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MIDDAY NEWS

 1400 HRS.

26th September 2017

THE HEADLINES,

  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Defence Secretary James Mattis hold talks in New Delhi; Discuss terrorism and ways to strengthen defence co-operation.
  • India urges UN Security Council to ensure that terrorists do not find safe havens anywhere and at any level.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind pitches for more participation of women in scientific research.
  • Home Minister launches 'PENCIL' a web portal to eradicate child labour; Says, people should take a pledge to fight the menace.
  • And, rupee drops to a fresh 6-month low against the dollar.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and visiting US Defence Secretary James Mattis held talks in New Delhi today. Terrorism and ways to strengthen defence co-operation were among the things that were discussed. Addressing a joint press conference after the talks, Ms Sitharaman said, defence co-operation between India and the US has gone up significantly and there is a need to expand it further.

"We also have exchanged views all regional and international issues of mutual interests. The situation in our neighbourhood and the growing menace of cross-border terrorism were discussed in depth."

Sitharaman  said, security situation in Afghanistan and maritime security in the Indian Ocean were discussed with Mr Mattis. Ms Sitharaman said, the US Defence Secretary has assured that he will raise the issue of terrorism with Pakistan when he visits that country.

"We have just concluded a very substantive, constructed forward-looking talks. I thanks, Mr. Mattis, for generously sharing his deep knowledge and wisdom of defence matters. I am confident that his knowledge and experience will contribute to further deepening defence and security cooperation between India and United States."

Mr Mattis said, India and the US have suffered due to the menace of terrorism. He said, a high degree of team work is needed to wipe out the menace.

The US Defence Secretary also appreciated India's efforts to put pressure of North Korea. He said his country will continue to maintain diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.

Mr Mattis arrived in New Delhi last night on a two-day visit. He will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval before wrapping up his tour. Mr Mattis is the first Cabinet Minister of the Trump Administration to visit India.

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India has urged the United Nations Security Council to ensure that the first and foremost duty of the international community is to ensure that the forces of terrorism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens anywhere and at any level. India's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said this at the UN in New York yesterday in an open debate on Afghanistan.  He said, Taliban, Haqqani Network, Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad are all terror organizations, many of them proscribed by the UN. Mr Akbaruddin said, these groups should be treated like terrorist organisations with no justification offered for their activities.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani also joined Mr Akbaruddin in identifying terror safe havens across the border.

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India has slammed Pakistan for using a fake picture in the UN General Assembly to push a completely false narrative. A Diplomat at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, Paulomi Tripathi took the floor of the General Assembly in New York to exercise India's right to reply to the attack by Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi who presented an image of a girl from Gaza as a victim of pellet guns in Kashmir. Ms Tripathi said, Ms Lodhi misled the Assembly by displaying a fake picture to divert attention from Pakistan's role as the hub of global terrorism. She said the picture was taken by American photographer Heidi Levine and was published by New York Times on the 24th of March, 2015 under the caption 'Conflict, Courage and Healing in Gaza'. Ms Tripathi also showed a picture of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz, a young officer from Jammu and Kashmir who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and killed by Pakistan supported terrorists in May this year.

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In Jammu and Kashmir, an unidentified terrorist was killed after the Army foiled an infiltration bid at Zorawar area in Uri sector of Baramulla district last night. A Defence spokesman told AIR that a weapon was also recovered.

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Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra commissioned INS TARASA into the Indian Navy at a function at the naval dockyard in Mumbai today. Speaking on the occasion, he said, the commissioning is a proud moment and a shot in the arm for the western naval command and will further strengthen the defense of the west coast.

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President Ram Nath Kovind today batted for more participation of women in scientific research saying that it will bring gender parity in the sector. Addressing Council of Science Industrial Research foundation day in New Delhi, Mr Kovind said, in the past seven decades, India as a society and CSIR as a body have made enormous progress but participation of women is meagre. He said, government has to take accelerated steps to address the issue.

The President said, if the disparity is not addressed, India's scientific achievements will be less than perfect. He said, science and technology has an important role in nation building and innovations like Divyanayan by CSIR is empowering the underprivileged. Divyanayan is an economical, portable, wireless, first ever reading machine for visually impaired people.

