News

  • In view of huge carryover stock and estimation of excess production of sugar in the current sugar season 2018-19 (October-September) and in order to improve the liquidity of the sugar mills to facilitate them for clearance of cane price arrears of farmers, the Central Government has fixed export targets by allocating mill-wise Minimum Indicative Export Quotas (MIEQ) of 50 LMT of sugar for export in current sugar season 2018-19.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu called upon scientists, policy makers and planners to adopt new strategies to tackle the problem of malnutrition, which in its various forms is a looming threat to our development.

  • 67th All India Police Athletics Championship 2018 concluded here today, with the Minister of state (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports & Information and Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore distributing the trophies to the winning teams.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on 2nd November 2018,launched a support and outreach programme for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. The Prime Minister unveiled12 key initiatives which will help in the growth, expansion and facilitation of MSMEs across the country:

    Loans upto 1 crore within 59 minutes through an online portal.

  • India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-November 2018-19* are estimated to be USD 351.99 Billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 15.48 per cent over the same period last year.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate two sewage infrastructure projects worth Rs 199.65 Crore under Namami Gange Programme in Prayagraj (Allahabad), and lay the foundation for two projects worth Rs1671.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will visit Gujarat (Narmada) tomorrow (December 15, 2018) to lay the foundation stone of the Kevadia Railway Station.  He will also visit the Statue of Unity and pay his tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his death anniversary.

  • The autonomy for the Central Bank, within the framework of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, is an essential and accepted governance requirement. A press release was issued by the Government on 31.10.

  • Government of India (GoI) announced recapitalisation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to the tune of Rs. 2.11 lakh crore in October 2017, through infusion of capital by the Government and raising of capital by banks from the markets.

  • Asset Quality Review (AQR) carried out in 2015 for clean and fully provisioned bank balance-sheets revealed high incidence of non-performing assets (NPAs). Expected losses on stressed loans, not provided for earlier under flexibility given to restructure loans, were reclassified as NPAs and provided for. Nationalised banks initiated cleaning up by recognising NPAs and provided for expected losses.

  • The details of the socially oriented insurance schemes which are currently being operated or partially sponsored by the Central Government targeted at vulnerable sections of the society are as follows:

    Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) were launched on 9th May, 2015.

  • There has been a growth in the number of e-Returns filed by the individual tax payers during the last four years.

     

      The number of income-tax returns filed and the annual growth rate during the last four financial years are as under:

    Financial

    Number of Income Tax Returns

    Growth over

    Year

    (including revised returns) filed

    previous year

     

    by Individuals

     

     

     

     

    2014-15

    31,334,957

    15.

  • The Banking Companies(Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings)Acts of 1970 and 1980 provide that the Central Government, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), may make a scheme, inter alia, for the amalgamation of any nationalised bank with any other nationalised bank or any other banking institution Various committees, including Narasimhan Committee (1998) constituted by RBI, Leeladhar Committee(2008) chaired by RBI Deputy Governor, and Nayak Committe (2014) constituted by RBI, have recommended consolidation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) given underlying benefits/synergies.

  • As informed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), no comparable data is available with them regarding India beings among the countries having lowest Automated Teller Machine (ATM) penetration globally. As reported by the Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs), Small Finance Banks (SFB), Payment Banks (PBs) and White Label ATM Operators (WLAOs), 2.21 lakh ATMs are deployed in the country as on 30.9.

  •  As per data uploaded by banks, the number of persons enrolled under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) as on 31.10.2018 is 14.27 Crores.

     

          The number of beneficiaries, who got the risk coverage in different categories as on 15 August, 2018 is as under:-

     

     

    (Figures in Crores)

    Category

    Number of beneficiaries

     

     

    Urban Male

    4.

  • The month-wise gross collection of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) and Cess for FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 are as under: 

     

     

    Month

    GST collection (in Rs. Crore)

     

     

     

    2017-18

    2018-19

     

     

     

    April

    --

    1,03,459

    May

    --

    94,016

    June

    --

    95,610

    July

    --

    96,483

    August

    95,633

    93,960

    September

    94,064

    94,442

    October

    93,333

    100,710

    November

    83,780

    97,637

    December

    84,314

    --

    January

    89,825

    --

    February

    85,962

    --

    March

    92,167

    --

    Average

    89,885

    97,040

     

     

     

    From the above Table, it is clear that GST collection in the current FY (2018-19) has been showing improvement compared to last FY (2017-18) except for the month of August, 2018.

  • As per the estimates available from Central Statistics Office, the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant market prices was 6.7 percent (Provisional Estimate) in 2017-18. The growth momentum of the economy picked up with the GDP growth increasing to 7.6 per cent in the first half (April-September) of 2018-19.

  • The details of total Direct Tax and Indirect Tax collected over the last three years along with the different component-wise are as under:

    Direct Tax

     

     

     

    (Rs.

  • A delegation of railway officers approached Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh for intervention by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for redressal of their cadre related issues.

  • The share of various sectors (including manufacturing and services sector) in Gross Value Added (GVA) during last three years is given in the table below.

    Share of sectors in GVA at current prices (per cent)

    Sector

    2015-16 (2nd RE)

    2016-17 (1st RE)

    2017-18 (PE)

    Agriculture, forestry & fishing

    17.

  • The Wholesale Price Index based inflation was 5.28 per cent in October and 4.02 per cent in November last year.

    Food articles witnessed softening of prices with deflation at 3.31 per cent in November, against 1.49 per cent in October, government data released on Friday showed.

  • Noted English author Amitav Ghosh has been honoured with this year's Jnanpith Award, an award for outstanding contribution to literature.

    In a statement, Bharatiya Jnanpith announced that Amitav Ghosh is a path- breaking novelist and in his novels, Ghosh treads through historical settings to the modern era and weaves a space where the past connects with the present in relevant ways.

    The decision was taken in a meeting of Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by eminent novelist, scholar and Jnanpith laureate Pratibha Ray.

    Ghosh, one of the most prominent contemporary Indian writers, is known for a series of novels such as "Shadow Lines", "The Glass Palace", "The Hungry Tide", and Ibis Trilogy -- "Sea of Poppies", "River of Smoke", and "Flood of Fire" -- chronicling the Opium trade between India and China run by the East India Company.

    He has become the first English author to be honoured with the award. He's reacted to it on twitter saying he's 'honoured and humbled'.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the BJP booth level workers from Attingal, Mavelikkara, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha in Kerala through video conference. 

    Slamming the state government, Prime Minister said that BJP has given a model of governance for inclusive and all round development to bring a positive change in people's lives while Congress and Communist party have only given models of efficient corruption and inefficient governance.

    Prime Minister also slammed the state govt for political killing in Kerala. He also praised the party karyakartas who withstood the political violence, and have given sacrifices in the state.

    Prime Minister also said that India is the fastest growing economies in the world. He also said that India is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance that seeks to save the planet by adopting sustainable energy.

