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Tamil Nadu

ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

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Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed former civil servants Shailendra Handa and Madhu Mahajan as Special Expenditure Observers for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
 
While Handa has been deployed in Maharashtra, Mahajan will be in Tamil Nadu.  Both these officers have rich experience of working in Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department and have supervised many successful search and seizure actions unearthing tax evasion in complicated cases.
 
The Special Observers will supervise and monitor the work being done by the electoral machinery and ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-VIGIL and Voter Helpline 1950 against all persons/entities  trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor & freebies etc.  in order to vitiate the poll process, an official press release added.
 
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Tamil Nadu: Stalin son-in-law Sabareesan booked

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The city police on Thursday booked Sabareesan, son-in-law of DMK President M. K. Stalin, for allegedly spreading rumours about Deputy Speaker V. Jayaraman.
 
Jayaraman had lodged a complaint against Sabareesan for linking him and his family members to the Pollachi sexual absuse-cum-blackmail case.
 
Sabareesan has been charged for wantonly giving provocation for creation of riot, forgery for harming reputation, use of forged document as genuine one and for spreading rumours.
 
On his part, Stalin has sent a legal notice to Jayaraman demanding apology for making slanderous statement against him, the DMK said in a late night statement on Thursday.
 
Jayaraman has charged the DMK is defaming him and his family.
 
In the legal notice to Jayaraman, the DMK President said the former had made false allegations in the media that he, his family members and his party are behind the sexual abuse case and are attempting to protect some accused involved in the criminal act which are defamatory.
 
IANS
 

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Pollachi case goes to CBI, stir still spreads

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Although the Tamil Nadu government gave its nod for a CBI probe into the Pollachi sexual assault-cum-blackmail case, security was heightened and holidays declared in colleges here on Thursday with protests gaining momentum as more awful facts of the abuse come out.
 
All colleges were shut down in this town, 535 km from the state capital, by the authorities following student protest demanding action against the culprits -- Thirunavukkarasu, Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar, Satish -- now in custody.
 
Stringent security has been put in place ever since details of how scores of women from college teachers to students and even working professionals and others were sexually assaulted, harassed and blackmailed by the gang came to light.
 
Videos have also emerged that apparently show that the victims were lured to secluded spots and molested, filmed in the process, and blackmailed for money. 
 
On Wednesday, the Madras High Court even rapped the media for poor coverage of the huge crime that was being committed over days. 
 
Cricketer Ashwin Ravichandran, who has been following the case closely has lamented on the social media.
 
"There are so many pressing issues that need to be addressed in my state and my country. Every morning, I open Twitter and tell myself [justice can be delayed and not denied', 'change is inevitable etc' ," he tweeted on Wednesday. 
 
"All the above quotes are just to cheat my emotions and not say something that will land me in trouble with the concerned people. 
 
"I would like to reiterate and say 'change is inevitable' but remember we need to be the change and initiate it rather than sit back and complain about authorities or lack of justice. Now don't ask me what I am talking about and start guessing what it could be. Just get on with changing what you feel needs a change," he added.
 
On Thursday, the cricketer openly came out with his angst and said: "Protests in Pollachi?? Can anyone tell me what's happening there right now?? "
 
He even retweeted a few posts by others on the case.
 
The AIADMK government decided to hand the investigation to the CBI, soon after the probe was transferred to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) from the Coimbatore police, said an official.
 
The government's move came as the probe involves analysis of mobile phones, social media posts of the four accused and the affected women.
 
It was not even 24 hours that the CBCID had started its probe into the crime taking over from from the Coimbatore police.
 
The CBCID even formed a special team to start the probe as "the number of people involved in the crime was yet to be known", one of the investigators said.
 
Tamil Nadu Director General of Police T.K. Rajendran had ordered the transfer to the CBCID only on Tuesday.
 
The case made national headlines after the high court rap and huge protests by students, and women groups on social media.
 
IANS
 

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UPA will reserve 33% government jobs for women: Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the UPA will reserve 33 per cent government jobs for women and pass the Women's Reservation Bill giving 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha if it wins the Lok Sabha battle.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi interacting with students of the Stella Maris College for Women in Chennai on March 13, 2019.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi interacting with students of the Stella Maris College for Women in Chennai on March 13, 2019.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the UPA will reserve 33 per cent government jobs for women and pass the Women's Reservation Bill giving 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha if it wins the Lok Sabha battle.
 
Interacting with students of Stella Maris College for Women here, Gandhi also said that the UPA government would simplify the procedures in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and have a low single tax rate.
 
Wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, Gandhi faced a range of questions from the students about the Congress-led UPA's plans for economic growth, bringing peace in Jammu and Kashmir, on charges against his brother-in-law Robert Vadra, views about the Modi government and the reason for hugging Modi in Parliament.
 
To a question on the status of women in the country, he said the situation was better in south India than in north India. There was the cultural aspect, he said.
 
"There is still a lot needed to be done in Tamil Nadu," he quickly added.
 
He said that if the UPA formed a government, the Women's Reservation Bill would be passed and 33 per cent of jobs in central and state governments would be reserved for women.
 
The Congress leader said he had no hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
"Love is the foundation of every religion whether it is Hinduism, Islam or Christianity. I was watching the Prime Minister speech in Parliament where he was criticizing my father, grandmother, great grandfather and the Congress," he said.
 
"Inside me, I was feeling affection for him. He was so angry that he was not able to see the beauty of the world."
 
Gandhi said he felt that Modi didn't have the love he wanted. "I wanted to show affection and hugged him."
 
He said the UPA defeat in 2014 taught him several lessons.
 
"I learn from Modi. I don't hate him. Do you hate the person who teaches you?" Gandhi asked to students and got a big "No" as the answer.
 
"The biggest teachers are the people who attack you. The more you are attacked, the more you give love and affection back."
 
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On bringing peace back in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the first step was to build the bridge to the people there. It was built between 2004 and 2014 during the UPA government.
 
