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Friday Evening News Brief, September 9

Friday evening brief Sep 1 2017
Good evening!
Here’s everything that transpired during the course of the day…
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will revamp his council of ministers on Sunday morning, at 10 am. Sources told that Modi is preparing to induct new faces, including from NDA allies JD(U) and the AIADMK, into his council of ministers. This will be the third such exercise since the BJP swept to power in the summer of 2014.

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​The CBI filed a 30,000-page chargesheet against former Indian Air Force Chief, S P Tyagi, and nine others in the VVIP chopper scam. The agency has revealed for the first time that Tyagi not only conspired with others to reduce the ceiling of 12 VVIP choppers, but manipulated with other operational requirements as well so that AgustaWestland gets the contract, in lieu of bribery.

The Centre is all set to begin the $87-billion river interlinking project in a month. The plan entails linking nearly 60 rivers, including the mighty Ganges, which the government hopes will cut farmers’ dependence on fickle monsoon rains by bringing millions of hectares of cultivatable land under irrigation.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked tax officials to be friendly with honest taxpayers. Inaugurating the second edition of ‘Rajaswa Gyan Sangam’ – the joint conference of direct and and indirect tax officials – Modi asked them to ensure that the benefits of the biggest tax reform since Independence, GST, reach the common man by way of reduced prices.

China passed a law against mocking the national anthem, with singers facing up to 15 days in jail. From National Day on October 1, the song “The March of the Volunteers” can only be played at formal occasions. It can no longer be played as background music in public places and “inappropriate” private performances of the song are also forbidden.

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Friday morning news brief, Sep 01 2017

Friday morning brief Sep 1 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
The death toll in the building collapse in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar area has risen to 34. Thirteen people were pulled out alive from the rubble till late last evening and seven more were still feared trapped. 19 injured are admitted in hospitals. Rescue operations involving the NDRF, the fire brigade and police are continuing. The 117-year-old, 7-storey building collapsed yesterday morning. Read
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The last reshuffle of the Union cabinet before the next Lok Sabha polls is likely on Sunday. 5 ministers were asked to resign as part of the larger restructuring. That includes Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Sanjiv Balyan. Two nominees of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar are likely to be sworn in, along with BJP nominees. Suresh Prabhu is likely to be shifted to Environment ministry.
The Supreme Court is likely to hear an appeal in the Bofors payoff case today. The appeal filed by BJP leader and advocate Ajay Kumar Agarwal, challenged the Delhi high court’s verdict discharging the Hinduja brothers in the case. In December last year, the CBI admitted that it was refused permission by the authorities a decade ago to appeal against the Delhi HC’s May 2005, order.
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The GJM has suspended its indefinite shutdown of the Darjeeling hills till September 12. However some groups within the party are opposing the decision taken by some members of the party’s central committee. GJM president Bimal Gurung declared from an undisclosed location that the strike would continue. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will meet the Hill parties for another round of talks on September 12.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma produced sublime centuries to help India take a 4-0 lead in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. The victory also dented Lanka’s chances of a direct World Cup qualification. Chasing India’s 375, the Lankans faltered from the start, losing wickets at regular intervals. The only resistance came from Angelo Mathews and Siriwardana for the fifth wicket partnership. Sri Lanka lost by 168 runs, their heaviest defeat on home soil.
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Friday Evening News Brief, August 25

Friday evening brief Aug 25 2017
Good evening!
Here’s everything that transpired during the course of the day…
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty of rape by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana. He was immediately taken into judicial custody. He will be sentenced on Monday. The Dera head was present in court when the judgment was read out. The charges against Gurmeet Ram Rahim date back to 2002, when a Dera sadhvi wrote an anonymous letter to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying she was raped by the Dera chief.

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At least 17 people died as Dera followers went on the rampage in Punjab and Haryana after the verdict on Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Over 200 were injured in violent protests and about 1000 Dera followers have been detained. Two empty rakes of Rewa Express at Anand Vihar Terminal railway station were set on fire. The Punjab and Haryana High Court said properties of Ram Rahim Singh should be attached to pay for the losses due to violence.

Infosys will not pursue any witch-hunt against former CEO Vishal Sikka, hinted Nandan Nilekani, the newly appointed non-executive chairman. “The company would adhere to all legal agreements with anyone who is leaving the company. Probe into Panaya acquisition will be a parallel process running simultaneously with the day-to-day functioning,” he said. His appointment is not bound by any specific tenure. He will be there as long as the company requires him, he said.

