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Thursday, February 28, 2019

India attacks JeM terror camp across LoC Feb 26,2019

air strike (2)

How a Prisoner of War must be treated ?

What are the Geneva Conventions?
The 1949 Geneva Conventions are a set of international treaties that ensure that warring parties conduct themselves in a humane way with non-combatants such as civilians and medical personnel, as well as with combatants no longer actively engaged in fighting, such as prisoners of war, and wounded or sick soldiers. All countries are signatories to the Geneva Conventions. There are four conventions, with three protocols added on since 1949

The provisions of the conventions apply in peacetime situations, in declared wars, and in conflicts that are not recognised as war by one or more of the parties

What are the provisions for PoWs?

The treatment of prisoners of war is dealt with by the Third Convention or treaty. Its 143 articles spread over five sections and annexures are exhaustive, and deal with every kind of situation that may arise for a captive and captor, including the place of internment, religious needs, recreation, financial resources, the kinds of work that captors can make PoWs do, the treatment of captured officers, and the repatriation of prisoners

The Third Convention is unambiguous about how prisoners must be treated: “humanely”. And the responsibility for this lies with the detaining power, not just the individuals who captured the PoW.
“Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest. Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited,” says Article 13 of the Convention

In this sense, the wide publicity given to the video recording of a blindfolded Wing Commander Abhinandan identifying himself to his captives could be held as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, although in a second clip he is heard saying, in response to a question, that he is being treated well. A third clip shows him being beaten by people in civilian clothes as he lies in a small stream.

What rights is a PoW entitled to?

Article 14 of the Convention lays down that PoWs are “entitled to in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour”. In captivity, a PoW must not be forced to provide information of any kind under “physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion”. Refusal to answer questions should not invite punishment. A PoW must be protected from exposure to fighting. Use of PoWs as hostages or human shields is prohibited, and a PoW has to be given the same access to safety and evacuation facilities as those affiliated to the detaining power.
Access to health facilities, prayer, recreation and exercise are also written into the Convention. The detaining power has to facilitate correspondence between the PoW and his family, and must ensure that this is done without delays. A PoW is also entitled to receive books or care packages from the outside world.

What do the provisions say about the release of prisoners?

Parties to the conflict “are bound to send back” or repatriate PoWs, regardless of rank, who are seriously wounded or sick, after having cared for them until they are fit to travel”. The conflicting parties are expected to write into any agreement they may reach to end hostilities the expeditious return of PoWs. Parties to the conflict can also arrive at special arrangements for the improvement of the conditions of internment of PoWs, or for their release and repatriation.

UDAN-II Scheme - Helicopter service between Shimla and Chandigarh takes off Thursday Feb 28,2019

Under central government’s UDAN-II scheme, which aims to provide regional connectivity in the country, helicopter service between Shimla and Chandigarh was launched on Thursday Feb 28,2019 by Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.

 The helicopter service is scheduled to operate from Jubbarhatti airport, which is 22-kms from Shimla.

A “non-scheduled” helicopter service facilitated by the Himachal Pradesh government was operational between Shimla and Chandigarh since June, last year. However, with the launch of UDAN-II (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, a dedicated helicopter will be provided by the helicopter service provider Pawan Hans will.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the flight under UDAN-II would take off from Chandigarh at 10 am, and would reach Shimla at 10:30 am.

The flight would then fly back to Chandigarh by 10:55 am. The one-way fare between Shimla and Chandigarh is for Rs 2,880.

The service would currently operate for three days a week. However, after a fortnight the service would be available for six days a week, the chief minister added.

No income tax refunds without bank account-PAN linking

The Income Tax Department will "only" issue refunds via the e-mode into bank accounts of taxpayers beginning next month and they should link PAN with their accounts, the taxman said in its latest public communication.

The department said refunds will be sent to bank accounts as it will issue "only e-refunds from March 1, 2019."

Link your PAN(permanent account number) with your bank account to get your refund directly, swiftly and securely, the department said in a public advisory issued Wednesday. It added the bank account could be either savings, current, cash or overdraft.

Till now, the department used to issue refunds to taxpayers either in their bank accounts or through account payee cheques, in a case-to-case basis depending on the category of taxpayers.

How to check if your bank account is linked to PAN

To check if your bank account is linked to your PAN, log in to the income tax e-filing portal with your user ID and password, go to your profile setting where you will find the option to pre-validate your bank account.

If not done already, the pre-validation can be accomplished easily by providing your bank account name, number and IFSC code.

If your bank is integrated with the e-filing portal, pre-validation will be done directly through EVC and net banking route. If your bank is not integrated, then the income tax department will validate the bank account from the details provided by you.

If you find that your PAN is not linked, then provide your PAN details to your bank branch.

2019 Senegalese Presidential Election - Incumbent Macky Sall wins second term

President Macky Sall has won Sunday's presidential election in Senegal, the country's prime minister said, as electoral offficials warned candidates not to release their own tallies following the vote.
Mahammed Dionne, citing a provincial tally, said Sall garnered at least 57 percent of the votes cast in Sunday Feb 24,2019's poll.

"We must congratulate President Macky Sall for his first-round election victory," Dionne said early on Monday at a news conference in Dakar, the capital.

"Our gathered results show that our candidate has largely won the election in the 13 out of 14 regions in the country. We can expect a minimum of 57 percent. From tomorrow, our candidate restarts his work putting this country on the path toward development," Dionne added.

Following the declaration of victory, the country's election commission, CENA, called on candidates and civil society groups to "abstain from prematurely declaring the results, and maintain the calm atmosphere since the election was conducted".

More than 6.5 million people registered to take part in the vote.

The electoral commission has not made any announcement. Official results are expected no later than Friday 01.03.2019

2019 Nigerian Presidential Election - Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari Wins Second Term Wed Feb 27,2019

Nigeria's president has defended his sweeping win of a second term as free and fair and appealed to a "common love of country" as his top challenger vowed to go to court with allegations of fraud.

President Muhammadu Buhari was declared the clear winner by nearly 4 million votes in the early hours of Wednesday Feb 27,2019  as citizens of Africa's largest democracy gave him another chance to tackle gaping corruption and widespread insecurity.

The 76-year-old incumbent of the ruling All Progressives Congress party, secured 56 percent, or 15.2m votes, in the February 23,2019 polls, said Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission

His main opponent, Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), received 41 percent or 11.3m votes.
Abubakar, a billionaire former vice president who made campaign promises to "make Nigeria work again," quickly rejected the result of what he called a "sham election" and said next steps would be revealed shortly.

