Monday, 19 June 2017


India has pitched for a greater engagement with BRICS nations which have steadily expanded its agenda from financial matters to security and counter terrorism issues facing the international community.
Addressing the BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting in Beijing today, Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh said, BRICS countries have reached a significant understanding on security and counter-terrorism issues. He said, the BRICS agenda has witnessed steady expansion.
The Minister added that the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of BRICS countries are due to meet next month. The meeting comes ahead of this year’s summit of the bloc in September.
V K Singh further said, India attaches great importance to BRICS nations and will continue to work closely with all the partners with mutual trust, respect and transparency.
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Australian government today announced that Indian nationals can apply for a visitor visa online starting from first July. Australia’s Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Alex Hawke, said the online application option would make applying for the country’s visitor visas easier and enhance the experience for Indians.
Online lodgement for visitor visa applications is a significant enhancement that will benefit Indian applicants seeking to visit Australia as tourists or business visitors,
or those wanting to reconnect with family and friends,” Hawke said.
It will offer benefits like 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online, all
through the department’s ImmiAccount portal.
Being able to check the status of an application online, as soon as it is finalised, will allow Indian applicants to finalise their travel arrangements as soon as possible, he said.
An official statement said, there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian visas in India with the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination.
In the first four months of 2017 alone, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection granted more than 65,000 visitor visas to Indian nationals.
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British Prime Minister Theresa May says police has confirmed that it is treating the north London mosque incident as a potential terrorist attack. One person was killed and ten others wounded after a man drove a van into worshippers near a Finsbury Park Mosque.
London Metropolitan Police said the van mounted the pavement and struck a group of people just after midnight. It said one man was pronounced dead at the scene. It has arrested a 48-year-old van driver from the scene. The incident comes just over two weeks after three militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight people.
The Leader of the Opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was shocked at the incident. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said extra police had been deployed to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramazan. He described the attack as an assault on all shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect.
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West Bengal, the situation in the violence-scarred, strike-bound Darjeeling Hills continues to be tense.
An uneasy calm and uncertainly prevails across the Darjeeling Hills as the Bimal Gurung led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) sponsored indefinite strike entered the eighth day today.
The GJM is demanding statehood for Gorkhas in West Bengal’s northern districts. Meanwhile, three youths were killed which the Gurung’s party alleged that they died in police firing. However the government has denied any police firing on Saturday.
Meanwhile, National Highway 10 from Siliguri to Sikkim has been blocked by Gorkhaland activists.
A big number of supporters are protesting near Rangpo bridge. Vehicles plying from Sikkim to Siliguri have been brought to a halt. One loaded truck has been torched near Kalijhora. Sikkim government sources in Gangtok said they had on Sunday requested their West Bengal counterpart to provide security to vehicles passing through Darjeeling district in NH 31A in view of the GJM agitation.
The West Bengal government had assured them that security would be provided to vehicles going to Sikkim or coming from Sikkim and police would carry out extensive patrolling in the highway, the sources said
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Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind will be NDA nominee for Presidential election, addressing a press conference in New Delhi, BJP chief Amit Shah announced his name. Bihar Governor reached Delhi to file his nomination papers for the top post.
Mr Kovind, who hails from Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, is a senior lawyer and BJP leader. Mr Shah said he belongs to Scheduled Caste community and has worked extensively for upliftment of backward sections of society.
Mr Shah informed said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself spoke to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apprise them of the decision. He hoped that all parties will support Mr Kovind’s candidature.
BJP Chief said, Mr. Kovind is likely to file his nomination papers on 23rd of this month.
Replying to a query, Mr Shah said there has not been any discussion yet on names for Vice President.
In the latest development, Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind arrived in New Delhi this evening after announcement of his candidature. Mr. Kovind is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Union Minister J P Nadda, Thaawarchand Gehlot and other BJP leaders welcomed him on his arrival.
Earlier, Prime Minister expressed belief that NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised.
In a series of tweets, Mr Modi said Mr Kovind comes from a humble background and has devoted his life to public service and worked the poor and marginalised. He said with his background in the legal arena, Mr Kovind’s knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation.
Congress has said decision by the BJP to choose Ram Nath Kovind as NDA nominee for Presidential elections has been taken unilaterally.
Talking to media in New Delhi this evening, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that name of Mr Kovind was not discussed with Congress party. He said, his party had expected that BJP will discuss main names which the party may announce for the presidential candidate but it did not discuss.
Mr Azad, however, said, Congress has nothing to comment on the decision made by the BJP. Mr Azad said Congress has invited opposition leaders on 22nd of this month to discuss future strategy after BJP announced name of presidential nominee.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) has indicated that it is opposed to the NDA nominee, Ram Nath Kovind for presidential polls. Party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, Mr. Kovind has been associated with RSS’s dalit wing. He said, it is directly a political battle and only once in the history of Independent India, the President was elected uncontested.
On the other hand, LJP Chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said everyone should support the candidature of Mr. Kovind. He said whoever opposes the decision will be believed to be anti dalit.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed happiness over declaration of Presidential candidature of Ram Nath Kovind.
After congratulating Mr. Kovind at Rajbhawan in Patna today, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it is a matter of pride for Bihar.
Mr. Kumar said it is not appropriate time to comment whether the JD (U) will support Mr. Kovind or not. Though Nitish Kumar said he has intimated his feelings to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and RJD Chief Lalu. Prasad. Meanwhile, Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind left for Delhi this evening.

