Heavy rains cause traffic snarls in Mumbai, local trains disrupted

News4u-News Desk- Water logging due to heavy rains that continued to lash the city on Saturday causing major traffic snarls and also disrupted the suburban train services.

“There is water logging in low lying areas like Dadar, Parel, Sion, Kurla, Ghatkopar and the Western Express Highway which has caused severe disruptions in vehicular traffic along the stretches. The MCGM is trying to pump out water from these areas so that the situation can be normalised,” a senior official of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) said.

He said 128 pumps had been pressed into service till 10.30 AM to clear water out of the streets and that the civic body plans to install pumps in more areas if the downpour continues.

Heavy monsoon showers affected suburban train services on the Central Railway’s Main and Harbour lines due to water logging on the tracks.

“There is water logging on tracks in areas like Kurla, Chunabhatti, Bhandup, Dockyard and Sion, which is affecting the services of trains. Trains on the Central and Harbour lines are running late by about 25-30 minutes,” a senior railway official said.

“There has been a revival of monsoon. We are expecting heavy rains for the next 48 hours not only in Mumbai, but in the entire Konkan region,” V K Rajeev, director of weather forecasting, Mumbai MeT department, said.


Heavy rains cause traffic snarls in Mumbai, local trains disrupted

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Budget has brought clarity in tax policies: Finance Ministry

News4u-News Desk- The Union government on Saturday said the Budget 2014-15 has brought about clarity in tax policies and it will walk the difficult path to bring growth impulses back into the economy amidst fiscal constraints.

“Both on direct and indirect tax side, the main focus of the government was to revive growth, to revive manufacturing sector, to take steps that will result in creation of jobs, go in for tax rationalisation, reduce tax litigations and ambiguity in policies,” Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said.

At the post-budget interaction with industry chamber FICCI, Das said the Budget has sought to bring in greater clarity in taxation policy.

In his maiden Budget presented in Parliament on July 10, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has tried to provide relief to the middle class by increasing tax exemption limit by Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.50 lakh. It also hiked deduction limit for investments in financial instruments under 80C by Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.50 lakh.

The Budget contains several proposals to boost the manufacturing sector apart from assurance that government will not “ordinarily” bring about any change retrospectively which creates a fresh “liability” or tax demand.

Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram, who along with other secretaries of the Finance Ministry was interacting with industry leaders, said government was open to discussing ideas with them and addressing their concerns.

“My own perspective is that this is a growth oriented Budget. It will bring the growth impulses back into the economy…we will have to move a very difficult path ahead, but there is a determination that the government would walk that path,” Mayaram said.

India’s economic growth slumped to sub 5 per cent in the past two fiscals leading slowdown in revenue generation and high fiscal deficit.

The government has pledged to bring the fiscal deficit down to 4.1 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal from 4.5 per cent in the last year.


Finance Ministry

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Roadside bomb kills eight Afghan civilians: official

News4u-News Desk- A roadside bomb killed eight civilians travelling in a vehicle in a volatile district of southern Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said, days after the UN reported a surge in civilian casualties in the country.

They were going from Panjwayi district to Kandahar city when the bomb hit their vehicle on a main road.

“This morning a roadside bomb hit their vehicle killing eight, including four women,” Panjwayi governor Fazal Mohammad Eshaqzai told, adding that two children were wounded.

An interior Ministry statement confirmed the blast and said the victims belonged to one family.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but roadside bombs are a common weapon used by the Taliban, though attacks that kill civilians often go unclaimed.

According to a UN report released Wednesday, civilian casualties in Afghanistan soared by 24 per cent to 4,853 in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

Ground combat is now causing more deaths and injuries than improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in a worrying sign of spreading conflict, the UN report said, with women and children increasingly caught in the crossfire.

The grim figures underline the fragile security situation Afghanistan faces as it wrestles with political turmoil over its disputed presidential election, with most foreign forces due to withdraw by the end of the year.


Afghanistan

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7 infant deaths at Malda hospital in past 24 hrs

News4u-News Desk- Seven infants have died in past 24 hours at West Bengal’s Malda Medical College and Hospital, which witnessed frequent crib deaths in the recent past.

