Bringing the ‘Exiled’ King of Punjab back to India

first_imgFirst turbaned UK MP Tanmanjit Singh Dhesi backs the demand of bringing back the remains of Maharaja Duleep Singh from England to India. More than 120 years after the death of the king of Punjab who was dethroned and separated from his family by the British, Sikhs ask to perform his cremation in Punjab.\‘The Black Prince’ The story of the last ruler of the Sikh empire recently resurfaced with the release of The Black Prince starring singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj and veteran actress Shabana Azmi. Directed by Kavi Raz, this is the first film that brings alive the fascinating story of Maharaja Duleep Singh who was torn between two countries: his homeland and the empire that colonised it.Maharaja Duleep Singh was born in 1838 to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his wife Jinda Kaur. His father was one for the most powerful rulers India had seen. When Ranjit Singh was ruling the Sikh empire, Afghans and the British had taken over most of India, but they couldn’t dare to attack Punjab, according to India Times. Until his death in 1839, Ranjit Singh kept the British colonisers and other invaders at bay.After her husband’s death, Jinda Kaur moved to Jammu along with her son, Duleep Singh but not for long. After his four predecessors were killed, five-year old Duleep Singh was called back to Lahore, the capital of the Sikh empire and he was crowned as the Maharaja of Punjab. His mother and uncle took care of the state affairs.Separated From his MotherIn 1845, the first Anglo-Sikh war broke out which the Sikhs lost and lost some of their major regions. In 1849, the second Anglo-Sikh war started and ended with the collapse of the Sikh empire.  Punjab was made a part of British India and Maharaja Duleep Singh was removed from the throne. The British forcibly separated the young ruler from his mother and sent him to Fatehgarh in the then North-West Province.Placed under the guardianship of army surgeon Spencer Logan and his wife Lady Logan, he was educated in the English way.“He was taught a very English way of life – his language, culture, religion were cut off from him and he became a ward of the British. And here he could be moulded to how the British wanted him to be,” says historian Peter Bance Speaking to the BBC.Converted to ChristianityHe was handed a bible at a very young age and eventually the Sikh ruler converted to Christianity. He was sent to England in May 1854 where Queen Victoria developed an immediate liking towards him.Talking about the initial bonding between the Queen and the young Sikh ruler, Bance said, “He was that exotic prince and she treated him like a favourite son and he would be invited to every royal gathering. He even holidayed with Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. He became the ideal party piece that every lord and lady wanted at their event.”In the land of the colonisers, the young prince grew up like a white royal, as per The Express. In his twenties, he lived in Perthshire, Scotland where he came to be known as “The Black Prince of Perthshire’.Sikh Identity and Indian RootsAfter 13 years of separation his mother was brought to England and the duo were united. His mother started to remind him of the home he was separated from, his Sikh identity and the Indian roots. Just two years after their reconciliation his mother passed away.He then married Bamba Muller a girl from Cairo and shifted to Elveden Hall which was converted into an Indian-style palace. He fathered six children with Muller. But gradually he realized that the British pension he got was insufficient for his lavish parties. In 1870s when financial troubles increased he reached out to the government in India, asking for his lost land. He received no response to his repeated requests.Put Under House ArrestHistorians believe that the Maharaja felt extreme resent when he witnessed the Kohinoor diamond from India being gifted to Queen Victoria. This to him was a theft. As Duleep Singh was attached to Queen Victoria who was the godmother to his children, he felt torn between his loyalties to a country he grew up in and his homeland he had left behind. But in 1886 he decided to go back to India, revert to Sikhism and reclaim his land. He set sail to India but he was detained and put under house arrest in Aden by the British who saw him as threat.His family who had accompanied him were sent back to England. After the years of internal conflict about identity, Maharaja did convert to Sikhism during the house arrest, but he died a lonely death in 1893 in the city of Paris.Bronze Statue of the MaharajaIn 1999, Prince Charles unveiled a bronze statue of the last Maharaja of Punjab on Butten Island, near the Elveden Estate where he spent most of his time during his exile.Artist Amrit Singh who along with Rabindra Singh created the famous- Casualty of War: A Portrait of Maharaja Duleep Singh told The Guardian, “He always had people telling him what to do, who to be. He was moulded into a Christian gentleman, then would be asked to wear full Indian dress when paraded at Victoria and Albert’s parties. There was that sense that he would never truly be one of them, which British Asians can still identify with. But he also had a great affection for Britain, the Logins and Victoria.” Related Itemslast_img read more

What in the World!

