Last Updated : Apr 23 2019 8:02AM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
Polling begins for 3rd phase of Lok Sabha elections            Campaigning for remaining phases gain momentum            EC bans Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu from campaigning            Emergency imposed in Sri Lanka; 8 Indians among 31 foreign nationals killed in blasts            IPL: Delhi defeat Rajasthan by 6 wickets           

Text Bulletins Details


Midday News

1400 HRS
24.03.2019
THE headlines:
  • Election activity in the country gears up as political parties continue to announce names of contestants for the remaining seats; last date for filing nominations in first phase ends tomorrow.
  • Odisha Assembly Speaker cancels membership of five BJD MLAs after they resign and join BJP.
  • Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan asked to send a report on forceful conversion of two Hindu girls after their abduction in Sindh province.
  • India achieves 84 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths of people having HIV, says UN; Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Centre and States working hard to make India TB-free by 2025.
  • In Men's Hockey, India-South Korea round-robin match of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup underway in Malaysia.
  • And, in IPL Cricket, Kolkata Knight Riders to face Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians to play Delhi Capitals today.

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Election activity in the country gears up as political parities continue to announce candidates for the remaining Lok Sabha seats.
In Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav has decided to contest from Azamgarh constituency. Senior Party leader and MLA from Rampur Assembly constituency Mohammad Azam Khan is the party nominee for the Rampur Parliamentary constituency. The party made the announcement today. Mulayam Singh Yadav will contest from Mainpuri seat.
In Bihar, the RJD today announced the candidates for Bhagalpur and Banka seats. Talking to reporters in Patna, state RJD President Ram Chandra Purve said Jayprakash  Narayan Yadav will contest from Banka and Shailesh Kumar alias Bulo Mandal from Bhagalpur seat.
The Congress announced that the party will contest on Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea seats.
Senior Congress leader Nikhil Kumar alleged that the seat sharing of grand alliance has been finalised at the whims of RJD Chief Lalu Prasad.
BJP has declared Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as its candidate from Patna Sahib seat replacing Shatrughsan Sinha. Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh will contest from East Champaran.
The CPI(ML) says it will contest four seats from Ara, Siwan, Karakat and Jahnabad.
The CPI has said it would field former JNU student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai seat.
Former Prime Minister and senior JD(S) leader H. D. Deve Gowda will contest from Tumkur Parliamentary seat in Karnataka.
Last date for filing nomination for the first phase will come to an end tomorrow. 91 constituencies spread over 20 states and union territories will go to polls in the first phase on the 11th of next month.

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The Kerala Congress has requested party president Rahul Gandhi to contest the Lok Sabha election from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, besides Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, a decision in this regard is yet to be taken by the Congress President.

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In Uttar Pradesh, BJP will hold Vijay Sankalp rallies in majority of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, though the party will focus on western UP where polls will be held in the first phase. More from our correspondent:
"BJP National President Amit Shah along with Union Rail Minister Piyush Goel will launch the party campaign in Vijay Sankalp rally in Agra today evening. Starting his political campaign in Saharanpur Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today rebutted charges of in payment of sugar cane farmers leveled by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. He said that we have done payment of around 57 thousand crore rupees which is even bigger than budget of few states. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW" 

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In Manipur, major political parties have announced their party candidates. More from our correspondent:
"Election campaign for the two Lok Sabha seats of Manipur has taken a new momentum with the formal launching of ruling BJP’s election campaign today at Wangoi in Imphal West. Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and State Unit President of the Party and Rajya Sabha MP K. Bhabanand Singh launched the party’s election campaign. The party is fielding Dr. RK Ranjan Singh for the Inner-Manipur Parliamentary Constituency and Benjamin Mate for the Outer-Manipur Parliamentary Constituency. Indian National Congress has formally announced its candidates for the two Lok Sabha seats. Former Chief Secretary of the State O. Nabakishore Singh will be the party’s candidate for the Inner-Manipur and K. James for the Outer-Manipur seat. Ibomcha Sharma, AIR News, Imphal."

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BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav has said that the party will seek votes for leadership of Narendra Modi and works carried out by the party during last five years.
Speaking at Guwahati, Mr Madhav said the Opposition is weak and clueless as they do not have any issues to take on the government.

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Speaker of the Odisha Assembly Pradeep Kumar Amat has cancelled the membership of five Biju Janta Dal (BJD) MLA from Assembly, following a complaint from the party. The members are Purna Chandra Naik from Dashapalla, Basanti Malick from Mohana, Debaraj Mohanty from Aska, Sukanta Naik from Nilagiri and Trinath Gamang from Gunpur constituencies. Previously, these members tendered their resignations to party President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and joined the BJP.

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The Election Commission has said, exit polls can only be telecast on the evening of 19th May after the last phase of Lok Sabha elections gets over. The poll panel has issued an advisory to the media in which websites and social media platforms were included for the first time. More from our correspondent:
"The Poll Body said, TV, radio channels, cable networks, websites and social media platforms should ensure that the content of their programmes during the 48-hour period before the end of polls in each phase do not contain any material that may be construed as promoting or prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate. The Commission said, the advisory shall among other things include display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes. The Election Commission said, it will monitor the broadcasts made by news broadcasters from the time elections are announced until the conclusion and announcement of election results. ANUPAM MISHRA, AIR NEWS, DELHI."

