‘Kashmir unfinished agenda of Partition’

first_img“The Kashmir issue is the unfinished agenda of the Partition plan,” Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani told an audience in Islamabad on Tuesday.“It was India and not Pakistan that took the [Kashmir] case to the United Nations… Indian authorities are now desperate to the change narrative of the Kashmir issue. However, Kashmir issue is the unfinished agenda of Partition plan,” Mr. Geelani at an event hosted by the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad.last_img

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Nine convicted in Rohtak orphanage sexual abuse case

first_imgA special CBI court in Panchkula on Wednesday pronounced nine people guilty of sexually exploiting the inmates of an orphanage, ‘Apna Ghar’, in Rohtak in Haryana. “One of the accused has been acquitted. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on April 24,” defence lawyer Abhishek Rana told reporters. In 2012, allegations surfaced relating to sexual abuse and physical and mental torture of the inmates, including women and minor girls, at the shelter home run by NGO Bharat Vikas Sangh. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had rescued nearly 120 inmates from the shelter after carrying out a raid on May 9, 2012, following a tip-off by three inmates who had escaped to Delhi. CBI probeA month after the raid, the shelter was sealed and the State government handed over the case to the CBI.A probe panel constituted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court had in its report also recommended investigation by the CBI into the entire episode citing sexual, physical, mental exploitation and the use of inmates as bonded labourers at the shelter. The nine who have been held guilty include Jaswanti Devi, the head of the shelter, her daughter Sushma, son-in-law Jai Bhagwan, Jaswanti’s brother Jaswant Singh, cousin Sheela, counsellor Veena, employees Satish and Ram Prakash Saini, and a friend, Roshni. Rohtak’s former Child Development Project Officer Angrez Kaur Hooda has been acquitted.last_img read more

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Minister instigated looting: Tripura villagers

first_imgAbout 300 people of West Tripura district, who had fled the area after their homes were torched and looted over the alleged molestation of a girl, said on Saturday that they were scared to return.They alleged that the looting and ransacking of their houses in Lalit Bazaar locality under the Ranir Bazaar police station limit was instigated by Revenue Minister and prominent tribal leader N.C. Debbarma.Mr. Debbarma, president of the Indigenous People’s Front Tripura (IPFT), declined to comment on the charge. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC was promulgated in the area for 48 hours from 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sub-divisional Magistrate Subhasish Bandopaddhyaya said.A group of tribal youths started torching and looting houses only after the Minister’s visit on Friday, said the villagers who have taken shelter in a school. “The ransacking and looting of our houses started only after N.C. Debbarma visited the spot. He came here at 9 a.m. and looting of our houses started around an hour later,” 50-year-old Samena Khatun alleged.Scared to returnSulekha Khatun, aged 45, said, “My house was set ablaze, my belongings looted. I do not want to return. Let the police shoot me dead. I will not return.” The conflict began when a girl, along with her boyfriend, had come to Ranir Bazaar area on Thursday from a nearby locality to see Durga idols there and four youths allegedly molested her and snatched her phone. The girl and boy went back to their locality and returned with a large group of people who tried to attack the houses of those who reportedly molested the girl. The four accused were arrested on Friday but the attack on the village continued. A large contingent of police has been deployed in the area.last_img read more

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Why do chimps kill each other?

