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December 2018
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News Headlines
China will not seek to dominate; no one is in position to dictate us: Xi        Stopped earlier, four transwomen offer prayers at Sabarimala        India crash to 140 all out, Australia level series        Zaheer Khan Joins Mumbai Indians as Director of Cricket Operations        Indian national Hamid Ansari returns home after 6 yrs        Stalin proposes Rahul as next Prime Minister        Chief Minister Kamal Nath Waives Farm Loans, 2 Hours After Taking Oath        Pakistan releases Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal Ansari after 6 years        Philippines contestant Catriona Gray named Miss Universe        India vs Australia, 2nd Test: Visitors end Day 4 on 112/5, need 175 more runs to win        Mumbai: 5 dead, over 100 injured after massive fire breaks out at Andheri hospital        Prithvi Shaw ruled out of Australia Test series, Agarwal replaces him        Messi leads Barcelona to 5-0 win over Levante        Sri Lanka: Ranil Wickremesinghe takes oath as PM after SC verdict on crisis        Cambodia seizes record 3-tonne haul of African ivory        PV Sindhu scripts history, clinches maiden BWF Tour Finals title        Virat Kohli slams record-breaking 25th Test ton in Perth        Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media        Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback        Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"        
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International News
China's parliament puts Xi Jinping on course to rule for life
 
(BEIJING, Mar 11, 2018):China's Xi Jinping on Sunday secured a path to rule indefinitely as parliament abolished presidential term limits, handing him almost total authority to pursue a vision of transforming the nation into an economic and military superpower.

The move reverses the era of "collective" leadership and orderly succession that was promoted by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to ensure stability following the turbulent one-man rule of Communist China's founder Mao Zedong.

The historic constitutional amendment breezed through the rubber-stamp parliament with 2,958 in favour, two against and three abstentions despite an unusual bout of online criticism that censors have scrambled to extinguish.

Xi stood up first at the imposing Great Hall of the People in Beijing to cast his paper ballot in a red box, as delegates of the National People's Congress applauded after each vote on the constitutional amendment to lift the two five-year term limit for the presidency.

The first constitutional amendment in 14 years had been expected to breeze through the legislature, which has never rejected a Communist Party diktat in its half-century of existence.

"This is the urgent wish of the common people," Ju Xiuqin, a delegate from northeastern Heilongjiang province, told AFP, echoing party claims that the amendment had the unanimous support of "the masses".

Xi, 64, has consolidated power since 2012 when he was appointed to the country's top office: general secretary of the Communist Party.

While the position has no term limits, his two predecessors both gave it up after two terms as part of an orderly process established by Deng.

The country's presidency is a largely ceremonial office, but the constitutional limits meant Xi would have had to give it up in 2023.

But with the new amendments, he could now have a lifetime to push his goal of turning China into global economic powerhouse with a "world-class" military by mid-century.

His rise has been accompanied by tighter restrictions on civil society, with the detention of activists and lawyers, and stricter limits on the already heavily controlled internet.

At the same time, he gained a measure of popularity among Chinese people through a relentless crackdown on corruption that has punished more than a million party officials, and sidelined potential rivals.

"I think that during the past five years, he has been carrying out a soft coup, including making the Politburo a mere figurehead," Chinese political commentator Wu Qiang told AFP, referring to the 25-member Communist Party body one level under the ruling council.

"He wants to prevent power from falling into the hands of technocrats like Jiang (Zemin) and Hu (Jintao)," Wu said, referring to Xi's two predecessors.

While attention has focused on the term limits, the amendments also include major provisions that will engrave Xi's eponymous political mantra in the constitution and hand the Communist Party an even larger role in the country's affairs.

In a written report, the head of the parliament's Standing Committee, Zhang Dejiang, said the amendments "will ensure the constitution improves and develops in step with the times and provide a firm constitutional guarantee for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era".

The Communist Party says the move merely aligns the presidency with the limit-free titles of party secretary and military chief, claiming "the masses" unanimously called for the removal of term limits.

But the proposal was kept secret until it was revealed in a state media report on February 25, a week before the legislature's opening session.

The party later disclosed that Xi had presided over a meeting of the Politburo in September during which the leadership decided to revise the constitution.

The party then sought proposals and opinions, culminating in a decision in late January to introduce constitutional amendments at the NPC.

"Xi Jinping has presided over so many important projects such as economic reforms and the fight against corruption. There was a consensus that we supported him having more time to finish his work," said Dou Yanli, a delegate from eastern Shandong province.

The surprise move triggered a backlash online, prompting censors to block phrases and words such as "I disagree" and "emperor" and the image of Winnie the Pooh, the cartoon bear to which Xi has been compared.

Activists fear that removing term limits may lead to a further tightening of already strict controls on media, civil society and religion, as Xi tries to impose his highly ideological vision of socialism on every aspect of society.

Beijing-based activist Hu Jia, who says authorities forced him to leave the capital during the congress, called the amendment "illegal".

"Xi asked all people to obey the constitution, and then used the amendment to place himself above it. He used the constitution as the ultimate legal weapon that binds officials and all citizens."


China will not seek to dominate; no one is in position to dictate us: Xi
Pakistan releases Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal Ansari after 6 years
Philippines contestant Catriona Gray named Miss Universe
Sri Lanka: Ranil Wickremesinghe takes oath as PM after SC verdict on crisis
Cambodia seizes record 3-tonne haul of African ivory
Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media
Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback
Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN
Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU
Khashoggi, other journalists named Time 'Person of the Year'
May tours Europe in desperate bid to save Brexit deal
Trump's potential next chief of staff pick leaving White House
UK PM faces fight for her political life in Brexit deal
Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police
Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes
Merkel gets boost with ally's party win
Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking
Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports
Qatar injects more cash into Gaza for Hamas employees
Singer Mika Singh Detained in Dubai for Sending Obscene Messages to 17-year-old: Reports
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vaikom Vijayalekshmi ties knot with Anoop
 Vaikom: Playback singer Vaikom Vijayalekshmi has tied knot with Anoop N. at Vaikom Mahadeva temple.  
Mohanlal's Odiyan: Official trailer launched
Mammootty narrates Odiyan's intro?
Sradha Kapoor as Saina Nehwal: First look poster is out.
KERALA NEWS
Activist Rehana Fathima, Who Attempted Sabarimala Trek, Arrested Over Facebook Post
 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
Good news for Keralite Nurses: IELTS cut-off reduced to 6.5
BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
NATIONAL NEWS
Indian national Hamid Ansari returns home after 6 yrs
 (New Delhi,Dec 19,2018):Indian national Hamid Nehal Ansari, who was arrested eight years back
Stalin proposes Rahul as next Prime Minister
Mumbai: 5 dead, over 100 injured after massive fire breaks out at Andheri hospital
Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"
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