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AKASHVANI SAMACHAR BHARTI 2017

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MIDDAY NEWS

1400 Hrs

13th December, 2017

tHE HEADLINES;

  • Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H.C Gupta convicted in a coal scam case, by a special CBI court in Delhi.
  • Nation remembers martyrs of the 2001 Parliament terror attack; President Ram Nath Kovind says India will never let forces of hate and terror succeed; Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the martyrs, saying their sacrifices will never be forgotten.
  • All arrangements in place for the second and final phase of Gujarat assembly polls in 93 constituencies tomorrow.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address industry leaders in New Delhi this afternoon.
  • US says it is ready for talks with North Korea over its nuclear disarmament without preconditions.
  • In Cricket, India heading for a big target against Sri Lanka in the second ODI at Mohali.

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A special CBI court in Delhi today convicted former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and ex-coal secretary H C Gupta in a coal scam case. Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar also convicted former Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited, VISUL, in the case. They have been found guilty of various offences, including criminal conspiracy, in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL. The Special Court however, acquitted four other accused, including VISUL's Director, of all charges. The court will hear arguments on quantum of punishment tomorrow. A report:

"The CBI during the argument alleged that VISUL had applied for allocation of Rajhara North coal block on January 8, 2007. It said although the Jharkhand government and Steel Ministry did not recommend VISUL's case for coal block allocation, the 36th Screening Committee recommended the block to the accused firm.The investigating agency also said that former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, who was chairman of the screening committee, had allegedly concealed facts from the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who then headed the Coal Ministry. Valsa Williams, News Desk."

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The CBI has taken over investigations of the two cases related to the alleged circulation of a fake sex CD allegedly involving a Chhattisgarh Minister. The agency has re-registered the FIRs of the Chhattisgarh Police, which were registered against senior journalist Vinod Verma on the complaint of Chhattisgarh PWD Minister Rajesh Munat. Mr Verma was arrested from Ghaziabad in October. Mr Munat had also complained against state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel for allegedly tarnishing his image through the CD. The two cases are related to alleged possession and circulation of fake pornographic video and allegations of ransom demand.

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The nation is remembering the martyrs of the 2001 Parliament terror attack. Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Union Ministers, Members of Parliament and leaders of several political parties paid floral tributes to the martyrs at the plaque in Parliament House this morning.

Remembering the martyrs, President Ram Nath Kovind said forces of hate and terror targeted India's democracy and democratic values that Indians cherish the most. In a tweet, he said, the forces of hate and terror did not succeed and India will never let them succeed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the sacrifices made by the martyrs while protecting the temple of Indian democracy, will never be forgotten.

Paying homage to the martyrs, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani in a tweet said, their supreme sacrifice to protect the temple of democracy will never be forgotten by a grateful Nation. More from our correspondent:

"On this day in 2001, five heavily-armed terrorists, stormed the Parliament complex and opened fire indiscriminately. Two persons from the Parliament Security Service of the Rajya Sabha, five Delhi Police Personnel and a woman constable of the Central Reserve Police Force, laid down their lives while preventing entry of terrorists inside the Building. A gardener of the CPWD also lost his life in the attack on the temple of democracy. About 100 members of parliament were present in the building during the horrific incident. Anupam Mishra, AIR News, Delhi."

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The Supreme Court today said that a five-judge constitution bench would hear tomorrow pleas against mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various government schemes and welfare measures. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the larger bench would sit at 2 PM tomorrow to hear the matter. The apex court will take up the interlocutory applications seeking interim relief against the Centre's decision on linking of Aadhaar with various schemes. We bring you a desk report:

"The Centre had told the apex court last thursday that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes would shortly be extended till March 31 next year. Last Friday, Central Board of Direct Taxes announced extending  the date for linking of Aadhaar with PAN till 31st of March next year. Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights. They have termed the linking of the  Aadhar number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as illegal and unconstitutional. Abhishek Mukkhopadhyay, News Desk."

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The Supreme Court today stayed last Friday's order of the National Company Law Tribunal, NCLT, allowing the Centre to take over the management of embattled realty firm Unitech Limited. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the statement of Attorney General K K Venugopal that the government should not have moved the NCLT when the apex court was seized of the matter.

The Supreme Court, said the stay on the company law tribunal's order would meet the ends of justice. The Supreme Court had yesterday asked the Centre why it had not taken the apex court's permission to move the NCLT for suspension of Unitech's directors and their substitution by government nominees.

On the 8th of this month, the NCLT had suspended all the eight directors of the realty firm over allegations of mismanagement and siphoning of funds. It had authorised the Centre to appoint its 10 nominees on the board.

