Happy Halep feeling less pressure at French Open

first_imgParis: Reigning champion Simona Halep on Friday said that the pressure was off ahead of the start of her French Open title defence after ending her long wait for a Grand Slam trophy 12 months ago. The Romanian beat Sloane Stephens in Paris last year to clinch her maiden major crown in her fourth final, and is the third seed for the 2019 edition which starts at Roland Garros on Sunday. “(It’s) much better and much easier, because I have the title already,” said Halep, who is the bookmakers’ favourite to win a second straight title. “(It) doesn’t matter anymore what is going to happen. Everything (that) comes now comes as a bonus. So I will try just to give my best and to see if I’m able to do it again.” The 27-year-old had faced consistent questions heading into the 2018 French Open about her ability to win the biggest tournaments despite holding the world-number-one ranking for long spells, but finally put those doubts to bed. Now, she concedes that she is maybe “too happy” to have put herself in the position of defending champion, with a possible gruelling fortnight ahead. “I am too happy to be in this position, I have to admit this. But it’s nothing bad,” she said. “I will try to do the things (I did) as a kid, enjoying the time. I wanted this badly, and I wanted (it) so much that now having it, I just want to be happy and to smile.” Halep has been in typically consistent form this season, although is yet to win a tournament after final defeats in Doha and earlier this month on clay in Madrid, where she was beaten by in-form Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens. A shock loss in her first match last week in Rome to Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova followed, but her confidence remains high of another run deep into the French Open draw. “Going to Madrid… maybe my favourite tournament, because I won two times there and I played two finals, even if I didn’t win the final, I felt that my level was very high. “I have confidence. I don’t count Rome this year. We leave it back. Coming here, practising, I felt really well.” Halep will face Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the opening round, with sixth seed Petra Kvitova also in her quarter of the draw. “It’s going to be a very tough match (against Tomljanovic),” added Halep, also a two-time French Open runner-up. “She’s powerful. She hits the ball strong. So I have to be ready. I have to focus on myself.” Tomljanovic reached the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2014.last_img read more

3 held over killing of Amethi BJP worker

first_imgAmethi (UP): Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of a BJP worker in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district two days ago, police said on Monday.Director General of Police (DGP) O P Singh said there was a local-level political rivalry between the deceased, Surendra Singh, 50, and the father of one of the accused. “We have arrested three persons. After the incident was reported, as many as seven people were taken into custody and they were thoroughly quizzed,” Singh told reporters here. “Among the seven people, there were three who were linked with the incident.” Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCAmethi Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar said those arrested have been identified as Ramchandra, Dharmanath and Naseem, while two persons were absconding. Singh, a close aide of newly-elected Amethi MP Smriti Irani, was shot when he was sleeping in his house at Baraulia village, 25 km from the district headquarters, on Saturday night. The former village head was referred to a Lucknow hospital, but succumbed to injuries during treatment. “The incident is a result of old enmity. There was tension between the slain ex-pradhan and Dharamnath since the last panchayat election,” the SP said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsBoth were preparing for the coming panchayat election that is likely to be held later this year, police sources said. The DGP said a .315 bore countrymade pistol and a blood-stained towel had been recovered from Ramchandra, whose motorcycle was also used in the incident and is yet to be recovered. The officer said the towel had been sent for forensic examination. “In unveiling the entire case, the police have examined circumstantial evidences and electronic surveillance,” he said. Singh said Atul Singh and Waseem, who are on the run, have been traced at Delhi and Lucknow. The arrests come a day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had directed the DGP to take effective action in the case.last_img read more

