Latest Goa Breaking News & Headlines

Delhi Confidential: Namaste, Shalom
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 03:40 am
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 03:40 am

To welcome the cast and crew of Israeli TV series Fauda at International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted in Hebrew on Monday. “I am pleased to welcome @FaudaOfficial stars @liorraz and @issacharoff to #IFFI53 in India! Israel and India share a special relationship,” he posted (roughly translated from Hebrew). Thakur also shared a clip of himself and Fauda actor Lior Raz jumping from the bus. In response, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, tweeted: “…You look one of the team and should probably consider joining Fauda”.NOTA Worry NotedAmid reports that BJP is in a comfortable position in Gujarat, the party leadership appears to be more worried about voter turnout as the D-day nears. The main topic of discussion in BJP’s internal meetings to review preparations is to bring down NOTA votes. Votes for NOTA came third in nearly 115 seats in 2017 elections. There were unsuccessful attempts from the party to shift the category from last position on electronic voting machines (EVMs) because, according to BJP leaders, many people cast their votes on the last line, considering it as number one on the list. Party leaders admit that the biggest task for its cadre and booth-level workers is to get voters out on polling days instead of “being overconfident” about BJP’s victory.Guns Trained on TrainsEven as the government highlights Vande Bharat Express trains as its major achievement, the train seems to invite more Opposition scrutiny. Several MPs, mostly from the Opposition camp, are armed with questions on the Vande Bharat for the ensuing Winter Session of Parliament. The drift of most of these questions, it is learnt, are to catch the government on the wrong foot and to get it revealing something not so complimentary about the celebrated train set.

Delhi Confidential: Namaste, Shalom
IFFI jury chief slams ‘The Kashmir Files’: ‘Propaganda, vulgar… shocked, disturbed’
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 03:40 am
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 03:40 am

DESCRIBING THE controversial movie The Kashmir Files as “propaganda” and “vulgar”, Israeli filmmaker and a jury chief at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Nadav Lapid, said he was “shocked” and “disturbed” by its inclusion in the competitive section.Sharing the jury report during the closing ceremony of the 53rd edition of IFFI in Goa, Lapid said: “Usually, I don’t read from paper. This time, I want to be precise. I want to thank the director and head of the programming of the festival for its cinematic richness, the diversity and complexity…There were 15 films in the international competition — the front window of the festival. Fourteen out of them had the cinematic qualities…and evoked vivid discussions. We were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files. That felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.”Lapid was the jury chairman of the International Competition section of IFFI. The writer-director, whose film Synonyms won the Golden Bear award at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival in 2019, said: “I feel totally comfortable to share openly these feelings here with you on stage since the spirit that we felt in the festival can surely accept a critical discussion which is essential for art and life.”Lapid delivered his remarks before a number of dignitaries, including Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur, as well as prominent actors such as Asha Parekh, Akshay Kumar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rana Daggubati.Tel Aviv-born Lapid made his directorial debut in 2011 with the feature film “Policeman”, which won the special jury prize at the Locarno International Film Festival that year.He shares an old connection with the IFFI as his 2014 film “The Kindergarten Teacher”’s actor Sarit Larry was awarded the Best Actor Award (Female) at the festival. This film was also featured in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics’ Week. In 2016, Lapid was chosen as a member of the International Critics’ Week’s jury.Lapid’s latest feature “Ahed’s Knee” (2021) was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year, when it shared the Jury Prize with ‘Memoria’.Other members of the jury for the International Competition at IFFI were American producer Jinko Gotoh, French film editor Pascale Chavance, French documentary filmmaker, critic and journalist Javier Angulo Barturen, and Indian director Sudipto Sen.Released on March 11 this year, “The Kashmir Files”, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, ran to packed halls. The film is based on the “exodus and killings” of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley in the 1990s and was endorsed by a number of Union Ministers and granted tax-free status in most all BJP-ruled states. At the time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the movie had rattled the “entire ecosystem” that claims to be the torchbearer of freedom of expression but does not want the truth to be told.But critics of the film said it presented a one-sided narrative of events and raised concerns over communal polarisation. Agnihotri did not respond to a request from The Indian Express seeking comment on Lapid’s remarks. Incidentally, the 53rd edition of the festival also held a special screening of “The Kashmir Files”.Meanwhile, the Spanish Film “I Have Electric Dreams”, directed by Costa Rican Valentina Maurel, won the Golden Peacock for the Best Film at the festival. Iranian writer and director Nader Saeivar was awarded the Silver Peacock for Best Director for “No End”, a portrayal of Iran’s socio-political system.Vahid Mobasseri, lead actor of “No End”, was awarded the Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Male), and Daniela Marín Navarro, the lead of “I Have Electric Dreams”, the Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Female). Praveen Kandregula received a special mention for the Telugu film “Cinema Bandi”.

IFFI jury chief slams ‘The Kashmir Files’: ‘Propaganda, vulgar… shocked, disturbed’
  • Kashmir Files ‘propaganda, vulgar’: Iffi jury chair
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The chairperson of the international jury at the 53th International Film Festival of India, Nadav Lapid, on Monday criticised the inclusion of ‘The Kashmir Files’ in the competition section for the Golden Peacock. On stage at the closing ceremony, Lapid, a Israeli screenwriter and director, called ‘The Kashmir Files’ a vulgar and propaganda film, and said the jury was shocked at its inclusion.“We were — all of us — disturbed and shocked by the fifteenth film, ‘The Kashmir Files’. It felt to us like propaganda, a vulgar movie, inappropriate for the artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival,” said Lapid, with Union information & broadcasting minister Anurag Singh Thakur and Union minister for state for I&B L Murugan present.There were 15 films from around the world competing for the ‘Golden Peacock’ award. “I feel totally comfortable sharing openly these feelings on stage, since the spirit we felt in the festival can also accept critical discussion, essential for art and for life,” said Lapid.He said the international competition section of a film festival is ‘the front window of the festival’.The rest of the 14 films, besides ‘The Kashmir Files’, had cinematic qualities that evoked vivid discussions, Lapid said.“On behalf of my fellow jury (members), we want to say thanks for the experience of this festival. We felt all over a sense of cinephilia and curiosity, this vast public and people for whom films are essential. There is nothing more beautiful than a beautiful film. I thank politicians and governor (of Goa P S Sreedharan Pillai) who manifested interest in our work. I thank the director of film festivals and the head of programming for the cinematic excellence, its diversity and complexity, so intense,” Lapid said.

  • ‘The Kashmir Files initiated healing process for pundits’
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Veteran actor Anupam Kher on Wednesday said that his film ‘The Kashmir Files’ has helped start the much-needed healing process for Kashmiri pundits, who faced genocide in the 1990s. Kher said that the film is being criticized by a few sections in the country, even as movies like Schindler’s List are being appreciated.“On one hand, we give the Oscar to Schindler’s List, and here some people are denying what happened in Kashmir. We should be ashamed. Now that it has been documented, it is a great thing that we are discussing it,” said Kher.‘The Kashmir Files’ is being screened under the mainstream film segment at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (Iffi) under the Indian Panorama section. It is also competing for the Golden Peacock in the International Competition section as well as competing for the ICFT Unesco Gandhi Medal.“The Kashmir Files has helped create awareness about the tragedy globally. As a Kashmiri Hindu, I have lived the tragedy. But nobody recognised it. The film started a healing process by documenting the tragedy,” Kher said.Asked about the inquisition in Goa by Portuguese colonial powers, Kher said that it is for the people to make a film to tell their story.Kher said he would be interested in working on a Konkani film and learning the language if the opportunity came his way.He also announced that he will be producing the Hindi version of the Odiya film ‘Pratikshya’ being screened at the festival. The story revolves around a father-son duo with unemployment as a dominant theme. What touched him, Kher said, was director Anupam Patnaik’s revelation that nearly half of Orissa’s film screening theatres had been washed away in the recent cyclone, making it tough to venture into filmmaking.

