Monday, 25 June 2018

J&K is an integral part of country and no rhetoric from Pakistan can change this: India at UNGA

United Nations: Reiterating that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country, India has said that no amount of empty rhetoric from Pakistan can change this reality.
''I would like to place on record that J&K is an integral and inevitable part of India. No amount of empty rhetoric from Pakistan will change this reality,'' Sandeep Kumar Bayyapu, First Secretary at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) said this during right to reply at the world body.

Railways to issue largest order for 22,000 wagons

New Delhi: Indian Railways is set to put out its largest tender for 22,000 wagons at a cost of at least Rs 7,000 crore in the current financial year that could see big orders for Texmaco Rail and Engineering, Titagarh Wagons, Jindal Rail and Jupiter Wagons, among other wagon makers. 

The orders would be through the reverse e-auction model, and if the lowest bidder isn’t able to serve the entire order, the second-lowest bidder would get a chance without a fresh tendering process. 

The railways ministry hopes the bulk tender would help it reduce the cost of wagons by at least 15-20%. On an average, the ministry procures 8,000 wagons a year. 

“This is the largest tender in terms of size as well as amount that the railways has ever issued,” a rail ministry official said. “The bulk tender is being issued keeping future demand in mind. Currently, we are not able to serve to the larger clients as rakes are not available. 

“Else, the ministry will have no option but import wagons. I have been wanting around 1,000 wagons a month, but what the industry is providing is around 400. If we don’t get the required number… Then don’t come to us asking to increase the import duty on wagons,” Goyal had said. 

Last week, a high-level meeting was held in Rail Bhavan between the top officials of the Railway Board and wagon manufacturer to discuss issues related to supply of wagons. Indian Railways has set a target of loading more than 1,200 million tonne of freight in the current financial year. Out of the total loading target, about 45% would come from the loading of coal alone. 

Ronaldo & Portugal team-mates 'woken' by noisy Iran fans outside hotel

The two sides face a do-or-die Group B encounter on Monday, and Iranian fans have done their best to give their side a boost
Iran and Portugal face a do-or-die World Cup encounter in Group B on Monday.
The two teams can still qualify for the knockout stages in Russia - Iran have three points, Portugal have four - meaning that their encounter in Saransk is winner takes all.
As such, Iran's fans took to the streets on Sunday night, having apparently discovered the Seleccao's team hotel, and set about making all the noise they could.
The group of supporters were chanting, singing, clapping and blowing vuvuzelas as they attempted to disrupt the preparations of Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.
There was also a video clip being shared on social media which purports to show Ronaldo approaching his hotel room window, pleading with the fans to let him sleep.
The Real Madrid superstar is well-known for responding to adversity, however, and netted a hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain, before scoring the winner in their 1-0 victory over Morocco.
Iran, meanwhile, beat Morocco in their opening game, before falling to a narrow 1-0 loss to Spain.
Iran manager Carlos Queiroz is looking forward to the encounter , insisting that this game will be his side's sternest test yet.
"If Morocco and Spain were difficult [games], Portugal is even more difficult. We knew this, we didn't come here to play easy teams," he said.
"Not even in their dreams did my players imagine they would one day play against Cristiano, and all of Portugal's other great players so they are very excited.
"We will try to do our best, concentrate and fight from the first minute. We have nothing to lose, they have everything to lose, we have everything to gain.
"We also hope we have that bit of luck that is always necessary."
A remarkable combination of results could see Spain knocked out, and Portugal and Iran both through; a draw between Iran and Portugal and a two-goal defeat for Spain against the already eliminated Morocco would see La Roja fail to progress to the knockout stages.

EU holds emergency talks over migration

Migrants on the Lifeline ship, which was turned away by Italy and Malta.
European Union (EU) leaders headed to Brussels for emergency talks on Sunday over migration as Italy’s new populist Cabinet turned away another rescue ship, vowing no longer to shoulder Europe’s migrant burden. The talks involving 16 of the bloc’s 28 leaders aim to mend rifts over burden sharing. The meeting was called last week to clear the air before a scheduled full summit on on Thursday and Friday.
With four eastern anti-migrant EU countries snubbing the meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders have downplayed hopes of an EU-wide agreement, saying smaller ad-hoc deals may be the only way forward.

