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Morning News

0815 HRS
16.05.2019
THE HEADLINES,
  • Campaigning in West Bengal for the last phase of Lok Sabha elections to end tonight, a day ahead of scheduled closing.
  • Star campaigners of various political parties to hold multiple rallies in different parts of the country today.
  • Assam Government orders inquiry into Guwahati grenade attack.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir two terrorists killed in an encounter at Pulwama.
  • India joins global initiative to combat terrorism online and secure the internet.

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In West Bengal, campaigning for the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections will end at 10 PM tonight, a day ahead of scheduled closing for this phase. Campaigning was curtailed by the Election Commission in the state following Tuesday's Kolkata violence during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar said, it is for the first time that such an action has been taken using constitutional powers of the poll panel.


"This is probably be the first time when ECI has invoked the Article 324 in this manner. But it may not be the last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful and orderly manner. Election Commission of India is deeply anguished at the Vandalism done to the statue of respected Late Shri Iswar Chandra Bandhopadhyay."

The Commission also ordered the removal of State's Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya and Additional Director General, CID, Rajeev Kumar from their posts. Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain said:

"Shri Rajiv Kumar IPS ADG CID stands relieved and attached to the ministry of home affairs New Delhi, he shall report at the ministry of home affairs by 10 am on 16th May, also Shri Atri Bhattacharya IAS, Principal Secretary home government of West Bengal stands relieved from its current charge Immediately."

The Election Commission also expressed anguish at the vandalism done to the statue of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal will go to polls in the last phase on Sunday. The constituencies going to polls are - Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar.
BJP President Amit Shah has alleged that Mamata Banerjee's TMC was involved in vandalising the bust and unleashing violence during his roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also accused Mamata Banerjee of indulging in politics of violence. Addressing a rally at Taki in North 24 Pargana district yesterday, Mr Modi said the violence reflects that the TMC chief is scared of people's support to the BJP.
Reacting to the development, West Bengal Chief Minister described the Election Commission's decision as unconstitutional and unethical. She said, there is no such law and order problem in the state to apply Article 324.
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has condemned the vandalising of the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and said the culprits should be traced and punished. In a statement yesterday, the Governor said, a new bust should immediately be installed and the Calcutta University should take initiative in this regard.

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Campaigning has reached its peak for the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections. 59 constituencies spread over 7 states and Union Territory of Chandigarh will go to polls in this phase on Sunday.
Star campaigners of various political parties are holding multiple rallies in different parts of the country to woo the voters. In Uttar Pradesh, 13 constituencies which will go to polls in this phase on Sunday are from eastern Uttar Pradesh. These include Varanasi seat also from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term as Lok Sabha MP. More from our correspondent:

"Today is probably the last day of power packed poll campaign of Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in state in which he will address three public meetings back to back. These rallies are in Mau, Chandauli and Mirzapur constituencies. Battlefield of poll campaign in Maharajganj district will see Bigwigs like Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, BJP president Amit Shah and senior BJP leader Rajnath singh, whose rallies are schedule today. Flexing their muscles in PM Narendra Modi constituency Varanasi, Alliance leaders Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Ajit singh will hold joint rally today. Sushil Chandra Tiwari, AIR News, Chandauli."

Congress President Rahul Gandhi will campaign in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh and Patna in Bihar.
In Madhya Pradesh, eight constituencies will go to polls in this phase. Star campaigners of various political parties are holding multiple rallies in different parts of the Malwa belt of the state. More from our Correspondent:   

"Union Minister Smriti Irani will address public meetings in Shujalpur and Satwas today. Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will hold a road show in Neemuch. BJP Vice-President Shivraj Singh Chauhan will campaign in Khandwa, Dhar, Ratlam and Indore Lok Sabha constituencies while BJP state President Rakesh Singh will address rallies in Khandwa and Khargone. On the other hand, Congress leader and Chief Minister Kamalnath, senior leader Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia will also campaign today in Malwa-Nimad region. Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."

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In Jammu & Kashmir, two terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district early this morning. The gunfight broke out after security forces launched a counter-terror operation in Dalipora village following specific input about the presence of terrorists in the area. One security personnel was also killed and two others injured in the encounter, which continued when reports last came in.

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Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal has ordered the State DGP to conduct an inquiry into the Guwahati blast. Condemning the blast, the Chief Minister said that culprits must be arrested soon. 12 persons were injured in the grenade blast in Guwahati last night. Most of the injured persons are stable now. Senior police officials said that motor cycle borne miscreants hurled grenade at Zoo Road area. Among the injured, 2 are SSB personnel, deployed near a security picket. DGP Kuladhar Saikia said that police investigation is on. Guwahati city is on following the blast. Banned outfit ULFA (Independence) claimed the responsibility for the blast.