  • The announcement was made by party observer for the state K.C. Venugopal. He said the decision was taken by party President Rahul Gandhi.

    Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee President Kamal Nath has been named as the new Chief minister of the newly-elected Congress government in the state. Congress tweeted saying that "Our best wishes to Kamal Nath for being elected CM of Madhya Pradesh. An era of change is upon MP with him at the helm. "

    Kamal Nath's name was finalised after a string of meetings. His name was announced after a meeting of its MLAs at the party headquarters in Bhopal. Kamal Nath will take oath as Chief Minister on Monday.

    Briefing the media, he said that the promises made by the Congress in its manifesto will be fulfilled by the new Government.

  • It may have been all Australia before the Lunch break, but India rallied back in style in the 2nd session  by taking three Australian wickets in quick succession. 

    Openers Marcus Harris  and Aaron Finch gave a good start to Australian innings on day one of the Perth test. Harris and Finch added 112 runs for the first wicket.

    Opting to bat, Australia dominated the first session as their openers kept the Indian seamers on their toes. In the 2nd session India bounced back and took 3 wickets.

    Jasprit Bumrah gave India breakthrough by removing Aaron Finch of 50 runs.

    Umesh Yadav dismissed Usman Khawaja for 5 runs. Marcus Harris played a gritty knock of 70 runs before being removed by Hanuma Vihari.

    In the final session India took 3 more wickets to share day's honour with Australia. 

    At the close of the play, Tim Paine and Pat Cummins were at the crease.

  • The deep depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved rapidly north-northwestwards during past 6 hours and is very likely to intensify further into a Cyclonic Storm during the next 12 hours.

    Expecting heavy rainfall and high winds, all are advised to stay off from the coastal areas. Those, who are out in deep sea areas are advised to return to the coast.

  • According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting held in Kathmandu on Monday.

    In Nepal using and carrying Indian currency of more than Rs 100 denomination is illegal.

    After demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes  by the Indian Government, the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) had issued a circular in November 2016 and declared  using, carrying or keeping Indian currency above Rs 100 denomination illegal in Nepal.

  • When the Lok Sabha reassembled at noon, there were heated arguments between the Treasury and Opposition benches over the Rafale deal. Citing the Supreme Court order, ruling BJP members accused the Congress of misleading the country on the deal. 

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh alleged that Congress President not only misled the country over the issue but tried to tarnish the country’s image at the international level. Singh said the apex court has clearly stated that the deal is a financial advantage to the country and there is no fault in the procurement process. 

    He said Rahul Gandhi should tender an apology in the House as he tried to dent the government’s image.   

    As noisy scenes continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.

    Earlier, as the House met for the day, the Congress and BJP members were on their feet raising slogans against each other. Citing the Supreme Court's Judgement,  Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar alleged that Congress President Rahul Gandhi has made baseless allegations about the deal.

    AIADMK members were in the well against the construction of dam across Cauvery River while TDP members raised slogans seeking financial benefits to Andhra Pradesh under the State Reorganization Act of 2014. 

    Amid noisy scenes, the Speaker had adjourned the House till noon.

    In the Rajya Sabha, ruling BJP MPs demanded that Gandhi should apologize for levelling charges of corruption against the government in the Rafale deal. 

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked the Chair to suspend the Question Hour and allow a discussion on the matter. On the other hand, Congress members continued their protest against the deal and demanded a JPC probe into it. AIADMK and DMK members were also in the well seeking protection for Cauvery delta farmers. Amid continued sloganeering between the Treasury and Opposition benches, Deputy Chairman Harivansh adjourned the House for the day. 

    Earlier, the House was adjourned following protests till 11:30 AM minutes after meeting for the day at 11 AM. Both the Houses of Parliament will now meet on Monday after the weekend holidays.
     

  • "The board deliberated on the governance framework of the Reserve Bank and it was decided that the matter required further examination," the RBI said in a statement.

    RBI's governance is a major bone of contention between the government and the bank, which led Urjit Patel to quit as RBI Governor on Monday. The government wants RBI to be driven by the board instead of the Governor, as is currently the case.

    Under the current structure, the board has 18 directors including four Deputy Governors, four Directors from the RBI's local boards, two government nominees and others appointed by the government. Many of these appointments to the board are political.

    With non-technical people (non-economists) as Directors in the board of the central bank, the final word on any economic policy by the RBI is that of the Governor. However, the Central government wants the RBI Governor to be accountable to the board.

    The board also reviewed other contentious issues like liquidity in the economy and credit in the market which soured the relationship between the government and the central bank over the past several months, with the government wanting the RBI to intervene.

    "The board reviewed, inter alia, the current economic situation, global and domestic challenges, matters relating to liquidity and credit delivery to the economy and issues related to currency management and financial literacy," the statement said.

    It was the first board meeting under the chairmanship of Shaktikanta Das, who was earlier Economic Affairs Secretary in the Finance Ministry and one who steered the monetary situation in the country post-demonetisation.

    The draft report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India (2017-18) was also discussed at the meet, the RBI said.

  • A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi dismissed a bunch of petitions saying that there is no question on the need for fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, nor the suitability of Rafale fighter jets.

    The bench said that, the Apex court cannot sit as an appellate authority on each and every defence Procurement. The bench also said that it doesn't find any material to show that there has been commercial favouritism.

    Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision on the Rafale deal, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Congress President tried to mislead public for political benefit, and maligned India's image globally. Demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi, the Home Minister said that the allegations were just a tool to gain political mileage.

    Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad also welcomed the Supreme Court's decision, saying the Rafale fighter jets are in the interest of the country. He expressed hope that, with this decision, all the issues created by the opposition on the Rafale deal will now end.

    BJP President Amit Shah has welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court. He said that the truth has won. He said that the people were being misled by unfortunately the country's oldest party and its a slap on politics of lies. He said that Rahul Gandhi should reveal what was the source of information on basis of which he made such big allegations.

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has hailed the Supreme Court's decision on the Rafale deal. In a tweet, the minister said that --- in a unanimous judgment the Supreme Court has dismissed any probe into the Rafale Deal and that has vindicated the Government's stand.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court's decision on the Rafale deal dominated proceedings in Parliament, as well. As soon as the Apex Court delivered the crucial judgment, the BJP members in Lok Sabha started demanding an apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Various issues, including Rafale deal, clouded the proceedings in the Lower House, forcing adjournments. The Lok Sabha was then adjourned for the day, till Monday.In the Upper House of Parliament, too, the BJP members sought an apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi. BJP's Arun Jaitley demanded that a discussion on the matter should immediately be taken up in Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes, and was forced to be adjourned repeatedly, and finally for the day, till Monday.

  • Mohammad Mohamood Ali, also sworn in as a Minister along with him at a simple ceremonial programme held on the lawns of Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad. KCR took the oath of office and secrecy at 1.25 minutes in the name of the God in Telugu while Mr Ali took oath in Urdu in the name of Allah. 
     
