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Thirteen SSB troops released after being detained by Nepal police

Kathmandu/New Delhi: Nepal on Sunday briefly detained 13 personnel of India’s Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), who allegedly entered the country with arms while chasing suspected smugglers near Jhapa district, bordering Bihar.

Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) personnel deployed at the Border Account Post at Kechana Village in Jhapa district, bordering Bihar’s Kishanganj district, arrested the SSB jawans around 6:30 am, according to Nepal Police sources.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Four SSB jawans were carrying modern rifles, they said. All 13 SSB personnel were later released after being briefly kept at APF camp in Kechana.

Assistant Chief District Officer Dambaru Prasad Niraula said they were handed over to the Indian side after an investigation into the incident.

“They (SSB jawans) were quizzed on reason for entering Nepal,” Nirauala was quoted as saying by My Republica.
Indian officials in New Delhi said the patrol party comprising 13 SSB personnel followed the lead team of two jawans, identified as Constables Roshan and Ramprasad of the 12th SSB battalion deployed in the area, and “inadvertently” crossed over to the other side by about 50 metres into Khuntanmani village after which villagers surrounded it.

“Thirteen of our men were detained by APF at a border post along Indo-Nepal border. I had an interaction with the APF Chief and IG Mr Kesh Raj Onta and he had assured that these men will be released,” SSB Director General B D Sharma told PTI in New Delhi.
Sharma said there has been no ‘bodily harm’ to the SSB personnel and that they have been extended due courtesies by APF.
The paramilitary force guards the 1,751 km-long open frontier with Nepal.

Last week, four Nepalese nationals sustained injuries after being allegedly shot by SSB personnel in southern Nepal near the border with India.

Nepal alleged that the SSB personnel entered 100 metres inside Nepalese territory in Sunsari district, which lies on the Nepal-India border, and fired at the four unarmed Nepalese nationals while chasing a group of chemical fertiliser smugglers.

The Indian embassy here, however, had said the border guards fired at the smugglers in self-defence inside Indian territory.

India had last week hit out at Nepal for “shifting” blame of atrocities inside its “volatile” Sunsari district to the SSB.

Relations between India an Nepal have nosedived in recent months as Indian-origin Madhesis protesting against the new Constitution have blocked key border trade points with India, causing severe shortages of fuel and other essentials in the country.

PTI

Assam Guv PB Acharya stokes controversy with alleged ‘divisive’ remarks

“Hindustan is for Hindus. There is nothing wrong with that. Hindus from different countries can stay here. They cannot be outsiders,” the Governor was quoted as saying by media.

Acharaya today said that what he meant was that all Indian-origin people, including Muslims, persecuted in any foreign lands were welcome in the country.

Image Courtesy: Twitter (ANI)
Assam Governor P B Acharya has stoked a controversy after he reportedly said that “Hindustan is for Hindus”, drawing sharp criticism from Congress which alleged that it was reflective of the divisive ideology of RSS and BJP which has led to incidents like Dadri lynching. Acharya’s attempt today to clarify the alleged remarks he made yesterday at a book launch function further stirred the row after he said that “Muslims in India are free to go anywhere”.”Hindustan is for Hindus. There is nothing wrong with that. Hindus from different countries can stay here. They cannot be outsiders,” the Governor was quoted as saying by media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As his reported remarks came under fire, Acharaya today said that what he meant was that all Indian-origin people, including Muslims, persecuted in any foreign lands were welcome in the country. “We should keep in our mind, only because a person is persecuted because of his religion in any country, if Indian Christian is persecuted in Pakistan, he has to come to India. Where else will he go? Indian Christian, Indian Buddhist, Indian Jain, Indian Hindu. “If a European Christian is persecuted or a European Hindu…if he is persecuted in Belgium, he cannot come to India…”Indian Muslims are free to go anywhere. They can stay here if they want to stay here, many have gone to Pakistan. If they want to go to Pakistan, Bangladesh, they are free to. If they are persecuted there, Taslima Nasreen (author) was persecuted there, she came here. If they come we’ll give them shelter. India is big-hearted,” he said.Congress today termed Acharya’s remarks as “unfortunate and shocking” as they came from a person holding a “constitutional post”. “It is clearly indicative of the way RSS and BJP functionaries think and continue to think even when they are in a constitutional post. Bondage or umbilical cords with parent remote organisations, be it RSS and BJP should be severed when you assume a Constitutional post,” he said. Singhvi said that the same ideology and philosophy has led to a culture of absolute divisiveness, intolerance, mutual enmity, trust deficit in the last 18 months and incidents like Dadri. “You have been hearing from MPs, MLAs, ministers and now from Governor,” he said.

