|NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2018
Counting of votes took place yesterday in 4 Lok Sabha seats and 10 Assembly seats in ten states. These bypolls were held this Monday
Earlier this year, when Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party surprisingly came together to trounce BJP in Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats, their tie-up threw up a template for further elections.
The Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll, which was necessitated after the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh, saw a broad coalition of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, SP, BSP and the Congress joining hands. With RLD’s Tabassum Hasan registering a massive win, a united Opposition with the common goal of keeping the BJP out seems to have worked again.
In Palghar Lok Sabha constituency, BJP’s Rajendra Gavit, who defected from Congress, won by over 29,000 votes. Shiv Sena had fielded Shriniwas Wanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, from the seat further straining its ties with BJP. Sena has demanded a recounting,
In Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency, NCP’s Madhukar Kukde, who had Congress’ support, defeated BJP’s Hemant Patle.
In the lone Nagaland Lok Sabha seat, Tokheho Yepthomi of the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) has increased the lead over his NPF nominee by over 41,000 votes. The seat fell vacant after Neiphiu Rio became CM. NPF has Congress’ support.
In the 10 Assembly constituencies spread across nine states, where bye-elections were held on Monday, the BJP has little to be happy as it won just one seat in Uttarakhand.
While Congress bagged three (in Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Punjab’s Shahkot), others secured six seats. The JMM got two in Jharkhand, while CPI(M), SP, RJD and Trinamool one each in Kerala, UP, Bihar and West Bengal, respectively.
In bypolls for Lok Sabha constituencies held after the 2014 elections, the BJP lost 8 out of 13 seats it had won earlier. After the 2014 elections, bypolls have been held in 27 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country. Of the 27 seats, the BJP had won 13 of them in the 2014 polls. However, it was able to hold on to only five of them in the subsequent bypolls.
The Congress on Thursday said the by-election results indicated “the beginning of the end of Narendra Modi’s rule”, as they reflected the opinion of almost the entire country with the constituencies spread across different states. “Today’s results signal the beginning of the end of the Modi regime. A regime of lies, deceit and betrayal,” party spokesperson Pramod Tiwari said.
“Modi has no concern for the dignity of the high office he occupies. He chose to do a road show to inaugurate an incomplete project and addressed a meeting in Baghpat, adjacent to Kairana where voting had to take place the very next day. This was a blatant violation of the code of conduct,” he said.
“Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath openly tried to whip up communal passions. But we thank the people for seeing through their games and voting wisely.”
Eight years after the 2G Spectrum scam first jolted the Congress-led UPA, Salman Khurshid, a minister in the erstwhile government, came up with a defence rejecting charges of criminality then CAG Vinod Rai made in his report on the matter.
Rai’s fantastical Rs 1.76 lakh crore presumptive loss figure due to “UPA’s faulty 2G spectrum allocation” contributed principally to Congress’ 2014 Lok Sabha election debacle.
But former Law Minister in the UPA regime Salman Khurshid on Thursday argued that his government had not indulged in any criminality and was only to be blamed for not doing enough to counter then Opposition BJP’s charges of corruption.
“We did not engage in criminality. The policy choices we made were honest. But we lost the perception war because we did not do enough to fight back. Our inability to counter the way we were projected hurt us. In life, you can make mistakes but we drifted in a situation in the country where all mistakes were taken as dishonesty. There was no criminality and the court has now established this. Some people should apologise,” Khurshid said, introducing his book “Spectrum Politics: Unveiling the Defence” published by Rupa.
While Khurshid sought to pin the blame of Congress’ 2014 electoral debacle on the party’s failure to fight back, his colleague and finance minister in UPA-II P Chidambaram blamed the bureaucracy for its inability to defend the 2G Spectrum allocation policy of first come first served. He defended Raja, saying, “At a bureaucratic level, no one put up a coherent defence of the policy that could have then been taken to political platforms. A minister can’t be master of everything. Bureaucracy was divided and could not put forth a defence of the policy.”
In a blow to the government’s privatisation drive in aviation, no bidder showed up on the last day of submitting expression of interest to buy a controlling stake in Air India. With that, the disinvestment of the national carrier, which had kicked off last June following Cabinet approval, seemed to be grounded for now. The proposal will now go back to the group of ministers (GoM) overseeing the process for a possible review of norms. With the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2019, a fresh process may not be easy to roll out, people in the know said, while businesses blamed “faulty guidelines’’ for the flop show.
Industry sources indicated that the government’s decision to hold 24 per cent in the airline was a major reason for the absence of interest.
