Modi govt unveils Rs 9-trillion plan to boost economyPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced it would invest over Rs 9 trillion to recapitalise state-owned banks and build new roads and highways on Tuesday, its biggest move yet to shore up an economy growing at its slowest in three years. Plans include spending Rs 2.11 trillion towards infusing capital into banks over the next two years and another Rs 7 trillion over the next five years on the roads project, some of which will run through economic corridors as well as remote border and coastal areas. The Rs 2.11 trillion is far higher than the Rs20,000 crore the government had previously planned to invest, in 2017-18 and 2018-19, in recapitalising banks. Read the story here.Centre approves 83,000-km highway projects worth Rs 7-lakh croreIn a fillip to India’s highway development programme, the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday approved a plan to build thousands of kilometres of roads and highways over the next five years at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore, a spending push that could help generate jobs and lift the economy. Announcing the Cabinet decision, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley called this public expenditure on infrastructure projects as “unprecedented” and “something which has not happened in the country till date.” The plan involves constructing 83,677 km of roads, highways, green-field expressways and bridges in phases. Read the story here.US police confirms body found is that of missing 3-yr-old Indian girl Sherin MathewsThe body of a child found in Richardson, Texas was on Tuesday identified as that of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old Indian girl reported missing from outside her home two weeks ago, after her father, Wesley Mathews, was arrested for the second time and charged with causing injury to a child. The Dallas County Medical Examiner identified the child’s body, which was found on Sunday, by using dental records, police said. The cause of death is still unknown. Police said Wesley, 37, who came to speak to investigators voluntarily accompanied by his lawyer, offered a contradictory version of events around the disappearance of his daughter on October 7. “It was not what he had told us earlier,” Sergeant Kevin Perlich of Richardson police told reporters. Read the story here.US secy of state Rex Tillerson gives Pakistan a blunt message: Eradicate terroristsUS secretary of state Rex Tillerson on Tuesday delivered a blunt message to Pakistan to increase its efforts to eradicate terrorists operating from its soil, even as he called on Islamabad to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan. During a meeting with the top civil and military leadership, Tillerson “reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country”, according to a statement from the US embassy. Besides Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the meeting was attended by army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence head Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, foreign minister Khawaja Asif and interior minister Ahsan Iqbal. Read the story here.Veteran classical singer Girija Devi dies in Kolkata after cardiac arrestEminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away at a hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. She was 88 and survived by a daughter. Considered as the queen of Thumri and fondly called Appa ji, Girija Devi was taken to the city’s BM Birla Heart Research Centre this afternoon with cardiovascular ailments. A legendary singer of the “Benaras gharana” had received Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016. Read the story here.Hardik Patel accuses BJP of spying, says will tell the world when he meets Rahul GandhiPatidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spying on him after CCTV camera clips from a luxury hotel in Ahmedabad in poll-bound Gujarat were flashed on local television news channels amid speculations that he secretly met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. The closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, which is available with the Hindustan Times, showed Patel entering the Ummed Hotel late on Sunday night, and leaving through the back door in a brand new car without a registration plate at around 4pm the next day. Gandhi arrived at the same establishment around 1pm on Monday. Read the story here.Israeli PM Netanyahu to pay ‘dear friend Modi’ a visit in JanuaryIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he will visit India in January, six months after Narendra Modi visited the Jewish state. Netanyahu will be only the second Israeli Prime Minister to visit India. His visit next year would be happening almost 15 years after Ariel Sharon visited New Delhi in 2003. “In the past year, I have visited all the continent besides Antarctica,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the Knesset’s (Israeli parliament) winter session on Monday. “And in January, I will make a reciprocal visit to my dear good friend, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, whose population is a significant part of humanity,” he added. Read the story here.Opinion: Kashmir needs ambience for talks, besides interlocutorThe appointment of an interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir is a gingerly first step. The move’s welcome as it shows the Centre’s inclination to set up talks after a sustained scorched earth policy to isolate separatists, take out militants. But it’s a half-measure, or stage-one of the dialogue architecture envisaged by the Centre. The interlocutor, former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, isn’t a politician. He’s a political appointee whose mandate is unclear except that he’d engage with all stakeholders. There’s no time-frame for the completion of the task assigned to him. Read the analysis here.India’s move for talks on Kashmir issue lacks sincerity, says PakistanPakistan on Wednesday described former intelligence chief Dineshwar Sharma’s appointment as the Indian government’s interlocutor for the Kashmir issue as a move lacking in sincerity and said only a dialogue involving New Delhi, Islamabad and the Kashmiris would be result-oriented. Responding to Sharma’s appointment, the spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that “the measure did not appear to be sincere and realistic”. The spokesperson added that “for any dialogue process to be meaningful and result-oriented, it has to include the three main parties – India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris”. “In that context, without the participation of the Hurriyat leadership, no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight or meaning,” the spokesperson said in a statement. Read the story here.Will Xi Jinping indicate a successor for 2022? No one’s sureOn Wednesday, the Communist Party of China will reveal the composition of its two top decision-making bodies – the politburo and the smaller but most powerful standing committee of the politburo. The makeup of the standing committee, for one, could give an indication whether the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping have chosen a successor to take over the reins of the party in 2022. Both Xi and Premier Li Keqiang were identified soon after the 2007 national congress as potential top leaders. Will it be the same on Wednesday? Li Cheng, director of the John L Thornton China Centre at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, thinks there could be a delay in announcing Xi’s successor. Read the story here.FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil’s flair meets England’s resilience in thrilling semifinalThe only time England have beaten Brazil in a World Cup for men or boys was in the 2007 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Brazil avenged it in 2015 but having achieved what the men have not in four meetings spread from 1958, the England boys are eyeing an encore in Kolkata on Wednesday. At stake is a berth in the final of the World Cup at the same venue on Saturday. England have never been this far but have been one of the form teams of this tournament. “A semi-final against Brazil at such a magnificent stadium is without doubt, the biggest game for all of us. Everyone’s excited and we have nothing to fear,” said England coach Steve Cooper whose boys are now two games away from matching the U-20s who became world champions earlier this year. Read the story here.