As a result, terror attacks came down drastically and power was given to the people by holding elections.
 
Pakistan will carry out terror attacks, he said. "But we have to engage with the people of Jammu and Kashmir."
 
He criticized the central government for facilitating businessmen like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and others to leave the country after defrauding the banks.
 
"The money deposited in the banks by people during demonetization was given to these businessmen," he said.
 
When a student queried why he did not mention the name of Robert Vadra along with these businessmen, Gandhi said: "The government has the right to investigate. The law must not be applied selectively. I am the first person to say investigate Mr. Vadra."
 
He asked the students how many times they had seen Modi taking any question. 
 
According to him, the current central government was North India-centric and he believed that all parts of India should have an equal say.
 
Gandhi said the world was moving from being US centric to US-China-Russia centric and India should not lean right or left but should stand straight.
 
The Congress President said that the biggest hindrance for economic growth was crony capitalism and corruption.
 
On the education system, Gandhi said there should be space for the government and everything cannot be left in the hands of the private sector.
 
There were lighter moments during the interaction with Gandhi asking the students to address him as Rahul and not as Sir -- which was applauded by the students.
 
Gandhi maintained that he was still a young politician.
 
IANS
 

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ED attaches properties worth Rs. 31 crore in bank fraud case related to Zylog Systems

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today said it had attached immovable and movable properties totaling Rs. 31 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in a bank fraud case relating to Zylog Systems Limited in Chennai.
 
The properties consist of one building, five flats and a fixed deposit of Rs. 1 crore, a press release from the ED said.
 
The release said ED initiated investigation under the provisions of PMLA on the basis of a first information report (FIR) filed by CBI, CBI, BS & FC, Bangalore against Zylog Systems Ltd., Sudarshan Venkatraman, the then Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the commpany, Ramanujam Sesharathnam, its then Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer and others.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR was based on a compliant received from Dena Bank, T. Nagar Branch, Chennai, complaining that these persons floated fictitious shell companies named Woodbridge Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Effica Systems Pvt. Ltd. and Aditicon Services (P) Ltd. etc., and that they made the employees of Zylog Systems as directors of the said companies; that fictitious invoices towards purchase of software/hardware were created in the name of these companies and were used to avail the loan of Rs.100 crore from Dena Bank and the same was defaulted in repayment.
 
According to the ED, investigations under the provisions of PMLA revealed that the said firms had also defaulted bank loans availed from Andhra Bank and Union Bank of India, Chennai collectively to the tune of Rs.110 crore.
 
"Investigations under PMLA so far have resulted into identification of one building, 5 flats and fixed deposit of Rs. 1 crore involved in money laundering. The said immovable and movable properties valued at around Rs. 31 crore have been attached attached under PMLA.
 
"Further investigations to identify the proceeds of crime are in progress," the release added.
 
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Modi to visit Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Kancheepuram in TN on Wednesday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kalaburagi in Karnataka and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu tomorrow and launch a slew of development projects in the two states.
 
 At Kalaburagi, Modi will launch development projects in various sectors like Energy, Health and Education, an official press release said.
 
He will dedicate the ESIC Hospital and Medical College, Bengaluru to the nation.  He will also dedicate the Super Specialty Block of KIMS, Hubballi. 
 
Modi will lay the foundation stone of the Resitement of BPCL Depot Raichur to Kalaburagi. He will also dedicate the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Terminal at Bengaluru to the nation.
 
He will also dedicate the ‘Women’s Hostel for Students from North Eastern Region at Bangalore University. He will also interact with the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat at Kalaburagi.
 
At Kancheepuram, the Prime Minister will unveil multiple projects in roadways, railways and energy sector. 
 
He will lay the foundation stone for the four-laning of the Vikravandi- Sethiyathopu section, the Sethiyathopu-Cholopuram section and the Cholopuram-Thanjavur section of National Highway (NH)-45C. He will also lay the foundation stone for six-laning of Karaipettai-Walajapet section of NH-4.
 
For strengthening of NH-234, PM will lay the foundation stone for the widening and strengthening of carriage ways and culverts. He will also dedicate the four-laning and strengthening of carriageway of Avinashi-Tirupur-Avinashipalayam section of NH-381 to the nation.
 
Modi will dedicate the electrification of the Erode-Karur-Tiruchchirapalli and Salem-Karur-Dindigul railway lines to the nation.
 
He will also  dedicate the Ennore LNG Terminal to the nation. The terminal, with a capacity of 5 MMTPA, will help in meeting the LNG gas demand in Tamil Nadu and neighboring states, the release said.
 
Modi will unveil the statue of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran at the Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women, Chennai through a video link.
 
Dr. MG Ramachandran was an actor, and politician who served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for ten years between 1977 and 1987. He was conferred with Bharat Ratna.
 
He will also interact with the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat at Kancheepuram, the release added.
 
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India committed to peace but will use might to protect sovereignty: Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind at the Presentation of Colours to Air Force Station, Hakimpet and 5 Base Repair Depot, at the Air Force Station, Sulur, in Tamil Nadu on March 4, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind at the Presentation of Colours to Air Force Station, Hakimpet and 5 Base Repair Depot, at the Air Force Station, Sulur, in Tamil Nadu on March 4, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind today said India remained firmly committed to peace but, “if the need arises, we will use all our might to protect the nation’s sovereignty.”
 
Presenting Colours to Air Force Station, Hakimpet and 5 Base Repair Depot at the Air Force Station at Sulur, the President said India’s growing stature in the comity of nations was consistent with the strength and capabilities of its armed forces. 
 
“Our Armed Forces, exemplified by our air warriors reflect our firm resolve to defend our nation. Their valour and professionalism were on display very recently, as the Indian Air Force carried out pre-emptive strikes on a known terrorist camp,” he added.
 
