The wreckage of the Su-30 fighter aircraft of the Air Force that went missing near Tezpur in Assam was found on Friday.“The wreckage was found close to the last known position of the aircraft. As of now, the weather is bad and the place has dense foliage,” sources in the Air Force said.The wreckage was located 9,000 feet on the spur of a hill, officials said. Efforts were on to send in a team of IAF’s Garud commandos through a helicopter. However, it is contingent upon the weather.The aircraft with two pilots was on a routine training mission on Tuesday morning as part of a two aircraft formation. It lost radar and radio contacts with the controlling station at 11:10 hrs. The last reported location was 60 km north-west of Tezpur.Su-30 fighter jets, C-130 aircraft, Advanced Light Helicopters and Chetak helicopters were pressed in for the search and rescue efforts but bad weather hampered the efforts on Wednesday. The rescue mission was resumed in full scale on Thursday.
Fresh violence broke out in Mirik area of Darjeeling hills with Gorkhaland supporters clashing with police and setting on fire two security vehicles and an outpost, police said on July 18, 2017.The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alleged that its supporter Ashok Tamang was killed and another person injured in the incident on the night of July 17, 2017.The GJM alleged that the police opened fire at pro-Gorkhaland activists in Mirik area. However, the police denied doing so.Trouble erupted in Mirik sub-division when pro-Gorkhaland activists pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs and glass bottles at the police, an official said. Police sources said the protesters were baton-charged and tear gas shells were lobbed at them.The GJM plans to take out a rally with Tamang’s body in Mirik on July 18, 2017, the 34th day of the indefinite shutdown. A sit-in outside the district magistrate’s office in Darjeeling has also been planned to press for the demand for a separate State .An all-party meeting is scheduled to be held in Kalimpong on July 18, 2017 to decide on the next course of action. The meeting will be attended by all the parties of the hills.Army troops continued to maintain a vigil in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sonada. Paramilitary and police personnel also patrolled the streets in the hills. Charred books at a Grahmin Library that was torched by the miscreants in Mirik, West Bengal on July 14, 2017. | Photo Credit: PTI Except pharmacies, all the other shops, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges were closed while Internet services remain suspended for the last 31 days in the hills.With food supply severely hit due to the ongoing shutdown, GJM activists and NGOs of the hills were seen distributing food items among the people.
The Bombay High Court at Goa on Thursday directed State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane to deposit ₹1.5 lakh to the State Legal Aid Fund while disposing of a 10-year-old case against him.A spokesperson for the Panaji Bench of the High Court told reporters that following the order by Justices C.V. Bhadang and Prithviraj Chavan, Mr. Rane paid the money by demand draft. Activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues in 2007 complained that Mr. Rane issued death threats to him duirng a telephonic conversation. Mr. Rodrigues told the court that he had no objection to a petition moved by Mr. Rane seeking closure of the decade-old case.“The petitioner is permitted to deposit ₹1.5 lakh with the State Legal Aid Fund,” the one-line court order read. Mr. Rane, son of former Goa Chief Minister and senior Congress legislator Pratapsingh Rane, was booked under Section 506 (ii) of Indian Penal Code. Mr. Rane is a member of the cabinet and is contesting a by-election for the Valpoi assembly constituency to be held on August 23.Meanwhile, the District Magistrate in South Goa on Thursday directed all owners of lodges in the State to not allow guests to check-in unless they produce identity proof issued by a recognised authority. The advisory is applicable to owners of hotels, private guest houses, paying guest accommodation and temporary residential accommodation.One-week deadlineThe District Magistrate said those who need accommodation on rent should submit a written statement to the nearby police station. The court said the landlord should submit the information in duly prescribed forms available at the local police station within a week.
The situation in Darjeeling remained tense but incident-free as the indefinite shutdown in the hills entered its 88th day on Sunday.A large number of shops were open in the Darjeeling hills on Sunday, braving threats and intimidation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The police and administration for the second day appealed to the locals through the public address system to open their shops and restore normalcy in the hills.Peace rallies were taken out by the residents of Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik demanding the restoration of peace in the hills.Expelled GJM leader Anit Thapa also took out a peace rally near Kurseong. State Tourism Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Gautam Deb took out a peace rally in the hills.Search on for GurungThe search operation to trace Bimal Gurung, the absconding GJM supremo against whom cases have been lodged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, continued in the Darjeeling hills and adjoining areas.GJM supporters took out rallies in support of Gorkhaland and the ongoing shutdown in parts of Darjeeling, Sonada and Kalimpong. Posters and leaflets were distributed in support of the strike. Internet services in the hills remain suspended since June 18.
