Monthly Archives: December 2019

Who is Yogi Adityanath?

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first_imgThe importance of being Yogi Adityanath  Adityanath runs the Hindu Yuva Vahini in Purvanchal, an outfit that has been often accused of instigating communal tension. This Bajrang Dal-style organisation is particularly effective in the east U.P. districts of Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Siddharthnagar. Here, its activists have been accused of converting minor incidents into communal conflagrations.However during these elections, the Hindu Yuva Vahini broke after some of its members refused to retire some of their candidates. Adityanath expelled some of them.During the recent elections, the BJP leadership for the first time deployed Adityanath extensively in western U.P. after the first phase. Yogi Adityanath, whose real name is Ajay Singh Bisht, is a five-time BJP MP from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. He is 44 years old.A Thakur from Uttarakhand by birth, Adityanath earned a graduate degree in Science from Garhwal University in Srinagar. His Lok Sabha profile says he is a “religious missionary and social worker.”Awaidhnath, Mahant of the powerful and wealthy Gorakhnath Temple who had won Gorakhpur thrice consecutively, passed on both his political and religious legacy to Adityanath. Awaidhnath died in 2014.Also Readlast_img read more

Lecturer shot dead by student in Sonipat

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first_imgAn ad hoc lecturer was shot dead on Tuesday allegedly by a second year student at Shaheed Dalbir Singh College in Pipli village near Kharkhoda in Sonipat district, the police said. The accused was angry as the lecturer had rebuked him following a female student’s complaint, they added. The deceased, Rajesh Malik, was aged between 35 to 40 years, they said.Four shots fired The accused was identified as Jagmal, a BA II year student, the police said. Jagmal, a resident of a village near Kharkhoda, walked into the college on Tuesday morning and fired four shots at Mr. Malik, the police said adding that the bullets hit him in the chest and arms. He was declared brought dead at a hospital, they said. The accused fled from the spot, the police added.Girl student’s complaintA police officer said that the lecturer had reprimanded Jagmal after a girl student complained that he had harassed her. “That is why he developed animosity against the lecturer,” he said. The police said Jagmal, who belongs to a farming family, was absconding and teams had been formed to nab him. Mr. Malik is survived by his wife and two children.last_img read more

CM Parrikar to return to Goa on June 15

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first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is currently undergoing medical treatment in the U.S., is expected to return to Goa on June 15, senior BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral said on Tuesday. “Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is returning to Goa on June 15,” Mr. Cabral told the media on the sidelines of a State Tourism Ministry press conference in Panaji. Upendra Joshi, an official on special duty at the Chief Minister’s office also confirmed to The Hindu the news of Mr. Parrikar’s return after more than three months.However, a senior party official said he was still unsure. “As a party we do not know the exact date of arrival. He is likely to come to Goa in June, but the tickets as far as we know haven’t been booked yet,” the official said, requesting anonymity.An office memo, issued by the Home Ministry mentioning Mr. Parrikar’s presence at the State-organised Revolution Day event on June 18, went viral on social media. The memo states that he is expected to arrive at 8:50 a.m. for the event at the Martyr’s Memorial in Panaji. “Arrival of honourable Chief Minister. He will be received by Chief Secretary and Director General of Police,” the memorandum states, further listing the Chief Minister’s speech at 9:25 a.m.A BJP functionary, when contacted on Monday in this regard, had ruled out Mr. Parrikar’s return by June 18. “We are not aware of his return to Goa. As far as we know, there are some tests which are expected to be conducted later this month, after which his return dates will be confirmed. But as far as the party is concerned, as of now, he will not be in Goa to attend the June 18 function,” the official said requesting anonymity.last_img read more

Kashmir police release photos of Shujaat Bukhari’s killers

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first_imgThe Kashmir police have released two CCTV photographs of three men riding a motorcycle, who are believed to be responsible for the killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar on Thursday evening.In tweet, the Kashmir police requested the “general public” to identify the suspects in Thursday’s “terror attack” at the press enclave in Srinagar in which Bukhari and two of his personal security officers were killed.There has been widespread condemnation of Bukhari’s assassination both in Srinagar and in New Delhi.General public is requested to identify the suspects in pictures involved in today’s terror attack at press enclave.#ShujaatBukhari @JmuKmrPolice @spvaid @DIGCKRSGR @PoliceSgr pic.twitter.com/3cXM0CC8BD— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) June 14, 2018last_img read more

Produce file on minister’s wealth: Goa Lokayukta

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first_imgGoa Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) P.K. Misra on Thursday directed the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of Goa Police to produce the entire file processing the complaint over the disproportionate assets of Goa Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar and his wife Janita Madkaikar, the Sarpanch of Old Goa Panchayat, and all connected files on the matter. Lawyer Aires Rodrigues on June 7 filed a complaint with the Lokayukta accusing inaction by the ACB in probing the complaint against Mr. Madkaikar. On July 27, the Lokayukta directed the Chief Secretary of Goa and the Superintendent of Police, ACB to file a status report. The status report stated that the ACB had not pursued the complaint as the Lokayukta was now seized of the matter.Mr. Rodrigues said that Mr. Madkaikar’s company, Nikitasha Realtors Pvt. Ltd. had on April 1 inaugurated a bungalow at Old Goa estimated to cost around ₹200 crores and in his complaint on May 10 demanded that the ACB register an FIR under Sections 13(1) (d) & (e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code against the two. Mr. Madkaikar’s Income-tax returns for the financial year 2015-16 showed his total income to be ₹1,44,389, and ₹24,389 as his wife’s, he said.The Lokayukta adjourned the hearing to August 16.last_img read more

