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डीडी / एआईआर न्यूज

  • According to oficial sources, senior Congress leader was asked to depose before the investigating officer (IO) of the case to record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He arrived around 11:30 am along with his lawyer. The central probe agency has earlier grilled Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram in this case and has also attached his assets worth an estimated Rs 54 crore, located in India and abroad. The ED had registered a PMLA case in this deal case on the basis of a CBI FIR and had alleged that irregularities took place in the FIPB clearance to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when P Chidambaram was the Union finance minister. It had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED's equivalent of a police FIR, against the accused named in a CBI complaint, including Karti, INX Media and its directors Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. Karti Chidambaram was also arrested on February 28 by the CBI for allegedly taking money to facilitate the FIPB clearance to INX Media in 2007 . He was later granted bail. 

  • Indian national Hamid Nihal Ansari was today released from a Pakistani jail to be repatriated to India, six years after he was detained by Pakistan and subsequently sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Ansari, a 33-year-old Mumbai resident, was lodged in the Peshawar Central Jail after being sentenced by the military court on December 15, 2015. His three-year jail term ended on December 15, 2018 but he was not able to leave for India as his legal documents were not ready. Earlier, the Peshawar High Court gave the federal government a month deadline to complete his repatriation process.  India has expressed relief at Pakistan's decision to release Hamid Nihal Ansari after six years in jail and urged Islamabad to take action to free other Indian nationals, including fishermen, who have completed their sentences.

  • Gujarat Govt has announced it will waive off electricity bills of connection holders in rural areas to the tune of Rs 625 crore. Nearly 6.22 Lakh consumers will benefit from this scheme. Gujarat Energy Minister Saurabh Patel informed media that  on deposit of  Rs 500, domestic , commercial and agriculture  consumers can avail benefit of  this scheme and their remaining bill and interest rate can be waived off.

  • The delegation expressed its strong support of the Prime Minister's vision for making India a five trillion dollar economy in the near future. They gave an overview of the vast growth potential of the media and entertainment industry in India, and said that this sector is poised to contribute in a significant way towards this goal. The delegation pitched for lower, and uniform rates of GST, for the entertainment industry in India. Members of the delegation strongly called for the development of Mumbai as the global entertainment capital, through various initiatives and proactive approaches. The Prime Minister said that the Indian entertainment industry enjoys immense popularity across the world. It is one of the key elements of India's rising soft power status, globally, he added. He assured the delegation that the Union Government is supportive of the media and entertainment industry; and would consider the suggestions positively. Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Rakesh Roshan, Prasoon Joshi, Karan Johar and Siddhartha Roy Kapur were among those present at the meeting. 

  • The United National Party (UNP) led by Wickremsinghe told Parliament that they will support moves to slash the powers of the President. UNP MP and former minister Malik Samarawickrema said that the recent events showed why the Executive Presidency must be abolished. He called on Parliament to support the 20th amendment presented by the People’s freedom party to abolish the executive Presidency. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said they will support the 20th amendment to constitution. The amendment was introduced in parliament few months back but it had not mustered support from UNP and other parties but with changed circumstances, UNP has decided to support it. Meanwhile, some UNP MPs have challenged the appointment of former president and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as the opposition leader in Parliament. Speaker agreed to nominate Rajapaksa replacing TNA leader R Sampanthan because his alliance became the largest in opposition. However, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella and TNA MP M A Sumanthiran raised legal points on Rajapaksa's eligibility to continue as a MP since he resigned from UPFA, the party that he was elected from and became a member of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). The matter has been refereed to select committee in parliament. In another development, three MPs from Rajapaksa side  have joined the UNP –led government side in Parliament.

  • Giri was suffering from liver cancer for a long time and he was recently discharged from the hospital. Dr. Giri had a long political career. He twice served as the prime minister of Nepal first from 1962 to 1964 and again from 1975 to 1977. Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, former Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and other senior leaders from various political parties have expressed condolences on Dr. Giri's demise.