first_imgWar—what is it good for? “Absolutely nothing” according to the refrain of a 1970 hit song. Many humans would agree with this sentiment. But a major new study of warfare in chimpanzees finds that lethal aggression can be evolutionarily beneficial in that species, rewarding the winners with food, mates, and the opportunity to pass along their genes. The findings run contrary to recent claims that chimps fight only if they are stressed by the impact of nearby human activity—and could help explain the origins of human conflict as well.Ever since primatologist Jane Goodall’s pioneering work at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in the 1970s, researchers have been aware that male chimps often organize themselves into warring gangs that raid each other’s territory, sometimes leaving mutilated dead bodies on the battlefield. Primatologists have concluded that their territorial battles are evolutionarily adaptive.But some anthropologists have resisted this interpretation, insisting instead that today’s chimps are aggressive only because they are endangered by human impact on their natural environment. For example, when humans cut down forests for farming or other uses, the loss of habitat forces chimps to live in close proximity to one another and to other groups. Feeding chimps can also increase their population density by causing them to cluster around human camps, thus causing more competition between them.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(*)To test between the two hypotheses, a large team of primatologists led by Michael Wilson of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, analyzed data from 18 chimpanzee communities, along with four bonobo communities, from well-studied sites across Africa. The sites included famous chimp and bonobo hangouts such as the Gombe and Mahale national parks in Tanzania, Kibale in Uganda, Fongoli in Senegal, and Lomako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The data covered a total of 426 researcher years spent watching chimps and 96 years of bonobo observation. All told, the scientists tallied 152 chimp killings, of which 58 were directly observed, 41 inferred from evidence such as mutilated bodies on the ground, and 53 suspected either because the animals had disappeared or had injuries consistent with fighting.The researchers created a series of computer models to test whether the observed killings could be better explained by adaptive strategies or human impacts. The models incorporated variables such as whether the animals had been fed by humans, the size of their territory (smaller territories presumably corresponding to greater human encroachment), and other indicators of human disturbance, all of which were assumed to be related to human impacts; and variables such as the geographic location of the animals, the number of adult males, and the population density of the animals, which the team considered more likely to be related to adaptive strategies.Online today in Nature, the team reports that the models that best explained the data were those that assumed the killings were related to adaptive strategies, which in statistical terms were nearly seven times as strongly supported as models that assumed human impacts were mostly responsible. For example, 63% of the fallen warriors were attacked by animals from outside their own in-group, supporting, the authors say, previous evidence that chimps in particular band together to fight other groups for territory, food, and mates. Moreover, males were responsible for 92% of all attacks, confirming earlier hypotheses that warfare is a way for males to spread their genes. In contrast, the team concludes, none of the factors related to human impacts correlated with the amount of warfare observed.The study also confirmed earlier evidence that bonobos are, relatively speaking, more peaceful than their chimpanzee cousins. Although fewer bonobo groups were included in the study, the researchers observed only one suspected killing among that species, at Lomako—a site where animals have not been fed by humans and disturbance by human activity has been judged to be low.“The contrast could not be more stark” between how the two hypotheses fared, says William McGrew, a primatologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who praises the study as a “monumental collaborative effort.” Joan Silk, an anthropologist at Arizona State University, Tempe, agrees. The study “weighs competing hypotheses systematically,” she says. “Advocates of the human impact hypothesis … must challenge [the study’s] empirical findings, or modify their position.”But leading advocates of the human impacts hypothesis are not giving ground. “I am surprised that [the study] was accepted for publication,” says Robert Sussman, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, who questions the criteria the team used to distinguish between the two hypotheses. For example, he says, a higher number of males in a group and greater population density—which the researchers used as indicators of adaptive strategies—could equally be the result of human disturbances. Sussman also criticizes the team for mixing observed, inferred, and suspected cases of killings, which he calls “extremely unscientific.”R. Brian Ferguson, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, Newark, in New Jersey, agrees, adding that other assumptions the team made—such as using larger chimp territories as a proxy for more minimal human disturbances—could be wrong, because “some populations within large protected areas have been heavily impacted.”As for understanding the roots of human warfare, Wilson says that chimpanzee data alone can’t settle the debate about why we fight: Is it an intrinsic part of our nature or driven more by cultural and political factors? Still, he says, “if chimpanzees kill for adaptive reasons, then perhaps other species do, too, including humans.”last_img read more

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Geoscientists aim to magnify specialized Web searching

