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Usually cordial on Twitter, Sushma Swaraj blocks Cong MP

Twitter-savvy External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has blocked one of her fellow parliamentarians and Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab Partap Singh Bajwa on the social media platform.Bajwa told DNA that Swaraj, otherwise open to helping people who reach out to her on Twitter, had done so as he had been asking her difficult question in the Parliament to nail the Centre’s “lie” on the 39 Indians who had gone missing in Iraq after they were kidnapped by Islamic State and who are considered ‘not dead’ by the external affairs ministry.”This is not the way one of the most senior minister of the government ought to behave. It is our right to ask her questions and it is her duty to respond. I was not even aware of this development. A few days ago, I tried tweeting to the PM and her regarding the plight of Sikhs in the Hangu district of Pakistani Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where they are being forced to convert. To my surprise, I saw that she had blocked me on Twitter,” Bajwa said.”I decided to tweet about it today (Wednesday) because in the intervening days, the Parliament was not working. I follow not her, but the external affairs minister. If she blocks an MP, then it is completely insensitive.”Bajwa also accused the government of trying to hide the truth. “For the past two or three sessions, I have been grappling with her to come clean. The eyewitness is from our Gurdaspur and he told us that all of them had been shot dead in the desert. Swaraj had said that the witness was misleading the government. She has repeatedly said the government will get them back, later claiming that they were all alive and have been tied up as bonded labour in Mosul, but this was repudiated by the Iraqi premier,” said Bajwa.”I believe that she was initially misled. She realised that a false stand had been put up in the Parliament, but now they are not ready to change their stand.”

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Week-long impasse ends after meeting

More than a week-long impasse in the Parliament on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh finally ended on Wednesday with Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley clarifying that the PM Modi in his speeches “neither questioned nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either Dr Manmohan Singh, or Hamid Ansari.”The breakthrough came after the BJP relented to Congress’ demand in a backdoor meeting between Jaitley and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Congress, too, agreed that it would accept the clarification by Jaitley on behalf of the PM Modi.The Rajya Sabha met at 2 pm after getting adjourned twice in the pre-lunch session on the issue of minister of state for skill development Ananth Kumar Hegde’s alleged remarks against the Constitution.Azad said there was no question of party succumbing to any pressure and decided to accept the clarification from Jaitley on behalf of the PM because it did not want the impasse to continue as they wanted to pin the government on several issues.Referring to the removal of bindi, mangalsutra and changing of clothes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife at the behest of Pakistani authorities an insult to 1.3 billion Indians, Azad said, “As Indians we strongly protest and want to show our displeasure on the floor of the House.”As per the understanding the clarification was to happen right in the morning with the start of proceedings but the House got disrupted with other opposition parties demanding discussion on Minister of State for Skill Development, Ananth Kumar Hegde’s controversial remarks against the Constitution. Not to lose out, Congress too entered the arena demanding resignation of Hegde both as minister and MP.”If he does not believe in the Indian Constitution, he has no right to be a Member of Parliament or Minister,” Azad said.Sukhendu Sekhar Ray of TMC asked Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to give ruling if “a person, holding the post of Minister, has right to denounce Preamble in public and can he continue as a minister in the Government?”CALMING EFFECTBreakthrough came after the BJP relented to Congress’ demand in a backdoor meeting between Jaitley and Ghulam Nabi Azad. Jaitley also clarified that PM Modi in his speeches ‘neither questioned nor meant to question Dr Singh’s commitment to nation’

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Blocked by Sushma Swaraj on Twitter for asking ‘tough questions’: Congress MP Bajwa

Sushma Swaraj has gained fame in the Twitterverse for always coming to help of Indians and foreigners stranded, who are in need of visa or any diplomatic assistance. Infact, External Affairs Minister’s Twitter diplomacy has earned her bipartisan praise and even applause from international quarters. However, there seems to be one politician who is unhappy with Sushma Swaraj’s Twitter habits. It is senior Congress leader from Punjab and currently Member of Parliament, Partap Singh Bajwa. On Wednesday, Partap Singh Bajwa from his verified handle posted a screenshot of being blocked on Twitter by External Affairs Minister. Bajwa claims that he was merely asking questions about the missing 39 Indians in Iraq. MEA so far has said that according to their last known information, the Indians are alive, but they haven’t been able to locate them. Bajwa claims that he was blocked merely for asking ‘tough questions’. Now, politicians in general and even Sushma Swaraj have resorted to blocking abusive trolls and sometimes people who constantly pester with similar rants. But this is probably the first time when a MP has been blocked by his colleague. Swaraj is currently followed by 10.8 million people. Probably in the torrent of replies she gets with every tweet, the fact that a MP was being blocked was overlooked.

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Identify heroes of 1857, assist their kin, BJP MP tells Centre

In yet another attempt to change the popular perception of Indian history to suit the right wing, BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Sharad Tripathi has claimed that freedom fighters from the anti-colonial uprising of 1857 were not well-known to the people, and has urged the Centre to identify them and extend benefits to their families.Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have long asserted that the uprising of 1857 — dubbed as the First War of Independence by none other than Sangh ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar — has not been given the pride of place in Indian history, and that the history has been dominated by Gandhi and Nehru under the ‘Congress-Left hegemony’.Balmukund Pandey, organising secretary of RSS’ history rewriting project Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY), had earlier told DNA that it was conducting a research to find the national heroes who were missing from Indian history books. Several martyrs from 1857, such as Tantia Tope and Jhalkari Bai, figured in this list.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raked up the issue at a Meerut rally in 2014 accusing the Congress of having ‘insulted’ martyrs by forgetting them.Tripathi too had earlier this year demanded in Parliament that a martyr’s gate be built in Delhi to honour freedom fighters who laid down their lives between 1857 and 1947.A list containing the names of such freedom fighters should be released by the government, he said adding that, so far there was no such authentic record. “While the names of Indian soldiers who fought the World War-II were inscribed by the British on India Gate, there is no such commemoration for the Indians who died for the country’s freedom from 1857 to 1947,” he said.In a similar push, RSS and BJP had in 2008 organised events to commemorate 150 years of 1857.More recently, RSS-affiliated historian Satish Chandra Mittal, associated with ABISY, had said in a seminar this year: “Instead of calling it a revolt, we should rather say it was a fight to protect the Indian culture.”Ironically, Savarkar had considered the Hindus-Muslims unity during the uprising as the cornerstone of Indian nationalism in his book ‘The Indian War of Independence 1857’ first published in 1909.”I believe that India’s fight for Independence began in 1857 led to the freedom in 1947. The government should do a study and recognise such heroes as martyrs. Their family members should be given benefits,” he said.

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BJP leader bats for those who were martyred in 1857 war of independence

A BJP Lok Sabha member has urged the Centre to identify those who fought for the country’s Independence since 1857, and give their family members monetary and other government benefits.Sharad Tripathi, an MP from Uttar Pradesh, said many of those who fought against the British rule in 1857, recognised by many as the country’s first war of Independence, are not known much among the masses.”I believe that India’s fight for Independence began in 1857 leading to the freedom in 1947. The government should do a study and recognise such heroes as martyrs. Their family members should be given benefits,” he told PTI.Earlier this year in Parliament, Tripathi had demanded that a martyrs gate be built in the national capital in the honour of freedom fighters who laid down their lives between 1857 and 1947.A list containing the names of such freedom fighters should be released by the government as currently, there is no such authentic record, he said.While the names of Indian soldiers who fought the World War-II were inscribed by the British on the India Gate, there is no such commemoration for the Indians who died for the country’s freedom from 1857 to 1947, he had said.

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Two-fold jump in NRIs registering as voters: Govt & EC data

The number of NRIs registering themselves as ‘overseas electors’ has seen a two-fold jump in the last three years, latest government and EC data show.The figure, however, is far too less when compared to the number of Indians living abroad and entitled to vote here. The issue of voting by NRIs in Indian elections is being debated again with the government moving a bill in the Lok Sabha to extend proxy voting rights to them on the lines of service voters. The bill says the necessary provision of coming to India to cast ballot caused “hardship” to overseas electors.As of now, non-resident Indians–essentially people living or working abroad who have not given up their Indian citizenship–can cast their vote in the constituencies they are registered in. This means that they first have to register themselves as voters and then take a long flight to India be present on election day. The hesitation to spend money and make travel plans to vote in India is reflected in the data available with the Election Commission and the government on ‘overseas electors’.As on May 2012, there were 1,003,7761 NRIs, according to the report of the multi-agency ‘committee for exploring feasibility of alternative options for voting by overseas electors’. Quoting electoral roll data of 2014, the committee said 11,846 people were registered as ‘overseas electors’– 11,140 of them men and only 706 women. The number of registered ‘overseas electors’ saw a two- fold jump this year. According to a Lok Sabha question answered in writing by Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary on December 15 in the ongoing Winter Session, a total of 24,348 people are ‘overseas electors’.These include 22,428 men and 1,920 women. Though the chart has a column for transgender, no one has registered. Interestingly, out of 24,348 overseas voters, 23,556 are from Kerala. Thirty-seven are from Delhi.According to the provisions of ‘Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ introduced by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lower House, overseas Indians who are entitled to vote in India can now appoint a proxy voter to cast their votes.The person authorised as proxy has to be a different person in every election.

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Ghaziabad: Cops thrash right wing fringe group for blocking inter-religion wedding

A Right Wing group was lathicharged by the Ghaziabad Police on Friday when it tried to intervene into an inter-religion wedding ceremony in Kavi Nagar, calling it an anti-national act and love jihad. Police said no complaint has been lodged in the case.According to a Hindu Yuva Vahini member, the incident took place around 1 am, when a Muslim man was about to marry a Hindu girl.”We heard about a Hindu girl marrying a Muslim boy. We intervened to save the girl’s life and asked the boy to change his religion. We also told the girl’s family what it was and that the boy was only interested in their money,” Balraj Doongar, president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, Northern Uttar Pradesh region, said.Doongar further said the girl’s father failed to understand it. “We tried to give him an example also as these Muslims men and boys target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities. It is their strategy to convert Hindu girls. They make them anti-national and turn them against fellow Indians, which is a threat to the country,” Doongar said.Locals reported the incident to police, who allegedly lathicharged the Right Wing group. The group, however, has requested the authority to register a complaint against the policemen for attacking its members.

