Tuesday, 19th June 2018
19 June 2018
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

NEWS – 23/8/16

NATIONAL

Pop star Britney Spears’ forthcoming albumGlory has surfaced online ahead of its August 26 release.The record was stocked in a music store in Mexico nearly an entire week before its official release date and fans who got the copies spread them online, reported Ace Showbiz.

The Ganga and many of its tributaries were in spate after torrential rain, and the monsoonal deluge left thousands of people in five States struggling to cope on Monday.As the Ganga swelled, the Central Water Resources Ministry directed that all the flood gates of the Farraka barrage in West Bengal be opened to relieve the danger to Bihar.Heavy rain over the last two days in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand caused several rivers—tributaries of the Ganga—to flood and rise to record levels. In Bihar, flood waters spread to Bhojpur, Buxar, Munger, Bhagalpur and Khagaria districts.Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over the situation in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand and promised the Centre’s support for rescue and relief operations

The Narendra Modi government on Monday reshuffled 23 middle level officials of joint secretary rank in various departments. Those reshuffled include eight IAS officials belonging to the 1999 batch who were recently empanelled as joint secretaries.Two such officials working in the Prime Minister’s Office as directors — V. Sheshadri of the Telangana cadre and B. Navnit of the Tamil Nadu cadre — have been appointed joint secretaries in the PMO.

Ripples from the Dalit protests in Gujarat following the attack on youth in Una by gau rakshaks, have reached Uttar Pradesh.The Ambedkar Mahasabha, a prominent Dalit organisation here, which had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to its offices in January, will host an event in Lucknow on August 27 on the rising attacks against Dalits under the BJP rule. Addressing the event will be Jignesh Mewani, who led the Dalit protests in Gujarat, and Radhika, mother of University of Hyderabad scholar, Rohit Vemula, who committed suicide in January this year.

In a move that could go a long way in encouraging witnesses to report accidents to the police, the Centre issued a notification on Monday ensuring that the affidavit of “Good Samaritan”, a person who voluntarily declares himself to be an eyewitness, shall be treated by the investigating officer as a final statement.The notification is in response to Supreme Court directions in an October 2014 case of SaveLIFE Foundation asking the Centre to issue directions to save Good Samaritans until Parliament frames a law.

Noting that the judiciary has its limits, the Supreme Court indicated on Monday that a political solution across party lines might probably bring peace to Kashmir, where street clashes between security forces and mobs and curfew continued to choke normality.Referring to the Opposition parties’ talks with the Centre as an effort in the right direction, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said such talks offered more chances of reaching a well-rounded solution than court hearings did.There are certain dimensions to the problem which the court cannot decide judicially. These issues find resolution in such meetings which are happening, like between the Prime Minister and the Opposition, where all stakeholders get to be heard,” Chief Justice Thakur said.

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit northeast India on Tuesday morning, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.The epicentre of the earthquake was in Myanmar and regions across the India-Myanmar border felt the tremors.The earthquake occurred at 0741 hrs and there are no immediate reports of any casualties.

Concerned over the framing of charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating against former coal secretary H.C. Gupta in a case related to the allotment of coal blocks, the IAS Officers Association will represent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking measures to ensure protection of honest officers who have acted in good faith.Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Honorary Secretary of the Central IAS Officers Association, told The Hindu that Mr. Gupta is widely perceived among fellow officers as an ‘upright officer’.His Association and others are looking at options to help the former Coal Secretary. Mr. Bhoosreddy said the understanding of the office bearers of his Association is that Mr. Gupta, who has refused to engage any lawyer to fight his case, is not looking for financial aid but wants people to take up the larger issue of protection of honest civil servants who take and are required to take decisions in good faith

Claiming that people close to Mulayam Singh are being “insulted” in the Samajwadi Party, its MP Amar Singh on Monday threatened to resign as Rajya Sabha member.“I have never said I am Samajwadi. I am Mulayamwadi … But it has become kind of a crime to be Mulayamwadi,” he said.Mr. Singh said he was awaiting a meeting with Mulayam to discuss the issue. “I will hand it [resignation letter] directly to [Rajya Sabha Chairman] Hamid Ansari. I am not the one who uses resignation as a pressure tactic,” he told Aaj Tak.

BJP president Amit Shah may have termed the ruling Samajwadi Party the one to beat in the coming Uttar Pradesh elections but that is not stopping him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi from trying to make inroads into the Gandhi family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareilly.Plans are on for Mr. Modi to hold a large public meeting in either of the two adjacent constituencies, most likely in October.According to top BJP sources, party district president of Amethi, Uma Shankar Pandey, has been consulted on preparations for an impressive public meeting. “If [Congress president] Sonia Gandhi can do a road show in Mr. Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, then we too must respond,” said a senior source in the party, privy to the developments.

