New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah figures in all the Cabinet committees constituted by the government, a development that highlights his importance in the second Modi dispensation.While Shah is a member of all the eight committees, details of which were released by the government on Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s name figured in all but one of them. The government has reconstituted six committees to reflect the changes in the new dispensation and formed two new Cabinet panels to deal with issues like investment, growth, employment and skill development, amid concerns over an economic slowdown. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twistDefence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was the home minister in the preceding government and member of six committees, is now a member of only two panels – economic affairs and security. He is not a member of the cabinet committee on political affairs. The induction of Shah, who is also the BJP president, in the government has led many political observers to believe that he will be the second most powerful person in the new dispensation. The new appointment has further cemented his position. Shah had chaired an informal meeting of several Cabinet ministers, including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, besides Sitharaman, on June 4 over crude oil related issues.
Hong Kong: A contentious extradition bill at the centre of a political crisis in Hong Kong looks increasingly likely to be delayed, with a top adviser to the citys leader on Friday suggesting that it will be impossible to rush it through the legislature. “I think it is impossible to discuss (the bill) under such confrontation. It would be very difficult,” the South China Morning Post quoted Executive Council convenor Bernard Chan as saying. “At the very least we should not escalate the antagonism.” Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’ Chan advised Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s government to re-evaluate the situation in light of violent clashes between police and protesters after a mass rally against the bill brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets. Chan also admitted he had underestimated the backlash from the business community over the proposed legislation, which would allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions that Hong Kong does not have an extradition agreement with, including mainland China. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China The adviser’s statement comes after tens of thousands of protesters, mostly in their 20s, on Wednesday brought part of the city to a standstill by occupying key roads to besiege the legislature and prevent it from debating bill, reports the South China Morning Post. The protest ended in clashes with police, which left more than 80 people injured as officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds to disperse the crowd. Eleven people were arrested. Before the protests escalated on Wednesday, Lam had insisted the government would push ahead with the bill.
Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, whose Bharat has minted over Rs 150 crore at the Indian box office, says he gets scared when film critics praise his work as most of the time he gets validation of his work only from his fans who contribute to his movies’ collections. In an interaction with the media here, Salman said: “I get scared when critics praise my work because usually their thinking does not match with mine or that of my audience. So I wonder why are they giving stars to my film and writing good things about my work?” Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography”Having said that, in recent times, the kind of films that I have done, I did those because I loved those stories. Also when I do a film, I have a few parameters… I want people to come to the theatre, forget their worries and when they leave the theatre, become happy, with a sense of heroism, or become a better human being… at least (have) the thought of (being) a better human being.” Who is his biggest critic? “My father is the greatest critic of my work. So he said, ‘Ab bhul jao, so jao… picture bahut badi hit hai (Now forget about it, go to sleep… the film is a hit)’ but that is it, he will not come and praise my performance in front of me. I never get a chance to hear any compliment from him. Very rarely, he says, ‘Achha kaam kia (you’ve done well)’. Nothing more than that,” he said.
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday sworn in seven-term member of Parliament Virendra Kumar as the protem speaker of Lok Sabha. Kumar will oversee the oath-taking of newly elected LS members on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, as soon as a new speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha is elected, his role will cease to exist. Kumar, 65, won the Lok Sabha election from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh on a BJP ticket. He was a minister of state in the previous Modi government. As pro-tem speaker, Kumar will preside over the first sitting of the Lok Sabha and administer the oath to the newly elected MPs. He will also oversee the election of the Lok Sabha speaker. The first session of the newly constituted Lok Sabha will be held from June 17 to July 26.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government decided to keep nearly 10 panic alarm buttons on every government bus. The newly formed women taskforce and with the meetings between senior officials this was decided. The buses will also have a two-way communication system with the central monitoring room to ensure the security of women.The government will form a central monitoring system to take care of the issues raised by the passengers by pressing these alarms. The alarms would be made in such a way that within four seconds of pressing the panic button a siren will ring at the monitoring centre. The sources in the Delhi government said the Chief Secretary took a meeting with the Transport Department and also with the Home Department in order to decide on the matter. “Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after the Lok Sabha election directed all the department to end the pending works by 2020 thereafter the meeting was held in priority. The new buses will start to come from the next month. These buses will have a panic button and also GPS and also two way communication system,” said an official. Through two-way communication systems the bus drivers, security officials or conductors can directly interact with the control room. According to the sources from the control room, the issues will be immediately sent to the police. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkRecently LG Anil Baijal also advised Chief Secretary to monitor the installation work of panic buttons in public transport to ensure completion in a time-bound manner. The Delhi government has also formed a task force to monitor the norms of women safety in public transport. The Task Force, constituted with the approval of Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, has been entrusted with the task of evaluating and monitoring of various initiatives taken by the Government in the direction of women safety, including installation of CCTV and Panic buttons in buses, and strengthening the Delhi Government’s flagship ‘Bus Marshal scheme’, which has been in place in all Government run DTC buses since 2015. The transport department recently opened bids to run low-floor buses on three different route clusters and shortlisted companies on the basis of their technical and financial capabilities and rates offered. The department will soon put up the details for the consideration of Delhi Cabinet and, once approved, the agreement will be signed with the private players.
