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0815 HRS



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterates India's strong support to multilateral trading system; Asks WTO to address the concerns of developing countries.
  • India lodges strong protest with Pakistan over recent killing of five civilians in ceasefire violation.
  • Supreme Court asks Centre to frame a model scheme in six months for welfare of construction workers.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind to confer Padma awards to 43 prominent personalities including Music maestro Illaiyaraja and littérateur P. Parameswaran today. 
  • Eminent Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh passes away after prolonged illness.
  • India and European Union sign an agreement on sharing earth observation data from each other's satellites.
  • And in Cricket, Yuzvendra Chahal jumps to second position in ICC Twenty-20 Rankings for bowlers.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated that India is a strong supporter of the multilateral trading system. Mr Modi said this during an interaction with the Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Roberto Azevedo, who called on him in New Delhi last evening.

The Prime Minister said, it is imperative to prioritise the WTO's activities so that it addresses the concerns of developing countries. He urged Mr Azevedo to make special efforts so that the benefits of free trade and globalisation become more visible in developing countries. He conveyed his best wishes for the success of the informal meeting of Ministers of WTO which is being held in New Delhi.

The WTO Director General thanked the Indian government for taking the initiative of starting a conversation to explore ways to reinvigorate the multilateral trading system.


India summoned the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi yesterday and lodged a strong protest against the killing of five civilians in unprovoked firing by Pakistani forces. In a release, the External Affairs Ministry said, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, who are located two kilometers away from the forward line of defences, by Pakistan forces is highly deplorable and is condemned in the strongest terms. Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah was also told that such heinous acts are against established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct. The Ministry said, Pakistan authorities have been asked to investigate into such heinous acts and instruct its forces to desist from these acts immediately.

The Pakistan side was also asked to end the support being given to cross border infiltration of terrorists, including through cover firing.


The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to frame a model scheme, before 30th September, to address the issues of education, health, social security and pension for construction workers. A bench of Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said, construction workers build not just infrastructure, but also the nation. The bench also directed all states and Union Territories to constitute an expert committee and bring out statutory rules in this regard in a time-bound manner. It said, the exercise should be completed preferably within six months and in any event by 30th September.

The court posted the matter for hearing on 1st of May.


The budget sessions of Punjab, Uttarakhand and Odisha Assemblies are beginning today.

In Punjab, the session will start with the Governor's address and the budget will be presented on Saturday. The session is likely to be stormy as the opposition Aam Aadmi Party and Shiromani Akali Dal are gearing up to corner the Congress government over several issues, including farmers suicides, unemployment and drug trade. The Congress is, however, expected to raise the issue of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal's recent apology to former Akali Minister Bikram Singh Majithia for drug allegations.

In Uttarakhand, the session will be held at Gairsain, the centrally located town in Chamoli district. Details from our correspondent:

"Elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of Vidhan sabha budget session. It may be recalled that, this is state’s first budget session at Gairsain after its formation. Gairsain has been a popular long standing demand for capital ever since the popular movement for the Uttarakhand State. Meanwhile Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat along with his cabinet ministers have already reached Gairsain by road yesterday. During this Chief Minister also conducted a physical inspection of the work being done under All Weather Road project en-route and interacted with the people, directly. Sanjeev Sundriyal, AIR News, Dehradun."

In Odisha, Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera will present the annual budget for 2018-19 on Friday. The session will continue till the 5th of May.


Noted music composer Ilaiyaraja, litterateur P. Parameswaran and 41 other prominent personalities will be conferred with the prestigious Padma awards of 2018 by President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi today. Official sources said, the function will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignataries will be present. We have a report:

"Keeping its promise of honouring unsung heroes, the government this year honoured with Padma awards several personalities who served the poor, set up free schools and popularised tribal arts globally. This year, as many as 84 Padma awards were announced. The list comprises three Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and 72 Padma Shri awards. The awards are given in different fields and disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry. The remaining awardees will be conferred with the honour at another function to be held on the 2nd of next month. With Shashank Kumar's Report, Anuja Kumar, AIR News, Delhi."


Jnanpith awardee and renowned Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh passed away in New Delhi yesterday after a prolonged illness. He was 84. A report:

"Kedarnath Singh was one of India’s most prominent modern Hindi poets besides being an essayist and a well-known critic. Born on 7 July 1934 in village Chakia of Ballia district in eastern Uttar Pradesh he won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1989 for his poetry collection Akaal Mein Saras and the Jnanpith Award in 2013. Kedarnath had been a professor and head of the Department of Hindi Language at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Indian Languages Centre. His works include collections of poems such as Zameen Pak Rahi Hai, Baagh, Tolstoy aur Cycle, Yahan se Dekho aur Abhi Bilkul Abhi. Among his essays and stories are Kalpana aur Chhayavad, Kabristan Mein Panchayat, Hindi Kavita Mein Bimb Vidhan and Mere Samay ke Shabad. Farhat Naaz, News Desk."


India and the European Union (EU) have signed an agreement that will enable them to share earth observation data from each other's satellites. The pact was inked in Bengaluru yesterday by Philippe Brunet, Director for Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence, on behalf of the European Commission, and by Scientific Secretary, PG Diwakar.

