Daily Bulletin: Rafale row likely to disrupt Parliament; Kerala UDF to observe 'black day' over Sabarimala; Ramakant Achrekar dies at 87; day's top stories
Today's top stories: Ramakant Achrekar passes away at 87; Seven arrested after 37 killed in central Mali; Rafale discussion to continue in Lok Sabha today; and more.
Winter session of Parliament: Rafale discussion to continue in Lok Sabha today
After a war of words broke out over the controversial Rafale deal on Wednesday, further debate is scheduled to take place in Lok Sabha on Thursday as well.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is scheduled to move the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the Lower House as well. In addition, The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017 are also up for consideration.
In Rajya Sabha, the discussion on the imposition of President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir is up for discussion, along with the Cauvery river issue that has been the cause of disruption in both Houses in the ongoing Winter Session. Prasad is scheduled to move the triple talaq Bill for passing in Rajya Sabha.
Sabarimala row: UDF to observe black day today
Kerala's United Democratic Front on Thursday will observe "black day" against the violation of Sabarimala devotees' sentiments.
This comes after two women from the "barred" age group managed to enter the shrine and offer prayers on Wednesday, triggering statewide protests. Sabarimala was shut till 11.30 am on Wednesday after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that two women entered Sabarimala. According to reports, a "purification ritual" was conducted at the temple.
Bindu, a college lecturer and Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation activist from Kozhikode district's Koyilandy, and Kanakadurga, a civil supplies employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram, had also come to Sabarimala on 24 December after 11 women activists of a Chennai-based organisation were prevented from reaching the shrine and chased away by devotees chanting Ayyappa mantras.
India versus Australia, fourth Test at Sydney, Day 1
Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara were going strong at lunch on the opening day of the fourth and final test match between India and Australia. They guided the visitors to 69/1 at the end of the first session. India won the toss and opted to bat on a surface that had a decent bit of grass cover. After losing opener KL Rahul early to Josh Hazlewood's bowling, Agarwal and Pujara put on a steady partnership worth 59 runs at lunch. Both teams have made two changes each, with India bringing Kuldeep Yadav into the XI alongside Rahul.
70 Assam organisations to protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill today
70 organisations in Assam will stage an indefinite protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 from Thursday after all the amendments moved by the Opposition in the 30 member Joint Parliamentary Committee were defeated. The bill will be finalised on Thursday and it will be tabled in the Lok Sabha on 7 January.
The protest will include indefinite economic blockade and road blockade by the protesters.
Trump signs Asia Reassurance Initiative Act
United States president Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act 2018. In a press release, Trump stated that several provisions of the Act intend to dictate the policy of the United States in external military and foreign affairs, or to require the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives with international partners.
"My Administration will treat these provisions consistent with the President's exclusive constitutional authorities as Commander in Chief and as the sole representative of the United States in foreign affairs," stated the US President in the statement.
Sections including 201 and 213 aimed to restrict the President's authority to control the personnel and material which he believes are necessary or advisable for the successful conduct of military operations.
The Trump Administration will treat these provisions consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information, the disclosure of which could impair national security, foreign relations, or the performance of the President's constitutional duties, the press statement read.
Merger of Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank to become effective 1 April
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal to merge Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank. With this, the merger will become effective from 1 April. Amid the banking crisis in September last year, the Centre had proposed to merge the three lenders, aiming to make the entity India’s third largest bank. The Cabinet approval comes despite protests by bank unions and employees, who fear that the merger will help neither the banks nor their customers.
Ramakant Achrekar passes away at 87
Ramakant Achrekar, the celebrated cricket coach credited for discovering Sachin Tendulkar, passed away on Wednesday.
At 87, Achrekar had been battling age-related ailments for the last few days.
He was the father figure of Mumbai cricket responsible for shaping careers of many young cricketers who would go on to play for the national side. His other famous proteges include Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Ajit Agarkar, Ramesh Powar, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Sameer Dhighe.
WhatsApp ends support for Nokia S40 phones
Online messaging giant WhatsApp has officially withdrawn its services for the iconic Nokia Series 40 phones. This comes after the Facebook-owned company stopped services for its Symbian S60 app and for BlackBerry phones running on the classic BlackBerry OS in 2017. Next in the line of fire are Android phones running on Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread and iPhones running on iOS 7.
Kader Khan buried in a cemetery in Canada's Mississauga
Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan, who died on New Year's Eve, was buried on Wednesday at a cemetery in Canada. Khan died after a prolonged illness at a hospital in Canada. He was 81.
"He (Khan) is going to be buried at approximately 2:30 pm as per Canadian time at Meadowvale cemetery," Sarfaraz told PTI. Khan was reportedly suffering from progressive supranuclear palsy, a degenerative disease that causes loss of balance, difficulty in walking and dementia.
Seven arrested after 37 killed in central Mali: government
Seven people were arrested in central Mali Wednesday, the day after 37 civilians were killed when armed men attacked a village in the region in the latest clash between warring communities, the government said.
Following the New Year's Day massacre in the village of Koulogon, in the central Mopti region, "Mali army forces were rushed to the scene", the civil protection ministry said in a statement, adding they "arrested seven suspects" without giving details on those detained.
Tuesday's attackers were believed to be traditional Dogon hunters who targeted the village of Fulani herders.
The same Mali army mission also went into Bobosso village, near the Burkina Faso border, following arson attacks, killing one suspect and detaining 24 others, the ministry said.
Gold prices up
Gold prices edged up by Rs 30 to Rs 32,500 per 10 gram at the bullion market on Wednesday due to a firm trend overseas. Similarly, silver gained Rs 100 to Rs 39,350 per kg on increased demand from industrial units and coin makers. Bullion traders said positive global cues and marginal demand from local jewellers led to the rise in gold prices. On Tuesday, gold shot up by Rs 400 per 10 gram. Globally, gold rose to $1,286.57 an ounce, while silver held steady at $15.45 an ounce in New York. In the national capital, gold of 99.9 percent and 99.5 percent purity rallied by Rs 30 each to Rs 32,500 per 10 gram and Rs 32,350 per 10 gram, respectively. Sovereign gold however remained unchanged at Rs 25,200 per piece of 8 gram.
Silver ready advanced by Rs 100 to Rs 39,350 per kg and weekly-based delivery saw a mild rise of Rs 23 to Rs 38,748 per kg. Silver coins, however, remained unchanged at Rs 76,000 for buying and Rs 77,000 for selling of 100 pieces.
With inputs from agencies
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Pinarayi Vijayan hits back at BJP over gold smuggling charge, says steal began after V Muraleedharan became minister
The Kerala CM's comments came in the backdrop of Customs department's claim that key accused Swapna Suresh has made "shocking revelations" incriminating Vijayan and some state ministers