Patna: After drawing a blank in the Lok Sabha elections, former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party Sunday received yet another setback as all three of its members in the bicameral legislature joined Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).Confirming the development, Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and legislative council deputy chairman Haroon Rashid said letters to this effect have been forwarded by two RLSP MLAs– Lalan Paswan and Sudhanshu Shekhar– and MLC Sanjiv Singh Shyam on Friday. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC”The legislators had also appended letters of approval from the JD(U). They were asked to appear in person for completion of formalities. Henceforth, they shall be treated as JD(U) legislators,” Chaudhary and Rashid said. Notably, the RLSP legislators had earlier revolted against Kushwaha’s decision to snap ties with the NDA and join the Mahagathbandhan. They announced that they would remain with the ruling coalition and seek recognition from the Election Commission as the “real Rashtriya Lok Samata Party”. The stupendous victory of the NDA in the Lok Sabha polls, wherein it won all but one of the 40 seats in the state, appears to have made the dissident RLSP legislawtors realise that it was safer to join the chief minister’s party, which contested 17 seats and bagged 16, than seeking recognition as a separate group. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsKushwaha was with the JD(U) till 2013, when he resigned from the party and his Rajya Sabha membership following differences with Nitish Kumar. He went on to float his own party which aligned with the NDA and won all three seats it had contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, riding the Modi wave. In the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, the RLSP contested five seats in alliance with the RJD, the Congress and two other small outfits. The party, however, lost all five seats to its rivals, including Karakat and Ujiyarpur, from where Kushwaha himself had contested.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to pitch for strong and decisive action to deal with terrorism when he addresses a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Bishkek on June 14.Modi, who will be on a two-day visit to the Kyrgyz capital from June 13, will also hold a series of important bilateral meetings, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit, Secretary(West) in the External Affairs Ministry A Gitesh Sarma said. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCThis will be Modi’s first participation at a multilateral forum after coming back to power following huge mandate in the Lok Sabha polls last month. SCO, considered a powerful grouping, represents around 42 per cent of the world’s population and 20 per cent of the global GDP. Modi is expected to pitch for strong and decisive action to deal with terrorism, an official said. While briefing reporters on Modi’s visit to Bishkek, Sarma said India will flag concerns about terrorism but unlikely to talk about any specific country when asked whether the PM will raise Pakistan’s support to terror groups. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsHe is also expected to emphasise on the need for enhancing connectivity among the members of the grouping to boost overall growth. Asked whether Modi will have a meeting with and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the summit, ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said no such meeting has been arranged between the two leaders. The ministry officials also parried a question whether Pakistan has responded to India’s request to let Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace while travelling to Bishkek, and merely said that it was not proper for them to discuss the Prime Minister’s flight details. Sarma said dealing with the growing challenge of terrorism, enhancing security and defence cooperation among SCO countries and boosting connectivity in the region are expected to be key focus areas of the summit. He said India is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence. It will also take part in a military exercise of the bloc which will include other member-states, including Pakistan. The official said there may be discussions on situation in Afghanistan at the summit. “The leaders participating in the summit are expected to focus their discussions on the global security situation, multilateral economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and also on topical issues of international and regional importance,” Sarma said.
Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders of the BRICS grouping during the G20 Summit in Japan this week where the talks would be focussed on opposing the “unilateralist” and “protectionist” trade policies of the US, a senior Chinese minister said on Monday. China, which is seeking to build a strong opposition against President Donald Trump using trade and tariffs as a weapon to enforce his “America first” policy, said the issues of “unilateral” and protectionist” policies would be discussed in detail at the meetings of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and Russia, India and China (RIC) at Osaka. The G20 summit would be held at Osaka on June 28-29. Chinese President Xi Jinping will go there a day ahead of the Summit to take part in host of informal meetings including his meeting with Trump for key talks to end the bruising trade war between the top two economies of the world. Modi, Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the recently held Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Kirgiz capital Bishkek. Highlighting the importance of Modi-Xi-Putin meeting at Osaka, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun said, Given the current international landscape, the meeting among the three leaders is also of significance. As you know, China’s relations with Russia and India are showing sound momentum of growth.” While informal meetings of the BRICS and the RIC take place in all the multilateral summits, Chinese officials say the Osaka meeting assumes significance as all major countries besides India, China and Russia are facing trade and tariff-related frictions with the US. As China is battling a trade war with US, Chinese officials hope that India, which is also facing trade frictions with the US especially over termination of its designation as a “beneficiary developing country” under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), would join the fight against Trump’s “protectionist” policies. India has recently announced retaliatory trade tariffs against the US covering 28 US products, including almonds and apples. In the upcoming Osaka summit President Xi will have an informal summit with the BRICS leaders. The discussion topics will fit in well with the agenda of the G20 Summit,” Zhang told media here. The leaders will have good discussions and exchange of views to enhance cooperation to better meet the major challenges facing the international community, uphold the multilateralism and oppose protectionism, he said. The other topics of discussion at the BRICS leaders’ informal meeting will include cooperation on economy, political issues, security and people to people exchanges among group to further deepen cooperation and uphold the good momentum of BRICS cooperation, he said. They will also discuss plans for the successful holding this year’s BRICS Summit in Brazil, he said. “I believe the upcoming informal meeting of the BRICS leaders will contribute to the successful holding of the G20 Osaka summit and help provide new impetuous to global economy,” he said. This informal meeting also help deepen enduring cooperation among BRICS members,” he said. About the RIC meeting, Zhang said the three leaders also maintained close exchanges meeting at different multilateral forums. Under the current circumstances, it is important for the three countries to strengthen coordination on major global issues and jointly uphold multilateralism, oppose protectionism and deepen cooperation on multilateral and international affairs to make important contribution to the global peace,” he said. “At the same time, it can provide impetus for the three countries to enhance cooperation at bilateral level and enhance mutual trust We are confident that the meeting will produce positive results,” he said. Trump, who kicked off the trade war last year, is demanding China to reduce the massive trade deficit which climbed to over USD 539 billion last year. He is also insisting on China to workout verifiable measures for protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets. Both the countries have imposed additional tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their exports to each other.
