Beware! Heavy drinking can change your DNA, finds study
Are you a heavy drinker? Take note. Besides alcohol taking a toll on your health in many ways, it may also trigger a long-lasting genetic change resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, researchers including one of Indian-origin have warned. "We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more," said Dipak K Sarkar, Professor at Rutgers University in the US. "This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted," said Sarkar. For the study, researchers focused on two genes implicated in the control of drinking behaviour: PER2, which influences the body's biological clock, and POMC, which regulates our stress-response system. By comparing groups of moderate, binge and heavy drinkers, the team found that the two genes had changed in binge and heavy drinkers through an alcohol-influenced gene modification process called methylation, according to the findings, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. In addition, the binge and heavy drinkers also showed reductions in gene expression, or the rate at which these genes create proteins. These changes increased with greater alcohol intake. Also, in another experiment, the drinkers viewed stress-related, neutral or alcohol-related images. They were also shown containers of beer and subsequently tasted beer, and their motivation to drink was evaluated. Results showed that alcohol-fuelled changes in the genes of binge and heavy drinkers were associated with a greater desire for alcohol. The findings may eventually help researchers identify biomarkers -- measurable indicators such as proteins or modified genes -- that could predict an individual's risk for binge or heavy drinking, Sarkar noted. In 2016, more than three million people died from the harmful use of alcohol. More than three quarters of alcohol-caused deaths were among men. The harmful use of alcohol also caused 5.1 per cent of disease and injuries worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
Under construction building collapses in Gurugram, eight feared trapped
ore than eight people are feared to be trapped under the debris of a four-storey under construction building in Gurugram which collapsed in the wee hours of Thursday. The incident has occurred in Ullawas village in Sector 65 of Gurugram. The Rescue operation is underway. Three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been mobilised for the rescue effort. More details are awaited... Haryana: More than five people trapped after a four-storey building collapsed in Ullawas, Gurugram, early morning today. Rescue operation underway. pic.twitter.com/Ac1B0JA4ct
Muslim-Hindu Couple's Child Can Claim Father's Property
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that although the marriage between a Muslim man and Hindu woman is an irregular marriage, described as "fasid" in Mohamadan law, the children born out this wedlock are legitimate and have claim over the property of the father. "The marriage of a Muslim man with an idolater or fireworshipper is neither a valid (sahih) nor a void (batil) marriage, but is merely an irregular (fasid) marriage. Any child born out of such wedlock (fasid marriage) is entitled to claim a share in his father's property," observed the bench of Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar in their judgment. Upholding an order of the trial court and that of the Kerala High Court, Justice Shantanagoudar speaking for the bench said: "It would not be out of place to emphasise at this juncture that since Hindus are idol worshippers, which includes worship of physical images/ statues through offering of flowers, adornment, etc., it is clear that the marriage of a Hindu female with a Muslim male is not a regular or valid (sahih) marriage, but merely an irregular (fasid) marriage." The top court said this upholding the plea by one Mohammed Salim. He was born to Mohammed Ilias and Valliamma, and court described him as their legitimate child. Having held that a child born out of Hindu mother and Muslim father is legitimate and has claim over the property of father, the court said: "The position that a marriage between a Hindu woman and Muslim man is merely irregular and the issue from such wedlock is legitimate has also been affirmed by various high courts."
Reliance Jio Net Profit Jumps 65% To Rs 831 Cr In Dec Quarter
New Delhi:Telecom operator Reliance Jio Thursday reported a jump of 65 per cent in its net profit to Rs 831 crore during the December 2018 quarter, mainly on account of a rise in customer base. The company had recorded a net profit of Rs 681 crore in the corresponding period a year ago. While average revenue per user of Reliance Jio continued to decline, the impact seems to have mitigated with a sharp increase in customer base to 28 crore by the end of December, from 16 crore in the year-ago period. "The Jio family is now 280-million strong and growing on one of the world's largest mobile data networks, in line with our vision of connecting everyone and everything, everywhere – always at the highest quality and the most affordable price. We are similarly working on re-inventing the connectivity solutions market for Homes and Enterprise with our next generation FTTX services," Mukesh D Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries Ltd. The operating revenue of Reliance Jio increased by 50.9 per cent to Rs 10,383 crore during the October-December 2018 period, compared with the Rs 6,879 crore it registered in the corresponding period a year ago.(PTI)
Petrol, diesel prices hiked again on Friday.
