Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday celebrated Diwali with troops posted along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gurez Sector and lauded the soldiers for their penance and sacrifice saying he considers them his family. In an unannounced visit, Modi arrived at Gurez this morning to celebrate Diwali with the army and BSF soldiers posted along the LoC, officials said. He spent two hours with the soldiers in Gurez valley, which is shouting distance of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and has witnessed many gunfights with infiltrating militants in the past 27 years.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to India and Pakistan next week as part of his five-nation tour that also includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Switzerland. Tillerson will make Saudi Arabia his first stop on the week-long tour beginning tomorrow. He will take part in the inaugural Coordination Council meeting between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The Secretary will also meet with various Saudi leaders to discuss the conflict in Yemen, the ongoing Gulf crisis, Iran and a number of other important regional and bilateral.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kedarnath today, a day before the portals of the Himalayan shrine close for the winters. The prime minister will also lay the foundation stones for a slew of reconstruction projects in Kedarpuri, including renovation of Adi Guru Shankaracharya’s tomb which was devastated in the catastrophic flash floods of 2013. Modi is also likely to address a public meeting near the famed temple located around 11, 660 feet above the sea level, party sources said. Security has been tightened around the Jollygrant airport where the prime minister is likely to arrive around 8.30 am before leaving for Kedarnath, DIG Garhwal Range Pushpak Jyoti said.
A quiet and promising evening gave way to thick haze and noise as Delhi celebrated Diwali, dashing the hopes of cracker-free festivities, following a Supreme Court ban on the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR). The online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in the city glowed red, indicating a ‘very poor’ air quality as the volume of ultra fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10, which enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream, sharply rose from around 7 pm. Real time pollution data appeared alarming. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) RK Puram monitoring station recorded PM2.5 and PM10 at 878 and 1,179 micrograms per cubic metre at around 11 pm.
Jacinda Ardern is the new Prime Minister-elect of New Zealand, according to reports. Ardern has become the Pacific nation’s youngest leader in more than 150 years. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had said that he would support Ardern’s Labour Party. Ardern’s victory has ended a decade of centre-right National rule and spelt big changes for the country’s economy. The New Zealand dollar – the world’s 11th-most traded currency – fell as investors grappled with heightened uncertainty and a more protectionist agenda. The currency dropped 1.7 percent on Thursday, its largest daily loss in more than a year, and then extended its losses to a five-month low of $0.6995 on Friday, according to reports.