London: Human factors such as greenhouse gas emissions and particulate pollution, and other external factors are responsible for the rise in global temperature, an Oxford study has confirmed. While this has been the consensus of the scientific community for a long time, uncertainty remained around how natural ocean-cycles might be influencing global warming over the course of multiple decades. The study, published in the Journal of Climate, looked at observed ocean and land temperature data since 1850. Apart from human-induced factors such as greenhouse gas concentrations, other occurrences such as volcanic eruptions, solar activity and air pollution peaks were included in the analysis. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’The findings demonstrated that slow-acting ocean cycles do not explain the long-term changes in global temperature, which includes several decades of accelerated or slowed warming. “We can now say with confidence that human factors like greenhouse gas emissions and particulate pollution, along with year-to-year changes brought on by natural phenomenon like volcanic eruptions or the El Nino, are sufficient to explain virtually all of the long-term changes in temperature,” said Karsten Haustein from the University of Oxford in the UK. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China”The idea that oceans could have been driving the climate in a colder or warmer direction for multiple decades in the past, and therefore will do so in the future, is unlikely to be correct,” Haustein said. The study showed that global warming that occurred during the ‘early warming’ period (1915 1945) was in fact caused by external factors as well. Formerly, it had been largely attributed to natural ocean temperature changes, which is why there has been uncertainty over how much of global warming is influenced by unpredictable natural factors. “Our study showed that there are no hidden drivers of global mean temperature,” said Friederike Otto from the University of Oxford. “The temperature change we observe is due to the drivers we know. This sounds boring, but sometimes boring results are really important. In this case, it means we will not see any surprises when these drivers — such as gas emissions — change,” she said. “In good news, this means when greenhouse gas concentrations go down, temperatures will do so as predicted; the bad news is there is nothing that saves us from temperatures going up as forecasted if we fail to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Otto said.
ICC World Cup 2019: In the ongoing row between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju spoke in support of MS Dhoni. The ICC had requested the BCCI to remove the Army insignia which were seen on the gloves of MS Dhoni during the India-South Africa clash in World Cup 2019. According to ICC, it was against its regulations. However, BCCI have come in support of the gesture – a tribute to the Indian Army and especially the PARA Special Forces – which was well appreciated by Indian fans. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday (7 June) said that the BCCI should stand with MS Dhoni on the gloves controversy as it has nothing to do with politics. “I am hopeful that BCCI will take up this matter with ICC and will solve this matter. MS Dhoni’s identity is the country’s identity, the army’s identity and it is not politics. So, BCCI should stand with Dhoni,” he told reporters. “I would like to say very clearly that the government does not intervene in the affairs of the sports bodies. BCCI or any sports federation, they are autonomous and they run their affairs independently,” he said. During the India vs South Africa match, Dhoni was seen donning a regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces on his wicketkeeping gloves.(With inputs from DNA)
Yangon: Ultra-nationalist monks in Myanmar accepted a cash donation from the military on Monday while condemning Aung San Suu Kyi and her government for allowing Rohingya Muslims to enter the country “illegally”. Hundreds of monks swathed in saffron and maroon robes filed early morning into a Yangon monastery for the annual meeting of the Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation. The group was known as Ma Ba Tha until a ban by the government and religious authorities in 2017 aimed at curbing its influence. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonTheir hostility towards the Rohingya helped whip up public support for a brutal military crackdown nearly two years ago. Some 740,000 fled the country in violence branded as “genocide” by UN investigators. Despite the ban — offline and on Facebook — the group has continued to operate under its new name. Increasingly taking a radical stance against civilian leader Suu Kyi’s government, the group has also sidled-up to the country’s still-powerful military. Monks regularly appear at pro-army nationalist rallies and the military returned the favour at Monday’s session. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassadorYangon Region Commander Major-General Thet Pon openly donated 30 million kyat (USD 20,000) in cash to the group. In a written statement, the ultra-nationalist monks said they “harshly condemn” the scrapping of various laws, which they claimed had “allowed — and continue to allow — Bengalis to enter the country illegally”. The term “Bengali” is a common slur in Myanmar for the Rohingya, implying they are illegal interlopers from Bangladesh. The hardliners even urged people in next year’s election to vote against Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which is widely expected to return to power. They also sniped at Suu Kyi herself for “stepping foot” in a pagoda reserved for men.
