Top News Quick Read – January 22, 2019




Nitish Kumar Defends Vote Against Citizenship Bill

Patna (Bihar): Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday defended the Janata Dal (United)’s decision to vote against the citizenship bill in the Rajya Sabha.

“When the issue of citizenship bill cropped up, we took the view that the identity of Assamese people must not come under any sort of attack. We expressed our views to the Union Home Ministry and the BJP leadership as well,” Kumar, who is also the JDU president, told reporters in Patna on the sidelines of his weekly public-interaction programme, ”Lok Samvad”.

Nitish Kumar Advocates Reservation Based on Population

Patna (Bihar): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomed the new law for 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections in the general category and advocated enhanced quota for the Other Backward Classes.

CM Kumar today asked that the Centre government should hold next census based on caste. Previous caste based census was done in 1931 in the country.

“In my view, the population of social segments such as SCs, STs and OBCs should be taken into account in the next census. Based on its report, the nation can move towards ensuring proportional representation for various castes,” he added.

Andhra CM writes a letter to his Counterpart on Fish Ban in Bihar

Patna/Hyderabad: After Bihar banned sale of Andhra fish over quality concerns, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday requested his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar to send a technical team to look into the issue and restore the trade between the two states.

The Bihar government has imposed a ban for 15 days in Patna after it found formalin, a known carcinogen, in some of the consignments brought from Andhra Pradesh. Formalin is used to preserve fish.

In a letter written to the Bihar Chief Minister, Mr Naidu informed that the state government has conducted surprise raids and tested samples but could not find formalin in any fish products.

Upendra Kushwaha Challenges Sushil Kumar Modi To Contest Lok Sabha Polls

Patna (Bihar): Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief Upendra Kushwaha on Monday challenged Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha poll adding that even an ordinary worker of his party was capable of defeating him in an electoral contest.

The former union minister made this remark in a retort to a recent comment by state BJP president Nityanand Rai who had said that he would seek re-election from Ujiyarpur Lok Sabha seat and challenged Kushwaha, besides RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, to engage with him in an electoral fight.

Ghar Wapsi: 96 Tripura Christians Converted

Unakoti (Tripura): Ninety-six Christians belonging to 23 tribal families were converted to Hinduism in Tripura on Sunday, right-wing group Hindu Jagran Manch has claimed. The people were mostly labourers from Jharkhand and Bihar who had been forcibly converted in the past, says the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which apparently oversaw the mass conversion at Unakoti, around 150 km from state capital Agartala.

“These people were originally Hindus and were forced to become Christians in past, and the conversions took place according to their wish,” NDTV quoted a VHP supporter as saying.

Woman Arrested In Suspected Dishonour Killing Of Teen In Gaya

Gaya (Bihar): The police on Monday arrested a woman in connection with a suspected case of dishonour killing of a 16-year-old girl in Bihar’s Gaya district.

The mutilated body of the girl was found on January 6, after she went missing from her home in late December last year, the police said.

Gaya senior police official Rajiv Mishra said the woman was produced before a local court, which remanded her in judicial custody.

Large business team to accompany Ramaphosa to India

New Delhi: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations, will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including a 50-member business team, when he travels to India on January 25-26.

The External Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday that Ramaphosa will be accompanied by First Lady Tshepo Motsepe, nine ministers and senior officials apart from the business delegation.

This is the first visit to India by President Ramaphosa as head of state. He is the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

Amarinder concerned at FCI withdrawal from food grain procurement

Chandigarh (Punjab): Expressing concern over the Food Corporation of India’s gradual withdrawal from procurement of food grains in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to raise the issue with the Centre and seek increase in the Central agency’s procurement share.

The Chief Minister said this on Tuesday while chairing a meeting to review the procurement arrangements for the forthcoming Rabi season. Amarinder said he would ask the Union Food Minister to increase the share of FCI in state procurement.

He pointed out that the FCI share had declined from 30.69 per cent to a mere 12 per cent in the last 20 years.

Ex-PM Manmohan Singh completes the #10Yearchallenge post heart surgery

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will complete a decade after a successful heart surgery on Thursday, is the unexpected new entrant on the #10Yearchallenge on social media, an official said on Tuesday.

The former PM, 86, was operated for a redo cardiac bypass surgery on January 24, 2009, by a team of medicos led by the renowned Mumbai-based cardiovascular thoracic surgeon and Vice-Chairman of Asian Heart Institute (AHI), Ramakanta Panda.

China’s support for coal erodes clean energy leadership: IEEFA

New Delhi: China’s continued support for coal power across Asia erodes its clean energy leadership, US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said on Tuesday.

While financial institutions around the world are moving away from coal to limit exposure to increasing stranded asset risks, it said global renewable energy champion China was simultaneously funding over a quarter of coal plants currently under development outside the country.

Its new report, ‘China at a crossroads: Continued support for coal power erodes China’s clean energy leadership’, examines the country’s expensive subsidisation of largely imported coal plant investments across 27 countries.