Body of foreign national found hanging in an orchard in Bodh Gaya

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first_imgThe body of a foreign national was found hanging from a tree in an orchard in Bodh Gaya, Bihar on Saturday. Police said the deceased has been identified as James Allen, 33, from Australia.His body has been found hanging from a tree a an orchard in Rajpur area of Bodh Gaya.The police have also recovered a letter in which it has mentioned that all belongings should be handed over to his sister.“It is yet to be verified whether he has been murdered or committed suicide. Officials from the forensic department would be reaching the spot soon and examine the stuffs recovered from the spot to reach a conclusion”, Anil Kumar, Gaya city Superintendent of Police, told local journalists.The incident came to light when some local residents noticed it while passing through the area on Saturday morning. They immediately informed the local police.The police have found a bag, a diary and water bottle at the spot. “Phone numbers with Australian code in the diary suggest he could be from Australia”, said police officials.last_img read more

Woman killed by trap laid to catch boars

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first_imgAn electric trap set to kill wild boars for their meat claimed the life of a woman and critically injured a minor girl at Nagajodi village under Jharigaon block of Odisha’s Nabarangur district on Wednesday.The deceased has been identified as Jalia Harijan, 22. Laxmi Harijan, 14, the critically injured girl has been admitted in the district hospital. The duo, along with their friends, was returning home after watching a show at a neighbouring village at the time of the mishap.last_img

It’s Lalu’s ‘Ram’ vs Paswan’s ‘Lakshman’

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first_img“Pashupati mera Lakshman hain… woh bhi aapka khyal waise hi rakhega jaise main (Pashupati is my Lakshman… he will take care of you like I have),” Lok Janshakti Party chief and eight-time MP from Hajipur Ram Vilas Paswan has been telling people in the constituency while campaigning for his younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras who is contesting against Mahagathbandhan candidate Shivchandra Ram of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Citing poor health, Ram Vilas Paswan this time opted out of the Lok Sabha poll and fielded his brother from his traditional Hajipur (reserved) constituency but his ‘Lakshman’ is apparently locked in a tough battle against RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s Shivchandra ‘Ram’.Local vs outsider Mr. Ram is a local from Mahua block of Vaishali district, while Mr. Paras comes from Alauli of Khagaria district. The three Assembly constituencies of Hajipur Lok Sabha seat — Lalganj, Mahnar and Hajipur — are currently held by the NDA while three others — Mahua, Raghopur and Rajapakar — are with the RJD. Lalu Prasad’s two sons — Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav — represent Mahua and Raghopur constituencies respectively, and Mr. Ram is a legislator from Rajapakar. “It’s a battle between Lalu’s Ram and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lakshman… it’s also a contest between local versus outsider,” said sexagenarian Jagdish Rai of Raghopur.Since 1977, Mr. Paswan has won the Hajipur parliamentary seat eight times. In 2009 LS election, he lost to JD(U)’s Ram Sundar Das. He has done some development work including opening zonal office of Food Corporation of India and East Central Railway zonal HQ. This time, Mr. Paswan is working hard to make his younger brother win the seat. Recently, he gave full-page advertisement in local dailies telling the Hajipur residents that he was “dedicating his younger brother Pashupati Paras for the services of his mother, Hajipur”, and would himself continue to serve them from the other side. He also had outlined the development works he undertook for the constituency.‘Father’s prestige’On the other hand, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav too has been telling voters that his father’s prestige is at stake in Hajipur and they should help Mr. Ram win. Mr Ram, who is said to be close to Mr. Tejashwi and Mr. Lalu, was a Minister in the previous grand alliance government in the State. Mr. Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav’s Lalu-Rabri Morcha too has fielded Balinder Ram, a local leader. “Shivchandra is the son of the soil, while Paras is not Paswan, and he also comes from Khagaria,” Madho Singh, a retired LIC employee, said in Mahua. He added that a section of the people may vote for the NDA candidate in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Caste calculations of the Hajipur seat suggest that the contest between the NDA and the Mahagathbandhan candidates appears to be tough and the victory margin might not be like “what Ram Vilas Paswan has been bagging”. With 3.5 lakh Yadavs, 1 lakh Muslims,1.40 lakh Kushwahas and 1.10 lakh Ravidas, the Mahagathbandhan candidate appears to be on a strong pitch, while the NDA nominee seems to be equally strong with 2.5 lakh EBC (Extremely Backward Caste), 1.40 lakh Bhumihars, 2.5 lakh Rajputs, over 60,000 Brahmins and 1.30 lakh Paswans.last_img read more

