Court remands D K Shivakumar sent to ED custody till Sept 13

first_imgNew Delhi: A Delhi court Wednesday remanded Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, who is arrested in a money laundering case, to ED’s custody till September 13. Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar passed the order after the ED sought 14-day custodial interrogation of Shivakumar, arrested on Tuesday night, claiming that he was evasive and non-cooperative in the probe and there was “phenomenal growth” in his income while he was in important position. Opposing ED’s contentions, Shivakumar’s counsel said that the Congress leader has already been quizzed for 33 hours by the agency and he is not a flight risk. The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.last_img read more

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BSVI transition will make rest of the year difficult for auto industry

first_imgNew Delhi: Auto industry body SIAM on Wednesday said the industry, which has been reeling under a prolonged slump, is staring at a difficult road ahead for the rest of the year due to transition to BS-VI emission norm from BS-VI by April 2020. Terming it as a “huge challenge”, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Rajan Wadhera said on an average each vehicle manufacturer is spending close to Rs 1,000 crore to upgrade all of their model line-up to meet the new emission norm within a short span. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The auto industry, as we all have seen in the past eight months, has witnessed continuous de-growth and August being the worst at 30 per cent,” Wadhera said, while speaking at Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) annual auto retail conclave. He further said the entire value chain of the auto industry – from component suppliers to vehicles manufacturers and dealers – have been impacted by the slowdown. “The road for the rest of the year is also looking difficult because there is a huge challenge of migration from BS-IV to BS-VI is awaiting us,” Wadhera said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostNew technologies coming into vehicle, which has to be done “in a span of three years across all models and have defect free products is a huge challenge”, he added. “On an average an OEM is spending about Rs 1,000 crore to upgrade their product portfolio,” Wadhera said. In order to ensure a smooth transition, he said, “Sales forecasting and operational efficiency has become important on account of the upcoming BS-IV to BS-VI transition”. While the dealers will be managing the front-end, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) need to ensure that there should neither be loss of sales on account of unavailability of products nor allow inventory build up or write-off which will create more hardships for the dealers, he added. In the near future, Wadhera said the auto industry will not only have to deal with slowdown and BS-VI transition, but also has “actually prepare for the future mobility” – electric, connected and autonomous.last_img read more

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Stringent traffic rules aim at curbing road accidents says Nitin Gadkari

first_imgNew Delhi: Intelligent traffic system does not discriminate between violators of law whether it is a central minister, chief minister, bureaucrat or a journalist, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Sunday while asserting hefty fines for traffic rule violations are aimed at curbing road accidents.He also stressed that there should be no fear of hefty “challans” if someone is abiding by the law. Post imposition of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, from September 1, hefty challans for traffic rules violations by the police have hit the headlines. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Why is this fear of challans if one is following traffic rules. People should rather be happy that India’s roads will become safer like abroad where people strictly abide by traffic norms. Is human life not precious,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI in an interview. Gadkari said stringent rules were “much needed” as people had taken traffic laws very lightly and there was neither fear nor respect for law. “I am sensitive to this issue. Ask the family members who have lost someone near and dear in road accidents. 65 per cent of the road accidents victims are in the age bracket of 18 to 35 years, ask their families how they feel. I too am an accident victim and it is a well-thought-of step with consent from almost all political parties whether Congress, Trinamool or TRS,” he said. He said there are people who have not even been once fined as they follow traffic norms asking why others cannot emulate them. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KAsked there have been multiple instances of hefty penalties where challans issued surpassed the cost of the vehicle, the minister said they were slapped multiple fines on account of multiple offences and instances had come to his notice where offenders lacked licence, pollution clearance, insurance etc. “Intelligent traffic system does not discriminate. If you violate the law, you will have to pay penalty whether you are central minister, Chief Minister, bureaucrat or a journalist. There have been instances in my knowledge where CMs and others have been slapped with challans.” He appealed to the people to use the digital platforms like DigiLocker or mParivahan to carry Driving Licence, Registration Certificate or other documents in ‘electronic form’ which are valid under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and present them to traffic police if asked. These electronic records available on DigiLocker or mParivahan are deemed to be legally recognised at par with the original documents as per the provisions of the Information Technology Act and the Motor Vehicles Act. As per the Motor Act, the owner/driver has to produce the documents — licence or certificate of registration etc to the authority on demand. About states, he said that all the states are on board and have started implementing the new provisions and Tamil Nadu could play a role model as implementation has resulted in 28 per cent drop in accidents in the state. PTIlast_img read more

