L A T E S T      N E W S

Two Indian nurses evacuated from a Iraqi hospital

New Delhi: India has evacuated two nurses, other than the 46 nurses stranded in a hospital in Tikrit, from Iraq's conflict zone taking the total number of those rescued so far to 36.

"Two nurses in the zone of conflict, other than the group of 46 (in Tikrit), have been rescued and evacuated. They are now in Karbala which is again a safe place," the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The spokesperson did not specify the place from where the two nurses were pulled out.

He said the modalities of their return were being worked out and their tickets were being facilited by the MEA.

"We have got their tickets and they will fly back to India as soon as possible. They are now in the safe zone," the spokesperson said.

The Ministry had earlier evacuated 34 Indians from the country while 39 Indian citizens still remain in captivity.

On those in captivity, the spokesperson said, "those who think we are in the dark about it, we are not in the dark about it. As of today, we again have confirmation from multiple sources that these Indians remain in captivity and they are unharmed." The MEA was in touch with a variety of sources who have confirmed this, he said.

With regard to the 46 nurses stranded in a hospital in Tikrit, the spokesperson said no one had intruded into the hospital and they have electricity and food supply.

"We are working with a variety of people on how best we can move them out from there but...it is not possible to use land routes and in such situations while we will work, we will also advise caution," the spokesperson said.

"And that we have done yesterday in terms of requests and advise to all of them to ensure that they do not move out of their places they are staying in, given the security situation there," he said.

The government meanwhile has called all Indian envoys in Gulf countries to New Delhi on June 29 to discuss the complexities of the Iraqi issue. PTI














4 killed as Rajdhani Express derails in Bihar

Chapra (Bihar): At least four passengers were killed and 23 others injured, 13 of them seriously, when 12 coaches of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Chapra in Bihar's Saran district today, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying it was too early to blame the Maoists for the incident.

Eighteen wagons of a goods train also derailed due to a blast in east Champaran district, with SP Vinay Kumar not ruling out the involvement of Maoists.

Chief Public Relations Officer of East Central Railway (ECR) Arvind Kumar Rajak said while three passengers were killed in the Rajdhani derailment, another succumbed to injuries in a hospital, Seven coaches-B-5 to B-10 and the power car of the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani derailed at the Golden Ganj station, about 75 km from Patna, while five coaches, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 and the pantry car overturned at around 2:11 AM.

Rajak said some of the coaches were hurled as far as 700 feet away from the track.

Fourteen of the injured, 13 of them with serious injuries, were taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital, its Principal Amarkant Jha Amar said.

The rest were being treated at Chapra, he added.

The Union Home Minister said it was too early to blame Maoists for the derailment.

Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said, "As far as the Rajdhani derailment is concerned, investigations are on." The Railways, however, suspected sabotage by Maoists behind the derailment.

"Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage.There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment," Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar told PTI in Delhi.

"Another goods train, 60 km away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident," Kumar said.

The Maoists had given a bandh call during the day to protest action by security forces in the area, he said.

Three bombs were also recovered from Dariapur bazar area in the district and were being defused.

DIG Saran Division Binod Kumar told PTI that a Maoist hand behind the planting of bombs could not be ruled out. 

The following are the helpline numbers established by the Railways:
New Delhi: 011-23342954, 23341074; Chhapra: 06512-43409;
Hajipur: 06224-272230; Muzaffarpur: 0621-2213034; Varanasi: 0542-2503814; Lucknow: 09794830976. — PTI





















Subramanium seeks withdrawal of candidature as SC judge

NEW DELHI: Feeling “let down” by the government and the Supreme Court over rejection of his name, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium on Wednesday asked the Chief Justice of India to withdraw the recommendation of his candidature as judge of the apex court.

He has written a letter to the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, requesting him to “withdraw” the recommendation for his elevation as judge of the apex court.

He is also said to be of the view that the candidature of a judge of the Supreme Court should be decided in some kind of sacredness and should not be bashed about.

