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Supreme sacrifice of security forces will not go in vain, assures PM            Home Minister visits J&K following Pulwama attack            New Delhi calls back its Islamabad envoy for consultations            India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status from Pakistan            PM launches projects worth Rs 20000 crore in UP's Jhansi           

Text Bulletins Details


News at Nine

2100 HRS
17.12.2018
THE HEADLINES:
  • Delhi High Court sentences Congress leader Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
  • India and Maldives reiterate importance of effective multi-lateral system as key factor in tackling global challenges.
  • Lok Sabha passes Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights ) Bill; Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill introduced in the House.
  • Cabinet decides to expand list of beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana; to release free LPG connections to poor families uncovered so far.
  • New Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh sworn-in.
  • Cyclone 'PETHAI' makes a landfall in Andhra Pradesh; heavy rains in coastal districts.
  • And in Cricket, India were 112 for 5 against Australia on fourth day of the second test at Perth.      

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The Delhi High Court today convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for conspiracy to commit murder in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and sentenced him to imprisonment for life.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel convicted Kumar for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity and acts against communal harmony. The court said Kumar's life imprisonment will be for the remainder of his life and asked him to surrender by 31st of this month. It also asked him not to leave Delhi before that. 
The conviction of five other former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, former MLAs Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar-- were also upheld by the high court.    
Most political leaders have welcomed the Court's verdict. Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the cover-ups on Sajjan Kumars conviction are now being defeated. Talking to reporters in New Delhi today, he said, the legacy of the riots hangs around the Congress and Gandhi family.
   
"The judgement of the Delhi High Court today is an extremely welcome development. it was perhaps the worst kind of genocide that we ever saw and instead of ensuring that justice is done to the victims and the guilty are punished, the Congress government repeatedly during that period indulged in a cover up exercise."
In a series of tweets, BJP President Amit Shah said that the Judgement has brought relief to the traumatised families. He thanked Prime Minister for setting up an SIT in 2015, which initiated re-investigation into several cases of 1984, pending for over three decades. Mr Shah said, the conviction of Sajjan Kumar has once again assured the victims that criminals of 1984 will not go scot free. 
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Prem Singh Chandumajra demanded that other congress leaders involved in the crime be prosecuted. He also demanded that Congress remove Kamal Nath from the Chief Ministership of Madhya Pradesh for his alleged role in the riots.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the verdict has nothing to do with politics. 
   
"ये पुरानी कार्यवाही है। कम से कम 20 साल से अलग-अलग विभिन् कार्यवाहिया चल रही है। उसमें से एक का निर्णय आज आया है। कानूनी कार्यवाही चलनी चाहिए, चल रही है।  इसके बाद अपीलें होती है, तो मैं नहीं समझता कि इसमें राजनीतिक टिप्पणी  करके राजनीतिक लाभ या राजनीतिक दुरूपयोग किया जाए।"

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India and Maldives underscored the need for strengthening and reforming of multilateral financial institutions and enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making. 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 delgation level talks with President Solih, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, India has decided to extend 1.4 billion dollars financial assistance to Maldives as budget support, currency swap and line of credit for the social and economic development of Maldives. The Prime Minister said:
 
"मुझे खुशी है कि इस प्रतिबद्धता की प्रत्यक्ष अभिव्यक्ति के तौर पर मालदीव के सामाजिक, आर्थिक, विकास के लिए budget support, currency swap और रियायती lines of credit के रूप में 1.4 billion, अमेरकी डॉलर की आर्थिक सहायता भारत, मालदीव को प्रदान करेगा। दोनों देशों के बीच connectivity को बेहतर बनाने के लिए भी भारत का पूर्ण सहयोग रहेगा। 
Prime Minister said, India and Maldives need to increase bilateral cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the Indian ocean region. Mr 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. Mr Modi said:
   
"राष्ट्रपति स्वालेह और मैं इस पर सहमत है कि हिन् महासागर क्षेत्र में शांति और सुरक्षा बनाए रखने के लिए हमें अपने सहयोग को और गहन बनाने की जरूरत है। दोनों देशों के सुरक्षा हित एक दूसरे से जुड़े हुए है। इस क्षेत्र की स्थिरता के लिए एक दूसरे के हितों और चिंताओं के प्रति सचेत रहने पर भी हम एकमत है।"
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. Mr Naidu said, both countries need to be sensitive to each other’s security concerns.  