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India has joined a major global initiative to combat terrorism and extremism online and secure the internet. The initiative, 'Christchurch call to action' has been named after the New Zealand city where 51 people were killed in an attack on mosques. It was launched in Paris yesterday by India, France, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries. The declaration said, the internet is not immune from abuse by terrorist and violent extremist actors, and there is a need for collective efforts globally to secure the internet from terror groups, which was tragically highlighted by the Christchurch terror attack.
The event to launch the initiative was attended by several world leaders and high-ranking officials including from India.

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The US State Department has ordered the departure of its non-emergency employees from Iraq, amid rising tensions between the US and Iraq's neighbour Iran. Our West Asia Correspondent reports that the US Embassy in Baghdad advised such employees to leave Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible.

"Amidst escalating tension with Iran in the last few days , the US Department of State has asked its non essential employees working in the US embassy in Baghdad and the US consulate in Erbil to leave Iraq. It has announced that "normal visa services will be temporarily suspended at both posts. Meanwhile, there are reports of military build up by the United States in the Middle East , citing ‘escalation’ in activities by Tehran. In another report, UAE has said that US and France are assisting in its investigations into the sabotage attack on four commercial cargo ships in the Sea of Oman. KANCHAN PRASAD, AIR NEWS, DUBAI."
Meanwhile, Iran's Defence Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami has vowed to inflict the bitter taste of defeat on the US in its economic war on the Islamic republic. He was speaking to Revolutionary Guards veterans yesterday in Tehran.

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US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect American computer networks from foreign adversaries. Mr. Trump signed an executive order which effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose a security risk to the country. Mr Trump did not name any company specifically in the order. However, analysts suggest it is mainly directed at Chinese tele communications giant Huawei.
A number of countries - including the US - have raised concerns that the company's products could be used by China for surveillance.

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Back Home;
The Telangana High Court has directed the state government and the Board of Intermediate Education, BIE to declare the results of re-verified answer s and upload answer sheets of all failed students by May the 27.
A notice was also issued to IT firm Globarena Technologies, which handled the intermediate results, asking its representatives to appear before the court.
The directive came on a petition filed by an NGO which sought a direction to the government to conduct a detailed enquiry into the entire process of declaration of results and the errors committed in the process. The NGO also sought action against board officers and employees responsible for the deaths of failed students who allegedly committed suicide.

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In Hockey, the Indian men's team were blanked 0-4 by World No. 2 Australia in Perth in the fourth match of the tour Down Under yesterday. World No. 5 India remained unbeaten in their first three matches of the tour. India will again play Australia tomorrow in their fifth and last match of the tour.

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French Government-run health watchdog has said, the blue light in LED lighting can damage the eye's retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms. The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety said, new findings confirm earlier concerns that exposure to an intense and powerful LED light is photo-toxic and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision. The agency recommended that the maximum limit for acute exposure be revised, even if such levels are rarely met in home or work environments.
The report distinguished between acute exposure of high-intensity LED light, and chronic exposure to lower intensity sources. LED uses only a fifth of the electricity needed for an incandescent bulb of comparable brightness.

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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINES
  • Newspapers led with different stories today.
  • "Bengal campaigning cut by a day, CM tears into Election Commission," writes the Tribune, while The Asian Age headlines, "EC, in a first, orders earlier end to Bengal campaign, by 10 pm today."
  • India has initiated the process of setting up a tri-services Armed Forces Special Operations Division by appointing Major General A.K.Dhingra as its first chief. The Asian Age writes, "Commando force gets its first chief."
  • Hindustan Times reports, "Final say on sanction of probes back with DOPT."
  • "Monsoon likely to be delayed, may hit Kerala on June 6, says IMD forecast" is a headline in The Indian Express.
  • The Economic Times says, "Trade deficit widens to 15.3 billion dollars in April," on India's merchandise export growth slowing to a four-month low in April.
  • "Chandrayan-2 will carry Nasa payload too," writes The Times of India.
  • And finally, "Indians eager to cut alcohol intake." writes The Hindu. In a front page story that covers the findings of a global survey of recreational drug use, which included Indians for the first time.

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In some more news;
US President Donald Trump is all set to announce today a new proposal to overhaul the immigration policy that would give preference to foreigners based on merit rather than preference to family ties. The move could end the agonising Green Card wait for hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals.

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