The Congress launched protests in different parts of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday after a video of an alleged police attack on party workers in Bilaspur on Tuesday went viral on social media.“The police entered the Congress Bhavan in Bilaspur on Tuesday evening and trashed the Congress workers brutally. The incident took place when Congress workers were conducting a meeting after a symbolic protest in front of Chhattisgarh minister Amar Agrawal’s residence in Bilaspur against his appalling remarks about the party. The video of the incident shows how brutally the policemen attacked Congress workers,” party spokesperson R.P. Singh told The Hindu.Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted the video of the incident on his official Twitter account and said, “Authoritarianism has become the profession of the Narendra Modi government. The attack on the Congress workers’ fundamental rights in Bilaspur by Raman Singh government will be remembered by the people as a political assault.”Senior Congress leader and the general secretary in charge of Chhattisgarh P.L. Punia termed the incident as a “barbaric act” and demanded CM Raman Singh’s resignation.“Never happened in India. For the first time, peaceful party workers were beaten up inside the party office. Raman Singh has lost all balances. It is time for him to quit. Should try to go with some grace,” Mr. Punia tweeted.Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has condemned the incident and ordered a magisterial probe.Congress leader Shailesh Nitin Trivedi claimed that “BJP ki HitlarShahi” trended on Twitter on Wednesday after the incident.The Congress has called an emergency PCC meeting in Bilaspur on Thursday to possibly announce the launch of a state-wide agitation.
zoom Bermuda-based shipowner Ship Finance International (SFL) continues with diversification and renewal of its fleet as it recently took delivery of the second 19,200 TEU boxship and sold two older oil tankers.In March, MSC Viviana was handed over to SFL and immediately commenced a 15-year bareboat charter to Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). The first 19,200 TEU vessel was delivered in December 2016 and is also chartered to MSC for a period of 15 years.In addition, the company agreed to sell the 2000-built VLCC Front Scilla and the 1998-built Suezmax vessel Front Brabant to unnamed buyers during the first quarter of 2017. The agreed net sales prices are USD 27 million and USD 12 million respectively, including compensation for the early termination of the charters from Frontline. The vessels are expected to be delivered to their new owners in the second quarter of 2017.Also in March, Ship Finance delivered the 1998-built VLCC Front Century to its new owner, an undisclosed party. The sale was agreed in November 2016 and the net proceeds from the sale amounted to USD 24 million, including compensation from Frontline for the early termination of the charter.SFL expects to take delivery of the two 114,000 dwt LR2 newbuilding product tankers in 3Q 2017. Both ships have been chartered out on long-term charters to Phillips 66, with a minimum period of seven years and options for the charter to extend the period to up to 12 years.In April, the 1,700 TEU containership MSC Alice started a hire-purchase lease with MSC for a period of five years at a net bareboat hire rate of USD 1,600 per day.Furthermore, SFL secured a charter for the 2007-built drilling rig Soehanah with a national company in Asia for a minimum period of 12 months.The information on fleet modernization comes on the back of SFL’s financial results for the first quarter of this year which show that the company delivered a net income of USD 32 million, up from a net income of USD 29 million posted in the previous quarter.The company earned USD 152 million of total charter revenues in 1Q, compared to USD 154 million posted in 4Q 2016.“Ship Finance continues to take steps to strengthen its balance sheet and diversify its contracted backlog. In the first quarter, we took delivery of our second 19,200 TEU container vessel, and we expect to take delivery of two product tankers in the third quarter this year. These three vessels, backed by long-term charters, will add approximately USD 26 million in annual EBITDA following their deliveries. We are also pleased to have secured employment for our sole uncontracted drilling rig,” Ole B. Hjertaker, CEO of Ship Finance Management AS, commented.“We are of course focused on the restructuring of Seadrill, one of our large counterparties, which we hope will be finalized in the coming months. At the same time, we have significant capital available for investments, and our objectives remain to find accretive investment opportunities across our core markets and to maximize returns from our existing portfolio of assets,” Hjertaker added.
