Opportunity to build on €400K investment in Malin Head

first_imgThe official launch of the €400K Phase II works at Malin Head took place on Wednesday afternoon by Cathaoirleach of Inishowen Municipal District Cllr. Martin Farren.Cllr Farren described the investment to date as an essential step in the creation of a top class visitor experience at Ireland’s most northerly point which is now considered as a signature discovery point or a ‘must visit’ site on the world renowned Wild Atlantic Way.Visitor numbers to Ireland’s most northerly point has grown substantially in the last number of years with an estimated 172,000 visitors in 2018 thanks to a number of factors including its position as either the starting or finishing point on the Wild Atlantic Way, the filming of Star Wars and the hosting of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at nearby Ballyliffin Golf Club in 2018. To facilitate this rise in visitor numbers to this iconic site Donegal County Council has been working closely with a number of key stakeholders including Failte Ireland to put in place essential services to help capitalise on the visitor experience.These works included road widening to accommodate passing bays, drainage improvements and surfacing of 600m of road to the existing lower car park at Malin Head; road widening adjacent to the lower carpark to accommodate bus parking; extending existing car park facilities to incorporate additional car parking spaces and construction of toilet facilities adjacent the lower carpark, including installation of a wastewater holding tank.Launching the €400K Phase II works at Malin Head on Wednesday are Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, Seamus Neely, Chief Executive Donegal County Council, Cllr. Bernard McGuinness, Joan Crawford, Failte Ireland, Cllr. Martin Farren, Cathaoirleach of Inishowen MD, Liam Ward, Donegal County Council, Cllr. Martin McDermott and Cllr. Albert Doherty.This phase of the development also included the provision of services and utilities including water, electricity and telecoms to the site and these services will also be vital for future development at Malin Head.“The completion of this phase of works, which represents a substantial investment by both Failte Ireland and Donegal County Council, is an important milestone in our journey at Malin Head” said Cllr. Farren speaking at the official launch on Wednesday afternoon. “We are now embarking on the next part of this journey with the preparation of a Visitor Management Plan for Malin Head that will set out a framework on how to build on the unique heritage and culture of the area whilst leveraging its position as the most northerly signature discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way.“I am delighted to see the strong collaborative approach between all stakeholders including the local community in developing this plan.”Speaking about Fáilte Ireland’s support of the plan, Fiona Monaghan, Head of Activities at Fáilte Ireland, said “Fáilte Ireland is delighted to see the completion of Phase II of the Malin Head Visitor Management Plan.Pictured at the new visitor toilet facilities at Malin Head marking the completion of €400K Phase II works at Malin Head on Wednesday are Cllr. Martin Farren, Cathaoirleach of Inishowen MD with Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, Cllr. Bernard McGuinness, Cllr. Martin McDermott, Cllr. Albert Doherty, Seamus Neely, Chief Executive Donegal County Council, Joan Crawford, Failte Ireland, Liam Ward, Donegal County Council, Joe Diver, Malin Head Community Development Association, Geraldine Diver, Malin Head Community Development Association, Catriona Doherty, Malin Head Community Development Association, Jim Mullin, Malin Head Community Development Association, Aideen Doherty, Donegal County Council, Fiona Doherty, Donegal County Council, Shaun Murphy, Donegal County Council and James Kelly, Donegal County Council and representatives from Keys and Monaghan Architects and Cooney Architects.“The plan will guide the future development of a motivating and sustainably managed visitor experience at Malin Head Signature Discovery Point and the wider destination and the next phase, public consultation, is essential if we are going to produce a plan that works for both the visitor and the local community.”Seamus Neely Chief Executive of Donegal County Council described this project as a product of partnership and highlighted the importance of managing the success of Malin Head as a visitor destination in a sustainable way saying: “The real challenge is how we grow on the success to date without damaging what makes this place special. “This is a complex challenge but I believe that it is achievable and that is why we are embarking on the Malin Head Visitor Management Plan.“We look forward to hearing from all interested parties and especially the local community about what their ideas and plans are and how they can be best achieved going forward.”Public consultation workshops for the Malin Head Visitor Management Plan are set to take place this week and next from 6.45pm – 9pm each evening as follows:Wednesday 8th May: St. Mary’s Community Hall, Carnmalin, Malin HeadThursday 9th May: McGrory’s Hotel, CuldaffTuesday 14th May: The Station Room, Public Services Centre, CarndonaghWednesday 15th May: St Patrick’s Parochial Hall, Malin VillageBooking is recommended and you can book your place by email to [email protected] or book online at http://bit.ly/MalinHeadWorkshops. Opportunity to build on €400K investment in Malin Head was last modified: May 9th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

