29/01/2016 8:58 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

The Morning Wrap: Govt Allocates Rs 50,802 Cr For Smart Cities; Sonam Kapoor In Coldplay's Next

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Indian Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor attends the '61st Filmfare Awards 2016' ceremony in Mumbai on January 15, 2016. AFP PHOTO / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Morning Wrap is HuffPost India's selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers. Subscribe here to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.

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The government announced the first 20 winners of a nationwide competition to pick cities and towns that will go through a complete makeover. On the list are Bhubaneswar, Pune, Jaipur, Surat and Kochi. A total investment of Rs 50,802 crore has been proposed in these “smart cities” over five years.

Meet Aparna Kumar, the first woman IAS officer to have climbed the highest peak in Antarctica. Kumar successfully climbed the 17,000-feet-high Mount Vinson Massif — the highest peak in the Antarctic sub-continent on 17 January 2016 — making her the first woman officer of any All-India Services to have achieved the feat.

At least 160 young Iranians are currently awaiting execution and 73 others have been put to death between 2005 and 2015, said a report from Amnesty International. As the world's leading executioner of offenders under 18 and one of the world's largest users of the death penalty overall, Iran had nearly 700 people executed in the first half of 2015 alone.

Hillary Clinton is in her second race to the White House and at the centre of one of the most sensational and acrimonious US Presidential bids there ever has been. And India-born, New York-based millionaire philanthropist Meera Gandhi is in the thick of the action as part of Hillary’s National Finance Committee,“Hillblazers”.

Jail authorities seem to have a discovered a new way to reward inmates for their good behaviour — by entertaining them with some dance shows. On Republic Day, Vijayapura Central Jail authorities brought in women to perform for the inmates.

Main News

A fortnight after Foreign Secretary talks between India and Pakistan were postponed in the aftermath of the Pathankot attack, the governments have been unable to find a “mutually convenient date" for them to meet, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

A controversial anti-terror Bill, passed by the Gujarat assembly but twice rejected by the previous UPA government, was returned by President Pranab Mukherjee seeking additional information from the government after which the legislation was withdrawn.

Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal will be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Assam, the party declared. This comes nearly two months after he was appointed president of Assam BJP in November.

The former Union minister Manish Tewari was made spokesperson of the Congress party. With the appointment of Tewari, AICC will have a total of 28 spokespersons, besides 9 senior spokespersons.

Barely a week after a ruling JD(U) MLA was accused of misbehaving with a woman passenger on a train and another party MLA allegedly freed her gangster husband from police custody, son of an RJD MLA reportedly thrashed a government doctor at a hospital in Gaya district in Bihar.

Off The Front Page

The Reserve Bank of India said it will soon issue Rs 10 coins to commemorate the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar. The coin will carry the year '2015' written in international numerals below the portrait of Ambedkar.

You can now buy only six online train tickets a month from one user ID. The decision was taken as it was suspected that 10% of the users who booked 10 tickets every month — the current limit — might be involved in touting.

Sonam Kapoor will feature in Coldplay’s next music video, and joining her will be Beyonce. “I love Coldplay’s music and so does the world. It was a huge honour to be a part of the video. It’s a great concept and I had a lot of fun shooting for it,” said Sonam.

The World Health Organization expects the Zika virus, which is spreading through the Americas, to affect between three million and four million people, a disease expert said. The WHO’s director-general said the spread of the mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.

After women activists intensified their protests seeking entry into Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, Muslim women groups staged a protest demanding entry into Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai.


Some veteran journalists in India insist that the BJP’s deepest, never-stated desire is to be just like the Congress party and that its hero of independent India is Indira Gandhi, writes Dipankar De Sarkar. Over the past few months, the BJP has made strenuous efforts to woo the family of one of the most revered icons of the freedom struggle — Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Taliban’s newfound willingness to engage in a negotiated power-sharing arrangement is a good sign for the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. India should play a more proactive role. The point is to create a political situation, through sustained negotiations with the armed outfit, in which it is possible for the Taliban to see the virtues of competitive politics as an attractive route to power, says Happymon Jacob in The Hindu.

Many of us, upper middle-class and upper caste, claim in entirely good faith that we grew up in a society that is increasingly caste-less. Rohith Vemula’s death shakes that belief to the core and that is why it has caused consternation beyond those wanting to use it to political ends. This is caste at its most lethal in a university in a metropolitan city not in a remote village. And that is why we have tied ourselves in knots to make it not about caste at all, writes Sandip Roy.

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