DD/AIR News

  • The motive was not immediately clear but, with France still on high alert after a wave of attacks commissioned or inspired by Islamic State militants since early 2015, the counter-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation. Some two hours after the attack, elite police cornered the suspect and shots were fired, a source close to the operation said. French media reported the assailant was holed up in a store on the Rue Epinal. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the gunman was known to security services, and the local prefecture said he was on an intelligence services watchlist. Castaner said France was raising the security threat level and would bolster the protection of Christmas markets elsewhere and strengthen border controls. People in the city's Neudorf area and Etoile park were told to stay where they were as officers hunted the shooter on the ground and from the air. A Reuters reporter was among 30 to 40 people being held in the basement of a supermarket for their own safety, waiting for police to clear the area. Lights were switched off and bottles of water handed out. The European Parliament, which is sitting in Strasbourg this week, was put into lockdown.  

  •   Elaborate arrangements have been made to conduct error-free counting. More than 78,000 candidates are in the fray in the polls. 82 percent voting was recorded in the two-phase elections. On Tuesday, re-polling was held at 53 polling stations which went to polls in the second phase. All major political parties including BJP, Congress, Asom Gana Parishad, Bodoland Peoples Front, Left parties and AIUDF among others contested the elections.  

  • The fourth Partners' Forum, organised in New Delhi presented an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss issues related to maternal and child health. Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the forum organised in association with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH). Prime Minister said that India was one of the first countries, to advocate focused attention on adolescence and implement a full-fledged health promotion and prevention programme for adolescents. He said that India stands ready to support its fellow countries in the march to achieving their development goals through skill building and training programmes, provision of affordable medicines and vaccines, knowledge transfers and exchange programs. Committing to bigger budgets, better outcome and changing mindsets, Prime Minister said highlighted the importance of maternal health. Expressing happiness over success in India's immunization programme, Prime Minister said that Under Mission Indradhaush, 32.8 million children and 8.4 million pregnant women were vaccindated over the last three years. Prime Minister said that the number of vaccines under the universal immunization programme has been increased from 7 to 12. While, Govt launched Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan to provide best possible care to mothers during pregnancy. He added that Children's nutrition is being addressed through the POSHAN Abhiyan to achieve the common goal of mal-nutrition free India. Prime Minister also said that In order to improve the quality of life of children, Govt is implementing Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram. He said the country has a formidable force of women frontline health workers, with one million registered Social Health Activists or ASHA workers and 2.32 lakh Anganwadi Nurse Mid-wives. In another historic decision, the maternity leave has been increased to 26 weeks, from 12 weeks earlier. Prime Minister also said that Govt is committed to increase India's health spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2025, more than 100 billion US-Dollars. Prime Minister said that in just 80 days, over 5 lakh families got free healthcare services worth Rs. 700 crore under Ayushman Bharat scheme. Besides, Prime Minister said that Govt plans to start 150 thousand such Health & Wellness Centres by 2022 under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. PMNCH's mission is to support the global health community to work successfully towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). India is hosting the Partners' Forum FOR second time. The previous chapters were held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014, New Delhi, India in 2010 and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2007. As an alliance of more than 1,000 members in 92 countries the partnership provides all stakeholders to discuss issues related to maternal, newborn and child health on a shared platform.

  • Madhya Pradesh's outgoing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan tendered his resignation to Governor Anandiben Patel earlier on Wednesday. After Tuesday's verdict of Assembly Elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party by winning 114 out of 230 seats. Addressing a press conference in Bhopal, Shivraj Chauhan said that the party accepts the mandate of the people and won’t be claiming stake to form government. For the Congress, it is not an easy task to choose its CM.  The news of BSP extending support to Congress has come as a breather for the party which has staked claim to form next government. The mandate in Rajasthan is in favour of Congress and its allies who have emerged as the single largest with 100 seats. Meanwhile, a meeting of the Congress legislature party is being held in Jaipur to decide on Chief Minister's name. The meeting is being attended by Venugopal and Avinash Pandey who are there as AICC observers. After a spectacular victory in Chhattisgarh assembly polls, the meeting of MLAs will take place to decide on the CM's name.   MNF gets Mizoram; TRS retains Telangana Mizo National Front wrests power from the Congress in Mizoram after ten years with absolute majority while Telangana Rashtra Samiti gets clear mandate to retain Telangana; MNF chief Zoramthanga meets the Governor in Aizawl to stake claim to form the government.; K Chandrasekhar Rao elected unanimously as TRS Legislature Party leader.  

