L A T E S T      N E W S

Modi seeks ‘new course’ in Indo-Pak ties

Islamabad/New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, saying he looked forward to charting a “new course” in the bilateral relations in an atmosphere “free from confrontation and violence”.

Responding to Sharif’s letter of June 2, Modi has said that “a relationship between India and Pakistan defined by peace, friendship and cooperation would unleash enormous opportunities for our youth, secure a more prosperous future for our people and accelerate progress across our region”.

He also condemned the terror strike in Karachi earlier this week and conveyed his “deepest condolences” for the loss of innocent lives in this “senseless and barbaric” attack.

Modi said he was encouraged by discussions with Sharif during his visit to Delhi on bilateral relations and the convergence on views.

“I look forward therefore to working closely with you and your government in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in our bilateral relations,” he said, according to text of the letter released by Pakistan on Friday.

Sharif had written to Modi expressing satisfaction over his visit to Delhi for attending the swearing-in of the new government on May 26. The two leaders had then held talks to discuss the future of the bilateral relationship.

He thanked Sharif for attending the oath-taking ceremony.

“Your presence and that of other leaders from our region not only added a special sheen to the event, but also a celebration of the strength of democracy in our region and a reflection of our collective hopes and shared destinies,” he wrote.

In the letter, Modi also wrote, “I also take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms the terrorists attack in Karachi and convey my deepest condolences for the loss of innocent lives in this senseless and barbaric attack.”

He thanked for the letter which Sharif wrote and also for the gift of sari that Sharif send for his mother, saying it is “a gesture that she has deeply appreciated”. — PTIBack

















Pak violates ceasefire in Poonch; Omar Abdullah questions timing

SRINAGAR: Pakistan troops today violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir with heavy firing and mortar shelling, drawing retaliation by Indian forces.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned the timing of the ceasefire violation a day ahead of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's first visit to the state since assuming office.

"Is it just a coincidence that the Defence Minister is visiting J&K, for his 1st visit, to review the security situation tomorrow?" Omar wrote on the micro-blogging website twitter.com.

Pakistan troops fired 81-mm mortar shells and directed automatic and small-arms fire at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar-BhimberGali-Keri forward areas of Poonch district at around 0730 hours today, said a senior Army officer.

No casualty or damage has been reported on this side of the LoC due to the firing, he said.

Indian troops guarding the border effectively replied with similar calibre weapons, he said, adding that the "exchanges occurred in three forward areas".

Omar said the ceasefire violations in Rajouri and Poonch areas were significant as some of shells had landed in civilian areas.

"Significant ceasefire violation in Rajouri and Poonch with reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas.

"Some livestock loss," he further tweeted.

The firing comes a day after an IED blast in the Tarkundi forward area along the LoC in Poonch in which one jawan was killed and three others injured.

Between end of April and mid-May, 19 incidents of ceasefire violation were reported along the LoC here.

In 2013, 12 jawans were killed and 41 injured in 149 ceasefire violations and firing incidents by Pakistan troops on forward posts, civilian areas and patrolling parties along the Indo-Pak border. — PTIBack















World Cup 2014 : Neymar shines as Brazil beat
Croatia 3-1 in opener 

SAO PAULO: Brazil rode a wave of national fervour to launch the World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Croatia on Friday as an opening day which began with violent clashes, giving way to an outpouring of joy.

Barcelona superstar Neymar scored in each half as Brazil recovered from conceding an early Marcelo own goal to set up a win before hordes of golden-shirted fans at the 61,600 Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar put the seal on the win with a late strike from distance to trigger delirium.

The host nation's Group A victory was greeted by an explosion of fireworks across Sao Paulo, a sharp contrast to several hours earlier when riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse angry protests.

But a largely free-flowing tournament-opener was shrouded in controversy, with Brazil's winner coming courtesy of a dubious penalty, when Croatia defender Dejan Lovren was harshly adjudged to have shoved Fred over.

The hosts, chasing a record sixth World Cup, had also enjoyed a degree of good fortune in the first half when Neymar received only a yellow card for elbowing Croatia's playmaker Luka Modric.

Moments later Neymar scored Brazil's equaliser to settle home nerves after Marcelo's 11th-minute own goal.

The match had kicked off after a spine-tingling rendition of Brazil's national anthem with fans — exhorted to unite behind the team by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari — roaring their support for the "Selecao."

