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Narendra Modi Sworn In as India's 15th Prime Minister - 5/26/2014

NDTV Narendra Modi Sworn In as India's 15th Prime Minister

New DelhiNarendra Damodar Modi, 63, took oath as India's Prime Minister on Monday evening. Almost 4000 people were present at the ceremony held in the forecourt of the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhavan. Lakhs more, including Mr Modi's mother, watched on television.

Minutes after he was sworn in a new website of the Prime Minister's Office was launched with a short first message from Mr Modi. "On 16th May 2014 the people of India gave their verdict. They delivered a mandate for development, good governance and stability. As we devote ourselves to take India's development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation."

The new PM also said, "Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development." He promised in his signed message to use the "website as a very important medium of direct communication between us."

Mr Modi invited leaders from eight South Asian neighbours to his swearing-in ceremony, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, an unprecedented gesture that was as much a show of his determination to be a key player on the global stage as a celebration of his stunning election victory 10 days ago.

At Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mr Sharif sat next to Mr Modi's predecessor, Manmohan Singh. On Dr Singh's other side was Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mauritian Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan and Bangladesh parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin also attended.

In the audience were two former presidents, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi of the defeated Congress, top industrialists, Bollywood actors and saints and seers in saffron robes. 

BJP president Rajnath Singh will be Mr Modi's number 2 in government as Home Minister and took oath immediately after him. He was followed by senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. Mr Jaitley will be Finance Minister and will also have additional charge of Defence.

Ms Swaraj will be Minister for External Affairs. 

On Sunday, Mr Modi promised that he would head a lean Cabinet with a focus on "minimum government and maximum governance". On Monday evening, after he had seen off visiting dignitaries and the crowds began to melt, the PM posed for a group photo with his team - at 45 ministers the leanest council of ministers yet. 

There are 23 ministers of Cabinet rank, 10 Ministers of State with Independent charge and 12 Ministers of State in the new union council of ministers. The oldest is Najma Heptulla, 74, the youngest Smriti Irani, 38.

Saudi employer 'pours boiling water on Filipino maid' - 5/21/2014


A horrific picture of a Filipina maid left savagely burned after her Saudi boss allegedly threw boiling water on her has been posted on Facebook by her cousin.

The Daily Mail reports the maid's employer was punishing her for not making coffee quickly enough.

The maid, 23, only received treatment in a Riyadh hospital hours later, when she was able to get nurses to call her cousin for help.

She is now being cared for by The Philippine Embassy, the Mail has reported.

The scalding happened because her employer's mother was angry at not getting her coffee quickly enough, according to ABS-CBN News.

The Facebook post read: This is my cousin, who works as a domestic helper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to the Mail.

Her female Saudi employer poured boiling water on her. She has only been in Riyadh for two months.

She was beaten up within five days of her arrival by her male employer and was sometimes deprived of food.

She was only taken to the hospital six hours after boiling water was poured on her.

She was then taken home to continue working despite her extensive injuries.

Mangalore: Mount Carmel Central School, Mary Hill gets 100% Results in SSLC - 5/20/2014


Mangalore, May 20, 2014 : Mount Carmel Central School, Mary Hill, here secured 100 percent results in SSLC (CBSE) exams held recently. 

Five students with the topmost – 10 CGPA grade are Ajay Bhat, Ashritha M Rai, G Deeksha Prasad, Mohammed Nifson Yusuf and Neethika D’Mello.


Out of the total of 40 students appeared for the exams, 20 students secured distinction with 85 percent marks each, and rest of 20 students passed with first class with 60 percent.


Epic flooding in Balkans raises fears about landmines surfacing - 5/19/2014

cnn (CNN) -- As if the deadly flooding inundating much of the Balkans wasn't alarming enough, rescuers must now grapple with another concern: the risk of landmines from the Bosnian war resurfacing.

"A vast number of landslides have worsened the situation and relief efforts,"the Red Cross said, describing the rains as the "worst floods in more than a century."

"There are reports that landmines buried during the conflict and not yet removed are in some instances being shifted with the landslides, adding (to) the dangers of people living in the areas as well as rescuers," the Red Cross said.

The mammoth flooding has already killed at least two dozen people in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Massive swaths of Croatia are also submerged.