New Delhi: “Yoga connects all religions for the betterment of the body, mind, and soul of mankind,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday as he inaugurated the New Delhi Municipal Council’s monumental International Yoga Day event, held at Rajpath in the Capital city. The mass Yoga event was organised by the NDMC in collaboration with the Ministry of AYUSH to celebrate the 5th International Yoga Day.Prominent dignitaries such as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal, Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and several other Union Ministers joined Singh in performing various Yoga poses to celebrate the occasion. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkThe Defence Minister said, “When Yoga connects with karma, it had emerged into a big and strong force for the wellness of mankind and helps to transform a strong and prosperous nation. Calling upon the gathering, the Minister said that an amalgamation of Yoga and Karma might be helpful for making India a Vishawguru. And today not only the Indians but people of over 177 countries have been performing Yoga protocol with letter and spirit.” Traffic was also restricted around New Delhi in the day and mats were also rolled out at Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park, and Talkatora Garden, among other NDMC areas. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsWhile Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice, Communication and IT, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railway, Commerce, and Industry and Jayant Sinha, former Union Minister and Member Parliament along with Shri BS Bhati, Member NDMC performed Yoga at Lodhi Garden, Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Steel, Petroleum and Natural Gas performed Yoga Protocol at Talkatora Garden with the volunteers of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, RWAs and MTAs of New Delhi area. Around 18,000 participants including VIPs, Art of Living, Patanjali Yoga Samiti, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Vivekananda Yogashram Hospital, Parjapati Brahamakumari, Isha Foundation, Gayatri Parivar, Delhi Police, CISF, diplomats, the general public and NDMC and other government officials performed common yoga postures at Rajpath.
New Delhi: ICICI Lombard General Insurance Friday reported a 7.1 per cent rise in its net profit at Rs 310 crore for the first quarter ended June 2019. The general insurer had posted a net profit of Rs 289 crore in the corresponding April-June period of previous fiscal. The company’s gross direct premium income (GDPI) fell 7.6 per cent to Rs 3,487 crore during June quarter of 2019-20 as against Rs 3,774 crore in the year ago period, it said in a regulatory filing. Excluding crop segment, the company said its GDPI grew by 17.7 per cent to Rs 3,488 crore from Rs 2,964 crore a year ago, which was higher than the industry growth (excluding crop segment) of 13.6 per cent. ICICI Lombard offers products such as motor, health, crop, fire, personal accident, marine, engineering and liability insurance. Shares of the company Friday closed 1.98 per cent lower at Rs 1,070.60 on the BSE.