Google restricts apps from using access permission via SMS, calls

San Francisco (US, World): Google has now restricted the use of high-risk and sensitive permissions via SMS and phone calls for apps on PlayStore as part of its recent policy change that now requires apps to be verified manually by the search engine giant.

The company has declared March 9 as the deadline for developers whose apps already include these permissions to either file a declaration confirming their app requires these permissions for core functionality, submit a request application for more time allotment to bring their app into compliance, or remove the permissions from their apps immediately.

“Apps that fail to meet policy requirements or submit a declaration form may be removed from Google Play,” the company wrote in a post late on Monday.

Kerala art auction raises Rs 3.2 crore for flood relief

Kochi (Kerala): First-ever international live contemporary art auction in Kerala saw all its works getting sold out, said an official on Tuesday and added that the entire Rs 3.2-crore proceeds will be donated to the state government’s fund for rebuilding the areas affected by the natural calamity five months ago.

The auction — Art Rises, organised jointly by Mumbai-based Saffronart and the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) on Saturday — comprised 42 artworks donated by leading Indian and international artists, gallery owners and collectors.

BSF hands over 31 Rohingya Muslims to Tripura Police

Agartala (Tripura): The Border Security Force on Tuesday handed over the 31 Rohingya Muslims, who were stranded on the India-Bangladesh border for three days, to the Tripura police, ending a standoff with its counterpart, the BGB, on the issue, officials said.

They said the border guarding force signed papers and handed over the 31 Rohingyas to the staff of the Amtoli police station in West Tripura district police at 11 am.

Kamal Nath may face Karnataka-like consequences: BSP MLA

Damoh (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Rambai Singh has warned that the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the state may face Karnataka-like consequences if she was not made a minister.

Singh has been demanding a ministerial berth ever since the BSP extended support to the Congress to form the government in the state after it fell short by two seats in the December election.

The legislator has now added one more demand saying both the BSP MLAs should be given ministerial berths and party supremo Mayawati came to the Congress’ aid.

PM misusing public money for BJP propaganda: Congress

New Delhi: Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misusing public money and government podium to spread the BJP’s propaganda and to attack the opposition, the Congress on Tuesday contested the “tall claims” of his government’s achievements.

Strongly objecting to Modi using the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi as a stage for election campaigning, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma demanded the Election Commission’s intervention.

“No Prime Minister in the history of India holds the record of wasting public money for election campaign. The Prime Minister is the BJP’s chief propagandist and has used his entire tenure for the propaganda of BJP,” Sharma said.

Scindia meets Shivraj in Bhopal

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): In a significant late evening development which is bound to trigger political speculations, senior Congress leader and ex-union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia met former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at latter’s residence in Bhopal on Monday evening.

Leaving behind the political acrimony of the recent assembly polls, Scindia went to Chouhan’s residence and met the former CM for around half an hour. Before coming to Chouhan’s house Scindia had visited the house of Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi, whose mother had died recently due to renal failure.

Talking to journalists after coming out of Chouhan’s residence, Scindia, the four-time sitting MP from Guna Lok Sabha seat said “it was a courtesy call as Chouhan is the ex-CM of the state and both the state government as well as opposition have to work together for MP’s development.”

Goa BJP trying to dissolve Assembly: Congress

Panaji (Goa): The Congress in Goa Tuesday expressed fear that the BJP-led state government might recommend dissolution of the Legislative Assembly after the passage of the vote-on-account during the upcoming session scheduled to be held next week.

Congress Legislative Party (CLP) members, who met at Porvorim near here, expressed concerns over the shortness of the assembly session, saying there would be no time to discuss important issues.

No citizenship without state’s consent under new bill: MHA

New Delhi: Indian citizenship would not be granted to any foreigner without the consent of state governments concerned after the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Home Ministry said on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesperson Ashok Prasad said every application for Indian citizenship will be enquired into by the deputy commissioner or district magistrate concerned, who will carry out due diligence and submit it to the state government concerned.

“The state government also has to conduct an enquiry through its agencies. Only then, an individual will be granted Indian nationality. Without the state government’s recommendations, no one will be given Indian citizenship,” Prasad told reporters here.

China announces anti-dumping duties on chemical from India, Japan

Beijing (China, World): China’s Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday it has decided to impose anti-dumping duties on ortho dichlorobenzene (ODCB) imported from Japan and India as of Wednesday.

The domestic industry has been subject to substantial damages due to the dumping of these products, the ministry said in a final ruling after anti-dumping investigations into the imports.

From Wednesday, duties will be collected at rates ranging from 31.9 percent to 70.4 percent for a five-year period, the ministry said on its website.

Congress never had will to end corruption: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that successive Congress governments since Independence never had the will nor intention to end corruption, but his government has done it in the last four-and-a-half years.

Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, Modi said that a former Prime Minister had famously said that of the 100 rupees that the Central government doles out for public welfare, only 15 rupees reach the beneficiaries with the rest 85 per cent leaked through corruption.

“It was an admission of a fact, of a system that the party which ruled for so long had given to the country. But even during its later rule of 10-15 years, the party never tried to stop this pilferage. The middle class taxpayer sincerely kept paying taxes and the loot of 85 per cent continued,” Modi said at Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas.