SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 DECEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 | `5.00 |LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR THOUGH LORD HANUMAN IS A POPULAR HINDU DEITY, HE IS NOT CONFINED TO HINDUISM ALONE AND THE LEGENDARY PERSONA CAN BE TRACED IN JAINISM AND BUDDHISM AS WELL A CUSTOMARY DRINK WITH MEALS IN SEVERAL PARTS OF THE WORLD, WINE IS ASSOCIATED WITH DIVERSE CELEBRATIONS FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY Chilling new year as temp dips to 10°C A WHITE BLANKET AT TIGER HILL WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Max and min temp to be around 23/10 degrees Celsius, resp. KOLKATA, 29 DECEMBER RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.89% TEMPERATURE The dip in temperature has made a pleasant winter season as the year comes to an end. The city is in the right mood to celebrate the new year’s evening with the mercury hitting as low as 10 degrees Celsius. ” It feels good to have an appropriate winter with the temperature going this low. This is the perfect season to end this year and welcome the new year. I hope the temperature will remain the same on new years’ evening.” said a youth who was seen enjoying the weather at Park Street with a group of friends. The city is seen hustling and bustling with joy as the happening places of the city is overcrowded with people even on the weekdays. An official from the MeT office said, “The temperature will be stable for the next few days. There is no probability of rainSNS fall.’’ Min. 32% Max: 23.5°C (-2) Min: 10.6°C (-3) SUN SETS SUN RISES 17:02 hrs 06:16 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 00:00 hrs 12:17 hrs New moon on 5 January THUMBNAILS 4 JeM militants killed in encounter: Four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, including one suspected to be from Pakistan, were killed Saturday in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, police said. Acting on specific information about the presence of militants in the Hanjan area, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the morning, police said. Ex-DMK MLA jailed for rape-murder: Former D m DMK MLA and leader, M Rajkumar was sent to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment by a Special Court on Friday for rape and death of a 15year-old girl at Perambalur. This is the first verdict to be delivered by the exclusive court which was set up in September 2018 as per the directive of the Supreme Court to fasttrack criminal cases. Philippines quake triggers small tsunami: A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the Philippine island of Mindanao on Saturday triggering a brief tsunami warning. The quake struck southeast of Davao City at a depth of 59 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said, a week after a volcano-triggered tsunami killed more than 400 people and rendered thousands homeless in neighbouring Indonesia. Rajya Sabha may soon have tougher rules: The Rajya Sabha which has witnessed disorderly behaviour by MPs, may soon have tougher rules governing its functioning, with the submission of a report by the House Rules Review Committee. The committee has in its 387-page report to Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, recommended amendments to 77 existing rules, and proposed 124 new rules. Bollywood actor Anupam Kher poses for a picture during a promotional event for the upcoming Hindi film The Accidental Prime Minister, in Mumbai on Saturday. AFP Tourists enjoy the snowfall at Darjeeling Tiger Hill on Saturday. The Army has rescued more than 2,500 tourists stranded near East Sikkim's 17th Mile area, near the China border, SNS Michel made reference to ‘Mrs Gandhi’: ED Agency says in court he is being tutored from outside PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 29 DECEMBER Delhi court hearing the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case on Saturday imposed restrictions on alleged middleman Christian Michel meeting his lawyers in ED custody after the agency said that he was misusing legal access by passing chits to the advocates asking them how to tackle questions on “Mrs Gandhi'. While seeking extension of Michel's remand, the Enforcement Directorate claimed that he made a reference to 'Mrs Gandhi' during questioning and spoke about the “son of an Italian lady” and how he is going to become the next prime minister of the country. The agency, however, did not state in what context Michel had made these references during interrogation. The ED sought that Michel be barred from meeting his counsel in its custody, alleging that he was tutored from outside through the lawyers, following which the court directed that the three defence counsel will be able to meet Michel one at a time at a distance from the accused and legal assistance will be only for 15 minutes at 10 am and at 5 pm A during the day. The order came after Michel was Saturday produced before vacation judge, Chandrashekhar, who extended his ED custody by seven days. The agency told the court that Michel had made a reference to 'Mrs Gandhi' during interrogation on December 27. During medical examination, the accused had handed over a folded paper to his advocate Aljo K Joseph and it was noticed by ED officials. After perusal of the paper, it was revealed that it pertained to a set of follow-up questions on 'Mrs Gandhi', the ED said. The development intensified the war of words between the BJP and the Congress on the issue with the ruling party attacking Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, claiming that the ED's statement pointed towards involvement of their family in the alleged scam. Rejecting the charge, the Congress hit out at the BJP-led government at the Centre, accusing it of using agencies to put pressure on Michel to “name a particular family” as elections were near and “it has no real issues”. The ED told the court that it is clear that there is a conspiracy to shield or to tamper with evidence that could be brought forth from questioning of the accused. “The benefit given by the court to the accused of legal access is being misused. It should be stopped henceforth,” the agency said. The agency said it has discovered fresh evidence relating to new entities, used for laundering the proceeds of crime and Michel's custodial inter- rogation was needed for confrontation with his Indian connections identified till date. It said he was also required to be taken around Delhi to identify the places where he held meetings and used them as hide outs to give bribes or to entertain officials and public figures. His custody was required for “unearthing the deeprooted conspiracy and identification of all his accomplices including the IAF officials, MoD (Ministry of Defence) officials, bureaucrats and politicians who gained undue advantage for getting the contract in favour of AgustaWestland,” the ED said in the application, adding he remained evasive to some questions during the investigation. The accused is trying to introduce new alibis to save himself and his aides who have received/facilitated in laundering of proceeds. Michel, who was extradited from Dubai recently, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on December 22 and sent to seven days custody of the agency over money laundering charges in the scam after he was produced in a court here. He was earlier lodged in Tihar Jail in the related CBI case. Egypt police kill terrorists CAIRO, 29 DECEMBER Egyptian police killed 40 “terrorists” in separate raids early Saturday, a day after a roadside bomb near the Giza pyramids killed three Vietnamese tourists and their guide, the interior ministry said. Two raids in the Giza governorate killed 30 “terrorists”, while the remaining 10 were killed in the restive North Sinai, the ministry said in a statement. It said authorities acted after receiving information the suspects were preparing attacks against state and tourist institutions and churches. India has condemned the AGENCIES attack. Triple talaq bill will be blocked in RS: Cong STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE THIRUVANANTHAPURAM. 