  • Thousands of devotees offering prayers at famous Janaki temple since early Wednesday morning. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath will also participate in  Vivah Panchami celebration. Entry gates have been made at various places to welcome Yogi Adityanath. Soon after arriving at Jankapur he will offer prayers at Janaki temple. Later he will proceed to Madhes Bhawan, the official residence of Province 2 Chief Minister and meet senior leaders from Center and Province 2. He will also attend a Mithila cultural programme and have lunch with Sadhus. In the afternoon Yogi Adityanath will attend Sita Swayamvar and marriage ceremony at famous Barah Bigha ground. Lakhs of devotees including Sadhus and Saints will also participate in the celebrations. Vivah Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla paksha in Margashirsha month of Hindu calendar.According to mythology Lord Rama married Goddess Sita on Vivah Panchami. The festival is observed in Janakpur every year to mark the occasion. It is a unique example of age old strong social and cultural bonding between the people of India and Nepal.

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, the critically injured cop in Zaina Pora Shopian terrorist attack succumbed to injuries taking the death toll of policemen to four. Three policemen were killed and another cop critically injured after militants attacked police picket in Zainapora area of South Kashmir's Shopian district on Tuesday afternoon.  

  • Devotees in a very large number continuously arriving in Janakpur to witness one of the biggest religious and cultural event of Hindus. The Swayamvar and marriage ceremony will be held at Rangbhoomi in Barabeegha ground on Wednesday. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath will grace the occasion. Lakhs of devotees from India and Nepal including thousands of sadhus and saints will also attend the wedding ceremony. Chief Minister of Nepal’s Province 2, Lalbabu Raut and many Union Ministers from Nepal Govt will also attend the celebrations. Vivah Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla paksha in Margashirsha month of Hindu calendar. According to mythology Lord Rama married Goddess Sita on Vivah Panchami. The festival is observed in Janakpur every year with gaiety and religious fervor to mark the occasion. As part of weeklong celebrations various marriage rituals are being performed. The "Matikor" ceremony was held on Tuesday evening at Ganga Sagar pond. Later a procession was also carried from Ganga Sagar to Janaki temple. Vivah Panchami is a unique example of age old social and cultural relations between India and Nepal that has been cherished for centuries.

  • Das, 61, replaces Urjit Patel, who shocked the establishment and markets by announcing his exit from the central bank Monday. Das will have a three-year term, an official order said. He will be the first bureaucrat to head the central bank in almost five years. While it was widely expected that the government will name an interim RBI head during its search for Patel’s replacement, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Das within a day. In a tweet, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government has “accepted the resignation of Dr Urijit Patel who resigned yesterday from the said post.” Meanwhile, Finance Secretary A N Jha said Das has wide experience in state government as well as the union government. Das, a 1980-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, retired as Economic Affairs Secretary in May 2017. After his retirement, he was named India’s G-20 sherpa and also appointed as a member of the 15th Finance Commission. Das, a history graduate from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, was brought to the Finance Ministry soon after the BJP-led NDA government came to power in mid-2014 and given charge of the crucial revenue department. He was later moved to the economic affairs department, which essentially deals with monetary policy and the RBI. While the BJP government chose an economist in Patel to head the RBI after it had denied extension to former IMF Chief Economist Raghuram Rajan for a second term in 2016, the position has once again gone to a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats have occupied the position for the most number of years. The last IAS officer to head the RBI was D Subbarao, who demitted office in September 2013. Urjit Patel, who initially appeared to have toed the government line on issues like demonetisation, had in the recent weeks clashed with the Finance Ministry over issues of liquidity, reserves of the central bank and lending norms. The face-off led to the government invoking a never-used-before provision of the RBI Act to bring the governor to the negotiating table on these issues. Patel chose to resign four days ahead of the crucial meeting of the RBI Board where government nominee directors were expected to push the central bank on governance issues. Das will be the 25th Governor of the RBI.  

  • Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned on the first day of the Winter Session Tuesday after paying homage to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and several sitting and former members who passed away recently. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan paid tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chatterjee, Union Minister Ananth Kumar and three sitting members. While reading out the obituary reference for Vajpayee, Mahajan said he was one of the most outstanding member of Parliament and enjoyed respect across the political spectrum. Even Rajya Sabha paid tributes to former prime minister Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, ND Tiwari and 12 others. The house observed silence in memory of the deceased. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu remembered the contribution of former Prime Minister Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Chatterjee and Union Minister Kumar. In an emotional obituary reference to Ananth Kumar, Naidu said he has lost a personal friend. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all parties to utilise winter session of Parliament in a productive way. Speaking outside Parliament before the start of the session, the Prime Minister asked leaders of various political parties to participate in debates, discuss issues of public interest and work towards resolving them. PM Modi hoped that the session would be constructive and members would participate in debates on key issues concerning the public, even if sharper. He hoped the winter session would function more than its stipulated time. "I am confident that political parties will keep public interest in mind and make use of this session to utilise it for furthering public interests and not parties interests," he told reporters. Modi said this Winter Session of Parliament is important and everyone should participate in discussion. "There should be debate, discussion and dialogue," he said. The Winter session is likely to have a total of 20 sittings, will conclude on January 8, 2019.

  • President Kovind’s visit to Myanmar will continue India’s high level engagements with Myanmar under the rubric of ‘Act East Policy’ and ‘Neighbourhood First Policy.’ “Coinciding with President Kovind’s visit, and to further people-to-people relations, Myanmar has announced a visa-on-arrival facility for Indian tourists entering the country through the international airports of Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay,” the president’s office tweeted. The President said that residents of India’s Northeast region have particularly welcomed and are beginning to reap the benefits of the Land-border Crossing Agreement concluded recently. The landmark Land Border Crossing Agreement between India and Myanmar, signed on May 11 this year, was brought into effect in August with the simultaneous opening of international entry-exit checkpoints at the Tamu-Moreh and the Rihkhawdar-Zowkhawtar border between the two nations. “They look forward to the early conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement,” Mr. Kovind said. Several agreements are expected to be signed during the President’s visit which comes amid China’s foray into the southeast Asian country with which it has signed a mega port deal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar last year, while Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited India in January for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

  • Boosted by the new movie "Bohemian Rhapsody," the 1975 single and music video surpassed 1.6 billion streams globally, record company Universal Music Group said in a statement. The song overtook the likes of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine," and is now also the most streamed classic rock song of all time, Universal added. The "Bohemian Rhapsody" film, starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has brought the music of the British rock band to a new generation. Five weeks after its release, it has also become the highest grossing musical biography movie ever, with a global box office take of $600 million. Malek was nominated for a Golden Globe last week for his performance and is widely expected to get an Oscar nomination in January. Universal said it had been promoting the single across streaming platforms in recent weeks. It used all registered streams on global on-demand services including Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer as well as streams from official song/video streams on YouTube to determine that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the most streamed song from the 20th century.

