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Hyderabad

Crucial Telangana cabinet meet on Thursday

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The Telangana cabinet will hold a crucial meeting on Thursday afternoon to take a decision on recommending dissolution of the assembly to pave way for early elections.
 
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has convened the cabinet at 1 p.m. at Pragati Bhavan, his official residence which was a beehive of activity since morning with the arrival of ministers and top officials.
 
The cabinet will adopt a resolution recommending to Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan to dissolve the Assembly. 
 
After the cabinet meeting, Rao will drive to Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor and convey the cabinet decision, said sources in the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
 
KCR, as the TRS chief is popularly known, will address a news conference at 2.30 p.m. at the Telangana Bhavan, the party headquarters, to announce the cabinet decision. He is also likely to announce the first list of TRS candidates.
 
The Assembly term is till May 2019 and elections in normal course would be conducted along with the Lok Sabha polls.
 
TRS sources said KCR chose September 6 for the key decision as he considers '6' his lucky number. This is the reason cited for not taking the decision during the cabinet meeting on September 2, which was held hours before the massive public meeting organised by the party to sound the poll bugle.
 
KCR will formally launch the TRS election campaign with a public meeting at Husnabad in Siddipet district on Friday.
 
Christened 'Prajala Aasirwada Sabha', this will be the first of 100 public meetings planned by TRS over the next 50 days.
 
Political observers said TRS is keen for early elections as the party believes that simultaneous elections to Assembly and Lok Sabha may not help it properly highlight welfare and developmental works undertaken by it during the last four years.
 
IANS

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Two held guilty in 2007 Hyderabad twin blast case

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A court here on Tuesday held two accused guilty in the 2007 Hyderabad twin bomb blasts which had claimed 42 lives. Two other accused were acquitted while the fate of a fifth accused will be decided next week.
 
The Second Metropolitan Sessions Court held Anique Shafiq Syed and Akbar Ismail Choudhary, both alleged operatives of Indian Mujahideen (IM), guilty. The quantum of punishment will be announced on September 10.
 
Farooq Sharfuddin and Sadiq Ahmed Sheikh were acquitted for lack of evidence.
 
Public Prosecutor Seshu Reddy told reporters that the verdict in the case relating to fifth accused Tariq Anjum will be pronounced on Monday.
 
The near simultaneous bomb blasts at Gokul Chat, a popular eatery, and at Lumbini Park, near the State Secretariat, also injured over 50 on August 25, 2007. 
 
An unexploded bomb was also recovered under a foot-over bridge at Dilsukhnagar.
 
IANS
 

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Gold tiffin box, artefacts stolen from Nizam's Museum

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A gold tiffin box weighing two kilogram, a cup, saucer, and spoon studded with rubies, diamonds and emeralds were stolen from Nizam's Museum in Hyderabad, police said on Monday.
 
Burglars allegedly broke into the museum located in Purani Haveli in the old city of Hyderabad late on Sunday night.
 
The museum authorities lodged a complaint with Mir Chowk police station after they found the valuables missing on Monday.
 
The burglars suspected to have gained entry by removing the iron grill of the ventilator on the first floor. Police believe the burglars used a rope to enter the building.
 
Police have registered a case and launched investigations. They were examining the CCTV footage. A police officer said that they were investigating the role of insiders in the theft.
 
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar and other senior officers visited the museum.
 
The tiffin box, cup, saucer and spoon belonged to the family of Nizams, the rulers of erstwhile Hyderabad State and were on display along with several other personal belongings of the royal family at the museum located in Purani Haveli, one of the palaces of Nizam.
 
The museum showcases several personal belongings of Nizams and their family members and the gifts received by Mir Osman Ali Khan, sixth and the last Nizam from 1911 to 1948 when Hyderabad State was annexed by India.A
 
The museum is also home to Nizam's cars including 1930 Rolls Royce, a 150-year-old manually operated lift and wardrobe of sixth Nizam, who was the richest man in the world in 1930s.
 
Nizam Trust, run by the Nizam's family, opened this museum in 2000 for general public and it is one of the major tourist attractions in the city.
 
IANS
 

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No decision on Assembly dissolution in Telangana cabinet meet

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The Telangana cabinet met here on Sunday amid speculation that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was planning to dissolve the state Assembly and go for early polls but it ended without taking a decision on the issue.
 
After an hour-long meeting at the Pragati Bhavan, official residence of the Chief Minister, Finance Minister Etela Rajender along with a few other ministers briefed the reporters.
 
The cabinet took some decisions on sops for different sections of people. A major decision is for the construction of a community building for the Backward Classes on 75 acres of land in Hyderabad at a cost of Rs 70 crore.
 
Asked whether the issue of Assembly dissolution was also discussed, Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari said they briefed the media on the decisions taken as per the agenda of the meeting. "There will be another cabinet meeting soon to take more decisions."
 
