Morning news brief, May 20 2017

Saturday morning brief May 20 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Nearly 14,000 pilgrims were left stranded after a massive landslide blocked the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. The landslide near Vishnuprayag, 9 km from Joshimath in Chamoli district, left 60 metres of the national highway damaged. However there were no reports of injury to pilgrims. Earthmovers have been pressed into service to clear the debris, and the road is expected to open later today. Read
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Pakistan may be propping up a new terror outfit in Kashmir, feel Indian intelligence agencies. The suspicion grows from the rising dissonance between Kashmiri separatists and terrorists in the Valley, and Pakistan-based terrorist commanders. India suspects Pakistani agencies are trying to rebrand the Kashmir disturbance as ‘Islamist uprising for liberation of Kashmir.’
A case of extortion has been registered against the son of former Maharashtra deputy CM Narayan Rane. Nitesh Rane, a sitting Congress MLA, was allegeldy paid Rs 50 lakh in extortion money by a Mumbai restaurant owner. He also wanted to be made a partner in a new business. On being refused, he allegedly started threatening the businessman. Two of Rane’s aides have been arrested.
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Hybrid cars will face higher tax rates in the GST regime. However fuel guzzlers such as larger SUVs and bigger sedans will enjoy lower tax. Electric cars will become dearer in states where there is no VAT at present, but will cost lower in the other states. The proposed cumulative duty on hybrid cars is 43% against the approximate 30% at present.
Uttarakhand government has said, rivers Ganga and Yamuna’s status as living entities is untenable. It will approach the Supreme Court citing technical, geographical and administrative issues with implementation of the state HC order granting ‘living’ status to the rivers, and appointing state officials as their legal parents. A spokesperson said, Uttarakhand officials cannot be held accountable for non-compliance in another state through which the rivers flow.
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