New Delhi: Describing Imran Khan’s statement that about 30,000-40,000 “armed people” who fought in Kashmir or Afghanistan were still in Pakistan as “glaring admission”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday said it is time for Islamabad to take “credible and irreversible action” against terror groups.”It is a glaring admission by the Pakistani leadership,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing. The MEA’s response came a day after the Pakistan Prime Minister admitted that about 30,000-40,000 “armed people”, who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir, were in Pakistan and accused the previous governments of not telling the truth to the US about the militant groups operating in the country. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”Until we came into power, the governments did not have the political will, because when you talk about militant groups, we still have about 30,000-40,000 armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir,” Khan had said during his appearance at the US Institute of Peace, a US-Congress funded think-tank, on Tuesday. India and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of providing safe haven to the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant groups, which carry out attacks in two countries. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Kumar also said that Indian authorities are in touch with their Pakistani counterparts to provide consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav whose death sentence by a Pakistan military court was suspended by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week. “We expect that full consular access should be granted to Kulbhushan Jadhav at the earliest in full compliance with the ICJ’s judgment. We are in touch with Pakistani authorities in this regard and as and when there is an update, we will let you know,” he said. Playing down the controversy over US President Donald Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue, Kumar said it is time to move on. The MEA spokesperson asserted that India’s relationship with US remains very strong. (With inputs from Indian Express)
New Delhi: The ED is set to initiate a money-laundering probe against Samajwadi Party Lok Sabha MP Azam Khan under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, based on allegations of land-grabbing.The Enforcement Directorate has asked for details of 28 FIRs, where allegations of land-grabbing have been levelled against the Rampur parliamentarian, by farmers in the area, a source in the know said. The financial probe agency can register an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) only after taking cognizance of an FIR registered by another law enforcement agency. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Some of these FIRs, details of which the ED has asked for, have been registered on complaints from farmers who claimed that Khan had grabbed their land for purposes related to the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University. The ED will consider the details of these allegations, based on which it is expected to initiate its probe soon. Khan was recently put on an online list of land mafia by the district administration of Rampur, to which both the Khan and his party had cried foul, saying that the MP was being framed. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIn fact, the District Magistrate (Administration) JP Gupta had said that the Rampur MP had been included in the list of anti-land mafia portal, owing to the FIRs registered against him on land-grabbing charges. District Magistrate AK Singh had said that the “farmers had claimed that Azam Khan had acquired their land for the university though coercion”. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had at the time, alleged that Rampur had become an example of “land-grabbing” culture under the SP-led government. Khan was the senior-most Cabinet Minister in the Akhilesh Yadav-led government and held portfolios such as Urban Development, Minority Welfare, and many others. However, the SP has maintained that the move to add Khan to the list was a conspiracy by the Rampur DM to defame the MP and the university.
New Delhi: Ninety per cent of the states have supported retaining death penalty in the country, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Friday where a private member’s bill seeking abolition of capital punishment came up for consideration.Responding to the debate, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the government is examining the issue and is yet to take a final call. In August 2015, the Law Commission had recommended abolition of death penalties except in cases of terrorism and waging war against India. Since, the matter falls within the concurrent list of the constitution, the centre had sought the opinion of states in October 2015. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’After several reminders, 14 states and 5 Union Territories responded. “90 per cent want to retain death penalty except one state,” Reddy said. No society wants to kill a person, but on the other side there are some heinous crimes like Nirbhaya also within the same society, the minister said. “The government is seized of the matter and is examining this issue. It may take a view on the report after reaching a broad consensus on this matter,” said Reddy. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOver concerns that in some cases innocent and poor people could be wrongly convicted, the minister told the Members said that the country’s constitution has provided several tiers of steps to safeguard the innocents. “If a trial court awards capital punishment, then it could be appealed before the High Court and then to the governor of state. If governor also rejects, then he can appeal before the Supreme Court and finally before the President of India,” Reddy said. He further said: “Death penalty is given only in exceptional and unavoidable situations.” Citing the Nation Crime Records Bureau, the minister said that capital punishment was given to only one person each in 2012 and 2013 respectively, while it was zero in 2014 and one in 2015. “The President of India has received 135 mercy petitions, in which 34 was dismissed, 91 were allowed and one file is still pending,” he added. The minister further said that two days ago, the same House had passed The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which had provisions of death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children. There is also demand of capital punishments across the country, the minister said, while referring to Nirbhaya case. Reddy further said Afzal Guru, who was hanged, had planned to attack on the same parliament in which we are sitting today. To protect the Parliament, nine people were martyred and the families of those people also had “fundamental rights.” The Abolition of Capital Punishment bill was moved by Congress member Pradeep Tamta. Tamta called for proper investigation and police reforms apart from ensuring time-bound compensation to the victims. He said the government should examine the Law Commission’s report, and observed that globally, sentiments were against capital punishment. While participating in the debate, Ashok Bajpai said the society needs capital punishment as it acts as deterrent against the serious and heinous crimes. Although, very few people are given capital punishment, as execution of Afzal Guru was 53rd since independence, but it has fear and pressure on the criminals. P L Punia said that 140 countries have no provisions of capital punishment and 33 countries have not awarded capital punishment in the last 10 years. Ram Gopal Yadav of SP said capital punishment does not act as a deterrent against crime. Prasanna Acharya of BJD, Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD, Satyanarayan Jatiya of BJP, Amar Patnaik of BJD and L Hanumanthaiah of INC also participated in the debate.
