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NEWS AT NINE

2100 HRS.

23rd June, 2017

THE HEADLINES :-

  • NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind files nomination; Says President's post should be kept above politics.
  • India's Earth Observation Satellite Cartosat-2 series alongwith 30 nano satellites successfully launched aboard PSLV; President and Prime Minister congratulate ISRO scientists.
  • In Jammu & Kashmir, two persons arrested in connection with lynching of a Deputy Superintendent of Police in Srinagar.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leave for 3-Nation tour including the United States tomorrow.
  • In Pakistan, 38 people including six policemen killed in three separate bomb blasts in Quetta and Parachinar.
  • In Sports; Kidambi Srikanth enters the Men's Singles semifinals of Australian Open Badminton tournament; In Women's Singles, defending champion Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu bow out.

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NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind today filed his nomination papers for Presidential Elections. Three sets of nomination were filed on his behalf. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and several top leaders from NDA accompanied Mr. Kovind when he filed his nomination papers in the Parliament House. Senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and Chief Ministers of some BJP ruled states were also present on the occasion.

Speaking to reporters after filing the nomination papers, Mr. Kovind said, the office of President is not a political post and it should be kept beyond politics. He thanked all those who supported him and asserted that he will try to maintain the dignity of the post.

Opposition's candidate for the post Meira Kumar is expected to file her nomination on the 27th of this month. 28th June is the last date for filing the nomination. The election for the President post is scheduled for 17th of next month and counting of votes will take place on the 20th of July.  

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said Presidential election should not be made an issue of political confrontation. After attending Iftar Party at residence of RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Patna, Mr. Kumar, who is also the President of JD(U),  said Congress led opposition parties should re-think over the presidential candidature of Meera Kumar. He said, supporting of Ramnath Kovind has no relation with Bihar's grand alliance government. Mr. Kumar said, he had already intimated his sentiments towards Mr. Kovind to Lalu Prasad and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He said, opposition parties should focus on unity for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The JD(U) President  however refused to comment on RJD Chief's remark that his decision to support the NDA presidential candidate is a political blunder.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kovind will start a nation-wide tour on Sunday  starting from Uttar Pradesh, where he will talk to members of the electoral college that votes for the new President. He will be accompanied by senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari during his UP tour.

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Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO today successfully launched rocket PSLV C-38 carrying earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 Series and 30 other nano-satellites into their orbits. The highly reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikotta at 9.29 am. It put the main payload in a 505-km orbit within 16 minutes 43 seconds after its launch. This was the 40th flight of PSLV.

Of the 30 nano-satellites, 29 are from 14 different countries including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States. The other is a domestic payload of a private educational institution. Cartosat-2 series satellite provides spot-specific pictures in high resolution. Our correspondent reports that ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar congratulated the scientists after the mission was declared a success.

"The hands of ISRO is full with a series of launches in the pipeline. Within eighteen days of the maiden and successful test-flight of the 4-ton class GSLV Mk III, it has achieved the 39th consecutively successful journey of the PSLV today. In another five days, it is all set to launch another communication satellite using Ariane rocket from Kouru in French Guiana. As the ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar has said, the current target is two flights each of the two variants of the GSLV and eight to ten flights of the PSLV. As it makes many innovations and keeps on updating its launch technologies, the space agency is steering towards launching all kinds of its satellites into space from within India. Jaya Singh, AIR News, Sriharikotta."

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also congratulated the ISRO team for the successful launch.

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Jammu & Kashmir Police chief Dr S P vaid today said that two persons have been arrested over the alleged lynching of Dy SP Mohammad Ayub Pandit in Srinagar. Mr. Vaid told media after laying wreath on the mortal remains of the  police officer that a third one involved in the case has been identified.

"The matter is being investigated and whoever would be responsible will be taken to law. We have identified three people and two of them have been arrested. The third one will also be arrested soon."

The DSP was allegedly beaten to death outside Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar last night. The incident happened when Shab-e-Qadr prayers were under way in the historic mosque. Paying tributes to the police officer, Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said, the crime is murder of trust and a shameful incident.

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Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case  against  dreaded  terrorist Hafiz Saeed and  members of Hurriyat Conference, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and  Lashkar-e-Taiba under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Sources said, the ED will investigate flow of funds through Hawala and other illegal routes in the country  and abroad for funding to separatists and  terror activities. Last month, the National Investigation Agency had raided at several places in Srinagar and Delhi over terror funding issue and recovered some documents and cash.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a three nation visit tomorrow early morning. In the first leg of his four day tour, he will reach Lisbon, the Portuguese capital tomorrow late afternoon.

Talking to our correspondent in Lisbon, India's ambassador to Portugal K. Nandini Singla said, Mr. Modi's visit to Portugal signifies the accelerated momentum in the bilateral ties on multiple fronts in recent years. The ambassador said, both countries are especially looking to deepen the partnerships in the areas of future like Science, technology and research, apart from the economic and trade relations. 