Earlier, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders had said that the cabinet will take some key decisions and the same will be announced by the party chief later in the day at a public meeting titled 'Pragathi Nivedana Sabha', being held on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
 
Rao has already dropped strong hints that he wants to go for early polls. He is likely to take a decision later this week.
 
IANS
 

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TRS to hold mega rally in Hyderabad on Sunday amid talk of early polls

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Amid strong indications of early elections in Telangana, the ruling TRS is all set to hold a massive show of strength here on Sunday.
 
Billed as the mother of all rallies, it will be preceded by a meeting of the state cabinet, which is likely to take a decision on the early polls.
 
Leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) said Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will take "key decisions" at the cabinet meeting and announce them at the public meeting.
 
The cabinet may pass a resolution to dissolve the Assembly and recommend this to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan. If the Election Commission agrees, the polls may be held in December along with the elections in three other states.
 
For the last few weeks, Rao had been dropping hints of assembly elections being advanced. He has already declared that the party will announce the candidates in September.
 
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, is keen to advance the assembly polls by six months to avoid simultaneous elections to the Assembly and Parliament. 
 
His two meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August further added to the speculation.
 
KCR's son and cabinet minister K. T. Rama Rao said the Chief Minister would take a final decision on early polls. Rama Rao, who is number two in the party and the government, is confident of TRS retaining power whenever the elections are held as the party enjoys full support of the people.
 
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Titled "Pragati Nivedana", the meeting to be held at Kongara Kalan at Ibrahimpatnam on the city outskirts is expected to attract 25 lakh people. Rama Rao claims that this will be the biggest political rally in the country.
 
According to him, TRS has 47 lakh members and if half of them turn up, the meet would be a huge success. TRS leaders are mobilising people for the meet from across the state.
 
Arrangements were in full swing for the meeting amid allegations by the Congress and other opposition parties that TRS was misusing official machinery. They asked TRS to explain the source of funds for the event.
 
The massive mobilisation of people is expected to hit the traffic on Outer Ring Road (ORR) as thousands of vehicles will be heading towards the venue from different entry points along ORR. Rama Rao has suggested to people not attending the meeting to stay indoors.
 
Hyderabad High Court, while rejecting a petition to bar the meet, directed the organisers to ensure that inconvenience to public is minimised.
 
TRS has turned the city and outskirts pink by putting up billboards, flags and posters.
 
IANS
 

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Andhra CM, NTR family members rush to Nalgonda

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and other members of the NTR family rushed to Telangana's Nalgonda district, where NTR's son Nandamuri Harikrishna died in a road accident early on Wednesday.
 
Shocked family members reached Kamineni Hospital at Narketpally, where Harikrishna, 61, son of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N T Rama Rao, known popularly as NTR, succumbed minutes after he was brought with critical injuries.
 
Harikrishna's sons Junior NTR and Kalyam Ram, both actors, were the first to reach the hospital and broke down on seeing the body of their father.
 
His brother-in-law N. Chandrababu Naidu along with his son Nara Lokesh flew in a helicopter from Vijayawada.
 
Harikrishna's brother actor Balakrishna, sister and former Central minister D. Purandeswari and brother-in-law D. Venkateshwara Rao also reached the hospital. Actor Jagapati Babu was also among those who came to hospital.
 
Police had a tough time controlling the crowd, which had gathered outside the hospital.
 
Meanwhile, several relatives, friends, Telugu Desam Party leaders and Telugu film personalities started pouring in at Harikrishna's house in Hyderabad.
 
Harikrishna's another sister and Naidu's wife Bhuvaneswari and her daughter-in-law Brahmani reached the residence.
 
Naidu, who is also president of the TDP, expressed his shock over the death of Harikrishna, a member of party's highest decision making body, politburo. He described Harkrishna's death as a huge loss to the family and TDP.
 
Naidu recalled his services to the film industry and politics. He also recalled that NTR was very fond of him and picked him to drive his Chaitanya Ratham across Andhra Pradesh.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao expressed grief over Harkrishna's death and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.
 
IANS
 

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NTR's son and former MP Nandamuri Harikrishna dies in road accident

Nandamuri Harikrishna
Nandamuri Harikrishna
TDP founder NTR's son and actor-politician Nandamuri Harikrishna died in a road accident in Telangana's Nalgonda district early on Wednesday, doctors said. He was 61.
 
Harikrishna, a former Rajya Sabha member and a former Andhra Pradesh minister, sustained critical head injuries when the car in which he was travelling along with two others overturned near Anneparthi. 
 
The vehicle, being driven by Harikrishna, hit the divider while overtaking a vehicle and collided with another vehicle coming from the opposite direction.
 
