NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 2018
- RESCUE ALMOST OVER, FOCUS NOW ON RELIEF IN KERALA
At least 22,000 people were rescued by state rescuers and fishermen Sunday, the fifth day of the great deluge in Kerala that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has described as the worst in a century. Thirteen new deaths were reported Sunday, taking the official toll in the rain, floods and landslides since August 8 to 207. Thirty-nine people are reported missing. Nearly 9 lakh people are now lodged in camps, and as the rescue mission wound down to its final stages, the government began to shift focus to ensuring relief to affected persons, and to the rebuilding of civic infrastructure damaged by the floods. The discharge from the Idukki, Idamalayar, Peringalkuthu and Sabarigir dams have been reduced.
Red alert has been withdrawn in all 14 districts. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said most of the state’s 39 dams had begun shutting more of their sluice gates. Most of the marooned had been rescued and the focus would now be on rehabilitation, he added.
Road traffic resumed partly on vital roads like national and state highways, while the Railways announced it wouldn’t charge freight if the consignment to Kerala was relief material.
- BJP HITS BACK AS CONGRESS MAKES THE MOST OF NEW GROWTH DATA OF UPA YEARS
The Congress-led UPA-1 and UPA-2 governments delivered the highest decadal growth since Independence, former finance minister P Chidambaram said Sunday while claiming that the management of the economy today is “not in very competent hands”.
His comments came two days after a committee, which was tasked with recommending ways to strengthen India’s data collection system, released new back series data which showed the Indian economy grew at a faster pace in two terms of the UPA government between 2004-05 and 2013-14, when compared with average growth recorded in the first four years of the NDA government.
“Since the advent of the BJP-led NDA government in May 2014, there has been a determined effort to run down the record of the two UPA governments under Manmohan Singh during 2004-2009 and 2009-2014. A lot of confusion was sown and the Modi government added to the confusion by changing the base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12… The back series data is now available. The numbers prove the dictum that truth cannot be suppressed forever and truth has a way of emerging amidst a torrent of lies and distortions,” Chidambaram said at a press conference.
Reacting to the claim, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the data was not official and that it had not been accepted by the government yet. “It seems whenever the Congress party is unable to succeed, it starts celebrating its failures. (During the UPA regimes) Inflation was rising and they were unable to check current account deficit, whereas under the Narendra Modi government India has become one of the six largest economies in the world,” he said.
“During Narendra Modi’s regime, the country has transformed from the Fragile Five Economies to fabulous few destinations,” Patra said.
- AND BJP REACTS AFTER MANI SHANKAR AIYAR IS TAKEN BACK IN CONGRESS
The BJP on Sunday took on Rahul Gandhi over the revocation of suspension from his party of Mani Shankar Aiyar, who had used objectionable language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it exposed the Congress chief and his “love for a person of many controversies”.
Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the Congress on December 7 last year for his “neech aadmi” remarks against Modi on the eve of the Gujarat Assembly polls. Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, party spokesperson Sambit Patra questioned why Aiyar was taken back by the Congress, wondering if the party was incomplete without him.
“Rahul Gandhi had clarified that the Congress did not support Aiyar’s foul language and that there was no place for such leaders in the party. But now, the way he has been taken back shows it was only a lip service and the Congress president stands exposed,” he said.
- OVER 6,000 PRIVATE SECTOR SPECIALISTS APPLIED FOR 10 ‘LATERAL ENTRY’ POSTS
Over 6,000 candidates have shown interest in 10 posts of joint secretaries in the central government offered to private sector specialists as part of the Narendra Modi government’s bid to bring in fresh talent in bureaucracy, officials said on Sunday.
The posts of joint secretaries are in revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture and farmers welfare, road transport and highways, shipping, environment, forest and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce departments.
The term lateral entry relates to the appointment of specialists, mainly those from private sector, in government organisations.
There are a maximum of 1,100 applicants against one post, depending on the department concerned. The minimum application for a post is 290. “The central government has started the process of short-listing the candidates,” a senior ministry official said.