Communist Party Takes Aim at Elite Scientists

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first_imgLong considered the capstone of a scientific career in China, election to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) confers so much prestige on those anointed that organizations often try to recruit CAS members or reward their own with a guarantee of lifetime employment. But China’s Communist Party has ordered a reform of China’s academy membership system that may be aimed at curtailing privileges for academicians, or yuanshi. The surprise move “is completely outside my expectations,” says Cao Cong, a Chinese science policy scholar at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.The yuanshi system has come under mounting criticism, especially after a researcher was elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) for his contributions to making cigarettes less harmful and after revelations of a corrupt railway official’s failed attempts to bribe his way into CAS. Many rank-and-file Chinese scientists both envy and chafe at the real and imagined privileges that yuanshi enjoy. The Education Ministry holds academicians in such high esteem that one metric it uses to evaluate universities is the number of yuanshi on the payroll. As a result, academicians might hold concurrent positions at several universities and institutes, fattening their wallets in the process.Some observers view the yuanshi system as a hindrance to Chinese science and have called for abolishing it all together. That’s why many in China’s blogosphere were elated to learn that Communist Party leaders, in an opus on economic, social, and legal reforms released after a party powwow in Beijing last week, called for the “reform of election and management of the academician system” and to “implement regulations regarding retirement and withdrawal” of members. It’s uncertain how CAS will carry out the order. A researcher who has been advising CAS on reforms says he has been bombarded with questions about specific measures from both academy leaders and China’s official media—suggesting that CAS leaders were caught off-guard by the high-level mandate.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Current CAS bylaws stipulate that when academicians turn 80, they become senior members, akin to emeritus members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and lose their rights to recommend and vote on future members, though the word “retirement” is not mentioned. The bylaws also state that academic misconduct can result in a yuanshi’s expulsion. It’s not clear what more CAS could do to appease the country’s top leaders and the broader scientific community, the researcher says, but the academies will probably have a reform plan ready for a joint CAS and CAE meeting in June.last_img read more

NBA to bring preseason game to India soon

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first_imgNational Basketball Association (NBA) is planning to bring a pre-season game to India in an effort to tap the growing market for the sport in the country.Realising the market potential of basketball in the country, the NBA had opened an elite basketball training center—NBA Academy India—at the Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in Greater Noida in May last year.The NBA had also tied up with Reliance Foundation for its junior NBA program which has already reached more than six million youth and trained more than 5,000 physical education instructors nationwide since its launch in 2013.Read it at Business Today Related Itemslast_img

Tourism Australia targets AUD 1.9 bn overnight visitor spend from India by 2020

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first_imgTourism Australia has achieved its target of receiving 3,00,000 Indian visitors much ahead of its time in 2017, a target set for 2020. The Australian Government agency in its analysis about the Indian market stated that the country received a total of 302,655 Indian visitors for the year ended December 2017, thereby marking a rise of 15.4% compared to the same period last year. Tourism Australia is expecting about 3,68,000 Indian visitors to the country in FY2019-20 with a growth of 9.1%.Talking the potential of the Indian market for Australia, Brent Anderson, Regional General Manager, South & South East Asia, Tourism Australia, said that India currently is the eighth largest inbound market for arrivals for December 2017, and they are looking at India to rank on the fifth position by 2025.Read it at Travel Biz Monitor Related Itemslast_img read more

Why Specially-abled Indian Students’ Parents Prefer to Re-locate to The US

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first_imgRaising a specially-abled child is an extremely challenging task for parents all over the world. In India, the challenge becomes tougher due to an overburdened healthcare system ill-equipped to provide for the special needs of such children, an education system obsessed with rote-learning and marks, and a superstitious society that equates mental disorders with insanity.Read it at India Today Related Itemslast_img