The name of Subramanium, who served as the Solicitor-General during the UPA regime, was recommended by the collegium for elevation to the apex court Bench along with some other names.

But the government rejected his name and returned the file over his name while accepting the recommendation related to others, including another lawyer Rohinton Nariman.

“In the circumstances, he (Subramanium) does not feel that his name should be reconsidered for elevation to the judge of the Supreme Court. So he has written a letter to CJI to withdraw his candidature as the judge of the Supreme Court,” his office said.

Though the government did not say anything officially on the rejection, there were reports that its decision was based on a CBI report that had questioned Subramanium’s role in arranging a meeting with the lawyer of the 2G accused even when he was the lawyer for the CBI.

Upset over the media reports, Subramanium maintained that his conduct was clear and he had written to Law Minister Kapil Sibal in the previous government about the extent of criminality in the 2G case that was hidden by the government when he was its counsel. — PTIBack






















Row over 4-yr courses: Delhi HC refuses to give urgent hearing to petitions

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to give an urgent hearing to two cross petitions, one for implementation of the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) and the other against it.

The petitions were mentioned before a Vacation Bench of Justices Pratibha Rani and V Kameswar Rao, which said, “The matter requires effective hearing which can’t be done by a Vacation Bench. It will be heard by the Roster Bench in July.”

“We understand the situation. The admissions will not be affected. There will only be a few days delay. The matter will be heard in July,” the Bench said, adding that Justice Rao does not wish to hear the matter so it cannot be listed on June 27 as sought by the petitioners.

The plea challenging the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) notification to scrap FYUP has been filed by Delhi University professor Aditya Narayan Mishra, while the PIL seeking implementation of the commission’s decision to restore the earlier three-year undergraduate programme has been filed by advocate R K Kapoor.

The PIL by advocate Kapoor has sought a resolution of the “controversy” saying, “Most of the university’s colleges are deferring admissions, leading to confusion among lakhs of aspirants just a day before the admission process was to begin.”

Mishra, an ex-DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) President and an Assistant Professor at Aurobindo College, had yesterday moved the Supreme Court which had refused to intervene in the matter and directed him to approach the high court.

Mishra, in his plea before the apex court, had submitted that FYUP is valid and the ordinance brought by the university regarding this is consistent with the UGC guidelines.

However, Kapoor has said, “FYUP violates the National Education Policy 1986, which advocates the 10+2+3 system, and therefore, it is necessary that DU must revert to the earlier system.”

A year after the programme was introduced, DU and UGC are at loggerheads over the course.

UGC had issued directions both to DU and all 64 colleges under it to conduct admissions under the three-year undergraduate programme and not under the four-year programme implemented by the varsity last year, the PIL said, adding that UGC has warned DU and its colleges of “consequences” if they fail to implement the commission’s direction.

Kapoor’s petition also states that 44 colleges under DU have voted against FYUP after implementing it last year. — PTIBack














Pak ultras blow up revenue office in Poonch

POONCH (JAMMU): Hours after Director General of Police K. Rajendra reviewed security scenario in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, suspected Pak terrorists blew up the office of Naib Tehsildar in Balakote near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district around 1.30 am during the intervening night of June 24 and 25.

The police said the explosion appeared to have been caused by a time-bound Improvised Explosive Device (IED) around 1.30 am.

The office of Naib Tehsildar is located at Dargloon, which is barely 1 km away from the LoC.

However, there was no loss of life or injury to anybody as none of the Revenue department staff was present there for obvious reasons.

The office building sustained extensive damage.

The police said it was yet to be ascertained whether the terrorists had come from across the LoC to plant explosive or they were already inside the Indian territory.

“Soon after the high-intensity blast that turned the Tehsil office building into a heap of rubble Army, intelligence and police officers rushed to the spot,” said an Intelligence source. — TNSBack



















Militants attack Iraq air base

BAGHDAD: Militants attacked one of Iraq's largest air bases on Wednesday as the first US teams arrived to assess the Iraqi security forces and decide how to help counter a mounting Sunni insurgency.