New Delhi: Leaders from 12 opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha have sent a notice to Chairman Venkaiah Naidu for a discussion on electoral reforms. The opposition parties want to raise the issue of bringing back the ballot system of voting in general elections and also funding of political parties during elections.In Lok Sabha, however, there is no floor coordination among the opposition parties, who often take an individual stand on various issues, as was witnessed on Friday, when the Triple Talaq Bill was put to vote for the introduction. In Rajya Sabha, Congress, TMC, CPI, CPM, RJD, SP, BSP, DMK, Kerala Congress and TDP signed a joint petition in this regard. They also tried to get parties like the BJD on board but did not succeed. TMC leader Derek O’Brien said he was hoping that the issues would come up for discussion in the first week of July after the presentation of General Budget. On Friday, at the morning meeting of leaders of the Rajya Sabha, it was proposed that no Bill would be passed without scrutiny in either the Standing Committee or the Select Committee. Parliament Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, who was present in the meeting was, however, non-committal. In the Upper House, opposition parties have an edge over the treasury benches in numerical terms. They are likely to insist that the Triple Talaq Bill be sent to the Standing Committee. At the moment, opposition parties have a strength of 108 against the NDA’s 100 including 4 TDP members who crossed over to the BJP on Thursday. Opposition parties are hoping that NDA ally JD(U), with six members, might not back the Triple Talaq Bill. Other parties like YSR Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi might also not support the Bill. In the Lok Sabha, TMC MP Saugata Roy during the Zero Hour submission on Friday said that if Home Minister Amit Shah sent advisories to the West Bengal government twice every week, then they would be unable to cooperate with the Centre on many issues. Derek O’Brien on Friday introduced a Private Members Bill on making it compulsory to have 100 days of Parliament session every year.
New Delhi: With the heat still holding its grip, the peak power demand of the national capital crossed all the previous records to reach 7,241 MW on Monday, the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) reported. Last year, the peak demand was recorded at 7,016 MW — the highest till now. “On July 1, the all-time peak power demand reached 7,241 MW at 3.29 p.m., crossing last previous high of 7,016 MW by 225 MW met on July 9, 2018,” an SLDC official said. Before Monday, the highest peak power demand was recorded on June 2, when it reached 6,560MW. That was higher than the peak load of 2017 — 6,526 MW on June 6, 2017.
