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  • Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's daughter Namita Bhattacharya immersed his ashes at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Sadhus, religious leaders and other prominent citizens were also present on the occasion. Earlier, a large number of people attended the Asthi Ka lush Yatra in Haridwar. In the morning, three urns carrying ashes of the departed leader were collected from Delhi's Smriti Sthal. His daughter Namita Bhattacharya  and other family members were there to collect the ashes. One of the most charismatic leaders of independent India, Vajpayee passed away in New Delhi on Thursday at the age of 93. He was cremated with full State honours at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal in the national capital on Friday.  

  • India opened its account in the 18th Asian Games with Ravi Kumar and Apurvi Chandela winning the bronze medal in the 10 meter mixed air rifle event on Sunday. The duo of Kumar and Chandela finished third on the podium with a score of 429.9. Chinese Taipei claimed gold with 494.1 with a Games record while China bagged silver with 492.5 points. The mixed team event, the latest addition in the Asian Games events, was tested for the first time in 2017 and will also be a part of the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Chandela-Kumar qualified for the final in second place after shooting a score of 835.3 in the qualification round. Earlier in the year, Chandela and Ravi Kumar competed in the first ISSF World Cup in Mexico as a team and they ended up topping the qualification rounds, shooting a total of 837.9 points. Both Chandela and Kumar had earlier won bronze in the individual categories of the 10m air rifle event at the Commonwealth Games -- and would look to add a second medal to their names in the individual rounds in the upcoming days at the Asian Games as well. Meanwhile, it was bad news for India in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event as Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma narrowly missed out on a spot in the medal clash. The duo finished sixth with 759 points and although they were tied with Kazakhstan, Bhaker and Verma were beaten on the inner 10s.  

  • Thousands of people in flood-hit areas in Kerala are battling all odds to survive as the death toll has crossed 195 in the past 10 days in the second spell of monsoon fury since August 8. Many are still stranded in their homes with no food at various places in Alapuzha, Thrissur and Ernakulam districts. The maximum death toll has been reported from Idukki district, where 43 people have lost their lives so far, as per official estimates. Over six lakh people are in relief camps across the state. Along with personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF, hundreds of fishermen and local people are engaged in relief operations. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has the biggest ever relief and rescue operation in flood-affected Kerala. An NDRF spokesperson said, a total of 58 teams have been deputed to work in the state and three teams are on their way. This is the highest ever deployment of NDRF in a single state since its raising in 2006. The NDRF has evacuated more than 10,000 people from rain and flood-battered areas. Massive rescue operations were on in worst affected places including Chenganur, Chalakudy, Aluva, Alappuzha and Pathanam titta and thousands were rescued. Over four lakh people are housed in 3026 relief camps across the state. In the unprecedented efforts being mobilised under the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 67 choppers, 24 aircrafts, 548 motorboats and thousands of rescue personnel from Indian Navy, Army, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force, Coast Guard, other Central Armed Para-military Forces, have been pressed into service to rescue and evacuate people from submerged areas to relief camps and for distribution of relief materials. The Cabinet Secretary directed five more helicopters to be mobilised by Indian Air Force, Navy and ONGC. Additional motorboats have also been put on standby for deployment.   HELPLINE NUMBERS: District Rescue Helpline Rescue No.- (STD)+ 1077 Kasaragod: 94 46 60 1700 Kannur: 94 46 68 2300 Kozhikode: 94 46 53 8900 Waynad: 80 78 40 9770 Mallapuram: 93 83 46 3212 and 93 83 46 42 12 Thrissur: 94 47 07 44 24 and 04 87 23 63 424 Palakkad: 83 01 80 32 82 Ernakulam: 79 02 20 04 00 and 79 02 20 03 00 Alappuzha: 0477 2238630, 94 95 00 36 30, 94 95 00 36 40 Idukki: 90 61 56 61 11, 93 83 46 30 36 Kottayam: 94 46 56 22 36 Pathanamthitta: 80 78 80 89 15 Kollam: 94 47 67 78 00 President Ram Nath Kovind spoke to Governor and CM of Kerala & inquired about the flood situation. He acknowledged the grit & resilience of people of Kerala in coming together in this trying hour. President assured the people of the state that entire nation was with them. President expressed satisfaction that Union and state governments were working together and in synergy in rescue and relief operations in Kerala. He praised relief agencies such as NDRF and public officials at state and Central level for their response and commitment. Along with the centre, many states too have taken the lead and announced help for flood-ravaged Kerala. Maharashtra Chief Minister has announced Rs. 20 crore as immediate assistance to the flood-hit state. While, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced Rs. 10 crore aid, Jharkhand has given a financial help of Rs. Five crore to Kerala. Uttar Pradesh CM also announced financial assistance of Rs 15 crores for flood affected states while Chhattisgarh CM announced to provide rice worth Rs 7 crore one railway rake and Rs 3 crore as financial assistance to State. The Madhya Pradesh government has announced Rs 10 crore financial assistance for flood-hit Kerala. Rajasthan Chief Minister also announced a financial help of Rs 10 crore from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund for the flood-ravaged Kerala. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced an aid of Rs. 10 crore for the state. Odisha has announced an assistance of Rs. five crore for flood-hit Kerala. Punjab Chief Minister has announced Rs. 10 crore worth of immediate relief for flood-hit Kerala. While Telangana announced immediate financial help of Rs. 25 crore for flood-hit Kerala. Delhi Chief Minister also announced a contribution of Rs. 10 crore.

