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Juvenile Justice Bill: Ramdas Athawale claims those with sexual urges should be forcibly married

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“Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”

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On Tuesday, veteran lawmaker Ramdas Athawale, the president of the Republic Party of India made some bizarre remarks before passing the Juvenile Justice Act in parliament. He was quoted saying by NDTV, “Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”He also used an expletive that was expunged from the remarks. He also claimed that during the times of Shivaji, no one would commit such crimes as their hands and legs were broken and the law should allow a modern democracy like India to do the same. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi thanked the opposition for passing the much-expected Juvenile Justice Bill under which juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes.”This is a Bill that everyone feels strongly about and I am happy that everyone supported it,” Gandhi said as she stepped out of Parliament. Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary said her party was the architect of the Bill in many ways and just wanted an intense debate on various aspects of the Bill. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the walkout by the Left parties was not in protest of the Bill, but because they wanted the Bill to go to a Select Committee so that all aspects are looked into. “If tomorrow you catch hold of a young ISIS terrorist, you will say bring down the age by another two years. The question is not about the age but the kind of crime that has been committed,” he said. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.

Francois Hollande’s visit will ‘follow on’ from Paris meet: France

Announcing Hollande’s visit, the Embassy here issued a release saying he will travel to India on January 26 on a state visit, where he will be the Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations.

Francois Hollande

AFP
French President Francois Hollande’s visit next month as chief guest of Republic Day celebrations will also provide an opportunity for the two countries to “follow on” from the Paris climate meet, where India played a “decisive” role, the French Embassy said on Wednesday. Announcing Hollande’s visit, the Embassy here issued a release saying he will travel to India on January 26 on a state visit, where he will be the Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations. “This visit will also follow on from the Paris Climate Conference, at which India played a decisive role in reaching an ambitious agreement,” the release said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The conference of parties (CoP21) which was held in Paris recently witnessed a “historic” agreement adopted by 196 nations to tackle the challenge of climate change after countries like India and China were persuaded by the developed countries including the US that their development interests have been taken care in the accord.

What is Constitution Day? Opposition asks govt

The Opposition, particularly the Congress and the Left, sought from the government’s as to what prompted it to declare November 26 as the Constitution Day when the constitution had come in force on January 26, 1950 that is celebrated as the Republic Day.

BJP government came under heavy opposition fire in Rajya Sabha during the debate on commitment to India’s constitution as part of 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr B R Ambedkar.The Ppposition, particularly the Congress and the Left, sought from the government’s as to what prompted it to declare November 26 as the Constitution Day when the constitution had come in force on January 26, 1950 that is celebrated as the Republic Day.Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury questioned the sanctity of gazette notification issued by the ministry for social justice and empowerment to commemorate November 26 as the Constitution Day by circumventing the rules as the matter falls within the ambit of home ministry and the temerity of the education ministry to issue a circular on November 10 asking schools to celebrate the day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Replying to finance minister Arun Jaitley long speech in which sang peans of Dr Ambedkar and indirectly took jibe at Congress’s role of subverting democracy during emergency by subtly equating it with Hitler, leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad accused BJP of trying to appropriate the icons of India’s freedom struggle without having such a leader of its own and trying to “manufacture a clash” between famous personalities like Sardar Patel, Nehru, dr Ambedkar, Maulana Azad and Netaji on the lines of the British policy of divide and rule.”You can talk about German Constitution, its dictator … but you feel ashamed to talk about Jawaharlal Nehru. … You are not able to recognise the contribution of first Prime Minister …. This is called intolerance. It flows from the top and percolates down to the streets,” said Azad reading out from the objectives that Nehru wrote and forwarded it to drafting committee under the chairmanship of Ambedkar.Picking on Jaitley, Azad said it has become became clear that the discussion on Ambedkar and commitment towards the Constitution was actually a “shield to take aim at other targets.”Yechury was more ruthless in tearing apart the government as he described it as expert in inserting items or events in Indian politics.”You (BJP government) have found a way through event management to worm your way into the national movement…This (Constitution Day) is one such event,”said Yechury inviting sharp comments from BJP member Tarun Vijay.Questioning the relevance of newly coined Constitution Day, Yechury asked, “It was India Independence Act passed in the House of Commons by the then British PM Attlee that was in force during the interim period of two months from November 26, 1949 when the draft constitution was signed and January 26, 1950 when it came in force. What is the new thing that you are trying to project?” What’s its relevance?Questioning the relevance of newly coined Constitution Day, Sitaram Yechury asked, “It was India Independence Act passed in the House of Commons by the then British PM Attlee that was in force during the interim period of two months from November 26, 1949 when the draft constitution was signed and January 26, 1950 when it came in force. What is the new thing that you are trying to project?”

Ensure attendance of staff in I-Day, R-Day functions: Kerala HC to government

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, issued the order a PIL by one Nimisha K of the city complaining about non-participation of a large number of government employees in the celebrations.

The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the state government to ensure attendance of officers and staff during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations.A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, issued the order a PIL by one Nimisha K of the city complaining about non-participation of a large number of government employees in the celebrations. The court asked the state to implement circular and directions issued by it regarding participation of government employees on national day celebrations in its true spirit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said if the directions were not implemented, appropriate penal measures should be taken. The state government informed the court that it had issued a circular on November 5, 2015 compelling the presence of government employees at their offices during the national day celebrations. The court said the directions will be applicable to government employees, educational institutions, including aided, and state public sector units.

The tea boss in love with the drink

Meet the man who has had a lifelong love affair with tea

French President Francois Hollande to be 2016 Republic Day chief guest: Reports

The development was tweeted by a South Asia Correspondent with Le Monde, who later said that the news was confirmed by French authorities.

French President Francois Hollande

French President Francois Hollande will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2016, several media reports said on Saturday. The development was tweeted by a South Asia Correspondent with Le Monde, who later said that the news was confirmed by French authorities. This year, the Republic Day Parade saw US President Barack Obama as the chief guest, who was accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama.The news about Hollande’s visit comes shortly after the deadly attack in Paris last week that left nearly 130 people dead and several others injured. While Paris was declared to be in a state of emergency, President Hollande cancelled an impending trip to Turkey for the G20 summit. More details about his visit are not known yet. The Telegraph had reported in October that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended an invitation to Hollande to be the chief guest at the next Republic Day parade. The report said that the visit may help work the Rafale deal which has been stuck for a while now.

US upgraded strategic-plus relationship with India: Congress

The United States values its alliance with Japan as a cornerstone of peace and security in the region.

Congress symbol

Noting that any long-term strategy for the Indo-Asia-Pacific region must include continued engagement with allies and partners in the region, the US has upgraded strategic-plus relationship with India. “The US has an upgraded strategic-plus relationship with India based on regional cooperation, space science cooperation and defence cooperation,” said a conference of the House and Senate the two chambers of the US Congress in a report on the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2016. Passed by both the House and the Senate, the conference report said the defence relationship between the US and India is strengthened by common commitment of both countries to liberal democracy should continue to expand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Further, we welcome the role of the Republic of India in providing security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, and we support the implementation of the US-India Defence Framework Agreement and the India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative,” said the report released by the armed services committees of both the House and Senate on Tuesday. The conference believed that “any long-term strategy for the Indo-Asia-Pacific region must include continued engagement with allies and partners in the region”. The United States values its alliance with Japan as a cornerstone of peace and security in the region. It also noted that the alliance between the United States and the South Korea has served as an anchor for stability, security, and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asia-Pacific region, and around the world. As a result of the report, the House of Representatives withdrew from the NDAA-2016 its section on India. The House in its version of the NDAA-2016 bill had expressed the sense of Congress on the defense ties between the US and India based on both countries’ common interests and commitments to stability, security and democracy. The Senate amendment had no similar provision.

