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Hope stalled work expedited under new LG: Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said he is hopeful the works that have come to a standstill in the national capital will be expedited under new Lt Governor Anil Baijal.Baijal (70), a former Union Home Secretary, took over as the Lt Governor of Delhi today. “I am very hopeful that in the future, we all – MLAs, Delhi government, people of Delhi – will work with the Lt Governor for development of Delhi. “In the last few months, some works of Delhi government have come to standstill. I hope that these works will be expedited,” Kejriwal said.Baijal’s predecessor Najeeb Jung and the Delhi government have been at loggerheads on a range of issues including transfer and posting of officers since AAP came to power. On being asked about his relationship with the AAP government after taking oath, Baijal said, “This is a speculative thing and I don’t know how the relationship will improve. We will sit together and talk.” Baijal was administered the oath of office and secrecy of Lt Governor by Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini.Apart from the Chief Minister, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, judges, Delhi Chief Secretary M M Kutty, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Water Minister Kapil Mishra, New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi, Opposition leader Vijender Gupta and other two BJP MLAs O P Sharma and Jadgish Pradhan, senior bureaucrats attended the oath-taking ceremony. Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, besides holding key positions in other ministries.He had retired in 2006 as secretary of the Urban Development Ministry. He was also the vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority. Baijal was actively associated with the designing and roll-out of Rs 60,000 crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched by the Manmohan Singh government. The former bureaucrat was also on the executive council of the think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation, several of whose former members have been appointed to senior positions by the Modi government including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Israel issues severe travel warning for India, citing immediate threat of attacks | Reuters

Israel issues severe travel warning for India, citing immediate threat of attacks | Reuters

Dec 30, 2016 23:02 IST

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JERUSALEM Israel’s anti-terrorism directorate on Friday issued a travel warning for India, citing an immediate threat of attack to Western and tourist targets, particularly in the south-west of the country.”A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the New Year where a concentration of tourists will be high,” part of the warning said.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 23:02 IST

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FCRA licences of 20,000 NGOs cancelled: For Modi govt the Act is a repression tool

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has cancelled Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of about ever since it came to power in May 2014.

The home ministry, which took the action, has justified it saying these organisations were technically violating various provisions of the Act.

Cancellation of license would mean that these NGOs are no longer eligible to receive foreign funds. It should be noted that several of these NGOs are involved in rights-based advocacy work, especially working in the domain of human rights.

A plethora of civil society organisations have issued statements against this mass cancellation of FCRA licences stating that this is nothing but an ‘abuse of legal procedures’.

A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APA file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

They also “unequivocally condemned the present use of the FCRA as a tool of repression by the current government”.

Organisations such as Greenpeace India, Amnesty International India, TARSHI Delhi and the Centre for Social Justice were all signatories to this statement.

Even the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the home ministry on the issue.

“Prima facie it appears FCRA licence non-renewal is neither legal nor objective and thereby impinging on the rights of the human rights defenders in access to funding, including foreign funding,” the apex human rights watchdog in the country said in the notice.

The FCRA is an intimidating law, especially since the original Act came into force in 1976 during the Emergency by the Indira Gandhi-led government. The Act, at that time, prohibited MPs, electoral candidates, political parties, judges from accepting foreign contributions.

Even “correspondents, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper” were included in the ambit of the definition of candidate under the Act. The objective was certainly to remove all voices of political dissent, though the ostensible legislative intent suggested that the law was to restrain foreign intervention from internal, domestic matters.

The new FCRA, amended by the Finance Bill 2016, has many changes that render it more severe than its predecessor.

For one, the registration under the previous FCRA was permanent; the present law has altered this, mandating that FCRA licences would expire after five years.

A renewal process would mean that prescribed authorities, that is the State, would have arbitrary power to decide whether an NGO can renew its licence afresh.

The new law also puts a 50 percent restriction on the proportion of foreign funds, thereby controlling the way an NGO spends its money.

Another change, and perhaps a significant one, is that the 1976 law targetted political parties. The new law, however, aims at “organisations of a political nature”.

The FCRA Rules, 2011, drafted by the United Progressive Alliance government, defines what “organisations of a political nature” may include – farmers’ organisations, students’ unions, trade unions, workers’ unions, youth forums, women’s wing of political parties, youth organisations based on caste, community, religion, language and “any organisation… which habitually engages itself in or employs common methods of political action like ‘bandh’ or ‘hartal’, ‘rasta roko’, ‘rail roko’ or ‘jail bharo’ in support of public causes”. The list is astonishing as it clearly targets people and organisations that want to critique, censure and challenge present political discourse.

It is absolutely appalling that the government would amend the legislation in a way that all “organisations of a political nature” are rendered powerless, while political parties are vindicated for prior violations of the law.

In 2014, the Delhi High Court indicted both the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the Congress of receiving foreign funds in violation of provisions of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

The verdict came after a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms. A division bench comprising justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Jayant Nath asked the government and the Election Commission (EC) to act against the two political parties for accepting foreign funds from Vedanta subsidiaries.

The question, at this juncture, is why is the government apprehensive of NGOs whose work is to democratically interrogate so that constitutional rights and freedoms are not violated. Another question is whether the FCRA is indeed a tool of repression as civil society organisations have declared?

In April 2015, a legal analysis was developed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association.

It stated that FCRA norms and regulations “are not in conformity with international law, principles and standards”. The FCRA violates the right to freedom of association, an integral freedom incorporated within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.

The right, though not absolute, are amenable to reasonable restriction; however, the analysis suggests that restrictions such as “public interest” and “economic interest” invoked under the FCRA cannot be termed as legitimate restrictions as they are too ambiguous and may give rise to arbitrary and discretionary powers.

Therefore, should the FCRA be repealed? Perhaps not, as regulation of NGO funding is a significant matter. However, curbing the voices in the civil society by way of a colourable legislation is unacceptable and simply put, draconian.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 21:24 IST

Madhya Pradesh plans to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages to help farmers

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages with an aim to prepare farmers to manage the climate change risks timely and ensure good productivity.

“The government has been planning to develop 1,100 villages as climate-smart villages in a period of next six years,” state Farmer Welfare & Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora told PTI.

He said 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state would be taken up under the plan, which would incur a cost about Rs 150 crore every year.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

“The work is being taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture,” he said.

In these villages, the farmers would be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops, in addition to using drought-resistance seeds.

“The focus would be on integrated agriculture, which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries, in addition to traditional farming. Agro-forestry would also be adopted in these villages,” Rajora said.

Agro-forestry conserves and protects the natural resources as it helps water retention and stops soil erosion.

He said integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.

“In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all challenges of climate change,” he said.

Zero tillage technique is a way of growing crops time and again without disturbing the soil through ploughing, another agriculture expert said.

“The micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinklers would not only reduce the water use but also lessen the use of fertilisers and energy,” he said.

Rajora said the state government would seek help of International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), an international NGO working in the field of agriculture, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global agriculture research partnership.

“The Centre has set ICRISAT, the UN organisation, as nodal agency for developing the climate-smart villages. We would also seek expertise from scientists of two agriculture universities at Jabalpur and Gwalior in addition to state government’s scientists in various district headquarters,” he said.

According to agriculture department officials, various equipment and sensors would also be used in these villages to help the farmers.

The state government has already announced to open a soil testing laboratory at the block level. A plan is also on the anvil to provide soil health cards to farmers under state government’s efforts to double farmers’ income in five years.

To ensure sustainable agriculture growth, MP has also constituted a ‘Krishi (agriculture) Cabinet’ for the purpose.

The cabinet includes ministers of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, cooperatives, water resources, Narmada valley development, energy, panchayat, rural development and SC/ST welfare departments.

MP had also received Krishi Karman award for 2014-15, the fourth during past five years, for increasing the food grains production and productivity by 254 lakh tonnes and 1,719 kg per hectare, respectively.

The state government also claimed to have increased the irrigated agriculture area to 40 lakh hectares from 7 lakh hectares in 2003.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 11:17 IST

Chilean Navy sailors accused of secretly filming female crewmates | Reuters

Chilean Navy sailors accused of secretly filming female crewmates | Reuters

Dec 29, 2016 23:16 IST

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SANTIAGO Chilean authorities said on Thursday they are investigating allegations that female sailors were secretly videotaped in their quarters on a naval vessel and that those images were then shared via social media by other crew members.The Navy detained the sailors accused of secretly recording their female counterparts. It said “it roundly rejects these types of actions that insult our personnel and we reiterate our respect for the privacy of those that form part of the institution.”Chile’s Defense Minister Jose Antonio Gomez said that sanction for these actions would “set an example.”After receiving a complaint from a sailor who had seen the recordings of the women shared on a WhatsApp group, Chile’s naval prosecutor opened an investigation into at least nine seamen, the Estrella de Valparaiso newspaper reported on Thursday. Other local media said eight sailor are being investigated.According to the paper, investigators found “elaborate and complex technical [filming] apparatus” in various strategic locations on the ship.

“If it’s true what happened on the frigate Lynch it is unacceptable,” Chilean President Michelle Bachelet wrote on Twitter.”Let’s end all forms of violence against women!”

Earlier in December, a Chilean business leader sparked a social media storm and criticism by Bachelet for presenting the nation’s economy minister with an inflatable sex doll as a gift at an industry dinner.Despite being South America’s most prosperous nation by most measures, Chile is more socially conservative than many of its neighbors and traditional gender attitudes persist.

Abortion is illegal in all circumstances, divorce was only legalized in 2006, and women’s participation in the labor market remains low. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Andrea Ricci)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 23:16 IST

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DNA Evening Must Reads: Arun Jaitley rubbishes critics of demonetization, PM Modi’s Dec 31 address, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Critical part of remonetization over, it will be much better, going forward: Arun JaitleyArun Jaitley said that critics have been proved wrong. Finance Minister quoted tax collection and several other statistics to emphasise that the situation is not as bad as it was predicted. Read more here UP Elections 2017: Akhilesh likely to announce his own list of candidates, says SP MLAThe feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family appeared to be worsening, with an unhappy Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday meeting legislators who have not found place in the list of 325 declared candidates and then conveying his objections to his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who had announced the nominees yesterday. Read more hereScam-tainted Abhay Chautala ready to relinquish IOA Life President’s postScam-tainted former Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Abhay Singh Chautala who was elevated to Life President’s post along with Suresh Kalmadi, was ready to relinquish the post, if International Olympic Committee (IOC) had reservations over it. Read more herePM Modi’s Dec 31 address to mark beginning of massive campaign to justify demonetizationPrime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to address the nation before New Year. Read more hereVirat Kohli and Anushka Sharma to get engaged on January 1?Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma usually avoid talking about the relationship because they feel it draws unnecessary attention towards their personal lives. But now, there are fresh speculations regarding the couple. Read more here

Former Union Home Secretary Anil Baijal becomes new LG of Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Career bureaucrat Anil Baijal was on Wednesday appointed as the new Lt Governor of Delhi, a post which has fallen vacant after sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung.70-year-old Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in other ministries. The President accepted the resignation of Jung and also ordered for appointment of Baijal, who will be the 21st Lt Governor of the national capital. Baijal had retired from service in 2006 as Secretary, Urban Development Ministry. He is a former vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority Baijal was actively associated with the designing and roll-out of Rs 60,000 crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched by the Manmohan Singh government. The former bureaucrat was also on the executive council of the think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation, several of whose former members have been appointed to senior positions by the Modi government including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Jung had submitted his resignation on December 22, ending a nearly three-and-half-year-long eventful tenure, mostly marked by bitter confrontation with AAP government.

Safety of passengers, crew cannot be compromised: IndiGo, SpiceJet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IndiGo and SpiceJet airlines on Tuesday issued a statement, saying safety of the passengers, crew and the aircraft are of top priority and at no time it can be compromised.This came hours after a major accident was averted at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport as aircrafts of both airlines came face-to-face on the runway. SpiceJet said that at no point of time the safety of its passengers was at risk. “SpiceJet flight SG 123 operating Delhi-Hyderabad was following ATC instructions at all times at the Delhi airport. While taxiing, crew observed another aircraft on same taxiway in opposite direction; Acting promptly, crew immediately intimated ATC. At no stage safety of passengers, crew and aircraft was compromised; All concerned authorities were immediately informed,” the statement read.IndiGo in its statement said that its 6E-769 flight (Lucknow-Delhi) observed the SpiceJet aircraft in front of it while taxiing and was following ATC instructions all the time at Delhi airport. “The IndiGo flight 6E-769 (Lucknow-Delhi) while taxing in at Delhi airport today morning, observed another aircraft in front of it. Following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the Caption-in-Command took the decision of switching off the engine and reported the incident to ATC,” IndiGo said.”All 176 passengers along with the crew are safe. IndiGo flight was observing ATC instructions all the time at Delhi airport. IndiGo has voluntarily informed the DGCA. This matter is being investigated by IndiGo safety department and the regulator. As an airline we rely upon ATC’s traffic advisory and ensure to comply with their instructions. At IndiGo, safety of the passengers, crew and the aircraft are of top priority and at no time it can be compromised,” the statement added.The incident has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has assured of a probe.

Shelling-proof bunkers to protect civilians in Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is constructing underground bunkers in the border villages of Jammu as a life saving measure for the civilians to duck the Pakistani shelling.The move comes amid Pakistani forces’ new tactics of shelling in the civilian areas to instill fear among the local population. More than 12 civilians have been killed and over 80 others have been injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the border villages in the Jammu division since the Indian army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29. Around 18 soldiers have also been killed by Pakistan army and Rangers along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir since surgical strikes.More than 87 critical villages have been identified along the LoC and the IB in Jammu district where the government has put the construction of the shelling-proof underground bunkers on fast track.”All the 87 critical villages have been given at least one bunker. We need at least five bunkers in one critical village. In the second round two more bunkers will be given to each critical village”, Simrandeep Singh, district development commissioner, Jammu, told DNA.Constructed at the cost of Rs 4.5 crore under two different government projects, the underground bunkers are being built in such a manner that those could withstand the shells and mortars fired by Pakistani forces.”These are shelling proof bunkers constructed inside the villages. They have double RCC slab which is covered with lot of earth. Each bunker can accommodate 20 people. During the recent cross border shelling 80 people had taken shelter in one bunker,” said Singh.Jammu and Kashmir government has set January 20 deadline for the completion of the bunkers in the first phase. “Around 97 bunkers are to be constructed under two projects, of which 80 have been completed so far. Rest of the 17 bunkers will be completed by January 20”, said Singh.Figures reveal that there are 35,000 to 40,000 people living in the villages which are the worst affected by the shelling from Pakistan. “During shelling, some of the villagers flee their homes for safety. However, some stay back to look after their cattle and other property. Those who stay back can use these bunkers. It is a safety measure because their houses may not be shelling proof”, he said.

