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Home Minister Amit Shah says, govt. is committed to facing challenge of COVID-19 and is resolute in overcoming pandemic            Health Minister Harsh Vardhan lauds selfless, dedicated services of medical staff and ITBP personnel at Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre in New Delhi            COVID-19 recovery rate nears 63 per cent            FM Nirmala Sitharaman reviews implementation of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package; Borrowing limits of States increased from 3 to 5 per cent for 2020-21            In J&K, three terrorists killed in an encounter in Sopore area of Baramulla district           

Text Bulletins Details


Morning News

0815 HRS
15.12.2019

THE HEADLINES:

  • National electronic toll collection system making FASTags mandatory for all vehicles comes into effect from today.
  • Chief Justice of India S A Bobde says artificial intelligence will not substitute the human judicial decision-making process.
  • In Jharkhand, all arrangements in place for the fourth phase of Assembly elections tomorrow.
  • Cold wave conditions continue in several parts of North India.
  • And in Sports, India to take on West Indies in first ODI of the three-match series in Chennai this afternoon.

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FASTags or prepaid rechargeable tags for toll collection, that allow automatic payment, will become mandatory for all vehicles from today. The facility will be effective from 8 AM.


The government launched the National Electronic Toll Collection System which provides for collection of user fee through FASTag to save fuel and time, curb pollution and ensure seamless movement of traffic. With the help of a FASTag, drivers will not have to stop their vehicles at toll plazas to pay tax. More details from our correspondent:


"The National Highways Authority of India, NHAI has equipped all fee plazas with Electronic Toll Collection System. A FASTag uses radio frequency identification technology to enable direct toll payments from a moving vehicle. If anyone goes into an electronic toll collection lane without a FASTag, he or she has to pay double charges. Earlier, it was decided that all lanes except one on each side in fee plazas will be declared FASTag lanes. In a letter, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has asked the NHAI that at least 75 per cent toll lanes must have to collect toll electronically and 25 per cent ‘FASTag lane’ may be temporarily converted to hybrid lanes. The Ministry said that this temporary measure to be adopted for 30 days only to facilitate smooth flow of traffic and avoid inconvenience to users. ARTI RANA FOR AIR NEWS, DELHI."


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Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has said that there is no plan to use Artificial Intelligence in the decision-making process in the courts. Justice Bobde said, there is no move to substitute the judicial decision-making process of the human mind. He made this clarification after former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha expressed concern about the use of Artificial Intelligence at a programme in Nagpur. Justice Lodha in his speech said the idea of using Artificial Intelligence is good and may help significantly in management of cases in courts and discharge of judicial functions. However, he said, like other technological innovations such use may have potential negative implications. His request to the CJI was that all pros and cons must be carefully weighed before Artificial Intelligence is used in judicial decision-making.


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Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has advocated for a leaner and meaner force which can secure quick victories. Gen Rawat said that threats to national security are becoming more and more complex and every citizen must be involved in national security. The Army Chief was delivering the inaugural Manohar Parrikar Memorial Lecture in Mumbai yesterday. Gen Rawat also said that India's response to terror attacks in Uri and Pulwama was much more robust compared to the inaction after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.


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External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said that there is a visible trend of countries subscribing to the concept of the Indo-Pacific. Giving the valedictory address at the Delhi Dialogue last evening, Dr Jaishankar said, such dialogues enable better understanding of the border-less nature of today’s challenges and opportunities. He said, the discussions during the two-day Delhi Dialogue are relevant as challenges and opportunities in maritime domain are less well-defined as they are in the continental domain.


The Minister also pointed out that discussions reflected the reality that countries are yet to reach any kind of agreement on the Indo-Pacific concept. He stressed that there may be a multiplicity of views on the Indo-Pacific, but there is everything to gain by engaging with this concept. The Minister also said that while the nations of the eastern Indian Ocean are defining their vision of the Indo-Pacific, there is room for a western Indian Ocean version of this concept too.


