World News

US Supreme Court allows Trump's third travel ban to go into effect

Donald Trump
December 05, 2017 05:38 AM

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Monday allowed the third version of the Trump administration's travel ban to take effect, impacting citizens of eight countries from entering the US.

The ruling lifted restrictions imposed by lower courts on the travel ban, which bars all citizens of Syria, Iran, Chad, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as certain officials from Venezuela from entering the US.

"In light of its decision to consider the case on an expedited basis, we expect that the Court of Appeals will render its decision with appropriate dispatch," Xinhua news agency quoted the Supreme Court ruling as saying.

The travel ban, released in September, was the third version by the Trump administration.

The Trump administration said the ban was needed to ensure national security, while critics said it was a form of religious discrimination as most of the countries impacted by the ban are Muslim majorities.


Actress Zaira Wasim complains of in-flight molestation

Zaira Wasim
December 10, 2017 11:55 AM

MUMBAI: "Dangal" actress Zaira Wasim has detailed a harrowing experience of being allegedly molested by a middle-aged man while she was on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai.

The 17-year-old National Award winner shared her ordeal via an Instagram Story.

"Managed to get this," Zaira posted with a snapshot of the man's foot, which was rested on her arm rest.

The star of "Secret Superstar" then added: "The lights were dimmed, so it was even worse. It continued for another 5-10 minutes and then I was sure of it. He kept nudging my shoulder and continued to move his foot up and down my back and neck.

"So, I was in a flight travelling from Delhi to Mumbai today and right behind me one middle-aged man who made my two-hour journey miserable. I tried to record it on phone to understand it better because the cabin lights were dimmed, I failed to get it.

"It was all chill till I felt somebody brushing against my back while I was half asleep. I ignored it the first time. Blamed the turbulence for it. Until I woke me up to this pleasant sight of his beautiful foot rubbing my back and neck.

"Guess he couldn't sit like a civilised human being and placed his foot on my armrest while he's fully 'phelaoed' (spread) his body on his seat."

She ended her post with: "Slow claps for Vistara's wonderful crew guys."

In a self-shot video doing the rounds on social media, Zaira, who is from Jammu and Kashmir, is also seen breaking down on an Instagram live chat.

"I just landed, the whole irony of this that I yelled... and this is not done... this is not how you should be treated or made to feela this is terrible. This is how they will take care of girls? No one will help us if we don't decide to help ourselves and that is the worst thing," she said, looking visibly disturbed.

Vistara Airlines has said it will investigate the issue.

"We have seen the reports regarding Zaira Wasim experience with another customer on board last night. We are carrying out detailed investigation and will support Zaira in every way required. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour," read a post on the Airlines' official Twitter page.


Punjabi couple in Canada charged with cocaine smuggling from US

December 10, 2017 11:34 AM

NEW YORK: Two Californians of Indian-descent have been charged by Canadian authorities with smuggling 100 kgs of cocaine valued at about $6 million, according to media reports.

Gurminder Singh Toor, 31, and Kirandeep Kaur Toor, 26, were charged on four counts under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Canada Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported on Friday.

According to Canadian officials quoted by CBC, this was the biggest cocaine seizure at the border between the US and Canada's Alberta Province.

The seizure took place on December 2 just after midnight but it was announced by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on Friday, CBC said.

CBC said that according to officials border guards at Coutts in southern Alberta found 84 bricks of cocaine hidden in a microwave and in the living quarters of the semi-trailer truck, which was supposed to be bringing vegetables from the US.

CBC said the estimated street value of the cocaine was Canadian $8 million (about US $6.3 million).

"There certainly is a lot of trucks that come through Coutts and it's like looking for a needle in a haystack," said Guy Rook, CBSA director of operations in southern Alberta, according the National Post. "In this case we found that needle due to the training and dedication of our front line officers," he added.

Indian Army

Capt Bana Singh PVC other war veterans inspire students with engaging narratives

December 08, 2017 11:20 PM

CHANDIGARH: War veterans, including Captain Bana Singh PVC, on Friday shared their inspiring experiences of the battlefield with students to motivate them to join the Indian Army. More than 1000 students from Mohali, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar participated in the 'Children’s Samvadh' during the Military Literature Festival to create awareness among them about the armed forces and their rich legacy.

Interacting with the students at the 'Saragarhi Samvad' venue, the veterans spoke about the challenges faced during their service tenure, besides discussing the role of military literature in motivating youngsters to join the armed forces in the service of their motherland.

The students freely intermingled with Captain Bana Singh, who got the highest gallantry award Paramveer Chakra in recognition to his exemplary courage and bravery, and heard his stories of courage at the Siachen glacier.

Captain Bana Singh told the students about the arduous duty performed by him and several other soldiers in harsh weather conditions at Siachen glacier. Sharing his experience, the Paramveer awardee revealed how the enemy was defeated by the brave Indian soldiers, who upheld the lofty traditions of the armed forces by hoisting the national flag at the glacier post.

Captain Bana Singh informed the students that till now 21 brave soldiers of the armed forces had been honoured with the coveted gallantry award of Paramveer Chakra. Of these, 14 soldiers were bestowed the award posthumously while seven were presented to war survivors, of whom only three were alive.

Lieutenant Colonel Harbant Singh Kahlon Veer Chakra, Subedar Dhian Singh Seva Medal, Squadron Leader PPS Gill Veer Chakra, NK Hazaari Lal Gurjar Sewa Medal and other eminent officers of the Indian army also shared their vast experience in armed forces.

The veterans called upon the students to join the Indian Army, as it was not merely a profession to earn livelihood but a matter of pride and honour to serve the country.