Photos: Record flooding in Balkans Photos: Record flooding in Balkans

Even though the intense rainfall is subsiding Monday, the disaster is far from over. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said flooding in the region will last at least another week -- and in some places, it could get worse.

The Serbian capital of Belgrade, for example, sits at the crux of the swollen Sava and Danube rivers. As water rushes downstream, the flood level in Belgrade is expected to rise through Thursday, Javaheri said.

Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic said his country is facing an unmeasurable crisis.

Map: Areas affected by the floodsMap: Areas affected by the floods

"This is the worst thing that we've faced after the war, that we had 20 years ago," he told CNN's Christian Amanpour. "In some cities, in some villages in Northern Bosnia, there are 2 or 3 meters of water. So the rivers are out, and now it looks like lakes."

The water has caused landslides throughout Bosnia.

"The landslides are absolutely destroying the country. We have registered up to 2,000," said Dr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, Bosina's minister of foreign affairs.

After a day of assessments, property damage alone is estimated a $1.37 billion (1 billion euros) said Elvir Camdzic, a presidential adviser.

"When combined with the overall economic losses due to the flooding, the full scale of the damage will be measured in billions of euros," Camdzic said.

'Happy that we didn't drown'

In Serbia alone, more than 24,000 people have evacuated to escape water that is chest-high in some areas.

"People were in a panic, running," an evacuee told CNN affiliate N1 in Belgrade, Serbia. "I left with a kid. I was really happy that we didn't drown."

The woman's house is now flooded, and she says she has no idea where she will live.

But many Serbians wouldn't budge.

"Some people simply do not want to leave their homes," said Novica Biorac, a volunteer from a rafting club in Raska. "We are trying to convince them to leave, but it's very difficult."

Deadly situation

The Serbian government said at least 12 bodies have been found in the town of Obrenovac, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the capital of Belgrade. But one of the 12 was someone who had already died "of natural causes," Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said.

One of the deceased was a rescuer, said Dragan Radovanovic, president of the Serbian branch of the Red Cross.

Authorities estimate that 90% of Obrenovac has been flooded.

Serbia's not alone. In nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina, at least 13 people have died, Deputy Minister of Security Samir Agic said. The catastrophic weather has prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnian authorities say the flooded town of Maglaj received the average rainfall for two months in less than two days.

The epic flooding is the worst Serbia has seen since the country began keeping records 120 years ago, meteorologists said.

"Many cities and villages in western Serbia are completely under water," the Serbian Embassy in Washington said in a statement Sunday, describing the situation as an "unimaginable catastrophe."

Fighting the flood

Soldiers, rescue workers and volunteers rushed to stack sandbags in towns near rivers throughout Serbia.

The Sava River has already reached 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) -- a historic high, the Serbian government said. The Prime Minister said workers have erected a dam 7.3 meters (24 feet) tall in the area of Sabac.

In Kostolac, along the Danube River, workers built sandbag walls to protect a thermal power plant -- one that the energy minister called the most important power facility in Serbia. The plant produces 20% of the nation's power.

The Prime Minister thanked countries that have already come to Serbia's aid. He said he was especially grateful to members of the Russian special forces, including one member who swam 200 meters (656 feet) in cold water to save several people.

But rescuers fear what might be found after the floodwaters subside. Officials expect the death toll to rise.

Nitish Kumar's decision to resign as Bihar CM is final, Sharad Yadav says - 5/19/2014


New Delhi LS seat won by woman candidate after 54 years - 5/18/2014

Indian Express

The New Delhi Lok Sabha seat has been bagged by a woman candidate after a gap of 54 years.

In the just-concluded elections for the 16th Lok Sabha, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi defeated sitting MP and Congress heavyweight Ajay Maken from New Delhi seat by a huge margin.

Lawyer-turned-politician Lekhi, is the second woman to have gained victory on this seat after freedom fighter and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Sucheta Kriplani.

Kriplani was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952 and 1957 from the same constituency.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had won from the New Delhi LS seat in 1977 on a Janata party ticket. He managed to retain the seat in 1980 but on a BJP ticket.

In 1984, KC Pant of the Congress was declared elected from New Delhi. In the next two subsequent elections (1989 and 1991), the seat was wrested from the Congress by BJP’s L K Advani.