Unwise to blame India for economic blockade: Nepal’s ex-PM Bhattarai

Bhattarai warned that the Terai agitation is turning violent and it could get out of hand.

The issue of border dispute has become a subject of debate for the last one year, according to Bhattarai who quit the UCPN-Maoist two months ago to form a new political force.

Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday said that the political crisis in southern Nepal could be resolved if the country can re-demarcate the boundaries of federal provinces through amendments to the new Constitution as demanded by the Indian-origin Madhesis. The issues relating to five districts, three in eastern Nepal and two in the west could not be resolved due to the arrogance and personal interests shown of the four leaders belonging to opposition Nepali Congress and ruling CPN-UML, Bhattarai said.The issue of border dispute has become a subject of debate for the last one year, according to Bhattarai who quit the UCPN-Maoist two months ago to form a new political force. Bhattarai said he is ready to broker a deal between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government to resolve the current impasse. Urging the government to respond quickly to the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties, Bhattarai warned that the Terai agitation is turning violent and it could get out of hand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asked the government to implement the past agreements relating to proportional representation, election constituency determination on the basis of population and re-demarcation of the boundaries to address the demands of the Madhesis. He said that the Terai agitation and blockade of the key trading points between Nepal and India over the past two months have severely damaged the Nepalese economy. The damage to the national economy due to the agitation is nearly double as compared to the damage caused by the devastating earthquake in April, he said.Nepalese people have faced hardship from time to time due to the leadership’s inability to strike a balance in Nepal’s relationship with its two giant neighbours, India and China, he said. He said although the economic blockade on the Indian border is inappropriate, it is not wise just to blame India without addressing Nepal’s own internal problems.The issue of Nepal-India relations should be tackled through diplomatic channels, while at the same time the issues raised by the agitating Madhesi parties should also be resolved through political dialogue, Bhattarai said. The present problem could not be resolved by blaming each other or by firing verbal missiles, he said.

Medicines from India destroyed in Madhesi violence in Nepal

Kathmandu: Indian-origin Madhesi protesters in Nepal on Friday torched an ambulance and a truck carrying medicines worth over Rs two million imported from India near the border as sporadic violence returned to the Himalayan nation amid a political logjam over the new Constititution.

The truck with medicines was torched by the cadres of the agitating Joint Democratic Madhesi Front (JDMF) close to the Indian border town of Raxaul, despite an assurance by the protesters that they would allow vehicles to move into Nepal.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Nepal is facing a huge shortage of medicines and other essential goods due to a two-month-long agitation by the Madhesis in the Terai region, the police said.

The agitators hurled a petrol bomb on the vehicle in the Birgunj Municipality area of Parsa district last night as the vehicle headed towards Janakpur, a southern Nepal town, the police said.

The fire that erupted in the truck destroyed the medicines imported from India worth more than Rs two million.

On Thursday, the JDMF had issued a statement that they would allow movement of medicine-laden vehicles and would let the schools in southern Nepal function normally.

Meanwhile, the cadres of the agitating Madhesi Front also set an ambulance on fire, in Morang in eastern Nepal.

The vehicle was ferrying a sick child to a local hospital in district headquarters Biratnagar.

The child sustained injuries but is now safe, police said.

Police have arrested eight members of the agitating Madhesi parties for their alleged involvement in the incident.

Nepal has been hit by a major political crisis over the new Constitution opposed by Indian-origin Madhesis who have led an agitation and blockaded at key border trade points of Nepal with India, leading to a shortage of essential goods including fuel and cooking gas.

Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting against division of their ancestral homeland into seven provices in the new Constitution.

More than 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation from India has been badly affected.

The agitation by Madhesi groups has paralysed normal life across Nepal while the dearth of medicines has put lives of patients at stake.