Sikh Community

$210,000 raised in Washington for Underprivileged Students in Punjab

December 08, 2017 10:55 PM

WASHINGTON DC: Over 350 guests from all across the Metropolitan Washington area came to support the scholarship program of the Sikh Human Development Foundation at Gaithersburg Hilton in Maryland. The glittery gala, featuring Bollywood actor and a Punjabi comedian, Gurpreet Ghuggi, raised over $210,000 for underprivileged youth pursuing higher education in Punjab. Gajinder Singh Ahuja, Chairman of SHDF, while welcoming the audience, invited all to donate by saying, “Your assistance is lifting young people out of poverty, tragedy and painful circumstances.”
SHDF provides scholarships to bright but poor students in Punjab and surrounding areas. Based in Washington, it has been giving scholarships to students since 2001 and over the years USD 2 million in scholarship money has been provided.
Addressing the donors, Gajinder Singh Ahuja, Chairman, SHDF, declared "SHDF has so far given more than 5000 scholarships. Of these, 2,700 have already graduated and found good jobs. They have become doctors, engineers, scientists and the like. Some of them are now helping other needy children. This is one of the major impacts. SHDF now has 7 centers in Punjab and Delhi. All of these centers are being managed by volunteers such as college professors and students. This program is executed in partnership with the sister organization, Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council based in New Delhi."
He added, “In my humble view, this is no small achievement. You inspired us to do this work. Also, we have a very committed team of Board members and a Program Manager who are working long hours because they all feel the pain of these needy children.”
Jasdeep Singh Juneja, an IT professional from Dallas, Texas, narrated his own inspirational tale of being the recipient of an SHDF scholarship and now running a major operation for ATT. He said, “If there was no SHDF then I will not be in USA and I would have been lost in life. My family was not able to support me. It is only because of financial assistance at a very crucial time that I was able to become a professional. I am now able to support the education of my own younger brother.” Similarly Jasmeet Singh Bhatia, another scholarship recipient, shared his journey from an underprivileged family to being a professional in Richmond, VA.
Dr. Manmohan Singh Kumar and Dr. Rajwant Singh led an appeal requesting for donations from the audience, who then opened up their hearts and wallets to write checks for SHDF. The audience, who were already convinced about the cause, donated funds for 420 scholarships with each scholarship worth $510.00.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said, "Education is the key to bringing positive change among the youth in Punjab. This has the aggregate effect and it transforms families and the communities. Punjab has gone down in many aspects and especially in education. This kind of initiative is so critical for the future of the community and the state."
Dr. Rajwant Singh said, "The supporters of this cause can be proud of the fact that they are holding the hands of  the students who are dreaming to stand on their own feet. He added, “SHDF is perhaps the only organization which provides scholarships to students for higher education. It is a small effort but the need is immense in Punjab.”
SHDF scholarship is based on need and merit. Students are selected from colleges and universities throughout the State of Punjab and surrounding areas with vigorous screening.  This is done by the SHDF India Division based in New Delhi. The four-member staff, supervised by the sister organiztion, Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council, and an eminent SHDF Adviser,  Pritpal Singh Bami, maintains the records of the recipients and verifies credentials of the students. Most of the students receiving assistance are from families earning less than a dollar a day per person. SHDF has provided over $2 Million in scholarship money since 2001.
Dr. Baljit Singh Sidhu, an orthopedic surgeon from Richmond, Virginia and a Benefactor of SHDF, said, “I am a firm believer that only thing which will make Punjab survive is education. The only way to get out of the drug menace is education. Education is the best Daan – charity. We feel proud that we are part of this organization.”
Chief Guest at the dinner event, Gursharan Kaur Kandra from Toronto, appealed to the audience to donate wholeheartedly for the scholarship program.  
Drs. Ranvir Singh Achereja and Manjeet Kaur Achereja of North Carolina, along with Satinder Singh Chadha, a well-recognized entrepreneur and a firm supporter of SHDF from UK, were Guests of Honor. They were honored for their Sikh Spirit of Sewa, Commitment, and Contributions Towards Empowering Our Youth with Higher Education. The Acherejas were honored by Dr. Jatinder Kaur Sidhu from Richmond, VA, and Mr. Chadha was honored by Dr. Manjeet Kaur Achreja. Special Guest Harbinder Singh of UK flew from London to attend he function and support the cause.
Dr. Jatinder Kaur, a physician from Virginia, said, “If we don’t hold the hands of our own children, then who will? This is the best investment. We must think that this is the panthic cause. Especially empowering women is key to the better future. Each Sikh should become part of this endeavor.”
Jaspreet Kaur Ahuja, Secretary General of SHDF, said, “One of the highlights of the evening was the offer made by a former SHDF scholarship recipient, Jasdeep Singh Juneja, that he would like to work as a volunteer for SHDF. He recommended we open an SHDF chapter in Dallas and that he would like to be a part of the chapter. This is where the future of SHDF lies, and it is a great feeling to know that it would be in good hands.
She added, “I also want to take this opportunity to thank each and every volunteer, who worked hard to make the event run smoothly. We could not have done it without their help."
Gurpreet Ghuggi appreciated the efforts of SHDF and said, “You all are lighting candles in many homes in Punjab and this is the best possible Sewa one can render. In actuality, you are fulfilling the dream of Guru Nanak who had said, ‘Vidiya vichari taan Parupkari’ – True education makes one benevolent.” He added, “Guru Nanak will be proud of you all and those who are supporting this cause.”
Guests were entertained by Raginder “Violinder” who enthralled the audience with his solo rendition in the beginning on Raag Charukeshi and many in the audience danced with his fast numbers.
Brigadier Upjit Singh Narula, an SHDF Board member, said, “The growing poverty in Punjab has to be met with full vigor and focused attention. Education is the only method to improve the status of the underprivileged families. This is the true human development.”
Kanwal Singh, who manages the accounts of SHDF, said, "Our program is running effectively.  We keep the overhead of running the scholarship program very low and most of the donation money goes to the scholarship recipients.”
Manpreet Singh, a Board member of SHDF, said, "More than 65% of the students are from rural areas and 74% are female students. SHDF is also holding workshops to teach these students communication skills and interview techniques, thus making them confident for the job market.
Simmi Singh, an SHDF’s Board member, said, “This year's event is again a grand success. We were especially thrilled to have some of the beneficiaries of our scholarships to come here at the event and share their inspirational journey. The audience was indeed touched by their emotional appeal."
At the end, Harbaksh Singh Sethi, a Board member of SHDF, thanked the audience and said, "We are grateful to our donors for their confidence in this critical initiative. Most of the students cannot afford the high tuition and we are helping to brighten the lives of their families.”
This year, Parminder Singh Ahuja of PSA, CPA,  Bhutani family of AXXIS Financial Group, Dr. Charanjit Singh Khurana, Dr. Sheena Khurana, Manjit Singh, CPA, Surinder Singh Raheja and Family, Harpreet Kaur of Nanak Insurance Agency, Ruby Saluja of digital point, Mehtab Kahlon of Punj Tara Restaurant, Sonu Kaur of the Wedding Nation, Ameeta Singh of Trendy Needle and Sam Video joined hands as local businesses promoting the cause. DJ services were provided by DJ Lucky and Dcs Platinum

