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Tirumala decked up for nine day celestial Brahmotsavam

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 05:51:00 AM
Stage is set for the nine-day annual Brahmotsavams of Lord Venkateswara commencing on 23 September. Tirumala the abode of Lord Venakateswara (Balaji) is all dressed up with flower medians, electrical display stations, security barricades, extended parking lots; streamlined food parks Laddu Prasadam counters and waiting queues.The annual Brahmotsavam also called Salakatla Brahmotsavam festival is the pinnacle of events organized by the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams (TTD) out of a total of 450 festivals round the year. Brahmotsavam is celebrated in memory of Lord Venkateswaras self-manifestation day under the leadership of Brahma the son of Vishnu.The TTD this year is spending Rs 8 crore on the annual event. TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal has said that efforts are being made to organize the annual event in an unprecedented way."The stress is on meeting the requirements of the common pilgrims. Giving them timely, free and quality food and to maintain hygiene on the hills," he said. However, TTD made it clear that the entry into the four Mada streets will be restricted considering the heavy rush.The vigilance department has installed 1,400 CCTV cameras all over the hills to keep an eye on troublemakers. The most sought after the procession of the auspicious 'Garuda Seva' would start at 7.30 p.m. on September 27 and is expected to last till 1.00 a.m.The state carrier APSRTC which has pressed 500 buses into service will organize 4,000 trips on Garuda Vahana day also from Tirupati to Tirumala, on the remaining days it will run only 2000 trips per day.Chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will make the customary presentation of 'silk vastrams' on behalf of the State government on the first day soon after the 'Dhwajarohanam' festival.Medical camps will be organized by the APSRTC, South-Central Railway (SCR) and the TTD at different places to benefit devotees. SCR is running two special trains between Tirupati and coastal city Kakinada to mop up the additional rush.

Chakma refugees to get citizenship after 50 years in India, not land

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 05:40:09 AM
Chakma and Hajong refugees who fled to India from Bangladesh more than five decades ago are set to get limited citizenship in India, but officials say they cannot be given land or tribal rights as that may trigger conflict.Indias home ministry last week said it would comply with a 2015 Supreme Court order to grant citizenship to some 54,000 Chakma and Hajong, who are Buddhists and Hindus, respectively.But following protests from the northeastern states where most of them had settled, a senior official said the Indian government would appeal the order so that the rights of indigenous people in these states are protected."We are trying to tell the Supreme Court that giving Chakmas and Hajongs the same rights is not acceptable to us," junior home minister Kiren Rijiju told reporters on Monday.The chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh state, where most of the refugees live, has said such a move would change the demographics of the state which has a predominantly tribal population with special rights including over land.India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which spells out refugee rights and state responsibilities to protect them.Nor does it have a domestic law to protect the more than 200,000 refugees it hosts, including Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Afghans, Bangladeshis and Rohingyas from Myanmar.They are all considered foreigners by law, with limits on their movement within and outside the country, and barred from government schools and jobs, as well as welfare benefits.BALANCE OF POWERThe Chittagong Hill Tracts region in the southeast of Bangladesh has been the site of violent ethnic conflict for decades, displacing tens of thousands of indigenous people from what was then East Pakistan.The Chakma and Hajong settled in Indias Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and West Bengal states."The Chakma and Hajong have been hanging around for decades without any rights, so there is definitely a need to give them sort of citizenship," said Walter Fernandes, a senior fellow at the North Eastern Social Research Centre in Guwahati in Assam."But giving tens of thousands rights in the small northeastern states can be a problem. Jobs are not plentiful, land is scarce, and it can shift the balance of power in small constituencies," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.The decision to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong comes as India is under fire for its plan to deport some 40,000 Rohingya Muslims who face persecution in Myanmar.On Monday, Indias home ministry told the Supreme Court its hardline stance was justified by the security threat posed by the immigrants, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled to Bangladesh, from where many have crossed into India.Analysts say granting citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modis Hindu nationalist governments plan to favour non-Muslim immigrants.The governments Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 proposed to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians eligible for citizenship.Earlier this year, the government began issuing Tibetan refugees Indian passports. They can get limited citizenship rights, and cannot own land.The Chakma and Hajong refugees - who are half as numerous as Tibetan refugees in India - want full rights, a representative said."Citizenship is our legal right, and we must get all the rights that an Indian citizen has, including over land," said Paritosh Chakma, secretary general of the All India Chakma Social Forum lobby group."We are also a tribal people, we have lived here a long time, and our traditions and customs are the same. The concerns about stealing jobs and land are not valid." (Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, womens rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit to see more stories.)

