CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 15 MARCH 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P9 SENSEX 37,754.89 +2.72 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with rain/thundershower. Lightning and gusty winds. Maxmin temp likely to be 33-24 deg cel, resp RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P2 NIFTY 11,343.25 +1.55 Min. 28% Max: 34.9°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:45 hrs MOON RISES 11.50 hrs Min: 26.0°C (+4) SUN SETS 17:46 hrs MOON SETS 00:38 hrs ` vs $ 69.34 +20 PAISE GOLD 30,855.00 -270.00 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Next moon quarter on 16 March THUMBNAILS President Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Shaurya Chakra to Captain Kaninder Paul Singh at the Defence Investiture Ceremony-I, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the Capital on Thursday. SNS Five killed in Mumbai overbridge collapse: Five persons were killed and 29 injured after a major portion of a foot overbridge near a train station in south Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening, officials said. The bridge connected the bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station with the Azad Maidan Police Station. All the injured P4 have been rushed to nearby hospitals. Shami charge sheeted: Kolkata Police on Thursday charge sheeted fast bowler Md Shami and his elder brother Md Hasif over charges of torture and molestation of his wife. The charge of rape against his brother could not be proved. The charge sheet against Shami was filed following witnesses account. Earlier, police summoned both Shami and his elder brother in connection with rape charge. AIr fares likely to go up: Air passengers face the grim prospect of high air fares and fewer flight choices as several airlines have cancelled operations for a number of reasons, including the grounding of the Boeing 737MAX aircraft. Industry insiders on Thursday pointed out that some sectors have shown a rise of more than 100 per cent in last minute bookings. WPI inflation up: Inflation based on wholesale prices inched up to 2.93 per cent in February over the previous month on account of firming up of prices of food items according to government data released on Thursday. The WPI-based inflation was 2.76 per cent in January this year and 2.74 per cent in February 2018. Earlier this week, the CPI data showed P8 that retail inflation rose to 2.57 per cent. TMC leader, Sonia aide join BJP: Trinamool Congress leader and four-time legislator from Bengal Arjun Singh on Thursday joined the BJP, giving a boost to the saffron party's prospects for Lok Sabha elections. Meanwhile, in an embarrassment to the Congress, Tom Vadakkan, once seen as a key aide of Sonia Gandhi, joined the BJP, saying he was “deeply hurt” over Congress' stand over Pulwama. NEW DELHI, 14 MARCH T Section 8(1)(a). The Centre objected to the admissibility of those documents annexed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie as also activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan in their review petition against the apex court's December 14 judgement dismissing all petitions against the Rafale jet deal. Bhushan said the Centre's objections were “mala fide and totally untenable arguments”. The bench said that “argument on the preliminary issue and the claim of privilege raised by the Government of India is reserved”. It noted further that according to the AG's submissions “there are three Rafale documents whose publication comes under Official Secrets Act, 1923. These documents were unauthorisedly published. You claim privilege under section 123 of Evidence Act. You want us to adjudicate and strike down the review on this basis”. After the submission of Venugopal, the bench asked US agrees to build 6 atomic power plants in India AGENCIES Bhushan, who was appearing for Sinha, Shourie and himself, that he has the right to reply in writing to the affidavit filed by the Centre on Wednesday. However, Bhusahn said he did not think that there was a need to reply in writing and submitted a note countering the preliminary objections raised by the centre on maintainability of the review petitions, stating that “preliminary objection are mala fide and totally untenable arguments”. He said government cannot claim privilege over the documents which are already published and is in public domain. He said that Section 123 Indian Evidence Act only protected “unpublished documents”. While the Centre was making submission that the documents can be withheld from disclosure under the RTI Act in view of the national security, the bench said Section 22 of the RTI Act gave it an overriding effect over the Official Secrets Act. The bench also said that under Section 24 of the RTI Act even security and intelligence establishments are not exempted from disclosing information in relation to corruption and human rights violations. “The RTI Act brought a revolution. In 2009, your own government said file notings can be made available under the RTI. Let us not go back now,” the bench said. Shourie submitted that he was thankful to the Centre and the Attorney General for saying in their affidavit that these are photocopies, proving the genuineness of these documents. Bhushan further said that provisions of the RTI Act say public interest outweighs other things and no privilege can be claimed except for documents which pertain to intelligence agencies. He also said that there is no government-to-government contract in purchasing Rafale jets as there is no sovereign guarantee extended to India by France in the Rs 58,000 crore deal. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ATTARI (PUNJAB), 14 MARCH India on Thursday sought visa-free access from Pakistan for 5,000 pilgrims per day to the historic Sikh shrine in Kartarpur. This was conveyed to the Pakistani delegation at a meeting here to discuss the opening of a planned corridor for pilgrims between Punjab's Gurdaspur district and Kartarpur Sahib across the border. From our side, we have pressed for at least 5,000 pilgrims per day to be allowed to visit the holy Sikh shrine in the initial phase, S C L Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, told reporters. This was the first meeting between an Indian and a Pakistani delegation since tensions between the two countries spiked after the terror attack in Pulwama, followed by retaliatory air strikes. Das said Delhi wanted access for both Indians and people of Indian origin to the shrine, located where Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak Dev spent the last years of his life. We have also strongly urged them to allow the visit of pilgrims for all seven days a week without any break, he said after the meeting. India emphasised that the corridor should be absolutely visa-free, Das said. There should not be any additional encumbrances in the form of any documentation or proce- since. A major aspect of the deal was the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries. Post-waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea. On Wednesday, the US reaffirmed its strong support to India's early membership in the 48-member the NSG. China has blocked India's pending membership to the elite grouping that seeks to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of global security and non-proliferation challenges. Even as China asserted on Thursday that the ‘Wuhan Spirit’ was still on, there is a sense of betrayal in New Delhi over Beijing’s decision to stand by its ‘all-weather friend’ Pakistan by blocking the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council. The bonhomie witnessed between India and China over the last one year after the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan April last year has clearly evaporated following the Chinese action. Amid the growing clamour in India for boycotting China after it used its veto power to block listing of Azhar as a global terrorist, New Delhi has expressed disappointment over Beijing’s move while reaffirming its determination to pursue all avenues to bring the JeM chief to justice for terror attacks in different parts of India. A number of reasons, including the significant role Pakistan plays in China’s ties with the Islamic world, and Beijing's anxiety over spillover effect of a ban on Azhar in China’s own restive Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region, could have played a role in Beijing deciding to yet again stonewall any action by the UNSC against the JeM chief, observers say. Despite its burgeoning trade relationship with India, China has never hidden the fact that it needed Pakistan more than any other country for achieving its geo-strategic goals in the region. Pakistan’s importance for China has increased manifold in recent years in view of the heavy economic and manpower investments it has made in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of President Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Sources said it was quite clear to New Delhi over the past few days that China was adopting double standards in the global fight against terrorism only to shield Pakistan. China, they said, could no longer take shelter under ‘lame excuses’ like India had not provided any ‘updated material’ on Azhar’s terrorist FB outage triggers moans and soul searching AGENCIES SAN FRANCISCO, 14 MARCH Facebook grappled on Thursday with a widespread outage, forcing millions of people to taste life without the world's largest social media platform. It was probably the last thing Facebook needed as it stumbles from problem to problem, including outrage over its use of customers' private data. The outage began Wednesday afternoon and triggered a flood of gripes on downdetector.com, which tracks trouble accessing online pages, and on rival Twitter. A Downdetector map late Wednesday showed Facebook service troubles persisting in parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. As of early Thursday the problem remained in parts of Europe and Asia, although moaning from America and else where kept coming. “You guys should look in the mirror at yourselves and hear how you sound,” a person with the handle Johanna wrote on Downdetector around 0745 GMT. “You make it sound as if it's the end of the world just because you can't be on Facebook. Lmfao. Get a real life instead of a digital one!?!?!?” Another whose handle is Palmina D'Allesandro mused that time without Mark Zuckerberg's baby might have been good for making the real, human kind. “Up and running here.....for now.....But I pre- dure, he added. India also wants Pakistan to allow devotees who want to travel on foot to the shrine across the border. A statement earlier said the first meeting between officials of India and Pakistan to discuss the modalities for opening the Kartarpur corridor was held in a “cordial environment”. The Indian delegation was led by S C L Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Pakistani team was headed by Mohammad Faisal, Director General (SA & SAARC) of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the statement said. “Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor,” the statement said. Technical experts from both sides discussed the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor. PTI adds from Islamabad: The first meeting on Kartarpur Corridor to finalise the modalities of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor, held in the shadow of escalating bilateral tensions, was “construcirve” and the discussions were held in a “cordial environment”, the Foreign Office said here. India and Pakistan last year agreed to open a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district. The meeting took place in Attari on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border, amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack by a suicide bomber of Pakistanbased Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14. Commenting on the meeting, the head of the Pakistani delegation and the Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Dr Mohammad Faisal said the deliberations were constructive. SEE ALSO INSIDE PAGE Delhi feels betrayed by China on Azhar; UNSC may be forced to take other actions, warn diplomats NEW DELHI, 14 MARCH The US has agreed to build six atomic power plants in India