Usually, the posts of joint secretaries are manned by the IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS officers recruited through the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.
- PUTIN-MERKEL MEET SEES TOUGH TALK, NO DEAL
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as Iran and a gas pipeline project that has drawn U.S. ire during talks outside Berlin that ended with no clear-cut progress.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters no agreements were reached, but the meeting had simply been intended to “check the watches” after Ms. Merkel’s meeting with Mr. Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in May. Ties between the two countries have been strained since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014.
The two leaders both viewed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project as a purely commercial venture, despite persistent fire by the U.S. and Ukrainian governments, Mr. Peskov said.
“That’s why it is necessary to take measures against possible non-competitive and illegal attacks from the third countries in order to complete this project eventually,” he told reporters shortly before Mr. Putin flew back to Russia.
At the start of the talks, Ms. Merkel underscored her expectation that Ukraine should continue to have a role in gas transit to Europe, and welcomed the start of discussions among the European Union (EU), Ukraine and Russia on that issue.
Mr. Putin, speaking at the German government’s Meseburg castle, said such a move had to make sense from a business perspective.
- AFGHAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR EID CEASE-FIRE, TALIBAN TO REPLY
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire with Taliban insurgents for the duration of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Mr. Ghani made the announcement Sunday during celebrations of the 99th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence in the capital Kabul.
“The cease-fire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depends on the Taliban stand,” Mr. Ghani stressed. He added that, should the Taliban agree, it will start on Monday. He said he hoped it could even last until Nov. 20, which will mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammed.
The Taliban did not immediately respond to the announcement.
- S KOREAN FAMILIES GATHER ON EVE OF RARE REUNION AFTER 70 YRS
Dozens of elderly and frail South Koreans gathered excitedly yesterday on the eve of their first meeting for nearly seven decades with family members in North Korea.
The three-day reunion-the first for three years-begins tomorrow at the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea, following a rapid diplomatic thaw on the peninsula.
Millions of people were swept apart by the 1950-53 Korean War, which divided brothers and sisters, parents and children and husband and wives and perpetuated the division of the peninsula.
Since 2000 the two nations have held 20 rounds of reunions but time is running out for many ageing family members.
As many as 89 elderly South Koreans-accompanied by relatives-gathered in Sokcho city on South Korea’s northeast coast to spend the night before heading to the heavily-fortified border that has taken them decades to cross.
- SIDHU GETS IT FROM HIS CM
Navjot Singh Sidhu’s hug for Pakistan army chief has been censured not only by the BJP but also his boss, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. A former captain in the Indian Army, Amarinder Singh made it clear that he deeply disapproved such a display of affection towards the chief of Pakistan army.
Sidhu has been at the receiving end of severe criticism after he was seen sitting next to Pakistan’s top leaders, and later hugging General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The cricketer-turned politician had countered, indicating that he was wrong footed by the General.
“If someone (Pak Army Chief General Bajwa) comes to me and says that we belong to the same culture and we will open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th Prakash Parv, what else I could do?” said the Punjab minister, who returned from Pakistan through the Wagah border Sunday afternoon.
One of the holiest shrines of Sikhs, believed to be the resting place of Guru Nanak, the Gurdwara is just three km from the border. But Pakistan closed it to Indians after army’s surgical strikes against terror camps across the Line of Control.
The CM, however, was not having any of it. “Every day our jawans are getting martyred. To hug their Chief General Bajwa… I am against this. The fact is that the man should understand that our soldiers are being killed. My own regiment lost one Major and two jawans a few months ago and everyday somebody is being shot,” Mr Singh said.
He said while the seating arrangement was not in the hands of Mr Sidhu, “It was wrong of him to have shown affection towards the Pakistan Army Chief”.
