Kolkata: A 71-year-old man suffering from swine flu died in Salt Lake on June 19. The deceased has been identified as Tapan Kumar Karmakar and was admitted to a private hospital in Salt Lake on June 14. He died around 12.35 am on June 19. According to doctors, the patient died due to H1N1 pneumonia leading to septic shock, which eventually resulted in multi-organ failure.Three more persons are said to be treated in the same private hospital where Karmakar was admitted. These patients are said to be from Salt Lake and its surrounding areas. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkFrom the start of this year, several cases of swine flu have been reported throughout Kolkata and Salt Lake. A 10-month-old girl from Beltolla Road in Bhowanipore died of swine flu in a Park Circus nursing home in February this year. Another case was that of 85-year-old Snehalata Das, who died of the virus in February, was admitted to a private hospital in Salt Lake with breathing problem. Later, tests were conducted which confirmed H1N1. Three members of a Lake Gardens family were hospitalised with swine flu four months back, joining the growing list of persons affected with the H1N1 virus that resurfaced at the fag end of winter. In hospitals across the city, many patients have been admitted with influenza symptoms and were diagnosed with H1N1. Out Patient Departments and clinics have also received scores of patients with the usual symptoms of swine flu — fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, nausea, headache and, occasionally, severe stomach pain. According to reports, some doctors have also cited a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine in the city.
Kolkata: The West Bengal University of Health Sciences (WBUHS) on Thursday issued a fresh notification saying that medical aspirants staying in other states and enjoying Domicile B will not be allowed to take part in the medical counselling in the state, thereby revoking its earlier notification where it had invited applications from outside candidates.Millennium Post had published a story on June 23, saying how the WBUHS, in its notification on June 21, had asked the candidates from other states enjoying Domicile B of the state to participate in the medical counseling, triggering confusion among the candidates as it apparently violated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s instruction. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaBanerjee had made a public statement a few days ago, saying that her government would not allow outside candidates to study medical only by the virtue of possessing a Domicile B certificate. She had also made it clear during her speech that the candidates from Bengal would be given preference over the outside ones while admitting them in undergraduate medical course in the 85 percent state quota seats. However, despite the Chief Minister’s assertion, the WBUHS had issued the notification, asking for the participation of outside candidates. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersAfter the story was published in Millennium Post, the WBUHS backtracked, nullifying the earlier notification and thereby preventing candidates of other states from taking part in the counselling. In the latest notification, the WBUHS says that applicants belonging to states other than Bengal may contact the National Testing Agency (NTA) in this regard. It may be mentioned here that NTA conducts the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), which is the national level medical entrance examination. If the NTA allows them to change the domicile status that they had filed during the application, the university would not object to the candidates being enrolled, the notice says. A section of Bengal-based medical aspirants had vehemently opposed the admission of outside candidates in 85 percent state quota seats in the name of Domicile B. It has often been found that candidates seek domicile B from the state government after failing to secure medical admission in their respective states. Candidates enjoy Domicile A of a particular state if they have stayed there for ten years, while the candidates who are entitled to get Domicile B are the residents of other states whose parents live in Bengal permanently. The Supreme Court in a ruling said that a candidate cannot enjoy two domiciles when he/she is appearing for a single examination. Dr A K Maity, who was formerly attached to SSKM Hospital, had sent a letter to the Chief Minister on July 12, 2018, requesting her to follow single domicile rule for 85% state quota admission. Dr Maity had said: “The permanent address of a candidate given in the NEET Application should be treated as the only domicile of the candidate. NTA has prepared a central merit list of candidates. The said list was sent to the medical counselling committee of Individual states through the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) in the Centre. Each state will prepare the merit list of candidates for their 85% state quota seats.”