He was shifted to Kamineni Hospital at Narketpally, where he succumbed. Two others accompanying him were injured.
 
Harikrishna, son of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao, was on his way to Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh to attend a marriage.
 
He was a member of the TDP politburo and brother-in-law of TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
 
He is survived by two wives Lakshmi and Shalini, two sons Junior NTR and Kalyan Ram, both actors, and daughter Suhasini.
 
His eldest son Janki Ram was also killed in road accident in 2014 in the same district. In 2009, Junior NTR had escaped with injuries in a road accident, also in Nalgonda district.
 
Born on September 2, 1956 at Nimmakur in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Harikrishna, fourth son of NTR, began his film career as a child artiste in the 1960s. 
 
His debut in 1967 was in "Shri Krishnavataram" featuring his father NTR, who was the most popular actor of his times.
 
"Talla Pellamma" (1970), "Tatamma Kala" (1974), "Ram Raheem" (1974), "Daana Veera Shura Karna" (1977), "Sri Ramulayya" (1998) and "Seetharama Raju" (1999) were some of his other films.
 
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Harikrishna was the 'sarathi' (charioteer) of NTR's famous Chaitanya Ratham (chariot of awakening) in 1980s.
 
He had backed Naidu when the latter staged a revolt against NTR in 1995. Following the death of NTR in 1996, he was elected to Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Hindupur, a constituency represented by his legendary father.
 
He served as Minister for Transport in Naidu's cabinet and was also the president of youth wing of the TDP.
 
In 1999, he quit TDP accusing Naidu of deviation from the ideals of NTR and formed a new party called Anna TDP, which failed to make a mark. 
 
In 2006, he rejoined TDP and was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2008. Harkrishna resigned from Rajya Sabha in 2013 in protest over the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
 
Though he continued as TDP politburo member, Harikrishna had openly expressed his displeasure over Naidu promoting his son Nara Lokesh as his successor. 
 
He was reportedly keen to see his son Junior NTR, a popular actor, taking reins of the party founded by NTR in 1982.
 
IANS
 

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NTR's son and actor-politician Nandamuri Harikrishna dies in road accident

Nandamuri Harikrishna
Nandamuri Harikrishna
Actor-politician Nandamuri Harikrishna, son of late Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and  former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. T. Rama Rao, died in a road accident in Telangana's Nalgonda district early on Wednesday, doctors said. He was 61.
 
Harikrishna suffered critical head injuries when the car in which he was travelling along with two others overturned while overtaking another vehicle near Anneparthi. 
 
The vehicle hit the median and collided with another vehicle coming from the opposite direction.
 
He was shifted to Kamineni Hospital at Narketpally, where he succumbed to his injuries.
 
Harikrishna was on his way to Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh to attend a wedding.
 
He was a member of the TDP politburo and brother-in-law of TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. 
 
He is survived by two wives Lakshmi and Shalini, two sons Junior NTR and Kalyan Ram and daughter Suhasini.
 
His eldest son Janki Ram was also killed in a road accident in 2014 in the same district.
 
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Pune Police arrest five Maoist sympathizers in nationwide raids

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For the second time in five months, Pune Police on Tuesday raided alleged Maoist sympathizers across the country and arrested five top activists, some of whom are also human rights advocates.
 
The raids took place at 10 places in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Haryana. 
 
"We have arrested Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Pereira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha," Joint Police Commissioner of Pune Shivajirao Bodkhe told IANS.
 
Besides, other activists across the country including Kranti, Stan Swami and Anand Teltumbde were raided in the major operation that is part of the ongoing probe into the involvement of Maoist supporters into the Koregaon-Bhima riots of January 1 this year.
 
Scores of supporters of these activists staged noisy protests during the police raids at various locations, including in Mumbai and Thane.
 
Among the angles being probed after Tuesday's crackdown are the modus operandi of the activists, their sources of finance and modes of funding of their activities, their suspected connections with like-minded groups and related issues, officials indicated.
 
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) President Prakash Ambedkar flayed the action as "the government's attempts to silence the masses" in the wake of the recent crackdown on the Hindu rightwing group Sanatan Sanstha.
 
"But now NGOs which are non-political will become more active and aggressive than they were earlier in opposing this (BJP) government in order to safeguard democracy and human rights," warned Ambedkar, the grandson of B.R. Ambedkar.
 
Officials described Tuesday's operations as a 'follow-up' to similar action taken on April 17 when the Pune Police swooped on over half a dozen Dalit activists and those involved with the Kabir Kala Manch, which organised an Elgar Conference in Pune on December 31.
 
The next day, on January 1, caste riots erupted in Koregaon-Bhima which left one person dead, culminating in a Maharashtra shutdown on January 3 called by the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh of Prakash Ambedkar.
 