"In January this year, we had the Prime Minister of Portugal His Excellency Mr. Antonio Costa visiting India and this was the first stand alone bilateral visit by Portuguese Prime Minister since 1974 and now we have Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji coming here, this is also the first stand alone bilateral visit to Portugal by an Indian Prime Minister. This represents new momentum in the relationship and interest on both sides in deepening and expanding the scope of cooperation."

Stressing that the collaborations between Start-ups in both countries is a key priority area, Ms. Singla said, the two sides are working on scaling up of the ideas to connect start-ups with industries into the successful business models.

After bilateral talks with his Portuguese counterpart, Mr Modi will depart for Washington DC. During his two day US visit, Mr. Modi will meet President Donald Trump. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders. In the last leg of his tour, the Prime Minister will visit The Netherlands on Tuesday for bilateral talks with his counterpart. More details from our correspondent on the significance of the Prime Minister's tour:-

"In Portugal, enhancing cooperation in economic, scientific and cultural areas will be on the agenda. Prime Minister’s visit to the Netherlands is significant as the two countries are celebrating 70 years of establishment of official relationship. The focus, however, will be on Mr Modi’s US visit. During the past three years, India US relations have grown rapidly with a new energy with increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. Last year, the two countries described it as an Enduring Global partnership in the 21st Century. The bilateral cooperation is broad based and covers areas such as civil nuclear energy, defence, counter terrorism, trade and economy, space, energy, science and technology and health. As this will be the first meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump, it will be an opportunity for the two leaders to establish their own rapport, review the relationship, impart a new vision and set priorities for future bilateral relations. Among other prominent issues that are likely to figure in talks include Terrorism, promoting economic and commercial cooperation, H1B visa rules and security in Indo-pacific region. Rajeev Jain, AIR News, Delhi."

The Prime Minister is scheduled to return home on Wednesday morning.

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Government today announced the names of 30 more cities for development as smart cities under Smart City Mission. With this the total number of smart cities has gone up to 90. Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala has topped the list. Urban development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu made the announcement at a National Workshop on Urban Transformation in New Delhi. He said, 45 cities contested for 40 available smart city slots but only 30 were selected. He said, there will be no compromise in selection of cities and quality of smart city plans. The Minister informed that the 30 cities announced today proposed a total investment of 57 thousand 393 crore rupees under respective smart city plans.

"The concept of smart cities has refined the urban discourse in our country like no other idea and initiative. In one single stroke, the Prime Minister has fired the imagination of the people by proposing to develop 100 smart cities and he has already told us, these 100 smart cities are going to act like light houses to inspire other cities to follow suit."

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Government has announced that bilingual passports will be issued henceforth in Hindi and English. Chairing the Passport Seva Diwas and Passport Officers' Conference in New Delhi today, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced it.

Mrs. Swaraj also announced 10 percent reduction in passport fee for applicants under 8 years and over 60 years.

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Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said that central government has given enough time for traders to file GST returns till September. Speaking to media persons in Tiruchirapalli today, she said, government has noted the issues of GST registration and hence more time has been given.

"Traders and industry association members in Tiruchirapalli attended the awareness programme on GST and interacted with Union Minister Nirmala Seetharaman. The Minister said that there may be certain issues of registering and filing GST returns but can be resolved in a few months. Government needs funds for implementing schemes to help farmers and the poor and taxation is unavoidable. She said that it is not a general policy to privatise public sector units. But government is trying to attract private investment in PSUs with continuous loss for a period of 8 to 10 years. K DEVI PADMANABHAN, AIR NEWS, TIRUCHIRAPALLI."

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In Pakistan, at least 38 people were killed and over 120 other injured in three separate bomb blasts today. Two back-to-back explosions  rocked Parachinar, the capital of Kurram tribal agency, this afternoon, in which at least 25 people were killed and 100 others injured. Officials said, the dual-explosions took place as people were busy shopping for Iftar and Eid in the Turi Bazaar area of Parachinar. The second explosion took place as people rushed to provide aid and rescue the injured from the first explosion.

Earlier today, 13 people, including six policemen were killed and 21 people were injured in a suicide car bombing at Shuhada Chowk in Quetta.

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Kidambi Srikanth has entered the men's singles semifinals of the Australian Open Super Series badminton tournament. In  all-Indian quarterfinal duel in Sydney today, Srikanth overcame B Sai Praneeth in straight games  25-23, 21-17.  However, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu and defending champion Saina Nehwal have bowed out of the women's singles.

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At Port of Spain, Trinidad, India were 189 for 3 in 38 overs against the West Indies in the first One Day Cricket match, a short while ago. 

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