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Friday, 26 May 2017

Fresh move to impeach Justice Nagarjuna Reddy news

Over 60 members of the Rajya Sabha, cutting across party lines, have submitted a motion seeking the initiation of impeachment proceedings against Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy of the High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
This is the second attempt by members of the Upper House to remove Justice Nagarjuna Reddy. The first one made by 61 MPs on December 5 last failed after 19 signatories withdrew.
Allegations against the judge include interfering in the judicial process in several cases; and caste slurs, including death threats against Dalit Junior Civil Judge Sanku Rama Krishna at the courts in Rayachoti, a town in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district. Rayachoti is also Justice Nagarjuna Reddy’s hometown.
Sources told The Hindu that one of the Rajya Sabha members who actively canvassed support for the process said members this time would not withdraw their names, which have already been submitted to Chairman Hamid Ansari. Some of the MPs who signed the motion told The Hindu that Mr. Ansari has admitted the motion and sought the advice of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar.
The next step in the process is for the Vice President to constitute a three-member committee under the 1968 Judges (Inquiry) Act, which generally consists of a sitting Supreme Court judge and a High Court Chief Justice and and eminent jurist. This is done in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The committee will function like a trial court, examining the accusations against Justice Reddy and ruling whether they are well founded. Thereafter, it will advise in favour or against the judge’s removal.
The committee’s decision will then be placed in both Houses of Parliament for a vote, and would require a two-third majority of MPs present voting in favour of the motion in the same session, or an absolute majority of a joint session, for the judge to be removed.
Article 124 (4) of the Constitution stipulates that a minimum of 50 Rajya Sabha members or double that number from the Lok Sabha are required as signatories to initiate impeachment, the only means to remove judges from office in the country’s higher judiciary.
When initiated, Justice Nagarjuna Reddy will be only the fifth judge of the higher judiciary to face impeachment.Reporting on the accusations against the judge, the Frontline, quoting the aborted first motion signed by 61 MPs said, “Pavan Reddy set his domestic help on fire in a fit of rage, leading to his death on November 20, 2012. This, he said was because Ramanjulu, Pavan Reddy’s domestic help refused to cooperate in a cover up of the use of a Forest Department vehicle for smuggling sandalwood. The dying declaration narrated by Ramanjulu to Rama Krishna accessed by a Guntur-based non-profit under RTI shows it was recorded around 8 p.m. on November 20, 2012 at the Government Area Hospital, Rayachoti. Rama Krishna claimed that Justice Reddy called him ten days later demanding that he drop his brother’s name from the dying declaration.”

Justice Nagarjuna Reddy’s brother Pavan Kumar Reddy has been the Additional Public Prosecutor at the District Courts at Rayachoti, the former’s home town, for over a decade now.
The second motion submitted to Vice President Ansari has the signatures of MPs from the ruling BJP, SP, BSP, the CPI (M), the TDP and the Congress.

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Thursday, 25 May 2017


The box office exploits of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion have attracted much comment. Many have wondered how a south Indian film with not a single star known to north Indian audiences could connect so well with viewers in the cow belt.

There are several reasons why the Baahubali diptych has been wildly popular. The most obvious one is that it exemplifies storytelling at its captivating best. Director S.S. Rajamouli’s singular achievement has been to translate the fabulistic world of Amar Chitra Katha into a three-hour, immersive reality experience. In the process, he has managed to accomplish something that no film-maker has done before on a scale and with the conviction that he has: fabricate an Indian superhero.
Let us unpack the cultural content of this Indian superhero. First of all, he is, quite categorically, a Hindu. He is a Hindu defined by his caste identity, a Kshatriya. And finally, by showing the Kshatriya superhero leading a Hindu army that vanquishes an invading swarm of barbarians, the two Baahubali films together represent a powerfully imagined narrative of the Hindus as a martial race. If a Hindutva advocate had wanted a propaganda film showcasing the splendours of ancient India, he could not have asked for anything better. But this is not to impute such a motive to the producers, who may well have been unconscious of their project’s subtext.
Some may argue that the religious and caste identity of the warrior hero in Baahubali are incidental to the story. Not really. His character and world view are defined by the Kshatriya ethic. The Hindu ethos of the characters and the kingdom of Mahishmati, where the action is set, is reinforced right through the film. The dialogues, landscape, costumes, and even subplots are steeped in Hindu edicts, iconography, and symbolism — from giant elephants and lingams to ubiquitous Brahmin priests performing yajnas, chanting shlokas, and offering astrological counsel at crucial moments. Interestingly, the film depicts the barbarians who attack Mahishmati as a dark-skinned, aboriginal race. Given that Mahishmati is located in the Indian subcontinent, the story, in effect, communicates that the warriors of an ancient Hindu kingdom led by fair-skinned, Aryan-like, Kshatriya superheroes successfully subjugated an army of the casteless/Adivasis that was much bigger in numbers but short on acumen.

