NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
- NITISH GEARS UP FOR 2019 LOK SABHA POLLS; GETS PRASHANT KISHOR ON BOARD
Indicating that the JD(U) would continue its alliance with the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Bihar CM and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar told his party’s state executive on Sunday that talks on seat-sharing had been held, and the share of seats would be revealed at the “right” time.
“Seat-sharing par baat ho gayi hai. Aap log kaam par jut jaiye (Seat sharing talks are done. You get to work),” Nitish is learnt to have said at the party meeting.
Just before Nitish made this announcement, poll strategist Prashant Kishor joined the JD(U). Welcoming him into the party, Nitish said, “It is a matter of personal happiness for me”.
Kishor was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s main poll strategist for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and was also credited with the victory of the Grand Alliance in the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls. He was made advisor to the chief minister for a brief period.
“With Kishor being part of the JD(U) now, some senior leaders are likely to sulk. Kishor will remain important for giving a structured and e-savvy look to the party, and could always act as the bridge between JD(U) and BJP,” said a senior JD(U) leader.
- MAYAWATI PREPARES TO DRIVE HARD BARGAIN
BSP chief Mayawati said on Sunday that while she was not opposed to joining an anti-BJP alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, her party would go it alone if it does not get a “respectable share” of seats.
“Our party is not against the alliance, but our stand is very clear — that we will ally with a political party only if we get a respectable share of seats. Otherwise, our party feels it better to contest the elections alone,” she said.
Addressing a press conference, the BSP chief also snubbed Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar, days after he said that he and his “bua” (aunt) Mayawati have the “same blood”.
“For some years now, I have seen that some people, for their vested political interests — some in their defence, some to show themselves as young — are forcefully trying to establish relationships, such as brother-sister or bua (aunt)-bhatija (nephew) with me. Moreover, under a planned conspiracy, the person involved in the bloody and castiest Dalit oppression case in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur… as per the BJP’s plans, this person who recently came out of jail… is now announcing a relation of bua, and of blood, with me,” Mayawati said.
- NEPAL & BHUTAN CAN’T DELINK FROM INDIA DUE TO GEOGRAPHY: GENERAL RAWAT
Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday that countries like Nepal and Bhutan cannot delink themselves from India as they are more inclined towards India “because of the geography”. He also said the geography does not favour their inclination towards China.
Rawat was speaking to the media after the concluding ceremony of BIMSTEC MILEX-18, a joint military exercise of BIMSTEC member nations, which was underway in Pune from September 10.
Replying to a question on Nepal’s absence in the MILEX-18 and its growing ties with China, Gen Rawat said: “They cannot delink themselves from India. Countries like Nepal and Bhutan have to be naturally inclined to India because of the geography. Geography favours their inclination towards India and not towards China. As our leaders say, Neighbourhood First and Act East. BIMSTEC is part of such efforts. We are strengthening our relationship with our neighbours. We are a bigger country, if we take the initiative, others will follow.”
Of the seven BIMSTEC nations, while troops from India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were part of the ground exercise, Nepal and Thailand sent teams of observers.
- BJP SAYS PARRIKAR FINE, RULES OUT GOA LEADERSHIP CHANGE
The BJP Sunday ruled out the change in leadership in Goa, claiming Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, is fine.
BJP president Amit Shah has sent three senior members of the party — BL Santhosh, Ram Lal and Vinay Puranik — to Goa to take stock of the political situation in the coastal in view of Parrikar’s indisposition.
“Whatever was discussed today will be briefed to you tomorrow. There is no issue about the government and there is no demand of change in leadership from anyone,” Ram Lal told reporters after a meeting with state BJP leaders here.
Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said there is no question of leadership change in the state as Parrikar is “fine”. “During the meeting with central observers today we discussed organisational issues. There is no issue of leadership,” he said.
