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Last Updated : Jan 17 2021 5:59PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi flags off eight trains connecting different regions of country to Statue of Unity at Kevadiya            Prime Minister says new trains represent the beauty of Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat            Nation's first COVID-19 vaccination drive held successfully, over 1.91 lakh people inoculated on day one            COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 96.58 per cent in the country            Australia finishes day three on 21/0 in their second innings           

Text Bulletins Details

Midday News

1400 HRS

THE headlines:

  • Social Media platforms adopt Voluntary Code of Ethicsfor forthcoming general elections; No political campaign to be run on suchplatforms in last 48 hours before end of polling.

  • An Army jawanmartyred in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Sunderbanisector of Jammu region.

  • United States again asks Islamabad to take concreteaction against terror groups operating from its soil; says China has a responsibility not to shieldPakistan. 

  • Holi- thefestival of colours  being celebrated with enthusiasm across the country.

  • In Sports;Special Olympic world games come to a close this evening at Abu Dhabi; Indiacreates history by winning 368 medals.


Social media platforms andInternet Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) have adopted a Voluntary Code ofEthics for the forthcoming general elections. According to the code submitted tothe Election Commission, IAMAI andplatforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Google, will create a highpriority dedicated reporting mechanism and appoint dedicated teams during thepolls for taking expeditious action on any reported violations. Ourcorrespondent has the details:

No political campaign will be allowed to run onmajor social media platforms in the last 48 hours before polling ends. It has also been agreed to provide a mechanism forpolitical advertisers to submit pre-certified advertisements issued by theMedia Certification and Monitoring Committee. The code also promises to facilitatetransparency in paid political advertisements. The social media companies willtake action on content reported by the nodal officer, expeditiously, inaccordance with the law. IAMAI will act as the liaison between social mediafirms and the poll panel. The code, which comes into operation with immediateeffect, has been developed to ensure free, fair and ethical usage of socialmedia platforms to maintain the integrity of the electoral process. The codewas submitted to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in New Delhiyesterday. This is the first time internet - based firms have voluntarilyadopted the norms for online campaign. WithDipendra, Naveen Kumar, AIR News, Delhi."


In Gujarat, the Election Commission has seized more than 95 lakh rupeesin cash since the 10th of this month when the model code of conduct came intoforce. Briefing media in Gandhinagar, State Chief Electoral Officer Dr S MuraliKrishnan said, maximum 25 lakh rupees have been seized from Amreli district ofSaurashtra by the flying squad deployed by the Commission in each district.Thepoll panel has also appointed nodal officers in each district to keep an eye onthe expenditure made by candidates and political parties.

About 10 thousand cases of prohibition have been registered in thestate since the announcement of Lok Sabha elections. Liquor and otherprohibited items worth 17 lakh rupees have been seized.


In Assam, Campus Ambassadors have been appointed to woo youngvoters in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Jorhat AssistantCommissioner Pallavi Sarkar said, 12 Campus Ambassadors would carry out variousawareness activities including street plays and VVPAT demonstration ineducational institutes in the district. 


An Army Jawan was martyred in shelling and firing by Pakistaniforces from across the border in Sunderbani sector along the Line of Control inJammu region today. Defence sources told AIR Jammu that the forces resorted tounprovoked mortar shelling and small-arms firing in Pallanwala, Jogwan and Keriarea targetting Indian forward positions. The Indian troops retaliated to theceasefire violation effectively, but one Army Jawan lost his life. The exchangeof fire lasted for some time. An Army jawan was martyred in ceasefire violationby Pakistan in the same area on Tuesday.


In Jammu and Kashmir, anti-terror operations are in progress atthree different places in Baramulla and Bandipora districts. Security sourcessaid, the operation in Kalantra Kandi Kreeri area of Baramulla, which wasstopped due to darkness and bad weather last night, resumed this morningresulting in a gunfight. Some gunshots were reported following the launch ofthe cordon and search operation in the area last evening. During the searchoperation, a terror hideout was busted.
In Warpora area of Soporetehsil in Baramulla,
two policemen,including an officer, were injured in an encounter with terrorists. The gunfight brokeout after hiding terrorists opened fire on a joint team of Army, J&K Policeand CRPF. The forces had launched a cordon and search operation in the areafollowing specific inputs about the presence of terrorists there. At least oneto two terrorists are believed to be trapped in the area.

Another anti-terror operation was launched in Mir Mohalla area ofHajin tehsil in Bandipora district today. According to reports, two terroristsare believed to be hiding in Hajin area.


Indiahas welcomed the arrest of fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi by British authoritiesin London, pursuant to the arrest warrant issued by the Westminster MagistrateCourt. Responding to a question, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson RaveeshKumar said, India continues to actively follow up this matter with theauthorities concerned in the United Kingdom, with a view to have Nirav Modiextradited to India at the earliest.


InGujarat, a special SIT court in Ahmedabad has awarded life sentence to one moreaccused in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case. Special SIT court Judge SH Voraconvicted Yakub Pataliya holding him guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy.62 year old Yakub was nabbed by the police from Godhra in Panchmahal districtin January last year. He was on a run for almost 16 years . Earlier, thespecial SIT court had convicted 31 accused and acquitted 63 others in the casein 2011.  59 Kar Sevaks were burnt alivewhen S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was set on fire on 27th of February 2002.


The United States has againasked Pakistan to take concrete and sustained action to rein in terror groupsoperating from its soil, mainly Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. A senioradministration official told reporters at the White House that if there'sanother terror attack on India without Pakistan having made a sustained effortagainst the groups, it would be extremely problematic for Islamabad.

Asked about the steps beingtaken by Pakistan in the aftermath of the air strike on terror by the IndianAir Force, the official said Islamabad has taken some initial action, but it isearly to make a full assessment. He said, US and the international communitywant to see irreversible and sustained action against terror groups. Theofficial added that Washington is working with international partners toincrease pressure on Pakistan.


TheUnited States also said China has a responsibility not to shield Pakistan andjoin the international community in calling on Islamabad to take action againstterrorists operating on its soil. A seniorTrump administration official expressed deep disappointment over Beijing'sdecision to block a bid in the United Nations to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed(JeM) Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.


New Zealand Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern today announced an immediate ban on the sale of assault riflesand semi-automatic weapons in response to the Christchurch terror attack thatkilled 50 people.

She termed it as an interimmeasures that will stop a rush of purchases before legislation on the measurestakes effect.  Meanwhile, Police said thatall 50 victims of last week's terror attack have been identified, allowingburials to take place.


Holiis being celebrated across the country today. The festival of colours signifiesthe victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring.
In Uttar Pradesh, celebrations at Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, started in temples early this morning.
Our Bihar correspondent reports that tight security arrangementshave been made in the state to avert any untoward incident during thisfestival.

"Additionalsecurity forces have been deployed in sensitive areas to ensure peaceful Holi.The Election Commission has asked concerned authorities to monitor activitiesof politicians and political parties during the celebrations. Intelligence andteams of police and Election Commission have been deployed at slum areas,unauthorized colonies, big hotels and farm houses to avert the violation ofcode of conduct. The Election Commission has appealed to people to inform theCommission immediately any violation of Model Code of Conduct. With KK Lal from Patna ,Farhat Naz AIR News".

Our Guwahati correspondenttakes a look at the Holi celebrations in Assam.

Holi is beingcelebrated in the state for upto 3 days at many places including Barpeta,Majuli, Bordowa and Kamrup. The Doul Mahotsav particularly at Barpeta is one ofthe largest events in the state. Holi geet competition has been organised atBarpeta Satra on this occasion. Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi and Chief MinisterSadanand Sonowal have greeted people on the occasion of Holi. Manas Pratim Sarma, AIR News, Guwahati."

Reportsof Holi festivites have also been received fromabroad. In Sri Lanka, several programmes have been organised in capital Colomboand other parts of the country. This year, the lead was taken by Indiancultural center under the High Commission of India to organise programmes andmake people celebrate Holi in a grand fashion.
In Nepal, the festival was celebrated in Kathmandu valley and severalhilly districts yesterday. Holi is also known as Fagu Purnima in the country.The festival is being celebrated today in Terai region.

President Ram Nath Kovind,Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have greetedthe people on the occasion.

In his message, PresidentKovind said, the festival is a celebration of spring and sense of fraternityand mutual goodwill. He expressed hope that the confluence of colours willbring positive energy to all. Vice President Naidu said, it is a festival thatexpresses joy, camaraderie and conviviality. In a tweet, Mr Modi expressed hopethat thefestival of joy will deepen the color of unity and harmony.


TheSpecial Olympics World Games 2019 come to a close in Abu Dhabi this evening.Some of the biggest names in world music will perform at the ceremony whichwill be held at the Zayed Sports City. Our West Asia correspondent has filedthis report:

"Singers Nicole Scherzinger and Keala Settleare among those who will take the stage in the closing ceremony. The event willalso feature the world premiere of the music video for the official song of2019 Special Olympics, 'Right Where I’m Supposed To Be'. The ceremony will alsoput volunteers firmly in the spotlight, celebrating the outstanding commitmentand dedication of the 20,000 individuals who have been the backbone of theGames. Athletes and coaches will take part in a parade to officially bring thecurtain down on the largest sporting and humanitarian event of the year. Indiahas created history at the Games by garnering 368 medals - 85 Gold, 154 Silverand 129 Bronze. Judo and Futsal witnessed Indian participation for the firsttime. Indian special athletes bagged 3 Gold and 1 Silver in Judo, and sevenSilver medals in Futsal. With KANCHANPRASAD from AbuDhabi, SAVVY HASAN KHAN, AIR NEWS."


In Tennis, India's numberone singles player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, has made it to the main draw of theMiami Open, his second straight Masters appearance. Prajnesh defeatedBriton  Jay Clarke, 6-4, 6-4 in thesecond qualifying round of the ATP-1000 tournament in Miami to progress to themain draw. The Indian will meet Jaume Munar of Spain in the first roundtomorrow.

This is Prajnesh's secondstraight Masters main draw appearance. He had reached the third round at IndianWells last week. Prajnesh reached a career-high rank of 84 earlier this week.


Todayis World Down Syndrome day. The day is observed on 21st March every year toraise public awareness about Down Syndrome. The theme this year is, 'Leave noone behind'. It focuses on giving opportunities to all people with Downsyndrome so that they live fulfilling lives. Also known as trisomy 21, Downsyndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a thirdcopy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays,mild to moderate intellectual disability, and characteristic facial features.


Boeing's737 MAX and US federal regulators will face the first public grilling byCongress next week over the two fatal plane crashes inrecent months. Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican, called for a hearing ofthe Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, for 27th of this month, withthree transportation officials, notably the acting head of the Federal AviationAdministration (FAA).


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