EPA Pulls Enlist Duo License

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest From DTN/The Progressive FarmerIn October 2014, EPA approved Enlist Duo for corn and soybeans in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. EPA then later allowed the herbicide to be used in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma.EPA stated it is making that decision based on information Dow filed at the U.S. Patent Office on the product that EPA scientists did not know about regarding the “synergistic effects” between glyphosate and 2,4-D, the two herbicides combined to create Enlist Duo.The filing was posted in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Food Safety against Dow AgroSciences and EPA over the regulatory approval of Enlist Duo.In the case filing, EPA effectively agreed with the environmental groups to remand the case back to the district court and to vacate its own registration decision on Enlist Duo until EPA officials better understand the possible environmental impacts of the two herbicides.EPA states that part of the registration for Enlist Duo requires a 30-foot downwind, in-field buffer strip to separate sensitive areas from fields sprayed by Enlist Duo. EPA stated in the court filing Tuesday that the new details about Enlist Duo required the agency to “address the potential synergistic effects of Enlist Duo’s two active ingredients.”In October 2014, EPA approved Enlist Duo for corn and soybeans in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. EPA then later allowed the herbicide to be used in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma.DTN is seeking comment from Dow AgroSciences and EPA on the agency’s decision.last_img read more

When Buildings Design Themselves

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Kelly says nothing more of architects, though automated processes already are changing the profession. Computational design and parametric modeling are routine in architectural practice now, but often they merely facilitate architects’ pursuit of exotic geometry. High-tech eye candy. What’s still relatively rare is employing advanced techniques to improve performance significantly, and what’s nearly unheard of is automating the creative process entirely.This is how designers work: We study a variety of possibilities and choose the ones that work best or we like most. Automation potentially can improve every aspect of this process and become, in Kelly’s words, “better than human.” Seven years ago, in my then-column for Architect magazine, I wrote that computerized automation eventually could fulfill the ultimate aims of green building by achieving dramatically better performance. Now the same magazine has taken up the same topic in a couple of recent articles. In June, Daniel Davis declared that architecture can’t be completely automated because “it is — for now — impossible to get computers to think creatively.” Last month, Blaine Brownell echoed this sentiment, citing a new McKinsey report claiming that “creative tasks are largely immune from automation.” Yet the implications of automating creativity are much bigger than either author lets on.“Robot replacement is just a matter of time,” wrote Kevin Kelly in Wired a few years ago. “It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, architect, reporter, or even programmer.” Robotic manufacturing and other advanced industrial technologies are familiar, but computers also have taken on many white collar tasks, including customer service, journalism, and web design. Computers can study thousands of design variationsFirst, innovation involves generating a large number of ideas to find a very few remarkable ones. Computers can study thousands of variations in the time it takes a designer to look at dozens, discovering possibilities that might never occur to us. As Davis reports, Autodesk, which makes the most popular computer-aided design (CAD) tools for architects, is developing software that “learns the same way we do,” only faster, says the company’s chief technology officer, Jeff Kowalski. “This is the biggest, most fundamental change that I’ve ever seen coming our way.”The trouble is, the way architects normally use computers is to enhance, refine, or document our ideas, not to generate new ideas altogether. As I wrote last month, the architect-as-artist is driven toward highly personalized visions, and we often sacrifice other priorities along the way. In other words, what we like isn’t always what works best, and this could be holding back the entire profession.In Paris this month, world leaders pledged to shrink greenhouse gas emissions markedly, and they cannot accomplish this without the building sector, which is responsible for nearly half of energy and emissions in the U.S. alone. However, a typical “high-performance” building achieves fairly