- ACCUSER OF US SUPREME COURT NOMINEE BRETT KAVANAUGH GOES PUBLIC
A woman who had anonymously accused US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the early 1980s went public on Sunday, but Republicans said they were moving ahead with plans to hold a committee vote this week.
In an interview with the Washington Post, the victim said that as a high school student in suburban Maryland just outside of Washington, a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to remove her clothing.
Last week, Kavanaugh, Republican President Donald Trump’s second nominee for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court, said he “categorically and unequivocally” denies the allegations.
Because Trump’s fellow Republicans control a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, Democrats cannot stop Kavanaugh’s appointment unless some Republicans make a rare decision to break with their party and vote against Trump.
Two moderate Republican female senators who support abortion rights, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have been under particular pressure not to back Kavanaugh, who is seen as a social conservative.
Responding to the latest developments in the Kavanaugh nomination, a spokesman for the panel’s Republican chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, said, “It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote.”
- PAKISTAN ACTION AGAINST TERROR FUNDING NOT SATISFACTORY: FATF BODY
Almost three months after Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for failing to curb terror funding, Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on the “legal” front, was found to be “unsatisfactory”, according to a review by the Asia Pacific Policy Group (APPG).
The APPG examines cases of all countries on the grey and black lists and reports to the FATF.
Official sources said that a review held on September 11-12 in Jakarta observed that “not much has been achieved by Pakistan, especially on the legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc).”
Another review for Pakistan will be held in December this year following which a final evaluation report will be prepared.
Being on the grey list, Pakistan faces the risk of being downgraded by multilateral lenders like the IMF, World Bank, ADB etc.
- LONDON MAYOR KHAN CALLS FOR 2ND BREXIT REFERENDUM
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for another referendum on Britain’s European Union membership, saying the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit negotiations had become “mired in confusion and deadlock” and was leading the country down a damaging path.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29. But with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans still not accepted, some lawmakers, as well as union and business leaders, are arguing for people to have a final say on any deal with Brussels.
May has repeatedly ruled out a second referendum. She says members of parliament will get to vote on whether to accept any final deal. The backing of Khan, a member of the main opposition Labour party, for a second referendum will put more pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to change his opposition to the idea when the party meets for its annual conference in a week’s time.
- ‘PERFECT LIFT-OFF’: ISRO LAUNCHES TWO EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITES
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday successfully launched into space the NovaSAR and S1-4 earth observation satellites made in the UK from the spaceport in Sriharikota and successfully placed them in the designated orbit.
NovaSAR is intended to be used for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring. S1-4 will be used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.
The two satellites of UK-based Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL), both weighing 889 kilogrammes, were launched as per a commercial arrangement between the company and ISRO’s commercial wing, Antrix Corporation Ltd.
- MULAYAM WILL CONTEST UNDER MY OUTFIT’S SYMBOL: SHIVPAL SINGH YADAV
Days after launching a separate political front — Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) — SP rebel leader Shivpal Singh Yadav has announced that his elder brother and SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is currently Lok Sabha member from Azamgarh, will contest the next general election under his outfit’s symbol.
SSM spokesperson Deepak Mishra said, “Shivpalji has announced that Netaji (Mulayam) will be the SSM’s candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections from Mainpuri. If he wished to contest from any other seat, the SSM will be with him.”
At a recent event, Mulayam had sided with Shivpal during the feud between the latter and his son Akhilesh.
- AMBEDKAR’S PACT WITH AIMIM STUMPS CONG
Stumped by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar stitching an alliance with the Owaisi brothers ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Maharashtra, the Congress has called him for talks.
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan told the media he was taken by surprise when Ambedkar announced his Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) was forging an alliance with the AIMIM. “We want to stitch an alliance with Ambedkar. He should not rush into one with the AIMIM,” Chavan remarked. He said the Congress wanted a broad secular coalition to take on the BJP and the Shiv Sena in the coming elections.
AIMIM leaders say the tie-up with Ambedkar’s BMM will be formally sealed at a rally to be organised by both parties on October 2.
