NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2019
FRONT PAGE NEWS
COUNTING UNDERWAY: LEADS SUGGEST MODI SET TO BE PM AGAIN
(All India – Leads Available at 0950 IST, for 495 out of 542 seats)
(We’ll send an additional Election Related Bulletin a little later today)
POLL PANEL REJECTS OPPOSITION’S DEMAND TO TWEAK VVPAT COUNTING PROCESS
The Election Commission eysterady rejected the opposition parties’ demand of
counting VVPAT slips before getting on with main counting.
A senior EC official said yesterday that the counting on Thursday will be
taken up as per plan and a directive on the same has already been issued to
all the returning officers (ROs) across the country. “As decided the
counting of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips will be taken up
at the end of counts and not in the beginning as demanded by opposition
parties,” he said.
The opposition parties which had approached the EC on Tuesday wanted five
random VVPATs to be counted first so that if there is a problem or a
mismatch, all (100% of that particular Assembly segment) VVPAT slips can be
counted before it is too late.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “If the process has been so long drawn
for the sake of integrity of the electoral process, why is the EC not
adhering to the basic principle of testing the sample first?” “The integrity
of EVMs by matching with sample VVPATs has to be done at the start of the
counting,” Yechury said. “Doing so after the trends are declared makes it
infructuous and is likely to lead to protests and a possible law and order
situation from the affected candidates.”
MHA ALERTS STATES ON ‘POSSIBLE ERUPTION OF VIOLENCE’ AHEAD OF COUNTING
On the eve of counting of votes for the general elections, the Ministry of
Home Affairs (MHA) has issued advisory alerting state governments to be
ready to counter “possible eruption of violence” and asked them to ensure
that “law and order, peace and public tranquillity” is maintained.
In a statement, the MHA said, “The Ministry has alerted the state Chief
Secretaries and Directors General of Police regarding possibility of
eruption of violence in different parts of the country in connection with
the counting of votes tomorrow.”
The MHA advisory has come in the backdrop of entire opposition raising
doubts over impeccability of EVMs and reports and video clips surfacing on
social media about unauthorised transportation EVMs in several districts of
Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country.
The Election Commission, however, has so far dismissed the allegations by
claiming that all used machines in the elections “are safe and secure”.
ATTEMPTED BREAK-IN AT IAF’S PARIS OFFICE HANDLING RAFALE PROCUREMENT
In a suspected case of espionage, there was an attempted break-in on Sunday
at the Indian Air Force’s Paris office which is overseeing production of 36
Rafale fighter jets for India, military sources said.
A group of unidentified persons broke into the office of the IAF’s Rafale
project management team in the suburbs of Paris and local police are probing
whether the attempt was to steal classified data relating to the aircraft.
As per initial assessment, no data or hardware is said to have been stolen.
The local police are investigating the incident.
The IAF’s office of Rafale project management is located at the complex of
Dassault Aviation, the makers of the Rafale jets.
There was no official reaction from either the defence ministry or the IAF
about the incident.
The IAF project management team is headed by a Group Captain and it
comprises two fighter pilots, one logistics officer and a number of weapons
experts and engineers.
The team is coordinating with Dassault Aviation on manufacture of Rafale
jets as well as on weapons package onboard the aircraft.
SC GETS FOUR NEW JUDGES; NOW HAS FULL STRENGTH
Four new judges were appointed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, raising
their number to 31, the full sanctioned strength.
As of now, the apex court is functioning with 27 judges. The sanctioned
strength is 31, including the Chief Justice. In the recent past, this is for
the first time that the SC will have a full sanctioned strength.
The four appointed are justices Aniruddha Bose, A S Bopanna, B R Gavai and
The names of justices Bose and Bopanna were earlier returned by the
government to the SC collegium citing seniority and representation of
regions as the reasons.