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Union Minister for Power and Renewable Energy RK Singh gave away the National Energy Conservation Awards at a function in New Delhi yesterday. The awards were given to 65 industries and institutions from various sectors for their excellent performance in achieving energy efficiency. Under the National Level Painting Competition. A total of 26 students from two groups were awarded.


Speaking on the occasion, Mr Singh highlighted the importance of energy conservation in the country’s sustainable development approach.


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The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued an advisory to the Directors General of Police of all States regarding the use of children in unlawful activities like stone pelting during protests against the amended Citizenship Act. The Commission said that such use of children prima facie amounts to violation of the right of children under provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015. The Act states that any adult or an adult group that uses children for illegal activities either individually or as a gang shall be liable for rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable for a fine of five lakh rupees.


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The Joint CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test (NET) for candidates scheduled to appear in Assam and Meghalaya has been postponed due to the prevailing situation in the region. The National Testing Agency, which conducts the test, announced that the exam in other states will be held today as per schedule. Revised dates for the examination will be announced soon for Assam and Meghalaya.


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In Assam, the Chairman of the Clause 6 Committee has assured to submit the report within a month. The members of the Committee yesterday held a meeting with Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and his Cabinet colleagues in Guwahati. The Chief Minister requested Clause 6 Committee to complete their report as soon as possible.


Our Correspondent reports that the Centre has set up a Committee under the chairmanship of retired Justice Biplab Sarma to prepare recommendations for ensuring the Constitutional safeguards of the Assamese people. The purpose of the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is to protect the culture, language, political and land rights of the people.


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In Manipur, the State Government has initiated rationing system on petroleum products. After the widespread protest against Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam, the step has been taken up by the state Government.


Talking to AIR, Imphal, Manipur Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K. Shyam said, due to the ongoing protest against Citizenship Amendment Act, petroleum products could not be transported from Assam. However, there is sufficient stock for over five days.


Appealing to public not to indulge in panic buying, the Minister said, under the rationing system, consumers with heavy vehicles are being provided 10 litres of fuel, while the limit for cars is five and for two-wheelers it is three litres each.


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In Jharkhand, all arrangements have been put in place for the fourth phase of Assembly elections tomorrow. 15 constituencies spread over four districts of Dhanbad, Deoghar, Giridih and Bokaro will go to polls in this phase. Polling in the five Naxal affected constituencies of Bagodar, Jamua, Giridih, Dumri and Tundi will be held between 7 AM and 3 PM, while in the remaining 10 seats voting will continue till 5 PM.


Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey said polling parties have been dispatched for their destination. They have been instructed to reach their respective booths by this afternoon. Jawans of central para military forces have reached in respective areas to ensure free and fair polls. Over ten thousand armed security forces of state government have also been deployed. A flag march is being carried out in sensitive areas to instill confidence among the electorate.


Our correspondent reports that the leaders of various political parties are campaigning for the fifth and final phase of the polling in the state.


"Campaigning for the fifth and final phase of elections have been intensified in those areas where poling will be held in 16 constituencies on 20th of this month. Senior BJP Leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address an election meeting in Dumka this afternoon. Leaders of Congress, RJD and left parties Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and AJSU leaders are also scheduled to address election meetings in support of their party candidates. WITH K K LAL'S REPORT, TANVI KHURANA, AIR NEWS."


Meanwhile, BJP has expelled 11 leaders from the party for anti-party activities. They include former state BJP President Tala Marandi and former party spokesperson Praveen Prabhakar. These leaders are contesting elections against the party's candidate. This is the second time during the ongoing assembly elections that the BJP has taken action against dissidents. Earlier BJP had expelled 18 leaders including Saryu Rai from the party.


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Cold wave conditions continued to sweep several parts of North India. Rain and snowfall in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have pulled the mercury down. Dense fog is likely to envelop Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, north Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh today.