Since the 1st Elections, Only 0.49% of Independent Candidates Have Managed to Enter Lok Sabha

In the history of parliamentary elections in India, a total of 44,962 independents have contested polls but only 222 of them have won to become Member of Parliament (MP). With a constant decline in the number of successful independent candidates in all general elections, their average success rate is just 0.49 per cent.

Since the first Lok Sabha (LS) elections in 1957, only on six occasions the count of winning independents has reached two digits. The maximum winning percentage of 8.73% was also seen during first election when total of 42 independents had won out of 533 who had contested.

Till now, the highest number of winning independent candidates was seen in 1957 elections when they won 42 seats, followed by 37 in 1952. Besides 1952 and 1957, independent candidates won 20 seats (in 1962 elections), 35 seats (1967), 14 seats (1971) and 12 seats (1989). While in all rest ten LS elections they could not cross single digit.

Since 1991 polls, number of winning independents is not just stood at single digit but also sharply declining too. The lowest count also observed in 1991 when only one independent had won out of total 5,514 independents contested. That also marked lowest success rate at 0.02%.

Among all the states, Uttar Pradesh, having 80 LS seats now (earlier 86), has sent a maximum of 37 independents to the Lok Sabha so far.

An observation of the data available at Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that though over the years number of contesting independents increased but the number of winning candidates among them have constantly declined. In last LS polls 2014, only 3 independents were elected.

Similarly, the total votes share percentage has also been declining for independents elected till 2014. The maximum vote share percentage was registered at 19.32% in 1957 when 42 independents were elected out of total 481 contested. Vote share percentage was seen lowest at 2.37% in 1998 when 6 independents were elected out of total 1915 contested.

Analysis shows that less number of winning independents is majorly due to votes division among more number of independents contested elections year by year.

Though in Indian democracy any independent fulfilling current eligibility criteria can contest elections as many times. But observing constant decline in winning candidates because certain candidates despite losing elections several times still decide to contest, ECI had recommended debarring them from contesting elections in December 2010.

The Law Commission of India in its report on 'Reform of Electoral Laws' has also said that independent candidates should be debarred from contesting elections to the Lok Sabha. However, no final decision has been taken yet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cubans approve new constitution affirming role of socialism Sunday Feb 24,2019

Nearly 87 percent of Cuban voters approved a new constitution that preserves the island's single-party socialist system and centrally planned economy while updating some financial, electoral and criminal laws, authorities said on Monday Feb 25,2019

The margin of victory was relatively low for a country where opposition parties and campaigns are illegal and official proposals routinely receive higher than 90 percent approval.

Cuba's National Electoral Commission said 7,848,343 people voted Sunday on the new charter, which was widely promoted as a vehicle for continuity in one of the world's last communist nations.

The commission said 6,816,169 people voted in favour of the new constitution. Some 300,000 votes were counted as invalid because they were blank or defaced, while 706,400 people voted against the new constitution.

The current constitution was approved by 97.7 percent of voters in a referendum in 1976, the peak of a system dedicated to displays of national unity

India - Pakistan Relations - Timeline

1947 - Britain, as part of its pullout from the Indian subcontinent, divides it into secular (but mainly Hindu) India and Muslim Pakistan on August 15 and 14 respectively. The partition causes one of the largest human migrations ever seen, and sparks riots and violence across the region.

1947/48 - The first Indo-Pak war over Kashmir is fought, after armed tribesmen (lashkars) from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (now called Khyber-Pakthunkhwa) invade the disputed territory in October 1947. The Maharaja, faced with an internal revolt as well an external invasion, requests the assistance of the Indian armed forces, in return for acceding to India. He hands over control of his defence, communications and foreign affairs to the Indian government.
Both sides agree that the instrument of accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh be ratified by a referendum, to be held after hostilities have ceased. Historians on either side of the dispute remain undecided as to whether the Maharaja signed the document after Indian troops had entered Kashmir (i.e. under duress) or if he did so under no direct military pressure.
Fighting continues through the second half of 1948, with the regular Pakistani army called upon to protect Pakistan's borders.
The war officially ends on January 1, 1949, when the United Nations arranges a ceasefire, with an established ceasefire line, a UN peacekeeping force and a recommendation that the referendum on the accession of Kashmir to India be held as agreed earlier. That referendum has yet to be held.
Pakistan controls roughly one-third of the state, referring to it as Azad (free) Jammu and Kashmir. It is semi-autonomous. A larger area, including the former kingdoms of Hunza and Nagar, is controlled directly by the central Pakistani government.
The Indian (eastern) side of the ceasefire line is referred to as Jammu and Kashmir.
Both countries refer to the other side of the ceasefire line as "occupied" territory.

1954 - The accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India is ratified by the state's constituent assembly.

1957 - The Jammu and Kashmir constituent assembly approves a constitution. India, from the point of the 1954 ratification and 1957 constitution, begins to refer to Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of the Indian union.

1963 - Following the 1962 Sino-Indian war, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan - Swaran Singh and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto - hold talks under the auspices of the British and Americans regarding the Kashmir dispute. The specific contents of those talks have not yet been declassified, but no agreement was reached. In the talks, "Pakistan signified willingness to consider approaches other than a plebiscite and India recognised that the status of Kashmir was in dispute and territorial adjustments might be necessary," according to a declassified US state department memo (dated January 27, 1964).

1964 - Following the failure of the 1963 talks, Pakistan refers the Kashmir case to the UN Security Council.

1965 - India and Pakistan fight their second war. The conflict begins after a clash between border patrols in April in the Rann of Kutch (in the Indian state of Gujarat), but escalates on August 5, when between 26,000 and 33,000 Pakistani soldiers cross the ceasefire line dressed as Kashmiri locals, crossing into Indian-administered Kashmir.
Infantry, armour and air force units are involved in the conflict while it remains localised to the Kashmir theatre, but as the war expands, Indian troops cross the international border at Lahore on September 6. The largest engagement of the war takes place in the Sialkot sector, where between 400 and 600 tanks square off in an inconclusive battle.
By September 22, both sides agree to a UN mandated ceasefire, ending the war that had by that point reached a stalemate, with both sides holding some of the other's territory.

1966 - On January 10, 1966, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahdaur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan sign an agreement at Tashkent (now in Uzbekistan), agreeing to withdraw to pre-August lines and that economic and diplomatic relations would be restored.

1971 - India and Pakistan go to war a third time, this time over East Pakistan. The conflict begins when the central Pakistani government in West Pakistan, led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, refuses to allow Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a Bengali whose party won the majority of seats in the 1970 parliamentary elections, to assume the premiership.
A Pakistani military crackdown on Dhaka begins in March, but India becomes involved in the conflict in
December, after the Pakistani air force launches a pre-emptive strike on airfields in India's northwest.
India then launches a coordinated land, air and sea assault on East Pakistan. The Pakistani army surrenders at Dhaka, and its army of more than 90,000 become prisoners of war. Hostilities lasted 13 days, making this one of the shortest wars in modern history.