first_img?Some say atoms and fundamental particles make the universe, others that strings of vibrating energy are the building blocks, and a few suggest the material world is a grant illusion. The list of building blocks grows forever, yet none of these answers are complete. Where should we look? Is the entire universe nothing more than God’s dream, as some idealists like to believe, or is it an absolute entity independent of our practices and beliefs? How small can we go? The fifth-century BC Greek philosopher and scholar Democritus conjectured that the universe consists of empty space and an (almost) infinite number of invisible particles that differ from each other in form, position, and arrangement. He postulated that all matter is made of indivisible particles called atoms (Atom in Greek means indivisible): “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. The worlds are unlimited. They come into being and perish. Nothing can come into being from that which is not, nor pass away into that which is not. Further, the atoms are unlimited in size and number, and they are borne along in the whole universe in a vortex, and thereby generate all composite things — fire, water, air, earth.”Though modern science adopted the name atom as conceived originally by Democritus, it is not indivisible any more. Scientists identified protons, electrons and neutrons as the constituents of the atom in the 19th and 20th centuries. Furthermore, protons and neutrons are found to be composite particles of quarks and gluons that bind them together.Whereas Europeans later revived the atomism conceived by Greek philosophers, ancient India envisaged the same idea. R. A. Horne in Atomism in Ancient Greece and India writes:“The atomistic system of the Indian philosopher Kanada (dates very uncertain) was designedly empirical; its expressed purpose was to give an account of the image of the external world which we receive through our senses.” In Sanskrit paramanu has been translated as the smallest entity that cannot be divided further, while anu is considered to be atoms. Mysteriously, the Vedas and their interpretations do not offer many details about this atomic view, and for that reason atomism was not projected as a prominent thought in the Hindu school of philosophy. It has been generally agreed that the Indian and Greek versions of atomism developed independently in 5th or 6th century B.C.The idea of atomism, however, flourished in Buddhist philosophy through logical presuppositions.The early Buddhist thoughts about the world  had its foundations on the Hindu elements of air, earth, fire, water and ether. Ether is often referred to as void. It plays an important role in Buddhist thought. The Hridaya sutra, which belongs to the Mahayana text, repeatedly says, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” When one looks closely at the structure of the atoms, it is easy to comprehend how an atom springs from predominantly empty space that separates the nucleus and electron cloud that surrounds it.The internal structure of the atom, as revealed by the scientific pursuit, is strange enough to pose many profound questions, such as the nature of reality. One might think of an atom as a solid ball with neutrons and protons in the nucleus and further small electrons zipping around them. Based on scientific analysis, this is not even close to the truth. Atoms are mostly empty, to be precise 99.999999% empty. The emptiness, the space between the nucleus and electrons, is what makes up the lion share and that makes an atom an atom.However, the meaning of emptiness described in Buddhism is markedly different from nothingness. People usually relate nihilism with Buddhism. But the idea of emptiness in Buddhism does not reject ultimate reality, as it proclaims emptiness as a form and form is emptiness. Emptiness, in Buddhism, is neither non-existence, nor does it promote non-reality as in nihilism.Later on, mostly in the 20th century, physicists exploring the fundamental world have identified 12 building blocks that are the essential to the makeup of matter. Scientists also categorized four elementary types of forces acting among these particles — strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravitational force. The now famous Standard Model of particles suggest that our everyday world, including our own body, is made up of these elementary particles and the forces that interact among these particles.In recent times, the much celebrated string theory promised an elegant picture of the universe with vibrating strings of energy as the underlying entity that makes up everything, including these fundamental particles. This radical idea, however, still remains in the realm of philosophy as it has failed to provide any experimental or observational evidence thus far. But, the unparalleled similar views that guided ancient wisdom and modern science as they sought the answers to the most fundamental entity, are worth exploring.The apparent solidity and form — the qualities attributed to all objects — are, in fact, an illusion on a microscopic scale. The atoms that make up objects are inherently empty, although these very same atoms make up elements and they in turn create organic and non-organic compounds. Even 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of just six elements — oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus — and their constituents are atoms.At the most fundamental level the particles and forces may converge, and most probably, we haven’t yet mastered the laws of nature that dictate this interplay. Until then, the illusion of form and shape instill in us the realities we claim to be true.According to quantum physicists, even particles are not what they seem. They are merely the tendencies to exist rather than material objects. They are not the tiny spherical balls that could bounce off each other, as one might assume. The emptiness or vacuum that we portray as the absence of any material is not empty in that sense. Virtual particles always pop up and out of existence in the vacuum. Particles and forces all are interconnected and interdependent and it is the cause of everything that is manifested and unmanifested.Perhaps, everything that originated and existed is dependent on a single underlying entity that has neither yet been found by science or revealed to us by ancient wisdom, at least in our own language. Even consciousness is part of that scheme, in addition to the normal senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste.The philosophy of emptiness reflects a big paradox about the true nature of the world. We know that matter and energy are different manifestations of the same property and can be interchanged. The ancient Vedas, in its own language, describes the unmanifested. With the curiosity of a school child, one could ask what makes up both the existent and the non-existent? At this point, science, which explores mainly the world of the manifested, cannot provide a final answer. The principle of dependent origination denies the existence of anything with an independent or intrinsic identity. In that sense emptiness is equally expressive as material objects. The plurality and inclusiveness, the key elements of eastern philosophy, have a broader appeal to philosophers and scientists alike. It has been estimated that our observable universe contains about 1080 atoms. But it is also estimated that the universe we describe materially is just about 5% of the known universe!Our philosophers and scientists must look at reality without any prejudice of views, ideas and perceptions. As Edgar Allen Poe wrote, “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”Until then, we don’t know whether men are the dreams of Gods or Gods the dream of men. Related Itemslast_img read more

Scientists Discover First Jurassic-Era ‘Fish Lizard’ Fossil in India

first_imgThe discovery of a near-complete fossil of a Jurassic-period “fish lizard” from a village in Gujarat’s Kutch district is “the most significant Indian fossil record” and throws light on India’s biological connectivity with other continents during that period over 150 million years ago, says a scientist involved with the excavation.The fossil of an ichthyosaur, literally “fish lizard” in Greek, was the first near-complete and articulated reptile found in India as all the previous fossils found were fragmented, small, non-complete and inarticulate.The find also represented the first record from the Jurassic period (199.6 to 145.5 million years ago) in India as well as the Mesozoic era (between 250 and 65 million years).“This is a remarkable discovery not only because it is the first Jurassic Ichthyosaur record from India, but it also throws light on the evolution and diversity of Ichthyosaurs in the Indo-Madagascan region of the former Gondwanaland and India’s biological connectivity with other continents in the Jurassic,” Guntupalli Prasad, a vertebrate paleontologist at University of Delhi and also lead researcher of a paper published in journal PLOS ONE, told IANS.The fossil measured between 5.0 and 5.5 m in length and is thought to belong to the Ophthalmosauridae family, which likely lived between around 165 and 90 million years ago. The tooth wear patterns suggest that it preyed on hard-skinned animals.“Our finding is significant because it is the first Ichthyosaur record from the Jurassic rocks of India as well as South Asia and it is also the only articulated nearly complete skeleton from the Mesozoic rocks of India,” Prasad said.“Ichthyosaur is the most significant Indian fossil record and throws light on the vertebrate fauna — their evolution, changing latitudinal position and climatic zones — inhabiting the Indian plate during its northward journey during the Mesozoic era,” he said.“When identified at genus and species level it may throw some new light on marine faunal interchanges between Europe, Indo-Madagascan bioprovince and South America,” Prasad said.The research began with a field study in the Kas Hill area near Lodai village, 30 km northeast of Bhuj town, where the researchers found small fragmentary bones as well as an in-situ rib of the animal.Following this, a full scale excavation of the skeleton took place, which was completed in 10 days over 1,500 man-hours assisted by Masters students from Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh and Delhi Universities.The discovery has an important bearing on the diversity and evolution of Ichthyosaurs in the former southern super-continent Gondwanaland where these marine reptiles were believed to have scant presence as compared to their abundance in the Northern Hemisphere continents.While many Ichthyosaur fossils have been found in North American and Europe, in the Southern Hemisphere, their fossil record has mostly been limited to South America and Australia.Although India hosts extensive marine Jurassic deposits both in the Himalayan and peninsular Indian (Kutch, Jaisalmer) regions, until now no Ichthyosaur remains have been documented.The discovery expands knowledge on morphological diversity and geographic distribution of Late Jurassic ophthalmosaurids, their dietary habits and palaeobiogeography, the scientist said.During the excavation, Ichthyosaurs was found among fossils of ammonites and squid-like belemnites.The vertebral column, ribs, neural spines, gastralia and two associated fins were found in articulation.Additionally, a part of the snout representing the premaxilla was found at the anterior end of the preserved vertebral column and a few isolated teeth, vertebrae, jaw fragments, and other bone fragments were found scattered around the excavation site.The skeleton is encased in a hard, ferruginous nodular matrix whereas the ribs are preserved in soft shale. The vertebral column preserved a portion of the cervical region, the entire dorsal region, and a part of the pre-flexural region and measures 3.6 m.Taking into consideration its 36 cm long preserved premaxillary bone, missing skull region and the post-flexural vertebrae, it is inferred that the complete skeleton may have measured between 5 and 5.5 m in length.The skeleton and two paddles were collected in six plaster jackets, before transporting it to the Kachchh University, where it is kept on display for general public, the scientist said.Prasad told IANS, that it is clear from the finding that Jurassic rocks of Kutch hold great potential for articulated skeletons of marine reptiles, and that the research team is preparing for more exploration in the Kutch mainland, island belt and surrounding hills.Besides, they also plan to undertake an intensive search for marine vertebrate fossils in Jurassic sedimentary rocks of this region as well as other marine basins such as Jaisalmer Basin in Rajasthan and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. — (IANS) Related ItemsGuntupalli PrasadIchthyosaurs discovery KutchIchthyosaurs fossil IndiaIndia paleontologistJurassic fossil IndiaJurassic-period fish lizardlast_img read more

