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Malala wants Shariff, Modi at Nobel awards

malalaCOMMENT: A girl from picturesque Swat Valley — once visited by the Chinese traveller, Hsuan Tsang, in search of ancient Buddhist scriptures — has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014.

At 15, Malala Yousafzai, who had openly objected to the Taliban’s policy of destroying girls’ schools, was shot in the head at close range by a Taliban terrorist. Continue reading

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Intermarriage is not ‘love jihad’ says actor

Saif-Ali-khan-Kareena-Kapoor12413COMMENT: I am the son of a sportsman, I grew up in England, Bhopal, Pataudi, Delhi and Mumbai, and I am more Indian than any Hindu or Muslim I know because I am both.

I wrote this piece not to comment on the masses or the problems of communalism in India and its villages, but because this is an issue that concerns my friends and their families.

It wasn’t peacefully accepted by anyone, initially, when my parents wanted to marry. Continue reading

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Modi wants ‘full majority’, adds ‘era of alliances over’

ModipoorGONDIA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the people of Maharashtra to give BJP “a full majority” in the October 15 Assembly elections.

Accusing the Congress-NCP regime of “looting” the state, Modi said both will be equally punished.

“The era of alliances has ended. If you want Maharashtra to progress, then give us full majority,” Modi said, addressing an election campaign rally here.

Modi cited examples of adjoining Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where voters had given the BJP a full majority.

“Maharashtra could be the number one state in the country,” he said.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar chose the Rajya Sabha route for himself but made Praful Patel a scapegoat and fielded him for Lok Sabha polls, Modi said.

“The Maharashtra Assembly polls will decide the fate of Maharashtra,” he said.

Drop in inflation

Modi observed that the inflation rate has come down for the first time in five years and cited reduction in petrol and diesel prices as important work done by his government.

“Both Congress and NCP have destroyed Maharashtra. Both are equally to blame and both will be equally punished,” he said.

“The maximum number of terror acts occur in Maharashtra. After Uttar Pradesh, the maximum communal riots occur in Maharashtra,” he said.

Appealing to the Maoists to shun violence and return to the mainstream, Modi said, “Put down guns from your shoulders and put ploughs on your shoulder. You will get relief.”

“Return to the mainstream. Stop the bloodshed. Be a partner in the country’s progress. Nobody has succeeded through violence,” he said.

“To political pundits, I wish to say, look around you and feel the atmosphere. We are going to get a clear majority (in Maharashtra),” he said.

“Sharad Pawar was agriculture minister, but in Maharashtra, 3,700 farmers committed suicide per year. However, Congress and NCP government did not shed tears for them. Such a cruel government never existed anywhere,” Modi said.

“Here, we had a chief minister (Prithviraj Chavan) who declined to share the stage with me. How can we work together if such governments are there in Maharashtra,” he said.

Modi described LBT as “looto baato tax.” “BJP will free you from LBT after being voted to power in Maharashtra,” he said.

“Congress people ask me to give them an account of work done by our government. First give me an account of your 60 years of work. After that, ask me the account of my 60 days in office. I am accountable to the people,” Modi said.

“Had I been allowed to complete the work of raising the height of the Narmada dam, Maharashtra would have got free electricity worth Rs 400 crore per year,” he said.

“Now, I can assure you that the work will be completed in one or two years,” he said.

“Their (Congress and NCP) only job was to fill their pockets. They are shameless people. If you want Maharashtra to progress, give the BJP full majority,” Modi said. - From the Indian Express

 

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Sri Lanka’s ruling UPFA in tight race with UNP

mahinda-rajapaksaCOLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by President Mahinda Rajpaksa, won Saturday’s provincial polls in the Sinhala-majority Uva Province by a narrow margin, signalling an apparent setback to the ruling alliance despite the victory.

The alliance secured 19 seats, including two bonus seats, six less compared to the 25 it held in its last term. Continue reading

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Dalai Lama: Xi can learn much from India

dalailamamodiMUMBAI: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Thursday linked India’s border issues with China to “Tibetan problem” and said a solution can come only through talks and not by force.