PTI

India condemns Nepal deputy PM Mainali’s remarks as ‘malicious’

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu in a statement reiterated that “India’s only objective is peace, stability and prosperity in Nepal. India hopes that internal issues facing the country will be resolved through political dialogue and reconciliation. India will support all efforts in this regard.”

Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution.
File Photo
PTI
India strongly condemned Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister’s allegations on Sunday that it is trying to disintegrate Nepal and annex the Terai region, saying such “baseless and malicious” comments vitiate the age-old historical and familial ties between the two countries.The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu in a statement reiterated that “India’s only objective is peace, stability and prosperity in Nepal. India hopes that internal issues facing the country will be resolved through political dialogue and reconciliation. India will support all efforts in this regard.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Condemning Deputy Prime Minister C P Mainali’s statement, it said, “The Embassy strongly condemns such baseless and malicious comments, which divert attention from the real issues facing the country and vitiate the age-old historical, familial and civilisational ties between India and Nepal.Veteran Communist leader Mainali during a media interaction here yesterday said that the blockade of key border trade points with India which is led by Indian-origin Madhesis was part of “Indian conspiracy to annex the Terai region by disintegrating it from the rest of the country” with the ‘one Madhes, one Pradesh’ (province) demand.Mainali, who is also the Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, claimed that India is executing a plan to disintegrate the Terai region through blockade. Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution.The agitation close to the main trading point near Raxaul has halted supply of essential goods, causing acute shortage of fuel in Nepal. Over 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation from India via the major border trading points has been badly affected.

Indian-American doctor indicted in anti-kickback case

Rita Luthra, 64, of Longmeadow, was indicted for taking free meals and speaking fees and prescribing an osteoporosis drug made by Warner Chilcott in return.

Representational Image

An Indian-origin gynaecologist in the US state of Massachusetts has been arrested for allegedly accepting favours from a pharmaceutical firm in return for prescribing its drugs and allowing sales-representatives to access the records of patients. Rita Luthra, 64, of Longmeadow, was indicted for taking free meals and speaking fees and prescribing an osteoporosis drug made by Warner Chilcott in return. The company allegedly paid Luthra more than US $23,000 to prescribe two of its drugs at her Springfield offices from October 2010 through November 2011.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The indictment has many instances where a representative from the company paid for meals for Luthra and her staff. It includes one count of wrongful disclosure of individually-identifiable health information and one count of obstructing a criminal healthcare investigation by lying to federal agents and directing an employee to do the same. She could face a maximum of five years in prison and a US $25,000 fine. It was alleged that Luthra’s prescriptions of Warner Chilcott’s osteoporosis drugs increased during the time that she was paid by the company, and precipitously declined once she stopped being paid. Luthra also allowed a company representative to access protected health information in her patients’ medical file.

India wants to see Nepal united, inclusive, stable: PM Modi

Conveying his best wishes to the new government that took over in Kathmandu about a week back, Modi underlined that India is committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal.
File Photo
Getty Images
Amid an unease in the bilateral relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made it clear to Nepal that India’s only desire is to see the neighbouring country united, inclusive, stable and prosperous, as he met its Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa here.Conveying his best wishes to the new government that took over in Kathmandu about a week back, Modi underlined that India is committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thapa, who holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, briefed Modi about developments in Nepal which has been witnessing a turmoil in southern parts inhabited by Indian-origin people ever since the country adopted a new Constitution nearly a month back.”Prime Minister reiterated that India’s only desire is to see a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal, and that India is committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal,” a PMO statement said.Modi congratulated Thapa on assuming charge as the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal.The relations between India and Nepal are uneasy since the agitation by Indian-origin people in southern parts of Nepal like Terai, which has hit supplies of essential commodities to that country from here.During his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here yesterday, Thapa had expressed concern over the obstruction in the supplies from the Indian side especially petroleum oil lubricants, to which Swaraj told him that the “reduced or closure was due to the obstructions on the Nepalese side by the disaffected section of the Nepalese population.”Swaraj told the visiting minister that India was looking forward to steps being taken by Nepalese government to “credibly” address the challenges faced by the country including in the Terai region at the earliest.

dna Must Read for tonight: US Air Force worker’s bizzare claims, Bigg Boss Day 2, Simbu’s film ‘Kaan’ and more

Here are the top 5 stories from dna.