Apples new website to tell people how App Store works

first_imgSan Francisco: In order to execute better defence against recent anti-trust and anti-competitive allegations, Apple has launched a new website for the App Store, explaining how apps and updates are reviewed and examined by “hundreds of human experts and automated systems” before they are rolled-out. The new website would detail the running of the App Store, along with how apps are developed and reviewed and what kind of work models do developers resort to, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app “We use a combination of automated systems and hundreds of human experts. This team represents 81 languages across three time zones,” the iPhone-maker wrote in a post explaining the website. According to Apple, over 1.4 million apps have been removed from the App Store since 2016 because either they were not updated or did not work on the most current iOS version. The company says it reviews 100,000 apps every week out of which 60 per cent apps are approved and around 40 per cent are rejected. Also Read – New Instagram tool to help users spot phishing emails “Most apps are reviewed within 24 hours of the developer’s submission. Developers can choose to have their apps available immediately after the approval. The most common reason for rejection is minor bugs, followed by privacy concerns,” Apple explained. The company gives all developers the opportunity to have a rejection reviewed by the App Review Board, that makes about 1,000 calls a week to help developers diagnose and resolve glitches and issues. “The five pillars of the guidelines – safety, performance, business, design, and legal – require that apps offered on the App Store are safe, provide a good user experience, adhere to our rules on user privacy, secure devices from malware and threats, and use approved business models,” the post added. In addition, the website features a section entitled “A Store that welcomes competition”, that the iPhone-maker intends to work as a marketplace where its own apps live alongside third-party apps. Earlier this year, music streaming major Spotify alleged the Apple requires it and other digital services to pay a 30 per cent tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from a free to premium subscription. Spotify said this tax would force it to artificially inflate the price of its premium membership well above the price of Apple Music. However, the company says 84 per cent of apps on iOS are free and developers pay nothing to Apple. The new App Store website has been launched ahead of Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) that is scheduled to be held from June 3 to June 7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.last_img read more

Tottenham target Draxler sees future at PSG

first_imgBerlin: Germany midfielder Julian Draxler has played down rumours linking him to Tottenham Hotspur and said he wants to stay at Paris Saint-Germain. “I feel very happy here, I am playing for a great coach at a great club,” Draxler, 25, told Kicker magazine on Tuesday. Draxler, who earned his 50th cap in Germany’s 2-0 win over Belarus last Saturday, has been in and out of the PSG first eleven since joining the club in 2017. He has recently been linked with Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur, but the midfielder told Kicker that he was keen to extend his contract in Paris, which runs until 2021. Also Read – We don’t ask for kind of tracks we get: Bowling coach Arun”PSG is a crazy club in a positive way, things can happen from one day to the next, but I don’t think anybody is looking to kick me out here,” he said. “I will prepare for next season just like the last, and if I am offered a new contract, I will listen.” Asked directly about rumours of a move to Tottenham or Bayern last Saturday, Draxler told Bild newspaper that he had “no intention” of leaving PSG. “I can’t say anything about the rumours. I haven’t heard anything about it from the club, and I haven’t spoken with anyone,” he said.last_img read more

Sensex in red Reliance Industries down 157

first_imgMumbai:Indian equities traded in red during the morning trade session on Monday after opening slightly higher. Index heavyweight Reliance Industries was down 1.56 per cent on the BSE. Asian shares opened mixed as investors were cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting. At 9.25 a.m. the Sensex was trading 112.01 points or 0.28 per cent lower at 39,340.06. It opened at 39,514.36 slightly higher from its Friday’s close of 39,452.07. The Nifty was down 40.15 points or 0.34 pet cent at 11,783.15. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep Besides, investors continued to watch developments in the Middle East after a pair of oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz on June 13. The incident escalates tensions in the region, heightening fears of a potential US-Iran military confrontation and disruption in oil supplies. Crude futures climbed 0.5 per cent the very next day. The Brent was trading at $62.20 per barrel, up by 0.3 per cent. Another point of concern for the markets said Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities was the slowing of Chinese economy. “Chinese data pointed to the worst slowdown in industrial growth in 17 years. May industrial output growth slowed to a more than 17-year low, the weakest since 2002,” Jasani said.last_img read more

