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LIVE! 68th Republic Day parade gets underway

10:23  UAE contingent marches down Rajpath:  We now have the marching contingent of the UAE and their military band; 179 of them marching down the Rajpath — 144 soldiers and 34 band members. 

This is the second time ever India has invited a foreign country to be part of marching contingent in Republic Day parade. Last year, it the French contingent.

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10:17   Four Mi-17 V5 helicopters in inverted ‘Y’ formation, to shower flower petals.

Parade Commander Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, GoC Delhi Area of 7th Sikh Light Infantry. And Parade 2nd in command Maj Gen Rajesh Sahai.

Applause rings for Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees

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10:07  President presents Ashok Chakra to late Hav Hangpan Dada’s wife:  

Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir on May 26.

He has been awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace-time gallantry award.

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10:07  President presents Ashok Chakra to late Hav Hangpan Dada’s wife:  

Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir on May 26.

He has been awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace-time gallantry award.

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10:03  68th Republic Day parade gets underway:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes President Pranab Mukherjee and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the chief guest at the parade.

The 68th Republic Day parade gets underway.

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09:55  Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Vice President Hamid Ansari at Rajpath

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09:49  The President’s cavalcade has left the Rashtrapati Bhawan with the chief guest, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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09:47  PM Modi lays wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

He is accompanied by the three service chiefs — Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Adm Sunil Lanba and IAF chief ACM B S Dhanoa.

ANI‘s Smita Prakash notes that the Prime Minister chose to give the naval salute this time. Last time, he gave the army salute.

09:38  ASSAM UPDATE: There have been 6 low intensity blasts (in upper assam). All in no man’s land. No damage of any kind, says Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay.

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09:30  Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh at Republic Day celebrations in Raipur.

09:26  Twin blasts in Assam’s Charaideo area; no casualties reported.

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09:11  Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan at Republic Day celebrations in Bhopal

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08:39  R-Day: Google shows special stadium doodle:  

Search giant Google in its special doodle to mark the 68th Republic Day, today showed a stadium full of people amid a sea of tricolour decking up the arena. 

The doodle displays one-half of the stadium, with crowd on two corners, while a saffron-coloured band runs along the inner periphery of the semicircular track.

The outer periphery of the track is shown decorated with tricolours and a semi-circular patch of green marks the space in the centre.

The word G-O-O-G-L-E has been spelt out in an arced fashion in the running tracks in bold green surrounded by two green grid patterns and one in red. 

The internet giant, ever year comes up with a special doodle to mark the day. Last year, it showed a march of a richly caparisoned camel contingent of the Border Security Force, a major attraction at the annual parade at the Rajpath. 

The 68th Republic Day Parade will showcase India’s military strength and achievements in a range of areas and its diverse culture on the ceremonial boulevard today.

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00:18  Government assures full protection to Bela Bhatia:  Two days after activist Bela Bhatia was accused by protesters as being a Maoist sympathiser and told to vacate her house in Bastar district, senior state Home department officials on Wednesday visited her residence in Pandripani village and assured her of full protection.

Principal Secretary (Home) BVR Subramaniam, Special Director General (anti-naxal operation) D M Awasthi, Bastar Superintendent of Police RN Dash and other officials visited the activist and assured her of full protection by state.

“We have assured Bhatia that we are committed to extend full protection to her. In democracy, every citizen has equal rights to work freely anywhere in the country,” Awasthi said.

On January 23, villagers held a protest outside her rented accommodation and asked her to vacate it for being a ‘naxal sympathiser’.

However, the activist had claimed that a group of men barged inside the house and asked her to leave immediately, failing which they will set the house ablaze.

Bhatia had said she would leave the house on January 24, but not Bastar, as her landlord was being pressurised.

She has been working in the region for past several years.

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00:14  Trump orders review of restriction on torturing prisoners: Report:  United States President Donald Trump’s administration is drafting an executive order that would allow the Central Intelligence Agency to reopen overseas ‘black sites’ that were used to torture suspects after 9/11, the American media reported on Wednesday.

The order also would undo many of the restrictions on handling detainees put in place under former President Barack Obama to roll back practices authorised during George W Bush’s administration, the New York Times reported.

It would revoke the directive that gives the Red Cross access to all war detainees in US custody, and would order the Pentagon to continue to use the Guantanamo military prison facility ‘for the detention and trial of newly captured’ detainees, including Islamic State jihadists, according to the Times.

The order calls for a high-level review of policies regarding secret overseas CIA prisons, as well as of enhanced interrogation tactics that have been widely condemned as torture, and are now prohibited by law. — Agencies

Source: Rediff