Dutch woman claims child kidnapped by estranged husband, approaches Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Dutch woman in the process of getting a divorce from her Mumbai-based husband and fighting over the custody of their daughter has shared her story with the famous ‘Humans of Amsterdam’ Facebook page, about how her estranged husband has kidnapped their two-year-old.Her story has been shared thousands of times on the social media page, with several Indians tagging Minster of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who is known for her quick response on social media platforms like Twitter, and has gained the goodwill of the people of resolving the issues of many Indians worldwide. Nadia Rashid, the woman in question in the story, met Shezad Hemani, her now-estranged husband in 2010 while volunteering at the International Indian Film Academy Awards in Amsterdam. “He seemed friendly and through the organisation, he got my phone number. He texted me, and every now and then we kept in touch. I don’t think you can call it a friendship but we were acquaintances,” she said.Rashid said Hemani told her that was a businessman from Mumbai who travelled a lot. In 2010, he visited her and immediately asked her to marry him. Since she barely knew him at the time, Rashid refused, she said, but he refused to give up. “He kept sending me messages and kept travelling to Amsterdam to come and meet me. He made me feel special and put me on a pedestal. He said he loved me and I started to fall in love with him. When he proposed again, I said yes. We got married in 2011 and that’s when everything changed,” said RashidThings changed from the wedding day, when Rashid said she noticed a change in his behaviour. “He changed from a loving man to a dominant husband. He told me that I dressed terribly and destroyed my self-confidence. He would not let me meet his friends, saying that they were the types that did drugs and cheated on their wives. I later found out that he told them that I was an abusive wife who married him for money,” she added.Things took a turn for the worse when Rashid was pregnant three years into the marriage. She alleged that Hemani was never there for the child and it felt like she was a single-mother raising their daughter. “I remember one night Insiya (their daughter) woke up in the middle of the night and we could hear her cry through the baby phone. He got really mad at me and when she woke up for the third time he said I had to go sleep in her room because he could not sleep.”Nadia Rashid’s story on Humans of Amsterdam: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5She also alleged that her husband abused her. “I never told anyone because I was too ashamed. He would then apologise and that it was his fault. He would tell me that I was the better person and that is why I would be able to forgive him,” she said.When Rashid decided to stop travelling to India, both she and Hemani agreed that the husband would visit Amsterdam every two weeks, she assumed that things would get better, but the violence continued.“Once when he was in India, he didn’t answer my calls or call me. Once when he did answer, he said that he was busy. But I could hear the cricket commentary in the background. I then told him that if he didn’t make us a priority, then we would do the same to him,” she said.After this, the husband sent a Facebook message to all her friends with the same message, where he asked them to meet so that they could talk about her. “I then texted him asking him what he was playing at. He responded by calling me a loser because I didn’t dare to file for a divorce and that he would sue me. He had written (to) my brother and said that I was going to pay for this and that he was going to shame my name. He said that he would tell everyone in Amsterdam and the rest of the world what a terrible woman I was. He ended his message with: ‘This game has just begun’”.Rashid filed for divorce, but ensured that he had time with their daughter. “One time, Insiya was sitting on his lap when he told me that he would send his friends over to have me killed. I took Insiya and ran to the police station to file a complaint against him, but the threats continued. He said that he would kidnap our daughter and that he would take her to India,” she said.She realised that her movements were being monitored and finally found a GPS tracker in her car. She then went to the police, following which both mother and daughter went into hiding. “The police attached an AWARE system to my body in case of an emergency. The following months he couldn’t see us because of the threats; we were legally not allowed to have direct contact,” she added.One day, two policemen knocked on her door because they spotted a suspected vehicle. Rashid saw her Hemani in the car that had a child seat in the back. “We had to go into hiding again until we were sure that he had left the country. He kept filing lawsuits but losing them. Finally, the judge gave me sole custody of our daughter.”On September 29, Rashid, who was living with her mother at the time, went to the grocery store. On her way, she got a call from her nephew, who was frantic. “Men! They took her, They took Insiya.” My heart stopped, Rashid said.In the complaint filed with the police, she said that a few men dressed as municipality workers came and kidnapped Insiya. They beat up her mother and shot her sister with a tazer gun. One of the kidnappers, however, was caught thanks to an alert neighbour.“As far as I know, she’s in Mumbai with her father who she barely knows. He has said that if I will go to India he will have me arrested. He is a wealthy and powerful man and he easily buys people off. He has hired one of the best lawyers of The Netherlands to defend him. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch government we are trying our utmost best to get Insiya back. Every day from morning until night I am working on this. I will not stop until I can hold my daughter again,” Nadia said. (All the incidents described in this story are as per the Facebook updates posted on Humans of Amsterdam.)

Egypt confirms Al Jazeera producer’s arrest for provoking sedition | Reuters

Egypt confirms Al Jazeera producer’s arrest for provoking sedition | Reuters

Dec 25, 2016 18:39 IST

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CAIRO Egypt confirmed on Sunday that it had arrested an Al Jazeera news producer, accusing him of “provoking sedition” on behalf of the Qatar-based broadcaster that it considers a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Judicial sources said Mahmoud Hussain, who was detained on Friday, was being held on charges of disturbing public security and spreading false news.The Interior Ministry said in a statement that Al Jazeera officials “had ordered some individuals collaborating with the channel inside the country to continue implementing its media plan of provoking sedition, incitement against the state, and spreading chaos through broadcasting false news.” It identified Hussain as a person implementing that plan for the channel which is not allowed to operate inside Egypt.

Al Jazeera was not immediately available for comment.Egypt has arrested several Al Jazeera reporters over the past two years, raising concerns over media freedoms in the country.

In May, a Cairo court recommended the death penalty against two of them, charged in absentia with endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar.The Brotherhood is a Qatar-backed movement that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has cracked down on since an army takeover in 2013 stripped former president Mohammed Mursi – a prominent member of the group – of power following mass protests against his rule.

Thousands of Brotherhood supporters including Mursi are in jail and Egypt has designated the group, which says it is non-violent, a terrorist organisation. (Reporting by Haitham Ahmed and Ahmed Mohammed Hassan; Writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 18:39 IST

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Kerala: CPI(M) govt says UAPA Act should be slapped only against terror suspects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apparently distancing itself from police for taking into custody and slapping sedition charges against a theatre artist and activist, ruling CPI(M) in Kerala today made it clear that the LDF has its own declared policy and no action violating it should be happened from the side of police personnel.In an article in party mouthpiece ‘Deshabhimani’, party state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said as per the policy of LDF government, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) should be slapped only against persons involving in terrorist activities.He also accused the previous Congress-led UDF government of widely misusing the UAPA and sedition charges (124A). The Act was even slapped against CPI(M)’s party workers during its tenure, he alleged.”LDF government has its own declared police policy. It is not akin to the policy of either Narendra Modi government at the Centre or that of the previous UDF government in the state. There should not be any act violating our declared policy,” he said.Balakrishnan’s article came at a time when the LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who holds the home portfolio, were widely being criticised for the police action against artist Kamal C Chavara over showing disrespect to national anthem and activist Nadeer Gul Mohammed for his alleged Maoist links.In the article, Kodiyeri said the slapping of 124(A) against Kamal amounted to send a wrong message.”But, letting him off after taking into custody was an appropriate action. The LDF government has always intervened strongly and punished those guilty when there was violation of state police policy and Police Act,” he said.In Nadeer’s case, a case was registered under UAPA on March 3, 2016 during the tenure of the previous government.Though police had taken him into custody earlier this month, he was later let off when the charges were found baseless, he said.”Police should be ready for a legal re-examination even in the UAPA cases wrongly slapped by the previous government,” he said.The leader also criticised the controversy over the arrest of some people for allegedly disrespecting national anthem during the time of recent International Film Festival of Kerala.It was during the tenure of the previous UDF government that three youths were arrested from a local theatre here for not standing up while playing national anthem and 124 (A) was slapped against them by police, he said.But, during the time of this IFFK, police took some people into custody for maintaining law and order but later let them off on station bail, he said.”This indicates that LDF government’s policy is not that of UDF,” he said.Balakrishnan also pointed out that Chief Minister himself had warned that stringent measures would be taken against those who violate the government policy.Attempts to destroy the morale of police in the name of some isolated incidents were going on in the state, he added.

GST council meeting: FM Jaitley ‘trying best’ for 1 April rollout even as logjam continues

GST council meeting: FM Jaitley ‘trying best’ for 1 April rollout even as logjam continues

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New Delhi: Finding no common ground on the issue of dual control or cross empowerment that deals with assessee jurisdiction, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s 7th meeting that came to an end on Friday raised grave concerns about its 1 April implementation date while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that he was trying his best.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI file photoFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo

“I am trying my best (on deadline of 1 April). I don’t want to hasten the process of discussion and don’t want to delay the implementation,” Jaitley said at a press briefing after the Council meet ended.

The Finance Minister however said: “There was no issue raised on dual control today as we were working on legislations.”

The drafts of Central GST (cGST) and the compensation law have been mostly approved with the only portions relating to dual control being left out, he added.

Jaitley said that the two principle issues that still remain before the Council are Integrated GST (iGST) and cross empowerment.

“In iGST, definition of territory of states is pending. And the division of authority between assessing authorities of Centre and states is pending. The two issues will be taken up together at the next meeting on January 3-4,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 18:05 IST

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Wall Street dips as retailers lag | Reuters

Wall Street dips as retailers lag | Reuters

Dec 23, 2016 00:49 IST

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NEW YORK U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, weighed down by a dip in retailers, as investors stepped back from a recent rally fuelled by optimism that President-elect Donald Trump will invigorate economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 22.95 points, or 0.12 percent, to 19,919.01, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.22 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,260.96 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 24.01 points, or 0.44 percent, to 5,447.42.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 00:49 IST

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Rs 2,000 notes worth Rs 1.34 cr seized from gang in Chennai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths have seized Rs 1.34 crore in new Rs 2,000 denomination besides foreign currencies from a gang of five persons at the airport in Chennai.Acting on specific input that a gang was involved in smuggling of foreign exchange out of India, the DRI Chennai zone officials intercepted five persons outside the Anna International airport here in the wee hours of Thursday, an official release said.During a search of the baggage carried by the gang, it was found containing Rs 1.34 crore in new currency of Rs 2,000 notes and foreign currencies of over US $7,000 (equivalent to Rs 4.76 lakh), which were seized, the release said.”Further investigation is on,” it said.Yesterday, the DRI officials had seized 12 lakh foreign cigarettes, worth Rs 1.63 crore, that arrived at V O Chidambaranar Port in Tuticorin, by a container from United Arab Emirates.

Parasmal Lodha arrested by ED for allegedly converting Rs 25 crore from old to new notes

Parasmal Lodha arrested by ED for allegedly converting Rs 25 crore from old to new notes

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested at Mumbai arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Reddy and Srinvasulu’s arrests were also in the context of illegally exchanging old notes for new ones and going against RBI guidelines.

News18 also points out that Lodha had earlier been detained from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport after it was discovered that the sum of Rs 13 crore seized from the office of lawyer Rohit Tandon in Delhi’s Greater Kailash area, belonged to Lodha.

He is not believed to be related in any way to builder and BJP leader Mangal Prabhat Lodha.

More details as they emerge.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 10:40 IST

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J-K: Army cordons off Bandipora’s Hajin village, suspect presence of terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army and police on Thursday cordoned off Hajin village of Bandipora, Jammu and Kashmir early this morning.They suspect the presence of terrorists in the area.Two terrorists and an Army jawan were killed earlier on November 25 in the ongoing encounter between terrorists and security forces in Bandipora.Since the surgical strike on terrorist launch pads in PoK on September 29, there have been a staggering 286 incidents of firing and shelling along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistani troops, which have resulted in the death of 26 people, including 14 security personnel.

Nokia sues Apple for infringing technology patents | Reuters

Nokia sues Apple for infringing technology patents | Reuters

Dec 22, 2016 00:16 IST

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Finland’s Nokia Corp (NOKIA.HE) said on Wednesday it had sued Apple Inc (AAPL.O), accusing the iPhone maker of violating 32 technology patents.Apple sued Acacia Research Corp (ACTG.O) and Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc [GEGGIM.UL] on Tuesday, accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly and anticompetitively from Apple.Nokia’s lawsuits, filed in courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, cover patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” Nokia said in a statement.

Apple and Acacia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 00:16 IST

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Gunmen attack house of Afghan member of parliament | Reuters

Gunmen attack house of Afghan member of parliament | Reuters

Dec 21, 2016 23:08 IST

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KABUL Gunmen attacked the house of an Afghan member of parliament in the capital Kabul on Wednesday night, killing as many as five people, officials said.One police official said three gunmen attacked the house of Mir Wali, a member of parliament from the volatile southern province of Helmand and killed three security guards and two members of the MP’s family.The incident underlined the fragile security situation in Kabul, which has seen repeated attacks by suicide bombers and gunmen in recent months. Helmand, one of the strongholds of the Taliban and source of much of the world’s opium, has fallen increasingly under insurgent control over the past two years.

Officials said police special forces were at the scene of the attack and were concentrating on evacuating people from the house and nearby areas.