  • Death toll in Mumbai's ESIC Kamgar hospital fire has risen to eight. Over 140 were injured and several are still undergoing treatment. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an enquiry into the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the loss of lives. Union Minister for Labour & Employment, Santosh Kumar Gangwar has announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the dead, Rs 2 lakh each for the seriously injured and Rs 1 lakh each for those with minor injuries. The massive fire broke out at the ESIC Kamgar Hospital at Marol in suburban Andheri on Monday evening at about 4 PM and was extinguished at 7.35 PM. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Republic TV Summit in Mumbai; says that effort are being made to ensure that 99% of all items, including almost all items used by the common man, would be kept at a GST slab of 18% or less. PM began by throwing several questions to contrast the changes since 2014.  Delivering a list of his government's achievements, he said that four years ago no one imagined that India would become a five trillion dollar economy, leapfrog ease of doing business rankings, launch more than a 100 satellites at one go or that rickshaw pullers and tea sellers would be part of a digital revolution with a stake in the country's economy.  He said that no one imagined that justice would be delivered in the 1984 Sikh riots case. Listen in to the top five takeaways from his address. The Prime Minister also released  a book titled 'Timeless Laxman' at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.. The book has been penned by R K Laxman's daughter-in-law, Usha Srinivas Laxman. 'Timeless Laxman' is based on the life and little known facets of the legendary cartoonist, the late R K Laxman. Laxman, famous for his creation, 'The Common Man', through whose eyes he chronicled Indian history and regaled millions daily in 'The Times Of India' and other publications for nearly seven decades, passed away in January 2015 in Pune.  

  • A consortium of Indian banks in their attempt to recoup unpaid debt worth nearly 1.145 billion pounds has filed the case. TLT LLP, a UK-based law firm which had won a landmark case for the 13 banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) earlier this year, confirmed that their bankruptcy petition against the 62-year-old businessman has been transferred to the insolvency list in London's High Court of Justice. Paul Gair, partner at TLT said that the hearing is expected to take place in the Spring.  In a ruling in May, a UK High Court judge had refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets and upheld an Indian court's ruling that the consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds. 

  • The President is reported to have conveyed this views to a group of 21 MPs of Sri Lanka Freedom Party Members (SLFP) in a meeting on Tuesday. His views assume significance as some of the SLFP MPs had expressed desire to join the new government of Wickremsinghe, who was sworn in again on Sunday. These 21 MPs were part of unity government till October 26 but had parted ways to join the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa. President is reported to have told his MPs that they should not be part of anti-national activities of Wickremsinghe government. The cabinet is being finalised and likely to be sworn in coming days.  President Maithripala Sirisena decided to reinstate Wickremsinghe, ending a weeks long crisis but made it clear that he is personally against the appointment and did it out of respect for parliamentary traditions and democracy.  Meanwhile, Parliament is likely to debate a motion calling for the abolition of executive Presidency when it meets later today. It is a step towards the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to prune further the powers of the Executive Presidency. The draft legislation has already been presented in Parliament as a private member’s bill by JVP MP Vijitha Herath. Herath told the Daily Mirror yesterday that his party would move an adjournment motion calling for the abolition of executive Presidency.

  • The hosts levelled the four-match series 1-1 after India were bowled out for 140 runs in 56 overs in their second innings on the fifth and final day. India had won the opening game by 31 runs to go in front. Starting from overnight 112 for five, India lost their last five wickets for 28 runs and it was all over within 65 minutes of play. This was Australia's first Test win since the ball-tampering scandal broke out in South Africa earlier this year. Mitchell Starc (3-46) and Nathan Lyon (3-39) finished with three wickets apiece, while Josh Hazlewood (2-24) and Pat Cummins (2-25) took a brace each. Hanuma Vihari (28) and Rishabh Pant (30) had continued their overnight partnership, and batted out only six overs before the first wicket fell on this day. Overall, they added 21 runs for the sixth wicket. Vihari was the first to go, lobbing a catch off Starc to short point. Pant then tried to play a few more attacking strokes, but he didn't comprehend the situation well and was confused whether to farm the strike at all. In doing so, he attacked Lyon and holed out to mid on, with Peter Handscomb taking a low diving catch. It hastened the end for India, with Umesh Yadav (2) returning a simple catch to Starc. Ishant Sharma (0) was caught behind off Cummins, and Jasprit Bumrah (0) hit a skier for another return catch to the pacer as Australia sealed their first Test win since Durban before the ball-tampering scandal hit the headlines. Australia had scored 326 runs in their first innings, and India replied with 283 runs, thanks to Virat Kohli's 25th Test hundred, thus conceding a lead of 43 runs. The hosts scored 243 runs in their second innings to post a 287-run target. India had won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs. The third Test starts in Melbourne on December 26. 

  • The 26-hour launch countdown began yesterday. ISRO said the new satellite will give communication capability in Ku-band over the entire Indian region. The mission span of the satellite GSAT-7A is eight years. This launch will mark the 69th mission of GSLV-F11. GSLV-F11 is fourth generation launch vehicle of ISRO. A solid rocket motor and four liquid strap-ons form the first stage of propulsion in the launch vehicle. The second stage of propulsion is implemented with a high thrust engine using liquid fuel, the space agency mentioned on its website. The Cryogenic Upper Stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle.    

