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Top MEA, DAE officials trash reports of secret nuclear city, radioactive leaks

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Trashing reports of India building a secret nuclear city in Mysore and radioactive leaks at Jaduguda’s uranium mines, top government officials on Tuesday termed them as “deliberate distortion of facts” and assertedthe country’s nuclear establishment followed high safety standards prescribed by the IAEA.Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Atomic Energy also questioned the timing of a raft of articles in international publications questioning safety of India’s nuclear installations at a time when it was working hard to gain entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The timing of these articles are suspect. This is a month when we have got our first consignment of uranium from Canada and have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan,” a senior government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.Speaking about Jaduguda uranium mines in Jharkhand, on which a series has been published by Centre for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism portal, a senior DAE official said the mine follows high safety standard and, even before operations commenced in the 1960s, Environmental Survey Laboratories were in place there.”Every worker working in the mines is given a dosimeter,” a DAE official said. A radiation dosimeter is a device that measures exposure to ionizing radiation. It has two main uses: for human radiation protection and for measurement of dose in both medical and industrial processes. The articles also questioned India’s use of enriched uranium to power its nuclear submarines. “There is no agreement that bans use of enriched uranium for nuclear submarines. Globally, there is 300 MT of enriched uranium which is used for nuclear submarines, of which US alone has half, owing to its large fleet,” a senior official said.Officials also rubbished reports of India building a secret nuclear city in Mysore. Sources said all security parameters are in place and the country uses a “multi-layer security” approach to protect its nuclear sites, which also deals with aspects like threats from insiders. After 9/11 terror attack, Anil Kakodkar headed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s International Nuclear Safety Group’s (INSG) came out with security measures to be followed by its nuclear installations. India too follows the same guidelines in securing its nuclear sites. Kakodkar was also the Secretary of DAE when the historic Indo-US nuclear deal was signed.India and the US recently jointly conducted a seminar on ‘Prevention and Protection of Insider’s Threat’, which was attended by 15 countries. “India is party to major security conventions and this itself speaks about the our commitment to security of its nuclear establishments,” the official said.

Are militants trying to reinforce agenda of global jihad in Jammu & Kashmir?

Attacks in the first week of December have led the intelligence agencies based in Jammu and Kashmir to suspect that the banned outfits — Jaish-e-Mohamad and Harkut-ul-Mujahideen – might be attempting to re-establish a space for militant groups with a ‘global agenda’ instead of a Kashmir-centric one.

Army and special operation group personnel take positions during an encounter with militants in J&K’s Handwara district on Friday

PTI
Attacks in the first week of December have led the intelligence agencies based in Jammu and Kashmir to suspect that the banned outfits — Jaish-e-Mohamad and Harkut-ul-Mujahideen – might be attempting to re-establish a space for militant groups with a ‘global agenda’ instead of a Kashmir-centric one.While JeM claimed responsibility for an attack on Gorkha Rifles Camp in Tangdhar area, which resulted in the killing of a military contractor and three militants, HuM spokesperson Hassan Askaree, in a tele-statement to local news agency, paid ‘tributes’ to the militants slain in the Handwara and Poonch attacks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even though senior intelligence officials said that “it is too soon to say that JeM and HuM are trying to regroup,” they did not deny the possibility of the latest attacks being carried out to reclaim lost ground in the valley. While JeM’s presence was last witnessed in 2013, when the group engaged security forces on multiple occasions, resulting in the killing of several of its top commanders, HuM was involved in a major Fidayeen attacks carried out in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar in January, 2010.”Both the groups were very close to each other and, in fact, they worked in close co-ordination till 2007. However, HuM fighters in Sopore and Handwara area maintained their independence from JeM and carried out attacks till 2010,” said an official source.Counter-insurgency officials told dna that while one can see similarities in modus operandi of various Kashmir-based militant groups, the major differences lie in their goals.”Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have confined their goals to Kashmir. Most of its fighters advocate either Kashmir’s independence or a merger with Pakistan. However, the same cannot be said of JeM or HuM,” a senior counter-insurgency official said.”Groups with global jihad waned over a period of time. It is unlikely that global jihadists will gain territory in future. The reason LeT and HM are still operational is because of their focus on Kashmir,” the official added.JeM was established by Maulana Masood Azhar in the year 2000, after he was freed by the Indian government in exchange for passengers on the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. The group’s history is, however, not as elaborate as HuM which makes the December 4 Handwara attack quite significant.”JeM does not have more than 10-12 terrorists on ground. HuM is a different ball game altogether. The global network Hum possesses, gives it an edge over groups like Hizb and Lashkar whose primary goal continues to be Kashmir,” said a senior police official in J&K.”The recent attacks can also be seen as a reaction to advances of ISIS which is a sectarian terrorist force. In the past, we have seen several valley-based militant groups releasing anti-ISIS statements. Point in case is LeT’s statement against ISIS’s anti-Shia agenda,” the official added.HuM was originally formed in 1985 after breaking out from Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) in 1985.Towards the end of Soviet-Afghan war, the group entered Kashmiri politics, and in 1993 the group merged with HUJI to form Harkat-ul-Ansar under the leadership of Abdelkader Mokhtari, an Algerian commander who later came to be known for his participation in the Bosnian war. The group was banned in mid-90s after which it renamed itself as HuM. It was banned once again following the 9/11 twin tower attacks.

Chennai Rains: Meet the real-life Rajinikanths who are keeping the city afloat

Volunteers helping during the Chennai rains (PTI)

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Though Chennai rains managed to disrupt life of the residents, several social media users came together to share useful information and many others went ahead to share accommodation, food and help in rescue. One such effort was the Google spreadsheet which was shared in a big way. Here are the people behind the spreadsheet, as per The News Minute.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sowmya Rao, a lawyer who is currently living in Delhi said that a person on Twitter with the handle @atlasdanced said that they should put out a Google spreadsheet on people who are willing to help. “I told him that I was happy to help. So, I started with the Google spreadsheet,” says Sowmya. The work on the spreadsheet began that night with details kept filling in. Soon more and more people started offering help and the information increased throughout the night. “At around 10.00 pm it moved from just being a shelter-offering, recharge-offering, mechanics-offering thing to see if we can coordinate rescue as well. We realized having Google forms for that made sense,” Rao said. They reached out to media houses and online forums and other people asking them to share the information too all.The link was taken up by Twitter India too leading to more people accessing it. On Wednesday, the group started working till 2.00 am to collate as much information together. At 2.45 am, Karthik Balakrishnan, a developer who works at Hasgeek, offered to build a website. Balakrishnan, along with a friend with US and Canada too worked all night and started the site. “The site is up and running and we are asking all authorities to look at the sheet. We have also got some volunteers now who are tracking the tweets and talking to 108. We are trying to pass on the information to them, so we can help them with tracking stranded people,” Sowmya added. Others behind the website are Shrinivas SG, a Chennai-ite from Gurgaon, Srinath Sripath, a Digital Marketing Manager working for the Tata Group living in Mumbai and Vishnu Prasad, a Chennaite working as a product consultant for Freshdesk.The site also has a rescue form and a volunteer form. People who want to help in rescue or volunteer in tasks such as cooking, driving for pickups, providing shelter etc can sign up on those sheets.

After leaders’ rhetoric, climate negotiators start work on deal | Reuters

PARIS With encouragement from 150 world leaders ringing in their ears, government negotiators in Paris were on Tuesday left to turn the rhetoric into reality and agree a draft text of a global deal to slow climate change.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made common cause on Monday with other countries to stress the urgency of an agreement to slow a rise in global temperatures blamed for spurring floods, heat waves and rising sea levels.

But as the leaders left Paris, negotiators from 195 countries were left to work on a draft text of more than 50 pages still riddled with disagreements.

The main sticking point is how to come up with the billions of dollars needed to finance the cleaner energy sources that are badly needed if emerging countries are to develop without relying heavily on fossil fuels.

Many delegates said the large turnout at the U.N. climate summit in Paris, weeks after attacks by Islamic State militants killed 130 people, was a sign of hope after the last summit collapsed in failure in 2009 in Copenhagen amid rancour between rich and poor nations.

French President Francois Hollande said he was encouraged by the start of talks that are planned to run until Dec. 11.

“It’s set off well but it has to arrive too,” he told reporters. He said there were “two reefs. Either we overload the vessel and it sinks or we empty it and it goes nowhere.”

The technical talks repeated little of Monday’s grand language. Countries restated their negotiating positions with few hints of likely compromise.

China’s delegate Su Wei “noted with concern” what he called a lack of commitment by the rich to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and help developing nations with new finance to tackle global warming.

NITTY GRITTY

“It’s back to the nitty gritty,” said Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, adding the opening day was “all good but that does not resolve the crunch issues.”

“It is still a text with many options,” Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal told Reuters, adding with a shrug “but everybody has shown their commitment to have an agreement.”

The mood was brightened by major announcements including a plan by India and France to mobilise $1 trillion for solar power for some of the world’s poorest people and a private sector initiative led by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to mobilise billions of dollars for new energy research and development.

“Leaders still have the scars of Copenhagen on their hearts and brains,” Yvo de Boer, who was the U.N.’s climate chief in Copenhagen, said.

“The fact that so many leaders came back here on the opening day to send encouragement … is a sign that they really want to move,” he said.

A deal in Paris would be by far the strongest ever agreed to bind both rich and poor nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say have blanketed the earth, raised global temperatures and begun upending the planet’s climate system.

Liz Gallagher, of the London-based E3G environmental think-tank, said the opening day had “made an agreement more likely”.

But she said the biggest gap was over climate finance. Developing nations want the rich to pledge rising amounts beyond the current goal of $100 billion a year by 2020 to help them obtain clean energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change, such as more floods, droughts and intense storms.

Other disputes concern how to define a long-term goal for phasing out fossil fuels.

In June, developed nations in the Group of Seven (G7) signed up for a goal of decarbonising the world economy by 2100. China and India say they need to rely on coal to lift millions from poverty and prefer a shift to low-carbon development this century.

So far, pledges made by about 170 countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, made in the run-up to the Paris summit, are too weak to limit rising global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. That is widely viewed as a threshold for dangerous and potentially catastrophic changes in the planet’s climate system.

(Writing by Alister Doyle; Additional reporting by Bate Felix and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Bruce Wallace and Janet Lawrence)

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

India shares terror intelligence with 24 countries, including China: Government tells Lok Sabha

Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, said, “India has Joint Working Groups on Counter-Terrorism with 24 countries, including China.”

Representational Image of a terrorist

India is sharing intelligence on terrorism with China and 23 other countries via the mechanism of Joint Working Groups on Counter-Terrorism, Lok Sabha was informed on TuesdayIn response to a question, Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, said, “India has Joint Working Groups on Counter-Terrorism with 24 countries, including China. Meetings of these Joint Working Groups are being held from time to time to discuss counter-terrorism issues and share intelligence, experience, expertise, good practices and issues of mutual concern.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister added that cross-border terrorism issues are raised by India in Joint Working Group forum with foreign countries.He said, however, that further details in this regard “cannot be disclosed in the interest of national security and bilateral relations with foreign states”.

7th Pay Commission: RPF group ‘A’ officers hail the recommendations

Seventh Pay Commission fulfilled the demand of Group ‘A’ officers of the Railway Protection Force to bring parity with other Group ‘A’ services in the Ministry of Railways.

Railway Protection Force (RPF)
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dna Research & Archives
Hailing the recommendations made by the Seventh Pay Commission, the Group ‘A’ officers of Railway Protection Force have said that when it is implemented, they would have a “synergised integration” with railway operations, resulting in a win-win situation for all.In its report presented to the government on Thursday, the Seventh Pay Commission fulfilled the demand of Group ‘A’ officers of the Railway Protection Force to bring parity with other Group ‘A’ services in the Ministry of Railways.The report stated, “We are of the opinion that it would be erroneous to bracket RPF officers with officers of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Hence, we recommend that RPF officers should be treated as railway officers for all purposes, under the full control of Railway Board.” Hailing the decision, a senior RPF officer from Central Railway said, “As of now, we were treated as outsiders in the railway system, but when this will get implemented, the entire railways would have a synergised integration and experience of an RPF officer would be utilised better in the smooth operation of the railways.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officer said when the new pay commission is implemented, the pay, promotion and transfer policies of railway officers would be similarly applicable to RPF officers.”In the railways, officers normally do not get transfer for initial 15 years, while RPF officers get transferred almost 8-10 times in the same job period. Now, the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations would iron out the transfer anomalies too,” said the officer.In the RPF, Group ‘A’ officers are recruited along with other three Group ‘A’ services – Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) and Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) – through the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC. These officers have since long been demanding to absorb them in the main cadre of the railways.Another senior RPF officer in Western Railway also welcomed the decision saying, “Since long we were being deprived of our basic rights and facing embarrassment, not only at official level, but our family life was also affected. And now, we officers are feeling that finally justice has been done to us.”

Greenpeace India’s shutdown ‘halted’

An order that would have cancelled Greenpeace India’s license to operate in the country has been put on hold, the environmental group says.