New Delhi: The Congress targeted the government on Monday over the rising number of wilful defaulters in the country and said the regime change had not prevented the ruling BJP from “mishandling” the economy.Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the tremors of “mishandling” the economy in the last five years under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had mastered the art of “disruptive economy policy measures”, still continued to be felt as the number of wilful defaulters had gone up to 8,582 in 2018-19. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana”Even though BJP has got a renewed mandate, India’s economic woes under its regime continue to simmer. The tremors of the massive mishandling of the economy in the past five years under a government, which has mastered the art of disruptive economic policy measures, are still being felt,” he said in a statement. The Congress leader said as the country was staring at a below-average monsoon and reeling under a severe water crisis, private investment in India was also taking a huge hit, thereby deepening the economic woes of our people. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah”Wilful defaulters galore in ‘suit boot ki sarkar’. The list of wilful defaulters has gone to 8,582 in 2018-19,” he said. Citing the figures of a credit information company, Surjewala claimed that the amount involved in wilful defaults had soared by Rs 1,21,700 crore from Rs 39,504 crore in March 2014, adding that India’s largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India, alone accounted for Rs 39,471 crore of wilful defaults as of December 2018. “This alone is a surge of a whopping 308 pc,” he said. “Rollover risks for outstanding borrowings are rising as these companies could only raise less than one-seventh of the debts they incurred the previous year. Founders of most of these companies are selling businesses to tide over the crunch,” he said. “Not only is Rs 1 trillion (USD 14.4 Billion) of 11 firms wiped out, cracks of the credit crunch spread far and wide. A major challenge is refinance of outstanding bonds of Rs 2.03 trillion,” he said. On the resignation of RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya six months before his term was to end, Surjewala said he had added his name to the long list of experts who attempted to show the “mirror of truth” to the BJP regime. The Congress leader pointed out that four economic advisors, two RBI governors and a NITI Aayog vice-chairman had resigned earlier and said this only proved that under the BJP regime, “there is a culture of disrespecting expertise, as also talent. BJP Government only needs ‘Yes men’ and ‘puppets’ and not ‘expert wizards'”.
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday said the NBFC crisis seems to have bottomed out and the government along with the RBI will closely monitor the situation to ensure that the sector comes out of the wood. Sitharaman in her Budget on Friday announced a series of steps to give relief to non-banking financial companies facing cash crunch following the collapse of IL&FS last year. “Largely it (NBFC crisis) has reached a peak in terms of challenges that they are facing. The problem probably is not over yet but it can only plateau rather than worsen … the deteriorating situation is reached its bottom … now it has bottomed out,” she said. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepObserving that the comprehensive solutions in the Budget have been announced, the Finance Minister said, “We shall be closely monitoring with RBI to see how it’s moving. So strictly speaking, I feel the NBFC issue has been addressed.” In a bid to address the stress in the sector, the government proposed that public sector banks would purchase high-rated pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs, amounting to a total of Rs 1 lakh crore during the current financial year. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsFor this, the government will provide one time six months’ partial credit guarantee to PSBs for first loss of up to 10 per cent. Among others, Sitharaman had said the government will allow NBFCs to raise funds in public issues, and the requirement of creating a debenture redemption reserve (DRR), which is currently applicable for only public issues as private placements are exempt, will be done away with. As of now, NBFCs that do public placement of debt have to maintain a DRR and in addition, a special reserve as required by the RBI has also to be maintained. In a bid to improve regulatory oversight, the government also proposed to bring housing finance companies under the RBI from the fold of National Housing Bank. Sitharaman further said that these steps are aimed at improving the condition of the NBFC sector as a whole. “If anything, it can only now improve or it can be going on plateau for some time and then probably improve…I cannot say it has come to a closure. I cannot say it has ended. I cannot say the problem is over…We will still be careful about watching it,” she said. With regard to the reaction of the market on raising minimum public float to 35 per cent from existing 25 per cent, the finance minister said, “I am yet to hear response Parliament debating about it.” On the issue of bringing down government stake to below 51 per cent in PSUs, Sitharaman said the move will help increase retail participation and deepen the market. It will be designed in such a fashion that government directly or indirectly through its state-owned entities will hold 51 per cent stake and the public characteristic is maintained, she said. The government has decided to modify the present policy of retaining 51 per cent, she said, adding that the government’s 51 per cent shareholding would include stakes held by state-owned institutions. Giving example, she said, if the government stake in A company is 51 per cent and another state-owned entity has 10 per cent stake in that, there is headroom to dilute 10 per cent stake but still retaining 51 per cent stake. “So we are saying to that extent 10 (total 51 per cent government and government-run institutions together) the extra that is there can be released for employees, retail who want to possess by which the government control is not being diluted below 51 per cent,” she added.
