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NEWS AT NINE

2100 HRS.

18.08.2017

 

THE  HEADLINES:

  • India says, it will continue to engage with China to find a mutually acceptable solution to Doklam issue; welcomes US decision to designate  Hizbul Mujahideen as Foreign Terrorist Group.
  • Hectic parleys on for the merger of two warring AIADMK factions in Tamil Nadu.
  • Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, arrested in a terror funding case, sent to 10-day NIA custody.
  • Flood situation in Bihar critical; 37 districts reeling under flood in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers all possible help to flood hit Nepal.
  • And in cricket, Virat Kohli continues to be the world's top-ranked One-day batsman in the latest ICC ODI rankings.

<><><> 

India today said it will continue to engage with China to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Dokalam standoff. Briefing media in New Delhi this evening, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar asserted that peace and tranquility on the border is an important pre-requisite for smooth bilateral relationship.

"We will continue to engage with chinese side to find a mutually acceptable solution. As we have said in the past, peace and tranquillity in border areas is an important pre-requisite for a smooth development of bilateral relationship."

Replying to a media query about recent incident between Chinese troops and Indian border guards in Ladakh, Mr Kumar said, such incidents are not in the interest of either side. He said, two border personnel meetings, had taken place between Indian border guards and Chinese troops recently. He, however, emphasised that the incident should not be linked with what is happening in any sector.

Asked about the reported comments of the Japanese Ambassador on Dokalam face off, Mr Kumar said, his remarks speak for themselves. The Japanese ambassador was quoted in media as saying that no country should use unilateral forces to alter the status of Dokalam.

The MEA spokesperson also said, India has not received hydrological data from China this year despite an agreement.

Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also welcomed US decision to designate terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a foreign terrorist organization. He said, it reflects the joint commitment of the two countries to firmly deal with terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

<><><> 

Hectic parleys are underway for the merger of two warring AIADMK factions in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Ex-chief minister O.Panneerselvam is holding a marathon meeting with his AIADMK PTA party senior functionaries at his residence since this evening.

In a separate meeting, the AIADMK Amma party senior functionaries led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy are closeted in a meeting at his residence.

The police have strengthened security around the memorial of late leader J Jayalalithaa at Marina Beach where a formal announcement about the merger is expected to be made tonight. Our correspondent quoting sources report that in behind the curtain negotiations a formula on sharing cabinet portfolios and party positions by both the faction leaders has almost been arrived at.

It is a case of possible amalgamation of factions that were clashing against each other so far, and the alienation of another group that was with the ruling camp till recently. While chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy and ex-chief minister O.Panneerselvam are widely believed to be moving towards a fusion of their groups, the TTV Dhinakaran camp has taken up cudgels against it. Critics say, if the merger becomes a reality, it may lead to withdrawal of cases before the Election Commission by both the AIADMK Amma and PTA parties staking claims for themselves the parent party name, flag and most importantly the ‘two-leaves’ symbol, in favour of the merged entity. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai.

<><><> 

BJP candidate, Balvantsinh Rajput, who lost the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat recently, has moved Gujarat High Court today against Election Commission's (EC) decision to invalidate votes of two rebel Congress MLAs. EC had rejected the votes of former Congress MLAs Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohel. Commission's decision had paved way for the victory of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel, who got 44 votes, the minimum he needed to win, in the high-staked electoral battle. Rajput had 38 votes. The petition has been listed for hearing on 21st of this month.

<><><> 

A Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, arrested in a terror funding case, has been sent to 10-day National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody, today. Watali was arrested in New Delhi, yesterday. He was arrested following searches at multiple locations in Jammu and Kashmir belonging to his relatives and employees. During the searches, NIA had unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities.

<><><> 

NIA has registered a case and taken up the investigation of conversion and marriage of a Hindu woman to a Muslim man in Kerala. The agency acted in compliance with Supreme Court's recent order. The Apex Court had asked the NIA to probe into the case and find out if there is an Islamic State angle to it. The court ordered investigation as the agency had claimed that it was not an isolated incident but a pattern  emerging in Kerala.

<><><> 

Allahabad High Court has directed the UP government and state's director general of medical education to file a detailed counter affidavit within six weeks on a PIL on the death of children in a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur. The Lucknow bench of the high court fixed 9th of October as the next date of hearing.

<><><> 

In Bihar, flood situation has turned critical with rising water levels of several rivers including Mahananda, Kosi, Bagmati, Gandak and Kamla Balan. Fresh areas in Motihari, Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Sitamarhi have been inundated. The Saran embankment has been breached and over a dozen villages have been flooded in Gopalganj district. Over one crore people across 18 districts are reeling under the impact of floods. 149 people have died so far in flood related incidents. Over 4 lakh people have been shifted to safer places. 43 teams of NDRF and SDRF are carrying out relief and rescue operations in the affected areas. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has instructed officials to step up relief and rescue operations on war footing.