New Delhi: The Centre plans a major overhaul of the definition of state-run companies where an entity will continue to qualify as a public sector undertaking (PSu) even if the government in it holding falls below 51 per cent. In an interview with IANS, Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg indicated that the government may consider amending laws that will allow an entity to retain the PSE tag even in case the government holding below 51 per cent. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep”As per definition of a PSU company, the central government and the state government together have to have 51 per cent stake. If that comes down, it changes the character of the government company. The law says that today. Logically we can change that” Garg said. Though, the Finance Ministry is still to take a view on the issue, sources have indicated that the PSU definition could be maintained with government holding of say 40 per cent, or 26 per cent in case of certain non-strategic entities. This will not only give flexibility to boards of PSUs in decision-making but also allow more room for the Centre to raise additional revenue from disinvestment. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsMoreover, the finance ministry may also convert a few PSUs into board-driven widely held private entities such as L&T. Garg has indicated that this route may also be followed on a case-to-case basis. “When this decision is taken (to lower government holding), the government will also consciously decide whether that particular company needs to bear the tag of a government company or not.” Garg said. Under present definition, central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) are companies in which the direct holding of the Central government or other CPSEs is 51 per cent or more. Even with lower shareholding of say 40 per cent, the Centre will be the largest shareholder especially in companies such NTPC, Powergrid, BHEL, where public shareholding is already very high. The changes will also facilitate consolidation among the PSUs. For example, Power Finance Corporation (PFC) that has bought the entire government equity in REC, now wants to merge the entity with itself. This exercise, however, will bring down government shareholding in the merged entity to just about 42-43 per cent taking the company outside the PSU fold. If the threshold of government holding is reduced, such consolidation will be promoted without companies fearing the loss of their PSU identity. “The current decision is that unless we put an entity into strategic disinvestment route, the government should hold 51 per cent. “Now, the government is saying two things. One, on a case-to-case basis, the Centre can decide to lower its stake more than 51 per cent. If government decides to keep 51 per cent stake, it will take into account the combined holding of the government and government-controlled institutions. This will allow more space to the Centre to the extent of the shares that are held by other institutions,” Garg said. “The second is initiating public-private partnership projects (PPP) as has been proposed in the Budget for the railways. We will have to get private investment in several areas,” he added. If the PSU definition is changed, it would be easier for the government to mobilise funds even if markets are choppy as PSUs could be asked to buy back government shares. If markets are good, a higher number of government shares in PSUs can be offered at a premium.
Darjeeling: There has been a spate of assaults and lynching attempts in North Bengal, especially in Dooars, on suspicion of child abduction. 7 persons became victims of mob violence in Madarihat on Wednesday.6 youths were selling cookware from a van at Salmandal Chowpathy, Madarihat in Alipurduar district. Suddenly, local residents attacked the youths and the driver of the vehicle, without any provocation. The 7 people got down from the vehicle and began to flee, as the mob started chasing them, shouting that they were child lifters. While three managed to flee, the rest were caught by the mob and were badly beaten up. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaLater, they were rescued by Madarihat police and taken to a local hospital. The mob then vandalised the vehicle and even looted the cookware of a renowned company from the van. The 6 persons used to stay in a rented house in Dhupguri and sold cookware for a living. Alipurduar SP Nagendra Tripathi said: “We will identify the assailants and the rumor mongers and take stringent action. No one will be spared.” Incidentally on July 22, a 32-year-old man was stoned to death on suspicion of being a child lifter. The incident occurred in Sukhani Bustee, Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri district. He used to frequent the area to beg. 6 persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Mumbai:Equity benchmark Sensex on Friday fell over 300 points in line with global market sell-offs as investors panicked after the US decision to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese goods. The trade war tensions between the US and China along with unabated foreign fund outflows weighed heavily on the market sentiments, traders said. Tracking tepid global market trend, the 30-share index was trading 333.32 points, or 0.90 per cent, lower at 36,685.00. Similarly, the 50-share Nifty slipped 105.15 points, or 0.96 per cent to 10,874.85. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal In the Sensex pack, HeroMotoCorp emerged as the biggest loser with a slide of 2.78 per cent, followed by Vedanta, ONGC, Bajaj Finance, HCL Tech, Tata Steel. However, Bharti Airtel, Asian Paint, Tata Motors and Infosys gained in the morning trade. In the previous session, Sensex plunged 462.80 points or 1.23 per cent to end at 37,018.32. The broader NSE Nifty dropped 138 points or 1.24 per cent to close below the key 11,000-mark at 10,980.00. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods triggered fresh tension among investors over the trade battle between the two largest economies. Trump on Thursday announced that the US will impose a 10 per cent levy on USD 300 billion in Chinese goods. The new tariffs is expected to go into effect from September 1. Foreign investors sold shares worth Rs 1,056.55 crore on a net basis on Thursday, as per provisional data with stock exchanges. Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai Composite Index, Hang Seng, Nikkei and Kospi were trading lower in their respective early sessions. Wall Street stocks finished lower on Thursday after announcement of a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods. Meanwhile, the rupee declined by 21 paise to 69.27 against the US dollar in morning trade. The global oil benchmark Brent crude futures surged by 2.61 per cent to 62.08 per barrel.