Sales at Trump Tower Mumbai Have Chilled

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first_imgOne stretch of scaffolding along Mumbai’s skyscraper-speckled skyline is especially dense. More than a dozen luxury apartment towers stand unfinished, and their concrete hulls reach up into this seaside city’s thick haze. Among them, one has generated unusual buzz. It is the one that will soon glimmer with a facade of gold-tinted glass, with the name of the president of the United States emblazoned across it.Ritesh Shah once worked in New York City’s diamond district, not so far from the original Trump Tower. He’d gaze up at the building in awe. Then, in 2014, Donald Trump announced that he’d be lending his name to a 75-story building in Shah’s native city, slated for opening in late 2018. Together, more than 50 diamond traders, including Shah, bought apartments – and they got a deep bulk discount in the process, he said.The discount was important, even for this slice of India’s super-rich. Units in Trump Tower Mumbai are listed at prices roughly 30 percent higher than units in comparable buildings. The premium derives from the brand-licensing agreement the Trump Organization signed with the building’s developers: the Lodha Group, a giant, family-owned real estate empire much like Trump’s.The Lodhas staked the building’s success on Trump’s brand value. Trump brags that his brand has only become “hotter” since his political career took off, and in some partnership deals around the world, that would seem to be the case. But in Mumbai, Trump and his partners may have overestimated his self-proclaimed “Midas touch.”Sales “windows” for the tower in Mumbai have been offered since 2014, yet just over half of the building’s 400 units have sold, according to the Lodha Group. That would mean roughly a quarter of the units sold belong to Shah and his fellow diamond traders.A spokeswoman for the Lodha Group said the company had offered a “limited inventory” for the Trump Tower until now and that “an iconic real estate brand such as Trump demands a unique approach in everything we do, right from planning to selling.”But Suparna Salaskar, a former Lodha Group employee who managed interactions with buyers until just a few months ago, said in an interview that she knew of only one unit being sold since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015. The Lodha spokeswoman did not respond to a request to confirm Salaskar’s observation but said the most recent of three sales windows was in June 2016.The Trump Organization also did not respond to a request for comment. In addition to Trump Tower Mumbai, the company has brand-licensing deals for buildings in three other Indian cities.The Mumbai apartments are not expensive by Trump standards. Three-bedroom units start at $1.3 million. But the building is surrounded by competitors, all facing a market slump, and the president-elect’s name may not be hot enough to prevail.“The question was always: Does the market value his brand that much higher?” said Ashutosh Limaye, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle in Mumbai.The building boom in Mumbai’s Lower Parel and Worli neighborhoods has created a glut of luxury apartments, Limaye said, although most of the towers have yet to be completed. Developers are in a race to finish their projects as prospective customers hold off buying until they can be assured of move-in dates. The Trump Tower is not ahead in this race.Nevertheless, Shah, the diamond dealer, said part of the reason that he and his colleagues bought at the Trump Tower was that they thought the Trump Organization would pressure the Lodhas to complete construction by the promised date. Their decision stemmed from particularly Indian factors, too.Shah had an apartment in a different high-rise nearby, “but the vastu in the building was totally off,” he said, referring to the age-old Hindu science of architecture, similar to feng shui. Vastu purports that a building’s layout profoundly affects its inhabitants’ harmony with their surroundings — and some business executives think bad vastu can ruin a fortune. Shah has had a priest who specializes in vastu assess his purchase. “I know that at least the part with my apartment is relatively good,” he said.He and the other diamond traders moving into the building are all members of the small but financially powerful Jain community, as are the Lodhas. The Trump Tower is going up next to an ornate Jain temple, which is a selling point.Shah explained that Jain diamond dealers had made real estate deals with the Lodhas before, but had been disappointed by construction delays. Salaskar said that an average Lodha-built apartment would “come into possession two to three years late” and that buyers at the Trump Tower have been told that they could have to wait until 2019 for completion.Salaskar said she had dealt with dozens of potential buyers in Trump Tower Mumbai and that just one or two were ultimately deterred by Donald Trump’s politics. In fact, she said, most saw Trump’s brash style as an alluring part of his brand. Trump is someone who, in business and politics, gets things done “by hook or by crook,” she said.Shah said that the possibility that Trump might be supervising the project, even indirectly, was assuring. If he had been an American citizen, he would have voted for Trump in November, he said. “As we’ve seen in India, democracyhas been a mess,” Shah said. Referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added, “Modi and Trump are half-dictators, and that’s what we need, actually, in India and in America.”Real estate and politics are often intertwined in India, and the Lodha family is well-placed at the intersection of the two endeavors. The Lodha Group was founded by Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who is vice president of the state branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is led nationally by Modi.Most wealthy Indians, including politicians, invest large sums of untaxed cash, sometimes called “black money,” in property. And with a little grease, powerful politicians often finagle special permissions or even land for developers, which can yield big financial gains.In 2011, Indian tax authorities discovered that the Lodha Group had about $30 million in unreported income, according to court documents. The company was ordered to pay $1 million in fines and settled a tax bill for an undisclosed amount.As Trump has promised to do, Mangal Lodha — who is worth $1.55 billion, according to Forbes — handed over daily management of his company to his sons in 2003 as his own political stature grew. Lodha’s elder son, Abhishek, told The Washington Post in a statement that the Lodhas are “extremely pleased that Mr. Trump was elected president and wish him all the best as he takes charge of the world’s foremost democracy.” Limaye, the real estate expert, said he wasn’t so sure Trump’s election would be good for the Lodhas. “If the building is delayed by the usual number of years, then it will only open once Trump’s first term is finished,” he said. “And who can predict what his name will signify then?” — Washington Post Related Itemslast_img read more