PM Modi meets Turkey President, Saudi King on the margins of G-20 summit

Modi first met the host of the G20 Summit, Erdogan to discuss threat posed by terrorism and counter-terrorism cooperation between the two nations

Antalya : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, presents a photo album to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met Saudi King Salman Al Saud as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the margins of the G20 Summit to discuss combating terrorism and other bilateral issues but a structured meeting with US President Obama did not take place.Modi first met the host of the G20 Summit, Erdogan to discuss threat posed by terrorism and counter-terrorism cooperation between the two nations. With Erdogan, Modi discussed economic cooperation, including in the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Smart City’ initiatives. “He sought Turkey’s support for India’s membership for four export control regime,” foreign office spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was referring to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Swarup added that UN Reform, civil nuclear cooperation, and cooperation in space and agricultural research also came up for discussion. Modi followed it up with a meeting with Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, where terror again figured in talks.Cooperation in the areas of Railways modernisation, defence manufacturing, renewable energy and marine security were also discussed. The Prime Minister termed the discussions “comprehensive” and “fruitful”. “Enhancing relations with a very dear friend from Middle East,” he tweeted about his meeting with King Salman. Swarup described Saudi Arabia as “a very important partner in the Gulf Region” as he posted photographs of the two leaders holding discussions. However, there was no structured meeting with Obama. Modi and Obama were together at many working sessions at the two-day G20 Summit as well as dinner hosted by Erdogan. “He has met him of course (at the Summit). There are various pull asides. What I mean is a structured bilateral meeting with President Obama has not happened. But they were together in the leaders lounge for over 45 minutes. They were together at lunch, they were together at dinner. So I am sure they have had conversations,” Swarup said.Modi had earlier tweeted that Obama had called him to greet on Diwali and they agreed to meet in Turkey on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

Greenpeace India to appeal against order to close over alleged fraud

“We remain committed to upholding our right to dissent,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “Greenpeace cannot – and will not – be silenced in this way.”

Greenpeace India has campaigned against coal mines in forests, genetically modified crops, nuclear power and management of toxic waste.

Greenpeace India will appeal against an order to shut over allegations of fraud and falsification of data, the environmental group said on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared economic development a priority and his government has cracked down on non-governmental organisations it says are trying to hamper projects on social and environmental grounds. “We remain committed to upholding our right to dissent,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “Greenpeace cannot – and will not – be silenced in this way.”Greenpeace India said last week the government of Tamil Nadu state, where it was registered, had cancelled its licence under orders from the home ministry. The group was given 30 days to shut down. Greenpeace India said the order contained several inaccurate and baseless allegations. For example, the group said it had been accused of failing to reply to an earlier notice when it had documents acknowledging its submission. The Tamil Nadu government department that cancelled the licence did not respond to calls or an email.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In April, the government suspended Greenpeace India’s registration for six months, saying the group was underreporting foreign contributions and using them without clearance. Greenpeace India has campaigned against coal mines in forests, genetically modified crops, nuclear power and management of toxic waste.

Four Naxals killed in encounter with police in Chhattisgarh

As police cordoned off a forest axis between Hallur and Hakwa villages, a group of armed insurgents opened indiscriminate fire on them triggering a gun-battle between the two sides, the IG said.

File photo

Four Naxals, including a commander- rank cadre, were on Friday killed in a fierce gun-battle with police in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.”The operation was conducted by a team of the state’s District Reserve Group (DRG) this morning after they got a tip-off about movement of Naxals in Mirtur police station area of the district,” Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, S R P Kalluri said, while calling the operation a success.Acting on the information, the DRG team comprising 55 personnel was mobilised to the interiors of Mirtur, located around 450 kms from the state capital, Kalluri said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As police cordoned off a forest axis between Hallur and Hakwa villages, a group of armed insurgents opened indiscriminate fire on them triggering a gun-battle between the two sides, the IG said.”The gunfight lasted about an hour. On finding the security personnel zeroing-in on them, the rebels fled into the core forest,” he said.”Later, during a search of the spot, bodies of four Naxals in ‘uniform’ were found. Four weapons — a pistol, a 303 rifle, a 315 bore rifle and a 12 bore gun — were also found from the spot,” he said.He said one of the Naxals killed in the encounter has been identified as Rainu, who was commander of Bairamgarh area committee’s action team.Further details of the operation will be known once the DRG team returns to its camp, he added.

Protests and a high profile death mar plans for Modi’s London visit

Human rights activists and several socio-religious forums are campaigning to stage huge protests at Downing Street and Wembley to mar the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A massive projection of Narendra Modi holding a sword in one hand and a shield with the ‘Om’ symbol with a swastika superimposed appeared on the Houses of Parliament next to the iconic Big Ben

The Awaaz Network is spearheading the protest. Others joining the ‘Modi Not Welcome’ team are South Asia Solidarity Group, Sikh Federation UK, Southall Black Sisters, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, Indian Muslim Federation, Indian Workers Association, Muslim Parliament, and Voice of Dalit International.

The c

What the protesters projected onto the houses of Parliament in London. Image courttesy: TwitterWhat the protesters projected onto the houses of Parliament in London. Image courttesy: Twitter

What the protesters projected onto the houses of Parliament in London. Image courttesy: Twitter

ds “Modi not welcome” onto the Houses of Parliament building on Sunday in a bold show of protest against Modi. The projection showed Modi wielding a sword in front of “an OM sign that is tragically being transferred to a swastika.”

“[Narendra Modi] wants to sell the idea of a ‘Digital India’, a ‘clean India’ and a developed and self-sufficient India,” a spokesperson for the Awaaz Network said. “The reality is the unleashing of a violence packed authoritarian agenda that seeks to undermine India’s democratic and secular fabric.”

The visit is seen as an opportunity to help “break down the wall between the Indian state and many Sikhs outside India”, the Sikh Human Rights Group said.

It has sent five proposals to New Delhi, including abolishing ‘blacklists’ of Sikhs living abroad who cannot travel to India, release of prisoners held for political reasons, and a dialogue between the Indian government and Sikhs based abroad.

Scotland Yard was meanwhile placing a ‘policing plan’ to deal with protests. There is some concern in official circles about the security aspect of Modi’s visit, after a Sikh demonstration at the Indian high commission last week led to some violence and traffic jams in central London for some hours.

At the same time Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wants Britain to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, but also to use the occasion to question him on recent events in India that have caused some concern about tolerance.

Speaking at the London School of Economics at a launch event for his book, ‘The Country of First Boys’, Sen said he voted against Modi but he did not expect the situation to take “such naked a form as it has taken” under his government,

High profile Indians were diverting from the planning for the visit by the death of Lord Swaraj Paul’s son from a mysterious fall from his penthouse in central London. Angad Paul fell eight storeys, landing on the roof of a building below where his body was spotted by horrified onlookers. Paul was educated at MIT, where he gained degrees in Economics and Media Arts and Sciences. Firefighters were called to lead the operation to get him down and paramedics pronounced the 45-year-old dead at the scene in central London.

Rajya Sabha MP asks PM Modi to declare November 26 as Citizens Day

PM had announced last month that November 26 would be observed as the Constitution Day from this year onwards to make students aware of the relevance of the constitution, preamble and B R Ambedkar.
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dna Research & Archives
Rajya Sabha MP AV Swamy has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare November 26 as Citizens Day or National Pledge Day and on that day the student community across the country should give a written commitment in their mother tongue to shun violence.”It would be a great day in the history of this country if 30 crore students give a written commitment in their mother tongue to shun violence in any form in a piece of paper with signatures of their parents,” Swamy said. Swamy, in a letter to the Prime Minister asked him to declare November 26 as the Citizens Day or National Pledge Day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For the last three years I had been writing to the Prime Minister and HRD Minister for declaring November 26 as the Citizens Day or National Pledge Day as this is the most significant day in the history of this country but most people do not realise it,” he added.PM had announced last month that November 26 would be observed as the Constitution Day from this year onwards to make students aware of the relevance of the constitution, preamble and B R Ambedkar.”I feel involvement of school students in the programme across the country would be more meaningful,” Swamy, advisor to the the Build India Group said, adding that methods as followed the Group would be “very appropriate”. Build India Group, a Delhi based civil society body has been been circulating a pledge in drafted 15 languages in various educational institutions in the country for the last eight years.The pledge reads as “we reject violence in any form. We shall keep our environment clean and tidy. We promise to be good citizens and, therefore, we are taking this solemn pledge”.

End of an era: Hero MotoCorp patriarch Brijmohan Lall Munjal passes away

Munjal had retired from active role and become Chairman Emeritus of the over $4-billion group earlier this year and remained on the board of the company as non-executive member.

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Hero MotoCorp patriarch and doyen of Indian two-wheeler industry, Brijmohan Lall Munjal, passed away on Sunday evening after a brief illness. He was 92.Munjal passed away at a private hospital in South Delhi, according to family sources. He is survived by three sons and one daughter. The cremation will be done tomorrow.Munjal had retired from active role and become Chairman Emeritus of the over $4-billion group earlier this year and remained on the board of the company as non-executive member.Hero Group, which officially came into existence in 1956, had started its activities in the early 1940s as a bicycle- maker run by the four brothers. Munjal was born in 1923 at Kamalia in present-day Pakistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After India’s independence, the Munjal brothers started a small business of manufacturing bicycle components in Ludhiana and went on to build one of the largest business groups in the country.Munjal led the Hero Group to a number of firsts. Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest two-wheeler company now for the 14th year in a row. Another group firm, Hero Cycles, has been the largest manufacturer of bicycles since 1986.Munjal led the Hero group to form a joint venture with Japan’s Honda in 1984, the joint venture — Hero Honda, went on to become the world’s single-largest motorcycle maker. The partnership ended in 2011.Munjal was among the earliest Indian industrialists to effectively implement (Just-in-Time) JIT as well as backward integration and is acknowledged as the trend-setter in the area.Since early days, he ran the organisation with a sharp focus on current asset management, which helped evolve vendor efficiency and zero-inventory management practices at Hero.Beside Hero Group, Munjal held leadership positions in many national associations such as CII, SIAM, AICMA and PHD and had served as a member of the Regional Board of Reserve Bank of India. He was conferred with the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 2005 in recognition of his contribution in the field of trade and industry.Munjal helped establish numerous medical, educational and infrastructure facilities. Amongst his notable contributions to Ludhiana are the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, the Ludhiana Aviation Club, Ludhiana ManagementAssociation and the Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, of which he was the Chairman Emeritus, after being its President for over three decades.

Centre has approved to set up IIT near Vadodara: CM Anandiben Patel

An IIT will be established on a public-private partnership (PPP) model where Gujarat government, the Centre and an industry partner will be the stakeholders.
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PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday said that the Centre has approved its proposal for setting up an IIT near Vadodara. Patel inaugurated the L&T Institute of Project Management (IPM) and L&T Power Training Institute (PTI) at the campus of Larsen & Toubro knowledge in the city.The Chief Minister said the Union government has decided to establish the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIT) on 20 hectares of land near Vadodara after it experienced difficulties in acquiring large swathes of land for establishing the Central university in Vadodara.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An IIT will be established on a public-private partnership (PPP) model where Gujarat government, the Centre and an industry partner will be the stakeholders.Meanwhile, Patel also announced to establish sports and children university near here saying Vadodara is emerging as educational hub in the country.”Gujarat government will provide all help for setting up of IIT, sports and children university here,” she added.The Chief Minister requested Anil M Naik, chairman of Larsen &Toubro Group of Companies to help the state government in developing Vadodara city as educational hub where 135-year-old Maharaja Sayajirao university is located.Anil Naik said, “The purpose behind establishing of IPM and PTI is to meet requirements of infrastructure development projects and their speedy and time bound implementations in the country”. He claimed,”L&T is first private sector company in India which contributed a total amount of Rs 75 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat (Clean India, healthy India) campaign”. He further said this figure does not include contributions made by the trusts promoted by him in his personal capacity.Naik said at present nearly 20,000 employees are working with L & T Group of Companies and 2,000 more workforce will be added. Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabh Patel requested Naik to provide more jobs to youths from Vadodara region.

Bihar Polls: Grand alliance says PM Modi violated poll code, seeks EC action

In a complaint submitted to the EC, JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi said Modi “violated” the Commission’s guidelines by announcing that interviews for non-gazetted Group B, C and D posts will no longer be held from next year and also by talking about gold monetisation schemes.
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PTI
The grand alliance on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the Model Code of Conduct by making announcements in his Mann Ki Baat broadcast aimed at “influencing” voters in Bihar and urged the Election Commission to take stern action, including suspension of BJP as a national party.In a complaint submitted to the EC, JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi said Modi “violated” the Commission’s guidelines by announcing that interviews for non-gazetted Group B, C and D posts will no longer be held from next year and also by talking about gold monetisation schemes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In complete violations of the Model Code of Conduct and utter defiance of the specific directions of the Commission, he (Modi) made statements,” the complaint, which has also been endorsed by Congress, said. It also objected to Modi’s statement that he was going to London to inaugurate the house where B R Ambedkar had lived as a student.”All these announcements were deliberately made to influence and induce the voters in Bihar election with the sole purpose to seek votes,” it said.Demanding action, the complaint noted that the Commission in its September 18 direction had said that nothing should be said in his radio broadcast which may be construed as inducement to voters or as having any impact on the elections.The EC’s direction had come after the grand alliance of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Congress had demanded a ban on Modi’s regular radio broadcast in which he shares his thoughts on a host of issues.The conditions imposed on the Prime Minister by the Commission had been violated, the complaint said. It added that Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi was earlier found by the commission to have violated the EC’s guidelines by making certain promises.BJP’s recognition as a national party should either be suspended or withdrawn following these series of violations, it demanded.

