Unite against BJP: Mamata

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday asked Trinamool Congress workers to stay united and said the regional parties need to form a coalition to collectively fight the right-wing forces. “The country needs regional parties to come together. I am urging the regional parties to be together and be united,” said Ms. Banerjee. The Chief Minister was addressing party workers after an internal election where Subrata Bakshi was re-elected party’s general secretary. Ms. Banerjee asked party volunteers not to “tolerate politics to divide people using Lord Ram.” Accusing the BJP government at the Centre of “targeting Trinamool out of political vendetta,” she said several party leaders such as former Transport Minister Madan Mitra and party MP Sudip Bandopadhyay were put behind bars on the pretext of being involved in a “conspiracy.” Ms. Banerjee asked the Trinamool leaders against whom cases were lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation to stand up, and said they would not get cowed down as they have done nothing wrong. Recently, the CBI lodged FIRs against 13 senior Trinamool leaders in the Narada sting case. “They [Trinamool leaders] have nothing to worry about as they have not done anything illegal… the BJP’s strategy is to put [all Opposition leaders] in jail so that no one is left to challenge them in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Ms. Banerjee said. Armed ralliesThe CM accused the BJP of indulging in “divisive politics” and cautioned them over the recent armed rallies to mark Ram Navami. “I have never seen armed rallies here. They are taking out armed rallies to incite riots. There is a limit to our patience,” she said. She also accused the Left Front of “colluding” with the BJP. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh denied the allegations and said the Chief Minister was making such “baseless comments” as she was afraid of the “rise of BJP” in Bengal.last_img read more

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Centre’s special representative on Kashmir ‘open to hold talks with all stakeholders’

first_imgThe Centre’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma will begin his five-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir from Monday to carry forward the dialogue process. The former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director will spend the first three days in Srinagar and the rest in Jammu. Mr. Sharma is expected to hold talks with various delegations, and invites have already been sent to several political parties. The Hurriyat Conference has not showed much interest in holding a dialogue with him. Mr. Sharma said he was open to hold talks with all the stakeholders. Meets MehboobaMr. Sharma met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in New Delhi on Saturday. The Chief Minister is learnt to have apprised him of the expectations of the people. In Srinagar, he is expected to meet various political leaders, student groups and youth.The Joint Resistance Forum, a conglomerate of three separatist organisations — the hardline and moderate factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF — had announced earlier this week that they would not meet Mr. Sharma and dubbed his appointment a “time-buying tactic” of the Centre. JKLF chief Yasin Malik accused the Centre of “holding talks at gunpoint”.last_img read more

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Two terrorists killed after failed weapon-snatching bid in J&K

first_imgAt least two militants have been killed in an encounter with security forces which broke out after a failed bid to snatch the weapon of the personal security guard (PSO) of a BJP leader.The terrorists on Thursday tried to snatch the service rifle of constable Bilal Ahmad, who is the PSO of BJP leader Anwar Khan, at Balhama in Pulwama district.The police personnel accompanying Mr. Khan foiled the attempt, during which Ahmad received a bullet injury.“Bodies of two militants have been recovered so far. Their identities are being ascertained,” a police spokesman said.“Incriminating materials, which include weapon and ammunition, have been recovered as well,” he said.Searches are going on at the encounter site as there were reports of third militant as well at the time of weapon-snatching attempt.last_img read more