Indians Are Reshaping The Internet

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first_imgIt is perhaps the silliest spat of the year. Since September, PewDiePie, a Swedish Internet personality whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has waged a war of words with T-Series, an Indian record label and film producer. For five years, PewDiePie has been the most subscribed channel on YouTube, amassing more than 76 million subscribers. T-Series, however, is threatening to usurp his crown with its mix of Bollywood and devotional songs. With millions of movie-mad Indians becoming YouTube viewers, T-Series’ victory is inevitable.This is part of a striking trend: Indians are an increasing powerful presence online. Even with an Internet penetration rate of less than 30 percent, India is the largest market for WhatsApp and its parent company, Facebook. It ranks third by users on Instagram and fourth on Twitter, according to eMarketer, a research firm. Four of Tinder’s top 10 cities by paying users are in India. And 1 in 10 Uber rides globally occurs in India, a proportion that is set to grow.Tech leaders look at these statistics with cartoon dollar signs on their eyes. India was the only country to get its own section in the “recent milestones” section of Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos’s letter to shareholders this year. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.) And Sundar Pichai, the Indian-born chief executive of Google, has mentioned India in six out of the company’s last seven earnings calls. The investment bank Morgan Stanley expects smartphone penetration to more than double between 2017 and 2020.India represents a microcosm of the world’s unconnected markets. User growth in the United States is stagnant; Europe is a regulatory morass. And unlike China, India imposes few restrictions on foreign Internet firms. Its Web users are keener on Western brands than on homegrown ones.But for years, data prices remained high and growth slow. That changed in September 2016, with the launch of Jio, a mobile network offering low-cost, high-speed data. Other networks scrambled to compete, offering ever-greater data allowances at lower prices. The effect is startling: Mobile Internet connections grew from 346 million in late 2016 to 491 million this year, according to India’s telecoms regulator. In the same period, monthly data consumption jumped by a factor of more than 13, to 3.2 gigabytes per user.As Indians come online in the hundreds of millions, the first thing they do is connect with their friends on WhatsApp and Facebook. They then stream Bollywood movies and pornography. Lots of pornography. Searches for “Hindi sexy film” on PornHub grew 27,814 percent in 2018.There is one thing missing from this spectacular story of falling costs and rocketing growth: profit. India remains too poor for premium services. Apple, which does not discount its phones, sells just 1 percent of smartphones in India. A Netflix subscription is unaffordable for about 99 percent of Indians. And revenue from India remains stubbornly low for Facebook and Google. Amazon’s Indian subsidiary saw losses grow 30 percent to 63 billion rupees ($880 million) in the year ended March 2018.That hardly seems to matter. Silicon Valley firms are clear that they don’t expect returns from India in the short or even medium term. Apple’s Tim Cook has said his company will be in India for a thousand years. Free, ad-based services are more focused on getting in and exposing new users to their services before another company captures their attention. The hope is that Indians will stick around.They might. A bigger question is whether the firms themselves have staying power. Google is struggling to match Facebook’s momentum in ad sales in India. Facebook is bleeding goodwill, plagued with regulatory and legal challenges and facing a lawsuit on its data-sharing practices before India’s Supreme Court.Yet even in the short term, India is having a profound effect both on tech firms and the Web at large. Companies have been experimenting with products specifically for India, including adding payments and other business services to WhatsApp and cash payments to Uber, both of which have spread to multiple countries. Uber offers or is planning novel services, such as booking three-wheeler auto-rickshaws or arranging multiple modes of transport through the app. And Tinder picked India, where men far outnumber women on dating apps, to launch My Move, which allows women to choose whether men can approach them.Indians may have another, subtler effect on the Web. As they become the largest market on the open, non-Chinese Web, content-creators will turn their attention to serving them. Amazon and Netflix are already spending heavily on Indian shows and movies for their streaming services. YouTube is crucial to Google’s future in India. And last year, Facebook bid $600 million for online rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. It lost to Hotstar, a runaway streaming success owned by 21st Century Fox. This year Facebook appointed Hotstar’s chief executive as its new India boss.Tech companies’ experiments in India will determine not just the future of tech business but also how the Internet is experienced as the rest of the world comes online. Even PewDiePie will have to acknowledge this: An insult video aimed at T-Series, released in October, is one of his most-watched ever, no doubt owing to Indian viewers tuning in. As more Indians come online, he too will learn that he can’t beat them.Special To The Washington PostMirani is news editor at the Economist in London.  Related Itemslast_img read more

NIA Chargesheets Indian-Origin Singapore National, 3 Others for Alleged ISIS Links

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first_imgThe National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet on March 13 against four people, including Indian-origin Singapore citizen Haja Fakkurudeen, for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy, organizing clandestine training camps and mobilizing funds on behalf of the ISIS terror group in Tamil Nadu and Telangana.The others who are named in the charge sheet are Khaja Moideen, 50, of Cuddalore; Shakul Hameed, 27, of Chennai; and Ansar Meeran, 29, from Kanniyakumari. They have been accused by the NIA for allegedly promoting activities of ISIS, organizing camps, recruiting and training some people, besides helping them to travel to Syria so they could join the ISIS, along with hatching a criminal conspiracy and raising and receiving funds, PTI reported.“The case was registered at NIA in New Delhi on Jan. 26, 2017, pursuant to the order of the MHA, directing the NIA to suo-motu investigate into the information that eight accused persons from Tamil Nadu and one from Telangana with the intention of furthering the activities of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)/Daish, had hatched a criminal conspiracy and formed a terrorist gang, that had raised and received funds, organized camps, recruited and trained some persons besides facilitated their travel to Syria to join the ISIS,” NIA said in a statement.The NIA investigation revealed that Fakkurudeen, the prime accused, had organized and attended many conspiracy meetings in India with his associates to raise money and to recruit people to terror organization in 2013-14. He then, along with his family, joined ISIS in Syria in the last week of January 2014. He was seen featured in a propaganda video released by the organization on social media websites in December 2016.According to the agency, Fakkurudeen visited Chennai thrice in a span of three months in 2013. He held conspiracy meetings at Chennai, Keelakarai in Ramanathapuram district, Parangipettai in Cuddalore district and at RT Nagar in Bengaluru, with Moideen, Hameed, Meeran and Mohammed Thabraze, intending to recruit the other accused people to ISIS.“Investigation has also revealed that accused Moideen, Hameed and Meeran had knowingly assisted Fakkurudeen in joining the ISIS, in Syria during January 2014. In pursuance of the criminal conspiracy, Hameed had later radicalized and recruited Abu Thahir to the ISIS and traveled along with Thahir to Turkey during August, 2015 with the intention of joining ISIS in Syria,” the statement added. Related ItemsISISSingaporeTerrorismlast_img read more

