15 January 2014

0815 HRS

  • India and Sri Lanka to discuss fishermen issue today in New Delhi.
  • Supreme Court to hear complaint against its former judge Justice Swatanter Kumar on sexual harassment today.
  • India to take up with British government, claim of a UK MP that the Thatcher regime assisted India in Operation Bluestar.
  • Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra rejects opposition demand for her resignation.
  • India to take on Australia in the quarterfinals of Men’s Hockey World League Final this evening.
India and Sri Lanka will discuss issues concerning fishermen of the two countries in New Delhi today. The Sri Lankan delegation, headed by its Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senarathna, will meet External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. Our correspondent reports that the Sri Lankan Minister is also likely to meet the representatives of the Indian fishermen this evening.
The fishing communities from both sides of the Palk Straits are looking forward keenly at the outcome of the discussions today. Although the two counties have already agreed to release the fishermen currently being held by them, what is at stake is the livelihood of the coastal fishermen of the region. Abhishek Dayal, AIR News, Colombo.
India will take up with the British Government, the reported claim of a British MP that the Margaret Thatcher government assisted India in the Operation Bluestar in 1984. The British Minister told the BBC that he had seen documents released after 30 years to back up his claim that the Thatcher regime helped Indira Gandhi plan Operation Bluestar.
Reacting on the reports, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that New Delhi will seek information from them on the issue.
This is a matter which we will now take it up with our U.K counterparts and seek information from them. At this stage, I have nothing further to say. These are purely reports is the media and no factual information has been shared with us so far.
A UK government spokesperson said in London that Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a probe into the matter.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye will arrive in New Delhi today on a four-day visit to India. Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Ms. Geun-hye will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues. She is also scheduled to meet the President, Vice-President, External Affairs Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Some agreements are expected to be signed during the talks.
The Supreme Court will hear today the plea against its former judge Justice Swatanter Kumar on alleged sexual harassment. A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam will take up the PIL filed by a former law intern. The intern, in the petition, has challenged the Apex Court's earlier decision not to entertain any complaint against its retired judges. The petitioner asked for constituting a proper forum to conduct inquiry in such cases and looking into her complaint as it was done in the case of sexual harassment allegations against former judge Justice AK Ganguly.
The Congress has criticised former Home Secretary and BJP leader RK Singh for his statement against Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh described the BJP leader's allegations as opportunistic behaviour. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also said that it is unfortunate that Mr R.K Singh is making such comments after his retirement. Mr. Tewari sought to know why the former Home Secretary did not take up the matter with the Prime Minister when he was in office. The former Home Secretary had accused Mr. Shinde of asking former Delhi Police Chief not to interrogate a Mumbai businessman allegedly close to gangster Dawood Ibrahim and recommending transfers and postings in the city police.
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has rejected the Opposition's demand to resign, despite two days of large anti-government protests in Bangkok. She said, she has a constitutional duty to stay as Prime Minister and that only co-operation and dialogue can resolve the country's month-long political deadlock. She spoke as thousands of opposition protesters marched through Bangkok streets for the second day yesterday.
In Egypt, 11 persons were killed in clashes during voting for the new constitution yesterday. Over 140 supporters of Muslim Brotherhood were also detained on charges of violence and protest. The second and last day's polling will begin today at 12.30 PM Indian time. About 53 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots. Despite a boycott and protest call by Muslim Brotherhood, voter turnout on day one has been reported to be moderate to high. Once the constitution is approved by the referendum, the stage will be set for the Parliament and the Presidential elections after 60 days.
Kuwait will host the second edition of the Syria Donors' conference in Kuwait city today. Around 60 governments along with international agencies have been invited to make their pledges. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will chair the event during which the UN humanitarian agency’s chief Valerie Amos will present the funding requirements for next year. Our West Asia Correspondent reports that India will be represented by the Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahmed.
Despite a harsh winter, fighting between the Government forces and the rebels continues unabated. It has made the lives of more than nine million Syrians miserable. Food, shelter and stocks of medicines are in short supply. It has put enormous pressure on the resources of the neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq which are hosting millions of refugees. United Nations has sought financial assistance worth 6.5 billion US dollars for around 9 million Syrian people. The first Syria Donor’s conference in January last year in Kuwait raised more than 1.5 billion dollars for Syria and it is expected that the donor nations would enhance their contribution this time. Atul Tiwary, AIR News.
Coast Guards of India and Japan began their joint exercise Sahayog Kaijin 2014 off the Kochi coast yesterday. Our correspondent has the details. 
This is the 13th Coast Guard joint exercise of India and Japan.   Along with Indian Coast Guard ship ICGS Samrat and Japan Coast Guard Ship JCG Mizuho, Japanese helicopter Bell 212, Indian aircraft Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercises.  According to the Coast Guard Director General, Vice Admiral Anurag G Thalpyal, India is able to curb piracy activities in the area and monitor their Arabian Sea.  Friendly interactions between the two Coast Guards will continue till tomorrow. M. Smithy, AIR Correspondent, on board Indian Coast Guard Ship Samrat.
The 66th Army Day is being observed today to pay homage to Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. On this day in 1948, General KM Cariappa succeeded the British Army General Roy Butcher and became the first Commander in Chief of the Independent India. Parades along with other military shows will be held at all army command headquarters. The main function has been organised at the parade ground in New Delhi.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA has created a special cell called Sugam to address the difficulties faced by air travellers. Air Travellers can lodge their complaint on any problem relating to flights or airport facilities directly with the DGCA for speedy action. The cell will acknowledge the complaint electronically and direct the airline or airport operator to address the issue within a fortnight. A dedicated e-mail ID has been created for lodging complaints.
The Assam forest department will soon put up an electric fence on the 20 Kilometer stretch in Kamrup district along with Assam-Meghalaya border to prevent wild elephants from entering agricultural fields. Our correspondent has filed this report:
With harvesting season on the anvil the farmers are spending sleepless nights atop trees guarding their shelters and paddy fields. Northeast has 58 elephant corridors comprising 35 percent of wild elephants in the country. Assam government has requested Wild Life India to submit an operational plan for man- elephant conflict mitigation in the forest division of the state. The agriculturist are of the opinion that the traditional means of chasing away herds by burning crackers and lighting bamboo sticks have proved ineffective. Only systematic electric fences can thwart the wild elephant menace. S.P.Mandal, AIR News, Dibrugarh.
India will take on Australia in the quarterfinals of the Men’s Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi this evening. In the other quarterfinals, England will meet Belgium, Germany will face the Netherlands and Argentina will play New Zealand. In Tennis, India will begin its Doubles campaign of the Australian Open in Melbourne today. Mahesh Bhupathi, Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan, with their team-mates will play in their Men’s Doubles first round, while Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza will play later in the tournament. In the Singles, Somdev Devvarman crashed out yesterday after losing in the first round. In Badminton, six Indian shuttlers, including Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and P. Kashyap, will play their first round matches of the Malaysia Open today. And in Football, Christiano Ronaldo has won the FIFA player of the year award for 2013. Ronaldo defeated Lionel Messi and Frank Ribery to win the coveted Ballon d'Or award. Savvy Hasan Khan for AIR News.              

