NEW DELHI: Amid the rising mercury levels in the national capital, the peak power demand on Monday touched 6,612 megawatt (MW), highest for the season and up by about 3,000 MW from the peak power demand recorded in the city in 2006. The power demand of the city had crossed the 6,000 MW mark last Wednesday and has been rising since then.It touched 6,560 MW on Sunday night, higher than the annual peak load of 2017 –6,526 MW recorded on June 6, 2017 –according to the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC). Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar”The city is prepared to deal with a peak of 7,110 MW. Last year, the peak power demand of the city created a new record when it crossed the 7,000 MW-mark — the highest ever. But we dealt it without any difficulty. We are well prepared this time as well,” an official from the Delhi Power Department said. Last year on June 1, Delhi’s power demand hit an all-time high of 6,651 MW. In July, it created a new record with peak demand rising to 7,016 MW. When compared to 2006, the peak power demand of the city this year has seen a rise of about 3,000 MW. On July 14, 2006, Delhi’s peak power demand was recorded at 3,639 MW, according to the SLDC data reported. In 2007, the peak demand was recorded at 4,030 MW on June 11. The peak power demand in Delhi went up to 4,036 MW in the year 2008, when it reached the highest point of the year on July 24.
New Delhi: SDMC Mayor on Tuesday took round of six wards one after another to see for herself the status of cleanliness and drains.While taking round of different localities under these wards the Mayor noticed that the cleanliness work of a Ganda Nala has not yet picked up its desired pace. She instructed the officers concerned to complete cleanliness of all drains before the onset of the rainy season. She stated that un silted drains may become a cause of outbreak of diseases apart from water accumulation in the residential colonies. She visited Ranhola, Bakkarwala, Vikas Nagar, Dhobhi Ghat, Kali Basti, Vikaspuri and Mohan Garden, where the Mayor gave a patient hearing to the difficulties of residents. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarWhile reacting over the malba of PWD spread at different places, she asked the officers to approach PWD to lift their malba otherwise SDMC will be forced to take any action. The residents presented a proposal for the construction of a barat ghar at vacant area. She assured that the corporation will consider this proposal and appropriate action will taken very soon. She also underlined the need of proper cleanliness and amenities in all SDMC schools. She asked the officers of the education department to identify deficiencies in the schools situated in these wards and instructed the officers to rectify the shortcomings.
New Delhi: India on Thursday said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on June 13-14. “To the best of my knowledge, no bilateral meeting is being set up with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the SCO summit in Bishkek,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters here.
Los Angeles: ‘Empire’ co-creator Lee Daniels has clarified that actor Jusie Smollett will not be featuring in the final season of the hit musical drama. Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in the Fox show, was written out of the last two episodes of season five after he was accused by Chicago Police of orchestrating a staged assault against himself earlier this year. In response to a report, claiming that the show’s writers were preparing for the actor’s return on the show, Daniels tweeted, “This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to ‘Empire’.” Smollett, 36, was initially charged with 16 felony counts related to filing a false police report. The charges were later dropped, though the city of Chicago is seeking reimbursement from the actor to cover over USD 130,000 in investigatory fees, which he has refused to cover. ‘Empire’ was created by Daniels and Danny Strong, who executive produce alongside Brian Grazer, and others.
Gurugram: The Aam Aadmi Party has ruled out an alliance with the JJP for the upcoming Assembly elections in Haryana, a party leader said Wednesday. AAP senior leader Gopal Rai said the State unit has been asked to prepare a report on the political scenario in Haryana. “After the Lok Sabha elections, we analysed the political situation and we have decided to contest the upcoming elections without forming any alliance in the state,” he told reporters. The Assembly elections in Haryana are due in October 2019. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe Aam Aadmi Party and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) fought the elections together on all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. The AAP fought on four seats while the JJP on six. However, there was a clean sweep by the BJP on all the constituencies. The JJP was launched last year by former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala’s grandson Dushyant Chautala, following a power struggle in the state’s main opposition Indian National Lok Dal. Even though AAP has not mentioned its plans for contesting the elections in the state, it has a huge presence in urban constituencies like Gurugram. Proximity to the national capital has resulted in the party also has a sizeable presence in Gurugram. Some of the strong leaders from the city that are affiliated to AAP include RS Rathee who is an MCG councillor and Nisha Singh. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderSome of the issues that are being raised by the party towards the development of the city include ensuring better sanitation and cleanliness, replenishing the groundwater table and improving the erratic power supply. Recently, the party workers hit the city streets protesting against the state government after the sanitation workers were on strike. The party has also raised their concerns about the deteriorating law and order in the city. Starting from India against corruption days to Lok Sabha elections the party has been on the constant drive to increase its members in the city.
London/Melbourne: Former international umpires Simon Taufel and K Hariharan Monday said officials standing in the World Cup final erred in awarding six runs, instead of five, to England for an overthrow, an observation that the ICC refused to comment on. Luck smiled on England midway through the final over of their innings when a throw from New Zealand fielder Martin Guptill deflected off the bat of Stokes and ran to the boundary. England tied the match and the ensuing Super Over before winning on boundary count on Sunday. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena and South African Marius Erasmus were the on-field umpires for the pulsating game in which England were chasing 242 in the regulation 50 overs. “It’s a clear mistake.. it’s an error of judgment. They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six,” Taufel, a five-time ICC Umpire of the Year, told foxsports.com.au. Echoing Taufel’s view was former Indian umpire K Hariharan. “Kumar Dharmasena killed the World Cup for New Zealand. It should have been five runs not six,” he told PTI. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open The ICC refused to make a comment with a spokesperson simply saying, “The umpires take decisions in the field of play with their interpretations of the rules and we don’t comment on any decisions as a matter of policy.” Law 19.8 of the ICC rules, pertaining to ‘Overthrow or wilful act of fielder’, states: “If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act.” “…the umpires needed to check if at the point of throw the two batsmen had crossed each other or not. If we see that replay, when the throw came, the two batsmen had barely started the second run,” Hariharan observed. “That run can never be counted. It was duty of square leg umpire (Marius) Erasmus to consult the TV umpire and change the decision. Stokes shouldn’t have been on strike next ball,” he added. Taufel, a highly-regarded ex-Australian umpire, is now a part of the MCC’s laws sub-committee that makes the rules governing cricket. The bizarre incident took place in the fourth ball of the final over at the Lord’s. TV replays showed Adil Rashid and Stokes had not yet crossed for their second run when Guptill released the ball from the deep. However, on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus added six runs to England total following the incident — four runs for the ball reaching the boundary plus two for running between the wickets by the batsmen. Taufel also defended the officials. “In the heat of what was going on, they thought there was a good chance the batsmen had crossed at the instant of the throw,” Taufel said. “Obviously TV replays showed otherwise. The difficulty you (umpires) have here is you’ve got to watch batsmen completing runs, then change focus and watch for the ball being picked up, and watch for the release (of the throw),” Taufel said. “You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment.” He acknowledged the call “influenced the game” but added, “It’s unfair on England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome”.
Mumbai: Kartik Aaryan says being an actor lets you live many lives in one life. “Leaving behind one character… his world and getting into another character is a painful yet fun process. Perk of being an actor. You get to live so many lives in one life,” wrote Kartik, as the caption of a photograph he put out on July 15, to share the look of his character Chintu Yadav in the upcoming film, Pati Patni Aur Woh. Pati Patni Aur Woh is an adaptation of B R Chopra’s 1978 comedy classic of the same title. The original starred late actor Sanjeev Kumar, Vidya Sinha and Ranjeeta Kaur. The film is a comical take on extra-marital affairs. The 2019 remake, directed by Mudassar Aziz, features Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Panday with Kartik and releases on December 6.
Kolkata: Light to moderate rainfall that hit several parts of South Bengal on Friday brought temporary relief to the people from the sweltering heat.According to the prediction of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, more rain is expected in various South Bengal districts in the next 24 hours. The coastal districts may receive heavy rainfall until Saturday, the prediction said. A weather official added that there may be heavy showers accompanied with lightning in North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, West Midnapore and East Midnapore districts in the next 24 hours. Districts including Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia and Kolkata will receive moderate rainfall. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe weather office has issued an alert to the fishermen in the coastal districts asking them not to venture into the sea for the next couple of days as it may remain turbulent following the formation of a low-pressure trough over the Bay of Bengal. Those fishermen who had earlier ventured into the sea have been asked to return to shore due to bad weather conditions. The city also received light to moderate rainfall on Friday morning. Kolkata mostly remained cloudy from the morning and the humidity level also dropped by few notches providing some relief to the city dwellers from the persistent discomfort. Rain, however, did not last for long. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe weather office said that the city and the adjoining areas may also receive some more rainfall in the next 24 hours pushing down the mercury a bit. In the evening hours, there was light drizzle. It may be mentioned here that a deficit in rainfall has been recorded in entire South Bengal in June and the current month which is worrying the farmers. They are looking for some more Monsoon showers during the rest of the month so that they can recover the damage caused by the scarcity in rainfall.
Mumbai: Actor-producer Dia Mirza and her husband Sahil Sangha announced separation on Thursday after five years into their marriage. Dia tied the knot with her long-time beau Sahil on October 18, 2014. However, after 11 years of knowing each other, Dia and Sahil have decided to part ways amicably. “We remain friends and will continue to be there for each other with love and respect. While our journeys may lead us down different paths, we are forever grateful for the bond that we share with each other,” Dia posted on the social media. She thanked her family, friends and the media for their continued love and support while requesting everyone to respect their privacy at this point of time. The actress was last seen on the big screen alongside Ranbir Kapoor in Rajkumar Hirani’s “Sanju”, which released in June last year. She is also active on the digital platform and is featuring in “Kaafir”.
The reality-inspired Bollywood cinema has moved beyond the standard biopics and historical incidents. New-age writers and filmmakers are finding inspiration in real incidents involving commoners, which inspire, impress and awe, and at times also make us proud as Indians. It has become a trend to narrate stories about extraordinary incidents involving ordinary people. What began as a mainstream experiment with films, like Madras Cafe, Airlift, Padman or Neerja, is finding increasing favour of filmmakers with releases in the genre such as Uri: The Surgical Strike , Article 15, Kesari and India’s Most Wanted. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThese films draw inspiration from the valour of commoners, who stood up to the occasion to do something that stands out, in a real-life situation. Bollywood’s inclination for such real stories will be on display this Independence Day when Batla House and Mission Mangal will explore two different shades of realism in a bid to define what it means to be a patriot. Film historian SMM Ausaja considers it a “positive sign” for Bollywood. “Cinema and art should always reflect the society. It’s a positive sign that more and more filmmakers are coming up with films based on reality. With the medium, like films and shows, new generation will get to know about the important events of the past,” he said. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardEarlier this year, the Akshay Kumar-starrer Kesari fell back on history to discover an intriguing slice of commoners’ valour in the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi. Actor Parineeti Chopra, who was a part of Kesari, says it’s important to depict such reality through cinema. “While doing Kesari I realised that there are so many people who have no idea about the bravery of 21 Sikhs who fought against 10,000 Afghans. There was so little information available about them online or in text books. After the film almost everyone knows about them. We should keep making reality-based films because cinema has the power to make people aware and educate them,” said Parineeti. Over the past couple of years, directors have been attempting to portray reality through different types of movies. The common factor about these films is they are all stories seeped in everyday flavour, narrating inspiring stories of common man who triumph in unusual circumstances. Filmmaker Raja Krishna Menon, who directed Airlift, said real life stories helped set up drama in films as very few other genres do. “Filmmakers pick stories they feel are important. As a filmmaker I generally look at those real life stories, which will depict an incredible amount of bravery or features a person who has gone out of his/her way to accomplish the impossible,” he said. On the sudden influx of such movies, Menon said, “Nowadays people hardly read. Even if they want to know about a historical event, they prefer to watch a video. So filmmakers are coming up with more biographies. It is not that filmmakers don’t want to make fiction movies, but there is certain aura attached to films based on reality.” Stating that you feel more connected to things that are real, he said, “You feel you have experienced it or you can do it. Also, reality is always interesting than fiction.” On the vital role of fact-checking films based on real life event, Menon said, “Research is important and one should not play with the facts. A filmmaker should at least try to get the basic facts right.” Airlift, which featured Akshay Kumar in the role of Ranjit Katyal, was based on the evacuation of Indians from Kuwait during invasion by Iraq in 1990. To bring that evacuation drama to the big screen, Menon did a lot of research. However, Menon said a filmmaker should be allowed “creative liberty” to add entertainment to the real story. Among upcoming films in the genre, Sidharth Malhotra plays Kargil War hero Captain Vikram Batra in Shershaah.