Bill proposing voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof tabled

first_imgNew Delhi: A bill to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar as an identity proof for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone connections was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday amid opposition.The Bill will amend the Aadhaar Act 2016 and replace an ordinance issued in March. It also proposes stiff penalties for violation of norms. Opposing the bill, RSP MP NK Premchandaran said it was a “grave violation” of the Supreme Court’s judgement on Aaadhar. He claimed private entities can get hold of Aadhaar data and violate fundamental rights especially the Right of Privacy. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaResponding to him, Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Aadhaar is a valid law, it is in national interest and doesn’t violate privacy.He said so far more than 60 crore people have taken mobile sim cards through Aadhaar and now it is not mandatory. Suggesting the bill is in line with the apex court judgement, Prasad said people of India have accepted Aadhaar. The bill proposes to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar number for authentication and identity proof in opening of bank accounts and procuring of mobile phone connections. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahThe Bill also seeks to give a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age, while stipulating stiff penalties for violation of norms set for use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy. The move is aimed at making Aadhaar people-friendly. It also paves the way for use of alternative virtual identity number to conceal actual Aadhaar number of an individual. The bill also proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to use of biometric identifier by private entities. This amendment will also prevent denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication. Besides this, the proposed amendments provide for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund, and confers enhanced regulator-like power on the UIDAI. The changes proposed in the bill also include a civil penalty of up to Rs 1 crore on entities that violate provisions of the Aadhaar Act, with an additional fine of up to Rs 10 lakh per day in case of continuous non-compliance. Similarly, unauthorised use of identity information by a requesting entity or offline verification seeking entity would be punishable with imprisonment of up to three years with a fine that may extend to Rs 10,000 or in case of a company with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. Punishment for unauthorised access to Central Identities Data Repository as well as data tampering is proposed to be extended to 10 years each from the current three years.last_img read more

Sanjay Singh adopts village in West Delhi

first_imgNEW DELHI: AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh has adopted a village in west Delhi and he aims to turn it into a ‘Model Town’, sources said on Saturday. The MP has adopted Kharkhari Nahar village. He met villagers there and discussed the issues being faced by them, they said.Singh plans to develop the village into a “Model Town”, a source said. He discussed his plans for the village with its residents and it included issues related to employment and that of constructing a library. Rajya Sabha MP Singh also asked people to decide what is required for the development of the village in a budget of Rs 1 crore and promised to sanction the amount in the next few days, the sources further added.last_img

Finally Patanjali gets control of Ruchi Soya for 4350 crore

first_imgMumbai: The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Thursday approved yoga-exponent-Ram Dev-run Patanjali’s revised Rs 4,350-crore bid to take over the edible oil maker Ruchi Soya, which owed banks over Rs 9,345 crore. However, the tribunal said the approval is subject to the tribunal resolution professional bridging the information gap regarding the exact source of funds worth Rs 600 crore (which is part of the bid amount) before the next date of hearing on August 1. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe tribunal also asked the resolution professional to furnish the actual cost of the entre resolution process before the next hearing. “The resolution professional is directed to submit detailed break-up of the entire cost for the corporate insolvency resolution process before the next date of listing on August 1,” the tribunal said. Under the resolution plan, a total of Rs 4,235 crore has to be infused for settling creditors’ and stakeholders’ dues and the remaining Rs 115 crore would be infused as equity for improving the company’s operations, NCLT bench of VP Singh and Ravikumar Duraisamy said in their order. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe resolution plan was earlier approved by Committee of Creditors (CoC) with a 96.85 per cent voting share. The total verified claims were at Rs 12,146.13 crore of which a payment of Rs 4,235 crore was proposed. Shailendra Ajmera of consultancy firm EY was the resolution professional to Ruchi Soya case. On July 9, NCLT had directed Ruchi Soya’s resolution professional to confirm whether an earlier National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s (NCLAT) order Essar Steel-ArcelorMittal case would have an impact on this case. In the ArcelorMittal case, the appellate tribunal has passed an order that equal treatment to both operational and financial creditors, a move that would result in higher haircut by banks. However, the NCLT has taken a view that the Essar Steel order has no bearing on this case.last_img read more