In a meeting that lasted barely 45 minutes, the Congress’s central election committee on Friday cleared the names of 70 candidates for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections. The names will officially be announced on November 16.Of the 182 Assembly seats, 89 from the Saurashtra and south Gujarat regions will go to the polls in the first phase on December 9. “We have cleared those names where there was consensus on a single name,” a senior leader involved in the selection process told The Hindu.Rounds of discussions“The screening committee had prepared a panel of two or three probable names for each seat and during several rounds of discussions and feedback gathered from multiple sources, one name was forwarded to the CEC for its final stamping,” the leader said.Party insiders say the Congress list will have a clear stamp of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is involved in every aspect from leading the party campaign and holding negotiations with young leaders like Alpesh Thakor, who joined the party recently, and the Patidar leader Hardik Patel, and selecting candidates.The screening committee is headed by former Maharashtra Minister Balasaheb Thorat. Ashok Gehlot, general secretary in charge of Gujarat, and his team consisting of Rajeev Satav, Jeetu Patwari, Varsha Gaikwad and Harshvardhan Sakpal, along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser Ahmed Patel and the State leaders, have held a series of meetings in Gujarat and Delhi to vet hundreds of probable candidates.Party insiders say selection of candidates is fraught with multiple challenges. While the interests of various groups such as Patels, Dalits and OBCs have to be accommodated, the choices must ensure that the party stays united with minimal rebellion after candidate selection.On Friday, the meeting was presided by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her first major political engagement in the past two weeks after she was advised rest to recover from an illness. Mr. Gandhi will return to campaign in north Gujarat as part of Congress’s Navsarjan Yatra and will visit the popular Ambaji temple in Banaskantha. His three-day yatra will cover Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha, Patan, Banaskantha and Arvalli districts in north Gujarat where the Congress is expected to improve its performance.BJP meetingsThe BJP’s State parliamentary board also began a series of meetings on Friday that will go on till November 12, to send a list of probable candidates from which the central parliamentary board will select the final names. National president Amit Shah and other top leaders were present at the State parliamentary board meeting held at Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s residence in Gandhinagar.
The Gates Foundation informed the State government that it was eager to collaborate with it on techniques to bring under control vector-borne and water-borne diseases, drinking water supply, sanitation, mother and child nutrition and enhance agricultural productivity.Priority of schemesUttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar said the MoU would be signed soon after assessing “department-wise programmes and priority of schemes as per the needs of the State.”Mr. Adityanath apprised Mr. Gates of the efforts taken by the State to tackle Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and other vector-borne diseases. The State government came under sharp criticism a few months ago when 30 infants allegedly died of shortage of oxygen supply in Gorakhpur and since then it has promoted measures taken to address AES and JES.As per the State government, it successfully vaccinated 92 lakh children in 38 districts in May-June. This was followed by the Indradanush programme under which 26 lakh children who had missed out on the earlier programme were vaccinated in 37 districts.“Eliminating the menace of JE and AES is one of the top priorities of government, and Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College has been at the forefront of this mission,” Mr. Adityanath said.Also Read The foundation run by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda will support the Uttar Pradesh government in intensifying vaccination programmes for diseases like Japanese Encephalitis and cerebral fever, officials said on Friday.An MoU will soon be signed between the two sides for collaboration and support on the issues of maternal and child health, vaccination, agricultural productivity and sanitation, among others.Also Read Rajnath asks Bill Gates to adopt 1,000 Maoist-hit villages The Uttar Pradesh government is seeking the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in “technical, managerial and programme designs,” a government spokesperson said.The MoU will be signed for five years.Fresh collaborationThe fresh collaboration between the State government and the Gates Foundation came on a day its founder, Bill Gates, along with his team held a high-level meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath here.Mr. Gates and Mr. Adityanath discussed a range of topics on which the Gates Foundation could provide technical support to Uttar Pradesh.The subjects ranged from tackling tuberculosis, child malnutrition, maternal health to sewage treatment, soil-mapping techniques, sanitation and waste management.Also Read Bill Gates positive to N. Chandrababu Naidu plea for tech help Bill Gates commits to work with U.P. government on welfare schemes Anganwadi centresMr. Gates expressed his willingness to work on the issue of “strengthening anganwadi centres to tackle the issue of child malnutrition and fortify their diets through existing government programmes.”There are two lakh anganwadi centres and the State government wants the Gates Foundation to develop software so that the health of children and women at these centres can be tracked accurately.The Microsoft founder has also communicated to the government that his Foundation would support it in soil mapping through latest techniques and increase level of awareness among farmers to use better seeds.“We are already working with the Union Government and would love to work with U.P. too,” Mr. Gates was quoted as saying by the Chief Minister’s communication department.The Gates Foundation has proposed technical help to the government in sanitation and waste management, while willing to deploy mobile-based nutrition systems in anganwadis.The State government has invited the Gates Foundation to lead a pilot project for sanitation along the banks of the Ganga in Unnao.While welcoming Mr. Gates to Lucknow, Mr. Adityanath gifted him an idol of Lord Buddha.