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No surety on Anantnag polls

first_imgAlmost a year after the byelection to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir was cancelled because of violence, it is not yet clear when the Election Commission (EC) will conduct the polling.The seat has been vacant since July 2016 when Mehbooba Mufti resigned as MP and took over as Chief Minister.Panchayat poll hurdleThe Commission had planned to hold the bypolls immediately after the panchayat polls in the State that were earlier scheduled between February and March, said a senior official.However, with the State government indefinitely postponing the panchayat elections, there is also a question mark over the Anantnag bypoll.“When the State government announced the panchayat polls, we were hopeful that immediately thereafter the Anantnag bypolls could also be held. But then, they had to defer the panchayat polls for security reasons. The Commission is now reviewing the ground situation periodically to take a call on the issue,” said the official.Last year, the EC had announced that byelections to the Srinagar and the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies would be conducted on April 9 and 12, 2017. Central armed police forces were arranged for security arrangements.However, a large number of security personnel could not be deployed in Srinagar because of heavy rain and floods. This, coupled with widespread violence, led to a very low turnout, forcing the EC to review the situation.Following multiple rounds of meetings with all stakeholders, including the State administration, the EC decided to first defer and then cancel the Anantnag byelection.Unprecedented situationIt is the first time that a Lok Sabha seat has been vacant for 22 months. Earlier in 1991, the EC could not hold elections to any Lok Sabha seat in the State due to stepped-up militancy.On April 18, 1991, the President promulgated the Representation of the People (Amendment) Ordinance to enable the EC to conduct Lok Sabha elections without taking into account the seats in Jammu and Kashmir.According to Central government data, the State has witnessed 60 incidents of violence till March this year, which has left 15 security personnel, 17 militants and two civilians dead. This is in contrast to only 39 such incidents during the corresponding period last year. The most number of incidents was reported from south Kashmir, in and around Anantnag.last_img read more

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Extend NRC to all States and seal border: Sonowal

first_imgDefending the National Register of Citizens exercise, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday recommended such an exercise in all States.“The unabated influx from Bangladesh cannot be seen as a standalone problem of Assam. Assam accounts for just a fraction of the total number of illegal immigrants in the country,” Mr. Sonowal said at a seminar, ‘NRC: defending the borders, defending the culture.’ “Census reports also reveal that population increased in the last few decades in many States, including West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Meghalaya, far beyond the national average. So this highlights the intensity of influx of illegal immigrants in India. Even the national capital city of Delhi and other metro cities in India have started experiencing the evil of illegal migration.“Besides being a security risk, they influence politics and eat into the already constrained resources of a developing country. Foreign infiltrators are trying to snatch our rights while staying in our country. This is a big challenge. To face it, I think it is very necessary to have NRC in each State.”He said every State should do it. “If we complete the work of NRC in Assam and if they shift from Assam to another State, what will happen to that State?”He said with the land swap deal with Bangladesh done, the border should be completely sealed. Mr. Sonowal sought to assure the people that government would protect genuine citizens.Started in 1951Speaking after Mr. Sonowal, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said the NRC exercise was started by the Nehru government in 1951 to address the illegal immigration problem. But it was never completed because of “vote bank politics.”Taking a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said, “The great grandson should read history.”He said the U.S., with a larger land area and smaller population, was fencing the Mexico border; Saudi Arabia expelled 7500 Pakistanis, who were their co-religionists; and Bangladesh was in negotiations with Myanmar to deport Rohingya Muslims.However, Mr. Madhav invoked India’s “2000-year-old tradition” of giving refuge to persecuted refugees, like the Parsis, and said the country would be sympathetic to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh, drawing a subtle distinction between immigrants.Asserting that the NRC exercise was not biased, he said it was Supreme Court-monitored, was transparent as it only sought any one of 15 documents and verified them in digital form from the source. He said that objections could be filed before the final NRC draft came and even after that, those who thought they were wrongly left out could approach the Foreigners’ Tribunal and then the High Court.last_img read more

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Odisha CM wants cash assistance under PM-Kisan to be hiked to ₹10,000

