Ghaziabad: Union Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gen. V.K. Singh was leading against alliance candidate Suresh Bansal by over 50,000 votes from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Singh secured 1,23,349 votes while Samajwadi Party’s Bansal got 65,563 votes at the end of the 14th round. Congress candidate Dolly Sharma was trailing with 10,798 votes.
Kolkata: Three candidates from Bengal have managed to secure ranks in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) the result of which was published on Wednesday afternoon. However, many candidates, failed to check their result due to a server failure till late on Wednesday evening resulting in confusion among the medical aspirants.The candidates have raised questions on how such technical problems occur in a high profile exam like NEET where lakhs of candidates from across the country take part. NEET is a national level medical entrance examination conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaHemant Khandelia from Bengal has ranked 11 in the merit list with 691 marks out of 720 while M.H Sayan Shah has got a rank of 44 with 685 marks. Diprasom Das has managed to secure a rank of 46 with 685 marks. All of them are male candidates belonging to unreserved category. Among other states Delhi has bagged 9 candidates who have secured their ranks below 50 in the merit list. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have 6 candidates having found ranks below 50. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersIn case of Bengal the number stands at three. Many candidates from the city who hooked on the NTA portal on Wednesday afternoon failed to pull out their results as the server was down. Dr A.K Maity, an expert in the field of medical education in the country said that the NTA which has been assigned to carry out the NEET must come up with a full proof system so that the students are not inconvenienced. Dr Maity said that there were some issues with the NEET question paper. He said that there were some set of questions which had multiple correct answers on the OMR sheets as a result of which many students preferred not to attempt the questions. In a highly competitive examination like NEET, even a fraction of marks can put a candidate far behind in the merit list.
Tamil Nadu’s main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), is staging protests across the state Saturday against the acute water crisis. The party’s cadre held protests in Dindigul, Salem, Erode, Tiruppur, Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuramnto urge the government to take action to address the issue. Tamil Nadu is plagued with a severe water crisis. Advertising The DMK claimed the issue reached the point of a crisis due to the AIADMK government’s “negligence” and “administrative failure”, reported news agency PTI. Chennai has been affected the worst as the four reservoirs around the city, which supply drinking water, have dried up. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceChief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami Friday held an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation. Addressing the press, Palaniswami said the government had allocated Rs 65 crore to transfer by rail water from Jolarpettai near Vellore to Chennai. For the next six months, the government will use rail wagons to bring in 10 MLD (millions of litre per day) of water from Jolarpettai, he said.Apart from this, Palaniswami said senior officers were monitoring the situation and coordinating water supply. “Wherever there is a shortage, we have a coordinated system to ensure supply now,” the Chief Minister said.He added that in rural areas, water was being supplied from Andhra Pradesh’s Krisha river. While about 11 TMC water was supposed to have come, TN was receiving only 2 TMC water.with inputs of The Indian Express
Southampton: India skipper Virat Kohli said the hard-fought win over Afghanistan in the Word Cup was much-needed as it helped the two-time champions to show their character and clinch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Mohammed Shami’s last-over hattrick Saturday saved India from a mighty scare after they managed to pip Afghanistan by 11 runs to inch closer towards World Cup semi-finals. Shami (9.5-1-40-4), playing his first match, not only successfully defended 16 runs off the last over but also dismissed the dangerous Mohammed Nabi (52 off 55 balls), Aftab Alam (0) and Mujeeb ur Rahman (0) off successive deliveries to complete the rare feat. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ Medvedev Afghanistan were bowled out for 213 in pursuit of a manageable 225-run target which at one stage looked gettable after the Indian middle-order flopped in their first World Cup test. “This game was way more important for us, because things didn’t go as planned. That’s when you need to show character and bounce back,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony. Drafted into the playing eleven in place of injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Saturday became only the second Indian cricketer to register a hattrick in World Cup after Chetan Sharma, who achieved the feat in 1987. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’ships Kohli, thus, was effusive in his praise for the speedster. “Everyone’s waiting for an opportunity. Shami was really good today. He was making the ball move more than anybody. We knew these guys were hungry,” he said. Rating the win over Afghanistan as a special one, the India captain said the wicket was a difficult one for stroke-making because of its two-paced nature. “This is right up there (as a win). You win the toss, and you decide to bat and then you see the wicket slow down. You think 260 or 270 would be a good total,” he said. “At the halfway stage, we had our doubts in our minds, but we also had self-belief in the change rooms. As soon as I went in, I understood the pace of the pitch. Cross-batted shots aren’t on, and a lot of horizontal bat shots cost us on this pitch.” Kohli also praised man-of-the-match Jasprit Bumrah for his impressive bowling display that brought India back into the contest. “It’s simple – we want to use him (Bumrah) smartly. When he takes one or two wickets, he can go on, but otherwise we try to ensure the opposition knows that he has seven or so overs to go,” he said. Man-of-the-match Bumrah (2/39) said Kohli’s belief in his ability spurs him to do better every time he runs into bowl. “That gives you a lot of confidence when the captain has so much trust in you. Helps me keep a clearer head,” he said. Bumrah also elaborated on India’s strategy while defending the low total. “We saw the wicket getting slower and slower. You had to be accurate and it’s a big ground, so you had go for the yorkers and bowl wicket-to-wicket. “What we wanted to do was that when you run behind wickets, you don’t get wickets. Our plan was to get the run-rate high and create chances,” he said. Bumrah too praised his pace bowling colleague Shami for his impressive display on his maiden outing in the ongoing World Cup. “That’s very good, because it gives us healthy competition within the side. We discuss what the plans are, and it’s great when everybody is chipping in with wickets,” he said. Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib showered praise on his bowling unit but said Bumrah eventually made the difference. “We bowled really well, and everybody in the batting lineup was strong. We did well in the batting too, but credit goes to Bumrah for the way he bowled in the last three overs. He was superb,” he said. “The wicket was really good for batting during the first half. The spinners stuck to the plan, and they did really well. We had other options than Rashid (Khan) and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), but in the backend, Aftab (Alam) and I also bowled well, but India is a good side, and a favourite side.” He, however, said such tough games against strong teams like India will do a world of good for Afghanistan. “The total was not that much (to chase) but in the middle, we needed some 80s and 100s, 20s and 30s aren’t enough against a team like this. When chasing 220s, you need some batsmen to take responsibility and go longer. “We have lost four games very badly, but last two games we have played really well. This is tough cricket against high-ranking teams, and you have to fight your best,” Naib said.
New Delhi: Amidst India’s discontent over the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) leaving shooting out of its 2022 programme, Olympic medallist Gagan Narang Monday refused to see it as a setback, saying, to thrive, the sport shouldn’t depend only on quadrennial events. Narang, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, cited the example of cricket and squash to corroborate his point. “I don’t see it as a setback, it’s not a negative thing. If you look at cricket, it’s not there in the Olympics, not even in the Commonwealth Games, but the sport is thriving on its own. Even squash, for that matter, that is also doing well on its own,” Narang told PTI during an interaction. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together Last month, the CGF made it clear that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, dealing a blow to India’s hopes. However, Narang preferred not to lose heart. “Now that it is out let’s be positive and give our best in Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” he said. Indian shooters have bagged as many as 16 medals, including seven gold at the Gold Coast Games last year. Since the 2002 Manchester edition, India have won most of its medals in shooting. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open As a result of the CGF move, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) threatened to boycott the 2022 Games, even as the sports ministry promised to explore diplomatic channels. A winner of multiple medals at top international tournaments, the 36-year-old Narang is not too worried about the move because he is confident that shooting will be back in the CWG programme after the Birmingham edition. “… In any case it will be back again I am sure. Okay, it’s not there in Birmingham, but it will certainly be back for the later editions,” he said. Last year, India’s then sports minister and Olympics silver medallist shooter, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, had urged the CGF president to ensure shooting remains a part of the 2022 edition. Also, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh had called for India to boycott the Birmingham Games if shooting was not included in the roster.
Mumbai: A failure on the part of banks, the government and the regulator till 2014 has got us into the current bad loan mess and the resultant low capital buffers, Urjit Patel, the past Reserve Bank Governor, has said, asking all to resist the temptation of going back to the status quo. In his first comments after resigning as RBI governor on December 10 last year amid sharp differences with the government, Patel said banks indulged in over-lending, while the government did not “fully play” its role, and also conceded that the regulator should have acted earlier. Also Read – Balakot strikes show major shift in govt’s handling of terror attacks: IAF chief Speaking at an event in Stanford University on June 3, Patel listed out areas of concern for the country’s banking sector, including high non-performing assets (NPAs) especially at state-run lenders, and current capital buffers being “overstated” and being insufficient to tackle the huge stress. “How did we get here? Plenty of blame to go around! Prior to 2014, all stakeholders failed to play their role adequately. Banks, the regulator and government,” he said in the presentation. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps, 20 launch pads along LoC It can be noted that after 2014, which saw a change of guard in government and also Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan assuming charge, the RBI started an asset quality review, which led to the recognition of the huge pile of hidden stress in the system and resolution through the introduction of bankruptcy laws. These actions led to a sharp decline in banks’ ability to fund the needs of the economy, where growth has been sagging. Patel, who spent over five years at the RBI, including his role as the deputy governor, advised to stay on the course even in the face of difficulties. “Temptation to reset ‘back to the past’ should be eschewed,” Patel said, adding that “episodic concerns” on stability are possible if there is “foot dragging, or, worse, back-pedalling”. “Short-cuts/sweeping the problem under the carpet is unlikely to work; but will only delay unlocking of capital, and come in the way of financing future investment efficiently,” he warned. In the presentation a copy of speech was not available Patel also said, “After fiscal dominance over monetary policy, are we looking at fiscal dominance over banking regulation now.” Patel said an asset quality review for the non-banking finance companies is “inevitable” given their interconnectedness in the financial system. On the Supreme Court striking down the controversial February 12, 2018 NPA circular, which was also a major bone of contention between him and the government, Patel said only time will tell whether a system of “extend and pretend” will make a comeback. “Issues of ever-greening the NPA problem may emerge again. Banks may drag their feet on decision making, viz. delayed negotiations/taking haircuts for timely resolution could come back to haunt the sector,” he warned. It can be noted that four days after this presentation at Stanford, RBI did come out with a revised framework after being forced by the Supreme Court which struck down the February circular. Patel also went public with his disappointment with the execution under the Insolvency and the Bankruptcy Code, saying it has “thrown up a worrying number of exceptions” and signs of “gaming” are visible as many of the major cases are delayed beyond the 350-day resolution window. He also sounded peeved at no divestment by the government in joint ventures, special purpose vehicles and asset management companies despite the equity markets overall remaining quite buoyant. Patel said social sector requirements and an inability to access capital markets have resulted in the government’s stake in many lenders going up as more infusions came from the government despite fiscal constraints. He also sounded disappointed at the recent government forces bank consolidations, saying such mergers have “eroded” the value of the entity taking over weaker banks and termed IDBI Bank as a “highly problematic” entity, which was forced on LIC. Patel said the state-run lenders have high ratio of non-operating expenses to earnings compared to their private sector peers. “High cost structure of government banks is borne by the economy; may be impinging transmission of policy rate changes,” he warned.
New Delhi: Investors pulled out Rs 1.6 lakh crore on a net basis from mutual fund schemes in June against a net investment of Rs 76,989 crore in May mainly due to persisting weak confidence in debt-oriented plans, industry data showed Monday.Net outflows from debt-oriented schemes were more than Rs 1.71 lakh crore in June against inflows of Rs 70,119 crore in May, the data by Association of Mutual Fund of India (AMFI) showed. In recent months, the mutual fund industry has been grappling with redemption pressure in the wake of debt crises at various groups, including IL&FS, Essel and DHFL. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep”The debt segment saw the largest outflow of Rs 1,71,349 crore as compared to Rs 70,119 crore inflow witnessed in May’19, as investors’ confidence was dented after a series of defaults/delays by some popular names,” Bajaj Capital CEO Rahul Parikh said. The net outflows of mutual funds stood at Rs 1,59,814.40 crore in June. Debt-oriented schemes, which include overnight fund, liquid fund, low duration fund saw a significant outflows with liquid funds being the worst hit. Liquid funds alone witnessed an outflow of Rs 1.52 lakh crore. On the liquid fund outflows AMFI CEO N S Venkatesh said, “This is a usual quarter-end phenomena where the industry does witness temporary redemptions from liquid funds.”
Shanghai: Thirty-three people were killed and 16 others were missing after super typhoon Lekima made landfall in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, leaving a trail of destruction, local authorities said on Sunday. Lekima, the ninth typhoon and the strongest this year, hit Wenling city on Saturday afternoon, packing winds of 187 kilometers per hour and bringing heavy rainstorms. Most of the deaths occurred in Yongjia County, administered by Wenzhou City, where torrential downpours caused a landslide that blocked a river. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe barrier lake burst and flood waters swept people away. Local media reported 33 people were killed and 16 remained missing. According to the provincial flood control headquarters, nearly 1.08 million people have been evacuated to safe places, and close to 5 million people in Zhejiang were affected, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. In Zhejiang, the typhoon damaged more than 173,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 houses. The direct economic loss amounted to 14.57 billion yuan (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars), the headquarters said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsRescue operations are underway. On Saturday, heavy downpours flooded the 1,600-year-old town of Linhai, which is about an one-and-half hour drive north from where the typhoon hit. The town was completely inundated, and rescue workers had to navigate on inflatable boats and evacuate residents. Floodwater started to retreat on Sunday, rescuers said. Over 16 civilian rescue teams have volunteered to rescue stranded residents in Linhai, local authorities said. With the typhoon sweeping through Shanghai, about 253,000 people in the city had to be evacuated to safe places, Shanghai flood control authorities said. On Sunday, Lekima was moving northwards and will churn up the east coast of Shandong Province, officials said. It is expected to make a second landing along the coastline in Shandong late Sunday, bringing strong wind and heavy downpours, the National Meteorological Center warned. Around 3,200 flights have been cancelled due to the typhoon, state broadcaster CCTV has reported.