Petrol and diesel prices were hiked on Friday (January 18) as global crude oil prices cross $61 per barrel for the first time in 2019. Petrol price has been hiked by Rs 8 paise while diesel rates have gone up by 19-20 paise across the country. In Delhi, petrol price is slowly inching towards the Rs 71 per litre mark while a litre of diesel will almost cost Rs 65 per litre in the national capital. Commuters in Mumbai have to pay Rs 76.18 for a litre of petrol after a 7 paise increase over yesterday’s rate; diesel price in the financial capital has crossed Rs 68 after the fresh increase. Petrol prices have also gone up in other cities including Kolkata (Rs 72.66/litre), Chennai (Rs 73.23/litre), Gurugram (Rs 71.24/litre), Noida (Rs 70.27/litre), Bengaluru (Rs 72.80/litre) and Hyderabad (Rs 74.84/litre). With the fresh hike in petrol rates, there are only two cities Bhubaneshwar (Rs 69.43/litre) and Chandigarh (Rs 66.72/litre) left where prices have not crossed Rs 70 per litre. Diesel prices were retailing at Rs 64.97 per litre in the national capital while it went up to Rs 68.02 per litre in Mumbai. Diesel rate is currently the highest in the city of Hyderabad (Rs 70.62/litre) while Bhubaneshwar (Rs 69.52/litre), Patna (Rs 68.28/litre) and Trivandrum (Rs 69.96/litre) are closely following suit. Strengthening of global crude oil rates coupled with a fresh dip in rupee’s value against the dollar has resulted in daily hikes since January 7. Since the starting of the month, petrol prices across the country have gone up by almost Rs 1.82 per litre while diesel has gone up by more than Rs 2 per litre. Global crude oil prices have been firming up as Saudi Arabia and Russia suggested that they were on track to cut oil production. The oil market has significantly picked up pace since dipping almost 40 per cent in 2018. Crude oil prices, however, continue to be at least 30 per cent lower than the levels witnessed in October last year. However, one of the major worries for the government is the rupee’s fall over the last four days, resulting in subsequent hikes in fuel prices. The rupee has declined over 2 per cent against the US dollar in the first 18 days of 2019. A sharp hike in fuel prices was observed in India for a couple of months till October 4 when both petrol and diesel values reached their peak levels. Petrol price had touched Rs 84 per litre in Delhi and it was recorded above Rs 91 in Mumbai. Diesel price, on the other hand, crossed Rs 80 per litre in the financial capital while it crossed Rs 75 per litre in Delhi. With the oil market expected to firm up further in 2019 along with a fresh dip in rupee’s value, fuel prices may witness another sharp rise in the future.