San Francisco: Apple has joined the latest viral Twitter trend that allows users to try out a light “choose-your-own adventure” style game. The @AppleTV account is helping users find a movie to watch by having them click through a series of Twitter threads. The game presents people with multiple answers to a query introduced through a unique poster, Tech Rapida reported on Friday. The first thread asked users a series of questions about international pop-star Beyonce and they had to click on the answers in an attempt to not get fired as Beyonce’s new assistant. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app At several points, the solutions showed completely different paths. The thread has gathered over 97,300 retweets and millions of likes so far. The concept for the thread was introduced by a Los Angeles-based 19-year-old scholar Landon Rivera, the report said. The engagement-boosting Twitter trend was also observed by celebs like Chrissy Teigen and Questlove. After the Beyonce game became a viral hit, the creator posted new threads about being rapper Cardi B’s bodyguard and getting away with murder.
New Delhi: The next edition of India’s mega defence exhibition – the DefExpo – will be held in Lucknow in 2020 with participation of major global and domestic military firms, the Defence Ministry announced on Sunday. It will be for the first time Lucknow will host the exhibition in which delegates of a number of leading countries will participate. The theme of the DefExpo will be ‘India: the emerging defence manufacturing hub’ and it will be focused on ‘digital transformation of defence’, the ministry said. Officials said major global and domestic military firms will showcase their latest weaponry and platforms at the exhibition, eyeing a slice of the lucrative military market in the country which is the world’s biggest arms importer.
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that there has been no hike in electricity tariffs in the national capital for the fifth consecutive year after power regulator DERC announced a significant reduction in fixed charges on electricity in the city.The chief minister further said Delhi had the lowest power tariffs in the country and the only place with 24×7 electricity. Power Minister Satyendar Jain said the chief minister had requested the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to reduce fixed charges three months ago. The DERC announced the new electricity tariffs for 2019-20, significantly bringing down fixed charges while raising energy charges. DERC chairman Justice (retired) S S Chauhan said the new rates would be applicable from August 1. See P3
New Delhi: Hours after Unnao rape case accused MLA Kuldeep Sengar was expelled from the BJP, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said the BJP has finally acknowledged having empowered a criminal and taken some action to correct itself. Faced with massive public outrage, the BJP expelled its jailed MLA, accused of raping a minor girl from Unnao and threatening her family. “The BJP finally acknowledges having empowered a criminal and takes some action to correct itself and move in the direction of justice for a young woman who has suffered immeasurably,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet. The action by the BJP against the four-time MLA came days after the woman and her lawyer were critically injured and two of her aunts killed when their car was hit by a speeding truck in Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The girl’s family has alleged that the accident on Sunday was an attempt to eliminate her. On Thursday, the Supreme Court also directed the transfer of all five cases registered in connection with the Unnao rape incident from a court in Uttar Pradesh to a court in the national capital. The apex court also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide Rs 25 lakh to the rape survivor as an interim compensation. “Grateful to the SC for taking cognisance of the ‘Jungle Raj’ being unleashed in UP,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet, responding to the Supreme Court’s order. Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi said the question on the minds of all women and girls in Uttar Pradesh is whether voices against a resourceful person, who has done wrong, will be heard.
Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Friday said the “agony” suffered by the Unnao rape survivor and her family puts the ruling dispensation to shame.Her comments came a day after the Supreme Court issued a slew of instructions in the Unnao rape case, including directing the transfer of all five cases registered in connection with the incident from a court in Uttar Pradesh to a court in Delhi. “The pain and agony inflicted by the ruling dispensation on the Unnao rape victim and her family is unpardonable and shameful for the government. It cannot be compensated for,” Mayawati wrote on Twitter in Hindi. She said the Supreme Court deserved praise for its intervention in the case. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Justice will be done only if the guilty are awarded stern punishment, she added. Besides transferring the cases related to the Unnao rape incident, the apex court also ordered that the trial be held on daily basis and it should be completed within 45 days. The court gave the CBI seven days to complete investigation into a recent accident, in which two of the victim’s aunts were killed and she and her lawyer critically injured. The victim’s family has lodged a complaint, alleging “conspiracy” behind the car crash. The CBI has booked rape accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and 10 others for murder in connection with the accident which took place on July 28. The victim (19) was allegedly raped by Sengar, the MLA from Bangermau, on June 4, 2017, when she was a minor.