first_imgOver the next 2 years, Wiebe and colleagues will build computer programs that can extract information from AGU conference abstracts, NSF awards, and geoscience data repositories and then digitally connect these resources in ways that make them more accessible to scientists. A pilot project that concluded this year, known as OceanLink, has already developed some of the underlying design. If the new project garners sufficient community interest, the researchers could eventually turn it into a comprehensive one-stop search hub for the geosciences, says computer scientist Tom Narock of Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, another principal investigator on the project.Projects like GeoLink are part of a growing effort by the scientific community to make literature reviews more efficient by leveraging the increasing ability of computers to process texts—a much needed service as millions of new papers come out every year. A similar initiative from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) in Seattle, Washington, is developing an intelligent academic search engine for computer science. Called Semantic Scholar, it is expected to be fully released by the end of 2015. Eventually, the institute plans to expand Semantic Scholar’s coverage to include other subjects, says AI2 Chief Executive Officer Oren Etzioni.Existing academic search engines boast extensive coverage of scientific literature. (Google Scholar alone indexes about 160 million documents by some calculations.) Their reliance on keyword searches, however, often means users get more junk than treasure. That frustrates scientists such as Wiebe, who wants to find papers related to specific research questions such as “growth of plankton in the Red Sea.” Search engines also don’t typically include raw data sets.In contrast, GeoLink and Semantic Scholar attempt to build fine-grained, niche search engines catered to specific subject areas, by tapping into deeper semantic processing that helps computers establish scientifically meaningful connections between publications. When a scientist types in “plankton in the Red Sea,” for example, the search engine would not only understand it as a string of characters that show up on papers, but also know the researchers who investigated the topic, the cruises they took, the instruments they used, and the data sets and papers they published. Google has applied similar techniques to improve its main search engine, but projects like GeoLink benefit from input from scientists with extensive knowledge in the subject area, who identify meaningful links that computer scientists then translate into code.The potential of these projects goes beyond helping scientists find the right papers quickly, says computer scientist C. Lee Giles of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. By extracting information on methods and results from a paper and pooling the data together, search engines like Semantic Scholar could automate the process of literature review and comparison.For example, Etzioni says, it would take a talented computer science graduate student weeks of extensive reading to gain an overview of techniques used in the last 5 years to perform dependent parsing (a task in natural language processing), the data sets produced, and the accuracy rates. And they’d probably miss a few things. In contrast, Semantic Scholar could potentially compile the techniques and results into a neat table within seconds. “We are imagining techniques that go way beyond just paper recommendation, to the point where we are really generating novel insights.”Such instant overview would especially benefit junior scientists and interdisciplinary scientists who are entering a new field of study, says computer scientist Christina Lioma of the University of Copenhagen. It would also enable scientists to identify emerging trends in a field and adjust their directions accordingly, Giles says.Realizing the technology’s potential, however, partially depends on having publicly accessible, text-minable literature for computers to read. Although governments are increasingly pushing for such open access, allowing machines to mine the full texts of papers held behind journal paywalls remains a contentious issue. For now, the GeoLink project will mine only publicly available abstracts of studies. (Semantic Scholar receives its papers from CiteSeerx, a digital library co-founded by Giles that covers 4 million open-access computer science papers.)Computer scientists still have a lot of work to do to improve the accuracy of text processing, Giles says. For example, machines still trip up over tasks like identifying that “P. Wiebe” and “Peter Wiebe” refer to the same person.Nonetheless, Giles believes that the semantic Web approach “is the Web of the future.” When oceanographer Peter Wiebe sat down recently to write a paper on findings from his January cruise to the Red Sea, he wanted to examine all data sets on plankton in the region. He knew other researchers have been sampling the organisms for years, but there was a problem: He didn’t know where to find those data sets.“These data centers are kind of black holes,” says Wiebe, who works at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “The data go in, but it’s very hard to figure out what’s in there and to get it out.”That could soon change. Wiebe is working with a group of computer scientists to lay the groundwork for a smarter academic search engine that would help geoscientists find the exact data sets and publications they want in the blink of an eye, instead of spending hours scrolling through pages of irrelevant results on Google Scholar. The group officially kicked off their project, called GeoLink, yesterday at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting in San Francisco, California. The research effort is part of EarthCube, an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to upgrade cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Indian Motorcycle Is Coming for Harley-Davidson’s Throne

first_imgAmerica’s best-known motorcycle brand is having trouble at home. Harley-Davidson’s U.S. sales are down to the lowest levels in years, and the company’s stock has fallen about 13 percent so far in 2018. The Milwaukee-based bike builder is shuttering a factory in Kansas City as forecasts for 2018 predict continued declines. International sales have fared better, but possible steel and aluminum tariffs threaten to rock the manufacturer overseas.The underlying problem that has plagued Harley for years is the slow demise of its core rider group—the bandana-clad riders rolling through curvy backwood highways, traveling in packs from bar to bar across America. They’re getting older, and younger riders are opting for snappier, sportier, and cheaper bikes. Harley is hoping to right the ship with some help from its recently-announced electric motorcycle, the production bike that will result from the LiveWire prototype unveiled in 2014. But it remains to be seen if the sporty electric two-wheeler will have broader appeal.Read it at Popular Mechanica Related Itemslast_img read more

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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s New Home Has an Indian Connection Dating Back to Queen Victoria

first_imgFrogmore Cottage on Queen Elizabeth II’s estate in the town of Windsor, which was recently announced as the new home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has a curious Raj era connect with India.The cottage had been a royal gift to Abdul Karim by Queen Victoria, then Empress of India, in recognition of his service and as a sign of her affection towards her Indian aide and confidant.Read it at News18 Related Itemslast_img