At least five people were killed in separate road accidents in Noakhali and Thakurgaon districts on Sunday, reports UNB.In Noakhali, two people died while another injured in a head-on a collision between a bus and a CNG-run auto-rickshaw on Laksam-Sonaimuri road at Rampur in Sonaimuri upazila in the morning.The deceased are CNG driver Rakib, 25, son of Ruhul Amin, Mizan, 31, and his brother Belal, 39, son of Bachchu Mia of Kathalia village in the upazila.Quoting locals, Abdullah-Al Masum, additional superintendent of police in Sonaimuri-Chatkhali Circle, said the accident took place when a Noakhali-bound bus collided head-on with a CNG-run auto-rickshaw around 10:00am, leaving the trio dead on the spot and one injured.On information, police recovered the bodies and took injured Abul, 29, to Noakhali General Hospital, the official added.In Thakurgaon, two motorcyclists –Faruk and Kausar of Parpugi village in sadar upzila — died on the spot in a head-on collision between a minibus and a motorcycle at Mathurapur in upazila sarad.The accident took place when the minibus hit the motorcycle around 3:00pm leaving two motorcyclists dead on the spot and injuring one, witnesses said.Locals rushed inured Robiul of the same village to Thakurgaon Sadar Modern Hospital, said Abdul Latif Mia, officer-in-charge of Thakurgaon Sadar police station.
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a residential building in Mumbai, India 22 August 2018. Photo: ReutersAt least four persons, including an elderly woman, were killed and 16 others injured on Wednesday when a massive fire ripped through a highrise building in Mumbai, officials said.The fire broke out on the 12th floor of 17-storeyed Crystal Tower building located in Parel. The flames quickly spread to the 13th floor and adjacent flats, trapping many of the 100-plus residents in the building.The Mumbai Fire Brigade rushed 12 fire tenders, a snorkel and other advanced equipements to combat the blaze.The firemen managed to rescue another 20 stranded persons.Though the exact cause of the fire is being investigated, officials tentatively surmise it could be due to a short-circuit.Two of the victims are Shubhada Shelke, 62, Bablu Shaikh, 36. The identities of the two other persons were being ascertained.Among the injured is one fireman Sandeep Manjre besides nine males and six females, said an official.Rushing to the site, Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar said a probe would be launched to find if there were any safety violations in the building and appropriate action shall be initiated.Some residents told mediapersons that there was allegedly no fire-fighting equipment in the building premises as well as escape routes.
Afghan police officers stand guard while election commission workers prepare ballot boxes and election material at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan on 19 October. Photo: ReutersAfghans began voting on Saturday in parliamentary elections overshadowed by chaotic organisation, allegations of corruption and violence that has forced a postponement of the vote in the strategic southern province of Kandahar.The United Nations, which has been supporting the process, has urged Afghans to “use this opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote” and called for the election to take place in a safe and secure environment.Officials worry that violence will keep voters away from polling stations, particularly following the assassination of the police chief of Kandahar on Thursday, which forced authorities to delay the election in the province by a week.Taliban militants have issued a series of statements telling people not to take part in what they consider a foreign-imposed process and warning election centres may be attacked.Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed across the country but already nine candidates have been assassinated and hundreds of people killed and wounded in election-related attacks.Polls opened at 7.00am (0230 GMT) and voting is due to continue until 4.00pm. Due to the difficulty of collecting and collating results across Afghanistan, the overall results will not be known for at least two weeks.Election authorities originally planned 7,355 polling centres but only 5,100 will be able to open due to security concerns, according to the Independent Election Commission, overseeing the vote.Voting has also been delayed in Ghazni province, by arguments about the representation of different ethnic groups.Fraud FearsWidespread allegations of voter fraud present a challenge to the legitimacy of the process, seen by Afghanistan’s international partners as a vital step ahead of the more important presidential election next year.Afghan politics is still poisoned by the aftermath of a disputed presidential vote in 2014 that forced the two main rival groupings to form an unstable partnership. Both sides were accused of massive electoral cheating.Political sleaze has put Afghanistan near the bottom of Transparency International’s world corruption index.”Fraud, the abuse of power and corruption are going to be the main challenge, much more than security,” said Aziz Rafiee, a political analyst and executive director of the Afghan Civil Society Forum.Some 8.8 million voters have been registered but an unknown number, by some estimates as many as 50 per cent or more, are believed to be fraudulently or incorrectly registered.About 2,450 candidates are competing for places in the lower house, which has 250 seats, including one reserved for a candidate from the Sikh minority. Under the constitution, parliament reviews and ratifies laws but has little real power.In a bid to ensure the vote is fair, biometric voter registration technology has been rushed in at the last minute.But many fear the untried technology, which was still being distributed to provincial voting centres as recently as Thursday, will add to the confusion without eliminating fraud.