first_imgChief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday demanded that the Centre should enhance cash assistance under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme from ₹6,000 to ₹10,000.The Chief Minister raised the demand at a farmers’ conclave in Bargarh district after government officials announced in Bhubaneswar that Odisha will extend all support for implementation of the PM-Kisan scheme in the State.Mr. Patnaik had earlier written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking enhancement of cash incentive under PM-Kisan and inclusion of landless farmers, sharecroppers and farmers in distress in the scheme as was done under the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme launched by his government.The Chief Minister slammed the farmers’ body that called for Statewide bandh on Thursday saying “no one can stop the KALIA scheme, which aims to improve agricultural prosperity and reduce poverty”.At the rally, Mr. Patnaik released a sum of ₹700 crore that was transferred to the bank accounts of 14 lakh farmers of the State under the KALIA scheme. Earlier, financial assistance was released for over 12 lakh farmers at the first conclave held at Puri, and for 3.5 lakh farmers at the meeting held at Kendrapara.Mr. Patnaik said that he was monitoring the implementation of the scheme to ensure that no one was deprived of the benefits under KALIA.During his visit, Mr. Patnaik inaugurated the Sohela-Nuapada Biju Expressway and laid foundation stone of various projects worth ₹2,100 crore. He also announced that steps will be taken for revival of the Bargarh sugar mill.last_img read more

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Yogi Adityanath visits Hanuman temple in Lucknow

first_imgUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath offered prayers at the famous Hanuman Setu temple here on Tuesday, a day after the Election Commission barred him from electioneering for 72 hours for likening the ongoing Lok Sabha polls to a contest between ‘Ali’ and ‘Bajrang Bali.’ The Chief Minister spent about 25 minutes at the temple and was seen bowing before the deity and sitting with folded hands to recite “Hanuman Chalisa.” He refused to take questions from the mediapersons, following the poll panel’s gag order. Ali is a revered figure in Islam. Bajrang Bali is another name for Lord Hanuman.last_img read more

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Militant killed in encounter with security forces in Kashmir’s Baramulla

first_imgA militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, an Army official said Saturday. The encounter took place at Watergam town in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Some weapons and war-like stores were recovered from the site of the operation, the official said. The operation was over but the militant was yet to be identified, he said, adding that further details were awaited.last_img

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ScienceShot: Beaked Whales Smash Deep-Dive Record

first_imgCuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) just shattered their own deep-diving record—as well as that of elephant seals, which were the previous record-holders. The little-known species of beaked whales, cigar-shaped cetaceans with prominent snouts and which range from tropical to northern temperate seas, has long been considered one of the most extreme divers in the ocean, capable of reaching a depth of 1888 meters and staying below for 95 minutes. But a new study that tracked eight individuals off the coast of southern California via satellite tags, as in the photo above, shows they can do much more. (Male Cuvier’s beaked whales have tusks, and the scars on the back of the male in the photo are from fighting with other males.) One whale dove to 2992 meters below the surface, breaking the deep-dive record of a southern elephant seal that was tracked to 2388 meters. Another Cuvier’s beaked whale in the study remained below the surface for 2 hours and 17 minutes. Unlike elephant seals and deep-diving sperm whales, which remain at the surface for an extended period after their dives, the beaked whales headed back into the depths less than 2 minutes later, the scientists report online today in PLOS ONE. The beaked whales in the study made their deep dives about seven times a day, foraging for squid and fish; they spent more time at the surface at night. By better understanding this species’ diving behaviors, the scientists hope to solve an ongoing mystery: Why are Cuvier’s beaked whales particularly sensitive to military sonar operations? Sixty-nine percent of all recorded strandings of marine mammals that were associated with such operations involved this species. Yet these eight whales were tagged and followed on a U.S. Navy sonar training range, leading the scientists to suggest that Cuvier’s beaked whales in this area may have adapted to human noise—perhaps, in part, by becoming the most extreme of extreme divers.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Do Monkeys Grieve for Fallen Mates?