Chandigarh: After the Centre on Monday revoked Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the government in neighbouring Punjab prohibited any kind of celebrations or protests that could vitiate the atmosphere. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the Punjab Police to be prepared to thwart any attempts by Pakistan to create disturbance in the state. A meeting was held to review the law and order situation in the state in the wake of the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “Pakistan may not take this lightly and could resort to some act against India,” the chief minister said, asking the state police to be ready for any eventuality. He has ordered increased security for the 8,000-odd Kashmiri students in Punjab, and directed superintendents of police and deputy commissioners to meet them and talk to them personally. The chief minister has ordered scaling up of security in Punjab’s districts that border Kashmir. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K He reiterated his earlier directions to the police and the district administration to ensure smooth and safe movement of those leaving Kashmir via Punjab. The border areas of the state have been on high alert for the past two days, since tourists and Amarnath yatris were asked to leave the Kashmir Valley, citing security concerns. The chief minister has, meanwhile, appealed to all, within and outside Jammu and Kashmir, to remain calm and not do anything to disturb the peace and harmony of the nation in these difficult circumstances. Among those who attended the meeting were Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, DG Punjab Police Dinkar Gupta, Home Secretary Satish Chandra and DGP (Intelligence) V K Bhawra.
Mumbai: The CBI on Wednesday urged a special court here to grant permission to conduct polygraph and narco analysis tests on Gokulnath Shetty, a former Punjab National Bank official and key conspirator in the multi-crore fraud case in which diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are the prime accused. Shetty, who is alleged to have played a key role in the Rs 13,700-crore loan fraud while working as the deputy manager at PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai, was arrested in March last year. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details In the application moved before special CBI court judge J C Jagdale, the central investigating agency said it needs to know about the “pecuniary benefits” received by the accused. “The assets and quid pro quo revealed so far during the investigation is minuscule as compared to the quantum of the fraud or Rs 7080.86 crore. In order to ascertain his (Shetty’s) other motives and details of undue pecuniary advantage obtained by him, as one of the main conspirators, it is very much essential to conduct polygraph test and narco analysis test,” reads the application filed by the CBI. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The court will hear the plea on August 14. The polygraph or a lie detector test is conducted using a device or procedure that measures and records several physiological indicators such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity while a person is asked and answers a series of questions. In the narco analysis test, a person is put in a semi-conscious condition in which imagination is neutralised, thus making it difficult to lie. The Anti-Corruption wing of the CBI had booked Shetty and his wife Ashalata for allegedly amassing a large number of movable and immovable properties during the period between April 1, 2011 and May 31, 2017, the day he retired. According to the CBI FIR, the couple had amassed disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 2.63 crore during this period. The scam surfaced when the companies owned by Nirav Modi and Choksi approached the Brady Road branch in January 2018 seeking a Letter of Understanding (LoU) for payments to suppliers. It was alleged Shetty had been bypassing PNB’s core banking system and issuing LoUs fraudulently for seven years. An LoU is a guarantee which is given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant a short-term credit to the applicant. In case of default, the bank issuing the LoU has to pay the liability to the credit-giving bank along with accruing interest. Various agencies are currently probing the fraud while efforts are on to bring back Nirav Modi and Choksi from abroad to India to face trial.