Why should only petro consumers pay for infra projects: Reddy

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 04:58:34 AM
Former oil minister S Jaipal Reddy has questioned the Centres policy of utilising its revenues from petroleum products for infrastructure projects, saying the high prices of diesel and petrol are hitting the middle class hard."Why should only the consumers of petroleum products pay for all the glitzy projects of the Government of India?" the senior Congress leader asked.He told PTI here that when the Congress-led UPA was in power, the government was spending Rs 1.2 lakh crore on gas subsidy when the fuel prices were high."Today, your (the Centres) gas subsidy is Rs 40,000 crore. The saving of the Government of India because of low international prices is nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore," claimed Reddy, who was the petroleum and natural gas minister under the UPA II.He alleged that while the government is saving on subsidy, it increasing its revenue, "all at the cost of the consumer". "They (the hike in petro products) are borne by the middle classes. Most people have only scooters or small cars. How would they be able to eke out their living?"Reddy sought to make a strong case for the government to reduce excise duty on petroleum products. "Let the boon of low international prices be passed on to the consumer; why are you converting this accidental boon into a curse?"Asked if the Centre would cut excise duty on these products, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week said, "That is a call the finance ministry has to take, but one thing is very clear -- we have to balance developmental needs with consumer aspirations.""We have to fund massive highways, and road development plans, railway modernisation and expansion, rural sanitation, drinking water, primary healthcare and education. Allocation on all these heads has gone up significantly. Where do we get resource for these?" Pradhan had said.Reddy reiterated that bringing petroleum products under the ambit of GST is "desirable", but not feasible as the states would oppose such a move."While putting it (petroleum products) in GST is advisable and desirable, its not a feasible proposition because state governments... of the BJP also, will not agree," he claimed.Saying many states have drastically increased VAT (value added tax), Pradhan had said, "It is high time the GST Council considered bringing petroleum products under the ambit of GST."Asked for his comment on Pradhans statement, Reddy said, "They (the NDA government) knew that the GST Council would never include this (petroleum products). The Government of India never insisted on it. State governments would not agree."For the central and state governments, petroleum products have become the "first resort" for raising revenues, the former Union minister said.For every problem, the states increase the cess (VAT) on petrol and diesel "because with one increase, they mop up Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore per annum additionally" depending on the size of the state, he pointed out.Reddy alleged that the government is trying to "indulge in profiteering", saying the "current policy of keeping the excise duty high when international prices are ruling lower is very incorrect".

Failing to form new party, Shankarsinh Vaghela to support political outfit

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 04:46:06 AM
Rebel Congress leader and former Gujarat chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela on Tuesday announced support to a newly-formed political front in the state 'Jan Vikalp Morcha' for the forthcoming Assembly polls in the state.Vaghela, who had in late 1990s through an experiment of a third political entity - Rashtriya Janata Party - failed to make any electoral dent in the state that witnesses straight fight between BJP and Congress, this time is treading cautiously. "Jan Vikalp is just a political front and not a political party," Vaghela told mediapersons in Ahmedabad.Jan Vikalp Morcha was formed by Parthesh Patel, advisor for online media to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in that past and to Shankarsinh Vaghela in the recent past announced formation of Jan Vikalp Morcha after recent Rajya Sabha polls. "We are planning for not just 2017 polls but beyond that too," Patel had said earlier.Vaghela, on Tuesday said that Jan Vikalp would have a positive approach and work as an "alternative force" to garner public anger against ruling BJP and "ineffective" Congress. "It is a myth to say that an alternative political force cannot work in Gujarat. Through Jan Vikalp we will provide a platform to anyone willing to serve people. Those who want to benefit from people are not welcome," Vaghela said. "Even Aam Aadmi Party, NCP or JD(U) or anyone who is in sync with our ideology is welcome to join this third front. We will support them too."Vaghela went on to say that his political front would try to field candidates to all the 182 Assembly seats. "We would hold primaries and the candidates would be decided by the people themselves. No one needs to be approached for candidacy but people," he said.Vaghela, who has engineered rebellion in both BJP in late 1990s and recently in Congress, said that people in the state were fed up with both the parties and "desparate for change".Though Vaghela's current move is seen to benefit BJP by eating in to votes of Opposition parties, sources say that his relationship with BJP has run into rough patch post loss of Balwantsinh Rajput - Congress rebel turned third BJP candidate in Rajya Sabha polls.Vaghela, who had walked out of Congress in July along with 13 rebel legislators, said that none of the 10 rebel Congress legislators who have joined BJP would be part of Jan Vikalp. "They (10 Congress rebels) have gone to BJP on their own volition. Mahendrasinh (Vaghela's son) too is independent and you need to ask him about his leanings. As for me I am not joining any political party nor am I going to contest elections," Vaghela said.

