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MIDDAY NEWS

1400 Hrs

23rd August, 2017

THE HEADLINES:

  • Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal resigns taking moral responsibility for recent Muzaffarnagar train derailment which claimed over 20 lives.
  • 74 people injured in today's derailment of Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Government notifies introduction of 200 rupee note.
  • CBI questions Karti Chidambaram following Supreme Court directions in alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media in 2007.
  • Delhi High Court seeks Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's response for allegedly filing false affidavit in Jaitley defamation case.
  • US says Pakistan is using India as an excuse to support terrorist groups.
  • Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba arrives in New Delhi on 5-day visit to India.
  • And, in World Badminton Championships: Saina Nehwal to play for a pre-quarterfinal berth today at Glasgow, Scotland.

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Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal has resigned owning moral responsibility for the Muzzafarnagar train accident which had claimed over 20 lives. Earlier, the Rail Ministry had suspended four officers and transferred one and sent on leave its three top officials, including a secretary-level Railway Board official on the basis of prima facie evidence in connection with derailment of Utkal Express.

Fourteen coaches of the Utkal Express derailed in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh on the 19th of this month. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand when it jumped tracks near Khatauli town.

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In Uttar Pradesh, search, rescue and relief operation is over at the Delhi bound Kaifiyat express derailment site in Auraiya district and all passengers have been evacuated. They have resumed their onward journey by a relief train from Achhalda railway station. The Azamgarh to New Delhi train derailed in Auraiya district early this morning leaving 74 passengers injured. Drivers of the train are also injured. Our correspondent reports the injured have been admitted to Etawah and Auraiya hospitals.

"12 bogies including engine, three coaches of general class, two sleeper class bogies, five AC class coaches and SLR coach were derailed following the accident. Fortunately no causality is reported in the accident. Rail traffic on Delhi Howrah route has been disrupted. Thirteen long route trains are being run on diverted routs and four trains have been cancelled. Sunil Shukla, AIR News Lucknow."

Railway officials have said that repairing of damaged tracks and removal of the derailed coaches is underway and traffic on the route will be normal very soon.

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The Bihar Government has sought help of the Indian Army and another agency of the defence to repair major bridges damaged in the worst flood affected districts of Araria, Purnea and Kishanganj. Road construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav told AIR that as many as 203 roads including state highways and major district roads had suffered extensive damage in 13 flood-hit districts. More from our correspondent:

" After visiting flood affected areas, GOC of Bihar and Jharkhand Sub areas Major General SS Mamak and Commandant Brigadier Manoj Natrajan  said, the army will construct damaged rail bridge between Katihar and New Jalpaiguri. The army will also construct road bridge at Jokihat in the worst hit Araria district. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is camping in the worst affected bordering districts of the state. He will visit relief camps of Kishanganj today and review relief and rescue operations in the affected areas. WITH K.K. LAL REPORT FROM PATNA, ANUJA KUMAR, AIR NEWS."

Meanwhile, the death toll due to flood has risen to 364. Over one crore fifty lakh people in 18 districts are affected, with more than 7 lakh 60 thousand people being shifted to safer places.

Swollen Burhi Gandak wreaked havoc in Muzaffarpur and Samastipur. Surging water of Kamla Balan is engulfing fresh areas of Darbhanga. The flood situation is still grim in Darbhanga, Samastipur and Sitamarhi. Relief and rescue operations are in full swing. Besides Army teams, NDRF and SDRF are carrying out relief and rescue operations. Dry food packets are being airdropped in the affected areas. Over one thousand Six hundred community kitchens have been set up in the flood affected areas.

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The Central government has notified bank notes of 200 rupees. It was done in pursuance of RBI Act and on the recommendation of the Central Board Of Directors of Reserve Bank of India.

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The CBI is questioning Karti Chidambaram, the son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, in New Delhi following the Supreme Court directions in a matter relating to alleged irregularities in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media in the year 2007. On August 18, the Supreme Court had directed Karti to appear before the CBI and to carry with him all necessary documents in his defence keeping in mind the allegations in the FIR. On May 15, an FIR was registered by CBI against Karti and INX Media along with eight others for alleged irregularities in FIPB clearance given to the media house for receiving foreign direct investment  in 2007 when his father was the finance minister.

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The Delhi High Court today sought Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's response on a plea seeking action against him for allegedly filing a false affidavit that he had not instructed his counsel to use derogatory words against Union minister Arun Jaitley. Justice Manmohan issued notice to Mr. Kejriwal and sought his response within four weeks. He listed the matter for hearing on 11th of December. Mr. Jaitley has filed a 10 crore rupee defamation suit against Mr. Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.

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Polling is underway peacefully for by-elections to two Assembly seats in Goa and one each in Delhi and Andhra Pradesh.

In the national capital, by-poll is being held for the Bawana Assembly constituency. The seat fell vacated after Aam Aadmi Party MLA Ved Prakash resigned to join the BJP. Eight candidates belonging to different political parties including Ram Chandra of AAP, Ved Prakash of BJP and Surendra Kumar of Congress are in the fray. 24.39 per cent votes were cast till 1 PM. Over 2.94 lakh electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the bypoll in which EVMs equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail are being used at all polling stations.