Costa Rican coming-of-age film wins Golden Peacock as Iffi ends
Times of India | 3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am
Times of India
3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am

Panaji: The Costa Rican film ‘I have electric dreams’ won the prestigious Golden Peacock award at the 53rd International Film Festival of India.Union information & broadcasting minister Anurag Singh Thakur, who presented the award, said that regional films with good content can rule over the hearts and minds of people not only in the country but across the world. “We had a package to mark 50 years of Manipuri cinema this year. It remains my commitment to give a strong platform to regional cinema. Regional cinema is no longer regional, but has gone international,” he said. New platforms like OTTs have allowed talent to be recognised like never before, the minister said.The closing ceremony of the festival was marred by awards and names being mixed up throughout. Greek director Asimina Proedrou was called on stage as winner of the ‘award for the best debut feature film of a director’ for the movie ‘Behind the haystacks’. However, once she was on stage, the clip of the Telugu film ‘Cinema bandi’ was played, as Union information & broadcasting minister Anurag Singh Thakur and Goa CM Pramod Sawant stood confused on stage.The anchor, Gitika Ganju Dhar, realised that director of ‘Cinema bandi’, Praveen Kandregula, was winner of the ‘special mention by the jury’ award. Proedrou was made to step aside as Praveen was called to accept his prize first. Both won the ‘Silver Peacock’.The chaos continued throughout the awards ceremony, much to the embarrassment of those giving out the awards, who were left with wrong citations in hand and cameras clicking away before them.“The Golden Peacock winner, ‘I Have Electric Dreams’, explores 16-year-old girl Eva’s passage into adulthood… violence and grace, fury and intimacy become synonyms. It was so electrifying, so vibrating, that while watching it, we felt as if we, ourselves, were trembling,” said Nadav Lapid, chairperson of the international jury. The movie was directed by Valentine Maurel.‘No End’, by Iranian writer and director Nader Saeivar, took home two Silver Peacocks — best director, and best actor (male) for Vahid Mobasseri. Nader, who has at least three decades of experience in filmmaking, was mistakenly announced as the best debut director award winner.Daniela Marín Navarro, the 19-year-old debut actor of ‘I Have Electric Dreams’, was declared winner of best actor (female) award, while Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz received the special jury award for ‘When the waves are gone’.The ICFT Unesco Gandhi medal was announced for Iranian film ‘Nargesi’, by Payam Eskandar.Actors Asha Parekh, Akshay Kumar, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Ayushmann Khurana, Rana Daggubati, Sharman Joshi, Manushi Chillar, and Esha Gupta were felicitated by the minister.Israeli ambassador to India Noar Gilon said he was humbled that the next season of Israeli series ‘Fauda’ premiered at Iffi in India, a country whose films Israelis had grown up watching.“India and Israel share a very special relationship. After watching Fauda, I can say here is the moment to share partnership with our Israeli counterparts. India will be the content creator of the world, this is the right time to forge a partnership. I am looking forward to such a collaboration,” said Thakur.CM Sawant said that being a popular tourist destination, Goa has attained a cosmopolitan nature and every year, it is the state’s endeavor to add more layers to make Iffi more vibrant as the festival’s permanent hosts. “Being the most hospitable destination, we have left no stone unturned to keep the connection between Iffi and delegates. We have received more than 12,000 participants this year,” said Sawant, as he asked both amateurs and veterans of the film sector to give their suggestions to improve the quality of Iffi.

Costa Rican coming-of-age film wins Golden Peacock as Iffi ends
Mopa likely to start ops from Jan 5, flyers will be informed by SMS
Times of India | 3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am
Times of India
3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am

New Delhi: The new international airport at Mopa is likely to become operational in the first week of January, possibly on the fifth, sources said.CM Pramod Sawant had said at the Times Now Summit last week that PM Narendra Modi could tentatively inaugurate it on December 11.“It takes about a month to make an airport operational after the inauguration,” sources said. “Airlines need to mark on tickets to and from Goa which airport the flight will operate from, Dabolim or Mopa. Also, CISF has to move in and take over security of the facility, which takes around 15 days. People who have bought tickets to and from Goa for the coming months will be informed by airlines via SMS in case their flights will now land at or depart from Mopa.” GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), which will operate the airport, is looking at January 5 as Mopa’s opening date. On October 26, the directorate general of civil aviation had issued the aerodrome licence to the Airport after a series of checkposts, thus, the airport was certified to be safe for handling flights. Airlines like IndiGo have indicated that they will operate from both the existing Dabolim airport and the new one at Mopa.The Mopa airport is keenly awaited as Dabolim, a Naval airport, has limited slots for scheduled commercial flights. For years, this has meant flights during limited hours of the day — and hence high fares in peak travel season — for passengers. Being a 100% civilian airport, Mopa will allow more flights to Goa — at least doubling from current numbers.The airports economic regulatory authority (AERA) this August issued an ad hoc tariff order for the GMR-developed Mopa airport. For the first few years, second airports that will soon start opening in Indian cities/regions could be relatively more expensive than the single ones operating there so far. The reason: A majority of them will need to compete for traffic with the existing ones. When Bengaluru and Hyderabad got new airports in 2009 and 2008, respectively, the exiting ones — HAL and Begumpet — were closed for commercial flights. AERA’s ad hoc aeronautical charges tariff order for Mopa includes a user development fee (UDF) of Rs 450 and Rs 1,100 per departing domestic and international passenger respectively. The GMR group that has developed Mopa had proposed a UDF of Rs 980 and Rs 1,500. The authority felt “the proposal of the airport operator is on the higher side and needs to be moderated”. The authority has decided to allow GGIAL to charge the ad hoc tariff till March 31, 2023, or if the regular tariff order is issued before that.

Mopa likely to start ops from Jan 5, flyers will be informed by SMS
Centre permits manual extraction from sandbars & beach shacks in CRZ areas
Times of India | 3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am
Times of India
3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am

Panaji: The Union environment ministry (MoEFCC) has amended the CRZ notification, 2019, to allow activities like manual extraction of sand from sandbars in rivers and setting up of temporary structures, like beach shacks, in CRZ areas.The Centre has also given local authorities almost all powers to clear projects, except in case of those coming up in ecological sensitive areas and in water.A senior government officer said the amendments will be applicable only in states where the CZMP 2019 is notified and that, in the case of specific projects mentioned in the CRZ notification, 2019, approval will have to be sought from the MoEFCC.With reference to removal of sandbars in CRZ area, the MoEFCC’s CRZ amended notification, 2019, issued last week states: “The sandbars in intertidal areas shall be removed by traditional coastal communities only through non-mechanised manual method.”It further states that state governments and Union territory administration can permit removal of sand in specified quantity and in specified time period on the condition that the extraction is being carried out by registered persons from the local community. The notification also mandates annual renewal of the extraction registration.Various organisations and citizens have opposed amendments to the CRZ notification, 2019, related to oil and gas exploration, sand extraction from sandbars and retaining shacks on beaches during the monsoon, stating that the proposed changes will spell disaster for the environment and local communities.“For projects or activities also attracting the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, the Coastal Zone Management Authority shall forward its recommendations to the central government or state Environment Impact Assessment Authority for Category A and Category B projects, respectively, to enable a composite clearance,” the CRZ amendment states.For those projects not covered under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, but attracting the CRZ amended notification, 2019, and located in CRZ-I or CRZ-IV areas, Coastal Zone Management Authority shall forward its recommendations to the Centre, the MoEFCC notification states.The Centre had received representations from different stakeholders — state governments and ministry of petroleum and natural gas — through the director of general of hydrocarbon for making certain amendments in the CRZ notification, 2019, inter-alia, for delegating the powers of giving Coastal Regulation Zone clearance to State Coastal Zone Management Authorities or state governments for small infrastructure projects located in CRZ-I and CRZ-IV areas, exempting exploratory drilling and associated facilities thereto except in CRZ-IA areas, including the provision of temporary beach shacks as already available in Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011, as amended and expanding the said provision to all coastal states, allowing removal of sand bars by traditional communities.“Projects or activities not covered in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, but attracting this Notification and located in CRZ-II or CRZ-III areas or those projects or activities listed in sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph 7 of this notification, shall be considered for clearance by the concerned Coastal Zone Management Authority within sixty days of the receipt of the complete proposal from the proponent,” the MoEFCC notification said.