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel has set a new example in putting an end to the tradition of VIP culture.She has asked the state government to withdraw 50 security men posted at the Raj Bhawan.According to sources, the Governor said that these security personnel would do better to serve the people.Though there was no statement on this issue from Raj Bhawan, a government spokesman confirmed that the Governor had sought reduction in her security. Patel was sworn in as the 25th Governor of Uttar Pradesh on July 29.Additional chief secretary Home, Avanish Awasthi, meanwhile, said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also asked for a curtailment in his security.Adityanath has been given ‘Z’ plus security by the Centre but he wants excess security personnel withdrawn.
New Delhi: The latest FICCI Economic Outlook Survey has pegged first-quarter GDP growth at 6 per cent in 2019-20 while for the whole fiscal growth is seen at 6.9 per cent in 2019-20. The growth numbers for the first quarter are expected to be released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) next week. Ficci said boosting agriculture sector, strengthening MSMEs, undertaking factor market reforms are key to steering the economy out of the slowdown. Furthermore, the annual median GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 has been pegged at 6.9 per cent, with a minimum and maximum estimate of 6.7 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively. While the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities has been put at 2.2 per cent for 2019-20, the industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9 per cent and 8.0 per cent respectively during the current financial year. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The survey was conducted during the months of June-July 2019 amongst economists from the industry, banking and financial services sectors. With regard to inflation, the latest official numbers report moderate price levels. The outlook of participating economists on inflation also remains benign. The median forecast for Wholesale Price Index based inflation rate for 2019-20 has been put at 2.9 per cent, with a minimum and maximum estimate of 2.1 and 5.7 per cent respectively. The Consumer Price Index, on the other hand, has a median forecast of 3.7 per cent for 2019-20 – with a minimum and maximum estimate of 3.4 and 4.1 per cent, respectively. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost Concerns remain on external front with median current account deficit forecast pegged at 2.3 per cent of GDP for 2019-20. Merchandise exports are expected to grow by 3.6 per cent, while imports are expected to grow by 4.0 per cent during the year. Overall decline in global growth forecasts, escalating trade tensions, uncertainty around Brexit and foggy outlook on international crude oil prices have emerged as key concerns on the external front. Slower global growth will impact India’s growth prospects as well going forward. In fact, economists unanimously indicated that India’s potential growth rate would be in 7.0 7.5 per cent range, which is lower than the 8 per cent plus potential growth rate estimated until a few years back. However, a majority of participants felt that potential GDP growth would settle at the higher end of the range at 7.5 per cent. The participating economists were sceptical and divided about replicating the previous high growth performance of over 8 per cent and sustaining it at that level. Those who were optimistic believed that a turnaround would be challenging given the current global environment and could take at least three to four years. On the strategies to achieve India’s potential growth rate, the surveyed economists suggested four key areas that needed immediate attention: boosting agriculture sector; strengthening MSMEs; undertaking factor market reforms; and enhancing avenues for infrastructure financing. The recently released unemployment numbers by NSSO re-affirm the grim situation with regard to employment in the country. The participating economists were asked to indicate areas of improvement that would help create more jobs, particularly in manufacturing and services sectors. The participating economists identified four key areas of improvement that would help create more jobs: cost of doing business; regulatory reforms; labour reforms and announcement of sector specific special packages. The participating economists opined that it was necessary to ensure availability of capital and access to diversified long-term capital sources for carrying out productive investments in the economy. Economists felt that it was necessary for input and more importantly, borrowing costs to be lower to drive investments and employment in the country. Participants also indicated that it was important to carry out structural reforms in the factor markets and the same has been echoed by FICCI time and again. Further reforms in areas of land, labour and capital are needed urgently to enhance competitiveness of the Indian industry. Furthermore, greater efforts are required to develop the bond market, non-banking financial sector, and the stock exchanges. Economists also felt the need for establishing a long-term development finance institution on a priority basis. Sharing their outlook on the future course of the monetary policy, participating economists unanimously felt that the Reserve Bank of India will continue with its accommodative stance. Majority of them suggested further cut in the repo rate in the remaining part of fiscal 2019. Economists felt that the prevailing real interest rates were high. The participants also signalled that tardy deposit growth is haunting the banks as it is limiting their ability to lend and is preventing adequate transmission. Economists suggested that the liquidity situation needs to further improve for ensuring smooth transmission of the cuts in repo rate. Further, it has been observed that the saving rate in India has declined over the past few years, with the decline being sharper in the household segment. This is a major concern as household savings form a very important source of funds for investment in the economy. Intermediation of savings into financial assets has also been a challenge. Economists were asked to suggest ways in which financialization of household savings in India could be improved. Economists attributed the dip in net household savings to lower overall incomes in the hands of the consumer on back of slowdown in economic growth. They emphasized the need for enhancing GDP growth and ensuring a more equitable distribution of gains from growth to improve the savings rate. Economists also underscored the importance of improving penetration of financial products to improve financialization of savings. While commending the government for opening mass bank accounts under Pradhan Manti Jan Dhan Yojana, participants said they believed that innovative approaches such as focussing on promoting digital banking need to be undertaken more aggressively to bridge the gap in access and usage of bank accounts. Surveyed economists recommended that financial instruments offered by equity and bond markets should play a major role in diversifying the available saving options. Furthermore, from a regulatory standpoint; the government bond market, the corporate bond market and the equity market are treated separately in India and the same needs to be corrected.
