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Aizawl, 1 March (PTI): Mizoram’s Champhai Grape Growers’ Society (CGGS) and Radiant Manufacturers Limited have signed a deal in Guwahati recently in which the Guwahati-based winemaking company agreed to buy 3.6 lakh litres of concentrated grape juice from the CGGS annually.

Lalremsiama, Sub Divisional Horticulture Officer and Managing Director of the CGGS said that the agreement was inked on behalf of the Radiant Manufacturer Limited by its Director Roshan Chand and three representatives of the CGGS.

The Radiant Manufacturers Ltd, which used to procure concentrated grape juice from Goa, would now buy from Champhai.

The grape growers, which established its own winery at Tlangsam village in Champhai district, were worried that their sales would plummet after the new liquor law replacing the stringent dry law was in place in Mizoram for the first time in 17 years.

Thangseia, general secretary of the CGGS opined that disposing around 15,000 quintals of grape expected to be produced this year would be a difficult task after the change of the State Government’s liquor policy and the deal with the Guwahati-based wine-making company was a welcome step.

11

Chennai, Mar. 2 (ANI): Jagmohan Dalmiya on Monday was formally elected as the Board of Control for Cricket in India president by the body’s annual general meeting held here.

According to reports, Anirudh Choudhary has been elected as treasurer of the body, with Sanjay Patel stays retaining his post as BCCI secretary.

19

New Delhi, 2 March (zoramnews.com): Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar began his 4-nation SAARC Yatra with a visit to Bhutan Sunday. He called on Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay soon after reaching Thimpu. In a tweet, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that the Foreign Secretary held discussions on SAARC co-operation and bilateral ties.

Thimphu is the first stop for Mr. Jaishankar who will travel to Bangladesh capital Dhaka today where he is scheduled to meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali. Sources in the Foreign Ministry said that Mr Jaishankar might convey to the Bangladesh government New Delhi’s commitment to resolve the issues of ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement and the Teesta Water sharing deal.

Mr Jaishankar will visit Pakistan tomorrow and Afghanistan the day after.
The Foreign Secretary is visiting the capital cities of SAARC nations to review various initiatives for the region, including SAARC satellites and regional university, as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Nepal for the SAARC Summit last year.

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New Delhi, 2 Mar (zoramnews.com): India has named senior Indian Foreign Service officer Arun Singh, currently its Ambassador to France, as its next top envoy to the US. A 1979-batch IFS officer, Mr Singh will be replacing S. Jaishankar, who was appointed as Foreign Secretary on January 28 this year. According to officials, government was looking at Mohan Kumar, Indian Ambassador to Bahrain as a possible replacement of Mr Singh.

India has already sent an agreement to the US government naming Mr Singh as its next Ambassador and was awaiting a response from the Obama administration. However, officials say that the new shuffling will be only done after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Paris in April.

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Moscow, 2 March :Tens of thousands of people have marched through Moscow in memory of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down in the Russian capital on Friday night.

The slain opposition leader was supposed to have led Sunday’s rally that instead was attended by mourners marching through an avenue alongside River Moskva.

Close to 100,000 people turned out, according to organisers. Police estimated the crowd at more than 16,000.

Nemtsov was gunned down shortly before midnight Friday as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin.

The killing came just hours after a radio interview in which he denounced President Vladimir Putin’s “mad, aggressive policy” in Ukraine.

Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said security was “very tight” for the rally.

“Big anti-Kremlin marches are a rarity these days, with freedom of assembly so tightly controlled by the authorities,” he said.

“The challenge for Russia’s opposition now is whether it can use the emotion generated by Boris Nemtsov’s murder into a re-energised push for political change.”

Investigation launched

National investigators who answer to Putin say they are pursuing several lines of inquiry, including the possibility that Nemtsov, who was 55, was killed by Muslim attackers or that the opposition killed him to blacken the president’s name.

Putin’s opponents say such suggestions show the cynicism of Russia’s leaders as they whip up nationalism, hatred and anti-Western hysteria to rally support for his policies on Ukraine and deflect blame for an economic crisis.

“It is a blow to Russia. If political views are punished this way, then this country simply has no future,” Sergei Mitrokhin, an opposition leader, said of Nemtsov’s murder.

Putin has described the killing as a “provocation”, and told Nemtsov’s 86-year-old mother, Dina Eidman, that the killers would be found and punished.

He also promised to do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for Nemtsov’s killing.

“Everything will be done so that the organisers and perpetrators of a vile and cynical murder get the punishment they deserve,” Putin said in a telegram to Nemtsov’s mother published on the Kremlin’s website.

He said Nemtsov’s death was an irreparable loss and that he had “left his trace in Russia’s history, in politics and public life”.

Nemtsov was one of the leading lights of an opposition struggling to revive its fortunes three years after mass rallies against Putin failed to prevent him from returning to the presidency after four years as prime minister.

Putin has now been Russia’s dominant leader since 2000, when ailing President Boris Yeltsin chose the former KGB spy as his successor, a role Nemtsov had once been destined to play.

Many opposition leaders have been jailed on what they say are trumped-up charges, or have fled the country.

Nemtsov had hoped, however, to start the opposition’s revival with a march in Marino on the outskirts of Moscow on Sunday to protest against Putin’s economic policies and what they see as Russia’s involvement in the separatist war in east Ukraine.

The Kremlin denies any role in the fighting.

Nemtsov had said in an interview that he feared Putin may want him dead because of his outspoken criticism of Russia’s role in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Nemtsov had told him about two weeks ago that he planned to publish evidence of Russian involvement in Ukraine’s separatist conflict.

“Someone was very afraid of this… They killed him,” Poroshenko said in televised comments shown in Ukraine.

~AlJazeera

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2 March: North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea as annual US-South Korea military exercises got under way, officials in Seoul say.

The two missiles, with a range of 490km (305 miles), were fired from the western city of Nampo into the sea east of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean military said.

The drills, involving tens of thousands of troops, always anger Pyongyang.

It traditionally shows its displeasure with missile tests and louder rhetoric.

Seoul and Washington describe the military exercises as defensive in nature. North Korea calls them a rehearsal for invasion.

Key Resolve, a largely computer-simulated exercise, lasts 12 days and Foal Eagle, which has ground, air and sea components, lasts eight weeks.

‘Merciless strikes’

In a statement, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles, fired early on Monday, were probably Scud Cs or Scud Ds.

The military remained “vigilant against any additional launches”, it said.

Defence Minister Kim Min-seok vowed a stern response to any provocation.

“If North Korea takes provocative actions, our military will react firmly and strongly so North Korea will regret it in its bones,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Earlier in the day the North Korean military condemned the joint exercises as “undisguised encroachment” on national sovereignty.

Aggression should be dealt with by “merciless strikes”, it said in a statement carried by KCNA news agency.

In 2013 the joint exercises led to a prolonged surge in tensions, with North Korea threatening pre-emptive nuclear strikes and cutting a military hotline with the South.

Drills in 2014 passed off relatively quietly, however.

In January North Korea said it would offer a moratorium on nuclear testing if the joint exercises were cancelled. The US rejected this suggestion as an “implicit threat”.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear programme have been stalled since early 2009.