Besides safeguarding the sovereign skies of the nation, the Indian Air Force has also been at the forefront of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations. “The resilience and tenacity displayed by our valiant air warriors is a great source of pride for the nation,” he added.
 
Referring to Air Force Station Hakimpet and 5 Base Repair Depot, he said both these stations with a rich history of professional excellence, have served the nation with honour and distinction in peace and during hostilities. 
 
“The nation honours them today with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for their selfless devotion, professionalism and courage in the face of adversity,” he added.
 
“Keeping our aircraft airworthy is a crucial task. In this regard, 5 Base Repair Depot has been repairing and overhauling the Kiran, Avro and Dornier aircraft, many of which are maintained airworthy even after 30 years,” Mr Kovind said.  
 
Numerous unique indigenisation measures adopted by this Base Repair Depot to promote self-reliance have effectively contributed towards enhancing the organisational potential. 5 Base Repair Depot has truly epitomised its motto ‘Kaya Kalpa’ with continuous rejuvenation through the infusion of new ideas, innovations and technological developments. 
 
The Base Repair Depot’s efforts to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment for achieving substantive self-reliance under the ‘Make in India’ initiative are praiseworthy, he added.
 
Air Force Station Hakimpet has served the nation with distinction. The station has been imparting quality training to pilots of the Indian Air Force. The strong foundation gained by the pilots facilitated their successful further graduation to higher performance aircraft, he said.
 
During the wars of 1965 and 1971, the flying instructors and technical personnel of the station joined the operational unit and served with remarkable courage and professionalism, he said.
 
“It is also to the credit of Air Force Station Hakimpet for having commenced flying training for women pilots in helicopter stream in 1995 and on fighter stream in 2016. The station personnel have also been involved in various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations” he added.
 
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Modi says India no longer helpless against terror, will hit back with interest

 
India no longer helpless in wake of terror, says Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India had been facing the menace of terrorism for years but the big difference between the past and now was that the country was no longer helpless in the wake of terror and would strike back "with interest".
 
"From 2004 to 2014 there were several terror attacks. There were blasts in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and other places. The nation expected those responsible for these acts of terror to be punished but nothing happened. 26/11 happened, India expected action against terrorists but nothing happened," he said at a public meeting here after launching a slew of development projects in Tamil Nadu.
 
"But, when Uri happened you saw what our brave soldiers did. Pulwama happened and you saw what our brave air warriors did," he said, referring to the "surgical strike" carried out by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC) in September 2016 and the air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force on February 26 this year on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp for terrorists in Pakistan.
 
"I salute all those who are serving the nation. Their vigilance keeps our nation secure.
 
"There was a time when the news reports would read- Air Force wanted to do surgical strike after 26/11 but UPA blocked it. And today, we are in an era where the news reads- Armed forces have full freedom to do what they want. Influence of terrorists and terrorism has been curtailed and it is going to be curtailed even more. This is a New India. This is an India that will return the damage done by terrorists with interest," he said.
 
Modi said the events of the past few days had demonstrated yet again the strength of the country's Armed Forces and brought the nation closer.
 
"The way the nation has supported our armed forces is extra-ordinary and I bow to every Indian for that," he said.
 
The Prime Minister also hit out at Opposition parties which had accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of politicising the action taken by the Armed Forces.
 
"Sadly, a few political parties, guided by Modi hatred have started hating India. No wonder, while the entire nation supports our armed forces, they suspect the armed forces," he said.
 
"The world is supporting India’s fight against terror but a few parties suspect our fight against terror. These are the same people whose statements are helping Pakistan and harming India. They are the same people whose statements are being happily quoted in the Parliament of Pakistan and in the radio of Pakistan.
 
"I want to ask them -- do you support our armed forces or suspect them? They should clarify -- Do they believe our armed forces or they believe those forces who support terrorism on our soil?
 
"I want to tell these parties- Modi will come and go, India will remain. Please stop weakening India to strengthen your own politics.
 
"In matters of defence and national security, we are Indians first and Indians only. Your politics can wait, it is the safety of our nation that is at stake," he said.
 
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Modi also spoke about corruption and black money and said the NDA government had taken historic steps against such evils.
 
"Fake companies have been shut, fake beneficiaries removed. The corrupt now have to answer for their misdeeds. The famous re-counting minister, who took pride in treating people badly, insulting the middle class, he has to now apply for a family pack for bail just like his party’s First Family," he said.
 
He also listed steps taken by his government to reward honest tax-payers.
 
"For many years, the Congress promoted an economic culture that benefitted only the friends and family members of big dynasties. The common man had no incentive or ability to economically prosper. If there was someone who spoke out against the economic culture of the Congress it was the son of Tamil Nadu, C. Rajagopalachari. Today we are fulfilling the dreams of Rajaji by creating an economy that is reform oriented and people-friendly," he said.
 
He also paid homage to late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and said her good work for the state would be remembered for generations.
 
"I am proud that India's first woman Defence Minister Nirmala (Sitharaman) is from Tamil Nadu. Every Indian is proud that the brave Wing Commander Abhinandan belongs to Tamil Nadu," he said, referring to the Indian Air Force pilot who was released by Pakistan today after being held in captivity for two days.
 
Modi went on to list the steps taken by his government on the economic front, especially in the area of infrastructure, healthcare and so on.
 
"The 2019 Lok Sabha elections have two distinct sides. Our side offers strength and stability. The other side offers weakness and vulnerability. Our leadership and work culture is known across India. The other side is a confused.
 
"They have no name to offer as the nation’s next leader. No aim or vision for India’s growth. And no shame that prevents them from doing record corruption.
 
"India remembers 2009, and how the DMK and Congress allotted portfolios after the elections. Ministers were being picked not by the Prime Minister but by those who had nothing to do with public service. There was telephone bargaining for minister posts.
 
"The Maha Milaawat or adulteration government will remain hostage to individual egos and dynastic ambitions. My only family is 130 crore Indians. I will live for them, I will die for them. I am not in public life to further a dynasty. I am here to do whatever I can for the growth of India.
 