New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Uttar Pradesh government to file a report regarding the status of 20 cases registered against the Unnao rape survivor and her family members. A bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and B R Gavai said that they don’t want to widen the scope and interfere in other cases lodged against them in the state. The apex court was told by an advocate appearing in the case that proceedings in the four cases, which were transferred to Delhi, are going on in a day-to-day basis before a special court here. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The bench said it would hear the Unnao case again on August 19. The apex court had transferred four criminal cases from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi — the 2017 rape case; a fake matter under the Arms Act against the father of the rape survivor; his death in police custody, and the gang rape of the woman — and directed to hold trial on a daily basis completing it within 45-days. The daily trial of the case is ongoing in the court of District Judge Dharmesh Sharma at the Tis Hazari district court here. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The woman, allegedly raped by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor, is battling for life after a truck rammed into the car she was travelling in with some family members and her lawyer. Two of her aunts died in the accident. Along with charges of rape, the district court has also framed Sengar and others for allegedly framing the survivor’s father in an Arms Act case, assaulting him and murdering him in judicial custody. The rape survivor is being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after the top court’s order to airlift her to Delhi for better medical care. The court had also shifted Mahesh Singh, uncle of the rape survivor to the Tihar jail in Delhi from a jail in Uttar Pradesh to ensure his safety. Singh has been convicted in a 19-year-old case and sentenced to 10-year jail term on a case filed by Sengar’s brother, Atul Singh. Sengar, a four-time legislator who represents Bangermau in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, is the main accused in the rape case and is lodged in jail since April, 2018.
New Delhi: India’s tennis federation will look to convince world body ITF into changing the venue of their Davis Cup tie against Pakistan in Islamabad with team captain Mahesh Bhupathi likely to play a key role in the tele-consultation on Monday. The tie has become a matter of speculation ever since Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India citing the revocation of the special status enjoyed by the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. India had named a full-strength team for the September 14-15 tie in Islamabad. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhBut after Jammu and Kashmir was turned into a union territory, Pakistan asked the Indian ambassador to leave their country, halted a goodwill train service and tried to kick up an international row by continuously issuing aggressive statements against India. Despite the escalating tension, India’s Sports Ministry made it clear that it won’t interfere since it is not a bilateral series. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) nonetheless has a tough job at hand to convince the ITF to provide a neutral venue since the World Governing body still feels that current circumstances do not demand a change in venue. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”Safety and security are the ITF’s highest priority. We are working closely with the host nation and independent expert security advisors, and the ITF is satisfied with their current security assessment of the site and the security plan in place,” ITF said in a statement to PTI. “The overall security risk rating for Pakistan has not changed, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely with our advisors,” added the statement. ITF though has agreed to address AITA’s concern and will ensure that its security consultants speak with them. Bhupathi will also be part of the tele-conference, scheduled for Monday. According to the Davis Cup rules and regulations a tie can be moved out of a Nation only in a few circumstances. “A Nation with Choice of Ground may lose its choice at any time if the Davis Cup Committee considers that it is not possible or practicable for the opposing Nation to reach or play at the venue chosen for the Tie, due to (for example) an incident such as war, political unrest, terrorism or natural disaster,” reads the rule 30.2.5. In this case, India is not at war with Pakistan even though the diplomatic tensions have been high owing to Pakistan’s aggressive stance. The security apprehensions remain and the players are jittery about travelling to Pakistan. However, withdrawing from the tie will affect the AITA as well as Indian Davis Cup team. Forfeiting the tie would mean that Indian team will be automatically relegated to the Asia/Oceania Group II. It means India won’t reach the World Group Qualifiers before 2022, getting pegged back by at least two years. It will have to compete in Group II in 2020 to earn promotion back to Group I and again spend 2021 in Group I to be able to compete in Qualifiers in 2022. Whereas, if the Indian team travels to Pakistan next month and beat the hosts, it will be eligible to compete in the Qualifiers in 2020. “We are not interested in forfeiting the tie. We look forward to working with the ITF to find a solution that guarantees the safety of all the players,” Bhupathi told PTI. For AITA, it’s about financial losses as well. According to the rule 62.1.2, a defaulting nation, “will be liable for all reasonable expenses incurred by the ITF, or the Final Week Organiser and the other Nation(s) participating in the Tie/Event up to the date when notice of default was received by the ITF. Rule 62.1.3 states, it may, on application by the ITF, be subject to a fine imposed by the ITF Internal Adjudication Panel. So, it is not going to be an easy call to make if the ITF Consultants persist that the Indian team must travel to Pakistan. AITA Life President Anil Khanna is ITF Vice President and also on the ITF Board of Directors. However, an AITA Executive member felt that Khanna is not in a position to help India’s case here. “There are people from different nations on the ITF Board and if everyone starts bringing their respective nations’ issues, the Board won’t be able to entertain all requests,” the member, who did not wish to be named, said. There is another school of thought according to which Khanna would not want to antagonise Pakistan since ITF President elections are approaching.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed that a forensic audit report be given to the Enforcement Directorate, Delhi Police and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) for taking appropriate action against Amrapali directors and auditors for siphoning off over Rs 3,000 crore of home buyers’ money. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit also directed the apex court registry to disburse Rs 7.16 crore deposited by the Amrapali group to the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) for completion of stalled projects of the group. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The bench also directed the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to set up a nodal cell for issuing completion certificate to home buyers. It also directed the authorities to depute one officer not below the rank of deputy manager to coordinate with the court receiver, senior advocate R Venkataramani, in dealing with the affairs of Amrapali. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on September 11. The court had on August 13 asked the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to grant completion certificates to thousands of harassed home buyers residing in various Amrapali projects in compliance with its verdict and warned that the officials concerned will be sent to jail if they fail to do so. On July 23, the apex court had cracked its whip on errant builders for breaching the trust reposed by home buyers and ordered cancellation of the registration of the Amrapali Group under the real estate law RERA, and ousted it from its prime properties in the NCR by nixing the land leases.
New Delhi: Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has expressed his intention to be relieved, said a senior government official aware of the development. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has requested Nripendra Misra to continue for two weeks,” said the official. Former cabinet secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha, a 1977 batch Uttar Pradesh-cadre IAS officer, who superannuated on Friday has been appointed the officer on special duty (OSD) in the Prime Minister’s Office. The resignation of Misra, also former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman, comes at a time when India’s GDP growth slowed down to more than a five-year low of 5% in the June quarter of 2019-20 against 5.8% in the March quarter. This is way below analysts’ expectation of economic growth at 5.7% in the June quarter. (inputs from LiveMint)
Shimla: One person died and three others, including two women, sustained injuries as an apple laden truck fell into gorge in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla district on Wednesday, police said. The 42-year-old truck driver Harnam Singh of Ludhiana (Punjab) died and its cleaner Sudhir Kumar (25) of Bihar’s Vaishali district was injured, police said. As the truck fell into the gorge, a kutcha house (dharha) near Anandpur on Shoghi bypass was also damaged and two women inhabitants were injured, Shimla Superintendent of Police Omapati Jamwal said. The injured women were identified as Vimla (18) and Dhani Kala (50) and have been admitted in a nearby hospital for treatment, he said. The SP said the police rescued them with the help of local people and national highway authority of India (NHAI) employees.
Mumbai: Tiger Shroff will be ready to go on floor with his desi Rambo avatar in March next year. The film is an out-and-out action extravaganza reinventing Sylvester Stallone’s iconic John Rambo for Bollywood buffs, and has been generating a buzz ever since director Siddharth Anand announced his decision to make the film. “Rambo is a global icon. When we launched the film at Cannes, we realised the magnanimity of the character. When we spoke to journalists from across the world, they were all very enthused and keen to know what we will do with it because it’s a much-loved character,” the director told IANS, around the time when the “Rambo” remake’s poster was unveiled at Cannes in 2017. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The original Hollywood series starring Stallone is about John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former US Army Special Forces soldier. “India doesn’t have that history, so obviously there had to be a major adaptation in the sense of character, story and setting. That’s why the project has taken two years. We have taken the mythology of Rambo forward and that’s what we are playing on, more than remaking it,” Anand said.