<><><> 

In Uttar Pradesh, normal life is out of gear in several districts as thousands of villages are inundated with flood water. A total of 37 districts are flood affected and of them 22 districts of eastern and Terai regions are reeling badly under the fury of flood.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath did an aerial survey today of flood affected areas of Balrampur and Sidharthnagar districts and reviewed the rescue and relief works being conducted in the areas.

"Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath has announced that his government will provide house who have been rendered homeless due to flood.  A total of 37 districts are flood affected in the state. About 1 thousand villages are marooned. A total of 38 people have lost their lives in flood related incidents. Ganga, Rapti, Budi Rapti, Tonse, Gandak, Budi Gandank, Ghaghara and Ramganga rivers are flowing above or at danger marks at several places. Teams of SSB, NDRF and flood units of PAC of State police are engaged in relief and rescue operation in flood affected districts. Sunil Shukla, AIR News, Lucknow."

<><><> 

Union Minister and BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy today said, Centre is working in close coordination with the flood hit states including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Talking to AIR, Mr. Rudy said, Prime Minister is monitoring the situation. He said, the Centre is providing all support and help to the States to deal with the situation.

 The Prime Minister is monitoring the situation in Bihar in particular and Uttar Pradesh and has extended all relief. The Cabinet secretariate,  the Home Ministry-all the official are on the same page to cordinate relief operation and they are moving on a very fast tract.”

<><><> 

In flood hit Assam, major damage has been caused to the World Heritage site Kaziranga national park. Talking to AIR, Forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma said, 213 wild animals including 15 rhinos have drowned to death in the current wave of flood. The minister also said, that one royal Bengal tiger has also died at the park.

<><><> 

Relief and rescue operation continues in flood affected areas of Nepal. Our Kathmandu correspondent reports, that devastating flood and landslide has caused huge damage to human life, livestock and property.

"In last one week at least 131 persons have lost their lives and 32 are missing in the flood and landslide. More than 69000 livestock have also been killed. Property and crops worth billions of rupees has also been destroyed. Over 30 bridges damaged in various parts of Nepal due to flood and landslide. The situation in affected areas slightly improving. However, health experts have expressed apprehension of spreading water borne diseases. Raj Kumar AIR News Kathmandu."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba today. He conveyed his condolences at the loss of lives in Nepal in recent floods. The Prime Minister also expressed readiness to provide all possible relief assistance.

<><><> 

Bangladesh is also reeling under floods, the second this year,  affecting around 3 million people in 20 districts of the country.

 “According to the Minister for Disaster Management and Relief  Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya 107  people have died due to floods since July. Northern Jamalpur district is the worst affected accounting for most of the deaths.  Today 4 more people including a student died in Jamalpur. The government has deployed the army in highly affected areas,  and around 1800 medical teams are working in the flood-hit areas. Huge areas of standing crops and horticulture besides livestock have been damaged. authorities have lifted more than 5 lakh people to safer areas. Melinda Dias, AIR News, Dhaka.

<><><> 

In Spain, death toll in a double car attack has risen to 14. Two vehicle rampaged into pedestrians in Barcelona and Cambrils. More than one hundred others were injured. Police later shot dead five suspects. Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy described it as a terrorist attack. Islamic State group has claimed the responsibility of the attack in Barcelona.

World leaders have condemned the terrorist attack and vowed to stand against the evil of terrorism.

Condemning the terror attacks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wrote to his counterpart to convey India's readiness to work with his country to develop a strong response to defeat terrorism.

<><><> 

The government has clarified that there is no inconsistency in its data of income tax payers who were added after demonetisation. The clarification comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech. Mr Modi, had said that additional 56 lakh people filed Personal Income Tax Returns (ITRs) from 1st of April to 5th of August this year. Last year for the same period, the figure was 22 lakh.

In a release, the Central Borad of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has clarified that Prime Minister's speech referred to the increase in number of e-filed Personal ITRs filed from 1st of April, 2017 to 5th of August, 2017 over the ITRs filed in corresponding period of earlier years.

<><><> 

Centre has doubled the child care allowance for women employees with disabilities. At present, the allowance of 1,500 rupees per month is given to Divyang female employees for taking care of their newborn child but now it has been revised to three thousand rupees per month. An order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said, the allowance will  be payable from the time of the child's birth till the child is two years old. It will be payable for a maximum of two eldest surviving children.

<><><> 

Union Minister of state for Labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya said that interest subsidy of 2 lakh 60,000 rupees will be given to employee Provident Fund home loans under Housing for All scheme. Launching the scheme of home loans under EPF in Thoothukudi Tamil Nadu, he gave EPF home loans to 135  employees of a private export firm.

<><><> 

Indian captain Virat Kohli continues to be world's top-ranked One-day batsman in the latest ICC ODI rankings, released in Dubai today. Other Indian batsmen in the top-15 are former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni at 12th, Shikhar Dhawan at 13th and vice-captain Rohit Sharma at 14th place. However, no Indian bowler figure in the top-10 list. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar at 13th is the lone Indian in top 15. As for the ICC ODI Team Rankings, India are currently at number three.

<><><> 

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