Modi gave gift of dignity to Muslim sisters Harsimrat

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the gift of dignity to Muslim women by getting the Triple Talaq Bill passed, Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Wednesday. “Days ahead of #Rakshabandhan, the NDA govt led by hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji gave our Muslim sisters the gift of dignity by getting the #TripleTalaqBill passed,” the Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Punjab’s Bathinda tweeted. “The message is clear: Our women will be treated with respect. No one will be oppressed in this land of equals,” she said. A historic legislation which criminalises instant Triple Talaq among Muslims got Parliament’s nod on Tuesday.last_img

Sebi may force full disclosure on loan defaults with rating agencies

first_imgNew Delhi: Amid concerns over banks citing ‘client confidentiality’ to resist sharing of information on delayed loan repayments and possible defaults by their borrowers, capital market regulator Sebi is planning to tighten its norms to make it mandatory for companies to provide these details to credit rating agencies. Amid numerous cases of huge loan defaults by corporates, including in cases like Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), credit rating agencies have also come under the scanner for failing to flag potential credit risks of the securities and entities rated by them. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalHowever, the rating agencies have often sought to shift the blame to the companies and lenders by claiming that they find it difficult to get information about delay in meeting bank obligations and payment failures which are considered early indicators of a default. Officials said there have been occasions when some entities have sought to take the benefit of certain regulatory gaps as banks are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) while rating agencies and listed companies come under Sebi’s jurisdiction, while the problem becomes more acute in case of unlisted companies. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostTo fill this regulatory gap, Sebi is now proposing to amend its regulations for credit rating agencies to ensure that any listed or unlisted entity, before getting rated, gives an explicit consent to obtain from their lenders and other entities full details about their existing and future borrowings as also their repayment and delay or default of any nature and provide the same to the rating agencies. The proposal is likely to be presented for approval by Sebi’s board at its meeting later this month, the officials said. The move is aimed at helping the rating agencies get timely information about the rated entity’s financial strength and incorporate the impact of these details in their ratings. The provisions of the rating agreement between a rating agency and its client or issuer of securities is governed by the Sebi (Credit Rating Agencies) Regulations, framed in 1999. This regulation provides that every rating agency needs to enter into a written agreement with each client whose securities it proposes to rate and mentions detailed provisions that every such agreement should include. As per these regulations, rating agencies are required to continuously monitor the rating of securities during the lifetime of such securities. Sebi is of the view that any default or delay in meeting bank obligations are often early indicators of default on other borrowing obligations of the issuer, an official said. “However, banks have not been forthcoming in sharing such information with credit rating agencies citing client confidentiality as a reason,” the official added. In order to address this issue, Sebi had earlier decided to mandate the rating agencies to incorporate an enabling provision in the rating agreement with their clients. The official said Sebi had also written to the RBI in May, apprising the banking regulator that the rating agencies are contemplating incorporating such enabling provision in the rating agreement. The RBI was also requested to advise banks to provide timely and accurate information to the credit rating agencies regarding any default or delay in payments by the rated entities, but no response was received in the matter till last month. In view of this, Sebi is now proposing to amend its regulations for the rating agencies to insert a clause requiring the clients to give an explicit consent for obtaining such details from their lenders and other organisations holding information on their borrowings and provide the same to the raters.last_img read more

Ladakh MPs speech earns praise

first_imgNew Delhi: Till Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Ladakh, didn’t make a firing speech in Lok Sabha while participating in the debate on a government move to scrap the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, only a few were knowing about the political acumen of the young parliamentarian.After the remarkable speech, the whole world came to know about the political capabilities of the 34-year-old parliamentarian who celebrated his birthday on August 4. Namgyal’s speech in Lok Sabha, which earned the praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also hailed by most of the parliamentarians, including the members of Opposition leaders.last_img