Centre permits manual extraction from sandbars & beach shacks in CRZ areas
With Tillari dam shut, parts of Bardez reel under shortage
Times of India | 3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am
Times of India
3 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 02:40 am

Panaji: With Maharashtra shutting down the Tillari dam for maintenance, parts of Bardez taluka are struggling for water supply. Residents in some of the wards in Porvorim said they are facing a lot of inconvenience due to the erratic water supply. Public works department (PWD) and the water resources department (WRD) confirmed that Goa and Maharashtra agreed to shut supply of water from the Tillari dam from November 11 to December 10 to carry out the annual maintenance, including the Tillari project tributaries.“There is a severe shortage of water in some parts of Porvorim, such as Pundalik Nagar Housing Board, Journalists Colony and the tail end areas,” said a resident. “This has been happening for the last 15 days. PWD does not have sufficient water tankers to supply water.”PWD officials have urged residents to use water “judiciously” till the repairs are complete. “Maharashtra stopped releasing water on November 11 and the WRD has said that the work will go on for at least a month. The WRD officials have also conducted site visits to understand the condition of the canals. Since the Tillari infrastructure is several years old, there is a lot of seepage. The maintenance work is expected to be completed by December 10,” said a PWD chief engineer.To meet the needs of water in Porvorim and nearby areas, around 100 MLD is being pumped from the Amthane dam and the balance requirement is being taken from the barrage at Assonora.

With Tillari dam shut, parts of Bardez reel under shortage

Goa Tourism News

Films best way to build bridges between nations, says Mexico’s tourism minister
Times of India | 1 day ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:08 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:08 am

Panaji: Mexico’s minister of tourism Miguel Torruco Marques on Sunday expressed his delight at the special section on Mexican films curated at the 53rd International Film Festival of India (Iffi). “I have always thought that movies are the best way to remove differences between people and build bridges between nations,” said Marques, who participated in a session at Iffi via video conferencing .“It is an honor for me to share with you this very important moment at the 53rd International Film Festival of incredible India in Goa. Mexico is known for its unique culture and diversity. And a very important part of this heritage is our cinema. We are a land of great movie directors and actors who are considered legends. Our films have received many awards around the world,” said Marques. He said Mexican cinema was born as an expression of the social and the cultural environment of the country. The minister also said that he is proud of the fact that his mother, María Elena Marques, and father, Miguel Torruco, were beloved Mexican actors from the ‘Golden Age’ of Mexican cinema.“ Mexico currently has fantastic creativity and production capacity in the international film industry which leads us to a new era in cinema. We are proud of the participation of Mexican films in this unique festival. I want to extend our greatest support and admiration to all of those who are part of this beautiful event.”Alejandro De Icaza, producer of the film Red Shoes, said that the Mexican government has a fund for cinema under which they promote films, including arthouse movies. “These kinds of films are difficult to produce without government incentives because they are difficult to commercialise,” he said, adding that he is exploring making a joint production with India about a wedding. “In both countries, weddings are big, colorful and last for many days. These kinds of cultural similarities can lead to other projects in the future.”

Films best way to build bridges between nations, says Mexico’s tourism minister
My character is fragile, vulnerable in Three Of Us, says Shefali Shah
Times of India | 1 day ago | 27-11-2022 | 06:56 pm
Times of India
1 day ago | 27-11-2022 | 06:56 pm

Shefali Shah and Jaideep Ahlawat spoke about their film Three of Us starring Swanand Kirkire along with the two actors and directed by Avinash Arun. The film about love and longing was screened at the 53rd edition of International Film Festival of India, Goa. While talking about the film being screened under the Indian Panorama section, Shefali said, “It’s an honour that our film is being screened here. It’s impossible to explain the film in words, it’s an emotion that can only be felt.” Talking about the shooting experience, the actress said, “The film was shot in Konkan, we used to have really long days because we were trying to catch morning light. Our first shot used to be at 5.30 in morning but every place we shot at, was just exquisite. This film looks like a Konkani tourism film. It is beautifully shot, each frame almost looks like a painting. Our director Avinash has shot the film beautifully.” Talking about her character Shefali said, “I will cherish this film experience all my life. When Avinash told me about the film, it was a one liner and a very short synopsis of the film. Though I am known for playing strong characters on screen, what I liked the most is, my character Shaileja is very fragile, vulnerable and that is the beauty of this woman.” On being asked if there is any difference as an actor, in doing films for theatrical vs OTT, Shefali said, “Just because you are working in a certain medium, the way you work doesn’t change but the advantage of doing OTT is that you get to explore your character much more.” Jaideep on asked the same question, said, “for actors, there is no difference as such because we need to convey the emotions, conflict and other nuances to the audiences. For the makers there must be a difference, but for actors, apart from long hours, I don’t think there is much of a difference.”

My character is fragile, vulnerable in Three Of Us, says Shefali Shah
Khaunte: Centre has assured support for our tourism projects
Times of India | 2 days ago | 26-11-2022 | 07:40 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 26-11-2022 | 07:40 am

Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Friday said that the Centre has assured full support to various tourism development projects planned by his ministry.Khaunte recently held a detailed discussion with Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy during his recent visit to Delhi. “Tourism has become the backbone of Goa’s economy after the collapse of the mining sector. While the pandemic dealt another major blow to the economy, tourism has been a major sector reviving it. It is important that tourism-oriented projects are given a boost. I have conveyed this to Reddy,” Khaunte said.The Union tourism minister, Khaunte said, also informed that Goa has made its mark as a popular international destination which is evident from the fact that foreign tourists visiting India do not leave the country without coming to the state. Domestic tourists are also attracted to Goa’s rich ecology, and their interest is not limited to the beaches, he said. “We discussed how important it is to have new tourism projects in Goa,” the tourism minister said. The tourism department has directed its focus on eco, hinterland and adventure tourism.Khaunte, who also holds the IT portfolio, said that Goa’s pavilion at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) has received a huge response from leading IT companies. Chief minister Pramod Sawant visited IITF on Friday.The IT minister briefed various representatives of companies about the Goa government’s plan to bring a paradigm shift in the IT sector of the state. “They were informed about our facilities to enable tourists to work flexibly and also enjoy their stay,” he added.

Khaunte: Centre has assured support for our tourism projects

Goa Political News

Delhi Confidential: Namaste, Shalom
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 03:40 am
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 03:40 am

To welcome the cast and crew of Israeli TV series Fauda at International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted in Hebrew on Monday. “I am pleased to welcome @FaudaOfficial stars @liorraz and @issacharoff to #IFFI53 in India! Israel and India share a special relationship,” he posted (roughly translated from Hebrew). Thakur also shared a clip of himself and Fauda actor Lior Raz jumping from the bus. In response, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, tweeted: “…You look one of the team and should probably consider joining Fauda”.NOTA Worry NotedAmid reports that BJP is in a comfortable position in Gujarat, the party leadership appears to be more worried about voter turnout as the D-day nears. The main topic of discussion in BJP’s internal meetings to review preparations is to bring down NOTA votes. Votes for NOTA came third in nearly 115 seats in 2017 elections. There were unsuccessful attempts from the party to shift the category from last position on electronic voting machines (EVMs) because, according to BJP leaders, many people cast their votes on the last line, considering it as number one on the list. Party leaders admit that the biggest task for its cadre and booth-level workers is to get voters out on polling days instead of “being overconfident” about BJP’s victory.Guns Trained on TrainsEven as the government highlights Vande Bharat Express trains as its major achievement, the train seems to invite more Opposition scrutiny. Several MPs, mostly from the Opposition camp, are armed with questions on the Vande Bharat for the ensuing Winter Session of Parliament. The drift of most of these questions, it is learnt, are to catch the government on the wrong foot and to get it revealing something not so complimentary about the celebrated train set.

Delhi Confidential: Namaste, Shalom
ExplainSpeaking | A profile of Gujarat’s economy before elections
The Indian Express | 18 hours ago | 28-11-2022 | 11:40 am
The Indian Express
18 hours ago | 28-11-2022 | 11:40 am

