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MORNING NEWS

0815 HRS

23.07.2017

THE HEADLINES

  • Parliament to host a farewell function in the Central Hall for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee today.
  • IRCTC  forms new Catering Policy to improve food quality in trains and stations after CAG report raises question on the food quality.
  • CBI registers two FIRs in the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Shimla; forms three member SIT to probe the incident.
  • In Nagaland, factional fight within ruling NPF escalates; 19 MLAs expelled, 10 others who voted for CM TR Zeliang suspended by the party.
  • And in sports ; India to take on England in the Final of ICC Women's World Cup at Lords Cricket Ground in London today.
  • HS Prannoy and P. Kashyap set up an all Indian Final at the US Open Grand Prix Badminton tournament.

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Parliament will be hosting a farewell programme today inside its Central Hall for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has requested all the members to attend the function. The programme will begin at 5:30 in the evening and will be addressed by the Speaker Ms. Mahajan and Vice President Hamid Ansari, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the function.

Last evening, the Prime Minister hosted a dinner at Hyderabad House in New Delhi in honour of the outgoing President. Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of some states, and senior politicians attended the programme.

Mr. Mukherjee's five-year term of office at the top constitutional post ends tomorrow. The President-elect Ram Nath Kovind will be sworn in on Tuesday.

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Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) has formed a new Catering Policy by unbundling, the process to seperate food distribution and cooking, of the current catering services on trains. This comes after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) released a report criticising the food served in stations and trains. In its report, CAG had said, the food served in trains is unfit for human consumption and the hygiene standards at railway catering units are below par.

In a statement, the Railway Ministry said, that as per the new catering policy 2017, the IRCTC will manage catering services on all mobile units, and pantry car contracts will also be reassigned to railways' catering arm. A report:

"More than two crore passengers travel with Indian Railways everday and railways provide approximately 11 lakh meals, out of which 10 lakh are provided on board itself. In order to to improve the quality of catering services in Railways, IRCTC has formed new catering policy. It will set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones. IRCTC will be responsible for management of Food Plaza, Food Courts, Fast food units within the ambit of this policy. Under the new policy it has been mandated to take regular feedback from passengers and linking the payment to the performance of the vendor. As per new policy, IRCTC will not have the right to outsource or issue licenses for provision of catering services to private licensees. With Dipendra Kumar's report Tripti Srivastava AIR News, Delhi."

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The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for critical deficiency in availability of ammunition to the Army. In its report, tabled in the Parliament on Friday, CAG also criticised OFB for inadequate quality of ammunition supplied to the Army since March of 2013. CAG said, despite serious concerns highlighted in a high-level report on 'Ammunition management in Army' in 2015, no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the OFB.

Meanwhile the CAG has also found that the essential drugs for patients were not available in 24 states and medicines were issued without prescribed quality checks or observing their expiry dates, exposing patients to health risks. In its report on 'Performance Audit of the Reproductive and Child Health under National Rural Health Mission it found the shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in almost all selected facilities.

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI has registered two separate FIRs  into the alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Shimla and custodial death of one of the accused. The agency also constituted a three-member Special Investigation Team led by a SP rank officer to probe the incident. More from our correspondent:-

"The Special Investigation Team has proceeded to the scene of the crime for further investigation. So far, six accused have been arrested by the police. Out of which, one died under alleged mysterious circumstances in the police custody. On 4th of July, a minor girl had gone to school but did not return home and the next day her body was found in the nearby forest area. Shishu Sharma Shantal, AIR News Shimla."

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The Central government will provide 20,000 crore rupees  to promote infrastructural development and research to the educational sector. This was stated by Human Resource Development Minister, Prakash Javadekar in Kolkata yesterday. In a programme organised by the Indian chamber of Commerce, he said, the Centre has undertaken plans to extend more autonomy and empower the renowned academic institutions of the country for research and innovation potential. He said, his government is committed to stop brain drain of research scholars and turn it into 'brain gain. Mr Javadekar said the Centre is also planning to set up a national academic depository to stop fake certificates.

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In Nagaland, the Naga People's Front (NPF) has expelled 19 MLAs from the party and suspended 10 others after they voted for T.R Zeliang on Friday during the trust vote. Despite the ongoing infighting ruling NPF, newly appointed Nagaland Chief Minister T.R Zeliang expanded his ministry yesterday by appointing 10 Cabinet Ministers, most of whom are either expelled or suspended by the party.

T R Zeliang was sworn-in on Thursday after the governor sacked the then Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu, who failed to turn up for the vote of confidence. A report:

Naga People's Front President had said yesterday that the 19 legislators were expelled from the party for an indefinte period for anti-party activities. These MLAs had demanded resignation of the NPF President and former Chief Minister Shurhozelie, who failed to turn up to prove his majority in the State Assembly on July 19, following which his government was dismissed. The expelled legislators further voted in favour of the motion of Vote of Confidence moved by Zeliang on Friday despite the NPF's decision to vote against. Altogether the NPF has now expelled 20 MLAs including TR Zeliang, the Chief Minister of Nagaland. The NPF has spared only five MLAs excluding Speaker Imtiwapang Aier who voted in favour of TR Zeliang. The Nagaland Assembly is a House of 60 members. ANENLA JAMIR, AIR NEWS, KOHIMA.

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In Gujarat, heavy rain has thrown normal life out of gear in many parts of Saurashtra and the Southern part. Following three more deaths due to floods, the total death toll in rain related incidents during the current monsoon in the state has gone up to 65. Our correspondent reports that relief and rescue works are in full swing.

"Three more NDRF teams have been called for relief and rescue works following review of flood situation by Chief Minister yesterday. State will also get 6 new boats from NDRF headquarter. Army, Air Force and NDRF are also busy in relief and rescue works in the worst affected areas. Total 6370 people have been shifted to the safer places, out of which 3400 people are from Surendranagar district alone. Yogesh Pandya, AIR News, Ahmedabad."

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, Mumbai city is witnessing continuous rain showers over the past fortnight. It is however, among the rainfall-deficient zones in the state. Six other Met stations in the state, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Malegaon and Ahmednagar are rainfall-deficient despite overall monsoon in the state being above normal. Here is a report:

"In Mumbai, the downpour in the past 24 hour triggered waterlogging in certain low lying areas and led to traffic snarls at several places. However, an official of the India Meteorological Department said, regional variability and uneven distribution of rainfall had caused the deficiency in some places though rainfall in Maharashtra as a whole had been in excess. According to IMD data till 20th of July, 18 districts in the state had received less than normal rainfall. Meanwhile, the weather bureau has predicted heavy rainfall in Thane and Navi Mumbai area over the next two days. LUBNA YUSUF MOOSA, AIR NEWS, MUMBAI."

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Amid tight security arrangements, the 24th batch of Amarnath pilgrims of about one thousand people left for Kashmir Valley from Jammu this morning. According to police sources the batch including 727 men, 225 women and 50 Sadhus and Sadhvis left for Kashmir Valley from Bhagwati Nagar Jammu base camp, in a cavalcade of 30 light and heavy vehicles, around 3 this morning.

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Iran has rejected US demand to release detained Americans, saying it had no control over the judiciary. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi in a statement said, the judiciary, courts and judges in Iran are completely independent as in any other country. Mr Ghasemi said, any interventionist and threatening statement by American officials and institutions has no effect on the country's judicial system to try and punish criminals and violators of the country's laws and national security.

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British Sikh judge Sir Rabinder Singh has been promoted to one the senior-most posts, the seven-member Court of Appeal in the UK judicial system. He became the first Indian-origin judge to occupy the top post after new judicial appointments were unveiled by the UK government this week.

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India will take on England today in the Final of the ICC Women's World Cup at Lords Cricket Ground in London. The match will begin at 3 PM Indian Time. All India Radio will broadcast live bi-lingual commentary of the match from 2:30 PM onwards. This can be heard on FM Gold, Rajdhani Channel and on national hook-up.

This is Indian eves second appearance in a World Cup Final, they had finished as runners up in the 2005 edition.

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In Badminton, it will be an all Indian men single's final at the US Open Grand Prix at Anaheim, California. In the first semi-final played, second seed HS Prannoy defeated Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam in straight games, 21-14, 21-19, this morning, to sail into the Final. In the second semi-final played, unseeded Parupalli Kashyap after losing the first game came back and beat Korea's Kwang Hee Heo 15-21, 21-15, 21-16. The Final will be played tonight.

In the doubles, the Indian pair Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy failed to enter the finals as the top seeds Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han of Chinese Taipei beat the duo in a close game 21-12, 12-21, 22-20.

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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINES:

  • The women's world cup final figures on the front pages of newspapers. 'Can Indian women conquer the world? asks the Times of India, while the Tribune writes "Mithali's girls take a shot at cricket Raj today - women's team gets a chance to re-live the 1983 Kapil Dev led victory moment'. Already celebrities, the Business Standard says 'Queries from companies start pouring in for Mithali and Harmanpreet for endorsements.'
  • Nitish Kumar in Delhi for Pranab Mukherjee's farewell and his meeting with Rahul to discuss saving the alliance in Bihar is reported by the Hindustan Times and the Indian Express, but the Times of India writes 'CM doesn't relent on Tejashwi'.
  • The Business Standard, the Asian Age and the Indian Express have a picture of the full dress rehearsal for the July 25th swearing in ceremony of the new President elect Ram Nath Kovind.
  • 'Armymen back from Amarnath Yatra clash with police, 6 injured' reports the Indian Express. The Army has described the incident as a 'minor altercation' says the Tribune.
  • 'Indians in Mosul dead or alive, an enigma' is the Pioneer headline of the 39 missing Indians in Iraq. The paper adds that there is 'no sign of missing citizens at razed jail they languished in'.
  • On the India-China Stand off, the Indian Express writes' US approaches Delhi, Beijing. Seeks talks, peaceful solution'. 'Hope rests on Doval's China visit' writes the DNA.
  • The conviction of Pandher and Koli in the Nithari case is reported by most papers.
  • And finally, Delhi's Connaught place is all set to go car free and become pedestrian friendly from August, writes the Hindustan Times on its front page.

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