Here are the top 5 stories from dna:1) Pakistan knew Osama Bin Laden was living in the country, says ex-foreign minister Ahmad Mukhtar: Former Pakistan defence minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has admitted that the Pakistan government knew that Osama Bin Laden resided in the country. Read about it here. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Former US Air Force worker claims she was abducted by aliens and raped on the moon: People make bizarre claims every now and then, but this one has to take the cake. Read​ more here.3)Bigg Boss 9: Day 2 – Contestants go through Double Trouble of Phobias!- Read all about what happened tonight here. 4) Simbu’s film ‘Kaan’ with Selvaraghavan and Yuvan Shankar Raja dropped- Actor Simbu seems to be facing more issues as far as his career is concerned. Read what really happened to the film here.5) Man Booker Prize 2015: Take a look at the shortlisted authors and their books- Indian-origin British author Sunjeev Sahota in the running along with five other international authors​. Read about about it here.

Sushma Swaraj asks NRIs to help in ‘Clean Ganga’, ‘Swachh Bharat’

Sushma Swaraj is in Maldives on a two-day official visit.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj talks with Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon during a welcome ceremony at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male, Maldives October 10, 2015.

Reuters
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday asked Indian-origin people and expatriates abroad to come forward and contribute to the government’s flagship programmes of ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Swachh Bharat’.Swaraj, who is in the Maldives on a two-day official visit, said those contributing to the programme can see how their donation is being utilised through the India Development Foundation, an initiative of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.”You have come out to earn livelihood and you are earning good. But you also have to pay your debt to the motherland,” Swaraj said addressing the Indian community in Male. She said that most have studied in India and have played on its soil.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is an opportunity for you to set apart a portion of your earning for Clean Ganga. Please take a vow that if the school of the village where you came from does not have toilets, you will make one,” she said.Swaraj said any person of Indian-origin or NRI staying abroad wanting to contribute to Clean Ganga and Swachh Bharat can do so through India Development Foundation and even monitor its progress. She said the person donating will be provided details about the progress and would also be mailed pictures.”You can check it up with relatives or friends back home,” she said.Speaking on other issues, Swaraj stressed that India is making its voice heard in the international fora and the world is listening. She game the example of International Yoga Day in this context.

Nepal’s new Constitution: India hopes ‘difficult days’ will not affect Indo-Nepal ties

Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya hoped that there would be ease in supply of essential commodities from India soon as efforts are being made at diplomatic and political level in this regard.

Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.
File Photo
PTI
With Indo-Nepal ties witnessing unease after the promulgation of the new Constitution in Nepal, India hoped that “difficult days” would not affect their friendship as it welcomed the Nepal government’s move to hold talks with agitating groups.”We welcome the recent steps taken by the government of Nepal to hold dialogue with the agitating groups to end the existing political crisis in a peaceful manner,” Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said. He said India wants stability in Nepal and it was not against the new Constitution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We see the Constitution as the culmination of violence and end of very brutal insurgency Nepal had gone through. Nepal has come out of a very difficult situation and we don’t want that it return to another difficult situation,” Rae said during an interaction programme here.”Nepal-India friendship is very old, solid and very much stable, and it doesn’t depend on any specific issue or incident,” he said, adding “I am confident even after these difficult days our friendship will be stronger.”On his part, Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya hoped that there would be ease in supply of essential commodities from India soon as efforts are being made at diplomatic and political level in this regard.Asking people from both countries to observe tolerance and have a positive attitude towards dealing with the issue, the Nepalese envoy said, “India has always played an important role during the hardship faced by Nepal in the past which was evident during the recent earthquakes.”Let’s not speak irresponsible things and develop negative attitude towards each other at this sensitive time which might damage the centuries old friendly relations.””We should maintain peace, stability and move towards economic prosperity and I hope India will extend support to our endeavour as a peaceful, stable and prosperous Nepal will also be in the interest of India,” he said.Rae also cautioned that if Nepal does not take every one along while drafting the Constitution then it will be sowing the seeds of future conflict as well as opening the door of instability that will also affect India.”Therefore, the only solution to the current problem is talk,” the Indian Ambassador added.Meanwhile, Nepal’s major parties yesterday started talks with the agitating Madhesi parties to find a solution to the Terai problem through peaceful means.Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India who are opposed to splitting Nepal into seven provinces.”The friendship of India is not confined to a particular region, or southern plains, but we have the same family relations between Uttarakhand and Far-western Nepal as well as relations of eastern Nepal with our states in eastern India like Sikkim and West Bengal,” the Indian Ambassador said.The three major parties — Nepal Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist — yesterday formed a three-member committee to hold dialogue with the parties and groups agitating against the new Constitution. Nepali Congress leader and Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya and CPN-UML Chief whip Agni Kharel and Narayankaji Shrestha from UCPN-Maoist are the members of the committee.”We have already started dialogue with the Joint Madhesi Front and other agitating groups of the southern Nepal and the talks are moving towards a positive direction,” Acharya told PTI.Mahanta Thakur, president of Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Bijaya Gachhadar, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Democratic, among others are taking part in the talks. The agitation in the southern Nepal has entered 45th day and the country is reeling under scarcity of essential goods including petroleum products and cooking gas due to the blockade along the border areas with India.Shortage of petroleum products have created panic among the people in Kathmandu, who are queuing for hours to fill petrol and diesel in their vehicles. Normal life has been severely affected due to the growing tension in the border areas. More than 40 people have been killed in over a month-long violence.

