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TALKS ON WITH AP GOVT TO CONVERT INS VIRAAT INTO MUSEUM: NAVY

Talks are underway with the Andhra Pradesh government to convert INS Viraat, the oldest aircraft carrier operated by the Indian Navy, into a luxury hotel-cum-museum after its decommissioning. The carrier is expected to berth on the coast in Visakhapatnam by mid-2017. Addressing mediapersons onboard INS Shakti in Visakhapatnam ahead of Navy Day celebrations tomorrow, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht said Andhra Pradesh was the top contender for getting the majestic warship.
According to sources, the state government has drawn up plans to convert INS Viraat into a 500-room hotel.
INS Viraat is likely to be decommissioned by end of 2016 or some time next year after 55 years of service, including 27 years with the Royal Navy (British Navy).
It served as the flagship of Royal Navy’s task force during the Falkland Islands campaign in 1982 and was decommissioned from active duty in 1985. It was inducted into Indian Navy in 1987 after undergoing extensive refits.

SURESH PRABHU LAYS FOUNDATION STONE FOR ROLLING STOCK COMPONENT FACTORY

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the Rolling Stock Component factory, estimated to cost nearly Rs 300 crore, in Maharshtra’s Ratnagiri district today. While addressing the gathering, the Railway Minister assured that Humsafar Express running between Mumbai and Goa, will commence soon. For the project, 50 acres land has been acquired from the MIDC in Lote Parshuram area near Chiplun in Ratnagiri district.
The centralised Railway Rolling Stock Components factory can discharge the works of overhaul and rehabilitation of safety sub-assemblies of railway rolling stock. Indian Railways will accrue the vital benefits like improvement in reliability of wagons and coaches, increased availability and higher rolling stock and reliability from the facility. Union minister of heavy industries and public enterprises Anand Geete too was present at the ceremony.

32ND ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY BEING OBSERVED

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Bhopal is observing 32nd anniversary of gas leak tragedy today as on the intervening night of 2nd and 3rd December in 1984, several hundred people were killed and scores of people were maimed for life when the Methyl Isocyanate gas was leaked from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide.
Even after 32 years, victims of Bhopal gas tragedy are facing problems like proper medical facilities, better living conditions and employment. Toxic waste lying in the defunct Union Carbide is yet to be disposed off.
Several functions are being organised in Bhopal today to mark the 32nd anniversary of gas leak tragedy. AIR correspondent reports that an all religion prayer meeting was held to pay homage to those who died in one of the biggest industrial disaster of the world.
In the all religion prayer meeting at Bhopal’s Barkatullah Bhawan, minister for Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Rehabilitation Vishwas Sarang assured that the state government will continue its efforts for rehabilitation of gas victims.
He also emphasised on the need of environmental protection and industrial safety. Communist Party of India staged a demonstration in Bhopal against capitalist forces. Party leaders alleged that the gas victims have not received adequate compensation yet.
Several Non Government Organisations are taking out rallies and holding meetings against Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals in different parts of the city.

PM NARENDRA MODI, AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI TO REACH AMRITSAR THIS EVENING, LIKELY TO HOLD TALKS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will reach in Amritsar this evening to take part in the annual conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process.
They are also likely to hold bilateral talks to strengthen India-Afghanistan ties, an official said. They are also scheduled to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, the official said.
PM Modi and Afghan President Ghani will jointly inaugurate the ministerial deliberations of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, which is being attended by nearly 40 countries and leading groupings like the European Union.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Policy Advisor Sartaj Aziz is scheduled to reach Amritsar on Sunday to attend the ministerial conference. Mr Aziz will return on the same day.
With External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj indisposed, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will represent India in the ministerial conference. He is reaching in Amritsar on Sunday.
To showcase rich culture and heritage of Punjab, the state government is hosting a dinner for the visiting dignitaries at a heritage village, named ‘Sadda Pind’ or ‘our village’, located on the outskirts of this holy city.
PM Modi and Afghan President Ghani will also attend the dinner hosted by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

OPEN BANK A/CS FOR STAFF AND FACILITATE PAYMENTS VIA UPI: GOVERNMENT TO TEXTILE UNITS

The government has asked textile units to facilitate, on a “priority basis”, opening of bank accounts for their employees and make cashless payments through unified payments interface (UPI). This is to mitigate the impact of demonetisation on payment of wages and bring textile workers into the banking system.