In Himachal Pradesh, following the recent snowfall and heavy rain, residents and tourists have been asked to remain cautious as avalanche and landslides are likely.


Popular tourist destinations Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and Kufri, witnessed overnight snowfall. Dalhousie received the highest snowfall of 60 cms in the state.


The cold wave continued in Kashmir region after the latest spell of rain and snowfall in the region. The minimum temperature throughout the valley also continues to remain several notches below the freezing point. More from our correspondent:-


"Official said only stranded vehicles in Banihal, Ramban and other areas along the Srinagar Jammu highway will be allowed to move towards their destinations. No fresh traffic will be allowed on either side of the highway. The Srinagar Leh Highway and Mughal Road in South Kashmir in Shopian district connecting Rajouri and Poonch districts in Pir Panjal region of Jammu province also remained closed for vehicular traffic. Air traffic resumed yesterday at Srinagar airport after a week following improvement in weather and visibility.The registration has geared up man and machinery to ensure power supply, road connectivity and supply of all essential items in services to the people particularly in cutoff and far flung areas in Kashmir and Jammu region. TARIQ RATHER AIR NEWS, SRINAGAR."


In Rajasthan, cold weather conditions prevailed, with Mount Abu recording the lowest minimum temperature in the state at 2.2 degrees Celsius.


Rains and hailstorms in Uttar Pradesh brought the temperature down to single digit in many areas yesterday. Shahjahanpur and Moradabad received rainfall of 9 cms each.


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Over 7,700 cases were settled yesterday at the day-long National Lok Adalat across the twin union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. A total of 11,461 cases were taken up by 128 benches at various courts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh during the Lok Adalat. 7,728 cases were disposed of and an amount of over 15.87 crore rupees was awarded as compensation.


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Mother Dairy has increased its milk prices by up to three rupees a litre in Delhi and NCR due to lower supply and a rise in procurement costs. The new prices will be effective from today. Prices of both token and poly-pack milk have been increased in a range of two to three rupees a litre.


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In Madhya Pradesh, the two-day corn festival is being held in Chhindwara from today. Madhya Pradesh is one of the largest corn producing States in India with Chhindwara being the highest corn producing district. More from our correspondent: 


"The festival is aimed to promote corn based industries in the country. The companies excelling in corn based products from Food Industry, Textile; Pharmaceuticals etc will showcase their products and interact with the other stakeholders during the festival. Food court specializing in corn cuisines will add taste to the event. Chhindwara district alone has producing 12 lakh metric tonnes  of maize while the maize production in the State has touched 46 lakh metric tonnes. SANJEEV SHARMA, AIR NEWS, BHOPAL."


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On to sports news now,


The first One Day International of the three-match series between India and West Indies will be played in Chennai today. The match will start at 1:30 PM.


All India Radio will broadcast live commentary on the match alternately in Hindi and English. It can be heard on Rajdhani, FM Rainbow and additional frequencies from 1 PM.  Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur has been named as the replacement for the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Shardul recently shone with the bat for Mumbai, slamming a quick-fire 64 against Baroda in their Ranji Trophy Round 1 match.


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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINE:


  • The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Bengal, North East and other parts have found prominence in most newspapers' front pages.
  • The Times of India writes, "Violence erupts in 4 Bengal districts against citizenship law". "Protesters go berserk in Bengal", says The Pioneer. The Statesman leads with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's appeal - "Maintain calm, won't tolerate vandalism'.
  • Extension of detention of three-term Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah by another three months is also covered by many papers.
  • "Modi calls for sustainable model for cleaning Ganga" reports The Hindustan Times. The PM says districts along Ganga should be focus areas for monitoring projects, adds the paper.
  • "Data Protection Bill not in line with draft", reports The Hindu, quoting retired Justice BN Srikrishna, who headed the panel that produced the draft of the bill.
  • Finally, the Government plans centralized purchase of medical devices for its flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme reports Business Standard. This will help reduce costs for procedures and devices, adds the paper.


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