Punjab Politics

How Congress govt in Punjab allowed 26 hour long road blockage by SAD-BJP workers?

December 08, 2017 09:59 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Congress government in Punjab is facing public flak for becoming mute spectator to the 26 hour long road blockade by SAD-BJP workers while the government was indifferent to agitating farmers and anganwadi workers who wanted to hold dharna outside Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh residence in Patiala. They were cane charged and not allowed to enter Patiala.

The political interests of Congress and SAD-BJP alliance have superceded the inconvinience caused to common people who remained stranded on state highways overnight due to the blockade.

The dharnas laid by SAD-BJP were lifted only after High Court intervened on a petition filed by an advocate even as SAD president Sukhbir Badal claimed they lifted dharna when their all demands were acceptged.

SAD-BJP alliance had started dharna on all main roads in the state in protest against rejection of nomination papers of their candidates in the Municipal Corporation and Committee elections. The Congress government seemed facilitating the dharnas by not taking action against the protesters.

The dharna by SAD was totally illegal and against the law of the land and at the same time an absolute failure of state government which failed to maintain law and order and vehicular traffic was paralysed.  

In a recent case of propsoed dharna by farmers at Capt Amarinder Singh's residence in Patiala the High Court had ruled that if police see threat to peace, it shall immediately impose prohibitory orders.

Punit Bali an advocate of High Court who filed a petition against dharna by SAD hailed high court for entertained the petition and sought a report on the dharnas. Bali said that intervention by High court was main reason that dharnas were lifted. It is high time peole who are responsible should be made accoutble. The opposition parties and the persons who are in power have violated the law themselves.

The commuters yesterday and today faced harrassment as thousands of tourists going to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashnir, the college and school going students, government employees and general travellers remained stranded on roads overnight. Sukhbir Badal president of SAD was leading dharna at Harike Pattan yesterday and late in the evening he announced to extend dharna indefinitely. The Akali workers on other spots also extended dharna and lifted only after 26 hours.

What was the logic of holding dharna all over the state whereas the elections were being held only in three Municipal Corporations and 32 Committees?. What was the fault of common people who were made to suffer even emergency services like ambulances were not allowed to ply?

The ruling and opposition alliance must give an explanation for their conduct. The political drama on roads had pushed the civic issues on the back burner and local issues have became irrelevent in the MC elections. It is time people of state teach a lesson to these parties for the anarchy.

World News

Doug Johnson named police chief at IUPUI

Doug Johnson
December 08, 2017 11:38 AM

INDIANAPOLIS: Indiana University – Purdue Indianapolis IUPUI Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Camy Broeker and Indiana University Superintendent of Public Safety Benjamin Hunter have announced the appointment of Doug Johnson as chief of the Indiana University Police Department division at IUPUI. Johnson will lead more than 50 full-time and part-time uniformed officers and detectives beginning January. 1.

"Doug Johnson's diverse professional career makes him a good fit for the IUPD-Indianapolis division," Hunter said. "Having served in both municipal and higher education law enforcement, he has the background and education to continue the tradition of community-oriented policing at IUPUI.""The safety and security of our faculty, staff, students and visitors is of paramount importance, and Doug's extensive law enforcement experience will benefit the IUPUI campus," Broeker said. "I look forward to him building upon the extensive relationships IUPD-Indianapolis has forged throughout the campus community and beyond, as well as enhancing the collaboration and programming that currently exist to ensure we continue to provide a safe environment at IUPUI."Johnson began his IUPD career in 2012 with the IUPUI division, being assigned to Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus for two years before transitioning to deputy chief of the IUPD-Bloomington division, where he has been providing strategic and operational leadership.

A seasoned law enforcement professional, Johnson retired from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 2011 after 20 years of service and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He also serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as a colonel and division chief of staff."I am both honored and humbled by the confidence invested in me by the university," Johnson said. "I am very much looking forward to working with the men and women of the Indianapolis division and continuing the great work they are doing in service to the Indiana University Police Department and the IUPUI and Indianapolis communities. I am also thankful for the friendships that have come out of my time serving with the Bloomington division and look forward to applying the lessons I have learned toward my new assignment."IUPD at IUPUI is one division of the IU Police Department, which is part of the Office of Public Safety and Institutional Assurance. Chief Johnson will join Superintendent Hunter's leadership team, composed of the seven chiefs throughout the system, who ensure a progressive and community-oriented approach to campus law enforcement, according to IUPUI  press released today.

Punjab Government

Punjab CM says will relook industrial policy, if needed, inaugurates PITEX-2017

December 07, 2017 10:09 PM

AMRITSAR: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday inaugurated the 12th edition of Punjab International Trade Expos (PITEX-2017) with the promise of further steps by his government, including a review of the new industrial policy if needed, to ease the processes for facilitating business and industry in the state.

In his inaugural address, the Chief Minister said the exposition, a joint effort of Punjab government and PHD Chamber that was initiated by him during his previous tenure, would pave the way for giving impetus to international trade and commerce, thus helping the state grow and making the region a hub of industrial activity.

PITEX, which will see 34 MoUs worth Rs. 2268 Cr being signed to generate 13,370 jobs in the state, is expected to witness much higher footfall than last year’s 3 lakh – an indication of the new mood in the state, said Captain Amarinder. He pointed out that since his government had taken over the state’s reins, MoUs worth Rs 50000 crore had already been signed, with many more in the pipeline.

Reacting to the concern raised by PHD Chamber president Anil Khaitan, that as many as 32 permissions were still needed to set up a factory in Punjab, while setting up a power plant required 50, the Chief Minister said he would surely look into the matter and, if needed, relook the industrial policy to make sure that the `Business First’ philosophy is not compromised.

Lamenting that the state lost its industrial hub at the time of its division in 1966, the Chief Minister said his government was committed to rebuilding the same and was keen on industrial development across the state.

Pointing out that the state’s agrarian advantage continues to exist, despite the problems faced by farmers, the Chief Minister said Punjab had contributed 51% to the country’s food stock even this year. It was time now to explore ways to expand the industry, which was essential for creating jobs and improving the lives of the people, he stressed.

Citing the incentives provided under the new industrial policy, launched recently by his government, Captain Amarinder said his government was ready to extend all help and cooperation to industrialists from India and abroad to invest in Punjab.

Noting that institutions like PHD Chamber were playing a significant role in promoting Punjab Government’s industrial development schemes, he further said his government would extend all support to ensure the success of PITEX-2017. Enterprising businessmen from India and other countries, visitors and buyers participating in this event would be greatly benefitted, he added.

His government, he said, understood the concerns of trade and industry and was continuously striving to address these issues to provide a conducive industrial environment not only in the State, but in the entire region.


Man hacked to death, set ablaze in Rajasthan over 'love jihad', accused arrested

December 07, 2017 09:20 PM

JAIPUR: In a horrifying video gone viral, a man is seen being brutally hacked to death and set on fire in Rajasamand district of Rajasthan, for allegedly committing "love jihad". Police arrested the accused, Shambunath Raigar, on Thursday.

The person killed has been identified as Afrazul, hailing from Malda district of West Bengal, police said. Earlier, police had identified him as Mohammed Bhatta Sheikh.

Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria has ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case.

A case of murder has been registered and more cases would be registered under relevant sections as and when new facts emerge in this case, police said.

The victim was a labourer in his late 40s. According to the mother of Afrazul, she had spoken to him on Wednesday morning, and soon after that he was murdered. She was terrified to see the video of her son's murder going viral and has requested harshest punishment for the accused.

In fact, when police reached the crime venue on Thursday, dogs and carrion birds were seen feeding on the body.

According to reports, Raigar who was friendly with the victim lured him to come to fields with him where he hit him repeatedly with a long pick-axe and a scythe. He then poured petrol on Afrazul and set him alight. The entire gory incident was videographed by Raigar's nephew, who is a minor, and uploaded on the internet. He also left a three-page letter at the site.

Superintendent of Police Manoj kumar said the accused could be seen speaking on issues such as love jihad in the video. He is also seen stating that he was "avenging" the insult being meted to his sister.

According to police, Raigar had bought a new pick-axe with an intention to murder the victim.

Raigar was arrested from Kelwa when he was going to a temple on his Scooty.

SP Kumar said that interrogation of Raigar is on and police is keeping an eye on the law and order situation. Police have stopped all internet services in Rajasamand. Extra police force has been deployed in and around the town to prevent any untoward incident.

Speaking to IANS, Kumar said police received information about a semi-burnt body lying in Ragnagar in Rajsamand district.

Without delay, he along with ASP Manish Tripathi and DSP Rajendra Singh reached the location where they found a badly disfigured body. Immediately the forensics team and dog squad were summoned. The agricultural tool used for murder, the victim's motorbike and his slippers were found at the crime scene.

Terming it a "cold-blooded murder", DGP O.P. Gelhotra said police will demand toughest punishment for the accused. "We will ask that the accused be hanged to death," he said while terming the murder as "rarest of the rare case".

He praised the efforts of Rajasthan Police who arrested the accused within 24 hours of the incident.

"Interrogation is on in the matter. New facts are emerging in the case and the investigation is hence proceeding in that direction," he added.

Asked if the murder was aimed at denting the state's harmony, Gelhotra said the murder should not be linked to any such thing as it seemed to have been done by a "psycho person".

The DGP said the police would take all necessary steps to ensure that the atmosphere of peace and tranquility in Rajasthan is not disturbed.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condemned the murder and directed that the criminal be prosecuted in the shortest possible time. "This is a deplorable act which needs to be condemned in strongest possible terms," she said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also condemned the murder. "We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman? Sad," Banerjee tweeted.

Punjab Politics

Capt Amarinder shatters hopes of Navjot Sidhu to Deputy CM in cabinet expansion

Capt Amarinder Singh addressing Press Conferfence in Amritsar
December 07, 2017 09:00 PM

AMRITSAR: The hopes of Punjab Local Bodies and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to become Deputy Chief Minister of state in the proposed expansion of cabinet by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh after the latter ruled out possibility of creating Deputy CM post since party has no such convention.

Talking to media here Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday revelaed he would go in for cabinet expansion after the declaration of the Gujarat poll results, on December 18, but ruled out appointment of a deputy chief minister, for which the Congress has no convention.

The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference at the launch of the Congress Vision Document for the state’s urban development. Sidhu was also present with the Chief Minister.

Navjot Sidhu had reportedly joined Congress at the time of assembly elections with the promise that he would be given Deputy CMs slot in the cabinet. Sidhu was however administered oath as cabinet minister and later Sidhu said he didnt demand the post of Deputy CM.

Flanked by PPCC president Sunil Jakhar and  Sidhu, Captain Amarinder rejected the suggestion that his government had failed to implement many of its poll promises, which could affect the Congress party’s performance in the MC elections. It was not possible to implement all promises in eight months, especially given the financial crisis inherited from the erstwhile Sad-BJP government, he said, adding that the state is struggling to generate its own resources, including loans, to fulfill its responsibilities and meet its promises.