modest energy reduction — 25-35%, according to the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects. And those numbers have flat-lined in recent years, so the industry is stuck, it seems.Yet the National Renewable Energy Laboratory calculates that adopting current best practices can nearly double that outcome, getting to 50-60% reduction, without any additional costs. Applying that to every building could cut the total annual U.S. emissions by a quarter, half the amount needed to stabilize the climate by 2020, according to estimates.While the information needed for architects to raise the bar is readily available, most of us don’t use it, but it’s easily be automated: for example, the engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti has developed automated tools to optimize structures for cost and carbon footprint. With the stakes so high, and human architects not stepping up fast enough, maybe Kelly’s right that “robots will — and must — take our jobs.” What about making beautiful structures?What of beauty? Architecture isn’t strictly about saving money and resources, after all. As I write in my book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design (2012), a growing wealth of research is revealing how people respond to light, space, form, pattern, texture, and color, and much of this information could be automated during design.“Beauty is merely a function of mathematical distances or ratios,” explains computer scientist Daniel Cohen-Or. He and a team invented a “beauty engine” that subtly improves photos — with an 80% success rate, according to their polling. The “computational aesthetics algorithm” CrowdBeauty, launched this year, mines millions of photos on Flickr to find overlooked images with exceptional composition, pattern, color, contrast, and brightness. As the MIT Technology Review put it in May, “These guys have taught a machine … to recognize beauty.”I know of few places more gorgeous than an aspen grove in autumn, but there’s no “design” there — just genetic coding and environmental conditioning. Architects Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch have used automated techniques to emulate the growth patterns of nanostructures, and Portuguese artist Leonel Moura has applied artificial intelligence to generate architectural forms by mimicking the emergent behavior of ant colonies. With sufficient computational power and speed, buildings could evolve the way any living system does and make design cheaper, faster, smarter, more efficient, more sustainable, and more beautiful.center_img The naysayers are wrongNaysayers are plenty. Last February in The New York Times, Nicholas Carr declared that “robots will always need us”: “We exaggerate the abilities of computers even as we give our own talents short shrift.” Architects agree: “Technology is important,” Jacques Herzog told Vanity Fair in 2010, “but computers cannot do anything without the assistance of the human brain.”Yet, according to estimates, machines soon will exceed the computational abilities of the human brain — possibly in the next handful of years but certainly during this century. Just this month, Elon Musk launched the OpenAI project specifically to “surpass human intelligence.” In his book, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, Carr himself confesses that just a few years before Google created a self-driving car, many experts thought it couldn’t happen.Cognitive scientist Margaret Boden defines creativity as “the ability to come up with ideas or artifacts that are new, surprising, and valuable.” Because machines can demonstrate all three, Boden maintains that debates about creativity and computers really are disagreements about what we value. “To accept robot creations as artistic expression,” Moura tells me, “means to deny humans the exclusiveness of creativity, and many people are not willing to do this.”Artificial creativity isn’t science fiction — it could be the future of architecture. The only thing holding it back is architects themselves. Can we get smarter about solving serious new challenges, or will we risk becoming obsolete? Pensive About ProcessReady, Set, Go!Jobsite Communication: Creating a DialogueFrom Designed to Built: Delivering Your Green HomeIntegrated DesignClimate Affects Home DesignUniversal DesignMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof Design Reassessing Passive Solar Design PrinciplesCost-Effective Passive Solar DesignResilient Design: Passive Solar HeatReassessing Passive Solar Design PrinciplesA Contrarian View of Passive Solar DesignPodcast: Architects Discuss Passive Solar DesignSix Myths of Sustainable Design Lance Hosey is chief sustainability officer with Perkins Eastman. This column was originally published at The Huffington Post and is used here with the author’s permission.last_img read more