    This is the second time that KCR became the chief minister of the youngest state of the country. KCR family members besides former ministers of his cabinet, who is who of the state including sitting high court judges, attended the ceremony.
     
    It may be recalled that the TRS won over two-thirds of the 119 seat state Assembly when the youngest state of the country gone for an early-poll. According to KCR, a full-fledged cabinet will be formed in a few days to come.
     

     

  • For the Prime Minister, December 11 was a busy working day like any other. 

    Reaching Parliament at 10.30 am, in his customary interaction with media, as in any Parliament session, PM Modi called for healthy debate and discussion on all subjects of concern to the people. 

    He attended the Lok Sabha, which was adjourned for the day after obituary references to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and former Union Minister Ananth Kumar. 

    In the afternoon, the Prime Minister reviewed development work in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He will be launching development projects in Rae Bareli and Prayagraj on the 16 December. Thereafter, he attended to other important official meetings.

    Late in the evening, PM Narendra Modi gave finishing touches to his speech at the Partners' Forum for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. 12 December, too, began quite early, with this event getting underway at 9 AM at Vigyan Bhavan.

    From Vigyan Bhawan, the PM drove straight to Parliament. After the customary meeting with senior party members on Parliament matters, PM Modi reviewed the progress of development works in Kalyan and Pune in Maharashtra.

    He will be visiting these areas on the 18 December to launch these projects. He also finalized the plan for a video call with booth level workers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the 14 and 15 December.

  • Kovind, who is in Myanmar to continue India's high level bilateral engagements under the rubric of the 'Act East' and the 'Neighbourhood First' policies, said that India is at the cusp of a transformative change. "I bring you good wishes of 1.3 billion citizens of friends and families in India," he said while speaking at the Indian community reception in Yangon.

    Myanmar has embarked on an exciting but challenging journey, he said. "I am here to reassure Myanmar that India is always ready to help it fulfil its aspirations for a brighter future. "India and Myanmar must pair hard infrastructure being created with soft infrastructure of legal arrangements, like a motor vehicle agreement, for people to travel legally and easily. This will help realise the full potential of our projects," Kovind said.

    He said that today, India is full of opportunities for business, social enterprise and cultural links. "I invite each one of you to join us in this journey, and to make this partnership more meaningful," the president said.

    "Our Northeast and Myanmar's North West share strong commonalities of culture, language and traditions. These regions are central to our bilateral vision for growth, prosperity and security. "This is my first visit to Myanmar. It is both a pilgrimage and a homecoming. This country has a proud, millennia-old tradition of Buddhist thought and philosophy. It is home to one of the leading schools of Buddhism," Kovind said.

    Myanmar, like India, is an enormously diverse country, with different ethnicities and faiths co-existing. The two countries shared civilisational ethos shows that all faiths share fundamental truths, which guide all, he said. "Myanmar is undergoing multiple and simultaneous transitions towards democracy, peace and economic development. Success here, under the courageous leadership of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, is important for this country, South Asia and the ASEAN family. "As a sister democracy and a civilisational friend, India is fully conscious of the challenges Myanmar faces. We are ready to offer Myanmar any assistance in addressing the challenges of national reconciliation, reconstruction and economic development," Kovind said.

    The central tenets of India's foreign policy are guided by recognition that the road to development runs through the region. The "Act East" and "Neighbourhood First" policies are key aspects of India's foreign policy and Myanmar is a focus country in both, the president said.

    "We share our expertise with neighbours and others by building infrastructure, creating capacity, and setting up institutions. We do so in the conviction that a peaceful, prosperous and stable neighbourhood is in everyone's interest," he added. 

  • This is for the second time the apex court has extended the deadline. Earlier, the deadline was shifted from November 25 to December 15.

    Earlier, the apex court had fixed December 15 as the last date to submit claims and objections for the 40 lakh applicants who were left out of the final NRC draft.

    Till now, only around 14.8 lakh claims have been filed, indicating the difficulty being faced by the excluded in getting their names in the NRC list.

    The date for commencement of verification has also been postponed to February 15 from February 1.
     

  • World number six Sindhu, who lost last year’s final to Yamaguchi in Dubai, saved two game points in the opening game and took the match in 55 minutes, reports Efe.

    “It’s important to start well in the group stage. I was nervous towards the end of the first game but once I won that game I played better,” the 23-year-old Indian Olympic silver medallist said after the match, according to an official BWF report.

    Sindhu trailed in both games but absorbed the pressure and fought back each time with a mix of aggression and patience.

    Yamaguchi said she may have been too defensive against her opponent and would be hoping to repeat last year’s performance, when she went on to win the tournament despite a first-round loss to Sindhu.

    The top two players from the two groups will qualify for the semi-finals, after which a knockout draw will be held.

    Sindhu and Yamaguchi have been clubbed together with world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and the United States’ Beiwen Zhang in Group A.

  • The Indian Navy on Wednesday nducted the 'Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle' into service at the Western Naval Command in Mumbai.

    Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba inducted the vehicle into the Navy. 

    The Navy successfully concluded maiden trials of the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle on October 15. 

    The DSRV has the capability to rescue personnel from a distressed submarine up to a depth of 650 metre and it is the latest in terms of technology and capabilities.

    The vehicle can rescue as many as 14 people in one dive. Speaking on the occasion, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said its a landmark event and congratulates all for the successful sea trials of DSRV.
     

  • President Ram Nath Kovind and first lady arrived at the Yangon International Airport on Wednesday on their second leg of two cities visit to Myanmar. Chief Minister of Yangon along with other dignitaries welcomed the Indian President.

    Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind, dedicated the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education to the people of Myanmar.  It was established as per an MOU between both the countries for research and capacity building of Myanmar students and scientists. The programme is run by IARI.

    The President also dedicated the Rice Bio-Park to the people of Myanmar. He said India is happy to share its experience of using rice biomass to enhance livelihoods of farmers of Myanmar and wished the project all success. A mobile app has also been launched for welfare of farmers.
     

  • In Sri Lanka, the weeks long political stalemate is nearing its conclusion amidst indication that Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government may resign to make way for reinstatement of United National Front led by Ranil Wickremsinghe.

    A meeting was held by President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday night with Wickremsinghe, which was termed positive by a UNF leader. The leader said that they are hopeful of Wickremsinghe's appointment as Prime minister and their plan is to present a vote of account next week once their government is in place. However, President still has reservations over Wickremsinghe's appointment and he will have to look for working arrangements, in case he is left with no alternative.
     

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed Das, as a person with "right credentials" for the RBI top job. 

    Speaking on appointment of Shaktikanta Das as the new RBI Governor, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said that Shaktikanta Das's experience will add immense value to RBI as far as its independence and autonomy is concerned.

  • Chivai Kasuwa never thought she'd become a model and take part in a beauty contest.