Kolkata: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has described the model code of conduct (MCC), which comes into effect after the announcement of the election schedule, as the “biggest achievement” of India’s political system, evolved by an all-party consensus.Addressing the annual business conclave of IIM- Calcutta on Saturday, Arora said it was a voluntary code agreed upon by the political parties and Election Commission (EC) over the years. “I think the model code of conduct is the biggest achievement of our political system, a document which has evolved by a consensus. It is a voluntary code agreed upon by the parties and ECI together,” Arora, who was on a two-day visit to the city, said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsModel code spells out the dos and don’ts during elections. Political parties, candidates and polling agents are expected to abide by the norms immediately after the announcement of election dates till the conclusion of the entire poll process to ensure free and fair polls. Referring to the criticisms made against the norms laid down in the code of conduct, Arora said they do not affect the development work as suggested by many detractors. “Let me iterate that ongoing projects are not stopped (when the model code of conduct comes into force). But projects, freebies should not be distributed under the guise of ongoing projects. We have to monitor that,” he asserted. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayTo a question by one of the students on the power of social media in influencing poll matters, Arora said it has a “vital role” to play in the elections. “Two months before the Lok Sabha polls, a group of social media users came up with a voluntary code of ethics which, they said, would curb the flow of fake news,” he said without elaborating if the code was taken into consideration. Arora also stated that the new cVIGIL app of the EC has “empowered citizens in a big way”. The EC had introduced the app before the Lok Sabha elections this year to enable people to report any violation of the model code of conduct. “The app has become the biggest instrument of empowerment to citizens during elections. Senior EC officials have told me that 22 countries have recently evinced interest in the cVIGIL app,” the CEC added.
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday ordered that the Unnao cases being tried in Tis Hazari would be held in-camera, citing the vulnerability and threat perception of the witnesses.The court here added that the trial will be held in a manner that the witnesses feel secure and safe so that they can be deposed in court without any fear. At the Unnao hearing on Tuesday, Judge Dharmesh Sharma also asked for a report on the medical condition of the rape victim, who is currently being treated at AIIMS, Delhi after begin airlifted from a Lucknow hospital. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The court said that formal witnesses in the case will be examined on August 16 and 17 and the main witnesses will be examined from August 19 onwards. The Delhi court has been asked to try four of the Unnao cases that pertain to the initial rape of the then minor victim, the subsequent kidnapping and gang rape of the victim, the framing of the victim’s father and the custodial death of the teenager’s father. After hearing arguments on the custodial death of the rape victim’s charges, the court also framed charges of murder against Kuldeep Singh Sengar, his brother Atul Sengar and three UP policemen implicated in the case. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KAfter Sengar had allegedly raped the then 17-year-old girl at his Unnao home, the victim was kidnapped and gang-raped by his henchmen. When the girl’s father was trying to get the case registered at one of the police stations in the UP town, Sengar allegedly instructed policemen in Unnao to plant a country-made pistol on his person and frame him in a purported Arms Act case. It was “part of a larger conspiracy to deter, silence and prevent the father from pursuing the complaint”, the court said. However, Sengar has denied all these charges. Meanwhile, the deadline for the CBI to complete its probe in the accident investigation is fast approaching. The Supreme Court of India had earlier directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to complete its probe and file a chargesheet in the accident case by August 14. A car in which the Unnao rape survivor, her family and lawyer were travelling was hit by an over-speeding truck in Raebareli on Sunday (July 28), killing two members, leaving her and the advocate critically injured. The truck’s number plates were blackened. The CBI has since poured in extensive resources into the investigation, questioned Sengar in jail, taken custody of the truck driver and cleaner and collected forensic evidence from the scene. In fact, the probe team has also conducted lie-detector tests on the driver, cleaner and owner of the truck and recently took the driver Ashish Pal and the cleaner to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar to conduct Narco tests on them.