The process of farm loan waiver would begin after the elections and distribution of smart phones would also begin soon, said the Chief Minister, adding that, unfortunately, all things are dependent on resources, which takes time to manage. The influx of industry would help boost the resource generation for the state, he said, disclosing that his government had signed MoUs to the tune of Rs 50000 crore since taking over in March this year.

On the GST issue, the Chief Minister said the problem was with its implementation, which had been done without the entire issue being properly thought through by the central government.

The Chief Minister disclosed that his government was mulling a change in the Excise Policy to make it more lucrative for the state. The policies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan were being examined, he added.

Regarding the forthcoming MC elections in Punjab, the Chief Minister rejected outright the allegation of 'parivarwaad' in ticket allocation, saying deserving MLAs and other individuals were being chosen, based on the feedback received, by the committee set up for this purpose.

Asked about the Congress prospects in the Gujarat elections, Captain Amarinder said his information, received from senior party colleagues, was that it was going neck-and-neck at the moment, with a strong possibility of silent voters swinging the mood. The chief minister, who had to cancel his proposed visit to Gujarat because of the cyclone alert, said Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would definitely have a positive impact on the polls.

To a question about the recent attempts by radical forces to disturb Punjab’s peace and stability, the Chief Minister said his government was working closely with central agencies to crack down on such elements, working at the behest of the ISI. Pakistan’s ISI was working via various other countries, including Canada, US, UK and Germany, he said, adding that the recent arrests had proved this.

Asked about gangsters operating from prisons to facilitate the radical groups, he said all steps were being taken to block communication, including replacement of 2G jammers with 4G jammers.

On the issue of cable rights in the state, the Chief Minister reiterated that his government would not be selective and would ensure level playing ground for all in the interest of the freedom of the Press.

World News

Trump officially recognises Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Donald Trump
December 07, 2017 03:33 PM

NEW YORK: United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the face of international criticism while asserting that he was "not taking a position of any final status" of the ancient city that is also claimed by Palestine.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking immediately after Trump's announcement, delivered criticism couched in diplomatic terms, saying he was "against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians."

"Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides," Guterres added.

Trump invoked the a 1995 law passed by US Congress calling for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to justify fulfilling his campaign promise. As he pointed out, his three predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, issued waivers putting the law on hold but he was now following the intent of the Congress.

While nations and leaders, from China to Pope Francis criticised Trump's decision and even US allies have refused to follow Washington's lead on moving embassies to Jerusalem, there was no noticeable political opposition in the US from even the Democrats. In the US, politicians are loath to be seen as anti-Israel and Trump's move was a challenge to his domestic critics to make it a major politically issue.

Trump's announcement muddies the diplomatic waters in the Middle East where his son-in-law Jared Kushner is engaged in a so-far unsuccessful peace effort to bring Israel and Palestinians together for a solution to the contentious issue.

"The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides," Trump said. "I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement."

While declaring that he would ask the State Department to move the embassy to Jerusalem, he added, "This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement."

"We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders," he added. "Those questions are up to the parties involved."

That leaves the room for Israel to have West Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestine has its capital in East Jerusalem, a territory that Israel captured during the 1967 Middle East War, if there is an eventual peace agreement between the two sides.

Trump's announcement is directed towards his domestic base, rather than the world. Almost a year into power, he has failed to fulfill most of his campaign promises ranging from building a wall along the Mexican border to abolishing his Obama's health insurance programme.

The only high-profile promise he was able to achieve was a tax reform. Now he can add Jerusalem to that without his opposition turning it into a divisive issue.

Indian Army

Spectacular horseship leaves audience awed at Military Literature Festival

December 07, 2017 12:17 PM

Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH: A spectacular display of horsemanship skills, amid the musical chants of the Punjab Police brass band and the bag pipers of the Indian Army, on Wednesday added a new thrill to the forthcoming Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.
Riders of the Punjab Armed Police, Punjab Police Academy Phillaur, Army Supply Corps of the Indian Army and 879 Animal Transport Company left audiences at the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat Ground awed with their exceptional exhibition of horsemanship during the 'Equitation Tattoo' event, organised here as a precursor to the main Festival, scheduled to take place on December 7-9.
The outstanding performances by the riders included Show Jumping, Triple Tent Pegging and Cross Tent, followed the breathtaking exhibition of jumping over unusual obstacles like drums, barriers, mosquito nets, jeeps, bikes, besides going through the fire and leaning out of the saddle to pick up the coloured handkerchiefs.
The majestic mule display by the 879 Animal Transport Battalion was another star attraction, which started with the performance of Jamura, the most loved mule of the battalion.
One of the most amazing sights was the triple act of tent pegging by Sukhman Preet Singh Sandhu, while carrying a lance in right hand, saber in the mouth and a bayonet in the left hand. The exhibition jumping performed by Lt Ritika Dhayia on the horse Napolean left the audiences amazed with the prowess of the women officers of the Indian Army. Children were also not far behind, as young members of the clubs of Western Command Triveni Riding School, chandigarh Horse Riding Society and Pratap Stables, showed their remarkable horse-riding skills.
Enhancing the magic of the programme was the brass band play by Punjab Police and the musical renderings of the bag pipers of the 6th Dogra Battalion of the Indian Army.
Addressing the event, Lt Gen TS Shergill (Retd), senior advisor to chief minister Punjab, said that these events were being organized with a focus on spreading knowledge and military history and accomplishments of the Indian armed forces to create awareness among the people, especially children. He said that during the course of the Festival, over 1200 children, drawn mainly from the rural areas surrounding the tri-city, would participate in the festivities and engage in a “Samvaad” with the war veterans.
Meanwhile, paramotors display, band displays and rehearsals carried out by Motorcycle Daredevil Team, which is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, attracted large crowds around the Sukhna Lake area and other parts of the city.