Woman army officer alleges sexual harassment by senior

Though the original complaint was filed nearly two months ago, the committee on sexual harassment of women at workplace met only earlier this month.
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dna Research & Archives
A woman army officer, who took part in the Republic Day parade this year to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’, has alleged sexual harassment by her senior officer, prompting an inquiry into the matter.”Post receipt of complaint from a Woman Officer of sexual harassment against an Ex – Commanding Officer, an inquiry has already been convened for investigation of the case and it is under progress,” Rajasthan-based Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Col Manish Ojha said in a statement.”Indian Army remains committed to upholding highest standards of ethical behavior by all ranks,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 26-year-old Captain of the Signal Corps is posted at Alwar Military Station in Rajasthan and was commissioned into the Indian Army only in March 2013, according to sources.Though the original complaint was filed nearly two months ago, the committee on sexual harassment of women at workplace met only earlier this month. It has recommended “necessary action” to be initiated against her commanding officer. Defence sources said that the Army is looking into the matter and “appropriate action” would be taken.The woman officer’s father had written a letter to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar accusing the “higher officers” of giving the accused a “plum posting” in the name of taking action.”I am the proud father of an Army Officer who marched down the Rajpath this year to showcase the ‘woman power’. I am absolutely disappointed today and the reason is that my daughter was sexually harassed by her Commanding Officer and she complained to the higher ups. In the name of taking action, the higher officials gave him a plum posting and before leaving the unit, the commanding officer decided to tarnish the image of my child. Now my little child is trying her best to not let her head drop or shoulders drool,” the letter by her father said.He said that since now his daughter’s complaint has finally come to the internal committee on sexual harassment, he is sure the case will get its well deserved hearing.The complaint comes at a time when there is a renewed debate in the defence echelons about how to increase role of women officers.

Modi in US 2015: Barack Obama and Narendra Modi hold talks in New York

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Barack Obama and discussed a host of issues, including stepping up economic engagement and climate change, during their third meeting in about a year.
Obama warmly received Modi by hugging him before their meeting, the third between them since May last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Barack Obama and discussed a host of issues, including stepping up economic engagement and climate change, during their third meeting in about a year.Obama warmly received Modi by hugging him before their meeting, the third between them since May last year.The meeting gave the two leaders an opportunity to build on the discussions they had in New Delhi in January when Obama travelled to India to attend the Republic Day Parade as its chief guest.Modi arrived in the US last Wednesday on a six-day official visit during which he travelled to Silicon Valley and met top IT CEOs of the region and also addressed a meeting of some 18,000 Indian Americans in at the SAP Centre in San Jose.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, Modi also held bilateral meetings with his British counterpart David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande. They met last year during Modi’s US visit and then in January earlier this year.The Modi-Obama meeting comes close on the heels of the conclusion of the inaugural Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the US and India.In the dialogue, India and the US today agreed to deepen cooperation in fighting terrorism and asked Pakistan to bring to justice the 2008 Mumbai attack perpetrators. Ahead of the Obama-Modi meeting, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had said, “We are deeply committed to strengthening the US-Indian relationship, building our economic and commercial ties, advancing our political and security cooperation in Asia and around the world.”Rhodes said India was critical to a successful global effort to combat climate change and therefore the issue was important in bilateral discussions. “The two leaders will certainly address their shared vision of how to approach the upcoming meetings in Paris,” he had said.

Vice President Hamid Ansari voices concern over attempt to curtail right to dissent

He was addressing the First Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial National Lecture organised by a city university in Gwalior on Wednesday evening.
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dna Research & Archives
Vice President Hamid Ansari has expressed concern over attempts to curtail the voice of dissent in democracy, specially of NGOs in the country in last few years.”In the globalising world of today and in most countries having a democratic fabric, role of civil society in the articulation of dissent has been and continues to be comprehensively discussed; so does the question of its marginalisation or suppression,” the Vice President said.He was addressing the First Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial National Lecture organised by a city university in Gwalior on Wednesday evening.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Dissent as a right has been recognised by the Supreme Court of India as one aspect of the Right of Freedom of Speech guaranteed as a fundamental right by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution,” he said.Ansari said the apex court has observed that the restrictions on the freedom of speech must be couched in the narrowest possible terms and that the provision of Article 19 (2) is justiciable in the sense that the restrictions on it have to be ‘reasonable’ and cannot be arbitrary, excessive or disproportionate.Referring to the civil society concerns on the issue, Ansari said, “Despite the unambiguously stated position in law, civil society concerns about constraints on the right of dissent in actual practice have been articulated powerfully.” Referring to the new reporting requirements for NGOs, he said, “Nothing is more fatal for disagreements and dissent than the idea that all of it can be reduced to hidden sub-texts or external agendas. The idea that anyone who disagrees with my views must be the carrier of someone else’s subversive agenda is, in some ways, deeply anti-democratic.”It does away with the possibility of genuinely good faith disagreement. It denies equal respect to citizens because it absolves you of taking their ideas seriously. Once we have impugned the source, we don’t have to pay attention to the contents of the claim.. This has serious consequences for dissent,” he said.”Every citizen of the Republic has the right and the duty to judge. Herein lies the indispensability of dissent,” he said.On to Lohia, the Vice President said for over two decades, he was the ‘stormy petrel’ of the Indian politics.”

‘Shauryanjali’ carnival: Sukhois enthrall everyone at Rajpath

This was the first time that fighter jets had flown over the Rajpath other than the Republic Day every year.

The carnival is part of ‘Shauryanjali’, an exhibition being held on the Rajpath commemorating the golden jubilee of the 1965 Indo-Pak war

File Photo
A thrilling vertical maneuver by Su30 fighter jets and performance by motorcycle-borne soldiers among a host of other activities on Sunday cast a spell over thousands of people who attended the carnival ‘Indradhanush’ at the Rajpath here to commemorate the golden jubilee of the 1965 Indo-Pak War. From martial arts display, jazz band concert and hot air balloon rides to choreographed dance shows, Army dog show, Army motor cycle display, magicians and jugglers, the armed forces had everything in place to enchant those who attended the carnival on a breezy Sunday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But the biggest attraction were the fighter jets which flew in a missing man formation while another took a vertical stunt, considered to be one of the toughest. The jets were welcomed with loud cheers.This was the first time that fighter jets had flown over the Rajpath other than the Republic Day every year.Much to the disappointment of the excited crowd, a performance by para troopers could not take place due to weather warning and hence the Mi17 helicopters did not take off from the Hindon Air Base. However, the Dhruv helicopters of the Army did do a fly past.The carnival is part of ‘Shauryanjali’, an exhibition being held on the Rajpath commemorating the golden jubilee of the 1965 Indo-Pak war. Though today was supposed to be closing date, the defence authorities had extended it for another two days.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had visited the exhibition on Friday, mentioned it in his monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat today, saying, “I was supposed to be there for 30 mins but spent two and half hours”.