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated "Panini Language Laboratory" at Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) in Mauritius on Sunday.  The Lab has been gifted by the Government of India and it will help MGI in teaching of all Indian languages in Mauritius.   In her address Swaraj said that similar lab is equipped with all modern technologies and similar facilities need to be build up in India also to promote Hindi and regional languages. On this occasion Education Minister of Mauritius Leela Devi Dookun and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh also paid floral tribute to Bapu’s statue at the institute. Swaraj also called on Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jagnauth. Both the leaders discussed further deepening of special ties between India and Mauritius. PM Jugnauth hosted a banquet lunch in the honour of External Affairs Minister, which was attended by the prominent dignitaries from both sides. She also met former Prime Minister of Mauritius Paul Berenger on the sidelines of 11th Vishwa Hindi Conference. Mr. Berenger conveyed his condolence on the sad demise of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and recalled his role in strengthening bilateral relations. Swaraj also met with the leader of opposition of Mauritius Xavier Luc Duval. Both the leaders exchanged views on furthering cooperation between the two countries. The eminent scholars have stressed upon on refinement of the Hindi language by making it simple and interesting. The delegates from across the globe attending 11th World Hindi Conference in Mauritius underlined the need of developing a software for Hindi which can be available to common people on a reasonable price. Addressing media in Port Louis, the Chief Coordinator of conference Sanjay Kumar Verma said that during the discussions participants suggested that besides Devanagari, scripts of foreign languages can also be used to teach Hindi in abroad. He also said that basic objective of three-day conference is to connect Hindi language with culture to spread and popularise it in the entire world. On the second day of the conference deliberations on relations of Culture and Language with films, media and literature were held in four sessions. Renowned Hindi lyricist, screenwriter and poet Prasoon Joshi and other eminent scholars from India and Mauritius presided over these sessions.    

  • The meeting held under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, discussed in a video conference with the Chief Secretary of Kerala. The current flood situation and deployment of rescue teams, motorboats, helicopters, life jackets; provision of food, water and medicines; and restoration of power, telecom and transport links wherever they were disrupted.  In the unprecedented efforts being mobilised under the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 67 choppers, 24 aircrafts, 548 motorboats and thousands of rescue personnel from Indian Navy, Army, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force, Coast Guard, other Central Armed Para-military Forces, have been pressed into service to rescue and evacuate people from submerged areas to relief camps and for distribution of relief materials. The Cabinet Secretary directed five more helicopters to be mobilised by Indian Air Force, Navy and ONGC which will be pressed into service from today. Additional motorboats have also been put on standby for deployment.