Rabindrasangeet exponent Goutam Mitra is a household name in Bengal.Born in a musical family, Goutam’s father Siddeshar Mitra was a student of Rabindranath Tagore. Goutam got his initial training in music from his father. Later he was trained by Sushil Basu, a student of Ustad bade Golam Ali Khan, Pandit Sachindas Matilal among others. He received training in Rabindrasangeet by exponents like Santosh Sengupta, Suchitra Mitra, Sailajaranjan Mazumdar, Chinmoy Chattopadhyay, Debabrata Biswas. He learnt popular Bengali songs from Shyamal Mitra. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainMitra has been singing in All India Radio from 1968. He has sung songs in several Bengali feature films Sargam, lalpahari, Rabibar, Mahamilan among others, besides several dance dramas composed by Tagore. He was recently awarded Sangeet Samman by the state government. Mitra resigned from his job in a Central Government undertaking in a bid to concentrate more on Tagore songs. He is an ideal teacher and his unique rendition has made him very special in the arena of Rabindrasangeet. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardTo celebrate his musical career spanning five decades, Bhabna has organised a programme at Rabindra Sadan on July 15, 6.30pm. Eminent Rabindrasangeet exponents including Agniva Bandyopadhyay, Arindam Ganguly, Sraboni Sen, Sreya Guthakurata, Kheyali Ghosh Dastidar, Satinath Mukhopadhyay will pay their tribute to Mitra through Tagore songs, poems and dance drama. A CD Tahare Bola Jae containing Tagore songs will be released by Bhavna Cassettes and Records at the function.
NEW DELHI: Three rebel MLAs who withdrew support to the Karnataka government and switched sides, have been disqualified by Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. “R Shankar of Ranebennur has incurred disqualification,” the Speaker announced at a press conference Thursday evening amid suspense over the fate of the 15 rebel lawmakers of the coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal-Secular.All 15 resigned earlier this month, bringing down the coalition government, which lost the test of strength in the assembly on Monday. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsIf the Speaker does not accept the resignations, the MLAs would remain members of the assembly and the strength of the house will remain 225, including one nominated member. In such a situation, the majority mark remains at 113. The disqualification of the one Independent MLA does not affect the numbers. The BJP, which currently has 105 members, is not in favour of forming a minority government, party spokesman G Madhusudan had indicated. In such a situation, placing the state under President’s Rule is one of the alternatives for the Governor, he hinted. See P5
Mumbai: Rohan Sippy the director of the Indian remake of popular American sitcom “The Office” says he is fine with the reception the Hotstar Special has got as it only means that the show has succeeded in starting conversations. An official adaptation of the international series of the same name, the show has been directed by Sippy and Debbie Rao. The Indian version, set in Faridabad, chronicles the nine-to-five lives of the employees at Wilkins Chawla as they navigate their mundane routine that invariably gives rise to comical situations. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The 13-episode sitcom, which premiered on the streaming platform last month, has been mostly panned by the critics and the fans but Sippy has a different opinion on this. “A small number – the more anglicised crowd – is critical of the show, but many more people seem to be really enjoying it. I’m sure a lot of them haven’t seen the original, just like most Americans would not have seen the UK version. Overall, I’m very happy with both kind of reactions, as it means that people are engaging with the content,” Sippy told PTI. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna The director said he is happy that the Indian show has been able to capture the feel and the mood of the original. “I am happy that they stuck closely to the screenplay of the original, as it is an extremely well-written show. The reason it (American show) is such a lasting success is that it contains so many universally recognisable elements, like the romance between Jim and Pam (played by actors John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer). So adapting them was reasonably organic. “Having said that, I think there have been nice touches, the way Dwight (actor Rainn Wilson’s character) has been Indianised as TP Mishra (portrayed by actor Gopal Datt). One of my favourite characters is actually original — the peon Bhadoria. I hope his character increases as the seasons proceed.” Sippy, however, admitted that remaking the show was a risk, which he believes, was worth taking. “In all parts of life, the risk goes along with the reward. Though in this case, I think it has been a pretty safe bet as there are hundreds of episodes to draw on to keep this show going,” he added. The show is backed by Applause Entertainment.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday released the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 and said the country has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers in the world.The tiger population in the country has grown from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2019, according to the report. “With around 3,000 tigers, India has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for them in the world,” Modi said as he lauded all the stakeholders involved in the country’s tiger conservation exercise. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”Nine long years ago, it was decided in St. Petersburg (Russia) that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years in advance. This is the finest example of Sankalp Se Siddhi (Attainment through Resolve),” he said. He invoked two Bollywood movie titles to emphasise the need to expand and strengthen tiger conservation efforts. The story of protecting tigers that started with “Ek Tha Tiger” (there was once a tiger) and reached “Tiger Zinda Hai” (the tiger is alive) should not end there, he said, efforts towards conservation should be expanded and sped up. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayThe PM said that the development versus environment conservation debate will continue with both sides suggesting as if these are mutually exclusive, but it was possible to strike a healthy balance between the two. He said that while in the last five years, the focus was on to build the next-generation infrastructure in the country, there has also been an increase in the forest cover and number of protected areas. “In 2014, the number of protected areas was 692, the number rose to more than 860 in 2019. Similarly, the number of community reserves were 43 in 2014 and rose to more than 100 in 2019,” he said. He said India will build more homes for its citizens and also create quality habitats for animals at the same time. “I just want to tell the people associated with this work that the story which started with Ek Tha Tiger and reached Tiger Zinda Hai should not stop there. This will not work. The work towards tiger conservation has to be expanded and sped up,” he said.
