Siddhu on joining Congress: No party is good or bad!

Navjot Singh Siddhu, the cricketer turned politician and a vehement critic of the Indian National Congress for several years, justified his decision to join the party saying that no party, by itself, is good or bad. “No party is good or bad. The same party can be run by bad people, the same party can be run by good people,” he said. He said he was willing to forget past issues in the interest of the people. “They’ve been criticizing me. Nitishji has been critizing Laluji. They’ve formed a government….

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TRUMP THREAT: TCS not worried, says we’re not the villains

Tata Consultancy Services, the largest Indian-owned outsourcing company, said it is able to manage with 75% less new visas this year as it has changed its business and recruitment models in recent years. It also said that outsourcing was key to protecting US jobs, and is not the villain as portrayed. The statement from Rajesh Gopinathan, the new chief executive officer of the company, was in response to investor concerns that the pro-local jobs stance of incoming US President Donald Trump would severely disrupt the business models of companies like…

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Katju says SP will defeat BJP in UP Elections; Demonetization, Akhilesh to aid

Former Supreme Court judge and a keen observer of Indian politics, Markandey Katju has predicted a win for the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. BJP, which is seen as a strong contender by many, would be negatively impacted due to the impact of demonetization and the clean image projected by SP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, which is also seen as a likely contender, will also fail as it will not be able to attract the required Muslim votes,…

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Is Bangalore safe for women? Ask me, I’m a Bengaluru hudugi

It’s amusing to see men from Bangalore share posts on Facebook about how Bangalore is a safe city. And that, what happened on New years’ was just alcohol-induced. Firstly, dear men of Bangalore, hold that thought. Would you care to ask a woman how she feels, before you post another status on Facebook? I’m a Bangalorean, I was born here, and lived here all my life. I am as Bangalorean as  and I can tell you this: I do not feel safe in the city. Not a decade ago, not…

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Supreme Court to consider banning charge-sheeted candidates from polls

The Supreme Court has today agreed to hear a petition that seeks to ban anyone who has been charge-sheeted in a criminal case from contesting elections in India. BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among one of the most prolific filers of public interest litigation in India, is among those who had filed such petitions seeking disqualification of such candidates in elections. The petitioners alleged that the current law — which prohibits only convicted people from standing for elections — is being misused by criminal politicians. Charge sheets are filed…

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UP POLLS: BSP gives most number of seats to Upper Castes; Muslims second

Bahujan Samaj Party has allocated the highest block of candidacies for the upcoming elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly to upper caste Hindus, followed by Muslims. Announcing the details, party supremo Mayawati said a total of 113 seats — amounting to 28% of the total 403 seats — have been given to candidates belonging to upper caste Hindus. Out of these, 66 were allocated to Brahmins — coming to around 16.4% of the total seats. Brahmins comprise about 5% of UP’s population. 36 seats went to Rajputs and Kshtriyas,…

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Mayawati warns Muslims: Akhilesh vs Mulayalam will bring BJP to power

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kumari Mayawati has warned Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh against continuing to vote for Samajwadi Party, claiming that the current fight between SP leader Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh would split their votes in two. “I urge you not to let your vote get divided between Akhilesh and Mulayalam groups. If you do that, the benefit will directly go to the BJP,” Mayawati said today. To drive home the point, Mayawati said she has allocated 97 candidates out of the total 403 candidates to the Muslim community,…

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Hindu fighting for Muslim rights alleges religious discrimination by orthodox Muslims

Sreeja Neyyattinkara, one of the state secretaries of Welfare Party in Kerala, has set off a storm among Dalit and Minority activist circles in Kerala by heavily criticizing some orthodox practices among the Muslims of the state. The criticism has come as a surprise as the Welfare Party is largely comprised of Muslim supporters and activists, and was floated five years ago to build a national coalition of minorities and Dalits. Sreeja’s outburst came after she was stopped from visiting her Muslim friend — who had lost her husband — by the…

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Mark Zuckerberg goes from ‘Atheist’ to ‘It’s Complicated’

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and reportedly the fifth richest person in the world, no longer wants to be identified as an ‘atheist’, he said on the social network he created. “No,” he said, when asked if he was (still) an atheist. “I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.” Perhaps in keeping with his newfound appreciation for religion, Zuckerberg, who used to list himself as ‘atheist’ on his Facebook profile, no longer does…

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Nokia files more patent infringement suits against Apple

Nokia has filed further complaints alleging that Apple products infringe a number of Nokia patents, expanding its litigation originally announced on December 21. Across actions in 11 countries, there are now 40 patents in suit, which cover technologies such as display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding, the company said. Cases have now been filed in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, Munich, Helsinki, London, Turin, Stockholm and Barcelona. The network equipment maker now has patent infringement suits against Apple in Barcelona, Tokyo, Texas and several other places including one with the…