  • Rahul Gandhi finally giving his nod for the big role figures on the front pages of most dailies. "Will he, won't  he be named PM pick on Friday" asks the Times of India, but an Economic Times exclusive categorically says that he will not be announced as the Congresses' PM candidate on the 17th.
  • The Hindustan Times, the Times of India  and The Pioneer show Narendra Modi and Salman Khan at a kite festival in Ahmedabad yesterday. "Salman flies kite with great man Modi, no strings attached" is the Times of India headline, adding that the actor says he'll vote for Congress MP Priya Dutt.
  • In a picture captioned "Temporary  Truce", the Asian Age shows Arvind Kejriwal and Kapil Sibal embracing each other at a Milad-un-Nabi function in Delhi.
  • On the growing popularity of the AAP, the Delhi special of the paper reports that 10 lakh members have joined the party in the last 4 days.
  • The Economic Times reports of the first fissure in Congress - AAP ties, as it writes of Commerce Minister Anand Sharma tearing into AAP to reverse decision on FDI in multi brand.
  • Former Home Secretary R.K. Singh's allegations against Shinde have ben adequately covered by the press, with the Pioneer saying "Sack Shinde if Singh's claims are true - BJP".
  • "Cameron orders probe into Thatcher Link", reads the Tribune headline, about reports that the former British Prime Minister helped Indira Gandhi in the 1984 operation Blue Star.
  • "Anju has the last laugh", says the Statesman, of Athlete Anju Bobby George's medal at the 2005 Monaco World athletics which was upgraded, following the detection of a dope violation by a competitor.
  • And finally, we have all heard that slow and steady wins the race, and how the tortoise beat a rabbit in a race. The Times of India reports that this actually happened yesterday in a skiing competition held for pets in China.

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