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Major News and Events of 18 March 2013

What Happened on 18 March 2013

Anti-rape law: Age of consent to be increased to 18 years

The government has given approval to increase the age of consent from 16 to 18 years in the anti-rape bill it is planning to introduce in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as per the sources. This implies that consensual sex with a girl under 18 years old will be considered as rape.As per the sources, in case of a minor who is charged with gender crimes, a probation of one year as punishment for the first offence  will be allowed but he will be charged with rape if he is booked the second time.The government will incorporate the amendments on the issue when the bill is brought up in the lower house. The cabinet gave its approval for the anti-rape bill by agreeing to stick to 18 years as the age of consent instead of 16.The cabinet meeting followed an all-party meeting in the morning, when the bill was discussed. Sticking to 18 years as age of consent as per the suggestions at the all-party meeting. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) were among the parties which were opposed to the lowering the age of consent to 16.The age of consent was 16 years under the Indian Penal Code but was raised to 18 in the anti-rape ordinance promulgated by the government in February. The government had agreed to lower the age of consent to 16 under the proposed Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013. But several political parties gave their suggestion at the all-party meeting that the age of consent should be increased to 18 years since the minimum age of marriage for girls was also 18.

Indian envoy to Geneva called

The Indian government is yet to see the final version of the proposed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council against Sri Lanka as informed by the external affairs ministry and it was stated that India will decide once it goes through that. Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam on the other hand gave a statement to the media that the resolution against Sri Lanka was "uncalled for" and the international community should not interfere in the country's matters. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ally DMK on Sunday gave a warning that it will withdraw support to the government if it did not take initiative to bring amendments to the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC. Sri Lanka is under fire over the death of a large number of Tamil civilians during the final stages of the war that ended the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa requested the Centre to take a "strong, historic and courageous stance" by not only extending support to the US-sponsored draft resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka in the UNHRC session, but also make it stronger through suitable amendments.

Amid all this India asked its envoy in Geneva to return for consultations on the US resolution on Sri Lanka.Dilip Sinha, ambassador and permanent representative of India to the UN in Geneva, will arrive here on Tuesday to apprise the government on the resolution. The issue has gathered momentum with political parties and activists in Tamil Nadu asking the government to support the resolution -- like last year -- and even initiate amendments. 

Nine food items to be supplied through PDS in Andhra

The Andhra Pradesh government made an announcement of a new scheme, under which Below Poverty Line (BPL) families will be provided nine essential food items at subsidized price through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Under this which will be operational from Telugu New Year Ugadi (March 27), the ration card holders will get a basket of commodities that include wheat, wheat atta, sugar, red gram, palmolein oil, iodized salt, tamarind, chilly powder and turmeric powder at fair price shops.The scheme was declared in the state budget for 2013-14 presented in the assembly on Monday.Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy stated every card holder will enjoy a benefit of Rs.1,284 per annum. Rs.660 crore will be the cost to the state exchequer every year.The state has already implemented Re.1 a kg rice scheme for BPL families. As per the finance minister, 7.5 crore people benefit through PDS and 3.25 lakh metric tonnes of rice per month is distributed under the scheme.

India win the 3rd test in Mohali, clinch series

India won the third Test against Australia by six wickets to take a 3-0 lead in the four-match series at Mohali on Monday thus clinching the series. In 33.3 overs India completed the 133-run target. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18) and Ravindra Jadeja (8) were at crease when the match was won. Earlier in the day Australia were bowled out for 223 in their second innings. They had compiled 408 in the first innings and India made 499 in response.

'Bhooter Bhabishyat' Hindi remake in 3D

Bollywood producer Ratan Jain, who has acquired the rights of Bengali blockbuster "Bhooter Bhabishyat", will do the Hindi remake and it might be in 3D though he said he cannot confirm this now. The name will be  'Gang of Ghosts'. The film's director will be Satish Kaushik. "Bhooter Bhabishyat" was released in 2012. It was one of the highest grossers in 2012. Based on a ghost story the movie was a comic entertainer. The shooting will be done in Mumbai, and unconfirmed reports specify that actress Mahie Gill will be a part of the project. The cast is yet to be finalized, and the film will go on floors in April end.

'Paan Singh Tomar' wins best feature film National Award

"Paan Singh Tomar" which had got critical acclaim was named the best feature film of 2012 in the 60th National Film Awards. The Tigmanshu Dhulia-directorial venture even won the best actor's trophy for Irrfan, who portrayed the role of a national level athlete who transforms into one of the most dreaded dacoits of Chambal Valley. The best actor's trophy will also be shared  by Vikram Gokhale for Marathi film "Anumati", while the best actress award went to Usha Jadhav for her performance in "Dhag", also in Marathi. In the feature film category, as many as 38 films from 14 languages were selected for the awards. Hindi film "Chittagong" and Malayalam movie "101 Chodiyangal" shared the Indira Gandhi Award for the best debut film of a director. The best popular film for providing wholesome entertainment were the Bollywood movie "Vicky Donor" and Malayalam project "Ustad Hotel".

Sony to launch Xperia SP and Xperia L

Sony added two more handsets to its list of Android smartphone, the Xperia L and Xperia SP.The Sony Xperia SP seems a downsized alternative to Sony's Xperia Z smartphone. It has a 4.6in HD 720p Reality display powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor and Google's Android 4.1 mobile operating system. Packed with an 8MP camera with Exmor RS sensor, battery ‘stamina' mode for prolonged battery life, integrated NFC, 8GB of internal expandable storage and support for 4G LTE. The Sony Xperia L will most probably be cheaper and will feature a smaller 4.3in FWVGA screen and a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1GHz processor. It will have a 8MP rear-facing camera, the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean mobile operating system. Both the Xperia SP and Xperia L will be available in the UK from the second quarter, though there is no information on price as of yet.

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