As per the proposal mooted by the AIMIM leadership in Maharashtra, Ambedkar will lead the third front which will help the Dalits, Muslims and OBCs fight for their share of power. Imtiaz Jaleel, the journalist-turned-MLA belonging to the AIMIM, is said to be the brain behind the move.
- DALAI LAMA SAYS HE KNEW OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY BUDDHIST TEACHERS SINCE 1990S
The Dalai Lama said Saturday that he has known about sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers since the 1990s and that such allegations are “nothing new”.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, revered by millions of Buddhists around the world, made the admission during a four-day visit to the Netherlands, where he met on Friday with victims of sexual abuse allegedly committed by Buddhist teachers.
“We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were raped in its name,” the victims said in their petition.
“I already did know these things, nothing new,” the Dalai Lama said in response on Dutch public television NOS late on Saturday. People who commit sexual abuse “don’t care about the Buddha’s teaching. So now that everything has been made public, people may concern about their shame,” he said.
Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, a representative of the Tibetan spiritual leader in Europe, said Friday that the Dalai Lama “has consistently denounced such irresponsible and unethical behaviour”.
- IN FIVE MONTHS, RAILWAYS REMOVES ALL UNMANNED CROSSINGS ON MAJOR ROUTES
In the five months since 13 schoolchildren were killed in April when a train rammed into a school van at an unmanned railway crossing near Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, the Indian Railways has managed to either man or remove all level crossings in major routes across the country, thereby ridding itself of potential death traps for road users in its network.
After the Kushinagar accident, which triggered a political uproar as it occurred during the Karnataka assembly election campaign, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and the Railway Board had advanced the deadline to eliminate all unmanned level crossings — either by manning or removal — by September this year.
As per records, only around 600 unmanned level crossings will be left by the end of this month. Incidentally, all routes where trains have a permissible speed of up to 130 km per hour, are now free of unmanned level crossings. They have either been removed by making subways for vehicles or manned or closed.
The ones which remain see very little traffic everyday and will be removed soon, officials said.
- LEFT UNITY SWEEPS JNU STUDENT POLLS
The Left Unity alliance on Sunday swept the JNU student elections for the third straight year after an abrasive electoral battle with the ABVP, marked by fisticuffs during the presidential debate and counting.
“Students stood against violence as well as the anti-student policies of the government of the vice-chancellor,” students’ union president-elect N. Sai Balaji told reporters. “This victory is a message to people across the country that if we stand united, we can defeat the fascist forces repeatedly despite all their efforts to capture elections and convert Hindustan into lynchistan.”
Balaji, a PhD student from Hyderabad at the Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, was the candidate of the CPIML Liberation-backed All India Students Association.
- PRAKASH JAVADEKAR CLARIFIES SCHOOL ALUMNI REMARK
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar clarified on Sunday that a statement of his in Pune on schools asking alumni for financial assistance should not be seen as the government abdicating its responsibility.
Speaking at an event organised by Jnana Prabodhini School on Friday, the minister had said, “Some schools come to the government with a begging bowl asking for funds. They can easily ask their alumni for help. It is the duty of the alumni to contribute to their school, their college and this attitude of ‘give it back’ should be cultivated by schools.”
Following a controversy on social media over his statement, Javadekar said on Sunday that he was misunderstood. “The incumbent government has increased its education budget considerably and will continue to do so. What I meant was that schools should tap their alumni as well, in addition to the assistance being received from the government.”
Javadekar also regretted using the words begging bowl. “I am also withdrawing the two inappropriate words inadvertently used during my speech in Pune. This should rest the controversy now,” he added.
- COOKING FUEL SUBSIDY SET TO SEE 66% JUMP ON RISING CRUDE OIL PRICES
Government support for LPG and kerosene, constituting the petroleum subsidy, is set to increase by 66 per cent over the budgetary estimate for 2018-19.
