Morning News : 18-04-2017


  • Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to hold talks with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today.
  • In Tamil Nadu, Ministers belonging to AIADMK Amma party meet in Chennai to discuss merger with O. Panneerselvam faction.
  • Supreme Court issues notices to I&B Ministry and Central Board of Film Certification on a plea against pre-censorship of movies.
  • Government says, it has initiated steps to bring electronic and digital media journalists under Working Journalists Act.
  • MeT department to issue first forecast for 2017 Southwest Monsoon today.
  • And, in IPL Cricket, Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kings Eleven Punjab by 5 runs at Hyderabad.
Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will hold talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today. The visiting dignitary, who arrived in the national capital yesterday on a 5-day visit, will also meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders. She will be accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning. President Mukherjee will host a state banquet in the honor of the visiting dignitary. Mrs Bhandari is also scheduled to attend a business event during her visit. More from our correspondent:
"This is the first state visit of Ms Bhandari after assuming the office in October 2015.  Apart from official engagements in New Delhi, the visiting dignitary will visit the temples in Dwarka, Somnath and Puri. The visit reflects the priority that both the nations attach to further strengthening of their age-old and unique partnership, underpinned by shared historical and cultural linkages and strong people-to-people connections. The visit is taking place in the backdrop of intensified bilateral engagements at the political and official levels in recent times. In the last six months, this is the fourth visit at the Head of State or Head of Government level between the two countries which is unprecedented. There had been more than 30 official and ministerial level engagements since the state visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal in November last year which clearly illustrate the wide range and depth of cooperative ties with Nepal. WITH SANT BAHADUR, ANUPAM MISHRA, AIR NEWS, DELHI."
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated phase-I of the Link-II pipeline canal of the Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) project at Botad in Gujarat yesterday. It was the second milestone in the 12,000 crore rupee project to pump Narmada water in 115 Dams of the arid Saurashtra region.
Mr Modi had dedicated phase-I of the Link-I canal at Jamnagar in August last year.
In Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the Prime Minister distributed LPG cylinders and cooking kits to about 8,000 poor families under the Ujjwala Yojana. He also allotted homes to 7,000 people under the Pradhan Mantri Urban and Gramin Awas Yojana.
The Centre reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting in New Delhi yesterday. The meeting, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and others, took stock of the prevailing situation in the state, which saw violence during the  recent by-poll to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. Sources said, it discussed various options, including initiating peace talks, to bring back normalcy in the valley. The sources also said, the Ministry issued Standard Operating Procedures for security agencies deployed in the Valley and directed them to use non-penetrative plastic bullets for crowd control or stone-pelting mobs to reduce collateral damage during counter-insurgency operations. They said, pellet guns will be used as a last resort in the non-lethal category. 
In Tamil Nadu, Ministers belonging to the AIADMK Amma party, led by VK Sasikala, held a meeting last night to discuss merger with the rival O. Panneerselvam faction. The surprise meet was held at the residence of State Electricity Minister P. Thangamani. The Ministers told media after the meeting that endorsement of the parent party's district secretaries to get back the impounded "Two Leaves" symbol of AIADMK for submission to the Election Commission was also discussed.
Earlier, in the day, Mr Panneerselvam had said at the Chennai Airport that he would welcome any such unification move. He expressed his belief that talks would happen soon.
Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and a key leader of the ruling AIADMK Amma faction Dr M. Thambidurai also met Chief Minister EK Palaniswamy twice in the state capital yesterday. Our correspondent has filed this report:
"The crucial meeting of the ministers has been held in the absence of the ruling AIADMK Amma faction Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran, who went to Bengaluru to meet its General Secretary VK Sasikala in prison. The unification talks if succeeded would help them to get back the original name of the party, the AIADMK and most importantly the Double Leaves symbol that is frozen by the Election Commission following the split. The major point for discussion by both the factions when held formally would be on who would be the chief minister after reunification and what would be the role of Ms VK Sasikala and her close associates in the unified party. JAYASINGH, AIR NEWS, CHENNAI."
In Manipur, Congress MLA Ginsuanhau, who was elected from Singhat Assembly constituency in the recently held polls, has joined the BJP. Altogether 14 Members of Chandel Autonomous District Council including its Chairman Lhukhosei Zou have also joined the BJP. They joined the party at BJP Manipur Pradesh office in Imphal yesterday in the presence of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.
The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Central Board of Film Certification on a plea against pre-censorship of movies. The court sought the responses on a petition filed by film-maker Amol Palekar. A report:
"The petition has sought action on the report of a committee headed by legendary filmmaker Shyam Benegal which, among other things, had suggested that the censor board's role should be confined to certifying films. In his plea before the top court, Amol Palekar has sought relaxation in the censorship of films by removal of pre-censorship. Palekar has challenged the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph(Certification) Rules, 1983 which imposes pre-censorship on the freedom of speech and expression of the artistes as well as the audience. The petition says the rules have to change in the present days of Internet and social media. It also mentions that when content on television and internet is free of censorship, the same content being altered, cut or deleted before being shown in a cinema hall is an attack on viewers right to equality. TRIPTI SRIVASTAVA, NEWS DESK."