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BJP looking to garner maximum mileage from Telangana Liberation Day

first_imgHyderabad: Aiming to emerge as an alternative to the ruling TRS, the BJP is looking to garner maximum political benefit from its two-decade-old demand for the official celebration of Telangana Liberation Day on September 17. Buoyed by its impressive performance in the Lok Sabha elections and the support it received for scrapping Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to put Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on the mat by accusing it of surrendering to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) by not celebrating the day officially. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Though the BJP camp is disappointed over Union Home Minister and party president Amit Shah not attending the celebrations, it is expected to make every effort to highlight its demand and corner the mileage by playing the card of polarization. The party has planned ‘tiranga yatras’ across the state and its leaders and cadres will hoist the national flag in all 33 districts to mark the occasion. A public meeting is also scheduled at Patancheru near Hyderabad. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy and three other BJP Lok Sabha members from the state will be participating in the celebrations. Preparing the ground for the celebrations, a delegation of BJP leaders led by the party’s state unit chief K. Laxman on Saturday met Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, urging her to direct the state government to officially celebrate Telangana Liberation Day. BJP argues that in those districts of Karnataka and Maharashtra which were part of erstwhile Hyderabad State, September 17 is officially celebrated and since entire Telangana was under the ‘tyrannical’ rule of the Nizam, the day should be celebrated officially on a grand scale. It was on this day in 1948 that then Hyderabad State was merged with the Indian Union following the Centre’s military action, popularly known as ‘Police Action’. Top leaders of BJP during their visit to Telangana, always mentions that the Nizam of Hyderabad State was not ready to accede to the Indian Union but Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel succeeded in making Hyderabad accede to India with the ‘Police Action’. They also allege that the Nizam’s Army and his private militia ‘Razakars’ committed excesses and tried to suppress the freedom struggle. “It is well known that BJP has been trying to celebrate September 17 from communal angle for last 20 years. The demand this time may be strong in the wake of scrapping of Article 370 but polarisation on this issue is marginal,” political analyst Telakapalli Ravi. He believes that the BJP’s attempts may benefit TRS. Successive governments of Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in undivided Andhra Pradesh and after formation of the Telangana state, the TRS government ignored the demands for officially celebrating the day to avoid any controversy. Muslim groups have been opposing any celebrations as they claim that Muslims were massacred during the ‘police action’. AIMIM, which is often dubbed by BJP leaders as party of ‘razakars’, maintains that there is only one Independence Day for the entire country and hence there is no need for separate celebrations in Telangana. The Congress, TDP, TRS, Left parties and other groups celebrate September 17 as Telangana merger day by hoisting the national flag. They refrain from calling it liberation day. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, while speaking in the Assembly last year, had rejected the demand for celebrating ‘Telangana Liberation Day’. The TRS chief said the historic event can only be termed as “transition from monarchy to democracy” and not as liberation. Stating that the BJP wished to portray the day as “liberation from Muslim rule”, Rao said it was not the government’s wish to antagnoise any particular community. “The demand to celebrate September 17 as the Liberation Day existed for decades, but with BJP emerging stronger politically in Delhi, the party considers it as the right time to play politics around it,” said analyst P. Raghava Reddy. He believes that the approach of ruling TRS in general and the chief minister in particular towards September 17 is providing a good scope for BJP to make the issue political and gain mileage from it. The analyst added that as the BJP is emboldened by the support it received following abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir it would be encouraged to harp on a similar “nationalistic/national integration” card in Telangana too.last_img read more

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A firm no Ktaka CM after Shahs Hindi pitch

first_imgBENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa – probably BJP’s tallest leader in the south – on Monday said a firm “no” to party chief Amit Shah’s push for popularising the use of Hindi as a common language across the country, which has revived the decades-old uniformity versus diversity debate. The southern states have traditionally resisted the exclusive use of Hindi, seeing it as a cultural imposition by north Indians. This time, the opposition Congress and the Left have also joined the fray. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”As far as Karnataka is concerned, Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance,” Yediyurappa said in a tweet, reflecting the popular sentiment in the state. Karnataka regularly witnesses assertion of identity by pro-Kannada organisations. In face of a growing demand for job reservation for locals, the new Chief Minister recently said Kannadigas must get the “lion’s share” of jobs in the state. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the first to speak up against Shah’s views, declaring a tweet that the claim that “Hindi unifies our country is absurd”. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”That language is not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. The move to inflict Hindi upon them amounts to enslaving them. Union Minister’s statement is a war cry against the mother tongues of non-hindi speaking people,” his tweet read. As the country marked Hindi Diwas on Saturday, Shah had tweeted suggesting a wider use of Hindi as a common language. “India is a country of many different languages, and each language has its own significance, but it is necessary to have a common language that becomes the mark of India’s identity globally… Today, if there is one language that has the ability to string the nation together in unity, it is the Hindi language which is the most widely-spoken and understood language in India,” his tweet read.last_img read more