New Delhi: The mercury in the national capital is likely to rise as not much rains are expected over the next two to three days, the weather department said on Tuesday.Senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Kuldeep Srivastava, said a low pressure area, which is currently over Bihar and the adjoining parts of south Uttar Pradesh, may lead to light to moderate rains in Delhi on August 24, 25 and 26. Vice president, Meteorology and Climate, at Skymet Weather, Mahesh Palawat, said not much precipitation is likely over the next two to three days. A fresh spell of rains is expected on August 25 and 26. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe Safdarjung Observatory, which provides official figures for the city, recorded a high of 34.6 degrees Celsius and a minimum temperature of 24.6 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. Delhi has recorded 115.8 mm of rains against the 30-year average of 176.5 mm, a shortfall of 34 per cent, in August so far. The city gauged 199.2 mm rains in July, which is five per cent less than the long-term average of 210.6 mm. Overall, it has received 326.2 mm of precipitation against the long-term average of 452.6 mm since June 1, when the monsoon season starts, a deficiency of around 28 per cent, IMD data showed. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsMainly due to widespread rains in the national capital last week, the city’s air quality oscillated between ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’ categories. On Tuesday, the city recorded an air quality index of 97, down from 81 on Monday. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said the air quality may slowly slip into the ‘moderate’ category over the next two days. “Delhi and its surrounding areas are in low wind regime. Widespread rainfall is not likely for the next three days (and) that can lead to slow deterioration of air quality,” it said.
Kuala Lumpur: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s second corruption trial has started, with a prosecutor alleging he pilfered billions of dollars from the 1MDB state investment fund through an “elaborate charade” and then sought to cover his tracks. Chief prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram says the prosecution would show how Najib took steps to channel 1MDB money into his accounts using a “circuitous route” including a purported donation from a Saudi prince to prevent detection of the source of the funds. He told the High Court on Wednesday that prosecutors will also show that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho was Najib’s “alter ego” and that the two acted as one in the scam. Najib faces 42 graft charges linked to the 1MDB scandal that led to his election defeat last year.
Noida (UP): The Gautam Buddh Nagar administration acquired and transferred 83 hectares of land from two villages to the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) on Thursday for the proposed Jewar airport, officials said. As much as 81.5 hectares was acquired from Rohi village, while 1.5 hectares from Banwaribans village, taking the total acquisition to 707 hectares, the first phase development of the international greenfield airport, they said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccording to District Magistrate B N Singh, 1,235 hectares will be acquired for the first phase of the airport and the administration expects to hand over 80 per cent of the land to YEIDA by September 15. Deputy Collector and airport project in charge Abhay Singh said so far 125 hectares from Dyanatpur, 306.5 hectares from Rohi, 75 hectares from Parohi, 94 hectares from Ranhera, 100 hectares from Kishorepur and 5.5 hectares from Banwaribans have been acquired. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe first phase of the airport would be spread over 1,334 hectares and is expected to be completed by 2023, according to officials. The airport, second in the national capital region after Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport, will be spread over 5,000 hectares and cost an estimated Rs 15,754 crore. It is touted to have six to eight runways, the most in India, when fully built, the officials said. A global tender was floated to hire a developer for the airport on May 30 by the Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL), an agency floated by the UP government for managing the mega project in Gautam Buddh Nagar district. The bidding process for the airport was floated on May 30 and the last date for receiving queries was July 1. The bid would be finalised on November 29 this year, and work on ground is expected by early 2020, according to the officials.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday mocked the Narendra Modi government at the Centre over the hype around the moon mission Chandrayaan 2 and described it as an ‘attempt to divert attention from the economic slump in the country’.”They are referring to the moon mission as if the Chandrayaan launch is happening for the first time in the country. As if before they came to power, no such missions were taken up. It is an attempt to divert attention from the economic disaster,” Banerjee said at the state Assembly during the discussion on NRC under Rule 185. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHowever, it may be mentioned that the whole nation is anxiously awaiting the historic landing of Chandrayaan 2 on lunar surface late on Friday night. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his twitter handle and wished ISRO scientists luck for Chandrayaan 2’s successful landing on the surface of the moon.The Chief Minister was also vocal about the arrest of former Finance minister P Chidambaram and criticised the manner in which he was arrested.”I have nothing to say on the Chidambaram case. Law will take its own course. But what was the purpose behind keeping him in Tihar jail like an ordinary prisoner? He had been the former Finance and Home minister of the country, so they should have shown minimum respect to him,” she asserted.
