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Union Government calls All-Party meeting today before Winter Session Starts Tomorrow

As India prepares to brace another stormy winter session of the parliament from tomorrow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, during an all party meeting, urged opposition parties to let the parliament function in a constructive manner so that his government is able to fulfill expectations of general populace. M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs Minister) told media that PM Modi vouched for passing GST legislation and called it beneficial for the nation. CPIM GS Sitaram Yechury has urged the house to pass a resolution condemning rising intolerance in India. Naidu has said that his government is ready to discuss about the intolerance issue during winter session. IT and Communication minister Ravishankar Prasad hoped that the opposition parties will let the house function smoothly. Another all party meeting, called by lower house’s speaker Sumitra Mahajan, will also take place in the evening today.

PM Modi pitches for Big Investment in Singapore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to New Delhi yesterday night after a 4-day tour of Malaysia and Singapore. During his last leg of the tour PM Modi not only signed strategic partnership agreement with Singapore but also interacted with the CEOs and addressed India-Singapore Economic Convention (ISEC). While addressing Indian diaspora as well as ISEC, PM Modi said that to him FDI means First Develop India. While stressing upon his government’s successes, Prime Minister said that FDI in India has gone up by 40 per cent since he assumed office. He also vouched for the reform measures undertaken by his government including 100 per cent opening up of FDI in Railways and 40 per cent in Defence Sector. PM Modi also said that his government is pushing for Rupee Bond (launched in London Stock Exchange) for integrating Indian economy with the world market.

Government Acknowledges ISIS Recruitment Push in India

While interacting with the media, MoS of Home Ministry Kiren Rijiju acknowledged that ISIS is on a recruitment overdrive in India. However, the minister declined to acknowledge ISIS as a threat as large as in Europe. Rijiju also said that all kinds of steps are being undertaken for stopping any attempt of radicalizing the youth, especially from the disgruntled and marginalized minority Muslims. He also lauded the efforts of security forces in containing the threat of ISIS from spreading throughout India. Reports say that till now 23 Indians have joined ISIS, out of which 6 are reportedly dead. The minister said that 150 youths, hailing mainly from South India, inclined towards ISIS are currently under surveillance. Response of the MoS Home came just days after controversial Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar insisted upon getting to the root cause of the problem of increasing tendency of minority youths to get radicalized.

Future of GST Bill still dangles in Uncertainty

After Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reached out to Congress on GST issue, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has today said that his party strongly believes in tax reform and GST but asked the government to reach out to the opposition parties for an amicable solution. He also urged the government to contemplate on the issue of rate cap. Biju Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United) are also vouching for capping GST rate in addition to doing away with the 1 per cent inter-state CST tax. However, Arun Jaitley has called the Congress’s suggestion of including GST tariff in the constitution as “extremely unfair” and “preposterous”.

Arun Jaitley expresses fears of adverse effect of ISIS's Disruptive activities on World Economy

While addressing at the annual meet of an industry chamber, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that disruptive activities of the dreaded terrorist organization ISIS can adversely affect the world economy. He emphasized upon the point that defending a country will become more important than developing the same in case of increase in ISIS’s disruptive activities and therefore most of the funds will be diverted to security measures rather than in meeting developmental challenges including poverty alleviation. Jaitley went on to say that unlike past decades “volatility and turmoil” have become the new global norm. He warned that ISIS activities can have adverse effect on tourism, trade, and currency.

Vijay Mallya negotiating to settle defunct Kingfisher Airlines Debt

The king of good times, Vijay Mallya has said that he is discussing with the public sector banks for settling dues that he incurred for his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. However, when inquired about his plans of selling his personal 4 per cent stake in United Spirits for raising money, Mallya dodged the question, at the sidelines of USL’s annual general meeting, by saying that he is currently focusing on settling the matters with banks regarding KA debts. This statement comes for the first time after Mallya was tagged by SBI as “willful defaulter” and ED planning a money laundering investigation against him.

Facebook makes Free Basics available in India

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his Facebook post has said that his social networking company has taken a huge leap forward in its endeavor of connecting India. He went on to say that free internet services can be accessed throughout India for multiple purposes including communication, jobs, education, and health Free Basics app of on Reliance Network. Zuckerberg also gave example of a farmer named Ganesh who benefitted from AccuWeather and Reuters Market Light services for better timing of his crops, double crop yield, and also get better deal for crops.

India's Environment Minister talks tough before Paris Climate Talks

Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, has said that during the Paris Climate Conference, to start next week, India will not bow down to the aggressive postures of the developed nations, spearheaded by the USA, in accepting their agenda. The reaction comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry referred India as a challenge in Paris climate change negotiations. While calling Kerry’s comments as "unfair and unwarranted", Javedkar went on to say that India’s position was reached after extensively discussing with over 60 countries. Reports say that PM Modi will meet US President Obama on the sidelines of the Paris negotiation on November 30.