Modi-Obama hotline becomes operational, but yet to be used

The decision regarding Obama-Modi hotline was made during Obamas’s historic visit to New Delhi to attend Republic Day on January 26, as its chief guest.

Modi-Obama

The hotlines or secure lines of communication between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama and their national security advisors have recently become operational, though it has not been put to use during its short lifespan so far.”It (hotline has) just recently been established,” Peter R Lavoy, Special Assistant to US President and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House, told PTI. “It (hotline) has not been used so far,” he said when asked if the two leaders have used this latest tool of secure communication.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision regarding Obama-Modi hotline was made during Obamas’s historic visit to New Delhi to attend Republic Day on January 26, as its chief guest. “Hotline has connotation of some crisis management phone or system that was used during the cold war to defuse crisis. That’s not what we have,” Lavoy explained.”This is a secure line between two very very close partners so that they can exchange views at the heads of state level…exchange views and co-ordinate approaches to solving real problems,” said the top White House official.With this India becomes only the fourth country after Russia, Great Britain and China with which the US has a hotline. For India this is the first hotline at the level of head of state.In 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to establish hotlines at the level of foreign secretaries, and in 2010 New Delhi and Beijing announced to establish a hotline at the foreign minister level. According to publicly available information the hotline between India and Pakistan was established with the help of US military. India-China hotline is yet to become operational.The establishment of hotline or secure line of communication between leaders of the two largest democracies of the world is part of efforts of Obama and Modi to increase the frequency of level of communication and frequent discussion between them on key bilateral, regional and global issues. At a joint press meet with Obama in New Delhi on January 25, after their meeting, Modi said the two leaders have decided to give this critical partnership its due trust and sustained attention.”For this, we have agreed that India and the United States must [have] regular summits at greater frequency. And we also established hotlines between myself and Barack and our national security advisors,” Modi had told reporters at the Hyderabad House on January 25. During their New Delhi meeting the two leaders also decided to meet frequently. The two are most likely to meet in New York late September when Modi comes to the US to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Spirit of patriotism: Deoband asks madrasas to hoist the national flag on Independence Day

India’s largest Islamic seminary Darul Uloom, Deoband has asked Muslims to hoist the national flag on their houses and other establishments on Independence Day and has appealed the members of Muslim community to celebrate the national day with spirit of patriotism, reports the Times of India.

ReutersReuters

Tricolour. Reuters

“All madrasas across the country hoist the Tricolour. There is a misconception that madrasas don’t take part in Independence Day celebrations. We want to show the correct side of the story,” Darul Uloom Deoband Press Secretary Maulana Asharaf Usmani said in an interview with the Indian Express.

Seminary leader Maulana Arshad Qasmi said that an appeal has been made to all madrasas in India to host the tricolour and enlighten students about India’s freedom struggle.

Talking to the TOI, Hafiz Akhlaaq Ahmad Latifi, who runs a madrassa in Ayodhya said, “Muslim community has always been on the target of communal forces, they always question our patriotism. In madrassas we always teach love for motherland and patriotism. In the past too, we have celebrated Independence and Republic Days, and will continue to do so.”

India conveys concerns to China over Brahmaputra hydro projects

In her reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that India has urged China to ensure that the interests of downstreams states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.

Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that the Government of India “carefully” monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra river.
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dna Research & Archives
With indications that China has approved three more hydropower projects on the main stream of Brahmaputra River, India today asserted its user rights as a lower riparian State, saying it has conveyed its “concerns” to the Chinese government at the highest level.In her reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that India has urged China to ensure that the interests of downstreams states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to her, the government has ascertained that one power-generating unit of the Zangmu hydroelectric project has been operationalised in November, 2014. The outline of the 12th Five Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China’ indicates that three more hydropower projects on the main stream of Brahmaputra river in Tibet Autonomous Region have been approved for implementation by the Chinese Authorities, she said.”As these projects are considered to be Run of River (RoR) hydro-electric projects, detailed data in this regard is not available to be able to assess the likely impact,” she added.Government of India, she said, “carefully” monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra river.”As a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the water of the river, India has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, at the highest levels of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and has urged China to ensure that the interests of downstreams States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas,” the Minister said.

Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao invited to World Economic Forum meet in China

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been invited to attend the World Economic Forum’s “annual meeting of the New Champions 2015” to be held in China in September.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been invited to attend the World Economic Forum’s “annual meeting of the New Champions 2015″ to be held in China in September.The invitation came from Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board Phillip Rosier of the Switzerland-based ‘World Economic Forum’.”In a letter addressed to honourable CM, the MD extended an invitation to him to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting of the New Champions 2015, which will be held in Dalian, People’s Republic of China, on 9-11 September,” a state government release said here today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In his invitation, the MD mentioned that, given the unique challenging task of administering inclusive growth in India’s most newly-formed state (Telangana), the Chief Minister’s views will add great value to the conversations on infrastructure development, urbanisation and innovation-led development. The CM has also been requested to bring a business delegation of non-forum member companies to actively participate in the deliberations,” it said.

President Obama enthusiastic about prospect of greater Indo-US ties: White House

“Generally speaking, in terms of the US-India partnership, which you’ve referenced, the President is very enthusiastic about the prospect of increased collaboration, increased economic growth for American companies, and investments in India,” the White House spokesperson, Eric Schultz, told reporters yesterday.

File photo of Obama and Modi

US President Barack Obama, is very enthusiastic about the prospect of increased Indo-US collaboration, economic growth for American companies and investments in India, the White House has said.”Generally speaking, in terms of the US-India partnership, which you’ve referenced, the President is very enthusiastic about the prospect of increased collaboration, increased economic growth for American companies, and investments in India,” the White House spokesperson, Eric Schultz, told reporters yesterday.”You heard that from his recent trip there a few months ago. But just because he is not over there right now, that doesn’t mean we don’t have key members of our team working on this,” he said in response to a question.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Obama had visited India last as a Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations.”So economic growth across the world, remains a priority for this President and oftentimes that manifests itself in investments in foreign countries. And India is very high on that list,” Schultz said.

Confident about renewed energy in Indo-US ties: PM Modi wishes America on Independence Day

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the US on its Independence Day on Saturday and expressed confidence that bilateral relations will get even better in times to come based on the renewed energy in ties.

PM Modi with US President Obama. PTIPM Modi with US President Obama. PTI

PM Modi with US President Obama. PTI

“The ties between India and the US are time tested and connected by shared values. We are both vibrant democracies and remain very proud of our democratic framework,” he tweeted.

“I am extremely excited and confident about the renewed energy in India-USA ties. Our economic ties are very strong and our cultural ties are vibrant. Last year I visited USA and in January this year, President Barack Obama came to India and became the first ever President of USA to join our Republic Day celebrations as chief guest,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister noted that substantial ground was covered during both these visits as far as strengthening of US-India ties are concerned.

“Strong India US ties will benefit people of our nations and the world at large. I am optimistic that our relations are going to get even better in times to come,” he said.

The US observes 4 July as its Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation and no longer part of the British Empire.