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Over 30,000 Indians have died outside the country since 2014, Lok Sabha told

As many as 31,318 Indians have died in foreign countries since 2014 with more than half of the deaths being reported from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Lok Sabha was informed today.Replying to a written question, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh also said that there are 15,405 Indians in foreign jails since 2015.Highest number of prisoners are lodged in Saudi Arabian jails (5,590), while 1,132 Indians are in jails in Pakistan.However, due to the strict provisions of privacy laws, the US, Canada, Australia and many countries in the Europe do not share full information about Indian prisoners in their jails, the minister said.Giving details of the deaths of Indians in 106 countries, Singh said over 10,000 nationals have died in Saudi Arabia while over 6,000 Indians have died in the UAE since 2014. Eight such deaths have been reported from Pakistan.Countries which have reported significant number of deaths, include Bahrain, Canada, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar and the US.

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Sebi to regulate Bitcoin-inspired illicit investment schemes

Market watchdog Sebi will come down heavily on illicit ‘initial coin offers’ seeking public investments with promise of high returns from Bitcoins and other virtual currencies, amid a mushrooming of such schemes in the absence of any regulatory regime.However, Sebi is not keen to take on the mantle of a regulator for such ‘trading’ — currently being offered on a number of so-called exchanges despite there being no rules in this regard — as the underlying product, which is Bitcoin or any such crypto currency, is not an approved product by RBI or any other agency, top officials said.At the same time, Sebi cannot allow gullible investors to be taken for a ride with unlawful promises by these exchanges and those claiming to ‘mint’ crypto currencies. A number of them are suspected to be indulging in fraudulent activities without actually minting any such virtual currencies that require very complex algorithms, the officials noted.Also readBitcoin surges past $17,000 for first time as concerns mountA number of ‘coin offerings’ being made in India are nothing but fraudulent Ponzi or pyramid schemes, including some offering secondary trading in Bitcoins or other established virtual currencies, while many others are plain frauds without any such currency actually being in play, they added.RBI has already made public its disapproval for all such currencies and has said it has not approved any of them, while tax authorities recently conducted searches at various exchanges and are believed to have collected information on lakhs of entities including HNIs who could have ‘traded’ there.Also readRBI reiterates warning about trading in bitcoinsThe regulators and government agencies are in a state of quandary as even imposing a tax would amount to giving a legal status to such currencies, for which any consensus remains elusive given the huge risks, including money laundering and terrorist financing, attached with such activities.However, there is a kind of unanimity emerging about subjecting such trading to laws against black money, money laundering and frauds so that the interest of general public remains safeguarded, a senior official said, while adding that any final decision would be taken at highest level and a multi-regulatory panel may be assigned that job.A gravity-defying bitcoin rally to over Rs10 lakh a unit, interspersed with ‘stories’ of people making crores from thousands, has left the regulators flummoxed.The RBI has been issuing warnings since 2013, the first time when the surge in bitcoins caught the attention of Indians, but the risks have multiplied manifold now in the wake of a significant spurt in the valuation of many such virtual currencies and a rapid growth in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).Modelled on the Initial Public Offers or IPOs for issuance of new shares in the stock market, some entities have begun resorting to ICOs to raise funds from investors, including HNIs and other individuals, who are getting lured into claims of huge returns from bitcoins and other such variants — apparently getting minted in the digital world but also reaching the real world including as wedding gifts.

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AIR launches aggressive campaign on Centre’s feats

The Election Commission, which has drawn flak over its “discriminatory” role in the Gujarat elections, has also chosen to ignore an aggressive radio campaign aired by All India Radio (AIR) on the NDA government’s achievements between December 11 and 21 when the high octave state polls are underway.On Wednesday, the EC had ordered that FIRs (first information reports) be filed against television news channels for airing Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi’s interview, a day before the second phase of polling in Gujarat (on Thursday). The EC also served a show cause notice to Gandhi for violating the model code of conduct.An order issued by the public broadcaster on December 7 states that the national and regional networks and FM channels of AIR will have to run programmes on the theme ‘Positive India’ during its primetime slot, between December 11 and 21.The order has listed around eight programmes which would be broadcast by AIR Delhi in this 10-day period. It has asked the broadcast stations at state capitals to air similar programmes highlighting positive stories from their regions.These programmes include special success stories of people who have benefited from various flagship schemes of the central government, vox populi on how government schemes have impacted the common man’s life, continuous radio campaigns on positive stories spanning across serials, documentaries, jingles and slogans, and radio bridges which have positively impacted lives of Indians.A separate satellite message issued on December 8 has asked programme heads of all capital AIR stations to identify prominent NGOs working on positive initiatives of the central government in their respective regions and produce radio stories in “regional languages” for various programmes. The programmes will also be included in AIR’s news bulletins. Prasar Bharati sources said these programmes will also be aggressively promoted on YouTube and other social media platforms with the “positive India” hashtag.RADIO GAGAAIR has a wide network across India and has a high penetration in the rural and remote parts of the country. It operates 420 radio stations. AIR has plans to extend the coverage of its FM channels to about 65% of India’s population.

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No consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pak tells ICJ

Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India’s plea for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its ‘spy’.Media reports form Pakistan suggest that Pakistan in its reply has alleged Jadhav is not an ordinary person and had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities. The reply, which was submitted by the Foreign Office’s Director (India), Fariha Bugti, also claimed that Jadhav case does not fall under the purview of the Vienna Convention.Even though Islamabad has allowed Jadhav’s mother and wife to meet him in jail alongwith an Indian diplomat, Pakistani response claimed that Jadhav was not entitled to consular access.The counter-memorial said the consular access under the Vienna Convention was reserved only for legitimate visitors and not for spies.Reports said the reply also encompasses the charge-sheet filed against Jadhav, which also includes his confession.Pakistan has stated that “the Indians have not denied that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name.””Lack of explanation on how a serving naval commander was operating under secondment to Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and also was travelling under an assumed name leads to only one conclusion that India wanted consular access to the information he had gathered,” said the counter memorial.”Only a state which adheres to legitimate actions can request the court to intervene in a matter between two states,” Pakistan has stated in the ICJ.THE CASEKulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province over charges of alleged involvement in espionage and subversive activities for India’s intelligence agency RAW.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: At ICJ, Pak rejects India’s request for consular access

Pakistan today rejected India’s plea for consular access to death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its “spy”.In its counter-memorial submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan said the provision of such an access under the Vienna Convention is only for legitimate visitors and not for spies, the Express Tribune reported. Pakistan said that Jadhav is not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities.Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the ICJ in May. The ICJ halted his execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict by it. Citing its sources, the paper said Pakistan has stated that “the Indians have not denied that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name.” “Lack of explanation on how a serving naval commander was operating under secondment to Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was travelling under an assumed name leads to only one conclusion that India wanted consular access to the information he had gathered,” said the counter memorial submitted by Pakistan, according to the paper.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav’s friends celebrate after Pakistan grants visa to his mother and wifeThe reply encompasses the charge-sheet against Jadhav and narrates Pakistan’s stance in a comprehensive manner.Sources said it took several weeks to prepare the response which was approved by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week in a special meeting. Official sources said that the reply was jointly prepared by the attorney general, legal team in the case, and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and submitted in ICJ at The Hague by the Foreign Office’s Director India, Fariha Bugti.Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases related to spies. Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel from restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.”Only a state which adheres to legitimate actions can request the court to intervene in a matter between two states,” Pakistan has stated in the ICJ.Also readPakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family to meet him in jail on December 25Citing its sources, the paper said Pakistan will argue that sending Jadhav for espionage, funding terrorist activities are some of the reasons that dis-entitle India from invoking the jurisdiction of the ICJ. The international court will now decide whether to take the case forward for hearing or ask both India and Pakistan to submit more documents. Talking to Geo News earlier, Pakistan Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali had said he thinks the case would be taken up for hearing around April-May.Last week, Pakistan granted permission to the mother and wife of Jadhav to meet him on December 25. A diplomat from the Indian high commission in Islamabad would be allowed to accompany the visitors.

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Kansas shooting hero Ian Grillot who took a bullet for Indian gets TIME magazine salute

Time magazine has honoured Ian Grillot, the US national who took a bullet for an Indian while trying to intervene during a racially-motivated shooting in Kansas early this year.Grillot’s name features in the magazine among “5 Heroes Who Gave Us Hope in 2017.”Grillot, then 24, was injured when he tried to intervene in the shooting by a Navy veteran targeting Indians at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, in February.Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32 , was killed in the shooting that also left his colleague Alok Madasani, critically injured.Also readUS Navy veteran charged with killing an Indian in Kansas City bar pleads not guilty”I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I didn’t do anything,” Grillot said in an article posted by Time on Thursday.The magazine saluted the Kansas man as the “bargoer who stepped into the line of fire.””Without all the prayers and positive support from everybody, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am right now. It has been a wonderful year and a blessing to be alive,” Grillot told PTI.Earlier this year, Grillot was honoured as ‘A True American Hero’ by the Indian-American community in Houston which raised $100,000 to help him buy a house in his hometown Kansas.Also readWidow of Indian national killed in Kansas bar shooting faced deportationGrillot was watching a televised basketball game at the restaurant when a gunman approached Srinivas and Alok, both 32, and reportedly told them to “get out of my country.”Grillot was shot in the chest in an attempt to keep the assailant from harming others.Adam Purinton of Olathe has been charged with first- degree murder and attempted murder in the assaults.Others saluted by Time included a chef who fed Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico, Houston neighbours who aided a woman having a baby in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and a California dog who refused to leave behind livestock he was guarding as wildfires raged. Also readUS: Indian-American doctor stabbed to death by patient in Kansas

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Gen VK Singh says he came into politics by accident

Minister of State of External Affairs Gen VK Singh on Saturday said that he got into politics by accident. While speaking at a convocation ceremony at the IIS University, he said: “I got into politics by accident. It was never planned,.When I retired, I decided that I’ll work for the society. I started interacting with the youth while working with a farming company because I firmly believe that it is the youth who are going to change the nation. In this process, a wild thought came that I must bring back Anna Hazare to the same pedestal that he was in 2012. I launched a small organisation called Jantantra Morcha and requested Anna Hazare to become its patron. After 4-5 months everyone was tired. We took a break and that is the time he decided he will launch agitation,” Gen Singh said.“Once Lokpal bill was cleared, I told him that I had to move. However, I had got into trouble because during my campaign I had been talking about the need to induct fresh blood in the political system, and the only question they asked me was why I wouldn’t join one myself. So I decided to see as to which political party I should join. Being an independent, I needed very large financial backup. I joined BJP about a month prior to the elections,” he added.While talking about Hafiz Saaed becoming a political leader in the neighbouring country, Singh said that Pakistan can choose what it wants to be.“It depends on Pakistan whether it wants the country to be a terrorist or wants to take it forward as a peaceful nation. We shouldn’t worry about them,” Singh said.Singh also spoke about Indians going to other countries for employment and said that they are safe as long as they go through registered agents.“We have a complete record of Indian expats via registered agents. We are aware of who is going where, under which employer, and for which job. The issue is with those who do not transfer through registered agents,” he informed.However, while speaking about USA increasing the laws for working Visa for Indians, he said that nothing will happen until the law is passed.“The US has just said that they will issue stringent laws and guidelines for working visa for Indians.. Nothing will happen until it is passed by the Congress,” Singh said.