Rescue vessel

The urgency of finding a solution was highlighted by the plight of the Lifeline, the second rescue vessel left adrift in the Mediterranean after Italy and neighbouring Malta refused it permission to dock.
The German charity operating the ship, which is carrying 239 Africans, on Sunday took a swipe at Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini over his reference in a Facebook post to its consignment of “human flesh”. “Dear Matteo Salvini, we have no meat on board, but humans,” it said in a statement.
In a sign of the growing tensions within the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested Saturday that countries who refused to pull their weight on accepting asylum seekers should have their EU benefits cut.
He also riled Italy by saying that the migration emergency, which peaked in 2015, had passed and was now mainly a political issue. “The immigration emergency continues in Italy, partly because France keeps pushing back people at the border,” Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio shot back on his Facebook page.

The Hindu explains: The powers of Governors and Lt. Governors

The Opposition in Tamil Nadu is speaking out against Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Ministers staged a nine-day sit-in inside the Lieutenant Governor’s residence demanding a meeting, and Puducherry Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi has had frequent run-ins with the government. Here's a look at what powers the post of a Governor holds.
How powerful is a Governor?
The powers a Governor has in the state they administer is equivalent to that of the President. They can appoint Chief Ministers, Ministers, the State Election Commissioner and judges of the District Courts. They also serve as Chancellors of all the universitites in the state.
The Governor can also dissolve the state Assembly if they see the need, and if the Assembly is not in session, they can promulgate ordinances. Based on the recommendation of the Election Commission, the Governor can also disqualify a legislator.
Another power the Governor holds is to rule the state in case the ruling party loses its majority in the Assembly, as in Jammu and Kashmir now.
What about a Lieutenant Governor?
A Lieutenant Governor also has the same powers. Only three Union Territories — Andaman and Nicobar, Delhi and Puducherry — have Lt. Governors.
These powers are in place to ensure checks and balances for the state government and its functioning.
Why is there hue and cry when the Governors impose their powers?
Well, that's because of another set of powers the Governor has, called discretionary powers. It is here that the Governor differs from the President, in that their powers are far larger, and ill-defined.
One such power is that the Governor can use his discretion to select a chief ministerial candidate. As seen in Karnataka recently, Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP, the single-largest party to form the government, even after the Congress-JDS combine had the numbers to prove a majority. Meanwhile, Governors in Goa and Manipur invited the BJP to form the government, using their discretionary powers, and the party formed post-poll alliances to supplement its numbers in the states.
Moreover, the Governor can report to the President about the failure of constitutional machinery in the state. The Governor can also reserve or refuse to sign a Bill that has been passed by the Assembly.
Is it true that the Lt. Governor of Delhi has more power?
In an observation made in November 2017, the Supreme Court said that the Lt. Governor of Delhi has more powers that the Governor of a State — he does not have to listen to the advice of the Council of Ministers.
In the case of Delhi, since portfolios like land, police and public order fall under the domain of the Centre, of which the Lt. Governor is a representative, he holds more powers than a Governor.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Seychelles Parliament blocks planned Indian naval base on remote island

Seychelles Parliament blocks planned Indian naval base on remote island
ANSE AUX PINS: Seychelles Parliament will not ratify a pact allowing India to build naval facilities on one of the archipelago’s islands, a top foreign affairs ministry official said on Friday.
The two countries signed an agreement in January to build military facilities on the remote island of Assumption, but the project quickly attracted criticism from opposition members of the tiny Indian Ocean nation’s parliament and lead to public protests.
Opposition lawmakers had argued that allowing India access to Assumption, which is near a busy shipping route, would be surrendering territory to another country and joint management of the facility with India undermined the 115-island nation’s sovereignty.
“The government will not present the agreement to the National Assembly (parliament) for approval because opposition members (who are the majority) have already said they will not ratify it,” Seychelles Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Barry Faure told Reuters by phone.
“Hence the question of whether the agreement has been cancelled or not does arise -- we will simply not take it to the assembly,” he said, noting that the Indian side had already ratified the pact.
He was speaking days before Seychelles President Danny Faure meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi during a state visit due to start on Sunday.
President Faure had earlier told the local media the issue of a military base on Assumption island will not be discussed with Modi and that “the project will not move forward”.
“In next year’s budget, we will put funds for us to build a coastguard facility on Assumption ourselves. It is important for us to ensure that we have a military post in this area,” he said.
The scrapped 20-year pact entailed building an airstrip and a jetty as India steps up a contest with China for influence in the Indian Ocean.
Last year, China inaugurated its first overseas military base in Djibouti, near one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, heightening Indian insecurities and pushing it to gain a foothold in the region. 