to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation and expressed its strong support to India's early membership in the NSG. The two countries said this in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US under secretary of state for arms control and international security, on Wednesday. “They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India,” the joint statement said, without giving details of the sites. India and the US signed a historic agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear energy sector in October 2008. The deal gave a fillip to bilateral ties, which have been on an upswing BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 68.00 +0.45 India seeks visa-free access for Kartarpur pilgrims ASHOK TUTEJA WASHINGTON, 14 MARCH P11 SILVER 38,200.00 -500.00 Rafale: SC to first decide on objections he Supreme Court on Thursday said it will first decide on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre that the documents on which it was claiming “privilege” cannot be relied upon to re-examine the verdict in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. “Only after we decide the preliminary objection raised by the Centre, we will go into other aspects of the review petitions,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said that “only if we overrule the preliminary objection, we will go into other details”. At the outset, Attorney General K K Venugopal, claimed privilege over documents pertaining to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and said those documents cannot be considered in evidence as per Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act. He contended that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned as those documents are also protected under the Official Secrets Act and there disclosure is exempted under the Right to Information Act as per MESSI IN THE THICK OF THINGS AS BARCELONA WIN P6 ‘Only after we decide the Centre’s objection, will go into other aspects’ Max.91% TEMPERATURE DAUNTING REALITY BJP SEEKS PROBE INTO MEHBOOBA’S ROLE AS CM US SENATE VOTES TO END SUPPORT FOR YEMEN WAR dict a baby boom in 9 months, Remember that day FB went down and people were forced to notice each other?”, this person wrote. Some media outlets branded the outage as the biggest in Facebook's history. The outage, of unknown origin, also affected Facebookowned Instagram, as well as Messenger, although Instagram later said it was back up. In some cases the apps could be accessed but would not load posts or handle missives. The California firm which has more than two billion users acknowledged the outage after users noted on Twitter they could not access Facebook or had limited functionality. “We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” a Facebook statement said on Twitter. A short time later, Facebook indicated the outage was not related to an attack aimed at over- CMYK whelming the network. “We're focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack,” Facebook said. Distributed denial of service cyber strikes involve hackers overwhelming websites with tidal waves of simultaneous requests, typically using armies of computers infected with malicious code. The social network said there was no update of the situation as evening arrived in California. Last November, a Facebook outage was attributed to a server problem. activities in India which could compel Beijing to reconsider its position on the JeM chief. Sources pointed out that India had submitted to China and other key nations ‘clinching and irrefutable’ evidence linking JeM to terror attacks in India, including the Pulwama attack. All other members of the UNSC, including those in the non-permanent category, solidly backed India’s effort to get the JeM chief banned but China put a spanner in their works yet again, they regretted. The US, meanwhile, said responsible UNSC members might be forced to resort to other actions at the Security Council if Beijing continued to block Masood’s designation. China’s veto against banning Azhar has once again highlighted the deeprooted suspicion and mistrust between India and China on strategic issues, particularly the fight against terrorism. Despite pledging to work with India in combating terror, China has done precious little to assuage India’s concerns over terrorism emanating from Pakistan. China has, in fact, praised Pakistan on many occasions for its role in the global war against terrorism. Beijing’s contention has been that Pakistan itself has been one of the main victims of terrorism and it must be supported in combating the menace. There is also a feeling in Chinese circles that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is the prime reason for terrorism in India. The argument being advanced by them is that while Kashmir is a disputed territory, Xinjiang is a province of China and, therefore, a comparison cannot be drawn between the two regions. Agencies add from Washington: Responsible member-states of the United Nations Security Council may be forced to take “other actions” if China continues to block moves to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, diplomats at the UN's principal organ have warned. SC appoints mediator for BCCI as ‘game must go on’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 14 MARCH “The game must go on”, the Supreme Court said on Thursday and appointed senior advocate P S Narasimha as mediator for resolving pending disputes related to cricket administration at the BCCI. A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and A M Sapre also restrained all other courts in India from entertaining or proceeding with any matter pertaining to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and state cricket associations till Narasimha submits his report in the court on the disputes. “P S Narasimha, the amicus curiae, is appointed to act as mediator in relation to any dispute raised in the applications before us,” the bench said. It said Narasimha, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the BCCI matter, will hear the parties on the issues raised by them and make recommendations to the court-appointed CoA.
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