COMMENT, 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
KASHMIR: 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
RAIPUR: In a veiled threat to bar Sai Baba devotees from Hindu fold, Dwarka Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has said embracing the presiding deity of the Shiridi temple as god by them would be treated as religious conversion. Continue reading
NEW 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
NEW 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
NEW 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
NEW 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
BHOPAL: 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
BEIJING: India on Tuesday raised hopes of resolving the border dispute with China with visiting National Security Adviser Ajit Doval asserting that the strong leadership in New Delhi and Beijing were capable of achieving a breakthrough.
On a visit here ahead of President Xi Jinping’s maiden trip to New Delhi, Doval told the Indian media that ties between the two nations were poised for an “orbital jump.” Continue reading
NEW DELHI:Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on September 29-30, during which the two leaders would discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest to expand and deepen the US-India strategic partnership.
The fact that the meeting will be spread over two days reflects the importance the US attaches to bilateral ties, a top official said, news agency reports from Washington said. Continue reading
COMMENT, NEW DELHI: Why was Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh chosen to play Aung San Suu Kyi in the latter’s biopic “The Lady,” Morgan Freeman chosen to play Nelson Mandela in “Invictus,” but Priyanka Chopra chosen to play Mary Kom in the biopic on the Manipuri boxer in a country which is ostensibly proud of its diversity?
Let’s not pretend to be politically correct here. The answer is simple: an oriental face is not acceptable to the general public of this multicultural India. Continue reading
COMMENT: While those in India are grappling with the idea of “love jihad”, in the UK the popular press is now obsessed with jihadi brides. These are young “radicalised” British Muslim girls who have actually gone to Syria to marry men from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and are obsessed with martyrdom.
This growing trend is now being researched at King’s College London at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. Out of 200 women who are suspected ISIS recruits, around 21 are being specifically tracked. Continue reading
VISAKAPATNAM: Every household in Andhra Pradesh will have access to Individual House Hold Latrine (IHHL) by 2019, said Minister for Panchayat Raj, Rural Water Supply Ch. Ayanna Patrudu.
The Andhra Pradesh government has set an ambitious target of completing 62 lakh IHHLs by the year 2019 as part of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), the flagship programme of the Central government, the Minister said addressing a programme to launch the IHHL project at Sattenapalli here on Sunday. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: India’s attempt at a China-type population control policy appears to have had drastic but unintended consequences. Laws enacted by State governments in the late 1990s and 2000s restricting political eligibility to candidates with two or less children did reduce family sizes in those States, but severely affected the sex ratio, a new research has found.
Over the period, 11 Indian States passed laws disqualifying persons with more than two children from contesting panchayat elections. Continue reading
JAMMU KASHMIR: The flood situation in Jammu and Kashmir was declared a “national-level disaster” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday even as the Army alone evacuated 15,000 people from inundated areas across the State.
As more personnel of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), Air Force and Army were pressed into action, the Prime Minister asked other States to also pitch in. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a separate appeal to NGOs to mobilise their resources to help deal with the situation. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Keeping a close watch on the developments in Pakistan, Indian intelligence agencies, particularly the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), are not ruling out the possibility of a “secret deal” being struck between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.
Sources said that there were indications that Sharif has succumbed to pressure from the Pakistani Army and has decided to let it have the final say on security-related issues. Continue reading
NEW DELHI; Union minister for urban development and parliamentary affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu college students across the country, including those studying engineering, medical, law, arts and science to also learn more about Indian freedom fighters Veerapandiya Kattabomman and Jhansi Rani than British Robert Clive.
“In the name of history, we have been learning only about the British and what the British wrote about us. I learnt about Robert Clive being a great man in my college days, but, in reality, he was a big ‘looter’. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programme on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, was telecast live in several schools across the country on Friday afternoon. Ahead of the PM’s speech (video attached), students made some presentations and speeches. Around 12 million students from around the country were connected via video conferencing with the PM. Here are the highlights: Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Seven years after the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard decided to sell uranium to India, a non-signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, New Delhi and Canberra signed the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement on Friday, with Howard’s successor Tony Abbott saying that Australia “trusts India” with its uranium. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Australia’s prime minister will on Friday hand back to his Indian counterpart two statues allegedly looted from ancient temples, ending a long-running battle over the pieces, his office said.