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After nearly five months, Pune Police teams fanned out in around half a dozen states and raided the homes and offices of several persons who are suspected to be linked with the Elgar Conference or are alleged Maoist supporters.
 
The police have seized items like computers, laptops, CDs, pen-drives, 'incriminating documents' and books from them and contended that they functioned like an 'urban think tank' for Maoists. Some of them are also Dalit and human rights activists.
 
Previously, during the April action, the Pune police had targetted prominent rights activists like Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale (all arrested) besides raiding Harshali Potdar, Jyoti Jagtap, Ramesh Gaychor and Sagar Gorke.
 
The arrested persons were charged under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code.
 
Tuesday's operations have been condemned by civil society groups, social and Dalit leaders, academics, rights activists and intellectuals who termed the arrests a conspiracy to divert attention from the activities of the Hindu rightwing.
 
Calling the arrests "politically motivated and unjustified", they demanded the immediate release of all the arrested individuals.
 
IANS
 

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I don't believe in soft or hardcore Hindutva: Rahul

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi made it clear on Tuesday that he was not wedded to Hindutva - "soft or hardcore".
 
In an interaction with editors, Gandhi did not agree that he was embracing soft Hindutva to appease the majority community. 
 
"I don't believe in any kind of Hindutva, soft or hardcore," he said.
 
Gandhi said there was nothing wrong in his meeting religious leaders and visiting religious places.
 
His differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he insisted, were ideological and not personal.
 
Gandhi, on a two-day visit to Hyderabad, predicted that Narendra Modi would not become Prime Minister in 2019.
 
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would not even get 230 Lok Sabha seats and hence there was no question of Modi continuing in office again. The BJP tally would be cut primarily due to the alliance among non-BJP parties in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
 
He also pointed out that several allies of the BJP, including Shiv Sena, were against Modi becoming the Prime Minister for a second term.
 
The Congress President said the party was working with like-minded parties to form a grand alliance to defeat the BJP.
 
He was confident that a Congress-led alliance would form the next government at the Centre.
 
He evaded a direct reply to a question on who would be the Prime Minister in the event of Congress and other non-BJP parties getting a majority. He merely said they would work it out.
 
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He was also non-committal on whether the Congress would repeat the Karnataka formula, where it accepted the leader of a party with fewer seats as the Chief Minister to prevent the BJP from taking power.
 
Asked about his hug to Modi in Parliament, Gandhi said it was intended to show that he doesn't hate people. 
 
He, however, said the Prime Minister was cold in his response. He alleged that Modi doesn't give due respect to political rivals.
 
He voiced concern over growing intolerance in the country. He said that minorities were feeling insecure.
 
Gandhi said the party's state units were free to have alliances with like-minded parties. He was confident that the Congress would come to power in Telangana.
 
Asked about Andhra Pradesh, where Congress drew a blank in the 2014 polls, he said the party was improving its position.
 
He said Modi had failed to implement his promise of providing two crore jobs annually.
 
"China provides employment to 50,000 people in 24 hours while in India only 458 people get employment during this duration," he said.
 
In a lighter vein, Gandhi remarked that he was wedded to the Congress.
 
"I am wedded to Congress," he said when he was asked about his marriage plans.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi challenges PM for debate on Rafale deal

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a debate on the Rafale jet deal with France, reiterating his graft charge against the government.
 
He said that he was ready for a debate with Modi at any place and time to prove that the government will get each Rafael jet for Rs 1,600 crore against the Rs 540 crore when the contract was signed during the earlier UPA rule.
 
Addressing a meeting of party workers, he said that Modi could not look him in the eye when he spoke in Parliament on the aircraft deal.
 
"I spoke before the 'chowkidar' with a 56-inch chest. He was looking everywhere but towards me. A corrupt person when told about his theft can't see you in the eye," Gandhi said.
 
The Congress President said that during his 1.5-hour reply to the debate, Modi did not speak a single word about the Rafale deal.
 
He reiterated his charge that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had lied to the nation that the aircraft price can't be revealed as per a pact between India and France. 
 
The Congress leader had claimed that the French President had told him that there is no such pact and that the Indian government can reveal the price to anyone it wants.
 
Gandhi recalled that the UPA government led by his party had given the contract for 126 aircraft to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited because it had been making aircraft for 70 years. He said that when Modi visited France, the contract was snatched from HAL and given to "his (Modi's) friend".
 
"Modi's friend did not make aircraft in his life. That businessman is in Rs 45,000-crore debt," Gandhi alleged.
 
He said that the contract was given to a company formed only 10 days before the contract.
 
Gandhi accused the Modi government of snatching jobs from the Indian youth as manufacture of the aircraft by HAL would have provided employment to lakhs of Indians.
 