ExplainSpeaking-Economy is a weekly newsletter by Udit Misra, delivered in your inbox every Monday morning. Click here to subscribeDear Readers,The western Indian state of Gujarat is set to hold elections for the state Assembly this week. Since the time of India’s freedom struggle, and especially because it was the home state of leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Gujarat was always a politically significant state in India.However, two factors have further bolstered the state’s political heft over the past three decades.One, the Bharatiya Janata Party (or the BJP) has won all the Assembly elections since 1995. And barring a brief period between late 1996 and early 1998, the BJP has been in power in the state. To be precise, it has ruled without break since March 1998. Another five year term would mean that the BJP will extend its unbroken run to 29 years. For perspective, the longest that any party has been in power in a state was the 34 years (1977 to 2011) that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) governed the eastern state of West Bengal.Two, the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, lends importance to Gujarat. Modi had served as the Chief Minister for 12 years, winning three Assembly polls in the process, before shifting to Delhi. During Modi’s tenure as the Chief Minister, the notion of a so-called Gujarat model of development or economy gained traction.Here’s a look at the different aspects of Gujarat’s economy — factors such as unemployment, per capita income, inflation etc. that often play a crucial role in influencing the voters.#1: Overall size of the economyNo matter which way one calculates, Gujarat is one of the biggest economies in the country. Table 1 details the top 6 states with the highest “net State Domestic Product (SDP)” in India. Think of the net SDP as the GDP equivalent at the state level. The Table also mentions Kerala even though it is not a state of comparable economic output just to provide a more complete picture; often the “Gujarat model” has been contrasted with the “Kerala model”. Between the seven states mentioned in the data tables, one can also get a fairly wide geographical spread.Data shows that Gujarat is the fourth-largest economy with a net SDP of Rs 14.6 lakh crore. However, this valuation of economic output is based on current prices. If one were to remove the effect of inflation and look at the “real” net SDP (column 3), one finds that Gujarat becomes the second-largest economy.It is also worthwhile to look at where Gujarat stood relative to the other big states in 1994-95, just before the BJP started its dominant phase. It is interesting to note that at that time Gujarat was even behind UP and West Bengal in terms of overall output. The only state that has actually outdone Gujarat is Karnataka, which was much smaller in terms of economic output in 1995 but has since rapidly grown to become the third-largest economy within India.#2: Per Capita IncomeWhen India’s economy recently overtook the economy of the United Kingdom to become the fifth-largest economy on the planet, it was pointed out that despite this achievement, the UK’s average income levels were twenty-times more than India’s.Table 2 attempts to place the same states in terms of per capita income in order to understand the average level of economic prosperity in a state.Now, Karnataka turns out to be the state with the highest per capita income, closely followed by Gujarat. This is not to suggest that there are no states in India with higher per capita income — Delhi, Goa Sikkim etc. do score higher — but among the bigger states, this ranking still holds.Population size of different states imply that UP lags far behind most states in India despite having a much higher overall output. Kerala also shines.When compared to how things were in 1995, it is interesting to note that Gujarat was, even then, the second-richest in terms of average incomes.And while holding on to the 2nd rank is no mean feat — Tamil Nadu, for instance, failed to stay at the top — it is Karnataka’s rise that has been far more phenomenal.#3: Unemployment rateTable 3 details the unemployment rate (per thousand people) in Rural and Urban areas for the biggest state economies in India (plus Kerala). Gujarat had one of the lowest unemployment rate among all the states and well below the national average.However, unemployment rates have gone up almost across the board since 1999-2000 — the time since when the BJP has had an unbroken streak in the governance of Gujarat. In particular, in Gujarat, both rural and urban unemployment rates have doubled since 1999-00.#4: Inflation rateJust as Gujarat had the lowest unemployment rate among all the big economies, it also had the lowest retail inflation rate among them in each of the past five years (barring UP in 2017-18). Gujarat’s retail inflation rate (that is, based on Consumer Price Index or CPI) was also lower than the national average for each of the five years (see Table 4). Of course, this data does cover the past few months of 2022-23.High inflation has become a global menace and has resulted in voters throwing out incumbent governments to express their anger. However, Gujarat has performed relatively well on this metric for the majority of the current term.#5: WagesWhen it comes to earning daily wages, workers in the agricultural sector as well as the non-agricultural sector of Gujarat earn considerably less than their counterparts in the other big states. Table 5 details how Gujarat not only pays less than the other big economies but also pays less than the national average.#6: InfrastructureChart 6, sourced from the Central Electricity Authority, shows the level of per capita power consumption in the seven states under consideration. Power consumption is a very good proxy for overall infrastructure in any economy. Gujarat’s per capita consumption is the highest among these states and, barring Punjab, the highest among large Indian states.#7: Health metricsTypically it is found that financially better off economies tend to have inhabitants who are physically better off. That’s because a rich state with richer inhabitants and a larger government capacity, can invest in improving the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants.However, it is on these metrics that Gujarat falters the most.Table 7 details Gujarat’s standing on a whole host of crucial metrics. But be it infant mortality rate or the maternal mortality rate or the prevalence of anaemia among infants and pregnant mothers or even indeed the number of beds in government-owned hospitals, Gujarat lags behind the other big economies. In particular, it lags considerably behind the Kerala achievements.That was a summary of where Gujarat stands relative to the rest of the country as well as relative to where it was in the past.Share your views and queries at udit.misra@expressindia.com.Lastly, do watch the latest episode of The Express Economist. This time it features Dr C Rangarajan, former RBI Governor and Chairman of the Finance Commission, on the state of the Indian economy.Stay safe,Udit

ExplainSpeaking | A profile of Gujarat’s economy before elections
‘Defection betrays democracy and our Constitution’
Times of India | 1 day ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:00 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:00 am

Margao: Noted lawyer and writer Uday Bhembre on Saturday said that defections by elected representatives amounted to betrayal of democracy and the Constitution, and voiced his disapproval over the refusal of the courts to decide on such defections. Earlier this year, on February 24, the Goa bench of Bombay High Court upheld the speaker’s order dismissing two petitions seeking disqualification of 12 MLAs who left their respective parties and joined BJP in 2019. In September this year, 10 Congress MLAs left the party and joined BJP. “This is a betrayal of democracy. And when betrayers get elected as people’s representatives, they can easily betray the people to whatever extent,” Bhembre said.He made these remarks while speaking at the award presentation ceremony instituted in memory of the late Chandrakant Keni. “The anti-defection law is so simple and short. The moment one resigns as MLA, he stands to be disqualified the very moment. He has betrayed his voters. When power goes into the hands of such betrayers, what allegiance will they have towards democracy and democratic principles. They aren’t willing to adhere to democratic principles nor to the Constitution of India, the 10th schedule of which prohibits such a betrayal,” Bhembre said.He said that while there were attempts at weakening the media and judiciary, the two important pillars of democracy, refusal of the court to decide the case of defection that came before it was worrisome for democracy.

‘Defection betrays democracy and our Constitution’

Goa Election News

BJP will form next govt in Goa, says PM Modi after Pramod Sawant meet
Times of India | 8 months ago | 09-03-2022 | 10:48 am
Times of India
8 months ago | 09-03-2022 | 10:48 am

PANAJI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the BJP would form the next government in the state, chief minister Pramod Sawant said after briefing the PM over political developments in Goa. The assembly results are scheduled to be declared on Thursday. “Modi told me that BJP will form the government,” Sawant told TOI from Delhi. Modi held the meeting with Sawant to review the political situation in the state. During the discussion, Modi took constituency-wise details about the number of seats BJP will secure in Goa. Sawant provided details to Modi on what the results would be, and how BJP would form the government. “We will form the next government in the state and in case we are short of a majority, independent MLAs will support BJP,” Sawant said. He added that if required, BJP would seek support of MGP. The CM told Modi that BJP is getting around 20 seats, and with the help of independent MLAs, BJP will form the government. Modi also deliberated on the possibilities of forming a coalition government just in case there was a fractured mandate. The meeting also discussed seeking support from independent MLAs or regional parties. All the exit polls on Monday have predicted a hung assembly in Goa. The election is crucial for BJP as well as for Sawant as both are facing anti-incumbency. BJP has contested all 40 assemblies for the first time, and it’s also the party’s first state election in the absence of their strategist, former chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Modi addressed the people of the state during the election campaign and had said “Goa has decided that this wave of development and good governance should not slow down. Under the young leadership of chief minister Pramod Sawant, this journey will continue in the same manner”. Sawant, BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade and BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting in Mumbai to discuss the formation of the next government. Fadnavis already held a meeting with senior MGP functionary Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar over the post-poll alliance. Dhavalikar had told Fadnavis that the MGP-TMC alliance would take a decision after the results. BJP had started approaching independent candidates who are likely to get elected in the assembly election, already hitting the drawing board to strategise how to form the next government.

BJP will form next govt in Goa, says PM Modi after Pramod Sawant meet
IRBs misplaced cartridges recovered from Davorlim
Times of India | 9 months ago | 17-02-2022 | 07:07 am
Times of India
9 months ago | 17-02-2022 | 07:07 am

MARGAO: A bag containing 40 cartridges belonging to the Indian Reserve Batallion (IRB) that proceeded to Uttar Pradesh from Goa for election duty that was found misplaced on Tuesday, was recovered by Margao police on Wednesday from the roadside at Davorlim. Police sources said that about 900 IRB personnel had departed by an UP-bound train from Margao railway station on Tuesday evening. They were ferried to the Margao railway station by buses. However, it was after the train departed from Margao railway station that the “missing” bag containing cartridges came to their notice. The Railway police were soon alerted, who in turn contacted the Margao town police who launched a search exercise on the routes taken by the buses to ferry the IRB personnel to the railway station. The bag was finally recovered from a roadside at Davorlim on Wednesday. Police surmise that the IRB personnel left the bag containing cartridges after alighting from the buses to proceed to the railway station.