Tony Abbott will return the sculptures during his meeting with Narendra Modi in New Delhi, following allegations the pieces, which had been displayed in Australian galleries, were part of an audacious art fraud. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: About 77% of girls aged between 15 and 19 in India have been subjected to sexual violence by their spouses, according to a report by UNICEF which said more than half of the girls in the age group faced physical abuse at the hands of their parents.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report titled “Hidden in plain sight” said violence against children is so prevalent and deeply ingrained in societies that it is often unseen and accepted as the norm. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Australia’s prime minister is due to sign a deal Friday allowing nuclear fuel exports to energy-hungry India, as he meets the country’s new premier on a visit to boost economic ties.
Tony Abbott, who flew into New Delhi late on Thursday after meeting business leaders in Mumbai, said the long-awaited agreement was a sign of “mutual trust” after a long-standing ban on uranium sales to India was lifted in 2012. Continue reading
NEW DELHI:Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “encouraging young talent” in Parliament and acts in the “most democratic manner” while taking decisions, government said on Thursday dismissing criticism of his functioning by the Opposition.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rejected allegations that there was centralisation of power in the hands of the Prime Minister and that he was “terrorising” the bureaucracy, saying it was mere “propaganda” by a “direction-less” Opposition. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: There’s resentment brewing in a section of the young leaders of the Congress considered loyal to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday came out in the open with many of them publicly asking the “seniors” not to cross the “Lakshman Rekha” of discipline.
They asked the seniors not to weaken the party through their public criticism of the leadership at a time when it is facing the difficult task of winning back the trust and confidence of the people. Continue reading
KYOTO: India and Japan are likely to agree to launch a “two-plus-two” security consultative framework involving their foreign and defence ministers during crucial summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe here on Monday.
Modi flew to Tokyo on Sunday evening after an overnight stay in the historic city of Kyoto, where he visited two ancient Buddhist temples, with Abe accompanying him in a significant gesture. Continue reading
KYOTO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday received a presentation from Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kadokawa on how the ancient tradition of Japan’s cultural capital has been preserved while building it into a modern city, a day India signed a pact to develop Varanasi on the pattern of Kyoto.
During the over 40-minute presentation, Mayor Kadokawa explained how Kyoto was cleaned up by its citizens. Continue reading
SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will undertake his first visit to India next week to further strengthen the strategic partnership and promote trade and investment between the two countries, which are also likely to ink the much-awaited uranium deal.
“I will travel to India and Malaysia from September 4 to 6. On my first visit to India as Prime Minister, I will visit New Delhi and India’s financial capital, Mumbai, to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries,” he said. Continue reading
JAMMU: In his farewell speech in the Jammu&Kashmir Assembly, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said there is no option other than the talks with Pakistan and targeted the BJP for “fulfilling the objectives” of separatists in Kashmir.
“For god’s sake, what is the option other than talks (for resolution of issues),” the CM asked in his speech on the last day of J&K Assembly’s final session. Continue reading
KYOTO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the India-Japan relationship was below potential and the two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealised hopes of five decades.
In a statement before departing from Delhi, Modi said he was “deeply grateful” to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for joining him in Kyoto. Continue reading
COMMENT, NEW DELHI: The term “Muslim politics” is used, discussed, analysed and even criticised in a number of ways. Popular demands such as the protection of Urdu or Muslim Personal Law, the programmes, policies and activities of Muslim organisations or pressure groups, sermons, speeches and statements of influential Muslim personalities and the Muslim voting pattern in elections are often studied as legitimate constituents of “Muslim politics” in postcolonial India. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Former Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam is to be the next Governor of Kerala following the resignation of Sheila Dikshit a few days ago.
Speaking to The Hindu from his Kadappanallur village near Erode in Tamil Nadu, Justice Sathasivam said the warrant of appointment by the President Pranab Mukherjee is expected on Saturday night. Continue reading
CHENNAI: Three persons from the backward Theni district with varying backgrounds – music director Ilayaraja, director Bharathiraja and poet Vairamuthu — rose to become a formidable trio in Tamil cinema, which was looking to newer creative avenues in the late 1970s.
Call it sheer talent or quirk of fate, Vairamuthu’s song Ithu Our Pon Maalai Pozhuthu in Nizhalgal heralded the arrival of a new lyricist. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched his government’s ambitious mega financial inclusion scheme, Jan Dhan Yojana, to bring the poor into the “economic mainstream” and to “eradicate financial untouchability”.
Some 1.5 crore bank accounts are expected to be opened on the first day itself, that will be a record of sorts. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Indians across the country and the world celebrated Ganesha Chahurti yesterday. Lord Ganesh is said to be the deity closest to the physical world; he is the god of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity.
On Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, it is easiest to access the energy of Ganesh. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Continuing with his outreach to Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Japan is of “paramount importance” in his vision for India’s progress.
Modi’s remarks came in the pre-departure statement on the eve of the PM’s Japan visit. He leaves for Japan on Saturday for a five-day visit. Continue reading
BIHAR: The Food and Consumer Protection department of Bihar government has detected 7.77 lakh fake ration cards, distribution of which could have incurred Rs 3.23 cr monthly loss to state government.
The Food and Consumer Protection department suspected these cards being fake after there had been no takers for these cards for months. The fake cards were detected during internal review and inspection of the department. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Women riding pillion on two-wheelers in the capital have to compulsarily wear helmets, according to the final notification issued by the Delhi government. It has, however, exempted Sikh women from this rule. Continue reading
COMMENT, NEW DELHI:Since the commencement of the Constitution in 1950, it is for the third time that governors — this time, as many as nine — have had to go following a change of guard at the Centre. Congress and non-Congress governments have done the same thing every time the occasion has arisen.
The situation is still developing, and the numbers may go beyond nine. Also, the issue of the removal of governors has been taken to court for the third time. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Friday said the government has “highest respect” for judiciary and that independence of judiciary is sacred and sacrosanct for the BJP. Continue reading
MADURAI: Kasturi amma’s Ganeshas are simple, earthy, eco-friendly and hand-made with love and bhakti. A month before Ganesh Chaturthi, 80-year-old Kasturi observesviratham and starts collecting mud and sand for making the Ganesha idols.
“The clay is a mixture of half-a-dozen ingredients such as elephant poop, sieved river sand, karambai mann and sometimes hay. It takes a fortnight to get ready,” says Kasturi. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday strongly advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his chief ministers not to induct into their teams those against whom charges have been framed in criminal and corruption cases.
By refusing to prescribe disqualification from ministership for tainted people, the Supreme Court has put the issue of decriminalising politics back into the executive’s court. Continue reading
COMMENT, NEW DEHLI: The past two decades have seen the world experiencing, with alarming regularity, outbreaks of viral diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), bird flu and swine flu.
These have caused alarm and spread panic not only in populations that are directly affected but also in places away from the locations of these outbreaks. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: In a bid to further improve governance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday set up a two-member committee to identify “obsolete” laws, which he thinks are hampering the public good by creating “avoidable confusion”. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: Veteran BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee were on Tuesday dropped from the party’s main policy-making body, the parliamentary board.
The changes in the party organisation effected by BJP chief Amit Shah had the distinct stamp of Narendra Modi all over it. These also had the endorsement of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Continue reading
NASHIK:Onion cultivators in Maharashtra faced devastating losses this season due to crop damage by hailstorms. Things had only just begun to improve when the Central government recently decided to include onion in the essential commodities list.
The government purportedly took the step in a bid to check rising prices and clamp down on hoarding by traders as they now cannot stock more than a prescribed quantity. It, however, hampered farmers’ chances of recouping their losses as prices have fallen. Continue reading
LHASA: China’s government in Tibet claims that the Dalai Lama is in talks with Beijing through “personal envoys”, but the talks are only about the possibility of his return to Tibet.
Wu Yingjie, the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party Committee for Tibet, told a group of Indian journalists in Lhasa on Sunday that the talks with the Dalai were “ongoing and always smooth, but we are discussing only his future, not Tibet’s.” Continue reading
COLOMBO: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has sought India’s help in the return of Sri Lankan refugees from India.
“There are over one lakh refugees in Tamil Nadu living in 115 camps. We have requested the Indian government to pressure the Sri Lankan government to release their [refugees’] land in the north which has been taken over by the Army,” said senior TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah, who was part of the six-member TNA delegation that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Aug 23. Continue reading
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declared allocation of 218 coal blocks across the country as “illegal”, “arbitrary” and done in “most non–transparent ways.”
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha held that all the allocation done in the last two decades “suffer from vice of arbitrariness” and could not withstand the test of legal scrutiny. Continue reading
MUMBAI: As many as 112 Indian nationals suspected to have been exposed to the Ebola virus are expected to land in Mumbai from Liberia on seven different flights Tuesday. Civic authorities, meanwhile, are busy creating an isolation facility in a suburban hospital.
According to a spokesperson for the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), the seven flights are carrying Indians evacuated from Liberia by the Indian embassy. Liberia is one of the four countries in West Africa affected by the Ebola virus. Continue reading