Parted at US border by Trump policy, migrants seek their children


Lilian Merida-Galicia and her 7-year-old daughter were apprehended after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and separated by U.S. officials in mid-May. 

Since then, the 23-year-old Guatemalan has been trying to learn her daughter's whereabouts, according to her attorney, Michael Avenatti. At one point she sent a note to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

"Please could you send me a phone number so that I can communicate with my daughter?" read the note, which was written in Spanish and seen by Reuters. 

An ICE officer replied in a note in English: "I do not have this information." 

Merida-Galicia, who is being held in California, is just one of many incarcerated immigrant mothers whose attorneys tell similar stories about chaotic situations in which the mothers don't know where their children have been taken or how to contact them. The mothers themselves could not be contacted because access to detained immigrants is difficult. 

Although President Donald Trump abruptly reversed course on Wednesday following a wave of outrage at home and overseas and abandoned his policy of separating children from parents who are apprehended for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the fate of the more than 2,300 children already separated from their parents while Trump's policy was still in force is unknown. 

Avenatti, who has made headlines representing porn star Stormy Daniels in an unrelated lawsuit against Trump, said Merida-Galicia is among more than 60 immigrant parents he represents and 80 percent of them do not know where their children are. 

The federal government and Congress scrambled on Friday to address the many unanswered questions raised by the hastily drafted executive order Trump issued on Wednesday. 

Attorney Luis Cortes Romero in Kent, Washington, said he represents a Salvadoran woman who was separated in early May from her 11-year-old daughter with Down syndrome after the two crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. The woman is being held in Washington state and has decided she doesn't want to pursue asylum so that she can be deported and reunited with her daughter, he said. 

"She said she never wants to come back, and that this experience has been so traumatizing," Cortes Romero said. 

Trump suggested on Friday that some of the wrenching tales that have emerged from the border were fabricated by Democrats. 

"We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections," he tweeted. 

CONGRESS STUMBLESTrump urged Republican lawmakers on Friday to drop their efforts to pass comprehensive immigration legislation until after the November congressional elections, flip-flopping on his appeal earlier in the week for Congress to act soon. 

Trump has gone back and forth on ways to solve the country's immigration problems, which he blames on Democrats. 

"Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world," Trump said on Twitter. 

"Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!" he said. 

All 435 House seats and a third of the 100-member Senate will be up for grabs in November. Democrats are hoping that discontent among voters with Trump's policies, including on immigration, will help the party make gains in Congress and flip control to Democrats in at least one chamber. 

The House of Representative on Thursday rejected a bill backed by conservatives that would have halted the practice of splitting up families and addressed other immigration issues. The House postponed until next week a vote on a more moderate bill after it failed to attract enough support for passage. But Trump's latest tweets could doom that effort. 

"Game over," said Representative Mark Sanford, a Republican critic of Trump who came under withering attack from the president before losing his primary race this month. 

"Without the president having legislators' backs, there's no way they're going to take the risks that would be inherent in a major reform bill," Sanford told CNN. 

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican who represents a majority Hispanic district in Florida and is not running for re-election, said Trump's tweets amounted to "schizoid policy making." 

REUNIFICATION UNCLEAREven though the president has now ordered that families be kept together in detention during immigration proceedings, it remained unclear how and when those children already separated would be reunited with their parents, and where families would be held while the parents face criminal charges. 

The U.S. Navy is drafting plans to house up to 25,000 immigrants on its bases and other facilities, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of about $233 million over six months, a U.S. official said on Friday. 

But the Navy has not so far been asked to provide accommodation for migrants who have entered the United States illegally, and the official, who asked not to be named, stressed that the draft memo, which looks at setting up housing on Navy airfields in Alabama, was for planning purposes only. 