IRBs misplaced cartridges recovered from Davorlim
  • Missing live cartridges traced
  • Navhind Times

    Margao: In a major relief, the 40 live cartridges that were in the possession of IRB personnel headed for poll duty in Uttar Pradesh and had gone missing late on Tuesday night, were found in a gutter near Davorlim circle hardly half km away from the Margao railway station platform on Wednesday morning.Ten companies of IRBpolice personnel left by a train for Delhi from where they will travel to Uttar Pradesh. Four boxeswith each containing 10cartridgeshad gone missing. IRBpersonnel Nansekerhad made an application to the Margao police on Tuesday late night in which he had mentioned thatthe live cartridges in his possession had gone missing.He had reported that the cartridges went missing along the ring road between fire station and Davorlim circle. A search operation was conducted by police.Police teamengaged in the search operationhad visited the Konkan railway station area, checked the CCTV footagebesides parkingareaswhere buseshad dropped the IRBstaff, however, the cartridges were not found.However on Wednesday at around 10 a.m.,the four missing boxeswerefound in a gutter by LIB team of policewhich was also pressed into a search operation. It is still a mystery howthe live cartridges reached the gutter. Investigation is in progress. Police havekept the cartridges in custody after conducting legal formalities.


Goa Education News

Court acquits woman in 14-yr-old case of SSC marksheet forgery
Times of India | 1 day ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:05 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:05 am

Panaji: Fourteen years after a woman was accused of producing a forged SSCE marksheet and related documents before the passport authority in Panaji, a Panaji court has acquitted her for the offences after the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove its case.“The making of the false document is the basic ingredient of the offence of forgery. In the present case, the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the role of the accused in making a false document,” stated chief judicial magistrate, A Court, Panaji, Ram S Prabhu Dessai.The court found that the SSCE marksheet and school leaving certificate were not sent for scientific examination, and added that the investigating officer didn’t carry out any investigation in respect to the paper used for the marksheet, as well as the ink and machinery used to commit the offence.“…there is absolutely no investigation done so far as making of the false document is concerned. Although the investigating officer was aware that custodian of the blank marksheet was the director of education, the investigating officer deemed it fit not to investigate in that direction,” the court stated.The woman had allegedly produced a forged SSCE marksheet, passing certificate of Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education and a school leaving certificate before the passport authority to avail passport facilities through a travel agent.“It appears that the entire investigation is done by the investigating officer under the pre-supposition that the accused has forged the said documents,” the court added.From the evidence of the passport officer, the court found that the investigating officer collected documents from the passport office without conducting a panchanama.Advocate G Teles, representing the accused, submitted that the passport officer along with the travel agent are in connivance in issuing passports and that there is every possibility that the travel agent might have obtained the woman’s signatures on the form and arranged the forged documents without the knowledge of the accused by charging fees.

Court acquits woman in 14-yr-old case of SSC marksheet forgery
Konkani Bhasha Mandal’s Petul at Quepem on 26 th November
Times of India | 1 day ago | 27-11-2022 | 07:22 pm
Times of India
1 day ago | 27-11-2022 | 07:22 pm

Konkani Bhasha Mandal organised its unique programme titled Petul on Saturday, November 26 at Main Auditorium of Government College, Quepem. The programme was held in association with Government College, Quepem. Graced by Dr Ashwini Jambhekar (Kulkarni), Director, Audyogik Tantra Shikshan Sanstha, Pune, Jess Fernandes, Senior Writer, Sister Severine Pinto, Headmistress of Holy Cross Convent, Ambaulim and Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Principal of Government College of Quepem. During the function 9 educations institutions from different parts of Quepem, Sanguem talukas namely Sharada English High School, Curchorem, Union High School, Sanguem, New Education Institute, Curchorem, Tiny Tots Primary School, Quepem, Sharada Kala Sadhana, Curchorem, Government Middle School, Ambaulim, Utkarsh High School, Rivona, Sarvodaya Primary School, Curchorem and Holy Cross Institute, Quepem performed on specially choreographed childrens’ songs from ‘Shanni Masti’ at the function. An exhibition of books and CDs produced by Konkani Bhasha Mandal. The President of KBM Anwesha Singbal said that through its multiple events in the state, we have realised that a huge demand for Konkani material exists. The sales of this material and music CDs have shown that people are eagerly seeking material in Konkani for children that is well produced and attractively priced. In the absence of this, they reach for material in English or other languages and do not help children to grow in Konkani."

Konkani Bhasha Mandal’s Petul at Quepem on 26 th November
33 sagar mitras appointed to promote fisheries across Goa
Times of India | 2 days ago | 27-11-2022 | 04:34 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 27-11-2022 | 04:34 am

Panaji: The directorate of fisheries has appointed 33 sagar mitras and has placed them across coastal villages of Goa, said director of fisheries Shamila Monteiro. She was speaking at a live interaction on schemes pertaining to animal husbandry and fisheries.Sagar mitras have also been appointed to promote aquaculture schemes in the hinterlands of the state. “The sagar mitras provide fisheries-related training, technical knowhow and even provide help to fill up forms for the schemes,” Monteiro said.Speaking at the online event, minister of fisheries Nilkanth Harlankar said that efforts in cage culture and fish farming will ensure that Goa becomes self-sustainable in fish production. He appealed to Goans to seek assistance from scientists and technical experts in the state to make use of the fish farms or cage culture infrastructure.“There is a lot of scope for mussel farming in Goa especially when there are institutes such as the Goa University, Goa Biodiversity Board, ICAR-CCARI and NIO that are willing to assist fish farmers in breeding mussels. Similarly crab farming can also be done. There are IIT graduates and young enterprising students who are also willing to assist fish farmers,” he said.Harlankar also made his phone number available during the interaction so that people can approach him directly about the schemes.

33 sagar mitras appointed to promote fisheries across Goa

Goa Covid News

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk on the perils of authoritarianism, writing his pandemic novel through COVID-19 and the book’s unexpected India connection
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | 16-10-2022 | 11:40 am
The Indian Express
1 month ago | 16-10-2022 | 11:40 am