"I seek your support and blessings to create an India where the dreams of the poorest of the poor are fulfilled," he added.
 
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Modi to visit Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on Friday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on Friday and unveil a series of development projects in the state.
 
These projects will play a vital role in enhancing rail and road connectivity throughout Tamil Nadu, an official press release said.
 
According to it, Modi will launch various railways projects at Kanyakumari, which include flagging-off of the Tejas Express between Madurai and Chennai, which will provide direct and faster connectivity between the two cities.
 
This will be the second Tejas Express service, the first being the one introduced between between Mumbai and Karmali.
 
He will lay the foundation stone for the restoration of rail connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, which are major pilgrimage and tourist destinations in the state.
 
Dhanushkodi railway station was destroyed during the 1964 Rameshwaram cyclone and has been lying abandoned since. Restoration of the rail connectivity in the region will be a huge boost to the tourism sector and will benefit thousands of pilgrims visiting the area, the release said.
 
Modi will also lay the foundation stone for the restoration of Pamban Bridge across the Pamban viaduct. The bridge provides rail link between the mainland and the island of Rameswaram.
 
The present bridge is 104 years old. The new bridge will replace the old one and will be built parallel to the present rail bridge. The bridge will enhance the tourism potential of Rameshwaram region.
 
The Prime Minister will also launch various road transport projects at Kanyakumari, through the unveiling of plaque.
 
He will dedicate to the nation the 2/4 laning of the Madurai- Ramanathapuram section of National Highway (NH)-87. He will also lay the foundation stone for four-laning of the Madurai-Chettikulam section of NH-785.
 
Modi will also address the gathering at Kanyakumari, the release added.
 
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176 cars burnt in massive fire in parking lot in Chennai

As many as 176 cars were burnt in a massive fire in a parking lot at Porur near here on Sunday afternoon, official sources said, a day after more than 300 cars were damaged in a similar blaze in a parking area outside the venue of the Aero India 2019 air show in Bengaluru on Saturday.
 
Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Service officials told NetIndian that no one was injured in the fire that was put out within an hour. They said fire brigade personnel were able to save 32 hours from the flames.
 
The fire broke out around 2 pm in a yard, located near the Sri Ramachandra Medical College, that was being used by a defunct radio taxi company, sources said.
 
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained, but the dry grass in the yard and winds helped the flames to spread quickly, they said. Plumes of smoke billowing from the fire could be seen from long distances in different parts of the city.
 
The officials said two fire tenders were sent from nearby fire stations immediately after the report of the fire was received and reinforcements reached the scene soon after.
 
The cars were lying unused in the parking lot for more than six months, people in the area told officials.
 
Today's appeared to eerily similar to yesterday's blaze in Bengaluru, which took place in a parking lot across the road from the Yelahanka Air Base, the main venue of the air show.
 
As many as 15 fire tenders fought the flames and brought them under control in about two hours.
 
The fire brigade personnel prevented the spread of the fire by moving adjacent cars away from the flames. No one was reported injured in that incident, too. Officials said it was likely a dry grass fire that was aided by strong winds.
 
The Indian Air Force has ordered a Court of Inquiry to investigate the cause of fire.
 
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the site of the fire in Bengaluru today and was briefed by officials.
 
She enquired about the steps being taken to facilitate the insurance claims by the owners of the vehicles. She directed officials to ensure that RTO helpdesk has representatives from Insurance companies to facilitate the insurance claims by people. 
 
Later, Sitharaman was due to meet Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and senior officials.
 
At the time of the incident, more than 3000 vehicles were parked in the parking area. Vehicles in the line of fire were removed from the area by breaking the glass windows and releasing the parking brakes as drivers were not present and these cars were pushed to safety. This action also created a gap between the parked vehicles and stopped further spread of the fire. 
 
In total 278 cars were fully damaged in the Bengaluru incident and 73 cars partially damaged (16 due to fire and 57 due to breaking of glass). 
 
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Kovind unveils Mahatma Gandhi statue at Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Chennai

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President Ram Nath Kovind unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha here today.
 
Delivering a speech in three languages -- Tamil, English and Hindi -- on the occasion, Kovind said it was a matter of immense happiness that the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, founded by Mahatma Gandhi, has completed 100 years. 
 
It has worked for the promotion of Hindi in our southern states. By putting up a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the Sabha has paid respects to the Father of the Nation in his 150th year.
 
The President said learning the language of another region or another state can be very educative. It can open a window to a culture that is at once familiar and new. In Delhi, he had observed cases of north Indian school-children learning Tamil. 
 
Twinning programmes between different states are popularising the language of one region in another. Such steps reinforce national harmony, he added.
 
Kovind said during the freedom movement, the poetry of Subramania Bharati inspired not just people in Tamil Nadu but all over the country. In the same manner, the liberating ideas of Periyar– one of our foremost advocates of human dignity – were not limited by language or geography. 
 
Two of his predecessors in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General and President R Venkataraman, were multilingual intellectuals from Tamil Nadu whose contributions and ideas went beyond any one language or region.
 
“We live in an age when a growing Indian economy is leading to significant internal migration. Young men and women from one part of the country are studying or working and adding value to another part of the country. In such cases, knowing the language of the state or region one is located in can only be an asset. It adds value to an individual’s CV – and it adds value to India,” he added.
 
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Cabinet approves allotment of 30 acres to Pasteur Institute of India at Coonoor

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal for allotment of land measuring 30 acres to Pasteur Institute of India (PII) for the establishment of a new Viral Vaccine Manufacturing Unit at Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
 
The project entails production of viral vaccines like TCA anti-Measles Vaccine and JE Vaccine and Anti Sera like Anti Snake Venom and Anti Rabies Sera. Land for the project will be transferred free of cost, an official press release said.
 
Land use for the project will also be got changed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from ‘Industrial’ to ‘Institutional’, it said.
 