Two weeks of advances by militants spearheaded by al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has threatened to rupture the country two and a half years after the withdrawal of US troops.

US Secretary of State John Kerry urged leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday to stand with Baghdad in the face of the onslaught.

Militants, including ISIS and allied Sunni tribes, battled Iraqi forces in the town of Yathrib, 90 km north of Baghdad, into the early hours of Wednesday, witnesses and the deputy head of the municipality said. Four militants were killed, they said.

Insurgents have surrounded a massive air base nearby, which was known as "Camp Anaconda" under US occupation, and struck it with mortars. Eyewitnesses said the air base had been surrounded on three sides.

More than 1,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed in less than three weeks, the United Nations has said, calling the figure "very much a minimum".

The figure includes unarmed government troops machine gunned in mass graves by insurgents, as well as several reported incidents of prisoners killed in their cells by retreating government forces.

US President Barack Obama has offered up to 300 American advisers to Iraq but held off granting a request by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government for air strikes.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said late on Tuesday 130 of the advisers had now been deployed, with the initial group sent to establish the operations centre included intelligence analysts, logistics experts and special operations forces. 

Kirby said about 40 special operations personnel already in the country and assigned to the US Embassy's Office of Security Cooperation had been deployed as part of the first two assessment teams.

About 90 additional troops arrived in Iraq to begin helping establish a Joint Operations Center in Baghdad with Iraqi forces. Another 50 US military personnel working in the region are expected to arrive within the next few days to create four additional assessment teams, Kirby said.

US military personnel also are flying regular manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Iraq - about 30 to 35 per day - to give better insight about the situation on the ground and help the assessment teams, he said.

Baghdad is racing against time as the insurgents consolidate their grip on Sunni provinces.

The Baiji refinery, a strategic industrial complex 200 km (120 miles) north of Baghdad, remained a frontline early on Wednesday. State TV showed troop reinforcements flying into the compound by helicopter to fend off the assault.

Local tribal leaders said they were negotiating with both the Shi'ite-led government and Sunni fighters to allow the tribes to run the plant if Iraqi forces withdraw. One government official said Baghdad wanted the tribes to break with ISIS and other Sunni armed factions, and help defend the compound.

The plant has been fought over since last Wednesday, with sudden reversals for both sides and no clear winner so far.

In recent days, Baghdad's grip on the Western frontier with Syria and Jordan has also been challenged.

One post on the Syrian border has fallen to Sunni militants and another has been taken over by the Kurds. A third crossing with Syria and the only crossing with Jordan are contested, with anti-government fighters and Baghdad both claiming control.

For ISIS, capturing the frontier is a step towards the goal of erasing the modern border altogether and building a caliphate across swathes of Iraq and Syria.

An Iraqi military spokesman said on Tuesday the government had carried out air strikes on a militant gathering in the town of al-Qaim near the Syrian border, which is under the control of the coalition of Sunni armed groups, including ISIS. 

Washington has placed its hopes in forming a new, more inclusive government in Baghdad that would undermine the insurgency. Kerry aims to convince Kurdish leaders to join it.

In Baghdad on Monday Kerry said Maliki assured him the new parliament, elected two months ago, would sit by a July 1 deadline to start forming a new government. Maliki is fighting to stay in power, under criticism for the ISIS-led advance. — ReutersBack

















FIFA World Cup: Suarez in a bite row as Uruguay oust Italy

NATAL (Brazil): Uruguay skipper Diego Godin scored to send Italy crashing out of the World Cup on Tuesday but the South Americans' star striker Luis Suarez faced a new biting storm.

Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in the tense match in which the Europeans ended with 10-men and left the World Cup at the group phase for the second time in succession.

But amid the celebrations, immediate attention fell on a clash between Suarez and Italian defender Ciorgio Chiellini who showed teeth marks in his shoulder after.