“The first impact of these reforms is likely to be on the payment of wages to workers of textile units, including garmenting units. A large segment of the workers were traditionally being paid in cash as they didn’t have bank accounts,” a senior official told ET.

As per the directive, textile units will now have to register the details of workers who already have bank accounts. “This will ensure payment of wages through the bank transfer mode,” the official said.

The government has already conducted workshops to guide weavers on how to download and register for UPI in textile clusters. An awareness camp on this issue was held in Hyderabad a few days ago.

Another official said the textile ministry is in the process of compiling data on the total number of bank accounts and daily updates are being sought from industry associations.

RUPAY CARD USAGE JUMPS 118 PER CENT IN 1ST WEEK OF DEMONETISATION

RuPay card usage jumped by over 118.6 per cent in the week following demonetisation that took effect from November 8 mid-night while the overall debit and credit card transactions recorded an increase of 70.5 per cent. According to RBI data, the usage of RuPay card at POS terminals soared by as much as 200.6 per cent to 46.6 lakh transactions during November 9-15. This compares with 15.5 lakh swipes during November 1-8.

The government demonetised the old high value banknotes from the midnight of November 8 and also imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals from banks as well as ATMs, prompting people to move to go digital. RBI said a total of 65.6 lakh transactions were recorded through RuPay cards during November 9-15. This includes 19 lakh spendings through e-commerce platforms.Further, 1.58 crore Mastercard debit cards were used during the period, up 76.84 per cent over November 1-8. Mastercard credit card transactions went up by about 24 per cent to 57.31 lakh.

In the case of Visa, the increase in debit and pre-paid transactions stood at 93 per cent while for the credit card segment, it was 42 per cent during November 1 and 8. Taking all Rupay, Mastercard and Visa together, the total transactions were up at 3,39,60,329 during November 9-15, from 1,99,19,176 on November 1-8, an increase of 70.49 per cent. RuPay payment gateway has been developed by India while Mastercard and Visa are foreign companies.

FOG IN PARTS OF DELHI, 80 DELHI-BOUND TRAINS DELAYED

Foggy conditions were witnessed in several parts of the city affecting air and rail traffic in the form of several diversions and delays.

80 Delhi-bound trains including Rajdhani were delayed by several hours while 15 trains were rescheduled due to foggy weather conditions in the northern region, said a senior railway official.

Several flights were also affected due to poor runway visibility conditions at the airport here, with many of them getting delayed and some being cancelled, officials said.

More than 200 arrivals and departures of flights were affected on account of weather as well as “other reasons”. According to the Safdarjung Observatory, the visibility was recorded at 400 metres at 5.30 AM which further dropped to 300 meters at 8.30 AM.”It subsequently improved to 800 metres at 11.30 AM and to 1,000 metres at 2.30 PM,” the official said.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 24.6 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the year while the minimum settled at 11.5 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season’s average, said a MeT department official.The humidity level oscillated between 98 and 57 per cent.

PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS POST NET LOSS OF RS 17,993 CRORE IN LAST FISCAL: MOS FINANCE

Public sector banks (PSBs) posted a net loss of Rs 17,993 crore in the last fiscal, showed a government data today. According to the data presented in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Finance, Santosh Gangwar, in reply to a query, the 28 public sector banks reported a collective net loss of Rs 17,993 crore in 2015-16. Of them, 14 banks registered net loss in their books for 2015-16, while the remaining logged profits.

Among those making losses, Bank of India had the highest share with Rs 6,089 crore; Bank of Baroda BSE -0.37 % Rs 5,396 crore; Punjab National Bank BSE -1.72 % Rs 3,974 crore; IDBI Bank BSE -1.17 % Rs 3,665 crore; Oriental Bank of Commerce BSE -1.61 % Rs 2,897 crore; UCO Bank BSE -0.74 % Rs 2,799 crore; Syndicate Bank BSE -0.90 % Rs 1,643 crore and Central Bank of India BSE -0.70 % Rs 1,418 crore. The high level of non-performing assets (NPAs) and rules by RBI to make higher provisioning for sub-standard assets were the main reasons for the banks to register big losses.

