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 odds she battled only toughened her and catapulted her to greater heights. Ankita Das is 18 but left the national stalwarts like Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das behind in making the cut for the London Olympics.In 2010, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) had identified two young players from India for a scholarship programme to prepare them for the 2016 Olympics. They were Ankita and Sauymajit Ghosh, the other paddler from India to have qualified for the Olympics. While Saumyajit honed his skills at the famous Peter Karlsson academy in Sweden, Ankita could not go for the long overseas training due to family constraints.That, though, did not crush the spirits of the teenager and she put all her energy at the academy in her hometown Siliguri, run by former national champion Mantu Ghosh. “I was feeling very down for not being able to train in Sweden. My coach ( Mantu) supported me and said you can learn everything even at home if you are willing to work hard. I took it in my stride and doubled my effort,” said Ankita.Ankita’s graph has risen steadily since her cadet days. She has been the national champion cutting across all age groups and won gold at the World Cadet Championship in 2007. But the big break came when she made it to the quarterfinals of the Junior World Championship last year as an unseeded player, upsetting some big names. She lost a close battle to world No. 10 China’s Ruochen Gu.”That tournament instilled a lot of confidence in me and I thought that I can also make it big,” said Ankita.advertisementThough Ankita has never competed at the international events like the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games, she is not overawed by the grand stage. “It cannot get bigger than the Olympics. It feels great to have got my first big break in the Olympics. Of course there will be pressure on us, but as my coach says you can be a good player only if you are able to play with an amount of pressure. I know medal will be tough, but I want to leave a mark so that I can look back at my performance with pride.”Ankita became the part of the Indian team for the South Asian qualifiers after beating veteran Mouma Das in the Olympic trials. K Shamini and Poulomi Ghatak were the top two paddlers from the country at the Hong Kong event, but Ankita walked away with the honours.After finishing third in her pool, she was pitted against an experienced Shamini, a clash that was to eventually decide the Olympic berth. “I was tensed. I had beaten Shamini before, but she had a better record against me. I called Mantu di (coach) and she calmed me down and asked me to play my natural game. When I beat Shamini, I was in a state of shock for a few minutes. I stood near the table in disbelief before the coach shook me from the trance,” said Ankita.What waited for her on reaching Siliguri was unthinkable. “It was crazy. A huge crowd had gathered. Saumyajit and I were taken in a procession.”
Of late, there have been enough questions on the veracity of the new methodology to compute the India growth figure. Putting those concerns to rest, two economic thinkers and policy makers from opposite ends of the spectrum-chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia-said,Of late, there have been enough questions on the veracity of the new methodology to compute the India growth figure. Putting those concerns to rest, two economic thinkers and policy makers from opposite ends of the spectrum-chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia-said that the institutions that produce the numbers are of the “highest quality, unimpeachable credentials, with no question of political interference”. However, Subramanian himself had in the past expressed concern on the new methodology, which he clarified saying that in all systems, in all estimates, across the world, there is a normal range of uncertainty about the data. And given the current set of circumstances with low oil prices, CPI and WPI data off by eight percentage points, computing GDP data is difficult.What’s driving optimism for the Indian growth story is fiscal discipline, sliding corruption, passage of the Aadhar bill, using the JAM trinity to target subsidies and opening up of sectors to FDI. But how India tackles its banking crisis where banks finds themselves saddled with Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debt will determine its future. On the retrospective tax for Vodafone, Subramanian said “If you had gone the whole hog, you might have been accused of trying to favour one foreign company”. by Shweta PunjHomosexuality is not a punishable crimeWhen asked about the RSS vision for India in 2020, its joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said: “To see a prosperous India where basic needs of citizens are fulfilled; where there is no caste, religion or gender discrimination.”advertisementDattatreya Hosabale. Photo: Rohit ChawlaHosabale meant business, as he wants RSS to become an effective instrument to translate this vision into action. But when it comes to moving forward, change and adaptability are the key. And the change must come from within, and RSS is ready to embrace new ideas in a new environment. Though Hosabale wants a Bharat which takes pride in its cultural heritage and civilisational contribution, the way forward is not to be cowed down by the burden of heritage. The bottomline is clear: change is inevitable. “Hindu civilisation says that we must change according to the needs of the times.”He indicated that the organisation might not remain all-male for long. He admits that when it was founded, given the social environment, women were not allowed in the organisation as it involved some physical activity such as playing sports. But as times have changed, the RSS, which has recently replaced its khaki short uniform with full-length trousers, is open to accepting women in shakhas and today women are allowed in all activities except in the daily gathering. “Things may change even in the next one year. In fact, in some shakhas, we are experimenting with family participation where men, women and children are allowed,” he said.There were efforts to clear “misconceptions” around RSS and its vision around Hindutva. It’s a way of life defined by Hinduness and not Hinduism. Mahatma Gandhi was a proud Hindu, so was Swami Vivekananda, argued Hosabale. And he attempted to dispel fears among non-Hindus about a Hindu India. “Hindus never aggressed or enslaved anyone in the past in any part of the world. So the fear about Hindu aggression is misplaced,” he said.But for Hosabale “Bharat Mata” is sacrosanct and there is no debate over whether or not to chant “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. “If someone doesn’t want to chant “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, he is anti-national because he is allowing others to do the same,” he said at the Conclave.But the biggest revelation was the organisation’s departure from its conservative view on homosexuality. Hosabale said he did not believe homosexuality was a punishable crime. “It is not a crime as long as it does not affect the lives of others.” He wasn’t as liberal on the eating of beef, though. “It is not culturally correct in India. Mahatma Gandhi also opposed cow slaughter. Was he communal?” he asked.And obviously certain things are beyond the norms of change. The dream for a Ram Temple is still alive, though the RSS wants the court to take the final call. by Kaushik Deka
Zurich, Aug 29 (AFP) US prodigy Noah Lyles heads the field at the first of the two Diamond League finals, in Zurich tomorrow, when he comes head-to-head with Turkey’s world and European champion Ramil Guliyev. Lyles remains the undisputed favourite going into the men’s 200m final, having already clocked up four wins on the Diamond League circuit this season. But Guliyev, along with Aaron Brown and Jereem Richards, will no doubt be breathing hard down the neck of the American, the defending Diamond Trophy champion. “I acknowledge that Ramil Guliyev is running fast,” said the 21-year-old Lyles, who ran a personal best of 19.65sec in Monaco in July. “I knew I had to get to the Diamond League Final. Now I’m here, winning is more important than running fast.” The 200m is just one of 16 Diamond League disciplines to be decided at the sell-out Letzigrund Stadion, with the remaining 16 disciplines to be decided in Brussels on Friday. The women’s blue riband event sees Britain’s newly-crowned European champion Dina Asher-Smith, who struck triple gold in Berlin after also winning the 200m and taking the 4x100m relay with her British team, take on a strong field over 100m. Asher-Smith will line up alongside Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, and proven Ivorians Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Murielle Ahoure. “There’s no place to hide in the Diamond League!” admitted Asher-Smith. “Sometimes it’s not just about winning and losing, it’s about the journey,” the Briton said, before adding: “I hope to end my season on a high.”advertisement South African Caster Semenya will look to wrap up the trophy in the women’s 800m. “My main aim tomorrow is win the trophy,” said the 27-year-old, the double Olympic champion (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017) who is now unbeaten over the 800m since her elimination in the semi-finals of the 2015 worlds in Beijing. But Semenya has also come under the spotlight this season off the track as she turned to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in her challenge of IAAF rules on testosterone levels in female athletes to be introduced in November. Under the new regulations, “hyper-androgynous”, athletes like Semenya would have to chemically lower their testosterone levels to be able to compete, something the 800m runner says is discriminatory and in violation of the IAAF’s constitution and the Olympic Charter. “I respect my opponents and I expect the same thing from them,” Semenya said in Zurich. “My ultimate goal is always to entertain people.” In the field, Greece’s double defending title holder Ekaterina Stefanidi will bid to continue the form that saw her clinch European gold, up against American Sandi Morris. Morris beat Stefanidi in Birmingham, albeit in extraordinarily windy conditions, and the American’s season’s best is also superior to the Greek vaulter’s. Stefanidi, with the world, Olympic and European titles to her name, is a proven performer, however, making for what should be a thrilling contest.Also competing in Switzerland will be Norwegian teenager Jakob Ingebrigtsen. Aged just 17, he took gold in both the men’s 1500m and 5000m at the Berlin Euros. Following an injury to another racer, Ingebrigtsen received a call-up for a season swansong, racing over 1500m against Kenya’s world champion Elijah Manangoi, last year’s Diamond champion Timothy Cheruiyot and his older brother Filip Ingebrigtsen. Diamond Trophy disciplines Women: 100m, 800m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, javelin Men: 200m, 400m, 1500m, 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase, long jump, shot put, javelin. (AFP) ATKATK
zoom The Panama Canal expansion program reached another milestone when the Canal’s Pacific locks began to fill with water yesterday, following a similar endeavor on the Atlantic side earlier this month.The filling process of the so-called Cocoli’s locks will make use of powerful electric and diesel pumps, designed specifically for the job.The electric pumps are expected to provide 30,000 gallons of water per minute each, while an added network of 13 diesel pumps will work to pump 7,000 gallons of water per minute each, filling the lower chamber at a rate of nine inches per hour.The filling and subsequent testing of the new Pacific locks is expected to take approximately 90 days to complete.Among their features, each lock complex includes three chambers, nine water-saving basins with a filling and emptying side system and rolling gates.As of the end of May, the overall expansion program stood at 89.8 percent complete.”Earlier this month, we reached one of the most important milestones of the program through the filling work of the Atlantic locks; now moving on to the Pacific side, we take great pride in the work done so far and are eager to bring the full program to completion,” said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano.
