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All-party meet on EVMs, Pak terror threat: Top stories this morning

All party meeting at Election Commission, IT jobs losses, China’s Silk Road, Swine flu deaths in India, here are the top stories this morning:

india Updated: May 12, 2017 11:11 IST
HT Correspondent
Election Commission

Congress party activists during a demonstration against use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the elections.(PTI)

Election Commission calls for all-party meeting to discuss EVM row and poll reforms

The Election Commission will meet representatives of all recognised political parties on Friday to dispel doubts about the security features of electronic voting machines (EVM) and discuss modalities of a hackathon that will be hosted later this month. The meeting is part of the poll panel’s outreach to dismiss allegations that EVMs were manipulated to suit the ruling dispensation. At the hackathon—the date for which is expected to be announced—party representatives will be given a chance to prove that the EVMs used by the EC can be tampered with.

Read the story here.

‘A sustained threat’: US spymaster says Pakistan-based terror groups plan to attack India, Afghanistan

Pakistan-based terrorist groups are planning to attack both India and Afghanistan, a top US spymaster has said. “Islamabad has failed to curb militants and terrorists in Pakistan,” Daniel Coats, director of National Intelligence told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during a Congressional hearing on Worldwide threats. “These groups will present a sustained threat to the United States’ interest in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan,” Coats said.

Read the story here.

Seven top IT firms to lay off 56,000 this year, new tech and Trump’s policies blamed

Information technology (IT) companies in India are in the midst of the industry’s largest retrenchment drive with seven of the biggest IT firms planning to ask at least 56,000 engineers to leave this year. The number is at least twice the employees laid off by the companies last year, reflecting their under-preparedness in adapting to newer technologies and dealing with fallout from US President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies. The companies include both Indian and multinational firms with a large footprint in India.

Read the story here.

PM Modi to participate in Vesak celebrations in Sri Lanka

On the second day of his visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the International Vesak Day celebrations, the biggest festival of Buddhists, and address the Indian-origin community. He will also inaugurate a hospital built with India’s assistance of Rs 150 crore and visit the Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple.

Alarming rise in swine flu cases in India as 345 killed this year alone

Most parts of India are in the grip of swine flu with western and southern states of the country the worst hit. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka account for more than 55% of all cases, while Maharashtra has recorded half of all deaths. India had 8,648 cases and 345 swine flu deaths till May 7 this year, compared to 1,786 cases and 265 deaths in 2016, reveals data from the ministry of health and family welfare.

Read the story here.

‘Strategy through investments’: Why China’s ‘Silk Road’ plan is giving India, US, Russia the jitters

In a mountain valley in Kashmir, plans are underway for Chinese engineers guarded by Pakistani forces to expand the lofty Karakoram Highway in a project that is stirring diplomatic friction with India. The work is part of a sprawling Chinese initiative to build a “new Silk Road” of ports, railways and roads to expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. Governments from Washington to Moscow to New Delhi worry Beijing also is trying to build its own political influence and erode theirs.

Read the story here.

Gujarat after Modi: Gender is the buzzword but true emancipation distant for women

Women’s representation in local bodies has increased to 50%; the state also increased women’s quota in all government departments, including police, from 27% to 33%. Yet, on a range of indicators, the gender balance in Gujarat remains skewed — and this remains among the most serious social issues in the state.

Read the story here.

Trump says he might release his tax returns once his term ends

US President Donald Trump has said that he might release his tax returns once his tenure ends. In an interview to the Economist, Trump was asked whether he would release his returns in exchange of the support from Democrats on tax reforms. “I don’t know. That’s a very interesting question. I doubt it. I doubt it. Because they’re not going to, nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters. Oh, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job,” Trump answered.

Read the story here.

Opinion: The Kulbhushan Jadhav case in the ICJ changes the goalposts for India and Pakistan

India’s approaching the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in Pakistan is a break from tradition, where India has always been reluctant to bring bilateral relations to an international forum. But this move could mean that relations between India and Pakistan are headed in a new direction. Read the article here.