Mumbai: On anticipated lines, the beleaguered Maharashtra Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party lost four sitting legislators, one former Minister, a state-level woman leader and other activists as they crossed over to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here on Wednesday, party sources said. Seven-time Congress legislator Kalidas Kolambkar (Wadala in south Mumbai), NCP’s Sandeep Naik (Airoli), Vaibhav Pichad (Akole) and Shivendra Raje Bhosale (Satara) on Tuesday quit their parties and legislative seats. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Besides, state NCP’s women’s wing President Chitra Wagh also joined the BJP to a huge round of applause. All the newcomers were welcomed to the party fold by state BJP President Chandrakant Patil and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mumbai BJP chief M.P. Lodha, cabinet ministers and senior party leaders at a function here on Wednesday morning. Patil assured that all the new entrants would be given suitable roles befitting their stature in the party as he hinted at more walkovers from the Opposition to the BJP before the Assembly elections to be held in October. The crossover of these opposition leaders took place a day before Fadnavis embarks on his state-wide ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’ to kickstart the poll campaign.
Greater Noida: A week after two men from Rabupura area of Greater Noida went missing while they had gone to Haryana, the police have found their semi decomposed bodies from a jungle near Delhi-Haryana border. Police have arrested four persons in connection with the case.The two men, identified as Nareshpal (35) and Aslam (32), both natives of Rabupura area, went missing when they had gone to Ballabhgarh area in Haryana on July 31st. Police received a missing complaint from the family who informed that the tractor through they had travelled to Haryana was found parked in Dankaur area with their belongings like shoes and clothes lying in it. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe family suspected that both the men have been kidnapped. When police failed to trace the missing men, their kin blocked traffic near Jewar toll plaza at Yamuna Expressway on August 3. Vaibhav Krishna, Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Buddh Nagar said that the throats of both the men were slit with knife and they had injuries all over the body. “The family had suspected involvement of some persons from their village and Rabupura police successfully nabbed the accused persons who confessed to have committed the crime. The accused told police that they have dumped the bodies at a jungle from where police recovered them. The bodies were partially decomposed and have multiple injury marks all over the body. The accused have used some sharp and blunt object to slit their throat,” said Krishna. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAccording to police, the arrested accused have been identified as Shafiq, Muzammal, Kalua and Salman, all natives of Rabupura area. “Upon interrogating the accused, they told police that accused Shafiq was keeping grudges against Nareshpal since his employer had kept Nareshpal as his driver and relieved Shafiq from the job. Shafiq plotted conspiracy to take revenge and involved three of his other friends into the crime,” added Krishna. Police have recovered two knifes that were used in the crime and Rs 15, 000 cash that was looted from the deceased persons:
“It has been adopted and has become too much of a convention… “, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das angry explanation on cutting the repo rate by 35 bps instead of following the tradition of cutting it in multiple of 25 bps. The RBI Governor reacted angrily on being questioned on why he is breaking the convention, he was angry that it was adapted as a convention. If there is a convention which RBI Governor and MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) needs to challenge, it is the convention of incrementalism. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe frustration and anger that the Governor expressed is also because every twitch of his is analysed. Every alphabet and comma in the policy statement is questioned. When every move is tracked, small dalliance from past are pounced upon by commentators viciously sliced and diced. It makes one defensive about changes as things seems to be out of control. But it’s not the change, it is the lack of pace that is bothersome. An incremental change as an institutional approach is a serious issue. Now compare the anger of businessman, employees who feel that their businesses and jobs are going away due to circumstances beyond their control. Also Read – Insider threat managementIf the same problem has to be solved, every quarter by making another small change it shows a fearful mindset. It shows a mindset afraid of taking a bold step. A mindset mired in tradition of gradual shifts, postponing the ultimate. This is Central bankers’ approach to solving a problem bit by bit. Not roil the market, prepare it for the change before making it. A sudden step can lead to a rout in currency which may affect confidence in the market and impact even the stock market. A sharp turnabout can crush the bond market raising bond prices. Foreign investors, credit rating agencies may get startled with the risk as they anticipate that the Central bank is always hiding more than it is revealing. A Central banker cannot be alarmist, it’s not his job to create turbulence in markets. Even if there is a fire, he has to make it appear that it is not going to burn anything. He cannot provide oxygen by his utterances or action. Hence, incrementalism as an approach comes naturally to a central banker, there are no sudden moves that the market cannot anticipate and predict. Incrementalism is identified with conservatism and worn as a badge of honour. Hence, even after retirement it is difficult for Central bankers to shed it as this article by former Governor D.V. Subbarao says about sovereign bond. According to him, the idea is good but the timing is not right. He does not know when the timing is right but does not want to surprise the market. Change slowly is the maxim. The incrementalists are also perfectionists they know the problem too well they have discussed it threadbare. They do know that India is the only large economy with positive interest rates in the world. Take a look at this datasheet comparing real interest