PM Modi has violated model code by remarks on interviews, Ambedkar: Grand Alliance

Tyagi also accused Modi of violating the model code by speaking on his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme about his plans to visit B R Ambedkar’s London home during his upcoming visit to the UK “so as to reach out to the SC and ST voters” in the state.

Bihar’s grand alliance partners JD(U) and Congress on Sunday charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with violating the model code of conduct by announcing abolition of interviews for Group D, C, and B non-gazetted posts in central government from January 1, claiming it was intended to put an end to the reservation policy.JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi said the announcement, made at a time when Bihar assembly polls are underway, would in effect lead to “effective implementation” of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tyagi also accused Modi of violating the model code by speaking on his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme about his plans to visit B R Ambedkar’s London home during his upcoming visit to the UK “so as to reach out to the SC and ST voters” in the state.”The PM’s announcement of doing away with interviews for Group D,C and B non-gazetted posts in central government means a good bye to the reservation policy as recruitment will only be held on merit basis. The PM’s statement suggests so.”We strongly oppose this and will make representation to the EC soon and raise this issue inside and outside Parliament,” Tyagi, flanked by Congress leader R P N Singh and eminent lawyer K T S Tulsi, told reporters.”This is the effective implementation of Mohan Bhagwat’s demand for a review of the reservation policy and the Prime Minister has to respond to the voters,” he said.Tyagi also accused the EC of going “soft” on BJP and the PM. The grand alliance had petitioned the poll panel earlier this month seeking a ban on live telecast of Modi’s election rallies on days when polling is held in the state. It had also sought a ban on his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address contending he would try and influence voters through it.Tulsi, a Rajya Sabha MP, accused Modi of poll code violation with his announcement on abolition of interviews, saying the Election Commission had already made it clear that the government cannot announce launch of any new scheme when the poll process is underway.”Neither BJP leader Sushil Modi or PM Modi is fearful of law. EC had given notice to Sushil Modi but it has served no such notice to the PM,” he alleged.Tyagi demanded a role for the opposition in appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other members of the poll panel through a collegium system so as to ensure fairness in their functioning.”The Election Commission cannot dare to issue a notice to the PM,” he said.

IBPS CWE RRB IV Score Card 2015 Available for Download; check www.ibps.in

Score cards for the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection​ (IBPS) CWE RRB IV are now available for download.

Score cards for the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection​ (IBPS) CWE RRB IV are now available for download.IBPS had on October 13, declared the results for Regional Rural Banks​ (RRB) CWE –IV on its website.Candidates who had been waiting can check the score card on the official website http://www.ibps.in Applicants who will score marks over and above the cut off will be only called for further rounds of selection by the bank.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IBPS RRB exam is recognised as an important examination for the candidates wanting to make their career in the banking sector. Nearly 56 regional rural banks will be using the CWE for the recruitment of Group A officers and Group B Office Assistants.IBPS conducts a CWE to recruit Officers / Office Assistants for RRBs in the month of September/October in every year. Steps to download IBPS RRB CWE-IV Officers Scale- 1,2,3 and Office Assistants (Multipurpose) Score Card 2015:Visit the official website www.ibps.in Click on CWE RRBs and Click on link ‘Common Written Examination-Regional Rural Banks Phase IV’Find relevant link of IBPS RRB CWE-IV score card downloadEnter the registration number and date of birth. Click on submit The results will be displayed. Save it for further reference.

IBPS RRB exam 2015 results declared; check www.ibps.in

Indian Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) has declared the results for Regional Rural Banks​ (RRB) CWE –IV on its website.

Representationl image.

Indian Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) has declared the results for Regional Rural Banks​ (RRB) CWE –IV on its website.The candidates can now check their results from the website of IBPS at ibps.inThe candidates who successfully qualified IBPS CWE – RRB -IV – exam will be called to participate in the common interview by concerned Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).Applicants who will score marks over and above the cut off will be only called for further rounds of selection by the bank.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IBPS RRB exam is recognised as an important examination for the candidates wanting to make their career in the banking sector. Nearly 56 regional rural banks will be using the CWE for the recruitment of Group A officers and Group B Office Assistants.IBPS conducts a CWE to recruit Officers / Office Assistants for RRBs in the month of September/October in every year.

Maharashtra: WhatsApp group admin arrested for objectionable content in Latur

The four have been arrested so far in regards to the case.

Administrator of Whatsapp group among four arrested for objectionable content in Latur

An ‘administrator’ of a WhatsApp group in Latur district has been arrested for objectionable content posted on the group. Police in Chakur tehsil of Latur district in Marathwada arrested the admin and three other members of the WhatsApp group after noticing objectionable content, including video clips posted on the group.A police officer from Chakur police station said that those arrested – Shivaji Barche, Rajkumar Telange, Amol Somwanshi and Manoj Lavhrale – will be produced before a court. The four have been arrested and cases under sections 153, 34 and section 67 of IT Act, 2000 have been registered, he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Thane: Renowned realtor kills self, government curbs cited as reason

Parmar, who heads Cosmos Group – a property development firm involved in construction of residential and commercial property, fired a bullet from his revolver on his right neck following which he collapsed.

Suraj Parmar

Well-known builder and president of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), Thane, Suraj Parmar, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself on Wednesday. He was apparently fed up with the government’s regulations and problems being faced by realty developers, said police sources. Parmar, who heads Cosmos Group – a property development firm involved in construction of residential and commercial property, fired a bullet from his revolver on his right neck following which he collapsed. The incident took place between 1 pm and 2 pm at Cosmos Heaven, a construction site office of his company in Ovala, within the limits of the Kasarwadavali police station.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “He was rushed to a hospital, but the doctors declared him brought dead,” said police PRO Gajanan Kabdule. According to police, a tablet PC has been recovered from Parmar’s office in which he has listed reasons for taking the extreme step. In a note on the PC, the 48-year-old builder has cited reasons like government’s numerous regulations for housing sector and problems being faced by realty developers, among others, for ending his life, police said. Earlier this year, Parmar was in the news for criticising Thane’s civic body for unnecessarily delaying certain approvals for finished projects. The family members of Parmar, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of any property dispute or any property related issue behind the suicide. “We have seized relevant items to check for finger prints. We will send our team again for more minute detailing. As per the preliminary investigation, it’s a suicide,” said a senior police official from Thane commissionerate. Said DCP Parag Manere, Thane, “We have recovered a sucide note, which is ten to twelve pages. An ADR (accidental death) has been registered and further investigation is on.” Mukesh Sawla from MCHI, who spoke to Suraj Parmar on Teusday evening, said he did not anticipate anything like this. “I spoke to him around 7 pm …he sounded normal,” said Sawla.

Kill policemen but don’t commit suicide: Hardik Patel tells youth

Sardar Patel Group (SPG) convener Lalji Patel, who was the first to start the agitation for reservation for Patels in OBC quota, distanced himself from Hardik’s advice.
File Photo
PTI
In a controversial remark, Hardik Patel, the 22 years old leader of the Patel quota stir, advised a youth from the community to rather kill policemen than commit suicide.”If you have so much courage…then go and kill a couple of policemen. Patels never commit suicide,” Hardik said in Surat, speaking to a local youth, Vipul Desai, who had announced that he would commit suicide in support of the agitation.Hardik visited Desai’s house on Saturday, accompanied by team of a local news-channel, which aired the conversation later.Desai told reporters later that Hardik advised him not to take his own life. “He gave me the advice that we are sons of Patels and we should kill two to three policemen rather than thinking of suicide,” Desai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sardar Patel Group (SPG) convener Lalji Patel, who was the first to start the agitation for reservation for Patels in OBC quota, distanced himself from Hardik’s advice.”Our agitation is being run in Gandhian way, so we should not talk about killing anybody. That was not a right statement by him. We must not make such statements which can spark off a class conflict in the society,” Lalji said.”He should make sensible statements. As he has been accepted as the leader of the Patel community, such statements can harm our cause,” Lalji added.Later, Hardik denied that he gave such an advice. “I have not given any advice to kill policemen. This is an attempt to misguide the people. If I am seen giving such a statement in any video or audio, then action should be taken against me,” he said.The young leader has been hogging the limelight since the August 25 “mega-rally” of Patels in Ahmedabad and the subsequent violence across Gujarat.

Pak NSA Sartaj Aziz accuses India of ‘brute force’, ‘sham elections’ in J&K

New York: Upping the ante on the eve of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan has accused India of ceasefire violations, holding “sham” elections in Jammu and Kashmir while putting the onus on it for cancellation of the NSA-level talks.

Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz. AFPPakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz. AFP

Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz. AFP

At the same time, Sharif’s adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan was ready to hold talks with India “at any level, without any preconditions” to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute.

Addressing a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir here, he said India has resorted to “unprovoked and indiscriminate” ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border and sought impartial investigation into it.

“We request the OIC Contact Group to impress upon India to refrain from ceasefire violations, which are becoming a threat to peace in the region,” he said. Pressing for plebiscite in Kashmir, Aziz said, “India continues to hold sham elections in J-K, with coercive military presence”.

He also accused India of trying to quell the Kashmiri struggle by using “brute force”.

“India is attempting to change the demographic make-up of Jammu and Kashmir by settling non-State, non-Muslim subjects” in the state, he claimed.

On the cancellation of NSA-level talks last month, Aziz said India had set pre-conditions by insisting on keeping the Kashmir issue out of the agenda and objecting to Pakistan’s interaction with the Hurriyat leaders.

“On its part, Pakistan is ready to hold talks with India, at any level, without any preconditions, in order to address each other’s concerns and establish lasting peace by resolving all outstanding issues, especially the J-K dispute,” he said.

Aziz said Pakistan supports engagement with India in a “constructive and purposeful” dialogue to resolve this issue. His remarks were made a day before Sharif is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly annual debate where he is expected to rake up the Kashmir issue.

PTI 

Chinese, French, Spanish firms to study PM Modi’s Diamond Quadrilateral bullet train plan

The Mumbai-Delhi corridor will be studied by a consortium comprising the China-based Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation along with the Lahmeyer International (India).
Representational Image

The railway ministry has decided on the firms and consortia that will study the technical feasibility of three bullet train corridors- High Speed Rail in India- that comprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Diamond Quadrilateral.The Quadrilateral has been divided into three packages with the first package being the Mumbai-Delhi corridor, the second one being the Mumbai-Chennai and the third package being the Delhi -Kolkata package.The Mumbai-Delhi corridor will be studied by a consortium comprising the China-based Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation along with the Lahmeyer International (India). The Mumbai-Chennai package will be studied by Systra of France, RITES of the Indian Railways and Ernst and Young LLP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi-Kolkata corridor will be helmed by Spain’s INECO, TYPSA and Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats. The fourth corridor, not mentioned in this announcement is the Delhi-Chennai corridor which is being studied by a group of Chinese firms. This deal was sealed when the Chinese president XI Jinping had visited India in September last year.Speaking to dna, Anil Saxena, chief spokesperson of the railway ministry said, “The Delhi-Chennai corridor is further divided into packets. The first is the Delhi-Nagpur packet and the second is the Nagpur-Chennai packet. Preparatory work on all the High Speed Rail corridors are moving quickly.”

Hyderabad: Transgenders denied entry to Inox multiplex in mall

The security guard indentified himself as head of security and reportedly asked why she had come to the mall.

Representational image.

A group of youngsters which included transgenders were reportedly denied entry into Inox at GVK One mall. The incident has caused outrage on social media.According to a report in The Hindu, the group of youngsters had gone to watch the film Time Out in the multiplex. Vyjayanthi Vasanta Mogli, a transgender who works for a corporate, was stopped and asked to leave when she was at the ticket counter, the report says.The security guard identified himself as head of security and reportedly asked why she had come to the mall. When she stated they had come to watch the film, the report says he asked them to leave. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madhumati, another transgender, in the group was also questioned by the security personnel. Mogli’s friend, Shyam Konnur, is a gay rights activist and was also part of the group. When the group raised the issue, the management of the theatre reportedly refused to apologise. They instead said the check was done randomly and didn’t target transgenders.The report adds that Mogli has stated that corporate companies should implement the Nalsa judgement. They now plan to file a complaint against the human rights violation.

FTII row: Govt agrees to talk, but students won’t call off protest till demands are met

New Delhi: The students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) called off their relay hunger strike on Sunday after the government agreed to come to the negotiating table. But they would continue with their strike till all their demands are met. The strike entered the 108th day on Sunday.

However, there seems no guarantee that the strike will end as the students continue to stick to their previous demand of removing the present FTII chairperson Gajendra Chauhan and five other members.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“If the meeting fails to resolve the logjam, we’ll escalate our movement. The road ahead is not smooth and the students are not wrong either,” said Devas Dixit, a final year FTII student and a member of the strike committee.

Kislaya, media coordinator of the FTII students’ body told Firstpost, “Right from the beginning, we’ve been opposing the appointment of FTII chairperson Gajendra Chauhan and five other members as they don’t have the kind of experience and stature they should have to occupy those posts. During our meeting with the government officials on 29 September, we’ll stick to this demand. Criteria need to be set up for future appointments of chairpersons and others. Let’s see what the government says.”

The long-awaited meeting between the Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry and the students on strike has been scheduled to be held at the office of the Films Division in Mumbai at 11 am on 29 September.

What are the FTII students asking for?

Among many others, the students have two main demands:

· To dissolve the present FTII society and simultaneously set up a new search committee, with a transparent process in place that will look into the appointments of chairperson, members, etc.

· To give FTII the status of a premium national institute like the IIT and the IIM and no bureaucrat should be appointed as FTII director.

“We’ve been on strike for the last 108 days and the government didn’t pay any heed to our demands. This is a positive development that the I&B ministry has agreed to have a meeting with us without any preconditions. One thing we would like to clear that we don’t have any personal animosity against Gajendra Chauhan and other members. We wanted someone, who truly has a body of work of national and international standards,” Dixit added.

Prior to this, after a police crackdown on the students, who had gheraoed the FTII director, the I&B Ministry appointed a three-member panel headed by SM Khan, Registrar of Newspapers for India, to have a dialogue with the students. The step was taken as there was all-round pressure from the students, their parents, alumni association and the film fraternity to end the logjam. The committee members visited Pune campus on 21 August and had rounds of discussions with the students, faculty members and alumni association.

Even an interim report by the Group of Experts headed by PK Nair, former director, National Film Archive of India, in 2011 mentioned that it was not the students, but the existing system within the FTII that was at fault.

“Till date we didn’t get to know the outcome of the meeting with the SM Khan panel. We know the committee submitted its report to the government. We also know that the government will be adamant on retaining Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson. Even, on last Tuesday, a meeting was expected with the government representatives, but it didn’t take place. The ministry had never been interested to resolve this deadlock and instead had asked the students to call-off the strike and join the classes, which was impractical. What the government offers us needs to be seen,” a member of the core committee of FTII students added.

PM Modi’s Ireland visit leads to NIIT delivery centre setting up in Dublin

Modi had also made a specific reference to Ireland as a base for Indian IT firms, calling for a favourable visa regime for Indian professionals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny shake hands during a joint press conference in Dublin on Wednesday.

AFP photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Ireland has been followed up by Indian IT firm NIIT announcing a new delivery centre to be set up in Dublin. The Gurgaon-headquartered IT-based learning and training institute said it will establish a new European Delivery Centre in Dublin, creating 110 jobs over five years.”Europe is an important and growing market for NIIT s Corporate Learning Group. Ireland was our country of choice for its extremely conducive business environment, strategic location, availability of multilingual creative and technical talent and investment potential,” said Sapnesh Lalla, president for NIIT’s Corporate Learning Group.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The development is supported by Ireland’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Ireland. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny had made a reference to today’s official announcement during his joint press statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday: “I also welcome the NIIT company here to Ireland with a 110 jobs, with the IDA working strongly in terms of foreign direct investments here.”Modi had also made a specific reference to Ireland as a base for Indian IT firms, calling for a favourable visa regime for Indian professionals.”India and Ireland are ideally placed to form a productive partnership to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital age… I also hope that Ireland’s visa policy will be sensitive to the requirements of Indian IT firms,” he said.The focus of the latest announcement is NIIT’s Corporate Learning Group (CLG), which delivers comprehensive managed training services including Custom Curriculum Design and Content Development, Learning Administration, Learning Delivery, Strategic Sourcing, Learning Technology and Advisory Services.Ireland was chosen as the location for the new European Delivery Centre due to the availability of suitable creative and technical talent and multi-lingual skills, the cluster of existing learning technology companies and open business environment, the company said. The new roles will include high-end engineers, creative writers and digital media professionals. Other roles will be for trainers, multilingual customer service support and project managers.”I have been to India on three major trade missions since taking office and I have seen first-hand the amazing work being done by our agencies in that market and the massive potential for attracting investments and jobs to Ireland,” said Ireland’s minister for jobs, Richard Bruton.”I am well aware from our meetings in New Delhi that NIIT is a world-leading company in its sector, and today s announcement that it is establishing its first operation in Ireland and creating 110 jobs is a huge boost. I wish NIIT every success with this great project,”IDA CEO Martin Shanahan added: “The Indian market is an important region in IDA’s Growth Markets and NIIT is a valuable addition to the growing base of technology companies establishing in Ireland. It will serve as a strong reference seller for other e-learning and Indian companies considering Ireland as an investment location.”The substantial number of jobs being created is also most welcome. I wish the company every success for the future in its Irish operations.”Ireland is already home to Indian information technology firms like FirstSource, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL and Wipro. Modi will hope these numbers will fast multiply following his visit to Ireland, a first in 59 years.

Supporting plea to summon Manmohan Singh: Ex-MoS Coal Dasari Narayan Rao tells Court

Senior advocate S V Raju, who appeared for former MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal, told the court that he neither supported nor opposed Koda’s plea to summon Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in the case.

Former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao on Monday sought summoning of Manmohan Singh, claiming in a Special Court that the office of the then Prime Minister had allocated a coal block to Jindal group after examining and re-examining the matter.Supporting ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda’s plea seeking summoning of Singh as additional accused in a coal block allocation scam case, Rao’s counsel told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand was allotted to Naveen Jindal Group firms and the decision was taken by the then Prime Minister who was also the Coal Minister at that time.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am supporting the (Koda’s) application,” Rao’s counsel Satish Maneshinde told the court.He said it was the Prime Minister’s Office which had examined and re-examined the issue of allocation of coal block and then decided to allocate it to the Jindal Group firms.Senior advocate S V Raju, who appeared for former MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal, told the court that he neither supported nor opposed Koda’s plea to summon Manmohan Singh and two others as additional accused in the case.He, however, said that any order passed by the court on Koda’s application should not prejudice the rights of the accused to seek discharge from the case.”However, it is submitted that any order passed in the present application should not prejudice the rights of accused no. 7 (Jindal) including his right to seek discharge at the time of arguments on charge,” the brief written submission filed by Raju said.Similarly, most of the co-accused in the case adopted the arguments advanced by Jindal’s counsel.Special Public Prosecutor R S Cheema told the court that he would advance arguments on Koda’s plea tomorrow.The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal group firms — Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL).Koda, who is one of the 15 accused in the case, had moved an application seeking to summon Manmohan Singh and two others — Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology)– as additional accused in the case.

Stalemate at FTII intensifies: 3 students go on hunger strike, govt remains silent

Ninety days and there’s still no end to the FTII stalemate in sight. With the government showing no sign of backing down or softening its position on the students’ demands, the latter have decided to intensify their agitation by going on hunger strike. They are also garnering support from other states for their cause.

Three students have gone on a hunger strike from Thursday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The hardening of stance comes after Abhijit Das, a faculty member who had entered into a hunger strike on the Teachers’ Day (5 September), fell ill and was forced to withdraw.

“It was for the first time that a faculty member had joined the strike in support of the students. When his condition deteriorated due to fasting, we forced him to withdraw. The strike has entered its 90th day and it seems to be an end of our career. We’ve now decided to follow the extreme path of fast-unto-death as the government has turned a deaf ear to our demands. Besides, students’ organizations and activist groups will conduct protest march in all the state capitals to express solidarity with our cause,” Devas Dixit, a final year student told Firstpost.

Meanwhile, the government is silent over the findings of the three-member committee appointed by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry into the troubles within FTII. The committee, headed by SM Khan, Registrar of Newspapers for India, members had visited Pune campus on 21 August and had rounds of discussions with students, faculty members and the alumni association.

“We’ve come to know that the committee has submitted its report to the ministry, but nothing has been communicated to us. We’re completely in dark, which is making the situation worse,” Devas added.

The government has so far not commented on the findings of the committee. But a source in the ministry said it disapproves of the students’ approach on their demands. “From the demands of the FTII students, it seems that henceforth the government should consult students’ bodies regarding appointments of vice chancellors, chairpersons, directors and principals in the universities and institutes. The issue has unnecessarily been over-stretched,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

FTII row opens a can of worms

Though the issue of the appointment of the chairperson and other members has hogged media limelight, and the 2008 batch emerged as a ‘bone of contention’, the real problem began in 2001.

An interim report by the Group of Experts headed by PK Nair, former director, National Film Archive of India, in 2011 mentioned that it was not the students, but the existing system within the FTII that was at fault.

A copy of the report with the Firstpost mentions:

  • In 2000, a new experiment, known as the 1+1+1 plan was hurriedly introduced by the administration, and it ended in disaster.
  • A large number of semi-complete and incomplete students’ projects got piled up. The three-year course stretched on until sixth year, causing strain on students, teachers and administration.
  • Delays due to lack of mechanisms to monitor maintenance of time schedules and production budgets.
  • Infrastructural bottlenecks.
  • Desperate shortage of teachers and trained faculty members at the institute.
  • Unavailability and inaccessibility of faculty at crucial junctures.

“Equipment has been known to fail due to faulty maintenance, power cuts have disrupted schedules, laboratories have caused delays and the office bureaucracy may take days to obtain one signature for the release of required facilities…It is now so much a part of life on the campus that any fresh candidate applying for the FTII admission, we were told, is reconciled to the idea of staying for 5 years to complete a three-year programme. How long can this deteriorated state of affairs be allowed to continue?” Nair questioned in his report.

Another note written to the government by Dr Kedarnath Awati, Acting Dean, Faculty of Film at the institute has exposed the biggest anomaly, which is the jurisdiction of the I&B Ministry over the institute. He has also mentioned several causes of delay for the students to complete their curriculum.

Dr Awati said in the note, “For I&B Ministry, the FTII is but a tiny blip on a larger radar screen. We’ve been regarded as a media unit, rather than an academic institution. To top it all, we’re not even an arm of the government, like the National Film Archive of India. We’re an autonomous body run by a Governing Council. The proposals sent to the ministry have languished.”

Awati suggested, “It would have been better had the FTII been transferred lock, stock and barrel to the Ministry of HRD. Because, at HRD Ministry, education is the very life-blood and they understand the issues very clearly.”

Ranjit Nair, a core committee member of the strike, added, “We have raised our concern time and again but to no effect. The ministry and successive governments have been negligent. They level accusations against the students instead. The students have always protested against administrative failures. We have written letters to the ministry through years, but those were tossed aside. The delay in completion of the course has been going on since 2001.”

The controversy in nutshell

The FTII students went on a strike protesting the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairperson and four other members (out of eight) of the board. The reason stated was that the chairperson and the four members had strong Hindu right wing connection and didn’t have a body of work to justify their positions at FTII. The students’ body questioned the basis on which the appointments were made.

But gradually the 2008 batch of FTII emerged as the bone of contention, and it has been said that the students of this batch have been instrumental in the strike on the campus. And, this is the group of students virtually controlling the campus for seven years. When the institute’s director Prashant Pathrabe asked for an assessment of the projects of the 2008 batch students, he was gheraoed and it resulted in a midnight police crackdown in August. Five students were arrested and later released on bail.

Rahat Jain, a student of screenplay writing, justified the strike saying, “It is not just to oust a particular set of people but to strengthen the process. Regarding protests on appointments, if you go through the list of previous chairmen and FTII Society members, you will find them of a certain stature, repute and experience that is completely lacking in the current appointments. We have always reiterated that our strike is not against a particular government, but against the continuous negligence of the institute by successive governments that has now boiled over by the extent of the incapability of the latest appointments.”

Census figures scary, Muslims on a campaign to increase their population: VHP

This assertion came days after VHP Working President Pravin Togadia sought curbs against the minority community over its “population jihad”.

A crowd of VHP supporters

PTI photo
Terming Census figures as “scary” and “a matter of deep concern”, Vishva Hindu Parishad on Sunday alleged that instead of cooperating with efforts of other communities to control the country’s population, Muslims are making it a “campaign” to increase their numbers.This assertion came days after VHP Working President Pravin Togadia sought curbs against the minority community over its “population jihad”.The ‘Kendriya Margdarshak Kandal’ (Central Mentors Group) of the Hindutva outfit described the fall in share of Hindus in the total population to below 80% as “a matter of deep concern” and “an indication of an impending danger to the country’s unity and integrity”, a VHP statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is very clear that all communities in the country are making all efforts to control population but the Muslim community instead of cooperating is taking it up as a campaign to increasing its population which is worrisome… there is an increase of 24 per cent in the numbers of Muslims and only 7.5 per cent in Hindus… All states should form a national population policy,” it said.The Group comprising numerous saints and priests met at Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra where the holy Kumbh fair is going on.”In the meeting, saints expressed their sentiments about the scariness of the census figures and said the Hindu population falling below 80 per cent is a matter of deep concern,” the statement said. The meet also called upon the Centre to introduce a law to ban cow slaughter.The saints also asked Hindus to stamp out “abhorrent” practices such as discrimination against other castes, saying “we Hindus are one and no Hindu is untouchable”.

Tamil Nadu: Transgenders plead for mercy killing upset over their plight

The group said they have been trying in vain to avail government assistance, including reservation in education and jobs, long to lead a dignified life.