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on the incident about two minority Hindu girls abducted on the eve of Holi in Sindh province. The teenage girls, 13-year-old Raveena and 15-year-old Reena were allegedly kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam in Ghotki district.
The incident has led the Hindu community in Pakistan to stage massive protests, seeking stern action against the perpetrators, and reminding Prime Minister Imran Khan of his assurance to religious minorities to protect their rights.

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In Jammu and Kashmir, an Army jawan was martyred in shelling and firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district. A Defence spokesperson told AIR Jammu that the forces from across the LoC resorted to heavy mortar shelling in Shahpur sector last evening which prompted Indian troops to respond effectively. The exchange of fire continued till the wee hours today. An Army Jawan deployed at a forward post who was seriously injured in the shelling succumbed to injuries at a Military Hospital in Poonch this morning.
Besides targeting the Indian positions, the Pakistani forces targeted civilian habitations and villages of the district. Some houses and other infrastructure have suffered damages. The Indian Army retaliated strongly and caused huge damages to the posts across the LoC. In last four days this was the second Army jawan who lost his life in Pakistani shelling along the LoC in Jammu region.
In another incident of truce violation, Pakistani forces resorted to heavy mortar shelling in Naushera sector along the LoC in adjoining Rajouri district. Troops guarding the LoC retaliated. 

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The Supreme Court is likely to hear tomorrow a fresh plea seeking a direction to authorities not to evict any forest dwellers and to set up an SIT to look into alleged illegal acquisition of tribals' land. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had on 5th March taken cognisance of the plea seeking a direction from the apex court to the Centre not to allot possession of any forest land belonging to tribals to anyone other than 'adivasi' residing in that particular area.
The apex court, while dealing with other similar pending petition, had on 28th February stayed its 13th February order directing 21 states to evict nearly 12 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose claims over the forest land have been rejected by authorities. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the Centre and various State Governments are working hard to make India TB-free by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030. In a tweet, on the World TB Day today, Mr Modi said, the Centre reaffirms its commitment towards ensuring a TB-free society. He said the Government's efforts, such as TB Free India campaign and Ayushman Bharat, are improving health standards and providing assistance to TB patients. The Prime Minister said, correct and complete treatment is the key to winning the battle against tuberculosis. Mr Modi also saluted the people and the organizations strengthening the TB-free movement.

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India has achieved an 84 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017. According to  the Joint United Nations Programme on the UNAIDS, it is the highest recorded decline among over 20 nations and it is also three years ahead of the 2020 deadline. UNAIDS has urged countries to step up action to meet the 2020 target of reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV by 75 per cent.

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that India is at the centre of global attention and is recognised as a hub of opportunities as well as a fast growing economy. The country’s scientists must be credited for this. He was addressing the staff and researchers of CSIR- National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) at the institute’s campus in Dona Paula, Goa today.
Mr Naidu urged scientists to contribute to the health and wealth of the nation. He highlighted the efforts of the CSIR-NIO in areas of marine biodiversity, marine pollution, storm research, ocean science, climate change and related fields.
The Vice President said that the CSIR-NIO could become the nodal centre in developing India’s high potential blue economy and achieving sustainable development. 

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In Thailand, voting is underway for general elections, the first since the military ousted an elected government in a 2014 coup. Schoolyards, temples and government offices are filled with voters and a high turn out is expected. 
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Army Chief who led the coup, is hoping to extend his hold on power after engineering a new political system that aims to stifle the influence of big political parties not aligned with the military. About 51 million people are eligible to vote, some seven million of them for the first time. A report:
"The country has long been politically split between populists largely tapping into the rural and poorer sections of the population, and their opponents who tend to support the military and win votes from the urban middle class and elites. A new constitution, introduced under the military leadership, changed the electoral process in a way that makes it likely, it will retain control. This means the country looks set to remain deeply divided between pro-military forces and their populist opponents. Nupur Goswami, News Desk."

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A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi this morning. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake lied at the depth of 37 kilometers and was located northeast of the city of Bitung. This was the second quake to hit the island this morning. A shallow 5.4-magnitude quake hit the island northwest of the town of Pendolo three hours earlier. There are no immediate reports of casualties or damage.  

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United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned an  armed attack on a village in restive central Mali.  France's UN Ambassador,  Franois Delattre, speaking as UNSC President at a press conference last evening in the Malian capital, Bamako said, UN condemns this unspeakable attack in the strogest terms. 
At  least 115 people were killed in one of the deadliest attack by the fighters of an ethnic militant group at a village of the central province yesterday. According to Human Rights Watch, militants from the Dogon group, known as Dan Na Ambassagou, have been blamed for scores of attacks over the past year.

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World leaders have hailed the defeat of Islamic State after US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they have liberated the terror group's last stronghold Baghuz town in Syria.
US President Donald Trump welcomed the fall of the group's five-year caliphate but said that it remained a threat. He said, the US would remain vigilant until IS is finally defeated.
British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to carry on fighting the terrorist ideology. She also praised the courage of the British forces that fought in Syria and Iraq alongside a US-led global military coalition.
French President Emmanuel Macron said, the fall of the caliphate has removed a source of potential terror attacks against France.

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In Men's Hockey, the round-robin match of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup between India and South Korea is underway in the Malaysian city of Ipoh.
In the tournament opener yesterday, five-time winners India defeated Asian Games gold medallist Japan 2-nil to begin their campaign on a positive note.

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In IPL Cricket, Kolkata Knight Riders will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Kolkata at 4 PM. In another match, Mumbai Indians will play Delhi Capitals in Mumbai at 8 in the evening.
Last night, Chennai Super Kings began their title defence with a stunning seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opener at Chennai.

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