rates across the biggest economies it shows that the real interest rates in India are higher than the Europe, US, China, and Japan. We had negative interest rates in 2012 and the economy was doing well but the obsession with inflation ignoring the other factors is taking its toil now. The data clearly shows that there is a need to cut rates by more than 135-150 bps. The RBI is not ready but the market is awaiting this. There is another thing that the RBI is not preparing the market. That is the pace of slowdown. Auto numbers have been falling since April 2019, June saw the biggest fall in 18 years. The largest company Maruti Suzuki saw the biggest dip in July. The demand slowdown happened earlier it did not appear on companies’ balance sheet because they were still choking the supply chain and the dealer with unsold inventory. The demand got hit further by banks and NBFCs stopping consumer credit. The auto dealers are burdened with unsold inventory, working capital has dried up, and they are threatening to cut 2 lakh jobs. All this has happened fast in one single quarter – April to June – which is too fast for a central bank to anticipate and prepare the market. Has the government or the RBI respond to the woes of the sector not yet. The pace at which sectors are tumbling is too fast for an incrementalist approach. The same thing is happening in services and BPO sector. Here the shift and the change is even more difficult for to capture as they do not borrow from banks. There is little or no debt on their balance sheet, no distress in revenues or profit, but they have started shedding people. Overall employment is coming down in the largest job engine of the country, due to automation. These numbers will not show up in the unemployment numbers as it does not track retrenchment of mid-level service sector employees. This will finally show up in lower tax collection, and consumer spending with a lag effect. Indicators come with a lag effect, response time is slow, pace of change is accelerating. Automation is an exponential change. This is a wake-up call. The GDP growth is slipping, but RBI wants to acknowledge it 10 bps at a time. To do so in any other manner will create panic. Indian savers who have been brought up on a healthy rate of interest would panic if the rates are cut rapidly. Though the saving rates in the country is at a historic 20 year low. The incrementalist thinks that people will not notice the drop in deposit interest rates if done gradually. It is built on a premise that people don’t see a change if it happens slowly, the boiling frog thesis. Unfortunately, there is a social shift underway, average of age of savers is rising while numbers are not rising. Culture of saving is changing Millenials look at banking from a transactional point of view, not fixed deposit. Central bankers know it all but why exacerbate the shift, it will happen.. C’est cera, cera. The shifts may be gradual and generational in nature, but there are others the structural shifts which are not being noticed due to the fact that they are happening too fast. The incremental approach of let’s do a 35 basis points cut wait, than wait for another quarter to do next cut. Wait for several quarters for it to transmit. Wait for more expression of pain for it to flow to the MSME sector. Wait and watch if an NBFC is about to collapse, but don’t interfere. It is interesting that this approach is not considered wrong. If you go back to the archives of 2008 and see the discussion that was happening in Federal Board of Governor meetings in the US. They were slow to understand the full impact of the calamity facing them even two days after Lehman Brother went down. The Fed’s meeting discussed and kept the rate at 2 per cent. The RBI is candid about the problem in NBFCs so that the markets know but it has not done anything about it. NBFCs growth happened in the shadows of a frozen banking sector. NBFCs funded companies that banks would not lend, mutual funds subscribed to bonds that NBFCs would not subscribe. Now they are both collapsing on each other faster than you can say fraud or contagion. Almost every sector is slipping and sliding away as credit squeeze, regulatory overreach and technology disruption is affecting them. This is not something that the RBI is unaware it’s overflowing with internal advice, is being pushed by the Minister of Finance and even external analyst. The RBI is stuck with taking baby steps so who will take the leap to solve the whole problem in one stroke. Developed countries have built their economy by manipulating their currency and interest rates. China has been ruthless with deposit rates for decades, manipulating its currency shamelessly and at will. A former Fed Governor once told me that what is holding India back is self-belief. NDA 2.0 does not believe in incrementalism. Did Amit Shah first abrogate section 35 A then discuss and scrap article 370, and then put up a bill for the bifurcation of the state of J&K? The time to react is rapidly shrinking the time to act is now. IANS(K. Yatish Rajawat is a policy analyst and journalist. The views expressed are strictly personal)
New Delhi: The process of setting up of over 1,000 fast-track special courts across the country to deal with pending cases of rape is likely to begin on October 2, the Law Ministry has said.The Department of Justice in the Law Ministry had proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts at a total budget of Rs 767.25 crore. The central support of Rs 474 crore for one year will be funded under the Nirbhaya Fund. The fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder of a student in Delhi, to support the initiatives of governments and NGOs working towards the safety of women. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsIn a letter to the Cabinet Secretariat on August 8, the Department of Justice has said after the recommendation of the expenditure finance committee on July 11 and approval of the law minister, the case has been forwarded to the finance minister for approval. A statement from the Women and Child Development Ministry had earlier said that in the first phase, 777 such courts may be set up in nine states, and in the second phase, 246 courts will be set up. Parliament had recently approved amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The law deals with the sexual abuse of children. The changes to the law include enhancement of punishment to include the death penalty for child sex abuse.
