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President's Address to the Nation on the eve of Republic Day

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1400 HRS

23rd February, 2018


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds talks with his Canadian counterpart in New Delhi; The two countries sign six agreements.
  • Jharkhand High Court rejects Lalu Prasad Yadav's bail plea in Deoghar treasury case.
  • Income Tax department carries out raids at five locations in Bihar against Subhash Yadav, a sand Baron and close aide of Lalu Prasad Yadav.
  • Enforcement Directorate freezes bank deposits and shares worth about 44 crore rupees of Nirav Modi group in connection with PNB scam.
  • Supreme Court seeks response from Delhi Police on a plea seeking an SIT probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar.
  • In the US, Trump administration announces new policy making H-1B visa approval tougher.


India and Canada today signed six agreements in differents fields including sports, education, science and technology.The agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New Delhi. In his press statement, Prime Minister Modi said India is in favour of strengthening its strategic partnership with Canada. He said both countries should work together to fight terrorism. Mr Modi stressed that terrorism and extremism are a threat to countries and to fight these elements it is important for us to come together.

"हम अपनी सुरक्षा सहयोग को सुदृढ़ करने पर सहमत हुए है। आतंकवाद और उग्रवाद भारत और कनाड़ा जैसे लोकतांत्रिकबहुलवादी समाजों के लिए खतरा है। इन ताकतों का मुकाबला करने के लिए हमारा साथ आना महत्वपूर्ण है। सम्प्रदाय का राजनीतिक उद्देश् के लिए दुरूपयोग करने वालों और बंटवारे की खाई खोदने वालों के लिए कोई जगह नहीं होनी चाहिए। हमारे देशों की सम्प्रभुता, एकता और अखंडता को चुनौती देने वालों को भी बर्दाश् नहीं किया जा सकता।"

He said both countries can work together in several fields including space technology. He said the entire gamut of bilateral relations was discussed during the talks.  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier called on Mr Trudeau and discussed ways to strengthen and deepen the bilateral partnership between the two countries.   Earlier, Mr Trudeau was accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourts of Rashtrapati Bhawan this morning. He also laid wreath at Mahatma Gandhi's Samadhi, Rajghat.

The Canadian Prime Minister is scheduled to call on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan in the evening.


The Jharkhand High Court today rejected the bail application of RJD Chief Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case. Lalu Prasad had moved the high court seeking bail in the Deoghar Treasury case in which the RJD chief has been sentenced to three and half years in prison. Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh rejected the bail application after hearing both the parties. About two months ago, a special CBI court of Shivpal Singh in Ranchi had sentenced RJD Chief Lalu Prasad and 15 others with fines.

The, bail application of RJD Chief Lalu Prasad is also being heard in the Jharkhand High Court . This is a case of fodder scam related to illegal withdrawal from Chaibasa Treasury. A special CBI Court of Ranchi had last month sentenced Lalu Prasad to five years in jail with ten lakh rupees fine.


In Bihar, Income Tax raids are underway at five locations including the residence of sand mining Baron and close aide of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Subhash Yadav in Patna since morning. The raids are being conducted in the disproportionate asset case against the sand mining baron. Sources said, documents regarding disproportionate income have been seized during raid and Subhash Yadav is being interrogated by the Income tax officials. Our correspondent reports that sand mining baron bought three flats from former Chief Minister Rabari Devi.


Still with, Bihar, CBI today raided the residence of Aurangabad district District Magistrate Kanwal Tanuj. CBI alleges DM withdrew more than rupees 2 crore from a beneficiary who gave land to NTPC's Bhartiya Rail Bijalee company to build a power plant. The CBI team is interrogating the DM in the case.


Enforcement Directorate, ED, today said it has frozen bank deposits and shares worth about 44 crore rupees of the Nirav Modi group in connection with to PNB scam. The ED has also seized a huge collection of imported watches from locations linked to the billionaire diamond merchant. Officials said, they have put freeze orders on bank accounts containing 30 crore rupees and shares worth 13.86 crore rupees of the group under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. They said, a huge collection of imported watches, 176 steel almirahs, 158 boxes and 60 other containers have been seized during ED searches at multiple locations linked to Nirav Modi over last week.

Only yesterday, the agency seized deposits, shares and luxury cars worth over 100 crore rupees of the businesssman and his group. The CBI and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case.


Supreme Court today sought the response from Delhi Police on a plea filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking an SIT probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar issued a notice to the police on Swamy's plea, leaving open the question of maintainability of the petition. The court was hearing Swamy's appeal against the Delhi High Court's October 26 verdict, dismissing his plea for a probe into Pushkar's death by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Sunanda Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite of a five-star hotel in Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.


A Delhi Police team today reached Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence in the Civil Lines area to collect evidence related to an alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs. Additional DCP (North Delhi) Harinder Singh said, the police team has been sent to the chief minister's residence for collecting all evidence, including CCTV footage. AAP MLAs Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan have been arrested by the police in connection with the assault case.


Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh today said government officials should be given a work-friendly environment. Talking to media after meeting a delegation of IAS association in Delhi, Dr Singh said government should be able to get the best out of officers. He said an enabling environment must be provided so that officers can perform to the best of their ability in the interest of the nation.