first_imgThe two marmosets—small, New World monkeys—had been a closely bonded couple for more than 3 years. Then, one fateful day, the female had a terrible accident. She fell out of a tree and hit her head on a ceramic vase that happened to be underneath on the forest floor. Her partner left two of their infants alone in the tree and jumped down to apparently comfort her, until she died an agonizing death a couple of hours later.According to the researchers who recorded the events with a video camera (see video above), this is the first time such compassionate mourning behavior has been observed outside of humans and chimpanzees, and it could indicate that mourning is more widespread among primates than previously thought.Humans mourn their dead, of course, and some recent studies have strongly suggested that chimpanzees do as well. Scientists have recorded cases of adult chimps apparently caring for fellow animals before they die, and chimp mothers have been observed carrying around the bodies of infants for days after their death—although scientists have debated whether the latter behavior represents true grieving or if the mothers didn’t realize their infants were really dead.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But there has been little or no evidence that other primates engage in these kinds of behaviors. Indeed, a recent review of the evidence led by anthropologist Peter Fashing of California State University, Fullerton, concluded that there were no convincing observations of “compassionate caretaking” of dying individuals among other nonhuman primates, such as monkeys.The sad story of the two marmosets unfolded on 7 February 2005. A team led by animal behavior researcher Bruna Bezerra, now at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, had been watching the marmoset group since 2001 in their northeast Brazil home, and the pair had been the dominant male and female since observations began. When the female fell out of the tree, her partner engaged in a number of behaviors, including embracing her, sniffing at her, chasing other monkeys away, sitting by her, and trying to copulate with her. He also emitted alarm calls normally used when a predator is near. And several months after her death, the male disappeared from the marmoset group, never to be seen again.The team points out that marmosets, like humans but unlike chimps, form male-female couples to bear and raise infants—a relationship known as pair-bonding—and that this might explain why the male was particularly affected by the female’s death. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time” such behavior “has been reported for a New World monkey,” says Bezerra, whose team reports its findings this month in Primates. She adds that it was “clear to me” that the male was engaging in caretaking of his dying partner, although she adds that some of his behaviors—such as emitting alarm calls and trying to mate with her—might have been signs of stress rather than compassion.Fashing says that the new observations demonstrate that “like chimpanzees, common marmosets are capable of interacting with dying group mates. It is especially interesting because marmosets are cooperative breeders with unusually strong male-female bonds,” and “we would expect that these animals would be especially affected by the loss of their primary mating and social partner.” Nevertheless, Fashing cautions that because the report is based on just one observation, it is premature to draw conclusions about how widespread such behavior is in marmosets and other cooperatively breeding primates.James Anderson, a psychologist at Kyoto University in Japan who has studied mourning behavior in chimps, agrees. “There isn’t a strong case made for describing the reactions as akin to those seen in humans and chimpanzees,” he says. Rather, the male marmoset’s behavior, including the attempts to copulate with the female, could indicate that he was excited and aroused by her lying on the ground, “rather than any kind of compassion.”last_img read more

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Can Female Comedians Ever Make it in India