Kumbh Mela 2019: From kabutar baba to rudraksh baba, sadhus outshine on day two
The 2019 Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world commenced on January 15 on Makar Sankranti - considered as the most auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. Day one was for ascetics from various akharas and those who braved the surging crowds; day two on Wednesday (January 16) was for hundreds of thousands of people, including tourists, who lined up along the Sangam for a purifying dip. A visitor was quoted saying that the Kumbh Mela was called "the greatest show on earth" for a reason. Like always, many people were seen making a beeline for the Juna akhara, an organisation of sadhus, and posing with the Nagas who are naked men with ash smeared on their body and long dreadlocks. However, it is the sadhus in different attires which are catching the eyes of the devotees, especially the foreign tourists, at the mela. Their style and ability to attract people has made the religious event more unique and colourful this time. One of the sadhus at the Kumbh Mela, Mahant Shakti Giri of the Juna akhada, sat with his mighty head gear and flashy sunglasses. Giri was seen carrying 70-kg weight on his body, including his crown and hundreds of 'rudrakhsh mala'. Sitting in style, and flaunting the sunglasses, his attire attracted hundreds of foreign tourists on the second day of the Kumbh. Speaking to India Today, the sadhu, who is also famously known as 'rudrakhsha waale baba', said, " The crown which I am wearing weighs more than 22 kg and the other 48 kg is due to hundreds of rudhray seed chains on my body. This time the Kumbh is unique and more elaborate arrangements have been made for everyone." Using animals as props is another way of attracting the attention of the crowd. At the Kumbh Mela, another seer was seen entertaining the crowd with a pigeon in his hand. The sadhu, who was able to attract hundreds of visitors, has been given the tittle of 'kabutar baba'. The Kumbh Mela is a spectacle not only for the Indians but also foreign tourists who come from all over the world to witness the event. Many foreign tourists, who were seen in traditional attires, had come to these akhadas to connect better with seers and other people. Geanopierre from Paris, who is known as Hari Pyare in India, is also attending the Kumbh Mela for the second time. He believes that no other gathering can become such a strong message of faith. "I have been learning Yoga in Rishikesh for past six months and people there call me 'Hari Pyare'. I attended the last Maha Kumbh as well." Commenting on the different attires and shows put on by the sadhus at the Kumbh Mela, Geanopierre said, "The atmosphere here is incredible and the sadhus in different attires are definitely stealing the show." Sadhus of 13 akharas took out a procession went for 'shahi snan" with thousands of supporters added a lot of colour to the congregation. The saints in different colourful attire were on their rath while the followers of their akharas were marching majestically, dancing and humming devotional songs, all the way to the confluence (the meeting point of river Ganga, river Yamuna and mythical Saraswati). One also witnessed a decent number number of people visiting the Kalpavasis side of the mela, which is established on the other side of the main Triveni Sangam this time. Kalpavasis, who are pilgrims following the same regimen like sadhus during the course of the mela, have been an essential part of the Prayag Kumbh since time immemorial. The Kumbh Mela will come to a close on Maha Shivratri, March 4.
2 Women were try to enter in Sabarimala Temple as like Man
Modi ripped into Kerala's Left-led government and the opposition Congress over the handling of the Sabarimala temple issue since the Supreme Court verdict ended the shrine's traditional ban on women of reproductive age. Amid the massive protests -- against the verdict and the women who reached Sabarimala -- the state government had said it was duty-bound to implement the top court's orders. The state's stand had drawn enormous criticism from the right-wing groups who had hit the streets over the issue. Attacks also came from the BJP, which has been trying to expand its footprint in the state. In Kollam today for the launch of two projects, PM Modi said: "The CPM government's conduct on Sabarimala will go down in history as the most shameful action of any government in power... We know CPM government never respected spirituality, religion... but no one thought it would turn so shameful". The Congress-led UDF, which is now in the opposition, is "no better", he said. Accusing the Congress of having multiple stands, he challenged the UDF to "clearly state your stand". While the state BJP had openly backed the traditional ban and the strikes to protest against the court order, the Congress had not been vocal about its support. In his interview of ANI on New Year's day, PM Modi said the ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50 at the Sabarimala temple was a matter of tradition. "There are some temples which have their own traditions, where men can't go. And men don't go," he said.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie divorce
The pair announced the move in a joint statement on Wednesday on Twitter. "After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," the couple said in the statement. Amazon, formed 25 years ago, this week eclipsed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable listed company. Mr Bezos, 54, who founded Amazon, is the world's wealthiest man according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, with an estimated wealth of $137bn, some $45bn ahead of Bill Gates. The 48-year-old MacKenzie Bezos is a novelist, the author of The Testing of Luther Albright (2005) and Traps (2013). How Jeff Bezos took Amazon to the top The Bezos backlash: Is 'big philanthropy' a charade? "We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the ye ars we have been married to each other," the couple's statement said. "If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again. We've had such a great life together as a married couple and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures. Amazon becomes most valuable public firm World's richest man in $2bn charity move "Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends." Last year they launched a charity project together, the Day One Fund, with the aim of helping homeless families and building pre-schools in low-income communities. The couple have four children - three sons, and an adopted daughter. US media report that Mr Bezos has been romantically involved with a former Fox TV host, Lauren Sánchez. Entertainment news site TMZ, citing sources linked to Ms Sánchez, said the presenter has been "seeing" Mr Bezos as of late last year. In 2013, MacKenzie Bezos told Vogue Magazine that she had met Jeff when he interviewed her for a job at a hedge fund in New York. They got engaged after three months of dating and married shortly after, in 1993. One year later he founded Amazon - which began as an online book retailer. The company has since expanded into an e-commerce giant. Amazon was worth $797bn (£634bn) when the US stock market closed on Monday, after rising 3.4% and moving past Microsoft, valued at $789bn.