In the subsequent by-election in 1992, cinestar Rajesh Khanna defeated Advani and bagged the seat on a Congress ticket. However, he lost to senior BJP leader Jagmohan in the 1996 elections who retained the seat in the next elections as well.

Jagmohan was defeated by Congress’ Ajay Maken who dominated the seat from 2004 to 2014 and was defeated by Meenakshi Lekhi this time.

Lekhi secured 4,53,350 votes, followed by AAP’s Ashish Khaitan finishing second with 2,90,642 votes and Congress’ Ajay Maken managing a mere 1,82,893 to end up third.

Narendra Modi's Win May Have Mixed Impact on IT Industry - 5/18/2014


Narendra Modi-led BJP's strong performance in elections has been welcomed by India Inc., which has been rooting for a stable government to pull the country out of the current economic slowdown. However, for India's over $100 billion IT industry, Mr Modi's resounding victory brings mixed news.

The softness in domestic demand seen over the last year has impacted IT companies like Tata Consultancy Services - India's biggest outsourcer, even though revenue from India forms a small part of TCS' overall business.

TCS sales in North America, from where the company earns 53 per cent of its revenue, grew 28 per cent in 2013-14. India, which contributes just 6.7 per cent of overall sales, grew by a mere 12 per cent during the same period. In dollar terms, TCS sales in India fell (sequentially) in three of the last four quarters.

The decisive mandate for Mr Modi is likely to change things at home. Quick decision making and a turnaround in the economy under the new government will have a positive impact on the IT industry.

"We have got a historic mandate yesterday, a very decisive strong mandate, I'm extremely positive that things will pick up in India much sooner with these results," said N Chandrasekaran, CEO and managing director of TCS

On the flip side, days of large upsides in margins seem to be limited. Most IT companies, which reported rising profitability through the last fiscal, will be under pressure as the rupee gains strength. The currency hit an 11-month high of 58.63 per dollar on Friday, when results indicated a landslide victory for the BJP.

The rupee is expected to rise on the back of increased foreign inflows into various asset classes (stocks, bonds). Already, foreign investors have pumped in over Rs. 1 lakh crore in the domestic securities market since September 2013, when Mr Modi was announced as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate. Fast-tracking of reforms will also attract long-term FDI investments and push the rupee up

Like many other exporters, IT firms earn a major portion of revenues in dollars and a stronger rupee will hit margins.

In March, Adam Gilmour, Citigroup said Mr Modi's win would be a catalyst for a long-term advance in the rupee toward 40 to 45 per dollar, levels last seen in 2008.

While, such a sharp rise in the rupee is unlikely in the short term, IT companies will have to devise new processes to preserve their margins.

14-year old scores 404 in 35-over match - 5/18/2014

TOI 14-year old scores 404 in 35-over match

Port-of-Spain: There is a new name doing the rounds in West Indies junior cricket. Kirstan Kallicharan, playing for the Vishnu Boys Hindu College in a Secondary Schools Cricket League U-14 quarterfinal against Valencia High School, belted an unbeaten 404 in just 35 overs.

This remarkable achievement by Kallicharan helped Vishnu College amass against 548/1 against Valencia. It was a remarkable effort from Kallicharan as he smashed 44 fours and 31 sixes. Valencia, demoralized by this loss, were dismissed for 89 in the 24th over to lose by a massive 459 runs.

This effort has prompted Trinidad and Tobago Sports Minister Anil Roberts to say that they may have unearthed a new Brian Lara. Speaking to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, Roberts said, "It not only takes skill and physical strength to deliver such an amazing performance, but clearly this young "phenom" has a level of mental discipline that belies his age."

Roberts said, "This innings reminds me so much of the drive and discipline Brian Lara exhibited while he was at Fatima in the late 80's. I witnessed that first hand as a student and now as Minister, I see Kallicharan clearly signalling that he too, has the potential to become one of the sport's greatest batsmen."

One of Kallicharan's coaches, David Furlonge said that he has the love for the game and he just loves to play cricket. Speaking about the knock in the Trinidad and Tobago Express newspaper, Kallicharan said that it was just like any other game. "At the beginning I was just batting normal, just aiming to make a hundred but when I got to my century I realised I could score more and more and I just continued to bat."

