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Supreme Court admits Congress plea against Goa Minister

first_imgIn a blow to the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government in Goa, the Supreme Court on Friday admitted a Congress party appeal to disqualify the State’s Health Minister Vishwajit Pratapsingh Rane for playing “fraud on the Constitution.”Mr. Rane had quit the Congress and joined the BJP last year.A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra issued notice to the State of Goa, Election Commission of India, Goa State Election Commission, Speaker of the Goa State Legislative Assembly, former pro-tem Speaker Sidharth Sripad Kuncalienker and Mr. Rane, among other BJP leaders in the State.The Congress said Mr. Rane defied a party whip to vote against the Parrikar government during the Floor Test conducted in the Goa Assembly on March 16, 2017 on the orders of the Supreme Court. The special leave petition said though Mr. Rane signed the whip at 11 a.m., he abstained from voting and instead walked out of the Assembly. He returned later in the afternoon and tendered his resignation, which was accepted without question by the pro-tem Speaker Mr. Kuncalienker.A few days later, Mr. Rane joined the BJP and was made the Health Minister. He contested a by-election in Goa and won, thus continuing to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly.The Congress, represented by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and advocates Sangramsingh Bhonsle and Samridhi Jain, argued that both the pro-tem Speaker and Mr. Rane “played mischief” and reduced the anti-defection law to a “paper tiger.” Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Mr. Rane countered that an absentee legislator leaving the Assembly without voting cannot derail a floor test and invite the anti-defection law.Chief Justice Misra observed that the question of law whether “a Speaker ought to have accepted the resignation of a member who had invited disqualification by an act of defiance without conducting inquiry” should be examined in detail.last_img read more

Yavatmal farmer commits suicide, blames Modi in note

first_imgA debt-ridden farmer committed suicide in Yavatmal district on Tuesday and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his death in the suicide note.Shankar Bhaurao Chayare (50), a resident of Rajurwadi village in Ghatanji Tehsil of Yavatmal, first attempted to hang himself to death, however, the rope broke and he fell down.“He then drank poison and killed himself. He also left behind a suicide note in which he has mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is responsible for his death,” according to Devanand Pawar, head of Farmers Committee for Justice.This is the second such incident in eight months in Yavatmal when a farmer has killed himself and blamed the Prime Minister.In September last year, after Prakash Mangoankar killed himself the state government had announced some compensation for his family members.Chayare owned six acres of land and is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son. “I am committing suicide because I have a huge debt burden. The cotton crop in my farm was damaged this year due to the pink worm. Narendra Modi is responsible for my death,” Chayare wrote in his suicide note. Chayare’s family members, and local farmers led by Mr. Pawar, prevented the authorities from conducting a post-mortem.Mr. Pawar also led local villagers and Chayare’s family members to Ghatanji police station in the evening to register an FIR against Prime Minister Modi.“When Mr. Mangoankar committed suicide last year, this government announced compensation for his family members. But they are yet to receive any help. This government is hell-bent on destroying the farmers. I have never seen such an insensitive government,” Mr. Pawar told The Hindu.Kishor Tiwari, the head of Maharashtra government’s Task Force on agriculture distress, expressed grief over the farmer’s suicide and announced that he would visit the grieving family members on April 11.“The pink worm attack on cotton and improper rates of pulses have increased the farmers’ distress. The government should announce a special package and Mr. Modi should lend them a helping hand,” Mr. Tiwari demanded.last_img read more

Bid to connect popular tourist spots by air

first_imgThe Ministries of Civil Aviation and Tourism will jointly develop a strategy to improve air connectivity to popular tourist destinations, like the temples of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and cave monuments of Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra, according to a senior government official.Plan in 15 daysThe officials of the two Ministries will also discuss if airlines would be offered subsidy or incentive to connect these tourist destinations. They will finalise a plan within 15 days, the official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation added.According to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Alphons requested for Air India flights to Khajuraho, enhanced connectivity to the holy city of Varanasi and to Aurangabad for access to Ajanta and Ellora apart from ways to inter-connect Kochi, Goa and Jaipur – the three places being a must visit for many international tourists.There was also a demand for direct flights to Srinagar from Kolkata and Ahmedabad.last_img read more

One held in hanging of BJP worker’s case

first_imgThe Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has made the first arrest in the case of the hanging of BJP worker Trilochan Mahato at Purulia district. The death has been ruled as murder. Punjabi Mahato, 45, was arrested on Sunday after “thorough interrogation” at the Balarampur Police Station. Nishat Pervez of the CID said the arrest was made “on the basis of circumstantial and strong evidence”. Punjabi Mahato belongs to the same village as Trilochon Mahato.The evidence comprises two mobile phones and two SIM cards that were hidden in Punjabi Mahato’s house. These items are currently being forensically examined. A senior CID official told The Hindu that his behaviour was reported to be suspicious on the day the body was discovered. So far, the motive is unclear. The same source stated that though the post-mortem report is yet to arrive, prima facie study of the body showed that the victim had been poisoned and tortured before the hanging took place.Trilochan Mahato’s death was followed by the hanging of Dulal Kumar, a worker of the same party. Both hangings took place in the same district between May 29 and June 2. However, the latter case has been declared to be one of suicide.last_img read more

NIA raids Asiya Andrabi’s house in Srinagar

first_imgA team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday raided the house of Dukhataran-e-Millat (DeM) chief Asiya Andrabi in Srinagar. However, no material evidence was seized.An official said the NIA team arrived at the residence of DeM chief Andrabi at Iqbal Colony 90-Feet Road in Srinagar’s Soura early in the morning.The official said the team could not search the house or seize any material evidence as no male member was in the house at the time of raid.The NIA registered a fresh case against Ms. Andrabi under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (UAPA) on April 27 and was shifted to a New Delhi jail on July 6. Sofi Fehmeeda and Nahida Nasreen, two other associates of Ms. Andrabi, were also shifted with her.last_img read more

Kashmir to seek Bollywood help to shed negative image

first_imgThe J&K government has decided to approaching the Bollywood and seek help in dispelling the negative notions about the State, as it makes fresh bid to revive its old connections by making picturesque locales available for the film shootings.“Serious efforts are underway to bring back the Bollywood to the Valley for filming and other related activities. The Bollywood hopefully would contribute its bit in removing the negative perception,” said Director Tourism, Kashmir, Tasaduq Jeelani.Buoyed by Bollywood star and director Manoj Bajpayee’s decision to shoot a family soap Family Man in Kashmir these days, Mr. Jeelani said the government was serious to revive the Bollywood connection. He said this will also benefit the local artists and people connected with this trade.In the 60s, 70s and 80s, Kashmir remained the most sought after destination for the Bollywood. Many blockbusters like Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Kashmir ki Kali etc put Kashmir on film shooting map. However, after the emergence of militancy in 1990s, Kashmir saw a slide in Bollywood shootings.Describing Kashmir as a paradise for adventure lovers, Mr. Jeelani urged tourists and the Bollywood “to become brand ambassadors of J&K”.“There are 200 major tourist destinations in Kashmir Valley,” he added.last_img read more

