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Text Bulletins Details


Midday News

1400 HRS
21.04.2019

THE headlines:

  • In Sri Lanka, at least 160 people killed and over 400 injured in a series of bomb blasts in churches and hotels; India closely watching the situation, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

  • Campaigning for third phase of Lok Sabha elections ends this evening.

  • 15 Maoists surrender in Chhattisgarh.

  • Easter being celebrated across the globe with religious fervour and gaiety.

  • In IPL cricket, Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Kolkata Knight Riders while Royal Challengers Bangalore face Chennai Super Kings today.

  • And in Football, Punjab lock horns with Services in summit clash of Santosh Trophy in Ludhiana this afternoon.

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In Sri Lanka, at least 160 people have been killed and over 400 injured in a series of bomb explosions targeting five-star hotels in capital Colombo and churches across the country. At least nine foreign nationals have been killed and over 12 injured in the explosions at Shangrila, Kingsbury and Cinnamon grand hotels in Colombo, a favourite for foreign nationals. The attacks happened around 9 AM when the churches were organizing Easter mass while services were organized at the hotels. Police has rushed to all affected areas and sealed off the churches and hotels. Public has been advised to keep away from the incident sites and not to overcrowd hospitals. Our correspondent reports that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe held an emergency meeting to review the situation.

"The attack locations included three top five-star hotels in capital Colombo within a radius of one kilometer. Three other churches were attacked in Colombo, Negombo and Batticalao during Easter mass service and maximum casualties are from these locations. President Maithripala Sirisena expressed shock and requested public to remain calm. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the situation while security has been sounded for whole of the country. Many of the injured are in serious condition and casualty figures rise. SANTOSH KUMAR, AIR NEWS, COLOMBO.

No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

This is the biggest such attack in Sri Lanka since the war against LTTE ended in 2009.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that she is in constant touch with Indian High Commissioner in Colombo. In a tweet, Mrs Swaraj said, New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the situation following multiple explosions in Sri Lanka.

President Ramnath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condemned the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka.

The President said, such senseless violence, aimed at innocent people, has no place in civilised society. President said, India stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka.

In a tweet, the Vice President expressed condolences to the members of bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, there is no place for such barbarism in our region. Mr Modi said his thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.

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Campaigning for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections ends this evening. 116 constituencies, spread over 13 States and two Union Territories, will go to polls in this phase on Tuesday. Top leaders of various political parties are making last ditch efforts to woo the voters.

Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that BJP is committed for not only Samrudhdh Bharat but also Sashakta Bharat. He criticized Congress party for its misrule and compromising national security. Addressing an election rally at Patan in North Gujarat, Mr. Modi said, India has become the sixth largest economy and his government is targeting to make it top three nations in the world. The Prime Minister said, his government is completely committed to the welfare of poor, backwards and farmers. Our correspondent reports that leaders of main political parties are engaged in hectic poll campaign in the state before campaigning comes to end this evening.

"Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah led the last leg of party’s poll campaign in the state. Prime Minister Modi addressed the election rally at Patan in North Gujarat, while party’s Gandhinagar candidate Amit Shah is holding a road show in Sanand and organizing group meetings in his constituency. At the other end, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is campaigning in Saurashtra, while party’s candidates Dr.Tushar Chaudhari, Bharatsinh Solanki and C.J. Chavda have organized road show and bike rallies in their constituencies. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address two rallies at Chittorgarh and Barmer in Rajasthan today. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is also scheduled to address a public meeting at Beneswar Dham in Banswara District of the state on Tuesday. Our correspondent has the details:

"In the fourth phase, elections are going to be held in 13 seats of the state. Out of which 9 seats belong to Mewar and Marwar regions. In the Lok Sabha elections held in 2014, the BJP had won all the 8 seats in both regions. The BJP is trying to maintain its hold on these regions. In Jodhpur, BJP has nominated Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh as its candidate, where from the Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's son Vaibhav is in the electoral fray. Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News, Jaipur." 

In Maharashtra, 14 constituencies will go to polls in the third phase. Our correspondent reports all candidates are seen giving emphasis on road show and door to door campaigning.

"Candidates and star Campaigners are taking full advantage of weekend holidays. Saturday witnessed huge rallies of BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis. Shivsena Chief Uddhav Thakare was also seen in action in Konkan region. Veterans like Sharad Pawar, Prithviraj Chavan ans Ashok Chavan were holding fort for Congress and NCP. Local party leaders like Raju Shetti who is with Congress-NCP and Mahadev Jankar who is with BJP - Shivsena were also seen holding rallies. Prakash Ambedkar was handling campaign of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi. Nitin Kelkar for AIR News, Pune.

In Kerala, a total of 227 candidates are in the fray in 20 constituencies of the state. Road shows by candidates are being held in most of the Lok Sabha seats. A report:

"In Thiruvananthapuram constituency, senior Congress leaders AK Antony, Oommen chandy and Ramesh Chennithala are conducting road shows for UDF candidate Shashi Tharoor. The road show by LDF candidate C Divakaran and NDA candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan are also progressing in various centers. Union Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharman will address public meetings in Kozhikode and Kasaragod for NDA candidates today. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will continue her campaign for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad today. Kerala Chief Minister and CPI(M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan is campaigning in Kannur and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury will campaign in Kasargod today. Shamila, AIR news, Thiruvananthapura."

