NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty ImagesThe State of the Nation March 2019 Wave 2 opinion poll conducted by CVoter for IANS shows the likely vote percentage for the two main poles of national politics, the NDA and UPA in this year’s general elections.A pre-poll alliance scenario for the BJP-led NDA formation would help it garner 42 per cent of the vote nationally, while for the Congress-led UPA alliance the vote percentage for the pre-poll allies would be 30.4 per cent.The CVoter State of the Nation March 2019 Wave 2 opinion poll released on March 24 is based on a sample survey of 10,280 this week and a cumulative base of 70,000 respondents since January 1 covering 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.The NDA is banking on the BJP’s narrative on nationalism to deliver the elections for it. While it has spoken of increasing employment opportunities under its watch, alleviation of farm distress and economic growth, nationalism has been its mainstay.The NDA has a distinct advantage over the rival formation in key states in the vote share projections. In Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress is not part of a mahagathbandhan, the NDA is likely to get 35.4 per cent of the vote.This is even though the NDA is expected to get far fewer seats compared to 2014 as indicated by the CVoter opinion poll. In Bihar, the NDA’s vote share is expected to be 52.6 per cent and in Rajasthan, the NDA is expected to get 50.7 per cent of the vote while in the BJP stronghold of Gujarat, the CVoter opinion poll suggests that the NDA will get 58.2 per cent of the vote share. SOTN March 2019 Wave II : Seat Share Projections. (IANS Infographics)In Maharashtra, the NDA is expected to have a vote share of 48.1 per cent while in BJP-ruled Haryana, the NDA could get 42.6 per cent of the vote according to the vote share projections.However, there are states where the two alliances are not as far apart on vote share and in some the NDA is actually behind, the CVoter opinion poll shows. Tamil Nadu is one of such states, Kerala is another. The two sides are neck and neck in Karnataka.Seat share projections for the NDA, based on pre-poll alliances, shows it will fall short of a House majority with 261 seats — an earlier CVoter opinion poll on March 10 had put this number at 264. The second survey shows that the BJP will get 241 seats on its own.However, the surge from post-poll alliances would push it well above the majority mark of 272.This is how the CVoter opinion poll says the numbers are likely to stack up for the NDA should the post-poll alliances click. The YSR Congress Party led by Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is expected to win 10 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, the Mizo National Front is likely to get one seat, the Biju Janata Dal 10 seats and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti 16 seats — a total of 37 seats between them. Added to the pre-poll NDA alliance, the BJP-led alliance is expected to have an overall tally of 298 seats according to the CVoter opinion poll.In fact, the pre-poll alliance situation shows how the political parties concerned are adding to the BJP-led alliance’s numbers. The CVoter opinion poll highlights how in Bihar, the NDA is expected to win 36 seats with the help of allies Janata Dal (United) and Lok Janshakti Party who together are expected to win 20 seats to the BJP’s 16. STR/AFP/Getty ImagesThe BJP’s other pre-poll allies are: Maharashtra — Shiv Sena (14 seats); Assam — Bodoland Peoples’ Front (one seat); Punjab — Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), one seat; Tamil Nadu — AIADMK (7 seats): Uttar Pradesh — Apna Dal (Sonelal), one seat.Taken together, these pre-poll allies are expected to give a boost of 47 seats to the ruling alliance in the country.Uttar Pradesh, India’s politically most important state with 80 Lok Sabha seats, presents an interesting scenario. In the pre-poll alliance case, the NDA is expected to get 28 seats to the UPA’s four. It is a drastic markdown from the 73 Lok Sabha seats the NDA got in 2014 but it remains ahead of the rival alliance.However, should the Congress-led alliance forge a last-minute post-poll tie-up and become a part of the mahagathbandhan, this equation would change dramatically, giving the anti-NDA alliance 52 seats in all.What happens in Uttar Pradesh with the mahagathbandhan will also cast a shadow on vote share projections, the CVoter opinion poll shows.