  • With EU officials adamant the withdrawal deal is not up for renegotiation, May's move threw Britain's Brexit plans into disarray, battered the pound and intensified the country's political crisis. Two-and-a-half years after Britain voted to leave the EU, and with departure just over three months away on March 29, the country does not know on what terms it will leave and whether May will still be Britain's leader when it does.  In an emergency statement to the House of Commons, May accepted that the divorce deal she struck last month with EU leaders was likely to be rejected "by a significant margin" if the vote were held Tuesday as planned.  May said she would defer the vote so she could seek "assurances" from the EU and bring the deal back to Parliament. She did not set a new date for the vote.  Lawmakers from the opposition and from May's Conservative Party were incredulous. "The government has lost control of events and is in complete disarray," said opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.  Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading pro-Brexit Conservative, expressed despair. "It's not really governing," he said. "It's just an awful muddle."  Monday's turmoil sent the pound to a 20-month low against the dollar of USD 1.2550. It was a new blow for May, who became prime minister after Britain's 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU.  She has been battling ever since first to strike a divorce deal with the bloc, then to sell it to skeptical British lawmakers. May insisted the agreement hammered out with the EU after a year and a half of negotiations was "the best deal that is negotiable."  But it has been scorned by lawmakers on all sides of Britain's debate about Europe. Derisive laughter erupted in the House of Commons when May claimed there was "broad support" for many aspects of the deal.  Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal keeps Britain bound too closely to the EU, while pro-EU politicians say it erects barriers between the UK and its biggest trading partner and leaves many details of the future relationship undecided.  The main sticking point is a "backstop" provision that aims to guarantee an open border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland after Brexit.  The measure would keep Britain under EU customs rules, and is supposed to last until it is superseded by permanent new trade arrangements.  Critics say it could leave Britain tied to the EU indefinitely, unable to strike new trade deals around the world. May said she would hold talks with EU leaders ahead of a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, seeking "further reassurances" over the backstop.  "Nothing should be off the table," she said. EU leaders signalled they are prepared to help Britain, up to a point, but insisted the Brexit agreement could not be changed.  "The deal is the deal," Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said. "It's taken two years to put together. It's a fair deal for both sides."  European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: "We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification."  A key member of the European parliament's Brexit team, Green lawmaker Philippe Lamberts, predicted May's shuttle diplomacy would fail to secure changes.  "The only net result of this round of capitals will be an additional amount of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said.  Despite May's dogged determination to press on, the tumult leaves her in a precarious position.  Conservative rivals are preparing for a potential leadership challenge, and Labour has threatened call for a no-confidence motion in the government.  Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her Scottish National Party would support an attempt to topple the government and trigger a new election.  "This shambles can't go on so how about it?" Sturgeon tweeted at Corbyn. Corbyn stopped short of calling a no-confidence vote Monday, but said if May could not renegotiate with the EU, "then she must make way."  Delays in approving the Brexit deal increase the chances of Britain crashing out of the EU with no agreement. The government and the Bank of England have warned that could bring logjams to British ports and plunge the country into its deepest recession in decades.  May said the government would step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit in order to mitigate its worst effects. It has already stockpiled medicines and other key goods.  Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry, said the delay was "yet another blow for companies desperate for clarity." "Investment plans have been paused for two-and-a-half years," she said.  "Unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding towards a national crisis." May has also warned that rejecting her deal could result in Britain not leaving the EU at all.  Some campaigners in the U.K. want just that. They got a boost Monday when the EU's top court ruled that Britain can change its mind over Brexit if it wants.  Britain invoked Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, triggering a two-year exit process. 

  • Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of its founder, was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport on December 1 the same day that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping of China agreed to a 90-day cease-fire in a trade dispute that threatens to disrupt global commerce.  The US has accused Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of US sanctions. It also says that Meng and Huawei misled banks about the company's business dealings in Iran.  Her arrest has fuelled US-China trade tensions at a time when the two countries are seeking to resolve a dispute over Beijing's technology and industrial strategy.  Both sides have sought to keep the issues separate, at least so far, but the arrest has roiled markets, with stock markets worldwide down again Monday.  China formally protested to the ambassadors of both Canada and the United States over the weekend.  In urging the court to reject Meng's bail request, a prosecutor said Friday the Huawei executive had vast resources and a strong incentive to bolt. She's facing fraud charges in the United States that could put her in prison for 30 years.  On Monday, David Martin, Meng's lawyer, reiterated that Meng was willing to pay for a surveillance company to monitor her and wear an ankle monitor.  Called by the defense, Scott Filer of Lions Gate Risk Management group said his company would make a citizen's arrest if she breaches bail conditions.  Under the defense proposal, Meng's travels would be restricted to Vancouver and surrounding municipalities.  Martin said Meng's husband would put up both of their Vancouver homes plus USD 1 million Canadian ($750,000) for a total value of USD 15 million Canadian (USD 11.2 million) as collateral.  The hearing has sparked widespread interest, and the courtroom was packed again Monday with media and spectators, including some who came to support Meng.  One man in the courtroom gallery brought binoculars to have a closer look at Meng, her lawyers and the prosecution team. Outside court a man and woman held a sign that read "Free Ms. Meng."  Over the weekend, China's Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canadian Ambassador John McCallum and US Ambassador Terry Branstad. Le warned both countries that Beijing would take steps based on their response.  Asked Monday what those steps might be, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said only that "it totally depends on the Canadian side itself."  The Canadian province of British Columbia has already cancelled a trade mission to China amid fears China could detain Canadians in retaliation for Meng's detention.  Stocks around the world fell Monday over investor concerns about the continuing US-China trade dispute, as well as the cloud hanging over Brexit negotiations after Britain's prime minister postponed a vote on her deal for Britain to exit the European Union.  In the US, stocks were volatile, tumbling in the morning and then recovering ground in the afternoon.  The Huawei case complicates efforts to resolve a US-China trade dispute. The United States has slapped tariffs on USD 250 billion in Chinese imports, charging that China steals American technology and forces US companies to turn over trade secrets.  Tariffs on USD 200 billion of those imports were scheduled to rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on January 1. But over dinner December 1 with Xi in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Trump agreed to delay the tariff increase for 90 days, buying time for more negotiations.  Bill Perry, a trade lawyer with Harris Bricken in Seattle, said China's decelerating economy is putting pressure on Xi to make concessions before US tariffs go up.  "They need a trade deal. They don't want the tariffs to go up to 25" percent, said Perry, who publishes the "US China Trade War" blog. "This is Damocles' sword hanging over the Chinese government."  Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies, has become the target of US security concerns because of its ties to the Chinese government.  The US has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.  Lu, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, accused unnamed countries of hyping the "so-called" threat.  "I must tell you that not a single piece of evidence have they ever presented to back their allegation," he said. "To create obstacles for companies' normal operations based on speculation is quite absurd."  Canadian officials have declined to comment on Chinese threats of retaliation, instead emphasising the independence of Canada's judiciary and the importance of Ottawa's relationship with Beijing.