United Nations: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appealed to India and Pakistan to “exercise maximum restraint” to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, amidst sudden spike in tensions between the two neighbours.”The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observed and reported an increase in military activity at the Line of Control in recent days. The UN appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate,” a statement issued by Dujarric said. The UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary between the two neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations. UNMOGIP was established in January 1949. India, however, maintains that UNMOGIP has “outlived its relevance” after the Simla Agreement signed between the two countries in 1972. PTI
New Delhi: US President Donald Trump Tuesday said he would discuss the Kashmir issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the sidelines of the G7 Summit this weekend in France. Calling it an “explosive situation”, Trump said he would “do the best (he) can to mediate” between India and Pakistan.”I will be with Prime Minister Modi… I’ll be with him over the weekend in France. I think, we are helping (resolve the tense) situation (between India and Pakistan),” Trump was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. “I will do the best I can to mediate or do something. (I have) great relationship with both of them, but they (India and Pakistan) are not exactly friends at this moment,” Trump added. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Responding to a question on Kashmir, Trump called it a “complicated place” and added that the situation in the Valley has “a lot to do with religion”. “It’s a complicated situation. A lot has to do with religion. Religion is a complicated subject,” Trump said, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office of the White House. “You have the Hindus. And you have the Muslims. I wouldn’t say they get along so great. That’s what you have right now.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayThe development comes a day after Trump spoke separately to PM Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan in a bid to ease Indo-Pak tensions which have escalated since the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. In a tweet Tuesday, Trump said, “Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnerships and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir. A tough situation, but good conversations!” “Frankly, it’s a very explosive situation. I spoke to Prime Minister Khan yesterday also with Prime Minister Modi. They’re both friends of mine. They’re great people. They’re great people, and they love their country,” Trump said. Sources told The Indian Express that it was Trump who “initiated” the phone call on Monday and they described the conversation as a “good exchange” between the two leaders.India has maintained that it is an internal matter, in a telephonic conversation with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper appreciated India’s stance on the matter. A statement released by the ministry said: “Singh raised the issue of cross-border terrorism affecting India and appreciated US support for India’s effort to maintain peace and stability in the region. He said that issues relating to Article 370 are an internal matter of India which are aimed at improving growth and economic development, democracy and prosperity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.” Esper told his Indian counterpart that he hoped that any issue between India and Pakistan will be resolved bilaterally, the statement added.(With inputs from Indian Express)
North Sound (Antigua): Jasprit Bumrah wreaked havoc with a five-wicket haul, complementing Ajinkya Rahane’s long-awaited 10th Test hundred, as India decimated West Indies by 318 runs inside four days to start their World Test Championship campaign in earnest. India’s pace spearhead finished with incredible figures of 8-4-7-5 while Ishant Sharma maintained his fine form with a 3 for 31 haul. The West Indies were bowled out for 100 in 26.5 overs chasing an improbable target of 419 on Sunday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThis was after Indian vice-captain Rahane (102) got his first Test hundred in two years and added 125 runs for the fifth wicket with the young Hanuma Vihari (93) as India declared their second innings at 343 for 7. The win took India to the top of the World Test Championship table with 60 points. Sri Lanka are currently second although they have equal number of points. Australia and England are currently third and fourth respectively with 32 points each. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe win was 27th as captain for Virat Kohli, who now jointly tops the list with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He has also gone past Sourav Ganguly (11) for most away wins as India captain. It was a Bumrah show in perfect weather conditions as he sent the wickets cart-wheeling thrice during a sensational eight-over spell in which he conceded just seven runs. Playing his 11th Test, he also became the fastest Indian pace bowler to take 50 wickets. Bumrah swung the ball both ways to torment the home batsmen while Ishant and Mohammed Shami (2/13) too contributed in India’s resounding victory which gave them a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Kemar Roach (38), Miguel Cummins (19 not out) and Roston Chase (12) were the only batsmen who managed double-digit mark. Roach added 50 runs for the last wicket with Cummins but it just delayed the inevitable. No top-order batsman could resist the furious spell from Bumrah, who first dismissed openers Kraigge Brathwaite (1) and John Campbell (7) and later saw the back of Darren Barvo (2), Shai Hope (2) and Jason Holder to complete his five-wicket haul. It is India’s fourth-biggest Test win but biggest in away Tests as winning by 336 runs against South Africa in Delhi in 2015-16 remains their best ever. After resuming the day at 185 for three, Rahane scored a patient 102-run knock but young batsman Hanuma Vihari (93) missed out on his maiden Test ton by just seven runs. India declared their second innings at 343 for seven, the moment Vihari was dismissed. They raised a 135-run partnership for the fifth wicket after India lost skipper Virat Kohli (51) early during the fourth day’s play. Kohli’s scalp did not help West Indies much as Rahane and Vihari gradually took the game away from the hosts with their confident yet contrasting batting. It was Rahane’s first Test hundred since his 132 against Sri Lanka in August 2017 while Vihari threw away a golden opportunity to get his maiden hundred in only his fifth match. Rahane’s patient knock came off 242 balls with just five shots to the fence but Vihari paced his innings nicely. The Hyderabad batsman hit 10 fours and a six in his 128-ball knock with an impressive strike rate of 72.65. However, in an attempt to get some quick runs, he pulled Holder but could not connect the ball and the under-edge was easily taken by Hope. Before that Rahane too fell while trying to score quickly, getting caught by Holder off Shannon Gabriel. Off-spinner Chase (4/132) was the most successful bowler for the hosts as he got rid of Rishabh Pant (7) after dismissing Kohli (51). India lost Kohli in the opening session of the fourth day when his leading edge off Chase flew to John Campbell, who took the catch on second attempt. That ended the fourth-wicket partnership between Kohli and Rahane that yielded 106 runs for India. The other overnight batsman Rahane was joined by Vihari, who easily worked the ball around in gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking. As soon as the new ball was available, pacers Roach and Gabriel operated in tandem but before that West Indies part-timers had bowled 41 overs in this innings alone. While Roach and Gabriel bowled a few testing deliveries, it largely remained an untroubled stay for both Rahane and Vihari.