The Problem With Fixing WhatsApp? Human Nature Might Get in the Way

first_imgShould the world worry about WhatsApp? Has it become a virulent new force in global misinformation and political trickery?Or, rather, should the world rejoice about WhatsApp? After all, hasn’t it provided a way for people everywhere to communicate securely with encrypted messages, beyond the reach of government surveillance?These are deep and complicated questions. But the answer to all of them is simple: Yes.In recent months, the messaging app, which is owned by Facebook and has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide, has raised frightening new political and social dynamics. In Brazil, which is in a bruising national election campaign, WhatsApp has become a primary vector for conspiracy theories and other political misinformation. WhatsApp played a similar role in Kenya’s election last year. In India this year, false messages about child kidnappers went viral on WhatsApp, leading to mob violence that has killed dozens of people.WhatsApp said it was working to reduce the spread of misinformation on the service. Critics charge that it is not doing enough — and there is some merit to their claims. Yet the deeper you dig into the problems, the more intractable they can come to seem, even if the company were moving heaven and earth to fix them.Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, WhatsApp isn’t a social network. It is mostly a bare-bones texting app in which most conversations are private and unmediated by any kind of algorithm meant to amp up engagement. This design means WhatsApp has little control over what content takes off and what doesn’t; in most cases, the company cannot even see what is happening on WhatsApp because the service encrypts messages automatically.That means the real problem may be not so much WhatsApp the company or WhatsApp the product but something more fundamental — WhatsApp the idea.When you offer everyone access to free and private communication, lots of wonderful things may happen — and WhatsApp has been a godsend to vulnerable populations like migrants, dissidents and political activists. But a lot of terrible things are bound to happen, too — and it might be impossible to eliminate the bad without muzzling the good.In this light, WhatsApp is a powerful and permanent new reality and its problems aren’t likely to be solved as much as fitfully and sometimes unsatisfyingly managed. For better or worse, we are going to have to learn to live with it.“I thought WhatsApp would be a very dark place, a wild place, where all these conspiracy theories would be spreading and we wouldn’t know what they were talking about,” said Yasodara Córdova, a fellow at DigitalHKS, a center at Harvard’s Kennedy School that examines the role digital technologies play in government. Córdova has been working on Comprova, a fact-checking project to monitor social media sites during Brazil’s election.“But what I learned is that the stories on WhatsApp are common to all the media here,” she said.What sets WhatsApp apart is speed and reach, Córdova said. In Brazil, more than 120 million people use the service, which is offered free as part of mobile internet plans (that is, using WhatsApp does not count against people’s data rate). As it does in its other big markets — India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and much of Europe — WhatsApp functions in Brazil as an all-purpose communications tool. It is used for chatting and joking, for trading photos and memes, for news, for political activity and more.Because of that centrality, Córdova argued, the problems on WhatsApp in Brazil were mainly a function of the country’s broken political and media environment.“For example, we don’t really have public libraries in Brazil,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of sources of what people would consider reliable information — and the lack of good sources of information reinforces their beliefs when they see something false on WhatsApp or Facebook.”Which is not to say WhatsApp is without tools to rein in the mess. This year, after the mob violence in India — another problem that existed before WhatsApp and may simply have been amplified by the app — the company instituted rules to limit WhatsApp’s “virality.”In the past, people could freely forward a WhatsApp message to anyone. Now they are restricted to forwarding a message to 20 “chats,” distinct conversations with an individual or group of up to 256 people. (There are six people in the average group, WhatsApp said.) In India, WhatsApp has an even more restrictive forwarding limit: five chats.WhatsApp characterized the limits as an experiment. As the company learns more about how the limits affect users’ behavior, a spokeswoman told me, it could introduce additional fine-grain limits.In an op-ed article in The New York Times last week, a group of Brazilian researchers called for WhatsApp to institute the Indian forwarding limit in Brazil to cut down on false news during the campaign. WhatsApp has declined to do so. The spokeswoman said there was not enough time to change before the election, which takes place Sunday. (Changing the rules would require people to update their app, a process that takes weeks.)The company also pointed out that most discussions on WhatsApp are not viral forwards but instead are intimate conversations between individuals or small groups. “This is very different from other apps that are designed as broadcast platforms (rather like a global public square) where you can reach an audience of millions at the push of a button,” Chris Daniels, vice president of WhatsApp, wrote in a Facebook post last week.It is precisely WhatsApp’s close-knit sensibility that makes rumors on the service so pernicious. Familiarity on WhatsApp breeds trust, which most of the time is a pretty great social good. But in fast-moving situations with high stakes — natural disasters, wars, terrorist attacks or elections — trust on WhatsApp is turned on its head, becoming a key force behind viral falsity.That was the finding, at least, of a 2016 study by Tomer Simon, a researcher at Tel Aviv University who looked at how people used the internet during emergencies.Simon’s study concerned the kidnapping, in the summer of 2014, of three Israeli teenagers who were hitchhiking in the West Bank. The kidnapping led to an enormous Israeli military incursion into the West Bank; the boys were found dead over two weeks later.The Israeli military had instituted a gag order on press reports of the kidnapping, but on WhatsApp, Israelis began circulating stories about “something” being up. Through careful field research, Simon collected and sought to identify the source of many rumors that spread on WhatsApp in the earliest hours after the kidnapping.The rumors, Simon found, had a remarkable amount of detail. Several included the names of the kidnapped boys, which had not been made public. A few offered key facts about the search. And at least one of the rumors seemed deliberately intended to deceive — it said the boys had been rescued and that the militants who kidnapped them were killed.Simon tracked down the rumors to a surprising source: journalists and other civilians who had been briefed on the operation and who had used WhatsApp to leak details to their families or colleagues in small groups they assumed were private.The rumor that said the boys had been rescued was the most widely circulated. Of the people Simon interviewed, “two shared it only with one family member, two shared it with their WhatsApp family group, one shared it with an IDF officers’ WhatsApp group, one first-responder shared it verbally with his colleagues during his shift and one refused to answer the question,” he wrote, referring to the Israeli Defense Forces by the initials.The story here isn’t of malicious and indiscriminate rumor-mongering, Simon told me. It is, rather, a story of a few people who trusted other people, who in turn trusted others, each passing along what he or she considered important and necessary information to friends and colleagues.It’s a story of human nature. And that’s why, beyond learning to inhibit our natural tendency to share, it’s hard to know what can be done about false news on WhatsApp — other than bracing yourself for more.c.2018 New York Times News Service Related Itemslast_img read more