Three instances of gold smuggling detected by Union Finance Ministry’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in less than 30 days at Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru prove that the practice continues to be rampant.The latest incident comes from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport where DRI officials found 45 gold bars worth Rs 1.65 crore taped to the seat of a 50-year-old passenger who had arrived by a Jet Airways flight from Abu Dhabi on Thursday. The seizure was based on a tip-off.The passenger, Abhdul Rauf from Kodagu, was a frequent flier to West Asia and it is suspected that he could be part of a larger gang.”The passenger was caught before he could exit the airport. Definitely, there seem to be some other people involved in the racket as the gold was left inside the aircraft. So, technically it was to be found by someone else from the ground staff baggage crew. We are investigating these aspects,” the Bengalore Mirror quoted DRI sources as saying.On October 17, two seizures were made by DRI in Chennai and Delhi. In Chennai, DRI sleuths arrested a passenger who had arrived from Abu Dhabi and two ground staff for smuggling gold worth Rs 35 lakh. The passenger had handed over the bag containing the contraband to the ground staff when DRI sleuths arrested them. The duo was under surveillance.On the same day, DRI seized 20.64 kg gold and Indian currency notes worth Rs 6.44 crore from a shop in old Delhi.Earlier, in September, DRI claimed to have busted a major gold smuggling racket that was involved in smuggling around 7,000 kg of gold worth more than Rs 2,000 crore over the last two-and-half years.The racket was busted after DRI authorities seized 10 kg gold at the domestic cargo terminal of Delhi airport on the intervening night of September 1 and 2, 2016.”The seized gold bars of 24 carat purity were admittedly smuggled into India through the Indo-Myanmar land borders and were brought to Delhi from Guwahati by a domestic flight. Market value of the total seized goods is around Rs. 3.1 crore,” the government had said in an official statement on September 19.Indo-Myanmar border areas in the states of Manipur (Moreh) and Mizoram (Zokhawthar) have become new hotbeds of gold smuggling, since it is difficult to patrol due to its porous nature, the government added.
Flood victims including women and children moving to shelter centres as flood situation worsens in Faridpur’s Sadar upazila. Photo: AlimuzzamanA humanitarian crisis is unfolding across large areas in South Asia, with more than 16 million people affected by monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Friday, reports XinhuaThe agency cited local authorities as saying that flood levels have already reached record highs in Bangladesh, and water of major rivers such as the Jamuna has surpassed warning levels set in 1988, the deadliest floods the country has ever faced, China’s official press agency adds.”This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods,” the IFRC said in a statement Friday, citing its staff for Asia Pacific region.According to the statement, more than one third of Bangladesh and Nepal have been flooded, and the humanitarian crisis could get worse in the days and weeks ahead.In Nepal, the IFRC said, many areas remain cut off after recent destructive floods and landslides, and many villages and communities are stranded without food, water or electricity.”This tragic flooding in Nepal has claimed at least 128 lives and 33 people are still missing,” Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general of the Nepal Red Cross Society, was cited as saying.In Bangladesh, the IFRC said, over 3.9 million people have been affected by the rising flood waters, and floods are likely to get much worse as swollen rivers from India pour into the low-lying and densely populated areas in the northern and central parts of the country, says Xinhua news agency.In India, over 11 million people are reportedly affected by floods in four states across the north of the country. What’s more, India’s meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rains for the region in the coming days.