Edit"Ram Nath Kovind is NDA nominee for Presidential poll"


Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to United States, military manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin has tied up a pact with Tata to produce F16 fighter planes in India.
Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Saab’s Gripen fighter plane from Sweden are regarded as the front-runners in getting a lucrative, multi-billion dollar contract for 200 to 250 jets for the Indian Air Force.
According to sources, the deal has been signed on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.
Edit"F-16s to be made in India, Tata signs pact with Lockheed Martin:  "


  • Amritpal Singh, seasoned centre of the Indian national team, has been formally invited to join the Sydney Kings for a tournament called the Atlas Challenge 2017 to be played in Suzhou, China.
  • This invitation brings him one step closer towards joining the Sydney Kings roster and becoming the first Indian national to play in the Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).
  • Singh had impressed several teams at the NBL Draft Combine earlier this year, after which he received this invite.
Bengaluru, 19th June 2017:  Amritpal Singh, the near 6’ 10’’ centre of the Indian national team, has been formally invited to join the Sydney Kings for a tournament in China, known as the Atlas Challenge 2017.

The Atlas Challenge 2017 consists of eight teams from various countries, and will be played from 16thto 25th July 2017, in the city of Suzhou which is 100 km from Shanghai, China. The Sydney Kings are approaching the tournament as an opportunity to evaluate prospective players who may make the Sydney Kings roster at a later stage.

This is a huge opportunity for Singh, who impressed a number of teams at the National Basketball League (NBL) Draft Combine in Melbourne, Australia earlier this year. He was part of a four member contingent that also included Amjyot Singh, Yadwinder Singh and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi. A report on the official NBL website reflects high praise for the Punjab centre, and played up his potential to become the first Indian-born player to play in the NBL. Among the stand out features of his play were his defensive presence around the rim, finishing the Combine tied as the leading shot blocker.

Asked about the invite, the 26-year-old, “I am thrilled to have received this great opportunity. I am entirely focused on preparing for the tournament and intend to put in every effort to doing well.”

Singh will be rearing to go after standout performances for the Indian team on the international stage: most notably, he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game at the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge in Iran.

“After the Draft Combine concluded in April, Amritpal had generated interest from a few teams, which culminated in the Sydney Kings inviting him for a rookie camp earlier this month. From my interactions with him, I could sense that he was going to seize this opportunity with both hands. Credit to his composure that he was able to perform under pressure. His humble personality and affable nature also helped in securing the invite,” said Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Singh’s manager from Pursuit India, the company that represents Singh and other leading Indian basketball players. “On behalf of Amritpal, I’d also like to thank Danny Kordahi of the No1 Draft Pick Basketball Academy, our local Australian liaison partner, who has helped us immensely throughout this entire process.”

About the Sydney Kings

The Sydney Kings is a franchise in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). A three-time NBL Champion, Sydney Kings are based out of the city of Sydney, New South Wales. The franchise was founded in 1988 and is owned by AEG Ogden. All of the Kings’ homegames are played at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park which is also popularly known as ‘The Kingdome’.
Edit"Indian Centre Amritpal Singh invited to play for Sydney Kings in China tournament"


IThe_Indian_men_s_team_at_the_BRICS_Games_inaugurationndia fall to hosts China on Day 1 of the BRICS Games 2017
  • China beat India 97-57 on the opening day of the BRICS Games 2017 in Guangzhou, China.
  • Amjyot Singh Gill led the Indian team with 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
  • India felt the absence of its star centre Amritpal Singh, as the team was outrebounded 45-26.
  • Indian shooting guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi suffered an ACL injury and is likely to miss the rest of the tournament.
  • India now faces 9th ranked Russia (19th July) followed by its last match against South Africa tomorrow.
Bengaluru, 19th June 2017: Last evening, China beat India 97-57 on the opening day of the BRICS Games 2017, despite a strong performance from star player Amjyot Singh Gill. The game was fairly competitive in the first half: it was a one point game late in the second quarter, before a 9-0 run allowed the Chinese to take a 38-28 lead into half time. The hosts carried that momentum into the second half, scoring 33 and 26 points in the third and fourth quarters respectively, as the game finished 97 – 57.