T ry sitting home on a rainy day and you will experience a surreal pause from the fast-paced life. All the sounds including that of the rain beating against the window panes or a cricket chirping come magically into the focus. Strangely, this can give rise to a melancholic feeling.So why not use these heightened senses to listen to something for a fulfilling experience? Here is a list of some of the hand-picked podcasts you can tune into on Hubhopper. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain Baatein by Chhaya Dabas’Baatein’ is all about cutting off from the maddening city life and connecting with yourself and others through poetry. Breaking it down to decipher the underlying meaning of the poem, the podcast converts it into regular conversations. Stories of Premchand This podcast has the most loved stories of all times, and narrates each story at its own unique pace. Listening to a Premchand, one can feel the story world come alive. It gives a deeply enriching experience, and an unparalleled value in an age where we don’t have enough time to read novels. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardKachi Mitti – A Body of Barefoot StoriesNarrating stories with a unique perspective, this podcast can have a calming effect on you. It creatively explores different topics through seemingly simple stories. Listening to it, one can feel enlightened. Spanecdotes by SonataSonata shares her adventures and experiences in Delhi and different lessons about life through this podcast. It is entertaining and highly relatable for the millennials. It makes use of refreshing language to capture your interest and effectively convey the message intended. Daily Meditation PodcastThere is nothing more calming than de-stressing at home while listening to the rain drops’ sound. This podcast has a series of meditation sessions, to help you get ou mentally relaxed and focused through various events of your day. The sessions are short and effective. You can just quickly plug-in to your earphones at any point of your day – before starting your day, while travelling or at the end of a stressful day. (Inputs by Gautam Raj Anand, Founder, and CEO, Hubhopper).
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India (SC) on August 28 referred petitions challenging the constitutional validity of abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories (UTs), to the Constitution bench.The petitions will be heard by a five-judge Constitutional bench in the first week of October. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not agree with the Centre that there was no need for issuing notices in the matter as Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were marking their presence in the court. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”We will refer the matter to a five-judge Constitution bench,” said the bench while not accepting the argument that the notices would have a “cross-border repercussion”. The bench also comprised Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer. The Attorney General said whatever was being said by the court was sent before the United Nations (UN). Meanwhile, days after Rahul Gandhi was stopped from entering Jammu and Kashmir over the tense situation after the revocation of Article 370, he said no country, including Pakistan, could interfere in India’s internal issue. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”I disagree with this government on many issues. But, let me make this clear: Kashmir is India’s internal issue and there is no room for Pakistan or any other foreign country to interfere in it,” tweeted the former Congress chief. Reacting sharply to this, senior BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar demanded an apology from Gandhi and the main Opposition party while describing the former Congress chief’s remarks as “most irresponsible politics” the country has witnessed. “He has made a complete U-turn, not due to his own will but due to circumstances and public pressure,” Javadekar said. The Congress leader’s allegations about violence in Kashmir were wrong, he said, adding that it was made due to that party’s “vote bank” politics. Gandhi has been attacking the government over the Kashmir situation and had said last week that the Opposition and the press got a taste of the “draconian administration” and “brute force” unleashed on the people there when they tried to visit Srinagar.
New Delhi: The lessons learned from India’s bold attempt to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface will help the country during its future missions, former NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger said on Saturday.Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) plan to soft land Vikram near the Moon’s south pole did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsLinengar, who flew on Russian space station Mir that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001 for five months, took take part in the live telecast of Chandrayaan-2 landing attempt on the National Geographic Channel.”We should not be too discouraged. India was trying to do something very, very difficult. In fact, everything was going as planned as the lander came down,” Linenger told PTI in an email interview.Linenger noted that the lander “unfortunately” never quite made it to the hover point which is an altitude of about 400 metres above the lunar surface. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”…if it had made it to that point, and even if it had not succeeded beyond that, it would have been helpful because the radar altimeters and lasers could have been tested. But if you step back and look at the big picture, this (attempt) would obviously be very helpful for follow on missions,” he said.An astronaut narrator and space analyst, Linenger said overall the mission has been very successful.In fact, the orbiter will continue to downlink very valuable information for the next year. And by all indications, all systems are good on the orbiter, he said. Leninger also congratulated ISRO for attempting the difficult lunar landing.I look forward to watching complete success in the future based upon lessons learned from this bold attempt, Linenger added.The Chandrayaan-2 mission was launched on July 22 by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III).The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft began its journey towards the Moon, leaving the Earth’s orbit, on August 14, after a crucial manoeuvre called Trans Lunar Insertion or TLI that was carried out by Isro to place the spacecraft on “lunar transfer trajectory”.