- KERALA TRAGEDY PARTLY MAN MADE: EXPERT BEHIND WESTERN GHATS REPORT
As Kerala faces its worst floods in several decades, the author of a landmark report on the conservation of the Western Ghats said Sunday that the scale of the disaster would have been smaller had the state government and local authorities followed environmental laws.
Scientist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel formed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2010, said at least a part of the problem in Kerala was “man made”.
In its detailed report submitted in 2011, the Gadgil panel had suggested measures for the preservation of the natural environment of the ecologically fragile Western Ghats region. The report had recommended that the entire Western Ghats, spread over six states, including Kerala, be declared ecologically sensitive — and had assigned three levels of ecological sensitivity to regions within the Ghats.
The committee had strongly recommended a ban on certain new industrial and mining activities in the area, and called for strict regulation of many other “developmental” works in consultation with local communities and gram panchayats.
The report met with resistance from the governments of all six stakeholder states. Thereafter, the Environment Ministry appointed another panel, headed by space scientist K Kasturirangan, to “examine” the Gadgil committee report in a “holistic and multidisciplinary” fashion, while considering the objections raised by the state governments and responses received from others. The Kasturirangan committee, which submitted its report in 2013, severely watered down the recommendations of the Gadgil panel, effectively suggesting that only a third of the Western Ghats be identified as being ecologically sensitive.
And while implementing, even Kasturirangan committee recommendations were significantly watered down.
“In fact, it is not even a question of the report not being accepted or the recommendations being ignored. If the governments had just followed the law, if there was good governance, a disaster of this proportion could have been avoided,” Gadgil says.
- SC UPHOLDS MBBS DOMICILE RULE
State governments can insist on domicile status for students seeking admission to their undergraduate medical or dental colleges under the state quota if the objective is to ensure the presence of doctors in their remoter areas, the Supreme Court has held.
Friday’s verdict upholds the constitutional validity of rules passed in Assam last year mandating such admission seekers must have studied in Assam from Classes VII to XII and cleared their board exams from schools within the state.
“Having regard to the limited resources available at the state’s disposal, the provision is constitutional and legal. It is necessary for the state of Assam to have the doctors to take care of its inhabitants in the far-flung northeast area,” the bench of Justices Arun Misra and Abdul Nazeer said.
- RS 94 CRORE FRAUD AT PUNE BASED COSMOS BANK
Last week, Pune-based Cosmos Bank lost Rs 94 crore in a coordinated digital fraud comprising thousands of online transactions, made possible because of a malware attack on the bank’s systems.
The malware compromised a digital system responsible for settling cash dispensation requests raised at ATMs. As soon as one swipes a card, a request is transferred to the core banking system (CBS) of the bank. If the account has enough money, the CBS will allow the transaction. In this case, the malware created a proxy system that bypassed the CBS and approved a series 14,800 fraudulent transactions to withdraw Rs 80.5 crore — Rs 78 crore through 12,000 transactions in 28 countries, the rest in India.
The attack on Cosmos took place around the same time that the FBI issued a warning of an “ATM cash out attack” where fraudsters could compromise a bank or payment processors, use cloned cards at cash machines across the world to withdraw money.
- MOVIETIME: ‘GOLD’, AN EMOTION-LADEN DRAMA INVOKES A SENSE OF PATRIOTISM
(Cast: Akshay Kumar,Mouni Roy,Kunal Kapoor,Amit Sadh,Kiara Advani,Sunny Kaushal,Vineet Kumar Singh)
Written by Rajesh Devraj and Reema Kagti, the story of Gold is inspired by the real events of Indian hockey team’s dream run at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and the 1948 games in London, Great Britain.
Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), the team manager, leads the charge to assemble the country’s first all-Indian hockey team. His aim is to beat the Britishers at their own game. The scrip captures the essence of the era through its narrative — prolific performances by the film’s ensemble cast only add to the patriotic fervour.
‘Gold’ stirs the audience with its depiction of how the Partition tore the country apart. The background score and the characterisation make the story more credible. The characters are well-sketched out, giving each role space to breath. The stories behind each of these personalities are interesting.
