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While you were away: Top stories to bring you up to date

Here are the top stories this morning.

india Updated: May 19, 2017 07:35 IST
HT Correspondent
Kulbhushan Jadhav

International Court of Justice asks Pakistan to stay the death sentence of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav on May 18.(PTI File Photo)

ICJ relief for Jadhav, grenade attack in Srinagar, Nawaz Sharif meets Putin and Xi, SPG cover for Sonia, Manmohan and Vajpayee to be reviewed, Tories promise more visa curbs on Indians, Dinesh Karthik back in Indian team.

Here are the stories to bring you up to date:

1- ICJ orders Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav, India heaves sigh of relief

Kulbhushan Jadhav gained a temporary reprieve on Thursday as the International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan not to execute the former Indian Navy officer convicted of alleged espionage and terrorism. Pakistan sought to play down the significance of the order, saying it amounted to maintaining “status quo” in Jadhav’s case and that it was determined to take the matter to its “logical end”. Ronny Abraham, president of the United Nations’ highest court in The Hague, read out the order: “Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order.”

Read the story here.

2- GST rates decided on 1,211 items: Milk exempt, foodgrain to be cheaper

The Centre and states agreed on Thursday to exempt most food items including wheat, rice and milk from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as political consensus grew for a possible July 1 roll out of India’s biggest tax reforms since Independence. While manufactured goods will attract 18% GST, other household items such as sugar, tea, coffee and edible oil will attract 5% levy, senior officials said after a meeting of the powerful GST Council in Srinagar. Luxury cars will be taxed at 28% GST plus a cess of 15%, while small petrol cars will be taxed at 28% GST plus a 1% cess and small diesel cars at 28% plus 3% cess.

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3- Kashmir: 18 injured in grenade attack, student agitation as violence rages on

As many as 18 people were injured in two separate incidents of violence in Kashmir on Thursday. Four people – including three policemen – were wounded in a grenade attack on a Srinagar police station that afternoon. “Somebody lobbed a grenade into the Safakadal police station compound. Two special police officers, a constable and a civilian were injured in the explosion. Fortunately, none of them are in a critical condition,” said a police officer. In another incident, 14 people were injured when pellets and tear gas shells were fired in the course of a clash between security personnel and college students in the main town of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

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4- British ruling party promises more visa curbs on Indians

Indian citizens – students, family members, professionals – are set to face tougher visa rules in the United Kingdom if the Conservative Party wins the June 8 election, disappointing many stakeholders who were promised easier visas for India and the Commonwealth after Brexit. The manifesto reiterated her tough line on immigration, promising to “continue to bear down on immigration from outside the European Union”. It saw annual net immigration as “too high”, and retained the party’s objective since 2010 to reduce it to the “tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands”.

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5- Nawaz Sharif meets Russia’s Putin in Beijing, China’s Xi in attendance

A rare meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping was held in Beijing on Monday, reflecting the growing diplomatic contacts and cooperation among the three countries. The News daily quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the informal meeting took place at a picturesque lake resort where leaders were attending the Belt and Road Forum hosted by China. It was held after the conclusion of the leaders’ roundtable summit of the forum. The newspaper speculated that the meeting “would pave the way for facilitating a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi next month” on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Astana.

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6- Railway safety cess likely to make train tickets costlier

Passenger train tickets could see a marginal hike if the government decides to implement a ‘safety cess’ to shore up revenues of India’s biggest transporter, railway minister Suresh Prabhu has hinted. The cess could be fixed at less than 2% of the total fare amount, officials said. The state-run behemoth is reeling under mounting losses, a Rs 32,000-crore debt burden and galloping operating ratio, the calculation of paisa spent against every rupee earned.

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7- Ambedkar statue goes missing from Haryana village

Tensions prevailed in Haryana’s Taraka village after a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar was allegedly removed by some unidentified persons, police said. Locals claimed that a statue of the social reformer was installed in the village on April 8 and it was removed by some people last night, police said. “The gram panchayat has said that the statue was installed without its permission and claimed that they were not informed about the installation,” he said.

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8- Govt to review SPG security cover for Sonia, Manmohan, Vajpayee

The Modi government would review the security cover of former prime ministers and their families at a meeting later this week to reduce the burden on the special protection group (SPG), home ministry sources said. Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the SPG guards seven other people -- former PM Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his foster-daughter Namita Bhattacharya, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her two children Rahul and Priyanka.

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9- Saudi Arabia working to impress Donald Trump on his first overseas visit

Saudi Arabia is making every effort to dazzle and impress President Donald Trump on his first overseas trip, seizing on the visit to cement itself as a major player on the world stage and shove aside rival Iran. The kingdom has arranged a dizzying schedule of events for the two days Trump will be in town — inviting figures as varied as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, Bret Baier, a host on the Fox News Channel that is popular with Trump and his supporters, and American country singer Toby Keith who is to perform for a male-only crowd in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

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10- ICC Champions Trophy: Dinesh Karthik replaces Manish Pandey in India squad

Indian middle-order batsman Manish Pandey has been ruled out of next month’s ICC Champions Trophy due to a side strain and will be replaced in the squad by wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, the BCCI announced on Thursday. Karthik was one of the five standbys named by the Indian selectors -- Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur were the others the reserves list.

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