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Won’t comment on what politicians say: Gowher Rizvi

Dhaka will go by the assurances given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and not the public statements by other Indian leaders, on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, said a senior Bangladesh government official. He said the visiting Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and her delegation felt “reassured” after the conversation with Mr. Modi on Saturday.

During the restricted talks, Mr. Modi “went into great depth” to explain that the process should not concern Bangladesh at present, Gowher Rizvi, Ms. Hasina’s Adviser on International Affairs, said in an interview to The Hindu.

Mr. Modi had reportedly clarified that the NRC was a long-drawn, multi-phase process, which had been mandated by the Supreme Court, and the government was only “carrying out court rulings.”

Asked how Bangladesh officials reconcile that view with public statements made by leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, who indicated at a rally in West Bengal last week that the 1.9 million people declared non-citizens would be deported and the government planned to make the NRC a national policy, Mr. Rizvi said, “These are things your Ministers tell the people of India, but we don’t go by what Ministers say.We will not comment on what Indian politicians say.”

PDP leaders from Jammu scheduled to meet party chief Mehbooba Mufti today

Major move: NC leaders with party president Farooq Abdullah at his residence in Srinagar on Sunday. Nissar Ahmad The Hindu

In the first major political activity in Jammu and Kashmir since the withdrawal of its special status two months ago, a 15-member National Conference (NC) delegation on Sunday met detained party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah here.

The PDP said its leaders from Jammu had also been allowed to meet party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Monday.

Free our leaders: NC

The NC delegation, which was permitted by the State administration to meet the Abdullahs for the first time since their detention, demanded that their leaders and other political detainees be freed to “revive” the political process in the State, where the Block Development Council (BDC) elections are scheduled for October 24.

The leaders said they discussed developments in the State and the coming local bodies elections during their separate meetings with NC president Farooq Abdullah and his son and party vice-president Omar Abdullah.

Mr. Omar, who was sporting a beard, was seen clicking a selfie with party leaders, whom he met for over 30 minutes at the Hari Niwas Palace, where he has been kept under detention.

Sri Lankan President to leave office the day after poll

Maithripala Sirisena

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided not to stand for re-election in the November election as the politically influential Rajapakse family has nominated two candidates by final registration on Sunday.

His name was not on the list of 41 candidates who paid deposits by the Sunday noon deadline to contest the November 16 election, according to Election Commission records. It means he will leave office the day after the election, cutting short his five-year term by 52 days. A spokesman for his Sri Lanka Freedom Party confirmed that he was not seeking re-election.

Mr. Sirisena caused a constitutional crisis last year, sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with former President Mahinda Rajapakse. The Supreme Court ruled against his action and reinstated Mr. Wickremesinghe.

Two of Mr. Rajapakse’s brothers — Gotabhaya and Chamal — have paid deposits to be candidates and will challenge Sajith Premadasa, deputy leader of Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party.

Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse, a former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence during his brother’s decade in power, is the frontrunner, but faces court cases over corruption charges and the validity of his Sri Lankan citizenship.

With doubts over his eligibility, the family is also fielding Chamal, a former Speaker of Parliament, as a backup.

Vishnu Nandan, a native of Kerala, will be part of the study of Arctic climate

Tough phase: Vishnu Nandan will deploy radar sensors on the sea ice surface from Polarstern.

For four months from November, Vishnu Nandan will not see sunlight.

He will be aboard the German research vessel Polarstern, anchored on a large sheet of sea ice in the Central Arctic, drifting along with it during the pitch-black Polar winter.

A native of Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, the 32-year-old polar researcher will be the only Indian among 300 scientists from across the world aboard the multidisciplinary drifting observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, which will help the researchers better understand the impact of climate change and aid in improved weather projections.

Year-long study

Spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, MOSAiC, the largest ever Arctic expedition in history, will be the first to conduct a study of this scale at the North Pole for an entire year. Previous studies have been of shorter periods as the thicker sea ice sheets prevent access in winter. This research vessel has thus locked itself into a large sea ice sheet, before the winter, and will drift along with it. A suitable sea ice sheet (floe) was identified two days ago.

Dr. Nandan, a remote sensing scientist, will travel in a Russian icebreaker ship from the Norwegian port of Tromso in November to join the Polarstern on its second leg.

“The aim of the expedition will be to parameterise the atmospheric, geophysical, oceanographic and all other possible variables in the Arctic, and use it to more accurately forecast the changes in our weather systems. My role as a radar remote sensing specialist is to deploy radar sensors on the sea ice surface and accurately measure the ice thickness and its variations,” Dr. Nandan said over phone from Canada, where he is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Manitoba.

Since his journey is during the Polar winter, he will not see sunlight until his return in March.

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