The gunmen were still believed to be inside the house, with local news station Tolo News quoting local residents as saying the sound of gunfire and explosions could be heard.

(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; writing by James Mackenzie)

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First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 23:08 IST

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Cake and sympathy – beaten women forget pain of domestic abuse in Chennai cafe | Reuters

By Anuradha Nagaraj

CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Measuring flour, whisking eggs and folding batter, K. Asma forgets the deep scars that run down her face and neck as she bakes cupcakes in an upscale cafe in the Indian port city of Chennai.Four years ago, Asma poured kerosene on herself and lit a match, after reaching breaking point in an abusive marriage. By setting herself on fire, Asma had meant to scare her husband into stopping the violence. “I was thinking a small burn mark, some ointment and back to work as a sweeper cleaning the city roads after a day,” Asma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”I didn’t think the fire would consume me and my life would become a living hell.” The 29-year-old is one of seven victims of domestic abuse hired by Writers’ Cafe in a pilot project to help them regain their self-esteem while learning new skills that could provide some financial independence.India first recognised domestic violence as a criminal offence in 1983 and amended the penal code to include cruelty by a husband or his family against a married woman as a crime.Last year, there were a reported 327,394 crimes against women in India, 35 percent of which were classified as “cruelty by husband or relatives”, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.The overall crime rate was down by 3.1 percent compared to 2014, but data showed an 8 percent increase in cases brought under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. In 2015, 461 cases were registered against 426 in 2014. SUICIDE BID
Hiding bruises and staying quiet, many women in India, especially in rural areas, accept violence as a normal part of life.

Many envisage suicide as the only way out with hanging, poisoning and self-immolation common causes of death.Like Asma, Parimala Gopi is also part of the Writers’ Cafe pilot project, and had also tried to set herself alight after enduring years of domestic violence. “I could see the horror in the face of my children when they saw me,” Gopi, 35, said. “I could deal with my pain but seeing theirs broke my spirit.”At Chennai’s Kilpauk Medical College burns ward, one of the largest in southern India, doctors treat up to 100 women a month for burns from kerosene and alcohol. Often the injuries are self-inflicted.Counsellors at the hospital said that 60 percent of the cases have third-degree burns that prove fatal.”Among those who survive, we found that many were dying after discharge from the hospital,” said Prasanna Gettu of International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care, a support agency for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

“They did not have enough money to take care of their diet or the medication they needed to heal. Families were not being supportive and many were just withering away. They needed jobs.”HAPPINESS
At Writers’ Cafe, Swiss baker Silke Stadler and chef Karan Manavalan, who are training the women to bake cakes, said their aim is to create a positive workplace where the women are not judged for past actions.”It is a good space to make things right for them,” Stadler said.

Aniruddha Sen, the chief executive of CC Fine Foods South India Private Limited, which opened Writers’ Cafe, said his company planned to open similar cafes in 2017.”We want them (the women) to have permanent livelihood through this venture,” he said.Projects like this and Sheroes’ Hangout, a cafe run by survivors of acid attacks in the western city of Agra, are helping women find their place in society, campaigners say.”It has been a long journey for these women to simply say yes to a job,” Gettu said.”They have battled stigma and their own insecurities before stepping out of their homes, boarding a bus, ignoring the stares and getting to work.”Asma does not mind that many people on the bus choose not to sit next to her during her daily commute to work. “I just think about the work and the 10,000 rupees ($147) I earn every month,” she said.”Baking that cake makes me forget everything, even my gnarled hands and scarred face. I find a little bit of happiness,” Asma said. (Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 00:05 IST

Address support to terror from outside Afghanistan: India to United Nations

United Nations: In a clear reference to Pakistan providing safe havens to terror groups, India has told the UN that the international community must urgently address the issue of backing to outfits like LeT, JeM and the Haqqani Network by “shadowy supporters” outside Afghanistan.

“Experience, as well as academic research, provides ample support for the assertion that conflicts in which foreign assistance is available to shadowy entities that fight legitimate state authorities tend to be more severe and last longer than other types of conflict,” India’s Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said in a Security Council session on the situation in Afghanistan.

Without naming Pakistan, Akbaruddin said sustainable peace in Afghanistan is contingent upon terror groups and individuals being denied safe havens in the country’s neighbourhood and the international community must address the issue of the support that terror outfits like the Taliban and al-Qaeda get from their supporters outside Afghanistan.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“If we are to bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan, groups and individuals that perpetrate violence against the people and the government of Afghanistan must be denied safe havens and sanctuaries in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood,” he said.

“We need to address, as an imperative, the support that terrorist organisations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Daesh, al-Qaeda and its designated affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed which operate entirely outside the fabric of international law draw from their shadowy supporters outside Afghanistan,” Akbaruddin said at the United Nations on Monday.

He pointed out to the meeting in the 15-nation Council that it is apparent that efforts by nations for rebuilding institutions, infrastructure and networks in Afghanistan are being “undermined, schools are being destroyed, mosques bombarded and religious gatherings targeted”.

“It is also evident that those who perpetrate these heinous crimes have survived and thrived only with support and sanctuaries on the outside,” he said, in a veiled but strong reference to Pakistan.

Akbaruddin noted with concern that while the international community recommits to standing by the Afghan people each time the UN members discuss the situation in the war-torn country, the number of Afghan civilian and security forces casualties keeps rising.

“While the Taliban sanctions regime remains split for more than five years, the designated terrorist group makes concerted effort to capture and hold territory. Therefore, for numerous Afghan women, men and children there is no respite from the plague of terrorism,” he said.

The Indian envoy emphasised that the international community must introspect about the way it is approaching the situation in Afghanistan and whether there is need for course correction.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 13:11 IST

BJP mocks TMC over National Anthem row, highlights ‘irony’ citing Tagore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA being caught on camera talking on her cell phone while the national anthem was being played, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took a swing at the Mamata Banerjee-led party saying the entire development was ironic, as the National Anthem had emerged from West Bengal itself.Branding the incident as unfortunate, BJP leader Nalin Kohli said that more than the law, what was important was respecting the national sentiment. “If we do not show respect to our own national anthem and flag, then what kind of a country are we. And it’s even more ironical happening from a TMC leader, because after all, it is Rabindranath Tagoreji who penned it. And the national anthem emerges from Bengal,” he said.In an incident signifying embarrassment for the TMC, party MLA Vaishali Dalmiya was caught on camera speaking over the phone while the National Anthem was being played. The TMC leader, who was present at a sports event in Howrah, West Bengal on Sunday was busy attending phone calls while the National Anthem was being played.
ALSO READ Watch | Caught on camera: TMC MLA speaks on phone during National AnthemDalmiya, who is the daughter of late Jagmohan Dalmiya, former President of International Cricket Council and Board of Cricket Council of India, was attending Commissioner Cup, a Football tournament organised by Belur Police Station.This not the first incident when a politician came under the radar for talking over phone during national anthem, as earlier, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah faced a huge backlash for talking on phone while the national anthem was being played.Meanwhile, in Kerala at least six people were detained for allegedly showing disrespect to the national anthem and in another incident a Kerala writer was charged with sedition over a Facebook post that was allegedly disrespectful to the national anthem.

National anthem row: Director Kamal gets Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s support

Sun, 18 Dec 2016-11:54pm , Kozhikode , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came out in support of noted film director and Chalachitra Academy Chairman Kamal on Sunday, over his alleged remarks against the national anthem at IFFK in Thiruvananthapuram. Activists of Yuva Morcha, BJP’s youth wing, had on December 14 burnt Kamal’s effigy in protest against his alleged remarks on playing the national anthem before every show at IFFK.They had also allegedly addressed Kamal as ‘Kamaluddin’ and termed him “anti-national”. Speaking at an awards ceremony in Kozhikode, Vijayan alleged that the Sangh Parivar was behind the protests and that an attempt was being made to communalise the issue and derive political mileage out of it “The act of addressing Kamal as Kamaludeen only shows deep religious intolerance which will not work in Kerala. The government will take action against it. The Sangh Parivar’s certificate is not needed for Kamal,” he said.The issue had come into focus at the recently concluded International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) after police took 12 persons into custody on December 14 for showing disrespect to the national anthem. They reportedly refused to stand up while the anthem was being played. The activists had also charged that Kamal was behind selecting controversial Malayalam film “Ka Bodyscapes” which they alleged insulted the Hindu religion.

Real survive scare to win club cup with Ronaldo hat-trick | Reuters

Real survive scare to win club cup with Ronaldo hat-trick | Reuters

Dec 18, 2016 21:43 IST

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By Chris Gallagher
| TOKYO

TOKYO Real Madrid suffered an almighty fright before a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick hauled them back from 2-1 down and gave them a 4-2 win over rank outsiders Kashima Antlers in the Club World Cup final on Sunday.Two goals from Gaku Shibasaki stunned the European champions as the Japanese hosts took a 2-1 lead early in the second half before a Ronaldo penalty brought Real level on the hour.The 11-times European champions then survived several more scares and a possible sending-off for captain Sergio Ramos before Ronaldo scored twice more in the first period of extra-time.Real, who won the tournament for the second time in three years and were crowned champions for a fifth time overall, appeared set for an easy victory when Karim Benzema gave them a ninth-minute lead but Shibasaki changed the story by levelling one minute before halftime.Kashima were the first Asian team to reach the final although they qualified for the tournament as champions of host nation Japan. Asian champions Jeonbuk Motors had lost in the quarter-finals.”We knew it was not going to be an easy one. They were very aggressive,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane told reporters. Real went ahead when Luka Modric’s volley was parried by Hitoshi Sogahata and Benzema tapped in the rebound.

Kashima refused to be overawed, continued playing their neat football and snatched a shock equaliser just before the break.Shoma Doi’s cross found Shibasaki, whose first touch was poor but he was gifted a second attempt when Raphael Varane failed to clear and he smashed the ball into the net.Shibasaki struck again six minutes after the break when he collected a poor Real clearance, got away from three opponents and fired a low shot past Keylor Navas from 25 metres.Real were facing their first defeat since they lost to VfL Wolfsburg in April, a run of 36 competitive games, until Lucas Vazquez was bundled over by Shuto Yamamoto and Ronaldo converted the resulting penalty on the hour.

Kashima continued to give as good as they got and had three good chances in the final minutes of normal time.Fabricio’s goalbound drive was tipped over by Navas and the Costa Rican goalkeeper came to the rescue again one minute later by blocking Mu Kanazaki’s shot after he got free of the Real defence.Yasushi Endo could have won it with the last kick but fired wide at the far post while Sergio Ramos was lucky to escape a second yellow card for a push on an opponent, a decision which Kashima coach Masatada Ishii said “lacked courage”.Ronaldo ended Kashima’s dream when he collected Benzema’s sliderule pass and fired past Sogahata eight minutes into extra-time, then settled the match six minutes later with an emphatic finish into the roof of the net.

“We gave Real Madrid problems,” said Ishii. “That’s what we were able to do. But we made small mistakes in positioning and judgment so it’s frustrating.” (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 21:43 IST

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LIVE India Vs England Live Score

IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

IND 391 4 108.0

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WKTS

OVERS

LIVE Australia Vs Pakistan Live Score

AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 382 8 123.0

RUNS

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OVERS

LIVE United Arab Emirates Vs Afghanistan Live Score

UAE vs AFG | Dec 18th, 2016

UAE 145 8 20.0

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Monte dei Paschi to launch share issue Dec. 19 | Reuters

Monte dei Paschi to launch share issue Dec. 19 | Reuters

Dec 18, 2016 19:02 IST

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MILAN Troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena will offer new shares for sale between Monday and Thursday in a last ditch attempt to raise 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) by the end of the year and avoid a state bailout.The European Central Bank has told Italy’s third-largest bank to raise capital this year and offload 28 billion euros in bad loans but finding investors has proved difficult amid political turmoil and this month’s change of government.Monte dei Paschi said on Sunday its share offer for institutional investors, which accounts for 65 percent of the total, would run until 1300 GMT on Thursday.The offer aimed at current shareholders and retail investors will end at 1300 GMT on Wednesday.Monte dei Paschi said in a document on its website that, if successful, the share issue could raise up to 3.2 billion euros.

The rest of the capital needed would come from a voluntary debt-to-equity conversion offer on the bank’s junior debt which has already raised around 1 billion euros. On Friday, the bank said it was reopening the conversion offer until Wednesday and extending it to retail investors owning 2.1 billion euros of its junior debt.Italy is ready to step in to rescue the country’s third-largest bank should the fundraising plan fail.

Under new rules Europe introduced in the wake of the financial crisis to shield taxpayers, investors in a failing lender must bear losses before public money can be tapped.A source familiar with the matter on Friday said Italy’s government would inject capital into Monte dei Paschi only after the forced conversion of 4.1 billion euros worth of subordinated bonds into shares.

The bank said in the offer document that its liquidity of 11 billion euros as of Dec. 14 could run out in the following 12 months due in part to its main depositor taking around 2 billion euros out of its current account.($1 = 0.9574 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 19:02 IST

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LIVE India Vs England Live Score

IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

IND 391 4 108.0

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

LIVE Australia Vs Pakistan Live Score

AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 382 8 123.0

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

LIVE United Arab Emirates Vs Afghanistan Live Score

UAE vs AFG | Dec 18th, 2016

UAE 145 8 20.0

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

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Manipur: Curfew imposed in parts of Imphal East district after continued violence

Manipur: Curfew imposed in parts of Imphal East district after continued violence

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By

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Imphal: Curfew was imposed on Sunday in certain parts of Imphal East district of Manipur in view of continued violence in the region following Friday’s triple blasts. The curfew comes into force from this noon and covers Porompat and Sawombung subdivisions of Imphal East district and will continue till further directions, an order issued by the District Magistrate said.

The government’s decision to clamp the curfew follows the shutting down of mobile internet services in Imphal West district to halt spreading of rumours through social networking sites. The landlocked state has been experiencing severe hardship in supply of essential items since 1 November after United Naga Council (UNC) imposed an indefinite economic blockade on the two national highways that serve as lifeline for the state.