The comments came on a day when Chinese President XiJinping held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi even as Chinese and Indian armies are in a standoff at Chumarvillage, located more than 300 kms Northeast of Leh and bordering Himachal Pradesh, along the Line of Actual Control. Continue reading

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Modi raises border issues, Xi says it won’t impact bilateral ties

modixiNEW DELHI: Amid reports of incidents along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the border issue took centrestage at the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Significantly, as Modi sought clear “clarification” on the LAC, Xi assured that Beijing has the “determination” to work with New Delhi through “friendly consultation” to settle the dispute at an early date. Continue reading

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Pakistan turmoil: Zia’s army and ‘useful idiots’

Imran-KhanCOMMENT, NEW DELHI: Usually attributed to Lenin, the term “useful idiot” refers to an individual or political activist who has been used to provide propaganda ammunition for a cause he does not entirely understand.

Given the street tumult in Islamabad, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Imran Khan, Pakistan’s most iconic cricket captain, has now become its most iconic useful idiot. Continue reading

Waterborne diseases threaten Kashmiris

floodskashmirKASHMIR: Emergency workers battled on Monday to prevent waterborne diseases from spreading, as fetid water swilled around the Kashmir valley more than a week after the region’s worst flooding in more than a century.

More than 75,000 people were still stuck in partly submerged homes in Srinagar, where roads have been transformed into stagnant canals strewn with sewage, wreckage and dead livestock. Continue reading

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Hindus no longer tolerant?

fali narimanNEW DELHI: Hinduism is losing its traditional tolerance because some Hindus have started believing that it is their faith that has brought them political power — and because this belief is not being challenged by “those at the top”, Fali S Nariman, one of India’s most celebrated jurists, said on Friday.

Nariman said he agreed that the “majority government at the Centre” had done nothing to stop the recent repeated tirades by individuals or groups against members of minority communities. Continue reading

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Bihar leads in state GDP, Tamil Nadu lags far behind

BiharGDPNEW DELHI: Bihar is the fastest growing State while Tamil Nadu is the worst performer, the latest data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has revealed.

Bihar’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) grew 10.73% during 2012-13 — the only State that clocked a double-digit growth rate during the year. The growth rate was 10.29% in 2011-12 and 15.03% in 2010-11. Continue reading

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Jammu Kashmir worst ever floods linked to climate change

floodsNEW DELHI: The worst floods in Jammu and Kashmir in the past 60 years and the subsequent devastation are due to a combination of unprecedented and intense rain, mismanagement, unplanned urbanisation and a lack of preparedness, Sunita Narain, director-general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said on Wednesday.

A CSE analysis showed the floods were a manifestation of an extreme weather event linked to climate change. Narain said the changing rainfall pattern in India was part of extreme events which followed a trend. She called for a national action plan to forecast floods. Continue reading

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LGBT rights: Uncomfortable Modi govt questions landmark SC ruling

lgbtNEW DELHI: In a precarious position over its stand on the LGBT community, the NDA government has moved the Supreme Court, raising several objections against the historic April 15 judgment that granted constitutional recognition to transgenders as a third gender and gave them the right to have a family.

The Narendra Modi government has sought clarifications, besides questioning the “political” and “practical” ramifications of the judgment, which put personal autonomy and right of choice on par with human dignity. Continue reading

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Woman MLA rides bike, carries dagger, campaigns against love jihad

ushaBHOPAL: Though she occasionally rides an old Kawasaki bike and always sports a kataar (dagger) gifted by the family members of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh more than two decades ago, BJP legislator from Indore Usha Thakur rarely comes across as a fierce nationalist.

‘Didi’ to all her supporters, the 48-year-old BJP leader has caught the nation’s eye with her prescription to control ‘love jihad’ by keeping Muslim men off garba venues. Continue reading