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today launched a web portal called 'PENCIL' (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour). Developed by the Labour Ministry, PENCIL will be used as an effective enforcement tool for no child labour. Departments and Ministries at the Centre and the State level will register themselves on this portal for better coordination to save and track children. It will connect the Centre, States and districts so that they can share information about the present status of child labour and act against it.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Singh said, people should pledge to fight child labour. He said, effective implementation of labour laws is a must adding that social awareness is required to deal with child labour. Expressing confidence that child labour will be eradicated from India in the next five years, the Minister said, every child is the future of the country and efforts should be made to protect children. He said it is unfortunate that even after 70 years of independence, child labour is prevailing in the country.

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Communications Minister Manoj Sinha today said, the government is aiming to begin 5G tele services by 2020. He said, government has constituted a high level 5G India 2020 forum with high ranked officials of Ministry, renowned experts and CEOs from the IT Industry, professors from IITs and stakeholders from Industry associations. The function of the forum shall be to evaluate , approve roadmap and action plans for 5G India 2020 and with Vision Mission set goals for the 5G India 2020. 

5G will be significantly faster than 4G, allowing for higher productivity across all capable devices with a download speed of 10,000 Mbps. With greater bandwidth comes faster download speeds and the ability to run more complex mobile internet apps.

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In Karnataka, rural areas of Nargund taluk in Gadag district were formally declared as open defecation free by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today. The announcement was made at a function held in Konnur village where he also inaugurated a waste processing unit and a clean drinking water distribution unit. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naidu called upon villagers to convert Swachata Abhiyan as a mass movement by actively participating in the programme. He said, over two lakh villages, 1300 cities and 200 districts in the country have become free from open defecation and toilets are now available to 72 percent population. More from our correspondent:

"The Vice President narrated success stories of people who held protests and announced incentives for villagers to construct toilets for safeguarding their modesty. He asked media and cine stars to motivate people to build toilets. Cleanliness he said will improve GDP and health of nation. As of now 76 percent of families have toilets in the state. Today villages in 13 Panchayats of Nargund taluk in north Karnataka were declared as open defecation free. The programme was organised under Swachata Hi Seva programme of Central Government and Shouchalayakkagi Samara programme of the state. Sudhindra, AIR News, Dharwad."

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Haryana Police today conducted searches in Delhi to trace jailed Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Singh's adopted daughter Honeypreet and two other key Dera functionaries. An arrest warrant has also been issued against her in connection with incidents of violence following Gurmeet Singh's conviction. The Delhi High Court today also agreed to hear the anticipatory bail plea of Honeypreet.

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Sovereign ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah, Sultan bin Muhammed Al-Qasimi has said, all Indians who have completed a three year jail term in Sharjah and are not involved in any criminal offences will be set free. Mr Al-Qasimi is on a visit to Kerala. Our correspondent has more:

"The path breaking decision from  the ruler of Sharjah and the Supreme council Member of UAE came after the meeting with Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan in Cliff House, in Thiruvannthapuram today. Sheikh Al -Qasimi also said that the Indians who will be freed from the Sharjah jail  will be allowed to continue in Sharjah and promised that they will be permitted to work there. Meanwhile the ruler of Sharjah  was  conferred with D Litt degree by the Calicut university Chancellor and Kerala Governor P Sathasivam in Raj bhavan today .The Sheikh Al-Qasimi who is on a 5 day visit to Kerala is scheduled to leave Kerala on September 28. This is Mayusha for AIR News From Thiruvananthapuram ."

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The first Helicopter service from Srinagar to the world's second coldest inhabited place Drass was started today under Udan Scheme. The Centre had approved operation of helicopter services in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh on a pilot basis in 10 sectors, stipulating that the most inaccessible destination points should be chosen. In Jammu and Kashmir, five sectors in Srinagar-Drass-Kargil-Zanskar-Leh were accepted. Under the scheme, emergency services and common passenger services to the local residents of the state will be provided on priority and at subsidized rates.

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At the foreign exchange market, the rupee depreciated 28 paise to a fresh 6-month low of 65 rupees 38 paise against the dollar in afternoon deals today. The rupee fell on heavy dollar demand from banks and importers, and a firm dollar overseas.

The domestic stock markets opened slightly weak, this morning, and after remaining subdued, the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange declined 39 points to 31,588 a short while ago.

<><><> 

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has said, there would be zero tolerance for misgovernance in National Sports Federations. Inaugurating the 'National Workshop on Sports for All' in New Delhi today, Mr Rathore said, there cannot be any alternative to the core principles of governance in sports. He said, 65 per cent of India's population is below 35 and it is the Prime Minister's vision to promote sporting culture in the country. The Minister added that thAere would be massive amount of transparency in terms of team selection and results.

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