    But the third-year university student is on a mission - to educate people around the world about albinism. "I feel like people don't understand what albinism actually is, and they don't know how to treat it, so a lot of ignorance comes through it, a person would come to be and just start touching me, like pulling my skin and pinching me. Guys would come to me and ask me if I'm with you am I going to get cured or what are you, like so many weird questions, the experiences can be violent... but it's mostly ignorance," she shared.

    Albinism - a rare, genetically inherited condition in which people are born with no pigment in their skin, hair and eyes - is more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world.

    With 1 in 1400 people affected in Tanzania, and 1 in 1000 in Zimbabwe, according to the United Nations. Across Africa, albinos are often shunned, ostracized, beaten and even killed.

    In some countries, their body parts are used for magic potions.

    But at this recent contest in Nairobi, organizers from the Albinism Societies of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania said they're trying to change perceptions.Chair of Albinism Society of Kenya, Isaac Mwaura said, "This region has lost over 200 people with Albinism as a result of the killings. So I really thought that maybe people need to understand who we are to see the true colors of ourselves and also ensure that persons with albinism have an equal opportunity especially in a self definition activity in regards to the arts for example in terms of beauty."

    30 participants - including Kasuwa - competed, taking center stage in an array of costumes.

    She didn't get the top crown, but hopes to become an ambassador for people living with albinism

    Helping to spread the pageant's message of 'accept me, include me, I can'.

  • Some 190 countries are meeting in Katowice, Poland to agree a "rule book" on implementing the Paris climate deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in what has been billed as the most important U.N. conference since that pact was agreed in 2015.

    Expectations for the talks are low: political unity built in Paris has been shattered by populist governments that have placed national agendas before collective action.

    "We urge all parties to engage constructively in the coming days in order to overcome remaining differences and to deliver the Paris Agreement work programme," EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete said as he took his turn in the national statements section following the official opening of the high-level segment.

    French and German environment ministers talked of the need to reconcile climate policies that will reduce emissions with the needs of citizens.

    "I am convinced that climate action can only be successful if we take the concerns of people working and living in the coal region seriously. Policymakers must offer them alternatives specially in structurally weak regions," said German minister Svenja Schulze.

    "We have to be clear, the yellow vests movement in France expresses anger, the anger goes far beyond the question of climate," France's Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition Brune Poirson said, referencing the anti-government protesters whose action was sparked by fuel tax hikes.

  • The motive was not immediately clear but, with France still on high alert after a wave of attacks commissioned or inspired by Islamic State militants since early 2015, the counter-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

    Some two hours after the attack, elite police cornered the suspect and shots were fired, a source close to the operation said. French media reported the assailant was holed up in a store on the Rue Epinal.

    Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the gunman was known to security services, and the local prefecture said he was on an intelligence services watchlist.

    Castaner said France was raising the security threat level and would bolster the protection of Christmas markets elsewhere and strengthen border controls.

    People in the city's Neudorf area and Etoile park were told to stay where they were as officers hunted the shooter on the ground and from the air.

    A Reuters reporter was among 30 to 40 people being held in the basement of a supermarket for their own safety, waiting for police to clear the area. Lights were switched off and bottles of water handed out.

    The European Parliament, which is sitting in Strasbourg this week, was put into lockdown.

     

  • Veteran dragflick expert Gonzalo Peilat (17th, 48th minutes) converted a couple of penalty corners for Argentina.

    England, who were impressive with their free flowing attacks and well organised defence, scored field goals through Barry Middleton (27th), Will Calnan (44th) and Harry Martin (49th).

    It was an end to end affair with plenty of scoring chances for both teams although England enjoyed a slightly upper hand for the most part. 

    Although England dominated the opening quarter, Peilat gave Argentina the lead with a powerful dragflick. England goalkeeper George Pinner had dived the correct way but was beaten by the sheer power in Peilat's shot.

    England almost struck back in the next minute but an excellent save by goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi at his near post maintained Argentina's lead.

    There were chances at both ends and Vivaldi was soon forced to make another good save to keep Argentina ahead.

    But the relentless England pressure finally bore fruit when Middleton scored a field goal with an excellent finish after a well worked build-up.

    Calnan, who had to sit out for a while after picking up a yellow card, made amends soon after coming back in when he beat Vivaldi at his near post with a powerful finish. 

    England had a narrow escape a couple of minutes into the final quarter when the umpire initially awarded a penalty stroke to Argentina which was changed to a penalty corner for the South Americans after a review.

    But if the English players had heaved a sigh of relief, it turned out to be temporary as Peilat scored with another powerful dragflick.

    England struck back at the other end in the very next minute when Martin scored to make the issue safe for the European powerhouse.

    Argentina seemed to disintegrate under pressure in the closing minutes with two of their players sent off for yellow card offences as England clinched a well deserved victory.

    India will face the Netherlands on Thursday, while Germany will meet Belgium. 

    The semi-finals will be played on Saturday, with the final is slated for Sunday.

  •  

    Elaborate arrangements have been made to conduct error-free counting.

    More than 78,000 candidates are in the fray in the polls.

    82 percent voting was recorded in the two-phase elections.

    On Tuesday, re-polling was held at 53 polling stations which went to polls in the second phase.

    All major political parties including BJP, Congress, Asom Gana Parishad, Bodoland Peoples Front, Left parties and AIUDF among others contested the elections.
     

  • Speaking at Swayamvar ceremony held at Janakpur in Nepal to celebrate Vivah Panchami, the wedding of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita, he said Ram Katha ties the people of India and Nepal with a single thread. He said that Ayodhya and Janakpur cities are inseparable link to this glorious story.

    Yogi Adityanath said he is feeling blessed to get the opportunity to offer prayers at Janaki temple on the auspicious occasion of Vivah Panchami.

    Nepal's Culture Minister Rabindra Prasad Adhikari, Governor and Chief Minister of Province 2, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri, Sadhus and other dignitaries also attended Vivah Panchami celebrations at famous Rangbhoomi in Barahbigha ground.

    Earlier Yogi Adityanath met Chief Minister of Province 2, Lalbabu Raut and senior leaders from Center and Province 2. He also joined Bhandara, the community lunch with Sadhus, Saints, dignitaries and representatives of various sections of Nepalese society.

    Yogi Aditynath also paid courtesy call to Governor of Province 2,  Ratneshwar Lal Kayastha. In the morning,  soon after arriving at Janakpur he visited famous Janaki temple and sought blessings of Mata Janaki.

    Vivah Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla paksha in Margashirsha month of Hindu calendar.According to mythology Lord Rama married Goddess Sita on Vivah Panchami.

    The festival is observed in Janakpur every year to mark the occasion.

    Yogi Adityanath returned home in the evening after his successful visit to Janakpur.

  • The fourth Partners' Forum, organised in New Delhi presented an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss issues related to maternal and child health.

    Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the forum organised in association with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH).

    Prime Minister said that India was one of the first countries, to advocate focused attention on adolescence and implement a full-fledged health promotion and prevention programme for adolescents. He said that India stands ready to support its fellow countries in the march to achieving their development goals through skill building and training programmes, provision of affordable medicines and vaccines, knowledge transfers and exchange programs.