East Pakistan becomes the independent country of Bangladesh on December 6, 1971.

1972 - Pakistani Prime Minister Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sign an agreement in the Indian town of Simla, in which both countries agree to "put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of a durable peace in the subcontinent". Both sides agree to settle any disputes "by peaceful means".
The Simla Agreement designates the ceasefire line of December 17, 1971, as being the new "Line-of-Control (LoC)" between the two countries, which neither side is to seek to alter unilaterally, and which "shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognised position of either side".

1974 - The Kashmiri state government affirms that the state "is a constituent unit of the Union of India". Pakistan rejects the accord with the Indian government.
On May 18, India detonates a nuclear device at Pokhran, in an operation codenamed "Smiling Buddha". India refers to the device as a "peaceful nuclear explosive".

1988 - The two countries sign an agreement that neither side will attack the other's nuclear installations or facilities. These include "nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation and reprocessing facilities as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radio-active materials"

Both sides agree to share information on the latitudes and longitudes of all nuclear installations. This agreement is later ratified, and the two countries share information on January 1 each year since then.

1989 - Armed resistance to Indian rule in the Kashmir valley begins. Muslim political parties, after accusing the state government of rigging the 1987 state legislative elections, form militant wings.
Pakistan says that it gives its "moral and diplomatic" support to the movement, reiterating its call for the earlier UN-sponsored referendum.
India says that Pakistan is supporting the insurgency by providing weapons and training to fighters, terming attacks against it in Kashmir "cross-border terrorism". Pakistan denies this.
Militant groups taking part in the fight in Kashmir continue to emerge through the 1990s, in part fuelled by a large influx of "mujahideen" who took part in the Afghan war against the Soviets in the 1980s.

1991 - The two countries sign agreements on providing advance notification of military exercises, manoeuvres and troop movements, as well as on preventing airspace violations and establishing overflight rules.

1992 - A joint declaration prohibiting the use of chemical weapons is signed in New Delhi.

1996 - Following a series of clashes, military officers from both countries meet at the LoC in order to ease tensions.

1998 - India detonates five nuclear devices at Pokhran. Pakistan responds by detonating six nuclear devices of its own in the Chaghai Hills. The tests result in international sanctions being placed on both countries. In the same year, both countries carry out tests of long-range missiles.

1999 - Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee meets with Nawaz Sharif, his Pakistani counterpart, in Lahore. The two sign the Lahore Declaration, the first major agreement between the two countries since the 1972 Simla Accord. Both countries reaffirm their commitment to the Simla Accord, and agree to undertake a number of 'Confidence Building Measures' (CBMs).

Kargil is the first armed conflict between the two neighbours since they officially conducted nuclear weapons tests.

In October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani chief of army staff, leads a military coup, deposing Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister, and installing himself as the head of the government.

2001 - Tensions along the Line of Control remain high, with 38 people killed in an attack on the Kashmiri assembly in Srinagar. Following that attack, Farooq Abdullah, the chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, calls on the Indian government to launch a full-scale military operation against alleged training camps in Pakistan.
In July, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee meet for a two-day summit in the Indian city of Agra. That summit collapses after two days, with both sides unable to reach agreement on the core issue of Kashmir.
On December 13, an armed attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi leaves 14 people dead. India blames Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad for the attacks.
The attacks lead to a massing of India's and Pakistan's militaries along the LoC. The standoff only ends in October 2002, after international mediation.

2002 - President Musharraf pledges that Pakistan will combat extremism on its own soil, but affirms that the country has a right to Kashmir.

2003 - After Musharraf calls for a ceasefire along the LoC during a UN General Assembly meeting in September, the two countries reach an agreement to cool tensions and cease hostilities across the defacto border.

2004 - Vajpayee and Musharraf hold direct talks at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad in January, and the two countries' foreign secretaries meet later in the year. This year marks the beginning of the Composite Dialogue Process, in which bilateral meetings are held between officials at various levels of government (including foreign ministers, foreign secretaries, military officers, border security officials, anti-narcotics officials and nuclear experts). In November, on the eve of a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the new Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, announces that India will be reducing its deployment of troops there.

2006 - India redeploys 5,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir, citing an "improvement" in the situation there, but the two countries are unable to reach an agreement on withdrawing forces from the Siachen glacier.
In September, President Musharraf and Prime Minister Singh agree to put into place an Indo-Pak institutional anti-terrorism mechanism.

2007 - On February 18, the train service between India and Pakistan (the Samjhauta Express) is bombed near Panipat, north of New Delhi. Sixty-eight people are killed, and dozens injured.
The fifth round of talks regarding the review of nuclear and ballistic missile-related CBMs is held as part of the Composite Dialogue Process. The second round of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism (JATM) is also held.

2008 - India joins a framework agreement between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan on a $7.6bn gas pipeline project. A series of Kashmir-specific CBMs are also agreed to (including the approval of a triple-entry permit facility).
In July, India blames Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate for a bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, which kills 58 and injures another 141.
In September, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Singh formally announce the opening of several trade routes between the two countries.
In October, cross-LoC trade commences, though it is limited to 21 items and can take place on only two days a week.
On November 26, armed gunmen open fire on civilians at several sites in Mumbai, India. The attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the Oberoi Trident Hotel, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Nariman House Jewish community centre, Metro Cinema, St Xavier's College and in a lane near the Times of India office, prompt an almost three-day siege of the Taj, where gunmen remain holed up until all but one of them are killed in an Indian security forces operation. More than 160 people are killed in the attacks.
Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker captured alive, says the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In the wake of the attacks, India breaks off talks with Pakistan.

2009 - The Pakistani government admits that the Mumbai attacks may have been partly planned on Pakistani soil, while vigorously denying allegations that the plotters were sanctioned or aided by Pakistan's intelligence agencies.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Singh meet on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, issuing a joint statement charting future talks. Singh rules out, however, the resumption of the Composite Dialogue Process at the present time.
The Indian government continues to take a stern line with Pakistan, however, with its coalition government saying that it is up to Pakistan to take the first step towards the resumption of substantive talks by cracking down on militant groups on its soil.
In August, India gives Pakistan a new dossier of evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks, asking it to prosecute Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity with ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba.

