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Nirav Modi arrested by London Police; remanded in custody till Mar 29            All four accused in Samjhauta Express blast case acquitted            Some people ran disinformation campaign against chowkidaars: PM Modi            Congress & National Conference stitch alliance for polls in J&K            Social media platforms submit a code of ethics to Election Commission           

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Morning News

0815 HRS
18.02.2019
THE HEADLINES:
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold talks with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in New Delhi today.
  • CRPF to add more security features to its convoy movement in Jammu and Kashmir to make its passage safer.
  • International Court of Justice at The Hague to hold public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case from today.
  • Afghanistan lodges strong complaint with UNSC against Pakistan for its engagement with the Taliban.
  • And in Boxing, Indian pugilists assure themselves of five medals at the Stranja Memorial tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in New Delhi today. Mr Macri arrived in India yesterday morning on a three-day visit. He landed in Agra and visited the Taj Mahal before reaching New Delhi. Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore received him at the airport in the national capital. Mr Macri's visit comes at a time when India and Argentina are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The President of Argentina will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhvan today morning. He will pay homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. During the talks, Mr Modi and Mr Macri will review the progress in bilateral ties and will explore new areas of co-operation. Several agreements are also expected to be signed after the talks. The visiting dignitary will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mr Macri will also address the Plenary Session of India-Argentina Business Forum. He is scheduled to visit Mumbai tomorrow. India and Argentina traditionally share warm and friendly ties anchored in a mutually beneficial partnerships. The bilateral co-operation spans in areas, including nuclear, space, economic, commercial, agriculture, science and technology, culture and tourism. Presently, the bilateral trade is around 3 billion dollars. ANUPAM MISHRA, AIR NEWS, DELHI

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President Ram Nath Kovind has praised the farmers of Haryana for adopting new methods to manage stubble and crop residue. He was addressing the closing ceremony of the 4th Agri Leadership Summit organised by the Haryana government in Sonipat's Ganaur yesterday. The President also expressed confidence that the farmers would help in finding a solution to the problem of pollution emanating from stubble burning.
हम सभी जानते है कि वायु प्रदूषण से स्वास्थ्य पर खासकर बच्चों और बुजूर्गों की सेहत पर बहुत बुरा असर पड़ता है। मुझे विश्वास है कि आप सब मिलकर पराली से होने वाले इस प्रदूषण को पूरी तरह से समाप् कर देंगे।
Mr Kovind said, the people and the government of the state were making efforts for overall development, including enhancing ease of doing business and improving social indicators such as child sex ratio. He said, adoption of modern, 21st century technologies in agriculture was part of this process, and farmers would benefit from such collaborations.

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The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to add new security features to its convoy movement in Jammu and Kashmir making its passage safer and more secure. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar said, the new features in the Standard Operative Procedure for the movement of the Force will soon be added. He said, apart from traffic control, the timing of the convoy movement and their midway halts and other procedures will be added and some of them will be recalibrated. Mr Bhatnagar said, the movement of civilian vehicles during the movement of the force has been totally stopped in the state.
The decision follows a terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on Thursday that claimed the lives of 40 personnel.

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At least four Army personnel, including an officer, were injured in an encounter with terrorists in Pulwama district in the wee hours today. Security sources said, a cordon and search operation was launched by a joint team of the forces in the Pinglina area midnight last night following inputs about the presence of terrorists being there. As the forces zeroed in, the hiding terrorists fired upon the forces triggering a gunfight. The sources said, two to three terrorists are believed to be trapped in the area, and they could be Jaish-e-Mohammed cadres. The gunfight was on, when reports last came in.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the customary post-Budget meeting of the central board of the Reserve Bank in New Delhi today. During the meeting, Mr Jaitley is expected to highlight the key points of the interim Budget, including the fiscal consolidation roadmap. Sources said, the meeting will also take a call on the interim dividend to be paid to the government during the current fiscal. The government expects 28 thousand crore rupees from the RBI as interim dividend for 2018-19, based on the financial position of the central bank.

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The full team of the 15th Finance Commission will be on a three-day visit to Telangana from today. The team will be headed by Chairman NK Singh. The Commission will hold meetings with representatives of Panchayat Raj institutions and Urban Local Bodies this afternoon. It will meet the representatives of all political parties separately and hold discussions with the state government.

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BJP President Amit Shah will visit Jaipur in Rajasthan today. BJP state general secretary Bhajan Lal Sharma said, Mr Shah will inaugurate the party's district offices from Adarsh Nagar area. He will address a 'Shakti Kendra Sammelan', comprising workers of Jaipur city and rural and booth president of the Sikar parliamentary constituency. The BJP Chief will also address workers holding the responsibility of the 'Mera Booth-Sabse Mazboot' campaign. He will chair a meeting at the BJP state headquarters with state party office bearers, conveners and district presidents among others.