    Committing to bigger budgets, better outcome and changing mindsets, Prime Minister said highlighted the importance of maternal health.

    Expressing happiness over success in India's immunization programme, Prime Minister said that Under Mission Indradhaush, 32.8 million children and 8.4 million pregnant women were vaccindated over the last three years.

    Prime Minister said that the number of vaccines under the universal immunization programme has been increased from 7 to 12. While, Govt launched Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan to provide best possible care to mothers during pregnancy. He added that Children's nutrition is being addressed through the POSHAN Abhiyan to achieve the common goal of mal-nutrition free India.

    Prime Minister also said that In order to improve the quality of life of children, Govt is implementing Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram. He said the country has a formidable force of women frontline health workers, with one million registered Social Health Activists or ASHA workers and 2.32 lakh Anganwadi Nurse Mid-wives. In another historic decision, the maternity leave has been increased to 26 weeks, from 12 weeks earlier.

    Prime Minister also said that Govt is committed to increase India's health spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2025, more than 100 billion US-Dollars.

    Prime Minister said that in just 80 days, over 5 lakh families got free healthcare services worth Rs. 700 crore under Ayushman Bharat scheme. Besides, Prime Minister said that Govt plans to start 150 thousand such Health & Wellness Centres by 2022 under Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

    PMNCH's mission is to support the global health community to work successfully towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). India is hosting the Partners' Forum FOR second time. The previous chapters were held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014, New Delhi, India in 2010 and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2007.

    As an alliance of more than 1,000 members in 92 countries the partnership provides all stakeholders to discuss issues related to maternal, newborn and child health on a shared platform.

  • Thousands of devotees offering prayers at famous Janaki temple since early Wednesday morning.

    Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath will also participate in  Vivah Panchami celebration.

    Entry gates have been made at various places to welcome Yogi Adityanath. Soon after arriving at Jankapur he will offer prayers at Janaki temple. Later he will proceed to Madhes Bhawan, the official residence of Province 2 Chief Minister and meet senior leaders from Center and Province 2.

    He will also attend a Mithila cultural programme and have lunch with Sadhus. In the afternoon Yogi Adityanath will attend Sita Swayamvar and marriage ceremony at famous Barah Bigha ground.

    Lakhs of devotees including Sadhus and Saints will also participate in the celebrations.

    Vivah Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla paksha in Margashirsha month of Hindu calendar.According to mythology Lord Rama married Goddess Sita on Vivah Panchami. The festival is observed in Janakpur every year to mark the occasion.

    It is a unique example of age old strong social and cultural bonding between the people of India and Nepal.

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, the critically injured cop in Zaina Pora Shopian terrorist attack succumbed to injuries taking the death toll of policemen to four.

    Three policemen were killed and another cop critically injured after militants attacked police picket in Zainapora area of South Kashmir's Shopian district on Tuesday afternoon.
     

  • Devotees in a very large number continuously arriving in Janakpur to witness one of the biggest religious and cultural event of Hindus.

    The Swayamvar and marriage ceremony will be held at Rangbhoomi in Barabeegha ground on Wednesday.

    Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath will grace the occasion.

    Lakhs of devotees from India and Nepal including thousands of sadhus and saints will also attend the wedding ceremony.

    Chief Minister of Nepal’s Province 2, Lalbabu Raut and many Union Ministers from Nepal Govt will also attend the celebrations.

    Vivah Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla paksha in Margashirsha month of Hindu calendar.

    According to mythology Lord Rama married Goddess Sita on Vivah Panchami. The festival is observed in Janakpur every year with gaiety and religious fervor to mark the occasion.

    As part of weeklong celebrations various marriage rituals are being performed. The "Matikor" ceremony was held on Tuesday evening at Ganga Sagar pond. Later a procession was also carried from Ganga Sagar to Janaki temple.

    Vivah Panchami is a unique example of age old social and cultural relations between India and Nepal that has been cherished for centuries.

  • Das, 61, replaces Urjit Patel, who shocked the establishment and markets by announcing his exit from the central bank Monday. Das will have a three-year term, an official order said.

    He will be the first bureaucrat to head the central bank in almost five years.

    While it was widely expected that the government will name an interim RBI head during its search for Patel’s replacement, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Das within a day.

    In a tweet, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government has “accepted the resignation of Dr Urijit Patel who resigned yesterday from the said post.”

    Meanwhile, Finance Secretary A N Jha said Das has wide experience in state government as well as the union government.

    Das, a 1980-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, retired as Economic Affairs Secretary in May 2017. After his retirement, he was named India’s G-20 sherpa and also appointed as a member of the 15th Finance Commission.

    Das, a history graduate from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, was brought to the Finance Ministry soon after the BJP-led NDA government came to power in mid-2014 and given charge of the crucial revenue department. He was later moved to the economic affairs department, which essentially deals with monetary policy and the RBI.

    While the BJP government chose an economist in Patel to head the RBI after it had denied extension to former IMF Chief Economist Raghuram Rajan for a second term in 2016, the position has once again gone to a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats have occupied the position for the most number of years.

    The last IAS officer to head the RBI was D Subbarao, who demitted office in September 2013.

    Urjit Patel, who initially appeared to have toed the government line on issues like demonetisation, had in the recent weeks clashed with the Finance Ministry over issues of liquidity, reserves of the central bank and lending norms.

    The face-off led to the government invoking a never-used-before provision of the RBI Act to bring the governor to the negotiating table on these issues.

    Patel chose to resign four days ahead of the crucial meeting of the RBI Board where government nominee directors were expected to push the central bank on governance issues.

    Das will be the 25th Governor of the RBI.

     

  • Madhya Pradesh's outgoing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan tendered his resignation to Governor Anandiben Patel earlier on Wednesday. After Tuesday's verdict of Assembly Elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party by winning 114 out of 230 seats. Addressing a press conference in Bhopal, Shivraj Chauhan said that the party accepts the mandate of the people and won’t be claiming stake to form government.

    For the Congress, it is not an easy task to choose its CM.  The news of BSP extending support to Congress has come as a breather for the party which has staked claim to form next government.

    The mandate in Rajasthan is in favour of Congress and its allies who have emerged as the single largest with 100 seats. Meanwhile, a meeting of the Congress legislature party is being held in Jaipur to decide on Chief Minister's name. The meeting is being attended by Venugopal and Avinash Pandey who are there as AICC observers.

    After a spectacular victory in Chhattisgarh assembly polls, the meeting of MLAs will take place to decide on the CM's name.

     

    MNF gets Mizoram; TRS retains Telangana

    Mizo National Front wrests power from the Congress in Mizoram after ten years with absolute majority while Telangana Rashtra Samiti gets clear mandate to retain Telangana; MNF chief Zoramthanga meets the Governor in Aizawl to stake claim to form the government.; K Chandrasekhar Rao elected unanimously as TRS Legislature Party leader.
     

  • Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned on the first day of the Winter Session Tuesday after paying homage to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and several sitting and former members who passed away recently.

    Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan paid tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chatterjee, Union Minister Ananth Kumar and three sitting members. While reading out the obituary reference for Vajpayee, Mahajan said he was one of the most outstanding member of Parliament and enjoyed respect across the political spectrum.

    Even Rajya Sabha paid tributes to former prime minister Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, ND Tiwari and 12 others. The house observed silence in memory of the deceased. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu remembered the contribution of former Prime Minister Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Chatterjee and Union Minister Kumar. In an emotional obituary reference to Ananth Kumar, Naidu said he has lost a personal friend.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all parties to utilise winter session of Parliament in a productive way. Speaking outside Parliament before the start of the session, the Prime Minister asked leaders of various political parties to participate in debates, discuss issues of public interest and work towards resolving them. PM Modi hoped that the session would be constructive and members would participate in debates on key issues concerning the public, even if sharper. He hoped the winter session would function more than its stipulated time. "I am confident that political parties will keep public interest in mind and make use of this session to utilise it for furthering public interests and not parties interests," he told reporters. Modi said this Winter Session of Parliament is important and everyone should participate in discussion. "There should be debate, discussion and dialogue," he said.

    The Winter session is likely to have a total of 20 sittings, will conclude on January 8, 2019.

  • Boosted by the new movie "Bohemian Rhapsody," the 1975 single and music video surpassed 1.6 billion streams globally, record company Universal Music Group said in a statement.

    The song overtook the likes of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine," and is now also the most streamed classic rock song of all time, Universal added.

    The "Bohemian Rhapsody" film, starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has brought the music of the British rock band to a new generation. Five weeks after its release, it has also become the highest grossing musical biography movie ever, with a global box office take of $600 million.

    Malek was nominated for a Golden Globe last week for his performance and is widely expected to get an Oscar nomination in January.

    Universal said it had been promoting the single across streaming platforms in recent weeks. It used all registered streams on global on-demand services including Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer as well as streams from official song/video streams on YouTube to determine that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the most streamed song from the 20th century.

  • President Kovind’s visit to Myanmar will continue India’s high level engagements with Myanmar under the rubric of ‘Act East Policy’ and ‘Neighbourhood First Policy.’

    “Coinciding with President Kovind’s visit, and to further people-to-people relations, Myanmar has announced a visa-on-arrival facility for Indian tourists entering the country through the international airports of Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay,” the president’s office tweeted.

    The President said that residents of India’s Northeast region have particularly welcomed and are beginning to reap the benefits of the Land-border Crossing Agreement concluded recently.

    The landmark Land Border Crossing Agreement between India and Myanmar, signed on May 11 this year, was brought into effect in August with the simultaneous opening of international entry-exit checkpoints at the Tamu-Moreh and the Rihkhawdar-Zowkhawtar border between the two nations. “They look forward to the early conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement,” Mr. Kovind said.

    Several agreements are expected to be signed during the President’s visit which comes amid China’s foray into the southeast Asian country with which it has signed a mega port deal.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar last year, while Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited India in January for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

  • With EU officials adamant the withdrawal deal is not up for renegotiation, May's move threw Britain's Brexit plans into disarray, battered the pound and intensified the country's political crisis.

    Two-and-a-half years after Britain voted to leave the EU, and with departure just over three months away on March 29, the country does not know on what terms it will leave and whether May will still be Britain's leader when it does.

     In an emergency statement to the House of Commons, May accepted that the divorce deal she struck last month with EU leaders was likely to be rejected "by a significant margin" if the vote were held Tuesday as planned.

     May said she would defer the vote so she could seek "assurances" from the EU and bring the deal back to Parliament. She did not set a new date for the vote.

     Lawmakers from the opposition and from May's Conservative Party were incredulous. "The government has lost control of events and is in complete disarray," said opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

     Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading pro-Brexit Conservative, expressed despair. "It's not really governing," he said. "It's just an awful muddle."

     Monday's turmoil sent the pound to a 20-month low against the dollar of USD 1.2550. It was a new blow for May, who became prime minister after Britain's 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU.

     She has been battling ever since first to strike a divorce deal with the bloc, then to sell it to skeptical British lawmakers. May insisted the agreement hammered out with the EU after a year and a half of negotiations was "the best deal that is negotiable."

     But it has been scorned by lawmakers on all sides of Britain's debate about Europe. Derisive laughter erupted in the House of Commons when May claimed there was "broad support" for many aspects of the deal.

     Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal keeps Britain bound too closely to the EU, while pro-EU politicians say it erects barriers between the UK and its biggest trading partner and leaves many details of the future relationship undecided.

     The main sticking point is a "backstop" provision that aims to guarantee an open border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland after Brexit.

     The measure would keep Britain under EU customs rules, and is supposed to last until it is superseded by permanent new trade arrangements.

     Critics say it could leave Britain tied to the EU indefinitely, unable to strike new trade deals around the world. May said she would hold talks with EU leaders ahead of a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, seeking "further reassurances" over the backstop.

     "Nothing should be off the table," she said. EU leaders signalled they are prepared to help Britain, up to a point, but insisted the Brexit agreement could not be changed.

     "The deal is the deal," Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said. "It's taken two years to put together. It's a fair deal for both sides."

     European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: "We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification."

     A key member of the European parliament's Brexit team, Green lawmaker Philippe Lamberts, predicted May's shuttle diplomacy would fail to secure changes.

     "The only net result of this round of capitals will be an additional amount of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said.

     Despite May's dogged determination to press on, the tumult leaves her in a precarious position.

     Conservative rivals are preparing for a potential leadership challenge, and Labour has threatened call for a no-confidence motion in the government.

     Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her Scottish National Party would support an attempt to topple the government and trigger a new election.

     "This shambles can't go on so how about it?" Sturgeon tweeted at Corbyn. Corbyn stopped short of calling a no-confidence vote Monday, but said if May could not renegotiate with the EU, "then she must make way."

     Delays in approving the Brexit deal increase the chances of Britain crashing out of the EU with no agreement. The government and the Bank of England have warned that could bring logjams to British ports and plunge the country into its deepest recession in decades.

     May said the government would step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit in order to mitigate its worst effects. It has already stockpiled medicines and other key goods.

     Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry, said the delay was "yet another blow for companies desperate for clarity." "Investment plans have been paused for two-and-a-half years," she said.

     "Unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding towards a national crisis." May has also warned that rejecting her deal could result in Britain not leaving the EU at all.

     Some campaigners in the U.K. want just that. They got a boost Monday when the EU's top court ruled that Britain can change its mind over Brexit if it wants.

     Britain invoked Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, triggering a two-year exit process. 

  • Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of its founder, was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport on December 1 the same day that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping of China agreed to a 90-day cease-fire in a trade dispute that threatens to disrupt global commerce.

     The US has accused Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of US sanctions. It also says that Meng and Huawei misled banks about the company's business dealings in Iran.