Momena Shoma. File PhotoA young Bangladeshi woman who stabbed an Australian man in the name of the Islamic State has lifted her niqab veil in court to plead guilty to intentionally engaging in a terrorist act, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.Momena Shoma, 25, refused to stand in the dock when Australian Supreme Court justice Elizabeth Hollingworth entered the court on Thursday, but lifted her facial covering when the judge asked to confirm her identity.She then pleaded guilty to engaging in a terrorist act, after she stabbed Roger Singaravelu on 9 February, as he napped next to his five-year-old daughter in the rumpus room of his Mill Park home.Singaravelu woke when he felt piercing pain in his neck and was able to wrestle the kitchen knife off Shoma, before he dashed out of the room with his daughter and got help in the street.Momena, a Bangladeshi national who came to Australia to study at La Trobe University only met Singaravelu the night before she attacked him, having moved into his family’s home to lodge, according to the New South Wales-based English-language daily.She arrived in Australia at the start of February and spent her first week at another family’s home.Momena was also charged with attempted murder but that charge was withdrawn.Documents released by the court say she intentionally engaged in a terrorist act, with the motive of ‘‘advancing a political, religious or ideological cause, namely violent jihad’’.She refused to stand when justice Hollingworth left the court and was remanded in custody to return to court for a plea hearing in January.She put the veil back over her face after entering her plea.Singaravelu was in court on Thursday, the Australian newspaper adds.The day after the stabbing, Momena told police she attacked Singaravelu ‘‘because of, ah, the order of the Islamic State’’, according to a record of interview that was among documents released last month by Melbourne Magistrates Court.She told detectives the terror organisation was calling on ‘‘everyone, even the woman. So I just felt obligated, and it was like a burden on me. Yeah, I just had to do it.‘‘I had to do it … it could have been anyone, it’s not specifically him. He just seemed like a very easy target since he was sleeping, so yeah, and I had to push myself. I wouldn’t even hurt a rat. This, I just felt like if I don’t do it I will be sinful, I will be punished by Allah.’’Singaravelu told police he was having a nap next to his daughter on a mattress when he felt pain in his neck, and saw the woman he knew as Suma pushing a knife into him.‘‘I thought that I was dreaming as I felt a sharp pain in my neck. I woke up and started screaming,’’ he said.‘‘I saw Suma right next to me, she was on her knees with both of her hands on a knife that was in my neck.‘‘Suma had such an intense look. Her eyes were so intense. She was saying ’Allah Akbar’, she kept on saying this over and over.’’ Singaravelu was later treated for a one-centimetre wound to his neck and cuts to his fingers.He told police he heard a friend went inside the house and found Momena standing in the kitchen, where, according to the friend, she claimed ‘‘it was a mission and that she had to do what she had to do’’.Momena told police she bore Singaravelu no personal grudge, but felt a ‘‘little bit burdenless’’ after the attack. She prepared for it by slashing a pillow at the other family’s home, and in the hours before the stabbing watched Islamic State propaganda videos which featured beheadings.Asked by a detective whether she travelled to Australia to study or hurt someone in the name of Islamic State, she replied, ‘‘The later one.’’
Andrew SchneiderPresident Trump has called NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, a “job killer” for American manufacturers. It’s a message voters in the industrial Midwest seemed to buy. But with the U.S. now renegotiating the treaty with Mexico and Canada, we found that manufacturers here in Texas are becoming deeply concerned.Daniel Allford is one of those manufacturers. We talked with him on the floor of his factory, ARC Specialties, on Houston’s west side. Allford started the company in his garage in 1983.“My whole life, all I’ve ever done is build things,” said Allford. “When I was a kid, I built catapults, flamethrowers, steam engines, and I’ve always been a computer geek. So if you add manufacturing and computers together, you get robotics.”ARC Specialties now employs more than 50 people to build robots, largely for the oil and gas industry. The company sold few machines to Mexico or Canada its first decade. Then NAFTA came along.“It was quite seamless to me. All I knew was all of a sudden exports became easy and greater quantity. It fluctuates, but last year 30 percent of our business was overseas, and half of that was Canada and Mexico,” said Allford.Allford said those gains came when NAFTA eliminated tariffs on his products, making them cheaper for foreign buyers. So when President Trump threatens to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA if Mexico and Canada don’t agree to revisions, he’s aiming right at Allford’s bottom line. “So far, I can’t say that it’s affected me,” said Allford, “but I’m sure it will if tariffs are placed.”Allford is hardly alone in his fears. Jeff Moseley is CEO of the Texas Association of Business. He recently testified before a Senate subcommittee hearing on NAFTA in San Antonio.