After Sheryl Sandberg, its now the turn of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to visit India, the second biggest market for the social networking giant, later this month.Zuckerberg, who will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be in India to address the first Internet.org summit taking place on October 9-10 in the city.The young billionaire is expected to meet members of other key ministries as well.Zuckerberg is the third high profile CEO of a US-based corporation, after Amazons Jeff Bezos and Micrsofts Satya Nadella, to visit India in last few days.Internet.Org aims to make Internet access affordable for people across the globe.Focussed on enabling the next five billion people without Internet access to come online, the founding members of the project include Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung.The partners are collaborating on developing lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and deploying Internet access in under-served communities.The Internet.org summit will bring together experts, officials and industry leaders to focus on ways to deliver more Internet services for people in languages other than English.Zuckerberg will also meet Modi to talk about how Facebook and the Indian government can collaborate on Internet.org.In July, Facebooks Chief Operating Officer Sandberg visited India. She had met Modi, who has effectively used social networking during his election campaign and later even in governance.When Modi met Sandberg, he had suggested the use of Facebook for improving governance, better interaction between people and the government, and to attract more tourists to India.India is an important market for the social networking company. With over one billion users globally, the company gets over 100 million users from India. Many of these users log onto the website from their mobile devices.According to research firm eMarketer, the number of users in India will touch 108.9 million by the end of the year as compared to 77.8 million in 2013.
India may seek US help for extradition of Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of 1993 Mumbai blasts, as they vowed to make joint and concerted efforts to dismantle safe havens for terror and criminal networks like LeT, JeM, D-company, Al-Qaeda and Haqqani network.A joint US-India Joint Statement expressing this resolve after the summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama at the White House yesterday came on a day the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions against individuals and networks linked to two militant groups based in Pakistan.The leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-company, and the Haqqanis, the statement said while referring to issues relating to Homeland Security Cooperation.D-company is a reference to Dawood Ibrahim, an underworld don who is the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts. On March 12, 1993, serial bomb blasts rocked the western metropolis at various places, killing more than 250 and injuring over 700.The statement is considered significant as Dawood is widely believed to be in Pakistan, and the Haqqani network, which has been active along the Afghanistan border, has been working against both Indian and US interests. Dawood is also believed to often shuttle between Dubai and Karachi.Indications were that India would seek US help in getting Dawood extradited to face trial in India.Indian External Affairs Ministry officials declined to elaborate on the Dawood issue beyond the resolve of the two countries to fight terror and criminal elements as reflected in the joint statement.Samajdhar ke liye ishara hi kafi hai (A hint is enough for a wise person), the ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters in reply to questions in this regard.In October 2003, the US designated Dawood as a global terrorist having links with Al Qaeda and financing activities of LeT and other terrorist organisations.Pledging to intensify cooperation in counter-terrorism and security, the two countries also agreed to step up intelligence sharing.Sharing concerns over the threat of terrorism in South Asia and emerging challenges in West Asia, where Islamist group ISIS has been on the rampage, Modi during a joint media appearance with Obama said the two countries agreed to intensify cooperation in counter terrorism and intelligence sharing.Modi and Obama also reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 terror attack which killed 166 people.
M C Mary Kom today became the first Indian woman boxer to clinch a gold medal at the Asian Games after she came from behind to beat Kazakhstans Zhaina Shekerbekova in the flyweight (51KG) summit clash here today.The lone Indian boxer in action today, Mary Kom defeated Shekerbekova 2-0 in a evenly-contested battle in which the Kazakh had the initial advantage.The five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist, who had won a bronze when women boxers made their debut at the 2010 Asiad, shifted gears with ease to come out triumphant in the final analysis.Seemingly vary of her rival in the opening round, Mary Kom preferred to keep a distance and invited Shekerbekova to launch the first attack. The Kazakh, however, did not fall for the bait and back-peddled smoothly to outwit the Indian in the opening two minutes.However, never the one to give up easily, Mary Kom reworked strategy and stunned Shekerbekova with her aggression in the second round. Combining her hooks with uppercuts to Shekerbekovas torso, Mary Kom drew level albeit on a split decision.The Manipuri mother-of-three, who has been christened Magnificent Mary by the International Boxing Association for her unprecedented feats, began to dominate in the third round and dictated the pace of the proceedings.Shekerbekova could not come to grips with the tactical shift in Mary Koms game and could only respond by holding her opponent frequently, for which the referee cautioned her.
An army helicopter today crashed moments after taking off from an airbase here, killing the two pilots and an engineer.The incident occurred this morning. Three officer were killed, an army official said.According to sources, the helicopter was on a routine flight.Eyewitnesses claimed that the chopper appeared to be in trouble moments after taking off. It soon caught fire and crashed at the airbase.Two pilots and an engineer on board the chopper were killed in the crashSenior administration and police official have reached the spot.
