|NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2018
FRONT PAGE NEWS
Over 100 people were killed in duststorms, thunderstorms, and lightning at many places in northern, central and eastern India on Wednesday. The National Disaster Management Authority said “lightning and thunderstorm” killed 62 people in Uttar Pradesh and 32 in Rajasthan; the UP government issued a districtwise break-up of deaths that added up to 70.
These casualty figures seem abnormally high for weather events on a single day. However, there was nothing unusual in the occurrence of the weather events themselves. Rainstorms, duststorms, and even tornadoes are expected at this time of the year, and the Meteorological Department routinely issues alerts and warnings. The weather events of Wednesday, too, had been predicted, and warnings were issued.
What was unusual about Wednesday’s events was that they occurred over a large geographical area within a very short time.
In most cases, storms do not kill by themselves. Even lightning rarely strikes people directly. But they trigger incidents that result in deaths. Walls or homes collapse, and people are electrocuted after power lines snap, or after they are caught in fields filled with water. People in the poorest, most densely populated areas are the most vulnerable.
Hearing on the Centre’s petition seeking review of the Supreme Court’s March 20 order, which stopped automatic arrests in cases under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, witnessed sharp exchanges Thursday with the government telling the court that it had usurped powers of the legislature and the bench giving it back, saying atrocities against Dalits were continuing not because of its order, but because there was no quick punishment for offenders.
“For the last four decades, the court has believed that it has the power of legislature,” Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit, contending that the March 20 order amounted to law-making by courts. “Your lordships have passed rules which are in the nature of laws… by virtue of separation of powers, which is part of the basic structure, court can lay down guidelines for disposal of a case but not as a matter of law in respect of the whole country,” he said.
When Venugopal pointed to the necessity of stringent provisions of the Act for the protection of sections subjected to inhuman treatment for years, the bench told him: “We want to make it clear that we are also for the protection of these sections.”
The Attorney General said there had been at least three incidents recently of Dalit grooms being stopped from using horses following caste frictions.
The bench said this was happening because the authorities were not taking action. “For that you need to deliver immediate punishment… Why can’t you punish in a month or so?” Justice Goel asked.
Venugopal replied that this was difficult given the size of the country’s population. “There lies the problem,” Justice Goel said, adding “perhaps social action is also required at the level of society (to stop caste discrimination). People have to learn to respect each other”.
On his election campaign in Karnataka, Prime Minister Modi’s final stop on Thursday was in Kengeri on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The rally was a crowded one as the prime minister spoke of issues he hoped would resonate with voters of the city that has been variously described as the IT city, India’s Silicon Valley and the Garden City.
PM Modi charged the ruling Congress in the state with destroying all of it.
“Congress attempted to change Bengaluru, a city of beauty, learning and cosmopolitan character into a centre of urban decay, crime and chaos,” PM Modi said, lashing out at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for his many “gifts” to the city.
In his Bengaluru rally, PM Modi had accused the Congress government of ruining the reputation of the city built over years by its young residents.
People had made Bengaluru into India’s “Silicon Valley” but the Congress government turned it into a “Valley of Sin”.
“Bengaluru was known as Garden City. They are in the race to make Bengaluru a garbage city… Youth worked hard to make Bengaluru the computer capital…. They have converted Bengaluru to crime capital”, he said.
The city’s struggling infrastructure has been much derided. PM Modi added his critique.
The Congress, PM Modi said, had turned the city of lakes into a city of burning lakes. “Photos of the Bellandur lake with froth and fire show the misrule of the government,” he said.
In a series of tweets, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah delivered a sharp comeback, calling “the PM failing to speak like a Prime Minister, time and again” a disappointment.
“Cities around the country are under pressure, particularly the dynamic ones like Bengaluru. But to call it names like crime capital, valley of sin, etc. is an insult to us Bengalureans,” he said.
“Your CM candidate @BSYBJP turned this city into a garbage city (NY Times gave this unfortunate epithet in 2012.)” the Chief Minister tweeted.
Speaking at another rally, in Bellary, on the home turf of the Reddy brothers, who are facing a number of charges including illegal iron-ore mining, Modi accused the Congress of consistently defaming Bellary by projecting the region as “inhabited by robbers and thieves” while ignoring the good governance witnessed during the Vijayanagara empire between the 14th and 17th centuries.
Hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “personal attacks” on him, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked him to instead speak on governance and development issues.