PTI

Strong India-USA ties will benefit people of the world at large, tweets PM Modi on US Independence Day

“I am extremely excited and confident about the renewed energy in India-USA ties. Our economic ties are strong and our cultural ties are vibrant,” he added.
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dna Research & Archives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that strong relations between New Delhi and Washington DC will benefit people of both countries and the world at large, wishing the citizens of United States on that nation’s Independence Day. The Prime Minister shared his message via a post on twitter. “Dearest Sisters and Brothers of U.S.A, on the occasion of Independence Day, I convey my warm wishes to you all. The ties between India and USA are time tested and connected by shared values. We are both vibrant democracies and remain very proud of our democratic framework,” his message read.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “I am extremely excited and confident about the renewed energy in India-USA ties. Our economic ties are strong and our cultural ties are vibrant. Last year I visited USA and in January this year, President Obama came to India and became the first ever President of USA to join our Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest. Substantial ground was covered during both these visits as far as strengthening India-USA ties are concerned,” it added. “Strong India-USA ties will benefit people of our nation and the world at large. I am optimistic that our relations are going to get even better in the times to come,” it further said. The US observes July 4 as its Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation and no longer part of the British Empire.

India realises the power of yoga

New Delhi’s Rajpath, an area where different political parties and ideologies have converged over the years to battle each other, was on Sunday morning indiscriminately flooded with people from all over the country and from all walks of life.

Nearly a year after the United Nations declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day, an overwhelming crowd of nearly 38,000 men, women and children with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the lead, demonstrated what possibly is the largest mass yoga event ever.New Delhi’s Rajpath, an area where different political parties and ideologies have converged over the years to battle each other, was on Sunday morning indiscriminately flooded with people from all over the country and from all walks of life.The Prime Minister, who arrived almost an hour later than the scheduled time, kicked of the day by calling Rajpath as ‘Yogpath’ and thanked the people for showing up in such large numbers. Behind the PM was seated Baba Ramdev, who has been credited with the revival of yoga movement in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Did anyone ever think that Rajpath can become Yogpath?” the Prime Minister asked and added that India was not only celebrating a day but training the human mind to begin a new era of peace. “For most of the people, yoga is just a physical exercise. This is the biggest mistake. Had this been the case, children working in circuses could have been called ‘yogis’. Yoga is not only about making the body flexible,” he said, while addressing the participants.He also expressed hope that the ancient system would find its way to all corners of the world through the event.Security arrangements, which almost paralleled with that made for the Republic Day, were put in place for the event. Amidst the massive three-tier security and an overwhelming crowd, the Prime Minister following his brief speech proceeded to sit right in front of the gathering and perform yoga for the next 35 minutes. The weather which remained pleasant for most part of the event transformed drastically but only after the event was over.Earlier, the participants who were asked to report as early as six in the morning were seen enjoying the environment as Rajpath was swarmed with renowned politicians and celebrities.Marco Frigatti, official from Guinness World Records, was accompanied with some of his colleagues who had come come to monitor the event and to decide if it qualifies to be featured in the books. Calling the gathering extraordinary, Frigatti said, “I don’t think this record will be broken anytime soon.”He said that 1500 volunteers were monitoring the demonstration and only judge the event if the participants actually were performing yogaand not just come for the event.Expats from a number of countries were seen following the lead quite enthusiastically and posing for photographs. “I wish such events happen on regular basis,” said Michael (21) a student of yoga philosophy.A German couple said that the Indian Prime Minister has set in motion a trend across the world. “When ever the word yoga is mentioned, Mr Modi’s name will be taken as well because he was the one who toiled hard to give yoga such a platform,” they said.Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal his deputy Manish Sisodia, BJP MP Menakshi Lekhi, party leader Ram Madhav were among the known faces sitting in the first row.As soon as participants noticed the Delhi CM, a large number of them took turns and started to click selfies with Kejriwal as BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi looked on at the proceedings few rows behind. This would continue for minutes with the security finally having to intervene.Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung who refused to discuss ‘Delhi government’ said that his focus today was to perform yoga. Similar views were expressed by other participants which included Nisha Yadav (21),from Haryana and currently undergoing police training in Delhi. “We are doing this to be healthy. I have been performing since I was 10 and I recommend this for everyone” Nisha said.Members of the Muslim community, who said that they were fasting, were also seen talking to a barrage of TV reporters before finally settling onto their yoga mats. Khalid Qureshi said Muslims should perform yoga and can use Islamic prayers while performing the act and Irfan Mirza (40) said that politicisation of yoga should be avoided at all costs. A more animated Kaushal Prasad emphasised that on how India can only achieve greatness if its citizens are healthy.

International Yoga Day celebrations: New Delhi put on high alert

Following an alert issued by intelligence agencies, Delhi Police has banned flying of kites, balloons, glider, micro light objects during the programme to ward off any aerial threat.

PTI
Ahead of International Yoga Day celebrations, Delhi has been put on alert with as many as thirty companies of security personnel being deployed to guard Rajpath where a mega event is to be held on Sunday.According to police, around 5,000 armed security personnel including Delhi policemen will be deployed to secure the venue and the area around it as thousands of yoga practitioners including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the early morning programme. The 35-minute Yoga programme organised by AYUSH Ministry is scheduled to begin at 7.30 AM on International Yoga Day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following an alert issued by intelligence agencies, Delhi Police has banned flying of kites, balloons, glider, micro light objects during the programme to ward off any aerial threat. Eighteen DCP-level officers will also be on duty to monitor the security arrangements that will be at par with the Republic Day Parade arrangements, said a senior police officer.The Yoga Day programme is expected to be attended by close to 40,000 people. The number of VIPs including Ministers and MPs, who will attend the function could be about 500, he said. Traffic restrictions were put in place from June 14. Rajpath has been closed for traffic from Vijay Chowk to India Gate and round the clock vigil of the area including the lawns was on.The area restricted for public will be bounded by Mother Teresa Crescent, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Outer Circle Connaught Place between Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Barakhamba Road, Bhagwan Dass Marg, Mathura Road, Lodhi Road, Aurbindo Chowk, Safdarganj Road, Kamaal Ataturk Marg, Kautilya Marg and Sardar Patel Marg upto 11 Murti. Only labelled vehicles of yoga invitees and residents of these areas will be permitted to enter from 2 AM till conclusion of the function at about 10 AM, said Jt Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sandeep Goel.

Iran’s Rouhani aims to limit nuclear inspections, warns of talks delay | Reuters

DUBAI Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday a comprehensive nuclear deal could be delayed if world powers brought new issues into play, and he would not accept a U.N. inspections regime that jeopardised state secrets.

Iran is aiming to strike an accord with six powers by June 30 that would curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions. But negotiators have hit an impasse in part over how much enhanced access International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors should have to Iranian sites. [ID:nL5N0YX22Y]

“Iran will absolutely not allow its national secrets to fall into the hands of foreigners through the Additional Protocol or any other means,” Rouhani said in a televised news conference, referring to an IAEA provision that would allow more intrusive inspections in the Islamic Republic.

U.S. and French diplomats have called for Iran to accept stringent measures including granting inspectors access to its military sites as well as inspections on as little as two hours notice — access that the Protocol could encompass.

Rouhani said Iran could embrace the Protocol, noting that other states that are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had done so without problem. But he insisted Iran should not face especially far-reaching measures.