It is time for the British Government to finally apologize-London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Sadik Khan
December 07, 2017 10:55 AM

AMRITSAR: London Mayor Sadiq Khan today paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. He also visited historic Jallianwalla Bagh where he paid tribute to the martyrs who had scarified their lives for the freedom of Indian nation from Brithishers.

At Jallianwalla Bagh, Sadiq Khan talking to media said, “ It is Time for  the British Government to finally apologize”. He said what was happened here in Jallianwalla Bagh one must not forget the tragedy occurred in 1919.

He wrote in the visitor book of Jallianwalla Bagh said, “It was incredibly moving to visit Jallianwallah Bagh. The tragedy in 1919 on the eve of Vaisakhi is one, we must never forget. It is time for the Brithish Government to finally apolgoise. Our thoughts are with all those who died”.
Earlier, today when Khan entered in the premises of the historic Jallianwalla Bagh, looked each nook and corner, especially the historic well where hundreds of people were fell during the stampede when British Government fired indiscriminately in 1919 on the day of Bhasakhi.
Khan almost visited all the sites of Jallianwalla Bagh and paid floral tribute before the memorial of martyrs.
Khan was seen looking carefully the bullets marks in the Jallianwalla Bagh which were fired in 1919 on innocent freedom fighters who were holding peaceful gathering there.
Before coming to Jallianwalla Bagh, Khan paid obeisance at Golden Temple where he visited the LANGAR (Community kitchen) took food while sitting on the floor with crossed legs. Khan washed utensils in the Langar as a part of Sewa. According to the official of Golden Temple management Khan was happy after seeing the unique blissful atmosphere inside the Golden Temple.

Khan was also honored by the SGPC   secretary Roop Singh in the Information Center of the Golden Temple where he wrote his experience in the visitor book as “It is a huge honour to visit the spiritual home to thousands and millions around the world who practice Sikhism. The warmth, hospitality , spirituality are a lesson to us all. Thank you for providing me with memories that will stay with me forever”.

Golden Temple Information officer Jaswinder Singh Jassi said Khan while interacting with official said that Sikhism and Muslim community were having good and deep relations, moreover the foundation of the Golden Temple was kept by one of the Muslim Saint Sai Mia Meer Ji who was loved immensely by both Sikhs and Muslims too.


Ola driver locks up Bengaluru woman in cab, misbehaves

Ola cabs
December 06, 2017 04:55 PM

BENGALURU: Cab aggregator Ola on Wednesday said it has suspended one of its drivers after a woman from Bengaluru filed a complaint alleging that he locked her up in the car and misbehaved with her.

The incident took place on Sunday night at around 10.30 when the 23-year-old woman, who works as a fashion stylist in the city, took the Ola cab to reach her home in BTM Layout, a southern suburb.

"We regret the unfortunate experience the customer had during the ride. We have zero tolerance for such incidents," an Ola spokesperson said in a statement to IANS. "The driver has been suspended from the platform."

The woman told IANS: "The cab driver misbehaved and tried to touch me. He locked up the car. So I couldn't open the doors and he tried to come close to me.

"I immediately started banging the car's windows with my fist in an attempt to make noise. That is when he finally released the lock and I ran out of the cab.

"As soon as I managed to get home on Sunday night, I tried to lodge a complaint with Ola. Unfortunately, the complaint was registered only the next day," she added.

She also said the cab driver threatened her over the phone. "He called the next day (Monday) and told me not to register a complaint against him," the victim said.

The woman has also complained about the incident to the police.

"The police had also called up the driver and warned him from calling and threatening me. I still didn't file a written complaint with the police yet," she added.

Ola has suspended the driver from using the app.

Punjabi Cinema

‘Sat Shri Akaal England’ will start a new age of comedy in Punjab

Amy Virk and Monica Gill during promotin of the movie
December 06, 2017 04:42 PM

LUDHIANA: When we hear name ‘Ammy Virk’ the first thought comes to our mind is a man who redefined success in his own style. Initiating his career with a single track to the most promising debut actor of the year this ‘young superstar’ of Pollywood came a long way. Continuing his successful streak with movies like ‘Nikka Zaildar’ series, ‘Bambukaat’, ‘Angrez’, ‘Ardaas’ ‘Ammy Virk’ is going to add another feather to his crown with comedy caper ‘Sat Shri Akaal England’ opposite gorgeous ‘Monica Gill’.
Basically, the movie is all about a man who wants to go England and how he fulfills his dream and the struggles he has to face during this journey is the crux of the story. Apart from ‘Ammy Virk’and ‘Monica Gill’, ‘Sardar Sohi’ and ‘Karamjeet Anmol’ are also there to showcase their talent. The movie’s direction, screenplay, story are done by ‘Vikram Pradhan’. This movie is produced under the ‘Aegis of Kuausmedia Entertainment’, ‘Sizzling Productions’ in collaboration with ‘Mahi Productions’ and Executive Producer ‘Sridevi Shetty Wagh’.The melodious music is composed by very talented ‘Jatinder Shah’ who also gave his inputs in the background score. Music is released by ‘Saga Music’
The songs are penned down by ‘Vinder Nathu Majra’, ‘Maninder Kailey’, ‘Harman’ and ‘Happy Raikoti’. ‘Karamjeet Anmol’, ‘Ammy Virk’, ‘Nooran Sisters’, ‘Gurlez Akhtar’, ‘Gurshabad’ lend their voices to the songs.
Asked about the experience ‘Ammy Virk’ stated, “Although I have already worked with comedy projects but the USP of ‘Sat Shri Akaal England’ is that in this all jokes and punches come so naturally that we didn’t have to put any additional effort. I am sure audience will also feel the same and immediately connects to the characters.”
‘Monica Gill’said, “I always take new role as a challenge. I am really thankful to “Vikram Sir” for choosing me. We all worked very hard and I hope people will see it and love it.”
Director of the film ‘Vikram Pradhan’ is quite excited about his Pollywood inning. He said,” filmmaking is all about team effort. And working with the whole team is an amazing experience especially with ‘Ammy Ji’.”
‘Sagoon Wagh’ the producer of the film who earlier handled various projects in Bollywood with ‘Amitabh Bachchan’, ‘Sanjay Dutt’ and produced films like ‘Jodi no. 1’, ‘Kurukshetra’, and ‘Virrudh’ etc. On this occasion he said,“I always wanted to do different projects in Pollywood and I am sure people will love the chemistry between ‘Ammy Virk’and ‘Monica Gill’. This movie will definitely give a new meaning to comedy in Punjab.
The worldwide movie is distributed by ‘Munish Sahni’s’ company ‘Omjee Group’. The movie will hit the theatres on 8th of December.