Male: A former vice president of the Maldives who was arrested after fleeing to neighboring India to avoid questioning over the alleged embezzlement of state funds has been taken to a Maldives detention center after being returned to the country. India had refused entry to former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on Thursday. Maldives police later confirmed that they had arrested him and returned him to the Indian Ocean nation. Adeeb was brought to Male, the Maldives’ capital, late Sunday night in a navy ship. Early Monday, he was taken to Dhoonidhoo detention center. Adeeb had his passport confiscated by a court order because of pending court cases, according to police. He had recently been freed from a 33-year jail sentence over corruption and terrorism.
New Delhi: Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has taken a jibe at superstar Salman Khan for his comment not long ago that he could not “afford the luxury to be depressed”. Deepika had openly spoken about her ordeal with clinical depression in 2015, and has actively been campaigning against the malaise since then. In a recent interview, she took on Salman, without naming him, insisting that depression was not a choice, so it should not be seen as a luxury. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “People confuse it with being a bit sad. A male star said recently that he didn’t have the luxury to be depressed. As if, depression is a choice!” Deepika said, talking to “Vogue” magazine. “The word that best describes my experience of depression is struggle. Every second was a struggle. I felt exhausted the whole time,” Deepika furthered explained. According to reports, Salman, last year, had said: “I see a lot of people getting depressed and emotional, but I can’t afford that luxury of being depressed or sad or emotional because no matter what I am going through, it works against me.” On the occasion of World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2015, Deepika started the Live Love Laugh Foundation to create awareness about mental illnesses and reduce the stigma surrounding them.
Montreal: Rafael Nadal needed a set to get adjusted before unloading on Fabio Fognini for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory and a place in the ATP Montreal Masters semi-finals. Nadal, who won his fourth title in Canada a year ago, needed almost two hours on Friday to overcome the Italian veteran who shocked him on clay at Monte Carlo in April. “It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me because I played better and better as it went on,” Nadal said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh “I lost the first set feeling that I was not playing badly. Things were just going too fast. “Things happen quickly here because the court is fast. Sometimes in the first set, the player who is taking advantage has the adrenaline very high. “It’s difficult to quickly stop that momentum.” World number two Nadal was the only major seed to survive a quarter-final cull after defeats for Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. He won’t know who he’ll play for a place in the final until Saturday, when Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut return to complete a rain delayed match. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later Steady rain began as Monfils and Bautista took the court and they were unable to complete a game before play was suspended for the night. Austrian second seed Thiem, coming off an emotional home victory in Kitzbuehel last week, hit the wall in a 6-3, 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Russia’s eighth-seeded Daniil Medvedev. Number three Zverev was unable to make an impression on Russian sixth seed Karen Khachanov, losing 6-3, 6-3 in 74 minutes. Zverev suffered the first blemish on what had been a perfect 7-0 record in Montreal after winning the 2017 edition in his maiden visit to the city, which alternates with Toronto as host venue each year. – Tired Thiem – =============== Khachanov and Medvedev are 1-1 in their rivalry, having played each other in Moscow last season and in 2017 at the NextGen final in Milan. “It’s never easy to play a good friend, especially from the same country,” Khachanov said. “Daniil is having a great season. The match will be difficult. “He’s a dangerous opponent. He has been destroying everyone this week. It should be a great match.” Two-time Roland Garros finalist Thiem, who had never won a match in Canada over five years of trying before this week, said he did not have a chance against Medvedev as a hectic travel schedule caught up with him in his 56-minute loss. “With all the traveling and short transition, two very tough matches yesterday and two days ago, I think the battery was empty today. I was not on my 100 percent,” he said. “This is just not enough in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000, especially against a guy like Daniil, who is in a great shape, who is playing amazing tennis.” Medvedev admitted he was expecting Thiem to be tougher. “I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily,” Medvedev said. “It saved me a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence, so I’m very happy.”