"The allotment of land will encourage the production of life-saving vaccines for children, to strengthen the vaccine security of the country, and would reduce the cost, besides providing import substitution as presently these are being imported," the release added.
 
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Modi to visit Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on Sunday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu and Hubbali in Karnataka tomorrow when he will  unveil several development projects in these States.
 
Modi's first step will be in Guntur, where he will unveil various projects at Yetukar Bypass, an official press release said.
 
He will dedicate to the nation the 1.33 MMT Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) facility of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Limited (ISPRL). He will also inaugurate ONGC’s Vashishta and S1 development project located in the  Krishna-Godavari (KG) Offshore Basin in Andhra Pradesh.
 
He will lay the foundation stone for a new terminal of Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) at Krishnapatnam.
 
The projects will give major push to the gas-based industrial units in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states, an official press release said.
 
In Tiruppur, Modi will, among other projects, lay the foundation stone of the 100-bed ESIC Hospital. He will lay the foundation stone for a new integrated building at Tiruchirapalli airport and for the modernization of Chennai airport.
 
He will also dedicate to the nation the 470-bed ESIC Hospital Chennai and BPCL's Ennore Coastal Terminal.
 
Modi will also inaugurate a crude oil pipeline from Chennai Port to Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited’s (CPCL) Manali Refinery. 
 
Passenger service for the 10 km section of Chennai Metro from AG-DMS station to Washermenpet, which is a part of Phase 1 of the project.
 
At Gabbur in Hubbali, on the last leg of his visit, Modi will lay the foundation stone of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Dharwad and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Dharwad.
 
He will also dedicate to the nation the City Gas Distribution Project at Dharwad and the 1.5 MMT Mangalore Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) facility and 2.5 MMT Padur SPR facility of ISPRL.
 
Doubling of 18 km long railway line on the Chikjajur-Mayakonda section is another highlight. This section is a part of 190 km long Hubbali – Chikjajur Doubling project and is located on Bengaluru – Hubballi route of South Western Railway. Doubling will increase line capacity of this important route connecting Bengaluru to Hubballi, Belagavi, Goa, Pune and Mumbai, resulting in faster movement of trains, the release said.
 
Modi will also launch electrification work of the 346-km-long Hospet-Hubbali-Vasco da Gama line and witness the "E-Griha Pravesh" of 2,384 houses constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) at Dharwad, the release added.
 
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K. S. Alagiri appointed as new president of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee

K S Alagiri
K S Alagiri
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has recast the Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee and appointed former MP and MLA K. S. Alagiri as its new president in place of Su. Thirunavukkarasar.
 
He has also appointed four Working Presidents: H. Vasantha Kumar, K. Jayakumar, M. K. Vishnu Prasad and Mayura Jayakumar.
 
"The party appreciates the contribution of outgoing TNCC President Shri Thirunavukkarasar," a press release issued by All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary K. C. Venugopal said.
 
Alagiri, 66, had served two terms as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from 1991 to 2001 before being elected to the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009 from Cuddalore.
 
He was considered a loyalist of late Congress leader G. K. Moopanar and had joined the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) launched by him in 1996. But when Moopanar's son G. K. Vasan relaunched the party, he switched loyalties to former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
 
Vasantha Kumar is the younger brother of former TNCC president Kumari Anandan and a sitting MLA.
 
K. Jayakumar, a Dalit leader, is a former MLA who was elected from Namakkal in 2001 and 2006.
 
Vishnu Prasad, a former MLA, is the son of former TNCC president M. Krishnaswamy. Mayura Jayakumar is from Coimbatore.
 
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TN seeks withdrawal of permission given to Karnataka for Mekedatu project DPR

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswamy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately direct the Ministry of Water Resources to instruct the Central Water Commission to withdraw the permission given to the Government of Karnataka for preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Mekedatu project and also outrightly reject and return the DPR for this project.
 
In a memorandum presented to Mr. Modi during his visit to Tamil Nadu yesterday, Mr. Palaniswamy also requested him to direct the Government of Karnataka not to take up any construction activities in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka without the prior consent of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
 
The Chief Minister recalled that the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal dated 5.2.2007 was published in the Gazette of India on 19.2.2013. The Supreme Court on 16.2.2018 delivered the judgment on the Civil Appeals filed by the Party States upholding the decisions of the Tribunal with slight modifications.
 
The memorandum said that, as per the orders of the Supreme Court dated May 18, 2018, the Government of India had notified the Cauvery Management Scheme, 2018 in the Gazette of India on 1.6.2018 to give effect to the decision of the Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court.
 
It said the Supreme Court, in its judgement, had affirmed that the “upper riparian State shall not take any action so as to affect the scheduled deliveries of water to the lower riparian States.”
 
"However, the Government of Karnataka, much to the consternation of the people of Tamil Nadu has planned to construct a reservoir, with a capacity of 67.16 TMC ft. at Mekedatu across Cauvery River and approached the Central Water Commission for preparation of a Detailed Project Report for the Mekedatu project. I am constrained to point out that the Central Water Commission has given permission to the Government of Karnataka to go ahead with the preparation of a Detailed Project Report in blatant violation of the judgment of the Hon?ble Supreme Court.
 
"I have already detailed these facts in my letter dated 27.11.2018 to you and requested you to instruct the Central Water Commission to forthwith withdraw the permission given by it to Karnataka.
 
"The action of Karnataka in proposing a reservoir and that of Central Water Commission in giving permission for preparation of a Detailed Project Report have caused deep anguish and apprehension in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu will be denied its due share of water, which has been given to us by the Supreme Court after a protracted legal battle.
 
"Therefore, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has resolved on 6.12.2018 condemning and opposing the action of the Government of Karnataka, and the Central Water Commission for having given permission to Karnataka on 22.11.2018 to prepare a Detailed Project Report for construction of a reservoir at Mekedatu. Further, the Legislative Assembly has urged that the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India should immediately order the Central Water Commission to withdraw the permission given to Karnataka for preparing the Detailed Project Report," he said.
 
