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Morning News

0815 HRS
15.12.2018
THE HEADLINES,
  • Mizo National Front chief Zoramthanga to be sworn in as Mizoram Chief Minister today.
  • Congress to announce the name of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister at Legislature Party meeting in Raipur this afternoon.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says India will remain world's fastest growing major economy with 7 to 8 percent growth rate despite global uncertainties.
  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign today to pave the way for formation of a new government.
  • Belgium to take on England and Australia to clash with Netherlands in semi-finals of Men's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswsar.
  • In Badminton, PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma  to play their Semi-final matches in BWF World Tour Finals.

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Mizo National Front (MNF) chief Zoramthanga will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Mizoram for the third term this morning. Governor K Rajasekharan will administer the oath of office and secrecy to him at the Raj Bhawan in Aizawl. The 74-year old MNF leader was the Chief Minister for two terms earlier from 1998 to 2008. In the 40-member Assembly, MNF has bagged 26 seats. More from our correspondent:
"Two days back, MNF President has been nominated as the leader of the legislative party by its newly elected legislators. This will be for the third term that the MNF is forming government in Mizoram and after a gap of 10 years. Earlier, it has run governments during 1998 to 2008 for two consecutive terms and was headed by Zoramthanga as Chief Minister.
Officials said Chief Ministers of other north eastern states have been invited to attend the ceremony. Irene, AIR News, Aizawl."

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In Chhattisgarh, the Congress is all set to name its Chief Minister today. More from our correspondent: 
"Newly elected Congress legislature party is scheduled to meet today.  Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s decision regarding his choice for chief minister would be announced at the meeting.  Earlier, AICC observer Mallikarjun Khadge had a meeting with Congress legislators on 12th December in Raipur and submitted his report to the party  President. Later, the Congress chief summoned senior state leaders Bhupesh Baghel, TS Singhdeo, Tamradwaj Sahu and Charandas Mahant to New Delhi to have a discussion with them.  AICC General Secretary and party in charge for Chhattisgarh P L Punia was also present during the meeting.Vikalp Shukla, AIR News, Raipur."

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Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath will take oath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on Monday. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Lal Parade Ground in Bhopal. Our correspondent has filed this report:
"Preparations are in full swing for the oath ceremony. The 72 year old Kamal Nath will be sworn in as the 18th chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. The nine-time Lok Sabha member from Chhindwara was elected as the leader of Congress Legislature Party after hectic parleys. While talking to media persons  yesterday Kamal Nath said that strengthening the farm sector, ensuring safety of women and job creation will be his priorities. Sanjeev Sharam, AIR News, Bhopal."

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In Rajasthan, Governor Kalyan Singh has invited senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot to be sworn-in as the Chief Minister. Mr Sachin Pilot will be Deputy Chief Minister. The oath taking ceremony is expected to take place on Monday. A Congress delegation had called on the Governor last night about the government formation. The delegation handed over a letter containing names of MLAs supporting Mr Gehlot.

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President Ramnath Kovind will visit Gujarat today. During his day-long stay, he will visit the Statue of Unity - the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadia Colony in Narmada district. Mr Kovind will also visit various places like ‘Valley of Flowers’, ‘Wall of Unity’, ‘Museum and Exhibition Halls’ and others at the venue of the Statue of Unity. During the visit, the President will be accompanied by Gujarat Governor OP Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal among others. The Statue of Unity venue will remain closed for the public till 12 noon. 

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The Supreme Court has dismissed a curative petition seeking to re-examine its verdict upholding the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as CBI Special Director. The petition was filed by NGO, Common Cause, whose review petition was also earlier held to be devoid of merits.
After an in-chamber hearing, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said they have gone through the curative petition and connected papers. The bench, also comprising Justices M B Lokur, A K Sikri and A M Sapre, passed the order on December the 11th and was made public on the apex court's website yesterday.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said India will clock a growth rate of 7 to 8 per cent despite global uncertainties and will retain the tag of the world's fastest growing major economy. He said the economy is now fairly large to display a certain degree of resilience. Speaking at the inauguration of the FICCI Annual General Meeting in New Delhi yesterday, Mr Jaitley said the government will stick to the 3.3 per cent fiscal deficit target in the current financial year.
"We still maintain our position as the fastest amongst the major economies in terms of  our growth, our ability to be within that 7 to 8 percent range, is fairly certain. Even in this year despite all the odds, we will be able to maintain our fiscal targets, because when current account deficits are impacted by the oil prices and the strengthening dollar, the last thing that India can afford is to run itself into a twin deficit situation."
Mr Jaitley said, there is a need to focus on several unreformed sectors in the economy. He also cited the need to improve credit flow and tackle liquidity. The Minister said the government intends to overtake the UK in terms of GDP and come close to Japan in terms of GDP rather than per capita income in the course of the next few years.
On RBI, Mr Jaitley said the government respects its autonomy and independence. He said pointing out credit and liquidity issues is not infringing on autonomy.

