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HomePlugged InGood news from cricket, sad news of Mrinal Sen’s death dominate headlines

Good news from cricket, sad news of Mrinal Sen’s death dominate headlines

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had his New Year wish come true, perhaps even quicker than he could have hoped for. In Sunday’s Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio broadcast, televised across TV news channels and widely reported in today’s newspapers, he asked people to share “positive news” as “good” things happened too.

And so it has come to pass: this morning, all the mainstream papers have hailed India’s Test cricket victory in Australia with banner headlines and photographs of a triumphant captain Kohli in mid-air celebrations:
“Flying high”, comments The Hindu — coming from the normally reticent newspaper, that says a lot. Or how, about “OMG at MCG!” from the Economic Times?

Bad news, the PM said was “easy” to come by. That’s equally true of sad news. The death of legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen is on the front page of all newspapers with extensive tributes on the inside pages. Critics like Shubhra Gupta (The Indian Express) remember his life and films: in “Last of Ghatak-Ray-Sen Trio, Pioneer of New Wave Cinema”, Gupta says the Bengali director, mentioned in the same breath as Ray and Ghatak “was always brought up as the last of the troika”. “His path-breaking films, deeply political, deeply personal”, found national acclaim with the award-winning, “Bhuvan Shome”. Times of India calls Sen “The Lone Ranger of New Cinema”.

Good news for Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also good news for Indo-Bangladesh relations, says the Express, as all newspapers highlight her “landslide win” (The Hindu) in Sunday’s general elections. Hindustan Times is the most circumspect, writing, “B’desh polls: Local media says Hasina set for 4th term as PM”. Express says “Hasina alliance set to sweep–`For New Delhi, a victory for the Awami League will be good news, since it has made significant investments in relations with Bangladesh”, it writes in “What’s in it for India?”

More bad news from Meghalaya: “Rescuers inside mine, no signs of 15 trapped miners”, writes HT in a single column front page story but unfortunately that’s about as much space as the miners get in today’s leading papers.

The violence at Ghazipur, Saturday, which saw the killing of a policeman has created confusion; the newspapers cannot agree on the number of people arrested for the incident: TOI has “11 arrested”, HT and The Hindu have “19 held”, while the Express goes with “20 arrested”. Now, which is it?

The newspapers continue their end-of-the year-and-into-the-new year special stories with HT and ET devoting six pages apiece, to “2018 The Year That Was” and “2019 A Defining Year”, respectively.

Possibly more worrying news on the media front: in the Express front page report, “CBI asks social media firms to use intrusive photo tech to track suspects”, Sushant Singh writes that the Centre has asked social media to “run Microsoft-owned PhotoDNA for investigations into regular criminal cases…” at a time when “EU’s European Privacy Regulation is moving to effectively ban” the use of this technology by social media.

The other worry was the delay in the delivery of hard copies of several US dailies on the western coast, including LA Times and New York Times because of a possible cyber attack “from outside US”.

The Hindu’s Reader’s Editor has another grouse against the media: HIV is being ignored at a human cost. Recalling how a pregnant woman recently killed herself after a blood transfusion from an HIV-infected donor, A.S. Paneerselvan says it is a “Tragedy that deserves investigation”.

Prime Time

With end of the year chills and thrills in the air, and India winning a famous victory in Australia, the news channels were in a relaxed mood Sunday.

At 8 pm, ABP was in a celebratory mood, with a “Welcome 2019” variety show. In the same spirit, Tez channel’s Acharya Bhushan Kaushal, attired in various shades of pink, predicted your future in 2019.

For other channels, it was back to the shouting game. Hindi news channels, in early evening discussions, along with Times Now, talked of whether “Law and order was slipping under Yogi?” in Uttar Pradesh, following the killing of a policeman in Ghazipur. As the Prime News anchor suggested, now even the police “feel scared in UP”.

India Today remembered the miners of Meghalaya still stuck in the coal mine. Deputy editor Manogya Loiwal feared “that the rescue operation is a bit too late to save the miners”. In a ground report, she recalled that more than 17 days had passed since 15 miners were trapped in a rat hole mine at Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya and wondered if the people of the north-east were “lesser Indians” given the “complete apathy” of the central government and hapless state government.

She might have pointed a finger at news channels too: why had they not focused live coverage on the miners to put pressure on the governments?

For instance, Republic at 9 pm went with the “Troll debate”. Anchor Arnab Goswami asked, Right wing vs. anti-right wing trolls, which side is better?

Political analyst Syed Asad Abbas was very clear about the winner: “Everyone is trolled today from PM to Indian team captain. Today, BJP’s IT Cell is known as the king of photoshop.”

To which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga replied, BJP did not need trolls to help it: it would take the legal road to teach the Opposition a lesson: “If anyone says Kashmir should go to Pakistan, we will teach him a lesson legally,” he claimed.

Aaj Tak anchor Saeed Ansari returned to Congress allegations against the BJP on the Rafale deal: how much weight did they really carry?

This allowed BJP and Congress spokesperson to claim innocence and accuse each other of corruption.

BJP’s Syed Zafar Islam said the allegations were simply an indication of “desperation” in Congress and things “will soon become clear”. He accused Congress of wrong dealings. Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh countered this with, “When we got to know that something wrong was happening in the Finmeccanica deal, we cancelled its tender immediately.” He added that Congress never allowed any “wrong deal”.

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