New Delhi: The coal mafia was behind the brutal attack on SAIL Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary on August 7. A deep rooted conspiracy was hatched by a Delhi-based coal industrialist who hired assailants to eliminate Chaudhary, who had rejected a contract worth over Rs 100 crore. Six persons, including A.K. Singh, owner of a coal firm, has been arrested by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police in connection with the case. The coal industrialist had paid Rs 6 lakh to hire criminals to allegedly kill Chaudhary. Chaudhary was attacked by four assailants on August 7 in South Extension near his office in the posh HUDCO place in South Delhi. The assailants had trailed the SAIL Chairman’s car from his office and after overtaking his vehicle at a secluded spot, they hit him with blunt objects, leaving him severely injured. Chaudhary later said that the assailants had a clear cut intention to kill him.
OTTAWA – The federal government is planning to build temporary housing for up to 520 people at a Quebec border crossing that has seen an influx of asylum seekers.The move comes as tens of thousands of Hondurans lost temporary protected immigration status in the United States. There are concerns some of them they may look northward for refuge.Public Works and the Canada Border Services Agency say in a notice that the housing units are for Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle — the municipality where the majority of RCMP interceptions of irregular migrants in Quebec take place.The Opposition says the Liberal government is effectively setting up a refugee camp at the Canada-U.S. border.“I’m not sure any Canadian would think that this is an acceptable response,” Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel said Friday.Rempel said there is a frustrating lack of information from the government about the makeup and needs of asylum seekers:“How can I say how much money they should be needing when we don’t even know what their needs are? And that is the result of having no plan for immigration. It’s bananas.”In a statement, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called Rempel’s reference a refugee camp “misleading”, adding that “most irregular crossers do not spend long in custody before being released.”The housing notice currently calls for “heated, ventilated and illuminated canvas shelters” for three-season use that must include areas for sleeping, security, reception and warehousing.The government is also looking for other units to serve as quarantine space, toilets and showers as well as systems for drinking water and drainage.It is not known how many tents are needed at this time, but the border agency says that combined with winterized trailers, the shelters can support up to 700 asylum seekers.Goodale said the short-term accommodations would be installed to ease pressures on Quebec’s resources while making sure Canada follows its international obligations. The majority of irregular crossings currently take place in the province.“These tents are part of the government of Canada’s contingency planning,” Goodale said. “While they cannot predict what volumes will come next, we are prepared to manage an increase in asylum seekers in an orderly way.”On Friday, the Trump administration ended a program granting temporary protected status for Hondurans in the U.S. A similar revocation of status for Haitians and El Salvadorans is blamed for triggering last year’s influx of border crossers. The decision gives more than 57,000 Hondurans with temporary protected status a year and a half to leave the U.S. or obtain legal residency in other ways.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday the government would use the intervening time to target American communities, including Miami and southern California, with an ongoing message that Canada may be compassionate and welcoming, but it still has a rules-based immigration system.“Just because you come to Canada irregularly does not give you a free pass to this country,” he said.As Trump has taken aim at the protected status of various communities in the U.S., he and his supporters have said the protections were never meant to be permanent.However many of the migrants have put down roots in the U.S. That includes giving birth to children who have no knowledge of their parents’ homeland.“We work hard and do not have criminal records. I own a home and business with my family and every year I pay my taxes,” Orlando Lopez, a Honduran living in Miami, said in a statement.Last August, dozens of tents were set up at the Lacolle crossing, but many were dismantled when numbers of border crossers slowed. Those tents were provided by the Department of National Defence, rather than the private sector supplier the border agency is now seeking out.Goodale says the structures that remain are not enough to meet the demand.“There is currently limited bed capacity on-site, which is hard for children if they need to remain more than a day.”The minister also noted that while the crossing typically processes asylum claimants within a day, a large influx could spell longer processing times. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada equipped the official port of entry with a mobile processing unit last fall to help speed up intake.About 2,500 asylum seekers crossed into Canada from the U.S. in April, Mike MacDonald, a senior Immigration Department official, told the House of Commons immigration committee on Thursday.