2010 - In January, Pakistani and Indian forces exchange fire across the LoC in Kashmir, the latest in a string of such incidents that have led to rising tension in the area.
In February, India and Pakistan's foreign secretaries meet in New Delhi for talks. This meeting is followed by the two countries' foreign ministers meeting in Islamabad in July.
In May, Ajmal Kasab is found guilty of murder, conspiracy and of waging war against India in the Mumbai attacks case. He is sentenced to death.

2011 - In January, Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai says India will share information with Pakistan regarding the 2001 Samjhauta Express bombing. The two countries' foreign secretaries meet in Thimpu, Nepal, in February, and agree to resume peace talks "on all issues".

2012 - In November, India execute Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of a fighter squad that killed 166 people in a rampage through the financial capital Mumbai in 2008, hanging him just days before the fourth anniversary of the attack.

2013 - In January, India and Pakistan trade accusations of violating the cease-fire in Kashmir, with Islamabad accusing Indian troops of a cross-border raid that killed a soldier and India charging that Pakistani shelling destroyed a home on its side.

2013 - In September, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Both the leaders agree to end tension between armies of both sides in the disputed Kashmir.

2014 - On February 12, India and Pakistan agree to release trucks detained in their respective territories, ending a three week impasse triggered by seizure of a truck in India-administered Kashmir coming from across the de facto Line of Control for allegedly carrying brown sugar.

2014 - On May 1, Pakistan's Army chief General Raheel Sharif calls Kashmir the "jugular vein" of Pakistan, and that the dispute should be resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris and in line with UNSC resolutions for lasting peace in the region.

2014 - On May 25, Pakistan releases 151 Indian fishermen from its jails in a goodwill gesture ahead of swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister.

2014 - On May 27, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds talks with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New Delhi. Both sides express willingness to begin new era of bilateral relations.

2015 - Modi makes a surprise visit to the Pakistani eastern city of Lahore on Sharif's birthday and the wedding of his granddaughter.

2016 - India launches what it calls "surgical strikes" on "terrorist units" in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in September, less than two weeks after an attack on an Indian army base leaves 19 soldiers dead. Pakistan denies the strikes took place.
In November, seven Indian soldiers are killed after rebels disguised as policemen storm a major army base near the frontier with Pakistan.

India launches air raids on Pakistani territory Tuesday Feb 26,2019

Indian fighter jets on Tuesday Feb 26,2019 crossed into Pakistani territory, conducting what the foreign ministry termed a "non-military pre-emptive action" against armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), dramatically escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours weeks after as suicide attack  in the disputed Kashmir  Region

Pakistan first reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to "release [their] payload in haste while escaping"

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, however, asserted that the jets had hit their target, and that "a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated."

"The government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism," he told reporters in New Delhi. "Hence this non-military pre-emptive action was specifically targeted at the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates National War Memorial in New Delhi Monday Feb 25,2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday Feb 25,2019 inaugurated the country's National War Memorial (NWM) adjoining the iconic India Gate complex in the heart of the capital, nearly 60 years after it was mooted to honour the fallen soldiers after Independence.

Spread over an area of approximately 40 acres, the memorial comprises four concentric circles, namely-- the 'Amar Chakra, the Veerta Chakra, the 'Tyag Chakra' and the 'Rakshak Chakra' with names of 25,942 soldiers inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets

It also includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by Indian Army, Air Force and Navy in a covered gallery (Veerta Chakra).

The PM dedicated the memorial, built at a cost of Rs 176 crore, by lighting the flame positioned at the bottom of the stone-made obelisk. Rose petals were showered by IAF helicopters and a fly-past in 'Missing Man' formation was also part of the event.

There was no national memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of fallen soldiers after independence.

The NWM pays tribute to soldiers who laid down their lives defending the nation during India-China war in 1962, Indo-Pak wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in
Srilanka and in the Kargil conflict of 1999

In the complex, 16 walls have been constructed in the Tyag Chakra for paying homage to the 25,942 battle casualties and their names have been inscribed on granite tablets arranged in a circular pattern, symbolizing the ancient Indian war formation 'Chakravyuh'.

The outermost circle -- the Rakshak Chakra comprises of rows of more than 600 trees with each tree representing many soldiers who guard the territorial integrity of the nation round the clock.

The memorial complex also comprises graphic panels and stone murals. Busts of the 21 awardees of Param Veer Chakra have been installed at Param Yoddha Sthal which includes three living awardees Sub Maj (Hony Capt) Bana Singh (Retd), Sub Major Yogendra Singh Yadav and Sub Sanjay Kumar.

Amar Jawan Jyoti, built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch in memory of the fallen soldiers of the 1971 war, will remain there but the NWM will be the place to pay tributes to soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.

Six murals, made by noted sculptor Ram Sutar, depicting famous battles fought by the Army, Air Force and Navy have been put up in a gallery in the Veerta Chakra zone, he added.

The India Gate itself is a war memorial built during the British Raj as the All India War Memorial Arch to honour the soldiers who died in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). The landmark has the names of soldiers inscribed on its surface.

The proposal to set up a a National War Memorial had been under consideration since early 1970s. A Group of Ministers (GoM) in August 2012 recommended "C" Hexagon of India Gate as the appropriate location for the memorial.

The sanction for the project was issued on December 18, 2015 and actual work on it started in February 2018.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Saudi princess becomes first woman ambassador to US, replaces king's son

Saudi Arabia appointed its first female ambassador early Sunday to serve as its top diplomat in the United States, pulling a son of King Salman back to the kingdom to serve as deputy defence minister amid deteriorating ties with America after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, a daughter of the kingdom’s longtime ambassador to Washington Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, faces a stark challenge in improving ties between the US and Saudi Arabia.

She replaces Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, a son of King Salman and a former fighter pilot who insisted after Khashoggi’s disappearance Oct. 2 that the Washington Post columnist simply left the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

Instead, members of the entourage of his brother, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, allegedly assassinated and dismembered Khashoggi inside the diplomatic post.

The Post, citing unnamed sources in November, also reported that US intelligence agencies reviewed a phone call that Prince Khalid had with Khashoggi, in which he allegedly told the writer he’d be safe going to the consulate to retrieve the documents he needed to get married.

The newspaper said it was not known whether the ambassador knew Khashoggi would be killed, though he made the call at the direction of the crown prince. The Saudi Embassy in Washington has denied the call took place.

Princess Reema, who studied in America and is known in the kingdom for her philanthropic work, lived in the US during her father’s over 20 years as the Saudi ambassador there. Her father also served as the head of the country’s intelligence service.

I will work with God’s permission to serve my country, its leaders and all its children and I will spare no effort to that end, Princess Reema wrote on Twitter after her appointment.