Krista DuChene was only 12 kilometres into the 2013 world championship marathon in Moscow, when her legs gave way.One of the country’s most finely tuned runners was succumbing to heat exhaustion. While she recalls insisting to Canadian team coaches she was good to keep running, she’d already fallen to the pavement and was having trouble even standing up straight.The next hour was a blurry ambulance ride. She vomited repeatedly. Russian medical officials stuffed smelling salts up her nose.The 40-year-old from Strathroy, Ont., was one of 23 women who didn’t cross the finish line on that sizzling afternoon in Russia. DuChene feels for the 5,000 runners who registered for this weekend’s cancelled Montreal Marathon, but she knows all too well that crazy variations in weather are a serious health hazard in one of sport’s most punishing events.“A record number of women didn’t finish the race that day (in 2013),” DuChene said. “They were going to cancel it but they decided not to.“I was so mentally and physically ready for that race that my mind wanted to keep going but my body was failing me,” she said in an interview Thursday. “Your pace slows down, your running is more difficult than what it should be. I wore a hat, and did what I could to keep the sun off my face, but I went out too hard as well. Unfortunately with the marathon, you can train in heat, and then it’s cold, or you can train when it’s cold and race in heat. And you have to adjust based on what the day gives you.”Race organizers cancelled Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon amid concerns about hot and humid weather. Temperatures are expected to hit 30 C on Sunday, which could feel like 38 C with humidity. The half-marathon and 10K races will take place as planned, with the half-marathon starting a half hour earlier.The five-kilometre and one-kilometre races will take place as scheduled on Saturday.Executive director Louis Malafarina told a Montreal news conference it was a very difficult decision — the first time the distance has been cancelled in Montreal.“We know nothing can replace crossing the finish line of a marathon, and we sympathize with our runners who worked so hard to prepare for race day,” said Malafarina, who consulted with city and health officials before making the decision.According to guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine, cancellation or voluntary withdrawal of participants is recommended when temperatures are expected to be above 28 C.Slower runners, DuChene pointed out, are most affected because they’re out on the course longer and later in day.Weather, particularly for spring and fall races when it’s a virtual crap shoot, has become one of the biggest concerns for race directors. Severe weather caused chaos at a half-marathon last weekend in Copenhagen, where a runner, a volunteer and a photographer were struck by lightning. Clear skies at the starting line turned into torrential rain and hail, and runners were sloshing to the finish line in flooded streets before organizers finally pulled the plug.The New York City Marathon was cancelled in the wake of hurricane Sandy in 2012. A freak ice storm forced the cancellation of the Dallas Marathon in 2013. And in 2007, soaring temperatures and a water shortage forced organizers to cancel the Chicago Marathon midway through the race. More than 300 runners fell ill and one runner died.“What happened (in Chicago) was all the city’s resources basically were being deployed to the race, so when you have a race of a certain size, and there’s heat and medical-related issues, and you don’t have enough ambulances or medical personnel, the city’s resources then start getting deployed to the event, and then the entire city becomes at risk,” said Charlotte Brookes, the event director for the seven-race Canada Running Series, including next month’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.“(Race organizers) were working in their command centre with the city officials and they basically said ‘Well, we’re getting into a situation where we can’t provide the appropriate public safety for everyone in the city of Chicago.’”The ill-fated Chicago race prompted the development of the Event Alert System (EAS), which is used by most major marathons in North America. The colour-coded system — from green to black — communicates course conditions to event staff, volunteers and runners, who can see the colour-coded flags at each aid station.Weather conditions are measured with a wet-bulb globe thermometer, which can estimate safe exposure levels to temperature, humidity, wind chill and sunlight.At Sunday’s Army Run in Ottawa, race director John Halvorsen “stood there with this thermometer device checking the temperature, because it was his job to cancel the race if it got to a certain point,” said DuChene, who was a celebrity guest at the race. “Especially for those that are finishing at a slower pace, and you’re getting to the point where the sun is at its peak, those are the people you have to be concerned about, not the fast ones that come in early.”Marathon cancellations are a particularly big blow because runners normally plan for just one or two a year.“That’s the unfortunate thing,” DuChene said. “It can be absolutely pouring rain the day of the event, and there goes your opportunity to run your best time. It’s heartbreaking at times. You’ve tapered appropriately, and that may just be an opportunity that you’ll never get back.”