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed anguish over “defective” petitions challenging scrapping of provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the petition by advocate M L Sharma challenging the scrapping of Article 370 has “no meaning”. “What kind of petition is this? It could have been dismissed but there are 5 other pleas with the registry,” the bench also comprising S A Bobde and S A Najeer said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “You are not praying for setting aside the Presidential order. What is the prayer it is not clear. It can be dismissed on technical grounds,” the bench said and added that there were five other petitions in the registry which are defective. The CJI said he spent 30 minutes reading the petition on Article 370 but could not make out anything. The apex court asked lawyers to cure defects in their six petitions on Article 370 and adjourned the hearing. The bench also noted that it was hearing the petition on Article 370 by breaking the combination of judges hearing the sensitive Ayodhya matter.
New Delhi: Prices of mobile data have fallen drastically by about 95 per cent to Rs 11.78 per gigabyte (GB) but cumulative revenue of telecom operators has risen by around 2.5 times to Rs 54,671 crore in the last five years, a Trai report said on Wednesday. The data usage in the country increased by 56 folds to 46,404 million GB in 2018 from 828 million GB in 2014 with average data consumption in the country growing multi-fold to 7.6 GB per subscriber from 0.27 GB per subscriber during the same period, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in the report. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalWest Bengal, UP (West) and Assam service areas recorded growth of more than 100 per cent in the average wireless data usage per subscriber per year in 2018 while other service areas grew by over 50 per cent during the same period. “Total volume of wireless data usage increased from 20,092 million GB in the year 2017 to 46,404 million GB in the year 2018 with yearly growth rate of 131 per cent. Total volume of wireless data usage in the year 2014 was only 828 million GB,” the report said. Out of the total volume of wireless data usage in 2018, 4G technology contributed the major part of 86.85 per cent with volume of 40,304 million GB while share of 2G, 3G and CDMA data usage is 0.95 per cent, 12.18 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively in the total volume of wireless data usage. The average revenue per person increased to Rs 90.02 in 2018 from Rs 71.25 in 2014. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”Total revenue from wireless data usage increased from Rs 38,882 crore in the year 2017 to Rs 54,671 crore in the year 2018 with yearly growth rate of 40.61 per cent. The total revenue from wireless data usages was Rs 22,265 crore in the year 2014,” the report said. The average cost to subscriber for wireless data in the year 2014 was Rs 269 per GB and Rs 226 per GB in 2015. “On introduction of 4G technology in India, average cost to subscriber for wireless data usage sharply declined to Rs 75.57 per GB during the year 2016. Further, average cost to subscriber for wireless data declined from Rs 19.35 per GB in the year 2017 to Rs 11.78 per GB in the year 2018,” the report said. During the year 2018, UP (West) service area led the average wireless data usage per wireless data subscriber per month with 8.3 GB consumption followed by Punjab and Bihar service areas (8.1 GB in each) among all service areas. UP (East) service area recorded the minimum average wireless data usage of 6.3 GB per wireless data subscriber per month during the year 2018, the report said.