Hospital deputy superintendent Jyotish Das said the infants were aged between 0-28 days and had complaints of low birth weight, malnutrition and respiratory problems.

One of them died soon after delivery, while the rest had been referred to the hospital from public health centres of Baishnabnagar, Kaliachowk, Bamungola.

The government hospital had been in the news for the death of 23 infants due to unspecified illness in June.


Malda

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Kerry meeting again with Afghan candidates today

News4u-News Desk- US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with rival Afghan presidential candidates for a second day on Saturday as the United States struggles to find a path out of the crisis enveloping the nation’s elections.

The prolonged uncertainty about the outcome of a runoff has jeopardized a central part of President Barack Obama’s strategy to leave behind a stable state after the withdrawal of most US troops at year’s end.

Kerry is meeting on Saturday with the candidates, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, after discussions on Friday proved inconclusive.

The top American diplomat is looking for a plan acceptable to all that would allow the United Nations to audit extensive fraud allegations in last month’s vote.

The bitter dispute over who is President Hamid Karzai’s rightful successor has alarmed Afghanistan’s US and Western benefactors, creating a political crisis that risks undermining more than a decade of efforts to build an Afghan government capable of fighting the Taliban on its own and snuffing out terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.

Extended instability would have more immediate consequences for Afghanistan. If no process is established and both Ghani and Abdullah attempt to seize power, the government and security forces could split along ethnic and regional lines.

The winner amid the chaos could be the Taliban, whose battle against the government persists despite the United States spending hundreds of billions of dollars and losing more than 2,000 lives since invading the country after the 11th September 2001, terrorist attacks.

Preliminary runoff results, released earlier this week against US wishes, suggested a massive turnaround in favor of the onetime World Bank economist Ghani, who lagged significantly behind Abdullah in first-round voting.

Abdullah, a top leader of the Northern Alliance that battled the Taliban before the US-led invasion in 2001, claims massive ballot-stuffing.

He was runner-up to Karzai in a fraud-riddled 2009 presidential vote before he pulled out of that runoff, and many of his supporters see him being cheated for a second time.

Kerry’s hastily arranged visit appears to have succeeded in its most pressing objective: getting both candidates to pull back from declarations of victory and quieting calls among Abdullah’s supporters, powerful warlords included, for setting up a “parallel government.”

In a series of meetings on Friday that went into the night, Kerry stressed that Washington isn’t taking sides.


Kerry meeting again with Afghan candidates today

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Navy to get first indigenous anti-submarine warship today

News4u-News Desk- Ready to protect the waters, India’s first indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta will be handed over to the Indian Navy in Kolkata on Saturday, defence officials said.

The super-sophisticated front line warship will be formally handed over by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) chairman and managing director Rear Admiral (Retd) A K Verma to the Navy at a ceremony in GRSE’s Fitting Out Jetty, defence PRO T K Singha said.

INS Kamorta, first in its class of four ASW corvettes being built by GRSE under Project-28 for the Navy, is the first warship ever built in the country with almost 90 per cent of indigenous content.

It is also the first warship manufactured in India with indigenously developed special grade high-tensile steel produced by state-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

Armed with stealth features, it is the first warship equipped with the new trainable chaff launcher - Kavach.

The hull of the ship encompassed the bulk of sensors and weapon systems that were also indigenously manufactured by various Indian Industries.

The foldable hangar door fitted for the first time with a rail-less helicopter traversing system is also a noteworthy first on any Indian naval ship, and would give helicopter operations from the corvette deck a significant edge over existing platforms of other warships.

The ASW corvette brought to fruition a significant project in India’s pursuit for self-reliance in indigenous warship building, bringing closer home Indian Navy’s quest to be a ‘Builder’s Navy’ as well as a true ‘Blue-water Navy’ with ships and submarines designed and built within the country.


anti-submarine warship

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16th batch of devotees leave for Amarnath shrine

News4u-News Desk- Amid tight security, the 16th batch of 2,148 pilgrims on Saturday left for the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas from Jammu.

The batch, including 1,637 men, 357 women, and 10 children, left in a convoy of 65 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu at 4:10 am, police said.

The convoy has already crossed Kud on Jammu-Srinagar National highway and would reach their destinations at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps by Saturday evening, they added.