Cyclonic storm alert in Odisha

first_imgThe National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), under the Home Ministry, has cautioned the Odisha government against a looming cyclonic storm in the next two to three days, official sources said. In an advisory to Chief Secretary AP Padhi and Special Relief Commission BP Sethi, the NERC said on Monday a depression formed over southeast Bay of Bengal was likely to move northwestwards towards the Odisha coast over the next 72 hours.“The depression is likely to intensify by tomorrow (Tuesday) and turn into a cyclonic storm in the following hours. It is very likely to move northwestward towards Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 72 hours,” the advisory said. The State government should take appropriate precautionary measures under such circumstances, it added. HR Biswas, the director of meteorological centre in Bhubaneswar, also confirmed in the morning that a “depression has been recorded at a distance of around 720 km from Gopalpur coast in Odisha”.The State was likely to experience heavy rainfall on October 10 and October 11, he stated. Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) BP Sethi said he was in touch with the Indian Meterological Department headquarters in New Delhi on the matter. The State government would issue alert to districts well in advance, he said. The IMD, in a special bulletin on Monday afternoon, said Odisha could expect heavy to very-heavy rainfall at isolated places in the coastal areas for four days, beginning on October 9. Squally winds reaching a speed of 45 to 55 km per hour, gusting to 65 km per hour, were also likely to prevail along and off north Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal coasts from October 9 afternoon, it said. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into central Bay of Bengal from October 8 to 10 and northern part of the sea from October 9 to 11, the IMD bulletin added.last_img read more

Ganjam lawyers strike work over ‘attack’ on colleague

first_imgCourts in Odisha’s Ganjam district could not function on Thursday due to one-day cease work call given by the Ganjam Bar Association in protest against alleged attack on a lawyer by a police inspector at Buguda police station on November 13.The Ganjam Superintendent of Police has ordered the inspector concerned, Rama Chandra Biswal, to be attached to the district police headquarters on administrative grounds.On Thursday, the GBA held an emergency general body meeting to discuss the incident. The members of the association condemned the alleged attack on the lawyer. Following the meeting, the GBA sent a memorandum to the Inspector General of Police, southern range, demanding immediate suspension and arrest of the “erring” police officer, said GBA president Mohan Singari. The GBA has decided to intensify its agitation in future if exemplary action is not initiated against the police officer concerned.According to Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Bhanjanagar, Utkal Keshari Dash, an initial inquiry report has been prepared while police investigation of this case is continuing. Three cases have been lodged in relation to the incident.One of the cases has been lodged on the complaint of the medical incharge of Buguda Primary Health Centre who had a tussle with lawyer Hara Prasad Das over construction of a boundary wall of the health centre on the land that the lawyer claimed to be his own. The tussle aggravated to exchange of blows and the matter reached Buguda police station on November 13. It was alleged that in the police station the inspector incharge attacked the lawyer.The second case has been lodged against the lawyer by the sentry of Buguda police station who was an eyewitness to the happenings on the day. Mr. Das has also lodged a case at Buguda police station regarding the incident.last_img read more

High stakes for BJP, Congress. in Rohtak mayoral poll

first_img“He is the candidate of Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and Shah (BJP national president Amit Shah). You first offer prayer at a temple on December 16 and then go to vote to ensure victory for all the 22 BJP candidates and its mayoral candidate Manmohan Goyal,” said Haryana Minister of State for Cooperatives Manish Grover at an election meeting in the auditorium of Rohtak’s Vaish Engineer College this past Friday, urging the youth to vote for the party.Rohtak is one of the five Municipal Corporations, besides Hisar, Panipat, Karnal and Yamuna Nagar, to go to the polls on December 16 with direct elections for the post of Mayor for the first time in the history of the State.Fought on the home turf of two-time former Congress Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Rohtak’s Mayor election holds much political significance for his party as well as the BJP, who holds the Rohtak Assembly constituency. Though the Congress has decided to stay away from the municipal elections as always to avoid bad blood among the large number of ticket-seekers, the hoardings of Sita Ram Sachdeva across the city claim him to be the Congress-supported candidate and bear pictures of Mr. Hooda and his Rohtak MP son Deepender Hooda.A referendum? Held in the background of the large-scale violence in Rohtak, the State’s political nerve centre, two years ago during the Jat reservation agitation and resentment among the trading community over demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax, the election could well be a referendum on the popularity and the policies of the saffron party with the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls due next year. For the Congress, though not in the contest officially, the victory of Mr. Sachdeva could mean reaffirmation of Hoodas authority in the region.Son of former Minister Seth Shri Kishan Dass, Mr. Goyal, though not very vocal, took a dig at the Congress for not contesting the election saying that it meant that the party had already accepted its defeat. Confident of his victory, Mr. Goyal, himself a former Congress man, said he was contesting the election on the plank of “vikas” (development) and promised better sanitation facilities, closed-circuit television cameras and more parking spaces in the city.While Mr. Grover, Rohtak MLA, is going around the city addressing small gatherings, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu, also a Rohtak resident, and Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma are slated to hold meetings in favour of Mr. Goyal during the course of a week-long campaign, while Agriculture Minister O.P. Dhankar accompanied him for filing of nominations.Amid the direct contest between the BJP and the Congress-supported Mr. Sachdeva, former All-India Democratic Women’s Association general-secretary and Bhim Awardee Jagmati Sangwan, the CPI (M) candidate supported by the Left parties and several social organisations, could well emerge as a dark horse for the coveted post, pinning her hopes on her decades-long work as a social activist in the region and support from the Dushyant Chautala camp as well. Promising better coordination between the civic bodies and the residents’ welfare associations to ensure timely delivery of basic amenities such as drinking water, Ms. Sangwan, said it was a fight between the “politics of power and the politics of people” for her.The prospects of Indian National Lok Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party’s alliance candidate 26-year-old civil engineer Sanchit Nandal, the youngest Mayor candidate in the State, seem to be marred by the ongoing feud in the Chautala family.last_img read more

7 killed in hit-and-run in Ambala

first_imgSeven persons, including two women and three minors, were killed and nine sustained serious injuries in Haryana’s Ambala district in the early hours of Saturday when an unidentified vehicle hit two Sports Utility Vehicles on the Haryana-Punjab border.Besides the drivers, Suresh Kumar and Manoj Kumar, the deceased have been identified as Kavita Kapoor, her daughters Ranjana and Harishita, sister-in-law Asha and Piyush, a boy. While Ranjana and Harshita were aged 17 and nine years respectively, Piyush was five, said the police.Chandigarh Sector 30B resident Palak, 18, the complainant in the case, said in the First Information Report that she along with 20 people, including the two drivers, left for Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh around 11.30 p.m. on December 28.After travelling for more than an hour, Manoj stopped the vehicle on the highway near Drive Inn 22 hotel in Ambala suspecting some malfunction and got down to fix it. The driver of another SUV also pulled over behind them. “Soon, a vehicle hit the SUV parked behind our vehicle at high speed injuring the passengers. The SUV then hit our vehicle. The erring vehicle then dragged our SUV for several metres causing serious injuries to the passengers,” said Palak, a first-year Bachelor of Arts student, in the FIR.Injured rushed to hospital Many passers-by and motorists stopped to help the injured and transported them to a civil hospital in Ambala in ambulances.The two women, three minors and Suresh were declared brought dead. Manoj later succumbed to injuries.Two of the injured are under treatment at separate hospitals in Ambala and seven have been admitted to a hospital in Chandigarh. The condition of one of the injured at the Chandigarh hospital is said to be critical.All the passengers in the two SUVs were women and children.Station House Officer, Ambala Sadar, Sub-Inspector Mehar Singh said that Manoj stopped his car after Suresh, driving behind him, called him over phone to inform that oil was leaking from his fuel tank. Mr. Singh said the accident was not caused due to poor visibility since the weather was clear.He said that efforts were being made to identify the erring vehicle.A case has been registered on various charges under the Indian Penal Code, including causing death due to negligence, rash driving and causing hurt, among others.last_img read more

