Morning briefing: SC okays Make In India event at Mumbai's Chowpatty beach

GN Bureau | February 3, 2016



The Supreme Court today cleared the famous Chowpatty beach in Mumbai to be the venue of a huge Make In India event to draw foreign investors. The investor summit, scheduled to launch on February 13 for six days, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Maharashtra government had last week been refused permission by the High Court to stage the summit at the landmark beach. The 'Make in India' event is expected to draw 10,000 people from 56 countries for the state government's pitching of Mumbai as a rich cultural center loaded with financial opportunities.

Anupam Kher rejects visa offer by Pak envoy Abdul Basit
In an interesting turn of events, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit called Anupam Kher and expressed regret over the denial of visa to him. Basit told Kher that whatever happened should not have had happened. Basit said that miscommunication and confusion had led to the denial of visa and asked Kher to submit visa papers so that he could visit Pakistan. However, Kher has declined the offer, saying that he had already given those dates away for some other function. Kher tweeted: Thank you Mr. @abasitpak1 for your call & offering me visa to visit Karachi. I appreciate it. Unfortunately i've given away those dates now.  Pakistan high commission have been saying all along that they are yet to receive visa application and passport of the Bollywood actor so as to process his request.

India pips US in smartphone user base
Smartphone shipments in the country grew 23.3 percent to touch 100 million units during 2015, compared to 81.1 million devices in the previous year, a report by Counterpoint Research said. "India has inched past the US to become the second largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone user base in the world with the base crossing 220 million users. This speaks volume for the scale India market provides for any player in the mobile connected ecosystem," Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Tarun Pathak said. India still has a long way to go as the smartphone penetration of the total potential population is still below 30 percent, he added. Led by strong adoption of 4G LTE devices, smartphone shipments grew 15 percent to 25.3 million units during the October-December 2015 quarter compared to 22 million units in the year-ago period, it said in a report. At the end of the December 2015 quarter, Samsung led the smartphone market with 28.6 percent share, followed by Micromax (14.3 percent), Lenovo (11.4 percent), Intex (9.6 percent) and Lava (6.8 percent). In terms of the total market (smartphones and feature phones), Samsung again led the tally with 23.6 percent share, followed by Micromax (13.7 percent), Intex (13 percent), Lava (12.6 percent) and Lenovo (4.8 percent)

Asaduddin Owaisi booked for attack on Congress workers
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi has been booked for allegedly attacking the Congress workers during the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls yesterday after which the police had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse them. Reports on Wednesday said that a criminal case has been filed against Asaduddin Owaisi and some others on the complaint of Congress leader Shabbir Ali. The incident has triggered tension in parts of Hyderabad, the situation however remains fully in control, according to V Satyanarayana of the Hyderabad Police. Meanwhile, the AIMIM has rejected the allegations completely and blamed Congress for fuelling the confrontation. "It is a completely baseless allegation. It is an example of what local Congress leaders are doing in Telangana. At 1 pm I was told that my concerned MLA of that area and a Congress contestant has been arrested by the Police. Police said that it was preventive arrest," AIMIM chief Owaisi said.

Rajnath Singh meets Islamic leaders over IS sway
Days after sixteen men were arrested for joining Islamic State (IS) in India by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday held a meeting with the top Muslim clerics and sought their cooperation to check the growing tentacles of the dreaded group among Muslim youth. The two-hour-long meeting was also attended by senior Home Ministry and Intelligence Bureau officials who told the Muslim clerics about activities of the Middle-East terrorist group and its efforts to attract Indian youth to its fold. The Home Minister sought the cooperation of the clerics, who offered all help to the government in this regard, official sources said. The issues that were discussed included misuse of social media, sources of impetus that attract persons, specially youth, to ISIS, the growth of ISIS influence in India's neighbourhood and the best possible law enforcement response. Those who attended the meeting include Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's Maulana Arshad Madani, Maulana Abdul Wahid Hussain Chisti of Ajmer Sharif, Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi of Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Tauqeer Raza Khan, Rafiq Warshiq, Shia leader Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad Qalbe Jawaid,  Kamal Farooqi, Mushafa Faruqi besides others.

US reports first Zika case
Health officials on Tuesday reported that a person in Texas has become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States amid the current outbreak in Latin America. The unidentified person had not traveled but had sex with a person who had returned from Venezuela and fallen ill with Zika, Dallas County health officials said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued a statement saying lab tests confirmed the non-traveler was infected with Zika. The virus, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas, is primarily spread through mosquito bites, but investigators had been exploring the possibility it could be sexually transmitted. There was a report of a Colorado researcher who picked up the virus in Africa and apparently spread it to his wife back home in 2008, and it was found in one man's semen in Tahiti.

LGBT community happy with SC decision to reivew section 377
In a significant decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday referred the plea against section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a five-judge constitutional bench. Various members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community from the region have hailed this development as a positive step towards a more constructive discussion around LGBT rights. Section 377 of the IPC - which dates back to 1860 - defines unnatural offences. It says, ‘Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.’

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