The Congress leader said that the non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks shot up to Rs 12 lakh crore during NDA rule from Rs 2.5 lakh crore under the UPA rule. He claimed that the entire Indian banking system has jammed.
 
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The Congress President targeted Modi for failing to fulfil the commitments made to both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh at the time of the bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
 
He said that, if voted to power, the Congress would fulfil all commitments, including special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
 
Aiming at Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Gandhi wanted to know why he supported Modi on demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax and other issues when the Prime Minister failed to fulfil commitments given to Telangana.
 
Gandhi said that Telangana has become the "capital of corruption" as only one family is reaping all the benefits.
 
He said that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief was no less than Modi in making false promises.
 
He said that if Modi promised Rs 15 lakh in every bank account and two crore jobs every year, Rao promised a job for every family and double bedroom houses to all the poor in the state. 
 
Gandhi said that during the last four years, the TRS government had filled only 10,000 of the one lakh vacancies in government departments and built only 5,000 of the promised 22 lakh houses.
 
IANS
 

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Best scientific universities increasingly becoming sources of innovation, says Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind today said that the best scientific universities and institutions of learning are not just teaching shops or degree factories but increasingly becoming sources of innovation and incubators of technology and technology-driven start-ups.
 
Addressing the 7th convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad, Mr Kovind said that, as a second generation IIT, it is important that the institute borrows from as well as learn from the models of the past.
 
“The conditions are different from the 1950s and 1960s. India has changed. Technology and the very discipline of engineering have evolved. Our aspirations are no longer limited to the heavy industrial base that we created six decades ago. Rather, IIT Hyderabad has to remain relevant to the fourth industrial revolution that will write the script of the 21st century,” he added.
 
The President said he was happy to note that a start has been made by setting up a network of centres for research and promotion of entrepreneurship at this Institute.
 
“The knowledge ecosystem of public investments in science, academic institutions and universities, research laboratories, commercial applications and private enterprise has an almost magical potential. Its best example is, of course, the Silicon Valley in the United States. At the core of the Valley are basic science and technology campuses and their talented faculty and students,” he pointed out.
 
IIT Hyderabad has been set up in a city and in a metropolitan area where several elements for such an ecosystem already exist. Hyderabad has a long tradition of scientific discovery and application. 
 
The city has as many as 19 research facilities and laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Space Research Organisation.
 
Individually, many of these entities are doing excellent work. But there is a need for cross-pollination. IIT Hyderabad is not envisaged as just an add-on to this ecosystem. Rather, it needs to be the hub of this ecosystem. It must be the connecting tissue and the catalyst for a greater synergy, he added.
 
Mr Kovind urged IIT Hyderabad to break out of silos and to encourage others to follow suit. “India will judge the success of IIT Hyderabad by the vitality and the output it can ensure for not just itself but for the entire Hyderabad knowledge ecosystem,” he added.
 
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Kovind to visit Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala from August 4-7

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a four-day visit to three southern states -- Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala --- from tomorrow.
 
On August 5, Mr. Kovind will address the 7th convocation of Indian  Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad. 
 
On the same day, he will visit Chennai to meet ailing DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, who is undergoing treatment in the Kauvery Hospital there.
 
On August 6, the President will inaugurate the ‘Festival of Democracy’ in Thiruvananthapuram to mark the conclusion of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Kerala Legislative Assembly.
 
On August 7, he will inaugurate the centenary celebrations of St. Thomas’ College, Thrissur, before returning to Delhi. 
 
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Two students die in school roof collapse in Hyderabad

 
Two girls killed after roof of shed collapses in Hyderabad school
 
 
Two girl students died and five others were injured when a shed of a school here collapsed during a karate class on Thursday, police said.
 
The two, aged around 10 years, were killed as the roof of the concrete shed collapsed in the premises of New Century Public School in Kukatpally area.
 
The injured were admitted to a hospital where the condition of one of them is stated to be critical.
 
The incident occurred when students of Class IV were taking part in a karate class.
 
According to police, seven students were injured in the incident and two of them succumbed to their injuries at a private hospital.
 
The pillars of the old structure were believed to have weakened due to recent rains.
 
Deputy Commissioner of Police Venkateshwar Rao said they would take action against the management of the private school if it was found that the incident occurred due to the management's negligence.
 
IANS
 

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Hyderbabad engineer lynched by mob in Karnataka on suspicion of being child lifter

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A long drive on his weekly day off along with a relative and friends proved to be deadly for Mohammad Azam, a software engineer who was beaten to death by a mob in Karnataka's Bidar district on Friday on suspicion of being a child lifter.
 
A pall of gloom has gripped the house of Azam, 28, in Errakunta in the old city of Hyderabad.
 