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought prosecution sanction for three TMC MPs and one former MP of the party from Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla, in connection with the Narada sting operation case, sources in the know here said on Thursday.The central probe agency has sought sanction to prosecute Prasun Banerjee, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Saugata Roy – all sitting members of the 17th Lok Sabha – and former TMC MP Suvendu Adhikary. Interestingly, no prosecution sanction has been sought for Mukul Roy, who jumped ship to the ruling BJP, within four months of CBI registering its FIR. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’While the sanction to prosecute these four accused in the Narada case was sought almost nearly four months ago from the former Speaker of the Lower House, the probe agency has sent a reminder to Birla with regards to the sanction. All four of these senior Trinamool Congress members have been questioned by the CBI in the Narada case, which came up after video footage was released, purportedly showing several senior members of the ruling party in West Bengal demanding and accepting cash bribes. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe series of videos, dubbed the Narada tapes, was first released on Narada News, owned and operated by Matthew Samuel, who had visited senior party leaders pretending to be the owner of a fictitious company, asking for favours. The CBI’s preliminary probe in the case had established that Dastidar, Adhikary and Roy were all seen accepting Rs 5 lakh in cash from Samuel, who was the sting operator, covertly recording his meetings with the leaders. In the Narada tapes, the probe agency has also established that Banerjee was shown accepting Rs 4 lakh in cash. However, all four have consistently denied that the money they were shown accepting was bribe amount, insisting to the probe agency that Samuel had pretended to donate to their election campaign before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Meanwhile, the central probe agency has also summoned 11 people accused in the Narada case to appear before agency officials in Kolkata, so their voice samples can be collected, as mandated by the Supreme Court of India. This list of 11 includes ex-TMC MLA Sovan Chatterjee, TMC MP Aparupa Poddar, former TMC MP Sultan Ahmed and other politicians accused in the case, except senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, formerly of the Trinamool Congress. Even though the CBI has established that Mukul Roy had demanded money and indicated that an IPS officer, SMH Meerza would accept it on his behalf, the probe agency has not sought sanction to prosecute him as of yet. In fact, the tapes also show Meerza accepting cash amounts on behalf of Mukul Roy. The role of investigators in the case, is as a result, being perceived to be very controversial.
Karachi: Pakistan has recorded a 13 per cent jump in the new HIV infections, according to a UN report that recorded the fastest surge among the transgender people and sex workers, a media report said on Tuesday. The total number of HIV cases in Pakistan has increased to 160,000 this year, a significant increase from 67,000 in 2010, the Express Tribune reported, quoting a latest UN report on HIV cases in the country. The report indicates that there was a jump of 1,500 cases between 2015 and 2018 among those aged14, the report said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”Similarly, female HIV patients above the age of 15 rose to 37,000 in 2015 and 48,000 in 2018. HIV rates among injection drug users increased by 21 per cent during 2019, followed by 3.7 per cent among homosexuals and 3.8 per cent in sex workers,” the paper reported the UN report as saying. The UN report on the country’s HIV infections came amidst nearly 800 people tested positive for the infection in Sindh province’s Larkana district since April this year. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHealth officials had attributed the cause to the use of unsanitary equipment, unsafe blood transfusion and rampant malpractice often at the hands of quacks. “Globally, 37.9 million people are infected with HIV out of which 13.3 million have access to antiretroviral therapy, which is used to treat the infectious disease,” the report said. According to statistics gathered by the UN and the World Health Organization, since 1985, a total of 25 million people lost the battle against HIV globally. In recent years, government awareness campaigns around the world helped reduce the number of HIV cases transmitted through drug use. However, awareness campaigns were mostly missing from the radar in Pakistan, the paper reported. AGENCIES
Shillong: Meghalaya Tourism and Water Resources Minister Metbah Lyngdoh on Tuesday tendered his resignation to contest the election for the Assembly Speaker’s post. Lyngdoh, a senior United Democratic Party (UDP) leader and a three-time legislator, also filed his nomination papers for the election. He was accompanied by the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, ministers and MLAs during the filing of nominations. The Opposition candidate, Winnerson D. Sangma of the Congress, was also accompanied by a host of Congress legislators when he filed his nominations. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The election was necessitated following the demise of Assembly Speaker, Donkupar Roy on July 28. Roy, who was the President of the UDP, was elected to the post of Speaker on March 12, 2018. The election of new Speaker will be held on September 13, the last day of the Assembly’s autumn session. “With the support of colleagues in the MDA, there’s no doubt why I should not win the Speaker’s election,” Lyngdoh said. In the 60-member Assembly with an effective strength of 59, the National People’s Party, which leads the coalition government, has 21 members, the United Democratic Party has eight, People’s Democratic Front four, there are two members each from Bharatiya Janata Party and Hill State People’s Party, one member each from Nationalist Congress Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement besides one independent member. Going by the numbers,Lyngdoh is expected to comfortable defeat Sangma as the MDA government has a total of 40 MLAs. However, Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma voiced confidence that the opposition candidate may win the election. “Though the Congress has only 19 MLAs, but the Opposition has put up the candidate to win the election. Politics is like a game of chess,” he said.
