March 14: Top news at 1 pm  

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PTI Photo


Opposition walkout against efforts to form BJP govts in Goa, Manipur

Congress and its UPA allies NCP and RJD today staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha to protest the alleged efforts to install BJP governments in Goa and Manipur despite it having the numbers. The issue was raised during Question Hour. Congress leader in the House Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that democracy is being murdered. When the Speaker said she would not allow the Question Hour to be disrupted and members should raise such matters in the Zero Hour, Kharge said if they are not allowed to raise the issue in the House, where else would they go. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said since the Congress leader has used "strong words", they should either be expunged or the government be allowed to respond. The Speaker said nothing beyond the questions and answers will be allowed to go on record. The Congress, NCP and RJD members then staged a walkout.

The Congress has alleged that the BJP is moving against the law and precedent in forming their governments in Goa and Manipur, saying they are the single largest party in both the states.

Maharashtra minister apologises over remarks disparaging Brahmins

Maharashtra Minister of State for Social Justice Dilip Kamble today tendered apology after his remarks referring to Brahmins triggered a controversy. "Am I a Brahmin to be afraid," Kamble had said at a public event at Latur yesterday. He was talking about the "middlemen" who he alleged were ganging up against him as he had stopped their malpractices. "I am a Dalit. Am I a Brahmin to be afraid (of middlemen)," Kamble had said. Labour Minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar, who was present at the function, played down the remarks, saying "Today is Holi and his remarks should be taken in spirit of Holi." However, following uproar on social media, Kamble today apologised. "If anyone's feelings have been hurt, I tender an apology," he said.

UK Parliament passes Brexit bill

Britain's Parliament has passed the 'Brexit bill' paving the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger negotiations for the UK's exit from the European Union. The House of Commons yesterday rejected amendments by the House of Lords, calling on the government to protect the status of EU nationals within three months of the start of Brexit talks, by 335 votes to 287. They also dismissed calls for Parliament to have a meaningful vote on any Brexit deal by 331 to 286 votes. This meant that the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill passed the House of Commons without any changes. The bill was then passed unamended by the House of Lords after peers voted by 274 votes to 118 not to challenge the Commons again over the issue of whether Parliament should have a veto on the terms of exit. The bill is now expected to receive Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II to become a law. May could then theoretically trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty any time this week, but indications are that she is unlikely to trigger the negotiations until the end of this month.

Trump gives CIA authority to carry out drone strikes: report

US President Donald Trump has reportedly given the CIA necessary authorisation to carry out drone strikes against terror groups, a move that could have implications for Pakistan. This is a change from the policies of the previous Obama Administration under which the Department of Defence was authorised to carry out such strikes and the CIA used drones to gather intelligence information, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The White House and the CIA have so far not responded to the news report. According to the daily, Trump gave such an authorisation to the CIA not long after he visited its headquarters on January 21. "The Trump administration is also giving the military more authority to conduct operations on its own without first getting a sign off from the Pentagon or the White House," the report said. The report said Trump's unexpected decision to give the CIA the strike authority created ferment inside the US government within days of his visit, as US military officials scrambled to respond to the new directive.

Nifty takes a leap, hits record 9,123 on BJP's poll success, IIP numbers

The Nifty hit an all-time high of 9,123 and the Sensex soared 616 points in opening trade on Tuesday after a gush of capital inflows. What made the mood buoyant were BJP's landslide victories in UP and Uttarakhand and better than expected industrial output numbers. IIP (index of industrial production) in January bounced back by expanding 2.7% year-on-year. All sectoral indices led by bank, capital goods and realty were in the positive zone with gains up to 2.20%. The 50-share NSE Nifty climbed 188.20 points, or 2.10%, to record an all-time high of 9,122.75 intra-day, surpassing its previous corresponding figure of 9,119.20 on March 4, 2015. The 30-share Sensex too zoomed 615.70 points, or 2.12%, to trade at 29,561.93, a level last seen on March 4, 2015. The gauge had gained 44.29 points in the past two sessions.

How does it feels to work for a “fascist”: Indian American woman to Spicer
An Indian-American woman confronted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at a local Apple store in Washington DC and repeatedly asked him how does it felt to work for a "fascist". Shree Chauhan, 33, posted Saturday's encounter on Twitter, showing Spicer's reaction as she peppers him with questions that include, "How does it feel to work for a fascist?" and "How do you feel about destroying the country?". Chauhan also asked Spicer about Russia and accused President Donald Trump of committing treason. In the video, Chauhan put out on various social media outlets that have gone viral, Spicer is heard saying that the US is "such a great country that allows you to be here". Chauhan describes his remarks as racist. "That is racism and it is an implied threat. Think about the sheer audacity of Mr Spicer to say that to my face with a smile, knowing that he is being recorded on video and the position of power he holds in our government," she said.

Man booked for rioting nine years ago arrested

Rishi, a resident of Resham Ghar colony in Jammu city and booked in a case of rioting nine years ago, was arrested in Jammu on Tuesday, police said. A local court had issued a warrant against the absconder, a police officer said. The accused was booked under section 451 (house trespass in order to commit offence), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of Ranbir Panel Code (RPC).

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