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday filed a notice saying it may need up to 15,000 more beds to handle immigrant families. That would be a sharp increase from the 2,500 beds available for families in the last fiscal year. 

Shares in private prison operators CoreCivic Inc and Geo Group rose on Friday as investors bet on increasing demand for their services after U.S. authorities asked about available capacity for the detention of immigrant families. 

It was also unclear if the government would keep prosecuting cases against people caught crossing the border illegally. It was the administration's policy of zero tolerance - announced in April - that led to blanket prosecutions, including of adults traveling with children. 

Mumbai bans plastic: A list of items you can and can’t use from today

The Maharashtra government had imposed a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials across the state from today. Here’s a list of plastic items that are banned and the ones you can use.

Authorities have said they will fine offenders up to Rs 25,000 as penalty for not following the plastic ban that comes into effect in Maharashtra on Saturday.
The Maharashtra government had on March 23 issued a notification imposing a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials, including one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will levy a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 1,000 fine for the second one and Rs 25,000 fine for every subsequent violation.

Party which ruled country for maximum years never trusted people and their hard work: Modi

“People trust BJP and its government. Those spreading lies, confusion and pessimism are cut off from the ground reality,” he says ata public meeting in Madhya Pradesh

In a veiled attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said it was spreading “lies, confusion and pessimism”, whereas his government was working for the welfare of people.
“People trust the BJP and its government. Those spreading lies, confusion and pessimism are cut off from the ground reality,” he said.
Mr. Modi was addressing a public meeting after launching the Mohanpura Irrigation Project in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh.

Pays tributes to Syama Prasad Mookerjee

The Prime Minister paid tributes to Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, saying it was his vision to strengthen education, health, finance, and security. “His vision was to impart skills to the youth and give them opportunity so that they become capable of serving the country. Programmes like Startup, Make in India are a reflection of his ideas,” he said.
“It was unfortunate that to glorify one family, deliberate attempts were made to belittle the contributions of other towering personalities in the country,” he said.
The party which ruled the country for maximum years never trusted the people and their hard work. “They did not trust the strength of the country. In the last four years, we never spoke of frustration and dismay. We are the ones who are marching ahead with confidence,” he said.

‘BIMARU, an insult’

Mr. Modi said in the last four years at the Centre and 13 years in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP had worked for the uplift and empowerment of poor, farmers and deprived sections of society.
When the Congress ruled the State, Madhya Pradesh was called a BIMARU State. “The Congress never saw this as an insult to the people of the State. The BJP had worked hard to remove this tag,” he added.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Pak PM Sharif wears pink turban gifted by Modi at granddaughter's wedding............

Sharif Turban
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday wore the pink turban gifted to him by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for his granddaughter's wedding.
A source at Sharif's Jati Umrah residence told PTI that Sharif had donned the "Indian Rajasthani pink turban" gifted to him by Modi during the Indian premier's visit on Friday. "Wearing the gifted turban of Mr Modi itself shows that Mr Sharif's sincere intention towards the neighbouring country.
Besides, it also demonstrates that Mr Sharif values the gift of Mr Modi," the PML-N source said. Mehrun Nisa, daughter of Maryam Nawaz, married Raheel Munir, son of well known industrialist Chaudhry Munir, who was the first to shake hands with Modi when he got off the car at Jati Umrah outside Lahore on Friday evening.
Modi had congratulated Sharif on the wedding of his granddaughter and also presented him gifts. Today evening around 2,000 guests attended the Walima ceremony of the couple. Some VVIP guests had also come from Saudi Arabia for the occasion.
Both the groom and the bride have studied at the London School of Economics. The source say that Walima ceremonies will also be held in UAE and the UK next month because many friends of the Sharifs could not make it to Lahore.
Though all the wedding ceremonies are being kept a close family affair away from the public eye, selected footage is released to the media like during the marriage of Sharif's elder son Husain back in the 1990s. The locals as well as British tailors have reportedly been hired to prepare dresses of the bride and her relatives.

Jackie Chan's statues defaced in anti-China attack at new Taiwan museum..............

Jackie Chan
Two statues donated by actor Jackie Chan to a newly opened museum in Taiwan were splashed with paint and daubed with anti-China slogans, reflecting growing tensions over Beijing's influence on the island. The bronze dragon and horse heads sit in the garden of the new branch of Taipei's famous National Palace Museum in the southern city of Chiayi and were defaced last night, the museum said. 
They are replicas of high-profile ancient relics from the Qing Dynasty, seen on the mainland as emblematic of China's past suffering under foreign invaders. The animal heads were streaked with red paint and their bases daubed with the words "cultural united front" by two unidentified attackers, the museum said. The slogan is a critical phrase used in Taiwan to refer to China's attempts to bring the island back into its fold through cultural influence. 
Taiwan is self-ruling after a split with China in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing sees it as part of its territory awaiting unification. Hong Kong actor Chan, who is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body, has also drawn criticism in the past for pro-Beijing remarks. The museum, world famous for its collection of Chinese artefacts, slammed the attacks as nonsensical.
"A large part of the National Palace Museum's collection originates from the Qing imperial collection, that is Chinese cultural pieces," the museum said in a statement. "If exhibiting relics related to Chinese culture is considered 'united front', how can the (museum) continue to operate?"
Police have launched an investigation and said the attack was carried out by a man and a woman. It is not the first time that statues have been the target of protesters fearful of warming ties between Taiwan and China.
Statues of Taiwan's former ruler Chiang Kai-shek have also been repeatedly vandalised by young Taiwanese who equate his nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) party with mainland rule. 
Relations between China and Taiwan have improved under current president Ma Ying-jeou's KMT government, but he is set to be unseated in January elections as public sentiment has turned against the ruling party, partly for its China-friendly policies. The vandalised heads have already been cleaned and are open to the public with extra security, the museum said. 
The sculptures are copies of 12 zodiac statues that were looted from Beijing's Old Summer Palace in 1860 by Anglo- French troops. The attack came just three days after the venue opened its doors Monday. 

Belgium charges 10th suspect over Paris attacks: Prosecution..............

Paris attacks
Belgian prosecutors said on Thursday they have arrested a 10th suspect over the attacks in Paris last month and charged him with terror offences.

The Belgian national, identified only as Ayoub B, was detained on Wednesday during a raid on a house in the troubled Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, a statement from the federal prosecutor's office said. He has been charged with "terrorist murder" and involvement in the activities of a terrorist group, it said.

The suspect will appear in court again for a custody hearing within five days, it added. Molenbeek is home to the Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam and has emerged as a European hotbed of Islamist extremism.

Belgian authorities on Wednesday cancelled annual New Year's Eve celebrations and fireworks in the heart of Brussels after revealing an alleged jihadist plot to attack the capital during the festivities. 

AS officer from SC community converts to Islam, takes VRS claiming 'victimization'...........

Umrao Salodia
Chairman of Rajasthan Roadways Development Corporation, Umrao Salodia quit from his post alleging discrimination by not being made chief secretary. 
Incumbent Rajasthan Chief Secretary Rajan whose tenure was suppose to end on December 31, 2015, has been given an extension to continue for next three months. Salodia was reportedly a front-runner in the race to become the next CS, but was left disheartened when Rajan's tenure was extended. 
"I had understanding that being member of Scheduled Caste (SC) and senior IAS officer cadre, I would be given a chance to work as Chief Secretary, I feel victimised, hence I submitted three months notice of VRS to the state government," the Additional Chief Secretary rank IAS officer said.
"Now the state government has to take a decision on my VRS cum protest letter within three months. However my retirement is due June 2016," he said.
Salodia has claimed that if he were made the CS, he would have been the first SC/ST to have become CS since Independence. But, according to Salodia, the Raje government took away this opportunity from him by letting Rajan continue. 
Salodia is a 1978 batch IAS officer was set to retire on June 30, 2016. But he has applied for VRS and has asked to be relieved by March 31, 2016. 
In a letter to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Salodia says that since he doesn't want to continue functioning under his junior and hence applied for voluntary retirement. 
In another letter, he announces that he is also converting from Hinduism to Islam on December 31, 2015.
"Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India guarantees to every person and not only to the citizens of India, the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise and propogate religion. Under this fundamental right I have converted myself from Hinduism tto Islam religion on today the 31st December 2015. After conversion my name is Umrao Khan."
According to reports, Vasundhara Raje was not too keen in making Salodia as the Chief Secreatry as he has only a few months to retire. 