The yellow journal that he holds close to the computer screen has an illustration of a sandstone fort, sketched in detail. Below it, in a neat hand in Turkish, Orhan Pamuk has written about his visit to Amber Fort in Jaipur in 2011. He had been speaking of art and influences and how it had once been the vocation he had dreamt of, when Turkey’s foremost cultural ambassador to the world stops midway to rifle through his desk and pick out the diary. For over 15 years, he has maintained illustrated journals, detailing his travels and artistic impressions of places and events. Some of these have just been published as Memories of Distant Mountains, an art book in Turkish and French. The entry on Amber Fort is part of the book, but it also has resonance with his newest novel, Nights of Plague (Penguin Hamish Hamilton, Rs 799), that releases in India this week. It was, the writer says, the impression that guided his imagination of the pink-stone Arkaz Castle on the fictional Ottoman island of Mingheria, a “pearl of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea”, between Istanbul and Alexandria, and the site of action in his novel.It’s 9 am in New York, where Pamuk, 70, Nobel laureate and author of critically acclaimed works such as My Name Is Red (1998), Snow (2002), Istanbul: Memories and the City (2005), The Museum of Innocence (2008) and A Strangeness in my Mind (2014) is speaking from over Zoom, and where he is the Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. In the renewed bustle of everyday life, it is easy to forget the horrors of COVID-19, but pandemics have been a long-standing interest with him. Even now, he says, holding up a copy of Richard S Ross III’s Contagion in Prussia, 1831: The Cholera Epidemic and the Threat of the Polish Uprising (2015), he has been reading up about the many ways they have altered the political and social scaffolding of nations.“Humanity, more or less, behaves the same in pandemics. First there is denial. Denial makes the numbers go up. This leads to conspiracy theories, nationalism, going inward, blaming the government or other ethnicities. Sometimes, it leads to new governments being formed. Other times, the government is involved but it becomes authoritarian. So, you see, the subject of plague is always related to politics,” he says.Part historical, part murder mystery, it is the slow disintegration of an empire and the origin story of a nation state that lies at the heart of Nights of Plague. Set in 1901, against an Ottoman Empire on the wane, the gossamer charm of Mingheria, home to a mixed community of Greeks and Turks, begins to fray under a fatal outbreak of bubonic plague. Anxious to avoid the economic blockades from European powers, Sultan Abdul Hamid sends the empire’s best-known quarantine specialist, the royal chemist, to the island. When he is found murdered, the Sultan’s niece and former political prisoner, Princess Pakize, and her doctor husband Nuri Bey are dispatched on a dual mission — to contain the damage and to solve the murder of the public-health official.The framework of the thriller or the detective story has been one that Pamuk has dabbled with on a few occasions, including in My Name Is Red, but he has no special affinity for the genre. “I never, for example, enjoyed Agatha Christie. But I am a great admirer of Patricia Highsmith. She had depth, she invented Dostoevskian thrillers. There is also, though I wouldn’t call him a mystery writer, John le Carré, who was very good,” he says.Despite his indifference to the genre, what it allows Pamuk is an insight into the insecurities of a body politic. Over 700 pages, Pamuk traces the panic and the denial, the mounting deaths, the enforcement of stringent quarantine measures, the economic losses, the clash of cultures and the shifting sands of political aspirations. “In the end, my novel is not only about plagues or the formation of nation states out of the ashes of empire, it is also about the creation of national secular myths that hold the people together after the empire falls, after the emperor vanishes,” he says.The plague pandemic had been hovering at the edge of his literary arc for four decades. In his 1983 novel, Silent House, a history professor searches for traces of plague in archives. In The White Castle (1985), descriptions of plague in 17th-century Istanbul linger in the background. In the beginning, he had been interested in the metaphysics of it — “What happens if death arrives before its time. It was a philosophical interest in death and the individuality it brought. (The differences between) East and West, individuality, these subjects always interested me. But I was a young author then and didn’t want to go into that debate,” he says.Pamuk finally began work on Nights of Plague in 2016, slowly teasing out a story from years of research. His plans of focussing on the responses a pandemic provoked — fatalism in some, stoic pragmatism in others — had led him to examine it through the prism of that other binary that has been his life’s work: the dichotomy between the East and the West. “I told myself, Orhan, you have been thinking of writing a plague novel for 40 years. (President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s government in Turkey is getting increasingly authoritarian. Why don’t you write an allegorical, historical plague novel on the last decade of the Ottoman Empire as it decayed, disintegrated and fell apart?” he says.Yet, no amount of research could prepare him for the emotional cost of COVID-19, when it arrived in March 2020. A beloved aunt who lived two lanes away from his apartment, was among the first victims of the pandemic in Turkey. “She was 94. She had been prepared to be buried next to her mother and her husband. And then doctors in white coats came and took her body away. It made me afraid. I realised that I’ve been working on this plague novel for over three years and there was something missing that I had learned from life — fear,” he says.As the pandemic raged on, Pamuk, who claims to not have much of a social life, poured his anxieties into writing. He had hoped that the worst would be behind him by the time the book was published, but in March 2021, when it came out in Turkey, Istanbul was under lockdown. “There was a day I particularly remember, when the Turkish government had locked the rest of the city down and allowed people over 65 to take walks outside. So, I went out into a city of 18 million that was empty of all but elderly people, making my way down to Istiklal, the high street in Istanbul, to the biggest book store there. I found a tower made out of copies of my new book on display and, sadly, not a single person to buy them,” he says, with a laugh.When Snow was released soon after 9/11, the novel’s interplay between the forces of fundamentalism and secularism established it as Pamuk’s most emphatic political statement. The writer says Nights of Plague shares the same tenor, set to a larger canvas. The clash between secularism and political Islam in Turkey that he explores in his work, his interpretation of the civilisational differences between the East and the West have often landed him in trouble, but Pamuk has never shied away from articulating his opinion. In contemporary Turkey, governed by an Islamist-nationalist coalition, voices of protest rear up at a cost. “I am, perhaps, partly protected by my fame although I’m also trying to resist as much as I can. But in my heart, I’m not a political person. I don’t spend my time thinking about resisting Erdogan all the time. But there are many brave journalists who end up in jail for their opinions. There is no free speech in Turkey. It is horrible that the government puts anyone who criticises them into jail. I’m angry, partly with the West also, that they are not criticising the Turkish government enough, (that) they are only busy (with the fact) that Turkey holds the immigrants — Muslim, Asian, North African, Afghan — who want to go to Europe. They are happy that Erdogan is giving this service and they do not care about Turkish democracy. I’m critical of that,” he says.As a writer, Pamuk is not unfamiliar with the perils of speaking up. In February 2005, a little over a year before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, in an interview to a Swiss magazine, he had spoken of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman government between 1915 and 1917 (during World War I), that goes unacknowledged in his country, and of contemporary clashes between the Turkish government and the Kurds. Pamuk was accused of insulting “Turkishness”, a criminal offence in the country, and put on trial. The charges were later dropped but he has since lived with a constant barrage of death threats and relentless criticism from nationalist hardliners, that have necessitated a life hemmed in by security arrangements and bodyguards. The next year, in October 2006, the Swedish Academy acknowledged his outspokenness in the Nobel citation: Pamuk, “in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.”In Turkey, Pamuk continues to be a polarising figure. On its release last year in the country, Nights of Plague drew another charge of fuelling animosity through a purported insult to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. After it was initially dropped, an appeal by the complainant has led to the reopening of the investigation. But, Pamuk’s faith in the power of free speech remains undeterred. “I don’t think humanity’s desire for free speech is fading away. Sure, there may be right-wing governments who are winning elections but what about the fact that (Donald) Trump lost? What about the fact that (Emmanuel) Macron won?Erdogan is going to lose the elections, all the Turkish polls are saying that. Maybe I am an optimist, maybe I’m naive, but I don’t subscribe to the idea that all free speech is dying. Look at Iranian women bravely going out in the streets, dying for their body, for their freedom. I am not pessimistic about the future of humanity at all. The deeper sentiments of people are more important than governments. No government stays forever,” he says.He hasn’t had a chance to speak to fellow writer Salman Rushdie since the attack on the latter in New York in August, but in his defence of Rushdie in an article in The Atlantic last month, Pamuk wrote, “Whenever a writer comes under physical attack, everyone starts talking about responding to words with words, to books with more books. But does this old adage make sense? Those who are pulling the trigger or wielding the knife tend to have read very few books in their life. Had they read more books, or been in the position to write one themselves, would they have turned to this kind of violence? …What we need to do is use our privilege of free speech to acknowledge the role of class and cultural differences in society — the sense of being second- or third-class citizens, of feeling invisible, unrepresented, unimportant, like one counts for nothing — which can drive people toward extremism… If we hope to see the principle of freedom of expression thrive in society, the courage of writers like Salman Rushdie will not suffice; we must also be brave enough to think about the sources of the furious hatred they are subjected to.” It is a novelist’s job, Pamuk says, to be representative of the dichotomy that creates faultlines, without fear or favour. “Lofty ideas aside, if you can speak for both sides, if you can express them through human stories, that’s what matters,” he says.Now that Nights of Plague is out in the world, Pamuk has moved on to his next project — a novel set in 1942, involving a group of card players. In between, a series of lectures on how to write a novel at Collège de France in Paris awaits. He also hopes to find a home for Memories of Distant Mountains in other languages. It’s been a lifetime steeped in stories for him. “My assistant reminded me the other day that I have been writing for 48 years. Yet my desire is the same: To wake up and start the day and write that book. I cannot think of anything more attractive or joyful than writing. I am fascinated by all that it brings — the interviews, the lectures, the travel. There was a time, in my early 30s when I was writing and writing and the phone was not ringing. Now, it doesn’t stop ringing and I love it. I have learnt so much from writing — about both art and craft, and about life. If you give me another 50 years, I would want the same life,” he says.