"In addition, the Legislative Assembly has also requested the Government of India to direct the Government of Karnataka  or its Agencies not to take up any construction work at Mekedatu or at any other place in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka State, without the consent of the State of Tamil Nadu, in violation of the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the judgment of the Supreme Court. The resolution of the Legislative Assembly was sent to you by me on 6.12.2018 for immediate action.
 
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"The Government of Karnataka on 21.1.2019 has informed the Supreme Court that it has sent the Detailed Project Report for the Mekedatu Project to the Central Water Commission for according further clearances.
 
"This unilateral action of Karnataka is highly objectionable and is a gross violation of the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the judgement of the Supreme Court.  I have written to you on 25.1.2019 requesting to reject and return the Detailed Project Report of Karnataka for the Mekedatu Project," the memorandum added.
 
Mr. Palaniswami also urged the Centre to withdraw the permission granted to Kerala for conducting study for construction of a new Mullai Periyar Dam.
 
He recalled that the Supreme Court in its decree dated 7.5.2014 in O.S.No.3 of 2006 had held that the Mullai Periyar Dam is structurally, hydrologically and seismically safe. The Court has also held that, for the construction of a new dam, there has to to be agreement of both the States.
 
"The Government of Kerala in violation of the decreed order of the Supreme Court, unilaterally approached the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects for baseline data collection for preparation of EIA/EMP Report and the Committee gave its recommendations to the Government of Kerala for the grant of Terms of Reference for conducting a study.
 
"I brought the above fact to your notice on 24.10.2018 and sought your intervention and requested you to direct the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to forthwith withdraw the recommendations to grant ToR for Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the construction of New Dam by Kerala at Mullai Periyar. I further requested you to advise the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and its Agencies to desist from entertaining and considering any proposal of the Government of Kerala on New Mullai Periyar Dam in future and also to negate the proposals which are in violation of the orders of the Supreme Court.
 
"However, the Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in November, 2018 has accorded Terms of Reference for pre-construction activities for preparation of EIA/EMP Report to Kerala in violation of the decree of the Supreme Court dated 7.5.2014.
 
"I request you to instruct the concerned authorities to forthwith withdraw the Terms of Reference granted to the Government of Kerala for undertaking preconstruction activities for preparation of EIA/EMP Report for construction of a New Mullai Periyar Dam," he said.
 
The memorandum also urged Mr. Modi to instruct the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to advise Kerala not to deny the required clearances and direct it to accord the clearances to enable the Government of Tamil Nadu to carry out various works and to restore the water level in the dam to FRL 152 ft.
 
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Govt. to launch centres on Solar Energy & Water Treatment at IIT Madras in Chennai

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Union Minister for Science & Technology Harsh Vardhan will launch three centres set up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras here tomorrow.
 
These include the DST –IITM Solar Energy Harnessing Centre which will focus on a wide range of research and technology development activities such as silicon solar cells that promise high efficiency and are suited for Indian conditions. 
 
The network of researchers engaged in the centre comprise scientists from IIT Madras, IIT Guwahati, Anna University, ICT-Mumbai, BHEL and KGDS, which will be further expanded. 
 
The objective is to create a platform that can be extended readily to strengthen the knowledge eco-system, an official press release said.
 
"The centre is likely to be true change agent in the energy landscape of India. The consortium will be duly poised to address the sustainability requirements in the spirit of ‘Make in India’," it said.
 
The second is the DST-IITM Water –IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER (DST- IITM Water Innovation Centre for Sustainable Treatment, Reuse and Management for Efficient, Affordable and Synergistic Solutions) which has been established with an aim to undertake synchronized research and training programs on various issues related to wastewater management, water treatment, sensor development, storm water management and distribution and collection systems. 
 
This multi-institutional Virtual Centre will be looking into a sustainable approach for water resources protection and augmentation through wastewater treatment and reuse and storm water management. 
 
"The Centre will provide a unique opportunity for the various groups in different premier organizations working in the area of wastewater management, water treatment, sensor development and storm water management to collaborate and work in synergized manner to ensure adequate, safe, reliable and sustainable sources of drinking water for rural and urban India and process water for highly polluting and water intensive industries, through research, technology development and capacity building," the release said.
 
The third centre would be the test bed on Solar thermal desalination solutions which is being established by IIT Madras and Empereal KGDS as solution provider in Naripaaiyur, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu with the aim to deliver customized technological solutions to address prevalent water challenges in the arid coastal village located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. 
 
The development would provide customized technological water solution to provide potable water to coastal areas using solar energy, the release added.
 
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EC rescinds Thiruvarur bye-election

 
The Election Commission (EC) has rescinded its January 3 notification announcing the bye-election in Tamil Nadu's Thiruvarur Assembly constituency.
 
In a communication to the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, the EC on Sunday said the notification calling upon Thiruvarur to elect a member of the legislative assembly shall stand rescinded forthwith.
 
The EC had earlier announced that the bye-election would be held on January 28.
 
The seat fell vacant following the death of DMK President M.Karunanidhi last August.
 
According to the poll body, all actions taken by the Returning Officer and others of Thiruvarur Assembly constituency have been declared as null and void.
 
All the major political parties in the state had demanded postponement of the bye-election as it would impact the Gaja cyclone relief work in the constituency.
 
Welcoming the EC's action, BJP's Tamil Nadu President Tamilisai Soundararajan in a statement said the need of the hour in Thiruvarur is relief and not election.
 
Taking a dig at the DMK, AMMK and others who had announced their candidates for the by-election, Soundararajan said the parties that did not show alacrity in carrying out the relief work showed alacrity in announcing their candidates.
 
Soundararajan criticised the CPI for filing a petition with the EC against holding of the by-election in the Supreme Court while extending its support to the DMK candidate at the local level.
 