Beneath the expertly paced plot and glossy production values, the subtext of Baahubali glorifies the caste order. It seeks to unite a putative Hindu community divided by caste, not by picturing the elimination of caste divisions, but by exhorting people to rally around the perfect Hindu as embodied by the Kshatriya warrior. Even as it presents the Kshatriya code of honour as an aspirational ideal for all Hindus, it leaves no doubt that the dharma of the lower-caste Hindu enjoins him to recognise the Kshatriya’s right to rule, and to obey his commands.
Superheroes are cultural tropes by which a people relate to their world, to others, and to themselves. The Baahubali films, coming at a time when Hindu nationalistic sentiments are at a fever pitch, constitute a significant cultural intervention.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

cobra lily latest news

The incredibly rare Arisaematranslucens, more commonly known as the cobra lily, was recently rediscovered in the western Nilgiris after 84 years by nature enthusiasts K.M. Prabhu Kumar and Tarun Chhabra.

Featuring a distinctive translucent spathe, it was last collected by E. Barnes in 1932 and described by C.E.C Fischer in 1933.
Barely a few hundred cobra lily plants are left in the wild and they can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris.
News of the discovery was published in May 2017 in Phytotaxa, a journal on botanical taxonomy.
“The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris, who know the plant well, have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it,” Mr. Chhabra, author of The Toda Landscape, told The Hindu. “If I am not mistaken, this is probably the only member of the Arisaema family to have a translucent spathe, and they are very beautiful.”
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Mr. Chhabra said that such was the depth of the indigenous community’s knowledge that they could predict the early arrival of monsoon from the blooming of the cobra lily's ‘translucens’. Prized for their beauty around the world, cobra lilies are at even greater risk of extinction from the commercial trade in exotic plants.
Of the handful cobra lily species found in the Nilgiris, only two are endemic, said Mr. Chhabra, who has called for the protection of the patch of land where the Arisaema translucens were found. Likely to have been quite common once, cobra lilies have vanished in the past decades along with the disappearance of the shola tree patches in which they were found. The rediscovery of the plant highlights the importance of preserving whatever is left of shola tree patches, even inside plantations and tea fields.
Dr. Prabhu Kumar, a senior scientist from Kerala and one of the co-authors of the paper, said that based on its tiny population and distribution, the Arisaematranslucens could be considered ‘critically endangered’, and concurred that measures must be put in place immediately for their long term survival.
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Demonetization news

India is went to sleep on Tuesday, Nov 8th, grappling with the news of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000  notes. In the ensuing two days, we have seen a lot of action on the ground. And many of you might be wondering if there is a need to hit the panic button, given how real estate stocks took a beating in the market? The answer is a resounding NO irrespective of whether you are a buyer or a builder/ developer.

Cash transactions have been an integral part of the Indian real estate sector. Market rates across cities in India are usually higher than government prescribed rates. Cash transactions have contributed in large parts, by helping hide the real extent of transactions. This has hurt the interest of genuine home-buyers and honest taxpayers.