At a public rally in Bidar on Thursday, Mr. Gandhi said the way Mr. Modi spoke from public platforms was unbecoming of the Prime Minister of a country. He said Mr. Modi was resorting to personal attacks as he had nothing to say in response to the questions he had raised on his governance.
“I had asked a couple of questions. Since Mr. Modi gives lengthy speeches on corruption, I had first asked him why his party chose B.S. Yeddyurappa, the man who went to jail on corruption charges, as its chief ministerial candidate for Karnataka. Secondly, I had asked him why he allowed Nirav Modi to escape with ₹30,000 crore public money, the amount equal to what the previous UPA government annually spent for providing work to rural labourers under MNREGA. I had asked him how his friend Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah multiplied ₹50,000 to make it ₹80 crore in a year. He is choosing to ridicule me with personal attacks because he has no answers to my questions,” he said.
“Let him [Mr. Modi] attack as much as he wants. It doesn’t make any difference to me. As a responsible citizen of India, I don’t counter my Prime Minister in the same way that he does. I don’t personally attack him. But, I continue to ask him questions. This is the difference between me and him,” Mr. Gandhi said.
US President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that he reimbursed his personal lawyer $130,000 he had given to adult film star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) days before the 2016 election to buy her silence over an alleged affair with the then presidential candidate.
Trump’s confirmation came hours after his new legal aide and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani revealed that the President had personally repaid Michael Cohen $130,000 that was used to buy Daniels’s silence through a non-disclosure agreement.
The President had previously denied knowledge of the payment, which has prompted complaints to the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission over potential violations of campaign finance law.
The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair,” Trump said.
He added, “Prior to its violation by Ms Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no role in this transaction.”
Daniels has sued Trump and Cohen, saying the nondisclosure agreement is void because Trump did not sign it. The White House has said Trump denies the affair.
The United States has raised concerns with China about its latest militarization of the South China Sea and there will be near-term and long-term consequences, the White House said on Thursday. US news network CNBC reported on Wednesday that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the South China Sea. It cited sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence.
Asked about the report, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a regular news briefing: “We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences.” Sanders did not say what the consequences might be.
The Centre was on Thursday rapped by the Supreme Court for failing to finalise the draft Cauvery management scheme and also flayed by Tamil Nadu for its alleged “partisan” attitude to favour Karnataka by citing the poll campaign in that state for the delay.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked the Centre to file an affidavit by May 8 giving details of steps taken to frame the scheme, which was ordered for smooth release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. While posting the matter for hearing on that day, the court assured Tamil Nadu that the Cauvery water would be released as per its verdict.
The SC had on February 16 raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin.
A day after students were lathicharged for protesting the police inaction against “rightwing outsiders” raising anti-Mohammad Ali Jinnah slogans on the Aligarh Muslim University campus, students on Thursday sat on an indefinite dharna at the university gate.
The campus has virtually been converted into a fortress with the Rapid Action Force and the police deployed all over. AMU students’ union members who were injured in Wednesday’s lathicharge have alleged that the outsiders had plans of attacking former Vice President Hamid Ansari, who was present for a function on the campus.
The AMU Teachers’ Association has demanded the Central government to institute a time-bound judicial inquiry into the incident and to punish the culprits.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said he had sought a comprehensive report on the Aligarh incident from the district administration. He, however, made it clear that “Jinnah ko hum samman nahi de saktey” (We cannot respect Jinnah).
Former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao reacted to PM Narendra Modi’s speech in Karnataka where he claimed that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had insulted was the first Indian commander-in-chief of the Indian Army Field Marshall Cariappa and former army chief General KS Thimayya.
Addressing an election rally in Kalabugari district of poll-bound Karnataka, the Prime Minister said, “”From insulting Field Marshall Cariappa and General Thimayya to calling our Army Chief a ‘Sadak ka goonda’ right after surgical strikes, they (Congress) have consistently shown their disdain for our brave heroes.”
“Karnataka is synonymous with valour. But, how did the Congress Govts treat Field Marshall Cariappa and General Thimayya? History is proof of that. In 1948 after defeating Pakistan, General Thimayya was insulted by PM Nehru and Defence Minister Krishna Menon,” the PM said.
Krishan Partap Singh, author of the Raisina Series reacted to this tweeting, “Yes,Nehru insulted Gen Thimayya by first sending him to Korea after the armistice to command the UN peacekeeping force. And then further the insult by making him Army Chief! And then not allowing to him to resign! As for Cariappa, Nehru sent him as High Commissioner after retirement.”