Bank Manager Arrested for Allegedly Raping Russian Woman in Vrindavan

first_imgThe manager of the Vrindavan branch of UCO Bank has been arrested for allegedly raping a 20-year-old Russian girl repeatedly since she came to India in September. The girl and the manager, Mahendra Prasad Singh, became friends on Facebook in 2016.  The girl came to India on Sept. 17 and visited Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh on his insistence. On Sept. 22, she was taken to a house and allegedly raped for several days.  “The manager of UCO Bank’s Vrindavan branch, Mahendra Prasad Singh, has been arrested based on a complaint filed by the woman today,” Vijay Shanker Mishra, the Deputy Superintendent of Police said, according to the Press Trust of India.   The 20-year-old complainant said that Singh had threatened her with dire consequences if she reported the rape. According to police procedure, she was sent for medical examination. Singh and the girl became friends on Facebook in November 2016 and talked to each other often, the FIR reads.  She came forward with her complaint only after another Russian woman she met advised her to do so.  The temple town of Vrindavan has been in the news recently for an increased rate of crime. In 2015, an American woman had alleged that a sadhu raped her. Activist Vipin Chaturvedi said in 2015 that pilgrims arrive at all times and there isn’t enough police protection or infrastructure like street lights.  “The foreign bhakts are techno-savvy, connected with the world through internet. Many come for some kind of spiritual adventure,” activist Pavan Gautam of Mathura told the Times of India in 2015. “Some of them are high on drugs and keep the company of babas in ashrams. Braj Mandal is now an emerging spiritual hub with a whole lot of attractions. Soon, the tallest Sri Krishna temple will come up here. But the question is, are police ready for the new challenges?”   Prior to this, a 60-year-old Italian Iskcon devotee filed a police complaint against an ascetic in October 2014, and in February 2015 a 82-year-old Russian woman was attacked and robbed.   Related Itemslast_img read more

India Rescued 80,000 Distressed Citizens in 3 Years: Sushma Swaraj

first_imgAs many as 80,000 distressed Indians were rescued safely from different countries in three years since the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on August 27.“The MEA now has a humane face… Earlier, we kept hearing that even if there are a couple of their citizens in distress, countries like the United States and Israel would rescue them from anywhere. It is heartening to share that we have rescued 80,000 Indians in three years,” Swaraj said.She was speaking at the inauguration of the country’s first Videsh Bhavan, assimilating all Regional Passport Offices and allied departments under a single roof at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here.Swaraj said the government had brought in several changes due to which “India has emerged as an influential and sensitive state across the world”.On the issue of passports, she reiterated the government’s resolve for effective and speedy service delivery.“Till 2014, only 77 Passport Seva Kendras were operating in the country. Now, 251 such centres are working, of which 235 were made functional in the last six months.”On the efforts to streamline procedures for issuance of passports, she said many rules that created hurdles in this regard have been discarded and made more relevant to the present times.“Earlier, orphans without birth certificate were not entitled to passports. Similarly was the case for divorcees. We have changed the rules to make them more citizen-friendly.”Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said it is the first Videsh Bhavan of the country and “will be a model for other states to follow”.“Being an international-class city, Mumbai works very closely with the MEA and the Videsh Bhavan will help even more in this regard,” he said.Under a pilot project, four offices of MEA — Regional Passport Office, Protector of Emigrants office, Branch Secretariat and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations’ Regional Office — have been integrated and brought under one roof at the state-of-art office in BKC, Regional Passport Officer Swati Kulkarni said.Earlier, Sushma Swaraj lit the ceremonial lamp to inaugurate the Videsh Bhavan in the presence of Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh (retd), Fadnavis, and Administrator of Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Praful Patel, besides other dignitaries.The inauguration follows the shifting of the RPO from its Worli premises to the Videsh Bhavan from August 14 and merging of the Thane and Mumbai RPOs from August 21, which have already become functional.The existing Passport Seva Kendras in Thane, Thane-II, Malad (Mumbai) and Nashik will continue to function from their existing locations but under the administrative jurisdiction of the RPO Mumbai. Related ItemsLittle IndiaMEA Indians abroadMEA NRI rescuepassport office MumbaiSushma Swaraj Indian immigrantsSushma Swaraj NRIVidesh Bhavan Mumbailast_img read more

