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Will invite Manmohan to my oath-taking ceremony: Nawaz Sharif

LAHORE: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Monday said he will invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan for his oath-taking ceremony as the new prime minister.

Sharif invited Singh to Pakistan on Monday, Express News reported, adding that he said he would also invite Singh to his oath-taking ceremony.

Nawaz has already indicated his desire to normalise "rollercoaster" ties with India.

Prime Minister Singh had lost no time on Sunday in congratulating Sharif on his election victory, which will give him his third term as Prime Minister of Pakistan, and invited him to visit India at a mutually convenient time.

In an unusually quick response even as counting of votes was underway in Pakistan, Singh conveyed India's desire to work with him to chart a new course in India-Pak relations.

In a letter to Sharif, Prime Minister Singh said, "I look forward to working with you and your government to chart a new course and pursue a new destiny in the relations between our countries. I would also like to extend an invitation to you to visit India at a mutually convenient time."

During the campaign, 63-year-old Sharif had vowed to revive the India-Pak peace process which was interrupted in 1999 by the then military ruler Parvez Musharraf who ousted him in a bloodless coup. Sharif had started the peace process with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. — PTIBack







Digvijay takes a dig at judiciary for calling CBI a 'caged parrot'

NEW DELHI: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday took a dig at the judiciary for its observations on CBI, triggering immediate reaction from BJP, which advised him to "learn and understand" why there were a "series of scams" in the UPA government instead of "blaming the judiciary".

"By calling CBI a parrot in cage, then a Central Administrative Bench in Bangalore calling the IB a chicken... Now I have a question to the people in general. Are we not belittling our institutions? That's it.

"I want you to respond. I will request you to try and get access to all those who are calling our institutions chicken or parrot. You should take reaction from them also," Singh, who is an AICC general secretary, told reporters here.

Singh's remarks came in backdrop of the recent stinging criticism of CBI by the apex court that the investigating agency is a " caged parrot" of its masters.

The court had rapped CBI for sharing the status report on coal allocation scam probe with law minister Ashwani Kumar and officials of the PMO and Coal Ministry.

BJP lost no time in launching an attack on the Congress leader for "blaming the highest judiciary".

"If the morale of CBI has been downgraded, it is only because of the rank abuse of CBI by the government. CBI was deliberately not allowed to take up fair investigation.

"Otherwise, the minister of his (UPA) government would not have sought to weaken the import of the CBI's entire investigations in the coalgate. Why it was done because the Prime Minister was involved in the coalgate scam," BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad alleged.

Holding that it is the duty of the SC to ensure a fair investigation in a "massive case of corruption", he said that "instead of blaming the highest judiciary, it is important for Digvijaya Singh to learn and understand as to why there are a series of scams one after another in this government and can we know that there will be no scam again in the coming months." — PTIBack








SC clears decks for admissions to medical colleges

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the decks for admissions to undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses for 2013 in state government and private institutions as it lifted its stay on the declaration of the results of the entrance tests conducted by them.

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also permitted the Medical Council of India (MCI) to declare the results of the national eligibility-cum-entrance test (NEET) conducted by it.

The court had by its December 13, 2012, order had restrained the state governments, private institutions and the MCI from declaring the results of the tests conducted by them.

The court will pronounce its verdict on the validity of these tests on July 2. — IANSBack








Siddaramaiah sworn in as Karnataka CM

BANGALORE: Siddaramaiah was today sworn in as the 22nd Chief Minister of Karnataka at a grand show at a stadium here, marking the return of the administration back to the hands of Congress after more than seven years. 

Sixty-four-year-old Siddaramaiah was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj in front of thousands of his supporters at the Kanteerava Stadium.

Sporting white colour silk dhoti and shirt, Siddaramaiah was sworn alone and he took the oath in the name of 'Truth'.

Siddaramaiah is expected to constitute the full-fledged ministry after consultations with the central leadership some time this week, a difficult task on hand considering the number of ministerial aspirants.

Union Ministers Mallikarjun Kharge, whom Siddaramaiah had piped in the race for chief ministership and M Veerappa Moily besides Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan, Congress general secretaries Madhusudan Mistry, in charge of State party affairs, Oscar Fernandes and B.K. Hariprasad were present.

The swearing-in ceremony is usually held on the portals of Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, or at the Raj Bhavan. Vidhana Soudha was avoided as Bangalore Metro works are on in front of the building.

Siddaramaiah was chosen the Congress Legislature Party leader on Saturday after AICC observers headed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony asked party legislators to express their choice in writing.

Coming from the 'Janata Pariwar' stable, Siddaramaiah had led the Congress battle against the BJP along with KPCC Chief G Parameshwara, paving the way for the return of Congress to power inflicting a humiliating defeat on the ruling party and winning 121 seats in the 224-member Assembly in the May 8 polls. — PTIBack








Sensex drops 431 points, touches a 14-month low 

MUMBAI: The BSE benchmark Sensex on Monday declined the most in more than 14 months by losing 431 points on across-the-board selling mainly in FMCG, capital goods, metals and auto stocks, amid a surge in April trade deficit.

The Sensex fell 430.65 points, or 2.14 per cent, to 19,691.67, a biggest slump after February 27, 2012. The index had climbed to over three months high in the previous session.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dropped by 126.80 points, or 2.08 per cent, to 5,980.45 led by stocks of ITC Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services.

The MCX-SX flagship index SX40 closed 228.64 points, or 1.92 per cent, lower at 11,662.34 points.

Brokers said the selling pressure mostly of profit-booking nature was so strong that all the index components in 30-BSE and 50-NSE closed with losses.

“Surge in April trade deficit, considerable rise in U.S. dollar rates and finally Nifty trading in resistance zone around 6120 resulted in selling pressure at higher levels,” said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, at Inventure Growth & Securities.

The country’s exports grew for the fourth consecutive month recording a growth of 1.6 per cent in April but surge in gold imports pushed up the trade deficit to $17.7 billion.

A weak trend in the Asian region and lower opening in Europe ahead of the US reports of retail sales and a weak dollar further influenced the market sentiment on the domestic front here, traders said.

ITC Ltd. was the major loser of the day dropping 5.31 per cent to Rs. 336.86 followed by TCS by 2.42 per cent to Rs. 1,451.65, Tata Motors by 3.27 per cent to Rs. 297.65, L&T by 2.96 per cent to Rs. 1,516.85.

The two heavy scrips with a 15 per cent weightage, Reliance Industries and Infosys lost 1.27 per cent to Rs. 903 and by 0.92 per cent to Rs. 2,340.35, respectively.

All sectoral indices led by FMCG and Capital goods closed in negative territory with losses up to 3.17 per cent. — PTIBack




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