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Rajasthan: India arrest over ‘love jihad’ killing viral video

The video shows the suspect hacking a man to death and setting the body on fire.

London mayor Sadiq Khan says UK must apologise for India massacre

The London mayor calls for an apology over one of the bloodiest massacres in British history.

Uniform Civil Code not possible, says Law Commission Chairman

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is almost impossible to implement and personal laws cannot be scrapped as it will violate the constitution, Law Commission Chairman Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan said on Tuesday.“Personal laws can never be done away with as they have constitutional protection,” Justice Chauhan said according to a News18 report.“UCC is not possible. We will try to recommend religion-wise amendments in family laws. It would be the piecemeal way to suggest what are the changes required in Hindu law, Muslim law, Christian law, Parsi law, etc. We will target the problems of each religion and deal with them accordingly. We cannot take the whole UCC, as we cannot go outside the constitution,”Justice Chauhan said.Also readLaw Commission to go slow on report on uniform civil code; await SC verdict on triple talaqJustice Chauhan also said that all traditions and customs of the various sections are protected by the constitution so UCC is not possible to be implemented. Since personal laws are part of the constitution under Article 25, it cannot be scrapped. Justice Chauhan also said that the constitution already guarantees many exemptions to various sections of the society so UCC is “not a solution and there cannot be a composite act”.Also readTriple Talaq, Uniform Civil Code, and the way aheadEarlier, the Narendra Modi-govt had asked the Law Commission to examine the implementation of the ‘one law, one nation’ issue. The BJP has been pushing for the Uniform Civil Code and it has been a long standing electoral promise by them. The Uniform Civil Code has been one of the contentious issue ever since the triple talaq issue became a highly publicised debate.The UCC means implementation of one law on issues like marriage, divorce/separation and inheritance, which will be uniformly be applicable for all Indians irrespective of religion, caste, and community. The UCC is to ensure that the citizens are all governed by a single law. India being a diverse country consisting of various communities that have different personal laws based on many beliefs, the idea of UCC was to ensure implementation of one law irrespective of any section of the society.
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Maharashtra CM’s remarks that migrants contributed to Mumbai’s development does not go down well with Shiv Sena

After the MNS, it is the turn of the Shiv Sena to attack Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his comment that migrants from other states contributed to Mumbai’s development.”There is a competition that takes places intermittently, that of insulting Mumbai and the Maharashtrians and it is sad that Maharashtra’s chief minister has plunged into it. Fadnavis’s statement cannot be justified. He has not spoken in favour of the toiling classes who crafted Mumbai and protected it, but in favour of those who exploit them. It is because Mumbai was rich and prosperous that people from other states came here and became successful,” said an editorial on Saturday in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna.The newspaper has Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray as the editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut as the executive editor.Also readMNS slams Fadnavis for lauding contribution by North Indians in Mumbai It charged that many what had come to Mumbai seeking a fortune had tried to kill this proverbial hen that laid the golden egg and claimed that it was because of the Shiv Sena that the city survived.”One question is always asked, whom does Mumbai belong to? First and foremost, Mumbai belongs to Maharashtra,” the Shiv Sena said, adding that North Indian leaders like Ram Manohar Tripathi and I.D Singh had merged into the local culture and expected others to do likewise.The editorial alleged that the BJP wanted to play politics on the strength of non-Maharashtrian votes and added that at present, the construct of politics meant that the development of Mumbai signified the rule of the builders and the rich and the use of this money for the “politics of the parties of the Shetjis.”
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Armed Forces Week: RS MP Subhash Chandra’s appeal on occasion of Flag Day

Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra has appealed to all Indians to do their bit for the Army during the Armed Forces week. Here’s what he said in a video message:Armed Forces Week is being celebrated as Flag Week between December 1 and December 7. On Dec 7, there will be Flag Day which is dedicated to the sacrifices made by our army and our jawans. This whole week, all of us, must thank our soldiers in some way or other- remembering them, hoisting flag or donating something towards their families. Our soldiers stay vigilant in bone-chilling cold and challenging conditions, even take bullets for us so that we could sleep in peace, assured of our security. This week is special and is for remembrance. Keep thanking them by donating online to make their lives better on the occasion of Armed Forces Flag Day. We rarely get the opportunity to serve those who guard us and the nation. We mustn’t miss it. The tricolour must keep flying high in our hearts. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.Here’s how people can contribute: Link for online payment:Also readArmed Forces Week: Defence Minister urges civilians to wear Armed Forces Flag with prideUPI [email protected] number8800462175For Cheque payment, Account number is : 34420400623SBI RK Puram Branch
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Armed Forces Week: Defence Minister urges civilians to wear Armed Forces Flag with pride

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman formally kickstarted the Armed forces Week (December 1-7) on Friday. She posted a video message in this occasion on social media. Defence Minister said that 7th December is marked as the Armed Forces Flag Day. She reminded Indians that fund collected on that day is used for welfare and protection of families of war heroes, disabled soldiers. This year the Army is celebrating this entire week as Armed Forces Week. To mark this occasion, Sitharaman urged all Indians to wear the Armed Forces flag with pride and to contribute for the welfare of the troops. Later she mentioned several tweets applauding people for contributing for armed forces. Two of them were from Bollywood actods Aamir Khan and Varun Dhawan. The Defence Ministry has launched a campaign to spread awareness about the valour of armed forces. The objective is to encourage citizens to make financial contributions to the families of war heroes and promote welfare activities. While there will be a big push on social media, events in schools and colleges are also planned starting December 1 and ending on December 7, which also happens to be Armed Forces Flag Day. A sticker of the armed forces flag will be distributed at various public places including educational institutes. “The main objective of the campaign is to get people to make financial contributions to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFD) which is used for the welfare of disabled ex-servicemen, war widows, and children of martyrs,” officials said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ addressing the nation on the eve of Mumbai 26/11 attacks anniversary welcomed the idea to instil respect for armed forces as part of a campaign. “I am happy that the Ministry of Defence has decided to run a campaign from December 1 to December 7 during which they will reach out to the people of the country to disseminate information about our armed forces and to make them aware,” he said. With inputs from DNA Correspondent
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DNA Exclusive: At Rs 3.8 crore, novel cancer therapy distant dream for Indians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A new therapy is showing positive results in the US, but children in India suffering from blood cancer may not be able to access it anytime soon, Frances Milnes, Market Access Head of multi-national pharma giant Novartis, shared this information.Introduced last month in the US, Chimeric Anitigen Receptor (CAR) T- cell therapy is a last resort for children suffering B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer.In India, over the last 20 years, number of children affected by ALL has doubled and the number stands at an estimated 25,000 children diagnosed with ALL every year. It will be tough to bring the CAR-T therapy to India because the cost of the therapy is eye-watering.The one time therapy costs Rs 3.8 crore or US$4,75,000 and Novartis has no plans to make it accessible to India in near future.It is the first-ever FDA approved cell therapy and it shows high rates of remission. Over 80% of paediatric patients who were treated got cured. “Most children have a stem-cell transplants and are cured but it relapses in some children, and in most children with relapse the CAR-T therapy works and it is really the last chance for them,” said Milnes. Currently the therapy is available in only a few accredited hospitals in the US to patients who are insured.”We are not looking at India as a market at the moment because of affordability issues. Also it is too early to say anything. We are now moving towards introducing it in Europe first,” said Milnes.Cell therapy is a novel approach to fight tough cancers. Kymriah, first such drug developed by Novartis, earlier this year for treatment of blood cancer when other treatments fail is showing hope.It involves extracting and genetically modifying millions of patient’s T-cells to destroy malignant cancers.Milnes said that it took an immensely long time for the process of research and formulation of the therapy. “We remove cells from the patient and take them to a processing plant. After about 21 days, the cells are ready to be reintroduced in the patients. The process is to modify the cells and and scale them up to make sure there are enough cells to put back in the body, so they can go and fight the cancer,” said Milnes.”It is an exciting therapy. It is one of a kind and helps give patients another shot at life. However it is too expensive for Indians to afford and we are hoping that Indians can access it in India sooner,” said Dr Sameer Kaul, Surgical Oncologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.MIlnes said that the patient will only get charged by the pharma company if they have responded to the therapy by the end of the first month. “This is outcomes based contracting or pricing and you do not pay if the therapy fails to work on you,” Milnes stated.Top scientific journal Nature reported that remission in patients lasted a median six months and most patients remained in remission for up to 21 months from the time they were administered the therapy. Remission suggests lessening or disappearance of symptoms of disease. In the US, Novartis is looking at fighting new indications, like adult cancers with CAR-T now and trials are under way.INTRODUCED IN USThe Chimeric Anitigen Receptor T- cell therapy is a last resort for children suffering from blood cancer
It was introduced in the US last month
Nearly 25,000 children in India are diagnosed with the deadly disease every year

Madras High Court frees 35-member crew of US anti-piracy vessel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court on Monday set free the 35 crew members including 23 foreign nationals of a private US anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio after the prosecution failed to prove its charge that the ship and its crew were in the Indian waters with unlicensed arms.Justice Basheer Ahamed has set aside the 2016 sentence of a Tuticorin court that awarded five-year jail terms to 10 crew and 25 security guards aboard an American ship that was seized by authorities in Indian waters in 2013. The Madurai Bench of the High Court held that the charges against them had not been proved.The lower court in Tuticorin had found the crew of US company owned ship ‘Seaman Guard Ohio’ guilty of violating Indian laws by possessing weapons. It had also slapped a fine of Rs 3,000 on each of them.Justice Ahamed also directed that the fine amount paid by the crew members be returned.’Q’ branch police had filed the case against the crew members for illegally entering Indian waters with weapons.Flying West African country Sierra Leone’s flag, Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by US company AdvanFort, was found in Indian waters on an October 2013 night, around 15 nautical miles from Tuticorin port. The Indian Coast Guard escorted the ship to Tuticorin port, around 600 km from Chennai.The Coast Guard said the crew included eight Indians and two Ukrainians while six British, 14 Estonians, a Ukrainian and four Indians were among the security guards on the ship and all were arrested after arms and ammunition without valid authorisation or documents was found aboard.The Q branch of the Tamil Nadu police had also alleged that the ship had obtained 1,500 litres of diesel illegally from private sources. The police had said that the entry of the ship was a threat to internal security.The ship’s crew had claimed that the ship had run out of fuel and was stranded. However, the prosecution submitted that had there been an emergency, the Captain could have alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) seeking assistance from the Indian Coast Guard. The Captain chose to lay anchor in Indian waters and buy about 1,500 litres of fuel clandestinely with the help of agents, the police charged.The ship’s owners AdvanFort specialise in providing maritime security against pirates. After the Indian Coast Guard escorted the ship to Tuticorin port, those aboard were questioned by officials of different security departments and agencies.In 2014, the Madras High Court dismissed the charges against the crew and armed guards but reaffirmed charges against the ship’s captain and the fuel vendors.On an appeal by the Tamil Nadu Police, the Supreme Court in 2015 set aside the high court judgment and ordered a trial by the Tuticorin sessions court.