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Via figuring out how to retrieve train from Churchill cut off by

first_imgCHURCHILL, Man. – Most of the talk since rail service to Churchill in northern Manitoba was indefinitely interrupted by washouts and other track damage last month has focused on how to get goods and tourists in to the remote Hudson Bay community.Via Rail has a different problem — how to get one of its trains out.There are no roads or other rail lines to Churchill and the two locomotives and five passenger cars are sitting, silent, at the station.The track is the only land connection between the outside world and Churchill — a popular tourist destination famous for its polar bears and beluga whales.“Options to retrieve that (train) are being evaluated at this time,” Via spokeswoman Mylene Belanger said.Belanger wouldn’t say what those options might be. Each of the locomotives weighs 107 tonnes.A part-time maintenance person in Churchill inspects the train and runs it periodically, she added.Train service has been suspended for weeks due to flooding that rail line owner Denver-based Omnitrax Inc. says has resulted in “unprecedented and catastrophic” damage likely to take until next spring to repair.Omnitrax, which has been losing money on the line and has been trying to sell it, has said it has yet to get on the ground and fully inspect the almost-300 kilometres of remote track.Chief commercial officer Peter Tousenard said in an emailed statement that Omnitrax, too, has a number of rail cars in limbo in Churchill.“We understand Via is looking at options to ship their passenger cars and locomotive out by barge through the port, and we are working with them to find a solution that will meet their needs,” Tousenard said.Belanger wouldn’t confirm if shipping the train out by barge is under consideration.Francois Gaudreau with Nunavut Sea Link Supply-Desgagne Trans-Arctik, which provides shipping services in the region, said the company has ships capable of moving something as large and heavy as locomotives. The ships have cranes that could lift the locomotives and cars on board.But Gaudreau said there are numerous other challenges to moving the rail stock.“They would have to be brought alongside our vessel because there’s a certain reach of the cranes,” Gaudreau said.“But it’s possible.”A ship with his company is scheduled to arrive in Churchill on July 10, he said. There are no plans to load a train.Churchill already has a collection of large, immovable machines.The MV Ithaca is a large cargo ship that has sat, beached and rusting, since it ran aground more than 50 years ago.There’s also a twin-engine Curtiss Commando cargo plane, known locally as “Miss Piggy” for its freight capacity, in the middle of a rocky field, where it ended up after developing engine trouble in 1979.Tousenard said Omnitrax isn’t planning to move its own rail cars out of Churchill. The company is looking at using some of the cars, particularly the tank cars, as an additional fuel storage option for the town.The Manitoba government has said it is considering bringing in extra propane storage units and converting some homes to electricity to help people in isolated Churchill get through next winter.— By Rob Drinkwater in Edmontonlast_img read more

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Plaque honouring Confederate president Davis removed from Montreal building

first_imgMONTREAL – A commemorative plaque honouring a former president of the Confederate States of America has been removed from a Hudson’s Bay Co. building in downtown Montreal.Spokeswoman Tiffany Bourre told The Canadian Press in an email the plaque of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederate states during the Civil War, was taken down Tuesday evening.A statue of Davis was removed in Louisiana last May. The Montreal plaque had been there since 1957 and was supplied by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to “honouring the memory of its Confederate ancestors.”Bourre did not specify why it was taken down, but many people had been calling for such a move in the wake of last Saturday’s violence in Virginia where the fate of a statue of Davis’s best-known general — Robert E. Lee — had become a flashpoint.Hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and others converged on Charlottesville, Va., ostensibly in an effort unite right-wing factions in the city.Rally participants clashed frequently with counter-protesters. A man linked to white nationalist groups has been charged with murder and other counts after a fatal hit-and-run that killed a woman and injured 19 others.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously said the Jefferson Davis plaque had been on the Hudson’s Bay Co. building in Montreal since 1967.last_img read more