Till Ethnicity Do us Part

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first_imgBobby Jindal is running for governor of Louisiana. If you are desi and haven’t heard this yet, then you’ve been either out of the country or too preoccupied with your life to care. I’m inclined toward the latter, but with G.W. Bush in the White House and with this constant state of fear produced by his administration, we must get involved.One of the expectations from our community is that if “one of our own” runs for office, we must support that person, regardless of their politics. I reject this line of thought. Ethnicity is important to all of us, but it does not determine our politics. I like Bobby Jindal, but I don’t support him for governor.Brown’s Latur GenerationOn the morning of September 30, 1993, a terrible earthquake (magnitude 6.3) struck the Latur and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra. The government later told us that close to 8,000 people had died and that over 30,000 homes had been destroyed. The scale of the earthquake was very significant. A few hours after the earthquake had struck, I received a phone call from a student at Brown University, Pooja Sarin. Several months before the call, Pooja and Raj Dave of the South Asian Students Association (SASA) from Brown had contacted me. Since I worked in Providence at Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) on a campaign to remove tobacco advertisements from the areas of the working class as well as to challenge police brutality, these students had expressed an interest in being involved.I remember when a group of them led by Pooja Sarin and Raj Dave came to my office at DARE to ask how the SASA could get involved in the struggles for social justice being fought by our polycultural community (made up of Black folk from the U.S. South, from the Dominican Republic, Hmong hrefugees and poor Whites). They brought a fiery sense of the injustice in the world to my office located in one of the more battered parts of the city of Providence, but one that housed the most resilient and hopeful population to which I have been introduced in the United States. Now Pooja wanted to do something, anything, to help those who had survived the earthquake and whose lives needed to be rebuilt.In the typically organized fashion of college students, the SASA gathered for a daily fund-drive in the Brown post office and collected money, as well as held a fund-raiser dinner one evening not long after the earthquake. The money was sent to a relief agency in India and it turns out that some homes had been built for their effort. When I remember these Brown students, I think of them as the Latur generation: they had already held numerous political workshops on campus, many of them had been involved in the effort to make Brown more democratic (to allow community people to use the library, for instance, and to ensure that it admit people independent of their means to pay). When they hosted the 8th Annual SASA Conference in March 1996 they made sure to include political discussions that are often not heard at the mainly social, partying SASA.I remember many of these students with joy. Even as I don’t remember Bobby Jindal, I feel that he belongs to this Latur Generation.He was a smart aleck, who when once asked by his elementary school teacher, “Why is it that all Indians are so smart and well-behaved,” answered, “It was the food.” Jindal left Brown for Oxford, then went on to help rescue the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, work as executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission the Future of Medicare (also known as the Breaux-Thomas Commission) to try and help save the health care program for the 40 million elderly and disabled, run the University of Louisiana system as its youngest president, and finally, to serve in the George W. Bush administration as health policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services. This is an extraordinary resume for someone who is only 32. His commitment to public service certainly puts him in Brown’s Latur Generation.Foot Soldier in the Bush CrusadeWhy is this smart, energetic, well-intentioned and generous young man a foot soldier in the Bush crusade? Why would he join-up with a political movement that is generally committed to the very wealthy, that has a disregard for ethnic minorities, and that has put forward laws against immigrants that stifle the life-blood of our communities? What has brought Bobby Jindal to the Grand Old Party, the GOP, the Republicans?My disregard for his candidacy is not over his own personal integrity, his talents or his accomplishments. I am dismayed by his political loyalties.The GOP, unlike the Democratic Party, is a genuine political organization. It has a closely controlled group of operatives, a very disciplined cadre of Congressional representatives who actually follow the Whip in the House, and it tends to be very focused and regimented in its message. There is no wavering from the message, and as the right wing of the GOP is now in dominance, that message is decidedly right wing and hardly mainstream.Take a look at some of the campaign positions that Jindal is forced to take as a result of his being under the GOP tent:Jindal opposes the right of a woman to have control over her body. The test for this control is generally fought on the battlefield of abortion, but the real issue at stake is not abortion itself, but who gets to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. “I am pro-life,” Jindal points out, but because there are 15,000 abortions in the state of Louisiana (a pro-life state), he proposes to regulate abortion. He considers the medical professionals that offer a woman the right to choose, “an abortion industry” and hopes to use “informed consent” and other such laws to ensure that pressure is put on women to accede to others for decisions about their persons.Jindal hinders modern scientific research. While modern science breaks many barriers, one of the most astounding areas for research has been in biology. The use of genes has provided a vast sum of knowledge and, for lesser or worse, we have learnt all kinds of things from it.“Our society must do all that we can to help alleviate human suffering,” Jindal says, “and that certainly includes more scientific research.” On this point, Jindal calls for a ban on human cloning. Under the term “human cloning,” however, the administration includes stem cell research, whose benefits include organ regeneration (according to Dr. Mick Bhatia director of stem cell research at London’s Robarts Research Institute), brain therapy (according to Professor Svitlana Garbuzova-Davis of the University of South Florida’s Center for Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair), reversal of paralysis (according to Professor Douglas Kerr of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine). To take a doctrinaire position on stem cells (“human cloning”) is to miss out on very important areas of medicine, including in the field of gene therapy.Jindal threatens the secular American state. Along with his GOP counterparts, Jindal has pledged to promote “faith-based” initiatives in human services that the government provides. This is contrary to the wonderfully secular Constitution whose dispensation allows many of us of different faiths space to live freely in the United States.There are many who have taken Jindal to task for his own conversion to Christianity. I do not join