Live: Putin going for surgery, ex-KGB boss takes over for now, says report

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Reuters)

Latest news live updates: Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to undergo cancer surgery, and will reportedly nominate hardline former FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev to take temporary control of the Ukraine invasion while he is under the knife, a Kremlin insider claimed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky switched to Russian in his nightly video address to urge Russian soldiers not to fight in Ukraine, saying even their generals expected that thousands of them would die. He said Russia has been recruiting new troops with little motivation and little combat experience for the units that were gutted during the early weeks of the war so these units can be thrown back into battle. He said Russian commanders fully understand that thousands of them will die and thousands more will be wounded in the coming weeks.

Despite a decline in daily new Covid cases, active infections rose to 513 in Tamil Nadu with 49 more people testing positive, the health department said on Saturday. With these new cases, the tally of Covid cases in Tamil Nadu increased to 34,53,932. Among the new cases, 24 are male and 25 female, the bulletin stated. Chennai accounted for the majority of new cases with 36. Chengalpet recorded six new Covid cases, while Coimbatore, Erode, Kanyakumari, Namakkal, Salem, Tiruvallur and Vellore reported one case each.

9:02 PM

Rajasthan sees no respite from heat; Bikaner hottest at 47.1 deg C

Scorching heatwave continued to grip Rajasthan on Sunday with the maximum temperature increasing by two to three degrees Celsius in most parts of the state.

Bikaner was the hottest place with 47.1 degrees Celsius, according to the India Meteorological Department.

The day temperature in Sriganganagar was is 46.9 degrees Celsius, 46.8 deg C in Barmer, 46.6 deg C at Phalodi in Jodhpur, 46.5 deg C in Jaisalmer, 46.1 deg C at Sangaria in Hanumangarh, 46 deg C in Churu and Nagaur, and 45.7 degree Celsius at Pilani in Jhunjhunu.

With dust storms and drizzle, a change in weather was reported in some areas, including Jaipur.

The department has predicted such dust storms and light rains at some places in Bikaner, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Jaipur divisions during the next two days.

8:56 PM

Combat death puts spotlight on Americans fighting in Ukraine

Harrison Jozefowicz quit his job as a Chicago police officer and headed overseas soon after Russia invaded Ukraine.

An Army veteran, he said he couldn't help but join American volunteers seeking to help Ukrainians in their fight.

Jozefowicz now heads a group called Task Force Yankee, which he said has placed more than 190 volunteers in combat slots and other roles while delivering nearly 15,000 first aid kits, helping relocate more than 80 families and helping deliver dozens of pallets of food and medical supplies to the southern and eastern fronts of the war.

It's difficult, dangerous work.

But Jozefowicz said he felt helpless watching from the United States last year during the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, particularly after a close friend, Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, died in a suicide bombing at Kabul.

"So, I'm just trying to do everything I can to make sure I can help others not go through what I went through, he said Saturday during an interview conducted through a messaging platform.

A former US Marine who died last week was believed to be the first American citizen killed while fighting in Ukraine.

Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, died on Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine, his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN.

An undetermined number of other Americans many with military backgrounds are thought to be in the country battling Russian forces beside both Ukrainians and volunteers from other countries even though US forces aren't directly involved in fighting aside from sending military materiel, humanitarian aid and money.

Russia's invasion has given Ukraine's embassy in Washington the task of fielding inquiries from thousands of Americans who want to help in the fight, and Ukraine is using the internet to recruit volunteers for a foreign force, the International Legion of Defense of Ukraine.

8:54 PM

CIA picks Indian-origin IT expert Nand Mulchandani as its first Chief Intelligence Officer

Nand Mulchandani, an Indian-American Silicon Valley IT expert who studied at a Delhi school, has been appointed the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) first-ever Chief Technology Officer.

The announcement for the coveted position was made by Director William J Burns on social media. According to the CIA, Mulchandani has over 25 years of expertise working in Silicon Valley.

"CIA Director William J. Burns appoints Nand Mulchandani as CIA's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO). With more than 25 years of experience, Mr. Mulchandani will ensure the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations to further CIA's mission," the CIA said in a tweet.

"With more than 25 years experience working in Silicon Valley as well as the Department of Defense (DoD), Mr. Mulchandani brings substantial private sector, startup, and government expertise to CIA," Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said in a statement on Friday.

Since my confirmation, I have prioritized focusing on technology and the new CTO position is a very important part of that effort. I am delighted Nand has joined our team and will bring his extensive experience to this crucial new role, said Director Burns.