first_imgIndia’s gigantic showbiz sector, Bollywood included, has yet to throw up a single female comic celebrity, who headlines shows, programmes or movies, or has a popular fan-base. Why is it over the decades that men have monopolized this genre — from Gope, Johnny Walker, Kishore Kumar, Om Prakash, Dhumal, Mehmood, Rajendranath, Jagdeep, Asrani, Paintal, Shakti Kapoor …. Sometimes, Bollywood heroes have donned the comic hat — Amitabh in tons of corny films with Meenakshi Sheshadri and Jaya Prada in the 1980s, Dharamendra in Chupke Chupke, Amol Palekar in Golmaal and Meri Biwi ki Shaadi; Aamir and Salman Khan in Andaaz Apna Apna; Akshay Kumar and Salman in Mujhse Shaadi Karogi; Salman in Dabangg; Shahrukh Khan in Chennai Express; Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham in Dostana — in a desire to extend and expand their scope and range. Does the showbiz establishment believe that women cannot be as funny as men, or is it the old tried and tested misogyny on overdrive?Aishwarya Rai on Comedy Nights with Kapil.Film Critic Saibal Chatterjee attributes to the 500 year old parampara and Indian tradition: “This hallowed belief cuts both ways. While the richness is there, the fixation of women having specific roles allocated to them — mother, sister, wife, daughter — and the uncompromising requirement of playing them out in letter and spirit remains sacrosanct and breaking out of these roles to play joker is unthinkable! While thriving in social media times and hitting all the digital platforms with abandon is cool, as is naughty jokes among close friends, to be openly brazen, free n’ frank and exhibit comic flair physically on a public platform – theater, TV, screen – is totally chhee chhee territory! Politically incorrect and shockingly inappropriate … Log kya kahenge? Kaun shaadi karega? (what will people say? Who will marry them?”)Ace script writer Apurva Asrani (Shahid, Citylights, Aligarh) concurs: “Chatterjee is spot-on. We have this Mother India complex and to either break free or cut loose is … blasphemy! Interestingly, it’s not that we lack female comic talent. Hema Malani in Sholay and Seeta aur Geeta, and Sridevi in Chaalbaaz, Mr. India and tons of other movies, even Juhi Chawla, Moushumi Chatterjee (Angoor) and Kangana Ranaut (Queen, Tanu Weds Manu) have exhibited fine comic flair garnering audience appreciation, but conditioned chauvinistic and tunnel-viewed values have disallowed this exciting track to come center-stage and embrace a new category. So these remain patronizing token also-ran tracks, not to be taken too seriously. Sad, but true.”Salman Khan in Dabaang.Also, Asrani suggests that in recent times, with cheap adult comedies (Welcome, No Entry and Kya Kool Hai Hum) making the rounds, female funnies are out of sync and have little space.Indian-born, bred and buttered New York-based female comedian Radhika Vaz brings her own comic spin to the debate. Wowing New York’s male-dominated comedy circuit with sexually frank, irreverent, female howlers, Vaz seems to have cracked the glass ceiling and attracted fans galore.Stalking the stage, she unleashes one gem after another … “I believe that the number one reason for a woman to walk away from a spontaneous sexual encounter is … untended body hair. Anywhere — and we all know we have loads of nooks and crannies for it!” This in-your-face, funny, naughty exploration of what it is like to be a woman, in a funny, ribald fashion, has drawn US audiences. Can it work here, in similar fashion? A niche, elite, anglicized and westernized, metro-centric audience, perhaps, but its appeal is doubtful across the wider spectrum of Indian society. Chhee chhee, ganda, so ghatiya! Kitni besharam hai, yeh aurat! (Tut, tut, dirty, so cheap, how smaless is this woman).Kya Kool Hai HumVaz believes that it’s about “every behavorial pattern women have been told to avoid. Proving to the world that being funny is not ladylike and won’t get us a man; being demure, quiet and allowing them to think they are the funniest guys in the room, will.”So, there you are. Be it the wisecracks in Comedy Nights with Kapil, where women are the butt of all jokes, not the driving force, and males (Gutthi) play women with crass, broad strokes to an audience begging for more — or the super-fat Bharati (shades of yesteryears Tun Tun and Manorama?) doing her number — comedy nights are strictly a men only affair. Ellen? Tina Fey? Sarah Silverman? Whoopee Goldberg? In mainstream Indian showbiz platforms? That would be a real joke. Related Itemslast_img read more

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Walmart’s New Foothold in India Has As Many Customers As Amazon Prime