“Since 2006, Texas exports of goods to NAFTA signatories have grown 71 percent,” said Moseley. “An undermining of the tariff policies that have allowed that growth would have huge detrimental effects in most sectors of the Texas economy.”Governor Greg Abbott and Senator John Cornyn have made that point to President Trump often. But the message doesn’t seem to be having much effect. Stephen P. Vaughn, general counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, testified at the same hearing.“Of course, there are Americans who benefit from NAFTA, and we want to avoid harming them,” said Vaughn. “But USTR must look at trade deals from the perspective of the country as a whole, and from that perspective, there are serious problems with NAFTA.” Vaughn said that over the past decade, the U.S. racked up a $500 billion trade deficit with Mexico and a $100 billion deficit with Canada.George Y. Gonzalez, a partner at the law firm of Haynes and Boone, said that may be true, but it misses the point.“Regional trade was at $290 billion in 1993 among the three countries. In 2016, it’s at $1.1 trillion,” said Gonzalez, arguing that jump in North American trade created more jobs than it cost. “It’s the very opposite of what the rhetoric is, in fact. The implementation of NAFTA has preserved jobs and has maintained a vibrant and competitive U.S. manufacturing position.”Daniel Allford at ARC Specialties said he doesn’t have to imagine what will happen to his sales if the U.S leaves NAFTA. “In the countries that NAFTA doesn’t cover – for example, in Brazil, there’s 40 percent tariffs on my equipment,” he said. “What this means is I have yet to sell a machine to a Brazilian company.”President Trump has set a deadline of March to wrap up the NAFTA talks. Any longer, and they risk bumping up against the Mexican presidential election and campaigning for the U.S. congressional midterms. X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /03:59 Listen Share
Kolkata: Visitors of Space Theatre at Science City will soon have a unique viewing experience in terms of content and technical quality with the switch from 2D analogue to 3D digital. The theatre which remained shut since March 1, 2017, due to renovation, will be unveiled with a new avatar by the middle of January 2019.”The time has come to switch to digital with the advancement in technology. We had been running the content in analogue format for 20 years. There will be six projectors in place of the old standalone projection system — the sound quality will be world class. The pioneering German manufacturer of optical systems Carl Zeiss is implementing the entire project,” said Subhabrata Chaudhri, director of Science City. The total project cost is around Rs 20 crore. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe six new projectors that will replace the old system have been procured from Christie, the US-based manufacturer of projectors and digital cinema devices. The 23m tilted dome is being designed and installed by Astro-Tec Manufacturing of the US. “Back in July 1997, when the dome was inaugurated for the first time, it was in seismic zone II compliant but now it has been made seismic zone IV compliant,” a senior official said. The air conditioning system and the sitting arrangement will also witness a change in the new dome though there will be no change in the capacity. There will be a total of 360 seats with more leg space and better reclining ability. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”There will be 8 to 10 shows per day and the price of tickets for the show is expected to go up with the viewing experience seeing a total change. The latest digital content will be screened in ultrahigh definition and also in 3D, giving viewers the feel of ‘being there’,” a official said. Space Theatre at Science City is India’s first and the first film that was screened was Serengeti, which documents the journey of more than two million wild beasts, zebras and antelopes over 500 miles across the Serengeti plains in Tanzania. Science City, which operates under the National Council of Science Museums, had sent its proposal for an upgrade to the Union ministry of Culture in September 2015. The approval came in March 2016.
Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, January 23, 2018 Share More new bookings equal more bonuses with new Sandals Resorts incentive TORONTO — Agents can earn up to US$85 for every new booking with a just-released booking incentive bonus from Sandals Resorts – and there’s no limit to how much agents can earn.The bonus is “in appreciation of the continued support from the travel agent community [and] just in time for the all-important winter season,” says Sandals Resorts.Effective immediately, agents who book their clients now through March 15, 2018 (and for travel anytime) will receive a bonus payment, based on length of stay and room category for each new booking:Butler SuiteUS$35 bonus for 6-night stayUS$85 for 7 nights or moreClub / Concierge SuiteUS$25 bonus for 6-night stayUS$55 for 7 nights or moreLuxury / Deluxe RoomUS$15 bonus for 6-night stayUS$30 for 7 nights or moreAll bookings must be registered on Sandals’ travel agent portal taportal.sandals.com within 30 days of making the booking.The incentive booking bonus payments will be made within 10-14 business days after travel.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesFor more information, travel agents are asked to contact their local Business Development Manager, call Inside Sales at 1-800-545-8283 or visit taportal.sandals.com. Tags: Agent Incentives, Sandals Resorts Posted by