From racial abuse to being accused of stealing jobs: The abuse and stress faced by India’s BPO workers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Every time her client hangs up, the young woman from Hyderabad goes to the washroom and weeps.Then she dries her eyes and returns to her desk — to pick up her phone and her fake American identity and drawl once again.She is one of the many workers in call centres who face racial abuse from people viewing them as job thieves, says a new study on business process outsourcing centres in India.It is a post-recession reality. Western clients are extremely cagey. If they think you are an Indian, their biggest fear is you are stealing their job and that everything is being outsourced, said its author Sweta Rajan-Rankin, from the University of Kent in the UK.The study, released earlier this month, is based on ethnographic research with two global outsourcing firms operating call centres in India from 2010-12. In 2012, an estimated 3.3 lakh Indians worked in call centres which provide customer-related services, second only to the Philippines, which had 3.5 lakh such employees.”Abuse? (It) happens almost daily maybe one or two times in a day. During some point in the call, some people say You Indians!!! etc, the study quoted a BPO employee as saying.The researcher said the study was also relevant in the context of recent developments in the United States and UK.”In terms of the current context, with Brexit in the UK and Trump in America, recession, pulling back of services, we have seen a resurgence of national politics… you might see much more customer abuse, much more racial abuse,” she said.Rajan-Rankin said in the 1990’s, when the companies came to India, they used “complete masking”, that is, ensured that the Indian identity should not be revealed at all.”The reason for this is companies in the US are risk- averse and want to portray to clients that customer service is taking place in the same country where the service is being provided,” she told PTI.To help employees take on a westernised identity, many are sent to the US where they are trained in voice modulation and accents, as well on cultural reference points, such as baseball or film and TV shows like Baywatch and Friends.The rules of call agents don’t allow them to disclose that they are working in India, no matter what. As a result they get enormous amounts of abuse, which is often racial in nature, said Rajan-Rankin.Almost all the employees interviewed for the study said they were verbally cursed and abused.”Narratives around identity masking of call agents are rooted in attempts to stem racial abuse from western clients who may perceive them as ‘job thieves’,” Rajan-Rankin said.She cited the case of the young woman from Hyderabad.Every time she would take a call, she would go to the washroom and cry. And then she would come back to take another set of calls, she said.Not much had changed in the industry in these five years, felt Manorma Rathour, a BPO worker contacted by PTI, who said some of the abuse stemmed from a caller’s disbelief over an employee s western identity.It takes a lot of time and effort to convince the client about our identity. They are not willing to accept that we are calling from their country, so they shout and yell,” she said.Abuse went hand in hand with stress, pointed out Dr Shweta Sharma, a clinical psychologist at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon.They face a lot of health issues, including increased stress and increase in weight, she added.Sharma also said there were instances of employees taking to substance abuse to cope with the stress or to stay awake through the night, their usual work hours.However, while the study noted that there was exploitation, abuse and emotional harm, it also looked at the creativity and imagination involved in making identity manipulation work.Some employees said they did not let go off their new identities, even after office hours.I often call myself Hazel in social gatherings and my friends and even parents do that sometimes. Hazel has become an important part of my personality, Rathour added.

Mary Kom disagrees with Heena Sidhu, says playing of national anthem ‘mark of respect’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five-time world champion MC Mary Kom on Saturday said that the national anthem is a sign of identity for all Indians.”It is a sign of identity for us as Indians. It is a very good move as playing the national anthem, in my opinion, is mark of respect,” said the 34-year-old star boxer on the national anthem row.Earlier on Saturday, Indian shooter Heena Sidhu, said that she does not understand as to why the Supreme Court made a law making it mandatory for the national anthem to be played in movie theaters.”First of all, you mix entertainment and patriotism and you force people to stand up when they have come to actually get entertained from a movie and then you say, oh it is optional. So, either you don’t bring up laws which you can’t uphold or you stick with how the tradition and culture is,” Sidhu said while talking exclusively to ANI.The apex court had in November 2016 ordered the playing of the national anthem on cinema screens and displaying of the national flag mandatory before the beginning of any movie.The ruling by the court in this past one year has been hailed and criticized by eminent leaders, filmmakers, and sports personalities.The issue was brought to light again when an FIR was lodged against two students from Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday after they allegedly did not stand up for the national anthem.The two students of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University of Rajouri district, allegedly did not even stand up and were seen taking selfies when the national anthem was being played.A fresh row on the singing of national anthem erupted after the Jaipur Mayor Ashok Lahoty made it compulsory for staffers to sing the national anthem every morning and the national song every evening. The bio-metric system of attendance will not accept any entries after the morning anthem.

Notice to Centre on steroid misuse plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court (HC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre on a plea seeking directions to ensure that no topical medications containing a “cocktail of harmful steroids” are sold without a valid prescription. The steroids in question are used to treat several skin diseases.The plea, filed by the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists, and Leprologists (IADVL), a leading official body of dermatologists and skin specialists, has questioned the misuse of topical corticosteroids, a class of drugs used to treat a variety of skin diseases.The petition sought a ban on the manufacture and sale of several skin creams containing steroids, which are marketed for skin conditions such as pigmentation, itching, fairness, and inflammation.It also sought an independent high-level inquiry into how the Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation (CDSCO) granted approval for the commercial manufacture, use, and sale of hazardous as well as irrational and unscientific steroid combinations, and an order to prosecute the officers concerned.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar termed this a serious issue and asked the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation (CDSCO) to file their response on the plea by January 23, the next date of hearing.Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Tania Agarwal contended that by enforcing the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, the government must curb the menace of abuse of certain drugs that have been affecting the health of millions of Indians.”The unchecked and unregulated manufacture and sale of irrational, unscientific, and hazardous corticosteroids, either in the form of a single molecule or in combination with other antifungals or antibacterials has caused serious adverse effects on the health of millions of Indians,” the plea stated.It also contended that these drugs caused growth retardation in infants and children, Cushing syndrome, suppression of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, acute adrenal insufficiency, severe hard to treat steroid modified fungal infection of the groin and other body areas, male genital dermatophytoses, topical steroid damaged face, among other things.The petition sought directions to the government to include these drugs in Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945, as proposed by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board. Schedule H is the category of drugs that can to be dispensed only through a prescription and that cannot be advertised. The sale of steroid creams is over half-a-billion-dollar business, with almost two-thirds of them being sold without prescription.

India student refuses to be ‘anti-Pakistan’ poster girl

Kawalpreet Kaur had a Pakistani Twitter account suspended after it doctored a photo of her.

No pre-judging: SC junks petition against Sanjay Leela Bhansali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday junked a petition that sought criminal charges against Padmavati’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for allegedly defaming the legendary Hindu queen’s character. The court said it did not want to pre-judge the movie as it was still pending before the censor board.This comes amid widespread protests by groups — claiming to represent the Rajput community — against the movie that has deeply divided chief ministers in several states. A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the matter was still pending before the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) and it was too premature to be decided by it (the court). The bench — also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud — said that it did not want to pre-judge the film.The petition had been filed by advocate ML Sharma who said Bhansali defamed the queen by portraying her as a dancer.The apex court, however, disagreed with him and said that no case was made.Protesters who have issued threats against the director and actors say the depiction of romance between Padmini and Delhi Sultnate ruler Alauddin Khilji insults the Rajput community. The film’s makers have been denying allegations of any distortion of history. Historians have also been divided over whether the queen ever existed.During the brief hearing, Sharma objected to songs already released by the production house as part of its promotional strategy. “Half the movie has already been released and without any proper certification,” Sharma argued.To this, senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the film, responded that the process for certification is on and all appropriate paperwork was in order for the material that is already on air. The production house has deferred the December 1 release of the movie.But trouble for the movie continues. A Varanasi court directed the local police to register an FIR against Bhansali for “insulting the religion, selling or printing defamatory matter and public mischief.” Petitioner Kamlesh Chandra has sought a ban on the film and action against its makers for depicting the character of Rani Padmavati in poor light which has “hurt the sentiments of Indians.” The court issued summons to Bhansali who was also attacked on sets in January by a Rajput organisation.

India BJP minister criticised for peeing in public

A ruling party minister admits to urinating in the open despite an appeal for Indians to use toilets.