Halimah Yacob to be Singapore’s First Woman President

first_imgTiding over the controversies regarding her Indian roots and the way she was elected to the country’s highest post, Halimah Yacob officially became the President of Singapore on Sept. 13. She reached the post even though no election was conducted this time, as the applications of her competitors — Farid Khan and Salleh Marican — were rejected for failing to meet the criteria set for presidential candidates.“I declare Halimah Yacob as the candidate elected as the president of the Republic of Singapore,” returning officer Ng Wai Choong announced.Yacob, a former speaker of Parliament, has become the first woman to hold the position in Singapore. She will also be the first President to live in a Housing Board flat during her term, and is the first Malay head of state in five decades, after Yusof Ishak, whose image is used on the country’s bank notes.Yacob was certified by the Presidential Elections Commission as the only eligible candidate on Sept. 11, which made her assume the post without an election.Inspiring Speech After Formal DeclarationSeveral supporters of Yacob gathered at the People Association headquarters at King’s George Avenue on Wednesday morning. Dressed in orange, they blew whistles and chanted her name as she arrived.“I am a president for everyone, regardless of race, language, religion or creed. I represent everyone. My duty remains only to Singapore and Singaporeans. My duty remains only to you. Although there is no election, my commitment to serve you remains the same,” she said, the Strait Times reported.“Although this is a reserved election, I am not a reserved President,” she added. “Every woman can aspire to the highest office of the land, if you have the courage, the determination and the will to work hard.”Yacob’s rise to the post is significant in the country, as she belongs to the Malay ethnicity, which forms just 13 per cent of the country’s population. The presidency was reserved for Malay candidates this time to strengthen the sense of inclusivity in the multicultural country.Not all Singaporeans Happy  The “Selected Not Elected” factor will be one of the biggest criticisms that Yacob will face in the coming days. Just a few months before the presidential election, the Singapore government mandated that this year’s candidature is reserved only for people from Malay background. The Parliament also substantially raised the criteria for financial management.Salleh Marican and Farid Khan could not qualify for the election, as their companies didn’t have at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, a rule that was recently tightened by the government. In the case of Yacob, this criteria was not applicable as she was the speaker in Singapore Parliament, and those who have served as public officers can qualify for the election.“Singaporeans have always known that our politicians… consider themselves superior beings,” writer Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh said, BBC had reported. “Now, with this reserved presidency, we have irrefutable proof about just how stupid they think we are.”Who is Halimah Yacob?Yacob was born on August 23, 1954, in her family home at Queen Street. She was the youngest of five children. Her father, who was a watchman of Indian descent, died when she was eight, and her mother became the sole bread winner of the family.She went on to get a degree in law, and entered politics at the behest of former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Yacob became a Minister of State in 2011, and the first woman to be elected the Speaker of the House in 2013.“From the age of 10, my hours outside of school were spent being my mother’s assistant: cleaning, washing, clearing tables and serving customers, and I am a better person for it,” Yacob writes on her website. “I have experienced poverty first-hand and know how debilitating it can be as you struggle to survive, to put food on the table and also grapple with the uncertainty of the future on a daily basis. It limits your choices but also tempers your determination to succeed.” – IANS Related ItemsHalimah YacobHalimah Yacob Singapore PresidentSingapore President Halimah Singaporelast_img read more

Canada PM Skips Khalsa Day Parade in Toronto This Year

first_imgRecovering from the debacle of his India trip and resulting controversies surrounding the visit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opted to skip the annual Khalsa Day Parade in Toronto on April 29, the Hindustan Times reported. His appearance at the event last year invited disapproval from the Indian government.The parade, which sees Sikhs sporting Khalistan flags and chanting Sikh independence slogans, was, however, attended by top Canadian leaders, who also participated in Surrey’s Baisakhi celebration in British Columbia last week. Among the politicians who attended both the events was New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, who has faced heat for being associated with Sikh separatist events in the past. He said in Toronto that human rights violations in India were similar to those in Syria and those against the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Hindustan Times reported. While Singh’s presence at the Surrey event went unannounced and unmarked on social media, he was in the limelight in Toronto.Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne also addressed the gathering, where banners for a 2020 referendum for a separate Sikh homeland, and Khalistan flags were seen flying. The posters at Khalsa Day Parade featured Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the founder of Khalistan movement. Floats in memory of assassins of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were also seen at the event, the report added. Cabinet minister Navdeep Bains was also present at the parade, along with a host of other Canadian MPs and political leaders.Trudeau, who was scheduled to be in Toronto for the #TorontoStrong vigil held in memory of victims in a van rampage, bypassed the nagar kirtan — a neighborhood recital of hymns — held at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. An Indian official called Trudeau’s move as “some improvement,” even as the attendance of other leaders at the events seemed like “business as usual,” the report added.The referendum posters and floats honoring Indira Gandhi’s assassins were also seen at Baisakhi celebration in Surrey last week, which was attended by British Columbia’s premier John Horgan, and several provincial legislators, according to local Surrey publications.The Surrey event was organized by Dashmesh Durbar gurdwara, where Talwinder Singh Parmar, the accused of the bombing of Air India flight 182 in 1985, is memorialized.Saying that politicians in Canada respect “freedom for expression” of Canadian Sikhs, Gurpatwant Pannun, legal adviser for Sikhs For Justice, the organization that was present at Khalsa Day Parade and is at the forefront of the 2020 referendum demand, told the Hindustan Times: “It’s not India’s place to direct Canadian political leaders where they can go.”The Khalsa Day Parade was also held at other places around the world, including Birmingham in the United Kingdom. New Jersey’s Hoboken Mayor Ravinder Bhalla attended the event at Manhattan. Victoria in Australia saw a parade for the first time in 100 years, Times Colonist reported. These parades generally include men, women and children dressed in traditional clothes, live music, a display of Sikh martial arts, decorated floats and culinary specialties. Related ItemsCanadaJustin TrudeauSikhismlast_img read more

Indians Received Over 74 Per Cent of H-1B Visas Issued in U.S. in Last Two Years

first_imgTechnology professionals from India took up 74.2 per cent of the total number of H-1B visas issued by the United States in 2016, which increased to 75.6 per cent in 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in its latest report.China came second in terms of the number of H-1B visas received, with 9.3 and 9.4 per cent, respectively, for 2016 and 2017, according to the report, released on May 7. There was a drop of 4.1 per cent in the number of new H-1B beneficiaries from India approved for initial employment in the fiscal year of 2017. However, the number of beneficiaries approved for continuing employment increased by 12.5 per cent in the same year.The report, titled “Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers,” was sent to U.S. lawmakers on April 10. It showed that 70,737 Indians received initial H-1B visas in 2016, and the number dropped to 67,815 last year. A total of 185,489 visas for continuing employment were issued to Indians in 2016, which increased to 208,608 in 2017. In total, 256,226 Indians received H-1B visas in fiscal year 2016 while the corresponding figure was 276,423 in 2017.According to USCIS, the total number of H-1B petitions increased by 1.24 per cent in the period, from 398,718 in 2016 to 403,675 in 2017. The number of H-1B petitions approved jumped about 5.9 per cent, from 345,262 in 2016 to 365,682 in 2017. The median salary of beneficiaries of approved petitions increased from $82,000 in 2016 to $85,000 in 2017.The number of H-1B petitions approved for workers aged between 25 and 34 years constituted 66.2 per cent of the total approvals in 2017 while the number of H-1B petitions for workers with a bachelor degree was 45.2 per cent that year. About 44.5 per cent of approved petitions were for workers with a master’s degree, while 6.8 per cent went to those with a doctorate, 3.3 per cent went to workers with a professional degree, and 69.8 per cent were received by those in computer-related occupations in 2017 fiscal, the report said.The number of H-1B petitions approved for workers in computer-related occupations increased by 6.6 per cent, from 237,837 in 2016 to 254,592 in 2017. As per the USCIS, the number of H-1B petitions for all other occupation groups increased by 3.4 per cent, from 106,418 in fiscal year 2016 to 110,009 in 2017.The H-1B petition for initial employment is filed by the employer, and only some of them are applicable under the annual cap. The ones exempt from annual cap include petitions submitted by non-profit research organizations or government research organizations.The employment petitions are usually extensions, sequential employment or concurrent employment, which are filed for foreigners already staying and working in the United States. The extensions are filed for H-1B workers who want to work beyond the initial three-year period up to a total of six years. Six years is the maximum period permissible under law. Related ItemsH-1B visaUnited StatesUSCISlast_img read more