New Delhi: An apparently inexplicable figure in separatist Yaseen Malik’s documents led to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) calling leading Delhi cardiologist Upendra Kaul for an explanation on Friday. Kaul, who has been treating Malik for various cardiac ailments for two decades, told NIA officials the number in the separatist leader’s papers referred to a blood test and not crores of rupees. The cardiologist said he was out of the NIA headquarters within 30 minutes. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”I explained to them that the figure mentioned was related to his (Malik’s) blood reports and not money. The officers were convinced and that’s all,” Kaul said after the questioning. He said he told the NIA that Malik had been his patient and had consulted him for heart trouble and the entry in the documents pertained to that. Malik is in Tihar Jail in judicial custody in two cases, including one related to terror funding. Kaul has been critical of the Centre for revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the communications clampdown that followed. The NIA is probing a case related to terror funding of various groups and is examining messages exchanged by Malik with various people over a period of time.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s embattled leader insisted Tuesday she had no intention of stepping down, after an audio recording emerged of her saying she wanted to quit and apologise for causing the unrest that has rocked the southern Chinese city. Hong Kong has endured three months of violent pro-democracy protests, triggered by opposition to Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s bid to push through a law allowing extraditions to mainland China. The protests evolved into a wider democracy campaign involving violent clashes between protesters and police, in the biggest challenge to China’s rule of Hong Kong since its 1997 handover from the British. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “I told myself repeatedly in the last three months that I and my team should stay on to help Hong Kong,” Lam told a press conference on Tuesday morning. Lam said she had “not even contemplated” discussing resigning with the Chinese government, which gives Hong Kong a restricted form of autonomy but ultimately is in charge of the territory. Lam was speaking after the Reuters news agency released an audio recording of her telling business leaders last week she wanted to step down and take responsibility for the unrest. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “For a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable,” Lam said in the audio recording. “If I have a choice,” she said, speaking in English, “the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology.” Lam told the business leaders she had “very limited” room to resolve the crisis because it had become a national security and sovereignty issue for Beijing. Lam described the leaking of the audio recording as “quite unacceptable”, and denied accusations that she or her government had orchestrated it. “The conflict that I myself want to quit but cannot quit does not exist,” she said. Rallies over the weekend saw some of the worst violence of the crisis, with protesters throwing bricks and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas, water cannon and baton charges. More than 1,100 people have been arrested since June when the unrest began, including a swoop of key pro-democracy leaders and politicians late last week. China has responded to the crisis by ramping up threats and intimidation, including by warning its security forces could intervene. Chinese state media have released videos showing mainland security forces deployed just across the border. An editorial by China’s state news agency on Sunday warned the protesters that “the end is coming”.
New Delhi: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio on Thursday announced launch of its fibre-based broadband service, offering minimum internet speed of 100 Mbps for Rs 699 a month, a rate 35-45 per cent lower than rivals, as it looked to repeat the disruption caused in the telecom sector three years back. JioFiber will offer free voice calling anywhere in the country, unlimited data and video conferencing, the company said in a statement. Annual subscribers will get 4K set top box, for streaming TV channels, free while a 4K television set would be complimentary with plans with higher payouts such as ‘Gold’ and above. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe company announced complimentary high definition set-top box and an advance modem Jio Home Gateway, zero-latency gaming and device security of up to five devices in all the plans priced between between Rs 699 to Rs 8,499 per month. “For Gaming, Device Security, Home Networking, VR Experience, Video Content services, provided by RCITPL (a platform service company) and TV Video Calling & Conferencing, subscribers need to purchase compatible devices,” Jio said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostJio is offering complementary television sets to annual subscribers of broadband plans in the range of Rs 2,499 to Rs 8,499. The company is also offering television set on two-year subscription of gold plan priced at Rs 1,299 per month. “The launch of JioFiber, with its revolutionary services is just the beginning of a new and exciting journey. As always, we will continue working hard to bring more such amazing services to your home and take Jio Fiber to the next level. I want to specially thank our 5 lakh JioFiber Preview users, who have contributed significantly in perfecting our product and service experience,” Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio Infocomm, said. The company has announced launch of the service across 1,600 cities. Reliance Jio, Mukesh Ambani’s vehicle for re-entry into the telecom space, had three years back begun mobile services, offering free voice calling and data. That got millions hooked on to his network which started charging for internet data usages from April 1, 2017, while voice calls continue to remain free. Jio’s Rs 3.5 lakh crore investment in 4G telecom services coupled with aggressive pricing had unleashed intense competition in the market that forced rivals to either fold up or merge to better compete with it. “Currently, the average fixed-line broadband speed in India is 25 Mbps. Even in America, which is the most developed economy, it is around 90 Mbps. JioFiber, India’s first 100 per cent all-fiber broadband service, will start from 100 Mbps and go all the way up to 1 Gbps. This will propel India to top 5 broadband nations globally,” the statement said. JioFiber customers subscribing to Rs 699 plan will get three-month complimentary access Jio Cinema and Jio Saavn app and Rs 849 plan subscriber will get three-month access to video entertainment apps. Subscriber of higher plan will get access to annual subscription of leading video entertainment apps bundled in their plans, according to the statement. Customers opting for JioFiber will need to pay Rs 1,000 installation charges and Rs 1,500 refundable fee.