No order to back BJP, says Pawar

first_imgCategorically denying that there was any directive from the party brass to back the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Ahmednagar civic body, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the Ahmednagar incident would not impact the Congress-NCP alliance in the general election.Speaking to reporters in Ahmednagar, Mr. Pawar admonished the 18 NCP corporators who voted for the BJP in the Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation (AMC), while stating that their actions would be investigated within the next five days.“After I have made our party’s stance clear about not allying with the BJP, it escapes me how they [NCP corporators] disobeyed my orders and took the step to tie up with the saffron party,” said Mr. Pawar, who hinted that even the NCP’s MLAs in Ahmednagar could be questioned over the embarrassing affair.“Even after the party State President [Jayant Patil] had given explicit instructions to the corporators not to vote for the BJP, they flouted the order …this is a very serious affair and it merits a stern investigation,” the NCP chief said.He said written explanations had been sought from the errant NCP corporators asking them to justify their action which was a clear violation of the party line.“It is surprising that despite the Sena winning the maximum seats and the NCP emerging second in the AMC poll, the civic body now has a Mayor and Deputy Mayor from the BJP,” he remarked.He, however, refused to say what penalty would be meted out to the rebel corporators, stating, “The Ahmednagar incident will not have any impact on the Congress-NCP alliance at the Centre and the State.”Targeting the policies of the Narendra Modi government, Mr. Pawar reiterated the need for the Opposition parties to come together to defeat the BJP. At the same time, he again refused to comment on who would lead the mega-coalition against the BJP.In keeping with their aim of toppling the BJP government at the Centre and the State, the Congress and the NCP had jointly contested the recently concluded Dhule and Ahmednagar civic polls.The Sena, which won 24 seats, emerged as the largest party while the NCP secured 18, the BJP 14 and the Congress five seats respectively. Yet, in a startling twist, the NCP supported the BJP in the mayoral elections held on December 28, which led to a BJP Mayor and Deputy Mayor being elected in the 68-member AMC.The political flip-flop by NCP corporators left the party top brass red-faced, while reviving the mistrust and mutual suspicion that led to the break-up of the Congress-NCP alliance prior to the 2014 general elections.last_img read more

Navy officer booked for molesting maid in Goa

first_imgThe Vasco police in south Goa on Wednesday booked a Navy officer for allegedly molesting his maid. The police took the action after the woman lodged a complaint against Commodore Manikandan Nambiar, 46, Naval officer, second in-command at the INS Hansa naval base. The incident allegedly took place on Tuesday evening. A police spokesperson said the accused had been booked under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. “The victim has accused him of molesting her at his residence. (Commodore) Nambiar has now filed for anticipatory bail,” the spokesperson said. Sources in the Vasco police station said Commodore Nambiar fell unconscious when he was being questioned. He was later shifted to a local hospital for treatment.last_img read more

ScienceShot: What Walked Like an Armadillo, Looked Like a Squirrel, and May Have Had Poison Spurs?

first_imgFurry like a squirrel but bearing a reptilelike jaw structure, with the middle ear bone fused to the lower jaw bone, little Megaconus mammaliaformis walked among (or ran in terror from) the feathered dinosaurs of the Jurassic period. It’s a new species among the primitive relatives of early mammals, previously only known from a jumble of fossil teeth. But an international team of scientists has now discovered a complete fossilized skeleton of this rat-sized creature (artist’s conception above) in the Inner Mongolia region of China. The 165-million-year-old skeleton (inset) reveals a curious animal: Its fused, inflexible leg bones gave it an armadillolike gait, and it was neither a good climber nor a fast runner. But it was armed with clawlike spurs sticking out of its heels, which the scientists believe had poisonous glands like in a platypus. The omnivorous Megaconus foraged by night and is named for the large mounds on its premolars, which could grind tough plant material at a point when other mammal lineages were still largely insect-eaters. It “was already an old-timer,” evolutionarily speaking, says paleontologist Thomas Martin of the University of Bonn in Germany, a member of the research team, which presents its results online today in Nature. Megaconus was among the first to try out mammalian features before falling into extinction while modern mammals rose.last_img read more