The body of Azam, who was working with Google, was brought to the city late Saturday and was buried at a graveyard near his house. Three friends of Azam, who were injured in the mob attack, were admitted to a private hospital in the city. They include Salham Eid Al Kubasi, a Qatari national and a friend of Azam who was on a vacation to India.
 
The family of Azam, a father of a two-year-old child, is seeking justice.
 
His brother Mohammad Akram, also a techie, urged the Telangana government to take up the issue with the Karnataka government for a proper investigations into the incident.
 
"The guilty should be punished so that no other innocent loses his life in this manner," said Akram.
 
He recalled that their cousin Noor Mohammad, Salham, Mohammad Salman and another friend came to meet Azam on Friday. "They left the house around 11 a.m. We did not know that they were going out of the city," said Akram.
 
It was a pleasure trip for the friends, who enjoyed the outing in the countryside. Relatives of Azam say they stopped at a hamlet and were taking pictures.
 
Slaham saw a group of children returning from a school. As he was carrying chocolates brought from Qatar, he offered it to few children out of affection.
 
When some people saw strangers including a foreigner offering chocolates to children, they mistook them to be child lifters. They started questioning them. Sensing trouble, the group left the place in their car.
 
However, few residents of the hamlet alerted people of nearby village Murki over their mobile phones.
 
At Murki, a mob chased the car and forced it to stop. The mob dragged out the occupants and started beating them with sticks and stones. After some time, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the mob.
 
While Azam died on the spot, others sustained critical injuries. Two of them were battling for life at a hospital in Hyderabad.
 
"We are software engineers. Do we look like child lifters," asked Akram, who fails to understand why the mob did not believe their clarifications. The young man wants the governments to take some serious action to stop lynching over rumours being spread through WhatsApp.
 
More than 20 people have been killed across India over rumours in the last few months.
 
IANS
 
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Telangana student shot dead in US by suspected robber

Sharath  Koppu (Image: Facebook)
Sharath Koppu (Image: Facebook)
A 26-year-old Indian student from Telangana was shot dead inside a restaurant here in the US state of Missouri by a suspected robber.
 
Sharath Koppu, who was pursuing his Master's degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UKMC), was shot on Friday evening at J's Fish and Chicken Market where he was working as a part-time employee, The Kansas City Star newspaper reported. 
 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday condoled the death, saying: "We will follow this up with the police and provide all assistance to the family."
 
The Kansas City Police has released a brief video of the suspect inside the restaurant moments before the shooting and asked for people's assistance in identifying him. 
 
The suspect pulled out a gun and shot Koppu on his back. He died after being taken to a hospital.
 
Koppu, who was a software engineer, came to the US in January.
 
Meanwhile, the Telangana government on Sunday announced that it was making arrangements to bring Koppu's body back to Hyderabad within two days. 
 
The state's Minister for NRI Affairs K.T. Rama Rao along with his cabinet colleagues Kadiam Srihari and T. Srinivas Yadav visited Koppu's house.
 
The state government was in touch the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in the US, according to Rao.
 
The UKMC also issued a statement condoling Koppu's death.
 
"We offer our sincere sympathies to Sharath's family and friends in the wake of this senseless tragedy," the statement said.
 
UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal offered his condolences.
 
"Sharath and I share an Indian heritage, but all of us at UMKC share in the grief such tragedies bring," Agrawal said on Saturday evening.
 
The incident comes a year after another Hyderabad techie, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed in a race-triggered attack at a bar also in Kansas City on February 22, 2017.
 
In May, former US Navy veteran Adam Purinton admitted that he fatally shot Kuchibhotla saying that he targeted the victim because of his "actual and perceived race, colour, religion and national origin".
 
IANS
 
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Three held for prostitution in Hyderabad hotel

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Hyderabad Police have busted a high-profile prostitution racket with the arrest of an actress of Bhojpuri films and two others at a five-star hotel here.
 
Acting on a tip-off, personnel of the Commissioner's Task Force made the arrests late on Saturday night at the hotel in the posh Banjara Hills area. 
 
A client and an organiser of the racket were also taken into custody, police said.
 
The client is a government employee from Gurgaon, Haryana, while the organiser has been identified as Janardhan Rao, a resident of Hyderabad who hails from Andhra Pradesh.
 
Three mobile phones and Rs 40,000 have been seized from the accused.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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Five killed in road mishap in Telangana

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Five people were killed and five others injured when a speeding car hit an auto-rickshaw on Monday in Telangana's Ranga Reddy, police said.
 
The accident occurred near Lingala area. According to the police, a group of 10 women with their vegetables were on their way to a market in Hyderabad when the car coming from opposite direction rammed into the three-wheeler.
 
The injured were shifted to hospitals in Ibrahimpatnam and Hyderabad. 
 
The death toll may increase as the three were in critical condition.
 