first_imgAmazon.com revealed a stunning statistic last month when it announced that its Prime service had hit more than 100 million subscribers worldwide.Its largest American competitor, Walmart, may have just captured as many new customers in India alone.The retail giant announced Wednesday that it would make a 77 percent stake in Flipkart, which since its founding more than a decade ago has evolved from a modest startup into one of India’s leading e-commerce site. The $16 billion acquisition keeps Walmart in step with Amazon as the two behemoths look to expand in India, with 1.3 billion people and a fast-growing economy.The deal all but assures an ongoing global rivalry between Walmart and Amazon. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) And the move comes less than two years after Walmart stepped up its online game in the United States by buying Jet.com for $3.3 billion.In an interesting twist, this time Walmart is snapping up a company started by none other than two former Amazon employees.“For Walmart, this is the only way left to enter the Indian market and they are paying a premium for the access,” said Satish Meena, a Forrester analyst based in New Delhi. “This will provide them around 54 million active online buyers and a company with 40 percent of the Indian online retail market.”In March, Meena forecasted that India’s online retail market remained the fastest-growing market in the world. At that point, Meena wrote that Amazon was closing the gap with Flipkart to become the single-largest online retailer in India in terms of sales. Fashion was the only category in which Flipkart maintained a significant edge.The report noted that as Amazon focused on fashion and grocery in 2017 and 2018, “Flipkart will find it difficult to retain its edge in 2018.”Walmart’s acquisition changes that dynamic. Now, the retailer can help launch Flipkart’s grocery services to compete with Amazon’s. And Walmart can give Flipkart a boost in its fashion and clothing category, especially for low-to mid-priced products.“But the overall question of customer experience will be the key factor,” Meena said.Walmart arrived in India in 2007 as it sought to debut brick-and-mortar stores in its major cities. But local regulations on foreign retailers hampered plans for Walmart’s massive expansion.Meanwhile, the two former Amazon employees, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, steadily grew Flipkart from the book-selling company they founded in a two-bedroom apartment in Bangalore. Today, the company sells 80 million products across more than 80 categories and has 100 million registered users, according to its website. The whole operation involves 100,000 sellers and 8 million shipments a month.In its news release, Walmart also cast the acquisition as creating jobs within India’s economy and supporting small business, even giving a nod to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign.The rest of Flipkart will be owned by existing investors, including co-founder Binny Bansal, the Chinese tech giant Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft.Jared Wiesel, partner at the tech-enabled consulting firm Revenue Analytics, said Walmart – which has traditionally operated physical stores – would also benefit from Flipkart’s technological expertise. And even beyond the immediate payoffs, Walmart’s growth in India through Flipkart should accelerate for years.“The long-term play is they’ll get in, maybe not on the ground floor, but you’re on floor two,” Wiesel said. “Get in, establish your base, bringing in additional resources and help Flipkart continue to grow and evolve in the consumer fabric of India so that when you wake up five years from now, 10 years from now, the consumers are orders of magnitude more.”Like Wiesel, Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s, highlighted the investment Walmart is making for the future, particularly as India’s smartphone use booms and millennials drive online shopping.And so, for the price of $16 billion, O’Shea said Walmart’s largest deal “becomes much bigger and more profitable down the road.”“You’re looking up the runway, and the runway in India is about as limitless as there is anywhere,” O’Shea said.© 2018, The Washington Post Related Itemslast_img read more

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Odisha delta site is 3,600 years old

first_imgThe Archaeological Survey of India, which had discovered ancient artefacts and grain during excavations at Bharati Huda in Jallarpur village in Odisha’s Cuttack district last year, said a rural settlement had thrived at the site about 3600 years ago.The age of the settlement was arrived at after radiocarbon dating of charcoal samples found at the site by the Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) in New Delhi using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). Separate group“This excavation confirmed that a separate ethnic group that was using non-black-and-red ware might have existed during the early chalcolithic cultural horizon and a new class of ethnic group might have come into contact with the rural settlers at Bharati Huda during mature phase of chalcolithic culture,” Superintending Archaeologist of ASI’s excavation branch in Bhubaneswar D. Garnayak said on Saturday.The IUAC report says the charcoal samples found in Layer three of the excavation dated backed to 1072 BCE, Layer 4 to 1099 BCE, Layer 5 to 1269 BCE and Layer 7 to 1404 BCE. Radiocarbon ages were calibrated using Oxcal software and median ages are utilized in this report. Scientific study of two more layers could push the age back by another 100 years.Chocolate-slipped potteryAccording to Mr. Garnayak, a new religious belief emerged in the form of nature worship as evident from a single specimen of the Sun motif found arrayed in chocolate-slipped pottery. “On the basis of this evidence, we believe the antiquity of Sun worship dated back to 1099 BCE in the Prachi valley. Devotees from different parts of Odisha as well as the neighbouring States congregated at Chandrabhaga on the shore of the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Magha Saptami to pay homage to Sun God,” he claimed. The world famous Sun temple of Konark, located some 30 kilometres from the excavation, was built in the 13th century CE. The tradition of Sun worship seems to have evolved with human settlements in the region, Mr. Garnayak suggested.“The excavated remains indicate existence of Chalcolithic culture in the valley as attested by the presence of mud structural remains, large quantity of potsherds, ground and polished stone tools, bone tools, beads of semi-precious stones, terracotta objects, huge quantity of faunal remains and carbonized grains. It was confirmed by the scientific dating done by IUAC, New Delhi,” he said. Continuous settlement“The material culture of the site gradually developed without major changes having continuation of earlier cultural features till it was abandoned. It’s like a flow of culture from incipient agro based settlement to full-fledged agricultural society. The site has cultural similarity with Golabai Sasan, Suabarei and other excavated and explored sites in the Mahanadi delta and partial similarity with the chalcolithic sites of middle Mahanadi valley and sites of central and eastern India,” he said. According to the archaeologist, the inhabitants practised agriculture and animal husbandry as attested by the findings of domesticated variety of rice and jute and evidence of domesticated cattle among the faunal remains as well as terracotta bull figurine.last_img read more