ScienceShot: How the Whale Became the Whale

first_imgAbout 54 million years ago, a semiaquatic deerlike creature headed into the water for good, giving rise to whales and their relatives. The newly sequenced genome of the minke whale, a baleen whale found worldwide, tells the story of how stressful this move to live underwater was. An international team has decoded the genomes of four minke whales, a fin whale, a bottlenose dolphin, and a finless porpoise, comparing these cetaceans’ genes to the equivalent genes in other mammals. It found whale-specific mutations in genes important for the regulation of salt and of blood pressure and for antioxidants that get rid of charged oxygen molecules that can harm cells. These molecules increase in number as the whale uses up its oxygen supply during dives. Whales also had larger numbers of related genes, called gene families, for dealing with sustained dives, the team reports online today in Nature Genetics. Overall, 1156 gene families had expanded, and several increased the number of enzymes that help the whale cope with low-to-no oxygen conditions. A few of those expanded families are also expanded in naked mole rats, which live underground where oxygen is scarce. But the numbers of genes for body hair and for taste and smell had decreased. And of course, there were genes and gene families that help explain why whales look the way they do.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

Linguist Takes Over as Italy’s Science Minister

first_img Italian Senate A linguist and former university administrator has been appointed to Italy’s top science policy position. On Friday, Italy’s new prime minister, Matteo Renzi, announced that Stefania Giannini will be his minister of education, universities, and research. Giannini will have the unthankful job of preserving what’s left of Italy’s scientific legacy at a time of shrinking budgets.Giannini, 53, is a professor of linguistics and comparative linguistics at the University for Foreigners of Perugia; between 2004 and 2013, she also served as the university’s rector, a position she gave up when she was elected to the Senate for former Prime Minister Mario Monti’s centrist party, Civic Choice, in February 2013.“I hope that Giannini will be able to appreciate the strategic importance of scientific research and its applications, despite her background in the humanities,” says Piergiorgio Strata, a neuroscientist at the University of Turin.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(*)The third minister on the post in less than 3 years, Giannini doesn’t have an easy job ahead of her. Public spending on research and development in Italy is just 1% of its gross domestic product, a low rate compared with neighbors like Switzerland and France. A key funding instrument, the Italian Research Project of National Interest, shrunk from €170 million in 2010 and 2011 to €38 million in 2012, and may drop to zero in 2014. Italy’s Ordinary Fund for Higher Education, which provides block funding for universities, has shrunk from €7.5 billion in 2009 to €6.6 billion in 2013.“A country cannot spend €275 billion on pensions and €53 billion on education,” Giannini said in an interview yesterday with La Repubblica. But her two predecessors, Francesco Profumo and Maria Chiara Carrozza, have been unable to reverse the trends, and the mood among academics is gloomy. “I am extremely skeptical about the political situation overall,” says physicist Francesco Sylos Labini of the Enrico Fermi Center in Rome, who’s a member of the grassroots campaign group Return On Academic Research. “Once again, this government coalition did not have a consensus from the electorate, which makes the whole scenario very shaky,” he says.Italy is hoping that E.U. funds will help make up for the declines. A new National Research Program (NRP) 2014 to 2020, presented by outgoing Minister Carrozza on 31 January, has a 7-year timeline, just like Horizon 2020, the European Union’s new research program; that’s an “important signal,” Strata says. But for E.U. grants to have a real impact, Italian researchers would have to become more successful in bagging them. “It requires a mindset that Italy doesn’t have yet,” Giannini said in the La Repubblica interview.NRP has a 7-year budget of €6.3 billion, or €900 million per year. But Sylos Labini is not sure that the government will actually find the money to fund the plan. He says it’s urgent that the government spends more money on basic research, without which innovation isn’t possible. “Italian basic research is in peril,” Sylos Labini says. When in Rome … Winning more E.U. grants “requires a mindset that Italy doesn’t have yet,” Stefania Giannini says.last_img read more