In the last week of September 2017, Rajkot Police received a complaint on the ‘accidental death’ of 64-year-old Jayshree Nathwani. It was believed that she had either committed suicide or had fallen from a terrace.Three months later, based on video footage and an anonymous letter they received, the police have arrested the deceased woman’s son, Sandip Nathwani, a lecturer in a college, for pushing her from the terrace of his apartment block.The video that surfaced on Friday shows the 36-year-old assistant professor taking his mother to the terrace of his residential building and pushing her from there. After he was confronted with the video footage, Mr. Nathwani broke down and confessed.He said his mother’s prolonged illness had led to frequent fights between him and his wife.
Apple production in Himachal Pradesh is expected to come down by around 50% this year and the total number of boxes (approximately 20 kg each) may not even touch one crore because of the unfavourable weather conditions prevailing in the State for the past few months.Shimla Deputy Commissioner’s office, which controls and administers the transportation and marketing of apples, has estimated a production of around 9 million apple boxes this year. Last year, the total production had touched around 15 million boxes in the State. The rural Shimla district alone produces more than 80% of the Red Delicious apple variety in Himachal, while other districts like Kullu, Mandi, Kinnaur, Chamba, Sirmaur, and Solan produce the rest of the crop.Employment sourceApple is the main cash crop grown in the hill State. It is a ₹4,000-crore economy and gives direct and indirect employment to hundreds of thousands of people. Early variety of apples from lower areas start reaching the markets in the last week of June. The Shimla district administration has directed the SDMs to fix the transportation rates of the produce from the farms to the roads and freight charges of the trucks in their areas. Control room for trucksThe administration will also establish a control room at Fagu near Kufri to keep track of the loaded vehicles going out of the State. The inspection will start July onwards till the end of the harvesting season in October. Other control rooms will be set up in Narkanda, Khara Pather, Naina-Balag, Kuddu, and Rampur.The drivers and helpers of the trucks will be given identity cards by the Horticulture Produce and Marketing Corporation and only authorised truckers will be allowed to transport the produce.This comes in the wake of several instances in the past of truckers running away with the produce. It has prompted a number of small growers to prefer selling their produce within the State instead of sending it to far-flung markets.
The Odisha government’s General Administration Department has raised questions over the air travel of Governor Ganeshi Lal from Bhubaneswar to Sirsa, his hometown in Haryana, via New Delhi last month.The Deputy Secretary in the GAD, while seeking signatures from the special secretary to the Governor on the user’s certificate for the use of jet aircraft and chopper, sought to know the reasons for hiring a helicopter for use of the Governor and deviation in the approved schedule of the flight.“It may kindly be intimated the reason and circumstances for hiring of a helicopter for use of Hon’ble Governor and deviation in the approved schedule of the flight, and whether approval of the competent authority has been taken for the purpose or not,” Indira Behera, deputy secretary, GAD, wrote on Wednesday.Bills attached According to the GAD letter, the invoice of Messrs Pinnacle Air Private Limited towards use of the twin engine aircraft from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi on June 10 and back from New Delhi to Bhubaneswar on June 13 amounted to ₹41.18 lakh, and the invoice towards use of helicopter from New Delhi to Sirsa on June 10 amounted to ₹5 lakh.The GAD has attached the two bills raised by the private airline to the letter and requested the Raj Bhavan that the same be returned after signing the user’s certificate for further necessary action.When contacted, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, “We will submit the user’s certificate as required by the state government.”Mr. Ganeshi Lal, a former president of Haryana BJP who was a State Minister in the past, was appointed as Odisha Governor in May this year. (With PTI inputs)
Lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad witnessed Lord Jagannath’s ‘Bahuda Yatra’ — the return car festival — which was held in this seaside pilgrim town amid tight security on Sunday.The three deities — Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra — ended their annual nine-day sojourn to Sri Gundicha Temple, their birth place, and returned to Sreemandir or Shri Jagannath Temple on three majestic wooden chariots during the ‘Bahuda Yatra’Special rituals Special rituals were performed before the deities were taken out of the Sri Gundicha Temple and placed on the three colourfully decorated chariots for the return journey, amid chants of ‘Jai Jagannath’ and ‘Hari Bol’The deities were taken to their chariots in an elaborate ritual called ‘Pahandi’ to the beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.Lord