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Except Tamil Nadu, all states have virtually accepted GST bill, says Arun Jaitley

All states, except Tamil Nadu, have virtually accepted the GST Bill, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on 13 June.

"So far, every state has given its detailed views on the GST itself. Virtually, every state has supported the idea of GST. Except one state Tamil Nadu, they have made some suggestions which has been taken note of," Jaitley said, after the meeting of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers.

Twenty-two states were represented at the meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers that began in Kolkata. The closed-door meeting, chaired by West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra, was aimed at bringing consensus on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill by all states.

The proposed tax reform seeks to replace a slew of federal and state levies and transform the country into a customs union.

The original author of the tax reform, the Congress, has demanded that the government cap the tax rate at 18% and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between states. The Congress has also said that they will back the bill only after the demands are accepted.

Jaitley said there was a consensus among Indian states against the Congress party's stand and shot down the opposition's demand for a cap.

Special court declares Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender in bank loan fraud case

On 14 June, a Special Mumbai Court declared liquor baron Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender in connection with an alleged bank loan fraud case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had moved to special court and had made a plea to declare Mallya a proclaimed offender after he remained absconding and for it would help in issuing a red corner notice (RCN) against the businessman who reportedly owes Rs. 9,000 crore to banks due to unpaid loans.

A person can be termed a proclaimed offender in a criminal case probe if the court has reasons to believe that the accused against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by it, has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed.

UEFA Euro 2016: Spain, Italy labour to victories; Ireland, Sweden play out draw

Defending European champions Spain began their UEFA Euro 2016 campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Czech Republic in Toulouse on Monday, 13 June.

Having dominated the game against a well-organised Czech Republic side, Spain had to wait until the 87th minute, when centre-back Gerard Pique finished from close range, to seal victory.

In the second game of the day, Ireland put on an inspired performance against Sweden and took the lead through Wes Hoolahan in the 48th minute.

Kairana row: BJP MP Hukum Singh says exodus not a 'communal issue'

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Hukum Singh has changed his stance, days after he claimed that at least 340 Hindu families have moved out of Uttar Pradesh's Kairana due to "threat and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community".

The MP from Kairana has now said that the alleged exodus was not a communal issue. "By mistake someone in my team mentioned Hindu families. I asked them to change that. I stick to my stand that this is not a Hindu-Muslim issue. This is just a list of people of who have left under duress." Singh told ANI on 14 June.

"Have been informed that fake people are posing as persons mentioned in the list, stating they haven't migrated," he said.

Jayalalithaa meets PM Modi; submits memorandum with 29 demands, including one on GST

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 June in Delhi to discuss several key issues related to Tamil Nadu. During the meeting, the AIADMK chief submitted a memorandum with 29 demands.

Jayalalithaa also discussed crucial bills like the Goods and Services Tax or GST, which are yet to see the light of day in the Upper House.

Was just doing my job, doors opened for vulgar films now, Pahlaj Nihalani says after Udta Punjab verdict

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani has defended his stand on Udta Punjab, after the Bombay High Court cleared the Shahid Kapoor-starrer drug drama with one cut on 13 June.

"It is not about anyone's win or loss. I was doing my job, following guidelines given," Nihalani said, adding, "doors for films with obscene, vulgar content are open now".

On 13 June, the Bombay HC had advised the CBFC to "stop acting like a grandmother".

'India's NSG Membership will touch 'raw nerve' with Pak, jeopardise Beijing's national interests'

Vehemently opposing India's bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG, China's official media said today that New Delhi's membership will not only touch a "raw nerve" in Pakistan and increase a nuclear arms race, but also "jeopardise" Beijing's national interests.

An op-ed commentary in the state-run Global Times titled 'India mustn't let nuclear ambitions blind itself', said New Delhi's NSG membership will set off a nuclear confrontation in the region.

"India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers in the region, keep alert to each other's nuclear capabilities. India's application for NSG membership and its potential consequences will inevitably touch a raw nerve in Pakistan, its traditional rival in the region," it stated.

Ancient DNA tells of two origins for dogs

Genetic analyses of a 4,800-year-old Irish dog and 59 other ancient dogs suggest that canines and humans became pals in both Europe and East Asia long before the advent of farming, says a report in sciencenews.org.

Later, dogs from East Asia accompanied their human companions to Europe, where their genetic legacy trumped that of dogs already living there.

Therefore, dogs were domesticated at least twice. That muddled genetic legacy may help explain why previous studies have indicated that dogs were domesticated from wolves only once, although evidence hasn't been clear about whether this took place in East Asia, Central Asia or Europe.

The idea that dogs came from East Asia or Central Asia is mostly based on analysis of DNA from modern dogs, while claims for European origins have been staked on studies of prehistoric pups' genetics.

A 4,800-year-old dog found in a tomb in Newgrange, Ireland, is the first ancient dog to have its entire genetic instruction book, or genome, deciphered. Researchers don't know much about what the midsize dog looked like; it doesn't bear any genetic markers of particular modern dog breeds, Frantz says. "He wasn't black. He wasn't spotted. He wasn't white." Instead, the Newgrange dog was probably a mongrel with fur similar to a wolf's.

Westerners lack education on nuclear disaster risks

Western societies would not respond well to a Fukushima-style nuclear disaster due to a lack of public information, a leading disaster expert has warned. Christopher Abbott told the Guardian he firmly believed that the public ought to be better educated over the hazards and risks they may face. Illustrating his point, he referred to the Fukushima disaster of 2011 in which 160,000 people were evacuated from the vicinity of the plant as experts attempted to tackle the emergency. The evacuation worked, said Abbott, because "the Japanese educate the public". "I just don't see that it would have worked as successfully in western society," he added. "[It's] a very personal opinion but one that is backed up by Japanese colleagues." Abbott, chairman of the Emergency Planning Society CBRN professional working group, made the remarks while giving evidence to a science and technology select committee hearing at the House of Commons on chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents. "We need to better educate the public, because a well-educated public will respond better," he said.