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News at Nine

2100 HRS
05.12.2018

2100 HRS.



05th December, 2018



THE HEADLINES:-

  • Christian Michel sent to 5-day CBI custody by a Delhi court in Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper deal.

  • Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and two other bureaucrats sentenced to three years jail term in a coal scam.

  • RBI keeps all key policy rates unchanged.

  • Campaigning for Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Telangana ends; Polling on Friday.

  • Sahitya Academy awards for 2018 announced.

  • In Sports: India take on Australia in the first Cricket test of the four-match series at Adelaide tomorrow morning.

  • Germany beat the Netherlands 4-1; Pakistan and Malaysia play one-one draw in Men's World Cup Hockey.

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A Delhi court today sent Christian Michel, British middleman in the 3,600 crore rupee Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper scam case to five-day CBI custody. The CBI had sought a 14-day custody, saying it wants to confront Michel with evidence and also unearth the money trail in the scam. Michel's advocate, however, asked the court to send him to judicial custody.


Michel was produced before Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar this afternoon. A bail plea was also moved on behalf of Michel. The court asked CBI to provide all relevant documents including the charge sheet to Michel. The absconding British middleman was arrested by the CBI at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi in the wee hours today after being extradited to India from the UAE.

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A Delhi court today sentenced former Coal Secretary H C Gupta and two other bureaucrats, S Kropha and K C Samria, to three years imprisonment in a coal scam case. Later, they were granted bail as the jail term was below four years.


On the 30th of last month, the court had found them guilty in a corruption and criminal conspiracy case relating to allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal. 


Managing Director of Vikash Metals and Power Limited, Vikas Patni, and its authorised signatory, Anand Mallick were given 4 year jail term. The court also fined the company one lakh rupees.

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The Reserve Bank of India, RBI, has maintained status quo on all key policy rates in the fifth bi-monthly monetary policy review announced this afternoon. The repo rate remains unchanged at 6.5 percent and the reverse repo rate at 6.25 percent. Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to banks generally against government securities. The reverse repo is the rate at which RBI borrows money from banks. The RBI has kept the marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate at 6.75 percent.


The six-member monetary policy committee headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel unanimously voted to maintain status quo on policy rates. In the last policy announced in October, RBI had kept all the policy rates unchanged.


RBI has lowered its inflation forecast based on moderation in food inflation and sharp decline in international crude oil prices. Mr. Patel said, Inflation is projected to be in the range of 2.7 to 3.2 percent in the second half of this fiscal.


"MPC  was of the view that the broad based reccuring of the food prices and a sharp decline in International crude oil prices impacts at downward buyers to the headline inflation trajectory going forward. In contrast there have been a broad based increase in inflation in non food groups. Accordingly-taking all this together inflation is projected at 2.7 to 3.2 per cent in the second half of 2018-19 and 3.8 to 4.2 per cent in the first half of 2019-20 with risk tilted to the upside.


On the growth front, RBI retained GDP growth rate projection at 7.4 percent for this fiscal and at 7.5 percent in the first half of 2019-20.

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Government has welcomed the RBI's assessment for growth and inflation. Secretary Department of Economic Affairs, Subhash Chandra Garg said the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC assessment is consistent with the Government’s assessment of inflation and growth. Mr Garg said the Government has noted the MPC decision to maintain the policy Rate, but said the policy stance probably required calibration.

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Campaigning for the Assembly elections in Telangana and Rajasthan came to an end this evening. Both the states will go to polls on Friday. Senior leaders of various political parties held back to back rallies to turn the mandate in their favor. Election authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure free and fair polling.


In Telangana, over 2.8 crore electorate will exercise their right to franchise at over 32 thousand eight hundred polling station across the state. A total 1,821 candidates, including 135 women, are contesting in all the 119 assembly constituencies.


"Men and material will start moving towards polling stations from tomorrow onwards with the high-decibel campaigning for the Telangana Assembly elections came to a grinding halt this evening. Elaborate arrangements are in final stage to ensure electors to cast their vote in a fare and free manner. Over 1.5 lakh poll personnel will be deployed at nearly 32 thousand 800 polling stations in 119 constituencies. Over 270 companies of central forces, 30000 state police another over 18000 forces from other states have already reached for deployment. Over 120 crore rupees worth cash have been seized under code violations besides 4 lakh litrs of liquor. Lakshmi, airnews, Hyderabad."


In Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed election rallies at Sumerpur and Dausa while BJP President Amit Shah held a road show in Ajmer. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and state Congress Chief Sachin Pilot also addressed public meetings and held road shows across the state. 


"2 thousand 274 candidates including 189 women are in the fray for 199 out of total 200 assembly seats in the state. Election in Alwar district's Ramgarh Seat is postponed due to death of the BSP candidate. Chief electoral officer Anand Kumar told that all preparations have been completed for conducting free and fair poll. Departure of polling parties has been started from today. There are more than 4 crore 77 lakh voters in the sate including 20 lakh new electors. Jitendra Dwivedi, AIR News, Jaipur."


Counting of votes in Rajasthan and Telangana will be taken up coming Tuesday along with Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.

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In Assam, 65.5 percent polling has been reported in the first phase of panchayat polls, as per a provisional report. State Election Commissioner Harendra Nath Bora said the percentage is expected to increase as reports from a few places are yet to come in. He said, polling was by and large peaceful. He also said that re-polling at a few booths may be required on Friday. A total of 43 thousand 515 candidates are in the fray in this phase.


The ruling BJP and its ally Asom Gana Parisahd are contesting the Panchayat polls independently. Congress, AIUDF, Left parties, Bodoland Peoples Front, Independent candidates among others are also in the fray. 442 candidates have been declared winners unopposed.


The second phase of polling will be held on the 9th of this month. Counting will be held on the 12th of this month.

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Sahitya Akademi today announced its annual Awards in 24 languages. Seven books of poetry, six novels, six short stories, three of literary criticism and two of essays have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards, 2018.


Those who have won the award for their collection of poetry include Sananta Tanti in Assamese, Paresh Narendra Kamat in Konkani, S Ramesan Nair in Malayalam and Dr Rama Kant Shukla in Sanskrit.


Writers who won the awards for short stories include Sanjib Chattopadhyay in Bengali, Mushtaq Ahmed Mushtaq in Kashmiri and Prof Bina Thakur in Maithili.


Inderjeet Kesar in Dogri, Anees Salim in English and Chitra Mudgal in Hindi are among the awardees in the novel category.


The Akademi said, the awards will be presented at a special function to be held on the 29th January next year at New Delhi during the Festival of Letters to be organised by Sahitya Akademi.


An eminent short-story writer, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, bagged the Award for his collection of short stories “AAKH’’. An Indian Information Service officer Mushtaq Ahmad is presently posted as Head of the Regional News Unit at Radio Kashmir Srinagar.

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The government has sanctioned 254 projects worth over 24 thousand crore rupees under the National Mission for Clean Ganga. Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari said, around five thousand crore rupees have been spent in the last four years under it. Mr Gadkari was speaking after inaugurating India Water Impact Summit 2018 in New Delhi today. He said, the government has decided to spend another three thousand crore rupees next year under the programme. He also said the government has earmarked 20 thousand crore for five years towards the Clean Ganga programme.


"Ganga is very important for the country for the people by and large. Its a life line and since inception of Ganga cleaning programme in 1985  to till 2014, Central government spent less than four thousand crore rupees. While after coming of our government have made provision of twenty thousand crore rupees for five year for Ganga."

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Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has convened an all-party meeting on 11th of this month to ensure smooth  proceedings in the Lower House. The Winter Session of Parliament will be held from 11th of of this month to the 8th of January next year.


The government has also called for an all-party meeting on 10th of this month, ahead of Winter Session of Parliament. Eight important bills are likely to be passed in Rajya Sabha and fifteen in the Lok Sabha during the session.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO for the successful launch of GSAT-11, which is the heaviest, largest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite of India.  GSAT-11 was successfully launched by an Arianespace rocket from French Guiana in the early hours today. It is the third in a series of four satellites that will provide the country broadband connectivity of over 100 gigabytes per second.

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Benchmark domestic stocks closed with losses for second consecutive day today due to weak global cues. The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange fell 250 points, to close at 35,884. The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange also slipped 87 points, to 10,783. However, the rupee today appreciated four paise to close at 70 rupees 46 paise against the US dollar.

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Onto the Sports News: India will take on Australia in the first Cricket test of the four- match series at Adelaide tomorrow.  The match will begin at 5.30 a.m. India is entering the series as the No.1 Test team in the world.

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Two-time champions Germany outclassed last edition silver medallist Netherlands 4-1 in their second Pool-D match to inch closer towards booking a direct quarterfinal berth at the ongoing Men's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar today.


In the second match, Pakistan and Malaysia played out a 1-1 draw. With this, Pakistan continue to maintain third position and Malaysia fourth. 


In Pool-A matches tomorrow, Spain will lock horns with New Zealand at 5 p.m. and Argentina face France at 7 p.m.

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