TCS Among 10 Companies to Get Foreign Labor Certification for H-1B Visas

first_imgIndia’s top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is the only Indian company in the top 10 list to get foreign labor certification for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018. According to official data, TCS received over 20,000 such certifications.In the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2018, TCS was ranked 7th in the list of top 10, while London-headquartered Ernst and Young topped the list with 151,164 certifications, according to official data.According to the fact sheet released earlier this month by the Department of Labor, Mumbai-headquartered TCS received 20,755 certifications, which is 1.7% of the total number.The H-1B visa is the most common visa for highly-skilled Indian IT professionals to work in the United States and has been at the center of U.S. President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration. The visa is valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years.Apart from TCS, Cognizant Technology Solutions and HCL America, both of which have some Indian management, have also secured ranks in the top 10 certifications list with 47,732 and 42,820 certifications respectively.According to the report, so far 626,907 applications have been received in the four quarters including 85,431 in the first quarter, 317,783 in the second one, 119,030 in the Q3 and 104,663 in Q4.The report noted that around 23.4% of the applications came from software developers, whereas 14.4% came from computer systems analysts. California is the most preferred state for H-1B visa seekers with almost 25.3% of people prefer working there, while Texas came next where 9.4% of people want to work.Earlier this year, a report by the National Foundation for American Policy revealed that applications for Indians result in higher rates of Denials and Requests for Evidence on both H-1B and L-1 visas.There was a 42 percent increase in the proportion of H-1B petitions denied for India-born professionals from the third to the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2017, which started July 1, 2017, the report stated. Related Itemslast_img read more

Pakistani Men Sexually Exploiting British Sikhs Girls: Report

first_imgBritish men of Pakistani origin have been targeting and sexually exploiting British Sikh girls for decades, Indian Express reported.The newspaper, which quoted from Daily Mail report, said that dominant gangs of Pakistani men have preyed upon young Sikh women, subjecting them to all kinds of sexual abuse.A Sikh group called Sikh Mediation and Rehabilitation Team charity showed in their report, “The Religiously Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of Young Sikh Women across the UK,” that the police has ignored the facts even after having prior knowledge about the sexual abuses, Daily Mail reported.It further notes that Sikh women have been subjected to stares by ‘fashionably dressed adult Pakistani men traveling in flamboyant vehicles to predominantly Sikh dominated areas and schools,’ the publication wrote.The report says that the issue started as early as in the 1970 but the facts have remained unnoticed and that needs to change. The charity report claimed that it is not a ‘witch-hunt against any individual, community, culture or faith’ but the picture of the reality of the community that has a long history in the British soils.The report picked up a storm as Labor MP Sarah Champion asked for a thorough investigation into the matter after the report was published. ‘I was shocked when I first heard about the organized abuse of Sikh girls by mostly Pakistani men,” Daily Mail quoted her as saying.She added, ‘When I started speaking to Sikh women, I could not believe how widespread the grooming and abuse was – and that this has been going on for decades. We need to speak of the abuse of Sikh girls to take it out of the shadows and make sure the authorities take it seriously.’Champion, the MP from Rotherham also said, ‘There needs to be a full investigation into the systematic abuse of Sikh girls.’The Sikh report also said that ‘the research has found verification demonstrating a history of predominantly Pakistani grooming gangs targeting young Sikh females for over 50 years. The over-representation of such perpetrators in selecting non-Muslim victims would appear to be indicative of a wider acceptability in certain sections of the community towards the targeting of young females from outside of the Pakistani community and/or Muslim faith.”The report has also accused the government of not doing anything about the matter. “Due to the failures of law enforcement agencies and local authorities in addressing the problem, such networks have continued to flourish,” it said.Citing the case of an 11-year-old who was jailed for imprisoning a Sikh girl in Slough, the report adds to the picture of sexual abuse that Sikh women go through in the country.A 1980 report has claimed that Muslim men have been constantly after Sikh men to the point of using them “as sex slaves.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Dirt under our fingernails too