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Koraput villagers use own funds to construct irrigation system

first_imgAround 60 agrarian families of Odisha’s Koraput town have used their own funds and labour to build an irrigation system to get extra water for their fields. These families of the ‘mali’ community live at Pandiki Maliguda street of ward number 14 of Koraput municipality. Though Pandiki Maliguda became a part of the Koraput municipality around seven years ago, the families still continue to earn their living by cultivating paddy, vegetables and flowers. Inhabitants of Koraput town still call Pandiki Maliguda a village.The families were facing a water crisis during the summer months. “As their demand for a small project to irrigate their fields was not fulfilled by the administration, they decided to bring water to their fields on their own” said a resident of Koraput, Ch. Santakar.There is a check dam and water reservoir uphill near the village. “We decided to lay a pipeline on our own to transport water to our fields. All families donated money and labour for the purpose and our dream irrigation project was established about a year ago at a cost of ₹1.80 lakh,” said Mukund Nayak, an inhabitant of Pandiki Maliguda.Thirty-six pipes of eight inch diameter were used for the project. According to Mr. Nayak, the project has already started showing results as hey were able to cultivate vegetables and flowers even during this summer, when there was no rain.Efforts laudedGoura Patnaik, Executive Officer of the Koraput municipality, lauded the efforts of the families and said efforts are on to provide piped drinking water supply to Pandiki Maliguda street within a few days.last_img read more

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Khattar likely to expand Cabinet within two days

first_imgHaryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is likely to expand his Cabinet within the next two days, 15 days after the BJP-Jannayak Janta Party coalition government was formed.The names of Ministers have been finalised after a meeting held in New Delhi between Mr. Khattar and BJP national president Amit Shah along with other senior leaders. The Cabinet is expected to be expanded by November 13, a party source told The Hindu.Mr. Khattar was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the second time on October 27, while JJP’s Dushyant Chautala took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister. However, no other Minister took oath.Striking a balance among various castes, communities and regions, which plays a key role in the State politics, besides the JJP’s bargaining for crucial portfolios such as Home and Finance are reported to be the reasons behind the delay in the expansion.The front-runners for the ministerial post from the BJP includes former Health Minister Anil Vij, former Speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar and former Minister Banwari Lal. The names of Kamal Gupta, Subhash Sudha, Seema Trikha, Mahaipal Dhanda, Deepak Mangla and Ghanshyam Saraf are also doing rounds.From the JJP, Ram Kumar Gautam, Anoop Dhanak and Ishwar Singh are among the probables. Independent MLAs Ranjit Chautala and Balraj Kundu, who won after being denied a BJP ticket, are prominent among those in the race.The BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 40 seats in the Assembly polls but it fell short of six seats to form the government on its own. The BJP and the JJP, which won 10 seats, formed the alliance government.last_img read more