with them. Jindal has the right to make any decision about his spiritual faith that his conscience allows. Indeed, I celebrate when a human being is able to find an ideology that gives him or her some comfort in this cruel world.However, the GOP is currently in the mood to foster its evangelical fervor on the rest of us. The mainstream (68% of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press) opposed the President’s Faith-based initiative for its erosion of the secular principles of the state.Reverend C. Weldon Gaddy, a Baptist head of the Interfaith Alliance, told the media on January 30, 2001, “This whole thing is a religious-liberty nightmare. You can’t have federal funds supporting sectarian proselytizing.” Reverend Jesse Jackson told the AME Church on February 4, 2001, “I’m all for faith-based programs, after-school programs, senior citizen programs, transportation ministries. But I fear federally funded, faith-based initiatives. Don’t let them get into your books, because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Money is seductive; the church needs money, but it needs independence even more!” For more on the right-wing evangelical agenda of the GOP and the Bush administration, I recommend as a primer Michael Lind’s Made in Texas. George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics, Basic Books, 2002.Jindal supports an armed society. If you’ve seen Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, you’ll know that a society with guns is one that has a terminal illness. The epidemic of gun violence in our society calls for some drastic solution. How can a man who champions medicine and well being not see that guns are an enemy to public health? Because of the ease with which children can get handguns, the Centers for Disease Control reports that the rate of death among kids under 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in other industrialized countries. These kids are more than 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and 9 times more likely to die from a firearm accident than the combined rate of death for children in 25 other advanced industrialized states. In 1992, children died from handguns in the following numbers: Australia (13), Great Britain (33), Sweden (36), Japan (60), Switzerland (97), Canada (128) and the United States (13,200).Yet, Jindal calls those who promote gun control the “radical gun control lobby” and he pledges to “be vigilant in protecting our Second Amendment rights in Louisiana.”These are just a handful of issues with which many of us radically depart from Jindal. And yet we are told, we must support him because he is desi… Hum Tum Ek Kamare Mein Bundh Ho.In 1996, I got into a debate in the pages of an Indian newspaper in California with Asha Knott of southern California’s GOP about the candidacy of Nimmi McConigley for the Senate. You may remember the full-page ads in our community papers that appealed to desis to send “one of us” to the “most powerful body in the country,” to “create history by putting a first India-born person in the U.S. Senate.”Nimi McConigley, a Wyoming state representative, is a founding patron of the Asian-American Republican Club, and had this to say of her long tenure in the GOP, “Twenty years ago, I was proud to become an American because I believed in the values and principles on which this nation was founded. The Republican Party offers the hope to make America the nation that so many of us from other countries saw as the land of freedom, opportunity and hope.” Keep in mind that this comment was made in 1995, while the Gingrich House tried its best to squelch all opportunity for immigrants and as it pushed the Clinton administration to pass the draconian 1996 immigration act. McConigley’s most egregious position was her support for English-Only, cold comfort for most of us immigrants: even if we speak English (with an accent), we benefit from the liberal climate created toward all immigrants by such policies as bilingual education. The English-Only movement was a thinly veiled attack on all immigrants. She also displayed impatience toward the poor, “people who use lack of money as an excuse for their inability to get the job done.” When McConigley said that her hero is Gandhi, one could only wonder what the great man would have thought about her heartlessness to those who are less fortunate?Fortunately she lost the election.The compulsion to support someone because of ethnicity is false. No one assumes that an ethnic community shares a singular politics. The reason there is this compulsion is because we are a small community in the United States: only 2 million out of 300 million (just more than half a percent). There is a belief any modern society that political office is a mark of social acceptance: if a desi gets elected to high office this means that the “native” population has finally seen desis as those who belong. I sympathize with this feeling, but it is not one that I subscribe to.To believe that we must support any desi is to lock ourselves in a small room, making us suffocate from the claustrophobia of ethnicity. Blood or ethnicity does not automatically make for good politics. Just because Jindal is a desi does not mean he earns our support. We have to read his positions, see what he plans to do on the issues that are meaningful to us, and then take a political not a sentimental position on his candidacy. Without such scrupulousness, we’ll end up promoting candidates that operate against the general tenor of the desi community.From the mid-1960s till recently, the Democratic Party has been the party of choice for desis who could vote. Nevertheless, as Mira Kamdar of the World Policy Institute points out in the recent issue of The Subcontinental (“A Move to the Right? The Shifting Sands of South Asian American Politics,” www.sub continental.org), well off, professional desis seem to be gravitating toward the GOP.But the move is gradual. The most affluent Indian Americans who live in Silicon Valley donate vast sums of money to Democratic candidates: Jessie Singh of BJS electronics, for instance, was a major donor to Mike Honda’s successful run for Congress in 2000. Among the 25 desi candidates who ran for public office in 2000, most of the credible candidates came from the Democratic Party: these included Kumar Barve (Maryland House of Delegates), Satveer Chaudhary (Minnesota State Senate), Swati Dandekar (Iowa State Assembly). Others who held a Democratic ticket and made a strong showing include Ayesha Nariman, Vij Pawar, Stuart John, G. Nanjundappa and Shawn Aranha (Rahul Mahajan ran on the Green ticket for Governor of Texas).The GOP did not field any desi candidate who had a ghost of a chance to win. Indeed, the GOP’s Karen Balderston who stood against Dandekar revealed the racism of many in her party, “While I was growing up in Iowa, learning and reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag, Swati was growing up in India under the still existent caste system. How can that prepare her for legislating in Iowa or any other part of our great United States?”Bobby Jindal seems to be a decent man. Whatever his personal achievements, he is going to conform to the discipline of the GOP and he is going to be used as a false symbol of the GOP’s “inclusiveness.” Let us not promote someone who stands with those who want to make mayhem in our world, just because they share an ethnicity with us. That is the crudest, most vulgar form of politics.   Related Itemslast_img read more

