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#* Bihar polls: BJP focusses on women, youth, backward castes in first list of 43 candidates
New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday night released the first list of 43 candidates for the high-stakes Bihar polls, giving about 60 per cent representation to those from SC and backward castes in an apparent attempt to target the base of rival JD(U)-RJD combine.
Five nominees in the list are Yadavs, the most numerous OBC group which has traditionally backed RJD's Lalu Prasad but is being vigorously wooed by BJP.
Over 50 per cent of the candidates are women and youth while close to 60 per cent belong to SC and backward castes, said senior BJP leader and Union Minister JP Nadda while releasing the list after the meeting of the party's Central Election Committee.
Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP
The list carries the names of 26 sitting party MLAs while three sitting legislators have been denied party ticket.
BJP became the first main party to announce its candidates for elections to the 243-member Bihar Assembly that will take place between 12 October to 5 November.
"We have tried to give representation to all communities," Nadda told a press conference.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all other CEC members attended the meeting chaired by party President Amit Shah.
The party has also tried to keep its core support base of upper castes happy with several Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayashthas given tickets.
The list underscored party's attempts to wean Yadavs away from Lalu Prasad and ensuring that sections of backward castes, upper castes and Dalits give solid backing to the NDA in what is being seen a prestige battle for Modi, who has pulled out all stops to wrest the state from ally-turned-foe Nitish Kumar's JD(U).
BJP's leader in the outgoing Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, is among those whose names were announced today. He will contest from Patna Sahib.
No Muslim figured in the list which contained names for mostly those seats over which there is unanimity in the party.
The subsequent lists will have Muslim names, said Nadda, flanked by Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav and another state leader Shahnawaz Hussain.
The list included names of 19 candidates for the first phase and 15 for the second while nine others are for the seats going to polls later.
The first two phases have 49 and 32 constituencies going to polls and many of them will be contested by the party's allies, LJP, RLSP and HAM (secular).
The CEC deliberated for over two hours and was attended among others by Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.
Party's chief whip in the outgoing assembly Arun Kumar, Renu Devi, Pramod Kumar, Prem Kumar and Nitin Naviun among others have been given tickets. BJP will contest 160 seats while LJP, RLSP and HAM
(secular) will contest in 40, 23 and 20 constituencies.
BJP ally RLSP expressed its displeasure over the BJP list saying the talks were still on about distribution of seats among the NDA constituents.
A spokesperson for Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha-led party said this announcement was against "coalition dharma".
Party sources said they were keen on contesting a few seats among the 43, for which BJP today announced its candidates.
#* Interactive: All you need to know about dengue
The rise in dengue cases in the national capital has set alarm bells ringing with reports of 11 deaths in the last 15 days alone. Though Delhi is making the headlines over dengue deaths, there are also reports of at least 35 deaths (till August) this year across the country.
Here is an yearly data (from 2009) of number of dengue cases and deaths registered across the states and Union Territories.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is a disease caused by viruses that are transmitted to humans by the bite from an infected mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the most important transmitter (or vector) of dengue viruses. It is estimated that there are over 100 million cases of dengue worldwide each year.
What is Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF)?
DHF is a more severe form of dengue infection and it is infected by the same virus that causes dengue fever. DHF can prove to be fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated properly.
According to CDC, with good medical treatment, mortality due to DHF can be less than 1 per cent.
Dengue does not spread directly from person to person, it is a non-contagious disease. The virus can only be transmitted through a mosquito that has bitten an infected person.
Signs and symptoms:
> High fever
> Severe headache
> Severe pain behind the eyes
> Joint pain
> Muscle and bone pain
> Mild bleeding (e.g., nose or gums bleed, easy bruising)
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: DHF may last from 2 to 7 days with general signs and symptoms of dengue fever.
Symptoms including vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing, may develop. This marks the beginning of 24-48 hours period which may lead to circulatory system failure and shock, followed by death. In addition, the patient may lose platelet count and could develop tendency to bruise easily, bleeding nose or gums, and possible internal bleeding.