The blockade was imposed following the state government’s announcement of formation of seven new districts, four of which have been formally inaugurated. Tension in the state heightened after suspected militants continued their violent attacks on Manipur Police and other state forces in the last few days that left three policemen dead and 14 others injured last Thursday. The attack was followed by triple bomb blasts at Nagaram area in Imphal West district allegedly by Manipur Naga People’s Front on Friday.

In another incident, suspected militants overpowered a small outpost of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Nungkao area yesterday in Tamenglong district and fled with nine service weapons.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 17:34 IST

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LIVE India Vs England Live Score

IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

IND 391 4 108.0

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

LIVE Australia Vs Pakistan Live Score

AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 382 8 123.0

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

LIVE United Arab Emirates Vs Afghanistan Live Score

UAE vs AFG | Dec 18th, 2016

UAE 145 8 20.0

RUNS

WKTS

OVERS

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Demonetisation: 2017 may remain challenging for job seekers, pay hikes, say experts

New Delhi: After a challenging year amid global headwinds and cash-crunch back home, the job market is heading for yet another gloomy year with employers already on ‘wait and watch’ mode and pay hikes indicating a weak trend, say experts.

As per month-on-month analysis, hiring saw lower growth this year as compared to 2015, and actual salary increase was lower than the projected figures of 20 per cent on the higher side, and above 10 per cent on average.

The Centre’s demonetisation move and the election of Donald Trump as US President are the two factors likely to impact certain sectors in the New Year.

“Consumer driven sectors like ecommerce, FMCG/CD and retail did well initially. However, the recent demonetisation move has had a drastic impact on the sales and currently we are seeing a slack in hiring there as well for the next 2 years,” said Joseph Devasia, Managing Director of global executive recruitment firm Antal International India.

The hiring outlook for India got a significant blow post-demonetisation and segments like real estate, construction, infrastructure and high-end automobiles will be impacted in the longer term, experts said.

They believe however, that although demonetisation seems like a dampener as of now, it will eventually benefit the country and its youth by creating more formal jobs like never before.

Representational image. ThinkstockRepresentational image. Thinkstock

Representational image. Thinkstock

“A bold move which is definitely pro formal jobs. Such moves also build confidence of external investors to set up shop and contribute to the economy,” staffing services firm TeamLease Co-Founder EVP Rituparna Chakraborty said.

Moreover, sectors like fin-tech, digital payments and banks would be positively impacted by this move and would exponentially multiply their hiring projections.

According to Willis Towers Watson, going ahead, only 31 per cent companies are positive about their hiring outlook in the next 12 months and employees are likely to see a single digit salary increase for the first time since 2011.

“In 2016 salaries were projected to rise by 10.8 per cent, but in reality rose just by 10 per cent. If that pattern continues in 2017, Indian employees could see a single digit salary increase for the first time since 2011,” Sambhav Rakyan, Data Services Practice leader, Asia Pacific at Willis Towers Watson said.

According to global recruitment tendering platform MyHiringClub.com, though a majority of companies are giving increments this year across professions, the percentage increase is not very attractive and average increment will be just 9 per cent.

“Current appraisal season salaries and bonuses in India are expected to rise only in single digit. Increments have been conservative at 9 per cent and bonuses have been 10 per cent, attributable to the prevalent market sentiment,” said Rajesh Kumar, CEO, MyHiringClub.com.

“The increment and bonus percentages have decreased by 1 percentage point across levels compared to last year, with maximum impact at top management level. Another significant finding of the survey is the salary increment is lowest since the 2009 financial crisis,” he said.

Though overall job market outlook looks a little bleak, top performers would have little to worry as companies would look at retaining talent as they would want to avoid cost incurred in hiring new talent, experts said.

“As of now, 2017 looks like a ‘wait and watch’ scenario. Companies are hoping that cash crunch in the country will ease, people will go back to their usual spending and markets will bounce back,” Devasia said.

The sectors that are likely to be in focus include IT, ITeS, BPO/KPO, pharma and healthcare. Apart from these, data analytics, AI, fintech, and robotics will be big next year.

The landmark government initiatives like Make in India, Ease of doing Business, Start Up India, Digital India, Smart Cities and GST will provide impetus to industries and the industrial sector and in turn job growth but “but it will take time to get the ball rolling”, leadership talent advisory firm Hunt Partners Managing Partner Suresh Raina said.

Some experts said that with Trump’s emphasis on bringing jobs back to the US, his anti-immigrant stand and his stated aversion for H-1B Visa might have a negative impact on the Indian IT industry.

Executive search firm GlobalHunt MD Sunil Goel said: “It has been observed that most global companies do not have a choice other than setting up centers in India for two reasons — availability of the resources and the cost effectiveness which enables them to compete in the global market”.

Sanjay Modi, Managing Director, APAC and Middle East, Monster.com believes employers will be keen on candidates who are technologically aware and have skills that take account of the changing environment.

Candidates, therefore, must focus on upskilling in the year 2017 in order to take advantage of this change.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 12:14 IST

New American research study reconfirms distressing state of education in India

The recent report of New York based PEW Research Centre has analysed an inter-country comparison on the state of education, focusing on educational attainment among the major religions of the world. The Centre, part of the John Templeton Foundation, describes itself “as a non-partisan think tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world, while not taking any policy positions”. In possibly a first of its kind analysis, the report focuses on average number of years of schooling among the various religions of the world – it concludes that Jews average 13.4 years of schooling, compared to the international Christian average of 9.3 years, 7.9 years for the Buddhist – the depressing finding is that the Muslims and Hindus of the world undergo 5.6 years of schooling, as against the global average of 7.7 years.

The startling conclusion is that Hindus continue to have the lowest level of ‘educational attainment’ among other major religions of the world, despite substantial educational gains in the recent decade. “Hindu adults (age 25 and older) in the youngest generation analysed in the study have an average of 3.4 more years schooling than those in the oldest generation” – the good news stops there. ‘41 percent of Hindus have no formal education of any kind. Despite large gains by Hindu women across generations, Hindus still have a largest educational gender gap of any religious group’ – these are some of the findings of the 160 page detailed report of PEW Research Centre entitled ‘Region and Education around the World at Large’.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

The report measures ‘educational attainment’, but does not assess the quality of education, using four broad levels of attainment and categories based on Unesco’s International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). The focus of the study is on shares of population with no formal schooling coupled with post-secondary education, along with the average years of schooling to express the “level” of ‘educational attainment’ in the country’s population in a single number, based on a methodology created to capture cross-country comparison of educational attainment. The report groups 151 countries and territories, with available education and religious data, also listing the data sources used for each country, along with a comment on the challenges associated with measuring change in educational attainment across generations.

The vast majority of the world’s Hindus live in India (94 percent), or in Nepal and Bangladesh. In India, Hindus average 5.5 year schooling while in Nepal and Bangladesh the average is 3.9 and 4.6 years respectively. By startling contrast, the Hindus living in the US have 15.7 years of schooling, on average a full year more than the next most highly educated US religious group (Jews) and nearly 3 years more than the average American adult (12.9 years); Hindus in Europe also are highly educated, average 13.9 years of schooling, according to the report.

All this depressing news can well be generally collaborated by the recent similar studies by other international groups. Without going into the academic nitty-gritty, the broad picture emerging is the same. Various reports sharply highlight the abysmal state of education in India, in comparison with other countries; pointing to the public policy neglect that this sector has suffered over seven decades of our democracy. It is disturbing to note that as against the education of total world population of 7.9 years of average schooling, the advance country’s average 11.3 years of schooling, all developing country’s average 7.2 years of schooling – India trails behind at 5.6 years, at the very bottom of the pile. The only possible consolation is that India is only marginally ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa in this regard, trailing behind every region of Europe, Central Asia, Middle East as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. These findings are quite consistent with other international comparisons, including the ‘Legatum Prosperity Index’ of countries, in which India is close to the bottom. It is noteworthy that the European PISA Index, widely used as a measure of educational attainment and quality, which covers over 80 countries, does not include India in its study – anecdotal information refers to Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh inviting PISA for the study in the first decade of this century, which resulted in India being ranked second-last among the participating countries, just ahead of the last-placed Kirgizstan – surely this was ‘bad’ news; it is easier to shoot the messenger than receive bad news – thereafter India has had nothing to do with the PISA measurement system, labelling it irrational and unsuitable for India! The latest Barro-Lee Harvard findings in respect of South-Asian countries in relation to the other regions are apparently consistent with the above picture.

At Independence, the literacy rate in India was 11 percent. In the mid ‘40s, India as a founder Charter member of the post-war created United Nations, participated in the Declaration of Universal Right to Education. It took India six more decades to translate this internationally announced intention to domestic policy, through the enactment of the Right to Education (RTE). The RTE primarily stresses increased enrolment, with focus on school infrastructure – it has paid little attention to the critical issues of educational quality, and also on inclusivity which is an extremely important element in the Indian scene, relating to the economically and socially backward classes. There is no doubt that education now is much more widespread, and there are major gains in school participation over the past decade, along with noticeably improved gender balance, which are major gains. However, the good news ends here.

The NGO Pratham has been bringing out its Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) since 2005, on the basis of extensive household surveys conducted to assess children’s schooling status and basic reading levels in arithmetic. The 2000 survey covered 577 rural districts, and found that nearly half of the grade V students were not able to read at grade II level; and nearly the same proportion of grade V students did not have the basic arithmetic skills which they would have learned at the end of Grade II. The National Council of Research and Training (NCERT) has been conducting National Achievement Surveys periodically since 2001 for Classes III, V and VIII, covering all states. The latest NAS survey results which came out a couple of months back indicate a sharp fall in science, maths and English standards in comparison with the previous period. Clearly educational standards have fallen across the board, particularly in government schools all over the country. ASER 2014 also found that over 75 percent of children in Class III, over 50 percent in Class V and over 25 percent in Class VIII could not read text meant for the Class II level. At the all India level, the number of children in rural schools in Class II who could even recognise letters or the alphabets increased from 13.4 percent in 2010 to 32.5 percent in 2014. In the last year of the primary education in Class V, almost 20 percent of the children could only read letters, and are not literate even at this level; 14 percent could read words but not sentences; and 19 percent could read sentences but longer texts. Reading levels for children enrolled in government schools in Class V show a decline between 2010 and 2012. The gap in reading levels between children enrolled in government schools and private schools appears to be growing over time. Close to half of the children will finish eight years of schooling, but will still not have learned basic skills in arithmetic. While the PEW study focuses on number of years of schooling, the current fall in quality levels in India is a double-whammy – the current situation cannot be categorised as anything but catastrophic.

One additional word on the quality of the data which is recovered from the field will add to this disturbing portrayal. In 1994, the District Information System of Education (DISE) was introduced, designed to capture information from every school, routing it through the block level and aggregating at the district level for final compilation at state headquarters. U-DISE is now the ‘official statistics’; all other parallel connections for information is now discontinued. In concept, U-DISE is an extremely powerful instrument for gathering data, but its validity depends on the reliability of data being fed in the system. Since less than 10 percent schools have computers and reliable source of electricity, most of the data are generated manually and collated at block or district level. The reliability of the total data base at the state or national level is highly questionable, with wide variations among states.

The entire picture turns out to be one of great worry and concern. On the one hand, the average Indian gets less schooling than nearly every child in the world; even the existing data on average schooling and dropout rates are highly questionable. The quality of education at primary level, and indeed at all levels, is abysmal. All of this makes a terrible picture.

Indeed should this be so? As the PEW report points out, the child of Indian origin living in the US has higher educational attainments than any other ethnic community; the Indian child in Europe is among the most educated in that continent. There is enormous talent in the most backward regions of the most backward parts of India. There is sufficient evidence that the Indian child is as good a learner, given the opportunity, compared to any other in the world. In a relatively unknown experiment, the VidyaGyan school system of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, over the past eight years has been providing primary and secondary education to talented village children, selected only from rural government schools, coming from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, and training them through good education and provision of minimal health care, leading up to the CBSE examinations – the results are amazing. Indeed in the 2016 CBSE Board examinations, every child passed the examination in the First Class, and most of them obtained merit admission to prestigious higher education institutions in India and abroad, some with full fellowship. No further proof is required of the potential to be educated – all that is required is give them basic coaching with decent nutrition facilities. It is a measure of the failure of governance over seven decades, that this fundamental aspect of human development in a democracy has been totally neglected.

This can be reversed in a decade. A new approach, with focus on quality, importance to the student and the teacher as opposed to the current accent on glorifying the politician and the bureaucrat in the field, with appropriate linkages with technology can transform the education scene. It is a tragedy that the critical importance of reforming the education sector has not yet been realised by our policy makers – the existing dispensation is apparently still under the illusion that continuation of existing policies, with incremental sporadic band-aid intervention is adequate. The PEW report is a reminder of our colossal blunders, and more importantly a call for urgent new action, if our democracy is to have a future.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 11:48 IST

Bulandshahr: Nasty brawl after woman jumps bank queue, prompts cops to fire

Bulandshahr: Nasty brawl after woman jumps bank queue, prompts cops to fire

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Bulandshahr(UP): A nasty fight erupted outside a bank in Bulandshahr after a woman attempted to jump the queue to withdraw money, prompting police to fire in the air.

The woman, identified as Shanti, tried to jump the queue at the Punjab National Bank’s Aahar branch here.

Those waiting for their turn got agitated and protested, superintendent of police (rural) Jagdish Sharma said. The woman then called five youths, who on arrival at the bank started beating those protesting against Shanti’s behaviour.

