16 January 2014

1400 HRS.
16 January, 2014
  • India and South Korea sign nine agreements in different areas, including trade and commerce.
  • Delhi High Court restrains media from publishing or televising contents of sexual harassment allegations against ex-SC judge.
  • Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh files three defamation suits against BJP leaders in CJM Court at Shimla.
  • India and Sri Lanka begin repatriation of fishermen detained in their captivity.
  • Sensex drops over 40 points in afternoon trade; Rupee weakens 4 paise at 61.58 against the dollar.
  • Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, with their team-mates, advance to second round of Australian Open Tennis tournament.
India and Korea have signed nine pacts in different areas to deepen economic co-operation and bolster defence engagements. The pacts include Protection of Classified Military Information, peaceful use of space and establishment of Nalanda University. The agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye in New Delhi this afternoon.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said India and Korea have agreed to set up CEOs Forum to provide new ideas for deepening economic collaboration. The Prime Minister said, sustaining trade growth and expanding economic exchanges are necessary for stronger India- Korea relations. He said, today's meeting between him and visiting dignitary will strengthen the strategic partnership between the two sides.
"President Park and I had an opportunity to touch upon regional issues, particularly developments in the Korean peninsula and our co-operation in the East Asia Summit. The visit of President Park has imparted fresh momentum to our partnership. I am confident that our talks today have laid out a roadmap for the expansion and enhancement of our strategic partnership in the coming years."
Dr Singh added that both the countries have agreed to initiate a cyber affair dialogue between both governments. He said, India has also decided to extend tourist visa on arrival facility to the nationals of the Republic of Korea.
"I have conveyed to President Park the decision of the Government of India to extend a tourist visa-on-arrival facility to the nationals of Republic of Korea. We are also exploring the possibilities of better civil aviation links."
Earlier in the morning, the South Korean President was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The visiting dignitary is scheduled to meet the President, the Vice-President and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha during her four-day stay in the country. The South Korean President is accompanied by a delegation, which includes the Foreign Minister, the Minister for Science and the Minister for Trade and Industry. Our correspondent reports, the visit will strengthen the India-Korea Strategic Partnership. The two countries have a very robust economic relationship and bilateral trade reached over 18 billion Dollar in 2012.
The Delhi High Court has restrained the media from publishing or televising contents of sexual harassment allegations against former Supreme Court judge Swatanter Kumar. The court ordered two news channels and a daily to delete offending contents from their reports relating to the case. The High Court also asked the media not to carry the photograph of Justice Swatanter Kumar in any news items. The restraint order would be effective till February 24, next date of hearing. Justice Swatanter Kumar yesterday moved the High Court seeking to restrain the media from reporting the alleged sexual assault case of his former woman law intern.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has filed three defamation suits against BJP leaders in the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court at Shimla today. The BJP leaders against whom the defamation suits have been filed had made allegations of corruption against the Chief Minister a few days back. Addressing a press conference in Shimla this morning, Mr Singh said a joint suit has been filed against BJP's national leader Arun Jaitley and opposition leader in Himachal State Assembly Prem Kumar Dhumal.
"Arun Jaitley and Dhumal deliberately suppressed facts in their press conferences to suit their political motive. They have made selective opportunist disclosures and tried to mislead the people by twisting vital facts."
The Chief Minister said, one suit has been filed against Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha National President and BJP MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur and one against his younger brother Arun Dhumal.
The Maharashtra government has decided to withdraw around 1.46 lakh minor and old cases lodged against people in the state. A senior home department official said, these cases will be withdrawn using Sections 288 and 321 of CrPC. The bulk of these cases involve participation in political or social agitations. There are around 35-40 lakh minor cases pending in courts and the punishment in these cases does not exceed three months. Committees at the district and state level have been formed to scrutinize the cases to be withdrawn.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny has charged the party with deviating from its poll promises and principles. He accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government of not delivering what it had promised on several issues, including 50 per cent reduction in power tariff. Addressing a press conference this morning, Mr Binny said there is difference in what AAP says and does. He denied allegations that he is greedy for power.Referring to the alleged recent gangrape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist at knife-point near New Delhi railway station, Mr Binny said, the party should be ashamed of it.
"If there was any other government in power at this time, the Aam Aadmi Party would have held demonstrations. But now, there is not even a statement. You said, a commando force would be set up. Nothing has even started yet."
Reacting sharply to the allegations of Mr Binny, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said, the party is surprised and sad after hearing the charges leveled by him. Speaking to reporters this afternoon, he said, Political Affairs Committee of the party will decide whether to issue a show cause notice to Mr Binny and take disciplinary action against him. He said, there were many party forums where he could have aired his grievances. Mr. Yadav said that AAP government is just two weeks old and it has done its best to fulfill its poll promises.