Even after the music stopped, fans and players alike put their hearts and souls into one more verse.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva epitomised the mood, bellowing a rallying cry to his team-mates as they embarked on their quest to earn first title on home soil.

The victory provided a euphoric counterpoint to scenes earlier in the day when violent protests in Sao Paulo had threatened a stormy start to the month-long football extravaganza.

A torrid seven-year build-up bedevilled by delays and public anger at the tournament's $11 billion (8m euros) cost, and scattered protests took place on Thursday in several of the cities which will host World Cup games.

The worst violence took place just a few kilometres from the opening match, as anarchist demonstrators in black shirts and masks lit bonfires of rubbish after armoured police sought to quell protests.

But Sao Paulo and other cities largely went quiet as the game started. Yellow and green flags hung from many buildings.

Gutemberg Santos, 42, said his t-shirts and flags had sold like hot cakes. "It has been a good day, everyone is happy," he said.

Protesters who last year brought chaos to the Confederations Cup rehearsal tournament had vowed to march on the Sao Paulo stadium.

But riot police responded forcefully, chasing protesters up a main avenue and firing tear gas in the middle of oncoming traffic, forcing cars decorated with the Brazilian flag to weave their way through the chaos.

A cannister fired by the police hit and injured a CNN journalist, and an AFP correspondent saw one woman in tears clutching her arm.

In Rio de Janeiro, striking ground staff briefly blocked a road leading to the city's international airport.

Around 1,000 protesters also gathered in the city centre, a small group of them scuffling with the police who arrested four people.

A total of 64 games will culminate with the July 13 final in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium next month.

Saturday's action promises more drama, with world champions Spain facing the Netherlands in a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final in the northern city of Salvador in Group B.

Group B's other encounter sees dark horses Chile take on Australia. In the day's other remaining game, Mexico play Cameroon in Group A. — AFPBack














Croatia defender hits out at penalty 'scandal' 

SAO PAULO: Furious Croatia defender Dejan Lovren branded the penalty awarded against him during Brazil's 3-1 win in the World Cup opener a "scandal", questioning the referee's right to be officiating at the showpiece event.

Unfancied Croatia took a shock lead when Marcelo put the ball into his own net early in the Group A match before Neymar levelled in front of a jubilant crowd in the Corinthians Arena.

But the European side were holding their own in the second half until Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot after Fred backed into Lovren and fell.

"I think this referee didn't deserve to be here," said the Southampton player. "I don't know for what he deserved to be here. It's really disappointing for us because I think we were playing a good game against a big team, Brazil.

"Two billion people I think saw that it was not a penalty. I didn't touch him." "We're really disappointed but what can you do against 12 players? You can't do anything," he added.

"I'm sad, that's it, because we played a good match and the referee — it wasn't a mistake, it was a scandal. It's a scandal for everyone, it's a scandal for FIFA. I think this referee shouldn't be at this World Cup." 

Frustrated Croatia coach Niko Kovac said the referee was "out of his depth" but his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari was adamant Nishimura was correct to award the spot kick converted by Neymar to make the score 2-1.

"If anybody saw that was a penalty, let them raise their hand. I cannot raise my hand; I didn't see it," said Kovac.

"If you continue in this vein, then there will be 100 penalties during this World Cup."

Kovac branded the spot-kick award "ridiculous", adding that he blamed himself for not saying during Wednesday's press conference that he would be "keeping a beady eye on the referee".

"If we continue in this way, we will have a circus," he added, saying world-class players needed a top-notch referee.

Kovac said he felt his team had deserved at least a point, praising his players for their performance in front of passionate support for the home side.

He said he did not blame Fred for his tumble, even though he questioned the ease with which he fell to the turf.

"I cannot blame Fred because everybody tries to do that.

This is part of the sport whether you like it or not. This is part and parcel of football.

"What I want is for the referees to stick to the laws of the game, applying them equally to both teams. The referee was well-placed, he was not unsighted, he saw everything and he took that decision." But Scolari said the referee was right to point to the spot.

"For me it was a penalty. I have seen it 10 times now and I think it was a penalty," he said, adding that he understood Kovac's reaction.

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter Wednesday called for managers to be given two challenges per match when they could check key refereeing decisions against video replays.

