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Will ‘positively consider’ if India proposes talks on Heart of Asia sidelines: Abdul Basit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ahead of a visit by its Foreign Advisor Sartaj Aziz’s to India to attend Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, Pakistan on Monday said it will “positively consider” if India, as a host, proposed a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the forum.However, none of the two has approached each other in this regard, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said. “As a host, if India approaches us with a proposal (for talks on the sidelines), Pakistan will positively consider it,” Basit told Aaj Tak news channel.Aziz’s would be the first high-level visit from Pakistan after the announcement of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) in December last year which never took off in the wake of terror strikes, including the Pathankot airbase attack by Pakistan-based terror groups in January, and subsequent incidents which led to intense tension between the two countries. India has been non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Aziz but has made it clear that “talks and terror cannot go hand in hand”.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Govt & cops’ versions differ on Bhopal encounter; Pak violates ceasefire again; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Bhopal jailbreak: Were the 8 SIMI undertrials armed? Govt & cops’ versions differGuns or vessels? The eight undertrials were killed eight hours after escaping from the Bhopal Central Jail. Govt, cops differ on whether they were armed or not. Read more.2. J&K: Pakistan violates ceasefire again; 2 civilians injured in Arnia sectorAn encounter between security forces and terrorists is underway in Ajar village. Read more.3. Leaked emails suggest DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile gave Clinton debate questions in advanceInterim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile had come under fire earlier this month for possibly having tipped off Clinton’s campaign about a CNN town-hall debate question. Read more.4. Ahead of NSA talks, India-China discuss NSG membershipChina has been vetoing India’s bid citing rules that no country outside the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can be given membership of the nuclear supplier club. Read more.5. Don’t want to provide more fodder: Farhan Akhtar…says Farhan Akhtar about his alleged affair with his Rock On!! 2 co-star Shraddha Kapoor. Read more.

BJP National Executive meet in Allahabad likely to set agenda for Uttar Pradesh polls

Ahead of the BJP’s national executive meeting, a meeting of the party’s national office-bearers began in Allahabad on Sunday with party president Amit Shah chairing it.While Prime Minister Narendra Modi would arrive later in the day for the executive meeting, Shah, veteran leader Murli Manoharj Joshi, party general secretaries Ram Madhav, Ram Lal and Bhupendra Yadav, national secretaries Siddharth Nath Singh and Shrikant Sharma and party spokesman Sambit Patra have already reached the city. The meeting of the office-bearers began at a city hotel.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national executive meet, which is likely to begin around 3 PM, is likely to set the agenda for the assembly elections in the state which are less than a year away.
ALSO READ Ahead of BJP’s national executive meet, poster blitzkrieg paints Allahabad saffronMeanwhile, leaders have been pouring in to take part in the two-day conclave which will conclude tomorrow, followed by a rally to be addressed by Modi. Several senior members of the Union cabinet and Chief Ministers of all the states ruled by the BJP are also likely to take part in the national executive meeting.”I would have called it as sounding the poll bugle for UP assembly polls but for PM Modi’s rally in Saharanpur last month,” said BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh yesterday, while party’s vice-president and in-charge for the state Om Mathur said “many issues would be discussed at the national executive but the main focus would obviously be on the UP assembly polls due next year”.Posters have come up across the city displaying the header ‘Mission 265 Plus’ a term coined by Shah who has repeatedly exhorted workers to aim at achieving a thumping majority for the party in the 403-strong UP assembly.The BJP at present has less than 50 MLAs in the house, a massive decline since the 1990s when it used to be the top political group in the state.BJP has brought several new faces to its national executive, the highlight being some former Congress leaders, including former Odisha Chief Minister and tribal leader Giridhar Gamang and saffron party leader K V Singh Deo, also from that state. Deo is a former state party chief.Himanta Biswa Sarma, who defected from Congress to BJP and played a key role in its big Assam win, and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, a new entrant to the saffron party, have also been inducted into the national executive.

Resolution of border dispute will boost ties with China: Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: Ahead of his state visit to China, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said India seeks a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of boundary question which will help in achieving full potential of Sino-India relationship.

Talking to state-run Chinese Central Television (CCTV) and Xinuha News Agency ahead of his first state visit, beginning 24 May, the President spoke on various issues including India’s concerns on terrorism, bilateral trade and cultural and educational exchanges.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTIPresident Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

In reply to a question about some sensitive problems left over from history between India and China, Mukherjee said India would like to expand and diversify its engagement with China across various fields while proactively addressing outstanding issues including the boundary question.

“We seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question and, pending the boundary settlement, to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas. Both sides should strive to ensure that the outstanding issues are addressed in a manner that demonstrates mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspiration,” he said and added that it was only in this manner can “we ensure that these differences will not come in the way of continued development of bilateral relations.”

The President also favoured increasing mutual trust and understanding through stepped-up dialogue on political, security and strategic issues.

“We should expand our defence exchanges and increase economic engagement, especially through greater investments,”
he said and also suggested “functional cooperation at international fora.”

In reply to another question on his state visit, the President said, “We are doing well but the full potentiality is yet to be achieved. That is why we want to resolve all outstanding issues in a mutually acceptable manner, keeping in mind the aspirations, concerns, sensitivities of each country.”