Citing “lack” of government assistance to help their community members lead a dignified life, a group of four educated transgenders has petitioned the Tamil Nadu government with an extreme plea — seeking mercy killing.Banu, Livingsmile Vidya and Angel Glady, in a petition submitted at the District Collectorate here on Friday, said they wanted to die with dignity rather than being subjected to discrimination and other problems because of their gender.The group said they have been trying in vain to avail government assistance, including reservation in education and jobs, long to lead a dignified life.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want to live a dignified life and therefore have been demanding reservation in education and jobs but neither the central nor state governments have heeded our demand,” Banu told PTI.Vidya said they had staged various forms of protests, including begging to suggest that the members were pushed to seeking alms for a living, but insisted that they wanted to live a dignified life, and rightfully so.”We have been staging so many protests, including begging for dignity, but we are pushed towards begging for living. If that be the case, we don’t want to live that kind of a life, but rather die with dignity and therefore made the application for mercy killing,” Vidya, a post-graduate from Thanjavur Tamil University, said.However, officials at the Collectorate had assured help, Vidya added.Banu, studying engineering at a nearby college, said transgenders have been facing discrimination at many places and stressed that only reservation in jobs would enable them lead a dignified life.The plea for mercy killing had been made since their gender identity had affected their dignity, they said adding they did not want to take up begging or indulge in commercial sex, generally associated with transgenders.

One soldier, four militants killed during gunfight in Kupwara in J&K

Srinagar: An Indian Army soldier and four militants were killed in a night-long gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, an official said on Thursday.

Representational image. Image courtesy: ReutersRepresentational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

“Security forces, including troops of the army’s para regiment, Special Operations Group of state police (SOG) and CRPF, surrounded Vilgam (Handwara) village late Wednesday following information about a group of militants hiding in the village,” a police officer told IANS here.

“When they were challenged they resorted to firing at the security forces triggering the encounter in which four militants and an army soldier were killed,” he added.

He said search operations were still on in the area, adding that the identity of the militants was being estsablished.

It must be recalled that an army soldier and a separatist militant were killed on Wednesday in Ladoora village of the same district.

IANS

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan has failed, says OROP supporting bikers group

We are the Harley Owners Group in Delhi. We are a 1000-plus community. We all feel for this cause and that is why we are here. If need be, we will make riding to Jantar Mantar a regular affair, added a biker.

The Bikers Group of Delhi on Sunday, came out in support of the ex-servicemen’s protest for the One Rank One Pension scheme.We want the government to know that our ex-servicemen are not alone. The nation is with them. We will not let our veterans suffer alone, said the group’s leader.We are the Harley Owners Group in Delhi. We are a 1000-plus community. We all feel for this cause and that is why we are here. If need be, we will make riding to Jantar Mantar a regular affair, added a biker.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another biker said how the country which is based on the Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan slogan, has failed to live by it time and again. Both the farmer and the soldier have to come on the streets for getting their share of justice.The OROP protest is being spearheaded by the Indian Ex-servicemen’s Movement (IESM), which represents nearly three million ex-servicemen.

Journalists from India, PoK decide to set up mechanism to share content, discuss mutual issues

At a first of its kind of interaction, Kashmiri journalists from India and PoK decided to set-up a mechanism of sharing content including both news and views, to break various myths and distortions associated with their respective regions.

India-Pakistan flags collage

File Photo
At a first of its kind of interaction, Kashmiri journalists from India and PoK decided to set-up a mechanism of sharing content including both news and views, to break various myths and distortions associated with their respective regions. A group of 29 journalists, comprising editors and reporters from Kashmir discussed a range of mutual issues related to their profession and their role in the conflict. The journalists also talked about the possibilities of building linkages across the Line of Control (LoC) to help build a peaceful atmosphere.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The thrust of the deliberations was on how to improve the contact across the line of divide and try to reach out to the readers with the accurate information. For this the discussion was held on various mechanisms to translate this into reality,” said a joint statement, issued at the end of two-day deliberations. Despite acrimony attached to botched up national security advisor level talks, both the governments of India and Pakistan had facilitated this first of its kind of interaction.The journalists urged both countries to facilitate movement of journalists on both the sides. A four-member joint group was also constituted to look into content sharing between the different media organizations and also a joint working group of the journalists from the two sides that would further build up the linkages. In the next step, two newspapers from each side will be encouraged to sign a proper MoU on content sharing, so that readers from both sides are informed about the news about each other region on real time basis. Other decisions taken at the meeting included documenting history of journalism on both sides, creating a digital library related to J&K, trying to circulate hard copies of newspapers through cross-LoC routes, involve media departments on both the sides of LoC, arrange professionals to lecture journalism students in the universities of both regions, to publish a six-monthly newsletter, online and print, institute awards for the best cross-LoC reporting, and preparation of a directory of Kashmiri journalists working all over the world. The conference, a first of its kind, organized by Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) and Center for Peace Development and Reforms (CPDR) in association with Kashmir Initiative Group.

Navi Mumbai flat sold for half the asking price

Sea-facing Palm Beach Rd duplex, worth Rs 32 cr a few months ago, sold for Rs 16.25 cr

Representational image

Here’s the big proof that real-estate prices in Mumbai are falling.A 13,000 sq ft sea-facing duplex apartment in Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai has been sold for Rs 12,500 per sq ft against the Rs 20,000-Rs 25,000 per sq ft quoted a few months earlier. That means a Rs 32 crore flat selling for Rs 16.25 crore. The apartment in Akshar El Costillo at Sector 6, Nerul, was bought by Paradise Group managing director Manish Bhatija a few days ago. He bought the property on the 21st floor in the 28-storey building, along with five parking slots.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Though Bhatija confirmed the transaction, he didn’t disclose the details. “It was a really reasonable deal in recent times,” is all that he said. Industry insiders agree that the property market is really scaling down. “If this fall continues, end-users will be able to buy their dream homes,” said an industry insider. He said Palm Beach is the Nariman Point of Navi Mumbai. “At Palm Beach, most apartments fall in the luxury segment. If rates are plummeting in this segment, it means property rates are likely to slide further. Because high-segment houses always face the first hit,” said Pankaj Kapoor, MD, Liasea and Foras, a property research firm. Kapoor said that the holding capacity of developers cannot stretch beyond a certain period. They have to pay high interests to banks, he said. “Investors are the first set of people to exit during a downfall. Currently, most investors are exiting because there is no significant growth or appreciation in the property market. People feel investing in mutual funds or parking money in banks are better options,” Kapoor added. But Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) Navi Mumbai unit general secretary Manohar Shroff had a different opinion. “If one deal has taken place at a lesser rate, that doesn’t reflect the entire market. We sometimes read about south Mumbai apartments being sold for Rs 1.25 lakh per sq ft, but that doesn’t mean that it is the rate for the whole of south Mumbai,” he said. Anand Sherawat, MD, Bhoomi Anand Group, however, said that the property market is going through a turbulent situation. “We thought that after the Lok Sabh elections, market sentiments will improve. Virtually, there are no buyers now. Most buyers are making inquiries but not returning,” said Sherawat. Another developer from Navi Mumbai blamed the government. “There are constant changes and amendments in government policies. There is no clarity as to where the housing sector is moving. He also said that the Palm beach deal was a desperate sale. “There are very few buyers in the market to purchase such high-end and ultra luxury properties. Therefore, that particular flat was sold at a low price,” said Arvind Goel, president of of MCHI, Navi Mumbai.

Businessman Ajay Mafatlal, first major sex change case in India, passes away

Ajay’s funeral was held at the Banganga cremation grounds on Saturday evening in the presence of family members and close friends.

Ajay Mafatlal
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Businessman Ajay Mafatlal, who was Aparna till a sex change operation, of the Yogindra Mafatlal Group, passed away after a month-long illness at a hospital in Mumbai. He was 60. Ajay died at the Breach Candy Hospital on Saturday afternoon due to cardio-respiratory failure, according to the hospital and family sources.He was first admitted to the Cumballa Hill Hospital on July 30 with urinary tract and lung infections, but soon he developed sepsis, following which he was shifted to the Breach Candy hospital. He was one of the most famous and earliest sex change cases in the country. In November 2003, he underwent a surgery at the age of 46.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aparna was in November 1979 married to family friend Sudeep Parikh who was into the business of producing yarns. After living together for one-and-half years, they mutually agreed to get separated, and in 1984, got formally divorced.Ajay’s funeral was held at the Banganga cremation grounds on Saturday evening in the presence of family members and close friends. His mother Madhuri Mafatlal, whom he was very close to, was cremated at the same place two years back.Ajay always maintained that he wanted to live like man as he never felt like a woman. He and his mother Madhuri were embroiled in a bitter property battle with his younger brother Atulya and the latter’s estranged wife Sheetal.Though Ajay had denied that property dispute with Atulya had anything to with his sex change, rumour mills never died. Before Aparna became Ajay, Atulya was the only son to have a claim on the late Yogindra Mafatlal’s trust, as all the four sisters, including Aparna, had been married off.After the death of the patriarch Yogindra Mafatlal over a decade ago, an intense family feud started between Ajay and Atulya over the 10,000-sqft family mansion on Altamount Road in Mumbai, with Atulya and Sheetal on one side and Madhuri and Ajay on the other side. To put an end to the dispute, their mother allowed partition of the Altamount Road mansion.However, the feud between Ajay and Atulya intensified after Madhuri, a few months before her death in July 2013, declared Ajay as her only son. Following this, Ajay too disowned Atulya as his brother.Despite being very close to each other and Ajay supporting her marriage to her brother, Sheetal had filed a harassment case against Ajay and her mother-in-law Madhuri, from which they both came out clean.After the sex change, Ajay became the eldest of the five children of Yogindra. Apart from brother Atulya, he has three sisters–Kunti Shah, Gayatri Jhaveri and Malvika Taktawala. Ajay was not involved in the operations of the Yogindra Mafatlal Group, which is into marketing and distribution of dyestuffs and intermediates, textiles and non-textile auxiliaries. He set up a computer consultancy firm Megabyte along with his partner and theatre personality Jai Kunder in the late 1990s.Following the divorce, Ajay began to live with Jai. However, within a few years the business collapsed and so the relationship.

Film festival on cancer survivors, their struggle and conquest over the disease

Self V Film Festival, a one-of-a-kind celebration for cancer survivors was started by HCG- the Specialist in Cancer Care along with Pink Hope – a cancer support group. All cancer survivors need to shoot a 60 second video showcasing the story of their struggle and conquest over cancer.

As part of the campaign, a ride with Harley Owners Group of Bangalore was also organized.

Pic Courtesy: Facebook
The story of 17-year old Priti who overcame all odds and ploughed ahead with life after losing an eye in her battle with cancer is now included in a film festival on cancer survivors.”This year we would be creating a film festival with the videos of the cancer survivor that we receive. These videos will be judged by a jury from the film fraternity and the best ones will be selected for the festival,” says Dinesh Madhavan, Director – Healthcare Services, HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG). <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Self V Film Festival, a one-of-a-kind celebration for cancer survivors was started by HCG- the Specialist in Cancer Care along with Pink Hope – a cancer support group. All cancer survivors need to shoot a 60 second video showcasing the story of their struggle and conquest over cancer. “The stories will be aired across India as a part of the ‘Self-V Film Festival’ in PVR theatres across Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hubli, in 92 auditoriums,” says Madhavan.The campaign has already received about 100 videos from India and 50 videos from across the world like Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. “We not only need to fight for ourselves but for the loved ones as well. One of the purposes of sharing my story is that I find lots of cancer patients in the hospital who require help in terms of counseling. Such a disease takes a lot from you not only physically and mentally but emotionally as well,” says Sidharth Ghosh, a cancer survivor and last year’s winner. Ghosh was detected a rare type of cancer in the right kidney.As a part of this campaign, a ride with the Harley Owners Group of Bangalore was also organized. 70 Harley Davidson bike riders participated to support the cause. The ride was flagged off at HCG in July in Bangalore and the bikers rode to Chikballapur.

India’s Adani in talks with Softbank, Foxconn on $3 billion solar plan | Reuters

NEW DELHI India’s Adani Group is in talks with Japan’s Softbank (9984.T) and Foxconn (2354.TW), maker of Apple’s iPhone, to secure investment in a $3 billion project to make solar cells and panels in the country, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government expects clean energy to yield business worth $160 billion in India in the next five years, based on the country’s power generation targets.

Softbank, Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises have already pledged to invest about $20 billion in solar projects in India. A new deal with Adani, one of the country’s largest conglomerates, would boost Modi’s efforts to promote manufacturing and create sorely needed jobs.

One of the sources, who is involved in the negotiations, said that over the past few weeks, the billionaire founder of the mines-to-power Adani Group, Gautam Adani, had held talks with Softbank Chairman Masayoshi Son and Foxconn head Terry Gou.

“(Adani) are talking to Softbank, they are talking to Foxconn. They may partner with both of them. Something will be finalised in the coming few months,” the source said.

Both sources said the deal was yet to be finalised. Under the current discussions, Softbank and Foxconn, which have a string of planned and executed in investments in India, could directly inject money into the project.

Foxconn Technology Group, Softbank and Adani all declined to comment.

One of the sources said the talks had gathered pace after Adani and U.S. solar power company SunEdison (SUNE.N) two months ago ended a $4 billion agreement struck earlier this year, on a similar project.

“That deal could not mature,” said the India-based source. “They were charging too much on the technology fee.”

A SunEdison spokesman declined to comment.

HERE COMES THE SUN

Under the planned project, Adani is looking to set up a plant to produce 3 gigawatts (GW) of solar cells and panels, probably in Modi’s home state of Gujarat by 2020, said the source. Adani is based in the state and is said to be close to the prime minister.

The first phase of 1 GW will be completed by 2018 and the company has already started buying equipment for it.

India is relying on renewables to fight climate change rather than committing to emission cuts like China, arguing that any target could hinder economic growth vital to lifting millions of its people out of poverty.