Television replays showed Suarez — who has twice been sanctioned for biting players — appearing to attempt to sink his teeth into Chiellini's shoulder in an off-the-ball incident.

Italy won the 2006 World Cup, then failed to reach the last 16 in South Africa four years ago. They required only a draw against Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas in Natal to go through this time.

However the Azzurri suffered a critical blow early in the second half when Claudio Marchisio was sent off for a studs-up challenge.

Shortly after the Suarez-Chiellini incident, Godin rose in a crowded box and the ball rebounded off his shoulder to beat Buffon in the 81st minute.

Uruguay's win means they leapfrog Italy to join Costa Rica in the last 16 of the tournament.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli deployed a 3-5-2 designed to tighten the Azzurri defence and give them attacking options on the wings with Matteo Darmian and Mattia De Sciglio.

But despite a solid display in a scoreless first-half, the Azzurri's hunt for goals - led by Ciro Immobile and Mario Balotelli - reaped no reward.

Uruguay, starting with the same 4-4-2 line-up that defeated England 2-1, came closest early on when a free kick whipped in deep by Luiz Suarez forced Buffon into a desperate punch-out.

Celeste strikers Suarez and Edinson Cavani were described by Prandelli as one of the most potent strike duo's at the World Cup, but they were mostly kept on a tight rein during a nervous first half.

Italy suffered a blow when Balotelli was cautioned for a needless high tackle on Inter's Alvaro Pereira, who felt the AC Milan striker's boot come over the back of his head.

Balotelli's yellow card means he will miss Italy's next match, although that will now be after the World Cup.

Paris Saint Germain midfielder Marco Verratti was Italy's star performer thus far.

On the half hour he dispossessed Cavani to launch Balotelli but the striker failed to release as Immobile ran through into an offside position.

Minutes later Andrea Pirlo's smart short pass found De Sciglio on the left but the wingback's pinpoint delivery to unmarked Immobile was volleyed off target.

Italy were composed, but minutes before half-time Buffon had to make two critical saves to keep the scoresheet clean, first stopping Suarez's snap-shot down low with his left arm and then denying Nicolas Lodeiro from the follow-up.

Prandelli replaced Balotelli with midfielder Parolo at half-time, a tactical switch that suggested the Azzurri would happily hold on for the scoreless draw.

On 58 minutes Cristian Rodriguez sent a great chance wide of the target after a smart one-two with Suarez on the left flank.

Moments later, Marchisio was given his marching orders for his challenge on Egidio Arevalo.

The decision had the expected impact, and after Suarez burst through confidently on 65 minutes Buffon had to get down low to block with his arm.

Italy were still finding space, though, and a Pirlo through ball found Immobile only for the striker to be charged down as he was about to pull the trigger.

Prandelli replaced Immobile with Cassano, but despite Italy again finding opportunities on the counter Uruguay's insistence deep in Italian territory finally paid off.

The hosts gave away a corner, which Godin met with conviction to leave Buffon with no chance.

Italy rallied in desperation in the dying minutes, when Buffon ran up the field to leave his net empty, but to no avail. — AFPBack





















Colombia beat Japan 4-1 in their final Group C match

CUIABA (Brazil): Colombia beat Japan 4-1 in their final Group C match and will play Uruguay in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Juan Cuadrado successfully converted a penalty in the 17th minute after Yasuyuki Konno downed Adrian Ramos in the box to make it 1-0.

Shinji Okazaki equalized for Japan just before the half-time whistle, converting a cross from Keisuke Honda into the box with a diving header.

Porto striker Jackson Martinez rifled in Colombia’s second goal low to the left of Eiji Kawashima after a cross inside the box from James Rodriguez. Rodriguez set up Martinez again in the 83rd minute and scored the fourth goal in the last minute of the game. — APBack
















Costa Rica top group after 0-0 draw with England

BELO HORIZONTE: Costa Rica finished first in what many considered the World Cup's toughest group after a dour 0-0 draw against a second-string England side Tuesday.