Policemen present on the scene fired in the air to disperse the warring group. More details are awaited.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 16:59 IST

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India’s cash crackdown linked to drop in child trafficking | Reuters

By Roli Srivastava and Nita Bhalla

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Business has been slow at the Thakkar Bappa Colony shoe manufacturing hub in eastern Mumbai since the Indian government withdrew high-value bank notes last month in an attempt to curb tax evasion and counterfeit currency.Orders to the numerous shoemakers lining the slum’s narrow streets have almost dried up due to a dearth of bank notes in circulation, say the businesses which mainly rely on cash transactions.Yet while factory owners complain of a slump in profits and a dip in productivity, child rights activists say “demonetisation” drive has a silver-lining: it has stemmed the steady stream of children trafficked here to stitch shoes. “Children came from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan to work here,” said Sugandha Patade from the charity Pratham which rescues and rehabilitates child workers in the area.”In the last month, no new child workers have come and those who were working here have been sent back to their villages as there are no orders for them to work on.”Police agree the cash crunch could be hitting traffickers who buy and sell children for labour, but say more detailed analysis is required before they can make a direct link.India has almost 6 million child workers, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), but activists say this is a gross underestimate. More than half are employed in agriculture and more than a quarter in manufacturing – embroidering clothes, weaving carpets or making match sticks. Children also work in restaurants, shops and hotels and as domestic workers.

The children – mostly from poor rural areas – are taken to cities by gangs who sell them into bonded labour, force them into sex work or hire them out to unscrupulous employers. In many cases, they are unpaid.ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE
The shock currency move, announced on November 8 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to bring billions of dollars worth of unaccounted wealth which people are hoarding, or “black money”, into the mainstream economy and curb corruption.

High denomination 500- and 1,000-rupee bank notes have ceased to be legal tender for transactions and can only be exchanged at banks for smaller notes or the newly introduced 2,000-rupee note.Banks are meant to alert the Reserve Bank of India and tax authorities of any unusually large sums being exchanged which may be the product of illicit activities.There is no study on the impact of banning high denomination notes on child labour, but some children’s groups say they have anecdotal evidence of its repercussions in areas such as Mumbai, Delhi and other urban centres.Child rights activist and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who has welcomed the demonetisation policy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that human trafficking and child labour were among the largest sources of black money.

His own charity – Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), or Save the Childhood Movement – has reported fewer children in areas where there are small-scale factories and ‘placement-agencies’ which often traffick girls and women for domestic work. “These days, they don’t frequently see transportation of children by traffickers in these areas and they are not able to operate so easily because they cannot use the black money which funded their illicit businesses before,” said Satyarthi.BBA has for example found no cases of girls being trafficked at three popular railway stations in the northeast state of Assam over the last two months, compared to a monthly average of six before the demonetisation policy.In Uttar Pradesh, the charity Safe Society says five children were rescued in the last month from the town of Gorakhpur, against a monthly average of 15 to 20.But Satyarthi warned that child labour would persist unless human trafficking is addressed in the impoverished areas where the children are taken from.”This means punishing offenders, providing protection on the ground such as introducing social welfare programmes for the poor, raising awareness on trafficking and child labour, and providing good quality education,” he said. (Reporting by Roli Srivastava and Nita Bhalla; Editing by Emma Batha. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 19:32 IST

China’s Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea | Reuters

China’s Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea | Reuters

Dec 16, 2016 16:18 IST

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WASHINGTON A Chinese Navy warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by an American oceanographic vessel in international waters in the South China Sea, triggering a formal demarche from the United States and a demand for its return, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Friday.The incident — the first of its kind in recent memory — took place on Dec. 15 northwest of Subic Bay just as the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship, was about to retrieve the unmanned, underwater vehicle (UUV), the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 16:18 IST

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India top country of origin of international migrants: Pew research

Washington: India is the top country of origin of international migrants, with 15.6 million Indians living abroad, according to a Pew research which said international migrants make up 3.3 percent of the world’s population.

Ahead of the International Migrants Day, Pew Research said as of 2015, nearly 3.5 million Indians lived in the UAE, the world’s second-largest migration corridor.

Unlike the Mexico-US corridor, the number of Indians living in the UAE and other Persian Gulf countries has increased substantially during the past decade, from 2 million in 1990 to more than eight million in 2015, Pew said.

“Most have migrated for economic opportunities in these oil-rich countries,” it added.

Representational image.  Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Authored by Philip Connor, the report said if all of the world’s international migrants (people living in a country that is different from their country or territory of birth) lived in a single country, it would be the world’s fifth largest, with around 244 million people.

“Overall, international migrants make up 3.3 percent of the world’s population today,” it said.

The top origins of international migrants are India (15.6 million), followed by Mexico (12.3 million), Russia (10.6 million), China (9.5 million) and Bangladesh (7.2 million).

Among destination countries, the US has more international migrants than any other country.

It is home to about one-in-five international migrants (46.6 million), it said.

Other top destinations of migrants include Germany (12.0 million), Russia (11.6 million), Saudi Arabia (10.2 million) and the United Kingdom (8.5 million), Pew said.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 12:28 IST

J-K: Pakistan violates ceasefire in Balakote in Poonch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has violated ceasefire in in Balakote sector of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir.Indian forces are responding to the firing.The violation comes just two days after BSF and Pakistan rangers had held a flag meeting since heavy ceasefire violation last month post surgical strike and both committed to maintain peace and tranquility along International Border (IB) in Jammu frontier.Last month, there were over 190 ceasefire violations by Pakistan troops along IB in Jammu frontier in which 13 people including 4 BSF personnel were killed and several injured.

Two dead in Uttar Pradesh, as cold wave sweeps across north India

New Delhi: Cold wave conditions continued in parts of north India, with two lives lost in Uttar Pradesh, although the capital Delhi experienced pleasant weather.

Cold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file imageCold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file image

Cold wave persisted throughout the country. AP file image

The national capital witnessed a pleasant day, with a minimum of 10.4 degrees and maximum of 24.3 degrees Celsius, a notch above the season’s average. However, shallow foggy conditions in the morning led to cancellation of 13 trains. Flight operations remained normal at the Indira Gandhi International airport.

Two persons died, allegedly due to cold in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district while shallow to moderate fog continued at a few places in the state. According to the met department, night temperatures fell in Agra and was appreciably below normal in Lucknow and Gorakhpur, and remained normal in remaining divisions of Uttar Pradesh.

Fog also played spoilsport in parts of Punjab and Haryana, disrupting normal life, even as minimum temperatures hovered above normal levels in the region.

Amritsar was the coldest place in the two states registering 6.8 degrees Celsius; Chandigarh settled at 9.9 degrees, three above normal; the minimum temperature at Karnal was 10 degrees.

Rail, road and air traffic were affected due to poor visibility in the states, officials said. The northern state of Rajasthan also reeled under cold wave conditions, with the minimum temperature dipping to 6.9 degrees Celsius. The capital city of Jaipur recorded a minimum of 11.2 degrees Celsius, a fall by 3.5 degrees from the previous day. The met said a further dip in temperature is predicted in the state in next 24 hours.

Bihar, meanwhile, experienced a warm day with the sun shining bright as both maximum and minimum temperatures increased.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said global warming was responsible for milder winter in the northern parts this season. “With temperatures being recorded above normal levels in several parts of north India, global warming is one of the major reasons for a milder winter this season,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 20:28 IST

PM Modi among Forbes Top 10 most powerful, Putin tops the list again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been ranked among the top 10 most powerful people in the world by Forbes in a list that has been topped by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a fourth straight year and had US President-elect Donald Trump in the second place. Modi ranks 9th on the Forbes list of 74 of the World’s Most Powerful People.Forbes said India’s prime minister remains hugely popular in his country of 1.3 billion people. “Modi has raised his profile as a global leader in recent years during official visits with Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.He has also emerged as a key figure in the international effort to tackle climate change, as planetary warming will deeply affect millions of his country’s rural and most vulnerable citizens,” Forbes said.It also took note of the unexpected decision made by Modi last month to demonetise India’s two high value currency notes in a bid to reduce money laundering and corruption, creating a nationwide frenzy to quickly swap out the bills.The list has been topped by Putin, who retains the title of the world’s most powerful person for four years running. US President Obama comes in on the 48th spot.”There are nearly 7.4 billion humans on planet Earth, but these 74 men and women make the world turn. Forbes’ annual ranking of the World s Most Powerful People identifies one person out of every 100 million whose actions mean the most,” it said. Forbes said Russia’s 64-year-old president has exerted his country’s influence in nearly every corner of the globe; from the motherland to Syria to the US presidential elections, continuing to “get what he wants”.On the second spot is 70-year-old Trump who will become the first billionaire president of the United States, after upsetting Hillary Clinton in a surprising election victory.The list includes Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on the 38the spot. Forbes said the 59-year-old oil and gas tycoon sparked a price war in India’s hyper competitive telecom market with the launch of 4G phone service Jio at the annual shareholder meeting of his Reliance Industries in September.”The USD 44.7 billion (revenue) Reliance Industries is locked in a legal battle with the government related to the recovery of costs associated with developing a gas field,” it said, adding that his wife Nita, who sits on Reliance’s board, is a member of the International Olympic Committee.The list also includes Microsoft’s India-born CEO Satya Nadella on the 51st spot, with Forbes saying the 49-year-old has steered the company away from a failing mobile strategy and focused on other lines of business, including cloud computing and augmented reality.The third most powerful person in the world also happens to be the most powerful woman: Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and the backbone of the European Union.The list includes Xi on the 4th spot, Pope Francis (5), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (7), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (10), French President Francois Hollande (23), Apple CEO Tim Cook (32), North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (43) and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (57).

Major airports across the country to go ‘tag free’ for hand baggage from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you happen to be flying from any of the major airports on Wednesday, the hand baggage you are carrying will not be stamped after security check and you can just pick it up and move towards the boarding area in quicker time or spend some extra time on shopping or eating around.The reason being that Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is mandated with securing the civil aviation airports in the country is carrying out a pilot project at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for a week starting Thursday wherein passenger need not have to take security check stamp on their hand baggage tag. The decision has been taken after various stakeholders including airlines, passengers associations, airport operators have been requesting the Ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) for the same since years. If successful, the new initiative will be made permanent and extended to other airports. “ This measure is expected to de-congest the pre-embarkation security check area and to make entire security check process convenient for the passengers ” said OP Singh, DG, CISF.The officials said that this will also free some of the CISF personnel who can then be used for closer monitoring of passengers for profiling at the security areas. The present system of stamping is made for fixing the accountability of screeners in case of any lapse and also for an authentication of being security checked. However, with a robust CCTV setup the accountability could be fixed electronically and that is the reason why the stamping system has been done away by airports across the world years back.The development seems significant that India is poised to become a third largest aviation market by 2026 displacing UK, as per a forecast prepared by airline trade body IATA. At present India is 9th largest aviation market in the world.Commenting on further plans Singh, said that there are plans to do away with stamping on boarding passes carried by the passengers in the second phase. Further, also a compulsion will be made in future whereby a passenger will not be able to carry more than one hand baggage. “ At one airport, I saw a passenger carrying 22 items. Carrying more number of hand baggages not only causes inconvenience to the passenger herself/himself but also to others. It also increasing the time taken for security checks.” Singh continued.Similarly, a full body scanner which is being tested at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on trial basis will also be extended to the other airports if it gains acceptance. At present passengers can voluntarily go through it. “It will take just 4 seconds per passenger for screening through full body scanners” further added Singh.

Oil demand to grow more swiftly, too early to assess global output cut | Reuters

By Amanda Cooper
| LONDON

LONDON Global oil demand will rise more strongly than expected next year, although it is too soon to assess fully the impact of a joint cut in supply by the world’s largest producers, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.In its monthly oil market report, the IEA said revisions to its estimate of Chinese and Russian consumption had prompted it to raise its forecast for global oil demand growth this year by 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.4 million bpd, and to lift its forecast for 2017 by 110,000 bpd to 1.3 million bpd.The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Nov. 30 to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to 32.5 million bpd for the first six months of 2017, together with another 558,000 bpd in cuts from the likes of Russia, Oman and Mexico.The IEA said the market could show a shortfall of 600,000 bpd early next year if all parties complied with the agreement”If OPEC and its non-OPEC partners stick to their pledges, global inventories could start to draw in the first half of 2017,” the IEA said, adding that this was not its own forecast, but was based on the agreement. “The deal is for six months and we should allow time for it to be implemented before re-assessing our market outlook. Success means the reinforcement of prices and revenue stability for producers after two difficult years; failure risks starting a fourth year of stock builds and a possible return to lower prices,” the Paris-based organisation said.

The IEA raised its estimate of Chinese consumption by 135,000 bpd to 11.9 million bpd for 2016, thanks to sharp rises in imports of mixed aromatics in the first half of this year and better coverage of the independent, or “teapot” refineries.The IEA said it had more than halved its forecast for non-OPEC supply growth for next year to 220,000 bpd, marking a cut of 255,000 bpd, following the agreement of Russia and 10 other non-OPEC producers to join OPEC’s effort to reduce output and speed up the rebalancing of the market.The agency said global oil supply rose to a record 98.2 million bpd in November, as OPEC production offset declines elsewhere.Non-OPEC oil production fell by 160,000 bpd in November to 57.1 million bpd, while OPEC crude output rose by 300,000 bpd to a new record high of 34.2 million bpd, the IEA said.

In its last monthly report in November, the IEA warned that without any sort of cut, 2017 could witness another year of “relentless supply growth” from non-OPEC producers.Crude inventories across the world’s richest nations fell for a third month in a row in October, marking their longest stretch of declines since 2011, and falling by 74.5 million barrels from July’s record 3.102 billion barrels, the IEA said.”Total OECD stocks of crude and refined products fell (28 million barrels) on downwardly revised (by 13 million barrels) Sept. 16 levels,” energy consultant Tudor Pickering Holt said in a research note, referring to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which groups developed countries.

