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Last Updated : Aug 21 2019 11:12AM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi raises concern over violence against Indian diaspora in London with British PM; Boris Johnson assures all necessary steps to ensure safety of Indian nationals            Middle schools to be reopened in Kashmir valley today            CBI issues notice to P Chidambaram to appear in INX Media case following rejection of his bail plea by Delhi High Court            Focus on Trade, Commerce & economic partnership as EAM S Jaishankar chairs India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting in Kathmandu today            Olympic Test title: Indian hockey Men's team clashes with New Zealand, Women's team to take on Japan in Tokyo today           

Text Bulletins Details

Midday News

1400 HRS

THE headlines,

  • Death toll in yesterday's serial blasts in Sri Lanka mounts to 290; Sri Lankan government says, local group National Tawheed Jamaath is behind the attacks.

  • All arrangements in place for tomorrow's polling for third phase of Lok Sabha elections; Withdrawal of nominations for fifth phase ends today; Notification being issued for seventh and final phase.

  • Congress announces its candidates for six of seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.

  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi expresses regret in Supreme Court over his remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding Rafale verdict; matter to be heard tomorrow.

  • in IPL Cricket, Rajasthan Royals to take on Delhi Capitals at Jaipur this evening.


  The death toll in yesterday's serial blasts in Sri Lanka has risen to 290, with more than 500 people injured. As many as 32 foreign nationals, including five Indians, are among those killed. The Sri Lankan government today said, a local religious group National Tawheed Jamaath is behind the attacks. Addressing a press conference, Cabinet Minister and Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said, international support behind the attacks is being investigated. Our Colombo correspondent has filed this report:

"Srilankan government has been taken aback by yesterday’s incidents despite prior intelligence inputs and expressed apologies to the nation and its people for the ghastly attacks. The minister said they can’t believe that suicide bombers were prepared without backing of any foreign organization and investigations are on in this regard. Security check outs are being carried out at sensitive locations to avoid recurrence of more such attacks. The incidents further exposed lack of political unity within the government and prime minister was not able to call a meeting of security council yesterday as President was out of the country. The government is trying its best to give confidence to foreign investors and tourism which has taken a hit. Santosh Kumar for AIR News from Colombo."

Twenty-four local suspects have been arrested across the country. President Maithripala Sirisena has announced the appointment of a special committee, led by a retired Supreme Court judge to investigate the attacks, and submit its report within two weeks. An Improvised Explosive Device was detected and defused near the departure area of Bandaranaike International Airport last evening. Security has been tightened at all sensitive places. Police curfew will be in place from 8 pm to 4 am tomorrow. Schools are closed till tomorrow while Universities have been instructed to close down till further notice. The Interpol has said, it is ready to offer full support to the Sri Lankan authorities in investigating the terror attacks. Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a tweet that Interpol can deploy an Incident Response Team at the request of a member country to provide on-site support during a crisis situation.


All arrangements are in place for tomorrow's polling for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections. 116 constituencies, spread over 13 States and two Union Territories, are going to polls in this phase. Voting will take place for all 26 constituencies in Gujarat; all 20 in Kerala; 14 each in Maharashtra and Karnataka; 10 in Uttar Pradesh; seven in Chhattisgarh; six in Odisha; five each in Bihar and West Bengal; four in Assam; two in Goa; one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura. The political fate of several prominent leaders of various parties will be decided in this phase. BJP President Amit Shah, Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD leader Sharad Yadav are among them. In Gujarat, over 4 crore electorate will decide the fate of 371 candidates in the fray for 26 Lok Sabha seats, and 45 candidates for by-poll in four Assembly seats. Our correspondent has filed this report:

"Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Gujarat for free, fair and peaceful polling tomorrow. About 1 lakh 25 thousand security personal have been deployed on all sensitive and hypersensitive polling stations in the state. More than 200 companies of para-military forces including State Reserve Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Rapid Action Force have been placed on duty. Electoral staff along with EVMs and VVPAT machines will reach to their respective polling stations by this evening. Election Commission has also set up model polling stations, all women polling stations and divyang polling stations in the state.Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."

In Uttar Pradesh, inter-state and inter-district borders have been sealed and intensive checking is underway for free and fair elections. There are 120 candidates, including 14 women, in the fray. Their political fate will be decided by more than 1 crore 76 lakh voters. Our Patna correspondent reports on the arrangements in Bihar:

"Jawans of Central Armed Police Forces will be deployed at all booths of Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura and Khagaria. Over 57 thousand police personnel will be on duty in this phase. One helicopter each in Purnea and Saharsa and an air ambulance in Patna will be stationed to meet any eventuality during polling. Indo-Nepal border has been sealed and patrolling has been intensified. Flag March was taken out in many areas of Madhepura, Khagaria and Araria to instill confidence among electorates. Over 58 thousand polling staffs have been deployed. Out of 9076 polling booths 3299 have been declared critical. Over two thousand micro observers will be deployed to oversee the election process. With K K Lal's report, Anuja Bhardwajan, AIR News."

In Chhattisgarh, 123 candidates are testing their electoral fortunes from seven Lok Sabha constituencies going to polls tomorrow. A report:

"The Election Commission will monitor the activities of various teams deployed for the polling process through C-TOPS, a Tracking of Polling Process Software. More than 15,000 polling stations have been set up in seven Lok Sabha constituencies where balloting is scheduled for tomorrow.  One polling station at Sheradand village in Koriya district only has four voters. More than One crore 27 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the third and last phase of General elections in the state. Out of this, 63 lakh are female voters. Tight security arrangements are in place to conduct free and fair elections. Security forces have conducted flag march in different cities and towns of the state. Vikalp Shukla, AIR News, Raipur."