8 vehicles of Supriya Sule’s convoy found in no-parking zone, fined

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first_imgEight vehicles, which were part of NCP MP Supriya Sule’s convoy, were fined after being found parked in a no-parking area in Solapur city, the police said on Sunday.Ms. Sule on Tuesday evening participated in an event, ‘Sanvad Taishi’, a mass outreach campaign, ahead of the Assembly polls, at the Indian Medical Association’s hall at Dufferin Chowk in Solapur.As the programme started, there was a traffic jam in the area following which the police asked the event organisers to remove some vehicles parked in the no-parking area outside the premises, a traffic police official said. However, despite repeated warnings, the vehicles were not removed.Subsequently, eight vehicles, including some SUVs, which were part of Ms. Sule’s convoy, were fined under provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.These included a four-wheeler registered in the NCP’s name and another vehicle in which Ms. Sule, the Lok Sabha member from Baramati (Pune district), arrived for the event, he said. “We are not sure if any of the vehicles belonged to the MP,” the official said.However, some members of the NCP’s youth wing claimed there was no other place in the area to park the vehicles and alleged the action was taken “deliberately” by the police.Ms. Sule on Friday launched her ‘Sanvad’ (dialogue) campaign to reach out to the public ahead of the Assembly elections. In the first phase, Ms. Sule, who is the daughter of NCP chief and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar, will cover Ahmednagar, Solapur, Jalgon, Nashik, Thane and Navi Mumbai, a party leader said.last_img read more

Venkaiah Naidu bats for promotion of mother tongue

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first_imgRespecting and recognising the mother tongue and promoting it is vital for the survival of any civilisation, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has said. Addressing the valedictory function of the 39th World Congress of Poets (WCP) here on Sunday, Mr. Naidu said, “the colonial rulers always try to attack the culture by destroying the local language and we should not fall prey to that.” “Every nation must encourage their children to study primarily in the mother tongue, as I always say the mother tongue is your eyesight and the other language is your spectacle. If you have eyesight, then spectacle will give better sight. If you don’t have eyesight and if you wear glasses, nothing will be visible. Promote, propagate and write in mother tongue first, then go to other languages. All other languages are important. You should respect, learn and understand your mother language,” he said.Stating that promotion of literature was also an “impactful method” to preserve and promote language, the Vice-President pointed out the best way to do so was to use it extensively in everybody’s life. “That is why, wherever I go, I suggest to people to promote, practise and feel proud of their mother tongue. That’s why in the beginning itself I used certain Odia words,” he said.On the importance of poetry in life, he said, “what is needed is to encourage youngsters to take to poetry, literature, music, dance and other arts so that they can become an ideal citizen. I would also like to ask universities to encourage literature, arts and humanity education. We need poets, writers, artists and singers as much as we need doctors, engineers and scientists.” “Poetry should promote peace, motivate people to cultivate universal brotherhood, social harmony and tolerance, and poetry can serve as a powerful catalyst for transformation. I urge schools to make poetry reading and appreciation a compulsory part of curriculum,” Mr. Naidu said.last_img read more