December 24: Top news at noon    

The latest headlines

PTI Photo
PTI Photo


Nusli Wadia voted out of Tata Chemicals
Shareholders of Tata Chemicals have voted out Nusli Wadia as an independent director of the company, with 75.67% votes going in favour of a resolution moved by Tata Sons to remove him at the company's EGM on Friday. Tata Chemicals had last month issued notice for an extraordinary general meeting of the company's shareholders to discuss a resolution moved by Tata Sons to remove Cyrus Mistry, ousted chairman of Tata Sons, and Wadia as directors. Mistry resigned from listed Tata firms ahead of EGMs. Wadia, who has been an independent director at Tata Chemicals for 35 years, has already filed a criminal defamation suit against Tata Sons, its interim chairman Ratan Tata and some directors for alleged "defamatory and offending" contents in a special resolution moved to seek his removal from three Tata Group firms.

President Obama signs $618bn defence bill

US President Barack Obama has signed into law the $618 billion defence budget for 2017, which enhances security cooperation with India and conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network. Currently vacationing in Hawaii, Obama yesterday signed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017, which asks Defence Secretary and Secretary of State to take steps necessary to recognise India as America's "major defence partner". The NDAA, which among other things creates a USD 1.2 billion Counter-ISIL Fund, imposes four conditions on Pakistan to be eligible for USD 400 million of the USD 900 million of the coalition support fund. The US Defence Secretary needs to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and that Islamabad has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any of its territory as a safe haven.

FCRA cancellation forces NGO to lay off its 80-odd staff

Facing cash crunch after the cancellation of its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence, Ahmedabad-based NGO Navsarjan Trust, which was working for Dalit rights for the last 27 years, has sought resignation of its 80-odd employees. Managing Trustee of Navsarjan Trust, Martin Macwan said the NGO was unable to pay for the salaries of its staff after the Centre revoked its FCRA licence. Macwan founded the NGO in 1989 to fight for the rights of Dalits and to take up issues concerning them, such as manual scavenging and social boycott. According to him, the NGO needs around Rs 2.75 crore annually to meet various expenses. "We are largely dependent on the funds from foreign sources to meet our expenses, which runs into ₹2.75 crore per annum. About 85% of that comes from foreign countries. Now, as our FCRA licence has been cancelled, it is impossible to run our operations or to pay salaries from what we get from local sources," said Macwan. The NGO also runs three schools, one each in Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan district. Now, these schools, where 102 students of 5th standard to 9th standard, are enrolled, are on the verge of closure, said Macwan.

PM in Mumbai today for Shivaji memorial

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today lay the foundation stone for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj off the Mumbai coast, and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune. The Prime Minister's visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation are coming up in February 2017. Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly on claiming the political legacy over the 17th century Maratha king that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held for the last many years.

The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost ₹3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore. The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

Delhi CM gets bail in false affidavit case

A Delhi court today granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a case of allegedly giving false information in an affidavit filed in the run up to 2013 Delhi assembly polls. Metropolitan Magistrate Ashish Gupta granted the relief to Kejriwal, who appeared in court in pursuance to its direction, on a personal bond of ₹10,000 and posted the matter for next hearing on April 7, 2017. The court had summoned Kejriwal in February this year on a criminal complaint filed by Neeraj Saxena and Anuj Agarwal on behalf of an NGO, noting that the politician had prima facie "willfully concealed" and "suppressed" his details in 2013 elections. It had noted that there was "sufficient ground" to proceed against him on allegations that he had concealed his correct address and suppressed the market value of his property in his affidavit to the Election Commission.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines