The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday carried out searches in 10 States against senior government officials who face corruption charges in cases registered by various enforcement agencies, including one related to the alleged ‘memorial’ scam during the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh. The development comes days after the agency cracked down on shell companies across 16 States as part of the Central government’s drive against black money.On Thursday, the searches were conducted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Goa, among other States. The Directorate has already registered money laundering cases against the accused persons. One case is linked to some Uttar Pradesh government officials in the alleged ‘memorial’ scam, which caused a loss of ₹ 1,400 crore to the exchequer. “Searches have also been conducted against the then Director General (Health), project engineers and the then Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam director in the National Rural Health Scheme case, in which government servants and ministers had allegedly misappropriated funds. The agency has so far attached properties worth over ₹ 250 crore in the case,” said an official.Another case is against an IAS officer in West Bengal, who had allegedly released funds to the tune of ₹ 60 crore by manipulating tender documents in collusion with some engineers. In Tamil Nadu, searches were carried out against bank officials who had allegedly sanctioned loans for extended credit facilities to private parties without the necessary papers or collaterals.
PANAJI: Activists from the State on Saturday expressed strong displeasure at the State government’s justification for shifting the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Goa-related cases from the western zone bench in Pune to Delhi.Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that the State government had sought the transfer of cases to Delhi, saying that the Capital was better connected to Goa.The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) changed the jurisdiction for Goa-related cases in a notification on August 10. Activist and lawyer Aires Rodrigues said the decision had been taken with “ulterior motives”, and was a clear attempt to deny justice to the common man. Rubbishing Mr. Parrikar’s claim that the government does not have a legal set-up in Pune, Mr. Rodrigues said proceedings at the Pune bench had been running smoothly all these years.The Goa For Dabolim Only, a movement opposing a second airport in Goa led by Fr. Ermito Rebello, said the government has acted against the people who have been working to save the fragile ecology of the State.Claude Alvares, director of environmental NGO Goa Foundation, told The Hindu, “The NGT has not been set up for the government of Goa, but for the people who are concerned about the damage to the environment. Petitioners do not have the money to travel to Delhi for the hearing, and then to spend more on lawyers and logistics.” He said the Goa Foundation has also written to the NGT chairman to set up a bench in Goa. Activist Kashinath Shetye, who is one of the petitioners in several environmental cases before the NGT, has challenged the MoEF notification, claiming that the Ministry has joined hands with the Goa government to deny Goans access to the tribunal. He said doing so without hearing or notice to affected parties was arbitrary, unjust and illegal. Environmental activist Savio J.F. Correia from Vasco, who heads the Citizens Group, Goa, and Edwin Mascarenhas from Mormugao have also opposed the government’s decision. The matter is slated to come up before the Bombay High Court at Goa under a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on September 5. The High Court has clubbed the petitions filed by several activists, including the Federation of Rainbow Warriors, Mr. Shetye and the Goa Foundation, with the suo motu PIL.
In another jolt to the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Rajinder Malangar, son of the former Deputy Speaker Ram Dass Malangar, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, along with his supporters, in the Kutlehar constituency in Una.On Thursday, Chetan Parmar, a prominent leader of Sirmaur and grandson of the first Himachal Chief Minister Y.S. Parmar, also joined the BJP. Kush Parmar (father of Chetan Parmar) was a five-time Congress MLA and is still active in the State politics. The family was feeling ignored. Anil Sharma, son of veteran Congress leader Sukhram and a sitting Cabinet minister in the Virbhadra government, had also joined the BJP after being allegedly slighted by the Chief Minister. Prominent leader of Kangra, Major (retd.) Vijay Singh Mankotia has parted ways with the Congress and is fighting independently from Sahapur. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s brother-in-law Vikram Sen and his wife, Jayoti Sen, who is now a BJP candidate from Kusumpati, left the Congress a few days ago. Calling the Congress a sinking ship, sitting Nahan MLA and BJP vice-president Rajiv Bindal organised a welcome function for Mr. Parmar.
Headmistress of a government school in Odisha’s Bhadrak district was arrested by anti-graft vigilance wing for allegedly taking ₹8,200 bribe from a tailor to expedite payment towards making school uniform.Acting on a complaint, vigilance personnel laid a trap and caught Anita Pradhan, headmistress of Charigharia Project UP School in Bhadrak district red handed while accepting illegal gratification of ₹8,200 on Thursday, a vigilance release said.Ms. Pradhan had demanded the amount from Meerarani Bidanta, to pass the bill and for issuance of cheque for payment of ₹26,800 towards making charges of 134 pairs of school uniform, it said.The headmistress was caught red handed by the vigilance officers while demanding and accepting the bribe money from the complainant, it added.
The bypoll for the Araria Lok Sabha seat will see a keen contest between the National Democratic Alliance and “Mahagathbandhan” (Grand Alliance) candidates.Read more UpdatesFIR filed against Bihar BJP PresidentAn FIR has been lodged again Bihar BJP President Nityanand Rai for making provocative speech against RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam while campaigning at Narpatganj in Araria, Bihar.43% turnout in Gorakhpur; 37.39% in PhulpurThe Lok Sabha constituency of Gorakhpur witnessed 43% polling while Phulpur saw a turnout of 37.39% till 5 p.m. today, Election Commission sources said. This implies that the polling percentage dropped by 11.67% and 12.81% in the two aforementioned constituencies.The voting for the bye-elections to the two Lok Sabha seats began on a dull note but picked up momentum in the day amid tight security.The bypolls were necessitated after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively following their election to the state legislative council.BJP getting widespread support from the people: AdityanathUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today said the BJP was getting widespread support from the people.Speaking to reporters after casting his vote in the Gorakpur bypolls, the priest-turned-politician noted that the public believes in the mantra of development and governance given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Attacking the opposition BSP and SP, Adityanath said, “SP and BSP are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism. The state has suffered the negative consequences (of SP and BSP). And in order to ensure that in future such situations do not arise, efforts have to made to shun politics of casteism and dynastic politics, and focus on development and administration.”Voting slowly gathers pace in UPThe voter turnout in UP increased to 20% by noon, according to election office sources.After casting his vote in Gorakhpur, UP CM Yogi Adityanath was bullish about the BJP’s chances. “The people know that development was the only panacea,” he told reporters.Attacking the BSP and the SP, he said, “These parties are indulging in negative politics, politics of bargaining and politics of opportunism. The State has suffered the negative consequences (of SP and BSP).“And in order to ensure that in future such situations do not arise, efforts have to be made to shun politics of casteism and dynastic politics, and focus on development and administration,” he said.When asked to comment on the SP and BSP entering an electoral understanding, he said, “This will have no effect. I had wanted that in this bye-election if the SP, BSP and Congress had fought together, then results would have been much better (for us).”Maurya confidentU.P. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the 2014 Lok Sabha record would be repeated by the BJP.“I am confident that on March 14, the record which was made in Phulpur in 2014 (Lok Sabha general elections) will be repeated, and our candidate Kaushalendra Patel will emerge victorious,” he told reporters after casting his vote for Phulpur parliamentary constituency along with his family members.On being asked about the BJP’s expansion plans in the State in view of the electoral understanding between SP and BSP, Mr. Maurya said, “We have already expanded enough, and in future if any political party wants to join us, it will be definitely deliberated upon.“But, today from UP’s point of view, poll alliance of the BJP, Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) exists. Apart from this, we do not have any other alliance. And, banking on this alliance, we will win 80 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the State,” he said.Taking a jibe at the SP-BSP tie-up, the Minister said, “Their (SP-BSP) votes will be transferred only when they have enough votes. The votes (of the people) are with us. But, they have only leaders who make statements. The voters of Mayawatiji have deserted the BSP and have reposed their faith in Modiji, Yogi and BJP. We are winning both the Lok Sabha seats, and with wider margin“.12% voting in BiharAt 10 a.m on Sunday, the voter turnout in Bihar for one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats was around 12%.Adityanath casts voteThe UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has cast his vote. Mr. Adityanath had to vacate his Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat.In Araria, the poll percentage till 9 a.m was about 8 percent. No report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the constituency. In UP, around the same time, the percentage was 5.80%. PreviewOn Sunday, Lok Sabha bypolls will be held in the States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The prestige of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is at stake as Gorakhpur and Phulpur go to vote.In Bihar, polling is on for bypolls to the Araria parliamentary seat and two assembly seats in Jehanabad and Bhabua.The bypolls were necessitated after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vacated the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats respectively, following their election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.While the BJP, which rules UP with an overwhelming majority, has all to lose, the stakes are also high for the Opposition after BSP chief Mayawati went out of character and announced support to the Samajwadi Party (SP). The compatibility of the SP and BSP working together will be assessed on March 14, when results are declared.Read more Inputs from Omar Rashid, Rajeev Bhatt, Amarnath Tewary, PTI
Low cabin pressure mid-air forced a Delhi-bound SpiceJet aircraft from Mumbai, carrying over 100 passengers, to land at the city airport this morning under emergency conditions. All the passengers on-board were safe, an airline spokesperson said.“SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft (VT-SZB) was operating flight SG 160 Mumbai-Delhi. Enroute, the aircraft had a (cabin) pressure problem,” the SpiceJet spokesperson said. Following the standard operating procedure, the crew diverted the aircraft to Ahmedabad, where it landed safely, he added. There were over 100 passengers on-board the plane, the spokesperson said.