CALGARY – Sentencing is to resume in October for two brothers who randomly kidnapped a teenage girl and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.Corey and Cody Manyshots pleaded guilty in October 2015 to kidnapping, uttering threats, sexual assault and robbery.Sentencing arguments had already begun last year, but tests ordered for the brothers last December indicated both suffer the effects of severe fetal alcohol syndrome.That led to discussions about whether the brothers are not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder.Psychiatric tests on the two men were conducted at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.“The reports are done. They were appropriately returned to remand,” Mitch Stevenson, who represents Corey Manyshots, said at a Thursday court appearance.He said outside court that the findings of psychiatrists regarding criminal responsibility would be released when sentencing resumes Oct. 5.Court has heard that the mother of the two men drank heavily during both pregnancies. Effects of fetal alcohol syndrome can include lifelong physical, mental and behavioural difficulties, as well as learning disabilities.The pair approached the 17-year-old girl at a northeast Calgary bus stop in November 2014, forced her into an alley and sexually assaulted her.The brothers, both in their 20s, then abducted the Grade 12 student and took her to their home, where they sexually assaulted her another 15 times until she was able to escape about eight hours later when they fell asleep.In its original sentencing arguments, the Crown asked for 12-year jail terms for each of the men.In June, lawyer Alain Hepner, who represents Cody Manyshots, told court he believed the two young men had “fallen between the cracks of life.”Hepner said if the two are found to be not criminally responsible, the public doesn’t have to worry about them being set free.“They’re going to an institution either way,” he said.“It might be a psychiatric hospital. It might be a jail. That’s what’s going to happen. They’re not getting out of jail. Not any time soon.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
Rabat – Morocco will back the coalition defending the legitimacy in Yemen by providing political, intelligence, logistics and military support, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday in a statement.“In response to a request by Yemeni legitimate President Abdrabbou Mansour Hadi and based on support to the legitimacy in Yemen and solidarity with its champions, as well as steady commitment to the defense of the security of the sister Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Holy Mosques and other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council with whom Morocco is linked by multi-dimension strategic partnership, the Kingdom of Morocco has decided to bring all forms of support and backing to the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen, in its political, intelligence, logistic and military dimensions”, the source explained.This support includes “making the Royal Armed Forces stationed in the United Arab Emirates available to the coalition” in order to get Yemen out of this crisis and the brutal situation it is experiencing and counter any foreign threat to security in the Gulf and Arab countries, the statement concluded.
Rabat – After widespread complaints, local authorities have demanded that an unsightly cellular antenna in Fez be removed by the telecommunications company who installed it.The antenna, installed just this month, was ruining the beautiful view of the “Borj El Kawakib,” a site overlooking Fez’s medina. The historical site had just been renovated, to the cost of MAD 6 million. King Mohammed VI visited the site several times during renovation to personally oversee the works.The antenna installation caused frustration among tourists and advocates for preserving the heritage of Fez. The complaints were so widespread that Mohamed Laarej, the Minister of Communication and Culture, went to see the antenna for himself on July 12. Swift action was taken soon afterwards, with the antenna being removed by the telecommunications company responsible on Sunday, July 14. The removal came just two days after the minister’s visit.The quick removal of the antenna reflects the recent efforts of the Ministry of Culture, as well as other advocates, to preserve and restore Fez, often called “Morocco’s cultural capital,” to its full potential. In March, Morocco’s Tourism Minister Mohamed Sajid announced plans to rebuild Fez’s image to increase tourism in 2019. Sajid’s plan is to “give back to the city its old attractiveness,” according to an official statement on March 3.In recent years, the city has seen a resurgence of government-funded reconstruction projects. Under King Mohammed VI, an initial MAD 583 million urbanization project was launched in 2018 to give the city a new and attractive look.Read also: Artificial Intelligence School to Open in FezThe project included the renovation of dozens of historical monuments, street maintenance, improved or modernized urban planning, the construction of new parking spots with extended capacity, and reconstruction work in and around the medina.
Kamareddy: MLA Gampa Govardhan said that all the national parties are afraid of the TRS, which is institutionally strong in Telangana. He hoisted the party flag at Forest Office Junction in Kamareddy on Tuesday. TRS is a party of the people without caste or religion and its poor people’s party, he added.Along with MLC VG Goud, party leaders and activists the MLA participated in membership registration programme here.