Kolkata: The Central and the West Bengal governments will ink an MoU next week on the Deocha Pachami coal block – considered the world’s second largest and largest reserve in Asia, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here on Wednesday. Banerjee said the block located in Birbhum district has an inferred reserve of 2.1 billion tons, and would generate employment for one lakh people. The work for the project would be completed in five years, and increase the earnings of both her state and the Central government, she said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The Chief Minister, however, said her government would not rush through the project, but first rehabilitate around 4,000 people – 40 per cent of them tribals – residing in that area. “We will not rush through the project, but rather take the people into confidence before commencing work,” Banerjee told the media at the state secretariat Nabanna. The assessment of environment impact and air pollution will begin after taking people into confidence. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway The state government was setting up a committee under Chief Secretary Malay Dey to complete the initial survey and other work. “Then I will speak to the people so that they can be taken into confidence,” the Chief Minister said. In June last year, the state government-owned thermal power producer West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd (WBPDCL) got the allocation of the Deocha Pachami Harinsingha Dewanganj Coal Mines for generating power from its five power plants having an aggregate generation capacity of 5,500 MW. The state government had earlier said about Rs 60,000-70,000 crore of investments, both direct and indirect, would be required for the project and it may go up to Rs one lakh crore depending on the exploitation of the coal block. The Deocha Pachami coal block was earlier offered jointly to West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam but subsequently, others had backed out of the asset allegedly citing cost and complexities in extracting the resources.
San Francisco: The popularity of video game Minecraft has been growing, with Microsoft announcing that over 112 million people play it a month. It’s 20 million increase over the figures reported in October 2018. Minecraft was acquired by tech giant Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. Given that the game is available on almost all platform, it’s no surprise that number of players keeps growing, Windows Central reported on Saturday. Often touted as virtual LEGO, the game is about fitting pieces together to create something amazing. The game is essentially a blank canvas and provides endless building blocks. But post-launch support and the ability of users to create content, even campaigns, are considered reasons behind its success. Hopefully, the title will continue to flourish and reach even greater heights, the report said.
VANCOUVER – A British Columbia man who faces deportation over his Facebook posts allegedly promoting terrorist attacks in the name of the Islamic State group says he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to false accusations.Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge last September but immigration authorities arrested him and have determined at multiple detention reviews that he poses a danger to the public.On Tuesday, Hamdan told a hearing of the Immigration and Refugee Board that he was living a peaceful life in Fort St. John when he was arrested for allegedly calling for lone wolf attacks through Facebook.“I was found innocent from all of these false accusations but I’m still being incarcerated,” he said, adding he has received about eight months of therapy from a psychologist.He said his arrest following his acquittal made him relive the experience of the prosecution “over and over again,” to the point that it has undone the therapy that allowed him to manage his symptoms.“Please forgive me if I show some of these symptoms, like agitation,” Hamdan said.Hamdan is a Jordanian national who said he moved to the United States to study electrical engineering but faced discrimination after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prompting him to move to the Vancouver area in July 2002.He told the hearing he had several Facebook accounts, including those using an old family moniker and the first name Adam because it was easier for westerners to pronounce.Hamdan said his posts initially included poetry and were accessible to friends and family but as he began criticizing Islamic clergy for their hypocrisy, along with the Muslim Brotherhood and governments beyond the Middle East, he gained thousands of followers with whom he debated religion and politics.“I went from a nobody to a somebody who had thousands of followers,” he said.He said his posts of political satire and support for people struggling through the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia in 2010 and spread to other Middle Eastern countries invited activists who could also post to his timeline.Eighty-five posts were called into question during the trial but a judge concluded they may have been offensive to some people but did not constitute terrorism.Hamdan has repeatedly cited his acquittal at detention review hearings that have been held every 30 days since his incarceration. The Immigration and Refugee Board said the security allegations it reviews involve a different standard of proof.He told the hearing that posts suggesting Canada had weak infrastructure, including a dam in Revelstoke, B.C., were merely meant to contrast different attitudes to infrastructure compared with the Middle East.The RCMP’s investigation did not capture entire transcripts of many posts including those about the Islamic State group, so much of what he said to a growing group of activists is being taken out of context, Hamdan added.In response to his lawyer, Peter Edelmann, Hamdan said he was not doing any research on any infrastructure in Canada.The Immigration and Refugee Board has said at previous detention hearings that many of Hamdan’s posts would likely encourage violence against Canadians.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter
A shake-up is coming in how Canada pays for its athletes to win Olympic and Paralympic medals.The Department of Canadian Heritage, with Sport Canada under its umbrella, released a report Thursday from its review of “targeted excellence,” a system established over a decade ago that doles out money based on the ability to win medals.Since that philosophy was adopted, Canada had its most successful Winter Olympics ever with 26 medals, including 14 gold, in 2010, and one of its most successful Summer Games last year in Rio with 22 medals, including four gold.“I’m unapologetic about my assertion that targeting sports has worked,” Canada’s Minister of Sport Carla Qualtrough told The Canadian Press.“Our country is better off because we embarked on a path in sport 12 years ago. In order to sustain that, we need to have a longer-term game plan.“We’re really going to drill down into what this report says. From there, we’re going to work to better our high-performance sport system.The federal government, and by extension the Canadian taxpayer, is the single biggest funder of the country’s high-performance athletes, to the tune of about $200 million annually.Own The Podium makes funding recommendations directing $70 million in targeted excellence money — about $6 million of it comes from the Canadian Olympic Committee — to sports federations whose athletes demonstrate medal potential.While the report concluded that approach produces medals, half the Olympic athletes surveyed said how it is administered “needs a major re-think and revisions.”OTP came under scrutiny as funding evaluations made annually means a sport federation and its athletes could quickly be defunded from one year to the next with little time to find other revenue.An athlete whose sport was defunded said in the report losing the funds was like getting “bombed back to the stone age.” Athletes who didn’t receive targeted funding felt left behind.The most extreme example is the national skeleton team that got $3.5 million in the quadrennial prior to 2014, but has received $386,000 in the first three years of this quad.The report suggests a funding commitment of more than one year would allow sport federations to create a more stable environment for their athletes.“One of the things we heard loud and clear from athletes is they feel responsible for the financial sustainability of their organization,” Qualtrough said.“So ‘I’m going into worlds next week and my performance will have an impact on whether my coach has a job in six months.’“That deters from performance. It’s just not fair and it’s not healthy. I’m hoping to relieve some of that pressure off athletes by giving the kind of multi-year approach to funding that they can know if they have an off-day, or regardless of their effort someone is better, their coaches still have a job in six months.”Qualtrough said sports and athletes that don’t receive targeted funding need to see a clear path to getting it.She added that OTP has a vital role to play as an adviser. OTP’s chief executive officer agrees.“We’ve already reflected internally to say ‘OK, what can we do? What kind of technical guidance can we provide to those sports to help them advance more quickly than what they might otherwise?’” Anne Merklinger said.The report, written by the Ottawa management consultant company Goss Gilroy, revealed confusion within the ranks on who exactly is in charge of making sport decisions.“In Canada, it’s not clear who is the high-performance leader,” it said.Canada has many decision-makers compared to the United States where the U.S. Olympic Committee oversees the entire high performance sport system.Qualtrough approves OTP’s recommendations of who gets how much money.Sport Canada administers a $130-million envelope of money that includes athletes’ carding money and funds to host international events.The Canadian Olympic Committee brings millions of dollars of corporate sponsorship into the system and bills itself as the largest private-sector funder of sport in this country.The Canadian Paralympic Committee and the network of sport institutes across the country are also big players.“We could benefit very much from everyone knowing clearly where the buck stops,” Qualtrough said.“Imagine if we all knew very clearly what our roles and responsibilities were and if we could all focus on those things exceptionally, we would have a world-class sport system in this country.”The report also stated the belief that not nearly enough money is going to athletes five to eight years from their peak performances. That group represents Canada’s medallists of the future.“We cannot sustain this level of success and this level of podium results — given that the field is increasingly competitive — without looking a little further down the pipe to make sure we have athletes to keep generating those results for us,” Qualtrough said.The review’s work was conducted at the same time the federal government made a commitment of $5 million annually for four years to “NextGen” athletes, on the condition OTP match that figure via its own fundraising.The NextGen funding addresses the need to develop young talent, although resources for up-and-coming athletes continue to be limited, Merklinger said.“We’ve got more organizations with more medal potential than we’ve ever had,” she said. “We haven’t been able resource the NextGen athlete to the degree that we want to.“If the well runs dry before you get to really address the five- to eight-year horizon, then we’re in a pickle.”