“Over the past three months (July through October), total stocks fell (72 million barrels) versus (the) normal (2 million barrels). According to this arithmetic, the oil market has already rebalanced . . . before OPEC cuts effective Jan. 1.”IEA chief Fatih Birol told a conference in Prague that higher oil prices would weaken global demand.”If the price goes up to around $60, we will see investments from the U.S. and elsewhere and we will see a lot of oil coming from the U.S. and other regions,” he said. “Global oil demand growth, with high prices, will be weaker.” (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Louise Heavens)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 21:12 IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Protest over detention of 12 for disrespecting national anthem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of persons on Tuesday staged a protest in front of a theatre here, protesting police taking into custody 12 persons for showing disrespect to the National Anthem at cinemas screening movies of the International Film Festival of Kerala.”The national anthem is not a digital song. National flag is not an audio visual. Cinema is primarily an entertainment. Cinema hall is a place to sell entertainment,” a placard held by protesters at Tagore Theatre, the main venue of the ongoing festival, said.”Please don’t degrade my national anthem,” another placard said.
ALSO READ Kerala: Six people arrested for not standing during national anthem, later released “We love Bharat. Nationalism cannot be imposed,” the protesters said.In two separate cases, 12 persons were taken into custody for showing disrespect to the national anthem from theatres screening films connected to the festival last night.
ALSO READ SC modifies National Anthem order, exempts differently abled from standing They refused to stand up while the national anthem was being played, police said, adding, cases under IPC section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) had been registered.Those arrested were later released on bail, they said.

Kerala: Protest over detention of 12 for disrespecting National Anthem

Thiruvananthapuram: On Tuesday, a group of persons staged a protest in front of a theatre, protesting police taking into custody 12 persons for showing disrespect to the National Anthem at cinemas screening movies of the International Film Festival of Kerala.

“The national anthem is not a digital song. National flag is not an audio visual. Cinema is primarily an entertainment. Cinema hall is a place to sell entertainment,” a placard held by protesters at Tagore Theatre, the main venue of the ongoing festival, said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Please don’t degrade my national anthem,” another placard said.

“We love Bharat. Nationalism cannot be imposed,” the protesters said.

In two separate cases, 12 persons were taken into custody for showing disrespect to the national anthem from theatres screening films connected to the festival last night.

They refused to stand up while the national anthem was being played, police said, adding, cases under IPC section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) had been registered.

Those arrested were later released on bail, they said.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 14:15 IST

Delhi court sends KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintoo to Tihar jail for two days

New Delhi: Khalistani Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo was on Monday sent to judicial custody till 14 December by a Delhi Court when the Punjab Police plea for his transit remand will be considered.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba sent the accused to Tihar Jail after the Delhi Police said they did not require him for further custodial interrogation, asking the probe agency to produce him before the court concerned on the next date of hearing.

After that, Punjab Police personnel moved a plea seeking Mintoo’s transit remand, claiming that they require him for unearthing the larger conspiracy. The plea will also be taken up on 14 December.

The court had on 28 November sent Mintoo to Delhi Police custody for seven days which was later extended till on Monday.

The Delhi Police had earlier submitted that they needed his custody to know about the role of “insiders and outsiders” who assisted him and five others in fleeing from Nabha jail in Patiala.

It had said that the role of Inter-Services Intelligence and some terror organisations was required to be probed in the case as he had also visited Pakistan.

According to the Delhi Police, one loaded pistol and six live cartridges were recovered from his possession. He was earlier a member of Babbar Khalsa International and later floated his own group, they said.

Mintoo was nabbed from a Delhi railway station, a day after he escaped with five other inmates from the prison.

UP Police had on 27 November arrested the alleged “mastermind” of the daring daylight jailbreak, Parminder Singh, from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district when the getaway vehicle — a Toyota Fortuner — was stopped at a police picket.

He had escaped along with five other prisoners in a sensational prison break after armed men in police uniform tricked the sentries into opening the gates and fled with the inmates while firing a hail of bullets.

Mintoo, who was wanted in ten terror cases, was arrested by Punjab Police after he was deported from Thailand in November 2014.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 17:06 IST

Delhi: 82 trains delayed, 16 cancelled because of drop in visibility caused by fog

New Delhi: Thousands of people were stranded as 82 trains were delayed and 16 cancelled due to dense fog in parts of north India on Monday, railway officials said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A Northern Railway official said 23 trains were rescheduled as the visibility dropped to 400 metres on Monday.

The 14005 Lichchvi Express was running 34 hours behind its schedule, 12459 Amritsar New Delhi Express was running 30 hours late and 12401 Islampur-New Delhi Magadh Express was delayed by 25 hours, the official said.

Meanwhile, according to the Delhi International Airport Limited, which manages operations at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, said no flight was cancelled on Monday.

While few of the international flights arriving in Delhi were delayed.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:05 IST

16 kg gold biscuits recovered from baby diapers at IGIA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 16 kg gold biscuits hidden in baby diapers were today recovered from the Indira Gandhi International Airport here after a group of fliers coming from Dubai were intercepted by security agencies.Officials said the recovery was made around 7:00 AM when a group of six passengers arrived here from Dubai and were intercepted for a thorough check.”Gold biscuits weighing about 16 kgs have been recovered from the passengers. The sixteen gold biscuits, of one kg each, were found cleverly concealed in the diapers and towel of the two babies they were carrying. The two groups comprising a couple and a baby each are from Surat,” they said.The fliers are being interrogated by Customs officials, they added.

Russian doping conspiracy benefited over 1,000 competitors | Reuters

By Mitch Phillips
| LONDON

LONDON More than 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive doping tests as Moscow ‘hijacked international sport’, an independent WADA report said on Friday. The second and final part of the report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren provided exhaustive evidence of an elaborate state-sponsored doping scheme operated by Russia’s Sports Ministry.It included switching and changing samples by opening “tamper-proof” bottles – using a method devised by the Russian secret service – and numerous other methods to bypass and cover up drugs tests.”We are now able to confirm a cover-up that dates back until at least 2011 that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy,” McLaren told a news conference on Friday. “It was a cover-up of an unprecedented scale and this report shows the evidence that increases the number of athletes involved, as well as the scope of the conspiracy. “We have evidence revealing that more than 500 positive results were reported as negative, including well-known and elite-level athletes and medal winners, who had their positive results automatically falsified.”Over 1,000 athletes competing in Summer, Winter and Paralympic sport can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive tests.”WADA president Craig Reedie called the findings “alarming” and said the report would be of immediate value to sporting bodies responsible for punishing doping cases.But Russia showed no sign of accepting the report’s conclusions.The Sports Ministry said it would study the WADA report and cooperate fully with anti-doping bodies, but “denies that any government programmes exists to support doping in sport”.”UNFOUNDED ACCUSATIONS”

Athletics chief Dmitry Shlyakhtin declined to comment directly on the report because he said he had not seen it. He conceded that Russian athletics’ problems “did not start yesterday”, but said it had now fulfilled all the demands made of it.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday extended provisional sanctions against Russian sport over the scandal, and an international ban on its track and field athletes remains in force pending a reform of its anti-doping programme.Yelena Isinbayeva, double Olympic pole vault champion and newly-elected head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency supervisory board, said shortly before the report was released: “It is well known to us that many foreign athletes have a history of doping but compete at an international level with no problems.”If we want to clean up world sport, let’s start … we don’t need to concentrate on just one country.”Dmitry Svishchev, a member of parliament and president of Russia’s Curling Federation, said: “We haven’t heard anything new. Unfounded accusations against us all. If you are Russian, they accuse you of all sins.”McLaren accepted that there could be widespread doping elsewhere, though not on the same level as in Russia, the sole focus of his investigation.

McLaren pointed out that Russia had won 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals at London 2012 and no Russian athlete had tested positive.”Yet the Russian team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established,” he said.”For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field.” Forensic investigations by his team detailed how a bank of clean urine samples was kept in a Moscow laboratory, where salt and coffee were added to try to fool officials testing “B samples” in supposedly tamper-proof bottles. DNA MISMATCHES

The report included evidence of DNA mismatches, where a tampered B sample did not match the DNA of previous specimens, and of samples that contained a mixture of male and female urine. It added that analysis of the samples from four Russians who won gold in Sochi had shown salt readings that were physiologically impossible, while there was evidence that the samples of 12 Russian Sochi medallists had been tampered with.More than 1,100 items of evidence contained in the report have now been made available to the public at the website here, including details and pictures of how microscopes were used to detect the tiny scratch marks made when opening the “tamper-proof” sample bottles.Friday’s report provided extensive evidence to support the original July report, which said Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping tests ahead of the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.The IOC declined to impose a blanket ban on Russia competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics, letting international sports federations decide which athletes should be allowed to compete. Only athletics and weightlifting banned the entire Russian teams.The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) did ban Russia completely from its Rio games, however, and said on Friday the full findings of the report were “unprecedented and astonishing” and “strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport”.McLaren accepted that Russian authorities had taken many steps since his first report, removing several officials who had been involved in the cover-up, setting up a new anti-doping commission and proposing a “gold standard” doping control regime.However, when asked about the comments of Svishchev and Isinbayeva, he said: “The findings are not challengeable … my impression is that there is a certain embedded cultural aspect to what has been going on, so there probably does need to be cultural change.”That doesn’t mean change won’t occur, but it might take longer than a few months or a year.” (Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 21:05 IST

International Anti-Corruption Day: 70% corporate employees feel note ban will curb graft, says EY survey

Indicating popular support to the government’s effort to curb illicit wealth, about 70 percent of India Inc employees feel demonetisation can help control corruption in the long run, says a survey by EY.

The findings are based on survey of 650 individuals working for corporate houses in India, ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day, which is being observed today.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Noting that black money and corruption have been the key challenges for global economies, including India, in recent times, EY India Partner Yogen Vaidya (Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services) said, “Broadly, this (demonetisation) is expected to boost India’s anti-money laundering efforts and curb the menace of unaccounted illicit wealth, which has been hoarded in the form of cash.”

“Though still at an initial stage, the demonetisation move can help banks identify and report suspicious transaction patterns through close monitoring,” Vaidya added.

Besides, he said at the macro-level the move can help in the ease of doing business, improve investor confidence and enable a more ethical way of conducting business in India. Further, on anti-bribery and anti-corruption (ABAC) frameworks adopted by corporate houses, 40 percent of the respondents said they have never attended training sessions sensitising them on the issue, the survey noted.

However, only 15 percent of the respondents were found to be “not aware that they may be held personally liable for improper activities, done on behalf of their organisation”. Also, 94 percent of the respondents believe the private sector should be covered under the amendments proposed in the Prevention of Corruption Act, it added.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 08:49 IST

Earth came into existence 1.97 billion years ago: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Arguing that ancient India’s cosmological calculations were “the nearest” in tune with modern scientific ones, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh claimed earth came into existence 1.97 billion years ago. There are different theories on when the earth came into existence, but the general belief is the earth was formed formed around 4.54 billion years ago. Referring to renowned American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, Singh said he also “accepted” that ancient Indian scriptures had information on earth’s age. He also claimed that noted German physicist Werner Heisenberg got the basic concept of theory on ‘principles of uncertainty’ during his discussion on Vedas with Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. “When was the earth created? Some say, (earth came into existence) 25,000 years, some say 20,000 while some say 40,000 years ago).”When Carl Sagan came up with a coded message…A Pioneer satellite with a coded message was sent to the solar system to know which is the oldest civilisation. So, the work of decoding the code was done by Carl Sagan,” Singh said.He noted that even Sagan once observed that ancient India’s cosmological calculations were the nearest in tune with modern scientific calculations.”(Even) he accepted that it is mentioned in the religious texts and literature of India, the earth came into existence 1.97 billion years ago. Sagan has accepted it,” Singh said, adding that in ancient times India was a repository of scientific knowledge and temper.He was speaking at the inauguration of The 2nd India International Science Festival, backed by the government’s Ministry of Science & Technology and RSS-linked Vijnan Bharati.The Home Minister also said he did not want India to become a ‘super power’, but a teacher to the world (vishwa guru).”People get scarred to stand with powerful, but they one only experience love when it comes to standing with guru,” the senior BJP leader said. Singh, who worked as a lecturer of Physics, also said that nobel laureate Heisenberg, got the idea of basic uncertainty of principles while he was discussing vedas with Tagore. “Heisenberg’s friend wrote a book. In that when (Fritjof) Capra asked him from where did he get the concept of ‘Principles of Uncertainty’ he (Heisenberg) said, ‘I got the concept of principles of uncertainty when I was discussing Vedas with Rabindranath Tagore’,” Singh added.

Thirty days of demonetisation: The death of the Rs 1,000 note is a sad news for Indian economy

Exactly a month after the Rs 1,000 note, lovingly known as “Ek Hazaar” and its younger brother the equally loved “Panch Saw” were taken into custody by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it is believed that the older brother has met its end under mysterious circumstances.

Tight-lipped RBI officials declined to give any details of what occurred and attempted to divert the attention by underscoring their success in releasing a slimmer and more robust avatar of the younger brother into circulation.

2016-12-08-PHOTO-00000001 (1)

Since Panch Saw has refused to make any statement, what transpired behind the closed doors is not known, but the sad, if yet unconfirmed demise of the highly loved Ek Hazar has sent a wave of sorrow through its supporter and fans.

A weeping businessman said that the bringing in of a muscleman twice the size of Ek Hazaar and then falling back on the weak younger brother of the deceased was a dreadful situation. Asking not to be identified, he confided that the inside story indicates there are irreconcilable differences between the newly inducted bully called “Do Hazaar” and the popular Panch Saw, the gap between them being literally unbridgeable.

“They are not even on speaking terms,” he said, “But don’t quote me on it.”

It is believed that Panch is deeply upset about the way his older brother was treated and sees Do Hazaar as an impostor and a nuisance.

Official RBI sources rejected the theory that there had been a bungling within its premises leading to the death of Ek Hazaar.

Even now the RBI spokesman was not prepared to confirm the passing away of the once powerful leader of the fiscal party whose influence had been all pervasive.

When confronted with the fact that not a single bulletin had been issued over the past thirty days with regard to the health of the Rs 1,000 note and the public’s right to know what exactly the position was, the RBI spokesman said Ek Hazar was in custody as a precautionary measure against corruption, and was hale and hearty and would soon be released.