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PM willing to improve small biz tax plan but wont abandon in

first_imgKELOWNA, B.C. – Justin Trudeau insisted Wednesday that his government won’t back down on a controversial plan to end tax provisions that it says give some wealthy small business owners an unfair advantage.The prime minister delivered that message as he kicked off a Liberal caucus retreat, pre-empting backbenchers who’d come poised to press for changes to the tax plan after being inundated with complaints over the summer.“I want to be clear,” Trudeau told the assembled MPs.“People who make $50,000 a year should not pay higher taxes than people who make $250,000 a year.”While he signalled a willingness to adjust the proposed tax changes, Trudeau was adamant that they won’t simply be abandoned in the face of a mounting backlash from doctors, lawyers, tax professionals, shopkeepers and others who’ve incorporated their small businesses in order to reduce their income tax bill.“We are always open to better ways to fix that problem but we are going to fix that problem,” he said.The backlash has been growing since mid-July, when Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a controversial, three-pronged plan to end tax provisions used by a growing number of small businesses, creating what he called an “unfair playing field.”One change would restrict the ability of incorporated business owners to lower their tax rate by sprinkling income to family members in lower tax brackets, even if those family members do no work for the business. Another would limit the use of private corporations to make passive investments in things like stocks or real estate.The third change would limit the ability to convert a corporation’s regular income into capital gains that are typically taxed at a lower rate.Morneau insists the plan will affect only those who earn $150,000 or more and who still have money to shelter from tax after maxing out their RRSPs and tax-free savings accounts.Morneau stressed Wednesday that the government is still consulting on the proposals and is prepared to make some adjustments to avoid any unintended consequences.“We know that we need to get more information before we can actually come to conclusions,” he said.However, he ruled out extending the Oct. 2 consultation deadline, as urged by Canadian Chamber of Commerce president Perrin Beatty.Morneau did try to reassure the Canadian Medical Association, which has warned that the proposed changes would disproportionately impact young female doctors who rely on the tax measures to be able to afford to take maternity leave.“We have a commitment to making sure that the work we do for Canada includes a focus on how we can have a really great performance for women in the economy, that we deal with issues around differences in pay, that we deal with differences in terms of how women can be successful,” Morneau said.“So nothing we will do will in any way jeopardize that. We’ll look at all these measures to make sure they’re not in any way causing (a) challenge for women.”Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the new health minister, said she intends to meet soon with CMA president Gigi Osler to discuss her concerns.“No decisions have been made at this time,” she said. “We’re really open to listening.”Behind the closed doors of the caucus retreat, MPs aired the concerns they’ve heard from their constituents about the reforms. Insiders said views were mixed, with some backbenchers wanting to ditch outright one or more of the proposed changes and others seeking only a few tweaks.Stephen Fuhr, whose riding encompasses Kelowna, said he’s satisfied that the government is listening to its backbenchers.“They’re absolutely open to hearing from all of us,” he said. “That’s our job to deliver the message and it’s their job to compile the data to come up with the best policy to serve all Canadians and I’m convinced that they’re doing that.”Despite the firestorm around the proposed tax changes, the Liberal government is riding high in the polls and the economy is rebounding. Backbenchers report their constituents are relatively satisfied with the government’s performance as it approaches the mid-point of its four-year mandate.But Trudeau urged Liberal MPs not to spend time patting themselves on the back over the government’s accomplishments so far, warning that there’s plenty of heavy lifting ahead.“As we come up on the halfway mark of our mandate, I think it’s fair to take a moment to look back and consider all that we’ve been able to achieve so far,” he told the caucus.After a brief pause, he added: “So, there, that was your moment … What we need to do now and every day is focus on the hard work that lies ahead.”last_img read more

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Manitoba politician denied quick order striking down floorcrossing law