In a similar accident on Sunday, 14 women agriculture workers and a boy were killed when a tractor carrying them plunged in a canal in Yadadri district.
 
Road accidents have claimed 7,219 lives in Telangana during 2016. 
 
According to Road Safety and Railway Authority of Telangana, the number reduced by 9 per cent during 2017. Most of the accidents were caused by negligence by drivers.
 
IANS
 
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13 killed as tractor falls in Telangana canal

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At least 13 women agriculture workers were killed and 17 others injured when a tractor plunged into a canal in Telangana's Yadadri district on Sunday, police said.
 
The incident occurred when the tractor, carrying the workers, fell into the Musi canal near Veligonda.
 
According to the police, the tractor driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to avoid a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction.
 
The injured were shifted to nearby hospitals. The death toll may rise as the condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Driver dies as car submerges in rainwater in Hyderabad

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In a freak incident, a driver sleeping in a car died after the vehicle was submerged in rain water here on Saturday, police said.
 
The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday in the basement of an apartment building in Kukatpally area here.
 
Bosle Gopinath, 25, was found dead in the car after the rain water was pumped out of the basement.
 
According to police, Gopinath dropped car owner Naveen Kumar late in the night and sought his permission to sleep in the vehicle. As it was raining heavily in the area, about two feet water got accumulated in the basement.
 
Police suspect that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and did not realise water entering into the car. He is suspected to have died of suffocation.
 
The body was sent to the government-run Gandhi Hospital for autopsy.
 
IANS
 
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Four of a family killed in Telangana road accident

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Four members of a family were killed in a road accident in Telangana's Peddapalle district in early on Friday, police said.
 
A car in which they were travelling rammed into a stationary truck on Hyderabad-Karimnagar Rajiv Rahdari near Katnapally, about 180 km from here.
 
The deceased have been identified as Arun Kumar, his wife Soumya and their children Akhilesh Kumar (10) and Shanvi (8).
 
Arun Kumar, who runs a school in Peddapalle town, along with his family was returning from Hyderabad after admitting his brother and brother-in-law into a polytechnic college in the city.
 
Police suspect that Arun Kumar, who was driving the car, failed to notice a truck parked by the road side and rammed into it. Front portion of the car was badly mangled.
 
Police shifted the bodies for autopsy to government-run hospital at Sultanabad.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Hyderabad mosque welcomes non-Muslims to witness 'namaz'

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Standing on a balcony, a group of non-Muslims including women watched Muslims offer prayers at a mosque here which formally opened its doors for people of all faiths.
 
It was an opportunity for followers of different religions to know how a mosque looks from the inside and how Muslims offer 'namaz'.
 
Visitors including heritage activist P. Anuradha Reddy went around Masjid-e-Quba to see the charts displayed by the organisers explaining basic tenets of Islam. She said such programmes promote better understanding between communities.
 
The organising committee of the mosque located in Mehdipatnam area, organised the first-ever "open mosque" programme inviting people of other faiths to visit the place of worship in an effort to elucidate the teachings of Islam.
 
The programme was organised a day after Eid-ul-Fitr.
 
A large number of Hindus, Christians and Sikhs visited the mosque and were explained about 'namaz', 'aazaan' (call for prayers) and 'wazu' (ablution). They were also explained as to why the architectures of most of the mosques include minarets and domes.
 
The visitors were treated with dates and Sheer Khurma, a sweet made with vermicelli, milk and dry fruits.
 
The idea of the "open mosque" was proposed by Mohammed Mustafa, who recently embraced Islam.
 
IANS
 
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Mentally disabled twins killed by uncle in Hyderabad

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In a shocking incident, a pair of mentally disabled twins were killed by their maternal uncle here, who wanted to relieve his sister from the hardships of looking after the them, police said on Saturday.
 
Srijana Reddy and her twin brother Vishnuvardhan Reddy, both aged 12, were strangulated to death by Mallikarjun Reddy in his rented house in the city's Chaitanyapuri area late Friday.
 
According to the police, the incident came to light when the house owner noticed the accused along with two others trying to shift the bodies in his car. 
 
He alerted the police and they arrested Mallikarjun, his friend Venkatrami Reddy and car driver Vivek Reddy.
 
Mallikarjun had brought the children from their Nalgonda home on Friday. He had told his sister Lakshmi and brother-in-law Srinivas Reddy that he will teach the children to swim.
 
The parents told the police that the twins were mute and also mentally disabled since birth.
 
The accused confessed to the crime and told them that he could not let his sister suffer the hardships of looking after the mentally disabled children. 
 
The couple did not lodge a police complaint against Mallikarjun.
 
IANS
 
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Popular rice variety gets extra gene power to fight bacterial attacks

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Researchers at the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Rice Research have developed a new variety of the popular Improved Samba Mahsuri (ISM) rice that can resist bacterial blight disease.
 