Our Pune correspondent takes a look at the poll scenario in Maharashtra:

"Stage is all set for third phase elections in Maharashtra. Tomorrow fate of 249 candidates will be decided by 2 crore 57 lakh 89 thousand and 938 voters from 14 constituencies.Highest number of 31 candidates are in fray from Pune and Madha. Sangali has a lowest number of candidates.Over 56 Thousand Ballet Units and more than 35 Thousand Control Unites are made available for voting and 1 lakh 41 thousand 113 strong work force is deployed for conducting election process. Majority of constituencies from Maharashtra in third phase are from Sugar belt and The April 23 polls will decide the political fate of some of the biggest political clans in the state such as the Pawars, the Mohite-Patils and the late Vasantdada Patil's family. Nitin Kelkar for AIR News, Pune."

In Kerala, 227 candidates, including 23 women, will fight it out for the 20 Lok Sabha seats. More from our correspondent:

"State Police Chief Loknath Behra informed that all security arrangements are in place to ensure peaceful polling and additional security arrangements are made for sensitive booths. Central Armed Reserve Police had been posted in 272 places which are identified as sensitive, in 162 places which are shortlisted as left wing extremist affected and in 245 booths as well. More than 50,000 policemen including 3500 are women are also deployed. Apart from these 55 companies of CRPF, BSF and CISF soldiers, 2000 police personnel from Tamil Nadu, 1000 from Karnataka police and 11,781 special police officers are also deployed. Among the prominent candidates whose fate will be sealed tomorrow include Congress president Rahul Gandhi who is seeking election from Wayanad, Union Minister KJ Alphonse from Ernakulam, Sashi Tharoor of UDF from Thiruvananthapuram and UDF candidate ET Muhammed Basheer from Ponnani. Shamila, AIR News, Thiruvananthapuram."

Notification for the seventh and final phase is being issued today. As many as 59 seats, covering seven States and one Union Territory, will go to polls in this phase on the 19th of next month. Today is the last day for withdrawal of nominations for the fifth phase in which 51 seats will go to polls on the 6th of next month. Meanwhile, campaigning for the remaining phases is gaining momentum. Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing public meetings in Maharashtra and and Rajasthan today. Addressing a rally at Nashik in Maharashtra, Mr Modi appealed to people to vote for a strong India. He said, BJP has tried its best to take development to the doorstep of each and every person. BJP President Amit Shah said, the nationwide NRC will be implemented if his party comes back to power at the Centre. Addressing a press conference at Kolkata in West Bengal this morning, Mr Shah asserted that Citizenship Amendment bill will be passed in the Rajya Sabha before taking up the NRC issue. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is campaigning in Uttar Pradesh today. Addressing a rally in Amethi, Mr Gandhi said, the BJP wittingly stalled the Congress' developmental programmes in the constituency.


Political activities have gained momentum in Delhi as only two days are left for filing of nominations for seven Lok Sabha seats in the city. Polling will be held in the national capital in the sixth phase on the 12th of next month. BJP has, so far, released name of four candidates. Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will file his nomination from his sitting seat Chandni Chowk, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi and Pravesh Verma from West Delhi today. Putting an end to the possibility of an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress today declared six candidates for Delhi. Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will contest from North East Delhi, Ajay Maken from New Delhi, Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi, JP Agarwal from Chandni Chowk, Arvinder Singh Lovely from East Delhi and Rajesh Lilothia from North West Delhi.


Former Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi has been appointed as special observer for Tripura where the Lok Sabha polls to one of the seats was postponed in view of the law and order situation. The Election Commission had last Tuesday postponed polling in the Tripura (East) Lok Sabha seat, saying the prevailing law and order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair polls.


Congress President Rahul Gandhi today filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court expressing regret over his remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding Rafale verdict. The remarks, the apex court, had said were incorrectly attributed to it. The court had last week directed Mr Gandhi to give his explanation by today. In the affidavit, the Congress President said he had made the statement in the heat of political campaigning which has been misused by his opponents.The court had sought Mr Gandhi's explanation on a petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. The apex court is scheduled to hear the matter tomorrow.


The Election Commission (EC) today submitted its detailed report to the Supreme Court on the biopic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, took the EC's report and asked the poll panel to give a copy of the report to the producer of the movie. The court has fixed the plea of the producers challenging the EC's ban on the movie for hearing on Friday.


The Supreme Court has directed the Madras High Court to decide on Wednesday a plea of TikTok app seeking vacating of its ban order. A bench, headed by the Chief Justice, said if the High Court fails to decide on the plea then it's ban order will stand vacated.


Jet Airways' non-executive and non-independent director Nasim Zaidi has quit the board. Mr Zaidi, the former Chief Election Commissioner and ex-civil aviation secretary, joined the Jet Airways board in August last year. Grounded carrier Jet Airways today informed that Mr Zaidi resigned from the post citing personal reasons and constraints of time.


In IPL Cricket, Rajasthan Royals will take on Delhi Capitals at Jaipur this evening. The match will begin at 8 PM. Delhi is currently third in the eight-team points table behind leaders Chennai Super Kings and second-placed Mumbai Indians. Defending champions Chennai, who lost to bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore by just one run last night, has 14 points from 10 matches.


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