Daily Bulletin: Upendra Kushwaha to join UPA; US calls troops home from Syria; Priyanka, Nick host reception in Mumbai; day's top stories
Today's top stories: Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas host reception in Mumbai; rump declares victory over IS in Syria, orders US troops home; Upendra Kushwaha likely to join Mahagathbandhan today; and more.
Upendra Kushwaha likely to join UPA today
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha is likely to announce his joining the UPA on Thursday, said sources. The political parties part of the grand alliance are expected to unveil their future plans at a press conference in the National Capital. Kushwaha is said to formally join the grand alliance in the same presser.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) founder Jitan Ram Manjhi and All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil will jointly conduct the press conference.
RLSP chief Kushwaha recently severed ties with the NDA on 10 December. Kushwaha in an exclusive conversation with ANI had asserted that the BJP's "arrogance" and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar were the reasons behind him quitting the NDA.
Trump declares victory over IS in Syria, orders US troops home
The Islamic State has been "beaten" in Syria, US president Donald Trump declared on Wednesday, as he confirmed his stunning order to pull American ground forces from the war-ravaged nation.
The momentous decision to withdraw, which runs counter to long-established US policy for Syria and the region, blindsided lawmakers, the Pentagon and international allies alike.
"We've won against ISIS," Trump said in a short video posted on Twitter. "We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. We've taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home."
The withdrawal of troops could have extraordinary geopolitical ramifications and plunges the fate of US-backed Kurdish fighters who have been tackling Islamic State jihadists, in uncertainty. Thousands of these fighters are thought to remain in Syria.
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas host reception in Mumbai
Newlywed couple Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas hosted their wedding reception for family and friends in Mumbai. Celebrations have not ended for the couple even 19 days after their grand wedding, as a reception in the city was held for family, friends and the media at a suburban hotel in Juhu on Wednesday evening. Another reception is scheduled for Thursday evening for Bollywood celebrities at a five-star hotel in suburban Bandra.
The venue was decorated with white lilies, orchids and candles, featuring an entwined N and P in the backdrop.
After posing for photos, Priyanka thanked everyone for coming. "I am going to take your attention for two seconds... It means so much to us that all of you came tonight. This has been an extremely special chapter in my life and I wanted my husband to meet all the special people who have contributed to it."
Air Chief Marshal hails SC Rafale order, says IAF needs jets
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on Rafale jet deal and said the Indian Air Force needs the fighter aircraft badly.
Addressing the media during his visit to Air Force Station at Jodhpur, he said, "The Supreme Court has given a very fine judgement and I am not going to comment on it. It has also said that this plane is badly needed. Rafale is always a need for the air force. It (fighter jets) took a long time to come. Others have upgraded their squadron. Also, very fine comments are given by the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) and our Defence Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman)."
Sharing his views on the launch of satellite GSLV-7A, the air chief said the launch of the satellite would boost the networking and communication capabilities of the air force. "We will get many benefits due to this launch. We have several platforms (aircraft) which have capabilities of communication through satellite. The communication to the platform (aircraft) through the satellite will be made possible with this launch," he told the media.
On Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched GSLV-7A from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
Finance ministry likely to seek more funds for PSBs today
The finance ministry is likely to seek approval from Parliament for additional funding for state-run banks today, according to Subhash Chandra Garg, economic affairs secretary. The proposal will be part of the overall supplementary demand for grants to be laid before parliament. The government will also seek an interim dividend from the central bank.
US sanctions Russians for meddling in polls, nerve agent use
The US Treasury Department imposed new sanctions against 15 Russians over hacking, interference in US elections and a nerve agent attack in England. In a separate action, the agency also announced plans to lift sanctions on the aluminium manufacturing giant Rusal. It comes after the department approved a plan that severed Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's control of the company.
The sanctions imposed on Wednesday include actions against nine Russian intelligence officers who were indicted over the summer and are accused of hacking into Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic Party and releasing tens of thousands of private communications. The case against them was brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Treasury Department said Russia's "continued disregard for international norms" necessitated the sanctions.
Apple has acknowledged that the chassis of its brand new iPad Pro devices is getting ever so slightly bent during the manufacturing process. Apple claims that it's not a flaw and that it’s a “side effect” of the manufacturing process that shouldn’t worsen over time.
However, users on various forums have started reporting that their iPad Pro units are already beginning to bend with everyday use. If things get worse, we could very well be looking at a repeat of the 2014 “bendgate” fiasco where the iPhone 6 Plus chassis would warp with disconcerting ease.
Rima Das' Bulbul Can Sing to have European premiere at Berlinale 2019
Filmmaker Rima Das' Assamese feature Bulbul Can Sing is set to have its European premiere at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival next year. The development comes a day after Das' award-winning Village Rockstars ended its dream run at the Oscars 2019 as India's official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Bulbul Can Sing is a coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl, Bulbul, living in a village in Assam, fighting her way through love and loss as she figures out who she really is. Berlinale on Wednesday announced the film as part of its first 16 programme picks for the festival, to be held from 7-17 February next year.
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