With Saturday’s batch, as many as 30,067 pilgrims have so far left from the Jammu base camp for the Amarnath shrine.


16th batch of devotees leave for Amarnath shrine

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UPSC aspirants protest outside Rajnath Singh’s residence

News4u-News Desk- A group of Hindi medium aspirants of UPSC on Saturday staged a protest outside the residence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to demand the removal of UPSC Civil Service Aptitude Tests (CSATs) as it is difficult for Hindi-speaking students coming from rural areas.

Last month, Union Public Service Commission granted two extra attempts for the candidates appearing for the Civil Services Examination and also relaxed the consequential age from this year onwards.

A candidate between the age group of 21-32 years August 1, 2014 can take the exam.

In a notification issued by the UPSC for the 2014 Civil Services Examination, it is stated, “Every candidate appearing for the examination, which is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts (two more than earlier four).”

The Civil Services Examination for the year 2014 will be held on 24th August. The examination is conducted in three stages-preliminary, main and interview.


UPSC aspirants protest

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Attack on NE people: Bezbaruah committee submits report

News4u-News Desk- A committee, set up to look into the concerns of people from the Northeast living in different parts of the country, has recommended legal measures to ensure their safety and security from any assault on them.

The M P Bezbaruah committee, which submitted its report to Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Friday, quoted a High Court observation which suggested that any attack of racial nature should be made a punishable offence.

However, sources said, no suggestion has been given by the committee for enactment of an anti-racial law but strengthening and proper implementation of existing laws.

When contacted, Bezbaruah, a former IAS officer, said the committee has given various recommendations on the basis of its terms and conditions.

“We have analysed the problem and recommended how to address it,” he said.

After receiving the report, Rijiju said it will be processed on priority.

The Committee was constituted in February, 2014 to look into the various concerns of persons hailing from the North Eastern states who are living in different parts of the country, especially the Metropolitan areas, and to suggest suitable remedial measures which could be taken by the government.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee were:

(1) to examine the various kinds of concerns, including the concerns regarding security, of the persons hailing from the North Eastern states

(2) to examine the causes behind the attacks/violence and discrimination against the people from the North-Eastern states

(3) to suggest measures to be taken by the government to address these concerns (4) to suggest legal remedies to address these concerns.


Attack on NE people: Bezbaruah committee submits report

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PM accepts formal invitation extended by US President Obama

News4u-News Desk- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted US President Barack Obama’s formal invitation to visit Washington in September.

Thanking Obama for the invitation, Modi said he looks forward to a result-oriented visit in September with “concrete outcomes” that impart “new momentum and energy” to the strategic partnership.

Obama’s letter of invitation was handed over to Modi by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns when he called on him in New Delhi.

In his letter, Obama reiterated his invitation to Modi to visit Washington in September and to work closely with him to make India-US relations a “defining partnership” for the 21st century, a PMO statement said on Friday.

While receiving the letter, Modi said he looked forward to a “result-oriented visit with concrete outcomes that impart new momentum and energy to India-US strategic partnership”, the statement said.

The Prime Minister was of the view that re-energising the partnership between India and the US would send an important message to the region and beyond.

Articulating his vision for India-US relations, Modi said that the relationship between the world’s oldest and largest democracies should not only be for the benefit of the two countries, but “should emerge as a powerful force of good for peace, stability and prosperity in the world”.

Burns conveyed Obama’s desire to strengthen economic relations, including in next-generation technologies and manufacturing sector; cooperate in enhancing energy security; deepen security cooperation, including in maritime security, counter-terrorism and intelligence exchange; expand consultation and coordination on Afghanistan; and, work more broadly for security and prosperity in Asia.

Modi saw immense opportunities for deepening cooperation across the full spectrum of the relationship and laid special emphasis on involving youth in creating new avenues of promoting cooperation between the two countries.

The Prime Minister reiterated his desire to strengthen relations with all neighbours, the statement said.

Modi recalled Obama’s telephone call soon after he became the Prime Minister in May and expressed his appreciation for the President’s detailed and thoughtful letter.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, US Charge d’Affaires Kathleen Stephens and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal were also present in the meeting.


PM accepts formal invitation extended by US President Obama

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