Jagannath was ensconced in the largest of the three chariots — the 45-foot-high ‘Nandighosh’, Balabhadra in 44-foot-high ‘Taladhwaja’ and Subhadra in 43-foot- high ’Darpadalan’Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Dibyasingha Deb performed the ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual. He offered prayers to the deities and then swept the platforms of the chariots with a golden broom and sprinkled flowers and fragrant water.The chariots were then pulled by devotees amid gaiety and devotion on ‘Bada Danda’ — the grand avenue leading to Shri Jagannath Temple – up to the Lion’s Gate in front of the Jagannath Temple, where they would be stationed till July 25.The deities, who had embarked on the nine-day sojourn to the Sri Gundicha Temple during the Rath Yatra on July 14, would finally re-enter the 12th century shrine and again be placed on the ‘Ratna Simhasana’, the bejewelled throne, following a ceremony called ‘Neeladribije’Ahead of ‘Neeladribije’, the deities would be decorated with ‘suna besha’ or golden attire, on Monday on their chariots, which attracts a large number of devotees.Over 3,000 police personnel were deployed in the pilgrim town besides Central para-military forces to ensure smooth celebrations of the ‘Bahuda Yatra’, a senior police officer said.A large number of CCTVs were also installed on ‘Bada Danda’, he said.
An order issued by the public sector Jaipur Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (Jaipur Discom), making it mandatory for its employees to use a newly launched mobile app for digital payment of their electricity bills, has created a controversy here, with the Congress taking up the issue.The Jaipur Discom has been trying to popularise its ‘Bijli Mitra’ app among consumers.Salaries conditionalIn its September 6-order, the discom directed its 16,000 employees in the 12 districts covered by its operations to give an undertaking that they have downloaded the app and started paying their domestic power bills through the new mode.“Officers and employees will be paid their salaries for September 2018 and the subsequent months only after they submit the undertaking in the prescribed format,” stated the order.Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot took exception to the discom’s decision and said it was a “whimsical order”.‘Autocratic manner’ “In this anti-employees’ regime, even the discom is working in an autocratic manner. You are free to accept online bill payments, but why are you targeting the salaries,” he asked.Jaipur Discom Chairman & Managing Director (C&MD) R.G. Gupta claimed that the decision had been taken with the “willingness” of all employees. “It is a convenient mode for both consumers and employees and is being liked,” he said.Mr. Gupta retweeted a message of a discom Junior Engineer, Umesh, in support of the decision. It said that if the discom employees did not make bill payment through the app, how would they suggest it to their consumers? The employees were already receiving their salaries through the digital mode, it said.Promoting appThe discom has also introduced a monthly lottery system to promote digital payments through the Bijli Mitra app. The lottery randomly selects 100 consumers using the app every month. The winner gets a prize of ₹5,000, which is adjusted against their future electricity bills.
The State government’s project to provide smart-card based driving licences to crores of commuters has been cleared. A high-power committee (HPC) has shortlisted six firms of the 20 bidders to provide 10 lakh cards in the first phase. Digitisation of records“We have cleared one tender work (smart card) and are re-inviting tenders for the other, which is the digitisation of records,” Principal Secretary (Transport) Ashish Kumar Singh told The Hindu on Tuesday.New systemThe Smart Card Operating System for Transport Application (SCOSTA)-certified cards, a new system developed by the National Informatics Centre, is being awarded to a consortium which has the capability of manufacturing or supplying at least 10 lakh smart cards every year.Among other conditions to be fulfilled are a centralised printing facility at Andheri, an additional facility at Nagpur, and decentralised printing at 50 Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). “A new condition has been added of having a centralised printing facility at Pune as well,” a senior official said.The SCOSTA cards will replace existing paper certificates needed for registrations. The RTOs are currently issuing paper certificates to motorists after the services of M/s Rosmerta Technologies was terminated in 2014. According to official data, a total of 73,63,513 paper transactions are carried by RTOs every year. Of these, 28,88,395 transactions in paper are created to issue learner’s licences, officials said. ₹250 crore projectMotorists have been demanding smart card certificates as the paper work is tedious. The tender for the ₹250-crore project has been revised twice in the past. “On review of the operational and logistics issue in printing and delivery, we changed the specification again. This time we have added Nagpur and Pune as a requirement to have additional printing facilities,” said an official.
