years is just brilliant. He keeps taking the team forward and that’s what you want from a leader”
    Clearing rumours about his retirement, which took place after he was seen collecting the match ball from umpires at the end of third one-day international against England last month, Dhoni said he just wanted to see why Indian bowlers are not getting reverse swing which can become an important factor to succeed in the next year’s World Cup in England.

    “You actually have to keep working on what’s happening. That (taking match ball) was to see why our bowlers not able to get reverse swing. Because, we would be playing the next World Cup there. And to do well, we have to get a reverse swing. It’s something important, which our opposition team is getting and we are not.

    “After 50 overs the ball is useless to the ICC, so I requested umpires for the ball and gave it to the bowling coach (Bharat Arun) saying we need to work on it. We need to see how we can get the reverse swing, which can help our fast bowlers to get those yorkers right and to get wickets after 40-over mark. That would really help us to restrict the oppositions by not giving too many runs in last 10 overs,” Dhoni, who recently became the fourth Indian and 12th batsmen overall to score 10,000 runs in ODIs, added.

    Reacting to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s comment about reducing school syllabus by 50 per-cent to promote sports, Dhoni backed the union sports minister. Dhoni said sports should be a part of education life. “It would be interesting to see how parents react. Because education is very important but, sports teach you a lot about life and school is, I think, the right spot where you need to push youngsters to play lot of sports.

    “I feel sports teaches you how to make comeback afterfailure. which helps you in practical life. I feel sports should be a part of student’s life and everybody should be encouraged to play sport.”

    “It needs to be incorporated into the syllabus, but at the same time you can’t have a situation where entire marking system depends on what you are running out of sports. It is important to have designated time everyday for sports in schools.”

  • Women’s hockey World Cup: India aim to defeat Ireland to bag first win of tournament

    London: A golden opportunity to claim an upset win lost, the Indian women’s hockey team would be aiming to make amends when it takes on a lower-ranked Ireland in its second game of the World Cup, here tomorrow. India had a bright chance to score an upset win against world no.2 England in their Pool B opener on June 21 but settled for a 1-1 draw.

    The Indians only had themselves to blame as despite leading the English girls for 54 minutes, they conceded a late goal to share the points. World n0. 10 India will fancy their chances against world no. 16 Ireland, but it would be a serious mistake by the Sjoerd Marijne-coached side if they take the Irish lightly.

    By virtue of their stunning 3-1 stunning over world no. 7 USA, the lowest ranked side in the group, Ireland are currently leading Pool B just ahead of England and India. And a win tomorrow would secure Ireland’s place in the knock-out stage of the tournament. 

    The Indians, on the other hand, would be desperate to score their first win in the tournament tomorrow. But it would be easier said than done as they will be up against an Irish side which has the capability of springing surprises. India lost 1-2 to Ireland in the HWL Semifinals in Johannesburg last year and revenge would be high on the Rani Rampal-led side’s agenda when it takes the turf tomorrow.

    The Indian coaching staff and senior players like goalkeeper Savita feel that defeat was history and they have the firepower to beat Ireland. “We have done well against Ireland in practice matches in the past,” she said. “In the match last year, we were leading and should have won for sure but conceding two penalty corners one after another proved costly. We have a strong defence and play an attacking brand of hockey — this is a potent combination and makes us strong as a side,” she asserted.

    But the Indians will have to lift their game by few notches for that to happen. Against England, they failed to earn a single penalty corner, leaving dragflicker Gurjit Kaur frustrated. However, goalkeeper Savita was brilliant under the bar to deny England on numerous occasion.

    The Indians did create more chances from open play against England and that counted as a positive for chief coach Marijne going into tomorrow’s game. A win tomorrow will take India to the top of the pool and brighten its knock-out chances ahead of its last fixture against USA on July 29. In the other match of the day, Spain will take on South Africa in Pool C. Match starts: 6:30pm IST.


  • Chief technology officers of Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel quit

    Chief technology officers of telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have resigned from their respective companies.

    Reliance Jio Group Chief Technology Officer Jagbir Singh had joined the company before the soft launch of 4G services.

    Prior to this assignment, Singh was working with Samsung, and had previously worked with Airtel for about a decade.

    According to a source, he is moving back to Delhi but did not disclose any further details.

    Email sent to Reliance Jio did not elicit any reply.

    Bharti Airtel's Chief Technology Officer for mobile networks, Shyam Prabhakar Mardikar has also put in his papers.

    When contacted, Bharti Airtel spokesperson confirmed the development.

    According to the source, Mardikar has resigned to move up the ladder in his career path.

    Mardikar has been with Airtel since August 2012. This was his second stint with the telecom major. Earlier, he has served Airtel for about a decade from 2001-2010 after quitting his job at the Department of Telecom.

    He was serving as CTO of Airtel's mobile network since January 2017.

