• Last Updates : 10:54 PM
National
 Hardik to hold day-long protest atop vehicles

Hardik to hold day-long protest atop vehicles

Ahmedabad, Aug 18 (IANS) Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel has said he and his supporters would on Sunday climb on vehicles and stage a days hunger fast protesting the Gujarat Government's refusal to allow him to re-launch his movement for reservation for his community.

"Acting in an unconstitutional manner, the state government has in the last two months failed to provide us a venue to launch our fight for farmers and social justice. We will be sitting on a token day-long fast onboard vehicles on Sunday, at Parking Zone ground in Nikol (Ahmedabad)," Patel said in a social media message.

He had met Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A.K. Singh and Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra requesting to spare a protest venue for the agitation. He had even suggested some alternative sites as well.

Alongside Hardik, 501 of his supporters will be joining the token day-long protest. "The 501 youths will be wearing a black ribbon around their mouth as a mark of respect to our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. While paying our obeisance to Vajpayee ji, we will continue with our fast in Nikol," Patel said.

The young firebrand Patidar leader told IANS: "Every one has the right to agitate in a constitutional way. But in Gujarat, the BJP Government is preventing us from mobilizing support for our agitation. We are being deprived of our rights, but we will not sit quiet, we will fight and win."

Patel had announced two months ago that he would revive his agitation for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the Patidars (Patels) with an indefinite fast from August 25, the third anniversary of his mega rally in Ahmedabad when he kicked off his movement. He has sought permission for the venue at the GMDC Grounds, where he had held a rally in 2015.

--IANS
desai/prs

10:54 PM
 Relatives, officials bid farewell to Genoa bridge collapse victims (Lead)

Relatives, officials bid farewell to Genoa bridge collapse victims (Lead)

Rome, Aug 18 (IANS) Friends and relatives of 19 of the victims of a deadly bridge collapse in the Italian city of Genoa bade farewell to their loved ones at a state funeral on Saturday, while the families of 19 others opted for private ceremonies.

Overnight, firefighting teams found the bodies of three other people inside a vehicle, a couple and their nine-year-old daughter, while another body was found later Saturday, bringing the death toll to at least 42.

Some families reportedly stayed away from the ceremony because of anger at the government. The collapse of a section of the Morandi motorway bridge and the deaths of those crossing in vehicles has led to a fierce debate in Italy about the nation's infrastructure, the BBC reported.

"The bridge collapsed. It was not only an important part of the highway, but a necessary route for the daily lives of so many, an essential artery for the development of the city. But Genoa is not giving up," said Archbishop of Genoa Angelo Bagnasco.

He also spoke about the need for justice, though pointed out this would not restore what had been lost.

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attended the state funeral attended by 5,000 people, along with other government representatives, a report in the Guardian daily said.

Mattarella said it was necessary to find out who was responsible of an "unacceptable tragedy."

The government has set up a commission to examine the causes of the disaster and one member speculated that a broken cable rod was "a serious work hypothesis", according to reports.

The coffins of the 19 victims were topped with white roses and some with the flags representing their home countries. Besides Italians, four French people, two Albanians, three Chileans, a Peruvian and a Colombian were among those who lost their lives on Tuesday.

Firefighters belonging to the team involved in the non-stop excavations to locate the victims were greeted to a loud applause at the ceremony.

Works were ongoing to locate a person who remained missing. Other families had chosen to hold private funerals.

Shops and businesses across the city were closed as Italy marked a national day of mourning. Football players from the Genoa and Sampdoria teams also attended the ceremony.

--IANS
soni/vm

08:38 PM
 Koreas to hold talks in Jakarta to expand sports exchanges

Koreas to hold talks in Jakarta to expand sports exchanges

Jakarta, Aug 18 (IANS) Sports ministers from the two Koreas will soon meet in Jakarta to discuss way to expand sports exchanges between the two sides, Seoul's top sports official said Saturday.

Do Jong-whan, South Korea's sports minister, said he will soon talk about exchanges with his North Korean counterpart Kim Il-guk. Both officials are currently in Jakarta for the 18th Asian Games, reports Tass news agency.

"The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, but before we were divided into two Koreas, it started as one organization, the Korea Sports Council," Do said to South Korean reporters in Jakarta.

"To celebrate that anniversary, we hope we can have a joint event with North Korea. We'll also discuss what we can do at the National Sports Festival (that will also hold its 100th edition)."

The Korea Sports Council was founded on July 13, 1920. In that same year, a baseball tournament, which is considered a precedent for the National Sports Festival, was also held.

Do said he'll also talk with Kim about a detailed schedule for an inter-Korean friendly basketball tournament in Seoul. The Koreas had friendly basketball matches in Pyongyang last month.

Do added that he'll also discuss with Kim about holding inter-Korean sports talks regularly as well as the North's participation in the 2019 International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

"This is the year that sports plays an important role to change the fate of the country," he said. "Even if the relationship between the two Koreas is in deadlock, sports exchanges can continue."

--IANS
pur/vm

09:26 PM
 Sri Lankan President congratulates Imran Khan

Sri Lankan President congratulates Imran Khan

Colombo, Aug 18 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday congratulated Imran Khan, who was sworn in as Pakistan's new Prime Minister in Islamabad.

In a message, Sirisena said he was confident that Khan's leadership would help steer Pakistan towards peace, prosperity and sustainability, as relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan grow further, Xinhua news agency reported.

Khan's party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, secured victory in the July 25 general election and will now form a new central government.

--IANS
soni/vm

08:32 PM

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