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister has announced Rs. 20 crore as immediate assistance to the flood-hit state. While, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced Rs. 10 crore aid and Jharkhand has given a financial help of Rs. Five crore. Uttar Pradesh CM also announced financial assistance of Rs 15 crores for flood affected Kerala while Chhattisgarh Chief Minister announced to provide rice worth Rs 7 crore one railway rake and Rs 3 crore as financial assistance to State of Kerala ravaged by floods. The Madhya Pradesh government has announced Rs 10 crore financial assistance for flood-hit Kerala. Rajasthan Chief Minister also announced a financial help of Rs 10 crore from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund for the flood-ravaged Kerala. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced an aid of Rs. 10 crore for the state. Odisha has announced an assistance of Rs. five crore for flood-hit Kerala.Punjab Chief Minister has announced Rs. 10 crore worth of immediate relief for flood-hit Kerala. While Telangana announced immediate financial help of Rs. 25 crore for flood-hit Kerala. Delhi Chief Minister also announced a contribution of Rs. 10 crore.  

  • Annan, a Ghanaian national, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours, his close associates said. In Geneva, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced his peaceful death after a short undisclosed illness with “immense sadness”, saying he was surrounded in his last days by his second wife Nane and children Ama, Kojo and Nina. After rising through the ranks of the United Nations, Annan served two terms as U.N. Secretary-General in New York from 1997-2006 and retired to live in a Swiss village in the Geneva countryside. His 10-year-old foundation promotes good governance and the transformation of African agriculture. “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom Annan had chosen to head the U.N. refugee agency, said in a statement. Annan and the United Nations shared the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to reform the world body and give priority to human rights issues. As head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, Annan was criticized for the world body’s failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. As U.N. boss he was linked to peace efforts to reunite the divided island of Cyprus, submitting a reunification blueprint which was rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots in 2004. ‘NOT PERFECT’ He staunchly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and later served as the first U.N. envoy at the start of Syria’s war, but quit after world powers failed to fulfill their commitments, saying: “I lost my troops on the way to Damascus”. “The U.N. can be improved, it is not perfect but if it didn’t exist you would have to create it,” he told the BBC’s Hard Talk during an interview for his 80th birthday last April, recorded at the Geneva Graduate Institute where he had studied. “I am a stubborn optimist, I was born an optimist and will remain an optimist,” added Annan, who often joked about having learned from locals to wear earmuffs against the freezing cold during his undergraduate years at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the United States. Raila Odinga, Kenyan opposition leader and former prime minister, said on Citizen TV: “We didn’t expect Kofi to pass that abruptly. Kofi Annan is a man of integrity; a great African, a great leader of the world.” The Elders, a group of former leaders including Gro Harlem Brundtland and Mary Robinson, paid tribute to their inspiring chairman, noting his visits to South Africa and Zimbabwe in July. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, paid tribute to Annan as “humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace”. Zeid, who has criticized major powers and other countries during his four-year term that ends later this month, said that whenever he felt “isolated and alone politically”, he would go for long walks with Annan in Geneva. “When I told him once how everyone was grumbling about me, he looked at me — like a father would look at a son — and said sternly: “You’re doing the right thing, let them grumble.” Then he grinned!”    

