17 January 2014

2100 HRS.
16th January, 2014
  • Congress Party not to declare its Prime Ministerial candidate before the elections; Rahul Gandhi to lead party campaign in Lok Sabha Polls.
  • BJP's three day National Executive and Council meeting to begin tomorrow in New Delhi.
  • CBI registers five cases for alleged irregularities in supply of equipment to Delhi Jal Board.
  • Winter Session of Parliament to resume from 5th of next month.
  • Delhi High Court restrains media from publishing or televising contents of sexual harassment allegations against Ex-Supreme court judge Swatanter Kumar.
  • Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu crash out from the Malaysia Super Series Premier badminton event in Kualalumpur.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will lead the party campaign in Lok Sabha polls and party will not declare its Prime Ministerial candidate before the elections. A decision in this regard was taken at the Congress Working Committee(CWC) meeting held in New Delhi ahead of tomorrow's All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting. Briefing reporters after the meeting, party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said it has been unanimously decided that next general elections will be contested under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
He said, Congress President  Sonia Gandhi told CWC that there is no tradition of party anointing a Prime Ministerial candidate before polls.
When Rahul Gandhi's candidature was discussed. The Congress President said, there is no such precedence in the Party. If any party has declared its Prime Ministerial candidate, it is not mandatory for us to do the same.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh senior party leaders including A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Sushilkumar Shinde also attended the CWC meeting. In the tomorrow's AICC meeting, party will fine tune its strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Reacting to the decision, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Congress knows that it will not come to power and therefore party has not declared Rahul Gandhi as its PM candidate. Party MP Maneka Gandhi today said Rahul Gandhi is no match for BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
BJP says, the party will focus on wining 272 plus seats in the next Lok Sabha elections.The National office bearers meeting was held in Delhi today. The office bearers meeting was held ahead of BJP's three-day brainstorming National executive and council meeting beginning tomorrow in New Delhi.Party senior leaders including L. K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitely, Murli Manohar Joshi and Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states attended the meet.
The party’s national executive and council meeting will pass two resolutions on Political and economical fronts and brush up its strategy for the next general elections. It will also discuss issues related to social, political, economic and internal security.
The Central Bureau of Investigation-CBI today registered five cases against 13 officials of Delhi Jal Board-DJB for alleged irregularities in supply of equipment for sewage treatment plants. Of them, eight are executive engineers and five are junior engineers. CBI spokesperson said that the investigating Agency conducted searches at 21 locations in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida in this regard. The DJB officials allegedly conspired with a private firm to cheat the Government to the tune of six crore rupees by supplying spurious and cheap items. The officials allegedly used forged and fake documents for the purpose.
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on scrapping of around 200 coal blocks allocation after holding a marathon arguments spanning over 16 months. A three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, which had agreed to look into the alleged irregularities in coal block allocation on September 14, 2012, wrapped up the proceedings which witnessed the Centre itself putting in motion the process of deallocating some coal blocks.
The bench heard the arguments of all concerned parties involved in the allocation, including the seven mining states and the association of mining companies.
The government has decided to deallocate all the captive coal blocks which have not obtained environment and in-principle forest clearances and has issued show-cause notice to allocatees of 61 such blocks. Director in the Coal Ministry, S K Shahi said in a letter to allocatees that the coal blocks, which are unexplored or partially explored at the time of allocation and where prospecting licence has not been obtained, will also be cancelled. The letter added that in cases of coal blocks where licence has been issued but geological reports have not been prepared, will also be cancelled.
The Supreme Court today told the Centre to take a call on providing reservation in appointment for faculty posts in speciality and super speciality posts in medical colleges including the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The Centre had moved the apex court seeking review of a 1992 Constitution Bench judgement in the Indra Sawhney case which had said there could be no compromise with merit at super speciality stage.
A five-judge bench headed by justice H L Dattu said the Centre has to follow the advice given in the Indra Sawhney case. The bench also said if the government wants to give reservation, it can give it and if the matter comes to court then the it will see.
Resumed Winter session of Parliament will be held from 5th to 21st of next month. This was stated by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath in New Delhi today. Our correspondent reports that the session will be a continuation of the Winter session as both Houses were not prorogued.
In Uttar Pradesh the National Human Rights Commission NHRC today recommended for providing 70 lakhs 50 thousand rupees as monitory relief to the next kin of victims in 43 cases related mainly police action, including, deaths in encounter and in custody. On the second day of its three day Camp Sitting at State capital, two division benches of the Commission has taken 43 cases for hearing.