2 sentenced to death for killing secular blogger in Bangladesh............

A Bangladesh court on Thursday sentenced two students to death and awarded various jail terms to six persons including outlawed Ansarullah Bangla Team chief for killing activist Ahmed Rajib Haider, the first of a string of brutal murders of secular bloggers. "They (the two convicts) shall be hanged by neck until they are dead," Special Trial Tribunal-3 Judge Sayeed Ahmed said, delivering the first verdict in over a series of murders of "atheists" in the Muslim-majority nation. The judge sentenced former private university students Md Faisal Bin Nayem alias Dweep and absconding Redwanul Azad Rana to death. They were also fined 10,000 Taka each.
The court also found outlawed Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) chief Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani and five others guilty. Rahmani was given five years of jail and Taka 2,000 in fine with two months of additional imprisonment in default. Maksudul Hasan alias Anik was given life term with a fine of Taka 10,000. Md Ehsan Reza alias Rumman, Nayem Sikdar alias Iraj and Nafis Imtiaz were given 10-year jail with Taka 5,000 fine each. Sadman Yasir Mahmud was given three years in prison and Taka 2,000 in fine. These students had vowed to kill "atheist bloggers", the investigation officer said in the charge sheet. They targeted Rajib "for his blog posts under the nick of Thabababa" and carried out the murder in two separate groups. The prosecutors earlier said the two students were "inspired" by the jihadi sermons of Rahmani. 
Machete-wielding assailants hacked to death 35-year-old Rajib, an architect by profession and an activist of Shahbagh movement, near his house at Mirpur area here in February 2013. Investigators earlier said Rahmani's speeches and books 'encouraged' the students to kill "atheist bloggers", which eventually resulted in Rajib's murder. Since Rajib's assassination, Bangladesh witnessed five more murders of secular writers including a progressive publisher, all in the past one year. On February 26 this year, Bangladesh-born US blogger and science writer Avijit Roy, 42, was attacked just yards away from a book fair in Dhaka while he died instantly.
A month later fellow blogger Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death in broad daylight near his home in Dhaka's Tejgaon area where the people in the neighbourhood chased down two of the killers and handed them to police. 
The subsequent victims were Ananta Bijoy Das, 33, a banker and a founder of a group called the Science and Rationalist Council; Niloy Chakrabarti, 40, who wrote online under the pen name Niloy Neel and publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, 43, who published a bestselling book by Roy. 

Indian test captain Virat Kohli named BCCI Cricketer of the Year.............

Virat Kohli
Continuing his meteoric rise, Indian Test captain Virat Kohli was today named 'Cricketer of the Year', while Mithali Raj was picked for the top women's award in the BCCI annual honours to be given away on January 5 in Mumbai.
The 27-year-old batsman, who took over as captain in the middle of the tour of Australia after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's sudden retirement, delivered some good results under his leadership. Under Kohli, the Indian team ended a 22-year wait for a series win on Sri Lankan soil before battering world No.1 South Africa to give them their first overseas loss in nine years.
The right-hander has done well with the bat too, scoring 640 runs in 15 Test innings that he played at an average of 42.67. In his 20 ODI outings this year, Kohli managed 623 runs at an average of 36.65. Mithali, on the other hand, became the first Indian woman and second overall to complete 5,000 runs in ODI format this year. Mithali will be presented with the M A Chidambaram Trophy for the best women's cricketer.
In other awards, former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani will be presented the Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award. Karnataka State Cricket Association has been chosen the state association of the year for achieving the treble of winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare Trophy in the season.
Karnataka all-rounder Robin Uthappa has been picked for the Madhavrao Scindia Award for being the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy. Uthappa scored 912 runs in 11 matches, averaging 50.66.
The top wicket-taker's award is being shared this year by Karnataka's R Vinay Kumar and Mumbai's Shardul Thakur, both of whom scalped 48 in the previous season.  

Arvind Kejriwal targets PM Modi, says officers in Delhi have become 'B-teams of BJP'..............

