News in Brief

BY | Sunday, 21 August, 2022

If considered by Oppn, Nitish Kumar might be ‘strong candidate’ for PM: Tejashwi Yadav

New Delhi: Amid the buzz that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could emerge as a prime ministerial candidate, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said if considered by the Opposition, the JD(U) leader might be a “strong candidate” as he enjoys “immense goodwill” on the ground.” For the last 50 years, he has been a social and political activist, having participated in JP and reservation movements, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader said in an interview with PTI. Kumar took oath as chief minister along with Yadav, who has been designated deputy CM, earlier this month after the JD(U) snapped ties with the BJP and joined hands with the RJD, the Congress and some other parties to form the Mahagathbandhan government. Yadav said the coming to power of the Mahagathbandhan government with the other parties uniting “augurs well for opposition unity”. Kumar’s decision to break ties with the BJP, his ally since 1996 except for the period between 2013 and 2017, has fuelled speculation about his prime ministerial bid.


Gehlot accuses Centre of ignoring Nehru during I-Day celebrations

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday accused the Central government of ignoring India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru while celebrating 75 years of independence. “Only big events are being organised under the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. There is no mention of Pandit Nehru. The country will not accept their theme,” he said. The CM added that if you are celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, you should have a big heart, adding that all governments have contributed to the country’s development after independence. “If you forget all, future generations will forget you,” he said. Countering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘revdi culture’ remark, Gehlot said welfare works being done by the governments are not “revdiyan” and highlighted the state government’s schemes and programmes.



Govt earning more from taxes on common people than on corporates: Rahul

New Delhi: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday accused the government of imposing high taxes on common people and reducing tax to its “friends”. Taking to Twitter, he also shows a graph alleging that the government is earning more revenue from taxes on common people and less from corporates due to lower tax. The graph shared by him gave a comparison of “less tax on people versus more tax on people”, which shows that corporate tax over the years is coming down and tax on people going up. The graph also showed that the percentage of revenues collected by the government over the years is higher from people than from corporates. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also shared a letter from Rajasthan chief minister, written on 5 August, opposing the hike in GST on essential items and countered Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s claim that no state had opposed the GST on food items at the GST Council meeting.


Anti-competitive practices: Apple, Google, Netflix, Amazon India execs to depose before Parliamentary panel on Tuesday

New Delhi: Top executives of the Indian arms of Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft will on Tuesday depose before a parliamentary panel looking into anti-competitive practices in the digital space, the committee’s chairman Jayant Sinha said. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has been looking into various aspects of competition in the marketplace, especially concerning technology majors. According to a notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the agenda of the meeting is “Oral evidence of the representatives of big tech companies on the subject ‘Anti-Competitive’ practices by big tech companies.” Representatives of food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato, e-commerce player Flipkart, cab aggregator Ola, hotel aggregator Oyo, and the All India Gaming Association are among those who have already been called by the Sinha-led panel.


IMSD asks Muslim organisations to rethink position on blasphemy, questions silence on Rushdie attack

New Delhi: Questioning the silence of Muslim organizations over the barbarous attack on writer Salman Rushdie, the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has appealed to them to rethink their position on blasphemy that is a “form of politics which is doing Muslims more harm than good”. The statement by IMSD was endorsed by 60 eminent citizens, including social activist Medha Patkar, activist, psephologist and politician Yogendra Yadav and Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey, among others. Underlining that the attack on Rushdie was designed to create a regime of fear, the IMSD said in a statement, “It is this silence that emboldens the Islamophobes to paint the religion as a creed of violence and terror.” Being a minority, Indian Muslims should be championing a rights-based discourse on the importance of free speech and dissent, the statement said. The IMSD said it firmly states that without free speech, freedom to read, write and dissent, “we cannot uphold the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. And we believe that only by investing in these freedoms can we uphold the values of our republic”.


Udaan: Delhi Police’s initiative to motivate women personnel to go out in field

New Delhi: Thirty-two-year-old head constable Pooja Chauhan was stuck in a desk job at a city police station for more than a decade but always yearned for active policing. The opportunity came knocking when the Delhi Police launched a scheme to inspire its women personnel to go out in the field. ‘Udaan – giving wings to fly’ is a three-month-long programme that was launched on June 15. As part of the initiative, 28 women constables and head constables — two from each police station of north district — were selected based on their educational qualification and work pattern. The initiative is being executed in the north district by Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Anita Roy who has taken upon herself to empower willing personnel of the force break the shackles and get out of their comfort zone.


JNU planning to set up centre to study 1947 partition: VC

New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University is planning to set up a centre to study the 1947 partition in depth to fill the historical gaps, Vice Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit said on Sunday. The varsity will send a proposal in this regard to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE). The centre will mainly focus on research around the partition so as to highlight the stories of common people who were affected by it while also highlighting the “horrors” of the division, the VC said. The university will also introduce new courses regarding the same. The centre will help in the study of the refugees and the situation where people had to migrate involuntarily, Santishree told PTI. The university is planning to set up the centre under the School of International Studies because it envisions studying the impact of partition on the whole of South Asia.