"I am grateful that we are expected to do more than what we have done. And, I would urge people to continue to do so because it would keep us on toes. But please do remember, it's only a little over two weeks. About referendum, the Aam Aadmi Party is committed to seeking people's opinion on every critical major issue like forming the government itself."
Mr Yadav said, the party has fulfilled its promises like reduction in power tariff and free water supply to households consuming 20 kilo litres water per month. Mr Yadav alleged that Mr Binny's speech seems to be prompted by BJP.
Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia has said there is no issue in the audit of power companies by CAG, which has been ordered by the AAP government in Delhi. He told reporters in New Delhi, if the companies are transparent and they have nothing to hide there should be no objection to a CAG audit. Mr Scindia said that power distribution is a state subject and the state governments can give subsidy to power consumers from their treasuries. He also said that the electricity rates are fixed by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Centre has nothing to do with it.
The Indian Coast Guard and Sri Lankan Coast Guard have started the repatriation of Tamil and Lankan fishermen today. The Indian Coast Guard officials told AIR that the repatriation process is going on and Indian fishermen will be brought back to the coast. More from our correspondent:
"Indian Coast Guard officials took the 52 Lankan fishermen in Indian Coast Guard Ship Vishwast. They were handed over to Sri Lankan Coast Guard. Indian Coast Guard will bring back 51 fishermen handed over by Sri Lankan Coast Guard. They will be handed over to Karaikal fisheries authorities according to Indian Coast Guard officials by today evening. Among the Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka, 32 are from Karaikal and 19 are from Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu. There is a sense of relief amongst the fishermen families of Nagapattinam, Rameswaram and Mandapam hearing the news about release of Tamil fishermen lodged in Lankan jails. However, they insist that only if they get their fishing boats they can pursue their livelihood. K. Devi Padmanabhan, AIR News, Tiruchirapalli."
One more Indian fisherman, who was also released, will not be handed over to India today, since he fell sick and has been hospitalized.
Giving up all its initial gains, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange stood 46 points, or 0.2 percent in the negative zone, at 21,243 in afternoon trade, a short while ago, on mild selling by investors. Earlier in the morning, however, the Sensex had climbed 54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,343.
The rupee recovered its initial losses against the US dollar but it was still trading 4 paise lower at 61.58 in afternoon trade on good demand for the American currency from banks and importers. The rupee lost 10 paise to 61.64 against the dollar in early trade today. It lost 2 paise to close at 61.54 in yesterday's trade against the dollar.In New York market, the dollar strengthened across the board yesterday after US data underscored a recovery in the manufacturing sector.
The Group of Ministers, GoM, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, today approved incentives to the sugar industry for exports of up to 40 lakh tonnes of raw sugar for two years. The Prime Minister had constituted the panel to address the financial problems being faced by the sugar industry.Talking to reporters after the meeting in New Delhi, Food Minister KV Thomas said that the decision has been taken to give incentives to promote raw sugar as a new product. He said, the quantum of incentives would be worked out soon, taking inputs from the Finance Ministry.
The Congress Working Committee, CWC will meet in Delhi this evening, ahead of tomorrow’s All India Congress Committee, AICC meeting. The CWC will give final touch to the issues which will come up for discussion  in the AICC meet.In the AICC meeting, the party will fine tune its strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, besides discussing the issues which will be incorporated in the poll manifesto. It is also significant amidst the talks of anointment of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi as Prime Ministerial candidate.
On the other hand, the BJP National office bearers meeting is also taking  place in the national capital this evening, before the party’s three-day brainstorming National executive and council meeting, beginning tomorrow.Party Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the conclave will discuss issues related to social, political, economic and internal security. The party will also brush up its strategy for the next general elections.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today refused to react to RK Singh's allegations against him, saying he does not consider the retired bureaucrat as being a former home secretary but as a BJP politician. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Mr Shinde said his allegations are politically motivated. Singh has claimed that the Home Minister had allegedly interfered with the transfers and postings of the Delhi Police. He has also accused Shinde of having given wrong information in the matter of the US helping India bring back underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Mr. Shinde said, his party and ministerial colleagues had already reacted to Singh's allegations.
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, with their team-mates, today advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Tennis tournament at Melbourne. In the Women's Doubles first round, the sixth seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair of Sania Mirza and Cara Black defeated the Aussie team of Arina Rodionova and Tammi Patterson in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
In the Men's Doubles opening round, the Indo-Pak team of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi beat the Australian-French combination of Rameez Junaid and Adrian Mannarino, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.
In the Singles, World Number One Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki have made it to the third round.
People in the Chinese capital Beijing are being warned to take precautions after air pollution reached dangerous levels. The monitoring post of the US embassy said, the pollution was briefly more than 25 times higher than the mark considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

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