Pune: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday expressed confidence that the BJP will come back to power in the state with an “unprecedented” mandate after the upcoming Assembly polls. Fadnavis said his ongoing ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’ has so far covered over 3,000 km and reached out to over 100 constituencies (out of the total 288) in the state. “Wherever we go, the yatra is being welcomed by people and getting a huge response. Looking at the people’s support, we are sure that we will get an unprecedented victory in the Assembly polls,” he told reporters here. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Fadnavis on Saturday visited some tehsils in Pune as part of the third leg of his mass outreach campaign. Taking a swipe at NCP workers’ protest in Baramati town here against his yatra, Fadnavis wondered if Article 370 (that earlier granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir but was recently abrogated) was imposed in Sharad Pawar’s bastion so as to not allow any other party to hold a rally there. His remarks came when reporters asked him about some NCP workers’ allegation that police used lathi-charge when they shouted slogans during Fadnavis’ mass outreach campaign in Baramati on Saturday. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The police earlier denied that lathi-charge was used. “My first question about the protest was how many people (NCP workers) were there…there were only seven people, and is there any need for police to resort to lathi- charge for seven people?” Fadnavis asked. When the police chased them, they ran away, he said. “I would like to ask them, will it be okay if our party workers create ruckus in public meetings held by Sharad Pawar…is it the way?” he said. He asked if there was a rule that nobody from other parties should hold a public rally in Baramati. “Is there an Article 370 imposed in Baramati or is Baramati separate from Maharashtra?” he quipped. Fadnavis said if the opposition parties come to BJP’s strongholds for public meetings, his party would help them. “What is the problem…ultimately we live in a democracy, and in a democratic system, everybody has the right to hold public meeting, but what kind of a way it is that the chief minister should not enter their (NCP) town and hold a meeting?” he asked. Asked about the alleged multi-crore irrigation in which NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s name has cropped up, he said the case was in the last phase as its final hearing was underway in the Bombay High Court. “Whatever proofs and reports we have, we are submitting them in the court in the form of affidavits…all the things before the high court are crystal clear,” he said. On some NCP leaders saying that Sharad Pawar had to face problems because of Udayanraje Bhosale, the party MP who joined the BJP on Saturday, Fadnavis said it now appears to be a case of “sour grapes”. “When Bhosale was in the party, the NCP projected him and sought votes. When their ‘Shiv Swarajya’ yatra (a pre-poll mass contact programme) was announced, the NCP wanted that he should lead it and an announcement was made about it,”he said. “Now (that) he has left, he has become bad…I think people of Maharashtra will give a reply to the NCP in the elections,” the chief minister said. Bhosale, a descendant of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, on Saturday quit his Lok Sabha membership from Satara to join the ruling BJP. Fadnavis expressed confidence that Bhosale will win the by-election from Satara with a huge margin. Talking about his agenda for next five years if his party comes back to power, Fadnavis said in the last five years, his government’s thrust was on watershed management. “In the next five years, our focus will be on making the state drought-free by diverting excess rainwater to scarcity-hit and rain-deficit districts,” he added.
MONTREAL – Thousands of French nationals who live in Quebec voted Saturday in their country’s presidential runoff between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.Nadia Camus, an election volunteer who was helping at the Montreal college where people cast their ballot, said the process was smoother than in the first round two weeks ago when long lineups prompted some people to walk away without voting.“The improvement is mainly down to having priority lineups,” Camus said. “The lineup for pregnant women and people with disabilities is much shorter than the last time.”The French consul general in Montreal said more than 57,000 people registered to vote in Quebec, with an overwhelming majority of them in Montreal.While the election in France takes place Sunday, those not in the country who are eligible to cast a ballot voted Saturday.Voting also took place elsewhere in Canada, including the French Embassy in Ottawa.The election pits Macron and his business-friendly, pro-European vision against Le Pen and her protectionist, closed-borders view that resonates with workers left behind by globalization.One Montreal voter, Victor Silvestrin-Racine, said Saturday it was important for people to exercise their democratic right in order to minimize Le Pen’s chances of victory.“The more that people abstain, the better the chances an extremist government gets in, so people must vote,” said Silvestrin-Racine, 26, who voted for Benoit Hamon in the first round.Another voter, who identified herself only as Catherine, said she was encouraged by the turnout.“In Montreal, I don’t think the abstention rate will be too high,” said the 55-year-old financial analyst, who was planning to vote for Macron.She said she twice tried to vote in the first round, but was unable to because of the long lineups.“Voting is very important for me, so I would have liked to have been able to do so the first time round,” she said, adding she would have cast a ballot for Francois Fillon.This time, she said she was supporting Macron — and not just because she wanted to help thwart Le Pen.“I really don’t want the extreme right to get in but at the same time I believe there might be elements in Macron’s program that are positive and could help France move forward,” she said.In the first round on April 23, Macron won 24 per cent support and Le Pen 21 per cent.A day earlier, nearly 23,000 French nationals voted in Montreal.