VANCOUVER – Crews battled a stubborn fire Wednesday that was burning under a century-old railway trestle bridge near Hope, B.C.Jeanne Larsen of the B.C. Wildfire Service said the fire began Sunday and had charred less than a hectare of bush near the Ladner Creek trestle, a metal span that was part of the decommissioned Kettle Valley Railway.She said the thickly timbered, steep walls of the creek canyon was preventing a three-person crew from easily battling the flames.The wildfire service lists the fire as suspected to be human caused on its website.Although the trestle is still standing, a witness who could not be reached for comment said in a Facebook post on Sunday that the crumbling wooden ties on the old bridge deck had burned.Larsen could not confirm that the ties were destroyed, but she says embers from them continued to spark fires that were difficult to reach in areas around the bridge.“Just little pieces of falling, burning debris are landing on the ground and igniting little spot fires and that’s what they’re dealing with,” she said.Cooler weather has eased wildfire conditions across B.C. The wildfire service says progress had been made on several major fires including the Allie Lake fire northwest of Kamloops.Cache Creek has prohibited all campfires because of the fire risk, although propane or briquette fires are allowed. The entire village was evacuated for 11 days last summer because of wildfires that prompted the province to call a state of emergency.The fires charred nearly 2,000 square kilometres of timber and destroyed 211 homes or properties before they were declared to be out in early October.
VANCOUVER – An NDP minority government in British Columbia would be hard pressed to make good on all the plans it has laid out in an agreement with the Green party, experts say.Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said because NDP Leader John Horgan has the slimmest of minority governments, he might have to scale down some of his ideas.“Horgan is in a very tenuous minority situation,” Bratt said. “I’d be surprised if it lasts more than 18 months.”On Wednesday, Horgan and Green Leader Andrew Weaver delivered signed copies of their four-year agreement to the residence of Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon. The two leaders say the deal strongly signals to the Queen’s representative their commitment to a minority government.Premier Christy Clark has said she will recall the legislature in June and expects her Liberal government to be defeated in a confidence vote.Clark’s Liberals won 43 seats in the May 9 election, one short of a majority. The formal agreement between the NDP and Greens gives them 44 seats, enough for the New Democrats to form a minority government with the backing of the three Greens in the legislature.Horgan and Weaver said the agreement lays out a signed, good faith working arrangement for Guichon to consider in deliberations that could result in her asking the NDP to form a new government if the Liberals are defeated.The plan consists of dozen of commitments including holding a referendum next year on a system of representation by population that would be used to determine the outcome of the next provincial election, if it is approved by voters.Corporate and union donations would be banned, and limits placed on individual contributions to political parties.Beyond political and electoral changes, the NDP with the Green party’s support wants to increase the $30 per tonne carbon tax by $5 a tonne per year, beginning April 1.And they have agreed to create a commission that would guide the government in boosting the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.There are also promises to create more affordable housing, reshape the provincial economy to reflect the development of the technology sector and bring in an essential drugs program to reduce the costs of prescription medication.Norman Ruff, a longtime observer of B.C. politics, described the NDP-Green plan as ambitious and evidence of their political will to join in ousting the Liberals from office.That same political will is going to be necessary to maintain consensus over the four years of the agreement, said Ruff, a professor emeritus at the University of Victoria.He said he was struck by the gains made by the Green party.“The Greens have clearly been able to make more than just token, marginal commitments toward their priorities,” Ruff said.Both parties made concessions to get the deal signed, but the document has a “distinctive Green tinge,” he added.Adam Olsen, a Green member who was elected in Saanich North and the Islands, said his party made compromises in its negotiations with the NDP but the agreement addresses democratic-reform issues critical to the party’s agenda.The Green platform promised to overhaul B.C.’s electoral system without a referendum, but Wednesday’s deal will put the matter to voters in a November 2018 referendum timed to coincide with municipal elections.“So, is a referendum the best-case scenario?” Olsen asked. “It’s not the position I had during the election but it’s where we arrived during the negotiations and I’m comfortable with it.”Lori Williams, a public policy professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, predicted many compromises would be needed for the government to survive, given the political instability of minority governments.“Their biggest challenge is going to be just retaining the support of the legislature. That’s going to be their biggest thing,” Williams said.“Whatever has been said about promises for support for four years, that’s a difficult promise to maintain when you’ve got such a close division in the (legislature.) I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this, certainly not in Canadian history.”— With files from Dirk Meissner in Victoria
Word that the federal government has agreed to pay former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr more than $10 million and apologize to him to settle a long-running lawsuit sparked a furious and at times virulent reaction on Tuesday among those who see him as a terrorist killer and those who believe he deserves compensation.The settlement, confirmed by sources familiar with the deal, exposed the deep chasm that has divided Canadians over Khadr almost since 2002 when he was dragged horrifically wounded as a 15-year-old from the battlefield in Afghanistan.“When a Canadian soldier is injured in battle, the government provides a disability award up to a maximum of $360,000,” Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said in a tweet. “Despite this, the current government is willing to provide $10 million to a convicted terrorist.”The Canadian Taxpayers Federation started an online petition aimed at Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in Ireland, deploring the deal one source said was signed last week.