Modi concludes Gujarat campaign with ‘Vikas’ narrative, flies from Sabarmati in a seaplane

With the second phase of Gujarat Elections due on December 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded the election campaign by visiting the Ambaji Mandir in Banaskantha district via a seaplane. The single-engine Quest Kodiak airplane, that Modi travelled through on December 12, is the first seaplane in India.

The flight that became the ultimate show of ‘vikas’ narrative of Modi government’s policies took around 36 minutes to reach Dharoi dam from Sabarmati riverfront. Operation of amphibian planes is part of central government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) that is meant to boost connectivity with the unserved/underserved regions of the country in an affordable manner.

Like previous campaigns of the Prime Minister in Mehsana, Vadodara, and Panchmahal, where he talked about various dvelopment initiatives like Mudra Yojana and Startup India, Banaskantha visit also became a show of development agenda of the BJP government.

Flying over the Sabarmati though was the second option for the BJP after Gujarat Police disallowed the party to hold election rally in Ahmedabad, citing undue traffic jams. Both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi were supposed to hold rallies in different parts of the city.

On his official twitter handle, PM posted, “Seaplane services can also be helpful during times of medical emergencies. Those needing even quicker access to medical care and those living in remote areas stand to gain a lot.”

Sources- NDTV, Financial Express

Lashkar-e-Taiba helps Rakhine Muslims with millions of cash

In what can be termed a propaganda move, Pakistan based Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) i.e. the charity wing of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba has provided millions of cash in order to help the Rakhine Muslims in need. The cash and the aid materials were distributed to around 300 muslims by FIF volunteers at Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp of Myanmar-fled refugees.

According to sources from the intelligence wing, FIF has been in contact with other Bangladesh-based Islamist groups and has been operating nearby the camp, The Indian Express reported. Foreign Operations head of FIF also mentioned that in spite “extremely risky conditions” the organisation has been able to send relief on time.

As reported by Devoted to Humanity website, the LeT wing has been providing support to the ‘besieged Muslims’ in Rakhine and they plan to expand their support activities throughout Myanmar soon.

The support has also been extended to Arakan Rakhine Salvation Army (ARSA) i.e. the armed wing of Rakhine rebels. ARSA has been engaging in violence against the Armed Forces from Myanmar and it has been ARSA’s incessant killing of Myanmar army officers that led to the recent refugee influx from Rakhine, Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The bone of contention is the unabashed operation of FIF in Pakistan. United Nations and the United States of America has been continuously issuing notices to the organisation and is under scanner for being blacklisted.

Sources: The Indian Express

Rajdeep Sardesai greets the 1st Dileep Padgaonkar Memorial Lecture

To commemorate the life of Dileep Padgaonkar, veteran journalist and founding member of Pune International Centre (PIC); PIC and Symbiosis International University organised the first Dileep Padgaonkar memorial lecture on “Responsibilities of the Conventional Media in the Age of Proliferating Social Media” on November 27, 2017. The lecture was delivered the renowned journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, who shared the dais with Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, former chairman of CSIR; Prof. S.B. Majumdar, Founder and Chairman Symbiosis Society and Prof. Rajane Gupte, Vice Chancellor, SIU.

Recalling the fond memories of PIC’s inception, Prof. Mashelkar reasserted Prof. Padgaonkar’s vision to make PIC an international centre with a global outlook. Prof. Majumdar shared his gratitude towards Mr Padgaonkar’s commendable association with Symbiosis where he chaired the R.K. Laxman chair and delivered thought-provoking lectures across all institutions of SIU.

Sardesai, who had been associated with Padgaonkar since the birth of his journalism career, spoke about his earnest desire in making journalism plural and liberal by rebuilding the Chinese wall between marketing and editing. “The only people I see challenging this, are not mainstream media, but it is those who inhabit smaller websites like Alt News”, Sardesai said. Calling mainstream TV news Ravan School of Journalism with 100 heads propping up on TV screens, he agreed on the inclination of mainstream media on sensationalism and dramatics.

On the role of proliferating social media in our lives, Desai added that he has never been aware of an anti-social element being called a social media. Summing up the lecture, Desai reiterating on the power of samvad (effective communication) in making a difference in the life of people.

Crime Against Children and Cyber Crime on rise, while Riots decreased by 5 per cent: NCRB Statistics

With 13.6 per cent rise from 2015, crimes against children have mounted to 1,06,958 cases in 2016, according to the statistical report by National Crime Records Bureau. Released by Union Minister Rajnath Singh on November 30, 2017, Crimes in India 2016 Report points out that Juveniles in conflict with the law, cybercrime, crimes against women, and crimes against SC/STs have witnessed a rise in comparison to previous year, while Rioting is the only crime that has been decreased in 2016.