Mobile phone-based alerts for pregnant women launched

A mobile phone-based alert system for pregnant women in rural areas was launched here on Monday to help them stay healthy till delivery. Called 'M-Health Service', the service requires the would-be mothers to register via a cellphone. Periodic text messages will convey to them necessary treatment details to take care of issues that crop up during pregnancy. Arati Basu Sengupta, veteran gynaecologist and former president of the Bengal Obstetric and Gynaecological Society, said: With the help of this mobile health service provider pregnant women can stay in touch with the experts. They will get updates regarding the guidance and schedule of vaccine." Source: IANS

India's Campaign at Macau Open begins with Hits and Misses

Indian shuttlers had a great day today at USD 120,000 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold as both H S Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth advanced to the 3rd round. While Prannoy defeated Lin Chia Hsuan of Chinese Taipei in straight sets (21-19 21-15), Praneeth humiliated Artyom Savatyugin of Uzbekistan 21-11 21-8. In the women’s single section, 5th seeded PV Sindhu defeated Korea’s Kim Hyo Min in straight sets (21-13 22-20). While women’s doubles partner Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost to Japanese duo Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota in straight sets (16-21, 15-21), Jayaram lost to China’s Lin Guipu 11-21, 17-21.

Pankaj Advani wins IBSF World Snooker Championship 2015 Title

30-year old Pankaj Advani has won his 15th world title in Egypt’s Hurghada (Sunrise Crystal Bay resort) by defeating 18-year old Zhua Xintong of China in the IBSF World Snooker Championship. In the best-of-15 final match, the Indian defeated the teenage Chinese sensation by scoring 8-6. Though Bengaluru’s “Golden Boy” was looking unstoppable in the first session with a lead of 5-2, his talented Chinese opponent came back strongly after the break and went on to narrow down the lead to 7-6. However, more experience of the Indian helped him finish the score at 8-6.

India finishes 3rd in Track Asia Cup cycling Championship with 11 Medals in the Kitty

At the end of Track Asia Cup cycling championship, which took place in New Delhi’s IG Sports Complex, India finished at the third spot by winning 11 medals. India won 3 gold, 3 silvers, and 5 bronze medals in the event. India made a great come back on the final day of the event as it won 2 gold and 3 bronze medals. In the medal tally, South Korea finished at the top followed by Uzbekistan and India. While South Korea won 6 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze medals, Uzbekistan won 3 gold and 4 silver medals.

Shekhar Kapur making short film on Buddha's enlightenment

Shekhar Kapur has embarked on a quest to sneak into Lord Buddha's mind when he attained enlightenment, with his camera. The filmmaker says he is making a short film on what went in the mind of Buddha at the time of awakening in a more virtual and immersive space. "I want to make a film on what actually happened to Buddha at the time of enlightenment. So, I'm trying to make a 13-14 minute film on it. I'm trying to give the audience a feeling of what could have happened in his mind, how he saw the world, how the world changed when he was going through enlightenment," Kapur said on the sidelines of Film Bazaar. Source: IANS

NFDC to become single-window clearance point for film shoots

A single window clearance system in India is a dream that will become a reality for filmmakers across the world. A Film Facilitation Office will be operated by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), eliminating all channels of bureaucracy and multiple stops for getting clearance for a film's shoot. The move of making NFDC a ‘single-window clearance’ system will be formally announced at the forthcoming Film Bazaar. The annual film market, which is organised alongside the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), is held from November 20-24. Source: IANS

Rahman song chosen for Bacardi NH7 Weekender's fest video

To celebrate the line-up of this year's NH7 Weekender, the organisers have released a new music video based on Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman's song "Dhakka laga bukka" from the Mani Ratnam film "Yuva". Originally composed and sung by Rahman, who is also the headliner of the festival this year, the new rendition of the track features the music virtuoso himself and Karthik on vocals along with Vishal Dadlani, Papon, Samara Chopra (The Ska Vengers), Smiti Malik (Chayan & Smiti), Abhishekh Nailwal and Alisha Pais, read a statement. Source: IANS

Amir Khan's Comment on Intolerance stirred Controversy

After bollywood superstar Aamir Khan said that his wife Kiran Rao once expressed her fears of leaving India due to increasing intolerance in India, especially in the last 6 to 8 months, the remark stoked controversy. While BJP has not taken the remarks kindly, Congress has supported the remarks. While Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has called the comment politically motivated and assured Aamir’s safety in India, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said that "some people are misleading and some people are misled". AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi said he will never leave India inspite of numerous riots. Samajwadi Party has extended support to Aamir and referred his remarks as a result of collective concern. Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman said that he faced ire of Muslim fundamentalists because of his music composition in an Iranian film “Muhammad: Messenger of God”.

Government proposes to extend Maternity Leave from 12 Weeks to 26 Weeks

Union Labour Ministry, during the discussion of draft amendment bill on Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, with employers and trade unions, proposed extending maternity leave from the current scheduled 12 weeks to 26 weeks, which is learnt to be agreed upon unanimously. Reports say that the proposal also includes provision of 12 weeks maternity leave to commissioning mothers and working women adopting a baby. Maneka Gandhi (Women and Child Development Minister) is learnt to have proposed increasing maternity leave to 28 weeks. Reports say that trade unions had also proposed crèches for firms either having a total of 50 employees or 30 women employees.

Terrorists attack Army Camp in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir today witnessed a 6 hour long gun battle between terrorists and Indian army commandos. Reports say 3 terrorists and 1 civilian got killed during the gunfight. It is learnt that three gun-totting (with AK-47s) militants cut perimeter fence and entered Indian battalion headquarters, located in Northern Kashmir’s Tangdhar, at around 6am. First they took position in officers’ mess, next blew up a kerosene tank, and then started firing indiscriminately. While an Indian army officer called it a planned attack and blamed Pakistan for training militants in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Pakistan denied the allegations.