     Her arrest has fuelled US-China trade tensions at a time when the two countries are seeking to resolve a dispute over Beijing's technology and industrial strategy.

     Both sides have sought to keep the issues separate, at least so far, but the arrest has roiled markets, with stock markets worldwide down again Monday.

     China formally protested to the ambassadors of both Canada and the United States over the weekend.

     In urging the court to reject Meng's bail request, a prosecutor said Friday the Huawei executive had vast resources and a strong incentive to bolt. She's facing fraud charges in the United States that could put her in prison for 30 years.

     On Monday, David Martin, Meng's lawyer, reiterated that Meng was willing to pay for a surveillance company to monitor her and wear an ankle monitor.

     Called by the defense, Scott Filer of Lions Gate Risk Management group said his company would make a citizen's arrest if she breaches bail conditions.

     Under the defense proposal, Meng's travels would be restricted to Vancouver and surrounding municipalities.

     Martin said Meng's husband would put up both of their Vancouver homes plus USD 1 million Canadian ($750,000) for a total value of USD 15 million Canadian (USD 11.2 million) as collateral.

     The hearing has sparked widespread interest, and the courtroom was packed again Monday with media and spectators, including some who came to support Meng.

     One man in the courtroom gallery brought binoculars to have a closer look at Meng, her lawyers and the prosecution team. Outside court a man and woman held a sign that read "Free Ms. Meng."

     Over the weekend, China's Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canadian Ambassador John McCallum and US Ambassador Terry Branstad. Le warned both countries that Beijing would take steps based on their response.

     Asked Monday what those steps might be, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said only that "it totally depends on the Canadian side itself."

     The Canadian province of British Columbia has already cancelled a trade mission to China amid fears China could detain Canadians in retaliation for Meng's detention.

     Stocks around the world fell Monday over investor concerns about the continuing US-China trade dispute, as well as the cloud hanging over Brexit negotiations after Britain's prime minister postponed a vote on her deal for Britain to exit the European Union.

     In the US, stocks were volatile, tumbling in the morning and then recovering ground in the afternoon.

     The Huawei case complicates efforts to resolve a US-China trade dispute. The United States has slapped tariffs on USD 250 billion in Chinese imports, charging that China steals American technology and forces US companies to turn over trade secrets.

     Tariffs on USD 200 billion of those imports were scheduled to rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on January 1. But over dinner December 1 with Xi in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Trump agreed to delay the tariff increase for 90 days, buying time for more negotiations.

     Bill Perry, a trade lawyer with Harris Bricken in Seattle, said China's decelerating economy is putting pressure on Xi to make concessions before US tariffs go up.

     "They need a trade deal. They don't want the tariffs to go up to 25" percent, said Perry, who publishes the "US China Trade War" blog. "This is Damocles' sword hanging over the Chinese government."

     Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies, has become the target of US security concerns because of its ties to the Chinese government.

     The US has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

     Lu, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, accused unnamed countries of hyping the "so-called" threat.

     "I must tell you that not a single piece of evidence have they ever presented to back their allegation," he said. "To create obstacles for companies' normal operations based on speculation is quite absurd."

     Canadian officials have declined to comment on Chinese threats of retaliation, instead emphasising the independence of Canada's judiciary and the importance of Ottawa's relationship with Beijing.

  • It may also signal more direct involvement of Donald Trump's White House, they said, in the nitty-gritty of the troubled negotiations, which depend on painstaking consensus building.  A US side event Monday promoting coal, gas and nuclear energy, led by special advisor to the president Preston Wells Griffith, reinforced that impression.

     "Alarmism should not silence realism," Griffith said before slogan-chanting protestors temporarily overwhelmed the venue. "We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability."

    Trump announced in June last year that the United States would pull out of the 197-party Paris Agreement, which enjoins nations to cap global warming at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Since then, critics say the White House appears to have taken little interest in the frontline work of veteran US diplomats, whose input has been described as "constructive" even by delegates at odds with US positions. That changed on Saturday, during what started as a cut-and-dried meeting of a subsidiary body within the complex UN climate machinery.

     A bloc of 44 small island nations many facing an existential threat from storm surges engorged by rising seas -- called on the UN climate body to "welcome" a UN report on limiting global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels. Earth's average surface temperature has already risen by about 1C.

     The motion quickly garnered "an avalanche of support" from more than 100 developed and developing countries, including the European Union, said Rueanna Hayne, a delegate from Saint Kitts and Nevis.

     "The report is obviously a game-changer for us," she told a news agency "It has to be mainstreamed into the UN process." Unveiled in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "special report" concluded that CO2 emissions must drop a quarter within 12 years to stay under 2C, and by nearly half to cap warming at 1.5C, seen as a safer guardrail against catastrophic extreme weather.

     Most of those emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels, including oil, the mainstay of the Saudi economy. The United States disagreed with the motion.

     The fact that Washington had signed off in October on a "summary for policymakers" of the 1,000-page tome "doesn't imply endorsement of the specific findings," a US delegate said.

     Kuwait, Russia and Saudi Arabia voiced similar reservations, and proposed that the UN climate body simply "note" the report, and not "welcome" it.

     The Saudi negotiator, visibly angry, seemed to be spoiling for a fight: "This is a warm up for what's coming," he cautioned. The issue -- unresolved -- was shelved. Reaction at the 12-day talks, scheduled to run through Friday, was fast and furious.

     "Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and especially the United States are rogue nations," said Christian Aid international climate lead Mohamed Adow. "These four major fossil fuel producers are working together against the interests of the rest of the world and jeopardising the chances of a safe climate."

     Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the US position was "deeply irresponsible and must not prevail".

     "I don't blame the professional US diplomats here in Poland," Meyer said. "The problem is right at the top with President Trump."

    Diplomats also slammed the US position. "Denial doesn't change the reality that climate change is already happening and is even worse than we feared," said Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Maldive's environment minister and head of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

     "Coral reefs will continue to bleach, forest fires will continue to burn, people will continue to die in droughts, heatwaves, storms, and from diseases, and the sea will continue to rise around us."

     In a statement released Monday amid the blowback, Saudi Arabia said "limited literature and scientific uncertainties" in the report "required further research and analysis".

     In point of fact, the IPCC report the most comprehensive in five years -- drew from more than 6,000 peer reviewed studies and was compiled by hundreds of scientists.

     Unexpectedly, how the UN climate forum recognises the 1.5C report has emerged as an issue that could derail the already fragile talks.

     "This is not mere word play," said Meyers. The discussion will move up the ladder a notch as ministers take charge on Tuesday for the final push to complete the so-called "rule book" for the Paris Agreement.

     "This is an issue we feel strongly about," said France's junior environment minister Brune Poirson, adding that the question was bound to come up later in the week. "It remains a live issue and must be addressed," said Hayne from Saint Kitts and Nevis. 