There is no specific medical treatment of dengue infection. Persons with dengue should use pain relievers and avoid drugs containing aspirin. There should be plenty of fluid intake and rest.
If the situation persists, then consult a physician. If after 24 hours the fever declines and the person have vomiting and severe abdominal pain, he/she should be rushed immediately to the hospital for medical help.
How can I prevent it?
There is no vaccine and specific medications available to treat a dengue infection. The only way possible is to prevent mosquitoes to breed in neighbourhood. Outdoors, clean water containers like pet watering containers, flower planter dishes or cover water storage tanks. For indoors, look for standing water in vases with fresh flowers, air cooler tanks, and clean them at least once a week.
#* Blast Accused Missing, His Wife and Children Questioned by Policer
JHABUA: The wife and children of the man wanted for a massive explosion that killed over 90 this weekend in Madhya Pradesh were tracked down and questioned by the police last night.
But Rajendra Kasawa, the main accused in the restaurant blast at Jhabua, remains missing. Sources say the police are assuming he escaped, but there is a possibility that he may have been killed in the blast.
Kasawa's 19-year-old son has been kept at the police station but his wife and daughter, 23, have been allowed to go on the condition that they must come back whenever they are called.
The police say they were found at a relative's house near Indore.
Kasawa had allegedly stocked explosives - nearly 100 gelatine sticks - for his mining business at a shop next to a restaurant, which triggered a series of blasts in Petlawad town in Jhabua district.
Most of those who died had come for breakfast at the restaurant on Saturday morning.
During searches in the city, the police found 69 detonators from a godown that belongs to Kasawa's brother, who is also missing.
Kasawa reportedly had the license to use the explosives but had stored them at his shop illegally.
The National Investigation Agency, which looks into terror cases, also surveyed the blast site.
Locals claim they had lodged a complaint against Kasawa almost a year ago, but no action was taken against him. "I had complained to the Collector about Kasawa storing explosives here but no one did anything," said Channu Lal, his neighbour.
The high-intensity blast completely destroyed Kasawa's shop and the two-storey building in which the restaurant operated.
#* Narendra Modi to check-in at Facebook HQ; meet big guns of Silicon Valley
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to San Francisco after the 70th annual session of UN General Assembly in New York will make him the fourth Indian premier to visit the United States' West Coast. Preparations for multiple gatherings and addresses are underway, including one at the SAP Center in San Jose, California on September 27. Modi is expected to address an audience of more than 20,000 Indian Americans there.
PM Narendra Modi. ReutersPM Narendra Modi. Reuters
Not just the Indian diaspora in the Bay Area, Modi is expected to mingle with the who's who of the Silicon Valley in efforts to push the government's pet initiatives including 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' campaigns. Heading the list is Apple CEO Tim Cook, adding hope to speculations that Apple is looking to invest in manufacturing capacities in India. Foxconn, the contract electronics manufacturer and a key supplier to Apple, has already signed a pact with Maharashtra to invest $5 billion over five years on a new electronics manufacturing facility.
Also on the agenga is a chat with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg has invited Modi at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California on September 27 for a live online Q&A session that will be hosted on Facebook. This wil be their second meeting after they met in October when Zuckerberg was in Delhi.
In addition to this, Modi will also be meeting up with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Tesla Motor's Elon Musk. Also, reports the Times of India, J P Morgan will organize an exclusive meet for 15 CEOs from the financial sector. Time Inc will host a dinner with 100 CEOs specializing in infrastructure and manufacturing.
While Make in India and Digital India will be in focus throughout his visit, Modi will also focus on renewable energy. He will hold a roundtable on the subject at Stanford University and this will be a key topic of discussion in his conversation with US President Barack Obama in New York on September 28.
#* UAE deports four Indians with suspected IS links, intelligence says nothing serious found
The UAE on Tuesday deported four Indians from Kerala suspected to have links with the Islamic State and is expected to send back more people soon, reflecting growing cooperation by the Gulf country in fight against terror.
The four people deported were placed under arrest upon their arrival at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram airports, official sources said.