Costa Rica only needed a draw to top Group D and played that way, setting up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation.

The result gives Costa Rica its best World Cup performance, winning a group that contained former three world champions. While Los Ticos reached the knockout stages in 1990, they finished second in a weaker group.

Costa Rica will play the runner-up in Group C in the second round. England lost its first two matches to Italy and Uruguay, while Costa Rica surprisingly won its first two. Uruguay also advanced from the group after beating Italy 1-0.

England had already been eliminated and will go home without a win after striker Daniel Sturridge missed a number of chances throughout the match.

One of Sturridge's best opportunities came in the 65th after a nice one-two with midfielder Jack Wilshere. But the forward's curling shot from the right just missed squeezing inside the far post.

Costa Rica had started the match brightly, passing the ball around midfield with ease and making England chase them around. Forward Joel Campbell had an early chance, but his shot from inside the area deflected off Gary Cahill and went just wide in the second minute.

Costa Rica's best chance came in the 23rd minute when Celso Borges' curling free kick was tipped onto the crossbar and out for a corner by England goalkeeper Ben Foster.

But that was about it in terms of attacking for the Costa Ricans and they were happy to absorb England pressure, especially in the second half. With nothing to play for, England coach Roy Hodgson made nine changes to the team, fielding a slew of England's younger talent, including Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw.

England's backup players looked disjointed in the first half, giving the ball away easily and finding it difficult to break through Costa Rica's setup.

Wilshere made a fine run down the left in the 12th, setting up Sturridge just outside the area, but the forward's curling shot just missed wide. Sturridge missed another good chance in the 18th from a throw-in, when he let the ball run in front of him before the unmarked striker launched a long-range shot that went horribly wide.

In the 35th, Ross Barkley sent a long ball into the penalty area, which Phil Jones connected with and nodded across the face of goal. But Sturridge headed it over the crossbar.

Wayne Rooney came on as a substitute late in the second half and made an instant impact for England. He found space just outside Costa Rica's area in the 80th, but the backpedalling Navas was able to tip it over the bar and out for a corner. — APBack













Greece beat Ivory Coast to enter last 16

FORTALEZA (Brazil): A last minute penalty by Georgios Samaras gave Greece a place in the second round of the World Cup finals for the first time after a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

Samaras's penalty robbed the African side of the place in the last 16 as they had fought back to level at 1-1 through Wilfried Bony and were in sight of the point they required to go through.

Greece took the lead in the first-half through Andreas Samaris and Samaras's late winner ensured they accompanied group winners Colombia, who thrashed Japan 4-1, into the knockout stages.

Greece again showed they play best when the odds are stacked against them as they overcame having to replace two key players including goalkeeper Orestis Karlezis inside the first 25 minutes.

A sluggish Ivory Coast side were caught napping on several occasions including one superb sortie by Greek defender Jose Holebas.

He took the ball out from inside his own penalty area, passed to Giorgios Samaras, and then ran onto the veteran former Celtic forward's pass to let fly with a fierce effort which came crashing back off the bar.

The Greeks, though, got the goal they deserved three minutes from the break as Cheick Tiote's underhit pass was seized on by the Greeks and it fell to Samaris who fired under the advancing goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.

The 2004 European champions looked conmfortable through most of the second-half with one of the only two players remaining from that side Georgios Karagounis rattling the bar from distance on his 138th appearance for his country.

However, the game turned on its head 16 minutes from time when finally the Elephants put a class move together Salomon Kalou feeding Gervinho, who slipped the ball inside for substitute Wilfried Bony who made no mistake for his second goal of the finals.

Both Karagounis and Ivory Coast icon Didier Drogba were taken off shortly afterwards with the latter receiving a rousing ovation from the almost 60,000 spectators.

However, it was to be the Greek veteran who was to be smiling at the end and looking forward to another big game before he finally hangs up his boots while Drogba bows out. — APBack















Memorable World Cup scandals and shocks

RIO DE JANEIRO (Brazil): Brazil’s World Cup has had great goals, great games and a great atmosphere. Yet it was missing the spice of scandal that made previous tournaments stick in the memory.