Prince Khalid returns to Riyadh as a deputy defense minister. Prince Mohammed has held the position of defense minister even after becoming the next in line to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom. His naming comes as Saudi Arabia remains mired in its yearslong war in Yemen, which also have strained American relations to the kingdom.

2018–19 EFL Championship Final Chelsea Vs Manchester City Sunday Feb 24,2019

Also known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons,Manchester City are the defending champions

Match stats

  • Chelsea and Manchester City are set to face each other in a League Cup final for the first time - both sides have won the trophy five times with only Liverpool winning it more often (eight times).
  • This is the first League Cup meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City since the third round in 1993-94, when Brian Horton's City side won 1-0 at Maine Road with a goal from David White.
  • Excluding Community Shield matches, Chelsea and Manchester City have only met in the final of a competition on one previous occasion - the 1985-86 Full Members Cup final at Wembley, a 5-4 victory for Chelsea, which remains the highest scoring final in Wembley history.
  • Manchester City, 2018 winners of the League Cup against Arsenal, are looking to become only the fourth team to retain the trophy after Manchester United, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
  • Chelsea have already lost three times at Wembley this season, losing in the Community Shield against Manchester City and in the Premier League and League Cup semi-final against Spurs.
  • Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus has scored more goals than any other player in this season's League Cup (5) - but all five have come against League One sides. Jesus has never scored a League Cup goal against Premier League opposition in five games played.
  • Should one, or more, of Manchester City trio David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero score, they could become the first players to score in back-to-back League Cup finals since Didier Drogba did so for Chelsea in 2007 and 2008.
  • Since the start of the 2012-13 season, no player has been involved in more League Cup goals for a Premier League side than Chelsea's Eden Hazard (14 - 8 goals, 6 assists).
  • Aguero has scored 13 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions against Chelsea for Manchester City, only scoring more often against Newcastle United (15).
  • Only three players have scored more goals for a top-flight club against an opponent at Wembley than Manchester City striker Aguero has against Chelsea (3) - Harry Kane against Southampton and Eric Cantona against Liverpool (4) and Ian Rush against Everton (5).
  • Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri could become the second Italian to win the League Cup after Gianluca Vialli who won the trophy with the Blues in 1998

Prime Minister Narendra Mod's last and 53rd Mann ki Baat session in his present term in 16th Lok Sabha Sunday Feb 24,2019

Addressing his last and 53rd Mann ki Baat session in his present term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday Feb 24,2019 promised to return after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and address the nation again via the radio programme in May 2019

Modi asserted confidence that with the 'blessings' of the people, he will return in May after the Lok Sabha elections and address the nation on the last Sunday of May with a new edition of Mann Ki Baat. "To honour and respect the healthy democratic practice, my next Mann Ki Baat address will be on the last Sunday of May 2019," he said.

PM Modi, who paid tributes to the slain CRPF personnel in his Mann ki Baat, said the people of India are hurt and angry after the terror attack. "I salute the soldiers who sacrificed their lives. Their sacrifice will motivate us and strengthen our resolve," Modi said.

The Prime Minister praised the families of the killed soldiers for showing strength in their hour of grief. He said that the families have become a source of inspiration for the nation.

The Prime Minister added that the National War Memorial will be inaugurated on Monday and called upon the people to visit the memorial and post photos of their visits on social media so that it inspires others to visit the memorial. He also expressed surprise at the fact that the memorial was not constructed before by previous governments.

Modi also paid rich tributes to former PM Morarji Desai whose birthday falls on 29th February, a day which comes once in four years. Modi praised Desai for bringing in the 44th amendment of the constitution. "This was important, because during the emergency, the 42nd amendment which curtailed the powers of the Supreme Court and introduced other provision was reversed."

He also hailed the contributions of tribal leader Birsa Munda and noted industrialist Jamshedji Tata

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launches Rs 75,000 Cr Kisan Scheme From Gorakhpur,Uttar Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally kicked off the implementation of Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme and distributed the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to over one crore farmers during his visit to Gorakhpur and Prayagraj on Sunday.

  The Kisan scheme( announced in the 2019-20 Interim Budget presented by FM Piyus Goyal) launched to address farm distress, guarantees Rs 6,000 annually to farmers with less than 2 hectares of land, in three instalments.

Since the scheme was launched retrospectively from December 1, 2018, the first installment of Rs 2,000 is due within the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, few weeks before the Lok Sabha polls.

A small and marginal landholder farmer family for the purpose of the calculation of the benefit has been defined as "a family comprising of husband, wife and minor children (up to 18 years of age) who collectively own cultivable land up to 2 hectare as per land records of the concerned State/UT". The existing land-ownership system in the concerned states/UTs will be used for identification of beneficiaries. Those whose names appear in land records as on February 1, 2019, are eligible for benefit

Taking a dig at the UPA government, Modi said: "Previous governments used to make farmers cry out for small benefits...they could never work for farmer's benefit. Our govt has worked for the poor and farmers...we have worked hard to ensure that every help is extended to farmers so that by 2022 they can double their income."

Modi announced that in the coming years more 75000cr will be transferred to the accounts of farmers with 5acres and less.

Charting details of the Kisan Scheme, Modi said that the first instalment of the cash transfer will be directly deposited to the bank accounts of farmers in the next few weeks. The state government has been assigned the role of bookkeeper here. They just have to submit the list of farmers in their states and the Government will ensure that money is transferred to their accounts.

Remembering Sri Devi on her 1st Death Anniversary Sunday Feb 24,2019

Sridevi, Bollywood's first female superstar, died aged 54 on February 24, 2018, by way of accidental drowning in a bathtub in a Dubai hotel, leaving the film industry, her family and legions of fans in a state of shock.

Remembering J Jayalalithaa on her 71 st Birthday Sunday Feb 24,2019

The 71st birth anniversary of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was celebrated in a grand manner today at the AIADMK headquarters. Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam and senior leaders of the party besides cadres took part in the celebrations.

On the occasion, a 71 kilogram cake was cut by Palaniswami. At the party headquarters, portraits of Jayalalithaa with MGR, Hillary Clinton, Vajapayee, Narasimha Rao and Narendra Modi were put up.

This morning, Palaniswami paid floral tributes to the portrait of Jayalaithaa at his Greenways Road residence. Blood donations, health camps were being organised across the State.

At the celebrations in party headquarters, Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai, AIADMK presidium chairman Madhusudhanan, State Ministers, former Ministers Vaithilingam, Ponnaiyan, Gokula Indra, MLAs and party cadres took part.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today tweeted -
Tributes to Jayalalithaa Ji on her birth anniversary. Her contribution towards the development of Tamil Nadu will be remembered for generations. A fine administrator and compassionate leader, her welfare measures benefitted countless poor people.