CRPF turns Madadgaar in Kashmir Valley, sets up helpline

first_imgThe Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has announced a 24×7 helpline called ‘Madadgaar’ (The Helpful) with the number 14411 exclusively for citizens of Kashmir.The helpline will be on issues like public safety, public utility, medical assistance, Pilgrimage and tourist assistance, natural calamities and recruitment and sports activities.A brainchild of CRPF IG Zulfikar Hassan, the helpline’s control room will be manned by a team of 20 personnel. It will be disseminating information and SOS help.Zulfikar told India Today: “We are one of the largest forces on ground with 47 battalions in the state. During our long deployment here, we have often heard  common man’s grievances. This is where we feel we can provide help. If there is a medical assistance, a car break down, or any other assistance we will provide aid.”At a time when there is an increased sense of alienation CRPF says that in the long-run the forces should not be conceived as villains of peace, perpetrators of violence and justice but as well-wishers of the people of Kashmir.The helpline will be thrown open after an official inauguration by Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra where the DG CRPF and other senior officers will be present. Before the inauguration, CRPF has made 6 catchy jingles doing the rounds of radio, reaching out to people.This will provide assistance to citizens from the state venturing to other states of India as well. The inauguration of the helpline has come days ahead of the crucial Amarnath Yatra which begins on June 29.advertisementThis even as the force deals with spate of terror attacks in south Kashmir. While the force admits there is a danger that militants may use the helpline to ambush the CRPF. But the force feels they are doing a noble cause and are prepared for any eventuality.CRPF in Kashmir Valley is looking for an image changeover. The force which has been accused of use of excessive force against civilians including use of pellet guns as means of crowd control management in the Valley. On the other end, the force has faced hostile crowds and stone-pelting during law and order and even during encounter.Also read:Wave of terror hits Valley: Kashmir on high alert after militants carry out multiple back-to-back strikes Jammu and Kashmir: CRPF kill 4 militants after they attacked camp in Bandipora Top CRPF officer’s report alleges fake encounter in Assam in which 2 men were killedAlso watch:Will neutralize terrorists with robust security deployment, says IG CRPF Zulfiqar Hasanlast_img read more

Riot Halts PAOK-Olympiacos Game

first_imgTHESSALONIKI – In another unstoppable act of sports violence, fans tried to invade the soccer field, halting the semi-final game between PAOK and Olympiacos.The game was abandoned a minute before the end with Olympiacos, which had just won its 18th regular season title in 20 years, leading 2-1 at PAOK’s home field.The Greek sports federation, which has done little to stop violence at stadia, will decide whether Olympiacos is awarded a 3-0 win and whether to penalize PAOK, although previous attempts at corraling misbehavior hasn’t worked.PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis said after the match that he will not let the squad go to Piraeus for the return leg, which would entail the deduction of more points from the league table.PAOK fans were upset the home team didn’t get a penalty shot a minute before the game ending, giving their team a chance to tie. PAOK protested too, leading to a red card and ejection for Robert Mak.The hosts protested fiercely against the refusal of the referee to award PAOK a penalty on the 89th minute, leading to a red card shown to PAOK’s Robert Mak for dissent.Mak had given PAOK a 1-0 leader before Esteban Cambiasso tied it and David Fuster gave Olympiacos the 2-1 lead.PAOK fans threw objects on the field, at the referees and Olympiacos players and set off flares, which the audience is allowed to bring into games. Police tried to stop them but failed as they clashed with fans.Earlier, a water cup thrown from the stands had hit Olympiacos coach Marco Silva who was so upset he left the post-match press conference. PAOK Manager Igor Tudor said: “Greek soccer is corrupt.” TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Power Financial reports record earnings in Q2 on strong subsidiaries performance

first_imgTORONTO – Power Financial Corp. reported better-than-expected second-quarter net income, the highest in the company’s history.The Power Corporation of Canada subsidiary reported net earnings of $658 million, and earnings per share of 92 cents, compared to $622 million, or 87 cents per share in the second quarter of 2017.The earnings beat analysts estimates for the quarter of $618 million, or 82 cents per share.Power Financial cited strong performance from subsidiaries Great-West Lifeco, Putnam Investments and IGM Financial, which reported record assets under management of $159.1 billion, up 7.1 per cent from the year prior.The strong results at Power Corp.’s main financial services division were offset by declines in its other divisions including Sagard Investment Funds and China AMC as well as other investments and subsidiaries.Power Corp. reported net earnings of $347 million, or 75 cents per share, largely in line with those in the year-earlier quarter.Companies in this story: (TSX:PWF)last_img read more

Argument of fair play

first_imgAttracting tumultuous response from parties over its recent exploits, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been proactively exercising authority as the custodian of elections. With the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in effect with the upcoming elections, there have been several infringements forcing ECI to advocate norms and act accordingly. Naturally, it is the duty of ECI as a custodian to safeguard elections and maintain a free and fair environment so that the sanctity of the electoral process is not jeopardised under any circumstance. With ECI, the sense of autonomy that we presume it exercises has been at par with the judiciary, especially in recent past where other institutions have been subverted. And, since ECI is the referee to the contest, it invariably enjoys the highest respect from voters and parties alike. Now, while ECI has issued notices to those flouting rules, acted vehemently and authoritatively owing to its strong policy of ensuring the electoral process’ sanctity, it has attracted criticism as well as applause for its decisions. Enforcing MCC, ECI has been vocal on issues where it identified any violation, appropriately responding to letters complaining of violations, to maintain a level playing field. While a lot of criticism has been directed by the opposition parties over Modi’s biopic which is, as of now, scheduled to release on April 11 which also happens to be the first day of polling in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Putting aside the astonishing coincidence of the biopic’s release and polling season, ECI did not raise objections over this and further left the decision of film’s release on Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). CBFC gave the nod and the film shall release on April 11 unless the Supreme Court says otherwise in a hearing today after a Congress worker filed a plea demanding a delay to its release claiming that it disturbs the level-playing field for other candidates in the fray. ECI has reserved its response and will make a decision after evaluating the developments in the apex court. ECI, while ambiguous in the biopic issue, expeditiously transferred four top cops of West Bengal and replaced Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary on Friday apart from sounding a cautionary note to UP CM Yogi and NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar for their violation of MCC norms. While Mamata and Naidu grew livid over ECI’s decision, demanding an explanation for the same, Yogi and Rajiv Kumar were reminded of their “oops” moment. Having been posted just two months ago, Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma along with three other cops were transferred in an urgent notice to the state’s chief secretary in which they were also barred from poll duty. With no explanation cited, as expected, speculation spread wide whether it was done because Anuj Sharma was considered as a close aide of Mamata. Meanwhile, down south, Chandrababu Naidu grew anxious over the fact that first a district Collector was transferred, then the Intelligence DG and two district SPs, and now the Chief Secretary. ECI further directed that outgoing Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha be posted to a non-election post. ECI’s decision to transfer Punetha comes right after he had filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on March 27 challenging the ECI order, transferring the Director General of Intelligence AB Venkateswara Rao. He contended that the EC did not have any “untrammelled powers” to interfere with the course of administration that is unconnected to polling. Yet, ECI, bypassing the jurisdiction argument and unmoved by Punetha’s petition which was rejected by the High Court, transferred him as well. Also Read – A compounding difficultyWhile ECI rocked Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal with unexplained transfers, its soft approach towards UP CM and NITI Aayog vice-chairman confuses the public over its intentions. ECI’s apprehensions that these civil servants might influence the polls in any manner (evident from the fact that these transferred officers are barred from poll duty) might be a probable justification of its surprise orders and hence, gives them the benefit of the doubt to not allow even an iota of suspicion to exist when it comes to polling. However, approaching the UP CM Yogi Adityanath with just a cautionary note asking him to be careful next time and conveying just “displeasure” while expecting NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar to “exercise caution in future” reverses ECI’s stance over its apprehensions. If on one hand, ECI contended civil servants as dubious and hence transferred them, then on other it could only express displeasure over serious flout of MCC. In public interest, ECI’s preferential treatment invites abject criticism of double standards. To add to this, ECI’s response on Namo TV – which also seemingly violates MCC owing to promoting events related to Modi being broadcasted 24 hours on it – is awaited. Elections are just around the corner and ECI must justify its decisions or the public faith might falter. If the one tasked with maintaining fair play is unfair, then how fair is the play after all?last_img read more

Usable groundwater rapidly depleting in north east India IIT study

first_imgNew Delhi: India’s northern and eastern states saw a rapid decline in usable groundwater between 2005 and 2013, raising an impending risk of severe droughts, food crisis, and drinking water scarcity for millions of people, researchers have found.A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, West Bengal and Athabasca University, Canada, compiled the first estimates of usable groundwater storage (UGWS) at the state-level across all of India using both in situ and satellite-based measurements. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Groundwater-level data was used from 3,907 in situ monitoring wells across the country and the total UGWS was estimated between 2005 and 2013. The estimate shows rapid depletion of UGWS in Assam, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. In these areas, increases in agricultural food productions have resulted at the cost of non-renewable loss in groundwater volume at an alarming rate, the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Advances in Water Resources. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOn the other hand, southern and western Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chattisgarh show replenishing usable groundwater storage trends. Earlier works by the government agencies have only been able to estimate the total groundwater, only a part of which is usable for human purposes, said lead researcher Abhijit Mukherjee, Associate Professor Hydrogeology, Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur. “The estimates show rapid depletion of usable groundwater storage during 2005-2013 in most of northern parts, losing 8.5 cubic kilometre per year (km3/year) of total groundwater, and eastern parts which lost 5 km3/year of total groundwater,” Mukherjee told PTI. He emphasised that more than 85 per cent of the groundwater usage in India is linked with irrigation abstraction practices. India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. It uses an estimated 230 km3 of groundwater per year — over a quarter of the global total. Groundwater being an essential natural resource for irrigational water supply during non-monsoonal months, large-scale depletion could have unforeseen consequences in future food security, said Mukherjee. “Underground water is definitely declining in Rajasthan at faster rate. There are pockets in UP which have seen a dip in groundwater table as well,” agreed Dr N C Ghosh, former Head of Hydrology, National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, who was not involved in the study. The problem, Ghosh said, is compounded by over-exploitation of the ground water. “About 85 per cent of rural drinking water needs and 65 per cent of irrigation needs and 50 per cent of urban drinking water and industrial needs are fulfilled from the ground water,” he said. Mukherjee noted that rapid depletion in UGWS would accelerate the decline in food production and availability of drinking water, two of the prime goals of achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. “More than 120 million people would get affected only in the Gangetic states,” he said. The study combined borehole data from Central Ground Water Board, rainfall data and satellite data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a pair of satellites launched in 2002. A northeastern state like Assam, which was regarded always as water-affluent, has lost two per cent of its usable groundwater resource, and is at the brink of suffering drought and famine in impending years, said researchers, including first author Soumendra N Bhanja from Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur. PTIlast_img read more

Congress complains to EC against Modi Irani

first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress on Friday moved the Election Commission against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah for allegedly “dragging” the armed forces in politics repeatedly. Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Randeep Singh Surjewala also raised the issues of Union Minister Smriti Irani submitting “contradictory affidavits” to the Election Commission on her educational qualifications and also about a web series on Modi. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Talking to the media after meeting the EC, Singhvi said PM, the President of the ruling party and its other leaders are “shamelessly dragging the armed forces for cheap politics.” “Never in the history has this happened,” he said, adding the web series on Modi is also a violation of the Model Code of Conduct as it is biographical in nature and it should be banned immediately. “If the person makes another violation, he/she should be barred from two days of campaigning, similarly three and four days for the third and fourth violation,” he said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Speaking about Irani’s qualification, Surjewala said the Congress is not commenting on her qualification, saying they believe that even the illiterate can also hold high positions. “But the question is the people have been cheated and the Minister has lied to them about her qualifications.” The Congress has submitted a memorandum to the EC over Irani “repeatedly lying” about her qualifications. “There is no information about the degree of the PM and also his favourite minister Irani. There are no classmates of the PM and Irani who are coming out. This is a very serious issue as the people have been cheated repeatedly.” Surjewala demanded that the EC should disqualify Irani for changing her qualifications multiple times. He also said that there should be a strict action and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi should be sacked for her remarks and for “dividing people”. Addressing an election rally, she had said that she would like to win without support of Muslims and would not want to give jobs to them if they did not vote for her. The party also urged the Election Commission to issue directions to all Chief Electoral Officers, booth level officers and other election officials to ensure proper functioning of EVMs during the Lok Sabha elections. It also sought immediate investigation into the malfunctioning of the EVMs and other issues reported from various parts of the country during the first phase of polls on April 11. It said posters of Gen VK Singh were posted right outside a polling station. The party also alleged that BJP candidate from Tehri Garhwal parliamentary constituency “printed voter slips on her election pamphlet”. The party said it was making fifth request for “urgent and necessary” intervention against Modi’s “continued and brazen violation” of the Model Code of Conduct and in particular the “hateful and divisive comments by him”, Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in election rallies at Nanded, Nagpur and Meerut. In its representation against Irani, Congress called for immediate action for filing “false affidavit”, saying it attracts “up to six months imprisonment and/or fine”.last_img read more

