Blue Whale challenge claims another life

A 19-year-old college student, who recently committed suicide by hanging, is being suspected as the first Blue Whale challenge victim in Tamil Nadu. The police have said that the teen was part of a WhatsApp group of 75 friends who are playing the suicide game.

The victim, Vignesh, was found hanging in his room in by his father on August 30. He also found a note that read, “Blue Whale – This is not a game but danger. Once you enter, you can never exit.”

As per NDTV reports, the police also found the telling image of a whale carved into Vignesh’s left arm with “Blue Whale” written below it.

The victim was a second-year commerce student at a private college. His brother has revealed that he was depressed and had been spending a lot of time alone in the last 45-50 days.

After the incident, Madurai police officer Manivannan, said that anyone suspecting a Blue Whale victim should contact the police on their helpline number 77088 06111.

This challenge created by 22-year-old Philipp Budeikin has been blamed for at least three more suicides this month, in Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Sources: India Today and NDTV 


Sri Lankan Navy arrests eight TN fishermen

Colombo (Sri Lanka): Eight Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, along with two boats, near the Delft Island, reported ANI.

These fishermen were later taken by the officers to Kankesanthurai Naval Cap for interrogation. This is the fourth time in a month that Sri Lankan army has arrested fishermen from TN and interrogated them.

Earlier, on August 14, Sri Lankan Navy apprehended four TN fishermen along with a country boat near Punkudi Island. Similarly, on August 14, four and on August 8, 49 fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and detained their boats.

The fishermen captured on August 10, were to remand till August 23 by a Sri Lankan Court. The fishermen in Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu went on an indefinite strike to demand the release of the captured fishermen and their boats. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edapady K. Palanisamy had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter to intervene and secure the release of 64 fishermen from Tamil Nadu lodged in a Lankan jail and 125 mechanised boats detained by Lanka.

Sources –  ANI, Business Standard 

Yogi Adityanath govt. to introduce ‘Amma Canteens’ in UP

Following up on the lines of ‘Amma canteens’ in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh is all set to open up canteens for poor so that they can get at least one dignified meal per day.

The first such kitchen named ‘Prabhi Ki Rasoi’ will be inaugurated on August 9 in Saharanpur and initially will serve food to 300 poor people. The food given will be free of cost.

Taking about the same, Saharanpur commissioner Deepak Agarwal said that they are mobilizing the civil society and the industry to make this initiative successful, adding that businessmen have been asked to consider pitching in to feed poor and the response has been very welcoming.

According to the Times of India, a committee of 30 people, including officials and civilians will be taking up the charge for running the kitchen.

Agarwal also revealed that two municipal halls in Saharanpur will be used for this purpose and SMC Foods Ltd., a local manufacturer of skimmed milk powder, has offered money for setting up the kitchen.

Further, BJP state spokesperson said that the Yogi Adityanath government will attempt to address poverty and hunger in all possible ways.

Sources: Times of India,“>The India Post

Friday release ends Tamil Nadu Screen strike

Screen-owners in Tamil Nadu have broken their four-day long strike and will reopen the cinema gates from tomorrow. But, cine goers will have to dig deeper in their pockets as a 28% of Goods and Services Tax will be levied on the regular price of movie ticket.

From Friday, an 18% GST will be charged for tickets below Rs. 100 and less whereas, the highest tax slab of 28% will be applied to tickets priced at or above Rs. 120.

But still, the issue of 30% local corporation tax remains unsolved. Abirami Ramanthan, president, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association said that their concern has been put forward to government officials and hopes that some solution will evolve shortly.

Till now, no official confirmation or statement has come from the authorities. Some theatre owners believe that the Government might pass the burden of 30% tax to the hall owners, which will reduce their profit margins drastically. “Now, it is possible for us to pass on the GST to customers. We fear that the government might now expect us to pay a 30% local tax on the ticket price,” said a cinema owner.  If so happens it might leave the cinema owners to increase ticket prices, which will then indirectly hit the customers.

Sources: The Hindu, India Today

Image Source: R. Ragu (The Hindu)

Rajinikanth’s plea to TN govt. on double taxation

Tamil Nadu, July 5: Superstar Rajinikanth recently expressed his concern over the double taxation on the Tamil Film Industry. He also requested the state government to consider the plea of abolishing the local body tax.

The 66-year-old actor took to Twitter and appealed,

“Keeping in mind row livelihood of Lakhs of people in tamil film industry, I sincerely request TN GOVT to seriously consider our plea.”

As per the new Good and Services Tax, Tamil Nadu government has put a 30 per cent local body tax on the Tamil film industry. This means, a ticket of Rs 100 will be charged 18 per cent GST, while the tickets above Rs 100 will be charged 28 per cent GST in addition to 30 percent of local taxes.

As a result of this imposition, since July 3 nearly 1060 theatres across the state have shut down to protest against the double taxation. They are claiming their strike as indefinite and they will not screen any movie until their demands are met.

Other actors are voicing against the decision of the state. Actor Kamal Hasan released a statement over the same issue. A part of the statement read that only Tamil Nadu government has brought the tax to 30 per cent and the film making in the state has been made difficult deliberately.

Sources: ANI and Times Of India

India breaks another record; World’s lightest satellite launched

Tamil Nadu, June 23: The lightest satellite created by an 18-year-old boy from Tamil Nadu has finally been launched in a NASA sounding rocket from a NASA facility in Wallops Island, reported ANI.

The satellite named Kalamsat, after the late President APJ Abdul Kalam, was created by Rifath Sharook along with his friends. With the launch of this satellite, India has registered one more record breaking achievement.

Sharook said, “It’s a 3D printed satellite. It is for the first time that 3D printing technology is being used in space. We have made history. The world’s smallest satellite has been launched in space. It was not possible without my team.” The satellite is equipped with nano Geiger Muller counter for measuring the radiation in space and is built with reinforced carbon fiber polymer.

Dr. Srimathy Kesan, founder and CEO of Space Kids India, who also supervised the mission, said that the satellite separated from the rocket 125 minutes after it took off. He also mentioned that if Kalamsat falls into the sea it will be recovered and NASA will be sending it back to their department for decoding the data.

Sources: Times Of India, Indian Express

Tamil Nadu trade unions boycott Pepsi and Coca-Cola

In an attempt to increase support for local products, prominent trade bodies in Tamil Nadu have called for a boycott of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Members of the Tamil Nadu Traders Federation (TNTF) and the Consortium of Tamil Nadu Traders Association (CTNTA) are requesting shopkeepers to stock up on home-grown brands like Bovonto, Torino and Frooti to increase sales and provide an alternative to the global cola brands.
The trade unions claim to have taken inspiration from the successful Jallikattu protests, which repealed a ban on the bull-taming festival. The heads of the unions have also cited environmental and health concerns, alleging that multinational soft drink corporations were misusing groundwater resources. A M Vikramaraja, president of the CTNTA, also addressed the media, saying, “We are not opposing it just because these products are made by the MNCs. But it does more harm than good to the body. We decided to boycott because of the harmful content.”
Out of nearly 20 lakh shopkeepers that are affiliated with the trade unions, nearly a third will take the products off their shelves with immediate effect. However, the ban has been opposed by several supermarkets located in Chennai. The ban comes at a time when PepsiCo’s Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi, who incidentally happens to hail from Chennai, has flown to India as a part of a week-long tour of the country, culminating in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources: DNA, Firstpost