“A problem we face on many issues is that when we reach a framework in one meeting, our negotiating partners go back on it in the next meeting,” said Rouhani, a pragmatist elected in 2013 on a platform of limited Iranian engagement with the West, after many years of deepening hostility.

“If the other side sticks to the framework that has been established, and does not bring new issues into play, I believe it can be solved… But if they want to take the path of brinkmanship, the negotiations could take longer.”

The IAEA has long had regular, if limited, access to Iran’s nuclear-related sites. But Tehran has refused to let the agency visit military sites, citing the risk of security-sensitive information being passed on to Western intelligence agencies.

The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, said on Thursday that additional nuclear transparency measures were outlined in a preliminary deal reached in April between Iran and its negotiating partners. [nL5N0YX1X7]

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on Iran’s foreign and security policy, has ruled out several requests by the West, including on interviewing its nuclear scientists and “extraordinary supervision measures”. [ID:nL5N0YB1Z7]

The Additional Protocol would also permit the IAEA to collect environmental samples like soil that can unearth military dimensions to nuclear activities years after they have taken place.

Western powers have long suspected Iran of trying to develop the means to make atomic bombs, while Iran insists its uranium enrichment programme is purely for peaceful purposes.

Rouhani said: “What is important to Iran is that, in implementing this protocol, we make it clear to the world that the accusations we have faced about trying to build a bomb are baseless.”

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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

President Mukherjee greets Ethiopia on eve of their National Day

President Pranab Mukherjee said cordial relations between India and Ethiopia are marked by close and growing cooperation between both the countries.

President Pranab Mukherjee
File Photo

President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on the eve of their National Day.”On behalf of the Government and the people of India and on my own behalf, it gives me great pleasure to convey to you and to the people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, my warm greetings and felicitations on the occasion of your National Day,” President Mukherjee said in his message to Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President said cordial relations between India and Ethiopia are marked by close and growing cooperation between both the countries.”India and Ethiopia share cordial relations marked by close and growing cooperation. Our ties are based on the strong foundation of our long standing friendship. I am confident that the relations between our two countries will continue to expand and strengthen in the coming years to the mutual benefit of both our peoples,” he said.”Please accept, Excellency, my best wishes for your personal health and well being and for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Ethiopia,” he added.Ethiopia celebrates its National Day on May 28 every year.

Two Indians among 126 fallen peacekeepers to be awarded UN medal

Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Raju Joseph, who had served in a civilian capacity with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), will be awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed annually on May 29.

Two fallen Indian peacekeepers are among the 126 military, police and civilian personnel who will be posthumously awarded a prestigious UN medal next week for their courage and sacrifice while serving in the world body’s peacekeeping operations last year.Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Raju Joseph, who had served in a civilian capacity with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), will be awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed annually on May 29.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The commemoration next week of the international peacekeepers’ day will mark the seventh successive year in which the UN will honour more than 100 “blue helmets” who lost their lives the previous year while serving the cause of peace, the UN said in a statement.The 126 military, police and civilian personnel lost their lives in 2014 while serving with the UN as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease and will receive the medal during a ceremony at the world body’s headquarters here.Last year eight Indian soldiers had posthumously received the medal, named after the second UN Secretary General.India is among the largest contributors of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping. It currently deploys 8,112 military and police personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations in Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, the Middle East, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.So far, India has contributed nearly 180,000 troops to UN peacekeeping missions, including the 103-strong Indian female police unit in the UN mission in Liberia.This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers falls during the significant 70th anniversary of the United Nations, offering a chance to honour the Blue Helmets’ invaluable contribution to the proud history of the organisation and to reaffirm its commitment to make them even more effective in the years ahead, the statement said.The theme for the day this year is ‘UN at 70: Peacekeeping: Past, Present, and Future’.In his message on the occasion, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for better funding and training for peacekeepers, who have to carry out complex mandates in hostile environments. He stressed that developed countries should increase their contribution to UN peacekeeping troops.”Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands,” he said in the message.”At the same time, demands far out pace resources. We need better funding, training and equipment. Our troops and police must carry out ever more complex mandates while being held to the highest standards of conduct. We need developed countries to resume their historically influential role as contributors of troops,” Ban said.”And we need stronger political support from the Member States that are responsible for authorising, financing and contributing troops and police to the missions,” he said.Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare said the international community has high expectations from UN civilian and military peacekeepers and “we must ensure they are provided with all the support they need to undertake their important tasks.””We must continue to work together to enable operations in remote and dangerous environments, at the same time, prioritising the safety and security of our personnel, strengthen our collaboration and partnerships with troop and police contributing countries, improve the quality of service delivery and make the most of our limited resources,” Khare said.Paying tribute to the “courageous” men and women, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous said the world body is currently witnessing its largest deployment in the history of UN Peacekeeping.”This is a testament of the international community’s faith in Peacekeeping as a fundamental tool in helping to bring peace and security,” he said.The 2015 commemorative ceremonies will be held at a time when the demand for United Nations peacekeepers is at an all-time high.There are now more than 125,000 UN peacekeepers, including 91,000 military personnel, 13,000 police officers as well as 17,000 international civilian and national staff serving in 16 operations on four continents.The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, as a tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.The General Assembly had designated May 29 as the commemoration day because it was the date in 1948 when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the world body’s first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.Commemorative activities will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York and at peacekeeping operations and offices around the world.The Dag Hammarskjold Medal was established in December 2000 and is awarded posthumously to members of peacekeeping operations who lost their lives during service with a peacekeeping operation under the operational control and authority of the United Nations.Hammarskjold, a Swedish diplomat, died in a mysterious 1961 plane crash. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize the year he died.

From 1 May, Canada, France and 29 additional countries to get visa on arrival

New Delhi: India will provide e-Tourist Visa to 31 more countries, including France and Canada, enabling citizens of these countries easy entry to the country.

The e-Tourist Visa facility is being extended to 31 more countries from 1 May, a Home Ministry statement said.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The new countries included Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Cayman Island, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominic an Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Georgia, Grenada, Haiti, HolySee (Vatican), Honduras, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St Kitts & Nevis and Seychelles.

India had launched e-Tourist Visa on 27 November for 45 countries from nine designated Indian airports.

With the latest addition, the total number of countries under the scheme will go upto 76.

“The scheme will be extended to more countries in a phased manner. The Government is committed to extend the scheme to 150 countries by the end of this financial year,” the statement said.

The eTV enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation would enable the prospective visitor to apply for an Indian visa from his or her home country online without visiting the Indian Mission and also pay the visa fee online.

Once approved, the applicant will receive an email authorising him or her to travel to India and he or she can travel with a print out of this authorisation.

On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.

Since the launch of the scheme, a total of 1,10,000 visas have been issued by the government under it.

During December last, a total of 14,083 tourist visa-on-arrival (TVoA) were issued as compared to 2,700 during December 2013, registering a growth of 421.6 per cent.

The percentage share of top 10 source countries for TVoA in India during December last included US (24.26 percent), Russian Federation (15.06 percent), Republic of Korea (11.01 percent), Ukraine (8.16 percent), Australia (7.98 percent), New Zealand (5.08 percent), Japan (4.30 percent), Singapore (4.27 percent), Germany (4.05 percent) and the Philippines (3.10 percent).