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Friday sought suggestions from people on steps to reduce pollution in the city during winters, when stubble burning takes place in neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.Addressing a Press conference, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said people can send their suggestions at email@example.com. During the peak season from October 20 to November 20, a large number of stubble burning incidents are reported in neighbouring states, which adds to the pollution level in the national capital, he said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderKejriwal claimed that pollution in Delhi has gone down by 25 per cent in the last three years, opposite to the trend in the rest of the cities in the country and the world. “Today, I want to give good news to the people that instead of increasing, pollution has begun to reduce in Delhi. In the last three years, the pollution in the city has reduced significantly. From 2012 to 2014, PM 2.5 was 154. From 2016 to 2018, it has reduced to 115. The pollution has reduced by 25 per cent,” he said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsKejriwal said that while the pollution in the entire world and other cities of the countries is increasing, it is on a decline in Delhi. While asserting that much more needs to be done in order to combat pollution in the city, the Chief Minister said, “From 2012-14, that is for three years, the pollution level in Delhi was in the safe zone only for 12 days. From 2016-18, it has increased to 205 days. I am not saying it is sufficient. We have to do much more. But the good thing is that the steps taken are in the right direction.” The Chief Minister also thanked the various institutions and agencies including the MCD and the Central government for the efforts to combat pollution. The Chief Minister, in particular, pointed out the construction of Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressway saying that it has led to a decline in trucks coming inside Delhi, consequently leading to a reduction in pollution levels. “This (reduction in pollution levels) has not been only due to the efforts of the Delhi government. I want to thank all the agencies involved in the efforts. This has been due to efforts of the Delhi government. We want to thank the Central government, MCDs for their efforts. The Supreme Court passed so many orders which we followed religiously,” the Chief Minister. He also thanked the people of Delhi for supporting the efforts to combat pollution. “The construction of Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressway is one of the reasons for the decline in pollution. Apart from this, environmental compensation charges were levied. So, trucks began to use roads outside Delhi. The number of trucks entering Delhi reduced by 30 per cent due to Eastern Peripheral Expressway,” he said. Terming it a “big number”, the Chief Minister said, “This is a big number. I think the numbers would be even higher for Western Peripheral. Both of these have been constructed by the Central government and we would like to thank them on behalf of people of Delhi for this.”
New Delhi: India’s apex realtors group said it is disappointed with the government’s measures to support the sector, as it did not address the key demands such as tax rebate and lower interest rate for home buyers and developers. CREDAI’s National Chairman Jaxay Shah said the fund created for completing the stalled real estate projects will have limited impact as it excludes those projects which are either facing insolvency proceedings or become non-performing assets (NPAs). Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”Last month, we had met the finance minister and made several demands to improve liquidity and boost demand in the real estate sector. But, unfortunately our demands have not been met,” Shah said on Sunday. Reiterating the demand of the association that has about 12,000 members, Shah said the government should withdraw its decision to ban subvention scheme as it was for the benefit of home buyers and helped generate demand. In July, the National Housing Bank (NHB) asked housing finance companies (HFCs) to “desist” from offering loans under subvention scheme, wherein real estate developers pay home loan interest on behalf of home buyers till possession of flats.
OTTAWA – Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is floating the idea of a joint Ottawa-B.C. panel of scientists to enhance existing research on oil spills as the federal government continues pressing its case for the Trans Mountain expansion project.McKenna is making the proposal to B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman just as the province prepares to unveil the question it will ask the Court of Appeal as it tries to limit the flow of oil through the expanded pipeline.B.C.’s efforts to block the $7.4-billion project prompted the builder, Kinder Morgan, to halt spending until Ottawa can convince skittish investors that it will go ahead.In a letter released today, McKenna says Ottawa has already taken steps to mitigate the damage in the event of a spill, including increased capacity to tow ships and five new emergency response stations, and says she is willing to address some of B.C.’s additional concerns.If B.C. is interested, she says Canada would also consider a joint scientific advisory panel to take stock of the science available on oil spills, including current models of how to respond in the event of an incident involving a number of different petroleum products.McKenna also says B.C.’s consultation paper on oil spill management left out the very federal policies and programs she says prove why the federal government believes the pipeline is safe.