B Sai Praneeth 1st Indian male shuttler to win medal in 36

first_imgBasel (Switzerland): B Sai Praneeth became the first Indian male shuttler in 36 years to secure a medal in the BWF World Championships after a straight-game victory over Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie propelled him into the semifinals here on Friday. World No. 19 Praneeth, who got the Arjuna Award this year, notched up a 24-22 21-14 win over Asian Games gold medallist and World No. 4 Jonatan in the quarterfinals. Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a men’s singles World Championships medal — a bronze — in the 1983 edition. Praneeth, who had won the Singapore Open in 2017 and finished runners-up at Swiss Open earlier this year, came into the tournament with a 1-2 head-to-head count against the Indonesian. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhIn the opening game, the Indian jumped to a 8-4 lead, but Jonatan stepped up to claw back at 10-10 before Praneeth managed a slender 11-10 advantage at the break with the help of a delicate shot at the net. The duo continued their battle after the breather as Jonatan kept breathing down the Indian’s neck. Praneeth eventually grabbed a game point at 20-19 with a cross court smash at the back, but Jonatan turned the tables and enjoyed a game point himself. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHowever, Praneeth ensured he had the last laugh. The Indian unleashed a powerful smash which the Indonesian hit wide and then his rival’s weak return got buried at the net. Praneeth missed the shuttle at the backline to concede a point but he grabbed the required two points — the last one with a cross court smash — to pocket the opening game. The second game turned out to be a one-way traffic as Praneeth came out with all cylinders blazing to, first surge to a 7-1 lead, and then a massive 11-3 advantage at the break. Jonatan tried to recover and narrowed the gap to 12-15 but the Indian stepped up to grab six match points, punishing a weak return and then shutting the door on Jonatan, who went wide.last_img read more

PCI knocks SC door on issues relating to communication blockade in JK

first_imgNew Delhi: The Press Council of India (PCI) has moved the Supreme Court supporting the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to impose restrictions on communication in the state following the abrogation of Article 370.The application filed by the PCI seeks intervention in the petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, in which she had sought the removal of restrictions on communication which she said were coming in the way of journalists’ right to exercise their profession. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe application on behalf of the PCI was filed by advocate Anshuman Ashok on Friday. In the application, the PCI has justified the communication blockade saying that due to the security concerns there can be reasonable restrictions on the media. The PCI said since Bhasin’s petition concerns the right of the journalists/media for free and fair reporting on the one hand and national interest of integrity and sovereignty on the other, the council is of the opinion that it should present its view before the Apex Court and assist in deciding her petition justly in the interest of freedom of the press as well as in the national interest. The PCI further stated that in Bhasin’s petition, there is no mention about abrogation of the most contentious provision of the Constitution by Parliament which has caused the restrictions on communication facilities and other facilities in the interest of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.last_img read more

Probe ordered into illegal sale of manjha

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Monday directed the Chief Secretary to probe how Chinese manjha was being rampantly sold in the city markets despite it being banned by the city government. Reacting to a request on the same by AAP MLA Mohinder Goyal, the Speaker asked Delhi Police to investigate the places where this manjha was being sold. “Despite the ban, it should be probed how it is being sold. A high level probe should be done. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”I urge the Chief Secretary to probe the issue. The Chief Secretary should ask the police to inquire about the Chinese manjha, where all it’s being sold. What fine is being imposed,” the Speaker said. Goyal reminded the House about the recent deaths due to this manjha in the city. He demanded that the Social Welfare Minister give compensation to the bereaved families. Use of glass coated manjha is banned by the Supreme Court. However, on occasions like Independence Day and Rakshabhandhan, the ‘manjha’ is sold at shops all over the city. “A 28-year-old civil engineer was killed and at least half a dozen others, including a retired defence forces officer, were injured after being allegedly hit by sharp kite strings (manjha) in separate incidents,” said AAP MLA Mahenrder Goel. Mpostlast_img read more