first_imgWINNIPEG – A Manitoba law that forbids provincial politicians from switching parties by crossing the legislature floor is still alive after a judge rejected a request for a fast-track ruling that the law is unconstitutional.The Progressive Conservative government has already said it plans to repeal the law — believed to be the only one of its kind in Canada — in the near future.Steven Fletcher, an Independent member who was kicked out of the government caucus in June, wanted the law struck down before the legislature reconvenes this week following the summer break.“The legislature sits on Wednesday. (Fletcher’s) charter rights are being offended,” Fletcher’s lawyer, Bill Gange, told court Monday.A lawyer for the provincial government said that while the province plans to lift the floor-crossing ban soon — as early as Nov. 9 depending on how quickly legislation can be passed — the government denies the law is unconstitutional.“The government intends to repeal it because it is bad policy. (That) is different,” government lawyer Michael Conner said.Fletcher was kicked out of the governing Progressive Conservative caucus after criticizing the government’s plan to set up a new Crown corporation to promote energy efficiency.The former federal cabinet minister filed a lawsuit in August that asked Court of Queen’s Bench to strike down a section of the Legislative Assembly Act which says politicians who leave or are removed from one party’s caucus cannot join another. The law, enacted in 2006 by the former NDP government, requires such politicians to either sit as Independents in the legislature, or resign their seat and run in a byelection under a new party banner.Fletcher’s statement of claim alleges the law violates his rights of expression and association under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Justice David Kroft said the matter warrants a full hearing and court dates will be set aside in the coming months. Both sides agreed the hearing may be moot at that point if the legislation ending the floor-crossing ban is passed and enacted.Fletcher has been coy about whether he would join another party’s caucus. If he were to join the Liberals, it would give them a fourth legislature seat — enough for official party status and the extra funding and staff that comes with the designation.He has also floated the idea of forming an entirely new caucus with disgruntled members of existing parties.“Mr. Fletcher wants to have the liberty to explore all of his options,” Gange said outside court.“Mr. Fletcher has had discussions with various individuals about options that are open to him, and those individuals would be both people within the legislature and people outside the legislature.”last_img read more

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Sale of shares not an admission of conflict of interest says Morneau

first_imgOTTAWA – Donating money he made from shares in his family business since taking office is not an admission that he was in a conflict by controlling those shares, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a political talk show that aired Sunday.Morneau told Global TV’s The West Block he made the move simply to reassure Canadians that he isn’t in politics for his own benefit.The minister announced last week he’ll donate to charity the difference in the value of his shares in Morneau Shepell between the date he was elected in October 2015 and the day they’re sold.He made the pledge after revealing that he would sell his shares in Morneau Shepell, the human resources and pension management firm he helped build with his father, and that he would place all of his other assets in a blind trust.The move also came after days of allegations from Morneau’s political rivals that he was in a conflict of interest over his sponsorship of a pension bill that could benefit Morneau Shepell.When asked directly whether donating the money was an admission that holding the shares in the first place was a conflict of interest, Morneau replied “Really, no.”“I believe that when people have questions you need to listen to those questions and decide if there’s a way that you can assure people that they’re not something they need to be concerned with,” Morneau later added.“And I’ve chosen a way to do that that makes absolute assurance that no one can have any question.”In a separate interview aired on CTV’s Question Period, Morneau said he didn’t believe he was in a conflict by introducing C 27, which proposes changes to private pension plans — legislation that could benefit Morneau Shepell.“I don’t see that as a conflict at all,” Morneau said, telling interviewer Evan Solomon he’s dealt with pension issues “for decades,” and that the Liberal government’s long-term goal is to ensure pensions are available so Canadians can retire in dignity.On Thursday, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson told New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen she would investigate his concerns that Morneau’s sponsorship of the proposed law may violate the Conflict of Interest Act.Cullen said it’s clear to him that, at the very least, Morneau should not have put his name behind legislation that proposed to make changes that could improve his family fortunes.“It seems pretty obvious to most people that if you’re into this type of pension work prior (to taking office), your company is still in it, you still have shares in it, you stand to benefit from it, then don’t introduce legislation,” Cullen told a political panel.For its part, Morneau Shepell said that, even though it supported C 27, it wasn’t involved in consultations on the bill, nor would it greatly benefit from the legislation.“Bill C 27 is not expected to have a material impact on our company,” Morneau Shepell said in a statement issued Friday.The proposed law would give federally regulated pension plans the option to adopt target benefit pension plans, which critics argue transfer much of the risk of ensuring retirement benefits to employees and away from employers.“Several provinces have already enacted similar enabling legislation for pension plans that they regulate, but in practice, very few employers have adopted it,” said the Morneau Shepell statement.The Opposition Conservatives have also pounced on Morneau, suggesting the controversy isn’t about to go away anytime soon.Ontario Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu said on Sunday that it’s “ridiculous” for Morneau to say he’s not in a conflict, pointing to several files where the minister could stand to benefit through decisions taken by the Liberals, including lending Bombardier $372 million dollars to back up the aerospace firm’s C Series jet program.— Follow @tpedwell on Twitterlast_img read more

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