Jailed AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa will have to stay in prison for at least six more days as the vacation bench of the Karnataka High Court today posted for October 7 hearing on her pleas for suspension of the sentence and immediate bail in the disproportionate assets case.As Jayalalithaa sought immediate relief, the Court yesterday first posted the hearing for Oct 6 but hours later listed the matter for today after her counsels pleaded for urgent hearing.When the matter came up before the vacation bench judge Justice Rathnakala, Jayalalithaas counsel Ram Jethmalani pleaded for suspending the sentence pending appeal under Section 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code and for her release on bail.Section 389 states that pending any appeal by a convicted person, the Appellate Court may order that the execution of the sentence or order appealed against be suspended. Also, if the person is in confinement, that he or she be released on bail, or on own bond.During the brief hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh filed the objections to Jayalalithaas pleas and also a memo about his appointment as the SPP in the case.Singh, who was SPP in the Special Court in the disproportionate assets case, had told the court yesterday that he had not yet received any official notification appointing him as the SPP for the criminal appeal filed in the High Court.As Singh sought more time, the judge had first posted the matter for hearing on October 6, which was later rescheduled for today following pleas by Jayalalithaas counsels.Jayalalithaas aide Sasikala, her relatives V N Sudhakaran, disowned son of the former Chief Minister and Ilavarasi will also have to spend at least six more days in jail as their petitions for bail and suspension of the sentence were also adjourned for October 7.The High Court is on Dasara holidays from September 29 to October 6. October 7 is also a government holiday on account of Bakrid.In her petitions seeking immediate bail and challenging her sentence, Jayalalithaa has maintained that the charges of amassing wealth against her were false and that she had acquired property through legal means.Jayalalitha has also contended that the trial court has overlooked several judgements and has not considered the binding nature of various income tax orders and decisions of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which had accepted the income and the level of expenditure pleaded by her.
Winding up his whirlwind five-day US visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked America for what he said was a highly successful and satisfactory trip to the country.Thank You America, Modi said as he concluded his last official engagement at an event organised by the US Indian Business Council (USIBC) yesterday. After that he directly left for the Andrews Air Force Base, from where his Air India One took off for New Delhi.My visit has been very successful. From here I am going to airport directly, Modi said.On Tuesday Modi met President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House, at the end of which the two leaders issued a joint statement that promised to take the India-US relationship to a new height.Modi was seen off at the Andrews Air Force Base by the Indian Ambassador to the US S Jaishankar and the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal.When he arrived at the Air Force Base a day earlier, he was received by the Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns - both being unusual for a working visit like this.On Monday evening, Obama hosted Modi for a official private working dinner and yesterday the two met for nearly two hours at the Oval Office, following which the US President and the Prime Minister together went to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial.Obama, it is understood, decided to join Modi on this visit which many analyst said reflected the close bounding the two leaders have established among themselves in such a close time.Later in the day, Modi was hosted for lunch by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, following which he drove down to the Capitol Hill for a tea hosted in his honor by Joe Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.In the first leg of his five-day US trip, Modi spent four days in New York, where he addressed the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, and stormed the Indian American community by addressing the diaspora with a packed Madison Square Garden in the Big Apple on September 28.In New York, Modi held meetings with a host of top American businessmen including breakfast with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, while top American leaders like Bill and Hillary Clinton, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.In all he met more than 50 top US lawmakers and three Governors including South Carolinas Nikki Haley.During his trip, Modi visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York and the Gandhi Statue in Washington DC.He held a series of meetings with the Indian diaspora, including the dinner that was hosted in his honor wherein he stood for nearly two hours to get photographed with more than 700 Indian-Americans.
Goof-ups continue in DD news and the latest culprit is an anchor-cum-correspondent travelling with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the US who addressed him as Manmohan Singh during a live telecast on Monday evening.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will fly to Washington tonight, he stated during live telecast of the news at 9:30 pm.On September 28, the anchor, while interacting with two other anchors, recalled that he had gone to New York in 2013 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.Let me take you back a bit. I had come to New York earlier in 2013 when Mr Vajpayee was the prime minister of India, he said during the telecast at 9:15 pm.Interestingly, Vajpayee has been suffering from dementia and long-term diabetes. He has not ventured out of his residence for several years. The same anchor was heard asking people, during a Hindi bulletin of DD news, how they felt seeing the first Gujarati prime minister of India visit New York. He perhaps had no clue that Morarji Desai was the first Gujarati prime minister of India, sources told Deccan Herald.On September 27 at 5:40 pm, a DD news anchor said that 9/11 took place on September 9, 2011. It's embarrassing. The entire world knows that the incident took place on September 11, 2001, sources added. When contacted, Director-General of DD news Archana Dutta said: These are unpardonable mistakes. I am taking corrective measures and trying my best to improve the system. Soon after joining, I created a monitoring mechanism. It's because of this such things are coming to notice. Earlier, there was no such monitoring mechanism.Necessary action will be taken against those who are committing such mistakes, she added. Sources, however, said the saga of goof ups continues because no befitting action is taken against those committing such mistakes.One casual anchor was recently removed for pronouncing Chinese president Xi Jinping's name as Eleven Jinping. But no action has so far been taken against others who are committing major mistakes during live telecasts. Sometime memos are served but no follow up action is taken. After some time, the same person will be back into business , sources added.