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Kidambi Srikanth was beaten by top seed Son Wan Ho of South Korea 21-14, 21-18 in the quarterfinals of World Badminton Championships. Srikanth had come into the match with twin victories over Son Wan in June at the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier and Australia Open Super Series but it counted for little as the Korean dished out a near-perfect game to outclass the Indian 21-14, 21-18 in a 49-minute clash.

South Korean court sentenced Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to 5 years prison. The Seoul Central District Court said Lee was guilty of offering bribes to Park Geun-hye when she was South Korea’s president, and to Park’s close friend, to get government support for efforts to cement his control over the Samsung empire.

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Friday morning news brief, Aug 25 2017

Friday morning brief Aug 25 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Haryana remains tense ahead of the verdict in the Ram Rahim Singh case by a CBI court. Panchkula and Chandigarh are in a lockdown mode, with thousands of security personnel deployed and curbs on internet services. Thousands of the Dera chief’s supporters have decsended on the cities. Over 700 government buses and 25 trains were cancelled as a preemptive measure. Read
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The Infosys board on Thursday named Nandan Nilekani as non-executive chairman. He will replace R Seshasayee, who has quit the board. Board members, Prof Jeffrey Lehman and Prof John Etchemendy have also resigned. Executive vice-chairman Vishal Sikka, whose resignation as CEO last Friday triggered the latest crisis, will also leave the company immediately.
China has dubbed India’s road building efforts near the Pangong lake in Ladakh a ‘slap on its own face.’ Beijing’s aggressive stance indicates a strategy for creating a situation that might make it politically difficult for PM Modi to attend the Brics summit in Xiamen next month, observers said. The change in the tone of the Chinese foreign ministry is likely due to pressure from hawkish sections in the Communist Party.
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MS Dhoni’s experience and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s solid support helped India beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets in the second ODI. Dhoni scored a patient unbeaten 45 off 68 balls and mentored Kumar (53 not out) as they added 100 runs for the eighth wicket, after India were reduced to 131 for 7 at one stage. The hosts reached the revised target of 231 in 44.2 overs to take a 2-0 lead in the 5-match series.
A convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case will walk out of prison on an ordinary leave after 26 years. AG Perarivalan has been in prison since he was convicted as a 19-year-old, and has never got relief earlier. The Tamil Nadu CM considered the pleas of his mother to grant leave on compassionate grounds, as his father is ailing.
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Friday morning news brief, August 18 2017

Friday morning brief Aug 18 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Spanish police said they killed 5 suspects in Cambrils town, to thwart another terrorist attack. The men were planning to execute an attack using explosive belts. Police said the Cambrils plot was linked to the Barcelona attack that killed 13 people. Also, one person was killed in an explosion in a house in a town southwest of Barcelona. Residents there were preparing explosives. Read
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Japan has endorsed the Indian position in the ongoing Doklam border standoff with China. The Japanese ambassador to New Delhi said there should be no attempt to change the status quo on the ground by force. Categorising the crisis as a dispute between China and Bhutan, ambassador Hiramatsu said India’s actions were in keeping with bilateral security arrangements with Bhutan.
Fourteen railway staff members of August Kranti Rajdhani Express have been grounded after an on board robbery. That includes seven house-keeping staff and seven coach attendants. Some passengers alleged that the staff might have drugged them before robbing their valuables in the intervening night of August 15 and 16. A special team of RPF Delhi has been sent to Kota and Ratlam to assist in the investigation.
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NIA arrested Zahoor Ahmad Watali, a millionaire businessman from Srinagar for alleged terror funding. He allegedly uses his business to channel ISI funds to India for separatist activities. He had been in contact with serving and retired personnel of Pakistan Army and ISI, and also prominent politicians from PoK. He owns a large number of properties in J&K and at prominent locations in Delhi.
The Uttarakhand government has issued show-cause notices to 54 IAS officers for skipping the Independence Day flag hoisting. The list includes 46 additional secretaries, one principal secretary, five secretaries-in-charge and two secretaries. If the explanation is not found satisfactory, the state government is believed to have warned the officers of an adverse entry in their annual confidential report.
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