Guwahati: The BJP-led government in Assam is committed to “free” the state of all illegal immigrants CM Sarbananda Sonowal said on Thursday.Sonowal’s comment comes at a time when Assam and other north eastern states are facing widespread protests over a proposed amendment to the citizenship law , which opponents allege will undermine the sentiments and identities of indigenous communities of the northeast.“The government came to power with twin promises—one of corruption-free Assam and other of illegal immigrant-free Assam,” the chief minister told reporters on Thursday at a function to mark his government’s second anniversary.“The work on updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) is on. This exercise is monitored by the SC and 50,000 state government officials are involved in it,” Sonowal said, adding that a partial first draft of NRC was published on December 31, 2017 and the remaining draft will be published on June 30.When asked about the state government’s stand on the citizenship bill, Sonowal said, “We will not do anything which is against the interest of Assam”.He said the state government has created over 45,000 jobs in the last two years and that it is committed to provide land rights as per the recommendations of the HS Brahma Committee report.

May 24, 2018 18:11 UTC

Reported outbreak of Nipah(NiV) virus in Kerala causing death over 10 patients has started ringing alarm bell in Siliguri in West Bengal. The town that witnessed fatal presence of that deadly virus for the first time in India. “Experience of seeing friends, relatives dying one after another almost daily is definitely the most scary memory of my life. I do not want anyone to witness the same in life,” said Somen Mitra, a septuagenarian retired teacher.Outbreak of the zoonotic disease outbreak took over 45 lives of Siliguri in 10 days. Detail studies suggested the particular NiV from Siliguri incident was more closely related to NiV found in outbreaks in regions of Bangladesh at close proximity.

May 24, 2018 18:11 UTC

Serena Williams, a three-time French Open champion, is playing in her first major since giving birth to her daughter in September. (Source: AP file) Serena Williams, a three-time French Open champion, is playing in her first major since giving birth to her daughter in September. (Source: AP file)Serena Williams could face Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of the French Open on her return to Grand Slam tennis from maternity leave. Williams, a three-time French Open champion, is playing in her first major since giving birth to her daughter in September. Williams sisters to team up in doublesTwo-time champions Serena and Venus Williams will compete in doubles at the French Open.

May 24, 2018 18:02 UTC

Mr. Pasha, who laid down office on Thursday, was speaking at a send-off given to him by the High Court in a full court reference. “Appointment of judges is not a family property of someone to be partitioned. I do not believe that judgeship should be allotted to each and every religion, caste or sub-caste,” he said. When persons who have to perform divine functions are to be selected, they should have the capacity for it,” Mr. Pasha said. The High Court had recently dismissed a writ petition seeking to declare the reported recommendations of the collegium null and void.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC

Facebook Inc on Thursday launched an archive of U.S. political ads that appear on the world's largest social network, showing who paid for them and other details, after an outcry over Russians' alleged purchase of such ads during the 2016 elections. Digital services such as Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google and YouTube have upended how political campaigns reach voters in many countries because of their power at targeting ads at narrow audiences and their low cost compared to television ads. The archive begins with ads that ran in May. Clicking on the label will take people to a searchable archive with information such as the campaign budget, how many people saw it and the demographics of those people such as age, location and gender, Leathern said. The United States is entering a heated political season ahead Nov. 6 elections that will test the strength of President Donald Trump.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC





US President Donald Trump on Thursday cancelled his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over what he said was “anger and open hostility” from the hermit nation. In a letter to Kim, Trump kept the door open for talks to take place on June 12 or later. In a letter to Kim, Trump started by reminding him that it was North Korea that requested the meeting. He also said sanctions against North Korea would continue as part of the campaign of “maximum pressure”. One official targeted national security adviser John Bolton by name for suggesting the Libyan Model for negotiations with North Korean.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC

The ban on transfers would, however, come into force again with effect from June 16. Two-year periodAs per the guidelines issued by the government, no employee with less than two years service at a particular place as on May 31 this year shall be transferred. The condition of completion of two years, however, need not be followed in respect of transfers on spouse grounds and employees transferred and provisionally ordered to serve in new districts in October 2016. To ensure that there is no dislocation of the work, not more than 40% of employees in any cadre shall be transferred. Transfers shall be effected from focal to non-focal, as identified by the departments concerned, and vice versa.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC

Pakistan provoked England’s latest batting collapse by combining disciplined bowling with superb catching before showing resistance in its reply to dominate the opening day of the first Test at the Lord’s on Thursday. Moments after Root made his choice, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he would have wanted to bowl if given the choice. Sohail was dropped on 16 by Ben Stokes, who dived to his right from third slip in front of Dawid Malan at second slip. Pakistan won by 75 runs at Lord’s in the first Test of the series in 2016. Cook’s run of successive Test matches, which stretches from 2006, tied the record held by former Australia captain Allan Border.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC

India is “central’ to US policy in the Pacific and the region and it “ought to be one of our closest partners”, secretary of state Mike Pompeo told lawmakers at a Senate hearing on Thursday. “For scores of reasons, India needs to be central to what we do,” Pompeo said in response to a question from a senator about India-US ties, as related to “Pacific issues, South Central Asia Issues, and South East Asia issues”. Pompeo also sought a “waiver” from Russia-related sanctions for some countries without naming them. Defence secretary James Mattis had named India and Vietnam at a recent hearing of his own. Pompeo told the US House of Representatives on Wednesday that he supported that request.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC

That’s precisely the reaction Bajrangi Bhaijaan garnered upon its release in China earlier this year. Based on cross-border stories, both films will bring together the best of cast and culture from India and China to address a larger audience. We are also planning to exploit around 50 popular titles from our library on CCTV, the dominant state television broadcaster in China. Additionally, we are in the initial stages of exploring local partnerships to launch our OTT (over-the-top) platform, Eros Now, in China. We continue to establish our dominant global distribution network into the Chinese market.

May 24, 2018 18:00 UTC

Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) can now offer certificate, diploma and degree programmes in full-fledged online mode, along with, as has been the norm, those offered in the regular mode, sunject to certain conditions, the government announced on Thursday.These regulations will be made applicable from the academic session 2018-19.The rule came into being after approval of UGC (Online Courses) Regulations, 2018, by the University Grants Commission.According to a Human Resource Development Ministry statement, these institutions can accredit students in online mode "in only those disciplines in which it has already been offering the same or similar programmes/courses at graduation level in regular mode (of classroom teaching) or in Open and Distance Learning modes and from which at least one batch has graduated and approved by the statutory councils, as applicable".Online programmes requiring practical/laboratory courses as curricular requirement shall not be permitted, it said.The statement said only those institutions will be allowed to offer online programmes which have been in existence for at least five years and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a valid minimum score of 3.26 on a 4-point scale.They should also be in the top-100 in overall category in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for at least two years in the previous three years.The government open universities are exempted from these conditions unless they are required to be rated by the NAAC or NIRF or a similar accreditation system. "This initiative is a big step towards attaining the targeted Gross Enrolment Ratio of 30 per cent by 2020," the Ministry said.

May 24, 2018 17:48 UTC

A neck injury has dashed Virat Kohli’s hopes of a maiden County stint with Surrey to prepare for the England Test series starting on August 1. The BCCI said in a statement on Thursday that Kohli was assessed by the BCCI medical team and a specialist. Kohli will have rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore and undergo a fitness test on June 15. Kohli’s second injury break – a shoulder injury while fielding in the Ranchi Test versus Australia last year, sidelined him for most of the 2017 IPL. The latest injury also raises concerns whether Kohli needs to manage workload better, adding to the debate over the strain of playing all three formats.

May 24, 2018 17:48 UTC

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) on Thursday launched an integrated scheme for school education from pre-school till Class 12 and promised to increase the budget for the entire school education next year by 20 per cent.The new scheme, called "Samagra Shiksha", is integration of three components into which school education was divided earlier. Thus, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) -- which took care of the school education at primary and secondary levels -- and Teacher Training will now be coalesced into one whole. "We can't see education in parts.... People choose to send their kids to private schools because there aren't pre-schools in government schools... This is a way to see education holistically," HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told the media while inaugurating the scheme. "The budget (for school) has been enhanced from Rs 28,000 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 34,000 crore in 2018-19 and further it will be Rs 41,000 crore in 2019-20.

May 24, 2018 17:48 UTC

Avenue Supermarts shares closed 3.34% higher at Rs1,404.20, in a firm Mumbai market. Photo: MintNew Delhi: Promoter Radhakishan Damani sold 6.2 million shares, or 1%, of Avenue Supermarts Ltd this week, according to a plan that was announced last week, the company said in a BSE filing. Damani sold a total of 6.24 million shares of Avenue Supermarts between 21-24 May, the company said. On Thursday, Avenue Supermarts shares closed 3.34% higher at Rs1,404.20, in a firm Mumbai market. The listed companies have to ensure the minimum public shareholding in three years from the time of listing.

May 24, 2018 17:48 UTC

The Madras High Court today declined to modify its order directing the Tamil Nadu government to preserve until further orders the bodies of those killed during the anti-Sterlite protest at Tuticorin on May 22. Such cases of mass preservation would accelerate decomposition, the government said. In light of these circumstances, the bodies can be handed over to the relatives, he submitted. If the bodies were embalmed and kept under preservation, there was every possibility of the public gatecrashing into the hospital and creating law and order problems. The bench had yesterday passed an interim order directing the authorities to preserve the bodies of those killed on May 22, until further orders.

May 24, 2018 17:48 UTC