The Indian men's hockey team finally produced a polished performance to march into the final of the 17th Asian Games here on Tuesday.In a thrilling match that could have gone either way at the Seonhak Stadium, young striker Akashdeep Singh emerged as the hero, his skillful goal towards the end of the third quarter helping India register a gutsy 1-0 semifinal victory.In the title clash on Thursday, Indians will take on arch-rivals Pakistan, who edged past a tenacious Malaysia 6-5 via penalty shoot-out after regulation and extra-time produced no goals.The Indian defence, so often criticised in the past for letting victories slip away from well within their grasp, showed fine character on Tueday, safeguarding the narrow lead with a dogged display in a tense final few minutes.With plenty riding on the match, both India and Korea started cautiously, opting to keep possession and play within themselves. They completely cut out any extravagance, not willing to expose themselves before beginning to warm up in the second quarter.They relied more on counter-attacks with Indians enjoying the better of the chances as the flanks came a lot into play. Had it been for some precise finishing, either team could have broken into halftime with some cushion.The third quarter too saw both teams banking on counters although the Koreans started to appear weary. India finally caught them napping in the 44th minute when Ramandeep Singh pushed a ball into circle that fell loosely to Akashdeep.The 19-year-old striker, with his back to the goal, then struck the ball between his legs into the goal, totally flummoxing goalkeeper Lee Myungho.Taking note of the error that cost them the group game against Pakistan, the Indians chose to defend deep in the final quarter, choosing to go forward only when there were any clear cut chances.Firm defenceThe Koreans then went for broke, repeatedly thrusting forward but the Indian defence stayed firm, blocking everything that came at them. With 90 seconds left on the clock, the Koreans earned a penalty corner when Sardar Singh's attempted stop saw the ball ricochet into his legs, sending the Indian camp into shivers.The South Koreans, however, failed to convert, the ball deflecting of an onrushing defender as Indians rejoiced at a morale-boosting victory.We knew Korea is a very good team and so it proved. It was a tough match. We made some chances which were not taken but as a team we brought in a lot of energy into the game and continued to show it right through, India coach Terry Walsh said.Several of our players stepped a level higher than they had showed so far. There is a lot of difference from playing in the league stage and in the cross-overs. The last time we played in the final, we lost 4-0 to Australia in the Commonwealth Games. This is a learning process, he added.Result: India 1 (Akashdeep Singh 44th min) bt South Korea 0.
Hard selling India with assurances of a business-friendly environment and a stable and simpler tax regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited top US business to come and invest in India.Addressing the US-India Business Council comprising 300 top US companies doing business with India here Tuesday, he promised to replace bureaucratic red tape with a red carpet.The role of the government should be that of a facilitator, Modi said wrapping up his five day trip to the US all through which he has made a strong pitch for investment in India with a promise of extensive use of technology better infrastructure and labour reforms.He invited US business leaders to come to India and join the Make in India campaign saying its a win-win situation as India is moving ahead with great speed.Since coming to office four months ago, Modi said his government had cleared a record number of foreign investments though admittedly it had not been possible to make a great many changes in such a short span.Before coming to Washington Monday, Modi had breakfast meetings in New York with 11 CEOs, including those of Google, Citigroup and Pepsico.It was followed by one-on-one meetings with six other CEOs of companies like Boeing, IBM, GE and Goldman Sachs.There too he had made the same pitch: India is open-minded and wants change. We want change, but a change that is not one sided and he is discussing with citizens, industrialists and investors how to go about it.USIBCs Indian-American chairman Ajay Banga, who is also the CEO of MasterCard, expressing confidence that India-US trade can grow five fold from the current $100 billion in five years said: The best days of US-India relations are coming.US Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue also welcomed Modis commitment to replace the red tape with the red carpet and the governments commitment to labour and tax reforms.