  • The BJP has alleged that a money trail of bribes went to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's bank account as it cited a news report which claimed he and  Priyanka Vadra had rented out their farmhouse to the firm of Jignesh Shah, prime accused in the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) case, when the UPA government was probing the multi-crore scam.

    BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, at a press conference, claimed that no action was taken against Shah because of the rent agreement between him and Gandhi.

  • In a major setback to Vijay Mallya, a UK court on Monday said that Mallya can be extradited to India, where he is wanted for alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores. Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled that Mallya can be extradited to India to stand trial on the charges brought by the CBI and ED.

    Judge dismissed the plea by the defense and concluded that there is a prima facie case for extradition in relation to three possible charges. She said that if the conduct had occured in UK, it would constitute offenses of making false representation to make a gain for himself , conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. 

    The judge has referred the extradition case to the UK Secretary of State. The ruling marked a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that has lasted over a year. 

    The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year. The trial, which opened at the Magistrates' Court on December 4 last year, went through a series of hearings beyond the initial seven days earmarked for it. It opened with the Crown Prosecution Service team laying out the Indian government's prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against Mallya. CPS sought to establish a "blueprint of dishonesty" against the businessman and that there are no bars to his extradition on human rights grounds.

    As per the laws in UK if the judge is satisfied that all of the procedural requirements are met, and that none of the statutory bars to extradition apply, he or she must send the case to the Secretary of State for a decision to be taken on whether to order extradition. 

    However, the judge's decision on whether to send Mallya's case to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid can be appealed with the UK High Court's permission, with the person to be extradited entitled to make an application for permission to appeal to the High Court within 14 days of the date of the Chief Magistrate's ruling. On the other hand, the Indian government also has 14 days to file leave to appeal to the High Court, seeking permission to appeal against a decision not to extradite.

    Hailing the UK court order on Vijay Mallya's extradition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the offender who benefited during the UPA rule is being brought to the book by the NDA government.

    Jaitley Tweeted to welcome the judgement and drive home the point that No one who cheats India will go scot free. The Judgement of UK's  Court is welcome. 

    CBI has also welcomed the London court's order for extradition of Vijay Mallya to India. 

    Spokesperson for the agency said "We welcome the decision. We hope to bring him soon and conclude the case. The CBI has its own inherent strengths. We worked hard on this case. We are strong on law and facts and we were confident while perusing the extradition process," 

    Union Minister for I & B also tweeted to welcome the decision. he said that the UK court order of Vijay Mallya's extradition to India is a major victory in govt's war on UPA's scams. The govt's relentless persistence, under PM narendra modi's leadership and focus, has resulted in this win for India. 

    In case Mallya does not file an appeal, and Secretary of State agrees with the magistrate's decision, then he will extradited from the UK within 28 days of the Home Secretary's extradition order.

     

     

     

     

  • "On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately. It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years," Patel said in a statement.

    He added: "The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank's considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future."

  • All-party meeting convened by government ahead of the Winter session of Parliament was held in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as

    Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, and Arun Jaitley, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI leader D Raja, TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay are attended the meeting.

    The meet condoled the demise of Ananth Kumar who was the Parliamentary affairs Minister.

    Prime Minister called for healthy discussion and debate during the session. He said that the government is ready to discuss all issues both in Parliament and outside Parliament. Government sought co-operation from political parties for smooth functioning of both the Houses during the meeting. 

    The winter session will have 20 sittings, during which eight important bills will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha and 15 in the Lok Sabha.

    The nearly month-long Winter session will be the last full-fledged session before the Lok Sabha elections next year. 

     

  • CBI has got 5 days custody of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. He was produced before the Patiala House court on Monday. 

    Michel was extradited to India from Dubai on 4 December. After questioning him for several hours, the CBI produced him to the special CBI court, which sent Michel to CBI custody for five days.

    The court had asked the CBI to provide all relevant documents including the charge sheet to Michel.

    Michel is one of the three middlemen being probed in the case, besides Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, by the ED and the CBI.

  • President Ramnath Kovind addressed Maharana Pratap Education Council programme at  Gorakhpur.

    Addressing the gathering, the President said that the prime motive of education is to make a person good human being.

    The President also awarded the meritorious students.

    The educational institution is run by Gorakhnath Muthh.

     

  • The indigenously developed Kaiga Atomic Power Station has set a new world record, with one of its units operating uninterrupted for more than 940 days. This is a record for all kinds of nuclear power-generating units, including advanced gas-based reactors in the world.

    The record was earlier held by Unit 2 of Heysham of the United Kingdom, which operated non-stop for 940 days. The same unit had set a world record in October this year, by operating uninterrupted for 894 days among Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors.

  • During weeklong celebrations, various rituals of Rama-Sita marriage are being performed with gaiety and religious fervor.

    “Dhanush Yagya” the bow breaking ceremony was held at famous Barabeegha ground on Sunday evening. Thousands of devotees from India and Nepal including hundreds of Sadhus attended the Dhanush Yagya ceremony.

    The “Swayamvar” and marriage ceremony will be held on Wednesday. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath and his counterpart from Nepal’s Province 2, Lalbabu Raut will also grace the occasion.

    Vivah Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla paksha or waxing phase of moon in Margashirsha month of Hindu calendar. According to Hindu mythology on this day, Lord Rama, the eldest son of Ayodhya’s King Dashrath married Goddess Sita, the daughter of King Janak of Janakpur.

    The festival is observed every year to mark the occasion. Vivah Panchami also highlights age-old social and cultural bonding between India and Nepal that has been cherished for centuries.

  • Joint secretary of VHP Surendra Jain said that the aim is to create consensus among all political parties for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

    Meanwhile, Security has been beefed up in the national capital.

  • The army jawan accused of being involved in Bulandshahar violence Jitendra Malik alias Jeetu has been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police.

    He was posted in the Army in Jammu and Kashmir and teams were sent to arrest him two days back. Army jawan Jitendra Malik has been brought to Siyana police station in Uttar Pradesh for further questioning.

    Till now 10 persons have been arrested in the case related to violence on Monday in which Police Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a villager were killed.

  • Le said--What the U.S. has done has seriously violated the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen. China firmly opposes this wrongdoing and strongly urges the U.S. side to pay sincere attention to China's solemn position and withdraw Meng's arrest warrant.

  • The Kannur International Airport in Kerala was jointly inaugurated by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu and Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday at Kannur.

    The first flight was to Abu Dhabi that took off from the airport at 9.55 hrs. It was jointly flagged off by Union Minister Suresh Prabhu and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

    Kerala has become the first state in India to have four international airports. Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode are the other International airports in the state.

  • The second edition of Khelo India games will be held in Pune in January 2019. The inaugural event of Khelo India, which has been rechristened as Khelo India Youth Games, was held only for the Under-17 age group, while the second edition will also have Under-21 athletes participating in 18 disciplines. 

    Referring to 'Khelo India', Union Sports minister  Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore said it is a grassroots sports programme that is providing a platform at the level of school students, which is of international level.