Modi has set clean-energy targets including raising solar capacity fivefold to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, as India’s peak power demand doubles over the next five years from about 140 GW now.

But most of the investment in the sector is expected to come either from foreign investors or companies such as SunEdision, Trina (TSL.N) and First Solar (FSLR.O).

(Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes, Swetha Gopinath and Jatindra Dash; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques and David Evans)

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

Captured terrorist Mohammed Naved AKA Usman admits he is from Pakistan

Captured Pakistani terrorist Naved alias Usman Khan was subjected to lie detector test on Tuesday after he had made ‘contradictory and misleading’ statements about his Indian contacts and the route taken by his group to infiltrate India.

According to various media reports, Mohammed Naved, who is also known as Usman, has admitted that he is from Pakistan during a polygraph test. He also claimed to have been trained at an LeT camp and also admitted he had been asked to target security forces in India. Captured Pakistani terrorist Naved alias Usman Khan was subjected to lie detector test on Tuesday after he had made ‘contradictory and misleading’ statements about his Indian contacts and the route taken by his group to infiltrate India. Pursuant to a Delhi court order, Usman was brought to central forensic science laboratory (CFSL) under tight security and kept in isolation for some time before being subjected to the polygraph test. Officials from various security and intelligence agencies were present during the test. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a related development, NIA released two sketches of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, who were claimed to have infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir’s Gulmarg sector with Usman. The anti-terror agency also announced a cash reward of Rs five lakh to anyone providing information leading to their arrest. The two have been identified as Zarghan alias Mohammed Bhai, aged about 38-40 years, and Abu Okasha, around 17-18 years. During the test for which Usman had given written consent, he is believed to have been questioned about how many people were with him when the group infiltrated J&K and people he had met and lived with during his two-month stay in the state. Sources in the NIA said Usman had been giving conflicting statements about the strength of the group and the route taken by it to sneak into India, besides those with whom he came into contact in J&K. He had also given wrong information about the number plate of the vehicle that carried him and accomplice Noman to ‘Tamatar Modh’ on Jammu-Srinagar highway on August 4.
With inputs from agencies

#SaluteSelfie: Social media’s novel way of paying tribute to Indian Army on Independence Day

As India’s 69th Independence Day draws closer, there is a novel way of paying tribute to the Armed Forces doing the rounds on social media – the #SaluteSelfie

MS DHoni's #SaluteSelfie Image Credit: Twitter @msdhoniMS DHoni's #SaluteSelfie Image Credit: Twitter @msdhoni

MS DHoni’s #SaluteSelfie Image Credit: Twitter @msdhoni

While hashtags have been used for contests and jokes, this is one that is actually aimed at a positive development — firstly, to thank our troops and secondly, to let them know that the country is thinking about them. With several ceasefire violations in the past month, as well as a few terrorist attacks near the border, this is an ideal time to let the soldiers know that they matter. The explainer video mentions that more than 10,000 selfies have reached our soldiers, even as more continue to pour in.

The #SaluteSelfie Twitter trend, promoted by the Reliance Group, has seen the participation of a number of  prominent celebrities from all fields, as well as numerous users from all over India. From MS Dhoni to Amitabh Bachchan, the #SaluteSelfie has brought together many celebrities in tribute.

Chairman of Hero Cycles OP Munjal passes away at 87

Munjal was facing health issues for the past few months. He breathed his last in the DMC Hero Heart Centre

Hero Group Logo

Image Courtesy: Twitter
Industrialist OP Munjal, Chairman Emeritus of Hero Cycles and one of the founders of the Hero Group, passed away on Thursday after brief illness. Munjal (87) breathed his last in the DMC Hero Heart Centre, his family said, adding the last rites will be performed on Friday.Faced with health related issues for the past few months, Munjal had retired from active role in the business in July and his son Pankaj Munjal succeeded him as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Hero Motors group.Munjal along with his three brothers Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Dayanand Munjal and Satyanand Munjal started bicycle spare parts business in Amritsar in 1944. Subsequently, they moved their base to Ludhiana naming the company ‘Hero’ and set up India’s first bicycle manufacturing unit in 1956.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the eighties Hero Cycles became the largest bicycle manufacturer by volume in the world. Munjal, who led Hero Cycles for almost 60 years, also helped the company in diversifying to other businesses such as auto parts manufacturing and hospitality.Under his leadership, the company grew from a bicycle maker to a Rs 3000-crore industrial house. He also served as the president of All India Cycle Manufacturers’ Association. A recipient of many national honours, Munjal was also known as a philanthropist. He supported several educational institutions and hospitals across India.He is survived by a son, four daughters and 10 grandchildren.

AIIMS autonomy issue needs to be revisited by govt: Par Panel

“The question of autonomy in the context of the Institute needs to be revisited by the Government immediately and powers should be delegated at the Institute-level to facilitate quick decision making and optimal growth as a premier medical university,” recommended a Parliamentary Standing Committee

AIIMS protest

File Photo
The issue of autonomy of the AIIMS needs to be revisited by the Centre immediately and powers should be delegated at the institute-level to facilitate quick decision-making and optimal growth as a premier medical university, a Parliamentary Committee has recommended. “It has its failures, drawbacks and impediments but it has substantial achievements too to its credit. The Committee therefore agrees that its growth needs to be fast-tracked. This will however remain wishful thinking if the Institute is not granted the requisite functional autonomy in truest sense. The question of autonomy in the context of the Institute needs to be revisited by the Government immediately and powers should be delegated at the Institute-level to facilitate quick decision making and optimal growth as a premier medical university,” recommended a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its report submitted in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As far as vacancies and appointments are concerned, the Committee observed that in spite of providing ample budgetary support, in-position strength in respect of faculty is 594 against sanctioned strength of 826, that of non-faculty is 201 against sanctioned strength of of 347 and similar position exists in the case of Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ staff and Group ‘A’ (non-faculty) and Group ‘B’ staff in respect of nurses.The Committee exhorted the Institute to streamline its recruitment policy so as to ensure that before approaching the Government for creation posts, AIIMS should at least ensure that the sanctioned posts are filled up within a targetted timeline. Citing that the process of appointment of Director of AIIMS is done at the last moment in hurry, the Committee suggested that in order to ensure time filling up of the post, the required processes should be put in motion at least one year before the anticipated vacancies arose.The issue of Assessment Promotion Scheme (APS) has raked its fair share of controversy and that AIIMS should have framed guidelines for APS before going for it evena sit urged for a review of the scheme.

Aircel-Maxis deal: P Chidambaram twisted FIPB norms

An audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has put former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a spot, as it alleges that he violated rules of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) by clearing Aircel-Maxis deal involving Rs 3,514.45 crore. And the Department of Telecom (DoT) completely ignored the fact that Malaysia-based Maxis Group has as much as 99.3 percent stakes in Aircel, while the Indian government rules allow a foreign company to have only 74 percent stake in a telecom company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>FIPB rules clearly state that the Finance Minister can only approve proposal worth Rs 600 crore and it is mandatory that he refers all proposals above Rs 600 crore to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA). But Chidambaram passed it without referring it to CCEA.Final CAG audit report, exclusively accessed by dna, says: “MoF (Ministry of Finance) letter dated 20 March 2006 conveying the approval of FIPB for foreign investment in Aircel Ltd was silent on the quantum of foreign investment of Maxis group of Malaysia approved investment in Aircel Ltd.’’According to CAG audit report, the MoF was in the know way back on January 25, 2006 (through an application of Maxis Group to FIPB) that there would be total foreign exchange inflow of $800 million, approximately Rs 3,500 crore. “MoF did not recommend the proposal to the CCEA for approval as per the extant rules. There was nothing on record to indicate as to why the proposal was not sent to the CCEA for approval,’’ says CAG audit report.CAG report further argued that FIPB had recommended all proposals above Rs 600 crore to CCEA, if one goes by 74 of its meetings held during 2007-2014. “Hence, MoF had the powers to approve the foreign investments only up to Rs 600 crore whereas Maxis/GCSH (Global Communication Service Holding Ltd, 100 percent Mauritius-based subsidiary of Maxis) invested Rs 3,514.45 crore in the Aircel Ltd on 21 March 2006 based on the MoF letter 20 March 2006,’’ says CAG report.Above all, CAG audit report alleges that DoT did not do necessary due diligence while processing the telecom licences for the Aircel Group. Maxis Group itself declared in their filing for Quarter ended March 2006 before the Malaysian Stock Exchange that they had defacto 99.3 percent stakes in Aircel Ltd and “this effectively gives the Group (Maxis) 99.3% economic returns from the investment in Aircel,’’ says the CAG report.Thus, CAG alleges that DoT failed to scrutinise and thus violated FDI rules for Unified Access Service License. DoT also did not seek to find if the Ministry of Finance has taken necessary CCEA’s approval for the Aircel project where a foreign company had invested more than Rs 3,000 crore, CAG report says.dna has learnt that CAG has also sent its findings to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to further investigate the role of finance and telecom ministers and DoT officials.The DoT official record shows that Maxis Group had entered Indian business through Mauritius route by 100 percent owning a GCSH.The Finance ministry has given permission to Aircel, where GCSH was allowed to increase its direct equity from 26 percent to 65 percent and indirect holding of 8.999 percent through Deccan Digital Network Ventures. Besides, the Finance Ministry also allowed GCSH to set up an investment holding joint venture and wholly owned company, South Asia Communications Pvt Ltd.GCSH procured 39 percent equity of Aircel for $422 million or Rs 1868.19 crore and raised the FDI in Aircel to 65 percent and remaining 35 percent equity owned by Indian JV Deccan for $378 million or Rs 1,673.41 crore and that too on the same day. Interestingly, Deccan was formed as JV between Maxis’ subsidiary GCSH and Indian company Sindiya Securities and Investment Ltd with ratio of 25.7 (foreign): 74.3 (Indian).Deccan paid Rs 1,673.41 crore to procure 35 percent equity of Aircel on March 21, 2006. This was possible because in addition to paid up equity of Rs 46 crore, Deccan also got preference share equity of Rs 1,634 crore from India company South Asia Communication Pvt Ltd (SACPL), which is also 100 percent subsidiary of GCSH. It means GCSH actual investment in Deccan was (11.8+1634.46) Rs 1646.26 crore. Indian partner Sindiya Investment was only Rs 34.2 crore. It’s clear that foreign holding ratio in Deccan was 97.97:2.03.Therefore, the total investment of GCSH turned out to be Rs 3,514.45 crore as on March 21, 2006. It is clear if we consider earlier investment of GCSH in Aircel worth Rs 1,261 crore in January 2006, the effective investment of GCSH or Maxis becomes 99.30 percent. Sindiya as an Indian partner had only 0.7 percent holding. This holding and number was not mentioned in the Finance ministry approval.When asked, Chidambaram told dna: “Please talk to FIPB officials. These were clarified by Mr Mukherji in Parliament. There was no additional foreign investment in the company. Only the promoter changed. Mr Ashok Chawla was Additional Secretary and Mr Ashok Jha was Secretary, DEA.’’Earlier, the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha in May 2012, and Chidambaram had admitted that he presided over the clearance by FIPB and the discrepancies in the valuation of shares need to be addressed under purview of law.He had then said, “The law can be set in motion on these two things. Parliament was assured that the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee would address these violation of rule in the course of his reply. However, the clarification never came in Parliament.Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran is already under the scanner of the probe agencies as he was accused of misusing his office to engineer the sale of telecom Aircel to Malaysia’s Maxis Group.

Supreme Court stays defamation case against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial court proceedings in a defamation case filed by the Essar Group against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai and two others at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh.

Priya Pillai

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial court proceedings in a defamation case filed by the Essar Group against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai and two others at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh.A bench of Justices Jagdish Singh Khehar and Adarsh Kumar Goel also issued notices to the firm and the Centre on Pillai’s plea in which she has also challenged the validity section 499 (defamation) of the IPC.The activist has contested the defamation complaint on the ground that Essar has filed it to curb the freedom of expression and prevent her from raising voice against the alleged wrongs of the company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In her petition, Pillai said that the corporates are using such litigations for preventing public interventions and these are aimed at intimidating activists and keeping them engaged in multiple litigations.Earlier, another bench, hearing a batch of petitions challenging penal laws on defamation including the plea filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, had allowed Pillai’s counsel to argue her plea.The criminal defamation suit was filed in a lower court of Madhya Pradesh against Pillai and two other persons related to Greenpeace — Kumi Naidoo and Samit Aich.

Gautam Adani’s roadblock in Australia is about his record in India

The humble skink and the shy ornamental snake seem to have done what few could – halted the Adani juggernaut.

The news that a federal court in Australia has rejected approval for the Adani group’s $16-billion coal project in the Galilee Basin is noteworthy because it’s not like the group fell afoul of overly stringent environmental laws and hyperactive Greenpeace activism in that country. The case singled out the Adani group’s environmental record in India.

That often gets short shrift in India because we lionize industrial tycoons and often tend to think that the likes of a secretive burrowing yakka skink should not be allowed to hold up the forces of development. Much of the reportage of Gautam Adani in the media has tended to be political reporting anyway – about his proximity to Narendra Modi and his starring role in Modi’s Gujarat Model. In a country that was used to a license raj, it was the shining role model of how the sky was the limit if government and business could come together. But that does not mean it is necessarily a win-win for all.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

The Australian verdict is a reminder of the debates we just dismiss as jholawalla fulminations. The recent travails of Greenpeace in India have furthered the impression of environmentalists whose agenda is obstruction. And the likes of Greenpeace are painted as “foreign-funded” troublemakers conspiring to put the brakes on India’s rise in the world. But even if Greenpeace’s financial papers are not entirely in order, are their environmental conclusions also de facto null and void?