Punjab CM welcomes London Mayor's suggestion that UK government shall aplogise for Jallianwala Massacre

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London interacting with Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjit Sidhu
December 06, 2017 04:25 PM

AMRITSAR: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed the reported suggestion of the Mayor of London that the UK government should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Talking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said he had heard about Sadiq Khan’s remarks on the Jallianwala incident and was happy to know about the Mayor’s feelings in the matter. The suggestion, coming from a British government functionary, was good and, if implemented, would go a long way in further strengthening ties between India and UK, and perhaps, to some extent, assuaging the wounds of Indians who suffered the pain of the independence struggle, he added.

Earlier, the two leaders met here on Tuesday night at a dinner hosted by the Chief Minister for the visiting dignitary.

Various issues of mutual interest were discussed at the meeting, during which Sadiq Khan underscored the close and emotional ties between London and Punjab. Pointing out that there was a large Punjabi diaspora in London, the Chief Minister said the two sides shared a strong connect, which they were continuously striving to further strengthen.

In a token gesture, symbolizing the shared interest of Punjab and Britain in cricket, the London Mayor presented embossed cricket balls to the Chief Minister and Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also represents Amritsar in the state assembly.

Meanwhile, MLAs from Amritsar district submitted a memorandum to the Mayor of London, seeking direct British Airways flights between the holy city of Punjab and London, to facilitate personal and business travel.

With more than 35 million pilgrims visiting Amritsar every year to obeisance at the famous Golden Temple, Amritsar had emerged as the preferred destination for the Punjabi diaspora and foreign tourists, the MLAs said in the memorandum.

Amritsar Airport, and the overall Punjab region, account for large international traffic to and from North America, Europe (including UK, Germany and Milan) and Australia but at present the airport lacks any non-stop flights to these destinations. As a result, thousands of people travel by road to take direct non-stop flights between Delhi-London or Delhi-Birmingham. All this traffic can travel direct with a non-stop British Airways flight between London-Amritsar, said the memorandum, adding that this would lead to a major increase in business apart from making British Airways more popular among the large Punjabi population settled all over the world.

The addition of direct Amritsar-London flight will also enable British Airways to earn two fold businesses, one with the flights to European cities and another from Amritsar to North American sector, the memorandum further said, pointing out that a large population from Punjab is settled in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, San Francisco, New York, Detroit, Birmingham, London, Frankfurt, Milan, and other international destinations served by British Airways.

In the memorandum, the MLAs further pointed out that more than 6 million Punjabis settled in North America, Europe, Australia, South East Asia and Middle East countries are from the cities served by Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, Amritsar (ATQ), which is North India’s second largest airport after the Delhi airport. With runway length of 12000 ft. and all high-end equipment needed to handle wide range of international flight operations and wide bodied aircraft, it has also been used as an alternative to Delhi Airport especially during fog season in winter.

Pointing out that the airport had all the world class facilities available in its integrated terminal building, they further said that the Amritsar airport is currently connected to many international destinations by Qatar airways, Air India, SpiceJet, Malindoair, FlyScoot, Turkmenistan and Uzbek airlines.

Further, it provides a big load of transit traffic to Delhi Airport with Indian carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Vistara etc. British Airways also has codeshare with Jet Airways, Vistara and other Indian carriers to connect passengers from Amritsar Airport to Delhi for onward journey on its flights to London and other international destinations. In fact, Delhi is Amritsar’s Airport primary domestic destination accounting for more than three fourth of its total domestic passengers (803,693 out of 996,227, 80% in the year 2016).

Prominent amongst other who were present on the occasion included; Member Parliament from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, CM's Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, MLAs Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Tarsem Singh DC, OP Soni and Raj Kumar Verka (all MLAs), President District Congress (Urban) Yugal Kishore besides Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Gurkirat Kirpal Singh.

Punjab Government

Congress Government on full throtle to fulfill one job per family promise: Rana Gurjit

Rana Gurjit Singh
December 06, 2017 04:18 PM

CHANDIGARH: "In keeping with the promise made in the election manifesto of providing one job per family, the Congress Government has gone full throttle to ensure successful implementation of the same."

The Power and Irrigation Minister, Punjab, Rana Gurjit Singh disclosing this here today on the occasion of distributing appointment letters to the 25 dependents of the Deceased employees of PSPCL & PSTCL on the compassionate grounds out of total 223 beneficiaries.  He said that under the visionary leadership of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh the 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar' scheme is being implemented with unprecedented success throughout the state which is borne out by the facts.  

Divulging more, the minister said that those given appointment letters today would be appointed on different admissible posts as per their qualification to the nearest station of their native place. He also said that PSPCL & PSTCL has been working hard to push up the cases of employment to the dependents of its deceased employees.

Listing out the facts, the minister elaborated that after taking over the reins by the new State Government, PSPCL/PSTCL has given employment to the 384 dependents of the deceased employees.                          

Disclosing futuristic employment plans, the minister added that PSPCL & PSTCL shall shortly be recruiting 2800 Assistant Lineman, 300 Lower Division Clerk, 253 Sub Station Attendants & 300 Junior Engineers. He further said that in Irrigation Department too, 254 Junior Engineers have been recruited recently.