Social Media

  • WhatsApp rolls out group calling; 4 can call at one time

    Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday rolled out its group calling feature -- for both voice and video options -- on iOS and Android devices for its 1.5 billion users.
    The group calling feature supports up to four people simultaneously.
    "You can make a group call with up to four people total -- anytime and anywhere. Just start a one-on-one voice or video call and tap the new "add participant" button in the top right corner to add more contacts to the call," WhatsApp said in a statement.
    WhatsApp users currently spend over two billion minutes on calls per day.
    "Group calls are always end-to-end encrypted, and we've designed calling to work reliably around the world in different network conditions," WhatsApp added.
    At Facebook's F8 developer conference in May, WhatsApp had announced to bring group calling support on its platform.
    The instant messaging service unveiled video chatting in 2016 and voice calling in 2014.


  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologises to EU Parliament over data breach

    Brussels: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologised to the European Parliament today and said the social media giant is taking steps to prevent a repeat of a massive breach of users’ personal data.

    Zuckerberg also pledged to keep investing in Europe as he made the latest stop on a tour of contrition over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that began in the US Congress in April. Zuckerberg told the livestreamed hearing in Brussels that it has become clear in the last two years that Facebook executives “haven’t done enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm”.

    “And that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections or developers misusing people’s information. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility,” he said. “That was a mistake, and I’m sorry for it.” Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked for US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. The Silicon Valley giant has told the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, that the personal data of up to 2.7 million Europeans may have been sent inappropriately to Cambridge Analytica, which has since filed for bankruptcy in the US.

    The Facebook chief welcomed the EU’s sweeping new personal data protection rules, which come into effect in three days, saying that his website was adopting similar steps. Zuckerberg said Facebook was bringing in new features including a special “clear history” button that would allow them to delete any cookies or browsing history details it stores. He also told the leaders of the European Parliament’s political groups that Facebook would make fresh investments to protect its users in the wake of the scandal.

    “It’s going to take time to work through all of the changes we must make. But I’m committed to getting it right, and to making the significant investments needed to keep people safe,” he added. “I expect this will significantly impact our profitability. But I want to be clear: keeping people safe will always be more important than maximising our profits.” Zuckerberg meanwhile admitted that Facebook had been “too slow to identify Russian interfering” in the 2016 US presidential ballot, but was working with European governments for future elections.

    Facebook also serves a valuable social role with tens of thousands of people having used its Safety Check feature “after the recent terrorist attacks in Berlin, Paris, London and here in Brussels”, Zuckerberg said. The Facebook chief staged a U-turn on Monday and agreed to the hearing being webcast, in a further bid to limit the fallout from the data scandal. Angry EU lawmakers had objected to initial plans for it to be held behind closed doors.

    European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who welcomed Zuckerberg to parliament, urged him to ensure people’s data was respected. In April, Tajani rejected Zuckerberg’s initial offer to send a more junior executive in his place, saying it would be a “big mistake” for him not to answer questions from an elected body that regulates a market of 500 million people, many of them Facebook users. Tajani said MEPs want to know if “people used data for changing the position of the citizens”, including during the shock 2016 referendum for Britain to leave the EU.

    Objecting to a closed-door hearing, MEPs insisted Zuckerberg face a grilling similar to his 10-hour interrogation in US Congress last month. Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the ALDE liberals group in parliament, dropped his plan to boycott the event now that it would be “transparent and public”. Inviting Europeans to send him questions for Zuckerberg, Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, tweeted that EU citizens “deserve to hear the truth”.

    EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova recently paid Zuckerberg a backhanded compliment for having admitted that the Facebook scandal showed the need for strict new rules despite the reluctance of US internet giants. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on Friday, aims to give users more control over how their personal information is stored and used online, with big fines for firms that break the rules. Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly apologised for the massive data breach, told the US Congress in April that the more stringent EU rules could serve as a model globally.

  • Sensex extends losses on foreign fund outflows, rising oil prices

    Mumbai: The BSE Sensex drifted lower by another 125 points in early trade today amid unabated foreign fund outflows and surging global crude oil prices. The rupee depreciating against the US dollar also affected momentum.

    Brokers said sentiment remained weak largely on sustained capital outflows by foreign funds and rising global crude oil prices, which went past the USD 80 per barrel mark. Investors also kept an eye on political developments in Karnataka.

    The 30-share index fell by 125.10 points, or 0.35 percent, to 35,024.02 in the opening trade. The gauge has lost 407.59 points in the previous three sessions. In similar fashion, the NSE Nifty declined by 34.35 points, or 0.32 percent, to 10,648.35.

    Sectoral indices led by capital goods, IT, teck, oil and gas, banking and PSU were trading in the negative zone.

    Major losers were Wipro, L&T, HDFC Bank, Adani Ports, Infosys, Tata Motors, Asian Paints, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, ITC Ltd and Reliance Industries, falling by up to 1.28 percent.

    Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net sold shares worth Rs 830.94 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 428.92 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.

    Trend at other Asian markets, however, was better as investors kept a cautious watch on developments in US-China trade negotiations.

    Japan’s Nikkei advanced 0.25 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.22 percent in early trade. China’s Shanghai Composite index too rose 0.46 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, ended 0.22 percent lower in yesterday’s trade.