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Monday Morning News Brief, September 4

Monday morning brief Sep 4 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
The government is mulling a dedicated satellite bandwidth for security forces at the border for better surveillance. The idea is to enable the border guarding forces to monitor the movement of Pakistani and Chinese troops in real time, track terrorist infiltration, map terrain and communicate effectively in remote areas, besides assessing the strength of soldiers and artillery deployed by neighbours near the border.
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Bureaucrats and former military men account for nearly 10% of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers. The list includes a former home secretary, a retired diplomat, a former Mumbai police commissioner and an ex-Army chief. The presence of such a significant number of civil servants and ex-Armymen is seen as the PM’s push to get projects implemented in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.
The BRICS Summit began in China today with a group photograph of leaders of the five countries. It was preceded by a warm handshake between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also received the leaders of Brazil, Russia and South Africa ahead of the restricted meeting of the grouping.
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India inflicted a 5-0 whitewash on Sri Lanka with a thumping six-wicket victory in the final ODI of the three-Test series. After Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s maiden five-wicket haul enabled India to restrict Sri Lanka to a below-par 238, Indian skipper Virat Kohli for the umpteenth time anchored a successful chase in 46.3 overs with a fluent unbeaten 110.
US President Donald Trump said North Korea’s actions were ‘very hostile and dangerous to the United States’. China expressed strong condemnation+ while South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the “strongest punishment” against the North, including new UN sanctions to “completely isolate” it.
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Sunday evening news brief, Sep 03 2017

Sunday evening brief Sep 3 2017
Good evening!
Here’s everything that transpired during the course of the day…
Nirmala Sitharaman is the new Defence Minister, Piyush Goyal gets Railways after Cabinet rejig. The reshuffle of the Union Cabinet saw nine new ministers being sworn in. Four ministers were also elevated to Cabinet rank. Suresh Prabhu will now take charge of Commerce and Industry. Apart from Finance, Arun Jaitley will now also look after Corporate Affairs. Read.
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PM Modi has arrived in China’s Xiamen for the 9th BRICS summit. He is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit. Jinping in his opening address asked BRICS members to shelve their differences and accommodate each other’s concerns by enhancing mutual trust and strategic communication.
North Korea claimed its hydrogen bomb test was a ‘perfect success.’ The bomb was designed to be mounted on its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile, the North said in the announcement. The test has sparked international condemnation, including from China, Pyongyang’s closest ally, and US President Donald Trump.
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Low air fares on long-haul international routes may soon become a reality for Indian flyers. The debut of low-cost carriers on such routes may see one-way fare to some European cities drop to as low as Rs 12,000. Singapore Airlines’ low-cost subsidiary Scoot and Indian players like SpiceJet and IndiGo are expected to start operations to Europe in about a year’s time.
About 16 million children across India, Bangladesh and Nepal have been affected in the recent floods, UNICEF said. The most urgent needs for children are clean water, hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of disease and food supplies, the UN agency said. UNICEF, at the request of the state governments, is providing multi-sectoral planning and coordination support in Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
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Sunday Morning News Brief, September 3

Sunday morning brief Sep 3 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Nine new faces will be inducted into the Council of Ministers today in a major revamp by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The inductions will include former foreign service officer Hardeep Puri and former IAS officer K J Alphons. Both are not currently MPs. Others are Uttara Kannada MP Anantkumar Hegde, former home secretary and Arrah MP R K Singh, Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner and Baghpat MP Satya Pal Singh, Rajya Sabha MP from UP Shiv Pratap Shukla, Buxar MP Ashwini Chaubey and Tikamgarh MP Virendra Kumar.
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Raghuram Rajan said he had cautioned the government about the short-term costs of demonetisation outweighing the long-term benefits. In his new book, ‘I Do What I Do: On Reforms Rhetoric and Resolve’, due to be released next week, the former Reserve Bank of India governor said that he first gave his opinion orally in February 2016 and, subsequently, the RBI submitted a note to the government outlining the steps that would be needed, and the time required, if the Centre went ahead with the move.
The government issued an alert on the spread of a new malware, Locky Ransomware, that can lock computers. Ransomware is a malicious software and the Locky Ransomware is learnt to be demanding ransom of half bitcoin, which at present rate is equivalent to over Rs 1.5 lakh. The alert, issued on Cyber Swachhta Kendra, said it has been reported that a new wave of spam mails is circulating with common subject lines to spread variants of Locky Ransomware.
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NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson returned to earth on Saturday, capping a career-total 665 days in the orbit. Whitson, 57, ended an extended stay of more than nine months aboard the International Space Station. During her third mission aboard the station, Whitson spent much of her time on experiments, including studies of cancerous lung tissue and bone cells. She also completed four spacewalks, adding to her six previous outings, to set a record for the most time spent spacewalking by a woman.
Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar said the PSLV-C39 rocket that failed on Thursday was not carrying any extra load. He said that the heat shield added additional weight to the launch vehicle as it failed to get detached at the second stage and went along till the fourth stage separation point. “It was not because Isro put any additional weight prior to the launch,” Kumar added.
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Saturday Evening News Brief, September 2