But in its resolution passed earlier this month, the collegium had
reiterated its recommendation to elevate justices Bose and Bopanna to the
apex court, observing that nothing adverse has been found regarding their
competence, conduct or integrity.
MAY IMPLORES PARLIAMENT IN FINAL BID TO SAVE BREXIT DEAL
Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday implored British MPs to back her
reworked EU divorce deal but saw pro-Brexit Conservatives and opposition
parties savage her bid for a compromise to end months of political crisis.
On the eve of European elections Britain had not expected to hold three
years after the Brexit referendum, May urged lawmakers who have repeatedly
rejected her plan to vote for it in early June so that the country can
finally leave the bloc later in the summer.
“The opportunity of Brexit is too large and the consequences of failure too
grave to risk further delay,” the prime minister, who has vowed to stand
down following the crunch parliamentary vote, told the House of Commons.
“Reject it and all we have before us is division and deadlock.”
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who last week pulled out of weeks of
cross-party Brexit talks citing the government’s unwillingness to
compromise, said it was “little more than a repackaged version of her
three-times rejected deal”. “The rhetoric may have changed but the deal has
not,” he added.
INDONESIA PLUNGES INTO POST-ELECTION UNREST
Demonstrations over the outcome of last month’s presidential election
gripped the heart of Indonesia’s capital on Wednesday after an overnight
face-off between police and protesters in which, according to Jakarta’s
governor, six people were killed.
The protests followed an announcement before dawn on Tuesday by the election
commission confirming that President Joko Widodo had beaten his challenger,
former general Prabowo Subianto, in the April 17 poll.
Crowds swelled in central Jakarta on Wednesday morning and police said they
expected more protesters to join them before nightfall. Some of those
arriving carried wooden poles and some had smeared toothpaste around their
eyes, apparently to protect themselves from tear gas.
The majority of the protesters appeared to have come from outside Jakarta
and police found envelopes containing money on some of the people they
searched, National Police spokesman Muhamad Iqbal told a news conference.
“This is not a spontaneous incident, this is something by design. There are
indications that the mobs are paid and bent on causing chaos,” he said.
SHOE GIANTS URGE TRUMP TO END TRADE WAR
Some of the world’s biggest footwear firms are urging US President Donald
Trump to end the trade war with China, warning of a “catastrophic” effect on
In a letter signed by 170 companies, including Nike and Adidas, they said
the President’s decision to lift import tariffs to 25 per cent will
disproportionately impact the working class, the BBC reported.
They also warn that higher levies threaten the future of some businesses.
“It is time to bring this trade war to an end,” the firms urged.
Trump hiked levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports into the US from
10 per cent to 25 per cent more than a week ago after Washington and Beijing
failed to reach a deal on trade.
China retaliated by announcing plans to raise levies on $60 billion of the
US imports from 1 June.
The footwear companies who signed the letter, include Clarks, Dr Martens and
IAF SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRES BRAHMOS MISSILE FROM SUKHOI
The Indian Air Force successfully fired the BrahMos air version missile from
its frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. The launch from the aircraft was
smooth and the missile followed the desired trajectory before directly
hitting the land target, the IAF said.
The BrahMos can be launched at land targets when launched from ground and
also from sea. The launch from air is the third dimension.
The air launched BrahMos missile is a 2.5-ton supersonic air-to-surface
cruise missile with ranges of close to 300 km, designed and developed by
Earlier in November 2017, the IAF became the first air force in the world to
have successfully fired an air-launched 2.8 Mach speed surface attack
missile of this category on a sea target.
Yesterday’s was the second such live launch of the weapon. The integration
of the weapon on the aircraft was a very complex process involving
mechanical, electrical and software modifications on aircraft. The IAF has
been involved in the activity from its inception. The software development
of the aircraft was undertaken by the IAF engineers while HAL carried out
mechanical and electrical modifications on the aircraft.
