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0815 HRS

19th March, 2018


  • Two-day ministerial meeting of World Trade Organisation begins in New Delhi today; Representatives from 50 countries to take up global trade issues.
  • India sends 13th Note Verbale to Pakistan on harassment and intimidation of its high commission officials in Islamabad.
  • A special CBI court in Ranchi to pronounce its judgment today in fourth fodder scam case involving RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind to inaugurate Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rashtrapati Bhawan today.
  • Vladimir Putin wins historic fourth term as Russian President, giving him another six years in power.
  • International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warns United States against putting up trade barriers saying they leave no winners.
  • India clinch Nidahas Cricket Trophy by defeating Bangladesh in nail biting final in Colombo.


Representatives from 50 countries will gather in New Delhi today for a two-day informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting. The meeting will provide an opportunity to engage in free and frank discussions on global trade issues with the hope that it will lead to political guidance on some major issues. A report:-

"This informal meeting of WTO ministers, without a pre-announced agenda, is aimed at facilitating an exchange of views on various challenges facing the multilateral trading system. The meeting will provide an opportunity for ministers to explore in greater detail the options on different issues for re-invigorating the WTO. This is the second WTO mini-ministerial meeting being hosted by India, after the first one in 2009. The meeting assumes significance after the collapse of WTO Buenos Aires ministerial talks in December last year. The meeting will strive to find a permanent solution to the food stock-holding by WTO member countries. Under the WTO norms, a member-country's food subsidy bill should not exceed 10 per cent of the value of production. India has been seeking amendment to this formula. Tanvi taneja, news desk."


Union minister Nitin Gadkari will arrive in Goa today to meet stakeholders from the mining industry. Speaking at a press conference in Panaji, Union Minister of state for Ayush, Shripad Naik said, Mr Gadkari will meet MLAs and ministers this evening before speaking to other stakeholders including mine and truck owners and labourers tomorrow. State BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said, both state and central governments are trying to find a solution to the mining issue in Goa.

Iron ore extraction activity in Goa was closed down on the 16th of March following a Supreme Court directive quashing the second renewal of iron ore mining leases in the state.


A special CBI court in Ranchi is likely to pronounce its judgment today in the fourth fodder scam case involving RJD President and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The case relates to fraudulent withdrawal of over 3 crore rupees from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996. Besides Lalu Prasad, another former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and 30 others are accused in this case.

Lalu Prasad has already been convicted in three other fodder scam cases. He was awarded a five-year jail term in the first case, three-and-a-half years in the second, and another five-year imprisonment in the third case.

The multi-million-rupee fodder scam surfaced in the 1990s when Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar. The probe was handed over to the CBI on Patna High Court's order.


President Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate a Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and present Gandhian Young Technological Innovation awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. The five day festival is an initiative to recognise, respect, reward innovations and to foster a supportive ecosystem for innovators. Our correspondent reports the festival is being organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan in association with the Department of Science and Technology and the National Innovation Foundation-India.

"The festival will provide a platform for innovators for building linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in coming years to develop their ideas into implementable projects for the larger social good. It will also help in promoting lateral learning and linkages among the innovators to enrich the ecosystem for sharing of ideas. It will provide a window to showcase creative and innovative solutions for social development through innovation emerging from grassroots, student ideas and other technologies. These innovations can positively impact fields such as agriculture, rural development, sanitation, health, women and child development, biotechnology and medicine. WITH SHASHANK KUMAR's THIS IS SANJEEV JASROTIA, AIR NEWS, DELHI.


Senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said  the current agrarian crisis is the result of Congress mis-rule. Responding to the  allegation of Congress President Rahul Gandhi at the party's plenary session in New Delhi, Ms Sitharaman said his speech sounded like the rhetoric of a loser, devoid of substance. She said, at a time when technology is making lives easier and simpler, Congress is against it because it does not believe in transparency. Mocking Mr Gandhi, Mrs Sitharaman asked he who himself is out on bail in the National herald case, shares a surname with the father of the nation, is that a reflection on the Mahatma?

जो खुद उनके मां और वो दोनों, पर्सनल बॉन्ड में बेल में बाहर घूम रहे हैं वो भी क्रिमिनल कॉन्सपरेसी नेशनल हेराल्ड के केस में पचास हजार का बेल पर्सनल बॉन्ड देकर के बेल दिया गया। उनको जो खुद बेल में है वो डाल रहे हैं जिनके ऊपर एलिगेश्न कुछ भी नहीं है कोर्ट के द्वारा साबित हो गया है वो बात आप देख लीजिए कितना झूठ पुलिंदा बोलने में वो माहिर हैं।

Earlier Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Centre is diverting people's attention from issues such as unemployment and farm distress.


The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and the Banning of Unregulated Deposit

Schemes Bill, 2018 are scheduled to be introduced in the Lok Sabha today. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi will move the Trafficking of Persons Bill to prevent trafficking of persons, especially women and children.  The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 and the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 will come up for consideration and passing in the Lower House.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 , the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2018 are listed for consideration and passing.


The Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad has sent another note verbale to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan protesting against the intimidation and harassment of Indian High Commission officials. Official sources said, this is the 13th note verbale this year on the subject. Three incidents of harassment were highlighted by the Indian Embassy. The website of the High Commission also continued to be intermittently blocked causing inconvenience and affecting the normal functioning of the Mission. The High Commission has asked the Pakistan government to investigate these incidents and ensure that these do not recur.


Russian President Vladimir Putin stormed to victory in the presidential election, giving him another six years in power. Putin, who has ruled Russia for almost two decades, won more than 75 per cent of the vote according to preliminary results. He was well ahead of his nearest rival Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin at 13.2 per cent. But opposition cried foul alleging ballot stuffing and other cases of fraud. The Kremlin pushed for high turnout to give greater legitimacy to Putin's historic fourth term.

The election came with Russia facing increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions.


The International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has cautioned the United States against putting up barriers to trade and said trade wars leave no winners. She was responding to a question during an interview with Argentine newspaper about US President Donald Trump's recent decision to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Ms. Lagarde said, poor countries and poor people in rich countries have benefited from the surge in global trade over the past decade, but acknowledged that some regions and industries have suffered.


Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh will celebrate its first year in office today. Yogi government assumed office on this day last year. A programme is being organised at the Lok Bhawan in Lucknow to mark the completion of one year in office. A film 'Ek Saal-Naee Misaal' will be screened and a booklet with the same title will be released at the programme to highlight the achievements of the state government. Our correspondent has filed this report:

"A booklet containing achievements and roadmap of progress and development of the State is being released today in a function organised at lok Bhawan at lucknow. It will attended by the State Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, both deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya  and dr Dinesh sharma and ministers of the State government and senior leaders of BJP and its allies. Posters, banners and hoardings highlighting the achievements of Yogi government have been put at important places across the state. Sunil Shukla AIR News LUCKNOW."


The Trivendra Singh Rawat government in Uttarakhand also completed one year in office yesterday. On this occasion, the Chief Minister has reiterated his resolve to make the state corruption free. He has sought the cooperation of the people in eradicating corruption from the state. More from our correspondent:-

"On the completion of one year in office, Chief Minister presented a report card on the works and achievements of his government done for the state at a function held at parade ground. He presented the model of good governance of his government on the occasion. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat gave information about the work done by his government in the fields of women empowerment, medical, health, law and order, Information technology, water conservation, power, education, cleanliness and social welfare sectors. He also shared his vision regarding the overall development of the state. Sanjeev Sundriyal,AIR News ,Dehardun."


India beat Bangladesh by four wickets to win the Nidahas Cricket Trophy final in Colombo last night. Here is a report:

"In a nail biting final, the visitors clinched the T20 Tri-series title with Dinesh Karthik's last-ball six. Needing five runs off the last ball, Karthik hit a flat-bat six over extra cover to keep India's T20 record against Bangladesh intact. He was named man of the match for his great knock scoring 29 off just eight balls. Chasing 167 runs, skipper Rohit Sharma also laid the foundation with a brilliant half century. India were under pressure right from the start, especially after losing Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina early in the chase. Earlier put into bat, Bangladesh made 166 for 8 in the stipulated 20 overs.  Santosh Kumar for Air News from Colombo."


The News Services Division of All India Radio in its weekly bilingual live phone-in programme “PUBLIC SPEAK” will bring you a discussion tonight on “Tapedik Ke Baare Mein Jaankari Aur Upchar”. This can be heard on FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies from 9.30 PM. Listeners can ask questions to the experts sitting in our Studio on Toll Free Telephone No: 1800-115767 (Repeat 1800-115767). You can also ask questions on telephone number: 011: 2331-4444 (Repeat 011: 2331-4444) and post queries on our Twitter handle @airnews alerts by #tag Askair. This programme  is also available on Doordarshan DTH.



  • Rahul Gandhi's address at the AICC plenary session and BJP reaction to it are the lead stories in newspapers today.
  • The Hindustan Times headline reads " Rahul says will build a new Congress to fight BJP". "Rahul's 2019 battle cry : It's truth versus lies, like Pandavas versus Kauravas" writes the Indian Express.
  • 'Rahul speech is the rhetoric of a loser' DNA quotes Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. "Congress engaged in fake news, retorts BJP" reports the Pioneer.
  • "Lok Sabha showdown likely today on no-trust move" notes the Asian Age asking "will TRS, AIADMK let Lok Sabha function?"
  • "Pak firing kills couple, 3 kids; India hits back" is the lead in the DNA.
  • 3 AIIMS doctors killed in Yamuna express-way crash, is a story, highlighted byalmost all newspapers. "No one hurried to save lives of emergency specialists" observes the Times of India.
  • "Nifty may fall below 10,000 as fear-factor rises on Dalal-Street",  writes DNA Money.
  • "Higher Demand, Fewer Planes set to Drive up Summer fares" notes the Hindustan Times. The Hindu reports "Two more IndiGo jets grounded".
  • And finally, the Times of India reports on a strange event "Yagya of 500 quintals of wood to 'curb pollution' " in Meerut city.



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