Not asked Nepal to carry out amendments in Constitution: India

New Delhi: India on Wednesday reiterated that issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in Nepal but denied that it has asked Kathmandu to carry out amendments to ensure it was acceptable by Indian-origin community.

“India has not handed over any list of specific Constitutional amendments or changes to the Government of Nepal.

Protests in Nepal. AP

Protests in Nepal. APa

“Without being prescriptive on specific clauses, and as already stated earlier, we continue to urge that issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in an atmosphere free from violence, and institutionalised in a manner that would enable broad-based ownership and acceptance,” the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.

The remarks came in the backdrop of reports that India has conveyed to Nepal’s leadership to carry out “seven amendments” to its newly promulgated Constitution to ensure it is acceptable to the Madhesis.

Madhesis are Indian-origin people living on the foothills of Nepal’s Terai region.

India has been expressing its concerns over the continued violence in parts of Nepal bordering it.

“We are deeply concerned over the incidents of violence resulting in death and injury in regions of Nepal bordering India following the promulgation of Constitution…

“We had repeatedly cautioned the political leadership of Nepal to take urgent steps to defuse the tension in these regions. This, if done in a timely manner, could have avoided these serious developments,” and hoped that initiatives will be taken by Nepal’s leadership to effectively and credibly address the causes underlying the present state of confrontation,” MEA had said in a statement.

PTI

New Constitution row: Use political means, desist violence, India tells Nepal

The ruling BJP, on the other hand, clarified that they were not against Nepal’s Constitution, but only voicing concerns at the violence.

India on Monday expressed concern over the incidents of violence in border regions of Nepal, following the promulgation of Constitution. A strongly-worded statement issued by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) asked Kathmandu to use political means rather resorting to force in the border regions, where population is up against the promulgation of new Constitution unveiled on Sunday.India shares 1751-km-long borders with the Himalyan nation. Indian-origin Madhesis and Tharrus, living in Tarai region feel neglected and disempowered by the new statute.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The statement reminded that Nepal leadership had been already cautioned against any such eventuality and stressed on steps to defuse the tension in the regions, bordering India. “Our freight companies and transporters have also voiced complaints about the difficulties they are facing in movement within Nepal and their security concerns, due to the prevailing unrest,” the statement added.India is particularly perturbed that flames in Terai region of southern Nepal have potential to cross border and ignite the poll bound Bihar. Sources here say, that was the primary reason for foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s visit to Kathmandu as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special envoy.The Madhesis have been fighting for equal representation in the country’s political structure. While Tharus believe that they have not even been mentioned in the document. There have been also protest from groups against defining Nepal as a secular country, arguing that it be declared a Hindu state. “Many Nepalis, particularly the Madhesis, have been angered by a clause in the new constitution which talks of “religious and cultural freedom, with the protection of religion and culture practiced since ancient times,” says a source in government.India’s former envoy to Nepal Deb Mukarji said while New Delhi has never been an interventionist, but the situation flaring up just across the border was a cause of worry. He admitted that the new Nepal Constitution does have loopholes and doesn’t address concerns of a large population. “Whatever little I have seen and heard, I regret all assurances made during Jan Andolan and talked to all these years have been whittled down, which also include an affirmative action programme for deprived,” he said. The MEA statement further asked Nepali leadership to take urgent steps to defuse the tension and resolve issues politically rather resorting to force. “We have consistently argued that all sections of Nepal must reach a consensus on the political challenges confronting them. The issues facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved through force. We still hope that initiatives will be taken by Nepal’s leadership to effectively and credibly address the causes underlying the present state of confrontation,” the statement concluded.The ruling BJP, on the other hand, clarified that they were not against Nepal’s Constitution, but only voicing concerns at the violence. The party’s head of foreign affairs cell Shashadari Chari said the constitution unveiled is very representative and an outcome of lengthy discussions. It has also incorporated various provisions of Indian Constitution, he said.