2019 Oscars - Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were unveiled Tuesday Feb19,2019

Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross in Los Angeles,USA  announced the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards Tuesday Feb 19,2019

Final Tally

"The Favourite" (Fox Searchlight) –10
"Roma" (Netflix) – 10
"A Star Is Born" (Warner Bros.) – 8
"Vice" (Annapurna Pictures) – 8
"Black Panther" (Walt Disney) – 7
"BlacKkKlansman" (Focus Features) – 6
"Bohemian Rhapsody" (20th Century Fox) – 5
"Green Book" (Universal) – 5
"First Man" (Universal) – 4
"Mary Poppins Returns" (Walt Disney) – 4
"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" (Netflix) – 3
"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (Fox Searchlight) – 3
"Cold War" (Amazon Studios) – 3
"If Beale Street Could Talk" (Annapurna Pictures) – 3
"Isle of Dogs" (Fox Searchlight) – 2
"Mary Queen of Scots" (Focus Features) – 2
"Never Look Away" (Sony Pictures Classics) – 2
"RBG" (Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media/CNN Films) – 2
Best Picture Release Dates
"Black Panther" - February 15, 2018
"BlacKkKlansman" - August 9, 2018
"A Star Is Born" - October 4, 2018
"Bohemian Rhapsody" - November 1, 2018
"Green Book" - November 15, 2018
"Roma" - November 21, 2018
"The Favourite" - November 22, 2018
"Vice" - December 24, 2018

Black Panther” is the first comic book-based film to earn a Best Picture nomination.

A Star Is Born” is the fourth film version to receive Academy Award nominations, for a total of 26 nominations. The acting nominations for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are the third for both the lead characters (after Fredric March and Janet Gaynor in 1937, and James Mason and Judy Garland in 1954).

With ten nominations, Netflix’s “Roma” has tied the record held by “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) for the most nominations received by a foreign language film. It is the tenth foreign language film nominated for Best Picture. “Roma” is the fifth film to be nominated for both Foreign Language Film and Best Picture in the same year. Each of the previous four (“Z,” 1969; “Life Is Beautiful,” 1998; “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” 2000; “Amour,” 2012) won for Foreign Language Film but not Best Picture.

Alfonso Cuarón is the fourth person to receive four nominations in four different award categories for the same film. Warren Beatty did so twice, with Best Picture, Directing, Leading Actor and Writing nominations for “Heaven Can Wait” (1978) and “Reds” (1981). Ethan Coen and Joel Coen received nominations for Best Picture, Directing and Writing and shared a nomination for Film Editing under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes for “No Country for Old Men” (2007). Alan Menken received four nominations in two Music categories for “Beauty and the Beast” (1991).

For the first time, two directors of films nominated in the Foreign Language Film category (Paweł Pawlikowski, “Cold War” and Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”) have received Directing nominations.

Bradley Cooper is the fifteenth person to direct himself to an acting nomination and the ninth to do so on his feature film directing debut.

In the acting categories, eight individuals are first-time nominees (Yalitza Aparicio, Olivia Colman, Marina de Tavira, Adam Driver, Sam Elliott, Richard E. Grant, Regina King, Rami Malek). Five of the nominees are previous acting winners (Mahershala Ali, Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz). Two were also nominated for acting last year (Willem Dafoe, Sam Rockwell).

Yalitza Aparicio, nominated for Supporting Actress for “Roma,” is the second actress nominated for a debut performance in a spoken language other than English. The first was Catalina Sandino Moreno, nominated for her leading role in “Maria Full of Grace” (2004).

Lady Gaga is the second person to receive acting and song nominations for the same film (“A Star Is Born”). Mary J. Blige was the first, with her nominations for “Mudbound” last year.

The Cinematography nominations for “Cold War” and “Roma” mark the first time since 1966 that two black-and-white films have been nominated in the category in a single year. Since 1967, when the Academy eliminated a separate award category for black-and-white cinematography, there have been 15 black-and-white films nominated for Cinematography.

Sandy Powell has the most nominations for Costume Design of any living person with 14. The overall record in the category belongs to Edith Head with 35 nominations

Goods And Service Tax(GST) - GST on Under-construction Houses Reduce From 12% To to 5%, Taxes on Affordable Housing Lowered to 1%

The GST on under-construction residential houses has been slashed to 5% from current 12%. Similarly, the GST on affordable houses has been brought down to 1% against the current 8%.

The announcement was made by finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday Feb 24,2019

"In its 33rd meeting the GST Council has accorded big relief to Real Estate Sector. GST rate on affordable housing has been reduced to 1% from 8% & for others from 12% to 5% for both without ITC.This will give boost to housing for all & fulfill aspirations of Neo/Middle classes," Jaitley said.

Earlier, a panel of ministers on real estate sector led by Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel had suggested bringing down the rates on under-construction properties to 5 per cent, without input credit, from 12 per cent and for affordable housing, 3 per cent from 8 per cent.

The move was not implemented as non-BJP ruled states had opposed announcing of the decision in their absence in the last meeting, held through video conference. Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal had favoured a cut in tax rates for real estate.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

2019 Australia Tour of India to play 2 T20I and 5 ODI's Feb 24 - Mar 13,2019


  • 1st T20I - February 24th - Bengaluru
  • 2nd T20I - February 27th - Vishakapatnam
  • 1st ODI - March 2nd - Hyderabad
  • 2nd ODI - March 5th - Nagpur
  • 3rd ODI - March 8th - Ranchi
  • 4th ODI - March 10th - Mohali
  • 5th ODI - March 13th - Delhi

and Australia pay homage to the martyrs of Pulawama Terror Attack before the start of play today at Vizag.

5 Most and leadst expensive States in India

5 Most and least expensive states (1)

Now dial '112' for any emergency service in India

In distress Just dial 112 

In distress Just dial 1122

2019 Indian Parliamentary Election - Tamil Nadu's AIADMK and PMK clinch Deal Tuesday Feb 18,2019

The PMK will contest on seven Lok Sabha seats and will be given one Rajya Sabha seat, AIADMK chief and deputy CM O Panneerselvam announced at a press conference with PMK leadership on Tuesday Feb 18,2019

The PMK, led by S Ramadoss, has a support base in northern Tamil Nadu, especially among the OBC Vanniyar community. In successive Lok Sabha elections since 1999, the party has polled 5-10% votes in the state.

Both DMK and AIADMK had been wooing PMK in the last one month in their efforts to form a rainbow caste coalition for 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry.

2019 Indian Parliamentary Election - Tamil Nadu AIADMK and BJP clinch Deal Tuesday Feb 18,2019

The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the BJP on Tuesday Feb 18,2019 sealed an alliance for the coming Lok Sabha elections under which the saffron party would contest five seats in the state.