The Copernicus programme provides a wide range of applications like climate change, land, ocean and atmosphere monitoring as well as support in forecasting, management and mitigation of natural disasters. Our Correspondent has filed this report:

"Under this arrangement, Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO will share data from its earth observation satellites. The European Commission will provide India with free, full and open access to the data from the Copernicus Sentinel family of satellites using high bandwidth connections from data hub to data hub. This will provide both the sides, the data on climate change, weather forecast and natural disasters. Sudhindra, AIR News, Bengaluru."


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on his re-election for a second five-year term. In a message posted on his account on Chinese social media platform Weibo yesterday, Mr Modi said, he looks forward to working with Mr Xi to further develop the relations between the two countries.

64-year old Xi was unanimously elected by around 3,000 deputies of Chinese Parliament - the National People's Congress (NPC) last week. Earlier, the NPC had ratified a proposal to remove the two-term limit for President paving the way for Mr Xi to become leader for life.


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled his new Cabinet yesterday as part of the government's efforts to stabilize the world's second largest economy. The new line-up approved by NPC - includes four Vice Premiers, Han Zheng, Sun Chunlan, Hu Chunhua and Liu He. Their names were approved by nearly 3,000 deputies of the NPC after they were proposed by Mr Li, who himself was re-appointed to the post under the new political setup headed by President Xi Jinping.


In Syria, an air strike on a school in rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta has killed 15 children and two women. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, the bombing raid hit Arbin, a key town in the enclave, that has been under attack by government troops for over a month. The Britain-based monitor said, the raids were suspected to have been carried out by Russia.

Moscow has said, it is helping the Syrian government finish off fighters in Ghouta but has denied carrying out air strikes against civilians.


In Mali, at least eight people have been killed in clashes between two ethnic groups. The Army said in a statement that the violence around the town of Koro near the border with Burkina Faso resulted in the burning of the village of Sabere. The clashes have now claimed at least 25 lives since the beginning of the month.


The first National workshop on Poshan Abhiyaan will be held in New Delhi today to implement the campaign in a fast track mode across the country. All states and union territories will participate in the day-long event. The Women and Child Development Ministry said, the workshop will provide a complete orientation on the initiative.

Poshan Abhiyaan was launched earlier this month by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. It aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.


The third edition of National Conclave on Mines and Minerals will be held in New Delhi today. Representatives of various state governments, mining industry, financial and academic institutions and industry associations will participate in the event. In a statement, the Ministry of Mines said, the conclave will provide an effective platform to showcase the recent policy initiatives of the government.


In Cricket, Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has jumped 12 positions to the number two spot, in the latest ICC T-20 Rankings for bowlers.

Washington Sundar, meanwhile, moved up a phenomenal 151 places to 31st in the rankings. 

The two Indian spinners made considerable gains after an impressive show in the recently-concluded tri-nation series in Sri Lanka which India won by beating Bangladesh.

Afghanistan's Rashid Khan is still at the top of the rankings, while New Zealand's Ish Sodhi is third behind Chahal.

Among the batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik, the star of India's win in the Final, made significant gains. Kiwi Colin Munro, however, continues to be at the top, while Aussie Glenn Maxwell is second.


In Rajasthan, special programmes will be held today across the state on the occasion of folk festival, Gangaur. In Jaipur, the traditional Gangaur procession, with all its regal pomp and pageantry, will start from the City Palace in the evening. Our correspondent reports that special arrangements have been made for tourists to photograph the procession from the terrace of the Tripoliya market.



  • Two more apologies from Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal secured acquittals for him in defamation cases filed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Congress leader Kapil Sibal's son Amit Sibal is one of the top stories covered by the dailes this morning. "Sorry, Sorry, Sorry" leads Mail Today adding "Faced with defamation cases from every corner, Kejriwal apologies to Gadkari and Sibal after the first one to Majithia".
  • The high drama in Parliament is also extensively covered by the press. "Protesting MPs again stall debate on no-trust motion. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan cites ongoing chaos in Lok Sabha to deny discussion", leads The Hindu.
  • Referring to the Lingayat sect, Hindustan Times writes "Lingayats a religious minority, says Karnataka; Centre will decide". "karnataka plays 'Lingayats not Hindu' card" says The Pioneer. The paper writes that Congress government tags dominant group as religious minority, moves Centre for nod.
  • On the possibility of cobbling up a joint front of like minded parties minus the Congress to challenge the ruling BJP led alliance in next year general election, The Tribune writes "Mamata, KCR discuss new 'federal poll front'. Quoting the Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, the paper says "Will offer something Congress, BJP unable to execute".
  • Writing on the Fodder scam case, DNA writes "Lalu is guilty in 4th case too". "Lalu guilty in 4th fodder scam case, Mishra freed. Sentencing on March 21, two cases remain" notes The Asian Age.
  • "Doval heads to US to get 2-2 dialogue back on track", reports Hindustan Times.
  • And finally, "9 bullets fail to stop Cheetah's resurgence. Well, The Pioneer carries the amazing story of Chetan Kumar Cheetah who sustained nine bullets in an encounter between a group of terrorists and security forces in J&K. He resumes duty after month in coma and a year in hospital after he fought death and miraculously survived.


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