In Assam, four constituencies - Guwahati, Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar will go to polls in this phase with 54 candidates in the fray. Senior BJP leader and Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Ranjit Datta are holding rallies and road shows to woo the voters. Congress leaders and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, AIUDF President Badruddin Ajmal and BPF leader Pramila Rani Brahma are also holding rallies and road shows.

In Tripura, eight polling officials from Tripura West constituency have been arrested by police. These polling and presiding officers have been charged with deliberately suppressing incidents of booth capturing during first phase of Polling. Returning officer Dr Sandeep Mahatme has asked the Assistant Returning Officers of different subdivisions to take legal action against identified polling officers and micro observers following the incident. Meanwhile, elaborate arrangements are in place for Tuesday's elections in the state.

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Aam Aadmi Party today declared candidates for three Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, Party leader Gopal Rai said, Naveen Jaihind will be the candidate for Faridabad, Prithviraj from Ambala and Krishan Kumar Agarwal from Karnal.

Aam Aadmi Party, AAP and Jananayak Janata Party, JJP had forged an alliance in Haryana for Lok Sabha elections. AAP will contest three seats and JJP in seven seats.

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Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram has said his party will restructure its National Security Advisory Board. He was talking to reporters in New Delhi after releasing a report on issues related to national security, drafted by retired Lt. Gen DS Hooda. Mr Chidamabram said his party will incorporate some of the suggestions made in the report after thorough discussions and deliberations.

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In Chhattisgarh, 15 Maoists, including six female rebels, surrendered in Bijapur district of Bastar division today. They have surrendered before Superintendent of Police Gowardhan Thakur. One of the surrendered Maoists carried a reward of one lakh rupees on his head. These Maoists also handed over three rifles to the police.

Police officials said that the surrendered Maoists will be provided necessary assistance as per the rehabilitation policy of the state government.

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Easter is being celebrated across the globe today. It signifies the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. The resurrection was announced at the stroke of midnight at churches and special prayers were held on the occasion. Special mass are being held at churches in the country and abroad to mark the day.

Our correspondent has filed a report on the celebration of Easter in Nagaland:-

"Marking the Easter Celebration, thousands of people, both young and old, gathered at the World War II cemetery in Kohima to attend the Easter sunrise service early this morning. Victory choirs and sermons marked the day in churches irrespective of denominations across Nagaland. Believers offered special prayer services, participated in the Lord’s Supper and Thanksgiving feast. Asonuo, AIR News, Kohima ."

President, Vice President and Prime Minister have greeted the people on Easter.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted all civil servants who are serving the nation with utmost diligence on Civil Services Day today. In a tweet, he said, their hardwork enhances the country's development trajectory.

In this context, Prime Minister recalled the contributions of Sardar Patel for his outstanding role in making a strong administrative framework for the country that empowers millions of lives through policy interventions and methodical implementation.

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In Indonesia, Mount Agung volcano in Bali resort Island  erupted today, spewed a column of ashes by up to two km onto the sky. Spokesman of national disaster management agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the eruption occurred at 08:23 a.m. local time with belching of ash and smoke heading southwest of the crater. He said thousands of masks have been distributed to the communities amid the fears of the ashes impacting human respiratory. 

Sutopo said no report of casualty has so far been reached after the eruption.

Mount Agung is situated in Karangasem district and about 70 km from tourist hub Kuta. In its last eruption in 1963, more than 1,100 people were killed.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ and demands swift action.

The UN chief issued a statement  giving details of the deadly bombing, which took place against a convoy of vehicles in central Mali, close to the border with Burkina Faso, belonging to the UN Mission, MINUSMA. An improvised roadside mine which exploded hitting a UN peacekeeping convoy in Mali, killing one 'blue helmet' from Egypt, and wounding four others.

The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the victim and to the Government of Egypt.

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And now news from the world of Sports:

"In IPL Cricket today, Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on Kolkata Knight Riders at 4 pm at Hyderabad, while Royal Challengers Bangalore will host Chennai Super Kings at 8 in the evening. On to Football, Punjab will lock horns with Services in the summit clash of the Santosh Trophy in Ludhiana today. All India Radio will broadcast live commentary on the match from 3:25 PM onwards. The commentary can be heard on the FM Rainbow Network and National Hook-Up. In the Asian Boxing Championships at Bangkok, Shiva Thapa inched closer to adding a record fourth medal by entering the 60 kg pre-quarterfinals while six other Indians advanced to the last-eight stage yesterday. And, the Asian Athletics Championships begin in Doha today. The first day will decide eight gold medals. Sprint sensation Hima Das will be seen in action in the Women's 400 metres events. SAVVY HASAN KHAN, AIR NEWS."

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is flying to Bengaluru today to attend an IPL match on the invitation of BCCI.

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