  • A total of 572 Indian athletes will be participating in the event in 36 different sports categories. The contingent will be led by Chef de Mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The games in Jakarta will be held at the Bung Karno sports complex, which contains 20 venues and nine training grounds, as well as Jakarta International Expo, including 21 venues and eight training grounds. Most of the events will be held at the Bung Karno sports complex, which was the main venue for the 1962 Asian Games. To host this games, the Indonesian government has invested 770 billion Indonesian rupiah (about 52 million U.S. dollars) for renovation. The opening and the closing ceremony of this year's Asian Games will be held in Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium, where the local government upgraded about 76,000 seats. Represented by 804 athletes and officials, the Indian contingent will aim to better the showing at the previous Asiad in Incheon, South Korea, where they finished eighth with 11 gold, 10 silver and and 36 bronze medals. The best performance by India at the Asian Games came at the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, China where they finished sixth with 14 gold, 17 silver and 34 bronze.  This year, around 12,000 athletes from 45 countries will compete in 40 disciplines. The main thrust of the Indian challenge is expected to come from athletics, wrestling, boxing and shooting. Indian athletes have traditionally done well at the Asian Games. This year, for junior world champion and reigning Asian champion Neeraj Chopra is among the favourites for the gold medal in men's javelin. The 20-year-old from Haryana is in good form this year, and have trained in Finland for the past few weeks where he won gold at ths Savo Games last months. Neeraj ste a new national record during the first leg of the Diamond League in Doha in May when he registered a career best attempt of 87.43 metres. That is alos the best throw by an Asian athlete so far this season. In men's shot put, Tejinder Pal Singh Toor is another strong contender for a medal. The 23-year-old is one of the best proponents of the shot put in Asia and took the silver medal at the continental championships last year. On the track the Indian sprint quartet of Kunhu Muhammed, Amoj Jacob, Rajiv Arokia and Mohammad Anas will aim to dominate the competition. They had won the 4x400m title at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships and will aim to maintain their dominance. Anas is the reigning Asian champion in the 400m individual event and will be one of the top contenders for the gold medal here as well. Emerging star Hima Das will spearhead the Indian challenge in the women's sprint events. The 18-year-old from a remore village in Assam became the first Indian to claim a world championships gold in the track events when she won the women's 400m title at the World U-20 Championships last month. In wrestling, there was the usual controversy over the selection of veteran star Sushil Kumar with upcoming wrestler Parveen Rana crying foul over the selection process of the Indian squad. Sushil (74 kg) and Bajrang Punia (61 kg) were selected without a trial since the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) felt that the duo were too superior to other wrestlers in their respective categories. Although Sushil has struggled to to remain fit due to chronic injuries over the past couple of years, the double Olympic medallist still has enough ability to emerge triumphant at the Asian Games. The other Indian wrestlers will also be among the top contenders in their respective men's freestyle categories. The Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers have also been doing well since last year and it will be interesting to see how they perfrom against the best in the continent. As always, the shooting contingent will be expected to be a major contributor to the medals tally.  Manu Bhaker, the youngest Indian to win a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup, will be expected to win gold in the women's 10m air pistol event. The 16-year-old won gold in her maiden Commonwealth Games (CWG) appearance at Gold Coast, Australia earlier this year and will be expected to take her superb form into the shooting ranges at Palembang. The experienced Sanjeev Rajput, Apurvi Chandela, Heena Sidhu and reigning junior world champion Anish Bhanwala are also expected to be among the medals in their respective events. In boxing, the Indians are among the best in Asia. Among the men, Vikas Krishan (75kg), Shiva Thapa (60kg) Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Amit Panghal (49kg) are among the title contenders in their respective weight categories. Of the three women pugilists, Sonia Lather is expected to lead the pack. In gymnastics, Ashish Kumar and Deepa Karmakar have done well at past Asian Games and CWG and are expected to well this time as well. The Indian tennis squad are witnessing the usual controversies which crop up before major multi-sports events. With veteran super star Leander Paes deciding to pull out at the last moment, coach Zeeshan Ali faces a major headache as he tries to re-work the combinations in men's doubles and mixed doubles. In men's hockey, India are the favourites to defend the title they won in 2014 while the women's squad will aim to improve on their third place finish.      

  • In the beginning of the conference a two-minute silence was observed to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Inaugurating the conference Prime Minister of Mauritius Praveen Kumar Jagannath said that with the passing away of Vajpayee ji a great son of India and a dear friend to Mauritius has been lost. He said that Mr. Vajpayee will be remembered as a master orator, a global thinker, “Deshbhakata” and “Deshsewak”. PM Jagannath also said that Mr. Vajpayee’s love for Hindi language, ability to craft words and unique manner to address instills hopes in millions of people.  He said that 11th World Hindi Conference could not be a better tribute to Shri Vajpayee. Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announces to name Mauritius cyber tower, which Atalji had contributed to set up, as Atal Bihari Vajpayee tower. Meanwhile, in her opening statement External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that  with this conference Hindi representatives from across the globe paying tribute to Mr. Vajpayee. She said that Vajpayee ji was exponent of Hindi who established Hindi at international level by first time addressing the United Nations in Hindi. Mauritius Prime Minister and Swaraj also released a souvenir and two postal stamps on 11th World Hindi Conference. Goa's Governor Mridula Sinha West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi and many ministers from India are also attending the conference. After the inauguration session a condolence meeting will be held in the memory of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In the afternoon sessions delegates from 20 countries including India will deliberate on eight sub topics related to "Hindi World and Indian Culture". More than 2,000 delegates attending the three day conference.  

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