Govt hikes ethanol price to cut oil import bill by USD 1

first_imgNew Delhi: The government on Tuesday raised the price of sugarcane-extracted ethanol used for blending in petrol by up to Rs 1.84 per litre as it looked to cut oil import bill by USD 1 billion annually through its greater use in auto fuels. State-owned oil marketing companies will buy ethanol from sugar mills, for mixing in petrol, at enhanced rates for ethanol year beginning December 1, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said here. He was briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The price of ethanol from ‘C-heavy molasses’ has been raised by 29 paise per litre to Rs 43.75 while the same from ‘B-heavy molasses’, also called as intermediary molasses, by Rs 1.84 to Rs 54.27 a litre. Ethanol is a by-product of molasses generated on crushing of sugarcane and the higher price is to encourage sugar mills to divert from sugar production. Cane-based ethanol can be produced three different ways directly from cane juice, from B-grade and C-grade molasses. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Pradhan said the higher price is expected to increase the procurement of ethanol to 260 crore litres between December 2019 and November 2020, up from 200 crore litres bought in the previous ethanol year. “Increased ethanol blending in petrol is expected to replace 2 million tonnes of oil annually, helping save USD 1 billion in import bill,” he said. The percentage of ethanol being doped in petrol will rise from about 6 per cent now to 7 per cent next year and to 10 per cent by 2021-22, he said. Price of ethanol was last revised in September last year when the CCEA had approved a 25 per cent hike in the price of ethanol produced directly from sugarcane juice to Rs 59.13. Now it has been hiked to Rs 59.48. At that time, the price of ethanol produced from B-heavy molasses was hiked from Rs 47.13 to Rs 52.43 but that from C-heavy molasses marginally reduced to Rs 43.46 from Rs 43.7. Commenting on the decision, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) director general Abinash Verma said: “Government’s decision to increase ethanol price once again, with special emphasis and a higher increase for ethanol made from B-heavy molasses, confirms the government’s commitment towards encouraging more diversion of the surplus sugarcane/sugar into ethanol.” “The second very important decision of allowing a single premium price for the ethanol made from partial or 100% sugarcane juice is another big and positive step in this direction,” he said. “These decisions will help in further increasing the ethanol blend levels from the current 6% average levels across the country.” The sugar industry, he said, is responding very positively by hugely investing in new or expansion of ethanol production capacities, which will help achieve the government’s 10 per cent ethanol blend targets by 2022. The world’s third largest oil consumer is dependent on imports to meet 83 per cent of its needs and substituting some of the fuel with biofuels will help cut import dependence. India started blending ethanol, produced as a by-product during the process of making sugar from sugarcane, in petrol during the first NDA regime in 2002. But the programme slowed almost to a grinding halt in the 10-year rule of Congress-led UPA. It was revived again when the BJP first came to power in 2014. Ethanol blending in petrol increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14 to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18 and 200 crore litres in the following year. India spent USD 112 billion on import of 226 million tonnes of crude oil in 2018-19. Currently, petrol contains 6 per cent of ethanol. Pradhan said the price of ethanol from sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup route has been fixed at Rs 59.48 per litre. “Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised,” he said adding the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels will reduce import dependence and give boost to agriculture sector. This comes at a time when a surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to the lower capability of the sugar industry to pay the farmers.last_img read more

Ready for action to retrieve PoK Army chief

first_imgNew Delhi: Indian Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat said on Thursday that the army is prepared for an operation to retrieve Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) from the clutches of Pakistan, if the government wants so. Rawat was replying to a media query on Union Minister Jitendra Singh’s statement who said that the next agenda of the government is retrieving PoK and making it a part of India. “All actions are decided upon by the central government. Agencies working under the government have to act in accordance with its directions… the Army remains always prepared for any kind of action,” Rawat told the media. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Earlier, Singh, who is Minister of State in PMO and also holds independent charge of the DONER ministry, had made the statement on PoK while talking about achievements of the Modi government after 100 days of its formation. “Now, the next agenda is retrieving PoK and making it a part of India. It’s not only me or my party’s commitment, but it’s a part of a resolution unanimously passed by Parliament in 1994 during Congress government headed by P.V. Narasimha Rao,” Singh had said in Jammu.last_img read more