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COLUMN: Why it’s hypocritical for Rahul Gandhi to accuse Narendra Modi of taking money from corporates

One of the interesting aspects of the current accusations and counter accusations around the alleged funding of BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign by corporate houses is the sheer hypocrisy of it. Let’s see why. According to third-party figures, an estimated Rs 23,000 cr was spent by candidates and political parties on the 2014 general election. Assuming that about 40% of this was spent by the BJP and its candidates, the saffron party’s tally comes to around Rs 9,200. The Indian National Congress and its candidates are likely to have spent about Rs…

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Mining baron Sekhar Reddy arrested after Income Tax raids

Sand miner Shekar Reddy has been arrested, two weeks after the seizure of crores of rupees and gold in an income tax raid. The arrest has come hours after Income Tax officials conducted a raid on Tamil Nadu’s top bureaucrat chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao at his home. It was speculated that Rao’s home was raided on the basis of information obtained from the earlier raid. Income Tax raids has unearthed Rs 130 crore in cash including Rs 34 crore in new currencies and 177 kg of gold from…

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Rahul Gandhi’s gives ‘earthquake evidence’ on Modi

After keeping the nation waiting for 10 days, Rahul Gandhi today dropped his ‘bomb’ on Narendra Modi that he had promised would ’cause an earthquake’. Gandhi said a company based in Uttar Pradesh has written “that Modi has taken money from them multiple times over six months.” Quoting income tax investigation reports, Gandhi said: “They have written that 2.5 cr was given to Narendra Modi on October 31… nine times in six months.” However, the Congress Vice President’s allegations around big corporates paying Prime Minister Narendra Modi crores of rupees…

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NEET 2017 medical entrance exam to be conducted in 8 languages

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test medical entrance test for academic year 2017-18 will be conducted in eight languages, the government of India said. The decision was taken by the government after consultations with State Governments. The eight languages are Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil. The language will not impact the candidate’s all India rank. “In addition to this, the candidate qualifying NEET will be eligible for All India quota and other quotas under the State governments/Institutes irrespective of the medium in which exam is taken…

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We need more buses, not Nanos: Union Minister

What India needs are more buses and better public transport and not more cars, said Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping, Mansukh L Mandaviya. Tata Motors introduced its Nano car within a price bracket of Rs 1.5 lakhs-2 lakhs for middle class buyers. But low-cost cars merely add to the traffic congestion, Mandaviya said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today. “We need to promote research and innovation for devising a sustainable urban road transport model that is suitable for India and should not…

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Demonetization: RBI removes ‘explanation’ requirement for KYC accounts

The Reserve Bank of India has responded to widespread criticism of its directive to collect ‘explanations’ from those depositing more than Rs 5000 by clarifying that this directive will not apply to bank accounts with proper documentation. “On a review of the above, we advise that the provisions of the above circular at sub para (i) and (ii) will not apply to fully KYC compliant accounts,” it said. The move comes after people expressed displeasure over the earlier rule that required them to furnish an ‘explanation’ in front of the…

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Cabinet approves Salary via Bank ordinance

The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance that empowers all employers to pay their salaries via banks unless the salary is less than Rs 18,000. This has been done to promote cashless economy, and to bring more and more of the economy into the formal sector. Salary can now have to be routed through electonic payments or cheques. It is not clear whether employers will continue to have the option of paying salaries via cash. UPDATE: It appears that the option of payment in cash will continue to be available. The…

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Govt of India starts crack down on low-quality medicine makers

The government of India has started conducting inspections at drug manufacturing units across the country to prevent the production of low-quality drugs and medicines in India. Typically, inspections are conducted by state authorities, while central agencies largely confine themselves to checking quality of final products put up on store shelves. However, in the last few years, India has seen the emergence of low quality drug makers. These drug makers enter into deals with medicine marketing brands to supply drugs at a fraction of the price at which these are sold….

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Demonetization: Modi announces bumper prizes; 15 lakh users to get 1,000 rupees

Narendra Modi announced several ‘prize schemes’ to promote cashless transactions. Under the schemes announced today, there will be two sets of prizes for consumers and another for small merchants. Under the first scheme, any customer who uses any electronic form of payment, including wallets and debit cards, will qualify for a ‘lucky draw’ of Rs 1,000 each. 15,000 such prizes — each amounting to Rs 1,000 — will be given out per day. This will be continued for a period of 100 days. This will start on Dec 25. In…

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Demonetizaton: Govt places limits on last minute deposits

The Reserve Bank of India said that any person who continues to hold old notes of 500 and 1000 rupees in bulk will get only one more chance to deposit them into bank accounts and will also have to provide an explanation for the delayed deposit. “Tenders of SBNs in excess of ₹ 5000 into a bank account will be received for credit only once during the remaining period till December 30, 2016. The credit in such cases shall be afforded only after questioning tenderer, on record, in the presence…

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