Veteran Congress leader Jaipal Reddy has asked if the Bharatiya Janata Party is lacking in leadership in Goa as it hasn’t been able to find another chief ministerial candidate in the State. The former Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting was addressing a Jan Akrosh rally in Margao in South Goa on Thursday. Mr. Reddy said, “India has survived the deaths of greats like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. Is Manohar Parrikar greater than these stalwarts that the BJP cannot find his substitute to function as the Goa Chief Minister?” Mr. Reddy said that despite the demise of Gandhi, Nehru and Patel who made significant contributions to unify India, the country was still functioning. “Is Manohar Parrikar bigger than this?” he asked.Mr. Reddy also attacked Mr. Parrikar on his poll promises, especially shutting down the offshore casino industry. He said, “Mr. Parrikar had said before the Assembly elections that he would drown the operations in the Mandovi river. He himself is drowning now, but he will not let them drown.”
Officer Subodh Kumar Singh, who was killed during mob violence in Bulandshahr earlier this month, was hit with a sharp axe first, assaulted with stones and sticks before being shot dead, new information on the incident revealed on Friday.The police on Thursday arrested Prashant Natt, the person they claimed shot dead officer Singh after snatching his service pistol. They are now trying to nab others who assaulted the officer before he was shot. Tried to burn himThe mob also tried to burn the officer’s body, which was hanging by the door of his official jeep in the middle of the fields in Syana, said SSP Bulandshahr Prabhakar Chaudhary.The police are on the lookout for accused Kalua, who allegedly attacked the officer first with an axe, causing him deep injury. “The mob became violent after that,” said Mr. Chaudhary, adding that 4-5 persons were involved in the killing of the officer.Johny, the accused who snatched the officer’s pistol, is under arrest. The police said Natt was arrested on the basis of eyewitness accounts, videos of the incident and intelligence information gathered. His name was deliberately avoided in the FIR as part of a strategy to nab him, officers said.Mr. Chaudhary said Natt had been the main suspect from day one and his family fled from Bulandshahr soon after the incident.The officer also said that Singh shot at the mob in self-defence before being overpowered.SP Bulandshahr (City) Atul Srivastava said Natt had “confessed to his involvement in the incident and shooting the bullet that killed” Singh.Natt’s brother Moolchand, however, said Prashant was innocent and did not shoot the officer. “He is being falsely implicated because the police is yet to nab the main conspirators,” said Moolchand, adding that his brother surrendered before the police on December 25 and was not arrested as claimed by the police.Singh was shot dead during mob violence that erupted in the Syana area of Bulandshahr on December 3 after right-wing groups alleged cow slaughter and brought the carcasses to the police outpost in a tractor trolley. Singh was shot near his left eyebrow by a .32 bore weapon, the police had earlier said on the basis of the autopsy report.Singh was the investigating officer of the Dadri lynching case of Akhlaq from September 28, 2015, to November 9, 2015. Bajrang Dal activist Yogesh Raj, who was named as the main instigator in the mob violence as per the FIR, is still absconding; so is BJP Yuva Morcha Bulandshahr city president Shikhar Agarwal.