But exactly thirty days after being stripped of its powers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi were seen making a beeline for the RBI main office. The RBI governor was closeted with them on the top floor leading to the speculation that something had gone wrong.

If Rahul Gandhi had gone there it could only mean the note had gone to its heavenly abode.

As people began to gather outside the RBI one staunch supporter of Ek Hazaar said, “If the news is true we now have no second line of defence. No economic pyramid. The people have been left in the lurch and no one is telling us what has happened.”

According to sources Ek Hazaar, once the bulwark of the Indian financial system was a victim of shortsightedness and poor medical treatment. Seeing as how the younger brother was resurrected it is pretty much inconceivable that the older sibling is allegedly dead.

A famous economist who had been flown in from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said he believed this was a case of eco-medical malpractice because nowhere in the world is the top currency followed by one worth 25 percent in value.

“The trauma is so massive,” he added, “That an amputated currency totem pole will forever limp along despite any prosthetic that may be recommended. If Ek Hazaar is actually dead, it is indeed a very sad day for the Indian economy.”

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 13:36 IST

437 ceasefire violations till November, 37 killed: Government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has violated ceasefire 437 times along the LoC and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir till November this year in which 37 people were killed and 179 suffered injuries, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday. Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said 27,449 people living along the border in Jammu and Kashmir were temporarily shifted to safer places due to ceasefire violations after the surgical strikes. Of them, around 6,000 people stayed in relief camps while the remaining stayed with their relatives. Of the total ceasefire violations, 216 incidents were reported along the Line of Control (LoC) and 221 incidents along the International Border till November this year, he said, adding that among the dead, 12 were civilians, eight were Army personnel and five were BSF personnel.There were 405 incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC and International Border in 2015 in which 26 people were killed and 97 others were injured, he said. Ahir said majority of the people have since returned to their homes from relief camps and at present, about 220 families comprising around 700 persons are in relief camps.

‘Hearing on curbs on US NGO unlikely to hurt bilateral ties’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The unusual move by a powerful Congressional committee to hold a hearing on restrictions faced by an American NGO in India is unlikely to hold hostage the Indo-US relationship which has seen an upswing over last one decade, sources have said.”Congressional hearing focused on a narrow issue of problems faced by one NGO in India due to noncompliance of rules/regulations will not help resolution of issue. Compassion International needs to ensure due compliance to Indian rules/regulations rather than resort to open hearing route,” an informed Congressional source said here on the condition of anonymity on the eve of the hearing. In its latest blog, Compassion International said in 2011, the Indian government made significant changes to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which is the law that regulates NGOs’ receipt of foreign funds into the country.The Indian Government has denied these allegations and has asserted that its policies initiated in 2011 is not aimed at one particular NGO but is asking them to comply by the rules and regulations of the country.Responding to a question on its impact on India US relationship, sources said it is important to look at the bigger picture of strong bipartisan support enjoyed by India-US relations in US polity and not hold it hostage to one single issue of problem faced by one NGO in India. More than 30,000 NGOs in India are registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) 2010.On violation of FCRA rules, the foreign donor is put under Prior Reference Category, which implies that as and when the foreign donor wants to transfer the money to some recipient association in India, the same needs prior clearance from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), an informed source said.As per available information, until August 2014, Compassion International (CI) was transferring funds to channel partners through two FCRA-registered societies Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV) and Compassion East India (CEI).However, this arrangement was changed after certain taxation issues were raised by IT Department regarding operations of CBV. CI started transferring funds directly to partner organisations and also engaged a consultancy firm Adhane Management Consultants (P) Ltd to oversee its South India operations.On February 19, 2016, CI was placed under Prior Approval Category (PAC) by MHA on the two grounds: First it transferred funds to some associations which are not FCRA-registered and secondly some of the other recipients utilised the funds received for the objectives contrary to the provisions of FCRA 2010. This was done by Compassion International to avoid the tax being levied on their contributions, the source said, adding that the charitable activities of NGOs are exempt from tax whereas religious activities are not.

Heart of Asia: Amritsar Declaration calls for dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Combating terrorism was at the centre-stage of Heart of Asia (HoA) conference which sent a clear message to Pakistan,holding terror and violent extremism as the biggest threat to peace, but could not firm up a regional framework proposed by Afghanistan to effectively deal with the menace.After the two-day deliberations, attended by 40 countries including major regional and global powers and blocs, the HoA, a platform to help Afghanistan in its transition, issued the Amritsar Declaration which called for dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terror networks. Held in the backdrop of number of cross-border terror attacks on India and elsewhere, the HoA expressed serious concern over gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan and in many parts of the region, holding that united efforts are required to contain terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Al Qaida, IS and its affiliates, TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Jundullah and other foreign terrorist groups.Addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who headed the Indian delegation, said the declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace and stability and demands immediate end to all forms of terrorism and all support, financing, safe havens and sanctuaries to it. “For the first time, a Heart of Asia Declaration expressed concern at the violence caused in Afghanistan and the region by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Daesh, LeT and JeM etc,” Jaitley said. Incidentally, HOA’s Islamabad declaration had mentioned Al Qaeda and Daesh.Apart from calling for concerted cooperation to combat the terror groups, the declaration sought early finalization of the a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. It also favoured an early meeting of experts to discuss a draft Regional Counter-Terrorism Framework, recently prepared by Afghanistan, for its early finalization. Afghanistan had pushed hard for adoption of the framework but as many countries had not given their inputs, it could not be firmed up.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani slammed Pakistan for providing support and safe sanctuaries to terror groups including Taliban, accusing it of engaging in an “undeclared war” while many other leaders sought firm and decisive action to deal with the challenge. Jaitley said three major issues deliberated upon at the conference were countering terrorism to create stability and security in Afghanistan, providing it with connectivity and ensure the war-ravaged country s development.”We recognize that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace, stability and cooperation in our region. We encourage the international community to continue to assist the Government of Afghanistan.”We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, including dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the Heart of Asia region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terrorism,” said the declaration. In this regard, “we call upon all states to take action against these terrorist entities in accordance with their respective national counter terrorism policies, their international obligations and the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy 2006.”Furthermore, we encourage early finalization of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism with consensus,” said the declaration. In an indirect reference to Pakistan, the declaration said the HoA acknowledged the support that terrorism derives in the region and demands an immediate end to all forms of terrorism, as well as all support to it, including financing of terrorism.The declaration, which also mentioned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and East Turkistan Islamic Movement, said it was “recognising once again that terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization, separatism, and sectarianism and linkages among them are the gravest challenges that the Heart of Asia region and the rest of the international community face” These problems would continue to pose a severe threat to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, economic development and bilateral and regional cooperation. “We renew our strong commitment to strengthening comprehensive cooperation among the Heart of Asia countries and intensify our efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations through solidarity and collective action,” the declaration said.It said the countries recognised the necessity of taking serious measures to address recruitment of youths to extremist and terrorist networks and underlined the need for effective de-radicalization and counter-radicalization strategies. The HoA felt combating terror will not succeed without a concerted and coherent regional approach and decided to develop such a regional approach by tasking experts to meet in the first half of 2017 to identify key areas for such initiative.The experts will give recommendation to the HoA in the first half of 2017 for further action. Calling for dismantling nexus between revenue and its financial support for terrorist entities in the region, it said dialogue between relevant ministries and agencies of the HoA countries were necessary to tackle the menace. The Conference was attended by delegations from practically every participating country, supporting countries and international organizations 45 in all.The delegations of Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, and of the European Union were led by the respective Ministers. The Conference also saw the presence and participation of guest countries Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia and Uzbekistan.Jaitley said the discussions and the declaration reiterated the strong support from the Heart of Asia countries for Afghanistan’s efforts to use its geographic location to enhance wider regional economic cooperation. Specific initiatives in this regard including the India-Iran-Afghanistan Trilateral Agreement on developing Chabahar were acknowledged. He said during the Conference various delegations expressed appreciation for the constructive role that India has been playing in supporting Afghanistan and its people in the past decade and a half. In the press conference, Jaitley said terrorism was at the “core” of the deliberations and that it took the centre-stage with tone being set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Stressing on the connectivity projects, he said India was considering a number of road and rail projects to establish direct link between the two countries. Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai termed the deliberations “extremely productive” and said his country was looking to enhance connectivity with India via land routes.In the declaration, the HoA also commended the Afghan government for successfully pursuing peace talks with Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar resulting in the “signature of a peace agreement that sets a good precedent for future peace talks with all other armed groups”. It also appreciated Iran and Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades.The HoA countries also urged all Afghan Taliban groups and other armed groups to enter into peace talks with the Afghanistan government. “We acknowledge the crucial role of Afghanistan as a natural land bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic integration in the Heart of Asia region, and we reiterate our strong support for Afghanistan’s efforts to use its geographic location to enhance wider regional economic cooperation.”We further stress that economic development will contribute to achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, and enhance regional economic integration. “In this regard, we welcome the practical implementation of TAPI and completion of the first stage of the Asian International Railway Corridor between Imamnazar, Turkmenistan, and Aqina, Afghanistan — the initial stages of TAT linking Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan,” the declaration read.It also welcomed the MoU on jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road between the China and Afghanistan. “All these will lay the foundations for a successful Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) planned for November 2017 in Ashgabat,” it said. Next year, the Heart of Asia conference will be held in Azerbaijan.

‘Special’ kids show sporting side on World Disability Day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These kids may be special but their infectious enthusiasm at the Second Annual Special Sports Meet held to mark World Disability Day showed that they were dependent on no one. At least, not on the playing field. Students from local schools like Upasna, Green Ribbon, Udaan, Stimulus, Billabong International participated in the event which was held at Kothari International School Sec 50 Noida.Children in the age group of 3 years to 16 years made their parents proud as they participated in different races and games. The parents were equally involved in all the activities as they beamed and cheered on their kids.Talking to DNA, Meena Vardhan, mother of Akash Vardhan who was one of the participants said, “I worked as an organiser, volunteer and host in these types of events and I really support them in each event.” “Parental support is the most important thing for a child and i support my kid in every other way. It is really good that schools are merging with this foundation,” said Vikas Sharma, father of another of the special participants.The event involved activities like a one legged race for the age group of 8-11 years, shotput for 5-7 years, basketball for 12-16 years, hit the target (throw ball) for 3-5 years and 6-8 years and many more sports.Volunteers said that such events, if held regularly, would help boost the confidence of the participants. “It is the second sports meet and it is beautiful experience to see all these children participating,” said a volunteer.Sharing her experience about the meet, Dr Sonali Kataria Co-founder of Sunrise Learning Foundation said, “This second sports meet is different from the first one as it involved more participants and volunteers this time. We help the children to feel the joy of participation, competing and wining.”Winners were awarded special prizes, certificates and medals were awarded as a gesture to boost their confidence and learning skills.

ED issues summons to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi’s wife to appear before it

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday issued summons controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi’s wife to appear before it in connection with its money laundering probe against her husband and others.Officials said Qureshi’s wife Nasreen was handed over the summons to present herself before the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case on December 5, soon after she landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi. They said the agency had got issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against her and hence she was intercepted as soon as she landed here, reportedly from London.”The summons, issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, require her to appear before the IO on coming Monday,” they said. Qureshi, who had returned to India in a similar fashion late last month, has been questioned at length by the agency multiple times in New Delhi, in the money laundering and alleged hawala dealings case. The agency had asked him to join the probe citing a court-issued directive in this regard. The Delhi High Court, while hearing a plea filed by Qureshi, had last month directed him to return to India by mid-November and appear before the agency for questioning in this case. The meat exporter is facing probes by ED as well as the I-T department for alleged tax evasion, money laundering and hawala-like deals among others.The Income Tax department had sometime back issued notices to Qureshi under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as probe led it to few foreign assets owned or held by the meat exporter and his family in an alleged illegal manner as they were not declared or reported to Indian tax authorities. The case emerged after tax department first carried out searches against Qureshi and his firm AMQ Group on February 15, 2014. The meat exporter had on October 15 left the country from the IGIA here despite a LOC issued by the ED against him. The agency had also asked the CBI to probe Qureshi and the role of public servants in allegedly favouring Qureshi in his deals.

Same brazenness and daring in Nagrota attack as in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack: Chidambaram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The situation that the BJP government finds itself in after the brazen terror attack on Army Corps headquarters in Nagrota is of its own making, said P Chidambaram. The ownership of surgical strikes should have been left to the Army, the former Union home minister said.He was responding to queries at a panel discussion at the launch function of former NSA Shivshankar Menon’s book Choices – Inside the making of India’s Foreign Policy that was released by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at New Delhi’s India International Centre on Friday.In an apparent reference to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent remarks, Chidambaram said, “The government should not make statements like, ‘We’ll gouge out their eyes’ or ‘Pakistan is pleading at the world forums after surgical strikes’. It limits your options.”In agreement with Chidambaram, former NSA Shivshankar Menon said, “When you go public, you lose control on the escalation levels as you tend to play to the domestic galleries.”“You should not do it beyond a certain level. Going public is a political call and you should know the risks,” said Menon.”The terror attack on Army headquarters in Nagrota belies the assumption that surgical strikes will prevent Pakistan from attacking Indian Army camps,” said Chidambaram.In a scathing attack on the prevailing state of affairs where brazen terror attacks have become the norm, Chidambaram said, “It appears to me that at the level the union home ministry there is no unified command. I think the practice of having a meeting between Home Minister, Home Secretary, NSA, Special Secretary (Internal Security), Intelligence Bureau Director and R&AW Director every day without fail at 10 or 10:30 has stopped. There is no coherence, no coordination among agencies.”Comparing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and the Nagrota attack, Chidambaram said that even though the scale is different, the brazenness and the daring is the same.“What happened in Nagrota is as shameful as Mumbai. Between 2008 and 2012-13 there was no terrorist attack in India which could have been clearly attributed to have source in Pakistan. There were three major attacks — Delhi High Court, Pune Best bakery and in Mumbai — all were done by homegrown terrorists. What we are now witnessing are daring attacks from cross the border— first in Pathankot, then in Uri and now at Nagrota. Each one bears such similarity that we can almost predict when the next attack will be,” said Chidambaram.To a question on what India gained by not responding to 26/11 attack through a surgical strike that was being contemplated, Chidambaram said, “India gained more in the esteem of the eyes of the world by not retaliating.””By the time UPA stepped down, Pakistan was virtually isolated. I think we in the meantime ensured that there will be no Pakistan inspired attack and we built our capacities to detect such moves and respond if such an attack took place. Many Pakistan inspired attacks were prevented during 2008-2013,” he said.Chidambaram said that though he was not privy to the discussions in the immediate aftermath of the 26/11 till November 30 about retribution, it became clear to him that retaliation was not an option at that time. “To ensure there was no Pakistan inspired attack and we build capacity to detect such moves and respond effectively if such a move took place. Many terrorist incidents were prevented during 2008-2013. It is not public but well document,” said Chidambaram.