Kallicharan's current coach, Tarandath Sammy, said that the knock was remarkable but he is cautious. He said, "Before the game, we were discussing the batting order and I asked him if he wanted to open the batting, but he said he wanted to give the other boys a chance."

This is not the first time that Kallicharan has broken records in school cricket. In the 2013 season of Trinidad and Tobago's Secondary School Cricket League (SSCL), Kallicharan smashed 194 for Vishnu College against Carapichaima East. His 194 included 26 fours and six sixes as Vishnu College won by 197 runs. Lara's score was 168 and it was a record for some time.

Sonia And Rahul Gandhi May Offer Resignations After Congress Rout: Sources - 5/17/2014

NDTV Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi may offer to resign, sources say, a day after they both accepted responsibility for the party's worst performance ever in the national election.

According to Congress party sources, they are likely to make the offer at a meeting on Monday of the Congress Working Committee, the party's top decision-making body, in a move that will largely be symbolic as party leaders are unlikely to accept it.

Sources say emotional speeches will set the tone for deep introspection on the Congress' spectacular rout. India's oldest party was reduced to double digits in Parliament and failed to win a single seat in 10 states, as a long and grueling campaign by Rahul Gandhi failed to stop the tide of public anger. (Narendra Modi wins India)

Yesterday, both leaders made brief statements to the media after their party's debacle.

"Congress has done pretty badly, a lot for us to think about. As vice-president, I hold myself responsible," said Mr Gandhi. (India Decides 2014: Full Coverage)

Sonia Gandhi spoke in Hindi and said, "The people's verdict is against us... As Congress president I take responsibility for the defeat." She congratulated the BJP on its massive win.

Narendra Modi's BJP has won 282 seats, enough to form the government on its own; with its allies it has 337 seats. (Five Factors that Helped BJP and Modi)

In contrast, the Congress, which ruled for two terms, is struggling to reach the one-fifth mark needed to have a Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. In Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state with 80 seats, the Congress won only two seats, those of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The BJP and its allies won 73 seats.

In his campaign, Mr Modi repeatedly attacked Sonia and Rahul Gandhi with references to "Maa-Beta sarkaar (mother-son government)", and contrasted his humble past as a tea seller with the 43-year-old Rahul's privileged upbringing.

'Miracle baby' survives 11-storey fall in US - 5/15/2014


Washington: A 15-month-old US boy has survived an 11-storey fall from a balcony at his parents' apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota, local media reported on Wednesday.

Musa Dayib has been nicknamed the miracle baby after escaping death despite slipping through the railing and making a perilous fall.

In addition to fractures to both his arms, his backbone and his ribs, Dayib also suffered a concussion and is breathing through a ventilator. In critical but stable condition, he is expected to survive.

The boy was apparently saved by his soft landing spot, on a mulched area.

If you and I fell that far, we would be dead,Tina Slusher said from the paediatric intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Centre, the Star Tribune reported.

He's a baby and...they tend to be more flexible and pliable than you and I would be. Having said that, it's a real gift from God that he made it because this is a huge fall.

The Tribune said the boy, from the large Somali American community of Minneapolis, fell from his family's balcony around 8pm on Sunday (0100 GMT Monday).

When people found out he survived, no one could believe it, said local community activist Abdirizak Bihi, who spent time at the hospital with the family on Monday.

The boy's uncle Abdirahim Ahmad told NBC television affiliate KARE he was worried about Dayib's parents.

I don’t think my brother and his wife will recover from this. They really torture themselves, he said.

Dayib's mother was running errands nearby while his father watched him and his three-year-old sister. The father was getting something in another room when his daughter ran over and said her brother fell.

It took place in less than a minute, Bihi said, adding that it was the daughter who had apparently opened the balcony door.

Slusher said it was too early to tell whether Dayib would suffer any long-term complications from his big fall, but he will likely be out of the hospital in weeks or months.

I expect him to survive, she said. It's amazing.

The apartment building's owners and managers said the balcony had passed inspection when the 1,303-unit Riverside Plaza underwent a $65 million (Dh238.7 million) renovation in 2011-2012.

About half of the units are equipped with balconies. Residents have suggested installing an extra lock or latch to secure the door that opens to the balconies, according to KARE.

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