Amjyot Singh Gill led the Indian team with 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. But as a unit, the team struggled to find its scoring touch, only managing a field goal percentage of 36 from 2-point range, although it shot a decent 31.5% from beyond the arc. To complicate matters, Indian shooting guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi went down early in the second half, losing his footing while driving to the basket. He has been diagnosed with an ACL injury and is likely to miss the rest of the tournament. Indian fans will be hoping that he recovers in time for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup that will be played in Lebanon in August.

On the defensive end, India was made to pay in the paint in the absence of star centre Amritpal Singh. Chinese centre Tao Hanlin came off the bench to lead his team with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Chinese team was particularly dominant off the glass, pulling down a total of 45 rebounds that also included 14 offensive rebounds, whereas India only recorded 26 rebounds in total.

Next up, India will play 9th ranked Russia on Monday, June 19th, before wrapping up the tournament against South Africa on Tuesday, June 20th.

China (Tao Han Lin 18 pts, 11 reb; Liu Xiao Yu 14 pts) bt India (Amjyot Singh Gill 26 pts, 2 blks, 2 stls; Rikin Pethani 12 pts) 97–57 [19-16, 19-12, 33-15, 26-14]

About the BRICS Games 2017

The BRICS Games 2017 is a tournament played among the BRICS countries with a view to developing sports exchange and cooperation, and promoting mutual friendship among BRICS countries. The host country of BRICS summit organizes the annual BRICS games and as China is all set to host the summit in September this year, they are given the responsibility of organizing the games. The choices of the games differ each year and are selected in consultation with the member countries.
Edit"India fall to hosts China on Day 1 of the BRICS Games 2017"


                                                                                              DAILY MESSENGER 
(A Daily News Brief from UNODC South Asia on illicit drugs, human trafficking, terrorism, justice and health.) 

19 June 2017
RAB prepares digital database of 2,53,000 criminals, Prothom Alo
The database contains 150 types of information such as photographs, biometric finger prints, irises and previous criminal records and punishments in criminal offences, according to official sources.
4 ways money is laundered out of the country, The Dhaka Tribune
Every year a huge amount of money is siphoned out of the country primarily in four forms – over and under invoicing, over and under shipment, multiple invoices, and falsely declared goods and services, according to a study report of Bangladesh Institution of Bank Management (BIBM).
Fight militancy with stronger prosecution, The Daily Star
An anti-money laundering taskforce will ask the government to introduce a permanent attorney service engaging competent lawyers to fight militancy.
Countering extremism in BangladeshLivemint
Creating a ‘whole of government and whole of society approach’ is the need of the hour.
Bangladesh: the people deserve better, The Guardian
Both parties need to re-engage with democracy and civil rights, renounce the use of force and pandering to intolerance, and focus on the needs of their people.
BOiC still under audit radar, Kuensel
Despite its success stories, a performance audit observed several shortcomings and oversights that may be detrimental to the effective and efficient implementation and monitoring of the Revolving Funds (RF) for the now closed Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOiC).
ACC investigates 74 suspicious bank accounts, Kuensel
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is reportedly questioning and ascertaining the legality of sources for more than INR 107.435 million (M) of demonetised notes deposited in 74 bank accounts.
Won’t allow anti-India acts on our territory: Bhutan,  The Free Press Journal
Bhutan’s commitment came during a meeting between Ramasundaram and the Bhutanese Home Minister in Thimpu.
Drug abuse jumps after prohibition, The Times of India
The rise in use of narcotic drugs after enforcement of prohibition has alarmed the state government of Bihar.
Tackling substandard drugs: Central drug regulator issues draft standard operating procedure, The Indian Express
India has neither a nation-wide drug recall system in the country nor any rules mandating the companies to withdraw “substandard” drug batches from the market.
UP STF arrests three members of international drug smuggling racket, The Times of India
Officials also seized 202.5 kg of charas worth Rs 2.2 crore from the miscreants, who used to supply the illegal substance to parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi-NCR.    
BSF seizes 2000 denominatised fake currency worth Rs. 1.96 lakhs, ANI
The Border Security Force (BSF) has seized Rs 2000 denominatised Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) with face value of Rs. 1.96 lakhs from Malda’s Sabdalpur area.
Indians Have ‘Rather Few’ Deposits: Swiss Banks, India Today
Money held by Indians in Swiss banks declined to a record low of 1.2 billion franc (about Rs. 8,392 crore) at the end of 2015, as per the latest available official data. However, no official data is available for money in other global hubs.
Begging Mafia: A Social Evil, Rising Kashmir
Though many people take to begging owing to poverty, however, it has become a menace. Of late, begging has become part of an organised crime.  
CBI arrests Army Colonel, three others in case of bribery, India Today
It was alleged that Colonel Shaibal Kumar had demanded a bribe of Rs 1.80 lakh from the managing director of the Pune-based company in connection with the supply of power pack rock splitters, which are used by various field formations of the Army.
Mumbai blast case index of appalling delays, The Free Press Journal
The criminal justice system in the country is in need of urgent attention. Apart from delays which are endemic, there are other areas crying for reform.
A governance agenda for our times, The Tribune
If the country has to be liberated from corruption and misgovernance, the political executive needs to accept its responsibility, assume leadership and play a visibly proactive role in promoting productive governance. It would no longer do to attribute all our failures, on various fronts, merely to the deficiencies of the bureaucracy, the writer agues.
India makes pitch to fight terror as BRICS foreign ministers meet in Beijing, India Today
India will want the BRICS grouping to put out a strong statement on terrorism as it holds a summit in Xiamen, southern China, in September which PM Modi will attend.
New playground for non-state actorsThe Hindu
‘Internet-enabled’ terrorism has introduced greater complexity in an already difficult scenario. 
Muzzling freedom of expressionThe Hindu
At the heart of the fundamental right of freedom of expression is free speech. But the human right to freely express oneself is not limited to free speech.  
Police releases photos of murderers of Yameen Rasheed,
Police further added that all suspects connected to the murder have been identified with enough evidence for prosecution.
Maldives pres ratifies bill to up no. of High Court judgesMihaaru
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday ratified the amendment to the Courts of Judicature Act to increase the number of judges in the High Court to eleven.
Jailed ex-VP’s family turn to UN over denial of medical treatmentMihaaru
Jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb’s family has turned to the United Nations over the Maldives government’s refusal to provide suitable medical service to Adheeb.