Indian-origin man leads in mayoral polls in Bonn

Ashok Sridharan, who is the candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has established a narrow lead over his nearest rival.

Ashok Sridharan

Image Credit: youtube
A 49-year-old Indian-origin man in German city of Bonn has emerged as the front-runner for the city’s top job ahead of this Sunday’s polls to elect a new mayor, according to a opinion poll. Ashok Sridharan, who is the candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has established a narrow lead over his nearest rival Peter Ruhenstroth-Bauer of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). However, around 26 per cent of the voters are still undecided about who they will vote, according to the polls. Four other candidates also are in the race for the mayor’s office. Current SPD mayor of Bonn Juergen Nimptsch announced at the end of last year that he will retire when his term expires in October.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Around 245,000 voters in Bonn will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new mayor. Sridharan, who is the son of a migrant from India and a German mother, currently serves as the treasurer and deputy mayor in the nearby town of Koenigswinter. Even though Bonn is one of 178 cities and towns which will choose new mayors and municipal councils in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, the election in the former German capital has gained special significance and its outcome will be watched with great interest across this nation. If elected, Sridharan will become the first Indian-origin mayor of a major German city. The CDU has pinned high hopes on its candidate to regain control of Bonn after more than 20 years’ rule by the SPD.The CDU is also hoping that a victory in Bonn will enable the party to recover from a string of defeats in the elections for mayor in several cities during the last two years and to prepare the ground for the national election in 2017. Sridharan closeness to the citizens of Bonn also has been widely appreciated by his party colleagues, who bestowed him with the title “Indian boy of Bonn” at the CDU’s carnival celebrations early this year.Sridharan’s nomination is also seen as a gesture of goodwill by the CDU towards Germany’s ten million strong migrant community and a strong signal that they are welcome in the party. During his election campaign, Sridharan emphasised that if elected, he will give top priority for reducing the city of Bonn’s 1.7 billion euro debts and for achieving a balanced budget.

Indian-origin boy sweeps Australian spelling bee contest

Anirudh said he could not believe his luck after winning the scholarship and asked his fellow spellers to “pinch” him.

Anirudh

Image Courtesy: heraldsun.com.au
Anirudh Kathirvel, a nine-year-old Indian-origin boy is Australia’s new spelling champion after he won the 50,000 dollars ‘The Great Australian Spelling Bee’ competition. Kathirvel, born in Melbourne to a Tamilian couple won 50,000 dollars education scholarship along with an impressive 10,000 dollars worth goods for his school on Tuesday. Anirudh said he could not believe his luck after winning the scholarship and asked his fellow spellers to “pinch” him. “I need to rub my eyes and see if this is a dream,” he said adding “Nope.Nope.Nope.Real. I can’t describe it. It’s like the best day of my life.” Anirudh said his favourite word to spell was ‘euouae’ as he liked the structure of the word as it was the longest word with consecutive vowels.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Some of the other words I like to spell are feuilleton, cephalalgia, ombrophobous,” he said adding that he loves watching Indian movies. Anirudh, whose parents Prithiviraj and Sujatha also migrated to Australia from Tamil Nadu 16 years ago, said, “I started reading from the age of two and slowly my reading passion evolved into my love for words. My parents encouraged and helped me to build up on my spelling.” “My first spelling competition was when I was in grade 1. But my first year in the spelling competition was challenging. Gradually my confidence increased and I was pushing my spelling abilities to its limits. That’s how my spelling journey has begun,” he added.