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Gujarat is gearing up for the second phase of assembly elections to be held tomorrow. Voting will be held from 8 AM to 5 PM in 93 constituencies spread over North and Central Gujarat. A total of 851 candidates are in the fray.  Prominent candidates in this phase, include Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel who is contesting from Mahesana, Alpesh Thakor, who is the Congress candidate from Radhanpur, and Jignesh Mewani, who is an independent candidate from Vadgam. A total of 2 crore 22 lakh people are eligible to vote. Of them, one crore seven lakh are women. Our correspondent reports that all arrangements are being made for the smooth conduct of polls.

"Both VVPAT machines and Electronic Voting Machines will be used in this phase as well  in over 25000 polling stations. A mock poll will be conducted at every polling booth by the Presiding Officer one hour before actual start of poll. Tight security arrangements have been made and over 1 lakh police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order. The first phase was held on 9th December and covered 89 seats. The results will be declared on December 18th. With Yogesh Pandya, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Ahmedabad."

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In Telangana, another senior TDP leader and former Minister Uma Madhav Reddy resigned from the party primary membership today. She has also resigned as Polit Bureau member. She sent her resignation papers to TDP President Chandrababu Naidu.

Following a meeting with Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao, the stage is reportedly set for Ms Reddy to join the TRS tomorrow. Her son Sandeep Reddy, who is Bhongir TDP President, also resigned from the party.

A few days ago, a senior leader from Telangana State TDP, Revenath Reddy had left the party and joined the Congress party.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address leaders of the Indian Industry at the annual general meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi today. It will be Mr Modi's first major interaction with India Inc since the launch of GST. It will also be his first address to an AGM of a national business association after becoming the Prime Minister.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will also address different sessions of the meeting.

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In Jammu and Kashmir, the five soldiers who went missing yesterday in the mountainous areas along the Line of Control in Bandipora and Kupwara districts, have not been traced till now.

Defence spokesman told AIR that the missing soldiers are yet to be traced and the rescue teams are working in difficult mountainous terrain facing hostile weather conditions.

Three soldiers went missing after a snow avalanche hit the army post in Kanzalwan Gurez area of north Kashmir's  Bandipora district. In another incident, two more soldiers slipped down the slope in Nowgam Handwara sector in Kupwara district.

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The US says, it is ready for talks with North Korea over its nuclear disarmament without preconditions. Speaking in Washington, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said, America is ready to talk anytime Pyongyang would like to talk. He also said US is ready to have the first meeting without precondition. However, he said full North Korean nuclear disarmament would be the ultimate goal of substantive negotiations. The offer  marks a shift from Tillerson's own previous comments that the US would not negotiate with North Korea till the regime was ready to address its de-nuclearisation.

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The US Secretary of State has warned that Pakistan's political leadership would lose control over the country if it does not begin the process of changing its relationship with the Haqqani Network and other terror groups. Rex Tillerson said Pakistan has allowed so many terrorist organisations to find safe haven within its territories, and these organisations are growing in size and influence. He said Pakistan's relationship with the Haqqani Network needs to be altered.

Last week, White House had issued a stern warning to Pakistan and asked Islamabad to re-arrest Hafiz Saeed, the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind.

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Pakistan will today submit its reply to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case of former Indian Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. Pakistan's media, quoting official sources, said the reply has been prepared by the attorney general, Pakistan's legal team in the case and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

New Delhi had submitted its arguments on the 13th September. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage. India had moved the ICJ which ordered an interim stay on the death sentence.

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In Nepal, counting of votes for 110 seats of the House of Representatives and 220 of the state assemblies under proportional representation is underway. Around 60 percent votes have been counted, so far. Our Kathmandu correspondent reports that the left alliance of CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Center) is leading.

"After worst-ever debacle in direct election, Nepali Congress is giving though fight to the left alliance in proportional representation. The party remains on second place after CPN (UML). The other partner of left alliance CPN (Maoist Centre) is on the third place. The two major parties of Madhes Sanghiya samjawadi Forum Nepal and Rashtriya Janata Party Nepal are also performing well. Meanwhile all results of 165 seats of parliament and 330 of provincial assemblies under direct election have been declared. Left alliance has won 116 and 241. Nepali Congress got 23 and 41 seats. Others have won in 26 and 48 places. Raj Kumar, AIR News, Kathmandu."

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At the stock markets, after a weak opening, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange recovered lost ground, and had climbed 132 points, or 0.4 percent, to 33,360 a short while ago. The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange had gained 45 points, to 10,285. But at the forex market, the rupee had depreciated 3 paise, to 64.43 against the dollar in afternoon deals.

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India are heading for a big total against Sri Lanka in the second one day international cricket at Mohali. They were 255 for 1 in 41 overs a shortwhile ago.  Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma hit a century. He and Shresh Aiyer who scored a half century were at the crease. Shikhar Dhawan was out for 68. Earlier Sri Lanka won the toss and invited India to bat first.  

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