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U.P. Congress issues notices to 11 veterans for opposing revamp

first_imgThe Congress on Thursday served notices to 11 leaders in Uttar Pradesh for “unnecessarily opposing” the party over the revamp of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) in October. The sharply-worded notice asked them to reply to the charges against them within 24 hours. A U.P. Congress press release said the notices were sent by the State unit’s disciplinary committee on the instructions of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is the general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh (East), and UPCC chief Ajay Kumar Lallu. They were served notices in view of their acts of indiscipline, it said. The 11 leaders are mostly old-timers, disgruntled after the reorganisation of the UPCC on October 7 when Mr. Lallu replaced Raj Babbar as the State unit’s president. They include an AICC member, former Ministers, a district unit chief and one-time MLAs. “It has come to the notice of the disciplinary committee through newspapers that you have been continuously and unnecessarily opposing the AICC decisions concerning the UPCC publicly by holding meetings,” the notice said. “Through these meetings and statements in the media, the image of the Congress party has been tarnished. This was not expected from senior leaders like you,” it added. “This behaviour of yours is against the policies and ideas of the party .These actions come under the ambit of indiscipline. You have been given 24 hours time to give your clarification as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against you,” it said. Earlier, All India Congress Committee secretary Dhiraj Gurjar said in New Delhi that the party will take action if there is indiscipline, whatever the seniority of the Congress member. The move comes after the absence of several party veterans from two recent meetings called by the UPCC chief in Lucknow.Move to meet Sonia Instead, the disgruntled veterans have been holding their own meetings. They had also planned to meet party president Sonia Gandhi as a delegation to voice their grievances. Those served notices include former MP Santosh Singh, former MLC Siraj Mehdi, former Ministers Ram Krishna Dwivedi and Satyadev Tripathi and AICC member Rajendra Singh Solanki.last_img read more

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Nationals back as top teams collide

first_imgLATEST STORIES PBA Women’s 3×3 – March 18, 2016 PLAY LIST 35:47PBA Women’s 3×3 – March 18, 201616:08PBA Women’s 3×3 Tournament – December 16, 201500:47Romeo credits coaches, team after 41-point night01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PSC, Cayetano to meet on SEA Games hosting Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding All eyes, however, are on Romeo, who bailed Gilas out of the woods in two critical games in Beirut, as he returns to a Batang Pier crew badly needing a shot in the arm in a bid to join the frenzied hunt for top four berths and twice-to-beat privileges in the season-closing conference.And about the only thing coach Franz Pumaren is worried about is his prized5-foot-10 point guard getting enough sleep for GlobalPort’s 7 p.m. clash with powerhouse San Miguel Beer, which will welcome back Fajardo.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“He practiced (Thursday) but said that he hasn’t had any sleep yet,” Pumaren told the Inquirer over the phone.Romeo arrived with the rest of the PH team on Tuesday night and is battling jetlag, which could hit all the Nationals the hardest on Friday.“That’s the only problem we have right now,” Pumaren added. “Otherwise, he seems to be good. We will be using him (for the game) depending on how he feels. But definitely, he will play.” LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Romeo was the hero in Gilas’ 97-86 victory over China in the group stage and against Jordan, 75-70, in the clash for seventh place in the Fiba Asia Cup, and his return to GlobalPort certainly gives the Batang Pier more teeth against the Beermen.San Miguel is at 3-1 and will play the 6-foot-10 Fajardo limited minutes because of a pulled calf muscle that kept him out of the first three Gilas games.Wright, on the other hand, is sorely needed back at Phoenix Petroleum as the Fuel Masters try to arrest a five-game slide against TNT KaTropa in the 4:15 p.m. contest.The Texters are set to get back Castro and Pogoy.Phoenix will now have two deadly outside guns against TNT with Wright and new acquisition Jeff Chan.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chiefcenter_img Photo from Fiba.comSleep or no sleep, Terrence Romeo—Gilas Pilipinas’ most explosive scorer in the recent Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon—is back to give GlobalPort a boost.June Mar Fajardo, Matthew Wright, Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy are returning as well, as teams slowly return to full force with the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations to enter its second half starting Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program MOST READ LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

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