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Proceedings in both the Houses of Parliament were stalled for the fifth day today on different issues including the Rafale aircraft deal. 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 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. TDP members were also in the well demanding financial benefits to Andhra Pradesh under the Andhra Pradesh 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. Amid din, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill-2016 was passed rejecting opposition amendments. As the noisy scenes continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, the proceedings were disrupted on Rafale deal and Cauvery issues. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House till tomorrow, minutes after it met for the day, amidst uproar by agitating members.

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The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was introduced amid din in the Lok Sabha today. The Bill makes all declarations of instant triple talaq void and illegal. It seeks to make the practice a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to three years. The Bill will replace the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance-2018.

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BJP today gave a Privilege notice in the Lok Sabha against  Congress President Rahul Gandhi over his allegations against the government on Rafale aircraft deal. Party MP Anurag Thakur gave the notice accusing Mr. Gandhi of spreading falsehoods and misleading the House on the deal during his speech in July. On the other hand Congress gave a privilege notice against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the house accusing him of misleading the Supreme Court and Parliament on the Rafale aircraft deal.  Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, the notice is under her consideration. 
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad gave a breach of privilege notice against Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on the same issue. RJD MP Manoj Jha also moved a notice in the house against Attorney General in the matter.
Last week, the Supreme Court had rejected any corruption in the Rafale deal and dismissed all petitions seeking an investigation. 

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, today approved expansion of beneficiaries list under Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana. Briefing reporters in New Delhi today, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, CCEA has cleared expanding Ujjwala Yojana to provide free LPG connection to cover all poor families. He said, the Cabinet has also decided to release deposit free LPG connections to poor families so far uncovered.
 

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New Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were sworn in today. In Rajasthan, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot took oath at a ceremony in Jaipur this morning while Sachin Pilot took oath as a cabinet minister. Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath of office and secrecy to both the leaders in a ceremony organised before the historic Albert Hall. After this, the governor appointed Mr. Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister of the state as per the suggestion of Chief Minister.
In Madhya Pradesh, senior congress leader Kamalnath was sworn in as the 18th Chief Minister of the state at the Jamboree Maidan in Bhopal. The nine-time Chhindwara Lok Sabha MP was administered the oath of office by Governor Anandiben Patel. Kamal Nath took oath alone. Cabinet will be formed later after consultations with party leadership.
Hours after taking oath of office, Mr Kamal Nath cleared the proposal of waiving farm loans up to 2 lakh rupees as promised by Congress ahead of assembly polls. 
More from our correspondent:

"Besides loan waiver order, other decisions taken by the new Chief Minister include establishment of four new Garment Parks and financial help of 51 thousand rupees in place of 26 thousand, for the marriage of daughters of small cultivators. The government has also approved the new investment policy. Mr. Kamalnath also inaugurated new building of state secretariat. The BJP said that the loan waiver announcement of the congress is in-complete.  Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal"
In Chhattisgarh, Congress legislature party leader Bhupesh Baghel was sworn-in as the new chief minister of state this evening. Governor Anandi Ben Patel administered the oath of office to Mr Baghel at Indoor stadium in state capital Raipur. Mr Baghel is the third chief minister of Chhattisgarh.
More from our correspondent:
   
"Governor Anandi Ben Patel administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new chief minister Bhupesh Baghel at a ceremony held at Indoor stadium in Raipur. Two senior congress legislators, T.S. Singh Deo and Tamradwaj Sahu also took the oath of the office as the member of council of ministers. Due to the rainy weather, the venue of the ceremony was changed at the last moment. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders of Congress and its alliance partners attended the ceremony. Vikalp Shukla, AIR News, Raipur"

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Cyclone Phethai made landfall near Katrenikona in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh this afternoon. Heavy rain and winds were experienced in coastal districts. The cyclone caused huge damage to standing crops, especially paddy in East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Visakhapatnam districts. Hundreds of electric poles and trees got uprooted disrupting power supply and vehicular traffic. Schools and colleges were closed as a precautionary measure.
National and state disaster relief teams and over 10,000 officials are on across the districts in the path of the cyclone and adjoining areas.
Cyclone Phethai has crossed the Kakinada coast. According to India Meteorological Department, it is likely to move northeastwards, weaken further and again cross Andhra Pradesh coast close to Tuni during late evening as a deep depression.
Meanwhile, restoration works have started in the affected areas following the landfall.

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Atleast six people have lost their lives in a major fire in Mumbai that broke out this evening at the ESIC Kamgar Hospital.  More than 147 others, including one fire brigade official have suffered injuries and have been shifted to nearby hospitals.
While the fire has now been completely doused, cooling operations are still on.

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In Cricket, India were 112 for five at stumps on the fourth day of the second test against Australia at Perth. The hosts were on course for a series-levelling win in the second Test after India lost quick wickets in their second innings chasing 287.

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