Based on the current prices of LPG and kerosene, the subsidy on these products may touch Rs 414.78 billion, against the targeted Rs 249.32 billion.
According to the latest estimates by the government, the LPG subsidy is set to increase 73 per cent to Rs 352.57 billion, against the budgeted Rs 203.77 billion for 2018-19. The subsidy for kerosene will increase 36 per cent, from Rs 45.55 billion to Rs 62.21 billion, during the financial year.
On Sunday, petrol prices increased to Rs 81.91 a litre in Delhi and Rs 89.29 a litre in Mumbai. Diesel prices went up to Rs 73.72 a litre in Delhi and Rs 78.26 a litre in Mumbai.
According to a senior government official, the finance ministry is in no mood to cut the excise duty on petrol and diesel and it will not go back to the controlled-pricing mechanism. The Union government levies a fixed excise duty of Rs 19.48 a litre on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel.
- MOVITIME: ‘MANMARZIYAAN’ AND ‘MITRON’ RELEASED THIS WEEK
Manmarziyaan is the least violent Anurag Kashyap film imaginable. No one gets their head bashed in, no one shoots their arch-rival dozens of times; even hockey sticks are wielded more as a threat than as an actual weapon. Yet, in a step forward for the director, Manmarziyaan explores other kinds of violence, like the sort of verbal and emotional wounds dealt to each other by young people in love. It also looks at the healing power of forgiveness—again, not what one might think of as a Kashyap theme.
It stars Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal in lead roles.
By showing how already complicated systems of young love in India are both simplified and made more complex by technology, Manmarziyan feels close to messy reality. The central couple hook up on Tinder and delete the app from each other’s phone; the third wheel plays a waiting game on Facebook. And a song urges: “Zamana hai badla/ mohabbat bhi badli/ ghise pite version nu/ maaro update”.
The other fim released this week was Mitron. A carefree loser and a headstrong woman are brought together by destiny. How the two overcome their overbearing parents and chart the course of their lives is what the film is about. Directed by Nitin Kakkar, the film stars Jackky Bhagnani and Kritika Kamra in lead roles.
- HAMILTON CRUISES TO WIN, OPENS 40-POINT LEAD
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton eased to victory from pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday as the Mercedes driver extended his championship lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 40 points with six rounds remaining.
Hamilton held off a mid-race challenge from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to register a record-equalling fourth triumph at the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit track, while Vettel finished third to slip further behind in the title race.
Hamilton’s 69th overall victory was his seventh of the season and it was built on the foundations of a stunning qualifying lap on Saturday, when he stormed to pole in a car deemed inferior to the Ferraris and Red Bulls on this circuit.
DRIVER STANDINGS (With 6 races to go)
1 Lewis Hamilton (MERCEDES) 281; 2 Sebastian (FERRARI) 241; 3 Kimi Räikkönen (FERRARI) 174; 4 Valtteri Bottas (MERCEDES) 171; 5 Max Verstappen (RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER)148; 6 Daniel Ricciardo (RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER) 126; 7 Nico Hulkenberg (RENAULT) 53; 8 Fernando Alonso (MCLAREN RENAULT) 50; 9 Kevin Magnussen (HAAS FERRARI) 49; 10 Sergio Perez (FORCE INDIA MERCEDES) 46
- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France
- OFF TRACK
Two Italians, Luigi and Antonio, met on the street. “Hey, Antonio,” said Luigi, “where you been for the past two weeks? Nobody seen you around!”
“Dona talka to me, Luigi,” replied Antonio. “I been inna jail.”
“Jail!” exclaimed Luigi. “What for you been in jail?”
“Wella, Luigi,” Antonio said, “I was lying onna dis beach, and the cops come, arrest me and throw me inna jail.”
“But dey dona throw you in jail just for lying onna da beach!” Luigi countered.
“Yeah, but dis beach, she was a-screamin and a-kickin and a-yellin”.