I am honoured to join the CIA in this role and look forward to working with the Agency's incredible team of technologists and domain experts who already deliver world-class intelligence and capabilities to help build a comprehensive technology strategy that delivers exciting capabilities working closely with industry and partners, said Mulchandani.

Prior to joining the CIA, Mulchandani most recently served as the CTO and Acting Director of DoD's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He also co-founded and was CEO of several successful startups Oblix (acquired by Oracle), Determina (acquired by VMWare), OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco), and ScaleXtreme (acquired by Citrix).

8:51 PM

Imran Khan calls corruption cases against family friend "political vendetta"

Ousted Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday rejected the corruption probe against Farah Khan, a close friend of his wife Bushra Bibi, by the country's anti-corruption watchdog as "political vendetta".

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is investigating Farah for possessing illegal assets beyond known sources of income, money laundering, and maintaining various accounts in the name of businesses.

"I want to ask NAB: the case that you have opened against Farah Khan - show it to anyone. Does this even merit a case?" the former prime minister said.

Khan rejected the probe, saying Farah was "absolutely innocent" and it was "political vendetta".

He said the current Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government was targeting him and his wife in the guise of moving against Farah.

Farah Khan, also known as 'Farah Gogi' and 'Farhat Shehzadi', was considered extremely powerful during Imran Khan's tenure as prime minister as she was known as the only person to have direct access to Bushra Bibi - Khan's spiritual guide and third wife married in 2018.

6:00 PM

Dhami inaugurates ropeway to Surkanda Devi temple in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday inaugurated a ropeway service from Kaddukhal to the revered Surkanda Devi temple in the state's Tehri district.

The ropeway will make it more convenient for devotees to visit the temple besides creating jobs for locals, Dhami said.

The ropeway is 502 metres long and has a capacity of ferrying 500 people per hour. People can travel to the temple in five to 10 minutes in the ropeway from Kaddukhal.

It is the first major ropeway project started by the state tourism department since the creation of Uttarakhand in the year 2000.

Accompanied by tourism minister Satpal Maharaj, Dhanaulti MLA Pritam Singh Panwar and Tehri MLA Kishore Upadhyay, Dhami also offered prayers at the temple.

Dhami, who had gone to Delhi to attend the joint conference of chief ministers and high court chief justices chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, could not return to Dehradun as per his schedule on Sunday due to a technical snag in the state aircraft.

However, he travelled straight from Delhi to Surkanda Devi temple by a state helicopter to inaugurate the ropeway and offer prayers at the shrine.

5:58 PM

VHP says its activists won't join MNS' Hanuman Chalisa event in Maharashtra

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Sunday dismissed as fake and baseless the reports that its activists and those of the Bajrang Dal will participate in an event to be organised by the MNS to play 'Hanuman Chalisa' on loudspeakers outside the mosques in Maharashtra on May 3.

In a veiled attack at the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the RSS-affiliate also dubbed as propaganda politics the reports about the participation of its activists and those of the Bajrang Dal in the proposed event of the party, saying the VHP neither supports any political party nor participates in their political programmes.

Neither the VHP nor the Bajrang Dal have extended any support to the MNS' Hanuman Chalisa event. All the news coming in about the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists to be participating in the MNS's programme is fake, baseless and far from the truth, VHP National Spokesperson Vinod Bansal told PTI.

He said that the VHP does not participate in any programme organised by any political party.

VHP is an apolitical organisation. It does not support any political party, he said.

The VHP's clarification comes following reports in a section of media claiming that the right-wing outfit and its youth wing Bajrang Dal have agreed to participate in the proposed event of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS across Maharashtra on May 3.

Those who are playing this propaganda politics that VHP and Bajrang Dal will participate in the MNS programme, is not right. It's a completely false narrative, Bansal added.

The MNS chief had recently asked the Maharashtra government to ensure that loudspeakers are removed from the religious places in the state by May 3, threatening that his party will play 'Hanuman Chalisa' on loudspeakers in front of the mosques if his demand is not fulfilled.

The VHP leader said it doesn't have any issues with anyone organising any event for recitation of Hanuman Chalisa.

The VHP believes that there should not be a ban on recitation of Hanuman Chalisa in the country. If someone, however, is doing it for some political reasons, we do not support it, he added.

5:36 PM

Patiala clashes: Key accused among six more arrested

The main accused Barjinder Singh Parwana, was among the six more people arrested in connection with the clashes here that had left four people injured, the Punjab Police said on Sunday.

Two groups had clashed on Friday over an anti-Khalistan march, hurling stones at each other and brandishing swords, forcing police to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

With the arrest of six more people, the number of accused who had been nabbed so far reached nine, said police.