Suspended Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul To Return From Australia Mid-Tour, BCCI Confirms
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed late on Friday night that Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul have been suspended from playing any form of cricket with immediate effect and will return to India from the ongoing Australia tour over comments made on a popular TV chat show. The Indian cricket board, in a media release, said an inquiry and proceedings will be made against the two cricketers for misconduct and indiscipline. The selection committee will "soon" name the replacements of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for the ODI series against Australia, which starts on Saturday, and as well as the tour to New Zealand. "The CoA in accordance with the BCCI has decided to suspend Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul from playing any form of cricket after their comments on a TV show," read a BCCI statement. "The duo will now return to India and an enquiry and proceedings will be made against them for misconduct and indiscipline that have been initiated under Rule 41 of the BCCI Constitution." "In terms of Rule 41(6) of the BCCI Constitution, the players are hereby suspended with immediate effect from participating in any manner whatsoever in any match or function or event or activity that is authorized, organized, sanctioned, recognized or supported in any way by the BCCI, the ICC or any State Association, until final adjudication of the matter," added the release. The BCCI also said Pandya and Rahul have seven days to explain why "they should not be proceeded against for misconduct and indiscipline". Meanwhile, news agency ANI revealed some of the contents of the letter sent by the CoA to Pandya and Rahul. "You are hereby suspended with immediate effect from participating in any manner whatsoever in any match or activity authorized or supported by the BCCI, the ICC or any State Association, until final adjudication of the matter," read the letter. The decision to suspend the duo comes after Rai's CoA colleague Diana Edulji on Friday recommended suspension till further action against the two after the BCCI legal team refused to declare their comments a violation of the code of conduct. Edulji had initially suggested a two-match suspension for the duo but referred the matter to the legal cell after Vinod Rai agreed with her and recommended the same. "It is imperative that players be put under suspension till further course of action is decided for this misconduct as was done in case of (BCCI) CEO (Rahul Johri) when he was sent on leave on sexual harassment matter," read Edulji's response to the legal opinion. Kohli condemns comments Their remarks on the show were also condemned by India captain Virat Kohli, who called them inappropriate. "We as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers don't align with those views, those were individual opinions. We are still waiting for a decision to be made," Kohli said at the press conference in Sydney on Friday. "From the Indian cricket team's point of view, this changes nothing in our beliefs in the change room, it does nothing to the spirit we have have been able to create. Combinations will have to be thought of once the decision comes out," Kohli added. Hardik Pandya's sexist comments sparked social media outrage and prompted the player to apologise. Pandya appeared on a popular TV show with teammate K L Rahul, who was a lot more restrained in his responses to questions on women and relationships. Pandya said he "got a bit carried away" as he explained his bragging about his prowess with women on the show that aired on Sunday. The 25-year-old Pandya posted his apology on social media. "After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way," Pandya posted on Twitter. "Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone's sentiments. Respect," he added. Pandya, who was in the squad that beat Australia for the first time in an away Test series, boasted about his success with multiple women. "You are just watching and observing how they move as I said I am a little from the black side (influenced by West Indies culture) so I have to see how they (women) move first," he said. Pandya also said he had bragged to his parents after losing his virginity. He was quickly slammed for his views on women. Later on Thursday, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry called for an inquiry to find out whether or not the two sought permission from the BCCI to appear on the show, and if yes, Chaudhry wants to know who gave them the permission. "The provisions of the earlier contracts and the practice in place would have required these contracted players to seek permission to appear on the show. Was such a permission sought? Was such a permission granted? If so, by whom?" he asked.