Bacterial blight disease, which affects rice crop, is caused by bacteria, Xanthomonas oryzae, and drastically reduces rice productivity.
 
The high yielding ISM variety is already protected against bacterial blight by three genes, but the new variety has been developed by adding another gene, Xa38, that increases the resistance.
 
“Till now about 41 resistant genes have been identified from diverse sources. These genes differ from each other in their mode of action. While some are broad spectrum, others are narrow in their resistance spectrum,” explained Dr Gouri Sankar Laha, who led the study, while speaking to India Science Wire.
 
The researchers used Marker assisted Backcross Breeding or MABB technique to accomplish the gene insertion. Unlike transgenic techniques used in genetically modified crops, MABB is less laborious but more efficient than traditional methods of ‘gene’ transfer. Besides it does not require regulatory clearances necessary for transgenic crops.
 
ISM is popular and has been grown in over 80,000 hectares in south and east India since its release in 2008. However, of late it was observed in experiments that when deliberately infected, ISM plants had longer lesions – infected spot - than the earlier ones, indicating emergence of a new strain of Xanthomonas.
 
Xanthomonas is virulent, meaning its infection spreads fast and wide. It also evolves very quickly. Thus plants that seem to be resistant now might turn susceptible later as the pathogen evolves into different strains.
 
“It is, therefore, necessary that we keep developing new resistant varieties. Also rice plant resistant to Xanthomonas in a particular area may not be resistant to the bacteria in another place,” explained Dr C A Deepak, a rice breeder at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Karnataka, who is not associated with the work. The breed improvement for bacterial blight disease is a continuous process.
 
The new breed has been field tested in farms across several states and has been exposed to various strains of Xanthomonas. “We have done three backcrossing and six generations of improvement. It has taken five years including selection of parents and initial crossing,” said Dr Laha.
 
The effort has resulted in several improved lines of ISM with novel, broad-spectrum blight-resistant gene Xa38 that show high levels of blight resistance to different types of Xanthomonas. These plants are better both in yield and in other traits than their ISM parent lines. After more field tests in different parts of the country, it will be ready for commercial release, Dr. Laha added.
 
The research team included Arra Yugander, Raman M. Sundaram, Kuldeep Singh, Duraisamy Ladhalakshmi, Lella V. Subba Rao, Maganti Sheshu Madhav, Jyothi Badri and Madamsetty Srinivas Prasad. The research results have been published in the journal PLOS One. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Thousands take 'fish prasadam' in Hyderabad

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Thousands of asthma patients on Friday took 'fish prasadam', which has been distributed by a family here for more than 170 years.
 
The patients from Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and some other states queued up at Exhibition Grounds to take 'fish prasadam' as the medicine began to be called a decade ago after rationalists challenged its efficacy.
 
Members of Bathini Goud family started administering the 'wonder drug' at 9 a.m. to mark 'Mrigasira Karti', which heralds the onset of monsoon.
 
Like in the past, the Telangana government made elaborate arrangements for the annual event. Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries T. Srinivas Yadav along with Telangana Legislative Council Chairman Swamy Goud inaugurated the distribution of 'fish prasadam'.
 
Despite the controversies which hit the popularity of the fish medicine over last few years, people continue to throng the venue in the hope of finding some relief to their nagging respiratory problems. However, the numbers have dwindled over the years.
 
They gulped down a live 'murrel' fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth, which is believed to provide the much-needed relief, if taken for three consecutive years. For vegetarians, the family gives the medicine with jaggery.
 
Bathini Harinath Goud said their family members were giving 'fish prasadam' at 40 counters. The process will continue till 9 a.m. on Saturday.
 
The Fisheries Department has supplied 1.30 lakh fingerlings for sale at its counters at the venue. However, the actual number of patients taking 'fish prasadam' could be less than a lakh.
 
Police, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Electricity, Transport and other departments made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the event.
 
Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) is operating over 130 special buses from airport, railway and bus stations to ferry asthma patients to the venue.
 
Various departments are providing water, sanitation and other basic amenities to the patients. Voluntary organisations have also chipped in by distributing free food and water packets.
 
The fish medicine lost its popularity in recent years after some groups, working to inculcate scientific temper among people, termed it as a fraud. They also approached a lower court, claiming that since the herbal paste contains heavy metals, it can cause serious health problems.
 
But the Goud family claims that the tests in laboratories conducted as per court orders revealed that the herbal paste is safe.
 
The Goud family has been distributing the 'fish prasadam' free of cost for the last 174 years. It claims that the secret formula for the herbal medicine was given to their ancestors in 1845 by a saint after taking an oath from them that it would be administered free of cost.
 
IANS
 
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