Royal or not couples contend with family drama in wedding planning expert

first_imgA wedding is supposed to celebrate two people being bound together as partners for life, but a couples counsellor says family tensions can threaten to tear loved ones apart on the big day — even if you’re marrying a prince.The question of who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle before she exchanges vows with Prince Harry remains up in the air just days before the wedding amid a report suggesting the bride’s father is wavering about whether he plans to be in attendance.Thomas Markle had been expected to give away his daughter at a chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday, but celebrity news site TMZ cast doubt on the wedding plans Monday when it reported that the retired television cinematographer would be stepping down from his role in the ceremony after suffering a heart attack. He later hinted that he had changed his mind.The elder Markle reportedly wanted to spare his daughter embarrassment after undergoing intense media criticism over his participation in staged paparazzi photos, according to TMZ, prompting Meghan Markle’s estranged half-sibling to insert herself in the family drama as it played out in the headlines.Even without the intense public scrutiny surrounding a royal union, Melissa Johari, who owns the Couple Wellness Expert counselling business in Toronto, said the pressures of a wedding can surface tensions both within a family and between soon-to-be in-laws.“I always say that funerals bring people together, and weddings tear families apart,” she said.Johari, who specializes in premarital counselling and used to officiate weddings, said she has coached many couples through the thorny family politics of hosting a wedding.Every couple is going to experience differences in family backgrounds, she said, but the challenge is for both sides to embrace these distinctions for the sake of their loved ones’ union.“If you don’t have that support and celebration of each other’s differences, then you really have to create some boundaries,” said Johari.Many couples agonize over how to deal with estranged family members, weighing the risk of someone making a scene during the ceremony against the fallout of snubbing a relative, she said.In some instances, said Johari, a relative will boycott a wedding to express their disapproval of the union, leaving a “sour taste” for the couple on their big day.Other family members may not be able to make it to the wedding due to illness or financial constraints, said Johari. She said the milestone can also be particularly hard for a newlywed who has lost a close family member.“The reason why someone is not attending is a big factor in how it would affect the couple for that day,” she said. “You can’t help but feel hurt if someone makes that decision not to attend.”Distance between relatives can be a salve for many family feuds, she said, but weddings can force rivals to reunite in an emotionally charged setting, causing “bad blood” to burble up during what is supposed to be a joyous occasion.Emily Ormerod, a 28-year-old bride-to-be in Calgary, said her divorced parents have not been in the same room for 12 years. As she began to plan her September wedding, she initially worried that her father would rekindle conflicts with her mother and siblings, from whom he is estranged.After he declined her invitation over issues with the couple’s no-kids policy, Ormerod said she felt a pang of disappointment that her father wouldn’t be there to partake in the traditional paternal wedding duties. But ultimately, his expected absence turned out to be a “mixed blessing.”“I’m feeling a little sad that it had to be like that, but mainly relief,” she said. “It does take out a huge element of potential awkwardness from the day.”Between invitations, speeches and seating arrangements, Johari said weddings can be a familial minefield for couples who are eager to please everyone on their guest list.She said she tells couples not to get bogged down in family politics, but rather focus on starting their new family off on the right foot.“It’s easy to get caught up in these different dynamics,” she said. “Sometimes, couples lose sight of what the day is all about, which is a day to celebrate them.”last_img read more

Taxpayers Federation applauds stipulation in possible Calgary Olympic bid

first_imgThursday’s announcement that the federal and Alberta governments support the formation of a bid corporation to explore the idea of Calgary pursuing a 2026 Olympic bid came with a condition: that a plebiscite is held before it could move forward. Although the plebiscite could cost upwards of $2 million, Craig says it’s money well spent. The Olympic bid itself is expected to cost around $30 million. The International Olympic Committee will invite bids beginning in January. “There’s certainly an argument, too, that it would be a positive thing to host a province-wide referendum, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen.” Alberta Director Colin Craig says it’s important to poll public opinion. The Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation applauded Premier Rachel Notley’s decision. “There is a cost to democracy. It’s important to involve the public in major decisions, not just simply during election time,” said Craig. “We think it’s important for taxpayers to have an opportunity to vote yes or no on an Olympic bid, so we’re pleased the Alberta government is making that a requirement of their funding.” Last year, the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee concluded that hosting the 2026 Games would cost $4.6 billion. “It’s not like a core government service like running a police department or fixing a road. This is something that’s very much a luxury option, and it’s important to ask taxpayers ‘do you want to spend extra money on this type of activity?’” said Craig, who adds they’ve been receiving complaints about the cost of the Games from around the province.last_img read more

Michaelle Jean loses bid to hold onto job as Francophonie secretary general

first_imgYEREVAN, Armenia – Without even her home country supporting her, Michaelle Jean failed in her bid for a second term as secretary general of la Francophonie Friday as members chose Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.Three days after his government withdrew its support for Jean, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted the move was not part of a deal to advance Canada’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2020.“We supported the Rwandan candidate when it was clear that there was a consensus on the part of the African countries, and therefore of la Francophonie,” Trudeau told a news conference as the two-day Francophonie summit closed in the Armenian capital. He praised Jean for her “excellent work” as secretary general.He acknowledged, however, that Canada’s support for Mushikiwabo could prove beneficial at the UN.“We have worked with Africa for a long time, and we continue to work with Africa on many issues, including this request that we have been making for several years for support for the Security Council,” he said. While the Francophonie and UN campaigns coincided, “they are not directly connected,” he added.Mushikiwabo had the backing of France and many African Union countries going into the summit. But in a final attempt to sway the 54 voting members Thursday, Jean warned that rights and democracy shouldn’t take a back seat to partisan ambitions.“Are we ready to accept that international organizations are used for partisan purposes?” Jean asked. “Are we ready to accept that democracy, rights and freedoms are reduced to mere words, that we make them meaningless in the name of realpolitik?”It was a veiled criticism of her only opponent for the job, whose government has been accused of abusing democratic rights and freedom of the press. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, was elected with nearly 99 per cent of the votes in 2017.Trudeau said he had a “frank and direct” discussion about human rights when he met Kagame at the summit Thursday. He said the countries of la Francophonie have “different levels of democracy and different levels of success in the defence of their citizens’ rights.”Named to the post in 2014, Jean was the first secretary general not to come from Africa since the position was created in 1997.Mushikiwabo hailed the return of an African to the office. She said she does not intend to make major changes to the direction of the organization, but she promised more transparency in Francophonie spending.Jean had been dogged by stories of excessive spending and questionable expenses during her mandate.Mushikiwabo did not name Jean in her acceptance speech, but she said “each bill spent is important” and no expense should be taken lightly.Jean spoke briefly Friday, saying she was happy to have advanced the organization of French-speaking nations on the international stage during her time.After a four-year term marked by controversy, the former governor general was considered a long shot for a second stint, but she refused to withdraw her candidacy even as support dwindled.In an interview with The Canadian Press Friday, Kagame pushed back against Jean’s criticism of his country. He said Jean came across as bitter and angry, considering a consensus had formed backing Mushikiwabo.“I think it was outright wrong,” Kagame said. “To tell people who’ve made a choice that they are wrong — that it should be her and not everyone else — in that way, I think it displays the problem.”For Universite de Montreal researcher Jocelyn Coulon, the tense battle over the secretary general post should serve as a lesson to the organization.“The process of selection and appointment of the secretary general is in crisis, as demonstrated by the psychodrama the organization was plunged into for a week,” said Coulon, who was an adviser to former global affairs minister Stephane Dion.“It must be reformed to make it more transparent, which will give more credibility to the person elected.”last_img read more

NASA boss in Ottawa fuels speculation about new Canadian spacestation role

first_imgOTTAWA — The head of the U.S. space agency says Canada’s knack for artificial intelligence will be useful for exploring the moon, if we want in.Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, says Canada has developed crucial artificial intelligence-based robotics technology that could help operate the next-generation outpost the United States is planning to send into lunar orbit.He started a two-day trip to Ottawa today by taking part in a demonstration at Carleton University by Mission Control, a Canadian company working on robotic technology that can be used to test soil samples.Bridenstine says he wants Canada’s decades-long space partnership with the U.S. to continue as it embarks on the creation of its new “Lunar Gateway.”Bridenstine is to give a keynote address on Wednesday at the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, where speculation is running high that Canada’s participation in the Lunar Gateway — NASA’s next-generation space project — is expected to be announced.In September, the Canadian Space Agency issued tenders for projects designed to position Canada to contribute to future space missions involving human and robotic exploration.The Canadian Presslast_img read more