“First, there is a significant amount of debt that the new owner would take over. Turning around operations of the airline would need massive restructuring, which is not possible with the government staying in picture,” said an airline executive.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Thursday and invited him to visit, moving to raise Moscow’s profile in international efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Lavrov visited the secretive state for the first time since 2009, as North Korean and US officials met for a second day to prepare the ground for an historic summit on June 12 between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.
Russia has appeared to be on the fringes of a flurry of diplomacy as Pyongyang and Washington edge towards talks aimed at ending years of tension over North Korea’s nuclear programme. Lavrov on Thursday invited Kim him to visit Moscow.
“Come to Russia. We would be very happy to see you,” Lavrov, seated across a table from Kim, said during a televised meeting. He expressed Moscow’s support for a declaration last month in which North and South Korea agreed to work for the denuclearisation of the peninsula.
He said Moscow hoped all sides would take a measured approach to possible forthcoming talks on a nuclear settlement. “This will allow for the realisation not only of the denuclearisation of the whole Korean peninsula but also providing sustainable peace and stability across north-east Asia,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by his ministry.
Washington will impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico from midnight on Thursday, ending months of uncertainty over potential exemptions and sharply escalating the risk of a trade war.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters Washington would proceed with plans for a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminium imports, although he said the door was still open for negotiations without specifying what measures could be taken.
The Danish parliament has passed a law banning the Islamic full-face veil in public spaces, becoming the latest European country to do so. “Anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine,” says the law, which was passed with 75 votes against 30.
While declaring truce with its alliance partner Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday offered to resume dialogue for pre-poll alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The CM’s approach towards the warring Sena marked diametrical opposite approach as he pulled down the curtains to the bitterness during the fiercely contested elections in Palghar.
“Interestingly, Fadnavis’ generous handholding of Shiv Sena comes on a day when Uddhav Thackeray refused to acknowledge BJP’s victory in Palghar.
The BJP political managers indicated that even if Sena were to pull out support, they had a “plan B” in place. They said the party had the support of smaller and independent allies to take their tally from 122 seats to 145, which is the required numbers in the state assembly of 288 seats.
Bihar’s ruling JD-U lost its prestigious electoral battle in Jokihat Assembly bypoll with RJD’s Shahnawaz Alam registering an emphatic victory over the party candidate on Thursday. Alam defeated his nearest rival, JD-U’s Murshid Alam, by 41,224 votes.
The Jokihat seat fell vacant after sitting JD-U MLA Sharfaraz Alam resigned from the party to contest the Araria Lok Sabha bypoll on RJD ticket. Sarfaraz had won the bypoll necessitated by the death of his father and RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin.
This is RJD’s third consecutive byelection victory — Araria (Lok Sabha seat), Jehanabad and Jokihat (both Assembly seats) — after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar realigned with the BJP by dumping the grand alliance (RJD-Congress).
“People have reposed faith in the RJD and Lalu-ji, and punished Nitish chacha-led JD-U for making a U-turn and realigning with the BJP,” said Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, leader of the Opposition. The minority-dominated seat is considered a JD-U stronghold, given that its candidates had been sent to the Assembly for four consecutive terms in the past.
A very serious water crisis in Shimla has prompted an unusual response from the state’s highest judicial authority. Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, who is heading the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s special bench hearing the petitions related to the present water crisis, paid a surprise visit to the four control rooms of Shimla Municipal Corporation on Wednesday night.
Along with Shimla Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap and Municipal Corporation Commissioner Rohit Jamwal, Justice Karol spent almost the entire night at ground–zero to ensure that water control rooms were functioning without any hindrance. The acting CJ began his surprise inspection at around 11 pm.
A high Court bench is daily monitoring the progress on the steps taken by the Shimla corporation and state government in dealing with unprecedented situation. The court aslo directed Municipal Commissioner Rohit Jamwal and Additional Commissioner (legal) Joginder Chauhan to carry out night vigils so that supply lines were maintained.
The HC has banned any preferential treatment to VIPs – judges, ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats and police officers in supplying water by tankers. The court has also banned supplies for constructions in the town and stopped car washing activities
US President Donald Trump yesterday announced that he was granting full pardon to Indian-American conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who was sentenced to five years of probation in 2014 for violating federal campaign law. “Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!” Trump tweeted.
Mumbai-born, D’Souza, 57, was convicted of making an illegal campaign contribution of USD 20,000 in 2014 to a New York politician.