At least twelve persons were killed and 45 others injured when two speeding passenger trains collided near Gorakhpur late last night, a railway official said today.At least twelve persons have died and among the 45 injured, 12 are grievously injured, railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said.Krishak Express, travelling from Varanasi to Gorakhpur, hit Barauni Express, going from Lucknow to Barauni, from behind at a place, about 7 km from here at around 11 pm, Chief Public Relations Officer Alok Singh said.Singh said three coaches of Barauni Express were thrown off the track following the collision.Railway officials have rushed to the spot and rescue work was in full swing. The injured have been admitted to a nearby hospital.The railway has also set up helpline for inquiries for various cities -- Gorakhpur (05513303365, 09794846980), Lucknow (05222233042), Chhapra (09006693233) and Benares (09919041978), the spokesperson said.The railway has suspended the drivers of Krishak Express for overshooting the signal, Saxena said.An inquiry has been ordered by the railway under Commissioner Rail Safety P K Bajpai to ascertain the cause of the incident, he said.Movement of trains on Gorakhpur-Varanasi track has been disrupted following the incident and few trains have been diverted.
The crackdown on the Saradha chit fund scam has now made an impact on West Bengal's football arena with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) freezing the accounts of the Mohun Bagan and East Bengal football clubs.The ED started by freezing two accounts of the East Bengal football club, whose executive committee member Debabrata Sarkar was recently arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his role in the multi crore Saradha scam.On Tuesday, Mohun Bagan and two smaller clubs - Bhawanipore Sporting and Kalighat Sporting - also had their accounts frozen. For all four clubs, these accounts were used to pay staff salary and other major expenses.Although details are still unknown, sources said that East Bengal had Rs 1.5 crore and several lakh in its two frozen accounts. The ED and the CBI had put the four clubs on the radar from day one of the probe into the scam for receiving crores in sponsorship from Saradha group. However, the primary sponsor for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal is United Breweries (UB), with the title sponsors for the two clubs being UB and Kingfisher respectively. Around 75 per cent of the money in the frozen accounts of the two clubs was from UB's sponsorship, while the rest was from secondary sponsors like Saradha, which had been extending its support to the clubs since 2010.For East Bengal officials, the ED decision to freeze the club's accounts came as a bolt from the blue as functionaries had been cooperating with the proceedings of the investigation. We met the ED whenever they called us and provided them with all documents, said East Bengal football club secretary Kalyan Majumdar. He added that the club would have been in bigger financial trouble if there was an upcoming match as players would have to be payed. Officials from Mohun Bagan and the two smaller clubs were not available for comment.The East Bengal football club has written to the ED to rethink its decision and is contemplating taking legal steps. It is even ready to make a joint appeal with its arch-rival Mohun Bagan to get out of the financial crisis.We have appealed to the ED pointing out that we are not a commercial club but a social organisation. We have also asked for an appointment with the ED director, Majumdar said. The East Bengal secretary pointed out that if the club was unable to pay their players, it could have international repercussions and tarnish the image of Indian football. The ED did not even think about the fact that we have a number of foreign players. If they don't get their salaries on time, they will complain to FIFA and it could have long-standing effects on Indian football. It is a matter of national prestige. We are waiting for a positive response from them.
The prolonged standoff in eastern Ladakh between the border guards of India and China has finally ended on Tuesday, with the pull out of Chinese troops from the disputed territory near the Sino-Indian border.A meeting of the border commanders of the two sides was held on Tuesday at Spanggur Gap to confirm that the stand-off between the border troops in Chumar and Demchok areas has been successfully terminated, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.As per an understanding reached between the two nations, New Delhi and Beijing carried out disengagement and redeployment of border troops in Chumar and Demchok areas in eastern Ladakh on September 26 and 27 to restore the status quo ante as on September 1, it added.While the face-off was between the troops at Chumar near an Indian post named 30-R, two groups of civilians, presumably backed by their respective militaries, were sitting across each other at a Charding-Ninglung Nullah track junction in Demchok, about 80 km from Chumar.Officials from the Indian Army and Defence Ministry did not make any comment on the resolution except admitting that a flag-meeting has taken place.The crisis, which cast a shadow on the summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, was resolved after India agreed to dismantle observation posts in Chumar set up in September. There is, however, no official word on such a post in the first place. The Chinese attempt to extend a road close to a ridge line that defines border in the Chumar sector seems to have followed the Indian action. The sequence is almost a repeat of last years Depsang Bulge incident when Chinese troops came 19 km inside Indian territory and withdrew only after India destroyed a tin shade in Chumar housing surveillance equipment.New Delhi and Beijing have also agreed to hold a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on the India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) in India on October 16 and 17 to discuss issues pertaining to the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas, says the MEA statement.