Despite a difficult last few quarters and depressed demand for property, real estate developers have held prices at a high level. In the short term, demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will add to the woes of the industry, as cash transactions will be sucked out of the economy. Speculative buying will reduce significantly leading to increased build-up in inventory and pressure on builders to relax prices. The accompanying deflationary impact will serve the genuine home-buyer well in the form of affordable homes in the mid to long term. There will be a tipping point where prices of homes will have to correct, if they haven’t already, in line with market demand.
Demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes is an attempt to curb black money in the overall economy. But it will have a huge collateral benefit in terms of rationalizing real estate prices. If you have been paying your taxes and are looking to buy a home, go out and rejoice. This could be your Christmas gift in advance.
Developers: There will be minimal impact on large institutionalized players with a solid brand and governance framework. Sales largely driven by the salaried class or investors with limited cash involvement would not suffer. Smaller developers are understandably very concerned right now because many of them have depended on cash transactions. We are very likely to see a clean-up of non-serious players due to this ‘surgical strike’ on the parallel economy. The impact of RERA will further discipline the industry, which will be good for its health in the long term. Developers who were using cash to fund their construction activities are likely to face short term difficulties and execution delays.
Residential real estate: The primary sales segment is largely influenced by home finance players, and deals tend to be facilitated in a transparent manner. This segment will therefore, see at best a limited impact in the larger cities, though some tier 2 and tier 3 cities where cash components have been a factor even in primary sales will see a business crunch. The secondary or resale market will, however, certainly be impacted, given the fact that this segment does see the involvement of cash component.
Real estate investment markets: Projects could get stretched as informal sources of capital may not be available. This, in fact, spells more opportunities for institutional capital. FDI, private equity, and debt players will suddenly find the market even more transparent and attractive. Moreover, banks could start funding land transactions, thereby decelerating land prices.
RoofandFloor’s mission is to bring trust and transparency to the home buying market. Much like RERA, the latest move by the government is going to have a positive impact on how the real market industry will operate going forward. This is well-aligned with our philosophy and further strengthens our commitment to being a home-buyer-first organization.
Overall, while there is likely to be short-term turbulence, the move is definitely a welcome measure both for the homebuyers as well as the sector.
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China on Monday said it would oppose India’s unilateral entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), pending a consensus on the membership of the nuclear weapon states that have not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In response to a question, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “China's position on the non-NPT member’s participation in the NSG has not changed.”
The 48 nation NSG is expected to hold its plenary next month in Bern, Switzerland, where New Delhi’s entry is expected to be discussed. New Delhi formally applied for NSG membership in May last year, but China has consistently blocked India’s bid, pointing to the need for devolving universally applicable membership criteria for all countries that have not signed the NPT, but had become nuclear weapon states.
Pakistan, China’s close ally, is the other declared nuclear weapon state, which has not signed the NPT.
The NSG controls the global exports of nuclear technology and material to ensure that atomic energy is used only for peaceful purposes.
“We support the NSG following the mandate of the 2016 plenary session and following building consensus as well as the intergovernmental process that is open and transparent to deal with the relevant issues in a two-step approach, “ Ms. Hua observed.
In a statement last year after the November 11 meeting of the NSG in Vienna, the Foreign Ministry said that the meeting in the Austrian capital was held to discuss the “technical, legal and political aspects of non-NPT states’ participation in the NSG,” in accordance with the mandate adopted in June during the grouping’s meeting in Seoul. The meeting was a maiden attempt since the NSG’s inception in 1975 to formally take up non-NPT states’ participation “in an open and transparent manner.”
However, the statement reiterated China’s insistence on linking NSG membership to the NPT — a formulation that rules out India’s membership.
“China maintains that any formula [for membership] worked out should be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT states; without prejudice to the core value of the NSG and the effectiveness, authority and integrity of the international non-proliferation regime with the NPT as its cornerstone; and without contradicting the customary international law in the field of non-proliferation.”
In defining a two-step approach for arriving at a consensus, the Chinese side has said that the first step for membership was defining a “formula” that would be followed by the second step, which would be “country-specific.”                                                                                                                                                                                                       click to more information

India has underscored that NPT membership is not essential for joining the NSG, as was illustrated in the case with France, which became a member of the NSG without signing the NPT.
Highly placed sources said that at the talks with the Chinese, India insisted that the NSG was not a non-proliferation, but an “export control,” mechanism. Therefore, India’s NSG bid should be de-linked from the criterion of NPT membership.
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