In a major reprieve to three political parties which faced the possibility of losing their “national party” status and all the benefits associated with it, the Election Commission on Monday amended the rules under which it will now review the status of political parties every 10 years, instead of five.After the 2014 general elections, the EC had issued show-cause notices to the Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India, asking why their “national party” status should not be withdrawn. Subsequently, they had petitioned the Commission.Over two years later, the EC issued an Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, amending the rules that mandated a review of the status of recognised political parties every five years. “It shall be deemed to have come into force with effect from January 1, 2014, and shall always be deemed to have been so effective,” says the order.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Both factions of the Hurriyat on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “look beyond the Indian Constitution” for a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem.“If a lasting and permanent solution to the Kashmir problem could be found within the Indian Constitution, then it would have happened. Kashmir, in fact, is ruled by that Constitution for the last 70 years but still suffers immensely, particularly for the past three decades,” Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told The Hindu.Asking Mr. Modi to “look beyond the Constitution”, the Mirwaiz said, “Fifth generation since 1947 would not be on the streets for the past month and a half, braving bullets and pellets, being killed, blinded and maimed, had a solution being worked out by allowing a trilateral dialogue among the real stakeholders — India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir.

A delegation of Opposition parties from J&K met CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday, apprising him of the situation and calling for political intervention immediately. Mr. Yechury assured them that his party would keep building pressure for a dialogue with all stakeholders in the State.

The Congress said on Monday that the Union government was sending out confusing signals on Kashmir.Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said that a day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took a hard line on the continuing crisis in the Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while meeting a delegation of Opposition parties from the State, emphasised need for dialogue to find a “permanent and lasting solution”.Underscoring the seriousness of the crisis in the Valley, where curfew has been imposed in various places for a month- and-a-half, Mr. Tewari said that if the government came up with a workable road map, the Opposition would cooperate with it.“Instead, we are getting mere empty rhetoric from the Prime Minister. He talks of Insaniyat [humanity], Jamhooriyat [democracy] and Kashmiriyat [Kashmiri identity/essence], but does he know what these words mean,” he said.“The Finance Minister should explain the contradictions between what he is saying and what the Prime Minister is saying.The FM is suggesting that the only problem in Kashmir is the lack of development

The government on Monday asked stranded Indian workers in Saudi Arabia to return without waiting for unpaid salaries from their Saudi employers, indicating that negotiations to secure their dues had not made headway.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj used the social media to reach out to the affected Indian nationals asking them to return without “waiting indefinitely” for their dues.“When [the] Saudi government settles with the companies which have been closed down, your dues will also be paid,” Ms. Swaraj said in a tweet.The Minister-level declaration is the first sign that quiet diplomacy led by MoS Gen. (Retd.) V.K. Singh, to ensure dues and salaries for at least 3,172 workers who became jobless after three major Saudi construction firms folded up, did not yield results.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has readied a charge sheet against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, his family members and others in connection with an alleged disproportionate assets case. The agency will soon move the court seeking permission to file the charge sheet.According to the agency, as Union Steel Minister, Mr. Singh had allegedly amassed assets worth Rs. 10 crore disproportionate to According to the agency.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court accusing an apex court-appointed Oversight Committee led by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha of over-stepping its given job of monitoring the work of Medical Council of India (MCI).A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Anil R. Dave, in a judgment in May 2016, had invoked its rare and extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to set up a three-member committee, headed by Justice Lodha, to oversee the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) for at least a year. The 165-page verdict had endorsed a Parliamentary Standing Committee report of March 2016 that medical education and profession in the country is at its “lowest ebb” and suffering from “total system failure” due to corruption and decay.The Committee, also comprises Professor (Dr.) Shiv Sareen (Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences) and Vinod Rai (former Comptroller & Auditor General of India)

NEWS – 23/8/16 – INTERNATIONAL

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his Russian counterpart and close ally Vladimir Putin wants to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit to revive peace talks, in an interview published on Monday.Mr. Sisi told state newspaper editors that he believed Israel was increasingly convinced of the need for a peace deal, saying it was a “positive sign”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in West Bank. File Photo: Reuters

Expressing “deep regret” for his actions, an Islamic extremist pleaded guilty on Monday to orchestrating the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu.Wearing a dark suit and striped tie, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi stood and calmly told judges he was entering the guilty plea “with deep regret and great pain” and advised Muslims around the world not to commit similar acts, saying “they are not going to lead to any good for humanity.”The guilty plea was a landmark for the court, which has struggled to bring suspects to justice since its establishment in 2002. It was the first guilty plea and the first time prosecutors have launched a trial for the crime of deliberately attacking buildings of religious or cultural significance.Al Mahdi faces a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment, but prosecutors say they will seek a sentence of nine to 11 years.

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, right, appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu.