Five stories in the news for Friday, July 21———B.C. WILDFIRE STATE OF EMERGENCY HITS TWO-WEEK MARKToday marks two weeks since raging wildfires that have displaced thousands of people British Columbia forced the province to call a state of emergency. Premier John Horgan has said he would extend the order for an additional two weeks since many of the 43,000 people who had to flee their homes in the province’s Interior will not yet be able to return. More than 100 fires are still active.———OMAR KHADR QUARREL TESTS BIPARTISANSHIP ON NAFTAFederal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is unrepentant about complaining in the American media about the Omar Khadr payment. Members of the Trudeau government have accused him and other Conservatives of poisoning Americans against Canada on the brink of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks. But Scheer says any American backlash over the Khadr payment is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s fault.———SEARCH ON FOR 2 BURUNDI TEENS SEEN ENTERING CANADAU.S. authorities say two of six Burundi teenagers who went missing after an international robotics competition in Washington, D.C., have been seen crossing the border into Canada. Police say they have no indication of foul play in their disappearance. Canadian officials would not say if the two students reported to have been seen crossing the border — a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old — had made refugee claims.———AGRICULTURE MINISTERS WRAP UP TWO DAYS OF TALKSFederal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay wraps up talks with his provincial and territorial counterparts today in St. John’s, NL. One topic being discussed is the AgriStability program, which provides support for farmers experiencing crop failures or large losses. MacAuley says he’s heard from farmers who want assurances there won’t be a lapse in the program, adding he’s confident that won’t take place.———QUEBEC GAS VENDOR PREPARES FOR ELECTRIC CARSOne of the largest gas retailers in Canada is looking to Norway for guidance on how to adapt to growing electric car sales. Alimentation Couche-Tard, a Quebec-based convenience store company, established a foothold in the Scandinavian country five years ago with its purchase of Statoil ASA’s fuel and retail operations. It says it wants to ensure it will still appeal to customers if they no longer need to fill up on gas.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will appear at a Liberal Party reception in Halifax.— Statistics Canada will release the retail trade figures for May and the consumer price index for June.
OTTAWA – Federal NDP leadership hopefuls are debating each other in Victoria on Wednesday. Here’s a look at some key figures the contenders need to be mindful of:—$5.5 million: amount of debt carried by the party, according to 2016 financial figures.—$353,944: amount raised by leadership candidate and Ontario legislator Jagmeet Singh in the second quarter of 2017.—$123,574: amount raised by Ontario MP Charlie Angus in the second quarter.—$70,124: amount raised by Manitoba MP Niki Ashton in the second quarter.—$46,970: amount raised by Quebec MP Guy Caron in the second quarter.—45,000: number of rank-and-file party members at the end of 2016.—80,000: approximate number of members when the 2012 leadership race began.—120,000: number of party members at the end of 2012 leadership race that resulted in Tom Mulcair’s leadership.
TORONTO – Nearly half of drivers who are also marijuana users told a survey they drive better, drive about the same or don’t know if cannabis impacts their ability behind the wheel.The survey — a poll of 1,000 drivers commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association South Central Ontario and conducted by Ipsos — found that 16 per cent of respondents had used marijuana within the last three months.Attitudes about driving and marijuana use in that group, dubbed current users by the pollster, present a serious public education issue when it comes to drug-impaired driving, CAA director of government relations Teresa Di Felice said.“One of the challenges is that there is a perception by people who use marijuana that they drive the same or better when they’re under the influence marijuana,” she said. “That is a concern and puts safety at risk … There are cognitive impacts. There are concerns. Those two don’t mix.”According to the survey, eight per cent of current marijuana users believe they drive better after using marijuana than when they are sober. Another 29 per cent of current cannabis users believe their ability to drive is the same after using marijuana as when sober. Twelve per cent of respondents who are current users said they didn’t know if there was any difference between their ability to drive after using marijuana or sober.The remaining 52 per cent of current marijuana users believe they drive worse after using pot than when sober.Di Felice calls those results “startling” but says they line up with the view of nearly three quarters of survey respondents that a public education campaign is necessary and those efforts should target young drivers who are more likely to be regular users of pot, she said.Nearly 75 per cent of respondents either strongly support or somewhat support stricter penalties for drug-impaired drivers.“Things like fines and suspensions (are) ways of influencing people to recognize not to drive while under the influence of marijuana,” she said.The poll found that 77 per cent of respondents are concerned about road safety when marijuana is legalized on July 1, 2018.Di Felice said the survey shows the majority of respondents also believe there will be an increase in the frequency of marijuana-impaired driving.“I think there is just a general perception, and when you also take a look at the fact that almost 50 per cent of people surveyed have at least tried (marijuana) at least once, people recognize that there is an impact on your cognitive ability and therefore it would impact your ability to drive safely,” she said.Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has previously said proposed changes to Ontario’s road safety laws would align drug and alcohol impaired driving offences across the province.The new legislation would also increase penalties for drivers who fail or refuse to provide a sample for a roadside test.“I believe that the legislation is strong and decisive,” Del Duca said. “I will say, I have concerns. I have concerns about all forms of impairment and distraction on our roads and highways at all times.”Del Duca added that whether a person is using marijuana recreationally or medicinally, they should not get behind the wheel.“When a person is operating a vehicle they should be free of impairment at all times,” he said.