D’Souza, who comes from a Roman Catholic family from Goa, had launched campaign against both Obama and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. He is a big supporter of Trump. He is the author of nearly 20 book and producer of four movies, with the latest one being “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Top Indian American attorney Preet Bharara opposed the pardon. “The president has the right to pardon but the facts are these: D’Souza intentionally broke the law, voluntarily pled guilty, apologised for his conduct and the judge found no unfairness. The career prosecutors and agents did their job. Period,” Bharara tweeted.
Cyrus P Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons, has rebutted some recent allegations made by R Venkataramanan, managing trustee, Tata Trusts. The latter’s “questionable motives”, he added, were bringing disrepute to the Tata group and Tata Trusts.
Venkataramanan’s argument that he was only a non-executive director without any responsibility was “totally without any merit”. The board of directors at Tata Sons, holding company of Tata Group, and the Tata Trustees needed to concern themselves over the decline in governance standards at AirAsia India as evident from the latest revelations, he has said. “The actions or lack thereof that the board of Tata Sons and the Tata Trustees may take will define their commitment to upholding the value system enshrined by the Group’s founders,” said Mistry.
Mistry and Venkataramanan have been involved in an ugly public spat since the legal fight began between the ousted chairman and Tata Sons. Mistry was removed as chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, 2016, by its board of directors at the behest of Tata Trusts, which controls 66 per cent in the holding company.
India retained its position as the world’s fastest growing major economy in the January-March quarter, well ahead of China. India’s GDP growth accelerated to 7.7 per cent in the March quarter – the fastest pace of growth in seven quarters. Strong growth in agriculture (4.5 per cent), manufacturing (9.1 per cent) and construction sectors (11.5 per cent) contributed to the overall growth. Growth for Asia’s third-largest economy, reported by the Ministry of Statistics, trumped forecasts in a Reuters poll for annual growth of 7.3 per cent. GDP had grown at a revised 7 per cent in October-December quarter.
For the full year (2017-18), GDP expanded at 6.7 per cent, lower than the 7.1 per cent recorded in the previous year.
Tushar Arora, senior economist at HDFC Bank, said: “Today’s GDP number is very comforting and should put a lot of concerns to rest. It seems like we have moved beyond the teething troubles related to GST implementation. The pick-up in investment activity (fixed capital formation) is also a good sign.”
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane dropped a bombshell day, quitting the Spanish giants just days after winning the Champions League for a record third year in a row.
The 45-year-old former international decided to quit at the top saying that it was time for a change for himself and the club and admitting he was unsure of his ability to maintain his winning record at Real.
But he said that no other club was involved in his decision to part ways with Real and although experts have linked him to the French national team coaching job, Zidane insisted he is eyeing no other position at this time.
“I have taken the decision to not continue next year as Real Madrid coach,” the Frenchman told a hastily convened press conference.
“This club deserves to continue to win and needs a change,” he said, adding that he believed the “moment has come”. After three years the club needs another discourse, another method of working,” he added. Zidane said he was unsure of his ability to inspire the team to more victories.
Maria Sharapova edged closer to a possible French Open Last-16 duel with old rival Serena Williams today as top seed Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza breezed into the third round. Sharapova needed five match points to see off Croatia’s Donna Vekic 7-5 6-4 in a tie which featured 10 breaks of serve. Sharapova will face Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova for a place in the fourth round.
Serena beat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 3-6 6-3 6-4 to enter the third round.
Williams, 36, defeated Barty in their only previous meeting, needing less than an hour to secure a straight sets win at the 2014 Australian Open.
Halep reached the third round with a comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over Taylor Townsend of the United
Rafael Nadal beat Guido Pella of Argentina 6-2 6-1 6-1. Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem struggled into the Last-32. Cilic reached the third round for the eighth time with a 6-2 6-2 6-7 3/7) 7-5 win over Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.
Seventh seeded Thiem saw off Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 2-6 6-4 6-4
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What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy. – Voltaire
Three mice are sitting at a bar in a pretty rough neighborhood late at night trying to impress each other about how tough they are.
The first mouse pounds a shot of scotch, slams the glass onto the bar, turns to the second mouse and says, “When I see a mousetrap, I lie on my back and set it off with my foot. When the bar comes down, I catch it in my teeth, bench press it twenty times to work up an appetite, and then make off with the cheese.”
The second mouse orders up two shots of sour mash, pounds them both, slams each glass onto the bar, turns to the first mouse, and replies, “Yeah, well when I see rat poison, I collect as much as I can, take it home, grind it up to a powder, and add it to my coffee each morning so I can get a good buzz going for the rest of the day.”
The first mouse and the second mouse then turn to the third mouse.
The third mouse lets out a long sigh and says to the first two, “I don’t have time for this. I’ve got a date with the cat.”
Newsletter 1st June, 2018
June 1, 2018