PM Modi only world statesman to stand up to China’s OBOR: American think-tank Hudson Institute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only world statesman to have stood up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative even though the US has been silent on the ambitious project till recently, a top American expert on China said today.During a Congressional hearing, Michael Pillsbury, Director of Center on Chinese Strategy at the prestigious think-tank Hudson Institute, told lawmakers that Modi and his team have been quite outspoken against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project.”The only statesman in the world who stood up to it yet, is Prime Minister Modi. He and his team have been quite outspoken, partly because the Belt and Road Initiative includes violation of Indian sovereign claims, Pillsbury said.”But the US government, until now and this is a five- year-old initiative if you count the early part of it, has been silent, he said.Praising the Trump administration for its new Indo- Pacific strategy, the former Pentagon official said in recent days people have heard more than 50 times by members of the Trump administration including the president himself mentioning “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.”The Chinese have already attacked this. They don’t like it, said Pillsbury, who is considered an authority on China- related issues.”The Indians, fairly recently, were joking about we want to make the Indian Ocean the Indian Ocean, by which they meant the purchase of several billion dollars worth of American PA aircraft, which have weapon systems in the back that can sink ships, frankly, and other improvements including maritime situational awareness and a big new center in Delhi where the Indians can keep track of both blue holes and grey holes going through the Indian Ocean, he said.”Chinese are very angry about this. They have criticised the Obama administration for its effort to, as they say, boost India, to a higher rank order in comprehensive power than the Chinese believe India deserves, the top American expert on China said in response to a question.Senator Ed Markey said China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative that aims to position China as the uncontested leading power in Asia “may further coerce” its neighbours through loans they cannot repay.The BRI aimed at building a vast network of infrastructure projects expanding China’s expertise and capital to different parts of the world includes USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over which India has protested as it traversed through Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir (PoK).India boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) organised by China in May this year to highlight its concerns over Beijing pushing projects through the the PoK.He said the US companies face the threat of intellectual property theft with reports that China has been stealing cutting-edge research as well as sensitive trade secrets from the US.And that includes companies working in the clean energy sector who cannot compete with state-backed firms, he alleged.Pillsbury said Chinese are offering low interest loans to countries that cannot afford it.”We’re already saw the example of Sri Lanka, which fell behind in its payments and then was the subject of coercion that if you transfer the main port here in Sri Lanka to Chinese control, we will forgive the debt. The Sri Lankans did it, he said.There were concerns of debt burden brought in by the BRI projects after Sri Lanka opted for long-term lease of its Hambantota port for USD 1.12 billion debt swap.”…So we are beginning to see, just through the media, what the Belt and Road Initiative may mean, Pillsbury told the lawmakers.Senator Markey said China is challenging the very underpinnings of the global order that has brought peace and prosperity.China has not lived up to its international obligations to help denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, he said.”No country has greater leverage than China, which is responsible for approximately 90 per cent of North Korean trade,” he noted.Markey said, “China is challenging the international system elsewhere as well. It has constructed in violation of international law, military bases on artificial islands and disputed areas of the South China Sea.””Through economic coercion, Beijing undermined the sovereignty of its smaller neighbours and countries including South Korea and the Philippines face Chinese retaliation for taking legal and sovereign actions in their own defence,” he said.

From South India’s love for PM Modi to his Pakistan problem: 5 things Pew Survey tells us beyond the obvious

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By now, most readers would be aware that as per survey done by Pew Research, PM Modi is ‘by-far’ the most popular leader in India. That is as obvious as saying that Game of Thrones is by-far the most talked about show in urban India. What lies behind the mesh of data provided by Pew are interesting nuggets about his real support base, which go well beyond the Whatsapp forwarding trigger-happy uncles. Also, the survey shows while the Indian love affair with PM Modi is well and truly on, there are certain issues where he is seen to be lagging.It needs to be kept in mind, the survey was held in February-March this year, before the implementation of GST and before Indians got to know that 99% of notes again went back to the system post demonetization. So one has to interpret 83% of people happy with economic situation of India in that context. Some of the interesting points from the Pew survey:Modi more popular in South than North and West!This is something that will be music to the BJP’s ears. In South India, which is not a strong base for BJP, Modi enjoys 95% favourable ratings, higher than in West, East or North. It shows that while BJP may be lagging in states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, owing to lack of good leadership, PM Modi enjoys overwhelming popularity. The popular theory is that BJP is a party of North and East, and in South its Hindu nationalistic effect is neutralized by Dravidian sub-nationalism. If Pew research is to be believed, Modi has clearly breached the giant Vindhya divide and it can potentially be a spring board for BJP. The survey was not done in Kerala, a battleground for volatile RSS- CPI(M) battle in last few years. One can’t help wonder if the survey result would be different if Kerala was included.Not just the urban male support-baseMany times BJP baiters caricature the support base of the party as urban-predominately male. However, Pew survey shows that stereotype doesn’t really add up in hard numbers. PM Modi virtually has equal favourability among men (89%) and women(86%). He is most popular among the youth (90%), closely followed by those in 30-40 age category (89%). Incidentally it is 7% less in those above 50 years age.In urban India, 92% support PM Modi, whereas he is viewed favourably among 86% of rural population. A staggering 95% of those who have gone to college approve of PM Modi’s ways. Now, they all definitely are not BJP supporters and approval shouldn’t be equated with a vote in elections. But it shows that Narendra Modi’s support base is consolidating and even growing after three years at the helm. Pew didn’t offer any religion-based support parameters for the leaders, which would have given a fascinating data set. Handling of communal issues continue to remain an issueOne of the growing line of criticism faced by BJP and PM Modi, that communal tensions have shot up in the last few years. There have been allegations that cow vigilantes are on the rise. Stories like Dadri lynching have been splashed in major international outlets. It seems that’s an issue which resonates with Indian voters too. Only 50% think he has done a good job in handling communal relations. Only 43% women approve of his methods in this criteria.The good news for Modi and BJP, is communal relations comes pretty low in priority for Indian voters. Only 37%, thing it is an important issue, probably an indicator of the general majority electorate.Modi’s Pak and China policy gets a big thumbs down: For a poll, which has virtually given overwhelming positive numbers to PM Modi’s policy measures, it throws a shocking number for his Pakistan policy. Only 21% approve of his handling. Probably the blow hot and blow cold approach hasn’t gone down well with the voters. The numbers are so low despite the surgical strikes done on September 2016. The Pak policy is still in a limbo and the numbers merely manifest the general frustration with the situation. PM Modi’s China policy also has received lukewarm support. Only 33% approve of it, whereas 30% disapprove it and others have no view to offer. One needs to remember, this survey was done pre-Doklam stand-off, which was ably defused by the Modi administration. So it’s a reasonable assumption that his approval number about China would be few notches up now. BJP, not exactly a party of 31% support base:One popular liberal rhetoric post 2014, has been that only one out of three Indians voted for BJP and hence the party won just because of splintered opposition. But the survey shows, nearly 85% Indians have a favourable view of BJP. The number is 59% for Congress. Despite all the online acrimony, 60% of Congress party supporters have a favourable view of the BJP. Whereas the number is 45% for BJP supporters having a positive view of Congress. The underline implication of it is many times voting pattern is determined by winnability. A lot of people particularly in South and East may have favourable view of BJP, but they are not voting for them as they are stilll a feeble force. In other words, mere goodwill is not enough to win elections.

Volatile situation in Zimbabwe; all Indians safe, says Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said tonight that she was in constant touch with the Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe and assured that all Indians were safe in the country where unrest has triggered speculation of a coup.Zimbabwe’s Army took control of the country and said it had President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody. The Army said it was securing government offices and patrolling the capital’s streets following unrest.Swaraj said there was no cause for concern for Indians. “I am in constant touch with Indian Embassy in Zimbabwe.Our Ambassador has informed me that Indians there are safe and there is no cause for concern,” she tweeted. Earlier, the Indian Embassy in Harare, in a tweet, said, “Situation in Harare is calm. Embassy staff, Indian Community, both PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and expats are safe. No reason for concern and worry.” The beginning of Indian presence in Zimbabwe goes back to about 1890 when Indian plantation workers in apartheid South Africa crossed over to the then Southern Rhodesia.At present the number of Zimbabweans of Indian origin, who are predominantly from the province of Gujarat, is estimated at about 9,000, the mission said.The strength of the expatriate Indian community is 500, it said.

PM Modi remains ‘by-far’ most popular leader, 70% satisfied with country’s direction: Pew survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains “by far” the most popular figure in Indian politics, the Pew said today, releasing the main findings of its latest survey conducted among 2,464 respondents in India.Modi at 88% is 30 points ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (58%), 31 points ahead of Congress president Sonia Gandhi (57%) and 49 points ahead of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (39%), said the survey conducted between February 21 and March 10 this year. Pew said the public’s “positive assessment” of Modi is buoyed by “growing contentment” with the Indian economy: more than eight-in-ten say economic conditions are “good”, up 19 percentage points since immediately before the 2014 election.The share of adults who say the economy is “very good” (30%) has tripled in the past three years, it added. Overall, seven-in-ten Indians are now “satisfied” with the way things are going in the country. This positive assessment of India’s direction has nearly doubled since 2014, Pew said. According to Pew, at least nine-in-ten Indians in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and in the western states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh hold a favorable view of the prime minister.The same is true for more than eight-in-ten in the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal and the northern states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. “Since 2015, Modi’s popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south, and is down slightly in the east,” it said. Notably, the survey reflects a 21 percentage points drop in favorable view of America among Indians from 70% in 2015 to just 49% in 2017.Only 40% express confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs, down 34 points from their faith in his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015. Same is the case with China, whose favorability rating among Indians have dropped from 41% in 2015 to 26% in 2017. The survey was conducted before the Doklam crisis.According to Pew Survey, despite periodic outbreaks of religious violence, relatively few Indians see communal relations as a very big problem. “Similarly, despite Prime Minister Modi s decision last November to abolish high-value bank notes, less than half of the Indian population sees the lack of availability of cash to be a major problem,” it said.

Rasgulla: Why two Indian states are feuding over a sweet

Two states have been battling over who gets to claim rights over a popular sugary delicacy. Why?

Women are more at risk of pulmonary diseases than men

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Females are more at the risk of developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a serious respiratory disease caused by smoke and air pollution, compared to males. As they have smaller and more sensitive lung mucous, these affect women more quickly and severely than men, warn lung disease specialists, ahead of World COPD Day. COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive, inflammatory lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Women residing in rural areas are more at risk due to cooking food on‘Chulha’. WHO predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. “As per studies sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in 2009, an estimated 1.48 crore (3.49%) Indians suffer from chronic bronchitis. The figures may differ, but the ailment, poses a serious health risk regardless of rural-urban status and socio-economic background. That’s because the leading causes of COPD are tobacco consumption, exposure to biomass fuel, smoke and external pollutants such as smog. Second-hand smoke exposure is also a factor,” Dr Narendra khippal, professor at institute of respiratory diseases, SMS medical college said. According to lung disease experts, on average, people with COPD have five additional associated diseases or disorders, such as metabolic, muscular, cardiac, gastrointestinal and mental function. In women, the symptoms of anxiety, depression and shortness of breath are more marked than in men.Globally, and in India, COPD is under-diagnosed as a lung function test, spirometry, is often not conducted during preliminary investigations. Dr Khippal who specialises in treatment of COPD, says that of 156 patients who participated in a 6-month OPD based study from Jan to June 2017, 17 per cent of prolonged cough were diagnosed with COPD by a spirometry test.Experts believe that in the future, more Indians are likely to develop COPD due to exposure to external air pollution.Biomass fuel emission adds In India, exposure to biomass fuels like crop residues or woods or animal dung is widely prevalent. It takes place in conditions where much of the effluent is released into the indoor living area. Women, who do most of the cooking in villages, are the most affected. Mosquito coils used in homes are another source of exposure. Burning of one mosquito coil, capable of emitting particulate matter equivalent to those with around 100 cigarettes,” says Dr MK Gupta, Sr lungs disease specialist, Anchal Hospital.Treatment slows progressionTreatment can help slow the progression of the condition and control the symptoms. This includes stop smoking, inhalers, medications, pulmonary rehabilitation and surgery or a lung transplant. “If someone smokes, stopping is the most effective way to prevent COPD getting worse. Doctor will advise how to use inhaler correctly and how often to use it.If symptoms are not controlled with inhalers, doctor may recommend tablets or may prescribe a short course of antibiotics,”says Dr Shubhranshu Gupta,Sr, lungs specialist, Narayana Hospital.