Our Correspondent reports that yesterday on first day of its hearing the Commission had recommended 45 lakhs monetary assistance in 8 cases of encounter. The Commission had taken 34 cases yesterday as part of its three day camp sitting relating to deaths in encounter and in police custody.
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. Dr Singh said, India has also decided to extend tourist visa on arrival facility to the nationals of the Republic of Korea.
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 who 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. 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.
Sri Lanka today ordered the release and repatriation of next batch of 111 Indian fishermen who are presently lodged in Trincomalee prison. These fishermen are likely to be handed over to the Sri Lanka Navy for transfer to Indian Coast Guard tomorrow.
Earlier in the day the first batch of 51 Indian fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard at sea. Later the  Coast Guard handed over the fishermen to fisheries officials at Karaikkal this evening.
It was a happy homecoming for 51 Tamil fishermen who were released from Sri Lankan jails at Karaikkal today evening. The Indian Coast Guard had brought back the 21 fishermen from Karaikal, 20 from Pudukottai and 10 fishermen from Nagapattinam in the Coastguard ship Vishwasth. The family members of the fishermen expressed their joy and they are returning to their local villages in Jagadapattinam, Kottaipattinam and Nagapattinam. Indian Coast Guard officials handed over 52 Sri Lankan fishermen released from Tamil Nadu jail to the Lankan Coast Guard at the International Maritime Boundary Line today. The release of Tamil fishermen has given a ray of hope to the fishermen families in Nagapattinam, and Ramanathapuram districts. But they want the remaining fishermen to be released immediately alongwith their fishing boats. They want a lasting solution to the problem so that they can venture out for fishing without the fear of being apprehended by Lankan Navy again. K Devi Padmanabhan, AIR News, Tiruchirapalli.
Meanwhile, 52 Sri Lankan fishermen, who were handed over simultaneously by India, reached the port of Kankesanthurai in the evening.
The two countries had agreed yesterday to free all the fishermen held in each other’s custody and to work towards finding a lasting solutions to the problems of fishing communities of the region.
In Odisha, security forces today exchanged fire with a group of armed Maoists inside Kalitota forest of Kotagarh Nuagan area along the border of Kandhamal and Rayagada district.
According to police, a group of armed security personnel had gone inside Kalitota forest for a combing operation when a group of Maoists suddenly opened fire on them. However, there has been no information about casualty in the gun battle so far.
The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange closed with a slim loss of 24 points, or 0.1 percent, at 21,265, today. The Nifty fell 2 points, to 6,319.Stock markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore ended mixed. The rupee gained 1 paise, to close at 61.53 against the dollar. Gold climbed 15 rupees, to 30,050 rupees per ten grams in Delhi. Silver added 100 rupees, to 44,800 rupees per kilo. And Brent crude oil futures fell below 107 dollars a barrel, while U.S. crude lost 15 cents, to 94.02 dollars a barrel. Pradeep Kumar, AIR News.
An Empowered Group of Ministers -EGoM headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, has approved selling of 10 per cent government stake in Indian Oil Corporation-IOC. The EGoM decided to sell the stake in the company to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited-OIL to garner 4,800 to five thousand crore rupees. Talking to reporters after the meeting in New Delhi, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, M Veerappa Moily said, in principle the panel has taken a decision for a block deal and the modalities will be worked out.
India's Kidambi Srikanth has reached the quarter-finals of the men's singles in the Malaysia Super Series Premier badminton. In Kualalumpur today, he defeated Korea's Ven Ho Sone 11-21, 21-19, 21-19 in a pre-quarter final match. Parupalli Kashyap will play his second-round men's singles match later today.
In women's singles, however, India's campaign ended today as both Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu lost their respective second round matches.
Veteran Pakistani cricket journalist Qamar Ahmed became only the third man in history to cover 400 Test matches today, at the third match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Sharjah. The 76-year-old, fondly known as Q to friends and cricketers around the world, follows British journalist John Woodcock of The Times and former Australian captain-turned-writer and commentator Richie Benaud to the milestone.
"American Hustle" and "Gravity" dominated the Academy Award nominations earning 10 nominations apiece. Meanwhile, "12 Years a Slave" followed with nine nominations. All three movies earned nominations for best picture and best director.
The top nominees -- a con-man comedy, a lost-in-space thriller and a harrowing depiction of slavery in America -- have fortified their status as the front-runners for Oscar gold on March 2.

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