Addressing the media here, Inspector General of Police (Patiala range) Mukhwinder Singh Chhina said, The main accused Barjinder Singh Parwana has been arrested from Mohali.

Parwana, 38, will be presented before a court here to seek his police remand for further questioning.

A resident of Rajpura in the district, Parwana is one of the masterminds of Friday's incident, according to the police. He had been accused of provoking the Sikh radicals to move towards the Kali Mata temple on Friday.

Parwana alias Sunny is a man with criminal antecedents with four FIRs lodged against him in the past. Three of these cases were registered in Patiala and one in Mohali, according to police.

Parwana, a graduate, is known for making provocative speeches on social media. He went to Singapore in 2007-08 and returned after staying there for 18 months. He set up his own Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal' at Rajpura. He had also participated in the farmers' protest against the three central farm laws.

5:35 PM

Cong questions Pawan Hans disinvestment, asks why merger with ONGC not explored

The Congress on Sunday raised questions over the deal to sale Centre's 51 per cent stake in helicopter services provider Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL), asking why the government did not explore merging the firm with ONGC instead of deciding to hand it over to a consortium that is just six-months-old.

The Finance Ministry on Friday said Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd will buy the government's 51 per cent stake in helicopter services provider Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL), along with the transfer of management control, for Rs 211.14 crore.

The reserve price for the strategic sale, which comes after three unsuccessful attempts, was fixed at Rs 199.92 crore based on the valuation carried out by the transaction adviser and asset valuer.

Attacking the government over the decision, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said that in the series of miscalculated and injudicious disinvestment decisions to justify their financial policies, "they are committing a series of blunders".

The reserve price for the sale of this 51 per cent majority stake was fixed at Rs 199.92 crores and the other two bidders that participated made bids of Rs 181.05 crore and Rs 153.15 crore respectively, Vallabh pointed out.

Vallabh said while this may seem like a normal disinvestment, there are several things that raise eyebrows such as the the Star9 Mobility Private Ltd, a consortium of Big Charter Private Limited, Maharaja Aviation Private Limited and Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, set-up just six months ago on October 29, 2021.

5:33 PM

Some evacuated from Mariupol; US lawmaker Pelosi visits Kyiv

The United Nations laboured on Sunday to get civilians out of the bombed-out ruins of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, while US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed she visited Ukraine's president to show American support for the country's defence against Russian aggression.

Russia's high-stakes offensive in coastal southern Ukraine and the country's eastern industrial heartland has Ukrainian forces fighting village by village and more civilians fleeing airstrikes and artillery shelling as the war draws near their doorsteps.

As many as 100,000 people are believed to still be in blockaded Maripol, including up to 1,000 civilians who were hunkered down with an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters beneath a sprawling Soviet-era steel plant that is the only part of the city not occupied by the Russians.

Pelosi, who is second in line to succeed the president, is the most senior American lawmaker to visit Ukraine since the war erupted.

Her Saturday trip with a congressional delegation was a sign of unflinching US support and came just days after Russia launched rockets at the capital during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres.

During a Sunday news conference in the Polish city of Rzeszow, Pelosi said she and other members of the delegation met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine's capital Kyiv for three hours on Saturday and brought him a message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership.

Russian forces have embarked on a major military operation to seize significant parts of southern and eastern Ukraine following their failure to capture Kyiv.

5:32 PM

BJP MP starts campaign for withdrawing quota benefits of tribal converts in MP

BJP MP Guman Singh Damor on Sunday said he had been organising "delisting" rallies across Madhya Pradesh for the past few days seeking that tribals who convert to any other religion must not be given reservations mandated for Scheduled Tribes.

The Lok Sabha MP from Ratlam-Jhabua constituency, himself a tribal, said Article 342 of the Constitution speaks of reservations for STs but is silent on those (tribals) who convert to other religions, while Article 341 of the Constitution is clear that members of Scheduled Caste communities will be deprived of reservations if they convert.

"We have been organising delisting rallies in all tribal-dominated districts, including 22 such districts of Madhya Pradesh. Our demand is that any ST who converts to another religion should be deprived of reservation benefits (in government jobs and admission)," he said.

"I have held three rallies in Jhabua, Alirajpur and Ratlam to create public awareness about delisting such people who are enjoying reservation benefits even after religious conversion, Damor added.

The aim was to create awareness so that laws to this effect can be be passed in the Parliament, adding that similar "delisting" efforts were made in 1970 but in vain.