The announcement was made by AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and Union minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal, party election in-charge for Tamil Nadu, who described it as a “mega alliance”

This came after the second and final round of discussions held here by the two parties that also involved chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

Panneerselvam said, “The AIADMK and BJP will have an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections which will be a mega and winning alliance.”

Goyal said, “We have agreed to contest elections under the leadership of Panneerselvam and Palaniswami in state and under leadership of (Narendra) Modiji at the Centre.”

Israel Spacecraft Begins Journey to the Moon Thursday Feb 21,2019

An Israeli spacecraft rocketed toward the moon for the country's first attempted lunar landing, following the launch by SpaceX on February 21, 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Conferred with Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred the 14th Seoul Peace Prize at a function in Seoul.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the prize to India's 130 million citizens and the country's rich culture of peace and harmony

2019 Sri Lanka Tour of South Africa - Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 8 wickets in the second and final Test in Port Elizabeth Saturday Feb 23,2019

 Sri Lanka Seal Historic 2-0 Test Series Whitewash in South Africa

Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 8 wickets in the second and final Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday Feb 23,2019 , thus ensuring they whitewashed the hosts 2-0 and became the first Asian side to win a Test series in the country.

Resuming the day on 60/2 with Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis at the crease, Sri Lanka got the required runs with minimal fuss as the match ended in the first session of Day 3.

South Africa  222/10 and 128/10
Sri Lanka       154/10 and 197/2(Target
Match Result - Sri Lanka Won by 8 wickets
MOM - Kusal Mendis(Sri Lanka) for his 84*(110 Balls  4x13)
Series Result - Sri Lanka won the 2-Match Test Series 2-0

Sri Lanka won the first Test @ Kingsmead Durban by 1 wicket
South Africa 235 and 259
Sri Lanka      191 and 304/9

The unbeaten 163-run partnership between Fernando (75*) and Mendis (84*) ensured that the home team made no early inroads and were thus consigned to a heavy defeat in the second Test after narrowly losing the first.

The Proteas bowling line-up – so instrumental to their success against Pakistan in their previous home series – could not produce the goods in the second innings when it mattered most, posing little problems for the batsmen.

In contrast, the foundation for Sri Lanka’s win was laid on Day 2 by their bowlers as after conceding a lead of 68 runs on, the bowlers – led by their ace pacer Suranga Lakmal – ran riot to bundle the hosts for just 128.

Sri Lanka needed just four bowlers to rout South Africa with Lakmal leading the way returning 4/39 in 16.3 overs. De Silva once again proved his worth as he chipped with three wickets.

Amla and Temba Bavuma and later Faf du Plessis did really well to take their side to 90/3. However, just when it seemed the hosts would take a sizeable lead an unprecedented collapse saw them lose their last seven wickets for a mere 38 runs with Lakmal doing the bulk of the damage.

The slide started with the wicket of Amla who edged de Silva straight to first slip where Mendis completed a good catch. Sri Lanka's nemesis Quinton de Kock (1) for once fell cheaply when Lakmal induced a leading edge of his blade to pouch a simple return catch.

Debutant Wiaan Mulder came and went for 5 edging de Silva to Mendis at first slip before Maharaj was undone by a peach of an in-swinger from Lakmal that caught him plumb in front of the stumps for 6.

Rabada and Steyn bagged ducks falling to Lakmal and de Silva respectively as the hosts slipped to 116/9.

Du Plessis tried his best to accumulate some runs reaching his half-century off 70 deliveries which included even fours but the innings soon ended when Lakmal fittingly got the last man Olivier lbw for 6.

Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne then gave their side a good start in the second innings, adding 32 runs for the opening wicket but both fell in successive overs much to the delight of the hosts but Fernando and Mendis stuck around to get the job done.

The two teams will now play a five-match ODI series. The first match takes place on March 3 at Johannesburg

2019 Senegal's Presidential Election Sunday Feb 24,2019

Senegal's Presidential Candidates are wrapping up their election campaigns on Friday, as rights groups call on authorities to make sure the vote is held in a climate free of violence and intimidation.

More than six million Senegalese citizens have registered to take part in Sunday's poll, the first since the West African country cut the presidential term from seven years to five in 2016.

Five candidates are in the running for the country's top office with incumbent President Macky Sall seeking a second and final term in office.

Incumbent Macky  is favourite to win the poll after two of the country's most well-known opposition leaders were barred from contesting the election.

Senegal,a country of more than 15 million people, is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and has had three largely peaceful transfers of power since independence from France in 1960.

Algerians protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for fifth term Friday Feb 22,2019

Hundreds of demonstrators, in defiance of a ban on protests, rallied in the Algerian capital against a bid by ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term in office.

The protesters chanted pro-democracy slogans at a rally on Friday Feb 22,2019 in Algier's May 1 Square amid a heavy police presence

Security forces cordoned off the square and prevented other protesters from entering it

Bouteflika's re-election bid comes after the ruling FLN party picked him as its official presidential candidate. Several political parties, trade unions and business organisations have already said they would support his re-election.

In announcing his bid, he spoke of an "unwavering desire to serve" despite his health constraints and pledged to set up an "inclusive national conference" to address political and economic reforms.
Bouteflika is expected to easily win the vote as the opposition remains weak and divided

Bouteflika remains popular with many Algerians, who credit him with ending a long civil war by offering an amnesty to former Islamist fighters.

Bouteflika is the only president in North Africa who was spared in the pro-democracy uprisings of the Arab Spring that started in neighbouring Tunisia in 2010.

At the time, his government contained pro-democracy protests with promises of reform and pay raises, financed by the country's revenues from oil and gas.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declares a year-long state of emergency

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country.

In a televised address on Friday, Bashir also called on Sudan's parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.

Acknowledging the popular protests that have rocked his administration in recent months, the 75-year-old said the "demands of our people for better living conditions are lawful".

"I will not stop calling for all parties to sit at the dialogue table," Bashir said, adding he would remain on the "side of the youth who represent the future of  Sudan".

Hours after the announcement, Bashir issued two decrees which set up a caretaker administration comprising a senior official from each ministry and kept the defence, foreign and justice ministers in place. He also appointed 16 army officers and two security officers as new governors for the country's 18 provinces.

Bashir's Friday address followed months of near-daily protests against his rule, with thousands of people taking to the streets across the country since December 19 calling for him to stand down after nearly three decades in office

2019 Nigerian General Election Saturday Feb 23,2019

Nigerians are heading to the polls in one of the most closely contested presidential and legislative elections in the country's political history, after a week-long delay over security fears.

