Manchester Arena attack



At least 19 people have been killed and 50 injured in an explosion which is treated as a “terrorist incident“, at a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in the Manchester city in the UK, police said today.

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the statement said.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud “bang” from inside the venue, which was playing host to a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande. Video footage from the scene showed bloodied victims being helped be emergency services.

Grande is safe, her spokesperson said.


Full GST rates list


Foodgrains will cost less from July 1 when the nation-wide Goods and Service Tax (GST) is rolled out as the GST Council today decided to exempt the daily-use commodities from the levy.

Here’s a complete list of the rates of all 1,211 items but six were finalised at the first day of the two-day meeting in Srinagar of the GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state representatives.

Also, here’s a complete list of all the items that the GST Council has broadly approved as the rates of GST Compensation Cess to be levied on certain goods.


Triple talaq is a personal law, courts cannot interfere



Congress leader and Amicus curiae in the triple talaq matter, Salman Khurshid, on Friday declined to comment on the Islamic divorce practice, saying that the matter has been presented before the Supreme Court and now the decision lies with the judges.

“That is upto the judges. Our work is to argue and we have done it. We have kept our point in front of the judges and now the decision lays upto them. We can’t say when the court will pronounce its judgment,” Khurshid told ANI.

Earlier on Thursday, hinting towards the difference in his and All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) opinion, Khurshid suggested that the court should harmonise different views so that becomes one acceptable view available for the courts in the country.

“I have suggested that this harmonising effort has to be undertaken. The personal law board has said that the harmonising effect cannot be done by court and should not be done by court. They have suggested legislation. I have said that if something is a part of personal law, then neither legislation nor courts can interfere,” Khurshid told the media here.


Pakistan cannot execute Kulbhushan Jadhav till final verdict, says ICJ


Ruling in favour of India with regard to provisional measures, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday said that Pakistan should take all measures in its power to ensure that Kulbhushan Jadhav is not executed before the final verdict in the case. Further, it ordered that Pakistan would have to inform the court about all such measures. 

India should have been given consular access to Jadhav under the Vienna Convention, the ICJ ruled. The ICJ asserted its jurisdiction over the case of Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by Pakistan on charges of espionage and subversive activities.

Also, the court said that both India and Pakistan agreed that Jadhav is an Indian citizen. Deflating one of Pakistan’s key arguments, the ICJ also said that the Vienna Convention did not exclude those found guilty of terror and espionage.

The circumstances of Jadhav’s arrest remain disputed, ICJ president Ronny Abraham said while reading out his verdict. The 11-judge bench of the UN’s highest court is presenting its verdict two days after India and Pakistan gave their submissions on the 46-year-old former Indian Navy officer. 

The decision to stay Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution pending ICJ hearing is unanimous, said Abraham.

“The 150-day period for clemency given by Pakistan, which ends in August suggests that the execution can happen immediately thereafter,” observed the international court in The Hague.

On Monday, India and Pakistan crossed swords at the ICJ over Jadhav’s case, with New Delhi demanding the immediate suspension of Jadhav’s death sentence and Islamabad calling India’s application “unnecessary” and “misconceived”.


GST rates could be known today: GST council’s meet begins in Srinagar

The tax that 1.3 billion Indians will pay on buying salt to luxury cars and on services like phone calls to dining out will be decided at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting starting on Thursday in Srinagar, where a tight security cover has been thrown in view of recent protests.

Srinagar has been chosen as the venue for this crucial GST Council meeting, which will have in attendance Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his ministry officials as well as representatives of 29 states and union territories, to send out possibly a message to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the importance it holds for the country.

The Council over the next two days will fit most of goods and services in either 5, 12, 18 or 28 per cent tax bracket. The rates thus fixed will be charged from July 1, the scheduled date for the rollout of GST — India’s biggest tax overhaul since independence.

The GST will be a national sales tax that will be levied on consumption of goods or use of services. It will replace 16 current levies — seven central taxes like excise duty and service tax and nine state taxes like VAT and entertainment tax — thereby creating India as one market with one tax rate.

Jaitley had earlier this month expressed confidence of the GST Council arriving at tax rates in the May 18-19 meeting.

Around 1,000 security personnel will be pressed into service for sanitising the conference venue and the hotels the officials will be staying. Another 400 men will be deployed for the security of the delegates, state police official said.

The holding of the meeting in Srinagar is not just the Centre’s initiative but many of the states too had demanded way back in February that the Council should meet in Jammu and Kashmir when it decides the tax rates, official sources said.



JD(U) defends Lalu Yadav: I-T department, CBI, DRI act on Modi govt’s order

Following the Income Tax raid on companies and people associated with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday cornered the Centre saying that the raid was a “political gimmick” to defame the opposition leaders.

“The Income Tax department, CBI, DRI, are the organizations which work at the behest of the central government. Time will tell that the raid conducted by these agencies was because of any irregularities or it was just a political gimmick,” JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi told ANI.

Asserting that the Centre was adopting such trick to defame the opposition leaders, he noted that the raid has been conducted at a time when the opposition parties are uniting.

Echoing the same, JD(U) leader Ajay Alok said, “This is mere a legal procedure. The IT raid is common but what will be the outcome of raid is important. What was the motive behind the raid is also important. We will talk about it after any substantial thing comes to light.”

Raids were conducted by the IT department at the 22 locations in Delhi, Gurugram on companies and people associated with Lalu yesterday.

A team of about 100 tax department officials and police personnel reportedly carried out the raids.

As per sources, the raids were conducted on the charges of illegal (benami) land deals worth Rs. 1,000 crores.

Lalu’s advocate Chitranjan Sinha, however, denied the allegations, saying that the RJD chief doesn’t even have 22 residences in Delhi.

The RJD supremo also refuted the charges asserting that he is not afraid of the onslaught against him.

Lalu took to his Twitter page to slam the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying the saffron party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are trying to pressurise him, knowing that he will expose their “lies, loot and jumlas.”




Petrol price cut by 2.16 a liter and diesel by 2.10

Petrol price was today cut by Rs 2.16 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.10 a litre, reversing the four week trend of rising rates.

The reduction, which will be effective from midnight tonight, comes on back of a marginal 2 paise a litre increase in petrol and 52 paise per litre hike in diesel rates effected from May 1.

Prior to that, petrol price was hiked by Rs 1.39 per litre and diesel by Rs 1.04 a litre from April 16.

Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s largest fuel retailer, said the price of petrol is being reduced price by Rs 2.16 per litre and that of diesel by Rs 2.10 – both excluding state levies.

Actual reduction in price will be more after taking into account local VAT.

Petrol in Delhi will cost Rs 65.32 a litre from tomorrow as against Rs 68.09 currently. Similarly, a litre of diesel will be priced at Rs 54.90 as compared to Rs 57.35 at present.