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♦18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs to appeal against Madras HC order in SC
- The 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs have decided to approach the Supreme Court challenging Thursday’s Madras High Court verdict that upheld their disqualification by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal under the anti-defection law. In the intervening period, if by-elections are held to the 18 Assembly constituencies, the disqualified legislators will contest as candidates of the T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).
- Addressing journalists following a discussion Mr. Dhinakaran had with them in Madurai on Friday, Thanga Tamilselvan, one of the disqualified MLAs, said the decision was unanimously taken since it was necessary to show to the world that the Speaker’s decision was wrong.
- “The Speaker’s decision was motivated by vengeance since we supported Mr. Dhinakaran. In contrast, no action has been taken against Mr. Panneerselvam and other MLAs who voted against the party in the Assembly,” he said.
♦Swapna Barman, the first Indian woman to win an Asiad gold in heptathlon, is a star here The 22-year-old is greeted by huge crowds everywhere in north Bengal
- The courtyard outside Basana Barman’s house is a flurry of activity. A teenaged boy is atop the corrugated roof plucking mango leaves while a group of women huddle together on the verandah preparing offerings for worship. A table fan buzzes in front of a khaki-clad police constable seated at the gate.
- “It is going to be a very special puja this time,” says Basana about the next day’s event, an annual ritual of worshipping Kali a day before Mahalaya that her family follows in Patkata, this nondescript village in Jalpaiguri district of northern West Bengal. “Four dhakis have been hired to beat the traditional drum. Everyone will come; our relatives, friends and neighbours. There will be khichuri, sweets and many other things.”
- Her sister-in-law Nani joins in: “After all, this is the puja at the champion’s house,” she says, an exultant stress on the word.
- The champion is Swapna Barman, Basana’s 22-year-old daughter, who became the first Indian woman to win a gold in heptathlon at the Jakarta Asian Games in August this year.
♦Office of profit: Kovind rejects plea to disqualify 27 AAP MLAs Party hails order, says ‘such fake complaints were filed to create hurdles’
- Finding it “not maintainable”, President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected a petition to disqualify 27 legislators of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for allegedly holding office of profit by being appointed as chairpersons of Rogi Kalyan Samitis (RKS) attached to various government-run hospitals in the Capital.
- As part of procedure, such pleas are sent to the President, who forwards it to the Election Commission for opinion. The EC then gives its opinion, based on which the President has to issue orders.
- The AAP, welcoming the order, on its part alleged that “such fake and false complaints by vested interests” were filed to “distract the MLAs and to create hurdles in their public welfare functioning”.
- In a five-page order signed by him on October 15, the President dismissed the plea based on opinion given by the EC on July 10 which found no merit in the plea. The petition was moved on June 21, 2016, by Vibhor Anand, claiming that the AAP MLAs were in a position to “interfere” in the day-to-day administration of these hospitals and hence, held office of profit.
♦India set to be third largest aviation market
- India will be the third largest aviation market globally a year sooner than was earlier predicted. It is now expected to be among the top three countries by 2024 from its current seventh position, according to global aviation body IATA.
- In its latest 20-year forecast for the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that air passenger numbers worldwide could double to 8.2 billion in 2037.
- The biggest contribution in this growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region, which will account for half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years.
- While China will climb up one spot to displace US as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s, India will take the third place by surpassing the U.K. around 2024, according to the IATA forecast.
- By 2037, India is expected to add 414 million passengers to its existing 572 million passengers, the report added.
- In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth at the rate of 4.8%, followed by Africa (4.6%) and west Asia (4.4%).
- “Firstly, we are seeing a geographical reshuffling of world air traffic to the East. And secondly, we foresee a significant negative impact on the growth and benefits of aviation if tough and restrictive protectionist measures are implemented,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
- The other south-east Asian countries predicted to grow rapidly include Indonesia, likely to be the fourth largest by 2030 from its current ranking of 10th largest aviation market. Thailand, too, is expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030,edging out Italy, IATA said.
♦NBCC bags Rs 9.02-billion contract to build AIIMS in Jharkhand’s Deoghar
- State-owned NBCC on Thursday said it has bagged a Rs 9.02-billion contract to construct AIIMS hospital at Deoghar in Jharkhand.
- NBCC (India) Ltd has bagged a prestigious project, worth Rs 9.02 billion, for planning, designing and construction of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Deoghar, Jharkhand, it said.
- The project has been awarded to NBCC by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
- NBCC has taken up several significant projects in health sector such as ESIC hospitals, medical colleges and hospitals of various state governments across the country.
♦Kerala floods: UN report says Rs 310 billion needed to rebuild state
- Kerala will need about Rs 310 billion for recovery and reconstruction following the century’s worst floods, according to a UN report presented to the Chief Minister by UN Resident Coordinator in India Yuri Afanasiev.
- Afanasiev presented the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Friday. This is the first time the UN has prepared such a report in India.
- The report assessed the damage and loss incurred due to the devastating floods in the state in August. It said the state would need about Rs 310 billion for recovery and reconstruction.
- The highest amount would be needed for the reconstruction of roads and transportation (Rs 100.46 billion), followed by housing (Rs 54.43 billion),
- agriculture, fisheries and livestock (Rs 44.98 billion), employment and livelihood (Rs 38.96 billion), other infrastructure (Rs 24.46 billion), irrigation (Rs 14.83 billion) and water and sanitation (Rs 13.31 billion).
♦Lewis Hamilton would be proudest of his fifth F1 title
- Lewis Hamilton feels a fifth Formula One title would be his proudest achievement and he wants to seal it by winning Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
- The Mercedes driver, who is set to equal the title tally of the late Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio, need finish only seventh to be sure of the world championship with two races to spare.
- The 33-year-old Briton won last year’s title by finishing ninth in Mexico after a collision with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel at the start.
- “It’s an added bonus to an already great year when you do win the race to get the title. My goal is to try to win the race this weekend,” he told reporters on Thursday.
- “I remember when I won my first (in 2008), one of the ex-champions had said its always harder to get the second, which it felt like it was.
- “The first one felt incredibly hard already but from then on it just got harder and harder to win a championship.”
- Hamilton said the season had been one of the most enjoyable years of his career, given the challenge faced.
♦ Helicopter ride a hit as Kittur Utsav ends
- Kittur Utsav, a three-day cultural festival in Kittur, to mark the birth anniversary of Queen Chennamma who fought the British, ended on Thursday.
- A huge crowd gathered to watch the wrestling matches held on Thursday. A wrestling match was held for girls too.
- The festival included performances by various folk artistes and music and dance troupes. On Wednesday, students of Alvas College presented a bouquet of performances. A photo and handicrafts exhibition organised at the main venue attracted school and college students.
- Hindustani classical singers from Dharwad and Bharatanatyam dancers from Bengaluru and Mysuru performed on Wednesday.
- One of the attractions that became popular was the helicopter ride over Kittur town that included a fly-by over the old fort.
- Hampi Kannada University vice-chancellor Mallika Ghanti spoke of the life and contribution of Queen Chennamma. Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, MLA Mahantesh Doddagoudar, Deputy Commissioner S.B. Bommanahalli, ZP CEO R. Ramachandran and others were present.
♦ J&K Governor to terminate health insurance contract Rolled out a month ago, Malik says tenders were changed to suit a particular firm
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that his administration will terminate the contract granted to Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd., a month after the government rolled out a Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme for employees, pensioners and accredited journalists of the State.
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