However, banks have now taken many corrective measures for loan recovery and are supposed to return to profits in next few quarters. Of those who made profits in their books last fiscal included SBI at Rs 9,951 crore; State Bank of Hyderabad Rs 1,065 crore; State Bank of BikanerBSE 0.05 % & Jaipur Rs 851 crore and Andhra BankBSE -0.97 % Rs 540 crore.

THIS INDIAN STARTUP HAS CLINCHED A CONTRACT WITH ISRO TO SEND ITS ROVER TO THE MOON

In the multitude of Indian startups, there is one that is literally aiming for the moon!

Bangalore-based aerospace startup Team Indus, aiming to be the country’s first to send a rover to the moon and plant the Indian flag on its surface on Republic Day January 26, 2018, has just secured a commercial launch contract with Indian Space Research Organization.

With this, Team Indus will be the first private entity to exclusively use India’s main rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

SNSI RECOGNISED AS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

The recent research and development activities at the S. Nijalingappa Sugar Institute (SNSI), established by the State government, have helped the city institute win recognition as a scientific and industrial research organisation from the Union Ministry of Science and Technology, said H.S. Mahadeva Prasad, Minister for Co-operation and Sugar, on Thursday.

During his inspection of the activities at the institute, the Minister suggested a few new research possibilities for scientists at the institute and said he expects them to play a vital role in the sustainable growth of both the sugarcane and sugar industries, a press release issued by SNSI director R.B. Khandagave said.

During his visit, Mr. Prasad was informed about the establishment of a tissue culture laboratory and the supply of tissue culture seedlings to growers.

It has been scientifically proved that tissue culture plantlets increase cane yield and sugar recovery.

DEFENCE MINISTER PARRIKAR WANTS TO ALLOCATE 3% OF INDIA’S GDP FOR MILITARY SPENDING

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said he would like India to earmark 3% of its GDP for military spending, at a time when the defence budget falls short of meeting the armed forces’ requirements.
The minister’s comments have re-ignited the debate over India’s military spending, which – excluding pensions – accounts for 1.7% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Military experts believe the figure should be around 3% of the GDP to counter China’s rapidly growing military might.
Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit here, Parrikar, however, said the desired defence budget could not be achieved overnight. He also said the backlog of acquisition cases could not be cleared in one go as the ministry would not have budget for it next year.

U.S. FOR CLOSER DEFENCE TIES WITH INDIA

The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 scheduled to be passed by the U.S Congress next week seeks executive action to “recognise India’s status as a major defence partner of the United States.”

The formulation on India in the final version of the NDAA, which reconciles the House and Senate versions of the bill, does not qualitatively change the partnership between the two countries other than expressing a broad bipartisan support to it.

The draft bill released on Wednesday said technology transfer to India and defence cooperation must be “consistent with United States conventional arms transfer policy.

MODI, GHANI TO DISCUSS TERROR, DEFENCE

Terrorism, trade and defence assistance will be on the top of the agenda as Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani here this weekend, which will also see a fresh focus on India’s plans to develop the Chabahar port in Iran for trade to Afghanistan.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Ghani are expected to meet and inaugurate the 14-member Heart of Asia conference on Sunday, which will be attended by ministers from Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China, as Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar chairs a senior officials meet on Saturday.

Sources tell The Hindu that Mr. Modi is likely to build on India’s commitment on military aid to Afghanistan, of which seven helicopters including 3 utility choppers have already been supplied, and work is on on a trilateral framework with Russia on supplying spares and conducting repairs on other aircraft in Afghanistan.

ODISHA LIVING LEGENDS AND YOUTH INSPIRATION AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Dr. Hrushikesh Panda, Dr. Triloachan Pradhan, Ms. Shruti Mohapatra, Dr S K Nanda, Prof Amitav Acharya, Prabhudutt Pradhan, Bhagban Meher, Shiv Sunder Das, Daitari Panda, Dr. Basanta Kar , Ms. Jyoti Rout , Ramakanta Jena will receive awards on 6th December 2016 at Mayfair, Bhubaneswar.