Kolkata: The Supreme Court refused to stay the decision of the Mamata Banerjee government to give a Rs 10,000 grant to Durga Puja organisers.The Bengal government had announced to give the grant to each of the 28,000 Puja committees in the state.Subsequently, a PIL was filed before the Calcutta High Court against the state government’s decision. The Calcutta High Court had disposed of the PIL on October 10, allowing the state government to give the grant to the Durga Puja committees. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe High Court had also decided not to interfere into the matter as the legislature is the right forum to take decision on expenditures of the government.Challenging the order, a petition was filed before the apex court. However, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta refused to stay the state government’s decision to grant fund to the Durga Puja committees. The apex court has directed the state government to file a detailed affidavit explaining the matter, within six weeks. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned that the state government has stated before the court that the decision to give Rs 10,000 to each of the Durga Puja committees has been taken for traffic safety campaigns during Puja.It may be recalled that the state government hadtaken all necessary steps todistribute cheques among the Puja committees, immed-iately after the High Court decided not to interfere into the matter.The cheques were distributed through local police stations in the evening, after the High Court gave its direction in this connection. The next day, the petition was filed before the Supreme Court and the appeal was heard on Friday, when the apex court refused to stay the decision of the Mamata Banerjee government.It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged all Durga Puja organisers to create awareness amongpeople when they visit the pandals.This comes at the time when the state government has taken several steps to check road accidents.The Chief Minister had introduced the statewide Safe Drive Save Life campaign and it has helped in bringing down the number of accidents in the state.Now, with the grant to Durga Puja organisers, more steps will be taken to create awareness among pandal-hoppers, which will ensure traffic safety with people becoming more aware of the same.The Durga Puja committees have also made a plan to utilise the grant properly so that the purpose is served.
KOLKATA: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested a businessman identified as Sudipta Roy Chowdhury in the Rose Valley case. The ED sleuths had raided his residence on Saturday. He was arrested on Sunday morning and taken to CGO complex in Salt Lake.Sources informed that while investigating the Rose Valley case, ED officers found Roy Chowdhury is well connected with Goutam Kundu. Later, the ED sleuths came to know about his direct connection with a company named ‘Brand Value Communications’ that was owned by Kundu. It was also alleged that when he was in the company, he amassed a huge amount of money from the market by showing his political power. During the investigation process, the investigators found several property and assets of Rose Valley in the name Roy Chowdhury. Previously, it was alleged that Roy Chowdhury owns several disproportionate property as well. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt was alleged that he extorted money from several people under the pretext of settling up their matters in several chit fund cases those are being investigated by the CBI and the ED. The officials also came to know that he invested the extorted money in several businesses. During Saturday’s raid, several incriminating documents were seized from Roy Chowdhury’s residence. Sources informed that he would be taken in to custody after being produced before court. The ED sleuths will try find out how much money he had taken and how he had spent them. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe ED officials conducted raids at five premises across the city in connection with the Rose Valley case. Sources informed that each five-member team raided several office premises including the residence of Roy Chowdhury. It was alleged that after the CBI took over the charge of the Rose Valley case and other financial scam cases, this person met with some important persons and politicians and demanded money by promising them to settle the matter.