OTTAWA – NDP leadership candidate Charlie Angus marked Monday’s return of Parliament by stressing the importance of his party’s next leader having immediate access to the House of Commons — a pointed jab at fellow hopeful Jagmeet Singh.Singh, who sits in the Ontario legislature, has suggested he won’t seek a federal seat right away if elected federal NDP leader — a scenario Angus said he believes should disqualify his rival from seeking to become prime minister in 2019.“I was surprised that Jagmeet said he didn’t think he needed to be in Parliament until 2019,” Angus said Monday in an interview. “That’s his choice … my focus is Parliament, what we are going to do there and the building on the ground from that.”It will be up to party members to decide whether they want a leader who can square off right away with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the party has already waited long enough, he added.In April 2016, some six months after their 2015 election drubbing, NDP members soundly rejected the long-term leadership of Tom Mulcair, sparking the current leadership race. Mulcair opted to stay on until a replacement could be named.Singh, whose campaign has been gaining prominence in recent weeks, said last month he’d prefer to seek a federal seat in the next general election, giving him more time to reach out to Canadians in various parts of the country.He likened the approach to that of former NDP leader Jack Layton, who became leader of the party in 2003 but did not run for a Commons seat until the federal election the following year.“I would be happy to spend the time while I am not a sitting member to campaign across the country, to get to know the issues, to get know the different ridings … spending that time speaking with people, reaching out to them,” Singh said at the time.“I would run for a seat in 2019.”Singh did, however, leave the door open to seeking a seat sooner, saying he’d be “open to hearing more advice” on how to proceed.Angus, who was elected in 2004, said Layton’s situation was different because he was in charge of a smaller caucus of MPs.He also said Trudeau has already benefited enormously from the fact both the NDP and Conservatives had to deal with leadership races since the last election, adding the Tories are now starting to plan and test their electoral message under Andrew Scheer.“You have to be able to have that back and forth between the leaders,” Angus said.“They have to be able to confront each other. It is also a training ground. Parliament is where you try out and you see how you stand up to a sitting prime minister and I’m looking forward to that.”For his part, Singh has garnered the most support from NDP caucus members, with 10 MPs lining up behind him including his latest nod from B.C. MP Sheila Malcolmson.Quebec MP Guy Caron and Manitoba MP Niki Ashton are also running for their party’s top job.NDP faithful can now vote online, with the first ballot results to be revealed on Oct. 1 in Toronto. A candidate must attain at least 50-plus-one per cent of the ballots to win or a subsequent round will ensue.The ballot is preferential, meaning voters can rank candidates in their preferred order.—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter
TORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $15 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.That means the jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on Friday, April 13 will grow to approximately $23 million.