PTI

No love lost from Jats: How PM Modi is losing grip over a dedicated vote bank

Sheroo Goenka runs a small shop in the heart of Rajasthan’s Churu district. But when elections are round the corner, he shuts shop and spends most of his time and energy on campaigning for the BJP, especially the party’s local heavyweight MLA Rajendra Rathore. In and around his district, Goenka, 45, is known as an avid BJP bhakt, a man who would do anything to ensure his deities remain in power.

In the 2013 election, when Vasundhara Raje became the chief minister, Goenka was ecstatic, not just because the BJP won a landslide victory. Like many others in Shekhawati, Sheroo had placed a satta (bet) on the Congress not winning more than 40 seats. The Congress obliged him by winning less than 25 out of 200.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo. PTI

Goenka, the quintessential BJP bhakt and desi psephologist, has another prediction as Modi completes one year and Raje 18 months in power. “The BJP will be wiped out if there is an election for the Vidhan Sabha tomorrow. People still expect Modi to do something, but that hope is fading.”

The reason behind Goenka’s pessimism — echoed by many others on the ground — is simple: Nothing is moving on the ground; people are angry and disillusioned.

“As the Modi government approaches its first anniversary, the prime minister is being encircled. The greatest performances, it seems, now happen abroad. In Apna Desh, it’s tough going. This dichotomy is now quite visible, to even his supporters. Last week, in BJP circles, an SMS was in circulation: ‘We are pleased to announce the fifth visit in the last 10 months of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Republic of India. The MEA believes this shows the strategic importance of India.’ The fact that people who were in raptures over Modi just months ago now resort to sarcastic jokes about his reign underlines the beginning of anti-incumbency, also visible in the Delhi elections in February this year,” argues Outlook in its latest cover story.

Two recent developments have changed the mood and perception on the ground: The noise around Modi’s Land Acquisition Bill — considered anti-poor and pro-corporate — and the tepid government response to loss to crops in fields across north India because of unseasonal rain in March.

According to government estimates, crops in 189-lakh hectare were damaged due to inclement weather. The government says it is trying to do its best. But real relief has not reached farmers, especially because the crop-insurance schemes the government was banking on for immediate succor have not been very effective.

In Rajasthan, for instance, farmers are claiming that they suffered huge financial losses. In the past week alone, three of them committed suicide due to financial difficulties, rising debts and crop failure. But the government has not been able to help them much. It is still waiting for the Centre to reply to its request for a relief package of around Rs 10,000 crore from the Centre.

“The Raje government has come to a standstill. Even everyday issues related to water, electricity and roads are not being sorted out. Do you really expect a paralysed government to move quickly on distributing relief to thousands of farmers?” asks Goenka.

Crop failure — either due to unseasonal rain or poor Monsoon, is a normal Indian phenomenon. Every few years, farmers suffer extensive losses and are forced to seek government help. Most of the time, the relief is inadequate. And whatever little manages to reach the beneficiary is either disbursed late by government officials or pocketed by corrupt middlemen. This year, the hope from Modi government was that it would live up to its promise of being fast, efficient and honest. So far, it has proved itself to be a replica of the previous governments.

Adding to the misery of financial losses due to crop failure is the fear of land acquisition. The bill has created the impression that Modi is after the farmland in a bid to help corporates set up businesses. The reality may not be so simple and the land bill’s merits and flaws can always be debated. But the BJP is losing the war of perception in rural India.

According to the Outlook, “From Jhajjhar to Bhiwani, Muzaffarnagar to Mathura, Jats — once ardent Modi fans — are challenging his governments might, feeling betrayed, even believing they are victims of official/political bias. Many had voted for BJP ‘as Hindus’, but their religious identity is being overridden by their occupational one — of being predominantly agricultural.”

Jats were an important part of the BJP’s poll strategy in the 2013 and 2014 elections. Considered traditional supporters of the Congress, they voted for the BJP en masse in Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh, tilting the electoral balance heavily.

“The politics of interests, not identity, is propelling Jats’ agitation, which revolves around three grouses: The harsh land acquisition ordinance introduced on December 31, 2014, the fact that sugarcane farmers have not been paid their arrears since 2013 and sudden losses in wheat, potato and other crops during incessant, untimely rain and hailstorms in March and April,” according to the Outlook.

“Earlier they were not willing to listen to us. Now there is heavy resentment against the BJP among Jats and farmers,” Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary told Outlook.

Sanyam Lodha, former Congress MLA from Rajasthan, says the wheel of politics has started turning. “Modi’s dramatic rise began with the BJP’s victory in Rajasthan (in MP and Chhattisgarh it was in power). Such is the resentment among voters that the BJP will find it difficult to win the next election in Rajasthan,” he says.

Goenka agrees: “Next time I will bet on the BJP getting wiped out in Rajasthan,” he says.

Dornier plane crash: Body of Lt Kiran Shekhawat found

Panaji: The body of Lt Kiran Shekhawat was today recovered from the fuselage of the ill-fated Dornier Aircraft of the Navy which had crashed during a flying sortie off the Goa coast even as another officer continues to be missing.

File photo of Lt Kiran ShekhawatFile photo of Lt Kiran Shekhawat

File photo of Lt Kiran Shekhawat

“The body of Lt Kiran Shekhawat has been recovered from the fuselage of the aircraft. They body is being taken to Goa,” Navy Spokesperson Captain DK Shamra said in New Delhi.

Shekhawat, an Observer, had taken part in the first all-women marching contingent of the Navy during the Republic Day parade.

INS Makar, a naval hydrographic vessel, had detected a large metallic object using its side-scan sonar at a depth of 50-60 metres.

Later on inspection, it was confirmed that the object was the fuselage of the Dornier aircraft.

The maritime surveillance aircraft had crashed south-west off Goa coast on Tuesday night at 2208 hours.

Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the aircraft and has 4,000 flying hours to his credit, was rescued about an hour after the crash by a fishing vessel.

Presently, there are 12 ships, including two of Indian Coast Guard, and four aircraft involved in the search and rescue operations.

A Board of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident.