Delhi: Fog disrupts flights, trains movement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mercury settled at a pleasant 12.3 degrees Celsius in the national capital on Friday, even as foggy conditions hit operations at Indira Gandhi International Airport here and delayed several Delhi-bound trains.As many as 38 domestic and international flights were affected, of which 13 were cancelled, while at least 80 Delhi-bound trains were running behind schedule by two to four hours due to reduced visibility.”The minimum temperature this morning settled at 12.3 degrees Celsius. The relative humidity was recorded at 87 per cent at 8.30 AM,” a MeT department official said.The visibility was recorded at 500 metre, the official said, adding that the situation will improve as the day progress.The maximum temperature will hover around 24 degrees Celsius, according to a MeT forecast.According to the railways, at least 80 Delhi-bound trains were running behind schedule by two to four hours. Twelve trains were cancelled due to foggy weather conditions in the northern region, said a senior railway official.Foggy conditions continued to disrupt operations at Delhi airport with several flights were also affected due to poor runway visibility conditions at the airport. As many as 38 domestic and international flights were affected, of which 13 were cancelled, according to the Delhi airport website.

CST-Panvel elevated corridor hits a ‘not-so-standard’ problem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The construction of the CST-Panvel elevated rail corridor has now thrown up a very peculiar situation for the Railways. The corridor has been envisaged as an air-conditioned system that would run on standard gauge or on tracks that are 1435mm apart, the gauge on which trains run in most European countries and also on metro networks in Indian cities, including the Verosva-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro.However, it is a gauge that has never been tried by the Railways—which predominantly runs on broad gauge or tracks 1676 mm apart—in its 160-odd year history. Now the powers-that-be, including the NITI Aayog, want to know how the Railways would manage the operation and maintenance of this ‘standalone’ standard gauge system. Officials told DNA that it is one of the major hurdles that is keeping the project from getting approved at the NITI Aayog.The proposal for Rs 12,131-crore CST-Panvel elevated corridor and a spur from the line to the Navi Mumbai International Airport was forwarded to the NITI Aayog on September 22. While the appraisal note was expected on October 20, it got delayed because of these queries, said officials.”The CST-Panvel project was envisaged as a Private-Public Participation (PPP) one. The standard gauge was chosen as it would allow the private participant—that will build and operate the line—to buy ready-made standard gauge coaches or metro coaches. CST-Panvel needs to be on standard gauge as it is supposed to be integrated with the DN Nagar-Bandra-Mankhurd 2b metro corridor which will be on standard gauge. However, now that the line will be built under the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) model by the Railways itself, it has become a problem,” said a senior railway official.”It would be a very expensive affair for the Railways to build an entire eco-system of rolling stock, spares, training of personnel and the like to operate and maintain a standalone standard gauge system. Secondly, we do not have the expertise to manufacture rolling stock in the standard gauge system. And bringing in a private firm to operate and maintain it defeats the purpose. In that case it could have been a proper PPP and the government would have had to invest less in the system,” explained another official.Officials agreed that getting around the problem would be a task. Once completed, the line, apart from connecting the city to the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport, will also see reduction of 6 lakh vehicle trips per day and also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7.55 tonnes daily.The gauge maths(in metres)1.43 – Width of tracks in standard gauge1.67 – Width of tracks in broad gauge3.20 – Width of metro coach in standard gauge3.66 – Width of suburban coach in broad gauge

Kochi: Three arrested for preparing textbooks that asked students to ‘lay down their lives for Islam’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three persons associated with a Mumbai-based educational research organisation were arrested here for allegedly preparing school textbooks with ‘objectionable and non-secular’ content, police said. Sources in the Kochi Police said the arrest of three persons from Mumbai-based ‘Burooj Realization’ was made following its investigation into a case against a school here for allegedly teaching students objectionable content and exhorting them to lay down their lives for Islam. The accused are allegedly responsible for preparing contents for the controversial textbooks taught at the Peace International School at Thammanam in Kochi, a police official told PTI.They were arrested from Kochi, the official said. He, however, declined to provide details.The controversial school in Kochi is run by a trust headed by influential local businessmen. It is not clear if the curriculum was drafted by persons close to controversial preacher Zakir Naik. Police had earlier registered a case under IPC sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) against the school principal, administrator and three trustees.The case was registered in October this year on the basis of a report filed by the Ernakulam District Education Officer, stating that “what was being taught was not secular”.Police had said Islamic curriculum was being followed in the school and students were being exhorted to lay down their lives for Islam.The school has classes from LKG till eighth standard.

Pakistan’s claim of sighting Indian submarine in its waters totally bogus: Admiral Sunil Lamba

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has called Pakistan Navy’s assertion of an Indian submarine being seen in its waters as “totally bogus”.”There was no Indian submarine deployed in the area where the Pakistan navy is claiming it to be. As far as repelling submarine of any nation is concerned, it’s not an easy task. The claim made by Pakistan Navy is totally bogus,” he said. “We deploy our submarines where we need operational necessity and the need for them to be. We will continue to deploy our submarines,” he added. “A statement was made in Pakistan by a naval officer, PLA navy Spox has a different view on deployment of placement of forces on Gwadar,” the Navy Chief said. “Due to prevailing security scenario, the navy has reviewed deployment philosophy to proactively deter any menace. We remain acutely aware of our duty to shape a favourable and positive maritime environment in Indian ocean region,” he said. We have capability and assets to take on any force which is deployed, and if and when this happens, we have plans in place to tackle it. PLA nuclear submarine was deployed and did a port call at KarachiAdmiral Lamba also spoke about the South China Sea dispute saying, “Like all other Maritime boundary issues, South China Sea matter should also be resolved as per international maritime laws.”On last Thursday, Pakistan naval chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah had termed as “unusual” an alleged effort by an Indian submarine to enter into its territorial waters and warned of retaliation if such effort was made again. “If India does something like this again, Pakistan Navy will respond to protect our sovereignty,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the 9th International Defence Exhibition.Pakistan Navy claimed that the Indian submarine was pushed back after being detected near its territorial waters.India, however, strongly dismissed the charge as “blatant lies”, saying the Indian Navy did not have any underwater movement in said waters as claimed by the Pakistani Navy.

Less men, more tech is BSF’s new mantra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major change is under way along the western International Border (IB) with Pakistan to reduce the human interface and replace it with technological solutions to check infiltration.By implementing a system known as Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), the Border Security Force (BSF) plans to bring down patrolling and replace it with Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs).”We decided to implement CIBMS as humans, howsoever alert they are, cannot make the border leak-proof. There are limits to human alertness and they cannot see and hear the way sensitive gadgets can. Moreover, maintaining men at borders is a very costly affair. We cannot afford to deploy lakhs of soldiers to cover every inch,” said a senior BSF official.”Two pilot projects of CIBMS are already under way in Jammu. We will soon implement three more in Punjab and Gujarat. Another one will be taken up at Dhubri in Assam,” said BSF Director-General KK Sharma.Sharma said that infiltration could have been checked effectively or could have been avoided at Chamliyal, had CIBMS been there.”Human eyes cannot clearly see beyond 200 metres but a hand-held thermal imager can see up to 2 km and hand-held radar up to 5-6 km, even if the weather is inclement. Our effort is to integrate all these high-end equipment to analyse information and reduce men on border,” said Sharma.”In place of making a human chain supported by gadgets for detection and then responding to situations, we are trying to use human resource to actively analyse inputs from ultra-modern intelligent gadgets and give precise and calibrated responses free of psychological and physical fatigue effects,” added Sharma.The integration of technology, sources said, can help reduce up to 50 per cent men who are engaged in tough patrolling duties in difficult weather conditions. It may take 3-4 years to completely integrate the whole border with CIBMS.”Once the project is implemented, border security will depend on three main elements – inputs from equipment, analysis of the technolgical input by a dedicated team of officials and QRTs deployed at vantage points close to the border to act in case intrusion takes place,” said a senior BSF official.A major component of this system will be the smart fence, which will be a seamless virtual fence, comprising various sensors and laser- based technologies. Other components of the system to augment Smart Fence will be data transmission and communication centres, command and control system and response mechanism, said the BSF official.

New Delhi: Fog disrupts flight operations at IG, four domestic flights diverted

New Delhi: Fog disrupts flight operations at IG, four domestic flights diverted

New Delhi: Flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were affected for the second day on Thursday with four domestic flights diverted to other aerodromes amid low runway visibility due to dense fog.

Flight operations at Delhi airport are “intermittent” but not “suspended”, an airport official said.

“The low visibility procedure was implemented at 3 am. ATC is clearing arrivals and departures as per the fog
situation,” the official said.

He said four aircraft arriving at Delhi airport from different destination were diverted to other airports as they could not land in New Delhi.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 09:41 IST

Nagrota attack: Police probing JeM links

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police is probing if Jasih-e-Mohammed (JeM) was responsible for Tuesday’s terror attack on an army camp in Nagrota, that left 7 officers and jawans dead, after a note written in Urdu bearing the name of JeM’s Afzal Guru Squad (AGS) recovered from three slain terrorists, a senior official said on Wednesday. “We are working on these links. We are going into all details, and investigation has started (into the links of JeM with Nagrota terror attack after recovery of notes in Urdu)”, Director General Of Police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar told PTI tonight. “Let us first complete the probe then we will able to say anything on it,” he added. According to reports, a note, along with three AK-47 rifles, magazines and UBGL grenades, was recovered from the site of attack, points to the involvement of JeM’s Afzal Guru Squad.The note, written in Urdu with name bearing at the end of AGS of JeM, says that they have avenged the death of Guru. The recovered explosives were being disposed off by controlled explosions.JeM have named a squad after Afzal Guru to target security forces in India last year. It was first exposed in November last year, when Indian Army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Rifles (GR) camp near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar and recovered bags with Afzal Guru Squad markings.Guru’s name also cropped up in Pathankot when Rajesh Verma, who was abducted along with Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police told reporters that the militants had told him that they wanted to avenge the death of 2001 Parliament attack convict. The DGP further said that security agencies were probing if the group came from International Border (IB) and was part of a group of three militants killed at the border in Ramgarh sector in Samba yesterday.”We have visited Ramgarh in this direction,” Kumar said. Jammu was rocked by two terror attacks yesterday in which seven army personnel, including two Major-rank officers, were killed and eight other security-men, including a BSF DIG, were injured before six heavily-armed terrorists were killed in separate encounters.

Nagrota attack: Indian Army Chief visits site; similarities with Uri attack, say reports

To flush out any remaining militants, combing operations resumed at the army camp in Nagrota, where seven defence personnel were killed in a terror attack on Tuesday.

The army recovered a huge catchment of arms and ammunition from the site of the encounter, according to ANI.

The combing operations are yet to conclude and the intelligence agencies are yet to reconstruct the chain of events that led to the major security breach, however, media reports are citing evidence to suggest several similarities between the Nagrota attacks and Uri attacks, the worst in last 26 years on an Indian Army base.

Indian TV channels reported that various incriminating documents were also seized, along with huge cache of firearms, which prove Pakistan’s complicity in the attack . Times Now reported that some evidence recovered from the site points towards Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) links of the terrorists. JeM is the same organisation that has allegedly been responsible for a slew of untoward incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, including the 18 September Uri attacks, wherein 20 soldiers lost their lives.

Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu. PTI

Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu. PTI

CNN-News 18 states that one of the slain terrorists in the Nagrota attack was complicit in the Uri attacks as well. The TV channel, however, said the precise role that the terrorist played could not be ascertained.

The Economic Times reported another major security breach along the International Border, in the Samba (around 40 km away from Nagrota) attacks, which were staged around the same time as the attack in Nagrota.

The report quotes the Border Security Force (BSF) as saying that a cross-border tunnel along the International Border (IB) in Samba was found, which was probably used by the terrorists to infiltrate into India. The BSF, however, in a prompt response, cornered the three infiltrators and gunned them down after a brief gunbattle. The BSF director general stated, according to the report, that the tunnel was approximately 80 metres long, stating that there is no equipment to detect such tunnels.

Following the attacks, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag visited the Nagrota Corps headquarter on Wednesday to review the situation.

Jammu was rocked by two terror attacks on Tuesday in which seven army personnel, including two major-rank officers, were killed and eight other security men, including a BSF DIG, were injured, before six heavily-armed terrorists were eliminated in the separate fierce encounters.

In one incident, a group of heavily-armed terrorists in police uniform stormed an army unit in Nagrota, about three kms from the corps headquarters on the outskirts of Jammu city, triggering an intense gunbattle that lasted for hours.

Seven army personnel, including two officers, were killed in this attack before three terrorists were killed in an armed stand-off which also involved a hostage-like situation with 12 soldiers, two women and two children being held captive. All were rescued, army spokesman said.

In another incident, three terrorists were gunned down by BSF in Ramgarh area of Samba near the IB after an encounter that lasted several hours and was followed by intense cross-border firing by Pakistani troops. Four security personnel, including BSF DIG, were injured in this incident.

The two terror incidents in Jammu came on a day General Qamar Javed Bajwa took over as Chief of Pakistan Army from General Raheel Shareef.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 18:05 IST