TORONTO – Businesses that illegally sell recreational marijuana after the government of Ontario sets up its own shops could be fined up to $1 million under legislation tabled Wednesday.One of the main aspects of the proposed law, which would take effect once the federal government makes the drug legal in July 2018, is to crack down on the array of illegal dispensaries, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said.“We are going to work very hard towards that,” he said. “We have put very strict penalties in that regards….We feel very comfortable that the regime that we will put in place will be a significant deterrent for these illegal businesses.”The bill also contains new penalties for people that are convicted of illegally selling or distributing cannabis, including fines of up to $250,000 and/or jail of up to two years less a day.For every day those people or businesses continue to sell marijuana after being convicted the first time, they will be subject to further fines of up to $100,000 and $500,000, respectively.The law would also allow police to immediately close premises they suspect are being used for the illegal sale or distribution of marijuana.Ontario was the first province to announce its detailed marijuana plan last month, which includes the sale of the drug in up to 150 stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.They are known in the legislation as the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., though Naqvi admitted the name might be jazzed up a little.“That is the legal name of that company,” he said. “There will be branding that we’ll do, so that’s to come, and sort of a visual logo.”Those stores will only sell to people 19 and older, a minimum age that would also apply to possession, home growing and use of marijuana.People under 19 caught using, growing or possessing weed could be fined up to $200, or a court could refer them instead to an educational or prevention program.“I want to be very clear that there will be no criminal record, it’s under a provincial offence…our purpose is not to punish our youth but to educate our youth,” he said.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said ahead of the bill’s introduction that an important part of the Liberal government’s plan is shutting down the current dispensaries.“I think that there needs to be a regulation of cannabis and we have a history in this province of regulation of alcohol and I think that doing this in a safe, responsible way means that we put some parameters around the distribution of this substance,” she said.“As resources are identified to deal with enforcement and education we recognize that municipalities need to have a substantial share of that because they are actually on the ground going to be doing enforcement.”Some Ontario municipalities have expressed concern that they will have to foot the enforcement bills for shutting down marijuana dispensaries.Toronto Mayor John Tory said Wednesday he is “looking forward” to getting money to help with that, because it’s about the rule of law.“These shops, to the best of my knowledge, are illegal, have always been illegal, will continue to be illegal and are not contemplated as being part of the regime going forward,” he said.“We want to be able to keep children and families and neighbourhoods and schools and retail strips safe and stable and that we need to be able to do that so it isn’t kind of a Wild West environment where people can just go out and set up any kind of a shop they want. I don’t think anybody really supports that except perhaps the people that are operating the shops.”The bill also includes a ban on consumption in public spaces or workplaces. But medicinal marijuana will be regulated differently, banned only where tobacco smoking is currently prohibited, such as enclosed public places.The government has been coy on potential pricing, saying decisions will be made after more details come from the federal government, but that the aim is stay away from overly expensive prices that fuel illegal sales.“This actually isn’t about money, from my perspective,” Wynne said. “This is about making sure that a substance that needs to be regulated is regulated in a safe and responsible way.”Municipalities in Ontario will find out in the coming weeks where the government wants to locate the first batch of cannabis stores, but the finance minister has said none will be near schools.
MELVILLE, Sask. – A Canadian National Railway employee has died after being injured in a railway yard in Saskatchewan.CN (TSX:CNR) spokesman Patrick Waldron says in an email that the employee was fatally injured early Friday while performing “regular duties” at the company’s Melville Yard.Details of the injury were not released.The Teamsters Canada union stated in a news release that the worker was a 26-year-old woman with about three year’s experience.The Transportation Safety Board says it was notified of the incident, but explains that Transport Canada will handle the case since it is considered a labour investigation.The worker’s name has not been released.“Instead of celebrating the holidays, the family of one our Teamster sisters will be in mourning,” François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada, the union representing workers at CN, said in the news release.“On behalf of Canada’s 125,000 Teamster members, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to her family, friends and co-workers.”Waldron said the circumstances of the accident remain under investigation.“The thoughts and prayers of all of us at CN are with our colleague’s family, friends and co-workers,” Waldron said in the email.