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New Zealand Dy PM, NSA Doval discuss Indo-Pacific challenges

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New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters met National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Wednesday and the two leaders discussed strategic security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The highlight of Winston Peters’ official visit to India from March 10-13 has been to build a “broader, deeper, mutually beneficial relationship” with India and cooperation in the development of the Pacific Islands region.

“They (Peters and Doval) discussed the strategic security challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, and how New Zealand & India might work together more closely to help meet them,” a post on Winston Peters’ X handle read.

Earlier today, Winston Peters also called on Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar at the Upa-Rashtrapati Nivas to discuss the enhancement of “economic cooperation, connectivity, and people-to-people ties” between the two nations.

“Discussions between the leaders highlighted the warm and friendly relations between India and New Zealand, founded on common values rooted in democracy and the rule of law,” a post on Jagdeep Dhankar’s X handle read.

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In addition, they also discussed how New Zealand and India, as Parliamentary democracies, could broaden and strengthen their bilateral relationship.

In his meeting with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, he discussed cooperation in the Commonwealth and UNSC reform, in addition to sharing perspectives on the Indo-Pacific and global issues.

The two leaders agreed on enhancing political, trade, and economic ties, according to S. Jaishankar who called the meeting “warm and productive”.

Concluding his New Delhi visit on Wednesday, Winston Peters will be flying to Singapore, and Indonesia to reinvigorate New Zealand’s relations with the two South East Asian nations.

–IANS

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Smuggled from Myanmar, heroin valued at Rs 8.43 crore seized in Mizoram

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Aizawl, May 25 (IANS) Assam Rifles and Mizoram Police in a joint operation have seized heroin valued at Rs 8.43 crore from Champhai district, an official said on Friday.

Assam Rifles sources said that acting on a tip-off, the joint team of para-military troopers and Mizoram police personnel seized the heroin on Thursday night from an abandoned car at Ngur village in Mizoram’s Champhai district, which is one of the six districts shared borders with Myanmar and the main corridor drugs smuggling.

The contraband was smuggled from Myanmar and was to be supplied to other states, a source said.

No arrest, however, was made in connection with the seizure.

–IANS

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Karnataka CID files charge sheet in 11-year-old gang rape and murder case

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Bengaluru, May 25 (IANS) The Karnataka Police’s CID filed a charge sheet on Friday against three persons, including a bank manager, in the sensational 2013 gang rape and murder case of a private company employee in Bengaluru.

The CID said that the charge sheet names bank manager Narasimha Murthy and his associates C. Deepak and Hariprasad.

It described this case as the most difficult to solve, wherein the accused had gang-raped and murdered the victim, and dumped her body in an isolated location. Despite no initial clues and the local police filing a closure report, citing the inability to identify the accused, the CID sleuths cracked the case 11 years after the incident and managed to apprehend the accused.

According to the police, the victim’s husband filed a complaint at the Sanjaynagar police station when his wife did not return home. Her body was discovered in a highly decomposed state in a eucalyptus grove in Muttukadahalli village, within Chikkajala police station limits, on February 15, 2013.

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The local police, suspecting the involvement of the victim’s husband, arrested him. However, they later released him due to lack of evidence and filed a closure report, claiming that the accused were untraceable.

Protesting the police’s actions, the husband filed a petition before the High Court demanding a comprehensive investigation into the case. The High Court subsequently handed over the case to the CID.

After commencing the probe, the CID uncovered the involvement of one of the accused, Deepak, in the case. Following this lead, they cracked the case and discovered that Narasimha Murthy, the manager of the bank where the victim’s husband worked, and his associate Hariprasad, had gang-raped and killed her.

The CID stated that the sleuths collected technical and scientific evidence against the three accused.

–IANS

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Rajasthan's Phalodi sizzles at 49 deg Celsius

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Jaipur, May 25 (IANS) Mercury in Rajasthan smashed all records as three districts crossed the 48 degrees Celsius mark on Friday.

Phalodi recorded a maximum temperature of 49 degrees Celsius while in Jaisalmer and Barmer, it was at 48.3 and 48.2 degrees Celsius respectively.

The maximum temperatures in most parts of the state on Friday ranged between 46 to 49 degrees Celsius, said R.S. Sharma, Director, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Jaipur.

Jodhpur recorded 47.6 degrees Celsius, Kota (46.7), Ganganagar (46.6), Bikaner (45.8), Churu (44.8) and in Jaipur, it was at 42.8 degrees Celsius.

Severe heatwave conditions are likely to prevail for the next two days in the state, Sharma said.