"आईएएस अधिकारियों की ओर से तीन प्रतिनिधि सेक्रेटरी डीओपीटी के साथ बैठ करके एक व्यापक चर्चा इस विषय को लेकर के करने में समय लगाएंगे कि किस प्रकार से जो डीओपीटी की गाइडलाइंस है, उनका पालन होना चाहिए और किस प्रकार से एक वातावरण ऐसा बने कि कामकाज मिलजुल करके जनहित में और भारत सरकार की योजनाओं को एक सार्थक ढंग से कंस्टेक्टिव ढंग से आगे ले जाने में हम सब एक-दूसरे का सहयोग कर पाएं।"    


In Uttarakhand, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Smriti Irani unveiled three upcoming FM projects of AIR for Champawat, and Almora District in Pithoragrah today. Transmitters of one and five kilowatt will be setup in these two regions. Earlier she also participated in Vasantotsav Mela in Pithoragarh district which is being organized for the first time. The six day Mela is being organized to promote the cultural heritage of Kumaon region.


Campaigning for Assembly elections in Nagaland has entered its last phase as only three days are left for the purpose. The campaigning for February 27 elections will end on Sunday. All India Radio, Kohima and other media agencies are also hosting Political Broadcast so as to let the people in the remotest part of the State know about their leaders and Political Parties policies. Our correspondent takes a look at the poll scenario.

"Mokokchung district has athe highest with 48 candidates contesting the February 27th elections and closely followed by Mon district with 41 candidates.Among the heavyweights contesting this election are Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang, NDPP leader and former Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio, former Chief Minister K L Chishi and former Chief Secretary Alemtemshi Jamir.The election is likely to witness straight contest between the ruling Naga Peoples’ Front and the Nationalists Democratic progressive Party and BJP alliance.The NPF has fielded 58 candidates, the BJP 20 and the NDPP in 40 out of which former MP Rio is declared unopposed winner.             Anenla Jamir, Kohima, AIR News.

In Meghalaya, State Election department has taken a slew of measures to create awareness among the voters. Chief Electoral Officer FR Kharkonger said that a mega event  "Rock The Boat With Your Vote" will be held tomorrow with an aim to remind people of their responsibilty to vote for a strong democracy.  Polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland will be held on 27th of this month.


In the US, the Trump administration has announced a new policy that makes the procedure of issuing H-1B visas very tough to those who are to be employed at one or more third-party worksites. The new policy announced yesterday, empowers the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to issue H-1B visas to an employee only for the period for which he or she has work at the third-party worksite. We have a desk report in this:-

" Now the issuing of H-1B visas could be of less than three years. The move would reverse the tradition of issuing the H-1B visas for three years at a time. The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers. Indian IT companies, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, has a significant number of its employees deployed at third-party worksites. ANUJA KUMAR AIR NEWS DESK."


In Nepal, the election for a new president will be held on March the 13th. The Election Commission announced  the date for the presidential election after a meeting held at Kathmandu on Thursday under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner Dr.  Ayodhee Prasad Yadav. The decision was taken after having consultations with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and leaders of political parties. As per the schedule announced by the Election Commission, nominations will be filed on March the 7th.

The President will be elected through an Electoral College comprising members of both the houses of parliament (House of Representatives and the National Assembly) and  members of Provincial Assembles. There are 334 members of federal parliament and 550 members of state assemblis in seven provinces.


Australian Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader, Barnaby Joyce today said he will step down on Monday. Announcing his decision, Joyce said at a press conference in Armidale, he will resign as Deputy Prime Minister but will remain in parliament. He said he decided to quit after an allegation of sexual harassment and denied any wrongdoing. 

Joyce, has been in the news for two weeks since it emerged that he had left his wife of 24 years for his younger former media adviser, who is now expecting their baby boy.


Back home, Himachal Pradesh is likely to witness widespread snowfall this weekend due to a western disturbance. Met Department has predicted widespread snow in higher reaches of Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Sirmaur and Chamba districts. It said, most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Manali and Dalhousie, located in mid-hills, may witness moderate snowfall this weekend. Met department said, lower hills and plains are likely to see rain and hailstorm.


In Arunachal Pradesh, the three-day ‘Festival of Arunachal’ which started with the celebration of the 32nd Statehood Day of the state, concluded yesterday evening. During the festival various tribes of the state and from outside showcased their cultural and traditional identity.


Key benchmark stocks today surged in afternoon trade extending early gains. The BSE index regained psychological 34,000-mark.  The Sensex, was up 321 points or 0.95 per cent at 34,140. The Nifty-50 index also added 105 points or 1.01 per cent to 10,487.  The rupee today recovered 21 paise against the dollar after yesterday's slid beyond 65. In afternoon trade it was at 64.83. 


Ace striker Rani Rampal was today named captain of a 20-strong Indian women's hockey team for next month's series against Korea. Announcing this, chief coach Harendra Singh said in New Delhi the Korea Tour will help to analyse the areas that require improvement ahead of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

India will play five matches against the hosts at the Jinchun National Athletic Centre, from the 3rd to 12th of next month.


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