first_imgBrashtachar is back.And how. We grew up writing essays on the subject.Curiously, it was in the Hindi paper that brashtachar was a set question.We could be sure that the topic would always figure in the final exam (along with ‘Mera priya tyohar’). In fact, it was here that we first learnt to be corrupt ourselves.We bought guidebooks and mugged up the anti-corruption ‘points’. It always worked. I scored 92 per cent in Hindi in my school-leaving exams.Brashtachar is back. The messiah is here.He is amongst us. He starved himself for us.Like all messiahs he appeared magically one day, fully formed, a day after the cricket World Cup ended. Like all messiahs we like to love, he oozes simplicity and sadagi.ResponseBefore Anna knocked him off the simplicity sweepstakes, Manmohan was the undisputed champion of sadagi. But sadagi wasn’t enough with us anymore, we wanted sadagi with taazagi. Anna gave it to us in one tube of herbal toothpaste.We like to believe that we are an emotional people. We like to think that we are different from the West because we have heart and soul. In other words, we are phonies and fakes. Our preferred response to everything around us: a film, a song, a public personality, is ‘from the heart’. When we want to appreciate something we say, “I had tears in my eyes. What can I say. I have no words.” We feel that unless we have felt emotionally overwhelmed, we haven’t lived. Being emotional then becomes a way of avoiding debate. We don’t articulate our emotions. We are simply moved. Like now. How can we not be moved by Anna’s spirit? Bharat mata ki jai. C’mon now.advertisementDon’t be so heartless, so Westernised.We can and will bring about change not by exercising reason but through finely calibrated emotional excess.Meanwhile, the drama unfolded. Everyone has an opinion.From the heart of course.Arundhati Roy has, as always, reduced the debate to her favourite ‘heart’ issues: Narmada and the tribals. She has thrown her pet stat at us once more: 600 million Indians live on less than 20 rupees a day. This always confuses me for newspapers also say that there are as many mobile phone subscribers in the country. One of them must be wrong.Also ‘from the heart’ were Om Puri and Kiran Bedi, dangerously stirring popular sentiment, in the worst way possible – the “wah re duniya, dekh tamasha” kind of way. But then we never expected anything else from them- actors and policemen have, on the whole, been associated more with brawn than brains. The Anna topi has become a fashion statement, adorning the heads of starlets and models and celebrities. We paint the colours of the tricolour on our cheeks and beat our chests.And poor Ramdev, holed up in Uttarakhand, wondered why he was sidelined. He behaved like an American rock star: crossdressing, body surfing, diving off the stage, but it didn’t work. An image of him doing the rounds of Facebook, uses a line from a Salman Khan film to express his side of things: ” Main karoo to saala, character dheela hain.” I am not a cynical person. But I am sceptical, and I’m not particularly emotional. I have been intrigued by the spectacle of my countrymen being carried away by the sounds of their own voices.So I boarded my helicopter and flew in the direction of Ramlila Maidan. I dared not step out of it. In this atmosphere of frenzied sloganeering, it’s pointless to ask people what they really think.There are hoodlums about in Anna caps. If you didn’t agree with them you might get smacked in the face. Safer to stay in the copter, and hover above this sea of humanity.Crowd I put on my X-ray goggles and looked below. This goggle is an excellent device. It helps you see inside the minds of people, a useful thing to have in India where people are good at pretending they don’t have a mind, and are even better at concealing their desires and motivations.I circle the crowd like an eagle, and pick my aam admi at random.Remember I can see inside their heads. Here’s a schoolteacher.She doesn’t do any teaching in school so students come to her for tuitions. She doesn’t declare her tuition income to the government but here she is screaming herself hoarse about corruption. And here’s the landlord who doesn’t declare his income from tenants and doesn’t pay taxes either.advertisementAnd here’s the GP who sends his patient for a battery of unnecessary tests, and prescribes unnecessary medication, which you can buy from the chemist inside his own nursing home.And here’s the businessman who owns a hospital and a school in adjacent buildings.From the cradle to the grave, he’s got it all sorted. Here’s the journalist who simply loves his junkets. He deserves the good life. And here’s the liquor baron who bribes thekas so they only stock his beer brand and no one else’s. Here’s the liquor store owner who marks up every brand by twenty rupees, no explanation offered. Here’s the autorickshaw driver, and the cab driver, who refuse to go by the meter. Oh, and there’s the authorised service centre guy and his mechanic who put fake parts in your car. And there’s the student, India’s future, who has used a fake sports certificate to get into university.And there’s the jewellery store owner who keeps his cash stashed under his mattress (or in false ceilings, or lockers in the bedroom) giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “rolling in wealth’. And there, right next to him, is the NGO secretary who mops up thousands of euros worth of funding from international donors and has nothing to show for it. There’s the actress who doesn’t pay duty on foreign goods at the airport. There’s the academic who pulled strings to get his daughter a scholarship to a university in the US. They are all there, teachers, students, mechanics, auto drivers and businessmen, they are all there to fight big ticket corruption, the corruption of the government. They have forgotten about their own deviousness, and why not, for there are bigger issues at hand: the Commonwealth Games, the 2G scam, Bellary, Adarsh. What they forgot about in their phoney zealousness is the dirt under their own fingernails.Debate Politicians are corrupt but they are not the only ones. They are not a super race unto themselves.They are Indians too, and, like millions of Indians (who are not in the government), they are also corrupt and dishonest. We have forgotten what it is to be corrupt, and what it means to not be corrupt.In order to have a debate, we need to have a clear idea of what is being debated. The present debate never saw any attempt to define corruption, there was little moral reflection about where each of us stood ourselves, our own crooked timber.For me, this was a movement for the corrupt, by the corrupt. With every passing day, as fast became farce, I gradually started feeling sorry for politicians. And that, in our country, is no mean achievement.Believe me, I say this straight from the heart.- The writer is the author of Eunuch Parklast_img read more

Warriors win 11th straight, cap perfect trip in Indiana

first_imgLacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem LATEST STORIES MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 24 points and made a go-ahead basket with 28.9 seconds left, and Denver overcame a 25-point, second-half deficit to beat Memphis.Will Barton’s 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining gave the Nuggets their first lead of the game at 91-89. After a 3-pointer from Memphis’ Justin Holiday, Jokic scored inside to put Denver ahead to stay.Malik Beasley had 18 points, 13 in the fourth quarter to key Denver’s rally. Barton had 20 points, and the Nuggets moved to 34-15, the best start in franchise history.Marc Gasol led Memphis with 28 points and nine rebounds, and Mike Conley had 23 points and 11 assists.It was the largest deficit that Denver has overcome this season.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (0) is fouled by Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)INDIANAPOLIS — Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 26 points in the first half, DeMarcus Cousins added 22 and the Golden State Warriors extended the league’s longest winning streak this season to 11 with a 132-100 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.Kevin Durant had 16 points for the Warriors, who have won a league-best 10 consecutive road games and got their first sweep on a five-game road trip since November 2014. And Draymond Green didn’t even play.ADVERTISEMENT Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting CELTICS 112, NETS 104BOSTON (AP) — Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart each scored 21 points, and Boston beat Brooklyn to snap the injury-riddled Nets’ six-game winning streak.Aron Baynes had 16 points, Marcus Morris 15, and Al Horford and Terry Rozier each had 14 for Boston, which tied a franchise record with 16 blocked shots and won for the sixth time in seven games. Horford had 11 rebounds.The Celtics played without star guard Kyrie Irving, who was sidelined with a sore left hip.D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 25 points and Shabazz Napier had 20. Brooklyn had won 19 of its previous 24 games.HORNETS 101, KNICKS 92CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kemba Walker and Tony Parker each had 15 points, Malik Monk had four clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and Charlotte handed New York its 10th straight loss.Monk scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to help ignite a 17-1 run as Charlotte improved to 17-8 at home.Kevin Knox had 19 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. 17 for the struggling Knicks, who have won one game since beating the Hornets on Dec. 14. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes View comments SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ Australian Open champ Naomi Osaka is Asia’s 1st No. 1 in tennis Myles Turner scored 16 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 but Indiana dropped its second straight since losing All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to a season-ending knee injury. The Pacers also played without Tyreke Evans, Oladipo’s replacement, because of a sore back.But even at full strength, the Pacers would have had difficulty weathering the Warriors’ flurry.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsCurry scored eight straight to break a 16-16 tie midway through the first quarter and Golden State never looked back. The Warriors closed the quarter on a 24-6 run to make it 40-22 against the league’s top scoring defense.NUGGETS 95, GRIZZLIES 92 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrantslast_img read more