The dedicated and synergetic efforts of the IAF, DRDO, and Hindustan
Aeronautics Limited have proven the capability of the nation to undertake
such complex integrations, the IAF said.
NO TRANSIT ACCOMMODATION IN HOTELS FOR NEWLY-ELECTED MPs
Newly-elected members of the 17th Lok Sabha will not be provided hotels as
transit accommodation, but will be lodged in parliament’s hostel and various
state bhawans, a top official said Wednesday.
With the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for Thursday,
the newly-elected members are expected to start arriving in the national
capital from Friday, and for that the secretariat has already started making
At a press conference, the Lower House’s Secretary General Snehlata
Shrivastava said the Lok Sabha secretariat has done away with system of
transit accommodation in hotels.
This system, at times, invited criticism for the money it cost the
In the 2014 general elections more than 300 new MPs were elected, causing
accommodation crisis as some former members had not vacated their official
The Lok Sabha secretariat was therefore forced to make accommodation
arrangements for the newly elected MPs in hotels which had cost the
exchequer Rs 30 crore in 2014.
According to an official, accommodation arrangements for 100 new MPs have
been made in the Western Court and its annexe building, while 265 new
parliamentarians would be lodged in state bhawans.
GRACIOUS FATHERS OF HELICOPTER PILOTS KILLED IN FEB 27 CRASH
The father of Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, who was killed along with
six others as an Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force crashed in central
Kashmir’s Budgam on February 27, has said that he is not interested in
knowing who was at fault but that a thorough inquiry was necessary to ensure
such incidents are not repeated again.
Reports of the air crash surfaced amid an air engagement between India and
Pakistan along the LoC.
Ninad’s father, Anil Mandavgane, a former banker say that he was informed by
IAF officials within two days of the incident that the crash could have been
a result of friendly fire.
Meanwhile, Jagdish Chand Kasal, father of Squadron Leader Siddharth Vashisht
who was also killed in the crash, refused to say anything about the ongoing
Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the incident. But a close relative said that the
family knew something was amiss after they received a call from IAF
officials. “The official had said that he will not be able to divulge any
details on the phone,” said the relative. “It was evident to the family
since the beginning that the chopper had not crashed due to any technical
fault, it had been hit by something.”
ADANI GROUP TO WITHDRAW DEFAMATION CASES AGAINST ‘THE WIRE’
The Adani Group is set to withdraw all defamation suits filed against news
portal thewire.in and its editors in an Ahmedabad court for articles against
dani Power Maharashtra Limited had filed two suits against the web portal,
while Group firm Adani Petronet Port Dahej Limited had moved a defamation
case against it.
Besides the portal, its founder-editors Siddharth Varadarajan and M.K.Venu,
as well as Siddharth Bhatia, Monobina Gupta, Pamela Philipose and Noor
Mohammed were also been named in the law suits.
Confirming the development, Varadarajan said: “We understand the Adani Group
has moved to withdraw all defamation cases, civil and criminal, instituted
against The Wire over the years for various articles we’ve published on the
Group’s businesses. We will issue a statement once this process attains
This comes close on the heels of Anil Ambani withdrawing the defamation suit
against Congress leaders and National Herald newspaper.
FIRST WOMAN FIGHTER PILOT QUALIFIES TO UNDERTAKE COMBAT MISSIONS
Scripting history, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth on Wednesday became the
first woman pilot of the Indian Air Force to qualify to undertake combat
missions on a fighter jet.
IAF officials said Kanth has completed operational syllabus for carrying out
combat missions on MiG-21 Bison aircraft during daytime.
“She is the first woman fighter pilot to be qualified to undertake missions
by day on a fighter aircraft,” IAF Spokesperson Group Capt Anupam Banerjee
At present, Bhawana is posted at the Nal base in Bikaner. Another official
said she will be allowed to carry out night operations once she completes
training for night missions. “With her dedication, hard work and
perseverance she has become the first woman officer of the IAF to achieve
this feat,” said Group Capt Banerjee. She is from the first batch of three
women fighter pilots of the IAF.