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold public hearings in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case from today at The Hague. India and Pakistan will present their arguments before the top UN court during four days of public hearings. Harish Salve, who represents India in the case, is expected to argue first today. Khawar Qureshi will make submissions from Islamabad's side tomorrow.
48-year-old Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India moved the ICJ against the verdict, maintaining that the trial of Jadhav by Pakistan was farcical. A 10-member bench of the ICJ had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case. Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province in March, 2016. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. India has also accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by not giving consular access to Jadhav arguing that the convention did not say that such access would not be available to an individual arrested on espionage charges. Farhat Naaz, News Desk."

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Afghanistan has lodged a strong complaint with the United Nations Security Council the (UNSC) against Pakistan for its engagement with the Taliban. In a letter written to the UNSC, Afghanistan's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Nazifullah Salarzai said, Pakistan's invitation to the Taliban amounted to a violation of Afghanistan's national sovereignty. The letter said, as there is no co-ordination with the Afghan government, it poses a serious threat to the country's security.
In a tweet, the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that Pakistan's move not only undermines the ongoing peace efforts but also falls in violation of UNSC Resolution 1988.
India's official policy on the Afghan peace process has been that it should be Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled.

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will meet top leaders of Morocco in the  capital Rabat today to consolidate the strategic partnership in various sectors of mutual interest. Mrs Swaraj will meet her Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita, King Mohammed VI, and Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani among other leaders. Three MoUs for co-operation in areas of counter terrorism, housing and human settlements and youth matters are expected to be inked.
Addressing the Indian community in Rabat last night, the External Affairs Minister said, Morocco has been a leader in counter-terrorism efforts and is a pioneer in fighting radicalism. She said, the MoU on counter terrorism is being signed to further deepen bilateral co-operation.

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back home -
In Uttar Pradesh, the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj has become a major attraction for foreign tourists. This time around, there has been a significant increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting the Kumbh. More from our correspondent:-
The number of tourists coming to Kumbh has seen an increase of 35 to 40 percent. Devotees and tourists from around 70 countries including USA, UK, Afghanistan, Canada, Argentina, Venezuela,Belgium, Malaysia and South Africa have come to visit Prayagraj.  Beautiful Tent City with state-of-the-art facilities has been especially established in Prayagraj to offer  foreigners a comfortable stay during their visit to Kumbh. While,NRIs from all across the globe already visited the Kumbh on the occasion of 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas and praised the cultural diversity of India and Kumbh Mela. Sanjeev Sharma,AIR News,Kumbha city,Prayagraj

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In Boxing, Indian pugilists have assured themselves of five medals in the 70th Strandja Memorial tournament at Sofia in Bulgaria. In the 49 kg category, Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal defeated Ukraine's Nazar Kurotchyn, 3-2 to enter the semifinals and assure a Bronze medal.
Earlier in the day, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki in the 52 kgs and Naman Tanwar in 91 kgs both advanced to the quarter-finals.
Besides Panghal, four medals were guaranteed by Indian women pugilists at the end of the third day yesterday.

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NEWSPAPER Headlines
  • Withdrawal of Security Cover for Kashmiri Separatist leaders is the lead story in quite a few newspapers today.  The Hindustan Times headline reads "Security of Separatist leaders withdrawn - cover of others being reviewed too." The Asian Age reports that with immediate effect, the security cover of five separatist leaders, including Mirwaz Umar Farooq, was withdrawn by the J&K authorities in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.
  • "Harassed? Will Help: CRPF to Kashmiris across the country", headlines Hindustan Times.  The Central Reserve Police Force - that was targeted by the suicide bomber in the February 14 Pulwama attack, have issued their contact address to Kashmir students and general public - presently out of Kashmir, to contact them for Speedy Assistance in case they face any difficulties or harassment across the country.
  • CRPF cautions against 'fake posts' on internet, reports The Pioneer.  The daily adds, in its second post on twitter the CRPF said "Fake news about harassment of students from Kashmir is being propagated by various miscreants on social media".
  • The Times of India reports that the owner of Karol Bagh's Hotel Arpit Palace, where 17 people died in a fire last week, was arrested by a Crime Branch team from the Delhi Airport.  The owner Rakesh Goel was travelling from Qatar to Delhi.
  • The Asian Age reports that BJP President Amit Shah declared in Guwahati on Sunday that the NDA government would not allow Assam to turn into another Kashmir and reiterated that the government would bring the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, once again, in Parliament.
  • The Economic Times writes that India will push to 'black-list' Pakistan over terrorism funding, at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary Meeting, which is being held in Paris.
  • And finally the Times of India informs us that scientists in Beijing have developed Flexible Smart Windows that can trap air pollutants and keep the indoor environment free - of harmful particulate matter.

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