IANS
 

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Bye-elections on January 28 to fill vacancy each in Haryana, TN legislative assemblies

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The Election Commission today said it would conduct bye-elections on January 28 to fill vacancies from Jind the Haryana Legislative Assembly and Thiruvarur in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
 
An official press release said the notification for the bye-elections would be issued on January3 and the last date for filing nominations will be January  10.
 
Nominations will be scrutinised on January 11 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures will be January 14. Counting of votes will be taken up on January 31, the release said.
 
 The Model Code of Conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly Constituency going for bye-election is included.
 
The Model Code of Conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the State Government concerned. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the district of the State concerned, the release added.
 
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TN man arrested for raping British national in Goa

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A 30-year-old man from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu has been arrested for allegedly raping a middle-aged British woman and robbing her belongings early on Thursday near the beach village of Palolem, police said.
 
Superintendent of Police (South Goa) Arvind Gawas said that CCTV footage near the scene of the offence and at the local railway station helped police track down the accused at the Margao railway station, located 35 km from Canacona village.
 
"The accused has been identified as Ramachandran, 30, and is from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. We arrested him as he was trying to flee from the Margao police station," Gawas said.
 
The accused allegedly raped the British national around 4.30 a.m. when she was returning from the Canacona railway station to her guest house near Palolem beach after missing a train. Police have booked the accused for rape as well as robbery.
 
Police said that the accused first tried to rob her and chased her into nearby fields and then raped her, before fleeing with her bags which contained Rs 20,000 in cash. The victim is a regular visitor to Goa for the last 10 years.
 
Goa is a popular tourism destination attracting more than seven million tourists every year, half a million being foreign nationals. 
 
Over the last decade, crimes against foreigners, especially women, has been a cause for concern in Goa, especially after the sexual assault and subsequent death of a British teenager Scarlett Keeling in 2018.
 
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SpiceJet announces six new daily flights from Chennai

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has announced the launch of six new direct flights connecting Chennai with key pilgrim centres like Varanasi and Shirdi besides tourist spots like Port Blair and Bagdogra. 
 
All the flights are scheduled to commence from January 10, 2019  except the one on Chennai-Bagdogra route which will start operations from February 11, 2019, a press release from the airline said last week.
 
The daily direct flights introduced by the airline will operate on the Chennai-Varanasi, Chennai-Shirdi and Chennai-Bagdogra routes.
 
To cater to the surge in seasonal demand, the airline has also introduced an additional frequency on the Chennai-Port Blair (2nd frequency) route which will be operational from January 10 to February 10, 2019.
 
The airline will deploy its Boeing 737 – 800 aircraft on all these routes, the release said.
 
Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales & Revenue Officer, SpiceJet, said, “We are happy to announce our new flights from Chennai to key religious and tourists destinations like Varanasi, Shirdi, Bagdogra and Port Blair. With these new flights we aim to enhance customer convenience and thereby give a boost to both leisure and business travel prospects from Chennai.”
 
With the new flights, passengers from Varanasi, Shirdi, Bagdogra and Port Blair can now easily travel to a host of other cities both on SpiceJet’s domestic as well as international network via multiple onward connections from Chennai.
 
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Stalin proposes Rahul as PM candidate to defeat 'fascist' Modi

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Putting an end to lingering speculation, DMK President M. K. Stalin on Sunday proposed the name of Congress President Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister and said he had the strength to defeat the "fascist" Narendra Modi.
 
He made the announcement at a public rally here in the presence of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Chief Ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) and V. Narayanasamy (Puducherry) and leaders of several other parties.
 
"I propose, we will install a new Prime Minister in Delhi. I propose the candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Tamil Nadu," Stalin said.
 
He said Rahul Gandhi had the capability to defeat the "fascist" Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "We will strengthen Rahul Gandhi's hands."
 
The public meeting was held after Sonia Gandhi unveiled former Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi's bronze statute installed at the DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam in Chennai.
 
Stalin said it was Karunanidhi who first welcomed late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to provide a stable government and then urged Sonia Gandhi to lead the nation in 2004 and added that he was following his leader's steps in proposing Rahul Gandhi to lead the nation.
 
"Twenty-one political parties have come together against Modi and more parties will join," Stalin said.
 
Coming down heavily on Modi, the DMK leader said: "Modi is a sadist Prime Minister. He is implementing all the schemes opposed by Tamil Nadu."
 
Stalin said when the Gaja cyclone killed about 65 persons and left a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu, Modi remained silent.
 
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On the other hand, Modi tweeted if there was a forest fire in the US and a terror attack somewhere else, he said.
 
According to Stalin, under the Modi government, India's economy, social justice, federal structure and various institutions have been destroyed.
 
"India has gone back by 15 years during the first five years of Modi rule. The country will go back by 50 years if he gets another term," Stalin said.
 
Modi considered himself as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income Tax Department (IT) and even the Supreme Court.
 
Addressing the rally, Rahul Gandhi showered praise on Karunanidhi and said: "Karunanidhi was not an ordinary politician. He was the voice of Tamil people. Whether it was people's pain or their joy, Karunanidhi treated both as his own.
 
"While Karunandihi defended the voice of people and the institutions, the central government attacks the voice of Tamil Nadu and the institutions," he said.
 
Gandhi said the Modi government believed that only one idea should run India.
 
"We are not going to allow the destruction of the idea of India. We are not going to allow the destruction of institutions like the Supreme Court, Election Commission, Reserve Bank of India and others. And we are going to do this together."
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Naidu accused the central government of misusing various institutions said the next danger the country faced was the tampering of electronic voting machines (EVM).
 
Naidu said the BJP government had belied the people's faith when they voted for it in 2014.
 
Sonia Gandhi described Karunanidhi as a social reformer and said he relentlessly fought for federalism.
 
She said Karunanidhi brought in laws that enabled non-Brahmins to become temple priests in the state and reserved jobs for women.
 