Representational image. Reuters Representational image. Reuters
The Times of India reports that they were allowed to go home after they were questioned and counselled. Their only connection with the Islamic State seemed to be, according to intelligence sources, that they were part of a group where a Bangladeshi and Indian who had actually joined Islamic State.
The Bangladeshi had already died while fighting for the IS, while the whereabouts of the Indian are not known, sources told PTI.
The government will take a call on whether to hand over all these cases to National Investigation Agency (NIA), which dedicatedly deals with terror cases, or to allow the state police to probe.
However The Times of India quoted an intelligence official as saying, "Nothing serious has been found against the detained Indians deported so far, though the UAE, as part its policy to strictly deal with those trying to reach out to IS, has decided not to let them live on its soil."
The group told the interrogators, both in the UAE as well as in Kerala, that out of curiosity towards IS, they were in touch with the two men who had joined the terror group, the sources said.
They were being joint interrogated by central and state security agencies.
Another batch of four suspects will be arriving soon.
The sources said these nine Indians, with suspected IS links, were identified to UAE authorities who acted promptly.
The deportation comes close on the heels of UAE sending back 37-year-old Afsha Jabeen alias Nicky Joseph who was allegedly involving in recruiting youth for IS.
Earlier in January, Salman Mohiuddin of Hyderabad was arrested at that airport when he was preparing to board a flight to Dubai on way to Syria via Turkey.
#* Congress Says Stop PM Modi's 'Mann ki Baat', Election Commission Disagrees
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's radio speeches, titled Mann Ki Baat, should be banned till the elections in Bihar are completed, the opposition Congress has said, a request that is unlikely to find favour with the Election Commission, said sources.
The opposition claims that the PM can use the Sunday programmes on state-run All India Radio to unfair advantage for his party by highlighting achievements or making promises that could influence voters in Bihar.
Mr Modi, 64, is leading the campaign for his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and its allies, with large rallies in the state which starts voting next month.
The BJP and its partners hope to defeat Nitish Kumar, who is running for a third term as Chief Minister, and has teamed with the Congress and regional powerhouse Lalu Yadav. After five days of voting spread across nearly a month, results will be counted on November 8.
Election officials say that the same allegation about the PM's radio addresses was examined during recent elections in Delhi and Maharashtra, with the conclusion that the speeches on state-run radio are intended for a nationwide audience.
Sources in the Election Commission said that they will act if parts of the Mann Ki Baat lectures appear to be lobbying for the Bihar election.
The PM began his radio addresses in October last year to get his message across to two-thirds of the country which lives in rural India and does not have access to television.
Written simply but arrestingly, they allow him to connect directly with the common man, and showcase his personalized style of leadership. Mr Modi has used his speeches to bring focus to uncomfortable issues like drug abuse and sanitation problems that past governments have often avoided.
To lend some interactivity to the sessions, the PM cites questions and suggestions sent to him by people from across the country, delighting those he quotes by naming them.
#* New auto permits come with a rider in Maharashtra
The Maharashtra government’s decision to issue new one lakh permits for auto drivers has come with a rider. The applicant must speak fluent Marathi.
The condition will be applicable to other 1.5 lakh permits as well, which need to be renewed.
State’s Transport Minister and Shiv Sena leader Divakar Raote on Tuesday announced the decision clarifying that the permits won’t be issued unless the driver displays his oratory skills in Marathi.
“It is necessary for any auto driver in Maharashtra to know Marathi and to know it very well. How else can he communicate to the passengers? It is important for the driver who works here to know Marathi,” said Mr. Raote.
Maharashtra will be issuing new one lakh auto permits this year, after a gap of almost 18 years. The government has also decided to renew licenses of around 1.40 lakh autos, which are presently running illegally on the streets.
“We know that we have illegal autos running on streets, but we cannot take them off road immediately. Hence, we are giving them one chance to renew their licenses by paying certain amount of fine. But even then the department will check the driver’s ability to speak Marathi,” the Minister said.