There’s A Growing Rumor That One Of College Football’s Top QBs Is Suspended

first_imgVirginia Tech's Lane Stadium during game against Clemson.BLACKSBURG, VA – SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Lane Stadium prior to the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and Clemson Tigers on September 30, 2017 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)There’s a growing report making the rounds in the college football world today regarding one of the sport’s top quarterbacks. It’s not a good one.Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback, has reportedly/rumoredly been suspended indefinitely.The news was first reported by a college football writer named Mike McDaniel, who says Jackson has been suspended for an academic issue.Virginia Tech starting QB Josh Jackson has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into an academic issue, per sources.— Mike McDaniel (@MikeMcDanielCFB) June 7, 2018The sophomore quarterback threw for 2,743 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.McDaniel is apparently not the only one who has heard this.Rumor has been out there since last night. FWIW, VT has no official comments on rumors. Coaches are out of town right now. Not expecting any kind of imminent announcement.— Chris Coleman (@ChrisColemanTSL) June 7, 2018Hearing a few rumors that #Hokies QB Josh Jackson at bare minimum will be suspended. Once again, these are just rumors, not fact, or me reporting anything with certainty.— Andrew Wallace (@WallaceESPN) June 7, 2018Virginia Tech has yet to release an official comment on the subject. Stay tuned.last_img read more

Star College QB Is Reportedly Leaving For The NFL

first_imgA general view of Jordan-Hare Stadium during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the West Virginia Mountaineers.AUBURN, AL – SEPTEMBER 19: A general view of Jordan-Hare Stadium during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 19, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)One of the top quarterbacks in college football has reportedly decided to leave school early for the NFL.Auburn star quarterback Jarrett Stidham has reportedly decided to leave the Tigers for the 2019 NFL Draft.It’s unclear at this point if Stidham will play in Auburn’s bowl’s Matt Zenitz broke the news.“Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham plans to turn pro, according to sources. That’s been the expectation for a while. Unclear at this point whether he’ll play in the bowl game, per sources, but at least some inside the building do currently expect him to play,” he reports.Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham plans to turn pro, according to sources. That’s been the expectation for a while.Unclear at this point whether he’ll play in the bowl game, per sources, but at least some inside the building do currently expect him to play.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) December 4, 2018From’s unclear whether Stidham will play in the Music City Bowl, according to sources, though at least some inside the Auburn building do currently expect him to play.While Stidham’s stock is down significantly from where it was entering the season, when had a first-round grade from at least one of the NFL’s scouting services, it’s still possible he could be selected during the first few rounds of the NFL draft.Stidham is a redshirt junior with one season of eligibility remaining. The 2019 NFL Draft quarterback class isn’t believed to be very strong, so it makes sense for him to leave early.Stay tuned for an official announcement.last_img read more

People Most Vulnerable Benefit from Support System

first_img a flashlight with extra batteries; a portable, battery-operated radio with extra batteries; emergency food and bottled water; a first aid kit; an extra supply of any medications; blankets or sleeping bags for warmth; cash and credit cards; a change of clothes and shoes. Medical alert bracelets or tags should be worn at all times soemergency personnel have correct information about any medicalconditions. Persons with a hearing, sight, speech or languagedisability should discuss with their team other ways tocommunicate during emergency situations. Alternate ways tocommunicate could include a writing pad and pencils and using aflashlight to signal a location. Whistles, bells and hanging abrightly coloured sheet outside can also be used as signals. Anyone with a seeing or hearing guide dog should include extrafood, water and supplies for the animal as part of the emergencykit. It’s also valuable to provide a member of the team with ahouse key and have someone check in if the phone lines go down. Family and friends should be aware of any special medicalequipment, how it operates and who to contact if there areproblems. If access to special medical facilities will benecessary, find out about alternate locations and include thisinformation in the kit. Craig MacLaughlan, executive director of the Nova ScotiaEmergency Measures Organization, says a support network ofneighbours is something all Nova Scotians can establish.”Everyone should put together a plan that is easy to follow andensures your basic safety needs are met,” said Mr. MacLaughlan.”Offer assistance to others in your area. They may need help withtransportation to a shelter and may be reluctant to ask for help.Neighbours helping neighbours is what it’s all about.” Prepare Now! Learn How! is the theme of Emergency PreparednessWeek, which takes place across the country May 1-7. For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the NovaScotia Emergency Measures Organization’s website -30- Creating a network of friends, neighbours and family that can becalled upon to help in an emergency is one way people who may bevulnerable can prepare before an emergency strikes. Knowing there are people to rely on can reduce anxiety. Those whomay be in more vulnerable situations should discuss concerns withfriends and co-workers and explain that extra assistance may beneeded during an emergency. It’s important to have a team inplace at both work and home. Joanne Lawlor, manager of community development for the NovaScotia Red Cross, recommends that people who may be vulnerableduring an emergency have a support system they can tap into. “Howcan you help yourself is a question everyone should ask.Depending on the situation, emergency personnel may not beavailable immediately. During an emergency situation, the RedCross appeals to everyone to check on their neighbours,” said Ms.Lawlor. “If you are asked to evacuate, it’s comforting to knowthat someone will be there to help.” There are a number of organizations that become involved in anemergency response. However, many may not able to provide one-on-one assistance immediately. That’s why it’s vital that everyonehave an emergency plan in place and ready to go. The plan should include a kit of emergency supplies, an emergencycontact list including names, addresses and telephone numbers ofdoctors, along with a detailed description of currentmedications. This kit should contain supplies such as:last_img read more

Nova Scotia Securities Commission chief Sarah Bradley selected as new banking ombudsman

TORONTO — Sarah Bradley, the CEO of the Nova Scotia Securities Commission, has been chosen to head the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, a national organization that resolves disputes between consumers and their banks and investment firms.OBSI serves as an alternative to costly legal battles and can recommend that firms compensate clients up to $350,000 when it has determined that a customer complaint has merit.But the organization has faced push back in recent years, with a number of companies refusing to abide by the ombudsman’s recommendations.Until late 2012, a firm had only refused the ombudsman’s recommendations once in the over 17 years since OBSI’s predecessor, the Canadian Banking Ombudsman, was formed.Longtime OBSI head Doug Melville stepping down at end of MayIn OBSI’s ‘name and shame’ campaign, about 30% of compensation withheld from investorsSince then it has faced more than a dozen refusals, although the organization says more than 99 per cent of cases are still successfully resolved.In its most recent annual report released in February, OBSI said the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 magnified losses faced by investors and led to a deluge of complaints.That in turn made complaint resolution more difficult as it “hardened firms’ positions,” OBSI says in the 2014 annual report.Some banks even elected to leave the organization. Royal Bank of Canada pulled out of OBSI in 2008, while TD Bank ditched the organization in 2011. Both banks now use the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office to handle disputes.Longtime ombudsman Douglas Melville stepped down at the end of May to take up a new role as principal ombudsman and chief executive for the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman.Bradley, who is also the chairwoman of the Nova Scotia Securities Commission, will take over her role as OBSI’s ombudsman and CEO on Sept. 14. In a statement, Bradley said she is excited to join the organization.“OBSI is widely recognized as Canada’s trusted, impartial and effective provider of financial sector dispute-resolution services, with a staff team that is the best in the business,” she said.The Canadian Press read more