Modi Kejriwal
Hours after the Union Home Ministry termed the suspension of two DANICS cadre (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) officers by the Delhi government null and void, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked PM Modi, and said that DANICS and IAS associations in Delhi have become full-fledged B teams of BJP.
Two senior civil service officers of the Home Department were on Wednesday suspended by the AAP government for refusing to sign on a Cabinet decision file, following which around 200 DANICS-cadre officers went on mass leave, showing solidarity.
The action was taken against Yashpal Garg, special secretary (Prosecution), and Subhash Chandra, after they refused to sign a file pertaining to the Cabinet decision to increase salary of public 
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal said, "DANICS and IAS associations in Delhi have become full-fledged B teams of BJP and Modi was shooting from the shoulder of LG and Bureaucrats."
"LG personally attended DANICS association meeting yesterday through speaker phone. LG in turn was in touch with Nripendra Misra in PMO," claimed Kejriwal.
Kejriwal further added that people will be very happy if these officers go on long leave and said, "Government is ready to give paid leave. Governance will become honest, smooth and efficient."
In a series of tweets, Kejriwal also said, "Government is exploring all options against officers who are on leave today. चोरी और सीनाज़ोरी?. Government will not tolerate corruption in insubordination."
The Chief Minister also said that, "Time has come to replace bureaucrats wid professionals and sector experts. Infuse fresh energy n ideas in governance."
Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) are selected through civil service exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Earlier this month, Kejriwal had also suspended two sub-divisional magistrates for failing to provide instant relief to victims whose shanties were demolished by Railways in West Delhi's Shakur Basti area.
However, these two SDMs are still holding their posts.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Over one million reach Europe by sea in 2015: UN........

Refugees in the Mediterranean Sea
Over one million migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2015, nearly half of them Syrians, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Wednesday. 

The milestone marks an almost five-fold increase over 2014 figures, when UNHCR recorded 219,000 arrivals via the perilous sea crossing. "The vast majority of those attempting this dangerous crossing are in need of international protection," the agency said.

The massive movement of people this year in Europe, most of them seeking refuge from conflict, has exposed deep divisions among EU leaders on how to deal with the influx. In total, 1,000,573 made their way across the Mediterranean since January 1, while 3,735 people who attempted the journey died or went missing, the UN agency said.

Greece was by far the top landing spot with 844,176 arrivals, followed by Italy, a distant second with 152,700 migrants landing on its shores. The figures underscore the enormous impact that Syria's nearly five-year civil war has had on changing migration patterns.

The conflict has forced more than four million people to flee the country, but until this year, an overwhelming majority of them were spread among Syria's neighbours. While Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey continue to host massive numbers of Syrians displaced by war, the UN figures show that beginning in the spring increasingly large numbers of Syrians resolved to reach Europe.

In June, more than 50,000 people crossed the sea, a number that shot up to over 150,000 by September, culminating in a record 218,000 crossings in October. After Syrians, Afghans were the second largest group at 21 percent of arrivals this year, followed by Iraqis at eight percent and Eritreans at four.

Other migrants originated in Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Gambia and Mali, but in relatively small numbers. The UN has warned that there may be no let up in sea crossings next year, especially if efforts to end the conflict in Syria continue to falter.

Meanwhile, rising anti-migrant rhetoric continues in parts of Europe, with Czech President Milos Zeman called the current wave of refugees "an organised invasion" in remarks at the weekend.
Hungary too has taken a hardline stance on migrants.

Last week, UNHCR and the Council of Europe accused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of portraying those fleeing conflict as "criminals, invaders and terrorists based on their religious beliefs and places of origin".

China: Asia's largest underground railway station opens in Shenzhen city...........

  Beijing train - underground
Asia's largest underground railway station, covering a total area of 147,000 square metres, opened  in China's southern Shenzhen city.
The Futian High-speed Railway Station in downtown Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, covers a total area of 147,000 square meters, or about the size of 21 football fields.
Its three underground floors have seating for 3,000 passengers, according to Guangzhou Railway Corporation, which operates the station.
With the opening of the new station, travel time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong will be slashed to half an hour.
The travel time between Guangzhou and Hong Kong takes about two hours by ordinary train.
Residents in Shenzhen, which is adjacent to Hong Kong, can reach Hong Kong in 15 minutes.
According to the train timetable, there will be 11 pairs of high-speed trains between the Futian Station and Guangzhou South Station each day from Wednesday to January 9.
Another 12 round trips will be added to the schedule every day starting January 10, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Xue Weihe, a local railway official, said the daily passenger flow through the station is expected to be 10,000 on average during the initial period.

