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While you were away: Top stories to bring you up to date

india Updated: May 27, 2017 07:16 IST
Jared Kushner

Sri Lankan military rescue workers and villagers search for survivors at the site of a mudslide in Bellana village in Kalutara on May 26, 2017. (AFP Photo)

More on cow slaughter ban, Jared Kushner wanted secret communication channel with Moscow, AAP and Congress stay away from EC’s EVM challenge, Nitish Kumar clears up why he was away from Opposition meet, terrorists kill 26 Coptic Christians, 91 die in flooding in Sri Lanka.

Top stories to bring you up to date:

Centre bans sale of cows for slaughter at animal markets, restricts cattle trade

The government has banned the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter through animal markets, rules that will hurt millions of poor farmers and squeeze supplies to the country’s meat industry. The new rules do not amount to a blanket ban on cattle trade or their slaughter, and license breeding remains legal. But the move will crimp supplies to the country’s Rs 1-lakh crore meat and allied industries which sources about 90% of their requirements from animal markets. The worst hit, however, will be the mostly Muslim meat and leather traders who face mounting violence by increasingly assertive cow vigilante groups.

Read the storyhere.

Jared Kushner wanted secret communications channel with the Kremlin

The Washington Post has reported that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak discussed the possibility of setting up “a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities” in order to shield their discussions from monitoring. The Post gleaned this from US officials who reviewed intelligence that drew on Kislyak’s communications with Moscow. Kushner reportedly made the proposal during a meeting on December 1 or 2, which was attended by sacked former national security adviser Michael Flynn. According to the Post, “Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.”

How this 24-year-old MBA student risked his life to bust a kidney racket in Delhi

A 24-year-old MBA student risked his safety and played along with illegal kidney donation agents for several weeks to expose a well-organised racket operating in Delhi, top police officials said. The youth who helped bust the racket is Jaideep Sharma, an MBA student at Pune’s Symbiosis Institute. His quest for the racketeers began last September when one of his friends suddenly went missing. Since the friend had spoken about selling his kidney for a handsome price, Jaideep believed that his disappearance had something to do with a racket. He, therefore, made a conscious effort to contact the kidney racketeers and offer himself as a donor.

Read the story here.

Only CPM, NCP accept Election Commission’s EVM challenge, AAP and Cong stay away

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the CPM are the only parties to accept the Election Commission’s challenge to prove that electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be tampered with, officials said after the deadline for registration ended on Friday. The most notable absentee, when the challenge opens on June 3, will be the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that led a campaign over the vulnerability of EVMs. The AAP did not agree with the conditions laid down by the poll panel and accused the EC of “running away from a no-holds-barred hackathon”.

Read the story here.

Opposition to form panel for selection of presidential candidate but will await govt proposal

The Congress-led Opposition parties decided on Friday to form a panel to pick their presidential candidate but insisted that they will first wait for the government to propose the name of a “suitable and consensus” candidate. At a luncheon hosted by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, leaders of 17 parties including some traditional arch-rivals – Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh and Trinamool Congress and Left in West Bengal — broke bread while attacking the NDA government’s policies. In a joint statement, the parties said, “If acceptable, consensual candidates do not emerge, then we shall decide to field such persons who shall steadfastly defend the constitutional values of our Republic.”

Read the story here.

Nitish says didn’t snub Sonia, attended Modi’s lunch because of Mauritius PM

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was at the receiving end on Friday for not attending an Opposition meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi but accepting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invite for lunch on Friday, blamed the political speculation on “misinterpretation”. “She (Sonia Gandhi) had already invited me in April and I had a talk with her on the (presidential election) issue then,” he said. As for accepting PM Modi’s invite, Kumar said “it is being hosted in the honour of the Mauritian Prime Minister (Pravind Jugnauth). We share a sentimental and close association with the people of Mauritius, 52% of them have roots in Bihar. I accepted the invite as the chief minister of that state.”

Read the story here.

CBSE says Class 12 exam results will be declared on Sunday

The Class 12 examination results of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will be released on Sunday. CBSE chairman RK Chaturvedi declared this on Friday, adding that the board “will follow the moderation policy, as enshrined in rule number 59 of the examination bylaws”. However, conditions apply. “We have decided to abide by the Delhi high court directive, but there will be no ‘artificial’ spiking of marks – as was decided in an April board meeting,” a board official said, adding that this could result in “a slight dip in scores”.

Read the story here.

Gunmen attack Coptic Christians in Egypt, 26 killed, several wounded

Masked gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians in southern Egypt on Friday, killing 26 people and wounding 26 others as they were driving to a monastery, eyewitnesses said. The group was travelling in two buses and a small truck in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority. Masked men reportedly stopped the vehicles on a road leading to the monastery and opened fire. Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, have been the subject of a series of deadly attacks in recent months.

Read the storyhere.

91 killed after monsoon rains trigger floods, mudslides in Sri Lanka

Floods and mudslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains in western and southern Sri Lanka left at least 91 dead, the government said on Friday. The Disaster Management Centre said that more than 7,800 persons are affected by the calamity. Heavy rains have lashed several parts of the country since Thursday, inundating roads and houses. Government workers have had their leaves cancelled, rescue and aid organizations have been asked to be on alert for the next 72 hours and the country’s armed forces have been deployed for relief operations.

Read the story here.

Far-right UK party wants to ban burqa as it ‘stops vitamin D intake from sunlight’

The far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) has pledged in its general election manifesto to ban the burqas or the full face veils in public places, citing among others the reason that they “prevent intake of essential vitamin D from sunlight”. “Clothing that hides identity, puts up barriers to communication, limits employment opportunities, hides evidence of domestic abuse, and prevents intake of essential vitamin D from sunlight, is not liberating,” the UKIP election manifesto says.

Read the story here.