Morning briefing: Hurriyat leaders under house-arrest ahead Of Pakistan invite

GN Bureau | August 20, 2015

Separatist Hurriayt leaders from Kashmir -Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani have been  placed under house arrest in Srinagar since this morning. Their houses have been barricaded. Their house arrest comes days ahead of their meeting with Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz.Pakistan on Wednesday invited separatist leaders to a meeting with its NSA, Sartaj Aziz in Delhi. Aziz is coming to Delhi to meet with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. The talks are scheduled to be held on August 23. The Pakistan high commission had arranged for Geelani and other separatist leaders to meet Aziz on Sunday over dinner.

Pakistan has piled on provocations in the past month since the Ufa agreement hoping to get India to call off the NSA talks scheduled for Monday. A meeting between Aziz and Geelani would have breached the red line which India drew last year by calling off the foreign secretary-level talks.

BJP ahead of Congress in early trends in Rajasthan civic polls
After Madhya Pradesh civic polls that went for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje's day of reckoning is today with local election results coming by evening. Both are under attack - Chouhan for Vyapam controversy and Raje is linked to Lalit Modi controversy. Poll fortunes of 10,582 candidates who contested for 3306 councillor posts in 129 muncipal bodies would be declared by Thursday evening in Rajasthan. This would be first time when every elected councillor would have at least passed class X and every candidate would have a toilet in his house as the state government made the same mandatory through an ordinance.

Raid on residence of Goa's former chief minister Digambar Kamat
The Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at Goa's former chief minister Digambar Kamat's residence at Margao this morning, a day after he was granted anticipatory bail in a bribery case involving a US firm. Kamat has been on interim bail for nearly two weeks. The prosecution, which has been demanding his arrest, has alleged that the 61-year-old Congressman received more than Rs. 1 crore in bribes to allot the consultancy project to Louis Berger in 2010.

Brother-in-law of Goa CM Parsekar held for accepting Rs 1 lakh bribe
Dilip Malvankar, an official of Goa State Industrial Development Corporation and brother-in-law of Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, has been arrested by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh, police said on Wednesday. He was arrested by the ACB while accepting the bribe that he had sought to allot a plot at Tuem Industrial estate.

Jowar, soyabean, tur, maize, cotton likely to be hit by scanty rains
Four states which produce over one-third of India’s foodgrain are vulnerable to this year’s deficit monsoons, Crisil Research said in a report on Wednesday.The report is based on rainfall data till August 16 and says that Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, and five crops—jowar, soyabean, tur, maize and cotton—are most hurt by deficient rains. On economic effects it says although the contribution of the agriculture sector to India’s gross domestic product has come down to 18%, still 58% of rural households are engaged in farming.

Sale of 5% stake in Dredging Corp from tomorrow, floor price announcement today
The government on Wednesday announced it will sell 5% of its stake in Dredging Corp. of India Ltd in an offer for sale as part of its divestment programme. The offer will open on August 21, the firm said in filing to the stock exchanges. The floor price will be announced today.The government is looking to sell up to 1.4 million shares through the issue. It holds 78.56% stake in the firm. The share sale may fetch Rs.60.6 crore based on the 15-day average price of the stock at Rs.433.45. This will be the third divestment issue by the government in this financial year. Earlier, it had divested its stake in Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd (REC) and Power Finance Corp. Ltd (PFC). While PFC raised Rs.1,600 crore last month, REC raised Rs.1,610 crore in April.

Facebook replaces Google as top traffic driver to news sites, says new data
Traditionally, organic search dominated as the top traffic referrer online. But new data released by web analytics provider shows that Facebook has emerged as the top traffic referral source, edging past the biggest and most popular search engine Google. This means social media has pipped search to the post with Facebook accounting  for about 43% of the traffic to the network of media sites, while Google Search accounted for just 38%, as of July 2015. One caveat - the figures relate to’s network of clients.

Mobile services spends may reach $21.4 bn in 2015
Spending in India on mobile services, driven primarily by data services, is likely to reach $21.4 billion in 2015, said a new report by researcher Gartner Inc. on Wednesday.While mobile connections in the country are expected to grow to 880 million by the year end, an increase of 5% from 837 million connections in 2014, data services are projected to grow by 15% to reach $6.5 million in the same time period.

Rupee trades higher at 65.13 against US dollar
The Indian rupee on Thursday strengthened against the US dollar after international crude oil prices fell. Also, gains in the local equity markets boosted the sentiments. At 9.10am, the home currency was trading at 65.13, up 0.21% from its previous close of 65.27. The local unit opened at 65.16 per dollar and touched a high of 65.12.

SC to hear 4G auction plea on Oct 6
The supreme court would hear arguments in a public interest litigation alleging fraud in the 4G spectrum auction held in 2010 on October 6. Non-profit Centre for Public Interest Litigation moved the apex court last year against the award of a chunk of spectrum to Infotel Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd (IBSPL), in which a 95% stake was later bought by Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

PMMY loans to double to over Rs.1 lakh crore by March
The finance ministry plans to launch a month long campaign for loans under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana in the next 10 days and hopes to double loan disbursement to the small business sector to over Rs.1 trillion during the fiscal. Since the launch of the scheme in April by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, about Rs.14,000 crore worth of loans have been disbursed under the scheme to 20 lakh people.The PMMY provide loans between Rs.50,000-Rs.10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.

Audi to unveil 100% electric SUV concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show
German automaker Audi has announced new electric concept. It will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in  September. The Audi e-tron quattro concept will offer a peek into the future of the brand's electric-powered sport SUVs.Size-wise, the Audi e-tron quattro concept falls between the small Q5 and mid-size Q7, which makes sense since the production version it will spawn, expected sometime before 2018.



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