2-ODI Ban Recommended For Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul Over "Crass" Comments
The controversy surrounding Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul's comments on a popular TV show escalated on Thursday after Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai recommended a two-ODI ban on both the players. CoA chief Vinod Rai, in an e-mail to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, called the comments by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul "very crass." He wrote, "I have seen the remarks made by these two players on the show in print today. Very crass. No apology can cover it. I had asked Diana to suggest penalty because I had not seen the clip. I think we need to give both of them a two-match suspension. If Diana agrees, Rahul please draft an appropriate instruction and issue today as their explanations have come in. Separately, please prepare an advisory to all BCCI contracted players and support staff."
Tried to uphold CBI integrity, attempts were being made to destroy it: Alok Verma on being removed as chief
Alok Verma, who was removed from the post of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director two days after resuming office, has claimed that he was transferred on the basis of "false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations". The high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Verma from the post on Thursday (January 10) on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty. It comprised of Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee. Talking about the issue, Verma said that the CBI must function without external influences. "I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it," he said. He also said, "I have been transferred to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee which was assigned the task of deciding my future course of action as Director CBI. I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked, will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law." The 1979-batch IPS officer has been posted as the Director General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, under the Union Home Ministry. The charge of the CBI has been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, according to a government order issued on Thursday evening. Verma had resumed duty as CBI director on Wednesday; a day after the apex court paved his return and asked the three-member panel that selects the CBI chief to decide on his continuance in a week in the light of charges against him in the report of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Verma's two-year tenure as CBI director was due to end on January 31. Terming it sad, Verma said that he was transferred to another post on the basis of "false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to him". Earlier in August, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, with whom Verma had a public feud, had given a complaint against him to the Cabinet Secretary which was referred to the CVC. The CVC report spoke about the controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi's case and claimed that the CBI team looking into it wanted to make Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana an accused but Verma never gave clearance, officials said. Also Read | CBI chief Alok Verma resumes office, cancels almost all orders issued during his exile
isty, decisive, daring, and ready to change India’s politics? The 2019 Lok Sabha elections are set to be a turning point in India’s history. But there will be one kingmaker or queenmaker to watch out for. Meet the first-time woman voter. Whether it is transforming their communities, working on the next big innovation, breaking conventions through music and art, or?redefining the rules of business, young women from villages and small cities are achieving the unimaginable. They, and their aspirations, will change India in the next decade. And The Quint’s six-month long campaign, “Me, the Change,” presented by Facebook, is telling you exactly what they want and how they’ll get there. The question is, are you ready? Why the First-Time Woman Voter? Contemporary research and data show that three factors will be crucial in the elections. One, the number of first-time voters. According to the Election Commission of India, roughly 2.6 crore young people in the age bracket of 18 to 20 years have already been registered in the electoral rolls. Two, the tendency of first-time voters to be uncommitted; making them the main target of every political party. And three, the influence of social media on this demographic to shape political consciousness. Young men and women live and love on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp; why should politics be different? In this zoomed-in demographic, the first-time women voters are largely unheard of. They are working hard, overcoming extraordinary hurdles and changing their lives slowly but steadily. But what do they want? A good salary? The freedom to marry who she wants? More access to empowering information? Or a fiery ambition to make something out of herself? It’s a simple question but one which might just determine the electoral future of India. What Will ‘Me, the Change’ Campaign Do? The Quint’s “Me, The Change” campaign will focus on first-time women voters through the stories of ten women ‘achievers’ — women in small cities and villages who have overcome their immediate struggles to do something extraordinary and are now working to multiply this impact in their communities. We will be hosting an event to felicitate these achievers and spark a discussion on the issues that matter to first-time women voters ahead of the 2019 elections. As part of the initiative, The Quint will conduct?a nation-wide survey?to understand what first-time women voters seek from the new government.?Throughout the campaign, we will invite stories from and?of young women achievers. The Quint will also promote?a ‘Go Vote’ campaign to?educate?young women about the power of their vote. During Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram, the campaign will go on-ground and host?regional chaupals with women voters. If you know a young woman achiever, or have always been in awe of a friend, or a sister, or a colleague’s grit and gumption, tell us! Nominate a first-time woman voter who’s changing her world. We’re listening.