"A secularist and rationalist, Karunanidhi respected other religions," she said.
 
She said the Congress would always remember Karunanidhi's support to Indira Gandhi in the abolition of privy purse and nationalisation of banks.
 
"He was a great support and strength for the UPA government in 2004-14."
 
Sonia Gandhi said the mutual support between the DMK and Congress that existed when Karunanidhi was alive would continue "to protect the India that we have known".
 
The Chief Ministers of Kerala and Puducherry praised Karunanidhi on the occasion.
 
IANS
 

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Sonia Gandhi unveils Karunanidhi's statue at DMK party office

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The Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and former President of the Congress party Sonia Gandhi on Sunday unveiled the bronze statue of late DMK President M. Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu.
 
Sonia Gandhi was received by DMK President M. K. Stalin at the party headquarters.
 
She unveiled former Chief Minister Karunanidhi's statute installed at the DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam here in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, leaders of DMK and several other parties, movie actors and industrialists.
 
Actor-turned-politician Rajnikanth also participated in the function.
 
Later in the evening Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Stalin, Chief Ministers Naidu, Vijayan, Narayanasamy and others will be addressing a public rally here.
 
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ADB to provide $ 31 million loan to develop tourism in Tamil Nadu

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The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement here on Tuesday to develop the tourism industry inthe state and boost tourist arrivals.
 
The signatories to the tranche 4 loan for Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (IDIPT) were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed for the Government of India, and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director for ADB in India, who signed for ADB.
 
After signing the agreement, Mr Khare said that the project is expected to improve the tourism infrastructure in Tamil Nadu and also help the state in preserving the natural and cultural heritage. The activities under the project would also boost economic opportunities for the local people, he added.
 
Mr. Yokoyama said that the increased tourism traffic generated by the  project will generate extra jobs in Tamil Nadu, especially through skills training and community-based activities targeting the poor and women.
 
Approved in September 2010, the $250 million IDIPT aims to build opportunities for local communities and boost local economy by enhancing tourism in three other states -- Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand -- besides Tamil Nadu. This will be achieved through developing and preserving sites of natural and cultural heritage, and building connectivity, capacity, and infrastructure around State tourist sites.
 
The Government of India’s recent Three-Year Action Agenda (2017–2018 to 2019–2020) envisages the hospitality, travel, and tourism sector as a major driver of growth and employment. The Agenda recognizes India’s significant potential to increase the number of arrivals, global presence by leveraging its cultural industries, and capacity to create large-scale jobs among the poorest segments of the population. It identifies key areas for action, including infrastructure, marketing, and skill development, all of which are aligned with the MFF Road Map, an official press release said.
 
The release said the project will support the conservation and restoration of eight heritage monuments, one museum, three temples, and a pond. It will build various facilities at the sites, including information centres, rest centres, and toilet blocks, with facilities served by solar-powered lighting and energy efficient lighting. The total cost of the project is $44.04 million, of which the Government will provide $13.04 million. 
 
The estimated completion date is June 2020, the release added.
 
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Nissan India announces start of production of new Kicks

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Automobiles manufacturers Nissan India has announced the start of production of its new Kicks sports utility vehicle (SUV) with the rolling out of the first vehicle from its Chennai plant.
 
"With this, the company is gearing up for the launch of India’s most awaited and Intelligent SUV in January 2019," a press release from Nissan India said.
 
Thomas Kuehl, President, Nissan India Operations said, “We are excited to announce the start-of-production of New Nissan Kicks at our plant in Chennai. We had recently showcased the New Nissan Kicks which has created a lot of buzz and excitement amongst SUV enthusiasts across the country. Designed to appeal to the new-age urban adventure seeker, the Kicks is a testimony to our commitment to the Indian consumers and also reflects the SUV heritage of Nissan.”
 
The release said the new Kicks is "powered by progressive SUV design and advanced technology for the new age urban adventure seeker". 
 
"The newest offering from the Nissan fleet in India has a unique wider and robust style underlined by a Dynamic Sonic Plus line, Wheel-oriented stance and a distinctive 3-dimensional presence. The body of the New Nissan Kicks is built with a Graphene (Gravity-philic Energy Absorption) body structure, enabling it to absorb impact energy, making it safer for agile movement on Indian roads," the release added.
 
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Rajinikanth's '2.0' set for major China release

A still from the movie
A still from the movie "2.0". (Photo: IANS)
Superstar Rajinikanth's "2.0", which has set the cost registers ringing all over, is gearing up for a major China release across 56,000 screens, according to its makers.
 
In a statement, Lyca Productions confirmed the news of the Shankar-directed sci-fi movie's release in association with HY Media in China with at least 47,000 of the total screens playing it in 3D format.
 
"2.0" will release in China in May 2019 and it will be the widest 3D release for any foreign language film in history, the statement said.
 
A sequel to Shankar's 2010 blockbuster "Enthiran", "2.0" has been produced by Lyca Productions and was released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi on November 29.
 
The film, which features Rajinikanth in three different 'avatars', also stars Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Adil Hussain and Sudhanshu Pandey.
 
Akshay Kumar, making his southern debut, plays the antagonist. The film has been made on a budget of Rs 600 crore.
 
Rajinikanth plays a scientist and a robot. He also appears as a microbot, dubbed 3.0, which was one of the major surprise elements.
 
Earlier this week, Lyca Productions revealed that the film grossed a whopping Rs 400 crore in its opening weekend worldwide.
 
Shankar has also confirmed he is ready to commence shooting for Kamal Haasan's "Indian 2", which marks his reunion with the latter after two decades.
 
"We recently did a make-up test with Kamal sir and I was really excited to see him in the get-up of Senapathy. We are all set to begin shoot very soon," Shankar told the media.
 
Shooting of "Indian 2" may start from December 14. Kajal Aggarwal has been roped in to play the leading lady. Anirudh Ravichander will compose the music. Lyca Productions will also be bankrolling "Indian 2".
 
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