  • It may also signal more direct involvement of Donald Trump's White House, they said, in the nitty-gritty of the troubled negotiations, which depend on painstaking consensus building.  A US side event Monday promoting coal, gas and nuclear energy, led by special advisor to the president Preston Wells Griffith, reinforced that impression.  "Alarmism should not silence realism," Griffith said before slogan-chanting protestors temporarily overwhelmed the venue. "We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability." Trump announced in June last year that the United States would pull out of the 197-party Paris Agreement, which enjoins nations to cap global warming at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Since then, critics say the White House appears to have taken little interest in the frontline work of veteran US diplomats, whose input has been described as "constructive" even by delegates at odds with US positions. That changed on Saturday, during what started as a cut-and-dried meeting of a subsidiary body within the complex UN climate machinery.  A bloc of 44 small island nations many facing an existential threat from storm surges engorged by rising seas -- called on the UN climate body to "welcome" a UN report on limiting global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels. Earth's average surface temperature has already risen by about 1C.  The motion quickly garnered "an avalanche of support" from more than 100 developed and developing countries, including the European Union, said Rueanna Hayne, a delegate from Saint Kitts and Nevis.  "The report is obviously a game-changer for us," she told a news agency "It has to be mainstreamed into the UN process." Unveiled in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "special report" concluded that CO2 emissions must drop a quarter within 12 years to stay under 2C, and by nearly half to cap warming at 1.5C, seen as a safer guardrail against catastrophic extreme weather.  Most of those emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels, including oil, the mainstay of the Saudi economy. The United States disagreed with the motion.  The fact that Washington had signed off in October on a "summary for policymakers" of the 1,000-page tome "doesn't imply endorsement of the specific findings," a US delegate said.  Kuwait, Russia and Saudi Arabia voiced similar reservations, and proposed that the UN climate body simply "note" the report, and not "welcome" it.  The Saudi negotiator, visibly angry, seemed to be spoiling for a fight: "This is a warm up for what's coming," he cautioned. The issue -- unresolved -- was shelved. Reaction at the 12-day talks, scheduled to run through Friday, was fast and furious.  "Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and especially the United States are rogue nations," said Christian Aid international climate lead Mohamed Adow. "These four major fossil fuel producers are working together against the interests of the rest of the world and jeopardising the chances of a safe climate."  Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the US position was "deeply irresponsible and must not prevail".  "I don't blame the professional US diplomats here in Poland," Meyer said. "The problem is right at the top with President Trump." Diplomats also slammed the US position. "Denial doesn't change the reality that climate change is already happening and is even worse than we feared," said Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Maldive's environment minister and head of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).  "Coral reefs will continue to bleach, forest fires will continue to burn, people will continue to die in droughts, heatwaves, storms, and from diseases, and the sea will continue to rise around us."  In a statement released Monday amid the blowback, Saudi Arabia said "limited literature and scientific uncertainties" in the report "required further research and analysis".  In point of fact, the IPCC report the most comprehensive in five years -- drew from more than 6,000 peer reviewed studies and was compiled by hundreds of scientists.  Unexpectedly, how the UN climate forum recognises the 1.5C report has emerged as an issue that could derail the already fragile talks.  "This is not mere word play," said Meyers. The discussion will move up the ladder a notch as ministers take charge on Tuesday for the final push to complete the so-called "rule book" for the Paris Agreement.  "This is an issue we feel strongly about," said France's junior environment minister Brune Poirson, adding that the question was bound to come up later in the week. "It remains a live issue and must be addressed," said Hayne from Saint Kitts and Nevis. 

