Monday, June 19, 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.

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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.
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  • 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’.
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