A 10-year-old boy, who had gone missing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, was found dead, police said on Friday. Umar Farooq, a resident of Gulgam area, had gone missing on July 16 and his disappearance triggered protests in the area. The police have constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the matter, an official said. The body of Umar was found last evening, he said.“A SIT, to be headed by the additional superintendent of police (ASP) Kupwara and supervised by the district senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kupwara, has been constituted to investigate the matter, the official said. He said the police have sought cooperation of the residents for completion of the investigation.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday once gain took recourse to sarcastic poems to target the economic policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government at the Centre. She alleged there was a “dangerous situation” for common people and also asked where the country was heading to with depleting foreign exchange reserve.“Rupee suffering from low fever, petrol and diesel prices highest ever,” she said in a post on social media. Earlier this month, she had written a similar poem titled ‘Identity’ expressing her opposition to the ongoing exercise of National Register of Citizens in Assam. In the post, she alleged that foreign exchange reserves had fallen by $21.84 billion between March end and August 3 and current account deficit was moving up towards 2.8% of the GDP. “The unprepared bravado of launching GST has resulted in a massive loss to State revenues to the tune of ₹48,178 crore during July 2017 and March 2018,” she said. She also alleged that the makeshift filing of GST has now “charges of racketeering, black marketing and hawala.” “Everyone of this country is concerned now. Where are we heading to,” she asked.
Miscreants threw stones on the vehicle carrying Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is touring the State ahead of Assembly elections, in Churhat area near Sidhi district, a police official said. Mr. Chouhan was not hurt in the incident, Churhat Police Inspector Ram Babu Choudhari told PTI over phone. He did not give any more information, saying he was busy discharging his duties at a public meeting of the chief minister in the district. Stones were hurled at Mr. Chouhan’s vehicle in Churhat area — which is the Assembly constituency of Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh, Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said.Churhat is about 25 km from the district headquarters. Later addressing a public meeting in the district as part of his Jan Ashirwad Yatra, Mr. Chouhan dared Mr. Singh to come in the open and fight with him. “Ajay Singh, if you have strength come in open and fight with me,” he said.“I am physically weak but I won’t be bogged down by your deeds. People of the state are with me,” he added. In a press release, Mr. Singh said no Congressman was involved in the stone-pelting incident. He said his party does not follow the culture of violence. “I suspect that it was a well thought and hatched conspiracy aimed at defaming me and people of Churhat,” he added. Mr. Chouhan is touring the State in a bus modified as a chariot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a number of central government projects in Odisha worth more than ₹4,500 crore. The projects were unveiled during Mr. Modi’s second visit to the eastern state in less than a fortnight. He had unveiled some projects in Bhubaneswar and addressed a BJP rally near the historic Khurda town on December 24. Describing the projects as a new year gift to the people of Odisha, the prime minister expressed hope that 2019 will steer the state on a path of rapid development. The projects inaugurated by Mr. Modi are related to road highways and transport, petroleum and natural gas, railways, culture, tourism and passport services.Some key projects include four-laning of three major national highways in Odisha, laying of a section of a key LPG pipeline and doubling of an important railway line. The prime minister also flagged off a new passenger train on a route, unveiled multi-modal logistics hub in Balasore as well as a project for restoration and conservation of historical site of Haripurgarh.Mr. Modi also inaugurated passport sewa kendras at post offices in Bhadrak, Cuttack, Jajpur, Aska, Keonjhar and Dhenkanal through video conferencing. Currently, people have to go to the regional passport office at Bhubaneswar, officials added. Foundation laying and inauguration of a host of projects by the prime minister comes ahead of general election, which is due in a few months’ time. The assembly polls in Odisha are also slated to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. During his last visit to Odisha on December 24, Mr. Modi had unveiled a number of projects worth more than ₹14,500 crore.
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Boards to display the water quality of the Ganga at all strategic locations on a monthly basis, to indicate whether the river water is fit for drinking and bathing.A Bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, further pulled up the National Mission for Clean Ganga over its submission that the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, U.P. and West Bengal have not provided relevant information pertaining to the stretches between Kanpur to Buxar and Buxar to Ganga Sagar.“It has indicated that the States have not provided the information and therefore, action plans could not be formulated within the stipulated time frame. The lackadaisical approach of the NMCG can hardly be appreciated as it has been set up by the government with the sole object of rejuvenation of Ganga…,” the Bench said.It added, “We may have to take coercive action, including environment compensation being required to be paid by the NMCG, and U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal for not responding and failing to formulate the action plans for Phase II and Phase III.”The green panel has granted NMCG and the respective States a “final opportunity” to file action plans by April 30, pertaining to sewage treatment and utilisation of the same.The Uttar Pradesh government has also been directed to ensure that a committee headed by Justice Arun Tandon is consulted pertaining to waste management following the Kumbh mela in Prayagraj (Allahabad).