Indian managers are future oriented, says US daily after Sundar Pichai’s elevation as Google CEO

“Indian managers are future-oriented, and had a paradoxical blend of genuine personal humility and intense professional will,” the Journal said, citing a recent study by Southern Hampshire University.

Sunder Pichai joining the fast expanding club of Indian-origin CEOs.

One of the reasons for Indian managers’ success is that they are future oriented, a leading American financial daily has said, with Google’s Sunder Pichai joining the fast expanding club of Indian-origin CEOs.The elevation of Pichai, 43, as the CEO of Google, The Wall Street Journal reported is a reminder that the CEOs of some of the world’s most recognisable tech companies share origins from India.”Indian managers are future-oriented, and had a paradoxical blend of genuine personal humility and intense professional will,” the Journal said, citing a recent study by Southern Hampshire University.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”These leaders achieved extraordinary results and built great organisations without much hoopla,” the daily said as it listed out the Indian origin executives that are heading top companies in the US.”Nowhere, perhaps, is that more starkly on display than at Microsoft. Since taking over as CEO, Satya Nadella managed to achieve what had once seemed impossible: to make Silicon Valley like Microsoft again. He did so by embracing collaboration and not treating rivals products as enemies in some ways the opposite of his often-flamboyant predecessor, Steve Ballmer,” the daily reported.While Indian managers are not in many cases the founders of the companies they lead, they are respected managers who have held numerous positions in their companies, working up the ranks, it said.Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen, 53, according to the daily, has been described by colleagues as quiet but incredibly competitive. Since becoming CEO in 2007, he has led a dramatic transformation at the company, it added.Sanjay Jha, the 52-year-old CEO of chipmaker Globalfoundries, had previously run Motorola Mobility and had served for years as a senior executive of Qualcomm, it said.In another article, The Wall Street Journal said Pichai’s ascent reflects his ability to create strong products, including Google’s Chrome browser and later the Chrome operating system.But it also shows his ability to identify competitive pressures, manage others and smooth over differences, both internally and with Google’s business partners, it said.At Google, Pichai showed a flair for championing challenging but strategically important projects such as the Chrome browser, which today has 45 per cent market share globally, according to research firm Statcounter, up from one percent in early 2009.

Abhishek Bachchan supports UK MP Keith Vaz’s poll campaign

Bachchan participated in a public question-and-answer session with Vaz and over 350 residents of Leicester, at the Peepul Centre.

Abhishek Bachchan campaigning for UK MP Keith Vaz.

Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan visited Leicester in the UK to support the election campaign of Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz who was officially nominated as the local Labour Party candidate for the upcoming polls.Bachchan participated in a public question-and-answer session with Vaz and over 350 residents of Leicester, at the Peepul Centre.Bachchan was quizzed on his life and career, as well as his captaincy of the Bollywood Stars football team, before being presented with a personalised Leicester City football shirt.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vaz and Bachchan then went on a tour of Belgrave Road and Uppingham Road, and were met by thousands of fans. The buoyant crowd were delighted to see the screen idol.”I am here for Keith. He works so hard for Leicester and I am delighted to be here to help him today. Keith is a close family friend. He possesses so many values I hold close to my heart for our politicians; he is warm, generous and kind. I know that he is a true leader for the Indian community in the United Kingdom, who does great work for people of Indian origin,” Bachchan said at the event.”It was an honour to have one of Bollywood’s megastars with us in Leicester today. Our city was bouncing with the joy and excitement of thousands of adoring fans who came out to see Abhishek,” said 58-year-old Vaz, the longest-serving British-Asian MP.”Abhishek was wonderful, and people adored him. He is a close friend, and for him to take time to come to Leicester is truly special. The thousands who came out to Belgrave Road and Uppingham Road were awestruck. My only request to Abhishek is that he does not stand to be the Member of Parliament for Leicester East, as I would not have a chance!” Vaz said.