About 120,000 polling stations opened at 07:00 GMT across Africa's most populous nation and leading oil producer, with results expected early next week.

The elections on Saturday marked the end of a bitter campaign between two frontrunners: incumbent 

President Muhammadu Buhari(76) of the ruling All Progressives Congress, and opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar(72)and former vice president of the People's Democratic Party.

The two leading candidates are Fulani Muslims from northern Nigeria, unlike in 2015, when religion and region played major roles in determining the outcome of the election

More than 84 million Nigerians have registered to take part in the crunch vote, and long queues were reported at several polling stations across the country early on Saturday Feb 23,2019

Seventy-three candidates are running for the presidency - the highest number of presidential hopefuls in the country of nearly 200 million people.

Electors are also choosing 360 members of the House of Representatives and 109 senators from a choice of 6,500 candidates.

Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, and one of the largest youth populations. Despite the economic progress, 91 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty.

Monday, February 18, 2019

2019 ICC World Cup in England & Wales May 30 - July 14,2019 - All You Need To Know

2019 World Cup Schedule

Winners of the World Cup from 1975 to 2015

1975: West Indies beat Australia by 17 runs in final
1979: West Indies beat England by 92 runs in final
1983: India beat West Indies by 43 runs in final
1987: Australia beat England by 7 runs in final
1992: Pakistan beat England by 22 runs in final
1996: Sri Lanka beat Australia by 7 wickets in final
1999: Australia beat Pakistan by 8 wickets in final
2003: Australia beat India by 125 runs in final
2007: Australia beat Sri Lanka by 52 runs in final
2011: India beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in final
2015: Australia beat New Zealand by 7 wickets in final

Host Countries of the World Cup from 1975 to 2015

England hosted the 1975;1979 and 1983 World Cup

India and Pakistan jointly hosted the 1987 World Cup

Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted the 1992 World Cup

India,Pakistan and Sri Lanka jointly hosted the 1996 World Cup

England,Scotland,Ireland,Wales and Netherlands jointly hosted the 1999 World Cup

South Africa,Zimbabwe and Kenya jointly hosted the 2003 World Cup

West Indies hosted the 2007 World Cup

India,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh jointly hosted the 2011 World Cup

Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted the 2015 World Cup

World Cup Records

India's Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for -

  • Most Runs - 2278
  • Most 50's   - 21
  • Most 100's - 06
  • Most 50+ score in a single WC - 07 in 2003
  • Most Runs in a single WC - 673 in 11 Innings in 2003 
  • shares jointly with Pakistan's Javed Miandad for most no of WC appearances - 06(1992 to 2011)

Pakistan's Javed Miandad shares the record for most no fo WC appearances - 06(1975 to 1996)

Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara holds the record for
  • scoring most 100's in a single WC - 04 in 2015
  • most dismissals by a wicketkeeper - 54

Australia's Glenn McGrath holds the record for

  • Most wickets - 71
  • Best Bowling Figure - 7/15 Vs Namibia in 2003

Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga holds the record for

  • most wickets in consecutive balls - 4 wickets in 4 balls Vs South Africa in 2007

Notional Rent From '' Income From House Property '' Under Income Tax Act 1961 - Explained

Notional rent is the rent that you are assumed to have earned under the Income Tax Act, 1961 even if you don’t actually earn any rent on a property.

The provision was introduced to discourage taxpayers from leaving houses vacant and create supply of properties for tenants

As of  FY 2018-19, you can claim one house you own as self-occupied, but need to pay notional rent on the second house even if it is self-occupied.

The interim budget 2019-20 increased the number of houses you can claim as self-occupied to two. If you own more than two houses, you can claim any two of them as self-occupied and you do not have to pay tax on notional rent for them.

Calculation of Notional Rent and Tax Liability

Notional rent is assumed based on the annual value of the property. This is the value at which the property may be reasonably expected to let out year after year. It is calculated using the concepts of fair rent, municipal value and standard rent. You are allowed to deduct municipal taxes from annual rental value while calculating notional rent.

Fair rent is the rent that a similar property can fetch in the same or similar locality, while municipal value is the rental value as determined by the relevant municipal authority. Standard rent is fixed under an applicable Rent Control Act; where such a law applies, the landlord cannot charge a higher rent than what the law permits.

Here’s how the calculation works. For instance, if the annual fair rent of an apartment is 2.40 lakh, the municipal value is 1.80 lakh, and the standard rent is 3 lakh. To calculate the expected rent, take the higher of the fair rent and municipal value. In this case, the fair rent of 2.40 lakh is the higher of the two. Compare this figure with the standard rent, and take the lower of the two; in this case, the fair rent is lower. The fair rent of 2.40 lakh is then the expected rent of the property. The next step is to deduct municipal tax, say 20,000, from the expected rent to arrive at the net annual value, which comes to 2.20 lakh.

You get a Standard Deduction of 30% when calculating the tax you pay on notional rent under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act,1961
This deduction is on account of expenses you have incurred for the maintenance of the property.

In the example above, 30% of 2.20 lakh or 66,000 will be deducted. This will reduce your annual taxable rent to 1.54 lakh.

However, if you have a Home Loan on the property, any interest paid on the same will be eligible for tax deduction. So the taxable amount will come down further.

The net amount after the deduction/s is considered as “income/loss from house property" and taxed at your income tax slab rate. However, the amount of loss from house property that you can set off against other income is limited to 2 lakh.

So, in the above example, if you have paid an interest of 5 lakh on home loan against the property, your loss would be 3.46 lakh, but only 2 lakh can be set off; the remaining 1.46 lakh can be carried forward for the next eight assessment years.

But if your tax slab is 20% and you don’t have a home loan, you will be liable to pay tax of 32,032 (20% tax and 4% health and education cess) on an annual rental value of 1.54 lakh after the 30% deduction.


2019 Nigerian General Election Postponed to Saturday Feb 23,2019

Five hours before voting was to commence, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)—after an emergency meeting—announced at around 3am local time that the 2019 Nigerian elections, originally scheduled to be held on Saturday February 16,2019 have been postponed.

Without delving into details, the INEC simply cited logistical complications as the reason

February 23 is the new date for the presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be followed by elections for governorships on March09,2019

Both the ruling party and its primary opposition have condemned the decision by the INEC, accusing each other of attempting electoral manipulation.

This Nigerian election—the largest democratic exercise in Africa—comes four years after the first peaceful transition of power in 2015, when the then incumbent Jonathan Goodluck from the centre-right People’s Democratic Party (PDP) conceded defeat to Muhammadu Buhari from the centre-left All Progressive Congress (APC).