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

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj says war with China is not a solution, BJP overtakes Congress as the largest political party in the Rajya Sabha, 11 more women claim their hair was chopped off and Brazilian striker Neymar reportedly signs a 5-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain soccer club. Here are the top stories to bring you up to date.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2017 07:12 IST
HT Correspondent
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha. (PTI Photo/TV grab)
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha. (PTI Photo/TV grab)

War not a solution, issue can be resolved through talks: Sushma on Doklam standoff with China

War was not a solution and India would resolve the border standoff with China through dialogue, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday, as Beijing again asked New Delhi to withdraw troops from Doklam if it wanted peace. It was not possible to resolve every issue through war and solutions could be found through talks, Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha about the standoff. “Patience and bhasha saiyam (restraint) are very important to resolve the issue. If there is no restraint, it provokes the other side,” Swaraj said during the four-and-a-half-hour discussion. “Countries have armies to stay prepared for war. But war is not a solution to anything. Even after war, there has to be a dialogue. So have dialogue without a war,” she said. Read the story here.

Sushma targets Rahul over his meeting with Chinese envoy amid Doklam standoff

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj hit out at the Opposition for alleging that the country’s foreign policy was faulty, saying a leader of the largest opposition party chose to meet the Chinese envoy over the Doklam standoff and not the Indian leadership. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha over the issue, Swaraj said: “I am very sad that leader of the largest opposition party deemed it proper to meet the Chinese envoy to get information about the standoff rather than approach the Indian leadership.” Swaraj also said the country’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was so strong that India was setting the world agenda. Read the story here.

BJP overtakes Congress as largest political party in Rajya Sabha

The BJP on Thursday overtook Congress to become the largest political party in the Rajya Sabha, where it now has 58 members against 57 of the main opposition party. BJP MP Sampatiya Uikey, who was elected to the Upper House following a bypoll in Madhya Pradesh took oath on Thursday. This is the first time that the saffron party has become the number one formation in the RS after the Narendra Modi government came to power in May 2014. The BJP-led NDA, however, is still short of a decisive majority in the house but the joining of JD(U) to the ruling block has further boosted its numbers. Read the story here.

Ramjas clashes: Police accuse 5 DU professors of leading ‘azadi-shouting’ group

Police accused five Delhi University professors of leading a group that shouted slogans about “azadi” at Ramjas College earlier this year, which led to clashes on the campus. Delhi police in its action taken report on the incident, submitted before a city court on Thursday, said participants came out of a conference room under the leadership of the five professors raising slogans, which were directed against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS. Refuting police’s charges, one of the professors named in the report, told Hindustan Times he was not even present in the conference hall when the march had started. Read the story here.

11 more women claim hair ‘mysteriously’ chopped off, doctors blame mass hysteria

A day after a 60-year-old woman was killed in Uttar Pradesh on suspicion of cutting off people’s hair and 11 more women complained of braids being chopped off in Delhi-NCR on Thursday, psychiatrists blamed mass hysteria as panic spread. Police, too, have requested people not look at these incidents as a “supernatural phenomenon” or work of a ghost. “From all the available evidence, it seems the women are cutting their own hair either consciously or in an altered sensorium, likely to seek attention,” said Dr Sudhir Khandelwal, former head of the department of psychiatry at AIIMS. Read the story here.

I-T dept raids continue on Karnataka energy minister’s properties

The Income Tax department continued its searches on Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar’s properties in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mysore for the second consecutive day on Thursday, a move that has triggered a political storm, with the Congress accusing the BJP of witch-hunt ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. Shivakumar was looking after 42 Congress MLAs from Gujarat who have been shifted to a luxury resort near Bengaluru to avoid a break in their ranks when voting for a Rajya Sabha seat which Congress leader Ahmed Patel is contesting. Read the story here.

India, China courting Nepal amid border standoff

Amid their border standoff in Sikkim, India and China seem to be busy courting their neighbour Nepal, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang scheduled to visit the country this month. Swaraj is arriving on August 10 to participate in the BIMSTEC ministerial meeting to be held in Kathmandu, while Wang, considered the ‘Nepal hand’ in Chinese Communist Party, will come calling on August 14, according to Nepal’s foreign affairs ministry. Their trips come ahead of the planned state visit of Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to India from August 23. Read the story here.

Stop saying you won’t pay for wall: Trump to Pena Nieto

US President Donald Trump pressed Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to stop saying publicly that Mexico would not pay for his promised border wall, according to a transcript of their January conversation obtained by The Washington Post. “You cannot say that to the press,” Trump told Pena Nieto according to the transcript of the January 27 call published by the Post on Thursday. “I have to have Mexico pay for the wall -- I have to,” Trump said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period.” “(But) if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that,” Trump said. Read the story here.

US senators introduce bill to protect special counsel Mueller who is probing Russia links

Two US senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday aimed at protecting special counsel Robert Mueller, who faces mounting pressure as he investigates President Donald Trump’s team for possible connections to Russia. The legislation, sponsored by Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Thom Tillis, would help insulate Mueller by barring a president from directly firing the special counsel without a judicial review. Under the bill, Mueller would be allowed to challenge his removal in court in the event he is fired without good cause. Read the story here.

EU says all parties sticking to Iran nuclear deal

All the parties to the Iran nuclear deal are abiding by its terms, the European Union said Thursday, despite Tehran’s charges that new US sanctions breach the agreement. Tehran says the new measures violate its 2015 deal with world powers that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme, an agreement which US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to tear up. “So far we consider that all parties have been implementing their commitments under the deal,” Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, told a press briefing in Brussels. Read the story here.

Air France expands North Korea no-go zone after missile test

Air France has expanded the area around North Korea ruled off-limits for its planes after the country’s recent missile test. The airline says the missile apparently fell about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the trajectory taken by Air France Flight 293, travelling July 28 from Tokyo to Paris. In a statement Thursday to The Associated Press, Air France said such a distance means the flight wasn’t under any danger. But it said that “as a precautionary measure, the company has decided to expand the non-flyover area around North Korea.” The airline said it routinely adjusts flight zones based on evolving threats, and already had a ban on flights over North Korea before the recent test. It didn’t specify the scope of the new no-fly area. Read the story here.

Neymar signs 5-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain: Reports

Brazilian striker Neymar signed a 5-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) soccer club, a journalist for French radio station RMC said on Twitter. “Neymar is Parisian! He signed a 5-year contract with PSG’s leaders in Barcelona!,” Mohamed Bouhafsi, RMC’s editor in charge of soccer coverage, said on Twitter. Neymar’s last club FC Barcelona said on Thursday that the player’s representatives had paid the 222 million euros ($263 million) release clause in his contract. Read the story here.

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