GUELPH, Ont. – A woman has found that returning to claim drugs she allegedly left behind in a hotel room may not have been the best decision.Police in Guelph, Ont., say staff at a west-end hotel found crystal meth and cocaine in a room after the occupants checked out on Saturday.Investigators say a woman returned saying she wanted to collect items that had been forgotten in the room and was arrested.A 33-year-old London, Ont., woman faces two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
HALIFAX – It reads like over-the-top historical fiction: Raids by American privateers, an invasion of the United States, tales of war booty and, incredibly, the loss of what could have been Canada’s 11th province.But that’s just the first chapter of how Halifax’s Dalhousie University was founded — 200 years ago Tuesday.“If you look at the history of the college, it’s a miracle that it survived its early years,” says Michael Moosberger, the university’s archivist.Dalhousie, now seen as one of the top universities on the East Coast, was born of a series of struggles, he said: “There was tension between the various Christian religions back then. These guys did not play nice with one another.”The story begins as the War of 1812 was winding down, when the Royal Navy in Halifax decided to put an end to harassment by American merchant vessels outfitted for war, otherwise known as privateers.Moosberger says the colonial secretary asked Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, to ensure the Americans didn’t disrupt the lines of communication between Halifax and Quebec.“Sherbrooke was authorized to occupy as much land in Maine as he could,” Moosberger says.In late 1814, a British invasion force was dispatched from Halifax. The redcoats were met with little opposition, as most residents of New England were opposed to the war.The occupation pushed the Canada-U.S. border about 160 kilometres to the south, effectively absorbing the huge chunk of American territory that now protrudes between southern Quebec and New Brunswick.Despite the obvious advantages of making northern Maine part of British North America, which included access to vast forests, the British government was preoccupied with rising tensions with France. And in February 1815, the Treaty of Ghent was ratified, ending hostilities between the United Kingdom and the United States.After occupying the sparsely populated Maine frontier for eight months, British forces left in April 1815, and the 50,000-square-kilometre territory was ceded to the Americans.What could have been Canada’s 11th province — the British called the Crown colony New Ireland — was gone.However, the British soldiers and sailors returned to Nova Scotia carrying a substantial booty — about 10,000 British pounds collected as customs duties at Castine, Maine, a strategic port near the mouth of the Penobscot River.The spoils of war would be used to establish Dalhousie College.The institution was named after the man who called for its creation, George Ramsay, Nova Scotia’s new lieutenant governor and the Earl of Dalhousie.Founded on Feb. 6, 1818, the university marked its bicentennial Tuesday with a special ceremony, including the reading of a lengthy poem by Nova Scotia playwright George Elliott Clarke, who recently ended a stint as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate.In the poem, Clarke says Dalhousie University “originates as a trophy — a profit — of War, as actual booty.”It was Ramsay’s idea to set up a non-denominational school open to all in Halifax and modeled after the University of Edinburgh, near his home in Scotland.But his plan didn’t sit well with the local clergy, and Ramsay soon left Halifax after he was appointed governor-in-chief of British North America.“Without his influence, the institution faltered,” the university said in a statement released earlier this week.“To have a secular college in competition with a Roman Catholic (St. Mary’s) college and an Anglican (King’s) college, they were not enthusiastic about that,” says Moosberger.As a result, the first instruction was not offered at Dalhousie College until 1838 and the first degrees were awarded in 1866 — almost 50 years after its founding.In 2006, the institution boasted about having more than 100,000 graduates.Today, the university has more than 18,000 students spread across three campuses in Halifax, and an agricultural campus near Truro.“From the outset, the little college aspired to the highest academic standards,” university president Richard Florizone said in a statement. “Two centuries later, Dalhousie University has grown from that ‘little college by the sea’ to become a national university, and the leading research university in Atlantic Canada.”—Follow @NovaMac on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said a special ceremony would take place Wednesday.