29 DECEMBER AICC general secretary K C VenugopalMP on Saturday told mediapersons in Kochi that the Congress would not allow the NDA government to pass the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha. PTI adds from Ghazipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of misleading farmers on loan waivers, saying its governments had handed out lollipops. Cop killed in stonepelting after PM's rally: A police constable was killed Saturday in Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur when protesters hurled stones at vehicles returning from the venue of a public meeting addressed by the PM. SP (Ghazipur) Yashveer Singh said the protesters were workers from the Rashtriya Nishad Party who were prevented by the administration and the police from going to the rally venue. When the PM had left Ghazipur, the party workers blocked traffic at various places and started pelting stones on the vehicles returning from the venue,” he said. Constable Suresh Vats (48) from Karimuddinpur PS was hit on the head by a stone when he went to end a traffic jam caused by the rally. INDIA SNIFF VICTORY Ravindra Jadeja exults after dismissing Australia's captain Tim Paine during Day 4 of the 3rd cricket Test match in Melbourne on Saturday. Australia were 258/8 at stumps.AFP P12 Bangladesh steps up security as Hasina seeks re-election THE DAILY STAR/ANN AND AGENCIES DHAKA, 29 DECEMBER Bangladesh stepped up security on Saturday with thousands of army troops patrolling the streets along with paramilitary forces and police as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeks a record fourth term in tomorrow's general election. Over 600,000 security personnel including several thousand soldiers and paramilitary border guards have been deployed across the country to help conduct the election in which 10.41 crore people are eligible to vote. Security agencies have been asked to keep an extra vigil on religious minority communities as media reports said at least three Hindu households were set on fire by miscreants between December 16 and 26. Bangladesh's telecoms regulator also ordered the country's mobile operators to shut down 3G and 4G services until midnight on Sunday “to prevent the spread of rumours” that could trigger unrest during the election, the 11th since Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in 1971. According to the Election Commission, 1,848 candidates are contesting for 299 out of 300 Parliament seats. The polls will be held at 40,183 polling stations. Thirteen people have been killed and thousands injured in clashes between supporters of Hasina's ruling Awami League and activists of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of jailed expremier Khaleda Zia in pre- poll violence. Hasina, who is seeking to return to power for a third consecutive time, on Saturday expressed fears that the opposition could boycott polls in the middle of voting as part of a “political trick” to evade a “humiliating defeat”. “I want to caution all about the character of (main opposition) BNP...they may say in the middle (of the elections) that we are boycotting the polls,” she said. “In that case (opposition boycott) I will ask our candidates and other contenders to continue polls until the voting is ended,” Hasina, 71, said. The premier's comments came as the BNP is contesting the polls in a state of disarray in the absence of Zia, 73, and her fugitive son Tarique Rahman who is the acting party chief. Zia, serving a 10-year prison term on graft charges, has been barred from contesting the polls while Rahman is living in London ostensibly to evade the law as a court has sentenced him to life imprisonment for masterminding a grenade attack on a rally in 2004 that killed 24 Awami League leaders and activists. The BNP has stayed out of parliament since 2014 when it boycotted the last election over its demands for a poll-time non-party government. It has returned to parliamentary politics as part of a new alliance - National Unity Front (NUF) - that was cobbled together three months ago with eminent lawyer Kamal Hossain as its convener. Reacting to Hasina's remarks, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said “There is no dispute in our party about taking part in the polls”. “But what we see, there is no festive mood anywhere and rather a sense of fright is prevailing across the country due to government intimidation,” he said. The Election Commission last week also allowed hardline Islamist party Jamaat-eIslami, a crucial ally of BNP , to contest the election, two months after it scrapped the fundamentalist party's registration. BNP earlier accused the election commission of being biased during the poll campaign, a charge rejected by Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda. Huda acknowledged a media report about arrests of some polling agents of BNP candidates and called such action “unwanted”. “Unless someone is wanted under certain case, police must not arrest anyone...maintain utmost neutrality in discharging your duties,” he said. “No member of law enforcement will arrest or harass polling agents of any candidate unless there are specific allegations against them,” he said in a directive which he issued in a pre-poll press conference in Dhaka. The opposition parties have alleged that thousands of their leaders and activists have been arrested to weaken them. The CEC's comments came as BNP expressed doubts about credibility of Sunday's election alleging their sup- porters were intimidated and arrested while their agents too were being harassed to keep them away from polling centres. Later BNP's Alamgir said “Now we've no expectation over the election. This election has become a complete mockery....the state, the government and the Election Commission are working together to turn it into a mockery. There's no question of win or defeat since it is not an election at all as a particular party is trying to snatch election victory by force and using the state machinery”. Alamgir, however, asked his party candidates to stay in the race until the voting ended while NUF convenor Hossain urged voters to “restore democracy” and exercise their franchise.
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