Saturday evening brief Sep 2 2017
Good evening!
Here’s everything that transpired during the course of the day…
Hockey India sacked coach Roelant Oltmans after a string of unimpressive outings. The decision was taken in a three-day power-packed meeting to assess the way forward for Indian hockey and was attended by over 24 members. Though the federation did not say it in as many words, it is apparent that the Hockey India bosses are not impressed with the Dutchman. High Performance Director David John will be in charge till a suitable replacement is found for a smooth transition of the men’s team.
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Impromptu demonstrations and blockades erupted across Tamil Nadu today. The demonstrations were held a day after MBBS-aspirant Anitha committed suicide. In Chennai, students and politicians protested at nine places, and at least 450 people, including 80 women, were arrested by police. Anitha, a Dalit girl who scored 1,176 marks in her Class 12 examination, committed suicide as she didn’t score enough on NEET to land an MBBS course. Daughter of a daily wager, she even approached the Supreme Court against NEET regimen but it was dismissed.
Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani will not receive any remuneration, the company said. According to a postal ballot notice released to the stock exchanges on Friday, all Infosys founders, except S D Shibulal, will participate in the scheduled Rs 13,000-crore share buyback. Promoters and their families may tender up to a maximum of 1.77 crore equity shares. Out of the 19 members of the promoter group, only 16 are tendering shares. Three, including Shibulal, his daughter Shruti, and co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan’s daughter Meghana, are not participating in the programme.
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The UAE emerged as the leading destination for Indians migrating to the Gulf. According to emigration clearance data for the first six months of 2017, the UAE has toppled, by a wide margin, Saudi Arabia which used to traditionally lead the pack. The main reason for this shift in ranking is a drastic fall in migration from UP to Saudi Arabia during the first half of 2017. Oman came a close third with 30,413 migrants, which is 16.5% of the total Gulf migration. In 2016, Kuwait was the third most popular destination.
Massive landslide on the national highway near Shimla buried several vehicles. There is no report of any casualty or of anyone being trapped. The buried vehicles were parked along the roadside. “A portion of the cliff opposite the temple near Bhattakufer caved in. Boulders rolled down and smashed six-seven vehicles parked along the highway,” a police official said. The area has been witnessing heavy rainfall for the past three days.
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Saturday Morning News Brief, September 2

Saturday morning brief Sep 2 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the tax officials to shift to electronic interface with taxpayers to ensure complete anonymity. Modi called for a switch to a system where functionaries did not know whose returns they were assessing or scrutinising, while the individual or the company did not know who was the officer dealing with their case. “This will help avoid complaints of harassment or favouritism and shut out “vested interests,” he said.
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17-year-old Anitha who had moved the Supreme Court against NEET-based medical examinations committed suicide. She was found hanging at her house in a village in Tamil Nadu. The Dalit girl had approached the apex court last month opposing a plea seeking admissions to under graduate medical courses only on the basis of the NEET score. Anitha, daughter of a daily wage earner, had scored an impressive 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in class XII board examinations.
The Haryana police issued lookout notices against Honeypreet Insan, the adopted daughter of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh said Honeypreet was charged with conspiracy for allegedly trying to free Gurmeet from cops’ custody, in connivance with the Dera chief ‘s securitymen, after his conviction on August 25.
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US President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Kenneth Juster as the US ambassador to India. Juster, who is the Deputy Assistant to the US president for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of his National Economic Council, would replace Richard Verma if nominated and confirmed by the Senate.
Tennis player Serena Williams gave birth to a baby girl on Friday, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou confirmed. “Congratulations @SerenaWilliams for your baby girl. I am so happy for you and I feel your emotion,” Mouratoglou wrote on Twitter. Williams, who is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, has not competed since winning the Australian Open in January but has posted several videos to social media showing her hitting balls during her pregnancy.
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