  • The BJP has alleged that a money trail of bribes went to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's bank account as it cited a news report which claimed he and  Priyanka Vadra had rented out their farmhouse to the firm of Jignesh Shah, prime accused in the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) case, when the UPA government was probing the multi-crore scam. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, at a press conference, claimed that no action was taken against Shah because of the rent agreement between him and Gandhi.

  • CBI has got 5 days custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. He was produced before the Patiala House court on Monday.  Michel was extradited to India from Dubai on 4 December. After questioning him for several hours, the CBI produced him to the special CBI court, which sent Michel to CBI custody for five days. The court had asked the CBI to provide all relevant documents including the charge sheet to Michel. Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI.

  • In a major setback to Vijay Mallya, a UK court on Monday said that Mallya can be extradited to India, where he is wanted for alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores. Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled that Mallya can be extradited to India to stand trial on the charges brought by the CBI and ED. Judge dismissed the plea by the defense and concluded that there is a prima facie case for extradition in relation to three possible charges. She said that if the conduct had occured in UK, it would constitute offenses of making false representation to make a gain for himself , conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.  The judge has referred the extradition case to the UK Secretary of State. The ruling marked a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that has lasted over a year.  The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year. The trial, which opened at the Magistrates' Court on December 4 last year, went through a series of hearings beyond the initial seven days earmarked for it. It opened with the Crown Prosecution Service team laying out the Indian government's prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against Mallya. CPS sought to establish a "blueprint of dishonesty" against the businessman and that there are no bars to his extradition on human rights grounds. As per the laws in UK if the judge is satisfied that all of the procedural requirements are met, and that none of the statutory bars to extradition apply, he or she must send the case to the Secretary of State for a decision to be taken on whether to order extradition.  However, the judge's decision on whether to send Mallya's case to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid can be appealed with the UK High Court's permission, with the person to be extradited entitled to make an application for permission to appeal to the High Court within 14 days of the date of the Chief Magistrate's ruling. On the other hand, the Indian government also has 14 days to file leave to appeal to the High Court, seeking permission to appeal against a decision not to extradite. Hailing the UK court order on Vijay Mallya's extradition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the offender who benefited during the UPA rule is being brought to the book by the NDA government. Jaitley Tweeted to welcome the judgement and drive home the point that No one who cheats India will go scot free. The Judgement of UK's  Court is welcome.  CBI has also welcomed the London court's order for extradition of Vijay Mallya to India.  Spokesperson for the agency said "We welcome the decision. We hope to bring him soon and conclude the case. The CBI has its own inherent strengths. We worked hard on this case. We are strong on law and facts and we were confident while perusing the extradition process,"  Union Minister for I & B also tweeted to welcome the decision. he said that the UK court order of Vijay Mallya's extradition to India is a major victory in govt's war on UPA's scams. The govt's relentless persistence, under PM narendra modi's leadership and focus, has resulted in this win for India.  In case Mallya does not file an appeal, and Secretary of State agrees with the magistrate's decision, then he will extradited from the UK within 28 days of the Home Secretary's extradition order.        

  • "On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately. It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years," Patel said in a statement. He added: "The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank's considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future."

  • All-party meeting convened by government ahead of the Winter session of Parliament was held in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, and Arun Jaitley, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI leader D Raja, TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay are attended the meeting. The meet condoled the demise of Ananth Kumar who was the Parliamentary affairs Minister. Prime Minister called for healthy discussion and debate during the session. He said that the government is ready to discuss all issues both in Parliament and outside Parliament. Government sought co-operation from political parties for smooth functioning of both the Houses during the meeting.  The winter session will have 20 sittings, during which eight important bills will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha and 15 in the Lok Sabha. The nearly month-long Winter session will be the last full-fledged session before the Lok Sabha elections next year.   

  • Le said--What the U.S. has done has seriously violated the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen. China firmly opposes this wrongdoing and strongly urges the U.S. side to pay sincere attention to China's solemn position and withdraw Meng's arrest warrant.

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