After Kaskar, his two aides arrested in extortion case

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 04:35:20 AM
Two aides of Iqbal Kaskar, the brother of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, were today arrested in connection with an extortion case, a senior police official said.Kaskar and his associates had allegedly been threatening a prominent builder in Thane, in Dawoods name since 2013 and extorted Rs 30 lakh and four flats from him, police said.Mumtaz Sheikh and Israr Ali Jamil Sayyad, who were earlier detained, were formally placed under arrest, Thanes Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh said.Besides, Iqbal Parkar, a close relative of Haseena Parkar, Dawoods sister, and drug dealer Mohammad Yasin Khwaja Hussain were also detained in connection with the case, the officer said.Kaskar was last night taken into custody from his sister Haseenas house in Nagpada area of Central Mumbai, by a team led by encounter specialist and the anti-extortion cells senior police inspector Pradeep Sharma.He was questioned till late last night by the crime branch officials and then formally arrested, Singh said.The police are also investigating if Dawood Ibrahim had any role in the matter and if it is found, he will also be made an accused in the case, the commissioner said at a press conference here.Kaskar and his associates allegedly demanded Rs 30 lakh and four flats from the builder in Dawoods name. He had also sent his aide to the builders office and at the construction site to extort money, Singh said.The builder later gave four flats worth Rs 5 crore and Rs 30 lakh in cash to Kaskar but then also he was being threatened by the accused, the police said.Out of the four flats, three were sold and one was registered in the name of Sayyad, who was staying in it for the last few years, the senior police officer said.A few days ago, an extortion case was registered on the basis of the complaint by the builder at Thanes Kasarwadavali police station under IPC section 384 (extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) and 387 (putting person in fear of death or of grievous hurt, in order to commit extortion).Later, the case was handed over to the Thane Polices anti-extortion cell.During investigation, the police initially nabbed Sheikh and Sayyad from Thane. Later, Kaskars name also cropped up in the case, police said.The names of some builders and politicians, including corporators, have allegedly also come up during the investigation in the case, Singh said."We are investigating whether they were helping Kaskar in the extortion racket. If needed, we will also take help of the Enforcement Directorate and verify whether the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) can be applied in this case," the commissioner said.Kaskar, who was deported from the United Arab Emirates in 2003, is said to be operating Dawoods real estate business in the city, according to the police.He was wanted in a murder case and the Sara Sahara illegal construction case.He was, however, acquitted in both the cases in 2007, the police said.

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Top Wold News


Hurricane Maria 'devastates' Dominica: PM

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 11:30:20 AM
The category five hurricane battered the island of Dominica and is now approaching Guadeloupe.

Donald Trump to call for more pressure on N Korea in first UN speech

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 11:08:48 AM
The US president will also criticise Venezuela, Iran and Islamist militants, officials say.

German WW1 U-boat found off Belgian coast

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 11:39:55 AM
The UB-II type submarine is said to be in good condition and the crew's bodies may still be on board.

Rohingya crisis: Suu Kyi does not fear global 'scrutiny'

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 09:19:46 AM
In her first comments on the Rohingya Muslims crisis, Myanmar's leader says the violence is over.

Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy protection in US

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 10:47:18 AM
The once dominant toy retailer has struggled against larger rivals such as Amazon and Walmart.

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In first speech at U.N., Trump to single out North Korea, Iran

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 04:12:56 AM
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will urge United Nations member states on Tuesday to turn up the pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, using his maiden speech to the world body to address what he considers the top global challenge.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi condemns abuses in Rakhine but rights groups sceptical

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 09:16:23 AM
NAYPYITAW (Reuters) - Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi condemned on Tuesday human rights violations in Rakhine state and said violators would be brought to book, but she did not address U.N. accusations of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

Hurricane Maria pummels Dominica, barrels toward U.S. Virgin Islands

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 10:40:32 AM
PONCE, Puerto Rico (Reuters) - Hurricane Maria, the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this month, crept toward the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday after it ripped through the small island nation of Dominica, causing widespread devastation.

