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MORNING NEWS

0815 HRS.

18th October,2017

THE HEADLINES :-

  • At least 74 persons killed and over 170 injured, in a series of suicide attacks by Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Centre asks states to be extra vigilant during the ongoing festive season against attempts by terrorists and subversive elements to disrupt peace and ignite communal tension.
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to visit Andaman and Nicobar Command today; will celebrate Diwali with the troops tomorrow.
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh says Centre is committed to extending all possible help to the people of border areas of Punjab.
  • The Congress of Communist Party of China begins in Beijing to determine the country's direction for next five years.
  • US author George Saunders wins the 2017 Man Booker Prize.
  • In Asia cup Hockey, India takes on South Korea in the first super-4 stage match, in Dhaka today. 

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In Afghanistan, at least 74 people were killed and over 170 injured in a series of suicide attacks by Taliban yesterday, targeting police compounds and government facilities. Suicide bombers and gunmen stormed a police training centre and killed 41 people, including 20 police personnel, in the eastern city of Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. The Interior Ministry said, the local police chief was among those killed. Officials said, at least six attackers were gunned down by security forces in the fighting, which went on for several hours. 

In a separate attack, insurgents stormed a security compound in Andar district of Ghazni province and killed 25 security officials and five civilians. 15 people were also injured.

In another incident, 3 policemen were killed at a government compound in Shibkho district.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attacks and praised the bravery and sacrifice of security forces.

The attacks come a day after four-way talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China were held in Oman with the aim to end the Taliban's 16-year insurgency.

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The Centre has asked states to be extra vigilant during the ongoing festive season against attempts by terrorists and subversive elements to disrupt peace and ignite communal tension. Sources said, the Home Ministry has asked the state governments to deploy additional forces in crowded and religious places to foil any attempts by terrorists to carry out attacks. The state governments have also been advised to be alert against provocative sloganeering, especially near religious places.

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said, the Centre is committed to extending all possible help to the people of Punjab's border areas and resolve their issues on priority. Mr Singh said this after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought full support from the central government for the state's development programmes for the border areas, including a proposed special package for the region. The Punjab Chief Minister made the request to Mr Singh while accompanying him on a visit to Hussainiwala in Ferozepur.

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In Himachal Pradesh, preparations for the upcoming Assembly elections are going on on a war-footing by the state election department. The main focus is to make people aware about the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail or VVPAT machines and increase the poll percentage during polling. 12 nominations have been filed, so far, with Monday next week being the last day. The list of candidates of BJP and Congress is expected today. More from our correspondent:-

"The total number of voters is nearly 49 lakh including 25 lakh male and 24 lakh female voters. All these voters belong to about ten lakh households of the state. Now it is for the first time in election history that election department will post special cards to these households appealing them to use their franchise during the polling. Besides it other necessary election related information will also be given in this card. The purpose is to encourage peoples for vote in large numbers. Shishu Sharma Shantal'S REPORT FROM Shimla, SANJEEV JASROTIA, AIR NEWS."

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will visit Andaman and Nicobar Command today. During her 2-day stay, Ms Sitharaman will celebrate Diwali with the troops and interact with their families in various events. She will also visit the operational area of the Command and Air Force Station Car Nicobar. The Minister will lay wreaths at the Swatantra Jyoti in Cellular Jail and Tsunami Memorial at Car Nicobar.

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Deepavali is being celebrated today in several parts of southern India, including Tamil Nadu. Various leaders, including Chief Minister EK Palaniswamy, have greeted the people on the occasion. The state pollution control board has asked public to celebrate the festival of lights safely.

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The Delhi Police has registered 21 cases in connection with illegal sale of firecrackers in the national capital. The Supreme Court had temporarily banned sale of firecrackers in Delhi and national capital region till the 31st of this month to control air pollution. Acting on the apex court directions, police has seized around 1,200 kilograms of fire crackers so far. Two Delhi Police personnel have also been suspended for allegedly failing to check the sale of firecrackers. Our correspondent reports that a Graded Response Action Plan has been designed to control air pollution in the national capital.

"Several measures have been taken in the recent past to keep a check on pollution. The most recent is a ban on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR. Prior to this, government had also issued prohibitory orders on stubble burning, as it had become a major concern, resulting in air pollution as well as reduction in soil fertility. Environment Pollution Control Authority yesterday banned diesel generator sets in Delhi and ordered closure of Badarpur thermal power plant. The efforts come in the wake of degrading air quality in the national capital. Central Pollution Control Board will monitor air quality from various stations located across Delhi-NCR and will sent a daily reports to the authority. With Dipendra Kumar, ANUJA KUMAR, Air News, Delhi."

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The Chhattisgarh government has reduced the rate of interest on loan given to women and their self help groups under 'Saksham Yojna' from 6.5 per cent to 5 per cent. More from our correspondent:

"States Women and Child Development Minister Ramsheela Sahu took decision in this regard, while chairing a meeting of the governing body of Chhattisgarh Mahila Kosh . The initiative will allow the women and SHGs to easily avail the loan facility for self-employment and thereby become self-dependent, The Chhattisgarh Mahila Kosh is operated by state's women and child development department to disburse easy term loans to women and SHGs. Vikalp Shukla, AIR News , Raipur."

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The Rajasthan government has implemented the recommendations of the 7th pay commission, a decision that will benefit over 12 lakh state employees and pensioners. In a statement, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said, government employees will get the revised salary from the month of October.

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The Odisha government has enhanced monthly remuneration of Anganwadi workers by 50 per cent. The anganwadi workers will receive 6,000 rupees per month against 4,000 at present. Similarly, monthly remuneration of mini-anganwadi workers has been increased to 4,125 rupees against the existing amount of 2,750 rupees. Anganwadi helpers will receive 3,000 rupees per month against current 2,000. The decision will benefit more than 70,000 anganwadi workers of the state.

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In Chandigarh, prices of petrol and diesel have come down by 2 rupees from today as the Union Territory administration has slashed 5 per cent VAT on the fuel. The administration announced yesterday that the value added tax on diesel has been slashed from 16.40 per cent to 11.40 per cent while the tax on petrol has been decreased from 24.74 per cent to 19.74 per cent. The decision came after the Centre had asked the states to lower tax on fuel.

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China's biggest political event, the Communist Party Congress, began in Beijing this morning. The summit takes place once every five years and determines who rules the country and its direction for the next five years. President Xi Jinping, who became China's leader in 2012, is widely expected to remain as the Chief of the ruling Party. In his address to more than 2,000 delegates today, he listed the country's achievements during his term. He said, socialism with Chinese characteristics had entered a new era.

The Congress will close next Tuesday. Shortly after the Congress ends, the party is expected to unveil the new members of the country's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, which will steer the country. 

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The Pakistan government has sought the extension of Mumbai attacks mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed's detention under the public safety law. The move comes two days after the government withdrew its application to prolong Saeed's house arrest under the anti-terrorism law. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief, who has been under house arrest since January, was presented before a three-member Punjab provincial judicial review board in Lahore. The detention period is scheduled to expire on the 24th of this month.

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Pakistani forces today again violated ceasefire in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. Defence sources told AIR Jammu that Pakistani forces started unprovoked firing and shelling along the Line of Control targeting Indian positions and civilian areas in Balakote sector around 7 this morning. The Indian troops are giving a befitting reply and the intermittent exchange of fire was on, when reports last came in. There is no report of any casualty or injury on the Indian side, so far.

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US author George Saunders has won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. He became only the second American writer to win Britain's renowned Prize, which was awarded for his first full-length novel "Lincoln in the Bardo". The prize was announced at a ceremony in London. This year's Man Booker Prize shortlist pitted three US and three British writers against one another.

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In Asia Cup Hockey, India will take on South Korea in the first match of the Super-4 stage in Dhaka today. The match will begin at 5 PM Indian Time. India were unbeaten in the pool stage with 3 wins from 3 games. Pakistan and Malaysia are the other two teams in the stage. They will face each other at 2:30 PM today. India will play Malaysia tomorrow and Pakistan on Saturday. The top two teams at the end of the super 4 stage will meet in the Final on Sunday. In FIFA U-17 world cup, six of the eight quarter-final berths have been decided. While Germany and the United States had entered the last-8 stage on Monday, Spain, England, Iran and Mali booked their berths yesterday. England defeated Japan 5-3 on penalties, Spain edged out France 2-1, Iran got the better of Mexico 2-1, and Mali outplayed Iraq by 5-1 win. In Badminton, Denmark Open Superseries Premier tournament at Odense PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth along with 11 Indian shuttlers will begin their campaign today. Second seeded Sindhu will take on China's Chen Yufei in the first round and unseeded Saina will face 5th placed Carolina Marin of Spain. While K Srikanth will play compatriot Subhankar Dey, B. Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy are also playing their opening round matches today. Tripti Srivastava, sports desk.

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Newspapers Headlines

  • Pollution control plan in Delhi ahead of Diwali, is highlighted by many newspapers this morning.
  • "Tough measures in place to check Delhi pollution" leads the Hindustan Times. "Pollution panel bans diesel gensets in Delhi till March 15" is The Times of India headline. "Cracker Ban Fires up Black Market" with merchants providing doorstep deliveries of fireworks, defying the Supreme Court ban, is a Mail Today exclusive.
  • Included in the Graded Response Action Plan, "Parking may cost you 4 times more" is the lead in The Pioneer. "500 rupee fine for drivers honking inside ISBTs, 100 rupee fine for conductors shouting destinations" informs the paper.
  • "Dark Dhanteras in city as gold sales dive by 35 per cent" reports The DNA.
  • 'We must take pride in our heritage' The Asian Age cites PM Modi.
  • "After Sangeet Som, Yogi tune: Taj built by blood, sweat of India's workers, sons" is the Indian Express lead. The Asian Age states "Yogi plans Agra visit in bid for damage control".
  • "BJP slams Congress on report that Bhandari paid for Vadra travel" writes The Indian Express, on fugitive arms dealer, Sanjay Bhandari buying air tickets for Robert Vadra. The paper also reports "Air ticket probe hits dead end, agency says got cash".
  • The Pioneer informs, for the first time in India's electoral history, the entire Himachal Pradesh poll staff will be paid online.
  • On the death of an 11-year old girl in Jharkhand, the state's PDS Minister questions his own government's Aadhaar drive, that renders ration cards not linked to Aadhaar, ineligible, highlights The Indian Express.
  • And finally, "Eating out could get cheaper as GST may be cut to 12 per cent" says The Times of India.

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