The Australian court clearly took their submission seriously. Greenpeace has a research briefing on Adani’s environmental record where it claims the Adani Group has a “long history of environmental destruction”. Some of the issues it highlights includes destruction of mangroves and mudflats while building its port at Mundra even though environmental approvals for the development explicitly cited no “existing mangroves shall be destroyed during construction/operation of project”.

Greenpeace based its report not on its own fact-finding missions but MoEF investigative committees. It also said Adani had failed to monitor groundwater regularly for salinity and pollution. According to the LSE, villagers complained they could not make a living off their land anymore because “the fly ash from the Adani power plant and sea water ingress from unlined canals pumping it into turbines to generate electricity have completely destroyed the once rich soil.”

A government-appointed panel however concluded that development was too far advanced in Mundra to revoke the Adani Group’s permission and recommended it pay $33million instead into a conservation restoration fund. The question said Gautam Appa, professor emeritus at LSE was “whether the Adani Group’s investments are too big to shut down.” The Gujarat High Court which had declared the Adani zone illegal then passed the ball to the federal government asking if it could be granted a belated environmental clearance. That “back-dated environmental clearance” was finally given by the new Modi government.

Calling the Mundra record “horrendous” Greenpeace told The Guardian in 2013 “The Great Barrier Reef is a world heritage area and we are about to place it in the hands of a company that hasn’t behaved responsibly in India.”

The Adani group has claimed that most of its non-compliances have negligible impact. It also touted the economic windfall the Carmichael project could bring Australia quoting Gautam Adani on its website:
“There has been a 50 percent jump in local employment by us. We are committed to our project in Australia, which is a joint collaboration with top Australian consultants, and is expected to create up to 5,000 jobs during construction and 4,000 jobs once we begin operations. We will train and employ locals, Queenslanders and Australians.”

It also reiterated “its commitment to protect the environment” and played up its Clean Development Certification from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Adani group also lavished gifts like a silver and rock crystal compass and pashmina shawls on Australian politicians reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

But it still faced headlines like these in Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald
Concerns at Barrier Reef contractor’s humanitarian, environment record

The Australian
Reef port builder Gautam Adani facing fines

The Age
Is Australia ready for India’s Gautam Adani?

The Age raises the question “Adani has it in him to turn an arid desert land into a thriving economic junction. In India, the change came at the cost of locals and the environment. Is Australia prepared for an Adani kind of change?”

The court has answered that question for now.

According to The Times of India, the Adani group has blamed the setback on a “technical legal error” and is confident that it can be addressed.

But the larger question remains. Indian companies are often used to getting away with environmental violations or at least bending the law in India because it can always be managed – sometimes by spreading money around, sometimes through political largesse, and sometimes thanks to protracted and expensive court proceedings. Ultimately a project can become just too big to fail. But this Australian ruling proves that what happens in India does not have to stay in India. Indian media might not have blown up Mundra’s case into an enormous national story but its effect was still felt on Adani’s global ambitions far away in Australia.

Just as a company like the Adani Group’s reach is no longer limited to India, it has to remember that environmental activists opposing it are also playing on an international stage. Mundra might be pushed through in India but the shadow of Mundra can fall on a coal mine in Queensland and upset the best laid plans of an all-powerful corporation.

Kashmir: Militants attack police party in Pulwama, suspected LeT terrorist killed

Srinagar: Militants on Thursday attacked a police party deputed to conduct a search operation in a village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Special Operations Group (SOG) of local police cordoned off Asthan Mohalla locality of Kakapora, 32 kms from Srinagar, at around 4 pm on receiving specific inputs about militants hiding in a house, a police officer said.

He said the militants opened fire on noticing the search party in an attempt to escape.

Reinforcements, including Rashtriya Rifles personnels, have been rushed to the area to flush out the militants believed to be trapped there, the officer said adding there was no fresh report of firing so far.

A suspected Lashker-e-Taiba militant killed in the encounter.

PTI

All you need to know about ‘mother of all insurgencies’ NSCN-IM

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All you need to know about the formation of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, the breaking away of NSCN-K and the peace process with Centre.

Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muiva

File Photo
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) signed a peace accord with the Modi-led BJP government on Monday. The agreement came eighteen years since 1997 when the talks had begun with the insurgent group.About the NSCNThe National Socialist Council of Nagaland was formed in January 1980. The founders, Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and SS Khaplang had created the group to oppose the Naga National Council’s decision to accept the Indian Constitution. They were against the Shillong Accord of November 1975 which was signed by Angami Zapu Phizo’s Naga National Council.
The objective of the group was to create a sovereign nation ‘Naglim’ which would have all regions in the Northeast and Myanmar that are inhabited by the Naga tribes. The group follows Mao Zedong’s ideaology and Christianity with the underlying principle of socialism for economic development and a spiritual outlook – ‘Nagaland for Christ’.
The faction NSCN-IM, which came to be known as the ‘mother of all insurgencies’ after a split between two clans in the group. In April 1988, Khaplang leading the Konvaks clan announced the formation of NSCN-K after making an unsuccessful attempt on Muivah’s life. Khaplang now heads the recently-floated United National Liberation Front of Western South-East Asia, an umbrella group of five more rebel outfits from northeastern region, including ULFA, PLA and NDFB(S). NSCN-K, along with a few Manipuri outfits, were responsible for the killing of 18 army men in Chandel district of Manipur on June.
The NSCN-IM was thus created by Tangkhul clan under its leaders Isak and Muivah. Both NSCN-IM and NSCN-K have been accusing each other of working for the government of India.
The NSCN-IM<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The group reportedly runs a parallel government in regions which it controls. The regions include several districts in Nagaland as well as neighbouring Assam, Arunachal Pradesh. The leaders and members have lived or traveled to countries like Pakistan, China and Thailand. The group reportedly has support from the Naga community in Thailand.
The group has reportedly reached out to UN Human Rights Organisations in Geneva, Unrepresented Nations People’s Organisation (UNPO) at the Hague and the UN Working Group on Indigenous People (UNWGIP).
NSCN-IM agreed to a ceasefire in 1997 which led to the beginning of the peace process with the Indian government.
However the process ran into a hurdle when the group demanded for a separate flag and its demand to get all Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative umbrella.
In 2011, Chairman Isak Chishi Swu accepted an Indian passport on his return from Bangkok, Thailand last month, encouraging the peace process.
In June 2015, the group offered to assist Centre to take down its rival NSCN-K. It had expressed its desire to help security forces hunt down its arch rival NSCN-K rebels, who killed 18 soldiers in Manipur in June, 2015. The Centre was turned down the offer saying it was capable of dealing with the NSCN-K.
A five-point resolution was passed by the Nagaland legislative assembly on July 27, which also included “integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, reports The Hindustan Times. This was unanimously supported by the representatives of Naga civil society.
Other resolutions which were passed were the resumption of ceasefire between New Delhi and NSCN-Khaplang and removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1958 from Nagaland, adds the report. The NSCN-K in March 27, 2015, walked out of the peace process that was signed in April 2001 this year.
The resolution has caused worry among Nagaland’s neighbours Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipuras over the “integrating Naga-inhabited areas”. The resolution has evoked a feeling of threat to the states’ territorial integrity.
Violent protests have followed the Nagaland’s demand. In Manipur a mob had set fire to the state assembly in 2001.

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National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K)NSCN (Issac-Munivah)NagalandNarendra ModiWeb ExclusiveAssamArunachal PradeshMyanmarPakistanChinaArmed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)United Nations (UN)Isak Chisi SwuThuingaleng MuivaSS KhaplangspecialNSCN(IM)

Homage to Kalam: Some government offices in Kerala function on Sunday

Some village and panchayat offices, state Women development Corporation and certain units of Kudumbashree, the women’s Self Help Group, were among the offices which functioned.

Drawing inspiration from former President APJ Abul Kalam’s message to work an extra day on his death instead of declaring holiday, a section of employees of a few government offices in Kerala worked on Sunday as a mark of respect to the late visionary.Some village and panchayat offices, state Women development Corporation and certain units of Kudumbashree, the women’s Self Help Group, were among the offices which functioned.Staff of Women Development Corporation worked two hours extra today against the normal working hours from 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM to fulfill the wish of ‘People’s President’, the Managing Director of the Corporation P T M Sunish told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”People usually look for every occasion to get a holiday. But here, they themselves decided to work an extra day as a homage to the legendary man,”, he said.”This shows the love and respect Keralites had towards Dr Kalam. I hope that it will introduce a new work culture in the state,” he said. Though Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson had tweeted last week that state government offices would function on Sundays, the government had not issued any order in this regard.

Afghan Taliban may dump Mullah Mansour, name new leader in his place

Afghan Taliban’s Supreme Council was not consulted over the nomination of Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the group’s supremo following Mullah Omar’s death and a new leader could be named in his place, media reports said.

Mullah Mansour

AFP photo
Afghan Taliban’s Supreme Council was not consulted over the nomination of Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the group’s supremo following Mullah Omar’s death and a new leader could be named in his place, media reports said.Mullah Mansour has been chosen to head the militant group but a Taliban spokesman told the BBC that he had not been appointed “by all Taliban”, which was against Sharia law. He said the council would hold a meeting to elect a new leader.The Afghan Taliban’s Supreme Council was not consulted over the election of the new leader following the death of its founder Mullah Omar, the BBC report said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Separately, a senior member of the powerful leadership council told The Express Tribune that the council will give Mullah Mansour some time to “give up” the top position.”If he refuses, the council could elect a new leader,” he said. There have been conflicting reports about whether the Supreme Council was consulted or not on the election of Mansour.Earlier, reports had said that following Omar’s death, Mansour was elected as the group’s leader after the Taliban Shura Council met at an undisclosed location in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan to decide on Omar’s replacement.Some Taliban figures have accused pro-Pakistani circles of imposing Mullah Mansour – known for his support for peace talks – on them, the BBC report said. At least one Taliban faction would have preferred Mullah Omar’s son to succeed him, it said.Taliban spokesman Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi was quoted as saying that those who elected Mansour had not followed the rules.”According to Islamic rule and principles, when a leader dies, a Shura (council) is called, then its leader is appointed,” he added.Mullah Omar led the movement for some 20 years. His death was confirmed by the Taliban on Thursday. A statement did not say where, when or how he died. It only said that it was from an illness and that he had remained in Afghanistan since the 2001 US invasion.It is the first time that such differences have arose among the group’s leadership, the report said. Finding a unifying leader like Mullah Omar will be almost impossible for the Taliban, so a split is likely, it said.Mullah Mansour’s supporters have dispelled reports that military commander Qaum Zakir is opposing his election. Zakir is an ex-Guantanamo prisoner, who has a base of support in Helmand province and will play a crucial role in the group’s future.

Gurdaspur attack: No hostage situation yet, says Kiren Rijiju

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Monday said no hostage situation in the Gurdaspur attack has been reported so far.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Monday said no hostage situation in the Gurdaspur attack has been reported so far.The attack is serious. I can’t give any details as the operation is still going on. No hostage situation has been reported so far, he said.Meanwhile, ANI reporter on the ground has said that no exchange of gunfire has taken place for the past 10 minutes.One militant has been killed while a Punjab Special Service Group (SSG) jawan has sustained injuries in the ongoing operations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll in the attack has now risen to eight, including six civilians and two home guards. Four civilians have also sustained injuries.The gun battle between the security forces and alleged terrorists ensued after the latter opened fire on the police station and a bus.

Amid Maggi controversy, Nestle appoints new India head

Narayanan, the first Indian to be appointed country head after a gap of over 16 years, will take charge as the new Managing Director of Nestle India with effect from August 1.

Battling a controversy over lead content in its popular Maggi noodles, Swiss food group Nestle repalced its India head Etienne Benet with an Indian, Suresh Narayanan.Narayanan, the first Indian to be appointed country head after a gap of over 16 years, will take charge as the new Managing Director of Nestle India with effect from August 1.The top-level change comes a month after Nestle withdrew Maggi from stores after tests by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) showed an excess presence of the heavy metal. It has since challenged the findings in the Bombay High Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UK and Singapore regulators have, however, ruled that Maggi noodles imported from India were safe for consumption.”Nomination has been received from Nestle SA for the appointment of Suresh Narayanan as the MD of Nestle India with effect from August 1, 2015,” Nestle India said in a filing to BSE.Benet, who took over as Nestle India head on October 1, 2013, will be leaving Nestle India on July 25 and relocating to Nestle Group Head Office in Switzerland, it added.Narayanan, who had joined the Nestle Group in 1999 in India, is currently the Chairman and CEO of Nestle Philippines.From 2005 to 2008, he was the head of sales for Nestle’s South Asia region where he introduced major structural and strategic changes in sales and customer management.Last month, Nestle India had announced that it was in the process of destroying Maggi noodles worth Rs 320 crore after it was banned by the safety regulator FSSAI due to presence of excess lead and taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG).On June 5, FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles, directing Nestle to immediately withdraw and recall all the nine variants from the market.