  • The film became a champion at the box office by earning USD 608 million globally and USD 175 million domestically since its November 2 release, reported Entertainment Weekly. While Malek was praised for his portrayal of Mercury, the film had mixed reviews from the critics who felt that it did not do complete justice with Mercury's life. "Bohemian Rhapsody" also had a turbulent production to screen transition as director Brian Singer was fired just before the shooting completed though he retained the credit. The film's success, in part, has also made the song 'Bohemian Rhapsody' the most-streamed track of the twentieth century.

  • Giving a big push to infrastructure projects in the Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid down the foundation stone for the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro and the Dahisar-Mira-Bhayander Metro. With the completion of this metro project in 2021, connectivity is all set to further improve across the state of Maharashtra. Addressing on the occassion, PM said that this metro project decongest the Mumbai suburban area. The Kalyan event also saw the launch of Navi Mumbai town planning authority City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra's mass housing scheme worth Rs 18,000 crore, which offers around 90,000 affordable homes. Prime Minister launched the Housing scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. PM on this occassion said that this project will not only provide shelter to the poor but will also fulfill the Centre's dream of providing housing for all by 2022. PM Modi later reached Pune where he laid the foundation stone for the third metro line between Hinjewadi and Shivajinagar, being implemented by the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority on a public-private partnership basis. The Rs 8,313-crore 23-km long third metro line in Pune between Hinjewadi and Shivajinagar will connect the busy information technology park with Shivajinagar, where the other two metro lines will also join. While addressing the gathering, PM Modi said that projects launched today are the part of the shared vision of the Centre and state in pursuit of providing better infrastructure in the country.    

  • Replying to a query in Lok Sabha, Tourism Minister KJ Alphons said foreign tourist arrivals in India on medical visa during 2016 and 2017 were estimated at 4,27,014 and 4,95,056 respectively, registering a positive growth of 15.9 per cent. "Medical tourism holds immense potential for India. The Indian systems of medicines, viz Ayurveda, Yoga, Panchakarma, Rejuvenation Therapy, etc, are among the most ancient systems of medical treatment in the world. India can provide medical and health care of international standards at low costs," Alphons said. He added, "India excels in the state of the art medical facilities, reputed health care professionals, quality nursing facilities and traditional healthcare therapies." Asserting that the government is taking various steps for promoting medical tourism, Alphons said that India conducted road shows, 'Know India' seminars and also made a film which was aired in the Middle East and north African markets. The government had earlier said that the value of medical tourism in India is likely to reach a whopping USD 9 billion by 2020 as compared to USD 3 billion in 2015. 

  • The previous world record of 940 days held by Heysham 2 Unit-8 of the UK, a BHEL statement said. Earlier in October 2018, the unit surpassed the world record of 894 days for continuous operation among all pressurized heavy water reactor. The complete steam turbine generator set and all the steam generators for the NPCIL unit have been manufactured and supplied by BHEL.

  • May said a vote on the deal which was postponed on December 11 to avoid defeat would be held in the week beginning 14 January. "This house has no confidence in the prime minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote," Labour leader Corbyn told lawmakers on Monday ahead of tabling the motion in parliament. Corbyn said the move was "the only way I can think of ensuring a vote takes place this week". The government must agree to the non-binding vote and even if successful it would not automatically trigger May's downfall. House of Commons authorities said the government will decide whether the motion is debated and voted on, but noted it is "parliamentary convention that any such request be granted". May last week survived a party confidence vote initiated by her own Conservative colleagues opposed to her Brexit strategy, but emerged badly wounded after a third of her parliamentary party voted to oust her. A vote of no-confidence from a majority in the House of Commons could leave her authority further weakened and potentially prompt another vote in her entire government and a general election. Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29 next year, but the prime minister is struggling to persuade parliament to accept the divorce deal she struck last month with the bloc after 18 months of tortuous talks. If parliament fails to approve the text, Britain could crash out of the EU with no deal a prospect that experts warn could lead to serious trade disruption and trigger a financial crisis. May insisted on Monday that she was continuing to seek "assurances" from the EU over elements of her plan. However European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said "no further meetings with the United Kingdom are foreseen". The delay has angered members of her own party and Labour opposition politicians, who accused her of trying to "run down the clock" ahead of Britain's withdrawal to increase pressure on them to back the deal. "The prime minister has cynically run down the clock, trying to manoeuvre parliament into a choice between two unacceptable outcomes" her deal or no deal, Corbyn said. "It's... unacceptable that we should be waiting almost a month before we have a meaningful vote on the crucial issue facing the future of this country." May is again facing more calls for a second referendum to resolve the impasse, with dozens of MPs from all sides now supporting another poll and reports that May's officials are considering the possibility. But the prime minister has argued vehemently that this would betray the 2016 result and undermine public confidence in politics. "Let us not break faith with the British people by trying to stage another referendum," she told parliament on Monday. "Another vote... would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics," May said, adding that a second vote "would likely leave us no further forward". The issue provoked an extraordinary public clash on Sunday between May and former prime minister Tony Blair, a leading supporter of continued EU membership and of holding another poll. May accused Blair of insulting voters and trying to undermine her government by meeting officials in Brussels. Blair, who was premier between 1997 and 2007, in turn accused the Conservative leader of being "irresponsible". But campaigners for a referendum said May's comments on Monday showed that the idea was being taken seriously. "A new public vote would be different from the referendum in 2016 because we now know more about what Brexit means," said Margaret Beckett, an MP from the main opposition Labour Party and "People's Vote" supporter. "Any effort to force Brexit over the line without checking that it has the continued consent of the British people will only reinforce divisions," she said. Another proposal being put forward if May's deal does not pass parliament is for MPs to hold indicative votes on different options to work out what steps to take next. But May downplayed that prospect, telling lawmakers: "I have no plans for indicative votes". "What is necessary is for the House to reflect on what members want in terms of their responsibility to come to a decision on this matter."