INDIGO’S MARKET SHARE TOUCHES 50% ON JET CLOSURE, 737 MAX GROUNDING
IndiGo, the country’s largest domestic airline, now commands nearly half of
the market share. IndiGo market share rose three percentage points to 49.9
per cent while overall growth turned negative in April due to closure of Jet
Domestic airlines flew 10.9 million passengers last month, which is 4.5 per
cent lower than April last year. The decline was due to suspension of
operations by Jet, which had a market share of over 13 per cent at the start
of the year.
Domestic traffic growth, which was at double-digit for 50 plus months, has
started slowing. In January, growth slowed down to single digit and turned
flat in March amid increase in fares and decline in capacity.
IndiGo benefitted the most from Jet closure and grounding of SpiceJet’s
Boeing 737 Max fleet in April. Its market share rose from 46.9 per cent to
49.9 per cent on a sequential basis though number of additional passengers
it carried was only 40,000.
Currently, IndiGo continues to expand its fleet and has 230 aircraft. The
airline, however, has missed capacity guidance for the fourth quarter in
FY19 due to delays in aircraft induction.
SpiceJet continued to top the occupancy charts reporting 90 per cent plus
load factor for the 49th consecutive month.
NETFLIX EYES 22 ORIGINAL FILMS FROM INDIA BY 2020 END, EIGHT ALREADY OUT
Video streaming platform Netflix is seeking to create “diverse” and
“appealing” content based out of India and will have 22 such movies by the
end of next year. The over-the-top (OTT) service provider has already
released eight, and the rest 14 will be out over the next 18 months,
starting with Abhay Deol-starrer Chopstick at the end of this month. This is
in addition to a slew of original shows and series lined up from India.
Netflix, which has been in India since January 2016, has collected data
points that suggest the market has a huge appetite for films. As a
percentage of the overall time spent on Netflix, film viewing in India is
the highest and 70 per cent of its subscribers see at least one film in a
Netflix’s content partners across various projects include Zoya Akhtar,
Karan Johar, Farah Khan, and Anurag Kashyap, among others. Media reports
suggest that the company could be spending around $100 million on originals
from India over the next two years.
DHONI HAS A MASSIVE ROLE TO PLAY: SHASTRI
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will have a massive role in India’s bid to regain the
World Cup, coach Ravi Shastri said, emphasising on the veteran’s ability to
influence the game’s little moments. “Massive, as it has always been,”
Shastri said when asked about Dhoni’s role in the World Cup. “He is right
there, his communication has been fantastic. As a wicketkeeper, he has shown
over the years that no one is better than him in this format, not just in
taking catches, inflicting those run-outs or stumping, these are little
moments in the game which can change it on the head and there was no one
better than him.”
Dhoni will be playing in his fourth World Cup and Shastri said he was
impressed with his footwork during the IndPL. “It is great to see the way he
was moving in the IPL especially when he was batting, the footwork, the
power with which he was hitting the shots, he will be a big player in this
World Cup,” Shastri said.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
I enjoy life because I enjoy making other people enjoy it. – Tim Conway
It seems that a young man volunteered for Navy service during World War II.
He had such a high aptitude for aviation that he was sent right to
Pensacola, skipping boot camp.
The very first day at Pensacola, he soloed and was the best flier on the
base. All they could do was give him his gold wings and assign him
immediately to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.
On his first day aboard, he took off and single-handedly shot down six
Japanese zeroes. Then climbing up to 20,000 ft., he found nine more Japanese
planes and shot them all down, too. Noting that his fuel was getting low, he
descended, circled the carrier, and came in for a perfect landing on the
He threw back the canopy, climbed out, and jogged over to the captain.
Saluting smartly, he said, “Well, sir, how did I do on my very first day?”
The captain turned around, bowed, and replied, “You make one velly impoltant