Bhubaneswar: OdishaDiary (www.orissadiary.com) the leading news and views web portal of Odisha has announced the winners of Odisha Living Legend, Youth Inspiration and OdishaInc Awards for 2016.

This year the award has been dedicated to the immortal memory of the legendary leader Shri Biju Patnaik to commemorate the Birth Centenary of the Father of Modern Odisha.

The ceremony will also host an oration, the Living Legend Oration, focusing on the Creating Legends among the second generation leaders.

The Waves and Vibes series of dialogues will be launched by Sri Subroto Bagchi, the head of Skill Development initiative of government of Odisha.

Acclaimed artist Bijaya Biswal will demonstrate a live art. He will make the art on Biju Patnaik to mark the occasion. Odisha Living Legend Award Special Citation will be conferred to artist Bijaya Biswal on this occasion.

INDIA’S FOOTBALL FEDERATION WINS ASIAN AWARD

The All-India Football Federation won the Asian Football Council’s Developing Member Association of the Year Award in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The award is given on the basis of organisation of courses, seminars and competitions, grassroots, youth development and women’s programmes and special projects.

In 2014, AIFF had earlier won the AFC President’s Recognition Award for grassroots football.

USAIN BOLT AND ALMAZ AYANA WIN IAAF AWARDS

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana were crowned as the IAAF’s athletes of the year on Friday.

Bolt completed his amazing Olympic “triple triple” of 100metres, 200metres and 4x100m relay golds at the Rio Games in August despite missing much of the season through injury and took the award for the sixth time.

He clocked season’s bests of 9.81 and 19.78 to win the 100m and 200m in Rio and then anchored the Jamaican team to a world-leading 37.27 when winning the 4x100m.

He also went undefeated throughout the whole season at all distances, including heats.

ATLETICO  DE KOLKATA & FC PUNE CITY PLAY OUT A GOALLESS DRAW

Atletico  de Kolkata settled for a goalless draw against FC Pune City, at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata, on Friday. The hosts had already qualified for the playoffs for the third season in a row, while FC Pune City were already out of the tournament. Playing for pride, FC Pune City could have finished 5th with a win ahainsy season 1 champions. Former Altetico de Kolkata coach Antonio Habas set out a strong side for their final game of ISL 2016, but didn’t really get much joy out of the game.Arindam Bhattacharya was chosen over Edel, and the Indian didn’t disappoint. He was stunning in goal, and the first clean sheet in eight matches was the only saving grace for FC Pune City. Atletico de Kolkata were the dominant side as you’d expect, and a third placed finish in the table means they will play the vital second leg of the playoff away from home. Belencoso missed a couple of wonderful opportunities to put the hosts in front, but Bhattacharya was equal to it. It was a pretty dull game as you’d expect, with not too much at stake. The result meant FC Pune City fail to qualify for the playoffs for the third time in a row while Atletico de Kolkata have never failed to qualify, being the most consistent team in ISL history.

TAVORA PROVIDES ONE FINAL TWIST

A late wonder strike from Sahil Tavora gave FC Goa an exciting 5-4 victory over Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League here on Thursday. The three points gained was not enough to lift FC Goa out of the bottom rung of the points table, but it did bring some cheer at the end of a disappointing season.With the score locked at 4-4 in injury time, Tavora latched on to a long ball on the left and cut inside.He then unleashed the perfect right-footed shot, which went into the far-post.Not for the first time, Chennaiyin FC had fallen prey to late jitters, and finished the tournament in seventh spot.It was the visitor which got the ball rolling with a fine curling free-kick from Jerry Lalrinzuala in the fourth minute. FC Goa responded immediately, drawing level through Rafael Coelho. The scoreline continued to swing wildly all the way until the final whistle. With two minutes to go in the regulation time, it seemed a draw was on the cards when former Liverpool man John Arne Riise converted a penalty to make it .

KERALA SCENTS VICTORY AGAINST TRIPURA

Kerala banked on its young wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammed Azharuddeen’s third half-century in as many matches to move closer to a much-needed win on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy Group C match against Tripura at the Barabati Stadium here on Thursday.The Kerala spinners, comprising the left-arm duo of Iqbal Abdulla and Akshay Chandran, bowled tight lines to wrap up the Tripura second innings for 162.