Exponential rise in sales of costly anti-diabetes drugs worrisome

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the World Diabetes Day, observed on November 14, a nationwide study has revealed a substantial rise in the sale of insulin and other, expensive oral drugs. India is on the verge of becoming a diabetic capital. The research was aimed to study sales trends of all top-selling drugs in the last nine years.”The increasing sales of high-cost medications, as revealed by our data, are particularly worrisome, since most Indians pay out of their pockets, and nearly seven per cent experience catastrophic expenditure because of diabetes. Only a bare minimum number of patients are covered by health insurance, and even there, only the hospitalisation cost is paid by insurance companies,” said Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes and Allied Specialities.He added: “There has been an escalation in the overall cost of treating diabetes in India. While there is a distinct rise in the use of newer oral drugs and insulin analogues, affordability and accessibility of anti-diabetic therapy for low socio-economic stratum remains inadequate.”As per the study conducted by the Fortis Healthcare, insulin sales have risen from Rs 151 crore in 2008 to Rs 842 crore in 2016. At the same time, oral drug sales have gone up from Rs 278 crore in 2013 to Rs 700 crore in 2016. The data trend reveals reduced inertia of patients and physicians to use insulin. This further points to the fact that over the last few years, chronic kidney disease due to diabetes has become more prevalent in the country, necessitating insulin therapy in a greater numbers.The sales of oral diabetes drugs also increased from Rs 278.5 crore in 2013 to Rs 570.9 crore in 2015, and then to Rs 700 crore in 2016. Although listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an essential drug, only 35-63 per cent of primary health centers stock the most basic oral drugs for diabetes.”The number of people with diabetes in India is increasing rapidly due to lifestyle transitions and is second only to China. Type II diabetes is increasing at a worrisome rate in semi-urban and rural areas,” Misra added.As part of spreading awareness on alternative medicine, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has now developed an anti-diabetes drug made from Ayurvedic plant extracts. The BGR-34 anti-diabetic herbal drug is matching the efficacy level of any branded modern medicine in controlling sugar level, according to sources.DIABETES IN INDIAWorld Diabetes Day is observed on November 14.
India is on the verge of becoming a diabetes capital.
An increase in sale of high-cost diabetes medication has been found.
There has been an overall escalation in the cost of treating diabetes in India.

Demonetization Anniversary: Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi, says PM’s ‘thoughtless act’ destroyed livelihoods of honest Indians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On demonetization’s first-anniversary, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi hit-out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, livelihoods of millions of Indians were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act.”Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” said Rahul Gandhi in a tweet.The Congress and other Opposition parties have also planned countrywide protests in the form of processions, rallies, and candle-light marches to mark the first demonetization anniversary on Wednesday, as their leaders would observe it as ‘black day’The Congress, which described the note ban decision as the ‘biggest scam’ and ‘the largest government-abetted money laundering scheme’, has asked all its state units to organise protests, processions and marches to mark the day.It has also asked all its leaders to participate in such protests and ‘strongly’ highlight the demerits of the decision, which it said is a ‘colossal and completely avoidable failure’.The Congress, on its website, also put out an article on demonetization, dubbing it as a “Modi-Made Disaster”.”Even the undeclared emergency in India’s newsrooms have failed to contain the news spreading like wildfire through India. Demonetisation was a colossal and completely avoidable failure and the largest government-abetted money laundering scheme in history,” the article said.It further alleged that demonetization failed to curb black money as 99% of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were returned. This was expected as black money is not usually stored in currency, but property, bullion and more easily convertible currency like dollars.Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contested Congress leader Manmohan Singh for calling demonetization an ‘organized loot’, insisting the exercise was an ‘ethical drive and a moral step’ that made corruption difficult.The loot is what happened in 2G scam, Commonwealth games and allocation of coal blocks, whereas demonetization was an economic exercise based on ethical and moral rationales, Jaitley told reporters here.”An anti-black money drive is (an) ethical drive, a moral step. And what is moraly and ethically correct has to be politically correct,” the minister said, targeting the former prime minister.

With deadlines past, RBI back to business

Since only five RBI offices were designated to carry out this exercise in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur, people had to wait for seven to eight hours in queues to exchange the scrapped notes <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Serpentine queues outside the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) were a common feature till a few months ago as people stood to exchange the demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. Now all that is past and life outside the apex bank has returned to normalcy.Fearing the queue, Leela Raghuvanshi, a resident of Secunderabad, decided to forego Rs 5,000. “I wanted to exchange the scrapped notes that were with me. But, I finally didn’t do it as I would have spent more money and time waiting in the queues. I took the loss,” she said.Since only five RBI offices were designated to carry out this exercise in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur, people had to wait for seven to eight hours in queues to exchange the scrapped notes. A cap of Rs 25,000 was fixed for exchange.A senior RBI official said, “Our regular staff was deputed to the exchange windows. We had to check their travel documents, their affidavits and other documents so it took time. Even when the deadline came to a close there were people whom we could not service.”Deadlines gone For Indians who were abroad, the government had given time until March 31, 2017. Non-resident Indians were given additional time till June 30 to submit the demonetised notes to RBI

How does India rate the cash ban, one year on?

One year ago, India’s government withdrew most large denomination bank notes. The move disrupted life across India.

Cash has its own cost, India moving towards digital transactions: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the first anniversary of demonetisation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today that excessive cash in the economy has “its own cost” and India is gradually moving towards digital transactions.Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 last year the scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as part of the government’s efforts to fight black money and corruption.Following that, the Centre has been pushing for digital payments and transactions through the banking channel so as to promote a ‘less-cash’ economy.Jaitley said some people have problem in accepting the fact that transactions through the digital mode and banking instruments are going to witness a rapid growth as compared to cash dealings.At the inauguration of the new building of Punjab National Bank (PNB) head office here, Jaitley said: “Excessive dependence on cash has its own cost.”It is not just cost but there is a curse of cash. It has impact on both society and economy.”He said there is a clear change taking place as to how India and Indians are spending money and the change is only in one direction.It will not happen abruptly but the movement towards a less-cash economy is very clear, he said, adding that it will lead to more deposits with banks, increasing their lending ability at affordable rates.Banking is the life line of the economy and it will gain further importance in the coming days, he said.A healthy banking system will help support growth of the economy, he added.Jaitley also launched two products of the PNB — Rupay Credit Card and e-Rupaya.Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla asked banks to focus on rural India and work towards improving customer experience.He also said that managements of banks should focus on welfare of their employees.

Like in Mahabharata, Gujarat elections is a battle between truth and fabrication: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress VP on Thursday speaking in tribal dominated Valsad severely attacked BJP’s economic record in Gujarat and the country. He also pitted the entire Gujarat contest as a pitch battle between truth and fabrication. He said, ” In Gujarat, the battle is between truth and fabrication. Around six crore people feel something, and those who run Gujarat and their businessmen friend think something else. For 22 years, people listened to them and gave your land, electricity. You were promised education, health, jobs.” However nothing happened in reality, according to Congress VP. Rahul Gandhi said that people gave BJP government resources, but didn’t get anything in return. Pitting it as a war of ethics like Mahabharata, he refers to the incident when Krishna tried to broker peace between Kauravas and Pandavas but failed as Dhuryadhan spurned the offer. According to Rahul Gandhi, similarly like Kauravas, PM Modi has army, police, central government and power in states like MP, Goa, Chhattisgarh etc, whereas he has only the power of truth. Rahul says that power is shared by all common people of Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi accused the Gujarat government of only being friendly towards select businessmen ignoring plight of the poor people. According to Rahul Gandhi, adivasis, Patidard and virtually every segment of the society have been deprived by the government. Rahul Gandhi also tried to puncture holes in PM Modi’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ program, and said how Chinese companies are gaining in behest of Indians. He said that job generation has dipped to an alarming low owing to Make in India. He said not even 1 lakh people get job every year in India. Congress VP also accused the BJP government of land grab without using a large part of it for any industry.Congress VP said that BJP tried to tinker with the land acquisition act but couldn’t manage it owing to their opposition. Rahul Gandhi said that PM speaks about many things but is silent about Gabbar Singh Tax (GST).

Missing Indians in Iraq: Survivor who returned home believes compatriots were killed by ISIS terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirty-year-old survivor Harjit Masih, who managed to return from Iraq, today again repeated his claims that all his fellow Indians were killed by the ISIS terrorists there.”Why the government is not accepting the reality and giving proper information about the 39 Indians to their kins? If the government says all Indians are safe, why has it not produced any of them in all these three years! Moreover, what will I get by not telling truth,” Masih said talking to reporters here.He maintained that the 39 abducted Indians had been killed by the ISIS.”I still pray to God that my claim proves wrong,” he further said.Masih, who was abducted along with 39 other Indians in Iraq in 2014, had claimed that they were shot by militants few days after they were abducted.However, Masih resident of Kala Afghana village here, managed to return to India after giving a slip to his abductors in 2014 after being shot in his feet.The samples of the families of missing Indians were being collected the district authorities in Punjab.Health authorities here yesterday collected DNA samples of the family members of three of the 39 Indians missing in Iraq to ascertain their identities.A total of 39 Indians had been missing in Iraq since 2014. Among them, 22 were from Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Jalandhar in Punjab.