Civil liberties activist Justice Rajindar Sachar and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal have severely criticised the Modi government's initiative to mark Gandhi Jayanti as cleanliness day. While Justice Sachar termed the attempt as mischievous, Kejriwal said the ministers are picking up the broom for photo opps. And then, most important October 2 - this day reminds one in concentrated form the sacrifices and the morality in politics in the fight for independence of the country. Any tinkering with grandeur and sobriety of 2nd October is sacrilege, Justice Sachar said in a statement on Tuesday.But this is what the Modi Government is doing by emphasizing the day as a day of cleanliness. What cheek -That Gandhi believed in cleanliness, is no reason for the mischievous act to lessen the sobriety of Gandhi's birthday, he said further.Justice Sachar said government servants and ministers should repeat Gandhiji's main philosophy: I would say that Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of mother India. Just as the trouble in one eye affects the other too, similarly the whole of India suffer when either Hindu or Muslim suffer.Responding to Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu's invitation to take part in Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan', Kejriwal quoted items published in newspapers that ministers are picking up brooms so that their photographs can be published.
Petrol price was cut by 54 paisa a litre on Tuesday, but the decision to reduce diesel rates for the first time in over five years was put off till Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from the US.The Oil Ministry decided to wait for Modi to announce a reduction in diesel price as it felt it did not have a clear mandate to reduce rates post the January 2013 Cabinet decision to increase prices by 40-50 paisa a litre every month. Petrol price was cut as it is a deregulated product needing no government intervention.Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is believed to have already written to Modi on the emerging scenario. His ministry has also written to the Election Commission seeking their concurrence for the price decrease in view of state assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. Excluding local sales tax or VAT, the petrol price will be reduced by 54 paisa a litre from Wednesday.
The Union Home Ministry has issued notices to 10,331 NGOs and institutions for failing to file the mandatory annual statement on foreign contributions they received, warning them that they will forfeit the permission to receive funds from abroad.Supreme Court Bar Association, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), IIT-Delhi, All India Tennis Association (AITA), Education Department of Municipal Corporation of Delhi, NAFED, Nuclear Science Centre and Delhi Karnataka Sangh -- all based in Delhi -- are among the names in the list.Bangalore-based Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, where Bharat Ratna C N R Rao is a faculty, Kuvempu University, Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, Karnataka State Handicraft Development Ltd and Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University have also got the notice.The deadline for filing the annual statement under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act had ended long back and these organisations, including 1,441 from undivided Andhra Pradesh and 1,167 from Uttar Pradesh, now face de-recognition under rules if they fail to respond to the notices. The notices have been issued for not filing statements for the years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 and the deadline for filing the statements was December 2011, December 2012 and December 2013 respectively. They were to file the statement within nine months from the closure of the financial year during which they received foreign funds, a senior Home Ministry official said.While Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh top the list, Tamil Nadu (1,108), Maharashtra (990) and Karnataka (821) are among the top five.The notice and the list, which run into 342 pages, throw up interesting facts and names, including those from the public sector. A number of religious organisations, educational institutions and NGOs are also on the list.The official said it is interesting to note a number of government organisations in the list though they are aware of the rules governing the receipt of foreign funds. They had been informed and yet did not take any action. Strict action will be taken, he said.The NGOs and other institutions, who have taken permission for receiving foreign funds, have to submit income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account and balance sheet every financial year even if they had not received any foreign contribution.
A day after Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi ordered an inquiry into the cleansing of temple in Madhubani where he had gone to offer prayers, the priest has denied all the charges of cleansing and untouchability.No such cleansing was done after the departure of the chief minister. The deity is made of earth/clay and, therefore, it is never washed, said Ashok Jha, the main priest of Parmeshwarsthan temple.The deities are never washed. It seems someone incorrectly briefed the chief minister, Mishra told Deccan Herald.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is enjoying a little breather from the relentless attention over the Saradha scam, has issued an unwritten directive to party leaders to maintain distance from Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi during the Durga Puja season.The governor is usually invited to inaugurate several Durga Puja pandals during the festive season. While it would not be any different this year, sources said Trinamool leaders have been asked to stay away from the functions in which Tripathi would take part. The directive, which instructs leaders to stay away from pujas where they are the patrons if the governor is the chief guest, comes at a time when differences between the BJP and Trinamool is spilling over to the public festivities as well. While more than 1,400 Durga Pujas are held across Kolkata, around half of these are under the patronage of various trinamool leaders.For instance, Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay stayed away from the inauguration by the governor of the Puja organised by Madhya Kolikata Malanga Lane Byayam Samiti in central Kolkata on Monday, despite being the organisation's chief patron for the organisation and for its festive activities. At yet another Durga Puja, which is under the patronage of Transport Minister Madan Mitra, a similar situation arose when the governor came to inaugurate the Puja.While Trinamool leaders and ministers are keeping tight-lipped about the situation, a leader acknowledged that party chairperson Mamata Banerjee has indeed issued such a directive. During the tenures of Gopal Krishna Gandhi or M K Narayanan, Mamata and other leaders have shared the stage with the governor. This year, however, things are different and our leader doesn't want us to socially hobnob with anyone from the BJP, he said.