Mr. Raote’s decision comes weeks after Sena’s arch-rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray issued a threat to not distribute auto permits to non-Marathis. The decision is seen as an effort to nullify Mr. Thackeray’s warning and to claim the credit of being pro-sons-of-soil party.
Congress has called the decision ‘anti-constitutional’ and ‘illegal.’ “No one can be denied livelihood on the basis of one’s language, says our constitution. There are non-Marathis too who travel in autos. Should we ask the driver to learn their language as well?” asked Sanjay Nirupam, party’s Mumbai unit president.
#* Protesters vow to unite against Yettinahole project
Summary: This is our first protest for the protection of Nethravati. Protesters sent a strong message to the state government against the diversion of Yettinahole one of the prominent tributaries of River Nethravathi. It is totally wrong and we absolutely have no objection in supplying drinking water to other districts.
UPPINANGADY: "Nethravathi is our lifeline. This is our first protest for the protection of Nethravati. We will be with the protesters forever for the protection our lifeline," asserted Nikhil Raj, member of Sanjivini Eco Club in Sri Ramachandra PU College, Perne. Raj, along with more than two dozen club members, were part of the Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway `rasta rokho-jail bharo` protest held at Uppinangady in Belthangady taluk on Tuesday. The national highway bandh organised by Members of Nethravathi Nadi Thiruvu Virodhi Horata Samiti (NNTVHS), Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya and more than 25 other organisations has witness enormous response with over 10,000 people thronging to be part of it. Protesters sent a strong message to the state government against the diversion of Yettinahole one of the prominent tributaries of River Nethravathi.
#* US Reportedly Not Planning Cyber-Sanctions Before Xi Visit
The United States does not plan to impose sanctions on Chinese entities for economic cyber-attacks ahead of next week's US visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a US official and a person briefed on the White House's thinking said on Tuesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested the reason was to avoid casting a shadow over Xi's visit rather than the emergence of any major agreement between the two sides over how to handle the issue.
Imposing sanctions before Xi's high-profile visit, which will include a black tie state dinner at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama, would be a diplomatic disaster, said the person briefed on the White House's thinking.
The Washington Post first reported the decision, citing a senior Obama administration official as saying it came after an all-night meeting on Friday during which the two sides reached "substantial agreement" on several cyber-security issues.
The newspaper quoted the official as saying sanctions were not off the table and China's behavior in cyberspace is still an issue. "But there is an agreement, and there are not going to be any sanctions" before Xi arrives on September 24, the official said.
Last week, US officials said Washington was considering sanctions against both Russian and Chinese individuals and companies for cyber-attacks against US commercial targets.
(Also see: White House Says Obama Will Raise Cyber Concerns With China's Xi)
The sanctions Washington was weighing would not target suspected hackers of government data but rather foreign citizens and firms believed responsible for cyber-attacks on commercial enterprises.
If taken, the action would be the administration's first use of an executive order signed by Obama in April to crack down on foreign hackers accused of penetrating US computer systems.
Two industry sources following the matter closely said that the idea of imposing sanctions in general has only mixed support among big companies that would be the intended beneficiaries.
That is in part because of fear of retaliation and in part because it could make it harder to do business with existing partners that might be sanctioned.
The tech industry in general cares more about expanding access to the Chinese market, which is expected to be a major topic at the Seattle meetings that Xi will have with the heads of Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and other companies.
#* Facebook Is Working on a 'Dislike' Button
Facebook is going to finally giving users what they like -- a "dislike" button.
"I think people have asked about the dislike button for many years. Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today during a public town hall meeting that was streamed online.
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Zuckerberg said that the company hopes to launch the function soon, adding that Facebook does not want the new tool to allow a down-voting and up-voting system, like that of sharing site Reddit.
Now, users only have the option of "liking" friends' posts about news events like the refugee crisis or commenting about them.
"What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment," Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg answered a range of other questions at the town hall event, including what kind of future he wanted for his expected daughter and the rising cost of healthcare.
In an answer to a question from an audience member about what is Zuckerberg's favorite emoji, the chief executive said his favorite sticker was the "cactus" and an image of his dog, Beast.