PM Modi celebrates Diwali on LoC with soldiers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Saluting the bravery of troops, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the presence of brave soldiers at the border lights the lamp of hope.”I have an opportunity to spend Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians,” Modi said.He was addressing the troops of the army and Border Security Force (BSF) in the Gurez Valley along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district after arriving here on Thursday morning to celebrate Diwali with soldiers whom he termed his family.This is the fourth successive Diwali that the PM has celebrated with the jawans on the borders. Modi said, like everyone else, he too wished to spend Diwali with his family. Therefore, he had come to meet the jawans, whom he considers family.”Glad to have celebrated Diwali with our brave Army and BSF Jawans in the Gurez Valley, Jammu and Kashmir…,” he tweeted.”Our Forces protect our Motherland with utmost valour, displaying highest traditions of sacrifice and dedication,” he added.Donning an army camouflage jacket, the Prime Minister mingled with soldiers and exchanged sweets to celebrate Diwali.The Prime Minister also expressed happiness that the soldiers were practicing yoga regularly. “Spending time with our Forces gives me new energy. We exchanged sweets & interacted. Happy to know the Jawans practice Yoga regularly”, he said.Modi also had a word of advice for the troops, who leave the force after serving for some years, to train themselves as yoga trainers. “Yoga has played a big and important part in my life. I get a lot of energy from it. People also ask me how I run in this age. Those who desire to leave the army after three or five years, they should train themselves in their last tenure as yoga trainer”, he said.On One Rank One Pension (OROP), Modi said this question was hanging for the last 40 years, but they have done it.”I said I have to do it but I did not have money. I therefore separated it in three parts… You will be surprised and you will be happy. I was happy when the officers of the army said do not worry and if you want to divide it in four parts, do it because we do not want to become a burden on the nation. I am happy today that we have done it and the army has supported us”, he said.PM’s note“Protecting the Motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation’s borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication.” “I have an opportunity to spend Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians.”

Twitter praises PM Modi for celebrating Diwali with jawans in Gurez sector

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today celebrated Diwali with troops posted along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gurez Sector and lauded the soldiers for their penance and sacrifice saying he considers them his family.In an unannounced visit, Modi arrived at Gurez this morning to celebrate Diwali with the army and BSF soldiers posted along the LoC, officials said.He spent two hours with the soldiers in Gurez valley, which is shouting distance of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and has witnessed many gunfights with infiltrating militants in the past 27 years.This is the fourth successive Diwali that the prime minister has celebrated with jawans on the border.Chief of the Army Staff Gen B S Rawat and other senior army officers were present on the occasion.Modi offered sweets and exchanged greetings with the jawans, the officials said.Addressing the jawans, he said like everyone else, he too wishes to spend Diwali with his family.Therefore, he had come among the jawans of the armed forces, whom he considers to be his “family”, he said.Modi said he gets new energy when he spends time among the jawans and soldiers of the armed forces and appreciated their penance and sacrifice, amid harsh conditions.The prime minister said that he had been told that the jawans present at the gathering regularly practice yoga.He said that this would definitely enhance their abilities, and give them a sense of calm.He said jawans, who leave the armed forces after completing their duty tenure, can become excellent yoga trainers subsequently.The prime minister spoke of the new resolve that each Indian citizen must make for 2022, the 75th anniversary of independence.He also encouraged the jawans to innovate, so that their routine tasks and duties become easier and safer and mentioned how best innovations are now being recognised and awarded at the Army Day, Navy Day, and Air Force Day.Modi said the Centre is committed to the welfare and the betterment of the Armed Forces, in every way possible.In this regard, he mentioned the implementation of One Rank, One Pension, which had been pending for decades.Protecting the motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation’s borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication, Modi said.”I have an opportunity to spend the festival of Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians,” the prime minister wrote in the visitors’ book.”To accomplish the dream of ‘New India’, this is a golden opportunity for all of us to work together. The Army too is a part of it,” he added.

PIL seeking to treat Vande Mataram at par with Jana Gana Mana dismissed by Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A PIL seeking direction to treat the national song ‘Vande Mataram’, authored by poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, at par with the national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was today dismissed by the Delhi High Court.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that though it agreed with the petitioner’s view, but it cannot grant the relief sought.”Though we agree with the petitioner that ‘Vande Mataram’ be recognised by the respondent as equal to ‘Jana Gana Mana’.We are of the view that we are unable to grant the relief sought in the petition,” the bench said.The court’s order came on a plea of Delhi resident Gautam R Morarka, who had urged the bench that directions be given to the Centre in this regard so that proper dignity and respect can be maintained when ‘Vande Mataram’ is played or sung.The Centre had opposed the plea saying ‘Vande Mataram’ occupies a “unique and special place” in the psyche of Indians but it cannot be treated at par with ‘Jana Gana Mana’, penned by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.Seeking dismissal of the PIL, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said the plea that ‘Vande Mataram’ be treated on par with ‘Jana Gana Mana’ cannot be accepted.The PIL had also sought a direction to amend the 1971 National Honour Act accordingly to ensure equal respect for ‘Vande Mataram’.The MHA had said that on the petitioner’s representation and subsequent PIL, it had set up a committee which had met on March 29, 2016 and recommended that status quo be maintained in this regard.The panel had expressed hope that every citizen would remember the historic role of ‘Vande Mataram’ in the freedom struggle and show due respect to it whenever it is played or sung, it had said.”It has become synonymous with valour, dedication and love for one’s motherland and does not require any crutches to hold it (the song) in the heads and hearts of India’s citizenry,” the MHA had said.Morarka in his plea had said even in 1950, the then President of India had said that ‘Vande Mataram’ shall be honoured equally with ‘Jana Gana Mana’.

16 Indians on board Emerald Star rescued, 10 still missing: Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The government was using aircraft and vessels to search for 10 Indian crew members, who went missing after their cargo ship sank in the Pacific off the Philippines last week, the external affairs ministry said today.They also said that five Indian crew members of ‘Emerald Star’ are in Irene, the Philippines, and the country’s mission is bringing them to Manila before repatriation to India.”Officials from our Guangzhou Consulate visited the injured Indian crew of ‘Emerald Star’ in a Xiamen hospital. 11 crew members are in Xiamen. Search for missing 10 crew members still ongoing using aircraft and vessels. We will keep posting regular updates on further developments,” ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.Separately, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a series of tweets, said there were 26 Indians on board the ship, of them 16 have been rescued and 10 are still missing.”Indian Embassy in Japan has informed me that a helicopter and 2 patrol vessels of Japan Coast Guard are engaged in search/rescue operations,” she said.The minister said the Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft has reached Manila and joined the search and rescue operation for the missing Indians. P8I is a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.On Friday, the 33,205-tonne cargo ship Emerald Star with 26 Indian nationals on board sank off Okinawa. While 16 Indians were rescued, a search for the missing crew members was launched by Indian missions in the Philippines, Japan and China to locate them.

85% Indians support government, 27% want a strong leader: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than four-fifths of Indian citizens trust their government, but interestingly, a majority of Indians also support military rule and autocracy, a latest Pew survey said on Monday.”In India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9% since 2012, 85% (of people) trust their national government,” Pew Research said in a report based on its survey on governance and trust among key countries across the world.Notably, in India, which has strong democratic credentials since the last seven decades, according to Pew, a majority (55%) of its people support autocracy in one way or the other.In fact, more than one-fourth (27%) of them want a strong leader.Nearly half of Russians (48%) back governance by a strong leader, but rule by a strong leader is generally unpopular, it said.A global median of 26% say a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing.Roughly seven-in-10 (71%) say it would be a bad type of governance.India is one of the three countries in the Asia Pacific region where people support technocracy.”Asian-Pacific publics generally back rule by experts, particularly people in Vietnam (67%), India (65%) and the Philippines (62%),” it said.Only Australians are notably wary as 57% say it would be a bad way to govern, and only 41% support governance by experts, the report said.According to the survey, roughly half of both Indians (53%) and South Africans (52%), who live in nations that often hold themselves up as democratic exemplars for their regions, say military rule would be a good thing for their countries.But in these societies, older people (those aged 50 and older) are the least supportive of the army running the country, and they are the ones who either personally experienced the struggle to establish democratic rule or are the immediate descendants of those democratic pioneers, Pew said.Only one in 10 in Europe back military rule. Pew said more than half in each of the 38 nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country.Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to non-democratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader, or the military.

American cricket gets ready for take-off

Could a new generation of immigrants help cricket finally crack America?

11 Indians missing after cargo ship sinks off Philippines; 15 rescued so far

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eleven Indian crew members went missing on Friday after their cargo ship sank in the Pacific off the Philippines, prompting Indian missions in the Philippines, Japan and China to launch a search for them.External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said these missions were regularly monitoring the situation.”Fifteen Indians rescued, search on for missing 11 following sinking of a ship off Okinawa. Our Missions in Japan, Philippines and China on the job,” he tweeted.He also said the names of the rescued Indians as received from Japanese officials.According to a statement from the Japanese coastguard, the 33,205-tonne Emerald Star with 26 Indian nationals on board sent a distress signal early today as the Hong Kong- registered vessel was sailing some 280 kilometres east of the northern tip of the Philippines. ​

Indians in Nigeria upset over violence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the recent incident of a Nigerian being tied and brutally thrashed by mob for an alleged theft, Indians living in Nigeria are now concerned as they say the public broadcast of such incidents sparks threat and tension for them on foreign land. In March this year, following a series of such untoward incidents against Nigerians, ‘The Indian Cultural Association’, in Nigeria had written to the high commission of India in Nigeria, drawing their attention towards irresponsible conduct of media in such incidents.As DNA spoke to Indians living in Nigeria over the repercussions, they said that the community is concerned, even though thy have not been mistreated in this manner so far. Gulrez Singh, an Indian origin man based in Port Harcourt in the southern part of Nigeria, said this incident is even worse than the last time a Nigerian man was assaulted in public and no one came for his rescue. “Many of my friends are still trying to process what we saw in the video. But this crossed the line, in my opinion. Something needs to be done,” Singh said.

India Supreme Court bans fireworks in Delhi ahead of Diwali

The court says it wants to test if banning fireworks will make a difference to Delhi’s air quality.