Two ships carrying 484 Indian evacuees from Yemen to arrive in Kochi on Saturday

New Delhi/Kochi: Two Indian ships — MV Corals and MV Karavatti — are to berth in Kochi on Saturday with 484 evacuees, including 73 Indians and 336 Bangladeshis, in the last lot of people brought out from strife-torn Yemen.

“MV Corals is carrying a total of 318 evacuees, which includes 46 Indians and 272 Bangladeshis, while on board MV Kavaratti are 166 evacuees, which include 27 Indians, 64 Bangladeshis and 75 Yemenis of Indian-origin,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

However, it was not clear when the ships would arrive. While an official in Kochi said they would arrive at 2.30 pm, the external affairs ministry said they would arrive at Kochi at 1.30 pm.

Defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted that the last of the evacuees are arriving in India. “The last of the evacuees, 475 in all, would be arriving Kochi by MVs Kavaratti and Corals tomorrow (Saturday), escorted by INS Tir.”

“A team of Bangladesh officials has already arrived in Kochi to take care of their nationals,” a Cochin Port Trust official told IANS.

The two ships departed from Djibouti on 12 April, he added.

The Bangladeshis will be flown back to Dhaka by a Biman Bangladesh Airlines special flight.

The two ships, together having a capacity of 1,150 passengers, set sail from Kochi on 30 March for Djibouti to bring back stranded Indians.

Earlier this month, India ended its massive evacuation efforts of its nationals in Yemen, pulling out 5,600 people, including 4,640 Indians and 960 nationals from 41 countries.

A media report from Dhaka said 136 Bangladeshis have been evacuated from Yemen by an Indian Navy ship that took them to Djibouti on Thursday.

According to bdnews24, Bangladesh is operating a repatriation control room in Djibouti led by its ambassador in Kuwait.

The rescued Bangladeshis will be flown back to Dhaka from Djibouti on April 20 in a special flight.

Yemen became volatile with the rise of the Shia Houthis rebels who took over the capital city of Sanaa in September last year and ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

IANS

Mahatma Gandhi statue in Britain’s House of Commons?

An Early Day Motion (EDM) to mark the unveiling of a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square here was tabled in the House of Commons today by Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz.

An Early Day Motion (EDM) to mark the unveiling of a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square here was tabled in the House of Commons today by Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz.”People from around the world will be reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s incredible legacy on the 14th March, as one of the most influential political figures of all time,” said the Labour MP and chair of the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee.”The ceremony will be deeply symbolic of the cultural and political bonds shared by the United Kingdom and India, as our increasingly interlinked countries continue to forge a close and deeply important relationship.”The strength of this symbolism is demonstrated by the hundreds of generous donors across the UK and India, who made this ceremony possible,” he said. EDMs allow MPs in Britain to draw attention to an event or cause and register their support by signing individual motions. There is generally no debate held on such a motion.Vaz also welcomed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s visit to the UK to be present at the high-profile ceremony to be attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron.”I am very proud that we will be joined at the ceremony by the Indian finance minister, Arun Jaitley. It is marvellous that somebody so senior is coming to unveil the statue,” he said.Jaitley is expected to arrive in London late on March 12 and his official engagements will kick off from March 13, when he is expected to meet his UK counterpart George Osborne.An investors’ meet in the City of London, a visit to the London Stock Exchange and inauguration of the Union Bank of India (UK) Limited, the first overseas subsidiary of Union Bank of India, are on his agenda for next Friday.He will also deliver a lecture titled ‘Investment Opportunities in India’ co-organised by the Indian High Commission, Federation Chambers of Indian Commerce and Industry and UK India Business Council, before attending a felicitation dinner hosted by the NRI Foundation.The unveiling of the Gandhi statue will take place early on March 14, followed by a gala reception at the Durbar Hall in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The project marks the culmination of a worldwide fundraising drive by the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, founded by NRI economist Lord Meghnad Desai.The sculpture has been created by award-winning sculptor Peter Jackson, based on Gandhi’s last visit to London in 1931. It will stand alongside iconic figures like Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, overlooking the Palace of Westminster.Donations crossed the 1-million pounds mark last month with Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy and steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal among some of the key donors.

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