Under Crime against women, Uttar Pradesh has maintained top positions with the maximum number of cases in all crime heads including cruelty by husband, assault on women with intent to outrage modesty, rape and abduction. The national capital has been on a rise with the highest crime rate of 160.4 in comparison to a national average of 55.2. Under human trafficking, West Bengal has been the hub of the crime with 44 per cent of total cases recorded here.

It is the first time that NCRB has crime heads like Missing Persons and children, Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), Seizures of Arms and Ammunitions, and cases recorded by Railway Police Force its report. Under seizures of arms by CPOs and CAPFs, a total of 1,06,900 ammunition and 56,516 arms have been seized.

Sources: NCRB Website

Young Indian women boxers make India proud, bring home Gold

The young women’s boxing team from India have reinstated their exceptional skill at bare-knuckle pugilism in the city of Istanbul, by bringing home 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze medals from the hence concluded Ahmet Comert Boxing Tournament  on October 17,2017. The lone gold medal has been won by Soniya in a fight against Zhazira Urakabeva from Kazakhstan, under the 48 kg category.

The silver medals have been won by Niharika Gonella, Shashi Chopra , Parveen and Ankushita Boro, while bronze medals have been brought home by Tilotama Chanu, Jyoti Gulia , Lalita and Manisha.

Ahead of the final match, the team had assured the country of winning at least 9 medals on Friday, October 15, since nine of them qualified during the semi finals. the team had assured the country of winning at least 9 medals.

The Ahmet Comert Boxing Tournament attracted a total of 90 young women boxers from 11 countries like Turkey, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Thailand  Tajikistan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Australia and Mongolia.

This tournament, which is organised by Istanbul’s Boxing Federation, along with a practice session in Kazakhstan organised by Boxing Federation of India (BFI), is important for the young women boxers in order to prepare them for the forthcoming AIBA World Youth Boxing Championship that would be held at Guwahati in November this year.

BFI Chairperson Ajay Singh has high hopes from these jubilant boxers, and with World Boxing tournament coming to India, he shared even higher aspirations saying, “This shows that the world fraternity has accepted us back into the fold. We can only go higher from here.”

Sources: Indian Express, Times of India

Kim Jong-un threatens with a missile launch over Japan

North Korea fired an intermediate range ballistic missile about 733 miles off the eastern shore of the Northern Japanese Island in the Pacific at 6 AM (local time) that travelled right above the populous island of Hokkaido. In response to the crisis, Japanese state launched its J-Alert warning system wherein people of Northern island were advised to seek a shelter elsewhere. In a phone call with the American President Trump, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has decided to hold an emergency meeting in the UN in order to find a means to tackle this precarious behaviour of Pyongyang.

North Korea had earlier threatened to launch an intercontinental missile over Guam region of US and a missile launch like this over Japan can be a precedent to a similar attack on the US. Trump has expressed “100 per cent” support from the US towards Japan.

On the other hand, China has given a diplomatic response to the situation with Foreign Ministry saying that China cannot be the party to be blamed since “one party holds constant military exercises … and the other is constantly launching missiles?”. Hua Chunying was referring to the military exercise between US and South Korean troops.

At the ongoing United Nations Conference in Geneva, North Korean diplomat Han Tai Song has defended his nation saying, “Now that the US has openly declared its hostile intention towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by waging aggressive joint military exercises despite repeated warnings … my country has every reason to respond with tough countermeasures as an exercise of its right to self-defence”.Japan has, as a safety measure, deployed Patriot missile defence systems.

Sources – The Guardian, Al Jazeera

North Korea says no to negotiations with United States

Hand of friendship offered by United States towards North Korea in exchange of an end to missile test launches has been responded by a traditional retaliatory stance by North Korean. N.Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho reinforced that his country “will under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets” on the table for negotiations.

In last one month, North Korea has tested two ballistic missiles, with it’s reach being rival countries i.e. South Korea, Japan, and a major part of the United States. This is why United Nations on August 5, 2017 passed sanctions forwarded by United States, as a means of punishment for the nuclear power-armed South Asian nation.

According to reports by the Washington Post, these sanctions will cause a revenue loss worth $1 billion mainly by curb on coal export. Talking about the stringent action against North Korea, US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley said that this is the first time that this amount of “economic sanctions package” has been “leveled against the North Korean regime”.

China, who has been the only ally to North Korea, has also supported the sanctions with it’s Foreign Minister committing to a ‘100 %’ resolution towards the UN sanctions. However, the state-run newspaper People’s Daily has expressed disapproval saying, “Sanctions must avoid causing negative impacts to ordinary people..”.

Sources: Washington Post, NDTV