The suggestion, which came out of left field at the close of the FIFA congress, would mimic systems used in tennis and cricket and comes with goal-line technology making its World Cup debut in Brazil. — AFPBack













Punjab CM urges Centre to set up probe panel for 1984 riots

New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Centre to set up an inquiry committee to find out the "real reasons" of 1984 anti-Sikh riots and role of politicians and officials.

This was conveyed by Badal to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, whom he met at the North Block.

"We have asked for setting up a committee to find out the real reason for the riots. The committee will find out the roles of political and officials in the killings," he told reporters after his 20-minute meeting with Singh.

Badal said it was necessary to find out what "conspiracy was hatched to carry out the worst riots in the country".

Sources said the Punjab Chief Minister is believed to have discussed with the Home Minister various issues concerning the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and how to to put the main perpetrators behind bars.

Last fortnight, Shiromani Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had said the time has come to punish the architects of "Sikh genocide".

Accusing the previous UPA government of shielding "culprits" of anti-Sikh riots, Sukhbir had said that the new NDA government has built up the trust of Sikhs who have been fighting for the last 30 years to get justice and hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi would deliver justice as early as possible. PTI


















PMO tightens norms for foreign visits by ministers, officers

New Delhi: Seeking to streamline overseas visits of ministers, the Prime Minister's Office has asked them to give at least 10-day prior notice and file a detailed report about the outcome of the visit on return.

In an official memorandum, the cabinet secretariat said the proposals seeking approval of the Prime Minister for official visits abroad should be forwarded to the PMO "at least 10 days before the proposed date of departure as against the earlier stipulation of 5 days".

Further, the proposal seeking approval of the Prime Minister should incorporate details of the "tasks to be accomplished during the visit," sources said.

The concerned ministers and officers would also be required to submit a post-visit report to the Prime Minister.

According to the memorandum, issued on foreign travel by ministers of union government, chief ministers/ ministers in the states/UTs, ministers seeking approval for a subsequent visit abroad would have to submit a report on the action taken to achieve the "intended outcome" specified in the previous visit.

Similarly, it has been decided that the same process would have to be adopted in respect of visits abroad by secretaries and additional secretary level officers seeking the clearance of the screening committee of secretaries. PTI


















Sensex records biggest single-day drop in 4 months,
tanks over 348 points

MUMBAI: The benchmark Sensex today tanked over 348 points, recording its biggest single-session drop in over four months, on a broad-based sell off on prices of crude oil surging to nine-months high levels amid unrest in Iraq.

In addition, a depreciating rupee which was trading 44 paise, or 0.73 per cent, down at 59.69 against the US dollar in forex market, dampened equity market sentiments.

The BSE index had risen to a day's high of 25,688.31 in early trade after yesterday government data after trading closed showed that retail inflation eased to 8.28 per cent in May and factory factory output growth rebounded to 13-month high of 3.4 per cent in April.

However, emergence of selling, spread across 11 of 12 major sectors, pushed back the Sensex to end lower by 348.04 points, or 1.36 per cent, at 25,228.17. Intra-day, it touched a low of 25,171.61. In the 30-share index, 26 shares declined led by Axis Bank, Tata Steel and Hero MotoCorp.

Today's drop is the biggest for the Sensex since January 27 when it had slipped 426.11 points on uncertainty ahead of RBI meeting and a global sell-off linked to US tapering fears.

The gauge had gained almost 110 points in yesterday's session on hopes of favourable IIP and retail inflation data.

Besides realty, stocks of oil and gas, power, capital goods, PSUs, consumer durables, metals and banking led losses.

Similarly, the National Stock Exchange index Nifty tumbled 107.80 points, or 1.41 per cent, to 7,542.10 after dipping to 7,525.35. It had surged to 7,678.50 in early trade.

In the 50-share Nifty, as many as 42 constituents fell.

"Markets witnessed heavy selling pressure following concerns over higher oil prices, which was trading near USD 113.86 per barrel. Rising tensions in Iraq is major reason for this sudden rise in crude oil," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio.

The BSE Realty index suffered the most losing 5.24 per cent as DLF, DB Realty, HDIL, Unitech, Omaxe, Oberoi Realty, and Indiabulls Real Estate fell up to 9 per cent.

Bucking the general weakening trend, IT index ended 0.13 per cent higher with Infosys gaining 0.48 per cent. — PTIBack




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |