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News Highlights
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to share his thoughts in 'Mann Ki Baat' programme at 11 this morning            Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan says Corona vaccine likely be available in country by January 2021            Last date for filing of Income Tax and GST returns extended till 31st of December            Dussehra is being celebrated across country today            IPL Cricket: Kings XI Punjab beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 12 runs in Dubai           

Text Bulletins Details


Evening News

2030 HRS
20.09.2020

THE HEADLINES:


Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails passage of agriculture reform bills in Parliament; Describes it as a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture.

Prime Minister reiterates that system of Minimum Support Price and Government procurement will continue.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh condemns ruckus created by opposition members in Rajya Sabha; Accuses them of misleading farmers. 

Covid Recovery rate improves to 79.68 per cent.

Prime Minister to lay foundation stone of nine highway projects worth over 14,000 crore rupees in Bihar through video conferencing tomorrow.

In Italian Open Tennis, Simona Halep reaches final of Women's Singles beating Garbiñe Muguruza in first semifinal clash.


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, the passage of two farm bills today is a watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture. In a series of tweets, he extended congratulations to the hardworking farmers on the passage of key bills in Parliament, which will ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower crores of farmers. He said for decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. He added that the bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. He said, these bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them.

The Prime Minister said, agriculture sector is in desperate need of latest technology that assists the industrious farmers. He said, with the passage of the bills,  farmers will have easier access to futuristic technology that will boost production and yield better results.

Mr Modi also stressed that the system of Minimum Support Price- MSP will remain and government procurement will continue. He said, the NDA government will do everything to support the farmers and ensure a better life for their coming generations.

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Union Minister Rajnath Singh has condemned the ruckus created by Opposition members in Rajya Sabha today and said it is shameful and unfortunate.

Briefing media this evening, the Minister said it is the responsibility of the ruling side to enable discussions in the House but it is also the duty of the Opposition to maintain decorum. He said that such an incident has never happened in the history of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.

The Minister said the unparliamentary behaviour by opposition members against the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was witnessed by the entire nation and has tarnished the image of Parliamentary democracy. He said, opposition parties are trying to mislead the nation's farmers. He asserted that  government is aiming to double farmers income and the two farm bills passed in Rajya Sabha today are historic and will pave the way in enhancing farmers income.

Mr Singh said, MSP to farmers will continue.

On no-confidence notice by the Opposition against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, the Minister said the notice has been given to the Chairman and he will take a decision on this.

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Parliament has passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 with Rajya Sabha approving it today amid uproar by the opposition. The House also negated the oppositions’ amendments to send the Bills to the Select Committee.

When the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar was replying to the discussion at 1 PM, Deputy Chairman Harivansh sought the House's consent to extend the proceedings till the Minister’s reply. On it, members from Congress, TMC, Left, DMK and Aam Adami Party demanded that the House should be adjourned and the reply should be taken up tomorrow.

However, the Deputy Chairman asked the Minister to continue with his reply. This prompted opposition members to troop into the well raising slogans against the government. Members from Congress, Left, TMC, AAP, RJD, DMK and others continued with their protest. The House witnessed an unruly scene. Amid pandemonium, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the House for ten minutes till 1.41 PM. When the House met again, the scene was no different and the Chair guarded by marshals continued the proceedings and the two Bills were passed with voice vote.

Speaking on the Bills, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government has taken several steps for doubling the income of farmers after consultations with the famers and States.

The two Bills aim at increasing the availability of buyers for farmers’ produce by allowing them to trade freely without any license or stock limit resulting in better prices for their produce. They will replace two ordinances promulgated by the Central Government in June this year.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill allows intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of APMC markets. As per the Bill, State governments are prohibited from levying any market fee, cess or levy outside APMC areas.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill creates a framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and a buyer prior to the production of any farm produce.

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Union Minister Prakash Javadekar today said, the two farm bills passed today will give farmers a chance to sell their produce anywhere for a higher price and will end farmer's compulsion of selling at APMC. He said, farmers will be able to sell wherever they get a higher price. The Minister said in a series of tweets that farmers will also get a golden opportunity to get more income from contract farming. Mr Javadekar has also condemned opposition parties for their unruly behaviour in Rajya Sabha.

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BJP President J P Nadda has termed the Farmers bill as historic saying it will be beneficial for farmers. Talking to reporters outside  parliament, Mr Nadda said, the bills passed by the Parliament will give farmers freedom in selling their produce and rid them of middlemen. He alleged that the attitude of the Opposition in the Parliament during the passage of the bill was unfortunate and they have insulted democratic process.

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Congress and other opposition party member sat in protest inside Rajya Sabha even after the House was adjourned for the day after the passage of two farm bills amid upror. Members of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Left parties and some others sat in protest inside the Rajya Sabha chamber even after it was adjourned. Later, they held protest at Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament premises after the House passed the two farm bills.

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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has attacked Opposition over the ruckus in Rajya Sabha during the passage of two farm bills today. Talking to media today, Mr Joshi condemned the opposition for the unruly scene in the House.

Another Union Minister Prakash Javadekar alleged that the opposition parties have disgraced the Rajya Sabha with their undemocratic action.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties have moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputyy chairman Harivansh.

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India has conducted highest ever single day covid test at over 12 lakh six thousand across the country in last 24 hours. More than Six crore 36 lakh COVID-19 tests have been conducted till now. Health Ministry said, higher testing leads to early identification of positive cases, timely and effective treatment and low mortality. During the last 24 hours more than 94 thousand 612 COVID patients have recovered. The Ministry said, the recovery rate of COVID-19 has further improved to 79.68 per cent. The total number of recoveries has reached over 43 lakh. India's COVID-19 tally has crossed 54 lakh with 92 thousand 605 new infections being reported in a day. The constantly increasing recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country is reduced and currently comprises only 18.72 per cent of the total positive cases.

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Kerala continued to report surge in  Covid-19 cases as it confirms 4696 positive cases today. More from our correspondent:

"State Health Minister K.K.Shailaja informed through the official release that 16 more deaths were also confirmed today due to Covid taking the death toll in state to 535. 2751 recoveries were reported in the state.The total active Covid  cases in Kerala rose to 39, 415. Meanwhile  heavy rain continues in many areas of the State.Red is issued in 8 districts today. Three more teams of National Disaster Response Force is being deployed in Wayanad, Malappuram and Thrissur districts. As water level in major rivers are rising, shutters of  dams are being raised.Alert is issued for people in riverside, low lying regions and landslide prone regions. Fishermen are strictly warned from venturing into the sea in Kerala Lakshadweep coast  till further instruction. Mayusha for AIR News from Thiruvananthapuram"

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of nine highway projects worth 14,258 crore rupees  in Bihar through video conferencing tomorrow. These highway projects involve a road length of about 350 kilometres at a cost of four thousand two hundred 58 crore ruppes. Prominent road projects are six lanning of 39 km stretch of Patna Ring road, four lanning of Ara- Mohania section of NH 30, Bakhtiarpur- Rajauli section of NH 31 and four lanning of Narenpur - Purnea section of NH 131A. Paving the way for development of Bihar, these roads will enhance better connectivity, convenience and economic growth in and around the state.

Bihar will get a major boost in bridge sector too as the Prime Minister will inaugurate three mega bridge during the event. The bridges include four lane bridge parallel to existing Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna, four lane bridge over Kosi river and four lane bridge parallel to existing Vikramshila Setu in Bhagalpur. The Prime Minister will also inaugurate the Optical Fibre internet services where all the 45 thousand nine hundred 45 villages of Bihar will be connected through Optical Fibre Internet Service. This project will help in easy availabilty of digital services like e-Education, e-Agriculture, Tele-Medicine, Tele-law and other social security schemes to all citizens of Bihar at the click of the button.

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India has provided financial assistance of 250 million dollars as budgetary support to the Maldives government to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A handover ceremony was held today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maldives government to mark the occasion. Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir and CEO, SBI, Male Bharat Mishra were present on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion in Hindi, the Maldives Foreign Minister said, India has proved to be a great friend during this difficult time of pandemic.

The 250 million dollar budgetary support was a response to the request made by Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for financial assistance to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives. Our correspondent reports it is being provided under the most favourable terms possible to the Government of Maldives.

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A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Women and Child Development today in New Delhi for controlling Malnutrition as a part of POSHAN Abhiyaan. The MoU will see some time-tested and scientifically proven Ayush-based solutions being adopted for controlling malnutrition in the country.

AYUSH Secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha and Women and Child Development Secretary Ram Mohan Mishra signed the MoU in the presence of Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti  Irani, Minister for WCD. Minister of Ayush Shripad Yesso Naik, joined the ceremony through Video Conference. Speaking on the occasion, Mrs Irani said that the collaboration of efforts of both the Ministries will go a long way in tackling the problem of malnutrition in mothers and children in the country. She said that Nutri-gardens and medicinal gardens will be established in every Anganwadi in near future.

Shripad Yesso Naik said that Ayurveda and other AYUSH systems have much to contribute in dealing with mild and moderate mal-nutrition by way of many specific measures.

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REVIEW OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN THE PARLIAMENT TODAY, FIRST FROM THE RAJYA SABHA. WRITER IS RAJESH AHUJA OF UNI. 


The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill 2020 have been passed in the Parliament  with the Rajya Sabha approving it today amid the uproar by the opposition parties. The House also negated the oppositions’ amendments to send the Bills to the Select Committee. Lok Sabha had passed the bills earlier.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for ten minutes during the discussion when opposition members including Congress, TMC, Left, Aam Adami Party came into the well and started sloganeering and protesting against the two Bills. When the House reassembled, the Chair was guarded by the marshals and amid sloganeering and ruckus the two bills were passed by voice vote.

Moving the bills, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar described them as historic which will bring revolutionary changes in the lives of the farmers across the country. He said the farmers will have the freedom to sell their produce wherever they want. The Minister made it clear that the bills are not related to Minimum Support Price (MSP) and assured that the system will continue. The Minister said, the farmers across the country dedicated themselves to the farming despite the country facing the unprecedented Covid-19 infections.

Earlier, participating in the discussion on the two bills, several members favoured that they be referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha for further discussions.

Initiating a discussion on the Bills, Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress alleged that the Bills are a move to end the Minimum Support Price system in the country and pave way for corporate houses to take over farmlands. He said, the Bills are an assault on the soul of farmers saying they are ill-conceived. He said, farmers are not illiterates. Mr Bajwa alleged that once these bills are passed, the corporate houses will take over the farmlands. He said nearly, one lakh Indians are getting COVID-19 every day.

Responding to the criticism by the Congress, Bhupinder Yadav of the BJP said, there is a need to strengthen trade, processing and value addition which is what the bills propose to do. He said, the country is moving forward. He wanted to know why has rural income reduced over the years when Congress was in power. He said that a working group on agriculture production set up by Manmohan Singh government in 2010 had recommended that Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees and corporate license monopolies should not be allowed.

Other members who participated in the discussion included, K K Ragesh of CPI-M, Bhupendra Yadav of BJP, Derek ‘O’ Brien of Trinamool Congress, Tiruchi Siva of DMK, K C Venugopal of Congress, S.R Balasubramonian of AIADMK, Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Dr. K Keshava Rao of TRS, V. Vijayasai Reddy of YSRCP, Rama Chandra Prasad Singh of JD-U, Prof Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD, Dr. Amar Patnaik of BJD, Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of Akali Dal.

Earlier, the proceedings of the House began with administering the oath of office and secrecy to the former Prime Minister and newly-elected Rajya Sabha member H.D. Deve Gowda. Welcoming him, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu observed that Mr. Deve Gowda is a good addition to the House. He said, one of the senior-most politicians in the country has come to our House.

Replying to a discussion on the debate on the Bill, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar reiterated that the Bill does not deal with MSPs and there is no need to worry about that. He said the Narendra Modi led government had taken many steps aimed at doubling the farmers' income in the past six year. He said there is no need to doubt that the farmers will continue to get the Minimum Support Price for their agriculture produce.

Later, the House witnessed unruly scenes amid uproar with the Opposition demanding the adjournment of the proceedings for the day and the voting on the bills be taken up the next day.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked if the House agrees to extend proceedings beyond 1 p.m. till disposal of the Bills. To this, Opposition members protested. Some members headed towards the Well of the House despite repeated requests by the Deputy Chairman asking them to go back to their seats.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the norm is that the House timing is extended on the basis of consensus, not numbers. He said that the consensus is that the House be adjourned for the day. However, Deputy Chairman has asked the Minister Mr. Tomar to wind up his speech amid commotion.

Later, the bills were adopted by voice vote amid opposition protests. Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress and other Opposition members shouted slogans against the government. Marshals were seen obstructing some opposition members from reaching the Podium. Amid uproar, Deputy Chairman adjourned the house briefly. When the House reassembled, Deputy Chairman Harivansh took up voting on the bills.

After the passage of the Bills, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the house for the day.

Matters of public importance were raised during the Zero Hour. Rajmani Patel of Congress raised issue of private schools charging hefty fees while Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD called for the need to find a permanent solution to the frequent flooding in Bihar. Biswajit Daimary of BPF raised the matter of five men from Arunachal Pradesh being taken by Chinese. He said Arunachal Pradesh is also tense, like Ladakh. Saroj Pandey of the BJP raised the issue of Chhattisgarh not having fully implemented Ayushman Bharat.

Members also raised matters through Special Mentions. They included Kamakhya Prasad Sasa of BJP, Ravi Prakash Verma of Samajwadi Party, Sambhaji Chatrapati of BJP, Jairam Ramesh of Congress and Prasanta Nanda of BJD.

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REVIEW OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN THE LOK SABHA.  WRITER IS KUMAR RAKESH OF PTI 


Lok Sabha was adjourned for an hour today soon after it met in the afternoon as Congress members demanded that the House proceedings should not take place till the Rajya Sabha galleries are cleared of the agitating members of the Upper House. Due to social-distancing norms necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, members of Lok Sabha have also been allocated seats in the Rajya Sabha.

Congress and other opposition members of Rajya Sabha were sitting on a dharna inside the Chamber even after the House was adjourned for the day to protest farm sector bills passed by the Upper House earlier.

The Rajya Sabha sitting ends at 1 PM every day following which members from Lok Sabha occupy seats there at 3 PM.

Proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were extended today for the passage of two bills relating to the farming sector.

As the Lok Sabha met at 3 PM, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury requested Speaker Om Birla to adjourn the House till the stalemate in the Rajya Sabha ended.

To this, Mr. Birla said that the Lok Sabha gallery is still empty and the members who have been allotted seats in Rajya Sabha can take the vacant seats in the Lower House. He also said that even if one member of the Lok Sabha is unable to attend, he will adjourn the House. Mr. Birla further said that since COVID issue is listed for discussion in the House, if it is adjourned then it will not give a good signal.

Mr. Chowdhury said, since the members sit in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha galleries to ensure social distancing due to COVID-19, the House should not function as members are not being allowed inside the Upper House.

The Speaker said, it has been a norm that discussion of the happenings in the other House are not taken up in the Lok Sabha. However, Mr. Chowdhury argued that with members occupying both the Houses for sitting purposes, it has now become --- two-in-one. The Congress leader observed that two Houses have now become one, hence this rule does not apply.

Kalyan Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress suggested that the Speaker make a request to all the members stuck outside the Rajya Sabha to come and sit in the vacant seats in the Lok Sabha.

Mr. Chowdhury then said that Lok Sabha should be adjourned for two hours. However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that as per the Speaker's suggestion, the House should function as members want to discuss the COVID issue.

Following persistent Congress demand, Mr. Birla adjourned the Lok Sabha proceedings till 4 PM.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai introduced the Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020, under which providing the Aadhar numbers of the office-bearers of any NGO will be mandatory for registration and public servants will be barred from receiving funds from abroad. The draft bill proposes that not more than 20 per cent of the total foreign funds received could be spent on administrative expenses. Presently, the limit is 50 per cent.

The Minister said, the bill has been brought in view of Supreme Court directives and aims at ensuring that no organisation poses a threat to India's national security. He also sought to dispel doubts expressed by some opposition members, saying that the bill does not target any particular group of organisations. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress said the bill is aimed at suppressing the voice of the government's critics. His party colleague Manish Tewari said, FCRA provisions should be made less stringent.