Rahul rakes up Rafale deal corruption in Amethi

first_imgAmethi (UP): Raking up his often-repeated poll theme of alleged corruption in the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Monday exhorted people to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi what he got in return for benefiting Anil Ambani with Rs 30,000 crore in the fighter jet deal. Mocking at the prime minister’s “main bhi chowkidaar campaign” he said, “When his (Modi’s) theft was caught in the Rafale deal, he says ‘hum sab chowkidar hain.” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsAddressing an election rally in his parliamentary constituency here, Rahul said, “When the prime minister comes and makes false claims, just ask him why he gave Rs 30,000 crores to Ambani and what Ambani did for him in return.” Addressing the rally in Tiloi area here, Rahul Gandhi said, “Soon after the Congress comes to power after the Lok Sabha elections, an inquiry would be instituted in the Rafale deal and the truth will be before everyone.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday “What the former former (French) President Francois Hollande said and what is in the French defence files will come out. Only two persons’ names will come out – first Anil Ambani and second Narendra Modi,” he said. He asked the audience if anyone has seen a “chowkidar” before the house of a farmer or a labourer, Gandhi said for some time now, every farmer has been forced to do ‘chowkidari’ of his agriculture field. In Amethi, Rahul Gandhi is pitted against Union Minister Smriti Irani, who, in a rally in the constituency on Sunday, urged voters to bid farewell to their “missing MP” in this election. The voting for Amethi is scheduled to be held on May 6 in the fifth phase of elections. Dwelling on the Congress poll promise of NYAY – the Nyuntam Aay Yojna or the minimum income scheme which envisages a grant of Rs 6,000 a month to 20 percent of the poorest people in the country, he said there was a thinking behind it. “Prime Minister imposed Gabbar Singh Tax (GST) and the money that was taken from your pocket went to those thieves abroad. The moment money went out of your pocket, you stopped purchasing and the factories closed down leading to unemployment,” he said. “Twenty-seven thousand youths lose their jobs every 24 hours,” he claimed, adding “this is the work of the chowkidar”. Talking of the Congress’ promise to create employment opportunities in the country, if voted to power, Rahul Gandhi, went on to say that after 2019, 33 per cent women will be seen in the legislature and also in government jobs. He made the statement apparently in passing without making any specific promise to bring in the Women Reservation Bill in parliament, if voted to power, to reserve 33 percent of legislatures’ seats for women. He also promised to make recruitment on 22 lakh vacant posts in government, adding that 10 lakh youths will get jobs in Panchayats. Recalling his family ties with Amethi, he said on coming to power, the Congress will see to it that all the people harassed here in the past five years are compensated. Addressing another election meeting in Barabanki earlier he said on coming to power, the Congress will take “historic decisions for farmers” and bring out a separate budget for them. Campaigning for party candidate Tanuj Punia, he alleged Modi has run a government which “helped just 15 people” in the past five years and took a sudden decision on demonetisation and made the entire country stand in queues.last_img read more