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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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Copyright @ 2017 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.

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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Copyright @ 2017 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.

Sunday Evening News Brief, August 27

Sunday evening brief Aug 27 2017
Good evening!
Here’s everything that transpired during the course of the day…
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said no one has the right to violate law and order in the name of faith. “Violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated. Whether it is faith based on community, political ideology, individual or tradition,” he asserted in a veiled reference to the Dera violence.

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Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav pledged to form another ‘Mahagathbandhan’ at the national level to oust the BJP-led NDA in the next general election. Without naming Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav said, “I would like to remind those who broke the Grand Alliance in Bihar that now we will form the Grand Alliance at the national level.” This was the first time Sharad Yadav shared stage with Lalu Prasad, ignoring the JD(U)’s warning not to attend it.

The Indian Army will finally get an advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) system by 2020. The MRSAM system will be capable of shooting down enemy ballistic missiles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft. The missile system will be produced by premier defence research organisation DRDO in collaboration with the Israel Aerospace Industries.

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A Swiss parliamentary panel will discuss modalities to share black money information with India and 40 other jurisdictions. The committee concerned had rejected a proposal seeking to outrightly suspend implementation of the automatic exchange of banking information. The committee will examine the criteria a country would need to satisfy to start getting access to black money data.

The AIADMK will soon join the NDA and be a part of the Modi government at the Centre, a senior BJP leader said. “The AIADMK will certainly join the NDA. It is only a matter of time. And when it joins the NDA, then it is natural that it will also join the government,” the leader said, playing down the rebellion by a group of AIADMK MLAs, who owe allegiance to TTV Dhinakaran

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Sunday Morning News Brief, August 27

Sunday morning brief Aug 27 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Army chief General Bipin Rawat said the incidents like ongoing stand-off in the Doklam area are likely to ‘increase’ in future. “The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau by the Chinese side attempting to change the status quo are issues which we need to be wary about, and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future,” Rawat said. He added that during the flag meetings with China, the Indian Army keeps insisting that both sides should return to the pre-June 16 positions, but no resolution has been found yet.
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Eight security personnel were killed when terrorists carried out a suicide attack on a district police complex in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. Among those killed four were from the CRPF, one was a constable of Jammu and Kashmir Police and three were Special Police Officers working with the state police. Director General of Police S P Vaid said it was a sad day for security forces who suffered such a heavy causality.
PV Sindhu reached the finals of the World Badminton Championship with a straight game win over Chen Yufei in women’s singles. After compatriot Saina Nehwal settled for a bronze, following her heart-breaking loss to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, Sindhu lifted the spirits of the Indian camp by reaching the finals with a 21-13 21-10 win over World No 10 Chen Yufei. Sindhu will next take on Okuhara, whom she has beaten thrice and lost equal number of times in the last six meetings.
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The Punjab and Haryana High court slammed Manohar Lal Khattar for ‘protecting’ the Dera followers and extending political patronage to them. “It was a political surrender just to allure the vote bank,” observed the court. “There is a sea of difference between administrative and political decisions; administrative decisions were paralysed because of political considerations,” the judges added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 500 crore fund for relief work in Bihar where 440 people died in the devastating floods. The Prime Minister conducted an aerial survey of four flood-hit districts of Araria, Kisanganj, Katihar and Purnea. He also announced Rs 2 lakh ex gratia for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured in the floods.
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Sunday Evening News Brief, August 20

Sunday evening brief Aug 20 2017
Good evening!
Here’s everything that transpired during the course of the day…
Arun Jaitley today said that demonetisation left Maoists in India and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir “fund starved”. Speaking at a function in Mumbai, Jaitley said that demonetisation greatly reduced the number of protesters taking part in stone-pelting in Kashmir. Elaborating on benefits of the move, he said that money which was earlier circulated outside the economy had come into the formal banking system.
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Pakistan has granted nationality to at least 298 Indian emigrants in the last five years, interior ministry said. In 2012, 48 Indian emigrants were granted Pakistani nationality, which rose to 75 in 2013 and 76 in 2014, the interior ministry statement said. Only 15 were given nationality in 2015, while 69 got it in 2016, until April 14 this year, 15 Indians got nationality. The statement was issued in response to a question by a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker in the National Assembly.
ISIS has used UK companies to finance terror plots, including the recent attacks in Spain, a media report said today. FBI documents seen by ‘The Sunday Times’ revealed that surveillance technology dispatched to Spain is believed to be linked to the development by the terror group of weaponised drones routed through the UK. Other purchases said to be routed through Cardiff in Wales include orders for “bug sweep units” and software to help launch rockets.
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Gorkha Janamukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He has been booked in connection with a grenade blast at the Kalimpong police station and an explosion in Darjeeling town, the police said today. An initial probe has revealed that bike-borne miscreants had hurled the grenade at the police station, the police said, adding that they were going through the CCTV footage to get more clues.
Mamata Banerjee said in a television interview that she favours Narendra Modi and not Amit Shah. Criticizing the BJP for GST and demonetisation, she said “I don’t blame the PM. Why should I blame him? His party should take care of it. Why is the party creating problems for everyone?” She also heaped praises on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that he was very balanced and impartial.
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Copyright @ 2017 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.

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