Delhi High Court terms the denial of security clearance to Red FM as ‘incongruent’

The Madras HC had on Thursday issued an interim order allowing three companies of Sun Group to participate in the stage-III auction process of FM radio.

Red FM

Twitter page
The Delhi High Court on Friday termed as “incongruent” the denial of security clearance to Red FM to participate in the Stage III FM auction due to its association with the Sun TV Group, which itself has already been allowed by Madras High Court to take part in it.A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said that while the Madras HC has allowed the Sun TV Group to participate in the auction, the Centre has denied the same relief to Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, which runs Red FM, due to its association with the Maran-run group.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Look at the incongruence,” the bench said while observing that orders similar to those passed by the Madras HC can be passed in the instant case.The Madras HC had on Thursday issued an interim order allowing three companies of Sun Group to participate in the stage-III auction process of FM radio.The court had, however, asked that the results of the auction be kept in a sealed cover till further orders and said that it would be subject to the result of the main writ petition filed by the group, which has sought a direction to quash the order passed by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.The I&B ministry had disallowed the group from taking part in the auction process on the basis of absence of security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).Central government’s standing counsel Sanjiv Narula, however, said today that the Madras HC’s single judge order was not binding upon the division bench of Delhi High Court and urged that arguments be heard tomorrow before a decision is taken.He wanted the matter to be heard tomorrow as owing to ongoing strike of lawyers in Delhi HC, the counsel for Red FM were unable to appear.The bench, thereafter, listed the matter for hearing tomorrow. It asked the government and Red FM to file their written submissions and added that an order will be passed if the arguments cannot be heard.The ministry had yesterday filed an affidavit in the Delhi HC stating that Red FM’s plea for security clearance to participate in stage III of FM auctions was not maintainable as it is seeking judicial review of a ‘policy decision’.

Provide full, sufficient, proper protection to Rahul Gandhi on his visit to Trichy: Madras High Court

Justice M Sathyanarayanan, before whom the petition filed by advocate A P Suryaprakasam came up, gave the order after recording the submission of Special government pleader that Gandhi belongs to Z-Plus category of security and apart from inner ring protection by Special Protection Group, outer ring protection would be given by state police.
File Photo
PTI
The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu DGP “to ensure full, sufficient and proper protection” to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi at Tiruchirapalli on July 23 during his one-day state visit and disposed of a petition seeking provision of outer ring security by the state government to him.Justice M Sathyanarayanan, before whom the petition filed by advocate A P Suryaprakasam came up, gave the order after recording the submission of Special government pleader that Gandhi belongs to Z-Plus category of security and apart from inner ring protection by Special Protection Group, outer ring protection would be given by state police.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The pleader also assured the court that adequate, sufficient and proper protection would be given to Gandhi and there would not be any lapses while protecting him. The judge then directed organizers of the function to give in advance to the police the approximate number of persons likely to attend the event.Gandhi is expected to discuss farmers’ issues, including the land bill, during his visit.Apart from addressing a rally in that city as part of the celebrations of the birth anniversary of Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister K Kamaraj, he is also scheduled to interact with a group of farmers.The petitioner, who is also convener of the legal cell of state unit of Congress, expressed apprehension that though Gandhi is protected by SPG, the outer ring of security has to be provided by state police and may not be able to get such protection on account of ‘lapses’ on their part.

Saradha scam: TMC MP Kunal Ghosh’s plea for action against Mamata Banerjee, interim bail rejected

Ghosh prayed that he be granted bail for 20 hours on Tuesday so that he can be present in the Rajya Sabha.

PTI photo
Suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh on Monday demanded steps against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam and sought interim bail and parole to attend the Rajya Sabha, which were refused by a city court.Ghosh claimed that he “started a fast-unto-death from today till steps were taken against those who used the Saradha Group”, when he was produced before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Rudraprasad Roy at City Sessions Court in connection with the chit fund scam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While pleading before the court for interim bail to attend Rajya Sabha proceedings on the first day of the monsoon session, Ghosh, who was the head of Saradha Group”s media wing, prayed that steps be taken against Banerjee and others who, he alleged, had used it.Ghosh prayed that he be granted bail for 20 hours on Tuesday so that he can be present in the Rajya Sabha.On earlier occasions too, Ghosh, who was once close to the Trinamool Congress leadership, had prayed during court proceedings that the CBI interview Banerjee together with him.Later in the day, the Rajya Sabha MP moved a prayer for parole before the court of chief judge Subhra Ghosh, claiming that he has been served a notice by the Upper House authorities to be present in Parliament tomorrow.Opposing the prayer, the public prosecutor submitted that it was a simple notice given to all MPs to attend the House. He stated that parole was not applicable in such cases.While his parole plea was rejected by the chief judge, the metropolitan magistrate rejected Ghosh”s interim bail prayer and extended his judicial remand till August 3.

DMK slams Centre on rejecting SunTV applications in FM auction

DMK slams Centre DMK President M Karunanidhi today said Centre”s rejection of applications for Sun TV Group, owned by his grand nephew Kalanithi Maran, to participate in Phase III of FM auctions amounted to “strangulating democracy” and asked the government to reconsider its decision. “Based on unproven allegations, with no proper explanation made on threat to national security, Centre denying permission to media organisations like Sun Group (to participate in the auction) amounts to strangulating democracy,” he said. Karunanidhi said Centre should, to uphold the Freedom of Expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India, “immediately reconsider” its decision.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK patriarch also referred to voices supporting the Maran-promoted company, including broadcasters” associations. He also cited Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi”s statement supporting grant of security clearance to 33 channels of Sun TV Network. Rohatgi had said corruption cases being investigated against the network”s promoter cannot be a ground to deny it security clearance. “Sun TV”s five applications being rejected is condemnable,” he said in a statement here.Earlier, the Application Review Committee of Information and Broadcasting Ministry had rejected the applications of the companies belonging to the Sun TV group, which had failed to get a security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.Security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs is a necessary condition to apply for the FM auctions. Subsequently, five companies of the Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun TV group will not be able to participate in the Phase III FM auctions.

Abusive Twitter trolls, beware! Bhakt Hunters is out to get you

The group which uses the Twitter handle @BhaktHunters has managed to get several abusive accounts suspended.

A group that goes by the name Bhakt Hunters Group! on Twitter has managed to suspended several abusive right-wing accounts on the micro-blogging site, an English daily reported.The group which uses the Twitter handle @BhaktHunters started tweeting about reporting abusive accounts to Twitter and has managed to get some of them suspended. Since July 7, the group’s Twitter profile has bagged over 1,600 followers as of Saturday morning.The first account they managed to get banned is @AAPkaFather. and @Poison4AAP.Accounts of twitter handles @JAIHIND_BHARAT, @RW_HITMAN and @MahaveerM_, @aapkabaap420, @harsh_rajwanshi and @Ek_AAPTard2 have been suspended. However right leaning Twitterati rallied behind the @MahaveerM_ with #IStandWithMahaveer trending on Friday. Union Minister Giriraj Singh reportedly urged Twitter to lift the ban on @MahaveerM_. The twiter handle is followed by PM Narendra Modi too.The group has also ample advice to keep abusive trolls at bay and deal with anonymous twitter handles. They have recently tweeted tips about the same.

Abusive Twitter trolls, beware! Bhakti Hunters is out to get you

The group which uses the Twitter handle @BhaktiHunters has managed to get several abusive accounts suspended.

A group that goes by the name Bhakti Hunters Group! on Twitter has managed to suspended several abusive right-wing accounts on the micro-blogging site, an English daily reported.The group which uses the Twitter handle @BhaktiHunters started tweeting about reporting abusive accounts to Twitter and has managed to get some of them suspended. Since July 7, the group’s Twitter profile has bagged over 1,600 followers as of Saturday morning.The first account they managed to get banned is @AAPkaFather. and @Poison4AAP.Accounts of twitter handles @JAIHIND_BHARAT, @RW_HITMAN and @MahaveerM_, @aapkabaap420, @harsh_rajwanshi and @Ek_AAPTard2 have been suspended. However right leaning Twitterati rallied behind the @MahaveerM_ with #IStandWithMahaveer trending on Friday. Union Minister Giriraj Singh reportedly urged Twitter to lift the ban on @MahaveerM_. The twiter handle is followed by PM Narendra Modi too.The group has also ample advice to keep abusive trolls at bay and deal with anonymous twitter handles. They have recently tweeted tips about the same.

Vyapam Scam: CM Shivraj Chouhan agrees to send journalist Akshay Singh’s viscera samples to AIIMS

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, under pressure over two more deaths in connection with the Vyapam scam, has now agreed to send the viscera samples of journalist Akshay Singh to Delhi’s AIIMS, reported news channels.

This came after Pakshi Singh, the sister of television reporter Akshay who died in Madhya Pradesh under mysterious circumstances while covering the Vyapam scam, had requested that the viscera samples of her brother should be sent to Delhi for test.

Shivraj Chouhan. AFPShivraj Chouhan. AFP

Shivraj Chouhan. AFP

In a letter addressed to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Pakshi said: “As you know, he died in mysterious circumstances.”

“I request you to get examined his viscera outside Madhya Pradesh, preferably at AIIMS Delhi for free and fair investigation,” the letter said.

India Today Group also made the demand that the viscera samples be sent outside Madhya Pradesh for test.

In a statement shared on Facebook page, India Today Group demanded a “fair and independent inquiry”.

“The circumstances of the untimely death of TV Today journalist Akshay Singh merits a full, fair and independent inquiry. We urge the Madhya Pradesh government to immediately have the viscera sample sent to a recognised forensic laboratory outside the state, preferably Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, for a thorough and transparent examination,” the statement said.

“This would assuage the family, friends and well wishers of Akshay who seek some closure,” the statement added.

“Nothing we do will ever bring back Akshay, a brave and fearless journalist. The India Today group stands by the family in their hour of crisis,” the statement said.

On Saturday, Akshay Singh was in Meghnagar in Jhabua district to talk to the family members of scam-accused Namrata Damor who too was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Jhabua Superintendent of Police Abid Khan told IANS that Akshay Singh and his two colleagues interviewed the family for around an hour after which the journalist suddenly fell ill.

He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead.

With IANS inputs

Vyapam scam: Shivraj Chouhan agrees to send Akshay Singh’s viscera to AIIMS

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, under pressure over two more deaths in connection with the Vyapam scam, has now agreed to send the viscera samples of journalist Akshaya Singh to Delhi’s AIIMS, reported news channels.

This came after Pakshi Singh, the sister of television reporter Akshay who died in Madhya Pradesh under mysterious circumstances while covering the Vyapam scam, had requested that the viscera samples of her brother should be sent to Delhi for test.

Shivraj Chouhan. AFPShivraj Chouhan. AFP

Shivraj Chouhan. AFP

In a letter addressed to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Pakshi said: “As you know, he died in mysterious circumstances.”

“I request you to get examined his viscera outside Madhya Pradesh, preferably at AIIMS Delhi for free and fair investigation,” the letter said.

India Today Group also made the demand that the viscera samples be sent outside Madhya Pradesh for test.

In a statement shared on Facebook page, India Today Group demanded a “fair and independent inquiry”.

“The circumstances of the untimely death of TV Today journalist Akshay Singh merits a full, fair and independent inquiry. We urge the Madhya Pradesh government to immediately have the viscera sample sent to a recognised forensic laboratory outside the state, preferably Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, for a thorough and transparent examination,” the statement said.

“This would assuage the family, friends and well wishers of Akshay who seek some closure,” the statement added.

“Nothing we do will ever bring back Akshay, a brave and fearless journalist. The India Today group stands by the family in their hour of crisis,” the statement said.

On Saturday, Akshay Singh was in Meghnagar in Jhabua district to talk to the family members of scam-accused Namrata Damor who too was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Jhabua Superintendent of Police Abid Khan told IANS that Akshay Singh and his two colleagues interviewed the family for around an hour after which the journalist suddenly fell ill.

He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead.

With IANS inputs

Vedanta readies Rs 400-crore funding facelift for anganwadis

The foundation has partnered with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) for the project, it said in a statement.

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The Vedanta Foundation, the philanthropic arm of metal and mining major Vedanta, will revamp 4,000 anganwadi centres across India by equipping them with TVs, solar panels and toilets. The foundation will fund the modernisation drive with over Rs 400 crore, for which it has partnered with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), it said in a statement. The first model Anganwadi, Nand Ghar, was inaugurated by Union Minister for WCD Maneka Gandhi, along with Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal, at Hasanpur village in Sonipat district of Haryana. Inaugurating the centre, Gandhi said: “This Nand Ghar model will provide targeted delivery of supplementary nutrition services, along with related healthcare services for both mother and child, including skill training for women.” The Minister hailed Vedanta’s efforts in this regard.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The Ministry of WCD and the Vedanta Group have come together to construct 4,000 Anganwadi buildings in different parts of the country. Nand Ghar is an extension to the existing anganwadi initiative and will be Vedanta Group’s endeavour to provide better environment to children of India,” said Agarwal. Vedanta’s Nand Ghar project aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and commitment to providing quality education for children and skill development for women in the entire country, he added. The Vedanta Foundation has already collaborated with over 3,000 anganwadi centres in Rajasthan and Odisha by supplementing the services of the government and addressing the nutrition as well as the educational needs of over 1 lakh children. Also Read: Option of serving eggs in anganwadi centres is open, says Madhya Pradesh MP

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