–IANS

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Shashi Tharoor claims BJP has lost the national security narrative

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Patna May 24 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday slammed the Central government over national security, claiming that it did not take any action on the border issues involving China.

“The BJP contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections making national security an issue, but what happened after that? China came to the borders and destroyed the understanding that the two countries developed over the years. They (China) knew that the Narendra Modi government only talks, but doesn’t take any action,” Tharoor said while interacting with mediapersons here.

“If the BJP is contesting the ongoing elections on national security, I would like to say that we had 65 patrolling points on the India-China border where the armies of both countries had the authority to do patrolling for 45 years. Now, the Chinese army has occupied 26 of them and they are not allowing the Indian Army to go there.

“The Modi government has not done anything in this matter. Twenty of our soldiers were martyred in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh,” Tharoor said.

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Tharoor’s remarks came after senior BJP leaders pointed out that PoK belongs to India, and it will be taken back from Pakistan at any cost.

Tharoor added: “The national security narrative of the BJP failed during this election and hence its leaders raised issues of Ram Temple and Hindutva. Now, we have set the narrative for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

“We asked people if there was any change in their lifestyle in the 10 years of Narendra Modi’s rule. Do common people get jobs? Has their purchasing power increased? But people are saying that nothing like this happened in their lives. We also asked people why we should give the BJP a third chance,” Tharoor said.

–IANS

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Political slugfest continues in Telangana over farmers' problems

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Hyderabad, May 24 (IANS) The slugfest between Telangana’s opposition and ruling parties continues over farmers’ problems and the promise of bonus on paddy.

Stepping up the pressure on the Congress government, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader T. Harish Rao on Friday said farmers would organise a ‘Chalo Assembly’ protest in July when a full-fledged Budget session will be held.

“Farmers will lay siege to the Assembly and inside the House, we will take the government to task,” he said.

Harish Rao visited a village in Khammam district and met a group of farmers who had declared a crop holiday. The former minister claimed that farmers have declared a crop holiday as they are not getting adequate water for irrigation, and the Congress government has failed to come to their rescue.

“This government has failed in providing water for irrigation, ensuring uninterrupted power supply and in providing seeds,” he said, alleging that during the last six months of Congress rule, farmers have suffered on every front. He reiterated the demand that the government should pay a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal for all varieties of paddy as promised by the Congress during the Assembly elections while slamming the government for putting a rider that a bonus will be paid only for fine varieties from the next year.

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“We will not leave this government till it implements all the promises made to farmers,” he said.

Harish Rao demanded that the government provide Rs 7,500 per acre for farmers for the coming crop season as per the promise made to extend financial assistance of Rs 15,000 annually under the Rythu Bharosa scheme. He also slammed the government for failing to implement the promise of farm loan waivers to the tune of Rs 2 lakh. He also wanted to know from the government as to when agriculture labourers will get Rs 12,000 financial assistance as promised by it.

Harish Rao had Thursday visited paddy procurement centres in Jagtial and Jayashankar Bhupalpally districts and alleged that the government failed to procure paddy on time, causing losses to farmers.

The BJP is also targeting the Congress government over the farmers’ issues.

Union Minister and state BJP President G. Kishan Reddy visited some paddy procurement centres and interacted with farmers to learn about their problems. He alleged that paddy farmers were suffering losses due to the indifferent attitude of the Congress government, quipping that the previous BRS government earned the wrath of farmers in 10 years but for Congress, it took only five months.

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The BJP leader claimed that farmers brought their paddy to procurement centres 45 days ago but the government failed to procure it. He said despite the Centre agreeing to procure the coarse variety of rice, the state government is reluctant to procure it from farmers.

The ruling party, however, has denied any delay in procuring paddy. Its leaders accused BRS and BJP of politicising the issue to draw mileage.

Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka claimed that the government is procuring even the soaked and wet paddy. He assured paddy farmers that the government would continue procurement of paddy till the last grain.

He said that compared to the previous year, the procurement started 15 days early and the number of procurement centres also increased.

“We are committed to purchasing the entire paddy. Perhaps this commitment is not digestible to the opposition parties,” he said.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the government was crediting the amount to farmers’ bank accounts within three days, claiming that no government in the past paid the amount within three days. He also brushed aside the criticism by the opposition parties over the paddy bonus issue. He said the government initiated the process to pay a bonus of Rs.500 per quintal with fine varieties of paddy.

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The government says that it has so far procured 37.59 lakh tonnes of paddy so far against 33.97 lakh tonnes procured during the Rabi season of 2022-23.

Paddy procurement this year began on March 25 against April 9 last year. This time, the government has opened 7,171 paddy procurement centres against 6,889 last year.

–IANS

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