Gulf Airlines Plan Twice Daily Flights To Kerala’s New Airport

first_imgGulf airlines are likely to get special permission from the Indian civil aviation authorities to operate two daily flights to Kannur International Airport, the new international airport in the southern state of Kerala that starts operations from Sunday next.The flights, if allowed, will be outside the ambit of the bilateral rights on maximum number of airline seats currently agreed upon between India and countries in the Gulf region.Read it at Arabian Business Related Itemslast_img

Air India Gets Bailout

first_imgThe Indian government is infusing $423 million to bail out Air India, which is reeling under $8 billion in debt. The company has agreed to trim $412.7 million in costs and reduce its fleet from 146 aircrafts to 105 by March 2011. Related Itemslast_img

Qatar Airways to Soon Apply for Launch of Airline in India, Says CEO

first_imgQatar Airways is planning to soon file an application for launching its airline in India, chief executive Akbar Al Baker said. The carrier will launch a full-service airline that will be funded by Qatar’s sovereign fund, Al Baker added, according to PTI.“It would have Indians heading the board and as most of its members,” he told the news agency on the sidelines of the IATA Annual General Meeting in Sydney on June 6.“We will move the application soon. I don’t know really by when because it (the process) takes time,” Al Baker said, a day after he was named the chairman of IATA’s board of governors, Livemint reported.Baker, who had first talked about the airline’s plans for domestic operations India in March 2017, had said earlier this year that the company will start its operations in the country with at least 100 aircraft.“I will not tell you what types of aeroplanes we will deploy in India but as you may remember we said that we will launch an airline in India which will have a fleet of at least 100 aircraft,” he had said at the time, according to PTI.Three full-service carriers — Air India, Jet Airways and Vistara Airlines — currently operate in India.Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is managed by the Qatar Investment Authority. Set up in 2005 to manage the oil and natural gas surpluses, it currently has under management assets worth about $335 billion, the news agency added.India permits 100 percent foreign direct investment in domestic airlines. Foreign airlines can, however, invest only up to 49 percent.Qatar Airways’ plans to enter India make “strategic sense,” Livemint quoted Mark Martin, founder and chief executive officer of aviation consultancy Martin Consulting LLC, as saying. Martin added that even if the firm begins the process immediately, it will be able to start functioning in India only by 2020, according to the report.India is the world’s third largest market in domestic aviation when it comes to the number of tickets sold, the economic survey report showed earlier this year. In 2017 from April-September, domestic airlines carried 57.50 million passengers, showing a growth rate of 16 per cent over the corresponding previous year period, with 10.30 percent domestic cargo handled, the report said.In 2016-17, the annual growth in domestic passenger departures was 23.5 percent as compared to 3.3 percent in the United States and 10.7 percent in China, it added. Related ItemsAviationQatarlast_img read more

Naxal killed in encounter with security forces in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh

first_imgA senior Naxal leader, who was allegedly involved in an IED blast that killed BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi in April, died in an encounter with security forces in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh Sunday, police said.The skirmish took place in the jungles of Hiroli under Kirandul police station area when a squad of police’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) was out on an anti-naxal operation, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava told PTI.As the police team was advancing through Hiroli, around 450 km from Raipur, exchange of fire broke out between the two sides, he said.After the Naxals fled, the body of Guddi, a member of Local Organisation Squad of Malangir Area Committee of Maoists, was found. A revolver with six rounds was also recovered from the spot, Mr. Pallava said.He was suspected to be involved in around 40 cases of Naxal violence, including the killing of BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel.Mandavi and the policemen died when an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up their vehicle near Shyamgiri village in Dantewada on April 9.Guddi was carrying a reward of ₹ 1 lakh on his head.Commandos of the recently set up women platoon of DRG, `Danteshwari Ladake’ (fighters of goddess Danteshwari), also took part in Sunday’s encounter with Maoists, the police officer said.last_img