25% extra seats, no entrance test for foreign students: UGC’s plan to increase international outreach

New Delhi: Universities and higher education institutions across the country will now be allowed to create up to 25 per cent supernumerary seats for foreign students in their undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programmes while the students will not be required to go through the entrance process for admissions in India, according to the UGC. A decision in this regard was taken at a University Grants Commission (UGC) meeting last week on “internationalisation of UG and PG programmes in India”, officials said. The supernumerary seats will be created over and above the total sanctioned strength and the decision regarding these seats will be taken by concerned higher educational institutions (HEIs) according to specific guidelines and regulations issued by the regulatory bodies considering the infrastructure, faculty and other requirements. According to Ministry of External Affairs’ data, a total of 23,439 foreign students arrived in India in 2021. However, the number used to be higher in pre-pandemic years. In 2019, over 75,000 international students had come to India for higher studies.


Chinese cos: Scores of CAs, company secretaries, cost accountants under regulatory scanner

New Delhi: Scores of chartered accountants, company secretaries and cost accountants are currently under the regulatory scanner for alleged violations of the companies law with respect to setting up of certain Chinese companies and their subsidiaries in India, according to officials. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) – the apex bodies of chartered accountants and company secretaries – have together received around 400 complaints on the issue and necessary actions have been initiated. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India has also initiated action against some of their members in the matter. All the three institutes, set up under Acts of Parliament, come under the corporate affairs ministry. The government is looking at whether the Chinese companies and their subsidiaries have complied with all the regulations to come and do business in India, ICAI President Debashis Mitra said. The government, in recent times, has been stepping up efforts to clamp down on Chinese entities allegedly indulging in illegal activities in the country.


New long-fingered bat species discovered in India, Sri Lanka: Team members

Shillong: An international team of researchers has found a new species of long-fingered bats in India and Sri Lanka, close on the heels of the discovery of a thick-thumbed bat species in Meghalaya, officials said. The team led by Tharaka Kusuminda of University of Rohana in the island country named the new species of long-fingered bats as Miniopterus phillipsi, Uttam Saikia of the Zoological Survey of India and one of the leading scientists in the research, told PTI. It was named after W W A Philips (1892-1981) in recognition of his contributions to studies on the mammals of Sri Lanka and South Asia. The specimens for this species were collected from Idulgashinna cave in Uva Province in Sri Lanka and are now deposited in the Natural History Museum of the neighbouring country. The long-fingered bats belonging to the family Miniopteridae are part of a large group comprising at least 40 species worldwide.


Pak melody queen Nayyara Noor, adored by millions from both sides of the border, no more

Karachi: Celebrated Pakistani singer Nayyara Noor, adored by millions from both sides of the border for her soulful melodies, passed away after a brief illness, her family said on Sunday, bringing the curtains down on the life of one of the last musical icons to represent the shared culture of India and Pakistan. Noor was 71, and had been under treatment for quite some time in Karachi, media reports said. She leaves behind an enviable legacy and a treasure trove of mellifluous renditions. Noor was born in Guwahati in 1950. Her father was an active member of the All-India Muslim League and hosted Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah during his trip to Assam before the Partition in 1947. Sometime in 1958, her family migrated to Lahore in Pakistan’s Punjab province. In 1971, she made her playback singing debut in Pakistani television serials and then seamlessly transitioned to films like Gharana and Tansen.


Chiranjeevi-starrer ‘Bhola Shankar’ sets April 2023 release date

Mumbai: Superstar Chiranjeevi’s upcoming Telugu film Bhola Shankar will be released in theatres on April 14, 2023, the makers announced on Sunday. Production banner AK Entertainment shared the news in a post on Twitter to celebrate the superstar’s 67th birthday. The film is directed by Meher Ramesh, known for the Prabhas-starrer Billa and Kannada film Veera Kannadiga. Bhola Shankar stars Keerthy Suresh and Tamannaah Bhatia opposite Chiranjeevi. The movie is produced by Ramabhrahmam Sunkara with music by Mahati Swara Sagar.


Shershaah, 83 lead nominations for 67th Filmfare Awards

Mumbai: Sidharth Malhotra-starrer Shershaah and Ranveer Singh’s 83 are the top nominees at the 67th Filmfare Awards. The two films have bagged 19 and 15 nominations, respectively, closely followed by Vicky Kaushal-starrer Sardar Udham and Taapsee Pannu-led Rashmi Rocket with 13 and 11 nods each, the organisers said Sunday in a press release. Shershaah, 83 and Sardar Udham will vie for the top honour of best film along with Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, the directorial debut of veteran actor Seema Pahwa. Bollywood star Ranveer Singh will host the 2022 ceremony of the Filmfare Awards along with Arjun Kapoor and Maniesh Paul. The event will be held on 30 August at the Jio World Convention Centre, Bandra Kurla Complex here. The awards night will witness performances by the likes of Varun Dhawan, Vicky Kaushal, Kiara Advani, and Disha Patani. The show will air on Colors on September 9 and will be simulcast on Filmfare’s Facebook page, globally.


‘Derriere la scene’: Book pays tribute to Coco Chanel through untold stories of women personalities

New Delhi: A new photo book takes inspiration from the archives of the late French designer Coco Chanel and Hollywood greats – Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe – as they celebrate life stories of three little-known women personalities in India. Derriere la scene, which translates to ‘behind the scenes’ in English, is a tribute to Chanel and was formally released by veteran actor Neena Gupta on Friday – the 139th birth anniversary of the 20th century fashion icon. The book features profiles of educationist Anshumala Gupta, life coach Chitra Iyengar and teacher Neha Nitin Gokhale, with their looks and style inspired by Chanel, Hepburn and Monroe, respectively. “Through this photo book ‘Derriere la scene’, we would be celebrating three wonderful yet modest women whose journeys need to be told,” read the description of the book.


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