Japan's Abe to pledge something for all generations in snap election - source

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 08:51:01 AM
TOKYO (Reuters) - Pledges to spend on education and child care, stay tough on North Korea and revise the pacifist constitution are likely to be pillars of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's campaign in a snap election next month, government sources said on Tuesday.

Threats cannot help resolve Korean peninsula situation, China says

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 09:55:31 AM
BEIJING (Reuters) - Threatening action or rhetoric cannot help resolve the situation on the Korean peninsula, China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hinted about the existence of military options on North Korea.

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After Irma, special oxygen masks helped Florida pets breathe easier

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:29:00 PM
By Peter Szekely REUTERS - Soon after millions of Floridians lost power in the wake of Hurricane Irma last week, firefighters in the city of Titusville responded to an emergency call at a home where a gasoline-powered generator had been running in an attached garage. Arriving at the house, they discovered 10 victims of carbon monoxide-poisoning in desperate need of oxygen: two adults, six children - and two dogs. Luckily the department was ready to treat all of them. Like thousands of other fire departments and...

Sex, aggression overlap in male brains: Study

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:29:00 PM
New York, Sep 19 (IANS) Brain structures that control aggressive and sexual behaviour are controlled differently in females, but they tend to overlap in males, a new study has found. Male circuits for sex and aggression were earlier traced to...

Russia seeks extradition from Greece of suspect wanted by US

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:29:00 PM
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A lawyer in Greece for Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik, wanted in the United States in a bitcoin fraud case worth more than $4 billion, says Russia wants to extradite him as well. ......

Russia seeks extradition of Russian citizen arrested in Greece and wanted by US in major ...

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:29:00 PM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Russia seeks extradition of Russian citizen arrested in Greece and wanted by US in major cybercrime fraud case. ......

UN team: Suu Kyi words 'bode well' for bid for Myanmar probe

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:29:00 PM
Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a televised speech to the nation at the Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Suu Kyi said Tuesday that most Rohingya villages weren't hit by violence. She ......

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Top Science News


Paris climate aim 'still achievable'

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 10:55:17 AM
The ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C is still within reach, a study indicates.

Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Monday September 18th, 2017 11:53:10 PM
The biggest and the smallest of the world's fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are most at risk of dying out.

Rhino horn smuggled as jewellery

Monday September 18th, 2017 02:48:23 AM
Rhino horn is being processed into bangles, beads and bracelets, a charity's investigation reveals.

Snow leopard no longer 'endangered'

Thursday September 14th, 2017 02:50:25 PM
The conservation status of the elusive snow leopard is downgraded from "endangered" to "vulnerable".

Paris climate deal: US denies it will stay in accord

Sunday September 17th, 2017 07:14:38 AM
Reports say the US will no longer withdraw from the Paris deal or will change its approach.

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SUV Review: 2017 Lincoln MKX

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:14:00 PM
Spend eight straight hours in a vehicle and certain attributes take precedence over others. The primary one, as my wife and I discovered while on a late summer road trip to visit family in New England, being comfort. For me, it was about avoiding fatigue and a terminal case of “numb bum.” For the missus, it was about finding a comfortable position so she could nap. It was fortunate, then, that both of us were in Ford‘s upscale crossover, the Lincoln MKX — built at its Oakville, Ontario facility along with the more mainstream Ford Edge sibling — which just happened to boast a pair of 22-way multi-configurable, heated and ventilated perches that are among the best in the biz. We rolled...

August 2017 breaks records, declared second hottest in 137 years by NASA

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:13:00 PM
August 2017 was 0.85 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean August temperature from 1951-1980. ......

GenePeeks and Donor Concierge Announce Strategic Partnership Agreement

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:11:00 PM
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GenePeeks, Inc and Donor Concierge today announced a new strategic partnership. ......

Pro Baseball Hall of Famer and Cancer Survivor Mike Schmidt Joins Merck, Jim Kelly and ...

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:11:00 PM
KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--<a href="" target="_blank">$MRK</a> <a href="" target="_blank">#MRK</a>--Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and Pro Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt – two legendary athletes whose determination, faith and hard work earned them a place in sports history – now have something else in common: overcoming cancer. Earlier this year, Kelly shared his “game plan” for tackling head and neck cancer to launch Your Cancer Game Plan, an awareness campaign, from Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, focused on ......

Ophthotech Provides Update on Zimura� Complement Programs for Treatment of Eye Diseases

Tuesday September 19th, 2017 12:11:00 PM
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ophthotech announced the initiation of an open-label Phase 2a clinical trial of Zimura� in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) ......

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