OTTAWA – Conservative senators are leading a charge to gut legislation aimed at cracking down on impaired driving — voting to delete a measure Conservatives have previously championed.The Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee voted late Wednesday to delete a provision from Bill C-46 that would authorize police to conduct random roadside breathalyzer tests, without needing reasonable grounds to suspect the driver may be impaired by alcohol.The move was proposed by Conservative Sen. Denise Batters on the grounds that the provision is likely to violate the charter of rights and would, therefore, be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.She won the backing of four other Conservatives senators on the committee, as well as the committee chair, Liberal independent Sen. Serge Joyal, a constitutional expert in his own right.Five independent senators voted against deleting the provision, including Sen. Marc Gold, who is also a constitutional law expert. One Liberal independent abstained.Among the Conservatives who supported deletion was Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais, a former police officer. Just two years ago, Dagenais joined former Conservative public safety minister Steven Blaney at a news conference, where the MP introduced a private member’s bill that contained a similar provision on random alcohol breath tests.Blaney’s bill was applauded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and received unanimous support in principle among all parties in the House of Commons, with Conservatives being particularly enthusiastic.So it came as a surprise to many when Conservative senators spearheaded the move to remove the random breath testing measure from Bill C-46.“It’s unacceptable. It guts the bill,” Sen. Peter Harder, the government’s representative in the Senate, said Thursday.“It appears as though obstruction of the policy agenda of the government of Canada is of higher priority than consistency of policy position,” he added.C-46 is a companion bill to government legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, which the Conservatives have attempted to block at every turn. However, the provision on random roadside testing is meant to apply only to alcohol.“This is shocking,” said MADD CEO Andrew Murie.“You kind of wonder if this is based on what they say is legal concerns or is this politics being played out?” he added, accusing Conservative senators of using C-46 to try to delay passage of C-45, the cannabis legalization bill.The committee’s report on C-46, along with its recommended amendments, is expected to be debated in the Senate next week. Harder said he’ll move to have the deleted provision restored.Should the Senate as a whole agree with the committee, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould made it clear Thursday that the government will not accept an amendment that drops the random breath testing measure.“I think it’s irresponsible,” Wilson-Raybould said, adding that the government is “determined to ensure” the provision becomes law.“Mandatory alcohol screening is the centrepiece of this legislation … Partisan politics has nothing to do with saving people’s lives and mandatory alcohol screening will save lives.”In proposing the amendment to delete the provision, Sen. Batters argued that “defence lawyers with lengthy careers in this field tell us that these provisions would lead to a decade of charter challenges. A “glut” of impaired driving cases has already been a major cause of delays in Canada’s criminal court system, resulting in some cases being dismissed, and Batters contended authorizing police to conduct random, roadside breath tests would only exacerbate the problem.“It’s our duty to provide sober second thought, particularly on these types of constitutional issues,” she said.“I know we don’t want to see many more serious criminal charges like murder, sexual assault, serious child abuse cases dismissed because of the massive amount of charter challenges brought because of the random alcohol testing provisions in this bill.”However, Gold said he believes the provision is justified under the charter in the interests of reducing the harm caused by drunk driving. He noted that eminent constitutional scholars — including Canada’s pre-eminent constitutional authority, Peter Hogg — support that contention.“Mandatory testing will survive court challenge, though challenges there will be, as there have been every time we change the law,” Gold predicted.Wilson-Raybould said she’s confident the provision is constitutional.More than 40 other countries have authorized police to conduct mandatory alcohol breath tests and Liberal MP Bill Blair, the government’s point man on cannabis legalization and a former Toronto police chief, said they’ve found the measure has reduced the number of deaths due to impaired driving by up to 36 per cent. That’s evidence the Conservatives once found compelling, he added.“It’s a little bit of a mystery as to why they now reject those arguments that they so passionately advocated for in the past,” Blair said.