On this Occasion, the minister added that the Punjab Government has also signed 34 MOUs with various Industry Associations and Employers during "Employers Meet" held at Indian School of Business on September 5, 2017, which will create job opportunities for about 2.8 lac youth in the State.

Others present on the occasion included Mr. Satish Chandra, Addl. Chief Secretary, Power, Mr. A. Venu Prasad, CMD, PSPCL & PSTCL and Mr. RP Pandov, Director (Admin.) PSPCL.

Indian Army

Military must be kept away from politics: Army Chief

Bipin Rawan Indian Army Chief
December 06, 2017 03:26 PM
NEW DELHI: The military should be kept away from politics, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday. Speaking at a seminar here, Rawat said: "Of late we have been seeing that politicisation of military has been taking place.
"We operate in a very secular manner. We have a vibrant democracy, where the military should stay far away from the polity.""Defence forces in India will do well if they remain above (politics). Where they are expected to remain, and do not meddle with politics..." he said.
Asked later what his statement meant, the Army chief said it was a clear statement and refused to elaborate any further.

Punjab State Election Commission appoints Observers for MC polls

December 05, 2017 09:42 PM

CHANDIGARH: The State Election Commission, Punjab has today issued the list of observers for Municipal Corporation, Councils and Nagar Panchyats election to be held in various districts of State.

Disclosing this, an official spokesman of the State Election Commission, Punjab said that IAS Praneet has been appointed as area observer for Amritsar Muncipal Corporation, ward no. 43-64, similarly, Mr. B.S. Dhaliwal IAS for ward no. 22-42, Mr. Ashwani Kumar IAS for ward no. 65-85, and M.S. Narang IAS for ward no. 1-21 and Nagar Panchayat Rajasansi.

Giving detail about the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, he said that Mr. TPS Phoolka IAS has been appointed as observer for ward no. 1-6, 53-55, 57-62, 63-66, 69-71, 79-80, Mr. Rahul Gupta PCS for ward no. 7-14, 16-17, 56, 15, 18-20, 48-52, 67-68, Mr. Abhinav IAS for ward no. 21-47 & 72-78, Vikas Garg IAS, observer for Municipal Council Bhogpur and Goraya, Mr. B.S. Rai IAS for Nagar Panchayat Bilga and Shahkot.

He said that in District Patiala, Mr. Parveen Thind IAS has been appointed as observer for ward no. 41-50 and Nagar Panchayat Ghanaur, Dr. Amarpal Singh IAS for ward no.1-20, Mr. Sibin C. IAS for ward no. 21-40 and Nagar Panchayat Ghagga, Mrs. Hargunjit Kaur PCS for ward no. 51-60 and Municipal Council Amloh in district Fatehgarh Sahib.

He further said that Mr. GPS Sahota IAS has been appointed as observer for Nagar Panchat Handiya (District Barnala) and Nagar Panchayat Cheema (District Sangrur), Mr.Sanyam Aggawal for Nagar Panchayat Dirba, Khanauri and Moonak ( District Sangrur). Mr. Puneet Goyal IAS for Nagar Panchayat Dhilwan, Bholath and Begowal, Mr.DPS Kharbanda IAS for Municipal Council Machiwara and Sanhewal ( District Ludhiana), Mr. Varun Roozam for Municipal Council Malud and Mullanpur Dakha. He said that Mr. AP Singh Sandhu PCS has been appointed as observer for Nagar Panchayat Bhikhi ( District Mansa), Mr. Arvinder Pal Singh for Nagar Panchayat Talwandi Sabo ( District Bathinda), Mr. Tajinder Dhaliwal IAS for Municipal Councils Baghapurana, Dharamkot and Fatehpur Panjtoor.

Divulging more, he said that Ms. Nidhi Kalotra PCS has been appointed as observer for Municipal Council Balachaur (SBS Nagar) and Nagar Panchayat Mahilpur ( District Hoshiapur), Mr. Tejinderpal Singh PCS for Nagar Panchayat Khemkaran ( District Tarn Taran), Ms. Mandeep Kaur PCS for Barriwala ( District Sri Mukatsar Sahib) and Mr. Satkar Singh Bal PCS has been appointed as observer for Nagar Panchyat Narot Jaimal Singh in District Pathankot.

Indian Army

Paramotors display skills, adds festive colour to Military Literature festival

paramotors displaying skills
December 05, 2017 08:36 PM

CHANDIGARH: A blast of festive colour and music was added on Tuesday to the City Beautiful by Paramotors displaying their skills and Military Bands entertained people in the run-up to the Military Literature Festival (MLF) scheduled to be held here from December 7 to 9.

Even as Sukhna Lake area reverberated with the powerful beats of the Military Bands, a five-member Paramotors team showed their professional maneuvers in the sky over Sukhna Lake area, Punjab University, Uttar Marg, Madhya Marg and Sector 3, after taking flight from Rajindra Park.

Interacting with the media after finishing the flight, the captain of the pilots’ team, Abhay Singh Rathore, said he had read a lot about the city and its greenery but this flight provided him an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful aerial view of the city. “Paramotoring is an exciting and adventurous activity-cum-sports and I love my job even though it is an extremely challenging one,” he said, adding that he was one of the few international certified pilots eligible to train trainee Paramotors.

Meanwhile, the rehearsals for the horse riding event ‘Equitation Tattoo’ took place at Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat ground, where the programme is scheduled to be held tomorrow. A total of 70 horse riders participated in the rehearsals of various horse-riding competitions, with even young children performing horse jumping events.

According to Colonel Rusnil Singh Chahal the horse riding performances to be held on Wednesday include Flag hoisting, Standing salute, Children’s march past, Tent pegging, Children’s fault and out, Mule trick riding show and Show jumping.

Many famous horse riding schools, clubs, societies, including Chandigarh Horse Riders Society, Western Command Triveni Riding School, besides the armed and police teams, will participate in the event.

All events are free for the general public with elaborate arrangements made at all the venues, including the main Lake Club where the Festival is scheduled to be held.

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