Furthering Indo-US cooperation on terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama on Tuesday agreed to make joint and concerted efforts to dismantle safe havens for terror and criminal networks like LeT, JeM, D-company, al-Qaeda and Haqqani network. In their first summit meeting spread over two hours at the White House, the two leaders also agreed to take steps to disrupt financial and tactical support to these terror outfits.D-company is a reference to Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts, who is believed to be in Pakistan. Indications were that India would seek US help in getting him extradited to face trial in India.After the meeting between Modi and Obama, officials made it clear that India was not going to join any coalition in the fight against terrorism in West Asia. They also clarified that a trilateral partnership agreed on Afghanistan would be developmental in nature and not military cooperation. They also said that the joint and concerted efforts on dismantling safe havens for terrorist groups and criminal networks do not mean that India and the US were not going to launch operations but carry out any UN-mandated task.Modi and Obama, whose discussions covered a broad range of issues, including cooperation in defence, security, energy economic and space, took a significant decision to break the impasse on the implementation of civil nuclear deal. We are serious about resolving issues on both sides in civil nuclear energy cooperation. This is important to India for meeting energy security needs, Modi said.An inter-agency contact group will be set up to address the issues of liability, administrative and technical issues. From the Indian side, agencies like DAE, MEA and Finance Ministry will be involved. We are setting up an inter-agency contact group to be able to resolve all issues that are outstanding and hindering the rapid deployment of US-origin nuclear reactors in India, that includes liability, it includes administrative issues and it includes technical issues, Vikram Doraiswami, Joint Secretary (Americas), in the MEA, told reporters while briefing on the meeting between Modi and Obama.Earlier, Modi and Obama in a joint editorial in The Washington Post also stated that it is time to set a new agenda, one that realises concrete benefits for the citizens. At a joint media appearance with Obama, Modi expressed the hope that Indo-US relations will make fast progress.
The Karnataka High Court (HC) on Tuesday constituted a special bench to hear the criminal appeal by former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha. The appeal seeking bail and suspension of the sentence awarded by the special court will now come up for hearing on Wednesday. The HC registry constituted a special vacation bench headed by Justice Rathnakala to hear the matter.Earlier in the day, when the matter came up for hearing, Jayalalitha's counsel Ram Jethmalani sought bail and said the appeal must be treated as urgent matter. When a question was raised whether this court can hear the matter, Hashmath Pasha, counsel for Ilavarasi, one of the convicts, submitted that the matter can be heard by the Karnataka High Court.G Bhavani Singh, the special public prosecutor (SPP) in the disproportionate assets case, submitted that he has not received any communication on his appointment as SPP in the fresh matter. Singh said since he has not received any copy of appeal from the appellants, he cannot file his objections. Justice Rathnakala then adjourned the matter to October 6 so that the regular bench can hear the matter. But counsels for Jayalalitha approached the HC registry seeking an urgent hearing. The same was communicated to Chief Justice D H Waghela and after getting necessary directions, the registry constituted a special vacation bench to hear the matter on Wednesday. Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption of the Tamil Nadu government issued a notification continuing the appointment of Singh as SPP.
Punching hard and defending well, India's Laishram Sarita Devi was moments away from a gold medal bout at the 17th Asian Games, but a baffling decision by the judges left her in tears as controversy hit the ring here on Tuesday.Sarita, fighting South Korea's Park Jina in the women's lightweight (57-60kg) semifinal, was clearly the dominant fighter in the four rounds but referee Kheira Hammad Siri hoisted the hand of the Korean at the bell.The decision by judges Mohamed Braham (Tunisia), Albino Foti (Italy) and Mariusz Gorny (Poland) to award Park a 3-0 victory left the Indian officials and fans in complete disbelief.These guys (judges) have killed boxing, said Sarita's husband Chonestham Thoiba Singh, mincing no words at what he called was blatant nepotism. Everyone who has watched the bout can easily tell who the winner was. I still can't believe what they were watching. I feel the judges have been bought and the decision has been fixed. A teary-eyed Sarita said her years of hard work was quashed in eight minutes. I hope this never happens to anybody else. I've worked so hard to get to this stage and now they've robbed me of a certain victory. If it was a close match, then understandable, but I completely dominated and they do this.I'm married with a young kid. I had to make plenty of sacrifices to get to this stage. There were days when I couldn't meet my little one. I fought with my heart out but to no avail. I've got some bad decisions but this is the worst among all. It's complete injustice and as long as such tainted judges exist, boxing will never grow. Can someone tell me how the Korean won, asked Sarita, who won a silver medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is headed by a Korean, Kim Young Soo, and India is not the only country that feels cheated. Mongolia wrote to Kim highlighting the errors in judgment, and was even contemplating pulling out their boxers from the event.After much deliberation, India filed a protest paying $500 but was rejected by AIBA, which said that judges' decision was final and binding. They said they reviewed the bout but according to Article 8.4, the decision made by the judges cannot be protested. It's a ridiculous rule but that's the way it is, national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said. Coach B I Fernandes, who felt the verdict was fixed, said: Why make people fight when you have already elected a winner. Why go through the harrowing fight. This pain is more hurting than the punches thrown at. I've seen boxing for a very, very long time and until we get a good and clean decision-making system in place, the sport is not going anywhere.
Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, who took on Narendra Modi over the snoopgate scandal when he was Gujarat chief minister, was on Tuesday arrested in a corruption case, a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached his properties for alleged money laundering.Sharma was arrested by us on Tuesday morning under the Prevention of Corruption Act. As per the complaint registered by us on Monday, Sharma allegedly received Rs 29 lakh from a private firm Welspun. The amount was first deposited in the account of Sharma's wife, and then transferred to his account, ACB Director (in-charge) Ashish Bhatia said.This is a case of allegedly taking bribe for extending benefits to a company when he was collector of Kutch, Bhatia said.The case pertains to 2004, when Sharma was the collector of Kutch.
Keep your nails trimmed, wash your uniform at least twice or thrice a week and clean tables with hot water containing soda or soap after every meal. As part of the Centre's Clean India campaign, these instructions are among a 17-point guideline issued to employees in government office canteens, which are frequented by officers as well as the public.After inspections revealed that there was a lack of concern about cleanliness, the guidelines were set to ensure that canteens supply quality eatables, maintain sanitary conditions and that employees have proper personal hygiene.The rules dictate that employees suffering from or under treatment for typhoid or dysentery must not be allowed to handle food in the canteen. Cooks and canteen boys should also have trimmed nails and invariably wash their hands before working with food, besides wearing clean uniforms that have been washed at least twice a week.With the strict instruction of installing fly-proof safes, the common sight of flies and cockroaches in the canteen is expected to become a thing of the past. The practice of cleaning vegetables in the same sink that is used to wash pots and pans will also be stopped.To get rid of dirty floors, canteen employees have been instructed to scrub floors with hot water containing soap or soda after mealtimes. Before the end of each day, all cooking utensils must also be cleaned. The last one hour before the canteen closes should be utilised to clean all utensils, kitchenware, shelves, racks, flooring sinks, basins etc. to keep them ready for use the next day, the guidelines read.The managing committee of departmental canteens also has to carry out cleanliness campaigns at least once a month and a report must be forwarded to the director of canteens, Department of Personnel and Training.
The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police have unearthed a major scam by raiding seven consultancy firms which provided fake certificates to around 25,000 people.It is suspected that these people are now working in various companies in the country and abroad on the strength of these fake documents.The accused were also running a call centre conducting background verification of candidates who attend interviews by showing fake certificates.Briefing reporters, Police Commissioner M N Reddi said the CCBofficers raided Tharangi Instomatic Consultancy Service in Tilak Nagar and arrested four men - Kiran Kumar, 35, Ranga Raju, 35, Sheikh Ahmed, 39, and Balraj, 28.Simultaneous raids were also conducted in BTM Layout I Stage, KEB Layout in Mico Layout, JP Nagar III Stage and VII Stage and another couple of places on Monday.16 arrestedThe police have arrested 16 people and are on the lookout for four others. They have recovered more than 25 telephones, four mobile phones, identity cards, appointment letters, relieving letters, work experience letters, access cards, among other documents.A senior police officer said the accused registered several fake companies under different names with the Registrar of Companies.They placed advertisements online by providing them with contact numbers. The unemployed youth would contact them for a job.Later, they would tell them they could provide them any certificate they want for a certain amount. They would ask the youth to meet them at their consultancy office and give them the choice of providing them with fake letters of any company they want.They would charge Rs 30,000 for a fake experience letter from a well-established company and Rs 15,000 for an experience letter from a fake company.Unemployed graduates, with the help of fake certificates, would attend interviews in major companies.The interviewer would then crosscheck with the previous company for verification of the candidate. They would call up the contact number provided on the fake letters and it would get routed to the call centre set up by the accused who would tell them that the candidate was working in their company and was hard working and well-behaved.This would help in the individual getting the job with fake experience letter.Reddi said, They received an e-mail from a person who explained about the scam and this was forwarded to the CCB who verified and then carried out the raid. They sent a constable in the guise of an unemployed youth, who went and asked them for a certificate so that it would get him a job. The company people gave them the fake certificate and took certain amount of money, which helped in exposing the scam.