PTI

Arvind Kejriwal only competition for BJP in Delhi, says Arun Jaitley

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said he used to respect Kejriwal and had thought the AAP leader would bring some change given that he was a “new entrant” in politics.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is the only competition for BJP in Delhi and the choice for voters is between “good governance” and “anarchy”, BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday even as he claimed that Congress will not be able to bag “even a few seats” in the upcoming Assembly polls.With BJP going all out in its bid to taste victory here, Jaitley’s Cabinet colleague Venkaiah Naidu on the other hand targeted AAP convener Kejriwal and asked voters how they could “trust” a man who he claimed had “sworn on his children” never to join hands with Congress but had then gone ahead and done exactly that.”He had sworn on his children that he will not join hands with Congress, but when we (BJP) declined to form the government due to lack of numbers, he immediately backtracked … What happened to that vow?” Naidu said at a rally at Mahipalpur in the Bijwasan constituency.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said he used to respect Kejriwal and had thought the AAP leader would bring some change given that he was a “new entrant” in politics.”But he sat in the lap of Congress and became the chief minister of Delhi within just three months of joining politics. How can you trust such a man?” asked Naidu even as he referred to Congress as the “Baap” (father) of AAP, which he said was its “Baccha” (child).Meanwhile, addressing around 400 BJP workers at a meeting in Vishwas Nagar, Finance Minister Jaitley sought to motivate them to put in their heart and soul into the election campaign to ensure that BJP prevails over AAP in the battle for Delhi.”In Delhi polls, Kejriwal is the only issue (competition).Voters need to decide whether they want good governance in Delhi or anarchy,” he said, adding “how can a CM say that he will not let the Republic Day parade happen?” “In the past elections, the party which practised dynasty politics was defeated. In UPA’s 10-year-tenure, where there was understanding there were no rights and vice versa,” Jaitley added.
Telling the BJP workers that the party’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi “is capable of ensuring good governance and discipline”, Jaitley asserted that BJP “will form a majority government and Congress will not be able to get even a few seats so that it can extend support to any party”.Launching a counter-attack on Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of black money during a rally she addressed in Delhi today, Naidu said, “I ask her, where have they kept it?” He further stated that the black money would be brought back and whosoever had stashed away such wealth abroad would be put behind bars.Stating that Delhi’s development was very important, he emphasised that the government in the state has to work in tandem with the Centre.Naidu also reiterated his promise about developing a smart city near Dwarka with assistance from Spain, which he had announced two days back.

High pollution levels in Delhi may have cost Obama 6 hours of his life

India geared up and how for US President Barack Obama’s arrival in New Delhi with no-fly zones and seven tier security rings. The city turned into a fortress with office buildings around Rajpath being shut because he would attend the Republic Day Parade.

All this was done to protect the world’s most powerful man from life threatening attacks, but if this Bloomberg report is anything to go by, Obama may have lost 6 hours from his life expectancy. That too because of the abysmal pollution levels in the national capital.

Barack Obama. Reuters

The report says, “During Obama’s three-day visit, PM2.5 levels in Delhi have averaged between 76 to 84 micrograms per cubic meter, according to data collected by India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences.”

Right before Obama landed in the city, Greenpeace India, citing the findings of its real-time check on the pollution levels in the capital, too had warned that Obama was likely to breathe “unhealthy and hazardous” air during his stay in Delhi.

Ahead of Obama’s three-day state visit the NGO set out with an air-monitoring device called PDR 1500, to track pollution levels in six locations the president was expected to pass through.

This device recorded particulate matter 2.5 levels at various locations, including Raj Ghat and Hyderabad House, that revealed unhealthy and hazardous quality of air, said a Greenpeace release.

Meanwhile Bloomberg quoted David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, as saying that the PM2.5 levels recorded during Obama’s visit could translate roughly into an estimated loss of 2 hours a day in life expectancy.

In December 2014 environment experts had demanded immediate pollution control action after researchers at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) monitored people’s level of exposure to pollution in the city and found the results to be posing a “serious risk to public health”.

Delhiites are “not safe” from polluted air even at home and workplaces, they had said.

With IANS inputs

A day after getting gallantry award, Colonel dies fighting militants

Colonel Rai, the commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, recipient of Yudh Seva Medal, was killed in an encounter in Tral area of Kashmir on Tuesday

Representative Picture

Colonel Munindra Nath Rai was not used to saviour the laurels like the Yudh Seva Medal he won on Republic Day. The brave-heart loved challenges. Hours after his name showed up in the recipients of Yudh Seva Medal winners, Colonel Rai, the commanding officer of 42 Rashtirya Rifles (RR), found himself in the thick of action again in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.What happened?Police said on a specific information regarding presence of militants, J&K police, 42 RR and 185 CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in village Hundru, Tral. “During the search operation militants fired upon the joint search party. Two Hizbul Mujhadeen militants Sheeraz Hassan Dar and Abid Khan alias Hamza were killed in the ensuing encounter,” a police spokesman said.Leading from the front was Col Rai who charged at the well dug in militants little caring for his own safety. The officer was hit, but he kept his nerves directing his men and pining down the two hardcore militants.By the time army and police zeroed in on the militants, Col Rai and head constable Sanjeevan Singh were badly wounded. In the hail of bullets by his buddies, Col Rai was removed from the spot and shifted to army hospital at Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. But the wound proved fatal and brave-heart’s life was cut short. Head Constable Singh too succumbed to his wounds.Who was Colonel Rai?Commissioned in Gurkha Riffles, Colonel Rai was commanding the 42 RR, which is responsible for counter insurgency operations in Tral, nicknamed Kandahar owing to the huge infestation of militancy in the area. Father of two daughters and son, Col Rai, one of 13 Yudh Seva Medal winners on Republic Day, was posted in the area for more than one and half year and his two year tenure was coming to an end in March.Was he popular in south Kashmir?Friends recall the officer as sober, suave and brave who was not only popular among the troops but the local population, a quality which Indian army cherishes in the conflict zones. “He was a soft and sober officer who had built a great rapport with the public in Tral. He was a brave officer who always led his men from the front”, Sheikh Faisal Qayoom, sub divisional police officer, a close friend of Col Rai, told dna.How did his colleagues recall Col Rai as an officer?”Col Rai was such a great strategist that Tral, which is one of the problem areas as far militancy is concerned, witnessed the peaceful assembly polls recently. His deployment techniques, his area domination exercises and his plan of action was par excellent”, said an officer in the security establishment. The officer had penchant for challenges and that is why he was always leading his men from the front in encounters. “He is one who always used to take part in the operations. He was always ready for challenges. Taking on the militants and fighting alongside his troops was his trademark style”, said another friend.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army colonel who won gallantry award on R-day killed in encounter

Srinagar: A commanding officer, who had only on Monday won a military medal, was on Tuesday killed along with a policeman while battling a group of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), and the policeman were killed in the gun battle at Mindora village of Tral, 36 km from here, an Army spokesman said.

Representational image.

Two militants, both locals, were also killed in the operation which left a soldier seriously injured.

Colonel Rai was conferred the Yudh Seva medal on the eve of Republic Day for outstanding contribution in planning and conduct of operations including a gun battle with militants in south Kashmir last year, the spokesman said.

Hailing from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, Colonel Rai, who was from the 9 Gorkha Rifles but was on deputation to RR, is survived by two daughters and a son.

The encounter broke out on Tuesday when the police assisted by Rashtriya Rifles of the army launched an operation after getting a tip off that a local Hizbul militant along with another accomplice had come home.

The slain militants have been identified as Adil Khan, a local resident of Mindora, and Shiraz Dar. Both were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, police said.

Some arms and ammunition have recovered from the scene of the encounter, they said.

PTI

Why didn’t Hamid Ansari salute the flag on R-Day? Because he didn’t have to

“Why didn’t Hamid Ansari salute the national flag?” Even as the country celebrated its 66th republic Day, this was what was seemed to be topmost on the minds of the self-proclaimed defenders of patriotism, in a disturbing incident of religious stereotyping that is absolutely against everything republic day stands for.

Vajpayee

Social media went into a tizzy yesterday, criticising the vice president by posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook showing that Ansari did not salute the national flag during the national anthem.

Home minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj didn’t salute the flag either, but their patriotism was not questioned.

“Jihadi sympathiser”, “anti-India”, “traitor”, were among  the hate tweets that were hurled at the vice president of India. Some even demanded that Ansari be impeached, and the more outraged ones advised him to join the ISIS.