ISIS leader killed in air strike was close to Paris attacker: Mayor...........

Charaffe al Mouadan, one of 10 Islamic State leaders killed by US-led air strikes in the past month, was close to Paris attacker Samy Amimour and paved the way for him to leave France for Syria, the mayor of the French city where both grew up said.

An air strike in Syria on December 24 killed al Mouadan, US US Army Colonel Steve Warren said, adding that he was directly associated with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris shootings and bombings that killed 130 people.

Jean-Christophe Lagarde, the mayor of Drancy, a northeastern suburb of Paris, said al Mouadan was also connected to Amimour, a 28-year-old former bus driver who blew himself up in Paris's Bataclan concert hall.

"They were arrested in 2012 when they planned to leave for Yemen and were placed under judicial supervision," Lagarde told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that a third man was part of their group.

"He (al Mouadan) was the first to leave for Syria, in June or July 2013. The other two left about two months later. He paved the way. What I don't understand is that (al Mouadan) missed police check-ins for two months and no one reacted, no one went after the other two."

Lagarde said he did not personally know al Mouadan but that he knew Amimour's family. "What Amimour's family told me is that he (al Mouadan) seemed to be the leader of their group of three people," he said, and the family had said al Mouadan rose in Islamic State ranks more than the other two.

While some French media have said they were childhood friends, Lagarde said he had heard that al Mouadan and Amimour did not meet before becoming radicalised in 2011. Al Mouadan lived in a middle-class, residential district, midway between Drancy city centre and the train station, Lagarde said, insisting that this was not an underprivileged area. His family was originally from Morocco, Lagarde added.

The mayor's remarks helped to flesh out a picture of who was killed in the US-led strikes and their links to the Paris attacks. Another of those killed in the air strikes was Abdul Qader Hakim, who facilitated Islamic State's external operations and had links to the Paris attack network, Warren said. Hakim was killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Dec. 26.

Amimour himself missed at least four weekly check-ins with French police who were investigating him on suspicion of terrorism-related activity. After nearly a month, French authorities put out the warrant for his arrest but he was already in Syria.

At least eight of the Paris attackers are dead, with seven killed on November 13 and one, the alleged ringleader Abaaoud, a few days later in a police raid in Brussels. The number involved in the attacks may have been 10 or higher and at least four people continue to be sought. 

Delhi odd-even rule: Trial run to be conducted on Thursday............

To check preparations of the odd-even scheme starting from Friday, Delhi government will conduct a coordination trial between different agencies at 200 points for two hours tomorrow in the national capital.
"The coordination trial-run of different agencies will be conducted at 200 points for two hours from 9 am to 11 am tomorrow to check preparation of odd-even scheme. 66 enforcement teams of Transport department and 27 teams of sub-divisional magistrates will be deployed. Besides, 5700 civil defence personnel, 1000 cadets of NCC and 1,000 volunteers of National Service Scheme will also deployed," Delhi Transport minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday.
Around 125 teams of Transport department and Revenue department will be deployed during the 15-day road-rationing plan so that the scheme could be effectively implemented, he said. Violations of odd-even scheme will attract a fine of Rs 2,000. Officials of Transport department, Traffic police and Revenue department have been given powers to impose the penalty on the violators.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal administrated anti-pollution pledge to students and addressed civil defence volunteers at Chhatrasal stadium, who will be deployed across the city to assist officers at different locations.
Civil defence volunteers have been briefed about their role by Kejriwal during the 15-day of odd-even scheme starting January 1.
"Convince your parents, relatives and friends to follow the odd-even scheme. We are to do this not out of any imposition, but because it is important for our health and life. If you see anyone violating the odd-even scheme, just ask that person to go back home. If the same person receives 10 such remarks in a day, it would stir his conscience and persuade him to keep his car off the road," Kejriwal said, addressing the students at Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in north Delhi's Civil Lines.