Wednesday morning news brief, March 14 2018

Wednesday morning brief Mar 14 2018
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Twenty opposition parties came together on Tuesday at a dinner hosted by Congress’ Sonia Gandhi. This is being billed as the first concrete attempt to forge an anti-BJP alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Participants said there was no structured discussion but only informal chats about politics on different tables involving leaders across party lines. Read
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Counting for the byelections to three Lok Sabha seats in UP and Bihar is being conducted today. Bypolls were necessitated after UP CM Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated their seats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. In Araria, Bihar, bypoll had to be conducted due to the demise of the sitting MP. Counting is also being held today for Bhabua and Jehanabad Assembly constituencies in Bihar.
Iran said it had offered Pakistan and China participation in the Chabahar port, which India is developing. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, while on a tour of Pakistan also said that Gwadar port in Pakistan and Chabahar needed to be linked through sea and land routes. There was no formal reaction from the Indian side but officials said they will wait to hear directly from Iran over the issue.
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RBI has banned use of letters of undertaking and letters of comfort to get forex from banks abroad at a cheaper rate. The decision could push up the cost of imports by up to half a percentage point, besides putting foreign banks on an even keel with Indian banks in financing imports. This comes about a month after it was discovered that diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had misused LoUs issued by PNB to defraud the bank of over $2 billion.
PM Modi on Tuesday launched a campaign to eradicate tuberculosis from India by 2025. The global target for TB eradication is 2030. Modi said programmes like <a href=”https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-plans-to-eradicate-tb-5-years-ahead-of-global-target/articleshow/63292258.cms”>Swachch Bharat Abhiyan and providing LGP connections</a> for a &ldquo;smokeless kitchen&rdquo; would also reduce the dangers of contracting the disease. It has been estimated that annually around 4.8 lakh people die of TB in India.
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