Modi is PM on TV only: Ghulam Nabi Azad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was the “prime minister on TV only”.Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, was addressing a Congress programme to mark the 100th birth anniversary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.He said Modi keeps on asking what the Congress has done for the country in the last 70 years.”I would like to tell him that in 1940s, India had a population of 20 crore and due to scarcity of food, 10 lakh people had died in Bengal.”But now none of the 120 crore Indians are dying due to food shortage and food crops are being exported to many countries too. This is what we (Congress) have done in the last 70 years,” Azad said.”You (Modi) are the prime minister on TV only. Our prime minister (from the Congress) were on ground,” he said.Azad said the BJP had promised 10 crore jobs but instead 15 crore people have been rendered jobless under this government.Attacking those leaders who have left the Congress, Azad said he himself could have become a Cabinet minister (by joining the ruling party) but his ideology does not allow him to leave the Congress.”People who leave one party for another do not have any ideology. This needs to be stopped,” he said.He praised Indira Gandhi saying that when the USA had refused to send food crop supplies in 1970s, she had spoken about green revolution which helped increase food production.Congress state president Raj Babbar, senior party leaders Mohsina Kidwai, Sanjay Singh and others were also present on the occasion.

Navjot Singh Sidhu visits Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village, checks in on work on memorial and museum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking note of the reports of delay in the completion of the memorial of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and a museum named after him, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu today paid a visit to Khatkar Kalan to take stock of the progress of the twin projects.Khatkar Kalan in Nawanshahr district is the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh.After inspecting the projects and holding discussions with Director, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Sidhu said both the projects would be completed by March 23 (the day 23-year-old Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British government in 1931) next year.Dhillon would personally supervise the progress of the projects, he added.Interacting with reporters, the tourism and cultural affairs minister said a tourism policy was being prepared by his department with an intent to develop the places connected to the freedom fighters of the state as tourist attractions.He described Bhagat Singh as an institution in himself who would continue to inspire generation after generation of Indians.The cricketer-turned-politician said he was greatly influenced by the freedom fighter since his childhood as his mother used to tell him stories about Bhagat Singh.Asked about the non-payment of the electricity bill of the freedom fighter’s ancestral house and the adjoining park, Sidhu wrote a cheque of Rs 2.5 lakh in favour of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited from his personal account and handed it over to Deputy Commissioner Sonali Giri.The minister also said he would take up the issue of launching a special bus service for Khatkar Kalan and stoppage of buses on longer routes at the village with the department concerned.He promised to make a “permanent arrangement” as regards an approach road for the proposed memorial and museum, park etc., besides ensuring their cleanliness and maintenance, including payment of electricity bills.Earlier, the minister paid floral tributes at the statue of Bhagat Singh and the memorial of the freedom fighter’s father, Kishan Singh here.At the ancestral house of Bhagat Singh, he keenly saw the articles associated with the freedom fighter and also paid a visit to the park adjoining it.Sidhu described Bhagat Singh as his “biggest inspiration” and vowed to follow the path shown by him, while writing a few words in the visitor’s book at the museum.

‘Personalised digital mktg in India in its infancy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Personailsed digital marketing is still in its infancy in India and has a long way to go, said a top official from Facebook on Friday. He noted that almost every urban Indian is now on mobile which is an extremely important development from the marketing perspective.”There are close to 21.6 crore Indians in urban areas and they matter a lot from the marketing perspective,” said Sandeep Bhushan, director of consumer and media at Facebook. However, he pointed out that the challenge lies in providing them with relevant content.In comparison with conventional platforms of mass media, he noted that a marketing campaign on the internet can be better targeted, monitored and monetised.”This can help you charge a premium for your products,” he said and explained, “If you target an ad to iPhone users in metro cities and package your product accordingly, there are chances that many will buy it.”

Everything he wrote is in national interest: Shatrughan Sinha speaks up for ‘elder brother’ Yashwant Sinha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bihar MP, who has been at variance with the BJP’s stand on a host of issues, also targeted his party leaders for dismissing the former finance minister’s views, saying it would be “childish” to do so as they were “entirely in the party’s and national interest”.Taking a dig at the government in a series of tweets, he claimed motives were being ascribed to Yashwant’s observations and “we all know that the infamous and pervasive dirty tricks department” was behind them.The cine star-turned-parliamentarian quoted Narendra Modi, saying the prime minister had recently reiterated that the nation was bigger than the party and the national interest came first.
ALSO READ Can’t blame previous govt, we had full opportunity: Yashwant Sinha on economic slowdown”I’m of the firm opinion that everything that has been written by Mr Sinha is entirely in the party’s and national interest,” he tweeted.”He is a true statesman and a tried and tested man of wisdom, who has proven himself as one of the best and most successful finance ministers of the country. He has shown the mirror on the economic condition of India and has hit the nail right on the head,” he said.
ALSO READ ‘Sweeping conclusions drawn from narrow set of facts’: Jayant Sinha after father Yashwant’s attack on economyDescribing Yashwant as an elder brother, he said the BJP veteran must be appreciated and applauded for coming out with these views.In his tweets, Shatrughan also praised Arun Shourie, who was Yashwant’s colleague in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet and now has become a strong critic of the Modi government’s policies.”Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie are extremely learned and experienced intellectuals. Neither has any expectation or interest in being given a post (or mininstership), especially with the next elections less than 2 years away,” he tweeted.He said those criticising Yashwant should rebut him point by point.”Sadly, I’m yet to hear even one point by point rebuttal.Hope, wish and pray that all those people who matter in our party ponder over what has been said by Yashwant Sinha and remedial action is taken soon. Sooner the better. Long live BJP/NDA,” he posted on the micro-blogging website.In a newspaper article headlined, “I need to speak up now”, Yashwant had criticised criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over what he called the “mess the finance minister has made of the economy” and flayed demonetisation and the way the GST had been rolled out. Earlier Jayant Sinha, the minister of state for civil aviation, in an apparent reference to his father’s critical piece, said several articles have been written on the challenges facing the Indian economy.”Unfortunately, these articles draw sweeping conclusions from a narrow set of facts, and quite simply miss the fundamental structural reforms that are transforming the economy,” Jayant said.”Moreover, one or two quarters of GDP growth and other macro data are quite inadequate to evaluate the long-term impact of the structural reforms underway,” he said.Jayant also said these structural reforms were not just desirable, they were necessary to create a ‘New India’ and provide good jobs.”The new economy that is being created will be much more transparent, globally cost-competitive, and innovation driven.Importantly, the new economy will also be much more equitable, thereby enabling all Indians to lead better lives,” he said.Jayant also claimed that the structural reforms unleashed by the Modi government since 2014 constitute the third generation of reforms, after the first in 1991 and the second in 1999-2004 NDA government.Unlike the first and second generation of reforms, he said the third generation of reforms “balances a better life for all Indians with the requirements of an advanced, sophisticated 21st century economy”.”We are creating a robust new economy that will power long-term growth and job creation for ‘New India’,” he added.With inputs from PTI

WATCH: On #WorldTourismDay, Kiren Rijiju shares a song composed by Anu Malik on Arunachal’s diversity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This year, the United Nations General Assembly announced that tourism can contribute to all the three dimensions of its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) plan. In doing so, they announced 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Tourism, they believe, can contribute to all the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With India following the UN’s SDG plan, a number of states have worked to make themselves more tourist-friendly, and in the process have asked people to explore unexplored sections of the nation, to showcase the idea of Incredible India.One state that has received a lot of attention because of its rich biodiversity is Arunachal Pradesh. With several sites encouraging tourism, and the state, too, working on developing its tourism board, tens and thousands of Indians and international tourists have explored this mysterious northeastern state.On Wednesday, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju tweeted the rich biodiversity of Arunachal Pradesh and tagged music composer Anu Malik for composing a song on its rich and varied heritage.Check the video here

Madame Tussauds to be thrown open on Dec 1

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The much-awaited Madame Tussauds museum, to be housed in the Regal building at Connaught Place (CP), will open doors to the public on December 1. The musuem will house wax figures of national and international celebrities — Madhubala, Amitabh Bachchan, Lionel Messi, Michael Jackson, Kapil Dev among others — 50 of which will be displayed at the opening.“Madame Tussauds will serve its Indian guests with a unique and fun-filled experience, especially strategised and developed for them. With the opening of the attraction, Indians will behold a new era of entertainment, allowing them to own their moment of red carpet in showbiz,” Sabia Gulati, head of sales and marketing, Madame Tussauds Delhi, said.The attraction will have a genre for every age group, offering visitors a fusion of rich Indian culture with international appeal. As a precursor to the opening, wax figures of many celebrities were unveiled, the latest being India’s sprint legend Milkha Singh. The figure, to be displayed in the sports zone, has been created by highly skilled artistes from Madame Tussauds from more than 300 measurements and photographs during the sitting sessions with ‘the Flying Sikh’. It is sculpted in a spectacular sprint pose chosen from his victorious win at the Common Wealth Games in 1958. Madame Tussauds also launched pre-booking offers for tickets online, Rs 860 for adults and Rs 660 for children. The pre-booked tickets are flexible as it is valid for a year from the day of purchase and allows guest to visit at any time of their choice. After the opening of the attraction, the tickets will be dated tickets, priced at Rs 960 for adults and Rs 760 for children.

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More than 10% Indians lie on resume to get jobs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than ten percent of the Indians lie on their resume while applying for jobs. These include details on education, criminal records, and even residential address.While this number is very low as compared to other countries like the US, which has 25 per cent discrepancies, experts say this could be because the number of checks carried out in India are low.Out of the total numbers of people who give false information before applying for a job, 10 per cent turned out to be faking about completing a course, 5 per cent were from fake universities and almost 50 per cent had submitted fake documents. This data has been collected by First Advantage, a global background screening agency, largest in India.Background screening, which is the practice of verifying background information of a prospective employee is a 10-year-old practice but not followed much in India. “In India, background screening is done only by IT industries, finance firms and banks. Off late, we have also seen traction developing in sectors like hospitality and manufacturing,” said Purushotam Savlani, SVP and Managing Director of First Advantage India.”There are various checks while verifying the resume of a candidate, like education, past employment and criminal history. Educational discrepancies are taken very seriously, specially in fields like IT and Finance because if a person lies about having a skill that he/she does not have, technical work, which needs to be done by a specialist will suffer,” Savlani added.As per the data shared by the agency, the discrepancy versus verified percentage for 2011, 2012 and 2013 was at 10 per cent. In 2014 it had risen to 10.5 per cent. In 2015 it has further risen to 11.6 per cent. During 2016 it fell to 11.1 percent and further to 10.6 percent, in the first half of 2017.”Developed countries like the US, New Zealand and Australia have a high discrepancy rate because of the awareness among employers there. In India, background verification is a nascent industry with growing need and awareness. The number of checks carried out in India are significantly lower, some employers believe that background screening as an additional unnecessary expense,” he added.GROWING TRENDIn India, background screening is done only by IT, finance firms and banks.
The trend is now spreading to hospitality and manufacturing sectors.

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