Until now.

Luis Suarez’s apparent bite on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has left the Uruguayan striker’s future in the tournament at the mercy of a FIFA investigation.

‘Hand of God’
Argentina’s Diego Maradona is considered the closest challenger to Pele for the world’s best-ever player. But perhaps his most memorable moment came at the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals in Mexico when he punched the ball into England’s net to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. To the fury of England’s players, Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser thought it was a header and awarded the goal.

The game was played amid simmering tension between the countries after the Falklands War a few years earlier. Maradona stoked the fires further after by saying the goal was righteous and scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God” giving it an iconic name and a place in World Cup folklore.

Typically for Maradona, who was as brilliant as he was belligerent, he scored one of the most amazing World Cup goals minutes later, as he dribbled past half of England’s team to score the goal that secured a 2-1 win. Maradona and Argentina went on to lift the World Cup.

The goal that wasn’t?
Long before the days of goal-line technology and high-definition replays, Geoff Hurst scored probably the most argued-over goal in World Cup history in England’s 4-2 win over West Germany in the 1966 final. With the scores locked at 2-2 in extra-time, Hurst’s powerful shot ricocheted down off the crossbar and onto the ground, but had it crossed the line? England’s players said yes, West Germany’s players said no.

It was up to a linesman from the Soviet Union to decide. He gave the goal, and Germans still haven’t forgiven him. Modern studies suggest it wasn’t a goal.

The goals that should have been
Individual bad calls by referees can be explained away, but a game full of them sparks conspiracy theories, and the performance of Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno at the World Cup in 2002 still inflames Italians.

In the knockout game against South Korea, Moreno made a litany of dubious calls, including giving the South Koreans a contentious early penalty, sending off Italy striker Francesco Totti for a supposed dive and wrongly disallowing an extra-time ‘golden goal’ winner by Damiano Tommasi. Italy lost 2-1, leaving fans speculating about a plot to keep the co-hosts in the tournament.

In 2011, Moreno was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison after being caught trying to smuggle heroin into the United States.

Zidane goes out with a bang
In 2006, Zinedine Zidane’s masterful performances dragged an otherwise mediocre France team to the final against Italy. He gave his country the lead from the penalty spot. Italy’s Marco Materazzi equalised. Then without warning, ‘Zizou’ head-butted Materazzi in the chest in extra-time and earned an instant red card. Zidane’s explosion was supposedly down to Materazzi insulting his sister.

Stunned fans watched Zidane walk off the pitch past the World Cup trophy, his shirt untucked and his career over in the most dramatic way. Without him, France lost a penalty shootout. It was Zidane’s last professional game.

Schumacher batters Battiston
There have been plenty of crunching tackles at the World Cup, but few probably none with the ferocity of West German goalkeeper Toni Schumacher’s assault on France’s Patrick Battiston in the 1982 semifinal. Schumacher charged off his line and leapt into the onrushing Frenchman, knocking him unconscious.

Not only did Schumacher not get sent off or receive a yellow card, the referee didn’t even give a free kick. A measure of justice prevailed when Italy scored three times past Schumacher in the final.

It’s a fix
There have always been rumours of teams coming to agreements before games to arrange a mutually beneficial result, but none were as shamefacedly obvious as West Germany’s fix with neighbour Austria in 1982. It was the final group game and the equation was specific - if West Germany won by one or two goals, both teams were through. Any more, Austria was out while a draw or Austrian win would have sent the Germans home.

Knowing what they needed because Algeria had played Chile a day before, West Germany went 1-0 up after 10 minutes, then both teams pointlessly kicked the ball around, barely breaking a sweat and ensuring they both qualified at Algeria’s expense. The story goes that one television commentator refused to commentate on the farce and another suggested people switch over to something else.

Nowadays, the final group games at World Cups are played simultaneously to prevent such collusion. — AP




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