The emotion laden drama will invoke a sense of patriotism, tugging at your heartstrings, one goal at a time.
- ASIAN GAMES: BAJRANG PUNIA WINS INDIA’S FIRST GOLD
India had to wait until late evening on day one for its first gold of the 2018 Asian Games, when wrestler Bajrang Punia defeated Japan’s Takatani Daichi in the men’s 65kg Freestyle final. Earlier in the day, Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar opened India’s medal account with a bronze in shooting.
Punia faced a stiff challenge from the Japanese before winning 11-8 in the end, thanks to an extra point after Daichi lost his appeal. En route to his gold medal bout, Bajrang defeated Khasanov Sirojiddin (Uzbekistan), Fayziev Abdulqosim (Tajikistan) and Batchuluun Batmagnai (Mongolia).
In the morning, Chandela and Ravi won bronze in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event to get India going but finished behind China and Chinese Taipei.
On the wrestling mat earlier in the day, Sandeep Tomar (57kg) had also progressed to quarterfinals but then he lost 15-9 to Iran’s Reza Atrinagharchi, who failed to reach the final and thus ended the Indian’s chances of a bronze through repechage.
Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was beaten by Bahrain’s Adam Batirov in the 74 kg category. Sushil lost his qualification-round match 3-5 and also missed out on repechage route to win bronze after Batirov failed to make it to the final.
In the other shooting event of the day, the Indian pair of Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma failed to qualify for the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team finals.
In badminton, India beat Maldives 3-0 to progress to the quarterfinals of Men’s Team event.
India’s hockey campaign also began on a thumping note as the women’s team thrashed hosts Indonesia 8-0 in a group match.
Earlier, India women kabaddi team beat Japan 43-12 in its Group A match. The men’s team played two matches on Sunday and won both. After defeating Bangladesh 50-21 in the morning, they went on to beat Sri Lanka 44-28 in the evening to stay on top of Group A.
In rowing, Malkeet Singh and Gurinder Singh qualified for Men’s Pair final, while the team of Om Prakash and Sawarn Singh entered Men’s Double Sculls final.
- NOTTINGHAM TEST, DAY 2: INDIA IN DRIVER’S SEAT
Hardik Pandya stole the limelight with his maiden five-wicket haul as India made a strong comeback in the series by taking complete control of the third Test against England.
At stumps on Day 2, India were well-placed at 124/2 in 31 overs in their second innings with an overall lead of 292 runs over England with three days’ of play remaining in the match.
It was Pandya who turned out to be the cynosure of all eyes yesterday, registering career-best figures of 5/28 to help India bundle out England for 161 in their first innings and give his side an upper hand for the first time in the series. England lost 10 wickets in the post lunch session to be bowled out in 38.2 overs. A last wicket partnership of 33 runs averted possibility of a follow-on.
Scores at end of Day 2: India 329 & 124/2, England 161
Hardik Pandya has urged everyone to stop comparing him with Kapil Dev and dismissed criticism of his performances by former players saying “they are paid to say what they do.”
“The problem is, what happens is that they compare with (Kapil Dev) but all of a sudden when something goes wrong they say he is not there. I never wanted to be Kapil Dev. Let me be Hardik Pandya, I am good at being that.
- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. – Khalil Gibran.
- OFF TRACK
Piyush Goyal’s wife casually calls him at office, one afternoon:
Wife : Kaise ho?
Piyush : Theek hoon
Wife : Aur aaj lunch mein kya khaaya?
Piyush : Tumhein bas yehi baatein karni aati hain kya??? Kya khaaya, kya piya, kaun sa song suna! I’m the Finance Minister of the country and these are working hours…..
Wife : Oh!! Ok Ok, ye batao ki how can we prevent the free fall of Rupee against the Dollar. And what should be the role of finance ministry in boosting exports???
Piyush (after few seconds silence) : Daal chawal khaye hain….. Dahi aur salad bhi tha.