To avoid repeat of violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in Pune district on January 1, 2018, the police has taken preventive action against 1,200 people, including barring some from entering the area and externment of some others.Senior police officials said that those who have been prohibited from visiting Koregaon Bhima and the surrounding area include right-wing Hindu leader Milind Ekbote and members of the left-leaning cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM). Addressing a joint press conference here, Pune Rural Superintendent of Police Sandip Patil said “preventive action” has been taken against 1,211 people under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). This includes barring 64 people from visiting the surrounding area, he said.Delay tacticsMeanwhile, Ambedkarite outfits have accused the police of dragging their feet over investigations into the clashes which left one person dead.Till date, 23 FIRs have been registered by the Pune Rural Police. While 22 of these were registered at different police stations across Pune and other districts a week within the violence, one was registered as recently as December 3.However, Rahul Dambale, president, Republican Yuva Sena, told The Hindu that “Only 104 people, of the 1,400-odd people identified as rioters, have been arrested or investigated till date. This is less than 10% of the total accused.” Besides, though FIRs were filed, not a single charge sheet has been filed by the Pune Rural Police and other investigating agencies. Mr. Dambale further points out that what most people overlook is that violence continued after the clashes of January 1, with nine Dalit shops and establishments being torched by mobs on January 2.The last FIR, registered on December 3, was based on a complaint by 55-year-old Mangal Kailas Kamble, whose house and shop was burnt by a mob on January 2.“Even after so many months of importuning them, the Shikrapur police refused to take notice of my complaint. It is only after a video clip showing the mob gutting my house and shop surfaced that the police finally took action,” said Ms. Kamble.Questioning the inexplicable delay on part of the police, a number of Dalit outfits have demanded that the government and the police administration come out with a ‘white paper’ to clear the air on the status of the investigation.“The trouble is that the police do not tell us anything about the progress of the case. There is ample evidence against the rioters at hand in terms of video footage,” said Milind Ahire of the Bahujan Republican Socialist Party.
Six children and a woman constable riding a stunt motorcycle were injured on Saturday when the two-wheeler slipped at a State-level Republic Day parade organised in Gujarat’s Palanpur. The stunt-motorcycle slipped after it lost balance and hit a group of children in the 11-12 age group who were part of the audience, said Banaskantha Superintendent of Police Pradeep Sejul.“Six children sustained minor injuries as also the rider, woman constable Rekha Gohil,” Mr. Sejul said. The injured were taken to Palanpur civil hospital and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who was attending the function, rushed to the hospital along with State Chief Secretary J.N. Singh and Director General of Police Shivanand Jha. The function was organised at a ground near the city’s Rampura chowk.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has invited different community-based organisations and political parties for a meeting following the unrest triggered by the government’s now abandoned move to grant permanent resident certificates (PRC) to six non-tribal communities.Three people were killed in firing by security forces since Friday night when a 48-hour shutdown called by 18 indigenous organisations turned ugly. Protesters burnt cars, uprooted the venue of the first Itanagar International Film Festival, damaged roadside property and set houses and shopping complexes owned by the ruling BJP ministers and leaders on fire.”Today [Monday] I have talked to a few organisations of different communities over the phone and called for a meeting with them at 10 am to discuss the present situation. Along with that, I have called for an all-party meeting to have a detailed discussion regarding the recent situation and the PRC issues,” Mr. Khandu said in a series of early morning messages.Also Read Protests, arson rock Itanagar, two dead “I have cleared the government stand on February 22 that we are not taking the PRC matter forward and want to reassure that we will not take up the issue of issuing PRC to non-APST (Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe) in future. Still, a few incidents are taking place where few young boys have lost their lives and are injured. I am deeply saddened for this and once the situation is normalised, I will visit the families personally,” he said.Appealing for an end to the protest and cooperation with the government for maintaining peace as the “PRC issue has been ended”, the Chief Minister said a commissioner-level probe had been ordered to find the facts behind the unrest that led to widespread damage.“I believe there are some forces behind all the incidents. Arunachal Pradesh is a peaceful State and specially Itanagar is very peaceful, but there might be the hand of few people in the violent incidents that took place in the night. The incident took place on Sunday and I think the latest stand of government regarding PRC is not reaching the masses,” he said.“Though the forces have been increased, It is not a matter of satisfaction to me as I believe that fewer security personnel is better for society and future. They are here for our safety only, but not for any untoward situation that might happen,” he said adding that ex-gratia had been announced for those killed in the protest.Resignation demandedThe protesters had set 5 p.m. on Sunday as the deadline for Mr. Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Chief Secretary Satya Gopal to resign for “betraying the indigenous communities”.In a bid to douse the flames, the Chief Secretary issued a statement, saying that the government had decided never to take up the PRC issue again. In the evening, the Chief Minister called for an all-party meeting but no one responded.“We will attend only if the Governor summons such a meeting,” said Mutchu Mithi, leader of the Arunachal Pradesh unit of the National People’s Party.His party chief and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma called for peace and an amicable solution to the sensitive issue.Meanwhile, a curfew-like situation continued to prevail in State capital Itanagar and neighbouring Naharlagun town, with security forces patrolling the sensitive areas to keep trouble-makers away.
The Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Roopnagar, Amarjit Singh Sandoa, joined the Congress here on Saturday. Earlier Nazar Singh Manshahia, the AAP MLA from Mansa, had joined the Congress on April 29.Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the Congress had got a major boost as a result of the wave of exodus from members of various opposition parties in the State — a clear endorsement, he claimed, of his government’s path-breaking initiatives in the last two years.“AAP national president Arvind Kejriwal’s autocratic style of functioning and the chaos in the State wing of the party was making its legislators feel suffocated, motivating them to shift to the Congress, which was completely focused on development of the State and welfare of its people,” said the Chief Minister. Capt. Amarinder said the mood in the State was clearly in favour of the Congress and its ‘Mission 13’, aimed at a complete sweep of the parliamentary seats in Punjab for the party.
Having secured about 97.5% of its construction money from 13 member countries, the European Spallation Source (ESS) has announced that it will break ground in Lund, Sweden, in the fall—more than a year later than first planned.“We are thrilled to be able to move ahead,” ESS Director-General Jim Yeck said in a statement on Friday. In February 2011, ESS’s 17 partner countries agreed to work together on the project, but each government then had to negotiate its contribution individually. “Each country went through its own independent process of deciding to join, and fund ESS, and that takes time.”ESS’s announcement came on the same day as Germany said it would pony up 11% of the construction’s €1.8 billion price tag, plus €15 million a year for operating costs thereafter. This was the tipping point to get the construction going, after similar agreements with other member countries in recent months. (The United Kingdom agreed in March to cover 10% of the costs, and Spain said in February that it would pay a 5% slice. Sweden, the main host country, will foot 35% of the bill.)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(*)“It was a long overdue decision,” says Peter Tindemans, secretary-general of the European researchers’ organization EuroScience, who served as ESS chair from 2000 to 2010. “[ESS was] working hard on it … but I’m surprised by how long it took to get these results.”Tindemans says tight finances partly explain why it took so long to complete the negotiations. Last month, for example, Germany withdrew from the Square Kilometre Array, a giant international radioastronomy project, seemingly because of “difficult national financial circumstances.” Another reason for the delay is that countries provide in-kind contributions and not only cash, which makes the negotiation process more complicated, Tindemans adds.ESS is a European project to build a high-power neutron source, producing very bright neutron beams to study the fine structure of materials. Instead of a nuclear reactor, ESS will use a proton beam colliding with a metallic target to produce the neutrons—a process known as spallation. The first experiments are expected to begin in 2023, with up to 3000 visiting scientists using the facility every year.At the moment, ESS is a public company owned by Sweden and Denmark. It has applied to become a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, which would be owned by all the member countries and enjoy privileged conditions, including tax exemptions.
Advocates for science communication in the United Kingdom have expressed “deep concern” about a change to the Civil Service Code for public workers, including researchers at government agencies. The three-sentence addition, put into place on 16 March, requires that all contact with media be approved in advance by the minister in charge of the relevant agency.The Science Media Centre (SMC) in London and two other organizations fear that the policy change will hinder communication of science by preventing government scientists from responding to journalists quickly enough to meet their deadlines. “They’re already a bit quiet,” says SMC Director Fiona Fox. “If this makes them more quiet, that’s a bad thing.” Similar restrictions on media contact in Canada have led to delays in granting interviews with scientists and omission of Canadian research from media stories.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(*)SMC today called on the U.K. government to reconsider the change and at least exempt scientists. The Association of British Science Writers and Stempra, a network of science public relations workers, also signed the letter, addressed to Francis Maude, the minister for the Cabinet Office, which made the change. “We believe this will have a negative impact on the public understanding of science and the quality of the public discourse on some of the most important and contentious issues of our times,” the groups wrote.In a response to concerns from unions, Maude wrote that the change was simply to “provide clarity” on existing policy about media contact and reassured that it would not lessen protection for whistleblowers. But a union of 18,000 senior civil servants known as the FDA is not convinced. “Whatever exemptions may have been made for whistle-blowing, the unnecessary and unjustified changes made to the Civil Service Code will have the effect of making civil servants think twice before dealing with or responding to the media,” said FDA General Secretary Dave Penman in a statement. The FDA has launched a petition to change the policy.