Human trafficking convict on the run for 7 years nabbed, The Himalayan Times
The fugitive, identified as a 53-year-old Ram Bahadur Tamang (53) of Salme in Nuwakot, had taken a woman from Dhading to India on the pretext of marrying her, with the help of two other traffickers.
Three Nepali human trafficking victims rescued, Mid-Day
Three women from Nepal were rescued from human traffickers and one accused arrested in near the India-Nepal border in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.  
34 pc women victimised by kinThe Himalayan Times
The study carried out by ‘Paribartan Gharaibat Project’ in Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kapilvastu in the last 12 months showed that one out of four women fell victim to sexual violence from their nearest friend or husband.
NHRC tells govt not to make arbitrary arrestsThe Himalayan Times
“The NHRC draws the attention of the government not to arrest people in arbitrary manner and not to misbehave with people who take part in peaceful protests,” the rights body said in its release.
CIAA books eight govt transport officials for revenue embezzlement,  The Himalayan Times
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has filed cases against eight officials of Transport Management Office, Itahari, on the charge of revenue embezzlement at the Special Court.
Sri Lanka
Suspect arrested with Rs.5.4mn worth heroinThe Daily Mirror
A 33-year-old was arrested with 540 grams of heroine worth Rs.5.4 million during a raid in Sri Lanka’s Borella.
Police investigations on hate crimes led to arrest of Buddhist monk and police officer, Colombo Page
The police have arrested a police officer and a Buddhist monk accused of leading an arson attack against a mosque and a Muslim business.
Hate crime: Police probing politicos’ speech, Daily Mirror
The Police are investigating into politicians’ statements that are seen as inciting racism and create communal disharmony, according to Police Spokesman DIG Priyantha Jayakody.
Sarath rejects Special Rapporteur allegationsThe Daily Mirror 
Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara has slammed UNHRC Special Rapporteur Ms. Monica Pinto’s allegations following her visit to Sri Lanka in 2016.

Consultations held with key South African actors as ‘Line Up Live Up’ enters next stage of roll out, UNODC
Following early successes and positive experiences over recent months in piloting the Doha Declaration Global Programme’s ‘Line Up Live Up’ curriculum in Brazil, on-the-ground work recently started in South Africa.
UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by the many lives claimed by raging wildfires in PortugalUN News Centre
In a statement, the Secretary-General said he spoke with the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and with the Prime Minister, António Costa, expressing his “deep sadness.”
‘No limit’ to cruelty of traffickers, says UN agency, as video surfaces of abused migrants in Libya, UN News Centre
Two United Nations agencies have voiced ‘deep concern’ for the safety of hundreds of migrants and refugees – including many children – held captive by smugglers or criminal gangs at an unknown location in Libya after a video showing their abuse was posted on Facebook.
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