Preity Zinta Trolled For Error In Congratulatory Tweet Post India's Historic Win In Australia
India drew the fourth and final Test in Sydney on Monday to clinch a 2-1 series win over Australia, the country's first-ever series win in Australia. Congratulatory messages poured in for captain Virat Kohli and Team India with Bollywood actress Preity Zinta among the well-wishers. However, the co-owner of Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Kings XI Punjab, made a small error in her tweet. Fans on the social media platform were quick to spot the mistake and went to town trolling the Bollywood star. "Congratulations to the boys in blue for being the first Asian team to win a test match down under," tweeted Preity Zinta. Congratulations to the boys in blue for being the first Asian team to win a test match down under@cheteshwar1 take a bow#AUSvsIND #victory #ting #TeamIndia #IndianCricketTeam @BCCI pic.twitter.com/2oaZtRZIcA — Preity G Zinta (@realpreityzinta) January 7, 2019 Unfortunately for the Bollywood actress India are not the first Asian team to win a Test in Australia -- they are the first to win a Test series Down Under. Some fans simply corrected the error but a few others were not as kind. Correction: *Test Series — Rant Punditry (@flukypunditry) January 7, 2019 Series preity not match — Lakhbir Singh (@100000bir) January 7, 2019 Not a test match. India is the first Asian team to win a test series down under. — Saransh Swarup (@panda_saransh) January 7, 2019 Madam its test series — dhaval gala (@gala_dhaval) January 7, 2019 Test series not test match * — karan gill (@Karangillaus) January 7, 2019 Test series to be precise — Frieden Bentigt (@Sportkommentatr) January 7, 2019 Half knowledgable very dangerous not the first team to win Test match madam first team to Win Test series Test matches have been won in past also — Miheer Shah (@MiheerShah79) January 7, 2019 On Monday, the final day of the Sydney Test was abandoned due to rain, thereby ending India's 71-year wait for a Test series win in Australia. It is the first time India managed the feat since they began touring Australia in 1947-48. Consequently, Virat Kohli became the first Indian as well as the first Asian captain to win a Test series in Australia. India got the series off to the best possible start by winning the tight opening Test in Adelaide by 31 runs on the fifth day -- their first Test win in Australia in a decade. Australia bounced back in Perth to level the series, winning the match by 146 runs. But another Pujara century in Melbourne set the visitors up for a big first innings total and when Australia capitulated in reply to 151 all out, the scene was set for India to take a stranglehold on the series coming into Sydney.