It’s shame for us Our vice president Mr. Ansari not salute at flag hosting Plz spread dis tweet. pic.twitter.com/by88KQBUka

But well, Twitter was wrong. Ansari was not required to salute as per the protocols.

According to Section VI of the Flag Code of India, “During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag, or when the flag is passing in a parade or in a review, all persons present should face the Flag and stand at attention. Those present in uniform should render the appropriate salute”.

So, except for the President of the country, no one is required to salute. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, vice president Ansari, US President Barack Obama, defence minister Manohar Parrikar were not in uniform and were therefore not required to salute the flag.

The tweets were so disturbing that Ansari’s office issued a statement clarifying why it wasn’t wrong not to salute.

“As per the protocol, when the national anthem is played, the Principal Dignitary and persons in uniform take the salute. Those in civil dress stand in attention. “During the Republic Day Parade, the President of India, as Supreme Commander, takes the salute. As per protocol, the Vice President is required to stand in attention,” Gurdeep Sappal, Joint Secretary and OSD to the Vice President, said in a statement.

“When the Vice President is the Principal Dignitory, he salutes during the national anthem, wearing headgear, as done at NCC camp this year,” Sappal added.

What is disturbing is, why would Ansari need to prove his patriotism? Just because he is a Muslim?

Outrage about Hamid Ansari is a bit silly. Saluting national flag is not mandatory. You stand up during the anthem, and he was doing that

In fact, as many on social media pointed out, our earlier Prime Ministers also did not salute the flag during the Republic Day celebrations and that includes BJP’s Atal Vihari Vajpayee.

But of course, he wasn’t required to prove his patriotism.

Obama bids farewell to India after historic bromance with Modi

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama left for Saudi Arabia, wrapping up his three-day visit in India during which both the countries broke a seven-year logjam to operationalise a landmark civil nuclear deal, besides enhancing defence and trade ties.

Obama, accompanied by his wife Michelle, folded his hands in a traditional “namaste” and waved before boarding Air Force One at the Palam airport where Union Minister Piyush Goyal and, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, were among those present.

AFP

Obama and the US First Lady had planned a visit to the Taj Mahal but cancelled their trip to the world heritage site and instead decided to visit Saudi Arabia to pay condolences to the Royal family following death of King Abdullah.

In his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, both leaders managed to remove the hurdles to operationalise the civil nuclear deal besides deciding to jointly produce military hardware and stepping up economic engagement.

In what Obama called a “breakthrough”, the two sides resolved key hurdles pertaining to the liability of suppliers of nuclear reactors in the event of an accident and the tracking of fuel supplied by the US.

Obama yesterday became the first US President to grace the Republic Day celebrations. He is also the first American President to visit India twice.

The American President today addressed a Town hall event at Siri Fort Auditorium here during which he spoke on a range of issues and made a strong pitch for religious tolerance.

PTI

Indian agencies write to Twitter, want location of IS tweet threatening attack on Obama’s car

New Delhi: Indian agencies have written to Twitter seeking the location from where threatening tweets were issued by alleged Islamic State (IS) terrorists, calling for a car bomb attack on US President Barack Obama during his India visit.

Barack Obama’s official car ‘The Beast’. AFP

The security agencies looking into the attacks have found that IP addresses of the computers used to issue the tweets have been “masked” by the alleged terrorists, the sources said.

The sources said Twitter has been asked to provide the location of the computer as soon as possible to check the authenticity and gravity of the threat in the wake of US President’s visit starting from January 25.

The agencies believe that the tweet could be the handiwork of one of the three terrorists from Mumbai suburban Kalyan who had gone to Iraq to join the IS. Four boys from the area –Areeb Majeed, Saheem Tanki, Amaan Tandel and Fahad Shaikh–had left their home to join IS operations in Iraq.

One of them, Areeb Majeed, purportedly sustained injuries and retured after which he was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency.

The sources said the tweet issued on Monday from one of the handles is believed to be of the banned group IS. It had said, “Heard that enemy of Allah, Obama is coming to India soon. And Indian Muslims are good in chemicals, so a chemical car bomb will be a good idea.”

During the probe, the agency found that since location of the IP address was “masked”, it was difficult to decipher where the alleged IS sympathiser was based in India or abroad.

Several images of one of the youths ‘Tanki’ were circulated on the internet showing his “suicide mission” in Syria’s al-haska which were released on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms on which IS runs its propaganda.

The security agencies in the meanwhile have taken all the measures to ensure unassailable security ring around Obama who will be the first even American President to grace the Republic Day celebration as the Chief Guest.

PTI

Youth held for hoax call of terror attack on Barack Obama

A 19-year-old youth from Goa has been arrested for making a hoax call to Delhi Police warning them of a terror attack on US President Barack Obama.

A 19-year-old youth from Goa has been arrested for making a hoax call to Delhi Police warning them of a terror attack on US President Barack Obama.The youth, from South Goa district, made the call to the Delhi Police control room at around 7 AM yesterday saying that he has recorded a conversation of terrorists plotting an attack on Obama during his upcoming India visit, Superintendent of Police (South) Shekhar Prabhudesai said.According to police, the youth “did it to get publicity” and was upset at not being able to take part in the Republic Day parade.The law enforcement agencies in Delhi swung into action after getting the call and at around 12.30 PM they traced it to South Goa’s Cuncolim village, 45 kms from Panaji.The college-going youth was picked up based on the mobile phone call details by Cuncolim police. They interrogated him in the presence of senior officers who had rushed to the village from Panaji.During interrogation, the youth “confessed that he did it to get publicity”, Prabhudesai said adding that subsequently he was arrested last night.”He said he did it to get publicity. He also wanted to participate in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, but he could not do so because of which he was disturbed,” he said.The youth would be produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class in Margao town.

Barack Obama ‘excited’ to be at Republic Day celebrations: John Kerry

President Barack Obama is “very excited” that he will be the first US President to be honoured as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.Speaking at the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, he said: “President Obama is very excited and particularly pleased with the fact that he will be the first US President to be honoured as the chief guest on Republic Day commemoration.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited the US President to be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Obama accepted the invitation in signs of expanding ties between the two nations. “And he will the first sitting US President to visit India twice while in office,” Kerry said. “Let me make it clear we believe in values that both countries share.” India traditionally invites a head of state to participate as chief guest at Republic Day celebrations that culminates in a military parade.Last year’s chief guest was the then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Modi met Obama on a his visit to the United States in September and they have spoken on telephone since then. Obama, who had visited India in 2010, would also be the first US President to visit the country twice while in office.

India to lodge protest over ceasefire violation by Pakistan

India on Thursday said that it will lodge a strong protest with Pakistan over the Islamic Republic’s ceasefire violation at the International Border at Jammu and Kashmir. Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar condemned the latest incident of breach in ceasefire by Pakistani forces. Earlier in the day, Inspector General of Border Security Force (BSF) Rakesh Sharma had said that Pakistani Rangers had violated the ceasefire by firing on thirteen border outposts in the Samba sector. The BSF had retaliated, resulting in exchanges which continued till 6 am. Sharma further stated that said that about 50 to 60 terrorists are waiting to sneak into the Indian side in Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan, adding that security measures have been intensified to check any untoward incident.

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