“This is offensive to many Canadians,” the petition states. “Canadians should not be forced to pay millions of dollars to a killer.”Social media exploded with denunciation of the agreement, which sources said would see the government pay Khadr $10.5 million — part of which would go to his lawyers — and the justice and public safety ministers formally apologize to him.Posters used words such as “disgraceful,” some called for the Canadian citizen to be kicked out of the country, while others argued the money should go to the family of Chris Speer, the U.S. special forces soldier Khadr is alleged to have killed in 2002.“Most Canadians’ thoughts would be with Christopher Speer’s widow and family, who are reliving their terrible ordeal once again because of the actions of the Canadian government this time,” said Tony Clement, another Conservative MP.The Toronto-born Khadr, 30, pleaded guilty to five war crimes before a much maligned military commission in 2010. He has claimed — with some evidence — his American captors tortured him.Khadr’s $20-million lawsuit — initially launched in 2004 — alleges the federal government breached his rights by, among other things, colluding with the Americans in his mistreatment.Those who see him as a terribly abused “child soldier” called the apparent settlement long overdue.“For 15 years, Omar Khadr’s case has been a stark reminder of the many ways that an overreaching and unchecked approach to national security readily runs roughshod over universally protected human rights,” Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty in Canada, said in a statement. “In Afghanistan, at Guantanamo Bay and in Canadian prisons, Omar Khadr’s rights were consistently violated and ignored.”His supporters accused the Canadian government — particularly the previous Conservative government under then prime minister Stephen Harper — for failing to protect him.“Good news re: Omar Khadr, who was a child caught up in war and abandoned by Canadian government at Gitmo torture-detention centre,” one tweet read.Khadr’s lawyers and a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale refused to comment publicly on the agreement citing confidentiality. Trudeau, however, alluded to a pending deal.“We are anticipating, like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion,” the prime minister said in Dublin, Ireland.One source with knowledge of the agreement insisted the settlement money should not be seen as a windfall, noting Khadr is blind in one eye from injuries sustained when he was captured while his other eye remains damaged.Related stories:A chronological look at Canadian-born Omar Khadr’s legal sagaOmar Khadr’s criminal record in Canada shows ‘absolute ignorance’: lawyerWidow, ex-soldier move for final judgment on $134M suit against Omar KhadrAmerican troops captured the badly wounded Khadr after a fierce firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan in July 2002. Khadr was accused of throwing a grenade that killed Speer. Although the evidence was flimsy and lacked eye-witnesses, he pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges that included Speer’s murder and was sentenced to a further eight years in custody. He later said he confessed to get out of Guantanamo Bay.The youngest and last Western detainee held at the infamous American prison in Cuba was finally returned to Canada in 2012 and sent to a maximum-security prison. He won bail in Edmonton in May 2015 pending an appeal in the U.S. of his military commission conviction. The appeal remains stalled.On his release, Khadr apologized to the families of the victims — as he had done at his plea hearing. He said he rejected violent jihad and wanted a fresh start. Lately, he has said he wanted to work as a nurse.Speer’s widow Tabitha Speer and retired American sergeant Layne Morris, who was blinded by a grenade at the Afghan compound, won a default US$134.2 million in damages against Khadr in Utah in 2015. Canadian experts called it unlikely the judgment could be enforced.Neither Speer nor Morris returned calls seeking comment, but Morris’s wife had only one word when told of the deal: “Wow.”In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadian intelligence officials had obtained evidence from Khadr under “oppressive circumstances,” such as sleep deprivation, during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, and shared the evidence with U.S agents and prosecutors.The Conservatives, however, steadfastly branded him an unrepentant terrorist.Khadr’s father, who took his family to Afghanistan, was a known associate of the late terrorist mastermind, Osama bin Laden. Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien once interceded with Pakistani authorities to free the elder Khadr, who was killed in October 2003 in a shootout with Pakistani security forces near the Afghanistan border.
A Federal Court judge says Canada’s rules for detaining some foreigners who can’t be deported quickly are constitutional though they may not always be applied perfectly.Judge Simon Fothergill says there are mechanisms built into the law to allow detainees to challenge their detention and the conditions in which they are held, which is enough to make the system constitutional.In a decision released Tuesday, Fothergill said that if those standards are sometimes not met, “this is a problem of maladministration, not an indication that the statutory scheme is itself unconstitutional.”The constitutional challenge was filed by Alvin Brown, a Jamaican man who was detained for five years before being deported last year.The father of six and his supporters argued that foreigners who cannot be deported for various reasons are subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in that they may spend years behind bars never knowing when they might be released.Brown sought to have the court declare that holding someone for more than six months before deportation is presumptively unconstitutional, and asked it to impose a “hard cap” of 18 months of pre-removal detention.But Fothergill suggested a higher court should weigh in on whether the Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires a time limit on detention for immigration purposes after which release is mandatory, and certified the issue for appeal.Brown’s lawyer, Jared Will, said he was disappointed by the court’s decision.The End Immigration Detention Network, which was a party to the case, said it was prepared to continue its legal battle.“This is just another step, we were in it for the long haul,” said the group’s lawyer, Swathi Sekhar.“In the meantime people continue to be detained indefinitely so it’s important now more than ever, now that there’s been some kind of light into what’s happening, that the public open their eyes and really put pressure on the government to make changes.”Brown came to Canada as a child more than three decades ago and was eventually stripped of his permanent residency after a series of convictions, most of them drug and weapons related.He was released from criminal custody in early 2011 but border agents detained him months later for violating release conditions.However, Jamaica refused for some time to issue travel documents and Brown remained in maximum-security detention branded a flight risk and a danger to the public. He was deported in September.