In Goa, polling is underway in Panaji and Valpoi. Chief Minister and BJP candidate Manohar Parrikar is contesting for the Panaji seat against Girish Chodankar of Congress, Anand Shirodkar of Goa Suraksha Manch and independent candidate Kenneth Silveira. In Valpoi, there is a contest among Goa’s health minister and BJP’s Vishwajit Rane, Congress’ Roy Naik and independent candidate Rohidas Gaonkar. The polls have been necessitated following the resignation of BJP MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar from Panaji and Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane from Valpoi.

In Andhra Pradesh, polling is taking place for the Nandyal Assembly seat. The seat had fallen vacant due to the death of a sitting Telugu Desam Party MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy. Nearly 30 per cent polling was reported in the first three hours of the by-election. The counting of votes will be held on the 28th of this month.

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The focus of Tamilnadu politics has now shifted to Puducherry even as MLAs who are supporters of TTV Dinakaran's faction have been housed in a private resort there. These MLAs after having withdrawn their support to the ruling AIADMK after the merger of Palanichamy and Panneerselvam's faction were seen in the resort today.

Dinakaran, who is the Deputy General Secretary of the Party, has dubbed the merger as a betrayal of party general secretary Sasikala. He announced the removal of Senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP M.R.Vaithilingam from the primary membership of the party yesterday. Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar was removed today as the secretary of a party forum named after late Jayalalithaa. He also appointed some of his supporters to various party posts.

DMK and the Congress have demanded the Assembly session and wanted to move the no confidence motion if needed, against the present government. Meanwhile Om Shakthi Sekar, an AIADMK MLA of Puducherry, held demonstrations against Dinakaran with hundreds of supporters and reached the venue of the resort.

Police security has been tightened around the resort to prevent any untoward incident. A major decision awaiting the Party is also that of the Election Comission, on the symbol of two leaves even as the RK Nagar Constituency, from where late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was elected, remains vacant for eight months.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the demise of former Manipur Chief Minister Rishang Keishing has left a great void in the politics of the Northeast. In his condolence message, Mr Modi said, Keishing served the region with great diligence. The Prime Minister said, his thoughts are with the family and well-wishers of the leader who passed away in Imphal yesterday.

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Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati launched a corporate book on 'Mann Ki Baat' in Mumbai today and said that the 'Mann Ki Baat' by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a very high bar on mass outreach initiatives. Delivering the inaugural address at Chief Learning Officers Summit, Mr. Vempati lauded 'Mann Ki Baat' for highlighting the efforts of many unsung heroes from everyday life calling it a great beginning. He said, Radio continues to be a platform beyond cities to reach the last man in society.

"The book has very interesting portion on a specific post box that was created for getting all physical mail which continues to pour in, people continue to send inputs, what they would like to hear form the Prime Minister in Mann Ki Baat. And it is setting a testimony how Radio continue to be a platform beyond cities beyond FM to reach to the last man in the society."

Mr. Vempati also emphasized the need to have positive stories about India at a time when there is a persistent inflow of negative reports in foreign media about our country.  He said, Mann Ki Baat is bringing about a huge change in this aspect. He also praised the patient listener in Prime Minister Modi, which, he said, is an important aspect of speaking well.

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Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit was released today from the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai after being granted bail by the Supreme Court in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. A team of Military Police and Quick Response Team of the Army escorted him out of the jail. Purohit was in jail for almost nine years for his alleged role in the case.

The apex court had granted bail to Lt.Col. Purohit on Monday.

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Dismissing concerns over Indian development activities in Afghanistan, a Trump administration official has said, Pakistan is using a perceived threat of encirclement by India as an excuse to continue its support to terrorists. National Security Council  spokesman Michael Anton said during a conference call yesterday that what India is doing in Afghanistan is not a threat to Pakistan. He said India is not building military bases and it is not deploying troops. Anton said in the worst case, the Pakistani government has been guilty of active direct support for terrorist groups. He said, India is not doing the things that would constitute encirclement, which is one of the things that the Pakistanis complain about. His comments came after US President Donald Trump laid out his policy for Afghanistan and the larger South Asian region. Mr Trump sought a greater involvement from India while criticising Pakistan for tolerating terrorist safe havens and for its support to terrorists.

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Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba reached New Delhi this afternoon on a 5-day visit to India. He was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

During this visit, Mr Deuba will call on President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is Mr Deuba's first visit abroad after assuming the office of Prime Minister of Nepal in June this year. A high-level delegation is accompanying the Nepalese Prime Minister.

Our correspondent reports that the upcoming visit will provide an opportunity to both the sides for holding wide-ranging discussions on issues of mutual interest, and advancing age old, special ties of friendship between the two countries.

Apart from official engagements in New Delhi, the Prime Minister of Nepal will visit Hyderabad, Tirupati and Bodh Gaya. In recent years, India-Nepal partnership has witnessed significant growth in all areas of cooperation.

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In World Badminton Championships, London Olympics Bronze medalist Saina Nehwal, will play for a pre-quarterfinal berth today at Glasgow, Scotland. In the women's singles event, 12th seed Saina will take on Swiss Sabrina Jaquet. Rituparna Das and Tanvi Lad will also be seen in the second round action today. Yesterday, PV Sindhu advanced to the pre-quarterfinals.
In Men's Singles, Ajay Jayaram, B. Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma will play for pre-quarterfinal berths today.

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