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk on the perils of authoritarianism, writing his pandemic novel through COVID-19 and the book’s unexpected India connection
Goa: As virus cases rise, health department urges people to wear masks in public places
Times of India | 3 months ago | 19-08-2022 | 07:35 am
Times of India
3 months ago | 19-08-2022 | 07:35 am

PANAJI: With Goa's daily average of Covid cases still hovering around 100 and above, the health services on Thursday appealed to people to wear masks in crowded places, especially during the festive period. For the past two days, the state has recorded 380 cases, with 180 detected on Thursday, taking the positivity rate to 14%. The active caseload increased to 941 and the mortality count rose to 3,957, with one fatality recorded over the past 24 hours. With 115 recoveries, the recovery rate stood at 98%. State epidemiologist Dr Prashant Suryawanshi said that people cannot be complacent and assume the pandemic has ended as the state has not recorded nil Covid cases. "If you take any public place, it appears that people have forgotten about Covid appropriate behaviour. Even in crowded places, people do not wear masks," he said. He said the state has reported around 100 cases on a daily basis, though on Wednesday, the count rose to 200 cases. "We want people to take precautions when they go to hospitals, pharmacies or crowded places. It is important to wear masks, especially with the ongoing festive season, and when crowding is inevitable," he said. He said that on an encouraging note, hospital admissions as well as fatalities are low. Goa recorded 14 deaths in July, and five this month till date. Not just in Goa, but even in other states, there has been a rise in infections, so much so that the Delhi government has mandated wearing of masks in public spaces, Suryawanshi said. "With cases still being reported, we cannot afford to relax completely," he said. He insisted that even people having mild symptoms should get themselves tested without delay. There has been an uptick in cases, while an outbreak has not been reported. State immunisation officer Dr Rajendra Borkar said that it appears as though the third wave of the pandemic has not ended, and ruled out the threat of a fourth wave. "When cases drop completely and remain stable on that level for a considerable period, then only we can say the wave has ended," he said. In February, health department officials had stated that Goa had crossed the peak of the third wave. The third wave in the state surged faster than the first two, and also reached its peak in the shortest duration, just 21 days.

Goa: As virus cases rise, health department urges people to wear masks in public places
After Centre’s snub, MPT looks to get pvt player on board for mobile harbour crane
Times of India | 4 months ago | 26-07-2022 | 04:13 am
Times of India
4 months ago | 26-07-2022 | 04:13 am

Panaji: The Centre has rejected Mormugao Port Authority’s (MPA) proposal for funding under the Sagarmala scheme to purchase a mobile harbour crane and has instead recommended that the port must go through the public-private partnership (PPP) route. MPA will now attempt to get a private player on board through a revenue sharing model for a period of 10 years, but this process could take at least six months, said MPA chairman Venkata Ramana Akkaraju. Akkaraju provided this information to a Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegation that went to discuss the infrastructure gaps at the port. “The chairman said that a tender will be floated at the end of July where a new crane will be mobilised for a period of 10 years on a revenue sharing model, but that the whole process might take up to six months to complete,” said a GCCI office bearer privy to the meeting. “He also informed that a proposal for funding a crane was put forth under the Sagarmala scheme, but it was not approved stating that the port should try sourcing the crane via the PPP model.” The GCCI delegation comprised Chandrakant Gawas, Dhirendra Thakker and Sanket Kaskar. The purpose of the meeting was to urge MPA to develop port infrastructure. Gawas informed the MPA chairman about the lack of regulatory authorities at the port to issue important clearances in the movement of cargo. “According to the export-import procedures, there should be six government partnered agencies which include drug controller, animal quarantine, plant quarantine and truck controller that should be present at the port to issue clearances, but currently, there are none who are authorised to sign the clearances,” said Gawas. Akkaraju said that due to the insignificant cargo movement, it is not feasible for regulatory authorities to be present at the port. Akkaraju said that increasing the cargo volume should be the first priority. GCCI pointed out that even though Goa has a significant number of pharmaceutical industries that source raw material and manufacture medicines and medical test kits, the companies are forced to ship the cargo through JNPT or Chennai port. Gawas informed Akkaraju that the GMR Group is willing to support MPA in any way required so that both the water and air modes of transport can be used for the logistics sector. A GCCI delegation, along with Akkaraju and deputy chairman MPA Guruprasad Rai, met with minister for state for tourism and ports Shripad Naik and also requested him to resolve the long-pending issues.

After Centre’s snub, MPT looks to get pvt player on board for mobile harbour crane
Daily Briefing: BJP-Eknath Shinde coalition wins trust vote in Maharashtra; scientists look at Omicron sub-variant amid spike in Covid cases
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | 05-07-2022 | 11:40 am
The Indian Express
4 months ago | 05-07-2022 | 11:40 am

Good morning,The BJP-Shinde Sena coalition won the trust vote with 164 votes, the same number it previously garnered in the Speaker’s election. The last day of the special assembly session was marked by an emotional speech from Shinde, who referred to the death of two of his children in a boat accident in June 2000. He also tried to reassure his political rivals saying: “We don’t subscribe to the politics of vendetta…”🔴 Having comfortably won the floor test, the coalition may not press for disqualification of the 15 MLAs left with Uddhav Thackeray. Highly placed sources in the BJP said the party wanted “truce”, even though Speaker Rahul Narwekar said he would seek their disqualification as they had ignored a whip issued by the Shinde side for the Speaker election.🔴 Meanwhile, the failure of 11 Congress MLAs, including former CM Ashok Chavan, to cast their vote in the floor test led to raised eyebrows within the party with senior leaders raising concern and questioning their “recklessness” and “casual behaviour”. Chavan said: “We were late by two or three minutes. They closed the gates. There is no foul play. We were stuck in traffic.”At least 26 recommendations for appointment of judges to the Bombay High Court, which is currently functioning at almost half its sanctioned strength, are pending with the government at different stages of consideration, The Indian Express has learnt. The Bombay High Court currently has 57 judges against a sanctioned strength of 96 judges. At least five more judges are expected to retire this year.Scientists in India probing the possible causes for the recent rise in Coronavirus cases said BA.2.75, one of the several sub-variants of the parent Omicron variant, was now one of the most commonly detected sub-variant in the country in recent results of genome sequencing. It has been found to have an 18 per cent growth advantage over the other currently circulating Omicron sub-variants. However, there is no evidence as of now to suggest that the BA.2.75 also causes a more severe form of infection.The government has barred hotels and restaurants from adding service charge “automatically or by default” in the food bill. It said that in case of violation, a consumer can ask the hotel/ restaurant to remove the service charge, or seek redressal by filing a complaint.As drama swirled around the Maharashtra government’s survival, one of the characters at the heart of it was a politician from Haryana, Sonia Doohan. The 30-year-old national president of the NCP students’ wing was held along with an aide for allegedly using fake identification documents to check into a hotel in Goa, where Sena rebels were staying. Doohan, who played an “important role in the fall of the three-day BJP government in 2019” according to NCP’s Dheeraj Sharma, has denied the allegations.A day after their capture of two heavily armed LeT militants, the residents of Tukson village in J&K remain firm: they will not give way to terrorists, at any cost. One of the residents involved in the capture, a BA student, told The Indian Express about how he had alerted his brother of two “unknown people posing as traders” at a dhok. This led to a gathering of seven residents, who formed a cordon, and eventually went on to overpower the duo.A year since the Covid-induced oxygen crisis, hospitals in Delhi are struggling to keep the pressure-swing adsorption (PSA) plants going. Most of them switch on the plant once a week or for a couple of hours every day to ensure that the machine remains functional. The reason for this are multiple: High operation and maintenance cost, lower quality of oxygen generated, and fear of antagonising the regular liquid medical oxygen suppliers.Mumbai’s chawl and low-income housing localities have always boasted of a community dance culture. B-Girl Bar-B, born Siddhi Tambe, took her first steps in Breaking at a similar community centre. The 18-year-old has now earned a ticket to New York after emerging India champ at the Red Bull BC One Cypher earlier this month. We take a look at her journey.Delhi Confidential: Union Minister Amit Shah annually visits his village on the occasion of Bhaidooj and the second day of Navratri and participates in the meeting of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies. Shah revealed this while responding to Cabinet colleague Parshottam Rupala, who took a jibe at cooperative leaders and asked them how they contribute to the sector, during an event to mark the 100th International Day of Cooperatives.In today’s episode of the ‘3 things’ podcast, we talk about Maharashtra’s new government clearing the floor test in the Assembly and the protests against its decision to build a metro shed in Aarey forest. We also discuss a fratricide case in BSF and the rising concern of mental health issues among police forces.Until tomorrow,Leela Prasad and Sonal Gupta

Daily Briefing: BJP-Eknath Shinde coalition wins trust vote in Maharashtra; scientists look at Omicron sub-variant amid spike in Covid cases
  • Maharashtra Floor Test Live Updates: BJP-Shinde camp govt crosses majority mark in trust vote; SC to hear plea challenging Shinde faction’s whip on July 11
  • The Indian Express

