18 February 2014

  • Telangana Bill to be taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha today.

  • Supreme Court to pronounce verdict on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case on plea of three death row convicts for commutation of their sentence to life imprisonment.
  • Twenty-two militia members of the banned CPI Maoists surrender in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal says that his party is against crony capitalism not capitalism.
  • Peace talks between Pakistan government and Taliban breaks following reported killing of 23 soldiers.
  • Brendon McCullum hits New Zealand cricket's first triple test century against India even as the team reaches its highest ever test score of 680 runs.
The Telangana Bill will be taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha today. The Bill has been mentioned in today's business list. Talking to reporters in New Delhi yesterday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that those, who want to oppose the bill, can do so in a parliamentary manner. Meanwhile, the Congress has issued a whip to its members to be present throughout the week.
The government has reached out to the opposition BJP to seek its support in passage of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in Parliament. Sources said that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, accompanied by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh met the BJP leaders in Parliament House in this regard. Sources said that the  BJP cautioned the government  not to pass the bill amid din and without a discussion.
Delhi police have detained YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and his followers when they tried to proceed towards Parliament house in protest against Andhra Pradesh bifurcation. Earlier, Jagan along with his followers held a dharna at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.
Chairman of the Committee of Privileges of Lok Sabha,  P C Chacko has said that those behind pepper spray incident in the house  should have been punished the same day. Talking to  reporters outside Parliament yesterday, Mr. Chacko said Speaker Meira Kumar's report has not come to him and when it reaches, the meeting of the committee will be convened to take a decision.
Meanwhile, The Committee on Security in Parliament has deliberated on the issue of frisking of MPs as part of efforts to stop entry of harmful and life threatening material into the complex. The meeting of the 10 member Committee headed by Deputy Speaker of LoK Sabha, Karia Munda was convened in New Delhi yesterday in the wake of the pepper spray incident on last Thursday.
The Supreme Court will decide the fate of three death row convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case today. The court will pronounce its verdict on their plea for commutation of their sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea. The judgement will be delivered by a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam.
The ban on mining of iron ore in Goa will continue as the Supreme Court  has extended the time by a month for submission of the report by the panel.
The panel was asked to suggest the annual cap on volume of iron ore to be extracted. A three-judge forest bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik yesterday said, unless they deliver judgement, no mining can resume. The bench posted the matter for March 24 and asked the apex court-appointed six-member committee to submit its final report by March 15.
The Centre has de-allocated 10 coal blocks allotted to various firms for delaying production from the mines. The decision comes close on the heels of the Inter-Ministerial Group, IMG on coal blocks recommending de-allocation of 29 mines. The Coal Ministry said, the decision to de-allocate mines was taken after due deliberations and taking into account all material facts and recommendations of the IMG.
Our correspondent reports that the Coal Ministry had reviewed the progress of 61 coal blocks earlier this month.
In Andhra Pradesh, twenty-two militia members of the banned CPI, Maoists have surrendered before Visakhapatnam Rural Police. The militia members told the police yesterday that they are giving up arms as they were disillusioned with the Maoist way of life. More from our correspondent:
Addressing the Media, Superintendent of Police, Visakhapatnam Rural, Vikram Jeet Duggal said that, the surrendered Maoists belonged to Mukudapalli and Kindangi villages under Koyyuru Police Station limits and Pothuraju Gummalu village of Gudem Kotha Veedhi police station limits in Visakha agency. According to the police, the surrendered militia members were involved in activities like blocking the roads by cutting trees, pasting Maoist banners and posters, and providing food supplies to them. Five other Maoists were arrested by police. Henry, AIR News, Visakhapatnam
Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal has called for stable tax laws and said that he is against crony capitalism not capitalism. Addressing the captains of Indian industry in New Delhi yesterday, he said that governments should focus on governance and leave trade and business to private sector. Kejriwal said improved governance will create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to do well as they have more job potential. Dismissing allegations leveled against his one-and-half-month government in Delhi, Kejriwal claimed that he has done more than what successive governments did during the sixty five years of their rule.
Delhi Congress has said that it will launch a series of agitations in the city to expose the lies through which Aam Aadmi Party had come to power. Slamming AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for stepping down as the chief minister, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said in New Delhi yesterday that Kejriwal has insulted the people of Delhi with his resignation in the name of Jan Lokpal Bill. Meanwhile, Delhi BJP has also decided to hold a dhrana today at Jantar Mantar against the Aam Aadmi Party.
The peace talks between the Pakistani government and the Taliban broke due to reported killing of 23 soldiers. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the killings of 23 security personnel by the Taliban militants and said the country cannot afford bloodshed any more. In reaction to the incident, the four-member government-appointed committee refused to hold talks with the Taliban intermediaries, who were scheduled to meet yesterday. On Sunday night, the chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Mohmand faction Omar Khalid Khorasani issued a statement where he claimed the killings of 23 men held in custody since 2010 from a check post in Shongari.   
Indo-Bangladesh relations crossed a significant milestone when India's ONGC Videsh Limited bagged a contract for exploration and extraction of gas and oil in two shallow water blocks of Bangladesh. The State-owned Petrobangla inked two Production Sharing Contracts with the ONGC Videsh last evening. A report
This is the first time that an Indian company has won a bid for hydrocarbon exploration for Bangladesh. Under the deal signed last evening, ONGC Videsh in partnership with OIL India will invest around 135 million dollars for exploration and drilling during the contract period of 8 years. Until the recovery of its investment, ONGC will get 55 per cent of the explored resources, and the rest will be shared between Petrobangla and ONGC. The agreement is expected to alleviate the growing demand for gas in Bangladesh. Melinda Dias for AIR News, Dhaka.
In Iraq, at least 24 persons have been killed while more than 92 have been injured in a series of bomb blasts in and around Baghdad yesterday. The toll may rise as many injured are in serious condition. The blasts targeted two Shiite mosques and a busy bus station. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Iran and the six major world powers - US, UK, France, Russia, China PLUS Germany will hold the next round of talks over Teheran’s nuclear program in Vienna today. Ahead of the talks, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said despite being engaged in nuclear talks with the P5+1 group, Iran was not optimistic about the negotiations. However, he affirmed that talks will continue and Iran will carry on with its peaceful nuclear program for civilian purposes.
In the second and final Cricket Test at Wellington, India were 90 for three in their second innings against New Zealand on day five at tea. With the help of Skipper Brendon McCullum triple-hundred in test cricket New Zealand reached its highest ever test score of 680 runs. A desk report:

New Zealand today declared their second innings at the score of 680 runs for 8 wickets. Skipper Brendon McCullum scored New Zealand cricket's first test triple century after steering his team out of danger against India. McCullum scored 302 runs before losing his wicket today. Earlier, the hosts resumed their second innings play at the overnight score of 571 for six. India had made 438 in their first inning in reply to hosts 192 all out. New Zealand is already leading the 2-match series 1-0.

In the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup 2014 in UAE, India has moved into the quarter finals from
Group-A. Powered by superb spin bowling and hattrick by Kuldeep Yadav and controlled aggression by Sarfaraz Khan and Deepak Hooda, Indian colts defeated Scotland by five wickets in Dubai yesterday.

And in Tennis, India's Sania Mirza will begin her quest for the Doubles Tennis title at the Dubai Duty Free WTA Championship for women in Dubai today. This is Lalima Aneja Dang for Sports Desk, AIR News.
  • Interim budget hogs the lime light in almost all newspapers. Hindustan Times covers it under the headline "PC offers parting sops. Taxes slashed: Cars, two-wheelers, mobile phones, ACs and refrigerators will get cheaper". Meanwhile, Mail Today writes that the impact of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was clearly felt when Finance Minister P. Chidambaram opened his purse to provide pension to 3 million ex-servicemen.
  • Capping, a two and half month long investigation, the Goa crime branch has formally charged Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal with raping a junior colleague writes the Hindu.
  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi is now formally under the centre's direct rule, with the assembly in suspended animation reports the Asian Age.
  • According to the Tribune legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh's ancestral house, school and his village in Punjab province in Pakistan will be restored under a Rs. 80 million project to make it a tourist attraction.
  • "Andhra CM transfers officials, 'gets ready to quit'", writes the Indian Express. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy transferred key officers in the Chief Minister's office prompting reports that he would put in his papers on Tuesday when the Telangana Bill is set to be taken up by the Parliament.
  • The Hindustan Times writes that researchers have developed novel black raspberry based functional foods that can withstand the rigors of a large-scale cancer prevention trial.

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