MIDGELL, P.E.I. – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Canada’s Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay emerged from a meeting in a Prince Edward Island barn Friday appearing united on trade and a modernized NAFTA agreement.But while the two former dairy farmers agreed Canada’s supply management system — which controls the price and supply of dairy, eggs and chicken — would remain in place, they left the barn door open for possible changes.“We have a strong system in this country,” MacAulay said during a joint news conference from his family’s farm in Midgell, P.E.I., overlooking St. Peters Bay.“We discussed a lot of things but we’re not going to indicate today what changes will or will not take place in NAFTA or in the supply management system.”Perdue told reporters that the two countries benefit from open markets across the border.“Hopefully we’re moving towards a more reciprocal arrangement there that really could be, in light of NAFTA, be really free trade among North America in that way,” Perdue said. “We all have our interests and Canada has an embedded supply management system in their dairy industry, and it’s not our desire to do away with that, just to regulate it in a way that does not depress world prices.”MacAulay said both countries want their farmers to get a fair deal.“We both understand that it’s a win-win situation, it’s not a win-lose situation,” he said on his farm, where he was born, raised and worked as a dairy and potato farmer.“What Sonny and I are doing are making sure that we have a great rapport and that we respectively defend our farmers in each country.”The bilateral meeting came at a tense time for the two countries on trade issues. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he wants the supply management system dismantled, blasting Canada for charging a 270 per cent tariff on imported dairy products.Despite the rising tensions between Ottawa and Washington, the agriculture leaders spent what appeared to be an amicable day lobster fishing and visiting a local potato operation.The visit offered some assurances to farmers increasingly uneasy about a mounting trade dispute between the neighbouring countries.Alvin Keenan, co-owner of the Rollo Bay Holdings potato farm operation in Souris, P.E.I., said some of the recent tweets by the U.S. president has people “stirred up.”“It makes everybody nervous,” he said, adding that there has been some “concern” about the worsening tone of trade discussions.But Keenan said the meeting Friday between the agriculture counterparts suggested a fair deal could be struck.“I think we’ll end up with a trade agreement that we all can live with,” he said. “We’re neighbours … I’m sure we will continue to do business in the future.”Agriculture is not the only source of friction between the U.S. and Canada. Trump called Justin Trudeau “weak” and “dishonest” in a Twitter tirade after the prime minister spoke against American tariffs on steel and aluminium.On the NAFTA talks, Perdue said Friday the deal has been good for farmers across North America, but needs some renewing and modernization.“I appreciate the president deferring his decision over withdrawing from NAFTA, which I think would have been the wrong decision,” Perdue said.When asked about a timeline for NAFTA negotiations, Perdue said: “The president, interestingly enough, is a unique negotiator — does not respond to deadlines that much.”“We want to get it right and we want to get it done quickly,” he said.But, in keeping with the friendly tone of the news conference, Perdue told reporters he was looking forward to a “day of discovery” on P.E.I., and was eager to get his hands “down into some of that fertile-looking reddish tinge soil.”Conservative agriculture critic Luc Berthold said he hoped what appeared to be an amicable meeting is not an indication that Canada is willing to make compromises on supply management.“(MacAulay) kept the door open to make some concessions on supply management in Canada,” the Quebec MP said in a phone interview. “I think he needs to give us more detail about what for him, and for his government, is a win-win agreement.”MacAulay said he’s been speaking with dairy farmers who are concerned about the situation, and the government needs to be firm in protecting the system.
CANADA (NEWS 1130) – A new poll shows Justin Trudeau is facing some trouble when it comes to voter support. The latest survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds the approval rating for Canada’s Prime Minister is at a new low.According to the poll, the number of people who favour Trudeau had fallen to 35 per cent, that’s a drop of 11 points compared to a year ago.And for the first time since taking office, Trudeau is no longer seen as the national party leader who would be the best Prime Minister. That position has been narrowly taken by conservative Leader Andrew Scheer with 33 per cent versus Trudeau’s 27.Shachi Kurl, executive director of the institute says the deteriorating numbers come after a year of challenges for the Trudeau government.“A thought 12 months for the Trudeau government,” Kurl says. “Whether it’s been dealing with the pipeline file, running into a brick wall of opposition on his carbon pricing plan, the NAFTA negotiation.”Trudeau saw the highest rate of disapproval in Alberta and Saskatchewan with 78 and 79 per cent respectively.But Kurl says a lot can change before the next vote in October, adding 10 months is like a “millennia” in politics.Meanwhile, Trudeau has told the Canadian Press he is confident he will win the next election by staying positive and not resorting to negative politics.“Fundamentally believe in trusting in citizens’ capacity to be thoughtful about where we’re going as communities in a country.”As we head into 2019, the poll also found the biggest concern for voters is the deficit and government spending.The survey was conducted online from Dec. 12-18, 3,239 Canadian adults participated. The survey has a margin error of +/- 2.5 per cent.