  • Maharashtra Assembly session from today; Shinde govt to face floor test on July 4
  • The Indian Express

    The four-day old Shiv Sena-BJP government will face the floor test on July 4 during the special two-day session of the Legislative Assembly beginning here Sunday.The election to the post of the Speaker of the House will be held Sunday after the House proceedings begin at 11 am, an official said.Sena MLA and Uddhav Thackeray loyalist Rajan Salvi is the candidate of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine for the Speaker’s election. He is pitted against first-time BJP legislator Rahul Narvekar.Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who support Shinde returned to Mumbai from Goa on Saturday evening on the eve of the Assembly session, and were lodged in a luxury hotel in south Mumbai, where Vidhan Bhavan, venue of the floor test, is located.NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed that Narhari Zirwal, the deputy Speaker, can perform officiating Speaker’s duties even though a no-confidence motion is pending against him. The post of Speaker is vacant since February last year after Nana Patole of Congress quit.As many as 50 MLAs who support Shinde, including 39 rebel legislators of the Shiv Sena, on Saturday evening flew to Mumbai from Goa by a chartered flight. Shinde, who had flown to Goa in the morning, accompanied them back.Shinde has the support of 10 legislators of smaller parties and independents and 106 MLAs of the BJP in the 288-member House.Following is the party position in the Assembly: Shiv Sena 55, NCP 53, Congress 44, BJP 106, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi 3, Samajwadi Party 2, AIMIM 2, Prahar Janshakti Party 2, MNS 1, CPI (M) 1, PWP 1, Swambhimani Paksha 1, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha 1, Jansurajya Shakti Party 1, Krantikari Shetkari Party 1, and Independents 13.There is a vacancy due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke last month.Two NCP members – Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal – have tested COVID-19 positive, while two other party legislators – Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik – are currently in jail.

  • Maharashtra Speaker’s election today: Stage set for first test for new CM Shinde
  • The Indian Express

    WITH THE Speaker’s election slated for Sunday after Shiv Sena announced the candidature of its MLA Rajan Salvi for the post against BJP’s Rahul Narwekar, the stage is set for the first test for the newly sworn-in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his group of Sena rebels, and for BJP and the Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in on Thursday and the Governor has called for a special session of the assembly on Sunday and Monday for the Speaker’s election followed by a floor test. The election will mark the first battle in the House between Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena which has 16 MLAs, and Shnde-led rebel group with 39 MLAs.On Saturday, Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu issued a whip, asking all the MLAs to be present in the assembly and cast their votes in favour of Salvi.Replying to the whip issued by Prabhu, Chief Minister Shinde asserted that it does not apply to his group as they have more than two-thirds of the total 55 Sena MLAs. He said, “We will face the floor test and we will win”.Sources said a separate whip is likely to be issued by the Shinde faction for the election and the floor test.Ajay Chaudhari, Shiv Sena legislative party leader said, “We have a strategy in place but I can’t disclose it now.’’ Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said, “We will fight the Speaker’s election and we believe in the Constitution. I have heard that the Shinde faction spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar said that Uddhav Thackeray is their leader. These MLAs now must obey the whip and vote for Rajan Salvi.”Shiv Sena parliamentary party leader Vinayak Raut said, “We have issued a whip that the rebel MLAs should vote for Rajan Salvi. If they don’t, it will be an added material in our case in Supreme Court for disqualifying them.”A three-time MLA, Salvi was accompanied by Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Sena legislature party leader Ajay Chaudhari, state NCP chief Jayant Patil, and Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat while filing his nomination for the election.Meanwhile, late Friday night, Thackeray sacked Shinde from the post of Shiv Sena leader in party organisation for indulging in “anti party activities’ ‘.“Dear Shri Shinde, You have been indulging in anti-party activities and have also voluntarily given up your membership of Shiv Sena. Therefore, in exercise of the powers vested in me as the Shiv Sena Paksha Pramukha, I remove you from the post of Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation,” the letter issued by Thackeray read.The move came after Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis took oath as CM and deputy CM respectively on Thursday. Sources in Shinde camp said that they will challenge the letter legally.Ahead of the Speaker’s election, the rebel Sena MLAs and Independent MLAs returned to Mumbai on Saturday evening after spending almost 11 days out of the state — first in Gujarat, then in Assam, and then in Goa. They arrived in Mumbai on a special flight and will be camped at a south Mumbai five-star hotel along with BJP MLAs.Addressing them, CM Shinde asserted that the whip of state legislative leader Bharat Gogawale, who is a part of his group, will be applicable to them, and not that of Shiv Sena’s which has been reduced to a minority.Security was beefed up in Mumbai and police security was deployed along the route from Mumbai airport to South Mumbai hotel to avoid any untoward incident.As the floor test is also scheduled on Monday, Shiv Sena president and former CM Uddhav Thackeray held meetings with party leaders to carve out a strategy. Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap and Congress working president Charan Singh Sapra also met Thackeray at Matorshree Saturday afternoon and all MVA leaders held a meeting in the evening.The NCP legislature party will hold a meeting on Sunday morning to decide their strategy. State NCP president Jayant Patil said, “I feel elections should not be held. All three parties gave a letter… We have a deputy Speaker, Narhari Zirwal, and he has the right to run the House… When the government has changed, Koshyari has allowed elections for a Speaker and people are watching these developments.”Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “Earlier, MVA demanded election of Speaker and it was denied by the Governor quoting law related to elections. Now, we can’t understand the reason to have elections. The Governor should not forget that he is a constitutional authority, and not a BJP worker.”

As active Covid-19 cases cross 1-lakh mark after 122 days, here’s what trend shows
The Indian Express | 4 months ago | 30-06-2022 | 07:40 pm
The Indian Express
4 months ago | 30-06-2022 | 07:40 pm

Covid-19 cases have been on the rise again in India, with the country recording over 18,000 cases after a gap of 130 days, taking the cumulative tally to 4,34,52,164, according to data put out by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday. Cases have increased by 78 per cent from the average two weeks ago and deaths, too, have gone up by 119 per cent.Active cases in the country also crossed the one-lakh mark on Thursday after a gap of 122 days. A total of 18,819 new Covid cases were reported in a span of 24 hours while the death toll climbed to 5,25,116 with 39 new fatalities. The active cases, as such, went up to 1,04,555 comprising 0.24 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate stood at 98.55 per cent.An increase of 4,953 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 4.16 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 3.72 per cent, according to the ministry.Where are Covid cases rising again?According to the data published by the Health Ministry, there are 43 districts around the country that are recording a weekly positivity rate of 10 per cent or more. Kerala tops this list with 11 districts, followed by Mizoram (6) and Maharashtra (5).Among the districts, Mizoram’s Kolasib tops the list, recording a positivity rate of 64.86 per cent. However, what is to be kept in mind is that the state does not perform too many Covid-19 tests when compared to others. The positivity rate is the proportion of samples tested that return positive.The other states that have been witnessing a noticeable rise include Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Manipur, Mizoram, Goa, Karnataka and Puducherry. While there are 42 districts in India that are recording a positivity rate between 5 and 10 per cent, the 627 others are still below the 5 per cent-mark.According to the trend this month, the country crossed the 4,000-mark on June 3, 7,000-mark on June 9, 8,000-mark on June 11, 12,000-mark on June 16, 13,000-mark on June 18, 17,000-mark on June 24 and 18,000-mark on June 30.India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. The country crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23 last year. It crossed 4 crore on January 25 this year.What about deaths?The 39 new fatalities recorded on Thursday include 17 from Kerala, 7 from Maharashtra, 4 from Uttar Pradesh, 3 from Punjab, 2 each from Haryana, Karnataka and West Bengal and 1 each from Delhi and Sikkim.Of the total deaths recorded to date, 1,47,922 are from Maharashtra, 69,993 from Kerala, 40,117 from Karnataka, 38,026 from Tamil Nadu, 26,261 from Delhi, 23,538 from Uttar Pradesh and 21,218 from West Bengal. To put it into perspective, at least 1 in 2,602 Indians have died from the novel coronavirus, taking the cumulative toll to 5,25,116.The Health Ministry, however, stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.What does the trend show?Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 31 residents have been infected with Covid-19 in India. An average of 15,315 cases per day were reported in India in the last week with new infections increasing by 78 per cent from the average two weeks ago and deaths by 119 per cent.

As active Covid-19 cases cross 1-lakh mark after 122 days, here’s what trend shows