A study conducted by Karnataka State PollutionControl Board (KSPCB) has found high levels of heavy metals in lakes across the City, post immersion of Ganesha idols.The Board, in its study conducted before and after the Ganesha festival, has found alarming level of contaminants in the lakes despite the awareness drive it conducted on using eco-friendly idols. According to the KSPCB report, increased levels of chromium and copper were found in lake sediment samples taken from four lakes—Ulsoor, Mallathahalli, Sankey and Yelamallappa.At Ulsoor lake, the chromium level had increased from 9.8 to 23.2 mg/kg (milligram per kilogram), Mallathahalli—0 to 37.2 mg/kg, Sankey tank—7.8 to 41.3 mg/kg and Yelamallappa lake from 9.22 to 13.5 mg/kg.The copper content in Madavara Lake, located on Bangalore-Nelamangala Road, had risen to 486.1 from 31.1 mg/kg post immersion. Similarly, at Sankey Tank it had risen to 350.6 from 42.2 mg/kg. The standard limit ranges from 135 to 270 mg/kg.Analysis of waterHeavy metals were also found in the lake waters. High lead content was found in Lalbagh lake - 0.02 to 0.04 mg/L (milligram per litre). At Madavara Lake it was 0.04 to 0.15 mg/L. The standard lead content limit is 0.1mg/L.High copper content was found in four lakes—Lalbagh which recorded 0.02 to 0.08 mg/L, Sankey Tank—0.03 to 0.04 mg/L, Madhavara—0.22 to 0.34 mg/L and Hebbal—0.02 to 0.06 mg/L.High contents of zinc and nickel were found at Madavara lake. While the zinc content varied between 44 and 24 mg/L, nickel was found in the range of 0.04 and 0.09 mg/L. At Lalbagh lake nickel content was found to be 0.02 to 0.04 mg/L. High levels of iron was also found in Byransandra Lake which stood between 0.85 and 3.49 mg/L and at Hebbal Lake between 1.84 and 3.95 mg/L.High pH valueBesides this, high pH value was found in Shivapura Lake which was between 7.5 and 8.9 mg/L and at Karihobanahalli Lake between 7.4 and 7.9 mg/L. In some places pH value had also reduced due to addition of acidic material Calcium Sulphate (CaSO4) in Plaster of Paris. The standard pH value is 0.01 mg/L.Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) has increased from 8.2 mg/L to 16.9 mg/L on an average in all lakes. As per the classification of Central Pollution Control Board classification, based on primary water quality criteria, lakes in Bangalore city have slipped from Class-D to Below E.The Dissolved Oxygen (DO) values have also decreased due to immersion of pooja materials. Minimum Dissolved Oxygen level has to be maintained at four mg/L for the existence of aquatic life, anything less than 4.0 mg/L, the aquatic life would die.The average BOD levels (Organic matter) in the lakes has decreased from 529 per cent to 106 per cent compared to 2013 reports.Last year, the BOD (Organic matter) recorded was 8.5 to 62 mg/L and this year it stood at 8.2 mg/L to 16.9 mg/L which is four times less than the earlier recording.Tests were conducted on 12 lakes - Byrasandra, Ulsoor, Shivapura, Karihobanahalli, Lalbagh, Yediyur, Mallathahalli, Sankey, Yelamallappa, Hebbal, Nagawara and Madhavara in the City that were used for immersion of idols.Highly pollutedCompared to other lakes, the contamination was high in Madhavara lake. The overall dissolved oxygen level decreased in all lakes, KSPCB report.DH News Service
Engineers from advertisement department were pulled up the corporators at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) meeting on Monday, for not bringing down illegal hoardings and flexes in City. Following allegation by Yediyur Corporator N R Ramesh about the presence of more than 21,000 illegal hoardings across eight Palike zones, corporators demanded Palike Commissioner M Lakshminarayana and Mayor N Shanthakumari to suspend Assistant Commissioner, Advertisement, Manjunatha Swamy for failing to get hoardings removed. Swamy, however, said there are just 1,017 illegal hoardings as per the reports available with him. Commissioner Lakshminarayana said that a meeting would be held and list of all unauthorised hoardings of zones published on the website. The mayor directed the commissioner to conduct an inquiry through Technical Vigilance Committee under Commissioner (TVCC) regarding de-silting works carried out by Palike engineers and place the report in the next meeting. While Shanthalanagar Ward corporator, K Shivakumar pointed that due to negligent attitude of Chief Engineer for SWD, HC Ananth Swamy, Magrath Road drain work has still not been completed; corporator from Neelasandra Ward, Lokesh Nayak, complained about the overflowing of drain water from SWD in his locality. Ananth Swamy said work at Magrath Road would be completed by March next year. Lakhsminarayana elucidated on SWD improvement works including drain work at Anepalya and building the retaining wall of SWD at Vrishabhavathi Valley under Rs50 crore fund allotted by chief minister, recently.