  • The Lok Sabha was adjourned finally for the day after witnessing repeated adjournments in the pre-lunch session. When the House re-assembled after the first adjournment in the post-lunch session, Congress members again trooped into the well demanding a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee into the Rafale aircraft deal.  They also accused the government of misleading the Supreme Court over the issue.  AIADMK members were also in the well against the construction of a dam across the Cauvery River and to protect the lives of Cauvery delta farmers.  Amid din, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill-2016 was passed rejecting opposition amendments. As the noisy scenes continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned for the day.  As the House met for the day, Congress members supported  Left, RJD and other parties continued with their protest on Rafale deal. AIADMK members were also in the well against the construction of a dam across the Cauvery River.  TDP members were also in the well demanding financial benefits to Andhra Pradesh under the AP Re-organization Act of 2014. On the other hand, the ruling BJP members accused Congress of misleading the country on the Rafale deal and demanded its President Rahul Gandhi’s apology.  They also raised slogans against the Congress following the conviction of Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti- Sikh riots. Amid noisy scenes, Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill.  In the Rajya Sabha, the proceedings were disrupted on the same  Rafale fighter jet deal and Cauvery issues. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House till Tuesday, minutes after it met for the day, amidst uproar by agitating members.  AIADMK and DMK members holding placards trooped into the well and raised slogans in support of their demands. They were seeking a permanent solution to the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Amidst noisy scenes, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad tried to raise the Rafale issue, saying the government misled the Supreme Court on the matter.  The Chairman, however, refused permission stating that the matter is before the court. Azad was countered by slogan-shouting members from the treasury benches. They demanded an apology from the Congress after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the Rafale deal. As the pandemonium continued, the Chairman adjourned the House for the day.

  • In a joint statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih reiterated the importance of an effective multilateral system as a key factor in tackling global challenges.  Both the leaders reviewed efforts to promote bilateral trade and investment ties between the two countries.  President Solih reaffirmed his government’s "India-First Policy” and commitment to working closely with India. In his press statement after delegation-level talks with President Solih, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, India has decided to extend 1.4 billion dollars financial assistance to the Maldives as budget support, currency swap and line of credit for the social and economic development of Maldives.  Prime Minister said, India and Maldives need to increase bilateral cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the Indian ocean. PM Modi said, the delegation level talks were constructive and they agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties. He welcomed new visa agreement between India and Maldives.  On his part, the Maldives President said, the two sides agreed to strengthen maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region through coordinated patrol and aerial surveillance. India and Maldives inked four pacts, including one on visa facilitation.  Interacting with President Solih, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that defence cooperation between India and Maldives is one of the important foundations of close relationship between the two countries. Vice President Naidu said, both countries need to be sensitive to each other’s security concerns. 

  • The government Monday extended Ujjwala Yojana of providing free cooking gas (LPG) connections to all poor households.  The scheme, launched in 2016, originally targeted giving LPG connections to women members of below the poverty line (BPL) households.  Union minister  Dharmendra Pradhan said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved expanding the scope of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to cover poor families not having LPG connections and not covered under the existing beneficiary categories. The CCEA also gave its in-principle approval for setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools in every block with more than 50 per cent Scheduled Tribes population and at least 20,000 tribal persons.  Besides, the Cabinet also approved establishment of one new AIIMS each in Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The Cabinet also approved construction of new 4-lane bridge across river Ganga at Patna in Bihar.  

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