Bank's National wise Strike
Various trade unions and farmers' and teachers' associations across the country are on a two-day nationwide strike beginning today (January 8). The Left parties have called affiliate unions to participate in the strike to protest against the Narendra Modi government. Trade and farmers' unions have said they will stage rail and rasta roko (stop traffic and trains) protests in their respective areas. In some states, educational institutes have declared holidays and transport unions have also extended support to the strike. Besides this, several bank unions will also be participating in the nationwide strike. The strike does not have a unified agenda and trade unions will be pressing for their own unique demands. 10 things to know: 1) People's collectives like the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan and several unions have announced their support to the two-day strike. 2) The unions have accused the BJP of making "desperate attempts" to change labour laws without taking trade unions into confidence. In a press statement, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a Left-affiliated body, said the Modi government is wiping out regular employments and payments by unilaterally changing labour laws. ALSO READ | Strike likely to hit bank services on January 8-9: All you need to know 3) Speaking to news agency IANS, Anurag Saxena, the general secretary of CIYU's Delhi unit, said labourers, workers, government and bank employees will participate in the protest. "Industries, factories across Delhi will remain shut tomorrow. Employees of many banks, government departments will also participate in the protest," he said. 4) Similarly, announcing its support to the shutdown call, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "betraying" all promises he had made to farmers in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. AIKS chief Ashok Dhawale said, "Farmers are being dispossessed and forced to sell their labour in the unorganised sector under precarious conditions. This situation calls for greater coordinated actions between the working class and the peasantry." 5) Meanwhile, the ruling party in Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), has announced that it will stage a protest in New Delhi and raise demands for higher minimum support price for paddy. Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik will also join the protesters. ALSO READ | Bharat Bandh: Enough is enough, no strike in Bengal, declares Mamata Banerjee 6) In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has slammed the Left for organising the two-day strike. The state government said it has made elaborate plans to ensure that routine life is not affected due to the strike. "We do not support any bandh in the state. They (the Left) have pushed the state backwards in their 34 years of rule by calling bandhs. There will be no bandh," Banerjee told reporters. 7) The state finance department has already issued a notification making attendance in government offices mandatory. No Casual Leave for absence either in the first half of the day or in the second on those days will be granted to employees. The West Bengal government will press in 500 additional buses during the strike to ensure that commuters don't face much trouble. Besides this, 20 per cent extra trams will be on the tracks in the eastern metropolis, said an official. 8) In Delhi, the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) have extended support to the two-day strike. The JNU administration has urged students to refrain from participating in "disruptive activities". However, Left unions said they will go ahead with the strike in the varsity campus. 9) In Mumbai, news agency PTI reported that around 29,000 employees of the civic run transport service BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) are going on an indefinite strike starting Monday midnight. The strike is likely to cause inconvenience to nearly 25 lakh people who travel by BEST buses every day in Mumbai. 10) In Odisha, all educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities in the state, will remain closed today due to the nationwide strike. The state education department issued a notice in this regard on Monday evening.
10 Ayyappa pilgrims from Medak killed in Road Accident At Tamil Nadu
leven pilgrims who were returning from Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple on Sunday (January 6) lost their lives after the van they were travelling in collided with a truck. The accident took place near Thirumayam in Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. While seven pilgrims died on the spot, four others succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. According to the police, the pilgrims, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, have now been identified. "The incident happened at around 3 pm when the tempo in which the Sabarimala pilgrims were travelling from Karaikudi to Pudukottai collided with a truck that was coming from the opposite direction," a police officer said. The truck occupied the right-side of the divider-less, narrow road leading to the collision, he said, while adding that an investigation is going on. The bodies have been sent for autopsy. The injured have been admitted at the Pudukottai government hospital. It comes amid the tensions surrounding the Sabarimala temple over Sumpreme Court's verdict to allow women inside. The area has been on the edge of violence since women managed to enter the sanctum sanctorum at Sabarimala. Their entry into the shrine came three months after the Supreme Court's historic judgment lifting the ban on the entry of girls and women between 10 to 50 years of age into the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa -- the eternally celibate deity. Despite the court's ruling, which came on September 28 last year, no one from the 'barred' age group was able to offer prayers at the shrine because of frenzied protests by devotees and right-wing outfits. Violence erupted across Kerala on Friday (January 5) night with bombs which were hurled at the house of Thalassery MLA and CPI(M) leader AN Shamseer and BJP MP V Muraleedharan, among other places. Bombs were also hurled at CPI(M) leader and former Kannur district secretary of CPI(M) P Sasi's house at Thalassery and a CPI(M) activist Vishak attacked at Iritty, a place in Kannur district. Police have arrested at least 20 people in connection with the violence at Kannur district. In another development, prohibitory orders have been issued at Pandalam, Adoor and Kodumon police station areas in Pathanamthitta district for seven days.