JKLF chairman Yasin Malik detained ahead of founder’s funeral in absentia

Police on Wednesday detained JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik hours ahead of the funeral prayers in absentia for party founder Amanullah Khan, who died in Pakistan yesterday.”Ahead of Gayibana Nimaz-i-Jinaza (funeral prayers in absentia) for JKLF supreme leader Amanullah Khan, Malik was arrested by police,” a spokesman of the JKLF said in a statement.The spokesman claimed that authorities have imposed “curfew” in Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Kokerbazar, Kothibagh, Abi Guzar, court road and other adjoining areas.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amanullah Khan, one of the founders of pro-Independence JKLF, died in Rawalipindi, Pakistan, on Tuesday.

Someone deliberately causing Deonar fire: Ramdas Kadam

Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam said on Tuesday in the legislative council that someone might be deliberately causing the fire at Deonar dumping grounds, ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, to sully the image of the Shiv Sena.He said that the government is working on a policy that will bar dumping grounds in future to prevent health and environment-related concerns.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition raised the issue of frequent fires at Deonar dumping grounds in the upper house. Kadam said that he had called the BMC chief and discussed the dumping ground issue.”We are making a policy where the segregation of dry and wet garbage will be mandatory. How many dumping grounds will we create? Creation of new dumping grounds will not resolve the issue. We want long-term and sustainable solutions,” he said.Kadam said that they had debarred the earlier contractor who was looking after the Deonar dumping ground. “Ahead of the BMC election, someone might be deliberately lighting the fire at Deonar dumping ground frequently to damage the image of the Shiv Sena,” Kadam added.NCP MLC Sunil Tatkare asked the minister to identify the people. “Take the name of the person or the party, so that people of Maharashtra will understand the Deonar dumping ground fire politics,” Tatkare said.Kadam said that the government is trying to reduce pollution across the state. “We are in process of setting up the 34 bio- disposal plants across the state. We are making an action plan for 10 major cities of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur to reduce pollution levels. In Mumbai, the maximum pollution happens because of household drainwater and garbage. In Pune, we are promoting CNG-based transport buses,” Kadam said.

Tamil Nadu polls: EC seizes over Rs. 11 crore for model code violation

Ahead of the crucial polls in Tamil Nadu, the Election Commission (EC) has seized over Rs. 11 crore till March 20.The model code of conduct in the state came into effect from March 4.Earlier, the election authorities seized money worth Rs. 7.40 crore, with 73 cases related to alleged electoral offences been registered in the state.Tamil Nadu will have single phase assembly elections on May 16, and the results will be announced on May 19.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu’s 15th legislative assembly is ruled by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK.It has 234 assembly seats. In 2011 assembly elections, AIADMK had won 150 seats, DMDK-29, DMK-23, CPM-10, CPI-9 and Others-13 seats.

Parliament panel suggests reducing size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products

Members of a parliamentary panel looking into the vexed issue of pictorial warnings on tobacco products are understood to have favoured drastic reduction in size of such warnings to 50% from the proposed 85% terming it “too harsh”. Ahead of the April 1 deadline for increasing pictorial warnings on cigarette and beedi products from present 40 to 85 per cent, the panel members suggested that it should be 50 per cent instead, as “the proposed graphic warnings have potential to severely affect Indian farmers and companies”. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Committee is of the considered view that in order to have a balanced approach, the warning on cigarette packets should be 50 per cent on both sides of the principal display area instead of 85 per cent of the area, as it will be too harsh and will result in flooding of illicit cigarettes in the country,” the report is learnt to have suggested. Highly-placed sources said though a number of committee members was not present, those present have authorised Chairman Dilip Gandhi to finalise the report. Since the Aadhar Bill was discussed in Lok Sabha at the time, some members urged the committee Chairman not to rush through the report and postpone the meeting instead. The report is likely to be submitted in Parliament in a day or two, the sources added. Committee chairman Dilip Gandhi was not available for comments.In the case of beedi products, the panel is learnt to have favoured pictorial graphic warnings of 50 per cent display size on only one side of the product. The Committee also favoured suggesting to the government to stress on education and education generation programmes that have been proved to be more effective and at the same time protect the livelihood of millions of tobacco workers.Referring to a study by the Department of Commerce and another by global consultancy firm Deloitte, the panel also laid stress on its findings on assessment of tobacco products in 27 countries that there has been “no impact” of large and cumbersome health warnings and “unintended consequences will be severe and irreversible”.

Acid attack victims to walk down the ramp in Bhopal

Ahead of the International Women’s Day, many acid attack survivors would walk down the ramp Bhopal on Sunday to display their courage and self-confidence.”After the acid attack, a sense of gloom engulfs women. But in some cases, the women don’t get bogged down or lose their self-confidence and instead excel in the society,” said Sunita Jain, founder of the NGO ‘Prena’, speaking to media.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These women who would be doing the ramp-walking would also be felicitated on the occasion, she said adding, they would also share their experiences. There are around 300 women acid attack victims in India, according to Jain.

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