The Punjab police on Monday set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the murder of the 36-year-old woman officer who was shot dead at her office last week in Kharar.Neha Shorie, posted as zonal licensing authority with the Drug and Food Chemical Laboratory in Kharar, was shot dead by a man who later killed himself as well.The five-member SIT, which will be headed by Inspector General of Police (Rupnagar Range) V. Neeraja, will probe into all the facts and circumstances leading to the incident, said an official statement here.
Let the fundraising begin! At a press briefing today, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) officials announced their intent to raise $500 million for cancer research over the next 2 years in order to earn an equivalent matching grant. The $500 million challenge was offered last Friday in a surprise move by philanthropists Phil and Penny Knight. The $1 billion campaign “is a transformational moment” for the university and the war on cancer, says OHSU President Joe Robertson.The Knights had previously donated $100 million to create a cancer research institute at OHSU, headed by Brian Druker, who led the development of the cancer drug Gleevec. Their latest pledge came after Druker recently lobbied the couple for another $1 billion to take insights from Gleevec, as well as other so-called molecularly targeted therapies, and develop better early detection tools for tumors. Calling current cancer detection methods “relatively crude technologies,” Druker says “we have to do better.”OHSU officials didn’t offer specifics for how they plan to spend the potential $1 billion, although Druker says he envisions hiring about 20 elite scientists and giving them enough funding to take risks, a strategy he compared to what the Howard Hughes Medical Institute does. “We’re trying to release investigators from our current constraints of grant-writing,” he says.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(*)Phil Knight was a co-founder of athletic shoe giant Nike and is now a prominent funder of academia. In 2006, he gave Stanford University’s business school what was, at that time, the largest donation in its history, $105 million.
“Small is beautiful,” argued the British economist E. F. Schumacher back in the 1970s; although he was referring to ecologically appropriate technologies rather than people, the same might be true for humans living in tropical rainforests. Pygmies, small-statured hunter-gatherers such as this woman from the Batwa people of Uganda pictured above, live in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and many researchers have suggested that their diminutive size is an evolutionary adaptation to the rigors of rainforest life. But scientists have not been sure to what extent Darwinian natural selection is actually responsible for the Pygmy body type and how many times it has arisen over the course of human evolution. In a new study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international research team reports on its analysis of the DNA of 169 Batwa people from east central Africa, identifying genetic variations that appear to be closely associated with small size and that were apparently under strong natural selection. But when the team compared the Batwa genomes with those of 74 Pygmies from the Baka people of west central Africa, it found that the two groups had very different genetic profiles, even though they were equally small. The team concludes that the Pygmy body plan probably evolved independently multiple times within Africa, rather than having a single origin that then spread across the continent. And the strong signs of natural selection suggest that being small probably was indeed a specific evolutionary adaptation to life in the tropical rainforests. Leading hypotheses for why a small stature could have been advantageous range from downsizing to deal with food scarcity, better resistance to tropical heat, ceasing growth earlier so they can start reproducing sooner—or a combination of all of these factors.
Kaur will represent New york at the Dec. 18 Miss India USA pageant at Royal Alberts Palace in Fords,?New Jersey. Related Items
India’s liberalised foreign direct investment policy, especially regarding the participation of Non-Resident Indians in its economy as domestic investors, has made the country a hot destination among NRIs, according to a leading Indian businessman in the UAE.“The liberalised FDI has opened many sectors in the country and given a boost to the inflow of investments,” Yusuff Ali MA, the chairman and managing director of the Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group International, said here yesterday.Read it at Money Control Related Items
Their plight may not be as dramatic as that of the illegal immigrant mother whose infant daughter was allegedly taken from her by immigration officials as she breast-fed her in a detention center. Or as traumatic as that of thousands of young children forcibly separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy as they illegally crossed the border and who are now lodged in warehouses.Read it at Times of India Related Items
There has been a spurt in the number of Indians committing suicide in the Gulf nations pointing to the pathetic conditions of Indian workers in these countries, revealed a Right to Information (RTI) query.About 322 Indians committed suicide in 2017, revealed the Indian embassies in Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait and Riyadh in the RTI query.Read it at Connected to India Related Items
Yosemite National Park officials say two people who fell to their deaths from a popular overlook were a man and a woman from India who were living and working in the United States.Officials said Monday that they were 29-year-old Vishnu Viswanath and 30-year-old Meenakshi Moorthy. It’s not clear what their relationship was.Read it at Daily Freeman Related Items
World leaders will push for the rapid completion of a massive, China-backed trade deal that excludes the US at a summit this week, in a rebuke to rising protectionism and Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries could announce a broad agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers half the world’s population, on the sidelines of the annual gathering.Read it at Hindustan Times Related Items