The Supreme Court has referred to a larger bench the issue whether a lawmaker is bound by the party whip even after his or her expulsion. The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Rajya Sabha MP and expelled Samajwadi Party member Amar Singh, who has sought to declare that the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution relating to disqualification on ground of defection do not apply to an elected member of a House who has been expelled by the party.
Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has said, the Centre has initiated steps to bring electronic and digital media journalists too under the ambit of the Working Journalists Act. The Minister said this in Kochi yesterday. He said, if necessary, the BJP-led NDA government would amend the Working Journalists Act. Mr Dattatreya also said, the government has taken steps at the Labour Ministry level to ensure stringent enforcement of the labour laws and implementation of Wageboard recommendations in the newspaper industry.
The Meteorological Department will issue the first forecast for the 2017 southwest monsoon in New Delhi today. Southwest monsoon accounts for about 70 percent of the country’s annual precipitation. It is an annual event that sets the tone not only for agricultural production but also the manner in which the economy, stock markets, inflation and interest rates would move in the year.
According to private weather forecasters, El Nino is likely to play a role again, leading to rainfall slightly below the average this year.
The Telangana government has constituted a Food Commission in tune with the National Food Security Act. The Commission in the state will ensure the supply of essential commodities and will have controlling powers. The six member Commission will be headed by Chairman K. Tirumal Reddy. Our correspondent reports that all the appointees were active workers during the TRS movement since its inception.
In Rajasthan, police have busted a racket involving senior professors of Rajasthan University and arrested nine people in a paper leak case. The accused allegedly leaked M. Com,  Advanced Business Statistics and BA question papers to students. Among the nine arrested, six are professors who are members of the examination committee, anti-cheating squad and examination vigilance committee.
Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will chair the Joint Hindi Advisory Committee meeting of the Urban Ministries in Guwahati today. The meeting is being held for the first time in the North East. Mr Naidu will release a compendium of 2,500 words frequently used and translated from English to Hindi. Several Parliamentarians and officials will also attend the meeting.
In International News,
China has said, it is willing to work with all parties to achieve denuclearisation and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The comments of China’s Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang came hours after US Vice President Mike Pence in Seoul warned North Korea against pursuing its nuclear ambitions. Lu said, the situation in the Korean Peninsula was highly sensitive and all sides should avoid taking provocative actions that add fuel to fire.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol has said, Pyongyang will continue the missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
In IPL Cricket, paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar bagged a 5-wicket haul as defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kings Eleven Punjab by 5 runs at Hyderabad last night. A report:
"Put in to bat, Hyderabad posted 159 for 6, riding on skipper David Warner’s unbeaten 70. Naman Ojha chipped in with 34. In reply, Manan Vohra’s superb innings of 95 went in vain as Punjab were bundled out for 154 with 2 balls to spare. Bhuvneshwar took 5 wickets, including that of Hashim Amla on the first ball of the innings and Vohra in his final over, giving away just 19 runs in 4 overs. He was adjudged man of the match. Earlier in the day, Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Delhi Daredevils by 4 wickets at Delhi to go at the top of the 8-team points table. Today, Gujarat Lions will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at Rajkot at 8 in the evening. WITH SAVVY HASAN KHAN, TANVI TANEJA, AIR NEWS."
  • Newspapers this morning focus on different stories.
  • "Will bring law to ensure doctors prescribe generic drugs" the Times of India quotes the PM in its lead story.
  • "Government to sell stakes in SAIL, IOC, and other prize PSUs" to raise funds for infrastructure and social projects, is the lead in the Hindustan Times.
  • "ED notice to Karti for alleged FEMA violation, Chidambaram says government can't silence my voice" writes the Indian Express.
  • "Aamby Valley to be auctioned as Sahara fails to deposit 5000  crore rupees" reports The Times of India. "All speeches by President, Ministers may be in Hindi" notes The Times of India.
  • "Sting in Narada tail! CBI indicts 12 TMC leaders" states the Pioneer.
  • "FIR on Sasikala's nephew for bid to bribe EC" writes the Asian Age of TTV Dinakaran. "Chinnamma jolted! OPS, EPS camps to merge" is the Pioneer's take.
  • Air India mulls hefty fine upto 15 lakh rupees for unruly fliers, less than a month after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulted a staffer is a story covered by most papers.
  • "4 Lakh companies face deregistration  for not filing IT returns" as part of crackdown on shell campaniles, reports the Times of India.
  • "SC collegium clears pending files, 90 names" for appointment of judges, is a front pages story in the Indian Express.
  • NITI Aayog is drawing up a plan to give full operational autonomy to top educational institutions like JNU, DU and colleges such as SRCC and LSR reports the Times of India.
  • With the blazing heat in the capital, "City fire men get a call every 15 minutes" 50% more than the average for the previous month, reports the Times of India.
  • And finally, "over 50 Indians among 'super achievers'"from Asia under the age of 30, in the Forbes' list, including gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Olympic Medallist Sakshi Malik and Actress Alia Bhatt, reports the Hindu Business Line. 
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