A Major-General in the People’s Liberation Army has committed suicide, the third senior officer to do so this month, amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s widening anti-corruption crackdown, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Postreported.Major-General Chen Jie (54) reportedly killed himself on August 5 through an overdose of sleeping pills. The daily said there was no conclusive evidence that his suicide was linked to corruption.However, the timing is curious, as he was seen as a rising star whose promotion was due a just day later.

Turkish authorities scrambled on Monday to identify a child suicide bomber acting on the orders of Islamic State (IS) jihadists who killed 54 people including several children at a Kurdish wedding close to the Syrian border.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the IS group needed to be completely pushed out of the border zone inside Syria, amid Turkish media reports of an Ankara-backed offensive by rebels against the group.The attack late on Saturday on a crowded street wedding in the city of Gaziantep was the latest in a devastating series of bombings in Turkey at a time when the country is riven by internal upheaval and shaken by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

The world’s largest indoor theme park is set to open in Dubai this month to lure back some of the tourists and residents who often flee abroad during the scorching desert summer.In a sandy suburb beyond Dubai’s concrete jungle and pockets of artificially green spaces, IMG Worlds of Adventure’s boxy exterior belies a 140,000-sq. m air-conditioned cathedral of entertainment teeming with animatronic dinosaurs, roller coasters, Marvel superheroes and Cartoon Network characters.

A roller coaster at the IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Israeli military carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, targeting Hamas positions in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that hit an Israeli border town earlier in the day.Palestinian Health Ministry official Ashraf al—Qidra said two Palestinians, including a 17—year—old boy, were lightly wounded.Palestinian officials said nearly all of the airstrikes took place in northern Gaza, near the Israeli border. While most of the attacks targeted Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, one struck a military camp used by the smaller Islamic Jihad group.

Nicolas Sarkozy will run for President in 2017, hoping to return as France’s head of state after being unseated in 2012 by the now deeply unpopular Francois Hollande, he announced on Monday.A figure either loved or loathed by conservative voters, Mr. Sarkozy says in a forthcoming book he will join more than a dozen contenders vying for the party ticket in primaries, where former Prime Minister Alain Juppe will be his strongest rival. “I felt I had the strength to lead this battle at a troubled time in our history,” Sarkozy wrote on his social media pages ahead of the publication on Wednesday ofEverything for France.Mr. Sarkozy has done little to conceal his desire to return to the Elysee Palace since returning to high-level politics in late 2014 when he took the helm of the party Les Republicains.

NEWS 23/8/16 – SPORTS

After repeated heart-breaks, there was a real worry that India might return empty-handed from the Olympics. The fact that Sindhu won the badminton silver and Sakshi brought home a wrestling bronze was the saving grace for a contingent of 118 athletes.The Indian contingent’s realisation of just two medals from a projection in double digits exposes the folly in the belief that merely an enhanced flow of funds would solve the problems that sport in the nation faces.Before dissecting the performances, castigating the athletes, blaming the system and contemplating possible solutions, creditable performances at Rio need to be acknowledged.

The Indian contingent's realisation of just two medals from a projection in the double digits exposes the folly in the belief that merely an enhanced flow of funds would solve the problems that sport in the nation faces.

From the dizzying gymnastics heights of USA’s Simone Biles to Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik and Brazilian golden girl Rafaela Silva in judo — Rio proved a groundbreaking Games for women.

HISTORIC FIRST: In a Games where many a champion woman athlete blazed a trail, Majlinda Kelmendi gave won Kosovo a gold at its maiden Games.

India’s star of the moment, P.V. Sindhu, and her mentor and coach, P. Gopi Chand, were back at the venue of all the preparation and planning that had resulted in her silver medal at the Rio Olympics.While she expressed a sense of achievement, Sindhu was modest when asked about emerging as India’s premier woman shuttler after her latest success.“I just believed in myself though I was not expecting a final appearance in Rio before I left. Now I hope to keep the momentum going, keep winning more titles and, hopefully, win an Olympic gold in future,” Sindhu said, stating that she was glad to have lived up to the nation’s expectations.She also acknowledged Gopi’s role in her success at Rio and in her overall development as a player.

THE TOAST OF A NATION: P.V. Sindhu says the magnitude of her achievement was yet to sink in. PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL

A day after the Olympic Games came to an end in Rio de Janerio, the government on Monday conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2016 to Olympic medallists P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik; ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who lost a medal by a whisker, and shooter Jitu Rai. This is for the first time the nation’s highest sporting award has been conferred on four athletes.Dipa Karmakar’s coach, Bishweshwar Nandi, has been selected for the Dronacharya Award, alongwith Nagapuri Ramesh (athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (cricket), S. Pradeep Kumar (swimming) and Mahabir Singh (wrestling).Fifteen sportspersons will be honoured with the Arjuna Award and three with the Dhyan Chand Award.

Badminton star P.V. Sindhu (silver), wrestler Sakshi Malik (bronze) and gymnast Dipa Karmakar (creditable fourth) were the top stars among the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics.

images and news courtsey the hindu

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