5:16 PM

Fuel sales growth moderates in April amid record high prices

India's petrol and diesel sales growth moderated in April while cooking gas LPG consumption fell as record high prices dented demand, preliminary industry data showed.
Petrol sales growth moderated to 2.1 per cent in April when compared with the same period in the preceding month, while diesel demand was almost flat. Read more
4:40 PM

Sri Lankan leaders promise to address challenges amid economic crisis

The Sri Lankan government is taking various approaches to address current challenges faced by the country, the country's President and the Prime Minister said in their messages on the International Labour Day.
"The government is taking various approaches to liberate the people from this situation and alleviate the oppressive nature of the situation," President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
4:30 PM

Putin to undergo cancer surgery, ex-KGB chief to take temporary control

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be forced to give up control of the war in Ukraine for days as he is set for cancer surgery, and will reportedly nominate hardline former FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev to take temporary control . Read more
3:40 PM

53,942 unauthorised loudspeakers removed from religious places across UP

Nearly 54,000 unauthorised loudspeakers were removed from religious places and the volume of over 60,000 was set to permissible limits across Uttar Pradesh following a government order, a senior police official said on Sunday.

A statewide drive undertaken to remove unauthorized loudspeakers from religious places and set the volume of others within permissible limits began on April 25.

Under this exercise, a total of 53,942 loudspeakers were removed and volume of 60,295 loudspeakers was set within permissible limits till Sunday morning, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said.

The drive will continue in the coming days, confirmed a senior home department official.

The ADGP said that the loudspeakers are being removed from all religious places without any discrimination.

Explaining further about the action, Kumar said, "The loudspeakers which are being removed are unauthorised."

Those loudspeakers which have been placed without taking due permission from the district administration or the ones which are placed in excess of the permitted numbers are categorised as unauthorised, he added.

3:39 PM

NIA conducts searches in Assam in Maoist case of Cachar district, Assam

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday said that it had recently carried out raids at two locations in Kamrup district of Assam in connection with the Maoist terror case.

The case pertains to arrest of Maoist leader Arun Kumar Bhattacharjee alias Kanchan Da, a member of Central Committee of CPI Maoist along with his associate Akash Orang alias Kajal, a member of Assam State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist) by Assam Police from Patimara Tea Garden under Udarband PS of Cachar district on March 6.

"The accused, along with their other associates, were involved in spreading the network of CPI(Maoist) in Assam and North-East region," the official said.

The case was initially registered at Crime Branch Police Station, Guwahati, and later, the probe was taken over by the NIA on March 16.

During searches incriminating documents were seized.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

3:39 PM

Japanese, Vietnamese leaders reject use of force in Ukraine

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida discussed the war in Ukraine with Vietnamese leaders on Sunday and said they agreed on the respect for international law and rejection of the use of force.

Japan has condemned Russia's invasion and joined Western nations in imposing sanctions against Moscow. Vietnam, like most other Southeast Asian nations, has avoided directly criticising Russia and has called for restraint, the respect of the UN charter and dialogue to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Vietnam abstained from a vote at the UN General Assembly in March that deplored Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Vietnam is one of Moscow's historic allies and Vietnam's military has been equipped mostly with Russian weapons. It has also strong ties with Ukraine, where about 10,000 Vietnamese live, work and study. In recent years, Vietnam has forged closer ties with the United States in opposing China's vast territorial claims in the South China Sea.

We cannot accept the actions to change status quo by force in any region of the world, Kishida said after talks with his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Minh Chinh.

Kishida also criticised China's actions in the South China Sea, where Beijing has constructed artificial islands and turned them into military outposts to reinforce its territorial claims that have been rejected by its smaller neighbours.

2:11 PM

I have got conditional bail, and I accept the court's decision: Former MLA PC George

Thiruvananthapuram | I have got conditional bail, and I accept the court's decision. I respect the magistrate: Former MLA PC George. A case was registered against him for his alleged communal remarks
2:10 PM

One terrorist associate arrested in Kulgam district, arms and ammunition recovered: Police

Jammu & Kashmir | One terrorist associate arrested in Kulgam district, arms and ammunition recovered: Police
12:13 PM

Pres Macron & I will share assessments on various regional & global issues: PM Modi

Pres Macron & I will share assessments on various regional & global issues & will take stock of ongoing bilateral cooperation: PM Modi's Departure Statement ahead of his visit to Berlin, Copenhagen &Paris
12:12 PM

During my return journey, I will stopover in Paris to meet my friend, President Macron: PM Modi

During my return journey, I will stopover in Paris to meet my friend, President Macron...This will also give us the opportunity to set the tone of the next phase of the India-France Strategic Partnership: PM Modi

First Published: May 01 2022 | 07:51 AM IST

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