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Australian High Commission Warns People About New Visa Scam in Delhi

first_imgThe Australian High Commission in New Delhi has warned people about a new visa scam, allegedly perpetrated by an employment agency operating in South-West Delhi. The high commission has asked visa aspirants to exercise caution after it was approached by over 50 people, who claimed to have paid lakhs of rupees to the agency for obtaining a work visa for Australia, only to come to know later that they were duped in yet another visa scam.Cautioning the visa applicants, the Australian High Commission said that they should conduct thorough checking whenever they come across a visa agency offering a job in Australia. It also asked people to refer directly to the information published on the official Home Affairs website, www.homeaffairs.gov.au, instead of becoming a victim to visa fraud.“Australia does not have a work visa program of the sort being promoted by the scammers — our Temporary Skills Shortage work visa is run only with approved sponsors, and only for applicants with specific skills in demand in Australia,” a spokesperson from the Australian High Commission said in a statement.The High Commission also said on its official website that the agency at the center of the fraud took money from the applicants for job placement and visa lodging, as well as medical examination fee. The medical center in South Delhi, allotted by the agency for these medical examinations, was not associated with Australia’s approved panel of physicians.“Some of the recent victims have said that they paid up to Rs 50,000 just for a non-existent airfare and a medical check with an unauthorized clinic, in addition to all the other fees they have been charged,” the spokesperson added.The statement added that the agency sometimes gave fake job offers using the names of well-known and genuine companies in Australia.The agency even provided applicants a fake visa grant notice, which was linked to a non-genuine visa checking service on a fake website.“We have seen clones of our website before but the newest versions link to a fake visa checking site that only contains the visa details concocted by the agent. This may look convincing to someone who is wanting proof the agent is not duping them – but actually, it is still all fake,” the statement said.The High Commission has advised visa fraud victims to report their experiences to law enforcement agencies and seek help.“We work with website hosts to take down fake websites but the scammers often start up again with a different site. We encourage victims of this and other scams to promptly report this illegal activity to local authorities,” it said. Related ItemsAustraliavisa fraudlast_img read more

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Milind Deora ignores Sanjay Nirupam’s jibes, says party bigger than individual

first_imgFaced with a barrage of criticism from his predecessor Sanjay Nirupam, former Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora turned the other cheek on Monday. ‘Unpleasant and unwarranted commentary’, he said, should be ignored. “A party and its ideals are bigger than an individual. Some unpleasant and unwarranted commentary from certain quarters should be ignored,” said Mr. Deora in a statement issued on Monday evening.Unpleasant scenes have accompanied Mr. Deora’s appointment as well as departure, with Mr. Nirupam criticising him over his idea to appoint a three-member committee to run the Mumbai Congress till the Assembly elections. “The idea to appoint a three-member committee to run Mumbai Congress in place of (a party) president is not at all appropriate. It will ruin the party further,” tweeted Mr Nirupam.He ridiculed Mr. Deora over his hints at undertaking an important responsibility at the national level. “Resignation (usually) comes with sacrifice. But here, a national-level position is being demanded. Is this a resignation or a ladder to climb? The party should be wary of such ‘devoted’ leaders,” he said.Mr. Deora, however, said he was humbled by the affection and support he received after his resignation, and asked party workers to keep up the good work. The Congress’s vote share in Mumbai rose by 5%, he said. It was proved in the Lok Sabha elections that party workers can work unitedly for all Mumbaikars and earnestly pursue their support to build an inclusive Mumbai, he said. “We have re-established Mumbai Congress as a party for all Mumbaikars and this is a great beginning to build on,” said the statement.last_img read more

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No nod for tax on clicking pictures in Goa village, says Minister

first_imgGoa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Thursday said his department has not granted any permission for imposition of a ‘Swachhta Tax’ on clicking photographs in the scenic Parra village of North Goa district.Mr. Ajgaonkar told PTI that the tourism department will probe how the panchayat of Parra, which is the ancestral village of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, was levying such a tax. The matter came to light on Wednesday after some Goa- based activists took to social media to highlight that the panchayat of Parra village, located about 9 km from Panaji, had started levying tax on clicking pictures or shooting videos in its jurisdiction. A sign board put up prominently on the main road of the village reads: “Swacchta Tax/Mission Clean Parra Tax will be levied on all film shoots and photo shoots. Tax will vary for individuals and commercials.” Taking serious note of it, Mr. Ajgaonkar said, “My department has not granted any permission for imposition of such a tax. We will inquire into this.” “If every panchayat starts imposing its own taxes like this, it would be harmful for the State’s tourism potential,” the Minister said. However, a representative of the Parra village panchayat, on condition of anonymity, said the tax was imposed as tourists leave behind lot of garbage and litter the place. “The fund raised through the tax would be used to clean the place. We don’t want to depend on the government to sanction money to keep our place clean. We are doing it through our own resources by levying the tax,” he said. Parra is one of the scenic villages located in the North Goa beach belt.last_img read more

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