CHARLOTTETOWN – A sting by the controversial Creep Catchers vigilante group has led to the arrest of a 31-year-old Charlottetown man.The man set up a meeting with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl on a dating site called Skout, Det. Sgt. Walter Vessey of the Charlottetown police major crime unit said Wednesday.It wasn’t a girl, though — it was a member of the Cape Breton Creep Catchers.“The suspect in this case initiated contact … started conversation and eventually it led to making arrangements to get together for a sexual purpose,” said Vessey.The man — a non-citizen who has lived in Canada on a work visa for about four years — was charged with making an agreement or arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child.Vessey said the man travelled to Sydney to meet a girl behind the Mayflower Mall in Sydney. Instead, he was confronted and filmed by the Creep Catchers. The man was apologetic, and said he wouldn’t do it again, said Vessey.The Creep Catchers alerted Cape Breton Regional Police Service, who ended up handing the case to Charlottetown, site of the alleged offence.“It’s my first involvement with the group and I know there is controversy around the way they operate, but in this particular case, they made a complaint to the Cape Breton police, they provided supporting information, and the information resulted in laying a charge against a person who it looks like intended to victimize a child,” Vessey said.“Certainly we’re not in business with the Creep Catchers … we just treated this case the same as any other tip that came in.”The Creep Catchers are known for targeting people they allege are child sexual predators by posing as minors online, arranging to meet their targets and filming the encounters, which are then published on the internet.Law enforcement officials across Canada have expressed concern about the groups, warning the public that confronting alleged child predators could put people in danger and compromise police investigations.Desiree Vassallo of Cape Breton police said the force was contacted in April with “some information about a possible luring incident.” Once it was determined that the alleged crime occurred in P.E.I., the case was handed to Charlottetown.“We don’t support or condone the actions of any type of vigilante groups, generally speaking. That said, when information comes to our attention about a possible criminal offence, we will follow up on it because it’s important to do so,” she said.Vessey said Charlottetown officers reviewed video of the Mayflower Mall confrontation, along with chat logs and text messages, before laying charges.Vessey said the man has been released after surrendering his passport under orders not to communicate with anyone under 18 for a sexual purpose.“He works in the service industry, where he has contact with members of the public,” said Vessey. “So if in the course of his job he needs to talk to a customer who may be 17 about serving them, then that is OK, but there can’t be any sexual purpose in the communications.”Police say the accused will appear in court on Aug. 28.Last month, British Columbia’s information and privacy commissioner ordered the Surrey chapter to stop posting personal information about two men the group alleges are linked to child luring.Drew McArthur investigated complaints from two people and says the group used deceptive or misleading practices when it communicated with them and made video recordings of their meetings.McArthur’s decision says the recordings were posted to social media along with added allegations that the men had attempted to lure and meet with a minor for sexual purposes.
OTTAWA – Health Canada offered hints Tuesday about the government’s plans for legal pot, including, plain packaging and stern, stark health warnings like those found on tobacco products.The department released a set of proposed regulations that, among other things, would limit colours and graphics on cannabis packs and establish a system to trace pot through the distribution system.It said the warnings should highlight risks, including the dangers associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, drug-impaired driving and what can happen when alcohol is mixed with marijuana.The department’s so-called consultation paper is now open to public feedback for the next two months.Speaking outside the House of Commons, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the government is studying other proposals including a tracking system to monitor the cannabis supply chain and help prevent pot being diverted into and out of the legal market.Health Canada also said Tuesday the proposals seek to elaborate on elements including what can be displayed on a package and what can’t, including anything that might entice youngsters.“Text and graphics used in brand elements could not be appealing to youth and would be subject to the packaging and labelling restrictions in the proposed Cannabis Act,” the department said.“Health Canada is also considering establishing standards (such as limiting use of colour and size) of these brand elements.”Government officials said late Tuesday the proposals attempt to elaborate on what can be displayed on a package to ensure the legal industry can keep itself distinct from the black market, while competing with it.Producers would be allowed to display brand elements, the officials confirmed, saying they are talking to legal producers about packaging.The officials also said Health Canada sees its plans as consistent with what the federally appointed task force on pot legalization recommended: plain and standard packaging.The proposed regulations would also require that cannabis workers get valid security clearances issued by the minister of health. Individuals with connections to organized crime, or criminal records or shady associates could be denied clearances.Earlier Tuesday, Statistics Canada said it plans to start measuring the economic and social impacts of recreational pot — even before it becomes legal.The agency said it wants to gradually develop the capabilities to capture and report information on non-medical cannabis.It says collecting data both before and after marijuana becomes legal will allow Canadians, governments and businesses to form a clearer picture of the economic and social consequences of lawful pot.The Liberals also faced criticism from the opposition Tuesday for limiting debate on their cannabis legislation, which is currently before the House of Commons.Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould defended the move, saying the government has long been up front with the House and with Canadians about the plan to legalize pot by July 2018.—with files from Andy Blatchford