Rao retweeted Singh’s tweet saying, “Dear PM : how can you distort history For the sake of the children of this glorious land, please rise above this.”
Calling Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo a habitual liar, founder party member Kumar Vishwas said that his statements against Union Minister Arun Jaitley — relating to the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) — were based on information he received as a party worker.
“Either he (Arvind Kejriwal) lied previously or is lying now. He is not giving the documents. He is a habitual liar, due to which the current situation arose),” he told the Delhi High Court on Thursday.
While regretting the damage and injury caused to Jaitley, Vishwas, a rebel party leader, told Justice R S Endlaw that “personally, he also does not want to take the matter further”.
“However, I need to know first, on what ground the allegations were made against Jaitley. Being a small party worker, we need to follow instructions from the top leadership,” he said. Vishwas was present in court pursuant to the court’s April 26 directions.
He also claimed that Kejriwal told them he has documents related to the alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA during the BJP leader’s tenure as president from 2000-2013.
An estimated 50 of the 125 awardees refused to attend the 65th National Film Awards ceremony protesting that, contrary to what their invitation said, they were not going to receive the awards from President Ram Nath Kovind.
The wrinkle in the red carpet surfaced on Wednesday when the awardees reached the venue for the rehearsal. They were told that breaking from tradition, the President would give away only a select few awards — 11 of the 70 categories — and the rest would be given by Union Minister for I&B Smriti Irani and her junior Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
This did not go down well with many awardees who felt that this segregated the awards into two categories, and, most importantly, went against what their invitation had said.
After the President arrived, he awarded Sridevi’s family her Best Actress Award, Vinod Khanna’s family his Dada Saheb Phalke Award, Yesudas for best playback singer, AR Rahman for best music and awards in seven other categories.
Reports says Rashtrapati Bhavan had taken a decision that it was not possible for the President to give away so many awards at one function.
Pension fund regulator PFRDA on Thursday said NPS subscribers will now have the option to partially withdraw funds from their accounts for pursuing higher education or setting up new business.
The Board also decided to increase the cap on equity investment in ‘active choice’ category to 75% from current 50% for private sector subscribers of NPS.
However, the option of increasing investment in equity will be available to subscribers till the age of 50 years.
Net employee addition by the top four Indian information technology (IT) services companies in 2017-18 dropped by more than three-fourths. Even though these companies showed good revenue growth during that period, the non-linearity drive the industry had undertaken had been clearly paying dividends.
In the year ended March 31, 2018, the top four Indian IT firms — TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and HCL Technologies — made net additions of 13,972 employees (taking into consideration the number of people exited in the year), compared to 59,427 in 2016-17. This indicates the increasing focus on automation tool and technologies that the industry has been embracing to improve efficiency and service clients better.
TCS posted revenue growth of 8.6 per cent, even though its headcount grew just 2 per cent. Infosys posted revenue growth of 7.2 per cent, while its headcount increased only 1.9 per cent. Wipro’s revenue growth was 5.5 per cent, but employee count went up only 1 per cent.
Shubman Gill smashed his maiden IPL half-century while Sunil Narine produced an all-round performance to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to a comfortable six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings here on Thursday.
Nitish Rana’s lower-back spasm gave Gill a chance to bat at No. 4 and the Under-19 World Cup winning batsman grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring a top-class unbeaten 57 off 36 balls to power KKR home.
Gill shared an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 83 runs from 36 balls with skipper Dinesh Karthik (45 off 18) as the duo sealed the chase with 14 balls to spare to take KKR to the third spot.
Earlier, KKR spinners impressed, with Narine leading from the front before MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 43 pushed CSK’s total to 177/5 after Karthik opted to field.
Chennai are now place 2nd, with 6 wins from 9 matches. Kolkata are 3rd, with 5 wins from 9.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Two drunks were sitting in a bar when one of them notices a beautiful woman sitting in the corner. One says to the other, “Jeez, I’d really like to dance with that girl.”
The other man replies, “Well go ahead and ask her, don’t be a chicken shit.”
So the man approaches the lovely woman and says, “Excuse me. Would you be so kind as to dance with me?”
Seeing the man is totally drunk the woman says, “I’m sorry. Right now I’m concentrating on matrimony, and I’d rather sit than dance.”
So the man humbly returns to his friend. “So what did she say?” asks the friend.
The drunk says, “She said she’s constipated on macaroni, and would rather shit than dance.”
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Newsletter May 4, 2018
May 4, 2018