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Major News and Events of 17 February 2013

What Happened on 17 February 2013

Jaitley and Katju in war of words, demand each other's resignation

BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday stated that Press Council chairman Markandey Katju was indulging in partiality to the Congress and also said that he should resign. This led to strong reaction from Katju, the former apex court judge who said Jaitley was twisting the facts and that he should leave politics. Jaitley said, Katju seemed more Congress than the Congress party and he in his position should be impartial while Katju dismissed his remarks as "rubbish" and "personal attacks". Jaitley charged Katju of attacking non-Congress governments in Bihar, Gujarat and West Bengal on the basis of "his political preferences". He said it seemed that Katju was more in the mode of “thanks-giving to those who provided him with a post-retirement job". He specified that Katju had submitted a draft report on behalf of the Press Council of India (PCI) where he has alleged that the media in Bihar was not independent. Then there was an article in an English daily which targets the Gujarat government and Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Katju on the other hand to counter this said he had condemned in writing the arrest of the two girls for their posts on Facebook to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in November. He said he also wrote to Congress leader Virbhadra Singh who is now Himachal Pradesh chief minister, for his remarks to a cameraman during campaign in the state assembly polls.

Lakhs take dip at Konark, Kumbh mela area turns in a swamp after heavy rains

In Odisha's temple town, Konark five lakh devotees took a holy dip and offered prayers to the sun god on Magha Saptami. The bathing started as early as 3 a.m. As the legend goes, leprosy of Shamba, son of Hindu God Krishna, got cured when he took a holy dip in Chandrabhaga river. This was on the seventh day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magha. Even though the river has disappeared, devotees take bath in a large pond at the site, near the Bay of Bengal, and offer prayers to the sun god.

On the other heavy rains turned Kumbh Mela site into a swamp on Saturday. Even the tents collapsed in the torrential rains. Water collected in many area, temporary roads on the banks of the river Ganga caved in as the sand below it sank. It led to many Kalpawasis, who had arrived with a vow to stay at Kumbh for a month shunning the worldly life, leave the premises.

PM requests to trade unions to call off strike

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday appealed to central trade unions to call off their countrywide strike Feb 20-21. He informed that four senior ministers have been deputed to discuss with them and that the proposed shutdown will inconvenience the people. The prime minister stated he has requested Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Labour Minister M. Kharge, to have discussions with trade unions. He also stated that some the issues raised by the trade unions are already being resolved and are at various stages of consideration. He said he is confident that these discussions would move ahead to a process that is acceptable both to the Trade Unions and the Government. Central trade unions and federations of workers have organized a two-day nationwide strike which begins from Feb 20 against price-rise and "violation of labour laws". Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta on Saturday informed that all trade unions will collaborate for a two-day strike on issues such as "non-implementation" of labour laws, disinvestment in public sector units, and rising inflation.The strike falls on the same day as the start of parliament's budget session Feb 21.

India's Hockey World League starts on Monday

Twelve teams will vye for the top position in the Hockey World League Round-2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi from Feb 18-24. Six men's teams and six women's teams will be playing in a round-robin league format and top two teams from each league will get to the FIH Hockey World League Round 3.India men's team which is at 11th rank, will first face Fiji at rank 70 on Monday. Fiji men's team coach Hector Rockee stated they will present a tough fight to India. Fiji men's team is playing a high level match for the first time. The second match for the team is against Oman (ranked 36) on Feb 19, third against Ireland on Feb 22, fourth against China on Feb 23 and fifth against Bangladesh (ranked 40) on Feb 24. India women's team will play the Monday's match against Kazakhstan, ranked 33. India women's team second match is against Malaysia (ranked 22) on Feb 19, third against Fiji (ranked 59) on Feb 21, against Japan (ranked 9) on Feb 22, and against Russia (ranked 20) on Feb 24.

'Vicky Donor', 'Barfi! get several awards

In the popular and technical category "Vicky Donor" and "Barfi!" got seven awards each at the 8th edition of Renault Star Guild Awards 2013. "Barfi!" also got the title of best film. Actor Ayushmann Khuranna won the award for most promising debut for "Vicky Donor". Actress Vidya Balan got the award for best actress for her film "Kahaani", while Ranbir Kapoor got the title of best actor for "Barfi!". The shining star award went to Priyanka Chopra for her performance in "Barfi!" and "Agneepath". Lifetime achievement award was given to veteran actor Manoj Kumar for his contribution to Indian cinema. The non-fiction series in television went to  "Crime Patrol" while the best drama fiction was awarded to "Bade Acche Lagte Hain". The stars who attended the event included, Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Karan Johar, Sridevi, Boney Kapoor, Aditi Rao Hydari, Manoj Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, R. Balki, Gauri Shinde, Hema Malini, Anurag Basu and Sidharth Roy Kapur.

Lava Xolo A1000 phablet at Rs 13,999

Lava will be launching a new smartphone Xolo A1000 in India. It has a 5-inch touchscreen and is just 70.8mm wide and 8.8mm thick. Lava stated it is the first phablet which has been designed for a single hand operation. HD videos can be shot at 720p in the phone and it has One Glass Solution (OGS) technology which lends the sleek body of the device. The phone comes with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and has 1GB RAM. Other features include- an 8MP camera, while a 1.2MP front camera, 4GB internal memory, microSD expansion up to 32GB. Powered by a 2,100mAh battery, the phone has music playback time of approximately 21 hours. The phone will be available at Rs 13,999 in two color options - black and white.

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