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Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla has clarified that Public Sector Banks do not have any plans to shut down their ATMs. His statement assumes significance amidst a report by the Confederation of ATM industry warning that nearly half of the 2.38 lakh machines run the risk of closing down by March next year. In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Mr Shukla said mobile banking services and various digital modes of banking facilities are also available in the country. He said, there are  2.21 lakh ATMs deployed in the country as on September the 30th.  
Mr Shukla said, Public Sector Banks have recovered 2.33 lakh crore rupees worth of bad loans during the past four years. He said, out of these 32 thousand 693 crores are from written-off accounts.
Mr Shukla said, over 3000 suspected cases of GST evasion involving an amount of around 13 thousand crore rupees have been identified till the end of last month. He said, an amount of nearly eight thousand crore rupees has been recovered between April and November this year.

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will hold delegation level talks with visiting Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian in New Delhi today. The two sides will review the broad gamut of the multi-faceted India-France bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Minister Le Drian will also attend the signing of contract for cooperation between Atos (a European IT services corporation with its headquarters in Bezons, France) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) for the development of supercomputers in India.
Minister Le Drian will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening. 

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In Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will resign today to pave the way for formation of new government under ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe. His son Namal Rajapksa said the resignation will follow an address to the nation. He added that Mr. Rajapksa party will work with others under a broad coalition.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to vacate interim order of lower court restraining Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning. A Presidential advisor yesterday confirmed that Mr. Wickremsinghe will be appointed as the Prime Minister by Monday and President Maithripala Sirsiena has reportedly agreed to it.  More from our correspondent:
"The seven weeks long political drama will come to an end by tomorrow and status quo will be restored as it existed before October 26. These weeks saw appointment of Mr. Rajapaksa as PM, proroguing and dissolution of parliament followed by motions showing lack of majority for Mr. Rajapaksa. The change came after two supreme court orders in last two days against dissolution of parliament and refusal to give interim relief to Mr. Rajapaksa government for functioning. With return of Mr. Wickremsinghe tomorrow, exercise has also begun for cabinet formation and it has to be seen whether some groups outside his coalition join the government. Santosh Kumar for AIR NEWS, COLOMBO."

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Olympic silver medallist Belgium will be looking to create history by making their maiden World Cup final appearance when they take on England in the first semi-final of Men's Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswsar today. The match will begin at 4 this evening.
Meanwhile, a rare history awaits two-time defending champions Australia as they chase a record hat-trick of titles, taking on the Netherlands in the second semi-final at 6.30 p.m. The World No. one Australia is second only to four-time champions Pakistan, having won the world title thrice before, which includes back-to-back gold medals in the last two editions of the tournament in 2010 and 2014.

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In Badminton, P.V.Sindhu and Sameer Verma will play their Semi-final matches in BWF World Tour Finals at Guangzhou in China  today. Sindhu will face Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon and Verma will take on All England champion Shi Yuqi of China. Sindhu registered her third straight win to advance to the semi-finals.

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Australia have resumed their first innings on day two of the second Cricket Test against India in Perth this morning. The hosts were 296 after losing 6 wickets, a short while ago. Australia had opted to bat after winning the toss yesterday. India have won the first test at Adelaide by 31 runs.

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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINES:

  • The Supreme Court rejecting a probe into the Rafale deal, and Ashok Gehlot getting the Chief Ministership of Rajasthan, are the lead stories in papers today.
  • "Supreme Court refuses to order a probe into Rafale deal" headlines the Hindustan Times. "Rafale gets Supreme all-clear" writes the Indian Express. The paper also notes "CAG's Rafale report with PAC, says court; PAC chief denies it".
  • On the government formation in Rajasthan, The Times of India states "Rahul picks Gehlot to steer Rajasthan, Sachin is co-pilot". The Economic Times says "Rahul Flags off Gehlot's 3rd Run as Rajasthan CM".
  • The Hindu notices the developing situation in Sri Lanka stating, "Rajapakse to resign, pave the way for Ranil's return".
  • "Nepal bans Indian notes above 100 rupees" reports the Pioneer. DNA headlines, "Nepal ban on INR notes, a tilt towards China". It says, the Nepal government's decision is threatening to set in a frigid winter in relations between the two countries.
  • On the first meeting of the central board of the Reserve Bank of India under new governor Shaktikanta Das, the Economic Times observes "RBI Board Takes Stock of all Issues on Agenda, but Makes No Announcement".
  • "Rajan warns against farm loan waivers", the Times of India carries the former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan's caution against farm loan waivers, instead backing the idea of income transfers to ease distress in the agriculture sector.
  • "I&B, RAW chiefs get 6-month extension" in view of the Lok Sabha polls next year, reports the Asian Age.
  • "Nursery admissions begin today" the Hindustan Times informs that 1700 private, unaided and recognised schools in the National capital will start the process of admission today, with January 7 as the last date for form submission.
  • And finally, Mail Today reports, star Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap tied the knot at a private ceremony in Hyderabad. They posted their wedding photos on Social media, Saina captioning one photograph 'Best match of my life!'

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