The Lok Sabha also took up a discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic and opposition parties slammed the government for its handling of the disease. Shashi Tharoor of the Congress said the government was ill-prepared to deal with the crisis and claimed that the Centre is using the pandemic to hide its failures. Kirit Solanki of the BJP lauded the government's handling of the pandemic, saying it ramped up health infrastructure across the country to deal with the situation.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh of JD-U wondered if coronavirus was being pushed into Delhi every time the cases of infection come down in the national capital, as he claimed that the world is still debating if the virus is man-made or natural.

Participating in the discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Singh said, infections in Delhi go down sometime, and then suddenly the numbers start rising. He asked if it is not the case that the virus is being pushed from outside into places where the numbers are declining.

There is no finality to the debate over whether the virus is natural or man-made, he claimed, adding that he was not sure if Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was sitting in the House, agrees with this contention or not.

The leader of the JD(U) in Lok Sabha, who is better known as Lalan Singh, asked the opposition to give constructive suggestions to the government in dealing with the pandemic instead of wasting time on criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr. Singh said the more the opposition leaders criticise Mr. Modi, the more popular he becomes. He appreciated the government's decision to impose a nation-wide lockdown to curb the pandemic. Mr. Singh said India has fared much better than the rest of the world in terms of fatality rate and recovery rate. He also hailed the Bihar government's handling of the disease, saying that the state has 91.7 per cent of recovery rate and only 0.5 per cent fatality rate. He said, it has as of now only 13,000 cases of existing positive cases. 

During the discussion, N Nageswara Rao of the TRS expressed concern over nearly 90,000 daily cases of COVID-19 across the country and added that the curve continues to rise.

S T Hassan of the Samajwadi Party criticised the lockdown as unplanned and alleged that the pandemic was communalised. 

Amol Ramsing Kolhe of the NCP alleged that the government was busy welcoming US President Donald Trump and toppling opposition-run state governments when the disease had been spreading in the country.

Ramesh Bidhuri of the BJP hit out at the opposition, saying they wanted the Union government to fail in its efforts to curb the cases and asserted that the decision to impose lockdown played a huge role in dealing with the pandemic. He praised Home Minister Amit Shah, saying he was instrumental in dealing with the pandemic in Delhi when the state government could not tackle the crisis.

The discussion was continuing till the writing of the .

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Now, let us take a look at the weather forecast for tomorrow.  The National Capital Delhi will have partly cloudy sky. It will have a minimum temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and maximum of 37 degrees.

In Mumbai, there will be generally cloudy sky with light rain. The minimum temperature will be 25 degrees Celsius and the maximum will be around 30 degrees.

Chennai will have generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle. The temperature will hover between 25 and 31 degrees Celsius.

Kolkata will witness thunderstorm with rain. The minimum temperature in the metropolis will be around 25 degrees celsius while the maximum will be 31 degrees.

On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature will be 25 degrees Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 37 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky.

In Srinagar, the minimum temperature will be around 9 degrees while the maximum will be 29 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky.

Ladakh will have mainly clear sky. The temperature will hover between 11 and 25 degrees Celsius.

In Gilgit, the temperature will hover between 11 and 34 degrees Celsius. It will have mainly clear sky.

In Muzzafarabad, there will be mainly clear sky. The temperature will hover between 16 and 36 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 24 and 34 degrees Celsius. The city will partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm or dust-storm.

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In Italian Open Tennis, top-seeded Simona Halep has reached final of the Women's Singles beating Garbiñe Muguruza  6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the first semifinal clash today. The other semifinal will be played between last year's French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova against fellow Czech and defending champion Karolina Pliskova this evening. 

In Men's Singles, first semifinal match is underway between Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud. The other semifinal encounter will take place between Denis Shapovalov and Diego Schwartzman tonight. 

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In IPL Cricket, Delhi Capitals were 96 for 5 in 16 overs against Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium when reports last came in. Earlier Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul won the toss and opted to field against Delhi Capitals in the second match of the IPL 2020.

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